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Fans Demand ‘Equal Pay’ for U.S. Women’s Soccer Team

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  • After the U.S. Women’s National Team won the World Cup on Sunday, crowds chanted “Equal Pay” to highlight the pay difference between male and female athletes as the FIFA President walked onto the field.
  • The World Cup total prize for men in 2018 was $400 million. This year for women, the total prize is $30 million. 
  • The USWNT has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation alleging gender-based discrimination in pay.
  • Several reports show that while the women’s prize is substantially less, the U.S. women have generated more profit than the U.S. men. 

Fans Call for Equal Pay

After the United States Women’s National Team scored their fourth World Cup title, crowds erupted in “Equal Pay” chants, bringing a long-running conversation about the gender pay gap to center stage. 

On Sunday, the USWNT beat the Netherlands 2-0, securing themselves another title and cementing their status as the best women’s soccer team in the world. During post-game celebrations, FIFA President Gianni Infantino walked onto the field alongside French President Emmanual Macron, and the two were met with a clear request from the crowd. 

“Equal Pay!” chants echoed throughout the stadium, to encourage Infantino and the organization to pay the female athletes the same as the men. Last year, the World Cup total prize for the men was $400 million, with $38 million going to the champions. This year, the women’s World Cup tournament total prize was $30 million, with $4 million for the champion team.

This World Cup win for the American women follows a discussion about their talents and success compared to the men’s team. The U.S. Men’s National Team has never won a World Cup. They also do not send their full team to compete in the Olympics, while the women have won four gold medals.

The win also follows a lawsuit filed by several female players. In March athletes like Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Rose Lavelle filed a suit against the United States Soccer Federation claiming gender-based discrimination.

“Despite the fact that these female and male players are called upon to perform the same job responsibilities on their teams and participate in international competitions for their single common employer, the USSF, the female players have been consistently paid less money than their male counterparts,” the lawsuit states.

“This is true even though their performance has been superior to that of the male players – with the female players, in contrast to male players, becoming world champions.” 

Rapinoe, who walked out of the World Cup both the Golden Boot and Golden Ball winner, has also made statements on her own about this pay gap. According to ESPN, after the game, she spoke about the need for the conversation to move forward. 

“It’s time to sit down with everyone and really get to work,” Rapinoe said. “This game has done so much for all of us. We’ve put so much into it. I think it’s a testament to the quality on the field, and I don’t think everything else is matching that. So how do we get everything to match up and continue to push this forward. Because I think at this point the argument we have been having is null and void.”

Politicians Speak Out

Soccer players are not the only ones pushing for equal pay. Last week, several members of Congress wrote a letter to the president of the USSF calling the pay gap “indefensible.”

“The U.S. Soccer Federation should work to correct course and close the wage gap so that the only thing women athletes are fighting for is the world title or a gold medal,” the letter read. “Instead, the message sent to women and girls is that their skills and accomplishments are of lesser value.”

President Donald Trump was also pressed about the issue after Sunday’s game. According to a White House press pool, he was asked about the women’s pay, and if anything should be done. 

“I would like to see that, but you’ve also got to look at the numbers,” Trump responded. “You have to look at who’s taking in what.”

Revenue Numbers

Since the start of the World Cup and the resurgence of pay gap discussions, several reports have taken a closer look at the numbers. A June report from The Wall Street Journal found that in recent years the women’s team has boosted more revenue for the USSF than the men’s.

Their report looked at audited USSF financial statements and said that between 2016 and 2018, women’s games generated about $50.8 million in revenue while the men’s generated $49.9 million.

The Washington Post also broke down some of the finances between the male and female teams after the ladies won the World Cup. The Post looked at the net revenue of each team. In 2016 and 2017, the women’s net revenue was $8 million and $1 million. In 2015 and 2016, the men’s was $350,000 and $2.7 million.

The Post also estimates that last year, the women made more in bonuses and salary, but also played close to twice as many games and won more often. 

The article outlines a scenario that shows if both teams were to play 20 games in a season, the women would make 89% of what the men make. Before 2016, this would have been even lower. Before their updated bargaining agreement was put into place, they would have made 38% of what the men would.

Others have brought up the fact that as of last week, the U.S. women’s home jersey became the most sold jersey on Nike’s website in one season. 

FIFA says that they plan on doubling the women’s World Cup prize to make it $60 million by 2023. This still is a fraction of the men’s prize, which is also set to increase to $440 million.

Many, including player Tobin Heath, see the U.S. team’s win and the conversation that it started as a pivotal moment for equal pay. 

“It’s cool because unless we get to the final, and obviously win the final, maybe that chant isn’t being chanted,” Heath said. “So I think in a lot of ways, this team has been, I guess you could call it, single destiny with this fight for equal pay.”

See what others are saying: (The Wall Street Journal) (ESPN) (The Washington Post)

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Nearly 700,000 People to Lose Food Stamp Aid Under New Policy

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  • A new rule was finalized on Wednesday that tightens work restrictions for the federal food stamp program.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 688,000 people will be cut from the program when the rule takes effect next year.
  • Those in favor of the change argue that it will push unemployed individuals to find jobs, while critics say it will hurt them more than it will help them.

New Rule

Trump administration finalized a new rule that could remove almost 700,000 people from the federal food stamp program. The rule, announced in a press release on Wednesday, creates stricter work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) final rule promotes work for able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 and 49 without dependents,” the press release said.  

Under current regulations, this demographic can receive three months of SNAP benefits throughout a three year period, unless they work or undergo professional training for at least 20 hours a week. 

States have had the ability to waive this time limit to account for economic turbulence, and counties with unemployment rates as low as 2.5% were eligible for these remissions. The new rule will make 6% the minimum unemployment rate to qualify for these waivers, according to the Washington Post.

It will take effect on April 1, 2020.

Impact on Americans

While the USDA originally estimated that up to 750,000 people would be cut from SNAP with this change, now they have adjusted that number to 688,000. 

The finalized regulation is the first of three proposed measures to limit access to the federal food stamp program. A new study by the Urban Institute found that if the other two rules are approved, nearly 4 million people would lose access to food benefits.

After the new rule was proposed in February, there was an abundance of public comments imploring the administration not to go through with it. 

But the USDA was not swayed and held strong in their argument that SNAP should be a form of temporary assistance instead of a long-term lifestyle. 

“Government can be a powerful force for good, but government dependency has never been the American dream,” said Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture. “We need to encourage people by giving them a helping hand but not allowing it to become an indefinitely giving hand.”

Those who support the rule are optimistic that it will push unemployed individuals to find jobs. 

“The changes reflect the belief that more Americans can enter and reenter the workforce,” Brandon Lipps, the USDA’s Deputy Under Secretary, told the Washington Post. “So they can know the dignity of work.”

Critics of the change were extremely disappointed upon the news of the rule’s finalization, deeming it a step in the wrong direction.

“The Trump administration is driving the vulnerable into hunger just as the Christmas season approaches,” Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, said on the floor Wednesday. “It is heartless. It is cruel. It exposes a deep and shameful cruelness and hypocrisy in this administration.”

Rep. Marcia L. Fudge, chairwoman of the House Agriculture Committee’s subcommittee on nutrition, released a press statement on Wednesday after hearing the news.

“The Administration refuses to take an honest look at the people they are targeting with this rule and what challenges they face that contribute to their hunger…” she said. “…Instead of considering hungry individuals and their unique struggles and needs, the Department has chosen to paint them with the broadest brush, demonizing them as lazy and undeserving.”

See what others are saying: (New York Times) (NPR) (NBC)

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Melania Trump Blasts Law Professor for Dropping Son’s Name in Impeachment Testimony Joke

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  • Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan made a joke referencing President Donald Trump’s son in her impeachment hearing testimony on Wednesday. 
  • Melania Trump criticized Karlan on Twitter for bringing her child into a political matter.
  • Some condemned Karlan while others thought her wordplay was harmless. 
  • Many Twitter users called the FLOTUS hypocritical for defending her child but staying silent on her husband’s treatment of other minors, including teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg and migrant children experiencing inhumane treatment at the border.

Karlan’s Joke

Pamela Karlan, a Stanford law professor, dropped a controversial joke while testifying in the ongoing impeachment hearing against President Donald Trump on Wednesday. 

While explaining the difference between the POTUS and a king, she used a play on words with the name of his teenage son, Barron.

“The constitution says there can be no titles of nobility,” Karlan said. “So while the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron.”

Karlan’s joke received a scattering of laughter around the room, including a chuckle from Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who posed the question of how the president compares to royalty.  

Melania Trump took to Twitter to defend her son, condemning Karlan’s name-dropping comment. 

“A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics,” the first lady wrote. “Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it.”

Further Backlash

Karlan was put on blast by other prominent figures for her mention of the president’s son. Vice President Mike Pence called her joke a “new low.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida who strongly supports the president, chastised her directly on the floor Wednesday. 

“Let me also suggest that when you invoke the President’s son’s name here, when you try to make a little joke out of referencing Barron Trump, that does not lend credibility to your argument,” he said. “It makes you look mean.”

The Trump campaign released an official statement on the topic.

“Only in the mind of crazed liberals is it funny to drag a 13-year-old into the impeachment nonsense,” National Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said.

Karlan’s Apology

Later in the day, Prof. Karlan apologized for her remarks, but not without mentioning that she wishes Donald Trump would also admit to his faults. 

“I want to apologize for what I said earlier about the president’s son. It was wrong of me to do that,” she said during her testimony. “I wish the president would apologize obviously for the things that he’s done that’s wrong, but I do regret having said that.”

Defense of the Professor

While some were outraged by Karlan’s play on words, others spoke up to defend her, deeming the joke harmless.

Some Twitter users criticized the FLOTUS for being quick to defend her own son but staying silent on her husband’s treatment of other minors, including teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg and migrant children experience inhumane treatment at the border.

See what others are saying: (CNN) (NBC) (Newsweek)

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George Zimmerman Sues Trayvon Martin’s Family for $100M, Citing Defamation

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  • George Zimmerman is suing Trayvon Martin’s parents, their lawyer, and a publishing company for $100 million, citing defamation relating to the 2013 case involving Martin’s shooting.
  • The lawsuit cites a documentary titled The Trayvon Hoax, which accuses Martin’s parents of falsifying testimony.
  • Ben Crump, a lawyer for Martin’s parents, called the lawsuit unfounded and reckless.

Zimmerman’s Lawsuit

The man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin is now suing Martin’s family, their lawyer, and a publishing company for allegedly engaging in false testimony during the 2013 trials related to Martin’s death.

According to reports, George Zimmerman and his lawyers are alleging defamation, saying that Martin family and their prosecutors “have worked in concert to deprive Zimmerman of his constitutional and other legal rights.” Because of this, Zimmerman is asking for $100 million in civil damages.

Zimmerman’s suit cites information from a documentary titled The Trayvon Hoax. It also claims that the Martin family lied in court. 

Zimmerman’s suit cites information from a documentary titled The Trayvon Hoax. It also claims that the Martin family lied in court. 

On top of suing Martin’s family, Zimmerman is also suing the publisher Harper Collins after it released a book titled Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People, which was written by Ben Crump, the lawyer who represented Martin’s family in the case against Zimmerman.

While The Trayvon Hoax was scheduled to be screened at the Coral Gable Art Cinema Thursday following a noon press conference giving more details about the lawsuit, the theater later canceled the screening as news of Zimmerman’s lawsuit surfaced.

In a statement responding to the allegations, Crump said he hoped the lawsuit would soon be thrown out.

“I have every confidence that this unfounded and reckless lawsuit will be revealed for what it is – another failed attempt to defend the indefensible and a shameless attempt to profit off the lives and grief of others,” he said.

Trayvon Martin’s Death

Zimmerman shot and killed Martin in Florida on Feb. 26, 2012. At the time, Martin had been visiting his father.

The night he died, Martin had reportedly been walking home after buying candy and a drink at a gas station. Zimmerman, who was part of the community’s volunteer neighborhood watch, then called the police to report a suspicious-looking person in a dark hoodie.

“These assholes, they always get away,” Zimmerman told the dispatcher.

About two minutes into the call, Zimmerman said he saw Martin then began to run. He then chased after Martin despite the dispatcher telling him not to.

Soon after the phone call ended, Zimmerman and Martin reportedly engaged in a violent altercation that ultimately led to Martin’s death.

Zimmerman was then arrested and charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter.

In the months that followed, the trial gained national scrutiny as many waited to see what would happen to Zimmerman after shooting an unarmed black teenager.

Ultimately, Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges in 2013 after claiming self-defense in court.

See what others are saying: (Miami Herald) (Washington Post) (NBC News)

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