EXCLUSIVE: Stream Snarky Puppy Guitarist Bob Lanzetti’s Debut Solo Album Ahead Of Its Release

first_imgTomorrow, September 28th, Bob Lanzetti, guitarist of three-time Grammy Award Winning jazz/funk collective Snarky Puppy, will officially release his debut solo album, Whose Feet Are These That Are Walking. The album’s core band is a quartet featuring Lanzetti on all guitars, Philip Sterk on pedal steel guitar, Matt Aronoff on bass, and Jordan Perlson on drums, with special guest appearances from Lanzetti’s Snarky cohorts Michael League, Cory Henry, Nate Werth, Marcelo Woloski, Justin Stanton, Mike Maher, among others throughout the album.Compared to his work with Snarky Puppy, which leans more towards textural funk and ambient compositions, Bob Lanzetti’s solo album is differentiated by his emphasis on melodies and blues-heavy guitar solos. “I started writing most of the music probably 4-5 years ago,” explains Lanzetti. “At that time, Snarky Puppy was touring constantly. I think my initial desire was to do something totally different than Snarky Puppy. Maybe just to create a balance in my musical life [laughs]. To that end, a lot of the music to me feels like songs that you could imagine a singer singing. At the time, I was listening to a lot of stuff like Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson. A lot of classic country. So that definitely made its way into some of the music. What I wanted to do was combine elements of some of those classic country recordings and songwriting styles with improvised moments. I wanted to think of my guitar as a lead singer, that would sometimes jump out of that ‘lead singing’ role and become more guitar-istic.”***You can listen to the new album below exclusively though Live For Live Music*** On “B,” the band methodically establishes a rock solid floor before expanding the collective sound with a crystal clear guitar line. Lanzetti quickly throws in a much warmer, fuzzier-toned accompanying line as counterpoint to the first, adding a challenging aspect to the track. The sense of movement and realization that permeates “B” will cause even the most casual listeners to turn their full attention to the pyrotechnic blues-guitar display.“Happy Stranger” slows the oscillation of the opening track with deep, mournful, big-sky notes, slow and arching. Softly singing voices accompany the track, adding a sonic girth that matches the expansive guitar phrasing. Once the table is set, Lanzetti takes full control, his jubilantly arching guitar licks crying from the center of the dry and dusty soundscape. At its heart, “Happy Stranger” is a waltz, and the dance floor it sets itself upon is the noble soil of the plains.Scratchy intro percussion gives an Americana vibe to “Frances,” with a rolling snare further increasing the focus on stellar percussion of Jordan Perlson. Earnest bluesy guitar from Sterk on pedal steel gives Lanzetti room to experiment. The production on the entire album is a near perfect balance of control and minimalism, and “Frances” raises the bar for the tracks that follow.“Ivory” finds Lanzetti and company ready to turn up the tempo and get to rocking. Merging a jazzy, vaguely Latin beat with a sixties, mod-esque guitar line the Fierce, forceful and driven. Rising and falling rhythms, wild echo laden effects and a sense of urgency quickly set “Ivory” apart from the songs it follows. The building intensity of the song imparts a sense of Lanzetti having a point he desperately wants to make.“Caroline No” sees Lanzetti returning to the wide open soundscape mentality established earlier on the disc. Echo and reverb thicken his tone almost beyond the ears ability to accept. The song itself takes on an air of a spiritual as organ fills and sof chords seem to float gently down a sunny stream. The mixture of gospel timbre and vast musical mesas make “Caroline No” a perfect song for those lazy afternoons of summer.“Anoynomous” is guitar-based fusion of jazzy space and rock sensibilities with the rhythm section ready to provide a pocket and splashes of color as needed. Broken into free-flowing sections, the song honors both ends of the dynamic evenly. It unexpectedly collapses into a psychedelic morass of theremin-styled waves of sound that give the feeling of broken thoughts. While  the result would be schizophrenicin less competent hands, the use of previously established elements sets up the introduction of the new sonic components brilliantly.“Jenny Is A Donkey” is a return to the southwestern vistas to close the piece. Following the fireworks of the previous track, the reedy organs and crisp percussion perfectly accompany Sterk’s drawn out pedal steel sound. Lanzetti has one last, impossibly clean and cutting guitar line to add, and each note seems to entwine itself through the sonic weave the rest of the players have untied to create.In setting out to explore new territory, Lanzetti manages to establish a whole new sandbox for himself to play in for the years to come. When artists break new ground for themselves the real winners are us, the lovers of music itself. You can check out Bob Lanzetti perform at the Independent Bar and Kitchen on November 7th in Dallas, Texas as part of Mark Lettieri’s residency. Don’t miss out!Bob Lanzetti’s new album, Whose Feet Are These That Are Walking is available for pre-order here.last_img read more

After Katrina, residents rolled up sleeves

first_imgMost people recall the heart-rending images of flood victims clinging to rooftops, pleading for help in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the mega-storm that ripped into the Gulf Coast in 2005. Harder to remember are the grueling recovery efforts in the months and years that followed.One often-overlooked side to that recovery involves the countless residents who bonded to rebuild their devastated communities. Now a Harvard graduate is making sure their stories are told. Tom Wooten ’08 has just published the book “We Shall Not Be Moved: Rebuilding Home in the Wake of Katrina.”Wooten, a Ph.D. candidate in Harvard’s sociology department, on Wednesday discussed his work during a talk sponsored by the Harvard College dean’s office, the Harvard Undergraduate Council, and the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA). The Sever Hall lecture was one of Harvard’s diverse Wintersession offerings that help students explore their other interests, and connect with alumni, before the spring academic semester begins.Recently, the popular winter book talk series featuring Harvard faculty has expanded to include alumni. The new format, say Harvard officials, encourages students to tap into Harvard’s vast network of alumni who can share their career knowledge and experience.“Once students arrive at Harvard, they become part of a lifelong community,” said Philip Lovejoy, HAA’s deputy executive director. “Wintersession draws alumni back to campus to share their stories and expertise, which ultimately helps students to craft their own paths.”The new book grew out of Wooten’s interest in another tragedy. During his freshman year, he and his roommate, Utpal Sandesara ’08, began research on the Machhu dam collapse in Gujarat, India, that killed thousands of people in 1979. Their 2011 book, “No One Had a Tongue to Speak,” details the disaster and the Indian government’s top-down approach to the recovery effort, one that “didn’t involve victims of the disaster.”Wooten said that work made him curious about “what the opposite type of recovery would look like, one that was driven completely by neighborhoods or by residents themselves. … And for better and for worse, that’s what was happening in New Orleans.”Wooten was one of countless other young volunteers who descended on Louisiana to help its battered coastal communities rebuild when he made his first trip there in 2007, when he was a junior. He traveled back to New Orleans later that year to interview community leaders and study how the city’s grassroots recovery effort was unfolding, for his senior thesis. In 2008, backed by a fellowship from the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), Wooten returned to the city with the aim of expanding his research into a book.The resulting work is an intimate narrative that profiles five New Orleans communities and the steps that their residents took to rebuild, in “the vacuum of government leadership” and the absence of accessible federal, state, or city support.During his talk, Wooten offered the example of Broadmoor, a diverse neighborhood near the city’s heart. Residents responded to an initial city recovery plan created by a special commission, which had suggested replacing their flood-damaged community with parkland, by making their own arrangements for the future.“What residents decided was that instead of lobbying city hall and saying, ‘You shouldn’t tear us down,’ they were just going to prove that the neighborhood was viable,” he said.Neighborhood leaders organized meetings on street corners that attracted hundreds of residents. The neighbors created planning committees devoted to goals such as reviving the local school, reopening the library, and rebuilding damaged homes.Wooten described how the neighborhood leaders, in part with help from HKS, began to apply for their own aid. They successfully secured a $2 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to help them overhaul their waterlogged library. Instead of relying on the government to reopen their public school, they created their own school board and developed plans for a charter school.From his Broadmoor porch, Wooten said he “watched the recovery unfold,” and the neighborhood “come back to life.”But Wooten’s encouraging message also included a note of caution. While he called his hopeful stories of recovery and the capacity within neighborhoods the “the silver lining” of Katrina, the process, he said, was “by no means ideal. This is what happened as a result of neighborhoods being left to essentially fend for themselves.”Tara Raghuveer, the president of Harvard’s Undergraduate Council, called Wooten “a social studies superstar.” A social studies concentrator with an interest in urban policy and disaster relief, the junior said she hoped to “gain some of his knowledge.”The author’s words and story struck a chord with the Currier House resident.“The capacity of people to organize and bring about results … that’s the main take-away, and something that’s hugely compelling to me, because it’s a human story,” she said.last_img read more

Far-out questions

first_imgAlmost every clear night, Avi Loeb, chairman of Harvard’s Astronomy Department, steps onto his porch and looks up at the Milky Way. The gleaming stars could be the lights of a giant space ship.Back inside, Loeb tells his wife what he’s seen. She tells him it would be OK to leave with the aliens — under certain conditions.“If there is an extraterrestrial, just make sure they leave the car keys with me,” Loeb’s wife tells him. “And don’t wake the dog in the backyard.”Absent a late-night visit from aliens, how might we discover if the universe is teeming with life? What tools exist to help the search?Loeb, the Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science and director of the Institute for Theory and Computation, touched on those questions and others Tuesday at the Science Center during an hourlong talk titled “New Search Methods for Primitive and Intelligent Life Far from Earth.” The talk was the latest in a monthly series that connects the public with insights from scientific research. Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics Melissa Franklin served as moderator.The question of whether we’re alone has the potential to reshape almost every facet of human knowledge, with implications in biology, history, linguistics, politics, and much more. Our religious beliefs would be challenged.Many scientists assume that Earth is the center of the biological universe and that other galaxies are lifeless, but assumptions impede discovery, Loeb noted.“It was once common sense that heavy objects fell faster than light ones,” he said. “We should simply check our assumptions rather than make them, especially in the search for intelligent life.”One such assumption: that objects of the Kuiper belt, a region of the solar system beyond the orbit of Neptune, emit natural light reflected by the sun. It could be artificial light, Loeb said. A city the size of Tokyo could radiate light seen from that distance — if we looked for it, according to Loeb.Light could be the key to detecting life beyond the solar system, Loeb said. Planets have a habitable zone: the right distance from a star to be warm enough for liquid water. Scientists using powerful telescopes should be able to view the starlight passing through a planet’s atmosphere to detect the fingerprints of oxygen and methane, Loeb said.Such telescopes have already discovered candidates for observation. The deep-space Kepler satellite has found 3,500 objects. But Loeb said that the Hubble Space Telescope’s successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, set to be launched in 2018, will be an even more powerful investigative tool.“If we want to detect biological molecules of life in the next decade, this is the best instrument,” he said.There are also low-frequency observatories poised to eavesdrop on radio signals from extraterrestrial civilizations (while our signals head out into space to be captured). What would we do if we detected such a signal and made contact with a civilization billions of years older than our own?“We could ask, ‘What is the nature of dark matter and dark energy?’” Loeb said. “But it would feel like cheating on an exam.”last_img read more

China syndrome

first_imgAfter more than a decade of nearly can’t-miss growth, China’s stock market began a precipitous summer slide that has spooked investors worldwide. In July, the Shanghai composite index dropped 15 percent from June, prompting the People’s Bank of China to devalue the yuan by 1.9 percent in mid-August, the biggest currency adjustment in two decades. But continued trading volatility climaxed on Aug. 23 in what many have called China’s “Black Monday.” Shanghai stocks dropped by 8.5 percent overnight, their steepest single-day decline since 2007. Since June, China’s stock market has fallen 38 percent. As the world’s second-largest economy, China’s crash ripped through world markets, including Japan, Hong Kong, Europe, and the United States, as uneasy investors instigated historic single-day sell-offs. Early this week, the Chinese government reportedly arrested nearly 200 people, including corporate executives, government officials, and journalists, for allegedly spreading false rumors online about the market’s stability. And in a turnabout, authorities also announced they will not institute more interventions to rescue the still-shaky economy, as they had pledged. Dante Roscini, M.B.A. ’88 is a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School (HBS). For two decades, he ran equity capital markets for Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, and Morgan Stanley. His casework focuses on international investment, sovereign debt, monetary policy, and central banking. Roscini spoke with the Gazette about China’s economic woes and how they may affect global markets and investors going forward.GAZETTE: Why were so many caught off-guard by this crash? Weren’t there warning signs that this might happen?ROSCINI: Yes, there were warning signs. Some of the indicators in China’s economy have been slowing for some time. In January, the official data for GDP growth was 7.4 percent, the weakest in 24 years and the first time in a century that growth fell short of the official target, although by only 0.1 percent. There has been continuing softness in data regarding manufacturing activity, exports, and imports. When China made a currency adjustment, market participants took fright, fearing a much bigger slowdown than they expected. The wheels came off an over-exuberant Chinese stock market, which had surged over 150 percent in 12 months and hit a seven-year high. The consequences were felt by financial markets everywhere.GAZETTE: Given how opaque China’s economy is, does anyone accurately know how deep or lasting this slowdown might be?ROSCINI: The official numbers must indeed be taken with a grain of salt. There is a debate in the marketplace and among economists as to what the future holds. Are we headed for a “soft landing,” a correction that can be managed so that growth, albeit at a slower pace, will continue to be solid, or are we at an inflection point and we risk a more precipitous deceleration, a “hard landing”?China has astounded the world for 30 years by growing consistently at 10 percent per year or more, lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty. It has gone from almost nowhere to being the second-biggest economy, contributing 15 percent to the global GDP and 25 percent to its growth.Exports drove that growth. Over the past two decades, the level of exports to developed markets from China grew on the order of 20 percent per year. And yet, the consumption of goods in those markets was only growing by about 5 percent per year. China was therefore grabbing market share; “Made in China” became ubiquitous. This was driven in large part from massive outsourcing on the part of companies in developed markets. They were moving production to China in droves because labor was cheap, so the economy grew very, very fast.In the process of becoming the “factory of the world,” the country needed infrastructures: roads, ports, rails, plants, cities for the workers, and so on. Massive investment — rather than consumption — drove the economy. Consumption in China is still only about a third of GDP versus some 70-odd percent in the developed markets. China kept buying all sorts of goods and became the first importer in the world for a number of commodities, in the process benefiting those countries that could supply them.The issue is that we may be reaching the limits to the outsourcing trend. For example, almost 100 percent of textiles in this country are now outsourced — you can’t go further than that. Between 50 and 60 percent of all manufactured goods in the U.S. are outsourced, and not everything is outsourceable. Furthermore, wage inflation in China has dented its competitiveness and there are other location choices. So, the question is: How much more can this phenomenon continue? Are we at the end of the era of Chinese exceptionalism?This concept dovetails with the idea that China must change its development model in order to gain long-term economic and social stability. Economists have been saying this for a long time and the Chinese leadership is trying to rebalance growth toward consumption. In other economies where this shift has taken place before — such as the Asian Tigers — it was generally associated with lower growth since relying on endogenous progression of domestic demand is not as powerful as relying on an exogenous inflow of export-driving outsourcing.GAZETTE: Although the U.S. and European markets seem to have stabilized for now, what are the potential ramifications globally of China’s market troubles? Could their problems spill over into other markets?ROSCINI: Certainly it was trouble from a stock market perspective. The fall was as bad as we saw here in 2001 after the dot-com bubble. The response by the Chinese authorities was extraordinary. They enacted of series of price-distorting measures that smacked of desperation. They stopped all IPOs; they asked state-owned companies to buy back their shares; they arrested traders and journalists; they banned short selling and channeled pension money into equities, effectively nationalizing a piece of the market.Fortunately, the stock market is a rather small part of China’s economy. The total market capitalization is less than a third of GDP against the 100 percent or more in developed economies. Also, few people have their money in the stock market. The real money is in the property market; a drop in values of real estate would have more far-reaching consequences.In terms of global spillovers, the recovery in most developed markets does not depend on exports to China. Of course, if the Chinese deceleration were to lead to a negative shock to global growth, that would be bad news for everyone. I don’t believe this to be the base case unless there is a real hard landing.GAZETTE: Which industries and nations will feel this slowdown most acutely and how are they reacting?ROSCINI: China represents between 1 and 3 percent of the exports for the G3 economies [the United States, Germany, and Japan]. But for Australia, Chile, Korea, Singapore, and Peru for example, these numbers are more significant, anywhere from 6 to 17 percent. Some of China’s neighbors are tied to its manufacturing processes; other countries more far afield supply it with oil, gas, metals, and other primary materials. A slowdown in China could impact some of these emerging markets pretty hard. Capital has quickly flown out of them, hitting their currencies and equity markets. Europe is less exposed, though some specific sectors, such as luxury goods, will feel the pinch.GAZETTE: What does it mean for the U.S. economy if this is China’s new normal or things decline even further?ROSCINI: The U.S. is growing solidly. This crisis is not going to be too impactful through the trade channel. Exports make up only 13 percent of U.S. GDP and exports to China represent less than 1 percent of U.S. GDP. Some U.S. multinationals might be exposed to a fall in their overseas earnings. GE stock was down 20 percent for a time on Black Monday, though Apple, for example, recently said that business in China continues to be strong. Perhaps the strongest impact would be if, as some people are asking, the [Federal Reserve Bank] were to delay raising U.S. interest rates on the basis that China’s deceleration will induce a global slowdown. That decision would clearly have an effect on this economy.GAZETTE: What are investors most concerned about and what will they look for in the short and medium terms to feel confident again in China’s stability?ROSCINI: Investors are prone to panic, as we’ve seen; they tend to rush for the exits. In reality, China is generally in a position to manage the turbulence in its economy. First, it has a service sector that is growing fast and that will be a natural counterbalance to the slowdown in industry. Second, China is in good shape from a fiscal standpoint. They have a budget deficit target of 2.3 percent this year, but are currently in surplus. Third, they still have enormous foreign exchange reserves that will allow them to intervene in the currency market. Finally, the Chinese central bank has room for further monetary stimulus; they can lower the reserve requirement for banks from the current 18 percent of deposits and they can reduce interest rates. For example, the one-year lending rate is at 4.6 percent against practically zero here.One thing to watch for will be how China ensures the stability of its financial system since total debt has reached 250 percent of GDP, credit has been abundant, and the size of the shadow banking system has exploded.More, investors will judge how China is going to manage its reforms for the longer term. Are they going to foster the rule of law and give domestic and foreign entrepreneurs more confidence to invest? Are they going to allow private companies to better compete with state-owned ones? Are they going to change the system of residence permits so that people can move more freely? Will they liberalize the capital account and let the currency float? In short, markets will assess how credibly the country’s policies are evolving.GAZETTE: How does China’s political leadership affect their economy and their ability to correctly identify and fix the shortcomings? And have these emergency interventions damaged the market’s credibility?ROSCINI: I believe that the bigger question is if the political leadership will have the courage to move from a command economy to something that looks more like a market economy. Their heavy-handed remedial actions against the drop in the stock market have damaged their credibility. This was discouraging for those investors who were hoping that Beijing was making its markets more free. A fake marketplace creates distrust and is counterproductive in the long term.This interview has been edited for length and clarity.last_img read more

The Predictive Enterprise (Part 2)

first_imgWith the very initiation of a data science-powered transformation, the endeavor and whoever is driving it are acknowledging that the status quo for analytics utilization does not deliver against the believed potential value for the given business (however defined). As a result, any individual (wherever they are on the totem pole), technology, and even organization overly associated with legacy or the status quo will find themselves exposed to some degree of uncertainty and possibly even vulnerability. What transpires when an enterprise kicks off such an initiative ranges within two extremes. On one side – the “bad outcome” – the effort yields a hot mess of organizational wrangling over concepts like “data ownership” and “where analytics should live”, shortsighted technology investments or the digging-in-of-heels around legacy platforms, and analytical project work-to-nowhere – all with the enterprise’s competitive advantage wavering on a precipice.On the other end of the spectrum – the “good outcome” – the effort can yield a complete rebirth or transformation of the company built upon data-derived innovation, resulting in data science-generated intellectual property and competitive advantage. On this end of the spectrum, I often see an executive alignment on prioritization for data initiatives, a thriving data science culture, a drumbeat focus on smart data instrumentation and data quality processes, and modeling efforts with clearly defined paths to operationalization for top- or bottom-line impacting actions.I am frequently asked by our Analytics Labs customers which levers they should control to drive towards the “good outcome” as they embrace data science. The levers are numerous, and each is integral to the success of the effort. I’ve mentally cultivated my list over an extended period of time, based on my team’s data science work with our customers and prospects, my observations of the travails and successes of various Greenplum customers, and my pre-Greenplum days at Yahoo!, where I ran central Insights Services and led globalized data solutions during the company’s data “glory days”.For more on the Predictive Enterprise, read my full post on Greenplum’s Datastream Blog.last_img read more

Cuomo Has Great Big Plans For New York But Actions Must Speak Louder Than His Words

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A third track for the LIRR, a deepwater port for Shoreham, a refurbished Penn Station, a new Jacob Javits Convention Center, an international customs station at MacArthur Airport, and a serious study of putting a tunnel under the Sound to connect Long Island to Connecticut.Apparently the Empire State’s policymakers have realized that Downstate New York needs more funding for things other than public education.January has been a busy month for Gov. Andrew Cuomo—and it’s hardly halfway through. He gave his State of the State speech in Albany to highlight his ambitious $154.5 billion spending plan for 2016-17. Last week he went on a whirlwind tour that took him to Long Island as he hit all the right notes for local business groups, with countless men and women in suits applauding that the state government finally had a vision for our sagging infrastructure.The relatively quiet Long Island Regional Planning Council sent out a celebratory email thanking Cuomo: “The LIRPC, as Long Island’s Chief Planner and one of the Region’s leading advocates, is outspoken in soliciting support from State and Federal leaders in addressing our Region’s needs. It is therefore appropriate that we salute the Governor and his leadership in addressing long-standing problems that adversely affect the Island’s sustainability. The LIRPC looks forward to continuing to work with the Governor, his administration and the State Legislature in helping to make Long Island strong, vibrant and livable for generations to come. Bravo, Governor Cuomo!”The Long Island Clean Water Partnership implored their members: “Please take a moment to send a message to Governor Cuomo to thank him for his unprecedented investment in our environment and communities.”Nancy Rauch Douzinas of The Rauch Foundation, which handles the annual Long Island Index project, expressed her encouragement: “This is a remarkable opportunity for the region and one on which we should capitalize.” Rauch went on to say: “Governor Cuomo’s vision is an exciting one that offers a dynamic future for Long Island. I urge Long Islanders to seize the momentum that his vision conveys and work together to achieve its extraordinary potential.”Not to be a party pooper, but aren’t the tasks of investing in our infrastructure and protecting our environment some of the fundamental functions of government?  Especially if the transportation networks that  residents—and taxpayers—use daily are inadequate?If Long Islanders are for some reason compelled to say “thanks” to policymakers for doing their jobs, it should be when these projects are completed.Gov. Cuomo’s initiatives would amount to a hearty expenditure of money. Planning for the LIRR’s 9.8-mile third track along the Main Line in Nassau would cost $7 million, while the project itself is estimated to cost another $1 billion. A new Penn Station would run $3 billion, but Cuomo says that private bidders who profit from the retail options there would shoulder “nearly all” of the hearty price tag. Adding 1.2 million-square-feet to the Javits Center in Manhattan would require $1 billion. These large, bombastic proposals make spending $5 million to study the feasibility of a tunnel under the Sound seem paltry by comparison.  All of these big ideas carry hefty price tags. Although we can’t be curmudgeons and let cost impede our ability to think in transformative terms, the timing of these billion-dollar hits in rapid succession may be more than the economy can absorb. Pairing these charges with the exorbitant expense of overhauling La Guardia, factoring in potential cost overruns for the other MTA projects in the pipeline, as well as the sweeping programs intended elsewhere in the state, and the fiscal picture gets ever and ever murkier.Our skepticism doesn’t mean that the project proposals aren’t exciting, but we cannot let our judgement be skewed because we are salivating over pretty renderings.  As exciting as these “new” reinvigorated proposals are, the reality is that much-needed projects already in the pipeline like East Side Access, the Second Avenue Subway and the LIRR’s double-track between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma have been long delayed, and the capital funding to complete them are in jeopardy.Although the third track for the LIRR is the most realistic proposal Cuomo has floated, other ideas, like the Sound tunnel, are essentially non-starters at this point in time. Despite this, few are questioning why New York State is spending $5 million dollars to explore a question that most know the answer to, and why Suffolk County is spending its own hard-earned and scarce dollars on asking the same question, which inevitably would lead to the same conclusion?Considering the astronomical costs that these projects surely would carry, it is almost Quixotic to propose them without addressing a critical component of long-term regional planning: implementation.We welcome big thinking. But doing so without properly addressing how to build or how to pay for them is the reason why so many of these projects have languished for so long.All too often, critics use the concept of cost to torpedo any notion of big thinking. It’s an effective argument, but it usually is intended to stymie the exploration of ideas that could truly transform a region. In this instance, cost is not merely a go-to, knee-jerk reaction; it’s a legitimate concern.  State Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset), co-chair of the state Senate’s transportation committee, is skeptical that New York can afford the price tag of Cuomo’s big ideas.“There is no doubt that we need a significant infrastructure investment here on Long Island,” Marcellino said this week. “The question is, are these ideas the best way to use these funds. Many of the proposals are not new and have, in fact, been around for quite some time.  The problems that have existed with these projects still exist and the solutions, to date, have not been sufficiently laid out.  There’s a multitude of questions that demand answers.  Logistics, property rights, traffic, community input, noise, parking and, of course, cost just to name a few.”With so many projects in the pipeline, but few nearing completion, we should focus our regional efforts on amassing good will to build the LIRR’s third track, and the third track alone. This project has the most compelling reason for expediting it. It would eliminate a critical bottleneck for commuters and accentuate the effectiveness of the Farmingdale-Ronkonkoma double track as well as the East Side Access.  They’re both already underway. Giving Penn Station a makeover, on the other hand, has been a work in progress for decades. It could be a worthy investment in the long run, but it’s not as critical today as ensuring that the entire system is able to meet current and future demands.Any policymaker or elected official can take to a stage and make promises. The exceptional ones are those who can get things done. Until these projects so crucial for Long Island’s economy are actually underway, let’s hold the applause.(Photo: Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers “state of the state” address on Jan. 13, 2016. Photo courtesy New York State Governor’s Office/Flickr)last_img read more

Technology brings challenge and opportunity

first_img 15SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Stuart R. Levine Founded in 1996, Stuart Levine & Associates LLC is an international strategic planning and leadership development company with focus on adding member value by strengthening corporate culture.SL&A … Web: www.Stuartlevine.com Details The universal use of technology has upended business ecosystems, increasing competition for the member’s attention, time and money, and causing structural changes in consumer behavior. Market power is shifting from organizations to members. What motivates someone to act is growing increasingly complicated due to multiple causes including ready access to information, increasing numbers of choices, and demographic changes in the types and timing of personal decisions. This means credit union leaders have more challenges and opportunities. The chance of navigating successfully increases when you have an organizational culture that is committed to understanding the new member and incorporates new business models and strategies that benefit from technology. Technology allows us to be more interconnected and many daily human interactions are digital. Actions and choices are more transparent than ever before as people generate data about themselves that can help formulate predictions and trends about the individual. Data analytics is a powerful tool to help organizations understand their members better. Organizations can effectively consider this abundant information to get to the heart of what makes a member act. It allows the credit union to know its members better and it puts better tools at the organization’s disposal to serve them more effectively.Knowledge of your member is a competitive advantage, particularly when technology brings credit unions additional challenges. For example, fintech start-ups attempt to cherry-pick profitable business lines from credit unions. Sufficient capital, another challenge, may not be available to take advantage of what could be an expensive investment in technology, especially at smaller credit unions. Credit union size is less significant when a third-party vendor allows a small credit union or a start-up to access the same technology as a large one. Moreover, well-capitalized credit unions may discover that their investment in technology has been superseded by the next great app that simplifies the member experience, giving them what they want when they want it. Regardless of size, using available tools to enhance your in-depth knowledge of your member to serve them better, communicate with them more effectively and strengthen the relationship.  Establishing an organizational culture of respect and caring helps to generates the loyalty that will keep members close.Relationships are important with your employees as well. Technology can bridge the gaps between senior leaders and staff that size can bring. It can serve to let employees feel the presence of leadership — what they believe in and what the strategies are and why. This is especially important when organizations reach a scale where “managing by walking around” is impossible. One of our clients has effectively used podcasts for its president to regularly communicate with employees in multiple locations. These sessions allow the employees to get a good sense of the leader as a person. Smartphone apps allow for spot surveys and real time questions that can shrink large meetings, making them feel more intimate and interactive, engaging employees, and valuing their time spent.Strategic thinking should evolve to meet the challenge that this complexity brings. The art and science of maximizing the benefit of technology’s tools, expands leadership’s capacity in new and creative ways to strengthen your culture and improve your relationships with both your internal and external customers – both your members and your employees.  last_img read more

Politicians must act to impeach Trump

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionI wonder how much longer this country has to suffer the embarrassment of a president named Donald Trump. Even the people who actually voted for him have got to be disgusted. I don’t understand how the Republicans and Democrats can’t put their heads together and get rid of a man who has no humility or common sense leadership. He is supposed to be a man of the people. He does not paint the picture of the United States I know. We are a country of immigrants. That is how we became citizens of the United States. We left our homelands to get away from all the ideals and oppression that Trump represents. Come on elected politicians, do the job we are paying you for and impeach Mr. Trump.Marty ShantyCharltonMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsPolice: Schenectady woman tried to take car in Clifton Park hours after arrest, release in prior the…EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationlast_img read more

Wolf Administration and Team Pennsylvania Announce Career Readiness Mini-Grants to 64 School Districts

first_img September 28, 2017 Wolf Administration and Team Pennsylvania Announce Career Readiness Mini-Grants to 64 School Districts SHARE Email Facebook Twittercenter_img Education,  Press Release,  Schools That Teach Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf, the Department of Labor & Industry (L&I), and Team Pennsylvania today announced that $270,000 in Career Readiness Mini-Grants have been awarded to 64 school districts from across the commonwealth. The grants support an assortment of activities for students to learn about career opportunities, and to build stronger connections between schools and employers.“These grants will enhance the collaborative efforts between the Pennsylvania education and workforce development systems, and help to create the bridge between school and real-world workplace experiences,” Governor Wolf said. “We need to allow our students to explore their career options early, so that they are prepared and informed as they transition into the workforce and post-secondary education.”L&I awarded a grant to Team Pennsylvania in June to fund career-readiness projects of up to $10,000 each.“Labor & Industry is proud to fund and support these education-oriented career readiness projects,” said L&I Acting Secretary Jerry Oleksiak. “These grants allow students to experience different industries in Pennsylvania, including high-demand industries with good, family-sustaining wages. Preparing our students for jobs that pay is a win-win for Pennsylvania’s economy.”Team Pennsylvania partnered with the Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units (PAIU) and Intermediate Units (IUs) across the state to review applications and select grantees, awarding $30,000 in each of the nine regions in the commonwealth.“This project perfectly aligns with our organizational principles of partnership and ensuring Pennsylvania’s economic prosperity,” said Ryan C. Unger, President & CEO of Team Pennsylvania.“Pennsylvania’s 29 Intermediate Units are positioned to facilitate partnerships and connect schools throughout Pennsylvania to the programs and resources needed to support robust Career Awareness and Readiness activities that will engage students in developing meaningful career dreams that can become a reality,” said Dr. Linda Hippert, Executive Director of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit.The project will work to promote collaboration between the K-12 system and the workforce system on a micro-level. Successful applicants are required to work with their local Workforce Development Boards and base their work on regional labor market needs.The career readiness activities funded by the mini-grants include:Placing students in work-based learning experiences, apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships, and other opportunities that help students see the connection between the classroom and their future workplaces;Furthering career awareness and exploration programs for students at all grade levels;Designing classroom instruction that will ensure students are prepared to pursue careers in high-demand, well-paying occupations; andBuilding partnerships between schools and businesses to create future career readiness opportunities for more students.These career-readiness activities were created in support of the Department of Education’s initiative of expanding options for students to demonstrate their readiness for college, high-demand industries, or the military. The career readiness mini-grant project will identify best practices to share and replicate throughout the commonwealth.Team Pennsylvania is a non-partisan, charitable, non-profit created in 1997 to bring government and private sector leaders together for the betterment of Pennsylvania.The Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units works to ensure the strength of individual intermediate units, and to strengthen the system of intermediate units. IUs serve as liaisons between local schools and the Department of Education. Every year, more than 175,000 students and 75,000 educators and adults receive services from one of Pennsylvania’s twenty-nine intermediate units.A complete list of school districts that were awarded the mini-grant can be found on the Team Pennsylvania website at www.teampa.com/minigrantawardees.last_img read more

Critical eyes on Stocco once again after credit-less season

first_imgAh, the life of a quarterback. For some reason, in a game featuring 22 players taking the field at any particular time, so much focus is directed on the one guy under center.In fact, quarterback may be the only position in sports where a player can lead his team to victory and still draw criticism from the public eye. Sure, a pitcher in baseball can get knocked around a bit, somehow still get the win and take a little heat. Ditto for a goaltender in hockey. But that hardly compares to the weekly microscope the field general on a football team battles throughout the season.Now, any quarterback this side of Tim Couch knows that simply shrugging off the scorn, regardless of how hard that may be, is far easier than getting into a heated war of words with the general public. Just ask Wisconsin signal-caller John Stocco.“Well, I think that just kind of comes with the territory of playing quarterback,” Stocco said. “You’ve got the ball in your hands every play. You’re going to get the credit when you win and the blame when you lose. That’s just the way it goes. You can’t really do anything about it.”But does that old adage of quarterback public-relations speak really hold true in Stocco’s case?Let’s see … once upon a time, the Badgers began the 2004 season 9-0. Remember? Now, according to the classic theory, John Stocco must have gotten a regular old ticker-tape parade thrown for him. Call me crazy, but I don’t recall the festivities.Yes, the UW defense gave Stocco and the offense a seeming cakewalk to victory in some contests. But what about Wisconsin’s victory at Ohio State? Stocco tossed two touchdown passes and rallied UW from an early 10-0 deficit to knock off the Buckeyes in the Horse Shoe.And what about the Badgers’ upending of the then-No. 5-ranked Purdue Boilermakers in West Lafayette? Everyone will always remember cornerback Scott Starks’ 40-yard scamper to give the cardinal and white the victory. But it was Stocco who led Wisconsin on a touchdown drive immediately following a Purdue score that put the Boilermakers up 17-7. Without Stocco’s clutch play, Starks’ late heroics would have gone for naught.But Wisconsin’s 0-3 swoon to close out the year, in which it dropped from a national-title contender to an Outback Bowl loser? Stocco sure took plenty of blame for that debacle. Never mind the defensive meltdown at Michigan State or the complete and utter lack of a running game at Iowa. And forget that David Pollack had a permanent home in the Wisconsin backfield in Georgia’s New Year’s Day win.Granted, Stocco endured his fair of struggles. No one mistook him for Drew Brees. Hell, no one mistook him for Bobby Hoying. It may not have been pretty, but Stocco directed Wisconsin to nine wins. The point is simply that Stocco deserved some of the credit for the positives in UW’s season rather than absorbing most of the blame for the negatives.Even so, the starting job was not completely his until the spring season revealed the deficiencies of challengers Tyler Donovan and Bryan Savage further outnumbered Stocco’s. And the calls for Donovan will begin this season as soon as Stocco tosses his first interception or first misses an open receiver in the end zone. Brooks Bollinger, the school’s all-time winningest quarterback, endured similar criticisms. Now, Stocco’s credentials thus far don’t hold a candle to Bollinger’s. And Wisconsin will depend on Stocco to have improved his form from last season with the loss of running back Anthony Davis and a young revamped defense.But maybe, just maybe, the junior signal caller deserves the same open-minded chance that a hotshot recruit would get under center. Or maybe he deserves the same chance that any normal returning starter coming off a nine-win season would get.last_img read more