Peering into the crystal ball

first_imgWhile political pundits labor overtime trying to predict the outcome of the approaching midterm national elections, students at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) have taken up the challenge of determining what’s happening among voters.They are taking a course with two HKS professors with decades of campaign and White House experience between them, David Gergen and Elaine Kamarck.Gergen, professor of public service and director of the Center for Public Leadership, served as a White House adviser to four presidents: Republicans Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan, and Democrat Bill Clinton.Kamarck, a lecturer in public policy, came to the Kennedy School in 1997 after a career in politics and government. In the 1980s, she was one of the founders of the New Democrat movement that helped elect Clinton. She served in the White House from 1993 to 1997, and in 2000 became senior policy adviser to Al Gore’s presidential campaign.In September, the students divided into small groups that were asked to forecast the number of seats that would change hands in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.“Our group came to the consensus that the Democrats were probably going to lose the House,” said Richmond Blake, a second-year master’s in public policy student who canvassed for Barack Obama during his successful 2008 presidential campaign.In examining the current political landscape, Blake said he was troubled by the fact that so many of Obama’s signature pieces of legislation attracted so few Republican votes and feared that could lead to their being repealed. “That is something we have talked a lot about in this class,” he said.Gergen and Kamarck co-teach “Contemporary Issues in American Elections” only during voting years, giving students a chance to deeply explore the unfolding dynamics of party politics in real time.“We wanted to teach a class not just about the elections that were going on but about American politics at a given point in time,” said Kamarck. The course combines U.S. history with political science and current events. It is solid preparation for students headed into public policy roles, and it fulfills a core HKS mission, said Kamarck, “to create well-educated, effective actors in the world.”While the bitter partisanship that has characterized much of the current campaign may seem particularly divisive, and many observers wonder if something important has been lost in the Democratic process with such a polarized electorate, Kamarck argues that, essentially, it’s par for the course.“American elections have always been like this. Anyone who encounters an intense election for the first time thinks, ‘God this is so terrible.’ We had an election in 1860 that resulted in a war — now that is an ugly election.”During a class on Monday (Oct. 18), Kamarck offered students an intimate look at the creation of the Democratic Party. She explored important realignments in party structure, including the electorate’s movement to the left in 1934 and the Reagan revolution of the 1980s, which heralded a new era of conservatism and a desire for smaller government.Now, Kamarck asked, did Obama’s win in 2008 signal another major party realignment — a fundamental move to a more liberal mindset — or was something else at play? The consensus was that only time will tell.David Chalian, political director of PBS NewsHour, was a guest in the audience, invited by Charlie Gibson, a television network broadcaster and a fellow this fall at HKS’s Shorenstein Center for the Press, Politics and Public Policy, who has been sitting in on the class.Chalian said the Obama camp had likely underestimated how much “anti-Bush, antiwar frustration existed in 2008.”After class, Gibson said the only part of his former job he missed was covering election nights. This time around, he said, it was fascinating to see the Democrats distance themselves from the major legislation passed during Obama’s first two years, including health care reform, financial reform, and the economic stimulus package.“This is a very, very conservative-minded electorate at the moment, but I think it’s also anti-incumbent, and I think it’s an angry electorate because there are 27 million people unemployed in this country,” said Gibson. “I think you are going to see an angry public that votes.”Kamarck argued that the loosely organized, rebellious tea party is simply a faction of voters that fits squarely in the tradition of the small government. Its supporters are angry at the Republican Party, she said, “for abandoning small government under George Bush,” and they don’t like most of the Democratic reforms.The economy is important in this election cycle, she affirmed. “We are in for a long period of economic adjustment,” said Kamarck. “Either Obama is going to control that, or he is going to be controlled by it.”last_img read more

European Union may enact binding limits on methane emissions from gas industry

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:The European Union is considering binding standards for natural gas to limit emissions of methane, the second-largest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide. The 27-member bloc is the world’s biggest importer of gas, and imposing such standards could affect its major suppliers, which include Russia and Norway.Published on Wednesday, the EU methane strategy includes a clearer commitment than previous drafts, which shied away from methane limits on gas consumed in Europe. It said any legislation would follow an impact assessment involving international partners.“The Commission will consider methane emission reduction targets, standards or other incentives for fossil energy consumed and imported in the EU in the absence of significant commitments from international partners,” the policy said. Curbing methane is key to plans to cut EU greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. However, that target does not capture the emissions released to produce or transport gas to the EU, whereas methane standards for imported gas would.Methane, which is emitted from leaky oil and gas pipelines and infrastructure, unused coal mines and farming, is 84 times more potent than CO2 in its first 20 years in the atmosphere.The Commission will propose legislation next year requiring oil and gas companies to monitor and report methane emissions and repair leaks. It will consider banning venting and flaring, which release methane into the atmosphere or deliberately burn it.Satellite data has shown methane emissions significantly higher than levels reported by industry. The Commission said it will help launch an independent international body to gather data, supported by EU satellites.[Kate Abnett]More: EU considers binding methane emissions standards for gas European Union may enact binding limits on methane emissions from gas industrylast_img read more

Nigeria: Finidi Gets Mallorca Appointment

first_imgFormer Nigerian international, Finidi George, has been appointed the Youth Team coach of Spanish La Liga side, Mallorca. The former Sharks winger, who made his Super Eagles debut in the 7-1 whitewash of Burkina Faso at the main bowl of the national stadium in Lagos in a Nations Cup qualifier, had played for Real Betis in Spain.Finidi also played for Ajax Amsterdam, where he won the UEFA Champions League alongside Nwankwo Kanu. He also played in England with Ipswich Town.Finidi also achieved a bit of world wide fame with his celebration at the 1994 FIFA World Cup, when he went an all fours like a dog urinating after scoring against Greece.Finidi had taken time out to serve as an intern coach at Dutch side, FC Zwolle on the way to earning a coaching badge.last_img

Princess leads 10th Inspire Run and Ride

first_imgHRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha led more than 500 people in jogging and cycling to aid those suffering mental illnesses at the 10th annual Inspire Run and Ride.Cyclists cross the start line at Khao Chee Chan during the 10th annual Inspire Run and Ride, Saturday, Jan 7.The Jan. 7-8 event near Silver Lake Vineyard and Khao Chee Chan raised funds for the princess’ Funds for Health Promotion foundation, which aids those with depression or other problems, specifically women who no longer have the will to live.  The program hopes to help them bounce back and live a normal happy life.A competitor enters the finishing area after completing the testing but scenic cycle ride.On the first day, 500 men and women cycled 50 and 90-kilometers, in separate age and gender categories.  The second day saw marathons and walking event in which HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha participated.last_img read more

R Ashwin references ‘#LockdownLessons’ from Rajinikanth as he advocates online cricketing drills

first_imgImage Courtesy: NDTV/PTIAdvertisement 828qttbNBA Finals | Brooklyn Vs2vcrWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre E8m7w( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) 8dn3xlbWould you ever consider trying this?😱s9nCan your students do this? 🌚e3iRoller skating! Powered by Firework With no fixtures to attend in the current lock down from the novel Coronavirus pandemic, many sportspersons have taken to social media to keep themselves busy with home exercise posts, awareness videos and also some funny banter for the entertainment of the fans. Team India stalwart Ravichandran Ashwin has come up with an ‘online coaching’ lesson, where he gives some tips on fielding, inspired from the one and only Rajinikanth!Advertisement Image Courtesy: NDTV/PTIAn iconic Indian film actor, Rajinikanth is well known across his fan base for the bizarre yet amazing action scenes in his movies. There are many such clips of the veteran that are found all over social media, and one such ended up in a Twitter fan session of Ravichandran Ashwin.The Team India star recently asked his followers to name their favourite non-cricketing sportspersons and actors who would shine as a cricketer, as he is making use of the time in self-isolation to connect to the fans through social media.Advertisement As many netizens came up with some witty and hysterical examples, Twitter user @manivannankama1 shared a movie clip of Rajinikanth where he is seen throwing bombs at enemies, indicating that how good of a fielder the actor could have been.“Hey ash…u forgot #thalaivar…that double hand pickup and throw🔥” the user commented in the Twitter thread.Advertisement This is just what Ashwin needed to crack a funny joke, saying that this ‘fielding drill’ should only be performed with soft balls and not explosives.“Online coaching alert: some fielding drills. Please try it at home but not with explosives, strictly soft balls. 😂 by our Thalaivar #lockdownlessons” the 33 year old’s hilarious reply read.Ashwin was picked up by Indian Premier League franchise Delhi Capitals back in November. However, the all rounder may have to wait some more to head to the 22 yards, as the currently postponed IPL 2020 may face further suspension, as BCCI is considering hosting the 13th edition of the cash rich league in July or in the winter season.India, which is currently observing a 21-day lock down, has seen 7,447 confirmed COVID-19 cases till date, and 239 patients have died.Also read-Yuvraj revisits Kevin Pietersen’s ‘pie chucker’ comment with hilarious troll on his IG post!Indian Olympian stuck in Covid-19 hotspot Phuket – but safe! Advertisementlast_img read more

New social welfare scheme opens for unemployed artists

first_imgA pilot scheme has opened to visual artists and writers under the Creative Ireland Programme allowing them to focus on their creative output.A review of the pilot scheme for artists was recently undertaken by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection in consultation with the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.In line with this recommendation, Ministers Doherty and Josepha Madigan announced, on 5 July 2019, that the scheme would be extended on a permanent basis to other self-employed artists such as those working in theatre and music. This expanded scheme recognises the unique creative circumstances of professional artists in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance and gives them special assistance in their first year out of work.Professional artists engaged in a wide variety of art forms who are on Jobseeker’s Allowance will now be able to focus on their artistic work and to develop their portfolio.  They will be exempt from participating in the normal labour market activation activities for the first year that they are out of work.Minister Doherty said: “Ireland is well known throughout the world for its unique contribution to all art forms.  Giving professional artists an opportunity to expand their creative work in a practical way is our way of acknowledging the important work that professional artists do.“We know that creativity must be fostered and allowed to develop rather than imposing restrictions on the time needed to produce creative work to a professional standard. “I am delighted to extend my Department’s scheme as was recommended in the review undertaken by my Department in consultation with the Department of Culture Heritage and Gaeltacht.“I would also like to acknowledge the support and input from The Arts Council along with representatives from Visual Artists Ireland and the Irish Writers Centre.“My Department looks forward to accepting applications from professional artists who satisfy the qualifying conditions and to support them in the development of their professional careers.”The review recommended that the pilot should be established as a permanent scheme in its own right and extended to include professionals from other artistic disciplines.Minister Madigan commented: “This Government recognises the crucial role that the arts and culture play in our nation. That’s why we have already made significant progress on our public commitment to double funding for culture, heritage and the Gaeltacht by 2025.  In Budget 2019, funding for arts and culture increased by €22.6m to almost €190m, an increase of 14% on 2018.Artists, performers and stage designers are central to this. They deserve our full support particularly given the significant income challenges they can face.That’s why we expanded this scheme, a pilot initiative of the all-of-Government Creative Ireland Programme, to include other self-employed artists.The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will work with the Arts Council and the representative bodies for artists from different art forms to develop an independent and objective validation process that will certify the artists’ professional credentials.” In order to qualify for the scheme, professional artists must apply for and satisfy the qualifying conditions for Jobseeker’s Allowance including a means test.They must be unemployed, capable of, available for and actively seeking work.  Applicants are also required to provide a certificate/declaration from their professional body as to their status as a professional artist.They must be registered as self-employed with the Office of the Revenue Commissioners and at least 50% of their income should be derived from their art in the previous year.Participants on the scheme can continue on a voluntary basis to avail of the supports of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection’s Public Employment Service.Visual artists from Visual Artists Ireland and writers from the Irish Writer’s Centre have now been joined on the scheme by screenwriters, film directors and film actors.The theatre art form is open to actors, costume designers, theatre directors, set designers and stage designers.Musicians, dancers, choreographers, opera composers and circus and street performers complete the list of artistic disciplines who are now included in the scheme.New social welfare scheme opens for unemployed artists was last modified: September 6th, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Raptors’ VanVleet gets stitched up after elbow from Livingston

first_imgRaptors guard Fred VanVleet was seen bleeding from his eye area after taking an elbow from Warriors guard Shaun Livingston on a rebound attempt.Livingston went up to pull down a missed Warriors shot when his left elbow connected with VanVleet’s face with 9:35 left in the fourth quarter of Game 4.The Raptors guard looked dazed, laying on the floor of Oracle Arena for an extended period as blood appeared to come out of his eye.Fred VanVleet headed back to the locker room after catching an …last_img

Independent film makes Venice cut

first_imgIndependent filmmaker, Sibs Shongwe-La Mer, is challenging the film industry with his high quality low-fi movies.(Image: Shamin Chibba) Shongwe-La Mer’s “Territorial Pissings” will feature at the 70th Venice International Film Festival at the end of August.(Image: The Whitman Independent) A scene from “Territorial Pissings” depicting dispossessed youth, which is a major theme in the story.(Image: The Whitman Independent) MEDIA CONTACTS • Sibs Shongwe-La Mer   +27 82 0700 640 RELATED ARTICLES • Triggerfish takes on the big boys • Locally-made films get Oscar nod • Local presence at global film event • Hollywood honour for local filmmaker Shamin ChibbaWhen South African low-fi filmmaker Sibs Shongwe-La Mer stood up on stage at TEDx Johannesburg, a conference where creative minds gather to share ideas, he seized the audience’s attention by asking: “What happened to that inner child? What happened to the creative we have left to die?” The 21-year-old was referring to society’s willingness to give its creative powers to a handful of industry gatekeepers.Dressed in a scruffy checked jacket, jeans, a red beanie and two silver studs hanging from his bottom lip, Shongwe-La Mer epitomised the anti-establishment message he delivered on stage. “I believe we should all just express ourselves. As an audience member let me decide what is good or not. I hate the idea of gatekeepers.”It is this courage to challenge the creative industry, coupled with some bold filmmaking, that has taken Shongwe-La Mer to the 70th Venice International Film Festival. His latest offering, Territorial Pissings, has been selected for the festival’s first edition of the Final Cut in Venice workshop, which will take place on 31 August. The programme will showcase four African films that are in post-production.Named after a song by American grunge band Nirvana, Territorial Pissings plays out over Youth Day and focuses on the conversations between disillusioned, middle-class young adults living in suburban Johannesburg. “Even though it is Youth Day, you see all these kids doing drugs, experimenting with their sexuality, and not knowing where they are. This is the generation I grew up in.”Shongwe La-Mer said every part of the film was taken from his experiences as a black youth raised in an affluent suburb, including the dramatic hanging of one of the characters in the introduction. “Suburbs are not havens. Bad things happen there.”At the festival, the film will compete against The Cat by Ibrahim El Batout of Egypt, Challat Tunes by Kaouther Ben Hania of Tunisia, and Avec Presque Rien by Nantenaina Lova of Madagascar. Producers, distributors, buyers and festival programmers will assess each film, after which they will choose the best one for the grand prize. The winner will receive more than €55 000 (R750 000 or $73 000) in technical expertise, including sound mixing, digital colour correction and special effects.Even though the festival is still to start, just being selected has already brought Shongwe La-Mer international recognition. Russian, Ukrainian and French distributors have approached him to buy Territorial Pissings to distribute it globally.Shongwe-La Mer’s low-fi films are created with little or no budget, which means he needs to use equipment ranging from a camera phone to a handheld camcorder. And as with Territorial Pissings, his production crew is no more than four people. Yet he never intended on entering the independent arena. “I make and release a lot of music; I exhibit as a photographer and I write. So filmmaking kind of came full-circle. Film, it seemed, would embody everything that I love.” Anti-establishment sentimentsHis independent style, he implied, challenged the conventional way films were made. For him, being chosen for the festival was testament to the idea that films did not need budgets or gatekeepers to be successful. “Who are these five people who have money and are dictating how things are going to be? They are not experts of the soul or spirit quality. We are. What we need is people doing things with creative ideas.”In his TEDx talk, Shongwe-La Mer said the film industry was dying. Strong words indeed, which many around him feared would anger industry role players. But he was unfazed. He added that creativity started before industry put a price tag on it. “Our history was of a free creativity way before enterprise. And now enterprise has wasted away and because of that they are saying we cannot be creative anymore. But I say, ‘No, that is not true’. This is the most beautiful time because we are returning to the roots of creativity.” Minimalist filmmaking is his messageAfter graduating from high school, Shongwe La-Mer tried to join the film industry but was rejected. After some deliberation, he realised he could produce his own films without the approval of the industry. He began by using a high-definition cellphone for filming as well as a small production crew. He quickly gained recognition online for his honest storytelling. “If you have a Facebook account there will be 2 000 people who have you in their pockets at any time.”While Territorial Pissings may depict a group of directionless youth trying to make sense of life, Shongwe-La Mer said he was not trying to punt a particular message. Instead, he held that his message lay in the way he made his films. His focus is on practical action that will encourage creativity in people. “If you do what you do in an interesting way, people will be inspired to do even better things from that platform. For a lot of people, what I spoke about on [the TEDx] stage will not hit home. Not until they pick up a camera and create something, even just for fun.” The Whitman IndependentShongwe-La Mer established The Whitman Independent, a platform for independent filmmakers, artists and photographers to showcase their work at minimal cost compared to mainstream platforms.In its short existence, it has already challenged an established gallery by representing Cape Town fine art photographer Jordan Sweke. Sweke approached the gallery on his own to ask if it would exhibit display his work, but he was turned away. But after The Whitman Independent represented Sweke in an exhibition at the same gallery, the owners praised his photography. “What is this system that is killing artists like [Sweke]?” asked Shongwe-La Mer. “After being rejected, an artist does not go to the next gallery. You know what he does? He makes a fashion photography reel and goes into advertising because he does not believe he can be an artist.”The Whitman Independent, which operates in Johannesburg and Cape Town, has hosted 15 exhibitions and two film festivals since February. It has also published its first book, Culture, a compilation of illustrations, short stories and poetry. In September, it will go beyond the confines of art when it hosts its first food day in the Mother City. “Me and the Cape Town curator were saying that the first sign of a free society is when food becomes less expensive,” said Shongwe La-Mer.View an excerpt of Territorial Pissings on the Brand South Africa blog.last_img read more

5 Cloud Startups to Watch in 2011 # 3: Loggly

first_imgAs 2010 draws to a close we’re taking a look at a few cloud startups that show promise and that we haven’t covered on ReadWriteCloud.Loggly is a cloud-based log management service for system administrators, application developers and data analysts. Loggly can collect logs from multiple servers and aggregate them into one searchable location. The San Francisco based company was founded in 2009 and is funded by Trinity Ventures and True Ventures. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#cloud#saas Related Posts Like Netuitive, which we profiled yesterday, Loggly is using the cloud to simplify IT management. Most large IT environments have reached the point that monitoring all necessary logs isn’t humanly possible, making solutions like Loggly and Netuitive are extremely useful.Logs are transmitted to Loggly through an HTTPS connection and stored on Loggly’s servers. According to Green Data Center Blog Loggly uses Hadoop and Amazon Web Services to power its service. It’s free while in beta, but will have pricing starting at $99 a month when it graduates from beta.Logs can also be accessed through an API so enterprises can create custom uses for the service or conduct backups. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… klint finley 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Energy efficiency programs: state by state ratings

first_imgCalifornia is Best; Wyoming is WorstWest coast, Northeast, and Lakes states fill out the top 10WASHINGTON, DC — The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has ranked all 50 states for the quality of their energy-efficiency programs and policies. California received the highest ranking; in descending order, the next best states are Oregon, Connecticut, Vermont, New York, Washington, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and New Jersey.Maggie Eldridge, an ACEEE research associate, noted, “The top-ranked states are demonstrating great leadership in promoting energy independence with cost-effective energy-efficiency investments.” ACEEE scores states on the quality of their utility-sponsored and state-sponsored energy-efficiency programs, their building energy codes, their appliance efficiency standards, and the energy efficiency of public buildings, among other factors. At the bottom of the list, in descending order, are Arkansas, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennesse, Mississippi, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alabama, and Wyoming. For more information, visit the ACEEE website.last_img read more