Start your day smarter with a dossier on the most important world news, rounded off with a shot of intriguing and offbeat stories. Like the president, you deserve no less.
Dec 10, 2021
Actor Jussie Smollett is found guilty of staging a hate crime against himself. On the same day that a federal appeals court rejected Donald Trump’s efforts to shield records from the House committee investigating the Capitol riot, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows handed over text messages relating to what Trump was or was not doing on Jan. 6. Starbucks gets its first unionized store in almost 40 years. And postal workers are indicted for stealing more than 1,000 credit cards from the mail. All this and more in today’s Presidential Daily Brief.
1 - Guilty
Actor Jussie Smollett found guilty of staging hate crime
After two days of deliberations, a 12-person jury found actor Jussie Smollett guilty of five out of six counts of disorderly conduct. Each count is punishable by up to three years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Cook County Judge James Linn will decide whether Smollett will serve concurrent or consecutive sentences. Prosecutors claimed that the former “Empire” star made false reports to police when he claimed to be the victim of a hate crime in January 2019. Nenye Uche, Smollett's attorney, said he "respectfully disagrees" with the jury's verdict, adding that he feels "100% confident" that Smollett's case will be won on appeal. (Source: CNN)
2 - Court Trumps Trump
Court denies Trump’s efforts to shield records from Jan 6. panel
A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that Donald Trump cannot shield his records from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, noting that executive privilege protects the interests of “the Presidency itself, not former President Trump individually” and that the documents are vital to Congress’s investigation. A Trump spokeswoman said the matter was far from settled, adding “this case was always destined for the Supreme Court.” The ruling comes on the same day that former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows provided the House committee with text messages and emails relating to what Donald Trump was and was not doing during the riot.(Sources: AP, ABC News)
3 - Unions Make a Comeback
Starbucks gets its first unionized store since 1980
Staff at a Starbucks in Buffalo, New York, voted to establish the first labor union at one of the chain's stores since 1980. Staff argued that they were overworked and had no outlet for their complaints. Despite the small number of employees involved (just 19 of the store's 27 employees voted to unionize), Starbucks pulled out all the stops to squash the campaign, including flying senior executives and founder Howard Schultz to Buffalo for one-on-one meetings with staff. The vote could set a precedent at the coffee chain, which has more than 8,000 company-owned stores across the U.S., none of which have been unionized since the 1980s. (Source: BBC)
4 - Sacked
The Metropolitan Museum of Art will remove the Sackler name from exhibition spaces
The Metropolitan Museum of Art will strip the name “Sackler” from seven exhibition spaces amid public outrage over the billionaire family’s role in the opioid crisis. Foundations run by the Sackler family — the principal owners of Purdue Pharma, which developed the widely abused painkiller OxyContin — have given tens of millions of dollars to museums over the years including the Guggenheim in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Louvre in Paris, the Tate in London, and the Jewish Museum. The Met is far from the first museum to distance itself from the family. (Source: NPR)
5 - Briefly
Here are some things you should know about today:
Attorney General Letitia James drops out of the race for New York governor. James said she would like to “finish her work” as attorney general, which includes investigating the Trump Organization. (Source: Axios) FDA authorizes Pfizer-BioNTech booster for 16- and 17-year-olds. Boosters are becoming the hot commodity, as Pfizer has found preliminary evidence that three doses provide effective protection against the omicron variant. (Source: Axios)
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Watch Condoleezza Rice
On Trump’s Populism, Black Lives Matter, Education Reform … and Her Karaoke Song
1 - Squishy Eyes, Be Gone!
In space, Squashed Eyeball Disorder could be a thing of the past
Scientists at University of Texas have developed a sleeping bag that could help alleviate vision problems that astronauts experience while living in space. In zero-gravity environments, fluids in the body float into astronauts’ heads, putting pressure on their eyes and leading to vision problems over time. Over half of the astronauts who have spent at least six months at the International Space Station have experienced far-sightedness or trouble reading. The new sleeping bags suck fluid from the head down towards the feet, releasing pressure on the eyes at night. Dr. Benjamin Levine, the professor who spearheaded the project, is currently working with NASA to test out the device. (Source: BBC)
2 - Sticky fingers
NYC postal workers indicted for stealing 1,000 credit cards from the mail
Ten postal workers are accused of stealing more than 1,000 credit cards from the mail and using them to purchase luxury goods with labels like Hermes, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Prosecutors in Manhattan Criminal Court said that ringleader Michael Richards recruited postal workers from New York to Virginia to steal unopened credit cards between 2017 and 2019. The crime ring would then activate the credit cards with the help of one person who would search publicly available databases for information about the cardholder, and would get paid based on the value of the goods they were able to buy with the cards. (Source: NBC News)
3 - What a Drag
Progressive pastor loses his job after appearing on TV with drag queens
The Rev. Craig Duke, a long-serving minister and advocate of LGBTQ inclusion, thought his congregation was progressive…until he decided to show solidarity with the LGBTQ community by appearing in drag on the HBO reality show “We’re Here.” After the episode aired, members of Duke’s congregation attacked him over email. “It was a matter of sadness and disappointment and heartbreak on my part…realizing I was losing the ability to lead,” Duke told the Associated Press. After Duke made it clear to his superior, regional superintendent Mitch Gieselman, that he needed to step down, Gieselman relieved him of his duties. United Methodist Church rules prohibit pastora from resigning. (Source: ABC News)
4 - Can’t Be Good
New study shows that white supremacists have gotten rich off of Bitcoin
Some prominent white supremacits invested early in bitcoin and have gotten rich off of its rise in value over recent years, according to a new report fromthe Southern Poverty Law Center. Cryptocurrency was popular early on with neo-Nazis, as the ability to conduct transactions without bank involvement dovetailed with their antisemitic conspiracy theories about the financial system. Researchers found over 600 cryptocurrency addresses were used by white supremacists and far-right extremists, including many high-profile personalities representing those communities. (Source: NBC News)
1 - PLEASE WEIGH IN
If you were putting together the OZY 100, who would you say most shaped 2021?
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