Saturday, May 28, 2022

SciShow asks 'What Is Monkeypox?'

There is another viral disease outbreak making news besides COVID-19. SciShow explains as it asks and answers What Is Monkeypox?

While cases of Monkeypox are being found worldwide, the nature of the disease and the science we currently have available keeps concerns from growing.
I found this video both concerning and reassuring — concerning in that monkeypox is the kind of disease that "The Hot Zone" warned about, a tropical zoonotic illness spread by modern travel, reassuring because it, unlike COVID-19 or Ebola, is neither that dangerous nor an unknown quantity. As I wrote last month about nuclear weapons, "learning about it made me less anxious, as I could use my knowledge as a source of power over my fears." I hope the same is true for my readers.

Stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Seth Meyers takes closer looks at guns

I haven't written about guns since NRA files for bankruptcy and announces move from New York to Texas last year and featured a late-night talk show host's take on the issue since Ted Cruz Storms Off After Questions About Guns, Wants Door Control Instead: A Closer Look three years ago. With this month's mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, I feel compelled to return to the topic. Watch Late Night with Seth Meyers' America's Urgent Gun Crisis and the Rewriting of the Second Amendment: A Closer Look.

Seth takes a closer look at the powerful forces and leaders behind the decades-long fraud that convinced people it's their constitutional right to own arsenals of military-grade weaponry.
I agree with the late Chief Justice Warren Burger that the current interpretation of the Second Amendment is a legal fraud. What does "a well-regulated militia" mean and why is that being ignored?

Seth followed up on his Closer Look with one of the politicians he featured, Sen. Chris Murphy Discusses the Uvalde School Shooting as his first guest.

Sen. Chris Murphy talks about the heartbreaking school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, challenging his colleagues to take action during his speech before the Senate and discussing the progress that still needs to be made for gun control.
Murphy did a good job of expanding on the history of gun control since Sandy Hook, which prompted me to declare This week deserves Grumpy Cat and ask Expanded concealed carry, really? I hope Senator Murphy is right that the political and social climate has turned in favor of gun control during the past decade.

Seth wasn't done with the issue, as he uploaded Ted Cruz Storms Off After Questions About Guns, Wants Door Control Instead: A Closer Look last night.

Seth takes a closer look at pro-gun politicians refusing to take action for stricter gun safety measures to stop America's plague of mass shootings and pitching an insane alternative to get rid of doors instead of guns.
Ugh, Ted Cruz. I'm glad the correspondent with Sky News and the rest of the reporters interrogating him asked why mass shootings, particularly school shootings, are a uniquely American problem. It shows that he doesn't have an answer beyond the deflections he responded with.

Meyers isn't the only late-night talk show host with blistering monologues on guns and guests favoring gun control. Both Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel did as well. Maybe I will post them, too. Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Carbon dioxide passes 420 ppm, another greenhouse gas record

I concluded yesterday's NOAA predicts another above average hurricane season for 2022 by telling my readers "I should write about the greenhouse gas levels recorded this spring. Stay tuned." That turned out to be timely, as WFLA News Channel 8 uploaded Carbon Dioxide Levels hit new record high causing climate change the day I wrote that.


I'm recycling the comment I left on this video as a reaction.
I was looking for Jeff Berardelli to deliver this news and here he is at WFLA instead of CBS News. Just seeing him on this channel was enough to get me to subscribe to its YouTube channel. Hi, Jeff, from one of your fans!
I featured Berardelli in last year's version of this post, Carbon dioxide at levels not seen for 3.6 million years despite economic slowdown from pandemic, so I really was hoping I'd see him report on the topic again. I'm glad I found him just when I needed him.

Since WFLA didn't include a video description beyond repeating the title, I'm going to quote The Daily Mail, which is read by the wives of the people who run the U.K. and reported Carbon Dioxide Levels hit new record high causing climate change earlier this month.*
Earth's carbon dioxide levels have hit the highest recorded level in human history, new data shows.

For the first time on record, monthly average carbon dioxide (CO2) levels exceeded 420 parts per million (ppm) in April, their highest peak since accurate measurements began 64 years ago.

They even reached 421.33 ppm on one day last week, as greenhouse gas emissions continue to soar around the world.
The day before yesterday, the CO2 concentration measured by weather balloon over Hawaii reached 421.50 ppm, another record.

That's not all. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) of the United Nations uploaded The WMO State of the Global Climate in 2021 - English last week.

Four key climate change indicators – greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise, ocean heat and ocean acidification – set new records in 2021. This is yet another clear sign that human activities are causing planetary scale changes on land, in the ocean, [and in the atmosphere.]
Yikes!

That was about the very recent past. The WMO looked to the future in the Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update - English - May 2022.

There is a 50:50 chance of the annual average global temperature temporarily reaching 1.5 °C above the pre-industrial level for at least one of the next five years – and the likelihood is increasing with time, according to a new climate[...]
This scares me, but doesn't surprise me, as I wrote in SciShow summarizes the IPCC roadmap to fix climate change.
While it's theoretically possible that we can follow this plan and Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. federal government are at least shooting to be carbon neutral by 2050, I think it's more likely that the world as a whole will follow China's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That involves greenhouse gas emissions peaking by 2030 and net zero by 2060. That won't keep us below 1.5oC above the pre-industrial average, but it might just be enough to keep us below 2oC of warming above that same benchmark. I hope that's good enough. At least it won't be Eocene levels of warming — I hope.
It's bad enough that we're on track for Pliocene temperatures at current rates of warming. Welcome to the 400 ppm world.

*Liberals sometimes call The Daily Mail "The Daily Fail" because of its perceived conservative social, economic, and political stances, but I have found it has decent science reporting, even if it serves the paper's tendencies to scare its readers. At least it's frightening them with something real and factual. Just the same, I may explore the nickname and perception later. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

NOAA predicts another above average hurricane season for 2022

Time to shift from climate to weather as I examine the National Hurricane Center's predictions for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season beginning with CBS New York reporting NOAA unveils prediction for hurricane season as Mayor Adams urges New Yorkers to prepare.

With the damage caused by the remains of Hurricane Ida fresh on their minds, some New York City residents are bracing for another active hurricane season. CBS2's Christina Fan and Lonnie Quinn report.
Seeing the aftermath of Hurricane Ida added to the clips I embedded in 2021 in climate and weather from ABC News, NBC News, and WeatherNation shows that the storm left "a long-lasting legacy of loss" despite my hopes at the time. That reminds me that this year is the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, the Frankenstorm. If this year turns out to have as active a season as predicted, the remembrance of that disaster should have extra significance.

While I think CBS New York did an excellent job of depicting the human impact of Hurricane Ida, I found its explanation of the science behind the storm season prediction a bit lacking compared to ABC 13 Houston's NOAA predicts above average Atlantic hurricane season, releases storm names, which includes the primary list for names for 2022's tropical storms and hurricanes.

Chief Meteorologist Travis Herzog explains NOAA's 2022 hurricane season predictions.
I have a personal interest in this season, as one of my names is on this list, just like it was on the lists for 2010, when it actually was used, but I don't recall noticing it then, and 2016, when it wasn't. I paid more attention when another of my names appeared in the 2005 list, when it was used, as that was the first time there were more storms than names, just like 2020. I paid even more attention in 2011, when that name appeared next to my ex-girlfriend's. We broke up more than 15 years ago, but we're still together as hurricane names and will be until at least 2023. Ironic.

Speaking of named storms, if this season results in 21 named storms, it will be the third consecutive year that all names on the primary list will be used. Yikes! That's enough to make me conclude by being a good environmentalist and recycling what I last wrote in August 2021.
First, welcome to the 400 ppm world. Second, are you scared enough by climate change? My readers should be.
That reminds me; I should write about the greenhouse gas levels recorded this spring. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

SciShow explains why our nights are getting hotter and how that disrupts our sleep

I have another post about climate change featuring two recent videos from SciShow after yesterday's DW Planet A and SciShow address the environmental costs of cryptocurrencies. I begin with the more recent and more general, Why Our Nights Are Getting Hot.

The average global temperature is on the rise, evidenced by the ten warmest years on record happening since 2005. But this isn’t just about greenhouse gases preventing heat from escaping. Another culprit comes in the form of…clouds.
That's a good explanation of how nights can and sometimes do warm up faster than days. It also serves to illustrate that climate change results from changes in the average of all temperature readings over time, not just the daily high temperature. SciShow also covered what this means to people in last week's Can’t Sleep? Blame the Climate Crisis.

Today, we bring you two surprising effects of the climate crisis: less sleep and more dying trees.
I wrote Lancet reports climate change is a 'medical emergency' nearly four years ago and I don't recall sleep disorders being one of the effects mentioned, but that doesn't mean they aren't important. As Hank Green explained, losing sleep results in other health issues, showing that everything is connected to everything else and there is no free lunch. It also means that if someone says they are losing sleep over climate change, they could mean it literally.

Monday, May 23, 2022

DW Planet A and SciShow address the environmental costs of cryptocurrencies

I hinted at my mixed opinion of cryptocurrency in CNBC, The Hill, and Forbes report on the impact of cryptocurrency on the midterms.
I've only mentioned Bitcoin twice on this blog, both times in the context of crime and cybersecurity, although the first time also involved shopping. The same is true of my previous mention of cryptocurrency in general. That's not a great reputation...
Another issue I have with cryptocurrency is its environmental cost. I'm sharing two videos that address that concern and explain how to fix it today, beginning with DW Planet A asking Can Bitcoin clean up toxic waste?

Some new players in the crypto space are using bitcoin mining to clean up toxic waste. So is it possible to “green up” bitcoin’s dirty track record? Can mining digital currency ever actually be good for the environment?
This is a good overview of the environmental problems caused by mining crypto, including efforts by the crypto miners to make their mining at least look more sustainable. That ranges from actually making the process greener to mere greenwashing.

SciShow concentrated more on "proof of work" vs. "proof of stake" when it asked a similar question in Crypto and NFTs Are Environmental Disasters...But Do They Have to Be?

The world of cryptocurrency and NFTs is riddled with controversy, but somewhere amid all of that blockchain there's some reckoning with reality that must be done.
SciShow explained the technology better than DW Planet A, while the latter explained the environmental issues more thoroughly. That's why I embedded both videos.

Both videos also relate to Commoner's Laws: There is no free lunch, there is no away, everything is connected to everything else, and nature knows best, which appears in the first video, relying on renewable energy and energy from waste, as there is no waste in nature.

With this entry, I've addressed one more of the "litany of unpleasant realities" that were "also a list of future blogging topics" from Weekend Update compares this week's headlines to 'Mad Max' on last night's 'SNL', cryptocurrencies. That's now three down.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

'Prehistoric Planet' previews explore extinct biodiversity on International Day for Biological Diversity

I closed Should the American Bumblebee be placed on the Endangered Species List for World Bee Day and Endangered Species Day? with speculation about what I'd write today.
I'm not done with biodiversity, as Sunday is International Day for Biological Diversity. Maybe I can combine my observance with the Sunday entertainment feature. A survey of currently airing nature series, anyone?
I'm still celebrating biodiversity in entertainment today, but it's ancient biodiversity as I revisit Trailers for 'Prehistoric Planet' and 'Jurassic World: Dominion' for Throwback Thursday beginning with Prehistoric Planet — Official Trailer 2 from Apple TV.

An epic true story about majestic dinosaurs and the habitats they roamed. Begin exploring coasts, deserts, freshwater, ice worlds, and forests May 23 on AppleTV +
...
Experience the world of dinosaurs like never before in this epic five-night event, from Executive Producer Jon Favreau and the producers of Planet Earth. Featuring David Attenborough, Prehistoric Planet streams on Apple TV+ May 23rd.
I was a big fan of "Walking with Dinosaurs," a sequel to which I mentioned in Infidel 753 and I talk fossils and this show looks like it will be a worthy successor to it. It's been 23 years since that aired and both the science and technology have advanced since then, so the depictions of the dinosaurs and other Mesozoic organisms will reflect both. Besides, I think every generation deserves its own dinosaurs, both real and fictional.

Apple TV uploaded five more previews, one for every night of the "epic five-night event." Follow over the jump to see those.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Bright Sun Films 'Abandoned' on Detroit's Packard Plant

I'm returning to tales of collapse and decline in the Motor City today with the latest episode from Jake Williams of Bright Sun Films: Abandoned - Detroit's Packard Plant.

At one time, Detroit Michigan was the capitol for automotive manufacturing. The perfect place for Packard Automotive to relocate to and build our their dream plant. After decades of success and buildings encompassing millions of square feet, the brand went under and their factory in limbo. Now, the former Packard plant stands as a monument of failure and quite possibly the largest abandoned factory in the world, in the middle of Detroit.
As much as I wrote about the post-industrial decline and rebirth of Detroit during the early days of this blog, I mentioned the Packard Plant only once before, as a filming location for "Devils Night: Dawn of the Nain Rouge."* On the one hand, that ties into one of the uses of the Packard Plant that Jake listed, as a location for movies. On the other, that's a major omission by me and it's long past time I covered it. Thanks to Jake for creating and uploading this video to give me the opportunity.

*That reminds me that I haven't blogged about the Nain Rouge since the pandemic caused the 2020 parade to be canceled. The event returned this year after a two-year hiatus. Maybe blogging about that is another tradition I should revive. Stay tuned.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Should the American Bumblebee be placed on the Endangered Species List for World Bee Day and Endangered Species Day?

Today is both World Bee Day and Endangered Species Day, so I'm focusing on one potentially endangered bee species. Watch Some Want American Bumblebee Added To Endangered Species List from TODAY.

The American bumblebee has declined by nearly 90 percent across the U.S. Now there’s a new push to protect it under the Endangered Species Act. NBC’s Kerry Sanders reports as our series TODAY Climate continues.
While the U.S. hasn't added the American Bumblebee to the national Endangered Species List, at least one state has added it to the state's endangered species list, as WWLP-22News reported in American Bumble Bee was added to the endangered species list nearly three years ago.

The American Bumble Bee was a common sight in Massachusetts more than 50 years ago, but the population's been in steady decline for the last 25 years, and are now found almost exclusively in Franklin and Hampshire counties.
Good for Massachusetts.

The decline of the American Bumblebee is apparently taking another species down with it, as the Center for Biological Diversity described in a press release, Variable Cuckoo Bumblebee Moves One Step Closer to Endangered Species Act Protection.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that the variable cuckoo bumblebee, a critically imperiled species that has not been observed since 1999, may warrant Endangered Species Act protection. The announcement kicks off a one-year status assessment of the species.

Today’s positive finding comes in response to a petition filed in 2021 by the Center for Biological Diversity. If the variable cuckoo bumblebee gets protected under the Act, it would be the first cuckoo bumblebee listed and the third listed bumblebee after the rusty patched bumblebee and Franklin’s bumblebee.

“These bumblebees need protection urgently, and if the Biden administration acts quickly, we can safeguard this important species before it’s gone forever,” said Jess Tyler, a Center staff scientist who authored the petition. “I’m hopeful that the variable cuckoo bumblebee is still out there, but we need swift federal action to help this species avoid extinction.”

The variable cuckoo bumblebee was once widely found in open grasslands and meadows. While it has lived mainly in the eastern United States, it has also been observed as far southwest as Arizona and as far northeast as New Hampshire. It was last seen in the 1990s in Nebraska, Missouri and Florida. There have been no confirmed observations of this species since 1999.

Cuckoo bumblebees are social parasites that take over the nests of other bumblebees by subduing the resident queen and tricking the host’s worker bees into feeding and caring for the cuckoo bumblebee’s young. In doing so, cuckoo bumblebees help keep host bumblebee populations diverse and healthy, including by reducing disease virulence.

The variable cuckoo bumblebee is entirely dependent on its host species, the American bumblebee, which has declined by an estimated 89%. The Center has also petitioned to list the American bumblebee under the Act and is fighting to get it protected. The variable cuckoo bumblebee and its host are also threatened by multiple concurrent factors that degrade their habitat, including intensive agriculture and pesticides.

The Service will now initiate a scientific status review and public comment period before deciding whether to protect the variable cuckoo bumblebee.

Background

Wild bees are essential to the pollination of wild flowering plants and many flowering crops. North America is home to 46 species of bumblebees, but an increasing number are in trouble. Nearly 1 in 4 bumblebee species is in decline and threatened with extinction in North America.

The variable cuckoo bumblebee is a generalist pollinator and was once found in a wide range of open habitats, including urban areas. Their host species makes its nests in pre-existing cavities, like rodent burrows and rotten logs, or on the surface of the ground in large grass bunches. The variable cuckoo bumblebee is one of a rare group of parasitic cuckoo bumblebees that play important regulatory roles in bumblebee communities and ecosystems.
I just hope it's not too late, as the Variable Cuckoo Bumblebee has not been seen this century and may already be extinct.

Both videos show footage of honeybees instead of bumblebees, who have their own day. Nature on PBS addresses that and mentions one of the other endangered bumblebees, the Rusty-patched Bumblebee, in The Power of Pollinators.

Everyone has heard of honeybees, but what about the 4,000 species of wild, native bees that live alongside honey bees here in North America? These lesser-known, but equally industrious insects not only pollinate our crops but also support healthy, diverse ecosystems across the continent. Unfortunately, many of these native bee species are in trouble. In The Power of Pollinators, entomologist and insect evangelist Dr. Samuel Ramsey showcases the diversity, beauty, and importance of North America’s wild bees, and shares simple steps that everyone can take to help them. Get engaged at www.plantwildflowers.org.
All of this is good information I plan on passing along to my students.

I'm not done with biodiversity, as Sunday is International Day for Biological Diversity. Maybe I can combine my observance with the Sunday entertainment feature. A survey of currently airing nature series, anyone?

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Meyers and Colbert take closer looks at Madison Cawthorn losing his primary

I couldn't resist one more look at Tuesday's primaries, this time focusing on North Carolina. I begin with Seth Meyers' monologue Madison Cawthorn Ousted After Relentless GOP Campaign to Take Him Down: A Closer Look.

Seth takes a closer look at North Carolina Republican congressman Madison Cawthorn, one of the most vocal proponents of Donald Trump's big lie about the 2020 election, losing his GOP primary last night despite Trump’s endorsement.
I'm with Seth. I thought Cawthorn's allegations were B.S. until I saw the GOP leadership's reaction. Then I suspected there might be something to them. Also, the campaign to oust him from Congress reminds me of "dinghy lovebirds" Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser, who were were chased out of the Michigan legislature because of their mutual scandal. May Cawthorn not try to repeat their career path, as they failed to regain their lost seats. I think the same thing would happen to him if he tries to get back into politics, despite the support of The Former Guy.

I know I wrote "That's it for the Pennsylvania primary," but I couldn't resist one more comedic look as Stephen Colbert asked Who Won The PA GOP Senate Primary? | North Carolina Says Farewell To Madison Cawtho[rn].

While Rep. Madison Cawthorn was the clear loser in the North Carolina primary, as of our taping time the results were still too close to call in the Pennsylvania GOP Senate primary pitting Dr. Mehmet Oz against David McCormick.
The Former Guy would tell Dr. Oz to declare victory. It worked so well for him. *snort*

Now I'm done with the results of this week's primary elections until the recount of the contest between Oz and McCormick!

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' on the results of the Pennsylvania Senate primaries

It's time to follow up on yesterday's primary elections in Pennsylvania beginning with MSNBC's "Morning Joe" reporting Pennsylvania GOP Senate Primary Still Too Close To Call.

Pennsylvania's chaotic Republican Senate primary is still too close to call,, with doctor Mehmet Oz locked in a tight race with former hedge fund executive Dave McCormick. Steve Kornacki breaks down the GOP Senate primary, the Democratic Senate primary and the GOP primary for governor.
Kornacki concentrated on the Republican contest because it's too close to call. There are still a lot of mail-in and even in-person votes still count and the election looks to be headed to a recount. Joe Scarborough ranted about the reason for that in Joe: Pennsylvania Should Count Early Votes Early, Like Florida Does.

Pennsylvania's Republican Senate primary was too close to call early Wednesday, with Mehmet Oz locked in a tight race with Dave McCormick. The state secretary of state’s office indicated in a statement that it could take days to report unofficial results due to mail-in and absentee ballots. Joe Scarborough discusses why mail-in and absentee ballots should be counted early to avoid delays.
I grew up in California, where the absentee ballots were counted first, at least before 1989 when I moved out of the state, so I agree with Scarborough that other states should do it, too.

On the other hand, the contests for Governor and the Democratic Senate primary did yield clear winners. The final segment on the primary focused on the latter, 'He's Feeling Great': Pa. Second Lady Accepts John Fetterman's Nomination.

Second Lady of Pennsylvania, Giselle Barreto Fetterman, joins Morning Joe to discuss her husband, the current lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania John Fetterman, winning the Democratic nomination for an open U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania immediately following his having a stroke.
Congratulations to Fetterman and I wish him a speedy and complete recovery.

That's it for the Pennsylvania primary. Stay tuned to see if I cover the rest of the "list of future blogging topics" from Weekend Update compares this week's headlines to 'Mad Max' on last night's 'SNL'.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

FiveThirtyEight on today's primary elections in Pennsylvania and four other states

Five states are holding primary elections today, the most populous of which is Pennsylvania. FiveThirtyEight's coverage of these primaries has focused on the Keystone State, most recently when it asked Who Will Win The GOP's Senate Primary In Pennsylvania?*

In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, the crew discusses the races to watch in Tuesday's primaries in Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon and Pennsylvania. They also introduce a new FiveThirtyEight collaboration with Ipsos in which we ask Americans about the issues they care most about in the run-up to the midterm elections. The first poll, coming out this week, is all about inflation.
The supposed front runner for the GOP nomination is Mehmet Oz, but both Kathy Barnette and David McCormick (shown in the preview image) could beat him today. They're likely to face off against John Fetterman, who is leading Conor Lamb for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. FiveThirtyEight has more on him in How John Fetterman Became A Democratic Favorite In Pennsylvania.

John Fetterman is the lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania. He's a Democrat, he's covered in tattoos, he's running for Senate and he's polling really well in his party's primary. But he's trending these days because of resurfaced reports that he chased an unarmed Black jogger with a shotgun in 2013.
Not a great look for a Democratic candidate, but it hasn't seemed to hurt him much, if at all.

Beyond the U.S. Senate contest, FiveThirtyEight examined the Republican candidates, asking Which May 17 Candidates Believe The 2020 Election Was Stolen?

Voters in Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon and Pennsylvania are heading to the polls this week to vote in their states’ primary elections. Here are the Republican candidates running for Congress, as well as state-level positions like secretary of state, who support former President Donald Trump’s “Big Lie.”
Kaleigh Rogers has more in the article accompanying the video, pointing out Pennsylvania.
Of this week’s primaries, we’ve found Pennsylvania has the greatest share of Big Lie candidates running: We’ve identified 15 of 41 Republican candidates there who have backed Trump’s claims of a stolen election. In particular, the race to become the GOP nominee for governor has attracted multiple election deniers. One of the frontrunners in that race — Doug Mastriano — has repeatedly questioned the results of the 2020 election, including in Pennsylvania and he supported Trump’s efforts to try to overturn results there. He has said there was “cheating and fraud” in Pennsylvania and “rampant voting problems,” though his evidence relies on anecdotes and misinformation.
I'm recycling my reaction from Jane Mayer describes 'The Big Money Behind the Big Lie' on MSNBC.
All of this reminds me why I think calling the idea that the election was stolen the Big Lie doesn't go far enough.
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.
Mayer's reporting shows that Trump's delusion is not just dangerous but contagious. It's bad enough that there is one pandemic running around; we don't need another.
The delusion has continued to spread, infecting a lot of candidates in today's elections. Ugh.

*The video also covered one of the "litany of unpleasant realities" that were "also a list of future blogging topics" from Weekend Update compares this week's headlines to 'Mad Max' on last night's 'SNL', inflation. FiveThirtyEight published the results of that survey in We Asked 2,000 Americans About Their Biggest Concern. The Resounding Answer: Inflation. In response to my challenge to myself "to see how many of them I tackle this week," that's two down. Stay tuned for more as the week progresses.

Monday, May 16, 2022

The causes, effects, and possible solutions to the baby formula shortage from PBS, CNBC, ABC, and Inside Edition

Weekend Update compares this week's headlines to 'Mad Max' on last night's 'SNL' "opened with a litany of unpleasant realities" that were "also a list of future blogging topics." One of those was the baby formula shortage. As Colin Jost (and his writers) noted, it's ironic, if not downright perverse, that Alito's leaked Supreme Court opinion mentioned "the domestic supply of infants" at the same time we're having trouble feeding the ones we already have. That's dystopian.

PBS NewsHour described the situation in Parents nationwide struggle with a critical baby formula shortage.

A baby formula shortage has become a major problem for parents around the U.S., one without quick solutions. About 40 percent of formula is out of stock nationwide due to supply chain disruptions, inflation and a recall by one of the biggest producers. Meanwhile, the White House announced steps to address the shortage. Brian Dittmeier, of the National WIC Association, joins Ali Rogin to discuss.
I agree with Jessica Cohen Taubman that moms should be in charge of the world, at least for a few days, just to solve problems like this. I'm sharing one such solution at the end of the post.

While PBS did a good job of showing the effects of the shortages in its interviews of mothers and explaining what the U.S. government could do to solve it, it didn't focus enough on the causes of the problem. For that, I turn to CNBC Television explaining How the baby formula shortage happened.

CNBC's Valerie Castro joins The News with Shepard Smith to report on the baby formula shortage and what the administration hopes to do about it.
Four companies control 90% of the market. I've seen that before, as four companies control the beef industry. I wrote then that this could be bad for consumers. The baby formula shortage shows one way this happens.

ABC News reported more of what the U.S. government could do to solve the problem in White House addresses plans to ease baby formula shortage.

President Joe Biden spoke with retailers and manufacturers to make supplies available as quickly as possible, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday.
Looks like the Biden Administration is taking this issue seriously. Also, this was one of Jen Psaki's final press conferences. I wish her success in her future endeavors.

I close with one of the solutions mothers have devised to alleviate the crisis in Inside Edition's Baby Formula Shortage Crisis Is Getting Worse.

The White House promised it’s working hard to solve the national baby formula shortage. But for families with newborn babies and infants, a solution can’t come soon enough. As they get down to their last formula supply, people are getting more and more desperate in their search. A mom named Gina from Sound Beach, New York, drove for hours with her 10-month-old son, looking for formula. She found a lot of bare shelves.
As I've written before, Inside Edition is a syndicated infotainment newsmagazine that is not the hardest news source, so I'm not surprised it presents stories in a very personalized and somewhat sensationalized way. Still, it's a major source of information for many people — this video currently has 412,976 views, nearly twenty times more than the next most viewed video I embedded from CNBC Television with 24,779 — so I shouldn't ignore it. Besides, it shows a Nature knows best solution, donating breast milk, that mothers are contributing to help with the shortage. I find that admirable; I just don't know how scalable it is.

I told my readers to "Stay tuned to see how many of [the unpleasant realities] I tackle this week" yesterday. One down.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Weekend Update compares this week's headlines to 'Mad Max' on last night's 'SNL'

I should have known better yesterday, when I wrote "That's it for reality. Stay tuned for the next Sunday entertainment feature, which will likely be another compilation of highlights from tonight's 'Saturday Night Live.'" Weekend Update: Cryptocurrency Crashes, Mitch McConnell Visits Ukraine opened with a litany of unpleasant realities.*

Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week's biggest news, like the nationwide baby formula shortage.
It was just this past Thursday that I referenced "Mad Max," so I guess there's something in the air. It also reminds me of what I wrote last September.
[W]hat once felt like the End Times have just become the times reminded me that my wife remarked after looking at the news over the weekend that it feels like it's one apocalyptic event after another. My response was that the pandemic alone isn't the Apocalypse, but it is an apocalypse. The same with all the rest of the calamitous events this summer.
The summer of 2022 hasn't even begun yet, but I still think and feel this way about the news.

Now for the entertainment news in the second segment of Weekend Update: Ukraine Wins Eurovision, 7,000 NYC Rat Sightings Reported.

Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week's biggest news, like Mega Millions announcing the wrong winning number.
Congratulations to Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra on winning Eurovision! May that provide a morale boost to the country in its war with Russia. Also, congratulations on getting me to mention Eurovision for the first time since Oscar nominated scores and songs for National Film Score Day 13 months ago.

Even the writers for "SNL" needed a break from the news and they put words to that effect in Kate McKinnon's mouth as Nicole Wallace, who introduced Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Trial Cold Open.

Johnny Depp (Kyle Mooney) and his lawyer (Aidy Bryant) show evidence in the courtroom.
I haven't been following the trial closely, but the viewers that have commented that this wasn't nearly as funny as the real thing and expressed their disappointment. Still, it's a sign that, like me, "SNL" also has "I can't be all DOOM all the time" moods and needed some escapism. I can't say I blame them.

*It's also a list of future blogging topics. Stay tuned to see how many of them I tackle this week.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

CNBC and PBS report record overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2021

As I wrote about the largest drop in life expectancy since World War II and repeated in U.S. life expectancy continued falling in 2021, a pandemic update, "the pandemic is responsible for most of the drop, [but] other causes, like the opioid epidemic and systemic racism making the pandemic worse for minorities, played roles in lowering life expectancy." After examining how misinformation and the partisan divide contributed to 1 million deaths from COVID-19 this month, it's time to look at one of the other causes U.S. life expectancy has fallen. Watch CNBC Television report U.S. overdose deaths hit highest total on record.

CNBC's Shep Smith reports on the increase in drug overdose deaths in the United States. Last year, more than 107,000 people died. It was the highest total on record.
While Shep Smith did a good job of presenting the headline numbers, including the best preview image I could find, he and his writers did not explore the reasons for the surge in overdose deaths. I turn to PBS NewsHour's Overdose deaths in the U.S. reached record levels in 2021 to explain those.

New CDC data released Wednesday indicates that deaths from drug overdoses in the U.S. reached a record-high last year. More than 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2021, the highest annual death toll ever recorded. Deaths from fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine rose sharply. Dr. Nora Volkow, the National Institute On Drug Abuse director, joins Geoff Bennett to discuss.
Americans and others taking drugs to deal with the stress of the pandemic doesn't surprise. I expect it's part of the 15 million excess deaths worldwide I mentioned two days ago. It's also an example of two of Commoner's Laws: There is no free lunch and everything is connected to everything else. As I wrote in COVID-19 and diabetes for World Diabetes Day 2021, a pandemic update, "All of the systems in our body are connected to each other and what we do to or for one system will have effects on the rest. Also, isolating ourselves to protect us from the pandemic comes at a price, which we have to pay one way or another..."

Speaking of connections, overdoses from fentanyl contamination of other drugs have shown up in two of my favorite shows, "Ozark" and "Big Sky." I can't escape the opioid epidemic even in my entertainment.

By the way, I'm glad to see PBS interviewing Dr. Nora Volkow. While the U.S. probably wouldn't have more than 100,000 deaths without the pandemic, the country would still likely be seeing record numbers of overdoses and news organizations would be interviewing Dr. Volkow even more often. She deserves the recognition.

That's it for reality. Stay tuned for the next Sunday entertainment feature, which will likely be another compilation of highlights from tonight's "Saturday Night Live."

Friday, May 13, 2022

'The History of The Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror' from ReviewTyme on Friday the 13th

It's Friday the 13th! This year, instead of exploring the psychology and history of the day, I'm taking a cue from one of my Halloween themes, the Haunted Mansion, by blogging about the other spooky attraction, the Tower of Terror, which was found at four Disney theme parks on three continents, now three parks but still on three continents. For an overview of the ride in all of its locations, watch ReviewTyme's The History of The Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror.

You are the passengers on a most uncommon elevator about to ascend into your very own episode of The Twilight Zone.

On July 22nd, 1994 - the Hollywood Tower Hotel was opened to the public. It was and still is an absolute modern marvel of an attraction that completely changed how the industry viewed thrill rides. This is the history of The Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror.
I plan on covering the technology of the attraction and Tokyo DisneySea's version of the ride in future Friday the 13th or Halloween installments. In the meantime, I have a drink recipe video for today's theme, Monster Movie Happy Hour "Twilight Zone" cocktail.

The crew step back in time to 1960 and help celebrate the 60th anniversary of the premiere of Rod Serling's "The Twilight Zone" tv series.
The technology used to replace the actual background with the images of a 1960s living room and kitchen looks like the one I use on Zoom, where the programming is very good at recognizing what's me, but not so good at keeping any inanimate object I'm holding in the picture if it's not directly in front of me. I played "magic tricks" on my students last semester by making my smartphone disappear when I moved it off to my side. Still, I found this an interestingly conceived and executed video, despite the low budget effects, and subscribed to the channel. I can always use more entertaining drink recipes!

Enough fantasy and entertainment. I will return to reality tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

PBS NewsHour explains 'How misinformation and the partisan divide drove a surge in U.S. COVID deaths,' a pandemic update on Throwback Thursday

I included a program note in the footnote to Dr. Fauci and Stevie Wonder address political division at commencement ceremonies in Michigan.
I'll probably get to "more pandemic news, including global death estimates" that I promised in NBC News and MSNBC report the U.S. passed 1 million deaths from COVID-19, a pandemic update Friday or Saturday. In the meantime, stay tuned for the final retrospective of the 2021-2022 blogging year on Throwback Thursday.
It turned out that the most active link to a blog entry posted between March 21, 2021 and March 20, 2022 was 'Contagion' vs. COVID-19 updates last year's most commented entries on Throwback Thursday, so instead of making today's final strictly about Twitter, the final retrospective of the 2021-2022 blogging year will again be about the pandemic.

I begin with PBS NewsHour revisiting Vox explains 'How American conservatives turned against the vaccine,' a pandemic update as it explains How misinformation and the partisan divide drove a surge in U.S. COVID deaths.

As the death toll from the coronavirus nears 1 million Americans, we’ve been exploring why the U.S. Suffered such a terrible loss, especially when compared to other nations similar to us. While there are many reasons for this, one of them is that many Americans have not wanted to be vaccinated. William Brangham reports.
I'm going to be a good environmentalist by recycling my reaction from February.
I found this depressing but not surprising, as I've been seeing this develop since I wrote Samantha Bee on 'Mask Hysteria' two years ago, even before vaccines. Since then, I've been paying attention to Charles Gaba at ACASignups.net who has been tracking vaccination rates vs. partisanship since May 2021....He found the same relationship between party identification and vaccination rates that [PBS NewsHour] showed in the video above.
I'm also going to recycle my reaction from U.S. life expectancy continued falling in 2021, a pandemic update, "widespread availability of vaccines has not translated into universal acceptance of vaccines..." On that note, here is Charles's graph that best matches the vaccinated vs. unvaccinated death rate in the video above from Monthly Update: COVID Death Rates by Partisan Lean & Vaccination Rate, except that it charts death rate by county against partisanship instead of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated.


It's amazing how closely they match.

PBS NewsHour also covered global death estimates last week when it reported WHO report finds nearly 15 million deaths associated with COVID-19 worldwide.

Nearly 15 million people around the world have died from COVID's impact, directly or indirectly, during the first two years of the pandemic, according to a new World Health Organization report. It’s also about three times higher than governments have reported so far. University of Washington's Jonathan Wakefield, whose modeling work helped produce the report, joins William Brangham for more.
I explored excess deaths during the pandemic from other causes in Americans speeding during the pandemic is increasing traffic deaths, a driving update, Traffic accidents down but fatal accidents up in Michigan while drivers overpaid $1 billion for insurance during 2020, a driving update, and COVID-19 and diabetes for World Diabetes Day 2021, a pandemic update, so I'm not surprised by the high rate of excess deaths not directly caused by COVID-19. I am a little surprised that Australia and New Zealand didn't experience higher traffic deaths. I guess the land of Mad Max didn't have people speeding on open roads. Before I move on, I was always a little skeptical that India had fewer deaths than the U.S. from the pandemic. An estimate of 4.7 million may be higher than I expected, but I really do think India had more deaths than the U.S.'s 1 million.

Speaking of which, both PBS and ABC News, which broadcast and uploaded Breakthrough COVID-19 deaths increasing as omicron subvariants spread last night, still think the country is close but hasn't passed that grim milestone yet, but expect it will pass it soon (I think we passed it already).

Breakthrough deaths comprise a larger share of COVID-19 deaths amid a surge of cases nationwide. ABC News medical contributor Dr. Alok Patel explains what you need to know.
That's not good news. Despite what Dr. Fauci said to PBS NewsHour last month, we are still in an active pandemic and cases are going up, even though deaths so far haven't followed suit.

That's it for today's pandemic update. Follow over the jump for the most active links on Twitter during the eleventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Dr. Fauci and Stevie Wonder address political division at commencement ceremonies in Michigan

Two celebrities speaking at graduation ceremonies in southeast Michigan addressed political division and exhorted graduates to fight its pernicious effects this past weekend. I begin with Dr. Anthony Fauci delivers University of Michigan 2020 Comeback Graduation Remarks from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Chief Medical Advisor to the President, delivered a compelling speech to the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 graduates at the University of Michigan Comeback Commence at Michigan Stadium on Saturday, May 7, 2022. He applauded the graduates’ adaptability, resilience, and dedication despite the difficulties and uncertainties of the pandemic, saying he is “in awe” of them.
After praising the graduates and recounting how he began researching HIV and AIDS, he remarked on the polarized political environment where those on one side of the ideological divide reject science. In particular, he warned the attendees against "the normalization of untruths." That's a message I can get behind.*

WATCH: Stevie Wonder receives honorary doctorate from Wayne State from WXYZ to see and hear the other celebrity speaker last weekend.

Motown legend Stevie Wonder received an honorary doctorate from Wayne State University on Saturday.
I'm with Wonder; it's disheartening that Americans still have to fight for civil rights, voting rights, and reproductive rights, but fight we must.

*This is only indirectly a pandemic update. I'll probably get to "more pandemic news, including global death estimates" that I promised in NBC News and MSNBC report the U.S. passed 1 million deaths from COVID-19, a pandemic update Friday or Saturday. In the meantime, stay tuned for the final retrospective of the 2021-2022 blogging year on Throwback Thursday.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Newsy asks 'Are High Gas Prices Pushing People To Electric Vehicles?'

I have good news and bad news about rising gas prices. The good news is that it is one of the factors convincing Americans to buy electric vehicles. Newsy found that as part of the answer to Are High Gas Prices Pushing People To Electric Vehicles?

Electric vehicles are becoming a larger share of the U.S. car market, pushed both by consumer demand and federal policy changes. #NewsyInTheLoop shares why more people are going electric and the obstacles some automakers and potential buyers are seeing along the way.
It certainly convinced my daughter. She saw $6/gallon gas in Hollywood last fall and decided to buy an EV. I approve.

The response by Congressional Democrats like Chuck Schumer is a continuation of what I described last month.
PBS is showing both sides trying to score political points, Democrats against big corporations and Republicans against environmental regulation. It's no surprise that I'm on the Democrats' side on this. However, if CNBC is correct about gasoline and diesel retailers being reluctant about lowering prices at the pump so that they can recoup losses incurred on the way up, then gas station owners are to blame for the continued high cost of fuel. That would mean beating up on local small businesses. I don't think that would play well for either party's politicians, who would rather be seen as defending the public against big business or "big government."
WXYZ examines the role of gas station owners in actually trying to keep prices down in Stations say they are losing money as gas hits record prices in Michigan.

We are not trying to get into the Guinness Book of World Records, but here we are paying a record $4.32 a gallon in Michigan for gas. AAA reports prices in Michigan hit a new high on May 9.
Gas retailers should be selling regular at $4.45 to break even, so they're selling at a loss to keep customers coming in. That's the good news. The bad news is they will keep the price of gas high once crude oil and wholesale gas prices start falling in late July and August. WDIV looks at that price trajectory and the reasons behind it in Michigan gas prices hit new record high.

Help Me Hank is on the mission to figure out why gas prices are soaring.
I'm not surprised.
The other is increased demand in the face of lower supply, something I've worried about for a while, most recently in Oil falls below $0.00 for the first time ever, when I wrote "the collapse in oil prices will lead to oil company bankruptcies, which will decrease competition and lead to higher prices in the future." Those higher prices because of decreased competition and restrained supply have arrived and I think they will last at least until next year. Get used to them.
I agree that $5.00/gallon regular gasoline is coming to Michigan by Memorial Day. I'm glad I drive a Prius.

By the way, high gas prices have increased reader interest in a decade-old post with a catchy title, Hard times plus rising gas prices equals gas thefts. That's because gas thefts are becoming a big problem again. Maybe I should write about it. Stay tuned.

Monday, May 9, 2022

'Last Week Tonight' examines Alito's leaked draft opinion and what it could mean

I quoted John Oliver examines the Supreme Court after 'Last Week Tonight' wins four Emmy Awards, mentioning "all the bad things that can happen to health care, reproductive rights, civil rights, and voting rights" in 'Saturday Night Live' mocks Alito's leaked Supreme Court opinion to open its Mother's Day episode and adding that "If Alito's draft becomes the majority opinion, then bad things will have happened to health care, reproductive rights, and civil rights all at once. This will become one of those times when I wish the comedians and I weren't right." That night, "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" broadcast Abortion Ruling, which the show and HBO uploaded this morning.

John Oliver discusses the leaked draft opinion that looks set to overturn Roe v. Wade, how we got to this point, and where we may be headed.
Oliver didn't go as far back as the 1200s, which "Saturday Night Live" did. He only had to note Sir Matthew Hale from the 1600s to point out the antiquated sources Justice Alito cited to support his draft opinion, who was bad enough.

As for Oliver mocking Chuck Schumer saying "this is not your grandfather's Republican Party," yes and no. In terms of style, it certainly isn't, but on reproductive rights, it's been heading this way for decades. While I didn't mention reproductive rights in If I were still a conservative, disagreement with the anti-abortion movement inside the Republican Party, which had nearly completed its takeover of the party by 2000, certainly contributed. My environmentalism, which I did mention in that post from eleven years ago as a reason I left the GOP, leads me to favor birth control, including abortion as a last resort, in order to reach zero population growth. My feminism adds to my support for reproductive rights. I explained both in CNBC asks 'Is The U.S. Running Out Of People?'
U.S. birth rates have been dropping for more than a decade and fertility rates have been dropping for even longer than that. In fact, U.S. fertility rates have been at or below replacement rate since 1973, when Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion. Economic uncertainty and other factors have contributed to the trend.

Second, increased population is bad for the environment, as expressed by the variable P in I=P*A*T "where I is impact, P is population, A is affluence, and T is technology." Impact increases as both population and affluence increases; both drive up demand for resources and create more waste and pollution. Therefore, keeping population down will help the environment. By keeping human population below the carrying capacity for our species, it helps people as well.

Third, increasing educational and economic opportunities for women is the number one way to decrease birth rates and keep them down, although increasing economic security might put a floor under the declining birth rates. Women's education and a stronger economy will also increase affluence, which will increase impact if more efficient technologies don't counteract both affluence and population.
Notice that I started this section by crediting Roe v. Wade for beginning the current period of low birth rates. That Oliver cites an estimate of 75,000 more children being born if (when) it's overturned demonstrates its effectiveness at lowering U.S. population growth.  Therefore, overturning it strikes me as generally bad for sustainability.

What I see as an unfortunate outcome is one that opponents of abortion regard as a good one, including for its economic effects as an alternative solution to the one I proposed last year.
[I]f not enough babies are born in the U.S. to meet our job demand, the country can allow more immigration. I'm O.K. with that, but Donald Trump became president in large part because many Americans weren't and still aren't. That's why, when one of my students asked in 2015 if the U.S. would ever adopt Chinese population policies, I responded no, that's not the American way. If the U.S. thinks it has an overpopulation issue, it would restrict immigration. The next week, Trump rode down the escalator and denounced immigrants. This is one of those cases where I hate being proved right.
If increasing immigration is not an acceptable solution, then increasing the U.S. birth rate would be. It's a way of avoiding what I worried about four years ago and have repeated several times since.
I have been in favor of zero population growth for as long as I can remember. However, I'm not sure the U.S. economy is set up for a stable or slowly declining population, a point I made in the Hipcrime Vocab: Why Slowing Population Growth is a Problem. We are going to have to figure how to do so. Otherwise, I might live long enough to experience the wisdom of the saying "Be careful what you wish for; you might get it."
I can say the same thing for the opponents of Roe v. Wade, who now seem to be moving on to restricting contraception. Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

'Saturday Night Live' mocks Alito's leaked Supreme Court opinion to open its Mother's Day episode

Happy Mother's Day! My post celebrating the day is exactly what I predicted it would be yesterday, when I wrote "stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature, which will probably be the highlights of tonight's 'Saturday Night Live' for Mother's Day. That should be fun, although I expect the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade will be a major topic." It sure was. Watch Roe v. Wade Cold Open to see them mock the antiquity of one of Justice Alito's authorities in his draft opinion.

After Justice Samuel Alito's leaked draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade, a flashback to 13th century England shows the exact moment three men (Benedict Cumberbatch, Andrew Dismukes, James Austin Johnson) vote to outlaw abortion.

This sketch follows in the grand tradition of Steve Martin's Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber, which mocked the backwardness of the Middle Ages. Yes, I'm old enough to remember that character. Just the same, the concept works. See, I'm not the only person who recycles an idea when its appropriate.

The leaked opinion also led Weekend Update: Roe v. Wade Leaked Draft Opinion, Vladimir Putin to Undergo Cancer Surgery.

Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week's biggest news, like Rudy Giuliani cancelling his scheduled appearance to meet with the January 6 committee.
"Tomorrow is Mother's Day, whether you want it to be or not." That's exactly the joke I was expecting and SNL's writers wasted not time delivering it. As for the quip about Vladimir Putin and cancer, I'll let Andre 3000 reply for me.


Weekend Update continued with Justice Amy Coney Barrett on Overturning Roe v. Wade.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett (Kate McKinnon) stops by Weekend Update to discuss the Supreme Court's leaked draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade and share her opinion on abortion.
"Unless I'm missing something about class in America." McKinnon's version of Justice Barrett certainly is. She and the rest of the segments about the draft opinion remind me of what I wrote in John Oliver examines the Supreme Court after 'Last Week Tonight' wins four Emmy Awards, mentioning "all the bad things that can happen to health care, reproductive rights, civil rights, and voting rights as a result of this nomination..." If Alito's draft becomes the majority opinion, then bad things will have happened to health care, reproductive rights, and civil rights all at once. This will become one of those times when I wish the comedians and I weren't right.

Enough of what is likely to happen to Roe v. Wade. Follow over the jump for two segments about Mother's Day and the conclusion to Weekend Update.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

NBC News and MSNBC report the U.S. passed 1 million deaths from COVID-19, a pandemic update


It's time for a grim update to the U.S. passing 900,000 dead from COVID-19 this past February, MSNBC reporting U.S. Tops One Million Covid-19 Deaths.

The U.S. on Wednesday surpassed 1 million Covid-19 deaths, according to data compiled by NBC News. The Morning Joe panel discusses.
Normally, I'd place this second or third as commentary on the news, but it included the graphic I used to illustrate this entry, so I put it first. Besides, Joe, Mika, and crew followed up on the White House Correspondents Dinner, which Trevor Noah called "a superspreader event" and asked if the reporters there even read their own papers and watched their own news. Joe made the same observation and, despite everyone attending being vaccinated and boosted while testing negative, noted how many attendees came down ill. The BA.2 strain of the Omicron varient is that infectious.

MSNBC broadcast and uploaded that segment on Cinco De Mayo. Here's the first report from NBC News on Star Wars Day, U.S. Surpasses A 'Soul-Crushing Milestone' – 1 Million Covid Deaths.

The U.S. has surpassed 1 million Covid deaths. It's a number that forces us to confront tough questions, like how many of those could have been prevented. It "shakes our consciousness, demands our attention, forces us to pause and consider who and what we have lost," Lester Holt says.
Holt and his writers are noting the ironic, even perverse juxtaposition of the U.S. relaxing safeguards at the same time it passed 1 million dead from this disease. They confessed that they didn't consider "the unpredictability of free will, distrust in science, and simple human behavior." All those put the lie in my hope based on life imitating art that I first wrote 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 and repeated in 'Contagion' vs. COVID-19 updates last year's most commented entries on 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.
Nope, the horror movie continued, as 450,000 more Americans died from the pandemic since I wrote that. To repeat what I wrote in Two years of the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan, "I'm finding people's responses to the pandemic, particularly the partisan reaction, to be more dispiriting than the isolation." About the only consolation I can gather from this grim statistic is that it took 15 weeks for 100,000 more bodies to pile up compared to six weeks between the U.S. passing 800,000 dead and 900,000 dead, so the rate is going in the right direction, but that's cold comfort.

This is a Detroit-based blog, so I'm closing with WDIV/Click On Detroit's US tops 1 million COVID deaths.

At least one million COVID-19 deaths have been recorded in the U.S. since the pandemic began, according to an official count by NBC News.
Remember that every death is a person who is missed.

I have lots more pandemic news, including global death estimates, but I will save those for the next pandemic update. In the meantime, stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature, which will probably be the highlights of tonight's "Saturday Night Live" for Mother's Day. That should be fun, although I expect the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade will be a major topic.