January 06, 2020

Obamaworld Hates Bernie—and Has No Idea How to Stop Him
Former President Barack Obama’s top lieutenants are eager to poke every conceivable hole in Bernie Sanders’ resurgent bid for the Democratic nomination. But ask about a coordinated effort to stop his ascending campaign and you’ll get crickets. Less than a month before voting begins, Obama has declined to offer a preferred pick to take on President Trump in 2020, only occasionally waxing philosophical about the perils of moving too far left and reminding voters to be “rooted in reality” when exploring nominee options. But as Sanders gained new flashes of traction in recent weeks, the former president’s lack of official guidance to halt his momentum, and the scattering of his inner circle to rival campaigns, have hampered any meaningful NeverBernie movement.Indeed, the most striking aspect of Obamaworld’s response to Sanders on the rise—flush with cash, an uptick in the polls, and unusually frequent hat tips about the merits of his character from his rivals—is the lack of a cohesive one.Seasoned Obama operatives who spoke to The Daily Beast concede that Sanders is likely to be a major player through the end of the primary, with several agreeing there’s little to no consolidation around one anointed candidate to blunt his momentum. In fact, while pointing to his massive cash hauls and loyal base of supporters, the thinking among Democrats close to the former president is that they are hoping the Vermont Independent flames out on his own.  “Money is important but doesn’t always translate to votes,” Neera Tanden, who served as policy director for the Obama-Biden presidential campaign, told The Daily Beast. Sanders recently posted his biggest fundraising haul to date, having raised an eye-popping $34.5 million, far surpassing his closest rivals, with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg coming up approximately $10 million short of that sum at $24.7 million. Shooting down criticism that he hasn’t expanded his base from 2016, his campaign points to a newly released number, boasting that 300,000 new donors gave to his campaign last quarter, a sign of increased grassroots strength and enthusiasm from previous showings. And in a departure from his competitors, including Biden, his campaign has regularly pledged not to do big-dollar fundraisers in the general election. “He’s never going to run out of money,” one former top Obama adviser acknowledged when asked by The Daily Beast about the chances Sanders could secure the nomination. But it’s not enough of a concern to plan a big strategy around, the source said. “He’s going to be a zombie candidate. You can go anywhere and still be dead.”Multiple allies believe the self-avowed democratic socialist posed a bigger threat in 2016, when he mounted a challenge to Hillary Clinton and ultimately captured over 40 percent of the primary vote. This time, those sources believe, he has greater problems complicating his path to the nomination: namely the presence of more top-tier contenders in the field, including a progressive in his own lane in Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). On top of that, while he’s consistently polling nationally in second place, he hasn’t achieved the same degree of overwhelming support among African-American voters as former Vice President Joe Biden, who has dominated with that key Democratic constituency. Others simply believe his past legislative history with the 44th president is too complex to cast as rosy. “If you read between the lines of what the Sanders folks are saying about the rationale of his candidacy, it is based on their belief that Barack Obama was not progressive,” one former senior Obama campaign staffer told The Daily Beast. “There is a fundamental flaw in the Sanders candidacy relative to the Obama coalition and it’s because they’ve continually undermined President Obama.”Privately, Obama has reportedly acknowledged problems with Sanders’ vision for the country. In November, Politico reported that the former president once said that if it looked like the senator were close to winning the nomination, he would speak up in some capacity to help stop that from happening. A spokesperson later muddied the waters when asked about the comment by the outlet, saying that Obama would support the nominee. Still, Obama’s rare public statements give a glimpse into his thinking about Sanders 2020.Speaking to Washington donors in in November, Obama cautioned against placing too much stock into “certain left-leaning Twitter feeds or the activist wing of our party.”“Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision we also have to be rooted in reality,” he said. “The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.”Sanders, who built both of his presidential campaigns around the notion of a “political revolution,” is explicit in his intent to restructure major swaths of America’s governing systems. His most fervent legislative push, a universal health-care pitch in the form of Medicare for All, has dominated much of the Democratic primary discourse. And while Sanders’ campaign, which did not respond to a request for comment on this story, views his progressive health-care position as one of the strengths of his candidacy, others see it as one of the biggest points of contention, evoking tense flashbacks.Heading into the 2012 re-election campaign, one top Obama ally recalled how “the most vocal opposition came from not just Sen. Sanders but the folks that are currently leading his campaign” over health care. “I don’t think anyone has forgotten that,” the source said.Still, with just 28 days before voting begins in earnest, Sanders has shown more sustained momentum—boosted by a coveted endorsement from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), strong showings in several early-state surveys, and hundreds of thousands of new donors. And, as The Daily Beast reported, his competitors have so far failed to lay a glove on him in a meaningful way during the first several Democratic debates. He is one of only five contenders to qualify for the upcoming debate in Des Moines. The fact that Sanders has enough money and apparent support to compete well beyond the first few early contests and through Super Tuesday, the marquee, delegate-rich event in March, has caused other former Obama hands to take note.  “Bernie Sanders' chances of winning the nomination are being underestimated and under-discussed. He might be the candidate with the best chance to sweep IA, NH, NV before we ever get to South Carolina,” Dan Pfeiffer, one of Obama’s former senior advisers, wrote last month, linking to a Monmouth University national poll that placed Sanders at 21 percent, behind Biden’s 26.Now, that gap in several early states is even narrower. A pair of new CBS News/YouGov polls released on Sunday show Sanders leading the pack in New Hampshire, earning 27 percent, with nearly half of his voters in the Granite State saying they have definitely made up their minds. In Iowa, the Vermont senator is in a three-way tie with Biden and Buttigeig at 23 percent. In addition, in a series of recent early general election polls, Sanders has shown an ability to beat Trump. An Emerson University survey from mid-December places Sanders at 52 percent over Trump’s 48 percent. A CNN poll from the same time frame indicated similar results, with 49 percent of respondents preferring Sanders to Trump’s 45 percent.Still, Sanders would have to beat out every other viable contender, several within striking distance of each other in primary polling averages, for the chance to face off against Trump. And as Iowa’s Feb. 3 caucus approaches, multiple sources speculated there are risks in running an electability-based argument against Trump in the midst of the Democratic primary before voters have cast their first ballots. “The strongest argument against Bernie will be showing that you can defeat Donald Trump,” one Obamaworld source projected. “And he cannot.”
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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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