Saturday, August 31, 2019

An update on Democratic candidates' Voteview scores before Congress returns from August recess

I told my readers to "stay tuned for an update to Senators and Representatives running for the Democratic nomination are drifting to the left as they campaign as the final post of the month."  I decided to go ahead even after I finding little change with no clear trends.  I suppose that's what happens when the members of Congress are campaigning instead of voting, both because they are choosing the former over the latter and because Congress is in recess during August.  That's a marked contrast to the story told by their Vote Match scores at On The Issues, which can be revised based on their statements on the campaign trail and do not depend on their votes and so told a tale of the bulk of them moving left.

Here are their current scores presented from left to center.  More negative scores mean the member of Congress is more liberal, while less negative scores mean they are more moderate.
  • Elizabeth Warren was -0.774 in July and is now -0.769, moving slightly to the center/right, but is still the most liberal member of Congress.
  • Kamala Harris was -0.710 in July and is now -0.713 and is still the second most liberal member of the current Senate, so she is continuing her leftward drift according to Voteview, which contrasts with her drift to the center according to On The Issues.
  • Cory Booker continued drifting to the center from a Voteview score of -0.611 in July and a score of -0.607 now, but is still the third most liberal member of the current Senate.  This contrasts with his move left according to On The Issues.
  • Bernie Sanders remained at -0.526 as the fourth most liberal member of the current Senate.
  • Kirsten Gillibrand left the nomination contest with her Voteview score unchanged at -0.439, which is still more liberal than 81% of Democrats in the current Senate.
  • On the one hand, Tim Ryan's Voteview score remained unchanged at -0.403.  On the other hand, his relative position became more liberal.  He was more liberal than 55% of Democrats in the 116th House in July but is now more liberal than 62% of Democrats in the current House.  As I wrote last month, nice trick!
  • When Seth Moulton complained about Democratic candidates moving too far to the left when he dropped out, he looked hypocritical, as Vote Match scores at On The Issues showed him moving sharply to his left.  However, his Voteview score makes him look more sincere. In July, it was -0.293, making him more conservative than 73% of Democrats currently serving in the House of Representatives in July.  Now, it's -0.286, a measurable move to the right making him now more conservative than 74% of House Democrats.
  • Tulsi Gabbard remained unchanged at -0.279 and more conservative than 78% of Democrats in the current House.
  • Amy Klobuchar continues to move to the left according to both Voteview and On The Issues.  Her Voteview score was -0.265 in July, which placed her as more conservative than 70% of Democrats currently serving in the Senate then.  Now, it's -0.269, which is more conservative than 68% of Democrats in the current Senate.  This is the largest score change to the left of any of the candidates.
  • Finally, Michael Bennet became more slightly more liberal according to his Voteview score, moving slightly to the left from -0.211 to -0.212 while becoming relatively more conservative at the same time.  Bennet was more conservative than 86% of the Democrats in the upper chamber of Congress in July but is now more conservative than 88% of Democrats now, which is where he sat in May.
The next recess is scheduled for the first two weeks of October.  I will try to update the candidates' Voteview scores then.

That's it for August.  Stay tuned for an entry about the Emmy nominees for a Sunday entertainment feature to begin September.

Friday, August 30, 2019

The history of Six Flags New Orleans on the 14th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Dorian bearing down on Florida reminds me that it's the now the heart of hurricane season.  It also reminds me that yesterday was the fourteenth anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast.  To mark the occasion, I'm sharing a video that has a unique perspective on the disaster, Expedition Theme Park's The Abandoned History of Jazzland/Six Flags New Orleans | Expedition Extinct.

Join us on Expedition Extinct as we look at the tragic fate of Jazzland, later known as Six Flags New Orleans. This struggling park was abandoned when the city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
I used to work as a tour guide at a theme park that now sits abandoned, so even though I never visited Six Flags New Orleans, its story still hits close to home.  Here's to hoping that Dorian doesn't do the same to Florida's theme parks, although it's not likely to hit Orlando directly (ETA: Actually, the most recent projections show it will on Wednesday) and those parks are more resilient.

I'll keep an eye on Dorian this holiday weekend and promise to share stories I find worth my readers' time.  In the meantime, stay tuned for an update to Senators and Representatives running for the Democratic nomination are drifting to the left as they campaign as the final post of the month tomorrow evening.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Goodbye Gillibrand! Kirsten drops out

First John Hickenlooper dropped out, then Jay Inslee followed by Seth Moulton.  All three were picked by the reporters and editors of FiveThirtyEight in their first 2020 drop out draft.  They were the first, fifth, and second picked, respectively.  Yesterday, the third candidate picked left the contest, as CBS News reported Senator Kirsten Gillibrand drops out of 2020 presidential race.

Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand says she's dropping out of 2020 presidential race amid low polling and fundraising struggles. The New York Times was first to report the news.
ETA: CBS News later uploaded 2020 Daily Trail Markers: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand drops out of presidential race, which examined Gillibrand dropping out in depth.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced she’s dropping out of the 2020 presidential race. The Democrat from New York ran her campaign on promises to fight for women's rights and policies like paid family leave. As a senator, she gained prominence while pushing for reforms in prosecuting sex crimes in the military. 2020 campaign reporter Cara Korte joins CBSN with Wednesday's edition of 2020 Daily Trail Markers.
So now the first, second, third, and fifth candidates picked by FiveThirtyEight have dropped out.  Four down, five to go.  The fourth candidate chosen in the drop out draft is Tim Ryan.  My readers and I will see if he's next.  In the meantime, follow over the jump for the drink and memes I am retiring now that Gillibrand is no longer running.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Hot Mess explains the problems with making our food system more sustainable and climate-friendly

When I last looked at my most popular environmental topics to blog about, I identified them as energy, food, and water.  That may have changed, as I also blog a lot about climate, but I consider that closely linked to energy.  It's just focusing on the output instead of the input.  Yesterday, Hot Mess uploaded a video that examines the connections among all these topics, Our Food System is Rigged feat. Sheril Kirshenbaum.  Please watch.

The way we eat is unsustainable for the climate. Our food system contributes a massive amount of greenhouse gas emissions and touches basically every facet of our life. Modern diets also contribute to millions of lost lives every year from all the negative health outcomes. The answer is pretty simple on paper: We need to convert more of our diet to plant-based foods, and away from red meat. But in practice? It’s nowhere near that easy. How can something so necessary be so hard? We talked to food policy expert Sheril Kirshenbaum to learn more.
The answer is pretty simple on paper: To help fight climate change, we need to convert more of our diet to plant-based foods and away from red meat. But in practice? It is REALLY hard to do, because the global food system is so huge, so wasteful, and so unequal, that in some ways it’s rigged against healthy eating. We didn’t make this video in order to sound hopeless, though. We just want everyone to have an honest look at how hard a problem this is to solve.
Yes, unraveling the issue is difficult, but I agree with Hot Mess that it needs to be done.  That's why I keep blogging about all parts of the problem.

This isn't the first time Hot Mess has examined the connections between food and the climate.  Last year, the channel posted Beef is Bad for the Climate… But How Bad?

Beef production emits more greenhouse gases than basically anything else we eat, so let’s look at the scale and impact of our bovine pals - and importantly, what we can actually do to make beef less bad.
Every semester, I point out how environmentally unfriendly beef is.  The thought of it made me buy turkey hot dogs the last time I went to the store.  I've also been trying to eat less meat overall to reduce my environmental footprint.  Here's to hoping I serve as a good example.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Oklahoma wins opioid case against Johnson & Johnson, a case of corporate accountability

As I wrote in 'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver' on opioids updates decreasing life expectancy 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."  I also wrote in Americans agree on a few issues, Pew Research Center finds that "drug addiction stands out to me as the issue with the best combination of agreement between partisans and high number of people who think it's a major problem."  In those contexts, the judgment Oklahoma won against Johnson & Johnson stands out as the first of what may be many public actions to do something major about an issue that most Americans, regardless of ideology, agree is a major problem.  It is also a major news story.  I begin the coverage with CNN's Oklahoma wins landmark opioid case.

In a landmark decision, an Oklahoma judge on Monday ordered pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson to pay $572 million for its role in the state's opioid crisis.
That was good reporting of the decision as well as some hot takes from experts.  For more in-depth analysis, I turn to PBS NewHour's What Okla. judgment against Johnson & Johnson means for opioid accountability.

An Oklahoma judge delivered a $572 million judgment against pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson in the first major legal decision to go against a drugmaker for its role in the opioid crisis. The judge found the company’s marketing practices helped flood the state with painkillers. William Brangham talks to StateImpact Oklahoma’s Jackie Fortier about the case's unusual argument and broad impact.
So this case may serve as legal precedent for the one in West Virginia that is using a similar legal argument.  That makes it important.

Finally, I remind my readers of the larger context with BBC News's Why are people in the USA living shorter lives?.

While most of the world’s population can look forward to living longer, white people in the United States without a college degree are living shorter lives due to an epidemic of drug abuse and alcoholism. Nobel economist Sir Angus Deaton says these "deaths of despair" are driven by inequality.
Pointing out that people in the U.S. are killing themselves because they are suffering from the failures of capitalism makes not just the opioid crisis, but also rising suicide rates, an issue of corporate reform as well as public health.  That adds another dimension to the story that ties into one of Coffee Party USA's End State Goals.  Under corporate corruption reform, the organization declares "Corporations have a responsibility to respect and support...the general public."  The cases in Ohio (mentioned by CNN), Oklahoma, and West Virginia are ways of reminding the pharmaceutical companies of that.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Vox explains why the drinking age is 21 all over the U.S.

As I observed today on Facebook and Dreamwidth, "Today marks 30 years of living in Michigan. I have now spent more than half my life in the Great Lakes State."  I've already reflected on the move in Leaving California and I haven't accrued many new insights during the intervening five years, so I'm going to celebrate the anniversary in a more indirect way with Vox's Why the US drinking age is 21.*  It's also a road story of sorts.

Why is the US drinking age 21? And how did it happen? In this episode of Vox Almanac, Vox’s Phil Edwards explores the history of the somewhat unusual way the drinking age became 21.
After prohibition — the total ban on alcohol — many states established a minimum legal drinking age of 21. But that began to change after the voting age was lowered to 18. Many states followed by lowering their drinking ages, which changed the landscape for the entire country.

By the 1980s, this unusual patchwork of drinking ages started to be seen as a problem, especially by activist organizations like MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers) and RID (Remove Intoxicated Drivers). They lobbied for a 21-year-old minimum legal drinking age, and President Ronald Reagan supported the cause. His mechanism for enabling a national law? Threatening to withhold Federal Highway funding to states that didn’t comply.

It was an unpredictable strategy for an official typically hesitant to use federal power over the states, and the practice was eventually challenged in the Supreme Court, where it was upheld.

Beyond the political clash, it’s a look at how roads shape policy.
I knew that Louisiana was the last state to raise its drinking age.  I learned that when I was a grad student at the University of Michigan and the undergrads I taught told me about it.  It seems attracting people 18-20, especially college students on spring break, to Mardi Gras was too big an opportunity to pass up.  Until this video, I didn't know when that distinction ended.

I also tell my students a similar story about how the federal government induced states to pass mandatory seat belt laws.  The federal government has no direct power to tell people to buckle up.  However, it does have the power to withhold highway grant money to states that don't have seat belt laws.  As late as 2009, states were still considering whether to get more federal money by passing primary enforcement of seat belt laws.  Welcome to the power of the purse.

By the way, there is now a campaign to raise the age for buying tobacco to 21The American Lung Association has a map showing that it has succeeded in 18 states and the District of Columbia.  While I doubt the federal government can use the power of road funding to promote it, I have a feeling it will end up being the law in a majority of states by the end of the next decade.  If so, it might prompt the people who created this meme to change it to read "You can do these, but you cannot drink or smoke."

*Three days after being uploaded, it is still a trending video on YouTube, ranking #43 as I type this.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Coffee Party USA announces the winners of the 2017-2018 Golden Coffee Cups for television

The volunteers of Coffee Party USA have voted on the nominees for the Golden Coffee Cups for the 2017-2018 television season, so it's time to announce the winners.  "Mindhunter" won Best Drama Series about Politics and Government, "Veep" won Best Comedy Series about Politics and Government, "Black Mirror" won Best Miniseries or Movie for Television about Politics and Government, "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." won Best Comedy, Drama, Miniseries, or Movie for Television about Fantastic and Futuristic Politics and Government, and Kiefer Sutherland as Tom Kirkman in "Designated Survivor" won Best Television President.  Congratulations to all the winners for depicting what the volunteers of Coffee Party USA considered to be the best of politics and government on television during the 2017-2018 season!

The volunteers of Coffee Party USA are not done recognizing the best of politics and government on television.  Watch for an announcement of the nominees from the 2018-2019 television season next month.

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, as well as vote for future Golden Coffee Cup nominees and winners, volunteer.  Not only will Coffee Party USA thank you for it, so will the country!

Follow over the jump for the nominees plus my commentary about the winners.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Democratic candidates continue to drift leftwards according to On The Issues

It's time for me to update On The Issues shows most of the Democratic candidates have moved left during the campaign, too as I've been promising all week, beginning with the summary.  Once again, the majority of candidates have become more liberal.  Eleven have moved to the left economically, two have moved to the left socially, and four have moved to the left along both axes for a total of sixteen moving to the left one way or another.  Meanwhile, six have remained in the same ideological spots, while three have moved to the right economically including one who became more socially liberal, four have become more socially moderate, including three who became more economically liberal, and one has moved to the right (center) along both axes.  Yes, someone is completely bucking the trend.

To explain my methodology, I'll be a good environmentalist and recycle.
Before I start, I'm sharing a reminder of my methodology.
[I] rank[ed] the candidates by economic score from low (left) to high (right, or in this case center) to make it comparable to the liberal-moderate (there are no true conservatives running for the Democratic nomination) ranking I used last [month and again earlier this month] which was based on the economic dimension [of Voteview's DW-Nominate scores].  I then used the social score to break ties in the economic score with high scores being considered more liberal and low scores being considered more conservative.
With that out of the way, here are the Democratic candidates from left to center based on their Vote Match scores at On The Issues.
Follow over the jump.

Friday, August 23, 2019

So long Seth as Moulton decides to run for re-election to Congress instead

On the heels of Jay Inslee dropping out, CBS News has breaking news about another candidate leaving the Democratic presidential nomination contest, as it reported just last hour Seth Moulton drops out of presidential race.

Seth Moulton is the third Democratic presidential candidate to drop out of the race in the past week. CBSN political reporter Caitlin Huey-Burns has more on the latest developments.
Honestly, I'm surprised it took him this long, as Moulton did not make either of the first two rounds of debates.  For that matter, the reporters and editors at FiveThirtyEight probably aren't surprised either, as they picked Moulton second in their first 2020 drop out draft.  Three down, six to go.
nrakich [Nathaniel Rakich, elections analyst]: OK, with the second overall pick, I choose Rep. Seth Moulton.

sarahf [Sarah Frostenson, politics editor]: He’s still running?
That remark turned into the preview image for the article, which says something.

The chat continued on from there, becoming more serious, if not any less dismissive of Moulton.
nrakich: Haha, indeed. I’m a bit surprised that he is.

He didn’t even qualify for the first two debates, which every other major candidate without a good excuse (i.e., jumped in the race after the qualifying deadline for the first debate) did.

He’s almost certainly not going to make the September debate.

In addition, he reportedly had to let go of half his campaign staffers, indicating his campaign might be in financial trouble.

Finally, although he can legally run for president and for reelection to his House seat at the same time, it’s not a good look.

sarahf: Yeah, I imagine his calculus has to be pretty similar to Eric Swalwell — a House member who also ran for president, but has since dropped out to focus on his 2020 reelection bid.

geoffrey.skelley [Geoffrey Skelley, elections analyst]: All this makes sense to me, though I wonder if Moulton might hang around awhile longer. After all, the candidate filing deadline for Massachusetts isn’t until May 2020, whereas Swalwell had a December 2019 deadline to worry about if he was going to seek reelection.

nrakich: I hear that, Geoffrey, but Moulton is also already attracting primary challengers in the Massachusetts 6th District.

And he was already catching flak back home after he led a failed attempt to deprive Nancy Pelosi of the speakership after Democrats took back the House in 2018.

So I think he’d be smart to focus on his House primary, which I think he could be in real danger of losing.

geoffrey.skelley: But when does he drop out?

nrakich: Yeah, the one thing that gives me pause is the fact that he hasn’t already.

But I would say soon — particularly if he is indeed running out of money.

geoffrey.skelley: Yeah, hard to get people to work for you if you can’t give them a paycheck.
Indeed, which is one of the reasons why I thought John Hickenlooper would leave the presidential contest.  Besides, both of them are better off, both for themselves and the country, running for Congress.

On another note, Talking Points Memo summarized the New York Times article about Moulton dropping out as Moulton Drops Presidential Bid With Warning, Regret.
In an interview with the New York Times, he said that the race is truly between former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and warned that “veering too far left” could cost Democrats the White House.

He cited Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, another moderate who also struggled to make the debate stage, as evidence that the primary was pulling candidates further and further left.
Moulton himself serves as an example of the primary campaign pulling candidates to the left, as his ideological scores started off at 20 economic and 85 social in June, moved to 13 economic and 80 social in July, and dropped out at 8 economic and 83 social now.  He shifted left 12 points economically and 3 socially over the space of two months!  Even Moulton, who says doing so is a bad idea, couldn't resist the leftward pull!

I'll have more to say about candidates being pulled to the left later today.  Right now, follow over the jump for the drinks and memes I'm retiring now that Moulton is out of the contest.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Hickenlooper to run for U.S. Senate from Colorado

In the middle of Washington Governor Jay Inslee drops out of presidential contest to run for re-election, I told my readers "John Hickenlooper...announced that he was running for U.S. Senate.  That's the other breaking story that I plan on writing about today."  When Hickenlooper dropped out last week, I wrote "If Hickenlooper runs for Senate, I'm sure Bee will be pleased, along with many other Democrats, including me."  Well, all of us got our wish today.  Watch Hickenlooper running for U.S. Senate from Newsy.

The former Colorado governor announced Thursday he's running for one of the Centennial State's U.S. Senate seats.
Good luck, Governor.  May you not disappoint all the people, like me, who have been rooting for you to run for Senate.

Stay tuned for the update to On The Issues shows most of the Democratic candidates have moved left during the campaign, too I've been promising all week.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee drops out of presidential contest to run for re-election

I know that I promised three Vtimes to update On The Issues shows most of the Democratic candidates have moved left during the campaign, too, the last time writing "I've already collected the data.  I just need to sort it, write the post, and create the memes.  The entry should be ready tomorrow," meaning today.  While I've sorted the data, I'm not going to complete the rest today because of two breaking stories.  The first is Jay Inslee dropping out last night.  CBS News has a report in Governor Jay Inslee drops out of 2020 presidential race.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee, who made fighting climate change the central theme of his presidential campaign, announced Wednesday night that he is ending his bid for the 2020 Democratic nomination. Inslee announced his decision on MSNBC.
NBC News has the clip of Inslee on Maddow's show along with his plans for next year.
"It's become clear that I'm not going to be carrying the ball. I'm not going to be the president, so I'm withdrawing tonight from the race," he told Maddow, vowing he'd help keep the other 2020 candidates focused on issue of climate change, the centerpiece of his campaign. "I've been fighting climate change for 25 years, and I've never been so confident of the ability of America now to reach critical mass to move the ball."

Inslee sent an email to supporters on Thursday announcing that he will run for a third term as governor instead.

"I want to continue to stand with you in opposing Donald Trump and rejecting his hurtful and divisive agenda, while strengthening and enhancing Washington state's role as a progressive beacon for the nation," he wrote.
I wish I could say I was surprised.  When Inslee announced, I wrote that he had a "slim chance" and "I wish him good luck; he'll need it."  For what it's worth, the reporters and editors at FiveThirtyEight aren't either, as Inslee was the fifth candidate picked in their first 2020 drop out draft.  Two down, seven to go.

Speaking of which, the first candidate picked, John Hickenlooper, announced that he was running for U.S. Senate.  That's the other breaking story that I plan on writing about today.  Stay tuned, but follow over the jump first for the recipe and memes for Inslee I'm retiring now that he's out of the race.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Vox explains why we're recycling wrong — Student Sustainability Video Festival 82

I closed Devita Davison explains how urban agriculture is transforming Detroit — Student Sustainability Video Festival 81 by telling my readers "With luck, I'll return to regular blogging tomorrow.  If not, I have plenty of videos from my students' presentations to choose from."  I finished grading my students' final exams, computing their grades, and submitting them yesterday, but it took a lot out of me.  Since the update I promised of On The Issues shows most of the Democratic candidates have moved left during the campaign, too is a big project that I just started and won't finish today, I'm featuring another video that one of my students used as part of her presentation, Vox's Why you're recycling wrong, which is one I wanted to post here anyway.*  My student showing it and my need to recover just gave me the excuses I needed.

Knowing what you can and can’t recycle isn’t easy. But when you put stuff that can’t be recycled into that blue bin, it can turn entire hauls of otherwise recyclable materials into trash.
People try to recycle everything. Waste management workers routinely find bowling balls, batteries, Christmas lights, animal carcasses, even dirty diapers. In 2018, about 25% of items that Americans tried to recycle were actually non-recyclable trash, known as "contamination." The more contamination that enters recycling plants, the more likely a waste management company will simply send the entire haul, including items that could be recycled, to a landfill.

Watch the video above to learn more about why Americans’ recycling habits are trash, and how you can prevent recycling contamination.
I've been more careful about how and what I recycle since I watched the video, even more so after watching it in my student's presentation.  I hope my readers will be, too.

*I've already collected the data.  I just need to sort it, write the post, and create the memes.  The entry should be ready tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Devita Davison explains how urban agriculture is transforming Detroit — Student Sustainability Video Festival 81

I know that I wrote "Tuesday I expect to be updating On The Issues shows most of the Democratic candidates have moved left during the campaign, too," but I have a stack of final exams to grade, so I will give my readers a rain check on that topic.  Maybe tomorrow.  Instead, I'm posting the latest episode of Student Sustainability Video Festival, my go-to blogging theme for when I'm correcting final exams or traveling.

Today's video combines two staples of the early years of the blog, urban agriculture and TED talks, How urban agriculture is transforming Detroit | Devita Davison.

There's something amazing growing in the city of Detroit: healthy, accessible, delicious, fresh food. In a spirited talk, fearless farmer Devita Davison explains how features of Detroit's decay actually make it an ideal spot for urban agriculture. Join Davison for a walk through neighborhoods in transformation as she shares stories of opportunity and hope. "These aren't plots of land where we're just growing tomatoes and carrots," Davison says. "We're building social cohesion as well as providing healthy, fresh food.
When I read the topic, I was expecting Davison to mention Brightmoor, one of the neighborhoods featured in HOUR Detroit displays its green thumb; she did not disappoint me.

With luck, I'll return to regular blogging tomorrow.  If not, I have plenty of videos from my students' presentations to choose from.  Either way, off to correct final exams!

Monday, August 19, 2019

July 2019 hottest month on record

I promised "the latest on the climate" today as I wrote that "July 2019 [was] the the hottest month on record."  CBS News helps me deliver on that promise, as it reported July was Earth's hottest month on record last Thursday.

July 2019 is now officially the hottest month on record. The average global temperature last month was 1.71 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday. CBSN contributing meteorologist Jeff Berardelli explains.
One of the contributing factors Jeff Berardelli cited for the record was the record heat wave in Europe.  He also mentioned record heat in Greenland and Alaska.  I haven't written about either until now, but the resulting record melting of the ice sheet is an event I need to cover here.  Also, my wife and I have a friend in Alaska who has been telling us about how hot the state has been this summer.  It's been warmer there than in here in Detroit, which fits Berardelli's observation that the U.S. Midwest has been either average or cooler than average this summer.  It's one of the ironies that one of the countries most responsible for greenhouse gases is feeling less of their effects and therefore not being prompted to act.

I have two things to say before I return to correcting papers.  First, welcome to the 400 ppm world.  Second, are you scared enough by climate change?  My readers should be.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

'The Facebook Dilemma' earns two Emmy nominations

I made a prediction about "The Facebook Dilemma" on "Frontline" in 'Frontline' updates 'Facebook knows your political affiliation and much more,' the top post of the eighth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
I have the same reaction to this documentary that I had to "Putin's Revenge" on "Frontline," that it will earn at least one News and Documentary Emmy Award nomination.  I was right about that prediction, as "Putin's Revenge" earned two nominations and I am confident enough that the same will happen to "The Facebook Dilemma" that I am holding off embedding Part Two until the News and Documentary Emmy nominations are announced.  As for the specific awards, I expect it will definitely earn a nomination for either Outstanding Business and Economic Documentary or Outstanding Current Affairs Documentary, and possibly for Best Documentary, Outstanding Writing, or Outstanding Research.  As I wrote before, "I am not going to hold my breath.  It's a long time until the end of July, when the nominees are announced, and the competition will be stiff."
As I mentioned in a comment on He Did What… ! ? ! at Kunstler's blog, that prediction came true:  "'The Facebook Dilemma' on 'Frontline'...has been nominated for two News and Documentary Emmy Awards," Outstanding Current Affairs Documentary and Outstanding Research, both categories I called back in March.  *Buffs nails*

Of course, a nomination is not a win, so follow over the jump for its competition in these two categories.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

The third Saturday of August is World Honey Bee Day

Happy World Honey Bee Day!*  Here's the updated holiday description from National Day Calendar.
World Honey Bee Day on the third Saturday in August brings a buzzing celebration for beekeepers, honey lovers, and all blooming things.

The day recognizes both the honey bee and the beekeepers who tend the hives. It also encourages everyone to enjoy and buy locally grown honey.

Another important part of the day includes learning about honey bees and providing them with a supportive environment. When we plant wildflowers, orchards, and other flowering plants, we support pollinators such as honey bees. They depend on the nectar of a variety of plants for their survival. Conversely, we depend on honeybees for our survival! Without their pollinating abilities, many nutritious plans wouldn’t reproduce.

Besides, their delicious honey is an added bonus. We enjoy it in our baking, teas, and confections.

Honey bees do sting, but only if they perceive a threat – damage to their hive or being swatted at. Since they seek sweet nectar, sugary drinks and sweets will attract honey bees when flowers are not blooming yet.  Keep beverages covered. If a honey bee comes close, either hold still or move slowly away. The honey bee will fly along to the next sweet thing as long as it doesn’t feel threatened.
Since I enjoy including clips from local news shows about national and world days, I'm sharing two videos from Good Morning Sacramento that were uploaded for last year's celebration.

Here's part one, World Honey Bee Day.

Sara Foust from The Bee Box is teaching us about the Bees, on World Honey Bee Day!
In case that wasn't enough, here's World Honey Bee Day Pt. 2!

Sara Foust from The Bee Box is teaching us recipes using local honey!
I thought both clips made for a fun combination of learning from the guest and goofiness from the hosts.

CNN joined in celebrating the day by offering Seven simple things you can do to save the bees on National Honeybee Day.
Bee lovers are abuzz on National Honeybee Day, the time of year when we honor nature's hardest-working pollinator.

People owe a lot to bees -- namely, many of the foods we enjoy, like strawberries, avocados and broccoli. The US Department of Agriculture estimates that every 1 in 3 bites of food exists because of animal pollinators, and bees lead the charge.

Luckily, honeybees aren't in danger of extinction like other bee species, but their health is critical to the survival of all bees. When honeybees are infected with pathogens or parasites, they infect native bees that are more vulnerable to extinction, said Alixandra Prybyla, science director of the Honeybee Conservancy.

"Saving the bees" seems like a lofty goal, but you don't have to be a beekeeper to make an impact. Here are some small changes you can make to keep bees healthy.
  • Plant a garden of any size
  • Keep the mowing to a minimum
  • Get to know your local beekeeper
  • Make a bee bath
  • Join a citizen science project
  • Avoid products grown with pesticides
  • Don't call pest control if you see a swarm
All good advice.

Don't forget that today is also National Nonprofit Day.  To celebrate, I'm asking my readers to please match my $5.00 donation to Coffee Party USA.  Thank you.

*There is also a World Bee Day.  Since bees have been a continuing topic of this blog, they can have two days to celebrate them on this blog.

Donate to Coffee Party USA for National Nonprofit Day 2019

Happy National Nonprofit Day!  As I did last year, I am celebrating by asking my readers to donate to my favorite nonprofit, Coffee Party USA.  I am a director and officer of the organization and I just donated $5.00 in addition to my regular $10.00 monthly dues.*  I am asking my readers to please match my $5.00 donation.

I described where your money and mine will go in An early happy 9th birthday to Coffee Party USA and Happy Irish Coffee Day!
Your donation will allow "you to be a part of the important work of Coffee Party USA as we empower and connect communities to reclaim our government for the people."  It will go to improving our website, the new version of which Coffee Party USA debuted in October and registering people to vote with our partners TurboVote and National Voter Registration Day.  There are municipal and some state elections coming up this year and people need to be registered and reminded to vote in them.
Thank you in advance for your matching donation.

Once again, Happy National Nonprofit Day and Coffee Party on!

Stay tuned for an entry about World Honey Bee Day.

*I also donated $40.00 last month to match the $40.00 I paid to vote in the 2019 Saturn Awards.  I decided this year that I would make a matching donation to Coffee Party USA for any donation I made to any other nonprofit this year.  That means that I will match the renewal of my membership to the Detroit Zoo later this month.  That would be $88.00 for a dual membership.  I'm not asking my readers to match those donations, but if any of you did, the Coffee Party and I would appreciate you and your donation!

Friday, August 16, 2019

Company Man explains the rise and demise of Shopko, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse

Earlier this week, Company Man asked The Decline of Shopko...What Happened?  It's a good opportunity to revisit Shopko liquidating, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse from another perspective.

In June of 2019, after more than 50 years of business, Shopko closed the last of its stores. This video talks about how they grew so big and theorizes what went wrong in the end.
I think Company Man did well with the sources he had — he's a good researcher — but he obviously didn't have personal experience with the chain the way Brick Immortar did, who cited "updating their identity with ever changing slogans, branding, store closures/remodels/acquisitions and also leadership."  However, he was able to get me to learn something of personal interest.  While I had never shopped at a Shopko, I had shopped at Pamida, who operated two locations near my old Irish Hills home, Brooklyn and Tecumseh.  I moved just before the sale and a year before the conversion of Pamida to Shopko Hometown, so I missed seeing the changeover.  Thanks to Company Man, the news finally caught up with me.

While the Retail Apocalypse rolls on, I plan on taking a break from it for a few days, as tomorrow is World Honey Bee Day and National Nonprofit Day, Sunday will be time for an entertainment feature about this year's Emmy nominees, I will examine July 2019 being the the hottest month on record while Greta Thunberg sails for New York, and Tuesday I expect to be updating On The Issues shows most of the Democratic candidates have moved left during the campaign, too.  The leftward drift continues.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Hickenlooper leaves the presidential contest, considers run for Senate

At 6:00 A.M. EDT yesterday, FiveThirtyEight published Our First 2020 Drop-Out Draft.  The very first candidate chosen was John Hickenlooper.
geoffrey.skelley (Geoffrey Skelley, elections analyst): OK, so my first pick is former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. He had just 13,000 donors at the end of June and is very unlikely to make the September debate, considering he also has just one qualifying poll (he still needs three more). Plus, he has an exit ramp available to him: running for Senate in Colorado.

And it seems like Hickenlooper might be open to the idea of mounting a challenge to GOP Sen. Cory Gardner. There’s also some evidence that this might be a good move for Hickenlooper, too. A poll released Tuesday found him ahead of Gardner, 51 percent to 38 percent, and another survey this week showed Hickenlooper leading the crowded primary field by about 50 percentage points.

nrakich (Nathaniel Rakich, elections analyst): Good pick.

Yeah, Hickenlooper has resisted calls for him to run for Senate for a loooong time.

He even said back in February that “I’m not cut out to be a senator.” It seemed pretty definitive.

But then last week, he appeared to subtly change his tune when his communications director said “he hasn’t closed the door to anything.”

To me, that’s a sign that he may be preparing to jump ship.
sarahf: OK, Geoff … so does Hickenlooper drop out before October? Or … before Iowa?

geoffrey.skelley: I think he drops out before October after failing to qualify for the September debate.

sarahf: Alright, you heard it here first folks!
We did indeed.  It took only a day for Geoffrey Skelley to be proven right, as MSNBC's Velshi & Ruhle reported just a few hours ago Hickenlooper Drops Out Of 2020 Race, Giving Senate Run 'Serious Thought'.

John Hickenlooper, former Colorado governor, drops out of crowded 2020 Democratic presidential race. He says he intends to give "some serious thought" to the possibility of a US Senate run in Colorado.
About the only thing Skelley got wrong was Hickenlooper staying in until he found out he didn't qualify for the September debate.  Otherwise, he called Hickenlooper being the first candidate to drop out after the draft.  Congratulations.

I also thought he'd drop out soon, as I wrote in On The Issues shows most of the Democratic candidates have moved left during the campaign, too.
Despite the shift in scores, he is now the most moderate candidate remaining.  That might change, as Politico reported Hickenlooper campaign in shambles earlier this month.  That makes him my pick to drop out next, probably when he fails to qualify for the third debate or runs out of money, whichever happens first.
Mike Gravel dropping out screwed up my prediction that he'd be next, but I was only one candidate off.  Besides, I think my readers might forgive me for forgetting about Gravel.

Hickenlooper was one of the candidates Full Frontal with Samantha Bee mentioned in A Message to Democratic Presidential Candidates: Run For Senate, Goddammit!

Of the teeming herd of Democrats running for president, more than a few could direct their ambitions maybe to the Senate where they could actually make a difference? Or one of those crazy mud races, if they insist on making a mess of things.
If Hickenlooper runs for Senate, I'm sure Bee will be pleased, along with many other Democrats, including me.

Follow over the jump for the drink and infographics I'm retiring now that Hickenlooper is out of the presidential contest.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The bond markets give another recession signal as the 2-year and 10-year yield curve inverts

I told my readers to "stay tuned" at the end of The part of the yield curve the Federal Reserve watches just inverted, sending another recession signal back in March.
The economic storm clouds are not just visible on the horizon, but building.  All that I'm waiting for to say that the weather is advancing on us is an inversion of the 2-year and 10-year Treasuries.  When that happens, I'll report it.
It just happened.  CNBC has the story in Bond markets sends (sic) recession warning signal as yield curve inverts.

CNBC's Steve Liesman breaks down why investors are still concerned about falling yields and what it may mean for the economy.
Joe Kernan expressed a lot of wishful thinking about the economy, which Steve Liesman called him out on.  I've complained about Kernan's opinions before along with CNBC's perma-bull editorial stance and this is another instance of both.

Bloomberg Markets and Finance displayed more anxiety than CNBC this morning in Fed Must Act on Inverted Yield Curve, Credit Suisse's Golub Says.

Jonathan Golub, chief U.S. equity strategist at Credit Suisse, discusses the Treasury yield curve, Federal Reserve policy and the U.S. economy. He speaks on "Bloomberg Surveillance."
Both CNBC and Bloomberg think that the Federal Reserve will lower the Fed Funds rate and Golub thinks they should do it ASAP.

Even before the 2-year and 10-year yields inverted, CNBC uploaded The yield curve is a good indicator of a recession, rate strategist says yesterday.

The rally in treasury bonds, which pushes yields lower, continues to fuel investor's angst. Priya Misra, global head of rate strategy at TD Securities, Jack Caffrey, equity portfolio manager at J.P. Morgan Private Bank, and Matt Miskin, co-chief investment strategist at John Hancock Investment Management, join "Squawk Box" to discuss.
Going back even farther, NPR noted in June that the 3-month and 10-year remained inverted for three months in What Just Happened Also Occurred Before The Last 7 U.S. Recessions. Reason To Worry?
But on Sunday, an inauspicious milestone was achieved: The yield curve remained inverted for three months, or an entire quarter, which has for half a century been a clear signal that the economy is heading for recession in the next nine to 18 months, according to Campbell Harvey, a Duke University finance professor who spoke to NPR on Sunday. His research in the mid-1980s first linked yield curve inversions to recessions.

"That has been associated with predicting a recession for the last seven recessions," Harvey said. "From the 1960s, this indicator has been reliable in terms of foretelling a recession, and also importantly, it has not given any false signals yet."
That was after I wrote Experts call for high risk of recession by end of 2020 because of trade policy at the beginning of June.  I'm going to be a good environmentalist and recycle what I wrote then.
I'm going to repeat two points.  One, "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."  Two, "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?...'I'm moving my recession call to between July and December 2019.'"  If that happens, it will be closer to December than July, which is only a month away, but I will not revise my forecast until October at the earliest.  I'm even more confident that a recession is coming, even if it takes a bit longer than I expect.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Trump administration weakening enforcement of Endangered Species Act

One would think that the United Nations report warning that one million species could go extinct in the next century, which I last mentioned in Verge Science and Depeche Mode on the Insect Apocalypse, would elicit more concern among people and their governments about saving endangered species.  That doesn't seem to be the case in the United States, or at least with the Trump administration, which is thinking of weakening the implementation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  WUSA uploaded an editorial on the proposal this morning, Changes coming to The Endangered Species Act.

According to a recent United Nations report, more than 1 million animal and plant species are at a major risk of facing extinction. The Trump administration has announced that it will be making major changes to The Endangered Species Act. Some of these changes include economic costs being considered when determining if a species should be protected and another weakens already existing protections of threatened groups.
The good news is that Trump and the rest of the executive branch can't change the law itself; it can only change how it interprets the act, including the regulations it uses to enforce it.  The bad news is that the executive branch can do a lot with regulations.  NPR has more on that last point in Trump Administration Makes Major Changes To Protections For Endangered Species.
In a move that critics say will hurt plants, animals and other species as they face mounting threats, the Trump administration is making major changes to how the Endangered Species Act is implemented. The U.S. Department of Interior on Monday announced a suite of long-anticipated revisions to the nation's premier wildlife conservation law, which is credited with bringing back the bald eagle and grizzly bears, among other species.
One of the changes will allow economic costs to be taken into account while determining whether a species warrants protection. Another will weaken the initial protections given to species deemed to be threatened, one step shy of being endangered.

The changes will apply only to future listing decisions.
Many of the changes the Trump administration is rolling out address shared administrative concerns about the act, says Jake Li, the director for biodiversity at the Environmental Policy Innovation Center. Others, he says, are problematic and weaken the bedrock law's effectiveness.

Among them is limiting which habitat — and how much of it — gets considered in determining whether a species is endangered. Land a species currently occupies would be the priority. But wildlife advocates say that could make it harder to account for threats from the warming climate, which has shrunk habitat for some species and will force others to migrate to new areas.
I'm with Jake Li; calculating economic costs, weakening initial protections, and limiting considerations of habitat are all factors that will reduce the ability of the ESA to protect threatened and endangered species, exactly the opposite of what the experts and I think is needed.  Fortunately, these changes are being challenged in court.
Numerous environmental groups and state attorneys general vow to sue the administration over the changes, alleging they are illegal because they're not grounded in scientific evidence.

"We don't take these challenges lightly," said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra during a conference call. "We don't look to pick a fight every time this administration decides to take an action. But we challenge these actions by this administration because it is necessary."
I wish them both skill and luck. They and the organisms the ESA protects will need it.

Monday, August 12, 2019

GNC to close 900 stores, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse

I began the month warning my readers that Bed Bath & Beyond is facing extinction.  That got people's attention, but CNBC's characterization was a bit extreme, as the chain only failed to make a profit for the first time since 1992 and is planning on closing only 40 stores.  At the same time, another chain announced it was closing far more stores.  WPXI-TV News Pittsburgh reported last month GNC to close up to 900 stores, up to half of mall locations.

The Pittsburgh headquartered vitamin and supplement store GNC has announced it will close up to 900 stores in mall locations.
I think the video description needs some clarification, which I'm getting from USA Today.
“I think it could be likely that we'll reduce our mall count by a nearly half,” said Tricia Tolivar, GNC chief financial officer. “So we've got a little over 800 malls today and over the long-term, we could bring that closer to 400 to 500.”
It's not only half of the mall locations closing, but also half of the announced closings are in malls.  WPXI's description could have meant two different things, but it actually meant both.

In addition, GNC has already lost locations from an earlier wave of closings.
In the first six months of 2019, company records show 192 company-owned and franchise locations have already closed.
It turns out this wave of closings has been in the works for a while.
GNC officials had announced in November 2018 that they would close up to 900 stores over the next three years in the U.S. and Canada as leases expire. Now, looking at the current foot-traffic trends in malls,  "it's likely that we will end up closer to the top end of our original optimization estimate," GNC Chairman and CEO Ken Martindale said.
So it seems that the loss of foot traffic in dead malls, which is hurting Ruby Tuesday and other restaurant chains in malls, is hitting GNC, also a staple of dead malls.  It was only a matter of time.

It strikes me that GNC issued this latest announcement one day before I posted 12,000 stores are likely to close this year, including at least 313 Fred's, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse.  The USA Today article has something to say about that, too.
Overall across the retail sector, more than 7,400 store closings are already in the works or completed so far in 2019, which is 27% more than all of 2018, according to Coresight Research's latest store closings report.
7,400 down, 4,600 to go, and there are five months left.  The Retail Apocalypse rolls on.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Coffee Party USA announces the nominees for the Golden Coffee Cups for the 2017-2018 television season

Earlier today, I told my readers to "stay tuned for the nominees for the Golden Coffee Cups for television I promised in Coffee Party USA announces the winners of the 2018 Golden Coffee Cups for movies in April.  Better late than never!"  Yes, I promised these awards in May.  It took me until August, after I had already started to blog about this year's Emmy nominees to actually follow through.  As I already wrote, better late than never to continue to recognize the best of politics in entertainment.

It's time to be a good environmentalist and reuse with slight modification my introduction from Coffee Party Entertainment Awards movie nominees for 2018.  The volunteers of Coffee Party USA and I have been voting for the past three weeks on which television shows and people to recognize for The Coffee Party Entertainment Awards AKA The Golden Coffee Cups. We came up with nominees in five categories showcasing the best in television shows about politics and government from the 2017-2018 season.  To see them, follow over the jump.

Maher, Colbert, and Kimmel on National Presidential Joke Day 2019

Happy National Presidential Joke DayNational Day Calendar explains the day.
National Presidential Joke Day is observed annually on August 11.

This day recognizes the humor often found and yet not so appreciated in the highest office in the land. With a nod to the blunders, take a look back at some of our presidents’ social missteps. Many of them awkward. While in the moment, the Commander in Chief might not find them so funny. Looking back, sometimes, they’re downright hilarious mistakes.
Sometimes the gaffes are vice presidential. At a Trenton, New Jersey spelling bee in 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle misspelled the word potato.

During an election year, the scrutiny of the constituency can be brutal. The presidential candidates should be prepared to handle the presidential joke.  The citizenry will be listening!
Two years ago, I focused on the President.  Last year, it was the Vice President.  This year, I return to Trump with a side helping of Democratic candidates and a dash of Pence.

I begin with Bill Maher on Real Time's Monologue: Tragedy Meets Trump.

Bill recaps the top stories of the week, including President Trump's lackluster response to the gun massacres in Dayton and El Paso.
That was on Friday.  Stephen Colbert got started even earlier with Trump: My Rhetoric Brings People Together.

What the world needs now... Is probably a whole lot less of President Trump's attempts to "bring people together."
Colbert opened his monologue by mocking the Democratic candidates in Dem Candidates Take Desperate Measures To Qualify For Next Debate.

Only 8 candidates have qualified for the next Democratic Presidential debate so far, which means Michael Bennet, Andrew Yang and others from the crowded field must do everything they can to break through before the deadline.
Colbert spoke a bit too soon, as Andrew Yang qualified for the September debate(s) the same day Colbert's monologue was uploaded to YouTube.  Oops!  Just the same, Colbert managed to pack in a lot of Trump's gaffes, mistakes, and complete fabrications in the second half of the monologue.

Colbert returned to milking Trump for humor along with a dash of the Democratic candidates in the second half of the monologue, Joe Biden: Trump Offers No Moral Leadership.

In a speech today, the former VP denounced President Trump's response to America's latest mass shootings, drawing unfavorable comparisons between Trump's divisive language and the strong actions taken by former Presidents Bush, Clinton, and Obama.
I can't let this go without a joke at the Vice President's expense.  Fortunately, there's one in This Week in Unnecessary Censorship from Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Once again, we've bleeped and blurred all the week's big TV moments whether they need it or not. This week we feature Chris Harrison, Mike Pence, Donald Trump, Tiffany Haddish and more.
I needed a good laugh and today's post provided a bunch of them.  I hope National TV Talk Show Host Day is just as fun in two months.  Until then, stay tuned for the nominees for the Golden Coffee Cups for television I promised in Coffee Party USA announces the winners of the 2018 Golden Coffee Cups for movies in April.  Better late than never!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Celebrate World Lion Day with lion videos from Nat Geo WILD, PBS Eons, and Beyond The Trailer

Happy World Lion Day!
Today, we invite you to celebrate one of the most majestic species to walk the earth. It’s World Lion Day!  Each year on August 10, lion lover’s around the globe use this day to bring awareness to the declining population of lions. Furthermore, we suggest learning about ways to help the preservation of lion habitats, as well.

The lion species, also known as Panthera leo, is one of the largest species on earth. Typically weighing 300 to 550 pounds, the lion can vary from a light buff color to a deep reddish brown color.  Surprisingly, there is also the rare white lion found in the wild. Easily recognized by it’s thick mane, the lion is also muscular and has a loud, deafening roar.  Unfortunately, as majestic lions my seem, they are slowly disappearing.

As far back as 3 million years ago, lions roamed freely across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East .  Today, loins are live freely in their natural habitat in only two locations, Africa and Asia.  In addition, some lions are bread in captivity.

Lions are listed as a vulnerable species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Though they are not under the classification of an endangered species, they still face obstacles that endanger their survival.

Currently, there are about 30,000 to 100,000 lions left on earth.  In the past few decades, lion populations have decreased almost by half.  Trophy hunting and loss of natural habitat are the primary reasons for the diminishing lion population.


Volunteering at a local zoo that houses lions is a great way to learn more about the care required to protect lions.  Volunteering  or making a donation to a conservation group is another way to show support for the good work organizations do. Whatever you do, don’t forget to share your day’s celebration on social media using #WorldLionDay.

HISTORY OF #WorldLionDay

In 2013, co-founders Dereck and Beverly Joubert of Big Cat Initiative and National Geographic began a partnership to form World Lion Day.  Also known as the National Geographic Big Cats Initiative, the partnership aims to protect these wild cats in their natural habitat. Furthermore, the initiative also works on safety measures with communities that live near wild cats.
It's time lions joined Bald eagles, giraffes, rhinos, gorillas, and elephants as having their day observed at my blog.  Speaking of which, July 29 is World Tiger Day.  Sorry, Earth Overshoot Day got the holiday love that day this year.  Next year.

Follow over the jump for three videos about lions, including one also about tigers, to celebrate this international day.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Nine Emmy nominations for 'Veep' on National Veep Day

Happy National Veep Day!
National Day Calendar informs me that today is National Veep Day, the anniversary of August 9, 1974, when "Vice President Gerald Ford became President of the United States upon the resignation of President Richard Nixon."  It's a day "designated to give recognition to the succession plan of the President of the United States."  If I had known about this last year, I might have written about the HBO comedy "Veep" and its Emmy nominations.  Unfortunately, "Veep" isn't eligible this year, so it won't defend its five Emmy Awards.  It also means I won't write any more about the final season of "Veep," which hasn't aired yet.  Darn.
The final season of "Veep" has aired and has earned nine Emmy Award nominations, so it's time for me to be a good environmentalist and reycle this idea.  The nine nominations are:
  • Outstanding Comedy Series
  • Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series for Julia Louis-Dreyfus
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series for Tony Hale
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series for Anna Chlumsky
  • Outstanding Guest Actor In A Comedy Series for Peter MacNicol
  • Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series
  • Outstanding Production Design For A Narrative Program (Half-Hour)
  • Outstanding Casting For A Comedy Series
  • Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Comedy Or Drama Series (Half-Hour) And Animation
While this is not the 17 nominations "Veep" earned two years ago to lead nominated comedies at the Primetime Emmy Awards, it is a respectable showing.  "Veep" still has an opportunity to win five Emmy Awards as it did two years ago.  Of those, it is returning to contend for four of them, Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Program (Half-Hour or Less).  It failed to win a nomination in the fifth category it won two years ago, Outstanding Cinematography for A Single-Camera Series (Half-Hour), losing out to "Ballers," "Fleabag," "Homecoming," "Insecure," "Russian Doll," and "What We Do in the Shadows."  I can at least take comfort in seeing two Saturn Award nominees, "Russian Doll" and "What We Do in the Shadows," among the nominees, so speculative fiction is well-represented.

Still, "Veep" will have very stiff competition for its nominations, particularly from "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," which won eight Emmy Awards last year and is nominated for twenty this year, the most of any comedy both seasons.  It is contending with "Veep" for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series, Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series, Outstanding Guest Actor In A Comedy Series, where it has two nominees to one for "Veep," and Outstanding Casting For A Comedy Series, and is the returning winner in four of them, Comedy Series, Lead Actress, Supporting Actress, and Casting.  There are other match-ups to watch in comedy particularly between "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and "Barry," but this is the one I plan on looking at closest when I examine all the comedy nominees and make predictions.  Stay tuned.

Previous entries in this series.

Andrew Yang talks about robot bartenders as an example of automation coming for our jobs

The same day Andrew Yang qualified for the September debate, he appeared on Tipsy Bartender, where Skyy interviewed him about automation and universal basic income.  Watch Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang on Robot Bartenders.

Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang stops by to try Giant's Milk, and to talk about bartenders being automated away!
I clicked on this video just because I was curious and thought it would be a novelty.  I ended up watching all of it in one sitting.  As frivolous as Skyy can be, for example, making cocktails for Trump and "Deez Nuts" four years ago, he can surprise me occasionally, such as when he recommended "Blackfish" five years ago.  This is one of those times, where he displayed more seriousness and depth than I can recall seeing from him since I discovered his channel six years ago.  As for Yang, he handled himself very well in a situation where he could have been the butt of Skyy's jokes, elevating Skyy to his level instead of coming down to Skyy's.  Congratulations!

By the way, robot bartenders have been in Las Vegas for two years now.  The Las Vegas Sun showed one of them at work in Tipsy Robot Bar Las Vegas.

One of the two robots at the Tipsy Robot bar inside of the Planet Hollywood makes a gin and tonic. The bar is the first of its kind in the U.S.
Lots of commenters at the video thought the bartender was too slow, but the bar said the robots can handle 120 drinks an hour, two per minute.  That's fast enough.  Welcome to science fiction times, AKA SciFi is Now.

Of course, Skyy can't have a video without a drink, so he made one specially for Yang, who is a Game of Thrones fan, Giant's Milk.
Godiva White Chocolate
Rum Chata
I like that a lot better than the Old Fashioned as Yang's drink for the Democratic debates, so I'm recommending it for him from now on.