Diamond & Silk get a weekly show and Kamala Harris releases children's book
Diamond & Silk get a weekly show and Kamala Harris releases children's book
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November 27, 2018
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Names Chief of Staff, Ro Khanna Targets Drug Prices, and José Andrés Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
ELECTION DAY IN MISSISSIPPI… The race engulfed by racism comes to a head today. More below. THE RED PLANET… A NASA spacecraft arrived on Mars on Monday after a perilous, supersonic plunge through its red skies that took just six minutes. THE RED TREESFirst Lady Melania Trump tweeted a video of the White House holiday decorations which showed a cascade of blood-red trees in the East Colonnade. Ummm... TRUMP TV? The president floated the idea of launching a government worldwide TV channel to compete with CNN and show the world “the way we really are great.” Gulp. Unrelated: Fox News is a domestic channel. Speaking of... MISINFORMATIONThat’s Dictionary.com's “Word Of The Year” thanks to the rampant spread of false information in 2018. SHUTDOWN… Congress is approaching a December 7th government funding deadline and at the center of a possible government shutdown is funding for Trump’s proposed border wall. LONGHORN LONGSHOT? Not really. Some think Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke is a sure thing for 2020, and after rocketing to national fame in his unsuccessful bid to unseat Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), O’Rourke says he’s no longer ruling out a White House run. THE NOTORIOUS RBGSupreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has returned to the bench after healing from a fall that cracked three of her ribs. FARR OUT… The president’s district judge nominee, Thomas Farr, is being met with backlash by members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other Dems warning that, if confirmed, he’ll use his position as a federal judge to rule against minorities. NEW TAX BILLHouse Republicans late Monday released a 297-page tax bill they hope to advance during the lame duck session. BITCOINOhio just became the first state to accept the cryptocurrency as a payment option for a range of business taxes. MENACE… According to reports, Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, repeatedly lied to federal investigators in violation of a plea agreement he signed two months ago. Perhaps Special Counsel Robert Mueller said to Manafort what a detective once told Kane in Menace II Society: you know you (bleeped) up. We’re kicking off your Tuesday with this...
  • Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) presses SBA to change a lending rule for employee-owned firms.
  • Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) intros bill to help airports access cheaper capital financing.
  • TJ Cox pulls ahead of GOP opponent in California.
  • Diamond & Silk get a weekly show with Fox. Read to the bottom.
  • Be sure to catch The Beat DC’s Tiffany D. Cross today on MSNBC at 2P live with Chris Jansing.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama visiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in Boston on Saturday.
Beatriz Rosselló and husband PR Governor Ricardo Rosselló advocating for “Giving Tuesday” at the Puerto Rico nonprofit Iniciativa Comunitaria on Thanksgiving Day last week.
Ro Khanna’s Plan to Lower Drug Prices
One in five American adults cannot afford to get the prescription medication they need. Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are aiming to fight high drug prices and last week announced they will introduce the Prescription Drug Price Relief Act at the start of the 116th Congress. They say the measure would significantly reduce prescription drug prices. The legislation would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to make sure that Americans don’t pay more for prescription drugs than the median price in five major countries: Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan. If pharmaceutical manufacturers refuse to lower drug prices below that level, the federal government would approve cheaper generic versions of those drugs, regardless of any patents or market exclusivities in place. The bill would help the median price of brand-name prescription drugs to go down by 40% or more they say. “There is absolutely no reason for the big pharmaceutical companies to make Americans pay higher prescription drug prices than they charge our friends in Canada, Germany, and the UK. Today we’re sending big pharma a message: market exclusivity is a privilege, and when you abuse that by price gouging the sick and aging, then you lose that privilege,” Khanna said. “This bill will bring down drug prices by taking on monopolies and boosting prescription drug competition.” More here.

Tammy Duckworth WantsAims to Improve Airports
The Airports Council International-North America estimates that U.S. airports have nearly $100 billion in infrastructure needs in the next three years to accommodate growth in passenger and cargo activity, rehabilitate existing facilities, and support aircraft innovation. To help airports get access to some of the funds they need, Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and David Perdue (R-GA) recently introduced bipartisan legislation to improve airport infrastructure by allowing airport projects to access cheaper public and private capital financing. The TIFIA for Airports Act would expand eligibility for Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) credit assistance to state and local airport projects. Airport projects have limited access to traditional TIFIA funding that finances surface transportation projects. The legislation would provide a $10 million credit subsidy through the existing TIFIA program, allowing airports to potentially leverage more than $200 million in capital investment. “This bipartisan legislation is a step in the right direction to modernize our nation’s aging airport infrastructure, create good-paying jobs and generate economic development,” Duckworth said. “I’m proud to be working across the aisle with Senator Perdue to make sure airport improvement projects, like O’Hare Modernization, maximize taxpayers’ investment by reducing costs and improving project deliverability.” More here.

Senator Bob Menéndez (D-NJ) remembering Syrian radio host and activist Raed Fares who was killed in Idlib, Syria on Friday.
Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley with Fox News’ Harris Faulkner at the Independent Women’s Forum Awards Gala in DC last week.
Nydia Velázquez Presses SBA to Change Lending Rule for Employee-Owned Firms
The Small Business Administration (SBA) recently enacted provisions to help small firms transition into an employee-owned business. However, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) is sounding the alarm over the way the rules are being drafted saying they could create additional barriers. As the top Democrat on the House Small Business Committee, she and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) have written the SBA Administrator Linda McMahon expressing concerns that their proposed rule would prevent loans for employee-owned business models from being processed under “delegated authority” from SBA’s lenders arguing it runs counter to Congressional intent and would needlessly make it harder for employee-owned businesses to access SBA loans. “That simply means more red tape, fewer loans and slower processing times,” Velázquez said. Nearly half of all privately-held businesses in the U.S. are owned by individuals who are at or near retirement age, representing more than 2.3 million companies, and employing close to 25 million workers (one in six workers nationwide). Though more than half of these small business owners expect to retire within the next ten years, fewer than 15% have a formal exit plan in place. As a result, many of these businesses could be bought out by competitors or even close due to a lack of planning or inability to find a buyer; both of which result in damage to local communities from lost jobs and revenue. “As this trend accelerates in the coming years, it is crucial that those small business employees be empowered to transition the business to an employee-owned model, preserving the firm’s independence and protecting it from the risk of decline, buyout, or outright closure,” the lawmakers write. Read the full letter here.

Legislation Introduced to Award Congressional Gold Medal to Civil Rights Icon Reverend James Lawson
Congressmen Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO), Ro Khanna (D-CA), John Lewis (D-GA)
, and James Clyburn (D-SC) last week introduced legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to civil rights icon Reverend James Lawson. The 89-year-old Lawson is recognized as one of the most consequential leaders of the civil rights movement. He spent three years in India as a missionary and studied Mahatma Gandhi’s strategy of nonviolent struggle before returning to the U.S. to become a leader in the Civil Rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called Lawson the “leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world.” Lawson trained activists and launched the Nashville sit-ins to challenge segregation in downtown stores. He also helped develop the strategy for the Freedom Riders who rode buses in southern states to challenge segregated seating on public buses. “His fingerprints can be found on every major civil rights victory. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honor,” said Cleaver. Khanna added: “The lessons he brought from Gandhi’s nonviolent movement not only strengthened the Civil Rights movement here in America but demonstrated the interconnected nature of the struggles of oppressed people around the world.” Clyburn said that, “As a founding Member of SNCC, I’m pleased to add my voice of support for this long overdue Congressional recognition of the many contributions and accomplishments of Reverend James Lawson in the struggle against oppression and segregation in America.” More here.
HuffPost’s Lydia Polgreen in Mountain View, CA with Verizon’s Diego Scotti at Verizon Media Group’s Build It event earlier this month.
WNYC’s Tanzina Vega on-set in NYC for her feature in Elle.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Names Chief of Staff
Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY)
has named Saikat Chakrabarti as her Chief of Staff. The Harvard College graduate served as Ocasio-Cortez's Campaign Chair and Campaign Manager. Before joining Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign, Chakrabarti served as Co-Founder and Executive Director of Justice Democrats -- a PAC that doesn’t accept corporate donations. They joined with Brand New Congress, a PAC also co-founded by Chakrabarti, and set out to create a left-wing populist movement starting with the 2018 midterms. Together, they aimed to recruit 400 candidates by asking people to nominate individuals from their own communities -- party affiliation didn’t matter; candidates had to want health care for all, a living wage, and to want money not to rule all in politics. Brand New Congress ended up with 12,000 applications. Just 12 of those applicants turned into candidates, and only one won a seat in Congress: Ocasio-Cortez. Chakrabarti told Rolling Stone that caring too much about a win ratio is part of the reason he believes the Democratic Party would never have recruited Ocasio-Cortez. “We’re OK losing 90 percent of our races, if it means that the ones we win cause the kind of shift in thinking about what’s possible — like Alexandria’s race honestly did,” Chakrabarti says. “So that’s a different way of measuring success.” He previously served as Director for Organizing Technology for the Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign. Chakrabarti is a former Silicon Valley pro; he was a developer and co-founder of Mockingbird, an online tool for wireframing websites and web applications, and worked at technology firm Stripe, an online payment service. His hire comes as news surfaced that Ocasio-Cortez is aiming to secure a seat on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee. More about Chakrabarti here
Ricardo Rosselló Asks Congress for More Aid
Donald Trump wants to cut aid to Puerto Rico, and as we told you on Monday, some Democratic lawmakers recently pushed back on the president’s call to end aid. Governor Ricardo Rosselló last week sent a letter to congressional leaders asking them to immediately increase federal funding and other assistance to the territory. He said that “significant emergency response work remains to be done on the island” and asked Congress to reinstate full FEMA funding -- the agency withdrew its full funding of some emergency work including debris removal, building demolition, and the provision of temporary generators. FEMA rejected an appeal to reinstate this funding. Rosselló also asked legislators for two more years of emergency Medicaid funding totaling more than $3 billion, and added disaster funding for the island’s Nutrition Assistance Program. “While everyone wishes the pace of recovery would have been faster, the magnitude of our losses created an unprecedented challenge for our Island never before faced anywhere else in the United States,” he wrote. “Never before had an entire state been impacted by a catastrophic hurricane ... Never before did a state have to address the challenges of a near 100 percent failure of its power grid, water systems and communications infrastructure.” Rosselló also accused Congress and federal agencies of treating “us differently than other U.S. citizens on the mainland ... FEMA and the Administration put in place burdensome financial procedures that had never been used for any State or Territory before.” More here.

Gil Cisneros Joins #NeverPelosi Letter
California Congressman-elect Gil Cisneros has joined a group of Democrats who have pledged to vote no for Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) bid for Speaker of the House. While Cisneros said he has “tremendous respect” for Pelosi, he said his constituents want change. “I intend to follow through on my commitment to support new leadership,” he said. “Our Democratic caucus is comprised of many dedicated individuals who are more than capable of leading our Party and the House of Representatives into the future.” With his addition, the #NeverPelosi signatories are back up to 16 members. More here.

MN Democratic Congresswoman-elect Ilhan Omar wishing her son a happy 13th birthday last week.
The Hill’s Scott Wong in Maryland celebrating his birthday with his daughters over the weekend.
TJ Cox Takes the Lead in Last Contested Congressional Race
Democrat TJ Cox took the lead on Monday over incumbent Republican Congressman David Valadao in California’s 21st Congressional District. The first generation Filipino American now leads by 438 votes. However, the race between the incumbent and Cox, an engineer and businessman, will come down to the wire. Just under 3,000 ballots remain to be counted, specifically in Kern, where Cox has so far secured 61% of the vote. But Kings County -- where Valadao has pulled in 63% of the vote -- still has 1,577 uncounted ballots. “While we have been considered underdogs and counted out, we knew that our message of expanding access to health care, creating good jobs, and improving opportunities for families here in the Central Valley resonated with voters,” Cox said. The race was called by media outlets such as the AP for Valadao on election night, but mail-in ballots swung the vote heavily in Cox’s direction. The next update is slated to come around 4:30P PST today. Stay tuned. More here.

Mike Espy Eyes Finish Line In Race Surrounded by Racism
Today’s Senate runoff in Mississippi between Democrat Mike Espy and Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith will center on GOTV efforts -- more specifically, the Black vote. African Americans make up a larger share of the electorate here than they do in any other state. Republicans regularly win around 90% of the white vote, while Democrats win 90% or more of the Black vote. In a typical election, white voters outnumber Black voters by a two-to-one margin. Co-Founder of Black Votes Matter, LaTosha Brown, is on the ground leading a coalition of volunteers to help increase turnout. And the NAACP knocked on 100,000 doors after identifying Black voters who had skipped non-presidential elections. Meanwhile, Donald Trump hosted two rallies for the embattled Hyde-Smith. The first rally was in Tupelo, where Hyde-Smith this month said she would sit with a supporter in the front row of a public hanging. Mississippi has a long history of racism that Espy is hoping to overcome today. It’s a tough hurdle. According to the NAACP, Mississippi had more lynchings than any other state -- 581 -- between 1882 and 1968; On Monday morning, two nooses were found outside the state Capitol. Trump carried the state by 18 points in 2016. Today’s runoff is required because no candidate got 50% on November 6th. More here.

Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) with NH Democratic Congressman-elect Chris Pappas earlier this month.
TX Democratic Congresswoman-elect Verónica Escobar hiking in El Paso over the weekend.
José Andrés Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Chef and humanitarian José Andrés has been nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize by Congressman John Delaney (D-MD) for his work feeding people recovering from natural disasters. “Because of Mr. Andrés’s work, millions of people have been fed … This is the most basic human need and Mr. Andrés has proven to be world-class in this essential humanitarian field,” Delaney reportedly wrote in his nomination. “With an incredible spirit and an innovative mind, Mr. Andrés is solving one of the world’s ancient problems and supplying world leaders with a new road map to provide more effective disaster relief in the future.” Andrés has supplied meals for millions of people through his charity, World Central Kitchen -- which he created after the devastating 2010 earthquakes in Haiti. The organization received worldwide recognition after its work following the devastation left by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. And just last week, he was in California to serve Thanksgiving meals to thousands of survivors of the Camp Fire. The 49-year-old native of Spain joked about his nomination, saying, “Oh, wow ... They nominate everybody,” before talking about the growing importance of food in U.S. politics: “In the end, you see that food every day is having a bigger impact.” The winner will be announced next October. More here.

Kamala Harris Announces Children's Version of Book
Regular Beat readers know that Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) is releasing her memoir, The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, on January 8th. The potential 2020 contender announced last week that she is releasing a picture book memoir at the same time entitled, Superheroes Are Everywhere. She is also releasing a middle-grade edition titled, The Truths We Hold, later in 2019. Harris said in a statement that she hoped her story would "empower young people" and make them "caring, thoughtful, passionate citizens.” The publisher says the adult version of the book will focus on the “core truths” in America, how to uncover them, and ways to work through them as well as pieces of Harris’s life and struggles woven through the text. This will be Harris’ second time authoring a book. Her first book, Smart on Crime, published in October 2009, points out weak points within the criminal justice system and how that system can repair itself for the betterment of their communities by becoming smarter when it comes to crime. More here.
Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts and her partner Amber Laign vacationing in Key West, FL over the holiday weekend.
Silicon Valley entrepreneur M. R. Rangaswami and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai earlier this month in DC.
The Atlantic.com Names a Deputy Editor
The Atlantic has promoted Gillian B. White to Deputy Editor for the site. In her new role, she’ll be tasked with shaping The Atlantic.com’s day to day coverage and continue to be a public face at their live events throughout the year. White is currently a Senior Editor for The Atlantic, where she develops and implements editorial strategies for the newsroom. She’s also served as a Senior Associate Editor on the business section, where she wrote about the labor market, poverty, and economic discrimination, and oversaw The Atlantic’s Next Economy project, which focuses on telling stories about the economic well-being of cities around the country. Prior to that, White was an Associate Editor at Kiplinger where she covered housing, economics, financial services, and retail, and wrote a personal finance advice column for millennials. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Bloomberg, and MarketWatch, among other outlets. The 2008 Columbia University graduate, who also has a Master’s from Northwestern, began her career as an Analyst at UBS Wealth Management. More here.

Mother Jones Adds Two New Reporters
Mother Jones has hired two new reporters. Ali Breland will cover disinformation, propaganda, and platforms -- quite the undertaking these days. He was previously a Tech Reporter at The Hill, where he covered technology, politics, and other breaking news. Prior to that, Breland was a Web Producer for Politico. The 2014 University of Texas at Austin graduate has also contributed to NPR, Hungry Man, and The Alcalde. He will be based in DC. Also joining the team is Fernánda Echavarri who will be a Reporter/Producer based in LA covering immigration and identity. She was previously a Producer/Editor at NPR’s Latino USA, where she produced weekly stories and worked on investigative long-form special edition features. Prior to that, Echavarri was a Reporter for Arizona Public Media, where she covered immigration and education for radio, TV, and web. The 2007 University of Arizona graduate began her career as a News Reporter at the Arizona Daily Star. More here.
Thrive Global Names First Head of Video
Thrive Global has announced Shalini Sharma as its first Head of Global Video. Thrive is a corporate and consumer well-being and productivity platform founded by Co-Founder and former Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington. In Sharma’s new role, she’ll oversee editorial, branded, social, and long-form video content as the company expands its video business. Sharma was previously the Director of Video and Partnerships at Fast Company, where she was responsible for original video content, interview bookings, and managing producers. She also served as a Director of Video Development and Senior Producer. Prior to Fast Company, Sharma was a Digital Video Producer at The Daily. The Barnard College graduate, who earned a law degree from Brooklyn Law School, has also worked as a Producer at NBC News, ABC News, and CNBC. More here

Diamond & Silk Get Show on Fox News Streaming Service
Fox News has launched an on-demand streaming service that will feature a show hosted by Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, the two sisters known as "Diamond & Silk." The pair, which have become public figures through their viral videos in support of Donald Trump, have been awarded their own weekly program on Fox Nation. The sisters are the daughters of husband and wife televangelists currently affiliated with Jericho Deliverance Temple Church in Raeford, NC. They are reluctant to give their ages but state they are "old enough to vote.” The lifelong Democrats said they became Republicans when they saw Donald Trump announce his candidacy. The duo has been described as a modern day minstrel show; they’ve been hosted by Trump in the Oval Office. Their weekly offering will include five minutes of commentary “focused on events of the day and casual discourse,” according to the network. They will be joined on the streaming service by Fox News stars Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Jeanine Pirro, and Greg Gutfeld, and former pro wrestler George Murdoch, former ESPN reporter Britt McHenry, and conservative firebrand Tomi Lahren will also be among those hosting their own shows on Fox Nation. It is being offered for $5.99 per month. More here.
Wednesday, November 28th, 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.
Wednesday, November 28th, 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
Wednesday, November 28th, 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.
Wednesday, November 28th: The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute convenes a tech summit. Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, November 28th - 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 Activism; Joe 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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