Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books----her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!

Category: Local Page 1 of 20

Columns on local goings on could mean the Quad Cities of IA/IL (Moline, IL or Davenport, IA); Chicago; or Austin, Tx, since Connie spends parts of each year in those towns where she has homes. ‘Of local interest” could mean politics, opinion pieces, or business or entertainment-related subjects.

Podcast Shows of June, July, and Mid-August

I am currently booking guests for my Thursday night podcast into August.

While my last post addressed the months of May (one week remaining) and June, here are those tentatively scheduled for June, July and August. This week’s author is Anita Oswald, author of “West Side Girl,” a nice companion to last week’s book “Redlined” by Linda Gartz, also about the West Garfield Park neighborhood in Chicago. (Linda’s book was the 2018 Chicago Writers’ Association Nonfiction Book of the Year.)

June 4, 2020: Guest will be Barbara Barnett, Chicago author of “The Apothecary’s Curse” who is promoting the sequel to that book, “Alchemy of Glass.” Barbara is a member of both HWA (Horror Writers’ Association) and SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America).

June 11, 2020:  Spike (“at the mike”) O’Dell, former WGN on-air radio personality.

June 18, 2020: Heather Graham, New York Times best-selling author of the Krewe of Hunters romantic/paranormal series, speaking about her newest book, “Seeing Darkness,” the Krewe of Hunters Book #30.

June 25, 2020: Suzie Quatro, prior to the release of the documentary on her life. Suzi was Joan Jett before there was a Joan Jett.

July 2, 2020:  Anthony Whyte, owner/editor of www.TheMovieBlog.com, the 3rd most heavily consulted movie blog on the Internet.

July 9, 2020:  Lance Taubold and Rich Devin of Las Vegas, Nevada, book publishers and authors at Invoke Books.

July 16, 2020:  Tori Eldridge, author of “The Ninja Daughter” from Polis Books.

July 23, 2020:  Quad City author Sean Leary, author of “The Arimathean” series and other books.

July 30, 2020: Dan Burns, Chicago Writers’ Association treasurer and Chicago film critic and screenwriter.

August 6, 2020:  Iris Waichler, author of “Role Reversal: How to Take Care of Yourself and Your Aging Parents”

August 13, 2020:  Jon Land, novelist (“The Caitlin Strong” series) and screenwriter.

Some of the above are subject to change and tentative, but this gives you somewhat of an idea who is scheduled in the future. I was working on an interview with Cathy Moriarty, but her agent has said the pandemic has caused her to “go to ground” and cancel all such appearances. I’m still waiting to hear back from Gary Cole’s representatives.

Heart Transplant/Cancer Survivor Gives Sheltering Tips on 4/30 WEEKLY WILSON Podcast

Jennifer BerlinerMy guest on my Weekly Wilson podcast on the Bold Brave Media Global Network and Tune-In radio on April 29, Thursday, at 7 p.m. (CDT) will be Jennifer Berliner (pictured below and to the left).

At 15 years old, Jennifer was treated for bone cancer (Askin’s Sarcoma) and one of the drugs used afterwards, known as “red devils,” caused heart failure 8 years after her treatment.

Therefore, at 39, Jennifer had a heart transplant.

Four months later, doctors diagnosed breast cancer and she underwent a double mastectomy. To add to this litany of woes, Jennifer’s mother died from ovarian cancer just before her 41st birthday.

Through it all, Jennifer had “kept on keeping on” and has maintained a positive attitude using techniques that she studied in college as a social work major and others she had developed to keep her attitude upbeat in trying times.

This is a live call-in format (866-451-1451) and we welcome callers (be prepared to hold for a bit) with questions. Tune in to learn more about how to “shelter in place” successfully from a woman who knows more about face masks and staying inside for months at a time than any of us knew before the pandemic.

Jennifer Berliner

Rest in Peace, Wendy: We Love You

(L to R) Connie & Craig (Wilson); Regina & Steve (Nelson); Wendy & Mark (Wilson).

 

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.

Wendy and Me, Texas, summer, 2019.

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).

WendyLife 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.

WendyRest 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.

Easter During the Pandemic in Austin

(L to R) Scott Wilson, Craig Wilson, Jessica Wilson, Stacey Wilson, Connie Wilson (seated).

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.

HAPPY EASTER!

Do you have coronavirus anxiety? This could help.

 

Tune In to Weekly Wilson, the Podcast on Thursday Nights (7 p.m., CDT)

Home podcast office in Texas.

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.

Eric Roberts & Anthony Ray Parker.

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.

Trump’s Statements Through This Crisis Tell the Truth (Which He Doesn’t)

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.

With Vice President Joseph Biden (then Senator Biden) at the Jefferson Jackson dinner in Davenport, Iowa, caucus season, 2008.

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.

Joe Biden in Independence, Iowa, on the Fourth of July, 2019.

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.

Future President of the United States?

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.

 

 

“Weekly Wilson” Podcast of Thursday, March 26th: Politics

Taken during a McCain rally at the Cedar Rapids Municipal Airport during the 2008 presidential campaign. Cover of Volume II of “Obama’s Odyssey: The 2008 Race for the White House.” (Available on Amazon in paperback and e-book).

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.

What You Might Stream or Screen While Maintaining Social Isolation

Ted Hicks (worked in film in NYC.) His degree from Iowa was as a filmmaker. He was in charge of awarding the Christopher Award in New York City for years, post military service. He was a college friend at the University of Iowa. Ted has put together a list of good things to stream, and I have added my own favorites and added some specifics to his list.

This explanation from Ted:

A few days ago, Gary Davis, who I’ve known since 1st grade in Nemaha, Iowa, asked for some TV/cable/streaming recommendations. I put together a bunch of titles and sent it to him.. I know many of you will already know a lot of these shows, but there might be some you haven’t seen.”

I have made some additions to Ted’s original list, adding some old favorites and some new, and including  names of the actors/actresses involved, when relevant (and not a chore to research.) Therefore, it is now a composite list from two dedicated film-goers.  I have been reviewing film uninterruptedly since 1970 and review film for www.TheMovieBlog.com, www.WeeklyWilson.com and, sometimes, www.QuadCity.com. I’m also the author of “It Came from the 70s: From The Godfather to Apocalypse Now,” which has not only a look at the sci-fi and horror flicks and major films of that time period, but 10 trivia questions per film with the answers upside-down, to pique your curiosity.

______________________________________________________________

A Million Little Things – Ron Livingston (“Sex & the City”), David Giuntoli (“Grimm”), James Roday (“Psych”), Josh Ritter, and others are a close-knit group of friends who are affected by the suicide of one of the group. (rentable on Amazon Prime) 2 seasons.

Better Call Saul – prequel to Breaking Bad, 1st four seasons on Amazon Prime, 5th season currently on AMC.

Bosch – 5 seasons (Amazone Prime) – great series about an LAPD homicide cop, based on a long-running series of novels by Michael Connelly. The 6th season debuts sometime next month, I think.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee – terrific Jerry Seinfeld series, all seasons are now on Netflix. We’ve seen most of them. The episode with Eddie Murphy is one of my favorites.

Country Music – Ken Burns series on PBS. Not sure if this can be streamed yet..

Criminal: UK, French, German, Spanish – Gripping series on Amazon, four separate “seasons” all taking place inside police interrogation rooms in the respective countries.

The Crown – 3 seasons on Netflix.

Curb Your Enthusiasm – Larry David and Jeff Garland in a show largely about their lives.

Gentleman Jack –  new show from last year, on HBO.

Giri/Haji (Netflix) – Japanese cops & gangsters, British cops & gangsters in a storyline that combines them all. Very violent but also very well made. I liked it.

Glow – 3 seasons (Netflix) Marc Maron organizes the Glorious Ladies of Wrestling.

Goliath – 3 seasons (Amazon Prime) – Billy Bob Thornton as an unorthodox lawyer in Los Angeles. Excellent. Was not renewed.

Good Girls – 2 seasons, AMC Christina Hendricks from “MadMen” involved in a variety of criminal enterprises with her sister and a friend.

Grantchester – 4 seasons on PBS Masterpiece Theater.

Hinterland – 3 seasons on Netflix, cop show set in Wales. Dark, tragic storylines. It’s excellent.

Killing Eve – First 2 seasons on Amazon Prime (3rd season coming up on BBC America).

Life in Pieces – ensemble cast with James Brolin, Dianne Weist, Colin Hanks, Betsy Brandt (“Breaking Bad”) and Thomas Sadowski and others. Canceled for next year. On Amazon Prime from 2015-2019.

Nurse Jackie – Edie Falco (‘The Sopranos”) is a drug-addicted nurse. (Showtime)

My Brilliant Friend – 2nd season started this past Monday on HBO.

The Plot Against America – David Simon series based on Philip Roth novel, also began on Monday. Elements of “what if” Lucky Lindy, the aviator, were to have been presented as a presidential candidate.

Secret City – 2 seasons on Netflix – political thriller set in Australia.

Schitt’s Creek – broad gay-friendly comedy from Eugene Levy and his son Dan, with SCTV’s Catherine O’Hara and Chris Elliott. Going off the air soon. On since 2015.

The Sinner – seasons 1 & 2 on Netflix, 3rd season now airing on USA. We just started this series this year and burned through first 2 seasons, loved it. (Bill Pullman)

The Stranger (Netflix) – very good thriller.

Trapped – 2 seasons on Amazon Prime –  cop show set in Iceland.

Unbelievable – Netflix mini-series. This is excellent! Young rape victim’s story isn’t believed, then two female detectives in Colorado get involved. Kaitlyn Dever (“Them That Follow”) who was just inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame is the protagonist and Merritt Weaver (“Nurse Jackie”) is one of the investigators

Unforgotten – 3 seasons on PBS (available on Amazon Prime). Cop unit in the UK finds old cases thought to have been solved, but new evidence reveals truth yet to come out. The great Nicola Walker (Last Tango in Halifax) is head of the unit.

The Valhalla Murders (Netflix) – more cops in Iceland.

Vera – 10 seasons on Amazon Prime/BritBox. Another cop show, with Brenda Blethyn as the prickly head of a team in Halifax (UK).  Each season is 4 episodes approximately 90 minutes each.

Westworld – elaborate theme park setting initially. Futuristic. HBO.

What We Do in the Shadows – FX series, 1st season on Amazon Prime, 2nd season starts on FX in April.  A small group of vampires share a house on Staten Island. Very black, dead-pan comedy. This premiered at SXSW last year (2019).

Low Cut Connie Fuels March 21st Birthday Party & Will Sing Again on March 23rd

Low Cut Connie, the South Philly group that emulates Jerry Lee Lewis in his prime, played a gig from the bedroom of lead singer Adam Weinert on Saturday, March 21st at 5 p.m. CDT. The group has, on a previous occasion, played the Rust Belt in East Moline, although we saw him at Lucy’s Fried Chicken in Austin, Texas, during 2019’s SXSW.

It was my husband’s birthday on Saturday, so we set up the television to give us the best experience of the show “live” as it played out. It was lively, but parents of small children should be warned that the language is sometimes “R”-rated. (What can you expect during a pandemic?)

The group will play another “live” concert online on Monday, March 23rd. For the exact time in your neck-of-the-woods and to be able to send remarks to the band as they play, go out to Facebook’s (or Instagram’s) Low Cut Connie page and check out the timing.

It has to be better than sheltering in place on a Monday night at home—right?

Al Franken Speaks Out on Covid-19 Crisis

(From former Senator Al Franken, 3/19)

Well, it finally isn’t funny anymore – the grandiosity, the ignorance, the cruelty, the bullying, the racism, the petty insults and incessant stupidity. But especially the non-stop lying.

The greatest asset that a president can bring to a crisis is credibility.

On Day One of his presidency, Donald Trump chose to pick a fight with the media about the size of his inaugural crowd. On the morning of January 21, 2017, after fewer than 24 hours in office, Trump sent out Sean Spicer to tell the press corps a laughable and easily disprovable lie – that Trump’s crowd was the largest in history ever to attend a presidential inaugural.

The very next day, Kellyanne Conway let Americans know of the existence of something called “alternative facts.” Oh. So, that’s how it’s going to be, huh?

Since then, the lies have come so fast and furious that keeping track has been impossible. How do you remember the last one when three or four equally ridiculous lies are almost certain to follow that day?

“Don’t take him literally,” his supporters insisted. “Take him seriously.” Really?

Well, no. What they really were saying was how happy they were that he would be appointing pro-life, pro-corporate Federalist Society judges, cutting taxes to benefit the wealthy, undoing regulations to help corporations exploit their employees and destroy our environment, and pulling us out of the Paris Agreement and the Iran Nuclear Deal.

That the President of the United States is a malignant narcissist who could allow no fact to stand that contradicted his insatiable need for self-aggrandizement has been of little concern to establishment Republicans. The stock market was climbing. They were getting richer. And they had cover from the right-wing media to fool enough of his base into believing his limitless dishonesty.

At this year’s State of the Union, the First Lady bestowed upon Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom, an honor he now shares with Mother Teresa, Cesar Chavez, and the crew of Apollo 13. In 1995, I wrote a book entitled Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations for a reason – the same reason that I wrote Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them – A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right a few years later. Without Rush, without O’Reilly, without Hannity, without Newsmax, Breitbart, and InfoWars there would be no Trump.

Until this crisis, Trump has paid no real price for his constant, pathological mendacity. Before politics, the man had spent his entire career in a business where, evidently, there was no accountability for inveterate lying.

But for this crisis there is accountability. And instead of leading, Donald Trump’s focus has been where it always has been – on Donald Trump. “I give myself a ten out of ten.” “We are very close to a vaccine.” “I don’t take responsibility at all.” “Anybody who needs a test can get a test. And the tests are perfect. Like the letter was perfect. The transcript was perfect.”

“Bee Gone: A Political Parable” (E-book only)

Of course, no leader could have prevented the devastation that this virus has and will continue to exact. But because Trump’s focus has been on himself, his reelection, and his fragile self-image, our federal government squandered our most valuable commodity.  And the amount of suffering which that lost time will cost our nation is as tragic as it is unknowable.

Trump will not step away. He will continue to take the stage and our focus – but he will not be able to claim the credibility he never earned. We are left to proceed despite our president and find the leadership we need elsewhere. From governors and mayors and other civil servants. From health care professionals and scientists and economists. From community leaders and each other.

It is time for each of us to step up and fill the vacuum at the top – first by staying home. And for those fortunate enough to weather this storm financially – to help those who cannot.

“Stable genius.”

Lest we forget Trump’s Houdini-like ability to escape the traps he’s set for himself, it is also time for us to commit to his defeat in November. For now, find a way to do that from home. But when it’s time to come out into the light, it must be our collective mission to make this godawful human being pay the price for every lie he has ever uttered.

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