Friday, July 31, 2020

Vox explains why it is difficult to collect unemployment benefits in Florida

With the U.S. officially in recession since March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, yesterday's news that U.S. GDP fell at an annualized rate of 32.9% during April-June 2020, the worst on record, and U.S. weekly jobless claims were 1.434 million last week should come as no surprise. These bad tidings are putting pressure on Congress and the Administration to pass another relief bill.* Even when one does pass, and it will, eventually, a lot of workers in states like Florida will have trouble collecting on their benefits. Vox explains why it's so hard to get unemployment benefits in the Sunshine State.

It's not the computers. It's the politicians behind them.
Millions of Americans across the country have lost their jobs. But whether or not those people can get the unemployment benefits they deserve actually depends on where they live. In some states, more than two thirds of jobless people typically collect unemployment benefits. But in others, like Florida, fewer than one in 10 unemployed people get those benefits.

That massive difference has often been blamed on technology; Florida’s unemployment system is notoriously difficult to use. But technology doesn’t build itself. The real explanation requires a look at the ideology of the people who did.
Last week, I used a Hysterical Raisins paroday poster to dump on Florida's current Governor in Samantha Bee mocks governors' responses to the pandemic in a parody of 'Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives'. This week, it's Rick Scott's turn. Here's the poster Nonnie9999 created for Direct from Scott’s Bowels, which satirizes Scott's role in creating Florida' unemployment system.

I'll let Infidel 753 speak for me in his comment on Nonnie's post.
I pity the newly-unemployed in Florida. Dealing with unemployment insurance here in Oregon (when I needed to last year) wasn’t too bad, but this state has been run by Democrats for as long as I can remember. It really does make a difference which party is in charge, something many people may be just now realizing.

The ultimate goal — which it delivered on — was to lower unemployment taxes paid by Florida businesses

Figures. Republicans.
I second all his emotions.

That's it for July. Stay tuned for the first post of August.

*Never mind that HEROES Act has been sitting on Mitch McConnell's desk for months, but he refuses to put it up for a vote.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Auto insurance rebates and lower premiums as Americans drive less, a driving update for Snow Bear during July 2020

Last month, I reported most Americans stay home, allowing people to speed on open roads, when I gave a driving update for Pearl the Prius. Today, I'm sharing a clip from ABC 13 in Grand Rapids, Auto insurance savings due to less driving during pandemic to begin today's driving update for Snow Bear.

Have you received checks in the mail from your auto insurance company? Many are getting refunds, because they didn't drive during the stay at home order.
While some of this report pertains only to Michigan, which recently changed its laws governing auto insurance, some of this should, if it isn't already, apply to the rest of the U.S., as most of us are driving much less.* Bill McBride of Calculated Risk has an update on that story in DOT: Vehicle Miles Driven decreased 26% year-over-year in May
The Department of Transportation (DOT) reported:
Travel on all roads and streets changed by -25.5% (-72.9 billion vehicle miles) for May 2020 as compared with May 2019. Travel for the month is estimated to be 213.2 billion vehicle miles.

The seasonally adjusted vehicle miles traveled for May 2020 is 199.8 billion miles, a -26.1% (-70.6 billion vehicle miles) decline from May 2019. It also represents [a] 24.1% increase (38.8 billion vehicle miles) compared with April 2020.

Cumulative Travel for 2020 changed by -17.3% (-227.2 billion vehicle miles). The cumulative estimate for the year is 1,087.0 billion vehicle miles of travel.

emphasis added
This graph shows the rolling 12 month total vehicle miles driven to remove the seasonal factors.

The drop is even more dramatic in this graph than it was last month. On the other hand, the year-over-year comparison between May 2019 and May 2020 shows that driving is recovering, if still way down from last year.

Both of these graphs show the situation two months ago. For a more up-to-date depiction of how much Americans are driving now, I'm sharing the latest graph of gasoline consumption from the Energy Information Administration in Calculated Risk's High Frequency Indicators for the Economy.

This is what I expect the graph comparing the year-over-year change in monthly driving will look like in two months. Even so, the rolling 12 month total vehicle miles driven will continue to go down for at least the next year, although I expect it will start to bottom out in the second half of 2021. I don't know what it will mean for auto insurance rates yet.

Follow over the jump for more driving math.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

CNN Business explains retail bankruptcies and how private equity is gutting retail, tales of the Retail Apocalypse

While researching for the next driving update, I stumbled across two videos about the Apocalypse from CNN Business that I found worth sharing with my readers. The first and more general is Retail bankruptcies, explained.

All retail bankruptcies are not the same. CNN’s Jon Sarlin explains the difference between reorganization and liquidation when it comes to bankruptcy filings.
Most of the retail bankruptcies I report here are filed under Chapter 11, so the companies and their customers have at least some hope of continuing to do business. That's relatively good news. The bad news is that this first video does not go into the causes behind the companies' financial troubles. The next one, Here's how private equity is gutting retail does.

In the bankruptcies of J. Crew, Neiman Marcus, and many others – it wasn't just bad business practices and the rise of e-commerce that did them in. CNN Business' Jon Sarlin explains the perils of leveraged buyouts.
As I wrote in Company Man describes the decline of GNC, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse and pandemic, "Usually it's private equity leveraging a company and making it vulnerable to bankruptcy during downturns, which happened to KB Toys, Sears and KMart, Toys R Us, Art Van, J. Crew, and Chuck E. Cheese's." As the video pointed out, I should now add Neiman Marcus to the list. So, don't just blame Amazon and the COVID-19 pandemic for retail bankruptcies and closures; vulture capitalism plays a major part in the story as well.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Economist explains why the stock market is rallying during the pandemic

I haven't written about the stock market as such since I reported U.S. is officially in recession when I recycled what I wrote in February.
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."
Since then, the stock indexes have risen, recovering much of what they lost in the crash, even as governors are bungling responses to the pandemic, retail chains are declaring bankruptcy, malls are failing, sports have been delayed and at risk of being cancelled, and the country faces an eviction crisis. The Economist explains why that's happening in Stockmarket v economy: the impact of covid-19.

American stockmarkets have enjoyed a record-breaking streak, even though the country’s economy faces the deepest recession in living memory. Why is stockmarket performance so seemingly cut off from current events, and what does this tell us about how the economy works?
According to The Economist, during the 1950s and 1960s, the U.S. economy and the stock market were much more closely tied together. Now, Main Street and Wall Street can and do move in opposite directions. That's a lesson I learned in the 1970s, when I watched a news report about a company laying off hundreds of employees and its stock price went up. I realized then that what was good for Wall Street was not always good for Main Street. What is happening to stocks during the COVID-19 pandemic shows that is even more true now.

Monday, July 27, 2020

The rise and fall of the mall from Business Insider, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse and pandemic

I've been concentrating on failures of individual chains in the tales of the Retail Apocalypse I've covered this blogging year.* I think it's time to revisit the theme of Vox on America's dying malls as failed third spaces, which was the entry that got me started on covering the Retail Apocalypse as an overarching phenomenon instead of the just the failure of my local mall. For that, I present a video follow-up of sorts to Business Insider on dead malls in the Retail Apocalypse with assistance from Dan Bell and Radiohead, Business Insider's The Rise And Fall Of The Mall.

Starting with the opening of the Southland Mall in 1956 malls have been a vaulted piece of Americana for decades. Thousands were built across the country and for a while it seemed they would dominate the American landscape forever, but in recent years they’ve rapidly lost their value. So how did malls go from being a mainstay in American society to a quickly vanishing memory?
Before I comment on the video, I wish to correct the video description. It's the Southdale Center, not the Southland Mall, that's the first enclosed American mall. At least the video gets it right  Also, I think the adjective should be vaunted, not vaulted, although a lot of malls are that, too.

Speaking of the video, I think this is a more focused summary of the history of malls and their issues seen in Wired on dead malls, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse.** Also, I am not surprised that the American Dream Mall I featured in The future of malls for Cyber Monday, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse is having problems. I am surprised that The Mall of America has been unable to pay its mortgage, although maybe I shouldn't be. Chalk it up to the COVID-19 pandemic. That means I probably should cover that story in more detail in a future entry. Stay tuned.

*Which is also the Persian year, a fortunate coincidence that explains why I celebrate Nowruz (Persian New Year) and my blog's birthday concurrently.

**It's also a more focused and lively presentation than the video series Sam of Brick Immortar has created on the history of malls. Now that I've mentioned them, I should use those videos in a future entry as well.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

John Oliver on sports for an Opening Day delayed by pandemic

When I told my readers to "Stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature" at the end of Company Man explains Zoom's success, I thought I might post something about theme parks or sports. Since Opening Day was last Friday with two early games on Thursday Night, I'm going with Coronavirus VII: Sports: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO).

John Oliver discusses the sudden disappearance of sports due to coronavirus, how their absence is impacting people emotionally and financially, and the complications of bringing them back anytime soon.
While MLB didn't seem to adopt the bubble league idea, the NBA has. The Los Angeles Times described it as Life in the NBA bubble: Learning to survive a ‘three-month road trip’.
The NBA has descended on Disney World, with 22 teams that each brought 36 people, occupying three of its 22 hotels with security blocking entrances and exits. Some measures are in the interest of completing the season without a COVID-19 outbreak. Some are for player safety or comfort. It all creates a bustling community of people who aren’t accustomed to working in such an enclosed environment.

Tucked away in a resort community that’s secluded from the public, there are no autograph seekers or paparazzi, only players, coaches, team staff and NBA personnel.
And I thought being on tour with a drum corps for three weeks was isolating! Let's see how well the bubble league experiment works for the NBA.

Returning to baseball, the ESPN article I linked to above lists a lot of changes MLB made to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Here's the first.
No fans in the stands. Some teams will use cardboard cutouts of fans in the seats behind home plate. Fox announced it would include computer-generated fans on its broadcasts, starting with the three games it is televising Saturday. In watching these early games, there is no doubt the empty ballparks create an unusual viewing experience, kind of like watching a game from the Kingdome in 1983. The games might sound relatively normal though, as stadium engineers will pump a variety of crowd noises through the ballpark sound systems.
First, that looks familiar, as it's one of Dr. Fauci's suggestions. Second, way to throw shade at the Seattle Mariners, ESPN, not that I care. I grew up rooting for southern California teams and now root for Detroit's, so insulting Seattle teams doesn't bother me.

When the NFL season resumes, I might return to this well, as "Last Week Tonight" has a clip about the Washington pro football franchise, which will no longer go by their offensive name. Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Company Man explains Zoom's success

I quipped "I guess no one needs a business suit when they work from home and conduct business over Zoom" twice, first in Company Man explains the rise and fall of Chuck E. Cheese's, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse and pandemic and again in Brooks Brothers files for bankruptcy while Men's Wearhouse and Jos. A Bank considering it, tales of the Retail Apocalypse and pandemic. Ever since I wrote that, I've been waiting for an opportunity to feature Company Man's Zoom - Why They're Successful in an entry. Today is that opportunity. Watch as Company Man explains how Zoom became the service many of us are using to conduct business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zoom Video Communications has not only found its way into one of the most competitive industries out there, they've become a leader of it. This video talks about how they did it while attempting to explain why they're successful.
I've been using Zoom as a director of the Coffee Party for years, so I became an early adopter. Because of that, I say two things to my readers. First, welcome to the club. Second, we are living in science fiction times, and not just because of the pandemic.

Stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature.

Friday, July 24, 2020

CNBC explains why the U.S. faces an eviction crisis

I began the month by posting John Oliver warns of evictions during the pandemic. Since I usually pair a comedic take on an issue with a serious one, it's time to share CNBC's Why The U.S. Faces An Eviction Crisis, uploaded on Wednesday.

Nearly a third of Americans didn't pay their housing costs in July. Now local, state and federal moratoria on evictions originally put in place during the coronavirus pandemic are expiring. While landlords may be sympathetic to tenants needs, communities face hardships when rent goes unpaid. A movement to cancel rent has been growing as the patchwork of solutions across the country leaves many renters falling through the cracks. Watch the video to find out why Americans are facing an eviction crisis.
Watching this hit me personally in a way that the Last Week Tonight clip did not, as the CNBC video reminded me that I was served an eviction notice 13 years ago. Fortunately, my wife and I had already found another place, so we moved, turned in the keys, and then showed up to court to see the eviction motion dismissed. We were the only tenants we attended.

This clip also reminded me of something I had wondered about, which was that defendants in criminal proceedings have the right to an attorney, but defendants in civil proceedings do not. This is one of the reasons that strategic lawsuits and against public participation (SLAPPs) work. People with resources are going after people that may not, making inequality worse. The same is true with evictions, although my parents were landlords and my mom still is, so I can see their side as well.

Sometimes, bad tenants need to go, but becoming unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic does not make a person a bad tenant, just an unlucky one. This is particularly true when the apartment might remain empty for months because so many people are out of work.

CNBC had more to say about the eviction crisis two weeks ago in Evictions could hit crisis level—Here's how it's impacting real estate trends.

CNBC's Kelly Evans breaks down the threat of evictions amid coronavirus and trends in the housing sector with CNBC's Diana Olick and Ryan Schneider, CEO of Realogy.
While people at the lower end of the income level are facing loss of housing, it looks like more affluent people are taking the opportunity to move into better housing in the suburbs. If one has to shelter in place, then one might find a better place to find shelter.

Calculated Risk shows this trend in both new home sales...

...and existing home sales, both of which are up from last month.

However, it's new home sales that are up over last year and at a post-crash high, as the people that can afford it want the latest and best that they can afford.

If one is looking for an economic silver lining to the pandemic, here it is. That won't make up for the looming eviction crisis.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Samantha Bee mocks governors' responses to the pandemic in a parody of 'Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives'

It's Thursday, so it's time to see what Samantha Bee, the basic cable John Oliver, made fun of in her show last night. This week, she's following up on last week's Mask Hysteria with a two-part parody of "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" lampooning the responses of governors to the COVID-19 pandemic.* Watch Deniers, Dimwits, and Lies: How Governors Have Responded to the Pandemic Pt. 1.

When it comes to our country’s fractured response to the coronavirus, each state has managed to put its own spin on governing during a pandemic. The results are pretty hard to stomach.
Bee continued her tour in Deniers, Dimwits, and Lies: How Governors Have Responded to the Pandemic Pt. 2.

Individual state responses to COVID-19 have been more chaotic than Guy Fieri’s wardrobe. We need a unified country-wide strategy to combat the coronavirus!
I agree with Bee on almost all of her points about the pandemic response. We need a coordinated nation-wide response, but we're not getting one, so it's up to the states. The result has been really uneven. I've been pleased with Gretchen Whitmer's actions, even though they prompted Operation Gridlock. I'm also happy with New York Governor Mario Cuomo's response, although those graphics look less than professional and not up to the standards of Cuomo's PowerPoint slides. On the other hand, the various Sun Belt governors have been flubbing their efforts or lack thereof to control the pandemic. In my opinion, the worst has been Florida's Ron DeSantis. Nonnie9999 of Hysterical Raisins, who lives in Florida, agrees, making him the subject of her poster in Floridiot!

Infidel753 called him DeSanitize in the comments. I shared the link in a tweet and the person who responded called him MoRon. Put them together and it's MoRon DeSanitize. May that become a meme.

*I approve. As I wrote in 'Queer Eye,' 'Shark Tank,' and 'Tidying Up with Marie Kondo' — diversity in structured reality programs, "'Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives' is my go-to guilty pleasure. I watched a marathon of it in the hospital as I recovered from my surgery for prostate cancer and I used a clip from the show here six years ago."

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Stephen Colbert interviews Greta Thunberg about climate change and coronavirus

Last night, Stephen Colbert interviewed Greta Thunberg On Environmental Activism In The Time Of Coronavirus. Watch and listen.

Greta Thunberg is alarmed that most countries have been much faster to move on combating the coronavirus pandemic than they have the existential threat of climate change.
Thunberg echoes much of what Dr. Katharine Hayhoe said in the videos I embedded in Coronavirus response reducing air pollution updates climate change and the environment for the ninth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News. While the COVID-19 pandemic is reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, the effect is only temporary and is diverting energy and attention from long-term efforts to fight climate change. The other experts quoted in The effect of the pandemic on the environment for World Environment Day expressed the same concerns. After all, the climate crisis will still be an issue long after the pandemic is over.

Speaking of which, it's time to return to the first half of the interview, Greta Thunberg: Humanity Is "Setting Fire To The Boat" Instead Of Facing The Climate Crisis.*

Environmental activist Greta Thunberg describes the world's current response to the climate change crisis as being stuck in the middle of the ocean and "setting fire to the boat."
Colbert was right to include Thunberg being the youngest Time Person of the Year in his introduction. It is her greatest claim to fame so far in her young life. I'm looking forward to more from her and her "gifted children's crusade" on both the climate and social justice as time goes on.**

Finally, I have an explanation for why governments are not treating the climate as a crisis. Watch Vox's Why humans are so bad at thinking about climate change from 2017.

The biggest problem for the climate change fight isn’t technology — it’s human psychology.
I've been holding onto this video for three years until the right opportunity came along. It finally did.

*I placed the second half of the interview first because I was more interested in her take on the pandemic and thought it made for a better preview image. I've done that before.

**I searched for "gifted children's crusade" on Google and found no results for that exact search string, so I'm using it and claiming to be the first. I am calling the Youth Climate Strike that because when I watched the videos in Thousands of U.S. students strike for the climate, it struck me that the highest achieving middle and high school students were all there. They understood what the science meant for their futures and it scared and outraged them. May more of their generation catch up to them as they grow up. I just hope that the movement's opponents don't use my name for the movement against them.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

John Oliver on coronavirus conspiracy theories

Last week, I quipped that I had to settle for Samantha Bee, the basic cable John Oliver, in Samantha Bee on 'Mask Hysteria'. This week, I have the real thing in Coronavirus: Conspiracy Theories.

With conspiracy theories about coronavirus proliferating, John Oliver discusses why we’re prone to believe, how to distinguish fact from fiction, and what you can do to help others.
First, that's as much of "Plandemic" as I care to watch, but it's enough to confirm my opinion that the documentary deserves to join Hillary's America and Trump himself in earning a Razzie nomination.

Second, I shouldn't be surprised that Trump is spreading conspiracy theories. He has a weakness for conspiratorial ideas. However, I am just as surprised as Oliver that Rush Limbaugh, of all people, understands how and why Trump spreads them.

Third, I'm surprised but relieved that Oliver didn't go down the QAnon rabbit hole, although he briefly mentioned a couple of the paranoid ideas that circulate there. The QAnon phenomenon deserves a show of its own.

Fourth, I'm glad Oliver and his producers got all these celebrities to make public service announcements about how to use critical thinking skills to evaluate what people read and see on the Internet. If more people did, fewer people would buy the bad ideas available in the marketplace of ideas.

Finally, this is not the only segment of the show about the COVID-19 pandemic. Deadline summarized the episode's opening in ‘Last Week Tonight’: John Oliver Addresses Difficulties Of Reopening Schools Safely During Pandemic Despite What Trump Administration Says. I wish Last Week Tonight with John Oliver had uploaded this segment as well. It would have made a great comedic counterpoint to White House blocking CDC from testifying before Congress on reopening schools, a topic I'm sure I'll revisit. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Seeker on Apollo 9-12 for Moon Day 2020

Happy National Moon Day! For today's 51st anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the Moon, I'm going to correct an oversight I mentioned in NASA's 'Apollo 13: Home Safe' for the 50th anniversary of a 'successful failure'.
I didn't keep all of the promise I made in Apollo 8's Earthrise 50 years later for Christmas Eve to blog about the 50th anniversaries of the rest of the Apollo missions. I did get around to writing about Apollo 11 but skipped Apollos 9, 10, and 12. Sorry.
Seeker has videos for all three missions, which took place in 1969. It combined Apollo 9 and 10 in one video, Apollo 10 Almost Crashed Into the Moon.

The missions before the lunar landing were designed to test out some of the most difficult manoeuvres of the Apollo Program. During Apollo 10, the Lunar Module experienced a malfunction that left the astronauts spinning out of control.
Hey Seekers! A few of you have pointed out that Apollo 9 remained in Low-Earth Orbit, and that is correct. Apollo 9 simulated a trans-lunar injection to prepare for Apollo 10, but all the maneuvers were done in LEO. As always, thanks for your feedback!
One thing that struck me watching all of these videos was that Apollo 10-13 all had a mission-threatening, if not life-endangering, mishap of some kind, most of which I didn't know about until I started watching videos about the missions. In this case, it was the Lunar Module approaching gimbal lock. In the case of the next mission, Seeker's video title explains it all, Lightning Struck Apollo 12... Twice, Here’s How Mission Control Reacted.

Like the astronauts, NASA’s mission control had to be ready to solve any problem, but during Apollo 12, the team was faced with a shocking scenario that no one expected.
Seeker Fun Fact Of The Day: Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean always felt bad that his buddy Dick Gordon remained on the CSM, while he and Pete Conrad explored the lunar surface. So years later, Bean painted a scene called "The Fantasy", depicting the three astronauts finally on the Moon together, and proving that the astronauts remained BFFs for life!
Again, I either didn't know or forgot about about lightning striking the mission until I began watching videos by Seeker and The Vintage Space. At the time, the loss of the color TV camera made more of an impression on me. I was disappointed I had to watch a simulation by actors on a sound stage instead. Ah, the concerns and disappointments of a 12-year-old!

While researching and writing this entry, I realized that I had never embedded Seeker's video about Apollo 11. So for an encore, I'm sharing The Crazy Things Astronauts Did to Survive the First Moon Landing.

NASA’s first astronauts were pushed to dangerous and deadly extremes while training to survive on the Moon.
In this case, the mishaps were Neil Armstrong crashing the Lunar Module simulator and the actual Lunar Module missing the landing site by 6 kilometers and nearly running out of fuel. After finding about all of the incidents befalling Apollo 10-12 along with the amazing recoveries, I shouldn't be surprised that Apollo 13 turned out the way it did.

Seeker has videos on Apollo 14-17 as well, but I'm saving them for the next two Moon Days. After all, I'm an environmentalist, so I don't just recycle, I conserve my resources.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Drink to 'John Lewis: Good Trouble' on Daiquiri Day and Ice Cream Day

For the second half of this week's Sunday entertainment double feature, I'm paying tribute to the late John Lewis, who passed away Friday, through "John Lewis: Good Trouble," a documentary about him. I begin with John Lewis: Good Trouble - Official Trailer from Magnolia Pictures & Magnet Releasing.

Using interviews and rare archival footage, JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE chronicles Lewis’ 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health-care reform and immigration. Using present-day interviews with Lewis, now 80 years old, Porter explores his childhood experiences, his inspiring family and his fateful meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957. In addition to her interviews with Lewis and his family, Porter’s primarily cinéma verité film also includes interviews with political leaders, Congressional colleagues, and other people who figure prominently in his life.
That's a powerful trailer. In fact, it's so moving that I don't mind showing it to my readers again as introduction and conclusion of JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE (2020) | Director DAWN PORTER chats with RICK HONG about her documentary.

JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE (2020) | Director DAWN PORTER chats with RICK HONG about her documentary

The film explores Georgia representative's, 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health care reform, and immigration.
Director: Dawn Porter
Star: John Lewis

Interview with:
- Dawn Porter, director
On the one hand, I appreciated being able to see and hear from director Dawn Porter about her film and its subject. Her documentary turned out to be surprisingly timely because of the protests and demonstrations and is now even more so because of Representative Lewis's death. I am glad he was able to see the film come out before his death. On the other, I think Rick Hong could use some help writing his video descriptions. I might even volunteer.*

The March on Selma played an important part in Lewis's life, and it shows up again in the final clip about him I'm sharing today, Congressman John Lewis: "Get in Trouble. Good Trouble" from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert four years ago, where he talks about that moment in history, repeats his catchphrase, and crowd-surfs the audience.

Congressman Lewis traces his journey of fighting for civil rights from the 1960s in Selma through to his new graphic novel series 'MARCH.'
Now, that's a fun memory of Lewis that I'm happy to leave for my readers. As for the documentary itself, I'm looking forward to its nominations at the Critics' Choice Documentary Awards and Academy Awards. I know it's already on my shortlist for the Golden Coffee Cups. May I still be able to run the awards and blog about it next year.

Follow over the jump for drinks to celebrate both John Lewis's life and today's food and drink days.

Rose Parade cancelled because of pandemic, college football season in jeopardy

I made a prediction of sorts in Marching music for the Puerto Rico Primary: "Because of The COVID-19 pandemic, there might not be a Rose Parade next year. Anyone care to make a bet?" None of my readers took me up on the wager, which is probably a good thing for them, as KTLA reported 2021 Rose Parade canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday.

The 132nd Rose Parade has been canceled because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, marking the first time in 75 years that the beloved and eagerly anticipated New Year’s Day tradition won’t be held. Courtney Friel reports for KTLA 5 News on July 15, 2020.
CBS Los Angeles has a better written intro more dramatically delivered in 2021 Rose Parade Canceled For The First Time In 75 Years. The clip also has better archive footage and person-in-the-street interviews.

The 2021 Tournament of Roses Parade has been officially canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I wish I could say I was surprised, but I could see this coming. So could Luis of Music213, who made the announcement on his YouTube channel.
For the first time since World War II, the 2021 Rose Parade has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. This was highly expected. It is unfortunate, but the Rose Parade Committee made the right decision. Stay safe everyone and take care of yourselves and your loved ones.
I really don't have anything to add to that other than I agree with everything Luis wrote.

Follow over the jump for news about the Rose Bowl and the rest of college football.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

White House blocking CDC from testifying before Congress on reopening schools

I wrote "Dr. Sanjay Gupta is right; this has become a political story instead of a health story" in Coronavirus data to bypass CDC and go to HHS plus more pandemic news. I also wrote "the directive for data to bypass the CDC and go directly to HHS (Health and Human Services)...strikes me as a political decision designed to reduce tranparency and accountability. It's also bad science and public health policy." I have the same opinion of a related story that CNN reported yesterday, White House blocks CDC from testifying on reopening schools.

The White House is blocking US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield and other officials from the agency from testifying before a House Education and Labor Committee hearing on reopening schools next week, just as the debate over sending children back to classrooms has flared up across the US.
That disturbs me and should disturb my readers. The Trump Administration is letting politics get in the way of the science, which would actually help to get schools open sooner more safely than what they want to do.

As for what that testimony would look and sound like, CNN provided an example in Ex-CDC chief sounds warning on quickly reopening schools.

Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Thomas Frieden warns against rushing into reopening schools before it is safe to do so, and outlines things we all can do to ensure children can return to their schools safely.
I'm with Dr. Frieden; opening schools too soon will not help in getting the country back to normal. Instead, it will spread the disease more and delay a return to the status quo ante, making the situation worse.

Instead of allowing Congress to hear testimony like that, Bloomberg reports White House: 'Science Should Not Stand in the Way' of Reopening Schools.

"When he says 'open,' he means open in full; kids being able to attend each and every day at their school. The science should not stand in the way of this."

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany defends Trump's push to re-open American schools in the fall.
I'm a scientist and an educator, so I find this appalling, if not particularly surprising. Nonnie9999 at Hysterical Raisins sums up my opinion of McEnany's remarks, as well as the policy behind them in Science Fiction.

Looking at that poster, I realized that I've never mentioned Betsy DeVos here before. Considering that she's an education activist from Michigan, that's quite an oversight. It's about time I did.

Stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature, which might be a double feature tomorrow.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Samantha Bee on 'Mask Hysteria'

Since I just posted a serious take on the COVID-19 pandemic in yesterday's Coronavirus data to bypass CDC and go to HHS plus more pandemic news, it's time for a comedic one. For that, I'm turning to Samantha Bee, the basic cable John Oliver.* Watch The Dangerous Spread of Mask Hysteria Pt. 1

There’s no masking the heated culture war that has erupted in America. It’s tearing families, friends, and Trader Joe’s shoppers apart!
The monologue continues in The Dangerous Spread of Mask Hysteria Pt. 2.

Masks might be uncomfortable, unpleasant, and unattractive, but just like seatbelts, vaccines, and bras---they keep us (and our boobs) safe! So it’s time we all agreed to just grin underneath our mask and bear it!
In addition to this being a funny follow-up to Vox explains what face masks actually do against coronavirus, It's a good example of what I first wrote in Samantha Bee explains how to get away with election interference and repeated most recently in 'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver' explains voting by mail, "I learned more from seven minutes of reporting laced with comedy than I did in four clips of straight reporting I embedded in yesterday's post." Also, I approve of the mask her show is selling.

I have two cloth masks already, but I need another, I think I might buy one of these.

*When I went looking for these clips, I discovered that I wasn't yet subscribed to the show's YouTube channel. I remedied that oversight immediately!

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Coronavirus data to bypass CDC and go to HHS plus more pandemic news

While I've written a lot about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including on the environment, society, economy, and politics, I haven't examined the disease directly since John Oliver examines coronavirus spreading in prisons and jails while cases spike in Arizona, Florida, and Texas in June. It's time to remedy that by returning to coverage of coronavirus, beginning with CNN's White House orders hospitals to bypass CDC with data reporting.

Hospital data on coronavirus patients will now be rerouted to the Trump administration instead of first being sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed to CNN.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta is right; this has become a political story instead of a health story. Not only does this refer to the core of the segment, which both the headline and video description summarized, but also to the opening of the clip, which reported on Peter Navarro's op-ed attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of NIH. I think anchor John Berman was right to focus on why the attack happened in the first place instead of the particulars of the op-ed, which he found suspect. As for the directive for data to bypass the CDC and go directly to HHS (Health and Human Services), that strikes me as a political decision designed to reduce tranparency and accountability. It's also bad science and public health policy.

The expert interviewed in Doctor weighs in on Trump administration stripping CDC of control of COVID-19 data from CBS News expressed the same concerns. Watch.

Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to rise across parts of the U.S. CBS News' Laura Podesta reports on the latest, and Dr. Neeta Ogden joins CBSN to discuss concerns about a new order from the White House that shifts control of data on COVID-19 to the Department of Health and Human Services instead of the CDC.
This clip added to CNN's because of the head of CDC advocating for masks and reinforced the message about how bypassing the CDC is bad policy that may harm the effort to fight the disease. I have a meme for that decision.

On the other hand, both segments treated the vaccine news as a good development, although it's too soon to be more than mildly optimistic. If the vaccine is approved, I might post Professor Farnsworth. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Vox explains who really pays the lowest tax rates for a postponed Tax Day plus Supreme Court rules on Trump's tax returns

Happy postponed Tax Day! Today is the day I return to my usual topics for the day.
Maybe conditions will be safer for public assemblies in July, the new tax filing and payment deadline. Either way, that's when I plan on returning to my usual topics for Tax Day of highlighting inequitable taxation and demanding President Trump release his tax returns.
I have videos on both topics, beginning with a follow-up to Vox explains tax reform for Tax Day plus taxes and economics for the eighth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News, itself an update to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Vox explain how tax brackets work. Watch as Vox asks Who pays the lowest taxes in the US?

There's a common myth about who pays their fair share, and who doesn't.
You might have heard that the poor in America barely pay any taxes. And if you look at a chart of how much every American pays in income taxes, that seems basically true. But income taxes are just one type of the many taxes we pay. So what happens if we add them all up? A new analysis by the economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman did exactly that. And it shows that the American tax system might not be as "progressive" as many people believe.
This is not news to me, but I think it's a point that bears repeating. I hope my readers agree.

On the second topic, CNBC has two reports, beginning with Manhattan district attorney can get President Donald Trump tax records: Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court on Thursday voted 7-2 against President Donald Trump in a case over whether he could shield his tax records from the Manhattan district attorney. CNBC's Eamon Javers reports.
That's good news for public accountability, although not necessarily for transparency. As both the CNBC's Eamon Javers and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated, grand jury records generally don't leak, while Congressional evidence does. On that note, here is the next CNBC report Supreme Court throws out ruling allowing Congress to obtain Pres. Donald Trump's financial info.

The Supreme Court on Thursday delivered split opinions in two cases over whether President Donald Trump can shield his tax records from investigators, handing a win to the Manhattan district attorney but rejecting parallel efforts by Democrats in the House of Representatives.

Both cases were decided 7-2, with Chief Justice John Roberts authoring the court’s opinion and joined in the majority by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented in both cases.

Both cases are subject to further review by lower courts. The justices rejected the president’s claims that he was immune from state criminal subpoenas in the New York case. In the congressional case, they wiped away rulings in favor of House Democrats, ordering lower courts to more carefully consider concerns about the separation of powers.

The mixed rulings mean the American public is unlikely to learn about Trump’s financial records or tax information before November’s election.
Ah, well, it was a step in the right direction, but only a step. With luck, Trump will lose re-election before Congress receives his tax returns. That written, I'd still like Congress and the American people to know what's in his tax returns, just like they do for the Democratic candidates who are and were running against him.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Drink to a drum corps Bastille Day with Phantom Regiment's 'I Am Joan'

A happy drum corps Bastille Day to my readers! I telegraphed the first video I'm sharing today in Marching music and a drink for the St. Patrick's Day primaries, when I wrote "I'm saving [Phantom Regiment's] 2019 show for a Bastille Day post, as it has a French theme." Without any further ado, I present 2019 Phantom Regiment | I Am Joan from Drum Corps International.*

Rockford, IL | 12th Place | 87.238

In case that isn't enough, I am sharing Phantom Regiment 2019 "I Am Joan" Finals week at Mount Vernon High School, a run-through of the complete show.

And that was 12th place! Honestly, I think it was a more coherent and entertaining program than the 2018 show I used for St. Patrick's Day this year. That written, playing "Fire of Eternal Glory," while a Phantom Regiment corps song, seems a bit on the nose given how St. Joan became a martyr.

Speaking of which, indulge me a bit about the subject of the show. While Joan of Arc was a pre-revolutionary figure fighting on behalf of King Charles VII of France, her Wikipedia article describes how her star rose after the French Revolution, so she's not out of place in a Bastille Day celebration.
In the 16th century she became a symbol of the Catholic League, and in 1803 she was declared a national symbol of France by the decision of Napoleon Bonaparte...She was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920. Joan of Arc is one of the nine secondary patron saints of France, along with Saint Denis, Saint Martin of Tours, Saint Louis, Saint Michael, Saint Rémi, Saint Petronilla, Saint Radegund and Saint Thérèse of Lisieux.
Vive Le France! Liberté, Egaliteé Fraternité!

Now that I'm done celebrating the third of three patriotic holidays I observe during July, follow over the jump for a celebration of National Grand Marnier Day.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Company Man describes the decline of GNC, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse and pandemic

Happy Monday the 13th, Garfield the Cat's least favorite day! For today's unlucky day, I'm following through on what I wrote to close Brooks Brothers files for bankruptcy while Men's Wearhouse and Jos. A Bank considering it, tales of the Retail Apocalypse and pandemic.
Company Man...uploaded a video yesterday about GNC, which announced it would close 900 stores last year. I plan on using that for another entry, making it the second update to Chuck E. Cheese, GNC, and Tuesday Morning all file for bankruptcy, tales of the Retail Apocalypse during the pandemic featuring a Company Man video.
As promised, here is Company Man's The Decline of GNC...What Happened?

GNC has filed for bankruptcy. This video explains the reasons behind it while taking at their unique history.
This is the first time Company Man has identified stock buybacks as a contributing factor in a company declaring bankruptcy. Usually it's private equity leveraging a company and making it vulnerable to bankruptcy during downturns, which happened to KB Toys, Sears and KMart, Toys R Us, Art Van, J. Crew, and Chuck E. Cheese's, although I failed to mention it until now. However, I might see stock buybacks as a cause of cash flow problems more often as the pandemic-caused recession continues.

That's it for the Retail Apocalypse for today. Stay tuned for my annual Bastille Day entry.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Marching music for the Puerto Rico Primary

As I promised in both Drink to the Puerto Rico statehood referendum for Piña Colada Day 2020 and Marching music and a drink for the Louisiana Primary on Mojito Day 2020, the marching music for a primary series returns for the Puerto Rico Democratic Primary, which is serving as the Sunday entertainment feature.* Before I entertain any of my readers who are waiting for the results, I'm sharing the description of today's election from Wikipedia.
The 2020 Puerto Rico Democratic presidential primary is currently taking place in July 12, 2020.[1] The primary was scheduled to take place on Sunday, March 29, 2020, but Puerto Rican governor Wanda Vazquez postponed the date to April 26, 2020,[2] amid concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in Puerto Rico.[3] The approved delay was signed by the Puerto Rican governor on March 21.[2] It had then been postponed indefinitely until a date was chosen.[4] The Puerto Rico primary is an open primary, with the territory awarding 59 delegates, of which 51 are pledged delegates allocated on the basis of the results of the primary.
It doesn't seem like there are any other offices on the ballot, as the Wikipedia articles for both the 2020 New Progressive Party of Puerto Rico primaries and the 2020 Popular Democratic Party of Puerto Rico primaries still describe those elections as "postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic." Also, what passed for Puerto Rico's Republican Primary has already been held with Wikipedia reporting "The Republican Party of Puerto Rico held an online poll of party leaders on June 5, 2020, in lieu of an actual primary, awarding all 23 of its pledged delegates to the 2020 Republican National Convention to Incumbent President Donald Trump." That was a virtual convention, not a primary. Still, I doubt it would have changed the outcome if it were a primary.

With the information out of the way, it's time for today's entertainment, consisting of two marching bands visiting southern California for the Rose Parade recorded by Music213. Sorry, no drum corps in Puerto Rico. Follow over the jump for the marching music.

Happy Souther 2020!

Today is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Summer Solstice, so it's Souther, a holiday created by John Michael Greer and entrusted to me. He also designated the wombat as the animal mascot for the holiday. Since the first celebration fell on National Ice Cream Day and the holiday usually happens during July, which is National Ice Cream Month, the activity to celebrate the day is eating ice cream. If I were composing this entry on my desktop, I would be embedding a video of The Wombats singing "Ice Cream" and another video from Tipsy Bartender of an ice cream drink, but my home broadband is out again, so I am writing this on my smartphone. Sigh, no videos, no links, and no preview images.*

Here's to hoping this gets fixed soon. In the meantime, Happy Souther!

*ETA: No tags, either. I just fixed that now that my home broadband is back up.  The rest of the absences remain.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

U.S. birth rates continue to fall while life expectancy rises for World Population Day 2020

Not only is today National Mojito Day, but it's also World Population Day. Since I've already written a post for National Mojito Day, it's time to observe World Population Day.

For this year's celebration, I'm going to take a different take from years past, when I examined the holiday directly. Instead, I'm using it as an opportunity to update my readers on two factors that affect a country's population, birth rates and death rates, which I examine indirectly through life expectancy. Birth rates have been declining since 2008 and life expectancy has been falling since 2014, which means more people are dying younger. It's time to see if either of those have changed.

For U.S. birth rates, the answer is no, as the Today Show reported US Birthrate Drops To Lowest Rate In 35 Years in May.

The latest numbers from the CDC show that U.S. births continued to fall last year, leading to the fewest number of newborns in 35 years: There were just 3.7 million births in 2019.
Atlanta's 11Alive explained the continued trend last year when it answered Why is the U.S. birthrate declining?

The birthrate hit a 32-year low in 2018

The COVID-19 pandemic could either amplify the trend or slow it, as Newsy reported COVID-19 Could Trigger Further Drop In Already Falling U.S. Birth Rate last week.

A new survey shows 43% of Millennials and Gen Zers are less likely to have kids because of the pandemic.
I can believe these survey results. As a video I included in Next Media Animation thinks low birth rates in the U.S. and China aren't all good said "economy is the best form of birth control." Given that the U.S. is officially in recession, the weak and uncertain economy will likely outweigh the ability to be at home.

On the other hand, CBS News reported U.S. life expectancy increases for 1st time since 2014 at the end of January 2020.

Life expectancy for Americans increased a bit in the latest CDC data, reversing a downward trend. The first gain in four years is due in part to a decline in cancer deaths.
That's good news, but I have my doubts that the improvement will survive the pandemic. My readers and I will have to wait until next year to find out.

In the meantime, I'm going to conclude this entry by recycling what I last quoted in Destination Maternity/Motherhood Maternity files for bankruptcy and announces store closings, blaming lower birth rates, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse.
On the one hand, the U.S. is doing its part to slow down population growth. On the other hand, [this means] a possible shrinking economy in the future, which is bad for business as usual. It's time to be a good environmentalist and recycle what I wrote last year.
I have been in favor of zero population growth for as long as I can remember. However, I'm not sure the U.S. economy is set up for a stable or slowly declining population, a point I made in the Hipcrime Vocab: Why Slowing Population Growth is a Problem. We are going to have to figure how to do so. Otherwise, I might live long enough to experience the wisdom of the saying "Be careful what you wish for; you might get it."
Here's to hoping the U.S. learns how to thread that needle.

Marching music and a drink for the Louisiana Primary on Mojito Day 2020

Today is the Louisiana Primary, so it's time for a news report followed by some marching music to enjoy while waiting for the results. WWLTV has the news report, Louisiana Voting Day is tomorrow (at least it was tomorrow when the station broadcast the clip).

Voting officials say masks are recommended and all voting machines will be regularly wiped down
May all those voting in person stay safe and healthy at the polling places!

Now the marching music, beginning with the Pelican State's remaining drum corps, 2018 Louisiana Stars.

Follow over the jump for Louisiana's top college bands, LSU and Southern University, plus a drink from National Mojito Day.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Drink to the Puerto Rico statehood referendum for Piña Colada Day 2020

Happy National Piña Colada Day! This is the holiday when I write about the prospects for Puerto Rico statehood. For some background on the subject, watch NBCLXs The History of Puerto Rico's Second-Class Status.

The status of Puerto Rico has been a subject of debate since the U.S. took control of the island in 1898. In 1901, the Supreme Court wrote that Puerto Rico and other new U.S. territories were “inhabited by alien races” and so may be impossible to govern “according to Anglo-Saxon principles.” The island has remained a U.S. territory ever since.

Following the recent disasters on the island – including a devastating hurricane and a series of earthquakes – Puerto Rico’s second-class status is once again in the spotlight. Should Puerto Rico become America’s 51st state?

NBCLX storyteller Bianca Graulau examines the history of the island’s unusual relationship with the U.S., and the statehood debate that has divided even Puerto Ricans.
NBCLX Bianca Graulau returned to the topic of Puerto Rico's exploitation in In Puerto Rico, U.S. Companies Profit While People Still Don't Have Reliable Power.*

Critics say Puerto Rico's power grid isn’t much more resilient than it was before Hurricane Maria, despite billions of dollars awarded in contracts. After Maria, some Puerto Ricans went nine months without power, and they fear it could happen again this hurricane season. NBCLX storyteller Bianca Graulau spoke to a family who lost a loved one when he had an asthma attack after the hurricane and no electricity to use his breathing machine.
It's been a long time since I've mentioned Chris Christie on this blog, but I was neither that surprised that he got involved in consulting about Puerto Rico's power problems nor surprised that Puerto Rico may not be getting all that it paid for.

As for the question of statehood, that's on the ballot this November. Ballotpedia has a page on the referendum, which will be held concurrently with the general election in November. While I'm rooting for statehood, I'm not Puerto Rican. I suspect that, should the opposition to state fully participate, which I hope for the sake of a legitimate result they do, the outcome will be just as likely for continuing the Commonwealth or negotiating for Free Association. On the other hand, if statehood wins, it will be the third time in a row that the voters chose the option I favor. That written, whatever the people of Puerto Rico choose, I'll support it.

Enough about the history and politics of Puerto Rico's relationship with the rest of the United States. Follow over the jump for the piña colada recipes to celebrate today.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Brooks Brothers files for bankruptcy while Men's Wearhouse and Jos. A Bank considering it, tales of the Retail Apocalypse and pandemic

I made a promise at the end of Company Man explains the rise and fall of Chuck E. Cheese's, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse and pandemic.
Going from the ridiculous to the sublime, Chuck E. Cheese's is not the most recent retail bankruptcy. Brooks Brothers filed for Chapter 11 today. I guess no one needs a business suit when they work from home and conduct business over Zoom. When I get a good video about it, I'll post an entry about it here. Stay tuned.
Not long after I posted that, CNBC uploaded Brooks Brothers files for bankruptcy as coronavirus claims another storied retail brand. Watch.

Apparel brand Brooks Brothers filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, as the coronavirus pandemic claimed another storied retail brand. The retailer began in 1818 and prided itself on dressing 40 U.S. presidents. Early to the office-casual look, it became known for its button-down oxford shirts and sports jackers. But rent had become a burden, and the pandemic torpedoed a sale process that began in 2019.
Brooks Brothers isn't the only clothing store selling suits in trouble because of the pandemic. Last month, Wochit Business uploaded Pandemic Lockdowns Drive Workers Into PJ's And Men's Wearhouse Out Of Business.

The parent company of Men's Wearhouse and Jos. Bank is eyeing filing for bankruptcy.
Tailored Brands was facing sales challenges even before office workers started working from home and events like weddings were postponed.
Business Insider reports a number of workwear and special events clothing is struggling amid the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
Brooks Brothers is considering closing three factories in July, and Banana Republic was a low point of Gap Inc.'s earnings report last week.
In this crisis...Banana Republic was disadvantaged in its product mix as customers opted for casual style. Sonia Syngal CEO, Gap Inc.
If (when) Taylored Brands, which also runs Moore's and K&G Fashion Superstore, files for bankruptcy and a reputable source uploads a video about, I'll blog about it. I should also write an entry about Zoom, which I have used for years for Coffee Party business and is allowing people to attend meetings and classes while working and studying from home. Company Man has a video about the company that I will use. He also has uploaded a video yesterday about GNC, which announced it would close 900 stores last year. I plan on using that for another entry, making it the second update to Chuck E. Cheese, GNC, and Tuesday Morning all file for bankruptcy, tales of the Retail Apocalypse during the pandemic featuring a Company Man video.

Before I do any of that, stay tuned for the latest on Puerto Rico statehood for National Pina Colada Day, World Population Day, National Mojito Day, and the Louisiana and, Puerto Rico primaries. I love holidays, but they will keep me busy!

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Company Man explains the rise and fall of Chuck E. Cheese's, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse and pandemic

I posted Chuck E. Cheese, GNC, and Tuesday Morning all file for bankruptcy, tales of the Retail Apocalypse during the pandemic last month. The next day, Company Man wasted no time and uploaded The Decline of Chuck E. Cheese's...What Happened? It's time to follow up on my previous post with Company Man's answer to his question, which supports my contention that the company was already having issues that made it vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chuck E. Cheese's has filed for bankruptcy, a headline I never wanted to see. This video investigates the deeper reasoning behind it while taking a look at their eventful history.
As usual, Company Man did a great job of researching and presenting the topic, which proved popular beyond his wildest imaginings. Here's what he posted on Twitter two days later with the caption of "What?!"

Two days later, he tweeted "My latest video has gotten such a strong and positive response that I wanted to thank everyone for supporting it. I believe many people that follow me here tend to be the earliest viewers so I do appreciate it." He continued expressing his appreciation on July 5th, tweeting, "I'm still stunned by the great response to my Chuck E. Cheese's video. After a little more than a week it has over 50,000 likes which is already more than any other video I've ever made. Everyone has been so terrific." It may have more likes, but it still has 1.7 million fewer views than his first and most watched video, which I featured in Company Man and WXYZ on KMart, a tale of the retail apocalypse. Let's see how long it takes to get there.

Going from the ridiculous to the sublime, Chuck E. Cheese's is not the most recent retail bankruptcy. Brooks Brothers filed for Chapter 11 today. I guess no one needs a business suit when they work from home and conduct business over Zoom. When I get a good video about it, I'll post an entry about it here. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Marching music for the New Jersey and Delaware primaries

As I promised at the end of Verge Science points out that one rocket launch can't unify America, it's time for marching music for the New Jersey and Delaware primaries! Before I begin the music, I have some news. First, CBS Philly covered both contests in Primaries Being Held Today In New Jersey, Delaware.

The polls are open until 8 p.m. in both states.

Next, New York's WPIX, PIX11 News, reported NJ voters head to the polls for primary day Tuesday.

New Jersey holds its primary Tuesday amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The presidential contest may be over, but there are interesting races from U.S. Senate down on the ballot.

The last bit of news comes from Delaware Governor John Carney, who signed vote by mail legislation for the 2020 elections last week.

Governor John Carney on Wednesday signed into law House Bill 346, legislation sponsored by House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst that allows Delawareans to vote by mail in the 2020 primary, general and special elections.
That wasn't specifically about this primary, but it is important election reform news just the same.

That's it for the news. Now for the marching music, beginning with Hawthorne Caballeros 2017.

4th place - 94.38