ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr In South Dakota, a conservative pastor and an openly gay former Obama campaign staffer have teamed up to battle an exploitative industry.by: Sean McElweeOne of the most important bipartisan reforms of recent years started with a Twitter fight. Steve Hickey, a pastor in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, sent a letter to the editor of the Argus Leader, denouncing gay marriage and homosexuality.* Steve Hildebrand, owner of a local coffee shop, took offense. “You are becoming a huge joke in this state—huge,” he tweeted at the pastor. “We should have coffee,” Hickey responded. “I love you, tolerate you, I don’t support gay marriage.” And Hildebrand took him up on the offer: “As long as you come with an open mind and an open heart and a willingness to listen to my point of view as I was BORN gay.”The two Steves sat down at Josiah’s Coffee House and Café, the shop owned by Hildebrand. They make an odd couple. Hickey is pastor of the Church at the Gate and a conservative state legislator; Hildebrand was the deputy national campaign director for Obama’s 2008 campaign. But they soon found they had something in common: concern over payday lending. Many of Hildebrand’s employees had taken out payday loans, and Hildebrand often offered them zero-interest loans to help them escape. Hickey said people in his church had often faced the same struggle. He had similarly aided people trapped in the cycle of debt that payday lending creates.Hickey had been introducing reform bills every legislative session since he had been in the legislature. “I’ve been here five years and I’ve offered something every year, but it has never gone anywhere, but I know from polls that voters want to vote these guys off the island,” Hickey told me. At one point, payday-lending lobbyists told him they would be interested in working on legislation. They flew to South Dakota to prepare a 12-page bill. But when the bill reached the legislative committee, industry lobbyists opposed it. “They lobbied against the very bill that they wrote,” Hildenbrand told me, describing the industry as “full of bullies and lies and cheats.” Payday lending companies hired “the most powerful lobbyists walking the halls,” which “really instilled fears in the eyes of these legislators,” he said. “There’s been efforts for several years now, and you can’t even get a bill out of committee.” continue reading »
Hamilton, bidding for a sixth world title to move within one of Michael Schumacher’s record seven, topped all three free practice sessions before making it four-out-of-four during qualifying. His dominance in qualifying in Melbourne is unsurpassed with Ayrton Senna, on six poles, the next in line. Hamilton complained after pre-season testing in Barcelona that Ferrari was much quicker, but it appears to have been mind games with business as usual resumed this week. Mercedes and Hamilton have been dominant in Formula One in recent years, winning the drivers’ and constructors’ titles five years in a row and Ferrari — and Vettel — are desperate to catch up. While the German won in Melbourne last year and backed it up with victory at the next race in Bahrain, Hamilton roared back to sweep 11 of the remaining 19 Grand Prix to comfortably be crowned champion. All Vettel’s world titles came at Red Bull, from 2010-2013, while Ferrari haven’t won a constructors crown since 2008 and no driver at the Italian outfit has tasted championship success since Kimi Raikkonen in 2007. Hamilton topped Q2 in 1:21:014 from Bottas and Verstappen, with Vettel running into the gravel at Turn 12, kicking up dirt and dust and telling his team on the radio that the “floor, front wing” would need to be checked. Daniel Ricciardo was a big casualty in Q2, finishing 12th in his first outing for new team Renault after moving from Red Bull. His team-mate Nico Hulkenberg also missed the cut, as did Toro Rosso pair Daniel Kvyat and Alexander Albon. Leclerc topped Q1 with 1:22:017 ahead of Hamilton and Bottas. Red Bull newcomer Pierre Gasly was among those who failed to get out of Q1 along with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Racing Point’s Lance Stroll. Robert Kubica, who clipped the wall and sustained a puncture in his Williams, was last. Lewis Hamilton has secured pole in Australian Grand Prix in every race since 2014.Hamilton is bidding for his sixth world championship.Hamilton has won twice in Australia, winning in 2014 and 2015. Melbourne: Mercedes’ world champion Lewis Hamilton picked up where he left off last year to reassert his authority and snatch a record-extending eighth pole position at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Saturday. The Briton clocked a fastest lap of one minute 20.486 to narrowly pip team-mate Valtteri Bottas, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel third, but well off the pace on 1:21.190. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was fourth and Ferrari newcomer Charles Leclerc fifth. The 34-year-old is the pole master in Melbourne, claiming it eight times and every year since 2014, although he has only twice, in 2008 and 2015, won a race at Albert Park. He knocked out his rivals with a blistering lap at the death to claim an 84th career grid-leading time in his 230th race. “I’m shaking, it was so close out there,” said Hamilton. “Coming from testing we had no idea where we would be, but the guys in the factory have been working so hard towards this weekend. Valtteri did an exceptional job, it was so close.” highlights For all the Latest Sports News News, Other Sports News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Kobe Bryant’s death remains an emotional topic for many in the city of Los Angeles and across the sports world.Rapper Snoop Dogg and former Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol paid tribute to Bryant during the 2020 ESPYS broadcast, which was held virtually by ESPN for the first time as a result of the pandemic.