Non-Prime Loan Share on the Rise As the creation of new mortgage account originations continues to slide, non-prime borrowers are grabbing a greater share of the market, TransUnion reported in a new release.The latest numbers released by the credit reporting agency show 53.47 million mortgage accounts as of the first quarter of 2014, up slightly from 53.06 million a year ago.Still, that’s down nearly 10 million from the same period in 2008, TransUnion reported.Looking back a quarter, the company says new account originations in Q4 2013 totaled just 1.39 million, down by nearly a million from Q4 2012. New account statistics are examined a quarter behind “to ensure all accounts are reported and included in the data.”While overall new loan activity was slow, participation increased among the non-prime population—defined by TransUnion as those with a credit score lower than 700 on the company’s VantageScore 2.0 model. According to the report, the share of non-prime originations rose more than 2 percentage points over the year to close 2013’s final quarter at 7.21 percent.TransUnion ascribes the latest increase in non-prime share to declining refinance activity, which has shifted the shape of the market.“While still far from levels seen six years ago, non-prime borrowers are taking a larger share of new originations,” said Steve Chaouki, head of financial services for the credit firm. “We have not seen this in quite some time.“Even so, mortgage underwriting remains conservative relative to the other primary credit products in the marketplace,” he added. in Daily Dose, Featured, Headlines, News, Origination Share Credit Scores Credit Standards non-prime lending TransUnion 2014-05-07 Tory Barringer May 7, 2014 472 Views
Housing Policy Left in the Dark at the State of the Union Addresss Housing Policy President Barack Obama State of the Union Address 2016-01-12 Seth Welborn January 12, 2016 650 Views In his final State of the Union Address Tuesday night, President Barack Obama spoke of the progress the country has made economically and the programs he believes the country needs to embrace in the years to come in order to make more progress.To close his speech, President Obama boldly declared that “The State of the Union is strong” as his second term winds down. While the president did briefly mention the financial crisis during Tuesday’s speech, however, one crucial element of economic recovery was noticeably absent from his speech—housing policy.After barely glossing over it in last year’s speech, when he mentioned only the then-recent reduction in FHA mortgage insurance premiums, President Obama did not mention housing policy at all in Tuesday night’s address, nor did he even approach the subjects of homeownership, mortgage credit availability, or building wealth through home equity, which has been touted as a key to saving for the future.The president did touch on economic and job growth early in the hour-long speech, saying that “The United States of America, right now, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world. We’re in the middle of the longest streak of private-sector job creation in history. More than 14 million new jobs; the strongest two years of job growth since the ’90s; an unemployment rate cut in half.”Republicans have been skeptical of the economic progress the Obama Administration claims to have made during the president’s seven years in office. Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) tweeted on Tuesday, “The labor force participation rate is near an all-time low that we have not seen since the 1970s—62.8 percent.” Newly installed Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who sat behind the president as he delivered his speech, tweeted on Tuesday, “Our economy is weak. Wages are stagnant. 45 million people are living in poverty. This is not good enough, Mr. President.” Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, was even more concise with his assessment, tweeting, “If tonight is the president’s victory lap, it should be the shortest speech in history.”Our economy is weak. Wages are stagnant. 45 million people are living in poverty. This is not good enough, Mr. President. #LastSOTU — Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) January 13, 2016The labor force participation rate is near an all time low that we have not seen since the 1970’s – 62.8%. #LastSOTU — Rep. Bill Flores (@RepBillFlores) January 13, 2016And in the Republican response to the State of the Union address which was broadcast immediately following the president’s speech, South Carolina governor Nikki Haley said, “As he enters his final year in office, many Americans are still feeling the squeeze of an economy too weak to raise income levels. We’re feeling a crushing national debt, a health care plan that has made insurance less affordable and doctors less available, and chaotic unrest in many of our cities.”Despite all the criticism about overblowing or exaggerating the extent of the country’s economic recovery, Obama said, “Anyone claiming the American economy is in decline is peddling fiction.”Housing, and homeownership in particular, is one area that will be a key to the future economic health of the nation—just as it played such a large role in the financial collapse and subsequent Great Recession in 2008. And while default metrics are way down and even approaching or lower than pre-crisis levels, the homeownership rate in the U.S. is at its lowest point in nearly five decades, and mortgage credit has become less available to Americans instead of more available in the years since the crisis.Obama did not mention any of this in his address on Tuesday. Will he attempt to address any of the country’s homeownership issues in his last year in office? The industry hopes so.“I congratulate President Obama for his efforts leading our country over the course of two terms in office,” said Ed Delgado, President and CEO of the Five Star Institute. “He has had several successes in his tenure and did what was necessary to affect calm in the economy—but there is a degree of uncertainty regarding the future of homeownership in the United States.”“The housing sector of the economy, in particular, needs to be re-evaluated. Although the housing market made strides this past year, the homeownership rate now stands at the lowest level in 48 years, millennials are saddled with $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, and job prospects for recent grads are bleak. As such, President Obama’s efforts on the housing front cannot be counted as a victory. There now exist barriers of entry for homeownership among first-time homebuyers, millennials, and minorities.”While the president has viewed his policies as the driver of economic growth and success, some expressed concern about overregulation, particularly for the mortgage industry. Rep. Jeb Hensarling stated, “Since Dodd-Frank became law, we’re losing an average of one community financial institution per day under the sheer weight, volume, and complexity of Dodd-Frank’s 400 regulations—making it harder and harder for Americans to buy a house or get a loan to start a small business.”According to Delgado, “Instead of resolving homeownership issues on a broad scale while introducing fair and responsible solutions designed to expand the promise of homeownership, government officials have instead overregulated the industry and measured the success of recovery based upon the size of fines and penalties assessed, Bottom line—it is harder today than at any time in recent history to get approved for a mortgage loan—a condition amplified buy a burdened industry reeling from reform and restriction.”Delgado continued, “Not enough was done to create a lasting solution to bolster homeownership in the U.S. What the Obama Administration did was provide a temporary feel good solution, not a long term right solution.”Click here to read the full text of President Obama’s State of the Union address.Click here to read South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s Republican response.Editor’s note: The Five Star Institute is the parent company of The MReport and TheMReport.com. in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News Share
Noseda to replace Luisi as Zurich Opera music director This July 2, 2018 image provided by the Zurich Opera House shows Gianandrea Noseda in Zurich, Switzerland. Noseda will become general music director of the Zurich Opera in the 2021-22 season, adding to his position as music director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. (Claudia Herzog/Zurich Opera House via AP) by Ronald Blum, The Associated Press Posted Jul 2, 2018 6:23 am PDT Last Updated Jul 2, 2018 at 9:40 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Gianandrea Noseda will become general music director of the Zurich Opera in the 2021-22 season, adding to his position as music director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C.The 54-year-old conductor’s new post was announced Monday, 2 1/2 months after he quit as music director of the Teatro Regio Torino in Italy following the hiring of a new superintendent, who cancelled a planned 2019 U.S. tour.As part of the agreement with Zurich, Noseda will conduct a new production of Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelungs),” directed by Andreas Homoki, whose contact as artistic director the Zurich Opera was extended Monday by three years until 2025.Noseda will replace Fabio Luisi, who will leave one season earlier than planned. Luisi agreed last month to become music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in 2020-21.“With the offer of the Ring Cycle, it was particularly difficult to say no,” Noseda said, “especially being asked by a German-speaking theatre. I thought it was a nice opportunity for me to dig more inside the German culture.”Noseda plans to spend four to five months annually in Zurich and conduct two new productions, two revivals and several symphonic concerts each season.He will retain his post in Washington, which started last fall, and his other primary job as co-principal guest conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, which began in 2016-2017. He also is principal guest conductor of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, principal conductor of the Orquestra de Cadaques in Spain and artistic director of the Stresa Festival in Italy.Noseda conducted two productions in Zurich in the spring of 2017, a new staging of Prokofiev’s “The Fiery Angel” by Calixto Bieito and a revival of Verdi’s “Macbeth.” The Ring productions likely will start in 2022.“I admire his energy and his passion,” Homoki said. “He always sees the bigger picture and is interested in theatrical issues, and he’s open for new interpretations. He’s a really a good partner for me, which also can inspire me and also push me.”Homoki said Noseda topped recent annual polls of the orchestra on favourite conductors it worked with each season. Homoki had not expected Noseda to leave Turin.“I was a little shocked,” he said.Homoki, who started in Zurich in 2012, said Luisi likely will conduct one new production and one revival each season as a guest conductor.
15Aug Franz thanks ‘Pure Michigan’ voice, Tim Allen Categories: News When comedian and actor Tim Allen recently performed a show in Manistee, state Rep. Ray Franz took the opportunity to deliver thanks from the state Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder for Allen’s help to make the Pure Michigan advertising campaign successful.“Those of us who live and play in Michigan know what a special place on earth we have, and Mr. Allen has been part of that effort to tell others to come visit whether they are an hour or several days trip away, because we’re worth it,” said Franz, R-Onekama. “Our state’s tourism industry remained a stable draw and economic engine for Michigan during the years of recession we went through.“The Pure Michigan campaign reminds everyone that our natural beauty and resources are here to enjoy, and Tim’s role in the production adds the perfect atmosphere to get people excited to visit Michigan.”State Rep. Ray Franz recently presented actor and comedian Tim Allen a ‘thank you’ tribute from the state Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder for being the voice of the Pure Michigan advertising campaign since 2006.Allen grew up in Southeast Michigan and launched his comedy career in Detroit before gaining fame on the “Home Improvement” television show and starring in numerous popular movies. He has become the voice-over narrator of the popular Pure Michigan statewide and regional travel commercials aired across the country and abroad.The special tribute Franz presented to Allen from the Legislature and governor reads, in part: “That it is a pleasure and a privilege to commend Tim Allen and recognize his exceptional career and life being a proud citizen of the State of Michigan and voice of the “Pure Michigan” tourism campaign. With his service to the great men and women of Michigan, Tim has exhibited the highest standards of dedication, hard work and leadership, and truly serves as an inspiration for us all.”The Pure Michigan campaign began in 2006 as through the Travel Michigan division of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.When Allen, who moved to the state when he was 11, became part of the campaign, he said of Michigan, “It’s a great state, and they are great people. We moved to Michigan from Colorado, which is a nice state, but then we moved here and there were cars and lakes and it was just an exciting place to be and it never really got any recognition.”Initially funded by the state’s general fund and 21st Century Jobs Trust Fund by amounts varying from $13 million to $33 million, recent years have dedicated $25 million from the trust fund for the campaign. The state’s 2013-14 budget allocates $29 million, after the Legislature approved a statutory floor of at least that much for the program.The funding support has allowed the advertising campaign over the years to develop summer, fall and winter messages on 15 national cable channels, and regional cooperation for local tourism advertising provides matching funds for some of the commercials.Forbes Magazine named Pure Michigan one of the All-time 10 Best Tourism Promotion Campaigns Worldwide.In 2011, travelers paid $70 million in Michigan taxes for a return to the state of $4.90 for each dollar invested in the Pure Michigan campaign.The 2013-14 funding plan is expected to allow for Pure Michigan marketing expansion in the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Japan, China and South Korea.
11Jul Rep. Marino congratulates Eagle Scout Daniel Kowalke of Harrison Township State Rep. Steve Marino (R-Harrison Township) presented a tribute to Daniel Kowalke for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout and his years of dedication and service with the Boy Scouts of America.Daniel’s Eagle Scout service project was the installation of dog waste disposal stations along the Harrison Township Freedom Bike Path. Pet waste disposal stations are the most effective way for communities to curb pet waste problems in public areas.Rep. Marino congratulated Daniel in front of his family, community members, and peers at the Harrison Township Board Meeting on July 10. Categories: Marino News,Marino Photos
25Jan Rep. Leutheuser votes for tax relief for Michigan families, seniors Categories: Leutheuser News,News Measure now goes to the Senate for considerationState Rep. Eric Leutheuser today voted to reduce the tax burden on Michigan senior citizens and families. Earlier in the week he cast his first vote for the legislation as a member of the House Tax Policy Committee as the panel considered the legislation.The bills preserve and increase personal exemptions for Michigan taxpayers and their dependents on their income taxes, while providing additional relief for senior citizens.Leutheuser was recently named to the Tax Policy Committee, and said the three-bill package enables Michiganders to keep more of the money they have already earned.“This money doesn’t belong to politicians in Lansing, it belongs to the people who earned it, either at the workplace or in retirement,” Leutheuser said. “These bills are a good example of our role in the Tax Policy Committee, and it’s an honor to help advance the legislation through the House as well.”The three-bill package ensures Michigan taxpayers can continue claiming personal exemptions on income taxes. This update is needed to fix unintended consequences of the federal tax reforms signed into law last month. In addition to the legal fix, the legislation also gradually increases the state personal exemption from the current $4,000 to $4,800 for the 2020 tax year. The legislation ensures taxpayers in Michigan cities with an income tax will continue to be able to claim exemptions in relation to the Michigan income tax, rather than the federal tax code.House Bills 5420-22 now go to the Senate for consideration.###
15Apr Rep. Hank Vaupel Weekly Column: April 15, 2019 Categories: Vaupel News This weekend was the 56th annual Livingston County Home Show at the Howell High School Fieldhouse. As always, it was a tremendous event showcasing many of the wonderful things Livingston has to offer, and of course, there was plenty of delicious food during the Taste of Livingston exhibition on Saturday! I had the privilege of volunteering as a greeter, which is a great way to enjoy conversations with the many people who visit. Thank you to everyone who came and supported the event!***On Wednesday, it was a sincere honor to receive the Jean Chabut Health Policy Champion Award for the second year in a row. I was presented the award during a ceremony held in the Capitol for my work on a bipartisan package of bills to modernize HIV reporting and testing requirements. As chair of the House Health Policy committee, I have pushed solutions supporting healthier lives and communities, and I remain committed to this goal going forward.***I enjoyed volunteering at the 15th annual Livingston Regional Job Fair at Crystal Gardens on Thursday. It was a fantastic chance for local residents to make connections and seize career opportunities. Thank you to all the volunteers and job providers who came together to give people better options for the future.***Don’t forget this Monday, April 15 is the deadline to submit state income tax returns! With the deadline quickly arriving, the Michigan Department of Treasury is encouraging residents to consider e-filing for greater accuracy, faster processing, and quicker refunds. Also, when filing, be sure to check your eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit or Homestead Property Tax Credit. For other tips and information, visit www.mifastfile.org or www.michigan.gov/incometax.***Thank you to everyone who attended last week’s office hours. Next month, we will return to the regularly scheduled third Friday of each month. My next office hours will be held Friday, May 17 at the following times and locations:2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Fowlerville Farms, 941 S. Grand Ave. in Fowlerville;4 to 5 p.m. at Biggby Coffee, 11325 W. Highland Road in Hartland; and5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at All Star Coney Island, 934 Michigan Ave. in Howell.***If you have any ideas, comments or questions for my office, please do not hesitate to call us at 517-373-8835 or send an email to HankVaupel@house.mi.gov. We are happy to hear from you!PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Hank Vaupel is presented the Jean Chabut Health Policy Champion Award at a National Public Health Week event in the Capitol.
Measure bans dismemberment abortionThe state House today approved a plan introduced by Rep. Lynn Afendoulis to protect the dignity of life and unborn children by banning dismemberment abortions in Michigan.A dismemberment abortion is an abortion in which a health care worker intentionally dismembers a living fetus in the uterus in order for it to be extracted. The legislation from Afendoulis is part of a plan to ban the procedure and create penalties for violators.“This is not about our rights as women. This is about our humanity. Where else, in any norm or more or practice or law, is it acceptable to torture and dismember a living thing?” said Afendoulis, of Grand Rapids Township. “This practice is gruesome. It is inhumane. And, outrageously, it is unnecessary. It must stop.”Twelve states already have had legislation signed into law that bans dismemberment abortions.According to data published by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, there were 1,777 dismemberment abortions, also called dilation and evacuation abortions, in Michigan in 2017. That is nearly five per day.House Bill 4321 now moves to the Senate for consideration.### Categories: Lynn Afendoulis News 14May House approves Rep. Afendoulis plan to protect the lives of the unborn in Michigan
20Jun Rep. Lightner applauds House-approved protections for Michigan farmers amid record rainfall Categories: Lightner News State Rep. Sarah Lightner today applauded the Michigan House upon approval of a plan to help farmers whose crops have been delayed or damaged by this spring’s record-setting rain.“While Michigan’s fertile land continues to drown in rainfall, many farmers are feeling pinched into financial trouble due to not getting crops planted and anticipated low yields,” said Lightner, of Springport. “No farmer could have predicted this long stretch of bad weather. This loan program is vital when it comes to stabilizing Michigan’s agricultural industry – our state’s second-largest economic sector. Hundreds of thousands of families across the state depend on the success of our farmers, and it’s important we provide them with the support they need and deserve during this difficult time.”The plan would help private lenders provide low-interest loans to qualified farmers at no financial risk to the state.Michigan has had very few days suitable for field work this spring. As a result, only about 63 percent of corn seed and 43 percent of soybean seed have been planted, which means yields will be low. Many farmers will be facing financial trouble as this crop season continues.House Bill 4234 provides $15 million to help private lenders run the loan program and keep interest rates low for farmers. The state does not provide the loans, so there is no financial risk or liability to the state with this program.Similar low-interest loan programs were approved for Michigan farmers in 2002 and 2012.Lightner helped lead a coalition of 63 lawmakers in submitting a letter to the United States Department of Agriculture regarding federal support, including increased flexibility under the Federal Crop Insurance rules. Increased flexibility would allow farmers to plant on land normally prohibited by federal crop insurance rules, allowing for more crops to get to market and be raised for feed for a farmer’s livestock.
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesDecember 23, 2013;All AfricaAn criminalizing homosexuality was passed by the Ugandan parliament last week after years of discussion, although it has not yet been signed into law by Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni. He has thirty days in which to make that decision, and in that time he is likely to hear a lot from the rest of the world about the law and the possible consequences if the law is enacted.Original proposals had “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” punishable by death, but the law that passed provides as punishment for “aggravated homosexuality” life in prison. It also sets out prison time for those who do not report gay acts or who rent to a gay person, etc. The “promotion of homosexuality” is also a criminal offense, threatening all activists and organizations working on the issue.Right Wing Watch writes that the law has had enthusiastic support by religious right leaders in the U.S. It reports that Martin Ssempa, a Ugandan minister who championed the bill over years, has received support from U.S. religious right figures “like Lou Engle and Scott Lively , who is facing a human rights lawsuit brought by Sexual Minorities of Uganda. ‘This human rights crisis was made here in the United States,’ says Tarso Luís Ramos, Executive Director at Political Research Associates.” Digital Journal reports that David Bahati, a devout Christian and the member of Uganda’s parliament responsible for the “Kill the Gays” bill and its current incarnation “is a member of ‘ The Family ,’ also known as ‘The Fellowship,’ a secretive and powerful U.S.-based evangelical sect that has been sending money and missionaries to African nations, including Uganda, to promote anti-gay public sentiment and legislation. According to Ralph Stone of the San Francisco-based Fog City Journal, ‘the Family and other anti-gay groups have long viewed Uganda as a laboratory to experiment with Christian theocracy.’”As an aside, NPQ and others have touched on reports of a connection between “The Family” and “Invisible Children,” though after those reports hit the press, Invisible Children vehemently denied any anti-gay sentiment in its organization. See “ Why did Kony 2012 Fizzle Out? ” for more. In Digital Journal, we read that Kampala gay rights activist Frank Mugisha says, “It will open a new era of fear and persecution. If this law is signed by President Museveni, I’d be thrown in jail for life and in all likelihood killed.”Calls are being issued to withdraw aid if the bill is signed into law.—Ruth McCambridge ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share72TweetShare16Email88 SharesJob Corps Centers / U.S. Department of AgricultureAugust 27, 2015; Washington PostOne of the War on Poverty programs that has been allowed to wither on the vine is the Job Corps. This career development program for at-risk men and women between the ages of 16 and 25, providing GED and vocational training, is down to 125 Job Corps centers, a little over 90 of which are managed by a mix of for-profit and nonprofit operators. The 2013 statistics on the program identify 45,047 students as “separated from the program,” the language of this program for students who have graduated from the Job Corps (completing a minimum of 60 days of the program plus obtaining either a high school equivalency diploma or a career training certification or both), students who have completed the 60 days but didn’t qualify for or pass the high school equivalency or career certification elements and left the program, and “uncommitted students” (having left the program short of 60 days or having been expelled under the program’s so-called “Zero Tolerance” rules for behavioral infractions). The Job Corps reports that of the separated students in 2013, 63.8 percent received a high school equivalency certification, 65.9 percent completed career technical certification training, and 68.2 percent of graduates got full-time placements at an average wage of $9.90 an hour.The program’s history has been rocky since the first 30 Job Corps enrollees showed up at Camp Catoctin, Maryland, in 1964. While more than 1.9 million young people have passed through this program since its inception, it has constantly been on the chopping block of successive presidential administrations, stumbled through budget cuts and program deficits, and most recently encountered some severe problems due to violence and even murders at some Job Corps sites.In the Washington Post, Lisa Rein reports that four Job Corps students at the Homestead Job Corps in Miami-Dade have been charged with allegedly hacking a classmate to death with a machete. Earlier this year, at the St. Louis Job Corps campus, a student allegedly shot another student in his dorm room. (Job Corps trainees are given food and board during their Job Corps experience.) Last year, a female student at an Oregon Job Corps center was raped by a male security guard. Rein also reports about assaults and sexual abuse having been revealed at the McKinney, Texas Job Corps site.According to Rein, “The inspector general found in February that despite the zero-tolerance policy for violence and illegal drugs, local job corps centers have failed to report and investigate serious misconduct like drug abuse and assaults, and many downgrade violent infractions to lesser infractions to keep students enrolled.”Although the incidents of violence and death are deplorable, one can understand program administrators trying to keep at-risk students from tough family and neighborhood backgrounds in the program, even if they have had infractions involving drug use. There may be a problem with federal oversight of the job centers here, but some of the issues might be in the centers themselves, with varying interpretations of the rules and questions in some sites regarding managerial competence. The Job Corps centers are mostly run by competitively selected for-profit and nonprofit contractors, but they have been the subject of several inspector general and General Accounting Office reports outlining cost overruns, management problems, and disciplinary issues.As a result of the Homestead murder, the federal government has suspended fall classes at the Homestead Job Corps center, stopped enrollment for the fall, and moved the 17 students who were there for the summer to other Jobs Corps facilities. This isn’t the first time that the Homestead operator, a Kentucky-based for-profit firm called ResCare, has been in trouble for serious incidents at the facility; a 2006 incident found five Job Corps participants in a warehouse that was used as a gang hangout. Regarding the current incident, ResCare apparently was none-too-quick in noticing and searching for the student who turned out to be a murder victim, failing not only to initially look for him, but also to tell his family he was missing.Abetted by the IG and GAO reports, the public impression is that the Job Corps is out of control and an absolute muck-up. The Miami Herald article on the Homestead facility refers to a spate of “increasingly negative” newspaper headlines about the Jobs Corps program nationally. However, that doesn’t seem to be entirely accurate.In Alaska, for example, Governor Bill Walker and Senator Dan Sullivan recently showed up at the graduation ceremony for fifty Job Corps participants in Palmer, with Walker talking about his own experience in the building trades working as a carpenter, that “building things as an education is beyond anything you could ever get.” In Ottumwa, Iowa, the commencement speakers weren’t politicians, but former Job Corps participants—23-year-old Glen Carter who trained in medical support office work, and 41-year-old Desmund Adams who went from the Job Corps to Drake Law School to running for Congress in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District. Hardly one to be thought of as a supporter of an anti-poverty program, Maine governor Paul LePage spoke at the recent graduation ceremony at the Penobscot Jobs Corp to suggest that for all he knew, one of the 80 graduates might turn out to be a governor in the future.There’s sometimes negative news coverage, but some of it is quite suspicious. In Chicopee, Massachusetts, for example, neighbors of the Westover Job Corps have complained that “large packs” of students at the center sometimes gathered in the neighborhood park and walking on the streets, “frighten(ing) children and mak(ing) residents concerned about crime.” It isn’t hard to discern the hidden meaning in the residents’ complaints—fear of black kids. One resident complained that he found needles from syringes in a neighborhood park, which he attributed to the Job Corps kids, though the Chicopee police chief, William R. Jebb, said they couldn’t be specifically attributed to Job Corps participants and, rather, needles were being found all around the city due to increasing heroin use (a topic that has been covered in the NPQ Newswire). In Ogden, Utah, two students at the Clearfield Job Center were arrested for selling marijuana to their Job Corps classmates. That’s probably not all that different from what might be happening at hallway lockers in the local high school—selling baggies of marijuana.Less well publicized is the fact that, on the other side of the law, Idaho Court of Appeals judge Sergio Gutierrez earned his GED in the 1970s at the Wolf Creek Job Corps in Glide, Oregon. Another notable graduate of the Job Corps is heavyweight boxer George Foreman, who was trained at the Grants Pass Job Corps center in Oregon and the Parks Job Corps Center in Pleasanton, California.There is no debate whatsoever about ridding Job Corps sites of program participants prone to violence. There is also little question that the variable performance of some Job Corps centers merits review and perhaps programmatic medication, as we have noted in the past. But the value of the Job Corps to at-risk youth who might become judges, candidates for Congress, or even governors shouldn’t be lost in the press coverage of the alleged murders at the Homestead campus, or anywhere else where criminals infiltrate and disrupt the efforts of people to better themselves. The fact that some bad people have caused havoc in a number of Job Corps sites shouldn’t lead to a lack for support for this underappreciated but still important product of the War on Poverty.—Rick CohenShare72TweetShare16Email88 Shares
AXN Spin, the new channel from Sony Pictures Television Networks, has launched in Poland on the Cyfra Plus platform.AXN Spin offers series including Pretty Little Liars, Teen Wolf and The River, along with films such as Men in Black, Spider-Man, and Pirates of the Caribbean.Targeting a youth audience of 13 to 25 year-olds, the channel is the fourth AXN network available in Poland, joining AXN, AXN Sci Fi and AXN Crime. It is available in Cyfra Plus’ Optimum HD, Prestiz HD Plus and Canal Plus HBO Superpremium packages.
Polish pay TV operator Cyfrowy Polsat is making its video-on-demand service available via PCs as well as TVs.The VOD Domowa Wypożyczalnia service to PCs will offer about 900 titles and is being provided in partnership with Polsat-owned internet TV service ipla.To promote the service, Cyfrowy Polsat is offering a number of titles for PLN0.01, including Super 8, Transmformers 3 and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. VOD titles normally cost between PLN4.50-8 (€1.07-1.90).
Sky Deutschland has inked a deal for an additional transponder from satellite services company Astra.The German pay TV operator will use the extra capacity, at the 19.2° east position, for HD channels and programming. Astra is now using 11 transponders in all on Astra satellites.
Russia’s largest independent broadcaster CTC is launching a transmedia content competition at MIPCube, the digital content segment of the MIPTV market in Cannes.CTC is, in association with telco MTS and agency Ailove, offering €5,000 in development funding to the winner of the Content360 contest. The content will be developed with MTS and CTC.The winning project will, if successfully developed, then be launched to 70 million Russian viewers.The criteria for ideas is that they must work across TV, the internet and mobile devices.Up to five finalists will be selected and pitch their ideas to a jury and the MIPCube audience.Entries must be submitted by February 22. Finalists will be announced mid-March.
A new satellite platform for Nigeria, Daarsat, is broadcasting on Spacecom’s Amos satellite platform at 17° East. Daarsat, owned by local player Daar Communications, is the eighth Nigerian DTH platform to launch on the Amos 5 satellite including Infinity and HiBand.The platform offers five consumer bouquets, with about 30 channels and includes features such as messaging and subscription services. Security is provided via fingerprinting and chipset pairing.“Our partnership with Daar serves as an excellent example showing Spacecom’s commitment to Daarsat. The agreement secures a long and mutually beneficial relationship between our organizations for many years to come,” said Spacecom CEO David Pollack. “We are proud to add another DTH platform to the Amos-5 at 17° East neighborhood through our relationship with the leading communication group, Daar Communications. Delivery of high quality service on a powerful platform is what elevates Amos and helps our business grow.”
Google ChromecastGoogle has launched a low-price TV dongle designed for people to stream web content to their TV set. Google said the Chromecast device is designed to “make it easy to bring your favourite online entertainment to the biggest screen in your house,” and is its latest attempt to break into the living room, launching alongside its existing Google TV devices.The dongle, which is available to order now in the US priced just US$35 (€26.50), plugs into the HDMI port of an HD TV and lets viewers use their phone, tablet or laptop to “cast” online content to their television.The device sees Google step up competition with the likes of Roku, which launched a similar HDMI Streaming Stick last year priced US$99.99 in the US, and Apple, which also lets users wirelessly stream what’s on their iOS device to their HDTV via an Apple TV set-top box.“Once your Chromecast is set up, you can use your phone, tablet or laptop to browse and cast content to your TV, play and pause, control the volume, and more. But unlike other streaming solutions, you can still multitask—send emails or surf the web—while enjoying what’s on the TV screen,” said Google’s senior vice president of Android, Chrome and Apps, Sundar Pichai.The device works across platforms with Android tablets and smartphones, iPhones, iPads and Chrome for Mac and Windows supported at launch. In terms of content, the dongle works with Netflix, YouTube, and Google’s Play movies, TV, and music store, with “more apps like Pandora coming soon.”A new feature in Google’s Chrome web browser also allows users to project any browser tab to their TV using the Chromecast device. “This feature is launching in beta, but we’re excited for people to try it out and give us their feedback,” Google said.
Technicolor is due to commercially launch its first 4K-compatible set-top box in 2014, after demoing the technology at IBC this year.Speaking to DTVE at the Amsterdam trade show, senior vice-president of solutions, strategy and portfolio management for the connected home, Pascal Portelli, demonstrated a working prototype of the MediaPlay DST839 box.However, when this does come to market, updates will be implemented so that it will run at 60 frames per-second, as opposed to 30 in the demo, and will support the new version of HDMI 2.0, he said.“The only limitation so far is the processor doesn’t naturally support 60-frames per-second yet; there’s a new version coming later this year that will support it,” said Portelli.He added: “We need to have the new version of HDMI 2.0 that has enough through-put to support this. Essentially at 60-frames per-second you need double the through-put than at 30-frames per-second.”Portelli said that the box will come to market next year to coincide with the the advent of the pay TV operator-launched 4K channels – which will come “probably at the end of the year.”The demo version of the box at IBC ran a Sky 4K test feed over Astra SES, which is not commercially available today.Portelli said Technicolor was already in talks with operators about the implementation of the box, but would not reveal further details.
BSkyB will launch a new download to own service dubbed ‘buy and keep’. It will allow subscribers to buy movies and sit alongside the UK pay TV operator’s existing pay per view service, Andrew Griffith told delegates at the Guardian Changing Media Summit in London.Sky is keen to break into the growing UK download to own market and build on its digital movie rentals business. It places it in competition with Apple’s iTunes and Tesco’s Blinkbox in the download market.Sky did not say which studios and content owners it was working. Buy and keep will launch within weeks.Sky is the latest in a series of service providers to announce download-to-keep services, including BT, which launched its own service on the YouView platform in February.
Content security specialist Verimatrix has extended its relationship with France’s Bouygues Telecom, adding Verimatrix’s VCAS for Broadcast-Hybrid product to its existing line-up of security solutions to protect its new Android TV box client devices, which offer a new class of premium home video service.VCAS for Broadcast-Hybrid is a cardless revenue security solution that draws on Verimatrix’s VCAS for Internet TV and VCAS for IPTV lines and also provides harmonised rights management for subscribers at home and on the go. Bouygues Telecom’s IPTV service is delivered to set-top boxes, tablets, iPads and portable displays.Bouygues’ Project Miami is based on the Android OS and will deliver premium IPTV and Android applications on TV. Ericsson served as the systems integrator for the project, with Verimatrix ecosystem partners IfeelSmart, iWedia, and Marvell also playing roles.“Verimatrix is a reliable partner for Bouygues Telecom, and we trust them to provide us with robust, cost-effective revenue security solutions to support the full range of our multi-screen initiatives,” said Pierre Schaller, SVP Innovation and Strategic Alignment at Bouygues Telecom. “We consistently choose to collaborate with them because of their ongoing commitment to innovation, as well as their flexibility and ability to easily scale when we add new services.”“We are delighted to again collaborate with our valued customer Bouygues Telecom,” said Steve Oetegenn, president, Verimatrix. “VCAS for Broadcast-Hybrid offers Bouygues Telecom a compelling software-centric video service security solution that will enable them to better respond to new standards, new opportunities and the rapidly changing market dynamics,” said Steve Oetegenn, president, Verimatrix.