Keylor Navas corrió desde su arco para festejar el gol de Sergio Ramos sobre la hora. pic.twitter.com/JhzLPbHop7— SportsCenter (@SC_ESPN) December 3, 2016 The top two teams in Spain’s La Liga battled to a tense 1-1 draw Saturday in Barcelona’s Camp Nou that saw a flurry of action in the final minutes.Barcelona’s Luis Suárez headed in the first goal off a Neymar free kick from the side in the 53rd minute. Costa Rican goalie Keylor Navas was unable to stop the point blank goal from Suárez, who had overpowered Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane.Real Madrid answered in the last minute, however, when captain and perpetual lifesaver Sergio Ramos headed in the equalizer. Related posts:Keylor Navas and Real Madrid advance to Champions League final Keylor Navas makes history as Real Madrid wins Champions League title Costa Rica returns with full-strength lineup in last step toward World Cup qualifying Costa Rica scores key victory over Trinidad & Tobago in World Cup Qualifying Navas was first called into action in the 19th minute when he comfortably stopped a Lionel Messi free kick on goal.In the preceding minutes, a possible handball by Ramos went uncalled, avoiding a Barcelona penalty kick that looked likely warranted.In the 68th minute, Neymar had a chance to put the dagger in Real Madrid after beating his defender, but the ball somehow sailed high of goal.Ramos’ 90th-minute goal came in the middle of a dramatic back-and-forth in the games waning, desperate moments. Madrid nearly scored before Ramos’ goal when superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo headed a ball towards what looked like an open goal. However, his attempt was stopped just in time by Jordi Alba’s ankle as the Barcelona defender continued his brilliant match against Madrid’s attack.In extra time, Navas came far away from net to punch out a lofted ball. He soon found himself in no man’s land as Barcelona sent another shot towards goal, which was fortuitously saved by Madrid defender Casemiro.With the tie, Madrid remains first in La Liga with 34 points and Barcelona stays one spot behind with its 28 league points.Real Madrid returns to action this Wednesday with a Champions League group stage match against German power Borussia Dortmund. Facebook Comments
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Timing is crucial, with a U.N. bid before November potentially disrupting the U.S. presidential race.The U.S. and Israel oppose the quest for unilateral recognition. They say a Palestinian state must be set up through negotiations. Israeli-Palestinian talks broke off in 2008 and the two sides disagree on how to restart them.The Palestinians want a state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war. Israel has increasingly blurred the pre-1967 frontier by moving half a million Israelis into the West Bank and east Jerusalem.The General Assembly could at best accept “Palestine” as a non-member observer state. Palestinian officials have said the main purpose of winning General Assembly recognition is to reaffirm the 1967 lines as the borders of a future Palestinian state.Last year, Abbas sought full U.N. membership for Palestine but failed to win the necessary votes in the U.N. Security Council.Palestinian officials have said they are confident they can win the required majority in the General Assembly.Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki, who also attended the Doha meeting, said the Palestinians would contact U.N. member states individually and in groups to affirm their support for recognizing Palestine. He suggested the Palestinians are not in a rush, saying that they would seek General Assembly recognition “when all other options are closed and there is no hope to return to negotiations.” More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Comments Share Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Associated PressRAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) – The Arab League on Sunday backed a Palestinian plan to ask the U.N. General Assembly to recognize a state of Palestine, but stopped short of setting a date for the bid, Palestinian officials said.Instead, Arab League representatives meeting in Doha asked a committee to prepare the U.N. appeal and report back on Sept. 5, said Saeb Erekat, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, speaking by phone from Doha. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like
The fifth luxury vessel for Crystal River Cruises – Crystal Ravel – has officially joined the fleet, with the “keys” presented during a handover ceremony at MV WERFTEN shipyard in Germany, where each of her predecessors were built. “Crystal Ravel is the fourth river cruise ship that was built at our shipyard – a ship that combines comfort and elegance with the highest standards in safety and navigation,” said Jarmo Laakso, managing director of MV WERFTEN. “Within eight months we were able to deliver four river ships to Crystal River Cruises. I would like to thank all of MV WERFTEN’s employees, our partners and the Crystal team for this achievement.”Crystal Ravel joins Crystal River Cruises approximately one month after her sister ship, Crystal Debussy, was received by the company at the shipyard. Crystal Debussy embarked on her maiden voyage last week on April 9 from Amsterdam.Crystal Ravel embarks on May 10 from Basel to Vienna, and sails itineraries along the Rhine, Danube, Main and Moselle rivers visiting medieval towns and cosmopolitan hubs in Austria, Hungary, Germany, Switzerland and Slovakia. Like her newly built sister ships Crystal Bach, Crystal Mahler and Crystal Debussy, the 106-guest Crystal Ravel offers Crystal’s acclaimed butler service in every room category, king-sized beds, panoramic balcony-windows, walk-in closets and dual vanity in the bathrooms in most categories, as well as ETRO robes and slippers, and wall-mounted flat-screen HD TVs. Crystal CruisesCrystal Ravel
TORONTO — Morrissey is ending his boycott of Canada with plans for a spring tour.The former lead singer of the Smiths says he’ll embark on an eight-city run of concerts this April with some proceeds going to local animal rights groups.The change of heart comes after Morrissey swore off playing Canada nearly 15 years ago, vowing to skip the country until the annual seal hunt was banned.The singer has been widely criticized for the way he characterizes the hunt.In a post on his website last year, he explained why he changed his mind about touring, saying he felt avoiding Canada was “ultimately of no use and helped no one” in the seal hunt protests.Morrissey will launch his Canadian tour in Vancouver (April 15) before heading to Calgary (April 17), Edmonton (April 18) and Saskatoon (April 20). Other dates include Winnipeg, two nights in Toronto and Montreal.He says local animal protection organizations will have an opportunity to set up stalls at each concert.Tickets go on sale Friday. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by The Canadian Press Posted Feb 19, 2019 9:54 am PDT Morrissey says Canadian tour will raise money for animal rights organizations FILE – British singer and songwriter Morrissey performs at the Vive Latino music festival in Mexico City, Saturday, March 17, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP /Marco Ugarte Follow @dfriend on Twitter.The Canadian Press
Categories: Kesto News 01Dec Kesto testifies on bills to reform juvenile justice sentencing The Michigan House Committee on Criminal Justice today took up a 20-bill package of legislation to reform and improve the state’s handling of young criminal offenders.The bipartisan, comprehensive package brings a host of changes to the way Michigan’s youths are tried, sentenced and incarcerated. Rep. Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township, said the main focus is on raising the age of criminal culpability and keeping youths out of a dangerous adult prison population whenever safe and possible.“We’re moving in the direction of real change,” said Rep. Kesto. “This package focuses on true rehabilitation for those who have the best chance: young offenders. My bills, HB 4960 and 4961 would remove some non-assault offenses, such as drug possession, from a list that allows authorities to bypass the juvenile justice system. We need to get our young offenders on the path to being productive members of society.”The bills will see further testimony in the committee before passage. Rep. Kesto said the process is certain to be fruitful.“There’s been a great swell of support from communities, law enforcement, and countless organizations,” Rep. Kesto said. “Prosecutors will still have the discretion to handle serious, dangerous offenders of any age, but we’re creating a better framework for handling those who can still be productive, law-abiding members of society.”######
Legislator optimistic about changes on the horizonState Rep. Brandt Iden today said he looks forward to the many legislative changes that will result from the House’s mental health task force report unveiled this week, which includes recommendations to make significant improvements to Michigan’s broken mental health system.The bipartisan task force spent five months taking part in public meetings and site visits across Michigan, reviewing areas where vulnerable residents are lacking in care and resources and collecting feedback to learn how best to deliver meaningful solutions. In particular, the panel focused on five key elements: Community, Access, Resources, Education and Safety (C.A.R.E.S.).“The recommendations put forth in this report, in addition to the dollars I was able to procure for opioid research, serve as a strong foundation that we can build on to improve programs throughout Kalamazoo County,” said Iden, of Oshtemo Township.The House C.A.R.E.S. report will not only serve as a blueprint for policy changes and legislation to be introduced in the next several months, but also establish a framework to further enhance mental health services in the future.Some of the proposed solutions in the report include:Eliminating barriers to increase access to mental health care;Creating a statewide crisis hotline to connect people in need with local services;Establishing incentives to encourage hospitals to create and expand psychiatric wards and help drive professionals to work in underserved areas;Improving training for first responders;Providing mental health training to teachers and counselors;Providing additional treatment to convicts with mental health challenges during and after incarceration.“This report has some great recommendations to further address substance abuse, including a program to assist parents struggling with addiction, and more resources to help local community mental health organizations address substance use disorders,” Iden said.The full report is available to review at www.house.mi.gov/CARES.### Categories: Iden News 18Jan Rep. Iden applauds work of House mental health task force
State Rep. Beau LaFave of Iron Mountain Wednesday voted in favor of bills which provide broad income tax relief to Michigan families and end senseless driver responsibility fees.LaFave said the driver responsibility fees were a scheme by Gov. Jennifer Granholm to plug a shortfall in the budget nearly 15 years ago. Since then, payment of the fees and loss of driving privileges have created a financial hardship for many Upper Peninsula families.“This is undoubtedly one of the most heinous fees carried over from the Lost Decade,” LaFave said. “I was happy to cast my vote to end it. The vast distances that separate people from their friends and jobs require them to drive. If their privileges are revoked, they are simply unable to make a living. Responsibility fees create a lose-lose instance of double jeopardy where you are punished if you drive to work without a license to gather the savings to get your license back, and forced into poverty if you don’t.”The legislation also creates a grace period from enactment of the bill thorough Dec. 31 that enables drivers to get their licenses back without paying a $125 restoration fee. People on monthly payment plans will receive immediate forgiveness, and others may participate in workplace development training programs to regain their driver’s licenses prior to Oct. 1.The Legislature also voted on tax relief bills, which LaFave said continue and increase personal exemptions for Michigan taxpayers and their dependents on state income taxes, saving families hundreds of dollars overall.“This tax relief on top of ending the driver responsibility fees is the sweetest Valentine’s Day gift, and the people of Michigan deserve it,” LaFave said. “These are both pocketbook issues that will help families make ends meet. Our state budget is in good shape and we can afford this tax cut. We all know hard-working families in the Upper Peninsula and all across Michigan deserve some relief.”The tax relief legislation ensures Michigan taxpayers will be able to continue claiming personal exemptions on their income taxes. The bill also increases the state personal exemption from the current $4,000 to $4,900 by the 2021 tax year.The driver responsibility fee measures and the tax relief measures now move to the governor for consideration. Categories: LaFave News 15Feb LaFave votes to give families tax relief, end driver responsibility fees
23Apr Rep. Vaupel: Health care workers must be protected from violence Categories: Vaupel News State Rep. Hank Vaupel testified today before the House Judiciary Committee in support of his plan to better protect medical personnel from abuse.Vaupel, of Fowlerville, said Michigan hospitals have reported a significant increase in the number of violent encounters with patients and their visitors, creating a need for stronger protections. His plan would stiffen penalties for people who assault health care workers.“Workplace violence is a real and growing threat to our health care providers, and it must be taken seriously,” Vaupel said. “Strengthening penalties will demonstrate that violence is not tolerated in hospitals and other health care facilities in Michigan.”Health care workers in the United States suffer more than 15,000 injuries each year due to workplace violence, according to a 2015 report from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In the study, 21 percent of nurses reported being physically assaulted and more than 50 percent reported verbal abuse.House Bills 4327-28 add health care professionals and medical volunteers to a protected group of workers that already includes police officers, firefighters and EMS personnel. Assaulting one of these protected professionals could result in a felony with enhanced penalties.“Just like first responders, our health care workers have an obligation to help people. More and more often, that means putting their own safety on the line,” Vaupel said. “We must do more to ensure violence against medical personnel is taken seriously.”Assaulting a health care worker is considered a felony in 32 other states.The plan remains under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee.###
02May House Appropriations Subcommittee approves plan to protect Michigan’s natural resources, water and environment Categories: Allor News The Michigan House Appropriations Subcommittee, charged with budgeting the state’s conservation and environmental protection programs, today approved two plans that make critical investments in drinking water protections, natural resource management and environmental protections, said subcommittee chair state Rep. Sue Allor.“My top priority is to continue to fight for Michigan families and protect those affected by PFAS contamination in the state—that is what this budget plan does,” Allor said. “At the same time, we must make sure the federal government is doing its fair share to clean up the contaminated sites it created in numerous Michigan communities. I will continue to fight to hold responsible parties accountable.”The plans, House Bills 4233 and 4241, ensure proper environmental protection across the board, by ensuring environmental remediation and associated costs are covered without raising taxes. It also sets aside funds to ensure that families hit the hardest by PFAS are connected to a permanent, clean water source and to continue key research on how PFAS impacts our state’s ecosystems.“How to best maximize our state’s resources to protect our natural resources and environment is a process and this plan represents a significant step in that process,” Allor said. “I am confident these proposals represent an efficient use of existing dollars, while driving value to the programs that matter the most to Michigan families.”The bills next move to the full House Appropriations Committee for further consideration.
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesJanuary 11, 2014; Star-Ledger “When it comes to raising tolls, the Port Authority [of New York and New Jersey] has nearly unchecked power and little obligation to listen to the public.” That’s one of reasons why Governor Chris Christie’s explanations for “Bridgegate,” the scandal involving his top aides closing two out of three access lanes from the city of Fort Lee, New Jersey to the George Washington Bridge, come off as implausible. The Port Authority is a bi-state public benefit corporation, or public authority, established more than 90 years ago by the states of New York and New Jersey to manage the regional infrastructure of bridges, tunnels, seaports, and airports that serve both states. It is a big operation, with a 2012 budget of $7 billion including capital expenditures of $3.66 billion. New Jersey has always felt like the little sister in this partnership. Governors of both parties have viewed the state’s relationship with New York in the agency as one of struggle and turf, particularly over the capital improvements budget and protection of New Jersey commuters’ access to and through the bridges and tunnels to jobs in Manhattan and the other four boroughs. According to a study by Mitchell Moss and others, as of 2009, 246,000 residents of Northern New Jersey commuted to jobs in Manhattan. The number of commuters from Bergen County, where Fort Lee is located, increased by 18 percent between 2002 and 2009. The George Washington Bridge is critical to Bergen County commuters. It is no surprise that with Northern Jersey’s commuters and others from beyond Bergen County, the G.W. Bridge is the world’s busiest motor vehicle bridge. If Christie’s aides wanted to make residents of Fort Lee uncomfortable, squeezing off access to the bridge between September 9th and 13th of last year was guaranteed to work. If you want to make a northern New Jersey mayor unpopular, get constituents to blame him or her for white-collar commuters’ inability to get to jobs in lower Manhattan—that is, Wall Street and the Financial District. Think of the Port Authority like a very large nonprofit. It has no power to tax and is funded entirely by the revenues it generates from its bridges, tunnels, and ports (and from tax exempt bonds), but there are few political issues in New Jersey more contentious than traffic jams on the GW Bridge (at the Lincoln and Holland tunnels), plus the $13 toll on the bridge. The board of this “nonprofit” benefit corporation is appointed by two governors and approved by their legislators. The commissioners they appoint are business and political powerhouses. Christie’s New York state counterpart, Andrew Cuomo, has a few titans on his side in the governance structure, including commissioners Basil Paterson, who is the former New York Secretary of State, a former New York City deputy mayor, and a political powerbroker of the first order, and Kenneth Lipper, a former general partner at both Lehman Brothers and Salomon Brothers and, like Paterson, a former deputy mayor (it appears that the only current commissioners who are persons of color are New Yorkers: Paterson and Rossana Rosado, the publisher and former editor-in-chief of El Diario la Prensa). A “nonprofit” with a $7 billion budget doesn’t escape the attention of the governor of the state responsible for half of its board members. Every New Jersey governor and every northern New Jersey mayor, particularly from the cities like Fort Lee that are gateways for commuters, is acutely aware of Port Authority dynamics. Perhaps Christie is such a hands-off manager that his appointment of David Samson, the counsel to his gubernatorial campaign as a Port Authority commissioner, subsequently elected chairman, meant that he could simply choose to ignore a massive tie-up on the bridge and leave it all to his appointees. That flies in the face of both Christie’s self-described hands-on management style and the constant political scrum between the two states in the bi-state agency.The importance of the Port Authority to the New Jersey state government explains some of the revelations that have emerged since Governor Christie’s marathon apology press conference. For example, one recent revelation is that Port Authority Chairman Samson sent an email to his colleagues on the board that excoriated Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye for “stirring up trouble” with his criticism of the lane closures and ordering the opening of the bridge access from Fort Lee, while two of Cuomo’s New York commissioners defended Foye. Another Christie appointee to the Port Authority, the since-resigned David Wildstein, actually monitored the lane closings in person. Both Wildstein and another Christie appointee, Bill Baroni, were informed as early as the first day of the closures that police and paramedics were complaining vociferously. Typically, New Jersey-appointed commissioners go to bat for the interests of communities on their side of the Hudson River crossings, but not in this case, since they were actually pleased with the results of the abuse of power by Christie’s minions. All of this reminds nonprofits of a critical function. Nonprofits of all stripes should be watchdogs against the abuse and misuse of governmental (and corporate) power. Reports from the mayors of Jersey City, Hoboken, and Elizabeth all describe having been punished by the Christie administration in ways that might have come to the attention of nonprofits; for example, Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer reports that her city received only one percent of the state grants it had requested after she declined to endorse Christie for re-election, grants that nonprofits might have used in their programs. For all the good and credible nonprofits in the Garden State, their reputations are impugned by the perception that the abuse of governmental power by Christie’s top aides is, in New Jersey, politics as usual.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares October 6, 2014; Daily BeastJack Holmes has a fabulous article in the Daily Beast suggesting that we all might want to be cautious about relying too much on polling data for crafting public policy. Not only does he repeat the story of the opinion polls that led to the “Dewey Beats Truman” headline, but he recounts the fabulous George Bishop poll from 1986 asking Cincinnatians if they thought the 1975 Public Affairs Act should be repealed. One-third offered opinions pro and con on the act, even though the act didn’t actually exist.Now we have polls that raise similar dubious interpretations, such as the 2012 Reuters poll in which a majority of Americans opposed the Affordable Care Act even though large pluralities in the same poll supported key provisions of the ACA like the prohibition on denials of insurance due to preexisting conditions and the mandate that large employers provide insurance to their employees. More recently, we have a significant majority of Americans approving bombing of ISIL (and presumably Al-Qaeda affiliates) in Syria and Iraq without much knowledge of what’s actually going on there and what the bombing would accomplish without “troops on the ground.”How about poll results concerning nonprofit issues? Are they reliable? Believable? Some recent nonprofit-related polling might warrant debate:Public Citizen and the Hudson Institute found recently that 86 percent of voters believe in strong, clear rules for how much political activity nonprofits should be allowed to pursue, with no significant difference between Republicans and Democrats on the issue, and two-thirds favored including disclosure and transparency in the rules. NPQ has often written in agreement with this position, but do the polled voters believe, as the first IRS draft of new rules suggested, that voter registration and get-out-the-vote activities should be counted as political? That, NPQ has written against. Would nonprofits of all stripes, public charities included, be open to new requirements of disclosure? Many nonprofits have been edgy about anything that goes too far on disclosure that might lead to new disclosure requirements not just on 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations, but 501(c)(3) public charities. The majority of respondents overall called for “clear rules and standards,” but that statement might not necessarily lead to nonprofit sector agreement as to what those rules might be and how much disclosure should be mandated.In 2011, a Gallup poll found that almost three-fourths of Americans opposed the elimination of tax deductions for charitable giving. However, the elimination of the charitable deduction hasn’t been proposed by either Republicans or Democrats and even gets retained in versions of flat tax legislation. The proposal on the books in 2011 and before was President Obama’s proposal to cap the deduction for high-income taxpayers. Might this poll lead people to think that a proposal to modify and cap the deduction was really a stalking horse for the elimination of the charitable deduction, something that Obama has never supported, much less proposed?In 2012, the United Way Worldwide released poll results concluding that “reducing or eliminating” the charitable deduction would have a negative impact on charities and the people they serve. Two-thirds of poll respondents were opposed to making either of those changes. Would the results have been different had the president’s proposed use of the funds—for healthcare, for jobs, etc.—been explained in contrast to simply addressing a loss of charitable income? The poll reported, “Of those who would reduce their giving, a majority (62%) indicate they would have to reduce their contributions by a significant amount.” (Emphasis added.) The poll was subsequently reported as concluding that 62 percent of Americans would cut their giving—even though, again, the president’s proposal only capped giving for the very rich. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the proposal that would have capped the deduction, it is impossible to imagine a scenario where that would have led three out of five Americans to cut their charitable giving by 25 percent or more.Poll results suggest that a large majority of Americans, almost three-fourths, think that Washington, D.C.’s NFL franchise should keep the name that many Native Americans consider derogatory and about two-thirds believe that it isn’t a disparaging epithet. The cultural credentials of the respondents weighing in on the team’s name might be suspect, but that’s the kind of poll that is used by the 501(c)(6) National Football League and the owner of the Washington franchise to justify the team’s name and mascot. A poll conducted by the Cleveland Indians showed a huge proportion of the team’s fans in favor of keeping “Chief Wahoo,” the grinning cartoon image used by the team as its logo. It’s comparable to asking Americans, perhaps some decades back, about their kindly feelings toward caricatures such as Sambo and Stepin Fetchit. Poll results might be in favor of the Washington football and Cleveland baseball teams’ racially disparaging mascots, but that doesn’t make them reliable bases for public policy or nonprofit decisions.At some point, our nation has to move beyond policy-making based on poll results and look for thinking, analysis, and leadership. The same goes for the nonprofit sector: Sometimes boiling important but complex issues down to simple poll questions fails to advance and may substantially harm public debate.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share47TweetShare14Email61 SharesFebruary 17, 2016; CNNFlint residents paid a high price for being poisoned last year, on so many levels. As our readers, and indeed the whole country, are aware, the people of Flint, Michigan, have been exposed to high levels of lead in their water as a result of decisions made to cut costs in sourcing the water. Now, the Food and Water Watch Group reports that through the middle of 2015, Flint residents paid more for water than the residents of any other city in a survey of the nation’s 500 largest community water providers.Flint’s residents paid $864.32 yearly for 60,000 gallons of water from the publicly owned system, almost three times national average of $316.20. Bellevue, Washington, is a close second, with residents paying an average annual bill of $855.25.The astronomical water rates in Flint were ordered rolled back by 35 percent in August 2015 as the result of a court ruling, and an additional monthly service charge was also ended.Anna Heaton, a spokeswoman for the governor, is not surprised by the findings: “The Flint City Council originally voted to move away from Detroit Water and Sewerage Department in large part because water rates for residents were unaffordable. Therefore, the data in the report is not surprising.”Meanwhile, a lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court this week seeking in excess of $150 million in refunds and compensation for damages, and a bill that would appropriate $30 million to pay the water bills for Flint residents this year is making its way through the Michigan legislature. It would not cover the entirety of the charges for the foul and undrinkable water, but 65 percent for residential customers and 20 percent for businesses. State Treasurer Nick Khouri says that five thousand of the 29,000 residential water customers in Flint are delinquent on their bills.This situation continues to be one of the more frustrating exhibitions of unaccountable government we have witnessed.—Ruth McCambridgeShare47TweetShare14Email61 Shares
Share33Tweet10ShareEmail43 SharesAriby Aziz [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia CommonsFebruary 25, 2019; New RepublicIt is well known that low-income parents are treated very differently by state agencies than parents of greater means. Our systems of child protective services are also highly racialized. A few years ago, in the Journal of Children and Poverty, an academic book review began, “Racial disproportionality, or the overrepresentation of children of color, has been observed in the child welfare system for more than 40 years.”Writing for the New Republic, Kathryn Joyce dives deeply into the work of the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) in New York City. The record, Joyce explains, is not good.All too often…ACS caseworkers visit families in the middle of the night—a tactic that is supposed to be reserved for emergencies in which children are in imminent danger—demanding that parents wake their children so they can inspect their bodies for bruises, interview them alone, check their bedrooms, and take stock of the food in the kitchen cupboards.Christine Gottlieb, the co-director of the Family Defense Clinic at the New York University School of Law adds that, “People call me all the time, saying, ‘I reached out to ACS for help, and it destroyed my family.’”In effect, the poor are criminalized. As Martin Guggenheim, the Clinic’s other co-director, notes, “It used to be in the Bronx projects that all you had to do was shout, ‘There’s a cop in the hall,’ and people would flee. Now you say, ‘ACS is on the ground,’ and people flee. That’s one of the saddest parts: This is a helping agency, meant to support poor families, and the parents are terrified of the very agency whose charge is to support them.”Changing this culture is challenging for a large bureaucratic agency with a $2.7 billion budget like New York City’s ACS. But some pilot programs show promise. One is a program called GABI, which stands for group attachment-based intervention and was developed by Dr. Anne Murphy of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.In 2010, Murphy opened up the first GABI center in the Bronx. Joyce explains, “At GABI centers, families with children up to three years old come for two-hour drop-in sessions, during which parents—low-income, often socially isolated parents—can meet in a welcoming, nonjudgmental environment.”In 2017, ACS partnered with Murphy to open GABI centers “in every borough, in areas with frequent reports of child abuse or neglect—terms that can encompass a wide range of circumstances, from bruising and other visible signs of mistreatment to things like frequent absence from school, excessive fatigue or hunger, or simply walking home alone.”“The goal of the GABI program,” adds Joyce, “is to provide support to parents and keep problems from escalating to the point where children need to be removed from their homes and placed in foster care.”While serious child abuse does occur, it’s rare, and many issues that fall under the broad umbrella of “neglect”—which alone accounts for 73 percent of all allegations of child maltreatment made to ACS—are simply the everyday struggles of low-income families.“It’s not neglect,” says Jeanette Vega, the training director at Rise, a New York nonprofit that advocates for parents with open ACS cases. “We’re poor—this is poverty.”Women who attend GABI programs have generally highly positive reviews. As one mother tells Joyce, “You’re thinking of ACS, but then you think, ‘No, I’m going to the GABI program. It’s completely different.’”Joyce notes that the GABI initiative, along with other pilot programs, is part of a major effort by ACS to counteract its image as a “baby-snatching” police force. Reformers, Joyce explains, are cautiously optimistic. Still, these pilots include only a fraction of the families with which the agency works.“On paper, ACS’s heart is in the right place,” says Ginelle Stephenson, a social work supervisor at the Center for Family Representation. But Stephenson tells Joyce that the new approach doesn’t always trickle down to the ACS rank and file, who often continue to blame or shame parents. One promising development is that, “Over the next year and a half, most of ACS’s existing contracts for foster care and prevention programs will expire, providing the agency with an opportunity to implement its reform agenda on a wider scale.” In short, if ACS wants to implement reform, it will have the means to do so.Of course, as Joyce notes at the end of her article, ultimately the challenge is whether ACS and reform allies can change deep narratives about poverty. Joyce writes:The ultimate challenge, though, may not be whether ACS can develop more supportive programs—or even whether it can get poor families to trust the agency again. It’s whether society as a whole can stop criminalizing poverty and embrace the idea that poor families are worthy of compassion …Even the most generous of programs cannot make up for government policies that force poor children to live in unsafe housing, drink lead-poisoned water, and go without adequate health care and education.—Carole Levine and Steve DubbShare33Tweet10ShareEmail43 Shares
Microsoft has acquired California-based video discovery specialsit VideoSurf and plans to integrate the latter’s technology into the XBox 360 and XBox Live platform.VideoSurf, which was backed by a raft of investors including Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, SurveyMonkey CEO David Goldberg, Current Media founder Al Gore and CEO Joel Hyatt, Pitango Venture Capital and Verizon Ventures, provides a back-end technology that can enhance content discovery by ‘seeing’ individual frames inside videos. The technology can scan a wide range of video websites and enable users to quickly find specific items.“VideoSurf’s content analytics technology will enhance the search and discovery of entertainment content across our platform,” said Alex Garden, director of Xbox Live for the interactive entertainment business at Microsoft.According to Microsoft, the acquisition will make it easier for video partners to take advantage of applications including the XBox’s voice-search enabled Kinect feature.Microsoft has plans to enhance the video content available on the XBox Live system in the coming months, having struck deals with content providers including Bravo, Comcast, HBO GO, Verizon FiOS and Syfy in the US, the BBC in the UK, Telefónica in Spain; Rogers On Demand in Canada, Televisa in Mexico, ZDF in Germany and Mediaset in Italy.
Italian broadcaster Mediaset has recorded a drop in full-year 2011 profit and cut its annual dividend.The company, which is owned by the Berlusconi family, recorded annual revenue of €4.25 billion, a 1% year-on-year decrease. Net profit decreased 36% year-on-year, taking the total to €225 million and Mediaset said it would cut its dividend from €0.35 a share to €0.10 a share.The broadcaster did, however, increase revenues at its Italian pay TV operations. These recorded sales of €615.6 million, a 14% year-on-year increase.The company said: “The Group’s results in 2011 obviously reflect the difficult international economic situation. In this context, however, the Mediaset Group confirmed the best performance in TV advertising sales, consolidated its market share and maintained its ratings leadership in the commercial targets of reference.”
Second screen apps related to TV programmes face a range of challenges include the multiplicity of platforms, brands and services in the market, according to Spencer Stephens, executive vice-president and chief technology officer, Sony Pictures Entertainment, speaking at TV Connect yesterday. “It’s not scaleable or sustainable,” he said of the current environment for second screen apps. Solutions that can deliver scale to providers include devices such as the Chromecast dongle, which works well if users are prepared to use Chrome on their tablets, he said.“However, this ties you in to the way [Chromecast] has done it. What we are looking for is an open standards-based solution and for us that is HTML5,” said Stephens. “Studios are starting to deploy interactive extras packages using HTML5. However not all platforms are implementing all aspects of HTML5 so there has to be agreement on that.”Another problem, he said, is that protected premium video currently has to be distributed using a plug-in browser. There is a need for some sort of content protection mechanism built in to HTML5, he said.Stephens said that second screen apps had to deliver a good consumer experience and also be viable, meaning there is a need for apps that work for more than a single programme. He cited the example of Sony’s Movie Touch app, which had been implemented for Men in Black 3.The Men in Black 3 version of the app offers a series of ‘extras’ as on a DVD, on a ‘ribbon’ across the bottom of the second screen. These include social network interaction and ‘clip and share’ allowing viewers to share clips from the movie with their friends. The app is updated in real time, allowing viewers to identify music and actors on screen at a particular point in the movie and get additional information about them. In addition to real time interaction, the app allows users to skip back and forwards through the movie.Synchronisation between the ribbon and the content can be enabled by audio fingerprinting, which works well for linear and live TV, but for the on-demand content delivered by Sony, delivering synchronsation over the local area network or the cloud is a better option. Cloud-based synchronisation has the additional benefit of enabling viewers to find things to watch on the web and pass the URL to the main screen, said Stephens.
STV Player, the online catch-up service for Scottish broadcaster STV, is now available as an app for Xbox 360 games consoles. Viewers within STV’s broadcast regions of Scotland can download the app to access free 30-day catch-up of shows from STV and local station STV Glasgow.“The launch of the STV Player App on Xbox 360 further underpins our strategy to provide access to STV catch-up programmes on a wide range of platforms,” said Alistair Brown, chief technology and platforms officer at STV.
Netflix and FremantleMedia-backed producer RadicalMedia are making What Happened Miss Simone?, an original feature doc about iconic American singer Nina Simone.The film comes from director Liz Garbus (Bobby Fischer Against the World) and will launch as a Netflix Original across all territories in which the streaming service operates, next year.It will trace trace the singer’s journey from poverty in the American South, to her defining role in the civil rights movement, musical success and, finally, her self-imposed exile in France.RadicalMedia cut a deal with the estate of Simone last year, giving it over 100 hours of exclusive and never seen before footage of the singer, who died in 2003, and Netflix has now come on board as the exclusive partner.
Polish service provider Netia has signed a deal to acquire 100% ownership of TK Telekom, after receiving a green light from the country’s competition watchdog. Netia signed a preliminary share sale deal with TK Telekom owner PKP in March.Netia strategy and development director Andrzej Kondracki said that the acquisition would help strengthen Netia’s position in the business-to-business segment. The group will acquire a backbone network comprising 7,500km of fibre and is expected to increase its activity in the business segment by 28% based on 2014 figures.
Eglé Gudelyté-HarveyNordic service provider TeliaSonera has named Lithuanian subsidiary Teo’s head of legal affairs and IT Eglé Gudelyté-Harvey to take charge of regulatory affairs, including broadband regulation.Gudelyté-Harvey’s role will include monitoring, analysing and explaining developments in the telecom legal and regulatory framework, provision of legal advice, and active cooperation with the European Union authoritiesThe main areas of her responsibility will be broadband regulation, including access regulation and pricing and interconnection issues.