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The Friends Reunion Proves It’s Time to Move On



The Monitor is a weekly column devoted to everything happening in the WIRED world of culture, from movies to memes, TV to Twitter.

Perhaps it’s time to say goodbye to Friends. No, no one has to stop watching reruns when there’s nothing else worth the time—it’s not like you can avoid them, anyway. And no, this isn’t a screed about how it’s a bad show that no one should discover, or rediscover, ever again. This is about the discourse; the constant dredging up of the 1990s Thursday night sitcom every few months to relitigate its merits and shortcomings. Friends is a good show. It does not, however, need to spark this much conversation.

A lot of this is the fault of streaming. When Friends hit Netflix a few years ago, it was uncovered by a whole new generation of viewers—digital natives who turned it into memes and jokes in a way the Gen Xers who grew up with it never did. This was fun for a while, but then the show got so popular that it became a loot box in the streaming wars. Ultimately Netflix lost it to HBO Max, the streaming service that, as of yesterday, is also home to Friends: The Reunion, a 90-minute special devoted to watching the cast relive all the things the internet has been rehashing for like five years now.

Well, most of the things. If there’s one thing Friends: The Reunion is missing, it’s a substantive conversation about Friends. The reunion special was, ostensibly, created to capitalize on the show’s resurgence and lure subscribers to HBO Max, but in addition to memes and BuzzFeed quizzes, the discourse about the show has brought to the fore its shortcomings: its lack of racial diversity, its less-than-stellar treatment of queer issues, its recurring jokes about Monica’s weight. None of those things get addressed here; though there is a somewhat awkward segment full of people all over the world talking about how much they love the show while avoiding the fact that many weren’t represented in it.

Perhaps that’s a lot to ask of a touchy-feely TV special hosted by Everybody’s Biggest Fan James Corden, but if there would be any reason to continue talking about Friends, that would be it. (And truly, there’s room to have a discussion about the fact that Friends was progressive for its time and use it as a signpost for how much things have changed.) Instead, Friends: The Reunion involved a lot of cameos (Lady Gaga singing “Smelly Cat”! Justin Bieber for some reason!) and not-surprising confessions (David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston did crush on each other! People hated Marcel the monkey!), all of which amount to a send-off rather than just a celebration.

That’s the way it should be. Nostalgia has been getting a lot of folks through the Covid-19 lockdowns and subsequent isolation. Watching a show like Friends not only reminds people of a time when luxuriating in coffee shops and sharing beers was possible, it also reminds them that they once watched Friends during less fraught periods. Friends: The Reunion itself was delayed by Covid, and now that it’s here, it serves as a healthy reminder that sometimes it’s OK to honor a beloved thing and move on.

That’s all I’m asking for: moving on. It’s one of the great ironies (there’s a ’90s idea for you) that the streaming wars have triggered both a massive influx of new original content and led scores of people to rewatch the old stuff. The same thing that happened with Friends also happened with The Office, and judging by my Twitter timeline, it is currently happening with The Nanny. That’s great—every generation should be able to rediscover classics like Mad About You, Good Times, or, the original Friends, Living Single. But the issuance of Friends: The Reunion needs to signal the fact that there’s very little, if anything, left to say about this show. Courtney Cox, who played Monica, all but acknowledged this during the reunion. “This will be the last time that we’re ever asked about the show as a group,” she said. “We’re not going to do this again in 15 more years.” And if they’re not going to be talking about it, nobody else should be either.

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Manchin Noncommittal on Renewing Biden Child Tax Credit Flowing to West Virginians



  • Sen. Joe Manchin is noncommittal on extending the child tax credit.
  • On Tuesday, he told Insider “everybody’s still talking and working. It’s a work in progress.”
  • Millions of children are receiving the CTC, hundreds of thousands of them in Manchin’s home state.

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On Tuesday, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia didn’t commit to approving the one-year child tax credit expansion as it’s laid out in the $2 trillion House-approved social spending package. It raises the prospect of further changes to the proposed cash benefit.

“Everybody’s still talking,” Manchin told Insider. “Everybody’s still talking and working. It’s a work in progress.”

He’d previously pushed for a work requirement as a condition to receiving the federal help.

Manchin’s noncommittal approach to the benefit underscores the potential adjustments to the House legislation now traveling through the evenly divided Senate. House Democrats approved the sprawling climate, health, and childcare package which contains the bulk of President Joe Biden’s economic agenda on November 19. Now all 50 Senate Democrats must coalesce around the package so it can clear the upper chamber.

Around $190 billion is set aside to renew the bulked-up child tax credit. It’s reached tens of millions of children in the form of monthly payments since July, including many in Manchin’s home state. Over 346,000 West Virginian kids have qualified for the aid, per the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.

It provides up to $300 a month per child age 5 and under, or $3,600 annually. For children between ages 6 and 17, families can receive $250 each month, or $3,000 yearly. And it would lock in the ability for the vast majority of American families to tap into the aid every month, regardless of whether they file taxes.

Experts and advocates say the measure has played a critical role in cutting child poverty. An August analysis from the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University indicated the child poverty rate dropped to 12% from 16% after the first checks went out. That amounts to three million kids that no longer live below the poverty line.

“It’s kind of a breakthrough idea here in Washington that we should just increase their financial resources to lift them out of poverty, and it’s working,” Andy Boardman, a research assistant at the nonpartisan Urban Institute, said in an interview. “We’re seeing poverty is down among families who are receiving the child tax credit, food insecurity is down. So it’s been hugely, hugely impactful.”

It’s also helped families buy school supplies, cover rent, and put food on the table, Insider previously reported.

The Biden administration has aggressively touted the child tax credit in recent months. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called the sharp drop in food insecurity among families “a profound economic and moral victory for the country” at a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

The child allowance has virtually no support among Republican lawmakers. Some like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell assailed it as a “welfare deposit.” The last monthly payment is set to go out on December 15, and 35 million families could be deprived of aid if Congress doesn’t step in.

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Donald Trump says Boris Johnson making ‘big mistake’ backing wind power



Donald Trump has warned Boris Johnson he is making a “big mistake” by backing “ridiculous” wind farms to drive the UK’s push to a net zero carbon economy.

The former US president said he still liked the British Prime Minister but claimed that he was wrong to support renewable wind energy.

The UK has become a world leader in wind energy, particularly offshore, and Mr Johnson has pushed for Britain to become to wind what Saudi Arabia is to oil in the drive to reach net zero by 2050.

I think wind is… ridiculous

Donald Trump

Investment in the technology over the past decade or more has led to the world’s largest wind farm, Hornsea One, being built in the North Sea off the east Yorkshire coast.

But Mr Trump, in an interview with former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said the UK was destroying its landscape by permitting the turbines to be installed.

Speaking to Mr Farage on GB News, the businessman – who owns golf courses in Scotland and Ireland – said: “He’s wrong, Boris is wrong if he’s going heavy into wind.

“He’s making a big mistake.”

The former White House incumbent labelled wind power the “most expensive form of energy”.

In comments made in Florida on Monday and due to be aired this week, Mr Trump said: “I think wind is, I think it’s ridiculous.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson pictured onboard the Esvagt Alba during a visit to the Moray Offshore Windfarm East, off the Aberdeenshire coast (Jane Barlow/PA)

(PA Wire)

The one-term president added: “Remember, every 10 years, you have to replace those monsters.

“And a lot of times they don’t bother. You know what they do? They just let them rot. They kill all the birds, they are so bad.”

Despite the criticism, Mr Trump – defeated by Joe Biden in last year’s presidential election – said he was fond of the Prime Minister, who he suggested had become “more liberal”.

“I like him. I get along with him. I’ve always gotten along with him,” Mr Trump said.

“He’s gone a little bit on the more liberal side.

“But I’ll tell you with energy, I’m surprised that he would allow that to happen because you have one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

“And you’re destroying it with all these wind turbines all over the place.”

Mr Johnson has not always been an advocate for wind power. In 2013, he said wind farms could not “pull the skin off a rice pudding”.

The interview with Mr Trump,  which touches on a range of subjects, including the royal family, the presidential election, the subsequent Capitol Hill riots, Black Lives Matter, the migrant crisis in the US and the UK, and the question of whether he plans to run for office again, is due to air at 7pm on Wednesday.

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Covid deaths: 1,438 get aid in city | Ahmedabad News



Ahmedabad: The district collector office has so far disbursed the Covid death aid of Rs 50,000 to 1,438 families in the past five days. The similar number of applications are already under process, said authorities. In all, Ahmedabad city has 3,319 recorded deaths and district 93.
Sandip Sagale, Ahmedabad collector, said that the process is expedited, and they are working on the details collected by teams. TNN


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