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Week in Review

By Eric Lanter

Supreme Court Cancels Hearing on Previous Trump Travel Ban

The Supreme Court cancelled its hearing of the Trump administration's revised travel ban, which targeted seven majority Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa and severely limited immigration from those countries. President Trump announced a third revised travel ban, which also includes two countries that do not have majority Muslim countries, and is therefore more likely to be upheld by the Supreme Court if it is challenged on the basis of religious discrimination, as expected. The Supreme Court's decision to cancel the hearing is likely to lead to a decision deeming the case moot as a result of the revisions.


Twitter Seen as Key Battlefield in Russian Influence Campaign

Following Facebook coming under scrutiny both in the public eye and behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, Twitter is now under the microscope. Given the platform's historical problem with eliminating bots from its site, as well as the fact that accounts can be created with near-total anonymity, it was an appealing platform for Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election. Analysts have observed what appear to be continued use of the bots through the latest controversies, including that of National Football League (NFL) players taking a knee during the national anthem. It is expected that Twitter will disclose documents to the Congressional committees investigating the Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.


Attorney General Sessions Joins War Over Free Speech

Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited Georgetown University Law Center and spoke about free speech at universities. Sessions called for a re-commitment to having free speech on campuses. He lamented that universities have transformed "into an echo chamber of political correctness and homogeneous thought, a shelter for fragile egos." He cited examples of conservative commentators having to cancel their speaking engagements because of protests.


Egyptian Concertgoers Wave Flag, are Jailed

Egyptian police arrested seven concertgoers for promoting homosexuality after the audience members waved rainbow-colored flags at a concert in Cairo last week. A popular Lebanese band, Mashrou' Leila, whose lead singer is openly gay, was performing in Cairo at a time when Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been cracking down on free speech and gay rights. The seven individuals were charged with "promoting sexual deviancy," leaving one to remark that he would have been in half the trouble if he had waved an ISIS flag.


Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, and Media:


Pharrell Williams 'Takes a Knee' as Artists Join Anthem Protest

Singer and producer Pharrell Williams, while at a charity concert in Charlottesville, Virginia, dropped to both knees in a show of solidarity with the NFL players who have knelt or locked arms during the national anthem as a show of defiance against the Trump administration, and to raise awareness of police brutality and racial injustice. This debate was inflamed when President Trump tweeted that players who do not stand during the national anthem should be fired. Several other performers have taken a knee like Williams, including Stevie Wonder, Dave Matthews, John Legend, and Eddie Vedder.



Billionaires, Bruised Egos and the Death of a Grand Project

Barry Diller's dream of opening Pier 55, a floating park in the Hudson River near 14th Street, was dashed after months of resistance from those in the community who did not want the park. They challenged him in federal court, causing a judge to revoke the permit to build, and Diller arranged a meeting with the people who had waged a war against him. When confronted with the minutiae of building the park and addressing their concerns, he agreed to abandon the project. With that, the six-year saga that had cost $40 million ended, putting Diller into company with David Rockefeller, another billionaire who tried and failed to develop the West Side's waterfront.


The Guggenheim Bows to Animal Rights Activists

The Guggenheim came under pressure from animal rights activists for an exhibition that showed dogs struggling to fight each other, pigs mating, and hundreds of insects, lizards, and snakes under an overhead lamp. Each piece was meant to be symbolic of oppression in China, but activists did not sympathize. The Guggenheim has since removed the works from exhibition, prompting the artist and activist Ai Weiwei to say in a telephone interview: "Pressuring museums to pull down artwork shows a narrow understanding about not only animal rights but also human rights."




In College Basketball Scandal, Follow the Money and the Shoes

At major colleges and universities, there have been quid pro quos among companies, like Adidas, and staff, such as associate head coaches. Nearly $100,000 changed hands as bribes to bring top prospects to the best programs in college sports. These allegations and more were revealed in a series of complaints that federal investigators made public on Tuesday. The complaints show a black market surrounding teenage athletes, where executives at shoe companies like Adidas paid families of potential star athletes tens of thousands of dollars to influence their decisions in selecting programs. Louisville's men's basketball program is the latest to be caught in this type of scandal, causing Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino to be fired, a disgrace for the two-time national champion. While he denied any knowledge of wrongdoing, the recent revelations paint the picture that it was so pervasive as to be difficult to ignore.



Nine Florida Football Players Face Fraud Charges

Nine players for the University of Florida are now facing felony charges for transferring money from a stolen credit card to their campus bookstore accounts, using the funds to buy electronics. All of the players were suspended from the team, but are still enrolled at the university.


Tom Brady: 'I Certainly Disagree' With What Trump Said

Tom Brady, the five-time Super Bowl winner and quarterback of the New England Patriots, has a documented friendship with President Trump. Brady, on a morning radio show, commented that he "certainly disagree[d]" with President Trump's statements as they were divisive. Notably, Brady chose to lock arms with one of his teammates and put his other hand over his heart during the national anthem during their last game.


NFL Owners' Unity With Players Might Be Short-Lived

NFL owners are predominantly white, conservative billionaires, and several were top donors to Donald Trump's campaign. However, following the debate surrounding kneeling during the national anthem, many owners find themselves in harmony with their players. Analysts expect that the display of unity will likely be short-lived, as the kneeling issue fades and labor disputes flare up again.


Trump's NFL Critique Calculated to Shore Up His Base

Those close to President Donald Trump have noted that he was pleased at the response of his base to his attacks on former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other athletes kneeling during the national anthem. Kellyanne Conway, a White House advisor, called him "intuitive" for his ability to discern what his base wants and to act based on those wants. Others have noted that Trump's shoring up his base inevitably pulls him away from the center, and makes it more difficult to accomplish his legislative agenda, as Congress is not likely to broadly agree with his brand of politics.


Trump Attacks Warriors' Curry. LeBron James' Retort: 'U Bum.'

On Twitter, President Trump withdrew Golden State Warriors' star Stephen Curry's invitation to the White House, which was extended after the Warriors won the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship earlier this year. This prompted other NBA stars to come defend their colleague. LeBron James tweeted back to President Trump: "U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!" This development is the latest in athletes commenting on race and social justice, to which President Trump has increasingly reacted.


A Big College Sports Business is About to Get Bigger

Learfield Communications began as a small company selling rights to radio broadcasts, corporate sponsorships, and in-stadium signage for the University of Missouri. It expanded in the last 40 years and mergeed with a competitor, IMG College, to control multimedia rights for approximately 55 of 65 colleges and universities in major conferences. Learfield hopes to continue acquiring rights, such as naming rights, ticketing, and associated licensing with all the major programs to further grow the business and to increase the scale of businesses supporting college sports.



68 Things You Cannot Say on China's Internet

Writers have to be remarkably careful in China in what they seek to publish. A writer cannot describe explicit sexual acts, leaving romance novels to be vague in their descriptions. China released a directive identifying 68 categories of materials that are censored on the internet, also including political commentary, material that depicts excessive drinking or gambling, material that publicizes a life of luxury, or any ridicule of China's historical revolutionary heroes.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 1, 2017 3:20 PM.

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