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The costs of inequality: When a fair shake isn’t

first_imgFirst in a series on what Harvard scholars are doing to identify and understand inequality, in seeking solutions to one of America’s most vexing problems. It’s a seemingly nondescript chart, buried in a Harvard Business School (HBS) professor’s academic paper.A rectangle, divided into parts, depicts U.S. wealth for each fifth of the population. But it appears to show only three divisions. The bottom two, representing the accumulated wealth of 124 million people, are so small that they almost don’t even show up.Other charts in other journals illustrate different aspects of American inequality. They might depict income, housing quality, rates of imprisonment, or levels of political influence, but they all look very much the same.Perhaps most damning are those that reflect opportunity — whether involving education, health, race, or gender — because the inequity represented there belies our national identity. America, we believe, is a land where everyone gets a fair start and then rises or falls according to his or her own talent and industry. But if you’re poor, if you’re uneducated, if you’re Black, if you’re Hispanic, if you’re a woman, there often is no fair start.Inequality, of course, has become a national buzzword and a political cause célèbre in this election year. It’s been discussed everywhere in the recent past, from the State of the Union Address to Thomas Piketty’s best-seller to the lips of presidential candidates to Pope Francis’s encyclical “Laudato Si.”Though the American public and politicians have just rediscovered the problem of inequality, the issue has long been an area of academic inquiry at Harvard, where research on its root causes crosses numerous disciplines.Inequality in America has been on the rise in recent years, after dipping by some measures following the Gilded Age and the Great Depression. It was a reality when Harvard philosopher John Rawls wrote his seminal text, “A Theory of Justice,” in 1971. It was a reality when now-Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) lecturer Marshall Ganz organized farm workers in the Southwest in the 1960s and ’70s. It was a reality when Nancy Oriol, now dean for students at Harvard Medical School (HMS), founded the Family Van care program in 1992. It was a reality when Government Professor Jennifer Hochschild wrote “Facing Up to the American Dream” in 1995, and when other faculty members penned books and articles on the problem’s many facets. And it was an expanding reality in 2011, when HBS Professor Michael Norton published that rectangular graph, in a study that also showed that Americans really don’t know how unequal the United States is — and that, given a blind choice, they’d rather live in Sweden, thank you very much.,A blizzard of statistics illustrates the problem and, with each monthly release from the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or any number of think tanks, the pile of reports grows higher. Their by-now-familiar theme is that the rich have gotten richer — dramatically so — in recent decades, while the poor have gotten poorer. And the middle class has just been hanging on.Wages for most relatively stagnantThe details show that real wages for most U.S. workers have been relatively stagnant since the 1970s, while those for the top 1 percent have increased 156 percent, and those for the top 0.1 percent have increased 362 percent, according to a report by the Economic Policy Institute.Those trends resulted in the poorest 20 percent of Americans receiving just 3.6 percent of the national income in 2014, down from 5.7 percent in 1974. The upper 20 percent, meanwhile, received nearly half of U.S. income in 2014, up from about 40 percent in 1974, according to Census Bureau statistics.But some analysts, such as Hochschild and Piketty, the French economist, say the area of greatest concern is overall wealth, not income alone.“From a poverty perspective, income means a lot — making $15,000 versus $20,000,” said Hochschild, who directs the HKS-based Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy. But “from an inequality perspective — writ large — it’s about wealth. … As a ’60s kid, I care a whole lot about ownership of the means of productivity.”In his 2013 best-seller “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” Piketty argues that wealth is critically important because capital grows faster than the economy. That means that those who hold capital — assets like money, stocks, real estate — will see their wealth grow faster than those managing on wages alone. Over time, that concentrates society’s wealth into fewer hands.America today appears to illustrate this process in action. Though the wealthiest 20 percent earned nearly half of all wages in 2014, they have more than 80 percent of the wealth. The wealth of the poorest 20 percent, as measured by net worth, is actually negative. If they sell all they own, they’ll still be in debt. “Inequality, it’s not just about wealth, it’s about power. It isn’t just that somebody has some yachts, it’s the effect on democracy. For me, the big issue is the power problem. … I think we’re in a really scary place.” — Marshall Ganz Others at Harvard have been pondering inequality as well, examining the issue through their own disciplinary lenses. Oriol, as director of obstetric anesthesia at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the ’80s, saw firsthand the disparities in infant mortality among the poor in Boston’s neighborhoods.“The discussion was: Why was infant mortality, in the shadow of some of our greatest hospitals, as bad as in some developing countries? As an obstetric anesthesiologist, I saw this, and I would hear from my patients how this came to be,” she recalled. “And it just seemed wrong.”By the early ’90s, Oriol’s effort to address the problem through a mobile medical clinic, now HMS’ Family Van, brought health screenings and referrals to the nearby neglected neighborhoods. But the van staff quickly learned that infant mortality wasn’t the only problem.“Infant mortality was simply a sign of a community in distress,” Oriol said. “The issue was poverty and what I call being medically disenfranchised. It was all the issues of life. It was homelessness, it was not having a job — just everything.”Over at Harvard Divinity School, Dan McKanan, Ralph Waldo Emerson Unitarian Universalist Association Senior Lecturer in Divinity, is examining the issue from a moral standpoint. He said society’s economic fruits — born most recently on a wave of automation and technical sophistication — make it possible to improve the lives of the poor beyond what was possible previously.One way to do that, he said, would be to guarantee all citizens a minimum income. This would free millions from what can become “wage slavery,” he said, and allow people to follow passions and creative urges. McKanan acknowledged that such a scheme — which might be accomplished by expanding Social Security — is politically unlikely, but said it is the role of academics to think deeply about how to create a more moral and just society that works better.Though the resultant redistribution of wealth represented by McKanan’s idea would be too extreme for many Americans, Norton’s survey work on the topic does show that Americans want a more equal society than exists now.A surprising central finding of Norton’s research is that we really don’t know how unequal the United States is. In a 2011 study, conducted with Duke University’s Dan Ariely, Americans consistently underestimated just how unequal the nation is and said their preferred wealth distribution ― while preserving some inequality — is more leveling than their inaccurate understanding of the current state of affairs.In a blind test, we’ll take SwedenThose surveyed guessed that the top 20 percent of Americans own 60 percent of the wealth, not the more than 80 percent they actually have. Further, when shown three unlabeled wealth distributions ― one completely equal, one dramatically skewed (and in fact representing divisions in the United States today), and a third using the income distribution of modern Sweden — 92 percent preferred the Swedish model.“We want to be in Sweden, all subgroups want to be in Sweden, if people could distribute the wealth any way they wanted,” Norton said. “Everyone is OK with rich and poor, but almost no one prefers the current state of the world.”But that agreement in a controlled study doesn’t translate to easy political fixes, Norton said.Actual U.S. wealth distribution plotted against estimated and ideal distributions. Source: Building a Better America“We had the perhaps naïve idea that we could show people the reality, and their attitudes and behavior would change,” Norton said. “But I’m a behavioral scientist, and we know that information alone is often not enough. It’s not an information problem, it’s an action problem.”It’s not surprising that liberals say there’s too much inequality, or that the very poor believe the gap between the rich and themselves is too big. But Norton said most conservatives and the wealthy also agree that the gap is too big. The problem, he said, is that the different camps disagree on solutions. A minimum wage hike to some is a direct way to get money in people’s pockets. To others, though, it’s a way to get someone’s job taken away. Another problem, he said, is that many people distrust the government — which many blame for the dichotomy in the first place — to fix it.Without meaningful action, American inequality will continue to be felt not just in the economic arena, but in many other facets of American life, including criminal justice, health, and education, among others.When Norton surveyed HBS alumni on the subject as part of the School’s 2015 Survey on U.S. Competitiveness, many respondents pointed toward education as both a cause of inequality and a potential solution.That’s a point of view that Harvard Graduate School of Education Dean James Ryan understands. The ideal of American education is equal quality for all, but it has never been achieved, Ryan said in an interview, and understanding why that is true, and how to change it, is the core mission of the School he leads.“Talent is evenly spread throughout our country. Opportunity is not,” Ryan said. “Right now, there exists an almost ironclad link between a child’s ZIP code and her chances of success.”Some progress has been made. Minority educational achievement has improved over the past 40 years, and achievement gaps have narrowed some between minorities and whites, and between women and men, according to the four-year report card from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. But gaps persist. The 44-point reading gap that existed between Black and white 9-year-olds in 1971 had narrowed by 2012, but still stood at 23 points, according to the report.Educational attainment refers to the highest level of education that an individual has completed. Source: Census. Graphic by Judy Blomquist/Harvard StaffThat story is mirrored in higher education, with some gains but persistent gaps. The proportion of associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees awarded to Blacks and Hispanics all increased, though progress slowed the higher the degree, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In the 2009-10 academic year, Black people earned 14 percent of all associate’s degrees, on a par with their 13.2 percent representation in the population. But they earned only 10 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 12 percent of master’s, and 7.4 percent of doctorates.Those figures also mask the fact that while Black women have progressed and earn disproportionately more of those degrees, the gaps for Black men have been slower to close, according to a 2012 report from the National Center for Education Statistics.At the same time, Black men are overrepresented in U.S. jails, according to a 2014 report by the U.S. Department of Justice. At a time when society, in the wake of racial flare-ups in Ferguson, Mo., and elsewhere, has been questioning just how evenhanded its law enforcement practices are, African American men make up 37 percent of the prison population, compared with 32 percent white and 22 percent Hispanic. In the general population, Blacks make up 13 percent, whites 62 percent, and Hispanics 17.Possible solutions to inequality:Better educational prospectsPolitical willingness to actStandardized health careBalanced tax policiesImproved economic mobilityEmployer-worker partnershipsBruce Western, the Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice Policy, professor of sociology, and director of HKS’ Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy, is among the Harvard faculty members examining the problems of dramatic inequality in the criminal justice system. In today’s America, Western said in an interview, an outsized two-thirds of African American men with low levels of schooling will spend time in prison, losing years when they could be building careers while gaining a stigma that can undercut the rest of their lives.Archon Fung, academic dean and Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Citizenship at HKS, said scholars are approaching the issue from many angles. Some are concerned with what he termed “the floor,” the problems of those in the bottom 10 or 20 percent, while others are concerned with the gulf between rich and poor.“Some people are more floor people, and some are more gap people,” Fung said.A third focus, Fung said, concerns mobility and opportunity, or how easy or hard it is to move between social classes.Fung himself works on democracy and participation. Through that lens, he’s concerned with the floor, the gap, and how political participation and influence may be restricted for those at the bottom who lack influence.What is clear, Fung said, is that those who are well-off simply have more: more money to donate to candidates, more time to volunteer in their communities, and more resources generally that allow them to participate and thrive in civil society. All of that, he said, is reflected in studies that have shown that government is more responsive to those at the top of the socioeconomic ladder.In the end, Fung said, “Preserving the integrity of our democracy may be the most important reason to address poverty and inequality.”Gazette staff writers Colleen Walsh, Christina Pazzanese, and Corydon Ireland contributed to this report.Illustration by Kathleen M.G. Howlett.Next Tuesday: political and economic inequality The widening wealth gap isn’t just a problem for the poor, census figures show. The median net worth of some 60 percent of Americans fell between 2000 and 2011, while that of the upper 40 percent increased.So what happened? Tax rates for the wealthy have fallen, globalization has changed the world’s and the nation’s economies, and rapidly changing technology has transformed the workplace. While those factors are in play, Norton said that nothing’s been proven yet as a dominant cause. To Hochschild, the problem’s roots lie in poverty, exacerbated by racism. The poor usually have worse health and education, leading to low-paying jobs and substandard housing, conditions that tend to be worse if you’re Black, Native American, or another ethnic minority. To Ganz, a senior lecturer in public policy, that’s not an accident, and it boils down to two words.“Political failure,” said Ganz. “I think the galloping inequality in this country results from poor political choices. There was nothing inevitable, nothing global. We made a series of political choices … that set us on this path.”Ganz pointed to a broad deregulation push that started with fiscal restraint under President Jimmy Carter and a budget-cutting campaign to “starve the beast” of government that began with President Ronald Reagan. Collectively, the two administrations eviscerated the government’s ability to act and function as a check on private wealth, he said.Ganz also blamed a suite of changes that eroded the power of labor unions. Their clout fell as legal protections for organizing activities eroded, beginning with the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947 and continuing since. Without that protection, employers were able to pressure organizers and reduce the likelihood that unions would take hold and thrive.“It takes a lot of courage to say — when your employer holds all the power — ‘We want something better,’” Ganz said. “This has been a real political success story for the conservative movement and private management.”Union membership down almost halfU.S. union membership has fallen by almost half since 1983, from one in five U.S. workers to just over one in 10 in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Public union membership has fared better than private labor unions, whose membership has fallen to just 6.6 percent of the workforce. Recent anti-union activities in some states have focused on those public-sector groups.Despite their declining numbers and influence, the unions’ effect on wages remains clear. Nonunion wages in 2014 averaged $763 per week, just 79 percent of union members’ $970 per week, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.Ganz said that the impact of falling union membership is felt not just in workers’ pocketbooks, but in the halls of power, and that is the change that troubles him the most.“Inequality, it’s not just about wealth, it’s about power,” Ganz said. “It isn’t just that somebody has some yachts, it’s the effect on democracy. For me, the big issue is the power problem. … I think we’re in a really scary place.”To Lawrence Katz, the Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics, the problem of inequality in income, wealth, and political power is exacerbated by another issue. America’s vaunted economic mobility has become decidedly less so, making it increasingly likely that where you start out financially is where you’ll wind up.Surveys of attitudes toward wealth conducted by Norton, the Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration, show that while Americans believe their nation is too unequal, they also believe that some inequality is good. Workers, after all, should benefit from their own toil. The single mom who works two jobs and puts herself through school should be celebrated when she lands a better job, buys a nicer car, and moves to a better neighborhood. To a great extent, that’s the hallowed American way — when it’s possible.Thomas Scanlon, the Alford Professor of Natural Religion, Moral Philosophy, and Civil Polity, said it’s important to think hard about why high inequality is a problem at all. That’s because the conclusions reached may underpin action. If you’re wealthy and you’re facing a hefty tax increase, or you’re a business owner bracing for a minimum-wage hike for your employees, the reason why you’ll get to keep less money and someone else will get more matters greatly.“Philosophers are in the business of thinking hard about issues, identifying the relevant factors,” Scanlon said. “There is widespread concern about the increased gap between ‘the 1 percent’ and the rest. But it is important to be clear exactly what is bad about this.”Altruistic motives underlie much of the national debate on the topic. One argument says the wealthy should sacrifice some of their gains to help the poor. But Scanlon said this is not the only valid reason to worry about national inequality. Workers aren’t charity cases. Instead they’re partners in the production of goods and services in this country and are entitled to a fair share of the system’s benefits, Scanlon wrote in a recent article. He agrees that inequality also results in distributing political power inequitably, making governmental institutions more unfair, and undermining the integrity of the economic system. All of that raises a key question for workers: Why bother pushing so hard?“If an economy is producing an increasing level of goods and services, then all those who participate in producing those benefits — workers as well as others — should share in the result,” Scanlon wrote. “No one has reason to accept a scheme of cooperation that places their lives under the control of others, that deprives them of meaningful political participation, that deprives their children of the opportunity to qualify for better jobs, and that deprives them of a share of the wealth they help to produce. The holdings of the rich are not legitimate if they are acquired through competition from which others are excluded, and made possible by laws that are shaped by the rich for the benefit of the rich. In these ways, economic inequality can undermine the conditions of its own legitimacy.” “Talent is evenly spread throughout our country. Opportunity is not. Right now, there exists an almost ironclad link between a child’s ZIP code and her chances of success.” — James Ryanlast_img read more

Off-campus houses robbed

first_imgAn email sent Wednesday from Notre Dame’s Off Campus Council notified students of a burglary and attempted burglary that took place last weekend. A burglary to a student residence took place Sunday between 12 a.m. and 9 a.m. on the 700 block of N. Notre Dame Ave., the email stated. Entry was gained by raising a screen then opening an unlocked window, and an Apple laptop was taken. The email also stated someone broke into a car at that site and took a backpack. Subject information is not available. An attempted burglary also occurred in the same block between Friday at 11:30 p.m. and Saturday at 1:30 a.m., the email stated. Entry was attempted by breaking a porch window, but nothing was taken. Subject information is unavailable for that incident as well, according to the email. The email directed students to the crime prevention tips listed on the Notre Dame Security Police website and the live crime map of Notre Dame, South Bend and Mishawaka at www.crimereports.com.last_img read more

Fans Rank Their Top 10 Picks For Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada Musical

first_imgMEGAN MULLALLY GLENN CLOSE Ever since we heard the buzz that the The Devil Wears Prada is being made into a musical, we’ve burned our cerulean sweaters, booked a trip to Paris and gone on a strict cheese cube diet. We’ve also been dreamcasting the role of Miranda Priestly, the intimidating Editor-in-Chief of Runway magazine played by Meryl Streep in the hit movie. We posted a few of our favorite choices on the top-ten ranking site Culturalist. Hundreds of fans voted, and your top 10 picks for Miranda are here! Check out the results below. That’s all. PATTI LUPONE DONNA MURPHY HELEN MIRREN VANESSA WILLIAMScenter_img AUDRA MCDONALD JOANNA GLEASON BERNADETTE PETERS CHRISTINE BARANSKI View Commentslast_img

Classic City Award Winners

first_imgLobularia ‘Bicolor Pink Stream™’“Month after month, ‘Bicolor Pink Stream’ displayed its beauty and perfumed its environment, never surrendering to the Georgia heat. This Alyssum is truly an extraordinary cultivar.” Each summer the staff of The Trial Gardens at UGA selects an all-star team of plants that performed spectacularly well during the growing season. “These Classic City Award winners are the very best plants in the trial gardens, based on year-round performance and/or eye-clutching beauty,” said John Ruter, University of Georgia horticulture professor and the gardens’ director. “We raise thousands of plants each year, and these are the best of the best.” Since 1982, The Trial Gardens at UGA have been used as a literal testing ground for plants from around the world. By evaluating new selections of annuals and perennials, the Trial Gardens’ staff helps introduce new plants to the Southeast’s green industry and the general public. The Trial Gardens’ plant evaluations are respected across the globe. Commercial nurseries depend on the staff’s recommendations to determine what they will grow for sale the following season. Many of the Classic City Award-winning plants are available for sale now, but others will be available through nurseries next season. Gardeners should ask their local nurseries to stock them. For more information about the Trial Gardens and this year’s trial results, visit ugatrial.hort.uga.edu.2014 Classic City Award Winners (Commentary provided by trial supervisor Meg Green and gardens’ director John Ruter)‘Archangel Dark Rose’ Angelonia– Ball FloraPlant“This Angelonia stood out amongst the others. It started out early by out-blooming its competitors and has remained strong through the hottest temperatures. The plants are compact and sturdy.”Calibrachoa ‘Superbells® Frostfire’“Our Calibrachoas were a bit slow to bloom in early summer, however, once the flowering began, it was profuse. ‘Superbells Frostfire’ has outshone other Calibrachoas, producing countless white flowers with a yellow eye. These plants remained compact while other Calibrachoas became spindly and scraggly late in the summer.” Hibiscus ‘Royal Gems’“‘Royal Gems’ Hibiscus has been in our garden for several years and it has impressed us this long. The plants resist the insects that decimate many other Hibiscuses. ‘Royal Gems’ produces giant, deep rosy-pink blossoms for several weeks throughout summer. Its foliage remains a healthy, lush green until frost.” Petunia ‘Supertunia® Morning Glory Charm’“Petunia ‘Supertunia Morning Glory Charm’ performed perfectly through the hot summer. It quickly formed a mound of small, violet blooms with a large, white eye. This petunia was loaded with so many small blooms, even in the hottest months of the summer. It never ceased to be a perfect sphere of violet with only bits of green visible.” Catharanthus Cora™ Series“We had 14 colors of the Cora series of Catharanthus this summer and every one of them performed outstandingly. The plants were consistent in height and floriferousness. All tolerated the heat, humidity and irregular rains quite well.”Coreopsis ‘Sunshine Suzie’“‘Sunshine Suzie’ is not a loud plant that begs for attention, but more of a quiet surprise. The plants were compact but airy, and were constantly in nickel-sized, yellow flowers. Month after month, ‘Sunshine Suzie’ excelled in our climate.”Echinacea ‘Sombrero™ Adobe Orange’“‘Sombrero Adobe Orange’ has completely wowed us with its extraordinary beauty. The plants produced numerous large, bright orange, cone-shaped flowers. This cultivar bloomed longer than any Echinacea we have grown ever.” Euphorbia ‘Star Dust Super Flash’“Over the years, the Euphorbias have performed well in our garden. ‘Star Dust Super Flash’ outperformed the others this summer. Countless small, white flowers covered the compact plants from April through October. The plants were well behaved, not falling over, nor infringing on their neighbors.” Impatiens Bounce Pink Flame“This year was a great one for our New Guinea Impatiens. So many cultivars performed extraordinarily well, including the series ‘Big Bounce’ and ‘Bounce.’ In particular, ‘Bounce Pink Flame’ grew tall, but never lodged (or bent).” Heliopsis ‘Sunstruck’“‘Sunstruck’ Heliopsis grew to a mere 6 inches in height. Its leaves are variegated and they accentuate the large, yellow flowers well. These plants withstood our heat and humidity and performed beautifully.” Scaevola ‘Scalora Amethyst’“This fan flower amazed us with its perfection throughout the summer. ‘Scalora Amethyst’ was another cultivar that was obviously a winner from early in the summer. The plants easily grew into a mat of blue blooms atop its foliage.” Pelargonium ‘Glitterati™ Ice Queen’“‘Glitterati™ Ice Queen’ was grown in hanging baskets in our garden where they thrived in the hot, blazing sun. The variegated leaves did not brown in the sun, but remained healthy all summer. This geranium produced numerous orange-red blooms that were evenly distributed throughout the plants, thus creating a lovely, mounding appearance.”last_img read more

Strings That Roam

first_imgThe Last Bison’s Free Range FolkIn “Switzerland,” the lead single from The Last Bison’s new Inheritance EP, front man and main songwriter Ben Hardesty sings, “We tried to sleep up in the banks of snow, but soon discovered it was far too cold. So we then retreated into town, to find a place where there was level ground.”It sounds like part of a tale ripped from an epic war tome, but it’s more likely an experience from a post-high school backpacking trip abroad. Still, the aesthetic is intentional. Hardesty grew up in Chesapeake, Va., a rural town just inland from the coast, where he was homeschooled and given the freedom to study what really interested him. He cites a six-month obsession with the Civil War as particularly influential in his vivid songs.“I had the opportunity to study the things I really cared about,” he says. “I’ve always had a love for that era, and that informs my songwriting. That makes it come off as representative of a time gone by.”Although Hardesty grew up digging the rootsy sounds of Allison Krauss and John Prine, a year living in the UK after high school also turned him on to classical music. Now the influences collide in his seven-piece band’s self-described mountaintop chamber music. It’s a sound where perky banjo plucks and mandolin fills are underscored by the sweet melancholy of patient cello runs and deep marching percussion. Hardesty leads the troops, donning a general’s beard, with emotional vocals that fluctuate between husky howls and high-pitched falsetto.Still in his early 20s, Hardesty has been writing songs since his homeschooling days, often inspired by the marsh woodlands of the Great Dismal Swamp near his home and trips to nearby colonial Williamsburg. When he returned to Virginia from England he decided to get serious about his craft and started working out songs with his father and sister, both members of The Last Bison, at home in their living room. They added longtime friend Andrew Benfante on a 75-year-old pump organ and his brother Jay on percussion. The group is rounded out by classically trained string players Teresa Totheroh on violin and Amos Housworth on cello.With seven members, the band’s sound comes to life with a theatrical vibrancy. While Hardesty sings and pounds away at his acoustic guitar, the rest of the group creates pastoral aural journeys with swirling strings and colossal bursts of emotion—often equally appropriate for a rock club or a symphony hall.“I bring full songs to the band, like a canvas to paint on,” Hardesty adds. “Then we work through the structure and embellish a song together.”Though based in Chesapeake, the band built a reputation through coffee shop gigs and house shows in nearby Norfolk. After a local band showcase at The Norva, a large theater that houses national acts, the venue’s booking agent sent the band’s independently released first album, Quill, to a DJ at a local alternative rock station. The station put one of the band’s tunes in rotation, and soon, record label reps took notice. The band inked a deal with Universal Republic and released the EP last fall with a full-length album to follow in March. The band’s sound has earned comparisons to predecessors in the neo-folk explosion like Mumford and Sons and the Decemberists. The group has also already landed some choice gigs in the Americana world, including an opening slot for the Avett Brothers at an amphitheater near their hometown and a tour with Langhorne Slim. While Hardesty says the comparisons are flattering, he stresses his band isn’t trying to imitate what’s currently popular.“There’s a rising trend in folk music,” he says. “The key is to be authentic and make the music that comes from you. We’re not trying to contrive anything.”  •Jim James Goes SoloMy Morning Jacket front man Jim James will release a debut solo album on February 5. While James previously released a short EP of George Harrison covers under the name Yim Yames, this will mark his first proper full length under his own name. Regions of Light and Sound of God was both produced and engineered by James, who also handled all instruments on the album’s nine tracks. According to a release, sounds will range from old-school R&B to island folk, while a preview track, “Know Til Now” has a futuristic soul groove with similarities to Jacket’s work on Z and Evil Urges. No word yet on whether a supporting tour will follow.last_img read more

Mexican President Says Leaders Must Act In Face Of Violence

first_imgBy Dialogo June 01, 2009 Mexican President Felipe Calderon said the actions of terrorists and groups dedicated to organized crime must not be allowed to paralyze or curtail through fear the activities of leaders. Calderon spoke at the close of the 5th International Congress of Victims of Terrorism in the Colombian city of Medellin, where he acknowledged that in Mexico this situation has come to recur in the regions, which generates “more terror and impunity.” “We cannot allow terror to take hold of the … people (or) the governments that must defend the (people). We cannot allow, through fear or political reasons, or for any reason, it to diminish or impede the activity of the (political) leader,” he said. “The great majority of the criminal acts linked to terror start from either the incapacity of the authorities or the fear of the authorities,” Calderon said, adding that “there are more and more cases in which society itself is the target of the aggression.” Before the 1,600 attendees at the congress, where for two days about 30 victims of terrorism gave their testimonials, the Mexican leader said that “by terrorizing a family with the kidnapping of a loved one, by terrorizing society with massive extortion, with bombs, organized crime is climbing in the social hierarchy.” Earlier in the day, Calderon met with his Colombian counterpart, Alvaro Uribe, and the leaders committed themselves to jointly fighting drug trafficking, terrorism and any threat to the security of the two nations. In a communique issued at the end of the meeting, Uribe hailed Calderon for his “intense and timely fight against crime and organized crime, as well as for his commitment to the law, freedom, democracy and justice.” The Colombian promised to deepen the cooperation with Mexico to confront the threat posed by organized crime, which he called “a common enemy that does not respect borders and seriously affects our societies.” “Mexico is an example … in confronting drug trafficking and the factors of criminality that surround it. Every one of its successes, we celebrate as a Colombian success,” Uribe said.last_img read more

Lawmakers only tweak Workers’ Comp laws

Efforts to restrict attorneys’ fees for workers’ compensation attorneys and to cut some benefits for injured workers went by the wayside in the final hours of the Florida Legislature as lawmakers adopted more moderate and administrative-oriented changes.Rafael Gonzalez, chair of The Florida Bar’s Workers’ Compensation Section, said it appeared that no bill might clear both the House and Senate, but then legislation crafted largely in the Senate was passed in the final day.The final bill, SB 108, was mostly based on legislation approved on March 12 by the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee and which was sponsored by Sen. Jack Latvala. (See story on page 21 of the April 1 Bar News. )The Senate passed that bill and sent it to the House, Gonzalez said, and the House appended that language to another measure which provided expanded workers’ compensation coverage for firefighters and sent it back to the Senate. It appeared the bill might die there, but the upper chamber passed it shortly before adjourning the regular session on March 22.The bill shortens the time for mediation and final hearings after filing a claim, makes it harder to get continuances, requires appellate mediation, and limits the exemptions construction companies can claim on some jobs. The firefighter part of the bill, Gonzalez said, provided coverage while firefighters are going to and from work and while they are fighting fires outside their jurisdiction.As this News went to press, the bill was pending before Gov. Jeb Bush.Earlier legislation had attempted to reduce attorneys’ fees or reduce or eliminate hourly fees, Gonzalez said, which would have made it hard for injured workers to find attorneys when they were denied such things as medical tests or screenings. Earlier versions also looked at cutting benefits for permanent total disability, especially for older injured workers, but raising some benefits for those temporarily disabled.Gonzalez said business and insurance interests are expected to push for more changes next year, including on attorneys’ fees. Sen. Skip Campbell, D-Tamarac, has also vowed to prepare a major workers’ compensation bill to end all construction industry exemptions, which have been blamed for fraud and perhaps as much as $1.4 billion in unpaid premiums.Gonzalez said this year’s changes may help reduce premiums by speeding the process. “I wish they would give it a year or two [before making more alterations] to see what impacts these changes will make,” he said. April 15, 2002 Regular News Lawmakers only tweak Workers’ Comp laws Lawmakers only tweak Workers’ Comp laws read more

Why even the rich don’t trust themselves with their money

first_imgWhen the affluent are nervous, it’s time for middle-class investors to make sure their portfolios are on track.by: Rachel F. ElsonIf the wild market swings of the past week have you feeling anxious about your portfolio, you’re not alone. Even wealthy investors say a volatile stock market puts them on edge, perhaps because so much of their money is bound up in stocks.A new study finds that almost 40% of affluent investors don’t trust themselves to manage their own investments during market downturns—in fact, more than 60% of those surveyed say they currently work with a financial adviser. (Although the study targeted people with more than $250,000 in financial assets, the group surveyed had a median $450,000 parked in the stock market.)It’s not just wealthy investors who are worried about their finances, of course. Another recent survey found that 62% of Americans overall reported being kept awake by money concerns, though the percentage is smaller than in past years. Among those losing sleep, 40% reported worrying about retirement savings; among those ages 50-54, fully half said this concern keeps them up at night. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Mozilla CEO resigns after furor over gay rights

first_imgNZ Herald 4 April 2014      Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich is stepping down as CEO and leaving the company following protests over his support of a gay marriage ban in California.The nonprofit that makes the Firefox browser infuriated many employees and users last week by naming Eich head of the Mountain View, California-based organization.At issue was Eich’s $1,000 donation in 2008 to the campaign to pass California’s Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that outlawed same-sex marriages. The ban was overturned last year when the U.S. Supreme Court left in place a lower-court ruling striking down the ballot measure.Eich’s contribution had drawn negative attention in the past but took on more weight when he was named CEO. Mozilla employees and users criticized the move on Twitter and elsewhere online. Earlier this week, dating website OKCupid replaced its usual homepage for users logging in with Firefox with a note suggesting they not use Mozilla’s software to access the site.The departure raises questions about how far corporate leaders are allowed to go in expressing their political views.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11232112last_img read more

Tetraplegic woman: Euthanasia shouldn’t be allowed for people with injuries

first_imgNewsTalk ZB 14 December 2017Family First Comment: Christchurch woman Claire Freeman lost all movement in her limbs after a car accident when she was 17. She was told by health professionals that given the extent of her injuries, travelling overseas for assisted suicide was a legitimate option. “That would definitely have been something that I would have actively pursued had it been legal and I’m just so grateful now that it is not.”www.PROTECT.org.nz to make a SubmissionA tetraplegic says a voluntary euthanasia bill that has passed its first reading needs significant changes.Christchurch woman Claire Freeman lost all movement in her limbs after a car accident when she was 17.She told Larry Williams in the wake of her accident, she was told by health professionals that given the extent of her injuries, travelling overseas for assisted suicide was a legitimate option.“That would definitely have been something that I would have actively pursued had it been legal and I’m just so grateful now that it is not.”She said assisted suicide has a place in the event of a painful and terminal illness, but should not be allowed for those with grievous injuries like hers.Claire said she attempted to end her own life after her accident and now regrets considering suicide.“You don’t know what it’s like until you have it and my problem wasn’t my injury it was my misguided coping mechanism.”http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/larry-williams-drive/audio/claire-freeman-euthanasia-bill-needs-significant-changes/last_img read more