Archives for posts with tag: Lawrence O’Donnell

Many podcasts ask you to rate and review in the various podcast places, but I thought I’d use this post to point to some of the stuff I listen to when I’m out on walks and the like. If I put it here, trust that I recommend it highly.

Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell are my go-to folks for left-wing outrage. Capable journalists and engaging hosts. The podcasts are just the audio versions of their TV shows, but that’s fine. I used to listen to both of these just about every weekday, but I’ve dialed it back to two or three times per week, because times are hard and my outrage needs more effective channels. Back when times weren’t so bloody fraught, Maddow would make cocktails on air every now and then, and punctuate some shows with a segment called ‘Best New Thing In The World’ which was always nice. And then we got DJT and it’s not like that anymore. (about 45 minutes each)

Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4 Alternate series of The Now Show, The News Quiz, Dead Ringers and random BBC audio comedy. The Now Show is topical political humor with sketches, music, and pointed commentary. Skewers both left and right. The News Quiz is a scripted panel game show. Kinda like Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, but shorter with a UK focus, natch. Dead Ringers is comedic takes on a number of British radio shows and a lot of the humor assumes you recognize the source material. I’d listened for several years before I actually knew who Diane Abbott was. (30 minutes)

Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me is NPR’s weekly news quiz – I’ve been listening to it for most of the 20+ years it’s been on the air. Obviously a US bent on these things. (45 minutes)

Attention Engineer – Musician Laura Kidd (formerly She Makes War, now Penfriend) interviews mostly other musicians about the creative process and being creative in these times. The first episodes were recorded in late 2019 and didn’t predict how crazy stuff would get. Check out one of her gorgeous new tracks, Black Car (The list of her podcast guests is on the right).
(Usually over an hour)

And if I have my act together, I’ll do another one of these next week.

In response to my last post on the COVID-19 crisis, a friend responded with two points which I may be about to misrepresent. First, that the recession caused by ‘rich old-world leaders’ to save themselves and their cohort is artificially generated. Second, that AIDS and COVID-19 deaths in the west are a small fraction of the deaths by suicide and tuberculosis.

I disagree that the recession is an artificially generated result of keeping the rich alive. It’s more a by-product of the mishandling of the crisis. Had measures been taken in the US and the non-Italy parts of Europe to identify and isolate victims, and to ramp up the production of PPE for hospital staff, we wouldn’t have nearly so severe a crisis in terms of hospital space and in terms of the dangers hospital staff are (still!) working under.

Also: New Yorker: What Lessons Does the AIDS Crisis Offer for the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Part of the difference between the crisis in the west and the ongoing disaster of TB and AIDS elsewhere is the racism associated with most of the world’s AIDS and TB cases – these aren’t white people or first world people. Part of it is that hospital systems in the west are being overrun by COVID-19 cases and they came up very quickly, as I noted in the previous entry. We’ve hit the number of COVID-19 cases in three months in the US that AIDS took 20 years to hit.

Oh, here’s a difference: It’s very very easy to catch COVID-19. For consenting adults, AIDS is difficult to catch. Certain precautions were worked out very early on that if followed make it very difficult to catch or transmit HIV. Condoms and clean needles do the trick most of the time. Yes, I’m aware of the failure rates. That’s not the point I’m making. (In places where ‘have sex with a virgin’ is the advice given to people with AIDS, then you have a different scenario. Note the ‘consenting adults’ wording above.)

What is the point I’m making here? Ten HIV+ people who have casual contact with people in daily life over the course of a week will not transmit HIV to any of them (the scaremongering of the time notwithstanding). Ten COVID-19 carriers who have casual contact with people over the course of a week may transmit it to a hundred. It’s very easy to catch and very difficult to treat. It’s not necessarily about the numbers who will die of COVID-19. We don’t know what recovery looks like. Or reinfection. Or what a second or third wave will do to an already stressed population and medical infrastructure.

The two diseases come up together partly because the US government’s mishandling of the AIDS crisis in the 80s is writ very large in their mishandling of the current crisis. Part of it has to do with honesty and candor. Part of the issue today has to do with sheer greed.

A week or so ago, Lawrence O’Donnell on The Last Word made reference to the increasing size of the obituaries sections of the Boston Globe and papers in New Orleans (transcript April 20, 2020). I was on a walk listening and had this overwhelming memory of the Bay Area Reporter in the 80s. The Reporter was a free gay weekly newspaper that I picked up most weeks. I moved to San Francisco in 1985 and spent a fair amount of time in the Castro District. Even though I didn’t know the people in BAR’s obituaries pages, I read them all the time. At the time gay men didn’t much die of old age. The cohort that made up those pages weren’t that much older than I was, though I didn’t realize then how close 35 or 40 was to 20 or 25. I almost burst into tears on the street with that memory.

Just as we didn’t know in 1987 or ‘88 how large the NAMES Project quilt would grow to be, we don’t know how many lives this pandemic will cost. But the outlook is far more daunting than it should have been. Enough people are talking about the lack of leadership in this regard that I don’t need to add to the sound and the fury today. At the moment, however we’re at 2.9 million confirmed cases worldwide and 940,000 in the US, where the curve does not seem to be flattening.