Saturday, November 30, 2019

WDIV and WXYZ celebrate Small Business Saturday in Metro Detroit


Once again, Happy Small Business Saturday, a day I've been observing since 2011, the first year of this blog!  As I wrote earlier today in Shop Small as Seth Meyers, the Small Business Adminstration, and Yahoo! Finance all celebrate the 10th Small Business Saturday, "I'm not done with Small Business Saturday.  Stay tuned for an entry about local businesses here in Metro Detroit."  WDIV provides an excellent overview of the National Day in Small Business Saturday: Where to shop local around Metro Detroit.

Small Business Saturday was an idea created by the credit card giant American Express in 2010. The campaign was launched in order to help small businesses gain additional exposure and to change the way consumers shop within their own community during the holiday season.
That's the big picture here in southeast Michigan.  For a series of close-ups, follow over the jump as WXYZ invites local businesses into their studio and also goes on location.

Shop Small as Seth Meyers, the Small Business Adminstration, and Yahoo! Finance all celebrate the 10th Small Business Saturday

Happy Small Business Saturday, a day I've been observing since 2011, the first year of this blog!  For this year's celebration, I begin with Seth [Meyers] and Amber [Ruffin] Celebrate Small Business Saturday in Partnership with American Express.

Late Night with Seth Meyers in partnership with American Express celebrates the 10th annual Small Business Saturday.
That was just as funny as a live promotional spot could be.  For a more serious and informative clip, I present the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)'s Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday, two days after Thanksgiving, is a day to celebrate small businesses and all they do for communities across America. Support your local entrepreneurs by shopping and dining at a small business.
Since this is a National Day created by American Express, I'm giving it a more direct voice through one of its vice presidents being interviewed by Yahoo! Finance in Local economy sees big impact from Small Business Saturday.

Andy Goldberg, SVP, Global Brand Planning & Content at American Express discusses opportunities like Small Business Saturday to help small businesses thrive.
One of the types of business both the SBA and American Express is promoting is restaurants, particularly coffee shops.  On that note, I'm sharing American Express's Support Local Coffee Shops.

Want to know how to support local businesses this Small Business Saturday 2019? Stop by your favorite neighborhood coffee shops and get energized to support all the great small businesses in your community.
I couldn't resist this ad, especially since I'm an officer of Coffee Party USA and plan on sharing this post at their Facebook page.

I'm not done with Small Business Saturday.  Stay tuned for an entry about local businesses here in Metro Detroit.

Friday, November 29, 2019

The death and rebirth of Toys R Us, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse for Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day


Happy Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day!  Last year, I covered the Retail Apocalypse by focusing on Macy's and Bon-Ton.  This year, I continue with the tradition by re-examining the death and rebirth of Toys R Us, one of the first two chains I followed in covering the decline of brick-and-mortar retailers.  I begin with Wall Street Journal's How Toys 'R' Us Went Bankrupt, which concludes with the chains rebirth under new ownership.

For decades, Toys "R" Us was not only one of the top toy retailers in the United States, it was one of the top retailers period. Until it suddenly wasn’t. Toys “R” filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and liquidated six months later. This is the story of how Toys "R" Us went bankrupt.
The part about the private equity firm that secured their loans to Toys R Us's intellectual property, including Geoffrey the Giraffe, was a new facet of the story to me.  It ties into what I wrote in June about the revival of the name.
Toys R Us is like TwinkiesThe products are too valuable and someone will make them.
Companies will do so even if it involves killing off the original company and stripping the carcass.  To paraphrase Steve Martin, capitalism is not pretty.

Follow over the jump for two videos about the opening of the first Toys R Us store under Tru Kids, the new ownership.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

FiveThirtyEight asks what the Democratic candidates should be thankful for


Happy Thanksgiving!  I'm going to be more serious than usual this year; no balloons and marching bands today, although I won't be able to resist pie drinks for Thanksgiving.  I have to uphold at least one of my traditions.

For a serious take on the holiday, I'm sharing FiveThirtyEight asking What Should Each Candidate Be Thankful For?

The podcast crew play a Thanksgiving-themed game in which they try to guess what the candidates in the Democratic primary are thankful for.
I tend to agree with all of the panel's answers about what their top seven Democratic candidates should be thankful for.  On the other hand, if I were Amy Klobuchar, I'd be annoyed at being left out for Michael Bloomberg.  Even Cory Booker got a mention.  Hmph!

Follow over the jump for a pair of drinks from Tipsy Bartender, as I uphold one of my holiday traditions.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving travel forecast plus double driving update for November 2019: Pearl and Snow Bear


Both Pearl and Snow Bear have rolled over another 1,000 miles on their odometers, so it's time for an American Thanksgiving travel report.*

I begin with CBS This Morning reporting More than 49 million Americans hitting the road for Thanksgiving travel.

Giant Thanksgiving storms are pummeling roads across the U.S. and snarling travel plans. Kris Van Cleave is about to do what more than 49 million Americans are doing: loading up the car and hitting the road.
I hope Kris Van Cleave makes some new friends, as Gayle King suggests.  It certainly will make his trip more interesting.

While the bulk of Americans traveling for our Thanksgiving are driving, millions more are flying, which is why 13 WMAZ in Macon, Georgia reported AAA: 54 million people traveling this week for Thanksgiving.

The AAA said more than 54 million people are hitting the road this week for Thanksgiving. One of the worst times to travel will be Wednesday afternoon and evening.
I included this video as much for the mention of gas prices, which are slightly higher overall in the U.S. than this time last year but still falling, as I did for the expected total number of Americans traveling, not just driving.

For the situation for flyers, WDIV in Detroit reported on the Thanksgiving travel rush underway at Detroit Metro Airport (DTW).  Of course I had to include a Detroit angle on this story; this is a Detroit-based blog.



It's always one of the busiest days at the airport.

Like all the rest of the clips, the anchors and reporters are trying to have some fun with the situation.  I just hope their viewers enjoy it as much as the TV personalities seem to.

Follow over the jump for my personal driving update.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Michael Bloomberg just officially entered nomination contest and is already second in media spending


Michael Bloomberg has officially entered the Democratic presidential nomination contest.  VOA News reports in Billionaire Investor Joins Democratic Presidential Race.

The crowded field of U.S. Democratic presidential hopefuls added a new name this week, when former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg officially joined the race on Sunday. VOA's Ardita Dunellari reports the 77-year old billionaire investor and philanthropist has name recognition and millions of dollars of his own fortune for campaign spending.
As Larry Sabato mentioned, Bloomberg has already spent $37 million on media buys within days of declaring his candidacy.  That figure places him second in campaign media spending behind only Tom Steyer.  CBS News pointed that out in Billionaires lead presidential candidates in ad spending.

2020 Democratic presidential candidates Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg, both multi-billionaires, are leading all of their competitors in ad spending with a combined total of nearly $90 million. President Trump is in third place for his reelection bid. Axios media reporter Sara Fischer joined CBSN to break down the data and explain what it means for the race to the White House.
Steyer was able to convince enough people in Iowa and New Hampshire to contribute money and pick him in polls to make the October and November Democratic debates, so maybe Bloomberg can raise his poll numbers up high enough to qualify.  However, as I noted in SNL has fun with impeachment hearings and Democratic debate, he's not taking any donations, which means he won't qualify for debates as long as that's a criterion.  Let's see how well that works out for him.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Meyers and Colbert take closer looks at last week's impeachment hearings


I concluded Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert react live to last night's Democratic debate with a prediction.
I'm sure the other late night talk show hosts will have more to say about the debate tomorrow.  In particular, I'm looking forward to what Seth Meyers and Jimmy Kimmel have to say, although they might do what both Noah and Colbert  did — move on to impeachment.
That's exactly what happened in Late Night with Seth Meyers' Second Week of Impeachment Testimony Ends with More Damning Evidence: A Closer Look.

Seth takes a closer look at a week of impeachment hearings that have been nothing short of jaw-dropping.
As I foresaw, Meyers introduced the bit by mentioning the debate, then immediately moved to the impeachment hearing.  He also largely ignored Fiona Hill.  That was not the case with Stephen Colbert the same night. His monologue concentrated on impeachment and featured Hill prominently in Stephen's Catchy Jingle Makes The Trump Impeachment Inquiry Easy To Understand.

For some people, the impeachment inquiry has become an epic saga with too many characters to keep track of. That's why Stephen Colbert and Jon Batiste created this simple yet effective way to remember how the President landed in this mess in the first place.
That is a catchy song about the phone call that could get Trump impeached.  Here's to hoping people find it as memorable as they found it funny.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

SNL has fun with impeachment hearings and Democratic debate


For this week's Sunday entertainment feature, I'm showcasing three clips from SNL about this week's political news, the impeachment hearings and Wednesday's Democratic debate.  I begin the same way last night's show did, with Trump Impeachment Press Conference Cold Open, which is also the most viewed clip from last night's show..

President Trump holds an impromptu press conference outside the White House near a loud helicopter.
The comments to this clip are priceless:

"Alec Baldwin is a better Trump than Trump."

"Trump said windmills cause cancer but he stands next to a chopper everyday."

"'Well, I know him but I don't know him know him.' Trumpism, perfectly summed up."

"'There was no quid pro quo' is going to be the next 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman.'"

"Nowadays, you don‘t mock the president anymore, you just re-enact his words... :-) That‘s hilarious. And sad. So sad."

It is.

The next most viewed clip is 2020 Democratic Debate with an all-star comedy cast.

Presidential candidates Andrew Yang (Bowen Yang), Pete Buttigieg (Colin Jost), Cory Booker (Chris Redd), Elizabeth Warren (Kate McKinnon), Amy Klobuchar (Rachel Dratch), Tom Steyer (Will Ferrell), Michael Bloomberg (Fred Armisen), Tulsi Gabbard (Cecily Strong) Bernie Sanders (Larry David), Joe Biden (Woody Harrelson) and Kamala Harris (Maya Rudolph) speak at MSNBC’s 2020 Democratic Debate.
One of the best things SNL does is make fun of its parent company's other shows and channels.  Also, of course Michael Bloomberg would show up as a party crasher with big gulp cups.  Considering that he's refusing donations to his campaign, he won't be able to make future debates any other way.

I bring this entry full circle by returning to the impeachment hearings with Weekend Update: End of Impeachment Hearings.

Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week's biggest news, like Trump considering testifying in impeachment hearings.
And Bloomberg crashed this segment, too.

I like the news better when I can laugh at it.  I think my readers do, too.  Happy Sunday!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Deval Patrick and Michael Bloomberg at On The Issues

I promised graphs of Michael Bloomberg's and Deval Patrick's ideological positions from On The Issues four times this week.  As the week is almost over and I have time to research and create the graphs, it's time to fulfill that promise.  Since I examine Democratic candidates from left to center, I begin with the more liberal of the two late-comers to the contest, former Massachusetts Governor Patrick.


Despite his moderate reputation, On The Issues designates Patrick as a "Hard-Core Liberal" with an economic score of 23 and a social score of 90, tied for second most liberal socially with Joe Sestak and Marianne Williamson.  However, using my methodology of ranking the candidates first by their economic score and then by their social score, Patrick currently ranks as the 12th most liberal active member of the Democratic field, two places to the right of the median candidate, which is now Cory Booker, whose scores at On The Issues are still 18 economic and 80 social.  This is very close to Bill de Blasio's vacated position on the Nolan Grid, so Patrick gets a graphic all to himself in a position that is no longer occupied.  Flanking Patrick to his left is Tom Steyer in 11th with an economic score of 20 and a social score or 75 and to his right is Michael Bennet with an economic score of 25 and a social score of 73.  I guess Patrick may actually deserve his moderate reputation, despite what On The Issues thinks.


On the other hand, Michael Bloomberg has no problem being labeled as a moderate, as On The Issues considers him to be a Libertarian-Leaning Progressive with an economic score of 33 and a social score of 78.  This makes him the 18th most liberal candidate in the field to the right of Steve Bullock, whose economic score is 30 and social score is 70, and to the left of only Tulsi Gabbard, whose economic and social scores remain at 35 and 85, respectively.  Even Bloomberg can't outflank Gabbard to her right.  Bloomberg also manages to share a graphic with John Delaney, whose scores of 28 economic and 83 social places him three places to the left of Bloomberg, but on the same point on the Nolan Grid when rounded to the nearest multiples of 10.  I think the two of them belong together.

Having looked at the latest scores of all the candidates, it's time to post an update of the entire field.  I'll get to that next week.  Stay tuned.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Vox explains how America's wilderness is for sale


A month ago, I examined one facet of the current administration's environmental policy in Vox uses wolves to explain a shortcoming of the Endangered Species Act.  Today, I revisit one of the motivations behind the downsizing of two national monuments in Utah and similar actions using Vox's America's wilderness is for sale.

We need more copper. Is it worth destroying this place?
...
The Trump administration has opened up America's public lands to mining and fossil fuel companies on an unprecedented scale, lifting decades-long protections from millions of acres of wilderness across the country. In Minnesota, one proposed copper mine is pitting neighbors against each other as they weigh the benefits of new mining jobs against the environmental consequences of a new mines. It’s an old American debate that’s been further complicated here by an unforgiving reality: We need copper, and there are not that many places to get it.
As the video points out, mining is not a long-term basis for a local economy.  It leads to boom towns that become ghost towns.  On the other hand, ecotourism leads to sustainable, if low-paying, jobs.  As someone who worked as a Park Naturalist during summer 1986, I can relate to this situation.  Despite the low pay, it was my second- or third-favorite job behind my current job and maybe being a tour guide at Pre-Historic Forest.  On the other hand, the only way I would have worked for a mining company would have been as a geologist, not a miner, despite the higher pay — too dirty and dangerous.  It was safer working on the L.A. subway.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert react live to last night's Democratic debate


I'm taking a break from Michael Bloomberg and Deval Patrick to have some fun with last night's Democratic debate.*  Watch 2020 November Democratic Debate in Atlanta from The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

Trevor went LIVE after the Atlanta 2020 Democratic primary debate between Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang, Tulsi Gabbard, and Tom Steyer.
Noah wasn't alone in reacting live after the debate.  Watch The Late Show's Stephen Colbert Breaks Down The 5th Democratic Presidential Debate.

Birthday boy Joe Biden provided the day's first gaffe, and the Democratic debate hadn't even started yet! Watch Stephen Colbert's LIVE post-debate analysis to find out who had the best night at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta.
Stephen wasn't the only one on his show having a good time with the debate.  Alex Wagner & John Heilemann: Cory Booker's "Weed" Comment Will Go Far.

The hosts of "The Circus" on Showtime, John Heilemann and Alex Wagner, join Stephen Colbert for LIVE analysis after the fifth Democratic debate.
Not only were these segments funny, they were informative, too.  I'm sure the other late night talk show hosts will have more to say about the debate tomorrow.  In particular, I'm looking forward to what Seth Meyers and Jimmy Kimmel have to say, although they might do what both Noah and Colbert did — move on to impeachment.

*I'm still planning on creating and posting graphs of Bloomberg's and Patrick's ideological positions from OnTheIssues.org.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Recycled drink suggestions for Bloomberg and Patrick


I promised drink suggestions for Michael Bloomberg and Deval Patrick, who might or have already joined the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.  Since tonight is the November debate, today is as good an opportunity as any.

Since both the candidates entered the contest late and are from states that have already produced candidates, I'm going to be a good environmentalist and recycle my drink suggestions.  For Bloomberg, I'm reusing three recipes from Drinks for Republican candidates: Graham, Pataki, and Gilmore that I suggested for George Pataki.  Since Bloomberg used to be a Republican, I think it's appropriate.

First, the New York Sour.

This is a crazy cocktail the mixes red wine, lemons juice and whiskey to create and sweet tasting layered cocktail.
...
NEW YORK SOUR
2 oz. (60ml) Bourbon
1 oz. (30ml) Lemon Juice
1 oz. (30ml) Simple Syrup
Tops with Red Wine (Shiraz or Malbec)
Next, The Manhattan.

Ladies and gentlemen a classic cocktail....THE MANHATTAN. This is an old school cocktail that is still relevant today. It is the perfect mix of whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters. If you love whiskey then you must try this drink.
...
MANHATTAN
2 oz. (60 ml) Whiskey
0.5 oz. (15 ml) Sweet Vermouth
2-3 Dashes of Bitters

2 oz (60 ml) Whisky
0.5 oz (15 ml) Sweet Vermouth
2-3 Dashes of Bitters
If that's not enough, About.com has a recipe for a New York Cocktail.

Ingredients

    2 ounces blended whiskey
    1 ounce lemon juice
    1 teaspoon superfine sugar
    1/2 teaspoon grenadine
    Lemon twist for garnish
...
Preparation

    Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
    Shake well.
    Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
    Garnish with the lemon twist.
I'm also going to steal Saveur's recipe for the Billionaire Cocktail from Drinks and drinking games for Donald Trump and the GOP debates.
Ingredients
2 oz. high-proof bourbon, such as Baker's
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
1/4 oz. absinthe bitters or absinthe
1/2 oz. grenadine syrup made from pomegranate, such as Employees Only
Lemon wheel, for garnish
Instructions
Combine bourbon, lemon juice, absinthe bitters or absinthe, and grenadine in a shaker over ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with the lemon wheel.
Bloomberg deserves this drink more than Trump.  Besides, Tom Steyer already has the Billionaire's Margarita.

Of course, if one wants something non-alcoholic to toast Bloomberg, one can always drink the soft drink of one's choice in a Big Gulp cup.


For Deval Patrick, I'm recycling my suggestion for Seth Moulton Spoon University's unofficial cocktail for Massachusetts, the Cape Codder.

With Ocean Spray cranberry juice headquartered in Massachusetts, their signature cocktail MUST feature this yummy drink. What’s better than a basic as f*ck vodka cranberry? Add a lime and call it a Cape Codder.
Yes, I'm taking this drink out of retirement for Patrick.  Surprise!

Enjoy tonight's debate and enjoy these drinks, although not at the same time.  I have my doubts either candidate will make the December debate or any other, for that matter.

Stay tuned for graphs of their ideological positions from OnTheIssues.org.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Trevor Noah, James Corden, and Seth Meyers on Bloomberg and Patrick joining the Democratic primary contest


I promised "reactions from late-night comedians" at the end of Bloomberg and Patrick enter the Democratic nomination contest at the last minute and it's time to deliver.  First up, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah spent more than six minutes on Bloomberg’s Belated 2020 Bid.

Billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg floats a late-in-the-game White House bid and is met with resistance from the Democrats already in the race.
Those are some impressive put-downs from other candidates, especially Bernie Sanders.

Noah was not alone using Bloomberg for a bit.  James Corden did as well in The Latest Presidential Candidate Is An Actual New York Billionaire.

James Corden recaps the news of day, including reports that Michael Bloomberg may enter the 2020 presidential race and some of the sights and sounds of President Trump's rally in Louisiana.
Bloomberg got a full minute before Corden changed the subject.  On the other hand, Deval Patrick just got one good joke in Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick Joins 2020 Presidential Race before Seth Meyers moved on to other topics.


I think that gives a good idea of the relative importance of the two candidates or at least their comedy value.

Still to come, "drink recipes [and] graphs of their ideological positions from OnTheIssues.org."  Stay tuned.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Bloomberg and Patrick enter the Democratic nomination contest at the last minute


Eight years ago, I wrote "Bloomberg Television is owned by someone who thinks he should run the country."  That means I wasn't completely surprised when I heard last week that Michael Bloomberg files for Democratic primary in Arkansas.

Billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has filed for the 2020 Democratic primary in Arkansas. John Harris, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Politico, joined CBSN with the latest on the 2020 race.
Bloomberg also filed in Alabama, the other state with an early filing deadline for its primary, along with 16 other Democratic and 3 Republican candidates.  Even so, he has not formally announced that he is running.

On the other hand, Deval Patrick, who was also mentioned in the above video, did.  Watch Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick joins 2020 presidential race, also from CBS News.

Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick officially entered the 2020 Democratic presidential race on Thursday. His announcement comes less than three months before primary voting begins. CBS News political correspondent Ed O'Keefe joined CBSN to discuss.
That Patrick is attracting Beto O'Rourke's former staffers shouldn't surprise me, as O'Rourke dropped out only two weeks earlier.  On the other hand, Patrick himself getting in the contest after the first filing deadlines have passed does.  As both videos point out, these are long-shot candidacies that the Democratic primary voters have not asked for.  Instead, they seem to be driven by candidate desires and anxieties by Democratic Party insiders, both donors and campaign professionals, about the current field.  In contrast, the Democratic primary and caucus electorate seem happy with the remaining candidates.  The viewers on YouTube appear to reflect the lack of support for both Bloomberg and Patrick, as both videos have more downrates than uprates.  The ratio doesn't lie.

I plan on having more on both candidates later, including drink recipes, graphs of their ideological positions from OnTheIssues.org, and reactions from late-night comedians.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Bill Maher calls for political toleration in this year's final New Rules on 'Real Time'


With Thanksgiving coming up and the prospect of being with relatives who disagree with us facing many Americans, Bill Maher, of all people, made a plea for political toleration in New Rule: Let It Go.

In his final New Rule of the season, Bill Maher calls on Americans to put aside their political differences.
I think this is good advice, even though Maher insults conservatives in giving it.  Here's to hoping the insults don't get in the way of the call for mutual toleration.

'Apollo 11' wins 5 awards, including Best Documentary, at the Critics' Choice Documentary Awards


It's time to follow through with my plans to post the winners of this year's Critics' Choice Documentary Awards.  I begin with KTLA 5's "Apollo 11" Wins Big at the Critics' Choice Documentary Awards.


This is almost a sweep.  As I quoted from the press release, "The nominations for Apollo 11 are Best Documentary Feature, Todd Douglas Miller for Best Director, Best Editing, Best Score, Best Archival Documentary, and Best Science/Nature Documentary."  The documentary about Apollo 11 landing on the Moon won all but one of them as "Apollo 11 took home the evening’s most prestigious award for Best Documentary Feature as well as Best Editing for Todd Douglas Miller, Best Score for Matt Morton, Best Archival Documentary, and Best Science/Nature Documentary."  The award it didn't get was for Best Director, where "There was a tie for Best Director between Peter Jackson for They Shall Not Grow Old, and Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar for American Factory. They Shall Not Grow Old also brought home the award for Most Innovative Documentary. American Factory also won the award for Best Political Documentary."

I have to say that I'm happy about the awards "Apollo 11" won and having a range of feelings from not surprised to pleased about the other movies' trophies.  I hoped for or expected most of them.
While the Critics' Choice Association did not consider either "Apollo 11" or "They Shall Not Grow Old" as political documentaries, both are about functions of government, space exploration and the military.  In addition, they are competing directly against each other in five categories, making it a match-up between the third highest grossing political documentary of 2018 and the highest grossing documentary of 2019 (so far).  Of course, I'm rooting for "Apollo 11," especially in the Best Science/Nature Documentary category, although I think it faces stiff competition, especially from "The Biggest Little Farm."
...
American Factory and One Child Nation...are the favorites [to win Best Political Documentary].
The one I didn't call was "They Shall Not Grow Old" but I expected Peter Jackson would be the favorite, as he is an Oscar-winning director, producer, and writer.

The other winner that I wrote about was "The Biggest Little Farm."
The Biggest Little Farm leads this year with seven nominations, including Best Documentary Feature, John Chester for Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Score, Best Narration, and Best Science/Nature Documentary.
While this is not explicitly a movie about politics and government, it is one that I have a professional interest in.  Unlike "The End of Suburbia," which I've already replaced with "Treasures of the Earth: Power," and "An Inconvenient Truth," which I've already decided to replace with "Chasing Coral" when it comes out on DVD, "Food, Inc." is still holding up well despite being a decade old.  That written, it, too, will become obsolete one day, so I plan on watching "The Biggest Little Farm" as a possible replacement.  Welcome to blogging as professional development.
It won one award, as John Chester took home the trophy for Best Cinematography.  Congratulations!  Here's to both "Apollo 11" and "The Biggest Little Farm" earning Oscar nominations.

Now the rest of the winners and honorees.
Best Narration went to Bruce Springsteen for Western Stars.

Honeyland took home the award for Best First Documentary Feature for directors Tamara Kotevska an Ljubomir Stefanov.

The award for Best Biographical Documentary went to Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am.

The Best Music Documentary award went to Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice.

Maiden won the Best Sports Documentary award.

The Best Short Documentary Award was given to Period. End of Sentence.

This year’s honorees for Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary are Dr. Amani Ballor (The Cave), David Crosby (David Crosby: Remember My Name), Tracy Edwards (Maiden), Imelda Marcos (The Kingmaker), Hatidze Muratova (Honeyland), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, and Paula Jean Swearengin (Knock Down the House), Linda Ronstadt (Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice), and Dr. Ruth Westheimer (Ask Dr. Ruth).
I'm glad to see that "Period. End of Sentence" won a Critics' Choice Award to go with its Oscar.  I'm also happy that "Knock Down the House" already earned its subjects their honors; while I was rooting for it to win Best Political Documentary, I was pretty sure it wouldn't.  Speaking of which, "One Child Nation" did not win in any of the five categories in which it was nominated.  I think it will have better luck at the Emmy Awards next year.

I conclude today's entry with APOLLO 11 [Official Trailer].

From director Todd Douglas Miller (Dinosaur 13) comes a cinematic event fifty years in the making. Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, Apollo 11 takes us straight to the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission—the one that first put men on the moon, and forever made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin into household names. Immersed in the perspectives of the astronauts, the team in Mission Control, and the millions of spectators on the ground, we vividly experience those momentous days and hours in 1969 when humankind took a giant leap into the future.
Once again, congratulations to all the winners and good luck on their Oscar, Emmy, and Grammy chances!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Vox explains how thawing permafrost is already releasing dangerous diseases


Today I'm sharing another video that asks "are you scared enough by climate change?"  It's We're melting the Arctic and reviving deadly germs by Vox.

Beware the thawing permafrost.
...
In the coldest parts of the world, there’s a layer of soil that stays frozen all year. This layer is called permafrost; it exists mainly around the Arctic, and acts kind of like a giant freezer. As plants and animals in those regions die, some of them become preserved in this permafrost.

But as human activity releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the permafrost is starting to thaw and shrink. That’s having some dramatic consequences — and not just for people who live in the Arctic.
This is a science-fiction and horror scenario, which made this another example of how climate change is changing horror.  I wasn't the only one who thought so.  The top comment read "sounds like a perfect plot for the apocalyptic movie."  People agreed; in fact, it's already been used.  Responses follow:

"Its where the Blight from the film Interstellar came from."

"It's called The Last Ship."

"You all should watch 'The Last Ship' it's about a disease spreading and about the U.S military. It's an amazing show."

(Aside: I've written about "The Last Ship" on this blog.)

"[T]here’s a tv series called Fortitude which revolves around this subject," to which I replied "I was wondering if someone would mention 'Fortitude.'  Great horror show with a science fiction premise."

"Bruh, it reminds me of A Plague Tale : Innocence."

"Resident evil."

Finally, a number of people mentioned "The Thing," which shows how old an idea this is, although that's a hostile extraterrestrial creature, not an earthly disease brought back from extinction.

All this goes to show that advancing technology and societal change aren't the only reasons why we live in science fiction times.  Climate change is, too.  As my friend Nebris says, scifi is now.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Trevor Noah on Asian countries refusing the West's recycling on America Recycles Day


Happy America RecyclesDay!  For this year's observance, I'm following up on my comment last year that "America doesn't just need to recycle more, it needs to recycle better."  I focused on one reason why in Vox explains why we're recycling wrong — Student Sustainability Video Festival 82.  Another reason involves who is processing our recycling or rather who is no longer processing our recycling.  The Daily Show with Trevor Noah explains that in If You Don’t Know, Now You Know - Asian Nations Reject Western Trash.

After years of taking in America’s plastic recycling, many Asian nations are now sending it back, forcing the U.S. to deal with its trash problem.
In addition to Noah reporting on China and other Asian nations refusing our waste, he also mentioned that Americans have to recycle more carefully and use less plastic.  I agree with both of those points, even if they're made humorously.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

November 14 is World Diabetes Day


Today is World Diabetes Day, a day that has become special to me because I am a Type I diabetic.  I begin today's observance by sharing the latest description from National Day Calendar.
Around the globe on November 14th, World Diabetes Day raises awareness and provides education concerning a disease that affects over 400 million adults internationally.

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar levels. It is also a leading cause of blindness, amputation, heart disease, and kidney disease. Besides causing severe medical issues, the condition also causes millions of premature deaths each year. In fact, diabetes has become one of the leading causes of death around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that 1.6 million people died from diabetes in 2016. By the year 2045, approximately 629 million adults will have diabetes.

A large number of people affected by diabetes is a source of concern for global health care workers. Awareness, education, action, and research all can make a difference. In many cases, Type 2 diabetes is preventable.
...
While Type 1 diabetes is not as preventable, it can be managed well with insulin injections. Managing Type 1 diabetes might also require frequent blood sugar monitoring, eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight. Education is key to learning how to manage symptoms of Type 1 diabetes.
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The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) was founded in 1950 in Amsterdam. Together with the WHO, the IDF created World Diabetes Day in 1991. The goal was to raise awareness of the rising threat of diabetes around the world. In 2006, the day became one of the official United Nations Days. World Diabetes Day is held on November 14th each year to commemorate the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting who co-discovered insulin in 1922. Today, this day is observed in 170 countries and territories.
Now a visual presentation of the facts from Pharma Guide: World Diabetes Day 2018-2019: Everything you need to know in 2 minutes.

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) started World Diabetes Day in 1991 in response to the escalating health threat posed by diabetes. It has since grown to become a globally celebrated event and an official United Nations (UN) awareness day. It is now the world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign. Thousands of local campaigns, activities, screenings, meetings and more take place every year, all helping to raise awareness of a condition that currently affects over 420 million people, with many more at risk. The theme for World Diabetes Day 2018 and 2019 is ‘the family and diabetes’. With the tagline "diabetes concerns every family"
Here's to increasing not only my awareness of my condition, but also my readers.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Michigan woman warms others by donating clothing for World Kindness Day


HappyWorld Kindness Day!  For this year's example of "let[ting] your compassion shine brightly" and "showing as much kindness as possible," I turn to 13 On Your Side in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which uploaded Local woman warming more than hearts on World Kindness Day this morning.

Wednesday is World Kindness Day and one Grand Rapids woman is doing more than just warming hearts -- she is warming those in need with free coats and clothing. 13 ON YOUR SIDE's Angela Cunningham shares her story.
Considering that Detroit and Flint set new records for snowfall yesterday and record cold temperatures are forecast for today and tonight, this is an impressively practical kind act.

For the rest of us, 12 News Now in Southwest Texas has ten tips for Celebrating World Kindness Day.

Help make the world a kinder place with these top 10 tips!
I know I can follow at least one of these today.  How about you, dear reader?

He hardly left a mark; Sanford drops out


I finally got around to mentioning former South Carolina Governor and U.S. Representative Mark Sanford in '2020: Race to Save the Planet' features nine candidates on climate change a few days ago, along with former Congressman Joe Walsh and former Governor Bill Weld, which reminded me that I should do for them what I did for the Democratic candidates, examine their ideologies using Voteview and On The Issues.  Unfortunately, I'm already too late for Sanford, who announced he was no longer running.  Watch Newsy's Mark Sanford drops out of 2020 presidential race.

The former South Carolina governor said the impeachment inquiry into President Trump has made policy discussion "impossible right now."
NBC News quoted much of Sanford's statement outlining his reasons.
"I am suspending my race for the presidency because impeachment has made my goal of making the debt, deficit and spending issue a part of this presidential debate impossible right now," Sanford said in a statement. "From Day One, I was fully aware of how hard it would be to elevate these issues with a sitting president of my own party ignoring them. Impeachment noise has moved what was hard to herculean as nearly everything in Republican Party politics is currently viewed through the prism of impeachment."

Speaking in New Hampshire, Sanford said he planned to file for the state's Republican primary this week but opted against doing so because "all of the oxygen is leaving the room in terms of meaningful debate whether Republican or Democrat, but particularly on the Republican side, on what comes next in our country on a whole host of issues."

Sanford added that you have "got to be a realist" about a presidential bid.

"And what I did not anticipate is an impeachment," he said. "There have been two of them in the history of our country. You know, Nancy Pelosi, who's a skillful political practitioner, had laid out her cards very carefully, saying, 'I'm not going to do an impeachment.' She was there in the ’90s, when I was there for the last impeachment. But Ukraine came, and here we are."
At first, I thought he was trying to blame the Democrats for his dropping out; instead, he placed more blame on the Republicans than the Democrats for the response to impeachment and gave the Democrats, particularly Nancy Pelosi, some credit for attempting restraint before Trump forced their hands.  At least that's different from running out of money or not getting the polls to make the next debate, which were among the reasons why all the Democrats dropped out.  I have to give him some credit for originality.

While I never got around to suggesting any drink recipes or making memes showing his ideological position, I'll make do with what I already had on hand.  Follow over the jump.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Last two Kmarts in metro Detroit will close, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse


I wrote about the very first Kmart closing in Company Man and WXYZ on KMart, a tale of the retail apocalypse more than a year ago.  Today, it's time to announce that Kmart is leaving its metro Detroit birthplace for good.  Watch End of an era: Kmart closing last two Metro Detroit stores from WXYZ.

Kmart is part of Americana, and part of Metro Detroit. The last two stores [in Metro Detroit] closing are like losing a member of the family.
The Detroit Free Press has more in Kmart to close 2 remaining metro Detroit stores.
Two of the three remaining Kmart stores in the state, located in Warren and Waterford, will close their doors, the company announced Thursday.

The two metro Detroit closures are part of larger list of 96 Kmart and Sears stores that will shut down nationwide. The cuts are an attempt for the company, also known as Transformco, to keep the two retailers afloat since acquiring assets of Sears Holdings in February...

Kmart previously announced in September plans to shutter nearly 100 stores in December or earlier, including eight in Michigan: Belleville, Clio, Grayling, Hastings, Menominee, Midland, Oscoda and Marine City.
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In addition, a Sears in Lansing is set to close at that time.

The closures leave one remaining Kmart store in Michigan, in Marshall located at 15861 Michigan Ave.
Sears and KMart may have avoided liquidation, but stores continue to close as the Retail Apocalypse rolls on.

Monday, November 11, 2019

A happy drum corps Veterans Day 2019 with 'The Commandant's Own' and USMC West Coast Composite Band


A Happy drum corps Veterans Day to my readers!  As I have all three years my Veterans Day entries have followed this theme, I'm featuring the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps AKA "The Commandant's Own."  As I first wrote five years ago, "Not only is today Veterans Day, yesterday was the Marine Corps Birthday and the Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps was founded on November 4, 1934.  A triple celebration for a single organization!"

I begin with the recording I was hoping I would find last year but it wasn't available then, "The Commandant's Own" at the 2018 DCI World Championships.

The "Commandant's Own" Marine Drum and Bugle Corps performing in exhibition at the 2018 Drum Corps International World Championships.
Last year, I was thinking, "anyone, anyone, Bueller, anyone?"  Last year, nothing.  This year, "Bueller" responded.

Now, this year's show, Commandant’s Own 2019 at DCI Finals.  It honors the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the Moon.


For an encore, I present USMC West Coast Composite Band - 2019 Pasadena Rose Parade playing The Marines' Hymn from Music 213.

The United States Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band performing at the 130th Annual Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade on Tuesday, January 1, 2019.  This composite group brings three Marine Bands together from around Southern California; Marine Band San Diego, the 1st Marine Division Band and the 3D Marine Aircraft Wing Band. The band members are fully combat-trained and prove that they are as proficient with their musical instruments as they are with their weaponry.  Many of these these fine service members have completed tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, happy Veterans Day!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

'One Child Nation,' 'American Factory,' 'The Kingmaker,' and 'Knock Down The House' lead Best Polical Documentary nominees at the Critics' Choice Documentary Awards


I told my readers to "stay tuned" at the end of For World Freedom Day, Vox and DW News look back at the fall of the Berlin Wall as "I plan on following up on my promise to cover this year's edition of the Critics' Choice Documentary Awards that I made in 'I Am Not Your Negro' wins Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards."  Here are the nominations for films about politics and government, beginning with relevant excerpts from the press release from the Critics' Choice Association.
The Biggest Little Farm leads this year with seven nominations, including Best Documentary Feature, John Chester for Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Score, Best Narration, and Best Science/Nature Documentary.
While this is not explicitly a movie about politics and government, it is one that I have a professional interest in.  Unlike "The End of Suburbia," which I've already replaced with "Treasures of the Earth: Power," and "An Inconvenient Truth," which I've already decided to replace with "Chasing Coral" when it comes out on DVD, "Food, Inc." is still holding up well despite being a decade old.  That written, it, too, will become obsolete one day, so I plan on watching "The Biggest Little Farm" as a possible replacement.  Welcome to blogging as professional development.

Now for the movies that really are about politics and government.
Recognized with six nominations each are Apollo 11 and They Shall Not Grow Old.

The nominations for Apollo 11 are Best Documentary Feature, Todd Douglas Miller for Best Director, Best Editing, Best Score, Best Archival Documentary, and Best Science/Nature Documentary,

The nominations for They Shall Not Grow Old are Best Documentary Feature, Peter Jackson for Best Director, Best Editing, Best Score, Best Archival Documentary, and Most Innovative Documentary.
While the Critics' Choice Association did not consider either "Apollo 11" or "They Shall Not Grow Old" as political documentaries, both are about functions of government, space exploration and the military.  In addition, they are competing directly against each other in five categories, making it a match-up between the third highest grossing political documentary of 2018 and the highest grossing documentary of 2019 (so far).  Of course, I'm rooting for "Apollo 11," especially in the Best Science/Nature Documentary category, although I think it faces stiff competition, especially from "The Biggest Little Farm."  I'm hoping both "Apollo 11" and "The Biggest Little Farm" earn Oscar nominations.  "They Shall Not Grow Old" is not eligible, as it missed the filing deadline for last year's awards and is a 2018 film.

Now for the films the Critics' Choice Association actually considered political.
One Child Nation received five nominations including Best Documentary Feature, Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang for Best Director, Best Editing, Best Narration, and Best Political Documentary.
Since I've written about China's now-abandoned One Child Policy, which I revisted for World Population Day, I'm very interested in this documentary.  So are my students, at least one of whom has reported on it for extra credit.  Based on the number of nominations, it's the nominal favorite for Best Political Documentary, although it faces strong competition from "American Factory," which the next passage lists.
Recognized with four nominations each are The Cave, Honeyland, American Factory, Aquarela, and Sea of Shadows.

The nominations for The Cave are Best Documentary Feature, Feras Fayyad for Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Score. In addition, the film received an honor for Dr. Amani Ballor for Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary.

The nominations for Honeyland are Best Documentary, Best Cinematography, Best First Documentary Feature, and Best Science/Nature Documentary. In addition, the film received an honor for Hatidze Muratova for Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary.

The nominations for American Factory are Best Documentary Feature, Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert for Best Director, Best Editing, and Best Political Documentary.

The nominations for Aquarela are Best Cinematography, Best Score, Best Science/Nature Documentary, and Most Innovative Documentary.

The nominations for Sea of Shadows are Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Score, and Best Science/Nature Documentary.
Wikipedia describes "American Factory."
"American Factory...is a 2019 American documentary film directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, about Chinese company Fuyao’s factory in Moraine, a suburb of Dayton, Ohio, that occupies Moraine Assembly, a shuttered General Motors plant.
...
David Edelstein of New York Magazine wrote: "It’s a great, expansive, deeply humanist work, angry but empathetic to its core. It gestures toward the end of the working world we know – and to the rise of the machines." Eric Kohn at IndieWire wrote that it's "A fascinating tragicomedy about the incompatibility of American and Chinese industries."
So it's not just a film about China, but about how the U.S.-China relationship plays out for the American worker.  The CoDominion strikes again!

Now for the all the nominees for Best Political Documentary, followed by the rest of their nominations and my opinion of their chances.
BEST POLITICAL DOCUMENTARY

American Factory (Netflix)

The Edge of Democracy (Netflix)

Hail Satan? (Magnolia)

The Kingmaker (Showtime)

Knock Down the House (Netflix)

One Child Nation (Amazon Studios)
Since I've already written about American Factory and One Child Nation, which I think are the favorites, I'll move on to the rest of the nominees.  The two that have the most nominations after the two leaders are also the two others with nominations for Best Documentary Feature, "The Kingmaker" about Imelda Marcos and "Knock Down the House" about AOC and three other women running for Congress in 2018.  Both have already earned honors for Most Compelling Living Subjects of a Documentary, Madame Marcos for "The Kingmaker" and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, and Paula Jean Swearengin for "Knock Down The House."  In addition to their nominations for Best Political Documentary both have nominations for Best Documentary Feature, while "The Kingmaker" earned a nomination for Best Biographical Documentary.

I'm glad to see my prediction for "Knock Down the House that "I'll see this movie nominated for a Best Political Documentary...at the 2018 Critics' Choice" came true.  While I don't think it will win, it's the one I'm rooting for.

As for the other nominees in this category, "The Edge of Democracy" also has two nominations, the other being for Best Narration.  Finally, "Hail Satan?" has only the one nomination in this category.  Congratulations to all the nominees and honorees in this category, even Madame Marcos.  Maybe you and Sarah Palin can compare notes on shoes.

That's it for the nominees for today's Sunday entertainment feature.  I plan on posting about the winners, which will be announced later today, either Saturday or Sunday, depending on whether I find anything useful to say about the winners of the People's Choice Awards.  In the meantime, stay tuned for this year's edition of a drum corps Veterans Day.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

For World Freedom Day, Vox and DW News look back at the fall of the Berlin Wall


Happy World Freedom Day!
World Freedom Day on November 9th each year commemorates the fall of the Berlin Wall. This historic event signified the end of communism in Central and Eastern Europe.
Yes, the date of the fall of the Berlin Wall is an actual holiday.  From National Day Calendar.
In 2001, President George Bush proclaimed November 9th as World Freedom Day. The day is a United States Federal observance. Since 2001, each president since George Bush has proclaimed November 9th as World Freedom Day.
National Day Calendar's description even echoes my observation that "the maintenance and expansion of democracy and liberty require constant effort and vigilance; progress will not happen by itself."
Around the world, people’s freedom is still threatened. Many seek to control entire populations. Tyrants threaten violence or manipulate the financial sectors. Whether through political, social, violent pressures, these dictators still exists (sic). This day recognizes the need to continue striving for freedom for everyone.
Looks like I may have added a holiday to the ones I already observe on this blog.

Speaking of adding things, I told my readers to "stay tuned" this morning, as "I plan on posting one more entry on the subject focusing on the key decision by East German politicians, which East German bureaucrats amplified by mishandling it, at least from the perspective of the politicians.  The East German people had other ideas about its implementation."  Follow over the jump for videos from Vox and DW News on the events of 30 years ago today.

CNN and CBS This Morning observe the fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years later


Today is the actual anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, so it's time to see how Germany is observing the event 30 years on.

CNN showed a cheerful clip in which their car became part of the story in Germany marks 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The Berlin Wall was torn down 30 years ago sending shock waves across Europe, and sparked hopes for millions of East Germans. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen reports from Berlin.
That report celebrates the optimism people felt 30 years ago.  That's not the case in CBS This Morning's 30 years after fall of Berlin Wall, expectation of unity has faded.

Thirty years ago, the Berlin Wall, one of the most enduring symbols of the Cold War in Europe, came down piece by piece. That pivotal moment promised a more unified, democratic world, but decades later, that expectation has faded with the rise of nationalism and cracks appearing in the European Union and NATO. Roxana Saberi reports.
The maintenance and expansion of democracy and liberty require constant effort and vigilance; progress will not happen by itself.

I plan on posting one more entry on the subject focusing on the key decision by East German politicians, which East German bureaucrats amplified by mishandling it, at least from the perspective of the politicians.  The East German people had other ideas about its implementation.  Stay tuned.

Friday, November 8, 2019

'2020: Race to Save the Planet' features nine candidates on climate change


Last night, The Weather Channel aired "2020: Race to Save the Planet," which examined how nine current and former candidates for the Democratic and Republican nominations for President see the problems and possible solutions regarding climate change.  Here is the list of candidates from Deadline Hollywood.
Viewers will hear from Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Kamala Harris, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, Senator Cory Booker, former Congressman Joe Walsh, former Governor Bill Weld and former Governor Mark Sanford about how climate change is impacting jobs, the economy, national security, extreme weather, and more.

Dr. Rick Knabb, former director of the National Hurricane Center and the network’s on-air hurricane expert, hosts the program and conducted the majority of the interviews. Meteorologist Stephanie Abrams, co-host of AMHQ, also conducted interviews.
Since that article was published on October 21, Beto O'Rourke dropped out, so it's no surprise that the 30 second promo spot, 2020: Race to Save the Planet, does not mention him.

On November 7th, The Weather Channel will air our new special, 2020: Race to Save the Planet.
After the special aired, The Weather Channel posted four clips from the show to its YouTube channel.  Follow over the jump to watch them.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Destination Maternity/Motherhood Maternity files for bankruptcy and announces store closings, blaming lower birth rates, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse


While my tales of the Retail Apocalypse usually intersect with online shopping, particularly Amazon, I found one that has more in common with lower birth and fertility rates, the bankruptcy of Destination Maternity, which is also the parent company of Motherhood Maternity and A Pea in a Pod.  Watch Destination Maternity to close 183 stores in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Destination Maternity filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday [October 21] as the apparel company hopes to avoid the graveyard of fashion retailers.
Nice Hand took the text of the slideshow video from a USA Today article, Destination Maternity to close 183 stores in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The retailer operates stores under several brands, including Destination Maternity, Motherhood Maternity and A Pea in the Pod.

The company had 446 stores in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico as of Aug. 3. It also operated 491 shops-within-a-shop at various department stores and baby specialty retailers.

The company plans to close 183 stores after already shuttering 27 recently, according to a court filing. Bankruptcy allows companies to escape unprofitable leases.

...the company, in a court document, blamed the retail industry's turmoil, declining birth rates, high rents and leadership turnover for faltering. The company has had five CEOs in the last five years.
Yes, declining birth rates.  Business Insider featured that angle in Bankrupt Destination Maternity is on the brink of collapse — and declining birthrates may be to blame.
The declining national birthrate isn't just a sociological concern — it also holds perilous economic implications for several industries, including, most recently, maternity apparel.

US birthrates hit a record 32-year low in 2018 after dropping 2% from 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over the past two years, the dip has negatively impacted a variety of companies, from Toys R Us and Babies R Us to consumer-packaged-goods companies like Kimberly-Clark and Procter & Gamble that sell diapers and other products for babies.

Now it's coming for Destination Maternity, the largest global maternity company.
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On Thursday, analysts at Demographic Intelligence — a forecasting firm specializing in national marriage and birthrates — said decreasing birthrates have played a direct role in the Destination Maternity bankruptcy.

"While competition from online retailers and other widely discussed factors may have had some role to play, Destination Maternity's declining net sales in recent years have tracked fairly closely with the sharp decline in births in the United States," Lyman Stone, an advisor at Demographic Intelligence advisor, said in a statement.
Once again, I'm being a good environmentalist and recycling.
On the one hand, the U.S. is doing its part to slow down population growth.  On the other hand, [this means] a possible shrinking economy in the future, which is bad for business as usual.  It's time to be a good environmentalist and recycle what I wrote last year.
I have been in favor of zero population growth for as long as I can remember.  However, I'm not sure the U.S. economy is set up for a stable or slowly declining population, a point I made in the Hipcrime Vocab: Why Slowing Population Growth is a Problem.  We are going to have to figure how to do so.  Otherwise, I might live long enough to experience the wisdom of the saying "Be careful what you wish for; you might get it."
Here's to hoping the U.S. learns how to thread that needle.