Category: Editorial Page 1 of 18
In this age of Donald J. Trump and the Mueller investigation, you can expect updates on what is happening to our country and its Constitution.
We lost Wendy (far right), the Best Sister-in-Law in the World, on Saturday, April 18th. She was 62.
She had been battling cancer for over a year. Recently, the cancer (leukemia, this time) had returned and her immune system was compromised when 3 different strains of flu hit. She had a high fever and difficulty breathing.
Wendy was in the hospital for 7 weeks, most of them in intensive care. She had already battled through 2 bone marrow transplants, a mastectomy, and various bouts of chemotherapy. When she went to the emergency room, she was having trouble breathing and spiking a fever.
Over the next weeks, her fever would continue and the doctors expressed their desire to re-start chemotherapy in order to boost her white blood cell count and her body’s ability to fight off the flu. Wendy soldiered on.
She was intubated three times. Doctors don’t like to leave you on a respirator for too long, and Governor Cuomo of New York says that 80% of patients who are intubated don’t come off the machines. Wendy did, and sat in a chair and was transferred out of the ICU and was potentially going to be sent to a rehabilitation center, where she would have to relearn how to walk.
These last few weeks, she has not been able to have in-person visitors.
When the call came in at 3 a.m., Mark (her husband) was told he needed to come. Wendy was having great difficulty breathing and was probably dying. He could bring one other person.
Mark and Matt, Wendy’s oldest son who is marrying Samantha in June, went to the hospital. She was not unconscious, but was aware of her children, with whom they face-timed: Megan in Denver and Michael, the youngest, in St. Louis. Mark and Matt were bedside.
I will always remember Wendy’s infectious smile and her spirit. I remember wheeling my huge VCR into my classroom in Silvis to show my class there her appearance on “Wheel of Fortune,” where she won a trip to Hawaii and a lot of Gucci merchandise. (Her final puzzle was “Zero In On,” which also seems unfair). I remember being pregnant at the same time, with Wendy giving birth to Matt forty-four days before I gave birth to my youngest, Stacey (we have the pregnant photos, belly-to-belly to prove it).
Life isn’t fair; Wendy should be here. We shouldn’t be scurrying to set up a Zoom family hook-up to memorialize her and restricting mourners in a church or cemetery to 10 people. She should be attending Matt’s wedding in June and having a great time, living in the moment.
Wendy was the World’s Best Sister-in-Law. I’m wearing the gold earrings she gave me for Xmas. I think she may even have liked me. I will miss her at every family gathering and think of her every time “Wheel of Fortune” comes on, oddly enough.
Rest in peace, Wendy. We love you and we will always remember and miss you. You put up a courageous fight and you should be here with us.
It’s Easter Sunday and my family and I are still sheltering in place in Austin (TX).
On Thursday, April 9th, the long-awaited interview with Eric and Eliza Roberts went off without too many hitches, and you can hear it for yourself by clicking on the button on this page. The couple couldn’t have been more gracious, and I am hoping they call in to ask their Executive Producer, Ed Dezevallos, a question when I talk to him this coming Thursday at 7 p.m. (CDT) on Weekly Wilson, the podcast, on the Bold Brave Media Global Network. (7 p.m. to 8 p.m.; listed as 8 p.m. on the BoldBraveMedia.com page, because the engineers are in Long Island, NY).
Plans continue to be put forth and, so far, it appears that, after Ed Dezevallos on April 16th, the next week’s guest will be an epidemiologist in charge of the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Bill Kohl, talking about the COVID-19 pandemic. Tune in and call in (866-451-1451). The last Thursday of April, Jennifer Berliner–who was featured in a big article in the Austin American Statesman recently—will give us some tips for sheltering in place. She has this down as a heart transplant recipient (www.anewheartrocks.com).
As we move into May, plans are much looser and still under discussion, but the tentative schedule has Dan Decker, author and founder of the Chicago Screenwriting School, on May 7; Michael Serrapica, an author and frequent guest with whom we discuss politics, on May 14th; Linda Gratz, author of “Redlined,” a story about Chicago’s housing policies that targeted black home owners; and Anita S. Oswald from Colorado, the author of “West Side Girl,” also a Chicago memoir.
In June, I’m working on shows with Suzie Quatro (June 4), Cathy Moriarty (“Raging Bull,” “Neighbors”) on June 11th and author Heather Graham on June 18th, but June is still under discussion and a long way away…or is it.
The upcoming guest list for the Weekly Wilson podcast on the Bold Brave Media Global Network, while subject to changes in these uncertain times, looks like this through mid-May:
April 2, Thursday, 7 p.m. CDT – Texas author Charlotte Canion will speak with Connie about her book, “You Have to Laugh to Keep from Crying,” which is about coping with elderly parents when you may have health issues of your own.
April 9, Thursday, 7 p.m., CDT – Film star Eric Roberts and his wife Eliza (also an actress) are re-scheduled after the shutdown of the network caused the cancellation. We’ll talk about Eric’s storied career, his role in “Lone Star Deception” and other topics of interest.
April 16, Thursday, 7 p.m., CDT – Ed Dezevallos, Executive Producer of “Lone Star Deception” and the force behind a series of instructional videos for young people called www.soyouwanttobe.org will drop by.
April 23, Thursday, 7 p.m., CDT – Dr Bill Kohl, an epidemiologist in charge of the University of Texas in Austin’s response to the Corona virus, will share insights and information.
April 30, Thursday, 7 p.m., CDT – Jennifer Berliner, heart transplant and cancer survivor and blogger (www.anewheartrocks.com) will share various tips regarding “sheltering in place” and remaining positive in the face of adversity. (Read up on Jennifer’s background at her blog)
May 7, Thursday, 7 p.m., CDT – TBA
May 15, Thursday, 7 p.m., CDT – Author Michael Serrapica returns to talk politics with Connie.
As always, listeners can find the podcast (Thursdays, 7 p.m. CDT on the Bold Brave Media Global Network) and phone in “live” at 866-451-1451.
The Covid-19 Coronavirus was first reported on December 1, 2019, in China by a courageous physician, Dr. Li Wenliang, who told other physicians that a SARS-like illness was spreading. For his concern, he was arrested along with 6 others and obliged to apologize for “spreading rumors.” Dr. Li Wenliang died of COVID-19 on February 7th. Until January 5th, the Chinese government engaged in a cover-up. As late as January 15th, official sources were saying the risk was low and that human-to-human transmission had not been proven. Only on January 23rd, 6 weeks in, did China quarantine Wuhan.
Back in the U.S. of A.:
January 22, 2020 – “We have it totally under control.” (DJT)
February 2, 2020 – “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”
Two times in February, Trump said that “When we get into April, in the warmer weather—that has a very negative effect on that, and that type of a virus.”
February 26, 2020 – (Over 60 cases diagnosed) – “We’re going very substantially down, not up.”
February 28, 2020 – (In South Carolina): “This is their new hoax. (Blaming the Democrats for the Chinese COVID-19 virus.)
March 6, 2020 – Continuation of the theme that the virus was “a hoax.” and “Anyone who wants a test can get a test.” Repetition of a “fake news/Ukraine” theme saying that the tests were “beautiful” and “The tests were all perfect, like the letter was perfect, the transcription was perfect, right?”
March 7, 2020 – asked if he was concerned about the virus, Trump replied, “No, we’ve done a great job.”
Two days after declaring that the virus was “under control” Trump declared himself “a war-time president” and said, “I’ve always know this is a real—this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.” He also gleefully proclaimed himself as “getting it” and being extremely good at understanding the epidemic.
Will November’s voters remember the criminal dishonesty that permitted this pestilence to hit us so very hard and kept us from preparing for the eventuality for so very long? Coupled with the damage to our national parks, our environment, our very planet, our alliances, our economy now (post-pandemic), with the evidence that management is not DJT’s forte, will informed voters finally get the message that drafting this guy was a bad idea? His remarks about opening up for business as usual have alarmed health experts, with the stated date being Easter—only a couple weeks away.
For the moment, the graphs and charts showing how GREAT our economy was doing—[supposedly all because of Trump, although the last 36 months of President Obama’s tenure showed an uptick after his saving of the economy from the housing collapse of 2007-2008]—have stopped. That is the only “good” thing I can point to from a worldwide epidemic that should show very clearly the true colors of the man who is unfit to lead a nation, let alone 4 bankrupt businesses. The second good thing to come from it will be if this ousts Trump from power.
The petty actions towards the Governors of Washington state and Michigan speak volumes. The failure to have bi-partisan shows of support for the stimulus bill when it was signed in the Oval Office: small and unpresidential. The grasping, ridiculous mewling of GOP Senators Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz and 2 others delaying the passage of the stimulus bill on the floor of the Senate far into the morning (1:30 a.m.). The only voice of reason seemed to be Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois.
What were Lindsey and Cruz so upset about? The stimulus package might give South Carolina workers $23 an hour for an hourly wage and, according to Graham, workers could be hired there for $15 an hour, largely because the minimum wage has been stalled for nearly a decade. And this was a problem why? Well, because, for 4 months (a finite period of time for the stimulus package), the citizens of South Carolina (whom Lindsey obviously thinks are a bunch of slackers) would rather NOT work than work, because of the pay difference. No thought given to those who welcome a return to normalcy and having something to do, including some structure in their lives.
Meanwhile, New Orleans needs 20,000 ventilators and has only received 200. Mardi Gras Parades, as usual, were, perhaps, not such a good idea. New York’s Governor Cuomo asked for 30 or 40,000 ventilators and had to argue with DJT over whether it needs that many. Detroit, Chicago and New Orleans are new “hot spots,” but New York is the worst. Parts of New York might be put under quarantine by the man who allowed this disaster to become worse, our president Donald J. Trump. Of course, the quarantine did not come up during a conversation between the Governor (Cuomo) and the President, as per usual. Management, transparency, and communication are not this president’s forte, as we know from the failure of his administration’s top-ranking officials to come to Congress when asked.
In Chicago, 3,000 cases wiith 34 deaths. Mayor Lori Lightfoot had to shut down beaches and Lake Shore Drive’s jogging trail. Young people are showing up in hospitals, like Rush. Dr. Omar Lateef, President & CEO of Rush University Medical Center expressed concern. Over 400 new cases in the past 24 hours, including within the jail population—one of the largest in the nation.640,589 cases worldwide, 111, 684 in the U.S. 1,850 deaths in the U.S. versus 29,848 worldwide. 138 people on board a cruise ship off the coast of Panama are sick. Delta is waiving costs for health care workers who are traveling to help volunteer in hard-hit states. All Nevada businesses closed by the Governor for 30 days. Los Angeles cases tripled in three days. Elon Musk took it upon himself to fly 1200 respirators to California from China. A hospital ship now sits offshore (The Mercy) of Los Angeles with 12 fully functioning medical operation rooms and a similar ship sits off the shores of New York City.
And so it goes when you elect a Con-man who is untrustworthy and he ends up heading up a nation during a national crisis. We all held our breaths when DJT was pronounced the winner of the presidency in the electoral college and hoped that he could continue skating on the thin ice that buoyed the economy—for a while.
Beyond the embarrassment we feel whenever Donald J. Trump unleashes his thin-skinned temper at an unsuspecting reporter or insults the Governor of a state for no good reason, beyond the jockeying for position our national leader displayed for the world to see, [shouldering aside the leader of Montenegro so he would be first in the picture at an international meeting]—those embarassments fade in comparison with statements that misled a nation with only a brief window of time to prepare, to get ready, to be prepared (as the Boy Scout oath says) for a once-in-a-lifetime crisis.
My mother lived through the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918. She was eleven, the same age as my twin granddaughters are now. I remember her stories of how only half of her sixth grade class returned to school after schools resumed and how flatbed trucks circulated in Hospers, Iowa, to pick up the dead bodies.
DJT blew this. Big time. Like the cheating husband who tries to win back his wife after infidelity with promises of better behavior in the future, DJT has not been equal to the challenge; people are dying because of it.
Remember that in November when you vote. Before then, try to see the documentary “Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America’s Elections” to prepare yourselves for the extent of the cheating that will occur this time around.
(*This is reprinted from the Opinion page of the 3/25 Austin American Statesman, who responded to the news that Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick had made some remarks about re-opening the economy, which were not only controversial, but stupid).
“Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has offered a reckless and false choice: Let some seniors die or watch as our economy crumbles.
“Let’s get back to work. Let’s get back to living,” Patrick said Monday evening on the Fox News show “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” “Let’s be smart about it and those of us who are 70 plus, we’ll take care of ourselves, but don’t sacrifice the country.”
It that means taking “a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren, Patrick said, then “I’m all in.”
The suggestion from Texas’ second-highest elected official is not only wrong-headed and cold, it’s dangerous. The coronavirus pandemic doesn’t solely affect the elderly: about 40% of those hospitalized so far in the U.S. were ages 20 to 54 (50% in California). Encouraging people to “get back to living” disregards the warnings by public health experts and risks further spread of this highly contagious disease.
Morally, we cannot accept the argument that the deaths of our neighbors of any age are a necessary trade-off for the health of our economy. And, from a practical standpoint, economists tell us this is not true: going back to our old way of life while the coronavirus spreads will lead to more sickness and death, more lost wages, more strain on our hospitals and medical professionals, making it even harder to climb out of the recession that is likely already here.
Our best bet to help the economy is to contain the virus that is hurting it.
Governor Greg Abbott has worked to do so by temporarily closing schools and dine-in restaurants statewide, boosting the number of nurses and hospital beds, and asking for President Donald Trump to issue a major disaster declaration that would provide more badly needed federal aid to Texas.
Yet there is Patrick, Abbott’s self-professed wingman, undermining all of those efforts by suggesting we ditch the social distancing efforts that are the heart of our public health response.
Patrick’s statement comes as Trump is also pushing to reopen public life while public health experts urge isolation, creating a cacophony of mixed messages when Americans need clear, consistent direction. Lives are at stake.
Yes, we all want this emergency to end.
But Patrick is asking Texans to make the wrong kinds of sacrifices to get there.”
My second podcast was an interview with Texas author Michael Serrapica, author of “Conned Conservatives and Led-On Liberals.” We talked about the various propaganda techniques that abound in politics.
Michael has agreed to join me at 7 p.m. (CDT) on Thursday, March 26th, to talk more about politics, in general, and about my two political books, “Obama’s Odyssey: The 2008 Race for the White House,” Vols. I & II and his book.
We will probably wander off-topic and discuss All Things Political. Remember, you can call in as the program is “Live” on the Bold Brave Media Global Network (Channel 100), Weekly Wilson.