Monday Clutter: Coronavirus, Merrick Garland Hearing, AOC, Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, Kurt Cobain, Ozzy Osbourne and Post Malone, and more
Wednesday Clutter: Vaccines, Riot Hearing, Donald Trump Jr., Mitch McConnell, Elon Musk, Boston Red Sox, Tiger Woods, Tina Turner, and more

Tuesday Clutter: Coronavirus, U.S. Supreme Court v. Trump, Garland Hearing, Ted Cruz, Facebook, Perseverance Rover, Boston Red Sox, Cam Newton, Daft Punk, and more

Hi everyone,

Welcome back!  How are you?  We were just checking out how much shoveling I have to do this morning after yesterday's snowfall.  It doesn't look too bad.  I don't even think I'll need an Advil afterwards.  BDH and Little Buddha say today's highs are still supposed to touch 40 degrees, so that will also help. (Spring is coming, friends!)  After that, it's time for the weekly trip to the bookstore to see if I can find the guys something new to read.  Fingers crossed.  First, let's check out the headlines.  There's a fresh pot of coffee on the counter, so grab yourself a nice medium DD, because it's time to clear out some Tuesday Clutter.

A new Gallup poll says two-thirds of the country approve of President Biden's approach to the coronavirus pandemic.  As we've now crossed over 500,000-related deaths, it's infuriating to consider how most of this could have been avoided with competent leadership.  Laurie Garrett argues that Donald Trump is guilty of pandemicide because of his post-elections actions, and we ask why can't he be prosecuted for this crime against humanity?

The U.S. Supreme Court won't stop Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance's request for Donald Trump's tax returns, so the Great Pumpkin's legal problems are only just beginningThe court issued a one-sentence order without comment yesterday, thus paving the way for DA Vance to get Trump's returns from 2011 to 2019 within the next few days.  The records are still subject to grand jury secrecy rules, but this is a huge defeat for Trump.

The Supreme Court also rejected an appeal from Republicans to hear another challenge to Pennsylvania's presidential election results, so Donald Trump went 0-2 on the day.  It was a 6-3 ruling, with Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch all dissenting.  Will conservatives now unload on Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett?  Justice Thomas's dissent reads like Donald Trump handed him his talking points.  He had no business commenting on this case, considering that his wife Ginni Thomas supported the January 6 rally that eventually led to the violent attack on the US Capitol.  There's a clear conflict of interest here, and the public has the right to know if Justice Thomas also played any sort of role in putting that event together.  Justices may have lifetime appointments, but they can be impeached.

US Supreme Court February 23 2021The Supreme Court walked away from Donald Trump on Monday.  (pic via ballotpedia.org)

Judge Merrick Garland had his attorney general confirmation hearing yesterday, and as expected, there don't appear to be any significant obstacles to his eventual confirmation.  We must note, it takes a complete lack of shame for Republicans like Ted Cruz and Chuck Grassley to pretend they're concerned about Garland's independence, given they had no problem with William Barr serving as Donald Trump's personal lawyer for years.

Speaking of Ted Cruz, he was roundly criticized for bailing on Texas in the middle of a crisis, and now he's taking hits for his photo-op making sure everyone knows he's back in the state.  The record is already settled here:  Ted Cruz thought he could go on vacation, while Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez raised about $5 million to support relief efforts.  One of them is a strong public servant who actually gets things done, and the other one is Ted Cruz.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen doesn't sound like a fan of bitcoin, calling it "extremely inefficient" and "highly speculative."  The Clutter investment team agrees and has no intention of touching the stuff.

After close to a year of almost complete deference, the Massachusetts Legislature is finally raising questions about Governor Charlie Baker's handling of the coronavirus crisis.  There was room for this oversight at any point over the last 12 months, but apparently legislators finally feel the need to speak up after the troubled vaccination process.  They've summoned Governor Baker to appear before a new oversight committee on Thursday, but let's see how hard they press him to explain what's gone wrong.

Congratulations to New Jersey for becoming the latest state to legalize recreational marijuana.  Each time a state takes this step, this country moves closer to a reality-based and equitable drug policy.

Martin Gugino, the 75-year-old man who suffered a fractured skull after being shoved to the ground by police during a protest last year, is suing the officers, as well as the City of Buffalo, NY,  the police commissioner, and the mayor.  Good for him.  The assault was caught on tape, but a grand jury still refused to indict anyone, so hopefully Mr. Gugino will find some level of justice in civil court.

Facebook is ending its news ban in Australia.  Apparently someone at the company realized it was a bad look for them as they face antitrust lawsuits and the possibility of increased regulation in the United States.  The prohibition was an authoritarian temper tantrum in response to a proposed law that would force companies like Facebook and Google to pay news publishers for using their content.  Facebook claims amendments will be made to the legislation that they can agree to, so let's see what the final bill actually looks like.  Meanwhile, Facebook's overreaching political ad ban remains in place in the United States, some 3 1/2 months after the presidential election.

NASA released a new video of the Perseverance rover landing on the surface of Mars last week, and damn if it doesn't get a little dusty in here while watching this clip:

Xander Bogaerts is now the longest-tenured member of the Boston Red Sox, as he closes in on 1000 games with the team.  The 28-year-old shortstop has everything it takes to be the new face of the franchise, which means they'll probably trade him at the All Star break.  Really, he's signed through the 2025 season, and it would be great if he was here for the entire rest of the deal, so back off, Chaim Bloom.

The Boston Red Sox had to put newly-acquired Franchy Cordero on the COVID-19-related injured list yesterday, which means he's out of commission for at least 10 days.

As expected, Seattle Mariners president Kevin Mather resigned yesterday after being heavily criticized for filmed comments he recently made to a local rotary club.  There was no way Mather was going to survive a video where he trashed players and admitted to the team manipulating player service time instead of focusing on winning.  To be clear, we think Mather was saying what many other MLB executives also think.  We just can't believe he thought this wouldn't come back to bite him.

Quarterback Cam Newton says he's not ready to retire, and he would like to come back to the New England Patriots.  As we've said before, we wouldn't object to Newton's return if he's healthy, which did not seem close to being the case last year.  If he's healthy, a one-year deal sounds as good as any of the other free agent options out there, and it would buy the team more time to figure out who will be their next long-term QB. 

George Clooney is producing a docuseries about the sexual abuse scandal at Ohio State University.  We look forward to learning much more about how Rep. Jim Jordan, a former assistant wrestling coach at the school, allegedly ignored the extensive abuse claims against Dr. Richard Strauss.

New York City movie theaters will be allowed to reopen soon at 25% capacity, with assigned seating, mandatory masks, and no more than 50 people per screen.  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement yesterday, but given the recent blows to his credibility, one can only hope this won't end up being a mistake.  Would you go to the movies right now?  It would be great to escape for a few hours, but we can't imagine doing it before we've been vaccinated, and it would probably still be a while after that, so we're likely aiming for early 2023.  You?

The legendary group Daft Punk have broken up after 28 years.  No reason for the move was given.

Okay kids, that's going to do it for now.  Gotta go get ready to shovel.  It seems fitting to have Daft Punk take us out with, "One More Time" 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 soon.  Until next time, that's today's Clearing out the Clutter, and we are outta here.

 

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