Tuesday, March 31, 2020

4570 Andy's Rudy Moment




Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) is only a governor. Do not stand on the tracks of this Bullet Train when lives are at stake.
On Monday, September 10, 2001, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani of New York, mired in scandal, surrounded by misfits and miscreants, enemy of minority residents and dictatorial dunderhead couldn’t have won an election for hall monitor or freshman class president. 

Then, there was 9/11 and all of a sudden, Rudy was “America’s Mayor,” constantly on TV, constantly reassuring, constantly blunt and to the point about what was and remains the most important peacetime attack on the continental US by other human beings.

Since then, Rudy has backslid into the caricature of a public official he’s always really been and the ambulance chaser he once was, complete with shady associates and shady deals.

Now, comes Andrew Cuomo the governor of New York.  A shark of a politician, an unlikeable man with too many friends in high places and the son of a revered former governor without his father’s substance. And he is having his Rudy Giuliani Moment.

Every day around noon, he goes on TV to tell us at stultifying length what the state needs, how the state is handling the covfefe virus, what he expects in both the near and long terms and what he wants you to do.  He is a model for telling it like it is.  Maybe we should call it a “Mario Moment.”  Except the actual Mario lived in reality all day, every day, and told it like it was in beautiful and elegant prose. He was that way full time.

Right now, it’s time to give Andy credit for what he’s doing, leading a state, one of the handful of consequential states in a time of attack from an unseen enemy.

There is no bin Laden in today’s war.  There’s no one flying jumbo jets into skyscrapers.  And there is no Secretary of Pollution like Christine Todd Whitman lying to us about the safety of the air.  It wasn’t safe then. It’s not safe now, but for different reasons.

The question is which path will Andy tread when all of this virus-mania is over? Will he remain on the high road?  Or will he slip back to form and become the Democrats’ brass knuckled hack that until recently he’s shown himself to be?

Rudy always was a grasping attention whore and fits right into the trumpistry.   Rudy cleared the streets of squeegee men, temporarily.  And turnstile jumpers.  Andy’s trying to clear the air of a deadly virus that death wraps like expensive jewelry and swallows whole.

Cuomo’s daily televised PowerPoint presentations are so good you can watch them with the sound turned off and still get the message. They are MTV music videos without the sound: tempting, informative and who cares what the songstress or the governor sounds like… just watch the pictures.

No illusions here. Cuomo is no J-Lo or Barry White.  But what he says is important, not only to the people of New York, but to the sane people of all America.

SHRAPNEL:
--It’s April Fool’s Day and maybe you were expecting a joke. Sorry to disappoint you.  But bad jokes this year don’t have the snap they used to.

Coming Friday: what to do when you can’t bet on sports because there aren’t any.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ® 
Any questions? wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2020

Monday, March 30, 2020

4569 A Signature Issue



trump’s signature. Or is it the EEG of a patient having a seizure?

The so-called President has signed the bill that will send two trillion dollars into the wild blue yonder in hopes of funding the end of the covfefe virus after he did all he could to help spread it. But is this really his signature? Or is it just a photoshopped version of a squiggly line from an EKG or an EEG that some nefarious lackey has claimed while also telling us trump signed the bill?

It’s probably real. Otherwise, New York State would be getting the 30-thousand ventilators Governor Andy Cuomo says are needed, mostly in the lower city and suburban counties.

Let’s face it. Presidents are pretty busy guys. We shouldn’t be grading them on their handwriting, right?  George Washington’s wasn’t easy to read, either:

Plus the EEG hadn’t yet been invented. Or even thought of.  Kennedy, FDR, Nixon, either Bush, Obama and Clinton had illegible signatures. Clinton. In fact, there were few presidents with legible signatures:

So, we should be fair and say that the legibility of a presidential signature doesn’t mean much.

Except trump’s looks like he’s just removed his tongue from an electrical socket. And he wants his “signature” on the checks he says the government is going to send you, a-la-McGovern and Wang.

So the question remains, did he really sign the two-trillion-dollar bill that’s supposed to help fight his covfefe virus? Or was that just one of his aids, filling in for the president who was on the golf course when the legislators approved the bill and sent it to him?

Remember, things vanish from trump’s desk now and then -- before he sees them or sees them, then forgets they’re there.

It’s a good thing we don’t know if the signature is real.  But what we also don’t know and which matters, is where is that money going?  And how is it being distributed?

Do the governors of the receiving states have to pass a loyalty test? Will the governors of states like Mississippi and Arkansas get more per capita than governors of states like New York and California?  It’s hard to tell. The bill is 800 pages. Has any member of congress who voted, either way, read it and if so, do they know what they saw?

Probably not.  Congress is a sheltered workshop. No member is expected to know anything. No member is expected to be responsible for the results of any legislative outcome. No member is held to be accountable for his or her vote or position.

Preview: Wednesday 4/1/2020 Andy Cuomo’s Rudy Giuliani moment.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ® 
Any questions?  wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2020

Friday, March 27, 2020

4568 The Panel Discussion




Senate Majority Leader Mitch Schadenfreude announcing passage of the someone-will-get-rich Covfefe Virus aid bill.

When I see Mitch McConnell smile, I worry.  Someone’s going to get hurt.  That was the case when he announced Wednesday morning that the Senate was about to make history in fighting disease and make heroes of everyone else involved in the pandemic.  Who will be hurt and how badly? This remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, they handle the virus figures like a sporting playoff or its less important younger brother, an election.

Right now, New York is leading in the fight for new cases, but lags California in the relative proportional death toll.  Then there’s Washington State.  Washington got out ahead of this by being an early winner in the caseload.  But will they be able to hold on to their advancement among some of the less afflicted states?

To investigate these questions, we have assembled a panel of experts, just like the gabfests at Fox and CNN, MSNBC and the like.

Wessays: Welcome to our first guess-t, long-time columnist for the Tacoma Tattler, Reba Starbucks. Reba, what do you think, can Washington make it to the finals?

Reba:  I think there’s a good chance. We have more experience than most other teams and we may be able to flatten the curve before, well, Oregon or Montana.

W: Our next guess-t is the late governor of New York, Nelson Rockefeller.  Rocky, good to see you!

Rocky: Thanks fella, it’s good to be here.  We are building a fine new facility in upper Westchester, the David Rockefeller Institute of Covfeve Research.  We expect it to be completed sometime in 2024 at which time we can expect to treat 1,000 outpatients a day.

W: Also, today, allow me to introduce a pharmacist, Larry Merlo, CEO of CVS. Larry, you started as a druggist and now you head one of the largest drug store chains in the country.  What is your company doing to make the best of this terrible situation?

Larry:  First thing we’re doing is conserving resources. We are doing this in several ways. The first is limiting the length of our register receipts to three feet, eight inches.  This will save both paper and ink.  Next, we’re taking those few remaining name brand OTC meds off the shelves and replacing them with lower-cost CVS Brands.  Third, we are stepping up customer service access to our CareMark health division, now known as CVS Health. We have tripled the number of customer service reps at our corporate megaheadquarters that takes up about half the square mileage of Rhode Island.

W: How many new hires up there in Woonsocket? 

Larry: Nine.

W: Rocky, what do you think about the way McConnell and trump have been handling the situation?

Rocky:  Uh… well, Bill, now that there are trillions of dollars earmarked for the cause we should do pretty well -- less commission dollars for the Senators and Congressmen who will be paid from receipts for their help.

Starbucks: We don’t need your filthy lucre to solve this problem, Nelson.  We’ll do just fine.

W: don’t fight, children.  And we’ll be right back after this word from our sponsor, Sideeffex, the modern medication that cures nothing but can cause skin rash, low blood sugar, seizures and sudden death. Ask your doctor if Sideeffex is right for you.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Any questions? wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2020

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

4567 Where in the World is Anthony Fauci?




It’s iffy, but there’s a chance the White House will say something useful or truthful and so we spin the wheel, watch the daily outpouring and hope.

As of deadline time, Dr. Fauci has vanished from the airwaves.  We need to do a TV show similar to what the Today Show did with Matt Lauer, hiding him in secret locations.  Difference here, though. We probably could find him, maybe even speak with him.  And the prize for finding him would not be a cruise to Bermuda… just an interview with a respected medical authority who made the huge mistake of talking truth to trump.  

Meantime… 

The savvy and well-regarded media columnist of the Washington Post, Margaret Sullivan, suggests reporters stop covering the White House briefings.  She’s a personal favorite, but this time, Ms. Sullivan, you are wrong.

And as you can plainly see, the so-called briefings consist of the president telling us how brilliantly he does things, how in-control he is of the Covfefe Virus pandemic and how all’s well if we just stay away from one another and keep calm when the balmy winds of April will bring death to the germs and we can all go back to work.

We know that kind of talk for what it is.  But we also learn that he has, as of this writing, declined to implement the Defense Production Act that would bring important anti-viral materials to the people who need them.

Every once in awhile the panel of so-called experts will timidly contradict his lies (the Case of the Missing Fauci.) 

The White House has imposed a news blackout on facts in general. But trump can’t go a full day without make a fool of himself and since rallies have become unfashionable, that daily trumpized version of “The View” has become his platform.  It’s surprising they don’t play a cheer/applause track under these ridiculous appearances.

No, Margaret, we can’t stop the coverage, lame and deceitful as it is.  But there are things we can do.  First is what CBS and maybe others did Monday evening.  The “briefing” started late and was about to run into the Evening News.  CBS cut away and went to Norah O’Donnell.

And we can give more coverage to politicians like Andy Cuomo (D-NY) who gets on camera and tells it both like it is and like it should be.  His briefings should be called “ings,” because there’s nothing brief about them. But they’re still worth hearing.

Another “ing”-er, is Mayor Eric Garcetti (D-Los Angeles.) He’s getting stuff done that the horses’ rumps in Washington aren’t.  Like getting manufacturers on board, to cite just one example.  California will have its new ventilators faster than anyone else. They will be made by Americans working in … sewing factories.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Any questions? wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2020

Monday, March 23, 2020

4566 The Great Equalizer


4566 The Great Equalizer

Staples Street. in Lower Manhattan. The guy is trying to find his way to Penn Station and catch a train back home to Lewistown PA.
Tourist in Lewistown trying to get back to lower Manh… no, wait, that can’t be right.

 Once, the great equalizer was McDonald’s.  If you were near one, you weren’t lost and you knew the place even if your flying saucer dropped you in Buffalo.  But now, you know everywhere. So you’re always at home. Even if you’re on Staples Street because it looks more or less like everywhere else and there’s hardly anyone else around.  Maybe absolutely no one.


And the McD’s is closed except for the drive-through window. Maybe.

The Wessays Secret Mountain Laboratory Observation deck has a bird’s eye view of US Route I-99.  It’s usually pretty busy. Especially on a spring-like weekend when this is being typed. Nary a car. No 18-wheelers. The speed limit here is 65 and it looks like the few vehicles are driven by the well-behaving.  Good thing, too.  Cops in cash-hungry municipalities are just waiting for you to hit 68.

Every place is everyplace.  So, we’re all “home.”

News and questions from All Over:

--How does Dr. Fauci keep his job without toeing the Party line?

--Same general question for Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC who sold all that stock before the market lost upwards of 7.5% of its value while he kept virus growth info to himself?

--Will NBC give Peter Alexander the hefty raise he deserves after the president elevated his stock by calling him a bad reporter for asking a normal, natural question?

--In the face of certain shortages, can entrepreneurial Americans find alternative uses for the glut of broccoli on grocery shelves?

--Are state income tax filings postponed to July like the federal tax?

--Can the Covfefe Virus travel through the walls of adjacent apartments?

--How long can the germs sustain life in freezing temperatures?

--How is bourbon “life sustaining” in New York but non-essential in Pennsylvania?

--Anyone know how to milk a soy plant?


--Who will profit from the gazillion dollar Covfefe Virus rescue plan that McConnell and his drooling cadre of cowards will pass?

--Russia has almost no Covefefe virus cases.  Part of that is the work of Putin’s chief ally, the president of the US whose sanctions keep a lot of stuff out of Russia.  Fewer cases in Russia than in Luxembourg.

--United Airlines has the begging bowl in its hands, claiming it’ll have to lay off lots-o-people if trump doesn’t bail it out.

--Working from home? Disconnect Alexa and her/its relatives if you want to keep your info private.

--As far as is known, Kenny Rogers, 81, did not die from Covfefe Virus.

--NYC recommends self-satisfaction for people who want sex. That’s a new way of saying go F--- yourself.

--Your faithful correspondent is going to the local Jiffylube/Hospital for a CT scan this morning.

.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Any questions? Send ‘em here: wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2020


Friday, March 20, 2020

4565 I'm Non-Essential. How About You?


Non-essential fictional person Caspar Milquetoast, the brainchild of cartoonist H.T. Webster (1885-1952) New York Herald Tribune Archive

In the face of this pandemic, non-essential people are ordered or asked to…

--Self Isolate.
--Stay home from work.
--Stay off the roads.
--Stay off trains and boats and planes.
--Refrain from hoarding “essentials” like toilet paper and flour, hand sanitizer and broccoli.
--Avoid large gatherings (“large” is undefined.)
--Avoid human reproduction.

All these things for all these people.

The term “non-essential” first was used in modern times to tell us who should or should not try to come to work in a weather emergency.

“All non-essential government employees should stay home.” -- every governor or mayor when an area is struck by flood, fire, tornado, pandemic, epidemic, oil spill, water shortage or major highway smackup.  This raises the question why do governments have non-essential employees?
Same with private business though with free enterprise variations. 

“All MBAs and other middle managers should stay home.”  When the disaster ends you can all come back and continue “earning” your paychecks by manufacturing work for yourselves and everyone else, developing gawky and complicated “systems” for doing such things as counting web clicks or “streamlining” industrial processes with nonsensical equations and formulas.

Who are the non-essential workers at the airport?  Bartenders? Baggage handlers? Ticket clerks? Homeland Security inspectors? Pilots?  The clerks at the overpriced trinket counters?

Do police departments have non-essential personnel?  Or non-essential bomb sniffing or drug sniffing dogs?  One group that certainly doesn’t qualify is the DWI patrol.  Revenue is revenue. And we must be able to continue paying our municipal workers -- even the non-essential ones.

Those of us who are retired or semi-retired?  We’re pretty much surplus humanity, anyway.  

You don’t feel non-essential, do you?  Most of us either don’t or won’t admit it. 

TODAY’S QUOTE:
-“If I can’t find an open golf course, I’ll go crazy.” -- OJ Simpson, to whom we answer how would you tell?

SHRAPNEL:
--The World’s Best Commuter Railroad, the LIRR has offered its suffering masses refunds for the unused parts of their monthly tickets which range in cost from about $140 to about $500, depending on the length of travel.  When you add in the “processing fee, commuters are getting pennies on the dollar. Rockefeller was wrong when he called the LIRR the country’s foremost commuter line, but it IS among the most expensive and the least reliable.

--Wessays HQ has temporarily acquired a guard dog named “Shorty.” She is a Great Dane standing about 5’11” on her hind feet and has a basso profundo bark. We lost on the bidding for an Irish Wolfhound and a Sicilian Mastiff.  But still, no one knocks on the door twice.

Note to readers:  All non-essential personnel at the Wessays Secret Mountain Laboratory and the staff of this post have been granted extra vacation time or are working from home. Every word has been individually autoclaved and is certified virus free.  Your computer may vary and Wessays.blogspot.com denies any responsibility for the condition of your PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Any questions?  Write to
wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2020


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

4564 Coronavirus Side Effects




Our national response to Coronavirus side effects has unintended consequences.  Many of the children who usually breakfast and lunch at school are not getting fed.  The workers who work retail for an hourly wage may be going wageless.  The run on toilet paper and paper towels is causing more panic than the stock market’s erratic behavior.

A high energy, high IQ college student, self-described as an extrovert, is “stuck” at home with siblings and parents who may not “get” what she’s up against.

Her college is running internet-only for the time being. The major complaint I heard was that the student was trapped at home, which feels smaller than it felt before the enforced exile.

She is not alone, though surely it must feel that way because -- technically and at least in one sense -- she is.  

Post this mess, we will carry on whether half the population is affected or whether it’s 10% or 20. It’s what we do, young person. Do not despair. Chances are you will survive. If you don’t, it won’t matter, no matter what they tell you in church or temple or mosque or at the Atheist Discussion Forum at the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

Will the stock market crash?  No one knows. But the stock market is not America, you are.

Things to expect in the meantime:
--As the toilet paper supply continues to diminish, diaper service companies will expand.
--If the cop who pulls you over is wearing a mask, make sure he or she is in a marked car, that the car is from the jurisdiction in which you are accused and that the nametag and badge are visible.

--For your own safety, do not enter a bank while wearing a mask.

--In fact, avoid entering a bank at all if it has a drive-up window you can use.

--Do not eat broccoli. (This is not specifically to avoid the Covfefe Virus, it’s just a general recommendation.)

--Avoid health clubs and gyms. You’re perfect just the way you are.

There are some cases where wearing a mask is counterproductive.  Among them:
--In the dentist’s chair.
--When going for that kiss.
--When you are pulled over for a traffic stop, even if the cop is wearing a mask.
--While swimming or scuba diving.
--While hosting a radio or TV show.
--While a contestant on America’s Got Talent, The Voice or American Idol.
--While practicing an operatic role or (heaven help our ears) performing in one.  (It’s okay for masks at theatrical musicals, maybe even preferred.)

Let’s get back to our college student.  People her age group are in one of two possible phases.  One involves a lot of drinking and carousing, tailgating.  The Drunken Sailor Phase.  The other is the “Save the Whales” phase.  No whales required. Stray cats and dogs are excellent substitutes and so are the indigenous peoples of Googamooga Island in the South Pacific.  

The trick is to save some of that passion and energy and thought and feelings, remember them and use them to fix what’s wrong. Only not now.

My parents were born in the first decade of the 20th century. They left behind a legacy of optimism, hard work, sensible behavior.  Brokaw called them “The Greatest Generation.”  Maybe.  But my generation screwed it up.  And my children, well… I love them. I enjoy them.  I try to get them to hang whale posters.

So it’s up to today’s 20-somethings.  It’s not going to be easy.  It’s not going to happen fast.  But it damn well better happen or you’ll be swimming in the Atlantic off the coast of Cincinnati or the Pacific off the coast of Denver.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Any questions?  Write to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2020

4723 How to Vote in Flexas

4723 How to Vote in Flexas   What besides turning back the clock can stop you from voting? Well, there’s always the Poll Tax.   How to...