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August 02, 2018
Barack Obama Endorses, Latino Voters Angry, and Black Pastors Meet President at White House
SESSIONS ON OBSTRUCTION... The president pressed Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday to end the special counsel’s Russia investigation, which Donald Trump, again, called a “rigged witch hunt.” He also pressed his lawyers in recent days to try once again to reach an agreement with the special counsel’s office about him sitting for an interview. DE-PRESSED... During Wednesday’s White House press briefing, Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to admonish the vitriol directed towards CNN’s Jim Acosta while he was covering a Trump rally in Florida on Tuesday. Senators Bob Menéndez (D-NJ), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and eight others introduced a resolution on Wednesday urging Trump to respect the rights of the press. YOUR FAULT DIVORCE... Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX), Chairman of the House Rules Committee, said in a video that a judge and a local woman carried responsibility for being "unfair" to the husband -- who shot and killed her in a fit of "frustration" over their no-fault divorce case. CLEAR... The TSA is considering eliminating passenger screening at more than 150 small and medium-sized airports across the country. OUTFOXED... Nicole Kidman is in talks to play former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson in an upcoming drama about disgraced former Fox News Chief Roger Ailes and the women who brought him down. READY FOR HILLARY? Hollywood is. The former Secretary of State is teaming with Steven Spielberg to bring Elaine Weiss' critically acclaimed book The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote to the small screen. The drama will mark Hillary Clinton's debut as an Executive Producer. WE’RE BEAT! The House and Senate are out. And so are we! We’ll be back on Monday. Until then, we’re leaving you with this...
  • Senator Bob Menéndez (D-NJ) wants the FTC to investigate predatory pet leasing practices.
  • Obama alums form a new firm.
  • CalExit organizers shift their campaign to create a 'Native American Nation.'
  • Meet the Wall Street Journal’s Black Moscow bureau chief.
  • Time’s Up and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative announce a database of entertainment journalists and critics from underrepresented groups.
  • A father who saw two daughters, Linda and Loretta Sánchez, make their way to Congress has passed away. Get the story in Blogs.
  • Catch The Beat DC’s Tiffany D. Cross on MSNBC’s PoliticsNation with Rev. Al Sharpton on Sunday at 8A EDT.
CNN’s Dave Briggs and Laura Jarrett on Wednesday on-set in NYC.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) having dinner with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Tuesday in DC.
Barack Obama Makes First 2018 Endorsements
Former President Barack Obama on Wednesday released his first round of 2018 midterm Democratic endorsements, promoting them as "leaders as diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted as the America they’re running to represent." Of the 81 candidate endorsements, 48 are women and 22 are people of color. On the congressional level, Obama endorsed TJ Cox in California’s 21st Congressional District; Ammar Campa-Najjar in California’s 50th Congressional District; Lauren Underwood in Illinois’ 14th Congressional District; Aftab Pureval in Ohio’s First Congressional District; Steven Horsford in Nevada’s 4th Congressional District; Andy Kim in New Jersey’s Third Congressional District; Debra Haaland in New Mexico’s First Congressional District; Antonio Delgado in New York’s 19th Congressional District; Colin Allred in Texas’ 32nd Congressional District; and, Adrienne Bell in Texas’ 14th Congressional District. Getting Obama endorsements on the state executive level were Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, Illinois Attorney General candidate Kwame Raoul, and Iowa Secretary of State candidate Deidre DeJear. Receiving the Obama seal of approval on their runs for State Representative are Rochelle Galindo (CO); Shelly Hutchinson (GA); Ron Wesson (NC); Sydney Batch (NC); Erica Crowley (OH); Tavia Galonski (OH); Stephanie Howse (OH); and Phil Robinson (OH). Anna Kaplan, who is running for State Senate in NY, also received an endorsement. More here.
Tennessee Voters Head to the Polls Today
Voters in Tennessee head to the polls today. Republicans appear to have won the early GOTV efforts. About 626,900 people voted already in early and absentee ballots cast between July 13th and July 28th. Republicans have cast 398,117 ballots and Democrats have cast 210,743. Battling incumbent Congressman Steve Cohen in the Democratic primary to represent Tennessee’s 9th Congressional District are Kasandra Smith, M. Latroy Alexandria-Williams, and Isaac Richmond. Smith is a law enforcement officer with the Memphis Police Department (MPD). She began her career as a Police Service Technician with MPD in 2000. While on the job, the Arkansas native earned a Bachelor’s and Masters from Bethel University. Alexandria-Williams is a businessman and newspaper magazine publisher with ‎International Communication & Associate's. He sued the TN Democratic Party for declaring him ineligible to run in the Democratic primary before a judge ruled in his favor last month. He was accused of violating party bylaws by supporting Republican candidates. Richmond is a pastor and activist, radio personality, author, and founder of the organization Commission on Religion and Racism. He ran unsuccessfully in 2014. Charlotte Bergmann is running unopposed as a Republican. The 1996 Christian Brothers University graduate is a Managing Partner at Angelic Visits, a senior home care facility. The 9th District is a spot of blue in the red state. Hillary Clinton won this district with 77% of the vote in 2016. Erika Stotts Pearson is on today’s ballot in her quest to represent TN’s 8th Congressional District. She was also one of the first females in Memphis to manage the Professional Women’s Basketball Associations' Memphis Blues as Assistant General Manager. The University of Memphis grad, who went on to earn her Masters from the University of Massachusetts, currently operates OpesDei Health Solutions and Precision Energy Logistics. She will face John Boatner as both aim to replace incumbent Congressman David Kustoff (R-TN). The 8th District stretches from Memphis suburbs through a wide swath of rural west Tennessee. It's a mostly white and largely Republican district. Trump claimed victory in the district with 66% of the vote in 2016. Kevin Lee McCants is running as an Independent for Senate in an unlikely bid to replace retiring Republican Senator Bob Corker. There’s also a highly contested gubernatorial race. More on today’s primary here

Latino Voters Exceedingly Angry with President
A new Latino Decisions poll, commissioned by the House Majority PAC, Priorities USA, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Bold PAC, finds that Latino reactions to Donald Trump are overwhelmingly negative and include feelings of “anger, fear, shame, and disrespect.” The data from focus groups and a poll of 1,000 Latino registered voters found that Latino voters are “exceedingly angry at the state of politics today,” particularly regarding the Trump administration’s hard-line immigration policies and health care rollback efforts. The Latino Decisions survey finds that though fear is present (59%), it is overtaken by feelings of anger (72%), shame (64%) and disrespect (70%), suggesting that Latinos feel a sense of power in this election. Previous research shows that anger is one of the most powerful feelings to spark turnout. Latino Decisions says that if Democrats are able to channel Latino voters’ anger at Trump’s agenda, Dems have a chance to win big in this year’s midterms. However, the party first has to convince Latino voters that a Democrat-controlled Congress would make changes important to the community. Matt Barreto, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Latino Decisions, said, “There is a strong majority against Trump’s strict immigration policies and instead battleground voters support welcoming immigration policies. Voters of every race and ethnicity are upset and angry over the child separation and detention policy, by large margins. Overwhelmingly, voters support themes of unity and inclusion. They are tired of hostility, attacks, and division.” More here.

Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) meeting with Southern California Resource Services for Independent Living advocates last month.
Univisión’s Ilia Calderón and NBC’s Sandra Lilley at the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ conference in Miami last month.
The President Meets with Inner City Pastors
The president on Wednesday met with a group of mostly Black inner city Pastors. Among the group was Dr. Alveda King, Pastor Darrell Scott, Pastor Paula White-Cain, Marvin Winans Jr., Pastor "Choco" Wilfredo De Jesus, and Bishop Dale Bonner, among others. In addition to the clergy, Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs Ja'Ron Smith was there as well as Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the Office of Public Liaison Jennifer Korn. In his opening remarks, Trump said, “We have increased and created 3.7 million jobs since election day. African American and Hispanic unemployment rates have reached the lowest levels in recorded history.” He also highlighted Jared Kushner’s efforts at prison reform saying, at one point, that it had become his son-in-law’s number one priority. “Who would have thought? Who would have thought?” he asked rhetorically with Kushner in the room. He also said that given the good state of the economy, increasing numbers of former prisoners are being hired by American companies. POTUS45 then asked the ministers to introduce themselves. Richard Hayes, Pastor of Our Relentless Church, said that he was “honored to be in the presence of greatness.” Another pastor called him the most “pro-Black president.” Kushner offered a few brief remarks on his efforts on the Prison Reform bill introduced in Congress by Congressmen Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Doug Collins (R-GA) saying,“ You all mobilized your communities, and we were able to get the bill through the House. Hopefully, we have the same results in the Senate.” What didn’t these Christian leaders raise? A Republican-imposed new tax law that requires churches, hospitals, colleges, orchestras, and other historically tax-exempt organizations to begin paying a 21% tax on certain benefits; the hundreds of children separated at the border by Trump’s zero-tolerance policy; or asking God’s forgiveness -- something the president says he has never done. More here.

Nanette Diaz Barragán Wants to Move Petroleum Facilities Away From Homes and Schools
Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA) last Tuesday introduced the Safe LPG Storage Act to aid in the relocation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) storage facilities. If passed, the bill would authorize a federal grant program of $500 million to fund up to half of the cost of relocating LPG storage facilities. Eligible facilities must be located within five miles of a populated area, home, school, or other sensitive location. “Storage tanks containing millions of gallons of highly combustible fuel don’t belong near schools and homes,” said Barragán. “The risk is too great should an accident occur. In my community, there is an LPG facility next to a park where children play and near family homes. These tanks don’t belong in our backyards, and we can’t just continue to ignore their existence.” Residents fear that a gas leak triggered by a quake or terror attack could lead to fires and catastrophic explosions. One analysis, conducted eight years ago by a consulting firm hired by a California neighborhood group, found that in the worst-case scenario, the devastation from a blast could stretch as far as 6.8 miles from the facility. More here.

Bob Menéndez Wants the FTC to Investigate Predatory Pet Leasing Contracts
Senator Bob Menéndez (D-NJ)
on Monday penned a letter to Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joseph J. Simons urging him to investigate predatory pet leasing practices. According to the letter, when wishful pet owners can’t afford to pay the full price to take home the animal of their choice, often will pet stores and online sellers offer third-party agreements with fixed installment payments. Consumers then sign pet leasing contracts under the impression they fully own their new companion, but in reality, the animal is owned by the third-party company, and the consumer may be forced to return the pet at the end of the term. “Should consumers choose to purchase their pet outright, they can do so either during the lease, thereby triggering an early buy-out charge, or at the end of the term by making a balloon payment.  Taken together, at the contract’s termination, the monthly payments and fees can amount to twice the list price of the pet,” the Senator wrote. “Given this unorthodox financing practice, I have serious concerns that pet stores and online sellers are not adequately explaining the terms to which consumers are agreeing to when they enter into such contracts.” More here.
Press Assistant (Boston, MA)
Senator Elizabeth Warren’s 2018 re-election campaign seeks a dynamic and self-motivated Press Assistant to join the press team. The campaign is looking for an individual with strong research, verbal, and written communication skills. Someone who is organized, proactive, and calm under pressure with a high level of attention to detail. Click here to learn more.
Obama Alumni Form Red Fort Strategies
Former Obama administration officials have launched Red Fort Strategies, a public affairs and government relations firm. Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally will serve as the firm’s Executive Chairman. He previously served as the Executive Director of SelectUSA, the U.S. government-wide initiative to attract and retain business investment in the country. Then-President Barack Obama appointed the Indian immigrant as Ambassador to Belize in 2009, where he served until 2013, and was the first U.S. Ambassador of Indian origin in history. Thummalapally is fluent in English, Telugu, Hindi, and Urdu. Nick Rathod, who will be a Managing Director, most recently served as Founder and Executive Director of the State Innovation Exchange. Prior to that, he served as the first Assistant Director of Intergovernmental & International Affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He also worked as Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director for Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the Obama-Biden Transition Team. Also joining the team as a Managing Director is Rina Shah, who served as a senior aide to two Republican members of the House of Representatives -- Scott Garrett (NJ) and Jeff B. Miller (FL) -- and was a top strategist on two U.S. presidential campaigns, before launching her own firm, Rilax Strategies. She speaks English, Gujarati, Hindi, and Spanish. Also joining the firm as a Managing Director is Ferhan Hamid, who was most recently CEO and Co-Founder of INADEV, a digital technology firm. He also previously served as Managing Deputy Comptroller for the City of Chicago, Deputy Comptroller and Assistant Comptroller for the City of Chicago, Counsel for the Chicago Park District, and as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Illinois. Hamid also currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of the Virginia Lottery. Finally, Varun Nikore is also joining as a Managing Director. Nikore most recently served as SVP-International for TriPolus. He is a Founder and past-President of the Indian American Leadership Initiative, the largest Indian American network of Democrats in the U.S. He currently serves as President of the AAPI Victory Fund and as Executive Director of AAPI Progressive Action. He was previously the Co-Chair of Small Business Owners Council for the DNC in 2012, Transportation Policy Advisor and advisor to South Asians for Obama in 2008. More here.
Journalist and Dr. Oz contributor Mara Schiavocampo with SoulCycle Founding Instructor Laurie Cole on Wednesday after a workout in NYC.
Fashion designer Phillip Lim, comedienne Ali Wong, and CNN’s Lisa Ling on Tuesday hanging out in LA.
Times Up -- Film Critics Should Be More Diverse
A few weeks ago, we highlighted a study by USC researcher Stacy L. Smith which found that of the reviews of the 100 top-grossing films of 2017 featured on RottenTomatoes.com, nearly 80% were written by men -- a ratio of 3.5 to 1. Similarly, 82% of critics were white. Drawing attention to the lack of diversity in film criticism, Time’s Up and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative announced on Wednesday they are addressing the issue and will be launching a database containing the names of entertainment journalists and critics from underrepresented groups. The database, known as Critical, already has more than 200 journalists and will officially launch in the coming months. The tool is intended to allow studios, film critics associations, and others to more easily find and connect with journalists and critics from underrepresented communities. The USC study also prompted action by the Sundance and Toronto Film Festivals, both of which have pledged 20% of their press credentials to minorities to better reflect the American population. More here.
ProPublica Names New Senior Editor
ProPublica has announced that Henri Cauvin will join its staff as a Senior Editor. Cauvin is currently an Editor on the NYT’s Metro Desk, where he works on coverage of crime, courts, housing, and social services. He most recently oversaw the NYT’s investigation into NYC marijuana arrests, which used data to show that racial disparities in marijuana arrests persisted even when you compare neighborhoods that make similar numbers of marijuana complaints to police. Cauvin worked at WaPo for ten years, first as a Reporter covering courts and social services, and later as an Editor working on local politics, transportation, and development. Prior to the Post, he was a correspondent in Johannesburg for the Times. The 1994 Northwestern graduate, who earned his Masters from Georgetown, spent his early days as a reporter for the New York Daily News and The Miami Herald. “I’m thrilled to be joining a newsroom that is so fiercely committed to the public interest,” said Cauvin of his new post. “And I can’t wait to start working with the talented journalists who have made ProPublica a potent force for accountability.”
More here.
Jeesoo Park Joins CNN Digital Productions
Jeesoo Park
has joined CNN Digital Productions as a Producer. She previously served as a Documentary Producer for Disney ABC Television Group where she produced the National Geographic documentary series America Inside Out with Katie Couric. Prior to that, Park spent three years as an Associate Producer at ABC News in NYC, and before that, was a Multimedia Editor for the ABC affiliate WJLA-TV in DC. The Bucknell University graduate, who also has a Master’s from Columbia University, began her journalism career as a freelance reporter for NBC News. Her bylines can additionally be found in Newsweek, The Daily Beast, Huffington Post, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Motion Picture Association of America. More here.

Ron Dellums, former Congressman and founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, at Oakland Technical High School in 1953. He passed away on Monday at 82.
Congresswoman Mia Love (R-UT) at Norwalk High School in 1993. 
Meet WSJ’s Black Moscow Bureau Chief 
#TBT to last month’s WSJ coverage of the Trump-Putin summit. Anyone else notice Ann M. Simmons’ byline? Simmons is the Moscow Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal -- a rarity for a Black woman or any journalist of color. Simmons has spent more than 25 years reporting from Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and North America. She is a longtime student of Russia and served in Moscow for Time Magazine before joining the LA Times and moving to Africa to work as Bureau Chief in Nairobi and Johannesburg. She has also reported from Bosnia, Iraq, and Haiti. She returned to Russia on a reporting fellowship in 2014. A Brit, Simmons holds a double honors bachelor’s degree in Russian and Norwegian from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, and a Master’s from Columbia University’s Graduate School Journalism. She was a Nieman fellow at Harvard in 2003. Her July 16th article, “Trump and Putin Pledge Cooperation on Global Affairs, But Offer Few Details,” highlighted the summit’s non-confrontational atmosphere and described the historic meeting as a victory for Russia’s leader. H/T to Journal-isms' Richard Prince for pointing out the byline. More about Simmons here.

Native American Journalists Re-elect Bryan Pollard
Members of the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) re-elected Bryan Pollard as President. A citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Pollard is currently the Director of Communications at the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville. Prior to that, he was the Executive Editor of the Cherokee Phoenix, the tribal news organization for the Cherokee Nation, based in Tahlequah, OK, and also the first Native American newspaper originally published in 1828. Bryan is also a founder of Street Roots, a nonprofit newspaper focused on issues of concern to the homeless and low-income citizens of Portland, Oregon. The 1994 Louisiana State University graduate is currently pursuing a Master’s in journalism with an emphasis on documentary filmmaking at the University of Arkansas. Pollard kicked off his second term by announcing The Red Press Initiative. “We’re going to be taking a comprehensive look at press freedom across Indian country -- to determine what type of freedoms tribal media has when they are operating within their communities and often times within their governments when trying to report on things,” Pollard said. “That’s a very serious issue within Indian country and it has not been studied. And so we’re going to be taking that on. We’ve got a grant to fund the project. We’re going to be laser focused on that.” More here.
Ford Foundation’s Darren Walker with Ford Foundation Senior Fellow and disability rights activist Judy Heumann at the #DisabilityPride parade in NYC last month.
Junior Chamber International ‘s Arrey Obenson honoring MSNBC’s Richard Lui in NYC as an official ambassador of the nonprofit last month.
CalExit Organizers Campaign to Create 'Native American Nation'
A year after founders of an effort to get the state of California to secede from the U.S. backed away from their proposal, they're now reportedly planning to relaunch the campaign. But this time, they have a modification: Make a large portion of the state an "autonomous Native American nation." Co-Founder of the movement, known as Yes California, Louis J. Marinelli spoke to Politico Tuesday, asking, "Why not do something to right some of the wrongs of the past to the Native American people, and give them back their land?" Under this new plan, all federally owned land in California from the Oregon border to Mexico would be given back to Native Americans. Because the land falls in rural conservative areas of the state, organizers Marinelli and Marcus Ruíz Evans say the proposal would also inadvertently provide a new "buffer zone between Donald Trump's America and the new independent California Republic." The new initiative is unlikely to succeed. A special election would need to take place, or a new amendment would need to be added to the U.S. Constitution allowing a state to leave the union. More here.
Hawaii State Lawmaker Blasts Midwest Company Over Cultural Appropriation that Turned Litigious
Hawai'i state legislator Kaniela Ing (D) slammed Midwestern company Aloha Poke Co. for trying to prevent other restaurants from using the word "aloha" in their names. He said in a video posted to Twitter on Sunday, "I keep hearing today about this guy in the Midwest, not Hawaiian, who owns a chain of poke shops, that he’s suing other shops, or threatening a lawsuit, for using the word 'aloha.'" Ing continued, “Now, you know, it’s bad enough that that word has been used, commodified, over time, but this is the next level. To think that you have legal ownership over one of the most profound Hawaiian values, it’s just something else." For their part, the company CEO said they celebrate Hawaiian culture and have not, nor would not, tell Hawaiian companies not to use the word Aloha or Poke. But WaPo reports that the Chicago-based chain of shops has been sending cease-and-desist letters to restaurants in Hawaii and across the country and threatening them with lawsuits if they do not remove the word "aloha" from their names. Ing, who is also running to replace gubernatorial candidate Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), said shop owners ought to be suing Aloha Poke Co. "All we ask is if you’re making so much money off our words, our values, our food, our culture, that you at least hear us," Ing said. Watch his video here

Today, 6:45P: The Mexican Cultural Institute's La Música de México series presents a recital titled 'Mexico's nueva canción' with Mexican composer Alfredo Sánchez. Click here for more information and to RSVP.
Today - Saturday, August 4th: The National Urban League's 2018 Annual Conference “Save Our Cities: Powering the Digital Revolution.” Columbus, OH. Click here for more information and to register.
Today - Sunday, August 5th: NABJ Annual Convention & Career Fair. Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. 400 Renaissance Drive, Detroit, MI. Click here for more information
Friday, August 3rd, 5P: Congressional Black Caucus Chair Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA) will lead a conversation with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on politics and the issues that both members are battling on Capitol Hill. Dillard University Georges Auditorium, 2601 Gentilly Blvd., New Orleans, LA. Click here for more information.
Monday, August 6th - Saturday, August 11th: 16th Annual Run&Shoot Filmworks Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, August 8th - Saturday, August, 11th: AAJA National Convention. Marriott Marquis Houston. 1777 Walker St., Houston, TX. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, August 8th - Thursday, August 9th: Congresswoman Alma S. Adams (D-NC), Co-Chair of the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus, will host executives from over 30 major corporations and leaders from Historically Black Colleges and Universities at the Inaugural HBCU Diversity in Tech Summit. North Carolina A&T State University, 1601 E Market St, Greensboro, NC. Click here for more information.
Friday, August 17th - Sunday, August 19th: Martha’s Vineyard celebrates Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s (D-CA) 20 years of service. Special guests include House Assistant Minority Leader Congressman Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Congressional Black Caucus Chair Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA), and more. Harbor View Hotel, 131 North Water Street Edgartown, MA. Kelley House, 23 Kelley Street Edgartown, MA. Click here for more information.
Tuesday, September 11th - Wednesday, September 12th: CHCI's Annual Leadership Conference. Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, September 12th - Saturday, September 16th: Congressional Black Caucus Foundation 48th Annual Legislative Conference. Walter E. Washington Convention CenterClick here for more information.
Thursday, September 13th: CHCI's 41st Annual Anniversary Awards Gala. Marriott Marquis Washington, DC. 901 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Thursday, September 25th - Saturday, September 29th: NBMBAA 40th Annual Conference & Exposition. Detroit, MI. Click here for more information.
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