Society - February 16
Bipartisan #MeToo legislation, Sandy Hook, NFT Sales Halted and more
An Overwhelmingly Bipartisan #MeToo Legislative Victory
The New York Times and The New Yorker received the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service for their blistering exposés unearthing decades of harassment and victim silencing by sexual predators in positions of power. Their reporting sparked a global movement that brought down 201 powerful men and helped support Twitter users to use the #MeToo hashtag more than 19 million times within one year of the first reporting. The movement continued and last week, the Senate passed by a voice vote the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021, which guarantees workplace sexual misconduct can be addressed in court and not be resigned to arbitration, often disproportionally favoring employers, regardless of any workplace contract clauses.
Is this the natural endpoint of the movement?
Sandy Hook families receive $73 million settlement
Sandy Hook Elementary still stands as one of the five deadliest mass shootings in American history. Adam Lanza, who killed his mother, 20 children, 6 adult staff members and then himself, sparked a national call for universal background checks and new gun control legislation to ban the sale and manufacture of certain types of semi-automatic firearms and magazines. While that debate remains on hold, the families of five children and four adults killed in that massacre will receive a $73 million settlement from gun manufacturer Remington and the now bankrupt company’s four insurers.
Plaintiff’s attorney Josh Koskoff:
"We established what was clearly true..the immunity protecting the gun industry is not bulletproof. We hope they realize they have skin in the game, instead of blaming literally everybody else..The public should "stay tuned" for more information about the thousands of internal Remington documents the plaintiffs obtained.”
NFT Sales Halted
Two-thousand twenty-one was the year of NFTs (non-fungible tokens). Forbes credits 2020 as the “emergence of vast markets for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) — unique blockchain-based digital assets — [being] a transformative moment for how we understand digital transactions and stores of value.” Yet 2020 would seem to have laid the groundwork for a cultural and economic boom in the 12 months after. Total 2020 NFT sales were just shy of $100 million; last year sales exploded to ~$25 billion with nearly 90% of those sales coming in the second half of 2021.
And if every boom has a bust, last week’s developments may be the harbinger for what we all see coming..
Courts push back on the social cost of carbon
Upon entering office, President Biden restored the “social cost of carbon” to the Obama Administration estimate of roughly $51 per metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. The “social cost of carbon” is a financial estimate of the damages caused by increases in greenhouse gas emissions. The estimate is designed to advance cost-benefit analyses to incorporate the damage done to the environment evidenced by extreme weather events, but also factor in the negative impact to human health, quality of life and the disproportional effect on lower-income groups, Tribal communities and future generations.
The push for an improved social cost metric has its merit..
"Prince Andrew intends to make a substantial donation to Ms. Giuffre's charity in support of victims' rights. Prince Andrew has never intended to malign Ms. Giuffre's character, and he accepts that she has suffered both as an established victim of abuse and as a result of unfair public attacks."
Never intended to malign
Accepts she has suffered
The first speaks to the character of the individual who maligned; the latter assumes that the individual has character.