This and That

On August 19, 2020, Apple became the first U.S. company to reach a market value of $2 trillion. [NBC News 8/19/20]

There has been a loss of trust in a variety of institutions over the last 40 years. Only one of the noted institutions has experienced an increase in trust.

1979 2019
The Military 54% 73%*
Mass Media 72% 41%
Supreme Court 45% 38%
The Presidency 52% 38%
The Church 65% 36%
The Medical System N/A 36%
Banks 60% 30%
Public Schools 36% 29%
Organized Labor N/A 29%
Criminal Justice System 32% 24%
Big Business 34% 23%
Congress 34% 11%

[Bruce Mehlman of Mehlman, Castagnetti, Rosen & Thomas, July 2020]

There are 35,000,000 women and 24 million men in the United States over the age of 65. There are 4,200,000 women and 2,300,000 men over the age of 85.

The average woman will live to 81, the average man to 76. American men can look to 67 years of full health and American women to 70 years of full health. [The 19th 8/10/20]

There are 843 openly LGBTQ elected officials across all levels of government at present, up from 417 in June 2016.

U.S. Senate: 2 of 100
U.S. House of Representatives: 7 of 435
Governors: 2 of 50
State Legislators: 160 of 7,383

As of July 27, 2020, a record number of LGBTQ candidates—850—are running for office in 2020.

As of 2018 there were 438 LGBTQ elected officials affiliated with the Democratic party and 16 affiliated with the Republican Party.

The number of Black and Hispanic people in office is up from 92 to 184 over the past three years. The number of transgender elected officials is up to 26 from 6 over the same period. [Axios PM 7/16/20]

Here is a summary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s actions as the 2019-2020 came to an end on July 9th. This was the latest date the court has issued regular opinions in July since 1996. Before that, the latest date was July 7, 1986.

The court canceled all of its in-courtroom hearings as of March 23, 2020.

The court issued 53 signed opinions in this term. Justices Roberts and Gorsuch wrote seven opinions each. Justices Thomas, Breyer, and Sotomayor wrote the least with five opinions each.

21% of the total opinions released this term were 5-4 or 5-3 decisions.

Between the 2007 and 2019 terms, the court released opinions in 991 cases. Of those, it reversed a lower court decision 695 times (70.1%) while affirming a lower court decision 286 times (29.1%). [Ballotpedia Daily Brew 7/16/20 – Supreme Court press release 3/16/20]

The numbers below show the share of the voters who said the Supreme Court was “very important” in deciding whom to vote for in the 2020 presidential election.

May 2-3 July 31-Aug 2
Democrats 48% 57%
Clinton voters 54% 61%
Republicans 53% 53%
Trump voters 52% 53%

[Morning Consult]

Currently, 58% approve of the job the U.S. Supreme Court is doing.

2020 58% approved
  • 60% of Republicans
  • 57% of Independents
  • 56% of Democrats
2017 42% approved
  • 62% approved
  • 75% of Democrats
  • 59% of Independents
  • 49% of Republicans
2000 62% approved


The other day, I was with another person and I sneezed into my face mask. The other person then said, “Bless you.” An ordinary and common response but one that as I thought about it, did not seem to have any connection to my sneezing.

I began to wonder where that common response came from so, I did the obvious and Googled it. Here is what I found. Take your pick.

“One of the symptoms of the plague was coughing and sneezing, and it is believed that Pope Gregory I (Gregory the Great) suggested saying ‘God bless you’ after a person sneezed in hopes that this prayer would protect them from an otherwise certain death.”

Another term often used in response to a sneeze is “gesundheit”. It is a German word that literally means “health.” The idea is that a sneeze typically precedes illness.

Some people believed that a sneeze causes the soul to escape the body through the nose. Saying “bless you” would stop the devil from claiming the person’s freed soul. [WW 7/27/2020]

In the United States, every 40 seconds – 795,000 people a year – someone has a stroke. 140,000 die from those strokes. [WP 7/7/20]

The Census Bureau is set to end its decennial count of the U.S. population on Sept. 30, a month earlier than expected, raising concerns about the accuracy of the survey which serves as the basis for congressional and state legislative district boundaries and government funding.

The agency said 63 percent of the estimated 121 million U.S. households have responded to the census by phone, mail or online, and that it will hire additional data collectors to maximize responses.

At this time in 2010, 74% of the households had responded by phone, mail or online. [Morning Consult Washington 8/4/20]

97.3% of state legislators running for re-election have advanced to the general election so far in 2020. This is consistent with the 97% of legislators in 2018 and 97.5% in 2016 who advanced to the general election. [Ballotpedia 8/14/20]

80,000 small businesses closed permanently from March 1 to July 25 including 60,000 local businesses or firms with fewer than 5 locations. [Yelp –, AM 8/14/20]

Odds and Ends

These days when people show up on TV from their bedrooms, their home offices, etc. there is often in the upper left-hand corner of their picture the term “Cisco.WebEx”. WebEx came into being in 1995 as an early form of video conferencing. It was acquired by Cisco in 2007.

Skype was developed in Estonia in 2003. It was acquired by Microsoft in 2011. Up to 50 people can be on a single call.

FaceTime was created by Apple Inc. in a Wi-Fi version in 2010. The cellular version came into being in 2012.

Zoom was founded in 2011 and launched its software in 2013. It was founded by Eric Yuan, its CEO. It became a public company in 2019. Yuan owns 22% of the company. He started his career at WebEx.

In this time of the pandemic, what would life be like if these now common methods of communication did not exist? [WW]