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first_imgROOKIES IN THE WHITE HOUSEby Michael Reagan Making Sense by Michael ReaganMajor League Baseball has an annual training season in Florida.Maybe President Trump should have gone somewhere outside of Washington to hold tryouts for a month to see who on his team was ready to play in the big leagues.At least he should have picked some veteran coaches who know how the professional Washington game is played, are loyal to him and who know how to make the White House work smoothly.All incoming presidents, even veteran politicians, have trouble with their White House advisers and underlings at first.But as a political outsider and a disrupter, Trump is facing more trouble than most of his predecessors.The Democrats, their hysterical pals in the media and the permanent Washington bureaucracy are doing their best to slow him up or bring him down. But so far Trump – the rookie manager in chief – has been his own worst enemy.He assembled a White House team made up of third-round draft picks and minor leaguers and put them on the field before he knew whether they could hit a curve or field a hard grounder.What we’re seeing in the White House – “Leakville,” as I refer to it now – is a bunch of rookies trying to run the most important government operation in the world.It should never have gotten to this level of ineptitude, President Trump is responsible for it, and only he can fix it. A large part of his problem is that he doesn’t have a chief of staff in the White House — he has two of them, Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon.Anyone who’s ever managed a Starbucks knows when two or more people are “in charge,” no one is really in charge.  And when two or three people are in charge, then no one is ultimately responsible for anything that happens and chaos and confusion run amok.  The bumbled and hasty rollout of the executive order temporarily banning immigrants from seven Muslim countries was a textbook example of what happens when no single person is in charge of the White House staff  The case of Michael Flynn, Trump’s startingNational Security Adviser, was another “rookie mistake” by a staffer that should never have happened.Flynn should have known better. He wasn’t called up from the Class D Leagues. He had 30 years of exemplary military experience and had worked in the Obama administration.What was he thinking? What made him believe he had the right to lie to the vice president – if that’s what he really did?Flynn’s been cut from the team and he’ll be a source of bad PR for Trump for months.I’d hate to be Sean Spicer, who has to go in front of the Washington press corps and deal with the latest twists in the Flynn case or explain the White House’s bungle of the day.President Trump is doing fine by holding all those meetings with business executives and foreign leaders and issuing executive orders.It’s his rookie squad that’s holding him back. They seem more interested in serving their own interests, not his.It’s now up to the president to find a way to plug up the leaks and put together a competent, loyal and trusted White House staff.He has to work fast. The regular season is almost a month old and he still doesn’t have a coaching staff or a starting lineup.And as Manager Trump has already found out the hard way, there are no exhibition games played in the White House.—FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

Cycling thrown into fresh turmoil with Tour doping investigation

first_imgCycling has been thrown into fresh turmoil after French judicial authorities opened a preliminary investigation into potential doping at Nairo Quintana’s team Arkea-Samsic on Monday, a day after the Tour de France ended in Paris.Two people had been taken into custody, Marseille prosecutor Dominique Laurens said, adding that the probe was targeting a “small part of the team” and that those in custody were part of the “close entourage of the main rider”, without naming him.Laurens added on Tuesday that the two were still being held for questioning and that a decision on whether they would be formally charged would be made on Wednesday. “The elements gathered during the search will need further investigation and analysis,” Laurens said in a statement on Tuesday.Injection material can only be in possession of doctors as per the ‘no needle policy’ in place in cycling since 2011.Arkea-Samsic team manager Emmanuel Hubert said on Monday that the investigation did “not target the team or its staff directly”.Quintana, who was allowed to continue working with his own doctor when he signed a three-year deal with Arkea-Samsic this year, later denied using any banned substances and said he had voluntarily answered investigators’ questions with “a clear conscience”.”I want to tell my fans and followers of cycling that never in my career as a junior, under-23 or professional have I used illegal substances that improve my performance or betray the principles of the sport,” he said in a statement posted on his Twitter account.Quintana said only “perfectly legal vitamin supplements” had been found in the search last week.Stunning performanceThis year’s Tour was won by Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, who produced one of the most stunning performances in recent history in the final time trial last Saturday.The 22-year-old is with Team UAE Emirates, which is managed by Mauro Gianetti and Matxin Fernandez, sports directors at Saunier Duval in 2008 when the team left the Tour in the wake of Ricardo Ricco’s failed doping test.The duo were also managing the Geox-TMC team when Spaniard Juan Jose Cobo won the Vuelta in 2011, only to be stripped of the title because of a “violation of the anti-doping rules (use of a banned substance) based on irregularities found in his Athlete Biological Passport in 2009 and 2011″.”I am too young to remember that era,” said Pogacar when asked about his entourage at UAE Emirates.”I was 10 in 2008 and it’s weird to be talking about this because it goes against everything I believe in.”The last notable rider to fail a doping test on the Tour was Luxembourg’s Frank Schleck in 2012.  Arkea-Samsic’s leader on the Tour was Colombian Quintana, twice a runner-up and also a Vuelta and Giro d’Italia champion. He finished 17th overall on this year’s Tour.The French team confirmed that their hotel in Meribel was searched by the OCLAESP, the Central Office for the Fight against Environmental and Public Health Damage, after last Wednesday’s 17th stage.Laurens said the search had resulted in the “discovery of many health products, including drugs and especially a method that can be qualified as doping”.A source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters that a “saline solution” and “injection material” were found.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Electoral system stays for 2004

first_img12 March 2003The Cabinet has decided to retain the current 400-member National Assembly as well as the present proportional representation electoral system for the 2004 elections.The decision, taken last week, follows the recommendations made by the task team instituted by President Thabo Mbeki in 2002 to formulate parameters for a new electoral system in the country.Releasing its final report in Cape Town this week, the team, headed by Frederick van Zyl Slabbert, recommended that South Africa be divided into 69 constituencies, each with three to seven MPs, for future parliamentary polls.However, it said it realised there was no way this could be implemented in time for the 2004 general elections.According to the task team’s recommendations, the boundaries of the 69 constituencies would be drawn along existing provincial, municipal and metropolitan boundaries.Political parties would then draw up lists of constituency candidates similar to the provincial and national lists used in the current system. The constituency representatives would account for 300 members of the National Assembly, the remaining 100 being drawn from a closed national list.The new system, which is likely to be used for the first time in the 2009 polls, will replace the proportional representation system used in the 1994 and 1999 general elections.Briefing the media following the release of the report, Van Zyl Slabbert said consensus was reached that changes to the current electoral system should be evaluated in terms of the values of fairness, inclusiveness, simplicity and accountability.Referring to the question of floor-crossing legislation that is currently being debated in Parliament, Van Zyl Slabbert said the majority view was that the current system was opportunistic and inappropriate and did an injustice to the principle of proportionality.“If the accessibility and distance between the voter and representative is taken as the guiding principle, then floor-crossing can be considered. There is nothing inherently undemocratic about it, it depends very much on the kind of electoral system”, Van Zyl Slabbert said.Also addressing journalists, Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi said the electoral task team report brings a new and better electoral system that will further promote democracy in the country.“From the outset, my view was that by establishing a task team, the debate and drafting on new legislation would be moved away from political tensions and truly reflect the needs of our democracy and the views of civil society”, the minister said.According to last week’s Cabinet statement, the new government elected in 2004 will review the report in preparation for the 2009 elections.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Durban in Lonely Planet top 10

first_img4 August 2009Durban has been listed as one of the top 10 family beach holiday cities in the world by travel publishing heavyweight Lonely Planet.The South African east coast city shares the prestigious list with the likes of Kauai in Hawaii, Cottlesloe in Australia, Karon Beach in Thailand, Portugal’s Tavira, Mexico’s Sayulita and Bali’s Sanur in the latest edition of Lonely Planet’s “Travel with Children”. The new book, which hit US bookstores last week, is the fifth in the popular series first published in 1985.“Durban resembles a gigantic resort holiday paradise, raised for the sole purpose of entertaining families,” the Lonely Planet publication says of the city in its section on South Africa. “Lined with safe beaches watched over by lifeguards, the Golden Mile is great for swimming, snorkelling and water sports.”Durban Tourism’s Perry Moodley was delighted with the news. “After our multimillion-rand beachfront upgrade is completed next year, and after the 2010 Fifa World Cup, Durban will have cemented its place as one of the top beach and sports destinations in the world.South African Tourism marketing boss Roshene Singh said the country, in particular the city of Durban and province of KwaZulu-Natal, was still a relatively undiscovered year-round beach holiday destination in world terms, “and being featured in this prestigious travel publication will help get the message out there.“South Africans have already long discovered Durban as a wonderful and safe family beach holiday destination,” Singh said. “Being featured amongst one of Lonely Planet’s top 10 list will now help international tourists to discover our country’s domestic holiday hotspot.”Tourism KwaZulu-Natal CEO Ndabo Khoza said Lonely Planet’s listing “speaks volumes for what a great year-round beach paradise we have along KwaZulu-Natal’s coast, that we sometimes take for granted.“The World Cup is around the corner,” Khoza said, “and this is valuable free marketing of the city for international people to discover our great balmy winter weather.“We will be the hottest place during the 2010 World Cup.”This article was first published in The Mercury. Republished here with kind permission.last_img read more

SA to spend R2m on rooibos research

first_img25 January 2012 Sapa The South African Rooibos Council has set aside a budget for the research. The research, which will include examining the anti-ageing, anti-obesity and cancer-preventing properties of the tea, will be conducted this year, the newspaper reported. South African researchers will conduct a R2-million research project in a bid to scientifically showcase the soothing, disease-prevention and weight-loss properties of rooibos tea, The Star reported on Wednesday.center_img The University of Stellenbosch biochemistry department research team, led by Professor Amanda Swart, found that the tea contains components that can help alleviate stress and anxiety. There is a “long held belief” that a cup of rooibos tea helps one relax and cope better with stress. The team has already identified two rare components of rooibos – aspalathin and nothofagin – that contribute to the stress-lowering effect. These findings were published last year.last_img read more

Ohio’s crop dusters aim for perfection during S.A.F.E. event

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Rarely do images of flight come to mind when thinking of agriculture. For some agriculturalists though, their daily work is amid the blue skies.Agricultural aviation is an enterprise not for the faint of heart. Much like farmers, this select group of pilots deals with high-cost and high-tech matters every day and puts in long hours during the heat of the season.Ohio has a rich history of aerial application. The first known use of heavier-than-air machinery for the dispersal of products occurred at a farm near Troy where lead arsenate was spread to kill catalpa sphinx caterpillars in 1921. Since then, the industry has thrived in Ohio, now home to several full-time operators. There have been many changes through the years.As cover crops have increased in popularity, they have become a more important part of the aerial application business for Mark Gaerte of Gaerte Ag Service in northwest Ohio who serves as president of the Ohio Agricultural Aviation Association.“The outlook is positive,” Gaerte said. “Grain prices might be down here in the nation, but I think the cover crop sector is picking up for most aerial applicators in the state and across the Midwest. Things look up for us like that. We are busiest from day to day July through September. It goes from corn fungicide spraying that first week of July until almost the end of August and goes right into dry cover crop seeding from then on out. It depends on the weather obviously. We end up seeding it up until October. I’ve gone as late as October, some in November. It’s always different.”Luther Gibbs and his son Brian Gibbs are a father-son team running Gibbs AeroSpray close to Lake Erie.“We live up near Fremont, Ohio. Up along the Lake we spray row crops, some vegetable stuff — cabbage, pickles, a few tomatoes,” Luther said. “Dad started the spraying business in 1952 when the Heinz company opened, H.J. Heinz, and then we just progressed on from there.”Brian Gibbs is the third generation to fly above Ohio’s fields in the family business.“There’s a lot of pride involved. You want to do the best job you can do for the farmers around. A lot of our customers have been around since my grandpa was spraying so I enjoy just getting to know everybody and doing the best job we can do for them,” Brian said. “We’ve had a pretty dry spring overall so far. As far as the wheat acres, a lot of guys were able to get in and topdress it with their own equipment. Work’s been picking up a little bit with alfalfa weevil spraying for bugs. We usually get into spraying some wheat fungicide. But all in all, guys are probably going to be rounding out planting and it looks like it’s been a pretty good spring for everybody so far.”There are several important issues at the center of the ag aviation world currently.“New regulations on the Waters of the U.S. — we have to worry about that a little more. I noticed the other day we passed some creeks that actually had signs posted that said Waters of the U.S. and I have never seen that before,” Luther said. “But I think the farmer is going to have to start paying attention to that.”Being involved in such a small career field, crop dusters often find themselves commonly sharing stories and recommendations with their fellow pilots. It’s clear there’s very little bad blood to be had within the tightknit Ohio group.Ohio’s aerial applicators — more often known as crop dusters — recently gathered at the Morrow County Airport, base of operations for Fisher Ag Service, to take part in Operation SAFE. The event offers networking opportunities, but more importantly helps to ensure the use of application technology is as efficient and accurate as possible. SAFE in this case stands for Self-regulating Application and Flight Efficiency and is put on by the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA).According to the NAAA, aerial application accounts for about 20% of all applied crop protection products on commercial farms and nearly 100% of forest protection applications. The numbers also show there are around 1,350 aerial applicator businesses in the U.S. with the average pilot having 21.3 years of experience within the industry. The price of ag aircraft can range anywhere from $100,000 to $1.5 million.With those dollar amounts in mind, it’s clear why crop dusters want to get the very most out of their equipment and provide the best possible service to the producer on the ground through efforts like SAFE.“We’ve been in business for about 24 years. Single pilot, single-plane operation — I’m everything fromA Cessna crop duster waits its turn in the hanger.chief pilot to the gas boy and everything in between,” said Roger Trump, who runs an aerial applicator business in western Ohio near Greenville. “You’re able to give your customer a better quality job by running the aircraft through a test pattern like this. Because with the aerodynamics, sometimes even though you stand behind the airplane and look at the placement of the nozzles on the booms and everything, you say ‘well that looks good.’ But with the aerodynamics and the air churning around the aircraft, sometimes it’s not as good as it looks and this actually tests the pattern on the ground so you can shuffle the nozzles to where the need to be to get as even an application as possible.“One of the issues that we have to be very conscious of and concerned about is drift of chemical off target — making sure it stays in the field where we put it — and just being a good steward of the environment for the community and the country.”The SAFE event is focused on implementing the best technology to better serve farm customers. Dennis Gardisser is president of WRK — one of the few companies in the world that deals with aerial application technology. The SAFE program in Morrow County marked the 31st event of its kind this spring alone for the Arkansas-based business.“We’re here today working with the agricultural aviation industry to do two major things. One is to help them with spray applications and one is to help them with their dry material distributions. In the spray applications we collect a sample dynamically exactly as they would in the field, but we’re able to analyze that because we put a tracer in the water and we have a collection medium that’s 150 feet wide,” Gardisser said. “Once we’ve done that we know what the correct swath width is and we know how uniform they’re applying the material so that we get everything evenly in the field. We also put out collectors so we know what their droplet spectrum is, so when we go to the fields to work with the producers and they buy the chemical, then that chemical is placed in the field at the correct rate, at the correct droplet size. They get high efficacy for good plant or pest control and they have good safety when they don’t have small droplets.“It’s a way for them to test those materials at the start of the season and be ready. In addition, there’s a lot of dry materials put out — fertilizers and seed — and so we have a dual set of equipment where we’re able to analyze the distribution of those. We can determine the rate as well as the swath width and uniformity of those as well. All of these measures are voluntary. The pilots are paying my firm to be here to do this, and they’re hoping to be very competitive and provide the clients they work for the best service possible.”The event helps to improve the industry in Ohio and ultimately the performance on the ground for farmers.“We have a good bunch of people here in Ohio flying spray planes. I’m not saying other areas of the country don’t, but one of the things in Ohio is that the aerial applicators kind of work with each other,” Trump said. “In other parts of the country, it becomes more of ‘well whatever I can do to get one over on my competitor who’s one or two counties away.’ But we don’t see too much of that attitude here in Ohio. It’s more of a cooperation attitude and I appreciate that — I think that’s great that we have that type of environment among our aerial applicators in Ohio.”Whether it’s the state-of-the-art aircraft, the in-depth knowledge needed for chemical and seed work, or any area in between, agricultural aviation has devoted people working hard behind the scenes to get the job done.Operation SAFE helps ensure the use of aerial application technology is as efficient and accurate as possible.Ohio’s aerial applicators, in partnership with farmers, are putting their skills and passions to work to feed this world. The only difference is they’re working at speeds of 140 miles per hour and up just feet off the ground. Butch Fisher, owner of Fisher Ag Service, the host of the SAFE event, has been doing just that for several decades now.“This event gives us a chance to pattern test airplanes, check for swath, droplet size, make sure we’re on label and everything, do a little more accurate of a job,” Fisher said. “We’re basically a five airplane operation. I’ve been in business basically 40 years and started out with a helicopter and an airplane. Then we advanced to strictly airplanes. And we do liquid work, seeding, dry fertilizer — mainly crop care. We are basically keeping the plant at the best growing conditions for the season. Most of our work is after the plants are emerged and growing good so our busy season is basically June, July, and August. So we’re pretty active once the crops get up — we do a little bit of early spring work for herbicides and a little urea. We finally finish out in the summer during a good fungicide run on corn and beans with seeding cover crop. Really, we’re here to take care of people — been here for 40 years.”Luther Gibbs, right, weighs urea in a collection tube to test the accuracy of his application equipment.last_img read more

Smartsheet and Google Apps: Crowdsourcing Made Easy

first_imgRelated Posts Let’s say you want a list of every Fortune 1,000 CEO in the United States, along with a picture and contact information.You can look through Google. Top page results may help a bit. But to get the granularity you need, top page results can only go so far. What’s the best way to go about discovering and collecting information that is so often scattered and fragmented?Crowdsourcing works but you need a process and a way to organize the information.Smartsheet provides a way to use wikis and spreadsheets for crowdsourcing information from services like Mechanical Turk and Live Works.Smartsheet recently integrated with Google Apps. Clients can work from Google Apps to crowdsource information through Smartsheet.Let’s say you have a list of the startup companies from the top 10 metro areas in the United States. You have the names of the companies in Google Apps. But you are lacking the name of the CEO and any contact information. So, you add some columns and open the Smartsheet application directly from Google Apps.You may now make your request to have the work done for you. Smartsheet opens a service such as Mechanical Turk. You describe the job, what you need and set your price. As the tasks are performed, the new information pops into the spreadsheet. You can then import the spreadsheet back into Google Apps. IT + Project Management: A Love Affair alex williams Smartsheet integrates with a wiki environment. For example, Smartsheet works with Brain Keeper. Structured information from Smartsheet may be imported into the wiki, providing the crowd-sourced data to anyone with access.Crowdsourcing is a classic example of how the enterprise can get information almost immediately that could take hours to collect if done manually by one person. The cost savings alone makes Smartsheet an application worth giving a try.SmartSheet is a subscription service. Pricing starts at $9.95 per month on a per-user-basis. Tags:#enterprise#news 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…last_img read more