A New York City Bar Will Literally Kick Out Anyone Misusing the Word ‘Literally’ Add to Queue The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Next Article Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture. January 25, 2018 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List –shares Nina Zipkin News and Trends Entrepreneur Staff 2 min read Image credit: ekash | Getty Images Is there a word that you would want to banish from your workplace? We all have our pet peeves, especially in an office setting. Someone brings something pungent for lunch, incessantly clicks their pen or insists on turning the thermostat too high or too low. But then there are the smaller annoyances that manifest in the form of often misused words and phrases — but come up all the time.Your “for all intensive purposes” that’s actually “for all intents and purposes.” Your corporate speak such as “let’s circle back” or “best practices.” “Irregardless” in lieu of “regardless” is another example, although the fine folks at Dictionary.com do confirm that “irregardless” is a word, “irregardless” of how much you might hate it.But now, one establishment in New York City has decided to take back control on at least one repeatedly misused word. A bar called the Continental has declared war on the word “literally.” Literally. Sort of.Related: 10 Reasons Why Good Customer Service Is Your Most Important MetricEast Village bar the Continental expounds on their (tongue-in-cheek) ban on the word literally. Their stated goal now is to stop “Kardashianism.” cc: @edenbrower pic.twitter.com/iI0N41qCgt— evgrieve (@evgrieve) January 24, 2018In an interview with New York Magazine, owner Trigger Smith had this to say of the reasoning behind the new signage and the swift dismissal of anyone who says “literally” inside the walls of the beloved neighborhood dive, which is soon to be closed in a few months due to a 2015 bankruptcy filing.“It’s not just millennials. Now you hear newscasters using ‘literally’ every three minutes on the Sunday news shows,” Smith said. “What’s annoying is people aren’t even aware they’re saying it. How could you be so unaware of your words that it’s coming out every couple minutes?”Even though the Contintental is not long for this world, clearly Smith was compelled to draw a line in the sand. Hopefully his mission only makes people drop the word from their vocabulary rather making the bar lose too much business.Is there a word that makes you cringe? Let us know in the comments. Apply Now »
Interview: Tcho on how cacao education can impact on qualityPosted By: Harriet Jachecon: March 21, 2019In: Agriculture, Confectionery, Flavours, Food, Ingredients, Innovation, Interviews, Snacks, VideosPrintEmail Share with your network: Tags: chocolateExpo Westnon-GMOorganicsupply chainTchoUS This has allowed Tcho to become more innovative in its product options, too, as having cacao farmers be aware of how the process impacts the end flavour opens up more avenues for experimentation.“We’re showing our whole bar and baking lines here at Expo West. We have some really unique flavours – Tcho has always been an innovative, out-of-the box thinker.“Our mint choc chip gelato bar, for example, has a custom mint gelato freeze-dried into the product itself, which is 62% dark chocolate. Not only do you get a nice mint flavour, but you get this airy, crisp crunch too.“Most chocolate companies will incorporate some mint essential oils into a product like this, which is great, but we wanted to do something really different with the product.”The importance of organic status was also a key theme at Expo West 2019. Morimoto stressed how the organic movement has impacted on Tcho.“Most people don’t realise that organic also means non-GMO. We feel like the movement here in the States is very strong, and consumers are going to be turned off by high-end chocolate that is not organic. It’s also something that we’ve helped farmers transition into so they can command a higher price for their cacao, so it’s very beneficial all along the supply chain.”Presented by: Harriet JachecEdited by: Alex Clere At Expo West 2019, FoodBev’s Harriet Jachec spoke with Ari Morimoto, the director of marketing for Tcho Chocolate, about how the brand’s Flavor Labs influence the overall taste of its products.Awareness of how supply chains impact the overall product was a prevalent theme at this year’s show, and Morimoto explained how Tcho is working with key members of their supply chain to create a self-sustaining way of producing high-quality chocolate.“Most people don’t even realise that the vast majority of cacao farmers haven’t even tasted chocolate, and that’s problematic when you’re trying to create a high-end chocolate product.“So we’ve tried to solve that problem by going down to each region that we source our cacao from – Peru, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Ghana and Madagascar – and built what we call ‘Flavor Labs’, which are small laboratories with everything you need to make small batches of your own chocolate.“We then train all of our farmer partners on how to make chocolate, but more importantly, we teach them how to taste it. What does it taste like when it’s not fermented properly, or it’s not dried properly? We can help them change their processes to maintain a high consistency but also quality throughout their part of our supply chain.”
–shares Image credit: Reuters | Brendan McDermid A timeshare unit of Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. agreed to pay $250,500 and improve its business practices to settle charges it made hundreds of unsolicited telemarketing sales calls to New Yorkers who had signed up for the National Do Not Call Registry.Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who announced the settlement on Monday, said Hilton Grand Vacations Co. violated the state’s “Do Not Call” law by making 334 unsolicited calls to 133 people who had registered not to receive them.The accord will help “ensure that residents who opt out of receiving promotional calls are not forced to deal with these harassing messages,” Cuomo said.As part of the settlement, Hilton Grand Vacations agreed to limit future calls but can place some calls to people with whom Hilton already does business, Cuomo said. The unit did not admit wrongdoing and cooperated with the state probe.Hilton Grand Vacations did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Its parent operates hotels under brands such as Hilton, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites and Waldorf Astoria.On Feb. 26, Hilton said it planned to spin off Hilton Grand Vacations into a new public company that would manage nearly 50 resorts in the United States and Europe.(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler) Next Article Hilton Unit to Pay $250,500 for Unsolicited Sales Calls Enroll Now for $5 2 min read March 7, 2016 This story originally appeared on Reuters Reuters Court Cases Add to Queue Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand
Politics The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. 2 min read 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Entrepreneur Staff Add to Queue On Friday, Donald Trump issued the following tweet, confirming who many believed would be his pick for the Vice President candidate on his ticket:I am pleased to announce that I have chosen Governor Mike Pence as my Vice Presidential running mate. News conference tomorrow at 11:00 A.M.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2016Here are some fast facts about Mr. Pence:1. Governor of Indiana2. 57 years old, married with 3 children3. Endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz over Trump before Indiana primary 4. House member for 12 years, elected governor in 20125. Former conservative talk radio and TV host6. According to CNN analysts, has ties to the Koch brothers and other influential donors who have not yet supported Trump7. Was among first Republicans to embrace the Tea Party8. Signed into law a controversial “religious freedom” that detractors saw as anti-LGBTRelated: Indiana Governor Signs Religious Freedom Law, Sparking Debates …9. Has supported increased border security and stricter enforcement of laws prohibiting illegal immigrants from working in the United States10. In March, approved a bill outlawing abortions based on a fetus’s “race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, or diagnosis or potential diagnosis of the fetus having Down syndrome or any other disability.”11. Has called for increases in military spending 12. Has an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, tweeted that he “will always be a strong proponent of the Second Amendment”Related: Donald Trump’s Top Speaking Tips for Entrepreneurs13. Repealed Indiana’s inheritance tax and lowered taxes on corporate income and business property14. Supports free trade15. Supports school choice and locally-set learning standards Apply Now » 15 Fast Facts You Should Know About Trump’s VP Pick Mike Pence Next Article Entrepreneur Staff –shares July 15, 2016
5 min read How to Watch the Presidential Inauguration Online for Free January 20, 2017 Donald Trump –shares Add to Queue At noon ET, Donald J. Trump will become the 45th president of the United States of America. Watch live. Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Features Editor Evan Dashevsky Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Image credit: Christopher Halloran | Shutterstock Next Article This story originally appeared on PCMag At a ceremony scheduled to begin at noon ET, Donald J. Trump on Friday will take the oath and become the 45th president of the United States of America.We all knew this day would come. And, when I say “we all knew,” I don’t mean we knew that this constitutionally preordained day would eventually arrive. I’m alluding to the fact that we all knew this was a thing that was going to happen in America one day. Long before Trump even announced a run for office, the zeitgeist had an understanding that one day Donald Trump would convince enough of his fellow countrymen that he should be president.And he managed to do it by running the most unprecedented campaign imaginable, dodging numerous scandals with Neo-like dexterity. (There. were. so. many. scandals!) Throwing all the old playbooks out the window worked for Trump — to an inexplicable degree. So, you know his inauguration speech, which he wrote himself, is gonna be super crazy!The pre-inauguration festivities featuring top-tier entertainment is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. ET. Watching live in the audience, probably not far from the swearing-in ceremony on center stage, you should expect to find all the former living presidents (except H.W., who has taken ill) including Bill Clinton and his wife, former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton (who, if you’ll remember, Trump has threatened to jail).Anyways, it will be — if nothing else — a memorable affair.In addition to the usual televised coverage, most major media outlets will be offering a live stream on their respective websites, mobile apps and OTT platforms. If you are one of the millions of Americans out there who can’t wait to see this thing, but won’t happen to be near a TV, here are some platforms that will be streaming the ceremony for free (i.e. no paywall or cable authentication necessary).TwitterTwitter has partnered with PBS NewsHour to live stream the day’s proceedings for free at inauguration.twitter.com or directly on the @NewsHour account. Coverage will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET and will be anchored by managing editor Judy Woodruff. The broadcast will be available regardless of whether the viewer is logged in to Twitter or not.And if you need an additional reminder:Retweet for a reminder to watch the Inauguration of Donald J. Trump this Friday! #DayOne Streaming LIVE on Twitter at 11am ET. pic.twitter.com/0Eofuf3GTK— Twitter Government (@gov) January 17, 2017YouTubeNumerous official YouTube channels will be offering live streams of the day’s events, including:The Official White House ChannelNBC NewsCBS NewsTelemundoC-SPANBloomberg PoliticsWashington PostIf you just got a fancy VR headset for the holidays and want to go extra crazy, USA Today’s coverage will be broadcast in fully immersive 360 on its official YT channel.CNNDonald Trump’s favorite cable news channel, CNN, will offer live coverage via CNN.com and its mobile apps from 6 a.m. ET through midnight. A rep from the channel says these streams will not require the usual cable authentication.CBSNFor the modern American cord cutter, a must-have video news source is CBSN, the 24-hour digital news channel from CBS News. CBSN offers a streaming mix of live event coverage, original analysis and re-broadcasts of other CBS News properties (CBS Evening News, 60 Minutes, Sunday Morning) and it’s available for free on numerous platforms (Roku, Apple TV, PlayStation) including the web.NBC NewsAs mentioned above, NBC News’s live event feed will be available via its YouTube channel, but viewers can also watch directly on NBCNews.com or via the NBC News apps on mobile, Roku, FireTV and Apple TV.Fox News ChannelA rep from Fox News Channel says its coverage, anchored by Shepard Smith, begins at 11 a.m. ET and will be available on FoxNews.com without the usual cable authentication.ReutersYou can also watch the inauguration live on Reuters’s live video site, reuters.tv, as well as on its official mobile apps or Roku.NewsOnNewsOn provides live and on-demand local newscasts from stations all around the country. So, if you want coverage with a bit local flavor, you can watch on the services various media-streaming platforms, on its mobile apps, or on their website, WatchNewOn.com.Need a cushy bubble?If your politics lean leftward, perhaps the past election has left you reeling and you’ve retreated into a bubble of likemindedness. If you don’t appreciate having your assumptions questioned, Democracy Now will stream coverage on its site beginning at 8 a.m. ET.Conversely, you could tune into a celebrity-studded “Love-a-thon” during the inauguration, which will include appearances by Judd Apatow, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jane Fonda, llana Glazer and Edward James Olmos. That event will be raising funds for the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and Earthjustice. Register Now »
Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture. Add to Queue Enroll Now for $5 The tech industry stands to be affected. On March 3, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security, said that it will temporarily suspend the premium processing option for all petitions for H-1B visas. USCIS says that suspension may last up to six months.As it stands now, individuals or companies who are filing for H-1B visas and want to expedite the process have to submit a specific form and pay a fee of $1,225, which is in addition to the several fees that are already required. If applicants do not get a response from USCIS within 15 days, the money is returned.There is a limit of 65,000 H-1B visas issued every fiscal year, but the first 20,000 petitions filed for applicants that have earned a master’s degree in the U.S. are exempt from that cap, putting it at 85,000 total.Related: Entrepreneurs Are Being Deported — And They Might Be at the Center of America’s Coming Immigration FightCurrently, those eligible for an H-1B visa are “working in a specialty occupation” and “earning a wage.” USCIS defines “specialty occupation” as a position that requires the employee to have earned a bachelor’s degree in a related field, noting that “jobs in fields such as engineering, math, and business, as well as many technology fields often qualify as a specialty occupation.” Equivalent work experience, which USCIS characterizes as three years of work for every one year of education, also qualifies for an H-1B visa.The hiring practices of many in the tech industry stand to be affected by the suspension. Last year, companies such as IBM, Accenture, Deloitte and Google were among the top applicants for H-1B visas.Companies who look abroad to staff up argue that there is a talent shortage in the United States, while those who are against H-1B visas argue that the program takes away jobs from American workers. In the announcement, the USCIS says that the suspension is intended to allow the department to focus on requests for extensions and “process long-pending petitions.”It appears the move will continue to put President Donald Trump and his administration at odds with the tech community, following the swift and vehement response against the executive order issued in late January that barred citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the country for 90 days, banned U.S. admission of refugees from Syria indefinitely and suspended U.S. admission of refugees from any other country for 120 days.Related: What Business Travelers Need to Know About Trump’s Travel BanThat order, following a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Los Angeles, has since been suspended.Today, a new executive order was signed by the president to enact “a 90-day ban on U.S. entry for new visa seekers from six majority-Muslim nations. … In addition, the nation’s refugee program will be suspended for 120 days, and it will not accept more than 50,000 refugees in a year, down from the 110,000 cap set by the Obama administration. The new guidelines name six of the seven countries included in the first executive order, but it leaves out Iraq,” reports the Washington Post.The order will go into effect on March 16. Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. –shares Entrepreneur Staff Image credit: Shutterstock Next Article Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand 3 min read Nina Zipkin What You Need to Know About the Temporary Hold on Expedited H-1B Visas H-1B Visas March 6, 2017
2 min read Image credit: 360b | Shutterstock.com –shares Burger King’s first ever location in Belgium is set to open in June, but the fast food chain has run afoul of a pretty high profile neighbor — before the first customer has even been served.As part of an advertising campaign leading up to the grand opening, Burger King is asking customers to choose between the company’s aristocratic — and frankly, a little creepy — mascot and the country’s actual king, Philippe, whose likeness is detailed in cartoon form.It would seem that the royal family isn’t amused.Related: Burger King Dresses Up as McDonald’s for HalloweenNot mincing words, Pierre Emmanuel de Bauw, a spokesperson for the Belgian monarchy, told the BBC, “We disapprove of this approach. Since it is for commercial purposes, we would not have given our authorization.”Burger King reportedly hasn’t been told to cease and desist as of this story’s publication — so if you go to the link for the campaign, the vote is still on with no signs of being taken down.Come on guys, can’t we all just get along? We’re sure that this is something that could be solved over some burgers and fries. Add to Queue Nina Zipkin Enroll Now for $5 Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Entrepreneur Staff Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. May 30, 2017 Next Article Burger King Makes Real Life Monarch Mad With New Ad A campaign featuring a cartoon of Belgium’s King Philippe has displeased the royal family. Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture. Advertising
15+ min read Podcast: Cannabis Investing Tips for Non-Millionaires Jonathan Small Add to Queue Subscribe Now Image credit: Codie Sanchez Editor in Chief of Green Entrepreneur Entrepreneur Staff Get 1 Year of Green Entrepreneur for $19.99 Podcast May 23, 2019 Want to invest in the cannabis industry but barely have enough to buy your own weed? Cody Sanchez of Cresco Capital Partners has suggestions. Next Article Cannabis stocks are all the rage. IPOs valued at billions of dollars are popping up on Wall Street and the Canadian Stock Exchange, and private equity funds are investing multiple millions in cannabis companies.If you’re watching all this from the sidelines, wondering if you’re missing out on a golden opportunity but not sure what to do about it, you’re not alone. Many potential investors believe they don’t have the cash to get in the game, and in some instances they’re correct. Due to regulations, many funds are not even permitted to accept investments for less than $200,000.On this week’s Green Entrepreneur podcast, we talk to Codie Sanchez, a partner at Cresco Capital Partners, about how to invest in cannabis companies even if you don’t have a lot of cash. This is a full transcript of our interview. Related: Why Former NBA Star Al Harrington is Betting On CannabisYou started your career with lots of spreadsheets and more traditional investing, and have now transitioned to the cannabis industry and business. I’m curious to know why you made that change.I think there might be some parallels to a lot of people’s story in this space in that once you figure out investing, and particularly if you’re trained to do it, once you figure out how to find dislocations in markets – something where everything just doesn’t fit together perfectly so that people smarter than you and who have more money than you do can take advantage of it – when you see those dislocations, you learn to jump on them quickly. In investing we call this arbitrage. That’s when something typically costs less than it should or costs more, and you can take advantage of those things happening.So I saw that happening in this space. I’m certainly no genius or clairvoyant in it; it really just came down to the math and looking at math in this space as an investor and saying there’s a real, tangible generation of wealth creation event happening here.But I have to say that probably math would not have been enough if I was going to call my mom and tell her I was going to go into the cannabis game. [laughs] It was a little bit deeper than that.I started off my career, even before I was traditionally investing at firms like Goldman or State Street or Vanguard or doing some of the venture stuff, I was actually an investigative journalist. I don’t know if we talked about this before, but I worked at the U.S.-Mexico border. We were writing stories about human trafficking and drug smuggling.Wow, that’s intense. What part of the border?The part that you would probably know is right across the border is a place called Juárez, [across] from El Paso, Texas.Yes, it’s notorious.Exactly. They call it Ciudad de la Muerte, the city of death. It’s a pretty tough place to be young and female. Thy have hundreds and hundreds a year of murdered women there for some reason.But what that taught me, besides to be relatively jaded, is that as an investigative journalist you really don’t take anything at face value. You have to question everything, find the root of why things happened, and then dig deeper. You really can’t let stigma get in the way, or people’s assumptions; otherwise you’ll never write a good story.This tendency taught me to do this deep diving, and that’s when I got to the math, and also a little bit of the heartstrings. I think anybody in this space has a story – and I know you’ve shared some of yours too – about the impact that it’s had. I dug into that a little bit in particular with veterans, which we can talk about later. We fund an initiative called Texans for Veterans, which is trying to give veterans in Texas access to research and medicinal marijuana.How many times in your lifetime do you get a chance to be a part of a generational wealth creation event where there’s massive dislocation so little guys can play too, because the big guys aren’t all allowed to with their legal background, and then in tandem you get to make a huge impact – I think in multiple areas, but certainly with mental health and veterans, which I’m very aligned with since my partner is one.Your partner is a veteran?Yeah. My significant other. He’s active duty military right now, in the Navy.Has cannabis made an impact in his life?No, they’re very, very highly regulated. He does some particular things for the military in which that’s not allowed. Actually, for the military overall, if you use cannabis, you can lose your VA benefits, be fired. There are huge repercussions. But what he and I both have done is be a part of this nonprofit that essentially is trying to push for access for veterans.He’s the first one to say, “Gosh, if I could use it, I absolutely would,” for the chronic inflammation that you get from being deployed so many times, and certainly from – everybody comes back with some type of hyperawareness and certainly that stress that comes from being in a warzone.And you’ve seen firsthand that cannabis has helped veterans with those symptoms you’re talking about?Oh, absolutely. There’s one gentleman whose name is Keith who’s a bronze medal winner. He served in three different branches of the military, lifelong veteran. He was actually here in D.C. when the Pentagon was hit and was one of the first responders because he was a trained nurse. He’ll very publicly say – so I can say his name – that without cannabis, he doesn’t know if he’d still be around because of the opioid cocktails that they were giving him. He just wasn’t reacting well to them. He had a lot of anger and anger issues.Now with cannabis, he has a lovely family and wife and a cute dog. I think, while that is not quantifiable because there’s not enough research on it, there is certainly a lot of qualitative human interaction that you can see that it makes a differenceI know there’s no such thing as easy money, but I think people who are not necessarily directly involved in the industry, whether they’re touching the plant or not touching the plant, might have some interest in investing, at least, in the industry. That is what you do. Your clients are generally big spenders, right? To get into your fund – tell me a little bit about the fund that you work with.It’s called Cresco Capital Partners, and it’s a private equity or growth equity fund in the cannabis space. What’s interesting is due to the regulations around a lot of how these funds are structured, they actually mandate that you have higher minimums, typically because you’re only allowed so many investors in the fund and they have to be accredited. So even if I wanted to allow everybody in at $5 or $10, it’s very hard to do that at this stage.Now, that changes, and as you get more funding you can create a more complex fund business. But at this stage, this is our second fund, which is $55 million. The first one was around $25 million. We have co-investments, so we’re probably right around somewhere like $100 million in assets. The minimum is $200k, so that does make it difficult for everybody who wants to invest. It’s still one of the lowest in the space. I’ve tried to keep it lower. It’s an administrative nightmare to do so.Image credit: Codie SanchezBut I think the whole point of this industry is democratizing access, right? I think that’s what we’re going to talk about today – how to do that, whether it’s investing with somebody like us, or ramping up to invest with somebody like us, or doing it on your own. We can talk about all of the above and how I started investing in cannabis.Let’s talk first of all a little bit about what you do with the money that people invest with you. Who has Cresco invested in and some of the companies that are under your purview?This is where I get excited. There’s nothing more fun than giving the lifeblood, which is capital, to really incredible organizations. In this industry in particular, it all moves so fast, you get to see what that money does that you give these companies quickly and all the people you’re able to serve one way or the other.We’ve invested in a lot of interesting companies. We’ve had about seven exits thus far, which means companies that have been sold or gone public or done some sort of merger. We invested in some names probably people know, like Acreage, one of the biggest companies out there, who’s had a little bit of news.They recently merged or were acquired by Canopy Growth.Yeah, for a tiny amount, $3.5 billion. We’ll see. It’s the right to buy them, so it’s pending that legalization happens – but you covered that well.Then we invested in GTI, which other people probably know. We invest in a company called Ebbu that was bought by Canopy Growth for just shy of $500 million. We invested in another company called Form Factory, which was also sold. That one’s interesting. It’s kind of a co-packing business and a branding company. And then we have lots of up-and-coming companies in the portfolio, like Prohibited, which is a big media company. You guys have done stuff with them. I think that company is fascinating because they’re doing brands too and leveraging this medium platform to maybe figure out who will be the future brands of cannabis. And then we invest in another company called Sublime. Great product.I love their music.Oh, the music? [laughs] Well, these guys are not of the ’90s. They were probably born around that time period. But they do these little things called Dosies, which are micro-dose, almost. They look like Tic-Tacs. They’re manufactured by the same manufacturer of Tic-Tac to do the candy coating that they do. So they taste like orange Tic-Tacs, and they’re great for sleep. My grandmother has a problem with her hip and she can’t sleep, so she uses Dosies now. I got turned onto it. One of my partners, who’s another woman and a mom, said after you have kids you really never sleep again, and these helped her. So I thought it might work for my grandma, too.You oversee a $100 million dollar fund. I’m sure you get pitches all day long. What are some of the main things that you look for in a company? I’ll tell you one thing, my inbox never gets to zero, that’s for sure. We’ve screened over 1,800 companies and hundreds a year, and what we look for is twofold. One, we’re not seed stage, meaning we don’t invest on the early side of the business like a tech company might when there is no revenue yet or no product. We invest in the growth equity space. Typically we’re looking at companies that are already generating anywhere from $1-$20 million in revenue. We need them to be revving a lot in order for us to invest.We definitely are interested in companies that first and foremost – which I think any good investor will tell you –you’re really betting on the team. The idea is important, but as any entrepreneur knows, there are going to be pivots, there’s going to be heartbreak, there’s going to be backstabbing. It’s like Lifetime TV if you want to go run a company. You have to pick people that are resilient to do it. So we do a ton of time on due diligence on the teams. I was just talking to a big MSO today, actually, and one of the sales points for them –That’s a multi-state operator, for those taking notes at home. Good one. The thing that sold me was they are a multi-state operator and their COO is one of the smartest operators I’ve ever seen. That’s always a good trick if you’re looking to invest: figure out, can they actually operate? Because cannabis is not a simplistic business. It’s highly complex. You want to make sure you have somebody that can handle it. Let’s get to the million dollar question, which is: I don’t have a million dollars, but I want to be a player in this business, or at least I want to invest in this business. Where do I start? What do I do? If I know that a lot of the really successful funds such as yours have a pretty high bar of entry, unless I have $200,000 – which I don’t. I think the goal here is to do just that, to get your seat at the deal-making table and to get you deals and access into the space that really outstrips your network. The secret is, I really believe wealth is made on the private side. If you look at anybody who has accumulated wealth – not just rich, but real wealth – it’s because they’ve done investing either on real estate or in their own company on the private side. That’s just the “why” of this even mattering.Explain that a little bit to me. On the private side, meaning they’re not public companies that they invest in? It’s very hard to make generational wealth or real wealth by investing in public stock markets. You can see that very quickly. Say you put all the faces from the Forbes 100 list, billionaires out there, on one page. What you would notice if you went through all their bios is not a single one of them made their money from smartly investing in public stocks.The brilliant Warren Buffett, Carl Icahn, they only move when they have three things. The first one is an unfair advantage. For instance, Carl is an activist . He can go bother the founders of the company until they make changes to the actual company and make him money. So you need an unfair advantage in some way.Your unfair advantage, Jon, might be that you have really incredible deal flow because all these entrepreneurs want to pitch you all the time. So you might be able to see trends and know people and be a connector because of all this deal flow that you see.So one is your unfair advantage. That’s what you need. The second thing that you need is intimate knowledge. Not insider knowledge. You can’t have anything illegal. But you need intimate knowledge of the industry, the company, whatever you’re investing in. You really can’t get that with public stocks because otherwise it would be insider information. So intimate knowledge meaning you have some access to their financials, or just that you know an industry intimately?I believe access to their financials or access to the actual founders or access to their actual distributors. Something beyond what the news and Jim Cramer could scream at you on CNBC. So you need that.Then the third thing that you need is the ability to affect the outcome. That’s how we invest on the private side because by giving them capital, we can talk to them about how they’re going to exit, who’s going to buy them, if we could help them structure the exit on the backend, all of that.Those three things are really key to massively investing. But we’re talking at a super high level. We’re not all going to have that on Day 1, but you should always have that in the back of your mind. It’s why I’m really worried about anybody who’s a price speculator.What does that mean?Price speculator basically means – everybody knows about the cryptocurrency crisis. The housing crisis really was no different, and there was also the internet bubble, and then if we go way back there was tulip mania, which was where people were paying hundreds of dollars for a tulip bulb. Nuts.It’s all the same thing, though. It’s all called price speculation, which basically means people invest in something just because they think the next guy is going to buy at a higher price and they’ll be able to sell after he gets in. But they don’t believe that there’s real value in what they’re investing in. They’re price speculating that the price is going to go up no matter what.We’ve got to be careful about that. There’s a little bit of that in cannabis, so on the public side I’m really cautious about investing. We talk about price a lot. Warren Buffett talks about that too.It seems really out of whack right now on the public side, the valuations of the companies. Yeah, I think so. I think you’re nailing it. I don’t have a crystal ball. If I did, we’d be on my yacht while we’re recording this podcast. But what I think is important to think about on the public side, or any time valuations or the price of stocks is concerned, is it might be really exciting the numbers that they’re at, and they might do all the things they need to do in order to grow into that price, but I’m always looking at the downside.Does it make sense for the top 10 cannabis stocks to be worth 4x more than the top 10 biotech, tobacco, pharma, or healthcare stocks, from a price-to-sales perspective (which just means the price that they’re worth versus how much they actually sell)? I would say I don’t know. It’s a growth industry; it could be, but probably not. The key to investing there is always buy low, sell high, and train your brain on that, to focus on price first before excitement.You gave us the three attributes or the three keys to think about and ways to position yourself. You had also mentioned you need to make relationships, you need to network outside of your network. How do you recommend doing that?Codie: I think there are a couple different ways. One, if you want to invest, in my opinion, or if you want to do anything – say you want to play baseball. The first thing that you should probably go do is watch a baseball game. Then you should probably go try to play a baseball game amongst you and your friends. Then you should probably try to figure out who are the reporters that cover baseball. Then you should probably try to go to three or four conferences of people who are talking about baseball or selling baseball gear or something related to baseball.It’s not dissimilar to investing. You go where the game is played. In cannabis, in my opinion, that would be places like ArcView, which is kind of like AngelList, if you know what that is. AngelList is where you can go and invest in lots of different startups, but at very low dollar amounts. ArcView is similar but for cannabis, and they also have conferences. So I think you go to a couple ArcView conferences, you join that.They should be, in my opinion, getting smart. They’ve got to listen to all the podcasts on Green Entrepreneur, and then go over to CannaInsider podcast, and then go and look at some of the investor intelligence reports like Cohen. Don’t spend a lifetime; do this in a weekend. You can binge-listen to a couple podcasts, binge-read all the investor intelligence on MJBiz or Green Entrepreneur or Cohen.Then you start reaching out. Then you try to go to an ArcView event. Schedule one. Then you email all the speakers at the ArcView event. Give yourself a timeline. You have 30 days to get smart on it.What’s crazy is, after you do those three things – listen to a ton of podcasts, read as much as you can about the industry, and then get hooked up to an industry group and go to one of their conferences – you are smarter than 90% of the population on cannabis.What’s the conversation you have with these people that you connect with through ArcView or these different platforms that you have recommended? Is that the moment when you present yourself, about who you are and what you have to offer?I think you have to first have a belief that I’ve found to be true across every industry I’ve been in, which is that if you go where the game is played because you want to be in the game somehow, you will have opportunities presented to you that you never otherwise would.That’s my promise to you. If you do these three things and you go to where the game is played with a curious and open mind and dig in, you’re going to have stuff come up that you didn’t exactly realize how the opportunity was presented to you, and you wouldn’t have picked it exactly this way, but it’s even better than you thought.If you have that belief, then when you go, I think there are two things that are super important. One is curiosity. We’re all egoists, right? I like to have my ego stroked. I’m sure you do [laughs] Never. But the truth is, if somebody comes up to me and says, “Codie, I’ve been reading your stuff, listening to your podcast here, I saw you speak here, and I’m really curious as to what you meant here” or “I’m really curious, what do you think about this?” or “how would you enter this space?” or “why did you do this particular move?” – those small, tailored questions to somebody’s ego, showing that you’re truly curious, not faking it – that goes really far. If you do that to five or ten people, the likelihood is you have two to three to four who want to engage with you. So that’s where I’d start. Curiosity.But then I think the second thing you’ve got to do if you actually want to get in – I just interviewed an analyst today, actually, for our firm. The way he came to me was similar to this. Reached out, said he had listened to a few things. But he did something different that I loved, which was “I’ve been doing research and analysis on the space. I’m in grad school right now and did some models on vertically integrated companies” — which are companies like Acreage, let’s say.So he said, “I did some research on these guys. Would that be useful to you?” I was like, “Huh, that’s interesting. Yeah, sure, I’ll take a look.” I looked at it. The models were actually really good, so I followed up with him. Right now I’m looking at the lab testing space, for example. Every time somebody wants to sell you cannabis, they’ve got to go make sure that they take it to a third-party lab to see if it has any sort of pesticides in it or if it actually is THC at the level that they say it is. I’m interested in that space. So I said, “Why don’t you try to apply your thought process to this lab space?” He did it, did a great job, and I’ll probably offer him a job.So that second key is not what they can do for you, but what you can do for them. If you provide value to people who are in positions of power, that is so rare – so rare – that they are going to want you in their circle.Right. There’s an example of somebody who might not have had $200,000 to invest in the fund, but had an expertise that you appreciated and needed.Absolutely. And if you’re an employee in a fund, you get an allowance where you can invest much less, so you don’t have to put in $200k if you actually work at one of these funds. Even if you’re in admin.What are some common mistakes that you see people making?First is be careful with public stocks. If you’re going to do it, be fine losing the money and be prepared for a lot of volatility. I say that because there are also some great public stocks, so I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it; just be cautious.The second thing I see people do that makes me nervous is they just go and invest in one company right off the bat. Everybody’s raising for cannabis something or other these days. Even if it’s just the $1,000 that you have to invest, it’s really risky to throw that out there. It’s called angel investing, but it’s risky to do that with the first couple companies you’ve seen especially.So I think the biggest thing you’ve got to get used to if you want to be an investor is saying “no” upfront. You’re like the hot girl at the bar. “No, no, no, no.” You want to go on a lot of first dates, but you don’t want to get married to somebody – you don’t want to give them your money – until you’ve gotten a feel for this weird industry and how to do some investments. Don’t make your first investment when it’s been given to you.And Lord, I made some bad investments when I first started, so don’t feel bad if you did. But I think they say that the best way to make a million dollars in angel investing is to start with three, which is the same for vineyards too.So diversify. Do a fund.Yeah, do a fund. ArcView is the only one that I know of in the cannabis space. I don’t want it to feel like I’m doing a commercial for them. But you can go to these angel investing groups. The goal that I had when I first started investing was to invest alongside somebody that’s smarter than I amHow do you do that? Well, you can go to something like ArcView and listen to all of the companies pitch. It’s like YCombinator, which is famous in tech circles as being an incubator. Go to ArcView, listen to everybody pitch, and then see and ask them what other investors are investing in their company besides you. Then you very easily reach out to those people and say, “Hey, I’m Codie and I’m looking to invest in XYZ Cannabis Company too. Do you have a minute to talk so I can understand why you’re investing?”Once you are in the investing circle, it’s much easier to get doors open for you. So invest alongside people that are smarter than you. You can do that by starting at something like ArcView, or I think you can do that in a fund structure.Or you can do that by following some of the big names in this space, like what is Steve DeAngelo investing in? He probably has interesting insight, being in this industry for a long time. What is Jonathan investing in? He’s seen a lot of different cannabis companies. So look for those influencers and then see if you can get a little piece of the pie and put in a small amount of what you can.Should we apply the same sort of criteria that you apply when you’re looking at companies? You said that you say “no” a lot. What are some red flags that you would say “no” to? What would you see in a company that you would be like, “no”? Or what should I see in a company where I might have second thoughts? I think when you’re an early angel investor, you should never invest in a company that doesn’t have revenue. There’s too much deal flow, especially in cannabis, there’s too many companies to invest in somebody that has never made a dollar. So I would not do that. Look for companies that at least have a couple hundred thousand dollars to a million plus in revenue.What you’ll be amazed by is they’ll take your money – you might not have much, let’s say, but if you can provide some other type of value, some sweat equity – these startups are usually strapped for cash and for help. So you can probably even leverage your sweat equity a little bit there. But I would start with don’t invest if they’re pre-revenue. I think that’s way too much risk upfront.Then I would say also, be really careful about investing in friends who are not absolute rock stars who have already done this before. Maybe they had already run an alcohol distribution company, so now they’re going to go into cannabis distribution. That makes a lot of sense. But otherwise, be careful about funding friends early on, before you really know how to analyze if they’re capable or not. That’s where a lot of people lose money.You said that you want to make sure that you like the team and are impressed by the team that is running a company. Will you have that kind of access as somebody who’s new to the game? It’s not like you can call up every CEO. You’ll have access because of who you are and your status in the industry, but how does one – should you just do your own research online? How do you find out more about who these people are?One way you can get access is through special purpose vehicles. What a lot of people do when they don’t want to invest or don’t have a ton to invest is they might pool their assets. It’s pretty inexpensive. You create an LLC, which basically costs nothing online these days, and that LLC allows you – say you have $10,000 that you could invest, and a couple other people have $10,000 that they could invest, and you pool it together and now you have $100,000.You can make yourself sound very fancy. “I am in charge of Cannabis, Inc., which is an LLC of investors in the cannabis space. We’re analyzing companies.” So with very little work and with very little money, you can actually get a seat at the table and say “We have $100,000. We’re looking to deploy it, and maybe it’s with your company.” Then you can get better access, certainly.Or you can join into somebody else’s syndicate or join angels groups. There’s CannaAngels – almost every city has a cannabis angel network, and if you join one of them and you pool all your resources together – but you don’t have to do the actual work – then you can get real access.How quickly will you see an ROI?Well, in cannabis it’s been faster than it typically is. Most venture capital or private equity funds are 5-year funds, so your money’s locked up for 5 years with a 2-year extension, meaning they can extend that 5 years by 2 years if they want to. That’s typically because it takes that long for a company to have a liquidity event, which means when they sell or you get your money back in some way.So the typical thought is 5 to 7 years, which I know to all of us who use Uber Eats and expect our food to get delivered in 7 minutes, seems like an eternity. [laughs] But that’s standard. If you’re going to do this, it has to be long money, and in my opinion, you have to want to learn and make money.Our first fund, we returned the capital in 3 years because cannabis is moving so fast. But that is what draws people to public stocks, I think, a lot. It’s short-term, there’s an ability to make money, and it’s a lot more rewarding to that endorphin-heavy brain of ours that wants immediate feedback loops. If you’re seeing it too quickly, there might be something going on here that’s not right?In my opinion, yeah. I don’t like price speculation, which I think is entirely what crypto is about. I think blockchain is different, but yeah. You always worry if you’re at an airport somewhere and the shoeshine guy is giving you stock tips about cannabis companies or about cryptocurrency companies.The stock market is really there to help investors beat inflation over the long term. You earn your 10% per year, which helps you beat inflation, and compounding investing over time leads to you making enough money to retire, theoretically. So I’m always nervous if the stock market is looked at as an immediate cash cow. That’s probably not sustainable.As far as the type of cannabis companies to invest in. Tell me the top 3 that you should be looking at and top 3 that maybe you should pass on?I got offered a really interesting deal in Colombia, actually, by descendants of Pablo Escobar to grow cannabis in Colombia [laughs] I passed on that one. But in all seriousness, cultivation is something that I worry about as the price of flower or the actual cannabis smokeable plant goes down. That’s just natural. It is a plant and it is agriculture, so that’s going to happen as the markets get more efficient. So I’m not running to give money to people who are purely doing grows. I would stay away from that. I don’t think I’m the only one doing that.I would stay away from brands that are not amazingly executed and with the ability, proven and actual, to scale. There’s a lot of little micro-brands around, and I think many of those will die a death of a thousand papercuts with California regulations and others. So be careful about that space.I also think I would be careful about any sort of tech that mimics something that’s done by a company outside of the cannabis space. People say to me, “I’m going to be the oracle of cannabis,” and my response is, “Oracle will be the oracle of cannabis.”I wouldn’t do that because eventually this game will change and those companies – perhaps they get bought, and there are some instances where that could be the case. But I’m hesitant of that space. So those would be the three I would stay away from.And the three that seem to have a lot of opportunity?Up until now — and I think it’s still the case — multi-state operators have done incredibly well. They’re out there doing a land grab, trying to grab as many different dispensaries and the grows associated with the licenses in each state for them.So these are cannabis brands that operate in many different states because they have, like you said, dispensaries and grows in a bunch of different states? Exactly. It’s not dissimilar to a company that distributes, like Whole Foods for instance, across multiple state lines and grows all their own produce and has a ton of white label brands and everything, like you see in Whole Foods. Not dissimilar entirely for these multi-state operators. Those I think are going to continue to have a lot of value, if done really well and if they scale. I think the small one-off operations I wouldn’t be as interested in.The second space that we’re really focused on is everything to do with biotech in this space and the ability for cannabis to be used for medicinal purposes, whether that’s biosynthesis or being able to actually create cannabis in a lab through things like yeast or algae. It’s way above my paygrade from a science understanding perspective, but we have somebody on the team that that’s their specialty, so they dive into those companies. So I think anything in biotech and that sector could be really interesting if you get the real plays. Then the third area is really well-executed brands who are able to scale nationally and hopefully globally. We’ve made a few of those bets in the brand space, but gosh, we have to see a lot.Explain to our audience exactly what you mean by brands in this context.That basically means who’s going to be the Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Frito-Lay, Blue Moon of cannabis. These are cannabis brands that will become household names, hopefully. We don’t really have any of those right now. I don’t really think you could argue that there is a nationally recognized cannabis brands I can’t tell you the amount of times I get pitched, individual small CBD brands or THC brands, and they might have really nice packaging or make you feel good – I mean, a lot of times it’s the same product. We’re all dealing with the same brands, so why is this one product going to break out as opposed to the other hundred that I get pitched? It’s very hard as an investor to know. Is it the people attached to it? It’s the difference between RC Cola and Coke. How do you know which is the one that’s going to stand outSometimes it’s very hard to tell whether it’s all hype or if there’s something real there. What would be your way to dig a little deeper?First, I would want to see real revenue. If we’re dealing with a company like Sublime, for instance, we’re talking about double-digit millions in revenue, so then you know that there’s something there. They’re able to operate, people are buying these companies.Then the second thing — I have two good friends that run a company called Windy Hill Brands, and they sold an alcohol company that I’m blanking on, but it was something Moonshine, to the guys who created Deep Eddy Vodka. They’re just brand geniuses. So one of the things is having people in your corner who understand this space.The most important part there is also their ability to distribute. I’ve made mistakes before in investing in brands – not at Cresco, but when I was investing at different venture funds. There was a brand that I loved and I wanted this product to exist in the world, but I realized that the management team didn’t have the distribution chops. So they weren’t able to get it on the shelves of Whole Foods, for instance, or CVS or whatever the case may be – and they didn’t have that crazy sales drive to do it.What you really need in the brand space is it’s all about your distribution, and can you actually get your product in the hands of the distributors, or can you get your product, through ecommerce, sold online in a big way? A lot of founders are pretty lazy about getting their sales out in that way, and they want to do some of the fun stuff. Nobody likes cold calling.Say you have no money to invest in cannabis. Not a dollar. I’ve totally been there; my dad didn’t get to go to college, so I remember having nothing to invest and worried about my debit card not going through.The one thing that you can do is look for sweat equity into these companies. That is basically where you start doing all the stuff we talked about – meeting people, reading about it, reaching out to them via email – and then you say, “I’m Codie,” for instance, and say I’m a graphic designer. “I could do some graphic design work for you. You don’t have to pay me. I’ll just do it for you, but how about I work for some percent ownership in the company, and you pay that to me over this time period?”Or you could say, “I, Jonathan, am really good at copywriting because I’m a journalist. Why don’t I help you write some of your copy for your website or to your clients, and in exchange for that you give me some equity?” So there are certainly ways to use your skillset as your capital. I would think about that. If you google “sweat equity,” you’ll get a million different ways to do it.That’s great advice. Is it helpful to make a list of what you have to offer? Like, are you a graphic designer, are you a good publicist? What are a lot of these companies looking for?I think everything. Totally all of them are looking for help from a marketing – the two things that almost every company needs immediately is sales, so they need somebody to go out and bring them more revenue, and they need help with marketing. They need, just like you said, people to pitch publishers, people to write copy. Social media somewhat, because social media is tricky in this space. But yeah, somebody who’s good with social media in a way that won’t get them banned from Instagram. Exactly. And you can always say, “What are things that you need to have done that are terrible, that you don’t want to do? I’ll do that.” You can also offer it more broadly if you don’t have a direct solution.I would say what they don’t need is like “I’m really good at strategy. Let me give you strategy.” Nope, we’re executing. We don’t have time for third-party strategy. So that’s probably not as useful. But introductions to capital, sales, marketing, graphic design, anything like that is really valuable to a startup. Would you recommend having a formal agreement with a company? What I would be concerned about is that – most people are good people, but there’s going to be some bad apples, and they’re going to take advantage of you and then sell and not give you anything. Should you have some sort of contract with them?Yeah. We all watched the Facebook story, right? How I’ve done it in the past, before I was a bigger investor, was I would have a little something drafted up. Again, you can find this online, like a sweat equity contract.But essentially I would have a little contract that basically says “Codie is going to provide the following services. For these services, she is going to be given X percent of equity,” for them to fill in – and it’ll be vested, which means I actually own it – “over a 6, 12, or 18 month period,” whatever period you choose.But what I would say upfront is, “Hey, why don’t I do this for you, work for you for the next 30 days for $free.99? Free, totally. I’ll do this work for you for 30 days. I believe in what you’re doing. This is the contract that I’d like to sign at the end of 30 days for me to keep helping you like this. Does that sound good?” Typically they’ll be good on that front. You might get burned once, but you’re going to learn a ton, and then you’ll learn who not to trust next time.I think in tandem with that, then you can actually start adding some cash components of it. Once they see your work and how useful you are, if you crush it for them, people don’t want that to stop. Entrepreneurs aren’t stupid. So if you’re doing good work and you had your little equity thing drawn up, you can ask for cash as well so you’re not slaving away for free for 5 years. –shares Green Entrepreneur provides how-to guides, ideas and expert insights for entrepreneurs looking to start and grow a cannabis business.
Interview: NZMP exhibits its medical and infant nutrition solutionsPosted By: News Deskon: December 21, 2018In: Dairy, FoodBev TV, Industries, Ingredients, Nutrition, VideosPrintEmailAt Health Ingredients Europe 2018, FoodBev’s Alex Clere spoke to NZMP’s Stephen Gregory, head of R&D for its medical nutrition unit and Angela Rowan, marketing manager for the company’s paediatric division about the solutions the company exhibited at the show.Gregory spoke to Alex about the growth of the medical nutrition unit, which was established by Fonterra/NZMP last year, and discussed how the company has refined several of its concepts and prototypes after an extensive consultation process with consumers.One concept that NZMP exhibited at the show was a high-protein medical protein beverage, which was predominantly whey-based, making it easier for elderly consumers to consume their recommended daily intake of protein.Gregory stressed the importance of protein consumption for elderly consumers, in order to prevent health issues such as sarcopenia. He discussed the protein-fortified food concepts the company has produced in order to make it easier for these consumers to reach their recommended protein intake.Meanwhile, Rowan spoke about the company’s solutions for the paediatric nutrition market, with a particular focus on the company’s new MFGM (milk fat globule membrane) lipid ingredient, which it launched at Health Ingredients Europe.NZMP SureStart’s new MFGM Lipid 70 ingredient can be used in infant formulas to help more closely match the composition and nutritional benefits of breast milk.Rowan said that key benefits offered by MFGM lipids include aiding brain development and cognition, a key topic for the company at the show, as well as helping support digestive health and supporting immune protection.Rowan also suggested that MFGM lipids could be used to support healthy ageing by helping to keep brain functions “younger for longer”.Presented by: Alex ClereEdited by: Martin WhiteShare with your network: Tags: FonterraHealth Ingredients Europe 2018infant nutritionmedical nutritionNew ZealandNZMP
This history reveals that no single actor, or even institution, is responsible for what happened to Sandra Dozier. But it also suggests that there were many moments when DC – and the nation – could have pursued a different course. If the city council had chosen to decriminalise marijuana, Dozier would still have had her job. If the police hadn’t targeted drivers in the city’s poor black neighbourhoods for pretext stops, she would still have had her job. If FedEx and other employers had a more forgiving policy toward arrests, or if they were willing to look at individual circumstances rather than adopting a policy of blanket exclusion, she would still have had her job. And if the US had implemented a more robust policy of urban revitalisation – if it had ever undertaken a Marshall plan for the cities – somebody with Dozier’s grit and determination would have had her choice of jobs.This is an extract from Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman Jr, published by Little Brown and available at guardianbookshop.com• Follow the Long Read on Twitter at @gdnlongread, or sign up to the long read weekly email here. Race How 20 years of stop and search has widened America’s racial divide Pinterest … we have a small favour to ask. The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on Pinterest Twitter Share via Email Pinterest Nobody liked working “duty day” but, as the name implied, it wasn’t a choice. About once a month, each of us in the public defender’s office set aside our cases and took a turn serving as a lawyer for the general public. Whoever walked in or called in became your responsibility. One of my first murder cases began when a mother called to say that her son was at police headquarters speaking to homicide detectives. She thought he might be a suspect and wanted to know if it was a good idea for him to be talking to the police. (Answer: no, it wasn’t.)But duty day mostly involved issues that were less attention-grabbing. I once counselled a grandmother who feared she would lose her public housing if she allowed her grandson to move in with her on his release from prison; housing authorities were notoriously hostile to people with criminal convictions.By far the most common duty-day requests were from people trying to get their arrest warrants sealed. These cases were as difficult as they were frequent. In Washington DC, as in most of the US, there were few legal grounds to erase an arrest from your record, even if the case was quickly dismissed and never led to a criminal conviction. But despite the long odds of success, there was at least a way for individual citizens to make the request, by filing a relatively simple legal motion. It was our job to tell people about the law, give them a copy of the paperwork, and show them where to fill in the blanks. These consultations normally took less than 20 minutes.But Sandra Dozier clearly had no intention of leaving so quickly. In her early 30s, with a short-cropped afro and a determined manner, Dozier was telling me about the traffic stop that had led to her arrest. After hearing the words “arrest” and “clear my record”, I had assumed she needed the simple motion to seal. But she kept talking, barely glancing at the forms I pushed in her direction. Since I could see she wasn’t going to leave until I had heard the entire story, I took out my yellow legal pad and started taking notes.In February 2000, Dozier had been driving home from her mother’s house, along with her 19-year-old cousin and two-year-old daughter. She was on Alabama Avenue in south-east DC when a police car pulled up behind her with its lights flashing. After she pulled over, an officer came to her window and asked her for her licence and registration. She gave them to him, but not before asking, “Why are y’all messing with me? I’m coming home from work.” I didn’t ask, but I thought I knew why she had mentioned her job. The area where Dozier lived and had been stopped suffered from chronic unemployment. People who worked were quick to use that fact as a form of character evidence when confronted by police or other authorities.Without answering Dozier’s question, the officer took her documents back to his police car. A few minutes later, he returned and told her he needed to check if the tint levels on her windows were “too high”. It was a common tactic: traffic regulations in DC and elsewhere often limit how dark a car’s windows can be. Stops for exceeding the tint limits were a police favourite. Dozier told the officer he must be mistaken; she had had the tinting done at a reputable place where they knew what was permitted.Despite her protestations, the officer said he needed to check anyway. “We’ve been having a lot of problems with shootings and guns and weapons out here,” he told her. “Do you have anything like that with you? In the car?” Dozier remembered thinking that the officer must be crazy – what would she be doing with anything like that? One of her brothers had been shot a few years before, and another was locked up on a gun charge, and she was determined to stay far, far away from all that. She told him: “You have the wrong person if you are looking for guns.”She said the officer nodded, and seemed to understand where she was coming from. Then he said: “Since you don’t have anything, you don’t mind if we check real quick?”I had been expecting this. I didn’t know the precise words the police would have used – those varied – but I knew that at some point during the encounter with Dozier, they would have tried to search her car. That was, after all, the entire point of the stop.To understand what was happening to Dozier, it is crucial to distinguish between the various types of traffic stops conducted by US police. Not all stops are created equal. Sometimes the police pull people over for traffic-safety reasons – for speeding or running a red light, for example. More nefariously, recent reports by the Department of Justice and others have shown that police departments in Ferguson, Missouri, and elsewhere have used traffic enforcement to generate fines to fund local government.But Dozier had fallen prey to another type of traffic stop, one whose motive is neither traffic safety nor revenue enhancement. This kind of stop – an investigatory or pretext stop – uses the traffic laws to uncover more serious crime. Such stops (and subsequent searches) exploded in popularity in the 1990s as part of police efforts to target drugs and guns.Like most of my clients, Dozier didn’t think she could refuse. As she explained: “I figured they would search if they wanted to, regardless, so I thought, if I say yes, maybe they won’t even bother, since they will see I have nothing to hide.” As she had promised, there were no guns or weapons to be found. But a second officer on the scene did find two small baggies of marijuana, worth about $20, in the glove compartment.When the officer emerged holding them, Dozier lost it. “I started crying, telling them I couldn’t be locked up for this, that I had just started a new job, that I had to be at work in the morning, that I couldn’t miss work or I’d be fired.”The two officers conferred, and after a few minutes the first one came back. He seemed to have good news. Since Dozier had no record or outstanding warrants, he could release her from the police station with a citation to appear in court. This was much better than the alternative, in which she would be held in jail overnight and wouldn’t see a judge till sometime the next day, missing work as a result. A few weeks later, she went to court and, after waiting all day, was told the marijuana possession charges had been “no papered”, meaning the prosecutor’s office had decided not to bring charges. She had no pending charges and no criminal conviction. She was a free citizen in the eyes of the law.So what was she doing in my office? Dozier had been a new employee at FedEx, and at the end of her probationary period she was asked to bring proof of a clean record. This was a routine request, but in Dozier’s case the paperwork came back showing her recent arrest for marijuana possession. And FedEx promptly fired her. Facebook The long read She opened a folder and put some papers on my hopelessly cluttered desk. On top was a printout I had seen many times. It was from the Washington DC superior court clerk’s office, and it contained Dozier’s criminal record. An eight-hour duty-day shift typically included three or four inquiries from frustrated citizens who had requested proof of a clean record to give their employers, only to find that the police, or the superior court, still had evidence of a past arrest on file. The system sometimes seemed like a lottery: I had seen cases in which it missed multiple arrests for a single individual, and others in which it had captured every detail, even a minor citation such as this one.As I looked down at the printout, I couldn’t help but notice how unusually “clean” Dozier’s record was. It was rare for me to encounter somebody whose only criminal involvement was a single no-papered arrest for marijuana possession.“So, can you help me?” she asked.It looked bleak. As a casual employee on probationary status, she had almost no job protection. The law permitted employers to consider any criminal record – including arrests – in making hiring decisions. I told her this, and her body seemed to shrink in her chair. Nobody came to our office if they had other options, and now her lawyer of last resort was letting her down too. Desperate to try something, I told her: “Well, I can call FedEx and see if I can talk them into giving you another chance.”Dozier liked the idea. She was organised and prepared, and she fished her supervisor’s phone number out of the sheaf of papers she had with her. I got him on the phone. “I’m calling on behalf of Sandra Dozier,” I said, and launched into my pitch. I focused on the prosecutor’s decision not to bring charges, and explained that only the most frivolous cases got no-papered. I pointed out that an arrest wasn’t a conviction, that the case had been dismissed and that she had no pending charges. She would never need to miss work for a court hearing or probation appointment. Legally, I told him, she was a person with a clean record. She was a free citizen who deserved the chance to keep her job.The supervisor was sympathetic. He said that he liked Dozier, had been rooting for her and was very disappointed when the record check came back with an arrest. It was one of the final stages of the process before an employee moved off probationary status. He even agreed that marijuana possession was a small-time charge.I was on the verge of giving Dozier a thumbs-up sign when he said: “But here is the thing. It isn’t my decision. We have a firm policy that if you get arrested while you are on probation with us, we can’t hire you.”I started to reply, but he shut me down.“Look, that’s all there is to it,” he said. “It’s company policy. It’s done. I’ve got to go.” I murmured my thanks to him for taking my call, and we both hung up.I didn’t have to relay the details to Dozier. She could read the bad news on my face, in my tone of voice, and in the abrupt way the call had ended. I tried to think of something positive to say, but I had nothing to offer. The call had been my last shot, and it had failed.Dozier was gathering up her things and heading for the door when I remembered that my office had recently got copies of fliers for an upcoming job fair hosted by the DC government and various employers. Maybe this would help?As soon as I handed her the flier, I could see it was a mistake. She glanced at it for all of two seconds, then looked up at me with a mixture of disdain and despair. “Right. Another job fair. I know about all the job fairs. For almost a year I’ve been going to every one I can find, standing in lines that stretch for miles. Finally, I got this job. And I’d still have it, except for this.” Dozier was pointing at the police form, the one that showed her arrest. Her eyes were wet. Her jaw was no longer holding firm. She turned and walked down the hall and out of the office.“I’m sorry,” I said to her back, the useless words serving as final proof of my inadequacy.Now I wanted to cry. It wasn’t an unusual feeling during my years as a public defender; sometimes the only thing that stopped the tears was another case or client that needed me right there and then. And so it was on duty day. I don’t remember who came in after Dozier, but there was invariably a line of clients in the waiting room, not to mention calls to be returned.Duty day finally came to an end, and as I set about straightening up my desk, I noticed that Dozier had accidentally left a small stack of papers behind. On top was the printout from the courthouse. Underneath was a letter of commendation from sometime in high school when she had been intern of the month during a summer job with the DC government. The last piece of paper was a photocopy of her diploma – she had graduated from Ballou high school in south-east DC, a school more often in the news for fights or disorder than for anything good. Share on Twitter Topics Since you’re here… Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Facebook I started at the letter and the diploma, and I imagined she had brought them for the same reason she had told the officer who stopped her that she had a job. They were her armour, her stereotype-busters, her proof to the world that she was one of the good ones. I imagined her taking them with her to job fairs, to FedEx, to anyone she thought might have any power.And I hated the futility of her effort. A just world would care that she had grown up in a neighbourhood with few jobs, attended a school with a 50% dropout rate, lost family members to prison and violence, yet had resisted and transcended all that. A just world would label her an achiever, a striver, a person with grit. But her strength of character, her diploma, her intern of the month certificate – none of it mattered now. What governed her life was a single line on a superior-court printout: “Sandra Dozier, DOB: 7/3/77, Arrest: Possession Controlled Substance (Marijuana), 2/15/00.”Dozier had become the victim of the latest pretext-stop strategy. Designed to get guns off the street, it required casting a wide net – wide enough to capture lots of minor offenders, like Dozier with her two baggies of marijuana. Yet even this was only part of the problem. This policing strategy was reserved for the city’s black neighbourhoods – and its poorest. As a result, its burdens fell on residents who, like Dozier, could least afford the consequences of an arrest.Why had a majority-black city instituted a style of policing that imposed such costs on its most disadvantaged residents?On 13 January 1995, a racially diverse audience of more than 1,000 people crowded into the main ballroom at the Sheraton hotel in Arlington, Virginia, for a celebration honouring the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. The featured speaker, Eric Holder, was the first African American to serve as US attorney for the District of Columbia. (He would go on to become the nation’s first African American attorney general.)As Holder took the stage, DC had emerged from the worst of the crack-cocaine epidemic, but just barely. Though homicide and other violent crimes had fallen from the record levels they had reached in those years, they were still extraordinarily high: DC’s murder rate was almost three times what it had been in 1985, before the crack explosion. The risk was greatest for the city’s black residents, as it was for black people nationally.Using a conceit common among King Day speakers, Holder asked the enormous audience to imagine what King would think about the state of black America at the time. According to Holder, “Dr King would be shocked and disheartened by the condition of his people in 1995 – and I, for one, would be ashamed to reveal to him what we have let happen to our community.” He asked the audience to join him in a community-wide effort against gun violence. Tougher law enforcement alone wouldn’t be enough, Holder said, telling the crowd that he wanted to enlist athletes and musicians in a public relations campaign to “break our young people’s fascination with guns”. But while Holder embraced root-cause responses to violence – in 1994 he told the DC radio journalist Derek McGinty that “if we want to get a handle on this problem long-term, we’re going to have to deal with the social conditions that breed crime” – such broader solutions were beyond his direct control and would take years to show an impact. Meanwhile, people were dying.Reducing violence in the short term, said Holder, required getting guns out of the hands of those most likely to use them to commit crimes – primarily young black men. But the means for disarming these potential offenders were limited. DC already had some of the nation’s toughest gun laws, and national legislation remained politically impossible. What was left? Holder’s answer was straightforward: stop cars, search cars, seize guns. He called it Operation Ceasefire.In embracing investigatory stops, Holder was part of a movement. In a much-discussed opinion piece in the New York Times in March 1994, the prominent criminologist James Q Wilson had argued that police should conduct more pretext stops of pedestrians and frisk them in order to detect illegal guns. The practice would have costs, Wilson admitted: “Innocent people will be stopped. Young black and Hispanic men will probably be stopped more often than older white Anglo males or women of any race. But if we are serious about reducing drive-by shootings, fatal gang wars and lethal quarrels in public places, we must get illegal guns off the street.” The same year, the New York police department adopted a strategy similar to the one Wilson had proposed. In a document titled Getting Guns Off the Streets of New York, the NYPD detailed its aggressive strategy of stopping, questioning and frisking more citizens, especially young men of colour. Police performing a traffic stop and vehicle search in New Town, North Dakota. Photograph: The Washington Post/Getty Images features Facebook Support The Guardian Holder wanted to do to drivers what Wilson and the NYPD sought to do to pedestrians. Under his proposal, teams of DC officers would be trained and equipped to look for vehicles they deemed suspicious, with the goal of searching them for guns whenever possible. Prosecutors would then back up the police effort by vigorously pressing charges in court, making sure the cases didn’t get dropped or fall through the cracks, and seeking jail time for those convicted of illegal gun possession.Pretext traffic stops were an attractive tool for Holder’s purposes because DC, like every other city, has a dizzying number of traffic regulations, and most drivers violate at least one every time they get behind the wheel. A broken rear light or vent window, too much tint on the windows, a rear licence plate but no front one, or even too many air fresheners hanging from the rearview mirror – these are all valid reasons for a traffic stop. Thus, if a car draws suspicion from the police, they can almost invariably find a way to stop it legally. And once they do, they have broad powers, granted by the courts, to look inside the car, and then to ask the driver to allow them to search it.In the days following his King Day speech, Holder appeared on radio talk shows and elsewhere to seek public support for Operation Ceasefire. Although he was remarkably forthright in laying out the elements of his plan, there were two aspects he failed to emphasise. First, he didn’t discuss the immense volume of innocent people who would have to be stopped in order to obtain a sizable number of guns. This volume of stops is necessary because the overwhelming majority of cars the police stop and search won’t contain guns.Second, Holder failed to mention that although relatively few cars will contain guns, many more will contain evidence of minor crimes such as possession of marijuana. Police are sworn to enforce the law, and although it is theoretically possible to imagine a programme in which police seize guns but ignore other minor offences, it would be extremely difficult to execute. Among other obstacles, officers would need to be trained on which minor offences to overlook, and few police chiefs would be eager to attend a public oversight hearing at which they were forced to explain where they got the authority to decide which laws mattered. As a result, pretext-stop regimes invariably operate as Operation Ceasefire did. Officers may start out with a particular goal, such as seizing illegal guns, but if they uncover other illegal items, even less serious ones, they typically arrest.But not everybody was at equal risk. In DC, one police district was officially exempt from Operation Ceasefire: the city’s Second District, which included middle- and upper-middle-class white neighbourhoods. The exemption was intentional. The Second District, Holder explained, had almost no gun crime, so there was no need for pretext stops there.Holder’s explanation was entirely rational. In 1993, two years before Operation Ceasefire went into effect, there were 399 homicides in DC. Only two of them were in Ward 3 (which largely covers the Second District), despite the fact that this ward contained more than 13% of the city’s population. In one respect, though, the exemption of the Second District was problematic. By concentrating pretext policing in the areas where gun crime was highest, Operation Ceasefire created unwarranted disparities in drug enforcement. Drivers in majority-black neighbourhoods were no more likely to possess drugs than were drivers in majority-white neighbourhoods, but under Holder’s plan, they were more likely to be stopped, searched and arrested. These drivers – including Dozier – were the collateral damage from Operation Ceasefire’s response to gun violence.There are a lot of Sandra Doziers. In the 20 years since Holder unveiled Operation Ceasefire, its brand of pretext stops has become part of the fabric of policing in cities across the US. In DC, the journalist David Shipler rode with officers doing the same things the police were doing the night they stopped Dozier: working the city’s poor black neighbourhoods exclusively, pulling people over for minor traffic violations (tinted windows remain a favourite) and cajoling their way inside cars.The problem is hardly limited to DC. The NYPD came under sustained political and legal attack for its reliance on “stop and frisk”, a tactic we might think of as Operation Ceasefire applied to pedestrians. Although the NYPD has dramatically reduced its use of stop and frisk since 2011, it continues to target drivers for minor traffic offences. And it does so for the same reason that DC police adopted Operation Ceasefire: as a pretext to question drivers and, whenever possible, search their cars. In 2014, for example, the NYPD conducted just over 47,000 stop and frisks; in the same year, it gave out almost 75,000 traffic tickets for tinted windows alone. And that number is probably dwarfed by the number of drivers who, like Dozier, were stopped on suspicion of a minor offence and never received a ticket.Pretext stops are responsible for most of the racial disparity in traffic stops in the US. Analysing the results of a survey of black and white drivers in the Kansas City area, political scientist Charles Epp found that when the police are actually enforcing traffic safety laws, they tend to do so without regard to race. But when they are carrying out investigatory or pretext stops, they are much more likely to stop black and other minority drivers: black people are about two-and-a-half times more likely to be pulled over for pretext stops. Moreover, the disparities are present regardless of gender. Black men are more than twice as likely as white men, and black women are more than twice as likely as white women, to be subjected to a pretext stop. In fact, black women are more likely to be pulled over for pretext stops than are white men, despite the fact that white men carry guns and commit violent crimes at much higher rates than black women do.These racial disparities are all the more troubling because the damage from a pretext stop – of a driver, a pedestrian, a loiterer – doesn’t end with the stop itself or the subsequent search. Perhaps the single most destructive aspect of the pretext-stop regime is that it propels disparities in the rest of the criminal justice system. Consider Dozier. She wasn’t innocent: at the time she was arrested, possession of even the smallest amount of marijuana was a crime in DC. She had marijuana in her car, and she was arrested for it. Case closed. This is where many discussions of disparities in law enforcement end. But such a simple account fails to acknowledge the world that pretext stops create – a world in which Dozier is arrested for an offence that white drivers commit with impunity.Before she left my office, after seeing that I couldn’t help her get her job back, Dozier said: “I can’t believe I lost my job for this.” I still can’t believe it myself, but I now have a better understanding of how it happened. By the time Dozier was stopped and received her marijuana citation in 2000, we had been steadily, incrementally, building the punitive criminal justice system we still live with today. Most of the pieces – the aggressive prosecutions and policing, longer sentences, prison-building, collateral consequences of convictions such as losing the right to vote or the chance to live in public housing – had been put in place, and the years since had been primarily dedicated to maintaining and tinkering with that basic architecture. Pinterest Share on Messenger The long read Share via Email Photograph: Jim Young/Reuters,A police push to seize guns from cars ended in disproportionate numbers of black people getting arrested for minor crimes.By James Forman Jr,Main image:Photograph: Jim Young/Reuters US crime Eric Holder in 2014. Photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Share on Twitter Photograph: Alamy Shares232232 A radical approach to gun crime: paying people not to kill each other Last modified on Tue 9 Oct 2018 11.23 EDT Share on WhatsApp Tue 9 Oct 2018 01.00 EDT Share on LinkedIn Reuse this content Twitter Read more Facebook
Since you’re here… This article is more than 4 months old Tom McCarthy in New York This article is more than 4 months old ‘A cop on the beat’: Elizabeth Warren defends plan to break up tech giants Share via Email Robert Reich Share on Pinterest Show In echo of 2020 attacks from Trump, Massachusetts senator faces question about being ‘labeled as a socialist’ Elizabeth Warren Michael Bennet, Colorado senatorBennet raised his national profile earlier this year when the senator, typically known for his congeniality, delivered a fiery speech on the Senate floor, accusing Republican senator Ted Cruz of shedding ‘crocodile tears’ over the government shutdown. Share on Twitter Marianne Williamson, authorThis is not the spiritual guru and a new age author’s first foray into politics: in 2014, she mounted an unsuccessful congressional bid in California. Her entry adds some star-power to the race that may attract more celebrities. @TeeMcSee Amazon Elizabeth Warren is right – we must break up Facebook, Google and Amazon Kirsten Gillibrand, New York senatorYears before the #MeToo movement, the New York senator was leading efforts in Congress to combat sexual assault in the military and on college campuses. The former corporate lawyer has embraced a slate of economic ideas supported by the party’s progressive wing. Elizabeth Warren Quick guide Which Democrats are running for 2020? Bernie Sanders, Vermont senatorSanders turned a long-shot, anti-establishment bid for the presidency into a “political revolution” that energized the party’s progressive base. His political career began nearly 40 years ago, but it wasn’t until his 2016 run that Sanders became a national figure as a new generation of Democrats – and 2020 contenders – embraced his populist economic policies. “You can be an umpire – a platform – or you can own teams,” she said. “But you can’t be an umpire and own one of the teams that’s in the game.”On Sunday, Warren declined to turn her proposal into the argument over “isms” that Trump is spoiling for.“I believe in a level playing field,” Warren told CBS. “And as long as we’ve got that then we will get the best out of markets because it means the people who come up with great ideas, who work hard, are the ones who will prosper, not simply those who were born into wealth.”The rising Democratic star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also appeared at SXSW. Speaking on Saturday night, the New York congresswoman said that because “capitalism is an ideology of capital” and “the most important thing is the concentration of capital and to seek and maximize profit”, to her, “capitalism is irredeemable”.The remark was duly seized upon on the right. Mike Gravel, former senator of AlaskaAt 88, Gravel will be the oldest candidate to be run for the nomination. However, according to his campaign, the staunch non-interventionist is not running to win, but to challenge Democratic orthodoxy on foreign policy. Will this little-known quixotic figure succeed? Elizabeth Warren speaks at the South by Southwest conference and festivals in Austin, Texas.Photograph: Sergio Flores/Reuters Reuse this content Thank you for your feedback. Tim Ryan, Ohio congressmanElected to Congress in 2003 at just 29, Ryan represents the blue-collar voters Democrats hope to win back in 2020. He won national attention when he challenged Nancy Pelosi for Democratic leadership in 2016. He has continued to push for a generational change in leadership. Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota senatorOn Election Night 2018, Klobuchar coasted to a third term as senator in a state Trump almost won. Next morning she was on every short list of potential presidential candidates. Supporters say her success with rural voters makes her a formidable candidate in the Rust Belt, while her calm demeanour provides a clear contrast with Trump. Read more John Delaney, former Maryland congressmanHe has delivered his message of pragmatism to voters in all 99 of Iowa’s counties since he officially kicked off the race in July 2017. The multimillionaire banking entrepreneur wants to build a big-tent party that appeals to independents and moderate Republicans. Why vote for Sanders when you can have Elizabeth Warren instead? US politics Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii congresswomanAn Iraq war veteran who has vowed to run a campaign focused on issues of ‘war and peace’. Gabbard made history as the first Samoan American and the first Hindu elected to Congress. But progressives are wary of her past conservative views on on social issues. Jay Inslee, Governor of WashingtonInslee is running as the “only candidate who will make defeating climate change our nation’s number one priority”. As the country experiences more powerful hurricanes, scorching wildfires and submerged coastlines, polls show public concern is growing. Share on Twitter Kamala Harris, California senatorHarris is one of Trump’s fiercest critics, and has built a national reputation grilling administration officials during their confirmation hearings. A former state attorney general and the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica, Harris believes she has the unique profile to take on Trump. Beto O’Rourke, former Texas congressmanA one-time guitarist for an El Paso punk band called Foss, O’Rourke had kept a relatively low profile as a three-term congressman with little name recognition. He rose to national prominence during the 2018 midterms, when his bid to unseat Senator Ted Cruz garnered unprecedented grassroots support and a historic fundraising haul. Andrew Yang, businessmanA former tech executive and entrepreneur running the longest of long shot campaigns centered on the perils of automation. His central plank is a plan to give every American adult a salary of $1,000 per month, paid for by a tax on companies that benefit the most from automation.Lauren Gambino, Sam Morris and Martin Belam Share on LinkedIn Sun 10 Mar 2019 14.12 EDT news Email Eric Swalwell, California congressmanRaised in Iowa and California, the 38-year-old Democrat would be among the youngest candidates in the race. Swalwell serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence investigating Russian collusion, a position that has earned him frequent appearances on cable news shows. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts senatorHer sharp criticism of Wall Street and big corporations has made Warren a favorite among progressive activists, and she will campaign on a message of a rigged economic system and income inequality. Socialism Support The Guardian US elections 2020 Pete Buttigieg, South Bend mayorButtigieg wants to be the first openly gay millennial president. A Harvard graduate and Rhodes scholar, he became the youngest mayor of a mid-size US city at the age of 29. As a Navy Reserve lieutenant he deployed to Afghanistan. Democrats Bill de Blasio, New York mayorNow in his second term as mayor of New York City, De Blasio is a hometown foe of Donald Trump’s running on the message that there’s plenty of money in the country but it’s in the wrong hands. With a progressive track record but a chorus of critics in New York, can this Democrat overcome his late start and win the chance to take on Trump? Moira Donegan Share on Facebook Cory Booker, New Jersey senatorBooker first made a name as the hands-on mayor of Newark. Known for his focus on criminal justice reform and impassioned speeches on immigration, he has though been criticized for ties to Wall Street. Share via Email Julián Castro, former housing and urban development secretaryCastro casts himself as an antidote to Trump and the adminstration’s hardline immigration policies. The grandson of a Mexican immigrant and raised by single mother, the 44-year-old Democrat is one of the most prominent Latinos in Democratic politics. Share on Facebook Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren, who called this week for the breakup of America’s biggest tech companies, was challenged on her capitalist credentials on Sunday. The exchange offered a preview of how Democratic presidential candidates might handle Donald Trump’s campaign strategy of stoking fears about “socialism” in attacks on his challengers. Read more Hide Share on Messenger Seth Moulton, Massachusetts congressmanThe Harvard educated Marine veteran arrived in Congress with a bang, after unseating a nine-term Democratic incumbent in a Massachusetts primary in 2014. Moulton has continued to make waves by calling for ‘generational change’ in Democratic leadership and supported an effort to block Nancy Pelosi from becoming House Speaker in 2018. Joe Biden, former vice presidentBiden unsuccessfully ran for the nomination in 1988 and 2008, and his campaign is likely to be dogged by controversy after allegations from several women they were left feeling uncomfortable by their physical interactions with him. If successful, Biden would become the oldest person to be elected president in US history. … we have a small favour to ask. The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. First published on Sun 10 Mar 2019 13.58 EDT Google Most of her proposals would fit comfortably in the campaign platforms of her fellow Democratic contenders. But her proposal to break up the tech giants Amazon, Facebook and Google has attracted a burst of attention – and attacks.Asked about Warren’s plan on CNN’s Face the Nation, the Washington state governor, Jay Inslee, described a need “to protect Americans in this new economy” but declined to join Warren in her call for a tech breakup. Amazon is based in Seattle.Warren’s call could have some bipartisan appeal. Writing in the Guardian on Sunday, the Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich said support for breaking up the tech giants was bipartisan. He quoted the Missouri Republican Josh Hawley, who told him: “Every day brings some creepy new revelation about these companies’ behaviors. Of course the public is going to want there to be action to defend their rights. It’s only natural.”Warren speaks much more directly to the issue. Explaining her proposal at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, she drew a baseball analogy. Topics Wayne Messam, mayor of Miramar, FloridaFacing long odds, Messam, the son of Jamaican immigrants to the US and a former receiver for the Florida State Seminoles football team, is tossing his hat in the ring anyway. The 44-year-old businessman became Miramar’s first black mayor when he was elected in 2015. John Hickenlooper, former Governor of ColoradoBefore he served two terms as governor of Colorado, the 67-year-old Democrat worked as a geologist for a petroleum company. After a lay off, he switched careers and opened a successful brewpub in Denver that helped to revitalize the city’s downtown. Shares4646 Share on WhatsApp Asked on CBS’s Face the Nation if she might properly be described as a capitalist, Warren, a former Republican who has done pioneering academic work in the area of consumer debt, said: “Yeah.”“I believe in markets,” the Massachusetts Democrat said. “Markets that work. Markets that have a cop on the beat and have real rules and everybody follows them.”Interviewer Ed O’Keefe followed up: “So if you get labeled as a socialist –”“Well,” the senator replied, “it’s just wrong.”It is unclear if the “socialist” charge will gain traction with voters in a negative way as the election approaches. In Gallup polling last year, 57% of Democrats said they held a positive view of socialism, compared with 47% who said the same for capitalism. It should also be noted that 6% of all poll respondents defined socialism as “being social”.There is no doubt, however, that Trump intends to paint his opponents red.“We are born free, and we will stay safe,” he said in his State of the Union address last month. “Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.”Two weeks later, Trump told an audience in El Paso, Texas: “The Democrats have never been more outside of the mainstream. They’re becoming the party of socialism, late-term abortion, open borders and crime.”Warren, who among the emerging Democratic field has unique experience in designing protections for consumers against predatory lenders, credit card companies and abusive banking practices, has drawn fire for years from Republicans concerned for the wellbeing of the financial industry.As a candidate for president, the Massachusetts senator has proposed an “ultra-millionaire tax” on the country’s 75,000 richest families, universal childcare and “a new era of strong antitrust enforcement”. Was this helpful?
Share on WhatsApp Read more Share on Facebook Read more Los Angeles Last modified on Fri 12 Jul 2019 16.58 EDT Miami Topics Lunatic 19s: A Deportational Road Trip – powerful US immigration drama US mayors fight back and pledge help for migrants targeted in Ice raids Shares155155 America’s leading mayors have been teeing up resources in anticipation of helping those targeted by immigration raids slated to start on Sunday. Share via Email 4 out of 5 stars. After Trump first announced the raids last month, officials in a handful of the nine major cities being targeted – Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco – came out against the announcement and affirmed their support for immigrants in their cities.Because the raids are being conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice), a federal agency, local governments can do little to stop Ice agents from knocking on the doors of immigrants and potentially separating families.But that hasn’t stopped mayors from fighting against Ice and Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies.Some cities have set up know-your-rights hotlines and are offering money for legal counsel in the hope that support and resources will limit fear around the raids. Most mayors have said they have directed their local police departments not to cooperate with Ice.“What we are working on is doing everything we can to push back on everything that the Trump administration is doing,” said Chicago’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, at a press conference on Thursday. Lightfoot said the city had cut off Ice’s access to the Chicago police department’s database, though other federal agencies may still have access.In Baltimore, the mayor and police commissioner introduced a police department policy that prohibits officers from helping immigration officials in civil investigations.Along with support from various not-for-profit organizations, city councils in Chicago, Denver, Atlanta and Baltimore have set aside city funds for immigrant legal assistance. New York City has run its legal defense program for immigrants since 2013. US immigration The latest major Trump resignations and firings Officials to support undocumented migrants in their cities‘We’re doing everything we can … to push back against Trump’ In a press call, Denver’s mayor, Michael Hancock, expressed frustration that Trump was using immigrants to distract the public from problems in the White House.“He has used our vulnerable immigrants and refugees who are fearing for their very livelihoods and their families to distract us,” Hancock said. “Immigrants are productive contributors to the economic and social cultural fabric of our community, and when they feel unsafe, that is a problem.”The support of undocumented immigrants from local officials, in the midst of hostility towards them from the White House, builds on the sanctuary city movement.Many large cities – which tend to lean Democrat – have designated themselves as a sanctuary cities, adopting policies that terminated cooperation with Ice. The federal agency often turns to local police for information and temporary detention space when targeting undocumented immigrants.Of the nine cities where the raids will take place, six have designated themselves as sanctuary cities. Although Atlanta, Houston and Miami are not sanctuary cities, in part thanks to state laws that have banned sanctuary city policies, the three cities have historically been reluctant to cooperate with Ice.“It’s difficult as a leader because we’re all scrambling, mayors across the nation,” the mayor of Atlanta,r Keisha Bottoms, told CNN Friday morning. “How do we address this, how do we reassure our communities when we are dealing with the unknown, an unpredictable president who notifies us via Twitter?” Since you’re here… Baltimore Share on LinkedIn US immigration Share on Twitter … we have a small favour to ask. The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share via Email Houston Share on Messenger Reuse this content Denver news Lauren Aratani Support The Guardian Fri 12 Jul 2019 16.46 EDT Immigration activists in Washington protest against the planned immigration raids this weekend.Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images Share on Pinterest Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Chicago
Out of this world“You can see them change,” Oates said. “The biggest comment I hear from the kids is it’s a week when they don’t have to explain themselves to anyone, and they can relax and be with friends.”Each student graduates at the end of the week, with new skills, new friends and a new sense of confidence.“I feel bad taking the credit,” Oates said. “It’s the staff and the chaperones who are the magic. They are who changes their lives.”SCIVIS is a program that grew mostly by word of mouth from just a handful of students to hundreds. And 25 years later, it’s that program that is giving visually-impaired students the self-confidence to reach for the stars.“Time flies when you’re having fun. I can’t believe it’s been 25 years,” Oates said. “Every year we learn even more, more to improve on for the next year. Everyone should have the ability to be comfortable where they live, work and play, whether they have a disability or not. But it takes the commitment of organizations like Space Camp that believe in the importance of accessibility and continue to push for it.”Share this…TwitterFacebookPinterestLinkedInEmailPrint RelatedAM063 – TeachBlindStudents.orgAugust 10, 2012In “Accessibility Minute”AM128 – Be My Eyes AppMay 1, 2015In “Accessibility Minute”Bringing art to life for the blind and visually impairedSeptember 15, 2011In “Easter Seals Crossroads” Going up, up and away“As I started my work at the school, I got very much wrapped up into teaching and learning what makes the kids tick,” Oates said. It was originally only a three-month position, but Oates admitted he was enjoying the job more than he thought he would. Ralph Brewer was the principal of the school at the time.“Ralph was my mentor. He saw something in me I didn’t even realize was there. He saw the work I was doing with the students and encouraged me to pursue it.”The school offered to pay for Oates to get his master’s degree. He received his Master of Education from the University of Pittsburgh, with teacher certifications in blindness and low vision; orientation and mobility; and low-vision therapy.“I never really got it before,” Oates said. “I didn’t understand how shortsighted I was being. But there was something else at work — Ralph got me to Pitt and then back to Romney for a career. I have been blessed to find myself in the career I was really meant for.”And it has made all the difference. Oates is now retired from the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind after 30 years. He spent 14 years as an orientation and mobility instructor and 16 years as an outreach specialist, managing a program for West Virginia families with blind babies.“It has given me a real sense of purpose,” Oates said. “I can think back on all the families I’ve helped, and a lot of the students are now friends. Working with them has broadened me as an individual. It’s been amazing and has changed my life.” Each star has a different fate“I grew up in Romney,” Oates said. “It’s a very small community, and the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind are a big part of that community. My mother and uncle both worked there, and so I was always very connected to it.”Even so, in his younger days, Oates had the wrong perception of the school and its students. He didn’t think it was in his future to have any association with the school. He called it “the ignorance of my youth.”Oates went to Fairmont State University in West Virginia and earned his Bachelor of Science in recreation management, securing a successful job and comfortable life. But due to federal funding issues, that job ended — leaving Oates looking for something he could do to help pay the bills in the meantime. He found himself using his recreation skills to demonstrate chair caning — a weaving method — as part of a job teaching local crafts classes.“At the time, I didn’t think I should be teaching a crafts class,” Oates said. “I didn’t think I should be sharing an office with a 74-year-old, teaching a class to people about how to cane chairs.”Then, one day, Oates got an interesting call. The person on the line asked Oates if he thought he could teach a blind student how to cane a chair. It was the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind.“Chair caning — it was a vocation the school wanted to keep alive, as an industry for blind people to get involved in and become employed. And they wanted to know if I could teach blind students how to cane chairs. I knew I could.” It’s interesting how things come together in the right place at the right time. The launch of an ideaSpace Camp® launched in 1982 as the brainchild of rocket scientist, Dr. Wernher von Braun. Then director of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, von Braun believed there should be a place for young people to experience the excitement of space. Under the guidance of Edward Buckbee, the first director of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Space Camp was born.“In 1989, a woman inquired about the space programs available for adults, but when she told them she was blind, they apologized but said she couldn’t participate,” Oates said.Believing Space Camp is run by NASA, the woman penned a letter to her congressman, complaining NASA had refused her access to their facility, and as a U.S. government agency, it was against the law. Her congressman forwarded the letter to Buckbee, who wanted to find a way to make the Space Camp experience one for people of all ages — and all abilities.So he called back to his hometown of Romney, W.Va., where the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind were located. Could a space program be accessible? Could it be adapted to suit the needs of visually-impaired students? Superintendent Max Carpenter believed it could.And so did Dan Oates, who was at the time working at the Schools for the Deaf and Blind.But Oates’ placement at the school and belief in the dream that would become SCIVIS came as the result of quite an interesting journey. The stars align for SCIVISAll the stars aligned when fellow Romney resident Edward Buckbee was looking for a way to make Space Camp accessible to the blind. When Buckbee contacted the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind about creating a space program for the visually impaired, Oates wanted to help.The Space Camp home base was in Huntsville, Ala. That’s where Buckbee was working at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, and it made sense to start SCIVIS there. Plus, they could use the facilities and materials from Space Camp, an unparalleled environment with historic space, aviation and defense hardware.For the first 15 years or so, all the kids attending SCIVIS were from the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind. But one day in 2006, that all changed.“John Thompson, the executive director of the Lighthouse for the Blind in St. Louis, contacted me to learn more about SCIVIS,” Oates said. “He was very interested in creating some experiences for the students of Missouri through the Lighthouse.”Originally known as Industrial Aid for the Blind, Inc., the Lighthouse had heard of SCIVIS through word of mouth and saw promise in the program. That year, Thompson sent a handful of kids to try out what has turned into an annual program running the last full week of September. Today the Lighthouse is sending nearly 40 kids to take part in SCIVIS each year.And just this year, another shooting star appeared. As part of its “See the Future” program, the Lighthouse wanted to reinvest into programs for the blind and donated $50,000 to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center Foundation, which manages the scholarship programs to students for space camp.With that donation, Oates was tasked with developing SCIVIS on an international level, adding culture, diversity and a greater reach. He reached out to organizations working with visually-impaired people, parent associations for the blind and foundations for the blind.“John (Thompson) realized those kids probably weren’t going to get to travel the world,” Oates said. “He wanted to enrich their lives by bringing the culture of students from other states and countries to them.”In this year’s SCIVIS program, there were more than 200 students involved — from 24 states and 11 countries. Mission control, do you read me?“The most important component, other than the students, is the chaperones,” Oates said. “They have to find the kids who are interested, make sure they are ready to go and prepare them for the adventure. They serve as advisors to the SCIVIS staff.”All the chaperones are teachers in the fields of visual impairment, orientation mobility, Braille transcription or teachers from schools for the blind. They act as technical support for any vision issues.But the “crew trainers,” as they are called, are in charge of the space program experience. They are young people who have completed at least two years of college and have had extensive training in how to work with visually-impaired kids and the space program.“Every team is made up of 12 to 16 kids, and each team has a crew trainer,” Oates said. “He or she is responsible for their week and molding them into a team.”Each child must be independent and able to take care of their daily needs as well as have a basic understanding of English. They must be comfortable with being away from home, since the overnight camp is a week.“The program is geared toward astronaut training, with a number of simulators like what an astronaut would train on,” Oates said. “There are capsule and shuttle simulators, mission control room and space stations.”What is a typical day at SCIVIS like? The students start with breakfast, and then they may head to a briefing to hear how the space shuttle works. Then, it’s time for mission training — where each student is given a specific role for a simulated mission, whether commander of the space shuttle, station scientist or the flight director at mission control.After that, it’s off to a simulator experience where they can learn the feeling of an atmosphere with no gravity. Then it’s lunch and time for the actual mission, where they assume the role they learned earlier that morning. Oh, and how about an IMAX movie and a tour of the rocket park?And it’s all accessible — made especially for those kids with vision impairments. There are adaptations everywhere. Braille and large-print materials are available, and there is a vast array of magnification devices. The computers in mission control have speech and screen enlargement software, and there are accessibility features in whatever media is being used.“The kids are surprised by the accessibility,” Oates said. “It’s not something they are used to seeing. They walk into this public place, and someone hands them everything in Braille. Twenty-five years ago when we started this program, we provided all the materials ourselves. But as a huge credit to Space Camp, when they did a technology upgrade in 2006, they got with the accessibility manufacturers and made sure with the software upgrade there would be total accessibility for the SCIVIS attendees.” 25 years of spaceSCIVIS takes place at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. It’s coordinated by teachers of visually-impaired students and is composed of four separate programs: Space Camp; Space Academy; Advanced Academy Focus on Space Travel; and Aviation Challenge.It’s also completely accessible — computers used by the students are adapted for speech and large-print output, and materials and equipment used during the mission simulations are available in Braille and large print.SCIVIS Program Coordinator Dan Oates has a creed the camp follows. “At our beginning, many were given little chance but due to the people in our lives, we find ourselves in a wonderful place with wonderful people. Let us flourish in our learning, find joy in our experiences and remember our friends and knowledge we gained at Space Camp.”And this year, SCIVIS celebrated its 25th anniversary. Twenty-five years of creating an intangible feeling that comes with visually-impaired students enjoying themselves, making peer group connections and learning about the mystery and adventure of space.But SCIVIS didn’t make it through a quarter-century without bumping into some moon rocks along the way. Writer: Tiffany Whisner, Coles MarketingIt’s a week-long camp giving visually-impaired students an experience that’s truly “out of this world.” Since it began in 1989, Space Camp for Interested Visually-Impaired Students (SCIVIS) has offered kids with special visual needs the chance to do everything Space Camp® has to offer — from learning how the space shuttle works to taking part in a real-life mission simulation.But SCIVIS has something else other camps don’t. It lets students with visual impairments learn and have fun just being themselves with others who are just like them.What may be a small step for others — is a huge step for them.
Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadYour weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.Show notes:CTA Foundation – Steve Ewell – Executive Director, Consumer Technology Association Foundation | https://www.cta.tech/CTA-Foundation.aspxMake government buildings easier to access for differently-abled : Supreme Court http://bit.ly/2z6fMirA more accessible future: AirPods, hearing aids, and the audio technology to make it possible http://bit.ly/2oZoJKJ——————————If you have an AT question, leave us a voice mail at: 317-721-7124 or email firstname.lastname@example.orgCheck out our web site: https://www.eastersealstech.comFollow us on Twitter: @INDATAprojectLike us on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/INDATA——-transcript follows ——STEVE EWELL: Hi, this is Steve Ewell, and I’m the Executive Director of the Consumer Technology Association Foundation, and this is your Assistive Technology Update.WADE WINGLER: Hi, this is Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals crossroads in Indiana with your Assistive Technology Update, a weekly dose of information that keeps you up-to-date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs. Welcome to episode number 343 of Assistive Technology Update. It’s scheduled to be released on December 22, 2017. Merry Christmas.Today my guest is Steve Ewell who is the executive director of the Consumer Technology Association Foundation, or the CTA foundation. Also we have a story about the Supreme Court demanding that government buildings become easier to access for the differently abled. Interesting. Didn’t we do that already? There’s a teaser. You’ll find out more when I read the story. Also, a past, present, and future perspective from 9to5mac on how Apple is making hearing technology more accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.We hope you check out our website at www.eastersealstech.com. Not only will you find the show and our YouTube channel, but you also find our other podcast like Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions and Accessibility Minute. We also love to hear from you on our listener line. The number is 317-721-7124. Or you can also shoot us a note on Twitter at INDATA Project.***As we ended the year here, I tend to wax philosophical. You might not be surprised when I got stuck when I started to read this article. I’ll just read a little bit here to you because it shocks me. It says, “The Supreme Court on Friday ordered that accessibility to building of the central and state governments should be made easier for differently abled people. A bunch of justices issued 11 directions requiring both the center and state governments to provide accessibility features like ramps, accessible toilets, elevator with braille symbols, and auditory signals for the physically challenged persons in such buildings including educational institutions, railway stations, airports, and public transport.”While you may think I’m reading a historical document from the US, what I’m actually reading is an article that was published on 15 December in 2017, but in New Delhi India. So for my listeners here in the states who are almost celebrating 30 years of the Americans with disabilities act, the same sort of like a blast from the past. But actually, things in India are just unfolding to meet some of those guidelines. The article goes on to talk about that there are regional advisory boards being established to work on these issues and help provide guidance. I have to say I’m humbled and my eyes are open a little bit today as I read this and realize I’ve sort of taken for granted some of the accessibility we had in the United States. At the same time, I want to cheer on the folks in India who are champing these accessibility issues.If you would like to read the details, I’ll pop a link in the show notes to this Darya 5 News blog post where the headline is, “Make government buildings easier to access for the differently abled.” Check our show notes.***I found a really good article over at 9to5 Mac by Michal Stever where he spent quite a lot of time talking about – the title is, “A more accessible future: AirPods, hearing aids, and the audio technology to make it possible.” The article is pretty interesting. He breaks down sort of the past, present, and future of what Apple has been doing in terms of hearing assistive technology. He talks about the fact that Apple has been interested in accessibility for decades, and that one of the first things they did in terms of hearing accessibility was to support hearing aids in connection with an iPhone. For example, they talk about their Made For iPhone, or MFI licensing program being expanded to be allowed to cover hearing devices. That used Bluetooth low energy technology with some other proprietary audio transmission. What that means is that, for a while now, a lot of hearing aids have been able to connect directly to an iPhone. Also he talked about the fact that that technology was expanded to work with cochlear implants. We are starting to see some situations where an Apple device or iPhone can talk directly to a cochlear implant for the purposes of telephone calls and music and those kinds of things.We then spent a lot of time in the article talking about AirPods, which is a fairly new wireless set of headphones that Apple created. It’s powered by an Apple designed W1 chip that is able to do all kinds of interesting things in terms of knowing about relative positioning of the devices as well as some interesting things related to sound cancellation. These are really good at figuring out who was talking, whether the owner of the phone, the person talking on the phone, and what is background noise, and they are able to do some remarkable things in terms of making telephone calls more clear.Obviously Steiber is interested in the fact that that kind of technology might be expanded or used in amplification systems. In fact, he talks about the fact that there are some other offerings like personal sound amplification systems like Bose Hearphones or a Hear one earbud from a company called Dopler Labs, which is now defunct. He also talks about the fact that there are apps that get your iPhone to behave like they are a hearing aid or edification device. He is encouraged about what the AirPods and other developing technology like the HomePod might do in terms of future accessibility for hearing.He has a lot of ideas about using an iPhone for live translation and automatic transcription of conversations, about users who might have hearing difficulties using them like a walkie-talkie to talk back and forth. He also fully acknowledges that there are some challenges related to fully using Apple technology for assistive hearing. You talk about battery life, for example. He says that while hearing aid batteries last a couple of weeks, AirPods are only getting a few hours right now. That would need to be conquered. He also talks about the fact that the FDA doesn’t approve these kinds of devices as medical devices, which might impact funding availability.I think it’s a fairly good, well written, and balanced article as well. He talks about some of the opposition expressed by people who have concerns about where Apple is going with this stuff. It is a good read. I’m going to pop a link in the show notes over to his blog post at 9to5 Mac and I encourage you to check it out if you’re at all interested in assistive technology and hearing issues, because it is pretty interesting stuff.***Our show tends to reach a large audience, and people who are in all areas interested in accessibility and assistive technology tend to get something from the show. I was so excited when he reached out to the CTA Foundation, which is the Consumer Technology Association Foundation. They recently have won some awards and things that happened that I think are not only exciting but also relevant to what we talk about here on the show. I was so excited when Steve Ewell who is the executive director of the consumer technology Association foundation agreed to come on the show and talk with us a little bit about what’s happening over at the CTA and the CTA Foundation.Enough of my rambling. Let’s get over to Steve. Welcome and thank you for being on the show today.STEVE EWELL: Thank you. I’m really happy to join. I’m a fan of the show as well as an active listener. I’m really happy to be here and talk about some of the things we have going on.WADE WINGLER: We always appreciate your listening so thank you for taking time out and doing that. Thank you more for being on the show today. I want to know a little bit about you personally and how you became interested in the CTA and your role with the foundation.STEVE EWELL: Absolutely. To be honest, I came to this position about – it’s almost 6 years ago now – when the CTA was looking to start a charitable foundation. I was recruited to come in and help set up this foundation. But to be honest, I’m a tech geek. I just love playing with gadgets and different types of technologies. It’s been something that’s always been a passion of mine. But I had also spent most of my career in the nonprofit world working, quite frankly, on different issues. I was doing cyber security and critical infrastructure protection and things along those lines. I really had a love of technology, and the opportunity to come help set up a foundation and work with the innovators and the technology world as well as people both in the aging and disability communities. It was a great opportunity and I left at it.WADE WINGLER: It so that you and I might be cut from the same cloth. So far everything you said about your stuff and your interest our stuff I’m interested in as well. Here’s a surprise question. Star Wars or Star Trek? Where are you?STEVE EWELL: Probably more of a Star Wars. Quite frankly I do like a little bit of both of them, but probably the real love is with Star Wars.WADE WINGLER: There you go. I’m bilingual. More Star Trek for me – I’m a next-generation kid. But I can roll.STEVE EWELL: I get it. I watched plenty of that stuff myself.WADE WINGLER: Talk to us about the CTA, the Consumer Technology Association, and then let’s talk about the foundation and what the differences are and we will get into accessibility stuff. What is the CTA?STEVE EWELL: The Consumer Technology Association is a trade association. They represent over 2,200 technology companies in the US. Many of them are the large global brands that all of your listeners will know, but actually 80 percent of their members are small businesses and startups, everything from app manufacturers to hardware manufacturers, the installers who may come and install the technology in someone’s home, really across the entire technology industry. It’s been amazing to see how that has grown over the last few years and decades.The CTA Foundation is an affiliated organization. We are a charitable foundation that was set up by the CTA in 2012. We are essentially a way for the industry to give back. It’s interesting because when the CTA started the foundation and put together the initial Board of Trustees, which is made up of people from across the technology industry, essentially they said set a machine where technology can actually make a difference – that is very important given who we are – but also look at an area that may be doesn’t get the attention that it deserves. When we looked around and realize there is a lot of great work going on with kids in STEM education – and we highly encourage our companies to do work in that space – but rather than become one more organization working in that space, the board really wanted to see how we can work with both the aging population as well as people with disabilities. When we looked at the numbers in philanthropy, aging only gets about two percent of philanthropic grants in the US, and disability is only about four percent. We saw a real opportunity to get engaged. At than what we have been looking to do over the last two years.The one other thing I will mention about the Consumer Technology Association is one of the things it is best known for is it runs a large technology trade show called CES, which happens every January in Las Vegas. It’s an amazing time to get together with innovators from across the industry and look at what are the things that are coming and what are some of the technology that are on the market today.WADE WINGLER: That’s good. CES, I haven’t been there in a lot of years. I need to get out there again because I know there are lots of cool things. Talk to me more about the foundation and how accessibility fits into this.STEVE EWELL: Absolutely. Accessibility is at the heart. When we’re looking at how technology can benefit older adults and people with disabilities, we see accessible technology has to be at the core of the conversation. Certainly we look at the traditional assistive technology markets, and we do engage with many of those companies, but also the broader general technology consumer technology markets and where there are opportunities, whether it is iOS, android, and other operating systems and the accessibility that is built into them, but then how that ties into the broader accessibility ecosystem through Internet of things, smart home technology is, smart cities, really across the board there is an accessibility component. We do a lot of work as a foundation supporting organizations that are using technology. We give grants to a number of nonprofit organizations including one I purchased about from listening to your show, your friends down in Houston at BridgingApps with their program to categorize and help people identify the apps that can help people with a wide variety of disabilities. We also work with the industry to understand why it’s so important to address accessibility.Out at CES, we have a number of activities we do throughout the week. Everything from having panels – this year we will be talking about smart home accessibility. We will be having a panel on self driving accessibility. We will have an accessibility marketplace. The way the show floor is set up, there are different marketplaces. Everything from augmented reality to health and fitness, there is an accessibility marketplace that we’ve had the last few years. But then really a lot of the messaging we are starting to share this year is it is not just the accessibility marketplace, but there is accessible technology from one side of the show to the next. We really want to be able to highlight the different types of technologies that are out there. We would love to get back out there one of these days and show you some of the technology that are there. We will also have representatives from many of the accessibility advocacy organization that we work with, some of their leadership will be out there and doing readings with different technology companies.There is a section of the show called Eureka Park which is where all the startups are. This year we will have about 800 startups in that section of the show alone. One of the things our foundation does is we run a contest partnering with Extreme Tech Challenge where we allow startup companies to submit photos for how the technologies could benefit either older adults or people with disabilities. We select five startups to come to CES and show their technology and have a chance to give them some attention. We have five that we have selected and will have this year. This is the third time we’ve done it. We have a company called Project Ray which is using essentially a scanner for android phones for people who are blind or low vision. A company out of France called Lily Smart that’s a home sensor-based system. Sign All which is out of hungry, which is using automated sign language translation. Sofie Hub which is out of Australia which is the set of sensors and Internet of things devices. In a company out of Austin Texas called Unali Wear which has a smart watch designed for seniors. I think there will be a lot of exciting technologies there but certainly also across the entire show.WADE WINGLER: I know you have a lot of different things going on. What are some of the other project you’re working on these days?STEVE EWELL: There is a wide variety. I already mentioned some of the grant programs. We do have grants that are located from across the states with a wide variety of different programs. Some of the other work we’ve been doing, this year we actually partnered with IBM and a company called Local Motors to crowd source Accessible Ollie. It is and accessible self driving bus. It’s been interesting. We went around and met with many other different disability organizations, the aging organizations, as well as an online competition for people from around the world to submit ideas of what is their ideal experience if they were to ride on the self driving bus and what ideas would they like incorporated to help them regardless of age or ability. We got a lot of really interesting ideas. We are in the middle of working to see how we can help incorporate some of those. We will have a pilot of that at CES in January. That’s really exciting project.We also have a fellowship program. We have our first fellow supported by Qualcomm working on sensors, essentially always connected, small, long-term wearable sensors for people with dementia to help detect not only that a fall has occurred but the severity of a fall and other caregivers to that, how someone might have fallen and when they fell to get a quick response. That’s something we are working to expand our fellowship and work with different universities across the country. There are a lot of exciting opportunities there as well.WADE WINGLER: For people who listen to our interviews, they might have figured out I really try to ask who, what, when, where, how, why questions to get to the story. That leads me to the who question. I know there are a lot of organizations involved in your work. Who are some of the players?STEVE EWELL: There are a couple of different answers that question. The “who” that is involved with the CTA Foundation is my Board of Trustees, which are made up of a wide variety of technology executives. They represent everything from large companies like Samsung and LG and Google and companies along those lines to actually a number of smaller companies as well. We have a number of people on our board who are from the disability community. They also happen to be technology executives. For instance, Mike May from Sendaro Group and Matt Ader from VFO and Cara Woo from Dopler Labs are all members of our Board of Trustees. That something that I think is really important to help us properly engage with the communities that we are focused on working with.Then as far as organization we are working with, many of the national organizations – the American Foundation for the Blind, Hearing Loss Association of America, kind of across the different disability organizations we try to engage with many of the groups. Some we have given grants and support to. Others we have supported conferences or participated in other activities. We want to try to engage with as many people as we can.We are a small foundation. We are a staff of the two, so we tried to operate on a fairly efficient manner. There’s always far more opportunity to do things than time in the day, unfortunately. We try to work with as many groups as we can.WADE WINGLER: Collaboration is key, especially when we are talking about this kind of work. As I was looking at the CTA website, I noticed some areas that piqued my interest, things like self driving cars, drones, energy efficiency. What is your take on how accessibility might be relevant to some of those topics?STEVE EWELL: That goes back to the whole idea that accessibility cuts across the many different categories of consumer technology these days. For instance, I mentioned the project we are doing on Accessible Ollie. When we look at self driving vehicles, or quite friendly transportation solutions in general, having technologies that enable people to get about, whether it is driving themselves, whether it is taking advantage of ridesharing and other disruptive services along those lines, or taking public transportation, we really see that those are great opportunities for technology to help enable people to keep the independence.When we look at things like drones, there are a lot of opportunities for those to be used, whether it is looking at it from a delivery perspective, whether it is looking at it from an entertainment perspective, having those devices be accessible for people to use, I think that’s an important piece.Then when we look at things like smart home technology, it’s amazing to see the number of devices that we can now control from the palm of our hands. Now it’s not even necessarily saying for the palm of our hands because we can talk to different devices in our homes and know whether the doors are locked, know how we can adjust the lighting and thermostat. That also plays into the aging and caregiving perspectives that we’re looking at of being able to, with the right privacy controls, give loved ones the opportunity to check in and see is the door locked in the middle of the night or is the thermostat set to a reasonable temperature. That provides a little bit of peace of mind if you have loved ones on the other side of the country or other side of the world that you are helping care for.WADE WINGLER: We have alluded to this in talking about partnerships, but how is the foundation funded?STEVE EWELL: Right now the vast majority of our funding comes from the Association. They’ve given us start up funding to get this program going. We use that, one, to cover our overhead so when we are going out and talking to our organizations about support, they are not necessarily contributing to keep me sitting here. CTA is able to help cover those costs. Instead, that means the donor contributions are able to go out to our programs, whether it is research or funding grant programs and other support that we are able to do. We have a number of companies and individuals that have funded and supported our programs. That is something, as you know coming from the nonprofit world, we are always actively looking for additional supporters. Thanks to CTA, we’ve been able to build our program and build our story before we’ve had to worry about getting the funding to do the programs. We’ve been able to get things going and are able to engage with others to help augment that support.WADE WINGLER: I’m going to ask you to put your visionary goggles on for a minute. What does success look like for the CTA foundation? When you say man, we got there. We did it. What does it look like?STEVE EWELL: I want to see people regardless of their age or ability to be able to live independently in the way they want to live. Whether that is living at home by themselves, if it is living in a group facility, I think technology really has an opportunity to help provide those options for people. That’s the other thing I look at here, is technology doesn’t replace the people in the system. It’s that replacing the caregivers or social workers or the others in this space. Especially as we look at the changing demographics in the United States and around the world, the ratio of caregivers to older adults is shrinking to the point where technology can be a tool that can help create quality of life for everyone, whether it is someone who is older and needs care or someone taking care of them or someone with a disability, really across the spectrum. I’m excited to see the technology that are being developed that can help create that independence.WADE WINGLER: I agree. I share a vision and I like it. We are out of time for the interview today, but before we finish up, if people want to learn more about the CTA, the foundation, or they wanted to reach out to you, what should they do? Is there contact information?STEVE EWELL: Absolutely. They can go on the web to CTAFoundation.tech. They can reach out to me via email at email@example.com. Or follow us on Twitter at @CTAFoundation. All of those sources I am happy to hear from people, talk to different organizations, and see how we can help.WADE WINGLER: Steve Ewell is the executive director of the Consumer Technology Association Foundation and has been our guest today. Thank you so much.STEVE EWELL: Thank you for having me.WADE WINGLER: Do you have a question about assistive technology? Do you have a suggestion for someone we should interview on Assistive Technology Update? Call our listener line at 317-721-7124, shoot us a note on Twitter @INDATAProject, or check us out on Facebook. Looking for a transcript or show notes from today’s show? Head on over to www.EasterSealstech.com. Assistive Technology Update is a proud member of the Accessibility Channel. Find more shows like this plus much more over at AccessibilityChannel.com. That was your Assistance Technology Update. I’m Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana.***Transcript provided by TJ Cortopassi. For requests and inquiries, contact firstname.lastname@example.org***Share this…TwitterFacebookPinterestLinkedInEmailPrint RelatedATU122 – ADEC’s Grass Roots Assistive Technology Initiatives (Steve Germani), myDynavox, Described TV feedback requested, WADA Radio, Voice Dream, Zoomtext and Google ChromeSeptember 27, 2013In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU013: About.com (Andrew Leibs) CSUN call for papers, Typ-O app, Steve Jobs resigns, new Autism ABA project, Q&AAugust 26, 2011In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU019: Serotalk (Mike Lauf), Steve Jobs 1955-2011, iPhone 4s, Amazon Kindle Fire, Supplemented Speech Recognition, Accessible Religious TextsOctober 7, 2011In “Assistive Technology Update”
New screen-reading functionality and accessibility checks ensure inclusive email design Litmus’ new accessibility checks show whether an email’s design and code complies with key accessibility best practices. Litmus Expands Accessibility Features for Email Marketers Looking to Maximize Engagement Business WireJuly 9, 2019, 10:40 pmJuly 9, 2019 In just one click, the new accessibility testing features give Litmus users an efficient and thorough accessibility check, making it easier than ever to ensure that all subscribers can receive and understand their messages, whether they are reading the email directly or utilizing an assistive device.“Inclusivity is important to Epsilon,” said Mike Dugo, manager of QA analysis, Epsilon. “Litmus’ enhanced accessibility checks, including the new screen reader audio preview, are game changers and enable us to deploy email communications with the confidence they’ll resonate with more subscribers than ever.”Marketing Technology News: Tencent Champions “Tech for Good” in CannesIn addition to audio previews, Litmus’ new accessibility checks show whether an email’s design and code complies with key accessibility best practices. With a thorough check of the email’s Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), the images, content hierarchy, and more, Litmus identifies areas of improvement and provides marketers with actionable advice on how to make their emails more accessible. These new checks ensure that it’s easy for both subscribers and screen readers to understand the language and structure of email content. This functionality has been consolidated into a new section within the Litmus Checklist, making it seamless for Litmus customers to implement accessibility checks into their workflow.Marketing Technology News: Only 6% of Small Businesses Focused on Retaining Customers, Despite Main Digital Marketing Goal of Increasing Sales email marketingEngagementLitmusMike DugoNewsRichard Yu Previous ArticleGliaStudio Delivers AI-Powered Video Creation Solutions on Google Cloud Platform MarketplaceNext ArticleHow Businesses Can Decipher Customer Data Using VoC Analytics Programs | A Free Resource by Quantzig Litmus, a leader in email marketing and analytics, announced new accessibility testing features, including the ability to hear an audio recording of how an email will be read by a screen reader. Litmus is the only email testing platform that provides these audio previews, making the company’s accessibility preview checks the most complete and comprehensive solution available globally. “With more than a billion visually impaired people globally, accessibility has evolved from a buzzword to a core design requirement for emails,” said Richard Yu, senior vice president of product, Litmus. “Litmus is providing industry-leading solutions to enable email marketers to easily deliver accessible and inclusive email design.”Marketing Technology News: Salesforce’s $15.7 Billion Tableau Acquisition Highlights Big Data as Key Theme, Says GlobalData
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