Friday Clutter: Texas Targets Trans Kids, Mike Flynn Pleads the 5th, Mask Mandate Continues, Baseball is Back, Ryan Coogler, Sesame Street, Kim Kardashian, Pete Davidson, Obi-Wan Kenobi, The Chicks, and more
Congratulations on making it to another Friday! What's on tap for the weekend? I'm not sure what our plan is at the moment. We've got some errands to take care of, but tomorrow's weather sounds like a mess, so some of the to-do list might get bumped to Sunday. In the meantime, let's catch up on the headlines. BDH and Little Buddha made a fresh pot of coffee, so grab yourself a nice medium DD, because it's time to clear out some Clutter.
(Our new hat is on sale now!)
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) confirmed they are investigating nine families for alleged abuse because the parents are providing gender-affirming health care services for their trans kids. A Texas judge recently blocked DFPS from investigating one specific family, but there has to be a larger injunction against Governor Greg Abbott's order that the agency target transgender children. DFPS is supposed to be protecting kids. Instead, they've been tasked with implementing a hateful policy which punishes parents for supporting their children, and it will likely lead to increased bullying and deaths. Republicans have such hatred for anyone who isn't a straight rich white guy. Everyone else is to be sacrificed in the pursuit and maintenance of political power.
Shame on Governor Abbott and the GOP for going after trans children and their families. (pic via npr.org)
Donald Trump's former national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, appeared before the January 6 House select committee yesterday. He then pleaded the 5th when it came to discussing his role in Trump's plans to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election. Let's take another look back at what Trump himself has said about people who plead the 5th:
"If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?"
Of course General Flynn pleaded the 5th, since there's no chance he'll receive another presidential pardon this time if convicted of additional criminal activity. The entire Trump crime family is just trying to run out the clock while keeping their fingers crossed that Republicans regain control of the House and cover for them once again. If you're pro-criminals, the GOP is the party for you.
Deutsche Bank says it's "not practical" for them to leave Russia, even though plenty of other banks and corporations seem to be able do it without much of a problem. Of course Deutsche Bank showed who they were years ago when they continued doing business with Donald Trump long after respectable financial institutions decided he was too much of a liability.
It seems everyone is in a rush to relax all of the pandemic-related regulations, but the Biden administration just extended federal travel mask mandate for another month. The requirement was supposed to end on March 18, but it will now at go until at least April 18, based on CDC guidance. However, the Transportation Security Administration is leaving the door open for an earlier termination if justified by the science. In other words, this isn't over yet. We're as excited as anyone else about the idea of moving past all of this, but we're not out of the woods. That's particularly true for at-risk individuals, many of whom are in danger of being left behind by a country that has a limited sense of any communal obligation.
On a related note, there appears to be a new coronavirus variant. It's a combination of the Delta and Omicron strains, so of course it's being referred to as "Deltacron." It's reportedly been identified in a handful of countries, including the United States, but researchers still have more to learn about it.
The New Hampshire House shot down a bill to have the state secede from the rest of the country yesterday. It's a relief that we won't need a passport to visit Dad Clutter, but it's also disturbing that 13 legislators voted for the proposal.
Inflation continues to run rampant in the United States: The Consumer Price Index reached 7.9% for the 12-month-period that ended in February. That's the highest it's been since 1982. Much of the current problem seems to be driven by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the corresponding spike in energy costs. That makes it seem unlikely this is going to end anytime soon. Republicans will try to blame the entire thing on President Biden, but have any of them actually put forth a solution to the problem? Of course not. The GOP gave up on policies years ago, so all they have to offer now is propaganda and culture wars.
It's about damn time: MLB owners and players have come to an agreement to finally end the lockout. The plan is apparently to start the regular season on April 7 and still try to squeeze in all 162 games after all. (Looks like a whole bunch of free agents will have to find their new teams ASAP.) The deal reportedly includes higher minimum salaries and competitive-balance tax thresholds, while the owners get expanded playoffs, among other things. We also have to point out that the DH is coming to the NL this year, so perhaps Boston's own J.D. Martinez could be on the move before the conclusion of his final season with the Red Sox.
This mess was a self-inflicted wound by team owners, who got greedy and made it clear to most fans that they were the bad guys in this situation. Good for the players for not caving to what was an extended period of bad-faith negotiating. The NFL Players Association could learn a lesson from their baseball counterparts about how to not get rolled during labor disputes. The new agreement is supposed to cover the next five years.
Boston Globe baseball writer Alex Speier has a look at what the new labor agreement means for the Red Sox. We will definitely need a new media guide to keep track of all of the changes, once the free agent frenzy is over.
The Detroit Lions will reportedly release outside linebacker Trey Flowers next week. Could a reunion with the New England Patriots be in the cards for Flowers? He did well his first time here, and New England loves bringing back defensive players (like Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy, for example) for a second stint. Flowers had trouble staying healthy in Detroit, but that may mean he'd be open to a rehab stint in a system he knows well.
We were stunned by the news that the Indianapolis Colts are reportedly planning to trade quarterback Carson Wentz to the Washington Commanders for two 3rd-round draft picks. By that, we mean we're stunned that anyone would give up anything for Wentz. This trade does nothing to improve Washington, which remains one of the most dysfunctional organizations in professional sports. On the other side, we don't know who will be Indy's next quarterback, but sight unseen, there's a 98% chance it will be an improvement.
The story of Black Panther director Ryan Coogler being arrested in January for trying to withdraw $10,000 from his own bank account is deeply disturbing, and unfortunately not surprising. A country infected by centuries of systemic racism is unable to process the idea that a Black man could have a large amount of money through legitimate means. There's no excuse for this shameful incident, and Coogler is lucky the outcome wasn't worse. All because of the color of his skin.
We're saddened to hear that Emilio Delgado died after a battle with cancer. The singer and actor was known and beloved for his role as "Luis" on Sesame Street for 45 years. He helped teach multiple generations of children about friendship and kindness, and he was also a rare Latino face on TV. Our condolences go out to his family, friends, and fans. Delgado was 81 years old.
Kim Kardashian is being rightly blasted for telling women to just "work harder" if they want to be successful. Kardashian doesn't seem to grasp that not everyone grew up in Beverly Hills with a silver spoon in their mouths.
SNL's Pete Davidson will be starring in a new fictionalized series about his life, called Bupkis. The show doesn't have a home yet, but the linked article says Amazon Prime Video and NBC's Peacock are both interested in it. We enjoy watching Davidson, although we have no idea why, so we'll give this a shot, as long as we don't have to pay extra for it. How about you? Will you watch it?
Disney+ is making another strong argument to be our next streaming service, now that they've released the first trailer for Obi-Wan Kenobi, the new limited Star Wars show starring Ewan McGregor once again in the role of the iconic Jedi Master. The adventure begins on May 25:
Okay kids, that's going to do it for now. We'll argue to no end that "cancel culture" doesn't exist, and what people are really talking about is simply holding others responsible for their misdeeds. The closest we've ever seen someone come to actually being "cancelled" is The Chicks, who were banished from the national landscape for years after lead singer Natalie Maines criticized George W. Bush and the war in Iraq. Nothing freaks people out like women speaking their minds.
However, the group is back, and they're going on tour this summer, so here are The Chicks to close things out with, "Not Ready to Make Nice" for today's, "Song of the Day."
Thanks for stopping by, everyone. It was great to see you, as always. Hold on a sec....BDH and Little Buddha say they're probably going to watch an episode or two of the new season of Upload today, so you're welcome to come back later and join them for that if you like. 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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