Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton is coming soon to a theater near you.
Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton is coming soon to a theater near you.
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July 25, 2018
Tim Scott Sparks Talk of a White House Run, Carlos Curbelo and Tulsi Gabbard Want Data on Weed, and April Ryan Has a Beef
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NEVER RAT ON YOUR FRIENDS AND ALWAYS KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT… I don’t think Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen ever saw Goodfellas. Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, says his client is ready to talk. They released a secretly recorded conversation Cohen had with then-candidate Trump where the two discussed paying hush money to a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Trump. And that’s not all they discussed. More on that below. WHAT YOU'RE SEEING AND WHAT YOU'RE READING IS NOT WHAT'S HAPPENING… Except that it is. In yet another attack on the media, Donald Trump made those remarks on Tuesday, encouraging his supporters to believe him over their own eyes and ears. Judging by the applause, they appear eager to oblige. BOUGHT THE FARM… The president’s remarks came hours after it was reported that his administration would provide $12 billion in financial aid to farmers negatively affected by his tariffs and trade policies. PUTIN’ EVIDENCE ASIDE… The president also acknowledged, via Twitter, on Tuesday that Russia will be “fighting very hard to have an impact on the election” and finished the tweet with a wild claim that Russia "will be pushing very hard for the Democrats" because "no President has been tougher on Russia than me." FLASHBACK… to just last week when POTUS45 was “tough” on Russia by lauding praise on Vladimir Putin, who was asked whether he had wanted Trump to win the 2016 election. "Yes, I did. Because [Trump] talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal," Putin said. CALL NASA, THE DOJ SEES ALIENS... The DOJ has instructed U.S. attorneys offices not to use the term "undocumented" immigrants and instead refer to someone illegally in the U.S. as "an illegal alien." EVACUATEDA building that houses the LA office of Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) was partially evacuated Tuesday after receiving a suspicious package addressed to "Anne Thrax." RESURRECTEDAfter a top Google search result said Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) had been dead since September 11th, 2017, he thought it prudent to produce proof of life. SOUTHERN BATTLELINES DRAWNGeorgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who ran an ad that said he could use his own pickup truck to “round up criminal illegals," has won a run-off election for the chance to face Stacey Abrams in November to become the state's next Governor. OFF THE RACK… Amid declining sales, Ivanka Trump is closing her namesake fashion brand. She says she is planning a longer-term focus on policy in DC. I KNOW YOU CAREBeyoncé and JAY-Z fans will get to register to vote at every OTR II show in the U.S., and the Beyhive can volunteer to work a booth. WHO RUNS THE WORLD? You decide. We’re kicking off Wednesday with this...
  • A Mother of the Movement claims victory in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District.
  • Hamilton is coming soon to a theater near you.
  • Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) and Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) intro two jobs bills.
  • Voters of color across the country purged from the polls.
  • Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA) heads to Zimbabwe.
Rapper Wiz Khalifa backstage with The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah in NYC.
 Heritage Foundation President Kay Cole James with U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley in DC last week.
Weeding Through the Stats: Tulsi Gabbard and Carlos Curbelo Intro Cannabis Data Bill
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
and Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) introduced bipartisan legislation to evaluate the effectiveness of states’ marijuana policies. The Marijuana Data Collection Act calls upon the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to collect and synthesize relevant data on the growing wave of marijuana reform and implementation taking place across the country. The lawmakers want NAS to create a federally recognized report on the status of state-level marijuana legalization policies, including both medical and non-medical use, and the effects of marijuana legalization on public health, safety, the economy, the criminal justice system, and more. The information compiled in the report would help to fill the gap left by the federal government’s unwillingness to accept local, state, and private data related to marijuana policy. Because getting the numbers on cannabis isn’t always easy, the bill requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to coordinate with the Departments of Justice, Labor, and individual state governments as much as they can to comply. "For decades, bad data and misinformation have fueled the failed war on drugs that's wasted billions of taxpayer dollars, incarcerating Americans for nonviolent marijuana charges," Gabbard said. "Our outdated marijuana policies have turned  everyday Americans into criminals, strained our criminal justice system, cost taxpayers tremendously and torn families apart." An estimated 63 million Americans now reside in jurisdictions where anyone over the age of 21 may possess cannabis legally. According to a 2018 CAP poll, 68% of Americans support full marijuana legalization, and according to Quinnipiac University, 71% believe that states, not the federal government, should set marijuana policy. More here.
Bob Menéndez Teams With Lindsey Graham
Senators Bob Menéndez (D-NJ)
and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are working on legislation to slap new sanctions on Russia. In addition to making sure the 2017 sanctions legislation, which passed Congress overwhelmingly, is fully implemented, The Hill reports that the forthcoming Graham-Menéndez bill includes new sanctions on Russia’s debt and energy and financial sectors. It will also target cyber actors in Russia and Russian oligarchs. “Just as Vladimir Putin has made clear his intention to challenge American power, influence, and security interests at home and abroad, the United States must make it abundantly clear that we will defend our nation and not waver in our rejection of his effort to erode western democracy as a strategic imperative for Russia’s future,” Menéndez and Graham said Tuesday in a joint statement. The Graham-Menéndez bill would also require Senate approval for the United States withdrawing from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, establish the National Center to Respond to Russian Threats, and authorize assistance for fighting Russian interference in Eastern Europe. More here.
Bonnie Watson Coleman and Ro Khanna Intro Jobs Bills
Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) 
and Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) introduced legislation on Tuesday aimed to put the unemployed to work. Watson Coleman introduced the Federal Jobs Guarantee Development Act which would create a pilot program within the Department of Labor to test the impact of a federal job guarantee in 15 high-unemployment communities across the country. Within these test sites, any adult resident seeking employment would be matched with a job in an understaffed field, including senior- and childcare, infrastructure, and community revitalization infusing resources that will improve American communities while increasing access to jobs. Khanna introduced the Job Opportunities for All Act which provides federal funding to put people to work immediately in both the public and the private sector. The legislation would appropriate funds for the Department of Labor to administer competitive grant programs for the hardest hit communities, and matching funds to states that invest in direct job creation proposals. Khanna’s bill builds on the success of former President Barack Obama’s Recovery Act TANF Emergency Fund, which placed 260,000 at-risk individuals into jobs at the height of the Great Recession. It also prioritizes state and local efforts that focus ending the longstanding racial unemployment gap, as well as targeting areas afflicted by the opioid crisis -- an epidemic that has been linked to joblessness. According to the data, 8 million Americans who want work cannot find jobs and nearly 4.7 million Americans who want full-time work can only find part-time jobs. More here.

NBC's Craig Melvin and Al Roker continuing their outdoor adventure in Maine on Tuesday morning as part of a segment to show what makes the state unique.
Command Sgt. Maj. Bryce Méndez taking a selfie with Congressman Mark Takano (D-CA) on Sunday at LAX.
Progressives Intro the People’s Budget
The Congressional Progressive Caucus, co-chaired by Congressmen Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) on Tuesday introduced the People’s Budget: A Progressive Path Forward which the Caucus says will create millions of jobs and increases wages. The People’s Budget proposes cuts to Pentagon spending in exchange for increased investment in infrastructure, job creation, healthcare, education, and diplomacy. Among the key investments recommended in the budget are $2 trillion for infrastructure; cuts funding for Trump administration’s immigration policies and adopts comprehensive immigration reform; invests $1 trillion for universal childcare, increases access to SNAP benefits, and expands the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax credit; and supports immediate improvements to the ACA, while providing $12 billion in funding for states to transition to a single payer system, and more. Grijalva says the budget sets the stage for 2020: "So it won't become the law we want it to become, but it certainly sets the expectation and the template for...what is doable." See the full proposed budget here

Lisa Blunt Rochester Intros Bill to Offer Aid to Farmers
Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE)
, a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, introduced legislation to aid farmers impacted negatively by China and other countries that have retaliated against the series of tariffs Trump has imposed in recent months. The Trade Assistance for Farmers Act would expand the Trade Adjustment Assistance program to include farmers, growers, and producers. “While there is a real need to hold China and bad actors accountable for trade imbalances and currency manipulation, we cannot do it through policies that harm the proud farmers and growers who help feed the world,” said Blunt Rochester. “In an already difficult agricultural economy, the Administration’s trade actions and the retaliatory tariffs they triggered have made it even more difficult for family farmers to sell their crops and make ends meet.” After Trump announced plans to impose $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports, Beijing retaliated with plans to impose tariffs on a range of agricultural products from the U.S. including soybeans, grains, meats, and dairy products. Canada, Mexico, and the European Union also struck back at Trump's leveling of U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs by hitting U.S. exports of agricultural products and other heavily exported U.S. goods. The Congresswoman’s legislation comes as the Trump administration is offering up to $12 billion in aid to farmers as a short-term solution. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, also introduced the Senate companion to the Blunt Rochester's bill. More here.

Terri Sewell Leads Bipartisan Letter Opposing Auto Tariffs
Members Terri Sewell (D-AL)
, Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Ron Kind (D-WI), and Mike Kelly (R-PA) last Wednesday led 149 of their colleagues in a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross expressing concern with Trump’s proposed auto tariffs. Under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, the president may, through tariffs or other means, adjust specific imports from other countries if the importation is in quantities or under such circumstances as to threaten national security. The Secretary of Commerce would then conduct an investigation into those claims and recommend to the president whether to impose the tariffs or pursue non-trade related action. Several members of Congress, however, say that Trump is clearly abusing Section 232 to manipulate favorable trade agreements and broker favorable prices. Economists estimate that a 25% tariff on all foreign automobiles and auto parts would cost 195,000 American jobs. Moreover, if countries chose to retaliate, as they have with recent tariffs, economists say that 624,000 American jobs could be lost. In the letter, the members highlight the auto industry’s importance to American working families and the nation’s economy, and the vast number of suppliers that the auto industry relies on to stay competitive. “In my home state of Alabama, the car manufacturing sector provides tens of thousands of workers a skilled job with good wages and good benefits,” Sewell said. “Rather than endangering those jobs through a trade war with our allies, we need to strengthen our trading relationships to better position U.S. workers in the global marketplace.” More here.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) in DC announcing the new Medicare for All Caucus in the House last week.
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) thanking an American Airlines pilot on Monday for a safe trip back to DC.
Tim Scott’s Iowa and New Hampshire Trips Spur Rumors of Presidential Ambitions
South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate, is taking his White House-backed economic initiative to Iowa and New Hampshire -- the first primary states in the presidential contest. While the 52-year-old jokes that “I’m not even running for president of my homeowners’ association,” political operatives say that no one travels to IA and NH by accident. “You start showing up, we’re going to start putting you on our list of potential presidential candidates, whether you like it or not,” said one Republican operative. Scott told McClatchy not to read anything into his visits, and that he was simply making the rounds to tout his “Opportunity Zones” program -- tax breaks to businesses that make long-term investments in distressed communities. However, as Scott’s profile rises, he automatically generates interest as one of the most prominent Black Republicans and because of his compelling personal story -- he grew up in poverty in a single-parent household. Scott continues to be mentioned as someone who could either run for president or be picked as a vice presidential running mate. More here.
Purging Voters of Color is on the Rise
Voter Purges, a new report by the Brennan Center, shows that states with a history of racial discrimination are reportedly purging their voter rolls at higher rates than other states. The Center reviewed voter purges across the country from 2012 to 2016 and found they were occurring at a higher rate in states that, before 2013, had special restrictions under the Voting Rights Act. That was the year the Supreme Court struck down the part of the law which required nine states with a history of discriminating against minorities to get the Justice Department's permission before changing their election laws. The practice appears to be a methodical effort that disproportionately affects minority voters. Black and Hispanic voters are more likely to move, often in the same jurisdiction, but voter purges based on address eliminate them from voting. Officials also use “voter caging” which intentionally sends mail to verify addresses in a format that cannot be forwarded, leading to the disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of eligible voters. Some states purge rolls based solely on names but non-whites are more likely to have the same names. For what it’s worth, almost every study ever done shows that in-person voter fraud is almost nonexistent. See the full report here.

Mother of the Movement Claims Victory in Georgia’s Sixth
Mother of slain teen and gun control advocate Lucy McBath won the Democratic nomination for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District in a runoff on Tuesday night. The district has not been represented by a Dem since 1979. The 58-year-old Illinois native will now face a challenging race against incumbent Congresswoman Karen Handel (R-GA) in November’s general election. Handel famously beat Democrat Jon Ossoff in last year’s special election -- the most expensive House race in history, with more than $50 million spent on both bids. McBath thanked her supporters early Wednesday morning, saying she was at a “loss for words.” McBath advocates for “common sense gun violence prevention laws,” including background checks, raising the age for firearm purchases to 21 years old and fighting against “conceal carry” measures. The former flight attendant and spokesperson for Everytown for Gun Safety is also the national spokeswoman for gun control group Moms Demand Action. The Virginia State University graduate is a two-time breast cancer survivor and is also pushing for more affordable health care and improving women’s access to health services. “We deserve better representation in DC, and I intend to show the good people of #GA06 what a tough, determined mother can do,” she wrote on Twitter. “On to November.” More here.

Vice President of Communications (NYC)
Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) seeks a Vice President of Communications to oversee and execute efforts to communicate that DFER are education progressives who prioritize students and families, especially low-income students and students of color who should be better served by our country’s public education system. Click here to learn more.
Hamilton the Movie
Decided not to refinance your mortgage so you could afford to buy Hamilton tickets? Don’t worry. The hit Broadway play may soon be coming to a theater near you. WSJ reports that Hollywood studios are currently bidding for the big-screen rights to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton. But in an unusual twist, the Hamilton movie won’t be a filmed adaptation. Instead, it is a recording of the show made in 2016 with its original cast, including Miranda in the lead role. The worldwide theatrical rights for Hamilton could sell for more than $50 million. According to reports, representatives for the production have recently screened the recording for interested buyers. The cultural phenomenon has already grossed nearly $400 million in New York since opening in 2015 and has won 11 Tony Awards. The average ticket price is $229 -- just slightly more expensive than what a night out at the movies costs these days. More here.

Prosperity Gospel: Mark Burns and Darrell Scott Pop Up on Secretly Recorded Audio Tapes
CNN released a 2016 audio file of Donald Trump speaking with his then-attorney Michael Cohen in which the pair discuss making a payment to cover-up an alleged Trump affair with Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal. But in addition to the discussion of the McDougal payment, Trump and Cohen talk about South Carolina pastor Mark Burns and Ohio pastor Darrell Scott. At first, it seems that Trump confuses Scott and Burns, two of his few African American supporters. Trump remarks, "And, your guy is a good guy. He’s a good," and Cohen replies "Who, Pastor Scott?" Later Cohen remarks "no, you’re talking about Mark Burns. He’s, we’ve told him to ..." and the remarks become unintelligible. "I don’t need that -- Mark Burns, are we using him?" replies Trump. Cohen replies that they can still “use” Scott, but not Burns. This is likely because around this time news surfaced that Burns had lied about his resume and had posted a picture of Hillary Clinton in blackface. But they did end up using him again later. Scott came with his own baggage after he had to backpedal his claims that gang leaders committed to “lower the body count” in Chicago because they respect Trump and all they wanted in exchange were some social programs. He also calls refers to himself as “doctor.” He is not. The audio begs the question, why was Michael Cohen -- who obviously handled payoffs -- managing Trump’s relationship with these “evangelical” advisors? More here.

Beef in the White House Press Room?
White House Reporter April Ryan claims in her new book, Under Fire: Reporting from the Front Lines of the Trump White House, that The Daily Mail’s Francesca Chambers told her, “You only get called on because you’re Black.” According to Ryan, the exchange happened on the same day she and then-White House staffer Omarosa had their infamous argument. She writes of the exchange with Chambers saying, “To this day, those words don’t sit well with me. At that time, I had had enough! ‘Yes!’ I said to her. ‘You ain’t shit!’ In front of everyone, asking her, ‘Who you think you are? You’re Black too, in case you didn’t know it!’” A spokesperson for The Daily Mail addressed the claims in a statement. "It is a sad day for journalism when a reporter makes false claims against another reporter to sell a book. Ms. Ryan knows what she has written to be false and she is also fully aware of the unacceptable way that she has treated Ms. Chambers in the White House for the past two years.’"
More here.
Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility President Cid Wilson with newly appointed LULAC CEO Sindy Benavides at the LULAC Conference in Phoenix over the weekend.
CNN’s Lisa Ling taking a selfie with an all-female pilot crew on her flight Tuesday morning.  
Antonia Farzan Joins The Washington Post
Antonia Noori Farzan has joined the WaPo’s Morning Mix team as a Reporter. She previously served as a Staff Writer at the Phoenix New Times, where she covered police shootings of Native Americans, voting rights, and the grittier side of life in Arizona. Her coverage of an Arizona Motel 6 that shared guest information with ICE agents earned her a George Polk Award as well as honors from the Sidney Hillman Foundation, Arizona Press Club, and Best of the West competition. Prior to that, the 2011 Hamilton College graduate, who earned a Master’s from Columbia University, wrote narrative features for the New Times Broward-Palm Beach. The Rhode Island native began her journalism career as a Contributing Writer for Newport Mercury. More here.

NYT Adds Alexandra García to ‘The Weekly’ Production Team
Alexandra García
, Senior Video Producer at the NYT, will join the newspaper’s first-ever weekly television series, The Weekly. She previously served as a Senior Video Journalist at the NYT. Prior to joining the Times, the Colombia native was a Video and Multimedia Journalist at The Washington Post, where she shot, reported, and edited video stories for nearly a decade. She has been awarded two national Edward R. Murrow Awards, top honors in the National Press Photographers Association’s Best of Photojournalism and Pictures of the Year International contests, 11 regional Emmy awards, and in 2011, was named the White House News Photographers' Association Video Editor of the Year. The 2005 American University graduate began her visual storytelling career as a Graphic Designer for the City of Alexandria in VA. Joining her at The Weekly is former Al Jazeera Producer Mat Skene and NYT Sports Editor Jason Stallman. More here

Actor and civil rights activist Jesse Williams in character last week. 
 AIPAC's Labriah Lee Holt and Darius Jones at Lee's new salon in Atlanta.
Karen Bass Observes Zimbabwe Elections
Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA)
, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, is in Zimbabwe to observe the African country’s election which has been marred by a growing number of reports of voter intimidation and threats of violence. This will be the first election since long-serving ruler Robert Mugabe was forced to resign in November. A survey published last week predicted a tight race between his successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa. The International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) have also identified former Liberian leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to join Bass on the ground. “I am delighted to be part of the leadership of this joint IRI-NDI international election observation mission. We hope our presence will contribute to more credible elections,” Bass said. The election will take place on Monday, July 30th. More here.

BLAH BLAH BLOGS
FOMO
Friday, July 27th - Saturday, July 28th: Startup Societies Foundation and Link at Piloto 151 host the first annual Hacking Democracy Summit to develop a consortium of partners to help revitalize Puerto Rico’s infrastructure and economy in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Engine-4 Coworking Space, PR-5 & PR-2, 00959 Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, August 1st - 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.
Wednesday, August 1st - 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.
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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