The Mouse Always Wins

Disney's Gamble, Issue 1 and Done, Should Trump Trial Be on TV?

For years, Disney CEO Bob Iger insisted that the notion of the wholesome-ish company getting into the gambling business wasn’t in the cards. Well, welcome to Tomorrowland where all bets are off. Disney-owned ESPN has officially announced its much-anticipated wager on sports betting. It’s a sign of how intertwined sports and betting have become and that placing bets has gone fully mainstream. Sports coverage went from barely addressing gambling to featuring odds in almost every part of their broadcasts. Pro leagues once avoided any connection to Vegas but now proximity to the sportsbook is considered a plus. In fact, Disney’s biggest challenge in the space is that they may be too late to the table. The genie is already out of the bottle, and it ain’t Aladdin. Peter Kafka in Vox: Disney used to hate gambling. Now it’s doing a $2 billion sports betting deal. “Here’s a story that would have been very, very hard to imagine a few years ago: ESPN, Disney’s sports behemoth, is doing a $2 billion deal with Penn Entertainment, a gambling company you’ve probably never heard of. It’s a striking about-face for Disney CEO Bob Iger, who spent years insisting that his company should avoid anything to do with gambling. And there’s an additional wrinkle for people who pay attention to changes in sports and pop culture: ESPN’s sports betting deal with Penn replaces one the company previously had with Barstool Sports, the raunchy and provocative publisher that used to thrive on portraying ESPN as lumbering and out of touch. The deal tells us a lot about the state of sports, media, and gambling.” When in comes to vice, always bet the over.

+ I’d also bet the over on the mainstreaming of betting have a negative impact on society. We already have some early evidence. I covered that in a recent post: You Bettor, You Bettor, You Bet.


Issue 1 Direction

“Officially, abortion had nothing to do with the constitutional amendment that Ohio voters rejected today. The word appeared nowhere on the ballot, and no abortion laws will change as a result of the outcome. Practically and politically, however, the defeat of the ballot initiative known as Issue 1 was all about abortion.” The Abortion Backlash Reaches Ohio. (Women should have control over their bodies. Voters should have control over politicians. Turns out that combination is a good message to run on.)


Must the Show Go On?

Most pundits and experts are wildly in favor of televising the Trump election trial. I’m less certain. For one thing, I’m not sure it’s a good idea for a nation that should be purging televised Trump news to binge even more of it. For another, I don’t buy the theory that suggests Americans will only believe the Trump verdict if they can see the trial. Americans saw the actual crime take place and half them still don’t believe it. Then there’s also the sad but true point made by one of the Watergate prosecutors in the NYT (Gift Article). Because of the nature of the defendant and his enablers, televising the case could be extremely dangerous for witnesses. Why Televising the Trump Trials Is a Bad Idea. “The arguments in favor of broadcasting the trials do not give enough weight to the dangers that could pose to trial witnesses and jurors, or the potential to undermine the integrity of the trial processes themselves.”


Animal Magnetism

“Much has been written about the ancillary players — the caterers, florists, costume-makers, prop masters and so on — who are dealing with the repercussions of this summer’s dual Hollywood strikes by screen actors and writers. Their concerns about how they’re going to pay their rent are shared by the industry’s animal trainers and handlers, who face an additional burden: Their animals still have to eat, too.” WaPo : Animal actors are on strike, too. These are their stories. “Instead of prepping to shoot a third season of the ‘Sex and the City’ reboot, the bulldog who plays Richard Burton, Charlotte’s dog on the show, is ‘sleeping, snoring and farting, basically.'”


Extra, Extra

Maui is Burning: “Wind-fueled wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui drove people to jump into the ocean to escape flames and smoke forced people to evacuate Wednesday … Fire was widespread in Lahaina, a tourist town with a population of 12,000.” Schools are closed, evacuations are taking place, and visitors are being told to stay away. I’m sure many of you have been to historic Lahaina. Much of the town is believed destroyed. There are also fires on the Big Island. Here’s the latest from CNN.

+ When Words Turn to Sticks and Stones: “In the early 1970s, American political violence was perpetrated more often by radicals on the left and focused largely on destroying property…In contrast, much of today’s political violence is aimed at people – and most of the deadly outbursts tracked by Reuters have come from the right.” Reuters: Political violence in polarized U.S. at its worst since 1970s.

+ Doc Warrant: “He’d been disciplined by medical boards in over a dozen states, lost privileges in multiple hospitals and settled federal allegations of fraud, admitting that his company had performed procedures without any documented need. Pennsylvania had tried to shut his clinics down. Just a few months ago, federal attorneys announced a case against him, claiming he put ‘profits over the health and safety of his patients’ when performing invasive artery procedures, regardless of symptoms or need.” So he’s definitely out of business, right? Wrong. ProPublica: Unstoppable: This Doctor Has Been Investigated at Every Level of Government. How Is He Still Practicing?

+ WeWork Load: “WeWork is warning there’s ‘substantial doubt’ about its ability to stay in business over the next year because of its financial losses and its need for cash, among other factors.” (Those factors alone will do the trick.)

+ Crooked Lanez: “Tory Lanez, the man convicted of shooting rapper Megan Thee Stallion in 2020, was sentenced on Tuesday to 10 years in prison.”

+ Footing the Trill: “Americans’ credit card debt levels have just notched a new, but undesirable, milestone: For the first time ever, they’ve surpassed $1 trillion.”

+ Kid ‘N Pay: “At 13 years, 5 months and 13 days old, Kimbrough is the youngest player to become a soccer professional in the U.S. and is believed to be the youngest professional in team sports across the major leagues in North America.” USL Championship side Sacramento Republic signed 13-year-old Da’vian Kimbrough. (When I was 13, I thought my bar mitzvah money was a big deal.)

+ Tango and Clash: “Months after access to a popular children’s book about a male penguin couple hatching a chick was restricted at school libraries because of Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay law,’ a central Florida school district says it has reversed that decision … And Tango Makes Three recounts the true story of two male penguins who were devoted to each other at the Central Park Zoo in New York.” (The idiocy is mind-boggling.)


Bottom of the News

“A Texas woman was attacked by a hawk and a snake at the same time after the bird – which eats snakes – accidentally dropped the wriggling serpent on her.” (This is why I’m indoorsy.)

+ Outside: I Did A Plank Every Day For 120 Days. Here’s What Happened. Spoiler alert: Meh.

+ And there were lots of reactions to yesterday’s Rolling Stones-infused lead about Zoom and returning to the office. Can’t You Hear Me Knocking?

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