Julie Menin, who has served as commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment in New York City since February 2016, has been appointed census director and executive assistant corporation counsel for strategic advocacy, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced yesterday (Jan. 2). She’s expected to begin shortly with an eye towards organizing and planning for the 2020 census.
Upon Menin’s appointment to lead the MOME in 2016, Mayor de Blasio announced that for the first time the office — which traditionally focused on the film, television and theater industries — would incorporate the music industry in NYC into its purview. As part of her work with the music business, Menin kickstarted an outreach program for the industry, which included an extensive hearing involving some 75 organizations and companies that do business in the city, as well as an economic analysis and the appointment of NYC’s first “nightlife mayor,” former bar owner Ariel Palitz, to study and work with the community in the city.
Two of the MOME’s signature efforts under Menin’s guidance included establishing the first-ever New York Music Month in June 2017, which returned for a second year in 2018, and helping to bring the Grammy Awards to New York City for the first time in 15 years for its 60th edition in January 2018. Alongside the organization NY Is Music, which also helped establish NYMM, Menin’s office also created the Sound Thinking NYC education program, geared towards helping young women seek employment opportunities in the New York music scene.
Now, de Blasio said, the city will focus on seeking a replacement for Menin at the MOME.
“I am thrilled to take on this new dual role as census director and executive assistant corporation counsel for strategic advocacy at this critical juncture for our city when it has never been more important to fight the threats to democracy and immigration that our city faces,” Menin said in a statement regarding her new roles. “We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that every New Yorker is counted so our city receives the billions in funding it deserves for public schools, health care, child care, senior centers and infrastructure and that we will use every legal avenue to protect our democratic ideals and make sure justice is served.”
Cuomo: Legalizing pot will bring in $300 million in tax revenue
Adult recreational use of marijuana will be legalized under a plan advanced today by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo along with the creation of three new taxes – eventually passed on to consumers – that will total $300 million annually.
The Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act will regulate marijuana from cultivation to retail sales “for the purposes of fostering and promoting temperance in their consumption” and “to promote social equality,’’ according to Cuomo’s budget plan unveiled this afternoon.
Not all the details of the program were immediately released, such as law enforcement strategies to deal with people who drive while high, or precisely how many retail operations will be located in the state.
The plan calls for the creation of an Office of Cannabis Management.
Cuomo had been steadfastly opposed to marijuana legalization, calling it only a couple of years ago a dangerous “gateway” drug. But, as he has moved to the left on an assortment of issues, Cuomo relaxed his views after a state study panel he appointed last year said there were now more benefits than risks to legalizing recreational use of marijuana.
Pot sales would be legal under Cuomo’s plan to adults 21 years and older. The plan also calls for automatically sealing marijuana-related arrest records. Counties and large cities would be able to refuse to participate with the marijuana sales program within their borders.
Initial budget documents released by the administration also do not make clear if residents, as in other states, will be permitted to grow their own marijuana.
The Cuomo budget proposes to impose on pot cultivators a $1 per dry weight gram on cannabis flower and 25 cents per dry weight gram of the cannabis trim. Sales by wholesalers to retailers would face another tax of 20 percent of the invoice price. A third tax is an additional 2 percent sales tax on the wholesaler that would be distributed to counties that host retail establishments.
A part of the financial plan, however, suggests a slow ramping up of the program: It envisions no revenues coming in during the upcoming fiscal year that starts April 1 and only $83 million the following year.
Anthony Scaramucci will be on ‘Celebrity Big Brother,’ following Omarosa’s lead
Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci will be on this season of “Celebrity Big Brother” on CBS, the second straight year that the reality show has featured a prominent member of Donald Trump’s White House.
The CBS announcement comes a year after Omarosa Manigault-Newman, the “Apprentice” alum and former White House aide, appeared on the show and held forth about her time in the Trump administration. She told her housemates that the situation at the White House was “going to not be OK,” said she was “haunted” by Trump’s tweets every day, and compared her departure to being freed from a plantation.
Scaramucci, the financier-turned-Trump whisperer, was infamously the White House’s communications director for a whirlwind 11 days in July 2017. “The Mooch” was ousted after giving an aggressively vulgar interview to The New Yorker about fellow officials Reince Priebus and Steven Bannon.
“I sometimes use colorful language,” he tweeted at the time. “I will refrain in this arena but not give up the passionate fight for Donald Trump’s agenda.”
At one point last season, Omarosa gave a shoutout to Scaramucci while on the show, and he returned the favor in a February 2018 tweet.
“Always liked Omarosa always will,” he wrote.
Scaramucci has continued to be a consistent presence on cable news since then, coming on to talk about the President. He recently published the book, “Trump: The Blue-Collar President.”
“Celebrity Big Brother” follows a group of modestly recognizable figures living together in a house filled with cameras and microphones picking up their every move. Someone is voted out of the house each week, and the last remaining guest wins a grand prize.
Scaramucci will be joined in the house by actor Jonathan Bennett, singer Tamar Braxton, singer Kandi Burruss, comedian Tom Green, Olympian Lolo Jones, OJ Simpson trial figure Kato Kaelin, actor Joey Lawrence, Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, “Momager” Dina Lohan, wrestler Natalie Eva Marie, and former NFL running back Ricky Williams.
Julie Chen Moonves will return as host of the show. The two-night premiere event of the show starts on Monday, January 21, and Tuesday, January 22.
When is the 2019 State of the Union address? Everything to know about Trump’s second speech to Congress
President Trump is getting ready to step up to the podium for the second time in late January to deliver his annual State of the Union address — this time, to a Democratic majority House of Representatives.
Newly-sworn-in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., extended an invite to the president just hours after lawmakers formally joined the new Congress, proposing a Jan. 29 date for the annual event which is held in the House Chamber. Trump publicly agreed to deliver the address on that date days later.
In a letter, Pelosi explained that the Constitution established the three “co-equal branches of government, to be a check and balance on each other” and called for the president to “from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union.”
Here’s what you need to know about this year’s event.
What will Trump discuss?
Similarly to 2018, Republican and Democratic lawmakers are yet again at an impasse over Trump’s proposed border security.
The government was partially shuttered — with about one-quarter of government employees affected — ahead of Christmas because Congress couldn’t strike a deal in regards to funding for Trump’s border wall. Trump, in particular, is requesting a package that contains $5.7 billion to help build the structure along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Immigration was also a hot button issue last year.
The government shut down for three days in late January 2018 over disagreements over the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an Obama-era program, which offers protection for immigrants — also known as “Dreamers” — who came into the U.S. illegally as minors. They eventually reached a compromise to briefly reopen the government.
During his 2018 address, Trump called on both parties to put politics aside and “get the job done,” a theme he may echo this year as Democrats control the House while Republicans maintain their grip over the Senate.
“Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve,” the president said.
Days later, on Feb. 9, 2018, the government once again shuttered, though that shutdown only last nine hours. Congress eventually came up with a two-year budget agreement that included an increase in military spending, an extension for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and additional funds for disaster relief, among other issues.
It’s a deal “neither side loves, but both sides can be proud of,” Senate Minority Leader Schumer, D-N.Y., said at the time.
How long will Trump’s speech last?
There’s no telling how long Trump’s speech will last but if it’s anything like last year’s, expect it to run long.
In 2018, Trump spoke for a record 1 hour, 20 minutes — the third-longest SOTU speech in U.S. history. Former President Bill Clinton had him beat with a roughly 1-hour, 28-minute speech and 1-hour, 24-minute speech in 2000 and 1995, respectively, according to the University of California, Santa Barbara’s American Presidency Project.
Who will attend Trump’s SOTU?
An official list has yet to be released from the White House, though Trump’s Cabinet, the heads of 15 executive departments, including the attorney general, members of Congress and a variety of guests — chosen by lawmakers — are invited to attend. The nine sitting Supreme Court justices, including newcomer Brett Kavanaugh, will also be asked to view the event in person.
Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and senior uniformed leaders in the Defense Department who help advise the president and his staff on military matters will be invited, too.
Trump will also likely handpick around 15 guests to join first lady Melania Trump in the gallery. It’s a tradition that was started by former President Ronald Reagan in 1982.
“Some of these individual stories are heroic. Some are patriotic. Others are tragic,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders explained in 2018. “But all of them represent the unbreakable American spirit and will inspire our nation to continue growing stronger, prouder and more prosperous.”
A Marine Corps. veteran, a cop, a welder and the parents of MS-13 victims were among those tapped by the president to attend last year’s event.
Who’s going to be the “designated survivor”?
The “designated survivor,” a precaution taken to assure continuity of the presidency, probably won’t be revealed until hours before the big event.
Last year, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was tasked with the role.
Ahead of the speech, the designated survivor will be taken to a secure and undisclosed location outside of Washington, D.C., where he or she is expected to stay with Secret Service agents until the conclusion of the event. When Trump and his Cabinet members safely exit the packed House chamber, the chosen official will be allowed to return home.
It’s not unusual for a lesser-known Cabinet member to be selected, as the president may point out higher-profile officials as he mentions specific tasks and initiatives in his speech.
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