Editor's Notes

I look for bits of good news wherever I can find them right now. 

Many of you probably do the same thing, as this endless year of 2020 plods on.

This past week I learned the Billy Joel Channel is back on Sirius XM radio — Channel 70 if you happen to subscribe to their service. That’s cool. 

Just the other day I went out to the old refrigerator we keep in the garage and was pleasantly surprised to find some of my wife Mary’s terrific chili leftover to heat up for dinner. 

It really is the little things these days.

One more good moment came Thursday morning when President Trump said he would not participate in the Oct. 15 scheduled second presidential debate after the Presidential Debate Commission announced that the debate, set originally for Miami, would be held virtually — “to protect the health and safety of all involved.”

Trump called the decision to go virtual  “unacceptable,” and ridiculous” — words the average viewer might have easily applied to the Sept. 29 first presidential debate. 

The idea of not having to sit through another of these debates put a quick smile on my face. I suspect some of you may have felt the same way.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden quickly threw cold water on that positive thought when he said: “We don’t know what the president is going to do. He changes his mind every second.”

Damn it, Joe. Couldn’t you have let me enjoy this idea for just a few more minutes?

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien — who himself tested positive for COVID-19 a week ago Friday — called the virtual debate format “a sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden” and said the president will “hold a rally instead,” The Washington Post reported. As of this writing, there was talk of possible Trump rallies this weekend, including maybe one here in Pennsylvania. 

Now there’s a responsible idea.

On Thursday afternoon, the Post reported that the Biden campaign had suggested the debate be moved back a week to Oct. 22. Trump advisers agreed but also wanted the third debate to be rescheduled for Oct. 29,  just before the Nov. 3 Election Day. Biden said no to that. Stay tuned. 

You can’t blame the folks involved with staging these debates if they are apprehensive about being near Trump and his team these days. People who have been around the White House have tested positive for COVID-19 at an alarming rate lately. Plus, the president’s group at the first debate in Cleveland reportedly violated rules requiring all parties inside the debate hall to wear masks.

The lack of transparency on the president’s health status is a big issue as well. There have few updates and what we have heard has often been contradictory.  

I must say, though, doing the debate online — which would make it “virtually” impossible to forget why it was necessary — might not be such a great idea.

I’ve participated in many Zoom and Go to Meeting virtual gatherings the past seven months and can attest that while they are a good, safe alternative, they can be frustrating. Even normally polite, considerate people tend to talk over each other. So I’m not sure that was ever a good idea for Trump-Biden Part II. 

My guess is something will get worked out to keep at least one of the in-person debates on the schedule.

And I’ll have to look elsewhere for my next morsel of good news.

Email comments to dlyons@dailyitem.com.

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