Wednesday Clutter: President Biden, China, January 6 Rioter Convicted, MLB, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, This Is Us, Lady Gaga, Warrant, and more
(Programming note: We will be out of the office tomorrow, but we'll be back on Friday.)
Welcome back! How are you? We're all doing fine at the moment after a better night's sleep. Yesterday was rough from start to finish. In hindsight, I probably should have tried to take a nap at some point. No luck at the bookstore, which was disappointing, but BDH and Little Buddha are confident we'll find something new for them to read soon. Right now, they're focused on the chirping birds outside our window. There's a touch of snow in this afternoon's forecast, but there's no denying that brighter and warmer days are ahead, friends. So, let's get down to business. The guys made coffee, so grab yourself a nice medium DD, because it's time to clear out some Wednesday Clutter.
(Our new Clearing out the Clutter hat is now on sale!)
President Biden announced yesterday that he will ban Russian oil, gas, and coal imports to the United States as part of increasing sanctions for the invasion of Ukraine. This will be a significant blow to Russia's economy, but it will also be a hit to U.S. consumers' wallets, because it's sure to further increase the price of gas at the pump. However, it's a necessary step. At least we're reaching the end of home heating season. Hopefully this war will be resolved before next fall/winter, when the full brunt of this move would be felt in this country. Expect Republicans to try to thread the needle of blasting Biden for the cost at home, while still pretending they support Ukraine, and not Russia.
President Biden will likely take a political hit for doing the right thing. (pic via abcnews.go.com)
It sounds like Poland is ready to ramp up a military response from NATO to Russia, but the United States would like to avoid escalating this fight to World War III.
Is China starting to reduce its support for Russia, and if so, will that change Vladimir Putin's calculus about how to move forward? Putin has isolated his country on the diplomatic front, and the national economy is being hit on all sides. His ego may in fact push him to "double down" on the invasion. However, at what point does he face reality, or at what point do the Russian people, and even Putin's wealthy supporters, decide it's time to make a change?
McDonald's, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo finally joined the list of companies leaving Russia in response to the Ukraine invasion. All of these corporations were widely criticized for maintaining operations in Russia during this conflict. Apparently the pressure was finally too much for them to continue with business as usual.
Your latest reminder that lawmakers should be barred from owning individual stocks: According to her filings, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene bought up to $15,000 worth of defense and energy company stocks just two days before Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. This sure looks like war profiteering, and it shouldn't be tolerated.
Guy Reffit, the first January 6 rioter to go to trial, was found guilty on all five charges related to that dark day. Reffit is now looking at up to 60 years in prison, and the verdict sends a clear message that the judicial system sees the coup attempt for what it was - a criminal act. This was the first trial related to January 6, and now we'll see if others who have been charged want to cut plea deals.
Shame on Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) for blocking the vote on Deborah Lipstadt as the Biden administration’s antisemitism envoy. The party of white nationalism has no interest in allowing this position to do its work.
The World Health Organization now says coronavirus vaccine boosters are a priority, which is the opposite of their position last year.
The Clutter investment team just took a quick look at the S&P 500 numbers. The index is currently at 4,170.70, which is a drop of 12.49% for the year. That's not fun to see. However, the team still thinks anything over about 4,100 is really expensive, so they would argue that this rough stretch is actually just squeezing some hype out of the market, which is good for the long-term picture. (As always, the team is just thinking out loud. You should do your own research before making any investment decisions.)
Nothing new to report on the baseball labor front at the moment. MLB had indicated that more regular season games would be cancelled if no deal was reached yesterday, but that seems to have been an empty threat this time. It's clear that the owners don't care if baseball is played in April, nor do they really care that they're damaging their product every day with their actions here.
We should mention that Apple now has an exclusive deal to broadcast 50 Friday night baseball games this season. That's definitely what MLB needs right now, to make fans pay even more if they want to see all of their team's games. Great call.
Aaron Rodgers is staying with the Green Bay Packers, thanks to a reported four-year/$200 million new contract, with $153 million guaranteed. The quarterback disputed the details of the deal. However, he did confirm that he plans to return, so whatever he's getting paid, that should be the end of this soap opera for the time being. Right now, our prediction is that Rodgers has another amazing regular season and then once again blows it in the first round of the playoffs.
Meanwhile, the Seattle Seahawks agreed to trade Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos for quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Norah Fant, defensive lineman Shelby Harris, and five draft picks. Can't say we're excited to see Wilson come over to the AFC, because he now makes the Broncos strong contenders to win the conference. It also seems like we won't have to pay attention to Seattle for a little while now, because they're clearly in rebuilding mode. Maybe it would have been easier/more efficient to just change the head coach?
Alec Baldwin still says it's not his fault he shot and killed Halyna Hutchins, and that the lawsuits filed over her death are only about money. Poor Alec. He's the real victim here, you see. People are so mean for thinking he should bear some responsibility for taking a life.
It got a little dusty in here just reading Mandy Moore's monologue from the latest episode of This Is Us, so we can only imagine how fans of the show felt watching her deliver it.
Just a few more days until season 2 of Amazon's Upload begins!
We know some folks who will be excited to hear that Lady Gaga will be performing at Fenway Park on August 19.
There will also be another 80's hair metal tour on the summer schedule: Skid Row and Warrant are teaming up for a limited number of dates, supported by Quiet Riot, Winger, and Lita Ford. Did we ever tell you about the time we met late Warrant singer Jani Lane? We'll save that for another day. Actually, we also met Lita Ford. Good times.
Hold on, the 90's called and wanted us to know that Alanis Morissette will be continuing her tour promoting the 25th anniversary of her classic album, Jagged Little Pill.
Okay kids, that's going to do it for now. Let's have Warrant close things out with, "Life's a Song" for today's, "Song of the Day."
They've gone from "Cherry Pie," to now looking like a group of dads who put together a garage band. The years sure do fly by quickly.
Thanks for stopping by, everyone. It was great to see you, as always. BDH and Little Buddha say tonight's NBC "One Chicago" shows are all-new, so you're invited to come back to watch those with the guys if you like. Otherwise, enjoy the rest of your day, be good, and we'll catch up with you again on Friday. Until next time, that's today's Clearing out the Clutter, and we are outta here.
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