Actor James Cromwell sentenced to week in jail after power plant protest

013117-james-cromwell-kal-1080x608Actor James Cromwell has been sentenced to a week in jail after refusing to pay fines related to his protest over an Upstate New York power plant.  The Actor, who is 77, has been ordered to start serving the sentence in mid-July.  The protest itself involved blocking traffic at a natural gas power plant under construction in Wawayanda, NY.  Local citizens opposed to the plant have said it will have disastrous environmental implications for the surrounding area, and remain steadfast in their efforts to delay or hinder the project’s completion.

After hearing of the sentence, Cromwell said he hoped the sentence would inspire others to join the fight.


FTC says not so fast to fantasy sports merger

The Federal Trade Commission has announced plans to file a complaint challenging the merger between FanDuel and DraftKings, the two largest fantasy sports sites on the web.  The reasons cited were anti-trust laws, and the FTC noted that if the merger were to go through the resulting company would control more than 90% of the market.  The two companies are also both strikingly similar in terms of content and customer base.  Both sites make their money in essentially the same way; bilking analytics-obsessed nerds into thoughts of getting rich quick by building the right roster of real-life athletes.

This development comes as the industry has fallen under heightened scrutiny from lawmakers as to whether the industry constitutes illegal sports gambling or not.


The PGA and European Athletics address doping allegations

rory-mcilroy-explains-why-adding-20-pounds-of-muscle-is-good-for-his-game-and-the-sport-of-golfTwo striking developments occurred this month in the realm of performance enhancing drugs and those tasked with regulating them.

First, it was proposed by European Athletics that the IAAF, (the organization that oversees international track & field), should void all world records not set by athletes after 2005.  This was the year that serious drug testing really began, at least in terms of blood testing.  The proposal is certainly a harsh one, as it now puts 45 world records in jeopardy, and according to the NY Times, has created a sense of injustice among athletes of that era.  Among the world records in question are Flo Jo’s 100 and 200 meter times set in 1988.

While announcing the idea, the president of the European track association, said:

“Performance records that show the limits of human capabilities are one of the great strengths of our sport, but they are meaningless if people don’t really believe them.”         -Svein Arne Hansen of Norway

Meanwhile, the PGA announced it will start blood testing as part of its anti-doping program.  This change comes amid speculation of the prevalence of performance enhancing drugs on tour, and will certainly make it harder to cheat than the PGA’s current system, which has only suspended three players — Doug Barron, Bhavik Patel and Scott Stallings – in the nine years since the program has been implemented.  

Redskins name upheld by the Supreme Court

This month found the Supreme Court reviewing the Lanham Act, a fun-filled little federal statute governing trademarks that’s been around since the Truman Administration.  Specifically the Court was interested in a part of the Act known as the “disparagement clause” which gave the US Patent and Trademark Office the right to refuse to register certain trademarks.  The Office’s broad authority could be wielded when certain trademarks might disparage any “persons living or dead,” and it was this broadness the Court saw as troubling.  In a unanimous decision the Court found the law to be in violation of the First Amendment, and somewhere deep within a Potomac mansion, Daniel Snyder cracked open some champagne.

Up to this point the Trademark Office had used this clause as a basis for refusing to protect the Washington Redskins trademark, but it appears this will be rescinded (so better move all that bootlegged Redskins gear you were hoping to hawk outside FedEx Field this fall!).  This unanimous decision strongly suggests the Redskins have officially won the fight to protect their name.  Unless organizational pressure (from the NFL) or external pressure (from the fan-base) forces a shift in the mindset, there will be a Washington Redskins football team for the foreseeable future.