2020 presidential race, the Church of Scientology and Dave Durian
Former Starbucks CEO may run for president
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said he is “seriously thinking of running for president.” In an interview aired on CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Jan. 27, Schultz told correspondent Scott Pelley that he would run as a “centrist independent,” despite being a lifelong Democrat. Schultz said the reason he would run as an independent, which critics say would help President Donald Trump’s chances of being elected by splitting the vote, is that both parties “are consistently not doing what’s necessary on behalf of the American people and are engaged, every single day, in revenge politics.” Schultz, when asked “what effect” his being Jewish would have on his campaign, noted that “I am not running as a Jew if I decide to run for president, I’m running as an American who happens to be Jewish.” Schultz, who is 65, briefly addressed some of the issues of the day. He said there should be a “fair and equitable way” for illegal immigrants to become U.S. citizens; that every American “deserves the right to have access to quality health care”; and that the 2018 tax cut should have focused less on business and more on the people who need it the most, those “who don’t have $400 in the bank.”
Kamala Harris launches presidential bid
In her first appearance on national TV as a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, California Sen. Kamala Harris lashed out at President Donald Trump for “fueling division,” including on race. “Racism is real in America, sexism, anti-Semitism, transphobia, homophobia — these things are real in America,” Harris said Jan. 28 at a CNN town hall broadcast from Iowa, the first presidential nominating contest. “In Charlottesville, when a woman was killed, we have a president who has said we see ‘both sides’ of this,” she said, referring to the deadly August 2017 neo-Nazi march in Virginia, and Trump’s comments following it. “We have seen what happened at the Tree of Life synagogue,” Harris said, referring to the massacre in October of 11 worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue complex. Harris formally launched her campaign over the weekend in Oakland, adopting the slogan, “America, we are better than this.” She is the daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father, and her husband is Jewish.
Longtime Baltimore radio anchor Dave Durian dies at 72
Former WBAL Radio and WBAL-TV 11 News anchor Dave Durian died early Jan. 28 after a short illness, according to a story posted on the station’s website. He was 72 years old. During his three decades behind a microphone in Baltimore, Durian became more than a familiar face and voice. “When Dave left the anchor desk with Rod Daniels to go into radio, a lot of people are talking about how he became a family member. He became somebody you could trust and listen to,” said Clarence Mitchell IV, host of “The C4 Show” on WBAL NewsRadio 1090 and 101.5 FM. A viewing is scheduled from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 31 at the Ruck Towson Funeral Home on York Road in Towson. A funeral service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Feb. 1, and the interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Jacksonville Volunteer Fire Company, 3500 Sweet Air Road, Phoenix, Md. 21131, or to WBAL Radio Kids Campaign, 3800 Hooper Ave., Baltimore, Md. 21211.
Church of Scientology plans to build new house of worship in Philadelphia
According to phillymag.com, the organization is moving forward with long-stalled plans to build a huge new Scientology church in Philadelphia. In 2007, the Church of Scientology bought the early 20th-century headquarters of Cunningham Piano Company and an adjacent building on the 1300 block of Chestnut Street. The purchase was made during a five-year span in which the Church of Scientology reportedly bought more than 62 properties worldwide. Last week, Church of Scientology international spokesperson Karin Pouw, who has been with the church since the 1970s, confirmed that the group intends to make the Chestnut Street church a reality in the not-too-distant future. “The building will house the new Church of Scientology of Philadelphia and will service its parishioners and the community,” Pouw said. “It will include a public information center with multimedia displays and a chapel for Sunday services and community events. Our parishioners are active in outreach programs that include drug education, literacy, and human rights awareness, and the new building will facilitate those programs.”
‘Mrs. Maisel’ earns 3 SAG Awards
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” took the first three awards announced at the Screen Actors Guild ceremony. Tony Shalhoub won a SAG award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor, Rachel Brosnahan won Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor, and the entire cast won for Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series in the awards ceremony on Jan. 27. The Netflix series features Brosnahan as a Jewish stay-at-home mom in the 1950s who decides to try her luck as a stand-up comedian. Shalhoub plays her father.—JTA
Amare’e Stoudemire granted Israeli residency rights
Israel’s Interior Ministry granted former NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire residency rights, another step toward citizenship. “In the near future, the possibility of granting the player citizenship will be examined,” the ministry said in a statement on Jan. 28. Stoudemire has been playing professional basketball for the Hapoel Jerusalem team since 2016, though he left briefly in mid-2017 to try for a return to the NBA. He identifies with the Hebrew Israelites, African-Americans who believe they are connected to the biblical Israelites, and observes Jewish holidays. He told HBO sports reporter Jon Frankel at an event at Harvard University in April 2018 that he is “in the process” of converting to Judaism. Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said that he made the decision based on Stoudemire’s seriousness about Judaism and living in Israel even after his basketball career ends, and because he is “making a mark in Israel and in Israeli sports.” Not having citizenship means Stoudemire is eligible to play for the team in the Union of European Basketball Associations’ Champions League, and is allowed one of the few non-citizens slots in Israeli League competition. Stoudemire played for the New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns among other teams in a 16-year NBA career. He had to suspend his part ownership in Hapoel in order to play.–JTA
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