« Week In Review | Main | Week In Review »

Week In Review

By Eric Lanter
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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


Tina Tchen, Ex-Obama Aide, Will Take Over Time's Up

The advocacy organization Time's Up announced this week that Tina Tchen, former chief of staff to Michelle Obama, is going to lead the organization as its new chief executive. She has had an active role in the organization and operated "a legal-defense fund for women in all industries who experienced sexual harassment at work." She will be leading Time's Up's new project, which is focused on researching sexual harassment policies and forms of workplace discrimination.


Lil Peep's Mother Sues Managers Over His Death

Nearly two years after the emo-rapper Lil Peep died from an overdose in Arizona, his mother has sued First Access Entertainment, the talent agency and label that oversaw his career. The action alleges that the team around them should have obtained help for the rapper, rather than pushing him "onto stage after stage in city after city, plying and propping" him up with drugs and substances that led to his death. The complaint has sought unspecified damages "for negligence, breach of contract, and wrongful death."


Porn Producers Accused of Fooling Women Charged With Sex Trafficking

According to a criminal complaint, owners and employees of two pornographic websites "used deception and false promises" to lure women to modeling auditions, "telling them that their identities would be shielded and that the videos would not be posted online." There have been 22 women that have come forward and said that they were "tricked into performing in internet pornography."



Prince's Estate to Trump Campaign: Don't Play 'Purple Rain'

Prince's estate has pushed back against President Trump's campaign using the song "Purple Rain" after the campaign played the song during his rally in Minneapolis, the singer's hometown. The estate wrote on Twitter that the law firm representing Trump in election law matters, Jones Day, had agreed last year "that the campaign would not use Prince's songs at rallies and other events."


Filming the Show: Pardon the Intrusion? Or Punish It?

When a person in an audience uses his/her/their phone (and especially to record or photograph a performance), that is more than just a distraction to the performers and other patrons; it "can constitute a form of intellectual property theft." However, there is a growing debate about whether that etiquette should be changing, with younger audiences seeing the restrictions as a "form of off-putting elitism." For example, the Philadelphia Orchestra has allowed audiences to keep their phones during concerts and even offered an app that guides the patrons through the evening's music.


Robert Indiana's Island Home Still Grapples With His Legacy

Following the artist Robert Indiana's death last year, the community of Vinalhaven, Maine has been grappling with what to do with the Victorian home that he owned. Many in the community are hoping to honor his will and turn the building into a museum "that would honor his legacy," but there are concerns about how it would stay operational and how many visitors would be coming to the secluded island every year to visit the museum. While the administration of Indiana's estate continues, it remains unclear what will become of the home, but there remains "no official memorial service to mark his passing."


Fashion's Latest Trend: Eco Bragging Rights

In the fashion industry, from Milan to Paris to New York, the hottest looks have come from sustainable fashion. On September 10, in New York, Gabriela Hearst led the way with what she called "the first carbon-neutral fashion show," and that has been followed by brands, such as Gucci and Missoni, touting themselves as leading the way "in sustainable fashion" with carbon neutral lines and "solar powered sun lights" being given out during the shows. In Paris, brands vowed to address climate change in their conducting of business. In short, having sustainability in their lines has become a metric in the highly competitive industry.


MoMA Reboots With 'Modernism Plus'

The Museum of Modern Art is set to reopen on October 21st after a $450 million renovation. The museum has made an effort to shed its reputation as being a monument to "white, male, and nationalist" art and has acquired works from "Africa, Asia, South America, and African America, and a significant amount of work by women."


Olga Tokarczuk and Peter Handke Awarded Nobel Prizes in Literature

The Nobel Committee has faced intense criticism for its past awards, and it "waded into fresh controversy" by awarding the prize to Peter Handke, "who delivered a eulogy at the funeral of Slobodan Milosevic, the former leader of Yugoslavia who was tried for war crimes." The other prize awarded this year, to novelist Olga Tokarczuk, was less controversial even though she is outspoken and has expressed "polarizing political views." However, the prize to Handke prompted "a rare rebuke from another literary organization, PEN America."



Colliding With China, the National Basketball Association Retreats With a Bruised Spine

There is an ongoing feud between the Chinese government and parts of the National Basketball Association (NBA) as China is threatening to cancel two exhibition games over a tweet from an executive of the Houston Rockets expressing support for the Hong Kong protests. Everyone from Golden State Warriors Coach Steve Kerr to San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich to President Trump have weighed in on the issue, and it is the latest example of the Chinese government imposing its will on American companies for stances those companies may take in opposition to the Chinese government.






National Football League Players Association Files Grievances on Behalf of Antonio Brown

The National Football League (NFL) Players Association has filed several grievances on behalf of wide receiver Antonio Brown in an effort to win him back the approximately $40 million that he lost when the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots released him last month. He has publicly complained about the power that the teams and their owners have over players, basing that complaint on a provision of his contract that should have guaranteed him a $9 million signing bonus, which he did not receive from the New England Patriots.


Players With Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Doubled Risk With Every 5.3 Years in Football

Researchers at Boston University, in the chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) Center, have announced that former tackle football players double the risk of developing "the worst forms" of CTE for each 5.3 years of the sport they play. Scientists have known of the existence of a connection between playing tackle football and the condition, but the extent of the risk to players was not known. The researchers stated their findings in another way: "the risk of developing CTE rose by 30 percent each year played when surveying all the players."


NFL Upholds Suspension of Vontaze Burfict

The NFL has upheld its season-long suspension of Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict for the hit he inflicted on an Indianapolis Colts player in the fourth week of the season. Given Burfict's history of violent hits, and this latest one being an "unnecessary, flagrant" helmet-to-helmet hit on tight end Jack Doyle, the NFL ruled that Burfict has "continued to flagrantly abuse rules designated to protect yourself and your opponents from unnecessary risk."


Tokyo Braces for the Hottest Olympics Ever

The Olympics in Tokyo are set to open on July 24, 2020 and conclude on August 9th, and officials are expecting it to be the hottest Olympics on record. When the Olympics were previously held in Tokyo in 1964, they began on October 10 because of the heat conditions. This past summer alone, more than 1,000 people died and tens of thousands were hospitalized for heat-related illnesses. Nonetheless, officials have chosen the dates for the Olympics largely based on the American television market, as "three-quarters of [International Olympic Committee] IOC revenue comes from broadcast rights, and about half of those rights are paid by the American broadcaster NBC."


Braves Pivot from Tomahawk Chop Chant After a Cardinal's Criticism

The Atlanta Braves announced that they will not be distributing red foam tomahawks, which have long been "a fixture at Braves games" and that "the thumping backup music to the team's chant would not be played over the park's sound system if" the St. Louis Cardinals' pitcher Ryan Helsley, a member of the Cherokee Nation, was in the game. The Braves released a statement: "We look forward to continued dialogue with those in the Native American community after this postseason concludes."


In Tennis, Men and Women are United in Looming Prize-Money Fight

Professional tennis players are seeking to "push the four Grand Slam tournaments to commit a greater percentage of their revenue to the players." The group, which does not include Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal, is seeking more accountability as to how the tournaments calculate the prize money, and the group is hoping to obtain a seat at the table to negotiate for higher prize amounts. Thus far, the Grand Slam tournaments have not engaged with the group.


Blizzard Sets Off Backlash for Penalizing Hearthstone Gamer in Hong Kong and Apple Removes App That Helps Hong Kong Protesters

Activision Blizzard is only the latest company to face scrutiny for its actions as related to Hong Kong and China. The company suspended an e-sports player who had publicly supported the Hong Kong protests while broadcasting the video game Hearthstone. Additionally, the company forced him to forfeit $10,000 in prize money, prompting outrage from gamers and politicians alike. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon said on Twitter that the company showed "it is willing to humiliate itself to please the Chinese Communist Party. No American company should censor calls for freedom to make a quick buck." On Wednesday, Apple removed an app that enabled protesters in Hong Kong to track the police, plunging the tech giant "deeper into the complicated politics of a country that is fundamental to its business."




Facebook Fights Back, and U.S. Trade Deals Serve as Shield

Even with the Trump administration inserting legal protections into trade agreements "that shield online platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube from lawsuits," which helps "lock in America's tech-friendly regulations around the world even as they are being newly questioned at home," Facebook is gearing up for a fight if presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren wins the election next year. She has called for breaking up the large tech companies, such as Facebook, and Mark Zuckerberg, in an internal question-and-answer session with Facebook, said, "At the end of the day, if someone's going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight."



Matt Lauer Accuser Speaks Out in Ronan Farrow's New Book

Investigative journalist Ronan Farrow's new book contains details about Matt Lauer's downfall on NBC's "Today" as well as the aftermath of his termination. One accuser, Brooke Nevils, reported to Farrow that Lauer raped her while they were in Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Lauer has denied the allegation of rape but instead released a statement that it was an "extramarital, but consensual, sexual encounter." Farrow's book also details NBC and its subsidiary NBC News and their handling of reports of sexual misconduct, such as its blocking Farrow's investigation into Harvey Weinstein.



Shepard Smith, Fox News Anchor, Abruptly Departs From Network

Shepard Smith, a longtime Fox News anchor, stepped down after Friday's broadcast noting, "Recently, I asked the company to allow me to leave. After requesting that I stay, they obliged." He had become increasingly open about his skepticism of the Trump administration, even asking in 2017 during a newscast, "Why is it lie after lie after lie?" He informed viewers that he was not likely to be in broadcasting in the near term, and his contract, which he breached by resigning, had a non-compete clause.


Assailant Live-Streamed Attempted Attack on German Synagogue

In eastern Germany, a gunman attempted to storm a synagogue on Wednesday "as congregants observed the holiest day in Judaism." Unable to break through a locked door, he killed two people and wounded two others in an attack that resembled those attacks by far-right extremists in mosques in New Zealand over six months ago. Police have announced that they arrested a suspect in the city of Halle, but they have not confirmed whether the suspect is the gunman or whether there were any accomplices to the crime.



Poland's State Media Is Government's Biggest Booster Before Election

The state media within Poland has been one of the most powerful tools that the governing Law and Justice party has for convincing the electorate that they are worthy of re-election. The party has "reshaped the media landscape, imposing complete governmental control" over the state television station TVP and has cracked down on other media sources. Recently, a fake photo circulated on state media showing the climate change activist Greta Thunberg purportedly meeting billionaire progressive political donor George Soros, but the photo had been doctored from her actual meeting with former vice president Al Gore.


General News

Supreme Court Returns to Work, and There Are Five Big Cases to Watch

With the Supreme Court returning to work, there are several upcoming cases to watch, including resolutions to the questions of whether a landmark civil rights law protects gay and transgender people, whether the Trump administration may strip protection from "Dreamers," whether the Court will restrict abortion rights, whether the Court will expand Second Amendment rights, and whether states may bar aid from religious schools. In its first argument heard, the Supreme Court considered whether states may abolish the insanity defense, raising questions of "history, moral philosophy, constitutional law, and the brutal crimes at the heart of the case."



Second Whistle-Blower Emerges as Ukraine Probe Widens

The House of Representatives' inquiry into impeaching President Trump has continued to widen, and the extent of the administration's involvement in obtaining damaging information or documents about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden appear to be growing by the day. It has come to light that the State Department received instructions to play down that funding approved by Congress for Ukraine had been held and then released after the Administration approved it. A second whistleblower has been revealed as well: while the identity of the individual is not yet known, there is speculation that the person was also on the phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky. The former envoy to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, met with lawmakers this week and "was told Trump wanted her out over lack of trust."






Giuliani Faces Increasing Scrutiny, and Potentially Investigation, for His Role

Rudy Giuliani's role in the Ukraine probe continues to widen as two of his associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested this week. The extent of his involvement in the administration is also being increasingly revealed as it came to light that in 2017 Giuliani pressed then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to release a jailed client, an Iranian-Turkish gold trader. Tillerson argued that it was "highly inappropriate to interfere in an open criminal case."




GOP-Led Senate Panel Affirms That Russia Attacked Election and Urges Action

The Senate Intelligence Committee reaffirmed this week "that Russian operatives engaged in a widespread social media campaign to improve" now-President Trump's chances in the 2016 election. The committee authored a report supporting the conclusions in the intelligence community, and it concluded that the Kremlin directed the effort. The panel recommended that Congress should consider new requirements for online political ads similar to those existing for television or radio, which require disclosure as to who paid for the advertising. The report states: "Issues such as privacy rules, identity validation, transparency in how data is collected and used, and monitoring for inauthentic or malign content, among others, deserve continued examination."


President Ordered to Turn Over Tax Returns to Manhattan District Attorney and Congress Handed a Win at Appeals Court for Seeking Financial Records

On Monday, a federal judge rejected President Trump's "effort to shield his tax returns from Manhattan state prosecutors." In the ruling, Judge Victor Marrero called President Trump's argument that he was immune from criminal investigation "repugnant to the nation's governmental structure and constitutional values." His lawyers have appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which has agreed to "temporarily delay enforcement of the subpoena while it considers arguments in the case." Congress received approval from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia for pursuing the financial records of President Trump, but the case is virtually guaranteed to be appealed. Meanwhile, this week, Deutsche Bank confirmed to a federal appeals court that it does not have the personal tax returns of President Trump.





FBI Practices for Intercepted Emails Violated Fourth Amendment, Judge Ruled

Declassified files from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act rulings show that a federal judge ruled last year that the FBI's procedures "for searching for Americans' emails within a repository of intercepted messages that were gathered without a warrant violated Fourth Amendment privacy rights." These files show that the bureau "resisted a congressional mandate that required it to keep closer track of when it searched for Americans' information," which then led to a secret court fight.


Pentagon Analyst Is Charged in Leaks of Classified Reports

A counterterrorism analyst at the Pentagon shared classified information with journalists for over a year, according to an indictment that was unsealed this week. He was arrested at the Defense Intelligence Agency, and his arrest comes as the Justice Department begins more aggressive efforts to stop "illegal leaks of classified information," particularly leaks to journalists. Prosecutors have refused to say whether they have monitored the two journalists who received the information from the analyst.


Kevin McAleenan Resigns as Acting Homeland Security Secretary

On Twitter, President Trump announced that the acting secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, Kevin McAleenan, was stepping down to "spend more time with his family and go to the private sector." He has been in his position for approximately six months and had difficulty "managing a turbulent relationship with a president intent on restricting immigration." His departure comes one week after he complained during an interview with The Washington Post about the "tone, the message, the public face and approach" to the administration's immigration policy.


Judges Strike Several Blows to Trump Immigration Policies

On Friday, judges in four states barred the Trump administration "from trying to withhold green cards from people who use public benefits and rejected his plan to divert funds to erect a border wall." The rulings came from New York, California, and Washington State and enjoined the administration from denying green cards to those who have used benefits, "such as Medicaid or those deemed likely to use them in the future." In Texas, a judge ruled that President Trump had acted unlawfully when he announced that the Pentagon would shift $3.6 billion from military construction funds to build a barrier along the nation's southern border.


State Birds May Be Forced Out of Their States as the World Warms

A new study has found that as the planet warms, birds across the country will have to relocate to escape the heat, and that will lead to at least eight states seeing "their state birds largely or entirely disappear from within their borders during the summer." The National Audubon Society released the research, and the migrations are expected to change assuming the global temperature rises "a plausible three degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels this century."


Juul Is Sued by School Districts That Say Vaping Is a Dangerous Drain on Resources

School districts throughout the country have sued the e-cigarette manufacturer Juul, alleging that the company is "endangering students and forcing educators to divert time and money to fight an epidemic of nicotine addiction." The districts have also alleged that the company marketed its goods to adolescents, which has burdened schools with "the costs of stopping students from vaping, disciplining them when they break school rules, and providing support services when they become addicted."


Fed Votes to Lighten Regulations for All but the Largest Banks

The Federal Reserve Board voted this week to "adjust key bank regulations put in place after the financial crisis" that one board governor noted "could weaken 'core safeguards.'" The regulations will reduce the amount of cash and bonds that banks must keep in their stockpiles and has allowed banks to submit less frequently their "living wills," which are documents detailing how a business would wind down its business.


Judge Orders Pause in Opioid Litigation Against Purdue Pharma and Sacklers

A bankruptcy judge has called for a pause in the legal action that states have brought against Purdue Pharma and its owners, the Sacklers. The judge, Judge Robert Drain of the United States Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, called for the halt, "citing mounting costs of litigation that are siphoning funds that could otherwise go to abate the opioid crisis." His ruling came after a seven-hour hearing during which he pushed the "parties to a compromise to address the opposing states' key concerns."


Rep. Nita Lowey Is Retiring. Could Chelsea Clinton Seek the Seat?

Thursday, Representative Nita Lowey announced that she would not seek re-election in 2020, opening the way for a potential run by Chelsea Clinton. Lowey has been in Congress since 1988 and has been a close ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and has led the House Appropriations Committee. Last year, Chelsea Clinton told a newspaper that covers the Hudson Valley that, "if someone were to step down or retire," she would "have to think if it's the right choice for me," but her parents' home is located within the district.


PG&E Outage Darkens Northern California Amid Wildfire Threat

On Wednesday, the lights went out in Northern California from near the Oregon border to the hillside communities near San Francisco. Pacific Gas and Electric has shut off the electricity as a precaution against wildfires, and with residents unaware of how long the outage may last, "residents hurried to gas stations and supermarkets, stocking up on essentials as if a hurricane were bearing down." It is estimated that by the end of the week, over 2.5 million people would be without power in California.


California Man Is Convicted of Cyberstalking Parkland Victims' Families

Brandon Michael Fleury has been "found guilty of three counts of cyberstalking and one count of transmitting a kidnapping threat" after using 13 different Instagram accounts to target survivors and loved ones of the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Many of the accounts and messages were threatening in nature as he pretended to be the shooter. He admitted to police that he targeted family members who were "activists" and that he had developed a "'fascination' with mass shooters and serial killers."


An Admissions Scandal Parent Got Probation. His Argument? Not Rich or Famous

One of the lesser known individuals involved in the college admissions scandal involves a founder of a natural food company who claimed from the beginning that he was not rich or famous but had paid $15,000 for his daughter's ACT exam to be cheated. His attorney has said that he pleaded guilty because "he doesn't have a public image to maintain, and he was sentenced this week to a year of probation, a fine of $9,500, and 250 hours of community service.


Trump Orders Troops and Weapons to Saudi Arabia in Message of Deterrence to Iran

The Pentagon has announced that the U.S. will be sending approximately 3,000 additional troops to Saudi Arabia to deter Iran from any further attacks on the Saudi oil facilities that were struck last month. The announcement came shortly after President Trump said he wanted to end the "endless wars" that America has been involved in, which came with his pulling troops out of the way for the Turkish military to advance into Syria.


Trump Reaches 'Phase 1' Deal With China and Delays Planned Tariffs

President Trump announced that the U.S. and China had reached an "interim deal" that would put a temporary stop to the "prolonged and economically painful trade war." Speaking from the Oval Office, he announced that the agreement "would take several weeks to write and that both sides could officially sign by November." The agreement would involve China buying $40 billion to $50 billion in American agricultural products as well as provide guidelines for how China manages its currency.


Turkey Launches Offensive Against Kurds After U.S. Pulls Out

Following President Trump's agreement with Turkey to permit it to launch an assault against a Syrian militia, the Kurds, the Turkish military advanced on the militia, which had been one of America's crucial allies in the region. Although President Trump acquiesced to the Turkish government and agreed to move American troops out of Turkey's way, he called the operation "a bad idea." While Trump has claimed that "in no way have we abandoned the Kurds," many Republicans including those in the Senate have said that his move is an abandonment of the alliance and a move that "ensures the re-emergence of ISIS."



In Kashmir, a Race Against Death, With No Way to Call a Doctor

Basic infrastructure in the Kashmir Valley has gone by the wayside in the two months since the Indian government revoked Kashmir's autonomy. With government-imposed communication blackouts, including the internet being down, and security checkpoints, disconnected phones, and difficulty finding medical attention, many have had their lives put into jeopardy for things as simple as a snakebite for want of finding the antidote.


Facing 'Cash-Flow Crisis,' the UN Cuts Hiring, Heating, Escalators and the AC

The United Nations' budget officials announced that they are facing an "acute cash shortage" and that it is necessary to curtail heating and air-conditioning, suspend hiring, eliminate optional travel, not replace furniture or computers unless absolutely necessary, and reduce the quality of services. The Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said that the austerity measures, which begin on October 14th, "will affect working conditions and operations until further notice."


European Parliament, Flexing Muscle, Rejects France's Commission Nominee

The European Parliament rejected French President Emmanuel Macron's pick for a top European Union job. Macron had selected Sylvie Goulard to lead the "internal market and industrial policy at the European Commission," but her finances and past actions came under scrutiny as two years ago she resigned as defense minister of France after having been accused "of providing a no-show job to an assistant at her office."


Why Amazon Fires Keep Raging Ten Years After a Deal to End Them

This August, there were 26,000 recorded forest fires in the Amazon rainforest, and that is the highest number in a decade. Ten years ago, an agreement with Greenpeace and Brazilian meatpacking companies that should have stopped the fires from being so common and should have reduced clearing of the rainforest. Yet prosecutors, academics, and environmentalists have noted that those meatpacking companies have not kept up their end of the bargain and have been responsible for deforestation and forest fires, which prompted Greenpeace to pull out of the agreement in 2017.


U.S. Blacklists 28 Chinese Entities Over Abuses in Xinjiang

The Trump administration has added 28 Chinese organizations to a blacklist "over concerns about their role in human rights violations, effectively blocking those entities from buying American products." The companies are said to be involved in the Chinese government's targeting of the Muslim Uighur minority in the Xinjiang province of China, according to a filing with the Department of Commerce. The companies conduct business in the realms of artificial intelligence, voice recognition, and video surveillance, all of which have been widely used in that region to monitor the Uighurs.


Nobel Prize in Physics Awarded for Studies of Earth's Place in the Universe

The Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to James Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz. Peebles has developed theories to explain the 13.8 billion years of cosmological history, and Mayor and Queloz have shown "that other stars similar to the sun also possess planets." The committee announced that these two areas of research have taught humans "about our place in the universe."


Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopian Prime Minister

The prime minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, has received the Nobel Peace Prize "for his work in restarting peace talks with neighboring Eritrea and beginning to restore freedoms in his country after decades of political and economic repression." The two countries have had a conflict that despite the "deep ethnic and cultural ties" between them has led to over 80,000 deaths over the last few years. The Nobel Committee cited Abiy's accomplishments during his first 100 days as prime minister as well: "lifting the country's state of emergency, granting amnesty to thousands of political prisoners, discontinuing media censorship, legalizing outlawed opposition groups, dismissing military and civilian leaders suspected of corruption, and increasing the influence of women in political and community life."


Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 13, 2019 1:01 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Week In Review.

The next post in this blog is Week In Review.

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