Tag Archives: conversation

The key Democrat has for weeks been at the center of the conversation on voting rights because of his opposition to the filibuster

Since arriving in Washington on Monday, Texas Democrats have sought meetings with members of Congress to urge them to pass federal voting rights legislation, including the For the People Act, the sweeping Democratic voting and election bill shot down by Senate Republicans last month.
Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia, has for weeks been at the center of the conversation on voting rights because of his opposition to eliminating the filibuster. Removing the legislative hurdle would allow Democrats to pass legislation with a simple majority.
After meeting with members of the Texas delegation, Manchin said the next step is to put together a pared-down bill that focuses solely on protecting the right to vote and the procedure of voting.
“We work with the Voting Rights Act that we had, started in 1965, and what we’ve evolved into, and basically make a piece of legislation, one piece of legislation that protects the rights of voting, the procedure of voting, democracy, the guardrails on democracy, that’s all. And there shouldn’t be a Republican or Democrat should oppose it,” Manchin said.
Asked why he thinks Republicans would support a pared down bill, Manchin said: “You know why? Because they’ve had a bill that’s 800 pages long, they’ve had everything thrown at them. Let’s get back to the basic rights of voting, protecting voting rights.”
Texas state Rep. Joe Moody — one of the Democrats at the meeting in Washington — said the Texas delegation was pleased by its conversation with Manchin.
“Senator Manchin was very generous with his time, and Texas Democrats were heartened by our talks with him. We have no doubt that he completely shares our goal of protecting voting rights for all Americans, and we all realize that this is a struggle that won’t be over in just a few days—it’s a journey, one we look forward to taking together,” Moody said in a statement to CNN.
However, back in Texas, House Speaker Dade Phelan on Thursday issued an order stripping Moody of his position as speaker pro tempore.
The role of speaker pro tempore, largely a ceremonial role, is to carry out the Speaker’s duties in their absence.
Following his removal, Moody said on Twitter Thursday, “The most important titles in my life will never change: Dad, Husband, El Pasoan. Nothing political has ever even cracked the top three, so nothing has changed about who I am or what my values are.”
He added, in a separate statement to CNN, “I followed my conscience knowing that doing the right thing could cost me, but not fighting would’ve cost even more: the civil rights of Texans. The job I swore an oath to do is to defend our Constitution, so I’d make that trade any day. Titles come and go, but my commitment to the people of El Paso and this state will always remain.”
Moody was appointed to the position by Phelan during this year’s regular session. He also served as speaker pro tempore under a different Republican state House speaker in the 2019 session.

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This post originally posted here CNN.com – RSS Channel – HP Hero

The conversation at the Conservative Political Action Conference this weekend reaffirmed Republican activists have no intention of moving on

Republicans are facing a set of highly competitive midterm elections in 2022 and still attempting to shape an agenda that will break through to voters. But the conversation at the Conservative Political Action Conference this weekend reaffirmed once again that the core activists of the Republican Party have no intention of moving on from Trump or the false claims he has trumpeted that the 2020 election was fraudulent, even though there is no evidence of widespread voting fraud in last year’s contest.
Normally, CPAC events serve as an audition arena for the next slate of future Republican presidential contenders. But there was scarcely a hint of that here this weekend as Trump’s flirtation with another run for president in 2024 has effectively frozen the field — with his Sunday speech serving as the main draw for attendees.
Blue flags adorning a truck in the parking lot bore the slogan “Trump Won.” Exhibition booths overflowed with Trump hats, flags, and other “45” swag. One 2024 T-shirt pictured Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis but only standing next to Trump as his potential vice president. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who will speak Sunday before Trump, mentioned the former president within the first two minutes of her last CPAC speech and has allied herself so closely with him that GOP voters often say they’d like to see her as his No. 2 instead of Mike Pence in 2024.
At a gathering branded as “America UnCanceled,” Donald Trump Jr. warmed up the crowd on Friday night with quick-witted condemnations of cancel culture and digs at Hunter Biden. But his biggest applause line wasn’t even his own. During his speech, an attendee bellowed “Trump won!” eliciting a standing ovation and setting off a round of “Trump” chants.
During a midday Saturday panel that was intended to be a “tough love” assessment of the Republican Party, GOP donor Bubba Saulsbury acknowledged that it has been difficult to shift the attention of both donor and voters to future contests because they are still “livid” about the 2020 outcome.
“I know we need to talk about moving forward, but we’ve got to be honest with ourselves about where we’ve been and what happened,” said Saulsbury, adding that every donor he’s met “believes that there was some level of election fraud.”
“Talking to all the donors — they’re apprehensive to donate to anything but election integrity right now, because their thoughts are, ‘Why am I going to spend my money if it’s not going to be a free and fair election?'” Saulsbury said.
Another Saturday headliner, GOP Rep. Jody Hice, who is challenging incumbent Republican Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger — the Georgia state official who infuriated Trump by overseeing three ballot counts confirming Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia — steered a panel about Covid-19 toward the topic of election security. When Hice was asked how he would ensure that Americans get the correct information about the Delta variant this fall, he pivoted back to 2020.
“I firmly believe this is the fight of our life politically,” Hice told the crowd to applause. “If we lose election integrity, we lose everything. So that’s my focus right now.” He declined to provide any further comment to CNN.

Trump the headliner

On Sunday, the conference is set to open with two men who just recently addressed a QAnon-affiliated conference: Texas GOP Chair Allen West, who has announced plans to challenge Greg Abbott in the Texas governor’s race, and Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert.
Also on the agenda: A presentation on the future of American elections, the second election fraud panel of the three-day conference.
The event also drew Proud Boys as well as the founder of the Oath Keepers, who was recently interviewed by the FBI about his role in the January 6 insurrection, according to the New York Times. He has not been charged with criminal wrongdoing.
Trump will essentially close out the conference Sunday afternoon, after the announcement of the results of CPAC’s straw poll which is intended to measure voters’ interest in the potential GOP White House contenders. One question includes Trump on a list of potential 2024 candidates; the other does not.
But no matter what Trump decides to do in 2024, his refusal to accept his 2020 election defeat is effectively shaping the GOP agenda nationwide a year and a half before the next set of elections.
Republican-led states across the country have put forward more restrictive voting laws, with lawmakers pointing to concerns about nonexistent widespread election fraud to defend the new measures. Laws have already passed in Florida and Georgia, and Texas lawmakers were engaged in a special session of the Legislature over the weekend, debating their own set of proposals that could make it harder to vote. During the 2021 legislative sessions, the Brennan Center for Justice tracked at least 389 bills to restrict voting that were introduced 48 states.
GOP lawmakers have also seized on the opportunity to push post-election audits, yet another way to undermine election confidence, raise money and curry favor with Trump. The so-called audit in Maricopa County, Arizona — which continues to drag on — has drawn Republican lawmakers from multiple states that have expressed interested in launching similar reviews. A Trump ally in Pennsylvania pressed forward with his plans for an election audit last week, sending requests to three counties for everything from their tabulation equipment to voter rolls.
During the CPAC conference white cards were circulating among some attendees with a “7-Pt. plan to restore Donald J. Trump in days, not years.” After the violence at the Capitol on January 6, federal officials are paying more attention to those sorts of fringe theories.
CPAC organizers did not respond to CNN’s request for comment about the cards.
Trump and his allies have encouraged the ludicrous claims that he could be reinstated as President next month. But they have gained enough traction to lead the Department of Homeland Security to issue a warning last month that Trump’s “reinstatement” fantasies could lead to more violence this summer from right-wing extremists.

Google Hopes AI Can Turn Search Into a Conversation

Google often uses its annual developer conference, I/O, to showcase artificial intelligence with a wow factor. In 2016, it introduced the Google Home smart speaker with Google Assistant. In 2018, Duplex debuted to answer calls and schedule appointments for businesses. In keeping with that tradition, last month CEO Sundar Pichai introduced LaMDA, AI “designed to have a conversation on any topic.”

In an onstage demo, Pichai demonstrated what it’s like to converse with a paper airplane and the celestial body Pluto. For each query, LaMDA responded with three or four sentences meant to resemble a natural conversation between two people. Over time, Pichai said, LaMDA could be incorporated into Google products including Assistant, Workspace, and most crucially, search.

“We believe LaMDA’s natural conversation capabilities have the potential to make information and computing radically more accessible and easier to use,” Pichai said.

The LaMDA demonstration offers a window into Google’s vision for search that goes beyond a list of links and could change how billions of people search the web. That vision centers on AI that can infer meaning from human language, engage in conversation, and answer multifaceted questions like an expert.

Also at I/O, Google introduced another AI tool, dubbed Multitask Unified Model (MUM), which can consider searches with text and images. VP Prabhakar Raghavan said users someday could take a picture of a pair of shoes and ask the search engine whether the shoes would be good to wear while climbing Mount Fuji.

MUM generates results across 75 languages, which Google claims gives it a more comprehensive understanding of the world. A demo onstage showed how MUM would respond to the search query “I’ve hiked Mt. Adams and now want to hike Mt. Fuji next fall, what should I do differently?” That search query is phrased differently than you probably search Google today because MUM is meant to reduce the number of searches needed to find an answer. MUM can both summarize and generate text; it will know to compare Mount Adams to Mount Fuji and that trip prep may require search results for fitness training, hiking gear recommendations, and weather forecasts.

In a paper titled “Rethinking Search: Making Experts Out of Dilettantes,” published last month, four engineers from Google Research envisioned search as a conversation with human experts. An example in the paper considers the search “What are the health benefits and risks of red wine?” Today, Google replies with a list of bullet points. The paper suggests a future response might look more like a paragraph saying red wine promotes cardiovascular health but stains your teeth, complete with mentions of—and links to—the sources for the information. The paper shows the reply as text, but it’s easy to imagine oral responses as well, like the experience today with Google Assistant.

But relying more on AI to decipher text also carries risks, because computers still struggle to understand language in all its complexity. The most advanced AI for tasks such as generating text or answering questions, known as large language models, have shown a propensity to amplify bias and to generate unpredictable or toxic text. One such model, OpenAI’s GPT-3, has been used to create interactive stories for animated characters but also has generated text about sex scenes involving children in an online game.

As part of a paper and demo posted online last year, researchers from MIT, Intel, and Facebook found that large language models exhibit biases based on stereotypes about race, gender, religion, and profession.

Rachael Tatman, a linguist with a PhD in the ethics of natural language processing, says that as the text generated by these models grows more convincing, it can lead people to believe they’re speaking with AI that understands the meaning of the words that it’s generating—when in fact it has no common-sense understanding of the world. That can be a problem when it generates text that’s toxic to people with disabilities or Muslims or tells people to commit suicide. Growing up, Tatman recalls being taught by a librarian how to judge the validity of Google search results. If Google combines large language models with search, she says, users will have to learn how to evaluate conversations with expert AI.

Author: Khari Johnson
This post originally appeared on Business Latest

Man Utd star Marcus Rashford sits down with Barack Obama in ‘surreal’ Zoom conversation

The talk also focused on the importance of giving back to your local community – and the positive impact of reading.

They also spoke about other themes from the president’s memoir, A Promised Land, which was published in November last year, as well as some of their shared experiences, including being raised by single mothers.

Mr Rashford said: “It’s quite surreal isn’t it? I’m sitting in my kitchen in Manchester, speaking to President Obama.

“But, immediately, he made me feel at ease.

“It wasn’t long before I realised just how aligned our experiences as children were in shaping the men you see today – adversity, obstacles and all.

“I genuinely enjoyed every minute of it. When President Obama speaks, all you want to do is listen.”

The 23-year-old football star spearheaded a prominent campaign last year to tackle child food poverty in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic.

The project led to support for 1.7 million vulnerable children as a result of a £520 million Government scheme – and other projects helped deliver 130 million meals.

READ MORE: Emotional Man Utd star Marcus Rashford fires Man City warning

“They’re already making changes and being positive forces in their communities.”

The conversation, which was moderated by broadcaster and author June Sarpong, will be released in full on Penguin UK’s YouTube channel on Friday at 2pm.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

Richard Madeley talks mum's dying wish in last conversation amid dementia and cancer fight

“And she nodded and said, ‘That’s right, yes, yes, yes, of course, yes. Oh good’, she said, ‘It’ll be fine now.’ 

“And she sort of slipped back to sleep and that was it, that was kind of the last conversation.”

He added: “Although she couldn’t remember her mother, she could remember her very simple Christian faith, which sadly I don’t share. And it was great that she still had that comfort when when she went.”

The Dementia Hero Awards’ virtual ceremony will take place tomorrow at 7pm during Dementia Action Week 2021.

Alongside Richard’s appearance as host, the awards will also be presented by Society Ambassadors Angela Rippon CBE, Carey Mulligan and Sir Tony Robinson and our supporters Judy Finnigan and Anne-Marie Duff.

To sign the petition to #CureTheCareSystem and support Dementia Action Week (17-23 May 2021) visit alzheimers.org.uk/DAW. And for information, advice and support call Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Connect support line (0333 150 345) or visit our website.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Celebrity News Feed

Elon Musk shares has Asperger's on SNL – sparks conversation on Twitter – 'Good on you'

Some Twitter users took Mr Musk to task for his claim of being the first person with Asperger’s to host SNL.

Dan Aykroyd, starring in Ghostbusters and an original cast member of SNL, was diagnosed with Asperger’s as a child and hosted the programme in 2003.

One user joked: “Dan Aykroyd was the actual first person with Asperger’s on SNL, but Elon Musk bought the patent.”

Another added: “Good on Musk for being open about his autism. But it takes seconds of research to find he was not the first.”

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Celebrity News Feed

A Conversation With California’s New Attorney General

On Friday, the former state lawmaker Rob Bonta officially became California’s attorney general, stepping into a role that has served as a launching pad for some of the state’s most powerful politicians.

Mr. Bonta was the last of three high-profile appointments by Gov. Gavin Newsom in what observers have described as the most significant reshuffling of Democratic power the state has experienced in years. That Mr. Newsom now has close allies in three of the state’s top posts is likely to pay dividends as he campaigns to keep his job in a recall election later this year.

But political calculus aside, the attorney general wields broad power to shape the state’s criminal justice agenda — a task that has taken on heightened urgency amid a reckoning over racism and police violence.

During his second full day on the job, I spoke with Mr. Bonta about his priorities. Our conversation has been edited and condensed.

Yesterday your office announced that you would release more gun violence data to researchers and the public. What else is on the agenda in the coming weeks?

Let me just start by saying it’s an honor and a privilege of a lifetime to be appointed to this role. I see the role as the people’s attorney, to fight for everyday folks, to protect them from the abuse of those in power. That’s my frame.

I intend my tenure as A.G. to be defined by transparency and openness.

That’s why it was really important for us to do that yesterday — to help researchers study and identify actions that can help save lives and address our gun violence epidemic. And there will be other areas where we will be promoting those principles.

Too many people are being cheated by corporations. Folks are being forced to drink dirty water or breathe unhealthy air. So many folks are being hurt by parts of our criminal justice system. We are also in a full state of emergency with our Asian and Pacific Islander community when it comes to hate violence.

I wanted to go back, quickly, to the other areas where you think there could be more openness and transparency.

Two things are areas of focus and priority.

We want to make sure we’re disclosing police personnel records consistently as required by Senate Bill 1421, and making sure we’re doing so legally, without violating anyone’s privacy rights. But we’re committed to the letter and the spirit of that law. That’s the point. I voted for it — I was in the Legislature when that was moved.

Another area is using the data that we have in the Department of Justice to help automatically expunge criminal records that are eligible to be expunged, and not force individuals to first know they’re eligible, then apply on a one-off basis and go through the hoops. The law gives them that right, so let’s deliver that right.

What role do you think your office should play in addressing anti-Asian violence and harassment?

Right now, it’s really important for Californians to know that the attorney general sees the community under attack and values the A.P.I. community. For me — I am the community. This is personal.

There are a lot of levers to pull, but there’s no panacea.

I’ll be doing meetings with law enforcement up and down the state to help make sure they’re supported in how they identify and investigate hate crimes. And then figuring out how to move forward using tools we have to hold perpetrators of hate violence accountable and to provide support to victims.

That can take different forms. In-language, mental health and trauma-informed care is needed. And we need to help build trust between community organizations and law enforcement.

You’re also coming in at a pivotal time for criminal justice — Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd last week. And as of last year, your office has greater responsibility to investigate police killings. Tell me about how you’re approaching that part of the job.

I think it was a good start for folks in this moment. The work continues.

The vast majority of law enforcement officers are committed to what we need so much these days: rebuilding trust between law enforcement and our communities. Accountability is part of building that trust.

Our law enforcement needs support and training to do the things we’re asking them to do like community policing, de-escalation, addressing implicit bias or taking on hate crimes.

And yes, under a bill I supported, the attorney general’s office has a clear requirement to investigate, to collect evidence and make a charging decision on all officer-involved shootings that lead to the death of an unarmed Californian. Historically, that’s been about 40 cases per year. So we’re standing up our division to do that and do that right.

It may be sort of easy for Californians to forget that you’ll be up for election next year. And on your first full day in office, Sacramento County’s district attorney, Anne Marie Schubert, announced that she will run against you. How would you respond to her claims that policies you’ve supported hurt crime victims and public safety?

I respect our democracy deeply, and whatever the voters decide will be their decision. But I won’t be outworked. I never have been, and I won’t be here. I think my approach, my values, my vision, the things I’m fighting for, the change I seek is what’s going to resonate with Californians across the state.

Are you worried at all that the effort to recall Governor Newsom will impact your campaign as someone who is closely allied with him?

They’re taking a one-in-a-million shot at trying to have a Republican governor in blue California. And it’s not going to happen.

I think he has made courageous, thoughtful and appropriate appointments. He’s put leaders in place that represent communities that haven’t historically had access to certain places and certain opportunities, and he knows we need change.

I don’t want to comment on myself, but Senator Alex Padilla and Dr. Shirley Weber (whom Mr. Newsom appointed as California’s next senator and secretary of state) are inspiring leaders, and I think that will help him in the recall election, because it shows his values.

Author: Jill Cowan
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

Nadia Sawalha feels 'unnerved' by cancel culture after ‘unsettling’ family conversation

Nadia Sawalha, 56, has revealed she has concerns about cancel culture while preparing to address the subject on her and husband Mark Adderley’s podcast, Confessions of a Modern Parent. The Loose Women panellist admitted she felt “unsettled” over the issue following a conversation with her daughters, Kiki, 13, and Maddy, 18.
Cancel culture involves someone being ostracised from social or professional circles – whether it be online, on social media, or in person. 

Those who are thrust out of the circle are then said to have been “cancelled”. 

Nadia addressed her feelings about the phenomenon in view of her 381,000 Instagram followers this afternoon.

The actress explained: “We are recording our Confessions of a Modern Parent tomorrow.

READ MORE… Cliff Richard’s excruciating break-up letter to distraught girlfriend

The mum-of-two didn’t share further details about what was said during her conversation with her daughters.

Nadia’s former ITV colleague Piers Morgan, 55, has also been vocal about cancel culture recently.

The outspoken journalist left his role on Good Morning Britain this month after facing fierce backlash over his comments about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Piers recently aired his views on the subject while weighing in on a possible candidate who could replace him.

The star made the joke on his Instagram account, where he shared the front page of the Sunday Sport with his 1.6 million followers.

The presenter responded to the paper’s headline “Roland Rat to replace Piers on GMB”.

He wrote: “Not such a mad idea… Roland was a massive ratings success & likes to speak his mind.

“He’d also be immune to the cancel culture mob because he could cry ‘ANIMAL CRUELTY!’ if any of the wokies came for him..”

Roland Rat was best known in the 1980s as a puppet character voiced by David Claridge.