Saturday, August 23, 2014

Progressive CEO Wants Little League Players Paid

Little League CEO: We'll consider compensating players in future
Pennsylvania's Mo'ne Davis delivers in the fifth inning against Tennessee during a baseball game in United States pool play at the Little League World Series tournament in South Williamsport, Pa., Friday, Aug. 15, 2014. Pennsylvania won 4-0 with Davis pitching a complete game two-hit shutout. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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If Steve Keener truly wants to run a progressive organization like he says, sooner than later the CEO of Little League Baseball will do what he suggested to Yahoo Sports could be possible in the future: give back some of the $76 million in television rights fees the organization is reaping over the next eight years to the kids whose names, images and likenesses fill up flat screens every summer.

After years of staunch opposition to the idea, Keener's consideration comes on the heels of the historic O'Bannon v. NCAA ruling that could have far-reaching effects on amateur athletes everywhere. In the future, if you're like Mo'ne, you may get some money.
"I've always felt we need to be as progressive an organization as we can," Keener told Yahoo Sports. "We don't know what's coming. If at some point in time that would be deemed to be appropriate, we'll consider it. At the moment, I don't see the necessity and don't think we should be compensating kids right now.
"Whether at some point down the road any funds could be put aside to help them with college I don't know. Down the road that's something we might take a look at even if it's feasible."
Doing so would right a wrong decades in the making. Little League has grown into a business with more than $80 million in assets and nearly $25 million in revenue, and every August it runs out a fresh batch of kids in hopes of captivating the country. Mo'ne Davis, the 13-year-old from South Philadelphia, did just that, and the last game she pitched drew a higher rating for ESPN than any MLB game since April 2007, according to Sports Media Watch.
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Autographs from Mo'ne Davis are already selling on eBay. (AP)
Autographs from Mo'ne Davis are already selling on eBay. (AP)
For this, Davis received transportation to Williamsport, Pa., lodging, meals and a uniform. Her Taney Little League team gets to keep its equipment. And that's it. As Mo'ne Davis juices ratings and gives Little League a recognizable name and memory against which to sell corporate sponsorships next year and those thereafter, she sees not a penny of it. Instead, she gets something else to cherish.
"The experience we're providing them," Keener said.
Here is where Keener lapses back into antiquated thoughts and public-relations drivel. The experience is wonderful. It is great. It is far from commensurate with what the kids provide, almost belittling considering ESPN sees the event worth nearly $10 million a year because of those who play in it.
As the kids enjoyed their experiences, Keener made $430,844 in salary and benefits between October 2012 and September 2013, according to tax records. Over the last decade, his compensation package nearly has doubled from the $228,869 he made in 2005, a number far closer to that of other nonprofit CEOs. An analysis by the Nonprofit Times showed CEOs for similarly sized organizations to Little League, which operated last year with a $23.5 million budget, averaged $184,926 in pay. In its most recent study, Charity Navigator said the median salary of a large-sized nonprofit CEO in the Mid-Atlantic area was $267,724.
Keener, whose salary is set by Little League's board, was one of seven employees with six-figure compensation packages, according to Little League's 2012 tax filings. Little League is technically a charity, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, though perhaps more accurately it is a business wearing charity clothes. True charities take everything offered them. Little League paid a Connecticut company called SJX Partners $472,062 last year for a "corporate sponsor search," according to its tax filings. Charities don't spend nearly half a million dollars so a company can find which multinational is willing to pay the most to be the exclusive whatever-it-may-be of the Little League World Series. Businesses do.
Know what else businesses do? Pay their labor. And during the two weeks of the World Series, the kids playing the games are just that: the stars of the show, the alluring unkowns, the raison d'être of the event.
Every day, Disney talent scouts comb the world for the next 13-year-old they can manufacture into a star. Even though plenty of teenage girls would do a TV show for free, Disney knows the industry doesn't work that way. So the kids get paid, often quite handsomely.
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DJ Butler and Chicago advanced to the U.S. championship game by beating Mo'ne Davis' team. (AP)
DJ Butler and Chicago advanced to the U.S. championship game by beating Mo'ne Davis' team. (AP)
Somehow sports never got the memo and abided by the romantic, if entirely misguided, idea of amateurism, as though value for a talent exists only at a certain age. Disney owns ESPN. If only it applied the same standards to its uniformed stars as it does those who sing, dance and act.
There is a market for a girl like Mo'ne Davis, a big one that would love to pay her lots of money because she compounds her talent with a combination of personality and wonderment that enthralls people. The specter of the NCAA ruling her ineligible half a decade down the road dissuades her from cashing in now, and it's a policy behind which Keener hides as well.
"We wouldn't want to do anything that would jeopardize any of these kids' future eligibility," he said. "We're always cautious that we're not going to do anything the NCAA would deem as compensation."
During the O'Bannon case, the NCAA attorneys brought up Little League during questioning, asking the former UCLA basketball star whether he believed the kids should be paid. He said yes. O'Bannon later backtracked, regretting his words. He shouldn't have. Right now, Little League hands out $8,000 total in scholarships to five girls and five boys who played baseball or softball. Surely it could afford a $1,000 educational grant for all of the players with $2,500 each going to those who play in the finals and a $10,000 bonus for the MVP of the final game. The total cost of that would be $276,000 – or less than Little League paid for a "computer consultant" last year, according to its tax records.
As the NCAA's stranglehold on college athletics crumbles, the next few years will test Keener's commitment to progressiveness. Right now, he is a highly paid CEO whose organization is taking in more money than it ever has and using it to lower league affiliation fees, from $18 to $16 to $13 next year. And while that does impact the 7,500 leagues around the country Little League oversees – in the same way a major college football program subsidizes non-revenue sports – it ignores the next Mo'ne Davis.
"Little League Baseball is a public trust," Keener said, "and we should justify what we're doing."
Considering his salary, the country-club membership that comes with his job and the years of dismissing the pleas of playing for pay, Keener doesn't fit the profile of the CEO likely to put his money where his mouth is. Then again, the right side of history is sitting here, waiting for him, hoping he's the first to grab the reins. All it takes for Steve Keener to ensure Little League stay a pubic trust is the great sense of fairness and a check with a few zeroes at the end, each loop more than deserved.


Democrat Fraud Update: North Carolina NAACP appeals federal judge’s ruling on state voting law


Here’s the press release from the North Carolina NAACP:
WASHINGTON – Fighting to protect the right to vote for all North Carolinians this November, the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP filed an appeal today in the legal battle over H.B. 589, the state’s voter suppression law. The appeal – which was filed by the legal team of national civil rights organization Advancement Project, the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, and North Carolina lawyers Adam Stein and Irving Joyner – challenges U.S. District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder’s ruling earlier this month to deny a  opreliminary injunction that would block application of the law in the November 2014 general election.
“The franchise is a fundamental issue of our rights, as guaranteed to us by the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, by our state constitution and by the still-intact Section 2 the Voting Rights Act,” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of the North Carolina NAACP. “Moreover, it is a moral issue that we are committed to protecting with every tool at our disposal. The franchise was won through the blood, sweat and tears of courageous people who sacrificed to make real the promise of democracy. If one person’s right to vote is denied or abridged this election, this democracy suffers. While restoring the rights of North Carolina voters and renewing the integrity of democracy in our state will require a long legal fight, we must start now by doing everything we can to block this law for the November election.”
Among other provisions, H.B. 589 shortens the early voting period by a full week, eliminates same-day registration and prevents out-of-precinct ballots from being counted. It currently stands to abridge the right to vote for countless North Carolina voters in November’s election – especially voters of color, who have used these positive reforms at a significantly higher rate than White voters. The full trial on the law’s legality is not scheduled until next summer.
“Issuing a preliminary injunction is imperative to preventing irreparable harm to the rights of North Carolinians,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Penda D. Hair. “The plaintiffs believe we met the standard for preliminary injunction against HB589. The evidence shows that African-American voters are disproportionately impacted by this law. When someone is denied their vote in an election, they forever lose that opportunity to have their say – that is irreparable harm. Any votes that are prevented in this election are votes that will be forever lost, which is why we are appealing the court’s decision.”
In its recent ruling, the District Court also denied the State’s motion to dismiss the case, ruling that plaintiffs had presented plausible legal claims that require a full trial next year.
“We are pleased that the judge denied the state’s motion to dismiss, and found that our claims against this law merit discovery and a trial on the merits,” said Kirkland & Ellis partner Daniel T. Donovan. “But much is at stake if the law is not stopped now, and our clients will use all legal avenues available to ensure that elections are fair and accessible to all citizens.”


Anchor Babies In The News: Mother, boyfriend jailed after 2-year-old ends up with skull fracture


A Hidalgo County mother and her boyfriend are facing criminal charges after an act of child abused ended with her 2-year-old son in the hospital with a skull fracture and a broken arm.
Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office deputies have charged 22-year-old Rhonda Garza and 23-year-old Luis Enrique Esquivel with injury to a child charges this week.
Court records obtained by Action 4 News show that the investigation started back on July 25th.
A Child Protective Services case workers called deputies to a home off Mile 15 1/2 North just outside Elsa.
Investigators learned that Garza's 2-year-old son was hospitalized at the McAllen Medical Center with a skull fracture and a broken left arm.
Doctors confirmed that the injuries did not come from an accident.
Garza initially told deputies that her son was outside and learning to walk when he fell down but later changed her story.
The 22-year-old mother later admitted that Esquivel used his fist to punch her son on the head.
Garza told deputies that she never reported it to police because she did not have anywhere to go.
The investigation ended with deputies taking Garza into custody on Tuesday and taking Esquivel into custody on Wednesday.
Hidalgo County Jail records show that Esquivel is facing addition charges of child endangerment and evading arrest.
Records show that Esquivel also has outstanding warrants for reckless driving, evading arrest and resisting arrest from another incident back in 2013.
The boy's medical condition was not immediately available but Garza was released from custody after posting a $10,000 personal recognizance bond on Tuesday.
But Esquivel remains in custody under $140,000 dollars in bonds and the outstanding warrants.


TEA: Federal government has not sorted out educating unaccompanied illegals



With the first day of school just three days way,  how will the immigration influx impact our local classrooms?
They’ve come from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala and have made their way all across the country to reunite with family. 
Come the start of the school year, undocumented children may also be making their way into the classroom.
Texas Education Agency (TEA) communications director Gene Acuna said schools across the state are preparing -as much as they can anyway.
“Our dilemma right now is that we don't have very many answers in regards to are these children in fact going to be enrolling in local school districts,” Acuna told Action 4 News.
Undocumented children enroll in valley school districts regularly, but Acuna said the surge of Central American children coming to the US is something the TEA has never dealt with.
The last surge of students from outside Texas, came in 2009 when families fled Louisiana to escape Hurricane Katrina
“We have unaccompanied minors. They're in detention facilities, so the expectations for educating them or for the local districts to take them still have not been spelled out by the federal government,” Acuna said,.
Texas school districts receive funding based on average daily attendance numbers, so if more students are enrolled, present funding increases regardless of immigration status.
But Acuna said right now, superintendents are concerned with much more than the financial impact, since the federal government has not completely addressed the immigration issue.
The TEA is not only concerned about curriculum changes, but also whether they have been vaccinated .
The tea and school districts are doing what they do best , preparing for one of their biggest tests yet.
Superintendents, principals and teachers are in best position to determine the best way to provide education to all children in their classrooms, Acuna said.


Groups Sue U.S. Government over Deportations


WASHINGTON – Four organizations sued the United States Government on Friday for the deportation of immigrant mothers and children who, according to the lawsuit, had fled from violence in Central America.

The American Civil Liberties Union, American Immigration Council, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and National Immigration Law Center presented their suit in the name of immigrant women and children being held at a detention center in Artesia, New Mexico.

The complaint maintains that the Barack Obama administration has adopted a “strong-arm policy to ensure rapid deportations by holding these mothers and their children to a nearly insurmountable and erroneous standard to prove their asylum claims, and by placing countless hurdles in front of them,” the ACLU said in a statement.

So far this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, more than 58,000 unaccompanied minors have entered the United States illegally, mostly over the Texas border, according to official figures.

The great majority of those minors come from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, and a law passed to combat human trafficking prohibits their immediate deportation without an immigration hearing.

Advocates say that these youngsters must be considered refugees fleeing threats of death, rape and extortion in their countries of origin.

“These mothers and their children have sought refuge in the United States after fleeing for their lives from threats of death and violence in their home countries,” said Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

“U.S. law guarantees them a fair opportunity to seek asylum,” she said. “Yet, the government’s policy violates that basic law and core American values – we do not send people who are seeking asylum back into harm’s way.”

According to the suit, filed with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, the Obama administration has “categorically prejudged” cases of asylum without considering the individual circumstances.

“Fast-tracking the deportations of women and children from immigration detention is an assault on due process,” the American Immigration Council’s Melissa Crow said.


Mexican State Drops Restrictions on Media


CULIACAN, Mexico – Legislators in the western Mexican state of Sinaloa repealed a measure that barred reporters from crime scenes and otherwise limited their ability to cover issues of public safety and criminal justice.

The vote to abrogate what became known as the “gag law” was unanimous.

The repeal will take effect once it is published in the state government’s official gazette.

Sinaloa Gov. Mario Lopez, who proposed the original package of media restrictions, expressed “solidarity” with the legislature’s move to undo the controversial law and promised to be more sensitive in the future to issues of freedom of expression.

Lopez’s bill, which passed the legislature unanimously at the end of last month, not only prohibited the presence of reporters at crime scenes, but mandated that journalists covering the police beat rely exclusively on official bulletins.

The legislation also required law-enforcement authorities to obtain express permission from the state Attorney General’s Office before sharing information with the media.

The gag law was barely on the books when the outcry against it began and both the governor and the legislature quickly announced their intention to repeal it.

Sinaloa is one of Mexico’s five most dangerous states, with 41 homicides for every 100,000 residents in 2013.

The state that gave birth to the first generation of Mexican drug lords is suffering through a period of heightened violence as rival groups jockey for supremacy following the arrest in February of Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman.


Miley Cyrus concert banned on morality grounds in the Dominican Republic


The government said Cyrus 'undertook actions that go against our customs'

Miley Cyrus’ twerking has been deemed too offensive for the Dominican Republic government, which has banned the singer from performing on “morality grounds”.

The country’s commission that oversees public performances has banned a concert Cyrus was due to play as part of her Bangerz world tour on 13 September.

In a statement, the commission said it took the action because Cyrus often “undertakes acts that go against morals and customs, which are punishable by Dominican Law”.

The singer’s Bangerz world tour sees her wear a cannabis-patterned leotard and simulate fake oral sex on a Bill Clinton impersonator.

Cyrus has also previously smoked cannabis on stage, an illegal act in the Dominican Republic.

Tickets ranging from $27 to $370 for the concert in the capital Santo Domingo are said to have been on sale since July.

A representative for Cyrus did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Concert organisers in the Dominican Republic also did not comment on the ban.

In the past, the commission has banned songs it considered vulgar from the country’s airwaves, including some by Calle 13 of Puerto Rico.


Mother outraged after special needs student served lunch from trash


PLEASANT GROVE, Utah — A mother in Utah is furious after she says the staff at the local high school fed her special needs daughter food out of a trash can.
When eighth grader Sierra Prince asked for a slice of pizza at lunch, she was told there was none left. After insisting she wanted pizza, a kitchen employee pulled leftover pizza from a nearby trashcan and gave it to her.
The girl knew right away that it didn’t taste right.
A diabetic with learning disabilities, Sierra told KSTU she felt she had to listen to her school appointed aid and the staff.
Her mother, Nicole Cordoba, was furious when she found out what happened.
“How could that happen to a child? What adult makes that decision? It’s common sense: We don’t eat out of trash cans.”
KSTU reported that a letter was later sent from the school district to the school.
In part, the director said, “This was totally unacceptable. Your employee needs a reprimand and a discipline warning issued immediately. We never serve food that has been placed in a garbage can.”
It was reported that the lunch manager was placed on administrative leave and the incident is being investigated.


This Should Go Well: Westboro Baptist Church Says It’s Going To Iraq To Protest ISIS


via Twitter
via Twitter
Westboro Baptist Church, the hate group that masquerades as a religious organization, is known for their publicity stunts, but they may have bit off more than they can chew with this one. After a comedian offered to pay for them to fly to Iraq so they can protest real Christian persecution at the hands of Islamic militants, the group tweeted that they have accepted his offer. They want to take their picket signs and head over to a country currently occupied by a group that beheads Christian children without hesitation – this ought to go well.
To bring you up to speed: Last week, Australian comedian Adam Hills gave an brilliant, hilarious proposal to the WBC after learned that they planned to – surprise, surprise – picket Robin Williams’ funeral. On his show, The Last Leg, Hills pointed out that the infamous “God Hates Fags” group is quick to march around with signs protesting American hedonism, but don’t have the courage to protest the daily persecution Christians in Iraq are facing at the hands of “the people threatening to behead Christians if they don’t convert.”
Hills tells the group:
“If you really believe in standing up to those threatening the christian way of life, Westboro Baptist Church, how about putting your money where your mouth is, taking a direct flight to Iraq.”
He also nails a couple Robin Williams impressions. Give the video a watch:
 Well it appears that the WBC have seen Hills’ show and take his offer very seriously. Yesterday, when someone asked them if they were aware of it, the church tweeted that not only had they heard of it but had already accepted the offer.
They also claim to have picketed in Iraq before, although the picture they used in the tweet is decidedly not in Iraq.
I took up their suggestion to “Google it” but couldn’t find a single mention of their being in Iraq aside from their own website’s claim. It’s possible that they’ve been to Iraq before, but if they have it was not well advertised.
It appears that Hills’ show has also learned that the WBC has taken up their offer.
If the two sides manage to work something out and the WBC winds up in Iraq, it’s safe to say that their lives would very much be in danger. Iraq, especially large swaths of it now occupied by IS militants, is extremely unfriendly to American citizens, Christian, but most particularly American Christians carrying signs reading “Muslims Die, God Laughs.”
Just this week an American journalist was beheaded by ISIS and they are threatening to do the same to another one. At the same time, ISIS has exiled thousands of Iraqi Christians, killing those who don’t leave.
ISIS has been targeting Christians ever since it first got started. As a militant group fighting against both the forces of President Bashar al-Assad and rebel groups in Syria’s civil war, ISIS wreaked havoc on Syrian Christians, torching churches in the historic Christian city of Maaloula and kidnapping bishops. Still, Mosul’s large Christian population remained determined to remain in the city where their ancestors have lived for 1,600 years.
That all changed when ISIS issued a statement last Thursday ordering the city’s Christians to convert, pay a hefty religious tax, or face execution on Saturday.
Since then, there have been reports of mass killings and targeted murders of Christians in Iraq. If the Westboro Baptist Church chooses to walk into that, it would be the first time in the church’s history that they would actually be protesting something worth protesting. It may also be short lived. Depending on where they chose to stage their protest, they may need to start planning a protest of their own funerals.