Friday Clutter: Trump Indictments, January 6 Select Committee, Federal Execution Pause, U.S. Supreme Court, Twitter, Boston Red Sox, NCAA Endorsements, Rob Zombie, and more
A quick programming note before we get started: We had a staff meeting yesterday afternoon and decided that we're going to take this weekend off for a mini-vacation. Don't worry, though, we'll be back on Monday!
Now that we have that out of the way - how are you? Our crew is doing well, especially now that it's raining, and the temperatures are much more reasonable. We should be in the low 60's today, and that sounds fantastic after this week's brutal heat wave. The forecast may put a damper on any holiday outdoor activity, but it's great for the garden, so we're good with it. Now, let's get to work. BDH and Little Buddha just made coffee, so grab yourself a nice medium DD, because it's time to clear out some Friday Clutter.
As expected, the Trump Organization and CFO Allen Weisselberg were indicted for tax fraud yesterday. The company and Wisselberg allegedly carried out a 15-year plot to avoid paying the proper taxes on employee compensation. Legal experts say the fact that the Trump Organization kept two sets of books is a major red flag. We'll see whether or not Donald Trump eventually faces his own charges, but this whole process could eventually lead to the end of his company.
The 73-year-old Weisselberg is looking at at least 15 years in jail if convicted of the most serious count of the indictment, so he has to ask himself whether or not he's willing to spend the rest of his life in prison for his boss. Meanwhile, prosecutors say their investigation is not over, so we'll see what else it brings. Of course, Donald Trump claims the whole thing is a witch hunt and just another example of how he's been persecuted every day of his entire life, because the whole world is mean to him. What's important is that he's not claiming the company and Weisselberg are innocent.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi named her appointments to the new select House committee formed to investigate the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol yesterday, and she notably included Republican Liz Cheney, an outspoken Trump critic. On the other side of the aisle, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy reportedly said any Republican who joins this committee will lose their committee assignments. Of course Republicans don't want that coup attempt investigated. They were in on it. However, the public has the right to know what happened and who was responsible, with names being named. The biggest problem with this committee is that it shouldn't have taken six months to create.
It's terrific that Attorney General Gerrick Marland ordered a temporary halt to federal executions, citing concerns about innocent individuals being killed, and the disparate impact of capital punishment on people of color. Garland said the pause will be in effect while the deputy attorney general reviews the Justice Department's policies on the matter. This is a reversal of the Trump administration's policy, and it should be made permanent. The government has no business killing its citizens. That's not justice, it's vengeance. A country can have a soul, or it can have the death penalty, but it can't have both.
Attorney General Garland took a big step in the right direction yesterday. (pic via reuters.com)
The U.S. Supreme Court effectively killed off the Voting Rights Act yesterday with a 6-3 decision upholding Arizona's voting restrictions which disproportionately hit minority groups. Let no one fail to notice that all six justices in the majority were nominated by Republican presidents who lost the popular vote, and they were confirmed by Senate Republicans who represent a minority of the country. Chief Justice John Roberts and his conservative associates are just as involved in the Republican war on voting as Mitch McConnell. President Biden said he was "deeply disappointed" by the ruling. However, those will be empty words unless he finds a way to get the "For the People Act" and "John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act" passed.
Yesterday's ruling adds fuel to concerns about whether or not Justice Stephen Breyer will retire this year. Mitch McConnell has made it clear he's ready to steal another seat if given the chance after the 2022 midterm elections. The country can't afford to have Breyer make the same mistake Ruth Bader Ginsburg did by not giving Barack Obama enough time to name her successor.
Twitter is apparently looking at some new features, like the ability to only let close friends see a tweet, or the option to only see tweets about certain topics from people you follow. Neither of those do much for us. If you're sending a tweet to just your friends, why not make it a text message? Maybe that second option would be useful for people only using Twitter for professional reasons, but we like to see everything and then sort through the tweets we find most interesting. You might say we enjoy clearing out the clutter of it all. It doesn't sound like Twitter has started building these functions yet, but we're not holding our breath waiting for them to arrive.
Good for Pinterest for becoming the first social media company to ban ads for weight loss products. The company said in a blog post that, "It’s an expansion of our ad policies that have long prohibited body shaming and dangerous weight loss products or claims." May Pinterest's peers follow their lead.
Yesterday was a great day at Fenway Park. First, the Boston Red Sox pummeled the Kansas City Royals 15-1 for their seventh straight win. That gives the Red Sox a 3.5 game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East. Nate Eovaldi had another great outing, pitching seven innings of shutout baseball. We shouldn't say this, because it's tempting fate, but Eovaldi is finally showing what he can do when he stays healthy for an extended period of time. (Now watch him miss the rest of the season because of an injury in his next start.) Things got off on a good note when Kiké Hernández hit another lead-off home run in the first inning, and the Red Sox never looked back. Next up, they hit the road to face the Oakland Athletics, with Eduardo Rodriguez taking the mound for Boston tonight.
The other bit of good news from Fenway is that Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers will both be starting in this year's All-Star game. It's Xander's third All-Star appearance, and the first one for Rafael, who is quickly becoming one of the biggest stars in baseball. Congratulations to both players on achieving this well-deserved honor.
In a long overdue move, the NCAA will now allow all college athletes to make money off endorsement deals. The NCAA clearly saw the writing on the wall with the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision against them, and so this seems like a preemptive move to stop any further legal action being filed. Schools still can't pay their students directly, so we'll see if that eventually gets challenged, but now, students can profit by,
monetizing social media accounts, signing autographs, teaching camps or lessons, starting their own businesses, and participating in advertising campaigns, among many other potential ventures. Athletes will be allowed to sign with agents or other representatives to help them acquire endorsement deals.
American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson may be out of the Olympics after testing positive for marijuana. What a bunch of nonsense. Who cares about pot use in 2021? Also, it's clearly not a performance-enhancing drug. We hope she's able to appeal the decision.
It's a good thing we finally caught this week's Loki episode, because it was the best one of the bunch! No spoilers, but there were a number of plot turns, some surprising deaths*, and a little exploration of what it means to love yourself. Also, the Easter egg guide came in handy for a couple of things that we missed. The problem now is, there are only two episodes left in the season.
If anyone happens to be looking for some early Christmas presents (because you're all so thoughtful), we wouldn't object to a few Ozzy Osbourne jigsaw puzzles.
Okay kids, that's going to do it for now. Here's Rob Zombie to kick off your holiday weekend with a cover of the Grand Funk Railroad classic, "We're an American Band" for today's, "Song of the Day."
Thanks for stopping by, everyone. It's always a treat to see you. Hold on, BDH and Little Buddha say you're welcome to come back this weekend to watch the Red Sox games with them if you like. Otherwise, enjoy the next few days, be good, and we'll catch up with you again on Monday. Until next time that's today's Clearing out the Clutter, and we are outta here.
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