FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
lawsuits
July 7, 2014

A man who who was caught on camera snoozing away during a New York Yankees/Boston Red Sox game is suing the Yankees, Major League Baseball, ESPN, and announcers Dan Shulman and John Kruk for $10 million, citing defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Andrew Rector somehow managed to do the impossible during the April 13 game: he fell asleep in the middle of it while sitting in an uncomfortable seat. Once the announcers saw Rector napping in the stands, they started to talk about him, wondering if he was alone or with the person next to him ("maybe that's his buddy and he likes him a lot better when he's asleep"). Rector claims in his lawsuit that this was just the beginning of a "verbal crusade" and "MLB.com continued the onslaught to a point of comparing the plaintiff to someone of a confused state of mind, disgusted, disgruntled, and unintelligent and probably intellectually bankrupt individual."

The complaint goes on to state several things that Rector claims were said about him ("Plaintiff is so stupid he cannot differentiate between his house and public place by snoozing throughout the fourth inning of the Yankee game"), but as Joe Coscarelli at New York notes, it looks like Rector is slightly confused. The announcers were rather gentle with him; it was the YouTube commenters who lived up to their reputation and posted nasty remarks. If Rector wins, it will send a message to those "idiots," his mother, Hana Rector, told the New York Post. "If he paid for the tickets, it's his prerogative what he does. Whose business is it if he's sleeping? He can do whatever he wants." --Catherine Garcia

trump nation
10:15 a.m. ET

Donald Trump's tradition of giving hyperbolic sound bites dates all the way back to 1973, when he was the 27-year-old president of the Trump Management Corporation in Brooklyn. The New York Times unearthed its very first mention of the now-inescapable public figure, and his first-ever quote is quite fitting.

In the Oct. 16, 1973 article "Major Landlord Accused of Antiblack Bias in City," Trump got his first taste of infamy after the Justice Department brought a suit in federal court against Trump and his father, Fred C. Trump, accusing them of violating the Fair Housing Act of 1968 by refusing to "rent or negotiate rentals because of race and color." The suit "charged that the company had required different rental terms and conditions because of race and that it had misrepresented to blacks that apartments were not available," The New York Times writes. Trump, of course, was indignant:

Donald Trump's first quoted words in The New York Times expressed his view of the charges:

"They are absolutely ridiculous."

"We never have discriminated," he added, "and we never would." [The New York Times]

Though Trump Management later sued the government for $100 million over the accusation, the two parties reached an agreement in 1975 in which the company had to provide the New York Urban League with a list of apartment vacancies every week for two years, and the league could present qualified applicants to every fifth opening in a Trump building where less than 10 percent of the occupants were black.

If that irked Trump, he wasn't showing it: He refused to describe the agreement as an admission of guilt, and by 1976, he seemed to be doing quite well for himself. From the Times on Nov. 1, 1976:

He is tall, lean and blond, with dazzling white teeth, and he looks ever so much like Robert Redford. He rides around town in a chauffeured silver Cadillac with his initials, DJT, on the plates. He dates slinky fashion models, belongs to the most elegant clubs and, at only 30 years of age, estimates that he is worth 'more than $200 million.' [The New York Times]

Samantha Rollins
Oops
10:13 a.m. ET

On Thursday afternoon, anti-drug organization D.A.R.E. published a surprising op-ed on its site. "I support [marijuana] legalization precisely because I want to reduce youths’ drug use," the article argued. "We already tried alcohol prohibition and it was a violent catastrophe, too. Please don’t let Ohio be known as one of the last bastions of marijuana hysteria."

As the news coverage piled up ("The war on drugs is over, and weed won," declared NYMag), the article disappeared (see a screenshot of the post before it was taken down here). In an emailed statement to the Washington Post, D.A.R.E. regional director John Lindsay clarified that D.A.R.E. does "not support legalization nor do we advoate [sic] for legalization of marijuana." Lindsay suggested that the op-ed's title, "Purchasing Marijuana Puts Kids at Risk," was the source of the mistake.

Next time, D.A.R.E., just say no to republishing content after only reading the headline. Bonnie Kristian

Ebola
9:30 a.m. ET
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The results are in from drug giant Merck's most recent trial of a vaccine for Ebola — and they look pretty good:

The vaccine was 100 percent effective when it was tested on more than 4,000 people who were in close contact with Ebola patients in the African nation of Guinea, the World Health Organization said, citing a study published today in the Lancet medical journal. The trial of the vaccine, called Ebola ca suffit — "Ebola, that's enough" in French — began on March 23. [Bloomberg]

A panel overseeing the trial says a late-stage trial of the vaccine should proceed.

The Ebola outbreak that gripped West Africa last year — killing 11,000 people — has subsided, but the virus is stubbornly sticking around. New confirmed cases were reported this week. Ryu Spaeth

Definition
9:07 a.m. ET

The chair of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.), seems to be having a bit of trouble defining her own party. Speaking with MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Hardball, she appeared confused by his question concerning if self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders would be allowed to speak at the Democratic convention.

"Bernie Sanders has been a good Democrat," Wasserman-Schultz said as Matthews barraged her with questions. "Of course he should speak."

"Speak in primetime?' Matthews continued, to Wasserman-Schultz's increasing confusion. He finally insisted to know the difference between Democrats and socialists, leaving Wasserman-Schultz looking utterly baffled.

"I used to think there was a big difference," Matthews said. "What do you think?"

"The real question is, what's the difference between being a Democrat and being a Republican?" Wasserman-Schultz said, attempting to dodge the question.

“Okay, but what’s the big difference between a Democrat and a socialist?” Matthews persisted. “You're the chairwoman of the Democratic Party. Tell me the difference between you and a socialist.”

“The relevant debate that we’ll be having over the course of this campaign is, what's the difference between being a Democrat and being a Republican," Wasserman-Schultz said again.

Matthews finally threw up his hands. "I think there's a huge difference."

Watch the whole thing unfold below. Jeva Lange

got beef?
8:42 a.m. ET

After GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz charged earlier this week that the Iran nuclear deal would make President Obama the leading sponsor of global terrorism, the GOP's 2012 nominee pushed back on Twitter:

The Texas senator was having none of it. On air with KFYO’s Chad Hasty, Cruz responded to the tweet with a couple words aimed especially at Romney — and his failed 2012 campaign. (The relevant section starts around the 12-minute mark.)

"Now it's interesting, in the past couple of weeks we've seen both Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, both of them talking about, 'Now take it easy, guys, you don't really need to oppose this Iranian nuclear deal quite so forcefully,'" Cruz told Hasty. "You know, it's interesting, two days ago, or three days ago, President Obama was in Africa. And he chose to attack me directly for saying that if this deal goes through, the Obama administration will become the leading global financier of radical Islamic terrorism. And he attacked me personally. But you know what he didn't do? He didn't disagree with the facts."

Cruz went on: "The unavoidable consequence of those facts is if this deal goes through, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry will be the leading global financiers of radical Islamic terrorism on the face of the Earth."

"One of the reasons Republicans keep getting clobbered, is we have leaders, like Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, who are afraid to say that," Cruz added.

Cruz pointed to Romney's failed 2012 campaign against Obama as proof. "We all remember that third debate where Barack Obama turned to Mitt and said, 'I said the Benghazi attack was terrorism and no one is more upset by Benghazi than I am,'" Cruz said. "And Mitt, I guess listening to his own advice, said, 'Gosh, I don't want to use any rhetoric so okay, never mind, I'll just kind of rearrange the pencil on the podium here.' We need to stand up and speak the truth with a smile. The truth has power." Jeva Lange

The Daily Showdown
7:55 a.m. ET
Rick Kern/Getty Images

Jon Stewart is keeping things especially friendly in his last episodes of The Daily Show, which will air next week. Fellow comedians Amy Schumer, Denis Leary, and Louis C.K. will be joining him on stage as his final guests, he announced Thursday.

The guests aren't exactly a giant surprise, as they're all Stewart's friends. Earlier this year, Schumer reportedly turned down an offer to take over The Daily Show after Stewart's departure (the job eventually went to Trevor Noah). Stewart has said in the past that Leary and C.K. are two of his favorite guests.

Not much else is known yet about Stewart's finale, which will air on Thursday Aug. 6. Pretty much all we know so far is that it will run an extended 50 minutes, and the lead-up will consist of a day-long Comedy Central marathon of old episodes, beginning at 10:30 a.m. But don't let that deter you from running with some additional rumors: The Washington Post, for example, suggests that Stephen Colbert might be making an appearance. Jeva Lange

tragedies
7:31 a.m. ET
Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP/Getty Images

Jewish arsonists are believed to be responsible for torching a Palestinian home in the West Bank on Friday, killing an 18-month-old toddler and injuring three other family members inside. Israel's prime minister has called the attack an act of terrorism.

The suspected Jewish attackers wrote "revenge" outside the house in Hebrew, and threw fire bombs inside the home just before dawn, marking the worst attack by Israeli aggressors since a Palestinian teenager was set on fire in Jerusalem a year ago. The Palestinian group Hamas has called for retaliation for Friday's attack. Read more at Reuters. Jeva Lange

See More Speed Reads