Texas Tribune: “Democrats in the Texas Senate overwhelmingly crossed the aisle to vote in favor of the Star Spangled Banner Protection Act, a conservative-backed bill that would require any professional sports teams with contracts with the state government to play the national anthem before the start of a game.”
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) informed the Texas Rangers that he would no longer be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at their home opener tonight.
Said Abbott: “I will not participate in an event held by MLB, and the State will not seek to host the All-Star Game or any other MLB special events.”
Former President Obama praised Major League Baseball for moving its All-Star Game out of Atlanta due to Georgia’s new law curbing voting access, Axios reports.
Said Obama: “Congratulations to @MLB for taking a stand on behalf of voting rights for all citizens. There’s no better way for America’s pastime to honor the great Hank Aaron, who always led by example.”
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted that she wouldn’t be watching baseball after Major League Baseball pulled the All-Star Game from Atlanta in response to Georgia’s controversial new voting law that critics say will disproportionately affect people of color, USA Today reports.
Said McDaniel: “Guess what I am doing today? Not watching baseball!!!!”
Former President Trump called for a boycott of Major League Baseball after it decided to move its All-Star Game out of Georgia in protest of the state’s new bill signed into law that tightens voting restrictions, The Hill reports.
Said Trump: “Boycott baseball and all of the woke companies that are interfering with Free and Fair Elections. Are you listening Coke, Delta, and all!”
Major League Baseball is moving the 2021 All-Star Game and 2021 draft out of Atlanta in response to a new Georgia voting law that critics say unfairly limits access to the ballot box, especially for people of color, ESPN reports.
Said commissioner Rob Manfred: “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”
“President Joe Biden on Wednesday said he would ‘strongly support’ moving the Major League Baseball All-Star Game out of Atlanta in response to Georgia’s newly passed voting law that critics say restricts voting access,” Politico reports.
Atlanta Journal Constitution: Coke, Delta leaders call Georgia’s voting law “unacceptable.”
Boston Globe: “The 91st MLB All-Star Game is scheduled to be played in Atlanta this July. But on Thursday, in the wake of voting-restriction legislation signed into law by the Georgia governor, the executive director of the MLB Players Association said the players are ready to discuss moving their annual midsummer exhibition out of Georgia.”
Daily Mail: “Meghan Markle will use the furore over her interview with Oprah to launch a political career which could take her all the way to the White House, if rumours circulating around Westminster last week turn out to be accurate.”
“One senior Labour figure – a veteran of Tony Blair’s Downing Street administration with strong links to Washington – claimed to The Mail on Sunday that Ms Markle, 39, was networking among senior Democrats with a view to building a campaign and fundraising teams for a tilt at the US Presidency.”
A Florida police officer’s body cam shows former baseball player Johnny Damon stopped for drunk driving and getting into a scuffle with police.
He then attempted to win over the police officer: “Hey, bro, I’m a good fucking guy. I know people are trying to target me because I’m a Trump supporter.”
He added: “Believe me, I am Blue Lives Matter… What are you doing right now?”
Rudy Giuliani told Steve Bannon on his podcast a “funny story” about a 2014 charity golf tournament where Giuliani, Rush Limbaugh, and magazine publisher Marvin Shanken were paired, at the last minute, with LPGA star Michelle Wie, who was 25 at the time, Golfweek reports.
Giuliani recounted how Wie, when she plays, “bends all the way over and her panties show.”
Wie responded on Twitter: “What this person should have remembered from that day was the fact that I shot 64 and beat every male golfer in the field leading our team to victory. I shudder thinking that he was smiling to my face and complimenting me on my game while objectifying me and referencing my ‘panties’ behind my back all day.”
“While the Justice Department has sought to pause or drop a number of high-profile court battles due to the change in administration, government lawyers are pressing on aggressively with a lawsuit claiming that Omarosa Manigault Newman failed to file a required financial disclosure following her attention-grabbing firing in December 2017,” Politico reports.
“Given all that is going on in the world, I don’t think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time. I hope, though, that somewhere down the road several years from now or perhaps after I’m gone if you still feel I deserve it, then I’m certain I will stand proud in our great State Capitol as a grateful Tennessean.”
— Dolly Parton, declining the offer of a statue of her in the Tennessee capitol building.
Top political strategists say Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, could have a bright future in politics in her home state of California, arguing that she could use her global fame as a British royal to follow the “well-worn path” that was adopted by Arnold Schwarzenegger ahead of his run for governor, the East Bay Times reports.
“The worst 90 seconds of my life, for sure, because it just made me hate myself.”
— Stormy Daniels, quoted by the Associated Press, on having sex with Donald Trump.
“Amanda Gorman, the young poet who grabbed the national spotlight at President Joe Biden’s inauguration with her inspirational and powerful reading, will recite more of her work at Super Bowl LV,” BuzzFeed News reports.
“New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has turned down President Trump’s invitation to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the wake of the riots last week at the U.S. Capitol,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Belichick’s pivot is a sharp rebuke of a president who has faced calls from Democratic lawmakers, and some Republicans, to be removed from office.”
A new research paper from Heyu Xiong finds that Ronald Reagan’s tenure “as the host of a 1950s entertainment television program translated into support for his candidacy, in terms of votes and political donations, nearly two decades after the show’s first airing.”