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June 10, 2019

Wobble Up (feat. © infringement?) (Kate Spade Remix)

By Joshua Lahijani

"Wobble Up" by Chris Brown never broke into the Billboard Hot 100, despite featuring popular artists Nicki Minaj and G-Easy. (https://www.billboard.com/music/Chris-Brown/chart-history) Released on April 18th, it is a hip-hop single that is to feature on Brown's upcoming album "Indigo". Despite the lukewarm response to the song, the music video, directed by Arrad Rahgoshay (https://www.imdb.com/name/nm5742174/) and Chris Brown (https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2093097/), has been targeted by multiple artists for copyright infringement.

The video contains four controversial images/scenes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odgvsMFSIo8):

1. A visual pun of beach bums (the artists) on a beach that is a bum;
2. a colorfully painted breast with a temperature knob displacing the nipple;
3. two lemons on a blue backdrop with a distinctive piercing on the right sitting flat on a surface;
4. an eggplant made from a lavender colored balloon on a grapefruit/peach colored backdrop; and
5. two grapefruits nested in a lace bra.

The video frames contain images that are similar to "concept" works by three artists:

1. A visual pun of beach bums (stick figures) on a beach that is a bum - concept work by Marius Sperlich (https://www.instagram.com/p/BmZG3dvn59T/);
2. a nude breast with a temperature knob displacing the nipple - concept work by Marius Sperlich (https://www.instagram.com/p/BpC3Z0snFSC/);
3. two lemons on a pink backdrop with a distinctive piercing on the right pointed upright on the surface - work by Tony Futura (https://www.instagram.com/p/BI3MkO2gR1E/);
4. an eggplant made from a lavender colored balloon on a pastel blue backdrop - work by Vanessa Mckeown (https://www.instagram.com/p/BxxbpplARU2/); and
5. two eggs nested in a lace bra - work by Vanessa Mckeown (https://www.instagram.com/p/BhCPvpyAZKV/).

In an Instagram post on May 21st, Sperlich stated:

Apparently my work got copied by the director who made the new . . . music video "Wobble Up" - without permission, without credit - along with works of other famous artists like @tonyfutura and @vanessamckeown #changeindustry For reference: A concept of @tonyfutura got copied, too. . . . Intellectual Property has to be protected at any cost! Now that the internet and social media proliferate content instantly. We need to make sure that the creative source is present from first launch. This unfortunately happens offers in the creative industry. Nowadays its very easy to copy things. For many the internet is just an open source of concepts, ideas and free content. Nobody cares about creation, originals and credit anymore. Especially if you are a young and an emerging artist....most cant afford a lawyer for a lawsuit. So most of them remain silent - We won't stay silent.

An Instagram post on May 21st by Futura stated:

So, apparently my work got copied by the director who made the new @chrisbrownofficial @nickiminaj @g_eazy music video "Wobble Up" - without permission, without credit - along with works of other famous artists like @mariussperlich and @vanessamckeown #changeindustry please tag, comment, repost and help us artists to get press on this. because credit is the only thing that lets people know about our work. credit saves creativity. please help us to spread awareness to all creative fields and the creative industry. #changeindustry

Turning away from the discussion of direct copying, this issue invokes a copyright concept that has been discussed over and over (and over) again, the idea-expression dichotomy. Copyrights protect the expression of an idea, and not the idea itself (see Mazer v. Stein). This scenario is reminiscent of another case, Bill Diodato Photogrpahy, LLC v. Kate Spade, LLC (2005). In Kate Spade, the plaintiff's photo was "of the bottom of a bathroom stall . . . [from] the opening underneath the door, one can see a woman's feet, astride a toilet, in stylish, colorful shoes, her underwear hanging above her ankles, and a handbag resting on the floor."

Diodato submitted the photograph to Kate Spade in January 2003 in promoting his "portfolio". Kate Spade denied seeing the photograph, but included in its November 2003 advertising campaign a photograph "of a woman's feet, astride a toilet, in stylish, colorful shoes, with a handbag on the floor." The court, after considering issues of evidence of actual copying and the doctrine of scenes a faire, dismissed the case, stating that the "significant elements of the [Plaintiff's photograph that] are similar to the Kate Spade Photograph are not protectable -- and that elements that are protectable are . . . de minimis."

Did the Rahgoshay and Brown video misappropriate the protected works of the artists beyond the de minimis or did they simply express their expression of an idea? If the artists file suit, a court may decide.

June 11, 2019

Week In Review

By Chantelle A. Gyamfi
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Below are stories from Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Media, and General News:

ENTERTAINMENT

Hollywood Big Shot to Raise Money for Battle Against Anti-Abortion Laws

Hollywood producer Peter Chernin has launched a campaign to contribute to the $15 million that is needed to fund the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) legal efforts to battle the national anti-abortion effort. Chernin wrote in an email to other entertainment titans that "we have a moral responsibility to act immediately" to fight Georgia's anti-abortion law. Recipients of the email included senior executives at all of the major movie studios, as well as entertainment power players like Jeff Bezos, Ari Emanuel, Ted Sarandos, Tim Cook, and Shonda Rhimes, with July 1st being the deadline for donating.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/03/business/media/abortion-laws-hollywood.html?searchResultPosition=1

Apple Bids Farewell to iTunes After Just 18 Years

iTunes, Apple's "digital jukebox", has been cancelled after 18 years. Apple executives announced at their annual developer conference that iTunes would be dismantled, and its features would be split among three apps: Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, and Apple TV.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/03/technology/itunes-shutting-down.html?searchResultPosition=1

ARTS

Central Park Five Presented With Courage Award

Actor Michael B. Jordan presented the men known as the "Central Park Five" with an award for their perseverance and courage during a luncheon in which the ACLU of Southern California honored Netflix's series about their case. "When They See Us", the Ava DuVernay produced mini-series - although not the first attempt to recount the story - renewed interest in the details of the case that changed five boys' lives forever. In the infamous 1989 case, a white woman was savagely raped and beaten in Central Park, where she had been out for a jog. Five black and Latino teenagers -- Korey Wise, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, and Yusef Salaam, who became known as the "Central Park Five" -- were convicted based on confessions that were full of contradictions and lacking in crucial information, and which the boys said were coerced. No forensic evidence connected them to the crime, and DNA evidence that was collected did not match any of them. The series has re-ignited outcry about how the case was handled. Linda Fairstein, the Manhattan sex crimes prosecutor who observed the teenagers' interrogation, has faced backlash for her role in their conviction.

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/06/07/us/ap-tv-when-they-see-us.html?searchResultPosition=2

Once a Celebrated Prosecutor, Now Disgraced and Dropped by Publishing Company

Linda Fairstein, a former sex-crimes prosecutor who became a successful crime novelist, was dropped by her publisher, Penguin Random House, after the Netflix mini-series "When They See Us" renewed focus on her role in the wrongful conviction of five teenagers, known as the "Central Park Five", for a brutal rape. Since the series premiered last week, Fairstein has been the target of tremendous public outrage, including online petitions and a #CancelLindaFairstein hashtag. As a result, she resigned from a number of prominent boards, including that of Vassar College, her alma mater. The Netflix series is a dramatized account of the 1989 rape case, and shows Fairstein as determined to see the boys convicted, regardless of inconsistencies and evidence that suggested their innocence. Fairstein has called her portrayal "grossly and maliciously inaccurate" and threatened legal action. Ava DuVernay, who directed the series and was one of its writers, has not commented on Fairstein's assertions.

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/06/04/us/ap-us-central-park-five-prosecutor.html?searchResultPosition=1

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/07/arts/linda-fairstein-when-they-see-us.html?searchResultPosition=4

France to End Disposal of Unsold Goods

France plans to outlaw the destruction of unsold consumer products, a practice that currently results in the disposal of new goods worth 800 million euros, or more than $900 million, in the country each year. Prime Minister, Édouard Philippe, said that by 2023, manufacturers and retailers will have to either donate, reuse or recycle the goods. This particularly affects the fashion industry.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/05/world/europe/france-unsold-products.html?searchResultPosition=1

SPORTS

#MeToo Hits Global Soccer

Coaches and administrators in at least five countries on four continents have been accused by players and colleagues of sexual misconduct, inappropriate behavior, and even rape. The harassment allegations against Ahmad Ahmad, the president of Africa's soccer confederation, are the first to be made against a leader of one of soccer's six regional governing bodies, or against a senior FIFA official. An internal investigation has begun into Ahmad, alleging that among other transgressions, he dismissed an employee in 2017 after she rejected his romantic advances. Ahmad has denied the accusation and separate claims that he sexually harassed several other women. Ahmad also has been accused of misusing confederation funds and entering into questionable contracts, potential offenses that led to his being detained by the French authorities in Paris last Thursday. He was later released without being charged.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/07/sports/metoo-soccer-sexual-harassment.html?searchResultPosition=1

FIFA Bans Soccer Chief for Life After Sexual Abuse Allegations

FIFA has banned Keramuddin Keram, the president of the Afghanistan Football Federation, from the sport for life, months after reports emerged that he had sexually assaulted players and had threatened them when they went public with their accusations. FIFA first suspended Keram after the accusations became public in December. That suspension was extended this spring while investigators for the FIFA ethics committee pursued the case. Other claims of abuse or inappropriate conduct have emerged in Canada, Colombia, and Ecuador, as well as in FIFA's top leadership.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/08/sports/soccer/afghanistan-soccer-sexual-abuse.html

Rape Accusation Against Neymar Captivates News Media and Spooks His Sponsors

Brazilian soccer star Neymar has been accused of raping Brazilian model Najila Trindade. Neymar has denied the allegations and his marketing company released a lengthy statement to announce that for now, there had not been any breach of contract. It repeated Neymar's denials that he had raped his accuser, although it conceded that some campaigns involving the player had been delayed. Nike, which has been with Neymar for 13 years -- more than half his life -- said in the past week that the company is "very concerned" by the allegations.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/08/sports/neymar-rape-sponsors.html

MEDIA

Amazon + Google at The Center of Big Tech Storm

Amazon and Google are two of the largest tech companies, and as such, they yield tremendous power. The tech giants' actions have gone largely unregulated but now, the two federal agencies that handle antitrust matters, the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), have split up oversight of the two companies, with the Justice Department taking Google and the FTC taking Amazon, signaling a shift in the United States' attitudes towards the companies.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/02/business/google-antitrust-investigation.html?searchResultPosition=1

YouTube Ban Addresses Extremism

YouTube announced plans to remove thousands of videos and channels that advocate neo-Nazism, white supremacy, and other bigoted ideologies in an attempt to clean up extremism and hate speech on its popular service. The new policy will ban videos claiming that Jews secretly control the world, women are intellectually inferior to men and therefore should be denied certain rights, or suggesting that the white race is superior to another race, among other things. Channels that post some hateful content without violating YouTube's rules with the majority of their videos may receive strikes under YouTube's three-strike enforcement system, but will not be immediately banned.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/05/business/youtube-remove-extremist-videos.html?searchResultPosition=1

Apple Backs Off Crackdown on Parental-Control Apps

As news broke that federal officials were stepping up antitrust scrutiny of Apple and its peers, Apple abruptly disclosed that screen-time apps were allowed to return to the App Store. After the company's Worldwide Developers Conference, it announced in a short blog post on a section of its website for developers that said parental-control apps could now use two technologies - mobile device management (M.D.M.), which enables parents to take control of a child's phone, and virtual private network (V.P.N.), which parents can use to block certain apps on a child's phone - that Apple had recently cited as grounds for their removal from iPhones.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/03/technology/apple-parental-control-apps.html?searchResultPosition=3

Australian Police Raids Target News Media Over Leaked Documents

The Australian Federal Police raided the Sydney offices of Australia's public broadcaster in connection with an article published in 2017 about Australian special forces being investigated over possible war crimes in Afghanistan. This raid happened a day after the same agency searched the home, computer, and cellphone of a journalist who reported on secret correspondence between government ministries over a plan to expand intelligence agencies' surveillance powers, but the police said the two raids were not related.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/04/world/australia/journalist-raid-annika-smethurst.html?searchResultPosition=1

Raids on Journalists Show Australia's Secretiveness

One journalist is being investigated for reporting that several boats filled with asylum seekers recently tried to reach Australia from Sri Lanka. Another reporter had her home raided by the authorities after reporting on a government plan to expand surveillance powers. The Australian Federal Police raided the main office of Australia's public broadcaster with a warrant for notes, story pitches, emails, and even the diaries for entire teams of journalists and senior editors -- all in connection with a 2017 article about Australian special forces being investigated over possible war crimes in Afghanistan. These extremes are not uncommon - among its peers, Australia stands out as one of the most secretive nations in the world; experts say that no other developed democracy holds as tightly to its secrets, and these raids are just the latest example of how far the country's conservative government will go to scare officials and reporters into submission.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/05/world/australia/journalist-raids.html?searchResultPosition=3

China Tightening Censorship After 30th Tienanmen Anniversary

The 30th anniversary of the crackdown of a democracy movement in Tienanmen Square was tense, with China detaining activists, tightening censorship, and denouncing calls for a full accounting of the bloodshed. The looming trade war with the United States heightened the strain as China denounced Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statement a day earlier honoring the protesters and criticizing continuing human rights abuses. The Chinese Embassy in Washington said that Pompeo's statement was made "out of prejudice and arrogance" and "grossly intervenes in China's internal affairs, attacks its system, and smears its domestic and foreign policies".

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/04/world/asia/tiananmen-anniversary-china.html?searchResultPosition=1

China's Leading Investigative Reporter Quits Journalism

Liu Wanyong spent over a decade at the China Youth Daily, a newspaper run by the Communist Party, but has now quit journalism altogether. Many are calling his resignation the "end" of investigative journalism in China. Reporters claim that "the most important figure in investigative journalism has disappeared" and investigative journalism would never be the same.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/07/world/asia/china-journalist-liu-wanyong.html?searchResultPosition=1

Reporter's Arrest Sets Off Widespread Protests in Russia

Ivan Golunov, an investigative journalist focused on exposing corruption, was detained on drug charges last week in Moscow, sparking a series of protests from supporters. In an extraordinary move, three important newspapers printed the same large front-page headline: "I/We are Ivan Golunov". Golunov, who works for the Meduza online news service, is well-known for exposing corruption in Moscow's City Hall. In addition to the headline, the three newspapers -- Vedomosti, Kommersant and RBC -- published similar statements suggesting that Golunov was detained because of his work and demanding a transparent investigation into the police actions that led to his arrest. Golunov's attorney has filed a complaint that accuses the police of using violence against the him. Golunov, who has denied using or possessing drugs, was examined in a hospital and found to have abrasions on his back and a bruise around one eye. A court later released him into house arrest.

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/06/09/world/europe/ap-eu-russia-journalist.html?searchResultPosition=6

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/10/world/europe/protests-russia-reporter-arrest-golunov.html?searchResultPosition=7

GENERAL NEWS

NASA to Allow Tourists in Space For $35K

NASA has announced plans to open the International Space Station to commercial business, including tourism. For the first time, NASA is allowing private citizens to fly, if not to the moon, then at least to the International Space Station, the only place where people currently live off the planet. For roughly $35,000 a night, up to two private citizens could visit the space station each year.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/07/science/space-station-nasa.html?searchResultPosition=4

https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2019/06/07/world/europe/07reuters-space-exploration-nasa.html?searchResultPosition=2

Trump Administration Curbs Fetal Tissue Research

The Trump administration announced that the federal government would sharply curtail federal spending on medical research that uses tissue from aborted fetuses, mainly by ending fetal-tissue research within the National Institutes of Health, in a move that helps fulfill a top goal of anti-abortion groups. The announcement is the latest in a series of Trump administration moves to appease opponents of abortion, which include barring Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortion referrals from receiving federal family planning money, and expanding protections for health care providers who refuse to take part in abortions on moral or religious grounds. Since fetal tissue is used to test drugs, develop vaccines, and study cancer, AIDS, Parkinson's disease, birth defects, blindness, and other disorders, scientists say there is no substitute for the tissue and as such, "the ban on fetal tissue research is akin to a ban on hope for millions of Americans suffering from life-threatening and debilitating diseases".

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/05/us/politics/fetal-tissue-research.html?searchResultPosition=4\

Trump Calls Off Plan to Impose Tariffs on Mexico

Trump backed off his plan to impose tariffs on all Mexican goods and announced via Twitter that the United States had reached an agreement with Mexico to reduce the flow of migrants to the southwestern border. Trump's threat to impose potentially crippling tariffs on Mexico to leverage the immigration changes he demanded was met with sharp criticism from all sides and brought both countries to the brink of an economic and diplomatic crisis. The threat had rattled companies across North America, including automakers and agricultural firms, which have built supply chains across Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Republican senators had threatened to try to block the tariffs if Trump moved ahead with them. According to a United States-Mexico Joint Declaration distributed by the State Department, Mexico agreed to "take unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration," including the deployment of its national guard throughout the country to stop migrants from reaching the United States. Most of these terms had been agreed to in December.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/07/us/politics/trump-tariffs-mexico.html?searchResultPosition=1

Judges Skeptically Hear Arguments from Both Sides in Youth Climate Case Against the Government

Three federal judges heard arguments about whether young people have a constitutional right to be protected from climate change. The case, Juliana v. United States, was scheduled to begin last October, but the court granted the Trump administration an unusual pretrial appeal, which could have important implications for this and other attempts to use the courts to pursue climate action across the United States.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/04/climate/climate-lawsuit-juliana.html?searchResultPosition=1

U.S. Vows to More Aggressively Deport Migrant Families

Mark Morgan, the acting director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), announced that the Trump administration will ramp up its efforts to deport families of undocumented migrants in the United States. In a statement, he said that deporting migrants "was necessary to deter a record-high number of Central American migrants from approaching the border". The new focus will apply to any migrant who has missed a court hearing or otherwise received deportation orders. Despite Trump's threat to place tariffs on Mexican imports, Mexican officials said they would reject the "safe third country" agreement proposal, which would require migrants from Central America to apply for asylum in Mexico, rather than in the United States.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/04/us/politics/ice-migrant-families.html?searchResultPosition=1

House Intelligence Committee Says That Russia is Likely to Try to Influence 2020 Presidential Election

Representative Adam B. Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that the Russian government is likely to try to influence the 2020 presidential election, not through the release of stolen emails and other documents, but through faked videos. During the 2016 presidential campaign, emails and documents were stolen by Russian hackers from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign and then released publicly, influencing the presidential race. Schiff said he was particularly worried about the effect of falsified videos, known as deep fakes, which could be easily introduced into social media, spread rapidly, and be "hugely disruptive and hugely influential."

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/04/us/politics/russia-election-hacking.html?searchResultPosition=1

Judge Says That Flynn Call Transcript Can Stay Private

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled that prosecutors no longer have to publicly file a transcript of the call between former adviser Michael Flynn and Sergey Kislyak, the former Russian ambassador to the United States, reversing course from an order last month.

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/06/04/us/politics/ap-us-trump-russia-probe-flynn.html?searchResultPosition=1

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/06/04/us/politics/ap-us-trump-russia-probe-flynn.html?searchResultPosition=1

Trump Administration's Potentially Unethical 'Bridge' to China

Trump's transportation secretary, Elaine Chao, has raised ethical flags. Chao's office had made a series of unorthodox requests related to her first scheduled visit to China as a Trump cabinet member back in October 2017. The trip was abruptly canceled by Chao after the ethics question was referred to officials in the State and Transportation Departments and, separately, after The New York Times and others made inquiries about her itinerary and companions. Chao oversees the American maritime industry and her family's shipping company, Foremost Group, has deep ties to the economic and political elite in China where most of the company's business is centered. Officials have questioned the ethics of Chao's position and her family's business and have described the requests made as "alarmingly inappropriate".

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/02/us/politics/elaine-chao-china.html?searchResultPosition=1

Fifty Years Later, Police Finally Apologize for Stonewall Riot

Police commissioner James P. O'Neill said that he was sorry on behalf of the New York Police Department for officers' actions during the violent 1969 police raid at the Stonewall Inn - which signifies a seminal event in the gay rights movement. "The actions taken by the N.Y.P.D. were wrong -- plain and simple. . . .the actions and the laws were discriminatory and oppressive, and for that, I apologize", said O'Neill, during an event at Police Headquarters. It was an admission that gay rights leaders said was momentous and unexpected, if overdue. Corey Johnson, an openly gay City Council speaker, said: "To have the N.Y.P.D. commissioner make these very explicit remarks apologizing, it's really moving".

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/06/nyregion/stonewall-riots-nypd.html?searchResultPosition=2

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/06/06/us/ap-us-stonewall-at-50-police-apology.html?searchResultPosition=1

JPMorgan Chase Seeks to Prohibit Card Customers from Suing

JPMorgan Chase is trying to require its credit card customers to go into private arbitration to settle disputes -- even if they involve an older account -- by restoring arbitration provisions it dropped a decade ago. The change, which will affect around 47 million accounts, is a part of a broader effort by Wall Street firms to prevent customers and employees from engaging in class-action lawsuits that can result in large settlements and bad publicity. To prevent the new individual arbitration agreement from taking effect, customers must object to it in writing by mail by August 7th.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/04/business/jpmorgan-chase-credit-card-arbitration.html?searchResultPosition=1

Texas Couple vs. 573 Tribes - A Custody Battle That Calls Indian Child Welfare Act into Question

In 1978, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to protect "the best interests of Indian children" and to promote the stability of tribes and Indian families. At the time, studies showed that 25% to 35% of American Indian children were being placed in foster homes, with 85% of those outside their tribal communities. Some studies have shown that social workers removed many Indian children not for neglect or abuse, but because of the household's perceived poverty. Now, 40 years later, the Brackeen family of Fort Worth (among several other families) argue that the law is unconstitutional because it is based on race. The case, Texas v. Zinke, includes the States of Texas, Louisiana, and Indiana as plaintiffs claiming that the ICWA interferes with state sovereign authority over domestic issues within state borders.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/05/health/navajo-children-custody-fight.html?searchResultPosition=1

Oral arguments are available here: http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/OralArgRecordings/18/18-11479_3-13-2019.mp3

Shelters Housing Migrant Children May Lose School, Sports, and Legal Aid

The Trump administration said that it would begin restricting or canceling education, legal aid, and playground recreation for migrant children housed in government shelters as a result of financial constraints created by the "crisis at the border". Around 13,200 migrant children - some who arrived at the border alone, others who were separated from their families at the border - are currently housed in more than 100 shelters across the country where they receive English, math, civics, and other classes. Most facilities have a sports field and allow children to go outside at least once a day. Civil rights and child welfare advocates rebuked this announcement, saying that any move by the government to eliminate education and recreation would constitute a violation of the Flores settlement, which in 1997 established the standards for treating migrant children held in government facilities, and would prompt them to sue for reinstatement of the activities.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/05/us/migrant-children-services.html?searchResultPosition=1

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/06/opinion/letters/migrant-children-shelters.html?searchResultPosition=2

Opioid Drug Maker to Pay $225 Million to Settle Fraud Charges

Insys Therapeutics has agreed to pay $225 million to settle federal criminal and civil charges that it illegally marketed a highly addictive fentanyl painkiller to doctors. As part of the deal, a subsidiary of Insys will plead guilty to five counts of mail fraud and the company will pay a $2 million fine and $28 million in forfeiture. The company will also pay $195 million to settle allegations that it violated the federal False Claims Act, which involves defrauding the federal government through drug sales to health care programs like Medicare.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/05/health/insys-opioid-fentanyl-settlement.html?searchResultPosition=1

Carmakers Warn Trump That His Pollution Rules Could Mean 'Untenable' Instability and Lower Profits

In a letter signed by 17 companies, including Ford, General Motors, Toyota, and Volvo, the automakers asked Trump to go back to the negotiating table on the planned rollback of one of President Barack Obama's signature policies to fight climate change, warning that Trump's plan to weaken tailpipe pollution standards threatens to cut their profits and produce "untenable" instability in a crucial manufacturing sector.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/06/climate/trump-auto-emissions-rollback-letter.html?searchResultPosition=1

Deceased Strategist's Files Detail Republican Gerrymandering in North Carolina

The Supreme Court is considering cases regarding alleged gerrymandering in Maryland and North Carolina after the hard drives of a deceased Republican strategist revealed new evidence last week about the Trump administration's decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The late strategist, Thomas Hofeller, was the mastermind behind the G.O.P.'s gerrymandering strategy, and left behind four hard drives and 18 thumb drives containing more than 75,000 files that were found by his estranged daughter after his death in August. Advocacy group Common Cause said in court documents that the Hofeller files include new evidence showing how North Carolina Republicans misled a federal court to prolong the life of their map of state legislative districts, which had been ruled unconstitutional.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/06/us/north-carolina-gerrymander-republican.html?searchResultPosition=1

Columbine High School Could Be Torn Down to Deter Copycats

In the 20 years since the massacre at Columbine High School, the building has become a tourist attraction for the curious and the obsessed. in an effort to stop the escalating threats against the school and lessen Columbine's perverse appeal to copycats and so-called Columbiners, school officials are proposing a radical idea: Tear it down. The idea has divided a tight-knit community of current Columbine students, survivors of the 1999 attack, and victims' families, who share a fierce love for the school. It has also stirred a debate about whether schools, churches, and other places devastated by mass shootings can ever exorcise their legacy by demolishing the buildings where the violence unfolded.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/07/us/columbine-high-school-demolition.html?searchResultPosition=1

Hate Crimes Spike in N.Y.

There has been a sharp increase in reported hate crimes in New York, even as crime has fallen overall. As of June 2nd, there were 184 hate crimes reported in the city, a 64% increase over the same period in 2018. The increase is being propelled largely by anti-Semitic incidents, which were up 90%. City officials have vowed to increase their efforts to reverse the trend, including by opening a new Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes within the mayor's office this summer.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/05/nyregion/hate-crimes-rise-nyc.html?searchResultPosition=1

Lawyers By Day, Uber Drivers and Bartenders By Night

At least one-third of Legal Aid Society attorneys are forced to take on second and even third jobs in order to make ends meet. The Legal Aid Society, the nation's oldest nonprofit legal services organization, offers law school graduates starting salaries of $53,582, which increase to $62,730 upon admittance to the bar - this pales in comparison to the median salary of first year associates at private firms, which is $135,000. Legal Aid officials are asking New York City Council leaders for help in closing the pay gap.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/03/nyregion/legal-aid-lawyers-salary-ny.html?searchResultPosition=3

Judge Comes Forward with Sexual Abuse Story

Former Acting New York State Supreme Court Justice Charles Apotheker published a personal letter that detailed the sexual abuse he suffered as a child. Apotheker's abuser, Dr. Reginald Archibald, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Rockefeller University Hospital, has allegedly spent decades abusing young boys, with many of his actions just recently coming to light.

https://abovethelaw.com/2019/06/judge-comes-forward-with-devastating-story-of-sexual-abuse-at-rockefeller-university/?rf=1

Paris Climate Goals Could Save Many Lives

Under the Paris climate agreement, 195 countries pledged to cut their greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to hold global warming to two degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, above preindustrial levels. They also promised efforts to limit the temperature increase even further, to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The half-degree difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees may not seem like much, but, according to research published in the journal Science Advances, it could mean saving or losing thousands of lives each year in the United States alone.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/05/climate/global-warming-heat-deaths.html?searchResultPosition=1

Deal Might Put Bomb Secrets in Saudi's Hands

The Trump administration declared an emergency last month and fast-tracked the sale of more American arms to Saudi Arabia. The move has raised concerns that the Saudis could gain access to technology that would let them produce their own versions of American precision-guided bombs -- weapons they have used in strikes on civilians since they began fighting a war in Yemen four years ago. The emergency authorization allows Raytheon Company, a top American defense firm, to team with the Saudis to build high-tech bomb parts in Saudi Arabia. That provision, which had not been previously reported, is part of a broad package of information the administration released this week to Congress.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/07/us/saudi-arabia-arms-sales-raytheon.html?searchResultPosition=1

Antibiotics Push is Breeding Drug Resistant Germs

Facing a surge in drug-resistant infections, the World Health Organization issued a plea to farmers two years ago: "Stop using antibiotics in healthy animals." A "Pig Zero" brochure by Elanco, one of the largest manufacturers of drugs for animals, urged farmers to give antibiotics to every pig in their herds, even as it told the public and policymakers that it was aware of the hazards that the overuse of antibiotics poses to human health. The brochures encouraged farmers to give antibiotics to every pig in their herds rather than waiting to treat a disease outbreak caused by an unknown "Patient Zero". It was an appealing pitch for industrial farms, where crowded, germ-prone conditions have led to increasing reliance on drug interventions.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/07/health/drug-companies-antibiotics-resistance.html?searchResultPosition=1

New Rules on American Travel to Cuba Include Cruise Ban

The Trump administration imposed new restrictions on Americans going to Cuba, banning the most common way Americans travel to the island - via cruises. The United States will no longer permit group educational and cultural trips known as "people to people" trips to the island unless they were booked before June 5th, nor will it allow cruises, private yachts or fishing vessels to stop in Cuba. Group people-to-people trips have been used by thousands of American visitors. Cruises have become the most popular way for Americans to travel to Cuba since 2016, when President Obama reopened relations with the island.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/04/travel/cuba-travel-restrictions-trump.html?searchResultPosition=1

Kim Jong-un Suspends "Mass Games"

North Korea will temporarily suspend its epic mass gymnastics show, after the propaganda-filled festival was panned by Kim Jong-un. The mass games performances, which North Korea has staged on and off for years under different names, typically feature thousands of schoolchildren and other youthful performers making synchronized moves in what is widely regarded as the biggest and most spectacular entertainment for North Korean elites. The shows aimed at instilling North Koreans with national pride and loyalty to Kim's family, which has ruled the country from its beginning in 1945, and the regime has invited foreign tourists to the show, charging as much as $900 per person. However, Koryo Tours, a travel agency based in Beijing that takes foreign tourists to the show, said it had been told that the 2019 mass games would be "temporarily suspended from June 10 for a yet-to-be-confirmed amount of time to allow changes to be made to the performance." It said the suspension could last "several days through to potentially a few weeks."

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/05/world/asia/kim-jong-un-mass-games.html?searchResultPosition=1

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/06/05/world/asia/ap-as-north-korea-mass-games-.html?searchResultPosition=2

June 18, 2019

Week In Review

By Lisa Ornest
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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

Entertainment

Debtor/Creditor Law

It gets kind of depressing that most of what we get in entertainment and sports news is bad behavior, but this time the bad behavior is on the other foot. Director Bryan Singer paid $150,000 to his accuser, who apparently forgot to mention the lawsuit as an asset when he filed his bankruptcy petition. After taxes and distribution to creditors, he may not be left with much.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/13/movies/bryan-singer-cesar-sanchez-guzman.html

Bankruptcy as a Business Plan, and The Daily Hero

The theory seems to be, bankrupt everything, let life get much worse, and this will further inflame the scapegoating vengeance mindset of the President's supporters, who have no reality testing and no idea that their hero and his ilk are the ones responsible for their misery, and they will support him even more fervently. This is just one item in an iceberg of neglect; but at least someone stood up, and at least someone listened. Who can we get to speak up for the kids at the immigration pound?

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/12/nyregion/jon-stewart-9-11-congress.html

Arts

Suicide is Not Painless

It seems to be going around in the city this week that certain people accused of bad behavior have lost their curiosity to see what happens next. Maybe Mrs. Max was on the wrong anti-depressants. She looked anorexic. Was the son persecuting her? It's often impossible to know what really goes on behind closed doors, Alexa notwithstanding. I had the opportunity to buy about a dozen signed Peter Max lithographs a few years ago (not on a cruise ship), but didn't. I kicked myself afterward, but now it turns out they might have been issued under false pretenses. Not sure it would have made a monetary difference; notoriety is also attractive. The May article gives the back story.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/11/nyregion/mary-max-suicide.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/28/business/peter-max-dementia-cruise-ship-auctions.html?module=inline

Fashion is Really Not Painless

On the one hand, why isn't it a good thing to bring lesser known art and craft to the world? On the other hand, in an age where everything can be monetized, at what point does it become exploitation Back in 1986, when Paul Simon released Graceland, he received flack about "appropriating" indigenous music and musicians. His response was, "You think it's so easy to make a hit record?" His point was that his alleged "exploitation" gave that music an enormous audience it would not have had on its own, and everyone made money they would not have made on their own.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/13/fashion/carolina-herrera-mexico-appropriation.html

Neither is War

Penguin recently re-issued a novel to which it did not own the copyright. Someone didn't do his or her homework. It's also an issue about certain people believing in something, like the supporters of this book who kept it in print for so long. Is there is a moral claim? Penguin can do something to make it right, and it should.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/06/books/no-no-boy-penguin.html

Humboldt Fog

You need a score card for this one: The Humboldt Forum Museum is built on the site of the Palast der Republik, the former East German Parliament, which was torn down after reuinification. The building is a facsimile of the Berliner Schloss, a palace (although with fewer turrets than some of the really cool ones built into the sides of mountains), built by the Hohenzollern dynasty (think Hapsburgs or Plantagenets), which was demolished by the East German government. No one seems to take note that the pendulum always swings. Ever lost control of your car? The harder you try to correct, the more extreme the reaction. This is the truth of life. Why don't people know this? Meanwhile, there are ventilation issues, so some of the exhibits that were promised to be loaned for the opening, like an exhibit of ivory objects, will not be given. There's a good example. Should we just destroy all the ivory artifacts? At any rate, the opening has been pushed to 2020.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/13/arts/design/berlin-humboldt-forum-opening-benin.html

Sports

Bargain Days

Six perps, $7,500. You do the math. As Rumpole says, the ones with any real genius rarely come our way. Especially at those prices. Not only did they get caught, but the guy is still alive. I don't mean to be flip. Ortiz was seriously injured. He lost his gall bladder and part of his intestine and suffered damage to his liver. What a mess.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/12/sports/david-ortiz-shooting-suspects.html

The Rocking Horse Winner

It's a story by D.H. Lawrence. The house whispers, "there must be more money." The little boy realizes that if he rides his rocking horse long and hard enough the name of one of the winners at the next day's races will come to him. The family starts raking in the dough, but instead of being sated, the voices just want more and more. The mother buys fresh flowers and Paris gowns. The voices get even stronger. The little boy rides himself into exhaustion trying to appease the voices and please his mother, but he never can. It kills him. Same thing here.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/11/sports/horse-racing/santa-anita-close-track.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/12/sports/santa-anita-park-horses-deaths.html

Pomp and Circumstance

The Stanford sailing coach did not personally benefit. Rather, through the auspices of a college "consultant", the sailing team received $770,000 in donations, from the grateful families of non-sailors (and probably non-students). Apparently the "consultant" got $6.5 million just from one couple from China to get their daughter admitted and the sailing program received $500,000. For $7 million, the family could have built its own college. Who has this kind of money? Why didn't they spend it on tutors back when it would have counted? Make the kid put down the iphone and read a book; and learn how to do dishes.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/12/ us/stanford-coach-college-admissions-scandal.html

Weinstein's Ilk

FIFA has banned Keramuddin Keram, an Afghani warlord, from soccer, for life, and an arrest warrant has been issued in regard to charges of sexual abuse -- rape -- of female soccer players. He trapped them in a locked office, and they couldn't get out. If they said anything he would accuse them of being lesbians, which is illegal in Afghanistan, and it would get them thrown off the team and their families would be in trouble, etc. Apparently he's not the only one, and it's taking place elsewhere than just Afghanistan.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/09/world/asia/afghanistan-soccer-sexual-abuse.html

Kellen Winslow Jr. Convicted of Rape

This guy raped a 58-year old homeless woman, among others. A 77-year old woman said he exposed himself to her. Anger and control issues, you think? It's a pathology. He needs to be off the streets and learn to do simple things.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/10/sports/kellen-winslow-jr-is-convicted-of-rape.html

Media

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Comcast Case

Comcast claimed that it did not have sufficient bandwidth to run programming from Entertainment Studios Network, owned by African-American Byron Allen, even though it apparently had enough bandwidth to run programs from white-owned networks. Comcast said that since the decision was based on other factors, the case should have been dismissed, but the Ninth Circuit upheld, saying that the discrimination claims should survive dismissal even if discrimination wasn't the sole reason the programming was rejected. This seems new.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/10/us/politics/supreme-court-race-discrimination-comcast.html

Bakery for Sale

This is an insane story. What happened? Was there ergot in the rye bread? The kids were not in Starbucks minding their own business. No dispute that they shoplifted. Why is that irrelevant? Eventually they were arrested. Maybe that wasn't necessary. Maybe the clerk (and member of the plaintiff/owner family) shouldn't have chased them. Businesses in college towns suffer a lot of that kind of behavior, and maybe this was just the last straw. There were never any previous discrimination complaints about this place. The college behaved like a pre-adolescent trying to win a popularity contest. $33 million plus $11 million is too much (and it will probably be reduced). But IMHO this was not the right battle. The article doesn't say what happened to the perps. IMHO, no jail time, no record, but maybe some community service, and they need to apologize. Then the entire Oberlin administration needs to resign.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/14/us/oberlin-bakery-lawsuit.html

You Want Lies With That?

The fact that the White House abolished the daily briefing is appalling. The fact that it will be used as simply another propagandist avenue is unfortunate, but at least let's have everything on the record. Plus, I favor full employment for journalists.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/14/us/politics/trump-daily-briefing-press-secretary.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/13/us/politics/sarah-sanders-leaving-white-house.html

Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) believes that AI will have a chilling effect on culture. You think? It has already happened, but gradually, and under the guise of consumer toys, so no one really notices. There's really no need for bloodshed. If you want to take over the universe, just give everyone iphones. Tip of the day: Resist surveillance culture. Just because a product exists, and the manufacturer's advertising makes you feel like you would be a target for scapegoating without it, doesn't mean you should purchase it. Cameras change things. Remember that the end game is for-profit prisons; and remember Justice Brandeis - don't wait until you become a victim of "anomaly detection". Special points if you identify the epigram.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/13/us/aclu-surveillance-artificial-intelligence.html

Big Brother Gets Even Bigger

There are a number of issues here. First, Congress is pretending to investigate how the advertising power of Big Tech is affecting the dissemination of news. All the advertising dollars from sponsors go to Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple, and not, e.g., CNN. The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, which have split the task between them, may annoy the big companies, but they won't really get anywhere, even though they are asking the hard questions, like has Facebook "harmed consumers" with its handling of data, and whether Amazon has "hurt smaller retailers"? Duh. Of course the giants will win in the long run. In the meantime, the news agencies want to be able to band together to give themselves a stronger negotiating position for ad dollars. They want an antitrust exemption. I don't know if that is really the solution. Don't we already have enough McNews?

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/11/technology/antitrust-hearing.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/10/technology/big-tech-antitrust-scrutiny.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/09/business/media/google-news-industry-antitrust.html

We Got a Good Thing Going

After their undeniable success in the U.S. (the fact that they were caught doesn't seem to make a difference), the Russians are apparently extending their election interference tactics to the EU. I don't know what to do about this. Luckily, no one has asked me. Censorship is a slippery slope. Has Facebook become the equivalent of the National Enquirer? Possibly. The problem is that, like the National Enquirer, for all those who ignore it, there are exponentially greater amounts of those who believe.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/14/business/eu-elections-russia-misinformation.html

Journalist Prevented From Working

Thomas Erdbrink, a New York Times reporter living in Tehran, had his press credentials revoked in February, but it is apparently only now being made public. He is a citizen of the Netherlands, but his photographer wife is Iranian. She is also being prevented from working. This is not the first time that this has happened (elsewhere as well as in Iran). In fact, Erdbrink's successor at the Washington Post, his previous job, was arrested and held for over a year in Iran. Supposedly there is an intention to resolve this issue, but now that Iran is taking potshots at U.S. tankers, I think they should get them out of there.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/10/world/middleeast/iran-times-erdbrink.html

Two Cans and a Very Long String?

Chinese mainland computers hacked the "Telegram" app, used to organize protests. The hack found names, and some people were arrested. These particular protests were about Hong Kong wanting to extradite certain people, dissidents, to the mainland, where, protesters fear, they will never be heard from again. I wasn't just a cyber attack; it also occurred in real time and space. There was tear gas, rubber bullets, and pepper spray. No one said world domination was going to be pretty. It's part of a general hardline approach.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/13/world/asia/hong-kong-telegram-protests.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/13/world/asia/hong-kong-xi-jinping-china.html

Lock Her Up!

Marine Le Pen is the leader of the far-right "National Rally" party in France, whose right-wing nationalist and populist motives include what you might expect, for example, that there must be zero tolerance for crime, and there must be more prisons to house all the immigrants that are committing the crimes. When her father was running the party, it was anti-Muslim and anti-Jew. Now, Le Pen has been accused of tweets that "seriously harm human dignity", by showing photos of alleged Islamic nationals doing things like burning prisoners alive in cages. She's probably just upset they beat her to it. There will be a trial, with a potential for prison and a hefty fine. She sounds like she deserves it, but I just don't think we can jail people for their political beliefs, no matter how insane.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/13/world/europe/marine-le-pen-isis-tweets.html

Nowhere to Run

Rohingya Muslims who escaped persecution in their homeland are surprised and a bit alarmed to find just as much vitriol in the rest of the world, all nicely concentrated in Facebook, the psychic garbage heap of the universe.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/14/technology/facebook-hate-speech-rohingya-india.html

General News

Backpedal

At first Trump said he would take campaign help, like allegedly incriminating evidence about an opponent, from anyone who offered it, like the Russians. Then, after Nancy Pelosi said he didn't know right from wrong and that he was involved in a a criminal cover-up, he backtracked. Yet why is he worried about this when he doesn't appear to care about any other treasonous thing he says? Just because Nancy Pelosi said something? She says lots of things, and he never really paid attention before.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/14/us/politics/trump-foreign.html

If You Have to Ask How Much It Costs, You Can't Afford It

Congress wants drug companies to put their prices on their advertising. The drug companies claim that it's a First Amendment issue. They have the right to say what they want about their product. I guess like putting petroleum in canned milk and not telling anyone. If the price is prohibitive, isn't that a kind of defect? But I understand. It's a downer. We have this great new medication. It will cure what ails you. It costs ten thousand dollars per dose! There is the suggestion that they simply lower their prices. If the prices were lower the drugs would be prescribed more often; the insurance companies would pay; and quantity would make up for quality. Raising the price of insulin is just pure greed.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/14/health/drug-prices-tv-ads.html

Forty-Five Days

Trump is pretending that in fear of his threatened tariffs, Mexico agreed to certain immigration policies, but it didn't. Trump waved around a letter and said it was the agreement. What Mexico agreed to was a 45-day period to see what it could do and to give it time to prepare for further negotiations.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/11/us/politics/trump-mexico-deal.html

For Profit Education Back on the Table

...And let's accredit crazy religious schools that teach Biblical "science", while we're at it. Diane Auer Jones sees herself as an example of what alternative educational opportunities can do. Agreed.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/09/us/politics/diane-auer-jones-betsy-devos.html

Deja Vu all Over Again

Gregory L. Johnson burned an America flag outside the Republican National Convention in 2016. He was arrested, and he sued the city. However, pursuant to the 1989 Supreme Case of Texas v. Johnson, there is no prohibition on flag desecration. Johnson was awarded $225,000, and it turns out the two Johnsons are one and the same.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/14/us/flag-burning-cleveland.html

Not Just a Flag

Holden Matthews, who set fire to three churches in Louisiana, has been charged with hate crimes because it was found that his actions were motivated by the religious beliefs of the church goers, but not because the churches were primarily black. He bought the gas cans at Walmart and used his dad's truck.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/12/us/louisiana-church-fires-hate-crimes-charges.html

Fire This

The Office of Special Counsel (OSC), not related to Robert Mueller, whose duty it is to enforce the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from using their offices to further political goals, has recommended that Kelleyanne Conway be removed. Her response? "Blah, blah, blah." The White House released an 11-page rejection of the OSC report. Here is an extra article about the Hatch Act.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/13/us/politics/kellyanne-conway-hatch-act.html

Thomas Homan to be Border Czar?

Former Immigration and Customs Director Thomas Homan will report directly to Trump on "task" of keeping potential immigrants from crossing the border.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/14/us/politics/trump-homan-border.html

Already Gone

Hope Hicks, former White House communications director, has agreed to participate in an "interview" with the Judiciary Committee. However, there will be a court reporter, and she will be under oath, so it will be more like a deposition. Among other things, they will ask her about the firing of James Comey and the attempt to make Jeff Sessions take over the Russia investigation. It's possible that she will claim executive privilege. The White House already told her not to comply with the document requests.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/12/us/politics/hope-hicks-house-testimony.html

House of Representatives to Seek Judicial Enforcement of Subpoenas

The House has authorized the Judiciary Committee to go to court to enforce the subpoenas against William Barr and Donald McGahn regarding the president's tax returns.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/13/us/politics/michael-flynn-rick-gates-subpoena-russia.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/11/us/politics/barr-mcgahn-subpoena.html

It's All About Me, Me, Me

The Justice Department is investigating the CIA and the CIA's own Russian investigation. The CIA feels a little sniffy about this, but it will cooperate. Barr supposedly wants to find out why the FBI opened a counter-intelligence campaign into the Trump campaign, or so he says. It would have been based on information from the CIA. I guess he's hoping to prove that it was primarily a smear campaign with no real basis in fact. Trump has also given Barr power to de-classify.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/12/us/politics/russia-investigation-cia.html

And Here's What I Want to Know About You

The House Oversight and Reform Committee voted to hold Barr and Wilbur Ross in contempt for refusing to release documents regarding the decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. One Republican agreed, Justin Amash. Everything the president does is in tweets. The article says there are few precedents about the line between Congressional oversight and the president's authority to be opaque. This is just one more in a series of these skirmishes. Many are worried that people like Kris Kobach, whose specialty is voter suppression, had something to do with this.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/12/us/politics/us-census-2020-trump.html

Every Breath You Take

Somebody hacked and obtained all those pictures of you driving through the tunnel when you were supposed to be at a work meeting. The subcontractor hired by Homeland Security, a Tennessee company called Perceptics, transferred the data on to its own servers, which were hacked The ACLU believes that the government is collecting too much data without fully considering the consequences. The danger is not just to private citizens, but also to the nation, like when we "lost" the designs for the F-35 fighter jet to China through hacking. This is just old fashioned advertising technique. Companies manufacture stuff, like surveillance equipment, and make you (i.e., the government, or law enforcement) think you can't live without it. It's too late... They will never pull back now.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/10/us/politics/customs-data-breach.html

Passive-Aggression

The U.S. is inserting its own malware into the Russian electricity grid in hopes of being able to cripple Russia's infrastructure and maybe even its military. It's been urged as necessary, since Russia does it to the U.S. However, we don't know how well it will work - it could become just like nuclear bombs, a weapon too destructive to deploy.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/15/us/politics/trump-cyber-russia-grid.html

But Ma, They Started It

It sounds like we started it, with a drone flying over the Gulf. Then the drone was attacked, then the two tankers, one Japanese and one Norwegian. Trump says that Iran did it, but both Germany and Japan say that it's not clear what happened; maybe it wasn't even a missile, and the EU is urging caution. The Japanese say that it looked like a flying object, which I guess could have been a drone (although the article doesn't say that).

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/14/us/politics/trump-iran-tanker-hormuz.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/13/world/middleeast/oil-tanker-attack-gulf-oman.html

Science Cannot be Blind

Too many panels of scientists are all boys. There needs to be a commitment to gender diversity. Some male scientists have pledged not to participate in panels that are not diverse. The article doesn't discuss race.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/12/health/collins-male-science-panels.html

Institutional Sexism

Speaking of which, Jean Purdy was the female nurse who was an "equal partner" in the breakthrough of in vitro fertilization, but she was not given credit on the plaque, despite the lobbying of her two male counterparts. This is just one of a long line of similar behavior, including Rosalind Franklin and DNA, Jocelyn Bell Burnell and pulsars, and Lisa Meitner and nuclear fission. Meitner was not named for the 1944 Nobel although her collaborator, a man, was.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/10/world/europe/jean-purdy-ivf-plaque.html

The Meaning of the Word "Emergency"

The State Department justified declaring an emergency in order to sell arms to Saudi Arabia on the basis that if we hadn't done it China or Russia would have, and it was imperative for the Saudis and UAE to kill children in Yemen. It was so important, the Executive branch bypassed Congress. The fact that Jared Kushner is a friend of the Crown Prince (the one who had Jamal Khashoggi killed) probably had nothing to do with it. Why isn't this a criminal conspiracy?

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/12/us/politics/arms-sales-saudi-arabia.html

Harriet Tubman Underground

Mnuchin says the delays are "technical" and that all parties, including the Secret Service (?) is working as fast as they can. Oh come on. It's about the only transparent thing in this government, that it was done on purpose. Trump called the plan to replace Jackson "political correctness," and the overhaul of the Treasury Department's website after Trump came in removed any trace of the Harriet Tubman plan.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/14/us/politics/harriet-tubman-bill.html

NDAs in Sexual Harassment Suits

Twelve states have passed laws restricting their use, but only New Jersey has gone so far as to make them unenforceable if broken by the victims.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/14/arts/metoo-movement-nda.html

Malpractice Claims in Pelvic Mesh Cases

The plaintiffs got about $8 billion, but the lawyers charged 40%, sometimes missed filing deadlines, which reduced the entire award, and may have been involved in schemes with doctors to have the mesh removed surgically to increase the damage claims, but to the women's detriment, it is alleged. Each plaintiff ended up with about $60,000 before legal fees and costs. The main defendant, a New Jersey firm, says the suit is a vendetta by his former partner.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/14/business/pelvic-mesh-surgery-litigation.html

New York to Fund Abortions for Alabama Refugees

...Or anyone from out of state. The fund is for women who can't afford abortions and are not covered by insurance or Medicaid. In Maine, nurses and physician's assistants can now perform abortions, and New York also allows "medical professionals" to do the procedure. It's probably enough for about 500 abortion procedures.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/14/nyregion/abortion-funding-ny.html?action=click&module=MoreInSection&pgtype=Article®ion=Footer&contentCollection=New%20York

Get Your Shots

Cuomo has ended the religious exemption for vaccination. A Long Island Republican says it's a violation of First Amendment rights, but that's just pandering. As we know, there is no right to cry fire in a crowded theater, and I would argue there is no right to subject others to potential life-threatening illness.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/13/nyregion/measles-vaccinations-new-york.html

The Pendulum Swings

The rent laws began as tenant protection, in the days when landlords were filling buildings with illegal do-ers to drive out the tenants. In the past 10 or so years, landlords have been getting things their own ways a little more often, especially outside Manhattan. Now, things are moving back towards tenant protection. It's partly a bid to avoid more homelessness, I would guess, but I wonder if it isn't too late. Very little of the new construction is rent regulated, and it's all extremely expensive. We'll have to see how it plays out in a practical way.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/14/nyregion/rent-laws-ny-deal.html?fbclid=IwAR25TIqZltZLE9KvxuhrfQ42hWtHKVbDT4gmZDLMaZ1iKJ-j2uzhQT-2RGw

You Talkin' to Me?

First tenants, now taxis. The city seems to want to take responsibility for the fact that it made taxi drivers pay a million dollars for a medallion and then let Uber etc. render those medallions practically worthless while the taxi drivers fell victim to predatory lending and sank farther and farther into debt. There is a moratorium on Uber-type drivers now.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/12/nyregion/nyc-taxi-medallions.html

Justice is (Should Be) Blind

There is much racism involved in criminal charging by prosecutors, which is borne out by the numbers. So San Francisco is going to try "blind charging." Prosecutors will not have access to a suspect's name, address, race or hair or eye color, or that of any victims. They won't be permitted to know these things until they make a preliminary decision about charging. If they change the charge when they find out, they will be questioned. It's an experiment that is worth a try.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/12/us/prosecutor-race-blind-charging.html

Gynecological Terrorism

Missouri already has a 72-hour waiting period, and it requires pelvic exams for "medication" abortions, which are non-invasive. So the clinic stopped doing medication abortions, but then the state required pelvic exams on the day of consent to the abortion as well as the day of the abortion. All this is just torture. The abortion itself takes about three minutes. Now the state wants to interview the doctors who are employed by Planned Parenthood. It's so medieval.

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/06/missouris-last-abortion-clinic-is-about-to-close-its-doctor-explains-how-they-are-coping/

Forum Shopping

The survivors and relatives of victims of the Grenfell Tower fire in London are forum shopping, trying to sue in an American court, where they can get punitive damages, which Britain doesn't allow. It is true that the "cladding" (insulation covering) maker, Arconic, has its headquarters in Pennsylvania, but the cladding itself was made in France; the insulation was made in the UK; and the exploding refrigerator that started the whole thing was made in Europe. Still, plaintiffs think they can show that design decisions made in Pennsylvania were responsible for the disaster.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/11/world/europe/grenfell-fire-lawsuit.html

Accused New Zealand Shooter Pleads Not Guilty

As a result, it will be over the usual year before the trial starts for the person who killed 51 people and wounded dozens of others in a New Zealand mosque in March and streamed it in real time on Facebook. The survivors are upset at the delay, but the court is worried about the logistics of security and seating spectators.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/13/world/australia/christchurch-shootings-not-guilty-plea.html

Homosexuality Decriminalized

At long last, Botswana has decriminalized homosexuality. Yay! Next step, gay marriage.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/11/world/africa/botswana-ruling-criminalize-gay-sex.html

June 24, 2019

Week In Review

By Angela Peco
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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

ENTERTAINMENT

Few Hollywood Productions Are Using Inclusion Riders

More than a year after Francis McDormand mentioned inclusion riders in her Oscar acceptance speech, only a handful of Hollywood productions have adopted the contractual stipulation that actors and filmmakers can use to assemble a more diverse cast and crew.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/movies/inclusion-rider.html

Jussie Smollett Case Will Be Investigated by Special Prosecutor

A special prosecutor has been appointed to investigate how authorities handled the decision to drop charges against Jussie Smollett, who was accused of staging an attack on himself and formally charged earlier this year. The Cook County judge who appointed the special prosecutor also said that the state's attorney, Kim Foxx, did not have legal authority to turn the case over to another prosecutor after recusing herself.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/21/arts/television/jussie-smollett-special-prosecutor.html

Carrie Underwood, NBC, and NFL Sued Over "Sunday Night Football" Theme Song

Singer Heidi Merrill alleges that she pitched the song to Underwood's producer in 2016 and that Underwood's version of the song "is substantially similar, if not identical" to hers.

https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/carrie-underwood-nfl-and-nbc-facing-lawsuit-over-allegations-that-singer-stole-sunday-night-football-theme-song/

Lawyers Representing Harvey Weinstein Are Slowing Leaving His Defense Team

Harvey Weinstein's legal team shrunk after several high-profile departures. With less than three months until his trial begins, attorney Jose Baez filed papers asking the court to let him withdraw from the case, citing fundamental disagreements with his client. Weinstein had reportedly grown frustrated with Baez and recently stopped paying him.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/17/nyregion/harvey-weinstein-trial-jose-baez.html

Soundgarden, Estates of Tom Petty and Tupac, Sue Universal Music Over Recordings Destroyed in 2018 Fire

A class action lawsuit seeking at least $100 million in damages was filed in Los Angeles following recent news that a fire decimated a storage facility where Universal Music stored master recordings. The suit states that Universal Music owes the musicians half of a confidential settlement negotiated with it, and half of an additional insurance settlement that Universal Music received for losses sustained in the fire.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/18/us/politics/mark-esper-acting-defense-secretary.html

Missing Phone Central to Kevin Spacey Case

A phone that Spacey's lawyers argue contains messages that would help their client disprove the sexual assault allegations against him is missing. The Nantucket judge who ordered the phone be turned over to Spacey's defense team has now ordered the father of the accuser to appear in court to explain what he knows about the phone's whereabouts after police returned it to him.

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/06/19/us/ap-us-sexual-misconduct-kevin-spacey-.html

ARTS

The Baltimore Symphony Has Locked Out its Musicians as Labor Talks Stall

The cash-strapped Baltimore Symphony locked out its musicians after failed labor talks. Management wants the players to agree to a shorter season and fewer weeks of work, changes that it says are necessary to reduce fiscal losses and keep the orchestra afloat. According to the musicians, a cut in performing weeks will impact the quality of the orchestra by making it more difficult to attract talent and compete with some of the top tier orchestras that offer year-round contracts.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/17/arts/music/baltimore-symphony-musicians-lock-out.html

Another Restoration Project Gone Bad - This Time, a 16th-Century Statue of St. George

A 16th-century wooden statue has been unrestored in Spain after a botched paint job replaced the original statue's muted shades with bright, loud colors that had St. George resembling the cartoon character Tintin. Working with photos of the original statue and $34,000 later, specialists in Navarra stripped back layers of paint to restore the statue's original colors.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/22/world/europe/spain-statue-st-george-botched.html

Serpentine Galleries Chief Quits After Spyware Firm Controversy

The Serpentine Galleries is one of London's most popular art museums. Its chief executive, Yana Peel, has resigned after a newspaper revealed that she had connections to a cybersecurity firm whose technology has been used to track journalists and human rights activists. Peel's husband is co-founder of a private equity firm that recently bought a controlling stake in NSO Group, an Israeli company offering technology that can hack phones to gain access to encrypted communications.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/18/arts/design/serpentine-galleries-ceo-resigns.html

Bamiyan Buddhas Are Being Resurrected as Holograms in Afghanistan

The Buddhas of Bamiyan, two 6th-century statues that were definitively destroyed by the Taliban in 2001, were "resurrected" in 2015 using holograms that beamed images of the Buddhas onto the sites where they originally stood. Since most archaeologists oppose reconstruction because the extent of the damage is too great, the goal going forward is to guard against continued degradation of the Bamiyan complex and conserve the remains as they are.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/18/world/asia/afghanistan-bamiyan-buddhas.html

SPORTS

U.S. Soccer and Women's Team Agree to Mediate Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

The mediation is set to begin soon after the Women's World Cup is over. The players' lawsuit accuses the federation of gender discrimination and seeks equitable pay. It also alleges discrimination related to the players' medical treatment, their working conditions, and the surface on which they play during matches.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/21/sports/soccer/us-womens-team-discrimination-.html

The Real Reason Why the U.S. Women's Soccer Team Isn't Getting Equal Pay: Men Still Dominate the Governing Bodies

The article addresses the systemic repercussions of the gender imbalance observed in the sport governing bodies, with a specific focus on U.S. women's soccer, where women remain largely outnumbered in the organization.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/06/20/real-reason-us-womens-soccer-team-isnt-getting-equal-pay/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.c137724a90b0

Are Women Athletes Forced to Choose Between Sponsorship and Motherhood?

This ESPN feature chronicles the experiences of several female athletes balancing motherhood and sporting careers, with a focus on their sponsorship contracts.

http://www.espn.com/espnw/life-style/article/26964549/are-women-athletes-forced-choose-sponsorship-motherhood

Major League Baseball and Players' Union Set to Begin Early Labor Talks

League and union officials met earlier this week "to discuss logistics for negotiations" in a meeting that comes two years before the current labor agreement expires. The union is hoping to bring about substantive changes to the agreement after a slow-moving free agent market during the last two off-seasons. Some of the pressing issues for the union include restoring meaningful free agency and establishing a system that rewards younger players who have limited earning power. Though the current deal runs through 2021, both sides have reopened it in recent years to address performance-enhancing drug testing and penalties for domestic violence.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/17/sports/mlb-labor-talks.html

Prime Sports Marketing Files Its Own Lawsuit Against Zion Williamson Ahead of National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft

Prime Sports Marketing filed a lawsuit in Florida accusing the number one draft pick and Creative Artists Agency (CAA) of breach of contract. It is seeking $100 million in punitive damages. Zion Williamson signed with Prime Sports Marketing in April before hiring an agent, but filed a lawsuit last week to terminate the five-year contract, arguing that the contract was in violation of the state's agent laws.

https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/27012800/marketing-firm-files-own-suit-zion-caa

https://www.heraldsun.com/sports/article231537518.html

David Ortiz Shooting in the Dominican Republic Was a Case of Mistaken Identity

Local officials say the shooting was ordered by a man associated with a Mexican drug cartel. The intended target of the shooting was the man's cousin, who was also a friend of Ortiz, and had been with Ortiz that evening.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/sports/david-ortiz-shooting.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/18/sports/alberto-miguel-rodriguez-mota-david-ortiz.html

United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Changes Its Name to U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC)

The change makes the U.S. the fourth nation to merge its Olympic and Paralympic teams. Last year, the board voted to increase monetary awards for U.S. Paralympic medalists to match those earned by Olympic athletes.

https://gazette.com/news/usoc-changes-name-in-its-search-for-a-new-identity/article_47e28aae-93a5-11e9-9f11-3bb31e6bbfdf.html

USA Gymnastics Overhauls its Safe Sport Policy

The new regulations cover male and female athletes across all USA Gymnastics disciplines and are designed to clear up "gray areas." For example, the updates address what the boundaries are for one-to-one contact between a coach/trainer and an athlete, and also outline the types of behaviors that dictate mandatory reporting.

https://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory/usa-gymnastics-revamps-safe-sport-policy-amid-abuse-63812075

Adidas' Black Workers Describe a Workplace Culture that Contradicts the Brand's Image

Black employees at the company's North American headquarters describe a workplace culture that leaves them feeling marginalized and sometimes discriminated against. Fewer than 4.5% of the workers there identify as black, a number that some see as staggeringly low for a company that has built much of its name in the U.S. through its association with black superstars, who are often its most influential customers.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/business/adidas-diversity-employees.html

30th Horse Dies at Santa Anita After Sustaining Injuries on the Training Track

Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer was banned by the Stronach Group after a fourth horse from his stable died at the Southern California track. It was the 30th death since the racing season began. The horse was euthanized after sustaining an injury on the training track, which is not used for racing.

https://www.espn.com/horse-racing/story/_/id/27032501/30th-horse-dies-santa-anita-trainer-banned

Serbian Point Guard Withdraws from BIG3 After the International Basketball Federation Threatens His Olympic Eligibility

Dusan Bulut has withdrawn from the BIG3 after the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) threatened sanctions that could have resulted in him not being able to participate in the 2020 Olympics. Bulut is ranked as the best 3-on-3 player internationally and was recently drafted in the BIG3, which is the biggest professional 3-on-3 league that features former NBA players. Reports say that FIBA had previously informed athletes involved in 3-on-3 competitions that participation in any other league would not impact on player eligibility for the Olympics.

https://www.cbssports.com/big3/news/dusan-bulut-withdraws-from-playing-in-big3-after-allegations-from-fiba/

Officials Are on Alert for Match-Fixing at Women's World Cup

World Cup matches are drawing millions of dollars worth of bets, prompting the governing body to turn its attention to integrity matters in women's soccer. FIFA has rolled out the most extensive program to date to detect attempts at match-fixing, briefed the players, and requested that each team assign one official to act as a liaison with FIFA on integrity matters. It has also set up a monitoring hub in Paris for the duration of the Women's World Cup. More generally, there are still concerns that chronic underfunding in women's soccer could make the players an appealing target for match fixers.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/17/sports/soccer/match-fixing-womens-world-cup.html

Former UEFA President Michel Platini is Detained as Part of Qatar World Cup Probe

Platini was detained as part of an investigation into alleged corruption in the 2022 World Cup bidding process that saw the event awarded to Qatar. At the time of the vote in 2010, Platini publicly backed the Qatar bid and had a direct vote in the elections as a member of the FIFA executive committee that was then electing World Cup hosts.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/18/sports/soccer/michel-platini-qatar-world-cup.html

Adidas' Three-Stripe Trademark Ruled Invalid by European Court

Adidas has failed in its attempt to broaden trademark protection for its symbol in the European Union. The European Union's second highest court upheld a 2016 decision of the European Intellectual Property Office, ruling that Adidas' three-stripe branding "was invalid as a trademark as it lacked a distinctive character." Adidas registered the trademark in 2014 but has been in a decade-long dispute with Belgian company Shoe Branding Europe, whose products feature two stripes sloping in the opposite direction.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-court-adidas/eu-court-declares-adidas-three-stripe-trademark-invalid-idUSKCN1TK0P7

MEDIA

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Investigating YouTube Over Child Privacy Concerns

The FTC is reportedly looking into YouTube's handling of videos aimed at children after complaints by parents and consumer groups that the company had collected data of young users and allowed harmful and adult content to appear in searches for children's content.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/technology/youtube-child-privacy.html

Five NY1 Anchorwomen Sue Cable Channel for Age and Gender Discrimination

The plaintiffs, who age in range from 40 to 61, are suing the network over age and gender discrimination and are alleging a systematic effort by managers to force them off the air in favor of younger, less experienced hosts.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/business/media/ny1-women-anchors-lawsuit.html

Digital Newsrooms Are Unionizing

BuzzFeed News staff members staged a four-hour walkout at the company's offices to pressure their employer to come to the bargaining table.
This was the latest in a wave of unionizations that has seen reporters and editors who work for online publications following in the footsteps of their print predecessors.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/18/business/media/buzzfeed-news-union-walkout.html

Alex Jones Sent Lawyers of Sandy Hook Families an Image of Child Pornography

Lawyers for the families said that they had received an image that appeared to be child pornography in a trove of discovery materials produced by Jones' legal team. The families have filed a defamation suit against Jones, who has repeatedly claimed that the shooting was a hoax.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/17/nyregion/alex-jones-sandy-hook.html

Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theorist Loses to Father of Sandy Hook Victim

A Wisconsin judge has ruled that the editors of a book claiming the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax defamed one of the murdered children's fathers by alleging that he had faked his son's death certificate to promote the conspiracy. The case will go to a jury to determine damages. The book's publisher also agreed to stop selling the book in a separate agreement.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/18/nyregion/sandy-hook-victim-court-ruling.html

U.N. Report Reveals Chilling Details Behind Journalist Khashoggi's Murder

The U.N. report calls for a full investigation into the Saudi crown prince's role in Khashoggi's murder after finding that the Saudi investigation into the killing was not conducted in good faith and could even count as obstruction of justice. The special rapporteur concluded that Khashoggi was the victim of a deliberate, premeditated execution for which Saudi Arabia is responsible under international human rights law.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/world/middleeast/jamal-khashoggi-Mohammed-bin-Salman.html

New Zealand Man Gets 21 Months Sentence for Sharing Video of Attacks

A 44-year-old businessman pleaded guilty to charges of distributing objectionable material and was sentenced to 21 months in jail after sharing a video of the mosque shootings and asking that crosshairs and a "kill count" be added to the footage.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/18/world/asia/new-zealand-video.html

GENERAL NEWS

Supreme Court Upholds the Ability of Congress to Delegate to the Executive in Sex Offender Registration Case

The Court upheld a federal law that allows the attorney general to decide whether to require registration by sex offenders who were convicted before the law was passed. Justice Kagan wrote that the law satisfied the test of whether a delegation of authority was proper because it provided an "intelligible principle" to guide the attorney general's actions. According to the law, the attorney general has to require registration to the maximum extent possible, while considering the difficulty of notifying offenders convicted before the law took effect.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/us/politics/supreme-court-sex-offender-registry.html

Supreme Court Affirms Exception to Double Jeopardy

By a vote of 7-2, the Supreme Court has ruled that criminal defendants may be prosecuted for the same offenses in both federal and state court. While the Constitution's double jeopardy clause forbids subsequent prosecutions, the Supreme Court upheld an exception to the double jeopardy clause, saying that the federal government and the states are independent sovereigns and could each prosecute the same conduct. The ruling also has implications for associates of President Trump, who could be subject to state prosecutions should the president decide to pardon them.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/17/us/politics/supreme-court-double-jeopardy.html

Supreme Court Allows 40-Foot Peace Cross on State Property

The Supreme Court has ruled that a 40-foot cross honoring soldiers who died in World War I did not violate the First Amendment's ban on government establishment of religion and could remain on state property. Justice Alito, writing for five justices, said the monument did not primarily convey a religious message and the cross has taken on an added secular meaning when used in World War I memorials. There were also vehement dissents.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/us/politics/maryland-peace-cross-supreme-court.html

Supreme Court Finds That Racial Bias Tainted Mississippi Murder Conviction

By a vote of 7-2, the Supreme Court threw out the conviction of Curtis Flowers, an African-American man who stood trial six times and was convicted of murder by a Mississippi court. Over the course of those six trials, the prosecutor dismissed 41 of the 42 prospective black jurors.

Writing for the majority, Justice Kavanaugh said that the Court was merely applying settled legal principles and that "equal justice under the law requires a criminal trial free of racial discrimination in the jury selection process." The Court's decision turned on the scope of Batson v Kentucky, in which the Court ruled that peremptory challenges during jury selection may not be used to exclude jurors based solely on their race.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/21/us/politics/curtis-flowers-supreme-court-in-the-dark-podacast.html

Supreme Court Dismisses House of Delegates' Appeal in Virginia Racial Gerrymandering Case

The case that gave rise to this decision concerned 11 voting districts in Virginia, each with at least a 55% population of black residents of voting age. A lower court had struck down parts of the voting map on race-discrimination grounds after Democratic voters sued, saying that lawmakers had violated the Constitution by packing too many black voters into the district, thus diminishing their voting power. Virginia's House of Delegates appealed the ruling that struck down the voting maps after the state's attorney general decided not to appeal. In a 5 to 4 vote, the Supreme Court said that Virginia's House of Delegates was not authorized to pursue the appeal on behalf of the state and had not suffered the type of direct injury that would give it standing.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/17/us/politics/virginia-racial-gerrymandering-supreme-court.html

Supreme Court Upholds Virginia's Decades-Old Ban on Uranium Mining

Virginia imposed a moratorium on uranium mining 37 years ago. The question in this case was whether the federal Atomic Energy Act (AEA) pre-empts the state law, which on its face regulates an activity within its jurisdiction (uranium mining) but has the purpose and effect of regulating radiological safety hazards of activities that are under federal responsibility. The majority wrote that the AEA did not affect the longstanding power of states to regulate mining, and that the federal government's authority to regulate radiation safety standards arises only after uranium is mined.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/17/us/politics/supreme-court-virginia-uranium-mining.html

Supreme Court Won't Rule on Clash Between Bakery and Gay Couple

The Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from the owners of an Oregon bakery who were ordered to pay $135,000 in damages after refusing to create a wedding cake for a gay couple. As a result, the question of whether businesses may discriminate against same-sex couples on religious grounds remains unresolved.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/17/us/politics/supreme-court-gay-marriage-bakery.html

New Judge in the 9/11 Trial at Guantanamo Inherits a Complex History

Air Force Colonel Shane Cohen is the third judge to be assigned to the military trial of the five defendants charged in the September 11th attacks. Cohen is expected to guide the case into its trial phase and inherits 23,039 pages of transcripts, following 36 pretrial sessions and about 500 substantive motions, some still awaiting rulings.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/us/politics/w-shane-cohen-guantanamo.html

Visa Delays at Backlogged Immigration Service Strand International Students

Citizenship and Immigration Services is projecting a lag of up to five months this year due to a surge in employment authorization requests. Longer processing times for student visas are impacting schools' abilities to recruit and retain foreign talent, and international students are finding it increasingly difficult to start their jobs or complete their degrees.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/16/us/politics/visas-international-students.html

President Trump Postpones Raids That Aimed to Deport Undocumented Families

President Trump announced a two-week delay to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids that would have targeted families who have received deportation orders. The president's reversal comes as the House of Representatives is considering a measure to send $4.5 billion in humanitarian aid to the border, money which Democrats do not want to see going toward the raids.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/22/us/politics/trump-ice-raids.html

Landlords Oppose the President's Plan to Evict Undocumented Immigrants

Landlords across the country are opposing a proposed plan to evict undocumented immigrants from federally subsidized housing. Public housing administrators say that the plan would add immigration enforcement to their responsibilities and it will be the housing authority that will bear the brunt of the expense of having to evict these families.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/17/us/politics/public-housing-immigrants.html

Lawmakers Join Forces to Fight Shared Nuisance of Robocalls

If passed, the bipartisan bill will require phone carriers to offer screening technology to their customers, at no extra costs, to identify and block automated/spam calls.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/us/politics/stopping-robocalls.html

House Panel Explores Reparations at Historic Hearing on Slavery

Discussions at the historic hearing on Capitol Hill focused on bill H.R. 40, proposed legislation that would create a commission to address the effects of slavery and consider a national apology for the harm it has caused, if not the enactment of a more comprehensive reparations program.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/us/politics/slavery-reparations-hearing.html

House Speaker Pelosi Dismisses Calls to Censure President Trump

Censuring President Trump would require a vote on the House floor to reprimand him, but Speaker Pelosi is of the view that the move would have little effect and that if Democrats conclude he should be charged for misconduct, impeachment is the only option.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/us/politics/censure-trump-pelosi.html

Senate Votes to Block Arms Sales to Gulf Nations

The Senate voted to block the sale of billions of dollars of munitions to Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. The White House tried to circumvent Congress by declaring an emergency over Iran and then invoking an emergency provision in the Arms Export Control Act to allow American companies to sell munitions to the gulf nations. The House is also expected to block the sales, but President Trump has pledged to veto the legislation.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/us/politics/saudi-arms-sales.html

https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/SAP_SJ-RES-36.pdf

President Trump Approved Strikes on Iran But Later Delayed the Attack

President Trump approved military strikes on several Iranian targets after Iran shot down an American navy drone. Shortly thereafter, he pulled back from launching the attacks, announcing instead potential new sanctions aimed at Iran's top political and military leaders.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/world/middleeast/iran-us-drone.html

Trump Nominates Mark Esper as Next Defense Secretary After Shanahan Withdraws as Nominee

President Trump has nominated Mark Esper as the next defense secretary after acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan withdrew his name from consideration. The FBI was reportedly still conducting a background investigation into incidents of family violence that Shanahan had not disclosed during his confirmation as deputy secretary. The new nominee, Mark Esper, is a West Point graduate who served in the gulf war. He has worked for the Heritage Foundation and was a lobbyist for Raytheon, a major military contractor.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/21/us/politics/mark-esper-defense-secretary-nomination.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/18/us/politics/mark-esper-acting-defense-secretary.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/18/us/politics/patrick-shanahan-defense-secretary.html

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Finalizes Its Plan to Replace Obama-Era Climate Plan

A new regulation, known as the Affordable Clean Energy rule, gives states the authority to decide how far to scale back carbon emissions. The move is a departure from the Obama administration's plan, which would have set national emissions limits and required the reconstruction of power grids to move utilities away from coal.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/climate/epa-coal-emissions.html

Schumer Requests Investigation into Mnuchin's Handling of the $20 Bill Redesign

Senator Schumer has asked the Treasury Department's inspector general to open an investigation into delayed design concepts of the $20 bill featuring Harriet Tubman. Secretary Mnuchin has said the delay was due to the complexity of new anti-counterfeiting measures.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/us/politics/schumer-harriet-tubman-bill.html

President Trump Accuses Europe of Bolstering Its Economy at America's Expense

In a series of tweets this week, President Trump accused the European Central Bank (ECB) of trying to prop up Europe's economy and weaken its currency to gain a competitive edge over the U.S. The tweets followed an announcement from ECB President Draghi that he was open to boosting monetary stimulus if economic conditions in Europe did not improve.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/18/business/ecb-mario-draghi-stimulus.html

President Trump's Tariff Threat Has Retailers Sounding the Alarm

The Trump administration's threat to impose new tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports resulted in retailers and analysts saying that the move could be disastrous, especially for traditional retailers, since the next round of tariffs is aimed at consumer goods like footwear, toys, and apparel.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/16/business/economy/trump-china-tariffs-retailers.html

Trump Campaign Fires Pollsters After Leak of Unflattering Numbers

President Trump's re-election campaign is cutting ties with some of its pollsters after leaked internal polling showed the president trailing Joe Biden in critical 2020 battleground states.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/16/us/politics/trump-polls.html

President Trump Emphatically Denies Sexual Assault Allegation by Advice Columnist

E. Jean Carroll, a former advice columnist for Elle magazine, is accusing President Trump of sexually assaulting her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in 1995 or 1996. The president denied the accusation, saying that he had never met and did not know Carroll.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/22/us/e-jean-carroll-donald-trump.html

Former White House Communications Director, Hope Hicks, Declines to Answer Lawmakers' Questions

Transcripts of a closed hearing before the House Judiciary Committee show that Hicks declined to answer nearly every question about her time working in the administration, citing instructions from the president that she was "immune" from answering. She did, however, answer questions about her work on the campaign, which is not subject to executive privilege, as lawmakers pressed her on her recollections of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/us/politics/hope-hicks-house-judiciary-testimony.html

Paul Manafort and Sean Hannity Traded Messages for Months

Fox News host and Trump ally Sean Hannity exchanged hundreds of text messages with Paul Manafort, discussing, among other things, the special counsel's investigation and Manafort's defense strategy.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/21/us/politics/manafort-hannity-texts.html

Manafort Will Not Be Serving His Sentence at Rikers After Justice Department Intervenes

Like many federal inmates facing state charges, Manafort was expected to start serving his seven-and-a-half-year sentence at Rikers Island. Manafort will now remain in federal custody after deputy attorney general Jeffrey Rosen passed along a letter from Manafort's attorney to the Bureau of Prisons asking that Manafort remain at the low-security Loretto prison facility in Pennsylvania due to health and other concerns.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/17/nyregion/manafort-rikers.html

Amidst a Profound Democratic Shift in New York, the State Approves One of the World's Most Ambitious Climate Plans

Voting 104-35, New York's lawmakers have agreed to one of the nation's most aggressive plans to combat climate change, including a pledge to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It is the second U.S. state (after California) to pledge the creation of a carbon-neutral economy. Lawmakers also passed the strongest tenant protections in decades and gave farm workers collective bargaining rights.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/22/nyregion/albany-laws-ny-progressive.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/18/nyregion/greenhouse-gases-ny.html

Sexual Harassment Laws Toughened in New York State

The new legislation eliminates the state's "severe or pervasive" standard for proving harassment. The measure also restricts an employer's ability to avoid liability for the behavior of its employees and expands the time frame to file complaints of workplace harassment with a state agency. A separate bill extended the statute of limitations for second- and third-degree rape.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/nyregion/sexual-harassment-laws-ny.html

Driver's Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants Are Approved in New York State

New York will become the 13th state to permit undocumented immigrants to apply for drivers' licenses. The bill passed with just one more vote than the minimum needed, and Governor Cuomo signed it soon after, reversing a nearly 20-year-old ban.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/17/nyregion/undocumented-immigrants-drivers-licenses-ny.html

New York State Legislature Bans "Gay Panic" Defenses in Murder Cases

New York became the seventh state to ban "gay panic" or "transgender panic" defenses that have allowed those accused of murdering LGBTQ people to claim that they did so in a state of temporary insanity caused and justified by their victim's sexual orientation or gender identity.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/nyregion/gay-panic-ny.html

Marijuana Decriminalization Expanded in New York State

The new measure treats possession of up to two ounces of marijuana as a violation instead of a crime, with fines dropping to $50. The state will also automatically expunge many low-level marijuana convictions.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/nyregion/marijuana-laws-ny.html

Trump Will Not Apologize for Comments About Central Park Five

When asked about the wrongly convicted defendants in the 1989 rape case, President Trump said that he would not apologize for his harsh comments or for his actions in taking out a newspaper advertisement shortly after the attack, in which he called for New York State to adopt the death penalty.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/18/nyregion/central-park-five-trump.html

Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds Last-Minute Laws that Limited the Incoming Democratic Governor's Powers

Last November, Wisconsin's legislature pushed through a series of measures limiting the incoming Democratic governor's rule-making authority and his ability to withdraw the state from lawsuits that had already been filed. The state supreme court has now upheld those measures, saying the Republicans carried out a legal exercise of legislative power.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/21/us/wisconsin-lame-duck-laws-upheld.html

72 Philadelphia Officers Benched After Offensive Social Media Posts

Dozens of police officers were taken off regular duty for posting racist and hateful comments on social media. The posts were exposed by Plain View Project, a database of officers' social media activity that released a compilation of posts from accounts belonging to current or former officers. Departments across the country have taken the position that these posts undermine the integrity of policing as well as their efforts to improve interactions between police and the communities they serve.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/us/philly-cops-plain-view-project.html

Deutsche Bank Faces Criminal Investigation for Potential Money-Laundering

Federal authorities, including the U.S. attorney's offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn, are investigating Deutsche Bank's anti-money laundering operations. Authorities are also following up with a former anti-money-laundering compliance officer at the bank, who says she flagged transactions involving Jared Kushner's company, but that her superiors declined to file suspicious activity reports.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/business/deutsche-bank-money-laundering-trump.html

Google Pledges to Invest $1 Billion to Ease Housing Crisis in the Bay Area

The company plans to repurpose commercially zoned land and work with local governments to allow developers to lease the land and build homes.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/18/technology/google-1-billion-housing-crisis.html

He Won a Landmark Case for Privacy Rights. He's Going to Prison Anyway.

As part of a month-long project exploring privacy rights and technology, the New York Times discusses the case of Timothy Carpenter, the plaintiff in the landmark Carpenter v United States case. The case set a new benchmark for privacy by requiring that police obtain a warrant before obtaining cellphone location history from a phone company. As with similar Fourth Amendment rulings, however, the plaintiff's civil liberties win did not spare him from prison time. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that the cellphone tracking data that was obtained without a warrant in his case could still be used under the good-faith exception.

The ACLU is now challenging the adoption of a good-faith exception in other jurisdictions, saying that "it leaves the public and police without clear guidance about what the Fourth Amendment means and how it should apply to novel but important digital-age intrusions."

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/13/opinion/timothy-carpenter-prison-privacy.html

Boeing CEO Says Handling of 737 Max Warning Light Was a Mistake

Boeing's chief executive says the company made a mistake in how it handled a cockpit warning light on the now-grounded 737 Max. The warning
light was a necessary safety feature that would notify pilots of a potential malfunction, but it only worked if customers had bought a separate, optional indicator. What Boeing thought was a standard safety feature was actually a premium add-on that neither the Lion Air nor the Ethiopian Airlines plane were equipped with.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/16/business/boeing-737-max.html

Nxivm's Keith Raniere Convicted in Sex Trafficking Case

Following a six-week trial, the leader of the cult-like group Nxivm was found guilty of racketeering and sex-trafficking for his role in setting up a supposed self-help organization that recruited women as slaves and coerced them into sexual acts.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/nyregion/nxivm-trial-raniere.html

Russian Millionaire Sues Over Trump Inauguration Tickets

A Ukrainian-Russian developer is suing Republican fundraiser Yuri Vanetik for a refund of the $200,000 payment he made in exchange for access to a package of events organized by Trump's inaugural committee. The case may be of interest to federal prosecutors who are investigating whether foreigners illegally gave money to the committee.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/18/us/politics/trump-inaugural-lawsuit-pavel-fuks.html

Walmart Agrees to Pay $282 Million in Fines to Settle a Global Corruption Investigation

The agreement resolves a seven year investigation into Walmart's violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it illegal for American corporations to bribe overseas officials.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/business/walmart-bribery-settlement.html

Mexico Ratifies Trade Deal with the U.S. and Canada

Mexico is the first country to ratify the trade agreement that was signed late last year. The trade agreement will not go into effect until it has been approved by the legislatures of all three countries. Earlier this year, Mexico surpassed Canada to become the United States' largest trading partner and the largest market for American goods.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/world/americas/mexico-nafta-usa-canada.html

Hong Kong Protesters Return to the Streets While China Continues to Back Their Leader and Censor News of Civil Unrest

Nearly two million people flooded the streets of Hong Kong, demanding that their leader resign and calling for her to withdraw the extradition
bill that she recently suspended. The bill would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be extradited and prosecuted in mainland China. Protesters are also calling for an investigation into police use of force and officials' characterization of the protests as "illegal rioting."

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/16/world/asia/carrie-lam-hong-kong-protests.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/17/world/asia/hong-kong-china-protests.html

Saudi Youth Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison, Avoids Death Penalty

Saudi prosecutors had initially sought a death sentence for a teenager who faced charges related to his attendance at antigovernment protests, some that took place when he was 10 years old. A human rights group that has been monitoring his case is reporting that the 18-year-old will now receive 12 years in prison, four of which he has already served.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/16/world/middleeast/saudi-teenager-death-sentence.html

U.N. Reports That Number of People Fleeing Conflict is the Highest Since World War II

The global population of people displaced by conflict reached nearly 71 million last year. Most of those uprooted by conflict in 2018 remained displaced in their own countries. 80% of those who fled their own countries are taking shelter in neighboring nations, a figure that pushes back at the narrative that most refugees are heading to the U.S., Europe or Australia. More than half of the 2018 refugees were children.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/world/refugees-record-un.html

Rising Temperatures Are Ravaging the Himalayas

Considered the water towers of Asia and an insurance policy against drought, the glaciers of the Himalayas are shrinking at an alarming rate due to rising global temperature, according to a study based on 40 years of satellite data.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/climate/global-warming-himalayas-glaciers.html

Vatican Will Start Ordaining Married Men as Priests

In an exception to the celibacy requirement for priests, the Vatican will start ordaining married, elderly men to the priesthood to address a shortage of priests in remote areas of the Amazon.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/17/world/europe/vatican-priests-married-men.html

About June 2019

This page contains all entries posted to The Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Blog in June 2019. They are listed from oldest to newest.

May 2019 is the previous archive.

July 2019 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.