I told you I’d be back 🤖

News 6 Now 4 p.m. newsletter -- 4/14/21

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Hey there boys and girls and non-binary folks, it’s Thomas Mates again. I told you I’d be back and I now get to prove that I am a man of my word, in much the same vein as Arnold Schwarzenegger. I had to settle for a robot emoji up there in the headline because they apparently don’t make a Terminator one — which seems like a real missed opportunity to me.

In any case, Bri is off today, so you’re stuck with me and my overwhelming sense of unearned confidence. I’m hoping to deliver a real humdinger of a newsletter for you all today, so let’s set aside my chutzpah and get into the meat of this bad boy or girl or whatever.

Tom’s Big 3️⃣ — 4/14/21

1. Disney’s new ‘look’ 🐭

Central Florida might not be the place to admit this, but I am not the biggest Disney fan. Please, forgive me, but it’s all a little saccharine for my tastes. However, I’m a big Marvel fan so the mouse still gets some of my money. But, I digress. I can still see a big story when one comes my way and the recent changes to the “Disney Look” is certainly a big story, especially since Walt Disney World is among our area’s biggest employers. The company is now adjusting its employee dress code to be more gender-neutral, allowing all workers the same options when it comes to makeup, nail polish, hairstyles and jewelry. It also allows workers to have exposed tattoos for the first time, so long as they are appropriate for all ages. Disney says it is all part of an effort to make its parks feel more inclusive for guests and cast members alike.

2. I wonder what her friends think? 🤦‍♂️

Journalists are big fans of the First Amendment. It lets us do our jobs. Like it or not, everyone is entitled to their opinion and the expression of that opinion, but that doesn’t mean you can say whatever you want wherever you want. You can’t yell fire in a crowded theater and you probably shouldn’t go on a racist tirade inside a Walgreens. Also, not everything that comes out of your mouth is protected speech — which this woman found out when police said she spit on a couple in Fort Lauderdale last month. Cellphone video showed her making Islamophobic comments to a Muslim couple and threatening to “spit on you again.” Police showed up and threw her in handcuffs, but the couple ultimately decided to show mercy and did not press charges. While in cuffs, the woman said “I have friends who are Muslim.” That may have been true at the time, but I wonder if they are reconsidering the relationship.

3. Dress rehearsal 🚀

We are inching closer and closer to space tourism. Today, Blue Origin, one of the companies looking to send paying customers into the final frontier hit another milestone. The company launched its New Shepard rocket from West Texas today. Prior to liftoff, employees stood in for those commercial astronauts taking the final steps before launch, but, they exited the capsule before engines fired. After New Shepard launched and the capsule separated, reaching the edge of space, both then returned to land in Texas about 10 minutes later. The capsule reached nearly 350,000 feet and up to 2,247 mph at maximum velocity, according to Blue Origin. The company has yet to provide a timeline as to when it will begin launching people. Personally, I’d love to visit the edge of space, but I know more than a few people who would need some convincing.

Here are some other things you should know about today:

1. President Joe Biden is ordering all US troops 🪖 home from Afghanistan by Sept. 11

2. Ponzi schemer 💰 Bernie Madoff died in federal prison at the age of 82

3. A Pittsburgh-based company says it’s ready to return America to the Moon 🌑

4. Dr. Anthony Fauci says anyone who received the J&J vaccine 💉 should not be worried

5. A baby alligator 🐊 is no match for two determined Florida women armed with a Swiffer

Well, my friends, that’s it for me. We’ve learned a little and hopefully laughed a little. I’m not sure when I’ll be back around again, but Bri has to take some more time off eventually and, as the song goes, 🎵 we’ll meet again 🎵 (I like Johnny Cash’s cover personally).

If you can’t wait for Bri’s next bout of R&R, you can always drop me a line at tmates@wkmg.com. Until next time.

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.