Welcome Yamiche Alcindor, Thanks To Gwen Ifill

Washington Week has been a Friday night staple (or now a Saturday morning DVR viewing) since I was a teenager. Over the decades Public Television consistently has provided this program with top reporters and journalists as they sift through the news of the week and provide analysis and perspective. This weekend a new chapter started for the show with Yamiche Alcindor taking the reins. I am very pleased with the choice for the anchor.

I really gravitated towards Paul Duke who anchored the show when I started watching in my high school years. He would continue for two decades. During those years I was fascinated by Duke for the reason he was substantive but always serene and laid back. People who commanded attention with such a calm demeanor have always appealed to me when it comes to news programming.

Then I simply loved the nearly 16 years that Gwen Ifill took on the role and dived into the issues each week. I just knew there was something smart and steady with her hand on the broadcasts. She became one of the first African American women to preside over a major national political show.  The announcement of her death came to me as I sat in a dentist chair with CNN broadcasting above my head.

She was not just another reporter or journalist I turned to for news.  She was more than a graceful and bright interviewer who added context to the headlines.  What made Ifill special was her presence on television, that even in bad times, made us aware there was a way to think it through and make sense out of what had happened.

America needs ‘stabilizers’ such as she proved to be for decades.  In times of confusion over complex Supreme Court cases, or after savage terrorism she had the ability to pry into the mix of facts and report so a deeper and more seasoned view could be had.  She had a keen sense for getting to the center of the story with her interviews.  And through it all, I just knew that she would be a pure delight off camera.

Now the leading chair at Washington Week features Yamiche Alcindor, a reporter that is fact-based, intelligent, and mindful of the journalism which needs to be done for the changing demographics and power structures in the nation. On her first broadcast, she paid tribute to the guiding hand of Ifill, and it was a most fitting hand in glove approach as the show moves forward.

Friday nights have obviously changed since my years as a teenager in Hancock, or the ones when as a young adult I watched the show in my first apartment. Now I have Saturday morning breakfast and view the broadcast recorded from the previous evening. No matter, however, where or when the show is watched the professional nature of Washington Week has never altered itself.

And so it goes.

Jonathan Bush Dead At 89, Former President’s Brother

Another slice of history is gone from a generation that was rich in ideas and wonderful stories.

Jonathan Bush, a financier and younger brother of former President George Bush and an uncle of former President George W. Bush, died on Wednesday at his home in Jupiter, Fla. He was 89.

The death was announced by the George & Barbara Bush Foundation.

When he was 30, after not passing an audition for “Take Me Along,” a Broadway musical starring Jackie Gleason, Mr. Bush went into finance and joined G.H. Walker & Company, a firm founded by his maternal grandfather, George Herbert Walker. In 1970 he left to found his own firm, J. Bush & Company, which managed the money of wealthy clients.

Workers Wary Of Jobs Market

On Friday the factual news about the latest jobs report was released. Employers in the nation added only 266,000 jobs in April. That ran far south of the million jobs that had been predicted, while the unemployment rate edged up, to 6.1 percent.

Those are the facts in a nutshell. Then came the spin-troopers from the Republican Party who claimed that the ‘cushy’ unemployment relief aid supplied in congressional bills was preventing workers from taking the job openings in restaurants, stores, and local industry.

While the past year has been most daunting for everyone in the nation, and we all want to see vaccinated people helping spur an economic boom, there are a lot of unknowns that continue to press upon the workers. So it was rather unsettling to have some partisans in the nation lambast those workers who have not yet re-entered the job market.

From the smattering of people I talk with on Facebook, it strikes me that some smaller business places are just not sure what is next concerning the virus. While everyone wants to be positive the lack of herd immunity, along with the growing evidence of large segments of the population unwilling to get the vaccine(s), means they are rightfully cautious about fully opening.

Workers meanwhile offer their own versions of why they are treading slower when it comes to taking back their old job or striving to find a new one. There is still a concern about the variants and the spread of what medical professionals call more easily transmissible strains of COVID. It needs to be noted that in the past month this nation did experience an increase in cases of the virus. And it needs to be noted, too, that there is still no conclusive evidence a vaccinated person cannot carry and transmit the virus. All those aspects rightfully do spark concerns among the ones who listen and care about the disease. They can not be faulted for having concerns about their health and those in their household!

There is a reluctance for some to jump into work settings due to not knowing who has been vaccinated. Working at a restaurant in Alabama or a hair salon in Florida may not be the best choice right now. Add in the need for childcare costs when finances have been cut over the past year and it is not hard to better understand why some workers have genuine wariness and concerns about the near future.

One of my social media friends in Britain offered a reason many weeks ago as to why she has not re-entered the job market. After having a bout of the virus in summer 2020 she remains constantly tired and her memory and thinking processes are “foggy”. It is not due to her lack of will or interest in her past employment that keeps her home, but rather the long-term consequences of the disease.

While some of the people James and I interact with lost jobs, and certainly savings over the past year, I am not aware of anyone who moved ‘back home’ due to trouble with rent payments. But the data does show that many folks around the nation did do that very thing and it certainly will impact job growth. Are we to assume that those people have enough cash on hand to restart a job in the location they left during the height of the pandemic?

There is also the long arc of change regarding work that is playing out in the nation. During the pandemic the topic of better wages, a $15.00 minimum wage, has been much talked about, and certainly since President Biden took office. Real wages in this country have been flat for far too long, and when one adds in the higher cost for childcare and placing elderly parents into facilities it all underscores another reason workers are not clear how to proceed at his time.

While I personally feel very confident about the future with the vaccines, and the economy over the long term, I am aware that many of my fellow citizens are truly concerned about the lay of the land moving forward. I accept their reasons as to why they feel as they do. The role of government is to meet them where they are and work to lift them up to the next level.

Not harshly judge them for being shiftless.

And so it goes.