This morning, the Reader’s Digest Association and parent company RDA Holding Co. announced that Paul R. Tomkins is set to succeed Tom Williams as executive vice president and chief financial officer with the company. Tomkins is also slated to join RDA’s management executive committee. Tomkins will start his new position on May 23, joining RDA from the non-publishing sector where he was vice president controller of AT&T’s Business Solutions.Former CFO Williams became RDA president and CEO when Mary Berner parted ways with the company in late April. After Berner’s departure, Randall Curran, CEO of telecommunications company DELTACOM, Inc., filled her position as chairman of the RDA board.This announcement trails shortly after RDA announced its first quarter financials. Overall revenue in the first quarter of 2011 was $326 million, falling from $413.9 million in the first quarter of 2010 (during which RDA emerged from bankruptcy on February 20). From February 20 to March 31, 2010, RDA’s revenue totaled $156.2 million. RDA cites fewer magazine/book renewals, unprofitable product lines and less magazine issues for the revenue loss and for the EBITDA in the first quarter of 2011, which was at negative $25.2 million. In the first quarter of 2010, EBITDA was up at $9.5 million.
Google also hinted that more celebrity cameos could be on the way thanks to the company’s WaveNet tech — a speech synthesis program that helped bring John Legend to your countertop smart speaker. In the meantime, here is Google’s list of questions you can ask to hear a reply from John Legend: Easter eggs: “Serenade me.” “Sing me a song.” “Are you John Legend?” “Do you know Chrissy Teigen?” “How are you?” “Sing Happy Birthday.” “Tell me a joke.” “Who’s your celebrity crush?” “What’s your favorite song?” “What’s your best pickup line?” “Compliment me.” Ordinary questions: “What’s the weather?” “How far away is the moon?” “What are jazz hands?” “How do you cook bacon in the oven?” “Is there an atmosphere on the moon?” “Is Venus the same size as the Earth?” “Why is the sky blue?” “What’s the temperature outside?” “Do I need an umbrella today?” $99 Smart Home Culture Share your voice Preview • For your consideration: Google Home seeks employment as your family’s Rosie the robot Google Assistant is everywhere at CES 2019: Here’s everything announced so far 6:59 See it Walmart Aug 31 • Best smart light bulbs for 2019 (plus switches, light strips, accessories and more) Google Home News • Black Mirror season 5 has three new trailers to stress you out today CNET Smart Home Aug 31 • Alexa can tell you if someone breaks into your house $79 reading • Google Assistant launches first celebrity cameo with John Legend CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Google Almost a year ago, Google announced a bunch of new voice options for the company’s digital helper, simply known as Google Assistant. Singer and songwriter John Legend headlined the group of voices, which were otherwise of the AI-generated variety. The rest launched shortly after the May announcement, and finally, starting Wednesday, Google’s first celebrity cameo for Google Assistant goes live. John Legend’s voice will be available in English in the US on any device with Google Assistant — smart speakers like the Google Home, smart displays like the Google Home Hub and smartphones. You can enable it in the settings of the Google Assistant app or by telling your device to “Talk like a Legend.” (Here’s more detail on how to give Google Assistant John Legend’s voice.) Note that your default Google Assistant will still respond to most of your queries. John Legend’s voice will respond only to certain relevant questions like, “What’s your favorite music?” as well as some more general ones like, “What’s the weather?” And apparently, John Legend’s voice will be available only for a limited amount of time. $69 Now playing: Watch this: • See It Mentioned Above Google Home Comment Aug 31 • The best coffee grinders you can buy right now See It Google Assistant makes your Android texts smarter Aug 30 • Battling bot vacs: iRobot Roomba S9+ vs Neato Botvac D7 Connected How To • Make Google Home get your groceries CNET Smart Home Review • Google Home is better than ever, but you probably shouldn’t buy it 1 24 Photos Tags Crutchfield See All Google Assistant Google
Marjorie Kamys CoteraGov. Rick Perry addresses media at a press conference following the unveiling of his official portrait at the Texas Capitol on May 6, 2016President-elect Donald Trump has reportedly selected erstwhile rival and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to serve as his energy secretary.If confirmed, Perry will oversee American energy policy and its ramifications on the economy, environment and national security.Houston Public Media’s Coverage of Election 2016CBS News and other outlets reported the news late Monday night, hours after Perry met with the president-elect in New York. It was the second time Perry had made the trip to Trump Tower. Yet Perry has previously supported abolishing the Department of Energy entirely. Famously, during a presidential debate in November 2011, Energy was the third federal agency that Perry couldn’t name while trying to list the three he wanted to eliminate.“It’s three agencies of government when I get there that are gone — Commerce, Education and the, um, what’s the third one there? Let’s see,” Perry said, before finally giving up with his now-infamous “oops.”The appointment marks a full repair in Perry’s relationship with Trump. Perry called Trump “a cancer on conservatism” last year while the two men were in a crowded field for the Republican presidential nomination. But Perry was one of the first members of the Republican establishment to back Trump, once it became clear in May that the real estate mogul had secured the party’s nomination.Perry’s background as governor of Texas, a state rife with natural resources, is a key qualifying credential for the post. But this Cabinet role can go well beyond oil and natural gas. The outgoing secretary of energy, Ernest Moniz, had a physics background and played a central role in President Obama’s Iranian nuclear deal.If confirmed, Perry will be the third Texan to serve as secretary of energy. Previously, Houstonian Charles Duncan served in this role under President Jimmy Carter, as did Laredo native Frederico Peña in the Clinton administration.Perry will face Senate confirmation once Trump takes office. Republicans control the Senate, making that process all the easier for the president-elect’s nominees. Read related Tribune coverage:Throughout his campaign, Trump cultivated a number of loyal allies in Texas, making for no shortage of options as his transition team looks to staff the incoming administration.Trump passed over U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas for U.S. attorney general, opting instead for U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama.Patrick Svitek contributed to this report.This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2016/12/12/rick-perry-lands-spot-trumps-cabinet/. Share
By James Wright, Special to the AFRO, firstname.lastname@example.orgOn July 6, the Prince George’s County Board of Elections released the results of the absentee and provisional ballots cast during the June 26 Democratic and Republican primaries. The races for District 7 and District 9 of the county council were the ones of most interest.The results showed Rodney Streeter, chief of staff to Prince George’s County Council member Andrea Harrison (D-District 5), had the most votes with 2,818, followed closely by Krystal Oriadha with 2,787 for the District 7 council seat. Prince George’s County Clerk of the Court Sydney Harrison squeaked past political activist Tamara Brown, with 7,125 to 7,070 for the District 9 council seat.Following the counting of absentee ballots and provisional ballots, Sydney Harrison is the council member-elect for District 9 of the Prince George’s County Council. (Courtesy Photo)Streeter will replace Prince George’s County Council member Karen Toles (D), who unsuccessfully sought an at-large council seat, while Harrison will follow Prince George’s County Council member Mel Franklin (D), who also won an at-large seat.The AFRO was unable to reach Streeter or Harrison at press time. However, on his campaign web site, Harrison posted “You elected Sydney Harrison Prince George’s County Council District 9.”Neither Streeter nor Harrison has a Republican opponent so they will be elected to their offices by default in the Nov. 6 general election.