Friday, April 30, 2021

A celebration and history of Arbor Day

Happy Arbor Day! I described my choice of blogging topics for today at the end of 'Contagion' vs. COVID-19 updates last year's most commented entries on Throwback Thursday.
Tomorrow is Arbor Day, but I might use it for a Flashback Friday retrospective anyway. Stay tuned to find out.
I decided that writing another retrospective today would be too time consuming, especially since I'm grading final exams, so I'm writing a short entry dedicated solely to Arbor Day today, the first ever on this blog.* Here is the holiday's description from National Day Calendar.
Each year in April, National Arbor Day encourages us to celebrate and plant trees. The observance takes place each year on the last Friday in April.

Trees provide vital protection for the Earth’s topsoil from erosion, oxygen, and homes for wildlife. They also are a renewable resource that provides a variety of materials for building, fuel, and office supplies.

Trees beautify our environment, provide shade on a sunny day, and improve our quality of life. The day celebrates all these things and aims for American generations to enjoy all the benefits trees have to offer.

HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalArborDay

Celebrate the day by planting a tree today. You can also spend time caring for trees in your area. Join an event near you or organize one in your community. Consider the trees you plant, too. While you may look for fast-growing trees so that you may enjoy the tree during your lifetime, planting a slower-growing tree is an investment in the future. Generations to come will enjoy the shade and beauty of the tree long after we’re gone. And leaving something as precious as a tree behind is quite an investment.
To see a tree planting, watch City of Calabasas Arbor Day 2021 from right next door to where I grew up.

It was a great Arbor Day celebration. Volunteers planted dozens of trees in an area off Agoura Road. Nice event — part of #EarthWeek2021
I'm glad to see the volunteers using Arbor Day to repair the damage from the Woolsey Fire.
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.
That experience shocked me. This video gives me some hope.

Three years ago, I remarked that "Arbor Day is probably the oldest environmental holiday." Watch Bottom Line Up Front: The History of Arbor Day from TV20 Cleveland to see how old.

National Day Calendar summarizes the history of the day.
On April 10, 1872, journalist and newspaper editor J.Sterling Morton established Arbor Day in the state of Nebraska with hopes that it would spread across the country. This first celebration challenged the people of Nebraska to plant as many trees as they possibly could. Since the pioneers missed the trees and forests of the east, they answer the challenge by planting more than 1 million trees that very first year.
Before watching the TV20 video, I hadn't known that Richard Nixon proclaimed the last Friday in April as Arbor Day and made it a national holiday. Add that to creating the EPA and signing the Endangered Species Act as actions that made him the second most environmental president in U.S. history.

That's it for April's blogging. Stay tuned for a drum corps May Day to kick off the new month.

*I came close in 2018, when I concluded Holidays for the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News on Arbor Day by writing "I might actually devote a post just to Arbor Day." It only took me three years.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

'Contagion' vs. COVID-19 updates last year's most commented entries on Throwback Thursday

I told my readers to "Stay tuned for a retrospective about comments on Throwback Thursday" at the end of yesterday's 'Soul' wins Original Score and Animated Feature. Since readers (spammers) left more comments on Science fiction speaks to our current anxieties last year, I am looking at how well "Contagion" matched up to the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic to update that entry.

The earliest and most viewed comparison video I'm sharing today is Everything Contagion got right on the Coronavirus outbreak. Its creator Caya examines the subject from an intelligent layman's perspective early on in the pandemic. He also chose the best preview image. I'm not above arranging my videos using that shallow criterion.

I’ve been stuck at home for a week after the coronavirus outbreak has halted the world… so I decided to watch Contagion.
The 2011 film, written by Scott Z. Burns and directed by Steven Soderbergh, depicts a worldwide outbreak of a deadly virus… sound familiar?
Yes, it does. As I first wrote about "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."
That extends to the penultimate sentence of Caya's video description, which was a transcript of his narration.
As for what comes next, the film predicts a suspension in basic services, food shortages, and mass graves. Let’s hope we don’t see any of that.
Unfortunately, the food shortages and mass graves did happen, along with looting and civil unrest, as I pointed out in 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.
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!"
I like my doctor, especially when he and I agree.

Speaking of medical opinions, I'm moving to a scientific perspective on the movie, Disease Expert Compares "Contagion" to Covid-19 | Cause + Control from Wired.

Dr. Seema Yasmin, pandemic expert and former epidemic intelligence service officer, examines the 2011 film "Contagion" and compares the Hollywood feature to the current Covid-19 pandemic. The prescient film got a lot of things right, but plenty of the movie's main points were pure fiction. Dr. Yasmin combs through the picture, offering her professional insights.
Dr. Yasmin concentrated on the science in the film as well as the interactions between scientists and the government, not the average citizen's perspective, but she provided a valuable science lesson for her viewers.

I conclude with a cinematic perspective from Contagion — What Soderbergh's Pandemic Got Right About the Coronavirus.

Contagion (2011) was a chilling medical thriller upon release — now that COVID-19 has changed our lives forever, Steven Soderbergh’s film now functions more like a documentary. Contagion used to be a “what if…” kind of movie, leaving us to speculate whether it portrayed what life would be like in such a scenario. In hindsight, we can see that Contagion accurately predicted much of our current coronavirus circumstances.

Beyond comparisons to Contagion and our current lives in quarantine, there is something really fascinating about how Steven Soderbergh used the camera to capture a pandemic. Even before COVID-19, watching Contagion had a unique ability to get under our skin, so to speak — but how? In this video essay, we’ll explore the cinematography in Contagion and how Soderbergh used very simple yet effective techniques to make the fictional pandemic feel grounded, and much more terrifying.

Contagion stars Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Laurence Fishburne in a deadly global pandemic. Soderbergh’s filmmaking prioritizes these characters above the macro chaos swirling around them. Most films in this genre focus on an ensemble of survivors but few pay so much attention to the characters in the cinematography. Soderbergh uses three key elements to lock us into these characters: voyeuristic framing, shallow focus, and follow shots that never lose sight of the subject.

By prioritizing the characters and leaving the chaos more to the imagination, Steven Soderbergh keeps this outbreak grounded and real. Now that COVID-19 has shown us what life in quarantine is really like, we can see just how much truth there is in Contagion. Soderbergh’s cinematography and filmmaking skills were never more focused or prescient.
This was much more about the art of directing than about the science, but I found it interesting and useful just the same.

I conclude this section with another thought from 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.
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.
I hope that's really true, not just for my wife and me, but also for my readers.

Follow over the jump for the most commented on entries during the tenth year of this blog.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

'Soul' wins Original Score and Animated Feature

I wrote that "Soul" was my pick to win Original Score and thought it would win for Animated Feature after winning the equivalent categories at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards. The film and the voters of the Motion Picture Academy did not disappoint me. Watch SOUL Accepts the Oscar for Original Score from ABC now, Oscars later.

Watch Jon Batiste accept the Oscar for Music (Original Score) for SOUL at Oscars 2021 with fellow musicians Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
Congratulations! Jon Batiste is as interesting and entertaining a speaker as he is a musician, which is why I'm glad he made the acceptance speech on stage.*

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross got their turns to thank people in SOUL's Thank You Cam Speech: Original Score.

Watch Oscars 2021 winner Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste's Thank You Cam Oscar acceptance speech for Music (Original Score) for SOUL.
The trio of composers met the press afterwards, which Variety captured in 'Soul' Composers Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross & Jon Batiste on the Film's Jazzy Oscar-Winning Score.

"Soul," Pixar's poignant film about life and inspiration, takes home the Oscar for Best Original Score. Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste describe their inspiration for the film and speculate on what may be next for the three of them.
The entertainment press really engaged in a lot of inside baseball in their questions, although they were still informative. In particular, I hadn't realized that Reznor and Ross only have a Tony to win to earn and EGOT until I heard the question. If they and Batiste, like H.E.R., can compose a Broadway musical, that would be a great start. All they need is the right property.

The trio returned to ABC for Musicians of SOUL 'Oscars: After Dark' Winner Interview.

Watch Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste on 'Oscars: After Dark' talking about working with Pete Docter in constructing the score for the animated feature SOUL.
The explanation of the score as reflecting the film's exploring different planes of existence is a theme Pete Docter examines over the jump.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

'Judas and the Black Messiah' wins two Oscars

I gushed over H.E.R. singing “Fight For You” from "Judas and the Black Messiah" in Oscar nominated scores and songs for National Film Score Day followed by my opinion of the movie's Oscar prospects.
Wow, I love this song! I don't think it will win, but I think it should! I have a feeling it will be the best live performance along with “Husavik” at the actual awards. Too bad the votes will be counted before the artists perform. At least Daniel Kaluuya is likely to win Best Supporting Actor, like he did at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards, so "Judas and the Black Messiah" won't go away empty-handed.
Not only did I think the song should win, much to my pleasant surprise, it did win!

Watch H.E.R. - Fight For You (Oscars 2021 Pre-Show Telecast).

H.E.R. - "Fight For You” (from Judas And The Black Messiah)

Wow! I'm even more impressed seeing it "live." I feel it did have the most energetic performance of all of the nominated songs at the Oscar Pre-Show, not the awards ceremony itself, with “Husavik” a close second. Performing on location with local musicians and ending with a fireworks show helped “Husavik.” However, the ABC upload of “Husavik” has the most views of any of the performances with "Fight For You" in last on ABC's channel, which has the description "H.E.R. performs the Oscar nominated original song "Fight For You" from JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH at Oscars 2021." I credit that to most of the artist's fans watching the video on H.E.R.'s channel instead of ABC and ABC uploading its clip after the show ended.

Now watch H.E.R. Accepts the Oscar for Original Song from ABC for now, Oscars later.

Watch H.E.R.'s Oscar 2021 acceptance speech for Music (Original Song) for the song 'Fight For You' from JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH.

H.E.R. continued acknowledging the people that made her Oscar possible in JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH's Thank You Cam Speech: Original Song from ABC.

Watch Oscars 2021 winners H.E.R., Dernst Emile II, and Tiara Thomas's Thank You Cam Oscar acceptance speech for Music (Original Song) for JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH.
I'm glad her collaborator Dernst Emile II was able to get in front of the microphone, too

Just like Pippa Ehrlich did in the Variety press conference I embedded in 'My Octopus Teacher' wins Documentary Feature at the Oscars, H.E.R. explained the greater significance of her award in H.E.R. Gets Halfway to an EGOT After Oscar Win for Original Song 'Fight for You'.

After winning the Oscar for Best Original Song for "Judas and the Black Messiah" anthem "Fight For You," H.E.R thanks collaborators Dernst Emile II & Tiara Thomas, expressing gratitude for being apart of a film that honors the Black Panther party.
The press here come off as fans as they do journalists, but they still asked good questions that got interesting, thoughful answers. One of them was that H.E.R. is also Asian-American, being half-Filipino, which I may not have learned for a long time. The other is that she is working on getting her EGOT. I want her to, but I'm hoping Lin-Manuel Miranda gets his first. He just needs an Oscar; I hope he earns one for "In the Heights."

H.E.R. and her collaborators gave one last interview by themselves for ABC, H.E.R., Tiara Thomas, and Dernst Emile II 'Oscars: After Dark' Winner Interview.

Watch H.E.R., Tiara Thomas, and Dernst Emile II on 'Oscars: After Dark' talking about their win for Best Original Song 'Fight For You' from JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH.
That was fun, but I'm not done. My readers and I will hear from Daniel Kaluuya about his performance and Oscar over the jump.

Monday, April 26, 2021

'My Octopus Teacher' wins Documentary Feature at the Oscars

I announced my plan for today in the footnote to Seth Meyers and Vox take closer looks at D.C. statehood for Flashback Friday.
I still plan on writing this post Monday in anticipation of "My Octopus Teacher" winning Best Documentary Feature at the Oscars the night before. Stay tuned and may I not be disappointed.
I was not disappointed. Watch MY OCTOPUS TEACHER Accepts the Oscar for Documentary Feature from ABC now, the Oscars later.*

Watch Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed and Craig Foster accept the Oscar for Documentary (Feature) for MY OCTOPUS TEACHER at Oscars 2021.
Congratulations! Ever since my readers expressed their love for this movie last November, I knew that "My Octopus Teacher" had a good chance of winning if it was nominated, a story I'll tell in more detail over the jump. After it won at the Producers Guild Awards and BAFTA Awards, I realized that it was the favorite. I'm glad it lived up to my expectations, unlike some other nominees, a story I'll tell in future installments of this series.

Since this is the first of my posts about the Oscar winners, I'm commenting on the socially-distanced in-person setting. I think this was the best compromise between safety and entertainment the Motion Picture Academy could achieve. The result resembled a less tipsy Golden Globes. Since the Hollywood Foreign Press Association held those remotely, the Oscars tried to fill the gap. From a viewer's perspective, the setup succeeded. I'll wait to see if it really kept everyone healthy.

Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed had more to say in MY OCTOPUS TEACHER's Thank You Cam Speech: Documentary (Feature), again from ABC now, maybe the Oscars later.

Watch Oscars 2021 winner Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed's Thank You Cam Oscar acceptance speech for Documentary (Feature) for MY OCTOPUS TEACHER.
I can tell Ehrlich was still a bit nervous after her first acceptance speech. I hope she gets used to it, as I'm sure that "My Octopus Teacher" will be nominated at the Environmental Media Association Awards and one of the Emmy Awards, either Creative Arts or News and Documentary, and will likely win at least one trophy at each.

Ehrlich was much calmer when she faced the press in Variety's 'My Octopus Teacher' Documentary Directors on Filming Their Underwater Oscar Winner.

Following a man who forms a bond with an octopus inhabiting a kelp forest, 'My Octopus Teacher' won the Oscar for Best Documentary at the 93rd Academy Awards. Backstage, Directors Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed describe their hope that audiences embrace their message: that humanity find more "hopeful and respectful way of engaging with the planet".
Ehrlich gave exactly the kind of environmental message about the documentary at the end of the press conference that I was hoping for. Kudos not only to her, but also the reporter from Univision who asked for a response related to Earth Day. That was a smart question. Thank you.

Follow over the jump for the story of how 'My Octopus Teacher' wins Best Science/Nature Documentary and Best Cinematography at the 2020 Critics' Choice Documentary Awards earned its page views, along with other top entertainment posts about movies and television during the tenth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News; I covered music under holidays in Broken Peach celebrating Halloween updates holidays for the tenth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News for Flashback Friday.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Mike Lindell and Rudy Giuliani win two Razzies each, including Worst Film for 'Absolute Proof'

It's time for the 41st Razzie Winners Announcement!

In a Year When Everything Sucked, Everybody Gets a Little Something from The 41st Annual Razzie® Awards, Including a Governors’ Trophy for 2020 Itself!


Hahahaha! I got what I wished for in Rudy Giuliani and Mike Lindell earn Razzie nominations.
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.
Not only was "Absolute Proof" the worst political film of 2020, but, according to the Razzies, the Worst Picture overall last year. I can't think of a more deserving stinker of a bad (faith) documentary. That written, I misjudged its competition, as "Music" won more Razzies than any other film with three, Worst Director, Worst Actress, and Worst Supporting Actress.
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.
This year, the Razzie electorate voted to recognize Lindell's variety of awful "in a landslide." I approve. I also approve of the next two awards.
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 Guiliani 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.
As I wrote, I got my wish, both here and in the next category.
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.
I got a fifth wish fulfilled in this category, as Rudy Giuliani's zipper replaced Maria Bakalova as the other part of this screen combo. As I wrote, she didn't deserve her part in the award, while Giuliani's zipper did. Sacha Baron Cohen can think Giuliani for adding two Razzies to the awards for "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm", just like he thanked Giuliani for his part in helping the comedy win two Golden Globes and a WGA Award. Giuliani deserves it.

"365 Days" and "Dolittle" also received the recognition they deserved, the former for winning Worst Screenplay and the latter for winning Worst Remake, Ripoff, or Sequel. I'll accept the Razzie voters' judgement for both, but especially the latter. I think "Wonder Woman 1984" wasn't nearly as bad as some people made it out to be and did not deserve its nominations, especially for Kristen Wiig. I liked her as Barbara Minerva/Cheetah and hope she returns in a sequel.

That's it for the Razzies. Stay tuned for coverage of the Oscars.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

WDIV examines climate change in Michigan for Earth Week

For the end of Earth Week, I'm sharing a series of clips from Click On Detroit/WDIV about climate change in Michigan. The local NBC affiliate and I begin with a general overview, Climate Challenge -- Science: Reconstructing the past.

This segment reinforces a point I've been making for years, most recently in Carbon dioxide at levels not seen for 3.6 million years despite economic slowdown from pandemic — greenhouse gases are rising dramatically because of human activity and climate consequences are not only coming, they're here. Follow over the jump to see the clips about those.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Seth Meyers and Vox take closer looks at D.C. statehood for Flashback Friday

I changed my mind about the topic of today's post. Instead of a retrospective featuring a popular post about animals that is an Oscar nominee, as I promised yesterday, I'm writing a Flashback Friday post about D.C. statehood.* That's because the House passed a D.C. statehood bill yesterday, just like they did last year. Since all my entries so far on the subject have used serious news sources, I'm switching to comedy today with Republicans Freak Out About DC Statehood and the Green New Deal: A Closer Look from Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Seth takes a closer look at House Democrats voting to admit Washington D.C. as the 51st state while Republicans freak out about everything from voting rights to the Green New Deal.
Not only does this clip feature D.C. statehood, which has been a popular topic of mine for four years running, but it begins with AOC facing off against Marjorie Taylor Greene (MTG), who has her own top entry that I'll examine over the jump.

Before I do, I'm sharing a more serious examination of today's topic from Vox, The fight for America's 51st state, explained.

Washington, DC is closer than ever to becoming a state. Could it actually happen?
On June 26, 2020, the US House of Representatives voted to make America’s capital city, Washington, DC, the country’s 51st state. It was a historic vote, and the closest the country has come to adding a new state in over 60 years. But it was also, for the time being, completely symbolic. Because at least in 2020, DC has no chance of actually becoming a state.

That June 26 vote was almost entirely along party lines; Democrats mostly voted in favor of DC statehood, and Republicans against it. That’s because making DC a state would give the Democrats additional seats in Congress, potentially affecting the balance of power between the parties. It’s why President Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate have both promised to strike down any bid for DC statehood. And in fact, statehood in the US has always been a political issue. In the past, the US has often added states in pairs to preserve the political balance. Admitting a new state on its own has happened, but it’s unusual.

But the case for DC statehood is strong: The city has a similar population to several states, its hundreds of thousands of residents lack any say in national lawmaking, and its local government is uniquely vulnerable to being strong-armed by Congress and the federal government. Simply put, the laws that created the district did not anticipate that it would one day be a major city. And while in 1993, the last time Congress voted on DC statehood, the Democratic-controlled House failed to pass it, today’s Democratic Party is increasingly on board with it. If 2020’s election puts the Democrats in full control of the federal government, America might actually get its 51st state.
The situation has changed since last year, as Democrats have control, however slim, over both houses of Congress and the Presidency, but that still may not be enough for Washington D.C. to become Douglass Commonwealth. Mitch McConnell and the other Republicans in the U.S. Senate are still opposed. Without filibuster reform, it still won't pass. Sigh.

Follow over the jump for two top posts from last year about D.C. statehood and MTG.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Neil deGrasse Tyson explains Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! To celebrate, I'm sharing Neil deGrasse Tyson Explains the History of Earth Day from StarTalk.

Where did Earth Day come from? On this explainer, Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic climate activist co-host Chuck Nice discuss the origins of Earth Day and when we started paying attention to environmental issues on our own planet.

When was the first Earth Day? We talk about Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring and the origins of climate activism in the United States. How did people's mentalities towards pollution change? We break down the concept of a global environment, the turbulence of the sixties, and Apollo 8. What does the 1968 trip to the moon have to do with Earth Day? Discover how leaving the earth helped us think about our own planet. We explore the founding of the Environmental Protection Agency and other government agencies and policies in the 70’s. What changed in our mindset towards Earth when we travelled to space? Happy Earth Day from your friends at StarTalk, keep looking up and keep looking home!
I'm sure his viewers and listeners expected to hear about the role of Rachel Carson, but leave it to Dr. Tyson to connect the space program, particularly Apollo 8, to the environmental movement and leave it to Chuck Nice to tell the viewers to spread the word. I listened, Chuck, which is why I embedded the video and am sharing the link.

I'm also sharing GretaThunberg: A Year to Change the World PREVIEW from Arizona Public Media.

Travel with the world’s best-known climate activist as she takes her fight to a global stage. With unique access, the series follows Greta over an extraordinary year as she embarks on a mission to ensure world leaders work to limit global warming.
Check your TV listings for when this three-part series airs on your local PBS station. Many of them will show it tonight, Earth Day, beginning at 8 P.M. local time. They will also repeat it next week.

I'm not done with the intersection of the environment and entertainment. Stay tuned for a retrospective featuring a popular post about animals that is an Oscar nominee on the Flashback Friday before the Oscars.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

ACLU and other organizations react to Derek Chauvin's conviction by calling for police reform, including passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

While I've commented a lot about the public and media reaction to the — now I can say it — murder of George Floyd, I haven't commented on the crime itself other than to examine police behavior in general. I certainly have kept mum about the trial, as whatever I would write would have no effect on the result; I've been disappointed enough by trial outcomes not to get the hopes of myself or my readers up. Now that the jury has reached its verdict, it's time to say something. For that, I'm outsourcing my reaction to the professionals at the civil rights, voting rights, and other good government nonprofits that Coffee Party USA lists as partners. So many of them issued statements that I decided to compile them here and share this post instead of sharing the press releases individually to the Coffee Party USA Facebook page. That would have taken all week and I think this will have more impact.

I begin with the American Civil Liberties Union: ACLU Statement on Derek Chauvin Guilty Verdict.
A jury has found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all charges in the murder of George Floyd.

The following statement can be attributed to Jason Williamson, deputy director of the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project:

“George Floyd will never make his way home to play games with his daughter, Gianna. He’ll never go on walks through the park with his beloved fiancée Courteney or play basketball with his brother, Philonise. While today’s verdict is a step forward in the fight for police accountability and may help heal a grieving community, the systems that allowed a police officer to murder Mr. Floyd, ripping him away from his family and the communities that loved him so much, remain fully intact. These are the same systems that resulted in the death of another 20-year-old Black man at the hands of police less than 10 miles from this trial.

“Honoring the lives of George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown and countless other Black lives violently taken at the hands of police means that elected officials, activists, organizations like the ACLU, and regular people must not allow this verdict to lull us into a place of complacency. Instead, we must renew our conviction to create a world where police do not have the opportunity to use violence and harassment to target Black people as police have been doing since their inception as slave patrols created to monitor, control, and oppress Black communities. This new world includes removing police entirely from low-level enforcement and massively reinvesting in the communities that desperately want more for the legacies of their fallen. And we will fight with them to get there.”

The following statement can be attributed to John Gordon, executive director of the ACLU of Minnesota:

“Today, for the first time in state history, a white police officer has been held accountable for killing a Black man. Now, we can finally say George Floyd’s name and make it synonymous not only with grief, anger, and loss over his brutal murder, but with a moment of justice. But to be clear, true justice would mean George Floyd was alive today, with his fiancée, his daughter, and his family.

“While this verdict brings a certain rare form of accountability for police, achieving this outcome for Mr. Floyd is only one step in addressing police abuse of power, disparate treatment, and excessive force against Black and Brown communities. We still must radically change policing in Minnesota and across the country, increase accountability and transparency, and create policies that combat racism in policing.

“The jury's decision to convict Derek Chauvin does not negate the fact that Mr. Floyd’s tragic murder is part of a horrifying local and national pattern of officers using excessive force against people of color. Mr. Floyd was one of more than 5,000 people killed by police since 2015.

“Mr. Floyd should not have died under an officer’s knee — he should still be alive today. So should Daunte Wright, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black people killed by police.

“Our elected officials, activists, communities, and organizations, including the ACLU of Minnesota, must continue to fight for racial justice in Mr. Floyd’s name. We must re-examine our entire system of public safety and public health, and root out the racism that pervades law enforcement. We must prohibit police mistreatment of communities of color, which leads to people being both underserved and overpoliced. We must divert funding from traditional policing toward community-based services, such as crisis teams, so all communities are truly safe. We must remove police from enforcing traffic infractions and low-level offenses. Taking another person’s life is the most extreme action a police officer can take, and new standards for use of force, along with increased accountability and transparency, are needed to ensure that police violence and killings end.

“We join with Mr. Floyd’s family, our community, and our nation in mourning his death. We will never forget to ‘Say His Name.’ Together, we’ll work to ensure that one day, we can remember George Floyd in celebration of the true justice for all achieved in his name.”
The ACLU understands what "defund the police" really means. In addition, while the ACLU didn't mention the federal George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in yesterday's press release, it expressed its conditional support for the 2020 version of the bill and has a petition page to support the Texas version of the bill.

Follow over the jump for more press releases about the crime, the verdict, and what it means from Common Cause, the League of Conservation Voters, the League of Women Voters, People for the American Way, and Public Citizen, all of whom have expressed support for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act or its predecessor, the 2020 Justice in Policing Act.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

CNBC asks 'Is Marijuana Legalization Inevitable in the U.S.?' plus New York and Virginia legalizing marijuana

As I told my readers yesterday, "stay tuned for marijuana legalization for 4/20." I have just the video for the today's subject, CNBC asking Is Marijuana Legalization Inevitable In The US?.

Every ballot initiative involving the decriminalization or legalization of marijuana passed in the 2020 election. The Democratic-controlled House also passed the MORE Act in early December, which would legalize marijuana at the federal level and implement sweeping regulations surrounding the drug. These developments reveal something important about the shift in the marijuana debate: Marijuana may be one of the truly bipartisan issues in the U.S. right now.
CORRECTION (January 4, 2021): At 0:55 and 6:31, the map mislabels the legality of recreational marijuana in Illinois. The state has legalized marijuana for both recreational and medical use. At 12:20, a graphic used an incorrect photo to identify Alaska Rep. Don Young
That was a very good history and summary of the state of the issue as of January 2021. Since then, New York and Virginia have legalized recreational use of marijuana. Follow over the jump for video news reports about them.

Monday, April 19, 2021

'The Rise and Fall of American Malls' updates tales of the Retail Apocalypse for the tenth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News

I just realized that Earth Day is this coming Thursday, so I am moving up my planned post about the Retail Apocalypse from Friday to today and the retrospective about entertainment from Thursday to Friday.* It helped that Bloomberg Quicktake uploaded The Rise and Fall of American Malls last week, making it the perfect video to update my readers about the Retail Apocalypse.

Part social gathering spaces, part retail meccas, malls were once the centerpiece of the suburban American experience. Now, fac

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Colbert, Meyers, and Kimmel take more closer looks at Matt Gaetz

When I wrote "I'm sure I'll have more to write about GaetzGate," I thought both that I would use serious news sources to tell the story and that they would concentrate solely on the story. Nope to both. Once again, I'm using late night talk show hosts making the scandal the shiny object to get people to watch them and their monologues start and end about other subjects. It worked on me.

In the case of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert's Venmo Records Reveal Ridiculous Attempts To Hide Cash-For-Sex Scheme, the clip begins with Stephen describing Joe Biden going after Russia and Vladimir Putin and ends with the possibility of Japan canceling this summer's already delayed Olympics because of the pandemic.

Stephen's ongoing investigation into "Gaetz-Gaete" takes a look at the not-so-subtle Venmo notations that Florida congressman Matt Gaetz's associate used when allegedly sending money to women in exchange for sex.
Stephen is right; the labels used on the Venmo transactions were too on the nose. He missed the one sent to the then-17-year-old labeled "Food." Gaetz's associate Joel Greenberg may as well have used "Candy."

As for Canadian Batman being polite, I guess Stephen and his writers forgot about Wolverine, the most famous Canadian superhero. Also, don't know if they've seen Canadians at hockey games. I have and they should.

Late Night with Seth Meyers' The FBI Seized Matt Gaetz’s Phone Amid Sex Trafficking Investigation: A Closer Look had more focus, but it was just as much concerned with conservative backlash against corporations acting on their dissapproval of restrictive voting laws.

Seth takes a closer look at the GOP using the power of the state to punish critics and suppress votes as Matt Gaetz’s investigation intensifies.
Seth examines an aspect of the Georgia legislation that hasn't received as much attention, the provisions that make it easier for the state legislators to interfere in the certification of elections, making them easier to overturn. Stop the steal? More like make the steal legal!

Seth then segued seamlessly into GaetzGate, where he more than made up for my complaint about his clip last week.
The one part Meyers didn't make a joke about, even though his sketch included a clip mentioning it, was using Venmo to pay Greenberg, who then passed it on to three young women. Now I can say that Venmo is a 21st Century crime scene.
Bags of cash would have been a lot more secure and anomymous, but no where near as convenient.

Instead of the Venmo transactions, Jimmy Kimmel focused on the parties in a gated community in suburban Orlando for Trump Fanboy Matt Gaetz’s Wild Sex Parties & Bachelor Colton Comes Out.

Former Bachelor Colton Underwood came out on Good Morning America, there were hints along the way, Billy Eichner has proof that he knew it, Trump fanboy Matt Gaetz is having a heck of week after one of his associates told prosecutors that he had encounters with women who were given cash in exchange for sex and that he had wild parties with Republican officials, President Joe Biden and Barack Obama are teaming up for a TV special to convince those hesitant to get the vaccine, scientists in China have discovered what is believed to be the oldest reptile with opposable thumbs, and Bernie Madoff died in prison.
Gaetz and Trump, only the best people.

I'm a paleontologist, so I can't resist commenting on "Monkeydactyl." First, it's a pterosaur, not a dinosaur. Second, its real name is Kunpengopterus antipollicatus. Just the same, it's a really cool discovery.

Thumbs up!

Saturday, April 17, 2021

CNBC explains 'How Georgia's Controversial Voting Laws Sparked Major Corporate Backlash'

I made a serious point amid all my mockery in Rudy Giuliani and Mike Lindell earn Razzie nominations: "'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." One of the consequences of the Big Lie was a violent coup attempt when then Vice President Pence refused to go along with former President Trump.* The other is that Republican state legislators are acting on it by introducing new election bills that restrict what Trump's Big Lie sees as the reasons for his loss, mail-in voting and early voting, particularly Sunday voting. Georgia became the first state to sign such bills into law this year, causing corporations to condemn the laws and conservatives to attack the corporations.

Since I featured the comedians already, it's time for me to post something serious about the issue. Fortunately, CNBC helped me by uploading How Georgia's Controversial Voting Laws Sparked Major Corporate Backlash yesterday.

Republican state legislators across the country began to formulate new voting laws in response to the tumultuous 2020 presidential election in State Houses across the country. In Georgia, the voting law known as SB 202 has become mired in controversy, as opponents of the law claim it will further voter suppression, and supporters of the new law argue that it will bring back confidence in elections.

A rash of new voting legislation has caused an uproar among progressive activists, pushing some big businesses to take a political stance. Some corporations and executives have voiced opposition to the new bills, notably in Georgia.

Amazon, General Motors, and others released a joint statement in opposition to voting restrictions. Earlier in the month, Major League Baseball reportedly moved the All-Star game out of Georgia in protest of the new bill, and the CEO of Delta Airlines stated the voting law was 'unacceptable'.
The new law in Georgia will mandate voter ID for absentee voting, limit the use of drop boxes, and restrict giving out food and water to voters waiting in line near polls. Proponents think these measures will increase security and faith in elections.

Opponents of these bills say they're targeting low-income voters who have less flexibility to vote during work hours and also are less likely to have a driver's license or other forms of ID.
That's only part of a long video description at YouTube. The summary at CNBC's webpage is more succinct.
Republican state legislators across the country have been formulating new voting laws in response to the 2020 presidential election. In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill known as S.B. 202 was signed into law last month. Opponents of the law claim it will add to voter suppression in the state, and supporters argue it will bring back confidence in elections.
I like that better.

Politico analyzed the story more deeply, stating The GOP-Big Business Divorce Goes Deeper Than You Think.
The recent spat between leading Republicans and major corporations like Delta, Coca-Cola and Major League Baseball criticizing Georgia’s restrictive new voting law isn’t just about voting rights; it’s the sign of a deeper breakup that has been years in the making. For anyone confused about how Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell could admonish big companies to “stay out of politics,” after building a career on corporate donations and business-friendly policies, this deeper breakup tells the story.

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a legendary business professor and associate dean at the Yale School of Management, has watched this split grow in recent years, and has heard it from CEOs he knows and works with. What the GOP cares about and what major businesses care about are, increasingly incompatible, he says.

“The political desire to use wedge issues to divide—which used to be fringe in the GOP—has become mainstream,” Sonnenfeld says. “That is 100 percent at variance with what the business community wants. And that is a million times more important to them than how many dollars of taxes are paid here or there.”
As the GOP tries to position itself as the home of “working-class values,” capturing loyalty with a steady campaign against the perceived excesses of progressive culture, it’s running afoul of a business community that can’t simply silo off “culture war” topics. In the eyes of major corporations, issues like voting rights, immigration and transgender-inclusive restrooms have economic impact, too. The millions of people alienated by those fights aren’t just their future customers, many of whom expect to support brands they believe in, they’re the companies’ employees.

“The bad news for Republicans is that they seem to have a 1920s view of who Big Business’ workforce is,” says Sonnenfeld. “That workforce is, at a minimum, highly diverse—and they get along. Trying to stir that up is misguided.”
“Basically, business leaders believe that it’s in the interest of society to have social harmony. ... Divisiveness in society is not in their interest, short term or long term.”
Not only did Republicans drink Trump's Kool-Aid, it looks like they drank Steve Bannon's about turning the GOP into a working-class white party as well. While Bannon may claim credit for the idea, I can trace it back to 2012, when Newt Gingrich threw big business under the bus while campaigning against Mitt Romney. Nine years later, the rift between Republicans and big business has opened up wide enough for everyone to see. Who knows? Maybe the Republican Party will fall into it. Break out the popcorn, but also fight for voting rights.

*Personally, I'd rather call it Trump's dangerous delusion, his fixed belief that the election was stolen from him despite all evidence, which I see as related to his vulnerability to conspiracy theories, but "the Big Lie" is the established phrase used by CNBC and others, so I'm calling it that instead. It's a lie, too.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Purposes, explanations, and applications of the Media Bias Chart for Flashback Friday

Happy Flashback Friday! I promised a much shorter retrospective today than yesterday, so I'm looking at only one popular entry today, Explaining the Media Bias Chart, a popular topic of the past two years of Crazy Eddie's Motie News. Since this post ranked among the top twenty entries last year, that means that the Media Bias Chart has been a popular topic here for three consecutive years. May this entry make it four consecutive years of popularity!

I begin with Ad Fontes Media: Fixing Our News Ecosystem, which I admit is advertising, but it does explain what Ad Fontes Media and the creator of this particular media bias chart (there are others) hopes to accomplish.

I think improving the media ecosystem through rating sources and educating consumers are admirable goals, which is why I started blogging about the Media Bias Chart three years ago.

For a more neutral examination, I'm sharing Infobase's Navigating the News Landscape with the Media Bias Chart.

There are more news sources out there than ever before, and as a result, educators face enormous challenges in teaching students how to differentiate between the reliable and unreliable ones.
I enjoyed Otero's demonstration of how to teach using the Media Bias Chart. Finally, Otero demonstrates how to use the chart in News Polarization around George Floyd's Death.

We use the lens of how events are covered differently across the news landscape to discuss how coverage affects our thinking and conversations about racism, police brutality, protests, civil disobedience, riots, looting, and change.
Like last year, when I embedded a comparable video about coverage of the pandemic, she showed media bias playing out in real time.

I mentioned above that there are other media bias charts besides Otero's. One of them is from AllSides. Poynter looks at both and I'm feeling a comparison and contrast post coming on. Not today, though. Instead, follow over the jump for how Explaining the Media Bias Chart, a popular topic of the past two years of Crazy Eddie's Motie News earned its page views.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Capitol Police Inspector General's report on the preparation for January 6 riot updates Election 2020 and its aftermath for Throwback Thursday

I foretold the topic of today's post twice, first in last week's Noah and Colbert on vaccinations vs. a possible fourth wave of COVID update the pandemic for Flashback Friday, when I wrote "The next retrospective should be about the 2020 election and the actions that led to impeachment for Throwback Thursday next week." I repeated myself in yesterday's Seth Meyers, 'SNL,' and 'Tooning out the News' take closer looks at Matt Gaetz "stay tuned for retrospectives on Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday. Tomorrow's should be the last one about the 2020 election and its aftermath." I'm recapping the top entries featuring serious news reports about those topics over the jump after I update them with current news stories, beginning with NBC News' Inspector General Report: Authorities Ignored Intelligence Ahead Of January 6th Capitol Riot.

A report from the Capitol Police inspector general says that authorities ignored intelligence ahead of the January 6th riot, including a warning that “Congress itself is the target”. NBC News’ Tom Winter and Leigh Ann Caldwell break down the details of the warnings and how Capitol Police are responding to the report.
I wish I could say that I wasn't surprised. There were lots of reports and worries that the January 6th event would be violent. Olivia Troye said "I am very concerned there will be violence on January 6" in an MSNBC interview on December 28, 2020.

Former member of the Trump administration Olivia Troye expresses her worry that the divisiveness Trump has stoked in this country will have damaging and lasting implications.
She turned out to be right. I wish I could say I was with her when I mentioned the joint session of the new Congress on January 6, 2021 as an opportunity to game the system back in November, but that's all I thought would be, an attempt by Congress to overturn the election, not a violent coup attempt when then Vice President Pence refused to go along.

Back to yesterday's news. I agree with Tom Winter that this wasn't a failure of gathering the information; the Capitol Police had the information. It was a failure of leadership to understand what it meant. At least they agreed with the findings and then used it as an opportunity to ask for more money. Defund the police? Not in this case!

The facts and analysis need a context and an opinion, so I'm sharing the most germane MSNBC clip about the report, Hayes: Jan. 6th Would Have Been A Massacre If Police Reacted Like They Do To BLM Protests | All In.

"It is very hard not to see some fundamental contradictions in how our country, the state, wields force against its citizens," says Chris Hayes, comparing police responses in Black Lives Matter protests and the Capitol riot. Aired on 04/14/2021.
One would have to have a bad case of "Who are going to believe, me or your own eyes" to not see the inequitable responses of the police to the two different classes of protestors.

While I desire a more equitable level of policing, Steve M. at No More Mr. Nice Blog despairs at the likelihood of achieving it.
I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, the report says that the Capitol Police had adequate warning of what was coming and should been able to prevent the Capitol from being breached. On the other hand, do we trust any police agency right now to find the sweet spot where order is maintained without the use of excessive force?

Even if the Capitol Police had used an appropriate amount of force, if that included stun grenades, can you imagine the right-wing reaction -- not just at the time, but even now, and for the foreseeable future? Can you imagine this being done ... not to evil BLM/Antifa commies, but to Real Americans? We'd have never heard the end of it.
Sigh. Probably not.

I conclude the update part of today's post by quoting part of a comment by Frank Wilhoit at Crooked Timber (Emphasis mine).
Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit:

There must be in-groups whom the law protectes (sic) but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.

There is nothing more or else to it, and there never has been, in any place or time.

For millenia, conservatism had no name, because no other model of polity had ever been proposed. “The king can do no wrong.” In practice, this immunity was always extended to the king’s friends, however fungible a group they might have been. Today, we still have the king’s friends even where there is no king (dictator, etc.). Another way to look at this is that the king is a faction, rather than an individual.

As the core proposition of conservatism is indefensible if stated baldly, it has always been surrounded by an elaborate backwash of pseudophilosophy, amounting over time to millions of pages. All such is axiomatically dishonest and undeserving of serious scrutiny. Today, the accelerating de-education of humanity has reached a point where the market for pseudophilosophy is vanishing; it is, as The Kids Say These Days, tl;dr . All that is left is the core proposition itself — backed up, no longer by misdirection and sophistry, but by violence.

So this tells us what anti-conservatism must be: the proposition that the law cannot protect anyone unless it binds everyone, and cannot bind anyone unless it protects everyone.
The contrast between how the police treated the Black Lives Matter protestors and the January 6th insurrectionists is consistent with Wilhoit's formulation of conservatism while my ideal is what Wilhoit stated about anti-conservatism and then repeated at the end of his comment: "The law cannot protect anyone unless it binds everyone; and it cannot bind anyone unless it protects everyone."

Follow over the jump for the top posts featuring serious news sources about the election and its aftermath, including the insurrection and impeachment.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Seth Meyers, 'SNL,' and 'Tooning out the News' take closer looks at Matt Gaetz

I can't resist blogging at the current shiny object, the scandal surrounding Matt Gaetz. I begin with Late Night with Seth Meyers MAGA Congressman Matt Gaetz Snubbed by Trump Amid Growing Scandals: A Closer Look.

Seth takes a closer look at the House Ethics Committee opening an investigation into Congressman Matt Gaetz, who was reportedly snubbed by his political idol Donald Trump.
What a train wreck! No wonder people are gawking at it. In addition to all of Gaetz's scandalous and allegedly illegal behavior, there are the people enabling it, such as Joel Greenberg, who is like the Tiger King was elected tax collector. I had heard of him, but I hadn't heard of Dr. Jason Pirozzolo before watching this clip. Wow, Florida, man.
Well, this is Florida, which is known for the crazy news it produces. As an expatriate Californian, I'm perversely glad that it ha[s] the insane reputation that it does; it makes California, especially southern California, look good.
I wrote that nine years ago, but it continues to be true.

Lots of other comedians have been mocking Gaetz, but none more recently than Meyers, so he covered most of the scandal. The one part Meyers didn't make a joke about, even though his sketch included a clip mentioning it, was using Venmo to pay Greenberg, who then passed it on to three young women. Now I can say that Venmo is a 21st Century crime scene. "Saturday Night Live" made that the opening topic of Weekend Update: Matt Gaetz Venmo Sex Scandal.

Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week's biggest news, like President Joe Biden’s new executive actions on gun control.
"If true, it would make him the only Congressman actually helping with student loans." Zing! Too bad "SNL" didn't include that line in the video description.

Stephen Colbert was all over the scandal last week, but didn't feature it in last night's monologue. Instead, last night's show featured Matt Gaetz scandal attracts Dumb X-Files from "Tooning out the News."

Congressman Matt Gaetz's defense against sex trafficking allegations draws attention from two very dumb X-Files investigators.
The real Scully and Mulder would suspect aliens. Just the same, there is enough weird about Gaetz that people don't have to make stuff up about him. For starters, he grew up in Jim Carrey's character's house from "The Truman Show." That made an impression on him.
“I grew up in the house Jim Carrey lived in in The Truman Show,” wrote Gaetz. “I know that all the world’s a stage, especially when we all have cameras with phones.”
I guess that's why he can't stop performing, even when it would be better for him to shut up.

I'm sure I'll have more to write about GaetzGate. In the meantime, stay tuned for retrospectives on Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday. Tomorrow's should be the last one about the 2020 election and its aftermath.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Vice on DART, Harvard on the 'Armageddon causing comet' that killed the dinosaurs, and more asteroid news for Apophis Day

Today is Apophis Day, when I report on the perils of space. In particular, I concentrate on potential threats from asteroids, as the asteroid Apophis will fly by Earth twice on this date, first in 2029 and again in 2036, hence my name for the day. Since I like some hope along with my DOOM, I also write about possible solutions. On that note, watch How NASA Plans to Save Earth from Asteroids | The Space Show by Vice News.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test is NASA's first test of a "kinetic impactor" that could one day be used to save Earth from an incoming asteroid. Andy Rivkin, an asteroid expert with The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, explains how to smash into giant space rocks and possibly save human civilization.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission looks promising. Preparations should be well under way by Asteroid Day, so I expect that I will be writing about the mission again at the end of June.

One of the main reasons asteroids rank so highly among doomsday scenarios is the discovery that an asteroid impact caused the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs. Dinosaurs and disaster — that's a combination that attracts attention! Harvard University reported a new finding about the Origin of the Armageddon causing comet.

A new theory from Avi Loeb and Amir Siraj explains the origin of the comet that killed the dinosaurs
So a big comet nucleus made of carbonaceous chondrite, not a stony asteroid, hit the Earth 66 million years ago. That shows both the blurriness of the boundary between comets and asteroids and that comets are as big a threat as asteroids. I'll keep that in mind for future posts about asteroids.

Follow over the jump for two more videos reporting the latest news about asteroids.

Monday, April 12, 2021

The Artemis program and NASA's proposed 2022 budget for Yuri's Night 2021

Happy Yuri's Night!* As I wrote five years ago, this is the day of the year when I celebrate the promise of space. This year, I'm returning to 2019's theme of the U.S. going back to the Moon and using it as a stepping stone to Mars. Watch Artemis I: NASA’s Plans to Travel Beyond the Moon.

Artemis 1 will be the first integrated test of NASA’s deep space exploration systems: the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the ground systems at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The first in a series of increasingly complex missions, Artemis I will be an uncrewed flight test that will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration, and demonstrate our commitment and capability to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond.

During this flight, the spacecraft will launch on the most powerful rocket in the world and fly farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown. It will travel 280,000 miles from Earth, thousands of miles beyond the Moon over the course of about a three-week mission. Orion will stay in space longer than any ship for astronauts has done without docking to a space station and return home faster and hotter than ever before.

With this first exploration mission, NASA is leading the next steps of human exploration into deep space where astronauts will build and begin testing the systems near the Moon needed for lunar surface missions and exploration to other destinations farther from Earth, including Mars.
That's just one mission. Here's the latest from NASA about the missions planned for the program so far, Artemis: We Are Focused.

Deep space exploration begins on American factory floors.

The launch of Artemis I will bring together the world’s most powerful rocket, NASA’s Space Launch System and the Orion Spacecraft, to prepare us to land the first woman and the next man on the lunar surface.
I'm 100% behind this, including the diversity and public relations goal of landing the first woman and person of color on the Moon. Just hope the Chinese don't get there first, or they will claim at least one of those.

The Artemis program needs money and NASA uploaded a video about its funding, NASA 2022: A Year of Innovation.

With a budget increase of more than 6% from the previous year, NASA will continue to boost its ingenuity in exploration, technology, aeronautics and science. This is a year of innovation.

This budget increases our ability to better understand Earth as a system –allowing us to tackle climate change in new ways. We will develop more climate-friendly aviation systems, like the X-57 Maxwell, and launch the James Webb Space Telescope that will enable groundbreaking research. Including a diverse and more inclusive workforce, we will continue pushing the boundaries of human exploration with Artemis, with goals of landing the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon, as well as fostering our international and commercial partnerships that help to make it all possible.

We look forward to continuing our legacy of inspiring the nation and the next generation of scientists, engineers and explorers, who will help us accomplish the ambitious goals that we’ve set out for NASA.
For my reaction, I'm being a good environment and recycling what I wrote in NASA and '60 Minutes' on women in NASA for International Women's Day.
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.
On top of which, this budget looks like it's giving me the rest of what I want from NASA, which I described five years ago: "I want more ambitious goals for both space exploration and climate monitoring along with people who understand science and technology in charge of both." Add in the X-57, which looks like it might actually make electrically powered human flight practical (drones have been using electric motors for more than a decade), and NASA is not just monitoring climate change, but doing something to reduce it. This Crazy Eddie approves.

While this is all good news, it's not enough to make me post Professor Farnsworth. After all, Artemis I hasn't launched and the 2022 budget has not been approved by Congress yet. Instead, I'm celebrating by embedding Lindsey Stirling Performs Artemis at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Artemis: the twin sister of Apollo and the name of our program to return astronauts to the Moon by 2024. In honor of Women’s History Month, musician Lindsey Stirling performed her song, Artemis, on top of the Launch Control Center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. This video features facts about some out-of-this-world women at NASA and information about NASA’s Artemis program. The Artemis program will send the first woman and next man to walk on the surface of the Moon and build a sustainable base to prepare for missions to Mars and beyond.
I've posted Taylor Davis videos before, but I've never shared one by Lindsey Stirling during the first ten years of this blog. It's about time I corrected that omission.

That's it for Yuri's Night. Stay tuned for Apophis Day, when I report on the perils of space. I already have one video picked out.

*April 12 is the date when Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space. In addition, today is the 40th anniversary of the first shuttle launch, which is why today is important for the U.S. space program as well.