April Norman


Conservative trustees oust president at Florida’s New College amid leadership overhaul


A leadership switch from President Patricia Okker to Corcoran as interim leader is one of several moves made Tuesday by the board, which also signaled its intent to abolish diversity, equity and inclusion programs on campus — all policies pushed by DeSantis. The changes are major developments at the school spurred by the new appointees, including Christopher Rufo, a conservative activist who has advised DeSantis on critical race theory, and Eddie Speir, the co-founder of Inspiration Academy, a Christian charter school in Bradenton, Fla.

Tuesday’s meeting was met with apprehension from dozens of students and parents who protested what they called a “hostile takeover” at New College. They urged Okker to stay on as president and push back against the new mandates from the DeSantis administration to model the school as a “Hillsdale of the South” in reference to the private conservative religious “classical“ college in Michigan.

Okker in an emotional address told the board — and the campus — that she couldn’t continue to serve as president amid accusations that the students are being inundated with liberal indoctrination.

“The reality is, and it’s a hard reality and it’s a sad reality, but the vision that we created together is not the vision I have been given as a mandate here,” Okker said.

In remaking the board at New College, the DeSantis administration said the school was “completely captured by a political ideology that puts trendy, truth-relative concepts above learning” and in need of change following downward enrollment trends. To move on from Okker, trustees agreed to a “generous” exit package that includes at least 12 months of paid professional development leave and benefits. Corcoran is unable to begin serving until March, leaving Okker’s chief of staff Bradley Thiessen in charge until then.

“New leadership is the expectation and I think it makes sense,” Rufo said at the meeting. “I don’t think it’s a condemnation of Dr. Okker, scholarship or skills or character.”

DeSantis’ changes at New College follow other efforts to reshape higher education in Florida. Earlier Tuesday, the GOP governor proposed several changes to Florida’s university system, including pressing the GOP-led Legislature to cut all funding for diversity, equity and inclusion programs and to allow university leaders to launch tenure review of professors. Last year, DeSantis and state Republicans placed GOP allies in top university posts and pushed legislation that could limit how professors teach race.

New College is also now set to review its Office of Outreach & Inclusive Excellence at the request of Rufo as part of the state’s stance against diversity, equity and inclusion programs in schools. Rufo originally pushed to abolish the office outright, including four positions, and take other actions tied to diversity and equity, but decided to request further details on the program for a discussion in February.

Tuesday’s meeting was tense at times, with audience members frequently shouting over and at the new trustees as they spoke. Several parents and students addressed the board before they huddled, often criticizing their plans to retool the university and asking them to leave the college alone.

Some faculty said students felt “hopeless” about what could happen at the school, which is a unique college of under 700 undergraduates where students craft personalized education plans and don’t receive letter grades.

“Many students came here to feel safe and access the education that is their right as Floridians,” Diego Villada, Assistant Professor of Theater and Performance Studies, told the board. “And the impulse to make this a place where race, intersectionality and DEI are banned indicates to them that you want everyone to be the same – to be like you.”

Trustees, though, made it clear that the New College overhaul is fully underway, a message that came the same day DeSantis pledged to invest millions of dollars into recruiting faculty to the school.

“The campus needs a deep culture change. You sat up here, you called us racists, sexists, bigots, outsiders,” said trustee Mark Bauerlein, professor emeritus of English at Emory University who was appointed by DeSantis. “We are now in a position of authority in the college. And the accusations are telling us that something is wrong here.”


Source link

read more

Idaho Murder Suspect’s Lawyer Has Represented At Least THREE Of The Victims’ Parents!


Well, this is awkward. But is it ethical??

Bryan Kohberger is set to face trial in the coming months for the shocking murders of four University of Idaho students. But will it be with his current legal team?

His current lawyer is the public defender from nearby Kootenai County, a woman named Anne Taylor. But there’s a bit of an issue with her representing him. We learned last week that she had previously represented one of the victims’ parents. She had Xana Kernodle‘s mother as a client, 43-year-old Cara Kernodle, at the time the murder case came in. She quickly dropped that case after working on it a month, subbing in a new public defender, to jump over to defend Kohberger.

Huh?? Why? Aren’t there more public defenders? Well, as it turns out, not so many who have handled a capital murder case. In fact, she’s apparently the only one in North Idaho. Many critics have accused her of clout-chasing — as this case will be in a media spotlight from beginning to end. But it’s possible she was just the only one in the region qualified. Like we’ve said before, this isn’t the type of thing they see every day there.

Related: Cops Found Blood And Hairs At Kohberger’s Apartment

Only… it’s starting to look more and more like the Public Defender’s office might need to bring in someone from out of town. See, as it turns out Anne Taylor also represented ANOTHER victim’s parents!

In a jaw-dropping coincidence, Inside Edition reported over the weekend that records show Taylor represented Maddie Mogen‘s father, too. Benjamin Mogen faced two misdemeanor drug charges in 2020, and as his public defender Taylor got him a deal where he pleaded guilty to one and was sentenced to 90 days.

But that’s not all! She also represented Maddie’s stepmother, Korie Hatrock, who faced one misdemeanor and two felony drug counts. The more serious matter took longer but also resulted in a plea deal, to a single felony charge. The case seems to have been closed by December 28 of last year — two days before Kohberger’s surprise arrest.

That makes THREE parents of the four victims that Taylor represented. If it had a whiff of conflict of interest before, it’s an overwhelming stink now. Boise, Idaho defense attorney Edwina Elcox weighed in, telling Fox News Digital in particular the ongoing Kernodle case and her sudden abandonment of it was particularly problematic. She quipped:

“I wouldn’t touch that with a 10-foot pole. It just doesn’t seem right.”

However, she did concede:

“It’s not normal, but again this case isn’t normal. [Latah County] is a much smaller jurisdiction, where they may not have the resources and have somebody that is qualified to deal with the magnitude of this case.”

As for suggestions she’s doing it for attention, well, as LA defense attorney Lara Yerestrian told Fox, defending accused murderers isn’t the kind of attention folks usually want:

“It’s not the most popular thing to do, so you know that she’s not doing it necessarily for her career. She’s doing it because I’m assuming as a criminal defense attorney and a believer in the concept of a fair trial and our constitutional rights, she’s doing what she believes is her calling and her job, and that is to defend a defendant who’s been arrested and charged, even if it’s seen as a heinous crime to everyone. It’s what she does.”

But former prosecutor Neama Rahmani thinks regardless of intentions, it’s just too precarious:

“It’s a potential conflict of interest at best, and maybe an actual conflict if Taylor received confidential information related to the Kohberger case from any of the victims’ parents.”

You certainly don’t want anything with even the hint of impropriety in a case like this — not just because of how it looks under that media spotlight but also because you don’t want this to end in a mistrial for any reason.

What do YOU think? Should Anne Taylor be recused from the case??

[Image via KREM 2/YouTube/Xana Kernodle/Instagram.]


Source link

read more

Omar, now a Dem unifier, faces down her GOP critics


With what she sees as some of her most important work on the Hill under threat, Omar’s fellow Democrats are rallying around her and looking past the previous controversies, including members who once criticized her for remarks on Israel and U.S. foreign policy. No longer a fresh-faced new member, she’s formed alliances with powerful players and groups who are ready to jump to her defense. Asked about her Democratic support in a Tuesday interview with POLITICO, Omar responded with the advice she said her father used to give: “It’s hard to hate up close.”

It’s clear that Omar sees the Foreign Affairs panel as more than just a committee position. The assignment is personal, given her background as a Black Muslim woman whose family had fled the Somali Civil War. After bearing firsthand witness to the impact of the Cold War on U.S. policy in Africa, she said, she even campaigned on wanting to be on the panel — making her one of the few lawmakers to do so besides a former chair, Eliot Engel.

After coming to the U.S. admiring the country’s ideals, Omar said, her goal was to “make sure those values and ideals are actually being lived out in the policies that we put forth and the ways in which we carry out those policies, and that they don’t just remain a myth.”

And the fight to keep her spot has become personal, too. Controversy over her past comments has aimed a deluge of invectives, abuse and even death threats at the high-profile progressive. Just before the interview Tuesday, her office received a phone call unpleasant enough that a staffer politely ended the call within seconds of picking up.

“This isn’t about reprimand. This isn’t about accountability, because I’ve held myself accountable,” she said.

Fellow “squad” member Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) attributed the rush to boot Omar to fellow lawmakers making snap judgments based on sound bites or tweets before getting to know her personally, describing an unwillingness to “get the context to understand the person, meet the person and know the person.”

“But I think that since she’s been here, people have been able to see who she is, and to understand her position better,” Bush said.

If Republicans do prevail in Wednesday’s vote to remove Omar from her Foreign Affairs perch, she said she worries about it further dividing the panel — injecting more partisan politics into an area that typically requires more cross-party unity on both policy and bipartisan trips abroad.

Her Republican counterpart on the Africa subpanel, Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) has been publicly noncommittal on how he’ll vote on the removal resolution, and she observed that when Democrats eventually retake the House, “I will have the gavel, and they will end up being my ranking, and that changes the dynamic and the relationship.”

Meanwhile, Democrats have been trying to lobby their Republican colleagues to support Omar. New York Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), the party’s top member on the Foreign Affairs panel, said some Republicans had privately indicated to him they wished the whole issue would just “go away” because they didn’t actually want to vote to remove her, though the New Yorker declined to identify whom.

Omar too said she had been talking with “a few” Republicans about her panel assignment, but she also declined to name the members.

And she’s not alone in her fight, drawing from strong wells of support both within the Congressional Black Caucus and among previously critical Democrats. She’s been spotted having intense, one-on-one conversations during votes this week with some of Democrats’ strongest Israel proponents, like Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), and had a long hallway conversation with Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who’s long helped lead an annual tour to Israel.

“I think we’re rallying around her like we would any member,” said Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), who as Black Caucus chair last Congress made a point of building bridges with the group’s more liberal members like Omar.

Then there’s Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), who’d condemned Omar’s rhetoric in previous rounds of controversy in what he said “now seems like forever ago.” But in this case, he added, “to politicize the committee assignments is something I think either side shouldn’t be doing. It should be based on current actions and current deeds.”

Republicans, on the other hand, are projecting confidence they’ll be able to round up the votes in the end. And there are some positive signs for GOP leaders — Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.), who’d previously opposed removing Omar from Foreign Affairs, signaled on Tuesday she was open to changing her mind. The House Rules Committee took up a resolution to remove Omar from the panel Tuesday evening, with a vote expected on Wednesday.

The GOP is citing Omar’s previous comments that appeared to lean into antisemitic tropes as the reason it’s moving to force her off the Foreign Affairs Committee. Certain tweets not long after she came to Congress had even enraged some of her fellow Democrats, though she deleted the posts and has apologized.

She also drew a conservative backlash for comments in 2019 about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, which she said Republican critics have taken out of context. She also quickly clarified and apologized two years later for comments on war crimes that appeared to compare the U.S. and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban.

And she’s plainly frustrated that Republicans have forcibly compared her with Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), two conservatives Democrats removed from committees last Congress with some GOP support in response to incendiary rhetoric aimed at fellow lawmakers. She’s aggressively made the case that her situation is entirely different.

“I would love for this to be an actual debate. But it’s a smear, it is an attack, and to me in many ways it feels like it’s McCarthyism that’s being carried out by the new McCarthy,” she said.

Olivia Beavers contributed to this report.


Source link

read more

Prince William’s Godmother Spotted With Royal Family For 1st Time Since Racism Scandal!


Well, this ousting didn’t last long!

Lady Susan Hussey was seen alongside members of the royal family this week — for the first time since she resigned from her role as a palace aide after that racism incident at Buckingham Palace!

On Sunday, Queen Elizabeth II’s longtime lady-in-waiting — who is also Prince William‘s godmother — was photographed walking to and from the church at St. Mary Magdalene in Sandringham, England. King Charles III and his sister Princess Anne were also seen at the same service… meaning the royals are no longer worried about being associated with her! Ch-ch-check it out (below)!

While Lady Susan hasn’t regained any official royal duties, this sighting proves how quickly she was allowed back into the fold! Probably much to the dismay of her critics…

Related: Why Alan Cumming Returning British Honor Given To Him By Queen!

If you don’t recall, back in November, Susan was called out for allegedly asking one guest racially-loaded questions at a royal reception. Domestic abuse activist Ngozi Fulani, of Sistah Space, took to social media to put the 83-year-old on blast, claiming Susan repeatedly asked her where she was from. And, no, the UK wasn’t a suitable answer! Ugh. You can see all her allegations (below)!

Shortly after the headlines, Buckingham Palace released a statement declaring the royal household member involved had resigned. Two weeks later, Susan finally apologized to Ngozi face-to-face, with a statement declaring after the fact:

“Lady Susan has pledged to deepen her awareness of the sensitivities involved and is grateful for the opportunity to learn more about the issues in this area.”

Let’s hope she really is learning from her mistakes, but honestly, it’s hard to know with the royals! Sweeping under those fancy rugs seems to be their thing. They could easily be willing to breeze past the drama now that some time has passed… Thoughts?! Are you happy or upset to see Susan mingling with the royal family again?? Sound OFF (below)!

[Image via Sky News/YouTube & MEGA/WENN]


Source link

read more

Florida legislators expected to tackle Disney in special session next week


Reedy Creek Improvement District is the name of the special district that was created by Florida legislators more than 50 years ago and which has largely been governed by the entertainment conglomerate for more than five decades.

Last year, legislators moved quickly to dissolve Reedy Creek during a special session after Disney officials spoke out against a new law restricting how sexual orientation and gender identity are addressed in public schools. The measure, called “Don’t Say Gay” by its opponents, prohibits educators from leading classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity for students in kindergarten through third grade. LGBTQ+ advocates say the measure could lead students to increased bullying or even suicide.

While DeSantis was not the initial driving force behind the controversial law, he became a champion of it and was instrumental in pushing through the plan to strip Disney of its special status in the aftermath. DeSantis, now seen as likely presidential contender, repeatedly used his battle against Disney on the campaign trail last year as an example of his resistance to “woke” corporations.

But while legislators passed a bill targeting Reedy Creek they did not address ongoing questions about district debts and whether they would be shifted to local taxpayers.

A spokesperson for Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

DeSantis has pledged that a plan would be developed to ensure that taxpayers wouldn’t be responsible for the debts. In early January, the administration said it had come up with a proposal that would have the state control the special district and at same time ensure that Disney would be responsible for any debts previously incurred.

“The corporate kingdom has come to an end,” Taryn Fenske, a spokesperson for DeSantis, said earlier this month.

State Sen. Linda Stewart, an Orlando Democrat whose central Florida district is close to Disney World, said in a message that “we have not received anything yet! Just been hearing rumors for the last couple of weeks.”

DeSantis has relied more and more on special sessions to take care of high priority legislation, a move that guarantees more sustained media coverage — including among friendly conservative outlets — than during the somewhat hectic 60-day regular session where multiple controversial issues may be considered at once. State legislators in Florida are already expected to take up a major expansion of vouchers, a measure to eliminate concealed weapons permitting and possibly new abortion restrictions in the session scheduled to start in March.


Source link

read more

Inside Todd And Julie Chrisley’s Prison Stays So Far!


If you’re like everyone else, you’ve probably been wondering what prison has been like for Todd and Julie Chrisley. And you’re in luck, because we finally have some answers.

As you know, the Chrisleys reported to prison earlier this month for a combined 19 year stay after they were convicted for bank fraud and tax evasion. Definitely not a small number, it’s going to be a while before they’re back to their everyday lives — and it’s got us all wondering how they’re settling in…

Related: Todd Shares Final Message Before Prison!

Lindsie Chrisley recently revealed on her Southern Tea podcast she had visited her father with Nanny Faye when they made an “impromptu road trip” to Federal Correctional Institute Pensacola. The whole family seems to be dealing with the sentencing pretty hard, with Savannah Chrisley being the guardian of her 16-year-old brother Grayson and 10-year-old niece Chloe, but maybe things are starting to look up?

Savannah said on her Unlocked podcast Tuesday her parents are doing well during their prison stay — in particular, her mother:

“My mom, she’s honestly doing really well, and I know it sounds crazy for me to say that like it’s crazy for me to say, ‘Alright they’re doing really well,’ but they are.”

Julie, according to the 25-year-old, is “keeping busy” and has even “made friends” at Federal Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky where she’s serving her sentence.

The Sassy by Savannah founder went on to say she’s doing so well, in fact, she’s taking it easy and playing cards:

“She’s going to church, she’s working, she’s playing some Spades — and when I tell you she’s playing, she’s running a dog on everyone.”

Church and playing cards, it almost sounds like more of a retirement community than a prison. Hmm.

Savannah was pleased to hear her mom is playing Spades as it’s her family’s “thing.” She expressed it makes her “heart happy to know that my parents are OK.”

As for Todd, it seems like he’s become a pastor of sorts? His daughter detailed how he’s encouraging his fellow inmates to “know Jesus”:

“He is working in the chapel, which is absolutely amazing, and I could never be more proud of my dad and the man that he is. I get to hear all these people’s stories and how he’s affecting their life and encouraging change.”

Teary-eyed, Savannah seemed very relieved to know her parents were doing just fine:

“That puts me at peace. It lets me know that they are OK. This isn’t the ideal situation, but we find strength in knowing that this isn’t the end.”

Although some days are fine, the businesswoman did admit that Todd still “struggles” and has “days that are tough” for him. He seems to be keeping in good contact with his family through email and visitation, though it seems his wife is having a far more lax time than him…

Reactions, Perezcious readers?

[Image via Instagram/Todd Chrisley]


Source link

read more

Top 4 Play2Earn Games in 2023 to get rich?!


What is Play2Earn?

Play to Earn” in games and dapps allows players to earn digital assets, such as tokens, through gameplay and participation. These assets can be traded and have real-world value, and the decentralized nature of blockchain provides security and ownership over earned assets through an unalterable ledger. This model incentivizes player engagement and creates a transparent and equitable gaming experience.

In the context of “Play to Earn” in the gaming industry, many in-game assets are represented as NFTs and may need to be purchased with fiat to start playing. However, P2E games are typically easy to play and offer incentives for player engagement and connection with others. There are also metaverse platforms that utilize this model, allowing players to interact, play games, and sell digital assets in a virtual world. The use of blockchain technology has made gaming a fun and lucrative venture by transforming perspectives.

exchange comparison

What are the top 4 Play2Earn Games that will make you rich this 2023?!

1. Aavegotchi

What is Aavegotchi?

Aavegotchi is a blockchain-based game that is part of the “Play to Earn” genre of games. It is a collectible game where players can earn rewards by participating in battles, acquiring and training ghostly creatures called Aavegotchis, and exploring the game’s world. Aavegotchis are represented as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and can be bought, sold, and traded with other players. The game is built on the Aave decentralized lending platform, which provides a secure and transparent means of managing in-game assets. The goal of the game is to build and manage a team of powerful Aavegotchis, participate in battles and challenges, and ultimately become the top Aavegotchi trainer.

There are several ways to earn in-game currency (GHST) in Aavegotchi:

  1. Playing the game: Players can earn GHST by playing the game, such as capturing Aavegotchis, battling other players, and completing quests.
  2. Trading Aavegotchis: Players can earn GHST by buying, selling, and trading Aavegotchis with other players in the game. Aavegotchis are represented as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which provide a secure and transparent means of ownership and transfer.
  3. Participating in events: Aavegotchi regularly holds in-game events, such as treasure hunts and battles, where players can earn GHST by participating and completing tasks.
  4. Staking: Players can earn GHST by holding and staking their in-game currency, providing liquidity to the game’s ecosystem and earning rewards in return.

2. Upland

What is Upland?

Upland is a blockchain-based virtual world game that operates on the “Play to Earn” model. In Upland, players can buy, sell, and trade virtual real estate properties in a virtual representation of cities such as San Francisco and New York. Players can earn in-game currency, UPX, by buying, improving, and selling properties, as well as participating in events and challenges. The virtual real estate properties in Upland are represented as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which provide a secure and transparent means of ownership and transfer. The goal of the game is to become a successful virtual real estate tycoon, by buying, managing, and selling properties in the virtual world.

There are several ways to earn in-game currency (UPX) in Upland:

  1. Buying and selling virtual real estate: Players can buy virtual real estate properties in the game, improve them, and sell them for a profit to earn UPX.
  2. Participating in events: Upland regularly holds in-game events, such as auctions, scavenger hunts, and races, where players can earn UPX by participating and completing tasks.
  3. Completing challenges: Upland also offers daily and weekly challenges, which can be completed to earn UPX.
  4. Renting properties: Players can earn UPX by renting out their virtual real estate properties to other players in the virtual world.
  5. Staking: Players can earn UPX by holding and staking their in-game currency, providing liquidity to the game’s ecosystem and earning rewards in return.
Upland Banner EN
Upland Banner EN

3. The Sandbox

What is The Sandbox?

The Sandbox is a blockchain-based virtual world game that operates on the “Play to Earn” model. In The Sandbox, players can create and build their own virtual worlds using voxel-based assets. Players can earn in-game currency, SAND, by participating in the game, such as creating and sharing content, participating in events, and completing challenges. The virtual assets in The Sandbox are represented as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which provide a secure and transparent means of ownership and transfer. The goal of the game is to become a successful virtual world creator, by building, managing, and sharing unique and creative virtual worlds with other players.

There are several ways to earn in-game currency (SAND) in The Sandbox:

  1. Creating and sharing content: Players can earn SAND by creating and sharing unique and creative content, such as landscapes, games, and experiences.
  2. Participating in events: The Sandbox regularly holds in-game events, such as treasure hunts and build competitions, where players can earn SAND by participating and completing tasks.
  3. Completing challenges: The Sandbox also offers daily and weekly challenges, which can be completed to earn SAND.
  4. Selling NFTs: Players can earn SAND by selling their virtual assets, such as voxel-based landscapes and characters, to other players in the virtual world.
  5. Staking: Players can earn SAND by holding and staking their in-game currency, providing liquidity to the game’s ecosystem and earning rewards in return.

4. Gods Unchained

What is Gods Unchained?

Gods Unchained is a digital collectible card game (CCG) built on the Ethereum blockchain. Players can buy, collect, and trade unique cards, which are represented as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The game operates on a “Play to Earn” model, where players can earn rewards and progress in the game by playing it, rather than relying on microtransactions or other forms of spending money. The decentralized and transparent nature of the Ethereum blockchain provides a secure means of ownership and transfer for these digital assets. Gods Unchained has a fantasy-themed setting, and players can build decks and engage in strategic battles with other players.

Gods Unchained is a collectible card game that operates on the “Play to Earn” model. In this game, players can earn in-game items, such as cards and packs, by playing and participating in the game. Some ways to earn rewards in “Gods Unchained” include:

  • Playing matches: Players can earn rewards, such as cards and packs, by winning matches in the game.
  • Participating in events: The game regularly holds special events, such as tournaments and limited-time modes, where players can earn rewards by participating and competing.
  • Trading with other players: Players can trade their cards and other in-game items with other players to earn more valuable items.
  • Owning valuable cards: Players can also earn rewards by owning valuable cards, as their value may increase over time.
  • Staking: Players can earn rewards by holding and staking their in-game items, providing liquidity to the game’s ecosystem and earning rewards in return.

Introducing the CryptoTicker Podcast

Every Wednesday, you can tune in to the Podcast on Spotify , Apple and YouTube. The episodes are perfectly tailored for a duration of 20-30 minutes to quickly and effectively familiarize you with new topics in a fun setting on the go.

Subscribe & never miss an Episode

­­­­­Spotify– ­­Amazon – ­­Apple – ­­YouTube

Recommended posts

You might also like

More from Play 2 Earn


Source link

read more

Musk blows off Dems in first Capitol tour as Twitter CEO


Twitter didn’t reply when asked why Musk didn’t schedule meetings with the minority party in the House.

Democrats, for their part, still want to hear from him, even as they don’t put much faith in their Republican colleagues to hold him accountable.

When it comes to Musk primarily meeting with conservatives, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said: “I think it’s seriously a mistake and I think it would be a good thing to have him come in and explain himself.”

She said she wants Musk to testify before her House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Innovation, Data and Commerce — although as the newly appointed ranking member she doesn’t set the agenda for that panel anymore.

Musk’s partisan trek through Congress stands in sharp contrast with many of his tech CEO brethren. Other D.C. regulars like Apple CEO Tim Cook purposely make their visits bipartisan, and while Musk is making inroads with the current party in power in the House, there are risks to taking sides so brazenly. For one, Democrats still control the Senate, and, of course, the political winds in Washington can turn on a dime, leaving allies on the outs and previously spurned lawmakers in positions of power.

But, at least this time around, the people who set the agenda in the House — members like Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the House GOP no. 2, as well as Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), who’s panel has substantial jurisdiction over Twitter — were the recipients of Musk’s attention.

In that same meeting was Jordan (R-Ohio), who runs the Judiciary Committee and serves as a standard-bearer for Republicans in their ongoing war with the Biden administration, as well as Oversight Chair James Comer (R-Ky.). Comer is bringing in former Twitter executives on Feb. 8 to testify about their handling of a news story about Hunter Biden’s laptop. Notably absent from that hearing agenda is Musk, who bought the company in October, and has since won Republican accolades for his “free-speech” approach to content moderation.

In fact, during the meeting Musk waived attorney-client privileges for some information that Comer had requested for his upcoming hearing, Comer said in an interview. “That was my only ask,” Comer said. One of the expected witnesses is Twitter’s former chief legal counsel Vijaya Gadde who Comer requested to testify about her decision to remove the New York Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Accommodating the GOP is in keeping with Musk’s current political outlook. He endorsed the GOP ahead of the midterm elections, welcomed former President Donald Trump back to Twitter and obligingly dumped a series of “Twitter files” to make the case that Democrats and previous company executives colluded to restrain speech on the platform, along with several other conservative-friendly moves. In all, Musk has in recent months aligned himself with Republicans in ways that are relatively unusual for a tech billionaire — but could prove beneficial when it comes to potential GOP oversight, or lack thereof.

“It just shows the Elon approach to Washington. When you think of all these things that tech execs did to avoid the appearance of impropriety and then Musk blasts through this and is like, ‘I don’t care,’” said a former Twitter communications officer who also worked on the Hill and asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely. “That’s the type of stuff that is just a complete change. It’s just a huge departure from congressional norms.”

In his meeting with Republicans, they discussed the importance of the First Amendment, alleged censorship of conservatives and potential reforms to tech’s coveted liability shield known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, Jordan said in an interview.

It appears that Musk’s goodwill tour is already reaping rewards, with the House Energy and Commerce Committee announcing Monday that its first tech CEO hearing is focused not on Musk — but on TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew and the handling of U.S. data on the Chinese-owned app. And with Jordan passing over big-tech foe Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) to lead the Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, there’s seemingly less GOP appetite for taking a shot at breaking up the big tech platforms this Congress.

“I don’t think there’s any question that the Republican leadership has made it very clear that they are going to protect big tech from any regulation or any effort to restore competition in the digital marketplace,” said Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), the antitrust subcommittee ranking member and the cosponsor of tech competition bills with Buck last Congress.

It’s not clear what leverage the snubbed Democrats have to hold a powerful exec to account, even if he persists in tweaking them on his platform.

“I am deeply concerned with how he’s running that company into the ground,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) when asked about Musk’s leadership of Twitter and time on the Hill. “It seems like a vanity project that is going wrong with an explosion of hate speech on that platform.”

Schiff then stepped into his Tesla sedan after a Monday night vote and drove off.


Source link

read more

4 key suspects in Haiti presidential slaying in U.S. custody


The fourth suspect was identified as Colombian citizen Germán Rivera García, 44, who is among nearly two dozen former Colombian soldiers charged in the case.

Rivera, along with Solages and Vincent, face charges including conspiring to commit murder or kidnapping outside the U.S. and providing material support and resources resulting in death, the U.S. Justice Department said.

Sanon is charged with conspiring to smuggle goods from the U.S. and providing unlawful export information. Court documents state that he allegedly shipped 20 ballistic vests to Haiti, but that the items shipped were described as “medical X-ray vests and school supplies.”

It was not immediately known if the four suspects had attorneys who could comment on the development. The men are scheduled to appear in federal court Wednesday in Miami.

A total of seven suspects in the case are now in U.S. custody. Dozens of others still languish in Haiti’s main penitentiary, which is severely overcrowded and often lacks food and water for inmates.

The case has reached a virtual standstill in Haiti, with local officials last year nominating a fifth judge to investigate the killing after four others were dismissed or resigned for personal reasons.

One judge told The Associated Press that his family asked him not to take the case because they feared for his life. Another judge stepped down after one of his assistants died under murky circumstances.

Court documents state that exactly two months before Moïse was killed, Vincent texted Solages a video of a cat “reacting alertly” to the sound of gunfire and that Solages laughed, prompting Vincent to respond: “That’s the way Jovenel will be pretty much, but (sooner) if you guys really up to it!”

The document states that Solages responded that “(this) cat will never come back,” and “trust me brother, we definitely working our final decision.”

Then in June, some 20 former Colombian soldiers were recruited to supposedly help arrest the president and protect Sanon, who envisioned himself as Haiti’s new leader. Rivera was in charge of that group, the documents state.

A day before the killing, Solages falsely told other suspects that it was a CIA operation and that the mission was to kill the president, according to the documents. Shortly before the killing, authorities said, Solages shouted that it was allegedly a DEA operation to ensure compliance from the president’s security detail.

About a year after the killing, U.S. authorities say they interviewed Solages, Vincent and Rivera while they were in Haitian custody and that they agreed to talk.

The other suspects already in U.S. custody are Rodolphe Jaar, a former U.S. government informant and a Haitian businessman who was extradited from the Dominican Republic, where he was detained in January 2022.

That same month, U.S. authorities arrested Mario Antonio Palacios Palacios, a former Colombian soldier who was deported by Jamaica after fleeing there from Haiti. While en route to Colombia, he was deained by U.S. officials in Panama during a layover.

Also in January 2022, authorities arrested former Haitian Sen. John Joël Joseph, who also had fled to Jamaica.

Alfredo Izaguirre, a Miami-based lawyer for Palacios, said Tuesday’s arrival of the four other suspects will postpone the trial because they all have to be tried at the same time. He said Palacios had been prepared for the trial to begin in early March, but now it could be postponed for up to four months.

Haiti police say other high-profile suspects remain at large, including a former Supreme Court judge who authorities say was favored to seize power from Moïse instead of Sanon as originally planned. Another fugitive is Joseph Badio, alleged leader of the plot who previously worked for Haiti’s Ministry of Justice and the government’s anti-corruption unit until he was fired, police say.

Emmanuel Jeanty, an attorney for the president’s widow, Martine Moïse, who was injured in the attack and flown to the U.S. for care, did not return a message for comment.

In December, Martine Moïse tweeted that her husband — who also has been accused of corruption, which he denied — had fought against it, which resulted in his assassination. “Despite the blockages, 17 months later, the people are demanding #Justice,” she wrote.


Source link

read more
1 2 3 4 1,484
Page 2 of 1484