By George, they really did it. The Federal Reserve raised the interest rates to range between 0.75 percent and 1 percent. This is the third time in 15 months the rate has increased, signaling an end to the nine-year stimulus project. Spending and hiring numbers are up. The market keeps surging, showing investors are confident. The Fed is expected to raise rates again this summer. Better pay of your credit card debt.
It might feel like spring for part of the United States. But the clash of warm fronts and cold fronts is creating bad weather for the Midwest and Southeast. A string of tornados went through Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky and southeastern Ohio Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Three people have died in Tuesday’s storms. The National Weather Service received more than 20 reports of tornadoes or possible twisters on Tuesday. Several million people are at risk go severe weather damage.
Mardi Gras got serious after a drunk driver drove into a parade crowd, injuring 28 people. According to New Orleans police, 25-year-old Neilson Rizzuto had three times the legal alcohol limit. He is being charged with two counts of first-degree vehicular negligence, one count of reckless operation and one count of hit-and-run driving. The youngest person to be injured is 3-years-old. Rizzuto's bail is set at $125,000.
Uber's newest scandal
1.Uber is under fire, again. This time it’s for a sexual harassment scandal. Engineer Susan Fowler wrote a detailed blog post exposing several sexual harassment incidents, including being propositioned on the first day. According to Fowler, rather than addressing the situation, the HR department gave her two options: leave the team or stay on the team and possibly receive a negative performance review. Fowler left the team, but her HR reports didn’t stop. At one point, her harassment reports affected her positive performance review so much so she was no longer eligible fro Stanford CS graduate program sponsored by Uber. She left the company in January 2015.
2. This isn't Uber’s first ethical scandal and it’s affecting Uber's reputation as innovative tech company In 2014, Uber was accused of spying on customers. Senior vice president of business, Emil Michael suggested finding and spreading personal information of a female journalist. CEO Travis Kalanick resigned from Trump’s business advisory council. Uber also broke a taxi work’s strike against immigration polices in New York. Uber hired former attorney general Eric Holder to investigate Fowler's allegations of sexual harassment.
3. So, is Uber making change for the better?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
Thousands of businesses slowed down on A Day Without Immigrants, a protest in response to President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. Several restaurants in the Pentagon, including Sbarros, Taco Bell, and Qdoba, closed their locations. Rick Bayless and Jose Andres closed their respective restaurants. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.7 percent of the workforce are foreign-born people working in the United States. An estimated 11.1 million undocumented immigrants lived in the United States in 2014. Forty percent of Forbes 500 companies were started by immigrants and 47 percent of the workforce expansion from 2004-2014 was due to immigrants.
Michael Kors took a dive in the stock market Tuesday. Shares fell 6.9 percent in the third quarter and on Tuesday, that number reached 7.7 percent. The apparel and accessories lifestyle brand raked in just $1.35 billion in the most shopping oriented quarter. Current-quarter revenue is expected fall in the $1.04 billion to $1.06 billion range. Michael Kors isn’t the only retail company experiencing a drop in revenue. Ralph Lauren’s stock value has dropped more than 20 percent in the last six months. Macy might be sold to the Hudson Bay Company after a 20 percent decrease in stock value. Despite a brand overhaul, Abercrombie and Fitch’s third quarter net sales fell to $358.3 million.
The latest Macbook Pros are really efficient. Type in the first few letters of a word and all sorts complete thoughts pop up. It might be great in a simple Google search or typing up a report. Law bar test software ExamSoft says Apple's Touch Bar is too helpful for law students taking the exam. In fact, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania, and New York have banned using the MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar altogether. Other states are requiring test takers to disable the feature pre-exam.
Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates said she wasn’t convinced of the legality of President Donald Trump's Executive Order banning immigration from seven predominantly. Yates said the Department of Justice "will not present arguments in defense of the Executive Order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so.” A few hours later, Trump fired Yates for “betraying the Department of Justice” since she refused to defend his executive order.Yates has 27 years of experience prosecuting corrupt public officials.
McDonald's is so excited about the Mac Jr. and the Grand Mac burgers, that it's giving away 10,000 bottles of Big Mac Special Sauce. If you want to own your very own special sauce, you have to download the Big Mac Special Sauce Finder that shows the nearest restaurant where the sauce is available. After you find the restaurant, you have to share the not-so-secret code "There's a Big Mac for that" to a crew member. If you just a single serving, just get a burger. They're available through March 20.
Donald Trump and intelligence community are on interesting terms, especially since the FBI was investigating Michael Flynn and Russia’s conversations. But FBI Director James Comey is staying on board, despite Trump's earlier remarks on Comey's possible corruption. Monday night, Kansas Republican Mike Pompeo was confirmed for CIA director with a 66-32 vote. Pompeo lists Russia, China, and Syria as major issues in his confirmation hearing.
Health insurance companies Aetna and Humana were planning on hitching. A federal judge shut that merger down after the Justice Department, eight states and the District of Columbia sued to stop the merger in July 2016. After a 13-day trial in December, a judge ruled Aethna, the country's second-largest insurer, and Humana merging would break antitrust laws if the companies merged. That acquisition would reduce the market competition for Medicare Advantage, increasing prices. Halting the merger is expected to save consumers up to $500 million per a year.
Chuck E. Cheese, the interactive restaurant whose mascot is a mouse, is prepping for an initial public offering. The IPO is expected to be valued more than $1 million. The Texas-based chain is talking about hitting the market late 2017. Being sold isn’t out of the question either, according to the Apollo Global Management LLC.
President Barack Obama commuted the rest of Chelsea Manning's 35-year sentence Tuesday. Manning is a former Army intelligence analyst who was convicted of leaking classified material in 2013. Manning was arrested in 2010 for leaking 700,000 military files and diplomatic cables to Wikileaks. Her sentence is longer than any other individual convicted of releasing classified material. As a transgender female, she has attempted to commit suicide twice while incarcerated in a male military prison and went on a hunger strike. Manning is expected to be released in May 2017. Obama has now shortened the sentences of more federal inmates than any other president.
Repealing Obamacare is priority one for the Republican-controlled Congress. But is it for Americans?
1. Repealing Obamacare is priority one for the Republican-controlled Congress. Except repealing Obamacare would strip 18 million people of insurance and premiums would increase by 25 percent. According to a new Congressional Budget Office report, the number of uninsured people would double to 32 million by 2026. Premiums could double as well. the report is based on 2015 Republican legislation that removed health care coverage mandates, taxes, subsidies and Medicaid expansion. Paul Ryan says the numbers are off since it doesn't include a replacement plan.
2. A Pew Research Center poll showed an increased in Republican approval of Obamacare from low-and-middle income Republicans. Fifty-two percent of GOP voters making less than $30,000 a year think the federal government should guarantee health care. Thirty-four percent of middle-class GOP voters agree. Overall 60 percent of Americans would like the federal government to guarantee health care. That’s up 9 percent from last February.
3. Should the Affordable Care Act be repealed?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
The F.B.I arrested Noor Salman, wife of Omar Mateen who killed 49 and injured dozens of people in Orlando. Salman, 30, has been charged with obstruction of justice and aiding/abetting attempted support to a foreign terror organization. She is expected to appear in a federal court in California on Tuesday.
If you were getting your daily dose of scheduled Congressional programming and suddenly a blonde Russian appeared out of nowhere, that was a Russian network. RT popped up while Representative Maxine Waters was talking about Trump and Russia. CSPAN says it's "an internal routing issue." The Twitter world thinks it's more Russian interference.
Charleston Church shooter Dylann Roof is sentenced to death after being found guilty on 33 counts. The 22-year-old white supremacist killed nine during bible study on June 7, 2015. In his jailhouse journal, he showed no remorse for the killings. During the trial, Roof denied psychological incapacity, he called no witnesses and presented no evidence in his defense. According to the Justice Department, Roof will the first federal hate crime defendant to be sentenced to death.
Sunday was a great day for Pittsburgh Steelers fans, the cast of La La Land and people who like cold weather. But it definitely was not a good day for Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt. The FBI arrested the head of Volkswagen’s regulatory compliance office Sunday. Schmidt is facing charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States in the diesel emission scandal. Dear old Schmidty tried to convince regulators that the emissions were technical issues rather than a cheating problem. He told the British parliament that the car manufacturer’s actions are completely legal in Europe. The Justice Department didn't really buy any of Volkswagen's tale and there’s a more than a $2 billion settlement in the works.
Five people were killed and eight injured after a shooter opened fire at the Fort Lauderdale airport on January 6. Iraq veteran Esteban Santiago, 26, is the suspected shooter. Santiago checked a bag with a gun when he flew from Anchorage to Florida on a Delta Air Lines flight. He picked up his bag, went to the bathroom to load his gun and emerged shooting. After emptying magazines of bullets, he laid on the ground waiting for his arrest.
Peanuts for everyone
1. If you had a peanut allergy, you were probably semi-deprived as a child. Reese’s, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, peanut brittle and anything fried in peanut oil. Or anything that could contain peanuts, was off the menu for you. For years, doctors advised parents to wait till three-years-old to introduce peanuts to their children’s diet.
2. Well, that was ill-advised. Recent studies have shown feeding babies peanuts earlier can reduce peanut allergies.In fact, the National Institute of Health said that parents could start feeding their little ones peanuts as early as 4 to 6 months. Still, don’t give you baby a whole peanut, it's a choking hazard.
3. The real questions are: Jiffy vs Skippy? Crunchy vs Creamy?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
Four people were arrested after kidnapping, beating and abusing a man with mental health problems. In a video posted on Facebook, obscenities about President-elect Donald Trump were shouted while the three people punched, slapped, stomped on the victim's head. At one point, the 18-year-old man's hair and scalp were cut with a knife.The unidentified man was bound at the neck and wrist with his mouth taped shut. Three 18-years-olds and a 24-year-old are charged with hate crimes, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated battery and aggravated unlawful restraint. The assult took place in Chicago.
Is that even ethical?
1. The Republican-held Congress is pretty busy. In an 119-74 vote, the House GOP voted to gut Congress' external ethical watchdog. Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte’s proposal would bar the Office of Congressional Ethics from reviewing congressional member’s violation of criminal law. That means any complaint would be turned over the House’s Ethics committee or a federal law agency. This committee would have the right stop any investigation at any point. The committee could also bar the ethics office from making any public statements on investigations. The cherry on top? The ethics office can’t accept any outsider tips. Actually, the cherry on top is that this was decided behind closed doors on a federal holiday.
2. The independent Office of Congressional Ethics was set up in 2008 after a lobbyist pled guilty to trying to bribe members Congress. The office investigates corruption allegations and then releases findings to the public. Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy opposed the proposal. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi ripped the GOP a new one. She noticed " the night before the new Congress gets sworn in, the House GOP has eliminated the only independent ethics oversight of their actions. Evidently, ethics are the first casualty of the new Republican Congress."
3. What happened to draining the swamp?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
A raise is always a great way to start the year. Minimum wages are slated to increase in 19 states. Massachusetts and Washington will increase to $11 per an hour— the highest minimum wage in the country. California is raising its wage to $10.50 for businesses with 26 or more employees. Wages are being raised regionally in New York State. Arizona, Maine, Colorado and Washington, Alaska, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio and South Dakota, Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Michigan and Vermont are all raising wages. Wages are gradually being raised to $15 an hour.
Everyone’s mad at 2016. And guess what? It’s sticking around for one extra second. The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (say that five times fast) said 2016 needed a “leap second” at the end of December. The leap second will bring the world’s atomic clocks in sync with the Earth’s rotation. At least everyone will be in sync for 2017. That’s the way to wrap up 2016.
President Obama designates 2 national monuments
1. President Obama designated two new national monuments in southern Nevada and Utah. The Bears Ears National Monument will protect 1.35 million acres in Utah. The Gold Butte National Monument will protect 300,000 acres in Nevada. Both areas have substantial rock art, archaeological sites, and sacred Native American lands. There’s been an increase of vandalism, grave robbing, and looting in the parks. The President’s executive action is in line with the 1906 Antiquities Act, which grants the power to establish or expand national monuments.
2. Some in Nevada and Utah aren’t too happy about it. There has been years of back and forth between the federal government, states, and land-owners over how much federal government regulates land in the West. Bundy brothers staged their armed standoff in Nevada two years ago. The protection would limit mining, oil and gas production in the area. According to officials, federal-regulated lands have slowed economic growth in the area.
3. Is the Aniquities Act an old relic? Is enviromental and historic perservation just as important as ecnomic growth?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
Move over Wonderwoman and Spiderman, Captain Underpants is the superhero for summer 2017. And forget the Vulture when you have Doctor Diaper, the Turbo Toilet 2000, and Professor Pippy Pee-Pee Poopypants. Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants made reading fun for many kids and now the toilet humor-filled children's book is making it to the big screen. Kevin Hart and Jordan Peele are voicing characters. Fox and DreamWorks Animation is turning the 90’s tightey-whitey, red-caped wearing superhero into a movie expected to hit theaters June 2, 2017. Tighty-whitey up.
The death toll for fireworks market explosion has reached 35 people. More than 100 people were injured or killed Tuesday in Tultepec, a town north of Mexico City, when fireworks simultaneously went off causing a series of explosions. The cause of the explosions has not been released. About 10 of the 300 fireworks stands are still intact. The San Pablito Market has experienced previous explosions.
Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov was killed after being shot in the back by an off-duty policeman Monday. Three others were injured when the gunman opened fire at a photo exhibit in the Turkish capital, Ankara. The gunman shouted “don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria,” “God is great! Those who pledged allegiance to Muhammad for jihad. God is great!” He was shot to death by policemen on site. Turkey and Russia have been at odds about Russian invovlement in the Syrian qar since they support opposing sides. Russia considers the assult a terrorist attack.
Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof was found guilty. A jury convicted Roof on nine counts of hate crimes resulting in death, three counts of hate crimes involving an attempt to kill, nine counts of obstructing the exercise of religion resulting in death, three counts of that charge with an attempt to kill, and nine counts of using a firearm to commit murder during a crime of violence. Roof opened fire during an evening bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17, 2015. He planned for six months before the massacre and wrote out his plans in a racially charged manifesto. The jury meets January 3 to decide whether he will be sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.
Extremely low-interest rates are on their way out. The U.S. Federal Reserve decided to raise interest rates for the first time 2016 and the second time in a decade.The rate will change from 0.50 to 0.75 percent. Feds figure since jobs have increased, people are spending money and the last time rates were increased it helped the economy, this is a good bet. In, fact rates will increase three more times in 2017. So how’s it going to affect you? Any new loan is going to pricier. It’s a smart idea to pay that credit card bill much sooner than later since interest can compound and that means less shoe money.
More than 1 billion Yahoo accounts were breached in August 2013 according to the company. This data theft is different from the 500-million-account breach that Yahoo disclosed in September. The new 1-billion-account breach is now the largest on record. Information stolen includes names, email addresses, phone numbers, date of birth and hashed passwords. Payment, bank account, and credit information were not stolen. Yahoo shares fell 2 percent.
Gas prices are expected to rise after an OPEC meeting this weekend. Russia, Saudi Arabia and other oil producing nations agreed to reduce oil output to increase petroleum prices and revenues Saturday in Vienna. The agreement would cut 558,000 barrels per day which would help boost goverenment budgets. According to Bloomberg, the six-month deal would get rid of 46 percent of the 300 million-barrel stockpile.
NBC’s “Hairspray Live!” debuts tonight at 8 p.m. The production features Maddie Bailio as Tracy Turnblad along with Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande, Kristin Chenoweth, Andrea Martin and Rosie O’Donnell. “Hairspray” vet Harvey Fierstein will star as Edna Turnblad, the role that won him a Tony in the stage production. This is the fourth NBC live musicals in recent times, which includes “The Sounds of Music,” “Peter Pan” and “The Wiz.”
Samsung doesn't have to fork over all profits
1. It seems like Samsung has been in hot water recently, but the U.S. Supreme Court sent Samsung and Apple back to U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. It’s a small win for Samsung since Apple was arguing that the South Korean company should pay a $399 million penalty for copying iPhone designs. In an 8-0 ruling, Court decided that a patent violator doesn’t have to give up all profits from stolen designs—if the designs influenced parts rather than the whole product. The lower court still decides how much Samsung has to pay.
2. This isn’t the first time that the two competitors went to court over patent infringement. Back in 2012, Samsung was handed about $930 million in penalties for copyright infringement. Fortunately for Samsung, the penalties were shaved down for $582 million for patent infringement.
3. So how much should Samsung fork over?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
A South Carolina case of a police officer accused of killing a black motorist was declared a mistrial after after four days of deliberating left the jurors undecided. Former police officer Michael Slager is the maxium penalty of life in prison for the killing of Walter Scott in 2015. The jury was also considering a manslaughter charge. On Friday afternoon, only one juror was undecided. But by Monday, the jurors requested an explanation of various legal terms and multiple jurors were undecided. Video of the shooting was replayed. Scott was running away from Slager when the first shot of eight shots were fired. Fifty-five witnesses were called over the course of a month. It’s unclear if there is going to be a retrial.
Pollution is bad but Princess Cruise Lines didn’t get the memo. The cruise line is pleading guilty to seven felony charges for "deliberate pollution of the seas and intentional acts to cover it up,” according to the United States Department of Justice. A subsidiary of Carnival Corporation, Princess will pay a $40 million penalty. The charges included illegal dumping of oil-contaminated waste into the ocean. This is the largest criminal penalty involving cruise pollution. It also puts the largest cruise company in time out for five years. All Carnival cruise ships will be under a court-supervised Environmental Compliance Program, which includes external audits and a court-appointed monitor.
Instead of finishing off Thanksgiving in the Black Friday storm of shopping, Buy Nothing Day is the other option. Supported by AdBusters, the movement started in the early 1990s. Supporters cut up credit cards, walk around the malls without shopping or even take carts and form a conga line in stores. Optionally, #OptOutside is for all those outdoorsy folks who find hiking more enjoyable than the mile-long lines at Zara and H&M. Or you could just stay home, eat more and watch Netflix.
Five elementary students died and 12 students were hospitalized after a school bus accident in Chattanooga. The school bus driver, 24-year-old Johnthony K. Walker, was speeding before he swerved into an elevated driveway. Walker is charged with five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment, and reckless driving. There were 37 students on board when the bus crashed.
"Making a Murderer" subject's released was blocked federal appeals court on Thursday. Brendan Dassey was scheduled to be released Friday after a federal judge overturned his conviction in August. The state is appealing the judge's rule to overturn Dassey's conviction. An emergency motion to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit moved to keep him behind bars until the appeal of his overturned conviction is settled. Dassey is convicted for sexually assaulting and murdering 25-year-old Teresa Halbach.
The Bataclan opened Saturday night for the first time since the Paris attacks. Sting opened the show after a minute of silence for the victims of the coordinated terror attacks that left 130 people dead. Three gunmen open fired and killed 90 concertgoers at the Bataclan during an Eagles of Death Metal show November 13, 2015. The Bataclan has been closed until the Sting concert. Sting plans on donating the proceeds from the concert to Life for Paris and 13 Novembre: Fraternité Verité, which are organizations that provide support to victims of the attack and their family.
The moment Asian and European investors realized Donald Trump won the presidential election, stocks were sold in a frenzy. Stock market future dropped almost 800 points in the overnight hours. Oil, Mexican peso and American dollar were heavily sold. However, after Trump gave his speech emphasizing unity in New York, the markets have started to settle. The Dow opened about 150 points higher since the sharp fall.
Zipcar and Lyft are offing are offering deals on rides to polls to encourage voting. Zipcar plans on setting aside 7,000 cars between 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. There will be no hourly reservation fee and customers can reserve timeslots online. Lyft offers 45 percent off rides and the discount maxes out at $10. No deals from Uber, but the app will remind you to vote and give directions to the closest polling place.
Is there even a Bermuda Triangle?
1. The Bermuda Triangle, an area that covers more than half a million square miles of ocean in the North Atlantic Ocean, is infamous for the number of aircraft and ships that have disappeared. A couple of scientists from Arizona State Univeristy claim they've solved the mystery of the Devil's Triangle. Apparently, the huge hexagonal-shaped clouds— about 20 and 50 miles across— can cause high winds which cause air bombs. Once the air bombs hit the ocean, they can create large waves that can cause the disappearances.
2. But was there anything to solve in the first place? Meteorologists, like NBC’s Kevin Corriveau, say that the clouds over the Bahamas aren't the same as the microbursts. Plus there's the fact that ratio of missing ships and planes to the hundreds of cruises, flights and ships that safely go through the area isn't that significant.
3. So is the Bermuda Triangle solved or is it still just a myth?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
Two of the most laughed at MLB teams are vying for the World Series title this year. It's been 71 years since the last time the Chicago Cubs were in the World Series, but that changes with Tuesday night's game against the Cleveland Indians. The Cubs's dry spell ended after beating the LA Dodgers in six-game series 4-2. This Series is pretty major for the Indians, too. They haven't won a World Series since 1948. The Cubs haven't won Series since 1908. That's the same year that Ford's Model T, Converse, and President Lyndon B. Johnson entered into the world. Hence why tickets to the Series are expensive, like Superbowl expensive. Prices for the first two games are over $1,100 and tickets for Chicago games are going for over $3,000.
If you thought Inside Out was emotional, Borrowed Time explores death, serious mistakes, and guilt — all set in the Wild West and in under seven minutes. Finally off the film festival circuit, the animated short is publically available for a limited time on Vimeo. Created by two Pixar animators, the emotional animation took writer-directors Lou Hamou- Lhadj and Andrew Coat five years to create. Borrowed Time from Borrowed Time on Vimeo.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan informed Republican's in a conference call that he will no longer campaign for Donald Trump. He plans to focus on maintaining the party's majority in Congress through the election. Trump tweeted Ryan should "spend more time balancing the budget, jobs, and illegal immigration." Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2016
It's hot—really hot on earth and according to a recent study, global temperatures are passing the point of no-return. For the first time in history, carbon dioxide values in the atmosphere have remained above 400 parts per million. Values of greenhouse gases increase in May and decrease as the earth absorbs the gas. September is usually the lowest month for atmospheric carbon dioxide but this mont's value stayed above 400 parts per million. Scientists predict that carbon dioxide values will not fall below the 400 parts per million mark for the foreseeable future. Carbon dioxide just hit its annual minimum at Mauna Loa Observatory and failed to dip below 400 ppm https://t.co/m0ZoyzgcEf — Climate Central (@ClimateCentral) September 28, 2016
Syrian and Russian-led government air strikes have continually struck rebel-held areas of Aleppo for four days, where more than 250,000 civilians are trapped. Forty percent of Aleppo's population are children, which is about one hundred thousand children. According to Save the Children, approximately half the casualties being treated in eastern Aleppo were children. This is considered on of the worst attacks in the five-year-long Syrian civil war.
Well, it's officially that time of year again: Football season is back. The first kickoff of the season is between Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos at 7:30 p.m. tonight. An avid football fan will tell you there is nothing like watching a game between long-time rivals when there are a few minutes left on the clock and the win could go either way. Someone who hates football will tell you that watching a game is a pointless way to spend three hours. With the fantasy teams made and predictions for the 2017 NFL Superbowl piling up, the smart move is to start preparing yourself for the next 17 weeks of watch parties, overzealous fans, and pigskin-related news. Superbowl is February 5.
Native American tribe and Oil company clash
1. The Dakota Access Pipeline would transport 470,000 barrels of crude oil a day from North Dakota into Illinois, directly to refineries throughout the east. The 1,100-mile pipeline would be the first to tap into the Bakken shale, a oil formation very close to tribal land. The $3.8 million project was expected to be finished and operating by the end of the fourth quarter, however protests have lengthened the project timeline.
2. Standing Rock Sioux leaders and other tribes say they fear the pipeline will destroy sacred sites and contaminate drinking water. Protest have become violent after bulldozers allegedly went over sacred sites. Local news outlets and videos show at least 30 protestors were pepper sprayed and two security dogs, and four private security guards were injured. The tribes filed for a temporary restraining order against Dakota Access and Dakota Access filed its opposition to the tribes' request early on Tuesday. A federal judge is expected to decide to temporarily halt construction near ancient burial and prayer sites.
3. Business as usual or a rights issue?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
Pharrell and Robin Thicke disputing Blurred Lines verdict
1. A Los Angeles jury ruled that Pharrell and Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" was copyright infringement because of similar vibes to Marvin Gaye's 1977 hit "Got to Give It Up." The Gaye family got a whopping $5.3 million in damages and 50 percent of royalties from "Blurred Lines." The ruling set the precedent for copyright. Previously, a vibe or inspiration wasn't covered in copyright. Now that "vibe" can be considered in copyright, the ruling doesn't specify what the line between copyright infringement and permissible inspiration.
2. Pharrell, Thicke and T.I. are disputing the ruling. The amicus brief points out that the two songs have different melodies, song structures, and lyrics. In fact, "Blurred Lines" and " Got to Give It Up" don't share a sequence two chords played in the same way. Jennifer Hudson, R. Kelly, the Go-Go's, Linkin Park and Hans Zimmer are just some of the 212 musicians that attached their names to the brief. The trio's brief points out that the ruling "punish songwriters for creating new music that is inspired by prior works."
3. What's the line between copyright infringement and permissible inspiration?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
Preseason drama: Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand during anthem
1. San Francisco 49er's quarterback Colin Kaepernick made headlines after refusing to stand during the National Anthem at a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. Kaepernick hasn't stood up for the anthem during any preseason game in protest. He says won't "show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color." According to an ESPN report, he's not planning on standing until he sees changes and he plans on exercising his First Amendment rights.
2. NBC analyst Rodney Harrison suggested that Kaepernick isn't really black and doesn't understand racism. Other critics have said that Kaepernick is disrespecting the military. Head coach Chip Kelly is planning on starting Kaepernick in the preseason finale Thursday night, for one last chance on claiming starting quarterback.
3. So what's a man to do?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
Frank Ocean returns to music and UMG shuts down exclusives
1. After disappearing from the music world, Frank Ocean dropped two albums within a 48-hour period. The first, visual album Endless, was with Def Jam/Universal Music Group. The second, Blonde, was released as an Apple Music exclusive on Ocean's label Boys Don't Cry. Unfortunately for Def Jam, Blonde is overshadowing Endless. Ocean has already sold 225,000 of 250,000 albums in this week. He's also managed to get his freedom. Def Jam paid a reported $2 million for Ocean's recording costs. Ocean paid Def Jam back that amount. Boom, Ocean is a free wave.
2. UMG isn't happy. Chairman Lucian Grainge released a memo that Universal is done with streaming exclusives. With the popularity of Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming services, music labels are struggling with selling albums. Exclusives make it worse for labels, since it limits the audience the album can be sold to.
3. Are exclusives the only way artists can have freedom? Or are they a death sentence for music labels?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
Today is World Cat Day, not to be confused with National Cat Day on October 29. World Cat Day was created in 2002 by the International Fund for Animal Welfare created World Cat day in 2002. Fun Fact: Europe celebrates World Cat Day on February 17 and Russian celebrates March 1. Here's compilation of cat videos. You're welcome.
Olympic officials have approved 271 Russian athletes for the Rio Games. The International Olympic Committee announced that 118 athletes were banned from the games because of a government-sanctioned doping. The Committee originally wanted a ban on all Russian athletes. The complete ban on Russian track and field, rowing and weight lifting teams still stands.
Instagram's new feature, Stories, is very Snapchatty. It works exactly the same as Snapchat's Stories— a 24-hour window of photos and videos. Instagram Stories appear at the top of the old feed and you don't have to follow someone to see their Instagram Stories. Unfortunately you can't see who screenshotted your Instagram Story. Instasnap.
A hot air balloon crash that killed 16 people hit power lines before going down according to a NTSB spokesman. Pilot Alfred G. Nichols IV settled a personal injury lawsuit from a balloon that crash-landed in 2013. Nichols was a recovering alcoholic with four drunken-driving convictions in Missouri. There has been 25 balloon accidents with four deaths and 25 serious injuries since 2014.
Rio's got problems
1. The Olympics are schedule to start in 10 days. Rio is planning for over 17,000 athletes to be using the Olympic Village. Like any Olympics, a number of records are expected to be broken. Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt will be competing in their last games. There's a lot to look forward to in terms of athletics.
2. But Rio doesn't seem prepared for the games. Within in the village, there's plumbing, electrical, gas and structural issues that are raising safety concerns.In fact, the Australian Olympic team is refusing to house their athletes in the village. Outside the village, there's a high threat of terrorism, high crime rates, Zilka virus, highly polluted waters, riots and political turmoil. There's protests for boycotting the Olympics since the games are costing Rio billions during the country's worst recession.
2. So is Rio 2016 still safe?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
The 2017 All-Star Game is being moved from Charlotte because of the NBA's objection to North Carolina House Bill 2. The controversial bill limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people. The NBA is expected to select a new location for the event in the next few weeks.