Studio 189’s runway was a party of dance, song and fashion
By LEANNE ITALIE
Tuesday, September 11
NEW YORK (AP) — The Ghana-based Studio 189, co-founded by old friends Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, threw a runway celebration Monday at New York Fashion Week with African dance, an Aretha Franklin tribute in song and a show alive with African-made and inspired designs worn by a wide range of models, from the pregnant to the not-yet grown.
Two little girls were among the walkers and actress Dawson herself took a turn as a model, all in the latest styles for men and women from the lifestyle brand and social enterprise that puts out the clothing line Fashion Rising.
Studio 189 is a collective of artists and other creatives that offers a platform to help promote and curate African and African-inspired content with a focus on sustainability. Fashion Rising includes artisan-produced fabrics, often in organic cottons grown by small farmers it works with. The collective and the fashion line were launched to support the global One Billion Rising, founded in 2012 as part of the V-Day movement to combat rape and sexual violence against women.
Dawson, who met Erwiah when they were 16, formed Studio 189 and Fashion Rising after taking a trip with V-Day in 2011 through Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In bright, green, red and blue prints for dresses, shirts and pants, a graphic black print in a trouser and shirt set for men, kente wraps and contemporary looks of bold stripes and ruffled skirts, Fashion Rising was treated to rousing support from a packed room of guests that included singer Maxwell, Alicia Keys and Naomi Campbell.
Singer Frenchie Davis belted “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” on the runway in a sun-yellow dress in honor of the late Aretha Franklin.
This show made people happy. The crowd was on its feet and clapping the models and dancers down the runway, including one model using crutches and a prosthetic leg. Another is about to give birth and one off the gender binary walked with a mustache in a dress. They were joined by others of all colors and shapes.
“Studio 189 is an agent for social change” in a variety of ways, including supporting artisans around the world but primarily in Ghana and West Africa, Erwiah said backstage after the show, the collective’s first full-scale turn at fashion week.
Much of the clothing included natural dye processing, hand-looming and hand-painting.
Dawson said the show was also a celebration of art.
“It’s one of the most vital things we have as human beings,” she said. “We are not robots. We are a heart, we are a spirit, we are an energy.”
Dawson and Erwiah are still building out their collective, facing the challenges of working in developing countries, taking on the fashion industry and trying to “connect the dots” of the supply chain across borders. For Fashion Rising, embracing inclusiveness on the runway is a priority.
“We believe that we’re one community,” Erwiah said. “I need to see myself down the runway. She needs to see herself down the runway, because when you see yourself, it opens up a world of possibility.”
Can the census ask if you’re a citizen? Here’s what’s at stake in court battles over the 2020 census
September 11, 2018
Critics worry a citizenship question will dissuade people from answering census takers in 2020.
Professor Emeritus of Law and Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Case Western Reserve University
Jonathan Entin does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Case Western Reserve University provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.
For the first time in decades, the 2020 census will include a question asking whether or not each counted person is a citizen.
When Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross directed that the 2020 census include that question, he claimed that it was necessary to allow the Department of Justice to enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibits racial discrimination in voting, more effectively.
Critics argue that the government has other ways of obtaining the information to enforce that law and that asking about citizenship will discourage census participation, especially by Latinos.
If people don’t participate in the census, that could result in a less accurate population count. And that could have important political and financial implications for years to come. The census determines how many seats each state has in the House of Representatives. It’s also used to allocate federal funds for a wide range of purposes, including Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, school aid and highways. So the stakes are high.
That’s why six lawsuits challenging the legality of the citizenship question, filed by various groups including the states of New York and California, are now pending in federal courts around the country. These cases raise several legal issues.
Getting to court
The first question is whether courts have any authority over census disputes.
The Administrative Procedure Act says that courts may not review decisions that are “committed to agency discretion by law.” What’s more, language in the Constitution and the Census Act seems to confer virtually unfettered discretion on federal officials to design the census as they see fit. The Census Act, for example, authorizes the secretary of commerce to conduct the census “in such form and content as he may determine.”
But the Supreme Court has said that this language probably won’t prevent courts from addressing the dispute about the citizenship question here. The justices have heard several challenges to aspects of previous censuses, and lower courts have heard many more. So the government’s efforts to dismiss the challenges to the citizenship question unsurprisingly have failed.
Even if the decision to include the citizenship question is subject to judicial review, the plaintiffs must have standing to sue. This means, most importantly, that they have suffered a legally cognizable injury. Speculative harms, or those that will occur too far down the road, don’t qualify.
The plaintiffs have claimed, relying in part on past research by the Census Bureau, that asking about citizenship will discourage participation in the census and that affected states and communities will lose congressional seats and federal funds as a result.
Courts have accepted this argument in earlier census challenges, but most of those cases arose after the census was taken rather than, as in this instance, before the census takes place. However, this difference shouldn’t matter, because the Supreme Court in 1999 upheld a challenge to plans for the 2000 census.
On the merits, the plaintiffs claim that the citizenship question is intended to discourage Latinos and other immigrants from participating in the 2020 census. They say that will produce an inaccurate count and therefore is unconstitutional.
The challengers cite many statements by President Trump, including his description of Mexicans as criminals and “rapists” when he launched his campaign, as well as more recent statements that immigrants are “animals” who “infest” our nation.
They also cite evidence that the Commerce Department pressed the Justice Department to send its letter about the citizenship question under pressure from top White House aides such as Stephen Bannon. Moreover, Secretary Ross ordered the inclusion of the citizenship question over the objections of career Census Bureau demographers, who cited evidence that the question would deter participation in the census. This may suggest a departure from ordinary decision-making procedures.
To prevail on their constitutional challenge, the plaintiffs must prove that Secretary Ross intended to discriminate against immigrants when he ordered the inclusion of the citizenship question. It’s not clear whether President Trump’s statements will count for this purpose. In the travel ban case, for example, the Supreme Court downplayed the significance of his comments on Muslims.
The Supreme Court has been skeptical of discrimination claims in the absence of smoking-gun evidence. There might be circumstantial evidence of discriminatory intent, but it might not be powerful enough to prove the claim.
Beyond the discrimination claim, the plaintiffs argue that the citizenship question violates the constitutional requirement that the census be an “actual enumeration” of the population. By discouraging participation, they claim that the question will lead to an inaccurate count.
The lower courts have disagreed about whether the plaintiffs must prove discriminatory intent to win under the Enumeration Clause. Even if they don’t, the Constitution does not require a perfect count.
Almost every census between 1820 and 1950 asked about citizenship. But the plaintiffs point out that immigration was a less fraught issue for most of that time. Asking about citizenship today has more troubling implications, they say, than in earlier times. This argument implies that the Constitution’s meaning can change, though it might be difficult to persuade a majority of the Supreme Court of that approach.
But the irregularities in Secretary Ross’s decision-making process might well have violated the Administrative Procedure Act. Agency decisions are supposed to be based only on legally relevant information. The plaintiffs’ evidence suggests that Secretary Ross lacked a proper justification for ordering the inclusion of the citizenship question. And that could allow them to win.
The science of multitasking, and why you should doodle in class
September 6, 2018
Distractions at work can take up more time than you think, but doodling may just help you get through that lecture or meeting.
Professor, Institute of Cognitive Science, Carleton University
Jim Davies does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Carleton University provides funding as a member of The Conversation CA.
When somebody can juggle lots of things at the same time, we often say that they are good “multitaskers.” All of us multitask once in a while.
But psychologists have been warning us about it for decades. Some say it’s harmful to productivity and others say you can’t do it at all.
For example, talking on the phone while driving makes your driving worse, because you’re distracted. (Laws allowing hands-free cellphone use are misguided; distracted driving has nothing to do with whether you’re using your hands or not.)
But there are other studies that suggest multitasking may have benefits. One study showed that talking on the phone during long, monotonous drives might help keep drivers alert and awake. And other studies show that students sitting in a “boring” lecture may be better off doodling, because the combination of activities keeps their minds occupied.
As someone who works on broad models of how the mind works, these seemingly contradictory findings are intriguing. Is multitasking good, bad or impossible?
What many people might call “multitasking” may actually be something psychologists call “rapid task-switching.”
For example, when you answer texts while watching a movie, your attention flips from the movie to the text. You aren’t really paying any attention both at the same time. When you read a text, you miss part of the movie.
This is what psychologists mean when they say multitasking is impossible. Your attention and consciousness only can focus on a little bit at a time, so it’s one task or the other.
And then there’s the cost that comes with task-switching. There’s a delay when you switch from one thing to another, and sometimes a temporary drop in performance.
An hour spent on one thing followed by an hour on another is fine. The task-switching cost is much less than the time you’re spending on each task. But if you’re switching tasks every few minutes, or every few seconds, the cognitive cost of switching from one task to the other interferes with performance.
You can think of it like losing money. If it costs you a quarter to switch from texting to paying attention to class, doing it once or twice is no big deal, but if you do it all day, you’ll have to adjust your budget.
Calculating the cost
For some tasks, such as identifying the gender of a face, and then switching to identifying the facial expression, the switch only takes only about 200 milliseconds. But even this small cost can reduce productivity by 40 per cent if you try to study while watching a movie.
These results, and others like it, come from the field of cognitive psychology, where researchers study volunteers in a controlled laboratory setting, usually doing rapid-response tasks on a computer.
But how well do these findings translate to the real world?
In offices, people get interrupted repeatedly throughout the day. Your work on a budget might be disrupted by a coworker who wants to tell you about their kids.
The cost of this kind of multitasking adds up. Interruptions cost the United States an estimated US$650 billion a year. University of California, Irvine computer scientist Gloria Mark estimates that it takes 25 minutes, on average, to get back to task! Some people in the study never did.
Measurement is never perfectly accurate, but when science has a range of a 200 milliseconds to 25 minutes, that’s a good sign we need to dig a little deeper.
The cognitive psychologists are doing very controlled laboratory studies, where you’re doing fairly simple tasks with simple stimuli. The task in those experiments often involves simply attending to another aspect of what you’re looking at (such as gender vs. facial expression of faces). But you can see how this is very different situation from getting a phone call in the middle of writing a report.
In the real world, when you get a phone call, you have to take the call and you might get distracted by other things. It might even take you 68 seconds to remember what you were doing.
The negative effect of multitasking is real, but it’s particularly problematic because people don’t realize these negative effects are happening. Interruptions and doing many things at once generally make us less productive.
The advice is simple: when doing something that requires thinking, don’t do anything else.
To remain focused but at the same time cover a lot of ground, try structuring your day into half-hour chunks. Work on something different just about every half hour.
I do this and to some people this sounds like multitasking. But it’s actually focused work, because I do nothing else during each half hour. I don’t check my phone, email or switch tasks at all during the half hour. Even though I do many different things in a day, each one stays fresh in my mind for when I get to it the next day.
Multitasking isn’t all bad. If one of the tasks is really easy, or something you can do unconsciously, there is little downside. Listening to music while you exercise makes you exercise more.Doodling during a boring lecture, or listening to instrumental music while you program computers or study helps you focus.
Even task switching isn’t all bad. It refreshes your mind. Many people deliberately switch tasks to “incubate” a problem they are stuck on.
Knowing that you only have half an hour to work on something can help with motivation, too. No matter how much you dread working on something, it is, after all, only 30 minutes.
CBS sets aside $120 million for Moonves, but will he see it?
By DAVID BAUDER
AP Media Writer
Tuesday, September 11
NEW YORK (AP) — CBS revealed Monday that it set aside $120 million in severance for ousted chief executive Leslie Moonves. But whether he sees a penny of it is one of the tough and potentially incendiary decisions the network faces after his resignation over sexual misconduct accusations.
Despite Moonves’ announced exit Sunday, outside lawyers hired by CBS continue to investigate allegations against him and Jeff Fager, the top executive at “60 Minutes.” In a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, CBS said it will release the severance money if the investigation finds there was no cause for him to be fired.
Any payment to Moonves is likely to anger the #MeToo movement that has brought down other powerful men in Hollywood and the media, including Hollywood studio boss Harvey Weinstein, NBC’s Matt Lauer and CBS’ Charlie Rose.
Meanwhile, Moonves’ wife, Julie Chen, did not appear Monday on the season-opening episode of her daytime show, “The Talk,” and co-host Sharon Osbourne said on the air that “everyone here at CBS is nervous about their jobs.” CBS’ stock price slid.
As head of television’s most popular network, Moonves was among the most powerful and richest executives in the TV industry, making a total of nearly $140 million over the last two years.
His exit was announced hours after The New Yorker posted a detailed story alleging misconduct. In two stories posted this summer, a total of 12 women have said they were mistreated by the TV mogul, including forced oral sex, groping and retaliation if they resisted. Moonves has denied the charges, though he said he had consensual relations with some of the women.
The network’s chief operating officer, Joseph Ianniello, is taking over as president and CEO until a reshaped board of directors can find a permanent replacement, CBS said. David Nevins, chief executive at CBS’ Showtime network, was said to be a leading candidate.
Some of the allegations predate Moonves’ working at CBS, which he joined as entertainment president in 1995. A determination on whether there was cause for his firing will focus on whether he violated any company policies while at CBS, said Dan Eaton, an employment lawyer and expert on severance issues as a professor at San Diego State University.
“If it turns that their reporting comes back with inconclusive findings on Mr. Moonves’ conduct, then a negotiated resolution is highly probable,” Eaton said.
CBS Corp. stock ended the day down 85 cents, or less than 2 percent, after rebounding in the afternoon. The stock has fallen more than 8 percent this year, with its biggest drop when the first round of accusations against Moonves surfaced.
On Monday’s “The Talk,” Osbourne said Chen was taking time off to be with her family. Chen, who is also host of the CBS prime-time show “Big Brother,” has been married to Moonves since 2004.
“He’s not been convicted of any crime, but obviously the man has a problem,” Osbourne said.
Osbourne said she was particularly taken by the story of Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, who told The New Yorker that Moonves pushed her head into his lap and forced her to perform oral sex when they both worked at the production company Lorimar in the late 1980s. Golden-Gottlieb said Moonves “ruined my career” when she resisted further advances; Moonves strongly denied hurting the careers of any women.
Osbourne said: “How is it when men get power it goes straight to their testicles? I don’t know why, but it’s true.”
The New Yorker also reported Sunday that a former intern at “60 Minutes” three decades ago, Sarah Johansen, said that Fager groped her at a party. Fager is the gatekeeper for the most influential news show on television, and only the second executive producer it has ever had.
Earlier this summer, six former employees told the magazine that Fager had touched employees in ways that made them uncomfortable. Some women said Fager tolerated a workplace where men were protected.
“I really felt like this was one of the most sexist places I’ve ever worked,” Johansen said.
Fager told the magazine that he had encouraged staff to talk to the lawyers investigating “60 Minutes,” and added: “I believe that a fair and open investigation will determine ‘60 Minutes’ is a good place where talented women and men thrive and produce some of the finest broadcast journalism in America.”
Reached Monday while on a two-day trip in advance of the show’s season opener later this month, Fager said he had no additional comment.
“60 Minutes” has often operated as an island unto itself at CBS News, maintaining separate offices across 57th Street in Manhattan from where most of the news division is headquartered.
As for Fager’s successor if he does not survive the investigation, the show’s No. 2 executive, Bill Owens, is well respected, and veteran “48 Hours” executive producer Susan Zirinsky would be a formidable candidate from outside the show but inside CBS.
Associated Press business writer Mae Anderson contributed to this report.
Opinion: Stop BEZOS and a Lesson in Economics
By Antony Davies and James R. Harrigan
Every few months Bernie Sanders goes to the well to find another bogeyman. The current villain has so captured the senator’s attention that Sanders named a piece of legislation after him: the “Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies,” or Stop BEZOS. Jeff Bezos is, of course, the CEO of Amazon.
The bill would levy a special tax on large companies equal to 100 percent of the welfare benefits those companies’ workers receive from the government. Sanders’ intention is to force employers like Amazon to pay a “living wage” by having them reimburse the government for welfare benefits their workers receive.
This is the sort of bill only someone with virtually no understanding of economics would concoct. Sanders claims that thousands of Amazon workers rely on welfare to survive. Amazon counters that Sanders exaggerates by including part-time and temporary workers in his calculations. This dickering obscures what Sanders’ bill will actually do. It will make workers on welfare more expensive to employers, and it will make them more expensive in direct proportion to how much welfare they receive.
What Sanders and all lawmakers should know is that as something becomes more expensive, people buy less of it. Sanders seems to understand this when it suits him. In 2015, he said that the way to reduce carbon pollution is to impose a tax on businesses that pollute. A year later, he said that the way to reduce stock market speculation is to impose a tax on people who speculate. Connecting the dots, imposing a tax on businesses that hire poor workers will reduce the number of poor workers they hire. Why? Because the workers will be more expensive. Bernie Sanders has written a law whose purpose is to harm the working poor.
Sanders hasn’t held a job outside of government for almost half a century, so he might not know what it means to demonstrate his worth to an employer. When senators want to be paid more, they pass a law and the IRS takes the money it needs from the rest of us. From a senator’s perspective, getting a raise is a lot like waving a magic wand. Sanders seems to think that the rest of the economy is just as magical.
Not understanding labor markets is bad enough. But Sanders appears not to understand where capital comes from either. Jeff Bezos and Amazon’s investors took a tremendous risk in building Amazon. Everybody sees successful entrepreneurs like Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. But no one remembers the 90 percent of entrepreneurs who failed or the money their investors lost in the process. Yet we want entrepreneurs and investors to keep taking risks because the 10 percent who do succeed provide better products, in more variety, at lower prices, and create millions of jobs in the process.
How do we best encourage entrepreneurs and investors to take risks? By allowing them to keep the profits they earn. Amazon earned $3 billion in profits last year. But it took over $130 billion in assets to get there. That $130 billion is what’s at stake. That’s what investors stand to lose when, not if, Amazon fails. Because all businesses eventually fail as new entrepreneurs come along with new and better ideas. Just ask Sears or Montgomery Ward, the Amazons of bygone years.
Entrepreneurs drive innovation, and the possibility of profit encourages investors to back them.
If he really cared about helping people, Sanders would take a sabbatical from his government job, start a business with his own savings, and hire some people to help him produce something customers are willing to buy. After experiencing how labor and investment markets actually work, he would be in a better position to tell the rest of us how to manage our affairs.
ABOUT THE WRITERS
Antony Davies is associate professor of economics at Duquesne University. James R. Harrigan teaches in the department of Political Economy and Moral Science at the University of Arizona. They host the weekly podcast Words & Numbers. They wrote this for InsideSources.com.
When MSNBC or Fox News airs in public places, how do people react?
September 11, 2018
Assistant Professor of Journalism, University of Florida
Frank Waddell does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
University of Florida provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.
Have you been traveling and noticed that all the televisions in an airport terminal were set to CNN? Or grabbed a drink at a bar and realized that Fox News was being broadcast to its customers?
You might grouse that you’re being forced to watch something that doesn’t jive with your political views. Or maybe you think it’s no big deal – your views are already fully formed, so you can just tune it out.
However, more than three decades of academic research and eight years of my own work on media suggest that the presence of cable news on television in shared public spaces does influence us – just not in the way you might think.
‘It’s affecting you, not me’
Studies from communication science tell us that the effects unfold in two steps.
First, audiences will often overestimate the influence of media on the other people in the room, while underestimating how broadcasts influence their own views and beliefs.
This is called the “third-person effect,” and it’s most likely to happen when people don’t want the media to influence other people.
For example, say a conservative woman who is a regular viewer of Fox News dines at a restaurant that has MSNBC playing. She’s more likely to think that the broadcast wields power over the other customers, without taking into account the effect that her own regular consumption of Fox News has on her own views.
The second part of the process involves what communications scholars call “the influence of presumed influence model.”
Initially tested on how anti-smoking ads influence groups of young people – and since applied to a range of topics including politics – its central tenet is that if you presume someone is being influenced by media, you’ll change your own behaviors.
Such changes might involve trying to mitigate the influence of media on others. For example, one study found that if you think pornography has a bad influence on others, you might be more likely to support media censorship of pornographic content.
Another study looked at political ads. It found that if you believe others are seeing – and being affected by – political ads on behalf of a candidate you don’t support, you might be more likely to vote in that election in order to prevent that politician from winning.
Not all behaviors are active, however. When you think your views are in the minority, you’re more likely to be passive in your response to media. So if a liberal goes to a barbershop in a conservative city like Colorado Springs and hears Rush Limbaugh on the radio, they’ll be less likely to ask the barber to switch the station or start a conversation about politics.
This isn’t exactly a good thing. Scholars believe that when you believe you hold attitudes that are out of step with the majority, it can lead to a “spiral of silence,” in which you’re less likely to express personal opinions for fear of rejection.
Choosing the channels
If televisions in public spaces can influence perceived opinions or political behavior, who’s selecting the stations in the first place?
The stations being broadcast in restaurants or hotel lobbies might simply be the decision of a business owner or building manager. Most likely, they’re assuming that their political preferences are consistent with those of the public – a tendency known as the false consensus effect – and are choosing channels accordingly.
By comparison, the cable news channels airing in airport terminals are often predetermined: Airports sign contracts with the parent companies of the news channels, which pay them to broadcast their content.
Time Warner’s CNN airport package is the most widespread: 59 airports across the nation air CNN to an audience of 323 million annual travelers.
Fox News has criticized what it calls CNN’s “airport monopoly.” Thousands of have signed petitions demanding the removal of CNN from airport televisions – a response to the perceived ideological slant of the channel.
These petitions are a clear example of the “influence of presumed influence model” in action. Because they fear CNN is exerting undue political influence on their fellow travelers, these petitioners – presumably conservative – seek to censor it.
In other words, the prospect of these broadcasts changing their own political views isn’t really what they’re upset about. They’re more concerned that CNN will shape the attitudes of others.
This might also explain why some partisan petitioners don’t simply advocate for something apolitical to air on airport TVs.
“Please replace [CNN] with either Fox News or Christian News Network,” a Change.org petitioner wrote.