Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Marching music for the Wisconsin Primary, which is still being held today

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the Wisconsin Primary is being held today, even though the results won't be announced until Monday, April 13, 2020.  I'll let FiveThirtyEight tell the story.
On Monday, Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order attempting to postpone in-person voting for Wisconsin’s April 7 election to June 9; however, Republican legislators successfully challenged the order in the Wisconsin Supreme Court. So as of Monday evening, Wisconsin will be going to the polls on Tuesday.

However, in a separate court case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled late on Monday that all absentee ballots must be postmarked by April 7, overturning an earlier ruling by a federal judge that said ballots would count as long as they were received by April 13.
What drama!  I didn't know if I was going to post this entry today, Next Monday, or in June until I read the news this morning.  Now that I have, enjoy one of my marching music for a primary election entries as the in-person vote takes place, an update of 2016's Drum corps for the Wisconsin Primary.

I begin with the 2019 Blue Stars | Call of the Wild.

La Crosse, WI | 8th Place | 91.225

I have no idea if the Blue Stars were aware that a movie by the same name would come out this year, but it's a fun coincidence.

Next, the stars of the 2016 edition of this post, the 2019 Madison Scouts | Majestic.

Madison, WI | 17th Place | 82.137

I think that show was a noble effort to get back to the corps' roots.  I know it pleased a lot of fans, even if it didn't impress the judges.

Finally, the final performance of 2018 Pioneer - "Celtic Dragons", who are no longer with us.

Milwaukee, WI | 36th Place | 64.300

R.I.P., Pioneer.

Follow over the jump for two marching bands from the Badger State that participated in this year's Rose Parade.

Monday, April 6, 2020

CNBC explores why coronavirus is more dangerous for diabetics

As a Type I diabetic, I suffer from one of the health conditions that makes COVID-19 outcomes worse.  My wife and I have been wondering why that's the case.*  CNBC has the answer in Why Coronavirus Is Dangerous For Diabetics.

Coronavirus can be terrifying for an average healthy person but what about those who are considered “high risk.” The Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization state those at higher risk for the worst outcomes for the virus are older adults and people with chronic illnesses like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes.
CNBC explores why is coronavirus more dangerous for diabetics.
So, the short version is that for Type I diabetics like myself, high blood sugar suppresses the immune system and reduces healing, while for Type II diabetes, there is already low-grade inflammation that COVID-19 makes worse.  That makes sense to me, so I'm glad I watched the video.  I hope my readers learned something from it, too.

*I actually suffer from three of them.  In addition to diabetes, I am 60 years old and an asthmatic.  Even though I have written about asthma, I've never mentioned my asthma before on this blog.  That's probably because I've had it since I was a child and it hasn't bothered me much this century except during the rare occasions when I have an infection and develop bronchitis.  Now, the coronavirus pandemic has made it important again.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Coffee Party USA invites you to watch these political movies while staying safe at home

Hey, all of you binge-watching your guilty pleasure shows while staying safe at home!  That includes all of you watching "Tiger King" — you know who you are!  On behalf of Coffee Party USA, I have a suggestion to make your time in front of the big-screen TV in the living room, the slightly smaller screen in the bedroom, or even holding your tablet or smartphone work to help your appreciation of politics and government in film and then apply your understanding to help Coffee Party USA in one of our projects.  Yes, it's time for this year's edition of the Golden Coffee Cups for movies.  Follow over the jump for the shortlists for Best Drama or Comedy about Politics or Government (Best Political Scripted Movie) and Best Documentary about Politics or Government along a three-part activity involving them.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Democratic convention delayed plus Washington Week and FiveThirtyEight discuss how the pandemic has changed the 2020 election so far

I wrote about how the pandemic has affected this year's elections to open Michigan to mail ballots and $400 million for elections in coronavirus stimulus bill update the election news and views for the ninth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News and in a footnote to More closer looks at the pandemic response from Seth Meyers.  I expressed my ambivalence about New York's actions regarding elections to the pandemic in the latter.
I have mixed feelings about Cuomo's postponing New York's presidential primary from April to June.  It's probably a good thing from a public health perspective — the pandemic is likely to be subsiding by June — but it may not be great for democracy.  In particular, the date set is after the deadline set by the DNC, so New York may get penalized by having fewer delegates accredited.  On the gripping hand, if the epidemic has not subsided by July, holding the national convention may be a bad idea as well.  Heh, sometimes my conceit of being a Motie pays off.
I was right to wonder about the wisdom of holding the Democratic National Convention in July, as Newsy reported two days ago Democratic National Convention delayed.

The event will now take place in mid-August, not long before the Republicans' convention.
That takes care of both the deadline for selecting delegates, which late primary elections would have run afoul of, and holding the convention before the pandemic subsides.  Smart move.  I just hope it's enough.

The Democratic Party delaying its convention was among the several effects of the pandemic on the election so far that Washington Week on PBS discussed yesterday.  Watch and listen as the panelist ask and answer How will COVID-19 impact the 2020 election?

President Trump said today that he does not support the use of mail-in ballots even though many states postponed elections due to COVID-19. The panel discussed how the virus is already impacting the 2020 election.

Panelists: Yamiche Alcindor of the PBS NewsHour, Peter Baker of The New York Times, and Gerald Seib of The Wall Street Journal.
Since I've expressed my support for voting by mail, it should not surprise my readers that I think President Trump is wrong on this issue, just as he is on many others.

The Washington Week panel mentioned that New York City postponed its primary election on 9/11 because of the terrorist attack.  That was one of many examples FiveThirtyEight mentioned in The U.S. Has Held Elections During Times Of Crisis Before. This Is What Happened.

Galen Druke speaks to elections analyst, Geoffrey Skelley, about how the United States have handled elections in times of crisis in the past, from wars to natural disasters.
In short, the United States has faced worse disasters (at least, worse than the U.S. has seen so far from this pandemic, but it's early) including the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed at least 675,000 Americans, and still held elections.  I'm confident the country will be able to hold its elections this year, even if the primary elections and Democratic National Convention have been postponed.  Democracy may be delayed, but it won't be denied.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Explaining the Media Bias Chart, a popular topic of the past two years of Crazy Eddie's Motie News

Happy Flashback Friday!  Yesterday, I mentioned that I changed the topic of Record unemployment claims and coronavirus accelerating existing retail trends update tales of the Retail Apocalypse for the ninth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News and explained what I had in mind originally in a footnote.
It would have been an update to Wonkette reacts to its Media Bias Chart placement, an update to 'A comparison of two measures of media bias shows readers and viewers respond to both ideology and quality', but I'm saving that for tomorrow.  Stay tuned.
I'll cover how this entry got its page views over the jump, but first I'm examining how the Media Bias Chart works.  I begin with Newsy's Political media's bias, in a single chart from 2018.

Vanessa Otero set out to rank an ever-growing partisan media landscape, with the belief that an informed public is a better public.
In this video, Vanessa Otero mentioned a revised version of the Media Bias Chart.  In Ad Fontes Media Inc.'s Intro to the Media Bias Chart Definitions and Methodology, she explains how the most recent version of the Media Bias Chart works.

If you've seen the Media Bias Chart and wanted to know how we put it together here's a thorough discussion about it. Ad Fontes Media Founder and CEO Vanessa Otero goes over concepts she covers in her public talks.
Of course, all stories these days are being examined through the lens of the coronavirus pandemic and the Media Bias Chart is no exception.  Watch Polarization of Coronavirus Stories to see how.

We'll go through examples of news stories from over the past few weeks that show how coverage of a virus quickly turned into differing left-right narratives in the United States
If you watched all the videos, congratulations!  You now have a good education in media literacy.

Follow over the jump for how Wonkette reacts to its Media Bias Chart placement, an update to 'A comparison of two measures of media bias shows readers and viewers respond to both ideology and quality' earned its page views.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Record unemployment claims and coronavirus accelerating existing retail trends update tales of the Retail Apocalypse for the ninth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News

Today's record unemployment claim numbers changed the subject of today's Throwback Thursday look back at last year's top posts on a common theme.  Because of the news, today's theme is the Retail Apocalypse, the topic of seven of last year's most read entries, including the most read post from the back catalog.*  I'll get to those over the jump.  First, watch 6.6 Million Americans File for Unemployment | TODAY.  When I wrote "Today's record unemployment claim numbers," I meant it literally in more ways than one.

NBC senior business correspondent Stephanie Ruhle talks about the news that a jaw-dropping 6.6 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits. She says “we just don’t know yet” where the bottom of the economic downturn may be. She answers TODAY viewers’ questions related to the coronavirus outbreak, such as what happens to “flat-rate” workers and whether companies are allowed to cut employees’ pay without their consent.
Note that Stephanie Ruhle segued into retail and the transition from brick-and-mortar job losses into job opportunities in online ordering and delivery.  The response to the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating existing trends.  That's the theme of the next three videos.  Ruhle and her guest made that same point in Retailers Reeling From Coronavirus Pandemic on MSNBC yesterday.

Thousands of retailers are closed right now, some unsure of if they'll reopen. Stephanie Ruhle is joined by Matthew Shay to discuss what's next for an industry that was already struggling before the pandemic. Aired on 4/1/2020.
Again, the effects on employment played a major role in this interview.

CNBC uploaded two inteview clips on the subject of COVID-19 and retail this morning, beginning with Fmr. Toys "R" US CEO: "Retail was already going through a revolution," virus is just amplyfing (sic) exist.  Looks like the caption writer for CNBC ran out of room in addition to making a typo.  I think the second clause should read "virus is just amplifying existing trends."  Yes, I used to be an English teacher.

Gerald Storch, Storch Advisors CEO & former CEO and chairman at Toys "R" Us, talks the state of the retail industry amid a spike in unemployment numbers and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
That segment was relatively sanguine compared to the next one, Coronavirus 'is an existential threat to retail,' says former Saks CEO.

A new report by Cowen shows that retail store traffic is down 97% year-over-year. The market caps of retailers are plummeting, with Macy's getting kicked out of the S&P 500. Steve Sadove, former chairman and CEO of Saks Inc. and now a senior advisor for Mastercard, joins "Squawk Box" to discuss.
And I thought things were bad for brick-and-mortar retail before.  The current crisis seems to have compressed the next two years into two months — or less!  The exception might be grocery stores and supermarkets, a sector Business Insider thought might have 7,310 stores close by 2026, a statistic I quoted in 12,000 stores are likely to close this year, including at least 313 Fred's, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse.  That could still happen, but not as a result of the response to COVID-19.  They're one of the few kinds of businesses that are open right now.

Follow over the jump for the most popular tales of the Retail Apocalypse during the ninth year of this blog.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Full Frontal focuses on furries for April Fools Day

Happy April Fools Day!  As I wrote yesterday, I have something appropriately silly for the day in a "ha, ha, only serious" way.  Without any further ado, I present The Furries Are On to Something from Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.*

Before things went to hell in a handbasket, correspondent Amy Hoggart interviewed a group of people (remember those?) who pride themselves on maintaining a hopeful and welcoming community, no matter the circumstances.
Furries get a bad rap for being weirdos, but this segment shows that they embody mutual respect and inclusiveness in the way they run their community, demonstrating that one can find virtue in the strangest places.  As I promised, "ha, ha, only serious."

*As far as I can tell, this is only the second time I've mentioned furries on this blog.  The first was when I wondered if K-Dog was a furry for linking to a drawing of a sexy anthropomorphic animal (a lab rat?) in a response to me.  That was five years ago.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

FiveThirtyEight examines coronavirus and the economy

One of the main themes of yesterday's More closer looks at the pandemic response from Seth Meyers was the effect of staying at home, staying safe, and saving lives during the coronavirus pandemic and the desires of President Trump and others to get people back to work sooner than advisable in order to keep the economy going.  That was a darkly comic take on the situation of the type I call "ha, ha, only serious."  For a truly serious take on the issue of the coronavirus response and the economy, I turn to three videos from FiveThirtyEight on the topic.

I begin with the briefest and most recent, Could Staying Home Protect The Economy And Also Save Lives?

We know our economy is struggling due to coronavirus. But just how much would it cost us to stop quarantine and risk many Americans dying?
For more, my readers should click on What Should The Government Spend To Save A Life?  The answer is the same as cited in the video.
The VSL, instead of trying to sum up the value of a life, approaches the question from the other direction — how much are we willing to spend to reduce the odds of dying?

Economists draw the numbers from multiple sources, including surveys and assumptions about our own choices, like how much additional money people earn for especially dangerous jobs, or how much a premium they’ll pay for a safer car. The estimates do vary, but they fall in the same basic range — the EPA’s valuation falls around $9.4 million, while Viscusi’s latest calculation is $10 million. To put it another way, Viscusi’s estimate means that if a group of 10,000 people is facing a 1-in-10,000 risk of death, they’re willing to pay $1,000 per person to reduce the odds that any given member of the community will die.

These numbers show why spending trillions of dollars to combat a threat like the coronavirus pandemic can be a good investment, despite the high cost. “Let’s say one of our worst-case scenarios comes to pass, and 2 million people die,” said James Hammitt, an economist at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the director of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis. “Multiply that by $9 million or $10 million and we’re talking about up to $20 trillion as the value of preventing those deaths. That suggests it’s worth expending a fair amount of our resources to mitigate this.”
That's a great quote, one that indicates the $2 trillion in the coronavirus stimulus bill only covers 200,000 people, which is the median number of deaths expected in the U.S. from this pandemic.  If it looks like more people are likely to die, then more money should be spent to prevent it.

Follow over the jump for the other two videos from FiveThirtyEight on the pandemic's effect on the economy.

Monday, March 30, 2020

More closer looks at the pandemic response from Seth Meyers

'The Daily Show' and others review movies and series to watch while staying at home during a pandemic left me wanting more comedy to deal with the tragedy of the coronavirus pandemic, so I'm updating Seth Meyers takes closer looks at Trump's response to the pandemic with two new closer looks.  I begin with the more recent, Trump Fights with Governors, Reporters Over Coronavirus Response: A Closer Look.

Seth takes a closer look at an unhinged President Trump wanting to ignore the coronavirus crisis and return to normal as soon as possible.
I agree with one viewer, who wrote "When Trump eventually leaves office, all historians will need to do is collect together all of Seth's 'A Closer Look' segments."  The only thing missing was Trump skirmishing with Gretchen Whitmer and Jay Inslee in addition to Andrew Cuomo.  Not that I'm knocking Cuomo; my wife and I enjoy his press briefings as "America's Governor."  we find his candor reassuring even as he is delivering bad news.*  As for Seth's aside about the difficulties of working from home, I can relate.  At least all our children are grown and out of the house.

I conclude with Trump Wants to Reopen America as Coronavirus Pandemic Accelerates: A Closer Look.

Seth takes a closer look at the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak and the president and some [of] his allies saying we should care more about the stock market than saving lives.
Another viewer left a comment that mirrors what I wrote about both Seth and John Oliver:  "You know, without the audience laughing, these truthful monologues are frightening as hell.  We have a clown for president and sometimes clowns are scary."  Yes, they are.

At least one of the premises of both videos no longer applies, as Trump seems to have given up on opening the country back up for business by Easter.  That wasn't going to happen, regardless of his wishes.  Instead, he seems to be shooting for the end of April.  That's more realistic.

*On the other hand, I have mixed feelings about Cuomo's postponing New York's presidential primary from April to June.  It's probably a good thing from a public health perspective — the pandemic is likely to be subsiding by June — but it may not be great for democracy.  In particular, the date set is after the deadline set by the DNC, so New York may get penalized by having fewer delegates accredited.  On the gripping hand, if the epidemic has not subsided by July, holding the national convention may be a bad idea as well.  Heh, sometimes my conceit of being a Motie pays off.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

'The Daily Show' and others review movies and series to watch while staying at home during a pandemic

For this week's Sunday entertainment feature, I'm looking at movies to watch while staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic.  I begin with a video that confronts the crisis directly from The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Roy Wood Jr. Reviews Pandemic Movies.

Contagion. Outbreak. 28 Days Later. Roy Wood, Jr. reviews the top pandemic movies of our time.
Roy Wood, Jr., is right about "Contagion."  It hits way too close to home, as it accurately predicted what has happened so far.  That's a point Grace Randolph made in Beyond The Trailer's Apple to Buy Disney? What to Watch on Netflix, Disney Plus, calling it "scarily accurate."

What to Watch today! Beyond The Trailer host Grace Randolph's reaction and breakdown of the top ten on Apple TV aka iTunes, Disney Plus and Netflix! Plus could Apple really buy Disney? Plus what new streaming movies & tv shows are coming up, from Birds of Prey to Bloodshot to Ozark Season 3! Share your own reaction and be sure to make Beyond The Trailer your first stop for movie and entertainment news here on YouTube today!
Grace stopped her comments about Netflix's top ten last week with "2012," which I have the same opinion of as "San Andreas," "bad science in the service of action and special effects."  Too bad, as I recommend number 8 in the top ten, the documentary series "Pandemic," which focuses on influenza, measles, and ebola as it was shot before the COVID-19 pandemic began.  I found the science both credible and scary.

By the way, the true-crime series "Tiger King" seems to be finding its audience because of people staying home during the pandemic.  I've seen tweet after tweet praising it for its entertainment value.  So far, I've resisted, as I tweeted "I think my wife would have a problem with the animal cruelty. Instead, we're watching McMillion$ on HBO for our true-crime fix."

Finally, Infidel753 recommended Movies to Social Isolate With so you don't watch trash (Best of 2019) from Amanda The Jedi.

That's an interesting list that includes some of the movies I plan on including in this year's edition of the Golden Coffee Cups for movies, including "1917," "Jojo Rabbit," and "The Report" for the best movies about politics and government from 2019.  That reminds me that it's time to start working on compiling the eligible movie list — after I work on my remote learning lessons for my classes.  Priorities.  As I also tweeted last week, "working from home is still work."