Episode #864: Masks Actually Work
First Broadcast: 6/22/20
When we recorded this episode, New York City was on the verge of moving on to "Phase 2" of re-opening businesses as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to decline in the city and the rest of the state. In contrast, COVID-19 cases continue to increase for the United States as a whole, either because or in spite of the premature "re-opening" happening in so many other parts of the country, like the state of Oklahoma, for one, and Tulsa County, Oklahoma, for another, where new COVID-19 cases are now spiking after weeks of remaining relatively flat. Despite Tulsa becoming one of the nation's newest epicenters for coronavirus, President Donald Trump scheduled first campaign rally in 3 months at an indoor arena there on June 19th--a.k.a. Juneteenth--not too long after the 99th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre, perhaps the deadliest instance of racist violence in the U.S. in the 20th Century. In a rare instance of accomodation, Trump moved his rally one day later to June 20th, but that still disregarded the advice of the White House coronavirus task force and several hundred medical professionals in the Tulsa area, who recommended--and in some cases pleaded--that the rally be canceled, since a large crowd of people, close together, indoors with poor air circulation, shouting and cheering, and not wearing face masks, meets all the conditions for a perfect storm of coronavirus transmission. Will this turn out to have been a "super-spreader" event (despite its eventual underwhelming crowd size)? Should we fear a re-opened Las Vegas in the same way, with its poorly-ventilated casinos and crowds full of mask-less patrons? Will the U.S. ever get its "R" number to less than 1, or to 0? Aren't the outdoor protests of mostly masked people for racial justice safer for people to attend than any mass gathering indoors? Sooner or later, we'll all find out!
Episode #865: Sunburn on Your Throat
First Broadcast: 6/29/20
Has a significant portion of the American people just given up on trying to decrease the spread of coronavirus? Would that explain why new cases of the virus have spiked in several states, to the point where more than half of the states in the U.S. have seen increases this week, such as Florida, which set a record of 9,585 new cases in one day on the Saturday before this episode first aired? Does it explain why President Trump thinks quarantines--like the one now being imposed by New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut--don't apply to him, or why he and his fans don't wear face masks? Do they not understand why doctors shifted from recommending people to not wear masks to encouraging everyone to wear a mask? Is it because too many people believe conspiracy theories about COVID-19? Maybe I'll just stay home and get some more cocktails delivered for as long as New York State will let me...
Episode #866: Is That a School?
First Broadcast: 7/6/20
Protesters occupying City Hall Park wanted the City Council to cut $1 billion from the New York Police Department's portion of the New York City budget for the coming year. However, despite some reporting to the contrary, only around $837 million of cuts were made to the NYPD allocation, and around $300 to $400 million of that came from shifting the control and cost of the School Safety Agents in New York City public schools from the NYPD to the Department of Education--without actually removing those "Agents" from the schools, which was supposed to be one of the other goals of reducing the NYPD budget. Is this just another way of maintaining the school-to-prison pipeline in another form? Does New York City really need to have more cops in public schools than there are in the entire cities of Boston and Las Vegas combined? Doesn't the presence of police alone contribute to more reported incidences of "criminal" behavior than the absence of police? Might we all be better off by ending police presence in everyday life as much as possible instead? I'm sure this discussion is far from over!