This past week’s metaphorical flask, filled with the absurdity that is news nowadays, is brimming with drama. Here are some of the top stories, in a nutshell, that you might’ve passed over.
National Security Advisor Michael Flynn Resigns Due to Scandal
It all began on December 29. Former President Barack Obama announced a plan for retaliation given Moscow’s interference in the 2016 election, and the US government sanctioned nine entities and individuals over the alleged interference. On the same day, Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s pick for National Security Advisor at the time, held five phone calls with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
The Washington Post revealed that these conversations happened on January 12. On January 24, the FBI interviewed Flynn about his conversations, inquiring on whether or not the sanctions were discussed, to which Flynn denied the accusations. Acting Attorney General Sally Yates then informed the white house counsel that Flynn was lying and purposefully misled the Trump administration.
On February 8, Flynn insists to the Washington Post that he did not discuss the sanctions with Kislyak. Flynn’s spokesperson reports to the Post soon after that “while [Flynn] had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.” This is where people became suspicious, given everyone’s miscommunication and misinformation.
A transcript soon arose to publicity showing that sanctions had in fact been discussed during the phone calls. Upon being caught, Flynn promptly resigns. All the while, more information continues to arise pointing to the current administration having knowledge of the calls, but doing nothing until pressured.
The Wall Street Journal Wages War Against Top YouTuber, Pewdiepie
Felix Kjellberg, otherwise known as Pewdiepie, is a YouTube content creator and comedian, primarily known for video game play-throughs. Kjellberg has been known in the past to have a controversial approach with comedy. He was recently part of a joint venture with Maker Studios, a multi-channel network company that works with YouTubers.
On February 14, The Wall Street Journal approached The Walt Disney Company, who owns Maker Studios, and YouTube with instances in nine videos in which Kjellberg allegedly used Nazi imagery and anti-Semitic references. Disney quickly severed all ties with Pewdiepie from Maker Studios, and YouTube demonetized the nine videos in question.
On February 15, Kjellberg released a written statement, saying, “It came to my attention yesterday that some have been pointing to my videos and saying that I am giving credibility to the anti-Semitic movement… I want to make one thing clear: I am in no way supporting any kind of hateful attitudes…to anyone unsure on my standpoint regarding hate-based groups: No, I don’t support these people in any way.”
On February 16, Kjellberg released a formal video statement revealing that all of the examples The Wall Street Journal used in their allegations were taken completely out of context, and all of which were used either as a reference to a larger point in a video or for completely comedic purposes. The Wall Street Journal is now facing incredible amounts of backlash from the entire community of online creators and their supporters for their deliberate negligence and vicious attack on Kjellberg.
Three Major Stock Indices are at Record Highs; Dow Jones, Nasdaq, and S&P 500
The stock market is having its best performance in the first month of a new administration since Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in following John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a six-day streak of closing highs on Thursday, February 16, and the Nasdaq hit a 3-day high streak on February 13. In Johnson’s first month, the S&P 500 gained 6%. In President Trump’s first month, the S&P 500 has gained 3.8%, the largest first-month gain since LBJ.
SCAD Student Creates a Bee Drone to be used for Pollination.
Anna Haldewang, an industrial design student at Savannah College of Art and Design, has developed a prototype for what she calls Plan Bee, a hand-sized drone that replicates the process of pollination. She felt inclined to create a device for a class project that emphasized the importance of the bee in nature and spread awareness of the growing disappearance of the bee.
Haldewang hopes that the device will begin as a personally used drone for people to implement in their backyards and personal gardens, as well as a teaching tool in future educational environments. Haldewang has filed for a patent and is hoping to have a completely usable product in about 2 years.