(Recap) A Million Little Things Episode 16: "The Rosary"
Monday Clutter: Mueller Report, New Trump Investigations, Facebook, Boston Red Sox, Olivia Colman, Captain Marvel, George Harrison, and more

Sunday Clutter: Robert Kraft, Michael Cohen, GOP Voter Fraud, Catholic Church Cover-Up, Domestic Gag Rule, Brody Stevens, Natalie Merchant, and more

Hi everyone,

Welcome back!  Come on in, have a seat.  How are you?  It's snowing a little bit at the moment, but I'm not sure if I'll have to shovel, since it's supposed to turn to rain this afternoon.  BDH and Little Buddha need another new book to read.  Any suggestions?  Maybe we'll just stay inside and watch a movie today.  In any case, there are plenty of headlines to sort through, and the guys just made coffee.  Grab yourself a nice medium DD, and let's clear out some Sunday Clutter.

Everyone is still talking about the news that New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is expected to be charged with two misdemeanor counts of prostitution solicitation as a result of a statewide investigation into  human trafficking in Florida.  Kraft, who denied the allegations through a spokesperson, is reportedly on tape in two different incidents involving sex acts at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida.  According to reports, the women trapped in these rings were leading nightmarish lives:

"Their investigation indicated that employees of these spas came to the United States from China seeking jobs as maids or restaurant workers, in some cases bringing their children along, Snyder said. Instead, they ended up trapped as sex workers serving as many as 1,500 male clients a year, with no days off, no means of transportation and hygiene that was described as minimal at best. Because of these conditions, authorities decided to pursue this as a human-trafficking case, not simply prostitution."

Sex trafficking is a widespread national problem, and we hope the women caught up in this raid are getting the support services and other resources they need.  As for the rest of the country, we need to address the larger problem.

As far as Robert Kraft goes, the New England Patriots inspire a lot of strong feelings across the country, so social media seems to run a range of views from, "I don't believe Robert Kraft has ever done anything wrong in his life," to, "the Patriots should be disbanded."  First off, don't be the fan who defends Kraft.  This isn't about prostitution (which should be legal.)  Kraft could easily have hired a professional escort for whatever he wanted.  If the story is accurate, you have a billionaire who went out of his way to participate in a shady situation that involved an extreme power imbalance.  That's repulsive, and there's no justification.  He will likely get out of this with a slap on the wrist, as far as the courts go.  However, even with his long history of philanthropic contributions (including to a charity that helps fight trafficking), this will hang on Kraft's reputation for the rest of his life.

Robert Kraft February 24 2019A terrible story.  (pic via bbc.com)

As far as what punishment he should face from the NFL...Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was suspended for six games and fined $500,000 for a driving under the influence incident a few years ago.  Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was fined $2.75 million and sold the team after revelations regarding sexual harassment surfaced.  Kraft's discipline has to be at least as much as Irsay's, and if it reaches Richardson's level, so be it.

Donald Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen met with federal prosecutors in New York in January to discuss possible issues with the family's finances, and Trump's inaugural committee.  At this point, you have to wonder if the Great Pumpkin is going to be under investigation for the rest of his life.

Robert Mueller's office asked Judge Amy Berman Jackson to throw the book at Paul Manafort on Friday.  Mueller's 800+ page sentencing memo, filed on Friday, says that Manafort is an unapologetic criminal who continued to break the law even after becoming Donald Trump's campaign chairman.

Shame on the Trump administration for barring organizations that provide abortions from also receiving federal family planning funds. This move is a direct assault on the ability of low-income women and others to receive fundamental health care services so that Trump can score points with conservatives with an attack on Planned Parenthood.  It has nothing to do with reducing the abortion rate in this country, and it will in fact likely lead to an increase in the impacted areas.  Donald Trump is throwing every bit of red meat at his base that he can find so that they won't abandon him.

The GOP has been screaming about an imaginary wave of voter fraud for years as their justification for making it harder for minorities and low-income individuals to vote.  However, now that it's clear that Republicans committed voter fraud in a North Carolina congressional race, no one has anything to say.

German Cardinal Reinhard Marx admitted that the Catholic Church deliberately destroyed files relating to their ongoing child sexual abuse scandal so that offenders would not be prosecuted.  In what reality is this not an organization taking part in a criminal conspiracy?

We haven't had a chance to read Warren Buffett's new annual shareholder letter, but we're curious to hear more of his thoughts about Berkshire Hathaway's atrocious fourth quarter, where the company lost $25 billion.  Of course, they still finished $4 billion in the black for the year, which probably makes it easier for the "Oracle of Omaha" to continue to focus on the long-term picture.

In light of Nick Cafardo's sudden passing this week, today's Boston Globe baseball notes column is a tribute to the late beat writer from a number of his friends.

Interesting:  The Cleveland Indians have reportedly signed Hanley Ramirez to a minor league contract, according to Ken Rosenthal.  Good luck to the former Boston Red Sox first baseman/DH.

Clayton Kershaw is being shut down "indefinitely" after getting off to a rough start this spring.  The Los Angeles Dodgers can't be loving that, given that they just signed the ace lefty to a new $93 million/three-year deal last fall.

We're sorry to hear that comedian Brody Stevens as the result of an apparent suicide on Friday.  Stevens, who appeared in The Hangover, was reportedly open about his battles with depression.  He was only 48 years old.  Our condolences go out to his family, friends, and fans.  As always, if you are in trouble, or know someone who is, we urge you to talk to someone, whether it's someone from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a doctor, or a friend.  You are not alone.

Holmes & Watson cleaned up at this year's Razzie Awards. Don't know about John C. Reilly, but maybe it's time for Will Farrell to go on a long vacation and try to figure out how to be funny again.

Okay kids, that's going to do it for now.  We once saw Natalie Merchant give an impromptu performance in a Greenwich Village coffee shop, and long story short, it was one of the most amazing things we've ever heard live.  Here she is to close things out with, "Wonder," for today's, "Song of the Day."

Thanks for stopping by, everyone.  It was great to see you, as always.  Enjoy the rest of your day, be good, and we'll catch up with you again for more fun soon.  Until next time, that's today's Clearing out the Clutter, and we are outta here.


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