October 13, 2023
House Republicans struggle to agree on a speaker
WASHINGTON — Increasingly desperate Republicans convened behind closed doors again Friday as the endless search for a House speaker drags deeper into a second week leaving the GOP majority spiraling into chaos for the foreseeable future. Attention swiftly turned to Rep. Jim Jordan, the Trump-allied Judiciary Committee chairman and founder of the hardline Freedom Caucus as the next potential candidate after Majority Leader Steve Scalise abruptly ended his bid when it became clear hardline holdouts refused to back him. But not all Republicans want to see Jordan as speaker, second in line to the presidency. Overwhelmed and exhausted, anxious GOP lawmakers worry their House majority is being frittered away to countless rounds of infighting over rules, personalities and direction of the GOP. “Someone said ‘You know, you could put Jesus Christ up for Speaker of the House, and he still wouldn’t get 217,” said Rep. Mark Alford, R-Mo., about the number needed to win a floor vote. Next steps are uncertain as the House is essentially closed while the Republican majority is expected to convene again in the afternoon for the internal nominating speeches to elect a speaker after ousting Kevin McCarthy from the job. “I think Jordan would do a great Job,” said McCarthy, whose own allies are trying to reinstate him as speaker. “We got to get this back on track.” Jordan and his backers instantly revived calls for party members to get behind the Ohio Republican. Backed by Trump, the Republican frontrunner to challenge Joe Biden in 2024, Jordan had nominally dropped out of the race he initially lost to Scalise, 113-99, during internal balloting at the start of the week. “Make him the speaker. Do it tonight,” said Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind. “He’s the only one who can unite our party.” Jordan also received an important nod Friday from the Republican party’s campaign chairman, Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., who made an attempt to unify the fighting factions. “Removing Speaker Kevin McCarthy was a mistake,” Hudson wrote on Social Media, saying the party finds itself at a crossroads also blocking Scalise. “We must unite around one leader.” Heading into the morning meeting, Jordan said: “I feel real good.” While the firebrand Jordan has a long list of detractors who started making their opposition known, Jordan’s supporters said voting against Jordan during a public vote on the House floor would be tougher since he is so popular and well known among Trump voters. Other potential speaker choices were also being floated. Some Republicans proposed simply giving Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., who was appointed interim speaker pro tempore, greater authority to lead the House for some time. With the House narrowly split 221-212, with two vacancies, any nominee can lose just a few Republicans before they fail to reach the 217 majority needed in the face of opposition from Democrats who will most certainly back their own leader, New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. Absences heading into the weekend could lower the majority threshold needed, or push the House floor vote for speaker into next week. Republicans said they were down about a dozen lawmakers as of midday Friday. No floor votes are scheduled as attendance thinned before the weekend. In announcing his decision to withdraw from the nomination, Scalise said late Thursday the Republican majority still has to come together and “open up the House again. But clearly not everybody is there.” Asked if he would throw his support behind Jordan, Scalise said, “It’s got to be people that aren’t doing it for themselves and their own personal interest.” Scalise had been laboring to peel off more than 100 votes, mostly from those who backed Jordan. But many hard-liners taking their cues from Trump have dug in for a prolonged fight to replace McCarthy after his historic ouster from the job. The hold-outs argued that as majority leader, Scalise was no better choice, that he should be focusing on his health as he battles cancer and that he was not the leader they would support. The House closed late in the night, with lawmakers vowing to meet again early Friday. Handfuls of Republicans announced they were sticking with Jordan, McCarthy or someone other than Scalise — including Trump. The position as House speaker does not need to go to a member of Congress. Trump, the front-runner for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, repeatedly discussed Scalise’s health during a radio interview that aired Thursday. “Well, I like Steve. I like both of them very much. But the problem, you know, Steve is a man that is in serious trouble, from the standpoint of his cancer,” Trump said on Fox News host Brian Kilmeade’s radio show. Scalise has been diagnosed with a form of blood cancer known as multiple myeloma and is being treated, but has also said he was definitely up for the speaker’s job. McCarthy said afterward that Scalise would remain as majority leader but had no other advice for his colleagues. Another California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock had introduced a motion to reinstate McCarthy during Friday’s morning meeting, but it was tabled without enough support. “I just told them, no, let’s not do that,” McCarthy said afterward. “Let’s walk through this and have an election.” The House is entering its second week without a speaker and is essentially unable to function during a time of turmoil in the U.S. and wars overseas. The political pressure increasingly is on Republicans to reverse course, reassert majority control and govern in Congress. The situation is not fully different from the start of the year, when McCarthy faced a similar backlash from a different group of far-right holdouts who ultimately gave their votes to elect him speaker, then engineered his historic downfall. But the math this time is even more daunting, and the problematic political dynamic only worsening. Exasperated Democrats, who have been waiting for the Republican majority to recover from McCarthy’s ouster, urged them to figure it out. “The House Democrats have continued to make clear that we are ready, willing and able to find a bipartisan path forward,” he said, including doing away with the rule that allows a single lawmaker to force a vote against the speaker. “But we need traditional Republicans to break from the extremists and partner with us.”
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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