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Iowa, New Hampshire fight to stay atop the 2024 GOP nomination

DES MOINES –  Iowa’s caucuses have led off the presidential nominating calendar for half a century, and if Iowa GOP chair Jeff Kaufmann has his way, the race for the White House in the 2024 election cycle will once again “start right here in the Hawkeye State.”

“We are the first-in-the-nation caucus state – period. End of story,” Kaufmann emphasized in an interview with Fox News.


As the 2020 presidential election fades into the rearview mirror and the very early moves are already underway in the 2024 White House race, the quadrennial battle by the four states that lead off the primaries and caucuses – Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina , and Nevada – has already begun.

A display in a conference room at the Iowa GOP's headquarters, in Des Moines, Iowa on July 15. 2021.

A display in a conference room at the Iowa GOP’s headquarters, in Des Moines, Iowa on July 15. 2021.

So far, the early 2024 nominating calendar drama is coming from the Democrats, with former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a longtime senator from Nevada, late last year igniting a push to move his state to the lead-off position. A bill passed by the state’s Democratic legislature and signed into law by Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak last month would change the state’s caucus to a primary and move it to the first Tuesday in February in presidential nominating years. 


Nevada is currently third in the Democrats’ nominating calendar, trailing Iowa’s caucuses and New Hampshire’s primary. It’s fourth in the Republican schedule, trailing Iowa, New Hampshire, as well as South Carolina’s primary.

But Nevada’s new law needs the backing of the national parties – the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Republican National Committee (RNC) – to come to fruition. If Nevada moved up the date of their contest without the national parties signing off on the move, it could face sanctions and the loss of convention delegates. 

FILE - The Iowa Caucuses exhibit in Des Moines, Iowa

FILE – The Iowa Caucuses exhibit in Des Moines, Iowa

For years, the knock against Iowa and New Hampshire – among some Democrats – has been that the states are too White, lack any major urban areas and aren’t representative of a Democratic Party which has become increasingly diverse over the past several decades. Nevada and South Carolina are much more diverse and have larger metropolitan areas than either Iowa or New Hampshire. 

That’s less of an issue for Republicans. Kaufmann and the other early voting state GOP chairs – Steve Stepanek of New Hampshire, Drew McKissick of South Carolina, and Michael McDonald of Nevada – last month jointly issued a statement that made crystal clear their opposition to drive by Nevada Democrats.


The four GOP chairs have been teaming up all year to protect their cherished status. They held a hospitality session at the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) spring meeting in Dallas, Texas to drum up support among fellow national committee members and state party officials for keeping the existing nominating calendar.

Stepanek, who called the session at spring meeting “a last minute quick reception,” told Fox News that “we’re doing a much more in-depth reception at the RNC summer meeting (next month in Nashville, Tennessee) that is being put on by all four states. We’re all in unison working together to preserve the calendar and the order within the calendar exactly as it is.”

Stepanek shared that at next month’s meeting, the RNC will announce who will sit on the committee being put together on the presidential nomination process.

And he said the mission of the four chairs “is to make sure that all of the other members of the RNC recognize the importance of the primary calendar as it exists right now and that they endorse the primary calendar as it exists right now.”

A sign outside the New Hampshire state capital building that marks the state's century long tradition of holding the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, in Concord, New Hampshire.

A sign outside the New Hampshire state capital building that marks the state’s century long tradition of holding the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, in Concord, New Hampshire.

Kaufmann and Stepanek are also talking with their Democratic counterparts in their states, as the fight to protect the current calendar crosses party lines in Iowa and New Hampshire.


“Iowa Democrats and Republicans don’t agree on much, but we do agree in keeping Iowa first in the nation. I have had conversations with Jeff Kaufmann and will continue to be in communication with him going forward,” Iowa Democrats chair Ross Wilburn said in a statement. 

Wilburn highlighted that the Hawkeye State kickoff caucus “adds an important voice to the conversation.”

Longtime New Hampshire Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley emphasized that “anytime anyone comes after New Hampshire, we take it seriously and we prepare and we will do so again,”

“We will, I think, successfully save the primary again,” Buckley predicted. But he acknowledged that “it takes a lot of time, work, and relationships.”

When it comes to the GOP nominating calendar, Stepanek was equally confident, saying “I believe that the RNC, in my opinion, will not change the calendar.”

But he added that “we have to hope for the best and plan for the worst.”

Early traffic by the potential 2024 GOP presidential nomination contenders to Iowa and New Hampshire has been picking up in recent months. Former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem – who are considered potential White House hopefuls – are in Iowa on Friday, as they speak at the annual summit of an influential social conservative group. And another possible contender – Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas – is in New Hampshire on Saturday to help fundraise for Granite State Republicans.


Kaufmann spotlighted that he’s asked every potential 2024 contender who’s visited Iowa so far this year “whether the carve out system and specifically from our perspective the first-in-the-nation caucus” should remain untouched. 

He touted that “every one of them have not only been a yes, they’ve been absolutely enthusiastic.”

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This post originally posted here usnews

Grammys may cut nomination review committees, AP sources say

This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Entertainment

Grammys may cut nomination review committees, AP sources say

If approved, the major change would happen just months after The Weeknd blasted the Grammys after he earned zero nominations despite his uber-successful year.

NEW YORK — The Grammy Awards are in discussion to remove its nomination review committees — groups that determine the contenders for key awards at the coveted music show.

A person familiar with the Recording Academy’s discussions, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak about the topic publicly, told The Associated Press that a number of proposals were submitted this year regarding the role of nomination review committees and whether it’s time to eliminate them.

For the Grammys’ top four awards — album, song and record of the year, along with best new artist — a nomination review committee of at least 20 music generalists in past years have selected the top eight nominees from those voted into the top 20.

If approved, the major change would happen just months after The Weeknd blasted the Grammys and its nomination review committees, calling them “corrupt” after he earned zero nominations for the 2021 show despite having the year’s biggest single with “Blinding Lights.”

RELATED: Billboard Awards: 16 nods for Weeknd, 6 for Morgan Wallen

RELATED: Who run the Grammys? Beyoncé sets new record for women with 28th win

While nominees for some categories like best pop vocal album and best pop solo performance are based purely on votes, a number of genre categories also have nomination review committees. Those include the rap, rock, R&B, country, dance/electronic music, American Roots, Latin, jazz and gospel/Christian music fields. Nomination review committees for those groups consist of 13 to 17 voting members who select five nominees from the top 15.

The majority of the 84 Grammy categories are voted by nomination review committees, which are intended to safeguard a specific genre’s integrity and to serve as additional checks and balances.

But questions have loomed for years around the nominations process with music industry players calling for more transparency because the selection of finalists happens behind closed doors. Others have claimed that members of key nominating committees promote projects they worked on or projects they favor based on personal relationships.

The academy’s board of trustees typically meet in the spring and new changes are announced soon after, which could include the removal of nomination review committees, the person told The AP. A representative for the academy didn’t immediately reply to an email seeking comment.

Last year the academy announced that musicians invited to participate in a nomination review committee would have to agree to the terms of a conflict of interest disclosure form and reveal if they would benefit from an artist’s nomination for that category, whether the ties are financial, familial or creative.

That seemed like a response to former Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan, who was fired only months into her job and days before the 2020 Grammys. Dugan had said the awards show was rigged and muddled with conflicts of interest.

Doubts about the Grammys voting process reached greater heights when The Weeknd — who topped the charts with “Blinding Lights” and “Heartless,” launched an uber-successful album with “After Hours” and even performed at the Super Bowl — was severely snubbed at this year’s show, held last month. The Grammys contrasted most of the other music awards shows, where The Weeknd was a key nominee (he earned 16 Billboard Music Award nominations Thursday), and he vowed to boycott the show.

RELATED: 63rd annual Grammy Awards: Full list of winners, nominees

RELATED: Doja Cat, Cynthia Erivo led the fashion march at Grammys red carpet

Change has been a center of conversation at the Grammys for years. The organization has been criticized over the diversity in its top prizes, which rarely go to rap and contemporary R&B stars, including heavyweights like Beyoncé, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Drake, Jay-Z, Mariah Carey and John Legend. While those acts have won in the rap and R&B categories, when it comes to major prizes such as album, song and record of the year, the winners tend to be in the pop, rock, jazz or country genres. The organization has also been targeted for its lack of female winners in the top categories.

While there is some negativity linked to nomination review committees, some members prefer them so they can protect who is allowed to be part of a specific genre. For instance, the rap field at the Grammys added a nomination review committee three years after Macklemore & Ryan Lewis won three rap Grammys in 2014 over Kendrick Lamar, a decision that was heavily criticized by the music community and public, and even Macklemore himself. Because of the hip-hop duo’s success on the pop charts, some members involved in the Grammys nominee process decided to push their submissions to the pop field. But that decision was overturned, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were allowed to compete in rap, and ultimately won big.

Following the debacle, a nomination review committee was added to rap to prevent similar problems from occurring again. Fast forward four years to 2021, and the best rap album nominees were debated because the twentysomethings who are chart-topping and streaming juggernauts were not nominated, including Lil Baby, DaBaby, Megan Thee Stallion, Roddy Ricch, Pop Smoke and Juice WRLD. Instead, nominations went to rappers best known for their lyricism like Jay Electronica, Freddie Gibbs, D Smoke and Nas, who won the honor.

The 64th annual Grammy Awards will air live on January 31, 2022. Nominees will be announced later this year.

‘Sound of Metal’ actor Paul Raci on his Oscar nomination, Chicago roots

'Sound of Metal' actor Paul Raci on his Oscar nomination, Chicago roots

CHICAGO — Chicago native Paul Raci is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Sound of Metal.”

Raci plays Joe, a Vietnam veteran who lost his hearing in the war. Now he runs a sober house for deaf people who are struggling with addiction.

Raci is intimately familiar with his character Joe, having lived through some similar experiences himself.

“When I got back from Vietnam, I came back with some nasty habits and I’ve been through a lot with several addictions,” he said. “I wrestled those devils and ended up working as a sign language interpreter for deaf addicts. The deaf community in Chicago that raised me, they taught me what unconditional love is.”

Raci’s parents were both deaf, and signing was his first language.

“I realized later in life what a great man my father was. He was a blue collar worker, a blue collar guy that got up every day, put the Chicago Tribune under his arm and went to that menial job and marched back home to be a father,” he said. “Life is beautiful, man, it really is.”

Now 73, when Raci was younger sign language gave him a skill to pay the bills.

“I’m a sign language interpreter in the court system here in Los Angeles,” he explained. “I’ve been doing that for 35 years, that’s how I paid for my house.”

He said he still feels deeply rooted in his hometown.

“It’s a heartbreaking thing to leave Chicago, you never forget it,” he said. “Nothing rivals what I saw and was instilled with in Chicago.”

The rousing Chicago theater scene captivated Raci, but a professor at UIC had a warning for him about pursuing a career as an actor.

“He said, ‘I hate to tell you this, but I don’t think you’re going to have any success until you’re much older, 40 years old.’ Nobody wants to hear that,” Raci recalled. “When I moved out here, I was already 40 years old, so let me tell you, nobody’s looking for a brand new 40 year old out in Hollywood! You know, Chicago is and always will be a theater town. When I came to Los Angeles, I was like, ‘Oh my god, you guys call this theater?!'”

And there’s quite a bit of Chicago in the character of Joe.

“That accent Joe has is my accent, and I’m a Chicago boy, I grew up in Humboldt Park. You listen to my brothers, they talk like Mayor Daley,” Raci said. “When the nomination happened, my brothers and sister got together, they sent me some Lou Malnati!”

His wife has also been integral to his whole journey to his Oscar nomination.

“She’s the one who made the phone call to the casting director, to take a look at my tape which was on the bottom of the pile there, because they were inundated with tapes, everybody and his uncle wanted to play this role,” Raci said. “Thank God for those people who believed in me when nobody else out here did. Now they’re calling me, my phone’s ringing off the hook, I’m turning stuff down. This is the big carrot, and I’m grateful!”

Raci is a Chicago White Sox fan, and called the team’s original stadium, Comisky Park, his “church” and “sanctuary.” He grew up wanting to play baseball.

“I wanted to be an infielder, my first glove was a Nellie Fox Wilson glove,” he said. “The people of Chicago know who I am, they know what I’ve been through. I never thought I’d be a star, I never wanted to be a star. I wanted to do some authentic, true acting.”

Mark your calendars: April 25 is Oscar Sunday. Live coverage begins Sunday morning and continues all day with special “On The Red Carpet” coverage leading up to the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony. After the last award is handed out, stay with “On The Red Carpet” for continuing coverage. Be sure to follow @OnTheRedCarpet on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok for all your Oscar news and information.

Copyright © 2021 OnTheRedCarpet.com. All Rights Reserved.

Author OTRC

This post originally appeared on ABC13 RSS Feed

Piers Morgan sparks frenzy as he congratulates GMB on award nomination after his exit

Piers Morgan sparks frenzy as he congratulates GMB on award nomination after his exit

Piers explained in his column for The Mail On Sunday: “To compound my unease, the mental health charity Mind – which gave me an award in 2012 for promoting mental health issues in Life Stories interviews with troubled stars such as Frank Bruno and Paul Gascoigne – issued a statement saying it was ‘disappointed and concerned to see Piers Morgan’s comments on not believing Meghan’s experiences about suicidal thoughts’.

“It ended with the ominously threatening words: ‘We are in conversations with ITV about this.’

“ITV asked me to clarify what I meant on tomorrow’s show, which I’m happy to do as it’s been deliberately misconstrued to suggest I don’t think victims of mental illness should be believed. I was told I didn’t need to apologise.”

Piers then pointed out on-air that he wasn’t suggesting those with suicidal thoughts should be disbelieved, however, he still stood by his general disbelief of Meghan.

This remark then led to an on-air clash with Alex Beresford, which saw Piers storm off set shortly before he quit the ITV show.

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

Hillicon Valley: Lina Khan to get FTC nomination

Today: President BidenHillicon Valley: Lina Khan to get FTC nominationJoe BidenAstraZeneca says COVID-19 vaccine found 79 percent effective in US trial with no safety concerns The Hill’s Morning Report – Biden: Back to the future on immigration, Afghanistan, Iran This week: Senate works to confirm Biden picks ahead of break MORE[6][7][8][9][10][5] announced his intention to fill one of the two open roles on the Federal Trade Commission with prominent antitrust scholar, Lina Khan. And a broad coalition of groups in the technology came together to launch a coalition with its sights set on ending “surveillance advertising.”


BIG TECH CRITICS GET THEIR PICK: President Biden on Monday announced his intention to nominate influential antitrust scholar Lina Khan to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Khan, a 32-year-old associate professor at Columbia Law School, would be the youngest FTC commissioner if confirmed by the Senate.

She is best known for a paper written while a law student at Yale titled “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,” which laid out how the e-commerce giant could be violating antitrust law.

More recently, Khan served as an aide to the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee during its investigation into the monopoly power of major digital platforms.

Who’s happy about this: Progressive critics of big tech have been pushing for Khan’s nomination.

“A champion of small businesses, entrepreneurs, and working people, Professor Lina Khan is an extraordinary choice for the Federal Trade Commission,” said Sarah Miller, executive director of the American Economic Liberties Project.


Read more.[11]

NEW COALITION: Thirty-plus privacy, consumer and anti-monopoly groups are coming together to stop big tech platforms from tracking and categorizing individuals for the purpose of narrowly targeting advertising.

The broad coalition, launched Monday, is calling for a ban[12] on the practice they term “surveillance advertising.”

What is “surveillance advertising”? “Behavioral advertising, targeted advertising, what Facebook has tried to describe as personalized advertising, really feels like they’re trying to describe it as if they’re doing us a favor, when in reality they are extracting our data, they’re exploiting us and they’re selling us to advertisers,” said Rishi Bharwani, director of partnerships and policy at Accountable Tech, one of the member groups.

“So we just thought it was a more appropriate term,” he explained to The Hill.

The coalition argues that the data collection and advertising practices of the biggest platforms — specifically Facebook and Google, which are the two dominant players in the digital advertising space — increase the spread of misinformation, hate speech and extremism by incentivizing the companies to try to keep users engaged and online as much as possible.

Read more.[13]

MICROSOFT REOPENING: Microsoft will begin allowing more workers back into its headquarters in Redmond, Wash., the company announced Monday.

Nonessential on-site workers will be given the option to work from the office, from home or a hybrid of both.

Any worker who does choose to go to the office will continue to have to wear a mask and practice social distancing.

The company’s reasoning: “Our goal is to give employees further flexibility, allowing people to work where they feel most productive and comfortable, while also encouraging employees to work from home as the virus and related variants remain concerning,” Microsoft executive vice president Kurt DelBene said in a blog post Monday.


The company is describing the latest update in its recommendations as step four on a six-step dial.

Read more.[14]

UNFORTUNATELY, NFT NEWS: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s first post on the social media platform was sold as a non-fungible token for $ 2,915,835.47 on Monday after a two-week open bid.

Dorsey said he would convert the winning bid into bitcoin and donate it to the charity GiveDirectly’s Africa Response.

What’s in the tweet: The tweet, “just setting up my twttr,” was sent March 21, 2006.

The winning bidder is Sina Estavi who, according to his Twitter, is the CEO of a blockchain company called Bridge Oracle.


A non-fungible token, more commonly known as an NFT, is a unique kind of digital asset that has skyrocketed in popularity this year.

Read more.[15]

CASE DISMISSED: The Supreme Court on Monday rejected Facebook’s appeal to scale back a $ 15 billion lawsuit that accuses the tech giant of illegally tracking its users’ internet activities.

The lawsuit alleges Facebook violated the Wiretap Act by tracking users’ online activities that utilize features such as the platform’s “like” button without their consent between April 2010 and September 2011.

A blow to Facebook: The justices declined to take up Facebook’s appeal of a lower court ruling allowing the class-action lawsuit against the company to move forward.

Read more.[16]


SURPRISE! TIKTOK OK: The source code for Tik Tok and its Chinese counterpart Douyin is no more intrusive than that of other social media apps, a report from the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab found.

In the report, released Monday[17], researchers found no evidence that either app collects user data without the permission of its users.

The popular video-sharing app came under legal jeopardy during the Trump administration after the White House moved to ban it, citing national security reasons. However, that ban never went into effect while the company vowed to fight it in court.

Read more.[18]

ICYMI – CYBER CZAR PRESSURE: President Biden is coming under increasing pressure from lawmakers and other officials to nominate a White House cyber czar as the government starts formulating its response to two major foreign cyberattacks.

More than halfway through his first 100 days in office, Biden has yet to name his pick for national cyber director, a Senate-confirmed position that comes with a 75-member staff.

The absence of a leader to coordinate federal policy on cybersecurity is becoming glaring as the administration works to quickly respond to both the Russian SolarWinds hack and the Microsoft Exchange Server vulnerabilities exploited by Chinese hackers.

Read more.[19]

Lighter click: You learn something new every day[20]

An op-ed to chew on: Are space SPAC IPOs a regulator’s dilemma?[21]