The News Memo
Stories this week:
Joe Biden Faces Allegations of Inappropriate Touching, Offers Statement
Recent reports from at least 7 women have described inappropriate touching by former Vice President Joe Biden. The reports began emerging last Friday and continued into this week. The alleged incidents vary; Lucy Flores, a former Nevada legislator, claimed that Biden came up behind her at a rally, placed his hands on her shoulders and gave her “a big slow kiss” on the back of her head. Another recounts Biden placing his hand on the back of a woman’s head, bringing it toward his and rubbing noses.
The reports have surfaced at a time when many people believe Biden is planning to announce his 2020 presidential candidacy. It will likely show what standard Democrats will apply to their potential candidate. Biden has carried a reputation for being very warm and at times touchy with his colleagues, something his defenders don’t see as a problem, while others see it as off-putting.
What did Biden say in his statement?
After the first few stories emerged, Biden addressed them, saying that throughout his political career he had showed “expressions of affection,” but “not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately.” After continued pressure over the weekend and into this week, however, Biden recorded a video addressing the incidents, which he posted to Twitter on Wednesday. He wrote, “Social norms are changing. I understand that, and I’ve heard what these women are saying. Politics to me has always been about making connections, but I will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future. That’s my responsibility and I will meet it.”
Investigation Into Alabama Prison System Exposes Inhumane Conditions
A Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into the Alabama prison system was completed and released on Tuesday, April 2. The investigation started late in the Obama Administration and continued under the Trump Administration since the 2016 election. Hundreds of correction officers, prison inmates, and family members were interviewed as part of the investigations.
What did the Investigations find?
The report found astounding rates of homicide, sexual abuse, along with overcrowded and underemployed facility staff across the entire state of Alabama. The conditions in some prisons are so bad that they might match the “cruel and unusual punishment” that is banned under the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.
Stand out facts:
The DOJ let the prison system know that they are ready to sue in 49 days “if State officials have not satisfactorily addressed our concerns.” The DOJ is continuing its investigations which may lead to criminal indictments. The Department of Corrections in Alabama are working to solve the issues but face a very steep challenge.
Mueller Report Update
Last week, the Attorney General William Barr released his 4-page summary of Robert Mueller's Investigation into potential Trump/Russia collusion.
The summary stated:
Democrats threaten to subpoena
The New York Times reported this week that some members of Mueller's investigative team told their associates that they were frustrated because Mueller’s report is more damaging than Barr’s summary revealed. Democrats are raising the pressure, threatening to subpoena the entire Mueller Report if it is not delivered to Congress. However, it is unclear if Congress will be able to receive the full report, as the precedent for what Congress is entitled to is minimal.
Meanwhile, the DOJ defended Barr’s summary and their procedure for releasing more of the report. Barr has said that the full Mueller Report, minus redacted grand jury material, will be released mid-April. Grand jury material is to remain secret, unless approved by a federal judge, in order to protect individuals who have not committed crimes.
Trends: Teens, Smartphones, and Social Media: What Pew Research Shows
Data from Pew Research surveys, conducted in March-April 2018, illuminate patterns of smartphone, technology, and social media use by U.S. teens. Teens are defined as those ages 13-17. 1,058 parents with teenagers and 738 teenagers were interviewed by phone or online. Here are some of the key findings:
Percentage of teens who said they use:
Effect social media has had on their life:
By playing on the concept of homophones and homonyms, the word Buffalo used eight times in a row is a grammatically correct sentence in the English language. The word buffalo can mean the New York city Buffalo, an American Bison, and the verb to “bully, harass, or baffle.”
The end. Enjoy your weekend.