Friday, May 31, 2019

Tariffs on Chinese imports prompt Dollar Tree to raise prices

I opened Tariffs from the U.S.-China trade war are likely to accelerate the Retail Apocalypse by noting the effects of tariffs on prices at Dollar Tree, the parent company of Family Dollar.
I mentioned in Retail Archeology looks at Family Dollar, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse that "Dollar Tree could get into even more trouble because of the war."
KHOU in Honolulu reported today that has indeed started to happen.  Watch Connect the Dots: Rising tariffs means rising prices at Dollar Tree.

Shopping at Dollar Tree may not cost you just a dollar for long. The chain is about to pass-on a price hike to shoppers. Lauren Talarico connects the dots.
I wrote that tariffs on Chinese goods will cause inflation, in particular increasing inflation by 0.25%.  The price increases at Dollar Tree are a foreseeable effect of the tariffs.

Now I'm done for May.  See you all in June, which is only a few hours away.

Seeker and TEDx explain how self-driving cars will change cities for Autonomous Vehicle Day

Happy National Autonomous Vehicle Day!  Here is what I wrote about the day two years ago.
I first blogged about self-driving cars in 2013, when I wrote "We may not get flying cars for the mass market, but another science fiction transportation idea, self-driving autos, looks like it's on its way."  I wrote about them again in last year's Self-driving cars--fantasy and reality, which showed that autonomous vehicles are still coming but have a long way to go.  They're a lot closer now that there is a day in their honor.
All three of my previous posts focused on the technology behind and business opportunities available self-driving cars.  Today, I begin with the technology but end with the effects it will have on our communities, starting with Seeker/DNews asking How Close Are We to a Self-Driving World?

Self-driving cars could revolutionize the way we travel, giving us more time to work, play, learn, and relax on the road. But when it comes to making them a reality, cutting-edge technology is only the tip of the iceberg. So, how close are we ditching driving?
The answer is about only a couple of years for companies like Uber and Waymo, but a decade away for the masses.

Seeker also quoted the following from NACTO Releases the Blueprint for Autonomous Urbanism, a press release from the National Association of City Transportation Officials.
"The Blueprint outlines key tools and objectives for cities to use as they update their physical and digital infrastructure and on every type of street and intersection, from narrow, residential streets to major multi-modal boulevards. Future modules of the Blueprint will expand on these topics with new focus areas including roadway pricing, data partnerships with the private sector, regional planning, designing autonomous networks and autonomous freight delivery needs."
That paragraph is the one Seeker thought worth quoting from the NACTO press release.  I found three more.
“The expansion of autonomous vehicles is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rethink city streets and save lives on an unprecedented scale – but only if cities are prepared,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, NACTO Chair and Principal at Bloomberg Associates. “The Blueprint gives city leaders across the country and around the world the vision they need to partner with the private sector and design streets that are smarter, safer and more efficient than ever before.”

“As cities guide the autonomous revolution, we want technology to solve our mobility challenges; not settle for more of the same,” said Seleta Reynolds, NACTO President and General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. “This Blueprint will help cities everywhere lay the foundation for 21st century streets designed to serve people first and foremost, no matter how they travel.”

“When it comes to autonomous vehicles, cities are where the action is,” said Linda Bailey, Executive Director of NACTO. “This is the start of a critical conversation with AV companies about what cities need today and will need tomorrow.”
As a Crazy Eddie, I approve.  A little planning for the future will go a long way.

Speaking of planning for a future with self-driving cars and other autonomous vehicles, I present a TEDx talk by Nico Larco that asks another question, How Will Autonomous Vehicles Transform Our Cities?

Nico Larco's insights on one the most exciting technology of our time will open your eyes to a whole new way of thinking and show you how the world we live in could be fundamentally transformed. Nico is an Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at University of Oregon and Director of the Urbanism Next Research Initiative. He pulls back the curtain to preview how autonomous vehicles will shape the future planning of our parks, cities and life as we know it. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.
I think Larco is right; autonomous vehicles are not just a transportation issue, they're an everything issue.  Given how rapidly Americans are likely to adopt the technology, it's important that we anticipate its effects and prepare for them.

On a less optimistic note, Atrios expressed strong skepticism of autonomous vehicles and especially Elon Musk's efforts to make them possible in Your Kids, itself a commentary on  I left the following comment on the blog post.
I find this post simultaneously both appropriate and ironic because tomorrow is Autonomous Vehicle Day. Let's celebrate the limits to our technologies.
Actually, that should be contemplate the limits of our technologies, but someone uprated my comment anyway.

Since today is a holiday of sorts, I'm using it to fulfill half of the promise I made to my readers in Tariffs on Chinese goods will reduce GDP and cause inflation, say experts on CNBC to recap the top posts of last year about holidays.   Follow over the jump.*

Thursday, May 30, 2019

China threatens to restrict exports of rare earths

Looks like I'm not done writing about the trade war after describing its possible effects of tariffs on retail in particular and the U.S. economy in general.  Yesterday, China hinted that it might restrict exports of rare earth elements to the United States, a hint that became a threat.  This is something I've been warning my students could happen all this decade.  Here is an update of the top portion of a graph I show them every semester.

I point out that the U.S. is 100% dependent on imports of 21 minerals, chief among them rare earths, and that many of the countries that we import them from are not our friends, especially China and Russia.  Not only do I tell my students this, but I say that China in particular could cut off exports of rare earths, which would cripple our ability to make many products.  NBC News lists many of them.
If you have a smartphone or computer, own a flat-screen TV, drive a hybrid car or use a myriad of other high-tech devices, you'll no doubt come into contact with these elements — mined from the earth's crust and supplied predominantly by China — countless times a day.
Rare earth minerals are a crucial component of products that cut across the U.S. economy, not only in the tech sector but in the energy industry as a catalyst for oil refineries and in wind turbines, and in the automobile industry for manufacturing electric vehicle motors.
The elements' names, which include cerium, promethium, scandium, might sound like something out of science fiction, but each one can be used for a variety of purposes — from making magnets, batteries and lights, to glass production and the cooling of nuclear rods.

The U.S. military also depends on rare earths for the construction of equipment used in satellites, lasers, jet engines, radar and sonar systems, and other sophisticated machinery.
In other words, losing our access to China's rare earths, which supply 80% of the what the U.S. uses, would be crippling to our high-tech economy.  We would be even more dependent on Chinese finished goods that contain rare earths instead of being able to make our own.  Ironically, trying to avoid this situation is what got us into this mess in the first place, as the Chinese are using the threat of restricting exports of rare earths in retaliation for our sanctions on Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications company.

CNBC has been covering this story since it broke yesterday.  Follow over the jump for the videos.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Tariffs on Chinese goods will reduce GDP and cause inflation, say experts on CNBC

I concluded yesterday's Tariffs from the U.S.-China trade war are likely to accelerate the Retail Apocalypse by writing "it's not good for the U.S. consumer or the economy.  I'll get to that last part tomorrow.  Stay tuned."  It's tomorrow, so it's time to follow through with two videos from CNBC.

I begin with Here's what experts say about how the trade tariffs might impact the US economy.

CNBC's Steve Liesman reports on the newly released forecasts and studies that have gauged the impact of new tariffs on the U.S. economy.
First, the predictions are that the tariffs will reduce U.S. GDP from 0.25% to 0.50% while increasing inflation by 0.25% (that's what 25 to 50 basis points translate to in everyday figures).  When I wrote "trade, which I haven't written enough about, is likely to be straw that breaks the camel's back of the economic expansion and that a recession is inevitable." first in I wrote about the yield curve inverting and sending another recession signal and again in MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' and CNBC's 'Fast Money' expound on the U.S.-China trade war and its fallout, that's the kind of effect I was expecting.  Second, 'will the effects of tariffs be inflationary or deflationary?  Yes.'  I had to admit, Steve Liesman's answer was funny, if depressingly true.

Now, watch as the "eminent economist" Liesman mentioned answers questions in Here's how the trade tariffs might be impacting US GDP.  He's from Oxford Economics, which produced the graph I used to illustrate this entry.

Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, joins "Squawk Box" to discuss how tariffs might be impacting GDP.
Liesman makes two good points about the tariffs.  First, they're the largest federal tax increase since 1993, yet very few people are objecting to them on those grounds.  I guess one can raise taxes if they're intended to hurt foreigners and not framed as increasing revenue.  If it's the latter, especially if it's a tax on income, then people start to wonder what the money will be spent on.  I haven't heard a peep about that unless it's going to the border wall.  That was about tariffs on goods from Mexico, not China.  Second, all the studies on both the inflationary and deflationary effects of the tariffs are from investment firms; there are no studies from the federal government.  Then again, it's Trump; he doesn't need data to support his ideas, just his gut.

Liesman's second point leads to ask, isn't raising taxes supposed to be the job of Congress, specifically the House of Representatives?  This is what happens when Congress cedes power to the executive branch.  Now I wonder if Congress can ever take that delegated power back.

Now for an aside about CNBC's editorial perspective related to the "perma-bull" rant I posted yesterday.  Joe Kernan's comments about taxes and government spending capital inefficiently remind me of the explicitly pro-capitalist message of the channel.  I shouldn't complain about it on an investment media outlet; it's like complaining about water being wet.  It is, however, one of the reasons why my wife doesn't like CNBC.  She's in favor of a well-regulated capitalism, while Kernan and others on the channel seem to be anti-regulation.  As for Kernan's doubts about government spending capital efficiently, I refer my readers to the following paragraphs from Allow me this rant on an anti-tax meme, which I reposted the next year.
One of the favorite anti-tax memes that conservatives use is that "the government thinks it knows better how to spend money than individuals/the people do." I think that meme has it exactly backwards. First, the government in a democratically elected government is the people. Second, what government is doing when it spends is paying salaries of people and contracts to businesses, who then pay it to people. Those people now have more money to spend than they did before. As a result, government spending gives most people more power to make decisions over how they spend their money that they got from the government.

There is one exception to the above. Progressive taxation in support of government spending shows that the government thinks it knows better how to invest money than the wealthiest Americans for the greater good. The justification for keeping the tax rates low on the wealthiest Americans is that they will use that money to create jobs. They generally don't. Instead of hiring people for their own businesses, they use that money to blow speculative bubbles, whether in stocks, bonds, commodities, or real estate. Yes, those bubbles may create jobs while they're inflating, but they destroy jobs when they pop.
I still think this way, which is why I disagree with Kernan's comments.

I end with a programming note.  I am postponing the final installment of the top posts of last year about holidays and the back catalog I promised in Shopko liquidating, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse until Friday.  I'll have more time for to write it then.  As for tomorrow's entry, stay tuned to find out.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Tariffs from the U.S.-China trade war are likely to accelerate the Retail Apocalypse

I mentioned in Retail Archeology looks at Family Dollar, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse that "Dollar Tree could get into even more trouble because of the war."  It's more than just Dollar Tree.  It could spread to the rest of retail, as Business Insider reported last week: "China tariffs could trigger one of the biggest waves of store closures the US has ever seen, sparking the second coming of the retail apocalypse.  The trade war with China is threatening to trigger one of the biggest waves of store closures that the US has ever seen, according to UBS research."  How big?   From another Business Insider article: "Store closings are hitting record highs, and now the trade war with China is threatening to trigger an avalanche of 12,000 additional closings that could send shockwaves through the industry, according to research from UBS."  That's double the 6,000 stores that have already announced they are closing in 2019 as of April.  Yikes!

It's not just Business Insider who is sounding the alarm.  Follow over the jump for CNBC's coverage of the issue.

Monday, May 27, 2019

'Taps' from the U.S. Army Field Band and WOOD-TV for Memorial Day

A somber Memorial Day to my readers.  To commemorate the patriotic holiday that is also the unofficial start of summer, I'm sharing Taps from the United States Army Field Band.

Day is done, gone the sun from the lake, from the hills, from the sky. All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Members of our Soldiers' Chorus honor our fallen brothers and sisters with an arrangement of the bugle call, Taps.

featuring Hooahcappella- Sgt 1st Class Michaela Shelton, Staff Sgts Ian Bowling, Timothy Coombs and Megan Pomales
by Maj. Gen. Daniel Butterfield and 1st Lt. Oliver W. Norton
arrangement: Meegan Samantha Coleman
audio: Staff Sgt Madeline Brumback
video: Staff Sgts Trent Urquhart and Ian Bowling
For those of my readers who wish to hear "Taps" as a bugle call, WOOD-TV provides that, as well as a Michigan angle, in Marine Pfc. Laura Velderman plays taps.

Hopkins High School graduate Laura Velderman, now a Marine, plays taps on her trumpet ahead of Memorial Day.
Have a somber Memorial Day, everyone.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

'The Good Fight' shorts, animated musical numbers about politics

For today's Sunday entertainment feature, I'm focusing on a show that the critics and I like but I think the Television Academy undervalues, "The Good Fight," which just finished its third season earlier this month.  As I wrote in 'The Americans' wins Program of the Year plus other winning shows about politics and government at the 2018 Television Critics Association Awards, "'The Good Fight'...only seems to earn Emmy nominations for its music.  At least the musicians are watching the show; other branches of the Television Academy don't seem to be watching."

The first season earned an Emmy nomination for Original Main Title Theme Music, which it lost to "Stranger Things."  The second season also had only one nomination for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics; it lost to SNL.  That second nomination had an effect, as it seemed that every episode this season had an animated musical segment, including the one that was censored.  I suppose the show's producers thought that, since the Television Academy's music branch enjoyed the one from Season Two enough to nominate it, then they'll give them more.

Here's the Emmy-nominated song from last year, The Good Fight's Animated Guide To Impeachment.

How's impeachment work? This tongue-in-cheek animated video from The Good Fight, created by Jonathan Coulton and appearing at the end of Season 2, Episode 7 ("Day 450"), will tell you everything that you need to know.
Follow over the jump for the songs CBS All Access has uploaded to its YouTube channel so far.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

CNN and Business Insider reported on the U.S. Army and politicians using Pinterest

I told my readers to "Stay tuned for a bonus post about how my pins from this blog fared on Pinterest, which I didn't feel like delaying until Thursday."  It turned out to be a real blast from the past as the best reports on U.S. politics and government on Pinterest came from 2012.  First, CNN's The politics of Pinterest, which talks about Ann Romney's Pinterest board, which she was using to support her husband's presidential campaign, and the U.S. Army's use of the image board.

Pinterest is gaining popularity among women, the Army and political campaigns. CNN's Lisa Sylvester reports.
Two days before CNN uploaded this video, Business Insider published Here's The US Army's Guide To Pinterest.
Pinterest is the tremendously successful social pinboard site taking the internet by storm.

It's a big enough deal that the US Army is took notice and assembled an explanatory deck on it, which we found via All Things D.

Whether you have no idea what Pinterest is and could use the explanation, or you just want to see Pinterest through the military's eyes, here it is.
There are nine slides, including the one I used to illustrate this entry.

All of the user stats in the above are seven years out of date.  Digital Information World has the current ones.
[T]here was a 22% increase in million global monthly active users (MAUs) in this quarter i.e. 291 million as compared to 2018’s first quarter’s 239 million. Also a 26% growth in Global Average Revenue per User (ARPU) was observed i.e. 73 cents as compared to 58 cents generated in Q1 of 2018.
That's impressive.  Here's to that growth in users continuing.

I'm also impressed.  As I wrote in Statistics for the eighth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News, "At least Pinterest is sending readers my blog's way, something I expect to continue."  This month alone, the blog has seen 174 visits from Pinterest, placing it sixth among traffic sources behind Facebook, Google, Twitter, Bing, and Kunstler's blog.  That makes for a good source of readers.

Follow over the jump for the most saved pins from this blog during the past year.

Shopko liquidating, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse

I made a conditional promise to close out Retail Archeology looks at Family Dollar, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse.
Not good news is what International Business Times reported about Shopko.
After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Shopko said it will close all of its store locations by June 16. The closures affect 360 stores in 26 states.
Unless something more dramatic intervenes, I know which tale of the Retail Apocalypse I'm telling next.
Something more dramatic did intervene, which is why I wrote Dressbarn closing all 650 stores, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse.  I also promised that "Pinterest and comments on the blog [are] coming up next."  As it turns out, the most commented posts are about the Retail Apocalypse, so I can fulfill both promises by writing about Shopko's demise followed by a retrospective over the jump.

I begin the story of Shopko's demise with Shopko closing all of its stores from NBC 26 in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where Shopko began.

Liquidation of all of Shopko's stores is expected to finish by June.
That was in March, when Shopko's bankruptcy, which I first mentioned in February's Sears and KMart avoid liquidation, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse, turned into a liquidation.

NBC 26 followed up by asking What comes next for Shopko workers?.

More than 2,000 people across Wisconsin will lose their jobs later this year when Shopko stores and a distribution center close their doors.
NBC 26 continued its coverage by reporting on the closure of the store in DePere, which was the site of the previous segment.

At least Kim Flom, who is in charge of economic development for the city of DePere, displays some optimism about redeveloping the property, which includes a Payless ShoeSource.  One the one hand, that makes her another Crazy Eddie, which she should take as a compliment from me.  On the other, she'll need it.

All of the above is about what's happening this year.  For the history of the chain, including how it ended up liquidating, I'm turning to Brick Immortar's Shopko - Another Major Retailer... Bankrupt: Lifeless Retail Ep. 04 in which does a poor man's job of being Retail Archaeology, who he follows on Twitter, in the video.

Shopko recently announced the closure of all remaining stores across all "brands" and plans to have this completed by June, 2019. Shopko failed to find a buyer during the lead up to filing chapter 11 bankruptcy so, here we are.

From the late 90's onward, the chain slowly began struggling to find their footing against "the big 3". Updating their identity with ever changing slogans, branding, store closures/remodels/acquistitions and also leadership. This trend continued until their ultimate decline in the present day.
Oh, man, did the changing retail environment clobber Shopko!

Follow over the jump for the two most commented on posts of the eighth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News, both of which are about the Retail Apocalypse.

Friday, May 24, 2019

CNN reports on Trump consulting Twitter for policy advice

Happy Flashback Friday!  I'm taking advantage of my planned examination of how well my posts played out on Twitter to share CNN's clip Trump stopped meeting to consult Twitter account, report says.  I'm not the only one checking Twitter to see how popular my tweets are!

CNN's Brian Todd looks into President Donald Trump's reliance on Twitter for his understanding of the world and how that affects his decisions in office.
I've written before about Trump's tweets, most recently in The Academy Awards got political without mentioning Trump, a recycled comment and before that in Noah, Colbert, and Kimmel find the humor in the polar vortex and Trump's 'Global Waming' (sic) tweet.  However, I think this is the first time I've written about Trump actually paying attention to what is written back to him by his supporters.  The good news is that he pays attention to the opinions of others.  The bad news is that he is not listening to the experts and is vulnerable to conspiracy theories, including those spread by Alex Jones.  At least Jones has been banned from Twitter.

Follow over the jump for last year's top posts on Twitter.*

Thursday, May 23, 2019

'Slay the Dragon' examines the campaign to eliminate gerrymandering in Michigan

Happy Throwback Thursday!  After I wrote "I'm almost done with this series.  Next week I plan on looking at the top posts on social media followed by a combination of the back catalog and holidays" at the end of Watch reports on the 2019 March for Science from Green Bay and Sacramento, an update to the March for Science for the eighth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News, I found out that I had skipped a top 40 entry, Michigan Supreme Court allows anti-gerrymandering proposal to remain on ballot.  Oops.*  I'll have to delay those last two entries until tomorrow and next Thursday, respectively, while I give Voters Not Politicians their turn in the spotlight.

Speaking of which, Voters Not Politicians and their campaign to eliminate gerrymandering are the subjects of a documentary that debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival last month, "Slay the Dragon."  Both director Barak Goodman and star Katie Fahey promoted the film in The Fight Against Partisan Gerrymandering | All In | MSNBC with Ali Velshi guest-hosting.

Michigan has become the latest state to strike down unfairly drawn voting districts. The tide may finally be turning -- but the Supreme Court could get in the way.
Goodman showed up with his co-director Chris Durrance appeared on CBS News in "Slay the Dragon" explores gerrymandering and its impact on the American electoral process.

The Supreme Court is set to rule this term on whether partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional, and a new film, "Slay the Dragon," takes a look at how districts are drawn. Directors Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance join "Red and Blue" to discuss their documentary, premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival this month.
At this point, I would normally embed the trailer, but it's a private link on Vimeo so I can't.  Axios managed the trick, so my readers can watch it there.  In the meantime, here's to hoping it earns a nomination for Best Political Documentary at the Critics' Choice Documentary Awards this fall. 

Follow over the jump for the story of how Michigan Supreme Court allows anti-gerrymandering proposal to remain on ballot earned its page views.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Dressbarn closing all 650 stores, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse

My plans changed since I posted Retail Archeology looks at Family Dollar, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse, which I concluded by writing "Unless something more dramatic intervenes, I know which tale of the Retail Apocalypse I'm telling next."  Something more dramatic just happened, Dressbarn announcing that it will close all 650 of its stores, which my friend John Henry AKA LowGenius brought to my attention on Facebook.  Shopko will have to wait.

I begin with WWLP of Springfield, Massachusetts, reporting Women's clothing chain Dressbarn to close all its 650 stores.

Dressbarn announced Monday that all 650 locations across the U.S. will soon close their doors for good.
NPR has more details.
Ascena Retail Group announced the closure of about 650 stores late Monday, saying the "wind-down" would help the company focus on its more profitable brands.
The New Jersey-based women's retailer also owns Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lane Bryant, Lou & Grey, Catherines, Cacique and Justice. The company sold its Maurice brand earlier this month.

The closures could be a blow for some malls across the country where vacancy rates have shot up in recent years, following the shuttering of anchor stores, including Sears, Kmart, and J.C. Penney. In 2018, approximately 9% of storefronts in regional malls remained empty, according to the latest figures from Reis, a real estate research firm.
A final Dressbarn shut down date has not been announced. Stores will remain open with no changes to return, refund or gift card policies. About 6,800 people are employed by the chain.
Of course, if I can find a local angle to a story, I will use it.  WXYZ in Detroit provided me one with its man (or in this case, woman) on the street interviews, which the station excels at, in Dressbarn is going out of business.

The retail industry suffered another blow Monday after Dressbarn's parent company announced it was shutting down the clothing chain's operations.
As I wrote in April's 6,000 stores have already announced they are closing in 2019, more than all of 2018, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse, "this year alone I've written about the closing down of Payless ShoeSource, Gymboree, and Charlotte Russe, all of which happened in February and March.  The year is yet young and many more stores and several chains could still go out of business."  Dressbarn has proved my prediction right and it's only been a month.  Just think, there are seven more months to go in the year.  Any of my readers care to guess how many more chains will go out of business?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

A conversation about the Australian election with a reader from Down Under

Bukko Boomeranger and I had quite the conversation about the Australian election in the comments to John Oliver explains trade.  I found it so engrossing that I first responded "Just for you, I might cover it [the Australian election] next week," and finished with "I'll respond to the rest of your comment when I feature it in a post about the Australian elections."  Here are his comments with my responses about ranked-choice voting, mandatory voting, and the outcome of the election.

Here's Bukko's first comment, which he posted before the voting began.
Ah well -- soon off to accost voters (national Parliamentary election today.) It's good fun. Citizens expect to pass through a line of people waving flyers telling them what various parties recommend in Australia's ranked multiple-choice voting system. I try to make it funny, with quips like "If you're sick of the big parties!" or "Who's leaning Green today?" And when the polls close, I'll be "scrutineering." That means watching the Australian Election Commission's paid workers when they unseal the ballot boxes, dump the paper ballots onto a table, sort them by which candidate got the voter's #1 choice, then eliminating the piles with the fewest votes. THOSE ballots are shuffled onto the candidates that each voter marked as their #2 choice, so the person's vote is not entirely ignored. From then, it goes to the top 2 vote-getters, and the winner at that polling station is determined. Combine the results from polling places across the electorate, and bingo! we have a winner. It's pretty quick -- less than 2 hours -- and honest, with observers from Labor, us Greenies, sometimes the Liberals (the conservative party), Socialists or other minor parties looking on. Much better than black box electronic voting. It's one of the reasons I have a bit of faith in this country, because everyone has to vote (or face a small fine) and the counting is done transparently, so who's in Parliament can be said to represent the will of the people.
I knew that Australia had mandatory voting, but I didn't know that the country also had ranked-choice voting.  While I'm not a fan of mandatory voting with fines for not voting, I am in favor of other ways of increasing turnout, particularly by reducing barriers to access.  That's why I was thrilled when Proposal 3 passed here in Michigan allowing same-day registration and no-reason absentee voting.  On the other hand, I am definitely a fan of ranked-choice voting, which I mentioned as an election reform before.  I am so glad to see that it works so smoothly in a major country like Australia.

On the gripping hand (yes, a Motie reference), I'm not sure I'd like to walk through a throng of volunteers trying to get me to vote for their party or candidate on the way to the polling station.  It's bad enough seeing all the lawn signs on the way in, and I'm a fan of lawn signs and have placed them myself the night before an election.

That was about the process.  Follow over the jump for the outcome, which came as a bit of surprise.

Monday, May 20, 2019

May 20th is World Bee Day

Happy World Bee Day!  I first mentioned the holiday in Happy World Honey Bee Day 2018!
There is also a World Bee Day recognized by the United Nations on May 20th.  That happens to be the anniversary of my marriage to my ex-wife, a day that I have used to reflect on my mistakes.  I'd much rather consider the importance of bees.
To that end, here is the United Nations celebrates First Ever World Bee Day (20 May).

Bees and other pollinators, such as butterflies, bats and hummingbirds, are increasingly under threat from human activities.

Pollinators allow many plants, including many food crops, to reproduce. Not only do pollinators contribute directly to food security, but they are key to conserving biodiversity - a cornerstone of the Sustainable Development Goals. They also serve as sentinels for emergent environmental risks, signaling the health of local ecosystems.

Invasive insects, pesticides, land-use change and monocropping practices may reduce available nutrients and pose threats to bee colonies.

To raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development, the UN designated 20 May as World Bee Day.
That was last year's announcement.  Here is the FAO Director-General's message on World Bee Day 2019 from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations for this year.

World Bee Day is celebrated on 20 May each year to raise awareness of the importance of bees and other pollinators for food and agriculture.
The FAO Director-General was informative, but not very lively or practical.  For those two qualities, I conclude with KUSI in San Diego's Saving the bees for World Bee Day.

That was definitely more fun than this year's official video from the FAO, just as considering the importance of bees is more fun than reflecting on my mistakes.  I'll find another day for that, I'm sure.

While this is the first time I've officially celebrated World Bee Day on this blog, I managed to do so unofficially four years ago.
In an interesting coincidence, I posted President Obama's plan to save the bees on May 20, 2015.  The holiday wasn't declared until 2017, so I accidentally predicted it.  Sometimes, it's better to be lucky than to be good.
Happy World Bee Day!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Political film and TV nominees at the MTV Awards

"Game of Thrones, Avengers: Endgame and documentary RBG lead the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards nominations, with each project picking up four nominations." — The Hollywood Reporter.
For today's Sunday entertainment feature, I'm going to be a good environmentalist by recycling and updating the idea behind last year's Beyond the Trailer on speculative fiction nominees at the MTV Movie and TV Awards.  This year, I'm focusing on the nominees that celebrate films and television shows that have political themes, some of which were also nominated for and won the 2018 Golden Coffee Cups for movies.  Nothing like finding entertaining portrayals of politics and government in unexpected places.  For my readers who might be disappointed that I'm not featuring speculative fiction, have no fear; there is a significant overlap between politics and speculative fiction among the nominees.

I begin by returning to where I stood last year, right next to Grace Randolph of Beyond The Trailer playing a game of who should win and who will win the MTV Movie & TV Awards 2019 Nominations.

MTV Movie & TV Awards 2019 today! Beyond The Trailer host Grace Randolph's reaction and breakdown of the nominations plus predictions for which nominees will be the winners! Avengers Endgame, Captain Marvel, Game of Thrones, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, Sandra Bullock in Bird Box and more lead the nominations!
I generally agree with Grace, but I think she is underestimating the power of the "Riverdale" fandom unless it has lost a lot of steam this season.  Also, I will look at the nominees for Best Documentary, which she blew off.  Follow over the jump for my analysis and votes.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Retail Archeology looks at Family Dollar, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse

I concluded 6,000 stores have already announced they are closing in 2019, more than all of 2018, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse by writing "this year alone I've written about the closing down of Payless ShoeSource, Gymboree, and Charlotte Russe, all of which happened in February and March.  The year is yet young and many more stores and several chains could still go out of business."  Those three chains were top first three in the following graph that I used to illustrate that article.

Full-sized original here.

The next chain listed is Family Dollar, which is closing 390 stores and converting humdreds more into Dollar Tree stores.  I've been waiting for an opportunity to blog about it since.  Fortunately, Retail Archeology uploaded a video yesterday that asked What Is Going On With Family Dollar?  For the answer, please watch.

In this episode we take a look at Family Dollar, a discount store chain that just recently announced they will be closing hundreds of stores.
International Business Times had more details in Store Closings 2019: Full List Of Retailers Closing This Year.
Dollar Tree is also closing locations as it said that it would shut the doors at 390 Family Dollar stores in fiscal 2019. The closures are a part of Dollar Tree’s 2019 store optimization program. The company also closed 84 stores in the fourth quarter, up from the 37 planned.
By the way, Dollar Tree could get into even more trouble because of the U.S.-China and then trade war.  CNBC explains in Dollar Tree is the ‘poster child’ for tariff risk, according to Credit Suisse.
Discount retailer Dollar Tree’s core business model is a lightning rod for tariff impact, according to Credit Suisse.

With direct imports from China on 40% to 42% of its merchandise, Dollar Tree is the perfect candidate to get hit hard by the trade war, the firm said. Despite this exposure, the stock may have fallen too much too fast given there is still a good chance for a trade deal, the analyst said.
“Approximately 9% of products, measured by sales volume, would have been affected” when the initial 10% tariffs were implements, according to the company’s most recent 10-K filing.

Credit Suisse said Dollar Tree would undoubtedly be hit hard if the U.S. decides to further raise tariffs on a broader basket of goods including toys, greeting cards and small electronics. However, the bank stands by its 70% likelihood of a deal getting passed between the two countries, eventually reversing the latest tariffs.
I hope Credit Suisse's optimism is warranted, as I'm still of the opinion that "trade, which I haven't written enough about, is likely to be straw that breaks the camel's back of the economic expansion and that a recession is inevitable."

Speaking of optimism, while 390 stores closing looks ominous, there are "7,000 Dollar Tree locations and more than 8,000 Family Dollar locations across the country" according to CNBC, so the percentage of stores being affected is relatively small.  That's good news.

Not good news is what International Business Times reported about Shopko.
After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Shopko said it will close all of its store locations by June 16. The closures affect 360 stores in 26 states.
Unless something more dramatic intervenes, I know which tale of the Retail Apocalypse I'm telling next.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Watch reports on the 2019 March for Science from Green Bay and Sacramento, an update to the March for Science for the eighth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News

In yesterday's retrospective, I promised that "the next installment in this series...will be about the March for Science and other Resistance events [today] for Flashback Friday."  Before I tell the story of how Watch reports on March for Science 2018 from four U.S. cities earned its page views, I am sharing reports from this year's events.

I begin with the Sacramento Bee, which invited its viewers and readers to Watch the Sacramento March for Science

The Sacramento March for Science on May 4, 2019 brought out a presidential candidate, a state senator and an anti-vaccination activist in Star Wars attire.
That anti-vaccine activist may not realize it, but he's actually advocating an anti-science position to a bunch of scientifically literate people.  He picked the wrong crowd.  At least he was properly dressed for Star Wars Day.

The person who picked the right crowd was Jay Inslee.  He knew they would agree with his message about science and climate change  He also knew it would be big enough to be worth talking to.

Green Bay had a smaller event, but WFRV promoted it heavily.  The station's first segment on the March for Science featured the Green Bay March for Science's organizer, Gary Lefko.

Lefko did a good job of explaining the event and demonstrating some cool science.  He will show up again in another video.

WFRV promoted the event again in its second March for Science the day before the event.

That looked like it was fun.

WFRV covered the actual event in March for Science in Green Bay for residents.  Lefko played a prominent part in the video, where he not only speaks, but implodes the 55-gallon drum he brought to the studio in the first video.


That's all for news videos about this year's March for Science on YouTube.  Follow over the jump for how the one entry about the Resistance to enter the top 40 earned its page views.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

2019 Environmental Media Association Awards update politics in entertainment for the eighth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News

Happy Throwback Thursday!  I told my readers to "Stay tuned" at the conclusion of 'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver' on opioids updates decreasing life expectancy for the eighth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News as "I plan on posting the next installment in the series next Thursday, when I plan on recapping the top entries about entertainment."  Two entries about entertainment that did not also feature Last Week Tonight with John Oliver made the 40 most read posts of last year and I will tell their stories over the jump.

Before I do, I am updating the topic of serious issues in entertainment by examining this year's nominees for the Environmental Media Association Awards for film and television AKA the EMA Awards.  As the Environmental Media Association Awards page states, "The EMA Awards honor film and television productions and individuals that increase public awareness of environmental issues and inspire personal action on these issues."  Here are the nominees along with my comments on them.
Feature Film

Aquaman (Warner Bros.)
Isle of Dogs (Twentieth Century Fox)
This reminds me of the 2017 field of "Moana" and "Okja."  The first just showed the beauty of nature, while the second actually explored an environmental issue.  "Okja," the more serious nominee, won.  I think the same will happen here with "Isle of Dogs" beating "Aquaman."  Just the same, "Aquaman" is getting surprising recognition for its themes, as it was also one of the Coffee Party Entertainment Awards movie nominees for 2018 for examining politics in film.
Documentary Film

Above and Beyond: NASA's Journey to Tomorrow (Discovery Channel)
Eating Animals (IFC Films)
Living in the Future's Past (Vision Films)
Unlike the past two years, when “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” and "Jane" were clear leaders, I don't see a prohibitive favorite in this field.  I'd root for "Above and Beyond: NASA's Journey to Tomorrow" but I suspect "Eating Animals" has the edge.
Television Episodic Drama

The Blacklist "General Shiro" (Sony Pictures Television)
"The Blacklist" was nominated two years ago and won last year, so I'm not surprised that it repeated.  I am surprised that it was the only television drama nominated, so of course it has already won.  Maybe I should start watching "The Blacklist."
Television Episodic Comedy

Full Frontal With Samantha Bee (TBS)
The Good Place "Don't Let the Good Life Pass You By" (NBCUniversal)
Saturday Night Live "Season 44, Episode 3" (NBCUniversal)
Of all these, only my favorite fantasy television series "The Good Place" is really an episodic comedy.  The others are variety shows, talk in the case of "Full Frontal With Samantha Bee" and sketch in the case of "SNL."  I think the variety shows have an edge, as "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" won two years ago for Coal, which got him sued, and "Adam Ruins Everything" won last year, but that won't stop me from rooting for "The Good Place."
Reality Television

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown "Bhutan" (CNN)
Jimmy Kimmel Live! "Kids Explain Climate Change" (ABC Studios)
One Strange Rock (Nutopia Ltd for National Geographic)
VICE "Engineering Earth" (HBO)
None of these are really reality television except for Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown and even the Television Academy considers it an Informational Series, not reality TV.  Just the same, a conventional entertainment electorate would vote for the late chef's show, but this isn't a conventional electorate.  They might vote for "Kids Explain Climate Change," which I included in Noah, Colbert, and Kimmel find the humor in the polar vortex and Trump's 'Global Waming' (sic) tweet.  It was both hilarious and effective.
Children's Television

Cousins for Life "Hot Dog Day Afternoon" (Nickelodeon)
Mission Force One "Sea Change" (Disney Junior)
Peg + Cat "The Compost Problem" (PBS Kids)
No Sesame Street?  I'm surprised.  Other than that, I don't have a dog (or a hot dog) in this fight, but my gut says to root for "The Compost Problem."

That's it for this year's nominees, which I finally covered in a timely fashion, until the first Sunday in June, when I plan on reporting on the winners.  Follow over the jump for the top posts about politics in entertainment from the eighth year of this blog.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

John Oliver explains trade

I have a habit of following up a serious post with a humorous if not downright silly one, as I did for the polar vortex, Howard Schultz exploring a run for president, the Green New Deal , and most recently the Media Bias Chart placement.  Today, I'm doing the same for yesterday's MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' and CNBC's 'Fast Money' expound on the U.S.-China trade war and its fallout with Trade: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO).

Donald Trump is waging a trade war that hurts a lot of American workers. Maybe he would understand that if our heavy-handed documentaries about the global trading system were more informative.
Last Week Tonight uploaded this video eight months ago, but it's still current.  Our Cartoon President is like a stuck clock on the issue of trade.  Unfortunately, I don't think this is one of the two times a day when he's correct.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' and CNBC's 'Fast Money' expound on the U.S.-China trade war and its fallout

When I wrote about the yield curve inverting and sending another recession signal, I predicted that "trade, which I haven't written enough about, is likely to be straw that breaks the camel's back of the economic expansion and that a recession is inevitable."  It looks like that straw has just been loaded, even if the camel is still standing.  Yesterday morning, the day began on MSNBC with Joe Scarborough saying of the tariffs on Chinese goods " This Is A $200B Tax Increase On Americans" on Morning Joe.

The Morning Joe panel discusses the costs of the president's trade tariffs on China and the impact the tariffs are having on U.S. businesses and households.
Yesterday's futures forecast a 200-point drop in the Dow.  It ended up being more than 600 points by the end of the day with the Dow falling 700 points during the session.  CNBC dissected yesterday's market activity looking for a cause in Stocks are getting crushed as the trade war heats up, here's how bad traders think it could get.

The Dow sinks 600 points as trade turmoil roils Wall Street. How bad could it get? With CNBC's Eamon Javers and Melissa Lee, and the Fast Money traders, Tim Seymour, Karen Finerman, Dan Nathan and Guy Adami.
It should come as no surprise that I agree with Guy Adami and Dan Nathan that the market was overvalued and ready to fall and the trade war gave investors just the excuse they needed to sell.  I've been bearish and on recession watch since December 2017 and still stand behind the prediction I made in Ten years ago, we were partying like it was 1929. Are we about to do it again?
Based on New Deal Democrat's analysis at Seeking Alpha, that should happen in the second half of next year, so I'm moving my recession call to between July and December 2019.  The bad news is that my readers and I may not know until the middle of 2020.  The good news is that it would be perfectly timed to screw up Trump's re-election, should he last that long, or Pence's should he not.  I can live with that.
I hope the American people can as well.

Monday, May 13, 2019

NASA's plans to deflect an asteroid plus what happens if one hits NYC

Happy Monday the 13th!  Because it's exactly one month after Apophis Day, I decided to return to the subject of asteroids and planetary defense instead of posting another Garfield cartoon.  I begin with 7 Ways to Save Earth from a Killer Asteroid from

Gravity tractors, rocket engines, lasers, nukes and more could be used to deflect a potentially hazardous asteroid.
One the one hand, as one of the commenters to the video wrote, it's good to have a plan, actually seven of them.  On the other, if none of those work, USA Today describes what could happen in Asteroid simulation sparks scary outcome for New York City

In a NASA simulation of a fictional scenario, New York City was hit with an asteroid packing 1,000 times the destruction of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
The "1,000 times the destruction of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima" is no exaggeration. The meteor that exploded over Russia six years ago was twenty times more powerful than Hiroshima and that space rock broke up miles up in the atmosphere.  On the other hand, this hypothetical event would be comparable to the impact that created Barringer Crater AKA Meteor Crater in Arizona, which yielded ten megatons when it blew up.

Just the same, it's good to know that NASA is working on a plan to protect Earth from asteroid impact.  That makes for a good opportunity to recycle this meme.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Toast mom and the most popular baby names of 2018 for Mother's Day plus an update to 'Game of Thrones' baby names

Happy Mother's Day!  To celebrate, I'm following up on Baby names from entertainment for Mother's Day 2018, itself an installment of a series that goes all the way back to Game of Thrones--names, geology, and security theater in 2014.

I begin, as I did last year, with the Social Security Administration reporting Social Security’s Top Ten Baby Names of 2018.

Just arrived! Find out the top 10 baby names of 2018 from Social Security, the source for baby names each year!
Once again, Emma, as in Stone and Watson, is the most popular girl's name and Liam, as in Hemsworth and Neeson, is the most popular boy's name.  As for Logan, Wolverine's first name, it has fallen all the way down to tenth.

Of course, no examination of baby names on this blog would be complete without a reference to either Game of Thrones or Star Wars.*  Since I wrote on the Revenge of the Sixth that "That's it for Star Wars until the Saturn Award nominations are announced, whenever that may be," it's Game of Thrones' turn.  For that, I turn to IndieWire.
2,545 girls have a name, and it’s Arya. That’s according to Social Security data on last year’s baby names, which continues the trend of new parents naming their children after “Game of Thrones” characters. And though everyone’s favorite knife-wielding daughter of Winterfell was once again the show’s most popular namesake, other inhabitants of Westeros had a good showing as well: 516 girls named Khaleesi were born last year (as were, somewhat distressingly, 19 Caleesis, 14 Khaleesias, and five Khaleesies) in addition to 434 Yaras, 319 Lyannas, 125 Shaes, and 102 Renlys.

But wait, there’s more! 2018 also introduced the world to 58 Tyrions, 33 Briennes, 30 Jorahs, 29 Sansas, 21 Catelyns, 17 Ellarias, 15 Oberyns, 14 Theons, and 11 Gregors whom one hopes weren’t actually named after the Mountain. (His track record with children isn’t exactly great.)
CBS News reported on the change in rank instead of the raw numbers in "Game of Thrones" baby names are more popular than ever.
The name Arya ranked 119th for female names, making a significant jump from 942nd place in 2010 - the year the show debuted. But another spelling of the name, Aria, was much more popular in 2018, ranking 19th.

Khaleesi, the title given to wives of nomadic warlords, rose nearly 100 spots in 2017, ranking 549th. Yara made one of the largest increases last year, jumping a few hundred spots to 672nd.
Khaleesi actually ranked 549th in 2018, not 2019.  As for Yara, I associate that name with Yara Martinez, who acts in both "Jane the Virgin" and "The Tick," more than "Game of Thrones."  Speaking of "Jane the Virgin," Xiomara, the name of Jane's mother, continued to increase in popularity, rising 130 places from 855 to 725.  It might do that one more year, as this is the final season of the show.

I'm finishing this entry with some drink recipes for mom.  Instead of one from Tipsy Bartender, I'm sharing Mother's Day Drink Recipes from Coborn's Family of Stores.

Jayne is back with some delicious, easy-to-make drink recipes - perfect for Mother's Day!
A toast to mom!  Speaking of which, it's time for me to call mine.  Happy Mother's Day!

*I'm saving Star Wars names for Father's Day.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

United Nations report warns 1 million species could go extinct

While I was both following a blog tradition and indulging my "I can't be all DOOM all the time" mood when I wrote about Star Wars for the Revenge of the Sixth, some serious DOOM news came out that day.  CBS News has the story in One million species facing extinction, U.N. report warns.

A new report involving hundreds of scientists worldwide warns that humans are accelerating the pace of extinction for many of earth's species, and the loss of biodiversity could be devastating. Patricia Miloslavich, a professor who contributed to the report, joins CBSN with more on the problem and what needs to be done.
It was only last Friday that I mentioned "population and affluence, the P and A in I (impact) = P * A * T, where T is technology, which ideally could counteract the effects of the other two variables" in the comments to Going South at Kunstler's blog.  Both the demand for resources caused by population and affluence and the amount of pollution produced by human consumption and abetted by inefficient technologies and bad habits are contributing to the impact of more than 7 billion people competing for resources with the rest of life on Earth.  As I wrote first for last year's World Oceans Day and quoted for this year's World Wildlife Day, "Climate change, plastic pollution, and overfishing make a deadly trifecta of threats to all the world's oceans, not just the coral reefs."  Many of the same phenomena are threats to life on land, too.  Here's to hoping people's attitudes and government policy change to prevent the worst damage and technology catches up to the need.

Enough DOOM.  Stay tuned for a post about Mother's Day.

Coffee Party USA joins with Stamp Stampede to stamp money out of politics

Campaign finance reform and corporate reform are serious issues, but that doesn't mean that members and supporters of the Coffee Party can't have fun while working to "pass campaign finance laws that limit the impact of special interest groups such as corporations, major political parties, and lobbyists" and affirm that "Corporations are not people, but consist of people" as the Coffee Party's own goals declare.  To that end, Coffee Party USA has partnered with Stamp Stampede to "stamp money out of politics."

Simply order the Coffee Party USA custom stamp from our partners at Stamp Stampede by clicking on the link.  When your stamp arrives, start stamping your dollar bills.  As Stamp Stampede says on its website, "Every dollar you stamp will reach 875 people, if you stamp 5 dollars a day for a year, that's over a million. Together, we can create a stampede that Congress can't ignore."

By the way, this is all perfectly legal.  As our partners at Stamp Stampede have written, "it’s illegal to destroy paper currency or deface it so much that it’s no longer recognizable and has to be taken out of circulation. But that’s definitely not what we’re up to... Because we all want these bills to stay in circulation and we're stamping to send a message about an issue that's important to us, it's legal!"

What do our partners at Stamp Stampede expect once the people get the attention of Congress?  They want "a constitutional amendment declaring that: 1) Money is not speech; [and] 2) Corporations are not people."  Coffee Party USA supports these goals and asks that you, our members and supporters, get the message out through stamping your money.  The results will be a lot more concrete and enduring than sharing one of our posts on Facebook, which we still want you to do, too.

Once we limit the power of special interest groups to influence our elections, we can work on making the rest of our vision true, that of "empower[ing] and connect[ing] communities to reclaim our government for the people" and making America "a nation of diverse communities sharing a culture of informed public engagement where our our solemn duty to vote is the only currency of our representative democracy."

In addition to spreading the word about getting money out of politics, purchasing a stamp will help support the Coffee Party.  Stamp Stampede forwards a share of the price of each stamp to Coffee Party USA.  Not only does each stamp get our message out, it acts as a fundraiser.*

So get your stamp and start stamping!

Coffee Party USA ia a 501c(4) nonprofit social welfare organization dedicated to empowering and connecting communities to reclaim our government for the people.  To support its efforts, which include educating the public on our website and on our Facebook page, registering people to vote with our partners TurboVote and National Voter Registration Day, and reminding them to vote through our Voter Buddy program, please consider donating.  A donation of $10.00 for ten years of Coffee Party USA is recommended.  For those who wish to give at a higher level of support and be more involved in the organization, please consider becoming a member.  To do the valuable work of the Coffee Party, volunteer.  Not only will Coffee Party USA thank you for it, so will the country!

*I've already bought one.

Friday, May 10, 2019

'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver' on opioids updates decreasing life expectancy for the eighth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News

Happy Flashback Friday!  I promised my readers that I would write about "lower life expectancy in the U.S." to conclude yesterday's 'Knock Down the House' updates Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez/AOC for the eighth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News.  One of the main reasons why Life expectancy declined in the U.S. for three consecutive years has been the opioid epidemic.  It turns out that "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" has two videos on the subject.  Here is the older one, Opioids from 2016, just as overdoses started to pull down life expectancy.

John Oliver discusses the extent and root of the nation’s epidemic of opioid addiction.
That segment is just as chilling and bitingly funny today as it was when my wife and I first watched it three years ago.  It was worth watching again.

Oliver updated the opioid crisis just last month.  I'm saving that for another update.  After all, I'm an environmentalist.  I don't just recycle, I conserve my resources.

Follow over the jump for the story of the top 40 entry about the opioid epidemic.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

'Knock Down the House' updates Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez/AOC for the eighth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News

Happy Throwback Thursday!  For today's retrospective, I'm updating and looking back at Anderson Cooper shows other politicians besides Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dance on The Rediculist.  I'll have the story of that entry over the jump.  First, I'm looking at a documentary featuring Ocasio-Cortez and three other women who ran for Congress last year, "Knock Down
the House."  Here is the official trailer from Netflix.

Follow the stories of four inspiring women who took on history in the 2018 midterm election. Knock Down The House, only on Netflix May 1.
It turns out that my old hometown paper, the Los Angeles Times, posted a review of the documentary by Kenneth Turan on YouTube.  Watch it.

"Knock Down the House" captures Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez during her campaign and historical election victory.
That's a glowing review.

I'm sure I'll see this movie nominated for a Best Political Documentary nominees at the 2018 Critics' Choice Documentary Award or two, likely an Emmy, and possibly even an Oscar.  Also, I'll try to remember to nominate it at Coffee Party Entertainment Awards later this summer for television shows or next year for movies.

Follow over the jump for the top post about Representative Ocasio-Cortez and how it became so popular.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Ellen Show pays tribute to teachers for National Teacher Appreciation Week

It's the middle of National Teacher Appreciation Week and the day after National Teacher Appreciation Day.  Since I'm an educator and the son, nephew, and brother of teachers and I'm also in an "I can't be all DOOM all the time mood," I'm sharing The Ellen Show's Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Celebrate the heroes who make a difference in their students’ lives, both in and out of the classroom. These inspiring teachers deserve to be celebrated all year!
I hope my readers found that as heartwarming and inspiring as I did.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Vox on congestion pricing plus a driving update for May 2019: Pearl

'Yesterday, I told my readers to "Stay tuned for a driving update."  That's because Pearl the Prius rolled over 46,000 miles yesterday.  I'll run the numbers of how I'm reducing my driving over the jump, but first I'm sharing how London has reduced driving and New York is thinking of following suit in Vox's The traffic solution most cities haven't tried.

Congestion pricing works – just look at London.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced a plan to bring congestion pricing to New York City. The goal is to raise money for the city’s crumbling public transit system and reclaim the dangerously busy city streets. But what is congestion pricing, and can it actually solve all our transit woes? We took a look at London, a city that enacted a congestion charge in 2003, to see some of the benefits.
I wouldn't need congestion pricing to get me to not drive in New York.  The traffic and availability of other alternatives would be enough.  Besides, I'm originally from Los Angeles, where the traffic is terrible and one of the things I don't miss about the place.  It's much easier to drive around Detroit, even though I'm trying to drive less.  For how I'm reducing my driving, follow over the jump.