Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Broken Peach: Singing Spanish goths on parade for Halloween


Happy Halloween
! For the last entry of October 2018, I wrote "I have one more treat planned for today, this year's version of Broken Peach: Singing Spanish goths and witches for Halloween. Stay tuned."

I begin with a live version of one of the songs I embedded last year, Broken Peach - Personal Jesus (Live at 20th Century Rock).

In the creepy Halloween Night ... The 20TH Century Rock & Broken Peach join their forces to take the crowd into THE DARK!
I think the choreography and its execution is even better in this performance than the one I embedded last year.

Infidel 753 embedded this song last year in Video of the day -- peachy, to which I responded "I've already resolved to post this video, along with next year's Halloween production, in one of my Halloween posts next year." That was ten months ago. Yes, I've been planning this entry that long.

Speaking of this year's featured Halloween song, here it is: Dumbo - Pink Elephants on Parade (by Broken Peach)

Pink Elephants on Parade is the name of a segment, and the song played therein, from the 1941 Disney animated feature film Dumbo in which Dumbo and Timothy Q. Mouse, having accidentally become intoxicated (through drinking water spiked with champagne), see pink elephants sing, dance, and play marching band instruments during a hallucination sequence.

The song was written by Oliver Wallace and Ned Washington and sung by Mel Blanc, Thurl Ravenscroft and The Sportsmen. The segment was directed by Norman Ferguson, laid out by Ken O'Connor and animated by Hicks Lokey, Frank Thomas and Howard Swift.

After the sequence, Dumbo and Timothy wake up, hungover, in a tree. It is at this point that they realise that Dumbo can fly.
I responded "My favorite cover of this song used to be by The Sun Ra Arkestra. Now it's by Broken Peach!" in a comment at the video and a reply to the band's tweet. Two viewers liked the comment and the band itself liked my tweet!

Speaking of liking things, Infidel 753 wrote "I did a Google search on 'Broken Peach' and your October post about them was in ninth place in the results. You may have a few of their fans reading" in a comment to Merry Christmas 2017 from Broken Peach and Crazy Eddie's Motie News. My response was "I'm flattered by that. I hope they are!" It looks we were both right, as this entry had earned 2117 raw page views on the first anniversary of my posting it. It currently has 2322. The first would have placed it 32nd among entries posted last year and the second 31st. Wow!

That's it for October 2018.  Stay tuned for the first entry of November, coming up at midnight E.D.T.

Drink to a drum corps Halloween with Boston Crusaders 2017 'Wicked Games' and Tipsy Bartender


Happy Halloween!  In the spirit of last year's Toast the 'Drum Corpse Bride' for a drum corps Halloween, I present an entry about booze and bugles.  This year's featured corps is the Boston Crusaders, which placed 6th at DCI Finals in 2017 with "Wicked Games."  This year's featured drinks are Witches Brew, Cocktail Artist Mar-Gore-ita, and The Halloween Pumpkin Keg.

I begin with the official video from Drum Corps International, 2017 Boston Crusaders - "Wicked Games".



Boston, MA | 6th Place | 92.962

That's just the finale.  Here is a smartphone video of the entire show:  Boston Crusaders 2017 "Wicked Games" Championship Finals 1080p.


When I wrote about this show in 'The Grid' plus 2017 drum corps shows with speculative fiction themes, I was not impressed.
Boston Crusaders have the weakest speculative fiction theme, as their show is about the Salem Witch Trials.  Yes, really.  I never thought I'd see that on a football field.  That topic is historical, not speculative, but it makes for good real-life horror.
It turned out much better than I expected.  "Good real-life horror," indeed!

Follow over the jump for the drinks.


I begin by being a good environmentalist and recycling Witches Brew from Halloween drinks from Tipsy Bartender

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

An undead KMart wearing a Spirit Halloween store costume, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse


Yesterday, I told my readers to "look for a Halloween-themed entry about KMart as part of the Sears Holdings  bankruptcy.  More tales of the Retail Apocalypse!"  Watch two videos from Retail Archeology, beginning with A Kmart In A Spirit Halloween Costume.

In this episode we take a look at a former Kmart store that is being used for a Spirit Halloween pop-up store.
While there is a lot of nostalgia for Sears, there seems to be a lot less for KMart.  That doesn't mean its end is any less tragic.

Believe it or not, that's the positive video.  Here's the one with content Retail Archeology thought was too depressing to include in the first, in which Eric asks Is This Coming Soon To A Kmart Near You?

In this episode we explore the outside of the Kmart that we explored the inside of in the last episode. What we found outside was very sad.
Even in the middle of low unemployment and a seemingly booming economy, we will still have misery and failure.  I shouldn't be surprised that homeless people are camping out behind a closed but not quite abandoned KMart.  Imagine what things will be like when the next recession actually hits.

That's the trick.  Stay tuned for a couple of treats for Halloween tomorrow.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Polygon explains creepypasta as 'negative nostalgia'


I concluded Polygon explains how climate change is changing horror by writing "There are two other videos in this series that have serious enough social themes that I am thinking of writing posts about them, too.  Stay tuned."  Here is one of them, Creepypasta and the Psychology of Negative Nostalgia

The most popular creepypasta are about retro cartoons and video games, like Candle Cove and BEN Drowned. But why are we so obsessed with turning childhood media into nightmare fuel?
The answer appears to be negative nostalgia, "re-writing our past to be miserable and broken, because it creates continuity with our present," making "it seem like things were always bad and always will be."  Yikes!  As Jenna Stoeber says, "it's a profoundly hopeless stance."  As a Crazy Eddie, who wants to think there is a good solution, even if there is no guarantee it will happen, I find that distressing.  I like to offer some hope as a response to all the doom.*  Accepting doom without hope is too much for me.

As for nostalgia, I'm with Van Morrison.


*The third video is about zombie stories as being about hope in the apocalypse.  I plan on posting it, but not tomorrow.  Instead, look for a Halloween-themed entry about KMart as part of the Sears Holdings  bankruptcy.  More tales of the Retail Apocalypse!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Polygon explains how climate change is changing horror


I promised "posts celebrating Halloween" at the end of 'Abacus' wins Outstanding Business and Economic Documentary.  For the Sunday entertainment feature, I am sharing something serious related to the holiday, Polygon explaining How Global Warming Is Changing Horror.

There's no doubt the planet is changing, but how is that changing horror? Learn more in this episode of FiendZone!
If I'm willing to feature the worst eco-horror films, I certainly will embed a video featuring the best.

There are two other videos in this series that have serious enough social themes that I am thinking of writing posts about them, too.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Looming Iran sanctions keeping oil and gasoline high plus a double driving update for October 2018


Pearl's odometer passed 43,000 miles when I rolled into my driveway on Tuesday, October 23 and Snow Bear passed 4,000 miles the next day, Wednesday, October 24, so it's time for an Oil and gas price report plus a double driving update.  I begin with Reuters reporting via CNBC yesterday US crude posts third straight weekly loss, settling at $67.59, as equities slump.
Oil prices were higher on Friday, supported by expectations that sanctions on Iran would tighten supplies, but crude futures still dropped for a third straight week as a slump in stock markets and concerns about trade wars clouded the fuel demand outlook.

U.S. crude ended Friday's session 26 cents higher at $67.58, posting a loss of 2.2 percent loss this week. The contract rose in four out of five sessions this week, but the gains were not enough to offset a nearly $3 drop on Tuesday.

Brent crude oil was trading around $77.61 a barrel, up 72 cents, by 2:29 p.m. ET , after earlier falling more than $1 to a low of $75.77. The contract is on course for a weekly loss of nearly 3 percent. It has fallen by more than $10 in the last three weeks.
The good news is that Brent crude oil is lower than it was at my last report in late August, when it was $77.64.  So is U.S. light crude, which was $69.91.  The bad news is that both were much higher earlier in the month, when MarketWatch reported on October 3 Oil prices rally back to nearly 4-year highs despite biggest weekly U.S. crude supply rise of the year.
November West Texas Intermediate crude US:CLX8 the U.S. benchmark contract, added $1.18, or 1.6%, to settle at $76.41 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, but had dropped near the day’s low of $74.30 immediately after the supply data.

December Brent LCOZ8, +1.09% rose $1.49, or 1.8%, to $86.29 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange after tapping lows near $84.

Both benchmark contracts marked their highest settlements since late 2014.
MarketWatch blamed this on the U.S. withdrawing from Iran nuclear agreement and the resulting sanctions, which will be implemented next month.  That's more bad news, although something I expected.  The good news is that falling crude oil prices along with lower driving demand are finally causing retail gasoline prices to start dropping, which KSTP reported in Gas Prices are Falling Nationally in October.
AAA reports gas prices are four cents cheaper than last week, yet they are 39 cents more than consumers were paying last year.

“Motorists across the country are seeing gas prices more than a dime cheaper than last week, with 41 states having less expensive state averages on the week,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Prices are falling despite market concerns about global supply and geopolitical tensions, but that could change later this month ahead of the U.S. announcement of imposed sanctions on Iran.”
Falling gas prices but still more expensive than last year — AAA reports the national average is $2.84 per gallon — that's pretty much what I expected.

As for how long this can go one, Foreign Policy argues Trump Can’t Put ‘Maximum Pressure’ on Tehran and Keep Gas Prices Low: "Something’s going to have to give, and it will probably be the sanctions."
On Nov. 4, U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil exports will go back into force after they were suspended following the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Less than a month before that deadline, Iran’s oil sales are already tanking. The United States would like to see them fall further. In July, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laid down a marker when he spoke at an event for Iranian dissidents. “Our focus is to work with countries importing Iranian crude oil to get imports as close to zero as possible by November 4th,” he said, before repeating “zero” for emphasis.

The problem with the “maximum pressure” campaign is that it is running headlong into another of U.S. President Donald Trump’s objectives: keeping gasoline prices low. After sharp increases in oil prices in May and June, and then again in September, Trump took to Twitter multiple times to shout at OPEC. He repeated the same complaints at the United Nations in New York last month. “OPEC and OPEC nations are, as usual, ripping off the rest of the world, and I don’t like it,” he said in his address. “Nobody should like it. We defend many of these nations for nothing, and then they take advantage of us by giving us high oil prices. Not good.” His remarks came just as Brent crude prices hit a nearly four-year high at more than $80 per barrel.
...
The more the United States tightens the screws on Iran, the harder it will be to prevent prices from rising further.
...
With Iran exporting oil at low levels, it might actually be the United States that ultimately pulls back from its aggressive posture. Trump administration officials have recently suggested that they are considering waivers for certain countries importing Iranian crude, a sign that the administration is feeling the pressure from higher energy prices. It could be that U.S. policymakers are realizing that the energy independence supposedly brought by soaring U.S. shale production was a mirage. It is true that net imports of crude have fallen sharply over the past decade as U.S. shale production has increased; in 2005, the United States depended on imports to meet 60 percent of its oil needs. That figure is now down to less than 15 percent. Nevertheless, U.S. motorists are still at the mercy of global oil prices. Higher shale output only lowers global prices insofar as it improves the global supply balance. And precisely because Iran sanctions have shrunk supplies, fuel prices across the world have climbed.

The United States may be one of the world’s largest oil producers, but it is not a swing producer. Its output comes from hundreds of individual privately owned oil companies, large and small. They all make unique business decisions and do not have the ability to bring extra supply online on short notice. As such, the United States doesn’t really have any spare capacity to offset a sudden tightening of the market.
Considering how resistant to reality the Trump Administration has been and how much they value looking "tough" — actually being cruel — it may take a while for them to relent.  Fortunately for them and the American people, falling oil and gas prices might allow them to continue having their cake and eating it, too  — for a while, maybe until next summer.

Follow over the jump for the driving update.

Friday, October 26, 2018

'Abacus' wins Outstanding Business and Economic Documentary


I wrote that I would take "a brief break from the News and Documentary Emmy Awards to cover the nominees for the Critics' Choice Documentary Awards." at the end of 'Tower' wins Outstanding Historical Documentary plus five other Emmy winners covered mass shootings.  That was a week ago, so it's time to return with a winner covering ethics in government that I wrote that I would find in Americans agree on a few issues, Pew Research Center finds.  The one that comes to mind is "Abacus," which was my choice for Outstanding Business and Economic Documentary.  It won.  Watch Martha Raddatz present the award.


The ethics in government come not from the behavior of the bank, but from that of Cyrus Vance, Jr., the DA who overblew the situation.  Mark Mitten made the point again when he was interviewed in Business & Economic Documentary. "FRONTLINE: Abacus -- Small Enough to Jail".

[M]ark Mitten and the team from "Abacus: Small Enough to Jail" on PBS' FRONTLINE, winner of the Emmy Award for Outstanding Business & Economic Documentary, presented at the 39th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards
It's amazing that Abacus was the only bank prosecuted for the financial crisis — amazing, but probably not an accident.  As I wrote about "Abacus" late last year, "'Model minority' or not, Asian-Americans experience systemic racism, too."

I'll have more about the winners at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards along with a driving update and posts celebrating HalloweenTrick or Treat!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Sam Seder on the Sears bankruptcy, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse


I told my readers to "Stay tuned" as "I have more on the bankruptcy and Eddie Lampert AKA Fast Eddie Lamprey's role in it from The Majority Report with Sam Seder" to conclude Company Man on the Decline of Sears, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse.  Today, I am following through on that promise after celebrating National TV Talk Show Host Day and Food Day.  Watch and listen to Hedge Fund Becomes ’Nail in the Coffin’ for Sears as Seder and his guest examine the effects of the interlocking leadership of Sears and Lampert's hedge fund as well as the real estate trust that the hedge fund controls that so puzzled Company Man.

Eileen Appelbaum, co-director at The Center for Economic and Policy Research, joins Ring of Fire’s Sam Seder...
For once, the analysis is not blaming Amazon; instead, it is about the asset stripping by Lampert including selling off Land's End and Craftsman.

Seder did not upload the rest of the interview to YouTube.  However, he had earlier discussed The Sears Bankruptcy & Private Equity Raiders With Marshall Steinbaum.  The interview begins at 20:33.

Good morning everyone, on today’s show, Research Director & Fellow, Marshall Steinbaum (@Econ_Marshall) joins us to discuss the Sears bankruptcy, private equity ghouls, and the future of brick & mortar retail...
That was a fascinating, if disturbing, conversation, the point of which was that the Sears bankruptcy was not inevitable, but the result of vulture capitalism, much as I described for Toys R Us and KB Toys.  Eddie Lamprey, indeed!

Seder mentioned that one of the assets spun off was Sears Canada, which I also used to shop at.  Bright Sun Films, which examined Toys R Us, has a video about the demise of Sears Canada that I plan on posting in the near future.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The revolving door between Monsanto and government for Food Day 2018


A Happy Food Day to my readers!  To celebrate the day, I am returning to what I wrote in last year's Joel Salatin from 'Food, Inc.' for Food Day: "Today, I'm continuing what I did last year in For Food Day, a guide to entries with answers to 'Food, Inc.' by discussing the worksheet for 'Food, Inc.'"

This year, I'm revisiting the questions I asked and the answers I gave in Monsanto wins gene patent case.
26. What has Monsanto done to promote use of their soybeans and stop seed saving?  List at least three examples.
...
Part of the answer to 26 is sue people who violate Monsanto's patents.
That wasn't enough of an answer.  A more complete one is that Monsanto has patented their seeds and enforced the patent by having a hotline to report violator of their patent, sending investigators out to determine responsibility, having a blacklist of growers who can't buy their seeds for not complying, and suing growers and seed cleaners.
27. List at least five government officials who were connected to Monsanto and other food producers.  What effect does the narrator think this has had on regulation of food production?
...
One of the people who traveled through the revolving door between Monsanto and the government is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote the decision allowing Monsanto to patent GMOs.

Justice Thomas is just one government official.  The image at the top that I used to start this entry lists more.  Here is another that adds to the list.


In addition to Justice Thomas, the others I recall being mentioned are Margaret Miller, Mickey Kantor, Linda Fisher, Michael Taylor, and Donald Rumsfeld.  Of all of them, the one that struck me as most emblematic of the revolving door between government and industry was Michael Taylor.


The man has made gone through the revolving door four times, going all the way around twice!

By the way, the revolving door continues to turn, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported yesterday Trump taps ex-Monsanto executive to lead wildlife agency.
President Donald Trump says he is nominating a former executive at agribusiness giant Monsanto to head the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Aurelia Skipwith of Indiana is currently deputy assistant Interior secretary for fish, wildlife and parks.

A biologist and lawyer, Skipwith spent more than six years at Monsanto and has worked at the Agriculture Department and U.S. Agency for International Development.
At least Skipwith isn't going to be overseeing regulation of our food.  With that, Happy Food Day!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver' on felon disenfranchisement for National TV Talk Show Host Day


Happy National TV Talk Show Host DayNational Day Calendar explains the occasion.
On October 23rd get ready to go live before a studio audience on National TV Talk Show Host Day!  Created to pay tribute to TV talk show hosts and appreciate their unique form of humor, entertaining stories, spontaneous wit and timely political jokes.
...
Each day we watch our favorite talk shows, and we laugh, cry, listen and learn. It is these great hosts that make the shows ones that we want to watch.
To celebrate today, I'm showcasing my favorite talk show for political jokes, "Last Week Tonight With John Oliver," which won four Emmy Awards.  Since it's election season, the episode I'm embedding examines an issue on the ballot in Florida next month, Felony Disenfranchisement.

Many people with felony convictions are unfairly prohibited from voting, and the worst state for this — surprise — is Florida.
I hope Amendment 4 passes.  Fortunately, it seems likely to, as the Orlando Sentinel reported Poll: Felon voting rights amendment gets huge support last month.
A new poll shows huge support in Florida for restoring voting rights for former felons.

A survey by the University of North Florida shows 71 percent support for Amendment 4, which would allow Floridians with felony convictions to have their rights restored upon completion of their sentence or probation.

Only 21 percent of the sample of 616 likely voters said they would vote no. The margin of error is about 4 percentage points.

An amendment requires 60 percent of the vote to be ratified.
Here's to the restoration of voting rights to "about 1.6 million Floridians, largely African Americans, [who] have been permanently barred from voting without clemency."

Monday, October 22, 2018

Company Man on the Decline of Sears, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse


I told my readers twice to "stay tuned for an entry featuring Company Man's latest video about what happened to Sears, a companion of sorts to his video on KMart, as the latest on the Sears Holdings bankruptcy.  More tales of the Retail Apocalypse!"  I have no need to tell my readers a third time in order to follow through.  Watch Company ask and answer The Decline of Sears...What Happened?

As of this week, Sears has filed for bankruptcy. They'll continue existing but that existence is getting smaller and smaller and it's questionable how long they'll last. This video takes a look the company over the years and how they found themselves in this situation.
I found a personal connection to the images used to illustrate this video.
People seem to love the photo of the Sears at 04:17. It turns out that it's of the Fallbrook Square location in what was then a part of Canoga Park, California, now West Hills. I grew up going to that store. It closed in the mid-90s and moved to Topanga Plaza in Canoga Park in 1996.
I decided to use that same image for this entry.  That store closed after I moved to Michigan, but it was still the image I have of Sears, enough so that the first time I saw the photo, I recognized it as my old store.  I may not have shopped at Sears since I moved out of Whitmore Lake 8 years ago, but I still have feelings for the department store chain I grew up with.

I have more on the bankruptcy and Eddie Lampert AKA Fast Eddie Lamprey's role in it from The Majority Report with Sam Seder, but only after National TV Talk Show Host Day and possibly even after more on "Food, Inc." for Food Day.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

'Dark Money,' 'Hitler's Hollywood' and 'RBG' lead Best Political Documentary nominees at the 2018 Critics' Choice Documentary Awards

I plan on taking a brief break from the News and Documentary Emmy Awards to cover the nominees for the Critics' Choice Documentary Awards.  Time to look ahead to the next awards season!
That was my promise at the end of 'Tower' wins Outstanding Historical Documentary plus five other Emmy winners covered mass shootings, which I made again in Seeker on the IPCC report and Hot Mess on coral bleaching propose solutions to urgent climate problems.  It's time to finish my busy weekend of blogging by making good on that promise for the Sunday entertainment feature.

I begin a with a video listing all of the nominees from Brian Sanchez: Critics Choice Documentary Awards 2018.

See what the Critics nominated for the Best in Documentary film. RBG? Won't You Be My Neighbor? Free Solo? Making a Murder?
For today's entry, I am focusing on the nominees for Best Political Documentary.  Here they are from the Critics' Choice Awards website.
BEST POLITICAL DOCUMENTARY

RBG – Directors: Julie Cohen, Betsy West (Magnolia Pictures, Participant Media)
Dark Money – Director: Kimberly Reed (PBS)
Fahrenheit 11/9 – Director: Michael Moore (Briarcliff Entertainment)
Flint Town – Directors: Zackary Canepari, Drea Cooper, Jessica Dimmock (Netflix)
Hitler’s Hollywood – Director: RĂ¼diger Suchsland (Kino Lorber)
John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls – Directors: George Kunhardt, Peter W. Kunhardt, Teddy Kunhardt (HBO)
The Fourth Estate – Directors: Liz Garbus, Jenny Carchman (Showtime Networks)
Out of this field, the most nominated entries are "Dark Money" and "Hitler's Hollywood" with four nominations each. "Dark Money" earned nominations for Best Documentary, Best Director for Kimberly Reed, and Best Editing in addition to Best Political Documentary.  The nominations for "Hitler’s Hollywood" are Best Documentary, Best Political Documentary, Best Director for RĂ¼diger Suchsland, and Most Innovative Documentary.  For this award, I suspect the contest will end up being between these two and "RBG," which is the third nominee for Best Political Documentary also nominated for Best Documentary.

The other nominees for Best Political Documentary with a second nomination are "Flint Town" and "The Fourth Estate," both of which earned nominations for Best Limited Documentary Series.  I doubt two nominations will be enough to put either in the role of favorite for that award.  That distinction goes to Wild Wild Country, which won Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards.  The series has nods for Best Documentary, Best Director for Chapman Way and Maclain Way, Most Innovative Documentary, Best Cinematography, and Best Limited Documentary Series.  As for "Fahrenheit 11/9" and "John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls," each has only the one nomination for Best Political Documentary.

Meanwhile, "RBG" has already earned an award for Ruth Bader Ginsburg as Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary in addition to the film's nominations for Best Documentary and Best Political Documentary.  Also, "The Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA) have named Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore as the recipient of the Critics’ Choice Lifetime Achievement Award."  Congratulations to both of them in addition to all the others who will be honored for Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary.
Scotty Bowers – Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood (Greenwich Entertainment)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg – RBG (Magnolia Pictures, Participant Media)
Alex Honnold – Free Solo (National Geographic Documentary Film)
Joan Jett – Bad Reputation (Magnolia Pictures)
Quincy Jones – Quincy (Netflix)
David Kellman and Bobby Shafran – Three Identical Strangers (Neon, CNN Films)
John McEnroe – John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection (Oscilloscope Laboratories)
Leon Vitali – Filmworker (Kino Lorber)
Follow over the jump for my takes on some of the other categories in which these films earned nominations plus the other nominees I think will be of interest to fans of political films.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

A history of Hallmark for Sweetest Day 2018


Happy Sweetest Day!  As I wrote last year, I consider Sweetest Day to be a real day worth celebrating, especially since it has proved to be a very popular holiday here at Crazy Eddie's Motie News.  The 2015 post was the sixteenth most read entry of the fifth year of the blog and the 2016 post was the eighth most read entry of the sixth year of the blog and reached sixth on the all-time list.  Last year wasn't as lucky.

However, the regional holiday — Sweetest Day's Wikipedia page lists it as being celebrated in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and areas of both New York and Pennsylvania west of the spine of the Appalachian Mountains — has the reputation of being a "Hallmark Holiday" created to sell cards, hence the image I am using to illustrate this entry.  It's not; it was originally created to sell candy and then turned into a day to celebrate love, generosity, and sweetness to others.  Just the same, I can't fight the perception all by myself, and I think it might be funny to play into it.  Because of that, I'm embedding Company Man's Hallmark - Bigger Than You Know to celebrate the day.

We all know Hallmark for their greeting cards but there's so much more to this company. Even when it comes to that greeting card segment, people tend to overlook it. This video takes a look at Hallmark from the beginning to where they stand today.
I hope my readers found that as informative as I did.  I thought it was so useful that I'm going to use Company Man's latest video about what happened to Sears, a companion of sorts to his video on KMart, as the latest on the Sears Holdings bankruptcy.  Stay tuned for more tales of the Retail Apocalypse.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Flu killed 80,000 Americans last year, including 183 children, the CDC reported, so get a a flu shot


I told my readers to "Stay tuned for an update on last season's flu epidemic" at the end of Seeker on the IPCC report and Hot Mess on coral bleaching propose solutions to urgent climate problems.  Here it is, beginning with CBS News asking Will this flu season be as bad as last year's?

The CDC says last winter's flu season was the deadliest in at least four decades. CBS News' Kenneth Craig reports that health officials are urging everyone over the age of 6 months old to get the flu vaccine.
The answer is no, not if people get vaccinated early enough.

Just to reinforce how bad last year's flu epidemic was as well as the importance of getting vaccinated, last week, Healthcare Triage posted The 2017 Flu Killed 80,000 in the US. Get a Flu Shot!

Influenza killed 80,000 people last year in the United States. That is the highest number of deaths since the CDC started keeping records in the 1970s. Help protect yourself and those around you. Get a flu shot!
Returning to the current flu season, CBS News reported Florida child becomes first pediatric flu death this season.

An unvaccinated child from Florida is the first pediatric death of the flu season, officials said. CBS News medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula joins CBSN's Elaine Quijano to discuss the importance of flu vaccination.
I already plan on getting my flu vaccination at my next doctor's visit.

As bad as the last flu season was, it wasn't the worst ever.  That distinction goes to 1918 Flu Pandemic.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported on that pandemic, which occurred 100 years ago.

100 years ago the 1918 influenza pandemic devastated entire communities and took at least 675,000 American lives. It was the most severe pandemic in recent history, sweeping the globe quickly and killing more than 50 million people. This video provides information and background on the 1918 flu pandemic.
Yes, it could be much worse, but it doesn't have to be.

On that cheerful note, stay tuned for a celebration of a celebration of Sweetest Day.

Seeker on the IPCC report and Hot Mess on coral bleaching propose solutions to urgent climate problems


I am not done with the latest news about climate change and the risks associated with it, which involved PBS NewsHour and Al Gore explaining the latest IPCC climate report and "Chasing Coral" winning an Emmy Award for Outstanding Nature Documentary.  Seeker/DNews posted its own explanation of the the IPCC report when it described Why a Half Degree Rise in Global Temperature Would Be Catastrophic earlier today.

According to a new report, Earth is likely to reach 1.5°C warming by 2030. Here’s why that’s a big deal.
...
IPCC: Global Warming of 1.5 °C
“An IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.”

Why Half a Degree of Global Warming Is a Big Deal
“The Earth has already warmed 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since the 19th century. Now, a major new United Nations report has looked at the consequences of jumping to 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius.”

What genuine ambition on climate change would look like
“It is generally agreed that hitting 2 degrees would be quite ambitious, while hitting 1.5 would be nothing short of miraculous. Yet the scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in their latest report, are pleading with the world to go for it, because at this point, every fraction of a degree of warming matters.”
The consequences and the efforts to prevent them, are so ambitious that they appear daunting.  Hot Mess agrees, but says that solutions are still possible in Coral Reefs Are Dying. But They Don’t Have To.

Coral reefs cover less than one percent of the seafloor, and yet they’re home to a quarter of all marine life, making them some of the most biodiverse places on Earth. But their future looks bleak. Decades of environmental threats like warming waters and ocean acidification have pushed reefs to the brink. Can we use science to bring them back?
The answer is yes.  I approve of the Crazy Eddie solutions to the problem of coral bleaching.

Stay tuned for an update on last season's flu epidemic followed by a celebration of Sweetest Day and the entry about the the nominees for the Critics' Choice Documentary Awards that I promised at the end of 'Tower' wins Outstanding Historical Documentary plus five other Emmy winners covered mass shootings.  I have a busy weekend of blogging coming up.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

'Tower' wins Outstanding Historical Documentary plus five other Emmy winners covered mass shootings


I telegraphed my course of action regarding my blogging in Americans agree on a few issues, Pew Research Center finds.
[D]rug addiction stands out to me as the issue with the best combination of agreement between partisans and high number of people who think it's a major problem.  Because of that, the next set of winners at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards I will tackle will be about the opioid epidemic, including "Heroin(e)."  After that, I'll tackle violent crime by writing about the winners covering mass shootings.
I took care of covering drug addiction with 'Heroin(e)' and '60 Minutes: The Whistleblower,' two Emmy winners about the opioid epidemic, so now it's time for me to write about the six winners that examined mass shootings, beginning with the "Independent Lens" episode "Tower."  Watch Kate Bolduan present the award for Outstanding Historical Documentary.


The director is right; this story isn't just history.*  It repeats itself every time there is a school shooting.

He got another chance to talk as he was interviewed after winning in Outstanding Historical Documentary. Independent Lens: "Tower".

The team from "Tower" on Independent Lens, winner of the Emmy Award for Outstanding Historical Documentary, presented at the 39th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards.
Congratulations!

Follow over the jump for the rest of the winners, which examined last year's mass shootings.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

'Heroin(e)' and '60 Minutes: The Whistleblower,' two Emmy winners about the opioid epidemic


In this morning's Americans agree on a few issues, Pew Research Center finds, I wrote "drug addiction stands out to me as the issue with the best combination of agreement between partisans and high number of people who think it's a major problem.  Because of that, the next set of winners at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards I will tackle will be about the opioid epidemic, including 'Heroin(e).'"  I thought the Oscar-nominated short about the women of Huntington, West Virginia, who are doing their utmost to combat the loss of life from opioids and opiates that is contributing to life expectancy falling for two consecutive years in the U.S. was the favorite to win its category, and I was right.  Watch Kate Bolduan present the award for Outstanding Short Documentary to 'Heroin(e).'


Counting "Life, Animated," this is one of four Oscar nominees for documentaries that won News and Documentary Emmy Awards, the others being "Abacus" and "Last Men in Aleppo."  I'll get to both of them in future installments of this series.


The other winning entry about the opiod crisis is the "60 Minutes" segment, "The Whistleblower."  Watch as Ana Cabrera Teresa Rodriguez awards it Outstanding Investigative report in a Newsmagazine.


It's a shame that the audio and video ended up so out of sync.  The segment and the people responsible for it deserved better.  Fortunately, they got a curtain call as they were interviewed in Investigative Report in a News Magazine "60 Minutes and Washington Post: The Whistleblower".

Correspondent Bill Whitaker and the team from CBS 60 Minutes and The Washington post's "The Whistleblower", winner of the Emmy Award for Outstanding Investigative Report in a News Magazine, presented at the 39th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards.
It turns out that the segment had an effect on government, as it helped convince a potential appointee for "drug czar" to withdraw his nomination.  That ties into another issue members of both major parties agree is important, ethics in government.  Good work and congratulations.  As I wrote in 'Charlottesville: Race and Terror' wins four Emmy Awards as four participants in riot arrested, it's a good example of sunlight being the best disinfectant.  Here's to American journalists continuing that vital work.

Americans agree on a few issues, Pew Research Center finds


Pew Research Center published a study on Monday that found little partisan agreement on the pressing problems facing the U.S.  That's disheartening.  How can Americans solve our problems if we don't even agree on what they are?

On that note, I looked for the few areas of agreement and found one paragraph buried well down in the report.
There are a few issues that similar shares of voters in both parties regard as major national problems. About six-in-ten (61%) Republican voters say the federal budget deficit is a very big problem, as do 56% of Democrats. In addition, there are modest differences on violent crime (49% of Republicans, 47% of Democrats) and drug addiction (67% of Republicans, 64% of Democrats).
In addition, the study found majorities of participants from both parties were concerned about ethics in government (80% of Democrats, 62% of Republicans) and the affordability of health care (83% of Democrats, 56% of Republicans), while majorities of Democrats and near-majorities of Republicans thought that the way the U.S. political system operates (58% of Democrats, 49% of Republicans) and the affordability of a college education (71% of Democrats, 47% of Republicans) were areas of major concern.  I think there is hope that Americans can make progress in these areas.  At least we can disagree about the means, not the ends.

Of all the above subjects, drug addiction stands out to me as the issue with the best combination of agreement between partisans and high number of people who think it's a major problem.  Because of that, the next set of winners at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards I will tackle will be about the opioid epidemic, including "Heroin(e)."  After that, I'll tackle violent crime by writing about the winners covering mass shootings.  Then I'll find winners covering ethics in government and how the U.S. political system operates followed by health care.  Sorry, I don't think there are any nominees or winners about the federal deficit or the price of a college education.

There was also a topic that members of both parties agreed on that wasn't a major issue, terrorism.  Only 41% of Republicans and 27% of Democrats considered it pressing.  That means I'll save winners about the Syrian Civil War for later, even if the journalists and documentarians thought it important.  Nothing like letting the evidence guide my blogging.


There were two other areas that the Pew Research Center found that Americans of both parties agreed.
Similar shares of supporters of both Republican and Democratic candidates describe themselves as active in their local community. And nine-in-ten or more in both parties consider themselves to be open-minded.
In addition, majorities of both parties considered themselves to be "typical Americans" who "have traditional values."  I actually hope all those things really are true.  If so, then people might be able to be open to solutions to the problems they agree on and work together to solve them.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

'Life, Animated' wins Best Documentary and two other Emmy Awards

In the meantime, stay tuned for more coverage of the News and Documentary Emmy Award winners.  I expect the next installment will be about "Life, Animated," which beat both "Chasing Coral" and "Putin's Revenge" for Best Documentary.
That's how I closed 'Charlottesville: Race and Terror' wins four Emmy Awards as four participants in riot arrested, so I am following through.

Since I have never blogged about the movie before this year, I am embedding its Official Trailer to explain the movie.

From Academy Award® winning director Roger Ross Williams, LIFE, ANIMATED is the inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. This emotional coming-of-age story follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence.
I hope my readers can see why I wrote that it would be tough competition for "Chasing Coral," if for no other reasson than it being a fomer Oscar nominee.  In fact, it was such a quality entry that it pulled off the equivalent of "Charlottesville: Race and Terror" by sweeping its three nominated categories.

Instead of working down from the top award, I'm working up to it, beginning with Kate Bolduan presenting the trophy for Outstanding Editing Documentary.


In 14 nominations for 12 reports about Las Vegas Massacre and other mass shootings at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards, I wrote that "I consider 'Life, Animated' to be the strongest contender for this award."  I was right.  Congratulations.

Next, Bill Whitaker presents the award for Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary.


I don't know how the soundtrack got so out of synch with the video.  Still, congratulations.

Finally, the category that attracted my attention to this movie, Best Documentary.  Watch Dick Cavett present the award in his uniquely whimsical way.


I appreciate how Ron Susskind, Owen's father, connected this film to the current state of journalism and the country, making it even more relevant.

This film deserves a curtain call, so here are the crew and subjects of Arts & Culture Documentary "Life, Animated" being interviewed.

The team from Life, Animated", on A&E, winner of the Emmy Award for Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary, presented at the 39th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards.
Congratulations!

I plan on writing about the rest of the Oscar nominees at the 2018 News and Documentary Emmy Awards, three of which, "Abacus," "Heroin(e)," and "Last Men in Aleppo," won awards.  Stay tuned.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Sears Holdings files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse


As foreshadowed in Part 4 of Sears, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse, Sears Holdings filed for bankruptcy today.  WXYZ broke the story at 6:00 A.M. today with Sears, the store that changed America, declares bankruptcy.

Sears, the once-dominant retail chain that changed how Americans shopped and lived, has filed for bankruptcy.
The Taylor store that served as the backdrop for the location shoot was not on the closure list.  Instead, the Sears in Ann Arbor and Lincoln Park and the KMarts in Lake Orion and North Charlevoix were.  I used to shop at the Sears in Briarwood Mall in Ann Arbor, so that hits close to home.  Also, last I checked, Briarwood Mall is not a dead mall, so seeing it on the closure list surprises me.  Maybe it just lost customers to the other anchors, JCPenney, Macy's, and Von Maur.  However, my prediction that the Twelve Oaks Mall location in Novi would be open until the entire chain goes under continues to look good.  Good thing I didn't write that about the Sears in Briarwood!

In addition to Sears filing for bankruptcy, Eddie Lampert, who I call Fast Eddie Lamprey, has stepped down as CEO.  CNBC discusses that and more in Cramer: Capitalism getting rid of Sears is good.

The 'Squawk on the Street' team discusses Sears filing for bankruptcy and Eddie Lampert, Sears Holdings CEO, stepping down.
I can imagine trying to run a retail chain that isn't for rich people from a yacht in Florida would be difficult, not that I feel sorry for Fast Eddie Lamprey.  He needed to go.  Also, I think Cramer may not be wrong that the creditors could force the hand of Sears Holdings and cause the firm to go into Chapter 7 bankruptcy, resulting in liquidation of assets and closure of all stores by early next year.  I hope that's not the case, but I think the entire company will be out of business by late next year or early 2020 at the latest.

CNBC also looked forward to what the Sears bankruptcy would mean to malls and Sears retail competitors in Sears bankruptcy not a bad thing for malls, says pro.

Liz Dunn, Pro4ma founder and CEO, and Charlie O’Shea, Moody’s retail analyst, discuss the future for Sears following its bankruptcy filing as well as who else in the sector stands to benefit.
My opinion of what the bankruptcy will do for malls is still the same as it was last Friday.  "It will sink a lot of malls, although some landlords will be able to lure more lucrative tenants (subscription required); the rich will get richer while the poor get poorer."  As for which competitors will benefit, I agree with the panel — Macy's, JCPenney, WalMart and Target for general purchases, Best Buy for electronics, and Amazon for people who want to shop online.

I conclude with CBS News giving a capsule history of the chain in How Sears went from innovation to bankruptcy.

Over its 130-year history, Sears has sold watches, clothes, farm machinery, appliances and even houses.
Looks like the company has been in decline for longer than I thought.  Wow, sad.

'Charlottesville: Race and Terror' wins four Emmy Awards as four participants in riot arrested


Last month, I reported that "Charlottesville: Race and Terror" was tied for most nominations at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards with "Cries from Syria" and "The Wounds of War" at four nominations, Outstanding Coverage of a Breaking News Story in a Newscast, Best Story in a Newscast, Outstanding Video Journalism: News, and Outstanding Editing: News.  It won all of them while "The Wounds of War" won two its four and "Cries from Syria" came away from the ceremony empty-handed.  This made "Charlottesville: Race and Terror" the most winning single entry at this year's News and Documentary Emmy Awards.  Wow!

Watch Martha Raddatz present the award for Outstanding Coverage of a Breaking News Story in a Newscast.


Elle Reeve's acceptance speech serves as evidence that the best disinfectant is sunlight.  The disgust at last August's Weimar moment in Charlottesville worked to drive the corn pone fascists back underground.

Raddatz herself noted that that Vice had swept its nominated categories.  She would know, as she also presented the trophy for Outstanding Video Journalism News.


Zack Caldwell foreshadowed Reeve's sentiments, again stating that exposing the alt-right was the best way to stop them and their ideas.

Dick Cavett presented the statuette for Best Story in a Newscast with more than a touch of drama and humor.  Honestly, I was amazed to see that he's still around, let alone that he's still as sharp as ever.


As for Reeve, I'm glad she maintained her composure in the face of Cavett's slightly silly introduction and praised the other women on her production team, especially the one who made her interviewee cry.

Finally, Teresa Rodriguez presented the award for Outstanding Editing News.


Reeve noted that the report aired only 18 hours after the last interview wrapped, so it was only fitting that Tom Clancy thanked Reeve and the rest of his crew.  Based on the speed and quality, he and the rest of the editing team deserved this award.

The Vice News Tonight crew deserves a curtain call, so here they are being interviewed after winning Breaking News Story in a Newscast "Vice News Tonight: Charlottesville -- Race and Terror".

The team from Vice News Tonight: Charlottesville -- Race and Terror, winner of the Emmy Award for Outstanding Breaking News Story in a Newscast, presented at the 39th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards.
Congratulations!

By the way, the story is not over.  The day after the awards, CBS Los Angeles, which I grew up watching, reported Members Of California White Supremacist Group Arrested In Charlottesville Rally.

Four members of a militant white supremacist group from California have been arrested on charges they traveled to Virginia last year to incite a riot and attack counterprotesters.
Since there will be no second Paul Manafort trial, it looks like I'll be following this one instead.

In the meantime, stay tuned for more coverage of the News and Documentary Emmy Award winners.  I expect the next installment will be about "Life, Animated," which beat both "Chasing Coral" and "Putin's Revenge" for Best Documentary.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

'Chasing Coral' wins an Emmy Award for Outstanding Nature Documentary


I concluded PBS NewsHour and Al Gore explain the latest IPCC climate report with the topic of today's bonus entry.
Speaking of award-winning environmental films that examine climate change, I need to follow up on "Chasing Coral" and the outcome of its nomination for Outstanding Nature Documentary.  Since it's Sunday, it's time for an entertainment feature, so I'll do that later today.  Stay tuned.
As I expected last December, "Chasing Coral" won Outstanding Nature Documentary.


Congratulations to Jeff Orlowski and the scientists whose work he recorded.

Speaking of which, two of the researchers' institutions issued press releases about the Emmy win.  Follow over the jump for both of them.

PBS NewsHour and Al Gore explain the latest IPCC climate report


While I've been busy writing about economic disasters, such as Sears likely filing for bankruptcy and the Dow falling 1776 points in ten days, the latest news came out about climate change and the risks associated with it.  PBS NewsHour began the week asking World needs to make near-revolutionary change to avoid imminent climate disaster. Is there hope?

Unless we immediately reduce the burning of coal and oil and gas that drive up global temperatures, a new UN report warns the world will suffer tremendous consequences as early as 2040. William Brangham talks with Rafe Pomerance of the Woods Hole Research Center and Gavin Schmidt from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
On the one hand, that's an alarming question from PBS.  On the other, yes, there is still hope, although the time to act to avoid the worst consequences is running out.

PBS NewsHour was not done with the IPCC report, as they interviewed the other winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.  Watch Al Gore calls Trump’s deregulation proposals ‘literally insane’.

Former vice president and climate change activist Al Gore warns that climate change could be an “existential threat” and calls President Trump’s response an “outlier reaction.” In a wide-ranging interview, Judy Woodruff speaks with Gore about Hurricane Michael, President Trump, the UN Climate Change report out this week, and why he thinks Democrats will fare well in the midterm elections.
I'm glad Gore made the connection between climate change and Hurricane Harvey and other examples of how climate change makes hurricanes stronger.  Not enough people are doing that.  That was a major theme of An Inconvenient Truth, although not as much of "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power," winner of last year's Environmental Media Association Award for documentaries.  I suppose if it had come out after Harvey, it might have reinforced the point.

Speaking of award-winning environmental films that examine climate change, I need to follow up on "Chasing Coral" and the outcome of its nomination for Outstanding Nature Documentary.  Since it's Sunday, it's time for an entertainment feature, so I'll do that later today.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Dow falls 1,200+ points as bond yields rise


Last month, I wrote Ten years ago, we were partying like it was 1929. Are we about to do it again?  The answer was not this year, at least in terms of a recession starting.  However, I did not alter my stock market predictions that I made in The tax bill and the U.S. economy in 2018 and beyond and repeated in 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.
You asked on Twitter "about the latest stock market woes, is there anything worth noting?"  Time to check my predictions about stocks: "I expect the Dow Jones Industrials to get above 25,000, struggle to break 26,000, then sink down to between 20,000 and 22,500 over the next couple of years."  The Dow broke 25,000 early in January, had no trouble getting above 26,000 but then struggled to stay there, and fell about halfway from 26,000 to 22,500, so my predictions look pretty good so far.  At worst, I'm one and one-half out of three and that score will stand no matter what else happens.  As for the future, watch what happens with interest rates.  Janet Yellen's successor and the rest of the Federal Reserve Board may not raise rates as aggressively as they would have before the worst one-day point drop in the Dow.  That may allow stocks to recover to 25,000 before falling below 24,000.
The prediction in the last sentence also happened, as stocks rallied above 25,000 before falling below 24,000.  Also, the Dow Jones fell to 22,533.20 [actually 23,533.20] in March, a little more than 1,000 points above the upper target of 22,500, so reality came even closer to my prediction.
Since then, the stock market took eight months to finally rally enough to set four more record closes on September 20 and 21 and October 2 and 3 ranging from 26,656.98 to 26,828.39.  Then this week happened.

First, CNN reported Thursday Dow plunges 1,000+ points in two days.

The stock market sell-off isn't letting up. After flirting with gains early in the day, the Dow lost as many as 699 points on Thursday afternoon. The Dow cut about half its losses following reports that President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have agreed to meet next month at the G-20 summit. The market slide tacks onto Wednesday's scary sell-off that wiped 832 points off the index.
Despite the spectacular drop, which wiped out nearly all of this year's gains, this is less than halfway to the 22,500 mark I called for.   I still have plenty of time, as I gave the market until the end of 2019 to get there.  Besides, a drop of 1776.17 points is nothing to sneeze at, even if it doesn't yet qualify as "partying like it was 1929."

Yesterday, CBS This Morning had a calmer analysis of the situation on Friday morning in What's behind the stock market sell-off?.

The markets are coming off the biggest two days of losses since February. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost nearly 546 points Thursday, a 2.1 percent drop, on top of an 831-point plunge on Wednesday. The S&P 500 was also down 2.1 percent. CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss what's behind the sell-off.
The futures markets were right, as the Dow rebounded, which KPBS reported yesterday evening in Friday Business Report: Stock Market Tumbles.

STOCKS RECOVERED TODAY AFTER TWO CHALLENGING DAYS ON WALL STREET. THE DOW JONES ENDED UP NEARLY 300-POINTS... STILL SUFFERING ITS BIGGEST WEEKLY LOSS IN SIX MONTHS. EARLIER I SPOKE WITH MIRO COPIC WITH SDSU'S MARKETING DEPARTMENT AND THE CO FOUNDER OF BOTTOM LINE MARKETING----ABOUT WHAT MIGHT OF SPOOKED INVESTORS.
All three reports credited the selloff to the Fed raising interest rates.  That was the first of the signals for the next recession that I listed last December.
The most likely would be an inversion of the yield curve, which means that short-term interest rates would rise higher than long-term interest rates.  The Federal Reserve has been raising short-term rates for the past two years while long-term rates have been rising much more slowly.  If present trends continue, short-term rates will rise above long-term ones within a year or two, which always signals a recession within a year.
We're getting there, as CNBC told its readers and viewers Watch out for the yield curve late last month.
The spread between short- and long-term interest rates continues to shrink — the difference between 2- and 10-year Treasury bonds was just 21 basis points on Sept. 14 — but equity investors are shrugging off the bearish signal from the bond market.

When short-term bonds pay more than long-term ones, it's usually a signal that economic growth is peaking and that a recession is on the horizon. It does not, however, mean a downturn is necessarily around the corner or that stocks are headed for a crash.

"An inverted yield curve doesn't cause a recession," said Matt Toms, chief investment officer for Voya Financial. "People get confused about the causality on that front."

It does, however, provide a strong reminder that economic cycles and bull markets don't last forever. Toms, for one, thinks the Federal Reserve Bank will pause on its path back to "normal" monetary policy to avoid an inversion of the curve. "Chairman Powell is a markets person," said Toms. "We think the Fed will stop pushing and the curve should begin to steepen by year-end."

Bob Miller, head of the U.S. multisector fixed-income team at BlackRock, also thinks the Fed will try to avoid a curve inversion. "It's possible that the yield curve inverts, but I think it's unlikely," he said. "We think the Fed will be sensitive to that possibility, and if the 10-year Treasury yield fails to rally, the Fed will signal that quarterly rate hikes are too aggressive."
I hope that Miller is right about the Fed, but I'm not optimistic.  In fact, it may already be too late.  Seeking Alpha reported that the TIPS or Treasury Inflation Protected Securities yield curve has already inverted.  It also noted that "The TIPS yield curve inverted before the last recession and forecasts growth and inflation like the nominal Treasury yield curve does."  My call for a recession beginning during the second half of next year looks even better, which is not really good news.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Part 4 of Sears, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse


I left off Sears, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse with Part 3 in August, writing then "That hurts, although my wife and I have a Sears just a bit closer at Twelve Oaks Mall.  I don't think that one will close until the entire chain goes under, which should happen next year, as Twelve Oaks Mall is still thriving.  When that happens, it will hurt."  The end has come even closer, as WXYZ reported yesterday Sears facing bankruptcy: Here's what consumers need to know.

Sears may be days away from bankruptcy. The long-troubled retailer has reportedly started making the moves for a filing, leaving nearly 1,000 Sears and Kmart locations on the chopping block.  The company is $134 million in debt and hasn't turned a profit since 2010.
WXYZ was reporting from the Twelve Oaks Mall location in Novi, which I think is no coincidence.  As I wrote above, it would be open until the entire chain goes under, which is sooner than I expected.  Last April, my prediction was "I suspect Kmart [will] follow Toys R Us into bankruptcy once the holiday shopping season is over and could be closed by the end of 2019, just when I'm predicting the U.S. to be in recession."  In July, I added "That goes for Sears, too, since they're the same company."  The company almost certainly won't even last that long.  At this rate, it will be closed after this year's holiday shopping season.

WXYZ isn't the only one of my regular sources that is following this story.  Follow over the jump for two videos from Retail Archeology.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Emmy wins by 'RuPaul's Drag Race,' 'Queer Eye,' and 'Will & Grace' for National Coming Out Day


I told my readers to "stay tuned" as "I'll be posting later today on some of those examples of representation at the Emmy Awards" in the middle of Neil Patrick Harris on 'The View' for National Coming Out Day.  I also wrote that "I might have more to say about reality shows after the Primetime Emmy Awards, when Outstanding Reality-Competition Program will be awarded, especially if 'RuPaul's Drag Race' wins" in 'United Shades of America' and 'Life Below Zero' both win at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards.  It's time to kill two birds with one stone, as RuPaul's Drag Race Wins For Outstanding Reality-Competition Program.


E! quoted the acceptance speech.
"Thank you to the Academy. This is so lovely. We are so happy to present this show. I would like to thank, on behalf of the 140 drag queens we have released into the wild, I'd love to thank Dick Richards for introducing me to Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey," RuPaul said, acknowledging his partners at World of Wonder, who've produced the series since its inception.

With that, he turned to those watching at home. "All of the dreamers out there, listen," he said. "If you can't love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an amen up in here? Now let the music play!"
"RuPaul's Drag Race" won a total of five Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program for RuPaul Charles, which I reported in Diversity a winner at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards.  E! noted that this is "the first reality series to nab series and host wins in the same year."  Wow!

"RuPaul's Drag Race" also won Outstanding Directing for a Reality Program, and two categories I covered in 'Saturday Night Live' leads Outstanding Variety Sketch Series nominations, again.'Saturday Night Live' leads Outstanding Variety Sketch Series nominations, again
Now for categories I have not mentioned before, beginning with Outstanding Costumes for a Variety, Nonfiction, or Reality Programming.
Dancing with the Stars (Episode: "Disney Night") (ABC)
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert (NBC)
RuPaul's Drag Race (Episode: "10s Across The Board") (VH1)
Saturday Night Live (Episode: "Host: Natalie Portman") (NBC)
Tracey Ullman's Show (Episode: "Episode 1") (HBO)
"RuPaul's Drag Race" won this category last year, so I think it's the favorite.  The year before, a live musical did, so "Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert" is my pick for an upset.  SNL has an better than average chance, as it is the only other previous winner among the nominees.
I called it, as "RuPaul's Drag Race" won.  I wasn't as lucky or skilled in the next category.
Next, Outstanding Hairstyling for a Multi-Camera Series or Special.
Dancing with the Stars (Episode: "Night at the Movies") (ABC)
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert (NBC)
RuPaul's Drag Race (Episode: "10s Across The Board") (VH1)
Saturday Night Live (Episode: "Host : Tiffany Haddish") (NBC)
The Voice (Episode: "Live Finale, Part 1") (NBC)
A live musical won this last year, but five years in a row before that, SNL won this category, so I think it's the favorite, followed by "Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert."  My third choice would be "Dancing with the Stars," but that show hasn't won since 2011.
Surprise!  "RuPaul's Drag Race" upset all my choices.  I'm O.K. with that.  Congratulations to "RuPaul's Drag Race" on all five of its Emmy Awards.

Follow over the jump for the Emmy wins by "Queer Eye," which won Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming at the 2018 Television Critics Association Awards, and "Will&Grace," which I promised I would write about today.