Today, we have our second edition of musicians performing from home and sending out videos of their playing. Today's is an absolute gem -- this falls into the "Trust Me" category. It's 18 members of the Rotterdam Philharmonic who are all isolated at home, but when put together and what they play...well, this is glorious.
Yesterday, Joe Biden had his hour-long town hall on CNN about the coronavirus, hosted by Anderson Cooper, which pre-taped questions from viewers. It was good, not brilliant, but there's a limit to what he can say for an hour when he's not the president. But he was compassionate, personal and heartfelt, while addressing what's been missed by the administrations, what's needed, and that he wrote an op-ed about this back in January, despite Trump saying "No one knew."
Here’s the last two minutes. It’s not brilliant, but warm and touching. Also telling about Biden is of notice the moment near the end when he starts to say something, and then catches himself and explains why he stopped, but goes on in a sort of tangential way to say the same thing but less directly. I don’t want to give it away, but it’s pure Biden.
But mainly, the reason I'm posting this is because I watched this and thought -- Imagine the debate between Biden and Trump, and a question is asked about the human cost of the pandemic. Biden gives an answer along these lines, and then it's Trump's turn.
Last week, rather than embedded one of his podcasts, I posted a link to a scathing article, titled "The Last Straw" that Al Franken wrote on his website. Today we're making it two in a row, because his article this week makes the previous one look almost tame. It's called, "The President is Crazy."
Throughout the blunt article about Trump's continuing, dangerous failures, Franken makes a number of pointed statements about Trump's mental health, each with an asterisk. When you jump down to the end to find out what all these observations of Trump's psychological state refer to, it's Franken's acknowledgement of fairness and transparency, noting -- "*I am not a psychiatrist. Nor have I personally examined the President."
Still, he remains pointed in his comments. For instance, Franken writes --
"The president’s mental illness* allows him to be both intellectual sloth and supremely confident jerk, ever convinced that he (and he alone) can do everyone else’s job better than they. Generals, climate scientists, public health experts. And he’s always right. Because he’s a psychopath*. And this Donald Trump brand of psychopath* is never wrong. Even when being wrong will cause the additional deaths of perhaps hundreds of thousands of Americans."
But as subjective as the article is, the article may be at its harshest when Franklen lists a lengthy timeline of how Trump's coronavirus inaction has played out -- in Trump's own words. As I noted yesterday when posting the two video ads against Trump, it is this -- Trump's own words -- that I'm sure are going to be at the forefront of Democrats' criticism of him in the coming campaign. And so, this is just one more.
You can read the full article here.
Since people are homebound these days, I thought it would be a good idea to head back to the folks at Epicurious for another of their fun "50 People Try to..." videos. Today, we go to something which should be pretty easy -- making a grilled cheese sandwich. But not only do an inordinate amount of people surprisingly have difficultly with this basic task, but there are some tips it's good to know from their chef at the end that everyone probably doesn't do. The fun here though isn't so much learning how to make a grilled cheese sandwich properly -- since, honestly, it's pretty basic -- but the challenge far too many people have.
A lot of entertainers have been posting videos of them performing songs from home. I thought I'd periodically post some when I come across ones I particularly like. Here's Yo-Yo Ma.
On tonight, Friday, March 27.
From CNN --
"The Coronavirus Pandemic A CNN Democratic Presidential Town Hall with Joe Biden" will air at 8 p.m. ET and feature questions submitted by individuals living in some of the communities hit hardest by the coronavirus. CNN's Anderson Cooper will moderate the hourlong discussion on the impact to Americans' health, the repercussions for the nation's economy and the human toll to US society."
Not only interesting that they are doing this, but fascinating that they are doing it with Biden only. Now, it's possible that they might do another later on with Bernie Sanders, but for the moment this is all we can go on.
Yesterday, I was talking with a friend about that damning :30-second ad from Priorities USA that a Trump Super PAC is bizarrely and idiotically trying to block from being shown on TV. The attention they gave it got the ad seen far-more online -- and on other news shows who aired it as news for free -- than it ever would have been seen otherwise. If you haven't seen it yet, here it is.
My friend was concerned that not enough people would see it. I said, “Trust me, that will be the line of attack by Democrats from now until election day.”
And then just hours later, I came across this two-minute ad from the Biden campaign. It’s brilliant.
You don't put these ads together overnight, which means the two groups were thinking the exact same thing. And they and all Democratic groups will be from now to November.
A few days ago, my pal Mark Evanier had a very funny video about a white Labrador retriever called "Stella's Best Leaf Jumps of All Time." It's great fun and worth checking out here.
I was intrigued and did a little of my own exploring. It turns out that there are a whole bunch of videos about Stella, under the heading of "A Dog Named Stella." They're an awful lot of fun. Stella really is quite the hoot.
Here's one I particularly enjoyed. "The Struggles of Stella."
A "virtual" meeting of G7 foreign ministers split yesterday. And the reason was that for the joint statement intended to be released, the United States wanted the coronavirus to be identified as the "Wuhan virus." The other nations wouldn't agree to that and rejected that, releasing separate statements.
Since the United States holds the presidency for the G7, it was responsible for writing the initial draft. The proposed by the United States also blamed China for the pandemic's spread.. However, one of the European diplomats said, "What the State Department has suggested is a red line. You cannot agree with this branding of this virus and trying to communicate this."
Oddly, since two statements were released, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin ended up signing a G7 finance ministers' statement that they were extending their nations' coordination "to respond to the global health, economic, and financial impacts associated with the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)."
But, I mean, seriously, folks? This is what Trump was willing to split a coalition statement during a worldwide pandemic over???
Robert J. Elisberg is a two-time recipient of the Lucille Ball Award for comedy screenwriting. He's written for film, TV, the stage, and two best-selling novels, is a regular columnist for the Writers Guild of America and was for the Huffington Post. Among his other writing, he has a long-time column on technology (which he sometimes understands), and co-wrote a book on world travel. As a lyricist, he is a member of ASCAP, and has contributed to numerous publications.
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