Bits And Pieces 2020

Today is St. Patrick’s Day so I want to begin by wishing a Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all my readers of Irish ancestry (or those temporarily portraying themselves as such) and any I might have on the Emerald Isle. I admit I stole today’s title from the Dave Clark Five’s 1964 hit; it is not in the least bit Irish but it is upbeat as any good St. Patty’s Day celebration should be. Also today’s article is a series of bits about a variety of topics. Put on something green – I’ll be wearing a green shirt all day – and let’s explore.

I’ll stick with the St. Patrick’s Day theme for another paragraph. As the coronavirus’ repercussions continue even today’s celebration is not immune. Countless St. Patrick’s Day parades have been cancelled. Growing up in a good party metropolitan area that only had four large ethnic groups, one of which was the Irish, I’m used to thinking of the day as a great bar day going well into the night. In fact it started the night before. With large public gatherings increasingly banned along with the closing of many bars and restaurants, that is spending that is lost forever. It is another of many economic hits to the economy.

Today is primary day in Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio. Primaries were also originally scheduled in Georgia and Louisiana but those states delayed them due to the coronavirus. The number I have been watching with the most interest this primary season is voter turnout. I still think this election will be close and close elections boil down to turnout. It will be impossible to “adjust” the numbers for the impact of the coronavirus.

As I was writing this article, to further complicate matters Ohio’s Republican Governor Mike DeWine just decreed late Monday afternoon that there will be not be in-person voting in the Buckeye State on Tuesday and sort of extended the date. It might be more accurate to lump Ohio with Georgia and Louisiana then the other three states.

Sunday night’s debate was the setup for tonight’s primaries. It too was a unique event. It was held sans audience. The only on camera participants were candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders along with moderators Dana Bash and Jake Tapper of CNN along with Univision’s Ilia Calderon. Bash deserves to be recognized for doing a very good job.

I looked at this a lot like a championship boxing match with Biden in the role of the champ and Sanders as the contender. While Sanders may have scored some points he didn’t even come remotely close to landing a knockout punch. The decision goes to Biden.

Biden managed to work in his seldom used but classic answer of simply saying “No” and then shutting up. He made real news when he committed to choosing a woman as his running mate. (There is another article for another day.)

Last week Trump’s current Acting Director of National Intelligence, Richard Grenell, was a no show for a Congressional hearing. The excuses appear to be combination of an apprehension to upset Trump and the fact that he felt he was unprepared. I wonder how that excuse would have work for you or me if we were summoned to appear before a regulatory body that controlled our budget. No I don’t.

Monday the Supreme Court announced they would not hold scheduled oral arguments for at least the rest of March. Interestingly that includes the case compelling Deutsche Bank to release Trump’s financial records.

Considering the current polarization of the Court and some its recent rulings I don’t know if this is good or bad news. The fact that I feel that way speaks poorly of the current state of our federal government.

Monday morning the New York Stock Exchange opened so disastrously that it almost immediate tripped a “circuit breaker” and shut down to cool off for 15 minutes. This was the third time in two weeks the “circuit breaker” has been tripped. To illustrate how rare that is, most Americans didn’t even realize that device existed. Keep in mind this is after the Fed reduced the overnight rate for banks to borrow to zero. The Trump Recession is here and it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

In a report confirmed by multiple sources, on Monday Trump told the nation’s governors that they should proceed to procure things like respirators and ventilators on their own and not wait for assistance from the federal government. To purloin a line from Hillary Clinton, the Republican health care plan is YOYO; as in you’re on your own.

Yesterday the first industry bailout request with a number attached became public. The airline industry has asked for $50 billion. While terms and amounts leave a lot of room for discussion this is one industry I am inclined to give a bailout to. I view the airline industry as part of our commercial infrastructure and it is in the people’s and the country’s interest to keep it functioning. It may well be cheaper to bail it out than to replace it and have it function as a government entity.

These are a lot of often divergent bits and pieces but when added together they are significant. Now stay inside and celebrate St. Patrick’s.

This article is the property of and its content may not be used without citing the source. It may not be reproduced without the permission of Larry Marciniak.