3/10/2023: Elon Builds a City
PLUS: Bing Boom; No Met for The Kardashians; and Buckingham Preps for Harry & Meg
Today is Friday, March 10, 2023.
It is the 69th day of the year.
296 days remain.
WHAT’S ON TAP
ELON MUSK wants to build a city and North Korea makes threats. More in HIT LIST.
President JOE BIDEN wants to spend more money he doesn’t have and DONALD TRUMP is out with a new collectible coffee table book. More in THE SWAMP.
WILL SMITH’s reaction to CHRIS ROCK’s Netflix special and more fallout from the “Vanderpump Rules” scandal. More in SHOWBIZ.
A new series about MUHAMMAD ALI is in the works and former “GMA” co-hosts TJ HOLMES and AMY ROBACH are pitching a new show. More in CASTING CALL.
ELON MUSK is planning to incorporate a town in Bastrop County, Texas – about 35 miles outside of Austin – where as the man who owns all the land he’d have final say over many municipal rules and regulations.
The project is designed so employees at Musk’s various companies – including SpaceX, Tesla, and the Boring Co. (the one studying underground tunneling technology and methods to alleviate surface traffic) – could live in centrally-planned homes that are more affordable than market rates.
So far, Musk has purchased more than 3,500 acres of land in the area, based on public records, but sources tell the Wall Street Journal he could own up to 6,000 acres.
WORTH NOTING: The Wall Street Journal points out that in Texas, a town needs at least 201 residents in order to begin its incorporation application, which a judge must later approve. That application has not yet been sent. [via WSJ]
More bad news for the future of the economy: Bloomberg points out that US shipping container imports are down 20% year over year. The slowdown suggests commercial retailers are anticipating significantly reduced demand, as consumers have less money in their pockets and spend more servicing debt. [via Zero Hedge]
A few weeks after incorporating the innovative ChatGPT technology into its search engine, the Microsoft-owned Bing search engine now tallies at least 100 million daily active users.
BUT WAIT: That’s still one-tenth of the size of Google’s audience, which sees a billion users a day – or 1 in 8 of all humans on Earth.
Microsoft’s marketing head says even though they’re not ready to throw down with Google, this is an important first step in that battle.
North Korea has issued another threat to the United States, sent by KIM JONG JUNIOR’s mysterious sister, KIM YO JONG.
This time, she warns that any American interference with North Korean missile tests over the Pacific Ocean would be a declaration of war. She added that North Korea fully intends to continue testing its weapons arsenal. [via Business Insider]
The Artemis I space mission returned to Earth in December, after sending a spacecraft designed to carry humans further into space than ever before. After careful review and analysis of the data from reentry, and inspection of the Orion capsule’s heat shield, NASA has determined there are hardware problems to address before sending a crew into space.
The heat shield was designed to handle a fiery reentry, but it was charred well beyond a level that left NASA scientists comfortable. They’re determining whether the exterior material needs to be redesigned. [via Mashable]
New to Amazon Prime:
Jackass Forever (Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%)
This Is Christmas (No Score)
New to Hulu:
Watcher (Score: 87%)
New to Netflix:
Luther: The Fallen Sun (Score: 69%)
Actor CHAIM TOPOL has died.
He passed away in Tel Aviv, Israel on Thursday. While no cause of death was shared, Topol had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Topol is best known for his role as Tevye in “Fiddler On the Roof.”
He was 87.
Senate Minority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL, 81, was still in the hospital Thursday, as his treatment continues for a concussion he suffered after falling at a Washington D.C. hotel on Wednesday night.
He tripped at a dinner event and hit his head, his communications director told ABC News.
McConnell is expected to remain in the hospital for a few more days under observation.
A QUICK ECONOMICS PRIMER: The federal deficit represents the difference between revenue (all the money coming in) and outlays (all the money going out) over a set period of time (usually a fiscal year or a biennial budget). When there’s more money going out than coming in, the government runs a deficit. When there’s more coming in than going out, there’s a surplus. The debt is the accumulation of all deficits (or surpluses) to determine how much the government owes in total.
President JOE BIDEN’s proposed budget would – on paper, anyway – reduce the federal deficit by $3 trillion over the next ten years.
WORTH NOTING: This is creative messaging about deficit reduction. At current tax-and-spend levels, the federal government will incur $20 TRILLION in debt over the next decade; but under this budget, it will “only” add $17 TRILLION — even after soaking Americans with a host of new taxes that will cost over $5 TRILLION.
WORTH REMEMBERING: Between the end of Fiscal Year 2017 and 2021, when the Trump tax cuts went into effect, federal revenue increased nearly $730 BILLION a year and GDP increased nearly $4 TRILLION. Federal revenue per capita has increased nearly 20% since the end of the 2017 fiscal year. SPENDING is the problem – and as every Economics student learns in Macro 101, courtesy of Arthur Laffer, higher taxes do not necessarily translate to more revenue.
BY THE WAY: Not in the budget: student loan debt forgiveness. Apparently he only wants to give that handout if he can do it unilaterally and without Congress’ approval.
Former President DONALD TRUMP will be out with a new book, called “Letters to Trump,” where he publishes correspondence from his famous (former) friends with some of his own commentary.
The notes are from a who’s-who of liberals and Never Trumpers, including OPRAH WINFREY, BILL and HILLARY CLINTON, MARIO CUOMO, and celebs like JAY LENO, LIZA MINNELLI, and REGIS PHILBIN.
Pre-orders are open – but the collectible will set you back $99, or $399 if you want a signed copy. [via Axios]
WORTH REMEMBERING: The last book published under his “Winning Team Publishing” banner, a collection of photos from his term, sold over $20 million worth in a matter of weeks.
BY THE NUMBERS
📈 The DOW lost 543 points (1.66%) to close at 32,254. The S&P lost 79 points (1.85%) to close at 3,918 and the NASDAQ lost 237 points (2.05%) to close at 11,338.
🛢 WEST TEXAS INTERMEDIATE closed at $75; BRENT CRUDE at $81.
⛽ The national average price of a GALLON OF GAS was $3.46 on Thursday.
₿ BITCOIN got clobbered Thursday, losing nearly 6.5% and trading just under $20,300.
🛩 There were more than 2,647 FLIGHTS delayed within, into, or out of the United States on Thursday and more than 75 such cancellations.
💰Tonight’s MEGA MILLIONS drawing will be for a $203 million jackpot or a $107.1 million cash payout. Saturday night’s POWERBALL drawing will be for a $45 million jackpot or a $22.9 million cash payout.
These albums drop today:
Ben Kweller, “Sha Sha Deluxe”
The Blaze, “JUNGLE”
Dutch Uncles, “True Entertainment”
Fever Ray, “Radical Romantics”
Frankie Rose, “Love As Projection”
G Perico and DJ Drama, “Hot Shot: Gangsta Grillz”
H. Hawkline, “Milk For Flowers”
King Khan, “The Nature of Things”
Lonnie Holley, “Oh Me Oh My”
The Luka State, “More Than This”
Manchester Orchestra, “The Valley of Vision”
Matt Andersen, “The Big Bottle of Joy”
Miley Cyrus, “Endless Summer Vacation”
The Nude Party, “Rides On”
Ripe, “Bright Blues”
Story Of The Year, “Tear Me To Pieces”
Van Morrison, “Moving on Skiffle”
Ward Thomas, “Music in the Madness”
WILL SMITH is reportedly “embarrassed and hurt” over the jokes CHRIS ROCK made in his recent Netflix special.
The comedian took digs at Smith and his wife JADA PINKETT-SMITH as he spoke about the incident at last year’s Oscars.
A source told “Entertainment Tonight” that while Smith didn’t watch the special, “he had people tell him what Chris said.”
Smith also had issues with Netflix, saying it was “distasteful” for the streamer to give Rock a platform. [via NY Post]
Starting this fall, students at Stanford will be able to take a course called “All Too Well (Ten Week Version)” which is centered on TAYLOR SWIFT’s 2012 hit, “All Too Well.”
The course is part of the university’s ITALIC 99 program, which “offers students an introduction to topics taught by alumni of the program,” according to Stanford’s website.
This is not the first time a university has held a course on Swift. Last year, New York University’s Clive Davis Institute launched a new course on the singer and the University of Texas at Austin currently offers an undergraduate course named “The Taylor Swift Songbook” as part of its liberal arts honors program. [via People]
No word on if Swift plans to guest lecture.
In a recent interview with CBS to promote his new graphic comic memoir, former NFL QB COLIN KAEPERNICK accused his adoptive parents of “perpetuating racism.”
An example he shared, was when his mom, who is white, told him that his cornrows were “unprofessional” and made him “look like a thug.”
“I know my parents loved me. But there were still very problematic things that I went through,” he explained. [via Daily Mail]
For those who are unfamiliar with his story, Kaepernick was adopted as an infant by a white couple from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. When he was four, the family moved to Turlock, California, which is where his skill on the football field started to shine.
THE CURE is set to perform in North America for the first time since 2016.
The band will make 30 stops across the US and Canada starting in May.
Their last studio album, “4:13 Dream,” was released in 2008. [via Variety]
“Vanderpump Rules” star SCHEANA SHAY says she never punched RAQUEL LEVISS, who she calls a “liar and a cheat who has betrayed everyone close to her.”
According to a statement sent out by Shay’s attorney, there was no altercation between the two women.
Earlier this week it was reported that Leviss was granted a restraining order against Shay, who she accused of punching her in the eye after news of her affair with TOM SANDOVAL emerged.
A hearing on the matter has been set for March 29.
IN OTHER AFFAIR NEWS: Leviss has posted several statements on social media apologizing for her affair with Sandoval, while adding that she is seeking help for her dependency issues. Neither Leviss nor Sandoval have addressed where their relationship currently stands, though insiders say the two did share their first on-screen kiss this week.
A new series focusing on the life of MUHAMMAD ALI is in the works at Peacock.
“Excellence: 8 Fights” is a scripted eight-part series about the boxing legend, based on the biography, “Ali: A Life” by Jonathan Eig.
The project comes from the creative minds of writer KEVIN WILLMOTT, actor MORGAN FREEMAN and “Bridgerton” star REGE-JEAN PAGE. [via Deadline]
German actor DANIEL BRUHL will play the late fashion designer KARL LAGERFIELD in a new Disney+ series “Kaiser Karl.”
The series follows a young Lagerfield as he rises in the French fashion world in the early 1970s.
Bruhl most recently starred in Netflix’s “All Quiet on the Western Front,” which has been nominated for nine Oscars. [via The Hollywood Reporter]
Former “GMA” co-hosts-turned-lovers AMY ROBACH and TJ HOLMES are reportedly working on a new TV project that will show off their hosting talents and off-screen chemistry.
Industry sources told the Daily Mail that the two are pitching an up close and personal talk show to CBS, NBC, CNN.
Meanwhile, Rocbach and Holmes were spotted over the weekend at PR guru HOWARD BRAGMAN’s funeral, which was their first public event as a couple. [via Daily Mail]
WORTH REMEMBERING: The pair were pulled from their TV gigs for good in January following an internal review by ABC into their affair.
iHeartMedia is launching a podcast dedicated to LGBTQ+ voices, called “Outspoken.”
It will feature stories from celebrities such as JOJO SIWA, ROSIE O’DONNELL, LAVERNE COX, BOWEN YANG, RAVEN-SYMONE, LANCE BASS and more.
There are also two original shows in the works. The first will feature perspectives of LGBTQ+ youth living in battleground states for legislation targeting queer people and the second will focus on violence targeting trans women. [via The Hollywood Reporter]
THE DAILY KARDASHOPUS
The entire Kardashian-Jenner family may be left off the invite list to this year’s Met Gala, after they were all invited to last year’s event.
A source told Page Six that Vogue Editor-in-Chief ANNA WINTOUR has “decided on a party free of the Kadashian-Jenners.”
In response, a family friend told the outlet that reports of them not being invited are “false.”
The Gala is set for May 1. [via Page Six]
WE’LL NEVER BE ROYALS
Buckingham Palace is preparing for PRINCE HARRY and MEGHAN MARKLE to attend KING CHARLES’ Coronation, even though the two have not yet said whether they are going.
An insider told the Daily Mail on Thursday that palace staff have been “organizing logistics for the historic occasion” and have been “instructed to include the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in their program.”
Last week, a spokesperson for the couple confirmed that they had received an official invite to the event, but had not yet given a response. [via Daily Mail]
Perhaps now that Harry and Meg’s kids’ names have been updated to include their royal titles on the Royal Family’s website they will be more inclined to attend the event. [via Today]
LIST OF THE WEEK
With the Oscars on Sunday night, here are the top ten, inflation-adjusted, highest-grossing Best Picture winners:
10. My Fair Lady (1964): $549 million
9. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003): $563 million
8. Around the World in 80 Days (1956): $591 million
7. Forrest Gump (1994): $719 million
6. The Godfather (1972): $722 million
5. The Sting (1973): $815 million
4. Ben-Hur (1959): $896 million
3. Titanic (1997): $1.24 billion
2. The Sound of Music (1965): $1.3 billion
1. Gone With the Wind (1939): $1.85 billion
DAY OF THE YEAR
National Ranch Day
National Pack Your Lunch Day
National Middle Name Pride Day
National Mario Day
National Skirt Day
International Day Of Awesomeness
National Blueberry Popover Day
International Wig Day
International Bagpipe Day
ON THIS DATE
1804 – A formal ceremony is held in St. Louis to incorporate the Louisiana Purchase into American territory.
The formal treaty that transferred ownership of the territory from France to the United States had been signed nearly 10 months prior and was ratified by the Senate the previous October.
Until 1812, the land was called the Territory of Orleans.
Louisiana eventually became the 18th state.
1969 – James Earl Ray is convicted of murdering Martin Luther King Jr.
It was also Ray’s 41st birthday.
Ray’s guilty plea circumvented a trial by jury, and also made him ineligible for the death penalty. He would be sentenced to 99 years in prison.
He escaped prison once in 1977 and was captured three days later. As punishment, a year was tacked on to his sentence. Ray died from Hepatitis C in 1998.
1977 – Astronomers conclude the seventh planet has rings around it.
Uranus was thought to originally have five rings, but the Voyager 2 spacecraft found more in 1986.
Then in 2003, observations made through the Hubble telescope suggested there were a total of thirteen, with the two outermost orbiting a great deal away from the center eleven. The rings mostly consist of ice and small particles. It’s believed that moons that once orbited Uranus collided with the planet some-600 million years ago, forming the ring system.
2000 – The NASDAQ peaks at 5,408.60 points, more than double its value from the year before. This spike marked the beginning of the end for the dot-com bubble.
By the turn of the millennium, companies that dabbled in new internet technologies quickly saw robust cash infusions from Venture Capitalists, and collectively burned through billions of dollars — many without ever turning a profit.
Others did very well — the acquisition of Broadcast.com by Yahoo for $5.7 billion in 1999 made Mark Cuban a billionaire.
2006 – The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter enters orbit around Mars.
It has since been essential in recording meteorological data about the Red Planet.
One of its most notable discoveries is what could be flowing salt water on the Martian surface.
It remains in operation today and is an essential tool in helping to identify landing sites and weather conditions for future missions.
2020 - Three months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese President Xi Jinping finally travels to Wuhan — the epicenter of the breakout.
The visit was mostly to save face, as Xi was called out for “disappearing” during the early days of the pandemic.
Logan Shroyer - actor, “This Is Us” - 24
Justin Herbert - football player - 25
Zach LaVine - basketball player - 28
Bad Bunny - rapper - 29
Emily Osment - actress, “Hannah Montana” & “Young & Hungry” - 31
Mod Sun - rapper - 36
Olivia Wilde - actress, “House M.D.” & “The O.C.” - 39
Malika Haqq - reality star & best friend of Khloe Kardashian - 40
Carrie Underwood - country singer - 40
Robin Thicke - R&B singer - 46
Timbaland - music producer - 51
Jon Hamm - actor, “Mad Men” - 52
Paget Brewster - actress, “Criminal Minds” & “Grandfathered” - 54
Ricky Segall - actor, “The Partridge Family” - 54
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex - youngest child of Philip & Elizabeth - 59
Jeff Ament - bassist, Pearl Jam - 60
Jasmine Guy - actress, “A Different World” - 61
Sharon Stone - actress, “Basic Instinct” & “Casino” - 65
Shannon Lee Tweed - playmate & wife of KISS frontman Gene Simmons - 66
Chuck Norris - actor, “Walker, Texas Ranger” - 83
Born On This Date
Osama bin Laden - terrorist & founder of al-Qaeda - 1957 (d. 2011)
James Earl Ray - assassin of MLK Jr. - 1928 (d. 1998)
Richard Haydn - actor, “The Sound of Music” & “Alice in Wonderland” - 1905 (d. 1985)
Lillian Ward - pioneering nurse & activist - 1867 (d. 1940)
Thanks for reading Morning Martini! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support our work.