Lecture commemorates Constitution Day

first_imgStudents and faculty gathered Monday to commemorate Constitution Day with “The Health Care Decision and the Lost Generation of Child Labor Reform,” a lecture given by Barry Cushman, the John P. Murphy Foundation Professor of Law at Notre Dame. The talk focused on the decision of the Supreme Court made in the case of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, more commonly known as the case involving the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). “The particular provision of the Act that was challenged was the so-called ‘individual mandate,’ which will require persons without health insurance to acquire ‘minimum essential coverage’ by 2014, or else make a ‘shared responsibility payment’ to the Internal Revenue Service,” Cushman said. The main question rested on whether the individual mandate could be considered an exercise of Congress’ Commerce Power. Cushman said the majority of the Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate was not in fact a legitimate exercise of the Commerce Power but rather a shared responsibility payment under the exercise of Congress’ taxing power. “Chief Justice [John] Roberts and the dissenting justices agreed that the central question was whether the Act imposed a ‘true tax,’ or instead imposed a ‘penalty’ for failure to comply with a congressional directive,” Cushman said. Cushman’s lecture then turned to the necessity to discern between true taxes and regulatory penalties. In order to do this, he focused on the late-19th and early-20th centuries to provide background information. “At that time, Congress frequently sought to achieve regulatory objectives it could not attain through its commerce power by imposing excise taxes that were designed to discourage disfavored activities,” Cushman said. The Supreme Court soon became wary of Congress’ increased use of taxing power when commerce power could not provide the desired results. The Supreme Court and Congress would finally butt heads in a child labor employment case in 1922, Cushman said. This is in response to the 1916 Keating-Owen Child Labor Act which, Cushman said, “prohibited interstate shipment of articles produced by firms that employed children” under certain ages. “The Child Labor Tax did not make the employment of child labor unlawful; it did raise revenue. It did not in fact prevent the employment of child labor, and its proponents did not think that it could be salvaged by lowering the rate, by a more narrow tailoring of the tax … or by moving enforcement entirely into the Department of the Treasury,” Cushman said The Child Labor Tax was, however, still considered an unconstitutional penalty. In order to explain this Cushman turned to the arguments of Thomas Reed Powell, then a Professor at Columbia Law School. “Powell credited [Chief Justice William Howard] Taft with fully recognizing that the distinction between a tax and a penalty was a matter of degree … [and] fully agreed with Taft that a decision upholding the tax would have led down a slippery slope to plenary congressional authority,” Cushman said. Cushman added that Powell read the Child Labor Tax Case as establishing the proposition that the values of federalism could be preserved in taxing power jurisprudence only through the application of a standard rather than through enforcement of a rule. This view ties into the more current health care decision in which the dissenting justices took the shared responsibility payment as a penalty, not a tax, since it “imposed an exaction as punishment for an unlawful act,” Cushman said. In drawing a distinction between a tax and a penalty, Cushman noted that the Supreme Court had to determine if the ACA was claiming it was illegal for people to fail to uphold minimum health coverage. Cushman said that this confusion was due to the way in which the statute was drafted. Had Congress called the “penalty” a “tax” in the first place and clarified that failure to purchase insurance was not itself illegal, the imposition would have been clearly constitutional. “Justice Roberts characterized the shared responsibility payment as one that ‘makes going without insurance just another thing the Government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income,’” Cushman said.   This seems simple enough, but is rather more complex when compared to the past rulings on child labor, he said. “It is only where the exaction was coupled with a detailed and specified course of conduct, as in the Child Labor Tax Case, that the Court has held the exaction to be a penalty rather than a true tax,” Cushman said. One can argue that the current shared responsibility payment of the ACA does not qualify as a tax under the Child Labor Tax Case, and then should be considered a penalty, he said. “If that understanding is correct, then the Roberts Court may just have tacitly overruled the Child Labor Tax Case and its progeny,” Cushman said. A second possibility, Cushman said, is that Powell and his contemporaries misread the Child Labor Tax decision and “a revised measure eliminating one or more of the distinguishing features identified by Chief Justice Roberts” would have stood in the 1920s. Cushman added that all this is to say that the responsibility payment today can be questioned as to whether or not it actually falls under the Court’s “narrowest interpretations of the taxing power.” “Either the Court has effectively abandoned the principle established in the Child Labor Tax Case, or child protection advocates of the interwar period were badly mistaken in their assessment of the decision, at the cost of a lost generation of federal child labor reform,” Cushman said.last_img read more

Sloman leads a one-two-three for England

first_img The 20-year-old from Taunton and Pickeridge led the U21 championship from start to finish, opening with five under 67 before adding 68 71 69.  Gill narrowed the gap with an eagle on the long 14th, which Sloman birdied, and both birdied the par five 17th. On the last, Gill threw down a challenge with a closing birdie for two-under 70, while Sloman left his own birdie attempt well shot, but he holed out for par to take the title.  Somerset’s Tom Sloman led an impressive English one-two-three when he won the Dutch Junior Open by a shot at Toxandria Golf Club.  Meanwhile, Firth (Moortown) powered up the leaderboard with a closing seven-under 65. He bogeyed the first hole but then played flawlessly with eight birdies in the rest of the round.  He was 13-under for 72 holes, beating Bailey Gill by a shot and finishing two ahead of third-placed Ben Firth, who both come from Yorkshire. The trio also won the Nations Cup for England.  Gill, 20, (Lindrick) joined him in the lead after 54 holes, having scored 70 68 68 , and the final round turned into a great battle between the two, who were part of a four-strong England Golf squad for the event.  Charlie Thornton (Fulford, Yorkshire) who was the England Golf boys’ order of merit for 2016, finished seventh on seven under. Laird Shepherd (Rye, Sussex) – another member of the England Golf squad – was 10th on six under. Click here for full scores  Gill narrowed the gap with an eagle on the long 14th, which Sloman birdied, and both birdied the par five 17th. On the last, Gill threw down a challenge with a closing birdie for two-under 70, while Sloman left his own birdie attempt well shot, but he holed out for par to take the title.  Sloman’s success earns him a place in the KLM Open on the European Tour from September 14-17.  Click here for full scores  Somerset’s Tom Sloman led a great one-two-three for England when he won the Dutch Junior Open by a shot at Toxandria Golf Club.  Sloman leads a one-two-three for England center_img Gill, 20, (Lindrick) joined him in the lead after 54 holes, having scored 70 68 68 , and the final round turned into a great battle between the two, who were part of an England Golf squad for the event.  Charlie Thornton (Fulford, Yorkshire) who was the England Golf boys’ order of merit winner for 2016, finished seventh on seven under. Laird Shepherd (Rye, Sussex) – another member of the England Golf squad – was 10th on six under. The 20-year-old from Taunton and Pickeridge led the U21 championship from start to finish, opening with five under 67 before adding 68 71 69.  23 Jul 2017 Sloman leads a one-two-three for England Sloman’s success earns him a place in the KLM Open on the European Tour from September 14-17.  Caption: Dutch Junior Open champion Tom Sloman (centre) with Bailey Gill (left) and Ben Firth. They were still tied as they turned for home, having reached the turn in level par. But Gill slipped back on the 10th with a double bogey and Sloman’s lead stretched to three when he birdied the 12th.  Meanwhile, Firth (Moortown) powered up the leaderboard with a closing seven-under 65. He bogeyed the first hole but then played flawlessly with eight birdies in the rest of the round.  Caption: Dutch Junior Open champion Tom Sloman (centre) with Bailey Gill (left) and Ben Firth.  He was 13-under for 72 holes, beating Bailey Gill by a shot and finishing two ahead of third-placed Ben Firth, who both come from Yorkshire. The trio also won the Nations Cup for England.  They were still tied as they turned for home, having reached the turn in level par. But Gill slipped back on the 10th with a double bogey and Sloman’s lead stretched to three when he birdied the 12th. last_img read more

Creating the Shine for the High Holy Days in Rumson

first_imgBy Judy O’Gorman AlvarezRUMSON – Just as in many homes, when the holidays come around and company is expected, people spruce up the house and bring out the good silver to polish.At Congregation B’nai Israel of Rumson, a dedicated group, armed with chamois cloths, Q-tips, toothbrushes and silver polish, gather to polish the decorative ornaments that adorn the Torah for the upcoming High Holy Days, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.Members of the Congregation B’nai Israel silver-polishing committee, from left, Gloria Landy, Shirley Adler, Sybil Scheinhartz and Claire Keiteman, prepare the silver ornaments that adorn the Torah at Rumson temple.The Torah, the Scroll of the Law, is held in the temple’s ark – or aron kodesh – located along the wall facing Jerusalem. To honor the Torah, the scrolls are adorned and protected by a cloth mantle and silver breastplates and finials – called rimonim – which fit over the two rollers of the Torah’s scrolls. At B’nai Israel, two of the scrolls are adorned with a crown – or keter. In addition, the silver yad – which means hand and is a pointer – is polished.Gloria Landy has been part of the polishing team since she was president of the congregation in 1983. “The first woman president,” she says.Previously, the task fell to staff members. Since then, the group has gone through changes but a handful of members remain devoted to the twice a year ritual of polishing the silver. They assemble before the Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur High Holy Days and again before Passover.The women – Landy, Claire Keiteman, Shirley Adler, Sybil Scheinhartz and Sandra Rosenbloom – have formed a cohesive group, hallmarked by camaraderie, devotion and pride.“The job has gotten easier over the years,” says Landy. Whereas the team would laboriously rub with silver polish cream, buff and then carefully wash so the polish didn’t leave black residue, trial and error – and a creative idea – has streamlined the process.Twice a year, before the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur and again at Passover, the volunteers polish the silver that decorates and protects the Torah.A few years ago, Landy decided to call staff at the Museum of Metropolitan Art in New York City. “I asked them how do they polish their silver.” If anyone would know how to take care of precious silver, she thought, they’d be the ones.Following the museum’s recommendation, the team started using Hagerty’s silver polish aerosol spray. Time spent on the arduous job was cut in half.When the Torah, with the newly polished sparkling adornments, is brought out from the ark and before the congregation, worshippers can kiss the Torah with the edge of their tallit – prayer shawl – or prayer book, called siddur.“The Torah is carried through the temple as well, for everyone to see,” says Landy. “We have the satisfaction in saying that we made them shine.”“I always tell people on the holidays: Wear your sunglasses, it’s so bright,” says Claire Keiteman.The ark’s clear glass doors allow congregants to view the Torah and its shining silver adornments, thanks to the hard work of the silver-polishing committee.“It brings a sense of satisfaction,” says Sybil Scheinhartz, in addition to being able to give back to the congregation. “The community is looking at it and it really stands out.”Rosh Hashana begins at sundown on Wednesday, Sept. 4; Yom Kippur begins at sundown on Friday, Sept. 13.For information on services at Congregation B’nai Israel, 171 Ridge Road, visit http://cbirumson.org.last_img read more

State Denies Red Bank Charter School’s Plan For Growth

first_imgBy John BurtonRED BANK – State Commissioner of Education David C. Hespe made known his decision this week, allowing for a sigh of relief for many in the community and delivering a major setback for the charter school community.Hespe on Monday issued his nervously anticipated decision, in the final analysis denying the Red Bank Charter School’s proposal to expand its enrollment and facility – a proposal that had become quite controversial and contentious in Red Bank.In his brief, one-page letter sent to the charter school’s board of trustees on Monday, Hespe offered little in way of explanation other than saying the state Department of Education (DOE) had reviewed the charter school’s request “based on a review of its academic, operational, and fiscal standing as well as an analysis of public comments, fiscal impact on sending districts, and other information in order to make a decision,” concerning the charter school’s plan. But based upon his review of the school’s request and information provided and review of the public comments, Hespe decided against the proposal.In response to Hespe’s ruling Meredith Pennotti, the charter school principal, offered a released statement: “The Red Bank Charter School is disappointed in the Department of Education’s to deny the expansion to the charter school. This is a missed opportunity to have served Red Bank and an increased number of disadvantaged students via the weighted lottery. We look forward to continuing to serve our students and families with a high-caliber education.”“It’s quite relieving,” said Jared Rumage, the district’s superintendent of schools, after being notified Hespe had denied the charter school’s proposal.Rumage had been expressing his fears about what a larger charter school would mean for the public school district, saying it would have a profound impact on the district the state traditionally underfunds. He regularly said it would be “devastating” to the public school district.“Certainly, the board of education and I are very satisfied with the decision,” Rumage said, referencing Hespe’s action.The Red Bank Charter School, 58 Oakland St., had very quietly initially sought approval from Hespe and the DOE to double the enrollment to 400 students over a three-year period and to expand its facility to an available Monmouth Street property that abuts the school’s Oakland Street location. School officials had maintained given the school’s ongoing waiting list for placement, the availability of the neighboring property and the state’s modification to the random lottery system that would give added weight to more disadvantaged students, it was an ideal time to undertake this plan. Officials said the expansion would be a benefit for the community, offering families a choice in public schools.When the charter school’s submission became public last December, concern and opposition began and grew as all waited for Hespe’s decision. Public school officials said the expansion would mean the cutting or elimination of much-needed programs and staff members for the district that has considerable challenges. It would also mean additional taxes for property owners to help meet the cost requirements of the expansion; and the expansion would exacerbate what is already a heavily segregated district, with charter school white students outnumbering the number of whites in the primary and middle schools.The local board of education has made these arguments in the past, even taking the charter school to court, alleging it worsened segregation in the public schools and had a detrimental impact on the traditional public schools. The board was unsuccessful a decade ago with both the state education officials and the Superior Court of Appeals rejecting the arguments.The public school district out of its budget supplies 90 percent of the charter school funds – currently at approximately at $1.6 million – to provide a thorough and efficient education under the state formula. The charter school also receives additional direct state aid.Amanda Vega, director of communications for the New Jersey Charter Schools Association, provided a statement that noted: “Commissioner Hespe’s letter indicates the reason for denial was based upon information received during the 60-day public comment period. The Christie Administration has stated a strong commitment to strengthening not only the charter community, but also supporting public education overall.”As time progressed, public opposition grew. The borough council offered its bipartisan, unanimous opposition to the plan. Mayor Pasquale Menna had convened a special committee to study the proposal and reported it would have “devastating” effects on taxes and the public school. (Some charter school supporters alleged the committee’s verdict was politically charged and motivated.)Red Bank RiverCenter, which manages and advocates for the borough commercial Special Improvement District, issued a statement that the threat of higher taxes to support the expansion could have a negative impact on business recruitment and by extension the entire community. State Senator Jennifer Beck (R-11) and the 11th District’s Assembly members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey, both Democrats, all voiced opposition, especially in light of the state’s continued short funding of educational aid. Just last two weeks Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-13), who acknowledged he is ideologically supportive of school choice, also raised objections to the plan.One community member who attended a meeting in Trenton with Harold Lee, the state’s director for the Office of Charter Schools, said Lee told the Red Bank group he hadn’t experienced such an outpouring of community opposition, as had been the case for the Red Bank Charter School.“I’m in shock, in shock, in shock,” said a jubilant Board of Education Member Ben Forest over the denial. “Based upon the state policies of encouraging and expanding charter school’s I’m very proud the commissioner of education did the right thing.”Menna said what he was hearing from those in the know in Trenton, the expansion was a fait accompli. But “What I think tipped the scales was basically the community coming together to speak with one voice.”Indeed, both Hespe and Gov. Chris Christie are on the record as supporting school choice. Hespe last month announced at a school choice conference in Jersey City, that the Christie Administration hoped to expand the number of charter school classroom seats to 50,000, from its current approximately 41,000, by the end of the administration’s term in 2018.The Department of Education recently approved 16 charter school expansion proposals and gave the OK for three new ones.“This is a tremendous win for the people of Red Bank,” the mayor said, “and for the public schools, which have done an incredible job making up for years of challenges and really creating a fantastic educational atmosphere for people to grow in.”“The sweetest thing in all this, as I see it,” observed Marybeth Maida, a borough resident opposed to the charter school’s proposal, “is the community rose up and the community spoke. And what a great feeling to be part of a movement that made sense and prevailed.”“It was the perfect civics lesson,” Maida noted.The charter school could reapply to the DOE again next year or even seek to appeal Hespe’s decision to the state Superior Court of Appeals, according to a DOE spokesman.This year seven of eight charter schools that sought expansion through the charter renewal were approved by the state; nine of the 18 that requested expansion through the amendment process – as was the case with Red Bank – were approved, according to the DOE. Correction, March 10The Page 1 story “State Denies Red Bank Charter School’s Plan for Growth” in the March 3 edition of The Two River Times mischaracterizes the position of Red Bank RiverCenter. According to James Scavone, RiverCenter’s executive director, the business organization was neutral on the charter school’s expansion plan; but expressed concern about what a possible tax increase to pay for it would mean for the current business community and for RiverCenter’s efforts to attract new businesses.last_img read more

Edwards powers Hawks past Leafs; Rebels sweep Bruins in Murdoch weekend action

first_imgBeaver Valley travels to Grand Forks Tuesday before meeting the Rebels in a home-and-home series Friday and Saturday.The Hawks then play the Braves in Spokane before hosting the Leafs in the final game of the regular season — a game that could decide the Murdoch Division crown.Nelson plays Grand Forks in a home-and-home series beginning Friday in Nelson at the NDCC Arena. Puck drop is 7 p.m.Bruins sliding out of race for final Murdoch Division playoff spotHunter Jenerou scored twice and Kody Disher added three assists leading the Castlegar Rebels to a 6-2 victory over the Border Bruins Saturday in Gand Forks.The win was the second time in as many nights the Rebels defeated the Bruins by a 6-2 score.Matt Reed and Aaron Brewer gave the Rebels a 2-0 first period lead before Jenerou and Connor Beauchemin scored in the second to give the visitors a commanding 4-1 lead.Aaron Petten had the other goal for Castlegar.Connor Gross and Dakota Kittle replied for the Bruins, losers of three straight games.Castlegar outshot the Bruins 62-41 as Nate Rabbit secured the win in goal for the Rebels.The weekend sweep, combined with a Spokane loss to Kimberley, gives then third-place Rebels a three-point lead over the Braves.Grand Forks, still with seven games remaining on the schedule, trails Spokane by eight points in the hunt for the final playoff spot.Spokane is in Creston to meet the Thunder Cats Sunday. Beaver Valley Nitehawks held serve against the Nelson Leafs in the race to finish on top of the Murdoch Division in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.Ryan Edwards snapped a 1-1 tie with a power play goal late in the third period to lift the Hawks to a 2-1 victory over the Leafs in KIJHL action Saturday night at the Fruitvale Arena.The win allows the Hawks to climb to within four points of the division-leading Leafs. Beaver Valley has two games in hand on Nelson.Nelson opened the two-game home-and-home set with a convincing 6-2 victory Friday at the NDCC Arena.Edwards took advantage of Nelson’s leading scorer Jamie Vlanich in the penalty box, serving a two-minute slashing penalty.After a scoreless first period that saw the Hawks out shoot Nelson 17-9, Beaver Valley opened the scoring when Sheldon Hubbard beat Brad Rebagliati in the Leafs net 17 minutes into the second period.Alec Wilkinson tied the game in the third, combining with Vlanich to beat Bret Clark in the Beaver Valley net.It was Clark to came into Friday’s game after Grayson Sharpe was unable to stop the Nelson offensive attack, serving up five goals in two period.The Hawks then held of a late charge by the Leafs to secure the victory and make the final two weeks of the season a sprint to the Murdoch title and home ice through the division playoffs.Beaver Valley out shot the Leafs 43-31 making a winning out of Clark.Rebagliati lost for the first time in three games in the Leaf nets.last_img read more

Woman nabbed with cocaine in handbag at CJIA

first_imgRanks attached to the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) working at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) on Wednesday night conducted a search of a female passenger, who was scheduled to travel to the USA and found a quantity ofThe bag in which the illegal substance was found on Wednesdaysuspected cocaine concealed in her handbag.The 19-year-old passenger resides on the East Coast of Demerara and was accompanied to the Airport by her mother and family members. The total weight of the suspected drug is 2.660 kilograms. Three persons, including the young woman and her mother, are currently in custody assisting with the investigation.last_img

Have Darwinian Anthropologists Learnt Their Lessons?

first_imgChris Stringer, writing for the BBC News, talked about “Piltdown’s lessons for modern science.”  After telling the history of the famous “missing link” fraud, he discussed four “lessons learnt” by one of the most notorious hoaxes in science history.  For one, “we mustn’t let preconceived ideas run away with us.”  For another, “specimens have to pass certain basic tests.”  He added, “Part of the cleverness of the hoax was the way in which it suited preconceived ideas about what early humans should look like.”  Stringer also commented that science thrives on controversy, and claimed science is self-correcting.  Then he expressed confidence in the more recent fossil ape-man finds.    In another story from the BBC News, an evolutionary economist from the London School of Economics is claiming “Humanity may split into two sub-species in 100,000 years’ time as predicted by HG Wells.”  Oliver Curry thinks humans will divide into a tall, genetically superior upper class, and a short, dimwitted lower class (an illustration fills in the imagination).  Visible splits could be seen in a much shorter time frame.  He speculated, as if this is not already evident, “Social skills, such as communicating and interacting with others, could be lost, along with emotions such as love, sympathy, trust and respect.  People would become less able to care for others, or perform in teams.”  Though racial differences might be ironed out by interbreeding in the short term, Curry thinks the logical outcome of this evolution “would be two sub-species, ‘gracile’ and ‘robust’ humans similar to the Eloi and Morlocks foretold by HG Wells in his 1895 novel The Time Machine.”  Those familiar with the story might remember how the powerful bred the weak for food.  Is this an echo of Darwin’s words?1At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world.  At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated.  The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.1Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man (1882) p.156; see Evolution quotes.Stringer, a positivist and progressivist, thinks science is self-correcting, and will no longer fall for such a low deed.  We leave it to the reader to judge if the Darwin Party has learnt their lessons, or earnt any credibility or respect among civilized human beings.  Maybe we should let them inhabit their own island and evolve this way if they want to.  The rest of us will read good books and hone our social skills for the common good, choose our soul-mates wisely, and develop the moral character needed to be good citizens and fulfill our Creator-endowed rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of eudaimonia.(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Brand South Africa at the Investing in African Mining Indaba 2013

first_imgThe 2012 Investing in African Mining Indaba attracted more than 7000 mining professionals and investors from all continents of the world, representing more than 1,500 international companies from 100 countries and approximately 45 African and non-African government delegations.2012 was certainly a tumultuous year for many, particularly those in the South African mining industry. It was characterised by the Marikana tragedy, related wildcat strikes and the knock-on effect on other areas of the South Africa economy.The unrest in the mining industry has been identified as the cause, either wholly or in part, of South Africa’s credit ratings downgrades, our slowing economic growth rate (now at just 2.5 per cent, compared to other developing countries which are expected to grow between 5 and 6 per cent), and of an estimated loss of approximately R10.1 billion in the platinum- and gold-mining sectors alone.At this year’s Investing in African Mining Indaba, Brand South Africa set off the proceedings by hosting a Roundtable Discussion evening on the eve of the main conference. The Brand South Africa roundtables are a fresh platform to encourage robust debate and engagement.The aim of this Roundtable Discussion with the theme: Transformation – A basis for growth and success of the South African Mining Industry, focused on South Africa’s mining sector, which contributes significantly to South Africa’s GDP and exports.It was to interrogate specific findings from the various measurements and reports that measure competitiveness such The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index (WEF GCI), The Mo Ibrahim Index that rank African states on governance and other performance criteria, The IMD Competitiveness Yearbook, The Anholt GfK Roper Nation Brand Index, focusing on the current state of transformation in the sector, whether financial and social sustainability of the South African mining sector can be improved, the funding structures of BEE deals, how banks can contribute to the broader transformation process in SA mining and what needs to be done to improve or change the status quo? Although the criteria and focus of these indices may differ, their purpose is to assess country performance. However, such indicators also influence debate and the manner in which a country, like South Africa, is perceived internationally.As it is commonly acknowledged, a country’s international reputation is an important factor when establishing or enhancing trade, business, investment and related diplomatic relations.On the domestic front South African citizens, business, labour and government representatives are well known for robust debate on issues they believe impact on the national economy or the nation’s reputation and competitiveness in the international system.Telling our own brand story goes a long way towards changing perceptions of our country and improving its image – especially by debunking negative perceptions about South Africa, our region, our continent of Africa and our place in it.Our reputation as a country is important, as it affects our national competiveness which impacts on investment and thus jobs and growth; and on our national sense of pride and social cohesion.last_img read more

Microsoft Tries Again To Aim All Its Guns Outside The Company

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting david hamilton 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market The long rumored Microsoft reorganization is finally here, and it does pretty much what you’d expect. It regroups the company’s scattered divisions into four main product areas, centralizes functions such as finance and marketing and runs up a “One Microsoft” banner designed to rally the company’s troops around its new “services and devices” mission.All of which sounds straightforward enough. Will it actually make Microsoft a leaner, meaner competitor in an industry dominated by the likes of Google and Apple? That’s the big gamble Steve Ballmer is making here. Unfortunately, the odds aren’t really in his favor.Microsoft-watchers are busily dissecting the details of who’s in and who’s out, and you can bet that lots of folks in Redmond are playing along. That’s the first problem with moving around boxes on the organization chart—the resulting job-shuffling, power-playing and general chaos usually take a long time to shake out. The energy dissipated as people figure out where they fit and how to get work done inside a new structure generally overwhelms any momentum from the big announcement.Right Answer, Wrong QuestionA bigger question is whether this reorganization even addresses the right problems. There are a couple of small reasons, and at least one big one, to think it doesn’t. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… First, Microsoft’s fundamental problem over the past few years has been its inability to capitalize on new opportunities. It failed to push its way into tablet computing, smartphones and the cloud, largely because it was its own worst enemy. Microsoft’s ridiculous internal rivalries often handicapped new initiatives that might have threatened the company’s Windows and Office cash cows, a situation aptly parodied by Manu Cornet in the cartoon to the right (click for a larger version).Ballmer’s answer is the “devices and services” orientation. He’s has been talking up this shift for roughly a year as part of his effort to shift the company’s mentality from its Windows-Office orientation. Going forward, Microsoft will concentrate its efforts on four main areas:Operating systems, including Windows, Windows Phone, the Xbox operating system and enterprise softwareDevices and studios, which combines the Surface and other Microsoft hardware with the company’s entertainment efforts in music, games and videoApplications and services, the new home of Office, the Bing search engine, and SkypeCloud and enterprise, consisting of the Azure cloud platform and back-end data centers for other Microsoft servicesIt’s a classic structure that would do any MBA proud. Trouble is, it doesn’t exactly leave a lot of breathing room for innovation, which tends to flourish when insulated from incumbent products. It’s not remotely clear, for instance, that Microsoft will be any better positioned to seize new software opportunities with the Office division lashed to Bing and Skype, for instance. (Though who knows? You may soon be able to make Internet phone calls from a Word document!)Similarly, the new OS group might well promote efficiency by unifying the code bases of various Windows flavors and the Xbox OS. But it’s equally difficult to imagine big breakthroughs in, say, cloud-computing architecture emerging from a behemoth like this one.Of course, Ballmer can always make exceptions to this structure—and in fact he already has. Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM group, for instance, floats outside those four main product areas, connected by “dotted lines” to the applications group, marketing and sales. Where one exception exists, others can follow. Of course, more exceptions would make a hash of the consolidation effort, but them’s the risks you take when you venture into Boxland.Treatings Symptoms, Not The DiseaseThere are other reasons for skepticism. For instance, Ballmer clearly aims to limit the company’s internal rivalries by taking away  independent finance and marketing teams from the product groups and consolidating them at the corporate level. But that’s treating symptoms, not the disease. Product groups can and will battle for those resources wherever they are; it’s even possible that the infighting—and resulting corporate sluggishness—could get worse, not better, as groups scramble for the biggest slice of the pie they can get.There are also rumors that Microsoft will adopt a new financial reporting structure that reveals less information about the performance of its various divisions. That may sound arcane, but it could have bad consequences. Sure, no one likes Wall Street’s short-term mentality, but the flow of financial information provides important signals to both insiders and outsiders about how well particular businesses are performing and whether new initiatives are really taking root. It’s an important corrective to Microsoft’s current mindset of mediocrity.The new structure also clearly concentrates power with the CEO. That can be a great thing in the right hands—i.e., those of a CEO who can balance the need to keep the wheels turning while also being ready to cannibalize existing business in order to jump on a major new technology trend. Plenty of folks doubt that Ballmer is that guy. And if he’s not, his corner office could well become the next big bottleneck to innovation at Microsoft.Just What Is Microsoft’s Raison D’Etre, Anyway?A lot of this boils down to one big question: Does Microsoft really have a good reason for existing as a single company anymore? Doing business as a software (and now hardware) behemoth certainly looks impressive to corporate executives, board members and business partners, but you can make a pretty powerful argument that Microsoft in its current form simply isn’t capable of evolving to address the fast-changing markets in which it plays.I was a skeptic when former Microsoft exec Joachim Kempin suggested here at ReadWrite that Microsoft should break itself up into several Baby ‘Softs. But his argument makes more sense the longer I look at the new org chart. Here’s a key passage:But how else can you re-infuse entrepreneurial spirit in a company with a feeble or handcuffed leadership team, which mainly protects its own turf and ignores broader opportunities? To propel Microsoft out of its current predicament, I see no other way than to split the company into more manageable pieces.Question for the class: Does anyone see anything in this particular organization that seems likely to promote innovation and the ability to capitalize on new and potentially disruptive innovations? Go ahead, have another look. (And report back your findings in comments, should you have any.)Organization-chart cartoon courtesy of Manu Cornet. Lead image cropped from the full cartoon Related Posts Tags:#Fixing Microsoft#Microsoft last_img read more

Sore knee could sideline Cavs’ Shumpert for another week

first_imgShumpert is averaging 6.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 18.2 minutes for the Cavs, who are just 3-4 and take a three-game losing streak into Wednesday’s game against the Indiana Pacers.The 27-year-old Shumpert has made one start as coach Tyronn Lue has been forced to juggle his lineups because of injuries.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutShumpert is in his fourth season with Cleveland, which acquired him during the 2014-15 season in a trade with the Knicks. Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES Read Next US defense chief agrees it’s time to take another look at defense pact with PH PLAY LIST 01:46US defense chief agrees it’s time to take another look at defense pact with PH01:46Duterte has only scratches on elbow, knee after motorcycle accident — Go02:27Another ‘ninja cop’ dismissed from service01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Iman Shumpert of the Cleveland Cavaliers dribbles against the Brooklyn Nets during their game at Barclays Center on October 25, 2017 in the Brooklyn Borough of New York City. Al Bello/Getty Images/AFPINDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Cleveland Cavaliers reserve guard Iman Shumpert could miss another week with a sore right knee.Shumpert sat out Sunday’s loss to the New York Knicks and underwent an MRI on Monday. The team says tests didn’t reveal any structural damage, and he will be out five to seven days while undergoing treatment and rehab.ADVERTISEMENT Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA PSG, Bayern advance in Champions League; Man Utd must wait View comments MOST READlast_img read more