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/Technology, General News, and Coronavirus:
Second Circuit Dismisses Action Related to NBC's 'Rosemary's Baby'
The Second Circuit has affirmed the district court's grant of defendant's 12(b)(6) motion, finding that NBC's "Rosemary's Baby" miniseries was not substantially similar to the plaintiff's short stories.
The decision: Montgomery v Holland.pdf
Britney Spears' Father Remains in Control of Conservatorship, for Now
A lawyer for Britney Spears said at a hearing on Tuesday that the star is "afraid of her father and would not perform while he was in charge of her career." The hearing took place in the context of her father's conservatorship, and the judge has refused "to immediately remove the singer's father as the head of her estate, despite her lawyer's claim that she could not work with him in charge."
King Von, Chicago Rapper, Shot and Killed in Atlanta
The "emerging Chicago rapper King Von" was killed in Atlanta on Friday morning "during an altercation that involved both on- and off-duty police officers who were attempting to break up a fight." In all, six people at the scene were injured in the shootings.
Johnny Depp Leaves 'Fantastic Beasts' Franchise at Studio's Request
Days after Johnny Depp "lost a libel case against the publisher of a British newspaper that called him a 'wife beater,'" Warner Bros. and Depp have parted ways related to the Fantastic Beasts franchise. He had filled the role in the series of Gellert Grindelwald, and a spokesman for the studio confirmed that Depp was leaving the franchise and that the role would be recast for the third film in the series, which is set for release in 2022.
'Survivor' and Other Reality Shows Will Feature More Diverse Casts, CBS Says
More diverse casts will greet viewers of the CBS reality shows pursuant to CBS's "initiative that will also target development budgets and writing rooms, the network announced on Monday." Starting with the 2021-22 season, "at least half of the cast members of its unscripted programs will be people of color, the network said in a statement."
Nick Cave's Truth May Be Writ Large, but Is It a Sign?
In the village of Kinderhook, New York, many are not pleased with the work by Nick Cave, which consists of black vinyl writing across "a branch of Manhattan's Jack Shainman Gallery," and that writing states, "Truth be told." The village of Kinderhook has called for removal of the writing alleging that it violates local code, but the gallery has argued that it is allowed under "the special use permit" that it received in 2014 when it opened.
Irvin Mayfield Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy in New Orleans Fraud Case
Irvin Mayfield, "the trumpeter and a partner had been accused of diverting library funds to a jazz orchestra they ran, and to themselves," and now, he has pleaded guilty to conspiracy in relation to the scene. The "yearslong scheme" had "redirected over $1.3 million from the New Orleans Public Library Foundation into the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra" and into Mayfield and his partner's pockets.
Thieves Grab Nazi Memorabilia in Museum Heists
At war museums in Denmark and the Netherlands, heists have taken place with "rare uniforms and other items" being stolen. In the Netherlands, at the Eyewitness War Museum, potentially a total of a dozen people "battered down the museum's front door, broke display cabinets and took what they'd come for: nine mannequins wearing rare Nazi uniforms", including one "worn by Hitler's personal chef, and another by a high-ranking member of the S.S."
Rome Tracks Down the Man Behind All That Graffiti. No, It's Not Banksy
Rome has been long searching for the identity of a graffiti artist known as Geco, as his "blocky letters" have marked "subway stations and bridges, abandoned buildings and schools, parks, and galleries." The city has announced that it has tracked down the real identity of the tagger but has not released any information about his identity.
Louisiana State University Players' Accusations of Police Assault Prompt Investigation
On Twitter, a football player at Louisiana State University (LSU), Koy Moore, posted that police officers had "violated" him "numerous times", which has led the Baton Rouge Police Department "to place three officers on paid leave amid an investigation." Moore has alleged that officers "accused him of having a weapon and drugs, leading them to take out their guns and go 'as far as trying to unzip my pants in search of a weapon that I repeatedly told them I did not have.'"
Saying He Was a 'Scapegoat,' Jeff Luhnow Sues the Astros
The Houston Astros' former general manager, Jeff Luhnow, has filed a $22 million action against the team claiming that was the amount he was owed under the remainder of his contract and that the basis for his firing, a "flawed report that had been negotiated with Crane," was not valid. His lawyers have alleged that the Astros made Luhnow "the scapegoat for the organization while the players and video-room staff who devised and executed the schemes went unpunished."
Partial Owners of Washington's National Football League Team Seek Path in Court to Sell Their Stake
In a federal action, "three limited partners" of the Washington National Football League team have tried "to block the sale of their combined 40 percent stake for $900 million." Generally, these types of ownership disputes are left to an arbitration forum, but the minority shareholders, by filing this action "are signaling the depth of the discord with the majority owner, Daniel Snyder."
Miami Marlins Hire Kim Ng, Breaking a Baseball Gender Barrier
After 30 years in baseball, Kim Ng brok a gender barrier: the Miami Marlins hired her to be the team's manager. She has twice been an assistant general manager, and worked her way up from an intern with the Chicago White Sox to senior positions with the Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, and then served as Major League Baseball's senior vice president of baseball operations.
How Trump Lost Sports as a Political Strategy
President Trump had long been vocal about how athletes should behave with relation to the national anthem, but as the summer faded and fall came, it was clear that Trump's tone had not matched those in the Midwest. Many analysts have said that "football was the ultimate purple sport", in that it had viewers that were both Democrats and Republicans and that Trump's initial success in dividing people on the issue ended up becoming a failure as the election results came in.
Netflix Files Copyright Claims Against Tweets Criticizing Movie Trailer
Netflix sent "dozens of takedown requests to Twitter targeting specific posts that criticize" its new movie, "Cuties", a French film released on Netflix in September. The tweets are still live, but the videos attached to the posts "now display messages reading, 'This media has been disabled in response to a report by the copyright owner.'"
Fact-Checked on Facebook and Twitter, Conservatives Switch Their Apps
Many conservatives since the election have migrated to a lesser known social media platform, Parler, which has shown itself to be less interested in rooting out misinformation. Twitter has said that it labeled 0.2% of all election-related tweets as "disputed," and the release of that information is unusual: Twitter is the first major platform to "publicly evaluate its performance during the 2020 election," and Facebook and Google continue to receive criticism for their efforts at battling misinformation during the campaign.
Amazon Charged With Antitrust Violations by European Regulators
A European Commission vice president, Margrethe Vestager, said that Amazon "was unfairly using data to box out smaller competitors" in Europe in violation of antitrust laws. Regulators alleged that Amazon harvested "nonpublic data from sellers who use its marketplace to spot popular products, then copy and sell them, often at a lower price," which distorted competition. This is the latest regulatory push against big technology companies, and Europe again showed that its governments were willing to take action against big tech companies to date.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/10/business/amazon-eu-antitrust.html The Trump Administration Gave TikTok More Time to Reach a Deal
The Trump administration has extended TikTok's owner's time to reach a deal to sell the app "after demanding that it divest its interests in the social media service over national security concerns." The extension leaves the possibility of a deal to be unknown, but ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, has offered to sell shares to Oracle and Walmart.
No Unlawful Pay Discrimination at the BBC? A Finding Is Quickly Disputed
An equal rights commission in England "found no evidence of illegal pay practices" at the BBC, but did find that the BBC needed to "rebuild trust with women." A former journalist, Carrie Gracie, called the report "whitewash." The report reviewed evidence from over 100 BBC employees and reviewed "40 pay complaints and narrows its focus to ten."
The Affordable Care Act Faces Another Supreme Court Test
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments in a matter challenging the Affordable Care Act. Two justices, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, expressed opinions that tended to indicate that they would vote in favor of maintaining the vast majority of the law. However, it remains unclear what will happen when the matter is conference between the justices, and a decision is not expected until June 2021.
Affirmative Action Cases May Reach Supreme Court Even Without Trump
A federal appeals court has ruled that Harvard's admissions process was not violating civil rights laws, but the case may be appealed to the Supreme Court, "whose conservative members have indicated a willingness to reconsider more than four decades of affirmative action." Additionally, a case that an anti-affirmative-action group brought against the University of North Carolina also may make its way to the Supreme Court, "even without the support of the federal government."
In Unusually Political Speech, Alito Says Liberals Pose Threats to Liberties
Justice Samuel Alito "told a conservative legal group that liberals posed a growing threat to religious liberty and free speech" in remarks delivered Thursday night. The remarks were made to the Federalist Society during its annual convention, and analysts viewed the remarks as "unusually caustic and politically tinged" for a sitting Supreme Court justice.
A Chaotic Election Cycle Continues Into the Transition Period
Last week brought news that Joe Biden won the state of Georgia and that President Trump won the state of North Carolina, without any concession from the latter. With his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, overseeing post-election legal challenges, Trump has publicly maintained that there is widespread fraud, but while the specific number of legal challenges are not known, there have not yet been any significant pieces of evidence of widespread fraud or success in changing the election results through these legal challenges. With those legal challenges pending, the Trump administration has not given the green light to a smooth transition to a Biden administration: the General Services Administration's head has yet to find that the election result is "ascertained" for Biden and has not allowed liaising between Trump and Biden officials. Nonetheless, Biden has started to lay out his plans for his administration with particular focus on fighting the pandemic in a more robust fashion than his predecessor. While there remains jockeying for positions in the cabinet, no announcements have been made yet other than his chief of staff, Ron Klain, a longtime confidante. It is expected that many of the Trump administration's executive orders will be reversed soon after Biden is sworn in, which include the many executive orders passed relating to environmental regulations. Regardless, in the remaining days of the Trump administration, it is expected that more firings will take place: already, the Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, has been fired for his speaking out against the administration's use of troops during June to quell protests.
Trump Bars Investment in Chinese Firms With Military Ties
The Trump administration has barred investment in Chinese firms with military ties, including "Huawei, China Mobile, and China Telecom," which is the administration's "first major move toward decoupling American financial markets from China." The rationale for the order is that China has been "increasingly exploiting United States capital to resource and to enable the development and modernization of its military, intelligence, and other security apparatuses."
McCabe Rejects Republican Accusations of FBI Corruption in Russia Inquiry
During a hearing of the Senate's Judiciary Committee, the former acting director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, rejected Republican senators' accusations that there was corruption in the FBI relating to the FBI's inquiry into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential campaign. McCabe did admit that there had been mistakes in the wiretap applications of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, but did not otherwise fault the FBI's conduct.
Justice Department Finds 'Poor Judgment' but No Misconduct in 2006 Jeffrey Epstein Inquiry
An internal investigation of the Justice Department concluded that its Miami prosecutors properly handled allegations of child trafficking relating to Jeffrey Epstein. A former top prosecutor said that there was "poor judgment" exercised in the conducting of the investigation, but that there was "no other wrongdoing", which prompted criticism given the allegations that he had "sexually abused dozens of teenage girls."
How One Firm Drove Influence Campaigns Nationwide for Big Oil
The global consulting firm, FTI, has "helped design, staff, and run organizations and websites funded by energy companies that can appear to represent grass-roots support for fossil-fuel initiatives." For example, when some visited the website for Texans for Natural Gas in early 2017, they thought they were visiting the website for a grass-roots organization that was amplifying "local voices," but in fact, FTI has created the website and ran it after being hired by "some of the largest oil and gas companies in the world to help them promote fossil fuels."
A Watchdog Accused Officers of Serious Misconduct, but Few Were Punished
The New York Times has "found that the NYPD has reduced or rejected recommendations for stiff discipline of officers in about 71 percent of 6,900 serious misconduct charges." While the oversight agency investigating misconduct had found sufficient evidence to conclude that officers "should face the most severe discipline available, including suspension or dismissal," senior members of the police force "downgraded or outright rejected those charges, and the officers were given lesser punishments or none at all."
Europe to Impose Tariffs in 16-Year Trade Fight With U.S.
The European Union announced that it will begin "imposing sweeping tariffs on around $4 billion worth of American aircraft, food, drinks, and other products beginning Tuesday, an action cleared by the World Trade Organization last month after it said Europe could retaliate against the United States for years of illegal subsidies given to Boeing." The decision comes after 16 years of disputes and after last year, when the Trump administration imposed tariffs on $7.5 billion of European exports.
Vatican Report Places Blame for McCarrick's Ascent on John Paul II
A Vatican report found that Pope John Paul II "rejected explicit warnings about sexual abuse by Theodore E. McCarrick, now a disgraced former cardinal," and instead chose to believe McCarrick's "denials and misleading accounts by bishops as he elevated him to the highest ranks of the church hierarchy." The Pope removed him from the priesthood in 2019, and McCarrick has been the "highest-ranking American official to be removed for sexual abuse."
China Targets Hong Kong's Lawmakers as It Squelches Dissent
China moved to "quash one of the last vestiges of democracy and dissent in Hong Kong, forcing the ouster of four pro-democracy lawmakers from their elected offices in a purge that prompted the rest of the opposition to vow to resign en masse." The move came after China began enforcing "sweeping national security law on Hong Kong this summer that gave the authorities broad powers to crack down on resistance."
Myanmar Election Delivers Another Decisive Win for Aung San Suu Kyi
The National League for Democracy, the party of civilian leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, had a big victory in Myanmar. Her reputation overseas has suffered "by her defense of a military accused of genocide," but the victory in the elections "easily secured a parliamentary majority" for her political party. The national election commission deemed the voting "free and fair" in "what is only the second truly contested election."
The Coronavirus Rates Continue to Hit Highest Rates in United States and the World
The average daily new cases in the United States has far surpassed 100,000 in the previous week, and there are few signs of it abating. The worldwide rate continues its ascent, with Europe and North America having a significant portion of all new cases. In those places, it is expected that new lockdowns and quarantine procedures will be implemented in short order, with cities like Chicago preparing their residents for a winter of staying at home more and less traveling. Experts expect that the rates will continue to rise through December as many Americans are expected to travel for Thanksgiving.