Monday, April 30, 2018

Seeker/DNews and Vox on food waste: Student Sustainability Video Festival 76


For the final post of April 2018, I am briefly returning to the Student Sustainability Video Festival series, which I post when I'm busy traveling or grading papers. I left off at the series at Episode 75: Hurricane Andrew so today's entry is Episode 76.

The final video my students presented this semester was Seeker/DNews asking Why Do We Waste $1 Trillion Of Food A Year?

"Ugly" and deformed food often gets left in fields to rot. How can we help reduce this food waste?
If this really were purely a Student Sustainability Video Festival entry, I'd stop here.  Instead, I'm tying this entry to Vox on going green by reducing waste for Earth Day 2018 by posting another video from that same Vox series: Food waste is the world's dumbest problem.

Eat your peas! It’s the easiest way to fight climate change.
That's it for this series for now, as I've finished grading final exams and have posted the grades by now.  The series should return in August or September.

That's also it for April 2018.  Stay tuned for another drum corps May Day entry to start the new month.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Drink to 'Avengers: Infinity War' having the best opening weekend box office of 2018 so far


I concluded yesterday's National Superhero Day entry by waffling about when I'd bring up the subject again, writing "I'll have more on superhero movies next month when I plan on posting more about the Saturn Awards -- or maybe tomorrow when I post about how "Avengers: Infinity War" is doing at the box office."  I decided on the latter.  Variety reports ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Scores Second-Highest Domestic Opening of All Time ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Closes in on All-Time Domestic Weekend Record.
The Marvel powerhouse opened in North America with $245 million from 4,474 locations, landing it the second-highest domestic debut of all time. The title of biggest opening ever still belongs to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which bowed with $248 million in 2015 and went on to make over $936.6 million domestically.

UPDATED: The Marvel powerhouse looks to open in North America with $250 million from 4,474 locations, which would land it the highest domestic debut of all time. This number could fluctuate when an official tally comes in on Monday.

That would be enough to surpass previous title holder “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which bowed with $248 million in 2015 and went on to make over $936.6 million domestically.

“Infinity War” joins the company of “The Force Awakens,” “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Jurassic World,” “The Avengers” and “Black Panther” as one of six films in history to cross the $200 million mark in their debuts.

The latest superhero title did score the highest opening for a Marvel film, surpassing the original “Avengers'” opening of $207.4 million. Its sequel, “Age of Ultron,” launched with $191 million.
UPDATED (again!): Monday Morning, Variety confirmed ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Officially Lands Biggest Box Office Opening of All Time.
Though final domestic numbers won’t be confirmed until mid-Monday, its domestic total exceeded expectations for a North American launch of $258.2 million. Internationally, it secured $382.7 million for a global tally of $640.9 million. Initial projections on Sunday showed $250 million in North America, along with $380 million internationally.

Those numbers easily secured Marvel’s latest title the biggest domestic and global debuts of all time. The previous domestic record-holder was “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which bowed with $248 million in 2015. “Infinity War” also topped “The Fate of the Furious'” global opening record of $542 million. The international opening of $382.7 million, which doesn’t include China, represents the second-highest international debut ever. “Fate of the Furious” still holds the top spot with $443 million, including $185 million in China.
"Black Panther" being the box office leader only lasted two months.  I don't think Disney is the least bit upset about that.  At this rate, both films will reach $700 million at the North American box office with "Infinity War" surpassing both that level and "Black Panther" by tens of millions of dollars  $750 million is not out of the question.  I don't expect that "Solo," this year's Star Wars movie, will fare as well, making this the first year in four years that a Star Wars film is not the box office champion.  I still think it will be a hit, but $350-400 million isn't even in "Rogue One" territory.  Disney won't be upset about that, either.

The box office performance of "Infinity War" deserves a drink.  Tipsy Bartender just happens to have four of them from the very first movie in the series six years ago: The Avengers Cocktails.

These cocktails are based on these four Avengers; The Hulk, Thor, Iron Man and Captain America.
...
THE AVENGERS COCKTAILS

THE HULK
1 part Absinthe
1 part Midori
3 parts Mountain Dew

THOR: GOD OF THUNDER
1 part Berry Liqueur
1 part Mead
1 part Lingonberry Vodka

IRON MAN
1 part Grenadine
1 part Drambuie
2 parts Orange Juice
1 part Scotch

CAPTAIN AMERICA
1 part Grenadine
1 part Blue Curacao
1 part Creme de Cacao
Drink up to superheroes!

Stay tuned for the last post of the month, which should post at 8:00 P.M. EDT tomorrow.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Michigan and Ohio State play dueling superhero halftime shows for National Superhero Day


Happy National Superhero Day!  To celebrate, I'm sharing two shows by arch-rival university marching bands, Michigan and Ohio State, from the same month, November 2016, on the same theme, superheroes.

First, my graduate alma mater, "Superheros" - November 19, 2016 - The Michigan Marching Band.

The Michigan Marching Band halftime performance: "Superheros" Marvel Studio Theme / Batman Theme (Elfman) X Men First Class Theme / Spider Man Superman / Ooh Child / Shoop / Sexy Sax Man Captain America March / Wonderwoman Theme / I Need a Hero
Next, Michigan's arch-rival, OSUMB Halftime Show in HD: Superheroes Tribute- Ohio State vs. Nebraska (11/5/16).

WOW! Best halftime show yet brought to you by BuckeyeTV, Channel 19. Ohio State Marching Band presents, "Superheroes" for the Halftime Show, Ohio State vs. Nebraska on November 5th, 2016.
...
Drill Design: Dr. Christopher Hoch Music Arrangers: John Brennan, Mark Reynolds Title from Avengers: Age of Ultron Caps Promise from Captain America Oscorp Tower and Main Title from The Amazing Spider-Man Theme from Man of Steel
Between the two shows, that's a pretty complete selection of movie superheroes from both DC and Marvel.

I'll have more on superhero movies next month when I plan on posting more about the Saturn Awards -- or maybe tomorrow when I post about how "Avengers: Infinity War" is doing at the box office.  Either way, stay tuned.

ETA: Both in honor of 'Avengers: Infinity War' having the best opening weekend box office of 2018 so far and my using it at my Dreamwidth journal as a preview of next year's post, here's Michigan State's band making the Avengers logo.  Sorry, I couldn't find a good image of the U of M band from this show other than from the preview of the video above.  At least this photo was from a show at Michigan Stadium.


Avengers assemble!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Holidays for the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News on Arbor Day


Happy Flashback Friday on Arbor Day!*  As I wrote yesterday, "the next retrospective will be about an ever popular topic at this blog, holidays."  In fact, it's such a popular topic that I've already written two retrospectives on holiday-adjacent themes, Samantha Bee helps update 'Vox on Puerto Rico statehood and John Oliver on territories,' the fourth most read entry of the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News, which included A 51st star for Puerto Rico on Flag Day, a holiday entry, and Daylight Saving Time (sucks) for the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News, a topic I've included in Holidays for the sixth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News last year.  Yes, as the image I used to illustrate this entry shows, I love holidays!


The most read holiday entry I am listing for today's retrospective is Seth Meyers and John Oliver on coal and hawks for Cut Your Energy Costs Day and Save the Eagles Day posted January 10, 2018.  It was the tenth most read entry during the seventh year of this blog and the eighth most read entry actually posted during the previous blogging year with 4704 default and 4816 raw page views.  It was also the most read entry posted during January 2018 with 4746 raw page views and the second mooverall with 4705 default page views. It ended the month in ninth on the all time list, passing The Michigan recount is on!! with 4155 page views between 9 A.M and Noon on January 12, 2018 and A 51st star for Puerto Rico on Flag Day with 4241 page views between 3:00 P.M. and 4:30 P.M. that same day.  It fell out of the all-time top ten on February 5, 2018 when John Oliver on stadiums and NFL cheerleaders for Super Bowl Sunday passed it.  Sic transit gloria mundi!

Follow over the jump for the rest of the previous blogging year's popular entries about holidays.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

John Oliver helps update 'The tax bill and the U.S. economy in 2018 and beyond,' a top post of the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News


Happy Throwback Thursday!  To celebrate, I am following through with my promise in Football and the Super Bowl for the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News to post an update on the tax bill.  That's because the seventh most read entry of last year was The tax bill and the U.S. economy in 2018 and beyond from December 30, 2017.  It earned 7094 default page views and 7313 raw page views, enough to make it the fourth most read entry actually posted during the seventh year of the blog.

Before I explain how it got there, along with an update on its predictions, I'm doing the same thing I did for Samantha Bee helps update 'Vox on Puerto Rico statehood and John Oliver on territories,' the fourth most read entry of the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News, include an update from an Emmy-winning variety talk show host.  In this case, it's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on Corporate Taxes.

Many of America’s largest corporations shift a surprising portion of their profits overseas to avoid paying taxes. Even more surprisingly, that’s a legal thing to do.
That's even more pointed than John Oliver and FiveThirtyEight on Tax Day and that's saying something!  Also, in case my readers missed it, here is a diagram of a double Irish with a Dutch sandwich.


Clear as mud, but it certainly avoids U.S. taxes.

Follow over the jump for the stories describing how this entry rose into the all-time top ten, how others reacted to it, and how its predictions have fared so far.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Football and the Super Bowl for the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News


Those among my readers who have been both waiting for the next retrospective of last year's posts and paying attention to what I've written about the next one may have noticed a discrepancy in which one I would write next.  In April 11's Daylight Saving Time (sucks) for the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News, I wrote "I expect I will be writing about my predictions about the tax bill."  I changed my mind in April 19's Vox and The Dodo explain how Trump's border wall disrupts nature and is bad for animals, when I responded to my comment in Tax Marches in Washington D.C., Palm Beach, and elsewhere to "stay tuned for a retrospective about the top posts of the previous blogging year," "I was planning on looking back at popular posts about football and the Super Bowl from last year."  That's because the raw and default page views disagree on which was the more read entry of last year and I'm exploiting that for another purpose, timing the update of the tax bill post so that it will be more current when I share it later.

According to raw page views, John Oliver on stadiums and NFL cheerleaders for Super Bowl Sunday, posted February 4, 2018 was the seventh most read entry of the seventh year of this blog, the sixth most read actually written last blogging year with 7222 raw page views.  However, according to default page views, which are what show up on my dashboard for the year, not what shows up by the post when I look post-by-post, it's the sixth most read entry of last year, the fifth most read actually written last blogging year with 7168 default views.  Normally, I go by raw page views for these end of year retrospectives, but today, I decided to use the default views.  It's my blog; I can do what I want so long as I explain my methods and reasoning.

This entry had 56 page views before being shared at the Join the Coffee Party Movement Facebook page.  It earned 3660+ page views in the first two hours and ~6650 in the first 24 hours after being shared.  It passed "Seth Meyers and John Oliver on coal and hawks for Cut Your Energy Costs Day and Save the Eagles Day" with 4704 page views between midnight and 4:00 A.M. and both "Michigan recount still on as Trump fails to stop it while Schuette still trying" with 4892 page views and "Fall back as 'Last Week Tonight' asks 'how is this still a thing?'" with 4915 page views between 4:00 and 6:00 A.M.  It then passed "John Oliver on feelings over facts and Colbert on Trumpiness" with 6059 page views between 2:00 and 4:00 P.M. to rank seventh.  It contributed to 2890 page views to the blog the hour it was shared and 10,681 page views the day it was shared.  It eventually passed "Trump thinks Sanders is the right enemy" to reach sixth.  It was also the second most read entry of February 2018 with 7170 default and 7206 raw page views as well as the second most popular actually posted that month.

It is currently in ninth place, having been passed by Facebook knows your political affiliation and much more, Update to 'Vox explains how proportional representation can solve gerrymandering and help minor parties,' the second most read entry for the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News, plus minor parties, and Update to 'Suit against John Oliver and HBO dismissed,' top post for the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News.

Follow over the jump for two more popular posts about football that became widely read last year.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A recycled song and drink for a late Earth Day


Last year, I posted Drink to a late drum corps Earth Day.  Today, I'm sharing a modified entry I originally posted at Booman Tribune, A song and drink for Earth Day.  I decided to do something lighter over there, than Vox on going green by reducing waste for Earth Day 2018.  The readers over there and I enjoyed it so much I decided to recycle here now instead of saving it for next year.  I'm sure I can figure out something different next Earth Day.

For the song, watch Florence and the Machine turn "So Big, So Blue, So Beautiful" into an environmental anthem.

Live version of their song for a climate change event
For the drink, I'm sharing Nuptini Earth Day Cocktail.

For Earth Day, Nuptini teams up with Glass Dharma to bring you a cocktail that's as eco-friendly as it is delicious!
Here's to a sustainable celebration!

Monday, April 23, 2018

'Westworld' characters quoting Shakespeare for National Talk Like Shakespeare Day


Happy Shakespeare's Birthday, which National Day Calendar lists as National Talk Like Shakespeare Day.  I was originally going to celebrate it as "Blue Stars 'Starcrossed' for a drum corps Shakespeare's birthday," but that was before I substituted A reminder of why I write this blog for a post about the return of "Westworld."*  Since season one was full of Shakespeare quotes and today is about talking like the Bard of Stratford, I've decided to write about "Westworld" characters quoting today' birthday boy to make up for not writing about the best science fiction television show of 2016 on Saturday.

Peter Abernathy begins quoting Shakespeare in Episode 1, "The Original."  Here he is with Dolores, apparently breaking down, but really becoming sentient.


According to the Westworld Wiki, he quotes Shakespeare twice.  The first is when he says "Hell is empty and all the devils are here."  That's from "The Tempest."  Next are the words he whispers to Dolores, which can't be heard in this clip, but which Dolores reveals later are "These violent delights have violent ends."  That line is from "Romeo and Juliet," and they are repeated throughout the series.  Here is Dolores telling Maeve the line in Episode 2.


Returning to Episode 1, Peter Abernathy is brought in to be examined by Dr. Robert Ford and Bernard Lowe after his apparent malfunction.  There, he quotes two more Shakespeare plays.  He begins with King Lear when he says "When we are born, we cry we are come to this great stage of fools."


He then alludes to "Romeo and Juliet" again before quoting "Henry IV" then returning to "King Lear."  Listen as he swears revenge.


"A rose is a rose is a rose" is actually by Gertrude Stein, but she was alluding to Juliet's line from "Romeo and Juliet," "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."  "By most mechanical and dirty hand" comes from "Henry IV, Part II."  When spoken by a robot, and combined with "I will have such revenges on you both that all the world shall — I will do such things, — what they are, yet I know not, — but they shall be the terrors of the earth" from "King Lear," it makes for a eerily appropriate threat.

Of course, the hosts are Dr. Ford's creations and he is the one who is actually fond of Shakespeare.**  Follow over the jump for his quoting of the Bard.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Vox on going green by reducing waste for Earth Day 2018


Happy Earth Day!  To celebrate, I'm sharing two videos Vox created last year about the impact of trash on the environment, how people can reduce it, and how people can be persuaded to do so.  The first is Going green shouldn't be this hard.

Going green does not need to be a sacrifice, either for us as individuals or for businesses, governments and the economy.
The second video is from the same series and calls back to the previous one at the end, Takeout creates a lot of trash. It doesn't have to.*

Our single-use items aren't helping the fight against climate change but there are easy hacks to reduce and reuse. Climate Lab is produced by the University of California in partnership with Vox.

Hosted by conservation scientist Dr. M. Sanjayan, the videos explore the surprising elements of our lives that contribute to climate change and the groundbreaking work being done to fight back. Featuring conversations with experts, scientists, thought leaders and activists, the series demystifies topics like nuclear power, food waste and online shopping to make them more approachable and actionable for those who want to do their part. Sanjayan is an alum of UC Santa Cruz, a Visiting Researcher at UCLA and the CEO of Conservation International.
Both videos show ways to reduce our impact through changes in personal behavior, business practices, and government policy.**  All of them are worth doing, not just today, but throughout the year.  Remember, every day is Earth Day.

*The entire series of nine episodes is available at the link: Climate Lab with the description "Conservation scientist and UCLA visiting researcher Dr. M. Sanjayan explores the surprising ways we can change how we think and act about climate change."

**Think of these actions as a kind of technology.  That way they fit in the equation I=P*A*T, where I is impact, P is population, A is affluence, and T is technology.  Only technology can reduce the effects of increasing population and affluence and these behaviors counteract affluence.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

A reminder of why I write this blog


I was planning on writing about the return of "Westworld" tomorrow and "The Handmaid's Tale" Wednesday, but I'm not feeling it.  Instead, I decided to share two passages from my application to return as a board member of Coffee Party USA in which I mention this blog.  I think that's more important and it won't take much energy; writing that application took a lot out of me.  Besides, I'm an environmentalist; I recycle.

"I have been advocating for all aspects of sustainability, viable natural environments, nurturing communities, and sufficient economies, on my blog Crazy Eddie's Motie News since 2011.  There, I educate my readers on these topics and hope to inspire them to work for an equitable social environment, sustainable economic development, and a sustainable natural and built environment."  I also "discuss politics, science, technology, the environment, education, and entertainment."

I've been writing a lot about politics and entertainment lately, but it has been in the service of pointing out what can go wrong and right with our futures.  It's not as off-topic as it may seem, even when I'm in an "I can't be all DOOM all the time" mood.  When I look like I have been wandering off the path, my readers need to remind me about what my purpose really is here by looking at those sentences I wrote for the Coffee Party.  I'll either get back on the path or I'll point out how I'm really on another one that takes my readers and me to the same destination I've been heading to all along.

Stay tuned for an Earth Day post tomorrow and something about Shakespeare's birthday on Monday.  I might get around to "Westworld" and "The Handmaid's Tale" on Tuesday.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Boehner and Schumer on federal decriminalization of marijuana for 4/20/18


It's April 20, which for the past three years I've used to update my readers on the status of marijuana legalization.  This year, two well-known politicians have come out in favor of the trend.  The first is Former Speaker John Boehner On Legalizing Marijuana, who appeared on CNBC April 13th.

Former House Speaker John Boehner speaks about why he now supports the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana and Kevin Murphy, Acreage Holdings CEO, explains how the investment company is working to further the legal cannabis industry.
The second was Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who told VICE News on HBO yesterday why he is introducing a bill that decriminalizes marijuana.

The Minority Leader of the Senate is making it official the day before 4/20: He’s down with legal weed.
In an exclusive interview with VICE News, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) confirmed he is putting his name on legislation that he said is aimed at “decriminalizing” marijuana at the federal level.
For Schumer, this is a shift. While he has backed medical marijuana and the rights of states to experiment with legal sales of pot, what he is proposing is a seismic shift in federal drug policy.
“Ultimately, it’s the right thing to do. Freedom. If smoking marijuana doesn’t hurt anybody else, why shouldn’t we allow people to do it and not make it criminal?” Schumer said.
This news deserves a drink.  Here's a Marijuana Milkshake Shot from Tipsy Bartender.

These little shots are creamy, fruity, and super delicious!
As I wrote last year and the year before, "Here's a toast to marijuana legalization following in the tracks of marriage equality!"

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Vox and The Dodo explain how Trump's border wall disrupts nature and is bad for animals


When I wrote yesterday "stay tuned for a retrospective about the top posts of the previous blogging year," I was planning on looking back at popular posts about football and the Super Bowl from last year.  Instead, I have a different kind of throwback entry, a revisit of last year's Trump's border wall is an environmental disaster, too.  That entry had an illustration from Vox.  This one has a video from the same source: How border walls disrupt nature.

The environmental impact of Trump's wall, explained.
...
When we talk about the consequences of the proposed wall at the border of the US and Mexico, we usually think in terms of people. But along the political divide are rich pockets of biodiversity, with dwindling populations of species that rely on the ability to move back and forth across the border.
Under the 2005 REAL ID act, the Department of Homeland Security doesn't have to comply with various environmental laws that might otherwise slow or halt construction in a sensitive area. Laws like the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act or the Migratory Bird Treaty Act — none of those apply to border wall construction.
Several parcels of land, including the National Butterfly Center, a state park, and other areas in the federal wildlife refuge system — are still threatened by wall construction. It could still be years before construction starts in some of these areas — but there’s still a lot we don’t know about the full impact of barriers on biodiversity.
Vox has more on this issue in Congress is quietly letting Trump bulldoze a butterfly refuge to build a border wall.  It includes one bit of good news, an exemption for the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, but bad news for all the places listed in the video description.

Vox's video and story came out this year.  Last year, The Dodo had a briefer and more poignant video: Trump's Wall Would Be Awful For Animals.

Trump's proposal for a concrete and cement wall along the U.S. - Mexico border doesn't account for the impact it would have on animals in the region.
Vox may make its viewers think about the issue, but The Dodo makes its viewers feel for the animals.  I think people need both to understand the issue.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Tax Marches in Washington D.C., Palm Beach, and elsewhere


I explained why I posted R.I.P. Art Bell instead of a report on the Tax March yesterday.
[T]wo events happened that convinced me to postpone that entry.  First, the D.C. Tax March is today, so I'll wait for tonight's videos to be uploaded so I can write about them tomorrow.
I didn't see any videos, but I did find this passage in Business Insider's Tax Day became one of 2018's biggest media wars, as the GOP and Democrats battled over the new tax law.
Progressive activist groups, including former Missouri Senate candidate Jason Kander's Let America Vote, staged a rally on the Capitol's east lawn, where Democratic lawmakers banged their fists and decried the law as inequitable and unjust.

The group Tax March put on the rally that featured top Democrats like Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman and Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.

"The American people's instincts on this bill were exactly right when they knew from the beginning that this thing stunk," Van Hollen said in reference to fluctuating poll numbers about the tax law's approval ratings.
Bustle listed all of the speakers and noted that all but two were Democratic (or at least Democratic-aligned in the case of Sanders) lawmakers.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
Sen. Bernie Sanders
Sen. Chris Van Hollen
Rep. Maxine Waters
Rep. Keith Ellison
Rep. Jamie Raskin
Rep. Joseph Crowley
Rep. Lloyd Doggett
Sister Simone Campbell of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
Elena Hung of Little Lobbyists
While Republicans are struggling to campaign on the tax bill, Democrats seem to have more success campaigning against it.

Follow over the jump for reports from Tax Marches around the country.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

R.I.P. Art Bell


I wrote that "I plan on posting about the Tax Day protest in West Palm Beach, Florida, home of Mar-a-Lago, tomorrow" at the end of Watch reports on March for Science 2018 from four U.S. cities, but two events happened that convinced me to postpone that entry.  First, the D.C. Tax March is today, so I'll wait for tonight's videos to be uploaded so I can write about them tomorrow.  Second, Wochit News reported Radio Personality Art Bell Passes Away at 72.

Art Bell, the pioneering host of 'Coast to Coast AM' radio show, has passed away at the age of 72. The heavily syndicated late-night radio program themed around the paranormal and all manners of wild conspiracy theories. Founded in 1988, the show ran until Bell retired in 2007. According to reports, Bell died at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada this week. No cause of death has been announced, and an autopsy will be done in the upcoming week to learn more.
I first mentioned Art Bell on this blog six years ago in Projection is the Right's favorite defense mechanism.
I used to give out a mock award on the USENET group dedicated to Art Bell's Coast to Coast called the Green Lantern Award for Projection. It might be worth reviving that award, along with Cleopatra Queen of Denial, Brain of Stone, and others.
I mentioned Art Bell's USENET fan group later that same year in Sustainability through the looking glass with Jeff Wattrick of Wonkette.
Looks like Jeff's got Climate Change crossed with HAARP. Now, that's something I hadn't seen before, but it's been a while since I've read alt.fan.art-bell on USENET.
Yes, that kind of conspiracy theory was par for the course on "Coast to Coast AM."  It was even more so on the USENET group for his fans.  I made that clear in Recycled comments about the men's rights movement.
I came to realize that the core posters on soc.men are nearly as big a bunch of loons as the collection of kooks who post to alt.fan.art-bell, with the distinction that the garrison of Fort Machismo actually work together almost as well as the saucerheads of alt.astronomy. That combination makes the soc.fr00ts almost dangerous.
No, I did not think highly of Art Bell's online fans.  That doesn't mean I thought poorly of Art himself, despite his program being a showcase for fringe ideas, especially of the ones I mock under the doom label.  That's because he and his successor George Noory also had the late William Strauss and the still-living Neil Howe, authors of "The Fourth Turning," which I also blog about under the hedgehog, on as repeat guests.  I was grateful for his giving their cyclical concept of history a forum, enough so to forgive the rest of his kookery, if not that of his guests and fans.

By the way Art Bell wasn't the only conspiracy theorist I followed who died on Apophis DayMichael Ruppert did as well, although it wasn't on a Friday in 2014.

Enough eulogizing.  It's time for the music.  I dedicate Crystal Gayle's Midnight in the Desert, the theme song to Art Bell's radio shows, to him.


For his fans, I offer a song by a band I have an ambivalent opinion of, just like Art Bell, Muse.  On the one hand, they're brilliant musicians.  On the other, they're complete tinfoil-hat wearing kooks.  Here is a song about a notorious conspiracy theory, MK Ultra, which is about CIA mind controlArt Bell even had a show about it.  Really.


The next time I post this, it will likely be the UCLA Band version.  I can never get too far away from movies or marching band with my music.

Finally, R.I.P. Art Bell.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Watch reports on March for Science 2018 from four U.S. cities


It's time to report on March for Science 2018.  While it wasn't as big as last year, there was still a good turnout.

One of the sponsors, The Nature Conservancy depicted the demonstration in Washington, D.C.

We were a proud sponsor of this year’s March for Science on April 14th. Here’s a look at the Washington, DC march.
New Scientist posted a montage with images from several locations.

The March for Science returned on 14 April with rallies around the globe in support of science-based policies.
That was a good street-level view of the march itself.

Follow over the jump for video reports from New York and California.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Tax March today


It's a weekend of resistance as yesterday was the March for Science and today is the Tax March.  For more on the event, here is Tax March 2018

Since last year's Tax March, Donald Trump has passed massive tax cuts for the rich, slashed funding for vital programs, and still failed to release his tax returns. So, we’re not letting up. We’re fighting back.
Tax March doesn't just demonstrate during tax season.  Earlier this year, they held town halls and other events, as Repeal the TrumpTax Tour shows.

Join us in the fight against tax cuts for the rich at the expense of the middle class.
Hello Giggles has more.
The events have been organized by Tax March, which organized protests in 2017 demanding that President Donald Trump release his tax returns. Unlike last year, this year’s marches will focus on speaking out against the new tax law and the ways it benefits the rich. The Tax March movement’s website states that “any reform to the tax code should be about closing loopholes for the wealthy and big corporations and building an economy that invests in working families”

To find a march near you, you can visit Tax March’s events page and enter your zip code. With more than 100 demonstrations taking place across the country from April 13th to April 17th, it’s likely that you’ll find a protest nearby.
I'd be there, but like yesterday's March for Science, I have a prior commitment, the 2018 State Endorsement Convention for the Michigan Democratic Party.  Even if it weren't for that, The Weather Channel's Winter Storm Xanto is hitting the area with rain, freezing rain, and sleet.  I wouldn't march in that and I might not even drive the 22 miles to Cobo Hall after the storm is over.  At least I was able to hold my field trip yesterday, as the weather was merely miserable, not dangerous.

That written, may at least some of my readers march in my place.  Resist!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

March for Science 2018


Today is the March for Science 2.0.  I won't be participating because I have a field trip for my geology class scheduled today.  The field trip will include a lot of walking, so I'll be marching for science in a different way.*

I have three videos on the demonstration with the first and most general from Wochit Politics: March For Science Returns Saturday In 200 Cities.

Saturday marks the second annual March for Science in 200-plus locations around the world. The March for Science began last year in response to the Trump administration's handling of science.
“Given that last year it was the early months of the Trump administration, there was more anxiety there. But the ultimate goals of building a community of science advocates and influencing policy with science are still the driving forces” [said] David Kanter, organizer of the New York City march.
Last year, thousands marched in hundreds of cities.
“Scientists have always been politically active, even when they don’t recognize it as such. Science has a grassroots movement that most of us recognize now." Aaron Huertas, a leader of the March.
Voice of America News has a more focused report in Rough Year in Science Policy Brings Researchers Back to March.

On Saturday, researchers who say they are fed up with politicians ignoring science will once again take to the streets in Washington and hundreds of cities around the world. The second March for Science takes place after a turbulent year in science policy under the Trump administration. VOA's Steve Baragona has more.
That's surprisingly optimistic, although it is from an information organ of the U.S. Government; they might have reason to be more positive than is warranted.

To balance it out, here is a video from The Nature Conservancy promoting the March for Science.

March with The Nature Conservancy at one of the many marches happening across the world.
...
From rivers that give us water to lands that nourish our bodies. And when we are guided by science, we have the tools to ensure that people and nature don’t just survive together, they thrive.
I'd love to, but I have a previous engagement.  May at least some of my readers march in my place.

This won't be the only protest this weekend.  Tomorrow is the day of the Tax March.  Resist!

*That trip may be cancelled because of a winter storm (Xanto, according to The Weather Channel), that is likely to bring freezing rain over much of the state, which means I still won't march.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Seeker/DNews on asteroids for Apophis Day 2018


Once again, it's Apophis Day, when I observe the perils of space.  I'm having the same issues with finding videos for today that I did for the seventh anniversary of Fukushima -- too many conspiracy theories about asteroid near misses -- so I'm responding the same way by using older videos from Seeker/DNews.

I begin with How Often Do Asteroids Almost Hit Earth?

Early this week, an asteroid flew right by the Earth, but didn’t hit us. How common is it for objects to fly this close to Earth? Turns out, it’s a lot more common than you’d think.
It was seeing conspiracy theory videos about an asteroid fly-by in February that made me decide to turn to a reliable source that actually paid attention to the science.

A few months later, Seeker/DNews uploaded What Happens When A Meteor Strikes Earth?

Most of the near earth objects that approach Earth burn up in our atmosphere. What happens to the ones that don’t?
Who needs alarmism when the truth is scary enough?

Finally, here is some cool news from last year about an asteroid that isn't going to hit Earth or be seen ever again, An Interstellar Asteroid Just Flew Past Earth, Here’s What You Need to Know.

In October, astronomers observed an interstellar asteroid for the first time. We talked to one of the first to study it, and here’s everything they’ve learned in the months since.
The first thing that struck me is that it looked like the fictional interstellar spacecraft Rama.  Fortunately, it's no such thing.

Enough DOOM.  Tomorrow is another March for Science.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Science fact and science fiction for Yuri's Night 2018


Happy Yuri's Night!  As I wrote two years, this is the day of the year when I celebrate the promise of space.

I begin by looking backwards, as Amy Shira Teitel of Vintage Space explains how Ivan Ivanovich Cleared the Way for Yuri Gagarin.


Remember, the reason that it's Yuri's Night on April 12th is that this is the date when Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space (in fact, he was the first to orbit the Earth).

As the image I used to illustrate this entry shows, April 12th is also important for the U.S. space program, as it was the date of the first shuttle launch.  Now that the shuttle has been retired, the one on display in Los Angeles has become a site of revelry.  Watch Yuri's Night LA 2018 Highlights to see people partying under the shuttle Endeavor.

Highlights from the Yuri's Night event at the California Science Center on April 7, 2018.
It wasn't just at the party that space science met science fiction.  TMRO's SpacePod: Yuri's Night 2018, SciFi and The Expanse promoted the event with the organizer of Yuri's Night in Los Angeles and a writer for the Hugo-winning show "The Expanse."

Athena is joined by Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides and Hallie Lambert to talk Yuri's Night, SciFi and The Expanse. And remember, if there is no Yuri's Night in your area, *you* can start one up! Head over to YurisNight.net to find out how you can start a local party in your area.
That's enough for the promise of space for now.  Stay tuned for an entry about Apophis Day, when I observe the perils of space.  Asteroids!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Daylight Saving Time (sucks) for the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News


I concluded Samantha Bee helps update 'Vox on Puerto Rico statehood and John Oliver on territories,' the fourth most read entry of the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News by promising that "the next retrospective, which I plan on posting next week, will be about how much people think Daylight Saving Time sucks.  Yes, really."  That's because two posts that reached the all-time top ten and were among the top ten entries of the seventh year of the blog were about the drawbacks of Daylight Saving Time.  I shared both at the Join the Coffee Party Movement Facebook page with little more description than "Daylight Saving Time sucks, amirite?"   Thousands of readers agreed with that sentiment.

The fifth most read entry during the seventh year of the blog and the second most read from the back catalog was Spring ahead, although it's probably not good for you from March 12, 2017, which was also the second most read entry during March 2018.  It had 395 raw views before being shared at the Join the Coffee Party Movement Facebook page and earned 8243 page views during March 2017.  That was also the total default page views for the entry over its lifetime, while it had 8638 total raw page views as of March 20, 2018.  This post helped earn 9680 page views to the blog the day it was shared.  That pushed the monthly total over the monthly page goal on March 11, 2018.

I made a mistake in Update to 'Doctors to Congress: Fund gun violence research at the CDC and NIH,' the third most read entry of the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News. I wrote that Instructions on how to deal with an active shooter knocked John Oliver on feelings over facts and Colbert on Trumpiness out of the top ten.  That was wrong.  It pushed Fall back as 'Last Week Tonight' asks 'how is this still a thing?'Spring ahead, although it's probably not good for you kicked out John Oliver on feelings over facts and Colbert on Trumpiness instead.  Too bad, as it would have been fitting for one Daylight Saving Time entry to replace another.  Either way, sic transit gloria mundi.

Since March 20, 2018, it has fallen to seventh place on the all-time list after being passed by Update to 'Vox explains how proportional representation can solve gerrymandering and help minor parties,' the second most read entry for the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News, plus minor parties and Facebook knows your political affiliation and much more.

The second top post about Daylight Saving Time and its issues was Fall back as 'Last Week Tonight' asks 'how is this still a thing?' from November 5, 2017.  It was the ninth most read post of the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News and the seventh most read entry actually posted during the seventh year of the blog with 4915 default and 5044 raw page views as of March 20, 2018.  This post had 153 default and 161 raw page views before being shared at the Join the Coffee Party Movement Facebook page.  It earned 1716 page views in the first two hours and ~4500 total in the first 24 hours after being shared.  It passed 'The Handmaid's Tale' sweeps last night of Emmys to win five awards with 3658 page views between 9 and 10 A.M. on 11/7/17 to enter the all-time top ten.  It passed "Federal judge orders Michigan recount to begin today" from December 5, 2016 with 3875 default page views to reach ninth about 11 A.M.  It reached sixth before 4 P.M.  It passed "Michigan recount still on as Trump fails to stop it while Schuette still trying" to reach fifth on November 9th.

As I wrote above, Instructions on how to deal with an active shooter knocked it out of the top ten early in March 2018.  It was a good four months.

I'll have the next retrospective next week.  I expect I will be writing about my predictions about the tax bill.   I don't know if any other posts will fit the theme.  In the meantime, stay tuned for entries about Yuri's Night and Apophis Day.

Follow over the jump for links to previous retrospectives about holidays, the back catalog, and earlier entries in this series.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Toys R Us closing down and Kmart may follow


Yesterday, I observed that "K-Mart is closing stores and Toys R Us is going out of business.  Those are definitely topics for another day."  Today is that day.

I begin with CNBC's The Rise And Fall Of Toys R Us.

One of the most famous toy stores Toys R Us is closing its doors for good.
Oh, look, Bain Capital is involved with a failed toy store chain.  Where have I seen that before?*


Of course, I can't be all DOOM all the time, so here is Jimmy Kimmel having some fun with the bad news as Geoffrey the Giraffe Despondent Over Toys 'R' Us Closing.

Toys 'R' Us is going out of business and is closing all 735 of their stores. There are many people who are upset about this, including Geoffrey the Giraffe who stopped by the studio to share his feelings on the situation.
Go home, Geoffrey.  You're drunk.

Follow over the jump for Kmart's present and possible future and a footnote about KB Toys and Toys R Us.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Vox on America's dying malls as failed third spaces


In the middle of the tale of revenge that is A snail story for Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day, I made the following bittersweet observation.
While many malls are in trouble or have closed, such as the Northland Mall next to where I teach, the Somerset Collection is still thriving.  One of these days, it will close, but not any time soon.
Vox noticed the wave of shopping mall failures in What America's shopping mall decline means for social space.

The mall was America’s third place — for better or for worse.
...
Our lives are lived in 1 of 3 places, the home, the workplace and the “third place,” which is anywhere outside of those two.
Toward the end of the 20th century, the regional shopping mall had become that third place, the hang-out spot in suburban America. This was largely by design — an immigrant architect created the first mall in the vision that it would be a community gathering place.
The plan didn’t work out as he intended. While malls did take off, they more often than not couldn’t quite catch on as ideal “third places.” But with an estimated 25% of shopping malls expected to close in the next five years, there’s an opportunity to re-examine where Americans spend their time and what could be the next iteration of the third place.
Oh, shiny!  Vox used clips from at least one of the two documentaries themselves recycled in The End of Suburbia.  I'd ask at the video if that's where they found those segments, but the comments section to the video has been overrun with trolls.  So much for chasing that shiny object.

More seriously, malls did not make ideal "third spaces" because they did not exhibit all eight characteristics.  The Steampunk fans ejected from San Diego area mall four years ago found that out the hard way.  They ran afoul of rules intended to keep gang members from frequenting the mall and scaring away shoppers.  As the KPBS article I quoted pointed out, "Malls are private property. They have the right to determine who shops there."  That means you!

Vox isn't the only YouTube creator to notice the decline of malls.  This is Dan Bell has an ongoing Dead Mall Series on the subject.  Here is the most recent installment: DEAD MALL SERIES : Palm Trees and Broken Dreams : West Oaks Mall : Ocoee, Florida. posted just three days ago.


I admit I find a certain macabre fascination to the series, which is on-topic for this blog.  I might return to it, as Bell has a video of two declining malls in Flint, Michigan, and another of an abandoned K-Mart.  That reminds me; K-Mart is closing stores and Toys R Us is going out of business.  Those are definitely topics for another day.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

How did my Saturn Awards television submissions fare? O.K., I guess


The nominations for the 2018 Saturn Awards were announced on March 15th, so it's well past time for me to compare my Saturn Awards television submissions for 2017-2018 with reality.  Besides, after a week of serious posts, it's time for a Sunday entertainment feature.

I begin, as I did in my late February entry, with my suggestions in the fantasy category.
Fantasy Series

"American Gods"
"Game of Thrones"
"Lucifer"
"Once Upon A Time"
"Outlander"
"The Good Place"
"The Leftovers"
"American Gods," "Game of Thrones," "Outlander," and "The Good Place" earned nominations.  While I did not submit "The Magicians," I expected it to be renominated.  I also expected "Lucifer," which was the show I voted for last year, to return as well.  Nope.  It and "Beyond" were replaced with "Knightfall" and "The Librarians."  I can't get too upset, as I had been complaining about "The Librarians" being miscategorized as an Action show for two years.  Also, "Knightfall" is not a bad choice at all.  It's definitely not "The Leftovers," which I knew would be a long shot, but it looks like a good show, just not good enough for my vote in this category.  That's going to "The Good Place," which is the only television show to be nominated for both a Nebula and a Hugo.

Score: 4/7, 5/7 based on my predictions.
Science Fiction Series

"12 Monkeys"
"Colony"
"Falling Water"
"Orphan Black"
"Star Trek: Discovery"
"The Expanse"
"The Orville"
Alternate: "The X-Files" in case "Star Trek: Discovery" is categorized as New Media.
"Colony," "The Expanse," "The Orville," and "The X-Files" all made it.  So did "Star Trek: Discovery" but as a New Media series.  I also considered "The 100" and should have included it among my suggestion, as it was nominated again.  "Doctor Who" and "Salvation" earned spots instead of "12 Monkeys" and "Orphan Black."  Again, I can't get too upset, as "Doctor Who" may have been better than "Orphan Black" this season and "Salvation" is better than "12 Monkeys."  Besides, I submitted the Doctor Who Christmas Special under presentations and thought it might also deserve to be here, too, so I'll count it here as well.

Still, I'm almost as displeased at Tatiana Maslany getting snubbed as I was at Eva Green and "Penny Dreadful" being ignored for three consecutive years.  Humph.  I'll plan on writing a post about how these awards would look if the entertainment professionals were in charge of them instead of two people on the Television Committee.  I'll critique the acting nominations there.

As for my vote, it will probably go to "Colony" unless a enough "Doctor Who" fans convince me otherwise.  The latter is the one show in this category that earned a Hugo nomination.  Come on, convince me in the comments.

Score: 5/7.
Horror Series

"American Horror Story"
"Fear the Walking Dead"
"Grimm"
"Sleepy Hollow"
"Supernatural"
"The Walking Dead"
"Twin Peaks"
Alternates: "Channel Zero" or "Z Nation" in case "Twin Peaks" is categorized as one of Fantasy, Thriller, or Presentation and "American Horror Story" is properly categorized as Presentation.  Last year, it was considered a series.
I only got three of my suggestions for this category in this category, "American Horror Story," "Fear The Walking Dead," and "The Walking Dead."  However, one of my suggestions for this category, "Twin Peaks," ended up nominated as a presentation, another suggestion, "Grimm," earned a nomination for Best DVD/BD Television Series Release, and one of my predictions for fantasy, "Preacher," ended up here where I thought it really belonged.  I'll count that one.

As for the other nominees, I'd forgotten about "The Strain," which is probably better than the final season of "Sleepy Hollow," and "Teen Wolf" is a recurring nominee that might actually be a higher quality show than "Supernatural," which has been going on so long that I've lost count of how many times the Winchesters have saved the world.  Oh, and "Ash vs. Evil Dead" returned.  I'm not sure it's better than "Grimm," but never underestimate the power of cheese.  As for my vote, it goes to "The Walking Dead."  The entertainment professionals would vote for "American Horror Story," but they're not part of the Saturn Awards electorate.  I am.

Score: 3/7, 4/7 based on my predictions.
Superhero Series

"Arrow"
"Black Lightning"
"Gotham"
"Legion"
"Supergirl"
"The Gifted"
"The Flash"
I got five out of seven, "Arrow," "Black Lightning," "Gotham," "Supergirl," and "The Flash."  As I wrote two months ago, I am not upset about "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." making the list over "Legion."  The first season was already nominated, even if the second half was technically eligible.  I'll submit the second season next year.  On the other hand, I still think "The Gifted" was a better show than "Legends of Tomorrow."  As for my vote, it's going to "Gotham."

Score: 5/7.

Follow over the jump for the rest of the nominees compared to my submissions.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Facebook knows your political affiliation and much more


It's been five years since I wrote about psychology on Facebook and warned people that we reveal ourselves on Facebook.*  With the Cambridge Analytica scandal involving tens of millions of Facebook users' data in the news, it's time for me to reexamine this topic.  WUSA gave me a hand by asking VERIFY: Does Facebook predict your political affiliation and let advertisers target you?



Does Facebook know your political affiliation?

The answer is yes, or at least it thinks it does according to its algorithms (there is no label for Libertarians, so they would be slotted along the simple liberal-conservative spectrum).  The program considers me very liberal under US politics (I just consider myself liberal, but it wouldn't surprise me if I have drifted even farther left over the years) and likely to engage with political liberal political content.  Hey, I produce liberal political content; of course I engage with it!

It also knows about where users live relative to their families and hometowns (I'm an expatriate Californian, so I'm away from both), whether users are gamers, if they are interested in education and libraries, and if they commute to work.  I mention those because Facebook "knew" and because I have already revealed them here, along with my being a dog owner, which Facebook figured out as well.  It will determine these things for my readers who are Facebook users as well.  Follow the instructions in the video and image and see if I'm right.

One piece of information that I haven't revealed myself is what Facebook calls "Multicultural Affinity," i.e., users' racial or ethnic identification according to their online behavior.  It doesn't necessarily match users' self-identification.  On the one hand, that could be chalked up to artificial intelligence being an oxymoron or a flaw in the algorithm.  On the other, it's definitely picking up something about Facebook users that they don't even know about themselves but Facebook and its advertisers do.  I'm just not sure what it is.

Finally, remember this cartoon I first used seven years ago in Facebook: There is no such thing as a free lunch.  It's been an issue that long.


*This was the twentieth most read entry of the third year of the blog.  I believe the research presented in that post is what ultimately lead to Cambridge Analytica's use of psychological profiling for political advertising.  I'll check that hypothesis and get back to my readers.  Stay tuned.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Samantha Bee helps update 'Vox on Puerto Rico statehood and John Oliver on territories,' the fourth most read entry of the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News


Happy Flashback Friday!  As I suggested yesterday, today's retrospective is about posts considering the possibility of statehood for Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.  That's because the fourth most read entry of the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News was Vox on Puerto Rico statehood and John Oliver on territories, posted February 3, 2018, with 8343 raw page views, 8273 according to the raw counter.  It was also the fourth most read entry of all time as of March 20, 2018, the third most read entry actually posted during the seventh year of this blog, and the most read entry of February 2018.

Before I explain how this entry earned its place among the top ten, I'm sharing the latest comedian to examine the question, Samantha Bee.  Here's Statehood: It's Complicated | The Great American* Puerto Rico Part 8.

Puerto Rico's current relationship to the United States is as complicated as its past relationship with the United States. Produced by Paul Myers with Adam Howard.
Bee at least managed to make the debate among all the positions entertaining even more than it was informative.

Puerto Ricans have another alternative besides statehood to vote in U.S. elections -- move to the mainland.  Watch ¡Boricua Vota! | The Great American* Puerto Rico Part 7.

Puerto Ricans are leaving for mainland America, but they're also leaving their voting habits behind. If only there were a celebrity to inject a little fun into the election... Produced by Tyler Hall with Adam Howard. Caravana footage provided by Ovidio Duran.
Florida politics may never be the same.

For the rest of the videos, watch The Great American Puerto Rico playlist to see all twelve, sixteen if one counts the promos.  It's worth it.

Now for the story.  This entry had 111 page views before being shared at the Join the Coffee Party Movement Facebook page.  It earned 1875 page views in the first two hours and ~7200 in the first 24 hours after being shared.  It knocked its prequel "A 51st star for Puerto Rico on Flag Day" with 4240 page views out of the top ten between 9:00 and 10:00 A.M. on January 4th.  It passed "Seth Meyers and John Oliver on coal and hawks for Cut Your Energy Costs Day and Save the Eagles Day" with 4704 page views between 10:00 A.M. and 11:00 A.M. and both "Michigan recount still on as Trump fails to stop it while Schuette still trying" with 4892 page views and "Fall back as 'Last Week Tonight' asks 'how is this still a thing?'" with 4915 page views between 11:00 A.M. and 11:20 A.M. to reach seventh on the all time list.  It then passed "John Oliver on feelings over facts and Colbert on Trumpiness" with 6059 page views between 3:00 and 4:00 P.M. to rank sixth. Between 8:00 P.M. and 9:00 P.M, it passed "Trump thinks Sanders is the right enemy" with 7072 page views, then between 9:00 P.M. and 10:00 P.M., it passed "The tax bill and the U.S. economy in 2018 and beyond" with 7204 page views to end the day in fourth all time.  Overnight, it passed "Last Week Tonight examines Clinton and Trump foundations after winning three Emmy Awards" with 7947 page views to land in third all time.  It contributed to 1694 page views to the blog the hour it was shared and 10,128 page views the day it was shared.  It dropped a spot to fourth for the year and all time when "Suit against John Oliver and HBO dismissed" passed it early in March.  It has since dropped to fifth when Update to 'Vox explains how proportional representation can solve gerrymandering and help minor parties,' the second most read entry for the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News, plus minor parties shot up to third in April.

Follow over the jump for two other posts about statehood for Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Update to 'Doctors to Congress: Fund gun violence research at the CDC and NIH,' the third most read entry of the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News


The second most read entry of the seventh year of the blog was Doctors to Congress: Fund gun violence research at the CDC and NIH, posted December 3, 2015.  It ended the blogging year with 10,400 raw page views total, 10,071 according to the default counter.  It earned 8,928 raw page views during the seventh year of the blog.  It was the first entry to earn more than 10,000 page views over its lifespan and was the number one post between October 8, 2017 and December 2, 2017, when Vox explains how proportional representation can solve gerrymandering and help minor parties passed it to become number one, earning the post the Revenge of the Back Catalog trophy for the blogging year just ended.

Before I explain how this entry climbed to number one and stayed there for two months, I'm updating my readers on the state of federal funding of gun violence research.  WUSA, TV9 in Washington, DC reported that news in last month's CDC can now study gun violence - thanks to the $1.3 trillion budget bill.

It was a spending deal straight from the throes of Washington whiplash, a 2,232-page, $1.3 trillion spending bill that President Donald J. Trump called "ridiculous."
That's good news, but not good enough for me to post Professor Farnsworth for the first time since last June's U.S. and U.K. set new solar and wind energy records.  Why?  As William A. Conroy, CEO of the Henry Ford Medical Group in Detroit, asked in Modern Healthcare, Where's the funding to support CDC research into gun violence?
First, while we applaud the provision in the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill signed into law earlier this month that gives a green light for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study gun violence, it didn't go far enough. Unless Congress appropriates funding, we're not hopeful progress will be made. Because of the passage of the Dickey Amendment in 1996, banning the CDC from spending taxpayer money on advocacy-related research, we have lost precious time to answer the basic questions that could inform meaningful solutions: Who is most likely to use a gun during the commission of a crime? How are guns typically purchased? Are the crimes committed by the person who actually bought the firearm? What kinds of policies actually work to reduce violence? Are interventions and other prevention efforts effective?

We hear frequent calls for increased mental health services to prevent gun violence, but such concerns are not backed by science. Based on multiple Gallup polls, half of Americans are convinced that gun violence is caused by a failure to identify those with mental health issues and that addressing those issues would prevent that violence. The fact is, only about 1% of mass shootings are carried out by those who are considered mentally ill, according to the American Psychiatric Association. As physicians we obviously recognize the need to better address mental health, but our primary goal is to find facts. That's why we must empower the CDC to initiate unbiased, scientific studies to find these answers, no matter the outcome.

Second, we ask Congress to pass sensible legislation limiting access to firearms for children in particular, and exploring more effective background checks and mandatory waiting periods. We know that this is a politically charged issue and will not be easy. The Henry Ford Medical Group is embarking on a broader gun safety advocacy initiative, and, as we work together to identify effective strategies and partners, we hope our lawmakers will partner with us as well.
Until I read that money has been allocated for gun violence research, I'm withholding Farnsworth.  The news just isn't good enough.

Follow over the jump for the story of how this entry earned its page views along with the story of another top post about gun violence from the seventh year of the blog.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King's assassination delayed the Oscars plus 'Glory' from 'Selma' at the Academy Awards


Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.  It's also National Walking Day.  To commemorate the first and celebrate the second, I am looking at one set of Dr. King's most famous "walks," The Selma to Montgomery Marches.  As is my style, I am doing so through the lens of entertainment, in this case the song "Glory" from the movie "Selma."  In addition to winning an Oscar, it also won a Golden Globe and a Grammy.

Interestingly enough, the Academy Awards happen to be the ceremony with the closest connection to King's death, as the Wikipedia entry for the 40th Academy Awards notes, "Originally scheduled for April 8, 1968, the awards were postponed to two days later, April 10, 1968, because of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr."  The article explains why, stating "Prior to the two-day postponement, four African-American stars who were scheduled to take part in the ceremony: Sidney Poitier, Sammy Davis Jr., Louis Armstrong and Diahann Carroll, announced they were withdrawing in mourning for Dr. King. Prior to the postponement, Jack Lemmon was announced as a replacement for Poitier, and Shirley Jones for Davis, but once the event was delayed, the original quartet returned."

The Hollywood Reporter gave even more detail, noting that the four presenters were attending King's memorial in Atlanta on the 9th.  In addition, "the Academy...canceled the Governors Ball (for the only time in Oscars history). Academy president Gregory Peck opened the show with a tribute to King, and THR summed up the night as one of 'solemnity, glamour [and a] sense of unity.'"

Octavia Spencer introduces the performance of "Glory" at the 87th Academy Awards by mentioning the postponement.*


Although I wrote about the nominations of the song for the Golden Globe, Oscar, and Grammy, I never posted any of the acceptance speeches.  Today is a good opportunity to correct that oversight.  Here is "Glory" from "Selma" winning Best Original Song from the Oscars.

Idina Menzel and John Travolta presenting John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn the Oscar® for Best Original Song for "Glory" from the film "Selma" at the 87th Oscars® in 2015.
The description of the previous video includes the acceptance speeches of both songwriters.
Lonnie Lynn (Common): First, I would like to thank God, who lives in us all. Recently, John and I got to go to Selma and perform “Glory” on the same bridge that Dr. King and the people of the civil rights movement marched on 50 years ago. This bridge was once a landmark of a divided nation but now is a symbol for change. The spirit of this bridge transcends race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and social status. The spirit of this bridge connects the kid from the South Side of Chicago dreaming of a better life to those in France standing up for their freedom of expression, to the people in Hong Kong protesting for democracy. This bridge was built on hope, welded with compassion and elevated by love for all human beings.

John Stephens (John Legend): Thank you. Nina Simone said it’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live. We wrote this song for a film that was based on events that were 50 years ago but we say that Selma is now because the struggle for justice is right now. We know that the Voting Rights Act that they fought for 50 years ago is being compromised right now in this country today. We know that right now the struggle for freedom and justice is real. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850. When people are marching with our song, we want to tell you we are with you, we see you, we love you, and march on. God bless you.
We should keep not only King's memory with us, but also the words of Common and John Legend.  King may have been dead for 50 years, but his work is not done.

*This was one of only three times the Academy Awards were postponed.  The other two were in 1938 because of massive flooding and in 1981 because of the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan.  That means the Academy Awards have been delayed twice because of political violence.