Week In Review
By Kajon Pompey
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker
Rust Prosecution Receives New Updates
Alec Baldwin’s lawyers challenged the current special prosecutor’s role in the lawsuit, as she worked as a New Mexico state legislator last year—thereby combining two core powers of different branches of government. This combination is apparently barred by the plain language of Article III of the New Mexico Constitution and the special prosecutor has been removed.
Twitter and Music Licensing
Prior to the Musk takeover, Twitter was in the talks of exploring licensing music rights from three major labels—Sony, Warner, and Universal. The company eliminated some of the individuals involved in the music rights talks in several rounds of layoffs, which left few people with connections to the music labels. Twitter also cut back on spending and is now even in debt for commercial rent payments, eliminating a data center, and shortchanging software vendors.
Ticketmaster to Issue Refunds to The Cure Fans
The Cure, a band currently on tour and selling tickets through Ticketmaster, want their fans to experience their concert without excessive charges, but Ticketmaster interrupted that plan. Fans complained that the cheap tickets were not in fact cheap, due to the fees racking up the overall price of the show. Ticketmaster responded by stating that fans will now “incur lower fees.”
Valparaiso University Seeks Funds for Dormitories
Valparaiso, a Lutheran university located in Indiana, is currently in financial troubles due to the declining enrollment seen at many four-year institutions of higher learning. The university seeks to do something about it by selling several works from the collection of its Brauer Museum of Art. The goal is to raise $10 million for the renovation of two freshman dorms. This deaccessioning has raised questions.
The F.B.I. Art Crime Team is Busy
The F.B.I.’s art crime team became visible recently due to the raid on the Orlando Museum of Art, “where agents seized 25 works” fake Jean-Michel Basquiat works. Enough questions were raised about the history of the Orlando works that this team decided to investigate their authenticity. The team’s workload has increased its investigations across the country.
Museums Face Pressure to Note Ukrainian Roots
Overwhelmingly, the art world is working to reclassify Russian artwork as Ukrainian to reflect Ukrainian roots. This is a global movement, where museums from London to New York are taking action to draw attention to Ukraine.
Rockwell Painting is the Heart of Roosevelt Family Dispute
Relatives of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s press secretary are involved in a family disagreement regarding artwork by Norman Rockwell. The family had disagreed on how the art was passed down through generations and somehow ended up in the White House. Various family members have made accusations against others of deceit and fraud.
Idaho College Removes Abortion Artwork
An art exhibit about healthcare has been met with displeasure. Lewis-Clark State college removed artwork about abortion and birth control from an exhibition, citing the state’s anti-abortion law. The schools’ exhibit sought to explore “today’s biggest health issues through the stories of those affected [by issues such as] illness, disability, pregnancy, sexual assault, and gun violence and death.”
Native American Tribe Receives the Return of Cultural Items
The Oglala Sioux Tribe recently received the return of cultural objects (sacred pipes, ritual clothing, beaded leather bags, moccasins) kept from them for over a century in a small Massachusetts museum. It has been over three decades since Congress passed a law to ensure that federally funded colleges and museums return Native culture heritage and, in many cases, human remains back to Native American tribes. As institutions continue to honor this law, Native American tribes are figuring out how to facilitate their own healing.
Million Dollar Staircase Adds Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Trailblazer Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be added to the Million Dollar Staircase, spanning 444 steps and four floors of the New York State Capitol. The new carving will be made from the same sandstone used for the original stairs. This is the first addition to the staircase in over 125 years.
FIFA Seeks Equal Pay
Gianni Infantino has won another four-year term as FIFA president and promises more money for women’s soccer.
Head Coach of the Canadian Ski Team is a Woman
The Canadian Alpine team now has Karin Harjo as their head coach. Harjo previously served as an assistant coach with the U.S. women’s Alpine team at the 2018 Olympics. Harjo is excited and understands how important representation is in sports and what her new positions means in terms of progress. Women coaches are still woefully underrepresented in sports, so this is a good step.
Basketball Player Ja Morant Suspended 8 Games
Memphis Grizzlies Guard Ja Morant has been suspended for 8 games due to his actions on a livestream video involving a gun and a fan in a nightclub in Denver. The N.B.A. said that it was “irresponsible, reckless and potentially dangerous.” Morant has taken responsibility for his actions and has apologized to all those affected by the incident.
Qatar Covers Labor Rights Abuses Leading Up to the World Cup
Belgian authorities have uncovered that, leading up to the World Cup, Qatar would pay politicians to praise its nation and downplay any labor right disputes. Qatar was able to turn the International Labor Organization, the United Nation workers’ rights watchdog, “from a critic to ally”.
BBC Brings Back Top Sports Host
BBC had previously suspended broadcaster Gary Lineker, a former captain of the England men’s soccer team and the current host of “Match of the Day,” for his tweet about immigration policy.
Media / Technology
U.S. Copyright Office Publishes Guidance on A.I. Technology
Copyright law will protect only the work of A.I. that is a product of human creativity.
U.S. Pushes A Potential TikTok Sale While the Justice Department Is Investigating TikTok Over Spying
ByteDance employees have apparently illegally obtained American’s data. The Justice Department is investigating the surveillance of American citizens, including several journalists who cover the tech industry. The investigation began last year and involved the F.B.I. and the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
The White house also wants TikTok’s Chinese ownership sold or face a possible ban. TikTok is currently weighing its options.
A.I. Makes Deepfakes Cheaper and Easier
Meme-makers and misinformation peddlers now have a new and cheaper way to continue their business—artificial intelligence. With the generous help of A.I., we are seeing a growing number of fake videos on social media. A fake ad with Joe Rogan’s voice “appeared to have been synthesized using A.I. tools that mimic celebrity voices.” Deepfakes are realistic fake videos once required software, but now, these tools are available to the everyday consumer.
Stormy Daniels Trial Could Indict Trump
Manhattan prosecutors are investigating a payout to porn star Stormy Daniels by former president Donald J. Trump. This investigation could make Trump the first former president ever to be criminally indicted. The Manhattan district attorney is investigating whether Michael D. Cohen, Trumps’ lawyer and fixer, paid Stormy Daniels hush-money on the eve of the 2016 presidential election.
Alex Jones and Sandy Hook, Continued
Sandy Hook families are seeking, collectively, more than $1.4 billion from Alex Jones, who has a reported network of approximately $270 million. Jones filed for bankruptcy and a New York Times investigation uncovered his transfer of millions in cash, property, and business deals to family and friends so that he could avoid paying the judgment.
Fox News Recent Revelations
Over the past three weeks, many news outlets have reported the conundrum that is Fox News in the days after the 2020 presidential election. What the nation thought was a Trump-supported news outlet soon exposed that many of the Murdoch media empire employees had other views. Personal emails, text messages, and testimony made public reveal the disdain certain “Trump supporters” truly felt about the Trump’s time in the White House. These disclosures are a part of the Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation case against Fox News trial.
U.K. Follows U.S. in Banning TikTok
U.K. bans TikTok on government devices where routinely social media apps collect and store large amounts of data including contacts, user content, and geolocation data on government devices. The collective fear is that TikTok might share sensitive data with China from devices used by political figures and senior government officials.
Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), 16th Largest Bank, Failure Statistics
SVB’s collapse made it the biggest American bank to fail since 2008. SVB is best known for its lending to technology and health care start-ups—managing up to $209 billion in assets at the end of last year.
SVB Failure Leads to Finger-Pointing
The sudden collapse of Silicon Valley Bank set off panic in the technology industry. This article details how factionalism exists within the tech industry and can be used to further a specific agenda. For instance, as many crypto advocates “blamed the structures of transnational finance system for sowing instability.” Another argument is that social media was to blame for the bank run. All in all, “people are traumatized. They’re financially shellshocked.”
Regulators’ Plan to Save SVB and Taxpayers Money
Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen stated that the banking system was not only safe, but also that the government would not look to taxpayers to save SVB. Washington bailed out SVB and ensured that all depositors would be paid in full. The agencies also promised that Signature Bank depositors would be made whole.
SVB Sends Shockwaves Through Markets
The rescue of SVB sent the global financial market into a frenzy.
Wall Street Performs Biggest Bank Rescue
First Bank Republic received a $30 billion infusion by 11 of the largest U.S. banks. The four banks that infused the most cash were JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo ,and Citigroup, each depositing $5 billion.
Biden Exercises Executive Power
Biden issued an Executive Order with the hopes of improving the enforcement of existing gun laws. “It’s just common sense,” says Biden, “check whether someone is a violent felon, a domestic abuser, before they buy a gun.”
Biden Supports Huge Alaska Project
Biden once promised that there would be no more drilling on federal lands. However, in an about-face he approved the Willow project—a fossil fuel development encompassing three drilling sites located on the nation’s largest swath of undeveloped land.
E.P.A. Tells States to Cut Power Plant Pollution
This new standard enhanced the air pollution standard previously established by the Obama administration. The E.P.A., per the Clean Air Act, has the right to review and revise the rule. The good neighbor rule holds that states should take measures to ensure that their pollution doesn’t affect downside states. Western and Midwestern states with coal-burning power plants and industrial facilities (i.e., iron, steel, cement, and concrete manufactures) are required to reduce their emissions of nitrogen dioxide—a pollutant linked to lung disease and premature death.
Ron Desantis’ Removal of Elected Prosecutor
Floridian governor DeSantis removed a prominent prosecutor who had stated that he would not prosecute those who seek or provide abortions, purportedly because he felt that the prosecutor presented a threat to public safety and a threat to the rule of law. DeSantis reported that this new wave of progressive prosecutors is deciding which laws apply and which ones do not. However, nothing supports these claims.
F.D.A. Approved Abortion Pill
A Texas federal judge seeks to overturn federal approval of a widely used abortion pill. At this moment, the judge is deciding whether to seek a preliminary injunction that would take the pill of the market. This legal move is unprecedented—we have never seen a court order the federal government to withdraw the approval of a drug that has been legally available to the public for years prior.
Texas Politician Opens Up about Clandestine Mission During Carter Administration
Ben Barnes, a former Texas politician, shared that because former President Carter is in hospice, in 1980 during President Carter’s re-election, Barnes believes that he went on a mission to meet with Middle Eastern leaders with his mentor to thwart Carter’s chance of re-election by asking Iran not to release the hostages. Ronald Regan won the election and the hostages were released thereafter.
Judge Rules Trump Lawyer to Testify
A federal judge has ruled that prosecutors overseeing the investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents can pierce the attorney-client privilege due to the crime-fraud exception. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/17/us/politics/trump-lawyer-testify-documents.html?searchResultPosition=1
New Data Discovered With Lab Rats — Male Mice Are More Unpredictable
A new study finds that male mice are more unpredictable than females. Apparently, the stereotypes continue in the laboratory. Female mice were kept out of scientific experiments due to the theory that female mice’s hormonal changes were viewed as cumbersome and too expensive during experimentation. Now, however, new technology shows that male mice exhibited more erratic behavior than females did, thereby tipping the assumptions regarding sex differences and hormones. It amplified how research in the scientific and medical fields have been incorrectly male-oriented throughout history.
Proud Boys Prosecution Update
Five Proud Boys are facing are on trial for their involvement in the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021. The proceeding has shown little evidence implicating these five individuals thus, the prosecution was forced to build “an inferential case” against the defendants. This has caused defense attorneys to argue that such method mocks the “longstanding principles of conspiracy and criminal liability law.” The defense intends to start their case on Monday with a long list of witnesses.
Ohio Versus Norfolk Southern
Ohio Attorney General seeks to force Norfolk Southern to pay civil fines, costs, and damages regarding the derailment and release of toxic chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio. The Attorney General’s 58-count federal lawsuit alleges that Norfolk Southern acted with negligence and recklessness when it posed serious health risks to residents by transporting hazardous chemicals through the village. The Attorney General believes that the derailment was avoidable and this is a case of a company putting profit before people.
President Vladimir V. Putin is Accused of War Crimes
The International Criminal Court issued a warrant for Putin’s arrest, accusing the Russian president of war crimes surrounding his invasion of Ukraine a year ago. The court has accused Putin of being responsible for the abduction and deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia or Russian-controlled parts of Ukraine.