Columbia Springs will conduct annual plant monitoring Saturday, and the Vancouver-based environmental education center invites volunteers to help.Participants will survey the 100-acre property to gather information about invasive plants among them English ivy, English holly and Himalayan blackberry. The effort will help update property maps. The survey also helps measure the site’s restoration efforts, according to Columbia Springs.Training will be provided.All ages are welcome to participate. Volunteers younger than 14 must have parental supervision, and those younger than 16 must have parental permission. All volunteers will be paired with a volunteer leader.Participants should bring sturdy shoes, weather-appropriate clothing and drinking water.The event is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Columbia Springs, 12208 S.E. Evergreen Highway. Register by email at email@example.com or call Mariah Acton at 360-882-0936, ext. 230.
Sarah A. Pantin has been located. Thank you all. https://t.co/oi74JJeifH— Miami PD (@MiamiPD) July 22, 2019 MIAMI (WSVN) – City of Miami Police have located an elderly woman who went missing from her home.According to investigators, 73-year-old Sarah Agripina Pantin was last seen in the area of Southwest 29th Avenue and Ninth Street, at around 10 a.m., Sunday. On Monday morning, police confirmed Pantin was found safe and was reunited with her family. Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
The dock was damaged during the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that jolted Kenai on January 24, 2016. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The transfer of funds from two completed City of Kenai projects to the repair of the city’s dock was approved unanimously by council members, Wednesday night. Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander told the City Council how those leftover funds would combine with others to achieve the estimated $259,000 for the repairs to the dock. The Animal Control kennel recoating and Public Safety Building boiler replacement projects have been completed but left $106,422 unused. Ostrander: “That $106,000 is portion of the project that is going to paid for by general fund monies of the city. The $153,000 that is labeled restitution, is the estimated amount that would be paid through insurance proceeds, so those two combined is the $259,000 which is the total cost of the project which includes the damage due to the earthquake and in addition to that the cathodic protection.”
Former Indian cricketer and currently a member of Parliament, Gautam Gambhir has spoken about the decision of Mahendra Singh Dhoni of joining the Indian army. The left-hander, who represents East Delhi, in Parliament, has hailed this move and said that this will inspire and motivate the youth of the country to join the Armed forces.Gambhir termed Dhoni’s army stint as a ‘fantastic’ move and said it proves how much he is dedicated to serving the nation.”Dhoni’s decision to join the army is a fantastic move. I have said many a times that Dhoni needs to do spend time with the Indian Army if he really wishes to wear the uniform and now by deciding to really serve the army he has proved his dedication,” Gambhir told ABP News.”This move from Dhoni will motivate thousands of youngsters to join the Indian Army,” Gambhir further added.Dhoni not travelling with the Indian team to West Indies MS DhoniRobert Cianflone/Getty ImagesFormer Indian captain MS Dhoni made himself unavailable for the upcoming tour of West Indies as he volunteered to serve the Indian army in Kashmir and will also undertake the duties of patrolling, guard and post duty for about 15 days, the Indian Army said in a statement on Thursday.He will formally join his duty in Kashmir on July 31. The former India captain will stay with the army till August 15, the army informed in a statement.”Lieutenant Colonel (Honorary) MS Dhoni is proceeding to 106 Territorial Army Battalion (Para) for being with the Battalion from 31 Jul-15 Aug 2019,” the statement said.The statement further said that India’s World Cup-winning captain will be serving in the Kashmir valley as part of Victor Force. “The unit is in Kashmir as part of Victor Force. He’ll be taking duties of patrolling, guard & post duty and will be staying with troops.” MS DhoniMike Owen/Getty Images”As requested by the officer and approved by Army Headquarters; he will be taking on the duties of patrolling, guard and post duty and would be staying with troops,” the statement said.Ever since India’s campaign ended in the World Cup, there have been debates and rumours over the future of MS Dhoni and whether or not he will call it quits from the game. Although the chief selectors did inform that they spoke with Dhoni, the fact that he will quit international cricket is not clear.He will not be part of India’s squads for the tour of West Indies where the selectors have identified young Rishabh Pant as the primary wicket-keeper across all the three formats.
North Korea’s top diplomat said Monday that a weekend tweet by US president Donald Trump was a ‘declaration of war’ and North Korea has the right to retaliate by shooting down US bombers, even in international airspace.It was the latest escalation in a week of undiplomatic exchanges between North Korea and the US during the UN General Assembly’s annual ministerial meeting.Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters that the United Nations and the international community have said in recent days that they didn’t want ‘the war of words’ to turn into ‘real action.’But he said that by tweeting that North Korea’s leadership led by Kim Jong Un ‘won’t be around much longer,’ Trump ‘declared the war on our country.’Under the UN Charter, Ri said, North Korea has the right to self-defense and “every right” to take countermeasures, “including the right to shoot down the United States strategic bombers even when they’re not yet inside the airspace border of our country.”Hours later, the White House pushed back on Ri’s claim, saying: “We have not declared war on North Korea.” The Trump administration, referring to the tweet, stressed that the US is not seeking to overthrow North Korea’s government.US Cabinet officials, particularly Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, have insisted that the US-led campaign of diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea is focused on eliminating the pariah state’s nuclear weapons program, not its totalitarian government.But the more Trump muddies the picture, the tougher it may become to maintain cooperation with China and Russia, which seek a diplomatic solution to the nuclear crisis and not a new US ally suddenly popping up on their borders. It also risks snuffing out hopes of persuading Kim’s government to enter negotiations when its survival isn’t assured.Trump tweeted Saturday: “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at UN If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!” Trump also used the derisive “Rocket Man” reference to Kim in his speech to the UN General Assembly on 19 September , but this time he added the word ‘little.’This was not the first time North Korea has spoken about a declaration of war between the two countries. In July 2016, Pyongyang said US sanctions imposed on Kim were “a declaration of war” against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – the country’s official name – and it made a similar statement after a new round of UN sanctions in December. The North Korean leader used the words again Friday.The foreign minister’s brief statement to a throng of reporters outside his hotel before heading off in a motorcade, reportedly to return home, built on the escalating rhetoric between Kim and Trump.“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump told world leaders 19 September. “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”Kim responded with the first-ever direct statement from a North Korean leader against a US president, lobbing a string of insults at Trump.“I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire,” he said, choosing the rarely used word “dotard,” which means an old person who is weak-minded.“Now that Trump has denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world and made the most ferocious declaration of a war in history that he would destroy the DPRK, we will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding, highest level of hardline countermeasure in history,” Kim said.On Monday, Ri escalated the threat by saying Trump’s weekend claim that North Korea’s leaders would soon be gone “is clearly a declaration of war.”All UN members and the world “should clearly remember that it was the US who first declared war on our country,” the foreign minister said, adding that North Korea now has the right to take counter-measures and retaliate against US bombers.Ri ended his brief remarks by saying: “The question of who won’t be around much longer will be answered then.”Military maneuvers by the US and its allies are adding to tensions along the two Koreas’ heavily militarized border. In a show of might, US bombers and fighter escorts flew Saturday to the farthest point north of the border between North and South Korea by any such American aircraft this century.A Pentagon spokesman, Army Col Rob Manning, said Monday that the operation was conducted in international airspace and legally permissible.The US has a “deep arsenal of military options to provide the president so that he can then decide how he wants to deal with North Korea,” Manning told reporters. “We are prepared to defend ourselves and our allies from an attack and are prepared to use the full range of capabilities at our disposal against the threat from North Korea,”South Korean foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha called for careful management of the tensions to prevent a conflict that would devastate the region.“It’s very likely that North Korea will conduct further provocations,” Kang said. “Under these circumstances it is imperative that we – Korea and the United States – manage the situation with astuteness and steadfastness in order to prevent further escalation of tensions or any kind of accidental military clashes in the region which can quickly spiral out of control.”“There cannot be another war in the region,” Kang said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “The consequences would be devastating not just for the Korean Peninsula but for Northeast Asia and indeed the whole international community.”Kang said North Korea’s nuclear program seems to be at a “tipping point,” approaching the goal of having a nuclear-armed missile that could reach the continental United States.She voiced South Korean support for the US-led strategy of “maximum pressure” on North Korea as a tool to get Pyongyang to negotiate on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula – not at toppling the North Korean government.“There is still room for diplomacy,” Kang said, but “time is running out.”North Korea has repeatedly said it needs a nuclear deterrent because the US intends to invade it.Ri told the General Assembly on Saturday that North Korea’s recent “ICBM-mountable H-bomb test” was a key step to completing its nuclear force. He called it “a war deterrent for putting an end to nuclear threat of the US and for preventing its military invasion.”“Our ultimate goal is to establish the balance of power with the US,” he minister said.
This combination of pictures created on 26 February 2019 shows Michael Cohen (L), former personal lawyer for US president Donald Trump, leaving federal court on 21 August 2018, in New York and US president Donald Trump (R) arriving to deliver remarks in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC on 15 February 2019. Photo: AFPDonald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen will tell Congress Wednesday that the president is a “racist” and “conman” and knew in advance that WikiLeaks would publish dirt on Hillary Clinton, US media reported.In explosive public testimony to Congress, Cohen will also state that Trump essentially instructed him to lie about a real estate project Trump had in the works in Russia while running for president in 2016, according to a prepared statement by Cohen that was provided to the New York Times and other US news outlets.Cohen will testify Wednesday before the House of Representatives Oversight Committee on the second of three scheduled days of testimony on Capitol Hill. Tuesday’s first session at the senate was behind closed doors.Cohen, 52, worked closely with Trump for more than 12 years becoming vice president of the Trump Organization, where he was the billionaire property magnate’s behind-the-scenes “fixer.”Last year, Cohen pleaded guilty to illegally using campaign funds for hush payments to two women who said they had affairs with Trump.He also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in testimony in 2017 when he sought to cover up Trump’s pursuit of a lucrative Moscow real estate project during the previous year’s presidential election.In the testimony Wednesday, Cohen will tell Congress again that he kept working on a Trump Tower project in Moscow well into the 2016 presidential campaign and did not stop in January of that year as he had originally told lawmakers. Trump has insisted he had no contacts with Russia during the campaign.”In conversations we had during the campaign, at the same time I was actively negotiating in Russia for him, he would look me in the eye and tell me there’s no business in Russia and then go out and lie to the American people by saying the same thing,” Cohen plans to say.”In his way, he was telling me to lie.”Cohen will state that he is ashamed of what he calls his misplaced loyalty in working with Trump.”I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump’s illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience. I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist. He is a conman. He is a cheat,” Cohen will say, according to the statement.He will also state that Trump had advanced knowledge through longtime adviser Roger Stone that WikiLeaks planned to publish hacked emails from the Clinton campaign.Cohen will testify that Trump, when he learned this from Stone, said “Wouldn’t that be great?”But Cohen will state that he does not have direct evidence that Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia to defeat Clinton.
Share Gail Delaughter | Houston Public MediaResidents of the senior living facility located at 2100 Memorial Drive that the Houston Housing Authority (HHA) has been trying to vacate after hurricane Harvey can stay at the apartment complex, according to a temporary injunction filed by Judge Daryl Moore. Residents of the senior living facility located at 2100 Memorial Drive that the Houston Housing Authority (HHA) has been trying to vacate after hurricane Harvey can stay at the apartment complex, according to a temporary injunction filed by Judge Daryl Moore.Moore, who heads Harris County’s 333rd Civil Court and signed the document last Friday, says in the injunction the HHA shall be restrained from “terminating” the residents’ leases or treating the residents’ leases as terminated until it can prove that the apartment complex has “as a practical matter become totally unusable for residential purposes.”Judge Moore’s injunction adds the HHA can’t terminate residents’ leases, or treat their leases as terminated, until it can prove that “good cause” exists to terminate the leases.The judge is also ordering the HHA to perform the post-Harvey repairs the apartment complex needs –-which include restoring the fire pump, as well as the sprinkler and the alarm systems— within 45 days of the injunction, which is dated on October 27th.Video Playerhttps://cdn.hpm.io/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/30163309/HPM-Red-2017-10-30-at-4.24pm1.mp400:0000:0000:06Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.The HHA said in a statement distributed by email that as Houston rebuilds and recovers from Harvey, its “top priority” remains “to ensure the safety and well being of our residents.”“The Houston Housing Authority remains steadfast to its mission of providing safe, affordable and quality housing to low-income, elderly and disabled residents across the city,” the HHA’s statement added.The case is set for trial on March 26th 2018.
As the researchers note, jumping is a very efficient way to avoid predators in the animal world or to get around obstacles—it consumes far less energy than maneuvering around an obstacle or taking flight. Other jumping robots have been built but on a much larger scale. The TailBot weighs just 28 grams and is a minuscule 6.5 centimeters tall. A smaller robot allows for jumping higher relative to its body size, and for surviving the impact once it returns back to Earth. The TailBot is able leap up into the air as high as 10 times its own body size. By modifying its orientation mid leap, it can prevent being damaged when it falls back down, as well as making sure it lands right side up, ensuring that it can move around again.All in all, the way the robot moves is both unique and interesting. It can roll around via wheels on flat surfaces in a lying down position (looking sort of like someone pedaling a recumbent bicycle). When it “wants” to hop, it pushes itself up into a standing position. Once upright, it crouches then releases, launching itself into the air. While it’s airborne, it moves its tail to change its center of gravity, allowing it to land in its lying down position. Also, once upright, if the robot wants to lie down (to roll around again) it uses its tail to do so in a reasonably graceful manner. Citation: Tiny robot able to reorient itself during jumps using actuated tail (w/ Video) (2013, August 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-08-tiny-robot-reorient-actuated-tail.html DALER project shows a walking flying robot (w/ Video) Explore further More information: www.egr.msu.edu/~zhaojia1/doku.php?id=tailbotControlling Aerial Maneuvering of a Miniature Jumping Robot Using Its Tail: www.egr.msu.edu/~zhaojia1/lib/ … tailbot_iros2013.pdf (Phys.org) —A team of researchers at Michigan State University has built a tiny robot (called the TailBot) that is capable of moving itself around on wheels, jumping and also manipulating its body while in mid-air (using its using actuated tail) to assist in a safe and controlled landing. The researchers note that others have built robots with similar abilities but to date, it is their belief that this is the first instance where all three abilities have been implemented in one robot. © 2013 Phys.org Possible uses for such a robot might include search and rescue (because it can get around objects in its path), exploration of unknown terrain (such as on another planet) or perhaps simply as a new kind of toy. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Other than being a politician, Kapil Sibal, is also a passionate writer and a poet. He has recently written the lyrics for a song ‘Tere Bina’, for an upcoming film Shorgul, voiced by Arijit Singh. When Millennium Post approached him to gather knowledge of his experience in debuting into Bollywood, a happy Kapil Sibal opened up his mind and spoke about his journey.Please enlighten us on the storyline of Shorgul and your song in it. Shorgul is a political drama that brings out real life relatable issues with a contemporary twist. The script is gripping and it throws light on various subjects of today. It highlights the misuse of religion and brushes upon various stereotypical ideologies that are detrimental to our society and nation. Overall, it has a strong message and anyone who sees this film is definitely going to get up and think and question and take a stand. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’With such a wonderous Political Drama I immediately connected with the subject and decided to write lyrics for it. I’m sure is going to create a lot of conversation upon releasing.‘Tere Bina’- These two words say it all. It’ s a magical romantic song, that envelopes a mix bag of feelings – love, separation,belongingness, hope, craving for the loved one. Once I met Niladri Kumar and we go to work on the track, from inception to the final product, it took at least a month or more. I really wanted the lyrics to do justice to the emotion of the character, and only add to the wonderful melody composed by Niladri. When I heard his instrumental ‘Tere Bina’ it stirred such emotion that with words I only wanted it to fair better. I was constantly in touch with Samira(CEO 24FPS and Creative Head) and together she kept pushing my potential, till we thought that we found the best fit. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixWhat led you to venture into Bollywood as a film lyricist?I have always been writing poetry, and my works have been published in two books. However, cinema remains the widest platform of expression and reach. I had the opportunity to decide to write lyrics for Bollywood, when I was in conversation with various people from the industry. It’s been an interesting journey. Although ‘Tere Bina’ from Shorgul is always going to be a memorable experience for me.What are your favourite genres of films?I enjoy watching any film that has a gripping story line, fine acting and is along the line of strong human emotion. I enjoy some of the old Hindi movies quite a lot.Which was the last movie that you enjoyed watching a lot?It’s been a while since I saw a film. After Shorgul’s release on June 24, is when you should ask me this question. (smiles)Who are you favourite movie directors in India?India has a talented lot of filmmakers and I enjoy their work. Rakesh Om Prakash Mehra, Imtiaz Ali, Anurag Kashyap, Raju Hirani they’re all great and make super films.Please tell us about your inspiration behind writingWriting has always been my passion. I find it the strongest medium to express what I feel and experience in a simple manner. When I have a fleeting thought or a memory, writing becomes a mechanism for me to encapsulate it and allow it to be shared with anybody who can connect with it.
Share Tags: VoX International Travelweek Group Posted by Friday, January 12, 2018 TORONTO — Travel and tourism marketing company VoX International Inc. says it is re-establishing itself as the voice of experience in the North American travel market with an international rebranding initiative that includes a redesigned logo, brand identity and new website.“In celebrating our 16th year bringing some of the top travel destinations and tourism brands in the world to Canadians, this was the right time to unveil a completely new look for our clients, partners and team,” says VoX Intnernational President, Susan Webb. “It’s an exciting, more relevant brand for a company that’s growing and changing the way Canadians think about travel.”The updated logo, website, and brand evolution “is a direct result of better representing the company’s partners, clients, and exceptional corporate culture,” she adds.“We’re introducing the world to the next evolution of VoX International,” Webb said. “We have always been an industry thought-leader, and we want our entire identity to reflect that.”More news: Help Princess Cruises break the world record for largest vow renewal at seaVoX International Inc. will immediately begin rolling out the new branding across its social media platforms, products and tools, and in launching the new website at voxinternational.com.“With this evolution of our website and logo, we’re really staying true to our brand philosophy – re-establishing ourselves as the voice of experience in the North American travel market.” << Previous PostNext Post >> New website, new logo and complete rebrand for VoX International
U.S.: Kroger, Ocado break ground on second high-te … You might also be interested in U.K.-based Ocado Group and U.S. retail chain Kroger have signed service and operational terms for the partnership they announced in May to build e-commerce infrastructure in the North American country.They have agreed to terms including how Kroger will order customer fulfillment centers (CFCs) and the basis on which the Ocado will now develop and operate them. Ocado is listed on the London Stock Exchange and comprises one of the world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailers. It has developed highly automated warehouses that include a robot grid to put together customer orders.Under the terms of the agreement, Kroger is expected to order 20 CFCs over the first three years of the agreement, with the first three orders to be made by the end of 2018.As with other recent deals, Ocado has agreed to install and maintain modules of ‘mechanical handling equipment’ sufficient to provide an agreed level of throughput. The target is for Kroger’s CFCs to go live within approximately two years of each order being placed.”We are delighted to have signed this services agreement with Kroger which sets out the key parameters for our working relationship going forward,” said Luke Jensen, CEO of Ocado Solutions.”The Kroger and Ocado teams have been working hard for some time to prepare for the opening of the first CFCs in the United States. We are very excited at the prospect of helping Kroger bring new services and value to its customers and transform the food retail market in the US.”Alex Tosolini, Kroger’s senior vice president of business development, said: “This is a significant step toward both solidifying our partnership with Ocado and redefining the Kroger customer experience. “The alliance will bring to the U.S. Ocado’s unparalleled innovation and technologies. This is exciting news and will help accelerate our vision to serve America through food inspiration and uplift.” U.S.: Kroger subsidiary ditches single-use plastic … October 31 , 2018 U.K.: M&S and Ocado’s £750M JV to “transform …
A fine of €500 for breaching personal data laws was imposed on a jeweller’s shop for installing cameras which were able to record the movement of staff and visitors at a neighbouring café in Nicosia, it emerged on Monday.In a ruling, the administrative court supported the view of the personal data protection commissioner that installing the video surveillance system outside the jeweller’s breached the law.According to the complaint, filed in 2016, the CCTV cameras were installed in such a way that they could record every move by the café owners, staff and customers without their consent.In addition to the fine, the court also ordered that the cameras be removed and placed inside the jewellery shop.You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoYahoo SearchYou’ve Never Seen Luxury Like This On A Cruise Ship. Search Luxury Mediterranean CruisesYahoo SearchUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
13Mar Rep. Lucido to host town hall meeting Categories: Lucido News State Rep. Peter Lucido will host a town hall meeting on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, to discuss topics related to Utica Community Schools.“I am honored to work with my colleagues as we address the vital issues facing our local schools,” Rep. Lucido said. “We want to hear your thoughts and questions, so I hope you are able to join us for this important conversation.”The town hall takes place at The Palazzo Grande at 54660 Van Dyke Ave. in Shelby Township. The event begins at 7 p.m. with doors opening at 6 p.m.Utica Community Schools administrators, teachers, union representatives, and area state legislators have been invited to speak.For more information, contact Rep. Lucido’s office by calling (888) MICH-REP or by email at PeterLucido@house.mi.gov.
Categories: Schroeder News State Rep. Andrea Schroeder of Independence Township invites residents to her in-district coffee hour on Monday, March 18 from 3 to 4 p.m. at The Coffee Bucket, 3549 Airport Road in Waterford Township.“Talking to everyone in our community and listening to what matters most to them is one of the most important parts of my job,” Rep. Schroeder said. “I am determined to remain accessible and accountable to you, and this is a great way to do just that. I hope you will join me.”No appointment is necessary. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. Schroeder at (517) 373-0615 or via email at AndreaSchroeder@house.mi.gov. 21Feb Rep. Schroeder invites residents to meet with her on March 18
01Mar Rep. Mueller participates in Legislative Polar Plunge Categories: Mueller News,Mueller Photos PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Mike Mueller of Linden led efforts in raising $25,000 for children and adults with mental health challenges at the Capitol on Thursday, participating in the eighth annual Legislative Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Michigan with his legislative director Scott Kempa. In tradition of the event, participants are encouraged to be creative and wear a costume that best fits them. Rep. Mueller chose the uniform he wore as a SWAT team member of the Washtenaw County Sheriff Department.
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesLawrence Lessig / Joi ItoSeptember 3, 2015; Washington PostTo make a point about campaign finance corruption involving 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations, PACs, and Super PACs, Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig started what appeared to be a quixotic campaign for the Democratic nomination for president. His idea was that he would run simply to overturn the nation’s horrendous system of campaign finance and then turn over the White House to his vice-presidential running mate, who would be addressing the rest of the traditional presidential plate. Key to his potential campaign was raising $1 million—not from PACs or other dark money groups, but from regular people, through Kickstarter.Lessig’s campaign may be no less quixotic today than it was a month ago, but it is gaining steam. He has raised, he says, $750,000 so far toward his September 8th deadline and has been pushing campaign finance reform onto the agendas of some of the other presidential candidates. Lessig complains that as a priority, campaign finance reform is 15th on Martin O’Malley’s list of 15 top issues for his first term, but Bernie Sanders has boosted the issue from eighth to second on his list. Nonetheless, it must be hard for some potential voters to wrap their heads around the idea of a president who would take office for the purpose of passing one item—the Citizens Equality Act (yet to be written)—and then resign.At AlterNet (and rerun at Salon), Steven Rosenfeld has penned a devastating critique of Lessig’s single-issue campaign and the friendly signals Lessig has sent to none other than Donald Trump. Rosenfeld notes that Lessig has spoken positively about Trump’s commentary that big donors have essentially purchased the loyalty of Trump’s Republican primary opponents and even suggested that if the Donald were to make a third-party campaign focused on campaign finance with a promise to resign after achieving needed reforms, he might be willing to sign on as his running mate.Rosenfeld’s critique of Lessig’s proposed dalliance with Trump pulls no punches on either candidate:Let’s imagine that Lessig somehow links up with Trump. Are people who want to see a fundamental restructuring of interplay between private money and political candidates suppose to ignore Trump’s racism, sexism, elitism, and war-mongering, just because Trump has been bombastically telling Americans that he’s invested and gotten results from politicians, and “that’s a broken system?”This is the danger of single-issue politics: seeing the light and being blinded by it. The problem is not that Lessig’s analysis of the problem is wrong. His remedies, including a national system of publically financed elections, are also correct—that, too, has been proven over the years in states and cities to be a generally better approach than the endless dialing-for-campaign-dollars status quo.The problem is the most public leader of the democracy reform movement in 2015 is not showing political skill or judgment by jumping on the coattails of the ever-unpredictable Trump. It looks like a desperate measure in a desperate time, and cheapens the issue—and his compelling analysis—by flirting with today’s biggest political bomb-thrower.As Lessig’s campaign evolves, it looks like he is discovering the difficulty of a single-issue candidacy laser-focusing on a single issue. David Weigel’s article in the Washington Post noted that Lessig visited Ferguson, Missouri earlier this week and commented on the people being harmed by “taxation by citation,” though he found a way of returning that to his campaign theme of the corrupting influence of campaign finance. In fact, as Mark Schmitt pointed out in Vox, Lessig has been careful not to focus the Citizens Equality Act exclusively on campaign finance reform as a silver bullet, but to include other topics such as voting rights, perhaps ranked-choice voting, weakened legislative gerrymandering, and incentives for small-donor participation in campaign contributions. Moreover, knowing how inordinately long it can take to pass a constitutional amendment, Lessig and the chairperson of his campaign finance reform PAC, Zephyr Teachout, talk about campaign finance reform legislation that would pass constitutional muster and criticize candidates such as Hillary Clinton who call for campaign finance reform but link it to the need to amend the constitution to undo the Citizens United decision.Writing for the Brookings Institution, elections expert Thomas E. Mann is no less scathing in his comments about Lessig than Rosenfeld:The hubris of the Harvard Professor is breathtaking. In virtually every respect, his strategy is absurd. Lessig’s political reform agenda is stymied by Republicans, not Democrats. Why not direct his energies where the opposition resides? All of the current Democratic presidential candidates support the thrust of these reforms. But saying that this is their highest priority is likely to harm, not boost, their candidacies. Why would even the most ardent supporter of the three pillars of Lessig’s reform agenda cast a ballot solely on this basis? Big and important issues divide the two parties today and the stakes of public action or inaction are huge. We don’t have the luxury of using the election to try to build a mandate for a set of political reforms that would have no chance of passing in the face of GOP opposition and would be of only incremental utility if they did.Campaign finance does play a corrosive role in our democracy and I have invested much of my career grappling with it. There is no doubt that money in elections facilitates the transfer of economic inequality into political inequality, and the spectacle of several hundred plutocrats dominating the finance of our elections should be a target of serious reform efforts in the courts and the Congress. At the same time it is foolish to imagine that campaign finance is the only route for private wealth to influence public policy or that its reform will dramatically transform the policy process. Money did not prevent the major legislative enactments of 2009-2010—including the stimulus, student loans, the Affordable Care Act, and financial services reform. Nor is it likely to be the critical factor on climate change, immigration, infrastructure or jobs and wages; which party wins the White House and whether control with Congress is unified or divided is key. If anything, the Lessig campaign is likely to weaken the forces for political reform by demonstrating just how small the relative priority for this action is.Mann concludes with a devastating critique of the Republican Trump and the ostensible Democrat Lessig: “Both Lessig and Trump, despite their differences in visibility and importance in the election, will have contributed to the dumbing down of American politics, a reality that will bring tears to the eyes of civics teachers and political science professors across the country.” Given the nonprofit sector’s excitement about Lessig, the commentaries of Rosenfeld and Mann raise important questions about quixotic presidential quests.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share9TweetShareEmail9 SharesSeptember 22, 2015; Los Angeles TimesThe controversy over two Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) nonprofit trusts continues, as the Los Angeles Times reports that they will keep more than $11 million in a reserve fund, despite a city auditor’s recommendation that they spend their cash on hand before receiving any more ratepayer money.The nonprofits, jointly run by DWP management and the city-owned utility’s largest union, have been at the center of a two-year controversy over how they have spent over $40 million in public ratepayer funds over the last dozen years. They receive about $4 million a year, but have yet to demonstrate what they do with the money to the satisfaction of city officials.“I believe rainy day funds are important, but this is more like a hurricane fund,” said City Controller Ron Galperin. “I don’t see what the point is of these trusts hoarding this money.”The Times reports that the controller’s auditors found earlier this year “that the nonprofits had paid millions to outside contractors without competitive bids, overpaid top administrators and allowed employees to charge hundreds of thousands of dollars to ratepayer-financed credit cards for travel, meals and auto expenses without filing reports to justify them.”A separate audit by L.A.’s chief administrative officer found that the nonprofits failed to provide any “real information on the outcomes and effectiveness” of their programs. During that time, they left a large amount of cash unspent, which the controller said should be first be spent before the city gives them more money.The nonprofits became controversial when a Times report in 2013 said that city leaders knew next to nothing about how their money was spent. Mayor Eric Garcetti vowed to bring transparency to the groups, which ignited a battle with the union’s politically influential leadership. In the mayor’s race earlier that year, the union strongly backed Garcetti’s unsuccessful opponent.The union claims the money is no longer public once it is paid to the nonprofits, meaning that city officials have no right to audit the books. That dispute is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit, although a deal between the union and city leaders allowed the city to audit four years of records earlier this year; it was the first time there was a public review of the nonprofits’ spending since they were created in the early 2000’s.Earlier this week, the DWP’s General Manager, who is also on the boards of the nonprofits, rejected the idea of spending down the balances before further contributions were made by the city. She said the annual payments are required by the city’s contract with the labor union and therefore must be made on schedule.The nonprofits decided to hold onto the surpluses as “rainy day” funds to cover safety and training programs in case DWP contributions might not be sufficient.—Larry KaplanShare9TweetShareEmail9 Shares
Share8TweetShare1Email9 Shares“Rally for Refugees at National Airport (2/1/17) – Smartphone shots” from Geoff LivingstonFebruary 5, 2017; CNN PoliticsThe Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the order of a federal judge in the state of Washington imposing a nationwide stay on President Trump’s temporary travel ban. As CNN notes, “The order bars citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries—Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen—from entering the U.S. for 90 days, all refugees for 120 days, and indefinitely halts refugees from Syria.” The president’s executive order was signed on January 27.The federal appeals court ruling applied solely to the Justice Department’s request on Saturday for an immediate stay of the district court injunction imposed on Friday. The appeals court has asked attorneys representing both the federal government and the government of Washington state to return on Monday prepared to argue the merits of the case. Meanwhile, a seven-day stay issued by a federal judge in Boston is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, and it’s unclear whether the First Circuit (which includes Massachusetts) will rule exactly the same way as the Ninth Circuit (which includes Washington state). In addition, a different federal judge in Boston ruled in favor of the Trump administration, citing the president’s broad Constitutional powers over immigration. Though two federal courts have ruled differently and two dozen lawsuits and petitions have been filed across the country, the government is abiding by the injunction decision made by U.S. District Judge James L. Robart in Seattle due to its uniquely comprehensive approach to the executive order.What does this all this legal wrangling mean? There’s strong potential that one or more parties will appeal the travel ban to the U.S. Supreme Court as soon as the respective appeals courts issue their rulings. Given the temporary nature of the ban (except as it applies to Syrian refugees), the Supreme Court may choose to accept the case or cases on an expedited basis. Alternatively, it may decline to hear the cases on an expedited basis and, instead, allow a single Supreme Court justice (Justice Breyer in the First Circuit, Justice Kennedy in the Ninth Circuit) to decide whether the appeals court decisions will be implemented or stayed. If so, the clock will likely run out on the immigration bans, rendering those cases moot. Depending on how long the “indefinite” Syrian refugee ban remains in place, a case centered on that section of the executive order may still be considered timely by the Court.The temporary ban has caused widespread confusion both within and between federal agencies as well as for immigrants, refugees, advocates, airlines, and foreign governments. For example, the ban was enforced differently at different U.S. ports of entry across the globe, with some refusing entry to foreign nationals from the affected nations who already possessed valid visas or lawful permanent resident (LPR, or “green card”) status. The order was later clarified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to include green card holders from the seven affected countries. Meanwhile, immigration advocates and others are encouraging immigrants to travel to (or return to) the U.S. as soon as possible, as court decisions affecting implementation of the executive order could change again suddenly.—Michael WylandShare8TweetShare1Email9 Shares
Share83TweetShare13Email96 Shares“2nd Lambeth Girl Guides Achieve” by Girl Guides of CanadaMarch 14, 2017; NBC NewsCiting uncertainty about the new administration’s travel policies, the Girl Guides of Canada, an organization much like the Girl Scouts of America, has cancelled all trips with the girls to the United States—even including those with airline connections in the U.S.On its website, Girl Guides calls the decision “very difficult” but says it “reflects [a] commitment to inclusivity and equal opportunities for all girls and women.”“Girl Guides is a very inclusive and diverse organization,” spokeswoman Sarah Kiriliuk told the CBC. “It is part of our mandate and it is very important to the fabric of our organization to be inclusive and diverse. And we wanted to make sure we could extend that to all aspects of our organization—which includes girls that are traveling.”The measure, she said, was designed to ensure “no girl gets left behind.”President Trump’s new executive order on travel, which will take effect on Thursday if it is not stayed, blocks most travel to the U.S. for 90 days by citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Bookings for travel to the U.S. are down in general.The Globe and Mail of Canada reports that the Girl Guides are not alone in worrying about and cancelling children’s trips to the United States.Several schools and school districts across Canada debated going ahead with trips south of the border following the first executive order issued by President Donald Trump that imposed travel restrictions to citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries.A Winnipeg junior high school cancelled a trip by its track team to Minnesota in January because it wasn’t certain all students would be able to cross the border.The Greater Essex County School Board in southwestern Ontario decided in February to cancel a handful of trips over concerns of safety and equity, while districts in southern Vancouver Island debated whether to ban all U.S. travel or handle each trip on a case-by-case basis.—Ruth McCambridgeShare83TweetShare13Email96 Shares
Share7TweetShare4Email11 Shares“Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon” [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsApril 23, 2017; Santa Fe New Mexican (AP)States and school districts across the country are preparing for a brave new experiment in assessment. The federal Every Student Succeeds Act, passed in 2015, includes flexibility for states to design their own criteria for determining the effectiveness of their K-12 instructional systems. About 15 states have submitted or are about to submit their accountability blueprints. The remaining states will submit their plans in September.Connecticut and Delaware, for example, are looking at college readiness, focusing on students taking academically challenging courses and how students score on the SAT college admissions test. Tennessee wants to focus on school performance, with each school receiving an A–F grade as a way to inform parents about the quality of their local public schools. Vermont and Connecticut plan to evaluate student physical fitness as a component of school quality.Not surprisingly, almost all states are evaluating chronic absenteeism as an indicator. This makes sense for both altruistic and self-interested reasons. In order for students to benefit from education, they should be physically present. In addition, most states allocate state aid to education based at least in part on how many students are being educated by a school district. The more student absenteeism, the lower the average daily membership (ADM) and the lower funding going to that school district.U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is responsible for approving states’ assessment and evaluation plans. According to the AP, DeVos “has said her goal is state and local flexibility in education and indicated that she might use the process to advance school choice.”The new metrics and the methods by which states are developing them are receiving early praise, especially for reaching out to stakeholders for comment and input. A representative of the Council of Chief State School Officers said, “They’ve been very proactive to engage anybody who has an interest in the plans.”There are concerns, however, that a lack of uniformity in standards will make it difficult to perform comparisons between states. Moreover, there is a risk that some student populations, such as students with disabilities or special learning needs, may be lost in the shuffle as states choose broad measures and, possibly, measures they believe will put their schools in a favorable light.Marc Magee, CEO of 50Can, an education nonprofit, expressed concern that “if everybody doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain, we could go back to that era where certain populations of students become invisible inside schools even if they are struggling mightily and not getting the opportunity that they deserve.”—Michael WylandShare7TweetShare4Email11 Shares