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  • The United States v. Elizabeth Holmes September 16, 2021
    When Elizabeth Holmes founded Theranos, the blood testing start-up, she was held up as one of the next great tech innovators.But her company collapsed, and she was accused of lying about how well Theranos’s technology worked. Now she is on trial on fraud charges.The case against Ms. Holmes is being held up as a referendum on the “fake it till you make it” cu […] (The New York Times)
  • Mexico’s Path to Legalizing Abortion September 15, 2021
    In a major turn of events in Mexico, which has one of the largest Catholic populations in the world, its Supreme Court last week decriminalized abortions.The Supreme Court ruling is a milestone for Mexico’s feminist movement. But change might not come quickly: Abortion law is mostly administered at the state level in Mexico, much of the country remains cultu […] (The New York Times)
  • A Hidden Shame in Nursing Homes September 14, 2021
    For decades, the law has sought to restrain nursing homes from trying to control the behavior of dementia patients with antipsychotic drugs, which are known to have adverse health effects. An alarming rise in schizophrenia diagnoses suggests some homes have found a way to skirt the rules.We hear the story of David Blakeney, a dementia sufferer whose health d […] (The New York Times)
  • Biden’s Bet on Vaccine Mandates September 13, 2021
    As recently as a month ago, President Biden appeared to be skeptical about imposing coronavirus vaccine mandates. Now that skepticism has given way to a suite of policies that aim to force the hands of the unvaccinated.What has changed?Guest: Jim Tankersley, a White House correspondent for The New York Times. Sign up here to get The Daily in your inbox each […] (The New York Times)
  • Special Episode: What Does It Mean to 'Never Forget'? September 11, 2021
    Two planes hijacked by Al Qaeda pierced the north and south towers of the World Trade Center. A third slammed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Va. A fourth crashed in an open field outside Shanksville, Pa. All in less than 90 minutes.What, exactly, do you remember? What stories do you tell when a casual conversation morphs into a therapy session? What stories […] (The New York Times)
  • ‘We’re Going to Take Over the World’ September 10, 2021
    On the internet, there are bizarre subcultures filled with conspiracy theorists — those who believe the coronavirus is a hoax or that the 2020 election was stolen, or even that Hillary Clinton is a shape-shifting lizard. It’s a way of thinking that can be traced back to the first real internet blockbuster, a 9/11 conspiracy documentary called “Loose Change.” […] (The New York Times)
  • ‘I’m Part of Something That’s Really Evil’ September 9, 2021
    This episode contains strong language.Terry Albury joined the F.B.I. just before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, drawn in by the bureau’s work fighting child exploitation. His role quickly changed after 9/11 however, and he subsequently spent over a decade working in counterterrorism.Around 2015, he began to deeply question his work. “This is not what I joine […] (The New York Times)
  • The Summer of Delta September 8, 2021
    This summer was supposed to be, in the words of President Biden, the “summer of freedom” from the coronavirus. What we saw instead was the summer of the Delta variant.The surge driven by Delta — which has seen rises in cases, hospitalizations and deaths across the United States — has underlined that we are far from being done with the pandemic.Guest: Apoorva […] (The New York Times)
  • How Will the Taliban Rule This Time? September 7, 2021
    Since the Taliban took over Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, last month, many have wondered what kind of rulers they will be.The memory of the Taliban of the 1990s — the public executions, the whippings in the streets and the harsh rules preventing women from leaving the house unaccompanied — has filled some with fear.This time around, what will their rule mean […] (The New York Times)
  • How Texas Banned Almost All Abortions September 3, 2021
    In a way, the new Texas law that has effectively banned abortions after six weeks is typical — many other Republican-led states have sought to ban abortions after six, 10 or 15 weeks. But where federal courts have routinely struck down other anti-abortion laws, the Texas legislation has gone into effect with the Supreme Court’s blessing. How has this law sur […] (The New York Times)
  • New Orleans in the Aftermath of Hurricane Ida September 2, 2021
    After Hurricane Ida hit New Orleans, leaving destruction in its wake, comparisons with Hurricane Katrina were made.There are, however, big differences between the two disasters — namely that the city, in the 16 years since Katrina, has heavily invested in flood defenses. But on the ground, there is little cause for celebration.What has happened in the afterm […] (The New York Times)
  • The Education Lost to the Pandemic September 1, 2021
    The closure of schools because of the pandemic and the advent of widespread virtual learning has impacted students of all ages — but particularly the youngest children.Research suggests that the learning missed during this period could have lasting impacts.What is the educational cost of pandemic learning and how are schools trying to get children back to cl […] (The New York Times)
  • America’s Final Hours in Afghanistan August 31, 2021
    On Monday night, after a 20-year war that claimed 170,000 lives, cost over $2 trillion and did not defeat the Taliban, the United States completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan. As the last of the American forces left under the cover of darkness, there was celebratory gunfire from the Taliban. The moment of exit, a day earlier than expected, was both histo […] (The New York Times)
  • The Tale of California’s Recall Election August 30, 2021
    Almost from the moment Gavin Newsom was elected governor of California, there were attempts to remove him from office. Initially, a recall election against him seemed highly unlikely — but the pandemic has changed things.What is behind the recall effort against Mr. Newsom, and what happens next?Guest: Shawn Hubler, a California correspondent for The New York […] (The New York Times)
  • The Sunday Read: ‘How Long Can We Live?’ August 29, 2021
    Jeanne Calment lived her entire life in the South of France. She filled her days with leisurely pursuits, enjoying a glass of port, a cigarette and some chocolate nearly every day. In 1997, Ms. Calment died. She was 122.With medical and social advances mitigating diseases of old age and prolonging life, the number of exceptionally long-living people is incre […] (The New York Times)
  • The Bombings at the Kabul Airport August 27, 2021
    For days, many dreaded an attack on Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, as Western forces scrambled to evacuate tens of thousands of people from Afghanistan. On Thursday, those fears were realized — amid the large crowds outside the airport, terrorists carried out two suicide bombings. The attacks killed at least 60 people, including 13 United State […] (The New York Times)
  • Biden’s Border Dilemma August 26, 2021
    Early on in the Biden administration, it rolled out a two-pronged migration plan: A reversal of the most punitive elements of Donald Trump’s policy and rooting out the causes of migration from Central America, namely corruption.There is, however, a conflict at the heart of this approach. Calling out corrupt leaders could destabilize nations and encourage mig […] (The New York Times)
  • The Race to Evacuate Kabul August 25, 2021
    Since the fall of Kabul to the Taliban last week, everything and everyone has been focused on Hamid Karzai International Airport and the massive military operation to get thousands of Americans and Afghan allies out of the country.It is a monumental challenge — one of the biggest and most complicated military operations the Pentagon has had to deal with in d […] (The New York Times)
  • Why Mexico Is Suing U.S. Gunmakers August 24, 2021
    For years, Mexico has been gripped by horrific violence as drug cartels battle each other and kill civilians. In the last 15 years alone, homicides have tripled. The violence, the Mexican government says, is fueled, in part, by American guns. Now Mexico is bringing a lawsuit against 10 gun manufacturers in a U.S. federal court, accusing them of knowingly fac […] (The New York Times)
  • Children and Covid: Your Questions, Answered August 23, 2021
    As the number of coronavirus infections in the United States surges, and school districts begin to reopen for in-person learning, some parents are apprehensive and full of questions.Recently, The Daily asked parents to send in their queries about children and Covid. We received about 600 responses.With the help of Emily Anthes, a reporter who covers the coro […] (The New York Times)

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Newes From America on Twitter

  • RT @Tom_Winter: NEW: The U.S. Capitol Police announce they will put up a temporary fence around the Capitol in advance of and in response t… 3 days ago
  • RT @JoeBiden: Twenty years ago, nearly 3,000 lives were cut short by an unspeakable act of cowardice and hatred on 9/11. As a nation, we mu… 5 days ago
  • RT @JonLemire: “Larger U.S. businesses now won’t have to decide whether to require their employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Doin… 6 days ago
  • RT @ArletteSaenz: Covid-era federal unemployment benefits have expired with nearly 11 million people affected, via @Luhby… 1 week ago
  • RT @scotusreporter: BREAKING: By 5-4 vote, Supreme Court refuses to block Texas six-week abortion ban, 2 weeks ago
  • RT @AP: A Texas law banning most abortions in the state has taken effect, but the Supreme Court has yet to act on an emergency appeal to pu… 2 weeks ago
  • RT @AP: BREAKING: Ida downgraded to a tropical storm, 16 hours after striking in Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane, forecasters say. http… 2 weeks ago
  • RT @NWSNewOrleans: This is a sight no one wants to see on satellite. Ida, a Category 4 major hurricane with maximum sustained winds of now… 2 weeks ago
  • RT @AP: BREAKING: U.S. airstrike targets Islamic State in Afghanistan in retaliation for deadly Kabul airport attack, according to Pentagon… 2 weeks ago
  • RT @AP: BREAKING: Supreme Court allows evictions to resume amid pandemic, blocking Biden administration from enforcing temporary ban. https… 3 weeks ago
  • RT @ABC: BREAKING: Pres. Biden says he's ordered his commanders "to develop operational plans to strike ISIS-K assets, leadership and facil… 3 weeks ago
  • RT @brianstelter: "Masks protect kids, but 9 states ban mandates" is the blunt headline atop USA Today this morning. Paired with this poll… 3 weeks ago
  • RT @StevenTDennis: USA now averaging >1000 COVID deaths a day again, per NYT stats. A preventable tragedy. 3 weeks ago
  • RT @AP: Three senators said they tested positive for COVID-19 after being vaccinated. Sens. Angus King, I-Maine, Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and… 4 weeks ago
  • RT @AP: AP sources say U.S. health experts are expected to recommend COVID-19 vaccine boosters for all Americans, regardless of age, eight… 1 month ago
  • RT @JonLemire: U.S. officials acknowledged they were caught off guard with the utter speed of the collapse of Afghan security forces amid t… 1 month ago
  • RT @kaitlancollins: The US is now averaging over 100,000 new cases per day, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. Unt… 1 month ago
  • RT @AP: A United Nations report released Monday warns that the Earth is getting so hot that temperatures will blow past a level of warming… 1 month ago
  • RT @JonLemire: WASHINGTON (AP) — US employers added 943,000 jobs in July as economy continues to rebound; unemployment rate drops to 5.4%. 1 month ago
  • RT @biannagolodryga: United Airlines will require its U.S. employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19 this fall, the first major airline t… 1 month ago

I Won!

I’ll bet you don’t know who Jackie Gareau is, but some might know she was the real women’s winner of the 1980 Boston Marathon and she’s still running strong today, but I’ll bet you definitely know who Rosie Ruiz is. I should say was, because unfortunately she died in 2019 of cancer at the age of 66 and if anything, Ms. Ruiz was a true fighter. She went to the grave still claiming that she actually won that ’80 Boston Marathon and who can argue with that now? Of course, to ‘pull a Rosie Ruiz’ is shorthand for being a fraud and a cheater but Rosie made bald-faced lying seem almost funny. Bill Rodgers, the greatest American men’s marathoner and the men’s winner back in ‘80 is also still running strong today at 74 years old, but when he took one look at the women’s ‘winner’ Ruiz and her meaty legs and fake sweat, he immediately smelled a rat before anyone else had a clue that Rosie was a phony. Her time would have been the fastest female time in Boston Marathon history and after he asked Rosie what her splits were, she didn’t even know what the hell ‘splits’ even meant. He told the director of the Boston Athletic Association of his suspicions just before the awards ceremony, but no one believed him and shortly after that, Massachusetts Governor Ed King crowned Rosie Ruiz the women’s champion. Bill Rodgers was chagrined.

We all dream of being a champion in some endeavor, but only those who put in the work and actually beat everyone else in the world can truly be called the best of the best. Donald Trump has something to say about this but increasingly, nobody cares anymore about what this phony loser has to say about anything and interestingly, Rosie Ruiz would go on after Boston to a spate of crime; in 1982, Rosie was arrested for embezzling $60,000 from the real estate company where she worked and was sentenced to one week in jail, then she was arrested the next year for her involvement in a cocaine deal gone bad and was given three years’ probation. That’s all beside the point because she really was a winner after all. She beat cancer after she emigrated to Florida from Cuba in 1972 and by the time she cheated to qualify in the ‘79 New York City Marathon, getting away with it until her exploits in Boston became front page news, her only failure was that she actually won Boston, but since she didn’t finish in the top ten as she had planned, two Harvard students (and amateur runners themselves) recalled seeing Rosie jump out of the crowd of spectators on Commonwealth Avenue, a half-mile from the finish line and the gig was up. This is not dissimilar to the way our former president* cheated to win, because Trump expected to come in a close second against the real winner Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential election and simply winning the race changed everything for both of these liars — Trump and Ruiz — and the rest, as they say, is history.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit US shores last year, I felt I was ready to take it on and be a winner. I read detailed and troubling reports from Italy that this disease was something more than a flu, a novel (new) virus that was more closely associated with a bad cold than a bad flu. By late February, 2020, I was convinced to take this threat seriously, listening to the experts, I determined that this was a big deal and I predicted that it would take at least a year to get through the oncoming pandemic, however I had no idea what that actually meant. I suppose that my biggest goal in life — not be sick — animated my enthusiasm to avoid this weird new virus and at the age in life (54) when you start to brag to your friends about how early you get up in the morning every day, after quitting most of the vices that either kill you or make you miserable, I was a relatively healthy specimen of the human race but today, my good health, both mental and physical, is about the only thing I’ve still got going for me a year and four months after COVID-19 spread like wildfire across the globe. But everything is now changed forever. First and foremost during the pandemic, my financial health suffered a near death experience and now it’s as if my credit is on a ventilator because on July 1st, 2020, I decided to quit my job. Now when you quit your job, you don’t get unemployment insurance but that was fine with me because my mental health was suffering something fierce while serving clients who, frankly, went crazy on me as well, all looking for ways to keep busy, so for the first few months of 2020 all I did was talk about this damned pandemic with clients, family and friends.

Working without Zoom (with or without a bad internet connection) back then in my profession of television production, after setting up all the technical stuff, my primary job function could best be described as amateur psychologist. The thing with appearing on TV, beyond the jitters and butterflies in the stomach, is what the ‘talent’ should actually say and do in front of the camera in the first place and it’s 90% of the job. Most people tend to get very nervous when in front of a camera and even seasoned pros will admit that it’s not easy to record every move made, face expressed and word spoken for time immemorial, so amateur psychology has been a side hustle of mine since being the guy behind the camera over 20 years ago, but when the pandemic hit, (and with the advent of the hideous video and audio of the ubiquitous Zoom app that we all still rely on to ‘meet’ each other every day) everyone became a TV personality overnight and in 2020, I was robbed of my raison d’être.

With the advent of an earlier world-changing technology, namely cell phone video, I was already facing the prospect that almost anyone could do what I do with their iPhones in their guest bedroom and today, folks can now create better high quality videos than I ever could in the studio back in the days of analog, but thank the good Lord, people are always moving their phones all over the place when shooting video, creating sickening experiences for viewers (and of course the audio always sucks), unless these newly-minted directors of photography have a rudimentary understanding of 3200k and a wireless lav, (pro stuff I know about) paired with an Osmo stabilizer that anyone who wants to make good video should have, but I’d simply suggest a cheap tripod to anyone to looking to improve their phone video work, which they can buy for $5 on Amazon. Before the pandemic however, most folks couldn’t create their own high quality video productions without the help of someone like me, but that all changed when the only video tool I had available to me was the one that everyone else had access to and it’s still freaking free! Zoom changed our world in profound ways and for that accomplishment, Eric Yuan, the brilliant fellow who wrote the software for Zoom, should get a Nobel Prize, an Emmy, an Oscar and a Pulitzer for what he created and shared with the world, just in the nick of time to put me out of business — and now my finances are on life support.

In April, 2020, the implanted tooth in the very middle of my choppers fell out while eating a forbidden fruit, for which I paid many thousands of dollars to have installed, but to put a positive spin on it, after it popped out I figured, well, at least I’ll have my mask on in public and no one beyond my front door will be the wiser until dentists were back in the business of removing money from wallets. However on Zoom, bad connections or not, I would appear as a seasoned NHL hockey player, complete with a year-round playoff beard. The mask, it turned out, also irritated my eyes terribly and left reddened bags under them as an extra bonus, especially when I (proudly) wore my favored N95 mask because that’s how I roll. If you’re going to do something, do it right and today, I have a tattered and worn-out collection of old N95s that I will lovingly preserve for the rest of my life to remind me of this awful past year, but truth be told, I really hated wearing the damn things, however being on a ventilator or the prospect of a dead elderly friend (of which I had many, but fewer today) kept me masked-up until I was fully vaccinated. That mask became part of me, but now I say ‘was’ because I rarely wear one outside the house anymore unless a majority of those around me are wearing one and I’ll slip one of the old relics on to put folks at ease, Delta variant be damned — because we all need to get back to work.

My first mask-less job interview was few weeks ago, complete with hockey player grin (which I’m convinced is the reason I didn’t get the job) so last week I finally went to the dentist to cement that expensive sucker back in, then I emptied my wallet and can now flash my winning smile again for the first time in over a year, but I’m already missing all of those delicious nuts and forbidden apples that I ate with reckless abandon during the pandemic. Without income of any kind, looking back I was overly optimistic and naive when I quit my cushy television job a year ago, thinking I could pick up a few gigs until I found a hot new job, ideally, last Fall. In September, 2020, I had a white Apple Card ($0 balance) with perfect credit and a wide and wonderful network of family and friends. Now, after leaving my adopted home (where people and prices nearly doubled), I have $7,000+ charged up on my cards and now my Apple Card looks like a bright kaleidoscope of beautiful colors representing food, utility bills and a few annual charges for stuff I don’t subscribe to any more — but I would do it again because I survived this damned pandemic and my health is as good as it’s ever been.

Weirdly, I’m happier and healthier than ever because I know that I’ll eventually recover financially, but we are all still far from being back to ‘normal’ in my hard-won opinion. Those who chose to stay on and weather the storm while working a full-time job, I respect the hell out of what you went through and appreciate that this past year has been it’s own, intimately personal kind of hell for you and you’re all champions in my book. I also understand some of your resentment for us poor, healthy ‘freeloaders’ but I recommend you don’t quit your job while looking for a new start just yet (interestingly, over four million Americans left their jobs in April alone) because the pandemic isn’t ‘finally’ over. It just isn’t. The national emergency may be over, but the new reality of the economic backlash of the pandemic is just now settling in and we’re not across the finish line yet, after all, this experience has always been a marathon and not a sprint. Rosie Ruiz may have ‘won’ the Boston Marathon, but in reality she skipped out of the crowd, ‘outrunning’ the competition to win the coveted title, only to be caught in the act and humiliated for her entire life. I, too ‘pulled a Rosie Ruiz,’ but I happily join her on the dais of our lives, laurels in our hair to the cheers of well-wishers, but of course, Rosie and I don’t deserve the accolades, but for a brief and shining moment, we were champions of the world.

Carl Holt
June 26, 2021

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