Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Point of Law, Rachel's Big Adventure, and Thoughts About Covid-19

When I was a boy in the late '60s and early '70s you could always find the AM radio on the countertop in the kitchen of our home in Bloomington, MN tuned to WCCO. It was the first thing turned on in the morning and the last thing turned off at night. The on-air personalities were all very familiar and to some extent, I suppose they felt a little like family. One of my favorite segments to listen to was Point of Law narrated by Charlie Boone in the late afternoon. The few-minute segment involved a brief synopsis of an actual court case followed by a commercial break before revealing the outcome of the case. I always found them fascinating to listen to as I'd try and figure out how I'd decide the case before hearing the outcome. Here's an example. Go to this link and scroll halfway down the page to find more than a couple dozen other Point of Law cases.

In the evenings I'd sometimes listen to Radio Mystery Theater on WCCO. It was simple storytelling entertainment where you allowed your imagination to create the image of the characters as you followed along. Here's a link to years of episodes of RMT.

As I write this Rachel is in the air and on her way to Johannesburg, South Africa with her friend Holly. They left Minneapolis Saturday morning with a several hour layover in NYC before leaving for Paris, France where they just spent the past three days. They'll be arriving in Johannesburg, South Africa at 3:20 CDT where they'll be staying with some friends for about 10 days.

Their trip has been in the works for months so they were reluctant to allow the Coronavirus to thwart their plans. Fortunately, there are very few reported cases of the virus in South Africa at this point. I did the fatherly thing and queried her as to whether she should consider canceling the trip but it's really not my place to say any more than that. I care for her safety but she's no longer my little daughter. As I go to publish this, Trump is giving a broadcast to the nation. He says he's suspending all incoming flights from Europe to the US for the next 30 days beginning on Friday. I'm not sure how this will impact Rachel and Holly as they're returning via Istanbul, Turkey. They may have to find another way home. I'm hopeful that there will be exemptions for Americans who pass a screen for the Covid-19 virus.

Talk of the Covid-19 virus and its potential to sweep across the globe is being covered extensively, much to the dismay of the Trump administration and conservatives who would rather it be downplayed in favor of not upsetting the markets and thereby threatening Trump's chances for reelection. It's a little late for that as the Dow has lost more than 20% of its value in the past few weeks taking it into bear market territory—in large measure because of a lack of leadership on Trump's part, evidenced by mixed messages and a flippant attitude toward the impact the virus poses.

I wouldn't think the Covid-19 virus could be politicized but it has been (in my opinion) by conservatives as they attempt to blame Democrats for hyping news coverage of the global pandemic. I can only assume then that Democrats are also responsible for Italians putting their country on lockdown and a whole host of other measures being taken by other countries as they try and stay ahead of the virus. It's hard to imagine not covering such an event. That would be the height of irresponsibleness.

You can't script this.  From the article: "Meanwhile, critics have noted the irony of prominent officials downplaying the outbreak even as the disease may silently have been spreading among the Trump administration’s own members and supporters."

The virus has the potential to overwhelm our healthcare facilities as people seek treatment and as healthcare workers are infected and forced off the job leaving not enough people to treat those in need. We're in the early stages of the virus here so it's anybody's guess how it will unfold in the coming weeks. My concern mostly lies with the elderly and those whose bodies may not be up for the fight the virus presents. It will be a death sentence for many should they contract it. With no vaccine and asymptomatic people unknowingly spreading the virus, it potentially poses a great risk to many.

If nothing else, I hope we take away from this how ill-prepared we are as a nation to deal with something so threatening to so many. I spoke in my previous blog entry about how the Trump administration has cut dozens of agencies whose job it is to be on the frontlines of detecting and fighting such a threat to not only us but to the entire globe. That's not leadership.

Again, I have to recommend the 6-part Netflix series titled Pandemic. It's a very important documentary for our times about people on the frontlines working to identify and thwart the next pandemic.

I've been on my gravel bike a fair amount lately. It's been nice. The video below is from last Saturday's ride with the Silver Cycling group out of Lakeville.

That's all I've got.

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