Monday, August 31, 2020

R.I.P. Chadwick Boseman, who played heroes of inclusion, equal treatment, and justice, real and fictional

Yesterday, I wrote that "the death of Chadwick Boseman called to me" and that I would likely get to his passing and the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina later. Well, today is later, so I am celebrating the life of a larger-than-life actor who played larger-than-life characters, both real and fictional.

I begin with Good Morning America's tribute, 'Black Panther' star Chadwick Boseman dies of colon cancer at age 43.

The "Black Panther" star who also portrayed a roster of Black American icons is being remembered by fans, friends and fellow actors for his talents, his spirit and his heart.
In addition to being T'Challa, the Black Panther, a role and movie I wrote about extensively, I blogged about Boseman playing Thurgood Marshall in "Marshall." I missed that he played fellow UCLA Bruin Jackie Robinson and musician James Brown. While T'Challa was a fictional hero that became a symbol of inclusion, diversity, and representation, both Marshall and Robinson were real heroes for inclusion, diversity, representation, equal treatment, and justice. Boseman played them all.

Speaking of those roles, I continue with CNN's video obituary, 'Black Panther' star Chadwick Boseman dies at 43, which features more clips of Boseman's films as well as one of his commencement address at his alma mater, Howard University.

Chadwick Boseman, the man who brought "Black Panther" to life, has died. The actor has been battling colon cancer since 2016 and died at home with his family and wife by his side, according to a statement posted on his Twitter account.
He was 43, his publicist Nicki Fioravante said in a statement.
"A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you so many of the films you have come to love so much," the statement said. "From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy."
The statement said the role of King T'Challa was the "honor of (Boseman's) career."
It certainly was.

The above video show what the news professionals thought of Boseman and his impact. Follow over the jump for two videos from Grace Randolph of Beyond The Trailer that express what the entertainment media and Boseman's fans think of him.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

'Short Treks,' '#FreeRayshawn,' and 'Reno 911!' — government in short form at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards

I told my readers to "stay tuned for the next installment in my coverage of the Emmy Awards" at the conclusion of New ideological position graphs and drinks for Kamala Harris, the Democrats' Vice Presidential nominee for the Sunday entertainment feature and I'm following through, even though shinier objects like the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the death of Chadwick Boseman called to me. I will likely get to both of them later, but I decided I would do what I said I would yesterday. That written, I've opted for a short post about the short form nominees today.

Outstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama Series

Better Call Saul Employee Training: Legal Ethics with Kim Wexler (
The Good Place Presents: The Selection (NBC)
Most Dangerous Game (Quibi)
Reno 911! (Quibi)
Star Trek: Short Treks (CBS All Access)
Based on just the nominees for this category, I would have included "funny and futuristic government" in the title of this entry. The funny nominees about government are "Reno 911!," a Comedy Central series that has been revived on Quibi, and "Better Call Saul Employee Training: Legal Ethics with Kim Wexler." The futuristic one is "Star Trek: Short Treks." As a Star Trek fan, I'm rooting for "Short Treks." However, I doubt either it or "Reno 911!" will win, even though "Reno 911!" has two nominations in this category and Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series. Instead, I think the other nominee for this category with a second nomination, "Most Dangerous Game," has the inside track to win the Emmy.

Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series

Mamoudou Athie as Jerome on Oh Jerome, No(Cake) (FXX)
Laurence Fishburne as Lt. Steven Poincy on #FreeRayshawn (Quibi)
Corey Hawkins as Paul on Survive (Quibi)
Stephan James as Rayshawn on #FreeRayshawn (Quibi)
Christoph Waltz as Miles Sellers on Most Dangerous Game (Quibi)
Neither "Star Trek: Short Treks" nor "Reno 911!" earned a nomination in this category. Instead, the most nominated short form comedy or drama series, "#FreeRayshawn," earned two for Laurence Fishburne and Stephan James. Of the two, Laurence Fishburne is the bigger name actor and the one portraying a government official in Lt. Steven Poincy, so he's the nominee I'm rooting for. However, I don't think he's the favorite. Instead, I think Christoph Waltz as Miles Sellers gave the more compelling performance and doesn't have to share attention with another actor in his own series, so he's the nominee I expect to win.

Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series

Jasmine Cephas Jones as Tyisha on #FreeRayshawn (Quibi)
Anna Kendrick as Cody on Dummy (Quibi)
Kerri Kenney-Silver as Deputy Trudy Wiegel on Reno 911! (Quibi)
Kaitlin Olson as Cricket Melfi on Flipped (Quibi)
Rain Valdez as Belle Jonas on Razor Tongue (YouTube)
The two nominees from shows about government in this category are Jasmine Cephas Jones as Tyisha on "#FreeRayshawn" and Kerri Kenney-Silver as Deputy Trudy Wiegel on "Reno 911!" I'm not rooting for either of them. Instead, I'm hoping Anna Kendrick wins for her role as Cody on "Dummy." She's the biggest name actress nominated in this category and her performance has received the most buzz.  Because of that, I think Kendrick is also the favorite.

Speaking of buzz, Quibi's 10 nominations have brought the short-form streaming service much needed attention for something other than its weak subscription numbers. That's good, but while Emmy nominations are a sign of quality, they are no guarantee of long-term survival. Al Jazeera America earned lots of Emmy nominations for news but shut down just the same after less than three full years. I wish Quibi better luck with its business. It may not need it at the Emmy Awards, where Quibi has a very good chance of sweeping all three of the categories above.

Previous posts about the 2020 Primetime and Creative Arts Emmy Awards

Saturday, August 29, 2020

New ideological position graphs and drinks for Kamala Harris, the Democrats' Vice Presidential nominee

I opened Mike Pence at Voteview and On The Issues for National Veep Day with a whine.
I concluded last night's Sandy Hook Promise's 'Back-To-School Essentials' and P&G's 'The Look' among Emmy nominees for Outstanding Commercial with my hope and dread for today.
[S]tay tuned for a celebration of National Veep Day. With luck, Joe Biden announces his running mate. Otherwise, I am stuck writing about Mike Pence. I hope not.
It's almost noon on Sunday and Joe Biden still has not announced his pick. If he were going to do so today, he'd likely have done it by now to make the Sunday Morning talk shows. So, Mike Pence it is.
While that post was surprisingly successful, earning 382 default and 406 raw page views to rank 16th for August 2020, it wasn't what I wanted to write that day. Now that Joe Biden selected Kamala Harris and she was nominated at the Democratic Convention, it's time to compose the the entry I wanted to post on Veep Day. Better late than never!

Ever since I made the first infographic meme for Harris using her On The Issues page, she has had to share them, first with Biden in's take on the Democratic presidential candidates from left to center and then with Val Demings in On The Issues' take on Democratic Vice-Presidential contenders from left to center. Now that she's the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee, she finally gets an image to herself. As I first wrote last December, Harris left the campaign with an economic score of 10 and a social score of 73 and she re-entered the campaign with the same scores.

I'm being a good environmentalist and recycling the infographic I first created for Harris in Senators and Representatives running for the Democratic nomination are drifting to the left as they campaign in July 2019. While she has drifted both left and right since then, she has maintained an ideological score of -0.709 throughout August. It helps that the Senate has been in recess all month.

Follow over the jump for new videos of drink suggestions to toast Harris at the debates or other speaking events.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Colbert and FiveThirtyEight both remark on Trump's closing convention speech to an unmasked crowd on the White House lawn during a pandemic

It's time to mail in my coverage of the Republican National Convention one last time while still a Post Office. As I have the past three nights, I begin with Stephen Colbert, whose live monologue was After Four Nights Of Nonsense At The RNC, We're Getting Off This Emotional Roller Coaster.

Stephen Colbert wraps up two weeks of LIVE episodes with a roundup of the highest lowlights from an anger-filled RNC, which culminated with an epically boring speech from President Trump to a crowd of 1500 maskless souls on the White House lawn.
Trump gave a boring speech? Man bites dog! Actually, I thought he did a good job, considering he was reading from a Teleprompter instead of serving up one of his impromptu insult comic standup routines. His delivery had more life than usual when giving a prepared speech. That's not saying much, but it is saying something. As for the speech itself, it was repetitive and long, something the panelists from FiveThirtyEight have more to say about over the jump.

I also found Colbert's before and after pictures of Barack Obama, Trump, and himself enlightening. Both Obama and Colbert aged visibly between their two photos, while Trump doesn't seem to have aged more than a man of his years would have in four years. While "I don't care, do you?" may be bad for the country, it seems to be serving Trump's appearance well.

Tooning Out The News showed even more of Trump and his daughter's speeches in RNC Night 4: Trump promises to save America from Trump's America.

The Tooning Out Election 2020 panel welcomes former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci to night four of the RNC for expert analysis on speeches from President Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Rudy Giuliani.
The toons came right out and called the speech a superspreader event, which Colbert himself and the FiveThirtyEight panelists didn't, although they certainly called out how unsafe having more than a thousand mostly unmasked audience members sitting in close quarters was. They also pointed out how the Trump and the Republicans are still campaigning on how great the economy was until the pandemic hit and blamed it on China. At least xenophobia is still Trump's brand.

Follow over the jump for a serious examination of last night from FiveThirtyEight.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Colbert didn't watch the convention last night, but FiveThirtyEight did so you wouldn't have to

 After two days of Stephen Colbert and FiveThirtyEight recapping the Republican National Convention, my readers are still with me, so I'm continuing my alternating silly and serious coverage of the event. I begin, as I have the past two days, with Stephen Colbert: I Didn't Watch The RNC Tonight, And I Feel Great About It.

At a time when the NBA is showing more leadership than the RNC, our host found it pointless to watch Republicans spend Night 3 of their convention talking about everything but what's really going on in America, where 180,000 people have been lost to a pandemic and heavily-armed Rambo wannabes murder people in the streets.
Colbert noted the irrelevance of last night's proceedings in the face of the climate-fueled weather disaster of Hurricane Laura making landfall near the Texas-Louisiana state line, COVID-19 pandemic, and renewed protests of police violence, so he focused on those instead. FiveThirtyEight noted the disconnect as well in RNC Night 3: Pence Makes A Law And Order Appeal. They did watch the convention so you and I wouldn't have to.

The crew reacts to the third night of the 2020 Republican National Convention.
Other than Pence's speech, very little of the convention last night had anything to say about current events. Many of the contributors to FiveThirtyEight's live blog, What Went Down On Night 3 Of The RNC, highlighted that as well.
  • Meena: A Virtual Political Convention With Little Awareness Of The Unrests Of 2020
  • Emily: Third Night Of The RNC Held In A Different Kind Of Bubble
  • Nathaniel: Protests Turn Deadly In Kenosha As NBA Stops Play In Protest And Hurricane Barrels Toward Gulf Coast // Oh, and there was some convention?
  • Seth: A Variety Of Republican Messages But Few Mentions Of Hurricanes, Shootings, Riots
  • Kaleigh: RNC Suspends Its Disbelief To Focus On Traditional GOP Issues
  • Dan: Republican’s Standard Convention Night Sounds Dissonant Notes At Troubled Time
  • Meredith: Pence Pitches to “Make America Great Again, Again.”
  • Galen: The Pence 2024 Presidential Campaign (Unofficially) Kicks Off
  • Geoffrey: Republicans Make The Case To Women That They Should Vote For Trump
  • Amelia: Republicans Make a Pro-Woman Pitch On An Otherwise Snoozy Third Night Of The RNC
One of the few events that FiveThirtyEight's live-bloggers mentioned besides the storm and protests was Mike Pence's speech. That was the focus of Tooning Out The News in RNC Night 3: Pence's stirring defense of magic miracle cure.

The Tooning Out Election 2020 panel welcomes actor and conservative commentator Dean Cain to discuss RNC night three speeches by Mike Pence, Lara Trump, and Kellyanne Conway.
At least someone associated with Colbert's show was watching the convention last night, again so my readers and I wouldn't have to.

Stay tuned for one more night of convention coverage, that is, if people still want to watch and read it. That's up to you.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Women's Equality Day 2020 celebrates the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote in the U.S.

I closed Colbert and FiveThirtyEight return to recap the second night of the Republican National Convention with "today is National Women’s Equality Day. Stay tuned for a brief post celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote." As I wrote last year, "There will be one more 100th anniversary to celebrate, August 26, 1920, when the 19th Amendment was certified by U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby. I hope to remember that date as well." To celebrate the occasion, I'm sharing two videos, beginning with Women's Equality Day from Reuters.

100 years ago American women were granted the constitutional right to #vote in a major victory for the women’s #suffrage movement. #WomensEqualityDay
As I wrote in response to the Good Morning America video I embedded on the 100th anniversary of Tennessee ratifying the 19th Amendment, "I agree; it was a good first step, but more still needs to be done." Speaking of which, women's equality is about more than being able to vote. It's about equality in the workplace as well. The U.S. Army uploaded a video about that earlier today, Women's Equality Day Recognizes Significance of Women in the Military.

Sergeant Major Tres Bien Adams discusses Women's Equality Day, her military career, the first time she voted, and women’s ever-evolving role in the military. (Video by Russell Toof)
The U.S. Armed Forces, particularly the Army, led the way in desegregating society. They can also do it for gender equality. If the Army can do it, then civilians can, too.

Happy Women's Equality Day!

Colbert and FiveThirtyEight return to recap the second night of the Republican National Convention

I told my readers to "stay tuned" at the end of Stephen Colbert and FiveThirtyEight recap the first night of the Republican National Convention because "if my readers enjoy this enough and I don't either get bored of it or find a shinier object, I'll repeat this kind of coverage throughout the week." So far, yesterday's entry has nearly 600 page views, placing it fourth so far for the month. Since my readers are enjoying it, I'm continuing, beginning with Melania Trump Headlines RNC Night 2 - Stephen Colbert's LIVE Monologue.

Stephen Colbert watched every minute of Night 2 of the Republican National Convention, an event he says resembled a racist spelling bee, so he could bring you this LIVE monologue breaking down the First Lady's address from the Rose Garden and the speeches by Eric Trump, Mike Pompeo and Rand Paul.
Trump's pardon from the White House, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's speech from Jerusalem, and First Lady Melania Trump's address from the Rose Garden are all examples of campaigning on the job, which would be a violation of the Hatch Act for Pompeo, at least, if not Mr. and Mrs. Trump. FiveThirtyEight's panel has more to say about that over the jump.

Before I leave Colbert, I am sharing two animated clips about the first night of the convention. First, The Trump Family Sings The ABCs Of The RNC.

With a family like this in charge, who needs facts?

Or a platform, for that matter.*

Speaking of Kimberly Guilfoyle, Tooning Out The News created Kimberly Guilfoyle is crowned Miss Fascism 2020.

After screaming her speech at the Republican National Convention, Kimberly Guilfoyle is crowned Miss Fascism 2020.
Yes, folks, it can happen here.

Enough of the silly takes on the second night of the convention. Follow over the jump for a serious examination from FiveThirtyEight.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Stephen Colbert and FiveThirtyEight recap the first night of the Republican National Convention

My readers seemed to like Stephen Colbert's live monologues of the first two nights of the Democratic Convention with assistance from FiveThirtyEight, viewing it 779 times and making it the second most read entry so far this month behind WOOD-TV finds dismantled mail sorting machines in Michigan and Governor Whitmer and Senator Peters react on MSNBC. Since that's what my readers want, I'm giving them more of it for the Republican National Convention. Watch When They Go Low, We Go LIVE: Watch Stephen Colbert's Monologue From Night 1 Of The RNC.

The first night of the Republican National Convention was "a long midnight of the soul" according to our host, and featured speeches from Donald Trump Jr., Nikki Hayley (sic), and Kimberly Guilfoyle as well as multiple appearances by President Trump.
Despite the attempts by Nikki Haley (not "Hayley") and Rick Scott to make the party and convention seem normal and non-threatening, Kimberly Guilfoyle managed to set the tone that viewers on the other side of the aisle found believable. If the Republicans wanted to get the Fox News viewers fired up, she was the one to do it. If they wanted to convince persuadable voters to vote Republicans, she wasn't.

As Colbert promised at the conclusion of his monologue, here is Pod Save America: The RNC's Message Of Fear Is In Opposition To The DNC's Message Of Hope.

Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor from "Pod Save America" thought night one of the RNC painted a dark and fearful vision of America.
The irony was the Republicans wanted to portray what they were doing as hopeful and the Democrats as having been negative last week. I think they were projecting.

Enough of the silly take on the first night of the convention. Follow over the jump for a more serious examination from FiveThirtyEight.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Massive California fires and two tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico, two climate-fueled weather disasters

Although I last blogged explicitly about the climate in Vox describes how climate change is brewing a crisis for coffee growing and current weather events in Michigan flooded while Trump tweeted then refused to wear a mask on camera, I have covered two of my "favorite" climate-aggravated natural disasters, hurricanes and wildfires, little if at all this year. The closest I came to the latter was Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, and others highlight Australian fires and climate change at the Golden Globes, which was an entertainment story first and an environmental story second. I have my opportunity to write about both today, as both fires and tropical storms are in the news. I begin with Good Morning America reporting Nearly 1M acres burned in California wildfires.

The massive deadly infernos have become the second and third largest fires in state history and as firefighters work tirelessly, businesses in Santa Cruz are being looted.
ABC News proper has more in California fire disaster death toll rises.

Hundreds of National Guard soldiers are training to help understaffed firefighters as wildfires burn more than a million acres. ABC’s Mona Kosar Abdi reports.
That ex-girlfriend I mention from time to time lives in the fire area. I hope she and her husband are O.K. and their house survives.

I know what it feels like to have fire this close, something I wrote about two years ago in California's Camp and Woolsey fires air pollution seen from space and felt on ground. I saw the damage up close in January 2019, when my mom and I drove from her California house to the sea and back. Once we hit the burnt area, we didn't leave it until we got to Malibu; the fire burned all the way to the coast. I was astounded. It's one thing to watch the news reports; it's another to see it up close and in person.

Follow over the jump for the stories about tropical storms Laura and Marco.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

'Dark Waters' and 'Chernobyl' among 2020 Environmental Media Association Award winners

For today's Sunday Entertainment feature, I'm skipping the Emmy Awards to focus on the Environmental Media Association Awards, which held a virtual awards ceremony on Friday to "honor film and television productions and individuals that increase public awareness of environmental issues and inspire personal action on these issues." Here are the nominees and winners (in bold) from the Environmental Media Association (EMA) and The Hollywood Reporter with my comments.

Dark Waters (Focus Features/Participant)
Weathering with You (Toho Co., Ltd./STORY Inc./CoMix Wave Films)
Frozen 2 (Walt Disney Animation Studios)
"Dark Waters" was the one with an explicit environmental and political theme. I suggested it to the volunteers and members of Coffee Party USA in Coffee Party USA invites you to watch these political movies while staying safe at home and one of the readers at the Coffee Party USA Facebook Page thought it was one movie not on my shortlist worthy of a nomination. However, no one eligible actually voted for it, so it didn't earn a nomination. Too bad, although it probably wouldn't have beaten "Harriet," the big winner at the 2019 Golden Coffee Cups for Movies. Still, "Dark Waters" now has a win to go with its four nominations. Congratulations!

Ted Turner: Captain Planet (WarnerMedia)
Disneynature’s Elephant (The Walt Disney Studios)
The Story of Plastic (Discovery Channel)
The one nominee I had heard of was Elephant, which my favorite royal, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, narrated. If I had covered the nominations, like I did last year, I would have chosen it as the favorite. Furthermore, it was the only theatrical release. The others are television specials that didn't even earn Emmy nominations. Still, the EMA is free to determine eligibility as it sees fit and not follow the criteria of other awards granting bodies.

Since I haven't seen "Ted Turner: Captain Planet" and I suspect most of my readers haven't either, here it is from CNN Philippines.

Those who know him and his environmental work best paint the picture of a Ted Turner often lost in the headlines, but no less important. Hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Catch Ted Turner: Captain Planet to know more about his passion for the natural environment.

 Now for the television awards.

Chernobyl "Please Remain Calm" (WarnerMedia)
Queen Sugar “Of Several Centuries" (WarnerMedia)
Madam Secretary “The New Normal" (ViacomCBS)
Snowpiercer "First, the Weather Changed" (WarnerMedia)
I called the winner nearly a year ago in 'Chernobyl' dominates Limited Series with ten Emmy Awards.
I expect lots more awards for "Chernobyl," including Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards, and all the various guild awards, followed by the EMA Awards to finish out its awards show run. However, the next honors may come from Coffee Party USA, as I expect "Chernobyl" to be nominated for the Golden Coffee Cup for Best Miniseries or Movie for Television about Politics and Government when I run the awards for the 2018-2019 season.
I still have to run the Golden Coffee Cups for Television, although I posted the Golden Coffee Cups shortlist in May. When I finish grading finals, I promise I will.

As for the other nominees, I'm glad to see stiff competition, unlike last year when "The Blacklist" was the sole nominee and winner. In particular, I'm glad to see "Snowpiercer" and "Madam Secretary" in the field. I need to watch "Queen Sugar" to see what it's all about.

The last category I've featuring above the jump is a new one.

Activate “Ending Plastic Pollution” (National Geographic)
Home “Sweden” (Apple TV+)
60 Minutes “Venice is Drowning” (ViacomCBS)
What's Eating America “Overcooked” (NBCUniversal/MSNBC)
I would have voted for "What's Eating America," which I think is a more explicitly political version of "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown." That's what happens when MSNBC adapts a CNN show concept. News professionals would probably have voted for "60 Minutes." However, the EMA electorate wanted the series that was more expressly activist and focused on a trendier environmental issue. Good for them and congratulations to National Geographic. Also congratulations to the EMA for splitting this category off from reality television, which really was an unscripted television category where the documentaries would beat the true reality shows.

Speaking of electorates, maybe I should do for EMA what I did for the Saturn Awards, join so I can vote. That's a New Year's resolution for me.

Follow over the jump for the rest of the nominees and winners along with the video of the virtual awards show.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Earth Overshoot Day 2020 delayed more than three weeks because of coronavirus pandemic

I closed today's Vox explains why wearing face masks became political in the U.S. with a programming note: "Today is Earth Overshoot Day, so stay tuned for a brief post about how the the coronavirus response has reduced human environmental impact." With that, I'm sharing two videos. The first comes from Euronews, Humans have now consumed the Earth's natural resources for the year, which highlights the bad news about the day.

It's called "Overshoot Day", the moment each year when we humans have used up more natural resources than the Earth can renew in 12 months.
Only at the end does Euronews point out that this year is an anomaly because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

News 9 from India did a much more thorough job in Pandemic effect: Consumption of earth’s resources drops.

[According to r]esearchers at Global Overshoot Day, the rate at which humanity is consuming the Earth’s resources declined this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the video pointed out that earlier recessions had reduced humanity's ecological footprint before, the results has usually delayed Earth Overshoot Day by days, not weeks, if at all, and can be short-lived. The record of past Earth Overshoot Days shows that the Great Recession of 2007-2009 merely stalled the date at August 14th in 2008 and pushed it back 4 days to August 18th in 2009. In 2010, it advanced 11 days to August 7th. The 2001 recession merely slowed down the trend, with the date moving back 1 day from September 22nd to September 23rd. Before that, the Gulf War recession of 1991-1992 held the date at October 12th during 1992-1993. The longest lasting effect was from the double-dip recession (Reagan Recession) of 1980-1982, when it took 5 years for the date to return to November 4th. As for this year, it's the latest date for Earth Overshoot Day since 2005, when it fell on August 25th. I don't expect it will be this late next year.

Enough history. How effective have I been at reducing my footprint this past year? Follow over the jump.

Vox explains why wearing face masks became political in the U.S.

Climate change is not the only scientific issue to become poltically polarized. So has wearing masks to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Vox tells the story and explains how it could have gone differently in Why face masks became political in the US.

How America screwed up its messaging on masks.
The message from public health experts is clear: Wearing a mask can help stop the spread of coronavirus. But that message hasn't completely gotten through; many Americans still simply don't believe it. It's a major failure of communication, one that has almost certainly cost lives.

But the US government actually had a plan to prevent almost this exact situation from happening: A written set of rules to communicating in a public health crisis, including how to make sure that public health information doesn't get mixed up with politics. But then, when the biggest health crisis in a century arrived, they ignored it completely.
So it wasn't just a plan for dealing with the pandemic that the Trump Administration ignored, it was a plan to communicate about it. Sigh.

It took nearly six months, but G.O.P. politicians finally got on board with the experts. By the end of June, NBC News reported Several Republicans Now Encouraging Americans To Wear Masks Amid Coronavirus.

Vice President Pence, Sen. Mitch McConnell, and Sen. Lamar Alexander are encouraging the use of masks as they visit states across the country and hold hearings in Congress as the coronavirus outbreak continues in the United States.
Better late than never, but a lot of wasted lives, time, and resources could have been saved if politicians of both parties, not just one, had followed the advice of experts from the beginning. May we learn that lesson in time for the next public health crisis.

Today is Earth Overshoot Day, so stay tuned for a brief post about how the the coronavirus response has reduced human environmental impact.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Seth Meyers takes closer looks at the assault on the USPS

I just wrote WOOD-TV finds dismantled mail sorting machines in Michigan and Governor Whitmer and Senator Peters react on MSNBC yesterday, but I couldn't resist another examination of the Post Office. Since I traditionally alternate between serious and silly treatments of an issue, it's time for some comedy. I just happen to have two clips from Late Night with Seth Meyers on the subject. I begin with USPS Trump’s Plan to Sabotage the Post Office Before the Election: A Closer Look from August 11, 2020.

Seth takes a closer look at the president trying to undermine the integrity of the election by sabotaging the post office because he knows he can’t win in November with a majority of votes.
Hey, look, a clip from Business Insider on the rise and fall of the USPS that explains what happened to the Post Office plus a photo showing Senator Susan Collins at the signing of the bill that is causing the Post Office's financial troubles. That alone is a reason to vote her out.

The Business Insider video makes another appearance in Trump and the GOP Are Trying to Destroy the Post Office: A Closer Look from earlier this week, along with the latest news about mail sorting machines being taken out of service.

Seth takes a closer look at President Trump and the Republican Party’s plan to dismantle the US Postal Service that is both an assault on democracy and the culmination of a decades-long movement to privatize one of the country’s most cherished public institutions.
As Seth points out, the assault on the Post Office has been building for decades. In Trump, the plan finally found someone who is willing to carry it out.

As an aside, I'm glad to hear that Seth is heading back to the studio next week. It's a sign that things are returning to the pre-pandemic normal in New York, even though the pandemic is still raging elsewhere in the country.

Finally, I'm in the middle of grading final exams, which means I should be posting shorter entries with less thought required. In less stressful times, I might type that I'm mailing it in, but the way things are going with the Postal Service, I don't know if that will work for much longer.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

WOOD-TV finds dismantled mail sorting machines in Michigan and Governor Whitmer and Senator Peters react on MSNBC

Since I last looked at the plight of the Postal Service through a comedic lens in Stephen Colbert is 'ha, ha, only serious' about President Trump and Postmaster DeJoy messing with the Post Office to suppress the mail-in vote, it's time for a serious take on the issue. WOOD-TV provided just the opportunity yesterday when they reported Some USPS machines dismantled in Kent Co., including one Wednesday.

The day after the postmaster general said he would hit pause on massive changes within the U.S. Postal Service, News 8 learned a sorting machine was being dismantled in the downtown Grand Rapids post office. (Aug. 19, 2020)
I watched this story blow up on Twitter yesterday, which the WOOD-TV anchor noted. In particular, he mentioned both Michigan's Attorney General and one of Michigan's U.S. Senators retweeting the story. Both elected officials play a part in the next two videos, one off-camera and the other on-camera, from MSNBC. Follow over the jump for the reactions.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Stephen Colbert's live monologues of the first two nights of the Democratic Convention with assistance from FiveThirtyEight

It's time for me to turn my attention to the Democratic National Convention, which is taking place remotely this week. I'm going to compress my usual serious and silly coverage of a subject by alternating between the two in the same post. I begin the silly part with Stephen's LIVE Monologue Following Day 1 Of The Democratic National Convention.

Stephen Colbert comes to you LIVE from A Late Show's election HQ in Midtown Manhattan to break down the events of the DNC's first night. From the night's host Eva Longoria, to appearances by members of the GOP, to headline speeches by Bernie Sanders and Michelle Obama, the first night of the DNC stuck closely to a theme: heavy criticism of President Trump's record.
I must say that Pete Buttigieg makes a good Spider-Man and Trump an appropriately villainous Thanos, whle John Kasich playing Groot serves well as an absurd punch line. As for a more serious breakdown of the first night of the convention, I'll outsource that to FiveThirtyEight for the serious part of my coverage.
  • Meena: The First Night Of The First Online DNC Was, Ummm, Well, Extremely 2020
  • Nathaniel: Democrats Convene For Sometimes-Awkward Virtual Convention
  • Julia: Democrats Emphasize Character And Unity
  • Amelia: Michelle Obama And The Postal Service Get All The Attention On The First Night Of The DNC
  • Seth: Democrats Emphasize Those Suffering in Trump’s America, Praise Biden’s Empathy
  • Kaleigh: Like Everything Else In 2020, DNC Had A Lot Of Talk About COVID And Awkward Zoom Moments
  • Geoffrey: Democrats Have Hit-Or-Miss Night Holding The First Virtual National Convention
  • Emily: DNC’s Online Convention Still In Beta
The Post Office didn't just receive a lot of attention at the first night of the convention. Colbert dedicated two segments of his Monday night show to the topic, which I might get to later.

Before I move on to Tuesday's proceedings, I'm sharing something I learned about Monday night's host Eva Longoria. She has a Masters Degree from California State University, Northridge (CSUN), just like I do. Her thesis was "Success STEMS From Diversity: The Value of Latinas in STEM Careers." Now that's a clever title and a topic I can support!

Now to last night's LIVE Monologue: Joe Got Confetti, Jill Biden Got A Nickname, And AOC Got One Minute On DNC Night 2 for the silly part of my post.

Stephen Colbert goes LIVE after night two of the Democratic National Convention, covering AOC's one-minute speech, the appearances by Bill Clinton and Jill Biden, and the enduring genetic legacy of the Kennedy clan.
"What does the F in Effing stand for" turned into a good running joke that led to a funny conclusion, which is more than I expected. Good work on short notice! Colbert also had a lot of fun with the roll call, which the live bloggers at FiveThirtyEight thought was the highlight of the evening.
  • Tony: Virtual Roll Call For The Win
  • Geoffrey: Democratic Roll Call Showcases America’s Diverse People And Places
  • Kaleigh: Democrats Accidentally Discover The Best Way To Do A Convention Roll Call
  • Meredith: 50 Nifty States (Plus Territories) On Display, Make Biden’s Nomination Official
  • Meena: New Mexico, Puerto Rico, North Dakota, Hawaii Win DNC’s Virtual Roll Call Vote
  • Seth: Democrats Highlight National Diversity, Rising Stars And Experienced Hands
  • Geoffrey: Democrats Look Ahead To The Future But Also To The Past On Night 2
  • Amelia: The DNC Started Night 2 With 17 Rising Stars, But the Old Guard Got Most Of The Airtime
  • Nathaniel: Headliner-Less Tuesday At DNC Likely To Get Record-Low Ratings
The other point was about how the night was supposed to showcase up-and-coming stars in the party but ended up focusing on the old guard. Let's see if that continues to be a theme tonight and tomorrow.

Before I go, I am pointing out that last night's host Tracee Ellis Ross is nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series at this year's Emmy Awards. Once again, the Democrats get top talent to host their convention. I'll be sure to remind my readers of her hosting duties at the Democratic Convention when I get to the comedy nominations at the Emmy Awards. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

UC Santa Barbara and Good Morning America observe another 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment

Last year, I observed the 100th Anniversary of passage of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote. It's time to recognize another milestone for the equality of women in the United States, Tennessee becoming the 26th state to ratify the 19th Amendment on August 18, 1920. To that end, I begin today's commemoration of the occasion with UC Santa Barbara Fast Facts: The 19th Amendment.

August 18, 2020, marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, giving women in the United States the right to vote, and since 1920, women's roles in elections continues to evolve.
Good Morning America discussed the significance of the event in We are honoring the 100th anniversary of some American women's right to vote.

Our newswomen react to the 19th Amendment on the anniversary of white women's suffrage. 100 years later there's still work to be done.
I agree; it was a good first step, but more still needs to be done.

Finally, CrashCourse puts the 19th Amendment in context in Women's Suffrage: Crash Course US History #31.

In which John Green teaches you about American women in the Progressive Era and, well, the progress they made. So the big deal is, of course, the right to vote women gained when the 19th amendment was passed and ratified. But women made a lot of other gains in the 30 years between 1890 and 1920. More women joined the workforce, they acquired lots of other legal rights related to property, and they also became key consumers in the industrial economy. Women also continued to play a vital role in reform movements. Sadly, they got Prohibition enacted in the US, but they did a lot of good stuff, too. The field of social work emerged as women like Jane Addams created settlement houses to assist immigrants in their integration into the United States. Women also began to work to make birth control widely available. You'll learn about famous reformers and activists like Alice Paul, Margaret Sanger, and Emma Goldman, among others.
Watching this video reminds me that I've only embedded a CrashCourse video in a blog entry once before as the conclusion of Plague in the news and in history. Maybe I should use their videos more often.

Finally, I wrote about one more anniversary still to come in 100th Anniversary of passage of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote.
There will be one more 100th anniversary to celebrate, August 26, 1920, when the 19th Amendment was certified by U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby. I hope to remember that date as well.
That's National Women’s Equality Day. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Join me in donating to Coffee Party USA on National Nonprofit Day 2020

Happy National Nonprofit Day! To celebrate, I just donated $5.00 to my favorite nonprofit, Coffee Party USA. I am a director and officer of the organization and I just donated $5.00 in addition to my regular $10.00 monthly dues. I am asking my readers to please match my $5.00 donation.

For what we do, I'm being a good environmentalist and recycling what I wrote for Coffee Party USA invites you to watch these political movies while staying safe at home.
Coffee Party USA ia a 501c(4) nonprofit social welfare organization dedicated to empowering and connecting communities to reclaim our government for the people. To support its efforts, which include educating the public on our website and on our Facebook page, registering people to vote with our partners TurboVote and National Voter Registration Day, and reminding them to vote through our Voter Buddy program, please consider donating. A donation of $10.00 for ten years of Coffee Party USA is recommended. Ten dollars will also buy our partner stamp with Stamp Stampede to stamp money out of politics. For those who wish to give at a higher level of support and be more involved in the organization, please consider becoming a member, which will allow you to vote for future Golden Coffee Cup nominees and winners. To do the valuable work of the Coffee Party, volunteer. Not only will Coffee Party USA thank you for it, so will the country!
Thank you in advance for your matching donation.

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

Crossposted from Coffee Party USA.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

'The Cave' vs. 'American Factory' — Oscar nominees and other documentaries at the Emmy Awards

Happy Sunday, which means it's time for the Sunday entertainment feature. As I plan on doing through October, the subject will be the Emmy Awards. Today, I'm writing this year's version of 'RBG' vs. 'Free Solo' and other Oscar nominees at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, examining the documentary films and specials nominated at the 72nd Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards. Five documentaries I've blogged about before earned nominations, including Critics' Choice and Golden Coffee Cup winner "Apollo 11" with five, Oscar nominee "The Cave" with four, Oscar winner "American Factory" with three, and Critics' Choice nominee "One Child Nation" and BAFTA nominee "The Great Hack," both with one each.

I would have loved for all five to be the nominees in the first category, but only two of them made the cut.

Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking

The Cave (National Geographic Channel)
Chasing the Moon (American Experience) (PBS)
Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements (HBO)
One Child Nation (PBS)
If I handicapped this category purely on the number of nominations, I'd pick "The Cave" with its four nominations while all the others only have one. In addition, it's the only Oscar nominee in the category. However, electorates matter and the Emmy electorate is not the Oscar electorate. "Icarus" won the Academy Award but did not win any of its categories at the Emmys two years ago and Oscar winner "American Factory" did not even earn a nomination in this category. As for the film that could upset "The Cave," I'd pick "One Child Nation," which was the most nominated documentary at the Critics' Choice Awards, even though it didn't win a single category. After all, I did write "I think it will have better luck at the Emmy Awards next year." This is its one chance to prove me right.

Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special

The Apollo (HBO)
Beastie Boys Story (Apple TV+)
Becoming (Netflix)
The Great Hack (Netflix)
Laurel Canyon: A Place in Time (EPIX)
The most nominated entry is "Beastie Boys Story" with five nominations, followed by "Becoming" with four, "Laurel Canyon: A Place in Time" with three, and "The Apollo" and "The Great Hack" with one each. While the explicitly political documentaries are "Becoming" about Michelle Obama and "The Great Hack" about Cambridge Analytica, I think one of the three music documentaries will win. Hollywood loves a good show about entertainment and, while none of these are about movies and television, music comes close. That's why I suspect "Laurel Canyon: A Place in Time" might be favored over "Beastie Boys Story." Laurel Canyon is in the Hollywood hills, while the Beastie Boys are from New York.

Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (Netflix)
Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath (A&E)
Ugly Delicious (Netflix)
Vice (Showtime)
The World According to Jeff Goldblum (Disney+)
This is the category "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" dominated for six years and his absence is palpable. As I wrote last year, "Anthony Bourdain was a great writer right up until the end. I will miss him." So does this category. With his show over, there are no multiple nominees here, so I can't use that criterion to handicap the competition. Instead, I will resort to previous wins and nominations. According to that method, "Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath" is the clear favorite, as it has won before and has been nominated every year since. The next best bet would be "Vice," which tied "Parts Unknown" six years ago and has been a multiple, if not consecutive, nominee since. The dark horse would be "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee," which was nominated last year. I'm still going with "Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath," as it's a story about Hollywood, which Hollywood loves.

Outstanding Narrator

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Black Patriots: Heroes of the Revolution (History)
David Attenborough on Seven Worlds, One Planet (Episode: "Antarctica") (BBC America)
Angela Bassett on The Imagineering Story (Episode: "The Happiest Place on Earth") (Disney+)
Chiwetel Ejiofor on The Elephant Queen (Apple TV+)
Lupita Nyong'o on Serengeti (Episode: "Destiny") (Discovery Channel)
What a list of all-star talent! Lupita Nyong'o is an Oscar winner, Angela Bassett is an Oscar nominee and Golden Globes winner, Chiwetel Ejiofor is an Oscar nominee, and David Attenborough is two-time returning winner. On that basis, I'd say Sir David is the nominal favorite, although he's up against stiff competition. The nominee I'd look out for is Nyong'o because "Serengeti" is the only series with two nominations.

That reminds me that I'm used to seeing a lot of nature documentaries nominated at the Emmys, but that's not the case this year. I suspect that's because "Tiger King" sucked up all the oxygen that would normally go to shows about wild animals.

Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming

American Factory - Aubrey Keith, Erick Stoll (Netflix)
Apollo 11 - Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins (CNN)
Becoming - Nadia Hallgren (Netflix)
The Cave - Muhammed Khair Al Shami, Ammar Sulaiman, Mohammad Eyad (National Geographic)
Sea of Shadows - Richard Ladkani (National Geographic)
Serengeti - Richard Jones, Michael W. Richards, Warren Samuels, Matthew Goodman (Episode: "Rebirth") (Discovery Channel)
This is one of two categories that have three of the top documentaries, four if one counts "Becoming," competing against each other, so the competition is stiff. On the basis of number of nominations, I'd pick "Apollo 11," but it's up against "The Cave" and "American Factory," which are shot by professionals, while Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, while legendary astronauts and American heroes, are essentially amateur cameramen. The Emmy electorate might prefer the professionals, which give nature documentaries "Sea of Shadows" and "Serengeti" a chance.

Outstanding Main Title Design

Abstract: The Art of Design (Netflix)
Carnival Row (Prime Video)
Godfather of Harlem (Epix)
The Morning Show (Apple TV+)
The Politician (Netflix)
Watchmen (HBO)
Westworld (HBO)
"Abstract: The Art of Design" is the one documentary nominated in this category. I'll have more to say about its chances when I see the rest of the nominees — before I wrote this I'd only seen "Carnival Row," "Watchmen," and "Westworld" — but I'll embed its video below.

Follow over the jump for the nominees I covered in 'Tiger King' vs. 'McMillion$' — big cats and true crime at the Emmy Awards for World Lion Day.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Murder hornets vs. honeybees for World Honey Bee Day

Happy World Honey Bee Day! I telegraphed what I would do today on World Bee Day.
I will do this all over again for World Honey Bee Day in August with updates on threats facing bees, such as "murder hornets," in between. Stay tuned.
I have been so busy with the Emmy Awards, elections, and COVID-19 pandemic that I haven't been updated my readers about bees at all since then. To make up for it, I'm sharing a video that VICE News posted on World Bee Day, coincidentally enough, Watch A ‘Murder Hornet’ Destroy An Entire Honeybee Hive.

Right when we thought 2020 couldn’t get worse, ‘Murder Hornets’ made their big U.S. debut. But are murder hornets as ‘murderous’ as their nickname suggests?

Asian Giant Hornets are responsible for up to 50 deaths a year in Asia, especially in Japan, which has been dealing with the problem for thousands of years. But it takes multiple stings to kill a person. But the real victim and biggest concern is the already declining honeybee population. Murder hornets were first spotted in Washington State in December, and beekeepers there are terrified.

The Asian Giant Hornet is the biggest known hornet in the world. The hornet can grow up to 2 inches long with a curved stinger long enough to puncture a bee suit.
Late last month, CBS Sunday Morning uploaded Invasion! Asian giant hornets have arrived, which shows that Asian Giant Hornets are still here.

They can grow as large as 2½ inches and can slaughter a colony of thousands of honeybees in a matter of hours. And their sting? It's one of the most painful known to humankind. Vespa mandarinia, dubbed by The New York Times as "murder hornets," are the nation's latest invasive species, and correspondent Luke Burbank talks with entomologists and a beekeeper about the threats these insects pose and what's being done to keep them from establishing themselves in the U.S.
For the sake of the bees, I hope Chris Looney and the people who work with him at the Washington state Department of Agriculture succeed in preventing "murder hornets" from becoming established. Bees have enough problems.

Stein Mart files for bankruptcy and will close all stores, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse and pandemic

Once again, the COVID-19 pandemic turned out to be the final straw for a chain that was already in trouble during the Retail Apocalypse, forcing it into bankruptcy. News4JAX (WJXT4 in Jacksonville, Florida) has the story in Stein Mart files for bankruptcy, lays off ‘substantial number’ of employees.

Jacksonville-based retailer expects to close a significant number, if not all, of its brick-and-mortar stores
That was only three days ago. This morning, the Tampa Bay Times reported It’s goodbye for Stein Mart, the Florida retailer will close every store.
After a $10 million PPP loan and an attempt to merge with a spin-off company, the high-end discount retailer is calling it quits.
On Thursday...the liquidators for the high-end brand discount store announced all of Stein Mart’s 279 locations would close. The chain had filed for bankruptcy the day before, after several attempts to keep the struggling business alive — from securing a $10 million Paycheck Protection Payment loan to seeking out a merger with a spin-off company.

Ultimately, none of it was enough.

“You either have to be the best at something or the cheapest,” said Tampa bankruptcy attorney Megan Murray. “I don’t know that Stein Mart was the best at anything.”
According to the article, Stein Mart's customers were older, which meant that they weren't going out or working because they are the ones most vulnerable to the pandemic. TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, Homegoods, and Ross have younger customers who returned to the stores, while Stein Mart's didn't. Sigh.

August has already been a bad month for retail chains, especially those specializing in clothing. So far, I've reported on Lord & Taylor, Tailored Brands, and Ascena Retail Group filing for bankruptcy and updated my readers on JCPenney and Hertz. Including Stein Mart, that's five retail chains and a travel company I've written about this month and it's only halfway through August. I know I'll be blogging more about the Retail Apocalypse, as I have a video from Retail Archaeology to share about JCPenney.

That's the Retail Apocalypse news for today. Stay tuned for an observance of World Honey Bee Day.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Stephen Colbert is 'ha, ha, only serious' about President Trump and Postmaster DeJoy messing with the Post Office to suppress the mail-in vote

While I've mentioned voting by mail in my marching music for a primary election series, I haven't focused specifically on the problems of the Post Office since I wrote Business Insider on the rise and fall of the USPS two months ago. Since I usually alternate between serious and silly takes on a subject, it's time to examine the issue through comedy. Fortunately, Stephen Colbert examined the topic in two segments last night, beginning with his monologue, Michael Cohen Teases A Bombshell Book While Trump Admits He's Slowing USPS To Tilt The Election.

Former Trump fixer Michael Cohen dropped details of a new tell-all book today, which he promises will be full of things the President doesn't want you to read. That same President today openly talked about his effort to interfere with the USPS and swing the election in his favor.
In addition to Stephen showing two clips of Trump stating his opposition to funding the USPS to support mail-in voting, he mentioned Postmaster Louis DeJoy's investments in USPS competitors. USA Today examined a claim about DeJoy's investments being a conflict of interest and rated it as "Missing Context," but did confirm the investments.
Louis DeJoy and his wife Aldona Wos reported between at least $30 million to just over $75 million in assets from XPO Logistics, J.B. Hunt and UPS. All are competitors with U.S. Postal Service operations. While government records confirm their ownership of the assets, the exact value of the holdings is not clear from the records.
Only the best people.

Colbert and his bandleader Jon Batiste continued the discussion of the USPS to open the next segment, Quarantinewhile... The Space Force Tweet That Inspires And Confuses.

Quarantinewhile... The newest branch of the U.S. military is on a mission to inspire Americans to aim high.
I think the fictional F. Tony Scarapiducci from "Space Force" would have written a better tweet and he's a walking joke.

Voting by mail even made a cameo at the end of the next segment, "The Circus" Hosts Ask: Will Donald Trump Gain Voters In 2020?

Mark McKinnon and Alex Wagner, who are living on the campaign trail until Election Day, share some insights about the loyalty of President Trump's base in advance of the Season 5 premiere of their show "The Circus" on Showtime.
I hope Alex Wagner is right about Democratic turnout.

By the way, these clips demonstrate why "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" earned three Emmy nominations for Outstanding Variety Talk Series, Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series, and Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series. I don't think it will win any of those, but the show certainly deserved its nominations.

I conclude this post with a meme.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Company Man asks 'Hertz...What happened?' A tale of the Retail Apocalypse and pandemic

I opened Executives at JCPenney and Hertz scored bonuses before declaring bankruptcy, tales of the Retail Apocalypse and pandemic by noting that I had missed a bankruptcy that I should cover and then started to cover it.
In an aside near the end of Lord & Taylor and Tailored Brands, parent of Men's Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank, file for bankruptcy, tales of the Retail Apocalypse and pandemic, I noted an omission and promised to correct it.
I've been skipping over the Hertz bankruptcy. I've been confining my covering of travel to driving updates, but maybe it's time to look at air travel, hotels, and car rentals.
I'm following up on that promise even earlier than I expected, as I came across U.S. execs score bonuses just before bankruptcy by Reuters, in which both Hertz and JCPenney play starring roles.
That was only a down payment on that promise, but Company Man made fulfulling it even easier yesterday by uploading The Decline of Hertz...What Happened?

In May of 2020, the rental car company Hertz filed for bankruptcy. This video takes a look at their constantly changing history while trying to find reasons behind their recent troubles.
Viewer Peter Barlow summarized Hertz's issues in his comment.
That’s private equity for you: do leveraged buyout then leverage the acquired company to buy more companies. Take company public, run off with the cash. Asset Strip the acquired company. Declare bankruptcy and walk away. Rinse and repeat. (Also cars are some of the worst assets to leverage against as hey presto they depreciate every single month)
Bingo. As I've written about retail chains, companies that were in trouble before the Retail Apocalypse, or in this case, the COVID-19 pandemic, are the ones that are failing now. Hertz is no exception. One of the causes of trouble is debt from mergers and aquisitions in addition to private equity. That's an argument for corporate reform if I ever saw one.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Vox describes how climate change is brewing a crisis for coffee growing

I'm taking a break from the Emmy Awards, elections, and COVID-19 pandemic to write about climate change, which will be a problem long after all of the above are over. To that end, I am sharing The global coffee crisis is coming by Vox.

It's becoming harder and harder to grow.
Coffee is one of the most popular commodities on Earth. It's grown by nearly 125 million farmers, from Latin America to Africa to Asia. But as man-made climate change warms the atmosphere, the notoriously particular coffee plant is struggling. Places like Colombia, which once had the perfect climate to grow Arabica coffee, are changing. Now, experts estimate the amount of land that can sustain coffee will fall 50 percent by 2050. It's not just a crisis for consumers but for the millions who have made a livelihood out of growing coffee.
The last time I wrote directly about the connections among climate, food and farming, I described how farming was exacerbating climate change in Hot Mess explains the problems with making our food system more sustainable and climate-friendly. This video explains how climate is already making farming worse, although one of the videos I embedded in Climate change has made Michigan warmer and wetter showed how the "wetter" part affected farmers in Michigan.* As a coffee lover and officer of Coffee Party USA, I'm concerned that it will be harder to drink my favorite hot beverage. As an educator, it works as another example for two of Commoner's Laws: Everything is connected to everything else and there is no free lunch. In this case, I mean the latter literally.

*During last summer's geology field trip, I looked out at fields that would normally be full of corn and soybeans and saw nothing but dirt and weeds. I had never seen so many fallow fields since I started taking this field trip in 2001. That's how bad the flooding and waterlogged soil were.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

For National Presidential Joke Day, I present the variety talk show nominees at the Emmy Awards

Happy National Presidential Joke Day! To celebrate, I am covering Emmy nominations of shows that make jokes about the President, which are variety talk shows. To begin, here are the nominations from the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards entry on Wikipedia.
Outstanding Variety Talk Series

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central)
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS)
Jimmy Kimmel Live! (ABC)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS)
The favorite is "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver," which won four Emmy Awards last year and is the four-time returning winner in this category. It also has the most nominations this year, eight. Next comes "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" with five, six counting "Between the Scenes," followed by "Full Frontal With Samantha Bee" with two, four if one counts her short form shows, putting her ahead of "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" each with three and that last only if one counts Kimmel's short form spinoffs. As I wrote last year, "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" leads variety talk shows in Emmy Awards nominations yet again.

Follow over the jump for the variety talk show nominations listed at the Wikipedia entry for the 72nd Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.