Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Jon Stewart roasts Tucker Carlson's Putin interview and Russia visit

It's time to laugh at some not actually funny news with Jon Stewart on Tucker Carlson’s Putin Interview & Trip to Russia on The Daily Show.

In response to online backlash over his criticism of Joe Biden last week, Jon studies Tucker Carlson's interview with Vladimir Putin in Russia for a lesson in speaking "of course" to power. Plus, Michael Kosta reports from North Korea to demonstrate how nice life under a dictatorship can be.
I shouldn't be surprised that Carlson is carrying Putin's water. As I asked Nebris in a comment to Jon Stewart examines the problem with Fox News, "did you know that his dad was head of the Voice of America during the closing years of the Cold War? Broadcasting propaganda runs in the family." Also, a moment of silence for Alexei Navalny. May the Oscar-winning Navalny not be the only thing that carries on his memory and cause.

By the way, I was hoping to write a post around John Oliver offering Clarence Thomas $1 million dollars a year and an RV to retire from the Supreme Court, but HBO hasn't uploaded a video of it. Darn. Good thing I posted 'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver' returns after winning two Emmy Awards with 'A History of Chuck E. Cheese,' a tale of the Retail Apocalypse to welcome him back. Fortunately, Stewart and his guests discussed that deal in Melissa Murray & Kate Shaw - “Strict Scrutiny” & Trump’s Fight for Immunity.

Constitutional experts and “Strict Scrutiny” podcast co-hosts, Melissa Murray and Kate Shaw, join Jon Stewart to discuss Donald Trump’s “platinum due process plan” and the judicial system’s handling of the cases against Trump. The law professors also discuss the threat of Trump’s presidential immunity and whether the former president will ever stand trial for the Jan. 6th insurrection.
I'm sure Thomas won't retire, at least while Joe Biden is President, despite Oliver's generous offer. Also, consider this to be the comedy update to Updates on three Trump trials. So is this.


We're already halfway through this schedule. Time for an update!

Monday, February 19, 2024

National Day Calendar and WFMY explain Presidents Day and National Cherry Pie Day

Happy Presidents Day! For today's celebration, I'm being a good environmentalist by upcycling National Day Calendar and KUSA explain Presidents Day. I begin with this year's version of National Day Calendar's Presidents Day | February 19th - National Day Calendar.

The third Monday in February is Presidents Day!
I think the text on the preview screen should read "The Third Monday In February" instead of the current year's date. That way, it could be evergreen. But, hey, it's not my channel and am a bit lazy. Why do you think I'm recycling an idea?

WFMY News 2 explained why the holiday is on the third Monday of February and why it's still officially Washington's birthday on the federal calendar in The History of Presidents Day.

Presidents Day is a federal holiday celebrating George Washington's birthday on the third Monday in February every year.
I can relate to the anchors' complaints. I don't get today off, either, although I do get Labor Day and Memorial Day off. My teaching schedule can only tolerate so many holidays!

Cherry trees and cherry pie are associated with Washington, so it's no surprise that tomorrow is National Cherry Pie Day | February 20.

Pull up a chair and have a slice of cherry pie with us while we continue to research the origins of this pie-celebrating day.

Cherry Pie FAQ
Q. Which is more popular, apple or cherry pie?
A. According to a poll by National Day Calendar, apple pie is more popular than cherry pie.

Q. Can I use fresh or canned cherries to make cherry pie?
A. Either one can be used to make cherry pie. Canned cherries are always in season and are convenient. Fresh cherries, while more work, bring a fresh flavor to the pie.

Q. How many calories are in one slice of cherry pie?
A. One slice of cherry pie contains approximately 486 calories.
I wish my readers an early National Cherry Pie Day, as I'm sure I'll be writing about something else tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 18, 2024

'20 Days in Mariupol' and 'The ABCs of Book Banning' leading documentary nominees according to Gold Derby


I told my readers "Gold Derby hasn't made any predictions for the Razzies or the Oscars yet. When they do, I'll return with their odds. Stay tuned" to conclude 'Exorcist: Believer' and 'Expend4bles' tie for most Razzie nominations as the Golden Raspberry Awards' poor math skills strike again! Gold Derby's editors and experts have made their Oscar predictions, so I'm making good on my promise for today's Sunday entertainment feature, beginning with the nominees for documentaries.

Both the editors and experts are picking 20 Days in Mariupol to win, with eleven editors ranking it first and the twelfth choosing Four Daughters. Eighteen experts have also made 20 Days in Mariupol their first choice, while two have picked The Eternal Memory and one choosing Four Daughters. I'm with them on this, for the same reasons that helped Icarus and Navalny win this category before, the quality of the films and the importance of their subject matter, which made a political points at Putin's expense. The bulk of entertainment professionals in Hollywood have neither forgotten nor forgiven Putin for his role in the 2016 election and what he's done in Ukraine has only incensed the members of the Motion Picture Academy even more.

Speaking of what has happened in Ukraine, watch 20 Days In Mariupol (trailer) | FRONTLINE.

Ukrainian filmmaker and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mstyslav Chernov offers a window into the practices of conflict zone reporters and an unflinching, anguishing account of the 20 days he and colleagues spent covering Mariupol. "20 Days in Mariupol" is a @frontline and @AssociatedPress collaboration. The documentary premieres in select theaters this summer and comes to PBS this fall.
Seeing that this is a Frontline documentary makes me sorry that there is a rule prohibiting Oscar nominees from being eligible for Emmy Awards: "programs that have received an Oscar® nomination from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) are ineligible for submission to any Emmy® award contest administered by NATAS." This includes the News & Documentary Emmys. Darn. Otherwise, I would have expected 20 Days in Mariupol to earn multiple nominations later this year. Not happening, not that Frontline is lacking in potential documentary nominees.

Gold Derby interviewed '20 Days in Mariupol' filmmakers Mstyslav Chernov and Raney Aronson: 'This is a symbolic story'.

'20 Days in Mariupol' filmmakers Mstyslav Chernov and Raney Aronson: 'This is a symbolic story.' The director and producer are nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 96th Academy Awards. Gold Derby editor Denton Davidson hosts this webchat.
In addition to winning the DGA Award, which Denton Davidson mentioned, 20 Days in Mariupol won 24 other awards, including two Critics Choice Documentary Awards, two Cinema Eye Honors Awards, one Online Film Critics Society Award, one Cinema for Peace Award, one of the Top Five Documentaries by the National Board of Review, and a number of film festival and local critics groups awards, including the Audience Award at the Sundance Film festival. Wow!

As for the Oscar and other awards, including today's BAFTA Award for Documentary, which all eighteen Gold Derby experts and eleven Gold Derby editors have predicted will go to 20 Days in Mariupol, bringing more visibility to the film, I believe they will, but the film has plenty of viewers already, with the upload of the entire documentary already having 1,582,039 views on Frontline's YouTube channel. Again, wow!

I'll get to the rest of the nominees later, especially after Gold Derby and Factual America upload more interviews with their creators. Until then, follow over the jump for the trailer for The ABCs of Book Banning, a report from MSNBC, and an interview of its director.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Updates on three Trump trials

This week, especially yesterday, was a busy day for Trump's legal troubles, including the two state cases among Vox's four "Trump investigations you should actually care about" and a state civil case. I begin with MSNBC reporting the results of the civil case, Trump 'body blow!' Donald hit with 'seismic' $355 million penalty for lying.

Sue Craig, New York Times Investigative Reporter, Lisa Rubin, MSNBC Legal Correspondent, Rev. Al Sharpton, President of the National Action Network, and Harry Litman, Former U.S. Attorney, join Alicia Menendez in for Nicolle Wallace on Deadline White House to discuss New York Judge Arthur Engoron dealing a body blow to the Trump Business Empire, ruling that Trump must pay $355 million in penalties.
While this isn't one of the four criminal trials, it is still a big deal along with the E. Jean Carroll judgment.

The next clip riffed off of one phrase by Judge Arthur Engoron in ‘Borders on pathological’: Michael Cohen reacts to judge trashing Trump in $355 million bomb.

Michael Cohen, Former Personal Attorney for Donald Trump, joins Alicia Menendez in for Nicolle Wallace on Deadline White House to discuss how damaging Judge Engoron's ruling is to Trump.
"Bordering on the pathological" — it is pathological! Speaking of pathologies, I've only mentioned narcissism in connection with Trump once in Since Trump is acting like Dr. Evil, it's time to read The Evil Overlord List.
I will see a competent psychiatrist and get cured of all extremely unusual phobias and bizarre compulsive habits which could prove to be a disadvantage.

Does malignant narcissism count?
Yes, it does, but I've made more of his his vulnerability to conspiracy theories. Now I wish I had mentioned Bandy X. Lee before. She understood Trump's pathologies and warned people about them in 2017!

On another note, Cohen pleading guilty without a plea deal looks better for him all the time. It made him and his testimony appear more trustworthy when it counted.

Cohen mentioned that a Trial date set in Donald Trump New York criminal case as 13News Now (WVEC) in Hampton Roads, Virginia reported along with an update on the sideshow involving Fani Willis in Georgia, the other state criminal case involving Trump.

If it moves ahead as planned, it would be the first of Trump’s four criminal cases to go to trial.
Just as it was the first case to return an indictment, it is almost certainly going to be the first criminal case to go to trial. I find that appropriate, even if it's the weakest in terms of expected outcome.
"Jail to the chief" is a great line, but it's going to be a while. I expect he'll be sentenced to house arrest in Trump Tower with the Secret Service as his guards, at least for this set of crimes. He might get a more severe punishment if he's indicted and convicted for crimes in Georgia and Washington, D.C.
Trump will be lucky to have a Trump Tower to be sentenced to house arrest after his civil fraud judgment. That's O.K. I still have patience: "'The wheels of justice are grinding slowly in this case, but I expect they will indeed grind exceedingly fine.' May they also grind exceedingly fine for Trump and his seditious supporters, if not as slowly." Three years later, they're still grinding away. As I wrote last year, "New York today, Georgia and the Federal Government tomorrow. Stay tuned." Be patient and have faith.

Friday, February 16, 2024

CityNerd describes how to 'Live Your Best Life In These 18 Swing-State Cities'

How dedicated are my readers to maximizing the power of their votes? Are they (you) dedicated enough to move? If my readers are, and care about urbanism, then CityNerd has a list of places to move to as he describes how to Live Your Best Life In These 18 Swing-State Cities.

It's 2024. Ever think about moving to a state where your vote might actually make a difference? It's what I did in 2022 and I highly recommend it -- if you can "swing" it. Today we're looking at this year's likely swing states and affordable neighborhoods in each with great urban qualities.
I'm pleasantly surprised Ray Delahanty, CityNerd's real name, listed two neighborhoods in Detroit as destinations, praising the Motor City's potential and predicting, like I have for the past dozen plus years, the city's comeback. I would choose Midtown over Downtown, because of the Whole Foods store, where my wife and I have shopped, but both are good choices.

I also appreciate Grand Rapids earning an honorable mention as well as Ypsilanti being mentioned in passing. I'd also recommend Royal Oak, where I used to live, and Ferndale. Any one of those are good places to live, although my wife and I got priced out of Royal Oak and moved to a municipality with a more prestigious name yet better housing at a lower price. I wouldn't recommend my current neighborhood for urbanism. My miles driven increased enough that I made good on my promise to buy a hybrid by trading in my mini-SUV for a Prius to compensate.

I close by noting that I don't have to do anything to live where my vote matters. I have lived in Michigan for 35 years already. To see why my adopted home state is important, read 'How Michigan explains American politics' by Vox. Now I'm wondering what my readers who live in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin think of CityNerd's recommendations. Comments?

Thursday, February 15, 2024

A closer look at Suozzi winning Santos's former seat and Mayorkas impeachment

Yesterday, I asked "Comedy, anyone?" No one responded, but the answer is still yes. Watch Trump and GOP Suffer Major Defeat as Democrats Win Back George Santos Seat: A Closer Look.

Seth takes a closer look at the Republican majority in the House shrinking after Democrats win back George Santos' seat while Republicans plow ahead with a pointless impeachment of the homeland security secretary.
I know, I wrote "George Santos — that's a name I was hoping never to write about again," but I'm happy to make an exception for a Democrat replacing him in Congress. Welcome back, Representative Suozzi!

As for last week's failed impeachment vote, the best I can say is "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again." There was definitely a time constraint on the vote. If they had waited even a few days longer, Suozzi would have been sworn in and the vote would have failed again and probably permanently. It will still fail in the Senate, where I'm sure that the upper chamber will not convict. Seth discussed this and more with his first guest, Jake Tapper on Alejandro Mayorkas' Impeachment and United States of Scandal.

Jake Tapper talks about this Congress being the least productive Congress since the Great Depression, calls out an issue he had with the New York Times News Quiz and discusses his show United States of Scandal.
The reason for Alejandro Mayorkas' impeachment is simple; Donald Trump wants revenge for his two impeachments and he demanded someone in Joe Biden's Administration get impeached. He'd prefer Biden himself, but there is no evidence that he did anything impeachable, so Mayorkas it is.

It's time for me to get to work, so I'm ending this here. Stay tuned for a more involved post tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

MSU shooting remembered one year later plus new Michigan gun laws take effect

I told my readers yesterday "stay tuned for Valentines Day. May it not be a sad occasion." Once again, I'm not feeling it. I'm in an Ash Wednesday mood and I'm not even a practicing Catholic. I'm also in a Spartan Strong mood and I went to Michigan. I'm going to give into both feelings by sharing Emotional day on MSU campus one year after mass shooting from Fox 2 Detroit.

Most students had the day off at Michigan State University Tuesday to honor the victims of a mass shooting that shook the campus and traumatized both students and their parents.
Fox 2's clip had the better preview image. WZZM/ABC 13 On You Side had the better story in SPARTAN STRONG | Michigan State marks 1 year since deadly campus shooting.

A gunman killed three Michigan State University students and wounded five others on Feb. 13, 2023. This is where the campus and community stand one year later.
One of my students wore a Spartan Strong sweatshirt to class yesterday. I told her I appreciated that.

At least the response to this mass shooting was stronger than Thoughts and Prayers as new gun laws took effect yesterday. Click On Detroit/Local 4/WDIV explained those in What to know about Michigan's new gun laws.

Following the deadly and horrific mass shootings at Michigan State University in February 2023 -- which occurred just over a year after the deadly mass shooting at Oxford High School in 2021 -- state lawmakers quickly passed a series of bills related to firearms in an effort to address gun violence.
Gun store owner Bill Kucyk was pretty pessimistic about how well the laws will work, but, as The Dude says, "that's, like, just your opinion, man." I think the new laws are a good thing.

That's a good place to end this post. Stay tuned for some non-holiday programming tomorrow. Comedy, anyone?

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Fat Tuesday is Paczki Day in Michigan!

Happy Paczki Day AKA Fat Tuesday! I couldn't find a clip of Debbie Dingell delivering paczki and talking about democracy on WDIV in Detroit for Fat Tuesday, so straight to the Polish pastries I go with WXYZ asking What is Paczki Day? Taking you inside the beloved tradition.

Fat Tuesday is tomorrow -- kicking off Paczki Day in Metro Detroit. Where is your favorite place around town to get paczki.
I got lucky with this clip, as WXYZ has disabled embedding on most of their YouTube videos the past couple of years. That's why I haven't used them, despite them being a staple of this blog until the pandemic. I wasn't so lucky with Fox 17 WXMI in Grand Rapids' How they're made: Sandy's Donuts celebrating Fat Tuesday with Paczki all day! I didn't find out it wouldn't embed until after I got the following screengrab.


Very pretty! Too bad I couldn't embed the video. Fortunately, MLive has a similar story in Preparing for Paczki Day at Sandy’s Donuts in Grand Rapids.

It’s paczki time again, and the seasonal Polish treat is available at Sandy’s Donuts on Leonard Street in Grand Rapids, Mich. starting Monday, Feb. 12, until Saturday. (Rebecca Particka/MLive)
This would be the perfect place to sign off, but I can't resist a Fat Tuesday tradition from New Orleans, where today is the last day of Mardi Gras. Watch Southern University Human Jukebox | Boogie Oogie Oogie | Krewe of Poseidon 2024 from Human Jukebox Media.


Enjoy your Fat Tuesday and your local traditions of celebrating it. Now stay tuned for Valentines Day. May it not be a sad occasion.

Monday, February 12, 2024

'Darwin Missed An Example of Evolution Right Under His Nose' by PBS Eons on Darwin Day

Happy Darwin Day! For today's tale of the scientist credited with formulating the theory of evolution by natural selection, I'm turning once again to PBS Eons for Darwin Missed An Example of Evolution Right Under His Nose.

Charles Darwin encountered a tiny fox-like creature during his famous voyage but instead of discovering its fascinating evolutionary story, he just knocked it on the head with his geology hammer.
Darwin got the credit for discovering this species of fox, but didn't figure out how it supported evolution by natural selection. People usually give that distinction to the Galapagos finches, but it was originally the Galapagos mockingbirds that got his attention. Only later did he and others realize the archipelago's finches made better examples. This includes me, as I show Galapagos finches in my evolution lectures when I explain adaptive radiation.

Enough of today's science holiday. Stay tuned for Paczki Day/Fat Tuesday tomorrow.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Emmy nominees and winners at the Super Bowl — commercials and halftime show


Did you know that when you watch (or watched, depending on when you read this entry) today's Super Bowl, you'll probably see several Emmy nominees and probably an Emmy winner or two? You will, because you did last year and several of the years before that. That's thanks to the commercials and halftime show, which has been a repeat nominee going back as far as Beyoncé's Super Bowl XLVII halftime show, which won Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction for a Variety Special in 2013. I didn't cover that at the time, waiting until after I wrote Predictions vs. reality for Katy Perry at the Super Bowl in 2015 to post Conversations on the 2013 Super Bowl Blackout with Chad of the Hipcrime Vocab. Took me long enough. Speaking of Perry, her show won two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lighting Design | Lighting Direction For A Variety Special and Outstanding Costumes For A Variety Program Or A Special. It's Katy Perry — of course she'd win for costumes!

As for Emmy nominees for Outstanding Commercial, those go back to at least 1998, the second year of the award, when Super Bowl ad American Express – Virtual Reality earned a nomination. Since then, Super Bowl ads have been regular nominees in the category. This includes the 2023 Emmy nominees for Outstanding Commercial with "Forever": The Farmer’s Dog 2023 Super Bowl Commercial and The Singularity (Extended) | Big Game Commercial 2023 | Squarespace being the Super Bowl ads nominated. Neither won, but at least they were nominated.

Follow over the jump for the Outstanding Commercial winner and the categories won by the 2023 Super Bowl halftime at last month's Creative Arts Emmy Awards along with a look at today's commercials and halftime show for the Sunday entertainment feature.