UN body Around halfmillion Syrians now refugees

first_img 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project GENEVA (AP) – The U.N. refugee agency says about 84,000 people fled the escalating civil war in Syria in December alone, bringing the total number of those displaced since the beginning of the 22-month-old conflict to around half a million.The agency said Wednesday that the number of registered refugees rose from about 394,000 to 478,000 within a month. If those still awaiting registration are included, around 569,000 people have fled Syria for neighboring countries. The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Top Stories Sponsored Stories It says Turkey hosts the largest group of registered Syrian refugees, totaling almost 150,000 as of Jan. 1. Some 130,000 people have fled to Lebanon, and another 120,000 to Jordan. Iraq hosts some 68,000 refugees.Separately, another U.N. body said new figures suggest more than 60,000 people have died in the Syrian conflict, topping activists’ estimate of 45,000.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

IMF Financial risks growing at US insurers mutual funds

first_img Sponsored Stories But the IMF expressed concern about risks outside the banking sector.It warned the U.S. stock prices “are approaching levels that may be hard to sustain given profit forecasts” and the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will raise short-term interest rates later this year.Mutual funds could “act as amplifiers” of a panic if jittery investors cash out, forcing funds to dump risky investments into a collapsing market.The IMF warns that at time when ultra-low interest rates are pressuring insurance firms to take bigger risks, regulation of the business is “fragmented” between states. It repeated its calls for a federal insurance regulator.“We consider it even more imperative at this stage,” the IMF’s Aditya Narain, who oversaw the report, told reporters Tuesday. He added that “in a severe scenario, (insurers) might be susceptible to major losses.”After the financial crisis, Congress passed a law tightening financial regulations. But regulators are still writing many of the rules needed to put the so-called Dodd-Frank law in place. The IMF urged regulators to finish the rule-writing but acknowledged it was a “sensitive” issue because some lawmakers want to “water down” the law. WASHINGTON (AP) — The International Monetary Fund warned Tuesday that American stock prices are high and U.S. insurers and mutual funds are vulnerable to financial shocks. It also urged Congress not to weaken financial regulations passed in 2010.The IMF says that American banks are stronger but that risk has risen elsewhere. Its previous assessment of the U.S. financial system was conducted five years ago.Overall, banks and insurance companies have increased their capital defenses against losses. Check your body, save your life Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The vital role family plays in society Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Comments   Share   4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

Club Med celebrates 60th snow anniversary with instameet

first_imgClub Med Peisey-VallandryAs the premium all-inclusive holiday pioneer, Club Med has been perfecting its snow offering for decades.This year marks the 60th anniversary of the opening of Club Med’s first snow Resort and to celebrate Club Med has invited 12 digital influencers from Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia to enjoy the breadth of mountainside activities and après ski delights that makes Club Med #ThePlaceToSki.Club Med will host leading global digital influencers at two of its iconic French snow Resorts, Club Med Peisey-Vallandry and Club Med Val Thorens Sensations, where they will experience 60 mountain moments in six days; from alpine skiing and snow shoeing, to mountainside dining and luxurious spa treatments.Each attendee will share the experience with their followers on social media and inevitably showcase why Club Med truly is #ThePlaceToSki in Europe.Club Med Peisey-Vallandry#ThePlaceToSki InstameetThe six Australian digital influencers attending Club Med’s first snow instameet include beauty expert, Eleanor Pendleton (Gritty Pretty), men’s lifestyle blogger, James Want (The Versatile Gent), digital marketing and organisation guru, Beck Wadworth (An Organised Life), men’s lifestyle curator, Jack Slade (Boss Hunting), design and travel creative, Tara Whiteman (Tara Milk Tea) and fashion blogger and content creator, Yan Yan Chan (Yan Yan Chan).Other influencers joining include travel and lifestyle influencers from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.Each influencer will be whisked away courtesy of AirFrance and give their fans a behind the scenes look into what you can do with six days of snow filled fun in the French Alps.Club Med Val Thorens SensationsFrom 14 – 19 April the digital influencers will experience the authentic French-Savoy spirit of Peisey-Vallandry, situated in the Paradiski domain, and Val Thorens Sensations, Club Med’s newest, award-winning snow Resort, renowned for its high altitude in the famous Les Trois Vallées (3 Valleys) domain.Both Resorts offer the perfect combination of exceptional ski fields with the pleasure of après-ski in a setting with panoramic views and endless scenery – an ideal location for the inaugural Snow Instameet.Club Med’s Evolution of SkiClub Med is one of the world leaders when it comes to all-inclusive ski holidays, having pioneered and perfected the concept over the last six decades. In this time over 428,000 guests have visited Club Med’s Snow Resorts, located in some of the most iconic ski domains in the world including France, Italy, Switzerland, Japan and China.Club Med’s ski offering allows travellers the authentic ski experience within a premium all-inclusive package that includes everything from food, drinks and après ski, to ski lessons, hire, lift passes and more.On Club Med’s snow Resorts, Madeleine Clow, General Manager of Club Med Australia and New Zealand says, “Our outstanding snow concept at Club Med attracts snow lovers from across the globe. We combine the most beautiful settings in the world with a constantly evolving premium, all-inclusive package. As well as delicious French fine dining and an open bar, we also include the best quality ski tuition and insurance in our packages, so all our guests have to do is enjoy! This unique concept continues to thrive; a very good reason to celebrate its 60th anniversary!”#ThePlaceToSki instameet can be followed on social media by using hashtags including;#ThePlaceToSki#ClubMedPeiseyVallandry#ClubMedValThorens#ClubMed Club MedSource = Club Medlast_img read more

FICO and Equifax Announce Tech Partnership

first_imgFICO and Equifax Announce Tech Partnership Share March 29, 2019 750 Views in Headlines, News, Technologycenter_img Equifax, the Atlanta, Georgia-headquartered global data, analytics, and technology company has announced a strategic partnership with FICO, a California based predictive analytics and data science company.Through this partnership, FICO and Equifax are introducing the Data Decisions Cloud, an end-to-end data and analytics suite that addresses key needs across risk, marketing, and fraud to enable financial institutions to meet the needs of consumers faster and more precisely.The platform integrates the Equifax Ignite platform differentiated data and analytic management with FICO’s cloud applications and the FICO Decision Management Suite (DMS), a digital decisioning platform.The companies said that this broad strategic alignment would enable organizations to easily explore differentiated data, uncover deep new insights, build highly-predictive models, and rapidly deploy decisions into production systems across the customer lifecycle. Financial institutions will benefit from an increased pace of innovation for data and decisioning, supported by incredible industry expertise and explainable artificial intelligence (AI), Equifax and FICO said in a joint statement.“We are energized about this broad partnership between Equifax and FICO. Two industry leaders are joining forces to help financial institutions better meet the needs of consumers and improve business agility,” said Mark W. Begor, CEO of Equifax. “Our partnership will seamlessly integrate Equifax’s differentiated data assets and Ignite platform with FICO’s market-leading cloud based decisioning software and applications.”The strategic partnership is focused on a connected, end-to-end development and decisioning management platform that allows customers to quickly explore, develop, test, and deploy powerful insights into production systems across the organization.“Our common mission is to empower financial institutions to leverage data-driven decisioning in all their customer interactions,” said William J. Lansing, CEO of FICO. “With this strategic partnership, FICO and Equifax will help organizations operationalize the best data with unparalleled predictive analytics and applied AI, and do so in a streamlined and cost-effective way.” Credit Scores Equifax FICO Financial Institutions mortgage Servicing 2019-03-29 Radhika Ojhalast_img read more

Swordswallower who once ran museum called Freakat

first_imgSword-swallower who once ran museum called Freakatorium dies by The Associated Press Posted Dec 19, 2017 12:52 pm PDT Last Updated Dec 19, 2017 at 1:20 pm PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email This Sept. 3, 2016 photo shows Johnny Fox, “swordswallower extraordinaire,” is in his 38th season as a performer at the Renaissance Festival in Crownsville, Md. Fox who presented his quirky art form to enthusiastic audiences around the world has died. A close friend, Barbara Calvert, says Fox succumbed to cancer on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017 in Maryland. He was 64. (Amy Davis/The Baltimore Sun via AP) center_img NEW YORK, N.Y. – Johnny Fox, a sword-swallowing magician who presented his quirky art form to enthusiastic audiences around the world, has died.The 64-year-old had been battling cancer and died Sunday at a home in Maryland, according to close friend Barbara Calvert. He passed away peacefully, with a smile, while surrounded by loved ones who gave him a standing ovation, she said.Jules Smith, the president of the Maryland Renaissance Festival, said Fox — though ailing — completed a nine-weekend run there in October.His haunts included New York, where he ran an oddity-filled Manhattan museum called Freakatorium for 5 1/2 years. The items on display included a shrunken head, a two-headed turtle and clothing from circus performer Tom Thumb, Smith said.“He even had a glass eye from Sammy Davis Jr.,” she said.Fox also performed at Coney Island’s freak show.“He was one of the finest examples of a sideshow virtuoso as well as being a celebrity within our own culture,” Patrick Wall, general manager of the non-profit arts organization Coney Island USA, told the New York Daily News . “We lost one of the best. … He had a dynamic stage presence and just a complete love and commitment to what he did.”Fox was born in Minnesota on a Friday the 13th and raised in Hartford, Connecticut. He got his professional start in St. Petersburg, Florida, according to Smith, who was a friend for 38 years.“He was very proficient at magic, but people started stealing his bits,” said Smith. Fox figured it would be harder to steal a sword-swallowing act.“He started with cooked spaghetti — swallowing, holding the end, pulling it back out,” said Smith. Then “he did a string and a key like Harry Houdini, someone he admired greatly, until he could regulate his gag reflex.”Then came (gulp!) the swords. There were admittedly a few mishaps, but within eight months he’d mastered it.Working before a live audience or on TV, Fox made it his mission to introduce families to his world of “circuses, carnivals, sideshows, and the life of people involved in them,” said Smith — and to lend a hand to his fellow performers.A celebration of his life will be held in Maryland at a future date.last_img read more

NEW PALTZ NY — The Southern countryrock group

first_img NEW PALTZ, N.Y. — The Southern country-rock group Confederate Railroad lost a second summer fair gig after objections over the use of the Confederate flag in its logo.The band’s Aug. 1 date at the Ulster County Fair in New York’s Hudson Valley has been cancelled, a spokesman for Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan said Thursday. Illinois this month cancelled a state fair appearance by the band, whose logo features a steam locomotive flying Confederate flags.“The Ulster County Fair must be an event that everyone can enjoy while representing the values of all members of our community,” Ryan said in a prepared statement. “Any showcasing of a symbol of division and racism runs counter to that principle and will be vigorously opposed by my administration.”The flag has come under increasing criticism as a racist emblem of slavery and segregation. Confederate Railroad frontman Danny Shirley on Thursday echoed supporters who say it represents history and Southern heritage.“I’ve done nothing wrong,” Shirley said by phone on the band’s tour bus. “I love the part of the country I’m from, and I will never apologize for that.”Shirley said the band’s name was inspired by a steam locomotive called the General, which was commandeered in Georgia by a Union raiding party during the Civil War. The locomotive is on display in Kennesaw, Georgia, where Shirley lived when he got his record deal.“It seems that everybody kind of gets looking for something to get upset about,” Shirley said. “And I guess I’m just the flavour of the month.”The Grammy-nominated band is known for acoustic ballads such as “Jesus and Mama,” as well as its raucous anthem “Trashy Women.”The Associated Press by The Associated Press Posted Jul 25, 2019 10:15 am PDT Country band Confederate Railroad nixed from another faircenter_img AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Emaillast_img read more

Moran Iron Works awarded state grant

first_imgThe MEDC approved a $2 million economic development grant for Moran Iron Works of Onaway at its Jan. 23 meeting in Lansing. Pictured, from left, prior to the board hearing at the MEDC headquarters are: Ken Murdoch, MEDC development finance manager; Becky Nash, Moran CFO; Victor Rupert, Moran director and engineering manager; Marilyn Kapp, Moran public relations director; Gerald Ganske, Moran CEO and general manager; state Rep. Peter Pettalia; Charlie Nyhus, general manager of Moran North – Cheboygan; Joe Libby, Presque Isle County EDC executive director; and Andy Hayes from Northern Lakes Economic Alliance.A $2 million grant to help boost economic development and job creation in the region was awarded to Moran Iron Works today, following a hearing at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.“This is one of the most important things that has happened to Moran Iron Works in 35 years of business,” said Tom Moran, founder of Moran Iron Works. “The public and private partnership that was just created has propelled this company into another class of business; one that is much needed in Northeastern Lower Michigan.  The effect this project will have to our local region will be immense and recognized nationally.”The local contingent from Moran Iron Works that attended the MEDC meeting – Gerald Ganske, CEO and general manager; Victor Rupert, director and engineering manager; Charlie Nyhus, general manager of Moran North – Cheboygan; Marilyn Kapp, public relations director, and Becky Nash, CFO; Andy Hayes from Northern Lakes Economic Alliance; and Joe Libby, Presque Isle County EDC executive director – was met by state Rep. Peter Pettalia for the final hearing before the Michigan Strategic Fund board.“This grant not only helps the Moran company maintain its leadership in the steel fabrication business, it also provides infrastructure that can be used by other companies and local agencies to develop projects in the region,” said Pettalia, R-Presque Isle. “I’m pleased to add my support to this effort because it’s these kinds of partnerships for development – bringing state, private and local public entities together – that are helping rebuild a healthy economy throughout Michigan. I congratulate everyone who has been working on this project as it moves closer to a successful outcome for our communities.”Moran Iron Works, Inc. is a custom fabrication facility that has been designing, developing and manufacturing custom large metal modular components since 1978 and is expanding its Onaway facility to make larger products, as well as make dock and facility improvements at the Port of Calcite in Rogers City.Presque Isle County has offered support to the project by purchasing a boom crawler crane to be used at the port.“Through the hard work of Moran Works Inc. and their successes we are excited to aid them in their expansion plans and development,” Libby said. “It’s always exciting to see such a good quality company creating much needed jobs in our area.”The $2 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant will supplement the total $16 million project investment, which is expected to generate a $100 million economic benefit over the next 10 years.The company has currently employs 89 people, and as part of the agreement will hire 75 more before the end of December 2014.“The goal is to increase employment opportunities in Northeastern Lower Michigan; we’ve been doing that for a long time,” Ganske said. “With the steps recently taken, and with a big help from MEDC, Presque Isle EDC and MSF, we are seeing this process expedited and our goals are being reached.”Presque Isle EDC and Northeast MI Affordable Housing are also working with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and local school districts to ensure there are good housing and education options for new employees. 23Jan Moran Iron Works awarded state grant Categories: Newslast_img read more

Rep Bumstead hosts local pastor opening House session in prayer

first_img Categories: News State Rep. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo, this week brought Pastor Steven Vander West and his wife Mary to Lansing to open the day’s House of Representatives session with an introductory prayer.  Vander West is a pastor at the Grant Community Church in Grant.“I was glad to have the opportunity to bring Pastor Vander West to Lansing to help us begin the day’s session,” Bumstead said. “We all need a reminder from time to time that serving the people is a great responsibility and that we must be courageous as we tackle tough issues. I appreciate Pastor Vander West sharing his wisdom with the House Chamber.”House tradition calls for a different representative or a clergy member from their district to open each day’s session with a prayer. 31Jan Rep. Bumstead hosts local pastor opening House session in prayerlast_img read more

Governor signs legislation creating Breast Cancer Awareness license plate

first_img14Jan Governor signs legislation creating Breast Cancer Awareness license plate Rep. Amanda Price, Sen. Glenn Anderson and Gov. Rick Snyder hold Public Acts 207 and 208, which create a PINK RIBBON license plate in Michigan to raise money for breast and cervical cancer screening for low-income women and establish the fund within the Treasury Department for collecting the proceeds from the sale of the license plate. Categories: Newslast_img

Michigan Association of Counties awards Rep Price as County Advocate

first_img07Apr Michigan Association of Counties awards Rep. Price as County Advocate Categories: News The Michigan Association of Counties (MAC) presented state Rep. Amanda Price with its 2015 County Advocate Award.“MAC serves a vital role as the voice of our local communities and county commissioners and I’m honored to have been selected for this award,” said Rep. Price, R-Park Township. “My experience working in local government has helped me understand how essential it is for local leaders and state legislators to create a strong partnership and work together to represent the people of Michigan.”The MAC represents county commissioners in the state of Michigan and is a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization directed at advancing education, cooperation and communication among county government officials.The County Advocate Award is presented annually to legislators who have a history of working closely with and showing strong support for county interests.Rep. Price can be contacted toll-free at 888-238-1008 or by email at AmandaPrice@house.mi.gov.###last_img read more

Rep Runestad introduces parental alienation resolution to raise awareness

first_img State Rep. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, introduced House Resolution 327 Wednesday to encourage awareness and sensitivity to the concept of parental alienation in the state.The resolution states that parental alienation can arise during and after divorces from behaviors including speaking negatively about a parent and inappropriate discussions with a child on details that are not age appropriate.“There needs to be a better way of handling parental alienation cases within the current judicial system,” Rep. Runestad said. “Often times, the parental alienation is minor in the beginning and not that obvious. This is why we need an educational effort focused on developing solutions statewide for families in high-conflict divorce cases where the current model in family court is not serving the needs of the children.”The resolution encourages awareness that parental alienation is destructive to children and can deprive a child of a sense of security and destroy the bond between a parent and child.The House Committee on Families, Children, and Seniors held a hearing Wednesday to learn more about the topic of parental alienation.  Rep. Runestad coordinated efforts to arrange for several guests to testify. Three organizations were represented during the hearing including: Dads and Moms of Michigan, National Organization of Women and Manage your Conflict.Shelly Loomus, an attorney and author on family conflict presented the need for more education and understanding on screening for parental alienation in divorce cases and the need for a separate process in these cases that recognize a child’s best interests are better served through “parallel parenting” strategies that minimalize conflict and disallow a parent from controlling a child’s access to the other parent through alienating strategies.The committee was asked to recognize the reality of parental alienation and its impact on a child’s ability to have access, not only to their other parent, but to grandparents, siblings and other family members.John Magoola, father speaking from his own personal experience, gave a telling and personal story about the barriers he has faced in witnessing his own son’s decline in his ability to show love and affection as a result of parental alienation.The committee continues to consider the resolution.###### 15Sep Rep. Runestad introduces parental alienation resolution to raise awareness Tags: #SB, Families Children Seniors, House Resolution 327, Runestad. parental alienation center_img Categories: Featured news,News,Runestad Newslast_img read more

Michigan House approves Lowers Sandhill crane hunting resolution

first_img Categories: Lower News 18Oct Michigan House approves Lower’s Sandhill crane hunting resolution State Rep. Jim Lower of Cedar Lake today praised his colleagues in the Michigan House of Representatives for approving his resolution calling for the establishment of a hunting season to address Sandhill crane overpopulation.House Resolution 154 encourages the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to add Sandhill cranes to the game species list and seek approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a hunting season in Michigan.“I’m hopeful that the Natural Resources Commission will move forward with the idea and create a Sandhill crane hunt,” Lower said. “The establishment of a hunting season will help control the population and limit damage to local farms, where corn and wheat plants serve as a food source for the birds.”Michigan is home to an increasing population of Sandhill cranes, with an estimated 23,082 reported in Michigan’s 2015 population survey. Over the past 10 years, the population has grown an average of 9.4 percent annually.While Michigan farmers are allowed to obtain nuisance permits to kill Sandhill cranes causing crop damage on their farms, Lower said the permits do not provide a solution to the overpopulation problem. Lower also said birds killed with nuisance permits are a wasted resource, as their meat cannot be harvested.Sixteen states currently allow Sandhill crane hunting during certain seasons.“A number of states already hunt Sandhill cranes and their population continues to climb, along with reports of crop damage caused by cranes,” Lower said. “Still, hunting is the best tool we have to manage the population as a whole, and it’s time to utilize it in Michigan.”###last_img read more

Rep Theis testifies on bills protecting minor victims of sex crimes

first_img20Feb Rep. Theis testifies on bills protecting minor victims of sex crimes State Rep. Lana Theis, of Brighton, today testified before the House Law and Justice Committee today, in support of her legislative package to protect young victims of sexual-based offenses, while helping local school districts better protect their students who are victims of such crimes. At right is state Rep. Sylvia Santana, of Detroit, and at left is Meghan Reckling, legislative director for Rep. Theis. BOTTOM: Brighton resident Ashley Duva (right) speaks before the Law and Justice Committee, while Theis and Brighton High School student Gianna Duva listen. Categories: News,Photos,Theis News,Theis Photoslast_img

Rep Johnson announces January office hours

first_img State Representative Steve Johnson invites residents of the 72nd House District to join him during local office hours:Friday, January 18, 2018Kent CountyBob Evans6565 Kalamazoo Ave. SE in Gaines Twp.3:30 pm – 4:30 pmAllegan CountyBig Boy1180 W. Superior St. in Wayland6:00 pm – 7:00 pm“Open and honest communication with residents is instrumental in holding state government accountable,” said Johnson. “Since taking office two years ago, I have held 48 office hours meetings to hear the concerns and ideas of residents of the 72nd House District. I look forward to continuing to stay transparent and accessible to those I am elected to serve.”No appointment is necessary, and there is no cost to attend. Those unable to attend are encouraged to call Rep. Johnson’s office at (517) 373-0840, email StevenJohnson@house.mi.gov or visit his website at www.RepJohnson.com.### 03Jan Rep. Johnson announces January office hours Categories: Steven Johnson Newslast_img read more

Bipartisan legislation would end birth certificate discrimination

first_img07Feb Bipartisan legislation would end birth certificate discrimination Today, State Reps. Steve Johnson and Vanessa Guerra introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure individuals are charged the same amount to receive a copy of their birth records regardless of the marital status of their parents when they were born.Currently, anyone who was born before October 1, 1978 to unmarried parents does not have their birth records on file at their county clerk’s office. As a result of this discrimination, they have a more cumbersome process of going to the state to retrieve their vital records, taking them more time and costing them more money because of the circumstances in which they were born.“This common-sense legislation is about equality,” said Rep. Johnson. “You can’t put a price tag on discrimination. The State of Michigan made a mistake decades ago that left certain people with unequal treatment, we simply need to ensure people are treated fairly.”The bills would simply allow people who were born to unmarried parents before October 1, 1978 to pay the same price to receive their vital records as people who were born to married parents before 1978 or to any parents after 1978.“People should not have to pay more to retrieve a copy of their birth certificate because their parents weren’t married when they were born,” said Rep. Guerra “It is time to level the playing field for everyone.”House Bills 4152 (Rep. Johnson) and 4153 (Rep. Guerra) have been referred to the Family, Children and Seniors Committee for further consideration.### Categories: News,Steven Johnson Newslast_img read more

Rep Markkanen invites residents to meet and greets

first_img24Jun Rep. Markkanen invites residents to meet and greets Sunday, June 30th2 p.m. EDT at the Wakefield VFW, 107 US-2 in Wakefield;4:30 p.m. EDT at Twilly’s Restaurant, 13909 US-45 in Bruce Crossing; and6:45 p.m. EDT in the Blue Line Room at the Student Development Complex of Michigan Tech University, 1400 Townsend Drive in Houghton. Categories: Markkanen News             Rep. Greg Markkanen of Houghton announced he will be hosting four meet and greets for residents in the 110th district on Sunday, June 30 and will be joined by State Sen. Ed McBroom and U.S. Representative Jack Bergman.“I am excited to have the Senator and Congressman in our district,” Markkanen said. “These legislators have done outstanding work for our state and I look forward to seeing everyone.”The schedule is as follows:Friday, June 285 to 6 p.m. EDT at Keweenaw Coffee Works, 113 5th St. in Calumet.With Special Guest Ed McBroom. All times are listed in local time. Residents also may contact Rep. Markkanen at his Lansing office at (517) 373-0850 or GregMarkkanen@house.mi.gov.last_img read more

Pew Research Breaks Down Social Media Use by Age and Other Factors

first_imgShare2TweetShareEmail2 SharesFebruary 6, 2014; Pew ResearchA recent study from the Pew Research Center shows that as of September of 2013, 73 percent of all online adults are currently using social media. The data shows that within every age group across the map, from young adults to those over 65 years old, social media usage increased over the past year.The chart below shows the dramatic increase in social media usage from 2005 until the end of 2013: In the last eight years, social media usage over all Internet users has skyrocketed from 8 percent to 73 percent. The smallest change was among adults aged 65 and over, of whom only 43 percent are actively social-networking.Pew Research also found that:71 percent use Facebook22 percent use LinkedIn21 percent use Pinterest18 percent use Twitter17 percent use InstagramFacebook and Twitter are generally ranked as the largest of the social media giants, so it’s interesting to see that Pinterest and LinkedIn are actually used by a larger number of adults.These findings also correlate with the use of mobile phones, where statistics show that 40 percent of cell phone users do social networking on their phone, as well as that 28 percent use social media on a daily basis. The demographics most likely to use social networking are young people, blacks, Hispanics, the highly educated, and those with a higher annual household income.One of the more interesting charts is a matrix where you can see the correlations between the use of one venue and another; for example, 53 percent of Instagram users also use Twitter.Pew also looked at some of the social impact benefits of social networking and found that Facebook users are overall more politically active than most people, that Internet users receive more support from social ties, and Facebook users get the greatest support.—Aine Creedon Share2TweetShareEmail2 Shareslast_img read more

Time for an Independent Review to Fix the IRS

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesJune 19, 2014; Center for Public IntegrityThe announcement that the IRS just nixed the 501(c)(4) application of Arkansans for Common Sense accomplishes two things. One is that it shows that the IRS is not targeting solely right wing Tea Party groups, but has taken aim more broadly at groups that are overly partisan in their politics regardless of their left or right leanings. The other, coming in the wake of Congressional hearings chaired by Representative Dave Camp (R-MI) and Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA), is that the IRS scandal that started with the admission of Lois Lerner of the special scrutiny given to Tea Party-affiliated 501(c)(4) applicants merits an independent review.In its rejection letter, the IRS wrote to Arkansans for Common Sense that it was “not primarily operated for the promotion of social welfare for the people of the community because [its] primary activities are the participation in a political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate for public office.” According to the Center for Public Integrity, the organization “played a prominent role in the failed re-election bid of Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln in 2010.”The organization received its unwelcome rejection letter just before Lois Lerner’s admissions about the Tea Party 501(c)(4) reviews. However, the organization is now defunct, so whatever it did in its election support of Senator Lincoln is now part of the history of a group that isn’t around to rap on the knuckles. The reality is that many of the 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations—those approved as well as those queuing up for IRS approvals—have precious little social welfare content to their activities. The IRS should have been taking a harder look at these organizations all along and whacking the applications of many whose social welfare activity was, in retrospect, proportionally microscopic.But that leads to the second element of this story: It’s time to take the Lerner scandal and the Service’s review of 501(c)(4) applicants out of the hands of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), whose immediate report on the Tea Party reviews was not a particularly well done piece of work, and out of the hands of the Issa and Camp committees, whose political venom makes enemies of Democrats who should be allies in trying to fix the IRS rather than score points for or against the Obama administration.The chief archivist at the National Archives, David Ferriero, testified this week that the IRS “did not follow the law” and had not followed proper record-keeping procedures regarding the emails of Lois Lerner and other officials lost due to hard drive crashes, particularly in the agency’s failure to report the crashes and lost emails. IRS commissioner John Koskinen said, in explanation of the quotidian nature of the Lerner hard drive crash, that 2,000 IRS employees have had their hard drives crash just since January 1st of this year alone. Who would have imagined that the agency that tells taxpayers to keep copies of tax records for years at a time would be beset by computer crashes?On CNN, CNN correspondent John King, the Associated Press’s Julie Pace, and National Journal writer Ron Fournier could barely contain their snickers as they replayed Koskinen’s response to Representative Issa’s question about whether he had tipped off the White House about the lost emails—“I did not. If you have any evidence of that, I’d be happy to see it.” The “evidence” phrase made Koskinen sound like a defendant on Law & Order. Pace said Koskinen’s (or the IRS’s) “tone seems a little bit off if these are emails that just simply disappeared. You might imagine that someone might say, ‘Hey, we’re really sorry about that,’” and Fournier pointed out that Koskinen’s answer was more like “I’m innocent—but if you happen to have anything that suggests I’m not innocent, I’d love to know.”“A year ago exactly tomorrow, I called for a special prosecutor in this case while giving the president the benefit of the doubt,” Fournier concluded. “I now realize how naive I was to give the administration the benefit of the doubt. This needs to be investigated by an independent prosecutor.”There are serious issues now at stake: rebuilding the public’s trust and confidence in the IRS, ensuring that the Service gets the resources it needs to do its job (including keeping staff computers operational), and fixing systemic problems that seem to have existed prior to the Lerner scandal. Fournier’s recommendation seems to be right—it’s time for a review and correction, independent of TIGTA and independent of the congressional scrum.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

School Underfunding Measured by Public Interest Law Center

first_imgShare22Tweet11ShareEmail33 SharesMural on Unused West Philadelphia Public School / David HilowitzMay 17, 2016; Keystone CrossroadsWe are well aware that many students are not being well served by our public schools. Educating some children ends up more difficult and more expensive than others. We know that not every district can raise and spend the same amount of money on their students. But we do not often know what it would really cost to properly fund public education and overcome the barriers placed before students in low-income communities.The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia just released a study that fills in the missing data for the State of Pennsylvania. They found that across the state, public schools would need to gain increased funding of between $16.5 billion and $18.6 billion if they were to ensure that every child could meet state standards.The PILC study took a formula previously developed by a state commission charged to look at the cost of educating various cohorts of students. The formula considered the “increased need for resources for: students living in poverty; English language learners; students in charters; and, school districts in sparse or rural areas with lower enrollment.” PILC applied the formula using actual enrollment data to develop a projected cost that would support an educational program that gave each student all of the needed supports to meet the state’s desired outcomes. They also determined that if responsibility for raising the additional funds were shared following the current Pennsylvania pattern, $3.2 and $4.3 billion would be needed in new state funding, with the balance coming from local district resources. Placing this amount in context, Pennsylvania’s proposed total 2016-2017 general fund budget is $32.7 billion.With a target for providing for the needs of all students, including the most disadvantaged, on the table, how realistic is finding these new monies? From the immediate reactions to the PILC recommendations, the will is not there.Recognizing that this was too large a bill to be paid in one year, PILC lowered the hurdle by recommending taking eight years to ramp up the funding levels. But even that pace seems beyond the will of the state’s political leadership. In an interview, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said that even doing this in eight $400 million steps was politically impossible. Proving his point, Jenn Kocher, a Republican legislative spokesperson, said, “They’re making an assumption that more money will buy you a better education, and we haven’t seen evidence of that.”Despite these protestations, we know that educational funding levels do matter. The Education Law Center’s 2016 Funding Report Card found “low rankings on school funding fairness correlate to poor state performance on key indicators of essential education resources, including less access to early childhood education, non-competitive wages for teachers, and higher teacher-to-pupil ratios.”Pennsylvania is not an outlier on the issue of properly funding its children’s education. Similar computations of what is actually needed have come up with similar results: “In a 2011 report, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center estimated that schools are underfunded by at least $2 billion.”The alternative approach to finding the will to raise the funds that are needed had been to address the differences between what wealthy districts and poorer districts actually spend and try to reallocate resources so that the most disadvantage students get a larger share of the budget. But these efforts run also find themselves running into gale force political winds.Liz King, director of education policy at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights recently challenged policymakers, asking, “When is it ever okay to spend less money on the education of poor children than we spend on the education of non-poor children?” Unfortunately, in many states, the answer is “always.”—Martin LevineShare22Tweet11ShareEmail33 Shareslast_img read more

Sky Italia is launching a series of new features o

first_imgSky Italia is launching a series of new features on its Sky Go service, including an on-demand service for tablets, PCs and Macs and the addition of new channels, and is widening the availability of the service.Sky Italia is adding a new free on-demand service for customers who have been Sky subscribers for at least one year. The service will have over 600 titles available initially, according to Sky.Sky Go will also now be available to all Sky subscribers. Previously the service was available only to Sky HD customers.Sky is also adding the Sky Arte, Fox Life and DeAKids channels to the service, bringing the total number of channels available on Sky Go to 28. The News Corp-owned pay TV operator is also making the service available to most Samsung smartphones.Sky Go was launched nine months ago in Italy and currently has 1.1 million customers signed up, according to Sky Italia.“Sky Go provides our subscribers with the best possible TV-on-the-move experience; the comprehensive on-demand library and the rich ‘live’ channel offering make it the most advanced and customized service on the market,” said Andrea Zappia, CEO of Sky Italia. “We have always offered the best and most user-friendly technology so that any innovation can be easily enjoyed by all our subscribers. These changes are also proof that our investments always aim at adding extra value for our subscribers. In particular, we focus on customers who have been subscribers for at least one year, to whom we offer exclusive access to Sky Go’s On Demand section, as is already the case with our On Demand service.”last_img read more