Tuesday, July 16, 2024

PBS Terra on 'the invasive Burmese Pythons of the Everglades' for World Snake Day

Happy World Snake Day!
World Snake Day on July 16th urges increased awareness of the wide variety of species around the world. With around 3,500 species, finding a snake that fascinates you or that was unknown to you previously won't be difficult.
I have just the snake story for today, Human Footprint on PBS Terra explaining Giant Pythons Have Overrun Florida. Here’s Why.

Ever heard of the phrase "when pet pythons outgrow their owners"? Well, host Shane Campbell-Staton is about to take us on an adventure to find out what happens next in this episode of Human Footprint. Join Shane as he meets bounty hunter Donna Kalil, exotic animal trader Hillary Dupont, and biologists Matthew McCollister and Kristen Hart as they battle the invasive Burmese Pythons of the Everglades.
While I first wrote about invasive pythons in Florida during the first year of the blog, I haven't examined the subject in any depth since 2017, seven years ago and haven't mentioned the topic since 2022. It's about time I revisited it.

Monday, July 15, 2024

'The Daily Show' at the Republican National Convention over the years

The Republican National Convention begins today, so I'm sharing The Daily Show's retrospectives of their coverage of past events, beginning with Small Town Values & Absent Diversity at the RNC's of Yore.

It's a Daily Show tradition to attend the national conventions every year, and the RNC always promises a good time. Take a look at some of the Best F**kin' News Team's best f**kin' moments at the RNC, from learning about small-town values to searching out any Black or Latino people, to finding out the last year America was great.
Jordan Klepper, Aasif Mandvi, John Oliver look so young in these clips. Also, seeing Samantha Bee makes me realize how much I miss her show. Altogether, they remind me how The Daily Show was and still is a great cultivator of talent.

The fun continues in RNC Throwbacks: Bristol Palin's Right to Choose & John Oliver Audits Red States.

Take a look back at some of the Daily Show's most memorable moments with Samantha Bee, Ed Helms, and John Oliver on the ground at the RNC.
Ah, when Republicans were the more anti-Russian party! I miss those days. On the other hand, they've become even more anti-choice, despite what their platform does, or even more importantly, doesn't say. As for running government like a business, I've seen what that was like under Rick Snyder. No thank you. It's even worse if they want to run the U.S. government like convicted criminal Hoover Cleveland's businesses!

Here's to this year's convention creating as many funny moments as these. If so, it might just be the best thing to come out of it!

ETA: This year's RNC may create funny moments, but they won't be captured by a team in the field. Variety reports ‘Daily Show’ Cancels On-The-Ground RNC Plans After Trump Assassination Attempt.
Jon Stewart and the team from “The Daily Show” will be staying close to home during the Republican National Convention.

After planning to cover the event with a satirical lens in host city Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Comedy Central mainstay canceled its plans Sunday and noted the show would hold forth instead from its usual base in New York City. Monday’s broadcast of the show, typically hosted by Stewart, will not air, and the late-night series will pick up Tuesday through Thursday.

Saturday’s assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump appears to be the issue. A message posted via Instagram and X offered “apologies for the inconvenience,” citing “logistical issues and the evolving situation in Milwaukee” for a “need to reschedule our events on the ground in Wisconsin.” A spokeswoman for the show did not elaborate on the statement.
Thanks to King of Pies on X/Twitter for telling me this. Just the same, darn.

Sunday, July 14, 2024

Olympic flame presented to Macron on Bastille Day

Happy Bastille Day, the third patriotic holiday in July I observe on this blog! I begin today's celebration of "Fête Nationale Française" with France 24 English showing Bastille Day parade: Col. Thibault Vallette presents Olympic torch.

France's annual Bastille Day parade wrapped up Sunday with the arrival of the Olympic flame, escorted by riders on horseback, 25 torchbearers, and cadets forming the shapes of the Olympic rings. The main torchbearer is Col. Thibault Vallette, equestrian gold medalist in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Lieutenant-colonel Lucile, Chief operating officer, Land force army command for Europe explains.
I had other plans for today, but saw this story and immediately decided how the Olympics changed the parade to be the theme. That was also the story for France 24 English reporting Bastille Day celebrations: Annual military parade moved due to Olympics.

Thousands of soldiers, sailors, rescuers and medics are marching in Paris Sunday beneath roaring fighter jets to mark Bastille Day. The traditional military parade has however been moved from its traditional route on the Champs Elysees due to preparations to host the Olympic Games, and a smaller military contingent will instead march on the nearby Avenue Foch – one of the most prestigious streets in Paris and one of the most expensive addresses in the world. FRANCE 24’s Sophie Lamotte reports.
At least the parade retained the view of the Arc de Triomphe in the background, even though the participants are marching west by southwest instead of southeast.

France 24 English wrapped up its coverage with French National Day: Bastille Day parade meets Olympic torch relay.

France celebrated military victories of the past at its annual Bastille Day parade Sunday as Paris welcomed the Olympic flame to the city. FRANCE 24's Selina Sykes reports.
Vive la France!

Saturday, July 13, 2024

Gold Derby's predictions for Emmy-nominated shows

I closed Colbert, Meyers, and 'The Daily Show' take more closer looks at Project 2025 by writing "I might move up the Sunday entertainment feature to tomorrow because Sunday is Bastille Day." Since the Emmy nominations will be revealed next week, I'm sharing the Gold Derby editors' Emmy nomination predictions for series and TV movies.

Gold Derby's Emmy nomination predictions begin with comedy series, so that's were I begin as well. As of last night, the the top eight comedy series were The Bear, Hacks, Abbott Elementary, Only Murders in the Building, Curb Your Enthusiasm, What We Do in the Shadows, Palm Royale, and Reservation Dogs. The Gentlemen and Colin from Accounts effectively tie for ninth, while one editor each thinks Ghosts and Girls5Eva will earn nominations. The experts agree on the top eight, while the top 24 users think The Gentlemen will knock out Palm Royale. The former may be funnier, but the latter has more star power, which makes me think it has the advantage, at least among the actors.

Gold Derby's next category is drama series, the top eight among the editors consists of Shogun, The Crown, The Morning Show, The Gilded Age, Fallout, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Slow Horses, and The Curse. Shogun moved from limited series to drama series just in time to make the ballot in this category, unseating The Crown as the favorite and knocking 3 Body Problem out of the predicted top eight. The experts and top 24 users agree with the editors' top eight, although the users think Ahsoka will be the series knocked out by the addition of Shogun; they have 3 Body Problem in tenth and Loki in eleventh.

Moving Shogun out of limited series helped Baby Reindeer, which is now favored to win, and Ripley, which is now in fifth by a hair. The rest of the limited series field predicted by Gold Derby's editors, experts, and top 24 users are Fargo, Lessons in Chemistry, and True Detective: Night Country. The editors and experts think Fellow Travelers will be the show that just misses the cutoff, while the users think it will be Masters of the Air.

The Gold Derby editors have a statistical tie for the fifth Emmy nomination in television movies, giving both The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial and Scoop five votes each. The last slot may be even more unsettled, as No One Will Save You has four editor votes. The editors' top four consists of Mr. Monk's Last Case, Red, White and Royal Blue, Quiz Lady, and The Great Lillian Hall. The experts and top 24 users disagree, thinking both The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial and Scoop will make the top five while The Great Lillian Hall won't. This will be another category worth watching.

Follow over the jump for the remaining four show categories.

Friday, July 12, 2024

Colbert, Meyers, and 'The Daily Show' take more closer looks at Project 2025

I telegraphed today's topic to conclude U.S. birth rates resume falling while life expectancy increases for World Population Day 2024.
I promise to return to Project 2025 tomorrow now that I've finished celebrating three holidays over two days. Stay tuned.
I'm revisiting Closer looks at Project 2025 and President Biden post-debate as Meyers, Colbert, and Stewart return from break with more from the late-night talk-show hosts. Time to work the eye!

I begin with Stephen Colbert at his desk explaining Project 2025 Is Trump's Blueprint For A Radical Conservative Takeover Of The U.S. Government.

Donald Trump claims to know nothing about Project 2025 but the truth is that over 200 of his former staffers are laying plans for a far-right takeover of the entire federal bureaucracy should the GOP candidate win in November.
Stephen, tell us what you and your writers really think!

Seth Meyers featured both convicted criminal Hoover Cleveland and the Project 2025 logo in the preview image for Trump Returns to Campaign Trail with Deranged FL Rally, Dems Meet on Biden's Future: A Closer Look even though it's not in the title.

Seth takes a closer look at Trump reappearing on the campaign trail with a deranged speech in Florida while Democrats are predicting doom in November.
It's been a long time since I mentioned Ben Carson AKA Doctor Pyramid here, so thank you, Seth, for giving my readers and me another chance to laugh at him, especially since he's one of the authors of Project 2025. Hoover Cleveland can't run away from Project 2025 the way Doctor Pyramid ran away from the reporter.

The Daily Show also examined Trump's Confusing Project 2025 Response & W.H. Dismisses Biden Neurologist Visit.

Desi Lydic & Jordan Klepper cover Trump’s contradictory tweet about Project 2025, President Biden’s Parkinson’s panic, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s shitty house guest. Michael Kosta also helps Desi & Jordan get to the bottom of all of Biden’s medical house calls.
While I'm glad Desi Lydic and Jordan Klepper made Project 2025 the core of this opening segment, they, like Colbert and Meyers, couldn't resist or avoid the drama around President Biden's candidacy. At least Klepper and the show's writers came up with something useful, "Google Ghislaine Maxwell." Hoover Cleveland wished her well, too.

I conclude with my recycled reaction from MSNBC examines Project 2025, part 5.
"I know nothing about Project 2025" — Convicted criminal Hoover Cleveland is doing his best Sergeant Schultz impression about Project 2025.
That means what John Oliver, MSNBC, and bloggers like me have been doing is working. Good. That encourages me to keep it up. As Tom Sullivan at Digby's Hullabaloo says, Time To Work The Eye.

As for Hoover Cleveland (un)truthing "I have no idea who is behind [Project 2025]," check out MSNBC's list of chapter authors.
All of them have worked for him, so of course he's lying. He's not fooling anyone but himself and his most devoted followers.
I leave my readers with the following list Digby embedded in Incomplete Cheat Sheet.
As I've written before, yikes! No wonder it's unpopular!
I promise to keep working the eye, but it might not be until Monday, as I might move up the Sunday entertainment feature to tomorrow because Sunday is Bastille Day. I already have plans for the last of three patriotic holidays I celebrate on this blog during July. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 11, 2024

U.S. birth rates resume falling while life expectancy increases for World Population Day 2024

Happy World Population Day! As I have all decade, I'm focusing on population growth or lack of it in the U.S., beginning with Fox 5 New York reporting US birth rate drops to record low in April.

New data from the CDC shows that US birthing rates hit a record low with roughly 76,000 fewer births than last year. It[']s the lowest one-year count since 1979. FOX 5 NY's Michelle Ross has more on what may be behind the drop.
This does a good job over covering the reasons for the decline, but it's not complete, so I'm turning to Queen City News, WJZY in Charlotte, North Carolina, reporting U.S. birth rate is on a rapid decline last month for an update and elaboration.

U.S. births were slipping for more than a decade before COVID-19 hit.
Both reports reinforce three of the points I made 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.
[I]ncreasing 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.
[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.
Even if the country does not have an overpopulation issue, it might still think it has a different kind of demographic problem, which would still lead it to restrict immigration. In fact, the second chart I included in MSNBC examines Project 2025, part 5 lists even more extreme positions beyond restricting immigration: "Mass deportation of immigrants and incarceration in 'camps'" and "End birth right citizenship." Yikes, especially the second, which attacks the currently accepted idea of who is an American and will affect citizens and others here legally, not just undocumented immigrants.

Both of the above videos mentioned the economic impact of lower birth rates in the future, which is the main concern of CNBC Television's America's shrinking population: Economic impact of falling U.S. birth rate from May.

Melissa Kearney, University of Maryland economics professor, joins 'Squawk Box' to discuss the declining birth rate in the U.S., the economic impact of a shrinking population, and more.
On the one hand, Professor Melissa Kearney was able to give CNBC anchors Andrew Ross Sorkin and Rebecca Quick an answer that seemed to displease them, that no high-income country has been able to reverse sinking fertility rates, although France and Japan seem to have stabilized theirs, albeit still below replacement rate. That's not what they appear to have wanted to hear. On the other, she called concern about overpopulation "a misguided worry." Hmph. Again, I quote CNBC asks 'Is The U.S. Running Out Of People?'
[I]ncreased 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.
I repeated this in PBS Terra asks 'What Happens When Demographics Change Forever?' That video mentioned Paul Ehrlich's The Population Bomb, in which Ehrlich made a dire prediction about overpopulation causing mass famine. The video pointed out that didn't happen because people heeded the warning and greatly increased food production to stop that future from happening. One of those people was Norman Borlaug, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his contributions to the Green Revolution. World Food Program also won the Peace Prize for its efforts to feed the world and forestall famine. As a Crazy Eddie, I salute them.

With all the worry over low birth rates, it's not high birth rates that have increased population in the modern world, it's lower death rates. That ties into some good news from WFXR News in Roanoke, Virginia, US life expectancy rebounded in 2022, but not back to pre-pandemic levels.

Again, this is for 2022, the last full year of the pandemic, at least officially. We'll have to wait until November of this year to find out if life expectancy continued to rebound in 2023.

While I took a quick jab at the cut over the eye above, I promise to return to Project 2025 tomorrow now that I've finished celebrating three holidays over two days. Stay tuned.

Cheers to National Mojito Day!

Happy National Mojito Day! I begin with D & D - Days and Dreams, formerly 8SA and Enchanted Insights, National Mojito Day (July 11), Cheers to National Mojito Day!

Raise your glasses and celebrate National Mojito Day on July 11th! Join us as we dive into the refreshing world of this classic cocktail. In this video, we'll explore the history and origins of the Mojito, discover different variations and twists on the traditional recipe, and share step-by-step instructions to create the perfect Mojito at home. From the vibrant combination of mint and lime to the crisp taste of rum, we'll unlock the secrets to crafting a delightful summer drink that will transport you to tropical paradise. Get ready to shake, muddle, and sip your way to Mojito perfection! Cheers to National Mojito Day!
The woman behind this account made this video when it was still 8SA, then quit making holiday videos when she renamed her account Enchanted Insights. Now that it's Days and Dreams, she's resumed making holiday videos. Yay! I missed new content I could use.

That explained the holiday. Now to make a mojito with KMOV St. Louis wishing Cheers to National Mojito Day!

Meredith Barry is here to teach us how to whip the summer cocktail!
That was fun!

I plan on examining Cuba on National Daiquiri Day next week. In the meantime, stay tuned for World Population Day.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

'Could Puerto Rico Become the 51st State of the U.S.?' and chupacabras for Piña Colada Day

Happy Piña Colada Day when I update the prospects for Puerto Rican statehood! I begin with EWTN, the Global Catholic Network, asking Could Puerto Rico Become the 51st State of the U.S.?

There is a renewed effort by Puerto Rican officials and citizens to make the change from territory to US state, and they're turning to Congress to make it happen. It took 6 decades and many attempts before Congress passed a statehood bill and admitted New Mexico to the union in 1912 as the 47th state. New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich, says that is cause for optimism. Now, he's introduced a bill designed to settle Puerto Rico's status once and for all. Senator Heinrich says, "This process would allow voters in Puerto Rico to make an informed choice between statehood, and independence, and sovereignty and free association with the United States." Puerto Rico became a US territory after the 1898 Spanish-American war, and in 1917 the island's residents were granted US citizenship. Most Senate Republicans say it's simply a ploy by Democrats to increase their voting power. Governor Pedro Pierluisi of Puerto Rico says, "To think that a congressional delegation from Puerto Rico would be totally Democratic is not what I expect to happen. I'm a Democrat, I'm a proud Democrat, yet I tell you that in all likelihood it would be a split delegation." He added that the majority of people are Catholic and pro-life. Capitol Hill Correspondent, Erik Rosales reports.
The Puerto Rico Status Act passed in the House two years ago, but never got a vote in the Senate. It was reintroduced in the House last year, but went nowhere. At least it has been reintroduced in the Senate. Because of the filibuster and Republican opposition, it probably won't go anywhere in the Senate, either. Sigh, it's enough to drive one to change the subject and drink. Fortunately, I have exactly the subject to change to, which I foreshadowed in La Llorona and Malinche, two connected tales for Day of the Dead.
Monstrum also has a video about chupacabras, but those are originally Puerto Rican monsters, even though reports of them come from Mexico as well and the Mexican version is different. I'll save that for a future Piña Colada Day.
Without any further ado, I'm sharing El Chupacabras, a Modern Mystery from Monstrum on PBS Storied.

Did you know there are two different types of chupacabras? Or that these bloodsucking monsters only starting popping up 25 years ago? Sightings of el chupacabras, the “goatsucker,” began in Puerto Rico in 1994 for a very real reason—the unexplained deaths of many farm animals.

Dr. Zarka looks at why humans are afraid of a creature that doesn’t real[ly] prey on humans, and traces the journey of the chupacabras from island monster to popular folk legend.
It turns out that the story of the chupacabra isn't such a change of subject after all, as it ties into Puerto Rico's territorial status and its effects on the island's people.

Dr. Zarka mentioned a chupacabra cocktail and today celebrates Puerto Rico's national drink, so follow over the jump for videos showing both.

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Closer looks at Project 2025 and President Biden post-debate as Meyers, Colbert, and Stewart return from break

I opened MSNBC's anchors and expert guests analyze the Supreme Court's immunity ruling with a whine.
It seems all the late-night talk show hosts are off this week for the 4th of July, so I can't filter yesterday's Supreme Court ruling granting U.S. Presidents immunity from prosecution for official acts through comedy. How bleak and disappointing! I was looking forward to hearing their audiences boo as loudly as they cheered when told about Trump's indictment. Maybe next week.
It's been a long week, but they're back. I begin with Seth Meyers calling out Trump Caught Lying About Project 2025, Biden Insists He's Staying in Race: A Closer Look.

Seth takes a closer look at the political fallout from Joe Biden and Donald Trump's first debate in the 2024 presidential election while Robert F. Kennedy Jr. claims he wouldn't eat dogs.
Like Seth, I wish this was the wrong timeline, but it's the same timeline we've been in all along. Sigh.

That written, I chose this video to lead off because it's the one that put the most focus on Project 2025. As Tom Sullivan wrote two days ago at Digby's Hullabaloo, "When you’ve cut your opponent over the eye, work the eye!"

Meanwhile, Joe Biden has a cut over his eye, too, because of his debate performance. At least Seth is telling Biden to sew it up so he can fight convicted criminal Hoover Cleveland more effectively. In the meantime, it's not the Republicans who are working Biden's cut, it's fellow Democrats trying to replace him in the ring. With "friends" like these, Biden hardly needs enemies and he already has enemies!

The rest of the late-night talk show hosts returning last night concentrated on the continuing fallout from the debate. Follow over the jump for them.

Monday, July 8, 2024

BBC News on U.K. and French election results

I closed John Oliver examines the UK elections with a wish and a suggestion to myself.
May the U.K. avoid falling down a rabbit hole because of the election results!

I might return with the results of the U.K. and French elections, where the French seem to have realized that they might fall down a rabbit hole as well and have caught onto the edge to prevent it.
Both elections have concluded, so it's time to review the results. I begin with BBC News reporting UK election results: Labour wins landslide victory.

The Labour Party has won a landslide victory in the UK general election.

With fewer than 10 seats left to declare, this is set to be the worst Conservative result – in terms of seats – in history.

Sir Keir Starmer will be the next UK prime minister and will enter Number 10 Downing Street today.

Overnight, the Liberal Democrats made huge gains, while the Scottish National Party lost dozens of seats.

Reform UK have net four MPs so far and the Green Party have had their best election performance to date.
Wow! That's quite the convincing victory for Labour! Looks like the U.K. got out of the rabbit hole or at least didn't fall into it.

BBC News covered more of Sir Keir Starmer's acceptance speech in Labour wins UK general election with Keir Starmer to be next prime minister.

Labour has officially won the 2024 general election after reaching the required 326 seats.

Speaking in central London, the next prime minister Keir Starmer says "change begins now".

"It feels good, I have to be honest," he tells a cheering crowd.

He adds that the task of a Labour government is "nothing less than renewing the ideas that hold our country together".
I liked P.M. Starmer's speech. I especially appreciated his slogan "Country first, party second." That's a sentiment I wish both major U.S. parties believed in. One of ours certainly doesn't.

While Labour was the clear winner in the United Kingdom, there was no clear winner in the French elections, just a clear loser, Marine Le Pen and her National Rally. As BBC News reported this morning, France faces hung parliament after election result.

France is facing political deadlock after parliamentary elections dealt a blow to the far-right National Rally - but leave no party with a majority.

A coalition of left wing parties - have won most seats in the high stakes snap election.

The left-wing New Popular Front has won 182 seats in total, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally have 143 MP’s, coming behind President Emmanuel Macron’s Ensemble Alliance, which has 168 seats.

RN leader Jordan Bardella blamed "unnatural political alliances" for stopping their rise to power.
France managed to avoid falling into the rabbit hole, but might still be teetering on the edge. Still, it's better than the alternative.

I hope to have more good news about France in time for Bastille Day. If not, no worries, as I already have the plan B I mentioned in A happy drum corps Canada Day 2024! In the meantime, may the U.K. and France serve as good examples for the U.S. in this election year.

Sunday, July 7, 2024

CityNerd declares 'Music is urbanist' and lists the top ten music cities

I asked my readers for advice yesterday.
I'm taking a break from Project 2025 to post the Sunday entertainment feature. My choice right now is between Tiana's Bayou Adventure or the BET Awards. Decisions, decisions. Any preference from my readers?
Since no one chimed in, both projects would take more time than I want to spend, and neither ended up appealing to me when I woke up, I changed my mind, so I'm embedding CityNerd's Music Is Urbanist & These Are the Top 10 Cities instead, an entertainment topic that intersects with sustainability.

Whatever kind of music you listen to, it's almost certain it was developed and produced in a city. The way cities nurture and develop artists is vastly under-discussed, so today we're discussing it! In the guise of a top ten list, of course.
When Ray "CityNerd" Delahanty asked "If the question is who's your favorite band or artist, there's really no wrong answer, is there?" and then showed Insane Clown Posse, I smirked. Detroit represent! Speaking of which, Motown is number six on CityNerd's list. I'm not going to complain about its placement, given what cities are ahead and behind of it.

Here's the top ten along with the artists Delahanty gave the most credit for each city's position.

10. Atlanta, Ray Charles
9. Houston, Beyoncé, who just won the Viewer’s Choice Award for “Texas Hold ‘Em” at the BET Awards — see, I actually followed through on one of my ideas!
8. Minneapolis/St. Paul, Prince
7. Seattle, Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix
6. Detroit, Stevie Wonder and other Motown artists
5. Liverpool, The Beatles (plus a Rickroll)
4. Chicago, multiple acts, including Michael Jackson
3. Los Angeles (my original home town), multiple acts, also including Michael Jackson
2. London, multiple acts, including The Who and The Rolling Stones
1. New York, too many acts to pick out.

Honorable Mentions include New Orleans, Memphis, San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area, Philadelphia, Toronto, Manchester, Oxford, Reykjavik, Jacksonville, Nashville, and Austin.

Did your city make the list?

Saturday, July 6, 2024

MSNBC examines Project 2025, part 5

I closed MSNBC examines Project 2025, part 4 with "I might return with Part 5 tomorrow. Stay tuned." I am, but it's not the climate change feature I promised in part 3." I'm now saving that for a part 6. Instead, I have some good news: Trump World ‘panicking’ as Project 2025 gets on the radar of voters.

“Trump does not want people to know about the entire vanguard of extremist weirdos around him—and what their plans are when he governs,” says Chris Hayes on voters finding out about the far-right agenda that is Project 2025.
MSNBC uploaded the above video last night. Since I started composing this entry, it uploaded As Trump distances himself from Project 2025, key influencers deliver a warning.

While Donald Trump claims he “knows nothing” about Project 2025, Taraji P. Henson gives a clear warning of its threats. Frank Figliuzzi and Jill Wine-Banks weigh in.
"I know nothing about Project 2025" — Convicted criminal Hoover Cleveland is doing his best Sergeant Schultz impression about Project 2025.

That means what John Oliver, MSNBC, and bloggers like me have been doing is working. Good. That encourages me to keep it up. As Tom Sullivan at Digby's Hullabaloo says, Time To Work The Eye.

As for Hoover Cleveland (un)truthing "I have no idea who is behind [Project 2025]," check out MSNBC's list of chapter authors.

All of them have worked for him, so of course he's lying. He's not fooling anyone but himself and his most devoted followers.

Both Frank Figliuzzi and Jill Wine-Banks expressed their concerns about what Project 2025 would do to the Department of Justice. Wine-Banks fellow "sister-in-law" Joyce Vance previewed those concerns in yesterday morning's Trump supporters' Project 2025 outlines 'dark and anti-democratic' vision for the U.S.: Vance.

Some top MAGA supporters in the Heritage Foundation have outlined their plans for a future Trump administration, known as "Project 2025". Former U.S. attorney Joyce Vance joins Richard Lui to provide more insight on it, saying it's a "map" to punish former President Trump's enemies.
I share Vance's concerns. I also think his and his supporters' complaints about weaponizing the criminal justice system are projection, the Right's favorite defense mechanism.

I leave my readers with the following list Digby embedded in Incomplete Cheat Sheet.

As I've written before, yikes! No wonder it's unpopular!

I'm taking a break from Project 2025 to post the Sunday entertainment feature. My choice right now is between Tiana's Bayou Adventure or the BET Awards. Decisions, decisions. Any preference from my readers?

Friday, July 5, 2024

MSNBC examines Project 2025, part 4

I closed Drink to the 4th of July with Defunctland on Disney's America and 'The Stars and Stripes Forever' by telling my readers, "Stay tuned as I share my 'catastrophic imagination' tomorrow with the part 4 that I promised in MSNBC examines Project 2025, part 3." That promise was "I'm an environmentalist who not only recycles and reuses ideas, I also conserve resources, so I'm saving two videos about Project 2025 and climate change for part 4." I'm postponing that to a possible part 5 because MSNBC has been very busy covering Project 2025 the first half of this week and I'm sharing those reports today, beginning with Chris Hayes talking about Project 2025’s ‘unhinged’ wish list: Criminalize porn, ban birth control.

Project 2025 is a “wish list of a bunch of fringe, far-right policy proposals that I think many voters would be really horrified to learn about,” says Chris Hayes. For example, the agenda says, "Pornography should be outlawed,” and “the people who produce and distribute it should be imprisoned."
I think Hayes is taking Kevin Roberts' saying "the reason that so many anchors on MSNBC, for example, are losing their minds daily is because our side is winning" and "we're in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be" personally. That's an insult followed by a threat, which Hayes should take personally. I do and I think my readers should, too. The threat also forms part of DARVO, "Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender," which I described in Projection is the Right's favorite defense mechanism. That's a tactic of abusers, which means Roberts and the Heritage Foundation are telling on themselves.

Katie Phang sitting in for Ari Melber and her guests covered Roberts' remarks a couple of hours before Hayes in Alert: MAGA ringleader says quiet part out loud in chilling 'accidental confession' on Project 2025.

MSNBC’s Katie Phang reports on the fallout from The Supreme Court’s decision to vastly expand the powers of the president. MSNBC’s Jason Johnson and NYU’s Ruth Ben-Ghiat join.
I'm being a good environmentalist by reusing what I last wrote in MSNBC examines Project 2025, part 1 to begin my reaction to Ruth Ben-Ghiat.
Speaking of zombie laws and the Heritage Foundation, listening to Olivia Troye's horrified reaction to what it has become reminded me of what I wrote yesterday about the GOP being undead.
I'm recycling what I wrote in National Review ironically reveals another deep truth about the current GOP to begin my reaction.
As I tell my liberal friends who keep thinking that the GOP should be dead by now, the GOP as a traditional party engaged in electoral politics is already dead. What it is now, as described by "EscapefromWisconsin" over at the Hipcrime Vocab, is an authoritarian movement. That makes it an undead party in a democratic system. As Bela Lugosi's Dracula said in the eponymous movie, "There are far worse things awaiting Man than Death." Yeah, and one of them has happened to the GOP.
That was a dozen years ago. Back then, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan weren't the candidates to realize that movement's ambitions; they were still conventional conservative candidates contesting for power in a democracy. The condition of the GOP has become even more obvious since then with the rise of Hoover Cleveland, who is the right candidate to fulfill the current party's dictatorial desires. As I wrote nearly three years ago, "I had no idea how right I was then and now I wish I hadn't been. Break out the garlic."
They're no longer hiding it. Also, Molly Jong-Fast's comments about how these are now mainstream GOP views demonstrates that the far right realized what a missed opportunity Trump's first term was and now they aren't going to miss their second chance. Yikes!
Now Ben-Ghiat's Tweet, which Phang mentioned but didn't have to display when she said the words onscreen.

The words behind "Show More" are "their coup. Classic intimidation tactic: submit or else."  Don't submit.

That threat is made worse by the Supreme Court's immunity ruling, which gives convicted criminal Hoover Cleveland the ability to commit crimes in an official capacity with impunity. That's what alarms Jason Johnson and me, too.

It also alarms Joy Reid and her guest Sherrilyn Ifill, who said ‘Our country will suffer’: ‘King Trump' and Project 2025’s promise of violence.

The fallout from the Supreme Court’s decision on Donald Trump’s presidential immunity continues to unfold as the future of democracy remains uncertain. Sherrilyn Ifill, Endowed Chair in Civil Rights at Howard University, joins Joy Reid to warn voters.
As a reminder to my readers of how the U.S. will suffer, here is the graphic listing Project 2025's goals.

Again, yikes!

I might return with Part 5 tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Drink to the 4th of July with Defunctland on Disney's America and 'The Stars and Stripes Forever'

Happy 4th of July! I'm reaching back to 2020 to follow through on a postponed idea for today's celebration of the second of three patriotic holidays in July I observe on this blog.
For today's celebration, I'm returning to the concept behind Drink to America Sings for July 4th, by examining a patriotic attraction that Disney planned for but never opened, Abandoned - Disney's America by Bright Sun Films.*
*Defunctland has a video on this topic that was my original choice for this post, but I watched this and decided to save Kevin Perjurer's documentary for next year. I'm an environmentalist, so I don't just recycle, I conserve my resources.
Four years later, I'm finally sharing Defunctland: The War for Disney's America.

Defunctland goes to Virginia to explore the history of the Disney park that never was, Disney's America.
I'm recycling my reaction from 2020 as well.
Not only did this proposed park get in trouble because its neighbors had a severe case of Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY), but because Disney's sanitized view of history had fallen out of fashion and rubbed historians the wrong way, leading to activism on the part of both groups. Imagine how poorly that perspective would fare today with Confederate monuments being removed[,] Juneteenth becoming popular[,] and people examining the Tulsa Massacre. Then again, maybe not, as Disney is retheming Splash Mountain...
Four years later, Splash Mountain has transformed into Tiana's Bayou Adventure, which is now open in Walt Disney World and will open soon in Disneyland. I will revisit the attraction in a future Sunday entertainment feature. For now, I'm sharing some patriotic music from the United States Marine Band, SOUSA - The Stars and Stripes Forever - "The President's Own" U.S. Marine Band.

"The Stars and Stripes Forever" by John Philip Sousa...Performed by the United States Marine Band on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024, during the band's annual Sousa Season Opener. Conducted by Director Lt. Col. Ryan Nowlin and recorded at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center in Alexandria, Va.
I couldn't get too far away from marching music for today, even if the band is sitting in a concert hall, not marching down a parade route.

I'm continuing, for now, with my tradition of including a Tipsy Bartender drink recipe for today with 4th of July Heaven & Hell Shot.*

"Heaven and Hell" — yeah, that's pretty much how I feel about today's celebration. Drink responsibly, or if you wish to drown your sorrows, at least don't drink and drive.

Stay tuned as I share my "catastrophic imagination" tomorrow with the part 4 that I promised in MSNBC examines Project 2025, part 3.

*Skyy hasn't posted a regular-length video for 4th of July so far this year. Instead, he live-streamed 4th of July drinks for nearly 3 hours last night. I'm neither watching that nor sharing it with my readers. It's enough to make me use another creator for next year's celebration, should 4th of July be worth celebrating then. To make sure it is, vote!

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

John Oliver examines the UK elections

I'm still upset after writing MSNBC's anchors and expert guests analyze the Supreme Court's immunity ruling, so I'm looking at some other country's screwed-up politics and having a good laugh at their expense. To that end, I'm sharing UK Elections: (HBO) before that topic turns into a pumpkin tomorrow.

John Oliver discusses the UK elections, who’s running, why people are so upset with the Tories, and the happiest surgeon in all of Lithuania.
One of my favorite sayings that I tell my students is "no one, or in this case, no place, is completely useless; it can always be used as a bad example." Both austerity, a core conservative project on both sides of the pond, and Brexit, which the first two of five consecutive Conservative Prime Ministers did not support and struggled to implement, serve as bad examples that the U.S. should avoid. There is a reason why I have an anti-austerity label on this blog. Also, Brexit may be an analogy for Hoover Cleveland's hostility to NATO. Leaving NATO would be a mistake, too, and another reason not to re-elect the convicted criminal.

By the way, tomorrow is Alice In Wonderland Day, a day that the U.S. and U.K. can celebrate together. May the U.K. avoid falling down a rabbit hole because of the election results!

I might return with the results of the U.K. and French elections, where the French seem to have realized that they might fall down a rabbit hole as well and have caught onto the edge to prevent it. In the meantime, stay tuned for the 4th of July.

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

MSNBC's anchors and expert guests analyze the Supreme Court's immunity ruling

I examined the Supreme Court hearing Trump's immunity appeal through comedy to begin March. It seems all the late-night talk show hosts are off this week for the 4th of July, so I can't filter yesterday's Supreme Court ruling granting U.S. Presidents immunity from prosecution for official acts through comedy. How bleak and disappointing! I was looking forward to hearing their audiences boo as loudly as they cheered when told about Trump's indictment. Maybe next week.

Instead, I'm sharing MSNBC's afternoon and evening anchors plus expert guests confront the decision with their hair on fire in Trump v. United States: Supreme Court rules on presidential immunity | MSNBC Highlights.

The Supreme Court's ruling in Donald Trump's presidential immunity claim could transform the power of the presidency and will likely delay Trump's federal election interference trial until after November's election. In a scathing dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the president "is now a king above the law." MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow and more are joined by legal experts to analyze what the court's immunity decision means for Trump's criminal cases and the future of democracy.
On the one hand, well-said, all of you, including President Biden. On the other, there's nothing funny about any of this other than to share some gallows humor from Animal Farm about the new legal status of the President.


Monday, July 1, 2024

A happy drum corps Canada Day 2024!

Happy Canada Day! I resume my regular order of presentation of Canada's drum corps with a pre-DCI performance, Guelph Royalaires (Live at Waterloo, Ontario, 9/8/1962) by Fleetwood Sounds, making this an official upload.

Guelph Royalaires (Live at Waterloo, Ontario, 9/8/1962) · Fleetwood Sounds
The 1962 Canadian Championships, Vol. 1 (Live at Waterloo, Ontario, 9/8/1962)
I've never embedded the Guelph Royalaires before, so they break ground as this year's all-age corps representative.

Next, a corps I've featured in the very first Canadian drum corps for Canada Day, 1976 Oakland Crusaders | Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake to represent the first decade of the DCI era.

Toronto's Oakland Crusaders perform selections from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake during the 1976 DCI World Championship in [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.]
I couldn't resist an official upload from the beginning of the show to serve as a bookend to the unofficial upload of the end of the show I used eight years ago.

Follow over the jump for Canadian corps from the 1980s to the current decade.

Sunday, June 30, 2024

Asteroid Day, past, present, and future

Happy International Asteroid Day, the younger but paradoxically more established version of Apophis Day! I begin today's observance with Astronomy Magazine's The Real Reality Show: Asteroid Day.

Large asteroids have struck Earth in the past and they will in the future. Learn about Asteroid Day, a movement that recognizes research on the dangers of Near-Earth Asteroids.
I think that's the most complete story of the origin of Asteroid Day I can remember watching since I started observing it in 2016, which means I learned something new. Any day I learn something new is a good day!

Astronomy Magazine's video mentioned the asteroid that killed off the non-avian dinosaurs 66 million years ago, so I'm using that as an opportunity to have BBC Earth Science ask and answer What Exactly Killed The Dinosaurs?

Since the 1980s, scientists have believed that the main culprit for the dinosaur extinction was an asteroid. It came from the far reaches of the solar system, and was the size of Mount Everest.
I'm a paleontologist and attended graduate school when geologists debated and eventually accepted the asteroid strike as the cause of the terminal Cretaceous mass extinction, so this shaped my ideas about asteroid impacts. I don't particularly want humanity to go the way of the non-avian dinosaurs!

Moving from the past to the future, CTV News reported NASA scientists are studying a massive asteroid hurling towards Earth earlier this month.

NASA scientists are preparing for a massive asteroid that’s hurling towards Earth in the next few years. Joy Malbon explains.
Apophis's first close flyby is only five years away — wow and yikes!

Just so this entry qualifies as the Sunday entertainment feature, I'm sharing ‘Asteroid City’ Cast Asks NASA About OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Mission.

In September 2023, scientists with NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission will gather in the Utah desert for the arrival of the largest asteroid sample ever received on Earth. “Asteroid City” actors, including Scarlett Johansson, Jason Schwartzman, Maya Hawke, Rupert Friend, Jake Ryan and Jeffrey Wright, join NASA OSIRIS-REx sample expert Dr. Danny Glavin to discuss how studying the asteroid sample will give scientists insight into how the early solar system formed and how life began on Earth.

After a seven-year round trip journey that included mapping Bennu’s surface (a near-Earth asteroid that is no threat to our planet), identifying minerals and chemicals, and collecting a sample from the surface, OSIRIS-REx is on its way back to Earth with more than eight ounces of material.
I'm going to be snarky by repeating what I wrote about the film in 'Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning' and 'The Last of Us' lead nominees at the fourth Critics Choice Super Awards.
I have two things to say about Asteroid City. First, why this it here instead of Barbie? Second, the only thing it could win in this field is a game of "one of these things is not like the others."
I now have a third; I enjoyed the cast in this promotional video, although I think they did a better job of increasing the visibility of OSIRIS-REx than promoting the movie. Darn. Speaking of the asteroid return mission, it was one of the first missions shown in 2023 in space from NASA, ESA, Reuters, and PBS NewsHour. I'm looking forward to 2024 in space already.

That's a wrap for June's blogging. Stay tuned for Canada Day to begin July.

Saturday, June 29, 2024

MSNBC examines Project 2025, part 3

I left the following comment on MSNBC examines Project 2025, part 2.
Thanks to Steve in Manhattan for linking to this entry and MSNBC examines Project 2025, part 1 in Mike’s Blog Round-Up at Crooks & Liars and welcome to all of you who came here from his link! Seeing all of you reading makes me wonder if I should write part 3 today. Stay tuned!
To use two cliches, there is no time like the present and strike while the iron is hot, so I begin with the most recent MSNBC clip mentioning the topic, where Molly Jong-Fast says, 'Project 2025 wish list stuff': Supreme Court decisions show the consequences of elections.

The Supreme Court is front and center after key decisions on January 6th prosecutions and on how federal agencies make rules. Plus — we're still waiting for the justices' decision on Trump's claim of presidential immunity. Sarah Cooper, Tim Miller, Molly Jong-Fast, and Charles Coleman Jr. join Stephanie Ruhle for this week's Nightcap.
Other than Jong-Fast's remarks, this segment about Supreme Court decisions isn't directly about Project 2025, but it is about elections mattering, including the election of Hoover Cleveland in 2016. Back then, I wrote Kunstler said Americans would elect maniacs. Here's to hoping that Americans won't do that again and, more importantly, working to prevent it from happening a second time.

Now for two videos that more directly examine Project 2025. First, 'Project 2025' exposes real Republican intentions on federal abortion ban, Comstock Act.

Michelle Goldberg, columnist for the New York Times, talks with Alicia Menendez about what Donald Trump's allies, architects of "Project 2025" as saying about how a potential future Trump administration will use the Comstock Act to end the mailing of abortion medication in the United States.
I'm recycling what I wrote in Supreme Court unanimously preserves access to Mifepristone to kick off my reaction.
Leah Litman and Mini Timmaraju both mentioned the possible use of the Comstock Act to restrict abortion access again. I find that alarming enough that I think the parts of Comstock Act that are currently unconstitutional need to be repealed, restricting the ability of anti-choice advocates to reanimate them.
I do mean reanimate them, as Alicia Menendez filling in for Alex Wagner called the Comstock Act "the 1873 zombie law." I'm glad Michelle Goldberg talked about Senator Tina Smith's Stop Comstock Act to repeal the entire law, which I support, even if it won't get passed this Congress.* Democrats need to flip the House, protect the majority in the Senate, and re-elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to have a chance next year. It's not just Hoover Cleveland we need to stop; it's the entire authoritarian movement.

Speaking of undead ideas and authoritarian movements, I'm closing with a video I missed in the first two parts, 'The Guardrails are Gone': Troye on Project 2025 and a possible second Trump term.

Olivia Troye, former advisor to Former Vice President Mike Pence, joins Katie Phang to discuss Project 2025, the Heritage Foundation's ultra-conservative plan if Donald Trump gets a second term.
Troye's explanation for Project 2025 is explicitly, if not almost exactly, what I wrote in part 1, "the far right realized what a missed opportunity Trump's first term was and now they aren't going to miss their second chance. Yikes!" No wonder she's horrified. We should be, too.

I'm an environmentalist who not only recycles and reuses ideas, I also conserve resources, so I'm saving two videos about Project 2025 and climate change for part 4. Stay tuned after International Asteroid Day, the younger but paradoxically more established version of Apophis Day, to close June and Canada Day to begin July.

*By the way, I'm not one of the Americans who, in Goldberg's words, "lack a catastrophic imagination." I have one. In fact, the entire point of this blog is to share it with the world and help people, especially Americans, prepare for a post-catastrophe world — better yet, help prevent the catastrophe in the first place. Otherwise, as Menendez said, "Here we are."

Friday, June 28, 2024

Happy Paul Bunyan Day 2024!

Happy Paul Bunyan Day! I begin today's celebration with the latest video from National Day Calendar, National Paul Bunyan Day | June 28th.

June 28th celebrates National Paul Bunyan Day!
Marlo Anderson mentioned the commercial use of Paul Bunyan. That plays a bigger part in Paul Bunyan: The Man, The Myth, The Debate | Mossback's Northwest from Cascade PBS.

The giant logger supposedly dug Puget Sound and built Mount Rainier with the dirt.
It doesn't matter to me whether Paul Bunyan began as folklore or "fakelore." The United States is a relatively young country with a strong commercial culture, so our mass culture has been shaped by commerce, including publishing, advertising, and public relations. This includes our folk heroes, like Paul Bunyan, John Henry (shown in the video as a fellow labor hero), and Pecos Bill (not mentioned).

Speaking of not being mentioned, neither of the above videos includes Michigan's role in the Paul Bunyan story, although the National Day Calendar website does.
First appearing in print in 1906, in a story published by Northern Michigan journalist James MacGillivray, Bunyan’s character originated in folktales circulated among lumberjacks in the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada.
The only thing missing is the Paul Bunyan trophy for the winner of the Michigan-MSU football game to make the record complete.

Stay tuned for another post I can share in July tomorrow followed by International Asteroid Day, the younger but paradoxically more established version of Apophis Day, to close June, and Canada Day to begin July.

Thursday, June 27, 2024

MSNBC examines Project 2025, part 2

I closed MSNBC examines Project 2025, part 1 by telling my readers "MSNBC has had more to say about Project 2025 just in the past week, so stay tuned for part 2." I'm continuing to feature Ali Velshi and his guests today, beginning with 'It is not a threat – it is a promise': Rep. Pressley on 'hateful' Project 2025 agenda.

A group of Congressional Democrats are joining forces in an effort to fight the far-right initiative known as Project 2025. Project 2025 is a policy plan to be enacted if Donald Trump returns to the White House -- crafted by the right-wing think tank The Heritage Foundation and several former Trump administration officials. "Sunlight is the best disinfectant”, says Oversight member Democratic Representative Ayanna Pressley. She joins Ali Velshi to discuss her role in a new initiative to fight Project 2025 and why voters need to listen carefully to what the initiative’s creators are saying. “These extremists do not make threats, they make promises.”
Representative Ayanna Pressley pointing out that Project 2025 requires the cooperation of the Supreme Court and that the Supreme Court should be expanded reminds me that I wrote CNBC examines 'How The Supreme Court May Threaten Democracy' almost exactly two years ago. In that post, I wrote "I also support increasing the size of the Supreme Court so that there is a Justice for every federal appellate circuit," so I agree with her. Now we need to flip the House, expand the Democratic majority in the Senate, and convince President Biden to support this. All three are heavy but necessary lifts to make this happen.

Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts responding that his organization would accept the results of the 2024 Presidential Election "if there isn't massive fraud like there was in 2020" shows that the Big Lie has continued to spread.
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.
It's spread to the Heritage Foundation, too. Olivia Troye was right to be horrified at what they've become, part of "an authoritarian movement...that [is] undead...in a democratic system."

I could embed the interview of Kevin Roberts, but the two clips Velshi included in his show are enough for me. Besides, Digby did a better job of summarizing it in They Are Fanatics. Watch the interview and read her reaction there.

I'm moving on to Colonization in disguise: Project 2025’s global reach, the source of this post's preview image.

Project 2025, a conservative blueprint aimed at consolidating power in the presidency and institutionalizing Christian nationalism, includes an international framework with dangerous implications for women and LGBTQ communities around the globe. Under the guise of Christian values, American conservatives are pressuring countries reliant on foreign aid to adopt anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ legislation. “They’re going to use reproductive policies as well as policies on LGBTQ people to try and control different nations around the world,” says Anthea Butler, an MSNBC analyst and chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. “The U.S. government under the guise of Christian nationalism, [is] trying to infiltrate countries and control them.”
Transforming the U.S. isn't enough; the Christian nationalists want to remake the world in their image, too.

MSNBC has still more, but I've reached my fill for today. I'm sure I'll return with a part 3, but not until after I celebrate Paul Bunyan Day. Stay tuned.