According to the Nigerian military, all but eight of the girls kidnapped from a Nigerian boarding school have been rescued. As many as 100 girls had been abducted by militants earlier in the week.
Young ultra-Orthodox Jews are increasingly pursuing college degrees or joining the workforce. That's challenged matchmaking customs and led to a new service that connects like-minded men and women.
More than a dozen business school deans gathered at the White House today to talk about how to make the workplace work better for women and people with families. The meeting was part of the lead-up to a bigger Working Families summit coming up in June.
The White House holds a lot of these sorts of gatherings. There have been summits on everything from job creation to food marketing to diversity in the tech industry. So what actually gets done?
“Everybody likes to come to the White House, come to Washington, have their picture taken,” says Bob Guttman, who teaches media and politics at Johns Hopkins University. “ In terms of policy, I think it’s less important.”
One way to make the events more than a photo-op is for organizers to ask for specific commitments, as the White House did last year when college presidents gathered to talk about expanding opportunity for low-income students.
“So just that one project alone – clearly there’s been some great momentum from the convening in January,” says Daniel Porterfield, president of Franklin & Marshall College, one of 10 schools that pledged scholarships after the summit.
The sometimes strange world of White House summits
by Marc Sollinger
Summit on Food Marketing: Michelle Obama is concerned with childhood obesity. So much so that last year her office convened a summit to get food companies and the media to push healthier food to America’s kids. Speaking to a group of parents, scientists, and representatives from the food industry, the First Lady urged everyone to make children’s health a priority.
Beer Summit: One of the most recognizable White House Summits wasn’t actually an official summit at all. But after a national uproar over the 2009 arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Gates, Obama met with both Gates and his arresting officer at what came to be known as the “Beer Summit.”
SelectUSA Investment Summit: As part of Obama’s push to bring jobs and investment money to the US, the White House convened a 1,300-person summit last fall that let global investors mingle with government officials and representatives from U.S. Companies.
Tech Inclusion Summit: This January summit was the highlight of an initiative to encourage diversity in the tech industry. Over 200 people participated and discussed ways to achieve President Obama’s goal of producing one million additional STEM graduates over the next decade.
Summit on Black Male Success: More a series of summits than a single event, this was an effort by EBONY magazine and the White House to host discussions throughout the country about the issues that face African American males. This series is a follow up to Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” campaign.
White House Summit on Working Families: Part of the reason business college deans are traveling to the White House, this summit will focus efforts on creating a more workable and equitable workplace. Taking place this June, it will convene business leaders and experts to talk about the issues.
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is committing more of his considerable fortune to getting gun safety laws passed. The initiative will support a grass-roots effort that seeks to enlist women.
Another day in which I pass on what I read in the Wall Street Journal this morning, comment on it, and have you guys tell me how wrong I am:
The Journal has a story about fish sticks, and how the fish stick industry is looking to get kids excited about fish sticks again. They say fish are transitioning from the frozen stick model to "a fillet that can be cut into a fish stick" instead.
I personally think that's gonna be a tough haul because... ew.
You should know, by the way, that I appear to be in a minority here at Marketplace Global headquarters, when it comes to feeling that way.
The big banks have been releasing their first quarter earnings reports over the last week, and they’re all over the map: Profits are down at JPMorganChase, up at Wells Fargo.
But one trend is clear from nearly all the banks: Consumers are doing a better job paying down their mortgages and credit cards.
“This is not an unusual phenomenon,” says Nancy Bush, banking analyst and founder of NAB Research, LLC. “It normally goes on after a financial brush with death like the one we had in the years 2005 to 2008.”
Both consumers and the big banks have changed their ways since those dark days. Banks are more cautious about who they lend to. And, we, the public, are a lot more careful with our credit cards and other loans.
“Credit card and auto delinquencies have been hovering around all time lows for the last several quarters,” says Steve Chaouki, head of financial services at the credit reporting agency TransUnion.
Look at just about any big bank’s earnings report lately, and the trends are clear. JPMorgan Chase’s earnings, for instance, shows four charts under the heading "delinquency trends". All of them—whether home loans or credit cards—point straight down since 2010.
Total US home loan delinquencies are down more than 12 percent versus last year, according to Black Knight Financial Services.
But this isn’t just because Americans are getting better at managing debt. Banks have also been much stricter.
"In order to get a mortgage loan these days, you need to have a high credit score, so these borrowers are already more responsible,” says Kostya Gradushy with Black Knight’s Data & Analytics division.
But all this responsibility can have a downside for the economy: Careful, responsible Americans tend to spend less - which means retailers won't be thrilled.
Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is spending $50 million to fight the National Rifle Association on gun control. This is not the first time Bloomberg has used his private foundation to contribute huge sums of money to nonprofits. He’s has given $50 million to fight coal companies, to clean up the oceans and to promote women’s reproductive rights.
In terms of gun control, Bloomberg’s $50 million is a huge amount to spend in a single year. The NRA spent just under $3.5 million on lobbying in 2013, and the Brady Campaign, a gun control advocacy group, has an annual budget of just over $3 million. Bloomberg’s $50 million will fund a network of smaller nonprofits organized under one large umbrella group called Everytown for Gun Safety.
Stacy Palmer is the editor of The Chronicle for Philanthropy. She says this money will help these smaller grassroots groups eliminate some of the redundancy in their organizatio,n “and make them a lot more efficient.”
Professor of philanthropic studies Mark Hager says large donations allow a group to fund big campaigns on a particular issue. “It can stop and take stock of that and really give its attention to marketing or lobbying efforts,” says Hager.
Private foundations are prohibited from lobbying for legislation and supporting political campaigns. But, says writer Joanne Barkan, “private foundations are allowed to spend as much money as they want on educating.” For private foundations like Bloomberg’s, the Koch brothers’ and the Gates', the difference between Gates’ educating a member of Congress and lobbying one is often impossible to distinguish.
A unit originally created to keep the peace during the civil rights movement is training law enforcement on how to be more sensitive to transgender witnesses and crime victims.