Connecticut’s Chris Murphy writes to Rupert Murdoch, citing gun control debate clash with agenda of Sprint Cup sponsor
The Fox television network looks set to broadcast the NRA-sponsored Nascar Sprint Cup on Saturday, despite a plea from a Connecticut senator to pull the broadcast due to the pro-gun association’s “extreme” agenda.
Chris Murphy, a Democrat, wrote a letter to Rupert Murdoch, the chief of Fox’s parent company, News Corp, saying that the high-profile car race was taking place against the backdrop of a fierce national debate over possible gun control legislation. Those laws, being mulled by the Senate, have been brought in due to the Newtown shooting, in which 20 children and six adults were killed at a school in Connecticut at the end of last year.
In his letter, Murphy said the powerful NRA gun lobby – which since Newtown has been arguing for the placement of armed security guards in schools – had an “extreme nature”.
“I urge you to not broadcast this race on April 13th. Inserting Fox Sports in this debate at this critical time will give credence to an extreme organization that is opposed to reasonable policies to stem gun violence,” Murphy wrote.
Another issue is the tradition at the race, which is being held in Texas, of giving a rifle and six-shooters for the winning drivers to shoot – though the weapons fire blanks. “This celebration of guns is inappropriate in the immediate wake of the Newtown massacre,” Murphy wrote.
The letter follows a missive that Murphy sent a month ago to Nascar boss Brian France, asking him to reconsider the NRA sponsorship. However, there appears little chance that the race will not be shown live. It is expected to see around 150,000 people watching in person in Texas and an audience of millions on television.
A representative of the families at Newtown did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Nascar organisers have said they intend to take a “closer look” at the sport’s sponsorship process, although they indicated that the NRA deal does conform to Nascar’s existing criteria.
Murdoch, however, has shown himself to be in favour of gun law reforms in the wake of Newtown. On his Twitter page, Murdoch once asked: “When will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons?” He has also urged president Barack Obama to act. “Nice words from [Obama] on shooting tragedy, but how about some bold leadership action?” he stated.
Obama is trying to do exactly that, waging a high-profile campaign to pass gun control. On Saturday, a mother of one of the Newtown victims used the president’s weekly address to issue a heartfelt plea for tighter gun controls. Francine Wheeler, whose six-year-old son Ben died at Sandy Hook elementary school, urged Americans to press Congress to pass “commonsense” laws including universal background checks on would-be weapons buyers
Trump’s tax law threatened TurboTax’s profits — so the company started charging the disabled, the unemployed and students
The 2017 tax overhaul vastly expanded the number of people who could file simplified tax returns, a boon to millions of Americans.
But the new law directly threatened the lucrative business of Intuit, the maker of TurboTax.
Although the company draws in customers with the promise of a “free” product, its fortunes depend on getting as many customers as possible to pay. It had been regularly charging $100 or more for returns that included itemized deductions for mortgage interest and charitable donations. Under the new law, many wealthier taxpayers would no longer be filing that form, qualifying them to use the company’s free software.
Trump’s packed Supreme Court backs ‘forced arbitration’ that bars workers from taking abusive bosses to court
Corporations are rapidly rendering sexual harassment, race and gender discrimination, life-threatening workplaces and wage theft immune to employee legal action.
They achieve this by forcing the vast majority of non-union private-sector workers to sign away their rights to go to court or use class or collective arbitration. Instead many millions of workers are being forced to forgo these efficient legal ways to resolve issues and to file individual arbitration claims.
A new report from the Economic Policy Institute and the Center for Popular Democracy says that by 2024 more than 80% of non-union private-sector workers will find courthouse doors chained shut by forced arbitration clauses that ban lawsuits and collective actions. (EPI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank created in 1986 to press the needs of low- and middle-income workers in economic policy discussions.)
Corporations can legally put carcinogens in our food without warning labels — here’s why
A recent study by the Environmental Working Group revealed something horrifying: Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the popular weedkiller Roundup, was present in 17 of the 21 oat-based cereal and snack products at levels considered unsafe for children. That includes six different brands of Cheerios, one of the most popular American cereals.
I've written before about the limits of corporate free speech when it comes to public safety, but on that occasion I discussed this insofar as it involved corporate-sponsored climate change denialism. Yet here we have something more tangible, more direct: The safe glyphosate limit for children is 160 parts per billion (ppb), yet Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch has 833 parts per billion and regular Cheerios has 729 ppb. While the potential risks of glyphosate are fiercely debated, many scientists believe that it is linked to cancer.