Leonard Zwelling

Dr. Zwelling is a board-certified internist and medical oncologist. He was trained at Duke University, Duke Medical School and Duke Hospital after which he completed his oncology training at the National Cancer Institute. He started his research career at NCI and in 1984 moved to The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center where he rose to the rank of Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology. He returned to business school at the University of Houston, graduating in 1993. He then gravitated to research administration.

The Djokovic Decision

As I understand the scenario, the world’s number one men’s tennis player had contracted Covid in December and recovered despite having met unmasked with young tennis players and the press when he was probably infectious. Then he traveled to Australia to play in the Open there, but was stopped at the border because he was not vaccinated. He was thrown into quarantine and his lawyers appealed in court. The initial hearing granted him entry, but then the key Australian government minister denied him access to the country again and now he is deported without being allowed to play in the tournament. If he won this tournament, he would have accrued the most Grand Slam titles of any man in history, so this is not a small matter in tennis.

Asserting Clarity

In her op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on January 15, Peggy Noonan soundly criticizes the recent Georgia voting rights speech given by President Biden as divisive. It was followed the next day by a speech from Mitch McConnell basically agreeing with Noonan.

It has been very frustrating for me as a blogger to be accused of having progressive-liberal tendencies, when I am trying to make a case for the middle-of-the-road. Biden has just made my job easier.

Are Voting Rights Really Being Challenged?

Based on the rhetoric emanating from the mouth of the President of the United States, one might conclude that the number of voters last election day was at an all-time low due to state regulations obstructing voters’ access to the ballot. In fact, turnout was at a record high in 2020 and Mr. Biden was the beneficiary thereof. He is claiming that new state laws will prevent that from happening again. But, is there really an emergency in the country with regard to voting rights because state legislatures are passing bills restricting mail-in ballots and Sunday voting? And by the way, is picture ID verification of identity to vote all that bad an idea anyway? And why should the doling out of food and water even be a voting issue?

Is 1/6/2021 Really The Domestic 9/11/2001?

Many in the mainstream media and our own Vice President are equating what happened on Capitol Hill last year to Pearl Harbor and 9/11. That is frankly ridiculous.

Both Pearl Harbor and the attacks of 9/11 came from outside the United States and were surprises, although maybe they shouldn’t have been. 1/6/21 was totally predictable, caused by domestic forces and may or may not have been a true insurrection. The truth about what happened a year ago, who is responsible, and whether there was inside help from Congress remains unknown. I also doubt the current Democrat-led House Select Committee will make a whole lot of headway unless they move with far more alacrity and finish before the mid-terms.

The Theranos Decision

By now, everyone knows that the former wunderkind of Silicon Valley and media darling Elizabeth Holmes has been found guilty of four of the eleven counts against her in a California federal court. Sentencing is pending, but jail time is likely. If Martha Stewart got 6 months for lying to the feds, Elizabeth ought to be put away for a lot longer for defrauding investors.

Ms. Holmes was the CEO of the now defunct company that had promised to reinvent blood testing using microscopic amounts of blood to do over 100 separate tests. The Theranos technology never worked and Elizabeth’s main defense was that she didn’t know enough about the science to know she was over-promising and if she did, her abusive live-in relationship with Sunny Balwani, her second in command, made her do it. Mr. Bulwani will have his own trial later this year.

A Nation Regresses To The Mean

In The New York Times Business section on January 2, Sarah Lyell writes a cogent piece about customer fury and meanness. Apparently, the country is at a boiling point and the place where the heat can be best measured is the intersection of service providers and the public.

In the many instances Lyell relates of rage in the supermarket, in the pharmacy or on an airplane, most of the recipients of the ire have become aware that what this is about is not what this is about. People are Covid exhausted, supply chain weary and masked out.

Fragile

In the recent HBO series Landscapers, one of the two protagonists accused of killing her parents is repeatedly described as “fragile.” And, she, played by Olivia Coleman, is. You’ll have to watch the four-episode mini-series if you wish to find out how she is fragile and why that matters.

Today, the United States is fragile—in a position to be broken. Why?

The End Of The Movies

According to Peggy Noonan in the above op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on December 18, the new Steven Spielberg film version of West Side Story cleared $10.5 million at the box office during its opening weekend. This must be a grave disappointment to Spielberg’s studio and to those who invested in his new vision of an American classic especially as it received uniformly great reviews.

Spider-Man: No Way Home cleared $253 million on its opening weekend. This is a record for pandemic movie theater openings.

What do these two facts say about the future of American cinema? In my opinion, everything.

It’s Endemic Now

The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 has been with us now for over two years. It is likely that it will be with us forever. The Flu Pandemic of 1918 ended, but flu was not gone after the pandemic subsided. It became an endemic disease that we face every winter and for which we try to immunize ourselves if we are smart. Even so, many people get flu every year and many die of it although this is mostly the elderly and infirm.

It is likely that Covid-19 will become like the flu.

All Of This Could Have Been Avoided

The country is suffering. The airlines are melting down before our eyes as they cannot keep staff on the job due to outages from Covid infections. Pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, and desk staff are all calling in sick. The lines to get tested are long IF you can actually get an appointment to get tested. I had one with my doctor’s office. It was canceled the night before because they did not have personnel to administer the tests and 20% of the clinic staff was out on sick leave. What will happen in the schools after winter break is unclear, but several major universities are returning to distance learning which is second class learning at best. The one thing parents have learned from the pandemic is that home schooling is no substitute for the classroom. To be honest, the virus has brought us to our knees in a fashion that no terrorist attack ever could have. We are a shadow of our former selves. We have become a nation of wounded sheep waiting illness, lining up for a test, helpless before a flight board in any airport in the country.