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O'Neill's Mid-year Inventory -- in case you missed something

We are at the midway point of 2023. Let’s take inventory on the first six months of the ride,

shall we.

Sadly, February 24 marked one year since Russia invaded Ukraine with Putin’s miscalculated

“strategic military operation.” May 11 brought an end to the COVID-19 public health

emergency, three years and 100 days after it was declared.

Montana of all states, playing above its weight, banned Tik Tok. A few large regional banks

failed and threw a scare into consumers. Something called “Vanderpump Rules” on Bravo

celebrated its tenth year on the air. A rogue Chinese spy balloon floated cross-country before being downed off the. Carolina coast. There was a historic arctic outbreak of low temperatures in New England. Then wildfires in Nova Scotia and Quebec painted skies orange in the northeastern U.S.

Speaking of orange, the Con who Makes America Grate has sucked ever more air from the

universe, now the first former president to be indicted on federal counts (37). His Defiance was

arrested and arraigned June 13.

Someone named Jack Teixeira, a member of the Air National Guard in tiny Dighton MA, was

arrested April 13 for leaking secret U.S. government docs about the war in Ukraine and U.S.

surveillance of allies; he had posted hundreds of docs in his online (Discord) chatroom over

several months. Charges were transmission and retention of classified docs – very Trumpian.

Just a little to the south of Trump’s now-temporary address in Florida will be the Cuba

headquarters of China’s new U.S. surveillance installation. Trump no doubt would have given

Beijing a better deal (reported at “several” billion dollars) to set up at Mar-a-Lago, had Xi

Jinping just asked.

Another New York fraudster of Trumpian scale, George Santos did not (yet) declare his

candidacy for the GOP Presidential nomination in 2024, stating he was instead busy updating

his resume. Stay tuned – there’s nothing Santos can’t do.

Speaking of shameless, Kevin McCarthy went into his 4 th day in January seeking election as U.S.

Speaker of the House. It took him 15 ballots to get what he wanted.

In April, Joe Biden staked his claim for re-election 19 months ahead of time, wanting to be the

first 86-year-old President.

Midway through 2023, we’ve lost Lisa Marie Presley, Raquel Welch, Harry Belafonte, Gordon

Lightfoot, Tina Turner, and the Unabomber. King Charles III did not die, but was cremated . . .

uh, coronated. Word is that Charles is reading a page a night of his son Harry’s best-seller

“Spare,” released at the start of the year.

Turkey and Syria sustained twin quakes in early February that claimed an astounding 56,000

lives – almost the total of military casualties (58,500) lost by the U.S. through eight years of

direct intervention in the Vietnam War.

In May into June, four young indigenous family members age 11 months to 13 miraculously

survived 40 days in the Amazon jungle of Colombia after their mother and two others were

killed in a small plane crash. Reminds of the harrowing cave rescue of the boys soccer team five

years ago in Thailand during June and July.

Gun violence and mass shootings in the U.S. show no letup. Monterey Park, Half Moon Bay and

Los Angeles in late January were followed by Michigan State University in East Lansing, Rolling

Fork MS, Nashville, Louisville, Cleveland TX and Allen TX. At least 17 mass shootings and 175

gun deaths occurred over the Memorial Day Weekend in the U.S. Denver capped its NBA

championship with nine revelers shot during post-game celebration night.

In April, Bud Light retail store sales fell 21% compared with a year earlier due to social

influencer and transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney getting a personalized can of the beer to

create buzz during NCAA basketball “March Madness.” Seems many of the Bud Lighters in Red

Country USA didn’t want to be caught with what they were calling “tranny fluid.”

It’s been a tough go for Elon Musk. SpaceX’s Starship first giant space rocket aborted 4

minutes after liftoff April 20. The Musketeer, who dealt Tesla shares to finance his $44 billion

Twitter buy, is said to have lost $182 billion in wealth between November 2021 and early

January 2023 – the “worst loss of fortune in history.”

FOX News parent FOX Corp. agreed to a $787.5 million to settle a lawsuit by Dominion Voting

Systems, defamed by network broadcasts after the 2020 election. The company sought $1.6

billion in damages. Within a week, primetime star host Tucker Carlson was fired, the same day

CNN fired Don Lemon.

India’s population , according to the United Nations, will be bypassing China’s this year,

expected to reach 1.429 billion by the end of this year (vs. 1.426 billion in China). Meantime, a

record audience of 115.1 million watched Super Bowl LVII in February.

Buffalo Wild Wings was sued for passing off slices of chicken breast, deep-fried and made to

look like wings – more akin to a chicken nugget. Asked about the suit, BWW Tweeted: “It’s

true. Our chicken wings are all-white chicken. Our hamburgers contain no ham. Our buffalo

wings are 0% buffalo.”

In real Buffalo, Damar Hamlin says he again will play football for the Bills. The trauma of seeing

him being resuscitated on an NFL playoff field on the second day of 2023 was nearly

unwatchable. His full recovery is almost unimaginable.

May the back half of 2023 give us more hope.

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