‘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,

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, 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,expected to launch soon.

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

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

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’ —

‘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