This Is Not Monday. It's Nonday
This first Monday of 2023 is a weird, sorta kinda holiday. Like, "Sunday the Sequel." Except we're expected to be back at work! WHAT? No worries, I gotchu.
Typically, this first day after New Year’s is known as the day the gyms are more crowded than any other time of year. It’s the day when hangover cures are compared for effectiveness, when leftover party snacks have been devoured and unadorned Christmas trees are dragged out to the curb, ready for trash collectors to haul them away along with the last remnants of 2022.
But hold on a minute — the sanitation folks have to work today, WE have to work today, but bankers, brokers, government officials and the mail carriers get another day off?
Yep, today is the “official” observance of New Year’s Day here in the U.S., since it fell on a Sunday this year. Look at it this way: At least you know there won’t be another bill waiting in your mailbox when you get home from work tonight.
Until then, here’s my first newsletter with actual new news in it, from the GOP attacking MTG to KFC dropping a popular menu item. And if you keep scrolling, you’ll find a bonus story at the bottom, just for you. Soon, that will be exclusive to paid subscribers, but for now, it’s for everyone to enjoy.
Here now, the news:
The Big Thing They’re Talking About
KEVIN CAVES: Like a scorned school girl making promises she can’t keep in hopes of being elected student body president or maybe even prom queen, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) keeps making concessions to win the role of Speaker of the House of Representatives. And GOP hard liners keep telling him, “It’s not enough.” The vote’s tomorrow, and it’s unclear whether he has enough support to land the job. Find out more in this report from The Hill.
MEAN GIRLS: One of McCarthy’s strongest supporters is Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Yahoo! News reports the transphobic bigot is now drawing fire from her own conservative colleagues on Capitol Hill, for sparring with fellow idiot Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), among other things. Greene is also one of the lone Republicans defending Rep.-elect George Santos (R-N.Y.), who lied his way to Washington and reports there tomorrow.
Weather Worry Du Jour
NEVER RAINS, IT POURS: More rain means more flooding and mudslides for Northern California and the Pacific Northwest, after an already deadly, stormy start to the new year. Learn more in this post from AccuWeather.
DID YOU SEE THE GAME? If asked, say “What a wild ending!” to the Sunday Night Football game pitting the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Baltimore Ravens. If you need to know more, the Steelers scored the winning touchdown (“T.D.”) with less than a minute on the clock for a 16-13 win, which keeps Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes alive. See highlights from NBC Sports here.
But the BIG sportsball story everyone’s still talking about is Saturday night’s college football showdown between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Ohio State Buckeyes. Like in the NFL game last night, there was less than a minute to play. Georgia’s Stetson Bennett threw a 10-yard pass to receiver Adonai Mitchell, giving the Bulldogs a 42-41 comeback victory, and a ticket to the national title game on Jan. 9, facing the Texas Christian University (“TCU”) Horned Frogs. No, really, that’s their name! Check it out at ESPN.com
BRACE FOR IMPACT BEFORE YOU READ: A member of the ground crew at the airport in Montgomery, Ala. was killed on the job Saturday when he was sucked into the jet engine of a parked plane. The National Transportation Safety Board said in a statement that the American Airlines/Piedmont Airlines employee was "ingested into the engine" of an aircraft while it was at the gate with the parking brake set. The tragic incident forced the closing of the airport for several hours. The NTSB is investigating.
STUNNING REVERSAL: A federal appeals court ruled a Florida school district did not discriminate against a transgender student and did not violate federal law by forcing him to use either gender-neutral bathrooms or the girls’ lavatory. The vote was 7 to 4, along political party lines. Drew Adams, the former student, sued the suburban Jacksonville school district in 2017 because he wasn’t allowed to use the boys’ restroom. The decision overturns a 2020 ruling in Adams’ favor. Lambda Legal represents Adams and as ABC News reports, there’s no word yet on whether his attorneys will take their case to the Supreme Court. I’ve reached out and will keep you posted.
DEATH ROW TRAILBLAZER: Amber McLaughlin is to be executed by lethal injection Tuesday evening in Missouri, becoming the first out transgender inmate put to death in the U.S. McLaughlin, 49, is being held in protective custody at a men’s prison under the name Scott McLaughlin. In 2006, a jury convicted McLaughlin of stabbing, strangling and raping an ex-girlfriend 19 years ago, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
TRANS MURDERS INVESTIGATION: According to an 18-month-long investigation of 175 murders by Insider, killings of transgender people doubled between 2019 and 2021, as anti-trans legislation and rhetoric accelerated.
SPEAKING OF ANTI-TRANS LAWS: No fewer than 20 bills targeting gender-affirming healthcare have been pre-filed in at least nine states for 2023. Last year, more than two dozen states sought to enact measures to heavily restrict or ban access to gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth. States with prefiled measures for 2023 include Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia.
SOUTH CAROLINA SAYS, “HOLD MY BEER: “ Banning healthcare isn’t enough for S.C. State Sen. Danny Verdin, a Republican, who wants the state legislature to define what a woman is. Politico reports Verdin filed a joint resolution last month that would amend the state constitution to establish that male and female be defined “in the context of reproductive potential… without regard to an individual’s psychological, chosen or subjective experience of gender.”
NEW TRANS BANS: Just weeks after the Professional Disc Golf Association and Disc Golf Pro Tour announced a new policy that will effectively prohibit transgender women from competing, the president of the World Boxing Council says the WBC will ban trans women from fighting cisgender women. He says they plan to create a trans-only category, according to ESPN.com
HISTORIC FIRST: Congratulations to Allison Chris Meyers, the first trans woman in New Jersey history appointed to the governor’s cabinet. Meyers is the acting chair of the N.J. Civil Service Commission, according to NJ.com
DRAG BRUNCH CLASH: Protesters showed up in Roanoke, Texas to stop an “all ages welcome” drag brunch. And yes, there’s video, thanks to USA Today.
BIBI AND THE QUEERS: After hundreds rallied in Tel Aviv to protest anti-LGBTQ comments by members of the far right conservative coalition government led by Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister on Sunday denounced the homophobic attack in this statement: “I strongly condemn comments against the LGBT community and Knesset Speaker Ohana,” who is openly gay. Read more from The Times of Israel.
EMERITUS HOMOSEXUALES? The Advocate’s Editor at large, John Casey, looks back at the legacy of Pope Benedict and spills the Vatican tea. Sure, his resignation was historic, and he totally tried to cover-up the priest sex abuse scandal, but let’s not forget his opposition to same-sex marriage and condoms in the war against AIDS and whether he just might have been a closeted gay man himself.
MISINFO IMBROGLIO: Adm. Rachel Levine, the out trans assistant secretary for Health and Human Services, is being lambasted in right-wing news media (again). This time it’s for a video “exposed” by Libs of TikTok in which Levine reportedly “demands” private companies “censor misinformation” about gender-affirming care. Uh-huh. Must be a slow week at CBN News. I’ve reached out to Adm. Levine for comment.
HOW DARE THEY! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is sending public schools a self-assessment tool to gauge their LGBTQ inclusivity. Pearl-clutching conservatives are just as mad about that, reports the Daily Citizen, which also reports “Yes, Christmas and Christianity Began in the Womb,” just so ya know.
The Other Stuff
BUHBYE, POPCORN CHICKEN: KFC is dropping Popcorn Chicken from its menu, reports TheStreet.com, and replacing it with all-white meat chicken nuggets. Apparently, they’ve made this switcheroo once or twice before, since first introducing the item in 1992. But are nuggets finger-lickin’ good”?
ELON, JUST STOP: Twitter is having a ball mocking the Chief Twit, who according to Pink News has a fixation for The Matrix, a movie franchise made by two trans women. Musk has frequently mocked pronouns and so on.
As I reported last summer, one of Musk’s daughters is trans, and in filing court papers to change her name, she made it clear she wanted nothing to do with her father. Can’t blame her.
Meanwhile, Musk is reported to be the first person in history to lose $200 billion. That’s equal to what, a spaceship or two, plus three Model X Plaids?
Thank you to everyone who subscribed on day one, beginning with a former colleague, Frank Radice! The Emmy-winning journalist, media executive, strategist, consultant, marketer, producer, director, author, musician and speaker has his own Substack, The Radice Files, which can be found here!
Other Substacks I Recommend:
The only transgender journalist covering the war in Ukraine has put down her notepad and picked up a rifle and joined the Ukrainian Army. Sarah Ashton-Cirillo’s debut podcast, The Daily Truth, can be heard by clicking here. For this episode, she crossed the border into Russia. Read why the Las Vegas native is fighting Russians in this report by my Washington Blade colleague, Michael K. Lavers.
Erin In The Morning closed out 2022 with a list of all the victories transgender people scored in the year just ended, from the federal court that upheld Connecticut’s policy on trans inclusion in school sports to Amy Schneider’s incredible run on Jeopardy! Bookmark this post and subscribe!
Likewise, Chris Geidner is THE source when it comes to understanding how the law works — and doesn’t. Subscribe to Law Dork and see what I mean.
I’ve been a big fan of Michelangelo Signorile for years, as well as a regular listener to him on SiriusXM and an occasional guest. Check out The Signorile Report for his takes on politics, culture and right-wing extremism.
Prof. Claire Potter of The New School knows politics, culture and everything in between and makes my day every time she publishes at Political Junkie.
Finally, Charlotte Clymer is a force of nature, and Charlotte’s Web Thoughts were my favorite thing on the internet (until I started my own newsletter; now it’s my second-favorite thing). You can read as well as listen and you can thank me later.
Your Bottom of the Page Bonus
If you’re like me, you look up at night and wonder, “What’s out there?” It turns out, The New York Times has an online calendar that tells us exactly what, and when, stuff is happening right above our heads. Check out the paper’s guide to events in astronomy as well as spaceflight by clicking here.
For example: Starting Tuesday, the Quadrantid meteor shower will peak, and on Wednesday, our planet Earth will be at its closest point to the Sun, aka the perihelion. Looking further ahead, next month marks 20 years since the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, one of many landmark news events that I covered in my four-decade-long journalism career. More about that as time goes on.
Here’s wishing your news is good news, whether you’re working today or enjoying one last holiday. I’ll be back with more tomorrow!
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