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3/2/2022: State of the Union
PLUS: Natural Antibodies Rule!, Taunting Tristan, and QE2 Conquers Covid
Today is Wednesday, March 2, 2022.
It is the 61st day of the year.
304 days remain.
#HappyBirthdayJustinBieber was trending Tuesday as fans wished The Biebs a Happy 28th birthday.
#WomensHistoryMonth is this month. Twitter users shared the hashtag while noting several important women throughout history, including Maya Angelou, Virginia Woolf, Meghan Markle, Oprah Winfrey, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Michelle Obama.
#FatTuesday and #MardiGras circulated on social media as users shared how they celebrated the annual traditions.
Jimmy Fallon asked fans to tweet along with #MyDumbSuperPower on Tuesday. Tweets included, “annoying the cat,” “selecting perfect avocados every time,” “doodling” and “talking to animals.”
Social media users geared up for President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address. More in Swamp.
The company overseeing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany is facing bankruptcy just days after international sanctions were established. On Tuesday it announced it is terminating contracts with employees.
WORTH NOTING: The Biden Administration allowed this project to go ahead after former President Trump actively stalled its completion. There’s no telling if Russia would have ever invaded Ukraine if it didn’t have energy leverage over Europe. It took just days to cripple the project. The world responds differently to decisive, deliberate actions from a position of strength than a position of weakness.
MEANWHILE: The UN reports that at least 677,000 Ukrainians left the country as of Tuesday, nearly a week into the invasion. Of those, more than 100,000 have entered Russia – plenty of theories and guesses as to why.
ALSO MEANWHILE: The New York Times reports that the Ukrainian government has received $22 million in cryptocurrency donations from around the world in recent days.
ON THE FLIP SIDE: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday to express his “strong support” for the Russian cause. Putin reportedly said the whole point of the invasion is to protect the civilian populations in the separatist regions Putin acknowledged as independent late last week.
ALSO: A kooky professor from Moscow State Institute of National Relations known for his conspiracy theories tells the UK’s Express tabloid that Putin has sent his family to a luxury bunker in the Altai Mountains. Professor Valery Solovey says the hideout is designed to hold up against nuclear weapons and is connected to a vast underground city.
Data released from Pfizer’s study of vaccine effectiveness in kids aged 5-11 show the treatment was anything but helpful.
After 42 days, kids aged 5 to 11 were 40% more likely to test positive for covid, the New York Times reports.
MEANWHILE: New CDC data shows that more than 140 million Americans have had covid – doubling the infection rate previously believed.
THE GOOD NEWS: This means the death rate is half of what it was believed to be.
IT GETS WORSE: Now that the winter wave has settled, states with mask mandates fared WORSE than those with mask mandates. This is no longer theoretical. This isn’t based on studies or statistics or extrapolations. This is what happened. (h/t @ianmSC on Twitter)
ALSO BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!: An Oregon Health & Science University study shows that antibodies from natural infection are ten times more potent than the vaccination immunity.
WORTH ASKING: Who could’ve thought?!?!
Japan has a reputation for technological innovation, but to study underneath Antarctica’s ice sheets, they’re going old school: Strapping sensors to seals.
Reuters reports that Japanese researchers put sensors on the heads of eight Weddell seals. The sensors monitor temperatures and salinity levels, and also sheds light on the seals’ behaviors.
The cargo ship carrying thousands of luxury cars that caught on fire nearly two weeks ago has sunk.
It was being towed back to port when it finally succumbed to the sea, about 250 miles off the coast of Portugal. Officials are monitoring the site for signs of fuel leaks.
RISE OF THE MOUNTAIN LIONS: Yesterday there was the Boulder couple who found a mountain lion under their porch. Now a California family says the same thing happened to them.
It happened just south of Fresno, California. The homeowner says she and her family were getting ready to head out the door for school and work when they spotted the big cat on the front porch. Neighbors say it had been prowling around for hours before picking the spot to hunker down in.
The mountain lion was eventually tranq’d and returned to the wild.
ALL IS NOT LOST: A teacher in southwest Indiana has faced disciplinary action for reportedly slapping a delinquent student during an altercation.
But instead of mobs demanding his termination, the community rallied in support of the teacher.
It all went down in Jimtown, Indiana. During a school board meeting to determine the teacher’s fate, colleagues and students rallied to his defense. They noted that not only did he have decades of an incredible reputation, but the kid who got the smack was a routine pain-in-the-ass who probably had it coming.
Two students testified that it was a failure of the administration, not the teacher, for letting the slapped kid cause as much trouble as he did.
Instead of getting fired, the teacher will take an early retirement, effective immediately – with all the retirement benefits.
Top 5 Fiction & Nonfiction Books Currently on the New York Times Best Sellers List:
“House of Sky and Breath,” Sarah J. Mass
"It Ends With Us," Colleen Hoover
“Diablo Mesa,” Douglas Peterson & Lincoln Child
“Sierra Six,” Mark Greaney
“Verity,” Colleen Hoover
“From Strength to Strength,” Arthur C. Brooks
“The Body Keeps The Score,” Bessel van der Kolk
“Red-Handed,” Peter Schweizer
“The 1619 Project,” edited by Nikole Hannah-Jones, Caitlin Roper, Ilena Silverman & Jake Silverstein
“The Nineties,” Chuck Klosterman
DANNY ONGAIS has died.
The Hawaiian race car driver passed away February 26 of congestive heart complications in Anaheim Hills, California.
Many may remember Danny by his nickname, “The Flyin’ Hawaiian.”
He was 79.
JONI JAMES has died.
The ‘50s pop star passed away February 20 of natural causes, her son told The Washington Post.
She was 91.
Actress JOEY KING, 22, is engaged to her boyfriend, producer STEVEN PIET, 30.
The pair started dating after meeting on the set of the Hulu miniseries, “The Act” in 2019.
Some highlights from President JOE BIDEN’s first State of the Union address last night:
Biden took credit for building a coalition of European countries over recent weeks to be ready to fight against the Russian invasion of Ukraine with sanctions and military aide.
Biden announced for the first time that the United States would close its airspace to any flights originating in Russia. “He has no idea what’s coming,” Biden said of Vladimir Putin, noting the value of the Ruble has collapsed in recent days.
Biden committed to not sending American troops to fight in Ukraine, but did announce forces would be deployed to help protect NATO countries.
Biden took credit for creating a record number of jobs — which were all lost by largely Democrat-sponsored economic shutdowns.
Biden reiterated an ambitious domestic infrastructure spending plan, which was approved by Congress earlier this year. The spending will include repairs to 65,000 miles of highway and 1,500 bridges.
Biden rolled out a plan to combat inflation: 1. Decrease price of prescription drugs by mandating price caps that can be charged by drug companies. 2. Cut the cost of childcare, indexed to 7% of someone’s take home pay. 3. Making rich folks pay more in taxes, by instituting a 50% (!!!!) tax rate for corporations. 4. Raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Biden announced the Department of Justice will appoint a special prosecutor to take on people who fraudulently took covid relief funds.
Biden said, “covid no longer need control our lives,” with four new steps moving forward: 1. Continue to make vaccines and boosters. 2. Preparing for new variants with more vaccines. 3. More spending on masks and testing. 4. Sending millions of vaccine doses abroad.
After months of vilifying those with natural immunity who chose not to vaccinate, Biden called for national unity to move past the pandemic.
Biden explicitly called for funding for police officers and cracking down on gun trafficking.
Biden called for immigration reform to get done “once and for all” by securing the border and to codify abortion laws federally.
Biden called for a four-point unity agenda: 1. Beat the opioid epidemic. 2. Prioritizing mental health, especially among children most deeply affected by masking and lockdowns. 3. Expanded veteran benefits. 4. “End cancer as we know it.”
NOT MENTIONED: Eliminating student loan debt or Afghanistan.
MEANWHILE: After repealing the Capitol mask mandate, attendees were required to present a negative covid test in order to enter. A handful of Senators and Reps refused to attend on these grounds. Kentucky Rep. THOMAS MASSIE and Florida Senator MARCO RUBIO are two who noted their protest on Twitter.
The House chamber was noticeably empty compared to previous states of the union, with what appeared to be some semblance of social distancing remaining in effect.
Speaker NANCY PELOSI said ahead of the speech that she wouldn’t be masking – but would if she were around young children or was particularly vulnerable.
WORTH NOTING: She’s 327 years old (approximately), and the data shows people over 65 are particularly vulnerable to getting sick from covid.
OVERNIGHT: The cost of oil jumped up to $109 a barrel.
BY THE WAY: Commerce Secretary GINA RAIMONDO was the designated survivor who stayed back in the event of disaster.
A special investigator in Wisconsin has determined that Facebook’s multi million dollar grants issued to select county clerks to facilitate elections violated the state’s bribery laws.
Facebook openly gave millions of dollars in targeted areas across the country to bolster Get Out the Vote efforts, outspending Democrat-leaning areas over Republican counties by several factors.
The funds were used in part to facilitate drop box voting locations, which the Wisconsin Supreme Court has since ruled are illegal.
IT GETS WORSE: The report also highlights that money was improperly spent to rack up votes in nursing homes. In Milwaukee, Racine, and Dane counties, there was 100% voter turnout for voters registered to live in nursing homes. In Kenosha and Brown Counties, there was turnout in the high-90%.
Nationally, a turnout in the high-50s is a monumental success.
MEANWHILE: The investigator can do little more than make recommendations to the legislature, which could still face a veto from Democrat Governor TONY EVERS.
President JOE BIDEN authorized the release of 30 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve on Tuesday.
WORTH NOTING: That’s a little more than a day’s worth of gas for the country.
WATCH: Here’s how Vice President KAMALA HARRIS explained the conflict between Ukraine and Russia when asked to simplify it for this show’s audience:
WORTH NOTING: Glad she cleared that up.
No winner for Monday night’s Powerball drawing. Tonight’s drawing will be for a $73 million jackpot or a $48.6 million cash payout.
MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY is denying a surgeon’s claim that he underwent hair restoration.
The actor, who previously acknowledged that he had thinning hair, says after shaving his head in the ‘90s and applying topical ointment daily, he was able to grow back a full head of hair.
McConaughey explained away the situation, insisting that the surgeon simply wants to take credit for his new luscious locks.
CINDY CRAWFORD’s stalker has been arrested.
The UK man flew to California, where he ended up on Cindy’s doorstep to talk about the kid he claims they have together.
Thankfully Cindy was not home at the time and security quickly called the cops.
The man was arrested and booked for felony stalking.
BRITNEY SPEARS is having fun in the sun with her fiancé SAM ASGHARI.
The pop princess posted some nude photos from her tropical getaway, captioning them with a rose emoji — a nod to the mysterious “Project Rose” she has been teasing.
Spears also posted a video of her walking along the beach wearing nothing but a pendant necklace.
The two took the vacation to celebrate Sam’s 28th birthday.
MEGAN FOX wants to be a Spice Girl.
The actress posted some glam selfies on Instagram, captioning them “Offering myself to the Spice Girls if they are in need of a new member. BDSM spice.”
None of the original Spice Girls responded to the offer.
Disney, Sony and Warner Bros have paused theatrical releases in Russia amid the crisis in Ukraine.
The decision includes postponing the releases of “The Batman,” “Turning Red” and “Morbius” in the country.
The companies stated that future business decisions will be made “based on the evolving situation.”
NAYA RIVERA’s family has settled the wrongful death lawsuit they filed against Ventura County.
The suit was filed by the actress’ ex-husband RYAN DORSEY in November 2020 on behalf of their 6-year-old son Josey.
“Through the settlement, Josey will receive just compensation for having to endure the drowning of his beloved mother at Lake Piru,” the Rivera family’s lawyer said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
Rivera accidentally drowned during a boat excursion with her son at Lake Piru in July 2020.
BETHENNY FRANKEL is raising millions of dollars for war-torn Ukraine.
The former “Real Housewife of NYC” has partnered with Global Empowerment Mission, pledging $10 million in food, medical aid and other supplies.
Meanwhile, Frankel’s Bstrong initiative is raising even more cash — so far more than $5 million has been raised for Ukraine.
TRAVIS BARKER has partnered with Bullish Content on a new reality series, titled “Inked and Iced.”
The unscripted series will follow Barker’s new business venture with “diamond dentist” Dr. Tom Connelly, featuring celebs and musicians as they receive diamond dental implants and full-body tattoos, all while under anesthesia.
No word on whether Barker’s future mother-in-law, KRIS JENNER, has a piece of the action.
SPEAKING OF: Barker is also expected to appear in the Kardashian’s new Hulu series.
Hallmark Channel has given the green light to “A Holiday Spectacular,” a new Christmas movie starring ANN-MARGARET, EVE PLUMB, DEREK KLENA, GINNA CLAIR MASON and the Radio City Rockettes.
Set in 1958, the film follows a Philadelphia heiress named Maggie (Mason) who puts her high-society wedding on hold to head to NYC and make her dream of dancing at Radio City Music Hall come true.
The movie will air as part of the 2022 Countdown to Christmas.
HBO pulled Tuesday night’s premiere of “The Larry David Story” at LARRY DAVID’s request.
In a tweet, HBO Documentaries announced that the special is being postponed because “Larry has decided he wants to do it in front of an audience.”
A new date has not been announced.
The Daily Wire is gearing up to debut their third movie on YouTube.
The Indie comedy, called “The Hyperions” starring CARY ELWES, will launch on March 10 for free for viewers in the US.
According to The Daily Wire, their debut original, “Shut In,” drew in more than 500,000 viewers in the first 72 hours across YouTube and its own website.
“The Hyperions” tells the story of Professor Ruckus Mandulbaum (Elwes), who in 1960 invented the world-famous “Titan badge” that turned a trio of teens into superheroes. The professor later replaces the trio with new members, causing the original members to fight for their powers to be restored.
The flick also stars PENELOPE MITCHELL, TANNER BUCHANAN, ELAINE TAN and ALPHONSO MCAULEY.
The conservative media company also produced the western flick “Terror on the Prairie,” starring actress GINA CARANO. Carano joined The Daily Mail family after being booted from Disney’s “The Mandalorian” for tweeting against mandates.
BRAD PITT’s production company, Plan B, is working on “Beetlejuice 2.”
According to Deadline, Plan B is “bringing a new sense of life to the project” that has long been in the works at Warner Bros.
The sequel is in early development, with no script yet.
MICHAEL DOUGLAS will star as Benjamin Franklin in Apple TV+’s limited event series based on the book “A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America.”
The story “explores the greatest gambles of Benjamin Franklin’s career,” according to the streamer.
Douglas has also been tapped to play President Ronald Reagan, in “Reagan & Gorbachev,” a limited series for Paramount.
Netflix has teamed up with LINDSAY LOHAN for two more original films.
Specifics are unknown at this time.
Lohan already stars in Netflix’s holiday rom-com “Falling for Christmas,” which iis slated to debut later this year.
She was also in “Sick Note” and “Scary Movie V” on the streaming site.
ARIANA DEBOSE has joined the cast of Marvel movie “Kraven the Hunter.”
Although its unconfirmed, sources told Deadline that she would play Calypso in the film.
As previously reported, the movie stars AARON TAYLOR JOHNSON in the titular role.
KEVIN COSTNER has signed on to narrate a 4-part documentary about the history of Yellowstone National Park for streaming app Fox Nation.
Costner stars in the Paramount series “Yellowstone” – which isn’t actually about the park in California.
WORTH ASKING: Will he narrate it in his John Dutton growl or regular speaking voice?
ELLEN DEGENERES shelled out $21 million for a new home in Montecito.
The 12,000-square-foot pad sits on 2.45 acres.
DeGeneres and her wife PORTIA DE ROSSI already own a $14.3 million ranch and small cottage in Montecito.
A third home they own -- and have been trying to sell -- in the area is currently “tied up” in escrow, sources told Page Six.
THE DAILY KARDASHOPUS
KIM KARDASHIAN and KANYE WEST head to divorce court today!
Kim will ask a judge to restore her single status, while Ye is being called a “wild card” as no one — not even his legal team — knows what to expect at the hearing.
TRISTAN THOMPSON may have a new team, but he is still being harassed with the same old heckles.
When Thompson’s Chicago Bulls took on the Miami Heat Monday night, fans tried to distract him with chants of “Khloe!” — referring to his ex, KHLOE KARDASHIAN.
The chants are something that have followed Thompson from arena to arena after multiple instances of infidelity during his on-again, off-again relationship with the reality star.
WE’LL NEVER BE ROYALS
QUEEN ELIZABETH is on the mend after testing positive for COVID-19 almost two weeks ago.
Over the weekend, the 95-year-old visited with some of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren at Windsor Castle, a royal insider told The Sun.
Also, she hosted two virtual meetings yesterday, marking the first time she has been seen by the public since her diagnosis.
WORTH NOTING: She is fully vaccinated.
MEGHAN MARKLE and PRINCE HARRY announced Tuesday that through their Archewell Foundation, they plan to support organizations working to advance gender equality.
In a statement posted on the Archewell site, the couple said that in honor of Women’s History Month, and ahead of International Women’s Day next week, they will be sending out new grants to several nonprofits that focus on bettering and supporting women.
One of the organizations is Smart Works, a UK charity that helps women find employment. Meghan became patron of the organization in January 2019 and has continued to support them even after leaving the UK.
The Major League Baseball Players Association denied MLB owners’ final offer for a new collective bargaining agreement Tuesday afternoon, thus missing the informal deadline to start the 2022 season.
In response, commissioner ROB MANFRED announced the cancellation of the first two series of the season — something that has never happened in 27 years.
Manfred said the sides will regroup at some point and continue negotiations.
Opening Day was set for March 31.
IN RESPONSE: The MLBPA said it’s “disgusted” by Manfred’s decision to cancel games.
DAY OF THE YEAR
National Banana Cream Pie Day
National Old Stuff Day
World Teen Mental Wellness Day
National Read Across America Day
Dr. Seuss Day
ON THIS DATE
1807 – Congress prohibits the importation of slaves into the country.
More than 3 million captive Africans had been brought to America by the end of the American Revolution. Many of the new northern states passed laws abolishing slavery soon after the Revolutionary War.
The slave trade thrived in the American South for more than 50 years.
1836 – Texas declares independence from Mexico as its own sovereign nation, becoming the Republic of Texas.
Its actual declaration was written literally overnight by a delegation of 5 men.
Its first Congress had 14 senators and 29 representatives. The independent republic endured another 10 years. The US annexed Texas in 1845.
Part of the deal included expanding Texas' territory as a US state and flooding the economy with slaves.
1920 – Calvin Coolidge signs the Jones Act in order to further squash bootlegging.
While the production, importation, and sale of booze had been illegal for 9 years, the masses still found a way to consume it. The Jones Act made fines higher and increased possible jail sentences.
Five years later prohibition was repealed.
1962 – Basketball superstar Wilt Chamberlain scores 100 points in a single game against the New York Knicks.
He was the first to hit triple digit scoring in a single NBA game, smashing the previous point record of 78 points -- which Chamberlain also set.
Wilt nailed 36 field goals and 28 foul shots in that game -- also NBA records.
1966 – The Ford Motor Company rolls its 1-millionth Mustang off the assembly line.
It's a white, convertible model. It had debuted only 2 years earlier. Consumers clamored for the sporty, relatively affordable automobile.
Its initial price was $2,300.
1972 – Pioneer 10 launches from Cape Canaveral, en route to Jupiter.
It's the first probe to visit the outer planets.
The rocket neared Jupiter almost 2 years and 620 million miles later. It beamed back the first images of the gas giant.
The mission officially continued until 1997, after Pioneer 10 lasted more than 6 billion miles.
It is headed out into the Great Beyond, and will pass within 3 light-years of a relatively close star in…32,000 years.
2004 – The Indianapolis Colts sign Peyton Manning to a 7-year, $98 million deal with a $34.5 million signing bonus.
It was the largest deal at the time.
In 2019, Russell Wilson signed a 4-year, $140 million contract with a $65 million signing bonus.
2016 – US astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko return to Earth after 340 days.
Their trip set an ISS (International Space Station) record.
The journey to space was part of a NASA twin study involving Scott’s brother Mark Kelly. Researchers looked at how a year in space can affect vision, bones and muscles, the heart, and body.
One obvious and temporary change for Scott was that he came back 2 inches taller than his brother because of a lack of gravity.
2021 - Dr. Seuss Enterprises announces that six Dr. Seuss books will no longer be published over outcries of racist and incentive imagery.
They are: “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!,” “And to Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street,” “If I Ran the Zoo” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.”
Tua Tagovailoa - football player - 24
Becky G - pop singer - 25
Luke Combs - country singer - 32
James Arthur - pop singer - 33
Reggie Bush - football player - 37
Ben Roethlisberger - football player - 40
Henrik Lundqvist - hockey player - 40
Bryce Dallas Howard - actress, “The Village” & “Jurassic World” - 41
Rebel Wilson - actress, “Pitch Perfect” films - 42
Chris Martin - pop singer, Coldplay - 45
Method Man - rapper - 51
Daniel Craig - actor, “James Bond” films - 54
Jon Bon Jovi - rock singer - 60
Robert Williams - cartoonist - 79
Mikhail Gorbachev - world leader - 91
Born On This Date
Cadet - rapper - 1990 (d. 2019)
Karen Carpenter - pop singer - 1950 (d. 1983)
Desi Arnaz - actor, “I Love Lucy” - 1917 (d. 1986)
Dr. Seuss - children’s author - 1904 (d. 1991)