Friday Clutter: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds ACA Again, GOP Against Voter Protection, Interest Rates, Doctor Who, Nicolas Cage, Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd, Van Halen, Duran Duran, and more
Welcome back, and a happy Friday to you all! I'm sorry we missed you yesterday. The morning was kind of a mess around here. I got distracted by whether or not we all had time to hang out together before my doctor's appointment. In hindsight, there was probably plenty of time, but I couldn't stay focused. BDH and Little Buddha said we should at least give it a shot first, but it wasn't going well, so I pulled the plug. We're grateful that you give us a few moments of your time each day. You deserve the best we have to offer, but we didn't have it yesterday and didn't want to give you something inferior.
However, now we're back and ready to go. What are your plans for the weekend? Probably nothing too crazy on this end, apart from celebrating Father's Day and enjoying some gardening time. For now, let's sort through the headlines. The guys made coffee, so grab yourself a nice medium DD, because it's time to clear out some Friday Clutter.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act for the third time in a 7-2 decision yesterday, thus protecting access to health care coverage (again) for millions of Americans. The majority decision (written by Justice Stephen Breyer) said the red states had no standing to sue, because the penalty for buying insurance has been reduced to zero, thus no harm has been suffered by anyone. Ironically, Republicans are the ones who drove the zero-penalty issue in the first place. Chalk this up as yet another failure for Donald Trump, who promised his supporters he'd eliminate the ACA but failed to do the job, even when he had control of Congress and made multiple Supreme Court appointments.
The Supreme Court saved the ACA once again. (pic via wikimedia.org)
Republican arguments against the ACA get weaker each time, but that probably won't stop them from launching at another legal challenge down the road. The GOP will never have a viable alternative plan. First, the ACA itself is largely a Republican idea with its reliance on the marketplace. Second, Republicans don't want people to be covered. They want the U.S. workforce to be as economically insecure as possible so workers won't be able to organize against the policies of the economic elite.
Now that this case is over, it's time for Justice Breyer to announce his retirement. Mitch McConnell has already made it clear Republicans won't approve anyone President Biden nominates to the Supreme Court if the GOP is back in charge of the Senate after the 2022 elections. With all due respect to the Notorious RBG, Breyer needs to make the decision the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg should have made: Get out now and protect your legacy by allowing a similar-minded successor to join the court.
So Senator Joe Manchin finally comes up with his own voting protection compromise legislation, and it's already DOA with Mitch McConnell. Every day Manchin talks about bipartisanship makes him look more foolish or disingenuous. Republicans are determined to derail President Biden at every opportunity, so what's it going to be for Manchin? Will he start acting like a Democrat, or will he show his true colors and switch parties?
Shame on the 14 House Republicans who voted against making Juneteenth a national holiday. Those clowns clearly want the GOP to be identified as the pro-slavery party. They're a disgrace. In any case, the bill has been signed into law by President Biden. It officially takes place tomorrow, but government offices will be closed today in recognition of the holiday. Meanwhile, Republicans will continue doing everything they can to make sure our teachers can't explain what the day means in the first place.
Good for the House for voting to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which gave former President George W. Bush the ability to invade Iraq after 9/11. The invasion was a flawed decision in the first place, and there's no excuse for leaving this channel open to presidential abuse for so long. The House is apparently also looking at repealing the 2001 authorization for the invasion of Afghanistan. Hopefully all of this will pass the Senate and be signed by President Biden. Enough with the never-ending wars that plague this country.
The Federal Reserve decided on Wednesday to hold interest rates steady for the time being. However, now they're looking at hikes starting in 2023, not 2024 as they previously stated. The Clutter investment team is fine with this. If anything, they wouldn't mind the first increase coming in 2022. As they've stated before, the team believes that having interest rates at close to zero for so long comes with downsides.
People who are trying to save (as they should) are forced to chase yield in stocks instead, which means they have to take on more risk than is appropriate, and it also leads to overpriced stocks. Where you've got expensive prices, a correction will follow. Also, if the economy is doing so well, the Fed should get off zero now in order to have more options the next time another downturn comes, and we all know it will come eventually. Finally, the team still holds out hope of returning to a time when our savings earned enough monthly interest to buy at least one cup of coffee. It's good to have dreams, right?
The Boston Red Sox finally had a day off yesterday after playing 17 straight games against teams that were in the playoffs last year. Hopefully the rest did everyone some good, because they're back at it tonight, starting with the Kansas City Royals. Nick Pivetta takes the mound for Boston against Kansas City. Pivetta has been hit hard in his last five starts, so let's see if he can get back on track against the 30-37 Royals.
Happy belated birthday to Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker, who turned 39 years old yesterday. Rumors continue swirling about Whittaker's future with the show. We won't get into all of them, but the most popular one at the moment has Whittaker staying through this season and then recording two specials for 2022, where she will then regenerate into the 14th Doctor. That Doctor will then in turn be responsible for being the face of the show when it celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2023. The thing we dislike the most about this setup is that it means only two Doctor Who episodes next year. Hopefully that's not the case, but stay tuned...
If we tell you Nicolas Cage stars in a new project where he tries to find out who stole his pig, would you immediately think that was a scripted film or a documentary? Could go either way, right? Turns out Pig is scripted, and we won't lie - we kind of dig the trailer. Now, is it enough to get us to go to a movie theater? Unlikely, but we'll see. Is it enough for us to watch as soon as it ends up on HBO Max or another streaming service? Yes. Take a look for yourself:
This week's Loki episode was...fine. Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson both look like they're having a blast with this series, but the episode didn't leave us glued to our seats. However, the Easter egg guide is interesting, so that will be the win for now.
We don't know if Falcon and the Winter Soldier's Sam and Bucky were intended to portray a gay couple, but star Anthony Mackie's response to the question is unhelpful. There's nothing wrong with allowing as many viewers as possible to see themselves portrayed in a story. Expanding your audience is kind of the point. For Mackie to say, "So many things are twisted and convoluted. There’s so many things that people latch on to with their own devices to make themselves relevant and rational," does nothing but alienate potential fans. Try again.
Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd have a limited series called The Shrink Next Door that starts on Apple TV+ on November 12. The two men play a patient and his psychiatrist who have a dysfunctional relationship. The show is apparently based on a true story. Doubt we'll have an Apple TV+ subscription in November, but if you have one, check this out:
Wolfgang Van Halen recently reiterated his support for a tribute concert for his father, the late great Eddie Van Halen. As Wolfgang has said in the past, he's on-board with the idea, but it won't happen soon, because it would take a while to put together. He's also got his own issues to handle, as his new band Mammoth WVH prepares to open for Guns N' Roses in about a month. Plus he's also still likely dealing with the loss of his dad. Whenever it happens, we expect that to be a show for the ages.
Meanwhile, Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony have now launched Instagram and Facebook pages highlighting their time together in Van Halen. If we were feeling really cynical, we might think this is them trying to capitalize on Mammoth WVH's recent success to ride a new wave of Van Halen nostalgia. Otherwise, we'd just say we've already liked both pages and are curious to see what these guys post.
The Foo Fighters are releasing a disco album on July 17 for Record Store Day.
Okay kids, that's going to do it for now. Feels like we could use a quiet close to the week, so here's Duran Duran to take us out with a live version of, "Ordinary World" 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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