Weekend Open Thread
[guest post by Dana]
First news item
Oberlin College initiates payment in full, but offers no apology:
After a legal battle spanning several years, Oberlin College has finally agreed to pay $36.59 million in damages to a local bakery for falsely accusing the business owners of racism…Oberlin had repeatedly appealed a lower court ruling which found that the college, in 2016, defamed Gibson’s Bakery after a shoplifting incident involving three black students…”We are disappointed by the Court’s decision. However, this does not diminish our respect for the law and the integrity of our legal system. This matter has been painful for everyone. We hope that the end of the litigation will begin the healing of our entire community,” Oberlin said Thursday in a press release.
Oberlin added that it “has initiated payment in full,” representing the total damages awarded and interest, and that “is awaiting payment information from the plaintiffs.”
Second news item
Yet another investigation concerning Trump and friends moneymaking schemes:
A federal grand jury investigating the activities leading up the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and the push by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the result of the 2020 election has expanded its probe to include seeking information about Trump’s leadership PAC, Save America, sources with direct knowledge tell ABC News…The interest in the fundraising arm came to light as part of grand jury subpoenas seeking documents, records and testimony from potential witnesses, the sources said…The subpoenas, sent to several individuals in recent weeks, are specifically seeking to understand the timeline of Save America’s formation, the organization’s fundraising activities, and how money is both received and spent by the Trump-aligned PAC.
Third news item
Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon was charged Thursday in New York with defrauding donors who were giving money to build a wall at the southern U.S. border.
Bannon, 68, was indicted on charges including money laundering, scheming to defraud, and conspiracy in what prosecutors described as a yearlong scheme. He pleaded not guilty in a brief arraignment before acting Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan and agreed to surrender his passports as a condition of his bail. Supreme Court is the name of New York’s principal criminal court.
Fourth news item
The investigation is apparently still ongoing:
Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch said Thursday that he hopes the investigation into the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization draft opinion leak will be completed soon.
“The chief justice appointed an internal committee to oversee the investigation,” Gorsuch said. “That committee has been busy, and we’re looking forward to their report, I hope, soon.”
Fifth news item
Disturbing news from Alabama:
Several pregnant women in Alabama have been held in jail for months after being accused of using drugs during their pregnancies.
Ashley Banks, 23, was arrested on 25 May with a small amount of cannabis and an unregistered firearm. She admitted to having smoked marijuana two days earlier, the same day that she found out that she was pregnant.
In Etowah County, this meant that she was unable to post bail and leave until it was time for her trial. She wouldn’t be able to leave the jail unless she went to drug rehab, meaning she was left in a position of limbo for three months, al.com reported.
Multiple women facing allegations of having used drugs while pregnant have spent weeks or months in the Etowah County Detention Center. The specific bond conditions the women face include rehab and a $10,000 payment.
Sixth news item
Homeless camps blocking sidewalk access, lawsuit filed:
People with disabilities in Portland, Oregon, have sued the city, saying they can’t navigate its sidewalks because of sprawling homeless encampments.
The federal class action lawsuit says the city has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by allowing homeless people’s tents to block city sidewalks, making it difficult for people using wheelchairs, walkers or canes to use them.
“The entire class of persons with disabilities are regularly deprived of the benefits of services of the city of Portland,” said John DiLorenzo, lead counsel for the plaintiffs.
The class action suit seeks to require the city to clear all sidewalks of tent encampments and debris, and to “construct, purchase, or otherwise provide for emergency shelters in which to house the unsheltered persons” who may be affected.
Seventh news item
Lawsuit challenges Florida’s Stop WOKE Act:
To protect free speech, the government must censor. That’s the absurd argument put forth by Florida lawmakers in the controversial “Stop WOKE Act.”
The law suppresses viewpoints disfavored by Florida lawmakers, threatens tens of millions of dollars in annual funding for universities that don’t crack down on faculty who “promote” an opinion on a government blacklist, and encourages people to report other Americans to government authorities if they “advance” those views — all in the name of “individual freedom.”
Today, a professor and student group from the University of South Florida sued to protect professors’ ability to teach and students’ ability to learn. The lawsuit, filed by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, alleges that the higher education provisions of Florida’s “Individual Freedom” law (dubbed the “Stop WOKE Act” by its proponents), impermissibly chill free expression and promote unconstitutional censorship on the state’s college campuses.
“Without the freedom to engage in vigorous and robust debate about important issues and contentious concepts, a college education is just an exercise in memorizing facts and repeating government-approved viewpoints,” said FIRE attorney Adam Steinbaugh. “That’s not freedom or education.”
Eighth news item
Paging President Biden! Mayor Bowser is correct: the crisis at the border is getting worse:
Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser declared the busing of migrants to the nation’s capital a public emergency Thursday as over 9,000 asylum-seekers have arrived in the district since April.
The declaration authorizes Bowser to establish an Office of Migrant Services, which will provide support and services to migrants being sent to Washington DC from Texas and Arizona.
The district will initially allocate $10 million for the creation of the new office and will seek reimbursement from the federal government, according to the announcement.
“This is what we know. The crisis at the border is not lessening. It’s getting worse,” Bowser said at a press conference, adding that she expects “hundreds of more buses” to arrive in the fall.
Ninth news item
Near-total abortion ban rejected in South Carolina:
South Carolina senators rejected a ban on almost all abortions Thursday in a special session called in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade after five Republicans, including all the chamber’s women, refused to support it.
The 30 Republicans in the 46-member chamber had a majority to pass the ban, but did not have the extra votes to end a threatened filibuster by Republican Sen. Tom Davis.
Senators did pass a few changes to the six-week ban, including cutting the time that victims of rape and incest who become pregnant can seek an abortion from 20 weeks to about 12 weeks and requiring that DNA from the aborted fetus be collected for police. The bill goes back to the House, which passed a ban with exceptions for rape or incest.
Tenth news item
Ohio Democratic Senate nominee Tim Ryan has insisted that President Biden should not run for the White House in 2024, saying it is time for a “generational move” for both parties amid a “poisonous” political atmosphere in America.
Ryan’s remarks, which were made during a Thursday evening interview with Youngstown’s WFMJ-TV, one day before he is slated to appear alongside Biden during his visit to the state to tour a new semiconductor manufacturing facility from Intel near Columbus.
“My hunch is that we need new leadership across the board, Democrats, Republicans,” Ryan said when asked whether Biden should seek re-election. “I think it’s time for a generational move for new leaders on both sides. I think the environment politically across the country is poisonous and, you know, people, I think, want some change and I think it’s important for us in both parties…”
The evening is worth it for this image alone: @Goopsik’s portrait of @ZelenskyyUa on the wall of the Russian ambassador’s residence with the Russians desperately trying—and failing—to blot it out with a fascist symbol. pic.twitter.com/k0kDUuOVsb
— Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) September 9, 2022
Have a great weekend.