2021 Best of Clearing out the Clutter
Saturday Clutter: Vaccine Mandate, GOP vs. Democracy, Elon Musk, New England Patriots, Kyrie Irving, J.K. Rowling, How I Met Your Father, Willie Nelson, and more

Friday Clutter: Abortion Pill, Vaccine Recommendations, Speaker Pelosi, Joe Manchin, Maggie Hassan, Purdue Pharma, NFL Tightens Protocols, Chris Noth, Sandra Bullock, Metallica, The Kinks, and more

Hi folks,

Welcome back, and a happy Friday to you all!  What's on tap for the weekend?  It sounds like the first real snowstorm of the year is coming tomorrow, so that may cause some chaos with the schedule.  The wind is already howling, so we'll see if that's a sign of things to come.  My guess is that we'll be here with you tomorrow, we'll watch the New England Patriots tomorrow night, and then we'll be spending a good part of Sunday shoveling.  I should start stretching now. 

Thankfully, I'm done Christmas shopping, so at least that's out of the way.  We've been hearing an awful lot of sirens in the area this morning.  Hopefully everyone is okay.  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 Clutter.

(ICYMI - the "2021 Best of Clearing out the Clutter" is here.  Have a look back at this crazy year!)

With the U.S. Supreme Court preparing to dismantle Roe v. Wade, the FDA announced that the abortion medication mifepristone can now be delivered by mail, instead of requiring it to be dispensed in person.  The 20-year-old dispensing rule was first suspended at the start of the pandemic, but now it's a permanent reversal.   This is an important win for women, especially those in rural areas who may not have easy access to a health care professional.  However, states can still make it illegal, and there should be no barriers for women who are considering this decision. 

FDA Abortion Pills December 17 2021Women should be able to make their own health care choices without restriction.  (pic via syracuse.com)

The CDC is now recommending people get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines instead of the Johnson & Johnson version if they have a choice, due to ongoing clotting concerns re: the J&J shot.  However, folks are still encouraged to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine if that's their only option, as the clotting risks are considered less of a risk than being infected.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is wrong when she says members of Congress should be able to buy and sell individual stocks while in office.  These folks have access to all sorts of information that isn't available to the public, and they write the policies that can benefit or harm specific companies.  The whole system begs for abuse, and it should be shut down.  We support efforts to require legislators to stick on index funds.

Senator Joe Manchin should be honest with the American people:   He doesn't have specific "concerns" about the Build Back Better bill or any attempts to protect voting rights in America.  He simply doesn't support the concepts.  Manchin enjoys the spotlight of hijacking President Biden's agenda, while hanging it over Senate Democrats that he could give Republicans control of the chamber.  He's a millionaire owner of a coal company who lives on a yacht.  He got his, and everyone else can kiss his ass. 

Senator Maggie Hassan has come out in favor of scrapping the filibuster in order to push voting rights legislation.  It's about time.  One wonders if her newfound resolve comes from the fact that New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu recently announced he won't challenge her next year.  However we got here, it's good to see this small step forward.  Now let's see Hassan's NH colleague Senator Jeanne Shaheen find her backbone and do the same thing.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffered a shocking loss, as his Conservative Party lost a seat they've basically held since 1832 yesterday.  Is this a sign that time is running out for Johnson, as the U.K. prepares to start a new round of pandemic-related restrictions?

Great to hear that a federal judge tossed the bankruptcy settlement for Purdue Pharma that shielded the Sackler family for their role in this country's Oxycontin crisis.  Judge Colleen McMahon said the bankruptcy court didn't have the authority to grant that immunity.  The Sacklers will appeal the ruling, but hopefully they'll be unsuccessful.  They knew full well what they were doing when they pushed this drug on the United States, and they shouldn't escape consequences for their criminal behavior. 

McDonald's recovered the $105 million severance package they gave former CEO Steve Easterbrook after he was forced out in 2019 for violating  company policy by having a relationship with an employee. 

MLB signed off on Justin Verlander's new two-year/$50 million contract yesterday, even though the owners have locked out the players?  We understand the team and player signed the deal before the lockout began, but if MLB didn't approve it in time, why should an exception be made?  Of course, the Astros are no strangers to breaking the rules. 

The NFL is implementing stricter coronavirus-related protocols, as a new wave decimates teams like the Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams, and the Washington Football Team.  Among the changes is the return of intensive restrictions for all 32 teams through at least Week 15.  That includes:

"the reimposition of mandatory mask wearing in team facilities, social distancing, grab-and-go meal service in team cafeterias, all-virtual meetings, limits on the number of people allowed in weight rooms and restrictions on activities outside the facility."

At this point, COVID-19 is the single biggest threat to any team's season. 

It's a relief to hear that Los Angeles Chargers tight end Donald Parham is in stable condition after hitting his head hard against the turf early in last night's Chargers - Kansas City Chiefs game.  It was frightening to see Parham apparently unconscious immediately after his fall, and then watch his arms appear to be shaking uncontrollably as he was carted off the field.  Hopefully he'll be able to make a full recovery.  The play didn't look like anything special in real time, but it's a reminder of how quickly things can change for NFL players.  That's why we'll never begrudge any of them their desire to grab every last dollar they can for themselves.  They make the owners a fortune by sacrificing their bodies, and they deserve to be well-compensated for it.

We're sorry to hear that former wide receiver Vincent Jackson was found to have significant CTE at the time of his death this past February.  Jackson was only 38 years old, and his story was cut far too short.

Actor Chris Noth has been accused of sexual assault by two women in incidents said to have taken place in 2004 and 2015.  Noth denies the stories, but both sound convincing.  We were already hoping he wouldn't be appearing in the New Year's Day Doctor Who special, and now it will be a major issue if he is returning again to the series.  Unsurprisingly, Peloton has already yanked their new ad that featured Noth.

This trailer for The Lost City, starring Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Brad Pitt, and Daniel Radcliffe, looks more like a SNL skit than an actual movie.  Pretty sure we'll take a pass on this one next year:

A major name is joining the Law & Order revival.  We'll see this character, and the rest of the cast, when the show premieres on Thursday, February 24, 2022.

Hey Metallica fans, a reminder that the band is streaming the first of two free concerts on Amazon Prime Video tonight to celebrate their 40th anniversary.  The other show is on Sunday night, so you've got two chances to see the heavy metal icons in action.

Okay kids, that's going to do it for now.  Here are The Kinks to close things out with, "Father Christmas" for today's, "Song of the Day."

Thanks for stopping by, everyone.  It was great to see you, as always.  BDH and Little Buddha say you're welcome to come back tonight if you want to watch the Metallica show with them.  They're a generally quiet duo, but they like to headbang every once in a while.  Otherwise, 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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