News·4 min read

Daily Skimm: Tennessee, Alex Murdaugh, and Jack Daniel’s whiskey

Governor Bill Lee
March 3, 2023


The Story

Tennessee is now the first state to restrict drag shows.

Catch me up.

Yesterday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed a bill criminalizing “adult cabaret performances” in public spaces or anywhere a minor might be able to see them. The reason: lawmakers say the shows are inappropriate for children. While the law doesn’t mention “drag” shows specifically, it does include “male or female impersonators” in its definition of adult cabaret. The law — which also addresses topless and exotic dancers — goes into effect later this year. Those found guilty could be charged with a misdemeanor. Repeat offenders could see a felony charge. But that’s not the only thing Tennessee did.

What else?

It became the latest state to ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth. Starting in July, doctors will be banned from prescribing puberty blockers and hormones or providing gender-affirming surgery to anyone under 18. And kids currently getting treatment will have until the end of March 2024 to stop. Now, anyone who breaks the law could reportedly face a $25,000 fine.

How are people reacting?

The ACLU called the gender-affirming care ban “dangerous” and promised to sue. The Human Rights Campaign has said lawmakers' efforts to ban drag shows are “misconstruing age-appropriate performances.” Others accused Lee of being a hypocrite after an old photo allegedly showing Lee dressed in women’s clothing and wearing a wig resurfaced. Meanwhile, many state lawmakers maintain the new laws are an effort to protect children.


Tennessee is now the eighth state in the country to ban or restrict gender-affirming care for trans youth. And at least eight other Republican states are considering a similar ban on drag shows. By one count, there are more than 300 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills being debated this year at the state level. It’s got many blaring the alarm on the devastating lasting impacts these laws could have on vulnerable populations.

And Also...This

Who’s guilty…

Alex Murdaugh. Yesterday, the disgraced South Carolina lawyer was convicted of murdering his wife and son. The Murdaugh murder trial dominated news headlines and became the subject of podcasts and documentaries. The Murdaughs were a well-connected family in South Carolina who served as state prosecutors for generations. In June 2021, Murdaugh called the police saying he found his 52-year-old wife and 22-year-old son shot to death near the family’s dog kennels. But it wasn’t until July 2022 that Murdaugh was indicted for the double murder. He pleaded not guilty. During a five-week trial, the defense questioned his alibi and argued that only Alex Murdaugh — who was reportedly swimming in debt — had the financial motive to kill. Murdaugh’s lawyer blamed the lies he told in his alibi on his drug addiction. Yesterday, amid a long list of circumstantial evidence, a South Carolina jury found him guilty.

  • What’s next: Murdaugh is set to be sentenced today. He faces 30 years to life. He also will stand trial for dozens of other criminal charges including alleged money laundering, tax evasion, drug trafficking, and insurance fraud.

What's still top of mind…

Jan 6. Yesterday, the Department of Justice told a federal appeals court that police officers should be allowed to sue former President Trump for the Jan 6 riot. Capitol Police officers and 11 members of Congress have been trying to hold Trump liable for injuries or damages caused during the insurrection, claiming Trump's words incited violence. The former president has tried to get these lawsuits dismissed in lower courts by arguing he has absolute immunity for his actions during his time in the Oval Office. Lower courts have told Trump that argument doesn't stand. Now, lawyers for the DOJ are saying Trump wouldn't have complete immunity, if his words are found to be an “incitement of imminent private violence.” However, they stayed away from using language that says Trump is liable for the riot. Now, it's up to a panel of judges to decide if the lawsuits can continue.

…Oh and speaking of making big claims, the bipartisan House Ethics Committee launched a formal investigation into Rep. George Santos (R-NY). The congressman says he's cooperating with the probe.

Who isn’t happy with the results…

Peter Obi. Yesterday, the Nigerian presidential candidate said he plans to contest the election results. Earlier this week, Bola Tinubu, from the ruling All Progressives Congress party, won Nigeria’s closely watched presidential race with about 8.8 million votes. The country is Africa’s largest democracy and biggest economy. Many, including the European Union, said the election “lacked transparency.” At least 93 million people registered to vote, but only 87 million got an election card. To top it off, only 24 million valid votes were counted due to technical difficulties. Voters also reported intimidation, suppression, and violence at the polls. Now, Obi says he plans to “explore all legal and peaceful options” to prove that he won the election. Atiku Abubakar, who came in second place, later said he would also challenge the results in court.

Why people are upset…

A chocolate campaign.

What’s not so neat…

Jack Daniel’s whiskey vapor.

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