Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The U.S. passes 30 million reported COVID-19 cases as cases spike in Michigan, a pandemic update

I told my readers "The next milestone will likely be 30 million cases in the U.S., which should happen before 600,000 deaths. I'll report on both when they happen" near the end of Vox and FiveThirtyEight on the future of COVID-19, a pandemic anniversary update. The first happened late last week, as CBS Evening News reported in Coronavirus cases spike across U.S. at alarming rate

New coronavirus cases are on the rise in many states, but nowhere are cases spiking more than in Michigan. Mola Lenghi takes a look.
CBS Evening News uploaded that on March 25, six days ago. CBS News (CBSN) updated the situation in Michigan and elsewhere in Health experts warn of the next U.S. COVID surge as several states see cases rise.

The U.S. coronavirus death toll has topped 550,000 as experts warn the next surge of cases is already here. But as CBS News' Omar Villafranca reports, doctors say the rise in cases can be slowed. Then, Dr. Dara Kass, an emergency room doctor and medical contributor for Yahoo News, joins CBSN's Elaine Quijano with more.
As I'm typing this, Johns Hopkins lists the current U.S. case count at 30,405,361 and total deaths in the country at 551,503. That's a grim update.

As a Michigan resident, I'm even more glad after seeing both clips that my wife and I got our first dose of the vaccine last week. Here's to our staying safe and healthy until we get our second and final doses next week.

CNN presented the national picture and more expert reaction in CDC director gives emotional warning of 'impending doom'.

After announcing that the United States has surpassed 30 million cases of Covid-19, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said she had a feeling of "impending doom" about the pandemic.
I'm with Dr. Leana Wen; we're in a race between vaccines on one hand and variants on the other. We need people to continue wearing masks and staying socially distant in public even after they are vaccinated at least until this wave is over. Otherwise, we could stumble at the finish line of this pandemic. That's both frustrating and dangerous.

That completes the look at the U.S. passing 30 million cases, nearly 10% of the country. Follow over the jump for videos about the next milestone, 600,000 dead in the U.S. from COVID-19.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

'Borat Subsequent Moviefilm' has two Oscar nominations plus two Golden Globes and awards from the Critics Choice Association and WGA

I observed that "Without doubt, 'Borat Subsequent Moviefilm' is the best movie of the bunch with two Oscar nominations, two Golden Globe wins, and more than 80 other wins and nominations" when I wrote about the movie's two Razzie nominations. It's time for me to cover those nominations and wins, which I promised to do when I reviewed the feature documentary nominees at the 2021 Academy Awards, so I'm offering this entry as another installment payment on that promise to cover the nominees about politics and government.

I begin with Maria Bakalova, who earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She's competing against Glenn Close for "Hillbilly Elegy," Olivia Colman for "The Father," Amanda Seyfried for "Mank," and Youn Yuh-jung for "Minari." I'm going to begin my commentary by being a good environmentalist and recycling what I wrote for Politics, government, and diversity in movie nominees at the 2021 Critics Choice Awards.
This is probably the least diverse field of nominees at these awards, with Yuh-Jung Youn from "Minari" as the only actress of color. Youn still makes this a more diverse field than the equivalent one at the Golden Globes, about which I wrote the following.
The three biggest names in this field are Glenn Close, Olivia Colman, and [Ellen Burstyn]. Grace expressed her cynicism about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association when she said that Close and Colman would only win this award if the HFPA couldn't help themselves. On the other hand, she thought...Amanda Seyfried...deserved the award [and] wants Seyfried.
The CCA didn't nominate Jodie Foster from "The Mauritanian," so if I want to root for the nominee from the most political movie, I would have to root for Maria Bakalova from "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm." I'd rather join Grace and root for Seyfried, her only choice on her nominating ballot to receive a nomination.
I got my wish, sort of. Watch Critics Choice Awards 2021 | Best Supporting Actress : Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.

Congratulations, Ms. Bakalova! I hope the Motion Picture Academy voters agree with the Critics Choice Association, but I'm not sure they will, as electorates matter. I know the Hollywood Foreign Press Association had other ideas, as I suspected when I wrote Politics, government, and diversity among movie nominees at the 2021 Golden Globes.
The two actresses Grace tagged as likely to win, Maria Bakalova and Rosamund Pike, happen to act in the movies most about politics and government. In addition to the mean-spirited political pranks in "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm," "I Care a Lot" is a crime caper, which means the police are involved. Of the two, I'm rooting for Pike. I've been a fan of hers since she starred in the Bond film "Die Another Day."
I got my wish; Pike won. Fortunately for Bakalova, she isn't competing against Pike or Jodie Foster, who won Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture at the Golden Globes. Neither were nominated at the Oscars. She's still competing against a very tough field that includes Glenn Close, who has been nominated for eight Oscars but never won. Close might win on sentiment alone. If she does, it would be darkly hilarious if she also wins a Razzie for the same role the night before.

The other Oscar nomination for "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm" is for Best Adapted Screenplay, a category that also includes Christopher Hampton & Florian Zeller for "The Father," ChloƩ Zhao for "Nomadland," Kemp Powers for "One Night in Miami," and Ramin Bahrani for "The White Tiger." I can't use either the Golden Globes, where Aaron Sorkin won Best Screenplay for "The Trial of the Chicago Seven," or the Critics Choice Awards, where ChloƩ Zhao won for "Nomadland," for much guidance, as neither nominated Sacha Baron Cohen's screenplay. However, those electorates don't overlap with the Oscar electorate. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) includes Oscar voters, and there it won for Adapted Screenplay. Watch The 2021 Writers Guild Award for Adapted Screenplay goes to Borat Subsequent Moviefilm from WGA West.

Academy Award-nominated Sound of Metal actor Riz Ahmed presents the 2021 Writers Guild Award for Adapted Screenplay to Sacha Baron Cohen and the writers of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Peter Baynham & Erica Rivinoja & Dan Mazer & Jena Friedman & Lee Kern, Story by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Nina Pedrad, Based on Characters Created by Sacha Baron Cohen).
*Snork!* Baron Cohen thanking Rudy Guiliani is so on-brand. Time to recycle!
Its only Razzie nominations are this one and the next, demonstrating how stupidly Giuliani acted naturally. I'll be a good environmentalist and recycle what I wrote last October about his performance and that of the star of the film.
Rudy [Giuliani] really should have known better. I think [Sacha] Baron Cohen is mean-spirited prankster who doesn't like American conservatives and he gives that side of him full rein when he's Borat. Mind you, I think he's also hilarious, but his wit has barbs and a sharp point that is aimed at his interview subjects, particularly ones like Rudy.
That written, I have no sympathy for Giuliani and hope he "wins."
The least Baron Cohen could do is thank Giuliani for making things easy for him.

On the other hand, winning this award will not be that easy. While winning the WGA Award (and having a lot of writers working with him, as Baron Cohen mentioned) makes me think "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm" is the favorite, I would not be the least bit surprised if the Golden Globe winner "Nomadland" pulls off an upset.

Follow over the jump for Baron Cohen's acceptance speeches at the Golden Globes.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Time and CNN explain Holi, the Festival of Colors

Happy Holi! This year, I'm letting Time Magazine explain the holiday in Happy Holi 2018: What You Should Know About The Colorful Spring Festival.

Happy Holi! Also known as the “festival of colors,” Holi is primarily observed in South Asia but has spread across the world in celebration of love and the changing of the seasons. Rooted in Hindu mythology, Holi also celebrates the triumph of good over evil — symbolism that correlates with the passing of winter.
The Holi Festival’s history stems from the legend of a female demon and her brother, who believed was the ruler of the universe, according to CNN. His son, however, followed Vishnu, the protector of the universe, turning his back on the demon. The demon siblings plotted to kill the sun, but failed and died after Vishnu protected the son, who in turn became the king.
As I mentioned last year, people outside of India who aren't Indians also celebrate Holi. I'm returning to Spanish Fork, Utah, with CNN's Thousands celebrate Holi Festival of Colors in Utah.

The Holi Festival of Colors is an annual Hindu tradition. KTSU takes us inside the festivities.
Looks like fun.

Next year, I will be celebrating Holi and Purim on either side of St. Patrick's Day. Late March 2022 will be even more crowded with holidays than usual. By then, maybe Inside Edition will have a video about Holi. Stay tuned and, once again, happy Holi!

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Politics, government, and injustice among the 2021 feature documentary Oscar nominees

I promised I would start covering the Oscar nominees in Rudy Giuliani and Mike Lindell earn Razzie nominations, so I'm making a down payment on that promise by covering the nominees in the documentary categories. I begin by quoting what The Hollywood Reporter had to say about the documentary feature nominees and snubs.
Barack and Michelle Obama, whose Higher Ground backed last year's documentary winner American Factory, will look to repeat history with Crip Camp. The film, about a 1970s summer oasis for the disabled, will vie against Time as well as The Mole Agent, My Octopus Teacher and The Collective. But not all politicians turned producers walked away with a doc nomination. Stacey Abrams, who executive produced and is the star subject of All In: The Fight for Democracy, didn’t make the cut despite being shortlisted. The Collective, which hails from Romania, also picked up a nomination in the foreign-language category, repeating a feat done by last year’s Honeyland.
Meanwhile, the deep-pocketed Apple finally crashed the Academy party, landing its first-ever nominations for best animated feature (Wolfwalkers) and best sound (Greyhound), even if its doc Boys State, which was widely expected to receive a mention, was passed over.
I already wrote about two of the nominees, "Crip Camp" and "My Octopus Teacher," last November, so my readers can click on the links to those entries and I'll move on the other nominees, beginning with Collective - Official Trailer.

In 2015, a fire at Bucharest’s Colectiv club leaves 27 dead and 180 injured. Soon, more burn victims begin dying in hospitals from wounds that were not life-threatening. Then a doctor blows the whistle to a team of investigative journalists. One revelation leads to another as the journalists start to uncover vast health care fraud. When a new health minister is appointed, he offers unprecedented access to his efforts to reform the corrupt system but also to the obstacles he faces. Following journalists, whistle-blowers, burn victims, and government officials, Collective is an uncompromising look at the impact of investigative journalism at its best.
Wow! That's quite a powerful trailer! I can see why this movie earned a second nomination for Best International Feature.* The footage and the video description show that "Collective" is a very political documentary, depicting injustice because of governmental failure, so it fits the themes of poltics and government that I'm featuring in today's post.

The next nominee in this category is "Time." Here's the official trailer from Amazon.

Fox Rich is a fighter. The entrepreneur, abolitionist and mother of six boys has spent the last two decades campaigning for the release of her husband, Rob G. Rich, who is serving a 60-year sentence for a robbery they both committed in the early 90s in a moment of desperation. Combining the video diaries Fox has recorded for Rob over the years with intimate glimpses of her present-day life, director Garrett Bradley paints a mesmerizing portrait of the resilience and radical love necessary to prevail over the endless separations of the country’s prison-industrial complex.
The trailer for "Time" is even more moving than that for "Collective," but here the injustice is because of government in the form of the criminal justice system working at first, then not responding.

The final nominee for Feature Documentary I'm examining is The Mole Agent Official Trailer (2020).

When a family grows concerned for their mother’s well-being in a retirement home, private investigator Romulo hires 83-year-old Sergio to pose as a new resident and undercover spy inside the facility. The Mole Agent follows Sergio as he struggles to balance his assignment with his increasing involvement in the lives of the many residents he meets.
This looks to be the most entertaining of all the documentary nominees, but while it has an investigation at its core, like "Collective," that seems to be a MacGuffin. Instead, the trailer makes it look like a real-life workplace comedy with the emphasis on Sergio's relationships with the other residents and staff. Unless the national government of Chile, where this takes place, or a municipality in the country runs the nursing home, then there is no government or politics involved.

While "The Mole Agent" is the most fun movie of the bunch and the trailer makes it look like the best crafted using scripted movie techniques, I think it explores the least weighty issues. In contrast, "Time" and "Crip Camp" also examine relationships, have eventually uplifting stories, and weighty examinations of government. In its own way, so does "My Octopus Teacher," which is surprisingly popular. On the other hand, there seems to be very little uplifting about "Collective," as substantial and well-made a work about politics, government, and journalism as it is. That may impede its chances with an electorate that voted for "20 Feet from Stardom" over more substantial nominees in 2014. Then again, "Collective" beat "Crip Camp" for Best Motion Picture, Documentary at the Satellite Awards, while the reverse happened at the International Documentary Association and Garrett Bradley won Best Director for "Time." As I keep repeating when I write about awards shows, electorates matter.

I'll return with more about the nominees. In the meantime, stay tuned for a celebration of Holi.

*The second nomination of "The Collective" is a sign of quality, although I think "Another Round" is the favorite to win Best International Feature Film. On the other hand, "The Mole Agent" could have been nominated in this category, but wasn't. That says something.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

What the pandemic has taught us about ourselves and nature for Earth Hour 2021

Tonight from 8:30 to 9:30 P.M. local time is Earth Hour, which I have been blogging about for eleven years now. This year's event, like last year's, is taking place during a global pandemic. Earth Hour's video, The Earth Hour 2021 Virtual Spotlight | What COVID-19 has taught us about our planet, and ourselves, examines what humanity has learned during the past year.

The effects of a pandemic like COVID-19 are easy to see. But what about the causes? This #EarthHour, learn why our health depends on the health of the planet, and why we already have it in us to make a change - though we may just not have realized it yet.
This video reminds me why I think Commoner's Laws are so important, particularly everything is connected to everything else, a point I made most recently on World Wildlife Day. Earth Hour 2021 Official Video - ft "Together in This" by Natasha Bedingfield makes that point as well to a catchy melody and beat.

Nature is essential for our survival and is one of our greatest allies against climate change and pandemics, but it is under threat. Join us for #EarthHour on 27 March at 8:30pm local time to switch off and speak up for nature. Visit to find out more.

In these challenging times, it is more important than ever to work together and support each other. We must stand in solidarity to safeguard the health of our planet - our one shared home, and in turn our own health and well-being. Let’s come together to #Connect2Earth and protect nature for the future of people and the planet.

Soundtrack credit:
“Together in This”
Written by Jonas Myrin
Performed by Natasha Bedingfield
Used by kind permission of Capitol CMG Paragon, Son of the Lion, Songs of Universal Inc., Duva Island Songs & Universal Music
Once again, Earth Hour and the WWF are trying to make sustainability fun.

WWF Canada opted for a more serious but still optimistic tone and message in Earth Hour 2021 Virtual Spotlight | A Message of Hope.

This video serves as an example of another of Commoner's Laws, nature knows best. It also shows that efforts to protect nature can succeed. It's enough to make me post Professor Farnsworth, but instead I'm sharing the Earth Hour logo.

Happy Earth Hour, everyone!

Friday, March 26, 2021

Broken Peach celebrating Halloween updates holidays for the tenth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News for Flashback Friday

The footnote to CDC offering zombie apocalypse tips updates 'Zombie Apocalypse Index for Day of the (Walking) Dead,' the top post of the tenth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News for Throwback Thursday told my readers what to expect today.
Broken Peach: Singing Spanish goths and witches for Halloween, which shared the spotlight with Zombie Apocalypse Index for Day of the (Walking) Dead in last year's Broken Peach sings to update holidays from the back catalog for the ninth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News, gets its own post next. Stay tuned.
Yes, Broken Peach: Singing Spanish goths and witches for Halloween earned the second most raw page views last year of any post I have ever written for this blog with ~3,330. It rated lower according to default page views, earning ~1,660 during the tenth year of this blog to rank eighth by this measure. The entry also broke into the all-time top 20 according to raw page views with ~7,720 to rank 12th that way, but didn't rate according to the default page views. Maybe next year.

I am going into more detail about how the post climbed up the rankings over the jump, but I celebrating the occassion first by embedding two of Broken Peach's Halloween videos. The first is a live reprise of the second video in the original post, Broken Peach - I Put A Spell On You (TV Peachformance).

We hope you enjoy it and... Share! :)

I did enjoy the performance, so I shared it.

The second appears to be a combination of behind-the-scenes and TV performance footage, Broken Peach - Halloween Special Live (October 31, 2020).

The Halloween EP is out now!

It looks like there's another series of Halloween TV Peachformances waiting to be posted. If they are by this Halloween, I'll post them. If not, I'll be recycling the above videos along with some of their other new videos of their old songs to share along with whatever the band's Halloween special is this year. As I'm fond of writing, I'm a good environmentalist so I conserve my resources.

Follow over the jump for details of how this post and other holiday entries earned their page views.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

CDC offering zombie apocalypse tips updates 'Zombie Apocalypse Index for Day of the (Walking) Dead,' the top post of the tenth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News for Throwback Thursday

I told my readers "I'll get to the top post of last year on (Throwback) Thursday. Stay tuned" at the end of Statistics for the tenth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News That top post was Zombie Apocalypse Index for Day of the (Walking) Dead from November 1, 2015, which earned ~11,300 default and ~12,100 raw views between March 21, 2020 and March 20, 2021. I am explaining how the post earned its status as the most read entry during the tenth year of this blog over the jump, but first I'm updating the story beginning with Tips from the CDC for surviving a zombie apocalypse from KTHV11 in Little Rock, Arkansas.

What started as a tongue-in-cheek campaign to connect with Americans has proven an effective way to get folks ready for hurricanes or even pandemics.
That was a brief discussion of the subject. FOX 5 Washington DC had a much fuller one in Just in case: CDC shares tips on surviving a zombie apocalypse.

If you thought 2020 was bad, how about a zombie apocalypse in 2021?
Yikes! One pandemic at at time is enough! We don't need zombies on top of COVID-19! Still, zombies make great pandemic metaphors. As I wrote in Discovery News on World War Z and repeated most recently in PBS Digital's Storied examines pandemics in literature and entertainment, "Who needs a imaginary zombie plague when a very real flu pandemic combined with mass riots against a background of crumbling infrastructure could produce the same response, if not much the same result?" Considering how 2020 turned out, that description feels eerily prophetic. So does "Contagion."
Roy Wood, Jr., is right about "Contagion." It hits way too close to home, as it accurately predicted what has happened so far. That's a point Grace Randolph made in Beyond The Trailer's Apple to Buy Disney? What to Watch on Netflix, Disney Plus, calling it "scarily accurate."
The specialist I see for my diabetes and I talked about how accurate "Contagion" was during my last appointment, down to the civil disturbances and looting, although those were not directly connected to the pandemic. I told him "we are living in a horror movie." He replied "that's right!" By the way, the movie ended with people receiving the vaccine. That's a good sign, as my wife and I got our first shots today. The horror movie is almost over for us.

Speaking of zombie preparedness, I included a video on that topic in PBS Digital's Storied exhumes the history of zombies for Halloween. Also, one can surf over to the CDC's Zombie Preparedness page and compare their suggestions with Dr. Zarka's.

Follow over the jump for a news report from 2015 about the Zombie Apocalypse Index plus a history of how an entry from six years ago became the most read post last year as well as one of the most read of all time.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Trevor Noah, John Oliver, and CNN examine the filibuster

I've dedicated just one post to the filibuster, Vox calls the filibuster 'The weird rule that broke American politics'. I concluded it with a prediction.
The bottom line is that the filibuster was not always with us, so it may not always will be with us. I expect that if Democrats win control of the presidency and the Senate in 2020, it might go in 2021. I don't know if I'll be all that upset to see it gone.
It's 2021 and those conditions have come to pass, so eliminating the filibuster is on the agenda. I begin with a comic explanation of the history of the procedure, beginning with The Daily Show with Trevor Noah's The Filibuster - If You Don’t Know, Now You Know.

The Senate filibuster is one of the biggest things standing in the way of anti-voter suppression laws, raising the minimum wage and immigration reform. What is this loophole, and how does it affect governing today?
The same day The Daily Show uploaded that, CNN uploaded its own video asking Can Democrats destroy the filibuster?

A growing number of voices on the liberal left, now including Illinois Senator Dick Durbin (the body’s No. 2 highest-ranking member), believe it’s time to jettison the Senate’s legislative filibuster. In this latest episode of The Point, CNN’s Chris Cillizza explains why these lawmakers think the time has finally come.
Cilizza is trying to be entertaining, but he's primarily a reporter, not a comedian like Trevor Noah or John Oliver, who created Filibuster: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver nearly two years ago.

John Oliver explains why filibusters exist, why they shouldn't, and why it's stupid to drink coffee like a cat.
Hahahahaha! I'm surprised that I not only never shared it here, I hadn't even watched it before. After watching it, I'm even more sure of what I wrote last fall, "eliminating the filibuster is worth doing, even if it's a double-edged sword."

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Statistics for the tenth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News

It's time to review the statistics for the tenth year of this blog.

As of 11:59 PM EDT March 20, 2021, this blog had a lifetime total of 2,869,693 page views, 4672 posts, and 3622 comments. Minus the lifetime totals of 2,484,920 page views, 4274 posts, and 3211 comments at 11:59 PM EDT March 20, 2020, 365 days earlier, the tenth year of the blog saw 384,773 page views and 411 (but actual counting yielded 412) comments on 398 posts. Those are more page views on fewer posts than the 316,771 page views and 464 comments on 421 entries during 366 days for the ninth year of the blog. Since I again set a monthly page view goal of 25,000, which translates to 300,000 total page views for the ninth year of the blog, I surpassed my monthly page view goal by 2054.4 and my annual page view goal by 84,773. The past year was a success in terms of readership. I was right to write "I'm not worried" about reaching my goals last year

Follow over the jump for my analysis of the past year.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Controversy over attorneys fees and former Governor Snyder still facing charges in Flint Water Crisis court cases for World Water Day 2021

Happy World Water Day! My pattern is that I cover the Flint Water Crisis during odd-numbered years and this year is no exception. I begin with WXYZ's Attorneys submit proposed fees and get criticized in massive $641 million Flint water settlement.

Federal District Judge Judith Levy has been given a 416-page proposal to pay dozens of attorneys in the Flint water crisis combined civil lawsuits.
I'm not going to muster any outrage over this proposal. As the expert WXYZ interviewed pointed out, attorneys fees of 25-33% of a settlement are normal. Also, as Melissa Mays pointed out, at least some of the attorneys deserve their full fees. Without the lawyers' work, the plaintiffs would have little or no money to compensate them for their injuries. That written, at least some legislators are doing what they can to limit the fees so that plaintiffs can receive more, as MLive reported in State House resolution asks judge to limit attorney fees in Flint water crisis settlement.
Flint area members of the Michigan House of Representative have introduced a resolution urging a federal court judge to limit attorney fees related to a $641-million proposed partial settlement of lawsuits related to the city’s water crisis.

State Reps. David Martin, Mike Mueller, John Cherry Jr., Cynthia Neeley and Ben Frederick introduced the resolution Thursday, March 18, and Cherry said in a news release that attorneys for Flint residents should be limited to 10 percent of the settlement rather than the more than 30 percent they are seeking.

“I have lived in the city for about a decade now,” Cherry said. “I’ve seen my neighbors and friends get hurt. To see the attorneys ... ask for such a large cut really bothers me.”

The policy resolution is an indication that the legislators don’t have legal authority to lower the fee request but want to express the opinion of members of the state House, Cherry said.

U.S. District Judge Judith E. Levy must decide on the motion for fees and expenses, which would drain the settlement fund of more than $200 million before it can be distributed to those who were harmed by Flint water when it contained elevated levels of lead, bacteria and chlorination byproducts.
As the article states, the legislature is merely trying to make a request; it's entirely up to Judge Levy to make the decision. When she does, I'll tell my readers about it.

MLive's article concluded with a caveat about the settlement.
Even if the proposed settlement is given preliminary approval later this year, the water crisis lawsuits will continue against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, city water consultants and bond companies involved in setting up financing for the Karegnondi Water Authority.
Looks like I'll be updating my readers about the lawsuits for years to come.

I've also been updating my readers on the prosecution of state officials involved in the Flint Water Crisis once a month. WDIV/Click On Detroit has the latest on that story in Charges to move forward against ex-Gov. Snyder in Flint water crisis.

A judge...rejected a request to dismiss misdemeanor charges against Rick Snyder Thursday in the Flint water crisis.
I fully expect Snyder's attorneys will file that appeal, which will delay trial for quite a while. I'm not worried. As I first wrote two years ago, "The wheels of justice are grinding slowly in this case, but I expect they will indeed grind exceedingly fine."

Of course, the reason for the lawsuits and prosecutions is the damage lead in Flint's water did to its residents. "60 Minutes" covered that in The legacy of the Flint water crisis.*

Six years ago, lead seeped into the tap water in Flint, Michigan, while state and local officials said everything was fine. Now, the same doctor who proved something was wrong is taking the first comprehensive look at the thousands of kids exposed to lead in Flint. Sharyn Alfonsi reports.
I am glad to feature Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha again. She has been a real hero to the people of Flint, especially its children.

That's it for World Water Day. Stay tuned for statistics of the tenth year of this blog.

*Last year, I wrote that I might feature the PBS 'Nova' episode "Poisoned Water" in a future post. To that, I can add a "Frontline" episode about Flint's water, which I expect will earn a News and Documentary Emmy Award nomination or two later this year.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Happy International Day of Nowruz and happy 10th birthday of the blog!

Nowruz Mubarak! Happy International Day of Nowruz AKA Persian New Year and happy 10th birthday of the blog!* Since I have concentrated on celebrating this blog's birthday the past three years while downplaying Persian New Year, something I foreshadowed in 2017 when I wrote "I'm going to miss celebrations of Nowruz at The White House," I'm going to reverse my emphasis by sharing material about the holiday first, beginning with BBC News' Nowruz: How 300m people celebrate Persian New Year from 2019.

About 300 million people across the world will celebrate Persian New Year - or Nowruz - on Thursday.

The 3,000-year-old festival begins on the first day of the year in the Iranian calendar, and is also a celebration of Spring.

People in countries including Iran, Tajikistan, Turkey and Iraq will be welcoming the start of the year 1398, explains the BBC's Samar Salekipour.
Since 2019 in the common era calendar was 1398 on the Persian Calendar, that means that that today (or actually yesterday, because the actual celebration is on the Vernal Equinox, not today) is now 1400, the end of one century and the beginning of another. That alone justifies the attention to the holiday that I've neglected to give it the past three years.

The BBC News video did a good job of portraying how Nowruz is celebrated during normal times. These are not normal times. France 24 English shows how people are celebrating Nowruz in Persian New Year Nowruz festivities go online because of the pandemic.

I didn't see a message from The White House, but I did see Prime Minister Trudeau's message on Nowruz, so I'm sharing that.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wishes everyone celebrating a happy and healthy Nowruz.
Nowruz Mubarak to you, too, Mr. Prime Minister.

Ten years ago today, I posted First post: Why this blog? Since then, I've written 4,673 entries including this one. That's worthy of a bigger celebration than I'm giving it today. Don't worry. I will give the anniversary the attention I always do, with statistics on Tuesday, followed by retrospectives on (Throwback) Thursdays and (Flashback) Fridays all the way through April. That will begin after I celebrate World Water Day tomorrow. Stay tuned.

*Today is also the 15th birthday of Twitter, sort of. I'll celebrate that event when I write about the blog's year on Twitter next month.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Neil deGrasse Tyson explains the Vernal Equinox

Happy Vernal Equinox! As CNN reported, the equinox happened at "9:37 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) March 20. For people in places such as Montreal and Miami, that's 5:37 a.m. local time. Out in San Diego and Vancouver, that means it arrives at 2:37 a.m." That means it's been astronomical spring since before the sun rose here in metro Detroit, so happy spring!

To describe the science for today, I turn to Neil deGrasse Tyson and Chuck Nice on StarTalk for Neil deGrasse Tyson Explains the Equinox.

What’s going on with the equinox? In this explainer, Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Chuck Nice honor the equinox, breaking down why we have it and how it works.

What makes the two equinoxes special days of the year? You’ll learn the difference between spring versus fall equinox and what they mean in context with the summer and winter solstices. How does the equinox differ for different parts of the world? Is the equinox the same in Alaska as it is in Brazil?

Discover the reason why the equinox isn’t actually equal night and day. How does our own atmosphere impact our hours of sunlight? What is our definition of sunrise and sunset? Is there a real equinox we don’t celebrate? But most of all… where can we get that StarTalk sweatshirt???
Thank you, Dr. Tyson!

I conclude today's post, which is also the last entry of the tenth year of this blog, with today's Google doodle.

See you tomorrow for Nowruz and the blog's tenth birthday!

Friday, March 19, 2021

CNBC asks 'Why Is Short Selling Legal?'

Short selling and the social media efforts to thwart it provided me a lot of material this year, alternating between silly and serious beginning with Noah, Colbert, Kimmel, and Corden explain GameStop, a funny tale of the stock market and Retail Apocalypse, then CNBC, The Economist, CBS This Morning, and Retail Archaeology explain GameStop, a serious tale of the stock market and Retail Apocalypse, and most recently Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah, and Legal Eagle have more funny things to say about GameStop, a tale of the stock market and Retail Apocalypse.* It's time for a serious examination of the topic as CNBC asks Why Is Short Selling Legal?

When a stock rises, all of its investors turn a profit, right? That’s not the case for short-sellers, who look for profit by betting against the success of a company or the market. The recent events surrounding Tesla, Reddit, Robinhood and Gamestop’s short squeeze have put short selling under the limelight. So how did the practice of betting against the U.S. market become such a common, legal practice? Watch the video to find out.

The recent events surrounding meme stocks and GameStop’s short squeeze have put short selling, one of the oldest practices in the stock market, directly under the limelight.
The video made three points in favor of short selling. First, it is one major way to make money off a declining market. Second, it provides liquidity, the ability to turn stocks into cash, during a declining market. Third, it's a way of "discovering price," what the true value of a company is in the face of fraud, mismanagement, and hype. I won't dispute any of that, but I will add the following quote from the video's description.
“I think the main reason people dislike short selling is that something just feels bad about profiting from someone else’s failures,” said Sasha Indarte, an assistant professor of finance at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. “Short sellers gain when someone else loses. It’s like if you took out an insurance policy against your neighbor’s home and your neighbor’s home was destroyed.”
That pretty much sums it up. Just don't confuse buying the insurance policy with setting the fire, although it would look like a motive.

I shouldn't be surprised that CNBC reported support for short selling as well as the moral case against it. As I quoted TVTropes 10 years ago, "CNBC is watched by people who think they own the country," so it will take the side of the markets. I expressed a more detailed complaint about CNBC two years ago.
While the channel is more entertaining than its competition (I'm looking at you, Bloomberg), it has a perma-bull attitude — it's always a good time to buy stocks, according to CNBC. My wife and I don't believe that, as we got out of the stock market about six months ago. We don't care that the values recovered; it was too stressful going down.
We have since returned to the stock market. During the past two years, we have developed a better tolerance for uncertainty. I suppose living through a pandemic did that for us, a silver lining to the storm clouds the past year has brought us.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post about the Vernal Equinox, which will be the final entry of the tenth year of this blog. After that, it will be Nowruz, the blog's tenth birthday, and the beginning of my eleventh year of blogging here.

*I have a somewhat funny video about GameStop from Business Insider to post next week along with another one about Twinkies to continue the alternation between silly and serious. Consider this footnote to be a preview of coming attractions.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Rudy Giuliani and Mike Lindell earn Razzie nominations

As Catherine O'Hara's character Moira Rose on "Schitt's Creek" famously replied to "What's your favorite season?" "Awards!"

I've already covered the nominations for the Golden Politics, government, and diversity among movie nominees at the 2021 Golden Globes and the Critics Choice Awards. In addition, the nominees for the Saturn Awards, SAG Awards, WGA Awards, and Oscars have all been announced. I'll get to all of them, including the winners of the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards, but first I'm sharing the political nominations at the Golden Raspberry Awards AKA the Razzies from Rotten Tomatoes.


365 Days
Absolute Proof
Fantasy Island
The political movie here is the documentary "Absolute Proof," "MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's film claiming a Chinese cyberattack 'flipped' the 2020 election." I hope it gets the same treatment as "Hillary's America," which won Worst Picture over "Batman V. Superman." It probably won't — both "365 Days" and "Dolittle" have more nominations and I think "365 Days" is the worse film — but "Absolute Proof" is my pick for worst political film of 2020 for no other reason than it perpetrates the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen. I find that actively harmful.

Robert Downey, Jr. – Dolittle
Mike Lindell (The “My Pillow” Guy) – Absolute Proof
Michele Morrone – 365 Days
Adam Sandler – Hubie Halloween
David Spade – The Wrong Missy
Now for nominations of (bad) performers like Donald J. Trump, Kellyanne Conway, and Melania Trump two years ago. As much as I'm rooting for Lindell and Rudy Giuliani to follow in the footsteps of Trump and Conway, who won worst acting awards, Lindell, at least, is up against tough competition, Robert Downey, Jr. and David Spade for being big names in weak movies, Michele Morrone for being in a geniunely bad but popular movie, and Adam Sandler for being a perpetual target of the Razzies. It depends which variety of bad the Razzie voters want to recognize. As I repeatedly say about awards shows, electorates matter.


Chevy Chase – The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee
Rudy Giuliani (As “Himself”) – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Shia LaBeouf – The Tax Collector
Arnold Schwarzenegger – Iron Mask
Bruce Willis – Breach, Hard Kill AND Survive the Night
Without doubt, "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm" is the best movie of the bunch with two Oscar nominations, two Golden Globe wins, and more than 80 other wins and nominations. Its only Razzie nominations are this one and the next, demonstrating how stupidly Giuliani acted naturally. I'll be a good environmentalist and recycle what I wrote last October about his performance and that of the star of the film.
Rudy Giuliani really should have known better. I think Sasha Baron Cohen is mean-spirited prankster who doesn't like American conservatives and he gives that side of him full rein when he's Borat. Mind you, I think he's also hilarious, but his wit has barbs and a sharp point that is aimed at his interview subjects, particularly ones like Rudy.
That written, I have no sympathy for Giuliani and hope he "wins." I think he has a better chance of doing so than Lindell in his category, even against this field of famous actors in inferior movies.

Maria Bakalova & Rudy Giuliani (Yes, That Really IS Rudy Giuliani!) – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Robert Downey Jr. & His Utterly Unconvincing “Welsh” Accent – Dolittle
Harrison Ford & That Totally Fake-Looking CGI “Dog” – Call of the Wild
Lauren Lapkus & David Spade – The Wrong Missy
Adam Sandler & His Grating Simpleton Voice – Hubie Halloween
Maria Bakalova's performance earned an Oscar nomination, so it's not her fault that she's nominated here; it's Giuliani's. That written, while I want Giuliani to win this award as well, I'm not sure Bakalova deserves it. Still, she's the kind of actress who would make a great hilarious show of accepting and thanking her co-star. That would be worth seeing.

By the way, 2020 has already won a Razzie for "worst year ever." It deserves it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

PBS Digital's Storied tells the tale of leprechauns for St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I'm beginning today's celebration by sharing Leprechaun: From Gold-Loving Cobbler to Cultural Icon | Monstrum from PBS Digital.

Leprechauns are associated with St. Patrick’s Day and Irish culture, but do you know why? The jovial, red-haired little man dressed in green standing next to a pot of gold is a modern invention—the diminutive faerie folk was once more popularly known for their role as tricksters and expert cobblers.

In this episode, you’ll learn how ancient Irish mythology, Irish immigration, and some crafty marketing resulted in one of our most recognizable folkloric figures.
This is probably the most educational video I've shared for the holiday since 2013, when I posted The science of drinking for St. Patrick's Day and it's about mythology, culture, and history instead of science. As someone with Irish ancestry, I appreciate that!*

Follow over the jump as the celebration continues with music and drinks.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

CNBC explains why the pandemic caused a bicycle boom, plus a double driving update: Pearl and Snow Bear

Both of our cars passed another 1,000 miles within the past seven days, so it's time for a driving update. I'll post details over the jump, but first, I'm sharing CNBC explaining Why Covid-19 Caused A Bike Boom, which includes a graph showing how driving has decreased during the pandemic.

Bikes have been a hot ticket item during the Covid pandemic as more people look for recreational activities and outdoor transportation. With more bikes and other forms of micromobility on the road, transportation experts say the moment is prime for a transit upheaval in the United States. Here’s how the Covid bike boom could change the way Americans get to work and around major cities.
I'm glad to see something positive happening from decreased driving during the pandemic that might last, which might contribute to less air pollution and a decreased environmental footprint, two things I thought might not last after the pandemic ends.

CNBC also asked its viewers "Did you invest in a bike during the coronavirus pandemic?" No, I didn't. I gave up that resolution six years ago. Instead, I bought Pearl. However, if any of my readers did, I'll repeat CNBC's invitation, "Let us know in the comments if you plan to stick with it after the pandemic." I hope some of you do.

Follow over the jump for the driving update.

Monday, March 15, 2021

'Pines of Rome' for a drum corps Ides of March

Beware the Ides of March! For this year's celebration, I'm recycling the concept behind A Drum Corps Ides of March for an election year thanks to Drum Corps International (DCI) uploading Who did it Best? | Pines of the Villa Borghese last month.

Ottorino Respighi's "Pines of Rome" has historically been a frequent repertoire selection for corps. Over 34 years, these four corps turned to the "Pines of the Villa Borghese" movement for their competitive productions. Which one did it best?

00:09 1982 Cavaliers
00:52 1991 Star of Indiana
01:55 1998 Phantom Regiment
02:45 2016 Cadets
I agree with most of the commenters that Star of Indiana did it best. After all, they won that year. I also agree with the commenters who pointed out that the compilation left out the 2012 Boston Crusaders, who also played "Pines of the Villa Borghese." I'm sharing DCI's promotional video of that show, which, ironically enough, features "Pines of the Villa Borghese."

Hi-Stepper has a more complete video, but I'm being a good environmentalist and conserving my resources by saving it for a future post. I just hope DCI doesn't take down that channel's videos before I use them. The same with Courtney Coulston's DCI videos. If those are still up next year, I know which video I want to use in 2022. Here's a meme as a hint.

Remember, we are all Spartacus!

Sunday, March 14, 2021

SciShow on pi and It's Okay To Be Smart on phi, the golden ratio, for Pi Day and International Day of Mathematics

Happy Pi Day! Since today is also the International Day of Mathematics, I'm going to focus on the math of pi instead of pie puns. I begin with SciShow's 3 Ways Pi Can Explain Practically Everything from 2015. I'm surprised I hadn't watched it before or used it for this blog.

What’s irrational and never ends? Pi! Hank explains how we need pi to explain some of the most basic but most important principles of the universe, in honor of Pi Day.
In addition to being entertained, I learned something new about how Einstein, whose birthday is today as Hank mentioned, used pi. It's always a good day when I learn something new, even though SciShow couldn't resist making a pie pun with the video's preview image.

Pi is not the only famous irrational number. So is phi, the golden ratio. In honor of the International Day of Mathematics, I'm sharing It's Okay To Be Smart asking The Golden Ratio: Is It Myth or Math?

The golden ratio. Some say it’s the most mythical number in the universe. Others say it underlies everything from nature’s patterns to beauty in art and design. But, like, what is it? And does the myth of the golden ratio hold up to its mathematical reality? Let’s find out...

Just trying to think rationally about irrational things...
The answer is that it's both. On the math and science side, I especially enjoyed Joe Hanson demonstrating the relationship between phi and the Fibonacci sequence and how both appear in plants. It makes up for debunking the chambered nautilus as an example of the myth of the golden ratio. Since I'm a malacologist, a scientist who studies mollusks, as well as a paleontologist who researched both fossil mollusks as well as fossil plants, I appreciated both. I hope my readers do, too.

That's it for Pi Day. Beware the Ides of March!

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Lawmakers introducing and passing bills to stop changing clocks as Daylight Saving Time begins

Daylight Saving Time (DST) begins tomorrow and, as I have for the past few years, I'm documenting efforts to stop the switching back and forth between DST and standard time because of the time change's deleterious health effects. Today, I'm sharing news from Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. Since I live in Michigan, I begin with WXYZ's Michigan lawmaker introduces bill to end Daylight Saving Time changes.

Get ready to lose an hour this weekend as Daylight Saving Time is almost here, but if one state lawmaker has her way, it could be the last chance in Michigan.
State Representative Hoitinga cited health reasons for ending DST, which WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids covered in Studies: Daylight Saving time can lead to health issues.

We'll spring forward overnight into Sunday. Could that loss of sleep hurt your heart?
Joe LaFurgey promised another segment about state lawmakers introducing bills to either stay off DST or make it permanent. He and WOOD-TV delivered with Time to change time change? Michigan senator says yes.

Daylight saving time takes effect early Sunday morning, meaning you'll lose an hour of sleep as we spring ahead.
Hoitinga said she was looking for a State Senator to support her legislation. She might already have one in Jeff Irwin, who I know from covering him for the now-defunct and who I last wrote about when he proposed legalizing marijuana six years ago. I hope they find a way to work together across the partisan divide.

Follow over the jump for stories about ending the switching back and forth from outside Michigan.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Vox and FiveThirtyEight on the future of COVID-19, a pandemic anniversary update

The same day I wrote One year of the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan, Vox and FiveThirtyEight both observed the anniversary of the outbreak being declared a pandemic by uploading videos of their own about the prospects of containing the disease. I begin with Vox asking Can we get rid of Covid-19 forever?

How to eradicate a disease, in 4 steps.
As of March 2021, Covid-19 has killed more than 2.5 million people. It’s brought on a dramatic economic downfall, a mental health crisis, and has generally just put the world on pause. But we don’t have to look far back in history to see how much worse it could have been.

Smallpox was twice as contagious as Covid-19, and over 60 times as deadly. It plagued humanity for centuries, left many survivors blinded and covered in scars, and killed hundreds of millions of people in the 20th century alone. But today, smallpox has been eradicated. Through a massive global effort, we were able to wipe the disease completely out of existence.

So can we do the same thing with Covid-19? And if we can’t, what are our other options?
So Vox's answer is "probably not" for all the reasons it lists. However, it thinks the disease is likely to become endemic and turn into another childhood disease, a particularly nasty cold, while it can be contained in adults by vaccines.

FiveThirtyEight skipped the idea of elimination in its video uploaded the same day, Turning The COVID-19 Pandemic Into The COVID-19 Endemic l PODCAST-19 from FiveThirtyEight.

On this week’s episode of PODCAST-19, we discussed what the endgame of the pandemic will be. It likely isn’t society reaching herd immunity. And if herd immunity isn’t the goal, how should people behave once they’re vaccinated? We have a science-backed guide for how to evaluate what’s risky and what’s safe. (Note: This episode was published on our website on 3/5/2021.)
That's not terribly optimistic — FiveThirtyEight doesn't think the U.S. will achieve herd immunity — but it is a tolerable one. The pandemic will end, although at a high cost. Speaking of which, Meet The Press on NBC worried that One Year Later, Possible Fourth Wave of Covid Looms on Sunday.

On January 1st, 2020 the WHO announced the discovery of a mysterious case of pneumonia in Wuhan, China. Since then, there have been over 29 million cases in the U.S. and more than 526,500 deaths.
The next milestone will likely be 30 million cases in the U.S., which should happen before 600,000 deaths. I'll report on both when they happen, but probably not until after a string of holidays and holiday-like observances, like Daylight Saving Time, Pi Day, the Ides of March, St. Patrick's Day, the Vernal Equinox, Nowruz and the blog's tenth birthday, and World Water Day. Stay tuned for one of the more fun times of year on this blog as its tenth year draws to a close and its eleventh year begins!

Thursday, March 11, 2021

BBC World Service on the tenth anniversary of Fukushima triple disaster

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the Fukushima triple disaster, an earthquake followed by a tsunami and nuclear meltdown. The BBC World Service has the story in What happened at Fukushima 10 years ago?

On 11 March 2011, Japan's most powerful earthquake on record triggered a tsunami, which then caused a meltdown at a nuclear power plant. It wiped entire towns off the map and forced Fukushima’s residents from their homes as radiation leaked from the plant.
The government estimates the disaster could cost nearly $200bn, and the clean-up may take until 2051. Today the prefecture of Fukushima is still dealing with the aftermath of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

What happened that day, and what was it like for the people who lived through it? The BBC’s Tui McLean explains how the triple disaster unfolded.
That's a very comprehensive summary of the past decade, so I don't have to embed any more videos. As for "the clean-up may take until 2051," that reminds me of what I wrote on last year's anniversary, "I'm sure I'll be writing about the recovery from the triple disaster, particularly the nuclear plant meltdown, for years to come, especially next year, the 10th anniversary." Thanks to the BBC, who also calls it a triple disaster, I don't have to write any more today.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

One year of the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the first reported cases of COVID-19 in Michigan. To see the numbers, watch MLive's Data Timeline: One Year of COVID-19 in Michigan, which reviews the progress of the pandemic in the state during the past 365 days.

Michigan recorded its first two cases of coronavirus on March 10, 2020. This timeline shows how the pandemic played out over the last year in Michigan, along with measures taken by the state government and Governor Gretchen Whitmer to slow the spread of the virus.
The numbers lined up next to the government actions tell quite a story, one of restrictions being imposed and coronavirus infections falling and then being relaxed and the disease returning. I hope people in the state learn from that.

WXYZ's recap A look back at COVID-19's impact on the service industry in metro Detroit had a narrower focus.

Wednesday marks one year since Michigan's first reported COVID-19 cases, and a year ago, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency, which was followed by a slew of executive orders aimed at stopping the spread.
I'll return over the jump with WXYZ's look at the future of the pandemic in Michigan. That's after WDIV/Click on Detroit's retrospective, which examines what Americans in general and Michiganders in particular have already learned about the pandemic and our response in Coronavirus pandemic 1 year later: What we wish we'd known.

Dr. Frank McGeorge discusses the past year of the coronavirus pandemic.
I agree with Dr. McGeorge about the significance of asymptomatic people being infectious and masks preventing spread of the disease. If mask wearing had been recommended earlier and mask production had been ramped up sooner to match the need, millions fewer would likely have avoided infection and many thousands would still be alive.

Follow over the jump for what the present and future might hold in store, even though Dr. Arnold Monto of the University of Michigan reminded WDIV's viewers that the past year was worse than predicted, which means that my readers should take the prognostications with a grain of salt.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Trevor Noah on First Ladies for Women's History Month

I concluded NASA and '60 Minutes' on women in NASA for International Women's Day by telling my readers "I plan on posting another entry celebrating Women's History Month tomorrow from Trevor Noah and 'The Daily Show.'" Watch First Ladies - If You Don’t Know, Now You Know.

What does the first lady actually do? They champion social causes, assist with policy decisions and much more. Here’s how the role has evolved from Martha Washington to Dr. Jill Biden...

In honor of Women’s History Month, support more women running for public office by visiting
Amid all the jokes, Trevor was able to impart some history I didn't know. While I'm not surprised that Dolly Madison was the first presidential spouse to be called "First Lady," I didn't know it was at her funeral. I also didn't know the other titles the wives of presidents had before they became First Lady, although I think "Republican Queen" is a contradiction in terms and "Lady Presidentress" is pretentious. First Lady is an improvement. Still, it's a good day when I learn something new, even from comedy. To paraphrase what I wrote two years ago, I learned more from ten minutes of reporting laced with comedy than I would have from ten minutes of straight reporting. I hope my readers do, too.

Monday, March 8, 2021

NASA and '60 Minutes' on women in NASA for International Women's Day

Happy International Women's Day! This year, I'm celebrating women in space and particularly women working for NASA. Watch NASA's Women of NASA Drive Exploration and Discovery to see some of the unsung heroines working for the U.S. aerospace agency.

March is Women's History Month. Women at NASA contribute every day to the success of our current missions and pave the way for future generations to reach for the stars.
NASA focused on the women working for the agency who usually don't make the news, although I have seen Farah Alibay before. CBS's "60 Minutes" looked at the women in NASA's leadership last night in NASA's women sending America back to the moon.

Nearly a half-century after the last Apollo astronaut stepped foot on the moon, NASA is working to send its first woman to the lunar surface. Bill Whitaker reports.
In addition to seeing the positive portrayals of the women who have been and are now leading NASA, I learned one piece of policy news that I liked and was reminded of another I consider a necessary evil. First, I'm glad that Joe Biden's Administration publicly supports the continuation of the Trump Administration's plans for space exploration. As I wrote five years ago and repeated the next year, "space policy is the one area where Trump might actually be good for the country" and "Trump's plan is actually not a bad idea." I was worried that the Biden Administration would dump the one Trump policy I supported along with all the ones I couldn't stand. I'm relieved that they didn't.

Second, Lori Garver's critique of the Space Launch System (SLS) as the "Senate Launch System" is one I've read before but haven't seen or heard in years. I agree with her that it would probably be cheaper and more efficient to use SpaceX's Falcon Heavy, but the U.S. Congress serves its constituents, us citizens, and efficiency isn't the only value. I suspect that without using the SLS as a jobs program, Congress would not appropriate the money for Orion or Artemis. As I wrote, a necessary evil.

I plan on posting another entry celebrating Women's History Month tomorrow from Trevor Noah and "The Daily Show." Stay tuned. In the meantime, I'm signing off today's post with a final International Women's Day wish for my readers.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

California theme parks may reopen as early as April 1, no fooling! A pandemic update

For this week's Sunday entertainment feature, I'm posting a pandemic update of sorts, the news that California Theme Parks, Ballparks To Reopen April 1 If Counties Reach Less Restrictive COVID Tiers from CBS Los Angeles.

Theme parks and outdoor sports stadiums could reopen as soon as April 1 under new reopening guidelines released Friday by the California public health officials.
This is good news for theme parks and sports teams, along with their employees, contractors, and fans. It's been a long postponement since last year's proposed July 17, 2020 reopening date. Just the same, I have my doubts that Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, and Six Flags Magic Mountain will actually reopen their rides instead of just their restaurants and shops on April 1. I think it will take a while longer for new cases to drop low enough in Orange and Los Angeles counties for that to happen. When it does, I hope it doesn't cause the problems WUSA 9 reported in Six Flags opens amusement park sparking traffic complaints from vaccine seekers.

Some described the traffic as a "nightmare" and questioned priorities.
"Questioned priorities" — I'll be a good environmentalist and recycle what I wrote last June.
Both news items tie into what I first wrote in 2011, "America is quite clear about its screwed up priorities­. My experience has convinced me that the surest way to get Americans to act is to mess with their entertainm­ent." I elaborated on that in both Possibly (not) the last Detroit Fireworks Show and Christmas music from the Cadets and Crazy Eddie's Motie News, adding "Americans want their entertainment, and will do just about anything to keep it going." The pandemic keeping the parks closed is definitely messing with Americans' entertainment.
Once again, many Americans are being clear about their priorities. They've had enough of the pandemic messing with their entertainment and are happy to have it back, regardless of the public health consequences. Sigh. As I wrote last month, "My friend Nebris thinks this is one of my great insights. I'm sure it is, but, like Jimmy [Kimmel], I wish it weren't true."