Category: veqjrken

Let there be music

first_imgOliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said that music was “to the soul what a water bath is to the body.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow called it “the universal language of mankind,” and T.S. Eliot even suggested, “You are the music while the music lasts.”None of these distinguished Harvard figures made his career as a musician, yet the magic of Orpheus still held powerful sway over them, as it does today over hundreds of students who are part of Harvard’s ever-closer relationship to music.In the University’s earliest days, music was generally confined to singing during chapel services or at official College events. Instruments were largely absent from campus. Then, in the 19th century, a handful of young men created a small group dedicated to “mutual improvement in instrumental music,” along with the “consumption of brandy and cigars as well as the serenading of young ladies.”As a liberal arts college, Harvard trains its students broadly so they can adapt nimbly to a rapidly changing world, and, increasingly, appreciating and participating in music are integral parts of student life.Tuneful examples abound. For instance, a Gen Ed course in rhythm and blues now accepts performing as part of a student’s final project. In addition, the University has begun offering a joint degree program with the New England Conservatory. Harvard funding just fueled development of a revolutionary software program that translates piano notes into musical notations in real time. And the Loeb Music Library, expanding the breadth of its collections, recently acquired the annotated archives of famed conductor Georg Solti.Also, musician and composer Wynton Marsalis is in the second year of an acclaimed lecture series, combining scholarship and performance as he exhausts his audiences with enthusiastic, hours-long discussions of complex musical forms. And famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma has become a campus fixture, even recently serenading dining Harvard Business School (HBS) students, accompanied by members of his Silk Road Project, the educational arts group that recently relocated from Rhode Island to University space in Allston.Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Project recently performed and answered questions in the Spangler Center at Harvard Business School.Harvard undergraduates have a long tradition of making their own music, with new outlets for their talents and interests being added all the time. Students participate in more than 50 musical groups, ranging from the Mozart Society Orchestra to Mariachi Véritas de Harvard. The registrar’s office says that more than 20 percent of undergraduates list music as a valued extracurricular activity.Here is a sampling of the musical themes that regularly echo across the Harvard landscape.Performing in the classroomAs members of the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra (HRO), cellists Alexander Sahn ’13 and Alexander Cox ’12 are familiar with 100-musician concerts and the classical canon. But on this rainy afternoon, they were alone on stage with the King of Pop.In a vaulted hall before a small audience of professors and peers, the two Alexanders rocked out a cello version of Michael Jackson’s 1988 hit “Smooth Criminal.” The duo, who were taking the Gen Ed course “From R&B to Neo Soul: Black Popular Music and Cultural Transformation,” chose a performance option as part of their final project.“During exam period, when you just don’t want to write another paper or take another exam, to have this to do was a lot of fun,” said Cox.In addition to being a more relaxed exam alternative, students said the performance option produced a fresh and profound type of learning.Senior Winta Haile enlisted her a cappella group KeyChange to sing “Kiss” by Prince and Toni Braxton’s “He Wasn’t Man Enough.” Arranging and performing works from different eras helped her to understand, more than a typical test could have, how black artists have strongly influenced each other over time, she said.“The tendency with a lot of classes is to cram for a final and then forget it in the next couple of days,” Haile said. “But I think when you do something as engaging as a musical performance, you are kind of embodying the point of your final … so you really do internalize the point of the class.”In Business School dining hall, a concertThe HBS hall was buzzing, and Yo-Yo Ma ’76 was in the middle of the sound. Whether kneeling at a table talking to students, hugging an aspiring cellist whom he instantly christened “my brother,” or rubbing shoulders with Harvard deans, he was ready to engage the University through music.Ma was at HBS to perform with members of his Silk Road Project, the nonprofit group inspired by the cultural traditions of the ancient Eurasian trade routes. Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble will be in residence at Harvard for the next five years. In addition to presenting a series of performances, workshops, and collaborations with local arts, cultural, and educational institutions, Ma and his team will work closely with students and faculty around campus.Already a musical prodigy when he arrived at Harvard as an undergraduate, the internationally renowned Ma has deepened his ties to the University over time through his passion for music. He is heartened by the breadth of musical choices across campus.“Performance and education share one value in common: You want to make it memorable; if it’s not, why do it?” Ma said in an interview. He praised Harvard’s efforts to bring music into the classroom.Music helps you to “grow your imagination,” Ma said. “Everybody is talking about needing an innovative, collaborative workforce. And building a strong, disciplined, flexible imagination is absolutely key.”Artistic growth and renewal are central to Ma’s mission, which dovetails with Harvard’s recent efforts to bring the arts more fully into the daily life and fabric of the University.Since 2005, Harvard has offered a joint, five-year program with the New England Conservatory. And the Department of Music, once largely a classical bastion, now offers courses on jazz and rhythm and blues.Such support contrasts mightily with Harvard’s earliest days, when music was strictly limited. But in 1808 a handful of students created the Pierian Sodality, its name a nod to the mythic Greek spring. The small instrumental group was dedicated to “mutual improvement in instrumental music,” along with the “consumption of brandy and cigars as well as the serenading of young ladies.”The Sodality evolved into the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra, a collection of more than 100 musicians who present four major concerts annually. Director Federico Cortese, who succeeded longtime orchestra leader James Yannatos in 2009, said the talented young musicians under his tutelage offer him a type of flexibility and understanding that professional players can lack.“Sometimes, you can explain things that have to do with the structure of the piece or with the background of the composition or the history of the composer, and they listen and manage to translate into playing rather quickly, while professional orchestras are normally less interested in those things and therefore less reactive.”Support from Arts Task ForceWhen Harvard President Drew Faust released the findings of her Arts Task Force, a group that recommended more support for the arts, including music, she said, “In times of uncertainty, the arts remind us of our humanity and provide the reassuring proof that we, along with the Grecian urn, have endured and will continue to do so. Now is the time to embrace, not retreat from, the arts.”And that is what has been happening. Last year, Faust announced Marsalis’ performance and lecture series. Ma’s Silk Road Project moved to Harvard last year in part to deepen its long relationship with the University and to participate in residencies, interact with students, conduct workshops, and share works in progress.In November, contemporary composer John Adams ’69, A.M. ’72, returned to campus to discuss his landmark 1987 opera “Nixon in China” as part of a series of events marking the University’s 375th anniversary.The task force report coincided with the hiring of Diane Paulus ’88 as director of the American Repertory Theater. Paulus quickly brought a number of musical productions to the Cambridge stage, including the opera “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,” which had a sold-out Cambridge run and has since moved to Broadway.“For me, the theater is music,” Paulus said during a discussion last year with lyricist and composer Stephen Schwartz of “Godspell” and “Wicked” fame. “When you are doing theater,” she added, “you want to take on every possible means of the theatrical event. And, for that, music is at the core.”Senior Matt Aucoin (right) is something of a living musical legend on campus. An English concentrator, Aucoin has been conducting and composing since entering Harvard. Photo by Jon Chase/Harvard Staff PhotographerExpanding the Music DepartmentHarvard has come a long way since offering its first music course in 1855. Academically, Harvard’s musical program has grown into a robust department with 20 faculty members who explore everything from Tchaikovsky to computer-generated sound.Recent department hires emphasize the importance of merging the academic with the artistic. Jill Johnson, Harvard’s new director of the Office for the Arts dance program, holds a joint appointment and will teach classes that explore music and movement. In addition, Cortese and Andrew Clark, Harvard’s new director of choral activities, have assumed greater teaching responsibilities in the department.To help students gain an insider’s feel for the musical genius of composers such as Wolfgang Mozart and Giuseppe Verdi, Cortese has students in his class perform scenes from operas such as “The Marriage of Figaro” and “Falstaff.”“They are exploring really exciting teaching options,” said Alexander Rehding, the Fanny Peabody Professor of Music, and chair of the department. “We are thrilled about this combination of performance and scholarship that was highlighted in the Harvard Arts Initiative.”Building on Faust’s directive, performance is a growing part of the department’s classes. Broadway choreographers and composers visit to provide their perspectives to a class on “American Musicals and American Culture.” Persian master musician and visiting artist Bahman Panahi worked with students in the class “Music, Debate, and Islam.”In “The Operas of John Adams,” students traveled to New York City to see “Nixon in China.” During class, they met with director Peter Sellars ’80 and with Adams. In “Music in Cross-Cultural Perspectives,” students learned the intricacies of Ethiopian chanting.“During the task force meetings, we really talked through the importance of having some sort of activity-based learning in the arts,” said Ingrid Monson, Quincy Jones Professor of African American Music and a task force member. Her class “From R&B to Neo Soul: Black Popular Music and Cultural Transformation” trades final-exam nerves for stage-fright butterflies.“One of my goals in allowing a final performance as an option is for students to have some kind of embodied learning,” said Monson. “And nothing teaches more respect for popular music than having people try to do it themselves.”The department also has expanded its connections across the humanities, said Rehding. He cited the work of Harvard English Professor Daniel Albright, who co-taught a class on modernism with a member of the Music Department. Rehding has taught another course, in collaboration with the Department of Government, on music and political thought between Plato and Nietzsche.Recent visitors to Harvard’s Arthur M. Sackler Museum could experience a visual and audio creation of students in Professor Hans Tutschku’s class “Introduction to Electronic Composition.” The students put together electroacoustic works inspired by art. On the horizon are possible collaborations with the physical sciences, said Rehding, who hopes to explore connections with Harvard’s Mind/Brain/Behavior Interfaculty Initiative.“If you look back 10 or 20 years ago, I think there was a sense that music was unapproachable. You had to be able to read a score. You had to have highly specialized training in order to even begin to talk about it. I think those barriers have really gone down,” said Rehding. “It’s really nice to see that music is not this little island that is somehow feared. … It’s part of the humanities.”The department also has expanded its worldview. Kay Shelemay, G. Gordon Watts Professor of Music and professor of African and African American studies, in 1993 created the department’s program in ethnomusicology, which explores the intersections of music and culture globally. “It surely was a moment at which the academy had embraced cross-cultural musical studies, and I think Harvard realized that it needed to be part of it,” said Shelemay.Students make their own musicAt Harvard, student pianists can tickle the ivories on close to 200 pianos, including the worn but wonderful Baldwin grand nestled below the Eliot House cupola, courtesy of alumnus composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein.The Harvard Organ Society offers master classes and concerts. The Harvard University Choir often fills the Memorial Church with song. Annual productions transform the dining halls in Dunster and Lowell Houses into settings for grand operas. There are student-produced musicals and a dizzying range of student-led music clubs dedicated to everything from Motown to mariachi. Students play in the Bach Society and the Brattle Street Chamber Players, among the many classical outlets.The Harvard University Band has been making music and mayhem since 1919.  Campus a cappella groups abound. And students at WHRB radio offer listeners classical, jazz, underground rock, and more.Undergrad George Zuo ’13 arrived at Harvard with serious musical chops. He began piano lessons at age 3, followed by years of intense study of the trumpet. For much of his young life, classical orchestras, brass quintets, and wind ensembles were the norm.But, Zuo, who is Chinese-American, had a revelation while attending a freshman activity fair when, from across the room, he heard someone yelling for a trumpeter. He investigated and stumbled onto a recruiting call for Mariachi Véritas de Harvard, the University’s 11-member mariachi ensemble.“Playing the same thing over and over was getting a little dull,” said Zuo. Now the group’s president, he helped lead the largely self-taught troupe (who study YouTube videos of mariachi style and rely on the knowledge handed down from more-experienced members) to San Jose, Calif., to play in front of 13,000.“When they see us come in, they say, ‘Wow, this group is really different.’ It’s a very interesting clash of cultures. It’s definitely something I take pride in,” said Zuo. “It’s amazing what it’s done for my cultural literacy. It’s been kind of an adventure.”Senior Matt Aucoin is something of a living musical legend on campus. An English concentrator, Aucoin started playing the piano seriously at age 6 when he realized that the instrument was a means of “saying what I wanted to say.”Worried that a school like Juilliard might mean endless hours locked in a practice room with time for little else, he rejected the conservatory road in favor of Harvard and its ample musical opportunities.“We like to think of ourselves as being proactive, creating opportunities for students to thrive in music and all other artistic pursuits,” said Office for the Arts Director Jack Megan (above) during the performance by the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra at Harvard’s 375th celebration this past fall. Photo by Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer“I knew one’s education needed to be more than that. When the time came to make a decision, I looked at what Harvard had to offer. It seemed I could make my own musical life here in a way I couldn’t anywhere else. I really loved that independent spirit.”Aucoin, who has studied conducting in Italy and Austria, has been conducting and composing since entering Harvard. He staged his first opera during his freshman year and will roll out another at the end of the spring semester.One Harvard organization in particular helps students to find their musical way.For close to 40 years, Harvard’s Office for the Arts (OFA) has supported student artistic endeavors. The OFA offers music lesson subsidies; project grants for musical groups; space and staff for hundreds of concerts annually; and the Artist Fellowship Program, which aids gifted musicians and composers. Each year, its Learning From Performers series brings to campus professional musicians such as Renee Fleming and Suzanne Vega for workshops, master classes, and performances.“We like to think of ourselves as being proactive, creating opportunities for students to thrive in music and all other artistic pursuits,” said OFA Director Jack Megan.The OFA also supports Harvard’s professionally led instrumental and choral ensembles. The conductors of groups like the Holden Choirs (Harvard Glee Club, Radcliffe Choral Society, Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum), the Kuumba Singers, and the Harvard Jazz Bands “are really the tangible day-to-day presence of OFA involvement in mentoring student musicians,” Megan said.In addition to producing polished performers, Harvard’s student groups also have created a corps of seasoned and savvy arts administrators.Arthur Rishi ’90 sang in the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum and managed it for his last two years as a Harvard student. The tenor said he learned the intricacies of the music business through the hands-on approach that is a norm at Harvard, something that has served him well in his career as a professional singer and concert organizer. He currently runs a series of concerts in the Class of 1959 Chapel on the HBS campus.“All of the behind-the-scenes work, the fundraising, the ticketing, the marketing are done by the students, and a lot of people think that is a negative to the arts scene at Harvard,” said Rishi, “but I disagree. I had so much training during my undergraduate days … it was just a fantastic experience, and it was very empowering.”Music’s effects in classesMusic also can be an important classroom tool, helping to explore topics ranging from the workings of the cranium to copyright infringement.At HBS, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, better known as pop sensation Lady Gaga, is helping students to understand decisions made in the music industry, said Anita Elberse, associate professor of business administration, who leads the popular elective “Strategic Marketing in Creative Industries,” which uses 24 cases from the entertainment field.Elberse, who authored a case study on Gaga for the course, said that by examining decisions made by the singer’s management team, students “better understand the economics and intricacies of the concert business.”Germanotta also recently partnered with Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society to create a nonprofit that promotes youth empowerment. In addition, a collaboration between the Berkman Center and the Berklee College of Music organizes yearly conferences about the music industry.Research aimed at unlocking the mysteries of the brain and helping patients to recover from head injuries is the domain of Gottfried Schlaug, Harvard Medical School (HMS) associate professor of neurology and director of the Music, Neuroimaging and Stroke Recovery Laboratories at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and HMS.Elsewhere, the Arts in Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education promotes school learning in the field. Students in the master’s program craft their studies around areas of interest, with music front and center among their choices.The Loeb Music Library has more than 140,000 digitized scores that offer insights into musical masters with the click of a mouse. Recently, the library acquired the archives of Georg Solti, a comprehensive collection of the famous Hungarian conductor’s methodically marked-up scores.In Boston, a Harvard alumna and campus musician, Lisa Wong, is the longtime president of the Longwood Symphony Orchestra, a group largely composed of health care professionals from the city’s leading hospitals and universities. Many of those professionals have ties to Harvard.What began as a small, informal chamber group has grown into a large orchestra with rigorous tryouts and a mission to help others. The symphony performs and raises money for a host of community partners that aid underserved populations in the area. Every other year, the group convenes a symposium with leading authorities in the arts and sciences around the intersection of music and medicine.“We realized that playing music to raise awareness about public health issues was our raison d’être,” said Wong.last_img read more

The Road to 2030 Must Be Circular

first_imgAmerica Recycles Day is this Friday, and each year we celebrate by hosting recycling drives on our campuses around the country. Each year I’m amazed at what we collect to repurpose: used computers, cell phones, eyeglasses, pet items, tennis shoes. Whether reused in current form or broken down into component parts, the materials get a second life.And it seems simple to us as consumers. We drop off a product and someone else handles the rest. We don’t always see the complexity behind the scenes. The truth is recycling and reusing materials is hard, and it’s especially hard for technology, which contains a surprising number of elements from the periodic table. With electronics becoming the fastest growing waste stream in the world, it’s precisely this challenge that will define our opportunity to lead the industry over the next decade.Today Dell Technologies announced our 2030 social impact goals, and we shared how advancing sustainability is a critical element of how Dell will have the greatest impact on society. More specifically, we shared moonshot goals extending a commitment to the circular economy. By 2030:We will recycle an equivalent product for every product a customer buysMore than half of all product content will be made from recycled or renewable materialWe will use 100% recycled or renewable material in all our packagingWe’ve been working toward this concept of circularity for a while — providing recycling services to our global customers for over 20 years, and even achieving our 2020 goal of using 100 million pounds of recycled content early.  Sure, Dell Technologies is a software producer. One of the world’s largest. But the issue is rooted in material goods. Our 2030 goal takes on the expansive Dell Technologies hardware portfolio and the breadth and depth of materials in our products and packaging.To put this in perspective, technology can contain up to half the elements on a periodic table and many of them are technically recoverable. A typical computer contains plastics, metals, metalloids, ceramics, copper, carbon fiber, silicon, glass, steel, aluminum and countless other obscure materials we’ve probably never heard of. Each material comes with complexity when it comes to reuse.Water bottles, for example, are typically made out of PET. We generally do not use PET to make our products (the chassis for many Latitude laptops, for example, is ABS plastic with polycarbonate). Mechanical recycling forces you to stay with the same kind of plastic. So PET can come back as PET. This greatly limits the number of available recycling streams.What’s more, mechanical recycling slightly degrades the plastics. They pick up impurities and the process of re-melting them can potentially weaken the structure. They can’t always return to their original state and can only be recycled so many times before compromising the quality. That’s why recycled content typically gets mixed with virgin plastics. Our closed-loop plastics program – which takes ABS plastic from e-waste and recycles it back into new product components – is a 35% blend. Across our product lines, you will find some that have no recycled content while some have as much as 50%.What gets exciting, is when you can find the perfect material match in someone else’s waste. Carbon fiber is a great example. Turns out computers use a similar grade carbon fiber as airplanes. So we reclaim aerospace material for Latitude, our commercial notebook line. To date, Dell has prevented more than 2 million pounds of carbon fiber from ending up in landfills.And in this case, the benefits go far beyond the environment. We’ve partnered with Carbon Conversions, a start-up based in South Carolina with a mission to reclaim and recycle carbon fiber. Carbon Conversions has redesigned and reengineered the papermaking process to produce carbon fiber non-woven fabrics, bringing new growth to an area historically impacted by overseas manufacturing.Finding more partners like Carbon Conversions will be important. It will also be important to increase our own recycling streams dramatically (i.e. you all have a role to play too).  We must make it as easy as possible for you to recycle.The future will take collaboration, diligence, and creativity.  It will take constant experimentation, failing in some cases, but nevertheless pushing the industry forward. We don’t have all the answers today for how we’re going to achieve our sustainability goals, but from closed loop plastics to carbon fiber to ocean bound plastics to rare earth metals– we’ve laid the foundation, and we are committed to the circular road ahead.last_img read more

Court decision likely to prompt additional delays for Atlantic Coast, Mountain Valley pipeline projects

first_imgCourt decision likely to prompt additional delays for Atlantic Coast, Mountain Valley pipeline projects FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:The two biggest U.S. natural gas pipelines under construction are likely facing more delays after an appeals court ruling against the Army Corps of Engineers, energy analysts said.The Trump administration has pressed ahead with new pipeline construction, but several projects have been stalled by successful legal challenges saying the administration is not applying careful regulatory scrutiny.Last month, a Montana judge ruled the Army Corps authorized permits to cross streams without properly consulting other federal agencies on endangered species. Rather than limit its ruling to the Keystone XL crude pipeline case before the court, the judge questioned the Army Corps’ method of authorizing stream crossing under the entire National Permit 12 program.The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday left that ruling in place, which will likely prevent Keystone and other pipelines from using Army Corps’ stream crossing permits until the appeals court decides in early 2021, the analysts said.It means the two biggest gas pipes under construction – Dominion Energy Inc’s Atlantic Coast and EQM Midstream Partners LP’s Mountain Valley – are likely to be delayed by several more months.[Scott DiSavino]More: Court ruling in Keystone XL case another blow to big U.S. pipelines, say energy analystslast_img read more

Ragnar Trail Appalachians – West Virginia Shines (and Rains) Again

first_imgUnlike many road relays, the Ragnar Trail is a welcome exception that gets runners out of their vans and on to the trails.This was the second year of Ragnar Trail and the second year of Ragnar Trail Appalachians. Despite last year’s bad weather, the field doubled in size and became one of the largest of the seven events that will be staged this year. It is one of the more technical courses, especially with the mud. While Snowmass offers altitude, with the one of the loops climbing to just shy of 9,000 feet in elevation, and Zion has a long loop that, when covered by this year’s freak snow, took some runners hours to complete, the loops in McDowell Mountain, Ariz., and Vail Lake, Calif., are rather sedate in comparison. This year Ragnar is adding the Hill Country event outside of Austin and already held the Atlanta race on the trails that were used for the mountain bike course of the Atlanta Olympics.appalachia-ragnar-campThere are three loops of different distances, between three and seven miles and each of eight or four team members runs each of the loops in succession so that the team rotates throughout the night, eventually completing 24 loops for a full distance of more than 100 miles.The loops all start and finish at a central hub, one that quickly becomes rather festive, given more than 300 teams camped out and communing at the event, plus bands, a big fire pit, a dining and beer tent and sponsor and vendor booths. The trails at Big Bear Lake are stunning in their beauty and challenging in their technicality, one made more complicated by muddy conditions.Last year’s donut was this year’s hole when the sky opened up midway through the first day of racing. Although last year only saw a couple hours of sunlight, the remainder being light rain, this year was the opposite; two hours of downpour surrounded mostly by sun.Runners toughed it out and finished with mud-splattered grins and appreciating the value of aggressively-lugged trail shoes over their smooth-treaded road-running shoes. While the Ragnar Relays always have a handful of highly-competitive teams, the vast majority of participants are there to push their own comfort level by tackling overnight running, often for the first time, especially on trails that run through rows of tall pines, around ferns right out of a Hobbit set and over moss-covered rocks with endlessly-undulating hills. Although the weather makes the Ragnar Trail experience that much more authentic, perhaps next year’s pastry will be a whole one? Hole-less and sunny.–Adam W. Chase is the President of the American Trail Running Association, Brand Ambassador for Salomon Running and Running Times Magazine, co-author of “The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running,” and practices tax law for the Boulder, Colorado law firm, Hutchinson, Black and Cook. He was happy the Salomon tent he was holding down when the wind and rain hit Big Bear Lake didn’t fly into the air like a bouncy house and carry him off yonder. He’s not very big.last_img read more

Pink Slip Nov. ’13: Paschke, Nugent, Florida Warden – You’re Fired!

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York [colored_box color=”red”]Christopher AtkinsChristopher Atkins is apparently the not-so-vigilant warden of the Franklin Correctional Institution in Florida’s Orange County on whose watch two convicted murderers were allowed to waltz out of prison with years still to go on their terms. Joseph Jenkins was serving a life sentence for first-degree murder and Charles Walker was serving a life sentence for second-degree murder. But somehow they each ended up with forged court documents that their time was up. Nobody working under Atkins thought to double-check so away the convicts went until they were caught again weeks later. We shouldn’t be surprised that this injudicious escape clause could happen in a state that made “hanging chads” a national obsession but what’s up with the fraudulent paperwork in Florida? Maybe Atkins should be a ballot inspector in 2016.Jason ChaffetzChoosing one scapegoat from the list of conservative Congressional culprits who caused the federal government shutdown and thereby cost the country billions of dollars in lost productivity—let alone the lasting damage these clods did to our economy, our image and our future—makes listening to Sen. Ted Cruz’s 21-hour homage to Dr. Suez on the Senate floor a piece of cake by comparison. At least that filibuster could be regarded as a performance piece for masochists and Tea Party zealots. But somebody must pay for this idiocy. So why not Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah)? He was the acting Republican chairman of the House Rules Committee who admitted in a video that went viral that his leaders had indeed taken away an individual lawmaker’s normal right to force a vote on a bill when there is a dispute between the House and the Senate. News reports were saying that a Congressional coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans wanted to end the shutdown—if they only could. But the passage of an obscure resolution (HR 368) denied them the chance. Chaffetz was the one who publicly conceded, “The House adopted that resolution.” To which Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) asked, “Why were the rules rigged to keep the government shut down?” Chaffetz wouldn’t say. That’s why he’s our fall guy. He didn’t start the fire but he kept it burning.Xu ShoushengAs front pages go, The New Express’s offerings didn’t offer any word play or salacious gossip. In fact, they played it rather straight: “Please Release Him” was one, followed by “Again: Please Release Him.” But they were extraordinary just the same because they reportedly marked the first time in China that a newspaper dared to challenge the police for holding a journalist in custody. Chen Yougzhou was detained by authorities in Changsa, the capital of Hunan province, because of his investigation of the finances of Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science and Technology Company, China’s second-largest construction equipment maker. The reporter wrote that the partly government-owned company was accused of faking its sales figures, improperly privatizing state assets and spending $84.3 million on “abnormal marketing.” Then state media said he had admitted writing false stories for money but didn’t reveal who had paid him. Youghzhou was handcuffed and flanked by cops when he made his “confession” on state-run television. Earlier this year, Xu Shousheng, who joined the Communist Party of China in 1973, was elected governor of Hunan province, making him the man ultimately responsible for denying Yougzhou his freedom. This poor journalist committed no crime—he was just reporting the facts as he saw them—and his becoming the bigger story says a lot about the sorry state of affairs in the most populous country in the world.Franz-Peter Tebartz-van ElstBaptized “the Bishop of Bling” in the tabloids, Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst had such a taste for the good things in life that the Vatican finally had to suspend him just after he’d been summoned to explain himself. In some ways, it brings back fond memories of Pentagon excess but here’s a partial accouting of his luxurious lifestyle: this 60-year-old plutocratic prelate spent $42 million on renovations of his mansion in Limburg, Germany, which included $474,000 for carpentry and cupboards, $610,000 for art, $135,000 for windows for a private chapel, $34,000 for a conference table and $20,000 for a bathtub. We think he actually scrimped on the bathtub, but who’s counting? Apparently Pope Francis is. Once this soon-to-be ex-bishop turns in his mitre, maybe he could become a broker on Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing shows. He’d fit right in.Kurt Paschke & Jaclyn NugentAmong all the craziness in this Jets season—and it ain’t over yet—watching a Long Island guy the Daily News dubbed a “Gang Green goon” punch a female New England Patriots fan in the face has to be right up there in the hall of shame. Kurt Paschke, 38, of Holbrook was charged with assault and disorderly conduct by the New Jersey State Police as was Jaclyn Nugent, 26, of Boston for a despicable incident caught on camera after the Jets pulled off their first upset of the season at the Meadowlands (the Jets won with a last-second field goal facilitated by an obscure penalty call). In this early October post-football fracas, cameras recorded Paschke hitting Nugent with a right hook as she and her two friends from Massachusetts kicked and punched him. All involved have been banned from attending any more events at MetLife Stadium, which means that Paschke’s juvenile JetsMobile probably won’t be taking up space in the parking lot any time soon. It doesn’t matter here that Paschke once served three years in state prison for fatally stabbing a 17-year-old in a fight behind a Sayville pizza parlor in the 1990s because this son of a policeman should have known better than to slug a lady—even if she was a snotty-nosed, potty-mouthed Pats fan whose team is going to win the division no matter what these idiots do after a game.Wojciech BraszczokWojciech Braszczok is the undercover NYPD detective who wound up riding with a motorcycle mob terrorizing Alexian Lien, a young father who was driving his wife and baby daughter in a Range Rover in Manhattan before he ran afoul of a biker on the West Side Highway. All told, seven suspects were busted as a result of the mayhem. Videotape allegedly shows Braszczok smashing the vehicle’s rear window with his helmet. He did nothing as Lien, 33, was pulled from the Range Rover and nearly beaten to death before a hero intervened. This undercover dick also infiltrated the Occupy Wall Street encampment, according to news reports. Here he may have crossed the line from working undercover to becoming an active participant in biker-gang violence because he took three days after the incident to come clean. Now it looks like his 10 years on the force are down the drain. Maybe his handler should get a Pink Slip, too.Bryna RifkinAll the inquiring reporter wanted was a minute with actress Marion Cotillard at the Toronto Film Festival to pose one question before the premiere of her movie “Blood Ties.” But apparently that was asking too much of Cotillard’s publicist Bryna Rifkin, who snapped at her in a clip watched by more than 11,000 YouTube viewers that whether the reporter had been promised a chance or not, she didn’t care because “nobody told you that…and either way, I’m saying no.” ID PR’s Rifkin should be the star of her own Mean Girl movie, judging by the reaction to her mistreatment of the press. Being rude to reporters is not part of a good publicist’s job description—that’s just a perk for losers.Doug Lamborn, Scott Tipton, Mike Coffman & Cory GardnerThis gang of four Republicans is from Colorado’s Congressional delegation. They voted to screw New York and New Jersey out of much-needed federal aid following the devastation of Superstorm Sandy. When killer floods recently wiped out towns and bridges in the Centennial State, these generous Americans voted for disaster relief so Uncle Sam could help out the victims there. Their “real hypocrisy” was too much for Long Island’s lone Republican Congressman to take. Rep. Pete King (R-Seaford) had to work his butt off to get the House to bail out the Northeast after the deadly hurricane struck a year ago—when too many members of his own party were all too eager to let us drown in our misery. “They should just thank God we didn’t use the same tactics against them that they used against us,” King told the Daily News. As has been shown time and time again, Mother Nature is unwaveringly non-partisan.Tiona RodriguezWe don’t know the extenuating circumstances but the details are sordid enough. Tiona Rodriguez was busted for allegedly carrying her dead newborn son in a canvas bag while swiping a pair of jeans at Victoria’s Secret, according to the NYPD. The jeans cost about $45. But the reaction of the store’s security guards when they reportedly found the eight-and-a half pound corpse in her belongings must have been priceless. This 17-year-old subsequently pleaded not guilty to the shoplifting charges and wasn’t arraigned on anything else—although that could come later. In the mean time, a Pink Slip, not a sales slip, will suffice. But it’s a very sad story all the same.Alan GottliebAlan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation (whoever the hell they are) has stomped on the First Amendment to announce that his group intends to turn the Dec. 14 anniversary of the massacre at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn., into a “Guns Save Lives” day. Gottlieb, who looks like a stuffed shirt in a polka-dot bowtie in his press photo, also heads the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. All he’s doing, he claims, is countering the push for gun control that has sprung up in light of the horrific massacre last year that left 20 first-graders and six educators shot to death. He reportedly said: “We are going to use the day to get our views out… We don’t want (pro gun-control groups) to own that day…We are gonna be there first.” But he doesn’t say that the National Rifle Association already got there—and bought control of Congress. This sick publicity-hound should quit while he’s ahead.[/colored_box]last_img read more

Garuda gets $382 million in loans from BRI to fund working capital

first_imgAside from the two facilities, the company also obtained a bank guarantee or standby letter of credit (SBLC) facility denominated in rupiah with a ceiling equivalent to $200 million.“The provision for this facility stood at 1 percent of the issued SBLC amount and 0.25 percent of the issued bank guarantee, or at least Rp 500 million,” Garuda said in the statement.Read also: Garuda opens dialogue with sukuk holders as it struggles to pay duesThe health crisis has led to the closure of most of Garuda’s flights and a steep decline in passengers due to travel restrictions placed to curb the spread of the disease.Garuda stocks had risen more than 3 percent as of 11:17 a.m. Jakarta time in Wednesday trading, in contrast with a 0.61 percent fall seen by main gauge Jakarta Composite Index (JCI). Stocks of BRI had weakened 0.38 percent.Topics : Both facilities, Garuda said, would be due on Dec. 21.Read also: Garuda switches focus to cargo, chartered flight businesses amid ‘mudik’ ban“These transactions aim to fund our working capital, including to pay for fuel, airplane lease and other activities, that will support the company’s main business,” the airline said.Garuda has been trying to maintain its cashflow amid the slumping aviation industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic through several efforts, such as cutting employees’ and executives’ salaries as well as opening a discussion with holders of its dollar-denominated sukuk that will be due in June. National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia has received three loan facilities from state-owned Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) with a total value of US$382 million to fund the airline’s working capitalThe publicly listed airline received a $50 million short-term loan from the bank with an interest rate based on the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) plus 2.85 percent per annum, the company said in a statement posted on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) website on Tuesday.Garuda also received a second loan facility with a ceiling of Rp 2 trillion ($132 million), which includes a Rp 1 trillion facility for its subsidiary low-cost carrier Citilink Indonesia, the company said. The interest rate for this facility ranges from around 8.25 percent to 10.75 percent annually.last_img read more

Gov. Wolf Signs Child Marriage Ban, Psychology Compact Bills

first_imgGov. Wolf Signs Child Marriage Ban, Psychology Compact Bills May 08, 2020 Bill Signing,  Press Release Governor Tom Wolf signed into law House Bill 360, which sets 18 as the minimum age to obtain a marriage license and extends the time period for child care and school employees to obtain their criminal Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) background certifications.“Setting the minimum age to obtain a marriage license will help prevent child exploitation,” said Gov. Wolf. “Marriage is a sacred and serious commitment that should be undertaken with love by two adults, not by children being exploited by unscrupulous adults.”Gov. Wolf also signed into law Senate Bill 67, which amends regulations to expand the availability of psychological services through telemedicine.“The COVID-19 crisis has reduced Pennsylvanians’ ability to meet in-person with a therapist during a time when they are facing life changes, stress, and grief,” said Gov. Wolf. “Senate Bill 67 will allow Pennsylvanians to more easily access psychological services for mental wellness while supporting physical health through social distancing.”View this information in Spanish.center_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

FERC issues draft EIS for Jordan Cove LNG

first_imgLNG WOrld News Staff Jordan Cove LNG project led by the Canadian energy infrastructure company Pembina has been issued a draft environmental impact statement by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). FERC said in its notice that the draft EIS assesses the potential environmental effects of the construction and operation of the project in Coos County, Oregon.“FERC staff concludes that approval of the project would result in a number of significant environmental impacts; however, the majority of impacts would be less than significant because of the impact avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures proposed by Jordan Cove and Pacific Connector and those recommended by staff in the draft EIS,” the notice reads.FERC invited for the public to submit comments on the draft EIS by July 5, 2019.The $10 billion project in Coos County, Oregon has a planned capacity of 7.8 million ton per annum.In early March, Stuart Taylor, senior vice president of marketing and new ventures at Pembina said the project has signed non-binding deals for 11 million tons of LNG per year.Firm deals are expected to be signed in the coming months as the company is currently engaged in negotiations over the binding contract details.A federal regulatory decision is expected by November 2019, with Pembina planning to produce first volumes from the facility in 2024.last_img read more

AFTER 16 YEARS OF HIDING: Frustrated murder suspect arrested

first_imgBACOLOD City – He had been hiding from the police for about 16 years. The 36-year-old Loylen Abong was caught on the strength of an arrest warrant in Barangay Punta Buri, Ajuy, Iloilo around 8:20 p.m. on July 1, police said. Police officers served the warrant issued by Judge Renato Muñez of the Regional Trial Court Branch 60 in Cadiz City dated Feb. 11, 2004. The suspect was detained in the lockup facility of the Sagay City police station.center_img Abong – resident of the village – faces frustrated murder charge he committed in Sagay City, Negros Occidental. The court recommended a P200,000 bail bond for his temporary liberty./PNlast_img

Ligue 1: PSG lose first game of the season to Lens

first_img The German also handed a start to 20-year-old Marcin Bulka in goal. Even without more than 600 million euros worth of talent, PSG were able to call on internationals such as Marco Verratti, Idrissa Gueye and Ander Herrera as well as Pablo Sarabia and Presnel Kimpembe. But despite 78 percent of the possession in the first-half alone, they were unable to find the cutting edge to the delight of the 3,800 partisans who were watching Lens’s first home game in the top flight for nine seasons. And PSG paid the price for their lack of precision 13 minutes into the second-half at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis. Under no pressure and trying to play out from the back, Bulka slid a weak pass towards Verratti that was snapped up by Ignatius Ganago, who slammed home. The strike was the Cameroon international’s first goal for his new club after signing from Nice in July. “We had a good first half,” said Tuchel. “We were in their half most of the time and we were playing with a good rhythm, good organisation and structure but we couldn’t make the most of our chances. “We made the mistake and afterwards it was clear that we lost our rhythm. We were obviously tired after 75 minutes of such an intense match.” Loading… Read Also: Lionel Messi gifts blind boy life-changing glasses Tuchel’s depleted band will need to rediscover their mojo quickly during a rush of fixtures in the next 10 days. PSG take on Marseille at the Parc des Princes on Sunday before another home match with Metz – which was their original opening fixture – on Wednesday and a trip to early pacesetters Nice on 20 September. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 center_img Paris Saint-Germain began the defence of their Ligue 1 title on Thursday night with a 1-0 defeat at newly-promoted Lens. Shorn of seven stars including Neymar, Angel Di Maria Kylian Mbappé and Keylor Navas, who have tested positive for coronavirus, PSG boss Thomas Tuchel named teenagers Arnaud Kalimuendo and Kays Ruiz in his starting line-up. Promoted Content7 Ways To Understand Your Girlfriend BetterCouples Who Celebrated Their Union In A Unique, Unforgettable Way6 Incredibly Strange Facts About Hurricanes10 Extremely Dirty Seas In The WorldInsane 3D Spraying Skills Turn In Incredible Street ArtThere’s Only 1 Such A Coin In The World Left In Private HandsBest & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever Made6 Most Breathtaking Bridges In The WorldA Hurricane Can Be As Powerful As 10 Atomic Bombs8 Ways Drones Will Automate Our Future2020 Tattoo Trends: Here’s What You’ll See This Year7 Universities Where Getting An Education Costs A Hefty Pennylast_img read more