Sponsored Stories Five of the siblings were killed immediately in the central England city of Derby, while a sixth died in hospital Sunday as a result of his injuries.Police confirmed that the fire broke out after fuel was poured through the mail box on the front door of the house, and said they plan to question Philpott and the children’s mother to determine why the home may have been targeted.“What I can tell you is that the fire was started deliberately,” said Derbyshire police’s Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cotterill.He said that it would be “important that we talk to Mr. and Mrs. Philpott about what happened,” but insisted they were being helped by police officers as they grieve.Philpott had previously featured on British television in programs about his extraordinarily large family. In 2007, he hosted then-lawmaker Anne Widdicombe to live at his home for a week as she filmed a critical documentary about the country’s welfare system.Speaking at a news conference in Derby, Philpott offered thanks to members of the community who had supported his family since the blaze _ including an unnamed boy who tried to help him reach his children.“There’s a young lad who tried to get in the house, the same as myself,” he said, describing the thwarted rescue attempt. “Then of course there is the four firemen, the police, the ambulances, the doctors and nurses _ everybody who tried to help save our children.” Jade, 10; John, 9; Jack, 7; Jessie, 6 and Jayden, 5, died at the scene from smoke inhalation. Their brother Duwayne, 13, died in the hospital on Sunday.Two people arrested in the case were released without charge on Saturday.Cotterill said he had asked residents living close to Philpott’s home, in the working class Allenton district of Derby, to check their yards for containers that may have been used to carry the fuel poured into the family’s house. He also appealed to local gas stations to check if they had sold fuel canisters in recent days.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Top Stories The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Check your body, save your life New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Associated PressLONDON (AP) – A father of 17 who lost six children in an arson attack on his central England home described Wednesday how he made a desperate attempt to rescue the siblings after the blaze broke out.Mick Philpott broke down in tears as he recalled before reporters his thwarted efforts to reach the children, who were sleeping in their beds in upstairs rooms when the fire began to rage in the early hours of Friday morning. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Comments Share Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates
Aviation leaders may agree that it’s time for change, but they’re still tossing the ball over a second Sydney Airport.Although aviation leaders, along with the government, may control the future of Sydney’s second gateway, industry experts say perhaps it’s not up to airline and airport leaders to decide whether Sydney needs a second airport, but perhaps as a nation, Australians need to recognise the national losses they face without a solution and call for action.Speaking at the PATA Hub City Forum in Sydney this week, CAPA-Centre for Aviation executive chairman Peter Harbison said the idea for a second gateway was introduced in 1969 and although it seen as primarily a Sydney issue, it calls for national concern.According to Mr Harbison, without a second Sydney airport, Australia is at risk of losing up to $60 billion in forgone expenditure as well as $34 billion in gross domestic product.Predictions also highlight that Sydney is expected to welcome more than 180 million passengers by 2060, but “where are we going to put them?” he asked.“Although it was necessary to find a solution 44 years ago, it is critical for something to be done today,” Mr Harbison added.Meanwhile, Sydney Airport Corporation director of aviation Shelley Roberts said although a second airport would help ease congestion in the long haul, short term solutions including a few policy changes could open up new slots and attract more tourism.Currently Sydney Airport regulations only allow for 24 aircraft movements between the hours of 5.00am and 6.00am, despite the original Airports Act allowing for up to 35 aircraft movements.Meanwhile between 23.00 and 24.00 the Airports Act allows for 40 aircraft movements but regulations allow for none. Ms Roberts said restoring the shoulder periods to levels cleared in the Airports Act would increase the number of slots available and attract more international carriers to the city.“These are the times of day where Sydney will have the opportunity to link into connections in the Middle Eastern markets and Asian markets that would feed into all the other source markets that they’re accessing,” she explained.“At the moment Sydney is losing out to Melbourne because those carriers are flying to Melbourne in those hours of the day.”Time for a change or leave it as is? Leave a comment below and let us know if you think it’s time for a solution. It’s a nationwide issue that needs a nationwide resolution. Image: Sydney Airport Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J. ……
Americans polled by “”Consumer Reports””:http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/index.htm indicated they are facing significantly more financial troubles than in June, according to the group’s latest index.[IMAGE]The Consumer Reports Index measures Americans’ financial health based on five key measures: the Sentiment Index, the Trouble Tracker Index, the Stress Index, the Retail Index, and the Employment Index.According to Consumer Reports, the Trouble Tracker Index climbed more than five points to 39.2 in July, “”an increase that was entirely fueled by an epic 23.3-point jump among those households earning $100,000 or more,”” the organization said. The tracker measures the proportion of consumers that have faced difficulties and the number of negative events they have encountered.The spike in difficulties reported both upper-income households was reflected in the report’s consumer sentiment measures. While the lower- and middle-income segments experienced virtually no change in their sentiment, consumers in upper-income households [COLUMN_BREAK]reported a dip of 2.5 points. Overall, consumer sentiment remained in positive territory and unchanged at a reading of 52.0.Meanwhile, the 30-day retail measure showed spending activity slipped to 8.6 from 9.2 a month earlier, showing customers aren’t comfortable spending yet. Planned spending for the next 30 days–reflecting July activity–was weak at 6.2 (only a slight improvement from June’s value of 6.0). June and July’s planned spending numbers were the weakest since Consumer Reports first started measuring that data in April 2009.News was better on the jobs front, where gains outpaced losses for the fourth straight month. The Employment Index was up slightly to 50.9, and job starts totaled 7.7 percent, up from 5.5 percent last month. However, that gain was partially offset by a similar rise in job losses, which increased to 6.0 percent from 4.2 percent the prior month.Finally, the level of stress reported by consumers was fairly flat at 55.7. The most stressed Americans were women (57.7), those in households earning less than $50,000 (58.5), those age 35-64 (57.2), and those living in the South (58.0).””The recovery is sluggishly moving forward,”” said Ed Farrell, director of consumer insight at the Consumer Reports National Research Center. “”This month’s reported sentiment setback and increased financial woes may have been promoted by perception rather than reality. The steady, gradual improvement in the employment picture, if maintained, is a very positive sign and may work to resolve the continued weakness in retail as consumer confidence builds.”” July 9, 2013 499 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Confidence Consumer spending Investors Jobs Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-07-09 Tory Barringer Americans Report More Financial Troubles Share
New Role Announced for Former Goldman Sachs Executive Josh FuchsConsolidated Analytics, a provider of mortgage services, announced the appointment of Josh Fuchs as SVP of product development and sales for its residential valuations division. In this role, Fuchs will drive the vision, innovation, execution and adoption of new real estate valuation products and will strengthen and modernize existing platforms.Fuchs joins the California-based Consolidated Analytics from Goldman Sachs, where he was Vice President, Head of Residential Valuation for its real estate management division. Fuchs has more than 15 years of leadership experience developing operational and technology infrastructure, policies, and capabilities that enhance valuation platform and service scalability, efficiency and quality. In earlier roles, Fuchs held leadership positions at JPMorgan Chase, ISGN and FNMA.”Josh’s talent and experience is known in the mortgage industry and he is particularly known for successfully using technology and analytics to innovate solutions within constraints,” said Consolidated Analytics CEO Arvin Wijay. “As Consolidated Analytics continues to augment our solutions with real estate analytics, leverage automation and embrace emerging technologies, Josh’s ‘in-compliance’ but ‘outside-the-box’ approach will be incredibly valuable.”The addition of Fuchs to Consolidated Analytics valuation team is timely, and comes within days of the company’s launch of its Consolidated Collateral Analysis (CCA) product, a solution that provides portfolio buyers and sellers with collateral risk insights that may influence transaction and loan decisions.Fuchs’ experience extends beyond property valuation operations and includes experience with loan-quality control process automation, including the development of underwriting guidelines to facilitate higher quality and more efficient trading platforms for originations, second liens, jumbo and other consumer loans.”Our valuation team is already excited about the new CCA product, and we believe that the addition of Josh with bolster that enthusiasm even more,” said Consolidated Analytics President, Brian Gehl. “Our team has great ideas for more efficient and modern valuation solutions that could transform the end-user experience, and Josh has the technical, industry, and product development acumen to help operationalize those ideas and leverage our growing arsenal of tools and technologies.” May 30, 2019 320 Views Goldman Sachs new hire 2019-05-30 Mike Albanese Share in Headlines, News
May 26, 2002 This portablebathroom offers a temporary solution to the handicap accessibilityproblem on site. [Photo & text RL] A more permanenthandicap bathroom is being installed behind the ceramics apse. [Photo &text: RL]
State Representative Daniela R. García, of Holland, voted today for bipartisan legislation to make state government more accountable and accessible to the people of Michigan.The 11-bill package makes the governor and lieutenant governor subject to the Freedom of Information Act and creates a similar disclosure requirement for state representatives and senators called the Legislative Open Records Act.“These bills strengthen the public’s right to see how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent by state officials,” García said. “I voted for this legislation because I believe in transparency in state government.”The legislation is similar to a package of bills introduced last session and passed overwhelmingly by the House. The bills were not taken up by the Senate prior to the end of the 2015-16 legislative session.Michigan is one of just a few states that do not subject their legislative and executive branches to open records acts.##### 16Mar Representative García votes to increase government transparency Categories: Garcia News,News
Categories: Cox News,News 07Feb Appropriations Chair Cox responds to governor’s budget proposal State Rep. Laura Cox, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, today made the following statement after Gov. Rick Snyder presented his budget proposal for the coming fiscal year:“I appreciate the governor’s ideas for the coming budget year and look forward to working with him, my House colleagues and the Senate to arrive at an efficient and effective budget that creates a path to success for all Michigan families.“The state budget is not just an assemblage of numbers and charts. It is an expression of our values and objectives. It is about people, and priorities. I plan to work with Governor Snyder to continue our commitment to education, skilled trades, cooperation with local governments, public safety and the services and programs that are vital to the residents of Michigan.“Today, the governor spoke of several goals that we both share. One of these is keeping state budget growth below the rate of inflation, something I was proud to achieve in last year’s budget. Another is continuing the important work of paying down our unfunded liabilities and shielding our state from a rainy day by putting away money and protecting that money. Finally, completing the state budget process ahead of the constitutional deadline, allowing school boards and local governments to know exactly how much funding to expect from the state, so that they are able to budget accordingly.”“He also brought up some topics that I predict will be critical to this upcoming budget cycle – addressing environmental concerns surrounding PFAS contamination around the state, focusing on our roads and bridges and addressing campus sexual assault.“I will work together with my colleagues in the House, Senate and the administration this year as we continue investing in those things that are most important to individuals, families and businesses in order to keep Michigan on the right track.”
State Rep. Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Twp.) has finished her first full term in the state House with a perfect voting record, taking part in all 1,554 votes during the 2017-2018 session.“Being a voice for our district at the state Capitol is something I take very seriously,” Rep. Whiteford said. “I have not missed a single vote since taking office in March of 2016 and each one has been cast with the best interests of our communities in mind.”Recognized for her leadership, Rep. Whiteford was recently elected by her peers to serve as assistant floor leader for the 2019-20 legislative session. This will be Rep. Whiteford’s second full term in the state House, representing residents of the 80th District in Allegan County.### 03Jan Rep. Whiteford continues perfect voting record Categories: Whiteford News
Share19Tweet9ShareEmail28 SharesBy Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons (l) and NextGen Climate [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons (r).March 16, 2018; Boston GlobeCharles and David Koch are going to “extraordinary lengths,” according to an article this weekend in the Boston Globe, to spread the message to Latinxs in Florida about the “tax benefits” of the Republican tax plan, the key priority for the billionaire brothers. Their plan seeks to “woo swing-state” Latinx voters, who are among those who will ultimately suffer most from the plan.This is not the first time that NPQ has written about this courting of that voting bloc by the Koch Brothers in Florida. In January, NPQ’s Jim Schaffer profiled the Koch-funded Libre Initiative and its sister nonprofit, the Libre Institute. Schaffer noted that the two groups are “seeking to roll out social services to help migrants, with the hope that they can also ‘educate people about the principles that are close to our hearts,’” as David Velasquez, deputy state director for Florida for the Libre Institute puts it.In 2016, the two Libre groups had a combined budget of $13.5 million. (The Koch network seeks to increase funding tenfold.) Their task is to provide Latinx-friendly programming like résumé writing, English-language classes (the most popular), and immigration issues, where they highlight the differences between them and the president (e.g., support for DREAMers, arbitrary caps, and lack of support for an end to family reunification, or the more negative “chain migration”). They avoid many of the issues that Latinx organizations, like UnidosUS, highlight as important to Latinxs: e.g., the rise in the cost of health care and cuts to safety net programs, like food assistance.The organizations also provide what they call “seminars” but are really political education. The tax bill events focus on highlighting the comparably meager savings low-income families will receive from the recently passed federal tax cut bills. For example, a person making $35,000 a year will save $1,050 in taxes; after all, as Omar Santiago, a participant at one of the new Koch-funded town halls hosted by the Libre groups, says, “Who doesn’t want more money in their pockets?” Boston Globe reporter Annie Linskey elaborates, “They’re not just selling the tax cut, they’re providing a host of Spanish-language events infused with the free market, limited government philosophy the Kochs hope will appeal to [Latinxs]—and help them look past the many offensive comments made by the president.”Though the nonprofits stay clear of explicit partisan politics for this tax-exempt work, the states they chose for their efforts—in addition to Florida, there’s Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, and New Mexico—are “politically important states that have had close elections.” Libre doesn’t register people to vote. Instead, it requires all participants to its events to provide contact information, ostensibly to build deeper relationships. According to Linskey, while “the Kochs are swimming upstream in this effort,” anecdotally it seems they’re making some inroads; as another participant, Carlos Hernandez, says, “You build a network.”Puerto Ricans are particularly important because they can vote in the US and an estimated 300,000 have moved to the Sunshine State since Hurricane Maria. Trump won Florida by 120,000 votes in 2016, and his life-and-death inadequate response to Puerto Rico is well-documented by US media. Nevertheless, Linskey writes, “This effort is being eyed with some measure of concern among Democrats in the state.” While Latinxs are well aware of the president’s anti-immigrant zeal, Mayia Belloli, a participant from Colombia, may reflect shared sentiments when she says that Republicans “hold more family values.”Linskey concludes that the Kochs are “playing the long game” with “their tangle of nonprofits, super PACs, and politically oriented nonprofits.” And this rings true; another article last week in The Root, reveals that the Koch brothers are also behind the educational nonprofit Bill of Rights Institute, “a 501c3 nonprofit educational organization that works to engage, educate and empower individuals with a passion for the freedom and opportunity that exist in a free society.” The nonprofit provides social studies educational resources reporter Michael Harriot writes are “free of cost…right-wing brainwashing.”Harriot continues,What it really is, is an education arm of a network of right-wing charities funded by the ultraconservative Koch brothers in conjunction with a number of other conservative philanthropic individuals and organizations. It takes millions of dollars in donations and claims to have taught the Bill of Rights to more than five million students and 50,000 teachers, including directly training 22,000 educators through its constitutional seminars.The lessons stress limited government, religious freedom, free-market economics and—worst of all—a revisionist version of the history of slavery that paints it as a necessary evil to further freedom and democracy.Harriot notes that while “according to the New York Times, the Kochs planned to spend close to a billion dollars on the 2016 election cycle, more than the entire Republican National Committee…it is the Koch brothers’ quiet philanthropic efforts that garner them the most bang for their buck. They use foundations and corporations to funnel their money to organizations under the cover of anonymity.”Like Linskey, Harriot notes that the Koch brothers are pushing their political agenda through nonprofits.On the other end of the spectrum, according to Orlando Weekly, billionaire Tom Steyer, a former hedge fund executive from San Francisco, is being called the antithesis of the Koch brothers for his $30 million investment in a youth-organizing program called NextGen America that’s targeting millennials for the 2018 midterm elections. Steyer notes that this segment of the electorate matches the Boomers in size but is disengaged because they don’t think the system serves them. The project will spend $3.5 million in Florida and focus on 40 college campuses, including four historically black colleges. It will also operate in Virginia, Wisconsin, Nevada, California, Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Arizona—and it’ll target young voters online and via mail. The program seeks to “shift sporadic voters into reliable ones—and, presumably, Democrat-leaning ones” by focusing on the issues it thinks young voters care about, “like immigration, healthcare and criminal justice reform.”NPQ has long supported efforts to promote public financing for elections to mitigate the power of wealthy donors in our political system, as described in a 2015 New York Times article with the headline, “Poll Shows Americans Favor an Overhaul of Campaign Financing.”Americans of both parties fundamentally reject the regime of untrammeled money in elections made possible by the Supreme Court‘s Citizens United ruling and other court decisions and now favor a sweeping overhaul of how political campaigns are financed, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.The findings reveal deep support among Republicans and Democrats alike for new measures to restrict the influence of wealthy givers, including limiting the amount of money that can be spent by “super PACs” and forcing more public disclosure on organizations now permitted to intervene in elections without disclosing the names of their donors.According to a 2016 Washington Post article, many believe the public campaign finance system is broken—even those who support its aims. “Underdog candidates” like Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders “have shown that it’s possible to raise large sums of money from small donors over the Internet.”Nevertheless, most money in politics comes from big donors. Back in 2012, after Obama’s reelection and the flow of money into Democratic super PACs, NPQ’s Rick Cohen wrote, quoting Politico, “It took Democrats a while to warm up to super PACs, but their glee over 2012 is—for now—eclipsing any moral qualms about big money eroding democracy.”Cohen’s article says Rob McKay, who at the time was chairperson at the Democracy Alliance, which self-identifies as the largest network of donors dedicated to building the progressive movement in the United States, “suggested campaign finance reform is still on the agenda of progressives.”Cohen concludes that “Beating Republicans at their own game can be intoxicating for Democrats.” However, if we care about democracy, we need to change the game of money in politics, not advocate for one side or another to win it.—Cyndi SuarezShare19Tweet9ShareEmail28 Shares
Share138TweetShareEmail138 SharesBy Lvklock [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], from Wikimedia CommonsSeptember 10, 2018; Next CityIn 2012, Eltoreon Hawkins bought a house in the blighted Walnut Park neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, for $1000. He thought the empty lot next door was part of his property, and he took care of it. He discovered his mistake when he read the deed, but an alderman assured him that maintaining the property would pay off. Hawkins became the first individual to participate in the Mow to Own program. In 2014, the mayor himself handed Hawkins the title to the empty lot; for just $125, Hawkins earned the ownership of a plot of vacant land because he kept it mowed for the required two years.In the latest fiscal year, 80 homeowners were successful in getting land title, joining Hawkins in the Mow to Own club. The now 25-year-old manager of a meal delivery nonprofit is currently working towards turning over the neighborhood, one lot at a time. He has bought two more homes close by for $2,500 and $3,500; one, he rehabbed to rent, and one he gave to his mother.“My vision is to start on the block, in the neighborhood where I live,” he says. “I want to stabilize it. I see it as my chance to give back to my immediate community.”The St. Louis Land Reutilization Authority (LRA) is the city’s land bank, which currently lists about 600 vacant lots in the same ward as Hawkins’s. They offer the homes for sale at an average price that ranges from $1000 to $3500.Cities like St. Louis, along with others like Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Detroit, face dwindling populations in some neighborhoods, with empty houses and lots strewn with garbage. The condition has been named hypervacancy by author Alan Mallach in a 2018 report from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, “The Empty House Next Door.” The recession of 2008 compounded the problem, as homeowners walked away from mortgages that were “underwater.” For instance, in 2017 it was reported that 26 percent of Cleveland’s 160,000 residential parcels (with and without structures) were empty.“The earliest work that targeted vacant land was tied almost exclusively to addressing the nuisance and problems,” says Terry Schwarz, director of Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative. “They centered on land stabilization and greening projects or reducing eyesore characteristics of vacant properties.” There’s been a change in thinking, however, says Schwarz. “Now, the new policies that have the most long-term impact are less about fixing nuisances or problems and instead seeing land for what it is: real estate. Cities now want to see what ways they have at their disposal to extract value out of their growing inventories of vacant properties.”St. Louis is making a concerted effort to address its vacancies. In 1971, it became the first city to establish a land bank. The LRA owns about 11,500 properties, with 8,100 of them vacant. Mow to Own and similar “sidelot” programs are a minor part of the plan to flip the vacancies to occupied spaces of different types. The city saves anywhere from $1000 to $2400 annually on each property enrolled in Mow to Own.Nonprofits in Philadelphia are partnering with local community groups in LandCare, a program started by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) a $24-million nonprofit founded in 1831. In 2003, they began their successful program to fence empty lots, mow the yards, and clean trash. A little more than a quarter of Philadelphia’s 40,000 vacant properties are now managed by LandCare, with $3 million from the city and $16 million from private funders. LandCare spends about $1,300 to fence, clean, and replant the lots. They’ve scaled up to surpass PHS’s ability to manage the program; LandCare has reached out to community groups, such as community development corporations and business improvement districts, as subcontractors, vetting and training them. The positive outcomes are measurable: LandCare’s immediate benefits are apparent, starting with a 20 percent jump in nearby home values. Mental and physical health have also felt the impact of the greened and cleaned lots. Their white rail fences have caught on, too.Detroit Future City is a nonprofit that is working with the city and community groups to green up properties in blighted neighborhoods of Detroit. They have produced a manual to revitalize and rehab lots. They target specific projects to raise funds for rehabbing and stewardship of the land, succeeding with about 60 lots so far, keeping it on a smaller scale in order to include educating of the community’s residents.At 70, eastern Detroit resident Jackie Grant has made it her mission to improve her neighborhood, where about 1,200 abandoned homes have been torn down in the last 10 years. With her son, she and her neighbors got a Future City grant, cleaned a vacant lot, put up a fence, and planted trees and flowers.One person at a time—from Hawkins in St. Louis, to Grant in Detroit—mowing the lawn and planting trees works for the good of all.—Marian ConwayShare138TweetShareEmail138 Shares
Share24TweetShareEmail24 SharesBy Vivisel [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia CommonsOctober 22, 2018; Intercept, October 17, 2018; InterceptA new study, “Running On Hate,” finds that anti-Muslim rhetoric in political campaigns is on the rise since 2016. It highlights 80 “blatantly anti-Muslim” races nationwide and finds that this rhetoric is a losing strategy.The Intercept’s Sarah Aziza highlights the report by the legal research and advocacy group Muslim Advocates, which finds that candidates use “Islamophobic rhetoric as a way to establish conservative credentials and galvanize voters.” A campaign was found to be Islamophobic if it:Distorted facts about Islam or MuslimsContained “slurs or hostility towards Muslims”Advocated for policies that deny basic constitutional rights for American Muslims, “particularly freedom of worship”The study found that this rhetoric is extended to communities “often confused with Muslims, ‘such as refugees, Sikhs, and people of Arab, South Asian, or North African descent.’” Further, it is “active in campaigns at all levels of government and in rural, suburban, and urban settings alike.”Islamophobic campaigns are based on a few shared tenets: that Muslims are “inherently dangerous,” that Islam is terrorism, and that Islamic extremism threatens “the American way of life.” This rhetoric leads to exclusionary policies. As Aziza notes, “by characterizing Islam as a dangerous political outlook rather than religion, detractors cast Muslims outside the constitutional protections afforded to religious communities by the First Amendment.”These ideas are not new. Moustafa Bayoumi, author of How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America, says, “Islamophobic ideology has been weaponized against Muslims for many years now. Trump may have brought it out in the open, encouraging more people to utilize these ideas at all levels, but these ideas have a deep foundation in American politics.”Nevertheless, the study found that of the 80 campaigns, only 11 (or 14 percent) “have won or are safely predicted to win their races in November.” About 15 percent of voters endorse anti-Islamic rhetoric, but most, Republican and Democrats alike, reject it. And political participation of Muslims is on the rise, says Vetnah Monessar, the Florida executive director of Emgage, a national nonprofit driving Muslim civic engagement.Contrast these exclusionary practices with their deep roots in US democracy to the new, inclusive campaigns of many candidates of color. A great example is the race in Texas’s 22nd Congressional District, a Houston suburb, between Democrat Sri Preston Kulkarni and incumbent Republican Rep. Pete Olson.According to the Intercept’s David Dayen, the 22nd district is “the largest congressional district in America by population.” The district is “incredibly diverse.” Kulkarni’s campaign estimates 100 languages are spoken there. Dayen writes, “Churches mix with temples and mosques, fast-food joints with biryani restaurants along the main boulevards.”It is “a rapidly changing district that national democrats had long ignored, but suddenly believe is flippable.” Much of that has to do with Kulkarni’s strong grassroots campaign targeting nonvoters, which phone banks in 13 languages, strategizes micro-target communities, and offers a politics of inclusion. Campaign volunteer Ali Hasanali says, “You can’t have token representation. That never gets you community-based knowledge that someone in the community does.”By learning the cultures of the people in the district, recruiting people from those communities, and speaking to communities in their language (including pronouncing their names correctly), the campaign has increased phone bank responses between twofold and fivefold. Kulkarni bested four challengers in the primary by increasing the vote among Asian Americans from six percent in 2014 (the last midterm election) to 28 percent in the 2018 primary. He does this by focusing on building direct relationships with voters through a dedicated and growing network of volunteers.Kulkarni himself is described as someone who “speaks six languages fluently,” “spent 14 years in the foreign service,” “can talk to anyone,” and inspires “many people to engage so deeply.” While some issues cut across groups, like healthcare and keeping children safe, others are constituent-specific, and Kulkarni understands that, emphasizing different aspects of his platform depending on the audience. Dayen writes,For Indian-Americans, he finds that everyone knows someone with an H1-B or H-4 work permit visa issue, so he highlights that. With Chinese-American groups, he discusses family reunification (what Trump calls “chain migration”). For [Latinx] groups, it’s family separation at the border.Kulkarni has outpaced Olson in the most recent fundraising quarter, raising $1 million “without taking corporate PAC money,” a growing trend among progressive candidates. (“Half of Olson’s cash comes from corporate PACs,” writes Dayen.) When endorsing him, the Houston Chronicle raved that Kulkarni “represents our politics at its best.”Campaign volunteer Renee Mathew says, “It’s the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen.” If Kulkarni wins, he will be the first Asian-American member of Congress from Texas. Some may say he’s already won. Dayen concludes,Even if Kulkarni doesn’t succeed, the campaign will leave an infrastructure in place for the future: from waves of new Democratic voters locally, to interns and organizers schooled in community engagement who can replicate it anywhere in America. When you activate communities, that switch rarely turns off.—Cyndi SuarezShare24TweetShareEmail24 Shares
Pavel Basov, the CEO of Russia’s leading pay TV operator Tricolor TV, is leaving the company.Basov joined Tricolor TV last April as commercial and strategy director, before being named as CEO in September, charged with developing a new strategic direction for the company. He was credited with leading the company’s recovery from the financial crisis, with 2.1 million new subscribers added in the course of 2011.Tricolor TV managing director Alexander Makarov will take over Basov’s role.
Amazon Studios, the nascent production arm of the online retail giant, is moving into kids and comedy following its launch 18 months ago. The company set up Amazon Studios in November 2010 to develop scripts and produce feature films and has 15 projects currently in development. It will now produce kids and comedy content for its online television service Amazon Instant Video.It will option one new project per month and the creator of each series, if commissioned, will receive US$55,000 (€42,000) and up to 5% of ancillary revenues.The company has hired former 20th Century Fox and Comedy Central executive Joe Lewis to develop comedy series and National Geographic Kids exec Tara Sorensen to develop kids programming.“Amazon Studios wants to discover great talent and produce programming that audiences will love,” said Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios. “In the course of developing movies, we’ve heard a lot of interest from content creators who want to develop original series in the comedy and children’s genres. We are excited to bring writers, animators and directors this new opportunity to develop original series.”
Technology provider Harmonic has partnered with Nagra to deliver a cloud-based OTT video service for broadcasters and pay TV service providers that is being jointly offered by Spanish infrastructure telecom operator Abertis Telecom and Nagra. The multiscreen hosting service is in use by Spanish broadcasters for HbbTV based services.Harmonic’s ProMedia suite and Nagra MediaLive Multiscreen solution provide the Abertis Telecom-Nagra cloud service with an integrated video infrastructure capable of delivering OTT applications, including live, VOD and time-shifting, to TVs, PCs, tablets, smartphones, set-top boxes and other IP-connected devices.Harmonic said the solution will be enhanced to become a commercial deployment of MPEG-DASH.“Nagra is committed to providing flexible solutions required to cost-effectively deploy multiscreen services that address future market needs. With this MPEG-DASH and HbbTV 1.5 deployment, Nagra and Harmonic continue to lead the industry in supporting innovative television services,” said Jean-Michel Puiatti, vice-president, multiscreen products for Nagra. “The multi-DRM support provided by Nagra MediaLive Multiscreen simplifies the encryption of video content to multiple devices and lowers capital and operating costs for service providers.”
Portuguese premier league football club Benfica is awarding all TV rights to its matches to the Benfica TV channel.Benfica’s president Luis Filipe Vieira made a pledge to move the broadcasting of all league matches to the club’s TV channel as part of his re-election campaign. Currently, all matches from the Portugal’s top league are aired on Olivedesportos’ Sport TV platform.“The proposals we got from operators for next season did not please us. So, TV rights will go to Benfica TV,” Vieira said.
News channel France 24 has signed an agreement with Yahoo! allowing the channel to share its content on the UK, Canadian, French and Arabic Yahoo!-Maktoob versions of the portal.These Yahoo! platforms now offer videos and articles from France 24’s three channels and websites in French, English and Arabic in their Yahoo News sections.Yahoo! is also aggregating articles from France 24 sister radio service RFI in French and English and Monte Carlo Doualiya in Arabic.
Digital TV delivered through the home aerial marks its 15-year birthday today, but new digital terrestrial developments are helping to “shape the platform,” according to UK broadcast regulator Ofcom. Digital terrestrial TV began broadcasting in the UK on 15 November 1998, and as of the end of 2012 there were 19.2 million homes – around 75% of TV households – that received this service.Though digital terrestrial TV started mainly as a subscription channel offering, the platform now offers around 70, mostly free, TV channels via Freeview – including a host of HD stations.“Terrestrial TV broadcasting became digital-only at the end of 2012 as the UK’s final analogue signals were switched off. But digital switchover is far from the end of digital terrestrial’s journey and new developments are helping to shape the platform for the future,” said Ofcom.Among the recent developments were the licensing of two new spectrum multiplexes on digital terrestrial TV earlier this year, with new HD channels will go live from late 2013 and 2014 – including Al Jazeera English HD and five HD BBC channels.Ofcom has also awarded 21 local TV licences and could license up to 26 further local stations across the UK.
Ukrainian cable operators have removed a number of Russian channels from their programming line-ups following a decision by the Kyiv District Administrative Court to suspend their licences.Leading cable operator Volia said it had removed Russian international channels NTV Mir, RTR Planeta and Perviy Kanal/Channel One from its line-up at midnight last night, following the decision.The country’s second largest cable network, Triolan, also said it had removed the channels.Volia said it was in talks with other channel providers, and that it would shortly add independent Russian news and information channel Dozhd TV to its Start and Optimal packages. The channel, struggling in its domestic Russian market after being suddenly dropped by the country’s largest service providers, was forced this week to resort to a Telethon to raise funds to try to ensure its survival.Volia said it also plans to add Ukrainian news channel Espreso TV and hunting and fishing channel Trophy to the two packages.
Internet media platform provider Blinkx has named Donald Hamilton as senior vice-president of Blinkx Media.Based in London, Hamilton will be charged with shaping blinkx’s growth and expansion strategy in the UK and Europe. He was previously managing partner and founder of Segmentation Consulting Ltd (Precidio).“We are delighted to have Donald bring his years of experience and deep knowledge of the European tech and online advertising markets to the Blinkx team,” said S Brian Mukherjee, CEO of Blinkx.“With an impressive career history boasting clear successes in scaling businesses and growing the scope of enterprise services, we expect Donald to make an immediate and significant contribution to the company across the board, from business strategy to thought leadership, as we grow and develop our business on a global level.”
Roughly half of Britons would support abolishing the BBC licence fee, even if it means introducing ads, according to a new ComRes poll commissioned by political communications specialists the Whitehouse Consultancy.According to the poll of 2,049 UK adults, 51% supported scrapping the licence fee and making the BBC pay for itself “even if that means adverts during programmes, reducing the number of original programmes they can produce or scrapping their public service broadcasting duty.” This compared to 34% who opposed, with the remaining 15% said they did not know.Despite this, there was a direct 40-40 split between those who support and oppose the current system of a compulsory licence fee for those who watch live TV – with 20% saying they don’t know.More people opposed than supported abolishing the licence fee and replacing it with increased taxes. Only 18% backed this idea, with 64% opposing and 18% unsure.Some 44% of respondents opposed abolishing the licence fee and introducing a subscription fee paid only by those who want to access the BBC, with 36% supporting this and 20% unsure.“There clearly isn’t solid support for the licence fee model and the public appears willing to consider alternatives means of funding the BBC, as long as abolishing the licence fee doesn’t mean higher taxes instead,” said Chris Whitehouse, chairman of the Whitehouse Consultancy.“While interesting that older respondents appear to be more supportive of the licence fee than younger Britons, these figures show the huge job of work still be done by the BBC if it is to have a strong hand in the future in renegotiating the licence fee and justifying why the public should continue to pay it.”