The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo 0 Comments Share For the first time since the summer of 2009, the Arizona Cardinals have a pretty sure thing at the quarterback position.There is no Matt Leinart to lose the job to Derek Anderson. There is no Kevin Kolb to hand the job to, albeit without him having proven much at the NFL level.And there is no John Skelton to win an uninspiring quarterback battle.Carson Palmer, who is an established player in the league, is the guy, and barring injury will be the starter Week 1 when the Cardinals visit the St. Louis Rams. However, one player Palmer doesn’t have to learn much about is Larry Fitzgerald, who he’s admired from afar for many years via studying film. “He’s working as hard in practice as he was in games,” Palmer said of what he’s learned from being up close with Fitzgerald as a Cardinal. “He’s a perfectionist, he wants to do things right every single time.“He and I are going to get along great because I’m the same way.”But it’s not just about Fitzgerald, and Palmer knows that. “It’s of the utmost importance to be on the same page with Larry, but it’s of the utmost importance to be on the same page with every one of those guys because the ball can’t always go to him,” Palmer said. “I know that’s not what he wants to hear, but that’s the truth.”The latter statement was said with a smile and drew some chuckles, but it’s true.The quarterback added it’s important he gets on the same page with Floyd, Andre Roberts and anyone else who will be lining up with him, which is a process that is only now beginning. “Getting on the same page is just about repetition, it’s not about anything else,” he said. “Everybody runs the route different, a little bit of a different depth; the timing’s a little bit different coming out of breaks. That knowledge makes things easier on coaches, fans and players alike. To an extent, anyway.“You know who the for sure starter is so you always try to get the most reps with him,” second-year receiver Michael Floyd said after the team’s organized team activity Tuesday. “But it goes away because everyone’s just one play away from not playing so I think you’ve just got to have chemistry with both of them, just in case something happens.”Indeed, even the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray, and while Palmer is penciled in as the starter, backup Drew Stanton may find his way onto the field at some point. But for now, the veteran of nine NFL seasons is trying to get used to working with a new set of wideouts.The early returns, though, are very positive.“It’s just good to have this speed on the field and the size of these guys we have,” Palmer said. “They’re all big and strong.”Palmer acknowledged there is still a long way to go with regards to getting used to his new targets, and given that it’s just the middle of May there is still plenty of time to get acclimated. There were some interceptions Tuesday, which coach Bruce Arians attributed to players learning new roles and new teammates. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Top Stories “The only way you get that timing down is just repetition after repetition.”A two-time Pro Bowler who has twice been to the postseason, when Palmer says something like that, you believe him. Whereas last year similar statements would have been met with doubt, the fact that Palmer has “been there and done that” allows him to command the room and allow those around him to feel confident. While no one will openly say it, that was probably lacking last season.And for a guy like Floyd, who caught 45 passes from four different quarterbacks as a rookie in 2012, having a guy like Palmer under center is comforting. “I like Carson’s leadership,” Floyd said of what’s different with the quarterbacks this season compared to last. “He demands a lot out of us and I feel like he’s the main guy out there, being very talkative. There’s a lot of experience in him, so a young guy like me coming into my second year, you know I looking a lot to him and focus because he’s been through it and the quarterback kind of makes everything roll.” – / 43 Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has used his Alternative McTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh International Television Festival to endorse the idea of creating a publicly owned British Digital Corporation (BDC) – a sister organisation to the BBC that could take on Netflix and Amazon by delivering entertainment and information to the public.“A BDC could use all of our best minds, the latest technology and our existing public assets not only to deliver information and entertainment to rival Netflix and Amazon but also to harness data for the public good,” said Corbyn.“A BDC could develop new technology for online decision making and audience-led commissioning of programmes and even a public social media platform with real privacy and public control over the data that is making Facebook and others so rich.”Corbyn said the organisation, the idea of which was initially floated by James Harding, the former BBC director of home news at the Hugh Cudlipp lecture earlier this year, could become the access point for public knowledge, information and content currently held in the BBC archives, the British Library and the British Museum.“Imagine an expanded iPlayer giving universal access to licence fee payers for a product that could rival Netflix and Amazon. It would probably sell pretty well overseas as well,” he said.In his lecture, Corbyn also called for a freeing up of the BBC from government control by having some executive BBC Board members by staff and non-executive directors by licence fee payers.“To help decentralise the BBC, national and regional boards could also be expanded, with elections by BBC staff and local licence fee payers. All boards should be representative of the country, with a minimum representation for women and minority groups,” Corbyn said.The Labour leader said that empowering BBC staff would make the corporation’s top management more accountable.Corbyn also called for devolution of programme making to regional and national level within the UK with the help of new regional boards.Speaking about media more broadly and about the need to support journalism in the public interest in particular, he also called for a one-off tax to be levied on global technology giants to fund public service media and journalism if a future government could not negotiate a longer-term funding arrangement for media with the web companies.“One solution to funding public interest media could be by tapping up the digital monopolies that profit from every search, share and like we make,” he said.“A strong, self-confident government could negotiate with these tech giants to create a fund, run entirely independently, to support public interest media. Google and news publishers in France and Belgium were able to agree a settlement. If we can’t do something similar here, but on a more ambitious scale, we’ll need to look at the option of a windfall tax on the digital monopolies to create a public interest media fund.”
“I have asked the PSNI to concentrate on this area in the short term and to make the necessary interventions to prevent young people from harming themselves through the consumption of alcohol.“But I would again appeal to parents not to allow their children to be exposed to these dangers,” he added. Cllr. McGinley said: “In recent times large crowds of teenagers have been gathering in the field towards the top of Ballymagroarty and evidence exists that alcohol is being consumed.“It would appear that crowds are gathering from late afternoon until late at night with some of the young people then making their way home in an intoxicated state.“Whilst there has been some efforts from youth and community workers to engage with the teenagers the onus is on parents to ensure that they are aware of their children’s whereabouts and that they check on their condition when they arrive home. ShareTweet CONCERNS RAISED OVER BALLYMAGROARTY DISTURBANCES was last modified: June 2nd, 2017 by John2John2 Tags: Sinn Fein councillor Eric McGinley.SINN Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has called on parents to be aware of their children’s whereabouts following disturbances at the top of the Ballymagroarty estate. CONCERNS RAISED OVER BALLYMAGROARTY DISTURBANCESCOUNCILLOR ERIC MCGINLEYSinn Fein
In This Issue… * Currencies & metals rally halted… * A Minsky Moment on the way? * Dr. Steve & the manipulators… * Retail Sales to print today… And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Moody’s Downgrades 6 Eurozone Nations… Good day… And a Tom Terrific Tuesday to you! Well, I came home from unusually colder weather in Orlando , to snow and normally cold weather for this time of year here. The snowflakes were very large and wet, so it was easy to remove from the streets, etc. My darling daughter, Dawn, had to deal with taking Alex to the hospital while we were gone. Alex has a very bad case of skin herpes around his eye… This is not uncommon for wrestlers, but the big thing for him was that his wrestling season was over! Speaking of being over… Yesterday, Chris told you about how the Greek Parliament had approved the latest round of budget cuts, which should have put the next bailout payment on the greased tracks. Chris also explained how this was causing a reversal of the short positions in the euro, which really had turned the “Risk On” campers… Well, that euphoria in the currencies and metals was short-lived because just as soon as the currencies were ready to tell the “shorts” to move over Rover, and let Jimmy take over, the Ratings Agencies came swooping in, to rain on the risk assets parade. Yes, yesterday evening it was announced that Moody’s Investor Service had downgraded six European nations.. While there was nothing new here, since S&P and Fitch had already gone through this exercise last month, Moody’s did grab the markets’ attention by being the first rating agency to warn the U.K. that their rating could be at risk. So the Happy Days that Chris told you about yesterday, are now a thing of the past… and we must pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and get back to work today! It is Valentine’s Day, and baring a Valentine’s Day massacre in the currencies today, maybe we’ll just see the profits taken out of the currency and metals this morning, and move along to the next drama that Greece will bring us. I caught up with two of my fave people in the world in Orlando last week… Mary Anne and Pamela Aden… or as many know them, The Aden Sisters… We had a long talk about writing style… They kept telling me that I was their favorite writer, and I kept telling them that I was sure they had me mixed up with David Galland! Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that Mary Anne and Pam talked about “noise” in the markets, and how it has taken away the fundamentals of the markets… I totally agree, and this “noise” from the ratings agencies are a prime example. I just finished reading Addison Wiggin’s latest draft for a book. I’m going to do a quick review for the book… There’s so much to learn about what happened to the dollar, and what is yet to happen here… When the book gets printed and issued, I’ll let you know, because I think that everyone that thinks they know all there is about the dollar will be surprised to find out they learned something new here… One of the things that Addison talks about in the books is how Gold isn’t in a bubble… I found this to be interesting because I too, have said this over and over again about Gold… I say that my test for a bubble is to ask a group of regular people, like say, my FGB friends, if they own Gold, and until all of them raise their hands, Gold isn’t in bubble, is the best way to measure this! And then there was a great lunch with friend Dennis Miller, and Steve Sjuggerud. I’ve known Dr. Steve for some time, and he knows how much I love guitars (he’s a collector of guitars), so we always have a great conversation about them. Dr. Steve said something though that really rang a bell with me.. and that was… he doesn’t let the reports of price manipulators in Gold & Silver bother him. For he believes that if the demand remains strong, it will eventually win out… And, so with that I’m turning over a new leaf, and while I will continue to mention price manipulation when I see it, I’m not going to lose any more hair over it (not that I have any more to lose!) But you get the point… I was beginning to allow the manipulators to mess with my blood pressure, and my outlook for a day.. and no longer! Thanks Dr. Steve! OK.. I could on about the meetings I had at the Orlando Money Show, but those two were the best… So.. back to the news today… This morning, although it’s not helping the euro right now, both Spain and Italy auctioned bonds and both saw their borrowing costs decline to their lowest levels in 11 months! Once again bond buyers ignore the ratings agencies… But then, a very large chunk of any Eurozone country bond auction, is bought by the other members of the Eurozone. So, it’s like “we’re all in this together” type attitude. And don’t forget that the Eurozone debt is being underpinned by 3-year loans made in December by the European Central Bank (ECB), which will offer a second round of financing, known as LTRO, at the end of this month. There’s still a spread between German and Italian or Spanish Bonds.. and that’s the way it should be. The way it was before the implementation of the euro, and the way it will be from here on out! Long time readers might recall me saying on more than a few occasions in the past that Greece, Italy and Spain were all rogue countries with debt before the euro, and that they should get down on their knees and thank their Gold every night that they were included in the euro… The Big Boss, Frank Trotter, was kind enough to join me in one of my presentations, shows a chart of Greek bond rates that illustrates what I’m talking about here… Before 1999 (implementation of the euro) bond rate in Greece were 19-20%… but then after the Eurozone was formed, the bond rates plunged and remained low until someone said, Hey with all this debt, these yields aren’t right”… and back to 16% Greek bond rates went… Should Greece have gotten a free ride on their careless deficit spending and debt? NO… but, no one was paying attention… I wasn’t… I stopped trading foreign bonds in 1998, so I’ll use that as an excuse! I think the thing to take from this comes back to the U.S. should we be able to continue to add to our debt by 1 Trillion dollars every year with historically low bond rates? NO… But, until someone stops and says… Hey this debt is too high for bond yields this low” the Treasury Bubble will just keep building and will take a lot of investors down when it pops… it will be a Minsky Moment… For those of you new to class or Hy Minsky… A Minsky Moment is an idea that the great economist, Hy Minsky, originated… When a market fails or falls into crisis after an extended period of market speculation, or unsustainable growth. A Minsky moment is based on the idea that periods of speculation, if they last long enough, will eventually lead to crises; the longer speculation occurs the worse the crisis will be… Hy Minsky is responsible for much of my economics education, even though my time with him was brief… And 10-year Treasury yields remain below 2%… And the band Ace sang.. “How Long”? Speaking of debt, no wait, I wasn’t speaking of debt, I was talking about the Treasury Bubble, but wait… Treasuries are issuances of debt, so technically, I was speaking of debt! (Don’t question yourself, Chuck!) Did you see that the President presented his 2012 Budget, with a $1.333 Trillion Deficit… And that’s only if the ducks all get in a row… I saw this tide bit (Thanks Dennis) and it really hit home… From 7/31/11 to 1/31/12 (6 months) the U.S. National Debt grew from $14.5 Trillion to $15.4 Trillion, an increase of $1.1 Trillion… In the first 206 years of our country’s history (through 8/82) the U.S. accumulated a national debt of $1.1 Trillion… And now we do it every year? Just that the heck is going on here? Our Government is spending us into the point of no return! And that will continue to weigh heavily on the dollar folks… I told an audience last week that I know it seems a little strange taking dollars out of your dollar denominated portfolio to buy currencies and metals… But diversifications one of the ways to beat the awful things our Gov’t and Central Bank are doing to our kids’ and grandkid’s futures.. But then that’s just me.. I could end up being wrong… The U.S. data cupboard is chock-full-o-data today… But the Big Kahuna data print comes in the form of January Retail Sales … Which when I look back at the Butler Household Index (BHI) I see that there were tons of shopping bags brought into our house IN January, so look for a better than the average bear print here today… Then there was this… from the U.K. Telegraph..and before I post this, I want you to know that I don’t condone what Iran is doing.. I’m just continuing to point out how countries all over the world are tired of the U.S. debt destruction of the dollar, and are now working out ways to get around dollar use… So, here the snippet of the article… “Last week the Tehran Times noted that the Iranian oil bourse will start trading oil in currencies other than the dollar from March 20. This long-planned move is part of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s vision of economic war with the West.“The dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme is nothing more than a convenient excuse for the US to use threats to protect the ‘reserve currency’ status of the dollar,” the newspaper, which calls itself the voice of the Islamic Revolution, said.“Recall that Saddam [Hussein] announced that Iraq would no longer accept dollars for oil purchases in November 2000 and the US-Anglo invasion occurred in March 2003,” the Times continued. “Similarly, Iran opened its oil bourse in 2008, so it is a credit to Iranian negotiating ability that the ‘crisis’ has not come to a head long before now.”Chuck again… India is now going to pay for their Oil from Iran with a 45% allocation of Gold. China has been signing currency swap agreements with other countries for 2 years now. So it’s going on all over… countries want out of having to hold large dollar reserve to facilitate the terms of trade with their partners.To recap… The currency and metals rally that lasted all day yesterday, ended last night with a thud, as Moody’s downgraded 6 Eurozone nations and warned the U.K. that their credit rating could be cut. The euro has lost the 1.32 handle, and the rest of the currencies have given back the gains they made yesterday. And Retail Sales headlines the data prints today… Currencies today 2/14/12… American Style: A$ $1.0710, kiwi .8325, C$ $1.00, euro 1.3165, sterling 1.5720, Swiss $1.09, … European Style: rand 7.7225, krone 5.7220, SEK 6.67, forint 221.25, zloty 3.1812, koruna 19.0575, RUB 29.95, yen 78.15, sing 1.2645, HKD 7.7535, INR 49.36, China 6.2995, pesos 12.73, BRL 1.7166, Dollar Index 79.19, Oil $101.36, 10-year 1.98%, Silver $33.45, and Gold… $1,715.10 That’s it for today… Well, Happy Valentine’s Day to all my girls… Kathy, Dawn, Rachel and Delaney Grace! Delaney was not happy about having to go home from Orlando yesterday, she really had a great time at Disney World… You should have seen her all dressed up in her princess dress for the Princess Tea Party… Simply darling! My main presentation at the Money Show was a full room and big room too! It went well… the second has just about run its course.. I’ll have to think of something else… Thanks to Chris for taking the conn on the Pfennig… just getting him ready for March! I have a new set of eyes reviewing the Pfennig each morning now, and when I went cut and paste this to them I lost it all and had to retype the whole thing! UGH! I hope you have a Tom Terrific Tuesday, cause mine’s not starting that way! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837 www.everbank.com
On Monday, Farhad Javid will meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his wife, Rula Ghani, to ask whether the president will order the release of some 190 women and girls who are currently in jail for failing a virginity test.Javid is Afghanistan’s country director for Marie Stopes International, a global family planning organization. Five months ago, he and three colleagues visited the Mazar-i-Sharif prison and went from cell to cell to count the number of women and girls who had been jailed for failing the test. In Afghanistan, premarital sex is considered a moral crime. The issue of virginity testing is not confined to Afghanistan. This week, the U.N., along with the World Health Organization, U.N. Women and U.N. Human Rights, called for a global ban on the practice. Virginity tests have been documented in at least 20 countries around the world, including Egypt, Indonesia and South Africa. And according to the U.N., increased globalization in the past century has resulted in requests for and cases of virginity testing in countries that had no previous history of the practice, for example, Belgium, the Netherlands and the U.K. The test is administered for a variety of reasons: to determine whether a woman can go to school, get married, get a job — or whether she is a victim of rape. According to the U.N., virginity tests are often performed by inspecting the hymen for tears or for the size of its opening, or inserting fingers into the vagina, to determine whether a girl or woman has had sex.WHO states that there is no evidence that the test can prove that a person has had vaginal intercourse or not.”This medically unnecessary, and often times painful, humiliating and traumatic practice must end,” the U.N. announced in a statement at the World Congress of Gynecology and Obstetrics in Rio de Janeiro.In its statement, the U.N. called these tests a violation of human rights and a form of gender discrimination: “The social expectation that girls and women should remain ‘virgins’ is based on stereotyped notions that female sexuality should be curtailed within marriage. This notion is harmful to women and girls globally.”In Afghanistan, the test is sometimes administered if a girl does something as simple as walking down the street with a boy, says Javid.That’s what happened to a 13-year-old girl that Javid and his team from Maria Stopes met at the prison in Mazar-i-Sharif, the country’s fourth-largest city. The young teenager told a female member of the team that she was stopped by the police, accused of having sex and subjected to a virginity test. She says she failed the exam and was sent to prison.Even the act of undergoing the test can have alarming consequences, says Javid. In talking with women and girls, he has been told that even if someone is determined to be a virgin, her “reputation is tarnished,” he says. “The family of the girl will think, ‘You have brought shame to our family and village.’ “In Afghanistan, the law states that women who fail the exam can be incarcerated for a maximum of three months. But, says Javid, “many are kept inside the jail for a year and a half — for nothing.”After hearing reports from some of the prisoners, including the 13-year-old, of sexual abuse by wardens and prison guards, Javid sent two doctors to the prison to perform physical and psychosocial exams. The doctors told him that many girls and women reported they had been sexually abused by prison staff.Javid and Marie Stopes Afghanistan are taking steps to tackle the issue.That’s what the U.N. is recommending in its statement: The onus of eliminating virginity tests should be on local governments, working in tandem with rights groups, activists and nonprofit organizations. Together, “they’ll create the tools and policies and provide the support on a national level,” says Nazneen Damji, policy adviser on health at U.N. Women.In July, the government of Afghanistan approved an official public health policy that Marie Stopes Afghanistan helped draft in an effort to stop enforcement of the law that allows women to be jailed on the basis of the virginity test. Aimed at doctors and medical professionals, the policy states that virginity tests are ineffective and unscientific as a means to ascertain whether a woman is a virgin.Over the next three months the group will use funding from the Swedish government to train hospital directors in 19 provinces in the new policy. Marie Stopes doctors at these facilities, who provide family planning services, will also monitor to ensure that no virginity tests are administered.”The doctors will be discouraged to carry out any of the tests with us being there,” says Javid. So if a police officer were to bring in a woman for such testing, the doctor could refuse.Javid also hopes to convince Islamic community leaders that the test is ineffective. In November, he and his team are planning to hold meetings with leaders in four cities in Afghanistan, with subsequent visits to leaders in 19 of the country’s 34 provinces as well as some rural areas controlled by the Taliban.Javid thinks about the 13-year-old girl he saw at the prison. When he visited her, she was packed into a tiny cell with 15 or 16 other women, he says.”The poor girl was so small, just a teenager,” he says. “She looked like a pigeon with its wings all tied up.”Upon reflecting on the girl’s story, he says, “We hope we will be able to convince the president and his wife this Monday.”He knows the U.N.’s mandate to ban virginity tests won’t matter “to people on a provincial level.””But when you meet informed politicians, it absolutely matters,” he says. “We can use it to our benefit.” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is embroiled in controversy for admitting that he wore blackface at a party in the 1980s and for a racist photo on his medical school yearbook page. But the governor, a pediatric neurologist by training, told CBS he isn’t resigning, because “Virginia needs someone that can heal. There’s no better person to do that than a doctor.”NPR spoke with another doctor, Damon Tweedy, about what message it sends to black patients to hear a prominent doctor tell the country that he has worn blackface. Tweedy is the author of Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine and is an associate professor of psychiatry at Duke University.The debate in Virginia is only one episode in a long history of racism in medicine, Tweedy says. Many African-Americans may feel distrustful of physicians, stemming in part from the legacy of the infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiment. This distrust has repercussions for the health of black people in America today, who may be less likely to stick with treatments or participate in medical research.Tweedy says he hopes the debate will generate more open conversations about the way bias works its way into the health care system.Our interview has been edited for clarity and length.What’s your response to the photo with the guy in blackface and the other guy in Klansman robes in a medical school yearbook?The first thought I had was what that might mean for the patients. One of the problems is that if we just sort of make it all about Gov. Northam, that in some ways kind of misses the point. Someone had to take that photo; someone had to put that into a yearbook. And you think about it, that medical school was in a community that at the time — even now — was 40 percent African-American.What does that mean for those patients, that there’s this tacit acceptance of these attitudes about race? And further, 1984 is not that long ago. People are still in practice who trained in 1984. Many of them are the generation that supervised me as I was coming in, training.Lay out for me briefly, what the history of tension is between the American medical community and African-Americans? It dates back to the beginnings of our country, in some ways. The most famous example in modern times is the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, which basically was run by the U.S. Public Health Service and investigated the natural history of syphilis in African-American men. Even after treatment was available, the researchers never notified the men that they had syphilis or that there was treatment available. It was the most egregious example that we know of.But in some ways it follows a much larger history of concerns, not just in the research realm but in the clinical realm. It’s very much an oral history among African-American people. You often find that people have a concern or mistrust that they are being experimented upon or that the medical establishment in some way doesn’t have their best interest at heart.When you were in medical school back in the ’90s, was race ever addressed in the curriculum or in practical training in your residency? During that time there was just starting to be those conversations. Maybe an hour, out of a four-year curriculum, an hour or two. Think about that. I think that a lot of times people think that if you’re a doctor, you’re very intelligent, you’re sophisticated, and somehow you’re not as susceptible to these issues of bias and racism in a way that other people might be. I think that’s shortsighted.I’m a professor myself, and I’ve used this recent event as a sort of a teaching opportunity. You know, had discussions with students where we’ve sort of really openly talked about what do these issues mean.I wonder if you have any advice for Gov. Northam, one doctor to another? I’m not sure how much he might listen to me, but I’m less interested in the idea of him resigning or not. Regardless of what happens there, he does need to find a way to use his story, not out of self-interest but in terms of moving forward the conversation in other medical schools and medical settings. How might someone who thinks that they’ve been well meaning and educated and all that sort of thing, how might they still have made mistakes that could have potentially harmed people?What are the most glaring racial health disparities you see today in your teaching or in your practice?I’m in psychiatry, personally, but it really transcends every medical specialty. There’s been a body of research that shows that these disparities come across in every way because really they derive from society … from social inequality, economic inequality. That so much drives the kind of care people can receive, where they can receive it, if they can receive it at all. It really cuts across every specialty. Doctors need to learn that they’re part of this larger social world.Justine Kenin produced and Selena Simmons-Duffin edited the audio version of this interview. Mara Gordon produced and edited it for web.Mara Gordon is a family physician in Washington, D.C., and a health and media fellow at NPR and Georgetown University School of Medicine. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith dismissed an offer from the equality watchdog to help MPs and peers understand the true impact on disabled people and other groups of his new welfare bill.Letters between the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and Duncan Smith (pictured) were published this week on the commission’s website, following a freedom of information request.They show that Duncan Smith snubbed an offer from the commission to “work more closely” on the equality impact assessments his department had already published alongside his welfare reform and work bill.In her letter sent in September, Rebecca Hilsenrath, EHRC’s interim chief executive, had asked Duncan Smith “what your thoughts are on ensuring that the impact assessments are sufficient to address these issues and support the proper scrutiny of the bill”.In his response last month, Duncan Smith ignored her offer of assistance and told her that the impact assessments already use “the most robust analysis available to give a good assessment of both the rationale for and the impacts of the reforms” in the bill.In a briefing on its website, EHRC says it is concerned that parts of the welfare reform and work bill “could exacerbate, rather than reduce, existing inequalities”.It says it is concerned that the impact assessments and human rights memorandum which accompany the bill “do not fully assess the effect of the bill on equality and human rights”, which “may make it difficult for parliamentarians to properly consider the implications of the measures in the bill”.The watchdog also says the government should review welfare reform measures in the bill – including the proposed reduction of the benefit cap, the freeze on many benefit rates, and the WRAG cut – so it can assess how they comply with the government’s international human rights obligations, including the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.An EHRC spokesman said: “We continue to raise our concerns and make representations on this issue.“Our latest position is set-out in the briefing we provided to parliamentarians this week.“For example, at Commons report stage we urged MPs to support an amendment which would have prevented implementation of the bill until an assessment of the cumulative impact and impact on equality of reforms to tax credits and benefits announced in the 2015 summer budget is presented to both Houses of Parliament.“This makes clear that the commission is concerned that the impact assessments and human rights memorandum which accompany the bill do not fully assess the effect of the bill on equality and human rights.”The letters were published as the bill began its progress through the House of Lords, with one Tory peer saying she was appalled by the wording of the government’s impact assessment of its proposed cut of £29 a week for future claimants placed in the work-related activity group (WRAG) of employment and support allowance.The assessment says the cut would “remove the financial incentives that could otherwise discourage claimants from taking steps back to work”.Baroness Browning, who has a son with autism, told the welfare reform minister Lord Freud: “I am disgusted with those words.”Despite her comments, Lord Freud spoke in the debate of the “perverse incentives” of paying disabled people in the WRAG more than people on the mainstream jobseeker’s allowance.The disabled peers Lord [Colin] Low and Baroness [Tanni] Grey-Thompson, along with their fellow crossbench peer Baroness Meacher, are heading a parliamentary review into how the proposed WRAG cut might affect disabled people.Lord Low dismissed the bill as “another round of ideologically-driven cuts to welfare”, and told fellow peers that the government’s target of cutting another £12 billion from benefits spending “cannot but have a devastating impact on poor people who depend on benefits”.Baroness Grey-Thompson suggested that the WRAG cut could move disabled people further from the workplace, by creating an incentive for them to be placed in the ESA support group, where there would be limited employment support available to them.She added: “I struggle to see how cutting support could incentivise disabled people into work, and I am looking forward to the DWP’s convincing arguments in this area.”In response to criticisms of the WRAG cut, Lord Freud quoted a 10-year-old report by the OECD which said that “financial incentives to work can be improved by either cutting welfare benefit levels, or introducing in-work benefits while leaving benefit levels unchanged”, although it was not clear whether this referred to disabled benefit claimants.He added: “This change, combined with the new funding [the government plans to spend an extra £100 million a year of the £640 million savings from the WRAG cut on improving employment support for disabled people] is about providing the right incentives and support to encourage more people to move closer to the labour market.”
Manny Machado had some choice words for MLB Network analysts’ commentary on the Angels-Astros game Tuesday night.Machado blasted Eric Byrnes and Dan Plesac in how they discussed the Angels’ revenge plunking of Jake Marisnick, who broke Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy’s nose and gave him a concussion in home-plate collision last week. MLB wrap: Indians win, Twins lose as AL Central gap now smallest in 2 months Angels plunk Jake Marisnick; Astros unhappy about Jonathan Lucroy payback MLB trade news: Blue Jays acquire Wilmer Font from Mets Interestingly, Machado and Byrnes have had spats in the past, with Byrnes being highly critical of Machado and blasting him when Machado stepped on the Brewers’ Jesus Aguilar’s foot in the postseason in October.Machado, who was with the Dodgers at that time, also drew the ire of critics when he said he wasn’t “Johnny Hustle” when it comes to running the bases.Machado signed a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres during the offseason. He has a .269 average with 23 home runs and 62 RBIs in 91 games in his first season with San Diego. Marisnick was given a two-game suspension for his hit on Lucroy. Machado said the analysts were “protecting” Marisnick, adding the situation would be far different if he were the one who collided head-first into a catcher.”They’re protecting that guy,” Machado said. “Was it dirty or not? I don’t know. Did he have to make a decision real quick? Yeah, he did. But if it was me? I would’ve got probably 20 games. Twenty games, 100 percent.”But you know Byrnes, he knows everything about the game … talking about they threw at his head. What about when I got thrown at my head? Nobody was backing me up. They were saying that I deserved it. I deserved to get thrown at my head. God forbid somebody else gets thrown [at]. They back it up. That’s what this game is coming to now, guys like that.” Marisnick was calm about being hit and helped calm his Astros teammates when tensions rose. Byrnes and Plesac defended Marisnick, which drew the ire of Machado for what he perceived as a double standard.”F-king Plesac,” Machado said on Instagram live. “Oh my God. This guy. Plesac and Byrnes – biggest tools out there. I don’t know what they’re talking about over there. They gotta talk about something at least. They gotta protect their people.” Related News
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