Sears has finally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It might be the beginning of the end for the company that dominated the American retail industry for over a century. For the time being though, Sears will keep hundreds of its stores open pursuant to an agreement that it entered into with its creditors
Sears merged with Kmart in 2005. At this point in time, it still has about 700 Sears and Kmart stores up and running. Many of those stores have never been visited by millennials. The retailer intends to close 142 of those stores by the end of 2018. They’re simply not making any money. On top of those, there are another 46 stores that it intends on closing by the end of November, 2018. In all, Sears employs about 70,000 people. Sears had about $134 million of loans that were due on October 15, 2018. It filed the Chapter 11 proceedings that morning.
Sears sold everything from clothes to it’s famous Craftsman tools to Kenmore appliances. At one time it even sold prefabricated homes. According to CNBC, Richard Sears began the Sears Watch company in 1886. He sold watches by mail. He partnered with Alvah Roebuck, and the two began offering consumer products in a catalogue with delivery by mail. Sears Roebuck opened its first store in Chicago in 1925, and by the end of the year, it opened seven other stores. In 2006, only a year after the Kmart acquisition, Sears was worth more than $20 billion. Walmart, Target, Lowe’s and Home Depot kept opening stores though, with a wider variety of home improvement materials and tools. Then, the Great Recession came, and with the rise of Amazon, buyers started buying products online.
Now, Sears hasn’t shown a profit since 2010. A drastically reduced cash flow doesn’t allow Sears to invest very much in itself anymore. The company’s ratio of expenditures to sales is less than one percent. Even its famous Craftsman Tool brand has been sold to Stanley Black & Decker, and 250 of its top properties have been sold. In addition to it’s present woes, Sears has 100,000 retirees, and it’s pension fund is underfunded by $1.5 billion. What comes to issue now is whether Sears will come out of bankruptcy. Few retailers have successfully done so.
The Supreme Court of the State of Washington has killed the death penalty. Part of its rationale was that capital punishment is imposed in a racially biased manner. According to a report by ottawasun.com, the decision was unanimous in the appeal of a man who was found guilty to having raped and murdered a woman in her home. The court held that capital punishment isn’t equally applied, and that it’s cruel and unusual under the state’s constitution. All of the state’s inmates who are on death row had their penalties converted to life in prison based on racial or other considerations.
The court stated that the use of the death penalty isn’t applied equally. Factors that sometimes influenced sentencing included where the crime occurred, the county of the defendant’s residence, budgetary resources at different times and the defendant’s race. The court relied heavily on a study that was performed on behalf of the appellant. The study found that depending on the statistical method used, black defendants were 3.5 to 4.6 times more likely to receive the death penalty than white defendants. The court also found significant differences from county to county in decisions to seek the death penalty. Washington is now the third state to pull the switch on the death penalty as a result of a finding of racial disparity. Massachusetts and Connecticut are the others. Capital punishment is still permitted in 30 states. A moratorium on the death penalty in Washington had been in effect since 2014.
In the subject case, the defendant’s conviction was overturned. That was partially based on prosecutorial misconduct during closing arguments. A second jury was chosen for purposes of sentencing, and that jury also imposed the death penalty. By law, that sentence was required to be reviewed by the Washington Supreme Court. The law requires the court to inquire into whether the death penalty is excessive or disproportionate to penalties in similar cases. The defendant successfully argued that in his case, the sentence was disproportionate.
The court’s ruling was that the death penalty in the State of Washington was unconstitutional as administered. The issue that wasn’t addressed in the court’s decision is whether the state’s legislature intends on drafting a new death penalty statute that’s consistent with the decision in the subject case. If it does, it’s highly likely that the new statute will be challenged sometime in the future.
Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court by a narrow margin On Saturday. The United States Senate voted 50 to 48 to make Kavanaugh the newest member of the highest court in the nation. The vote followed heated confirmation hearings and an FBI investigation that included allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh.
Bystanders report that loud shouting could be heard before and after the vote was taken. There were also hundreds of protesters outside the Supreme Court. Police arrested dozens of individuals when they rushed a police barricade.
Straits Times.com says that the confirmation of Kavanaugh was considered a surety once three key senators gave their endorsement to him. These key votes were cast by Susan Collins from Maine and Arizona’s Jeff Flake, both Republicans. The two were joined in their support of Kavanaugh by Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia.
A Standing Committee of the ABA previously rated Kavanaugh as well-qualified in their assessment of the judge’s worthiness made to the Senate Judiciary Committee. However, the Standing Committee made it known to the Judiciary Committee on Friday that their assessment of Kavanaugh is currently under re-evaluation.
The re-evaluation of Kavanaugh is attributed to new information regarding his temperament. The result of the re-evaluation was not known when the Senate vote was conducted.
Kavanaugh is a graduate of Yale Law School and has been a U.S. Appeals Court Judge in Washington D.C. since 2006. Kavanaugh will now possess a seat on the Supreme Court that was made available when Justice Anthony Kennedy decided to retire.
The initial confirmation hearings of Kavanaugh included intense questioning regarding the Senator’s views on a number of issues including the rights of gays, abortion, and the powers available to the president.
The calmness displayed by Kavanaugh during the first hearings was gone by September 27 as the second hearings were underway. Kavanaugh seemed angry at times while defending his name against allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford that he sexually assaulted her.
Ford testified that Kavanaugh attempted to rape her at a party while both were students in high school. Ford’s account of the incident is that Kavanaugh shoved her onto a bed and placed himself on top of her. She said the Senator attempted to remove her bathing suit while groping her.
A subsequent investigation by the FBI resulted in nine people being interviewed. However, neither of the people were Ford or Kavanaugh. One former classmate at Yale that was interviewed, Deborah Ramirez, says that Kavanaugh exposed himself inappropriately to her at a party.
Morton Katz is a 99-year-old attorney who has no plans to retire. He stated that he will not retire until they carry him out of the courtroom. Morton started practicing law in 1951. He became a lawyer after he served in World War II.
Morton stated on Press Herald that he loves what he does. He also stated that he does not know what he would be doing if he was not practicing law. Morton said that he has his hard days, but he still loves what he does.
Morton was educated at Connecticut State College. After he graduated from college, he served in World War II. He went to law school after World War II was over.
Omar Williams is the Superior Court Judge. He stated that Morton is able to handle tough cases and is good at his job. He also stated that Morton does superior work.
Morton is a public defender and gets paid $350 for every case that he takes on. If the case goes to the trial, he is paid an hourly wage on top of the $350. He also does a lot of free legal work.
Morton’s uncle paid to get him through college. Morton offered to pay his uncle back, but his uncle refused that offer. That is what motivated Morton to go into public service. He stated that if someone needs your help, then you will need to help them.
The American Bar Association has stated that it does not know whether Morton is the oldest practicing lawyer in the United States. Ernie Lewis is the executive director of the National Association of Public Defenders. He has practiced for 31 years and stated that there is no one who is close to Morton’s age still practicing.
Morton regularly attends seminars so that he can stay up-to-date with legal changes. Judge Williams says that Morton is a fine example of the best that humankind has to offer.
A 27-year-old Florida man who has confessed to biting his dog for purposes of establishing dominance over it has entered a guilty plea to a felony animal cruelty charge. He also admitted to punching the dog in the face. In return for the plea, he was able to avoid a prison sentence. A Palm Beach County judge sentenced the man to four years of probation. He has been prohibited from possessing animals of any kind or living with anybody who has animals on their property. The man must also undergo a mental health evaluation and follow any recommendations. In order to monitor the defendant’s probation, his home has been ordered subject to random inspections by Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control agents or the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Department. In addition, 300 hours of public service must be served at a minimum of 10 hours per month. The sentence is subject to a two year reduction if the terms of probation are successfully served.
According to the Daily Mail, a deputy was dispatched in May of 2018 to the man’s apartment after a caller reported hearing slamming noises and somebody abusing a dog. Upon speaking with the man’s roommates, one of them said that the dog’s owner “beat the hell out of him.” The dog was found shaking in the man’s bedroom closet that had been blocked off by a couch. There was blood on the dog’s ear and on the closet floor. One of the roommates told police that he saw the defendant beating the dog more than once. He reportedly left the dog “on his back with his paws up, and crying.” Another roommate stated that he heard the dog crying in pain while the man beat it. The dog’s owner reported that he was disciplining the dog after it “destroyed several items in the apartment.”
The dog, a two-year-old Siberian Husky named Dimitri was seized by animal control officials. Its condition and whereabouts are presently unknown.
Ted Bauman says that not everyone is in agreement about President Trump’s trade war, but it’s giving investors the chance to purchase stocks from the biggest companies in China. One example is iShares China Large-Cap ETF, and it is currently down 10 percent year-to-date.
The stocks that comprise the aforementioned ETF include China Mobile, Tencent Holdings, banks, insurance companies, chemical companies and oil companies. These companies are growing, and investors now have a chance to take part in it.
Along with that growth comes some of the lowest price tags the market has seen in several years.
In the past year, companies listed in the ETF listed above earned nearly $15.50 per share. Currently, the price-to-earnings ratio is equal to 2.6. To find prices at a valuation that low, you would have to travel back to the year 2010. In 2013, investors were willing to pay 15 times earnings for this ETF, so today’s prices are an incredible bargain.
If we look at this with an outlook toward dividends, we can still see the decrease. The yield of the fund’s semiannual distributions comes out to approximately 3.6 percent. That’s the highest that it has been since 2009. These companies are trading at their lowest stock prices as compared to their asset value.
On Monday, investors were able to purchase this stock for $42 per share, and that is a discount of 22 percent. You would have to go back to before 2009 to see prices that low.
Things were very different in 2009 from the way they are today in 2018. Back then, China’s stock values were in harmony with U.S. stocks and global asset values, and new and old markets were digging their way out of the day’s financial crisis.
Now, we can describe the entire scene as “out of harmony.” If we imagine a teeter-totter, the U.S. market is on the top, and equity markets around the world are scraping the bottom.
The scenario described above is going to end at some point. When this happens, the newer markets will be able to enter the game again. Cheap markets like China’s will be able to offer investors growth and are going to be where investors will want to be.
Trump’s Trade War
President Donald Trump placed tariffs in the amount of $50 billion on China’s exports. Not to be outdone, the Chinese placed tariffs in the amount of $34 billion on American exports. After that happened, President Trump announced that he would add $200 billion in tariffs if the Chinese dare to retaliate. Because of the drama that has been unfolding, the indices have been moving down the scale.
The tariffs are considered to be President Trump’s answer to the intellectual property theft that China has been engaging in for several years. The fact that the trade practices were seen as unfair to American businesses is also a factor. To some, President Trump’s actions are a show of strength right before November’s elections. Every member of the House of Representatives is running to hold his or her seat this fall. Only 35 out of the 100 senators are currently running in an election this year.
Trump’s trade war also had the effect of causing China’s currency to fall. Tariffs have been placed on Chinese goods, so this encouraged China’s government to loosen its hold on the yuan. As recently as August 13, the yuan was trading at 6.89 to the dollar. It could continue to move, but the actions taken by the Central Bank are expected to keep it below 7.
As the currencies move, the stock prices adjust to them. For example, the Shanghai Composite is down 18 percent for 2018. Tensions between China and the U.S. began to increase in June, and that is when the composite started to fall.
Does this mean that American investors should sell Chinese stocks?
If you were to ask Ted Bauman, he would tell you not to sell. It’s time to buy Chinese stocks!
Who Is Ted Bauman?
Ted Bauman was born in Washington, D.C., but he moved to South Africa to attend the University of Cape Town. He graduated after he earned two postgraduate degrees in history and economics. In the 25 years that he lived in South Africa, Ted Bauman worked in the nonprofit sector as a fund manager. Slum Dwellers was a project that he had a hand in serving, and it allowed him to be of assistance to more than 14 million people in 35 countries.
Mr. Bauman was never a finance or investment specialist, but he witnessed how governmental powers had a stranglehold on the people, and this made it impossible for these people to get ahead. He wanted to do something about this, so he was motivated to join Banyan Hill Publishing. After he had been back in the United States for a little while, his father recruited him to take over his current position as a finance writer, and that is how he became a part of Banyan Hill Publishing.
China has a strategy. The plan is to wait and see what President Trump is going to do next. The Central Bank is not using the yuan as a weapon. It is taking advantage of currency swaps to keep the yuan at its current value. It is allowing Tokyo to be the leading market in the area so that it can concentrate on tactics that will reduce speculation.
China’s government is placing just as many tariffs on American goods as America is placing on China’s goods, but it is going out of its way not to elevate the trade war. The state media pundits are speaking brashly while the government has its eye on the long term. Because of this, Chinese stocks are cheap right now. Alibaba is growing at this time, but its price-to-earnings ratio has recently fallen to 48.6.
China’s economy is two-thirds the size of the U.S. economy. Newspapers currently have a new headline in East Asia because they are reporting that China is going to start producing goods in Vietnam. It will be much cheaper there. China’s population is aging, and the people are starting to become consumers. The infrastructure in the country is first rate, and the people are educated. This means that its markets have finished emerging and are currently emerged.
What does all of this mean?
According to Ted Bauman, it means that China has plenty of consumers within its own borders, and since it is in control of overseas production, it can face the U.S. as an equal in a trade war. The U.S. appears to not have considered these truths, but since China has, it is preparing to be a secure entity in a sea of instability.
People are saying that America is winning the trade war, but this is not the truth. Whenever there is a trade war, there are only losers. All the participants can do is keep their losses to a minimum. China’s losses will be in its market share, and Chinese businesses will adjust to this, but it will be able to say that its economic woes are the fault of the U.S.
Because of the trade war, Chinese stocks are bargains for Americans. China is currently leaving its lower wage industries behind while it keeps a strong hold on other East Asian economies. The difference is that the U.S. is looking at China, but China is only looking at China.
The Maryland tech council is the largest technology trade association based in Gaithersburg Maryland with over 450 members. It actively engages in building strong technology as well as life science industries, and supports the efforts of its members who are driving innovation by giving them a forum to learn, share, connect and develop workforce. The organization has two divisions, advance tech (MD tech) and life sciences (Maryland life sciences). It was started in 2017 when the two largest tech groups in the state merged. These include the Chesapeake Regional Tech Council and Technology Council of Maryland Inc.
In August the association announced that its CEO back then, Tami Howie, was leaving the organization and returning to her professional roots at DLA piper, where she served as a law partner .Tami was praised to have been instrumental in implementing the strategic vision of the organization. Under her leadership, the organization was able to grow its industry and regional visibility, accelerate government relations agenda and unite the community’s constituents.
According to a report by baltimoresun.com, though the organizations board had previously stated that they were not sure when they would fill the void left by Tami Howie, Maryland tech council on Wednesday appointed Marty Rosendale as the new CEO effective immediately. Marty Rosendale is not new in the industry as he was an advisor of this same organization. He is said to have championed several successful enterprises in different sectors in the market, pushed for equity based capital for private and public companies and non-dilutive capital through planned collaborations. According to the chairman and president of Maryland tech council, Marty knows the organization intimately and understands the sectors of its membership and constituents focus. He also brings in a lot of experience and visionary mindset. His recent work was at Newport Board Group, a professional firm that offers help to leaders, and has also worked in biotech and medical device companies.
The appointment of the new CEO could not have come at a more suitable time, as the organization will be hosting the third edition of Bio+Tech18 from September 26 to 27 2018. Bio+Tech18 is a conference that brings together abundant networking and collaboration opportunities with professionals in life sciences and technology creating an opportunity to bring forth new innovations. Among its number of events, Maryland tech council also honors individuals that have exceeded expectations through their careers, in service of the technology and life sciences communities.
Just days before the judiciary committee is set to vote to advance the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh ,some rather embarrassing allegations of sexual assault against him emerge. Christine Blasey Ford, the alleged victim claims that Kavanaugh attacked her 35 years ago during a high school bash. In a letter written to a senior law maker of the Democratic Party, she gave a detailed account of how the incident happened.
These allegations have, however, raised a lot of questions by the republicans, wondering why the young professor at Palo Alto University had decided to stay mute for all these years, only to resurface on the eve of the vote. Kanavaugh, who claimed not to know the accuser until she identified herself, has since refuted the allegations by categorically denying the allegations, saying that he did not do that sort of thing in high school or at any time. Kavanaugh has served as a judge in the court of appeals in the US for the District of Columbia since 2006. He was later nominated for a spot on the U.S Supreme Court by President Donald Trump as a replacement to the outgoing justice Anthony Kennedy, in July 2018. Kavanaugh went to the renown Yale law school and has worked in the White House for President George W bush as a counsel and staff secretary, making him very a great intellect and most qualified for the impending advancement.
Brett Kavanaugh has had a smooth running and successful career. He was about to make his next big step through the Supreme Court nomination, when the accusations came knocking. Although the allegations could pose as a major hitch to his political career, Senator John Kennedy on Sunday stated that the vote would proceed as planned, on Thursday. He also talked of how embarrassed he had been by the whole process, saying that the hearings have had been marred by constant interruptions by protesters.
Despite Senator Kennedy’s sentiments, many feel that Kavanaugh should be worried of losing the nomination, given the nature of the accusations .Both the accused and the accuser are set to testify under oath before the judiciary committee of the US Senate. Dough Jones, a democrat elected to the senate calls for a pause on the nominations but even if they resume business, whether the vote will be in favor of or against Kavanaugh will highly depend on the direction that the sexual misconduct allegations will take.
In the United States, elections are won or lost more often by differences in voter turnout among various demographics than in how all the eligible voters in a particular jurisdiction actually view a particular candidate or issue. This is because voter turnout in the United States is far lower than in most other established democracies around the world, which leaves the outcome of elections up to those who actually vote. Understanding the complexities of why Americans don’t vote is critical to putting NGP VAN software to the best use. It is also critical in using NGP VAN software to win elections.
Let’s look at the overarching stats. In the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections, voter turnout hovered around forty percent. This means that the majority of Americans who were eligible to vote, around sixty percent, did not vote! Sadly, this means that tens of millions of potential American voters did not vote for senators, representatives, county supervisors, mayors, city council members, sheriffs, school board members, bond initiatives, or in many other elections that truly matter. Of course, this also include candidates for state houses where members determine the enactment of important state laws and how a state’s money will be spent.
The only positive that could be said about low voter turnout in America is the fact there is a lot of upside available to candidates and issues where the entire pool of eligible voters would prefer change. The use of NGP VAN software can certainly help turn out more voters that don’t normally vote in midterm elections. Consider this stat too for those individuals already thinking ahead to the 2020 presidential election. On average, only about sixty percent of all eligible Americans vote in presidential elections. If you start planning now, NGP VAN software can be a very potent tool, a not so secret “secret weapon” if you will, to turning out some of the forty percent of voters who haven’t voted in the past during presidential elections.
By contrast to voter turnout in America, most other democracies turn out on average, 70-90 percent of all eligible voters, even during “off year” elections. For example, Germany has about a 76 percent voter turnout. Denmark and Sweden both have about an 86 percent voter turnout. This is based on data from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), which is considered one of the most trusted sources for this type of data. While America may not be ready yet for voter turnout quite this high, the good news is that all indications suggest that voters are more engaged going into the 2018 midterms than they have been in decades. NGP VAN software can help tap into that swell of interest and turn it into actual votes!
In some democracies, adults can actually lose the legal right to vote for an extended period of time, if they fail to vote. For example, in Belgium if a voter doesn’t vote in four consecutive elections, they lose the legal right to vote for ten years. According to the IDEA, voter turnout in Belgium is about 89 percent so this type of “compulsory voting” does seem to work. Similar penalties exist in Australia where voter turnout is a whopping 91 percent. In most democracies, there is also a certain amount of public shaming and other serious consequences to those who don’t vote, such as the inability to get a public job.
Americans cherish their freedoms so it stands to reason that compulsory voting would likely not be popular in the United States. However, U.S. citizens do take pride in encouraging each other to vote, engaging with one another, and having a spirited debate on the candidates and the issues. When an election is all said and done, however, if this spirited discussion does not convert into votes, then what’s the purpose from a practical standpoint? NGP VAN software can help turn what Americans actually care about into real life votes that can turn elections in favor of your candidate or issue.
Think about this. Just a small increase in voter turnout, among certain demographics, can easily change the outcome of elections. This is true for local elections, state elections, and national elections. Activists and campaigns have come to depend on NGP VAN software to help them turn out voters who support their candidate or issue. Let’s look at some of the details about why eligible voters don’t vote and how you can use NGP VAN software to increase voter turnout for your candidate or issue.
What Can Be Learned From the Pew Research Center?
On June 1, 2017, Gustavo Lopez and Antonio Flores of the Pew Research Center released a report on why the registered voters who did not vote in 2016 didn’t vote. Here is the breakdown, by percentage, that they found in their extensive survey:
– Didn’t like candidates or campaign issues: 25 percent
– Not interested, felt vote wouldn’t make a difference: 15 percent
– Too busy or conflicting schedule: 14 percent
– Illness or disability: 12 percent
– Other: 11 percent
– Out of town or away from home: 8 percent
– Registration problems: 4 percent
– Forgot to vote: 3 percent
– Transportation problems: 3 percent
– Inconvenient hours or polling places: 2 percent
First, while it may be tempting to direct most of the energy of a campaign into addressing the most most common reasons Americans don’t vote, it may actually serve your candidate or cause better to step back and determine what issues are the “lowest hanging fruit” in terms of how easily solved these issues are. In looking at the list above of reasons people don’t vote, the most common one, while incredibly important, is probably the hardest to address. On the other hand, the bottom three issues, accounting for a total of 8 percent of those surveyed, seem much easier to tackle, especially with the help of NGP VAN software. Since many elections are won or lost by a small difference in voter turnout, these less common voter turnout issues could be absolutely pivotal in winning! Let’s take them one at at time.
People who work for or volunteer for political campaigns sometimes exist in a bit of a bubble, at least when it comes to what how important voting is to most people. The act of voting is so paramount to them, they don’t fully realize that to other people, voting may not rank as high on the priority list. So yes, believe it or not, some people in every election, simply forget to vote. If your team uses NGP VAN software to track who supports your candidate or issue when phone banking and canvassing, you can very easily generate lists of people to courteously remind to vote. In fact, you can ask your phone bankers and canvassers to actually ask people if they’d like to have email reminders, text message reminders, or phone reminders about when and where to vote. Many voters actually appreciate this very much. You can then have that entered into the NGP VAN voter database you create and follow through diligently on these reminders.
It looks like three percent of the voters surveyed in the Pew Research Poll cited transportation problems as the reason they did not vote. Remember, this three percent is an average. Transportation could be an even bigger issue in your particular district. So, you can create a higher voter turnout for your candidate or issue by simply adding a place in your NGP VAN voter database to ask people if they need a ride to the polls. If a voter says yes, you can have volunteers give them a ride. You can also create lists from your NGP VAN voter database of those who need a ride to the polls and have your phone bankers call these people a few days beforehand and check in with them to remind them that you are providing them with transportation to the polls and to make the specific arrangements.
Two percent of those polled said their reason for not voting had to do with inconvenience, either in the hours established in their precinct or with some problem with the polling places. For example, starting in the 2016 primary, Arizona closed hundreds of polling places. This made it much more difficult for many voters to get to their polls. Lines were much longer than they had been in previous elections and and the wait time to vote increased substantially as a result. Some people waited for hours to vote and suffer heat stroke and other serious medical conditions. Ambulance rescue was hailed. Other voters got frustrated and left. Some parents HAD to leave because they needed to pick up their kids.
The above situation can be ameliorated by using NGP VAN software to first identify voters who support your candidate or issue and then train volunteers to make these voters are aware that Arizona does allow for “no excuse” early voting. This means a voter can vote early, absentee, without having to provide any specific excuse. The same is true in many other states, although voters don’t often know this. Once your team has identified voters with this potential problem within your NGP VAN voter database, you can then institute an outreach program to find workarounds. So in Arizona, for example, you could have your volunteers help educate people on how to vote absentee. You could even put more emphasis on elderly voters, parents, and others who may be more affected by long lines at the polls.
It should be noted that the Pew Research Center self identifies as a “nonpartisan fact tank,” but perhaps more importantly, their data is one of the most trusted sources for general voter turnout data. They conduct scientifically valid opinion polling and demographic research that is used by political strategists of all political persuasions. Further, their social science methodology is well respected among academics. If you use this data as your guide to brainstorm with your campaign organizers, you can put the NGP VAN software to good use in implementing a winning strategy. You could use the same tactic for voters who may be very busy or potentially have a conflict in their schedule.
What Can Be Learned From National Public Radio (NPR)?
Last week, NPR broadcast a special series of stories they called, “On The Sidelines Of Democracy.” They sent three reporters out into the field to explore the reasons Americans don’t vote. They talked with actual voters, went out with voting advocacy groups, and talked to experts about their data. Information gleaned from this NPR series can be used to make better use of the NGP VAN software.
Leila Fadel headed to El Paso Texas, a place where voter turnout is lower than average, even by American standards. El Paso is a poor community, with about half of the citizens living below the poverty line. Most don’t have health insurance either. Leila spoke to a working mom picking up cookies for her daughter at a local bakery. After admitting she didn’t even really know who’s running, she states this about voting, “I don’t really think about it. It’s kind of sad to say but I don’t really think about what can be better in my life… I do what I can do to make my life better and I don’t depend on them to change things for me.” By “them,” the working mom is referring to politicians.
This woman’s sentiment about voting is quite common. Many non-voters don’t really make the connection between voting and improving their life or even the life of their family. Using NGP VAN software makes it much easier to keep track of what concerns voters have. For example, phone bankers can ask questions like, “If you could change one or two things in your life, what would you change?” Depending on their answers, various lists can be made within NGP VAN and given to volunteers who can then explain during followups why their particular candidate or issue would address their biggest issues. In this way, NGP VAN can help you allow non-voters to target themselves with the issues they care most about.
Asma Khalid headed to Georgia where she interviewed non-voters who were quite discouraged about voting. One woman in Houston County told her, “It doesn’t matter whether I’m registered to vote or whether I go vote because I don’t see anything changing. We’re still being profiled. We’re still being gunned down. We’re still being, nothing is changing.”
A man in a Georgia barbershop explained his reason for not voting in the following way, “The reason I don’t vote on a national level around here, it’s a red state,in other words, I’m pretty sure I could do my own mathematics and figure out what’s going on but I know this vote is not really going to really matter for president.”
There are many real and perceived barriers to voting that Americans face. NPG VAN software can help you help your candidate or issue by creating a highly customized voter database that identifies the key voting hurdles in your specific area. Does a large swathe of your potential voters feel their vote doesn’t count for some reason? Do they feel nothing changes even if they do vote? Do they stay home on election day because they think the outcome is predetermined? Once you identify these voting barriers in the NGP VAN voter database your team creates, you can use it to strategize on messaging. You can also modify and tailor your messaging for specific areas depending on the barriers that potential voters in those areas express.
Asma also went to Nevada to talk with non-voters and voting activists and came back with more invaluable insights. For Nevadians aged 18-29, Las Vegas has one of the worst voter turnouts in the country. Asma interviewed a non-voting mom in this age bracket living with her parents and siblings, “It’s not easy, you know, being a mom and then being wife, having to cook and just still trying to keep up with work and school… One of the main reasons why I haven’t voted is because I feel that I’m always too busy.” Remember too, the Pew Research Center found that 14 percent of non-voters polled said they were too busy and or had a conflict in their schedule.
NGP VAN software can help you help potential voters overcome the issue of being too busy to vote in a number of ways. First, your team can develop lists of registered voters that don’t vote very often from the shared pre-existing voter data found in the NGP VAN system. Second, you can incorporate questions that will help identify this potential problem and incorporate this into the script canvassers use. This is now made exceptionally easy with the MiniVAN Touch smartphone app.
Depending on how a potential voter answers a question such as, “Does your schedule allow you to vote?” the app can prompt the next question or response depending on what they said. For example, if the potential voter says they want to vote but they usually don’t have time to vote, your canvassers can talk with them about alternative ways to vote other than actually standing in lines at the polls. Third, you can use the NGP VAN personalized voter database you create to have your canvassers follow up with this voter to ensure they successfully accomplished the alternative form of voting and determine if they may need some help in setting that up or maybe just some additional encouragement to stop procrastinating.
Asma also encountered a community activist that explains that politicians sometimes pay more attention to issues that seniors care about, such as social security, than issues like student loan debt that younger voters care about. While this may be a rather pessimistic view for younger people, there was also good news from this activist. He showed Asma an example of a young voter who was contacted by canvassers in 2016 FOUR times. The persistence paid off because she did vote on election day! NGP VAN software can help your team keep track of every contact with every voter so that your team can build on each interaction so that each contact improves your odds that you will get the person to vote.
Good luck on your campaigns and be sure to use NGP VAN software to improve your success!
According to Forbes magazine report of June 2017, Washington DC was ranked third among the US tech cities, and a leading knowledge hub and innovation hotspot. Due to its skilled workforce, according to the US Bureau of labor and statistics, the metro DC area is ranked number one in high tech, with employment in the sector being 2.5 times more concentrated there than in the rest of the united states.
A controversial debate has been initiated in Washington as calls have been made to the federal government to regulate the giants in the technology industry, citing misinformation and political bias. The giant tech companies namely Google and Facebook have been on the spot for quite some time now, with several accusations being made against them. Google, for instance, has allegedly been promoting information that is either untrue, or distorted with utmost right-wing bias on subjects like spreading fake news to build support for conservative political leaders. Facebook on the other hand has received its fair share of accusations, one of them being that they sell users personal information to political consulting firms and suppress conservative news stories from trending news.
Among these reasons, the legislative and administrative organs in Washington feels that these giants have had a lot of power and influence in the industry and on people’s online activities. Capitol Hill says that big tech is to an extent of sabotaging other online advertising companies that have been struggling to establish themselves on the digital platform as they experience slowing revenue. According to LUMA partners, a leading investment bank that does analysis on digital media and marketing, there has been a fall in the number of independent ad tech companies since 2013 by 21 per cent to 185 in the second quarter of 2018. A wide spread of online advertising continues to rise to more than $88 million in 2017. However, more than 90 percent of that growth went to Google and Facebook as reported by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a trade group in New York.
In the broader picture, we cannot deny that the giant tech companies have become increasingly attractive as more users come on board. As a result, it is going to be almost impossible for other companies to compete and for any government to challenge them. Washington is only the latest state to show its frustrations on these internet firms. France and Germany are already implementing fines on them for not following the rules governing the industry.
A 45 year-old-California man has been charged with at least 10 felony cases and accused of 16 dining-and-dashing cases. He’s now looking nearly 17 years of prison food. The man personally met at least 13 women on a number of online dating websites, and now, he’s accused of running out on over $1,000 of dinner tabs. Needing to use the washroom or retrieving an item from his car were some of his excuses. After excusing himself for a minute, he’d never come back. His dates were left with the check. Since he never returned to the dinner table with his accusers, the prosecution convinced the presiding judge that he might not return to court either. Accordingly, the judge set bail at $315,000. The man remained behind bars until he could post bail.
The accused dine-and-dasher dater in this case is reportedly charged with 16 counts of extortion, two counts of attempted extortion and one count of grand theft. His scamming allegedly spanned a period of just under two years across southern California. In California, extortion involves obtaining property from somebody else by force or fear. At this point in time, it hasn’t been disclosed on how the prosecution intends on proving extortion. Both lawyers and non-lawyers perceive of extortion as being connected with blackmail. If that’s the case, the man’s defense options might be limited, especially if he left threats on the internet after dining and dashing.
One woman questioned why the man would want to date a woman who looked like her. Another said that he knew all of the right things to say at the right time. In yet another case, he’s accused of leaving an expensive hair salon without paying. Upon dashing on one woman after an expensive dinner, she said she waited for about 10 minutes until such time as she realized what had happened. The restaurant manager realized that both the restaurant and the woman were scammed by the dine-and-dash dater. The restaurant picked up the tab. Another woman said that he didn’t look at all like his pictures that were posted on dating sites.
Apparently the man is unable to pay for an attorney too. He is represented by an assistant public defender who he has already asked to have removed from the case. His request was denied, and he’s now considering acting as his own attorney.
The United States Justice Department reported that they had pressed charges on an unproven North Korean infiltrator for assisting to commit cyber-hackings in contradiction of the National Health Service. After the hacking transpired, the NHS canceled its operations, patient records were made unavailable, and all ambulances were diverted to other hospitals. The 2017 Worldwide hack was reported to have affected over 150 computers in more than 150 countries. The South Korean who is aged 34 years, was involved in a cyber-attack on Sony Corporation back in 2014. He was also a mastermind in the $81 million theft from the bank of Bangladesh back in 2016. On Thursday a complaint was released regarding Park Jin Hyok. It wasn’t certain whether North Korean authorities noted the operation on behalf during the Wannacry cyberattack. The United States law enforcement wanted Park available for judgment.
Park was believed to have been operating in China. However, the prosecutors later reported that they think that Park had changed his location and that he was currently in North Korea. United States officials thought that the hacker hit in retribution for the Interview. This is the Hollywood spoof movie that had lampooned the isolated nation to a level that its Nation’s media cautioned if it would wage hard-hearted retaliation. The 2017 cyber-attack, which was the largest ever, did hit the National Health Service. It hit their computers that were operational at the hospital and those that were used to undertake surgeries in over 48 National Health Service Trusts. Over 6,900 NHS appointments were canceled, which caused 19,000 patients to be affected. The staff was left with one option than to use their pens and papers to operate as they were locked from their computerized systems.
A succeeding government report discovered that NHS trusts were left vulnerable to more attacks because the basic cybersecurity references were not trailed. None of the 88 of the 236 Trusts that were evaluated by NHS numerical before the hack transpired were discovered to have met the essential cybersecurity standards. It was reported that approximately all NHS trusts were using an outdated version of Windows for which Microsoft firm had halted providing security informs three years ago. It was also recommended that NHS’s 90% of Trusts were operational under Windows XP and 15 year ancient systems. In the intermediate aftermath of the cyber-attack, the then Home secretary Amber Rudd was not in the position to confirm whether the patient’s credentials had previously been backed up.
Kim Kardashian visited President Donal Trump at the Oval Office again. This time, it was on behalf of Chris Young, a convicted drug dealer who was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment by former U.S. District Court Judge Kevin Sharp. Sharp also attended the Oval Office meeting. Both are seeking clemency for Young.
According to channel24.co.za, at the ages of 18 and 19, Young had been convicted in state court of possessing small amounts of marijuana and cocaine. Both convictions resulted in probation with no prison time, but for federal purposes, he was a convicted felon. When he was 22, Young was rounded up with about 30 other people who were involved in the buying and selling of small amounts of cocaine and crack cocaine. As per Judge Sharp, the arrests involved “several low level folks handling small quantities.” Young was one of those people. He was described by the judge as being “barely on the totem pole.” He later rejected several harsh plea offers and went to trial. He was convicted of conspiracy with intent to possess and distribute 500 grams of cocaine, intent to distribute cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school, possession of a firearm as a felon and knowingly possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Prosecutors asked for an enhanced sentence, and Young was sentenced to life in prison.
Judge Sharp didn’t want to sentence Young to life in prison, but the law required him to do so. According to the Washington Examiner, at Young’s sentencing hearing, Sharp described the sentence as being “way out of whack” compared to what other co-conspirators’ sentences. He said that since he was the judge who heard Young’s case, “Nobody probably knows the case better than I do.” He resigned from his lifetime appointment as a federal judge last year, and he’s now aligned with Kardashian on the Young case. Before this meeting with the president, Kardashian was in the Oval Office in June of 2018 on behalf of drug convict Alice Johnson. Her life sentence for a first-time drug offense was commuted by Trump. To date, he has been far more generous on clemency issues than other presidents before him.
Choosing a justice to serve on the United States Supreme Court is one of the most important decisions that any President of the United States will undertake. A Supreme Court justice is allowed to serve on the bench for life, so a justice could be on the court shaping legal opinion for decades.
Each time that there is a hearing to confirm a new justice, there are a number of individuals and groups that provide their opinion as to the fitness of a justice nominee to serve on the court. The American Bar Association is one of the most important legal bodies in the United States. This organization rates each judicial nominee based on a number of different criteria.
Among the criteria that are used to rate a Supreme Court nominee are the individual’s ethical integrity and legal competency. The individual’s legal experience is also taken into account.
Brett Kavanaugh has just received the American Bar Association’s top rating of well-qualified. Mr. Kavanaugh was chosen by President Donald Trump to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Justice Kennedy was seen to be a so called “swing-vote” on the court coming down on the liberal or conservative side of an issue depending on the case before the court.
Mr. Kavanaugh is seen by many as a much more conservative judge than Kennedy. Many on the political left are opposing his nomination to the nation’s highest court in spite of the high rating given to Kavanaugh by the American Bar Association.
Mr. Kavanaugh currently serves as an associate justice on the Federal Court of Appeals from the District of Columbia Circuit. Before becoming a federal judge, Mr. Kavanaugh served as a counsel to President George W. Bush. He also worked for Ken Starr when Mr. Starr was investigating the conduct of President Bill Clinton.
The hearings in the Senate to confirm Mr. Kavanaugh started on September 4. Mr. Kavanaugh is expected to be confirmed along party lines by a very small margin.
A foundation named in honor of United States President Donald Trump has requested that a judge in New York move to dismiss a lawsuit filed against it. The lawsuit was filed by the state’s Attorney General in response to activities of the non-profit. Both Trump and the foundation have characterized the lawsuit as a politically motivated attack.
A lawyer for Donald Trump said that the lawsuit filed by Attorney General Barbara Underwood was no more than an effort on the part of her office to lead a charge against the president. The lawyer claims that the resistance operates by attacking him whenever possible and filing lawsuits when agreements could be reached.
Underwood is a Democrat that inherited the results of a 21-month probe by former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Attorney General Underwood said when speaking in June that the investigation into Trump Foundation affairs alerted her office to numerous unlawful actions that were committed with the attempt to benefit Donald Trump.
Alan Futerfas, a lawyer employed by the Trump Foundation, says that funds collected by the Foundation have been completely accounted for and that ‘nearly every penny’ was spent to benefit individuals that were in need. Futerfas went on to say that no one involved with the Foundation committed any illegal acts. This includes three adult children of Trump that are affiliated with the Foundation in various capacities.
Futerfas has also openly questioned the failure of Underwood and the AG’s office to pay any attention to the many allegations of wrongdoings that have been lodged against a foundation associated with former President of the United States Bill Clinton.
A spokeswoman for Underwood, Amy Spitalnick, added to the fray via Twitter by saying that Attorney General Underwood has no intention of backing down in her efforts to assure that Trump and his associates are held accountable for improper practices taking place in the state of New York.
Spitalnick explained that the Trump Foundation in New York amounted to nothing more than the then-presidential candidate’s ‘personal piggy bank’ and was used to further both the political and business interests of President Trump.
The lawsuit by the Attorney General was filed in a Manhattan state court of New York. The lawsuit is asking that the court recoup $2.8 million dollars from the Foundation and force its dissolution. The lawsuit also asks that the three Trump children involved with the Foundation be banned from associating again with a charity in the state of New York.