Barack Obama met with George H.W. Bush & Stephanie Murphy to lead Blue Dogs
Barack Obama met with George H.W. Bush & Stephanie Murphy to lead Blue Dogs
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November 28, 2018
Stacey Abrams Group Sues Georgia, Xochitl Torres Small Names Chief of Staff, and Ava DuVernay Inks Major Deal
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AN OFFER YOU CAN’T REFUSELeader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will face down detractors as Democratic leadership elections kick off on Capitol Hill today at 10A during a closed-door Caucus meeting. She and Congressmen Jim Clyburn (SC) and Steny Hoyer (MD) are running unopposed for the top three posts. Meanwhile, in another election… MISSISSIPPI BURNINGDemocrat Mike Espy lost his Senate bid to Cindy Hyde-Smith, who was victorious despite, or because of, her racist comments and actions. PLAN B… Congress has until next Friday to avoid a partial government shutdown, and Donald Trump told WaPo that he’s considering a backup plan if Congress rejects his demand for $5 billion in funding for his border wall, potentially including the continued use of troops and razor wire to prevent migrants from entering the country. SHADY SHARINGA lawyer for Paul Manafort, the president’s former Campaign Chairman, repeatedly briefed Trump’s lawyers on his client’s discussions with federal investigators after Manafort agreed to cooperate with the Special Counsel. TRUMPED BY TARIFFSGeneral Motors announced Monday it was cutting 14,700 jobs in North America. The company estimated that Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum had cost them hundreds of millions of dollars. The president’s response? To cut all GM subsidies. REVENUE SHOT DOWNThe NRA's total income in 2017 dropped by nearly $55 million, with the association reporting $312 million compared to the $367 million it made in 2016. LOCK HER UPDoesn’t apply to Ivanka Trump, she told ABC News’ Deborah Roberts this morning, after reports surfaced that she used her personal email for official White House correspondence. PEÑA-JADASMexico’s outgoing President Enrique Peña Nieto said on Tuesday he would bestow the country’s top honor for foreigners on Jared Kushner -- a decision that was immediately met with an outcry of criticism. 41 AND 44… On Tuesday, former President Barack Obama met with 94-year-old George H. W. Bush before POTUS44 was scheduled to speak at a forum at the Baker Institute at Rice University. PUT A HUMP IN YOUR BACK… and shake your rump. The week is halfway over. We’re kicking off your Wednesday with this...
  • Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) wants standards for facial recognition technology.
  • FEMA contractors are charging steep markups in Puerto Rico.
  • Blue Dogs elect Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) as the first woman of color to lead the coalition. 
  • Native American voters helped swing crucial 2018 Congressional seats toward Dems.
  • Facebook employee says company has a "black people problem."
  • The National Association of Hispanic Journalists makes several appointments to its national board.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) and 93.5KDAY’s Manny Portugal at the Jackson’s Limousine Annual Turkey Giveaway last week.
Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) supporting small businesses by visiting the Hawai'i Doggie Bakery last week.
Cleaver Wants Industry Standards for Facial Recognition Technology 
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)
sent a letter on Tuesday to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) encouraging them to endorse industry standards and ethical best practices for the independent testing of demographic-based biases in facial recognition technology. Earlier this year, NIST conducted a study of face identification performance across a large, varied group of people. The study also examined the best technology as well, comparing the accuracy of state-of-the-art face recognition algorithms to human experts. Their result from this classic confrontation of human versus machine? Neither gets the best results alone. Maximum accuracy was achieved with a collaboration between the two. However, the ACLU found that Amazon’s facial recognition software -- which is already in use by some police departments -- was disproportionately inaccurate in identifying people of color. Cleaver penned a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about this issue in May. In the letter to Dr. Walter Copan, NIST Director and U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology, Cleaver wrote, “The potential for illegal discrimination and/or unfair practices resulting from such bias continues to concern lawmakers.” Cleaver says that as technology and the tech industry as a whole continue to evolve, “it is imperative that standards are created to ensure that technology is being used responsibly and without the potential for discrimination.” Read his full letter to NIST here.

Blue Dog Coalition Elects First Woman of Color as Co-Chair
The Blue Dog Coalition, a group of two dozen fiscally conservative House Democrats, on Tuesday elected three new co-chairs: Stephanie Murphy (FL) will serve as Administration Co-Chair; Tom O’Halleran (AZ) as Policy Co-Chair; and Lou Correa (CA) as Communications Co-Chair. Murphy, who is Vietnamese American, is the first woman of color to ever lead the Blue Dog Coalition and was elected unanimously. “I’m proud to help lead this hardworking group of principled, pragmatic Democrats who will develop solutions that move this country forward,” Murphy stated. The former businesswoman and national security specialist at the Department of Defense currently serves as a Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Coalition’s Fiscal Responsibility Task Force, where she promotes policies designed to address the nation’s growing deficits and debt. All three Co-Chairs were first elected in 2016, and they’re also members of the New Democrat Coalition, a group of pro-business Democrats expected to have some 90-plus members in the 116th Congress. They will be replacing current Blue Dog Co-Chairs Jim Costa (CA), Henry Cuellar (TX), and Daniel Lipinski (IL). More here.

House GOP Proposes Path Forward on Puerto Rico Statehood Vote
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló (D) on Tuesday shared a letter signed by Republican leaders of the House Natural Resources Committee where they called on Puerto Rico to hold a new vote on statehood. The Committee, which oversees territorial affairs, placed the blame on Donald Trump’s DOJ for the non-binding nature of the island’s 2017 statehood vote. "Despite both the Obama and Trump Administrations and many in Congress having recognized the validity and decisions of the 2012 and 2017 votes, the inability of the DOJ to provide a timely blessing of the 2017 vote has allowed its opponents to contest its results," they wrote. The letter was signed by Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT), Don Young (R-AK), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), the Chair of the Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs Subcommittee; and Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón (R). Bishop last week also asked Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to support a federally sponsored political status referendum on statehood for Puerto Rico. “We are ready for a binding process, endorsed by the federal government, that puts an end to more than 100 years of colonial status through a yes/no statehood vote," Rosselló said. "We will do our part and the federal government must do its part. Our priority is to end the colony, fulfilling the wish of a people who has chosen statehood on two occasions in the last seven years." Unfortunately for pro-statehood folks, Bishop -- a pro-statehood supporter -- will no longer Chair the Committee when Democrats take over the House in January, and Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) -- a fervent supporter of letting the territory self-determine its status -- is retiring. Read the letter here.
NY AG-elect Letitia James and former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara at the 2018 Brennan Legacy Awards Dinner in NYC earlier this month.
Univisión’s Jorge Ramos with author and activist Sandra Cisneros at the Miami Book Fair earlier this month.
Undocumented Immigrant Population Drops to Lowest Levels in a Decade
A new report from the Pew Research Center found that between 2007 and 2016, the undocumented immigrant population shrank by 13% -- dropping the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. to its lowest level in more than a decade. There were 10.7 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. in 2016, down from a peak of 12.2 million in 2007, according to Pew’s new estimates. The decline is due almost entirely to a sharp decrease in the number of Mexicans entering the country without authorization -- a decline of 1.5 million. However, Mexico remains the country of origin for 5.4 million undocumented immigrants, or roughly half of the overall number. The number of unauthorized immigrants from Central America increased by 375,000 over the same 2007 to 2016 period, mainly coming from the three Northern Triangle nations of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Pew also found that adult undocumented immigrants are well-established -- two-thirds have lived in the country for more than 10 years -- and their percentage of the workforce was lower in 2016, when they made up less than 5%, than 2007, when they were about 5.4%. The number of undocumented immigrant workers in low-skilled jobs declined, while those in management, business ,and professional jobs rose by a third, Pew said. Because the numbers are based on 2016 populations, the decline in the number of undocumented immigrants cannot be attributed to Donald Trump or his immigration policies, NBC reports. More here.

Seema Verma Announces Proposal to Tackle Rx Drug Prices
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma on Monday announced the administration is proposing new rules that would ease restrictions on how Medicare Part D -- an optional federal government program to help Medicare beneficiaries pay for self-administered prescription drugs through prescription drug insurance premiums -- manages the six protected drug classes that must be included in those plans. The administration said the change would bring the latest tools from the private sector to Medicare Part D, saving money, improving access, and expanding plan choice. CMS also announced it is taking action on pharmacy rebates and is allowing step therapy in Medicare Advantage plans as part of their effort to force lower drug prices. “In designing [the] proposal, foremost in the agency’s mind was the impact on patients, and the proposal is yet another action CMS has taken to deliver on President Trump and Secretary Azar’s commitment on drug prices,” said Verma. “Today’s changes will provide seniors with more plan options featuring lower costs for prescription drugs, and seniors will remain in the driver’s seat as they can choose the plan that works best for them. The result will be increasing access to the medicines that seniors depend on by lowering their out-of-pocket costs.” However, not all advocates were convinced that the proposals would help patients -- some called the proposals a “cumbersome, agonizing, and an unnecessary burden” -- and even PhRMA expressed significant concerns. More here.

FEMA Contractors are Charging Steep Markups in Puerto Rico
FEMA is spending $1.2 billion to repair homes in Puerto Rico damaged by Hurricane Maria, but more than 60% of it is going to contractors charging steep markups, according to the NYT. According to invoices and contracts, homeowners who were approved for up to $20K each in aid, in nearly every case, received less than half of what they were approved for. Why? Because layers of contractors and middlemen took the rest. Some of the markups included generators at a cost of $3,700 each. The 5,500-watt portable devices and supplies they came with cost the contractors about $800 each. FEMA also paid $666 apiece for new bathroom sinks, but the contractors who actually bought and installed them paid $260 apiece. FEMA paid almost $4 a square foot to repair roofs; the work was done by subcontractors for $1.64 a foot. In addition to the pricing issues, there were also widespread complaints of long waits and shoddy work. Michael Byrne, FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer for Puerto Rico, said the housing department had done an impressive job of getting homes repaired quickly for people who had nowhere else to turn. “By the end of November, I fully expect them to have repaired about 120,000 homes,” Byrne said. “That’s pretty impressive.” More here.

Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Monday to watch NASA InSight’s Mars landing.
CBS News’ Michelle Miller on Monday hiking in Arizona.
Stacey Abrams Group Targets Opponent in Lawsuit
Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is making good on her promise to challenge the way the state's elections are run. Fair Fight Action -- where Abrams serves as a Board member and which is run by her former Campaign Manager, Lauren Groh-Wargo -- filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday charging that state elections officials “grossly mismanaged” the 2018 election in a way that deprived some citizens, particularly low-income people and people of color, of their right to vote in violation of their constitutional rights. Georgia’s former Secretary of State and Abrams’ opponent, Republican Governor-elect Brian Kemp, has a well-documented history of voter suppression. The lawsuit was filed against interim Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden, who was appointed by Governor Nathan Deal after Kemp stepped down. However, it clearly targets Kemp. Speaking to reporters, Groh-Wargo cited multiple problems, including the purging of eligible voters from voter rolls under a “use it or lose it” policy; the state’s so-called “exact match” voter registration rules that require information on voter applications to precisely match state or federal files; an insufficient number of voting machines at some precincts; and a lack of sufficient training for elections officials. Several federal judges presiding over ongoing lawsuits found problems with aspects of the state’s election system and ordered temporary fixes in the run-up to the election and immediately afterward. The AP reports that Care in Action Georgia,
the state chapter of a national nonprofit dedicated to fighting for the rights of domestic workers, has joined the suit as a plaintiff. More here.
Native American Voters Helped Swing Crucial 2018 Congressional Seats 
The Native American population -- as both voters and candidates -- came out in record numbers during this year’s midterms according to a new report entitled, “The Native American Electorate's Role in the Blue Wave Referendum on President Trump's Policy Agenda.” The Native American vote appears to have helped swing important races in Montana, Arizona, and New Mexico -- especially Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Jon Tester (D-MT) in the Senate, and Kendra Horn (D-OK), Tom O'Halleran (D-AZ), Collin Peterson (D-MN), and Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM) in the House. The data show that 61% of Native American voters cast their ballot for a Democratic Congressional candidate. There was a significant gender gap with 67% of Native American women reported voting for Democrats compared to 54% of Native American men. Similarly, 72% of Native American women encouraged friends or family to register or vote, a rate 13 percentage points higher than Native American men. Native American Independents broke toward Democrats (46%) while 38% voted for Republicans, and 13% for third party candidates. The poll showed that Native American voters want action on health care, economic opportunity, and the treatment of women, and it also found that 61% of Native American voters were angered by something the Donald Trump has said or done, and 57% felt disrespected by him. The new report was based on Latino Decisions’ 2018 polling, which the report’s authors say provided the first comparison of Native American voters nationally to other groups. Read the report here.

Xochitl Torres Small Names René Muñoz as Chief of Staff
NM Democratic Congresswoman-elect Xochitl Torres Small was officially declared the winner of New Mexico's Second Congressional District on Tuesday, and she is bringing on seasoned Capitol Hill staffer René Muñoz as her Chief of Staff. Muñoz was most recently the Director of Univisión’s government affairs team. Prior to that, the New Mexico State University graduate -- who also attended the U.S. Air Force’s Air Command and Staff College -- served as a professional staffer for the House Homeland Security Committee. Muñoz also served as Chief of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Census Bureau; was Chief of Staff to former Congressman Pete Gallego; was Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Congressional Affairs; served as Legislative Director to Congresswoman Kathy Castor (D-FL) and former Congressmen Ciro Rodríguez and Silvestre Reyes; and also worked on the campaigns of Ciro D. Rodríguez for Congress, Christine Jennings for Congress, and John Kerry for President. More about Muñoz here.

Former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal with Mike Birbiglia in NYC on Sunday for the comedian's new Broadway play, The New One.
Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA) serving seniors from her district on Thanksgiving eve last week.
Ava DuVernay Inks Multi-Year Deal with Warner Bros
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay has signed a multi-year deal with Warner Bros. Television, where she will develop and produce television projects exclusively for the entertainment company through her company, Forward Movement. The pact extends DuVernay's relationship with Warner Bros. TV, for whom she executive produces OWN's Queen Sugar and CBS' midseason drama The Red Line. Sources estimate the deal to be worth in the high eight-figure range with some saying it could be as much as $100 million. The 46-year-old Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated writer, producer, and director has a Netflix miniseries, Central Park Five, and a comedy based on the life of NFL star and activist Colin Kaepernick in the works. “Warner Bros is a terrific partner on matters of visibility + belonging for all kinds + cultures of people, which is our mission at Forward Movement. Couldn’t be happier to call Warner Bros TV my production home,” DuVernay tweeted. The agreement goes into effect in January. More here.

Washington Post Names New CMO
The Washington Post has promoted Miki King to Chief Marketing Officer. In her new role, she will oversee subscription acquisition, retention as well as enterprise subscription packages to universities, large companies, and nonprofit organizations. She’ll also lead the team that is developing The Post’s national marketing campaigns. The 1998 University of Pennsylvania grad, who completed law school at George Mason University in 2007, joined WaPo in 2016 as VP of Operations. She came from Politico where she served as EVP. She was previously the Executive Director for Business Development for Politico Pro and was also part of the team responsible for its development and launch. King also was also a Litigation Attorney at Seeger, Faughnan, Mendocino, and Director of Business Development for the health care practice of the law firm of Manatt, Phelps and Philips. More here.

Former Employee Says Facebook Has a Black People Problem
Mark Luckie
, a former Facebook employee, accused the company of having “a black people problem” in a note published on Tuesday. Luckie, who served as Facebook’s Strategic Partner Manager for Global Influencers focused on Underrepresented Voices, said he was uniquely exposed to issues surrounding the internal and external representation of Black people at the embattled social media giant. He noted that Black people far outpaced other groups on the platform in a slew of engagement metrics. African Americans are more likely to use Facebook to communicate with family and friends daily, according to research commissioned by the company. The data show 63% use Facebook to communicate with family, and 60% use Facebook to communicate with friends at least once a day, compared to 53% and 54% of the total population, respectively. According to the Pew Research Center, 70% of Black U.S. adults use Facebook and 43% use Instagram. And 55% of Black millennials report spending at least one hour a day on social networking sites, 6% higher than all millennials, while 29% say they spend at least three hours a day, 9% higher than all millennials, Nielsen surveys found. “Black people are driving the kind of meaningful social interactions Facebook is striving to facilitate,” Luckie wrote. Despite this, he said Black people are finding that the platform itself is derailing their attempts to create "safe spaces" on Facebook for conversation among themselves. “Non-black people are reporting what are meant to be positive efforts as hate speech, despite them often not violating Facebook’s terms of service. Their content is removed without notice. Accounts are suspended indefinitely.” He also said that Facebook’s “top-down emphasis on diversity” is not helpful to efforts that promote inclusion, which are being halted at the managerial level. “The fact remains that the population of Facebook employees doesn’t reflect its most engaged user base. There is often more diversity in keynote presentations than the teams who present them. In some buildings, there are more Black Lives Matter posters than there are actual black people,” Luckie wrote. Read the full memo that he circulated to all of Facebook’s employees around the world here.
Newly elected IL members of Congress Jesús “Chuy” García and Lauren Underwood, Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL), and IL Congressman-elect Sean Casten in DC earlier this month during new member orientation.
ABC’s John Quinones with his son CNN Producer Julián Quinones for a pre-Thanksgiving meal last week.
NYT Opinion Names New Columnist
Farhad Manjoo
has been named a Columnist for The New York Times’ Opinion section. In his new role, he’ll focus on the future and impact of technology, and the many ways technology is changing society, democracy, and the economy. He most recently was a Columnist for the NYT’s Business section, where he wrote the “State of the Art” column which examined how technology is changing business and society. Prior to that, he was a Technology Columnist at The Wall Street Journal and before that, he was a Columnist at Slate and Fast Company. Manjoo is the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society, and is currently working on another book about the efforts by Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google to rule the business world. The 2000 Cornell University graduate starts his new role on December 17th and will be based in Northern California. More here

NAHJ Announces New Board Appointments
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) has announced several appointments to the national board. Rafael Olmeda will serve as VP of Print. The Baruch College grad is currently a Senior Journalist at the Sun-Sentinel, where he covers Broward County criminal and civil courts. Olmeda is also a former President of NAHJ and UNITY: Journalists of Color. Mirta Ojito will serve as the Spanish At-Large Officer. The 1986 Florida Atlantic University graduate, who also earned a Master’s from Columbia University, is a former writer for the NYT and is currently the Senior Director of News Standards for Telemundo. Rodrigo Cervantes, who is currently KJZZ’s Mexico City Bureau Chief, will serve as Secretary. The Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education graduate, who also holds a Master’s from CEU San Pablo University, is also the former President of the NAHJ-Atlanta chapter and was previously an Editor at MundoHispánico, a division of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Georgia’s oldest and largest Latino newspaper. José Díaz Jr. will serve as the Region 2 Director, covering New York and the surrounding states. The Hofstra University alum is currently a Foreign Desk Producer at CBS News, where he coordinates international stories for CBS This Morning, Evening News, and 60 Minutes. More here.
BLAH BLAH BLOGS
FOMO
Today, 10A: Leaders of some of the main organizations that mobilized and monitored the vote in California will share their insights into their work. Featuring Latino Decisions’ Matt Barreto, Mi Familia Vota’s Ben Monterosso, PICO California’s Joey Williams, The California Endowment’s Marisol Avina, and Power California’s Aparna Shah. California Community Foundation, 281 South Figueroa St., Los Angeles. Click here for more information.
Today, 6P: The CHCI Alumni Association hosts the 2018 Chiefs of Staff Reception, recognizing two congressional Chiefs of Staff for their leadership and commitment to diversity and inclusion on Capitol Hill. Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, 1128 16th Street, N.W., DC. Click here for more information
Today, 6:30P: Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino hosts the American Latino Influencer Awards, in recognition of Latino leaders and trailblazers in public service, arts and culture, business, and in the government. The InterContinental Wharf, 801 Wharf Street, S.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Today: The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute convenes a tech summit. Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Today - Saturday, December 1st: National Black Caucus of State Legislators host their 42nd Annual Legislative Conference, “Rejecting Walls That Divide and Building Bridges That Bring Us Together.” New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, 333 Adams Street, Brooklyn, NY. Click here for more information.
Saturday, December 1st: LULAC's Latinx Tech Summit, in partnership with Capital Factory and Prospanica Texas, bringing together Latino tech leaders, designers, innovators, corporate and government leaders, and scholars. 701 Brazos St, Austin, TX. Click here for more information.
Monday, December 3rd, 6P: The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum host, “Women of Color in the Era of #MeToo,” a conversation on how women of color experience harassment in the workplace and what can be done to prevent it. 1500 K Street, N.W., Suite 900, DC. Click here for more information
Tuesday, December 4th, 5:30P: A conversation and book signing with AURN White House Correspondent April D. Ryan moderated by CNN's Don Lemon. 1 Time Warner Center, NYC. Click here for more information.
Thursday, December 6th - Sunday, December 9th: National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators host their 16th National Summit. Kona Kai Resort, 1551 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA. Click here for more information.
Monday, December 10th, 10A: The Aspen Institute hosts “Future of Sports Activism: Reimagining its Bottom Line,” a conversation about the implications in a number of areas, such as fan engagement, sponsorships, relationships within teams, athlete health and welfare, and society in general if more athletes spoke out. Featuring Etan Thomas, former NBA player and author of We Matter: Athletes and ActivismJoe Briggs, NFL Players Association Public Policy Counsel; and Ellis McKennie, University of Maryland football player, among others. The Aspen Institute, 2300 N St. N.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Friday, January 18, 2019, 9A–3P: The Indigenous Peoples Movement hosts the Indigenous Peoples March to bring awareness to the injustices affecting Indigenous men, women, and children. DC. Click here for more information.
Saturday, February 16, 2019: The Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s 93rd Annual Black History Luncheon. Washington Renaissance Hotel, 999 Ninth Street, N.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Tuesday, May 14, 2019: APAICS 25th Anniversary Awards Gala Dinner to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The evening honors Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders, both current and pioneers, and recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations that continue to politically empower the AAPI community. 1000 H Street, N.W., DC. Click here for more information.
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