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  • Qaddafi's Son is Alive, and He Wants to Take Back Libya October 22, 2021
    Before the Arab Spring, Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, the second son of the Libyan dictator Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, was establishing himself as a serious figure internationally. Then, the Arab Spring came to Libya.His father and brothers were killed and Seif himself was captured by rebels and taken to the western mountains of Libya.For years, rumors have surrou […] (The New York Times)
  • A Showdown in Chicago October 21, 2021
    Chicago is in the midst of a crime wave — but there is also a question about whether police officers will show up for work.That’s because of a showdown between the mayor, Lori Lightfoot, and the police union over a coronavirus vaccine mandate.Some 30,000 city workers are subject to the mandate, but no group has expressed more discontent than the police.Guest […] (The New York Times)
  • How a Single Senator Derailed Biden’s Climate Plan October 20, 2021
    The Clean Electricity Program has been at the heart of President Biden’s climate agenda since he took office.But passage was always going to come down to a single senator: Joe Manchin of West Virginia.With Mr. Manchin’s support now extremely unlikely, where does that leave American climate policy?Guest: Coral Davenport, a correspondent covering energy and en […] (The New York Times)
  • The Life and Career of Colin Powell October 19, 2021
    Colin Powell, who in four decades of public service helped shape U.S. national security, died on Monday. He was 84.Despite a stellar career, Mr. Powell had expressed a fear that he would be remembered for a single event: his role in leading his country to war in Iraq.We look back on the achievements and setbacks of a trailblazing life. Guest: Robert Draper, […] (The New York Times)
  • Why Are All Eyes on the Virginia Governor’s Race? October 18, 2021
    In 2020, Virginia epitomized the way in which Democrats took the White House and Congress — by turning moderate and swing counties.But President Biden’s poll numbers have been waning, and in the coming race for governor, Republicans see an opportunity.Guest: Lisa Lerer, a national political correspondent for The New York Times. Love listening to New York Tim […] (The New York Times)
  • The Sunday Read: ‘Laurie Anderson Has a Message for Us Humans’ October 17, 2021
    When the Hirshhorn Museum told Laurie Anderson that it wanted to put on a big, lavish retrospective of her work, she said no.For one thing, she was busy and has been for roughly 50 years. Over the course of her incessant career, Ms. Anderson has done just about everything a creative person can do. She helped design an Olympics opening ceremony, served as the […] (The New York Times)
  • The Great Supply Chain Disruption October 15, 2021
    Throughout the pandemic, businesses of all sizes have faced delays, product shortages and rising costs linked to disruptions in the global supply chain. Consumers have been confronted with an experience rare in modern times: no stock available, and no idea when it will come in.Our correspondent, Peter Goodman, went to one of the largest ports in the United S […] (The New York Times)
  • ‘No Crime Is Worth That’ October 14, 2021
    This episode contains strong language and descriptions of violence.A Times investigation has uncovered extraordinary levels of violence and lawlessness inside Rikers, New York City’s main jail complex. In this episode, we hear about one man’s recent experience there and ask why detainees in some buildings now have near-total control over entire units.Guest: […] (The New York Times)
  • ‘The Decision of My Life’ October 13, 2021
    This episode contains descriptions of violence and a suicide attempt.When the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August, our producer started making calls. With the help of colleagues, she contacted women in different cities and towns to find out how their lives had changed and what they were experiencing.Then she heard from N, whose identity has been conceale […] (The New York Times)
  • Is Child Care a Public Responsibility? October 12, 2021
    Many Americans pay more for child care than they do for their mortgages, even though the wages for those who provide the care are among the lowest in the United States.Democrats see the issue as a fundamental market failure and are pushing a plan to bridge the gap with federal subsidies.We went to Greensboro, N.C., to try to understand how big the problem is […] (The New York Times)
  • Which Towns Are Worth Saving? October 11, 2021
    An enormous infusion of money and effort will be needed to prepare the United States for the changes wrought by the climate crisis.We visited towns in North Carolina that have been regularly hit by floods to confront a heartbreaking question: How does a community decide whether its homes are worth saving?Guest: Christopher Flavelle, a climate reporter for Th […] (The New York Times)
  • The Sunday Read: ‘He Was the “Perfect Villain” for Voting Conspiracists’ October 10, 2021
    Over the past decade, Eric Coomer has helped make Dominion Voting Systems one of the largest providers of voting machines and software in the United States.He was accustomed to working long days during the postelection certification process, but November 2020 was different.President Trump was demanding recounts. His allies had spent months stoking fears of e […] (The New York Times)
  • A Troubling C.I.A. Admission October 8, 2021
    The C.I.A. sent a short but explosive message last week to all of its stations and bases around the world.The cable, which said dozens of sources had been arrested, killed or turned against the United States, highlights the struggle the agency is having as it works to recruit spies around the world. How did this deterioration occur?Guest: Julian E. Barnes, a […] (The New York Times)
  • The State of the Pandemic October 7, 2021
    The coronavirus seems to be in retreat in the United States, with the number of cases across the country down about 25 percent compared with a couple of weeks ago. Hospitalizations and deaths are also falling.So, what stage are we in with the pandemic? And how will developments such as a new antiviral treatment and the availability of booster shots affect th […] (The New York Times)
  • The Facebook Whistle-Blower Testifies October 6, 2021
    The Senate testimony of Frances Haugen on Tuesday was an eagerly awaited event.Last month, Ms. Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, leaked internal company documents to The Wall Street Journal that exposed the social media giant’s inner workings.How will Ms. Haugen’s insights shape the future of internet regulation?Guest: Sheera Frenkel, a technology r […] (The New York Times)
  • The Most Important Supreme Court Term in Decades October 5, 2021
    The latest term of the U.S. Supreme Court will include blockbuster cases on two of the most contentious topics in American life: abortion and gun rights.The cases come at a time when the court has a majority of Republican appointees and as it battles accusations of politicization.Why is the public perception of the court so important? And how deeply could th […] (The New York Times)
  • What’s Behind the Ivermectin Frenzy? October 4, 2021
    Ivermectin is a drug that emerged in the 1970s, used mainly for deworming horses and other livestock.But during the pandemic, it has been falsely lauded in some corners as a kind of miracle cure for the coronavirus.What is fueling the demand for a drug that the medical establishment has begged people not to take?Guest: Emma Goldberg, a writer for The New Yor […] (The New York Times)
  • The Sunday Read: ‘I Had a Chance to Travel Anywhere. Why Did I Pick Spokane?’ October 3, 2021
    Jon Mooallem, the author of today’s Sunday Read, had a bad pandemic.“I began having my own personal hard time,” he writes. “The details aren’t important. Let’s just say, I felt as if I were moldering in place.”Then, The New York Times Magazine offered him the opportunity to fly somewhere for its travel issue — at that point he had spent 17 months parenting t […] (The New York Times)
  • ‘They Don’t Understand That We’re Real People’ October 1, 2021
    This episode contains strong language.A month ago, Texas adopted a divisive law which effectively banned abortions in the state. Despite a number of legal challenges, the law has survived and is having an impact across state lines. Trust Women is abortion clinic in Oklahoma just three hours north of Dallas — one of the closest clinics Texas women can go to.  […] (The New York Times)
  • The Democrats Who Might Block Biden’s Infrastructure Plan September 30, 2021
    The first year of a Congress is usually the best time for a president to put forward any sort of ambitious policy. For President Biden, whose control of Congress is fragile, the urgency is particularly intense.But now members of his own party are threatening to block one big part of his agenda — his $1 trillion infrastructure plan — in the name of protecting […] (The New York Times)

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Newes From America on Twitter

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  • RT @JonLemire: WASHINGTON (AP) — Merck says its experimental COVID-19 pill cuts hospitalization and deaths by half, will soon seek authoriz… 3 weeks ago
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  • RT @StevenTDennis: USA now closing in on 2,100 COVID deaths a day, for those who aren't keeping up on current events. 1 month ago
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  • 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… 1 month 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… 1 month ago
  • RT @ArletteSaenz: Covid-era federal unemployment benefits have expired with nearly 11 million people affected, via @Luhby… 1 month ago
  • RT @scotusreporter: BREAKING: By 5-4 vote, Supreme Court refuses to block Texas six-week abortion ban, 1 month 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… 1 month ago
  • RT @AP: BREAKING: Ida downgraded to a tropical storm, 16 hours after striking in Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane, forecasters say. http… 1 month ago
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  • RT @AP: BREAKING: U.S. airstrike targets Islamic State in Afghanistan in retaliation for deadly Kabul airport attack, according to Pentagon… 1 month ago
  • RT @AP: BREAKING: Supreme Court allows evictions to resume amid pandemic, blocking Biden administration from enforcing temporary ban. https… 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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