All Articles Tagged "government"
Selvena Brooks, a communications specialist for the Service Employees International Union, is running for a vacant seat in the New York City Council’s 31st District. The district covers the city’s Far Rockaway area, which was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. In fact, Brooks is submitting paperwork to run as a “Rebuild Now” candidate, representing a party that’s focused on the Sandy recovery effort.
The New York Observer‘s Politicker blog quotes a statement from Brooks: “I am asking for people’s support on the Rebuild Now line, because we need strong leadership in not only rebuilding from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, but also rebuilding our education system, local economy and neighborhoods.”
Brooks is one of a number of candidates running for the position, which became vacant when the previous official, James Sanders, left for the State Senate. A special election is set for February 19.
Parts of New York and the surrounding area are still coping with Sandy’s aftermath, months after the storm hit in October. It was only last week that Congress approved a government flood insurance program that would pay out $9.7 billion to 120,000 victims of the storm. The measure passed overwhelmingly in the House and unanimously in the Senate. One of those who voted against the measure, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the former Republican Vice Presidential candidate, who said the flood insurance program is “insolvent,” according to Bloomberg.
That vote followed a thorough blasting from fellow politicians, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
A vote for a larger relief package was cancelled on the 1st after fiscal cliff talks were finally resolved. The governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut had originally asked for tens of billions of dollars in aid.
There will be another vote on January 15, which would bring the aid total to $60 billion.
They’re calling it the “dairy cliff,” and if we go over it, there are threats of $8 milk.
Along with the much-discussed “fiscal cliff,” which could cause a spike in taxes, January 1 is also the deadline for Congress to deal with a farm bill. Failure to pass this latest legislation could cause prices on dairy products to leap.
According to The Washington Post, the bill also deals with things like foreign relief aid and production issues to do with other food items. But because milk is produced all year round, it’s the most pressing item on the list.
Food costs for consumers could jump because of the outdated pricing laws that would go into effect, some going as far back as 1949, well before modern methods for farm production and sales went into effect. “[I]f Congress does not pass the bill by March, when it’s time for farmers to start planting crops, the antiquated laws could begin to roil production for other products, from peanuts to corn, by applying quotas discarded years ago,” the paper writes.
NPR is betting that the price of milk won’t actually reach this eye-popping $8 price that’s being buzzed about, which would be more than double the national average. “Dramatically higher milk prices won’t help Congress’ reputation for political gridlock. Farmers wouldn’t like it either,” that outlet’s blog says, citing the fact that it would bring unwanted attention to farm policy issues. It would also ultimately reduce demand, as consumers shy away from costly foods in favor of less expensive options. (Issues of food policy go largely unnoticed in this country, but play a big role in determining the American diet. Bestsellers like this and this go into further detail.)
More than anything, it speaks to Congress’ inability to do its job in the harsh and partisan environment that has taken over Washington. Parts of this farm bill actually expired in October. This coupled with the fiscal cliff are two reasons why the legislative bodies’ approval rating hovers around 18 percent.
Lisa Jackson, the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator for the Obama administration, has announced her resignation, effective next month. Jackson is credited with getting new air pollution limits on the books, the most drastic in 20 years, in fact, according to The Washington Post.
During her four years, Jackson made no friends with Republicans and the coal industry, two groups that objected to her efforts to lower pollution from power plants, limit soot, spoke out against climate change and on behalf of lower income communities that are negatively affected by environmental degradation.
It’s unclear what she’ll do once she officially steps down, though there’s talk of her returning to New Jersey and becoming the president of Princeton University or possibly working as a consultant.
Equally unclear is the direction that the EPA will take when she’s no longer leading it. There are still energy issues, like those with coal, that the administration and Congress have to negotiate. While there had been momentum behind some of the big changes the EPA and Jackson supported, that momentum has slowed.
Two existing EPA officials — Bob Perciasepe and Gina McCarthy — are some of the possible replacements. Mr. Perciasepe will act as interim administrator.
A promoter who found himself in a bad situation is determined to hold Nas accountable for it, one way or another.
Concert promoter Patrick Alloco is suing Nas for $10 million dollars for what he believes in Nas’ role in a kidnapping and TMZ has, of course, obtained the documentation. Not sure if you heard about this but the concert promoter was kidnapped in Angola after Nas did not show up for a concert on New Year’s Eve in December 2011 after he was paid $300,000. Singer Jeremih was also part of the bill and didn’t show up but the assumption is that he was only paid $15,000 for his performance. The Angolan promoter that was involved, Henrique Miguel, was allegedly very upset because he put up a lot of money for Nas’ appearance and when he didn’t show up, he allegedly sent his “henchmen” out to capture Patrick until he got his money back.
Alloco and his son were held captive for 50 days – until February 2012 – when the U.S. Embassy finally stepped in and were able able to get them released (the Angolan authorities were aware of what was going on – they, in fact, held Alloco for over seven hours for questioning).
In the lawsuit filed in federal court on Friday, Alloco said he was threatened constantly and beaten during the time he was held hostage. He also states that as a result of him being away from the states for so long and being unable to do business, he has lost his company and his home.
That is a lot of money and we already know Nas has had IRS money problems, ex-wife money problems, etc. This case seems like it’ll be interesting (if Nas doesn’t settle out of court) because the only reason Alloco was kidnapped was because Nas didn’t show up for the show. Now, who knows if he’ll actually get $10 million but you have to wonder if a judge would see things in his favor in some part.
What do you think? Should Nas be held somewhat responsible?
Former South African president Nelson Mandela is still in the hospital as he recovers from surgery to remove gall stones, ABC News reports.
Mandela was flown to an unnamed hospital in the city of Pretoria on December 8th with no details as to why he was going. The government made an announcement that he was just going to to the hospital for medical testing, giving no indication as to why he needed to be flown to a hospital for said tests. However, they said Saturday that the doctors found gall stones that needed to be removed.
The doctors also said Mandiba, as Mandela is affectionately known, also has a lung infection that needs to be treated. However, they feel tat doing the surgery first would be better and safer.
The 94 year old Mandela has been hospitalized a couple of times over the last year – in January 2011 for a lung infection and earlier this year for abdominal pains – but this is the longest he’s ever been in the hospital.
Although he’s no longer president, there is no question that Mandela is still South Africa’s most revered person. To that end, the media always wants to be updated with full details about his health and whereabouts. These recent health issues have caused a serious rift between the government and the media because the government initially said that Mandela was at a military hospital but then said he was at an undisclosed private hospital. Further, they stated they will not release the name of the hospital in order to respect the privacy of the family.
The Office of the Presidency released a statement saying the surgery was successful and that Mandela is recovering.
The latest version of President Obama’s Race to the Top initiative allowed specific school districts to apply for nearly $400 million in grants, rather that just at the state level. Race to the Top-District awarded grants ranging from $10 million to $40 million to 16 applicants, which represent 55 districts in 11 states. According to the AP, three charter schools won grants and more than 300 applications were rejected. Districts could team up and apply together.
Winners were from all areas—suburban, urban, rural—and included Green River Regional Educational Cooperative in Kentucky, Carson City School District in Nevada, School Board of Miami-Dade County in Florida, and the Puget Sound Educational Service District in Washington.
“Districts have been hungry to drive reform at the local level, and now these winners can empower their school leaders to pursue innovative ideas where they have the greatest impact: in the classroom,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in a statement about the winners. “The Race to the Top-District grantees have shown tremendous leadership though developing plans that will transform the learning environment and enable students to receive a personalized, world-class education.”
The announcement of Race to the Top-District winners comes as two international studies found that US students still lag behind students from around the world, particularly those from Asian countries. Additionally, the NAACP also released a study highlighting how pre-K prep, effective teaching, “targeted spending,” and additional learning time will help improve education overall in the US.
Hopefully these grants will help, as the winnings schools have said they will use the funds to introduce technology for a more personalized learning experience, expand partnerships with community organizations, and create courses designed to go deeper with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), among other projects.
The White House, President Obama, and the First Family have joined Pinterest. Starting on December 17, the account will start pinning content related to life inside the White House, including the President’s Holiday Social planned for the 17th.
On The White House’s blog, Kori Schulman, director of online engagement for the Office of Digital Strategy, wrote about the new social plan: “On Pinterest, the White House will share pins and boards that range from inspiring images and quotes to infographics that help explain key issues to details about the life inside the White House. From the very beginning, President Obama and the First Lady have taken steps to make this the most open White House in history.”
The Obama Administration can pin content ranging from home décor, parties, and more personal life inside the White House to meetings and policy events that showcase the business side of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. There are already a lot of pins featuring White House content, including photos of the current President and First Lady, as well as historical images and past presidents’ photos.
President Obama has always used social media as a way to connect with his constituents and supporters. The White House already has Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr accounts, so adding Pinterest to the mix is a smart move. According to comScore, Pinterest had 26.7 million unique visitors in October 2012.
Conflicts in the New York State Senate are bringing to light issues of race and power, according to The New York Times. A five-person coalition called the Independent Democratic Conference, is made up of mostly-white Republicans and dissident Democrats and emerged on Tuesday of this week as a threat to lawmakers from diverse backgrounds.
Currently, the Senate Democratic caucus is led by John L. Sampson from Brooklyn, and has been led by black lawmakers for more than 10 years. Sampson said he is worried this new coalition will try to steal power and control.
“There’s nothing for minorities. Of course it concerns me,” Rubén Díaz Sr., a Bronx Democrat in the Senate, told the Times. “What are we doing? We minorities, we’re not getting anywhere.” The Rev. Al Sharpton is also throwing his hat in the ring, saying the coalition will leave “minorities in the cold.”
Meanwhile, Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, the leader of the new coalition, told the Times that this action will actually lead to collaboration and the group would work with minority representatives on legislation that they back. But there’s concern that that will actually happen. It does look like a minimum wage increase and loosened marijuana laws could be coming, however.
The past two years have been bumpy ones for the relationship between Congress and Internet regulation, with the introduction and shutting down of SOPA and PIPA, among other things. But Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) hopes to get Congress to “take a break from messing with the Internet” with a proposed new bill.
On November 26, Issa introduced a draft of the Internet American Moratorium Act (IAMA), which would “create a two-year moratorium on any new laws, rules or regulations governing the Internet.” And he turned to Reddit, the user-generated news site, on Wednesday to discuss the law and get feedback from Internet users.
“I’m not advocating for no rules or laws on the Internet ever. But it has been made abundantly clear to me, and to a lot of other people, that both legislators and regulators have gone down the road of trying to take actions that impact the Internet without knowing their full effect,” Issa said on Reddit. “This is the case today both domestically and internationally.”
Naturally, not everyone agrees with Issa and there was some backlash on Reddit regarding Issa’s past behavior on Internet regulation laws. According to Gigi Sohn, president of consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge, who spoke to The Hill, “Even if they pass this bill, Congress could pass another Internet regulation bill that would supersede the previous bill.”
Do you think Issa’s bill would have any real impact in Congress? Or is it good protection to keep the status quo of internet regulation in place for a couple more years?
Welcome to another “Behind The Click.” We continue with the longest running profile series of African-American women in tech with Lauren Wesley Wilson. I’m a fan of hers not only because we both share the same first name but because of her achievement in creating a trade association, ColorComm, that brings together women of color working within the communications field, many of them involved in digital areas. I had the opportunity to meet the founder and chief networking officer as an invited guest at a tea the organization had in Washington, DC and I wanted to be sure that I shared information about their work with Madame Noire readers. Here we go!
Current Occupation: Founder of ColorComm, Inc.
Favorite website: Forbes Woman
Favorite read: Got What It Takes?: Successful People Reveal How They Made It To The Top by Bill Boggs
Recent read: Little Bee by Chris Cleave
2012′s ultimate goal: To evaluate my place in this world
Quote Governing Your Mission: “Surround yourself with people who light up your life and make you laugh till it hurts.” If you don’t surround yourself with people who make you feel good, how can you become the best version of yourself? And you need the best version of yourself to accomplish your goals and make an impact in this world.
Twitter handle: @ColorCommntwk
Lauren deLisa Coleman: How did you decide on Spelman and what was it like attending college there?
Lauren Wesley Wilson: Spelman was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made; a choice that truly took me out of my comfort zone and provided an opportunity to interact with and learn from people who looked just like me, something I wasn’t used to. Growing up, my environment and upbringing included little diversity. I attended St. Louis private schools since kindergarten and had only one black friend. Spelman was what I needed to understand who I am and to know that there is an intellectual black community that exists in droves. I entered Spelman as an only child and graduated with plenty of sisters.
LdC: How did you decide on your major? What role did it play in your later position with public relations powerhouse Hill & Knowlton?
LWW: I majored in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations. It was very fitting to have a well-rounded education with global experiences to work at a global company. Some of my clients included Qualcomm, SunEdison, and Wipro.
LdC: How did you transition from that to your work as communications director for a member of Congress?
LWW: I knew there was an opening for a communications director for a Texas Democratic Congresswoman, because the previous communications director came to work at Hill & Knowlton. When I was ready to move on from [the firm], I reached out to a colleague and friend in that office and became the new communications director.
LdC: You then went on to apply your skills to the Obama campaign. Tell us more about your work for Obama at the Florida campaign headquarters?
LWW: For the short time that I was in Florida, I learned so much about media booking and media relations. It was a great learning environment for me, because I’m used to being in control and feeling as if I know everything. Working in Florida proved that this wasn’t the case.
LdC: What led you to start ColorComm?
LWW: This answer is very long and I welcome any coffee meetings with folks who want to hear the true and uncensored story. The short version is this: I wanted to see more examples of women of color in leadership positions in my field. The PR industry is not dominated by women of color. Frankly it’s just the opposite. It is important for us to come together at the mid to executive level to share our brainpower and resources to better ourselves professionally and personally.
ColorComm started off as an invite-only luncheon series in May 2011 and transitioned into a membership organization in July 2012 with a chapter in Washington, DC and a presence in New York and Chicago.
LdC: What is the mission for the organization? What is the biggest challenge you have in running ColorComm?
LWW: [As it says on the website], “The ColorComm mission is to personally connect women with other like-minded individuals to build a strong network of leaders by creating mentors/mentees, business relationships and friendships. ColorComm offers a unique opportunity for women to share experiences and learn from one another to enhance their personal and professional development.”
The biggest challenge is balancing it all with our full-time jobs and extracurricular activities. ColorComm has such a great leadership team that we are able to make this work, despite all our crazy schedules. We carefully plan each program several months out, because the most important thing is to continue maintaining the quality of our organization and to service the needs of our members.
LdC: Describe the membership base for me.
LWW: Our membership base is pretty diverse in age and background. We have members that are [ages] 25 to 60-plus and that are in all industries of communications (PR, media relations, advertising communications, small business owners, digital communications, etc). It’s an environment where we can all come to the table and learn from one another.
I would say that if you’re involved in ColorComm, most likely you use digital strategies on a daily basis to service your clients. You also use digital platforms to connect with members outside of the programs. It’s great to see members connecting online and supporting each other’s events and activities.
LdC: Why is it important to have organizations like this for women of color, particularly in the digital age?
LWW: Women bring a unique energy to networking and to the conversation. Because there are few of us at large PR companies and in the industry as a whole (in comparison to the majority), it’s truly important for us to know one another and to collaborate with each other.
A woman of color in this field will experience a different set of challenges because of who we are and our perspective. ColorComm provides an opportunity for us to come together and learn how to navigate our way through this industry. The programs and events are unique experiences that challenge our thinking and allow us to form meaningful relationships with like-minded people.
LdC: What advice might you have for women who are particularly interested in the convergence of tech and politics?
LWW: Read, read, read, read some more. Follow the people who you strive to emulate and join organizations. As a woman of color working in policy, my challenges were met by having a strong outside network. This is something that anyone can create. Just remember that connecting initially should be genuine and less transactional.
LdC: What are your plans for ColorComm for 2013?
LWW: To continue building the ColorComm network and to focus on expansion in other key major cities.
So, there you have it! Be sure and watch for the next profile. In the meantime, please follow me about all things digi-social via my new Twitter handle @ultraLdC.