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Biden delivers a double dose of ineptitude as COVID, BBB bedevil his presidency: Goodwin

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Biden delivers a double dose of ineptitude as COVID, BBB bedevil his presidency: Goodwin

If you are one of those people who wants more Joe Biden, Tuesday was your lucky day. The president delivered a double dose by holding forth on two distinct topics bedeviling his presidency. 

The first was a long-winded, dreary and convoluted planned address on his administration’s response to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. It dealt with life and death, but was delivered in an obligatory manner, as if he would have rather spent the time getting to know his new pet dog. 

The second dose of Biden came during a brief question-and-answer session with reporters afterward, and it was there and only there that he showed real passion. The spark was a question over Sen. Joe Manchin’s refusal to support the Build Back Better bill and while Biden was careful not to throw more burning oil on the West Virginia Democrat, he grew visibly angry while claiming provisions in the bill are crucial for working and middle-class families. 

The price of certain drugs, especially insulin, he said, crushed “the dignity of a parent” who couldn’t provide medicine for children. 

Downplaying COVID

Biden ended by saying “Sen. Manchin and I are going to get something done,” which may or may not be true. But the short-term impact was to step on the story of the day, which had been about battling the coronavirus, the spread of which is helping to keep his public approval ratings in the danger zone. 

Indeed, the entire purpose of the speech was to show that the president and his party are actually doing something as panic grows in some parts of the nation almost as fast as the number of new infections. Recall that the White House announced Saturday that Biden would speak Tuesday, which seemed an inordinate time to wait if this was an emergency. If something is important enough for a presidential address, it shouldn’t have to marinate for four days.

President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden offered little details on how his administration would mail out 500 million rapid tests to Americans.
Ken Cedeno/Pool via CNP / Splash

In between, officials put out a nasty and strange statement warning the unvaccinated that they faced a winter of “severe illness and death.” And a Merry Christmas to you, too! 

Then, keeping faith with the rank incompetence he has demonstrated over the last year, Biden waited until the appointed hour on the appointed day and dutifully read from a teleprompter all that his team thought he should say. His message veered from “this is not March of 2020” to a long list of federal actions, including adding hospital beds, that sound eer­ily reminiscent of March 2020.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va
President Joe Biden is fixated on Sen. Joe Manchin after the West Virginian Democrat rejected his Build Back Better bill.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

It didn’t help that Biden coughed and cleared his throat repeatedly during a speech warning about death and disease. He rarely looks robust, but given the context, this was worrisome.

Nor was he persuasive when he insisted to reporters later that nobody anticipated that any COVID variants could spread as rapidly as Omicron, while in the next breath saying “I knew that was coming.” 

COVID-19 testing specialists Alex Honn, right, and Tokeya Berry test a driver at a drive-up coronavirus testing location Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021, in Bellingham, Wash.
Americans are rushing to get tested amid another surge of COVID-19 cases.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The result is a plan starting Friday that seems to have been Scotch-taped together, and still isn’t finished. Press secretary Jen Psaki conceded that some aspects of the bid to send rapid tests to homes were still being worked out.

For my money, the contrast between Biden’s brief but passionate discussion on Manchin and Build Back Better and the long mushburger about Omicron revealed not only what Biden cares about, but also what’s wrong with his ­administration.

Simply put, he’s got his priorities backwards. He and the far-left activists who have taken over his party care more about the multitrillion-dollar spend-a-palooza, especially the Green New Deal portions, while most Americans are focused on avoiding the virus for themselves and their families, keeping schools open and keeping their jobs. 

Blaming Trump

Dealing with the pandemic is not optional, yet Biden acts as if it is, even as his presidency has been severely damaged by the mounting deaths. He campaigned on his ability to tame the beast and blamed then-President Donald Trump, foolishly saying all the lives lost could have been saved if Trump had had a plan. 

Yet far more lives have been lost to the virus under Biden than under Trump, despite the advances brought by vaccines and another year of knowledge. But it seems that Biden, at least when it comes to Omicron, still didn’t have a plan of his own.

Former President Donald Trump
President Joe Biden credited former President Donald Trump for his administration’s work on Operation Warp Speed.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File

Many medical professionals also believe the United States has been slow to develop mass distribution channels for both testing and treatments, relying instead only on vaccines. With some 40 million eligible people refusing to be vaccinated, those lapses elsewhere are why Biden is forced to play catch-up now, especially on the availability of testing.

Perhaps it was a way of signaling regret for politicizing the ­lethal disease that led Vice President Kamala Harris to say the other day that the virus was “nobody’s fault.” Similarly, Biden acknowledged the “prior administration” had developed the vaccine and cited Trump for saying publicly over the weekend that he had gotten a booster.

Vice President Kamala Harris
Vice President Kamala Harris remains absent from President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 plan.
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Still, the main takeaway from Tuesday is that Biden himself will try to bring Manchin back into the fold on his signature legislation while it will be left to faceless bureaucrats to make sure his promises are kept on delivering federal help around the country to battle the pandemic. 

And even if Manchin continues to say no, Congress will be consumed with a largely partisan exercise in voting on a bill that is going nowhere — all because Biden and Democrats think that for once, they have a winning issue and won’t let go of it. 

Medical personnel adjust their personal protective equipment while working in the emergency department at NYC Health + Hospitals Metropolitan, May 27, 2020, in New York.
President Joe Biden has not established a mass distribution system to send out sufficient medical supplies to hospitals if emergencies occur.
AP Photo/John Minchillo, File

Remember their focus the next time you hear grumbling about the disconnect between Washington and America. It’s an old story, but thanks to Biden’s misguided priorities, it’s new again.

State of moral decline

Reader Ed Sloan, noting my observation that nearly everybody in Albany was afraid of Andrew Cuomo, including some in the media, believes the ex-governor’s resignation won’t solve much and takes a grim view of New York. Sloan writes: “It’s also true that many people are moral cowards and moral idiots and that they are still in place in the media, the government, and civil society. A monster is gone, but we are still in a very degraded state.”

Power of good

Reader Paula Tanny asks a probing question that grows out of Lord Acton’s “power corrupts” maxim. 

Tanny writes: “I’m sure people have wrestled with this, but why can’t leaders and politicians use power to do good things? Why does power always have to corrupt?”

McD’s spud-ders

Headline: McDonald’s Forced to Ration Fries . . . 

Now it’s official: The end is near!

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker
USA TODAY Sports

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

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Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers

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Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

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