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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
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Jurassic Park and Jaws fight to top US box offices decades after their first releases

Jurassic Park and Jaws fight to top US box offices decades after their first releases
Steven Spielberg’s 1993 dinosaur-rampage blockbuster beats his 1975 shark horror as coronavirus shapes cinemagoing

Andrew Pulver

(Guardian UK) It’s mega shark vs giant dinosaur at the US box office. Twenty-seven years after its first release, Steven Spielberg’s 1993 dinosaur-rampage blockbuster Jurassic Park has regained the number one spot at the US box office, just beating another another back-catalogue Spielberg blockbuster Jaws, in a commercial landscape severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Deadline reports that Jurassic Park earned just over $517,000 over the weekend of 19-21 June, having displaced last week’s top film The Invisible Man, which had earned around $383,000. The figures derive from an industry report produced by ratings agency Comscore, which stopped publicly reporting box office results in March after the pandemic took hold. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Jurassic Park played in 230 locations across the US, the vast majority being drive-in cinemas.

Jaws achieved second place with $516,000 from 187 venues, 45 years after its initial release in 1975. ET the Extra Terrestrial and Raiders of the Lost Ark came further down the list, at numbers 7 and 18 respectively. The best-performing new movie was the horror film Followed, which took the number eight slot with $127,000. ..............(more)


This Is Not the End of Cities

This Is Not the End of Cities
Both the coronavirus pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement create opportunities to reshape cities in more equitable ways.

By Richard Florida
June 19, 2020, 4:01 AM EDT

(Bloomberg) As the coronavirus crisis and its economic, social and political fallout swept across America, it seemed the death of cities was imminent. Story after story charted a “great urban exodus,” as the affluent and advantaged from New York City fled to the suburbs, summer cottages in the Hamptons and Hudson Valley, or their winter getaways in Palm Beach and Miami. This gloomy thesis was reinforced by a rapid succession of calamities that struck at cities in the wake of the pandemic — the most severe economic collapse and job loss since the Great Depression; the metastasizing crisis for small businesses, retail, and arts and culture; and looming fiscal deficits for cities.

All of this was followed by the wave of protests set in motion by the brutal police murders of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police, the slaying of Breonna Taylor who was shot eight times by Louisville police as she slept in her bed, and the killing of Rayshard Brooks at a Wendy’s drive-thru in Atlanta, not to mention the savage murder of Ahmaud Arbery by a pair of would-be vigilantes in Glynn County, Georgia. These acts reinforced and reflected the long history of racial division and injustice that stand at the root of American society. And at the same time, the Covid-19 virus took its greatest toll on long-disadvantaged black and minority communities — and its economic fallout hit hardest at them. In city after city across the U.S. and around the world, people of all races and classes emerged from months of lockdown and social distancing to join in the fight against systemic racism, a virus that has ravaged America for far longer than Covid-19.

Would these intertwined crises put an end to the great urban revival of the past quarter century? It would be one thing if the death of cities thesis was limited to the familiar chorus of anti-urbanists and city bashers, but it was picked up and reinforced by the major media and even by some leading economists. “I fear that the prominence of the city, and particularly city centers, will decline,” is how Stanford University’s Nicholas Bloom put it. “First, the pandemic has made us much more aware of the need to reduce density. That means avoiding the subway, elevators, shared offices, and communal living. Second, working from home is here to stay. So why not live further out, where housing is cheaper?” As another commentator starkly put it, the big question was whether or not those who left cities would “ever return.”


The composition of the protests is also very different. Today’s demonstrations are multiracial and include families and professionals as well as young people and students. “One cannot but be struck by the significant proportion of protesters who are white, Hispanic, and Asian,” is the way the Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson framed it. “I think it has to do with the moment we’re living right now. People seemed horrified that we’re seeing this sort of thing after all these years, but they also sense that something is profoundly wrong.” Or, as the academic and journalist Jelani Cobb tweeted on May 30: “You know we’re in uncharted territory when something happens in Minneapolis and they’re setting cars on fire in Salt Lake City.” While America remains divided, those divides no longer cut so neatly across affluent white suburbs and poor minority cities. Cities themselves are more racially and economically diverse. ..............(more)


In person, online classes or a mix: Colleges' fall 2020 coronavirus reopening plans, detailed

In person, online classes or a mix: Colleges' fall 2020 coronavirus reopening plans, detailed

Elinor Aspegren and Samuel Zwickel

Michigan State University President Samuel Stanley says he knows coronavirus will spread if students come back to campus in the fall.

While safety is “paramount," managing this risk is a chance worth taking for MSU, he said.

“The one thing that's going to be really important, then, is confidence in our students, faculty and staff and their willingness to abide by a number of the things we're going to be asking them to do on campus,” Stanley said.

Like Stanley, most college administrators are mulling over how to restart their programs, with no end in sight for the public health crisis.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, which is tracking more than 860 institutions’ plans, two-thirds of colleges are planning to welcome back students in person, while only 7% are planning to hold classes only online. Many other colleges have yet to make a decision. ............(more)


Arctic records its hottest temperature ever

Alarming heat scorched Siberia on Saturday as the small town of Verkhoyansk (67.5°N latitude) reached 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, 32 degrees above the normal high temperature. If verified, this is likely the hottest temperature ever recorded in Siberia and also the hottest temperature ever recorded north of the Arctic Circle, which begins at 66.5°N.

The town is 3,000 miles east of Moscow and further north than even Fairbanks, Alaska. On Friday, the city of Caribou, Maine, tied an all-time record at 96 degrees Fahrenheit and was once again well into the 90s on Saturday. To put this into perspective, the city of Miami, Florida, has only reached 100 degrees one time since the city began keeping temperature records in 1896. .............(more)


Stop the world! Justice Samuel Alito wants to get off

Stop the world! Justice Samuel Alito wants to get off | Opinion
Brian Dickerson, Detroit Free Press

Published 6:00 a.m. ET June 21, 2020 | Updated 12:12 p.m. ET June 21, 2020

(Detroit Free Press) U.S. Supreme Court watchers were gobsmacked last week when Neil Gorsuch and John Roberts joined their liberal colleagues in ruling that a 1964 law barring discrimination "because of sex" protects employees from being fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Those who had been counting on the court's conservative majority to make America straight again were aghast. What had possessed Roberts, who dissented from the court's landmark 2015 ruling legalizing gay marriage, and Gorsuch, the first justice nominated by Donald Trump, to join the Rainbow Brigade?

It's an important question, to which I'll return by and by.

But after reading the dissenting opinions Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh filed in this week's employment discrimination blockbuster, I have a different question:

Why do old men get so freaked out about public restrooms? ............(more)


Black Skies Over Siberia: the Most Polluted Major City in Russia

2020 is our last chance to avert climate catastrophe, says energy chief

2020 is our last chance to avert climate catastrophe, says energy chief
The International Energy Agency releases its Sustainable Recovery Plan and says governments have a 'once-in-a-lifetime opportunity' to reduce global emissions

Louise Boyle
2 days ago

(Independent UK) Time is running out and the world has a matter of months to avert climate catastrophe, according to the International Energy Agency Chief.

Dr Fatih Birol, IEA executive director, on Thursday announced the agency’s new sustainable recovery plan, a three-year roadmap for governments to repair their pandemic-ravaged economies, create millions of jobs and “make 2019 the definitive peak in global emissions”.

“This year is the last time we have, if we are not to see a carbon rebound,” said IEA executive director, Dr Birol, told The Guardian.

At a press conference, the energy chief said IEA had been determined to have the report ready this month as economies begin to kick-start from the Covid-19 crisis. It is estimated that governments plan to spend $9 trillion globally in economic recovery packages.

Dr Birol said that governments were facing “hugely consequential decisions” and the right energy policies would be crucial for emissions to permanently decline, and achieve net-zero emissions in 2050. .................(more)


Don't call it a comeback: Trump's Tulsa rally was just another sad farce

Don't call it a comeback: Trump's Tulsa rally was just another sad farce
Richard Wolffe
Campaign officials should be ready for firings and fury after a pathetic event made worse by wretched attempted excuses

Sat 20 Jun 2020 22.41 EDTLast modified on Sun 21 Jun 2020 02.18 EDT

(Guardian UK) There have been so many reasons to feel embarrassed about Donald Trump.

There was the time he paid off a porn star. There was the time he lied about the size of his inauguration crowd. The time he talked about the big water around Puerto Rico. The time he thought you could kill the coronavirus by injecting yourself with bleach.

But nothing truly comes close to the embarrassment of his so-called comeback rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday.

It was so toe-curlingly cringeworthy, such a crushing humiliation. There are 80s pop bands who have enjoyed greater comebacks than Donald Trump.

To understand how much of his insides will always melt at the thought of that Tulsa rally, it’s worth quoting Trump’s fine words just before he boarded Marine One at the White House. .............(more)


Guardian UK: Donald Trump sows division and promises 'greatness' at Tulsa rally flop

Donald Trump sows division and promises 'greatness' at Tulsa rally flop
US president’s much hyped return turned to humiliation when he failed to fill arena in Republican stronghold of Oklahoma

David Smith in Washington
Sat 20 Jun 2020 23.21 EDTLast modified on Sun 21 Jun 2020 09.17 EDT

Donald Trump declared “the silent majority is stronger than ever before” at his comeback rally on Saturday, but thousands of empty seats appeared to tell a different story.

The US president’s much hyped return to the campaign trail turned to humiliation when he failed to fill a 19,000-capacity arena in the Republican stronghold of Oklahoma, raising fresh doubts about his chances of winning re-election.

“The Emperor has no crowd,” tweeted Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior adviser to Barack Obama.

The overwhelmingly white gathering at Trump’s first rally since March was dwarfed by the huge multiracial crowds that have marched for Black Lives Matter across the country in recent weeks, reinforcing criticism that the president is badly out of step with the national mood.

The flop in Tulsa was an unexpected anticlimax for an event that seemed to offer a combustible mix of Trump, protests over racial injustice and a coronavirus pandemic that has killed nearly 120,000 Americans and put more than 40m out of work. ...........(more)


It Doesn't Look Like the Protests Are Causing a COVID-19 Spike

It Doesn’t Look Like the Protests Are Causing a COVID-19 Spike
What does that mean for other outdoor activities?


(Slate) When tens of thousands of people hit the streets protesting the police killing of George Floyd, many worried that the crowds—often too dense to allow the recommended 6 feet of social distancing—would spark a new wave of COVID-19 cases. Yet in New York, city and state officials tell me, there have been no spikes of the illness.

Nor have there been sudden surges in several other cities where large demonstrations were held, including Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed and the first protests erupted, and Philadelphia. Spikes have occurred elsewhere—especially Texas, Arizona, Florida, and California—but they coincided with the reopening of bars, restaurants, and other indoor establishments, making it hard to trace the upticks to the protests.

The absence of surges in the cities with massive demonstrations but few other large gatherings has taken many officials and health analysts by surprise. However, as they’ve examined the data and the video footage, one thing has clarified matters, to an extent: A large percentage of the protesters wore masks. ....................(more)


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