Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Seth Meyers and CNN take closer looks at Trump exposing 500 people to COVID last year, a pandemic 'update'

The Omicron variant is spreading, so it's the how pandemic topic on serious news, but the late-night talk show hosts were more interested in old news, former President Trump's COVID diagnosis last year. I begin with Seth Meyers Trump's Secret Positive COVID Test; GOP's Omicron Conspiracy Theories: A Closer Look.

Seth takes a closer look at Trump secretly testing positive for COVID before coming into contact with more than 500 people, including President Biden at their first debate, while Republicans and Fox News suggest the new coronavirus variant is a liberal hoax.
I wish I could say I am surprised by this, but I'm not. It's totally on brand for the former guy. Also, I'm not surprised by the conspiracy theories about Omicron. It's as if they watched Desi Lydic's sketch at the end of Trevor Noah and 'The Daily Show' explain why gas prices are so high and took it seriously. Hey, it's satire not news!

CNN had a more serious reaction to the story in 'Unbelievable': Revelation about Trump's condition angers Haberman.

In his new memoir, former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows says the President's blood oxygen levels reached dangerously low levels during his 2020 bout with Covid-19.
That's scary, not funny.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Remembering the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor

Today is the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.* NBC's Today Show uploaded two videos about the event yesterday. I begin with Remembering Pearl Harbor On 80th Anniversary Of Attack.

Tuesday marks the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the moment that thrust a reluctant United States into World War II. Harry Smith, just back from Hawaii, looks back at the momentous event.
I agree with Dr. Satino; the U.S. would have stayed out of the war so long as none of the Axis powers attacked us. If not the Japanese, then the Germans attacking American ships supplying the U.K. through Lend-Lease might have done the trick, which would have echoed what brought the U.S. into World War I. Seen that way, Pearl Harbor was a tactical victory for Japan, but a strategic blunder. So were Germany and Italy declaring war on the U.S. It's possible that America might have only fought Japan if they hadn't done so. I'll let alternative history authors speculate on that. We'll never know.

Today returned with a more personal remembrance in Pearl Harbor Survivors Gather For 80th Anniversary Of Attack.

Of the millions of Americans who fought in World War II, fewer than 2 percent are still alive. Some of them have made the trip to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii this week for solemn remembrance on the 80th anniversary of the attack. NBC’s Kerry Sanders reports from there for TODAY.
I'm glad Jack H. didn't transfer his anger at Japan to fellow veteran Ralph Matsumoto. All things considered, I feel he gave the right answer. May we all learn a lesson from that.

WXMI reported on a Michigan angle to the observance in this morning's Local singing group performs in Hawaii to mark 80 years since Pearl Harbor.

May the Grand Rapids Sweet Adelines represent the Great Lakes State well today.

*Oddly enough, I've never observed to anniversary here before. I was more interested in the end of the war than the American entry into it.

Monday, December 6, 2021

R.I.P. Bob Dole, the last Republican presidential nominee I voted for

Three years ago, I wrote R.I.P. John McCain, the last Republican presidential candidate I voted for. I cast my vote for McCain in the 2000 Michigan Republican Primary, my last act as a GOP voter.* That means he was not the last Republican nominee that I voted for. That honor went to Bob Dole, who I voted for in 1996. Dole died yesterday at the age of 98. NBC's Today Show uploaded two clips celebrating his life, beginning with Nation Mourns Bob Dole: Senator, Presidential Candidate, War Hero.

The nation pauses to remember Bob Dole, who died Sunday at age 98: a decorated war hero who became a defining voice in American politics for decades as a senator and presidential nominee. NBC chief Washington correspondent Andrea Mitchell reports for TODAY.
While he was a partisan, Dole was interested in solutions, so he worked across the aisle to achieve them. He also remained friends with his Democratic colleagues. Both of those are rare these days and I miss those qualities in today's politicians.

Today continued its remembrance of Dole in Bob Dole ‘Embodied Sacrifice,’ Says Presidential Historian.

Presidential historian Jon Meacham joins TODAY to assess the legacy of Bob Dole, who died Sunday at age 98. “His is the most American of stories,” Meacham says. “Bob Dole really did embody sacrifice.”
Hearing that "May You Never Walk Alone" was one of Dole's favorite songs inspired me to conclude this entry with this musical dedication to the late Senator, Phantom Regiment & Madison Scouts: You'll Never Walk Alone.

The Phantom Regiment joins the Madison Scouts in playing "You'll Never Walk Alone" at the Show of Shows in celebration of the Scouts' 75th Anniversary.
R.I.P. Senator. You will be missed.

*I left the party shortly after that for reasons I described in If I were still a conservative a decade ago and cast my vote in the general election for Ralph Nader, much to my later shame. After seeing the results of that contest, I vowed not to make that mistake again and became a Democrat in 2004.

Dole helped contribute to my leaving the party when he made the following remarks about teachers unions at the 1996 Republican National Convention.
"I say this not to the teachers, but to their unions...if education were a war, you would be losing it. If it were a business, you would be driving it into bankruptcy. If it were a patient, it would be dying.

"And to the teachers unions I say, when I am president, I will disregard your political power, for the sake of the parents, the children, the schools and the nation."
I was a member of a teachers union at the time, so Dole's remarks disturbed me, although I still voted for him. After four years of them gnawing on me, they helped contribute to my leaving the GOP. I decided I didn't want to be part of a party that didn't like what I did and what I believed in.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

'Hamilton,' 'Inside,' and 'American Utopia' all winners at the 2021 Emmy Awards

I was premature when I wrote "Today, I finish my coverage of the Emmy Awards" to open Debbie Allen accepts the Governors Award from the Television Academy after winning two Emmy Awards. I had forgotten one winner, so here are the winning record variety special nominees from 'Hamilton' at the Emmy Awards.
Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded)

8:46 – Dave Chappelle (Netflix)
Bo Burnham: Inside (Netflix)
David Byrne's American Utopia (HBO)
Friends: The Reunion (HBO Max)
Hamilton (Disney+)
A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote (HBO Max)
...Based on the number of nominations, especially since seven of them are for performers, the second largest peer group in the Television Academy after executives, I'd say "Hamilton" is the favorite. As I keep saying when I write entries about entertainment awards, electorates matter.
It was and it won. Watch most of the stars of "Hamilton" accept the award for Variety Special (Pre-Recorded): 73rd Emmys.

Hamilton wins the Emmy for Variety Special (Pre-Recorded) at the 73rd Emmys.
Where's Lin-Manuel Miranda? RenĂ©e Elise Goldsberry answered that question in ET Live's Emmys 2021: ‘Hamilton’ Cast -- Full Backstage Interview.

The cast of ‘Hamilton’ opens up after winning an Emmy award for ‘Outstanding Variety Special (Live)’ at the 2021 Emmy Awards, which aired Sunday on CBS and Paramount+.
That was a good answer and one that shows that things are returning to normal and the pandemic is no longer messing with our entertainment.

Follow over the jump for the rest of the awards won by recorded variety specials, including a couple of categories I blew completely.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

International Cheetah Day from National Day Calendar and Nat Geo Wild

While I've been able to tackle both the Omicron variant and the Supreme Court, I find myself unable to blog about the shooting at Oxford High School and its ongoing fallout. It's too fast moving and too close to home, literally. I might get to it later, but then again, I didn't blog about the Larry Nassar scandal until 2019.* It may be a while.

Consequently, I'm falling back on holidays about animals, biodiversity, and sustainability for today's post. December 4th has two of them, International Cheetah Day and Wildlife Conservation Day. Since I already celebrate World Wildlife Day and Endangered Species Day, I'm focusing on the planet's fastest land animal today. Take it away, National Day Calendar!
Every year on December 4th, International Cheetah Day encourages people worldwide to help this animal win the race against extinction.

The cheetah is well-known as the fastest animal on earth. This amazing animal can reach a top speed of 70 mph in just three seconds! At top speed, their stride spans 21 feet. The cheetah is a big, slender cat with long legs. Its short fur is yellowish-tan and covered in thousands of black spots. Most cheetahs have between 2,000 and 3,000 spots, which helps to camouflage themselves. The animal’s name comes from the Hindi word, “chita,” which means “spotted one.” These big cats weigh anywhere from 46 to 158 pounds.
Cheetahs live on the open grasslands of Sub-Sahara[n] Africa. They are carnivores that feast mainly on small antelopes and wildebeest calves. They sometimes eat smaller animals, such as rabbits and birds. Female cheetahs live by themselves. Male cheetahs, on the other hand, live with a small group of brothers called coalitions.

Cheetahs are the most endangered big cat in Africa. As of 2020, scientists believe less than 8,000 cheetahs are living in the wild. This is a 50 percent decline in the last four decades. In the past, cheetahs were hunted for their fur. Today, one of their biggest threats is the loss of habitat due to increased human settlements and road construction. Some cheetahs are not able to reproduce, which threatens their survival even more.
American zoologist Dr. Laurie Marker founded the Cheetah Conservation Fund in 1991. In 2010, she designated December 4th as International Cheetah Day. She chose December 4th as it was the birthday of a cheetah named Khayam. Dr. Marker trained this cheetah for her first research project on teaching captive-born cheetahs to hunt. When she reintroduced Khayam to the wild, she realized how endangered the cheetahs were becoming.
Nat Geo Wild shows and tells more in It is International Cheetah Day from 2017.

Learn about the world's fastest land mammal and how their vulnerable status needs more protection.
On the one hand, the plight of the cheetah comes through. On the other, so does their appeal. That's something worth celebrating.

Speaking of things worth celebrating, stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature as I work my way through my "I can't be all DOOM all the time" mood.

*The two cases share a connection beyond being about terrible things happening to teens in Michigan. The same attorney is representing the parents as represented Nassar. Even the worst offenders deserve good legal representation, just to make sure the system works fairly and the prosecution does its job.

Friday, December 3, 2021

Colbert on the Supreme Court and Omicron variant

Two months ago, I posted Trevor Noah and Samantha Bee on reproductive rights for today's Women's Marches and Saturday's Women's March for the first Monday in October. Last night, Stephen Colbert featured the reason for the Women's Marches in his monologue, It's Looking Rough For Roe | Tracking Omicron From 'Moronic' To 'No Crimbo'.

That stench emanating from the Supreme Court Is the smell of conservative justices, five of whom were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote, doing exactly what they were put there to do: restrict access to abortions. Elsewhere, anti-vaxxers have been cooking up wild new pandemic conspiracy theories since the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
I wish I could say I was surprised by the arguments before the Supreme Court, but I foresaw this coming in last year's John Oliver examines the Supreme Court after 'Last Week Tonight' wins four Emmy Awards.
In addition to all the bad things that can happen to health care, reproductive rights, civil rights, and voting rights as a result of this nomination, Oliver explained how the U.S. got here with an anti-democratic but pro-republican (double meaning intended) governing structure and what can be done to fix it...Expanding the Supreme Court has its risks, but I'm not against it.
"The bad things that can happen to...reproductive rights" are already on their way. This is one of those times I wish I weren't right. As for expanding the courts, the Democrats need a bigger majority in the Senate, one that doesn't count on Manchin and Sinema to pull it off.

That segment, while funny, depressed me. On the other hand, the paranoia about the pandemic in response to the Omicron variant being detected in the U.S. was a lot more amusing. The whole "omicron equals moronic" meme ignores the two words being anagrams of each other for as long as both words have existed with their current spellings in English; it's not anything new. Also, the response to the second case of the Omicron variant in the U.S. being diagnosed in an attended to an anime convention reminds me that I haven't referred to "Dragonball Z" here since Over 9000! That was a little more than nine years ago, and even then I didn't type out the name of the show. There are still new things to write about on this blog.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Omicron variant arrives in the U.S., a pandemic update

The latest pandemic news is the Omicron variant, which has arrived in the U.S. Watch CNN's Fauci announces first Omicron variant case in the U.S.

Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke at a White House press briefing, announcing that the first confirmed US case of the Omicron coronavirus variant was discovered in California.
I can piece together only two bits of good news from this. First, the virus was detected in a traveler from South Africa, not someone with no travel history, so there is so far no evidence that it has achieved community spread in the U.S. Second, vaccines should still protect against severe illness, particular with a booster shot. Fauci elaborated on this second point in CNN Town Hall: Dr. Fauci answers questions on Omicron variant.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, joins Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta in CNN’s Global Townhall on viewers' questions regarding the emerging Omicron coronavirus variant.
Here's the core of Dr. Fauci's message in a meme.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

CNBC explains how HIV research led to COVID-19 vaccines for World AIDS Day, a double pandemic update

For World AIDS Day, I'm combining my coverage of pandemics as I did last year. CNBC explains the connections between HIV vaccine research and COVID-19 vaccines in Why The HIV Vaccine Is Closer Than Ever.

Every Dec. 1, the world commemorates those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Known as World AIDS Day, it serves as a reminder that there has been an ongoing pandemic for the past 40 years, pre-dating Covid.

The Covid vaccines were sequenced, developed and approved in the U.S. in record time, but that would not have been possible without decades of work by HIV researchers.

“Almost everybody working on Covid vaccines comes from the HIV world,” said Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC, a global advocacy group for HIV prevention. “Moderna had been working on mRNA-based HIV vaccine before SARS-CoV-2 was even known to exist.”
While I feel it would be somewhat tasteless to wish my readers a happy World AIDS Day, I can at least share some news that is cause for optimism as well as an example of how basic research ended up paying off for a different problem. It shows that science may not always deliver what one expects of it, but even seeming failures can be valuable just the same. Here's to World AIDS Day 2022 bringing more good news.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Giving Tuesday in Michigan

Happy Giving Tuesday! I'm focusing on news reports about giving to Michigan charities this year, beginning with WXYZ's Giving Tuesday 2021: Metro Detroit organizations look for donations, volunteers.*

You've heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday – two days of deals and shopping. But Tuesday marks Giving Tuesday, a day that has become one for generosity when people give to their favorite charities.
Forgotten Harvest is one of the charities I recommended four years ago and mentioned in At least Detroit has great charities, Detroit Zoo director's salary goes up along with zoo's rating as a charity and Forgotten Harvest's farm. I still recommend it, as my wife and I have donated to them before. I also recommend the rest of the charities I listed in those entries.

Follow over the jump for three reports from the west side of the state.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Cyber Monday may set another record while Black Friday sales lag

Happy Cyber Monday! NBC's Today Show has the story of today and Black Friday in Black Friday And Cyber Monday Sales Battle Shipping Delays And Inflation.

Black Friday has been a retail staple for decades – but the longstanding commercial holiday shopping sprees are complicated by shipping delays and inflation amid the coronavirus pandemic. NBC’s Jo Ling Kent reports in this week’s Sunday Focus.
Including the first mention of Black Friday in 1961 alone made this report worth embedding. The police and bus drivers would know how bad traffic is out there.

Supply chain issues are a major focus of ABC News asking Will supply chain issues affect Cyber Monday?

Millions of consumers prepare to take to the web in search of good deals.
Consumers are buying earlier to avoid shortages? Retail desperation — it's not just for retailers anymore.

Since this is a Metro Detroit based blog, I conclude with WDIV/Click on Detroit's Help Me Hank Cyber Monday: Stock, savings and safety.

Cyber Monday means deals, deals, deals. But will the items you want be in stock? And do you know how to shop safely online?
Stay safe as you shop online.