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Douglas Schoen: The case for the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act

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Douglas Schoen: The Case For The Journalism Competition And Preservation Act

In the coming weeks, a group of bipartisan senators will advance a long-overdue reform that is designed to restore fairness to America’s most vital – yet endangered – industries: news, publishing, and journalism.

Co-sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, and Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, the legislation – The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) – creates a “safe harbor” for news publishers to negotiate fair terms for use of their content by Big Tech companies on online platforms including Facebook News, Google News, and social media generally.

While local journalism has been under active threat over the last two decades, Big Tech companies like Alphabet and Meta have monopolized the news and publishing industries by not paying smaller and local operators to publish their content.

As a result, since 2005, the revenue produced by news publications across the country has declined by 58%, per the News Media Alliance. All the while, Google and Facebook have been able to capture up to 70% of digital advertising revenue when viewers use their online platforms to read an article from a small or local paper.

Put another way, by not paying them fairly for their content, Big Tech companies are actively driving local news outlets out of business – all while these monopolies get richer and more powerful.

The worst part? Under current U.S. antitrust laws, Big Tech’s market manipulation is completely legal.

The JCPA would change that, and would help usher in a new era of fairness for journalists and publishers. Notably, the text of the JCPA ensures that small and local publishers benefit most from the bill, and large national publications are excluded.

Recent modifications to the bill have increased the chances of its successful passage – including the introduction of a measure to placate union concerns as well as an addendum to ensure that dark money organizations like the Russian state-controlled television network do not inadvertently benefit. Currently, Sen. Klobuchar is reportedly working to schedule a bill markup of the JCPA with Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois.

As lawmakers evaluate the JCPA’s practical and political merit leading up to the vote, members of both parties would be wise to consider the findings of my firm’s recent polling on the subject – nationally in early April, and statewide in Louisiana and Colorado in late May – which was commissioned by the News Media Alliance, and found broad-based support for Congress acting to pass the JCPA and save local journalism.

Importantly, Congress passing the JCPA was supported by 70% of Americans nationally when the question was asked in early April, and by similarly strong majorities of both Coloradoans (69%) and Louisianans (64%) two months later.

Notably, all three constituencies surveyed said that a congressional candidate’s support for the JCPA could sway their vote in an election. By roughly a four-to-one margin, Americans, Coloradoans, and Louisianans would be more likely, rather than less likely, to back candidates for Congress who support the JCPA.

Likewise, in all three surveys, roughly 7-in-10 respondents agreed that: “elected officials who oppose the JCPA are allowing Big Tech companies to continue manipulating the news and publishing industries for their own gain, leaving small and local publishers powerless.”

Ultimately, the uniformity of our findings nationally, in Colorado, and in Louisiana – even though the polls were taken two months apart amid other heightening national crises – proves that there is energy behind this issue.

Americans’ widespread support for the JCPA is grounded in their belief that the survival of local journalism is important – a sentiment that is held by 83% of Americans, 86% of Coloradoans, and 79% of Louisianans.

In an era of rampant disinformation, Americans clearly trust and value their local newspapers – yet, Big Tech’s monopolization of the news industry has caused local news to fall on hard times.

The United States has also lost nearly 1,800 papers over the last 17 years, and the vast majority of the remaining 7,000 or so local papers have a circulation of less than 15,000, per researchers at UNC. As a result, thousands of communities across the country are on track to become “isolated news deserts,” and roughly two-thirds of U.S. counties – which are generally poorer counties with older and less educated citizens – already have no daily paper.

The collective American public is concerned about the survival of local journalism, and is demanding action from their elected officials. Both parties now have a mandate to advance the JCPA, which our data indicates could also help these members politically.

Indeed, per our polling, 81% of Americans, 77% of Coloradoans, and 72% of Louisianans agree with a statement to this effect: “Congress needs to rein in Big Tech by passing reforms that would make the publishing industry fairer for smaller media entities and local operators.”

These findings present a call-to-action to our leaders who now have a clear mandate from their constituents to rein in Big Tech and save local journalism by passing the JCPA into law.

Douglas Schoen is a longtime Democratic political consultant and a weekly columnist for the Orange County Register.

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Struggling Yankees lose to Rays, consider calling up Estevan Florial to help jumpstart offense

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Struggling Yankees Lose To Rays, Consider Calling Up Estevan Florial To Help Jumpstart Offense

After more of the same struggling, it’s time for a change. After a 3-1 loss to the Rays, their third straight defeat, the Yankees were in serious discussions about calling up prospect Estevan Florial and putting struggling closer Clay Holmes on the injured list.

“We haven’t decided anything for certain yet. We’ll talk through some things. So there could be some things we decided to do but nothing is final yet,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after the Bombers’ latest loss.

Since the All-Star break, the Bombers have gone 8-17. The Rays (62-53) handed the Yankees their fifth straight series loss and cut the Yankees’ lead in the American League East to nine games. It’s just the second time since June 15 that the Bombers lead in the division has been under 10 games.

“It’s a little different, but it’s still stressful and you never want to lose. No one in here is happy about it, but having a little bit of a cushion helps but that cushion can dwindle quick,” Aaron Judge said. “So we got to stay on top of it. Guys are putting the work in, guys are showing up, they’re doing their thing. So it’s just about going out there on the field and performing.”

They tried sitting struggling center fielder Aaron Hicks Monday night and they did snap a 22-inning scoreless streak, but they got the same ultimate result.

Almost certainly,  Holmes will head to the injured list. The closer, who has not pitched since he blew the game Friday night, admitted that he has been dealing with a back issue.

“Kind of locked up on me a few days ago and tried to go again today and it kind of tightened back up, so we just felt it was the smartest thing, the best way to go about it was just try to maybe give it a break,” Holmes said. “We’ll see and play smart and not try to push it through something that maybe it could be a lot worse than what it is.”

In his first 38 games, Holmes pitched to a 0.46 ERA, walking six in 39.1 innings pitched. Over his last 11 appearances, he has allowed 11 earned runs and walked 10 in 9.2 innings pitched.

Still, Holmes has not pitched in four games and the rest of the Yankees pitching has been solid. Tuesday night, Nestor Cortes threw seven solid innings, allowing a three-run homer in the first and not issuing a walk, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Yankees’ impotent offense.

They did score their first run since the ninth inning of Saturday night’s game.

Andrew Benintendi tripled off the right-center field wall with one out in the fifth. He came around and scored when Yandy Diaz bobbled Miguel Andujar’s ground ball. It was the first time the Yankees had scored a run since the ninth inning of Saturday night’s game.

But the offense that was once rolling over teams has been struggling. The Yankees have scored nine runs over their last 61 innings, spanning seven games.

“We’re all frustrated. But you can’t let the frustration get in your way of preparing and getting ready to go every night. We got a few guys that are in a rut. We gotta  prepare and get ready and find our way out of it,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “It’s part of it. And it’s no fun when you’re going through it but that’s where we are right now.”

And desperate for a spark, they could be bringing up Florial, the 24-year old former top prospect who has power and speed. In Triple-A, he is hitting .286/.368/.490  with an .858 OPS, 32 stolen bases and 14 homers in 89 games. Florial, who has had issues with pitch recognition in the past, has struck out 124 times in 353 at-bats and drawn 45 walks.

A scout who saw him this season said he thought Florial has improved “significantly”  this year and that his at-bats are more competitive than in past years.

“I got a chance to play with him in spring training. He’s the guy that always wants to learn. He’s a hard worker who does the  little things to help his team. So if that’s true that he’s coming up here, I don’t know, I haven’t heard that. But if it’s true, it will definitely help us out,” Aaron Judge said.

It’s unfair to ask Florial, who has hit .206/.325/.353 with a .678 OPS, a home run and two stolen bases in 40 major league plate appearances, to turn this slide around, but at this point the Yankees have to change something.

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Wyoming Democrats voice support for Liz Cheney at the polls

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Wyoming Democrats Voice Support For Liz Cheney At The Polls

Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming may not win her Republican primary on Tuesday, but her efforts to convince Democrats and independents to back her candidacy appear to have paid off in Wyoming’s bluest county, Teton, where Mrs. Cheney lives.

Interviews at county polling places on Monday, the last day of early voting, and Tuesday revealed a stream of voters re-registering as Republicans in order to enter the party’s primary and vote for Ms. Cheney.

“I think she knows someone’s unfit when she sees it and she’s not going to kiss the ring and I respect her for that,” said Brad Hoyt, an architect in Wilson, Wyo., A Small Community just west of Jackson where Ms. Cheney lives. Mr Hoyt, who wanted to register his support for Ms Cheney’s opposition to former President Donald J. Trump, said he was “in between” major parties and would change his registration at Wilson’s Old Schoolhouse, the village polling station.

Not far behind Mr. Hoyt was Andy Calders, a musician who called himself a Democrat but registered as a Republican in Wyoming so he could enter nominating contests for the state’s dominant party.

“She only did one thing that I liked, but I liked it so much I voted for her,” Mr. Calders said of Ms. Cheney’s efforts to hold Mr. Trump “accountable.” which he obviously did” in attempting to overturn the 2020 election.

Mr. Trump backed Harriet Hageman in the primary against Ms. Cheney, who sits on a congressional panel investigating Mr. Trump’s involvement in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Anti-Trump voters turned out in similar numbers in Jackson, where the wait to vote reached 45 minutes at one point Monday.

Maggie Shipley, who works for a local nonprofit, said she was changing her registration to Republican so she could vote for Ms Cheney in the primary.

“Election lies are terrifying to me and the preservation of democracy is really important and at least she has that,” Ms Shipley explained.

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Billionaire philanthropist MacKenize Scott benefits Junior Achievement, including $1.9M in Twin Cities

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Billionaire Philanthropist Mackenize Scott Benefits Junior Achievement, Including $1.9M In Twin Cities

Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has showered another Twin Cities nonprofit with her largesse.

On Tuesday, Junior Achievement USA announced that Scott had donated $38.8 million to the job readiness organization and 26 of its 102 community chapters, including in the Twin Cities.

Junior Achievement North said that it would be receiving $1.9 million from the overall donation, the largest single gift in the organization’s 103-year history.

In a statement on its Facebook page, JA North said “we are grateful for philanthropist MacKenzie Scott’s generosity … These funds will be used to equitably serve student and accelerate impact in our region.”

Junior Achievement says it is “the world’s largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices.”

Visit www.ja.org for more information.

In May, Scott gave $6 million to Big Brother Big Sisters Twin Cities — the largest donation in the nonprofit organization’s 102-year history.

Scott contributed more than $48 million to six local nonprofits in March, including Planned Parenthood North Central States, which received an unexpected donation of $20 million, and St. Paul-based Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, which received $13.5 million.

Last year, St. Paul’s Penumbra Theatre and Minneapolis’s Arts Midwest received major grants from Scott.

And a series of Twin Cities nonprofits such as the YWCA of St. Paul and Casa de Esperanza also received unsolicited grants in December 2020.

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Pomelo exits stealth mode with $20 million seed to rethink international money transfer – TechCrunch

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Pomelo Exits Stealth Mode With $20 Million Seed To Rethink International Money Transfer – Techcrunch

Eric Velasquez Frenkiel had a seemingly simple thought while visiting his family in the Philippines, impressed by the cashless economy that had formed. Instead of sending his family money once a year – an expensive and cumbersome affair – why can’t he just leave his credit card there?

As with many things in fintech, it wasn’t that simple. But the seed of the idea prompted the company’s former chief executive to turn his career into a bet on one of fintech’s most elusive problems.

Pomelo, Frenkiel’s new startup stealthily launching today, wants to make it easier to send remittances and international money transfers, with a touch of credit.

To realize this vision, Pomelo raised a $20 million funding round led by Keith Rabois at Founders Fund and Kevin Hartz at A*Capital, with participation from Afore Capital, Xfund, Josh Buckley and The Chainsmokers. The round also included a $50 million warehouse, which will allow Pomelo to give cash to people who want to make transfers.

Venture capitalists aren’t the only cohort taking an interest; more than 120,000 people joined Pomelo’s waiting list in six months, according to Frenkiel. (It’s important not to confuse this Pomelo with another Pomelo, a fintech-as-a-service platform for Latin America that raised $9 million in funding.) Oh, fintech.

Here’s how the startup works: If someone wants to send money abroad, they create a Pomelo account, which includes up to four credit cards. The account creator — let’s just assume they’re the one sending the money — can set limits, suspend cards, and see spending patterns.

Pomelo’s key setting is credit. Senders can give money, in the form of credit, to family members – which the startup says will facilitate instant access to funds, protection against fraud and chargebacks and, for potential immigrants who could use it to send money home, a way to boost their credit score with more transaction history.

Challenges still await any fintech, whether traditional or offbeat, that bets its business on supporting potentially at-risk individuals. For example, Pomelo doesn’t want to rely on credit scores to decide whether or not to trust a sender, as the metric historically excludes those without access to financial literacy or spending.

Picture credits: Pomelo

“If you have a credit score and you have enough credit history, you’ll get up to $1,000 a month,” Frenkiel said. “But if you don’t have credit or want to improve your credit, we give you a credit builder.” Customers are asked to provide a secure deposit, so there is a way to prove creditworthiness down the road, and Pomelo is able “to really balance the need to extend credit but also to ensure that we’re in business for the long term.”

International money transfer continues to be a costly affair for senders. Unsurprisingly, this pain point has led to a plethora of startups. Startups offer a sliding scale proposition, meaning it costs more to send more money, or a flat rate value proposition, with a $5 fee for all transfers, regardless of size . According to the World Bank, approximately 6% of a total check is removed via fees and exchange rate markups.

Rethinking remittances therefore sounds like common discourse. Frenkiel says Pomelo’s closest competitors are Xoom and Remitly, though he thinks they differ in two main ways: a focus on credit and a “fundamentally new revenue model.”

Pomelo does not make money from senders via transfer fees, but instead relies on interchange fees paid by merchants. “You shouldn’t have to pay to send money,” adds Frenkiel.

While interchange fees have their own set of problems as a business model, let’s end with some assurance: Visa and Mastercard were both interested in partnering with the startup, but the latter won the deal.

“Mastercard allows us to work in over 100 countries,” Frenkiel said. “Obviously we start with a few, but the idea is that there are far more end points to taking Mastercard or Visa than having a bank as a pre-requisite to send money…we hope that we will eventually be able to deliver a product wherever MasterCard is accepted around the world.”

The startup serves the Philippines, but soon plans to expand into Mexico and India as well as other geographies.

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Mets lose second straight to Braves and also lose another starting pitcher to injury

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Mets Lose Second Straight To Braves And Also Lose Another Starting Pitcher To Injury

ATLANTA — Charlie Morton is a very good pitcher, sometimes even a great one.

But when the 38-year-old Braves’ starter picked the Mets apart on Tuesday night, it seemed like there was something else plaguing the orange and blue besides Morton’s curveball.

As Atlanta sailed to a 5-0 win, the Mets lost another starting pitcher to injury. Taijuan Walker followed Carlos Carrasco’s two-inning exit on Monday with one of his own. It was a low-grade oblique strain for Carrasco, while the Mets are pinning Walker’s short night on back spasms.

“I tried to bend over, and when I tried to come back up, it just locked up on me,” Walker said of his back. “I’ve never had anything like this before. The training staff is not too concerned about it, so we’ll get an MRI and see how I feel in the morning.”

Showalter was asked if there’s any concern about Walker, whose injury doesn’t seem like something that will be debilitating.

“Sure there is,” he responded with a cocked eyebrow. “There always is when you have to take a pitcher out of the game. Of course there is. But he’s had similar things that resolved fairly quickly. I hope that’s the case.”

Tuesday night’s loss can also largely be pinned on those back spasms, which sent Buck Showalter scrambling to the anonymous part of his bullpen. R.J. Alvarez, called up from Triple-A a few hours before first pitch, had to take the first shift. The second batter he faced was Robbie Grossman, a deadline acquisition for Atlanta who, statistically speaking, is among the 20 worst hitters in the game this year (minimum 300 plate appearances).

Grossman’s 105 mile per hour, no-doubt dinger certainly didn’t look like it came from one of the worst hitters in the league.

That missile into right field put the Braves ahead by one, and some stellar defense from the Mets helped briefly limit the damage. Catcher Michael Perez fielded a wayward Alvarez pitch off the brick backstop and threw out Ronald Acuna Jr. trying to advance to second, and second baseman Jeff McNeil ended the inning with a super impressive running catch into shallow right.

Good defense can only take you so far, though, especially when Matt Olson connected for a two-run shot off Alvarez the next inning and the Mets’ hitters were zapped of their abilities. Morton looked like a much younger man on Tuesday. The right-hander who debuted before Obama was elected (the first time) struck out 12 Mets and only let four reach base.

Four of those K’s were courtesy of his sinister curveball, which he trusted on 48 of his 97 pitches. The ovation Morton received on his way out was well-deserved and his outing was reminiscent of the playoff performances that made him famous. Starling Marte, Pete Alonso, Daniel Vogelbach and Jeff McNeil each struck out twice against Morton.

“He just executed,” Francisco Lindor said about Morton. “He’s really good. When he executes, he’s even better. Hats off to him, and their whole pitching staff today, they did a good job.”

This Mets’ season full of peaks is currently stuck in one of its rare valleys. Injuries will do that to you, and two starting pitchers going down in less than 48 hours is definitely suboptimal, which may have taken a mental toll on the offense. Again, Morton was fantastic, but some of the swings from the Mets were uncharacteristic of the bunch that won 75 of its first 115 games.

“Nobody’s robotic,” Showalter said. “Sure, everything affects. Everybody is a human being, but we’ve also had things like that with injuries and different things all through the year. It’s part of the job description.”

“It’s part of adversity,” Lindor added.

Injuries played a role in the poor offense too, as the eight and nine hitters in the order were both in the Mets’ starting lineup for the first time. Deven Marrero, batting eighth, and Michael Perez, hitting ninth, were not part of the plan as recently as three days ago.

Stephen Nogosek, known more for his beautiful mustache than his pitching, took the ball after Alvarez and chewed through two innings. A slight silver lining for the Mets is the fact that they got through these first two games in Atlanta, both uncompetitive losses, without completely overworking their bullpen.

“Nogo was really good tonight,” Showalter said. “That was a real shot in the arm for us.”

Edwin Diaz, Adam Ottavino and Trevor May are all fresh for the final two games, when the Mets will try to salvage a split in this series. They also do not have an off day until next Wednesday, with the Phillies and Yankees in their path, so keeping as many relievers as fresh as possible until then will be a priority.

The Mets have been punched in the mouth for the last two nights. There’s no way around it. All of the players are human, and therefore not immune to the bad feelings that come with watching their teammates hit the trainer’s table.

Fortunately for them, just like they dreamt of during the cold, disorienting days of the MLB lockout, those games will be pitched by Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom.

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RBNZ Governor Orr says he sees below-par growth but doesn’t foresee a recession

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Rbnz Governor Orr Says He Sees Below-Par Growth But Doesn'T Foresee A Recession

Earlier from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand:

  • RBNZ raises policy rate by 50 basis points as expected
  • The New Zealand dollar appreciates after the RBNZ raises its projections for the exchange rate ahead

more soon

Orr:

  • in a strong position to control inflation

This article was written by Eamonn Sheridan at www.forexlive.com.

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