By Tracy Connor, Staff Writer, NBC News
He’s gone from being a no-name center to the center of attention, and experts say NBA free agent Jason Collins could parlay his decision to come out of the closet into a contract with a new team, endorsement deals, or even a robust off-the-court career.
Collins is a well-liked journeyman player with 12 seasons under his belt, but before his Monday announcement in Sports Illustrated that he’s gay, the 34-year-old big man was hardly a lock to be picked up for next season.
Jeff Nelson, director of analytics for the sports-marketing firm Navigate Research, said there are likely conversations afoot in front offices across the league about whether Collins’ new profile makes him a more attractive player.
“It would be great for him, great for the cause, great for the NBA if he was signed for another year,” Nelson said. “But by the same token, you don’t want it to appear that’s the reason he’s being signed.”
Having Collins on the roster could also enhance a team’s community credentials.
“His career might be extended because a team — and particularly the NBA — might see it as an opportunity to demonstrate that this announcement is a non-issue for them,” said professor Stephen McDaniel, who specializes in sports and entertainment marketing at the University of Maryland.
“Not that he is in the same strata as an athlete, but maybe you could argue that a team or league could see this symbolic of being inclusive in the same way we view the Dodgers and Jackie Robinson in baseball.”
It could even put more bodies in the seats, but the real benefit will be for Collins, who is now on the radar of sponsors.
His only current endorsement deal is with Nike, which said in a statement that it’s proud of his “courage.” Experts say if he has a jersey to wear next season, Nike could raise his profile and other brands will likely consider him.
“I don’t think you’ll see him on a Wheaties box,” said Robert Tuchman, former president of TSE Sports & Entertainment, who noted that big mainstream brands may be more cautious in embracing an athlete whose name is so closely associated with a hot-button social issue.
“But there are going to be brands that want to get behind him,” he added. “I think you’ll see brands that are more hip and cool and really in touch with 18-25 [year-old demographic].
“If he plays his cards right and he continues to play in the league, there’s definitely a seven-figure opportunity,” Tuchman said.
Nelson said that Collins will have to “walk a fine line” and should focus on message-based ad campaigns to avoid looking crass.
“Certainly there are brands that want to reach the gay community,” Nelson said. “But nobody, especially him, wants to look like they’re capitalizing on this.”
Companies that already reference progressive issues in their advertising or non-profits will be the best bets, he said.
There will be more and better deals if Collins, 35, is playing next season. But even if he’s not, his trail-blazing could turn out to be a good career move.
Thad Williamson, an associate professor at the University of Richmond’s Jepson School of Leadership Studies author of “More Than a Game: Why North Carolina Basketball Means So Much to So Many,” noted that the Sports Illustrated essay is sure to lead to a round of TV interviews and possible speeches.
“Could he end up being a guy who’s in the studio or is hired by a network to provide commentary? I don’t see why not,” Williamson said. “If he does well with his media attention, it could help him.”
Collins’ major at Stanford was economics, but could he have a future in politics? It’s probably too early to tell, but consider a few of the well-known friends who were among the first to express support for him Monday: former president Bill Clinton and Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy.
Thank you to NBC NEWS for this article.
By Pete Williams and Tracy Connor, NBC News
Investigators have taken a DNA sample from the wife of slain suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev to compare with the female DNA discovered on the pressure cooker from one of the Boston bombs. The FBI is also examining whether Tamerlan Tsarnaev met with two men in Dagestan who are considered radical Muslims. NBC’s Pete Williams reports.
Prosecutors and lawyers for surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have begun very early discussions about a possible deal, in which he would cooperate in exchange for avoiding the death penalty, legal sources said Monday.
As details of the nascent negotiations emerged, a lawyer who has helped other high-profile suspects cut deals that kept them out of the execution chamber got permission to join Tsarnaev’s defense team.
Attorney Judy Clarke’s past clients have included Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and, more recently, Jared Loughner, who was spared facing the death penalty for the Tucson, Ariz., shooting that nearly killed former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords in 2011.
Tsarnaev, 19, is charged with using a weapon of mass destruction for the April 15 bombing that killed three and wounded 176 in Boston and could face the death penalty.
The suspect’s older brother and accused accomplice, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a firefight with police, and investigators are trying to determine if anyone else was involved.
Law enforcement officials said they took a DNA sample Monday from Tamerlan’s wife, Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, to compare to female DNA found on a piece of pressure cooker used to make one of the bombs.
The wife has said she had no inkling of her husband’s plans, and officials cautioned that the DNA on the cooker could have come from a worker at the store where it was purchased.
The FBI is also looking into whether the older brother met with two men considered radical Muslims during a 2012 trip to the Russian republic of Dagestan. Both men — William Plotnikov and Makmud Nidal — were killed last year in Russian operations.
The spotlight has also been trained on the Tsarnaevs’ mother, Zubeidat, who was caught on a Russian wiretap talking to Tamerlan about jihad, U.S. officials said.
That conversation led the Russians to ask the FBI to look into Tamerlan in 2011. He and his mother were put into a U.S. terrorism database, but no further action was taken.
While some members of Congress have faulted the Russians for not giving the U.S. more explicit details about the mother, officials in Washington said she spoke so generally about jihad that it’s not likely the information would have influenced the outcome of the 2011 probe.
Before he was given a Miranda warning and stopped talking, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told investigators that he and his brother were motivated by religion but acted alone, without help from any overseas terrorist organization.
But law enforcement officials believe someone may have carried items out of his dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth a few days after the bombings and they searched local landfills for them. So far nothing has turned up, but investigators are still looking in garbage containers.
Three federal public defenders were appointed to represent Tsarnaev, and they asked that two death penalty specialists be added to the team. The court approved Clarke but said the request for a second lawyer, David Bruck of the Washington and Lee University School of Law, was premature since Tsarnaev has not been indicted yet.
Wounded by police during his capture,Tsarnaev was transferred last week from a private Boston hospital to a federal medical prison in central Massachusetts.
Thank you to NBC NEWS for this article.
President Ronald Reagan’s former budget director David Stockman excoriated the Republican Party in an interview he gave to Newsmax TV. While he attacked President Obama for not cutting defense in an era where America is the only superpower in no uncertain terms he laid blame for the predicament of America squarely on the Republican Party.
After Newsmax Anchor David Nelson asserted that many believe the house is divided (the Republican Party that is), he asked David Stockman if he believed Republican leaders like Ryan, Boehner, Rubio, Paul, or anyone else could unite the party. Stockman shot back with a response would expect in a Newsmax interview.
David Stockman’s response:
No. I don’t because I think the Republican Party is not really a party. It doesn’t stand for anything except reelecting itself. It’s a coalition of gangs….
The Neo Cons which I have no use for are only oriented to an aggressive imperialistic foreign policy, a big defense establishment, and suppression of our civil liberties. That’s a bad. I am against that.
The Tax Cons want to just cut taxes anytime any day regardless of the fiscal situation. That has gone to absurd lengths. I oppose that.
The Social Cons, social policy people, the right to life issue, gay marriage and all that, that’s irrelevant to governing a democracy in a free society.
That is basically the heart of the Republican Party. In that mix how can you find anything that is going to stand for conservative economics, fiscal rectitude, free markets, sound money; it’s not there. The Republican Party is basically irrelevant to the economic crisis that faces the country.
David Stockman has been a critic of the Republican Party for some time now. I wrote the article “David Stockman: “get out of the markets and hide out in cash” Corruption Of Capitalism” a few weeks ago where Stockman was quoted saying “This debt explosion has resulted not from big spending by the Democrats, but instead the Republican Party’s embrace, about three decades ago, of the insidious doctrine that deficits don’t matter if they result from tax cuts.”
Mr.. Stockman seems to be progressively sharpening his criticisms in all venues as the ineptitude and intransigence of his party continues. One can only hope that he will trigger what many are hoping for, a rebirth of a viable Republican Party that stands for real American values, a party that stands for middle class values, a party that remembers the time when it actually did good. Real Liberals need a viable conservative party to ensure the purity of liberalism is maintained and do not succumb to a lazy absence of a legitimate pushback.
Thank you to Addicting Info for this article.
Last night it emerged that Mariela Castro, the daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro, will not be allowed to visit Philadelphia next week in order to speak about human rights at an LGBT forum – why? Presumably because the US State Department buckled under pressure from anti-Castro lobbyists. Yet this decision to block Ms Castro from attending said forum is almost as outdated as it is pointless.
First and foremost, it’s worth noting that Ms Castro – who is the director of Cuba’s National Center for Sex Education – does indeed deserve international commendation for her work promoting sexual tolerance in an area of Latin America where the LGBT community is often heavily discriminated against. She’s instituted awareness campaigns, trained police on relations with the LGBT community and tirelessly lobbied lawmakers to legalise same-sex unions.
That sounds pretty good to me – so, why don’t Americans like a woman who’s working her ass off to improve the lives of Cuban minority groups? According to US Congressional Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami, the answer to this question is quite simple:
“The Castro regime was particularly brutal and harsh in its treatment of members of the Cuban gay community and as part of its revisionist push the dictatorship wants the U.S. to believe its lies because it respects no one’s rights,” she fumed. “The Cuban dictatorship would round up members of the gay and AIDS community and send them to forced-labor camps where their most basic human rights came under withering assaults.”
Ah, I see – so we don’t like it when the Cuban government discriminates against the LGBT community, nor do we like it when a woman campaigns to see that same bigotry erased. Wait…what?
The US government has no reason whatsoever to deny a human rights activist access to an international summit based upon her human rights record – that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. On the other hand, many politicians will no doubt take little issue with denying a Cuban national the right to travel freely in America based upon the US government’s longstanding trade embargo with Cuba. Consequently, that would make sense, had the US State Department not just allowed Jay-Z and Beyoncé to break travel restrictions by going on a holiday to Cuba based upon special ‘cultural grounds’. That’s totally fine, and more power to them; however, if the US State Department thought that sending a rapper to Cuba would serve some greater cultural purpose, how the hell can it rationalise keeping a gay rights activist from speaking at an equality forum? And what’s more, why shouldn’t these special travel privileges work both ways?
It’s clearly time for the US government to get over its McCarthy-era hissy fit and admit that capitalism won the Cold War. Does the Castro regime have a poor human rights record? It sure as hell does – after all, its totalitarian regime loves cracking down on dissent almost as much asAmerica’s Communist allies in China. Yet if Americans continue to justify travel restrictions to and from Cuba based solely upon these lines, why do most Chinese nationals not get turned away at the American border? Well, aside from the Chinese government’s dizzying level of wealth, it probably has something to do with the fact that the US State Department is wise enough to see that it would be a little unfair to blame the average Chinese citizen for every poor decision that his or her government has made. Indeed.
At this point, it’s fair to say that denying Mariela Castro the pleasure of hanging out in Philly for a day is even more hypocritical than it is pointless – so why don’t lawmakers stop acting like a Cuban gay rights activist is posing some menacing threat to the American way of life, and instead take a stab at drafting a productive piece of legislature for a change? After all, while Cuban-American Congressmen are high-fiving each other in celebration of their government’s innate ability to keep Cuban nationals off US soil, the entire world is shaking their heads in disgust at that same government’s refusal to put even the tiniest dent in its nation’s rampant level of gun crime. Perhaps it’s time to reshuffle our list of priorities.
Thank you to Huffington Post for this article.
April 8, 2013 By Allen Clifton
The minimum wage debate in this country simply baffles me. Maybe it hits closer to home because I grew up dirt poor, but probably because the arguments against it are just flat out ridiculous.
A small insight to my childhood. I was raised by a single mother, who was raising two kids on her own–working 2 jobs. We had a car that barely worked, clothes that were rarely new, very few “perks” (if any) in life and bills that will be represented by ($A) with my mother’s income which was something around ($A-$100). Needless to say, each month was a juggle of which bills to pay, and when, so that none of them would be shut off.
This is the circumstance I’m sure millions face every day and a circumstance that many, unless they’ve experienced it, can never understand. So when someone says something like, “It’s only $40, just pay it,” they don’t understand how it feels to already be pushed to your financial limits, and literally have less money coming in than what is required for monthly expenses.
See, $40 to someone who’s already behind, isn’t really $40. It’s $40+their current deficit+the deficits accruing by way of their monthly expenses.
But moving on…
I hear two main arguments from Republicans against the minimum wage:
- It eliminates jobs
- It’s unconstitutional
Well, right out of the gate I’m going to simply dismiss #2.
As Republicans, this notion that they’re the party of “Constitutional values” is laughable. With each step against abortion (deemed Constitutional in Roe v. Wade), the forced transvaginal probe requirement prior to an abortion or the pre-abortion required sonogram, the push for a ban on same-sex marriage based on religion (which the First Amendment doesn’t allow), the passage of voter ID laws which violate the Voting Rights Act, the push to try and violate the Affordable Care Act law (deemed Constitutional by the Supreme Court), etc…you get the picture.
In each one of these instances, and many more that are similar, Republicans prove that they only love our Constitution when they feel it benefits their ideology. Whenever our Constitution doesn’t side with their system of beliefs, they don’t hide the fact that they’re willing to violate its laws because they don’t agree with them.
As for #1, it eliminates jobs–are you kidding? To paraphrase Chris Rock, when someone pays you minimum wage, what they’re saying is they would pay you less, but they’re not legally allowed to.
How do people use this argument with a straight face? Oh I get it! If we take one really low paying job, split the hourly wage in half, we can then create two even crappier paying jobs. That’s a “brilliant” way to boost job creation!
That was sarcasm by the way.
Oh, and a quick side note to address a spin off some use on this argument, “Well most jobs don’t pay minimum wage anyway, so we don’t need it.” Hey genius, if most jobs pay more than minimum wage anyway–then what’s the point of opposing it? Oh, and where do you think “above the minimum wage” pay scale was based on? Oh that’s right, the minimum wage. It would be lowerwithout it.
But yes, by all means, let’s take the federal minimum hourly wage of $7.25 (I know some states pay more) and reduce it either further. A wage of $7.25, that if worked 40 hours a week for 52 weeks, would only garner an individual $15,080 per year before taxes—and would still place a single mother/father below the poverty line with just one child.
Oh, let’s not forget, Republicans also harp about too many Americans relying on government programs. And it makes perfect sense to lower the minimum wage to help people get off welfare, right? Just another pair of political stances Republicans support that completely contradict one another.
But back to the argument “it eliminates jobs.” One argument is that it hurts employment for teenagers as businesses don’t want to hire 16-20 year old individuals with no prior work experience for such a “high wage.” Some have suggested a tiered system of minimum wage based on age.
So now what, we should use age discrimination to determine pay? Or we can ignore the fact that many businesses would probably then hire younger people over older individuals, because they could pay them less. Then, when budgets are tight, who do you think gets more hours—the person making $5.25 an hour or $7.25 an hour? You don’t think once an individual hits that “age threshold for higher pay” that some businesses might start cutting their hours, or hell, looking for ways to get rid of older employees who cost more?
But let me break down what $7.25 per hour really means–actually, I’ll even take it a step further and use $9.25 an hour:
A single mother or father working 40 hours a week, at 9.25 an hour, would only make $19,240 per year (or $1603 per month) both numbers before taxes.
Let’s assume he/she has 2 kids. This places them (before taxes) a whopping $150 above the poverty line. So, even at $2 above our federal minimum wage, this would place a family of 3 barely above the poverty line.
*At $7.25 40 hours x 52 weeks = $15,080 (before taxes) and would place this family of three $4,010below the poverty line.
And actually both sets of numbers, for a single parents with 2 children, would qualify them for some kind of government assistance. So, when Republicans say people who rely on government assistance are lazy moochers, I guess they’re including those who work full-time jobs at lower pay.
So, are people who work full-time jobs lazy? Are Republicans saying that 40 hours a week isn’t enough, and people should just find a way to work more so that they don’t need to rely on help from the government?
What kind of country is this becoming where millions (millions who use government programs by the way–they just excuse their own reliance while judging others) would rather have someone work 50, 60, or 70 hours per week instead of saying “You know what, businesses need to pay their employees better, so people don’t have to work 60 hours a week just to get by.”
Because if you want to look at a single mother or father, trying to raise their children the best they can, working 40 hours a week and call them lazy, or tell them you believe they should be paid less–you should be ashamed of yourself..
Because I’m damn sure ashamed of you.
Thank you to Forward Progressives for this article.
Reuters | Posted: 04/28/2013 6:41 am EDT | Updated: 04/28/2013 12:18 pm EDT
* Owner of collapsed building arrested fleeing to India-police
* More than 900 missing, police say
* Four pulled from rubble alive, four days after disaster
By Ruma Paul and Serajul Quadir
DHAKA, April 28 (Reuters) – The owner of a factory building that collapsed in Bangladesh killing hundreds of garment workers was arrested on Sunday trying to flee to India, police said, as fears grew that the death toll could rise sharply with as many as 900 still missing.
Mohammed Sohel Rana, a leader of the ruling Awami League’s youth front, was arrested by the elite Rapid Action Battalion in the Bangladesh border town of Benapole, Dhaka District Police Chief Habibur Rahman told Reuters.
Speaking near the site of the wreckage of Rana Plaza, which housed several factories making low-cost garments for Western retailers, junior minister for local government Jahangir Kabir Nanak told reporters that Rana would be brought to Dhaka by helicopter.
Authorities put the latest death toll at 372, four days after the country’s worst-ever industrial accident.
Four people were pulled out alive on Sunday and rescuers were working frantically to save several others trapped under the mound of broken concrete and metal, fire services deputy director Mizanur Rahman said.
“The chances of finding people alive are dimming, so we have to step up our rescue operation to save any valuable life we can,” said Major General Chowdhury Hassan Sohrawardi, coordinator of the operation at the site.
About 2,500 people have been rescued from the wrecked building in the commercial suburb of Savar, about 30 km (20 miles) from the capital, Dhaka.
Officials said the eight-storey complex had been built on spongy ground without the correct permits, and more than 3,000 workers – mainly young women – entered the building on Wednesday morning despite warnings that it was structurally unsafe.
Police said one factory owner gave himself up following the detention of two plant bosses and two engineers the day before.
Local news reports said the mother of building owner Rana, who was not being held, died of a heart attack on Saturday evening.
Anger over the disaster has sparked days of protests and clashes, with police using tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets to quell demonstrators who set cars ablaze. On Sunday, however, the roads were quiet.
The main opposition, joining forces with an alliance of leftist parties which is part of the ruling coalition, called for a national strike on May 2 in protest over the incident.
BUILT ON A FILLED-IN POND
Wednesday’s collapse was the third major industrial incident in five months in Bangladesh, the second-largest exporter of garments in the world behind China. In November, a fire at the Tazreen Fashion factory in a suburb of Dhaka killed 112 people.
Such incidents have raised serious questions about worker safety and low wages, and could taint the reputation of the poor South Asian country, which relies on garments for 80 percent of its exports. The industry employs about 3.6 million people, most of them women, some of whom earn as little as $38 a month.
Emdadul Islam, chief engineer of the state-run Capital Development Authority (CDA), said on Friday that the owner of the building had not received the proper construction consent, obtaining a permit for a five-storey building from the local municipality, which did not have the authority to grant it.
Furthermore, another three storeys had been added illegally, he said. “Savar is not an industrial zone, and for that reason no factory can be housed in Rana Plaza,” Islam told Reuters.
Islam said the building had been erected on the site of a pond filled in with sand and earth, weakening the foundations.
Since the disaster, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has asked factory owners to produce building designs by July in a bid to improve safety.
Thank you to the Huffington Post for this article.