Preparing for a Russian Cyberattack on U.S. Infrastructure (with Juliette Kayyem)
Subscribe to Lemonada Premium for Bonus Content
Andy talks with disaster expert Juliette Kayyem about how to prepare for scary and unpredictable things, from hurricanes to cyber attacks. As the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Intergovernmental Affairs, Juliette accepts that disasters will happen and helps people, companies, and governments “fail safer,” as she puts it. She explains to Andy why a Russian cyber attack on U.S. soil would likely come in the form of an oil, gas, or water disruption. Putting in some hard work now, before the next bad thing happens, will leave you more prepared and empowered when it does.
Keep up with Andy on Twitter @ASlavitt and Instagram @andyslavitt.
Follow Juliette Kayyem on Twitter @juliettekayyem.
Joining Lemonada Premium is a great way to support our show and get bonus content. Subscribe today at bit.ly/lemonadapremium.
Support the show by checking out our sponsors!
- Click this link for a list of current sponsors and discount codes for this show and all Lemonada shows: http://lemonadamedia.com/sponsors/
- Throughout the pandemic, CVS Health has been there, bringing quality, affordable health care closer to home—so it’s never out of reach for anyone. Because at CVS Health, healthier happens together. Learn more at cvshealth.com.
Check out these resources from today’s episode:
- In the Bubble is nominated for two Webby Awards! Vote for Andy in the Best Host category here: https://vote.webbyawards.com/PublicVoting#/2022/podcasts/features/best-host
- Vote for the show in the Health & Wellness category here: https://vote.webbyawards.com/PublicVoting#/2022/podcasts/general-series/health-wellness
- Order Juliette’s book, “The Devil Never Sleeps,” here: https://www.publicaffairsbooks.com/titles/juliette-kayyem/the-devil-never-sleeps/9781541700109/
- Order free at-home COVID-19 tests through the USPS: https://special.usps.com/testkits
- Find a COVID-19 vaccine site near you: https://www.vaccines.gov/
- Order Andy’s book, Preventable: The Inside Story of How Leadership Failures, Politics, and Selfishness Doomed the U.S. Coronavirus Response: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250770165
Stay up to date with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @LemonadaMedia.
For additional resources, information, and a transcript of the episode, visit lemonadamedia.com/show/inthebubble.
Andy Slavitt, Juliette Kayyem
Andy Slavitt 00:18
Welcome to IN THE BUBBLE. This is Andy Slavitt. It’s April 11. Monday.
Andy Slavitt 00:22
Yes, I know you’re hoping for another Sunday, but sorry, doesn’t work that way, you get Sunday, and then you get Monday. But just think Tomorrow’s Tuesday. Show today is going to focus on a thread that I think we’re all kind of aware of the probably don’t spend too much time thinking of. And that is the threat to our cyber resources here in the US. And when you think about a cyber-attack from Russia, which is what we’re talking about in the face of the back and forth between the US and Russia, we tend to think of it as an attack on some businesses on the internet, on grid. But as our guests, Juliette Kayyem, today, who is was Undersecretary for Homeland Security tells us the principal target of those rats is actually the oil, gas and water resources in the country. And the idea of turning on your tap and not getting water come out of it. Because we have a grid that isn’t giving us the information we need to know how to regulate our supply of energy and water, which can be truly crippling the kind of attack that would be the same as if our oil, gas, or water resources were attacked by physical explosives. So it’s interesting. What Juliette is an expert at is something that I think we’re getting to spend a little bit of time on today, which is dealing with just scary situations. We’ve had a few of them. And we have a few of them, principal of which is the climate, public health pandemic, wars. Things that are out of our control. And you know, we in the bubble, tried to run towards those situations and explain them as opposed to ignore them and pretend like they didn’t happen and kind of go into Juliette today is that the right strategy? Is that right approach for us to say, hey, there’s a bunch of bad things that could happen. How do I? And how do we as a country, and we as people prepare ourselves, because increasingly, they’re hard to avoid. And you know, the answer probably isn’t sticking your head in the sand? But the answer also isn’t to obsess about them all day. And I think what you’ll hear and what I believe, is that understanding the threats and being prepared for them, actually does make them less scary, and makes us more prepared and actually allows us to have more peace of mind. And to think about them all the time. And I worry about not just our ability to manage these spreads, because we eventually do. But I worry about all of the anxiety and mental health issues, severe mental health issues that could go along the way and I hope everybody takes care of themselves. And taking care of yourself doesn’t mean obsessively preparing for the next disaster, it does mean doing enough, just enough preparation, probably that you feel in control.
Andy Slavitt 03:09
And there’s nothing like feeling out of control. Before we get to Juliette, one request for your consideration. Thanks to all of you. For some very strange reason we were honored in a bubble to be nominated for two Webby Awards. It’s kind of like the Oscars, but no Will Smith basically, and the Webby Awards. We get nominated in two categories. I got nominated as the best host, of course, that nomination is facing some pretty interesting competition. People like Conan O’Brien, who of course, is very terrific, not as funny as me, but pretty, pretty good. And Seth Rogen, who I think is almost as funny as me. But anyway, there’s a chance for all of you to cast your vote in that category for best host. We were also nominated as Best health and Wellness Podcast, which is also quite an honor. So you can vote for us there as well. If you want to vote, you just go to webbyawards.com. And that’s how you do it. There are also be links in the show notes to this episode. You can link and vote on both of those. I don’t know if it’s appropriate to ask you to vote for me. But yeah, I guess it is appropriate since you’re listening to the show. And of course, because you’ll never know if you do or if you don’t you can say you did. If you ever see me and say I voted for you, dude. And then if you didn’t, there’s no way I would know because it’s just entirely up to you. But it would be really nice honor for all the people who work on the show. Certainly just even being nominated is a big deal. So vote for us. Okay, now we’re gonna talk to Juliette Kayyem. Again, she was a former assistant secretary for Homeland Security in the Obama administration. She’s the faculty chair of the Homeland Security Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. And she’s got a new book out, which I encourage you to look at. If you’re looking for a good book to read. It’s called the Devil Never Sleeps, learning how to live in the age of disasters, and we’re going to get into how we live with and respond to challenging times with someone who does that for a living.
Andy Slavitt 05:39
Welcome to the show, Juliette Kayyem.
Thank you for having me. I’m thrilled to be here.
You know, we get to talk about all kinds of fun topics that seem to fall around people like you, which are the things that scare most people out of their boots.
Yeah, I have a new book out. And last time I was here, I mean, we well talk about scaring out of the boots that mean, you know, you and I got to know each other had been on the show, I followed your career and service around COVID. But this is a book that looks at what we call you all hazards, which is the thing, any type of disaster or disruptive occurrence for and how we might manage better.
Yes, as we mentioned, introduction, your book is indeed called The Devil Never Sleeps. Yeah, learning to live in an age of disasters. Why do we have to live in an age of disasters? Why can we just live in an age of like, calm, ripples on a pond? And, you know, puppy dogs?
I wish we could. And even the way we talked about the end of COVID, or like the end like a finish line or the new normal as if it’s a certain place? So there’s no question the data certainly shows that if you just look at say climate change, that the disasters are bigger, more frequent and more expensive, that’s our connectivity. That’s globalization. But you think about the pandemic and disease outbreaks out in China, that’s an Italy in no time and having a shutdown in the US by March, you think of things like terrorism and radicalization or cyber issues, and so that globalization kind of activity isn’t going to end. So you can wish that it didn’t, that, you know, we can be insular. But the other option is to rethink success, and how we measure success, because the devil keeps coming. So my goal in this book was to reframe the success failure, […] as so to speak, when it comes to disasters, there’s no disaster that success is a disaster that’s failure, and learn to fail safer.
Andy Slavitt 07:43
So you know, you served in the Department of Homeland Security as Assistant Secretary. So you get paid to think about risks, you get paid to think about bad things. I’m curious, does it help you to be an optimistic person when you do that? Or does it turn you into a pessimistic person? Does being a pessimistic person helping you think of all the potential negatives and fight them better? Or does being an optimistic person help you overcome obstacles?
Yeah, I don’t know. I’m generally part of it is just genetic, like I’ve received and fam, I grew up in California, Lebanese, we tend to party and have fun. Like, I mean, it’s just, you know, it’s just some cultures are and geographies are like that. And so I tend to be an optimistic person. I think there’s two ways I think about one is, if our standard is less bad, in other words, the investments that we make in preparedness and planning either its government corporate, where I spend a lot of my time now, or state and local, I worked with lots of mayors and governors during COVID or individual, if our standard is less bad. And I mean that seriously, which is my measure of success is going to be whether my investments in preparedness stopped the what we call stupid deaths and disaster management, those that could have been avoided stop the what we call cascading losses. I think the other thing that helps and it helps me, someone just had a profile written by me, and it was a great question she asked, What’s the difference between paranoid and prepared? And I said, the prepared don’t believe in perfection. In other words, I think what happens is because we think we can solve everything, we then get paralyzed, or we become preppers are all the pieces that you can think of that you’re like, I have to solve everything 100% and really, what we have to get comfortable with is we can get pretty far with the same investments. There’ll be different challenges depending on if it’s a cyber-attack versus a pandemic. So I’m not a perfectionist by any stretch of the imagination and I tend to not stew, I’m not like I don’t I sort of make decisions when I’ve been and operational and move on.
Andy Slavitt 10:02
I wrote in my book, and I found that people who were looking for certain kind of perfection in our pandemic response would tend to lead us to impractical places. Sometimes we need to know what they thought, yeah. But that what we really needed was very quick assessment of risks, and a willingness to understand how to continue to cut down on risks, day by day as things went on. And as we learn more, and if you’re going to be wrong, to be wrong, small that wrong big and to be wrong in a way that you’re the first one to know when you’re wrong, because you saw what went into it, and you made the decision.
That’s exactly right. So I mean, the debates about, you know, that you’re in Asia about zero COVID just seemed to me, like, you know, insane, but also in the debates that we see on Twitter now about how much risk is tolerable, right? I mean, it’s just, it’s were the risk minimization stage, we’re not the risk elimination stage. And that’s going to be true of any kind of risk we have, you can’t have a perfect network or connected network without it having some vulnerability to breach. I oversaw the planning for the Boston Marathon, I had my previous before I went into federal government, I had been a state Homeland Security Adviser, and my previous work had been overseeing the Boston Marathon planning, then the I had left and then the attack happened. And I remember people asking me as a commentator, then well, is next year is marathon gonna be safe. And I would say, well, there’s no such thing as a safe marathon. There’s safer ones and there’s also failing safer, right? That you’re just trying to, in the same way, you’re trying to minimize risk on the what we call the left side of the boom, right? Before the thing happens, you’re trying to minimize the consequences on the right side of the boom, and that success as well. So just in what you’ve been working on 200,000 dead is by no means. good news. But compared to a million dead, it is better, right? And you just it’s hard to say that, but it’s certainly true.
Andy Slavitt 12:36
I want to maybe make it a good move from the conceptual theoretical, to find something practical, so that we could really dive into it. And it’s an area, you know, certainly an area you know a lot about, which is cybersecurity and cyber-attacks. So we now have, and I want to explore that in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and their potential response, Putin’s potential response to the west. And so she put yourself into the room was that where, you know, people in Homeland Security and the National Security Council and State Department and defense are meeting and talking about these things in these scenarios? Can you take us through like, what is probably going on and an insider’s view of how people are thinking about the potential cyber threat here in the US and what is probably being done about it?
Yeah, so there’s hopefully and this is one of the things I urge in my book, because I do think that the cybersecurity world tends to really focus on what I call left a boom on prevention, is it there’s an equal investments in prevention, and then response, so the prevention is going to be it’s your major networks in critical infrastructure are owned by the private sector here in the United States, we don’t have nationalized grid or anything like that. It’s all different private sectors, like Colonial Pipeline, which was attacked by ransomware. earlier last year. And because we’re very few regulations, you’re simply trying to provide both the technology and the transparency to the private sector.
Andy Slavitt 14:06
What are the biggest targets right now?
I would say oil, gas and water are the three that we worry about the most. And the reason why is because they are akin to blowing up pipelines. I mean, in other words, what and there’s a whole series of debates are trying to figure out why hasn’t that happened yet? Like, why hasn’t Russia done that yet? So those would be the networks in terms of our 18 critical infrastructures.
So those are things run by computers, run by grids and so you take down some of it?
You can pump I mean; we call it pumping blind, you can’t pump blind so we had a little taste of that with Colonial Pipeline, which is what the ransomware goes into their HR system. It was not, for everything we know the ransomware guys did not intend to bring the system down but because colonial pipe line had both their operations and their sort of what we call the back-end stuff, HR, communications, stuff like that, on the same network, when it gets attacked, they’re literally pumping blind. So they don’t have measurements of pressure of what’s going where you guys shut the whole thing down. And this was you’re really that’s our only option like no webbing that’s shut down for a week. So what they’re what you’re trying to do is not only try to protect on the breach issue, right, in terms of, can you protect colonial and it’s networks, bifurcate networks, so you have operations different than back end. But what you also want to do is, if that happens, what kind and this is where my book focuses on, what kind of skills investments, preparedness would you want, so that you have more than the on off switch as an option.
I just want to make me take this piece by piece if it’s okay with you. Because I think you see the whole picture. And I want to for those of us that don’t who wanted to understand this element by element, because you talked about before the disaster and after disaster, which seems like a logical way to think about it, and of course during but so just sticking with before, how would you assess the likelihood of a cyber-attack against one of those types of major infrastructure? I think you mentioned, power, gas and water.
Juliette Kayyem 16:22
So it’s so interesting, you ask that because the book gets into the sort of like our bad calculations on intelligence, so […] into the war. And I’m definitely as curious as anyone why this hasn’t happened yet, I would have put it over 50%, that the attempts would have been there to get one major network just to simply show his strength. I think as time goes on; I’m not saying that he won’t try. I think, much like military analysts may have overestimated Russia’s military capacity, we may have very much overestimated Russia’s capacity to bring down a system. So there’s the Biden ministration, was very smart leading into the war, in terms of what would be considered an attack. And they made a distinction between things that we call disruptive, which is just sort of your annoying, but totally manageable, you know, disruption of services, you know, going into look at services and stuff, and what the Biden administration and NATO importantly started to call disruptive cyber-attacks, those that would impact a mother’s capacity to get water, right? And I thought that was a very smart distinction, because you don’t want to go to war over a disruptive attack, or you want to say they’re all equal. But they also, you know, in terms of NATO and Article Five, and whether the NATO Allies would fight back if Putin did a cyber-attack, what NATO was clear on saying and the Biden ministration was, we’re not going to tell you the distinction between disruptive and destructive. I mean, we know there was that you were going to make a really great for you, Russia, and that may have had a disciplining effect.
Andy Slavitt 18:06
Do you believe that Russia and Putin has the ability to launch a cyber-attack successfully against one of those assets in the US?
I’m beginning to doubt it now. I’m just being as honest as anyone in the field would be. I believed it would be hard, because I think we have stronger defenses than then we’re giving credit to. But now I’m wondering, in the same way that I think we’re wondering about the Army’s capabilities.
Because you believe he would have done it already.
Yeah, especially now. If his goal is to have a, you know, sort of facing an exit, or it could have been worse exit is what I you know, how to interpret the mass atrocities in Ukraine right now, as he exits, it would seem that that would be a top agenda item for him. And it might not even be in the US it would have been in Ukraine. I mean, we haven’t seen a lot of activity in Ukraine or even in other former Russian countries.
Sure. Are the rules of the road from a homeland security standpoint clear when it comes to, say a cyber-attack. And whether or not that if it results in, you know, you mentioned the difference between something that’s just disruptive and something that is what was the other word you used?
Destructive. Destructive is your everyday annoyances.
Our rules of the road relative to thinking about Article Five, which you mentioned, is a cyber-attack that results in loss of life. Loss of major economic losses, is that considered covered by Article Five?
Yes, so the NATO has determined that a cyber-attack that had destructive right so in other words would have ended Critical Infrastructure no different than if you attacked pipelines with IEDs, that that would constitute an attack for purposes of invoking Article Five, what they’ve never defined, which I think is right, you want to leave it in the gray area is what is considered a cyber-attack. And that’s sort of the gray area that we’re in.
Andy Slavitt 20:21
And the reason, one of the reasons to drill down to the particular risk, because I think, yeah, the things you write about in your book, The panic, neglect cycle, all these things, they think they come home, when we think about these real examples, you know, the public can already feel the lack of willingness of Congress to invest in preparedness for public health. And we’re not done with the crisis yet.
It’s amazing. I mean, it’s, yeah, no, I mean, I think you’re exactly right. It’s sort of, you know, we get we can have debates about how we should be living now, with the virus. right? But the idea that we’re done, as reflected in the how the house is, and the GOP is funding COVID is just ridiculous. It’s just absolutely ridiculous.
So talk to us a little bit about during the disaster process itself, because you’ve talked about preparing, and you’ve talked about, recovering, responding, and which minimizes the event. But I want to talk about the period itself. I mean, and there’s a few things that come to mind. And you have some wonderful examples in your book. But you know, when I think about the oil spill, in the Exxon Valdez, in the country, getting fixated and every drop of oil leaking, and with nothing to do about I think about people trapped in a mind that we’re trying to rescue. And it feels like there is this chaos, where for a while, we’re not quite sure which end is up, you’re not quite sure who’s in charge. We’re not quite sure who’s accountable for what, and there may be, they may very well be plans. And those plans certainly help elucidate those things. But even sometimes, when there are plans disastrous that occur exactly the way you expect it to. And they had a disaster, has it been worse than it needs to be? And you look at what happened in New Orleans, we look at what happened in the pandemic, when we had a president who refused to take preparation seriously. But talk to us about the actual management of the disaster process.
Juliette Kayyem 22:26
Yeah, the most successful ones are when decision making is as close to the disaster as possible. So one of my favorite stories, I try to reframe a lot of stories in terms of how are we thinking about success failure. So one of my favorite stories that comes out of the book is the Fukushima nuclear facility. Of course, in 2011, there was an earthquake and then a tsunami, and then radiation leakage massive at Fukushima, so uninhabitable in Japan and 2011. So we think of Fukushima, we think and it created a global narrative, right? Nuclear Safety is not safe. All sorts of things are not safe related to nuclear energy. It made Japan rethink its energy sources, and it made Germany get out of nuclear, an issue that we’re debating today about its dependence on Russian energy. So it had geopolitical implications. But what most people didn’t know is that just down the street, there was a nuclear facility called Onagawa. Onagawa was, had trained to fail safely, unlike at Fukushima, where they just assumed nothing bad would happen. And that training meant that the people in the nuclear facility can make the decision to turn it off. That’s, it’s more technical than that, but essentially turn it off. And so they saw what was happening, that the water was coming in too fast that there was a tsunami, likely right behind it. And they turned off the nuclear facility in time. I should say Onagawa was not open either. It was severely damaged. But the difference between a closed nuclear facility with radiation leak, and a closed nuclear facility without is your standard of success. In terms of after the boom.
Andy Slavitt 24:14
Yeah, I think now I know what you mean, when you say about stupid catastrophes, which is you’re not calling people stupid. You’re just saying things that are unnecessary. There’s things that if we just did some small things, we would be prepared.
Yeah. So like, I’ll tell you so like stupid deaths, as I described in the book is a term actually coming from the Haitians who have experienced lots of deaths. And it’s a way to describe the deaths that occur. So think of an earthquake, you know, there’s going to be a group of people, tragically dead because of the earthquake, or because of the funds. So that’s true. But what Haiti has experienced and this was true of the tsunami as well, the major tsunami is that many of the deaths occur because of the lack of services that you’re able to deliver over time. So the Haitians called Stupid desert ones are the person survived the earthquake, they even survived a day or two, they then ended up dying because you couldn’t get food to them in time or water to them in time. And so when the Haitians talk about stupid deaths, it’s the ones that were avoidable. If only resources were available, or people were prepared. So just to give you numbers, 400,000 people died at the moment of the tsunami hitting about 400,000 people, we think it was across 13 countries. So it’s hard to tell. But we do know that another 250,000 people died from deprivation of resources that if we could have, you know, anticipated or been better prepared, might have been delivered better. So those are your what the Haitians called stupid deaths.
So the two leading influences on this show, true story, declared in our first episode, are Winston Churchill and Fred Rogers. And if you think about those two individuals from a disaster mindset, and you think about Churchill’s calls for strength, and focus much, much like by the way Zelenskyy is doing now in Ukraine. Incredibly trying circumstances where the outcome is uncertain. And then do you think about Fred Rogers call for helping one another and looking for the helpers, and indeed, being that helper, I wonder if you can talk to people who listen to the show, who I think part for those influences, around the human response in the disaster, what do you do in your neighborhood to be prepared, and there are people who want you know, I think they’re both technical answer to the question, do I have a phone tree? Do I keep gasoline, canisters, etc, to keep battery storage, generators, but there’s also a psychological component as well, which is, how to be mentally prepared, how not to let it turn you into a stark pessimist to feel the gray, feel the overhang that the livestock going to get any better or that we’re, we’re headed into some very anxious scary places?
Juliette Kayyem 26:41
Yeah. No, it isn’t. Part of that psychology is really hard, because some people are built differently. And people, you know, people have irrational fears or fears that don’t match the reality. That I guess I think what I would say, is that one of the reasons why I think I am generally have faith in humankind, despite every inclination and piece of evidence to suggest otherwise, is because you do see that people’s capacity to help one another and to respond, in particular in an immediate crisis, like a hurricane or an earthquake is actually quite remarkable to see. What do I mean by that? I just mean that, that our ability to care for ourselves in our family, will then give us an ability to care for our communities, and as importantly, relieve essential public safety resources. For those who may not have the luxuries we have in terms of being prepared for a disaster.
Do we have more resilience than we know? Are we more resilient than we think?
Juliette Kayyem 28:55
I think we are I mean; I think we can remain so here’s the some of the data in the book that that might be helpful, which is when there were some public health polling about people who were mentally and physically prepared for the early parts of the pandemic, not preppers, not crazy. So the word prepper does not appear in my book like not crazies, but just people who were mentally ready for it. Their favorite genre tended to be zombie and sort of apocalyptic movies. Why is that is because they could anticipate bad things happening. But also, as importantly, the lot of those people are in what they love about those movies is the capacity for humankind to adapt to a new threat, and still survive. So what we found in the zombie genre is where in the 50s and 40s and 50s, you know, the zombies always won. Right? Over time, we began to assert agency as human beings, so the new zombie genre is actually quite much more complicated. So thinking about ways in which because you’re anticipating the potential that something could go wrong, you are actually investing in, you know, whatever it is you’re going to need, right? The generator or water, people always ask me about water. So the general rule is one gallon per person per day, for three days. So I have a family of five. So that’s 15 gallons, I can do that. Now I have a number. Now I know what that looks like. Right? A
Andy Slavitt 30:33
What else would you tell us besides the water, what else?
I believe this is very true. I have split systems in my home, so that if one network goes down, the other one might survive it, part of it is we that came out of COVID is we had so many people on different systems. The third is what you referenced which is a communication plan that assumes that you can communicate, and one that assumes that you can’t, now my kids are older now. So mine is more where is everyone? And then where would we all go? If we couldn’t communicate? And where would be default systems and stuff.
So do you have those plans? Or do you have those plans right now and discuss with your family?
Yes, absolutely. Right. And so I have, and they were different, because of COVID. I had all my kids in the house. And then just in the last couple months, I’ve got two of them out of the house, I still have one at home. So all of that is going to, is going to change.
By the way, to clarify what the when you say split systems, you mean two computer networks?
Yeah, two different networks. It’s about the same price because you’re just using whatever but I do that, little things about cybersecurity, not here, but I don’t buy a lot of smart appliances. And people are worried about privacy and other stuff. I don’t get smart refrigerators or I just, you know, get up and see if you have milk, like all this stuff, like I mean, like, stop being so lazy. But any system that is any system in your home, that is tied to a larger system is a certain vulnerability. So you just have to be aware of that I have cash just to let people always ask me, I do have cash in my home. It’s hard for me to justify just given everything that the way that people pay stuff, but just imagine that you know, you won’t regret having a couple $100, if you can have it and once again, I do this so that if something bad happens, I’m relieving the pressure off of public safety. So I have three days of food and water.
Andy Slavitt 32:27
So I just want you to I have zero cryptocurrency.
I’m very proud of you. Me too.
Andy Slavitt 32:32
So if regular currency went away and like cryptocurrency was all we had, I’d be a proper.
What about Venmo? Do you do stuff like that?
Yeah, here’s my Venmo I texted my wife honey, I just got a haircut. Can you Venmo […]
I’m sure she loves you for that.
if our system like seriously, like if our phones went down like Zachary is people on the show. […] 20 was in Mexico on spring break. And he left his phone on his beach chair. I’m not going to give up today whether it was going to be a bad idea. But when we got back it was magically gone. And like without a phone these days, like you realize it’s every single thing and couldn’t get the ability to identify who he is that everything else is tied up in that. But you got water. You got phone tree, you got doing what people are. And of course, you forgot listening in the bubble podcast.
Of course, I’ve got everything I need.
You don’t really need food, you get water.
Yeah, I have food. I want medication. And so for people who listening who have specialized medications, you know, things like that. And once again, I am well aware, these are luxuries of people who have bandwidth. But why? And once again, for the people who have bandwidth. It’s our sort of obligation to take care of ourselves. Because when the really bad thing happens, it really is those sort of inexcusable if we can’t relieve some of that stress. So and the same thing with corporations and everything like that, just anticipate that I won’t define it just that the devil is coming. And there’s just no such thing as perfection will get you 80% of the way there. And that’s better than not.
Andy Slavitt 34:14
Well, this is great wisdom. And I really appreciate you coming on the bubble. You know, this feeling that you’re prepared for anything. It’s actually a really empowering feeling, and you describe it as agency. But you really feel better in those situations. So I think I don’t I don’t want people to hear what the message of a critic might be that this is about a world that’s got doom and gloom coming but really that it’s a world where we do have seem to have a lot more rapid, bad things happening. And then our best chance for not just to defeat them and minimize them, but for our own true happiness isn’t to put our heads in the sand and just pretend that they’re out there.
Yeah. I think that’s exactly right. And, and let’s just say reality gives us plenty of evidence to suggest that we will be better off with eyes wide open because it’s not going away.
Well, Julia, thank you for coming back in the bubble, please do it again.
I’m so thrilled. Well, thank you for having me about the book. It’s exciting and I’m just really grateful and thanks for everyone there.
It’s a great read
Thank you, Juliette. We’ve got an episode coming up on Wednesday on long COVID that I’m very excited about with two top scientists, Akiko Iwasaki and David Petrino. Then next week, Albert Bourla, the chief executive from Pfizer is back and we’re going to talk about the plans that are going to have to get decided right away around what kind of vaccinations we’re going to have in the fall. Will we have a specific vaccine for specific variants based upon the work that Albert’s and team have been doing in the lab. And then we’re gonna go deep with the state of Michigan on everything that happened during their COVID response with Joneigh Khaldun, who is a very amazing woman who was the Chief Health Officer for the State of Michigan, one of the USA Today’s Women of the Year. Trust me, you’re gonna want to hear this incredibly riveting episode, we get into issues of race we get into issues of power, justice and health, and it’s just an outstanding conversation. Look forward to talking to you Wednesday.
Thanks for listening to IN THE BUBBLE. Hope you rate us highly. We’re a production of Lemonada Media. Kryssy Pease and Alex McOwen produced the show. Our mix is by Ivan Kuraev and Veronica Rodriguez. Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie Wittels Wachs are the executive producers of the show, we love them dearly. Our theme was composed by Dan Molad and Oliver Hill, and additional music by Ivan Kuraev. You can find out more about our show on social media at @LemonadaMedia. And you can find me at @ASlavitt on Twitter or at @AndySlavitt on Instagram. If you like what you heard today, please tell your friends and please stay safe, share some joy and we will definitely get through this together.