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Week in Review

By Leslie Berman

Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Supreme Court Weighs Purge of Ohio Voting Rolls

The plaintiff was struck from Ohio's voting rolls after he failed to vote for a few years and did not respond to a state communique. The Justice Department previously opined that failure to vote was not a valid reason for purging a voter. However, it has now reversed that position. "The Supreme Court appeared deeply divided over whether Ohio may kick people off the voting rolls if they skip a few elections and fail to respond to a notice from state officials." Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that Ohio's approach effectively disenfranchised minority and homeless voters in the state's major cities and was part of a broader effort to suppress voting. She said that: '"All of these impediments result in large numbers of people not voting in certain parts of the state."

Yet Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Stephen G. Breyer expressed concern about maintaining the integrity of the state's list of eligible voters. '"The reason they're purging them," Justice Kennedy said, "is they want to protect the voter rolls from people that have moved."

'The Justice Department for decades took the position that failing to vote should not lead to disenfranchisement.

'After the last presidential election, the department switched sides in the case, Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, No. 16-980.

'Questioning Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco, Justice Sotomayor said that it "seems quite unusual that your office would change its position so dramatically," particularly where the new stance had "a negative impact on certain groups in this society."


President Trump's Most Recent Unpresidential Statement

Despite the Twitter bombs and counter-reportage on the usual range of topics, for sheer volume of opinionated weigh-ins, it was hard to top the story of the President's "vulgar insult to immigrants," perpetrated and reported widely over the last week, even by the newspaper of record, which printed the scatological term "shithole" for what may be the first time the word has been seen in that outlet. Not surprisingly, Trump finding pushback and outrage from many quarters, later claimed that what he said was "tough" and "not derogatory."

Across Long Island, Vulgarity Attributed to Trump Draws Denunciations

Long Island Republican Congressman Peter King, who is usually a Trump supporter, called the President's comments "wrong". Democratic Congressman Thomas Suozzi posted "Awful, Inappropriate, Unpresidential" in a social media tweet. Many others also called out the President for his racist anti-immigrant slurs. Trump apologist and Republican Lee Zeldin seemed to give the president the benefit of the doubt, saying that he isn't going "to call for the President's mouth to be washed out w soap."


However, not everyone disagreed with Trump. Some analysts see the rise of crude, dehumanizing and racist language emerging in the mainstream as a signal that racism is becoming an acceptable part of political discourse.

Trump's Immigration Remarks Outrage Many, but Others Quietly Agree

'LONDON -- The Czech president has called Muslim immigrants criminals. The head of Poland's governing party has said refugees are riddled with disease. The leader of Hungary has described migrants as a poison.

'This week, Austria's new far-right interior minister suggested "concentrating" migrants in asylum centers -- with all its obvious and odious echoes of World War II.

'So when President Trump said he did not want immigrants from "shithole" countries, there was ringing silence across broad parts of the European Union, especially in the east, and certainly no chorus of condemnation.'


Porn Star Was Reportedly Paid to Stay Quiet About Affair with Donald Trump

President Trump's lawyer allegedly made a payoff to a porn star known as Stormy Daniels, to keep her mum about her claimed pre-election affair with Trump. "A lawyer for President Trump orchestrated a $130,000 payment to a pornographic-film actress in October 2016 to prevent her from going public with claims of a consensual sexual encounter with Mr. Trump, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

"The reported payment came shortly before the presidential election and as the actress, Stephanie Clifford, 38, was discussing sharing her account with ABC's "Good Morning America" and the online magazine Slate, according to interviews, notes and text messages reviewed by The New York Times.


Google Memo Author Sues, Claiming Bias Against White Conservative Men

"James Damore was fired from his engineering job at Google last year after he wrote a memo that criticized the company's diversity efforts and argued that the low number of women in engineering positions was a result of biological differences.

'Now he is suing his former employer for workplace discrimination, claiming that Google is biased against white men with conservative views.

'The lawsuit, filed Monday by Mr. Damore and another former Google employee with California Superior Court of Santa Clara County, also claims that the company uses illegal quotas in order to hire women and minorities.


H&M Apologizes for 'Monkey' Image Featuring Black Child

"The clothing retailer H&M apologized on Monday for an image appearing in its online store that showed a black child model wearing a hooded sweatshirt that said "coolest monkey in the jungle." The company removed the image on Monday and said it would also pull the shirt from its stores worldwide.

'The image was widely criticized online for its reference to a monkey, an animal that has long featured in racial and ethnic slurs. The Weeknd, a Canadian pop star of Ethiopian descent, was one of those who criticized the clothing giant, writing on Twitter that he would decline to work with the company in the future.'


The following stories of note fall into Entertainment, Arts, Sports, and Media categories:


Live Nation Settles Suit With Ticketing Start-Up, Buying Its Assets

"Two years ago, Songkick, a ticketing start-up that operated out of a loft in Brooklyn, filed an antitrust suit against Live Nation Entertainment, the colossus of the concert business.

'The David-and-Goliath suit included accusations of abuse of market power by Live Nation and its Ticketmaster subsidiary.

'But on Friday, less than two weeks before the start of a trial, Live Nation announced that it had settled the suit for $110 million and an additional undisclosed sum to acquire some of Songkick's remaining technology assets and patents."


Radiohead Denies Suing Lana Del Rey Over Copyright (but Still Wants Credit)

Warner/Chappell confirmed that it was seeking credit for Lana Del Rey's "Get Free" from her album "Lust For Life". The story refers to the '"Blurred Lines" effect: a new song accused of stealing from an old one by borrowing chords, texture or "feel," the kind of generic elements that have long been considered fair game.'


Broadway San Diego Moves to End Ties With Ben Vereen

'Broadway San Diego, a touring production group, announced that it cut ties to the actor Ben Vereen, whose name was on an awards program rewarding outstanding local high school performers. . . . 'The New York Daily News reported that multiple women were accusing Mr. Vereen of sexual misconduct connected to a 2015 community theater production of the musical "Hair" in Florida.

'"Effective immediately, Broadway San Diego is ending its association with Mr. Ben Vereen," the company said in a statement reported by The San Diego Union Tribune.'"




Purge of Kevin Spacey Gives 'All the Money in the World' a Pay Problem

"The kidnapping drama "All the Money in the World" became a new flash point in the debate over gender equality in Hollywood.

'Ridley Scott, who directed the movie, and Imperative Entertainment, the company that produced and financed it, were lauded in December for purging the disgraced actor Kevin Spacey from the film. After multiple men accused Mr. Spacey of unwanted sexual advances, the "All the Money in the World" team replaced him with Christopher Plummer and hastily reassembled much of the cast and crew in London for reshoots.

'But the movie... now finds itself embroiled in a new scandal. And it involves the reshoots made necessary by the attempt to release the movie with a clear conscience.

'The film's female star, Michelle Williams, was paid a per diem of $80, a bit above the union minimum, for 10 days of added work. Her male counterpart, Mark Wahlberg, received the same per diem -- plus $1.5 million.'


Mark Wahlberg and Agency Will Donate $2 Million to Time's Up After Outcry Over Pay

Wahlberg and his agency, William Morris, will share in the payment to Time's Up.


Cairo's Self-Appointed Lawsuit King Sues Actors, Belly Dancers, and Even Puppet Shows

In Egypt, a self-appointed watchdog of Egyptian morality files suit against entertainment figures, human and puppet, who "promote debauchery, "insult the nation" or commit other alleged offensive acts. In Egypt, an individual can sue another for these crimes, and though many of his suits are dismissed as frivolous, those that have succeeded have "stifled free speech, hobbled the arts and even swayed national politics."



The Authenticity of Modigliani Paintings Questioned Once Again

"The tormented artist Amedeo Modigliani is beloved both by art aficionados and forgers.

'Now, an art expert has written a report, leaked by the Italian news media, for state prosecutors that says a third of the works in a popular Modigliani exhibition last year in Genoa, Italy, are fakes.

'The expert, Isabella Quattrocchi, said that seven drawings and eight oil paintings by Modigliani, as well as six oil paintings attributed to his friend and sometime collaborator, Moise Kisling, were not authentic. The art works were lent by private collectors and museums in Italy, Switzerland, Israel, Argentina and the United States."

Quattrocchi said in the report that the works had been "crudely forged," "both in terms of style and pigments," according to the news agency ANSA. She also wrote that the frames came from Eastern Europe and the United States, and had little to do with Modigliani in terms of context and historical period.


Inside the Battle for Arthur Miller's Archive

Arthur Miller's literary remains have been in limbo since his death in 2005. One hundred and sixty boxes of archival materials have been at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin for decades, uncatalogued and inaccessible to scholars, while other documents, including 8,000 pages of private journals, have remained at his home in rural Connecticut. Yale University tried to buy the archive, including the holdings at the Ransom Center plus 70 boxes held privately by the estate - a treasure trove containing 332 feet of material including an unpublished essay about Marilyn Monroe that Miller began writing following her death - but after a tussle, the Ransom Center paid what Yale offered, as the Texas archive asserted that it had a right of first refusal.


Charles Dutoit, Conductor Accused of Sexual Assault, Leaves Royal Philharmonic

The reckoning over sexual misconduct is international in scope, as evidenced by the departure of Royal Philharmonic artistic director and principal conductor Charles Dutoit, who was also dropped by other orchestras.

"Charles Dutoit is stepping down from his post as artistic director and principal conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London following accusations that he sexually assaulted several women between 1985 and 2010, the orchestra announced Tuesday.

'Mr. Dutoit, 81, had originally planned to retire from the orchestra nearly two years from now, in October 2019, when he was to be named its "honorary conductor for life."" However, after several women publicly accused him last month of sexual misconduct, the orchestra's board held an emergency meeting, consulted with Dutoit and, the orchestra said in a statement Tuesday, "together decided to bring forward his resignation" to take immediate effect.


Male Models Say That Mario Testino and Bruce Weber Sexually Exploited Them

"Fifteen current and former male models who worked with Bruce Weber, whose racy advertisements for companies like Calvin Klein and Abercrombie & Fitch helped turn him into one of the foremost commercial and fine art photographers, have described to The New York Times a pattern of what they said was unnecessary nudity and coercive sexual behavior, often during photo shoots."


The #MeToo Moment: Art Inspired by the Reckoning

Feminist political artworks have shown the state of the status of women since Judy Chicago called women together to collectively make "The Dinner Party" (which is permanently installed at the Brooklyn Museum). Two decades later, "[t]he Guerrilla Girls forced attention to the fine art world's gender and racial disparity with their gorilla masks and guerrilla-style stunts. ("Guerrilla Girls' definition of a hypocrite?" read one poster. "An art collector who buys white male art at benefits for liberal causes, but never buys art by women or artists of color."). The New York Times has collected some works by contemporary artists inspired by #MeToo.



Russian Doping

Whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov will testify, but his life is under 'serious threat'.


After Pledging Reform, FIFA Pays Millions to Ruling Council

"Despite promises of reform and mounting losses, FIFA, world soccer's governing body, paid members of its ruling council nearly $10 million last year.

'According to three people with direct knowledge of the payments, FIFA, a nonprofit organization, paid each of the elected representatives on its 37-member council $250,000 salaries, plus tens of thousands of dollars more in travel expenses, in 2017. The people asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to disclose the information before FIFA officially releases it in March.

'That level of compensation -- for a council that is scheduled to meet only three times this year -- far exceeds payments for similar work at some of the world's largest for-profit companies. It also appears to contradict the pledges, made repeatedly by FIFA's president, Gianni Infantino, since his election in 2016, to restore the organization's credibility by implementing fiscal discipline."


Gymnast Maggie Nichols Wants 'Everyone to Know' About Larry Nassar's Abuse

"Maggie Nichols announced Tuesday that she, too, was sexually abused by the former U.S.A. Gymnastics team physician Dr. Lawrence G. Nassar, and that she was the first to report the abuse to the sport's national governing body."


He Helped Ex-Players Get Benefits, But His Family Is Still Waiting

Mike Webster's diagnosis of "chronic traumatic encephalopathy" - the degenerative brain disease linked to repeated hits to the head - has led to a substantial settlement for disability benefits, but his family might be unable to share in those funds which could be five million dollars ($5,000.000) per player. The National Football League insisted on a provision in the settlement that could prevent players who died before 2006 from receiving compensation.


Vegas Golden Knights, Named to Avoid Trademark Dispute, Face Trademark Dispute

"[The owner of the Vegas Golden Knights hockey team,] Bill Foley, is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, whose athletic teams have long competed as the Army Black Knights. Mr. Foley had initially hoped to call his new hockey team the Black Knights but encountered resistance, including some from West Point.

'So he went with Golden Knights instead -- but now, it seems, that wasn't enough.

'The Army, it turns out, has a parachute team known as the Golden Knights. And when the hockey franchise unveiled its name in November 2016, West Point officials took note, saying they were "reviewing the situation and figuring out what the way ahead would be."


Yankees Announce Details of Extended Netting at Stadium

In September, "when a toddler was severely injured when she was hit in the head by a line drive behind the third-base dugout at Yankee Stadium, left players for the Yankees and the visiting Minnesota Twins shaken, and drew widespread attention. It prompted at least five other teams to make announcements that they would add netting. The Yankees joined them on the final day of the regular season.

'On Wednesday came the details: nets that will extend nine feet above the dugout roofs and five and a half feet above the short walls that extend down the foul lines."


Tonya Harding Would Like Her Apology Now

In the wake of the new biopic, "I, Tonya," Tonya [Harding] Price is interviewed about her life before and after, and of course, about, the event for which she will forever be known - the attack on competitor figure skater Nancy Kerrigan - in which she tries to set the record straight, and to describe life after being banned forever from the national organization for professional figure skating.


New Sound at Saudi Soccer Game: Women Cheering From the Stands

In the soccer-obsessed but ultraconservative Islamic kingdom, the match between the local teams Al-Ahli and Al-Batin in Jidda was the first time that women were allowed to attend a game at a public stadium, a new step in the government's efforts to loosen gender restrictions.



Steve Bannon Steps Down From Breitbart Post

Stephen K. Bannon's fortunes having waxed him into the White House, and waning, waltzed him out just as unceremoniously, are now melting away. In extensive interviews with author Michael Wolff for Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, Bannon questioned the President's fitness for office and disparaged Donald Trump, Jr., bringing down tweet storms in rebuttals that had him soon backpedaling from those statements. Yet it was only the most recent attack by the President that has caused conservatives, including Breibart funders, to abandon Bannon, leading to his decision to step down from his post as Executive Chairman of Breitbart News. SiriusXM, on which he hosted a radio program, cancelled him as well.


'Media Men' List Creator Outs Herself, Fearing That She Would Be Named

According to a tweet stream, essayist Katie Roiphe was about to expose the author of a Google spreadsheet listing "Shitty Media Men" - 70 men who were known or rumored to be sexual predators - in her upcoming story to be published in Harper's magazine in March. Although Roiphe says that she did not name the author, that rumor triggered a number of other authors of upcoming Harper's articles to pull their stories, hoping to pressure Harper's to protect the confidentiality of the author of the list. Then the author of the list outed herself in a story published online on New York magazine's website 'The Cut', with the headline "I Started the Media Men List: My Name Is Moira Donegan."



Condé Nast Crafts Rules to Protect Models From Harassment

"Prompted by the sexual harassment outcry that has enveloped fashion and other industries, Condé Nast said it began working in late October on a code of conduct that will go into effect this month...

Separately, in response to allegations of sexual harassment and abuse of power from numerous male models against the photographers Bruce Weber and Mario Testino, the media company said in a statement on Friday [January 12] that it would stop working with the two men, at least for now."


Tech Backlash Grows as Investors Press Apple to Act on Children's Use

'"A creator of the iPhone called the device "addictive." A Twitter founder said the "internet is broken." An early Facebook investor raised questions about the social network's impact on children's brains.'

'Barry Rosenstein, managing partner of Jana Partners, an investment firm that wrote an open letter to Apple this weekend pushing it to look at its products' health effects, especially on children [said that companies have a role to play to help address such issues.] "As more and more founders of the biggest tech companies are acknowledging today, the days of just throwing technology out there and washing your hands of the potential impact are over." . . . Jana, an activist hedge fund, wrote its letter with Calstrs, the California State Teachers' Retirement System, which manages the pensions of California's public-school teachers."


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 14, 2018 9:30 PM.

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