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Week In Review

By Lisa Ornest
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

General News

Temporary End of Shut-Down

The New York Times calls it a "Stinging Defeat for the President." Yay Nancy. But don't crack the champagne just yet. Or at least not for this. Let's see what happens in three weeks.


Roger Stone Arrested

Roger Stone's arrest means that the FBI thinks that Stone is the connection between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks. There's a nice graphic showing the flow of info, including photos of Steve Bannon and the two Donalds. Sarah Sanders got on the horn to assure the press corps (and the American public) that the charges have nothing to do with the president. Fun facts: Roger Stone has a tattoo of Nixon on his back and apparently the indictment makes reference to Godfather II.




Let Them Eat Cake

How Trump's wealthy cronies, many of whom are actually in the government, or if they're not, have his ear anyway, don't really get what life is like for working people. Or care.


Marie Antoinette's Pearls

Speaking of cake, with the buyer's premium and other fees, these sold for approximately $36 million. The necklace was bought by Eugenie Niarchos, granddaughter of Greek billionaire shipowner Stavros Niarchos.


Goodbye Polar Bears

Goodbye penguins. Goodbye puffins. Et al. Goodbye beautiful world.




Never mind being targeted by advertisers, 16 states have given the FBI access to drivers' license photos, and local law enforcement also uses facial recognition software to fish for crime suspects. Not too far in the future everyone will be in the database, despite the fact that the techoology is "significantly less accurate" with regards to women and people of color.



Let Them Write Code!

Mark Zuckerberg plans to unite Whatsapp, Messenger, and Instagram in a way that will, ostensibly, keep them separate on top but unite them underneath. It will likely allow advertisers to cull even more demographic and personal information from users who think that ordering the cashier to "hold the pickles, hold the lettuce" is a true exercise of democratic principles and free will. Zuckerberg says that it's to help customers, but the point is really to generate more revenue through Facebook Marketplace, which is used in Asia, but only through WhatsApp.


Who Posted the Video?

This is about the viral video of those Kentucky Catholic school kids with MAGA hats who taunted Nathan Phillips, a Native American of the Omaha Tribe, and other participants in the Indigenous People's March at the Lincoln Memorial. However, it may have started prior to that, between those same white kids and a group of African American kids. Congress wants to know who posted the video and is trying to get Twitter to tell them. It may have been originally posted by someone with an alias.



NY Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act Signed into Law

Governor Cuomo signed into law the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, which adds gender identity and expression as protected classes to New York's human rights and hate crimes laws. The Act finally passed after being stalled for years by the Republican-controlled upper house.



Amanda Knox Entitled to Damages

After granting her the right to sue in 2016, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Italy owes Amanda Knox money damages for abusive interrogation and trial practices. She and her boyfriend were found guilty, then acquitted, then the convictions were re-instated, then they were acquitted again.


This Year's Girls

The Chinese scientist who claims to have edited the genes of twin baby girls was arrested.



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


Bryan Singer to Remain as Director Despite Allegations

Bryan Singer is going to remain as director of the film "Red Sonja", despite an Atlantic investigation into allegations that Singer had sex with underage boys, possibly on the set. As a result of the allegations, however, GLAAD, the gay rights advocacy group, is removing that film as a candidate for its Media Awards. The group said that it was wrong of Singer to cast the allegations as mere homophobia.


Sorkin Supersedes Sergel

Atticus LLC, the company formed by Scott Rudin to stage the Aaron Sorkin production of "To Kill a Mockingbird" on Broadway, has pulled rank on a pending British production, claiming worldwide rights and the intention to bring the production to the UK. The British production was to be based on the adaptation by Christopher Sergel, which has been performed regularly in the UK since 1991.


Equity Strike Regarding Development

Actor's Equity has called a strike against members of the Broadway League - the producers' trade organization - on new Broadway show development. The strike prevents performers from taking part in labs, workshops, and staged readings, all of which are integral to the development process of shows, particularly musicals. Equity is looking for a new contract that includes some profit-sharing for the actors. It's not clear yet what the formula should be. "To Kill a Mockingbird" is probably not a musical.



Weinstein Loses Motion to Dismiss, Wants the Other Side's Lawyer(s)

Apparently Weinstein threw a fit when Branfman's motion to dismiss was denied. So the court ruled that he can hire new lawyers, even though two of the new ones represented Rose McGowan previously and that might be a conflict of interest.


Chris Brown Brings Suit in Paris

"Slanderous denunciation" suit in Paris by Chris Brown, who seems to get into quite a bit of trouble.


Thirteen Reasons Author Fights Back

One teen's book author is fighting back after being exiled from his professional life and turned into a pariah, essentially, as the result of accusations of "sexual misconduct" that were not proven or even, he claims, investigated.


Attorney Howard Begle Dies

In other news, Howell Begle passed away on December 30th, from injuries related to a skiing accident. He was a Washington big-law partner specializing in newspaper acquisitions, but he took time out from his busy schedule to help recoup (or coup) royalties for R&B artists like Ruth Brown, Little Richard, Big Joe Turner, and Sam and Dave, among others. It was his efforts that encouraged Ahmut Ertugun and Atlantic Records to join with Ruth Brown and others to create the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, which provides financial and medical assistance to 1940s through 1970s R&B and Motown artists whose contracts, when they had them, were not slanted toward helping the artist.



Attorney Edward Morrison Dies

This obit marks the passing of Edward Morrison, Esq. (Columbia Law), a former deputy mayor to John Lindsay, and an advisor and friend to John and Yoko. He was born the same year as my dad, so maybe they knew each other at Brooklyn College, or in Berlin during the Korea War.



Less Than Minimum Wage for Writers

he median (not average) income for writers was $6,080 in 2017, down 42% from 2009. The survey results stated that "full-time mid-list and literary writers are on the verge of extinction, and only a little more than half derive 100% of their income from writing." Of course the results are skewed toward people who have the time and inclination to respond to the survey, which was incentivized with the chance to win one of a hundred Visa $50 gift cards. The survey was only of 5,067 published book authors, and who knows who actually participated. Probably not Stephen King.



Repatriation of African Art

A nice discussion of many of the issues of cultural repatriation of artworks, what it means for these particular works to be returned, how the meaning of the works themselves will change, the general idea that artworks need to circulate, and really the whole question of what is the best answer.


Jazz and Gender Justice

This is an excellent article about the little-discussed problem of gender inequality in the jazz world. The drummer, producer, and multiple Grammy-winner Terri Lyne Carrington, Artistic Director at the Berklee College of Music, recently founded the Jazz and Gender Justice Institute at the school. Carrington asks the very musical question, "Why is [jazz] so ass-backwards when it comes to gender?" The Downbeat website is a pay wall, but you can access the article at the author's website.




Figure Skater Commits Suicide

Figure skater John Coughlin, a two-time pairs champion from Kansas City, took his own life after being suspended by the U.S. Center for SafeSport as the result of sexual misconduct allegations. Coughlin said that SafeSport prohibited him from speaking out against the allegations while the case was pending. So instead, he killed himself.


No Sanctions for Russia re Doping Non-Compliance

The World Anti Doping Agency decided not to fine Russia for missing its deadline (the end of 2018) regarding access to a Moscow laboratory that may have tampered with doping samples. WADA actually went to Russia but was then denied access on what sounds like a pretext. Still, no sanctions.


"Soccer Hacker" Hiding Out in Hungary

The "soccer hacker" Rui Pinto was arrested in Budapest. He faces extradition to Brazil on charges of attempted extortion regarding his blabbing about a "secretive" "investment fund" (Doyen Sports) whose "business" was to bet millions on player transfers. It's Doyen's suit, but it's not clear that Doyen has nothing to hide. Pinto is trying to avoid extradition based on a 2014 Hungarian whistle-blower protection statute.


The Plight of High-Income Athletes

This interview with Matthew Notowidigdo, an associate professor of economics at Northwestern University, considers how a 70% taxation rate beginning at the $10 million annual earnings mark could affect high earning athletes. One way to deal with it might be deferred income, but how would that affect free agency? The particular problem in the National Basketball Association is that there is a Canadian team, and there is some discussion of how this might create a trading advantage for the Canadian players.



China Blocks Bing

China has apparently been successful in blocking the "Bing" Microsoft search engine.


The U.S. is Arresting Journalists

Marzieh Hashemi, 59, American born but based in Tehran, was arrested without charge on a material witness warrant, something about Iranian television. She was eventually released.


A Thousand Lost Jobs in Media This Week

Gannet cut approximately 400 jobs, Verizon (which owns HuffPost, Yahoo and AOL), announced 7% layoffs, and Buzzfeed is cutting 15%, its entire national desk.



France Fines Google

CNIL, France's data protection regulator, has fined Google 50M Euros ($57M U.S.) for Google's failure to comply with France's data protection regulations. Google failed to give users enough info about their data use or enough control over how their data is used.


YouTube Tweaking "Recommended" Algorithm

YouTube plans to tweak its algorithms to try and reduce the extent to which "conspiracy" or "phony miracle cure" or "flat earth" type videos are "recommended" to viewers. Part of the reason is to bring back advertisers.



Who Owns the News?

This is a publication announcement for Who Owns the News? A History of Copyright, by Will Slauter. This book, scheduled to hit the stores at the end of the month, traces approximately 400 years of the history of journalism, from the earliest printed news publications to the internet. Slauter addresses the tension between news as public domain versus intellectual property "ownership," and asks the question: where does the incentive lie (if anywhere) for journalistic integrity when there's no copyright protection?


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 28, 2019 10:31 AM.

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