Tag Archives: new york

pandemic

No one puts a pandemic in a corner

Why have we let the pandemic pit states against each other?

A long time ago, long before the pandemic hit we were governed by the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. Basically, the federal government had very little power and the country was individual states doing their own thing. This was a train-wreck. The whole reason the Constitutional Convention in 1787 convened was to create a better way to manage the country. As it was, Congress feared the new nation was not going to be able to ward off efforts from the British to take back what had been theirs. The result was the Constitution.

Covid-19 has sent us back in time

Today, it feels like we are living in the U.S. circa 1777. By not taking a strong stand on the Covid-19 pandemic, the federal government abdicated its responsibility and left decisions to the states. Red states support President Donald Trump and took longer to issue stay at home orders, promote mask-wearing and social distancing and started opening up earlier. By contrast blue states did the opposite. During the early months, the lack of federal control of collecting and distributing needed medical equipment meant that it all became state vs. state. Governors across the nation complained about having to bid against each other — and sometimes against the federal government — to buy supplies they needed. Some resorted to buying and hiding what they had so the feds wouldn’t step in and take it all.

Now that we are five months in, this state v. state looks a little different. Early in the pandemic, Florida said New Yorkers entering Florida would have to self-quarantine for 14 days. The consequences for violating this are a fine of $500, up to 60 days in jail (the best place to get Covid-19). As the cases in Florida has skyrocketed and the cases in New York have plummeted, New York issued a new decree; no one from the states that have rising cases can come to the Empire State unless they will spend 14 days in quarantine. People who refuse will face a fine.

My state is better than your state

This is purely anecdotal but people I know in New York, where I live, do not seem all that concerned about what Floridians think of our state or how Governor Andrew Cuomo has handled Covid-19 but Floridians I know seem obsessed. Maybe they are bitter about #FloridaMan. We never should be in a place where we delight or rejoice at seeing other Americans die. I have family and friends in the Sunshine State and the last thing I want to see them suffer or die from this (or anything).

This data are backed up here.

Having lived through the worst (I hope) of the pandemic in New York, my first thought is, “Good for Florida, they dodged a bullet.” The problem is that the numbers do not always tell a complete story. In the last few weeks, Covid-19 has mounted a comeback and cases are surging all over the country. But consider the following:

  • The death rate so far has remained lower than in the spring. There are a few reasons for this. The death rate is a lagging indicator. People get sick, go to the hospital (or not) and die sometime later. Just because cases are rising does not mean they start dying at the same time. We don’t know what the real death count will be from this recent surge.
  • We have better treatments now than we had when this started. That is a good thing. As the novel coronavirus has been studied, doctors have been given more tools to fight it.
  • The death rate doesn’t tell the whole story about how bad a disease this is. One of the scariest things about Covid-19 is how long-lasting the impact can be. MRIs of the brains of people who spent time in the ICU show damage consistent with a traumatic brain injury. Many of these people require time in a rehab facility before going home.

It’s NEVER a bad thing when the mortality rate for a disease goes down. But to look at this data in a vacuum and extrapolate from it that Florida has done a better job than New York, for example, is shortsighted at best and harmful at worst.

We have let ourselves fall into this space. Rather than pit New York against Florida, a better way to handle this is to ask, “What can Florida learn from New York?” or “What can the world learn from the Floridian response?” We have taken the scientific/ medical and superimposed politics. How’s the working out? Not well.

I was raised to believe that we are all Americans. Floridians, New Yorkers, even people from New Jersey. Until we get back to that (and to the belief in empirical facts, we are doomed.

My Current Problem with Bernie Sanders

bernie sanders catFor most of the time I have known about Bernie Sanders, I liked him. Last year I wrote this about him. Now i just find him annoying. Never mind that he practically wrote and starred in a political ad for Donald Trump when he called Hillary Clinton “unqualified to be president.” Never mind that he just seems like an old guy yelling at kids to get off their lawn. Never mind a lot of things. I am mad about his hypocrisy. He claims to be purer than the driven snow but I am not so sure.

For most of his campaign, the narrative he has pushed has been that Hillary was winning only because of the shady super delegates. Democratic party insiders who are accountable to no one and have it in against Bernie. This is where we have problem number one. I am not sure how I feel about  the super delegate system but given Bernie’s top strategist’s role in creating the Democratic super delegate system, watching them rail against it seems disingenuinous at best and hypocritical at worst. You can read about top Bernie strategist Tad Devine’s role in creating the system here.

But wait, there’s more. For months this was the narrative, that Bernie was winning the popular vote and losing the super delegate count. Except that is not true. Hillary is far ahead in the pledged delegate count and the popular vote.

Including caucus results, Clinton leads Sanders by almost 2.4 million raw votes, 9.4 million to just more than 7 million, according to The Green Papers.

You can read the full piece, “Bernie Sanders Is Even Less Competitive Than He Appears.” So, now that the fallacy that Bernie has the “will of the people” his campaign is changing gears. Now that they see their only path to the nomination as wooing the super delegates that have committed to Hillary, they are going to spend the summer doing that. Personally, after hearing them whine about the system their people designed for months only turn to it when it serves them could be the worst kind of bullshit I have ever heard.

PS. I still think it sucks that Bernie doesn’t care about helping down ballot Democrats. That’s just douchie.

Remembering Joan Rivers

English: Joan Rivers at Musto's 25th Anniversary.

Yesterday, Hollywood threw Joan Rivers the memorial service she said she wanted.  It was full of celebrities and celebration of her life and humor.  I never got to see her perform in person, nor did I ever get to meet her.  Yes, I am selfish enough to feel badly that I never will.

Jimmy Kimmel said that she was not just a role model for female comedians but for all comedians.  I think that is true but comedy is very much male dominated.  A DC area comedian Valerie Paschall has a joke about that.  She says that the women comics had a drinking game; we would drink every time a comic told a dick joke but we’d be drunk before the first comedian’s five minute set was over so we stopped. (Trust me, she does a funnier job with it on stage).

Rivers acknowledged the difficulties women face in comedy.  She didn’t say it was harder, per se, but different.  Her presence on the scene — and her last stand-up performance was the night before she had that fateful throat procedure — paved the way for a number of women to join her.  Kathy Griffin, Sarah Silverman, Tina Fey… the list goes on and on.  Comediennes who destroy the myth that “women just aren’t funny.”

I started doing stand-up about four years ago in Washington, DC.  I had always wanted to try it and wasn’t sure how so I took a class at the DC Improv.  Comedian Chris Coccia taught “Five Minutes to Funny.”  I have been performing ever since and LOVE IT.

Thank you, Joan.  We will miss you but luckily, you have us more than 50 years of footage to keep you alive for generations.  You will continue to inspire all of us to reach beyond what we think we can do.  You may be gone but will never be forgotten.

 

I Am Convinced Being a Met Fan Has Taken Years Off of My Life

metfan

I am a Met fan. Not sure why I always say “Met fan” vs. “Mets fan” but the real point is why does anyone support a team that sucks and cares so little about either winning or treating their fan base well? No one can tell. Must be some sort of masochism.

Yes, it’s true, I am a Met fan.  Not really sure why though.  When I do comedy, I like to say that I am not a Met fan because I am from New York.  I am a Met fan because I hate myself and it’s a pretty reliable way to be miserable for at least half of the year.

In this respect, the Mets do not disappoint.  I had written off this season (and probably all until Fred Wilpon either dies or sells the team) and I was not surprised by their fuckupery de la semaine that happened this week.  You see the Mets traded outfielder Marlon Byrd to the Pittsburgh Pirates this week.  Normally, this would not be a big deal.  Late season trades like this happen all the time.  The timing of this trade, however, was problematic as it happened the day the Mets had set aside to be “Byrd T-Shirt Night” at Citifield.  Fans who showed up all got Byrd t-shirts but he was no longer a Met by then.

OOOPS and OUCH!  The Mets had to shell out for t-shirts with actual Met players and gave everyone free tickets to another game.  Wow.

The Met front office stupidity is epic.  I feel like most of my life has been spent watching the Mets trade decent or great players away and the deal always goes down the same way.  I see someone from their front office make a perfectly reasonable case for why they traded player x to team y (they wanted too much money, they didn’t like New York, etc) only to have the very next person come on be that player explaining how they loved being a Met.  Three examples come to mind.  When they traded John Olerud, they said it was because his wife missed Seattle.  He then told the world how much he and his wife loved living in New York.  After explaining the Dave Cone wanted too much money, Cone said he would have played for free just to play in NY (particularly painful because he went on to play for the Yankees — double OUCH).  And then there’s the more recent trade of José Reyes, I don’t know what the official reason the Mets gave was but Reyes said that he didn’t feel wanted by management because they never approached him.   This cuts to the heart of my problem and the question I would ask Wilpon, do you even talk to your players before you trade them?  No?  Clearly.  And clearly you should start.

Now, I have other problems with Wilpon.  He lost a ton of money to Bernie Madoff but was also held responsible for the Ponzi Scheme and forced to pay $162 million to the victims’ fund.  Is it a coincidence that he paid $162 million and there are 162 games in a baseball season.  I don’t think so.  And Citifield was built as a monument to Jackie Robinson (and Ebbets’ Field).  I get that Robinson was a transformative figure for sports and society and love what he did for both but this is a MET stadium.  Honor him, sure.  Wilpon was a huge Dodgers fan, I get it.  It doesn’t have to go over the top with it.  As awesome as Robinson was and great his achievements were, his monument should be elsewhere.  Maybe not the home of the most incompetent team in baseball.    And the stadium was built to accommodate Reyes’ style of play and he was traded the same season it opened.  Wow.

The Wall Street Journal compared the relationship Mets have with their fans and Yankees have with theirs.  For the Yankees and their fans, it is a long, stable marriage.  For the Mets & Met fans, it’s a tumultuous affair.  We love our team, we hate them.  I agree but today I am feeling like it is also an abusive relationship.  They beat me up this week but during the off season they will apologize and come Opening Day, I’ll be back for more.

 

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