Ava DuVernay is making a Prince documentary and Ajit Pai is here to stay.
Ava DuVernay is making a Prince documentary and Ajit Pai is here to stay.
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October 30, 2018
Maxine Waters Questions Education Secretary, Barack Obama Heads to Morehouse, and Xavier Becerra Faces Possible Recall
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ONE WEEK OUT… Election Day is one week from today, and if this election season has highlighted one thing, it’s this: viewed as an asset or a threat, voters of color matter. UNWELCOMEThe president and first lady will head to Pittsburgh this afternoon in the aftermath of the deadly synagogue shooting that claimed 11 lives. Many, including Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, say the president is unwelcome. UNTRUTHFUL… White House Press Sec Sarah Huckabee Sanders made a rare appearance at the podium on Monday where she echoed the president’s “enemy of the people” attack against the press when CNN’s Jim Acosta pressed her. TROOPS DEPLOYEDDonald Trump is deploying more than 5,000 active-duty military troops to the southern border, under the name "Operation Faithful Patriot,” as Republicans try to elevate a caravan of migrants in southern Mexico as an election issue. BIRTHRIGHTTrump is planning to sign an executive order that would seek to end the right to U.S. citizenship for children of noncitizens born on U.S. soil. True story.  STONE COLD THIEF… That’s what Trump, who has been sued multiple times for not paying workers, called Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum on Monday without citing any evidence. The president, whose campaign is currently under FBI investigation, also accused Gillum of running one of the most corrupt cities in America. UNHAPPYArtist Pharrell Williams has ordered Trump to stop playing his music at rallies after his upbeat song “Happy” was played at a Trump event in Indiana just hours after the Pittsburgh synagogue mass shooting. Hey POTUS45: if you’re looking for a new Beat, we’ve got you covered. Turn off the TV and have a read. We’re kicking off Tuesday with this...
  • Congressmen Mark Takano (D-CA) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) have questions for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
  • Ava DuVernay guest-edits an edition of TIME magazine.
  • Native American voters turn voter ID issue to their advantage.
  • FCC Chair Ajit Pai says he’s not going anywhere.
  • The Corporation for Public Broadcasting named a new VP of Journalism.
  • The battle over Obamacare persists. And a new report from Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) reveals some pearl-clutching numbers when it comes to pre-existing conditions. Read it below!
CNN’s María Alejandra Requena and her brother Carlos Requena on Sunday at a soccer watch party.
The New Yorker’s Jelani Cobb on Sunday rocking an old-school Brooklyn Dodgers cap at the World Series.
Top House Judiciary Dems Demand Emergency Hearings on Hate Crimes and Domestic Terrorism
The mail bombs to prominent Democrats and critics of Donald Trump, the shooting of worshippers at a Pittsburgh-area synagogue, and the apparent racially motivated murder of two Black shoppers in Kentucky have left the nation on edge. House Judiciary Committee Dems, including Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), and Constitution and Civil Justice Subcommittee Ranking Member Steve Cohen (D-TN) sent a letter to Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) calling for emergency hearings on hate crimes and domestic terrorism in the wake of recent killings by individuals with white supremacist views. “Each of these acts was carried out by an individual understood to espouse white supremacist views...Whether it manifests itself as racism or anti-Semitism or xenophobia, white supremacy is white supremacy.  In its modern form, it motivates a fluid and particularly virulent form of domestic terrorism. It must be stopped,” they wrote. “The House Judiciary Committee is charged with confronting the causes of racial and religious violence, assessing the adequacy of federal hate crimes statutes, and protecting the civil liberties of all Americans...It also falls to our Committee to address gun violence in all its forms…It is our responsibility to respond to this madness, and to do so without delay…Please, let us set aside the politics for however long it takes for us to address this extraordinary threat.” Read the full letter here.

Bobby Scott, Maxine Waters, and Mark Takano Have Questions for Betsy DeVos on Changes to the College Scorecard
The Department of Education in September changed the College Scorecard -- an online tool for consumers to compare the cost and value of higher education institutions in the U.S. -- by removing a metric that allowed consumers to compare schools’ academic and financial outcomes to the national median, which allowed students and parents to make sense of the data. In response, Congressmen Bobby Scott (D-VA), Mark Takano (D-CA), and Tim Walz (D-MN), with Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) on Monday sent a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos calling on the department to reverse its changes to the College Scorecard. The members also want information on why the Department made these changes to the College Scorecard, as well as its plan for mitigating the effect of these changes on other agencies; The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rely on the comparative data to support and protect students. “Comparative, contextualized information is extremely important for students,” they wrote. “A significant body of research indicates that when consumers are presented with comparable information, they are better able to glean critical insights from the information and more likely to make decisions on the basis of those data. We strongly urge the Department to reverse its recent update and restore context that helps students evaluate the information and make well-informed decisions about college.” Read the letter here.

Reports Show Potential Impact of Trump Admin’s Refusal to Defend Federal Protections for Pre-Existing Conditions
AG Jeff Sessions 
announced in June that the DOJ would no longer defend Obamacare because it says that the law's individual mandate is unconstitutional and that key parts of the act are invalid -- including the provisions protecting those with pre-existing conditions. He explained that he was acting “with the approval of the President of the United States.” To show how many people could be adversely affected by the Trump administration’s refusal to defend federal protections for those with pre-existing conditions, Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) released both a national and state level report which estimates that as many as 15.6 million people in the individual market may lose federal protections against discrimination as a result of their pre-existing health conditions, gender, or age. As many as 10 million people in the individual market have pre-existing health conditions and may lose federal protections against discrimination. Of these individuals, 4.8 million with severe pre-existing health conditions may be denied coverage altogether. As many as 9.4 million women in the individual market may lose federal protections against discrimination. Older Americans could be charged more than 10 times the amount younger adults pay for their insurance premiums. As many as 6.6 million people between 50 and 64 years old in the individual market may lose federal protections against discrimination. “President Trump claims all Republicans support people with pre-existing conditions, but just last year 217 Republican House Members voted to eliminate protections for these individuals. The president’s words—and the words of Republicans in Congress—do not match their actions,” said Cummings. Despite their campaign rhetoric, the Trump administration has yet to offer any alternative proposals for individuals with pre-existing conditions who may lose federal protections as a result. See the reports here.

CA Democratic congressional candidate Andrew Janz on the campaign trail speaking to voters in Visalia, CA last week.
Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), National Domestic Workers Alliance’s Ai-jen Poo, and the Senator's sister, Maya Harris, standing with GA Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams over the weekend.
Trump Looks at Woman of Color to Replace Kavanaugh on Bench
The president has interviewed Office of Management and Budget official Neomi Rao to replace Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the DC Circuit Court. She was recommended for the judgeship on the DC Circuit by former White House Counsel Don McGahn -- Trump has said he wanted the replacement to be a woman of color. However, The Washington Times reports that Rao did not leave the president with a good impression, yet, he has not ruled her out. Rao, a former clerk for conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, was an Associate Professor of law and the founding Director of the Center for the Study of the Administrative State at George Mason University's Antonin Scalia Law School before joining the Trump administration. Her research and teaching focused on constitutional and administrative law. Rao also previously practiced public international law and arbitration at British law firm Clifford Chance in London, United Kingdom. During the second term of the presidency of George W. Bush, Rao worked in the White House Counsel's office and as a staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee. The 45-year-old Yale grad, who completed law school at the University of Chicago, is the daughter of Indian immigrants. Judges of the DC Circuit can have an extraordinary impact on the direction of the country. Hence, people often refer to the DC Circuit as the second-most powerful court in the country after the Supreme Court. More here.
Trump Admin is Delaying Citizenship Applications
The citizenship application process, which used to take about six months, now takes as long as two years in some parts under the Trump administration. And at the moment, more than 700,000 immigrants are waiting to hear back. The AP reports that the nationwide average is now at 10 months, and the process is now taking nearly 22 months in Atlanta and up to 26 months in Texas. While the number of citizenship applications surged during 2016, jumping by 27% from a year earlier, some advocates are now wondering if the delays are because the Trump administration wants to keep new citizens -- which tend to skew Democrat -- away from the polls in 2018. Immigrant advocates filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles demanding records from the administration on the delays. Since the wait times are longer in battleground states, they say it could suggest voter suppression. More here.

Ajit Pai Says He’s Not Going Anywhere
Should Democrats take over the House this midterm election, as many are predicting, it could mean a lot more oversight for the FCC. Democratic lawmakers have been critical of FCC Chair Ajit Pai over net neutrality and media ownership deregulation. However, Pai has said he isn’t going anywhere, regardless of who controls the lower chamber in Congress. An FCC spokesman told Multichannel News that Pai, who took over the post in January 2017, “plans to lead the FCC for the foreseeable future.” The Republican was appointed to the Commission by President Barack Obama in 2012, then named chair by Donald Trump in 2017. Pai was asked after the FCC’s October 23rd public meeting whether he planned to remain should the House flip. He replied that he “[couldn’t] speculate about hypothetical future election results that haven’t even come in yet, so, we’re staying the course.” Undoubtedly, Pai must be bracing himself. If Dems are victorious, they would have subpoena power and could potentially investigate the net neutrality comment docket among the many other issues they have with the Chairman. More here.

MSNBC’s Mariana Atencio on Friday reporting from Mexico on the migrant caravan.
Richmond, VA Mayor Levar Stoney and Democratic strategist Cornell Belcher on Saturday at James Madison University homecoming in VA.
Native American Voters in North Dakota Turn ID Law to Their Advantage
Under a law the Supreme Court allowed to take effect this month, North Dakotans cannot vote without a residential address. As The Beat DC reported earlier this month, many Native Americans rely on P.O. boxes, which the court has ruled is no longer valid. Supporters of the rule say it is needed to prevent voter fraud. However, Native Americans note that state officials have not confirmed any pattern of fraud and call it an attempt at voter suppression. There are at least 30,000 Native Americans in North Dakota. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), who’s running for re-election, won her seat in 2012 with strong support from Native Americans. That race was decided by fewer than 3,000 votes. Now this go-round, despite the new address rule, tribal governments are working feverishly to provide the necessary identification. Some Native Americans believe their anger could actually fuel higher turnout. The NYT reports that tribes have extended their office hours and worked around the clock to find efficient ways to assign addresses and issue identification. They are providing hundreds of free IDs when they would normally charge at least $5 to $10 apiece. The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians printed so many IDs that the machine overheated and started melting the cards. “What people out there don’t understand is how much it costs a tribe to make sure that each and every individual tribal member has that right to vote,” said OJ Semans, Co-Executive Director of Four Directions, a Native American voting rights group working with tribal leaders. “The tribes have invested thousands of dollars, whether it’s equipment, man-hours, meetings. This has not come cheap.” More here.
Barack Obama Stumps for Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams
Former President Barack Obama is continuing his journey on the campaign trail this week, as he heads to Miami on Friday to campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum and incumbent Senator Bill Nelson. Obama will appear with both candidates at the Ice Palace film studios near Overtown, FL. Hillary Clinton raised millions for Gillum last week in Miami, former VP Joe Biden also stumped for him, and former Obama HUD Secretary Julián Castro has made regular appearances on the campaign trail. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) and former AG Eric Holder were in South Florida on Monday stumping with the 39-year-old Tallahassee Mayor. After POTUS44 stumps for Gillum, he’ll head to Atlanta that same day to campaign with Democrat Stacey Abrams as she advances her bid to become the state’s, and the country’s, first African American woman Governor. Obama will appear at 5P at Forbes Arena at Morehouse College. Congressional candidate Lucy McBath -- one of the mothers of the movement who lost her son, Jordan Davis, to gun violence after a white man shot him for playing his music too loudly -- will also attend. Abrams is in a near tie with her Republican opponent, GA Secretary of State Brian Kemp, trailing 47% to 49%. Obama's visit coincides with allegations of voter suppression; The Georgia NAACP filed complaints last week with state election officials alleging that some voting machines mistakenly showed votes cast for Abrams registering for Kemp. The former president’s visits also coincide with Donald Trump stumping for opposing candidates as well. More here.

Voting Access Views are Linked to Outlook on Diversity
A new survey by the Pew Research Center on voting and elections in the U.S. finds that opinions on whether or not to make the voting process easier are linked to views of country’s ethnic diversity -- and it happens in both parties. The survey finds that, overall, 78% of those who say greater diversity is good for society think everything possible should be done to make it easy to vote. Far smaller majorities of those who think greater diversity is a bad thing (55%) or makes no difference (53%) for society favor taking steps to make it easy to vote. A majority of Republicans who view greater diversity as a bad thing (57%) say that citizens should have to prove they want to vote by registering ahead of time. However, 71% of Democrats view greater diversity in the country as a good thing, and 87% of those say that everything possible should be done to make it easy to vote. Race and age are also factors in whether “everything possible” should be done to make it easy to vote. Blacks (81%) are more likely than Hispanics (69%) and whites (63%) to say that everything possible should be done to make it easy for every citizen to vote. The survey also found that while 83% say the election rules in their state are fair, nearly one-in-five (17%) say Black citizens in their state have less access to voting than whites, 27% say Hispanics have less access than whites, and 30% say lower-income citizens have less access to voting than middle-income people. The Pew survey also takes a look at America’s views on confidence in accurate vote counts, election administration; election security; the public’s voting values; views of election policy proposals; views of state election rules; impressions of voting in elections; and concerns about eligible voters being prevented from voting and ineligible voters voting. More here.

Conservatives Float Possible Effort to Recall California AG Xavier Becerra
California will vote next week on the controversial Prop. 6 -- which repeals a 2017 transportation law's taxes and fees designated for more than 6,500 bridge and road safety, transportation, and public transit improvement projects. CA Republicans have been vocal in calling for its repeal and now, a conservative San Diego radio host is threatening to recall California AG Xavier Becerra if the measure fails at the ballot box. The effort is being led by Carl DeMaio, who on Monday filed papers with the Secretary of State’s Office to form a campaign committee for a possible Becerra recall effort. He claims that Becerra deceived voters with the ballot title because it focuses on the elimination of the funds and doesn’t say it might lower gas prices, but the CA AG says the courts have sided with him on similar measures. “I’m doing my job,” Becerra said. “I’m not going to stop.” The former Congressman is up for re-election on the November 6th ballot, but DeMaio said many people mailed in their ballots before they were made aware of allegations of the misleading ballot title. Retired Judge Steven Bailey, the Republican running against Becerra for AG this year, accused the incumbent of “lying to the voters.” Roger Salázar, a spokesman for Becerra, declined to comment on the threat, saying, "We are not going to respond to publicity stunts." The repeal has been a top-line message for Republicans, who have struggled in statewide elections in the increasingly Democratic state. More here.

The Atlantic’s Jemele Hill, rapper Fat Joe, and artist Lil’ Kim on Saturday at actress Gabrielle Union’s birthday party in Miami.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) greeting young Hawai’i constituent Raiden last week.
Corporation for Public Broadcasting Announces New VP of Journalism
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has announced Joy Lin as their new VP of Journalism. In her new role, she’ll focus on strategy, planning, and major initiatives. Lin brings with her more than a decade of experience as a network TV producer, most recently as a Producer at ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos. Prior to that, Lin served as a White House Producer for Fox News during the Obama administration where she traveled overseas to cover the president in Thailand, Russia, Italy, Germany, Kenya, and more. The Harvard College graduate was also at CBS News where she served in a variety of roles including Associate Producer for the Early Show and CBS Weekend News, Reporter, Assignment Editor, and Broadcast Associate. “I look forward to working with colleagues across public media to develop journalistic work that withstands the test of time. I am thrilled to be joining CPB in this role,” Lin said. More here.

WaPo Journalist Joins NBC Digital
Janell Ross
is joining NBC News Digital as a Reporter for NBC BLK -- the digital vertical covering stories, issues, and opinions of the Black community. In her new role, she’ll focus on breaking news and features related to Black identity, politics, and culture. Ross is currently a freelance journalist in DC who covers social and political issues. Her most recent role was at The Washington Post, where she served as a Reporter on the National Desk covering race and immigration, and contributed for the popular political blog, The Fix. Ross made headlines last November however after news surfaced that she attended a private gathering of liberal donors and Democratic lawmakers hosted by Democracy Alliance. She was quietly sidelined by The Post shortly after for violating their ethics policy, with no expected return date. Prior to that, the Texas native was a Senior Reporter at The Huffington Post, where she covered political and economic issues. Her work has also appeared in the Guardian, The Atlantic, The New Republic, and The Tennessean, among other publications, and she is currently working on a book about the racial wealth gap. The 1998 Vassar College graduate, who also has a Master’s from Columbia University, will be based in NYC and starts her new role on November 12th. More about her here

Ava DuVernay Guest Edits TIME Magazine’s Optimistic Issue
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay is collaborating with TIME magazine as the guest editor of the next Optimist issue -- an annual multimedia project. The magazine is calling on readers to submit one 30-second clip capturing what makes them feel optimistic by November 5th. The inaugural Optimistic issue last year was guest edited by Bill Gates. This is the latest among a number of projects for the Oscar-nominated filmmaker. DuVernay is also is working with Netflix on a multiple-part Prince documentary that will cover the artist’s entire life. The project has the full cooperation of the late artist’s estate, which is providing with interviews, archival footage, photos, and archive access. DuVernay, who directed the film that opened the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in DC, has also been in production in New York for months on Central Park. The four-part drama about five Harlem teens who were incorrectly convicted, first in the media and then twice in the courts for the 1989 brutal rape of a jogger in the NYC park, is set to launch on Netflix next year. More on her work with TIME magazine here.
The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah and model Winnie Harlow hanging out in Miami over the weekend.
Obama alum Kal Penn running into writer Richard Streetman in Chicago over the weekend.
Outdoor Industry Association Names VP of Government Affairs
The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) has tapped Patricia Rojas-Ungár as its next VP of Government Affairs. In her new role, she’ll be tasked with managing OIA's government affairs programs including efforts to protect and fund outdoor recreation and lands, inform federal, state, and local elected officials about the outdoor industry's outsized economic impact, champion meaningful climate change mitigation strategies, and more. Since 2008, Rojas-Ungár has served as the VP of Public Affairs at the U.S. Travel Association, where she has lead the policy agenda and represented the travel community before the Executive Branch and Congress. Prior to that, she served as a Professional Staff Member on the Senate Homeland Security Committee. The 1996 University of Texas at Austin graduate, who also has a Master’s from the University of Houston, began her career as a Legislative Assistant for Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA). "The outdoor industry has long been a leader in sustainable business practices, responsible land and water stewardship, and product and retail innovation,” Rojas-Ungár said in a press release. “I am thrilled to support the industry's continued growth and success." More here.
Fidelity Charitable Taps Gates Foundation for Newly Named VP of Philanthropic Strategies
Fidelity Charitable, the nation’s second-largest grantmaker, announced the appointment of Nageeb Sumar as VP of Philanthropic Strategies. In his new role, he will lead a team of philanthropic strategists dedicated to helping Fidelity Charitable’s donors optimize their donor-advised funds and construct strategic plans. Sumar was previously at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where he most recently served as Deputy Director of Philanthropic Partnerships for Global Policy & Advocacy. The Cornell University graduate earned a law degree from McGill Law School and a Master’s from Queen’s University School of Business. “I am thrilled to be joining a talented team at Fidelity Charitable, who are deeply committed to helping donors achieve their philanthropic goals and maximize their impact. Having managed grants with the Gates Foundation, I look forward to working with families on donating their time, talent and treasure to support their passions and contribute to improving the social sector,” said Sumar. His addition comes as Fidelity Charitable announced it is on track to break the previous year’s granting high-point of $4.5 billion in donor-recommended grants. More here.

BLAH BLAH BLOGS
FOMO
TodayThe Atlantic, The Aspen Institute, and Bloomberg Philanthropies' CityLab 2018, a summit to address the most urgent urban issues of our time. Westin Book Cadillac Hotel, 1114 Washington Blvd, Detroit, MI. Click here for more information.
Today - Friday, November 2nd: The March on Washington Film Festival holds Legacy 21st: an online summit of arts & ideas 50 years after King. Click here for more information.
Friday, November 2nd: U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hosts a public briefing, “Are Rights a Reality? Evaluating Federal Civil Rights Enforcement.” Speakers include Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO, National Women’s Law Center; Vanita Gupta, President and CEO, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; John Yang, President and Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice AAJC; and Burth López, Staff Attorney, MALDEF, among others. U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Suite 1150, DC. Click here for more information.
Thursday, November 15th - Friday, November 16th: Men of Color in Communications Business Summit, a two-day conference bringing together more than 300 men of color in marketing, advertising, media, PR, and the digital space. Speakers include Jeffrey Litvack, CEO, AdweekRodney Williams, CEO, Belvedere Vodka; Jana Fleishman, EVP Strategic Marketing, Roc Nation (JAY-Z's Publicist); and many more. Bloomberg Corporate Headquarters, 731 Lexington Avenue, NYC. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, November 28th: The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute convenes a tech summit. Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., DC. Click here for more information.
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