Monday Clutter: Barack Obama, Trump Administration Blames Coronavirus Victims, Elon Musk and Ivanka Trump vs. The Matrix, MLB, John Krasinski, Guns N' Roses, and more
Wednesday Clutter: Trump, Mike Pompeo, Matt Lauer, Johnson & Johnson, Uber, Applebees, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hanks, Steve Carell, White Lion, and more

Tuesday Clutter: Trump, Massachusetts Reopening Plan, Ronan Farrow, NFL Rule Change, Spike Lee, Community, Metallica, The Strokes, and more

Hi everyone,

Welcome back!  How are you?  Yesterday's expected rain never arrived, which was a little disappointing as far as the garden is concerned.  However, it let me get in a bike ride and then spend most of the afternoon/early evening playing in the dirt, so it all worked out well.  I slept poorly for the second night in a row last night.  Not sure what that's all about.  Maybe it has something to do with the change in temperatures?  In any case, apologies in advance if today ends up being a little more rambling than usual.  BDH and Little Buddha say they'll do their best to keep us on track, and of course that starts with coffee.  They put a fresh pot on the counter, so grab yourself a nice medium DD, and let's clear out some Tuesday Clutter.

Donald Trump claimed yesterday that he's been taking hydroxychloroquine for a couple of weeks, a comment which raised eyebrows across the country.  Where to begin?  First off, we don't believe for a second that he's really taking it.  He's got a financial interest in the drug, which is why he's been touting it for months as a cure for the coronavirus, despite there being no evidence to support that claim.  Second, given that he says it's a cure, why would he be taking it if he doesn't have the virus?   That's a new level of stupid, even for the Great Pumpkin.  Finally, if he really is taking it, studies have shown hydroxychloroquine can cause serious/fatal cardiac events for people who have underlying heart conditions.  Guess who has heart disease? 

The man is mentally unwell.  The biggest tragedy out of all of this is that you know we'll soon be hearing cases of MAGA cult members who died after taking the drug because their leader said he was doing it.

Donald Trump May 19 2020Once a con man, always a con man.  (pic via wthr.com)

If the foolish drug claim isn't enough to distract everyone from his incompetence, Donald Trump is threatening to permanently pull funding for the World Health Organization, claiming the coronavirus pandemic is their fault.  Over 300,000 people around the world have died from this virus, and Trump is attacking a global health leader.  If he follows through with his threat, we expect Joe Biden to quickly reverse the decision in 2021.

Of course, there's always the possibility that all of the aforementioned bluster is an attempt to distract from reports that State Department Inspector General Steve Linick was fired because he was investigating the administration's use of emergency powers to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia.  The sale happened over the objections of Congress, but hey, no one tells the Great Pumpkin what to do, right?  Especially when there's money to be made.    Linick was also looking into allegations that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife were forcing a staff member to handle personal errands for them. 

Donald Trump doesn't seem pleased that Attorney General William Barr doesn't expect to find Barack Obama and Joe Biden guilty of any crimes in the DOJ's nonsense "Obamagate" investigation.  Of course, the entire point of this sham is to throw imaginary dirt at the wall between now and November to see if anything sticks against Biden.  On a related note, can we take a minute to absorb the incoherence of the statement below?  What would things be like right now if we had a White House occupant who spoke at a better than second grade level?

“I don’t know about being disappointed or not,” Trump said. “But I have no doubt that they were involved in this hoax. One of the worst things ever to befall this country, in terms of political scandal. I have absolutely no doubt that Obama and Biden were involved and, as to whether or not it was criminal, I would think it would be very serious. Very, very serious. It was a takedown of a president, regardless of me -- It happened to be me. And in my opinion, it was an illegal takedown.”

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker released his four-phase reopening plan yesterday, and many people are unhappy with it.  Some argue it's too much, way too soon, while others feel it's moving way too slowly.  We generally side with the former.  This is a cautious plan, but at the same time, what has changed in the last two months that makes anyone think this is a good time to reopen?  We have no vaccine, no treatment, and still lagging contact tracing. We're not safer, we're just getting impatient, and it's asking for trouble.

For instance, letting houses of worship reopen in the first phase is a time bomb waiting to explode.  The coronavirus doesn't care that people are in a church.  Put a large group of people together, and you're begging for new outbreaks.  There will be at least three weeks between phases, but this feels like walking into a minefield with one eye shut.

The New York Times attacked Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Ronan Farrow in a hit piece yesterday that tried to cast doubt on Farrow's work.  Farrow and New Yorker website editor Michael Luo denied the aspersions, and we're left wondering - who is Farrow investigating now that would motivate the NYT to go after him like this?  Stay tuned.

Dividends are expected to take a serious hit this year, as a result of the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.  With any luck, they'll be back on track by 2021.  We know many won't feel sympathy about this, but the Clutter investment team feels bad for vulnerable people who will be hit disproportionately hard by these cuts, like seniors who depend on dividends to provide a steady income stream.  After all, it's not like they're earning interest at the bank.

The NFL is expanding its "Rooney Rule" regarding interviewing minority candidates for coaching and front office positions.  There's also a proposal on the table to give additional draft picks to teams who hire these applicants.  We're on board with that idea.  It's easy to imagine the backlash, but the league's hiring record for minorities remains atrocious.  NFL owners are allergic to doing the right thing on their own, so there's got to be a significant carrot dangled in front of them to get them to change their practices.

Spike Lee has a new movie coming out on Netflix called Da 5 Bloods, and the trailer looks tremendous.  The film, which is about four African American veterans returning to Vietnam to reconcile a number of issues from their past, drops on June 12.  Have a look:

Damn it, we missed the Community virtual table read last night.  Thankfully, YouTube saves the day yet again.  We'll just drop this right....here:

For those who follow these things - Brian Austin Green and Megan Fox have apparently split up after 15 years together.  Green confirmed the story on a recent podcast.  He didn't seem angry at Fox, and he chalked it up to people changing over time.  The couple has separated before, so maybe they'll reconcile again, but 15 years in Hollywood works out to about 40 years of "normal person" time, so good for them for lasting that long.  If this is it, how long do you think it will take for the first pictures of Green and Tori Spelling together to hit the Internet?

This is a treat for hardcore Metallica fans:  The band released from a concert they did in Chicago back in 1983.  Enjoy:

Okay kids, that's going to do it for now.  Let's have the Strokes close things out with, "Bad Decisions," for today's, "Song of the Day."

Thanks for stopping by, everyone.  It's always a treat to hang out with you and the birds first thing in the morning.  BDH and Little Buddha invite you to come back later if you want to watch the Community table read or Metallica concert with them.  We will probably go grocery shopping first, so there will even be snacks!  Otherwise, be good, stay safe, and we'll catch up with you again soon.  Until next time, that's today's Clearing out the Clutter, and we are outta here.

 

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