Ryan has big ideas, but few specifics at Monitor Breakfast
WASHINGTON— Rep. Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, solidified his role as the Republicans’ new voice of reform at Wednesday’s Monitor Breakfast, but preferred to look at his ideas from a big picture, developmental point of view.
Ryan, R-Wis., last week introduced a new anti-poverty program, which he referred to as an “upward mobility plan” at the breakfast, that would consolidate federal welfare and food stamp program dollars into “Opportunity Grants” to be distributed to each state. States would then channel the funds to various private, public and non-profit organizations. Working in partnership, these groups would then use the allocated dollars to help those in need develop individualized plans.
At the breakfast, Ryan stressed accountability to tax payers and the need for a results-based plan, but has yet to figure out the details.
"People are generous with their tax dollars they send to the government. I think it’s wholly right and appropriate to expect something in return," Ryan said.
"You can fund these reforms at any level. I didn’t want to get into a funding debate over proper funding levels at the status quo. That’s really beside the point."
"The point is, the status quo isn’t working – let’s figure out how to reform it and then we can figure out what funding levels should fund it, if you want to have that conversation at another time," Ryan said.
When asked if his plan’s extra customization would take away from money that’s already being spent on aid programs, Ryan emphasized the importance of utilizing partnerships and the additional dollars they could contribute.
"I think having work requirements and time limits, along with customization and leveraging of other sources of funding, that to me is the most effective approach we ought to take," Ryan said.
Ultimately, Ryan urged those present to look at his overall plan before zooming in on how it would be carried out.
"I think you have to broaden your understanding of the proposal before you take a look at that notion," Ryan said.
"The alternative argument is just stick with the status quo. The status quo isn’t working."
Everyone on the panel joked about the use of terms like Blast Processing, which were completely made up for use with marketing. When asked what Blast Processing did, Kaplan joked it did the same thing as the Super FX chip.
Sega valiantly pushed against Nintendo with its marketing, and though Nintendo rarely acted in kind, Kaplan said it did nearly decide to dump a dump truck full of bananas into Sega’s parking lot to celebrate the release of Donkey Kong Country, but ultimately decided not to as it would require a huge amount of clean-up and would be an incredible waste of food.
“We believe — strongly — that there is a global tea party movement,” declared Bannon, who took over the American conservative new media empire after the death of its founder, Andrew Breitbart, in 2012. Speaking via Skype to a conference on Catholic responses to poverty, he said, “You’re seeing a global reaction to centralized government, whether that government is in Beijing or that government is in Washington, D.C., or that government is in Brussels… On the social conservative side, we’re the voice of the anti-abortion movement, the voice of the traditional marriage movement.”
Events across the Atlantic do look familiar to American eyes: an uprising against long-established parties in Brussels amid economic stagnation. But these elements have been around a long time in European politics. What is new — and what feels so American — is represented by the group Bannon was addressing: Europe is getting its own version of the religious right.
Will Americans be forced to choose between Congress and Nickelback? It seems unlikely. Will Darth Vader give Chris Christie a run for his money in Iowa? Probably not.
But those comparisons at least put an interesting spin on what is otherwise a pretty boring set of questions that are asked over and over again and show the same things: that Congress is terrible and that the GOP presidential race is wide open.
CNN Poll: Romney beats Obama if election held today
According to the poll, if the 2012 election were somehow held again, Romney would capture 53% of the popular vote, with the President at 44%. Obama beat Romney 51%-47% in the popular vote in the 2012 contest. And he won the all-important Electoral College by a wider margin, 332 electoral votes to Romney’s 206.
Try to find a Republican in Washington who thinks he hasn’t been partisan. But to Obama’s team, it’s mostly the GOP that has built the wall of opposition, to the point where they’re convinced many Republicans reflexively turn against anything he supports.
“I’d love nothing more than a loyal and rational opposition,” Obama put it to a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraising luncheon last week in Los Altos Hills, California. “But that’s not what we have right now, and as a consequence we’re going to need change.”
WASHINGTON—Marine technology experts said equipping planes with longer-range transponders as well as pingers could help avoid another Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared during a trip from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8.
Executives from Teledyne Marine Systems, Bluefin Robotics and Phoenix International, all companies involved in the futile search for the aircraft, discussed technology advances that could help find missing flights.
While pingers emit a continuous sound lasting 30 to 45 days from the time they hit water, a transponder waits for a request to send out its signal. Transponders can last from six months to several years.
“There are already rulings in Europe and the U.S. to get longer range pingers to add to the current systems, not replace them,” said Tom Altshuler, vice president and group general manager of Teledyne. “It will be attached to the aircraft, not the black box, so this is more to find the plane.”
Airlines, however, are reluctant to add longer-range transponders, as they take up valuable space and weight on an airline. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 did have a transponder, but it was turned off at some point before the plane vanished.
Altshuler said another feasible option is to use a plane’s Wi-Fi to transmit data to a server, eliminating the need to search for an aircraft’s black box, which contains the pinger.
“There’s virtually no net cost. I just need an Ethernet cable to connect this to this and I change the paradigm,” Altshuler said. “I’d expect to see that in the next few years.”
The future of the search for Flight 370 depends on what contract the Australian Transport Safety Board accepts for a renewed effort, but the executives said that search will likely include side-scan sonar technology, which has been used before.
“The award for that opportunity is pending,” said Peter LeHardy, manager of Phoenix International, “It could come at any moment.”
Malaysia Airlines was not immediately available for comment as the airline dealt with another plane that crashed in eastern Ukraine — reportedly shot down while carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
WASHINGTON — State officials told a House panel Tuesday that overcrowding in prisons is pushing their penal systems to the breaking point. Lack of attention on the back end – what to do when prisoners are released – is one cause for concern.
“The State of Alabama faces a great crisis in our Department of Corrections,” said Alabama legislator, Cam Ward, in testimony before the House Judiciary subcommittee on crime, terrorism, homeland security and investigations.
Ward was joined by John E. Wetzel, head of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, Jerry Madden, former chairman of the Texas House Corrections Committee and Nancy G. La Vigne, director of the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center.
The witnesses said they were pressing for meaningful prison reform in their respective states.
“Every decision throughout our corrections system must keep one target in mind: that when someone leaves of our prisons and is successfully reintegrated into the community, we’ve proactively impacted crime,” Wetzel told the subcommittee.
The Pennsylvania Transportation Department has implemented a simple, yet effective plan. The state agency provides identification cards prior to a prisoners’ release. Last year, more than 9,000 released prisoners got the Ids, helping them reintegrate into society..
“The release of offenders with their Ids enables them to connect with services that are available to them more readily, thereby removing an imposing barrier,” says Wetzel.
Texas prisons have added beds in their facilities that can also be used to treat substance abuse cases handled by parole and probation departments. They’ve also added alcoholic treatment programs.
Additionally, the Texas system introduced intermediate sanction facilities for former inmates on probation and parole. Individuals who violate their parole or probation would be given a short-term alternative of two to three months instead of facing longer sentences.
In Alabama, community corrections programs are beginning to offer alternative punishment options for judges to alleviate the overcrowding and congestion within penitentiaries. The options available for sentencing criminal defendants are expanding. Low to medium-risk offenders may be diverted elsewhere.
One theme prevailed – the need for more support on the “back end” – allowing ex-prisoners to more smoothly reintegrate into society – with honesty and integrity.
What’s the worst way to break up with someone? If you chose the dreaded Facebook break up, you’re not alone. Respondents to a new 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair poll overwhelmingly said a Facebook break up is worse than splitting over sticky note, text or IM, phone call or email.
In these days of ever-changing standards, 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair asked their readers and viewers what they believe the rules of etiquette are now. Though most people can’t last through dinner without checking their phone, respondents said emailing and texting during meals was the activity they’d prefer to stop, over not letting people off elevators before they get on, using bags to save seats at the movies, and blocking a climbing lane on the escalator.
Respondents also voted that the formality to be kept alive is men opening doors for women. Boyfriends: take note if you want to avoid a Facebook break up.
And the rudest question to ask on a dating profile: How much money do you make?
Though these standards may seem foreign to some, 39 percent of people say they simply trust their gut instinct when it comes to etiquette questions. But if texting between bites of pad Thai and asking the salary of someone you just met doesn’t seem rude, you can consult the other options: your mother or grandmother, your spouse or significant other, the Internet, a friend or Emily Post.
Thirteen states, including Ohio, are increasing their minimum wages instead of waiting around for Congress to act. While minimum wage employees and activists are happy with the raise, economists are split.
Don’t be alarmed if you notice some of your colleagues shouting at their computers today. The United States faces Belgium at 4 p.m. ET in a do or die game. The winner advances to the final eight and the loser is sent home.
Not up to speed with World Cup predictions or standings? No problem. Here’s a little cheat sheet: (Information compiled by Bloomberg)
Belgium is favored to win this match.
Odds of winning: BEL (74.6 %) and USA (26.0%)
FIFA World Rank: 13
World Cup Appearances: 9
Best Result: Third Place (1930)
Team Nickname: The Stars and Stripes
Key player: Clint Dempsey. He is a forward and is from the Seattle Sounders.
FIFA World Rank: 11
World Cup Appearances:11
Best Result: Fourth Place (1986)
Team Nickname: Rode Duivels (Red Devils)
Key Player: Eden Hazard. He is a forward and plays for Chelsea.
Not many people really knew the Ex-Im Bank until recently. It was originally created in 1934 to promote trade with the Soviet Union. It is an official export credit agency in America, not a commercial bank. Its mandate is to facilitate exports and promote export-related jobs by providing loans and guarantees to foreign companies that purchase American goods and service. Lately, the Democrats and Republicans are debating if the government should re-authorize the bank. If it cannot get a new charter at the end of September, its business will be suspended.
Proponents of the bank believe it helps create jobs, improve US trade balance and fill up the gaps where private lenders ignore. However, many opponents argue the bank crowds out private lending and does not create new jobs.
The question is if the bank is shut down, how does it impact the economy? Will export drop? Will people lose their jobs? Will private lenders be able to do a better job to fill in the gap? It takes a long article to explain all these questions. But here’s one quick answer. Government subsidies do not affect the overall level of exports. A country’s current account is determined by its investment and savings. It’s macroeconomics 101. If there is nothing that the private lenders can’t do, perhaps it is time to think about ending this legacy from the old days.
Stay tuned with my coming story about the Ex-Im Bank.
Sixteen “Champions of Change” were recognized today by Attorney General Eric Holder for their successful re-entry into society and for their organizations, which aim to help ex-convicts with job training and employment.
Holder announced that the department of Justice will issue $4 million in support of re-entery and job training programs.
One champion, Marianne Ali, director of Culinary Job Training & First Helping shared her experience about overcoming her addiction with Heroin.
The author of the book, Orange is the New Black, Piper Kerman also spoke at the event.
"I can’t tell you what a difference that second chance meant to me," said Kerman. "The job gave me a sense of normalcy after my incarceration."
NYT chief's first tweet: How to write a funeral story
Dean Baquet sent out his first tweet as executive editor of The New York Times Monday.
He plugged a story written for the Times, but he used it as an example of how to write a story about a funeral.
The funeral service was for 6-year-old Prince Joshua Avitto, or P.J.
A week ago, P.J. and his best friend took the elevator of their East New York building to grab Icees after playing in the sun. Both boys were attacked, stabbed again and again by a man with a history of violence and psychiatric problems who had just been released from prison.
P.J. died. His friend survived, but remains in the hospital recovering from his 16 stab wounds.
Police arrested Daniel St. Hubert, the man they believe responsible for the crime, on Wednesday.
Here’s the tweet, followed by a section of the piece and a link to the article in full. It’s worth the read.
How to write a funeral story. A great example by Sonny Kleinfeld, who captures a remarkably sad moment in the city. http://t.co/v03q47Sok9
"On an implacably sunny morning in eastern Brooklyn, hundreds of people mourned a death much too young and much too abhorrent.
They were people who knew him, but mostly people who did not. That did not matter. They had heard, as most had heard, and so they came in their good clothes because they wanted to and because they felt they had to. On Friday morning, they came to grieve Prince Joshua Avitto, a 6-year-old Brooklyn boy known as P.J. who had barely tasted a life and who died for no plausible reason.”
In addition to celebrating the University of Connecticut NCAA Women and Men’s basketball championships, President Obama announced changes to student loans with the intention to alleviate the weight of debt so that it won’t keep students from getting ahead.
According to American Student Assistance and the Federal Reserve, there are about 37 million student borrowers with outstanding student loans. Today, the White House relayed that national student debt has mounted to more than $1 trillion. Some people are carrying six figures of debt, many more incur in tens of thousands of dollars.
The Executive Order signed today proposes a “Pay as You Earn” (PAYE) repayment program that would cap payments on student debt at 10 percent of monthly income and possible forgiveness after 20 years of timely payments.
According to Pew Research debt-to-income ratios have increased dramatically during the past 30 years.
But the heightened investment hasn’t kept up with the value:
The weight of student debt leads to some dropping out before they finish school, buying a house and even some from starting families:
The executive order signed today is the President’s attempt to give students a swing at getting ahead financially and moving their lives forward. Without the executive order, it would likely be impossible that a bill taking the same actions would ever pass congress at this time.
Today we were thrilled to welcome Mark Hallett, senior program officer at the McCormick Foundation, to the newsroom. Mark is working on a project about news literacy and interviewed our reporters Homa Bash, John Kuhn and Emily Nelson.
Here’s Homa, discussing what news literacy means to her:
The coolest thing about reporting is when you’re on a story takes you places you wouldn’t have otherwise imagined going to, when questions lead you to people who you know you won’t forget.
That happened Thursday.
Elissa Nadworny and I had the chance to travel to California to research a story on antibiotic use in cattle, thanks to Medill D.C.’s travel budget.
We flew into Sacramento Tuesday night, and then spent Wednesday and Thursday visiting ranches and ranchers throughout the Sacramento Valley.
Our final stop was the Van Vleck Ranch, a swath of rolling golden pasture in Eastern Sacramento Valley that’s been owned by the family since 1915.
We spent time with Jerry Spencer, who manages the cattle that roam the Van Vleck’s 5,000 acres. After an hour or so, Spencer introduced us to Bud Turner and his wife, Lynn Van Vleck-Turner, stepparents of Stan Van Vleck, a Sacramento lawyer, who is president of the ranch now.
Lynn was married to Stan’s father before he passed away in a helicopter crash on the ranch property, and Bud was married to Stan’s mother before she died of cancer. They now live together in a quaint brick home in the middle of the pasture.
Lynn and Bud both had to deal with tragic deaths, but they have an air of wonder that, mixed with their welcoming laughter, make you shrug your shoulders at the way life sometimes works out.
We chatted for about a half hour before Elissa asked if she could take their portrait. They agreed. And afterward we spent another hour talking. Then we exchanged contact information and left.
When we were about a mile down the road, however, Elissa got a phone call. It was Lynn, wondering if we’d like to go for a tour of the area in Bud’s airplane.
Of course we would!
From the long gravel path to their home we caught a glimpse of Bud - who’s 81 - swinging open the door to a barn next to their house. He pushed the prop plane out with ease, grinning.
I shrugged my shoulders, smiled and hopped into the back seat, right behind Bud, who fired up the propeller. We were off. Elissa took the next ride.
Below are some pictures and a short video that prove the point — life is cool, and so is journalism.
Wednesday, May 21: Just another hump day? Think not!
Amelia Earhart: Photo courtesy of the Museum of Flight
Just when you thought today was just another hump day, your bridge to the second half of the week, you would be surprised at some of the things that occurred on this day in history. According to www.history.net:
On this date:
In 1881, Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross.
In 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh landed his Spirit of St. Louis near Paris, completing the first solo airplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 33 1/2 hours.
In 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean as she landed in Northern Ireland, about 15 hours after leaving Newfoundland.
In 1956, the United States exploded the first airborne hydrogen bomb over Bikini Atoll in the Pacific…
Outside of the founding of the Red Cross, there is a common theme of flying. So take flight… because anything can happen and you’ve got the rest of today to make it count!
Don’t get strep throat, and Happy birthday to the following:
The Associated Press cites celebrity birthdays for May 21: Rhythm-and-blues singer Ron Isley (The Isley Brothers) is 73. Rock musician Hilton Valentine (The Animals) is 71. Actor Richard Hatch is 69. Musician Bill Champlin is 67. Singer Leo Sayer is 66. Actress Carol Potter is 66. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., is 63. Actor Mr. T is 62. Music producer Stan Lynch i 59. Actor Judge Reinhold is 57.
Abramson departure from Times spurs equal pay controversy
Jill Abramson’s abrupt departure Wednesday as executive editor of The New York Times has spurred speculation she may have been fired for voicing concerns she was being paid less in the job than her male predecessor.
In a memo reportedly sent to the paper’s staff, publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. categorically dismissed such claims, saying Abramson was paid comparably to former editor Bill Keller but that direct pension comparisons shouldn’t be made because Keller had been with the paper longer than had Abramson.
Here’s how the controversy is playing out in the Twitter-verse.
Democratic Sen. Harry Reid used the controversy to push for his party’s equal pay bill Thursday, according to a National Journal story.
“This bipartisan resolution is just one way to reaffirm our nation’s commitment to protecting freedom of the press,” Casey said in statement released Thursday. “Impunity for these attacks is unacceptable and, in some cases, can create a culture of fear and self-censorship. We must insist that governments throughout the world do all they can to deliver justice for these journalists and their families.”
The committee labeled, Egypt, Iraq and Syria as the most dangerous for reporters on assignment in 2013.
“Human freedom cannot prosper without press freedom,” Rubio said in the statement. “As we’ve seen in my parents’ home country of Cuba, when a government suppresses the right of its people to gather and disseminate information, leaders are able to carry out human rights violations and repressive policies without fear of oversight. Today’s bipartisan resolution is an affirmation of the importance of free press in spreading liberty and human rights, and it is a sound condemnation of the violence toward reporters that has occurred in the Middle East, Latin America, Ukraine and so many other regions throughout the world.”
It’s a hashtag that has swept social media following the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls in the northeast region of Nigeria last month.
But as search efforts intensify, and the Nigerian government signals it is ready to negotiate with Boko Haram – the Islamist militants who are said to be holding the girls’— some are questioning whether the United States is doing enough to aid international efforts.
Others question whether the support is too little too late.
During a segment on NPR earlier this week, titled “Is White House Doing Enough To ‘Bring Back Our Girls’?” critics claimed the Obama administration waits for crises, instead of proactively aiding those faced with terrorism.
“Unfortunately what we see here again is the administration again acting after the fact as opposed to having a coherent political strategy and foreign policy in place beforehand,” said Republican strategist Ron Christie.
“My main critique with the administration is that Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, refused to put this terrorist group –Boko Haram – on the terrorist watch list,” Christie said. “So if you have an administration that looks at a particular group… that has killed thousands of people…you have to wonder does the administration have a coherent strategy to winning the war on terrorism.”
In a Mother’s Day video address, first lady Michelle Obama decried the kidnapping in Nigeria. This came after she posted on Instagram a photo holding a sign with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls.
“When it comes to the kidnapping of children in Nigeria, it goes beyond criticism of public policy,” said NPR’s ‘Political Junkie’ host Ken Rudin. “The only question that some people seem to have is whether walking around with placards saying ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ is either too simplistic or almost an amateur hour in the sense that we’ve got to do more than just walk around with signs with a hashtag about this tragedy.”
Last week the United States put a group of 30 in Nigeria that, according to the White House, including five State Department officials, two strategic communications experts, a civilian security expert and a regional medical support officer.
This week, Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated: “With respect to Nigeria, our people are on the ground. I’m not going to discuss what mechanism or methodology may or may not be used in order to [help find the girls] except today we are committed to this effort.”
Officials fear that the girls could be forced into sex slavery, or will be trafficked to other countries. Consequently, the United States recently launched a drone mission with airborne surveillance over the Sambisa forest, where the girls are believed to be held.
Sources say it is likely that the U.S. is offering the Nigerians sophisticated surveillance and eavesdropping technology as well as satellite imagery.
“Our intelligence experts are combing through every detail of the video for clues that might help ongoing efforts to secure the release of the girls,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a daily press briefing Monday.
A new video aired by Al Jazeera released by the Boko Haram group allegedly showing about 130 of the girls is being studied by US experts in the hope it might yield vital clues as to where they are being held.
In the words of Christie: “To paraphrase our parents, it’s a crazy world out there.”
Earlier today, Medill News Service reporters went on a tour of the Washington Post newsroom and learned more about their burgeoning PostTV enterprise. As we were waiting in the lobby, this sign caught our eye:
Those are the seven journalistic principles of Eugene Meyer, who purchased the Post in 1933 for $825,000. Meyer wasn’t an experienced newspaperman, but he certainly had strong opinions about the industry.
You can read more about the Washington Post's history here, if you’d like.
Thanks for having us for a visit, WaPo! It was a treat to talk about the future of our industry - and get some insight into its storied past.
Abduction in Nigeria: Follow the escalating story here
The Islamist militant group Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the kidnappings. Here’s what you need to know about it:
-Boko Haram was founded in 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf. It is based in Northeast Nigeria, North Cameroon and Niger.
-Boko Haram wants to create a fully Islamic state in Nigeria, one that would include the implementation of sharia law.The group’s structure and affiliations aren’t always clear, but generally it indiscriminately and brutally attacks anything it views as modern and secular.
-Its official name is Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, which is Arabic for “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teaching and Jihad.” In Hausa, a local language spoken in Nigeria and Niger, the group’s name translates loosely as “Western education is forbidden.”
-Monday the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, said that the nearly 300 schoolgirls abducted in April would be sold as slaves. He also suggested that some of the girls, ages 9 to 12, were suitable for marriage.
-Though Boko Haram’s ideology is hard to decipher, Shekau has declared allegiance to the leader of al-Qaida. Boko Haram has also splintered into as many as five factions, making it even more difficult to discern a specific unified message or agenda.
So overwhelmed with that incredible story you just read that you can’t even put it into words? Don’t worry, the new LA Times website can help.
The Times rolled out a brand-new website redesign this month that relies heavily on social media sharing.
The thing I like the most about it is that it kind of bullet-points the article, like old-timey subheads:
I think it’s a clever way to pull people into the article and tease some elements that wouldn’t be in the headline otherwise.
If you don’t like the tweet the Times has prepared for you, you have other options. You can edit or delete the proposed text as you wish. Pullquotes also have tweet options, so you can tease the story to your friends with a quote. Again, good thinking by the LA Times – how often have you copied and pasted a quote from a story if you’re tweeting about it?
The Times’ new social features have garnered the most attention. But – and these are words I never thought I would type – I’m more interested in how the site scrolls.
Newspapers want to keep people reading for as long as possible, so websites have been putting links to related stories at the bottom of the page for years. The Times goes one step further – scroll to the bottom of the page, and the next story loads up automatically.
If I’m any indication, the system works. I just read all about the L.A. city health commission, and I live 3,000 miles away. I’m in danger of just sitting here and reading the paper all day, and I couldn’t be happier.
Medill undergraduates, as part of an investigative reporting class dug a little deeper than Jennifer Del Prete’s attorneys did almost ten years ago. They found evidence that led to a judge re-opening the daycare worker’s case and ultimately the judge ruled to set her free.
Even People Magazine felt it was something to celebrate!
Move over Twitter, there’s a (kind of) new source for information in town. Last week, Facebook launched FB Newswire. The social-media giant called its news aggregator “a source that will make it easier for journalists and newsrooms to find, share and embed newsworthy content from Facebook in the media they produce.”
Facebook said the real-time page is geared toward reporters and editors but anyone can use it. The company said content will include original photos, videos and status updates posted by people on the “front lines” of things like protests, elections and sporting events.
The new service is “powered” by Storyful, a social media news agency that will verify the authenticity of posted content.
In just a few short days, FB Newswire has amassed more than 58,000 “likes” on Facebook and perhaps surprisingly, more than 15,000 followers on Twitter, one of Facebook’s prime competitors.
So far, both the Facebook site and Twitter page have shared a good mix of information ranging from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon posing for a selfie to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banning Donald Sterling from the NBA.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has banned Donald Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers or the NBA. https://t.co/kGJEYgdvUw
The Pew Research Center decided to revisit some of its 2013 data regarding the NRA and gun ownership in honor of the occasion. An interesting highlight?
"The reasons why Americans own guns also have changed. About half (48%) of gun owners said the main reason they owned a gun was for protection, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in February 2013. About three-in-ten (32%) said they owned a gun for hunting. That was a turnaround from 1999 when 49% said they owned a gun for hunting and 26% said they had a gun for protection in an ABC News/Washington Post poll.”
You can find five other highlights Pew pulled from the 2013 study here.
I had a chance to ask reporters in our D.C. newsroom about how living in Washington, D.C. compares to living in Chicago.
It looks like the consensus is we’re all enjoying D.C., especially during this cherry blossom season, but some say they still miss the Windy City.
Here is what some of our reporters had to say:
“D.C. is a great city for walking around,” Ashely Hickey, national security reporter, said. “You turn the corner, and boom — there’s the White House! People here have such interesting jobs about which they are very passionate and dedicated.”
“D.C. feels so much smaller and easier to navigate,” John Kuhn, national security reporter, said. “I miss Chicago’s neighborhoods, though, and something tells me I’ll even miss Chicago weather once D.C.’s humidity kicks in.”
“D.C. has been a wonderful place for me to grow and learn as a professional - it’s a real media wonderland,” Laurel White, political reporter, said.
“There is no better place to be in terms of my beat,” Tammy Thueringer, national security and political reporter, said. “I was able to focus on veterans affairs while in Chicago, but now that I am in our nation’s capital, where decision makers and other players are more easily accessible, it makes reporting more interesting and exciting.”
“I like D.C. better than Chicago so far, because it is a very clean city, public transportation is better, the streets are wide and because of lack of skyscrapers, the open sky is refreshing,” Taryn Galbreath, health and science reporter, said. “Only cons are very few drive-thru’s, and it’s tough to find a Walgreen’s when you prefer Walgreen’s over CVS.”
Today, the Supreme Court upheld a constitutional amendment in Michigan that bans affirmative action at colleges and universities. In effect, it allows states to govern their own policies on affirmative action.
Some fear the 6-2 ruling could have a chilling effect on admissions for minorities at the state’s top universities. Others see it as a precursor to a race-blind society.
It’s a difficult issue to grapple with, and sometimes an emotional one. And we’re not here to tell you what to think. We’re here to help you educate yourselves.
In that spirit, dive into this pile of links.
The New York Times has a very cool interactive graphic charting the fates of minority admissions in states were affirmative action has been banned, including California, Texas, Michigan, and Washington. Check it out below.
If you’re looking for an in-depth explanation of everything you ever wanted to know about the case, without having to get a law degree, SCOTUSblog is your place.
Diplomats testing the waters with new social media tools
Twitter earned a permanent seat at the table of diplomacy as a result of its role during the Arab Spring, but diplomats at Tuesday’s “Diplomacy + Social Good Summit” in Washington said they are still learning the ropes when it comes to effectively using social media.
Ambassadors from Finland, Israel and the United Arab Emirates said the importance of expanding diplomatic dialogue beyond stuffy conference rooms and into the public dialogue is a given now, but breaking into that conversation is no easy task.
The strategy seems to be to fish where the fish are. In other words, find people where they are already talking — and that search is taking these diplomats to some unexpected places.
The British Embassy in Washington, for example, has joined the chatter on Buzz Feed.
And you can find the U.S. Embassy of Israel on Pinterest.
The UAE is talking with its audience on Instagram.
The common thread here is that these newer platforms are very visual, and the ambassadors see that as an increasingly effective way to drive engagement and build their audiences.
"The trend is that people want to see stuff," said Haitham Mussawi, digital diplomacy editor for the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington. "I think the attention span is getting shorter and shorter, so the quicker you can get your message out there, the easier it will be, and what better way to do that than with visuals, so I think that’s where it’s going."
Hold the ketchup: 96,000 pounds of wieners recalled
WASHINGTON — Don’t fire up that grill just yet. About 96,000 hot dogs were recalled Monday due to incorrect labeling that doesn’t warn buyers the products may contain milk, a potential allergen, from cheese hot dogs made by the same company.
Thousands of Oscar Meyer’s Classic Wieners packages were mislabeled by Kraft Foods, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, who said the labels “do not reflect the ingredients associated with the pasteurized cheese in the cheese dogs.”
We r voluntarily recalling the Oscar Mayer Classic Wieners w/ USE BY DATE of 06/16/14 for possible mislabeling. info: http://t.co/kh4y5wQnIh
While no illnesses have been reported yet, that hasn’t always been the case in the past. Here’s a rundown of some of the worst food recalls in the last 10 years:
Jensen Farms in Colorado recalls shipments of Rocky Ford cantaloupes due to listeria contamination. The outbreak resulted in 147 illnesses, 33 deaths, and a pregnant woman who contracted the illness had a miscarriage.
A salmonella outbreak led the Peanut Corporation of America to recall packages of peanut butter and peanut paste in 2008 and 2009. Nine died and 714 people got sick.
An outbreak of E. coli is found in packages of Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough, which infects 72 people in 30 states. No deaths were reported.
Packages of Dole baby spinach contaminated with E. coli affected more than 200 people in 26 states. Four died due to the outbreak, and 205 people were infected overall.
Are you smarter than a high-schooler? Revamped SAT questions released
Perfidious. Enervating. Spurious. Abscond.
Remember the anxiety those difficult “SAT words” caused back in high school? Well, you can almost forget about them. That’s because the College Board, the nonprofit that creates the test, is revamping the SAT and released a sneak peek today. Not only will the test now come with an optional essay, but test-makers want to focus on relevant, more commonly used vocabulary and developing real-world math skills.
So dust off and sharpen those #2 pencils and see if you can tackle these sample questions:
After fall in Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood self-reassessment is critical, experts say
WASHINGTON — Nine months after former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was removed from office by a military coup, members of his Muslim Brotherhood party need to develop a unified message if they want to stage a comeback to power, experts said Tuesday.
But it won’t be easy.
A large number of Brotherhood leaders are imprisoned in Egypt, where the group was declared a terrorist organization last December, and the group encompasses myriad beliefs, making a unified and coherent ideology difficult to define.
"The Muslim Brotherhood is more of a tribe, more of an identity belonging than an ideology," said Hassan Mneimneh, an expert on extremism in the Arab world with the German Marshall Fund.
The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928 as an Islamist social and political movement. It has since spread throughout the Middle East and North Africa, though it’s largest base is in Egypt . Until 2012, when Morsi was elected Egyptian president, it functioned primarily as an opposition party, which the experts said explains in part the problems the group faces today.
As an opposition, Mneimneh said, the Brotherhood didn’t need to develop an effective social, political or economic theory. But Morsi, as head of state, did not have that luxury.
The Brotherhood’s fall from power in Egypt was jarring in part because of a failure by both citizens and party leaders to realize the party’s lack of experience as a ruling party and what that would mean to its governing capacity, experts said.
"This idea that the Brotherhood was somehow going to sweep the whole region and now they’re rolled back or whatever, I think would have been a very exaggerated idea to begin with," said Michele Dunne, a Middle East senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Now, despite the chaos in Egypt, the group has a chance for revision and development, the panelists said.
For the Brotherhood, “this is the time to try to evolve framework into something more concrete,” Mneimneh said.
(The panel was broadcast live by C-SPAN and is available here:
Vice President Joe Biden is expected to join Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Governor Deval Patrick, former Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, and other officials today to honor the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.