January 14, 2020

Why Andrew Yang Has Endured While Traditional Democratic Candidates Have Not
At one point, nearly 30 men and women had entered the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. As of this week, only a dozen of them remain. Among those who have exited the contest are three sitting U.S. senators, five current or former U.S. representatives, and three governors. Among those still standing is an entrepreneur whom nobody in the political world had ever heard of until early last year: Andrew Yang, the only non-politician left in the race aside from Tom Steyer, the billionaire hedge-fund manager bankrolling his own campaign.Why has Yang succeeded where so many more-experienced Democrats failed? In a sea of candidates whose rhetoric offers only familiar, talking-point-laden jargon, Yang sticks out like a sore thumb, and that’s to his advantage. He built his campaign from the bottom up, starting with no political experience or name recognition to speak of and rising from there chiefly by embracing his status as a little-known outsider.Likely because he faced a stiff challenge in gaining any public attention at all, Yang began his campaign willing to go anywhere and talk to anyone, and he remains that way even after having outlasted half the field. His first chance in the spotlight came last February, when he joined Joe Rogan’s immensely popular podcast for a two-hour chat.This was a preview of things to come for Yang. Embodying one of his slogans, “Not Left, Not Right, Forward,” he hasn’t shied away from granting access to conservative outlets. He did a lengthy interview on The Ben Shapiro Show last April and, later that month, gave a lengthy interview to National Review. As I noted in the resulting profile, my conversation with him gave me an immediate sense of why his campaign was already resonating with voters, especially younger ones who had never before been interested in politics:> Talking to Yang is like talking to your undergraduate economics professor in office hours as he tries to find a way to communicate with students who were too bored to pay attention the first time he explained something in class. He thinks he gets it, and he wants you to get it, too.In other words, Yang is unconventional, and that’s the secret to his success. He talks like a person, not a politician, and he talks to voters as if they’re people, not potential votes.Just this morning, for instance, amid the brewing spat between Senators Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), Yang tweeted, “Watching this Elizabeth – Bernie dynamic is upsetting. We have big problems to solve and both want to solve them. I’m sure that’s where they would want our attention focused too.”While other Democratic campaigns likely would be paralyzed with indecision at the sight of two front-runners dragging each other into the mud — either remaining cautiously silent or gaming out a detailed strategy for a precisely worded, carefully evasive comment that might redound to the benefit of their own polling numbers — Yang just says what he thinks.The core of his platform, the “Freedom Dividend” — a universal basic income of $1,000 per month for every American adult — is an excellent example of how Yang’s routine willingness to flout customary political tactics has contributed to his rise. When Yang announced during the September debate that his campaign would give away $1,000 per month for a year to ten American families, he was met with audible laughter from several contenders on stage, including California senator Kamala Harris. Four months later, Harris is out of the race, and Yang is still standing.Yang’s ability to come across as less programmed than his opponents is apparent in nearly everything he does. Last month, for instance, he announced that anyone who donated any amount to his campaign would be entered for a chance to win a trip to Los Angeles to see the newest Star Wars movie with Yang after the debate. “Yes I am that candidate,” he acknowledged in the tweet, followed by a smiley face and a thumbs-up emoji.What I wrote in my profile of Yang last April is still true: He won’t be the Democratic nominee. But several of the things he told me at the time have been proven true as well:> “Most Americans are still going to be finding out about me when they watch these debates,” he goes on. “They’re going to see me. They’re going to Google me. They’ll be like, ‘Who’s that guy?’” He pauses to chuckle at his own comment. “Then the more people dig into my vision for the country, the better I’m going to do.”Given that he’s managed to stick around longer than many veteran politicians whose campaigns were boosted by constant media acclaim, it seems that Yang was right.
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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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