THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: This sand is your sand? No thanks

ARE YOU A DAUGHTER or a son of a beach? As a kid, I spent my summers on Fire Island. I loved the sounds of the ocean and the breaking waves. I loved the smell of the sand and water. I loved seeing all those folks out there having a good time and yes, I even loved the omni-present smell of sun tan lotion. Once into adolescence, I loved the bikinis that were on display. I loved “riding the waves” on my rubber raft. With all that said, you might think I am a committed beach person but alas, that is not the case. In fact, while I love several mile walks on the beach, I have come to have real questions about the sand and sea.

First of all, I read everything I can about the coronavirus and the more I read, the more frightened I get. There is so much to worry about that every time I think I have a handle on what this virus is, I find out about something new that can destroy you. As a 78-year-old, I know that a single false move—that’s right, I said a single false move—and I’ll be a goner. So when I turn on the TV and see crowds of people congregating on beaches and acting as though they haven’t got a care in the world, in the middle of a global pandemic, I get, well, concerned, both for them and for me. We know, don’t we, that crowds are killers. I love the guy who runs my local movie theater but you had better believe that it will be a long time before you find me there. But beaches? Are you crazy?

It doesn’t stop there, of course. Every time I hear about a shark attack, I wonder why anyone would chance a dip in the surf. Read more…

THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: ‘Paranoia,’ said the Kinks, ‘will destroy ya’

THERE ARE A LOT OF WAYS the novel coronavirus is destroying the United States and the world. We are now in the worst place this country may have ever been. Nevertheless, it is the psychological that this column will address.

We know that when you put two people in a single room and say, “Stay there,” the people will get on each other’s nerves. It is not surprising, therefore, that the police have been getting an unprecedented number of domestic abuse calls. Additionally, the virus itself is so ill-defined and little understood that we have turned this country into a nation of hypochondriacs. Frankly, I’ve always been concerned about my health as well as about our politics. The problem is exacerbated when the two of them coincide; everybody is getting up in the middle the night and worrying about their perceived symptoms, ranging from a sniffle to a cough to a vague muscle pain. That’s when we start to absolutely believe that we have caught the dread disease. There’s a reason for that. Read more…

THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: Disagreement doesn’t have to be disrespectful

Let’s face it — there is no current political commodity hotter than Andrew Cuomo. One Siena poll had him at a 77% approval rating in New York. Compare that with Donald Trump, in the relative basement. Cuomo has cleverly positioned himself as a moderate Democrat, unlike the more flamboyant progressives like AOC and her “squad,” and Bernie Sanders.

He’s on early morning television, does his briefings, and turns up on the late-night shows. If and when he sleeps is anyone’s guess. I have been immensely flattered that he has chosen to do a half hour a week with me. Unlike the others who interview him mainly about the coronavirus crisis, I am far more interested in what makes the man tick. I have an old friend, a psychiatrist, who heard me interviewing Cuomo and he had one suggestion. When I am speaking with him, I refer to him as “governor” and occasionally as “sir.” The latter, of course, is meant honorifically. For his part, he refers to me as “Doctor.” Freud may not have agreed but I see him as worthy of that respect. The guy is still the governor of New York and many people think that he should be the candidate for president. He’s a natural executive and someone who could step into the top job should events demand it. However, this is the long way around of telling you that my psychiatrist friend (who, as Lee Hays of the Weavers once said of His psychiatrist friend, “I see only socially”) gave me the following advice after hearing an interview: “Don’t call him sir.” Read more…