‘Totally Under Control’ review: New Alex Gibney documentary offers an incisive and infuriating critique of the Trump administration’s inept coronavirus response.

And now, he brings us “Totally Under Control,” an incisive, lucid and infuriating critique of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic that Gibney co-directed with Ophelia Harutyunyan and Suzanne Hillinger. In the old days of film stock and editing room, we’d say that this timely narrative has arrived “dripping wet.” Indeed, this is such an up-to-the-minute account that the filmmakers were able to add a dismally ironic postscript that, just a day after completing the movie, President Trump himself would be diagnosed with covid-19.

Obeying the meticulous, metronomic rhythms of a classic procedural, “Totally Under Control” takes viewers back to what seems like another age, when a mysterious flu in Wuhan, China, was ravaging that community. Starting with the first known case in Washington state, the pandemic arrives on U.S. shores, and the misjudgments, missed opportunities and scrambled responses begin. Tests are hurriedly prepared but prove faulty, and an easy fix is inexplicably overlooked; the federal government pits states against each other in an obscene bidding war for badly-needed supplies; American citizens are given confusing and contradictory messages about the severity of the disease and the most appropriate ways to fight it; tough lessons learned by the previous administration, which battled its own outbreaks, are abandoned in favor of an ad hoc, often incoherent, reinvention of myriad wheels.

Meanwhile, the fatalities pile up. In addition to creating a concise, tonally understated compendium of damning facts and figures, “Totally Under Control” provides a useful comparison with South Korea, which the filmmakers present in side-by-side scenes: In the United States, people come to blows over whether to wear masks while in Seoul, a rapid-response testing and tracing program keeps outbreaks to a minimum and a complete economic shutdown at bay.

To anyone who has followed the news of the pandemic, “Totally Under Control” doesn’t break much news — although one of its most piquant moments features a grandson of Robert F. Kennedy providing a firsthand description of the shambolic, all-volunteer supply-chain effort overseen by Jared Kushner to procure personal protection equipment. Rick Bright, who recently resigned his post as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, is particularly convincing as the kind of apolitical technocrat that the Trump administration seems singularly threatened by. Taison Bell, a physician at the University of Virginia, delivers moving testimony, not just regarding the devastating effects of covid-19, but its disproportionate effect on communities of color.

Gibney and his team were intent on releasing “Totally Under Control” before the election, although it’s difficult to discern whether it will tip any scales (although it will be hard for Forever Trumpers to ignore mask manufacturer Michael Bowen, whose pleas to the president for whom he voted to ramp up production go unheeded). Matters of objective science and empirical observation have now become so mired in partisanship, authoritarian narrative and conspiracy blather that even a film this judicious and straightforwardly informative feels doomed to reach no further than its own self-selected constituency. Should open-minded viewers decide

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Oconomowoc’s Crafty Cow offers new ghost kitchens with special menus


Crafty Cow now features two ghost kitchens that offers sandwiches and wings. (Photo: Submitted)

A downtown Oconomowoc business and its traditional menu of food and beer, will now offer a different aspect to its restaurant.

Crafty Cow announced the creation of two “ghost” kitchens known as Down South Sammies and Big Wings. According to Crafty Cow co-owner Devin Eichler, a ghost kitchen is a delivery-only food concept that’s sold exclusively online and through delivery apps.

“Customers will be able to enjoy these exclusive menu options through carryout and delivery, but they will not be available for dine-in,” Eichler said.

Eichler said the ghost kitchens are “just another way for us to expand our reach, especially right now during COVID.”

Eichler’s favorite new menu item is from the Down South Sammies menu: the Hot Chick, a Nashville hot fried chicken thigh, lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayo.

“It’s pretty simple, but it’s really good,” Eichler said.

Down South Sammies also features brisket, pulled bacon, macaroni and cheese and more. The Big Wing menu offers boneless and whole bone-in wings with a variety of sauces.

A lot of the sandwiches were inspired from specials Crafty Cow has done in the past or the items were on previous menus.

“We felt if we put them all together, this is a restaurant we could really launch just online as a standalone thing,” Eichler said.

The ghost kitches launched Oct. 6. To order, visit craftycowwi.com, Postmates, Grubhub or Doordash.

“There’s not too many independent restaurants in Wisconsin that I know of doing any,” Eichler said. “They are a restaurant within our restaurant, essentially.”

People will also be able to order on middlewestrestaurants.com,expected to launch soon.

Crafty Cow is at 153 E. Wisconsin Ave., Oconomowoc. There is also a Milwaukee location at 2675 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

RELATED: Ghost kitchens Fiesta Panda, a Mexican-Asian restaurant, and Big Wings open in Milwaukee

RELATED: Here’s which Milwaukee restaurants and bars are open for takeout and delivery

Contact Evan Frank at (262) 361-9138 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @Evanfrank_LCP.

Our subscribers make this reporting possible. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the Journal Sentinel at jsonline.com/deal.


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White House offers $1.8 trillion plan


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday he hasn’t been to the White House since August 6.


WASHINGTON – The White House offered Democrats a $1.8 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package as President Donald Trump reverses course on stimulus negotiations, saying he wants to “Go Big.”

The proposal is a $1.8 trillion offer, according to an administration official speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss details of a negotiation still underway. It is about $200 billion more than the White House’s $1.6 trillion proposal last week.

The White House’s latest offer is still smaller than the $2.2 trillion Democrats most recently offered and which Trump rejected on Tuesday. Trump seemed to undercut his administration’s negotiation Friday afternoon, telling Rush Limbaugh in an interview, “I would like to see a bigger stimulus package frankly than either the Democrats or the Republicans are offering.”

White House spokesperson Alyssa Farah told reporters later Friday the administration wants to “stay below 2 trillion.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talked on the phone Friday with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for just over a half hour, Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill said.

According to Hammill, Mnuchin “attempted” to return with a new proposal, but Hammill noted the “absence of an agreement on a strategic plan to crush the virus,” echoing a letter Pelosi sent to House Democrats earlier in the day outlining Democrats’ demands for relief provisions to include a plan for testing, contact-tracing, and vaccines. Democrats were still waiting on the text of a proposal and negotiations on the overall funding amount would continue, he said. 

Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow told reporters Friday that Trump had approved a “revised” stimulus package, though he declined to provide details. Kudlow has not been part of negotiations so far, which have largely involved Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and Mnuchin.

More: House passes COVID-19 stimulus bill opposed by Senate as negotiations stall out

Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!”

Pelosi said on MSNBC Friday she would talk more with Mnuchin as they worked through differences on funding amounts and on policy in the bill. Negotiations have deadlocked over provisions like funding for state and local governments and the dollar amount for a federal unemployment benefit boost. “I do hope we will have an agreement soon,” she said.

The optimism comes three days after Trump abruptly rejected the recent Democratic proposal and said he wanted to postpone any negotiations until after the November election. Since then, Trump has reversed course, saying he wanted standalone bills to send out stimulus checks and provide relief to airlines.

Any negotiated deal, however, will have to pass through the Republican-controlled Senate, where members have expressed hesitancy at spending trillions of dollars on COVID-19 relief.

At an event in Kentucky Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it was “unlikely” a stimulus deal would occur before the election.

He said at another event it

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Washington state garden offers useful inspiration for Sonoma County front yards

For Sandra, a “hands-on” person, it was tough to stay out of the way as a contractor and workmen gutted and completely renovated the 1950s house she and her husband, Howard, had just bought in Walla Walla, Washington.

New to the area, Sandra was keen to get to know the neighborhood. So while the men upgraded her new home to a more modern aesthetic and condition, she turned to the front garden. Each day, from a rental house a few blocks away, Sandra would come over and labor in the garden in an effort to make progress on the house and to begin to meet her neighbors.

The garden was not a garden when she started. Her first efforts were directed at a steep bank along the sidewalk, a discouraging mass of rocks knit together by a dense mat of Bermuda grass. She progressed incrementally, each day removing a few more rocks and clearing a little more area.

On the strip of land between the sidewalk and street, sheltered under an old weeping cherry tree, Sandra placed a cheerful red rustic table and chairs saved from her garden at her previous house, in Seattle. She used river-washed natural gravel to cover the soil. A big water dish for dogs and a beautifully planted pot on the table, a garden in miniature, were the finishing touches. In effect, she created a street-side living room, a place to sit and visit. The tables and chairs had provided the same function at her former home, and many conversations, cups of coffee and glasses of wine had passed over its brightly colored surface.

The steep bank took shape with plants Sandra brought from her Seattle garden, chiefly low-growing succulents like groundcover sedums, low-growing grasses like fescues and American millet grass milium effusum ‘Aureum’ — all sparely punctuated with yuccas.

“I’m not a professional gardener, but I know what I like,” Sandra said. She wanted a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant garden with a modern aesthetic that would correspond with that of the house. As the plants grew and spread, she pulled off small pieces of the sedums and planted them around the yard to limit the number of plant species used and the number of others she’d need to buy. The garden is densely planted and the succulents now merge into a solid carpet.

In the winter, the pattern made by the low-growing succulents, gray fescues, golden grasses, lamb’s ears, coral bells and gray yucca is like a soft and vibrant Persian carpet draped over the bank, with the bright and soft greens and gray and yellow hues repeating in a tapestry of color. In early summer the succulents bloom and the bank turns into a miniature meadow of little white and yellow flowers, heavily visited by tiny native bees.

The strip between the sidewalk and street, a very difficult place to garden, has been turned into a gravel garden. Sandra used the same grey-white washed rocks as under the table and chairs to cover the ground,

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‘Freedom’: Pence Offers First Defense Of Rose Garden Superspreader Event

Vice President Mike Pence offered up the first direct defense of the Rose Garden COVID-19 superspreader event to unveil Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, casting it as a matter of freedom of choice.

During Wednesday’s vice presidential debate, Pence cast the Rose Garden event, where dozens are thought to have been infected with the virus, as an epiphenomenon of the larger pandemic.

Pence said that the story of both that pandemic and the Rose Garden event is not one of incompetence, or dangerous negligence on the part of the government. Rather, it’s a divide between those who love freedom and liberal statists who want to impose yet another mandate on the tired millions, yearning to breathe free.

“President Trump and I trust the American people to make choices in the best interests of their health,” Pence said. “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris consistently talk about mandates and not just mandates with the coronavirus, but a government takeover of health care.”

“We’re about freedom and respecting the freedom of the American people,” Pence added.

Pence framed that response not just as a defense of the Rose Garden event, however.

Rather, he teed up that divide as a way of accounting for the whole pandemic – and as a way of painting criticism of the Trump administration’s response as just another whine from the meddlesome left.

Pence, head of the White House coronavirus task force since February, argued that when New York City, New Orleans, and Detroit were hit hard with COVID in March and April, the Trump administration “told the American people what needed to be done.”

“And the American people made the sacrifices,” Pence added.

In theory, those sacrifices have been made in part to allow the Trump administration to organize a coherent response to the virus, which would then allow us all to return to normalcy on a faster timeframe.

That did not happen.

Rather, as Pence pointed out, the Sun Belt was hit next.

“Americans stepped forward,” Pence intoned. “But the reality is, the work of the President of the United States goes on.”

And it was then, Pence added, that “a vacancy in the the Supreme Court has opened up.”

So, the Rose Garden superspreader event wasn’t just an expression of the Trump administration’s love of freedom. Rather, Pence implied, it was yet another milestone in the pandemic that has now claimed the lives of 210,000 Americans.

And in the world of Pence’s reply, that’s not a failure. It’s a simple result of the fact that the “work of the President of the United States goes on.”

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AAA offers Experienced Interior Designer Pathway

The Alberta Association of Architects (AAA) has created the Experienced Interior Designer Pathway (EIDP) to allow interior designers with extensive experience to become Licensed Interior Designers with the AAA under the Alberta Architects Act.

This alternative to the Intern Interior Designer Program is meant to serve the needs of many of Alberta’s interior designers who meet the current requirements and who can illustrate their competency, but who have not previously logged their hours with AAA. The EIDP is a temporary pathway expected to close in 2024.

“The development of this pathway represents many months of work by our dedicated committees and council in arriving at a rigorous and fair method to establish competency. We are so delighted to announce the launch of the EIDP and look forward to welcoming new members to the AAA,” says council member and chair of the interior design advisory committee Donna Assaly.

Benefits of becoming a Licensed Interior Designer include the right to practice the regulated scope of interior design in Alberta and the ability to engage in the activities of the association, including the opportunity to sit on AAA Council and help shape the future of the professions.

This is a significant occurrence, following years of advocacy and discussions between the AAA and Interior Designers of Alberta.

Alberta has a rigorous licensing structure for Licensed Interior Designers in accordance with the Architects Act. Under the Act, Licensed Interior Designers may provide the same services as an architect, except on all matters that affect the exterior shell of a building, environmental separations and exits.

They are qualified by relevant post-secondary education, completion of the international NCIDQ examination, years of supervised work experience, ongoing mandatory professional development and adherence to high professional standards and codes of conduct.

For more information about the EIDP, prerequisites and the application process, please visit the EIDP.

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Award-winning Chattanooga designer offers tips on creating your dream kitchen

When Jackie Howard gets a call for one of her award-winning kitchen designs, her first thought is, “Please, not another white kitchen.”

The founder and owner of Scarlett’s Cabinetry, Howard has spent more than 30 years making clients’ dreams for their home come true. Her designs garnered her the title of “Best of the Best” in this year’s people’s choice awards by the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Howard has seen countless trends come and go — like white kitchens, which have endured since the 1920s, when white was about the only color on offer. The country had just come out of the Spanish flu pandemic and a gleaming white kitchen was associated with sterilization, a huge selling point at the time.

Today’s crisp white kitchens can speak of cleanliness or homeyness, elegance or minimalism. In a word, they remain timeless.

“White kitchens still sell homes,” Howard says.

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Award-winning Chattanooga offers tips for designing your kitchen

But today’s kitchens are no longer sequestered at the back of the house, tucked behind swinging doors and walls. They are the heart of the home both literally and figuratively. As such, Howard works to blend them into their surroundings, creating a seamless flow in the open, shared living spaces preferred today.

“Kitchens being open to the living space, you want to look in there and be happy. You want it to look like the rest of the space,” she says. “If you’ve got a lot of contrasting colors — even grays and whites — it screams ‘kitchen.'”

Here, Howard shares three of her kitchen designs and what they can teach us.


“I think the biggest compliment of this kitchen is when you walk in you really have to look for the kitchen. Each piece is like a fine piece of furniture.”

This kitchen, designed for a family of five on Signal Mountain, channels an Old World French vibe.

“You can obviously tell she wants that warm, cozy, lived-in kitchen feel,” says Howard.

But some of the most important details from her rigorous client interview process aren’t necessarily about aesthetics, but whether a family cooks together, who cooks most often, even the height of the most prominent cook. This knowledge helps her determine spacing, placement and flow.

There’s no need for a pantry.

“A lot of people are scared of giving up a walk-in pantry,” Howard says, though she recommends maximizing every square inch by opting for drawers and slide-out cupboards.

Drawers offer seamless storage, both aesthetically and practically.

“You want everything at your hands … [so] anytime you can put a set of drawers instead of cabinets or pulls [I recommend it],” she says, adding, “We know now that, except for a big stockpot, everything can go in a drawer.” Instead, keep those big stockpots in a cabinet above the fridge.

Ceiling-height cabinets are handy, even if they’re not the most accessible.

“A lot of clients had cabinets that did not go to the ceiling,” says Howard. “What’s

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The Brand: Mango’s Decor in Chattanooga offers a wide range of products for the home

Contributed photo / Mango’s gets new products in weekly ranging from art, lamps and mirrors to small gifts.

* Location: Mango’s is at 319 Cherokee Blvd., but will be moving to 2112 Dayton Blvd. in 2021.

* History: Mango’s Decor is a local home decor store in Chattanooga, owned and operated by Kristy and Randy Steele. Mango’s has been in business since 2014 and has continued to grow each year. In 2003, Kristy and her father, Mike Wood, started an import company called Old South Lamps and Accents. They grew that business over many years from a small startup in a warehouse in Nashville into a multi-state importer that sold to furniture stores throughout the country.

Kristy moved from the only sales representative selling to local furniture stores into managing multiple sales representatives. Kristy and her husband, Randy, decided to give the retail side of the furniture business a try and opened Mango’s Decor in an old warehouse in North Chattanooga. Mango’s will move into a new space in Red Bank in January 2021.

* Products: Mango’s Décor offers a wide range of products for the home such as custom sofas, chairs and recliners made in the United States. They also carry solid wood furniture made from mango wood such as coffee tables, end tables, dining tables, chests and consoles. Mango’s gets new products in weekly ranging from art, lamps and mirrors to small gifts.

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The Brand: Mango’s Decor

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McLean Home Offers Upscale Interior, Resort-Like Backyard

MCLEAN, VA — If you had the resort-like backyard of this McLean home, you’d try to stretch summer a little longer.

The seven-bedroom home is impressive in itself, offering upscale design flanked by a grand marble foyer and twin staircase. The master suite stands out with a rotunda vestibule and balcony overlooking the backyard. The view of the pool, waterfall and other features in the backyard are visible from many places inside.

But why enjoy the view inside when you can relax in the pool, spa or backyard terraces and porches? A pool house accompanies these features, offering a kitchenette, bath and more.

Check out a complete photo gallery in the listing.

  • Address: 911 Centrillion Dr, McLean, Virginia
  • Price: $3,475,000
  • Square Feet: 10475
  • Bedrooms: 7
  • Bathrooms: 9 Full and 2 Half Baths
  • Built: 2003
  • Features: A gem in the Reserve !! Beautiful and exquisit with contemporary flair !! Sited on over one acre with a breathtaking Resort style setting that includes a swimming pool, spa, tranquille stone water fall, porches, terraces and a terrific guest/ pool house with vaulted ceiling, kitchenette, private bath, changing room with shower and bath and additional play grounds. Over one million spent to create this gorgeous ambiance for exterior entertaining and private relaxation. The main level features a grand marble foyer from the front to the back of the house offering great flow for entertaining, a dramatic twin staircase flanked by a wall of bay windows on 3 levels overlooking the spectacular water fall, an elegant living room with marble fireplace, banquet sized dining room with adjoining bottlers pantry, private study that can be used as a first floor bedroom with a full bathroom and balcony overlooking the backyard. The family areas are designed for comfortable day to day living with a back staircase, gorgeous views to the pool and water fall, including a morning room with covered patio, a delightful family room with fireplace and built in bookcases, and a chef’s kitchen with custom contemporary cabinets, granite counters, center island, breakfast bar, big bay window, desk, Sub Zero, Thermador and Bosch appliances. The garage entry area, includes a mud room with coat closet, a spacious laundry room with access to the backyard, second powder room, a third staircase to the upper master studio and access to the 3 car garage. The upper level features an expansive master suite starting with an elegant rotonda vestibule which opens to the private sitting room and bedroom with double sided fireplace, 11 ft tray ceiling and a balcony overlooking the gorgeous backyard. His and Hers luxurious marble bathrooms, walk in closets and a studio/ exercise room. The upper level offers three additional large bedrooms with en-suite baths and a sizable office with balcony. The walk out lower level is an entertainer’s dream featuring a Recreation room with a large bay window, French doors opening to a covered slate patio , a perfect spot to enjoy the serene water fall, a Billiard room, home theater, game room, fully equipped
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Stocks rise as White House, Democrats trade stimulus offers

Stocks rose Wednesday as House Democrats and the Trump administration traded offers for another round of coronavirus stimulus.

Nancy Pelosi wearing sunglasses posing for the camera: Stocks rise as White House, Democrats trade stimulus offers

© Bonnie Cash – Greg Nash
Stocks rise as White House, Democrats trade stimulus offers

Both sides are seeking an elusive deal on coronavirus relief before the election.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened with a gain of 350 points, rising 1.3 percent. The S&P 500 rose 0.8 percent and the Nasdaq composite rose 1 percent shortly after the market opened.

The strong start to Wednesday trading came after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that Republicans will propose a $1.5 trillion stimulus bill after he and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) restarted negotiations last week. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) also told House Democrats that he plans to bring a $2.2 trillion offer to the floor Wednesday.

While both parties remain far apart on the preferred size of a stimulus bill, the monetary difference between Democratic and Republican offers has narrowed considerably since the spring.

Democrats and Republicans are attempting to break a months-long stalemate over a follow-up to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the $2.2 trillion stimulus and pandemic response bill signed by President Trump in March. Key elements of that bill, such as a boost to unemployment benefits and emergency loans for small businesses, expired this summer without replacement.

The House in May passed a roughly $3 trillion bill that Republicans dismissed immediately, and Republicans have been reluctant to approve more than $1 trillion in aid.

The pace of the recovery from the coronavirus recession slowed notably over the summer and into fall, and the U.S. is still reeling from immense economic pain. More than 10 million people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic have not yet found work again, and thousands of small businesses have folded as the spread of the virus hinders the economy from fully reopening.

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