Beyond the Bricks: Week of February 15
by Taylor Derrisaw | published Feb. 21st, 2016
Proposed Bill Disallows Food Stamps From Being Used on Lobster, Steak
A bill proposed by Sen. Patty Ritchie (R) would prevent food stamp recipients from using stamps on "luxury items," including energy drinks, steak and lobster. The definition can be applied to a variety of items.
According to the bill's memo, Ritchie cites the reasoning behind the bill as a way of combating obesity, citing items like the ones mentioned above as part of the problem.
"At a time when our nation is struggling with an obesity epidemic, it is critically important that taxpayer-funded programs help low-income consumers make wise and healthy food choices," the memo states.
Initiatives to limit food stamp use has been a constant battle between Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike. Democrats believe laws like the one introduced by Ritchie negatively affect low income families. Jeremy Saunders, co-executive of Vocal New York, says laws like these are used by Republicans to say that "poor people use tax dollars to buy steak and lobster." Saunders has stated that he believes the bill is "ridiculous."
Apple, U.S. Government Clash Over Security Ruling
Apple and the U.S. government have clashed over the government's request to obtain information from the phone of one of the San Bernandino shooters. Apple believes the government's request will set a precedent for them to interfere with public privacy.
In response to Apple's resistance, the FBI has filed a motion that compels Apple to remove the feature that deletes data after a certain number of incorrect attempts. Apple maintains its position, stating that the encryption that controls the security of the phone is beyond their capability; the only person who can unlock the phone is the owner. As a result, the FBI has asked that Apple design a certain kind of software that will crack the encryption.
"We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. Cook says they have done everything within their legal rights to help them, but believe that this particular request would give them a "backdoor to the iPhone."
The FBI dismissed Apple's concerns, saying that Apple could keep all software they create and that it wouldn't be used indiscriminately to reach private records. The FBI also called out Apple, saying that their resistance is only to protect their marketability and reputation.
Kesha Unable to Escape Contract With Lukasz Gottwald
Kesha has encountered a legal roadblock in her ongoing battle against her abusive producer, "Dr. Luke" Gottawald, who she says abused and raped her over the course of a decade. Kesha sued in 2014 seeking a preliminary injunction that would allow her to make more music on a separate contract.
On Friday, Feb. 19, New York Supreme Court justice ruled that it seemed commercially unreasonable that Kesha ends her contract after Gottwald invested $60 million in her career. The judge also cited the lack of medical records indicating the abuse by Gottwald, a common theme throughout sexual assault cases.
Dr. Luke's lawyer maintains their original position that Kesha "[is] publishing outrageous and untrue statements."