January 24, 2020

Rival Campaigns Are Starting to Take Bloomberg Very Seriously
At a closed-door fundraiser late last year, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) was notably fixated on, and visibly irritated by, one of the fellow Democrats vying for the presidential nomination. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had just entered the race. But he had already managed to get under his competitor’s skin. At the event in Northern Virginia, Klobuchar talked at length about Bloomberg’s massive TV ad blitz and the gobs of cash he was planning to throw into the 2020 primary, according to an account from a source in the room who attended.  “She talked about how she was on a Sunday show for 10 minutes and saw five or six Bloomberg ads while she was in the green room,” the Democratic attendee, who donated money to Klobuchar’s campaign for entrance into the event, told The Daily Beast. “She’s very worried about the amount of money he’s spending.”“It was 60 percent of what she talked about,” the source estimated. The private moment, which occurred before the senator had opened her fundraisers to the press, provided an early glimpse into what has become a growing sense of internal anxiety from some Democratic campaigns about the billionaire candidate’s potential to shake up the primary that he entered so late. Klobuchar has since made those concerns public, criticizing Bloomberg for trying to buy the nomination. And with just two weeks before voting starts, her concerns that the former mayor may just pull it off are beginning to be echoed elsewhere. Bloomberg still lags in the polls. But national averages now have him tied for fourth place at 7.7 percent with former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who has spent a year pounding the campaign trail.  Suddenly, talk of Bloomberg becoming the nominee has gone from being dismissed as the stuff of political fantasy to being entertained as a true reality among campaigns. “I think there is a 10-15 percent chance that Bloomberg pulls it off,” said one top Democratic fundraiser, who has worked closely with the presidential campaigns. “At this juncture, when you can spend that amount of money on TV across the country, you do take it seriously,” said a top official for a competing campaign. “And he's gotten a bump in the polls, so it is nothing to scoff at.”The official, who would only talk on condition of anonymity, still expressed pessimism that Bloomberg could pull it off, arguing that “the argument for a nice billionaire” had not “made traction” as much as it needed to, considering the war chest devoted to it. And, indeed, the Bloomberg path still remains predicated on a series of unlikely events: that no actual candidate emerges from the first four primary states and that former Vice President Joe Biden ends up dramatically weakened by a poor showing in those contests. Should that be the case—the theory goes—Bloomberg’s ad spending in other states would propel him in the polls, turn him into the moderate alternative that Biden was supposed to be, and help him eke it out in a contested convention. You Think Trump’s a Danger to Democracy? Get a Load of Bloomberg.In his short time in the race, Bloomberg’s campaign has ramped up its infrastructure and ground game. He has scored several endorsements from fellow mayors and members of congress, held major events for a new campaign—including a stop that attracted 700 people in Tulsa, Oklahoma and another that brought in 500 in Akron, Ohio—and deployed 700 people across 33 states, including 300 in his New York City headquarters. Bloomberg’s team is currently airing ads in 27 states, including all Super Tuesday contests.Eyeing these movements, some rivals have begun more forcefully calling him out by name, while others have worked in private, conducting internal polling on his possible delegate hauls and pushing opposition research to blunt his traction.    Another source from a rival campaign said that Bloomberg doesn’t factor into their official strategy, but conceded that staffers are following his moves in certain states, including California, which represents a potentially huge delegate haul for hizzoner.   “We see that Bloomberg’s playing very big in California,” the senior campaign aide said. “We are very quick in adapting. We can switch messages very fast. And we have the resources to go the long game.”A third opponent’s team is keeping close enough tabs on Bloomberg that aides are dedicating internal polling resources to game out potential delegate scenarios on Super Tuesday, where 15 states are set to vote in early March. The Daily Beast recently reported that, according to the Democratic rival’s internal data—a summary of which was independently corroborated by multiple independent analysts—Bloomberg was not on track to receive a single delegate on that day. The Democratic National Committee’s rules stipulate that a candidate must win 15 percent of the vote statewide or 15 percent by any congressional district in order to collect any delegates.Privately, some establishment Democrats are cheering the Bloomberg boomlet, having talked themselves into the prospect of a Democratic presidential candidate with centrist appeal and absurdly deep pockets being the best nominee to take on Trump. “Everyone I talk to is convinced he would win,” said one top party donor. Elizabeth Warren Has Finally Found a 2020 Dem to Attack in Michael BloombergBloomberg has helped his standing among party members by pledging to support and spend heavily on whoever is the nominee and by notably keeping the focus of his ad campaign on attacking Trump and not fellow candidates. One Democratic strategist who recently spoke with Bloomberg’s team said that they broached the idea of going after Biden but quickly dismissed it out of hand. “They’re not prepared to take Joe down,” said the strategist. “Their view is we go through the first four contests and it is a complete muzzle.” For the progressive wing of the party, however, a Bloomberg candidacy represents a moral conundrum and political peril—with fear rampant that he would not excite the very constituencies that the party needs to win; mainly young voters and voters of color. As such, they’ve engaged him more directly. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who in late November chose Bloomberg as the first candidate to criticize after months of remaining rhetorically positive about her rivals, has turned up her fire in recent days. On Wednesday, the Massachusetts senator called for a close vetting of the billionaire Democrat over his news corporation’s guidance to reporters.“Bloomberg News banned its reporters from investigating Democratic candidates as Mike Bloomberg runs for president. This ban puts reporters in an impossible situation and undermines a free press. Bloomberg should lift the ban and divest from Bloomberg News,” Warren tweeted on Wednesday. She then threw herself into the equation: “I’ve taken more than a thousand unfiltered questions from the press and from voters since I got in the race. I welcome tough questions and scrutiny because the free press is a cornerstone of our democracy—and every presidential candidate should be closely vetted.”Bloomberg’s campaign manager Kevin Sheekey responded in an interview with Fox and Friends by calling Warren “nervous.” “I think she’s nervous that Mike Bloomberg is catching up on her. Mike is now in fourth place in this race and will probably pass her and be in third place soon,” Sheekey said. Asked about the idea that other candidates are starting to worry about their campaign, a Bloomberg official did what the campaign has been doing since the onset: turned the attention back towards Trump. “We are confident that Mike is the best candidate to beat Donald Trump and that’s why we’re building the most robust national campaign to take him on,” Galia Slayen, a campaign spokeswoman, told The Daily Beast. 
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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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