How pay to play U.S. soccer punishes the poor

first_imgWC Qualification CONCACAF How many Howards and Dempseys are the US losing due to pay to play? Peter Staunton Click here to see more stories from this author Chief Correspondent Last updated 2 years ago 19:00 10/13/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(10) Clint Dempsey Tim Howard USA Getty Images WC Qualification CONCACAF United States v Panama Trinidad and Tobago v United States United States Panama Trinidad and Tobago Opinion Their recent elimination from the 2018 World Cup has led to the spotlight being shone on underage practices in the US where elite clubs charge parents Tim Howard describes the offer by Tim Mulqueen – the then-goalkeeping coach of the Rutgers University’s men’s team – as “important, as life-altering as any I’ve ever had”.The offer in question arrived in 1991 and was for Mulqueen to waive his standard $25 fee for private coaching sessions and make an exception for the promising young Jerseyite.Howard’s mother Esther had managed to scrape together an initial $25 for a clinic with Mulqueen very much as a one-off. There was no way she could afford to pay it again. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. But Howard, said Mulqueen, “had something”. He had demonstrated that in the solitary session he had with him.True to his word, Mulqueen never charged the Howard household for his services from then on.It wasn’t long before young Tim worked his way through to the United States Olympic Development Training Program and earned his stellar international career.But it all started there: had Esther not stumped up the initial $25 or had Mulqueen insisted on full payment for his services, then maybe Howard would never have been found.Tim Howard GFXThis is a risk still associated with the widespread ‘pay-to-play’ system in the US, where parents have to shell out for their youngsters to participate with elite youth clubs. Without that money – or a lucky break like Howard’s – then talents from lower socio-economic backgrounds can slip through the cracks.Soccer Stateside is still regarded as the game of the suburbs as opposed to its perception in much of the rest of the world – where often it can be the only route a poor family can take to escape from poverty.The soccer world is full of stories of sacrifice, hunger and hardship, with young players grinding through despite their lack of privileges or maybe even because of them. In the USA, it’s a route that’s even harder to find. And if you think $25 for one specialist goalkeeping session is steep, then consider the fees charged at the US’s premier youth soccer clubs.National team right-back DeAndre Yedlin spent time in his youth at the Emerald City club in Washington. Current fees for under-11 players run at about $1,300 per season. A uniform will set you back another $250 – $350. Then, there’s the team fees, which depend upon which tournaments are entered.Brad Guzan’s first club? Chicago Magic. Fees? $25 for a try-out and $2,095 upon registration.What about Boca Raton Junior Soccer Club where Jozy Altidore spent some time? The ‘Academy Program’ for top-level players aged 14-23 charges $3,000 per month plus $125 for a uniform.On the other coast, the renowned Patedores club charges parents of players between the ages of 11 and 13 around $1,950 per season.Those payments come with some pretty heavy terms and conditions attached, including a potential 25 per cent charge in late fees every month.Like other clubs, Patedores has scholarships available to talented players whose families might not be able to afford the fees. Even those are caveated, while stories circulate of some parents complaining to those of scholarship recipients: “I am paying for your kid to be here.”Tim Howard USAWhat if the scholar decides he doesn’t like it anymore? Remember, these are children, after all, but the Patedores conditions nonetheless state: “If the player does not fulfil his commitment for the entire season, then he shall forfeit his scholarship and all club and teams fees are expected to be paid in full by the family prior to the player’s release.“In the event that the player leaves the team, the balance of the player fees need to be paid in full before the player can transfer to another team. No refunds will be given after the first day of training.”Plainly put, if a parent does not have at least $2,000 that they’re willing to lose in order to support a child’s access to elite teams, then they can forget about it.Some of the other members of the USMNT needed Cinderella stories of their own to make it. Jorge Villafaña won a reality show called Sueño MLS to earn a trial at Chivas USA in 2007. He’s never looked back. Without it, though, where would he be?Darlington Nagbe, Michael Bradley and Alejandro Bedoya, meanwhile, no doubt benefitted from the fact their fathers were either professional players or coaches.The typical story of poor boy makes good in American soccer would appear relatively rare – perhaps surprising in the self-styled ‘land of opportunity’.Clint Dempsey as a child went along with his his brother, Ryan, to a trial at the Texas Longhorns. The family was informed the only team still accepting players were the ’83 Longhorns side.  A few days later the coach took notice of the younger Dempsey, juggling balls before the session with his brother, and was sufficiently impressed to give Clint a shot of his own.The Dempseys mulled over for weeks before deciding to give it a go. They scrimped, saved and father Aubrey even sold his boat and hunting guns to fund Clint’s burgeoning career and the six-hour roundtrip from their home in east Texas to Dallas.Clint Dempsey USAThey temporarily sacrificed Clint’s soccer when sister Jennifer became a junior-ranked tennis player, and money and time for both sports ran tight.Dempsey was, however, eventually brought back into the fold thanks to the determination of his parents and his own savage drive following the tragic death of his sister.His background is typical to other professionals from around the world – only with fees attached. He spent part of his childhood in a trailer on his grandparents’ land in Nacogdoches, Texas, playing street soccer with his Mexican neighbours and even participated in men’s leagues in his hometown in between his ‘elite’ matches in Dallas.It wasn’t long before he earned a scholarship to Furman in South Carolina.But where would he be if his father hadn’t had a boat to sell or the family had decided that the slim shot he had at a college degree through soccer – let alone a career in the game itself – wasn’t worth it?There would appear to be progress made with the formation of the US Soccer Development Academy 10 years ago. Some clubs affiliated to this program are still charging but youth divisions of MLS teams are subsidised. Plenty of US internationals are coming through this pathway, including Nagbe, Yedlin, Kellyn Acosta and Jordan Morris. The player, however, has to be spotted first.It remains an extraordinary event if a poor child with talent ends up making it in the USA – and not necessarily because he can’t be seen, but because he can’t pay to get in front of the right people.How many Howards or Dempseys have slipped out of the system because their parents couldn’t afford to keep them there?last_img read more

Nipah outbreak hits Kerala again authorities open isolation wards in Kochi hospital

first_imgReutersIn 2018, the entire state of Kerala was in a state of panic as the Nipah virus claimed the lives of 17 people. And now, on June 03, 2019, health authorities in Kerala have hinted at a possible Nipah outbreak. As per reports, authorities have sent the blood sample of the suspected patient to the Pune virology institute, and the entire state is waiting to know whether the dreaded virus has made its way to Kerala. K K Shailaja, Kerala health minister, revealed that the suspected patient has shown signs of Nipah. However, she made it clear that the confirmation will be made only after the blood test. Shailaja also urged people to stay calm and revealed that the state is taking all necessary measures to ensure the safety of citizens.”It is not yet confirmed. But, the suspect patient has shown signs of Nipah. If anyone starts suffering from fever and severe cough, do not try to hide it, you should immediately seek medical advice. We have experience in handling emergency situations. Last year, we had a tough time, but this year, we will ensure that no one will die due to this virus,” said Shailaja. The District Medical Officer urged people not to panic and added that everything is under control now. The DMO also revealed that the place of origin of the current Nipah outbreak was not Ernakulam district.As a precautionary measure, the health ministry has ordered to open five isolation wards in Kalamassery Medical College, Cochin. The health ministry has also apparently asked health professionals in both government and private sectors to stay alert.As per the latest updates, a team of doctors and nurses who handled last year’s Nipah outbreak has already started their journey to Cochin. This team led by Dr. Chandini will work with experts in Cochin to formulate an effective treatment plan.last_img read more

Trump warns Syria missiles will be coming

first_imgA Syrian government forces soldier walks over the rubble of buildings in the former rebel-held town of Zamalka in Eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on Wednesday. Photo: AFPUS President Donald Trump warned Wednesday that “missiles will be coming” in response to an alleged chemical attack in Syria, as the UN chief urged world powers to stop a face-off with Russia from spiraling out of control.With punitive US military action seemingly imminent, Russia scrambled to deflect blame from its ally Bashar al-Assad and, according to a monitor group, Syrian forces evacuated key defense buildings in Damascus.Trump’s warlike tweets came in response to a warning from Russia’s ambassador to Beirut, who took to a television network run by the armed group Hezbollah to declare that any US missiles would be shot down “as well as the sources they were fired from.”If the US action follows the pattern of a previous punitive strike on Syria last year, it will begin with a salvo of cruise missiles fired from American warships in the Mediterranean, as Trump implied when he tweeted they would be “nice, new and ‘smart.’”Defense Secretary Jim Mattis as well as CIA director Mike Pompeo huddled at the White House on Wednesday to discuss options and game out the situation.“The president’s national security team met today. That meeting was chaired by the vice president to discuss a number of options,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.With the UN Security Council failing thus far to find a diplomatic solution, Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned Wednesday time was running out.“Today, I called the Ambassadors of the five Permanent Members of the Security Council to reiterate my deep concern about the risks of the current impasse and stressed the need to avoid the situation spiraling out of control,” he said, referring to the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain.Moscow and Washington have so far vetoed each other’s motions to set up an international investigation into chemical weapons use.Opponents of unilateral US action called an emergency closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council for later Thursday.Meanwhile, Moscow said the formerly rebel-held district of Eastern Ghouta-including Douma, the target of Saturday’s attack-had been “totally stabilized” and would soon be patrolled by Russian military police.But the Russian army continued to deny their side’s latest victory came after Assad launched a chemical attack on the last rebel-held pocket of the enclave in the Damascus suburbs, instead accusing the White Helmets civil defense organization of staging the massacre.Trump’s spokeswoman dismissed this idea, and pointedly refused to acknowledge that concern about the risks of a direct confrontation with Russia would hold the US military back.“The intelligence provided certainly paints a different picture,” she said. “The president holds Syria and Russia responsible for this chemical weapons attack.”But while the Russian president’s lieutenants continued to up the ante with threats and allegations, Vladimir Putin himself adopted a more statesmanlike tone, in remarks to new ambassadors presenting their credentials at the Kremlin.“The situation in the world is becoming more and more chaotic but all the same we hope that common sense will finally prevail and international relations will take a constructive path,” he said.Trump’s tweets were more belligerent-he told Russia “You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”-and declared that US relations with Russia have plunged to a historic low.But he notably also said there was “no reason for this,” reiterated his hope for talks with Putin to halt a new arms race, and blamed his domestic political opponents for poisoning ties.Assad’s Damascus regime, which has long accused Washington of supporting its armed opponents in the country’s bloody seven-year-old civil war, hit back at Trump’s “reckless escalation.”OPCW to deployTrump and other Western leaders have vowed a quick and forceful response to Saturday’s alleged gas attack, which rescue workers say killed more than 40 people.British Prime Minister Theresa May has called an emergency cabinet meeting for Thursday, while French President Emmanuel Macron is to decide on a response in the coming days, having insisted he does “not want an escalation” and that any response would focus on Syria’s chemical capabilities, not on allies of the regime.As it looked to head off the threat of Western strikes, Syria said it had invited the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which has blamed the regime for previous attacks, to visit the site.The OPCW said it would “shortly” deploy a fact-finding team to Douma for an investigation, but US officials said they were working from their own information and would not necessarily hold back.Damascus agreed to hand over its chemical arsenal in 2013, narrowly avoiding American and French air strikes in retaliation for a suspected sarin attack.That incident, which killed hundreds, also took place in Eastern Ghouta.last_img read more

HISD Prepares For Opioid Overdoses

first_img Share The Houston Independent School District Board has accepted the donation for 200 cartons of a nasal spray to treat opioid overdoses. The Narcan nasal spray was donated by Kaleo Pharma. The donation is valued at $72,000.According to the Board, HISD police would be responsible for distributing the spray in the event of an overdose. Opioids are drugs that are based on or derived from opium. Non-synthetic opioids include: heroin, morphine and codeine. Common synthetic opioids are Oxycodone (Oxycontin), Hydrocodone (Vicodin), and the extremely potent Fentanyl.Opioids were not even mentioned in the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences annual report in 2013 and 2014.But in their 2015 report, opioids were the most frequent substance listed in the cause of death tables. Opioids again topped the list in 2016. According to the Centers for Disease Control, almost 100 people die each day in the United States as a result of an opioid overdose.Also, the school Board approved mandatory improvement plans for four schools that have failed to meet state academic standards. Bonham Elementary, the Gregory-Lincoln Education Center (K-8), Madison and Washington high schools are required to develop two year “turnaround” plans by the Texas Education Agency. HISDHISD accepted in January 2018 the donation for 200 cartons of a nasal spray to treat opioid overdoses. The Narcan nasal spray was donated by Kaleo Pharma.last_img read more

Former Republican House Speaker Is Advising A Marijuana Corporation

first_img Share Lauren Victoria Burke/APFormer House Speaker John Boehner voted to prohibit medical marijuana as a U.S. congressman from Ohio in 1999, but he came out in support of some uses of cannabis on Wednesday.John Boehner, former speaker of the House, became an unlikely advocate for marijuana on Wednesday.Reversing years of opposition to the drug when he served in Congress, the Republican announced that his “thinking on cannabis has evolved.”He tweeted that he was joining the Board of Advisors of Acreage Holdings, a corporation formerly known as High Street Capital Partners that operates cannabis cultivation, processing and dispensing across 11 states.Boehner said: “I’m convinced de-scheduling the drug is needed so we can do research, help our veterans, and reverse the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities.”I’m joining the board of #AcreageHoldings because my thinking on cannabis has evolved. I’m convinced de-scheduling the drug is needed so we can do research, help our veterans, and reverse the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities. @AcreageCannabis https://t.co/f5i9KcQD0W— John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) April 11, 2018The announcement is a departure from his stance on cannabis use while in office. He voted to prohibit medical marijuana in Washington, D.C., in 1999. Two years later, he wrote a letter to an Ohio constituent, stating, “I am unalterably opposed to the legalization of marijuana or any other FDA Schedule I drug. I remain concerned that legalization will result in increased abuse of all varieties of drugs, including alcohol,” according to NORML, a marijuana advocacy group.But times have apparently changed. In a joint statement, Boehner and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, another Republican joining Acreage’s board, said that “the time has come for serious consideration of a shift in federal marijuana policy.”They reinforced the importance of medical marijuana, stating:“We need to look no further than our nation’s 20 million veterans, 20 percent of whom, according to a 2017 American Legion survey, reportedly use cannabis to self-treat PTSD, chronic pain and other ailments. Yet the VA does not allow its doctors to recommend its usage. There are numerous other patient groups in America whose quality of life has been dramatically improved by the state-sanctioned use of medical cannabis.”They say that there are negative consequences to federal policy which designates marijuana as a Class 1 drug — meaning it lacks accepted medical use and has a high potential to be abused. They list consequences as impeding research and preventing the Department of Veterans Affairs from offering the drug to vets as an alternative to opioids.The Marijuana Policy Project told NPR that Boehner’s decision reflects a change in public opinion on marijuana among adults. “Politicians have traditionally lagged behind the people on this issue, so it is wonderful to see one so adamantly opposed to legalization reversing course like this,” said Morgan Fox, Director of Communications.Acreage founder and CEO Kevin Murphy said in a written statement that Boehner and Weld’s arrival onto its advisory board will bring about more access for patients in need of medical marijuana “by changing the conversation overnight. These men have shaped the political course of our country for decades and now they will help shape the course of this nascent but ascendant industry.”Boehner and Weld will join the Board of Advisors immediately, says Acreage, and they have also committed to joining the company’s board of directors once it has been established.The move comes at a time when the Trump administration has taken steps to scrap policy that enabled states to legalize marijuana.Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

Asia Australia solo travel all selling well for TL Network and world

first_imgAsia, Australia, solo travel all selling well for TL Network, and world cruise niche “exploding” Share Tags: Travel Leaders Network Travelweek Group Tuesday, February 26, 2019 center_img TORONTO — TL Network’s forward bookings for 2019 are coming in strong, thanks to a good economy both here and in the U.S., and relatively affordable fares for international flights. And it doesn’t hurt that consumers are in love with travel and want to see as much of the world as they can.TL Network’s latest survey shows that 96% of consumers say they intend to travel in 2019, and 89% intend to spend the same or more on their trips as in previous years.Last year was very good and looking ahead, “we are very encouraged for 2019,” says John Lovell, CTC, President – Leisure Travel, Supplier Relations and Networks, for Travel Leaders Group, the parent organization of TL Network.Destinations like Asia Pacific and Australia and New Zealand are selling especially well, says Lovell. Egypt and Turkey bookings are both bouncing back. And world cruising, with durations up to 180 days, “is exploding. Expedition cruising is also huge. And river cruising continues to grow. I always say, I just wish we could dredge up a few more rivers, it’s selling that well.”Issues with low water levels on Europe’s rivers in 2018 didn’t put a dent in bookings, he added, noting that the river cruise companies have been doing a good job with re-routings and keeping passengers informed.TL Network agencies also saw a “terrific rebound” in Caribbean bookings following the hurricanes in fall 2017.Solo travel is another growth market, with 36% of consumers in the survey saying they intend to take at least one solo trip in 2019.Lovell and other TL Network execs were in Toronto yesterday to brief the trade media.It’s been two years since the formation of TL Network from Vacation.com and other entities and the group is now the largest retail travel agency organization in North America.Last year the company’s Agent Profiler online lead generation tool saw 25% year over year growth in leads channeled to participating Canadian travel advisors resulting in 5,000 leads delivered.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesIn 2017 TL Network had some 483 Canadian member advisors on Agent Profiler. By 2018 that number was up to 567. With 5,000 leads for 567 agents, “that’s roughly 10 leads per agent,” says Jeremy Van Kuyk, VP Technology – Travel Leaders Group.TL Network’s site for Canadian members, CanadianTravelAgents.ca (“we don’t sell travel, we sell travel agents,” says Van Kuyk) got 46,000 new consumer users in 2018, and organic traffic from random Google searches was 55% of that total. Organic search traffic driving consumers to CanadianTravelAgents.ca increased 136% year-over-year.Much of the content that’s driving those coveted high SEO rankings come from the information in TL Network agent profiles in the Agent Profiler tool. Agents can upgrade to Agent Profiler 2.0 for $15 per month, says Van Kuyk. Advisors taking advantage of Agent Profiler 2.0’s enhanced features can highlight their specialties and certifications, along with consumer ratings and reviews, and as a result are receiving three times more leads than those using the previous generation of the tool.Christine James, Vice President Canada, TL Network says there are now just shy of 700 TL Network members in Canada, coming in at about 680 agencies. Members are taking advantage of TL Network programs like Distinctive Voyages with 10 premium and luxury cruise lines offering 300+ cruise departures annually, Culinary Collection with 119 culinary themed sailings for 2019 with 11 Preferred Partners, and Amenity Departure Dates.All of these extras are built-in, says James, allowing TL Network agents to be more competitive in the marketplace.For education and training, in 2019 TL Network is introducing a new advisor education and training philosophy focused on learning pathways customized to an advisor’s personal achievement and career advancement goals.The company’s Learning Management System (LMS) now includes 358 individual courses with more than 425 new Canadian users joining the system in 2018. Popular specialist programs include Group Travel, Luxury Travel, Active and Adventure Travel, and Honeymoon and Destination Weddings.More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”TL Network Canada also has four Regional Conferences on the calendar for 2019, plus 24 Mixers for additional networking and learning opportunities. And this June 2019, the TL Network EDGE conference will take place in Washington, D.C. from June 7 to 10, with more than 2,100 attendees expected.Reaching out to clients, TL Network’s Canadian marketing engagement program has grown to more than 50 partners and during the past year resulted in more than 220 direct mail and email campaigns and over six million partner funded pieces.“We are excited to see significant growth in many areas of TL Network including our direct marketing efforts in Canada,” says James. “Our engagement program provides our advisors with beautifully designed marketing materials to inspire their customers and keep them informed about our latest offerings.”Some 20 – 30% of Canadian traffic through TL Network members is now represented by group bookings, as strong as ever with the popularity of multigenerational travel, notes James.TL Network is also launching a 2019 Select Agent Guide, and for consumers, Select magazine, coming this spring, says Roger E. Block, CTC, President of Travel Leaders Network. The consumer publication is geared to luxury clientele especially who want to see and experience it all. “People don’t want to just see the Pyramids. They want an immersive trip. They want to meet the locals. We work with DMCs in more than 150 countries to itineraries can be totally customized. This is one of the ways we’re trying to help our customers get the most experiences they can.”Clients have so much information at their fingertips, says Lovell. “But ultimately they’re looking for confirmation and validation, and the person they turn to for that is a travel advisor.“At the end of the day, people want that person to hold their hand and walk them through that transaction.” Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Cruise ships target of Venice protest after canal crash

first_imgTags: Venice Monday, June 10, 2019 << Previous PostNext Post >> Share By: The Associated Press Cruise ships target of Venice protest after canal crash VENICE, Italy — Thousands of people have marched in Venice to demand that cruise ships be kept out of the Italian city’s lagoon.The protest Saturday was galvanized by a crash six days earlier involving a cruise ship that struck a much smaller river boat in Venice’s Giudecca Canal. The crash injured five people.Some marchers carried banners that read “Ships out of the lagoon.” Others took to the Venetian Lagoon itself in rowboats and other small vessels to push a yearslong campaign to end cruise ship port calls.Environmentalists have complained huge cruise liners wear down the city’s fragile foundations in the Adriatic Sea and dredge up the lagoon’s muddy bottom.Venice’s mayor wants cruise ships rerouted from the heart of the lagoon. The ships disembark thousands of day-trippers.last_img read more

Rice University experts available to comment on 2012 elections final stretch

first_imgShareDavid Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.edu Jeff Falk713-348-6775jfalk@rice.edu Rice University experts available to comment on 2012 elections’ final stretchHOUSTON – (Oct. 30, 2012) – One week from today, Americans will be asked to cast their vote for the next president of the United States as well as a range of other offices and referenda. The following Rice University experts are available to comment on the major topics at play as Campaign 2012 heads into the final stretch:Presidential politics, policy, the role of government and social media:Paul Brace, the Clarence L. Carter Professor of Political Science, can discuss the American presidency, political parties, debates, public opinion polls, electoral politics and candidates’ positions on the various issues. Douglas Brinkley, a fellow in history at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and a professor of history, can comment on the history of presidential debates in the United States and their impact on the race for president.Mark Jones, professor and chair of political science and a fellow at the Baker Institute, can comment on the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the presidential race as well as on local news angles, including Texas’ role in the presidential race.Bob Stein, the Lena Gohlman Fox Professor of Political Science and a fellow in urban politics at the Baker Institute, can discuss public opinion polls, voting behavior, electoral politics and public policy.Chris Bronk, the Baker Institute’s fellow in information technology policy, can discuss the role of social media in Campaign 2012, including how campaigns are reacting to Hurricane Sandy in their social and electronic media efforts.Jobs, the economy and taxes: John Diamond, an economist and the Edward A. and Hermena Hancock Kelly Fellow in Public Finance at the Baker Institute, can discuss federal tax and expenditure policy and its implications.Russell Green, an economist and the Will Clayton Fellow in International Economics, can discuss the role of international finance in the 2012 election, including issues surrounding the Chinese exchange rate and its impact on the U.S. economy.Foreign policy:Richard Stoll, the Albert Thomas Chair of Political Science, can discuss the major foreign policy issues currently facing the U.S. and how the country’s foreign policy could evolve under a future Democratic or Republican presidential administration.Joe Barnes, the Bonner Means Baker Fellow and a former U.S. State Department diplomat, can discuss U.S. foreign policy and international economics, with a focus on the geopolitics of energy.Health care policy and economics:Vivian Ho, the James A. Baker III Institute Chair in Health Economics and a professor of economics, can discuss the key health care reform issues affecting the nation in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act this summer and how this reform could evolve under a future Democratic or Republican presidential administration.Elena Marks, the Baker Institute scholar in health policy, can discuss Texas news angles and policy issues, including health insurance exchanges, Medicaid expansion and the number of uninsured people.Energy:Ken Medlock, the Baker Institute’s James A. Baker III and Susan G. Baker Fellow in Energy and Resource Economics, can discuss the major energy issues at play in the 2012 election.Science, technology and NASA:Neal Lane, the Baker Institute’s senior fellow in science and technology policy and a professor of physics and astronomy, was director of the National Science Foundation and the chief science and technology adviser to President Bill Clinton. Lane recently published an op-ed in the New York Times on the role of science in the 2012 election.Kirstin Matthews, the Baker Institute’s fellow in science and technology policy, can speak to the important science and technology policy and funding issues at play in the 2012 election.Rice University has a VideoLink ReadyCam TV interview studio. ReadyCam is capable of transmitting broadcast-quality standard-definition and high-definition video directly to all news media organizations around the world 24/7.To schedule an interview with any one of these experts, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.-30-Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews. Founded in 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston ranks among the top 20 university-affiliated think tanks globally and top 30 think tanks in the United States. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute sponsors more than 20 programs that conduct research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows and Rice University scholars. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog.  AddThislast_img read more