Tuesday, March 31, 2020

COVID-19 report: Heroes Are on the Way

There’s no doubt that the healthcare catastrophe the world is facing now generates almost unlimited bad news.

Like so many of us, when I read or hear good news, it’s a real ray of sunshine piercing through what seems like an impenetrably dark cloud.

I read a story yesterday that provided one of those occasional bright moments and I’m passing the story along today. I’m hopeful that it might provide a bit of relief to you while we’re dealing with this dark, unfolding tragedy.

As you most likely know, New York has been hard hit by the coronavirus. New York governor Andrew Cuomo is holding daily press briefings while his state and her medical professionals are straining to deal with the crisis.

He’s repeatedly appealed for more Doctors, Nurses and other professionals in the healthcare field to come to the aid of his beleaguered state.

A band of dedicated, compassionate professionals from Georgia heard those appeals and boarded a Southwest Airlines flight bound for New York yesterday.

I have no doubt that what these dedicated and selfless folks did yesterday made a lot of their hard-pressed colleagues smile.

If only for a few precious moments.

And it most definitely inspired me and brightened my day. At a time when I truly needed it.

I hope there are some moments of budding happiness for you and your loved ones today.

As I read and hear more about the crisis we’re facing, I look for those rays of sunshine.

I’m grateful that I’ve found a few.

And very grateful that we have people of compassion — like the ones who boarded that flight yesterday — while we endure this dreadful scourge together.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo courtesy of Southwest Airlines

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

An Abandoned Black Bear Cub in Florida

As many of my friends know, I'm a passionate environmentalist and advocate for wildlife.

And because we're in such dire straits right now as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, I was quite happy to get a bit of nature news in my inbox just now. Some "feel good" news and I'm more than happy to pass it along.

An outdoor enthusiast passing through the Ocala National Forest a few weeks ago came upon an abandoned black bear cub on a dirt road.

This alert citizen did what anyone would do.

He took our hapless cub to a Florida Fish and Wildlife officer.

Because I'm an annual pass holder at the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, I'm one of the many zoo supporters who got "the rest of the story" about our tiny, furry friend.

He's now thriving in the care of of Zoo Curator Lauren Hinson and the rest of the staff.

If you'd like to read more about this happy situation, just follow this link.

I loved reading all about it. In fact, I could bear-ly contain my enthusiasm as I passed my delighted eyeballs over the happy missive from the PR crew at the zoo!

Yeah, sorry not sorry!

I hope you're getting some relief today from the cares of the day. Take good care of yourself, by all means.

And look out for all God's creatures, whether they walk around in jeans, suits or in their bear skin!

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo of a different cub: WHSV Television

Monday, March 23, 2020

Coronavirus, trump and press conferences

By now you may have heard that an Arizona man has died after ingesting chloroquine phosphate, a drug that has been approved for the treatment of malaria and that is currently being evaluated as a drug that could possibly be used to treat people infected with the coronavirus.

Trump has twice mentioned chloroquine as a possible treatment even though medical experts both in and out of his administration have said repeatedly that that can't happen anytime soon.

When experts in the field point out that the dangerous and irresponsible things trump is saying are resulting in real harm, his defenders reply that he didn't actually tell anyone to take chloroquine phosphate.

The point is that trump says things he should never say on a daily basis. He often lies outright. It was irresponsible for him to have made those remarks as they could easily give Americans a sense of false hope.

Many Americans are still feeling that the coronavirus pandemic is no big deal. No big deal because -- based on things their president has been saying -- drugs that will make it all okay are right around the corner.

He throws out these little bits of inappropriate optimism because it helps him deflect the criticism that he waited too long to do anything and that he's been minimizing the scope of the problem from the beginning. 

But he has been.

It is true, of course, that there's nothing wrong with having regular press conferences about this urgent matter but the fact is that no other President would ever be using the press conferences the way trump does. 

Press conferences shouldn't look like one of his campaign rallies, they shouldn't be used as opportunities to spread disinformation or half-truths.

They certainly shouldn't be a way to take pot shots at reporters or to deflect criticism.

They should be a way to give accurate information about the crisis we're in and tell us things we need to know.

Why should it be necessary for Dr Fauci to walk back trump's exaggerations and half-truths? How about if he just stops running off at the mouth and saying things an elected official would only say if they were trying to deflect valid criticism or make themselves look good?

Americans who take trump seriously, who think that he knows what he's talking about and that the things he says can be relied on will continue to do things they should not do. 

Things which -- in this case -- could certainly harm or even kill them.

He needs to stop using press conferences about this crisis as a way to silence critics and make Americans think everything is going just fine.

The pressers should be opportunities for the experts who've dedicated their lives to studying this stuff and actually know what they're talking about to do their jobs.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Friday, March 13, 2020

Trump's Incompetence and the Epic Coronavirus Fail

Like so many other Americans, I've watched this clown car presidency unfold from day one and keep wondering whether anything trump does could ever perfectly reveal just how utterly stupid, hateful and incompetent he truly is.

And even though we've seen plenty of crises, disasters and meltdowns so far, they all pale in comparison to this tragic, unfolding matter of the coronavirus.

Yes, we're saddled with this bumbling, science-denying hack.

Yes, he blames everyone and everything for all the ridiculous things he's done.

For all the urgent and obvious things he's failed to do.

And, with so many lives and our common welfare hanging in the balance, he's running as fast as those terrible bone spurs will allow toward the granddaddy of all Presidential fuck-ups.

There's not a doubt in my mind that his mishandling of the looming coronavirus epidemic will eclipse all the other miscues, mistakes and disasters that have gone before.

And, given his bumbling, abysmal track record up to this point, that's really saying something.

It's tragic. It's outrageous. And it should not be happening.

The only consolation as we get deeper and deeper into this crisis is that it's opened the eyes of many Americans to just how selfish, infantile and incompetent Dear Leader truly is.

Not much of a consolation, is it?

This accursed presidency became a sick joke a long time ago.

And nobody's laughing.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Record turnout in Dem South Carolina Primary

Voters in Saturday's Democratic primary election turned out in droves to cast their votes.

So whether or not you're happy with Joe Biden's victory, the fact that over half a million voters made their way to the polls is a very big deal.

Yes, that was more folks pulling the proverbial lever than showed up in 2008.

That election saw the greatest turnout ever for a Democratic primary up to that point.

But this one set the new high water mark for South Carolina.

This bodes well for Democrats as we get closer to the General Election on November 3rd.

So even though the Rethuglicans are still going to try to keep minorities and college students from showing up on Election Day, this robust turnout shows that we may be successful nevertheless by simply getting our voters to show up.

And that's a very good thing.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile