Huffington offers social media solution

first_imgDon’t recharge your iPhone or BlackBerry next to your bed. Keep a little soulful distance with those ever-beckoning electronic devices.That was the most important piece of advice that new-media magnate Arianna Huffington offered a morning crowd at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) Tuesday (Sept. 14).“We are hyperconnected, and we are paying the price,” said Huffington, who admitted to charging electronic devices as far away from where she sleeps as possible to avoid the temptation to check them throughout the night.The words seemed strange coming from a woman who caters to online audiences driven by a primal need for up-to-the-minute information. But when asked what the future’s next great platform would be, the founder of the popular website The Huffington Post, which boasts 45 million unique visitors a month, answered, “disconnecting.”“Disconnecting in order to reconnect with ourselves is going to be a bigger and bigger trend,” she said, quickly adding, “But don’t forget to check out The Huffington Post.”The author and syndicated columnist was at Harvard to discuss her work and her new book, “Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream.” The discussion was sponsored by the Kennedy School’s Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.Launched in 2005, The Huffington Post is a news website and collective blog featuring commentary and postings, as well as news from a variety of media outlets. Huffington said she founded the site with the aim of earning readers’ trust, developing a place for civil discourse, and offering news 24/7.“My dream from the beginning was to combine the best of the old — traditional journalism, fact checking, aggressive fairness,” she said, “with the best of the new — immediacy, transparency, and engagement.”In discussing “Third World America,” Tom Patterson, moderator and Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press, asked Huffington about her suggestions for “revitalizing America’s middle class.”Community involvement and responsible media coverage are two critical parts of the way forward, responded the author.“We as individuals and as members of our communities need to be engaged in the solutions,” she said, adding, “It’s the only ultimate solution to the major crisis we are going through.”Huffington said that the crisis, including dismal unemployment rates, a rise in poverty, and a drop in the nation’s GDP, is much worse than the Obama administration has acknowledged, noting that she picked the title of her book in an effort to “sound the alarm.”The media also have a role to play in putting a human face to the problems plaguing the nation, said Huffington.“The media have really failed us in terms of telling stories to capture the public imagination beyond the numbers.”But while disconnecting may be the wave of the future, online communities power Huffington’s road map to significant social change.“The Internet and social media are exploding” with ideas and ways to make change, she said, referencing websites like, which allows people to donate directly to public school projects.“People all around can immediately take action,” said Huffington, adding that if the media can put the spotlight on what is being done there’s the opportunity to “really make a big difference.”last_img read more

Nearly 2,000 direct jobs created by ARRA funds awarded to Vermont

first_imgChief Recovery Officer Tom Evslin reported by teleconference to the General Assembly today that $55,966,939 of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds reimbursed to Vermont State government by Washington created or retained 1990.86 “direct” jobs in the state.  The preliminary numbers were produced using detailed federal guidelines which state that “jobs” are full time equivalents (FTEs) calculated from payroll data, that is, two half time workers during the reporting period count as one FTE.  These numbers are taken from 51 reports submitted by Office of Economic Stimulus and Recovery (ESR) to the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as part of the required “1512” reporting.  The reports may be corrected by the state until they are made public on October 30 and Evslin predicted that there will be corrections.Direct jobs created with these funds are the positions counted for today’s reporting purposes.  That means that the people working “directly” on a bridge project are counted however “indirect” jobs like the people who made the steel used in the bridge, and “induced” jobs, like the people who work in the stores where the bridge workers and steel makers are able to shop because they have jobs are not counted.Federal projections of ARRA impact do include direct, indirect, and induced jobs which means state reports reflect only a portion of the jobs actually created or retained by ARRA. Neither the states nor the federal government distinguish between jobs created and jobs retained.The State of Vermont reported 510.8 jobs in a program run by the Department of Labor for dislocated and disadvantaged workers including youth. Highway construction accounted for 474.61 jobs.  State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (SFSF), a part of ARRA given to states to shore up their budgets in a time of declining revenue, paid for 421.4 jobs in public safety and 375.12 in local school districts.However, Evslin cautioned that it is highly unlikely that all the teachers and public safety officials whose positions were paid with SFSF funds would have been terminated if the ARRA funds were not available. “The State would almost certainly have funded these positions even if the ARRA money wasn’t available or had been used elsewhere,” he said.Evslin continued “without SFSF and Medicaid funding to help Vermont fill massive deficits caused by the recession, there would likely have been more layoffs throughout state government and perhaps even higher taxes. Even with these funds, we still face the challenge of how we are going to fund these positions a year from now when the ARRA funds dry up and revenues still have not rebounded to previous levels.”The State has received an additional $120,974,211 in other stimulus funding which is not subject to 1512 reporting and for which job estimates are not prepared by the states; almost $105 million of this was reimbursement for Medicaid expenses. Moreover, organizations which receive ARRA grants and loans directly from the federal government are required to report directly to OMB; information they filed will also become public on October 30 but is not available to State officials until then. No reports are required from individuals who received ARRA tax cuts or credit or from other individual beneficiaries.Some of this funding indubitably produced indirect and induced jobs as did the money allocated by the State for Economic Development. For example, Vermont Economic Development Authority estimated that 563 jobs have been impacted by the ARRA-funded interest rate buydown which is part of Governor Jim Douglas’ SmartVermont program. These jobs are not reportable under federal 1512 guidelines.Although reports from other states are not yet available, Evslin predicted that Vermont will compare favorably in how quickly it put stimulus money to work creating jobs. “We know, for example, that VTRANs has gotten projects out and going faster than most other states – even other cold weather states. We deliberately used federal money before state money to pay salaries and for other expenses to reduce the amount the state needs to borrow to save interest dollars as well as to meet the intent of ARRA that this money be put to work quickly. Our agencies overall have done a good job of establishing or expanding programs quickly.”Quarterly ARRA job counts from all states will eventually decline as the money is spent. They may also decline from quarter to quarter due to seasonal factors like the end of the construction season and the termination of summer jobs.The legislative teleconference was arranged by Senator Jane Kitchel and Representative Janet Ancel and the Joint Fiscal Office. Kitchel and Ancel are the legislative liaisons to the Office of Economic Stimulus and Recover; they meet biweekly with ESR when the legislature is not in session and weekly during the session to ensure close coordination between the Administration and the Legislature on the implementation and use of ARRA funds.Source: Agency of Administration. 10.15.2009###last_img read more

Best practices: Performance improvement is hard

first_imgLeaning on these three pillars can make your efforts more systematic and Ryan RackleyWhen credit unions think about organizational performance, they can have a tendency to focus on performance reviews, job descriptions and merit-based compensation structures. Credit unions that excel in these important areas can still struggle to meet the challenges of continuously improving organizational performance.The reality is that organizational performance improvement is hard … really hard, and it can only be achieved by looking at an organization’s individual situation. However, common pillars can be applied to understand the challenges of achieving any sort of real improvement. These common pillars are flat organizational structuring, benchmarking, and measurement. A deeper look into these areas can produce a systematic approach to ongoing performance improvement.1.  Flat Organizational StructuringObtaining and maintaining a flat organizational structure is part skill, part leadership and part art. Siloed thinking and fiefdom-building is commonplace in America. The “what’s in it for me?” line of thinking is widespread and often accepted as an unavoidable issue within organizations.While there is no one standard that can be applied, a general rule of thumb is to start with no or as few as possible levels of reporting between staff level employees and management. As a guideline, eight to 10 staff employees report to management and three to four managers report to upper management. This guideline applies to such support departments as accounting, information technology and human resources where knowledge-based workers are typical. The guideline will tend to increase as the core work function transitions from a knowledge basis to a task basis, such as in the call center and retail branch, where managers typically have many more than 10 direct reports.A streamlined organizational structure allows for more time spent on mission and producing results. A flat structure also drastically reduces the communication drag that comes with an overabundance of managers and supervisors. Each added layer of supervising or management in an organization or department generally adds two hours of weekly meetings for all involved.There is also a direct relationship between level of coordination needed to make decisions and the speed with which decisions can be made. While a debate could be had between flat vs. hierarchical structures–and there are certainly advantages and disadvantages of each–credit unions that can remain nimble and react quickly to changing member needs will win. continue reading » 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

CFPB credit union exemption penned in Congress

first_img 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Three California congressmen and a representative from Ohio are pressing the CFPB to exempt credit unions from rules.NAFCU on Tuesday announced Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) were gathering signatures for a letter urging CFPB Director Richard Cordray to use the bureau’s Dodd-Frank Act authority to exempt credit unions from certain rulemakings.The bipartisan letter noted that a Government Accountability Office report recently found that financial services have been limited or discontinued by many community-based financial institutions due to new regulations, particularly those governing remittance transfers. continue reading »last_img

The balancing act of member business lending

first_imgA little more than a year ago, we wrote about our “Sunny Forecast for Member Business Lending.” With anticipated double-digit growth, we encouraged credit unions to invest in the competency of their lenders and their MBL program.  Fast forward to 2017. You’ve done everything right to build a quality commercial lending portfolio and take advantage of market opportunities:You’ve trained your lenders.You’ve established policies and practices that allow you to make loans at an acceptable level of risk.You’re cross-selling additional member business services.You’re working with the business’s principals and employees on their personal needs.And, you’re reaping the rewards in terms of multiple successful, long-term, mutually beneficial commercial relationships. continue reading » 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Indonesian citizen tests positive for COVID-19 in India, nine others awaiting results

first_imgIndonesian Ambassador to India Sidharto Suryodipuro said the embassy was closely monitoring the case.“We have received a confirmation from Telangana’s health authority that one of the Indonesian citizens tested positive. Nine other Indonesians will be tested later [on Tuesday] and the result will be announced tomorrow [on Wednesday],” he told The Jakarta Post.However, he provided no further details about the chronology of the case.The news outlet reported that the Indonesians alongside three Indians were staying in a mosque after arriving in Karimnagar.  The Indonesian Embassy in New Delhi confirmed on Tuesday that an Indonesian citizen had tested positive for the coronavirus and was now under intensive care at a hospital in India’s city of Hyderabad.Local news outlet The New Indian Express reported on Tuesday morning that a total of 10 Indonesians and three Indians had been brought to Hyderabad’s Gandhi Hospital on Monday after they were suspected to have contracted COVID-19.The police said the 10 Indonesians belonged to an Islamic outreach organization and had arrived in Karimnagar – a city in Telangana state in southeast India – on Saturday from Delhi. As the Indian government has restricted international arrivals into the country due to the coronavirus pandemic, authorities who had received information regarding the arrival of the Indonesians began to look for them and later took them to the nearby hospital for COVID-19 tests before taking them to Hyderabad.Sidharto pointed out that the embassy would guarantee that the Indonesian citizens’ rights were protected in accordance with Indian law.The Indonesian embassy will provide interpreting services for them. “I have also spoken to the Telangana state’s director of public health. They said our fellow Indonesians were being taken care of in the hospital,” Sidharto added.“The embassy is ready to cooperate with Indian health authorities to ensure the well-being of people around us,” he said.Topics :last_img read more

Oil plummets to 17-year low as broken market drowns in crude

first_imgBrent crude for May declined $1.27, or 5.1 percent, to $23.66 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange as of 9 a.m. Singapore time after falling to $23.03 earlier. The contract is also set for the worst month on record, down 53 percent in April, and 64 percent lower this quarter.Read also: Jokowi orders ministries to crunch numbers on plunging oil pricesWest Texas Intermediate slid 80 cents, or 3.7 percent, to $20.71 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after falling to $19.92 in early trading. The contract is down 54 percent this month and 66 percent this quarter.Global oil demand is in freefall and consumption may decline by as much as 20 million barrels a day, according to the International Energy Administration. That is forcing producers worldwide to slash output, while independent trader Trafigura Group expects as much as 1 billion barrels to be sent into storage tanks in the coming months.Topics : Oil slumped to a 17-year low as coronavirus lockdowns cascaded through the world’s largest economies, leaving the market overwhelmed by cratering demand and a ballooning surplus of crude.Futures in London fell as much as 7.6 percent to the lowest since November 2002, while New York crude briefly dipped below US$20 a barrel. Physical oil markets are struggling to store fuel, hit by a double whammy of virus restrictions eroding demand and a damaging war for market share between Saudi Arabia and Russia that has prices on track for the worst quarter on record.The kingdom said on Friday that it hadn’t had any contact with Moscow about output cuts or enlarging the OPEC+ alliance of producers. Russia also doubled down, with Deputy Energy Minister Pavel Sorokin saying oil at $25 a barrel is unpleasant, but not a catastrophe for the nation’s producers. Read also: Medco cuts capex and production over oil price crash“Demand concerns are critical but well known, what really took the market down were the signals we got from Saudi Arabia and Russia that they intend to continue their current path,” said Vivek Dhar, a commodities analyst at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. “Market hopes of a deal have come undone.”OPEC nations aren’t giving support to a request from the group’s president for emergency consultations over tanking prices, according to a delegate. Algeria, which holds the cartel’s rotating presidency, has urged the secretariat to convene a panel but the call has failed to gather the majority backing necessary to go ahead. Riyadh is among those opposing the idea.The world normally uses 100 million barrels of oil day, but forecasters predict as much as a quarter of that has disappeared in just a few weeks. The plunge in consumption is without precedent since a steady flow of oil became essential to the global economy more than a century ago. The great crash of 1929, the twin oil shocks of the 1970s and the global financial crisis don’t come close.last_img read more

UN Security Council resumes activities under shadow of COVID-19

first_imgOn Tuesday, Security Council members held a video conference with deputy UN special representative for Afghanistan Ingrid Hayden to discuss the latest situation in the war-torn country, which has had to contend with the contagion on top of recent efforts to bring about lasting peace between the US-backed government and the Afghan Taliban group.The council urged the warring parties to heed the UN secretary-general’s call for an immediate ceasefire and guarantee the delivery of humanitarian aid throughout Afghanistan.UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a global ceasefire – for all conflict around the world – on March 23 so countries could shift their resources to respond to the pandemic.Indonesia underlined the importance for all Afghan political leaders to unite, set aside their differences and put the interests of the people first, according to its mission to the UN. Earlier on Monday, in a historic first, the Security Council adopted four resolutions virtually, including one on the safety and security of UN peacekeeping operations (PKO) abroad – a priority issue Indonesia has flagged for its two-year non-permanent term on the council.As the largest contributor to peacekeeping forces among council members with 2,705 deployed personnel, Indonesia co-sponsored the draft resolution and played an active role in its negotiation, Ambassador to the UN Dian Triansyah Djani said on Tuesday from New York.”UN peacekeeping forces have shown real dedication and sacrifice to bring about peace,” he said in a statement, underlining the safety and security of UN peacekeeping forces as a top priority.Deployed in conflict-addled regions around the world, the UN Blue Helmets are at the forefront of the UN Security Council’s efforts to bring about world peace and security, but ground forces are often left to fend for themselves when it comes to illnesses and other physical conditions.The UNSC resolution encourages, among other things, increased support and medical facilities for the evacuation and/or treatment of members of the force who are in critical condition.The three other resolutions passed were related to the extension of the mandate by the UN Security Council.Resolution 2515 extended the mandate of the Panel of Experts for North Korea to April 30, allowing them to continue to report its work on the implementation of a resolution related to North Korea.Meanwhile, Resolution 2516 extended the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) to June 30. With this extension, UNSOM is expected to continue to support Somalia as it approaches election season in late 2020 or early 2021.Through Resolution 2517, the Security Council will maintain a total of 6,505 UNAMID troops until May 2020 to help keep the peace and support the transitional government in Sudan.Council members were also briefed on the latest developments in the Isreali-Palestinian conflict.“As the region continues to confront the enormity of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the broader geopolitical tensions, the situation on the ground remains fragile,” said Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Secretary-General’s special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, according to a transcript on the UN website.Mladenov said that credible negotiations had yet to be launched, and Israel had not taken steps to cease all settlement activities and respect related legal obligations during the reporting period.Topics : Even the august forum of the United Nations Security Council was not spared from the far reach of the COVID-19 pandemic, as member states began adapting to the new realities of the global health crisis by resuming activities virtually – including for voting in new council resolutions.Diplomatic activities at the UN headquarters have been significantly reduced after the state of New York became yet another epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, but discussions on world peace and security had to go on, as UN member states discovered.The pandemic has also forced the council to vote in writing, while the results were announced in a teleconference. Negotiations were also conducted virtually, where possible.last_img read more

You Can Go An Hour Without Email

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now The email inbox. It’s a place for other people’s priorities and their requests of you. Eliminating one email by, say, replying to it with an answer, is almost guaranteed with 100 percent certainty to return another email, or more likely two more. Once all emails have been answered, one need only wait overnight to have the all of the deleted emails to be replaced again.Some of what is in your inbox, the priorities and requests of others, is important. Some of the “others” who have sent you an email are important to you, and some of those emails need a reply. But the fact that something requires a reply is not an indication as to its urgency. When something is urgent, email isn’t the most reliable form of communication, much as a traditional mailed envelope delivered by the postal service would not be the best method of avoiding something catastrophic after the invention of the telephone.You have clients. Your clients need your attention, and they need your help. From time to time, they will communicate with you by email. Some of your prospective clients, your dream clients, will reply to your request to meet with them by email. A few of them may even agree to meet with you. Almost none of these emails will be urgent, as it is a rare choice for clients who have a challenge that requires immediate attention. Because the likelihood of an email containing some urgent piece of news that requires your immediate attention is infinitesimal, you don’t need to sit watch over your inbox.Truth: You cannot do your best work with your email open and your smartphone notifying you of every potential outside attempt to gain your attention.Rule: If you are going to do quality work, work worth paying for, you must close the browser, close your email, and turn off your notifications while you do that work.If your client or dream client needs you for something now, they have your phone number and they will call you. If it is urgent, your phone will ring. If on the other hand, they chose to send you an email, they had no expectation that you should communicate with them in real time over an asynchronous medium. Nor did they have any idea when you might read their note.If you are nervous about missing something, know that nothing in your inbox is so important that it can’t wait an hour while you are head-down, focused, and giving your full and undivided attention to your real work. You can go an hour without your email. As you become braver, stretch that hour to 90 minutes and do more meaningful work.last_img read more

3 days agoMerson tells Stones to leave Man City

first_imgMerson tells Stones to leave Man Cityby Paul Vegas3 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal hero Paul Merson believes John Stones should be looking to leave Manchester City.The defender was left out of the starting line-up against Crystal Palace on Saturday.“Rodri and Fernandinho did well at Crystal Palace but you wouldn’t want to play them together at the back for the next 28 games,” Merson said.“If you were John Stones you’d want to be leaving now, wouldn’t you? In my opinion he’s fit to play. If he’s not fit why is he on the bench? It was a strange one for me. It’s one of those Pep Guardiola decisions that was amazing, but it could have gone wrong. It was a big call to leave Stones on the bench.“From my experience, I’d be asking serious questions if I were Stones. It’s like me being a No 10 and a manager putting Tony Adams in my place. I’d be thinking what’s happening here?“A holding midfielder is not a centre-half. This lad is a £50m defender. It’s not like he was always there, and Pep just doesn’t fancy him as a player – a bit like Mesut Ozil and Unai Emery – it’s not like that at all.“I would say that decision is the final proof that Pep just doesn’t trust Stones anymore. It really doesn’t look good for Stones.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more