Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Seeker explains NASA's plans for asteroids on Asteroid Day 2020

Happy International Asteroid Day! To celebrate the today, which I see as the younger but paradoxically more established version of Apophis Day, I'm sharing four videos Seeker posted during the past year about asteroids. The most recent, which was uploaded just yesterday, had Seeker ask If An Asteroid Was Heading For Earth, How Could We Stop it?

NASA and ESA have a unique plan to slam a spacecraft into an asteroid—here’s why.
Agencies around the world are working to bring samples of asteroids back to Earth, like NASA’s Osiris-Rex and JAXA’s Hayabusa-2, because bringing a piece back is like looking into a time capsule from the universe. BUT asteroids pose a serious threat to Earth. And ESA and NASA have a unique plan to combat that particular problem: they’re going to slam a spacecraft into an asteroid.

But asteroids also post a serious threat to Earth and so ESA and NASA formed a scientific collaboration known as the Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment, or AIDA, to combat this potential problem. The collab consists of two missions: NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, and ESA’s Hera Probe.

DART will smash into an asteroid in 2022 helping the AIDA mission study how effective a kinetic impactor would be in asteroid deflection and then four years later the Hera probe will arrive to do some assessments.
As I wrote in a comment at the video, "Perfect video for International Asteroid Day!"

Seeker examined the mission eight months ago in NASA Plans to Slam a Spacecraft Into an Asteroid, which I'm including for completeness.

What if a deadly asteroid was on a collision course to Earth? NASA and the ESA have come up with a solution.
Asteroids impacting Earth can be devastating—killing all the dinosaurs in existence level devastating. But even the asteroids that aren’t mass-extinction huge can be a serious threat.

Every few thousand years Earth (a.k.a. you and I) get hit with a massive asteroid the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza, so what is the plan when we get hit with the next asteroid?

We get hit with an asteroid about the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza every few thousand years, and when the next one hits it could cause massive damage to an entire region. So when we spot the next one coming, what’s the plan?

Enter: NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination office.
As I have written many times about Apophis Day, it's when I observe the perils of space, particularly asteroids. Follow over the jump for the promise of asteroids.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Vox explains what 'defund the police' really means and the history of police militarization

I've posted comedic takes on defunding the police and police militarization, so it's time I share more serious explanations of both topics. Fortunately for my readers and me, Vox uploaded videos on both subjects last week. I begin with the more recent, What "defund the police" really means.

It's not as radical as it sounds.
Among those protesting police brutality in the US, there is a slogan that’s taken hold: “defund the police.” The key idea is a push to move the billions of dollars we spend on police in the US, to social services and other public spending. The disparities between policing budgets and those of other city agencies are massive. And while defunding the police might sound radical, it’s a policy activists have been talking about for decades. For some, it can mean reforms that simply lessen the police role in society, while for others — the slogan is a call to abolish the system and create something new entirely.
These ideas have all converged into the popular “defund the police” slogan, and the renewed energy around the movement is working.
Presented that way, it makes sense. As Ben Franklin wrote nearly 300 years ago about another public safety issue, fire fighting, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." If the desired outcome is less crime and more public order, then the reallocation of resources into social services that reduce crime and make people into better citizens is likely a more efficient and effective way of achieving those goals.

If the goal is intimidation and repression, then militarizing the police will work to achieve that instead. On that subject, Vox also produced a video, Why America's police look like soldiers.

Why are the police bringing military assault rifles to protests? And where did they get them?
Across the country, Americans protesting racial injustice and police brutality – the overwhelming majority of them peacefully – have been met by police forces that look more like an army. Officers have shown up to protests with riot gear, armored trucks, and military rifles. This is what America’s police now look like, and it’s the result of a decades-long buildup of military equipment among the country’s police departments. It began as a Reagan-era program to give police departments more resources to fight the War on Drugs, and has escalated ever since. Today, the idea of a militarized police force is baked into how American police see themselves.
I've been concerned about this issue for more than five years, when I wrote A conversation with Kunstler and his readers on militarized police, although I wrote more about explaining why the residents of Boston and its northern suburbs supported the militarized police response and grousing about Kunstler's negative opinions about African-Americans than I did decrying police militarization. This video gives a historical perspective about the topic than John Oliver's did. Of course, that was meant to entertain and so pointed out the ridiculousness of it, while Vox wants to inform and possibly shock its viewers into action. Both have their purposes.

This is it for the police this month. Stay tuned for this year's celebration of International Asteroid Day to end June followed by a celebration of Canada Day to begin July.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Disney rethemes Splash Mountain and delays reopening Disneyland, responses to protests and pandemics

It's the last Sunday of June 2020 and I realized that I haven't had a proper Sunday entertainment feature since Coffee Party USA invites you to stream the political TV series on the Golden Coffee Cups shortlist while staying safe at home on May 31, 2020, although I passed off John Oliver on police militarization, a blast from the past as one and 'Good Morning America' and Vox on 'COPS' and 'Live PD' being cancelled actually was about entertainment, but was on Monday, a day late. Blame my broadband being out and holidays for my not keeping up the tradition. To make up for it, I present an entertainment story that ties into both protests against police brutality in particular and racism in general as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney's responding to both.

I begin with a story that mentions both, Splash Mountain Gets New 'Princess And The Frog' Theme from CBS Los Angeles.

The ride had been criticized recently because the film it originally was themed after has long been considered racist. Amy Johnson reports.
I have a generally positive reaction from a fan account I follow on YouTube and Twitter, Offhand Disney's SPLASH MOUNTAIN RE-THEMING CONFIRMED.

Like that all-caps title? Disney announced today that Splash Mountain at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World will receive a Princess and the Frog-themed update. What are your thoughts on this?
Honestly, this is not a new idea for Disney; it's been in the works for a year or so. That it was announced this week strikes me as fortuitous timing for The Mouse.

Follow over the jump for Disney's responses to the pandemic.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Most Americans stay home, allowing people to speed on open roads, a driving update for Pearl during June 2020

I predicted when I would post this entry in Oil falls below $0.00 for the first time ever and my prediction came true.
I'm an example of people driving a lot less and reducing consumption. In January, I expected to write the next driving update in early April. It's now late April and I've driven so little since Michigan colleges and universities suspended in-person classes in March that I may not write that update until June.
It's not just June, but late June, and Pearl didn't pass 51,000 miles until yesterday, Friday, June 26, 151 days — almost five full months — since Pearl the Prius's odometer rolled over 50,000 miles on January 27, 2020. That translates to 6.62 miles per day, 201.99 miles per standard month, and 2423.84 miles per leap year or 2417.22 miles per standard year. I have never driven my primary vehicle so little. The next lowest I can find was for February 2012, 7.25 miles per day, 236.4 miles per standard month, and 2828.75 per standard year, and that was because I was not driving my old car Yuki for more than three weeks, had a long holiday break during which I didn't drive much and a mild winter that allowed me to walk more in a walkable neighborhood. Of course, that's all due to the pandemic and resulting recession keeping people at home.

Calculated Risk quoted the U.S. Department of Transportation about the effect these conditions had on driving in April.
Travel on all roads and streets changed by -39.8% (-112.0 billion vehicle miles) for April 2020 as compared with April 2019. Travel for the month is estimated to be 169.6 billion vehicle miles.

The seasonally adjusted vehicle miles traveled for April 2020 is 160.9 billion miles, a -41.2% (-112.9 billion vehicle miles) decline from April 2019. It also represents -27.2% decline (-60 billion vehicle miles) compared with March 2020.
Cumulative Travel for 2020 changed by -14.8% (
-152.3 billion vehicle miles). The cumulative estimate for the year is 875.9 billion vehicle miles of travel.
Bill McBride made two graphs with the data. Here's the second graph, which shows the year-over-year change in vehicle miles driven.

That's quite the drop in driving! In contrast, the usual graph I use, which depicts the rolling 12 month total vehicle miles driven, does not make the drop look as dramatic.

Bill McBride of Calculated Risk wrote "This will be an interesting measure to watch when the economy eventually starts to recover." For a foretaste of what that might look like, here's the year-over-year change in gasoline consumption from the most recent Six High Frequency Indicators for a Recovery.

The year-over-year miles driven should look a lot like this, but the rolling 12 month total vehicle miles driven will continue to go down for at least the next year.

While most Americans are driving much less, a few of us are driving a lot faster. Inside Edition covered that last month in Many Drivers Caught Speeding During Pandemic.

With millions of people following stay-at-home orders, those with a need for speed can’t seem to resist the allure of empty highways. Rush hour is non-existent, and lots of “crazy COVID drivers” are putting the pedal to the metal and ignoring the speed limit during the pandemic. Inside Edition sent a team of investigative reporters to New York City and Long Island where they clocked people going as much as 50 miles an hour over the speed limit, along with plenty of reckless driving.
All of that was around NYC. NBC's Today Show captured the same behavior in California in Drivers Hitting Triple-Digit Speeds On Open Roads During Coronavirus Pandemic.

With many people staying home during the coronavirus pandemic, once-crowded highways are now relatively empty, prompting more drivers to speed. According to the California Highway Patrol, officers have seen an 87% increase in citations for speeding in excess of 100 miles per hour. NBC’s Erin McLaughlin reports for Weekend TODAY.
While the roads have been open, if not empty, here in Metro Detroit, I haven't been tempted to drive that fast, nor have I seen people driving 90+ MPH. Then again, I stayed pretty much at home during the latter half of March and all of April, so I avoided the freeways when they at their emptiest. Even so, there is little in the way of traffic congestion now. Rush hour? What's that?

Follow over the jump for more driving math.

Friday, June 26, 2020

U.S. House votes to approve D.C. statehood

Last year, I wrote about D.C. statehood for a 51st or 52nd star on Flag Day. Earlier this year, I updated the story in Roll Call and Teen Kids News update statehood for Puerto Rico and D.C., popular topics for the past three years of Crazy Eddie's Motie News. Last week, I followed up on both with Susan Rice calls for D.C. statehood on MSNBC and N.Y. Times, a late Flag Day post. Today, the U.S. House passed a bill to make the Douglass Commonwealth the 51st state. CGTN America has the story in U.S. House approves D.C. statehood bill.

The House of Representatives has approved a bill which makes the U.S. capital District of Columbia the fifty-first state on Friday
On the one hand, as I wrote in I finally celebrate World Population Day on time for its 30th anniversary by looking at China's two-child policy, "Sigh, Chinese state TV." May CGTN not end up suffering the same fate RT America and Ruptly earned, which is for me to stop sharing their videos because they engage in more propaganda than news. On the other hand, it was well done and had the best preview image available, so I used it.

CGTN America presented a good narrated summary. The Associated Press went with a different approaching, letting the participants in the debate speak for themselves in House approves DC statehood, Senate opposed.

The Democratic-controlled House approved a bill Friday to make the District of Columbia the 51st state, but the bill faces insurmountable opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate.
This is encouraging, as this is the first time the House of Representatives voted in favor of D.C. statehood. However, Mitch McConnell calls statehood for both Puerto Rico and D.C. "socialism" and vows not to even bring it up for a vote. Even if he did, it would almost certainly lose in the Senate. Sigh. Still, progress. Until then, I'm repeating what I wrote last week.
Since I've made National Pina Colada Day the holiday to call for Puerto Rican statehood, I'm going to use Flag Day for D.C. statehood from now on until it is granted. May that be sooner rather than later.
Stay tuned for a driving update tomorrow.

Chuck E. Cheese, GNC, and Tuesday Morning all file for bankruptcy, tales of the Retail Apocalypse during the pandemic

Two weeks ago, I had two tales of the Retail Apocalypse to share about J. Crew and JCPenney. Today, I have three, beginning with CNBC reporting yesterday Chuck E. Cheese parent company files for bankruptcy.

CNBC's Kate Rogers reports on Chuck E. Cheese amid the pandemic.
This did not come as a complete surprise. Erik of Retail Archaeology read the handwriting on the wall more than a year ago, when he asked What's Going On With Chuck E. Cheese's?

In this episode we take a look at Chuck E. Cheese's and discuss the current status of the company.
I was not thinking of Chuck E. Cheese when I wrote Goodbye Ruby Tuesday, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse, but it's a restaurant chain that was already in trouble and declared bankruptcy because of the pandemic and resulting recession, so I'm covering it, especially since it's the first major restaurant chain to declare bankruptcy during the pandemic. At least it's planning on reopening most of its locations and staying in business as it reorganizes its debt, so it's not likely to go away soon, even as the chain announced it will be closing 45 stores permanently, including 34 that were open at the start of the pandemic.

The second story is about GNC, which announced it would close 900 stores last year. It also declared bankruptcy yesterday as CBS Detroit reported.

GNC has filed for bankruptcy citing the coronavirus pandemic had a dramatic impact on its business.
Even though this is a very brief clip, it is from a local source, so I used it. Also, the video didn't cut off before the reporter started talking about Chuck E. Cheese, so that connects the two stories.

The final story is the oldest. Erik of Retail Archaeology brought it to my attention last week when he asked Is The Sun Setting On Tuesday Morning? BANKRUPT!

In this episode we take a look at Tuesday Morning. They just recently announced they have filed for bankruptcy and will be closing hundreds of stores.
The company filed for bankruptcy a month ago, so I'm a bit slow in reporting it. Still, Erik's video shows that the company had likely had issues even before the crisis hit, just like Chuck E. Cheese and GNC. As I wrote in April, the pandemic is just accelerating existing retail trends. Companies that were already in trouble are the ones to succumb first.*

That's it for today's Retail Apocalypse news. Stay tuned for entries about the latest on D.C. statehood and a driving update.

*I could also have written about Hertz declaring bankruptcy, but that fits under travel, not retail. Maybe in a future post.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Climate change has made Michigan warmer and wetter

I've been so busy with the pandemic and protests against the police with breaks for holidays and elections that I've posted very little about the climate this month. Then I saw WDIV/Click On Detroit's Detroit climate warming: Average summer temperature up 3 degrees since 1970. Time to examine how climate change is affecting Michigan.

Meteorologist Paul Gross shares scientific climate data showing a warming trend in Detroit.
The video does a good job of explaining how the local climate has gotten warmer even though I haven't written about record warmth in the Great Lakes State since Warmest February on record in seven Michigan cities as well as major cities across U.S. more than three years ago. The daily lows getting warmer faster than the daily highs is a good way to hide a warming climate from casual scrutiny, as record daily highs get much more attention. After all, it's been four years since I posted Detroit just had its warmest summer on record. Even then, the trend was apparent.
Detroit had a week fewer of days over 90 degrees Fahrenheit this summer than in 2012 and more than two weeks fewer than the record-setting summer of 1988, which I just missed when I moved here. In addition, the Detroit News reported that there was never a day over 100 degrees all summer. Instead, the nights were consistently warm, which fits my recollection of them being muggy and not fun to sleep in without air conditioning.
I mentioned another trend the last time I wrote about the local climate in last month's Michigan flooded while Trump tweeted then refused to wear a mask on camera.
I observed a trend in Detroit flooding one year later five years ago.
It fit a pattern that's emerged since I began keeping this blog.
[C]limate change...[is] expressing itself as increased precipitation, including 2013 being the wettest year in Michigan history, 2013-2014 being the snowiest year in Detroit's history, or 2011 being the rainiest year in Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Toledo.
In addition, this month's flood resulted from the second highest single-day rainfall in Detroit history. Welcome to four precipitation records in four years.
Since then, another precipitation record has been set, as I mentioned in Snowfall of the century for Detroit on Groundhog Day.
The third-biggest snowstorm in metro Detroit's recorded history has plows humming among tall snow piles on roadways across southeastern Michigan this morning.
With 16.7 inches of snow since the storm arrived early Sunday, it's the most to fall since Dec. 1 and 2 in 1974, when 19.3 inches fell, as recorded at Detroit Metro Airport. The snowiest was April 6, 1886, when 24.5 inches were reported...
Add the snowiest month in Detroit history and that's now six precipitation records in four years. As I wrote in the first entry I wrote about the storm, welcome to weather weirding in the 400 ppm world.
I haven't been keeping as close track of Michigan precipitation records since then, as this blog has become more national and international in its focus, but it wouldn't surprise me if the state has racked up more in the past five years.
It isn't just me. ABC 13 in Grand Rapids reported the same trend in How climate change is impacting Michigan last year.

WNEM 5 in Flint showed even more effects of the increased precipitation in Senator Stabenow details how climate change is affecting Michigan.

Climate change has already affected the Great Lakes state. Research shows that the average temperatures in all of Michigan's counties are higher today compared to 30 years ago.
I'm glad that the report also included Senator Debbie Stabenow to deliver some good news about the climate. We could use it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

John Oliver examines coronavirus spreading in prisons and jails while cases spike in Arizona, Florida, and Texas

"Americans may be getting tired of the pandemic, but the pandemic isn't getting tired of us." That's how I concluded '60 Minutes' and Vox on the Tulsa Massacre 99 years later and that, in his own way, is how John Oliver began Coronavirus VIII: Prisons & Jails: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO).

As US prisons and jails see an alarming spike in COVID-19 infections, John Oliver discusses why the virus has spread so rapidly behind bars and what we can do to stop it.
While I've been busy sharing Oliver's videos about police accountability and militarization and Confederate monuments, it's been more than a month since I posted John Oliver and Vox on coronavirus testing. It's about time I did, as the disease is increasing dramatically in the general population in warmer states, which CNN reported this morning in Fauci warns of disturbing trend as Trump ignores viral surge.
Fully half of US states are now seeing rising cases of the disease with the situation especially acute in Texas, Florida and Arizona, which embraced aggressive reopening programs.
States like Arizona, Texas and Florida are moving in the wrong direction, and there are increasing warnings that if they remain on their current course that hospitals could be overwhelmed in weeks and months to come, leaving leaders with agonizing choices of whether to reverse openings or to somehow surge medical capacity to deal with an increasing death toll.
States like Michigan and California, which has already experienced painful months, have seen their curves begin to rise again. And while states like New York and the Washington metropolitan areas begin to emerge from lockdowns, the worsening data elsewhere offers daunting omens.
As I wrote to open this entry, "Americans may be getting tired of the pandemic, but the pandemic isn't getting tired of us." Because of that, I'm wishing my readers stay safe and healthy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Marching music for the New York and Kentucky primaries

It's that time again. As I concluded Marching music for the Georgia and West Virginia primaries, "I plan on posting the next one of these on June 23, 2020 for the Kentucky and New York primaries." I'll get to the marching music shortly, but first I'm sharing the latest news about the elections tonight. Watch Major Primary Battles Playing Out In Kentucky, New York from MSNBC.

NBC's Steve Kornacki is at the Big Board to discuss the major primaries in Kentucky and New York and the rise of mail-in voting. Aired on 6/23/2020.
Those are just the two top contests in the states holding presidential primaries today. FiveThirtyEight reported on more of them in Today’s Elections In Kentucky And New York Are High-Stakes For The Progressive Movement.
Between a suddenly competitive Senate race in Kentucky and the possible ouster of four entrenched incumbents in New York, Tuesday’s primary elections feature the largest-scale confrontation yet between the Democratic establishment and the party’s progressive wing. In New York especially, the primaries will test the political muscle of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has thrown her weight behind several progressives running for Congress and state legislature.

In addition, four other states (Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia) will hold their primaries or primary runoffs, but there are no special races of note that we’ll be watching closely. Regardless, don’t wait up late tonight for results; because the coronavirus has forced most states to conduct elections predominantly by absentee ballot, it could take more than a week to learn who won the day’s biggest races. New York won’t start counting its absentee ballots until June 30, and at least a third of Kentucky counties, including the two biggest, will not release any results until that date either.
Looks like we're going to have to wait a while for results. Fortunately, I have lots of marching music to watch and listen to pass the time until all the votes are counted.

As I wrote four years ago, "today is 'a senior corps spectacular.'" This year's edition begins with the 2017 White Sabers.

5th place - 93.38

Next, the corps that I kicked off the previous edition of this entry, the Sunrisers.

10th place - 85.68

Now, the last of the three Empire State all-age corps, Skyliners.

11th place - 82.23

Follow over the jump for the marching bands from New York and Kentucky I am featuring tonight.

Monday, June 22, 2020

'Good Morning America' and Vox on 'COPS' and 'Live PD' being cancelled

Here's some news for a late Sunday entertainment feature that I probably should have used a week ago, when my home broadband service was out and I was posting A test with tweets and I haven't seen this many statues fall since the end of the Cold War from my smartphone, ‘Cops,’ ‘Live PD’ canceled amid protests against police from "Good Morning America."*

ABC News analyst Dan Abrams, host and producer of 'Live PD' responds to the show’s cancellation and criticisms that police shows glamourize law enforcement.
The observation that shows like "Cops" and "Live PD" glorify the police is not a new one. Vox explored that angle last year in The truth behind the TV show Cops.

The longest-running reality show in The US.
“When it premiered, “Cops” was one of the first reality television shows and it has been broadcasting continuously since 1989. In this video, we worked with the podcast “Running From Cops” to understand why the show has stayed on TV for so long. At the time it was selected for development by Fox executive Stephen Chao, the writer’s strike of 1988 had created a desire for unscripted television that didn’t require hiring union talent.

But once “Cops” was on the air, it was the vision of “Cops” creator John Langley that would make the show last. He understood that the show presented a new opportunity for law enforcement agencies and it was his approach to making “Cops” that has kept police interested in appearing on the show. While “Cops” no longer has the high TV ratings it garnered during the nineties, it has been a persistent presence on television and it has spawned several imitators, including the very popular show “Live PD”.

Like “Cops”, these shows use variations of a reality format developed by “Cops” that features police performing their daily duties. The stripped-down format has remained nearly the same since the show began in 1989 and during the thirty years since “Cops” has had the same agreement with police that agree to appear on the reality show.

To learn what that agreement is, make sure to watch the video above.

To learn even more about “Cops”, make sure to listen to “Running From Cops”: a podcast that investigates various aspects of “Cops” and examines its cultural impact on policing on America.
I have a long and short response to this slightly old news. My long reaction is that pop culture matters, which is why I write a lot about entertainment, including television about politics and government. That's because television entertainment can shape our political opinions, so what people watch matters. In the case of "Cops" and "Live PD," it improves public perception of police, which I generally have no problem with; I am in favor of people seeing government working and police are part of the government. On the other hand, the shows may disproportionately present African-Americans and other minorities as criminals. Representation matters and bad representation can be actively harmful. I think that the production companies and networks got that message, because I doubt these decisions would ever have been made for purely commercial reasons. "Cops" had been the longest-running prime-time series and "Live PD" was the highest-rated show on A&E; those aren't normally the kind of shows that get cancelled. That they have been shows that money isn't everything, even for television.

The short reaction was to laugh at the cancellation by tweeting The Simpsons - COPS: In Springfield (Bad Cops).

A scene from The Simpsons, Homer's Triple Bypass episode. This is from a DVDRip, so the quality should be fine. Have fun with the Bad Cops!
LOL, Schadenfreude!

*My carrier finally fixed the broadband connection on Saturday, eight days after the problem began, by replacing a loose wire a block away. A tree branch probably knocked it loose as it fell. I recall hearing a couple of thumps just as the connection first went bad, which could have been the branch hitting the wire and then the ground. The last time I heard something like that was at midnight of March 3, 2018, when a tree fell in my backyard and knocked out power and internet for three days. I posted 'Jane' the best documentary not nominated at the 2018 Oscars for World Wildlife Day, The UCLA Marching Band at the 1969 Oscars for Marching Music Day, and 'The Emoji Movie' the biggest winner (loser) at the 2018 Razzie Awards from a nearby Starbucks as a result.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Happy Father's Day on World Giraffe Day

Happy Father's Day to my readers! For this year's celebration, I'm neither being light by writing about Star Wars baby names — The Social Security Administration still hasn't released 2019's baby names — nor dark by writing about falling U.S. birth and fertility rates; I'm not feeling it today. Instead, I'm observing the holiday by sharing History of Father’s Day – The Origins & Why Do We Celebrate It by Dad University.

The history of Father's Day is important as we celebrate fatherhood and father's influence on society. The origins go back to 1909 & 1910 when significant events happened to shape the meaning of Father's Day.

Through depression, war, and numerous presidents, Father's Day finally became a federal holiday in many, many years after it's first inception.

Learn about the origins and history of Father's Day and what it means today. Don't forget to comment and share how you like to spend Father's Day.
It's about time I shared something educational about the history of the holiday itself.

Today is also World Giraffe Day, so follow over the jump for two videos celebrating the tallest mammal on what is usually the longest day of the year.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Celebrate national days for American eagles and seashells on Summer Solstice 2020

A National American Eagle Day and a happy National Seashell Day on the Summer Solstice — three celebrations in one! Since National Day Calendar has a new description for National American Eagle Day to go along with the new illustration for the holiday, I'm sharing both.
Each year on June 20th, National American Eagle Day honors our national symbol, raising awareness for protecting the Bald Eagle. The day also encourages the recovery of their natural environments while providing educational outreach.

The Bald Eagle is both the national bird and the national animal of The United States of America and appears on its Seal.

In the latter 20th century, the Bald Eagle hovered on the brink of extinction in the continental United States. Eventually, populations recovered and on July 12, 1995, the species was removed from the U.S. Federal Government’s List of Endangered Species and transferred to the List of Threatened Species. In June of 2007, as the species continued to thrive, the American Eagle was withdrawn from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in the Lower 48 States.
Now, the best video uploaded this year I found about the day on YouTube, National American Eagle Day from Fontenelle Forest.

It’s National American Eagle Day!

Denise Lewis, director of Raptor Recovery, is in the Chip Davis Eagle Mew and is sharing the history of National American Eagle Day. Freedom and Fisher, our resident bald eagles, join her in saying hello!

Bald eagles were chosen to be the national symbol of the United States 238 years ago (in 1782)!

Bald eagles aren’t really bald, so why do we call them “bald eagles?” . . . Watch this video to find out, along with some other interesting facts!
Follow over the jump for two videos about the other national days I'm celebrating in this post today.

'60 Minutes' and Vox on the Tulsa Massacre 99 years later

As I write this, President Trump's campaign is preparing a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that was originally scheduled for Juneteenth but was postponed until today.* The combination of the locale and date made for a callous statement in the midst of nation-wide protests against police militarization and brutality. To explain why, I turn to "60 Minutes," which uploaded From the archives: Tulsa burning, a 21-year-old segment, on Flag Day.

In 1999, 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon reported on the 1921 Greenwood massacre, one of the country's worst incident of racial violence.
As Bob Simon observed in his introduction to the report, this was the first time many Americans had ever heard of the massacre. It wouldn't be the last. Twenty years later, Vox uploaded The massacre of Tulsa's "Black Wall Street."

White mobs destroyed "Black Wall Street" in 1921. But where are the victims' bodies?
Nearly 100 years ago, a white mob destroyed an American neighborhood called “Black Wall Street,” murdering an estimated 300 people in Tulsa, Oklahoma. That incident — known as the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre — has been largely left out of US history books. Today, a century later, the city still has a lot of questions. For one, where are the bodies of the victims? As the city's mayor re-opens the search for mass graves, we take a look at what happened back in 1921…and why finding these graves still matters to the people of Tulsa.
Notice how little things have changed during the intevening 20 years. May the next 20 years bring more progress.

*The story of the rally is still developing, as CNN reported an hour ago that Six Trump campaign staffers working on Tulsa rally test positive for coronavirus. Americans may be getting tired of the pandemic, but the pandemic isn't getting tired of us.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Drink to The Daily Show, Inside Edition, and AL.com all asking 'What is Juneteenth?'

Happy Juneteenth! I'm combining both silly and the serious takes on the holiday in this year's celebration of emancipation beginning with The Daily Show with Trevor Noah asking What is Juneteenth? Dulcé Sloan Explains.

Dulcé Sloan explains exactly what Juneteenth is, why it's celebrated, and how it should be commemorated.
Dulcé Sloan did a very good job of explaining the holiday while still making it funny. For something more serious, I'm sharing Inside Edition also asking What Is Juneteenth?

Why is June 19th known as Juneteenth? The answer is rooted in history. "Juneteenth is an African-American holiday that celebrates the emancipation of slaves in Texas in 1865," Scholar Lori Brooks told InsideEdition.com. Dr. Brooks explained that when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Texas, it was June 18, "and the next day he announced the emancipation of African-American slaves." Dr. Brooks added that the holiday gained new interest in the 1960s, as part of the Poor People's Campaign.
Inside Edition does a good job with holidays, as I remarked in Happy Year of the Metal Rat!
After watching the video from Inside Edition I used in History Channel and Inside Edition explain Hanukkah, I'm more impressed with how they depict holidays. Inside Edition's interviewing people who celebrate the holidays they examine makes their reports not only more credible, but more informative and entertaining as well.
Inside Edition did the same in this video, making me glad I subscribed to their YouTube channel.

AL.com managed to bridge the comedy of The Daily Show with the middle-brow earnestness of Inside Edition when it asked What is Juneteenth?

We look at where the holiday of Juneteenth came from and why it's still a mystery to so many people.
In addition to the history, the video brought up the idea of Juneteenth becoming a national holiday. I'll drink to that!

Because today is also National Martini Day, the drink I'm sharing is Tipsy Bartender's Caramel Appletini.

It's booze in an apple. The caramel appletini!

A toast to Juneteenth!

Thursday, June 18, 2020

John Oliver and Vox explain why most Confederate monuments exist in the first place, a serious and silly blast from the past

I told my readers to "stay tuned" at the end of Noah, Meyers, and 'Tooning Out The News' on removing Confederate symbols and renaming military bases because "I might have more on the topic of Confederate monuments and their role in rewriting history [today]." I'm following through on that with two videos from 2017 that explain why most of those Confederate monuments exist in the first place, beginning with Last Week Tonight with John Oliver's Confederacy.

Confederate symbols are still celebrated despite the ugly history they symbolize. John Oliver suggests some representations of southern pride that involve less racism and more Stephen Colbert.
Like Oliver's segments about police accountability and police militarization, this video is just as timely now as when it was created. It's also a recommendation by the YouTube algorithm, which also recommended the next video, Vox's How Southern socialites rewrote Civil War history.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy altered the South's memory of the Civil War.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy was a significant leader of the “Lost Cause,” an intellectual movement that revised history to look more favorably on the South after the American Civil War. They were women from elite antebellum families that used their social and political clout to fundraise and pressure local governments to erect monuments that memorialized Confederate heroes. They also formed textbook review committees that monitored what Southern schoolchildren learned about the war. Their influential work with children created a lasting memory of the Confederate cause, and those generations grew up to be the segregationists of the Jim Crow Era in the South.
Vox, being a serious news site and not just a comedy program, went into much greater depth about when, how, and why most of the Confederate monuments were erected and shows that they were just the tip of the iceberg. The United Daughters of the Confederacy's infiltration of education, especially its influence on history textbooks, was almost certainly more important than installing statues. As George Orwell wrote in "1984," “Those who control the present, control the past and those who control the past control the future.” Through the minds of their children, the United Daughters of the Confederacy certainly did. Here's to breaking the chains of the created past on the minds of people today and tomorrow.

Enough, for now, on the thread I started with I haven't seen this many statues fall since the end of the Cold War. Tomorrow is Juneteenth, so stay tuned for a celebration of that holiday.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Noah, Meyers, and 'Tooning Out The News' on removing Confederate symbols and renaming military bases

I shared both Michigan media responds to Supreme Court decision protecting LGBT people from job discrimination and I haven't seen this many statues fall since the end of the Cold War to the Coffee Party USA Facebook page last night. The one that is getting more traffic is the one about statues coming down. Considering that was a placeholder post that was basically quoting a tweet and bragging about the response I got, I'm amazed. I'm also a bit embarassed that's all the people who clicked on the link got, so I'm giving them what I think they deserve, an entry with more substance about the topic. Never say I don't respond to my readers!

I begin with The Daily (Social Distancing) Show with Trevor Noah's Confederate Symbols Are Coming Down.

Confederate monuments and flags are coming down as the nation reckons with its racial past, but Trump refuses to rename military bases named after Confederate figureheads.
That same night, Late Night with Seth Meyers covered much of the same territory in Trump Defends the Confederacy, Complains About Polls: A Closer Look.*

Seth takes a closer look at President Trump pinning his hopes of a political comeback on whining about polls and sticking up for the confederacy.
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert even got in on it, featuring a clip from "Tooning Out The News," Ghosts of Confederate soldiers have new military base name ideas for Trump.

President Trump wants U.S. military base names to connote winning, so some ghosts of the Confederacy suggest a few actual winners.
Even the cartoon ghosts think Trump is on the wrong side of history.

I might have more on the topic of Confederate monuments and their role in rewriting history tomorrow. Stay tuned.

*Seth also covered Trump and his campaign whining about a CNN poll. FiveThirtyEight featured it in a segment about good or bad use of polling. They concluded it was a bad use of polling. I think it was a bad use of lawyers on Trump's campaign's part as well.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Michigan media responds to Supreme Court decision protecting LGBT people from job discrimination

I can proclaim good news from the Supreme Court again. WOOD-TV has the story in 'Sex' crucial in LGBT job discrimination ruling.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled it illegal to fire someone from their job for being gay or transgender on Monday.
The case has a Michigan component, as one of the plaintiffs was the late Aimee Stephens, who was fired from her job at a Detroit funeral home when she told her employer that she was transitioning back in 2012. WDIV tells her story Supreme Court rules LGBT workers are protected under the civil rights act.

Justices rule LGBT people protected from job discrimination

As much as this decision extended equal protection under the law, there is still more progress to be made for LGBT rights, which Fox 47 News reported in Michigan advocacy groups weigh in on landmark Supreme Court Case.

Monday's Supreme Court ruling is being hailed as a landmark victory for the LGBTQ community in the middle of pride month, but Michigan advocacy groups say there's much more work to be done.
WOOD-TV had more of Attorney General Nessel's comments in Nessel: SCOTUS ruling on LGBTQ protections 'a narrow victory'.

Gender identity and sexual orientation are still not protected classes under Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.
Nessel should know about advancing LGBT equality; she was the attorney I quoted in U.S. Supreme Court to hear Michigan marriage equality case, which became part of Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that legalized marriage equality. Once again, Michigan was part of a case that advanced equal rights for LGBTQ Americans.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Susan Rice calls for D.C. statehood on MSNBC and N.Y. Times, a late Flag Day post

A belated Happy Flag Day! Three years ago, I called for a 51st star for Puerto Rico on Flag Day. Last year, I wrote about D.C. statehood for a 51st or 52nd star on Flag Day. I was planning on observing the holiday yesterday, but as I wrote in A test with tweets, my home broadband connection went down so all I could manage on my smartphone yesterday was I haven't seen this many statues fall since the end of the Cold War. Now that my broadband connection has returned, I can post what I wanted to write yesterday, Ambassador Rice Makes The Case For D.C. Statehood | Morning Joe | MSNBC.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, weighs in on the White House's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Germany and why she says D.C. deserves its statehood.
Consider this an update to Roll Call and Teen Kids News update statehood for Puerto Rico and D.C., popular topics for the past three years of Crazy Eddie's Motie News. Since I've made National Pina Colada Day the holiday to call for Puerto Rican statehood, I'm going to use Flag Day for D.C. statehood from now on until it is granted. May that be sooner rather than later.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

I haven't seen this many statues fall since the end of the Cold War

That's what I tweeted here: https://twitter.com/pinkusensei/status/1270931548611710979
I originally used that as a reply to the quoted tweet. That reply has 96 likes and more than 10,000 impressions, putting it in the same league as tweeting about Wendy's a few years back.  Nothing like capturing the spirit of the moment.

P.S. Looks like I learned how to add a preview image.
ETA: No, I didn't.  I had to add it back in when my home internet broadband connection returned.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

A test with tweets

My home internet connection is down because of an old malfunctioning router/gateway, so I am testing how blogging by smartphone works. I was planning on reblogging some of my fellow bloggers on Blogspot, like Infidel753, but that sharing option seems to have disappeared since I last checked 8 or 9 years ago. So it's time for plan B, my latest tweets. This is the one for today: 

This may not be THE Apocalypse but it certainly is AN apocalypse.

This is probably my best summary of our current situation.  Now to share this post. Another experiment!

Friday, June 12, 2020

Samantha Bee on police brutality and defunding the police

Now that I've posted John Oliver on the police, it's time for me to amplify another late-night comedian/talk show host on the nation-wide protests and police response. This time, it's Samantha Bee, who I last featured in Samantha Bee explains why we need to save the Postal Service at the end of April. It's about time I give her a turn.

Like Oliver, Bee devoted an entire show to the protests and police response and uploaded it as four clips to the show's YouTube channel. I present all of them, beginning with America’s Long-Standing Tradition of Police Brutality.

When video evidence of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police surfaced, millions of people witnessed the horrifying truth about police brutality in America. But it’s important to remember that police brutality exists even when there isn’t an iPhone camera to catch it.
Much of this covers the same material as Oliver, but scrolling the list of dead victims of police violence is an angle he and his writers didn't explore.

Some of the same clips Oliver used also appear in It’s Time to Defund the Police, but Bee and her Emmy-winning writers put their own original spin on them.

Despite the recent wave of support for police reforms, many changes already in place are woefully ineffective. The good news is that there IS an effective movement we can back: #DefundThePolice.
Neither of the above are the most viewed clip from the episode. Instead, Legislating Healing and Justice with Ayanna Pressley is. Watch Bee display her interviewing skills and Representative Pressley respond beautifully.

Sam sat down with fearless leader and Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley to discuss how to make the rest of America feel as safe and secure without police as the suburbs do!
Yes, the country is multitasking in all the wrong ways. Not only are there protests, but a pandemic and recession as well. It's for times like these that I decided to write this blog nine years ago — but enough about me.

Bee concluded her show with a call for action, Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Donate to A Bail Fund!

Show your support for those risking their health and safety to protest for change by going to The National Bail Fund Network and donating to a fund of your choice. Visit https://www.communityjusticeexchange.... now!
Since I shared it, I might have to do what Bee says. What about you?

Thursday, June 11, 2020

John Oliver on the police

After posting John Oliver on police accountability, a blast from the past last week and John Oliver on police militarization, a blast from the past on Sunday, I was expecting Last Week Tonight with John Oliver to have an episode about the role of police in the nation-wide protests and police attacks on the press. Oliver, his writers, and the rest of the show's crew did not disappoint me, as this Sunday's episode was a tour de force. Watch Police: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO).

As nationwide protests over the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor are met with police brutality, John Oliver discusses how the histories of policing and white supremacy are intertwined, the roadblocks to fixing things, and some potential paths forward.
My reaction to the clip at the end and John Oliver's closing was that he couldn't top that, so he wouldn't even try. He just let it stand on its own and so will I.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

U.S. is officially in recession

I made a prediction about when the recession would be officially declared in 100,000 dead and 40 million unemployed in the U.S., the human toll of the pandemic so far two weeks ago.
Near the end of February, I wrote "This stock market crash is the one reason I am not revising the recession call I made in CNBC explains how the yield curve predicted every recession for the past 50 years. Without the cornovirus outbreak, I might have to. With it, I still think it's likely." Within a month, I posted FiveThirtyEight examines coronavirus and the economy, by which time the recession was on, even if it won't be declared officially until July.
The NBER surprised me by calling the recession a month earlier than I expected. Yahoo Finance reported that Monday in The U.S. economy is officially in recession, NBER says.

The National Bureau of Economic Research said Monday that the COVID-19 crisis has officially launched the U.S. economy into a recession, thus ending the longest economic expansion on record. Yahoo Finance’s Zack Guzman and Brian Cheung discuss.
Here are the most relevant excerpts from the NBER press release via Calculated Risk.
Cambridge, June 8, 2020 - The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research maintains a chronology of the peaks and troughs of U.S. business cycles. The committee has determined that a peak in monthly economic activity occurred in the U.S. economy in February 2020. The peak marks the end of the expansion that began in June 2009 and the beginning of a recession. The expansion lasted 128 months, the longest in the history of U.S. business cycles dating back to 1854. The previous record was held by the business expansion that lasted for 120 months from March 1991 to March 2001.

The committee also determined that a peak in quarterly economic activity occurred in 2019Q4. Note that the monthly peak (February 2020) occurred in a different quarter (2020Q1) than the quarterly peak. The committee determined these peak dates in accord with its long-standing policy of identifying the months and quarters of peak activity separately, without requiring that the monthly peak lie in the same quarter as the quarterly peak. Further comments on the difference between the quarterly and monthly dates are provided below.

A recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, normally visible in production, employment, and other indicators. A recession begins when the economy reaches a peak of economic activity and ends when the economy reaches its trough. Between trough and peak, the economy is in an expansion.

Because a recession is a broad contraction of the economy, not confined to one sector, the committee emphasizes economy-wide indicators of economic activity. The committee believes that domestic production and employment are the primary conceptual measures of economic activity.
The usual definition of a recession involves a decline in economic activity that lasts more than a few months. However, in deciding whether to identify a recession, the committee weighs the depth of the contraction, its duration, and whether economic activity declined broadly across the economy (the diffusion of the downturn). The committee recognizes that the pandemic and the public health response have resulted in a downturn with different characteristics and dynamics than prior recessions. Nonetheless, it concluded that the unprecedented magnitude of the decline in employment and production, and its broad reach across the entire economy, warrants the designation of this episode as a recession, even if it turns out to be briefer than earlier contractions.
As for my reaction, I'll begin by being a good environmentalist and recycling what I wrote two weeks ago.
While I was right about the timing [of the recession, not the call], I was wrong about the extent of the recession. As I wrote in The tax bill and the U.S. economy in 2018 and beyond, "I expect the next recession to be somewhere between the 2001 recession or the 1990-1991 recession in its effects, probably closer to 2001." Instead, the U.S. is experiencing the highest unemployment since the Great Depression, all within the first two months. Yikes! Now I know how a pandemic or nation-wide natural disaster affects the U.S. economy. I'm not sure I wanted to find out.
The only good thing is that the official recession, the time when the economy as measured by GDP is shrinking, may indeed be brief. For all we know, we may be out of it already. The bad news is that employment may not recover for years, if not a decade. Look at this graph of unemployment during all the post-World-War-II recessions from Calculated Risk and see both where unemployment is now and how long it took for unemployment to recover during all previous recessions, particularly the Great Recession, which is labeled as the "2007 Employment Recession."

Yeah, it could be a while.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Marching music for the Georgia and West Virginia primaries

Twice now I've told my readers to "stay tuned for Marching music for the Georgia and West Virginia primaries." Both of those are today, along with non-presidential primary elections in Nevada, North Dakota, and South Carolina, and all of them have federal, state, and local offices on the ballot. Even though Joe Biden has secured enough delegates to win the Democratic nomination for President, these elections mean something. They're also a test of our democracy in the middle of nation-wide demonstrations for police accountability and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The headline state is Georgia, where 11Alive reported Georgia Primary Election: Surge in early, absentee voting last night.

The state said 80 percent of the votes being cast are mail-in.
That clip also mentions the U.S. Senate and House contests on the ballot today in the Peach State. CBS46 in Atlanta went into more depth about the effects of the protests and pandemic in Georgia's presidential primary is tomorrow.

Absentee voting is also a major factor in the West Virginia Primary, where WOWK 13 News reported County Clerk offices in West Virginia overwhelmed with absentee ballots last month.

County Clerks' offices are being swamped with absentee ballots from people who are concerned about the health risks of in-person voting.
Despite President Trump's opposition to voting by mail, using absentee ballots is very popular in this pair of red states.

With the preview of the primaries out of the way, I present some marching music to enjoy while waiting for the results, beginning with 2017 Spirit of Atlanta - "Crossroads: We Are Here" from Drum Corps International.

Atlanta, GA | 18th Place | 80.075 ... “Where Am I Going” Written by Gino Vannelli ... “Wine-Dark Sea” Written by John Mackey ... “Eric’s Song” Written by Vienna Teng ... “Liquid Dance” Written by A.R. Rahman ... “Shofukan” Written by Michael Kelly Rea League
The next year's edition of the corps from the Peach State was even better, so I'm sharing a unique perspective on the corps final performance of the season, Spirit of Atlanta 2018 "Knock" - Xylo/Glock Semi Final's Cam - Chris Goulet.

GoPro recording of Chris Goulet, Xylo/Glock for Spirit of Atlanta 2018, taken at DCI Semi-Final's on August 10, 2018.
Georgia also has an all-age corps, CorpsVets. Watch their 2017 program.

2nd place - 96.63

Follow over the jump for the marching bands from Georgia and West Virginia that participated in the Rose Parade.

Monday, June 8, 2020

World Oceans Day 2020

I was so busy writing Trump Administration seeking to weaken law protecting birds in midst of pandemic and protests that I missed that today is World Oceans Day, which I've been celebrating on this blog since 2013 until I checked which posts people have been reading today and saw World Oceans Day 2015 on the list. Oops! Good thing I looked!

Since I'm celebrating on short notice, I'm just sharing a couple of videos. First, UN's World Oceans Day Celebration, Joined by NowThis' Lucy Biggers from NowThis News.

Lucy Biggers, host of NowThis' sustainability-focused series 'One Small Step,' will join the UN's World Oceans Day virtual celebration featuring Bill McKibben, Cara Delevingne, and more.
Seeing Jeff Orlowski, who directed and Chasing Coral, as the editor was enough to make me share this video, never mind all the celebrity cameos.

Now for a commercial disguised as a public service announcement, 4ocean's 4ocean - Official World Oceans Day Video.

June 8th is World Oceans Day! This day is recognized by the United Nations as a day for celebrating the role of the oceans in our everyday life and inspiring action to protect the ocean and sustainably use marine resources.

The ocean covers more than 70% of the Earth’s surface and produces half the world’s oxygen. It’s also a powerful carbon sink that helps regulate our climate. Yet human threats like plastic pollution, climate change, and destructive fishing practices like overfishing are threatening this critical and irreplaceable natural resource.

At 4ocean, our mission is to end the ocean plastic crisis. Our professional cleanup crews are working hard each and every day to remove as much waste as possible in an effort to protect marine life and restore ecosystems. In addition, we are committed to raising awareness about the ocean plastic pollution problem and developing innovative solutions to help stop plastic at its source.

Visit 4ocean.com to learn more about how you can get involved.
In addition to seeing the company's commercials, my students have written reports on 4ocean the past two semesters. The company is certainly doing something right!

I'm glad my readers reminded me to celebrate this holiday through their page views. I'd have been really embarassed to have missed it.

Now stay tuned for Marching music for the Georgia and West Virginia primaries!

Trump Administration seeking to weaken law protecting birds in midst of pandemic and protests

CBS News aired Trump administration to gut century-old wild bird law in latest rollback of environmental protect[ions] yesterday. That's a story that could get lost amidst nation-wide demostrations for police accountability, the Retail Apocalypse, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Please watch.

In the latest push to roll back environmental protections, the Trump administration has announced its intent to weaken the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The Teddy Roosevelt-era law made corporations legally culpable for mass bird deaths on industrial sites. David Ringer of the conservationist non-profit National Audubon Society joins CBSN's Lana Zak to discuss.
Combining this proposed action with the Trump administration weakening enforcement of the Endangered Species Act makes me even more concerned about biodiversity. As I wrote in The effect of the pandemic on the environment for World Environment Day, "my original environmental cause was biodiversity, especially protecting endangered species." This proposed action not only threatens endangered species, but all species of birds in the United States. I hope my readers are just as concerned as I am.

Enough from the latest chapter of environmentalism becoming a partisan issue. Stay tuned for Marching music for the Georgia and West Virginia primaries.