13Mar Daley takes part in Legislative Polar Plunge Categories: News PHOTO CUTLINE: State Rep. Kevin Daley on Thursday, Feb. 28, participated in the 2nd Annual “Legislative Polar Plunge,” benefitting Michigan Special Olympics, held on the Capitol lawn. Daley, R-Lum, joined several other state lawmakers and local officials as they jumped into a cold-water pool in order to help the organization. Daley, (right), is pictured with state Rep. Dan Lauwers, R-Brockway, (left).
19Oct Howrylak part of bipartisan plan to improve the state’s unemployment system Categories: Howrylak News State Rep. Martin Howrylak, vice chair of the House Oversight Committee, is part of a bipartisan group that today announced a plan to fix Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency.The legislation is based on findings from a workgroup consisting of industry experts and legislators. The plan will provide clarity, restore integrity, and improve accountability within the agency and address the faults of the unemployment system.“I am thrilled to help introduce this bipartisan plan that will fix the flaws in our current unemployment system,” said Howrylak, of Troy. “I am confident the legislation in this package will help make the UIA more efficient and allow the agency to better serve the people of Michigan.”Rep. Howrylak’s proposal allows the agency to reopen a fraud case with good cause within three years of it being originally filed. Cases not associated with unemployment fraud will only be eligible to be reopened from one year. In addition, the legislation requires the UIA to work with Treasury, SOS, and USPS to determine last known address for claimants.“If a citizen is accused of unemployment fraud, the UIA should take every step possible to properly notify the individual in question,” Howrylak said. “This legislation will compel the UIA to consult with other entities like the Department of Treasury and the Secretary of state to determine the most recent address on file for the individual. This commonsense policy change will ensure the UIA is doing its best to properly notify those accused of fraud.”The plan will also address identity theft claims by creating a “watchdog” position with the UIA to investigate fraud and make recommendations to improve the system. In addition, the legislation will require claimants to submit more proof to be eligible for unemployment benefits and maintains the nation’s toughest penalties on fraud.The legislation will also:Give those accused of fraud access to an advocacy program;Improve the process for determining the validity of an unemployment claim;Address interest owed by claimants in overpayment due to agency error; andClarify the eligibility for hardship waivers and the agency’s process for ruling on applications for a waiver.
Categories: Kahle News 09Feb Rep. Kahle invites residents to in-district office hours State Rep. Bronna Kahle of Adrian invites Lenawee County residents to join her for office hours on Friday, Feb. 16 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Tecumseh District Library, 215 N. Ottawa St. in Tecumseh.“I‘m excited for the opportunity to connect with the people in our community and hear what matters most to them,” Rep. Kahle said. “Anyone interested in discussing their state government is welcome to stop by. I look forward to listening to our neighbors, addressing their concerns and working through solutions for the people of Lenawee County.”No appointments are necessary to attend office hours. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. Kahle’s office at (517) 373-1706 or BronnaKahle@house.mi.gov.
23May Rep. Noble hosts over 3,200 in tele-town hall update Categories: Noble News State Rep. Jeff Noble was joined by 3,235 residents on Tuesday night during his live tele-town hall legislative update.“Tele-town halls serve as an excellent opportunity to speak with thousands of residents from the convenience and comfort of their homes,” Rep. Noble said.A record number of people had the opportunity to connect with the lawmaker and ask questions one-on-one. Key topics discussed included road repair, small business incentives, and public education funding.“These types of discussions help keep me informed on what residents care about most,” Rep. Noble said. “Without their feedback, I can’t be an effective state legislator.”Anyone unable to participate in the tele-town hall event or has questions related to state government may contact Rep. Noble at 517-373-3816 or email JeffNoble@house.mi.gov.
State Rep. Sue Allor speaks in support of the “Straits of Mackinac Safety, Protection and Accountability” action plan before the House Michigan Competitiveness Committee this week.State Rep. Sue Allor’s plan to better protect the Great Lakes by strengthening pipeline safety standards in the Straits of Mackinac was approved today by the House Michigan Competitiveness Committee.Allor, of Wolverine, said the comprehensive plan ensures vessels and utility companies operating in the Straits are accountable to the people of Michigan.“While I recently called for an immediate shutdown of Line 5, unfortunately I do not have the power to wave a magic wand to make that happen,” Allor said. “There is nothing in the easement agreement or in statute that gives the governor, attorney general or Legislature unilateral authority to order a shutdown of Line 5.“Until the federal government acts, we must address the many concerns that arose due to the ‘near miss’ earlier this year when an anchor strike damaged both of the 20-inch pipelines spanning the Straits.”The “Straits of Mackinac Safety, Protection and Accountability” action plan:Improves reporting from pipeline operators to the state of Michigan.Increases the safety and security of utility lines that provide communities in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula with access to phone, cable, natural gas, oil and electricity.Provides additional signs and buoys alerting boats not to use anchors in the Straits.Establishes clear penalties for vessels that break maritime laws and jeopardize the safety of Michigan’s waterways.Provides added accountability and increased penalties for those responsible for negligence or criminal damage to public utilities.Allor introduced the plan alongside two of her colleagues.“Our Great Lakes must be protected as a water resource on which our families depend, as a resource benefitting the fish, birds, deer and many other species whose survival depends on that water, and as a resource that allows residents and tourists to enjoy its many recreational opportunities,” said Allor, who chairs the House appropriations subcommittee on natural resources. “I cannot emphasize enough the enormous task the state, my colleagues in the Legislature, and all citizens are charged with in protecting the Great Lakes and all of our beautiful natural resources.”House Bills 6187, 6199, 6200 and 6201 now move to the full House for consideration.### 26Sep Rep. Allor calls for stronger pipeline safety standards in Straits Categories: Allor News
Categories: Brann News,News 04Jan Rep. Brann’s plan to honor local fallen servicemen signed into law Portions of U.S. 131 to be renamed in the city of WyomingState Rep. Tommy Brann’s plan to honor three fallen servicemen from the city of Wyoming has been signed into state law.Brann’s laws memorialize the trio by renaming a portion of U.S. 131 within the city.The portion between exits 78 and 79 will be known as the Army Spc. Eric T. Burri Memorial Highway. The portion between exits 79 and 80 will be known as the Marine Cpl. Ross. A. Smith Memorial Highway, and the segment between exits 80 and 81 will be the Army Pfc. Nicholas H. Blodgett Memorial Highway.All three grew up in Wyoming and died at the age of 21.“This memorial highway will recognize the bravery of these young men, and their dedication to their community and country,” said Brann, of Wyoming. “We owe our freedoms to servicemen like Eric. T Burri, Ross A. Smith and Nicholas H. Blodgett – who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”Burri lost his life when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee in Baghdad. He was assigned to the 623rd Quartermaster Company, 1st Corps Support Command, based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.Burri wanted to see the world, learn languages and meet different people.Smith lost his life when an IED detonated when he was conducting combat operations near Fallujah, Iraq. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Camp Pendleton, California.Smith was the youngest of three sons in his immediate family. He followed his older brother’s footsteps and became a Marine.Blodgett lost his life when his patrol vehicle hit an IED in Abdalluyah, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, based in Schweinfurt, Germany.Blodgett’s family members said he wanted to be in the military or law enforcement officer.House Bill 6025 is now Public Act 568 of 2018.####
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares August 14, 2014; Arizona RepublicLike the Energizer Bunny, Dan Snyder keeps on going and going, and with every step demonstrates a disregard for many of the values and principles that undergird the supposed commitment of nonprofits and foundations to encouraging public discourse and, regarding the name of his National Football League franchise, combating racial discrimination. Here’s the latest, and it’s a doozy.As we have reported, this past June, the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board cancelled Snyder’s team’s trademark protection for its racially disparaging name. Snyder and the team pledged to challenge the decision, but he has adopted a particularly notable strategy: He is suing the Native Americans who brought the successful trademark case.So-called “SLAPP suits”—strategic lawsuits against public participation—are often filed by deep-pocketed interests in order to scare off citizen challengers, who find themselves facing legal costs that they are generally poorly equipped to fend off. SLAPP suits are frequently criticized as a tool of wealthy corporations (like the Washington NFL team) to intimidate opponents and their allies from continuing their efforts.That appears to be Snyder’s tactic here. The lead in the case against Snyder on the trademark was Amanda Blackhorse, a Navajo, a 32-year-old social worker. Blackhorse is one of five people identified as the plaintiffs who challenged the team’s trademark. The others included Phillip Martin Gover (Paiute), Courtney Tsotigh (Kiowa), Marcus Briggs-Cloud (Muscogee), and Jillian Pappan (Omaha). None of these people make the list of the wealthiest people in the nation, unlike Snyder, who personally is worth some $1.2 billion according to Forbes. Blackhorse told the Arizona Republic that she expected Snyder’s tactic and doesn’t intend to roll over for the D.C. billionaire.Snyder and his legal advisors are unlikely to say that their litigation is meant to intimidate Blackhorse or other Native Americans. Many states have anti-SLAPP legislation, however, we don’t know offhand about the application of anti-SLAPP legislation in situations like this, nor do we know whether a challenge to Snyder’s SLAPP strategy would work.The owner of the Washington NFL team has not been shy about his use of the courts to challenge critics. In 2011, Snyder filed a $2 million libel suit against the Washington City Paper, an alternative newspaper in the D.C. area, regarding a cover story, “The Cranky Redskins Fan’s Guide to Dan Snyder,” that, he charged, contained four misstatements and a caricature of him with a goatee and horns, which he alleged was anti-Semitic. Snyder also sued the author of the story, Dave McKenna, as well. (Snyder later admitted to the New York Times that hadn’t even didn’t bothered to read the story itself.)The City Paper fought vigorously, using D.C.’s anti-SLAPP legislation as part of its argument, until Snyder finally dropped the case. The City Paper’s explanation of what happened summarizes the problem with SLAPP suits like Snyder’s and what they can mean to entities with less access to resources than Snyder and his NFL franchise:“City Paper is a small news organization with limited resources, and defending ourselves against this lawsuit has cost massive amounts of time and money, well beyond the $34,308.91 that readers have contributed to our legal defense fund. Despite those costs, we are proud that we never wavered or allowed ourselves to be bullied, ultimately leading Snyder to dismiss his case. Though the District’s anti-SLAPP law says courts ‘may’ have awarded us some of our litigation costs had we pursued them, we concluded that it wasn’t worth spending substantially more money, energy, and attention for what would have only been a chance of recovering a portion of what we’ve spent. Today, we got what we wanted all along: dismissal of a case expressly designed to pressure us, and filed by a man who now apparently says he never even read the story in the first place. Now we’re eager to get back to our business of covering the city’s politics and culture—including its sports culture—without this distraction.”Perhaps Nonprofit Quarterly will join Blackhorse and her colleagues on the receiving end of a Snyder lawsuit meant to shut up the critics. Until then, we will watch how Blackhorse, et al. do battle with the very thick wallet of Washington NFL team owner Daniel Snyder.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesFebruary 10, 2015; ArtNet NewsA higher minimum wage is no guarantee of higher pay for some Germans, especially for young workers. Several museums in the European Community’s strongest economy are allegedly running afoul of the €8.50 minimum wage law that’s been in effect since January 1st of this year. These suspect cultural repositories are state-run and classify many of their young workers as “apprentices,” which are not covered under the new pay floor. However, German law requires that such jobs have some substantial educational component.In one case, a federal museum advertised three positions, each involving duties of restoration and maintenance, and tracking transports, stating that compensation complied with civil servant pay rules. But according to an analysis by the German Federation of Trade Unions (DGB), pay per hour is actually €6.17, about 25 percent below the applicable minimum wage. DGB’s Karsten Schneider, responsible for government officials and public service, describes this as a ruse “clearly trying to lower wages by offering a job under the guise of an apprenticeship.” Schneider notes that the collective bargaining agreement for the public sector establishes the wage for full-time work as approximately twice the minimum for apprenticeships and volunteers (perhaps not the exact equivalent of the American sense of volunteer).Eckart Köhne, president of the German Association of Museums, sallied forth support for the museums’ wage practices, stating, “The German Association of Museums has supported the reasonable payment of volunteers for many years.” In perhaps a deft employment of a non sequitur defending the low-wage practice by the offending museums, he argues that practical experience working in a museum constitutes training. True for sure, but then again, Angela Merkel, a visiting head of state at the White House this week, would just be considered a highly paid volunteer. Maybe Germany will offer their Chancellor a full time position.—Louis AltmanShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share88TweetShare23Email111 SharesNo Vacancy / PunkToadMay 3, 2016; National Public Radio, “Planet Money”NPR’s Keith Romer asks a good question in a report detailing the travails of a low-wage worker living in Connecticut: “Why aren’t housing vouchers like food stamps?” When you are a low-wage worker and you lose a job, you apply for food stamps and get them.By contrast, housing subsidies, which are most often delivered in the form of a housing choice voucher, are in such short supply that local housing authorities rarely open their waiting lists. When lists are opened, homeseekers are asked to apply for a lottery to get on the waiting list. In his story, Mr. Romer recounts how Ms. Shanay Manson seized the opportunity to apply when a local housing authority opened its waiting list. Mr. Romer notes that Ms. Manson has signed up for a housing choice voucher with four different housing authorities over the past six years.Unlike food stamps, where you get help when you need it, housing vouchers are strictly rationed: “Shanay qualified for a voucher in all of those places. But unlike with food stamps or Medicaid, for housing, just qualifying isn’t enough. According to a Harvard study, among very low-income people, only about 1 in 4 actually get any kind of housing assistance.”Are housing subsidies less important to family well-being than food subsidies? There are lots of studies to show that housing stability is a key factor in child wellbeing into adulthood. In “The Negative Effects of Instability on Child Development: A Research Synthesis,” authors Heather Sandstrom and Sandra Huerta note:Although parents are primary in assuring their children’s well-being and healthy development, a broad range of government programs also play an important role, especially for children in low-income families. Safety net programs provide financial assistance to families in the form of cash payments or subsidized housing, childcare, or food, all of which help to alleviate the immediate effects of instability. But the programs might be able to do more to stabilize the situation for children, by considering whether any administrative practices inadvertently increase instability. Simplified reporting procedures, longer eligibility periods, and a single, centralized eligibility process for multiple programs are some potential strategies.Do vouchers support communities? Just like food stamps, housing vouchers provide a guaranteed rent stream in the form of monthly subsidy payments. Other businesses can see increased sales because a voucher tenant’s share of the rent is capped at 30 percent of her household income. That leaves more money for food, medicine, clothing, and other necessities.Rent subsidies also reduce the cost of local government by reducing the number of non-payment evictions and homeless services. Staying out of eviction court and homeless shelters improves school attendance and performance. Good attendance often provides a financial benefit to local schools from state funding formulas. Local government also saves money on code enforcement because the federally funded Public Housing Authorities (PHAs), not local governments, require landlords to meet basic health and safety requirements.But won’t expanding access to vouchers be expensive? Not according to Romer:According to a government study, expanding vouchers to every low-income person who qualified would cost about $40 billion a year. For comparison, that’s less than the government spends on food stamps. It’s also less than what is spent on a different federal housing subsidy. This one goes not to the poor, but almost exclusively to the wealthy and middle-class—the mortgage interest deduction.Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, raised the same theme in his presentation to the National Low Income Housing Coalition in April.As a strategy, connecting full funding for housing choice vouchers with reining in mortgage interest deductions (MID) leads policymakers to consider using federal tax reform as a vehicle for housing voucher reform. Practically everyone on Capitol Hill wants some form of tax reform. Current efforts suggest that there won’t be any opportunity before the presidential elections, but with interested parties on both sides, it is imaginable that a bargain to increase vouchers could be partnered with efforts to cap further restrict MID benefits for wealthier taxpayers.Here’s an even better, though more utopian, idea: When a new administration and Congress take up tax reform next year, expand Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to include a housing subsidy. Creating a housing benefit as a part of EITC is not as farfetched as it might seem at first glance.EITC is a Republican invention from the Nixon Administration; to draw an analogy, it was George W. Bush who tacked prescription drug coverage on to Medicare.By moving housing subsidies to EITC, Congress could eliminate a chunk of federal administrative costs that is currently eaten up by the Housing Authorities. Dealing with PHAs is a major source of dissatisfaction for landlords and frustration for tenants.Eliminating “vouchers” solves the problem of “source of income” discrimination.Redefining “rental” subsidies to “housing” subsidies in the EITC opens the possibility that low-income households could become homebuyers. Expanding homeownership opportunities would also appeal to Republicans and would go some way to placating resistance from the real estate lobby.There are some programmatic problems with making housing subsidy a part of EITC. One is that the currently overworked and underfunded IRS would need to send households a check every month, rather than once a year. Another problem is adjusting the level of subsidy to the local fair market rent for the community. Mathematics would be involved—but, hey, that’s why we have computers.—Spencer WellsShare88TweetShare23Email111 Shares
Share22TweetShare1Email23 SharesGuns & Ammo 2 / KenFebruary 17, 2017; NPR, “The Two-Way”The First Amendment is often cited in defense of unpopular expression and ideas. The Second Amendment, protecting the rights of individual citizens to bear arms, is a conceptual crucible from which deep, fundamentally existential societal conflicts are forged. However, rarely have the powers of the pen and the pistol been pitted against each other in the courts—until 2011, when the state of Florida enacted the Privacy of Firearms Owners Act, which was immediately challenged in federal court in a case popularly known as “Docs v. Glocks.”The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday voted 10-1 that key provisions of Florida’s gun rights law, prohibiting Florida doctors from discussing firearms with their patients, violate the First Amendment rights of physicians. The law was never applied, as a Federal District Court in 2012 quickly struck down the law at the pleading of the plaintiffs: three individual doctors and the Florida Pediatric Society, the Florida Academy of Family Physicians, and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.The Privacy of Firearms Owners Act was aimed, according to the 11th Circuit, in such common cases as pediatricians asking parents about firearms in the home. The restrictive statute provided penalties for violations, including fines up to $10,000 and potential loss of a medical license, unless a doctor was acting in good faith belief that guns in the home were a potential medical harm. The convincing majority overruled the Court’s three-judge decision in 2014 upholding the law, in doing so holding that state of Florida has no authority to tread on the right of free speech without a very good reason: “Florida does not have carte blanche to restrict the speech of doctors and medical professionals on a certain subject without satisfying the demands of heightened scrutiny.”Heightened scrutiny is an almost insuperable evidentiary threshold reserved for the intrusion on fundamental, constitutional rights, elevated far above the principle of “preponderance of the evidence,” a measure of simple majority—or essentially 50.1% or higher—reserved for consideration of other non-constitutional rights such as some statutory or common law protections. The Court clearly spelled out what was worth defending in the doctor-patient relationship—free speech as a means of protecting patients and their families:As part of their medical practices, some doctors routinely ask patients about various potential health and safety risks, including household chemicals, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, swimming pools, and firearms. A number of leading medical organizations, and some of their members, believe that unsecured firearms ‘in the home increase risks of injury, especially for minors and those suffering from depression or dementia.As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in 2016 at the time of the argument before the full panel of the 11th Circuit, the NRA wrote its members in support of the law, stating that doctors claiming to do their job were throwing a smokescreen to cover illicit attempts at gun control:Physicians interrogating and lecturing parents and children about guns is not about gun safety. It is a political agenda to ban guns. Parents do not take their children to physicians for a political lecture against the ownership of firearms; they go there for medical care.This argument carried no weight with the deciding judges. Judge William Pryor, a serious contender for the Supreme Court before President Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch, voted with the majority and wrote a separate concurring opinion to emphasize what is at stake in ordering the priority and interrelationship of Constitutional Rights:The First Amendment is a counter-majoritarian bulwark against tyranny. […] The promise of free speech is that even when one holds an unpopular point of view, the state cannot stifle it. The price Americans pay for this freedom is that the rule remains unchanged regardless of who is in the majority.He continued, warning against a slippery slope of speech suppression inherent in upholding Florida’s statute:Without the protection of free speech, the government might seek to censor political speech by doctors. The state might prevent doctors from encouraging their patients to vote in favor of universal health care or prohibit a physician from criticizing the Affordable Care Act. Some might argue that such topics are irrelevant to a particular patient’s immediate medical needs, but the First Amendment ensures that doctors cannot be threatened with state punishment for speech even if it goes beyond diagnosis and treatment.With nothing to lose, there is a good chance Florida Governor Rick Scott will order a challenge to the ruling at the U.S. Supreme Court, and Republican Attorney General Pamela Bondi—whose name should ring a bell—would likely have no personal quandary complying with such request. The challenge will also serve as an appeal to the conservative Republican base in Florida and nationwide.Whether the Supreme Court grants certiorari is another matter altogether. The 11th Circuit has laid bare the clear constitutional violation without qualifying its holding with any shade of doubt, and the Supreme Court likely wouldn’t see this as a model case to reinforce or underscore the trending broad interpretation of the Second Amendment in favor of gun owners. It simply is not a credible argument, as the NRA opined, that doctors can force gun owners to self-impose any denial of gun ownership rights; counseling patients does not in any manner usurp their free will.Further, rather than expose the Court’s impotent and moribund deadlock with the current eight justices by taking on this case (assuming the application for certiorari is considered before Gorsuch or any subsequent nominee is approved by the Senate), which would only uphold the 11th Circuit ruling, the Supreme Court could do the same thing by not accepting the case. They would consider carefully, as the lower court opines, that upholding the Privacy of Firearms Owners Act would open the floodgates to shutting down unpopular or oppositional speech.This is the Court of cases like Citizens United v. FEC, which struck down some key limits on campaign financing in large part based on the freedom of political speech provided by the First Amendment. Even the conservative wing of the Court, not a stalwart friend of gun control, would consonantly be compelled to support the hard-fought-for protections of medical speech under a strong First Amendment.—Louis AltmanShare22TweetShare1Email23 Shares
Share88TweetShare13Email101 SharesBy Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America – Donald Trump, CC BY-SA 2.0, LinkMarch 14, 2017; BBC NewsPress Secretary Sean Spicer announced Tuesday that President Trump, at the end of this year, will ask for help from the media to channel his $400,000 annual presidential salary towards a selected charity or charities. This is less than groundbreaking; both Presidents Herbert Hoover (self-made man in mining industry) and John F. Kennedy (inherited fortune) donated their salaries to charity, and the substantial salary is presumably what President Trump makes in less than a day from his cornucopia of branded enterprises. It could be seen as a remarkable turnaround from his loud and breathless jeremiad against “fake news” and “the dishonest media,” but there’s also the chance it’s an off-the-cuff use of philanthropy that reflects much of the disrespect he has displayed before in his philanthropic dealings.Trump’s new pledge somewhat deviates from his original promise to not accept the presidential salary in the first place. Last November 13th, on CBS’s 60 Minutes, the president-elect stated that he would accept only the minimum he could take under the law: “Well, I’ve never commented on this, but the answer is no. I think I have to by law take $1, so I’ll take $1 a year.” That itself was, charitably, an act of forgetting. September 17, 2016, on the campaign trail, he promised the same thing, stating, “The first thing I’m going to do is tell you that if I’m elected president, I’m accepting no salary, OK? That’s no big deal for me.”What Trump may not have realized is that the president—any president—is required to take a salary. He or she may do with it as they choose, but accepting the money is mandatory. As Politico Magazine said in a November 2016 essay: “It confirms that the president serves the public, and not the other way around. If the Founders’ reasons were good enough to persuade George Washington, our first independently wealthy president, they should be good enough for Donald Trump.”Spicer, at the day’s briefing, joked that assigning donating authority to the press would be “a way to avoid scrutiny.” For President Trump, perhaps, but it would create an ethical quandary for the reporters and their news organizations. Few if any will take the bait, which is probably what President Trump and his advisors anticipate. This is more theater at the expense of the country. Remember, it’s a long way until the end of the year, and there are countless ways of clarifying his pledge for Trump to walk back his generous dispensation of trusteeship over his pay.In the meantime, it’s likely that the media will generate hundreds of ideas with various degrees of sincerity. Twitterers will break the Internet with this one. Who would whittle down the candidates of this unexpected largesse? Stephen Bannon, ex-CEO of Breitbart News and now NSC “principal” and presidential advisor? Perhaps Trump will announce the winners on a prime time television special, or on five golden tickets he hides in chocolate bars.How is this likely to play out? First, President Trump could exempt from the donation his federal income tax owed from the prior decade. Second, he will likely insinuate himself into the decision-making process, regardless of his stated intentions. Third, he will engage in some quid-pro-quo gamesmanship with his typically subtle flourish. Lawrence O’Donnell, on his MSNBC show, concluded that Trump might actually cost taxpayers money with this scheme, counting the tax write-off he’ll get. The president has nothing to lose. This is pocket change to him—coffee money, like the dimes John D. Rockefeller, the original billionaire, was famous for tossing to the indigent.—Louis AltmanShare88TweetShare13Email101 Shares
Sky Deutschland has launched its news sports news channel. Sky Sports News HD went live on New Year’s Day at 12:00.Brian Sullivan, CEO of Sky Deutschland, said: “The launch of Sky Sport News HD is a landmark in the history of Sky. A 24-hour live sport news channel signals something completely new in the German-speaking TV landscape. With the new channel, Sky is once again adding to its unique portfolio of new products and innovations.”Sky Sports News HD, with 200 employees including anchors Kate Abdo and Thomas Fleischmann, will air sports news 24 hours a day, seven days a week.Sky Sport News HD is available in HD via satellite and through cable networks Kabel BW, Tele Columbus and NetCologne. The channel can also be received in SD via satellite and through all digital cable networks. Sky Sport News HD will be broadcasted unencrypted for the first month to all digital satellite and cable households in Germany and Austria. The channel will be part of the Sky Welt package and is available in Germany and Austria through TV, internet, iPad, iPhone, and soon through Xbox 360 as well as sports bars and hotels.
Jean-Paul Cottet, currently Orange’s executive vice-president of marketing and innovation, has been promoted and will also assume responsibility for the group’s new growth activities business. He replaces Xavier Couture, who ha been named special assistant to CEO Stéphane Richard with responsibility for relations with the audiovisual sector.Couture joined the France Telecom-Orange group in May 2008 as content director before taking charge of the new growth activities division at the end of 2010.
Tony Orsten is returning to the UK following his departure from Abu Dhabi media hub TwoFour54. Orsten announced earlier this year that Noura Al Kaabi was taking over as CEO of TwoFour54, but said he was staying on in Abu Dhabi until this month.Orsten told DTVE’s sister publication TBI that he couldn’t reveal details of his next move yet, but he has set up UK-based Orstenmedia. A veteran of the UK and international TV business, Orsten’s previous experience includes being head of content at Joost, managing director of entertainment channels at MTV and MD of Paramount in the UK.In a leaving note to colleagues, issued at the time he announced his departure, Orsten said that Wayne Borg will be staying at TwoFour54 as deputy CEO as will Andy Young, CFO.Noura Al Kaabi replaces Orsten. She was previously the head of TwoFour54’s Tawasol division. It manages market intelligence, business networking promotion and relocation services at the Abu Dhabi-based operation. Orsten has taken a seat on the board of TwoFour54.
Austrian broadcast provider ORS has awarded a contract to Net Insight to distribute DVB-T2 signals across Austria.ORS is solely responsible for the construction, operation and maintenance of the terrestrial transmitter network, digital satellite transmission and is the only company in Austria in charge of the country’s national DTT distribution.The agreement, via Net Insight’s local partner TV-Connect Broadcast Systems, will provide a network that uses ORS’s underlying IP infrastructure to distribute DVB-T2 signals nationwide. The network will deliver services such as HD content as well as audio/radio signals over the same platform. Net Insight’s Nimbra 680 MSR will enable secure multicast through out the network.The first phase of the rollout is based on more than 40 Nimbra 680 nodes and will begin in the third quarter of 2012. The roll-out of the DVB-T2 network will continue during 2013 and 2014.Net Insight will be exhibiting at IBC on Stand 1.B40
Oprah Winfrey’s interview with disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong will be streamed live around the world.The 90-minute interview, in which Armstrong will address the doping and cheating scandal that has enveloped him, will take place next Thursday.The interview will take place at Armstrong’s home in Austin, Texas and will be the first he has given since the US anti-doping agency USADA issued a damning report, alleging the cyclist has taken part in widespread and prolonged doping.It will be broadcast on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, the cable channel Winfrey runs with Discovery, as part of the Oprah’s Next Chapter show. However, it does not have international distribution and streaming the interview will allow viewers around the world to tune in.The interview will be streamed on oprah.com.
Netflix is making its first original kids series. It is teaming with Hollywood studio DreamWorks to make animated show Turbo: F.A.S.T., a spin-off from upcoming DreamWorks animated movie Turbo.Turbo: F.A.S.T. (Fast Action Stunt Team) will launch on Netflix in December in the US and across the international territories in which the streaming service operates.Netflix announced a content deal with DreamWorks late last year, under the terms of which the studio’s finished animated movies will launch on the OTT service starting with its 2013 slate, at a reported cost of about US$30 million (€22 million) a movie.The launch of Turbo: F.A.S.T. marks Netflix’s first move into original kids programming after its well-publicised move into making original series for its core, grown-up audience. That push has, thus far, yielded Lilyhammer and House of Cards, which rolled out earlier this month.Netflix says that in 2012 its members streamed more than two billion hours of kids content.DreamWorks Animation’s CEO, Jeffrey Katzenberg, said: “Netflix boasts one of the largest and fastest-growing audiences in kids television. They pioneered a new model for TV dramas with House of Cards, and now together, we’re doing the same thing with kids’ programming.”Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix said: “Families love Netflix, so creating an original series for kids was a natural for us. And we’re doing it in a big way by adapting Turbo, this year’s DreamWorks Animation summer tent-pole movie.”Turbo is a 3D comedy about a snail who, after an accident, miraculously gains powers of super-speed, clearing the way for him to compete in the Indianapolis 500. The film will launch next July 19.Turbo: F.A.S.T. will pick up where the feature film leaves off, following the snail hero and his racing crew as they take on stunts and bad guys.
Canal Plus is to tap the Google Plus Hangout video chatroom service to create a social TV event around the double-match football clash between leading French sides Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique Marseille on February 24 and February 27.Canal Plus, which will air the match live, will offer an online meeting between supporters of both clubs and players, compered by Canal Plus commentator Sébastien Dupuis. Individuals will be able to connect via webcam tanks to the Goolgle Plus Hangout live video chatroom service and will share reaction s to the match.Ahead of the match, on February 21, Paris Saint-Germain’s Blaise Matuidi and OM’s André Ayew will lead rival fans in an online quiz on the history of the rivalry between the two clubs.
Belarus service providers Beltelecom and Cosmos TV Belarus are preparing for the rollout of DVB-T2-based digital-terrestrial broadcasting.Beltelecom has launched a new Standart TV package as part of its Zala TV offering, broadcast in DVB-T2. The service will be available in the Minsk, Vitebsk and Mogilev regions and will comprise 18 channels, including eight national services.Cosmos TV will continue to make channels available in the DVB-T format until the end of this year.
Channel 4-owned movie network Film4 has upped two executives, including Harry Dixon, who now becomes head of film finance alongside his existing role looking after legal and business affairs.At the same time, assistant Hannah Saunders has been promoted to Film4 marketing and brand executive, responsible for co-ordinating on UK releases, international festivals and corporate brand management.Saunders will continue to report into Sue Bruce-Smith, head of commercial and brand strategy, while Dixon will continue to report to Geraldine Atlee, head of legal and business affairs for Film4 and Channel 4 (scripted content).