Sunday, July 31, 2022

Colbert examines Manchin agreeing to the reconciliation bill that would fight climate change

Stephen Colbert had good news and bad in his last monologue of July, Manchin, Schumer Reveal Washington's Best Kept Secret | Bacon, Egg & Cheese Sandwich Prices Spike.

Senate Democrats announced a surprise deal that would lower health care costs, reduce the deficit and combat climate change, and New York City residents are on edge as inflation has nearly doubled the price of a beloved bodega staple.
The good news is that Joe Manchin agreed to a bill that would fight climate change, making it possible to follow the IPCC roadmap to fix climate change. Even better, he helped the Senate Democrats bypass Mitch McConnell, who prides himself on being the Grim Reaper for progressive legislation. I just hope Kyrsten Sinema doesn't gum up the works. The bad news, well, inflation and a possible recession. At least they made for good comedy.

The week also began with a monologue about climate change, It's Really Hot, But Al Gore Says It Could Get Worse | Josh Hawley Says He Won't Run Away (Again).

Former almost-president Al Gore issued a stark warning about the consequences of not acting to clean up the Earth's atmosphere, and Republican Senator Josh Hawley made a laughable claim at a meeting of conservatives last weekend.
That was grim, but at least we're doing something about climate change now. Also, I should have known I would enjoy the news that Steve Bannon convicted of two counts of contempt of Congress even more as comedy.

I could share a lot more from Colbert's show last week, but I need to fulfill the promise I made yesterday, "Stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature, when I plan on continuing my series on the 2022 Emmy nominees." Follow over the jump to read about the Emmy nominations for "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" and "Stephen Colbert Presents Tooning Out the News."

Saturday, July 30, 2022

PBS Eons asks and answers 'Why Does Caffeine Exist?'

PBS Eons asked a question about the intersection of three of my interests, evolution, biodiversity, and coffee, Why Does Caffeine Exist?

Today, billions of people around the world start their day with caffeine. But how and why did the ability to produce this molecule independently evolve in multiple, distantly-related lineages of flowering plants, again and again?
This tale forms part of a story I tell my students, how plants synthesize compounds to defend against insects and other predators and parasites and then humans use them for other purposes, mostly medicinal and recreational, so I knew some of it already. However, I still learned about more plants that produce caffeine in addition to coffee, tea, cacao (chocolate), and kola nut, the legend behind the discovery of coffee, caffeine being an anti-gastropod and anti-fungal agent, and the biochemical pathway for caffeine action. As I've written many times before, "It's a good day when I learn something new." I hope my readers think so, too.

That's it for today's food science lesson. Stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature, when I plan on continuing my series on the 2022 Emmy nominees.

Friday, July 29, 2022

International Tiger Day in the Year of the Tiger

Happy International Tiger Day in the Year of the Water Tiger! WWF Tigers Alive uploaded Global Tiger Day 2022 | WWF that celebrates both happening today.

Today marks a very special Global Tiger Day in the Year of the Tiger...

Let’s look back at the progress made in tiger conservation over the last 12 years!
WWF recapped the past dozen years of tiger conservation and looked forward to the good news they reported today in 2022 is the Year of the Tiger | WWF Tigers Alive Initiative on Lunar New Year.

2010 was a pivotal year in the history of tiger conservation. The iconic big cat was threatened with extinction and only an estimated 3,200 were left in the wild. In the same year tiger range countries came together and committed to double wild tiger populations, a goal known as TX2, by 2022 - the next Year of the Tiger.

In 2022 tiger range countries will release their new tiger population estimates and by the end of the year we'll know if the TX2 goal has been met. 2022 is also a time for countries to renew their commitment to protecting tigers as governments set their goals for the next 12 years of tiger conservation.
According to National Day Calendar, "International Tiger Day was created in 2010 at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit," so the day and the Year of the Tiger have been connected since the creation of the international day a dozen years ago. May the global tiger population continue to increase up to the next Year of the Tiger in 2034 and may I be around to see it!

Thursday, July 28, 2022

France 24 English reports on Earth Overshoot Day 2022

Today is Earth Overshoot Day for 2022. France 24 English uploaded two clips about the day, which I'm sharing because they're the largest news source I found reporting on the occasion and because of my many French readers. I begin with Earth Overshoot Day: Humanity used more resources than Earth can generate, which serves as a good overview of the day.

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity has used all the biological resources that Earth regenerates during the entire year.
While I knew that today was the day when humanity as a whole began using our reserves, our environmental capital or principal, I hadn't heard the total environmental debt our species had racked up before today, 19 years worth of Earth's productive capacity. Yow!

France 24 English had earlier uploaded an interview of a representative of the Global Footprint Network, which calculates the date every year, ‘Earth Overshoot Day’: Humans surpass what Earth can produce in a year.

Mankind marks a dubious milestone Thursday, the day by which humanity has consumed all Earth can sustainably produce for this year, with NGOS warning the rest of 2022 will be lived in resource deficit.
Today is a dubious milestone indeed.

Normally, I'd calculate my footprint, but I suspect it won't be any better than last year, if not worse, because of increased driving, so I'm sharing the press release from the Global Footprint Network instead.
Earth Overshoot Day 2022 lands on July 28, earlier than last year. Over 50 years of global overshoot have led to a world where aggravated drought and food insecurity are compounded by unseasonably warm temperatures. As the date indicates, humanity continues to widen its annual ecological deficit two years after the pandemic-induced resource-use reductions exceptionally pushed the date back temporarily by 24 days.

“Between the pandemic, wilder weather patterns, and the resurgence or intensification of wars on several continents leading to massive food insecurity, the importance of fostering one’s resource security to support one’s economic prosperity is becoming ever more critical for cities, countries, and business entities,” said Global Footprint Network President Mathis Wackernagel.

Many effective and economically beneficial solutions already exist today to reverse ecological overshoot and support biological regeneration. Opportunities stem from all sectors: commercially available technologies or services, local government’s development strategies, national public policies, or best practices supported by civil society initiatives and academia. The Power of Possibility platform that launched today shows plenty of examples sorted by the five main pillars of intervention: healthy biosphere, energy, food, cities, and population.

For example, moving to smart grids and higher efficiency in our electric systems would #MoveTheDate 21 days. Reducing food waste by half would #MoveTheDate 13 days. Growing trees with other crops on the same land, also known as tree intercropping, would #MoveTheDate 2.1 days, among many others.

Each year, Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity has used all the biological resources that Earth regenerates during the entire year. Humanity currently uses 75% more than what the planet’s ecosystems can regenerate—or “1.75 Earths.” From Earth Overshoot Day until the end of the year, humanity operates on ecological deficit spending. This deficit spending is currently the largest since the world entered into ecological overshoot in the early 1970s, according to the National Footprint & Biocapacity Accounts (NFA) based on UN datasets now produced by FoDaFo and York University.

That's it for today's observance of Earth Overshoot Day. Stay tuned for International Tiger Day tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

John Oliver examines inflation plus 'Last Week Tonight's Emmy nominations

I concluded Wall Street Journal and CNBC explain 'Why a 2022 Recession Would Be Unlike Any Other' by telling my readers "I may have more about the economy, guns, or the Emmy Awards tomorrow. I may even combine two of them. To find out, stay tuned." I'm combining the economy and the Emmy Awards, first by sharing Inflation: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO).

John Oliver discusses what causes inflation, what we’ve done about the current round of it, and, of course, makes the smartest investment of all time.
Jim Cramer is funny enough, but Oliver making fun of him dials it up to eleven. On a more serious note, I mentioned inflation driving down consumer sentiment in CNBC explains 'Why Recessions May Be Inevitable', which could cause a recession. I've mostly been focused on gas prices as a sign of inflation, but those have been declining for the past month. That's normal. I tracked gas prices for years and found that they rise and fall seasonally, with prices increasing from the beginning of the year to the July 4th weekend and then falling through the end of the year. What I found concerning was that gas prices rose last fall when they should have been falling. That was a sign that something had changed, notably that supply could not keep up with demand. That seems to be Oliver's point, that this is a prolonged and global supply issue, not an American money supply issue, and it's throughout the economy, not just confined to oil. That's something else I predicted for the second half of this decade. Maybe the peak of oil from fracking has arrived early. That's not good news unless one wants to buy a bike.

I do have some good news for "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver," the show's Emmy nominations. Follow over the jump.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Wall Street Journal and CNBC explain 'Why a 2022 Recession Would Be Unlike Any Other'

With the likelihood of a second quarter of declining GDP being announced on Thursday, it's time to update CNBC explains 'Why Recessions May Be Inevitable' with the Wall Street Journal explaining Why a 2022 Recession Would Be Unlike Any Other.

Is the U.S. in a recession? Many economists think that’s a possibility and by some measurements, it may have already started. But why aren’t people losing their jobs?
The GDP numbers may signal a recession, but consumers and possibly even businesses aren't showing signs of it. We may end up having a "Wile E. Coyote moment" where both look down and realize they are over an abyss and then start falling, but that hasn't happened yet. If it does, then I expect it would be like the recession I predicted at the end of 2017 to happen by the end of the last decade, not the one we actually got in 2020 because of the pandemic.

That was the serious examination. As a contrast, I'm sharing CNBC Television's Jim Cramer breaks down 3 possible recession scenarios to show how to make lemonade out of lemons for fun and profit.

CNBC's Jim Cramer broke down three possible scenarios that could happen if the economy enters a recession on Thursday's episode of "Mad Money."
While this video reminds me of my complaints about CNBC viewing the economy through the lens of investing, I couldn't resist Cramer's comedy and sense of humor making investment advice and education about the economy entertaining.

I may have more about the economy, guns, or the Emmy Awards tomorrow. I may even combine two of them. To find out, stay tuned.

Monday, July 25, 2022

'The Beatles: Get Back,' 'We Need to Talk About Cosby,' and 'Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy' all nominated for five Emmy Awards in nonfiction series

I told my readers "expect the nominees for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series next" at the end of 'Lucy and Desi' leads Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special nominees with six nominations. I'm also examining the nominees for Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special. Both of these categories are "area" categories, so I'm repeating what I wrote yesterday
Before I go on, I'm quoting what Wikipedia published about area awards.
Area awards are non-competitive; any nominee with at least 90% approval receives an Emmy. If no nominee receives 90% approval, the nominee with the highest approval receives an Emmy; for area awards in picture editing and sound mixing, there is an additional requirement that the highest-rated nominee must have at least 50% approval.
Consequently, all, some, one, or possibly even none of the nominees could earn awards in this category. That means I'm not going to put a lot of effort into handicapping these categories.
Here are the nominees for documentary and nonfiction series.

Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series (Area)
The Andy Warhol Diaries (Netflix)
The Beatles: Get Back (Disney+)
jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy (Netflix)
100 Foot Wave (HBO/HBO Max)
We Need to Talk About Cosby (Showtime)
"The Beatles: Get Back" and "We Need to Talk About Cosby" both have five nominations, "The Andy Warhol Diaries" has four, "100 Foot Wave" has two, and "jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy" has just this one. Only "100 Foot Wave" isn't about art or entertainment, which makes it my pick to be one of the two nominees most likely to not get 90% approval along with "jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy." Still, all five might make the cutoff and have their producers walk off the stage with Emmy statuettes.

I'm doing today what I didn't do but should have done yesterday and embed the trailers for the two top nominees, beginning with The Beatles: Get Back | Official Trailer | Disney+.

The official trailer for #TheBeatlesGetBack is here! The Disney+ original docuseries, directed by Peter Jackson, will be arriving on Disney+ just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. Made entirely from never-before-seen, restored footage, it provides the most intimate and honest glimpse into the creative process and relationship between John, Paul, George, and Ringo ever filmed. Be sure to check them both out, and don’t forget to watch “The Beatles: Get Back” when it rolls out over three days, November 25, 26, and 27, 2021, exclusively on Disney+.

Directed by three-time Oscar®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson (“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “They Shall Not Grow Old”), “The Beatles: Get Back” takes audiences back in time to the band’s January 1969 recording sessions, which became a pivotal moment in music history. The docuseries showcases The Beatles’ creative process as they attempt to write 14 new songs in preparation for their first live concert in over two years. Faced with a nearly impossible deadline, the strong bonds of friendship shared by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr are put to the test. The docuseries is compiled from nearly 60 hours of unseen footage shot over 21 days, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg in 1969, and from more than 150 hours of unheard audio, most of which has been locked in a vault for over half a century. Jackson is the only person in 50 years to have been given access to this Beatles treasure trove, all of which has now been brilliantly restored. What emerges is an unbelievably intimate portrait of The Beatles, showing how, with their backs against the wall, they could still rely on their friendship, good humor, and creative genius. While plans derail and relationships are put to the test, some of the world’s most iconic songs are composed and performed. The docuseries features – for the first time in its entirety – The Beatles’ last live performance as a group, the unforgettable rooftop concert on London’s Savile Row, as well as other songs and classic compositions featured on the band’s final two albums, Abbey Road and Let It Be.
I'm getting very strong "Summer of Soul" vibes from this, just as I got "Being the Ricardos" vibes from "Lucy and Desi." Those aren't bad feelings, as some subjects deserve second looks and some ideas are good enough to be reused and applied to new subjects, but there was definitely something in the air and water the past couple of years besides COVID-19. Who knows, maybe revisiting the archives was the best thing to do in isolation.

Next, a trailer I've been dreading, We Need To Talk About Cosby (2022) Official Trailer | SHOWTIME Documentary Series.

Writer/director W. Kamau Bell’s exploration of Bill Cosby’s descent from “America’s Dad” to alleged sexual predator. Comedians, journalists and Cosby survivors have a candid, first of its kind conversation about the man, his career and his crimes.
A four-part docuseries directed by W. Kamau Bell, WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT COSBY wrestles with the conversations of the #MeToo movement, focusing on Bill Cosby’s descent from “America’s Dad” to alleged sexual predator. The series explores the complex story of Cosby’s life and work, weighing his actions against his indisputable global influence through interviews with comedians, cultural commentators, journalists and women who share their most personal, harrowing encounters with Cosby. Through archival footage, Cosby reveals who he may have been all along – the antithesis of the principled, public figure who became a hero, not only to African American people but to all people. Peeling back complex layers of the African American icon, WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT COSBY offers viewers the chance to reconsider his mark in a society where rape culture, toxic masculinity, capitalism and white supremacy is shaping how we re-evaluate sex, power and agency.
Now I'm going to recycle some ideas, my reaction to the nominations for "Allen v. Farrow.
Not only is this an entertainment story, it's a legal story, so it aligns with my interest in shows that have a political or government component. That means I feel like I have a legitimate interest in covering it beyond just examining entertainment in general. That doesn't mean I'm happy about it.
Now for a paraphrase of my contrasting reactions to "Secrets of the Whales" and "Allen v. Farrow": I love music and watching the trailer for "The Beatles: Get Back" made me happy. In contrast, watching the trailer for "We Need To Talk About Cosby" shocked, saddened, and disgusted me, as I expected. I felt dirtier after watching it, not smarter and happier. However, I remember feeling worse about "Allen v. Farrow." Whatever Cosby did, it wasn't to his own family and he was punished for his alleged crimes.

Now for the other nonfiction series category.

Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special (Area)
My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman (Netflix)
The Problem with Jon Stewart (Apple TV+)
Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy (CNN)
Vice (Showtime)
The World According to Jeff Goldblum (Disney+)
"Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy" has the most nominations with five and is the returning winner, so I think it's guaranteed to get an Emmy statuette. I'm not as sure about the rest, I wouldn't be surprised if all of them earned an Emmy. "The Problem with Jon Stewart" is in second with two nominations, while are tied with while "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman," "Vice," and "The World According to Jeff Goldblum" all have one each, but the last three have been nominated in this category before and "Vice" won in 2014.

Follow over the jump for the categories I covered in 'Lucy and Desi' leads Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special nominees with six nominations and Barack Obama nominated for Outstanding Narrator of 'Our Great National Parks' at the 2022 Emmy Awards.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

'Lucy and Desi' leads Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special nominees with six nominations

I told my readers "stay tuned for the next installment of the Emmy Awards series for the Sunday entertainment feature" at the end of Steve Bannon convicted of two counts of contempt of Congress. More specifically, I wrote that I would look at the reality shows "after I examine the rest of the documentary and nonfiction special and series nominees." Here are the nominees for documentaries and nonfiction specials.

Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special (Area) Controlling Britney Spears (New York Times Presents) (FX) George Carlin's American Dream (HBO/HBO Max) Lucy and Desi (Prime Video) The Tinder Swindler (Netflix) We Feed People (Disney+)
Before I go on, I'm quoting what Wikipedia published about area awards.
Area awards are non-competitive; any nominee with at least 90% approval receives an Emmy. If no nominee receives 90% approval, the nominee with the highest approval receives an Emmy; for area awards in picture editing and sound mixing, there is an additional requirement that the highest-rated nominee must have at least 50% approval.
Consequently, all, some, one, or possibly even none of the nominees could earn awards in this category. That means I'm not going to put a lot of effort into handicapping these categories. Still, I will note that "Lucy and Desi" has six nominations, "The Tinder Swindler" and "George Carlin's American Dream" both have five, "We Feed People" has two, and "Controlling Britney Spears" has just this one, so here's the Twitter image for the show.

As I wrote above, just because it has only one nomination doesn't mean "Controlling Britney Spears" won't earn an Emmy. It is one of three nominees about entertainers and my experience is that, all things being equal, the television professionals of the Television Academy will vote for a quality nominee about entertainment in general and television in particular. Between that and the number of nominations, I think "Lucy and Desi" will walk away with several statuettes in September.

Speaking of which, I'm looking at the nominees other nominations over the jump, but only after I mention the honorees in the next category.
Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking (Juried)
Changing the Game (Hulu)
Frederick Douglass: In Five Speeches (HBO/HBO Max)
When Claude Got Shot (PBS)
This field looks different from this category in the past because of another ruling by the Television Academy: "Any film placed on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences platform will be ineligible for the Emmys. (Previously, this rule only applied to non-documentary films.)" In years past, several Oscar nominees and even winners also received nominations at the Emmys and it was a good way for Oscar snubs to get a second bite at the apple. No more. Also, Wikipedia included the following sentence about juried awards: "Juried awards generally do not have nominations; instead, all entrants are screened before members of the appropriate peer group, and one, more than one, or no entry is awarded an Emmy based on the jury's vote." Based on this description, all three listed works may have already won. If so, congratulations!

Follow over the jump for the rest of the nominations for the documentary and nonfiction special nominees.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Steve Bannon convicted of two counts of contempt of Congress

I most recently wrote "'The wheels of justice are grinding slowly in this case, but I expect they will indeed grind exceedingly fine.' May they also grind exceedingly fine for Trump and his seditious supporters, if not as slowly" in Fulton County Grand Jury subpoenas Graham, Giuliani, Eastman, and others in Georgia election probe. One of The Former Guy's advisors is in the process of being ground into legal flour, as MSNBC reported BREAKING: Bannon Found Guilty By Jury On Both Contempt Of Congress Counts early this afternoon.

Former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon was found guilty on one count of refusing to appear for a congressional deposition and one count of refusing to produce documents to the Jan. 6 committee. NBC News’ Pete Williams reports.
Bannon may have been pardoned for mail fraud, but he's almost certain to face jail time for contempt of Congress, barring the very rare event the judge reverses the guilty verdict (very unlikely considering that Bannon already has a sentencing date of October 21, three months away) or it's overturned on appeal (not unheard of, but again not likely).

Now some analysis from Ari Melber and his guests, beginning with Convicted: Trump Campaign Chief Bannon Guilty In Jan. 6 Case.

See the moment when news broke that Trump campaign chief Steve Bannon was found guilty on two counts of contempt of Congress. Bannon was convicted by a jury for defying a congressional subpoena and stonewalling the January 6th Committee. MSNBC’s Chief Legal Correspondent Ari Melber reports on the case, and gives analysis on what it means for the first Trump aide to be convicted in the January 6th probe.
The legal analysts pointed out how quickly the jury deliberated (about an hour between MSNBC reporting that the case had gone to the jury and the report of the guilty verdicts), as well as the importance of the conviction.

Melber had more analysis in He’s Toast: Bannon Faces Mandatory Jail, Heat On Trump Over Aide’s Conviction.

Trump’s campaign chief Steve Bannon is found guilty on two counts of contempt of Congress. Veteran federal prosecutor Joyce Vance joins MSNBC’s Chief Legal Correspondent Ari Melber breaking down why Bannon faces one month to two years in a Washington D.C. jail.
"The guy who's blowing the whistle in the background is making more sense than the words that are coming out of Steve Bannon's mouth here." Hahahahaha! That was entertaining snark.

Speaking of entertainment, stay tuned for the next installment of the Emmy Awards series for the Sunday entertainment feature.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Colbert's live monologue plus Chris Hayes after eighth January 6th Committee hearing

As I told my readers yesterday, a word we found out that The Former Guy had a hard time reading last night, I'm returning with Stephen's LIVE Monologue After The Jan. 6th Committee Hearing | Run, Hawley, Run!

Stephen Colbert goes LIVE following the eighth televised hearing of the January 6th Committee, which focused on the former president's inaction as the insurrection took place, and featured footage of Sen. Josh Hawley fleeing the violence.
My wife and I watched the hearing live last night and that's as good a highlight reel with comedic commentary as I could imagine. Speaking of commentary, Stephen's main guest last night was Chris Hayes, who provided a lot of expert observations on the proceeding. Follow over the jump to watch.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Colbert returns from vacation to tell jokes about heat waves, drought, and climate change

Stephen Colbert has been on vacation the past two weeks, which is one of the reasons I haven't featured his monologues here since Colbert covers the fourth televised January 6th Committee hearing 30 days ago.* I've missed him and so have my readers, as that post is the second most viewed entry during that time span, behind only Decreased air pollution from pandemic response reduced lightning strikes, which received an assist from Boat Bits before I shared it at the Coffee Party USA Facebook page. He returned Monday and his monologues have all been about climate change and natural disasters, beginning with Europe Swelters Under Heat Apocalypse | Late Show To Go LIVE After Next Jan. 6 Committee Hearing.

Stephen checks on our friends in Europe who are experiencing a record-setting heat wave, and announces that The Late Show will broadcast LIVE this Thursday after the next public hearing by the Jan. 6th Committee.
After starting his monologue with the European heat wave, Stephen moved on to the kind of political news he would normally make fun of, including the third take-home message from the most recent hearing after the 'Unhinged' meeting leading to the January 6th riot and the involvement of extremist groups, The Former Guy calling a future witness, apparently trying to tamper with the witness. We might hear more about that and the Secret Service text messages at tonight's hearing followed by Colbert's live monologue. I'm looking forward to both.

Stephen's writers stepped up the heat wave coverage the next night, beginning with Tuesday's cold open, Peppa Pig And The Very Hot Day.

It's good that Mummy and Daddy Pig are making the best out of a bad situation.
It's a good thing Peppa's fans were all in bed when that aired. It would have upset them.

Tuesday's monologue focused even more on the European heat wave in It's Benny's Birthday! | The U.K. Boils | T**** Hopes Bannon Will Defend Him To Jan 6th Committee.

Stephen celebrates his dog Benny's third birthday, peeks across the pond at the sweltering heat in Europe, and takes a look at what Steve Bannon may say about the former president when he testifies before the Jan. 6th Committee.
Stephen's dog is cute and made a good transition from the roasting of Peppa Pig, pun intended. As for the conversion from Celsius to Fahrenheit that Stephen fumbled hilariously, 40oC is 104oF. Yikes!

Stephen and his writers shifted from the U.K. to the U.S. in last night's Celebs Flout CA Water Restrictions | Arnold Schwarzenegger Outed As A Face Farter.

Sylvester Stallone is apparently ignoring California's new rules aimed at conserving water during the current drought, and "End Of Days" star Arnold Schwarzenegger has been credibly accused of passing gas into a fellow actor's face on the set of that film.
Having grown up in Southern California around show business people, I'm not surprised by either of the action stars' bad behavior. As for President Biden, he may not be doing enough about climate change, but he's at least doing what he can. It's something, which is better than nothing.

Stay tuned as I plan on returning tomorrow with Stephen's live monologue.

*So were Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, and Trevor Noah. Kimmel had guest hosts on, but Seth and Trevor had no new content during their breaks. I missed them, too.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Apollo 15 and 16 and the Lunar Rover 50 years later for Moon Day 2022

Happy National Moon Moon Day! For today's anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the Moon, I'm looking back at Apollo 15 and Apollo 16, the two missions whose 50th anniversaries occurred since the last Moon Day. I begin with Seeker's video covering both missions, but focusing mostly on the Lunar Rover, How Did NASA Engineer a Car for the Moon?

NASA’s first car to drive on the Moon revolutionized space exploration, giving astronauts the ability to travel farther than ever before.
SciShow Space also devoted one of its episodes to the Lunar Rover, What We Learned by Putting Cars on the Moon.

To expand their range on visits to the moon, astronauts needed a way to travel faster, go farther, and carry more than walking provided. Thankfully, they had the Lunar Roving Vehicle.
Both of these videos demonstrate how NASA and Boeing created a lunar vehicle and how a car on the Moon allowed the lunar astronauts to perform more and better science.

NASA also remembered both missions, looking at them as wholes, not just through the lens of their most visible technological achievement, as interesting and significant as it was and still is. To celebrate the mission's 50th anniversary, NASA uploaded Apollo 15: "Never Been on a Ride like this Before".

Our first wheels on the Moon. On the Apollo 15 mission, the Lunar Roving Vehicle allowed the astronauts to cover a much greater distance on the Moon than the previous three flights had accomplished. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 15 mission. On July 26, 1971, David R. Scott (Commander), James B. Irwin (Lunar Module Pilot) and Alfred M. Worden (Command Module Pilot) launched from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A.

Apollo 15 set several new records for crewed spaceflight: heaviest payload in a lunar orbit of approximately 107,000 pounds, maximum radial distance traveled on the lunar surface away from the spacecraft of about 17.5 miles, most lunar surface moonwalks (three) and longest total of duration for lunar surface moonwalk (18 hours, 37 minutes), longest time in lunar orbit (about 145 hours), longest crewed lunar mission (295 hours), longest Apollo mission, the first satellite placed in lunar orbit by a crewed spacecraft, and first deep space and operational spacewalk.
That is an impressive list of records! Also, I remember watching as the hammer and feather hit the lunar surface at the same time, demonstrating that Galileo was right.

NASA Goddard observed the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 16 mission with Apollo 16 Lands in the Lunar Highlands.

Thanks to data provided by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission, we are able to visualize the Apollo 16 landing site in the Descartes highlands on the nearside of the Moon, where the astronauts landed in April 1972. The mission was crewed by Commander John Young, Lunar Module Pilot Charles Duke, and Command Module Pilot Thomas K. Mattingly. This visualization contains audio transmissions from portions of the mission between the astronauts and CapCom James Irwin, and a view of the 3 EVA (extravehicular activity) routes the astronauts took over the course of three days, including their visit to North Ray crater. The experiments conducted and lunar samples collected by the crew are still providing valuable data about our Moon to scientists today.
Apollo 16 may not have been as flashy, but it was still important for understanding the Moon.

That's it for this look back. I plan on finishing this series next year with the 50th anniversary of Apollo 17, the last Apollo mission to the Moon. In the meantime, stay tuned as I return to the present day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Cuban protests one year later for Daiquiri Day and Captive Nations Week

Happy National Daiquiri Day! I wrote that "I might return to Cuba today at the end of A recipe from Cuba for National Mojito Day. I'm following up on that by revisiting Protests in Cuba and Florida for National Daiquiri Day and Captive Nations Week 2021 and sharing Food, Medicine Shortages Remain In Cuba One Year After Massive Protests from NBC News.

July 11 marks one year since protests began in Cuba over food and medicine shortages, the biggest demonstrations the island had seen in over 50 years. NBC News' Ed Augustin reports on how the Cuban government reprimanded protesters and if any demands were met.
Food shortages pose a risk for governments. That relates to one of the possible answers to "What effects have global food prices, both high and low, had on food production outside of the U.S.?" in my worksheet for "Food, Inc." The movie shows food riots, including one that brought down a government. I pointed this out to my students yesterday when I lectured about population and why China instituted its one-child policy, which it rescinded in 2015. China didn't want its population to outstrip its ability to feed itself, which could lead to food shortages and instability.

NBC News had more on the anniversary and its aftermath in Protestors Remain In Prison One Year After Largest Cuban Protest In Decades.

One year after Cuba’s largest protests since Fidel Castro took control in 1959, many demonstrators still remain in prison for charges of sabotage, public disorder, and sedition. NBC News’ Morgan Radford reports on how the protests were a partial catalyst for the most recent wave of Cuban migration.
This is much more about the political and social situation than about the Cuban economy, facets of the protests and their aftermath that MSNBC explored in Today Marks One Year Since Historic Anti-Government Protests In Cuba.

One year ago, racial and sociopolitical injustices caused marginalized Cubans to take to the streets. The Cuban government continues to prosecute many who were involved with the protests.
José Díaz-Balart added a diversity dimension to the protests by having a guest on who explained the racial politics of Cuba and how that fed into the discontent. That was something NBC News didn't include in their reports.

Since this is a day about a drink that I'm using as an excuse to cover Cuba, I conclude with A delicious Daiquiri in 87 Seconds from Behind the Bar.

In a hurry for a delicious Lime Daiquiri recipe? Look no further than this video - our Make it Quick Daiquiri.

Once you're kicking back, sipping your icy cold daiquiri though, you might want to check out our Daiquiri Masterclass where we cover the history of this delicious cocktail, tips and tricks and even look at some famous variations.


60ml (2 oz) Bacardi Carta Blanca rum
20ml (2/3 oz) fresh lime juice
10ml (1/3 oz) cane sugar syrup
Lime zest
Lots of ice

Cut a small strip of lime zest off your lime, with as little pith as possible (you want the aromatic oils but not too much bitterness).

Squeeze your lime and add all the ingredients, including zest, to your shaker.

Shake hard and for a little longer than you think you should.

Strain in to ice cold coupe and serve!
That's it for Daiquiri Day. Stay tuned as I continue my series on the Apollo missions for Moon Day.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Barack Obama nominated for Outstanding Narrator of 'Our Great National Parks' at the 2022 Emmy Awards

I told my readers "I'll return with more entries about Emmy nominees" at the end of 'Teenage Dream' and 'The Lost Class' — two PSAs about gun violence nominated for Outstanding Commercial at the 2022 Emmy Awards. I have a relatively brief update at the intersection of nature series and politics, former President Barack Obama, a two-time Grammy winner, with his second Emmy nomination for Outstanding Narrator of "Our Great National Parks." He's competing against a formidable field as the following image from the Television Academy on Twitter shows.

Former President Obama's stiffest competition is undoubtedly Sir David Attenborough, who has six Emmy Awards to his name, three Creative Arts Emmys for Outstanding Narrator in 2018, 2019, and 2020, and three News and Documentary Emmy Awards, two for Outstanding Nature Programming and one for Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Writing. Ironically, Obama's first Emmy nomination was for "David Attenborough Meets President Obama" at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards, so the two have a history. These are Lupita Nyong'o and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's second nominations for Outstanding Narrator at the Emmys, but both lost to Sir David in 2020. While it's his first nomination for Outstanding Narrator, W. Kamau Bell has won three Creative Arts Emmy Awards for "United Shades of America." Bell also earned a nomination in Outstanding Directing for a Documentary/Nonfiction Program for "We Need to Talk About Cosby" as well. That series has a total of four Emmy nominations, which I will write about later. I suspect I'll have the same reaction to it as I did to "Allen v. Farrow" — shocked, saddened, and disgusted.

"Our Great National Parks" has a second Emmy nomination, Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program, as this image from a tweet by Higher Ground Media shows.

Here is the entire field.
Outstanding Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program
The Andy Warhol Diaries: "Collab: Andy & Basquiat" – Wolfgang Held (Netflix)
McCartney 3,2,1: "These Things Bring You Together" – Stuart Winecoff (Hulu)
100 Foot Wave: "Chapter IV: Dancing with God" – Mike Prickett, Laurent Pujol (HBO / HBO Max)
Our Great National Parks: "Chilean Patagonia" – Christiaan Muñoz-Salas, Ignacio Walker (Netflix)
Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy: "Venice" – Andrew Muggleton (CNN)
We Feed People – Kris Kaczor (Disney+)
All of these nominees have nominations in other categories. "Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy" has the most nominations with five, including Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special, Outstanding Directing for a Documentary/Nonfiction Program, Outstanding Picture Editing for a Nonfiction Program, and Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Nonfiction or Reality Program. "The Andy Warhol Diaries" has four, Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series, Outstanding Directing for a Documentary/Nonfiction Program, and Outstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Program in addition to this category. "McCartney 3,2,1" earned three nominations, including Outstanding Sound Editing for a Nonfiction or Reality Program (Single or Multi-Camera) and Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Nonfiction or Reality Program. Both "100 Foot Wave" and "We Feed People" have two, Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series for the former and Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special for the latter. I will be looking at all of these in upcoming posts, after which I might venture a guess as to the winner.

Enough about its nominated categories. It's time to watch President Obama Narrates Our Great National Parks | Official Trailer from Netflix.

An epic five-part series narrated by President Barack Obama that invites viewers to celebrate and discover the power of our planet’s greatest national parks and wild spaces.
From the executive producer of Blue Planet II comes OUR GREAT NATIONAL PARKS, a breathtaking five-part series executive produced and narrated by President Barack Obama - who protected more public lands and waters than any other U.S. President in history - that invites viewers to experience nature in the world's most iconic national parks. Spanning five continents, the series brims with wonder, humor, and optimism as each episode tells the story of a national park through the lives of its wildest residents — both big and exceptionally small — and explores our changing relationship with wilderness. Traveling from the waters of Monterey Bay, California, to the bright red soil of Kenya’s Tsavo National Park, the lush rainforests of Indonesia’s Gunung Leuser National Park, the majestic terrain of Chilean Patagonia, and more, OUR GREAT NATIONAL PARKS beckons us to get out and explore, create new ways for these wild places to thrive, and vigorously preserve them for future generations to come. This series is a Wild Space production in association with Higher Ground Productions and Freeborne Media
Wow, that is both beautifully shot and wonderfully narrated. Obama does have a good shot against Sir David!

Factual America interviewed two of the creators in Our Great National Parks | Netflix | Interview with Sophie Todd and James Honeyborne.

Narrated by President Barack Obama, "Our Great National Parks" is a breathtaking Netflix original five-part documentary...

"Our Great National Parks" is a breathtaking Netflix original docuseries, executive produced and narrated by President Barack Obama, who protected more public lands and waters than any other US president in history. President Obama takes us on a journey to experience nature in the world's most iconic national parks, spanning five continents. The series brims with wonder, humour and optimism as each episode tells the story of a national park through the lives of its wildest residents, both big and exceptionally small.

The series explores our changing relationship with wilderness traveling from the waters of Monterey Bay, California to the bright red soil of Kenya's Tsavo National Park, the lush rainforests of Indonesia's Gunung Leuser National Park, the majestic terrain of Chilean Patagonia and more.

Our Great National Parks beckons us to get out and explore, create new ways for these wild places to thrive, and vigorously preserve them for future generations to come.

Acclaimed filmmakers James Honeyborne and Sophie Todd are the executive producer and series producer behind this five-part documentary. They share their experiences making this series and what it was like working with President Barack Obama.

"Not all human ideas are bad. National parks were a human idea. We did that, so we can be a force for good as much as a force for bad." - Sophie Todd
I like that final quote. I might just use it.

I conclude with a complaint of sorts. These are all the nominated nature series at this year's Emmy Awards. Nature series dominated the nonfiction series Emmy nominations only a few years ago. Now, "Our Great National Parks" leads the genre with two nominations and "Serengeti II" and "The Mating Game" have just one each. That's it. "14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible" and "100 Foot Wave" both take place in nature and have great scenery shots, but both of them are sports shows at their core. Unstructured reality shows have more about the human struggle against nature, with "Deadliest Catch" and "Live Below Zero" earning two Emmy nominations each, both for Outstanding Cinematography for a Reality Program, where they are competing against "Survivor," and Outstanding Picture Editing for an Unstructured Reality Program, for a total of five. I'll write about them after I examine the rest of the documentary and nonfiction special and series nominees. Stay tuned.

Previous posts about the 2022 Emmy Awards

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Happy National Ice Cream Day, World Emoji Day, and Souther! Souther? Yes, Souther

Happy National Ice Cream Day! HLN (formerly CNN's Headline News) celebrated the day in 2015 by telling the channel's viewers Raise a spoon: it's ice cream day!

Summertime is the perfect time for a frozen treat! President Ronald Reagan named July National Ice Cream Month back in 1984 and he established National Ice Cream Day as the third Sunday of the month. Americans eat an estimated 22 pounds of ice cream every year! Lynn, Coy and Ivan didn't eat quite that much today, but they did share their favorite flavors with us (Graeter's, Dulce de Leche and Turkey Hill Butter Pecan, respectively).
I like this video because it includes both the history of the holiday and a food fact, has engaging hosts, and is from a mainstream news source, although it is not longer the hard news outlet I watched regularly during 1989-1991 when it was Headline News. It also isn't a stealth commercial for a local ice cream store or manufacturer, as it featured three flavors from different sources.

One of my holiday traditions is to share drink recipes for the day. Fox 13 Seattle provided some in Drinks for National Ice Cream Day.

Joe McRae with Bevmo joins Good Day Seattle to prepare some fancy adult beverages to honor national ice cream day.
I'm beginning to wonder if "It's always five o'clock somewhere" means 5:00 P.M. or 5:00 A.M. to morning show anchors who drink as part of their job. I hope they have designated drivers!

Follow over the jump for the celebration of two more holidays, including one that was created for me.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

'Teenage Dream' and 'The Lost Class' — two PSAs about gun violence nominated for Outstanding Commercial at the 2022 Emmy Awards

As I have since 2019, I begin my coverage of this year's Primetime and Creative Arts Emmy Awards, which the Television Academy announced earlier this week, with the nominees for Outstanding Commercial. I'm featuring the two Emmy-nominated Public Service Announcements (PSAs) about gun violence in general and school shootings in particular above the jump, beginning with past nominee and winner Sandy Hook Promise, whose nominated PSA this year is Teenage Dream.

Gun violence shouldn't be part of growing up.
*** This video contains sensitive content related to gun violence that may be triggering for some viewers. ***
The irony of these school shooting survivors singing Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" was not lost on me, which was the point, as News 12 in New York highlighted in Sandy Hook Promise’s ‘Teenage Dream’ PSA aims to prevent further gun violence.

Sandy Hook Promise tapped survivors of gun violence in schools from around the country to recite the lyrics to the Perry tune.
That was one of the adults behind the PSA. Good Morning America interviewed the teens themselves in Survivors share how their ‘teenage dreams’ disappeared after school shootings l GMA.

A new PSA from Sandy Hook Promise features survivors of school shootings reciting the lyrics of the popular Katy Perry song in hopes of preventing others from experiencing the same grief.
Yes, you heard that right; gun violence was the number one cause of death among U.S. children and teens in 2020, passing auto accidents. That stat deserves a post of its own, so I'm moving on.

Normally, Sandy Hook Promise would have gun violence to themselves, but this year, Change the Ref joined them with Lost Class 1/3.

This year, 3,044 students won’t get the chance to graduate because they were killed by a gun. It’s time we pass universal background checks, so we can protect our students and make sure more of them make it to their graduation day.

By donating to Change the Ref, you’re helping in the fight against the gun violence epidemic. Change the Ref uses the funds raised to keep applying pressure to our politicians and policymakers through creativity, creating more campaigns like The Lost Class. Together, we can change the perception of guns in America and inspire change that will keep the futures of our students safe from guns.
In its own way, showing all those empty chairs and switching the audio between the commencement address and the 911 calls is even more effective than Sandy Hook Promise's PSA. Also, convincing a former head and current board member of the NRA to address 3,044 empty chairs is quite a feat. Democracy Now examines how that happened in Meet the Father Who Tricked Ex-NRA Head into Addressing 3,044 Empty Chairs for Gun Violence Victims.

The parents of a student killed in the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School duped a former president of the National Rifle Association into giving a high school graduation speech defending gun rights in front of 3,044 empty white chairs — one chair for each student who could not graduate this year because they were killed by gun violence. David Keene, who still serves on the NRA board, thought he was giving a rehearsal speech for graduating students at the James Madison Academy in Las Vegas, but no such school exists. Video of the speech was turned into a viral video promoting universal background checks. The stunt was organized by the group Change the Ref, which was founded by Manuel and Patricia Oliver, whose son Joaquin was shot dead in the Parkland, Florida, massacre. Manuel Oliver says the video has led to an outpouring of support from across the U.S. “We need to do these more often, because it shows that the NRA, the gun industry and the gun lobby are not as powerful as they say,” he says.
This clip includes not only the commercial I embedded above, but parts of the other two videos in the series, so not only does it explain what's went on, but saves me the trouble of embedding them, too. Thank you.

Follow over the jump for the other four nominees.

Friday, July 15, 2022

MSNBC and CNN analyze as 'January 6 Committee Zeroes In On Extremist Groups'

I closed MSNBC on the 'Unhinged' Meeting Leading To January 6th Riot with a preview of coming attractions.
MSNBC and CNN both had more to say about the members of the mob and how the former guy called them to Washington, D.C. I plan on getting to those in a later post. Stay tuned.
I begin with Stephanie Ruhle on "The 11th Hour" summarizing the hearing in January 6 Committee Zeroes In On Extremist Groups.

In the seventh public hearing, the Jan. 6th committee focused on how Trump’s allies were linked to extremist groups. The panel also painted a picture of an “unhinged” Oval Office meeting before the former President sent his infamous ‘will be wild’ tweet. Meantime, Rep. Cheney accuses Trump of calling a committee witness after the last hearing.
Ruhle then dove deeper into the role of The Former Guy inciting his followers and how they responded in Online Extremism Fueled Capitol Riot.

From living a normal life to raiding the Capitol, a Jan. 6th witness says he got sucked into Trump’s big lie and it changed his life forever. NBC’s Ben Collins warns of the dangers of lies and conspiracies on social media.
I rely a lot on social media, particularly Facebook, to attract readers to my blog, as I described in Statistics for the eleventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News, but I know it's a two-edged sword. It can be used for both good and evil.

CNN uploaded its own analysis of the use of social media to mobilize the mob in Ex-campaign manager blames Trump's rhetoric for Jan. 6 death in text message.

In messages revealed by the House Select Committee investigating January 6th, Brad Parscale, the former campaign manager to President Donald Trump, texted that someone was killed on January 6 due to Trump's rhetoric. CNN's Ana Cabrera discusses with Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman and former Trump lawyer Jim Schultz.
The former Twitter employee interviewed by the committee said that people were going to die because of what The Former Guy tweeted and he was right. In closing, I called January 6th a "Weimar Moment" in A view of the 'coup attempt' from Michigan but haven't used the phrase since. I should have continued calling it that, as all these videos show that it deserves the designation, updated for the 21st Century with the use of Twitter and other social media.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

France 24 English asks 'France and the US: Best frenemies?' for Bastille Day 2022

Happy Bastille Day! I begin today's celebration of "Fête Nationale Française," the last of three patriotic holidays I celebrate in July, with France 24 English asking France and the US: Best frenemies?

France and the United States have been allies for centuries. Despite the mutual affection and fascination, they can also rub each other up the wrong way. How much of this is due to subtleties getting lost in translation and how much of it is because of fundamental cultural differences? In this episode of French Connections Plus, Florence Villeminot and Genie Godula delve into the love-hate relationship between France and America.
I found that fun and fascinating and I hope both my American and French readers did, too.* It makes me glad I watched it, as it's always a good day when I learn something new.

I'm finishing today's post with a drink recipe and music, a tradition I follow for many of my holiday entries. Because today is also National Grand Marnier Day, I'm sharing Grand Cosmopolitan - Recipe by Grand Marnier [Europe].

This very harmonious cocktail combines the tangy fruity flavours of cranberry with the roundness of Grand Marnier® liqueur. The oaked notes of the cognac add aromatic intensity to the cocktail, and give more length on the finish.

What you need:
1 shot Grand Marnier® liqueur (30ml)
1 shot vodka (30ml)
1,5 shots cranberry juice (45ml)
1/2 shot freshly squeezed lime juice (15ml)
1 dash angostura orange bitter (optional)
On the one hand, it was about time I included a video from the distiller. On the other, that makes this video corporate PR.

While I'm not featuring a French-themed drum corps performance this year, I'm still embedding a marching music video, Temescal Canyon HS - French National Défilé - 2017 Arcadia Band Review.

From Lake Elsinore, CA
Temescal Canyon High School Titan Thunder Regiment & Pageantry performing their march entitled French National Défilé by J.S. Seredy at the 64th Annual Arcadia Festival of Bands Band Review located in the city of Arcadia, California, on Saturday, November 18, 2017.

Results: Class A
91.95 - 2nd place Band
85.00 - 3rd place Auxiliary
86.00 - 6th place Open Class Military Drum Major
As a couple of commenters noted, the French name for the march is "Le Régiment de Sambre et Meuse" or "Sambre et Meuse" for short.

*Yes, a lot of people with French IP addresses read my blog. I noted that in Statistics for the eleventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
France leaping from ninth to second with 138,445, a huge jump from last year's ~3,410, did come as a surprise. Wow! Unlike tweeting at Greta Thunberg prompting Swedes to read my blog last year, I'm not sure what I did to attract the attention of the French. Whatever I did, I'm glad. Welcome aboard!
France rocketed from seventh to second with 185,778 total page views to replace Russia as the top international source of readers. Sweden leapfrogged several countries as it rose from fifth to third with 107,825. Congratulations and welcome to readers from both countries. Stick around.
They have, as France has provided 15,043 page views to this blog during the past 30 days, well ahead of the 11,627 from the U.S. during the same month. Thank you, and keep reading!

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

MSNBC on the 'Unhinged' Meeting Leading To January 6th Riot

I haven't blogged about the January 6th Committee hearings since Colbert covers the fourth televised January 6th Committee hearing, but they have been going on in the meantime, including a hearing yesterday. My favorite late-night talk-show hosts are on vacation, so I'm turning to MSNBC for analysis. I begin with Lawrence [O'Donnell] On The ‘Unhinged’ Meeting Leading To January 6th Riot to provide a summary with analysis.

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell explains what we learned from the seventh public hearing held by the January 6th Committee which revealed new details about an Oval Office showdown that preceded the Capitol riot.
The worst part isn't the "unhinged" nature of the meeting, although calling it the craziest meeting in the history of the Trump White House is certainly saying something, but the result, which was to call for a mob to storm the Capitol as the final act of the attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

Most of the rest of MSNBC's late-afternoon and evening hosts discussed yesterday's hearing in a panel that addressed both the meeting and its outcome, beginning with Trump's Embrace Of Foolish Election Schemes A Failure By 'Adults In The Room'.

Rachel Maddow and an MSNBC panel talk about the fight by Donald Trump's White House staff to keep people with crazy ideas about overturning his 2020 election loss away from Trump. A fight they would lose.
That was about the meeting. Now for the resulting decision in Right-Wing Militias Were A Ready Weapon For Trump On January 6th, where Ari Melber replaces Chris Hayes.

Alex Wagner talks about the level of preparation by right-wing militia groups ahead of January 6th, and the noteworthiness of even rival factions coming together for Trump's cause.
MSNBC and CNN both had more to say about the members of the mob and how the former guy called them to Washington, D.C. I plan on getting to those in a later post. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

MSNBC reports 100,000 new cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. per day as BA.5 variant spreads, a pandemic update

I mentioned the pandemic as a major contributor to the record low rate of U.S. population growth yesterday, so it's time to discuss the current state of the disease. MSNBC uploaded three videos that updated how the BA.5 variant is infecting and affecting Americans during the past three days, beginning with Ali Velshi's segment, What To Know About The Covid Variant, BA.5, Behind A New Wave Of Infections.

Dr. Vin Gupta, a critical care pulmonologist, talks about the rise in infections with the BA.5 coronavirus variant, what it means for vaccinations, and how best to avoid getting it.
I got my booster last December, but have not received a second booster shot yet, even though I'm eligible. After watching this segment, I decided to schedule my appointment to get it.

MSNBC uploaded Velshi's interview on Saturday and it was probably recorded the night before. Things have gotten worse since then and Mehdi Hasan reported that in New Covid Subvariant Brings Summer Surge | The Mehdi Hasan Show, uploaded yesterday.

The Omicron BA.5 variant is now dominant in the U.S., with one expert calling it “the worst version of the virus that we’ve seen.” Dr. Robert Wachter, chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco, joins Mehdi to discuss the new subvariant and how he’d like to see the administration respond to this new threat.
I wrote "the virus isn't done with us even though a lot [of people] are acting as if they're done with it" in ASAPScience asks 'When Will COVID End?' I elaborated on that thought in Fauci on MSNBC: 'COVID is not done with the U.S., nor...the world,' a pandemic update in February.
The loosening of mask requirements strikes me as another example of Americans being done with the pandemic even though the pandemic isn't done with us. I picked up groceries just before sunset last Friday and the number of people out about and going into restaurants without masks surprised me. Thousands of Americans were dying of COVID-19 each day last week, and people have decided to accept it as normal.
The U.S. is now down to hundreds of Americans a day and thousands every week dying from the disease, but the people I see are still mostly acting as if it's now just background noise.

In this morning's upload, Zerlina Maxwell repeated both the case numbers and the contrast between the behaviors of Americans and the virus in U.S. Sees 100k Covid Cases A Day | Zerlina.

As much as people act like Covid is over, the virus has other plans. Dr. Uché Blackstock breaks down where the country stands.
Most of the people around me are not masking, but I still am. I'm not taking any unnecessary risks, especially in light of the likelihood of long COVID. I hope my readers follow my example. Stay safe and healthy out there!

Monday, July 11, 2022

U.S. population growth rate at record low because of pandemic for World Population Day 2022

Not only is today A recipe from Cuba for National Mojito Day, it's World Population Day. I begin this year's observance with NBC News reporting U.S. Population Growth At Lowest Rate Since Nation's Founding last December.

The U.S. population [growth rate] fell to its lowest rate during the Covid-19 pandemic's first year. NBC News Zinhle Essamuah takes a look at what factors may be driving the low growth rate including birth rates and immigration.
No surprise, the largest drop in life expectancy since World War II during 2020 because of the pandemic was a major contributor to the record low rate of U.S. population growth along with lower birth rates. MSNBC examined the causes for the latter in The Declining U.S. Birthrate Comes As No Surprise.

There are a lot of headlines detailing a drop in birth rates, but has anyone wondered why? [MSNBC]'s host of American Voices, Alicia Menendez, details how the state of our country is impacting those statistics.
That's a good summary of the reasons why young Americans are not having as many children as their parents and grandparents and points to what could be done to reverse the trend.

ABC News reported that the trend continued into the next year in Birth rate declined in the first half of 2021: CDC.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes the decline in birth rate is likely linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the decline in birth rates and population growth got the video headlines, Vox reported that the trend reversed itself later during the year in The increase in US births in 2021, explained.
A total of 3,659,289 babies were born in the US in 2021, according to new data released this week by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. That’s 1 percent more than the 3,613,647 babies born in the US in 2020, which means that the natal class of 2021 is now what passes for a baby boom in the United States of America.

Indeed, 2021 represents the first time since 2014 that the number of babies born in the US actually increased, bouncing back from a pandemic year in 2020 that saw the largest one-year drop in births in nearly 50 years.

The 2020 dip in births wasn’t much of a surprise to demographers. Despite the popular misconception that events like blizzards and blackouts that keep couples homebound inevitably lead to more babies nine months later, the lockdowns of early 2020 were not particularly conducive to the conceiving of children. Surveys conducted during 2020 found that as many as a third of American women changed their reproductive plans because of the pandemic, while and as many as half of American adults reported a decline in their sexual activity.

That 1 percent increase in births in 2021 stems in part from planned pregnancies delayed for a year or so, until the country saw improved epidemiological and economic conditions during the later stages of the pandemic, as stimulus and unemployment aid from the government made would-be parents a little less apprehensive about bringing a new life into the world.

So the playgrounds and preschools might be a smidge more crowded over the next few years. But make no mistake: This is not a baby boom that is meant to last.
Vox then showed what last year's rise in U.S. births looks like in context.

I agree with Vox; this is likely just a temporary reversal of a long-term trend. I have a lengthy examination of what this could mean in CNBC asks 'Is The U.S. Running Out Of People?' Read it there.