Biden, Banks and Borg
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This was originally published on Wednesday, March 15, 2023.
If you’re a fan of Star Trek Picard, scroll down to the very end of this newsletter for another one of my bonus reviews, originally available only to paid subscribers.
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Here Now the News
RUSSIA DENIES ITS FIGHTER JET BROUGHT DOWN U.S. DRONE: CBS News
GOP HAWKS PISSED OFF AT RON DeSANTIS’ STANCE ON UKRAINE: NYT
THE 72-HOUR SCRAMBLE TO SAVE THE UNITED STATES FROM A BANKING CRISIS: The Washington Post examines how the Biden administration confronted the threat of a full-blown financial meltdown.
A bank was failing. Billions of dollars — in workers’ paychecks, and tech companies’ balance sheets — were about to be lost. There was fear the economy was in free fall in a re-run of the Great Recession of 2008.
Ultimately, the administration undertook a major intervention with extraordinary speed, acting to preserve deposits at Silicon Valley Bank while safeguarding the finances of other firms on the precipice of ruin.
President Biden was willing to risk being accused of providing emergency help to bail out the financial sector — something the White House denies — in a bid to keep the system stable and stave off a worsening crisis.
As of now, the storm appears to have calmed. Stock prices have stabilized. Still to come: The Fed is expected to continue raising interest rates to thwart inflation, which could endanger other banks. —Washington Post
“THE FIRST TWITTER-FUELED BANK RUN:” ABC News
OHIO SUES RAILROAD COMPANY NORFOLK SOUTHERN FOR DERAILMENT: NBC News
EPA ISSUES NEW RULES ON “FOREVER CHEMICALS” IN DRINKING WATER: PBS NewsHour
BIDEN MOURNS WITH VICTIMS OF GUN VIOLENCE AND ANNOUNCES EXECUTIVE ORDER CLOSING BACKGROUND CHECK LOOPHOLE: Politico
RANDY IS TAKING A BREAK FROM SOCIAL MEDIA: The Daily Beast
TENN. LT. GOV. RANDY McNALLY APOLOGIZES FOR COMMENTING ON GAY MAN’S RACY INSTAGRAM POSTS: ABC News
MICHELANGELO SIGNORILE SUGGESTS McNALLY IS A GROOMER: “This is perhaps the most shameful, pathetic, hideous and outrageous excuse by a clearly hypocritical, self-loathing closeted politician. The fact that he was communicating with [20-year old Franklin} McClure when he was 17 is an opportunity for Democrats to paint him the way Republicans are (wrongly) painting all Democrats: as a “groomer.” He must be made to resign.” —The Signorile Report
THIS LAND IS NOT YOURS, SEN. HAWLEY: The family of Woody Guthrie, the singer behind the classic song, This Land Is Your Land, issued a stinging statement, demanding Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) stop using the song for political purposes. “In this particular case, the co-opting or parodying of the lyric by those not aligned with Woody’s lyrics — i.e. misrepresentation by autocrats, racists, white nationalists, anti-labor, insurrectionists, etc. — is not condoned,” said Nora Guthrie, in her statement to the Kansas City Star.
Hawley recently sponsored a bill to prevent people associated with the Chinese Communist Party from owning U.S. farmland and called it the “This Land Is Our Land Act.”
In response, a spokesperson for Sen. Hawley attacked the newspaper: ““The Kansas City Star is where journalism goes to die,” Marone said. “Josh’s bill protects America’s food chain, farmers, and national security - that’s the real story The Star should cover.”
ARKANSAS GOV. SANDERS SIGNS BAN ON GENDER AFFIRMING HEALTHCARE INTO LAW: PBS NewsHour
GEORGIA CONSIDERS ITS OWN TRANS HEALTHCARE BAN: Atlanta Journal Constitution
MONTANA BILL WOULD LEGISLATE TRANS, NONBINARY AND TWO-SPIRIT PEOPLE OUT OF EXISTENCE: SB 458 seeks to erase the identity of trans, nonbinary, and two-spirit (aka TNB2S) Montanans in the state code, thereby removing the rights, privileges, and considerations for the TNB2S community. This would force TNB2S people to either misgender themselves in nearly all legal contexts or to correctly gender themselves and risk penalties associated with misrepresentation or fraud. —Montana Human Rights Network director of equality Shawn Reagor and Montana Free Press
CALIFORNIA BILL WOULD FORCE TEACHERS TO OUT TRANS STUDENTS: Sacramento Bee
DeSANTIS ADMINISTRATION REVOKING LIQUOR LICENSES: The Miami Hyatt Regency and James L. Knight Center hosted “A Drag Christmas” late last year and children were in attendance, reports the Los Angeles Blade
J.K. Rowling Explains Herself, Again
THE TWEET THAT STARTED “A MASSIVE STORM:” No regrets, says the Harry Potter author for her transphobic tweets in 2019 and since. J.K. Rowling said she knew her comments about trans women nearly three years ago would land like a “hand grenade” on Twitter, but defended them, saying “a ton” of fans stand with her in opposing trans inclusion. Here are quotes from the latest episode of her Witch Trials podcast, which dropped Tuesday. —Variety, Deadline and Entertainment Weekly
“A ton of Potter fans were still with me. And, in fact, a ton of Potter fans were grateful for what I said.”
”I have been scared at times for my own safety and, overwhelmingly, for my family’s safety. Time will tell whether I’ve got this wrong. I can only say that I’ve thought about it deeply and hard and long and I’ve listened, I promise, to the other side.”
"I am fighting what I see as a powerful, insidious, misogynistic movement that I think has gained huge purchase in very influential areas of society. I do not see this particular movement as either benign or powerless. So, I'm afraid I stand with the women who are fighting to be heard against threat of loss of livelihood and threats to their personal safety.”
This pretty much summed up reactions among trans Twitter:CW JK Rowling So...we can all agree that her "spoke up and was surprised by the backlash" narrative is an absolute sham, because she knew her transphobia was hurting people this whole time, right?idk how it’s possible for JK Rowling to get even worse but she did it https://t.co/6wgnhDqNBTVictoria 🎀 🔆 @EuphoriTori
Star Trek Corner
WHO IS CAPTAIN VADIC WORKING FOR? TrekMovie breaks down theories
HOW TO VIEW THE ENTIRE SEASON AND PAST STAR TREK EPISODES: Click here to subscribe to Paramount+
And now, my review of Star Trek Picard Season 3 Part Four — No Win Scenario — and a sneak peek at this week’s Part Five — Imposters — now unlocked for all subscribers!
REVIEW OF STAR TREK PICARD PART FOUR: NO WIN SCENARIO
If you have not yet seen this episode, be warned: Spoilers ahead!
Part Four, while full of action and good ol’ sci-fi plotting, revolves mostly around the characters’ relationships, one with another:
between Acting Capt. William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Adm. Jean-Luc Picard (Sir Patrick Stewart) as they face almost certain death
between Riker and his wife, Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) as they try to come to terms with the hole in their hearts from the death of their son
Picard and his newfound son, Jack Crusher (Ed Speleers), who is revealed to have tried to meet Picard five years ago, but walked away
Seven of Nine aka Cmdr. Anika Hansen (Jeri Ryan) and Capt. Liam Shaw (Todd Stashwick) who are finally bonding amid the crisis.
However, it is Shaw, hopped-up on pain meds, who delivers the episode’s knockout scene: A stunning monologue, regaling Crusher and the Titan crew with the story of “the time [Picard] and I first met,” a powerful callback to the Battle of Wolf 359 that TNG and DS9 fans will never forget.
Stewart delivers another powerful performance. If you’re like me, you cheered when Picard took the conn and delivered his immortal line, “Engage!” And you gasped when you realized you just heard Jean-Luc drop his very first F-bomb!
This may be Frakes’ best work ever as Riker, plumbing emotional depths never before explored in his almost 35 years playing the character, not to mention a tour de force as director.
Gates McFadden is once again crucial to the episode’s major arc: saving the Titan and her crew, using both her scientific expertise and employing the skill she developed all those years working alongside the stubborn commanders of the Enterprise-D. She knows what to say, and when: “Let’s do what we spent our entire lives learning to be great at,” Beverly Crusher tells Riker. She cites his estranged wife, who so far has only been seen on viewscreens. “Deana,” says Crusher, startling Riker after perhaps noting that he had paused recording her a final message. “Deana would say it’s about trust.”
McFadden also gets to recite one of the most famous lines from the original incarnation of Star Trek: “To seek out new life,” she says, marking her first time delivering that part of the legendary speech Star Trek Enterprise revealed was first uttered not by Capt. James T. Kirk, but by warp drive pioneer Zefram Cochrane himself.
And as if that were not enough, Seven, Shaw and Ensign Sidney LaForge (Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut) have some wonderful moments as well.
We also see the Titan Bridge crew in greater detail than before, but we still haven’t really learned anything about them. Fingers crossed that changes.
I loved the “space babies” scene, although I would have expected just one person on the Bridge to stop staring at the viewscreen long enough to, oh, I don’t know, maybe take some readings of this previously unknown species?
Something to watch for (and re-watch for): In the final scene, Jack Crusher is bare-chested (that’s not the only reason to re-watch) and he hears a mix of whispered voices, calling for him to “Find me” and promising they’ll be “together soon.” Another sounds like that of a girl or a woman, screaming in fear. He’s also seeing nightmarish visions drenched in red, which only go away when he smacks himself upside the head (I’ve never found that to work!):
A crimson hellscape
Red smoke and billowing clouds
Unrecognizable red towers and strange branches spreading everywhere
A large old-fashioned door opening by its hinges, revealing blinding, red light coming from behind this mysterious entryway.
One voice sounds very much to me like that of another one of the actors showrunner and executive producer Terry Matalas worked with on the 12 Monkeys TV series, who also guest-starrred on Fringe., but Terry assured me it’s not who I thought it was.
An eagle-eyed fan tweeted that perhaps Jack’s red eyes are a call back to when Jake Sisko was taken over by the Pah Wraiths on DS9!
PREVIEW OF STAR TREK PICARD PART FIVE: In Imposters, that 12 Monkeys alumnus makes a brief appearance, and a TNG guest star who joined the cast for nine episodes over four years, someone whom fans have not seen since the original series aired, re-appears this week… and it’s a thrilling reveal!
Plus, these characters will dramatically set events into motion that will chart the course of the next two episodes, and ultimately reunite our TNG heroes.
Here’s a sneak peek, and another below, but don’t worry, no major spoilers here!
Imposters dropped Thursday on Paramount+. Oh, and btw, episode 3 of The Mandalorian dropped Wednesday on Disney+.
That’s all for today. I’ll be back tomorrow night with another edition of Bedtime Stories. Until then… may your news be good news!
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