TikTok, Picard and the 'Absolute Hellhole'
No, that's not the title of a Star Trek episode, but it does sum up the three big stories of the day. Plus: Another ban for international trans athletes. And: SPOILERS for The Mandalorian and Picard
Welcome to this “Friday Eve,” Thursday, March 23, 2023, or 03-23-23! On this first full day of Ramadan, my co-chair at the West Hartford Human Rights Commission, Esam Boraey, composed this message about this sacred time:
Ramadan is a time of fasting, prayer, and reflection, where Muslims abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs from sunrise to sunset. It is a time for spiritual growth, community, and compassion… To those who fast, I wish you an easy and blessed Ramadan. May this month bring you spiritual renewal, greater compassion, and a deep sense of connection to your faith and community. Ramadan Kareem!
A reminder: If you’re not already a paid subscriber, you can get 50% off a one year subscription if you subscribe before this Saturday, March 25!
Here Now the News:
TIKTOK CEO TESTIFIES: Shou Zi Chew says China will oppose a forced sale of the company. —Washington Post
DOZENS OF TIKTOK CREATORS PROTEST PROPOSED BAN: NBC News
GRAND JURY INVESTIGATING DONALD TRUMP RECONVENES IN NYC: CNN
TRUMP TELLS NEW YORKERS THEY LIVE IN AN “ABSOLUTE HELLHOLE:” He was born in NYC. He made his fortune in NYC. The jurors who will decide his fate, IF he is indicted, live in NYC. So why did former President Donald Trump say this? Because only a handful of New Yorkers have so far heeded his call to protest his looming arrest in connection with hush money payments to a porn star in 2016. And of course, also, because it is a city full of and run by Democrats. —The Independent
FAKE PHOTOS OF TRUMP’S “ARREST":” Journalist Parker Molloy looks at the AI-generated images that may fool some folks into thinking they’re real, in her excellent Substack, The Present Age. You should subscribe!
TRUMP ATTORNEY ORDERED TO TESTIFY TOMORROW IN CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS CASE: CNN
KANSAS GOP LAWMAKERS PUSH AHEAD WITH “BORN ALIVE” ANTI-ABORTION BILL: A.P.
DENVER SCHOOL SHOOTER FOUND DEAD: Two administrators were wounded when a student pulled a gun during the search for a weapon. He fled; Last night, the shooter’s body was found in a wooded area in another county, not far from where he abandoned his getaway car. —USA Today
LOS ANGELES COUNTY HIT WITH EF1 TORNADO: KTLA
INDIANA TEEN FORCED BY PARENTS TO WEAR “I’M A LIAR” T-SHIRT STILL MISSING: Law & Crime
DEADLY FUNGAL INFECTION NOW FOUND IN FLORIDA, SPREADING NATIONWIDE: WESH
FEDS WANT TO MAKE IT EASIER TO CANCEL SUBSCRIPTIONS: CNN
NBC’S LESTER HOLT LOOKS AT AI’S “RACE TO RECKLESSNESS:” NBC News
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES DROPPED AGAINST CREATOR OF “RICK AND MORTY": Variety
LINDSAY LOHAN AND OTHERS CHARGED IN SEC CRYPTO PROBE: NPR
GISELE BÜNDCHEN DISHES ON BREAKUP WITH TOM BRADY: Vanity Fair
BLAZING SADDLES SCREENWRITER NORMAN STEINBERG DEAD AT 83: NY Post
PART HISTORY LESSON, PART CELEBRITY DISH: Kevin Naff tells all in his new book! —Washington Blade
WHITE HOUSE CONDEMNS UGANDA ANTI-GAY BILL: Washington Blade
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS LATEST HOCKEY TEAM TO BOYCOTT PRIDE JERSEYS AT PRIDE NIGHT GAME: The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus has the scoop
FLORIDA GOV. AND STATE LAWMAKERS PUSH ANTI-LGBTQ+ AGENDA: Journalist Chris Geidner has the story in his excellent Substack, Law Dork
DeSANTIS EYES EXPANSION OF “DON’T SAY TRANS OR GAY” LAW: Washington Blade
WORLD ATHLETICS BANS TRANS TRACK AND FIELD ATHLETES AND TARGETS INTERSEX ATHLETES: A.P.
OUT TRANS BOXER PATRICIO MANUEL WINS 1ST MATCH IN 4 YEARS: Out trans journalist, activist and athlete Karleigh Chardonnay Webb has the story in Outsports
REPUBLICANS SEIZE ON TRANS RIGHTS AHEAD OF 2024: The Hill
TRANS TROOPS WARN GOP BILL COULD WEAKEN MILITARY: Military Times
ARKANSAS GOV. SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS SIGNS ANTI-TRANS BATHROOM BILL: CNN
MISSOURI LAWMAKERS APPROVE ANTI-TRANS BILLS ON GENDER AFFIRMING CARE AND SCHOOL SPORTS: USA Today
IOWA GOV. SIGNS ANTI-TRANS BILL ON GENDER AFFIRMING CARE INTO LAW: CNN
TRANS HEALTHCARE BAN AND BATHROOM RESTRICTIONS EXPLAINED: Des Moines Register
OHIO TRANS WOMAN ON TRIAL FOR INDECENT EXPOSURE AT YMCA: Dayton Daily News
WHAT THE DAYTON DAILY NEWS WON’T TELL YOU: Rachel Glines, 31, broke no laws and had permission to enter the YMCA women’s locker room. —PinkNews
OUT TRANS FLIGHT ATTENDANT TAKES HER LIFE: Los Angeles Blade
If you are a trans or gender-nonconforming person considering suicide, Trans Lifeline can be reached at 877-565-8860. LGBTQ youth (ages 24 and younger) can reach the Trevor Project Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386. Adults can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 24-hours a day, and it’s available to people of all ages and identities. And there’s now 988, a free crisis hotline in most communities nationwide offering help to those considering suicide.
INSIDE THE FEDERAL SOCIETY, ARCHITECT OF RIGHT WING HATE: Texas hosted a conference attracting conservatives worried about what one man called the “tyrannical domination of the minority by the majority.” —Politico
“At this point in our society, we can’t even agree whether somebody is a man or a woman, which suggests such a deep level of moral disagreement — and even disagreement about basic notions of reality — that to say that society can form an overlapping consensus is hopelessly naive,” said Joel Alicea, a law professor at the Catholic University of America.
Faced with such fundamental disagreements, Alicea said that citizens have to choose between two approaches: coercion, suppressing disagreements by means of force and intimidation, or conversion, the slow and steady work of persuading people who disagree with you to come around to your point of view.
Alicea advised the attendees to embrace conversion rather than coercion, but in the question-and-answer session after the panel, an audience member proposed a third option: a full-scale national divorce, of the sort recently proposed by Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. —Politico
AUSTRALIA’S VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT FLIES TRANS FLAG TO COUNTER NAZIS AND GENDER CRITICAL ACTIVISTS: Did you know that out trans Navy veteran Monica Helms designed the blue, white and pink banner and that her flag rightfully hangs in the Smithsonian?—Los Angeles Blade
WARNING: S P O I L E R S AHEAD!
This Is The Way
DID YOU SPOT THAT CAMEO IN THE FOUNDLING, CHAPTER 20 OF THE MANDALORIAN? The Jedi who rescued Grogu in the flashback sequence was played by none other than Ahmed Best, who rather infamously provided the voice for Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars prequels! The action-packed episode was directed by none other than Carl Weathers, who did not appear this week, but also directed an episode last season as well as 15 other projects.
Unlike last week, this week’s episode was cohesive and, even with the marvelous revelatory flashback, added to the overall story and moves us forward toward… well, that’s unclear. But I suspect it will have something to do with Bo-Katan (the awesome Katee Sackhoff), her quest to lead the Mandalorians again, Grogu’s journey and something something to do with the rise of the First Order that was introduced last week. —CNN
Star Trek Corner
BEAMING UP BURTONS! LeVar Burton and his daughter, Mica, FINALLY appear in this week’s Part Six of Star Trek Picard, titled The Bounty. Burton has a meaty role, and shows off not only his acting chops but the fact his character has finally matured and has grown from the way he was portrayed in TNG. An especially nice touch is the little statue of Zefram Cochran, his arm outstretched to the stars, on the desk of Commodore Geordi LaForge.
This episode is a love letter to fans, and don’t gimme that “I HATE FAN SERVICE” nonsense. The TNG gang is back together! We see some of our favorite ships from across the television franchise and films! And if you’re eagle-eyed and DON’T BLINK: You’ll see the Genesis Device from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and the remains of two of Stafleet’s most famous captains!
Sopan Deb’s review in The New York Times is full of spoilers but really sums up everything so well. I especially loved this line: “It’s clear that the creative team behind “Picard” put a lot of thought into how to put these characters properly into new spaces, rather than simply rely on the versions we have come to know and love.”
COMMANDER RO LAREN (MICHELLE FORBES) INTERVIEW: TrekMovie
HOW TO VIEW THE ENTIRE SEASON AND PAST STAR TREK EPISODES: Click here to subscribe to Paramount+
That’s all for today. I’ll be off for my birthday on Saturday but return Sunday night with the Bedtime Stories edition of stories for you to consider before the new week begins. Until then… May your news be good news!
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The flag raising was lovely...and your piece about the latest Picard was rich! Thank you, Dawn!