February 01, 2020

Democrats Rally to 2020 Candidates on Surge of Anti-Trump Energy
(Bloomberg) -- New data shows that the surge of Democratic activism around the country in 2020 has already eclipsed the record level of the midterm elections two years ago -- and is still growing.While some Democrats worried that grassroots energy might taper off nationally after the party’s success in 2018, organizers say the exact opposite is happening as it gears up for the 2020 presidential nominating process, which kicks off Monday in Iowa.Nationwide, the number of Democrats signing up to canvass, for phone banks, host gatherings or train as precinct captains for presidential hopefuls has eclipsed 2018’s record-setting pace, according to data from MobilizeAmerica, an organizing platform used by all the major candidates, the Iowa Democratic Party, and many outside groups.“For Democrats there was something so existentially jarring about Trump’s election that it created a kind of socialization around politics in a way that we maybe haven’t seen since the Civil Rights movement,” said Alfred Johnson, the co-founder and chief executive officer of MobilizeAmerica.Johnson said that 402,000 people signed up to volunteer for Democratic candidates or progressive causes in the month leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, when Democrats gained 41 congressional seats and took control of the House of Representatives.As of Friday afternoon, the number who had volunteered around the country in the month of January had reached 428,000, with thousands of new registrants joining each day.Much of that energy has been focused on Iowa and other early nominating states. Johnson said there is no sign the trend is slowing down. He expects that 4 million volunteers could register by Election Day, as the chance of defeating Trump grows nearer.For many Democrats who were first drawn to the Women’s March right after Trump’s inauguration or local Resistance groups, he said, political organizing has grown from an activity geared toward a particular race into something much broader: A form of community like a bowling league or the PTA.Right now, that effort is centered in Iowa and the Feb. 3 caucuses. Betty Salmon, a 68-year-old from Urbandale serving as a precinct captain, was among the dozen volunteers making phone calls at Bernie Sanders’ West Des Moines field office. Although she caucused for Sanders in 2016, she did not volunteer for the campaign — a mistake she says she is seeking to rectify.“I assumed Bernie would win, and I vowed I would never pass up a chance to help Bernie if he ran again,” she said, rattling off the rallies, house parties, phone banks and canvasses she has participated in on behalf of her candidate.From Joe Biden to Pete Buttigieg to Elizabeth Warren, every Democratic candidate this cycle has hundreds or thousands of people like Salmon, newly activated as a Democratic mega-volunteer, most with plans to continue through till November.“I can’t believe the number of people like me who had never been active in politics before until the Women’s March,” Salmon said. “Like me, they went to that and haven’t stopped since.”On a recent Sunday morning in Des Moines, one of those volunteers was pulling on snow boots before heading out to canvass for Sanders. Andy Johnson, a student at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, had traveled a long way to join the fight for Sanders. “Seeing the dead heat in Iowa and how close Bernie was to winning, I thought I’d do everything I could to put him over the top,” Johnson said. “So for Christmas I asked for — and got — a plane ticket to Iowa. The campaign has great infrastructure for volunteers, with buses to take you everywhere.”Johnson’s story is hardly unique. At a Sanders field office in West Des Moines on Wednesday night, volunteers from around the country — and one from New Zealand — spent the evening calling other Sanders supporters and asking them to volunteer. Nearby, a campaign organizer taught supporters how to caucus, while others distributed yard signs and canvass packets. The staff also set up a room filled with toys to accommodate families with young children who wished to volunteer, which, judging from the kid quotient, many did.“One of the beautiful things about the caucuses is that you have to build out organizations across the state,” Troy Price, chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, said after a Biden event. “We’re seeing new people energized and engaged in parts of the state that we haven’t seen in a while.”One of them was Bruce Koeppl, a retired former AARP executive from Des Moines who is a co-precinct captain for Biden. “I think the world needs to be reassured we haven’t lost our way in America,” he said, explaining his decision to volunteer. “I fear for what will happen if [Trump] gets another four years. Not necessarily so much for me but for my grandnieces, my nieces and my nephews.”Republicans are keen to heighten their activism, too, but growth is hampered by the lack of a competitive Republican contest. Last March, Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale claimed his team would “build the largest ground game operation in history” and that “we’re gonna have 1.6 million volunteers.” In a December briefing, the campaign said its volunteer base stood at 300,000.(DISCLAIMER: Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)To contact the reporters on this story: Joshua Green in Des Moines at jgreen120@bloomberg.net;Tyler Pager in Des Moines at tpager1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Magan Crane, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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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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