While the state of our union may be up for debate, the state of this week was all but predictable… a chaotic seven-day flurry of the good, the bad and the really bad. From Jeff Bezos’ blackmail power play to organized labor on Northwestern’s campus, here are some of this week’s top stories.
Choosing greatness and investigating it
President Trump delivered his State of the Union address last Tuesday night after having it postponed at Speaker Pelosi’s behest during the government shutdown. Trump called for unity, doubled down on border security and expressed his frustration at "investigations," referring to the ongoing Special Counsel investigation and anticipated House investigations into his finances. He also took credit for a booming economy and numerous pieces of bipartisan legislation, including criminal justice reform.
Pulling out from Putin deal
President Trump pulled America out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty treaty this week, an agreement which had banned intermediate-range missiles from both U.S. and Russian arsenals since 1987. The move is seen by many as an effort to combat Chinese missile stockpiling and to punish Russia for alleged violations of the treaty.
Dominoes fall in Virginia
The scandal involving Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook continued this week. Allegations of sexual assault emerged against Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, who would be first in line to the governorship. The next in line, Attorney General Mark Herring, revealed that he had worn blackface in college. Finally, Virginia State Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment defended his role as editor of his college yearbook in which students appeared in blackface.
Northwestern students back fearless dining staff
The campus group Students Organizing for Labor Rights raised $2,500 last week in response to dining staff being called to work on Chicago’s fourth-coldest day on record. The students are now obtaining signatures for a petition protesting what they see as unfair treatment of service workers by the University’s food provider, Compass Group.
Abortion decision foreshadowed in highest court
The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision on Thursday to put a stay on a restrictive Louisiana abortion law while they contemplate the law’s constitutionality. The law requires abortion providers in the state to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, a controversial requirement that has been used to limit abortion options in the past. Chief Justice Roberts sided with the traditionally liberal justices, while Justice Kavanaugh dissented.
Bezos exposes his exposers
After photos depicting Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in an extramarital affair were published by the National Enquirer earlier this year, Bezos released evidence on Thursday that the magazine’s parent company, American Media Inc., had attempted to blackmail him. Bezos had launched an investigation into how the photos initially got leaked and found that there may be ties to Saudi Arabia. The Saudis denied any involvement on Sunday.
Title IX comments submitted
Northwestern students submitted comments on the proposed new Title IX changes, with many objecting to the more limited definition of sexual assault and the rolling back of formal investigation requirements.