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08 декабря, 01:22

Biden’s farewell gift: Cancer moonshot helps pass $6.3 billion research bill

Two months after the Obama administration promised a “moonshot” to accelerate the fight against cancer, Vice President Joe Biden summoned top health care lawmakers to a meeting in the Old Executive Office building.Biden, whose son, Beau, died from brain cancer less than a year earlier, saw a path to fund the initiative in Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton’s 21st Century Cures bill — a measure designed to boost funding for research on cancer and other diseases while making sweeping regulatory changes at the FDA that easily passed the House but was struggling to gain momentum in the upper chamber.The two-hour March meeting with Biden, Upton and the bipartisan leadership of the House and Senate’s health care committees was the beginning of a rare Washington partnership that would ultimately save the health care legacies of Biden and Upton, as well as key Obama administration research programs — a bittersweet victory for a White House that will likely see much of its health care agenda unraveled by Republicans next year.In exchange for the big boost in funding for the National Institutes of Health, Republicans won a regulatory rollback at the FDA designed to speed approval of drugs and medical devices which had long been sought by industry — and which liberal senators like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders slammed as a corporate giveaway that could erode consumer safety. The $6.3 billion 21st Century Cures bill was approved by the Senate Wednesday in an overwhelming 94-5 vote and is now headed to the White House as one of the last pieces of legislation to be signed into law by President Barack Obama.The 10-year funding bill made its way through Congress because of Biden’s imposing presence — and also because it is packed with substantial amounts of money for enough pet projects, including a batch of Medicare and mental health reforms, to keep disparate lawmakers on board. Relentless cheerleading for the project by Upton, (R-Mich.) and Rep. Diana DeGette’s (D-Colo.) also played a key role. The duo traveled the country with other lawmakers and leaders like NIH Director Francis Collins to sell the project directly to the public.The vote let lawmakers close the year and the 114th Congress on a dramatic high, after a divisive election and ahead of the heated battles next year over the dismantling of Obamacare. That drama was captured Monday night, when Biden took the rare step of presiding over the Senate for a procedural vote on the bill and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the Senate would rename the law’s cancer program after Biden’s late son.In hindsight, the March meeting assured that Biden’s cancer research project would be funded by Cures and set in motion a series of bipartisan compromises that were critical for final passage.“We convinced him easily that we are already at second base and we are looking at the third base coach and he is waving us home,” Upton said. “We don’t have time to start over.”Despite the March agreement to include moonshot funding, Cures still faced many obstacles.Work stalled in the Senate in the early summer over disagreements about how to pay for it, while the FDA balked at the inclusion of what it saw as dangerous provisions to accelerate the development of regenerative medicines, such as stem cell treatments pushed for by McConnell. But buy-in from McConnell, who had polio as a young child, would be pivotal to ensure the bill would get to the Senate floor.That’s when the “inner core,” as Upton described the key players from the March meeting, reengaged. The White House and Reps. DeGette and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) helped broker a critical compromise on regenerative medicine needed to satisfy McConnell and the FDA.The key players also added a billion dollars in funding to states to combat the opioid epidemic as an enticement, particularly for Senate Democrats who were unhappy with the bill’s regulatory rollback, which could allow some drugs and medical devices to be approved faster, with less rigorous data on safety and effectiveness. For many on the left, this part of the law was seen as a boon for the drug industry at a time when soaring drug prices are sparking public outrage.“Congress shouldn't be in the business of selling FDA favors to the highest bidder, risking people's lives to enrich political donors,” Warren (D-Mass.) said on the Senate floor last month. “Let's be clear. What the Republicans are proposing is corrupt, and it is very, very dangerous.”The bill provides significant amounts of money for various programs: $1.8 billion for Biden’s cancer moonshot, $1.5 billion for Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative aimed at tailoring treatments to people based on their genes and lifestyles, $1.5 billion for the BRAIN initiative, to advance scientists' understanding of the human brain to solve diseases like Alzheimer’s and $1 billion for anti-opioid efforts.The catch was that while the regulatory rollback that so rankled some Democrats is guaranteed, the research funding is not. It will have to be appropriated each year. Even worse in Democrats’ eyes, it will be paid for in part by raiding more than $3 billion from Obamacare’s Prevention and Public Health Fund, which pays for anti-smoking campaigns and other preventive health efforts.Biden and other supporters told concerned Democrats that the Obamacare money would disappear anyway with the repeal of the health law. “We had the opportunity to lock in real progress on medical research, mental health, and opioids under President Obama, instead of letting these priorities depend on the whims of a Trump presidency — so of course we took it,” said a senior Democratic aide.Alexander said the funding for opioids was as important as the money to combat cancer in getting enough votes for the bill.“Almost every senator has the opioid epidemic on the front page of his or her newspaper,” he said.“Opioid funding was the biggest driver for me,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), noting his state has been one of the hardest hit by the crisis. The vice president, who since Beau’s death at age 46 has made fighting cancer his raison d’etre, even more than running for president, loomed large throughout the process. The near unanimous vote was due in no small part to Biden’s relentless lobbying on the bill as it headed toward the Senate floor — he personally called or met with nearly 20 members of the Senate, including Republicans. He rallied the patient and disease advocacy groups enthused by his moonshot initiative to advocate for passage of Cures. “The vice president’s visibility on the cancer moonshot and the goals of the cancer moonshot was palpably part of the excitement that these groups brought to the table,” said a senior administration official close to Biden. He also countered the liberal Democratic narrative that the bill was a giveaway to the drug and device industry by arguing that’s it difficult to help patients without helping the companies that provide them with the cures they need to survive. In the end, it was a bill that few lawmakers outside “the inner core” really loved, but few voted against. Some Senate Democrats had the same concerns about pharmaceutical companies that Warren expressed publicly but they felt like they couldn’t vote against the bill because of Biden’s moonshot and the opioid epidemic funding, according to a senior Democratic aide. The aide added that some lawmakers also viewed it as a parting gift to Biden, who is just days from retirement after a political career that ended when he chose not to challenge Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.“I really understand the pain that Joe went through and to be able to do something in the name of his late son is an important part of closure when it comes to the grief that a parent faces,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate.Still, money problems threatened to derail the process. To overcome the Senate’s funding stalemate, House Republicans crafted an unusual funding mechanism for the bill in conjunction with House Speaker Paul Ryan, which got McConnell’s sign-off. It provides discretionary funding but fully offsets it with spending cuts to other programs. That means that appropriators have to sign off on the money every year. To assure wary Democrats, the money will be set aside in a special account that cannot be tapped for other purposes without additional legislation. DeGette did her homework, ordering a report by the Congressional Research Service to ensure the arrangement was above board.To further allay Democrats’ concerns, Ryan wrote a letter to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi committing to provide the first year of the Cures funding in the year-end stopgap spending bill which funds the government through spring, Upton and DeGette said.But funding problems remained. The Senate Finance Committee, which controls access to several funding streams, didn’t want to give any of those up without advancing its own agenda. Eventually, about 20 Finance bills were added to the measure and, in exchange, Finance let HELP pay for a significant part of Cures by selling off oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.Among the greatest concerns for the bill’s opponents was a provision that directs the FDA to consider “real world” evidence for approval of drugs and devices; a faster review of medical devices similar to one already available for drugs; and a measure that frees drug companies to talk with insurers about potential off-label benefits of their products.Democrats negotiated changes to ameliorate some of those concerns, including eliminating a requirement that FDA issue guidance on off-label communications. A provision that would carve out certain industry payments to doctors and hospitals from a physician payment transparency program was also removed at the eleventh hour.The addition of bipartisan mental health policies that would establish a new assistant secretary of mental health at HHS and authorize treatment and prevention programs but provide no new resources got additional lawmakers on board, and helped put the bill over the edge.Alexander’s relationships with both Biden and Obama, both of whom he worked with in the Senate, helped propel the bill forward. Alexander and Obama first discussed the President’s genomic medicine initiative at a lunch in a Knoxville-area airport hangar after Obama invited him to fly to Tennessee aboard Air Force One. Alexander pledged to put the initiative in Cures.Even with all the high-power backing, it came down to the wire.“Boy, we had to drag this bill out of the ditch so many times,” DeGette said. Upton and DeGette “spent the entire Thanksgiving week on the phone with ourselves, with our staff, White House and the senators, making this happen. That’s what you have to do to pass a bill this big.”One of the final pieces to fall into place before the House’s revised bill was released the day after Thanksgiving was the regenerative medicine policy. A proposal pushed this spring by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and McConnell would have amounted to an end-run around FDA’s gold standard for approval by allowing new therapies to be marketed based only on initial safety data and preliminary evidence they might work. Adding to Democrats’ skepticism, the push was backed by Ed Bosarge, a GOP mega-donor from Texas, whose company, Petrodome Energy, had donated $1 million to McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund last year. Bosarge also owns Bosarge Life Sciences, which is developing such treatments.The White House and FDA worked closely with McConnell to work out an alternative — including hashing out the details at a White House dinner between Obama, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and McConnell in late November. The final agreement got rid of the shortcut for these treatments, but allows them to go through FDA’s accelerated approval process if there’s evidence they could treat serious or life-threatening illnesses, or address other unmet medical needs.In the end, the three years of political persistence, begun by Upton and carried forward by a broad cast of characters, paid off.“I think it shows that if you can consult, consult, consult and don’t give up, and listen to your colleagues, that we can actually solve big problems here,” Alexander said.

08 декабря, 01:05

5 Ways To Make Everyone On Your Team A Marketer

"If we build it, they will come." I heard it again yesterday from a technical entrepreneur who should know better than to believe the old "Field of Dreams" sports fantasy movie theme in today's Internet information overload environment. These days, building a new business is all about visibility and marketing, no matter how great or innovative a solution you bring to the table. In fact, having one marketing guru on the team alone won't get you very far. You need to make sure that everyone on the team, from the clerical assistant to the chief financial officer, knows your vision and product, and doesn't hesitate to actively engage and be an effective proponent with anyone who might be of value to the business. I just saw a good summary of how to motivate and train your team to accomplish this in a new book, "The Business of Creativity: How to Build the Right Team for Success," by Keith Granet. The author's focus is the world of architecture and design, but I'm convinced that the principles and strategy outlined are equally important to every new business or entrepreneurial effort: Instill pride. This is a positive culture created by an atmosphere of trust and confidence in the solution, as well as other members of the team. People are proud to represent their business when they feel that they have a voice and a recognized contribution to the effort. The best way to do this is to share and celebrate small wins, together and often. Empower engagement. The best startups give everyone business cards and encourage team members to talk about the business with anyone who should be interested. That means rewarding feedback from outside, both good and bad, rather than being closed. It also helps to create office events for family members and local community groups. Encourage networking. Team members need time, and your support, to attend conferences and professional organizations to stay in touch with colleagues and peers. They need incentives to investigate market trends and competitive actions, as well as continuous communication of the bigger picture of the business and current objectives. Give credit. It doesn't take a huge marketing budget to provide public recognition in team meetings for individual initiatives that can benefit the company. These might include anyone bringing in a new customer, representing the company in a good social cause, or participating in a video or social media campaign on their own time. Reward success. The best executives make it clear by example that all team members who help the business expand will be compensated, by awards, special bonuses, or career advancement. Team members who see others rewarded for their "marketing" efforts will be motivated to consider what they can do to share the wealth. This approach, with you leading the effort, and everyone empowered to advance the visibility and message of the business, also has the great advantage of minimizing the size of the dedicated internal team for marketing and public relations. A single marketing coordinator can accelerate your efforts by being the coach and mentoring key members of the team on soft marketing. If you have a diverse team, the value is even greater, since each member can use their contacts and perspective to spread the word effectively, and attract the attention you need for success. The common focus on marketing across the varied interests of your team also has the potential of improving peer communication, comradery, and improving working relationships. The most effective teams, through sharing and common interests, develop leaders at all levels. The most senior leaders then become coaches and mentors, rather than the source of all decisions. The emergent leaders are not hesitant to take charge when they see business growth opportunities, thus multiplying your visibility and impact. Thus, even if the value of your solution is universally obvious in your field of dreams, don't count on customer initiatives to find it amongst the thousands of alternatives fighting for visibility on the Internet. Mobilize the total power of your team to not only build the product, but also build the market. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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08 декабря, 01:00

Warren Gatland tells George North: ‘forget about rugby, put health first’

• Lions coach says Wales and Northampton wing’s concussion is ‘concerning’• Gatland says quality goal-kickers give Lions big advantage over All BlacksThe British & Irish Lions head coach, Warren Gatland, has told George North to “forget about rugby” and concentrate on his long-term health as an official investigation continues into how the Wales wing was allowed to return to the field after apparently been knocked out playing for Northampton last weekend. Related: George North case leaves Saints and Premiership with questions to answer | Andy Bull Continue reading...

07 декабря, 23:26

How One Simple Question Landed Me a Job I Didn't Want

What is the craziest thing you have ever said (or done) at an interview and still got the job? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. Answer by Gil Yehuda, technology strategist, on Quora: In response to a job offer, I said no. As a result, I got the job. This goes back a few years: I was interested in a particular job, and read the description carefully. I saw it had five job specifications, covering a wide range of skills in my field. I thought they might need two people to do the job they described. After some good phone interviews, I was invited to a full day of on-site interviews. I first met with the hiring manager, and then with a few people related to the group. The last interview was with the recruiter. The first interview with the hiring manager (CTO-ish role) went well, but it had a strange moment near the end. We spoke about the job and then he asked if I had questions. I asked about the five items; they were diverse, so which was the most important part of the job? He looked at the job spec sheet and answered that #5 was the essential job, the other four were much less relevant. I asked, why is the most important part of the job listed last? Usually a list like this would have the most important item listed first. Moreover, #1 and #5 implied a very different skill profile. He seemed annoyed at me for asking the question, and reiterated that #5 was the job, the rest was not as important. The next five interviews went very smoothly, and things were looking promising. When each interviewer asked if I had questions, I asked the same question, out of curiosity: "If you and I asked the CTO which of these five items are most important for this job, what do you think he'd say?" Each one answered #1 is the primary job. Then I said "I actually asked the CTO, he said #5 was the essential part of the job. What do you think that means?"  Their reactions were very interesting. One said "No, I meant #5..."  Another said "Oh that's not right, I need to meet with him and correct this." Fascinating indeed! Seemingly, I revealed a disconnect between the CTO and the team about the job. The last interview was with the recruiter. We clicked. We had a frank conversation about the company and about the issues I uncovered. She told me that feedback on my interviews was positive. But she did not have a good answer about the role clarity. Yet they still wanted to make me an offer. The truth is, I really wanted (needed) this job. But I said: I'm sorry, I don't think I can take the job if the company doesn't know what the job is. You need to figure out what you want before you make an offer. I don't think anyone could succeed in a job where the very role is in dispute. She responded. The reason they wanted to make me the offer was that I was the only person to see what was going on. It was a new role and they didn't fully understand the requirements themselves, but apparently I read the situation in a way they were unable to see, and that's what they needed. They wanted me to take the job in order to help figure out what the job should be. She asked me what salary range I was looking for. I thought, this makes no sense. Yes, I want the job, but the risk of failure is high since the job was ill defined. Given the risk, how would I know if they are serious about having me figure this out for them? So I said "If you make me an offer I can't refuse, then I won't be able to refuse it." She came back fifteen minutes later with an offer I could not, and did not refuse. No regrets either. You should also know that good ideas come from good inspiration, namely good mentors. I would like to acknowledge coaches and mentors who provided me with guidance and sound advice in my various job search activities over my career. In particular thank you to Dan Shepard, at the Essex Partners Senior Executive Career Management and Transition Coaching firm and Mark Newall, SVP at Keystone Associates for showing me how to think more clearly. My trust in your advice has paid off in multiples. This question originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions: Anecdotes: What is the most difficult thing you have ever convinced someone of? Job Interviews: How do I know I'm taking the right job? Experiences in Life: How did you foil/dodge someone else's attempt to cheat or deceive you? -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

07 декабря, 22:56

George North case leaves Saints and Premiership with questions to answer | Andy Bull

Against Leicester the Northampton wing hit his head hard, went limp, and lay motionless for a minute – so why was he allowed to play on in the match?George North never much liked to talk about concussion. In 2015 he was ordered to take a four-week lay-off because he had taken four bad blows to the head in five months. In the end it was nine weeks before North could say he felt OK and almost six months before he was able to play. In one of the few in-depth interviews he did give on this topic, to Rugby World, North explained that he considered quitting for good. “I thought: ‘I don’t deserve this, I don’t need this hassle in my life.’” At the end of it all, he said, “the biggest lesson I learnt, and I’d emphasise this to anyone who has concussion, if it’s not right for you then stop. Don’t do it.”A year later, North has been hit again. Against Leicester on Saturday he jumped to take a bouncing ball and fell over the shoulder of Adam Thompstone. As he landed his head bounced down on the ground. He lay still, seemingly unconscious. Two minutes later, North was led off the pitch for a head injury assessment. And then he was allowed back into the match. Northampton’s head coach, Jim Mallinder, insisted that North had not been knocked out. The club have since decided that North needs to be referred for further assessment. They say that if he was knocked out neither Mallinder nor their medical team knew about it. Continue reading...

07 декабря, 22:51

Former Peterborough player expresses anger that Bob Higgins carried on coaching

• Footballer appeared on 1997 Dispatches programme about sex abuse• Former Peterborough youth team player: ‘What he did was disgusting’A former youth footballer who spoke out two decades ago about Bob Higgins, the coach named in connection with allegations of historical sexual abuse, has expressed anger that the coach was allowed to continue to work in the game until now. Related: Matt Le Tissier accuses ex-Southampton coach of 'very wrong' actions Continue reading...

07 декабря, 20:29

Democratic Leadership Looks Like Old Soviet Politburo

What does a professional sports team do after 6 straight losing seasons? Among other things, it usually fires the coach and looks for new blood, new leadership, and new strategies. But not if you're the minority House and Senate Democratic leadership...Or the Politburo of the Soviet Communist Party shortly before the collapse of communism. Instead, the failed, and increasingly geriatric leadership holds onto its fading power with increasing tenacity. The highest ranking elected Democrats are now...drum roll...Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (who has served in Congress for 35 years since 1981) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (who has served in Congress for 30 years since 1986). Schumer and Pelosi will be the most prominent public faces of the Democratic Party for the next four years. Does that get you fired up and ready to go? The top three House Democratic leaders are 76 (Pelosi), 77 (Steny Hoyer) and 76 (Jim Clyburn). The average age of the Democratic House leadership is 76. That's even older than the 70-year old average of Soviet Politburo members in the age of Brezhnev, shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union. The top three Republican House leaders, in contrast, are 46 (Paul Ryan), 51 (Kevin McCarthy) and 51 (Steve Scalise) (average age 49.) Pelosi has served in the House for 35 years, Hoyer for 35 years, and Clyburn for 23 years for an average tenure of 31 years. Pelosi and Hoyer have led the House Democrats for the past 14 years. The top Senate Democratic leadership is only slightly younger than on the House side, with 66 years old Chuck Schumer (38 years in Congress) as Minority leader, 72 year old Dick Durbin (34 years in Congress) as Minority Whip, and 66 year old Patty Murray (only 14 years in Congress) as Assistant Democratic Leader. I'm not saying that age is necessarily a disqualifier for political leadership. After all, the most dynamic Democrats in the Senate are 67 year old Elizabeth Warren and 74 year old Bernie Sanders. But the Democratic Congressional leadership isn't just old. It's an abject failure. Democrats have lost 1 of every 5 House seats they controlled in 2009. And they've lost 12 Senate Seats since then. And the national Democratic leadership did much to make Trump's victory possible. They cleared the field to insure that the least popular and most flawed Democratic nominee in history, Hillary Clinton, would be the Democratic standard bearer. They provided no viable economic message to the voters. If Democratic leaders want to know why Trump is President-elect, and Republicans control all three branches of government, they should look in the mirror. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are even worse faces for the Democratic Party than Hillary Clinton. Neither has any credibility as agents of change, as opposed to servants of the status quo. Their power in the Democratic caucus is predicated on their ability to raise tons of money from moneyed interests. And Chuck Schumer is essentially the Senator from Wall Street. Rather than put up a wall of resistance to the quasi-fascist Trump and the extreme right-wing Republican Congressional leadership, as Republicans did to President Obama, Schumer is already talking about how to compromise. Even before the election, Schumer was close to a deal with Paul Ryan to trade infrastructure spending for both a one-time tax break for corporations to repatriate off-shore profits for a fraction of the normal 35% corporate tax, as well as to substantially cut all corporate taxes going forward. Schumer is now talking about consummating that deal during Trump's first 100 days in office. It looks like a bad deal for Democrats and for American workers and a great deal for the oligarchy. The amount in corporate tax savings is likely to dwarf the amount spent on infrastructure (much of it in the form of corporate tax breaks and privatiization) and the corporate tax cuts are likely to go to executive salaries, shareholder dividends, and corporate takeovers rather than to creating very many new jobs. Moreover, such a deal would be a big political win for Trump and Congressional Republicans, and do nothing for the Democratic opposition. Democrats need progressive populism to fight back against Trump's right-wing populism. But it's not going to come from the sclerotic Democratic Congressional leadership. And already, the same establishment Democratic forces are who cleared the field for Hillary's losing candidacy and waging a stealth campaign to undermine progressive Keith Ellison's campaign to be Chair of the Democratic National Committee. Establishment Democrats had no problem with the DNC chair simultaneously serving in Congress when the post was held by corporate neoliberals Sen. Tim Kaine and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. But suddenly when the potential chair is a progressive like Ellison, serving in Congress has become a deal-breaker (even though Ellison has said he would consider giving up his Congressional seat, if necessary.) And the anti-Ellison forces have started a whisper campaign to leak out-of-context statements from Ellison that falsely make it seem that he's anti-Israel. It's appears that the Democratic establishment would rather lose with a neoliberal than win with a progressive populist. The Democrats need new faces, new leadership, and a new progressive populist direction. It's not going to come from the current leadership. But if it doesn't emerge from somewhere, Democrats--who only a few months ago were talking about becoming a permanent majority--may be looking at being in the minority for a long time, as Trump and the Republicans roll back the New Deal and the Great Society and turn the country into a kleptocracy. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

07 декабря, 20:29

Democratic Leadership Looks Like Old Soviet Politburo

What does a professional sports team do after 6 straight losing seasons? Among other things, it usually fires the coach and looks for new blood, new leadership, and new strategies. But not if you're the minority House and Senate democratic leadership... Or the Politburo of the Soviet Communist Party shortly before the collapse of communism. Instead, the failed, and increasingly geriatric leadership holds onto its fading power with increasing tenacity. The highest ranking elected Democrats are now... drum roll... Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (who has served in Congress for 35 years since 1981) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (who has served in Congress for 30 years since 1986). Schumer and Pelosi will be the most prominent public faces of the Democratic Party for the next four years. Does that get you fired up and ready to go? The top three House Democratic leaders are 76 (Pelosi), 77 (Steny Hoyer) and 76 (Jim Clyburn). The average age of the Democratic House leadership is 76. That's even older than the 70-year old average of Soviet Politburo members in the age of Brezhnev, shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union. The top three Republican House leaders, in contrast, are 46 (Paul Ryan), 51 (Kevin McCarthy) and 51 (Steve Scalise) (average age 49.) Pelosi has served in the House for 35 years, Hoyer for 35 years, and Clyburn for 23 years for an average tenure of 31 years. Pelosi and Hoyer have led the House Democrats for the past 14 years. The top Senate Democratic leadership is only slightly younger than on the House side, with 66 years old Chuck Schumer (38 years in Congress) as Minority Leader, 72 year old Dick Durbin (34 years in Congress) as Minority Whip, and 66 year old Patty Murray (only 14 years in Congress) as Assistant Democratic Leader. I'm not saying that age is necessarily a disqualifier for political leadership. After all, the most dynamic Democrats in the Senate are 67-year-old Elizabeth Warren and 74-year-old Bernie Sanders. But the democratic congressional leadership isn't just old. It's an abject failure. Democrats have lost one of every five House seats they controlled in 2009. And they've lost 12 Senate seats since then. And the national Democratic leadership did much to make Trump's victory possible. They cleared the field to insure that the least popular and most flawed Democratic nominee in history, Hillary Clinton, would be the Democratic standard bearer. They provided no viable economic message to the voters. If Democratic leaders want to know why Trump is president-elect, and Republicans control all three branches of government, they should look in the mirror. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are even worse faces for the Democratic Party than Hillary Clinton. Neither has any credibility as agents of change, as opposed to servants of the status quo. Their power in the Democratic Caucus is predicated on their ability to raise tons of money from moneyed interests. And Chuck Schumer is essentially the senator from Wall Street. Rather than put up a wall of resistance to the quasi-fascist Trump and the extreme right-wing Republican Congressional leadership, as Republicans did to President Obama, Schumer is already talking about how to compromise. Even before the election, Schumer was close to a deal with Paul Ryan to trade infrastructure spending for both a one-time tax break for corporations to repatriate off-shore profits for a fraction of the normal 35% corporate tax, as well as to substantially cut all corporate taxes going forward. Schumer is now talking about consummating that deal during Trump's first 100 days in office. It looks like a bad deal for Democrats and for American workers and a great deal for the oligarchy. The amount in corporate tax savings is likely to dwarf the amount spent on infrastructure (much of it in the form of corporate tax breaks and privatization) and the corporate tax cuts are likely to go to executive salaries, shareholder dividends, and corporate takeovers rather than to creating very many new jobs. Moreover, such a deal would be a big political win for Trump and Congressional Republicans, and do nothing for the Democratic opposition. Democrats need progressive populism to fight back against Trump's right-wing populism. But it's not going to come from the sclerotic Democratic congressional leadership. And already, the same establishment Democratic forces are who cleared the field for Hillary's losing candidacy and waging a stealth campaign to undermine progressive Keith Ellison's campaign to be Chair of the Democratic National Committee. Establishment Democrats had no problem with the DNC chair simultaneously serving in Congress when the post was held by corporate neo-liberals Sen. Tim Kaine and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. But suddenly when the potential chair is a progressive like Ellison, serving in Congress has become a deal-breaker (even though Ellison has said he would consider giving up his Congressional seat, if necessary.) And the anti-Ellison forces have started a whisper campaign to leak out-of-context statements from Ellison that falsely make it seem that he's anti-Israel. It's appears that the Democratic establishment would rather lose with a neoliberal than win with a progressive populist. The Democrats need new faces, new leadership, and a new progressive populist direction. It's not going to come from the current leadership. But if it doesn't emerge from somewhere, Democrats -- who only a few months ago were talking about becoming a permanent majority -- may be looking at being in the minority for a long time, as Trump and the Republicans roll back the New Deal and the Great Society and turn the country into a kleptocracy. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

07 декабря, 18:21

5 Reasons Why Nobody Cares About J.J. Watt Anymore

This time last year J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans were looking like they were finally going to take the leap. This year, they've lapsed into obscurity.

07 декабря, 18:20

London Welsh go into liquidation but hope for semi-professional return

• Club in voluntary liquidation after surviving winding-up orders• ‘The current business model is totally unsustainable,’ says Exiles chairmanLondon Welsh will be docked 20 league points and drop to the bottom of the Championship when the club go into voluntary liquidation this week, but they can remain in the second tier, if they avoid relegation, by coming up with a business plan that is accepted by the Rugby Football Union and paying a six‑figure bond.London Welsh, who faced a court hearing on Monday over an unpaid £250,000 bill to Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, announced the club were going into liquidation to reform as a semi‑professional entity on the day the support coaches for the British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand next year were announced. Continue reading...

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07 декабря, 18:12

Belfast police investigating abuse arrest former coach

A former soccer coach has been arrested on suspicion of sexual abuse after handing himself into the police in Northern Ireland.

07 декабря, 18:00

What to Do When Your Boss Is Socially Awkward

We’ve all worked with that person who doesn’t know how to chitchat, can’t make eye contact, or even says inappropriate things from time to time. When that person is your boss, it can be very uncomfortable. How do you build a relationship with a manager who isn’t good at relationships? How do you get past his social awkwardness? Do you ignore it? Or try to help him become more self-aware? What the Experts Say Socially awkward managers are more common than you might think, according to Annie McKee, senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the forthcoming How to Be Happy at Work. “There are a lot of people who haven’t taken the time to develop emotional intelligence, to become self-aware, and to learn how to read an environment,” she says. “[A lack of EQ] is compounded when someone is in a position of power because that person thinks he has the right to say whatever is on his mind.” Moreover, it’s not easy to provide feedback on someone’s personality quirks. “It’s very uncomfortable to talk to someone about his interpersonal style,” she says. “Your boss’s managers likely shy away from it, and for you, his subordinate, it feels risky.” But while reporting to a manager who lacks social skills is a challenge, it’s not insurmountable, says Monique Valcour, a management academic, coach, and consultant. “Ultimately your goal is twofold: one, to make the experience of working with this person more comfortable and enjoyable; and two, to work effectively with this person,” she says. Here are some strategies. Reflect One of the hardest parts about working for a boss who’s prone to off-putting behavior and cringe-worthy remarks is that it’s professionally demoralizing, says Valcour. “If the relationship is stressful, it’s going to take a toll on you.” She recommends reflecting on and processing “your emotional responses” to your boss’s behavior either on your own or with a friend or mentor outside of your workplace. Think about: “What am I observing? Do I feel frustrated or under siege? What is it triggering in me?” Try to remember, too, that your boss is human. Do your best to accept her for who she is, foibles and all. “Avoid the tendency to idolize your boss or expect her to be superhuman,” says McKee. “Your boss is not God, and she’s not a monster.” Be helpful If you’re someone with a lot of EQ, having a boss who lacks it, may actually be an opportunity, says Valcour. After all, it’s not uncommon for managers who are socially awkward to rely on others “to do a lot social facilitation for them”. You can help your boss communicate with colleagues, translate his vision, and generally smooth out his rough edges. “Think about ways you can complement your boss’s missing skill set by facilitating his work relationships,” says Valcour. You can also support your manager by helping colleagues understand how to approach working with him. You might say, for instance, “’Yes, he can be overly terse’ or ‘he is not one for small talk’ or ‘he can be harder to get to know’, but ‘over time I have found that the best way to work with him is [this]’,” says Valcour. Whatever you do, “don’t laugh at your boss, make fun of your boss, or talk about your boss in a derogatory manner” with coworkers, says McKee. “It might feel cathartic, but it doesn’t help the situation.” Consider the worst-case scenario. “If it gets back to your boss, he will be hurt or angry.” Get to know her Forging a relationship with a socially inept boss requires extra effort on your part. “Your best tool is curiosity,” says Valcour. “Try to get to know your manager by asking her about what she’s interested in, cares about, and values,” whether it’s fly-fishing, philately, or foreign films. These efforts may not be reciprocated. And that’s ok. If you’re having trouble connecting with your boss on a personal level, don’t force it. You and your boss can still have a perfectly solid professional relationship even if she “never asks you about whether your daughter won her soccer game over the weekend,” says McKee. Offer feedback It’s worthwhile to occasionally try to help your boss become more self-aware. “Follow the principles of good feedback,” Valcour says. “Focus specifically on what the person said or did in the situation and what the results were.” In other words, “Don’t say, ‘You sounded like a sexist jerk in the meeting.’ Instead, say something like, ‘The joke you made earlier upset some colleagues. I wanted to pass that along because I know how much you value strong relationships,’” she says. “Refer back to the larger goals.” Think of it as “appealing to your boss’s higher nature,” says McKee. “Hone in on your empathy skills” and provide feedback “gently, without any fight.” If, for instance, your manager makes an ambiguous remark directed at you, McKee recommends responding with something like, “’Some of your comments are difficult to decipher and may not be taken in the way you intend. What are you trying to tell me?’ Good people usually respond to honest feelings,” she says. Think positive… A socially awkward boss may not be the manager of your dreams, but she’s not the manager of your nightmares either. A little perspective is necessary. “If your boss is basically a nice person who puts her foot in her mouth on occasion, that’s not so bad,” says McKee. “Her intentions are mostly good, and her heart is in the right place.” Resist rolling your eyes at her clumsy jokes and “try to let it go,” she says. According to Valcour, one of the best ways “to deal with and minimize the impact,” is to “shift your attitude,” by “looking for what’s positive about your relationship.” If you have a meeting with your boss scheduled, don’t allow yourself to fill with dread and “think, ‘Ugh, this is going to be exhausting. This will wring me out.’ Instead, ask yourself, ‘What do I like about this person? What do we have in common? And where does our working energy feel good?’ Keep track of the points of connection.” …But pay attention Bear in mind, though, “there’s a difference between social awkwardness and deeply offensive behavior,” says McKee. “It is incumbent on you to learn how to accurately interpret,” your boss’s behavior and “learn the intention behind” his comments. “This comes with practice.” If, over time, you realize that your boss is not merely socially inept; instead he’s “a malignant, nasty, and brutish bully, you have a different problem,” she says. And it’s not one you should roll with. By making excuses for your boss or even by offering tacit support, “you will be seen by others as part of the problem.” To counteract this, she says, “you need to send signals to your team and colleagues that you see what’s going on and that it’s not right.” In certain cases, you must also be prepared to “take the case up the ladder” or to your organization’s HR. Or “it might be time to look for a different job.”   Principles to Remember Do Identify what your boss values and make an effort to connect with him on that subject. Try to help your boss become more self-aware by following best practices and principles of giving feedback. Look for ways you can help facilitate your boss’s interpersonal relationships in the workplace. Don’t: Laugh at your boss behind her back. It might feel cathartic; but gossiping is counterproductive. Expect your boss to be superhuman. Try to accept her for the mere mortal he is. Make excuses for your boss. If your boss crosses the line between social awkwardness and deeply offensive behavior, be prepared to speak up. Case Study #1: Don’t gossip and adopt a positive mindset. Earlier in his career Vik Kapoor dealt with a boss, “John,” who was a high-powered and socially awkward lawyer, prone to making, “horrible, inappropriate jokes.” John’s social awkwardness was compounded by the fact that he would often drink too much at lunch. “He would [come back to the office] and tell us rambling stories to the point where clearly no one was paying much attention, but our uninterested body language never seemed to faze him,” he says. Vik was unhappy in his job and knew he needed to look for another one. In the meantime, he did his best to make peace with the situation. First, Vik says he learned to “let it go” when he was the target of an awkward joke or a witness to John’s antics. At first, Vik admits, he often felt sorry for himself. “In my head I was a victim. I thought, ‘Geez, why did this have to happen to me? I deserve better. I feel stuck,’” he says. “I had to train myself to accept and let go. Similarly, I decided it was not my job to ‘save’ John from himself and that realization allowed me to find more peace.” Second, he avoided office gossip about John. “I decided that, frankly, it was not my business,” he says. “I was there to do good work for people who needed me. I ultimately decided to treat John with the compassion of someone who is sick, and I never contributed to the gossip around his behavior.” Finally, Vik says he shifted his attitude to think more positively about the situation. After all, even in spite of his drinking habit, John was not all bad. Vik made it a point to speak with John in the morning and to try to get to know him better. The two often talked about work and their professional strengths and weaknesses. “I became a trusted colleague to John even while others had increasing trouble working with him.” Vik ultimately left the company and today is the founder of Extra-M, a coaching firm for Millenials. “I am much happier now working with ‘people people,’” he says. Case Study #2: Accept your boss for who he is and be helpful when opportunities arise The first experience Jill Chartwell (not her real name) had with her socially awkward boss happened over the telephone. Jill, a global consultant, had just accepted a new full-time position and she and her prospective boss—“Larry”—needed to negotiate her fee. “Larry’s message was that we needed to arrive at a different number, but he was really struggling to get his words out,” she recalls. “It was uncomfortable.” When Jill started on the job, she got other glimpses of Larry’s social ineptitude. “I’m a social person and it’s easy for me to relate to other people but Larry was difficult,” she says. “During our one-on-one meetings he couldn’t make eye contact, he was always stumbling over his words, and he could not do small talk in any way.” Jill, who worked under Larry on a high-profile project for nine months, viewed him with compassion. “My nephew has social anxiety so I’m sensitive to it,” she says. “I wanted to be accepting.” Over time, Jill learned the best ways to provide a buffer for Larry’s social awkwardness. “We often attended meetings together and I always took the lead in keeping the conversation flowing,” she says. “I would always put a small piece candy in front of everyone’s notepad. Larry made fun of it and the whole room would laugh. It lightened the mood and it became our routine icebreaker.” Jill also knew that she had a responsibility to help Larry keep his nerves in check when they were presenting in front of important clients. “I always sat next to him and when he was talking I would often put my hand on the table and make a small, subtle motion for him to slow down,” she says. She used nonthreatening language to help translate Larry’s vision during group conversation. “He had trouble getting his point across so I would try to do it for him,” she says. “I would say something like: ‘To Larry’s point,’ or ‘Building on what Larry said,’ and then I would explain our thinking on a certain issue.” Jill says it was a good learning experience, but that she did ask to be taken off Larry’s team after the project concluded. She is no longer with the company.

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07 декабря, 17:50

Northwestern MutualVoice: Boost Your Credit Score With These 5 Power Moves

By Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach® Your credit rating plays an enormous role in many aspects of your life—ranging from your finances and your career prospects to your love life and your physical health. People with pristine credit scores get rewarded with the best interest rates on mortgages, credit cards, business loans, [...]

07 декабря, 17:49

Former Celtic kitman charged in Belfast with child sex offence

• Jim McCafferty involved in football in Scotland and Ireland from 1980s• Partick Thistle say physiotherapist was sacked in 1992 over abuse allegationA former football coach has been charged with a child sex offence.Jim McCafferty, 71, who was involved in football in Scotland and Ireland from the 1980s, was arrested in Belfast by the Police Service of Northern Ireland after walking into a police station. McCafferty, who lives in Belfast, was formerly a kitman at Celtic. Continue reading...

07 декабря, 17:21

2017 College Football Playoff: Preview and Predictions

Now that the selection has chosen the four teams that will participate in the 2017 College Football Playoff, here's how we see it all playing out.

07 декабря, 17:00

How the Social Sector Can Attract More Young Talent

Marion Barraud for HBR In every organization and every sector, hiring managers want to find the best people they can. Ask anyone trying to quickly find the right candidate for an open position and he or she will tell you: finding fantastic people and convincing them to work for you is challenging. In our experience, it is even tougher in the social sector, where the problems are bigger but the salary budgets are often smaller. Although a lot of attention has been given to the idea that millennials in particular will prioritize a sense of purpose and meaning over raw earning power, the numbers are still pretty tough to ignore: looking at where graduates actually want to go, the biggest sectors for top graduates are still technology and finance. Making the competition for talent even more concerning for leaders in the social sector is the hotly debated “skills gap.” The World Economic Forum’s “21st Century Skills” report illustrates “a problem in skill supply,” with “more than a third of global companies report[ing] difficulties filling open positions in 2014.” How can social sector leaders not only pursue the talent they need, but also convince those people to stay with their organizations? If money isn’t everything – but meaning isn’t enough – what else can these organizations offer? We think the answer might be another factor young people especially consider when choosing where to work: learning and growth. A recent report from Deloitte found that 44% of millennials surveyed wanted to leave their current employer due to lack of leadership development. Additionally, PwC conducted a study of over 4,000 recent graduates from 75 countries, who indicated opportunities for career progression as most important when evaluating employers. Training/Development opportunities came in close behind at third place, with receiving mentoring and coaching from leadership as the most attractive learning opportunity. This, ultimately, leaves an opening for the social sector. To compete with industries that are appealing to new talent, we believe the social sector can make a more visible investment in managing talent and growing collaborative, less staunchly hierarchical cultures. Examples of the opposite are, unfortunately, plentiful. Think about every time a front-line worker has no influence over decisions their agency makes that impact the people they see every day. Or the junior employee in municipal government that never presents something they worked on to senior leadership. A renewed emphasis on learning, development and meaningful contribution would make the sector a triple threat: offering purpose, challenge, and learning, an environment most talented people would find compelling. To create this kind of supportive and collaborative learning culture — on a budget — we suggest focusing on the thing that makes work in the social sector so challenging and simultaneously rewarding: the complexity of the work and its deep connection to society. Managers in the sector can use that as the bedrock for development and learning. How? Ask questions. Lots of them. Using whatever technical infrastructure you have at hand — email, instant messaging, an enterprise social network — begin to practice the art of asking questions. Use these broadcast tools within your organization to share some of your most pressing issues and problems — and see who raises their hands to solve them or learn more — then empower them to be successful; for those that raise their hands – enable participation based on interest, while coaching for skill, versus screening for skill from the outset. At Community Solutions we maintain an active portfolio of “Rooster Calls” — cross-functional projects formed and staffed by anyone interested in surfacing and subsequently solving a core organizational issue. We believe that engagement at work comes from being able to work on engaging things; and who are we to know what a colleague may find engaging? By creating a space to allow people to associate with the work that they are interested in, by supporting them to succeed, and by having processes in place to learn from failure (because some things will fail), we’re creating a powerful feedback loop of inquiry, action, and reflection. Share, share, share. Make the act of sharing information as easy as possible. It doesn’t matter whether the information is internal or external in nature – make sure it flows. Sending people to outside conference opportunities can be expensive, especially for a non-profit organization. How can you ensure that what is learnt is brought back and incorporated if appropriate? At Living Cities, for example, part of the requirement for attending an external meeting is to share through their internal social networking platform a description of not just what was heard, but a contextualization of what this means for the organization. This act of socialization provides a framing for subsequent ongoing discussion. Organizations should maintain a vibrant portfolio of sharing rituals. One company we know uses short (less than 10 minutes) all-staff calls to celebrate colleagues who demonstrate the values of the organization and provide progress updates on key milestones. Other organizations randomly pair people or groups across an organization for lunch or coffee. Provide some structure to ensure that the conversations are supportive of a broader strategy, or just let people get on with learning about their colleagues. Coaching at all levels. If the backdrop to the work is complexity and ambiguity, leadership does not look like bullish certainty. Instead it looks like humble inquiry and supportive conversations grounded in improvement. Find, or create, a coaching style that works for your organization and then use it. Exploring one, or even all three, of the suggestions above will not require significant money — just a little time and intention. The benefit though, will be to begin to create a thriving, collaborative, and supportive culture grounded in practiced leadership and positive outcomes.

07 декабря, 16:00

7 Tenets of a Good CEO Succession Process

Perhaps no single factor has a greater impact on a company’s future — for better or worse — than the selection of a new CEO. Choosing a CEO is a high-stakes proposition, arguably the most important decision a board can make. While some situations demand outside successors — such as a turnaround or a discontinuous shift in the industry and strategy – we believe that internal candidates remain the future CEOs-of-choice. And keeping pace with innovation in an increasingly complex, continually morphing business environment requires a new sort of leader — one who can build complex social networks and tap the “latent innovation” of the organization and its business partners. Not surprisingly, the edge often goes to someone who is a known quantity, who is respected by the organization and the larger ecosystem in which it operates. Insight Center The 21st-Century CEO Sponsored by Cognizant Leadership is changing — fast. How can a board go about finding a new CEO who’s equipped to deal with 21st-century challenges? Below we share what we consider the seven defining tenets of a “gold standard” succession process: 1. Align the board on future CEO profiles that are driven by business strategy. Start well in advance of a planned succession by engaging the board in a strategic alignment process to define short- and long-term business priorities. Then link strategic priorities to the experiences, competencies, and personal traits required in the next CEO. Fold all this into a CEO Success Profile to be used as a blueprint for evaluating internal and external CEO candidates. 2. Assess candidates against industry benchmarks, valid indicators of executive potential, and the CEO profiles you’ve developed. Acquire an accurate, unfiltered, multi-dimensional view of candidates’ strengths and weaknesses in a mix that includes quantitative assessments that can evaluate not only relevant competencies and experiences but beneath-the-surface personal traits and drivers that will align with success. 3. Think 2-to-3 CEO moves ahead; don’t just seek to replace the incumbent. CEO succession is an ongoing process designed to develop the talent pipeline — not an isolated event. Companies should develop a dual focus that includes both preparing capable near-and mid-term leaders and identifying those deeper down in the organization who possess future leadership potential. 4. “Cross train” generations of CEO successors with a mix of on-the-job training, intensive coaching, mentoring, and education. Once you’ve gone deeper to find not merely a replacement CEO, but generations of successors with the potential to serve as future CEOs, help that potential blossom with individually tailored development plans geared to both individuals’ needs and what the organization will require in a future leader. As potential successors become real contenders for the role, the focus should be on identifying areas to accelerate growth and close critical gaps. 5. Become intimately familiar with the bench and their potential. There should be 7 potential CEOs in your company across several generations. Do you know who they are? In addition to enabling future CEOs to develop their potential, these individuals should gain regular exposure to the board in both formal and informal settings so directors can continue to assess their potential as possible future CEOs. Once an individual is in the running for CEO, the board will need to know more: What is this person like under pressure? How does this impact his or her leadership? Does he or she possess the agility and courage required to make difficult choices? Insight into leadership traits and motivations of a leader are as important as an individual’s experiences and proven track record. 6. Keep CEO succession as a standing board agenda item since it ensures a multi-layered, multi-generational process. CEO succession is an ongoing, “evergreen” process that continues, even immediately after the appointment of a new CEO. As potential leaders emerge from a few layers down, the board should be kept apprised of development plans so it can be assured that the organization’s future leadership needs can be met. 7. Ensure that your talent management and development planning is linked to your longer-term business strategy. During both regular board meetings and at intensive off-sites, many companies now link strategy sessions and talent development sessions to ensure that any shifts in the strategy will inform what will be required of future leaders. Since an array of possible “futures” need to be planned for, corresponding different leadership profiles should be planned for as well. Growing and maintaining a leadership cadre of this caliber requires a commitment on the part of companies and their boards and an investment over time. Internal succession candidates don’t spring up fully formed overnight. Capable successors are the product of years of planning, mentoring, and guidance — ideally as much as five years ahead of a planned transition — to ensure that they acquire the skills and experience they will need and that their hardwiring relative to their internal traits and drivers has a chance to emerge before they take the helm as CEO. This is an investment that will be paid back many times over, as it enables companies to continually strengthen the leadership needed to deliver strategic priorities for high performance, while simultaneously developing next generations of leaders for an ever-changing world. Taking this approach also enables an organization to be the sort of place top talent vies for because it an attractive place for personal development and career growth. Last but not least, almost nothing is more tightly aligned with protecting shareholder value than meeting this “CEO succession gold standard,” as it assures the probability that the right leaders will be in place to deliver sustainable, successful results.

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07 декабря, 16:00

Free Airline Meals In Coach May Be Coming Back

Delta Air Lines isexperimenting with an in-flight amenity that vanished in 2010 withContinental Airlines: free meals in economy. According to multiple bloggers and travelers this weekthe Atlanta-based carrier is experimenting with the provision ofhot meals for economy passengers on its transcontinental flights between New York City and the West Coast. [...]

07 декабря, 15:50

Worst Dressed Celebrities: The 11 Craziest Fashion Moments of 2016

These worst dressed celebrities have had some crazy fashion moments in 2016, from terrible gowns to crazy headpieces.

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07 декабря, 15:50

It's Time To Normalize Medical Marijuana In Pro Sports

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr took marijuana to relieve back pain. Now, he is advocating for the NBA to permit players to use marijuana for medical purposes. Is he right about it being time to rethink prohibitions on the use of marijuana in sports?