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The Hill's Congress Blog: "Trade equilibrium to revive small business in America"

11/15/2016

The Hill's Congress Blog: "Trade equilibrium to revive small business in America"

According to the SBA, a small business is an independent business having fewer than 500 employees, writes Narendra C. Bhandari, Ph.D., professor of Management at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business. It plays a very important role in America by making significant contributions in the areas of production, services, and employment.

However, its role in the American economy is declining. It is evident from its population’s declining share in the total population (a very critical factor): from 57.44% in 1995, to 55.69% in 2005, and to 53.42% in 2015. Conversely, share of large businesses for these time periods has increased from 42.51% in 1995, to 44.29% in 2005, and to 46.54% in 2015. (U.S. Census.)

Several reasons are responsible for small business decline. These include difficulties in raising finances; higher interest rates; expensive healthcare; and complex laws and regulations. There are two other important reasons. One, both large and small businesses continue to offshore their manufacturing and service jobs overseas to save costs. Consequently, small businesses and people who are dependent on them lose their business and jobs. This deprives America of innovation and entrepreneurship in terms of products, processes, and technology.

Two, large businesses, under the H-1B program, import foreign workers to do the jobs originally done by the Americans. It often happens in the IT area. Sadly, often the outgoing Americans have to first train the incoming foreigners how to do their jobs. Americans’ extensive job experience and advanced education cannot help them save their jobs.

Often these employees, out of work, have no other reasonable jobs available. Some of them start their own business. They follow what James Adams described as the American dream in his 1931 book, ‘Epic of America.’ Fortunately, a very small number of them do make their life better and richer through hard work. Sadly, many of them soon realize that the American dream is like a rainbow: beautiful and beyond their reach. Painfully, they accept a low paying job or stop looking for one altogether.

Read more here.

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Christian Science Monitor: "How teachers calm, educate students amid swirl of election emotions"

11/14/2016

Christian Science Monitor: "How teachers calm, educate students amid swirl of election emotions"

. . . no matter who adults voted for, they can agree – and tell their children – that the ability to vote is part of what makes the country great, says Jennifer Powell-Lunder, an adjunct psychology professor at Pace University in New York.

“Our kids have seen the first African-American president; they’ve seen a woman be a real contender for the presidency,” she says. “That’s wonderful. Just because she didn’t win doesn’t mean those ideals aren’t out there anymore.”

Read more here.

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The Parallax: "What to keep an eye on from Trump’s cybersecurity policy"

11/14/2016

The Parallax: "What to keep an eye on from Trump’s cybersecurity policy"

. . . Statements by Trump expressing admiration for Russia and President Vladimir Putin may have an unexpected benefit to cybersecurity, says Darren Hayes, assistant professor and director of cybersecurity at Pace University in New York.

“Russian cybercrime is a huge problem,” Hayes says. “If Trump does have better relations with Putin, will he be able to put the brakes on cybercrime coming from Russia?”

Read more here.

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WINS-AM: "The Bottom Line For Small Business"

11/14/2016

WINS-AM: "The Bottom Line For Small Business"

The Veterans Entrepreneurship Boot Camp at Pace University was mentioned on 1010 WINS.

Listen to the audio here.

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Pace University Scholars: the “Environmental Voice of Youth” will Save NY Harbor

11/14/2016

Pace University Scholars: the “Environmental Voice of Youth” will Save NY Harbor

From Digital Platforms to Mock Hearings, University-Level Education Comes to New York City Schools

NEW YORK CITY — Environmental abuse long ago obscured New York Harbor’s bragging rights as the world’s oyster capital, but middle and high school students are the force that can return that ecological luster back to New York City, according to scholars at Pace University in Manhattan.

With funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Pace University has launched the next phase of its Smart and Connected Communities program where “university faculty will bring to underserved city schools the research tools and field training to design a new future for New York Harbor,” according to Dr. Lauren Birney, a professor in the Pace School of Education, and principal investigator under the NSF grant.

“Our goal for city students is an educational experience usually confined to universities,” Birney said. “If the future of the harbor and the national urban environment are in the hands of the experts and decision makers of tomorrow, that means the environmental voice of youth today is essential. The time to begin their training is now.”

The new Pace initiative uses STEM-C – a cutting-edge curriculum of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math combined with Computing – as the organizing principle for a program of citizen science, ecological restoration and civic engagement. “New York Harbor is an excellent living classroom, but not accessible to every student,” said Birney. “With our online tools and our CCERS Digital Platform, students will conduct field monitoring expeditions, gather data using analog and digital instruments, develop independent research proposals, and broadcast and share their results in real-time – not only with other city students, but with students anywhere in the world.”

Transforming this technical information into a policy model for restoring the Harbor is another hallmark of the Pace program. “Students will also receive training at the hands of our best legal and policy experts,” said John Cronin, Pace’s senior fellow for environmental affairs in the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences. “And through innovative techniques such as virtual town halls and mock public hearings they will develop and present a student-generated vision and plan for restoring the Harbor.”

“All the marine waters of the city are held in a public trust belonging to the people, and that includes students,” said Jason Czarnezki, Associate Dean of Environmental Law Programs at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. “This well-founded, ancient principle of law is the centerpiece of a legal education that will empower students to claim the ecological inheritance that is the birthright of their community. This principle, combined with scientific, technical and computing skills, will make our students a potent force for the future of the urban environment.”

BACKGROUND

“A networked city is not just a grid of communications and sensors. It is a vision of city governments “engaging with citizens in acts of co-creation.” –Peter Hirshberg (Bollier, 2016 from the Aspen Institute, 2016).

This thought and overall vision continues to serve as our motto in creating opportunities for underserved students that may have never existed. We look to engage our youth in environmentally meaningful activities that are pertinent to their education. New York City middle school students are in desperate need of exposure to STEM industry fields, research and data collection at the Harbor’s edge and training on the use various technological innovations. This grant will create these opportunities for students, citizen scientists, STEM Industry professionals, research faculty and community members to work in unison on achieving a “smarter and more connected community”!

“Expanding Access and Deepening Engagement: Building an Open Source Digital Platform for Restoration-Based STEM Education in the Largest Public School System in the United States” NSF DRL 1643016/PI Lauren Birney, Director of the STEM Collaboratory NYC, Pace University

Principals

The CCERS leadership team consists of Samuel Janis, Program Manager Billion Oyster Project Schools and Citizen Science, Jonathan Hill, Dean of Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, Robert Newton, Research Scientist at Columbia Lamont Doherty Observatory, Meghan Groome, Senior Vice President of Education at the New York Academy of Sciences, Nancy Woods, Director of Technology and Engineering at the NYCDOE, Peter Malinowski, President Billion Oyster Project and Murray Fisher, President of the New York Harbor Foundation and is led by Principal Investigator Dr. Lauren Birney, Assistant Professor and Director of the STEM Collaboratory NYC Pace University.

Project Goal

The foundational goal of the Curriculum and Community Enterprise for Restoration Science (CCERS) model is to build a “Smart and Connected Community” of students, educators, scientists, and engaged community members all working to restore New York Harbor and improve the quality of STEM-C education and long-term outcomes in low-income urban public schools. To do this, we are building an open source educational-scientific web platform which can be replicated anywhere. The connectivity provided by this technology allows communication, education, business, STEM industry professional to work seamlessly together while expanding their research on a global scale.

The CCERS Digital Platform

The CCERS Digital Platform, co-developed with Fearless Solutions, is more than just a website for student-led citizen science, citizen policymaking, and teacher-to-teacher curriculum sharing. The CCERS supported Billion Oyster Project schools web platform is a digital space for students to conduct field monitoring expeditions, gather data using both analog and digital instruments, analyze results using multivariate statistics and GIS, develop independent research proposals, broadcast, and share results in real-time with the broader NY Harbor/CCERS community of scientists, STEM professionals, and volunteers. The digital platform is also a replicable model of restoration based science education for other settings and other species, with its underlying technology and source code freely available through standard open source licensing agreements.https://platform.bop.nyc/

CCERS – Curriculum and Community Enterprise for Restoration Science

This proposal focuses upon the expansion of the existing “Curriculum and Community Enterprise for the Restoration of New York Harbor in New York City Public Schools” NSF DRL 1440869. This project is recognized locally as “Curriculum and Community Enterprise for Restoration Science,” or CCERS. CCERS is a comprehensive model of ecological restoration based STEM education for urban public school students. Following an accelerated rollout, CCERS is now being implemented in 23 Title 1 funded NYC Department of Education middle schools, led by two cohorts of 33 teachers, serving more than 3000 students in total. Initial results and baseline data suggest that the CCERS model, with the Billion Oyster Project (BOP) as its local restoration ecology-based STEM curriculum, is having profound impacts on students, teachers, school leaders, and the broader community of CCERS participants and stakeholders. Students and teachers report being receptive to the CCERS model and deeply engaged in the initial phase of curriculum development, citizen science data collection, and student-centered STEM learning.

References:

http://csreports.aspeninstitute.org/documents/CityAsPlatform.pdf

Funding for these Projects has been provided by the National Science Foundation Education and Human Resources (EHR) DRL 1440869 and DRL 1643016.

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Daily News: "Trump supporters continue threatening opponents, after mogul presses for unity following divisive campaign"

11/10/2016

Daily News: "Trump supporters continue threatening opponents, after mogul presses for unity following divisive campaign"

President-elect Donald Trump may have used his victory speech early Wednesday to reassure a fragile, shocked and divided nation that he would unite it, but many of his key supporters appeared to have not received the memo.

... David Caputo, president emeritus and professor of Political Science at Pace University, added that historically, "individuals often behave differently after they assume the presidency," but that seems unlikely for Trump.

"His most partisan supporters will expect him to pursue his opponents. If he can resist that and not give in to his usual behavior, he could make some progress … but is he able to do that?"

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/trump-backers-threatening-foes-mogul-vows-unity-article-1.2866567

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Los Angeles Times: "Mergers create hotel giants, but few are complaining"

11/08/2016

Los Angeles Times: "Mergers create hotel giants, but few are complaining"

On Century Boulevard near Los Angeles International Airport, travelers can pick among 14 hotels, ranging from budget lodging to a stylish three-diamond inn.

In reality, the choices are more limited.

All the hotels clustered on the busy thoroughfare are owned, managed or licensed by just six companies, led by Marriott International Inc., the world’s largest hotel company after its recent $13-billion takeover of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.

Nationwide, nearly half of the 53,400 hotels are linked to the six hotel giants — Marriott, Hilton Worldwide, Intercontinental, Wyndham Worldwide, Choice Hotels and Best Western Hotels & Resorts.

Despite a few murmurs of concern in the corporate travel world, Marriott swallowed Starwood with no opposition from antitrust watchdogs around the world. And the dominance of a handful of hotel companies hasn’t sparked the kind of protest seen in the airline, telecom, bank and insurance industries.

“It hasn’t been a top concern until now,” said Diana Moss, president of the American Antitrust Institute, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit think tank that focuses on competition and consumer choice.

The institute, which has opposed several airline mergers on antitrust grounds, is looking more closely at the increasing merger activity in the hotel industry.

“Hotels tend to fly under the radar,” Moss said. “They don’t get a lot of attention.”

The merger of Marriott and Starwood — creating a hotel behemoth with 5,800 hotels in more than 100 countries — was just the latest hotel deal to concentrate the industry in the last few years.

In 2015 alone, France’s AccorHotels bought the Toronto-based parent company of the luxury Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel brands for $2.7 billion; Intercontinental Hotels Group acquired Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants for $430 million; Marriott acquired Delta Hotels & Resorts for $135 million; and a Wyndham Worldwide subsidiary acquired Dolce Hotels & Resorts for $57 million.

Before the Marriott and Starwood deal, the series of acquisitions did little to reduce competition in the hotel industry, but the latest transaction might be “a game changer,” according a report by CWT Solutions Group, a consultant to the travel industry.

“With daily room rates and occupancy levels at all-time highs in many major markets, basic economics dictate that less competition will only lead to even higher prices,” the report said.

In Los Angeles, Marriott and Starwood account for nearly half of corporate travel spending, among the highest percentages in major market where those companies operate, CWT said.

Marriott spokeswoman Felicia McLemore rejected suggestions that the company’s greater girth cuts into the choices available to travelers.

“The lodging industry continues to be very fragmented compared to other travel-related businesses, such as airlines, with robust competition from numerous lodging brand companies and independent operators,” she said.

Some hotel analysts predict little fallout from the increasing clout of the top six hotel companies. 

Among the reasons: A big share of those brand hotels are simply licensed to carry a franchise name but are owned or managed by local hoteliers, who can set the nightly rates based on local demands.

Also, most major hotel giants oversee a range of brands, from cut-rate to high-end, giving consumers more options.

“The industry is very segmented,” said Andrew Coggins, a management professor at New York’s Pace University. “If you look at any big hotel company, they manage different brands. The brands appeal to different segments of the market.”

For example, the New Yorker, a Wyndham hotel in Manhattan, offers rooms for more than $400 a night. Meanwhile, the Travelodge in Jersey City, N.J. — another Wyndham hotel — rents rooms for as little as $70 a night.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hotel-giants-20161105-story.html

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The Wall Street Journal: "Donald Trump’s Loyal Numbers Man"

11/08/2016

The Wall Street Journal: "Donald Trump’s Loyal Numbers Man"

Shortly after he appeared on an episode of the his boss’s reality television show, “The Apprentice,” Trump Organization finance chief Allen Weisselberg took a call from an old college buddy.

“That was your 15 minutes of fame,” said his friend, Marty Weinbaum, an accountant in Florida. The two of them chuckled.

Mr. Weisselberg’s quarter hour of stardom seems destined to stretch on, regardless of the Nov. 8 presidential election.

As CFO, Mr. Weisselberg maintains a coveted spot as one of Donald Trump’s longtime confidants. That has tied him to some of his boss’s most sensitive dealings.

When the New York attorney general’s office draws up a witness list as it investigates payments and a political donation made by The Donald J. Trump Foundation, Mr. Weisselberg will likely be on it, said a person familiar with the situation. The 69-year-old Brooklyn native is also treasurer of the troubled nonprofit.

In 2000, Mr. Weisselberg was named a vice president at Mr. Trump’s Atlantic City, N.J. casino company following an accounting scandal that resulted in it eventually agreeing to a Securities and Exchange Commission cease-and-desist order.

And he served on the board of at the Miss Universe Organization, the pageant on which Mr. Trump lavished attention, after buying it in 1996. Although the Trump Organization sold it last year, the candidate’s spat with a former winner was front-page news.

Insiders call Mr. Weisselberg key to the enterprise. “He plays an integral part in the Trump Organization’s growth and continued financial success,” wrote Ivanka Trump in an emailed statement. “He is deeply passionate, fiercely loyal and has stood alongside my father and our family for over [three] decades.”

Mr. Weisselberg declined to be interviewed for this article.

Despite Mr. Weisselberg’s position, he keeps an under-the-radar profile, partly a function of what experts call the Trump Organization’s “command-and-control” leadership culture, with Mr. Trump on top.

“Even though he hires very good people, they are comfortable taking their lead from him,” said William Klepper, a management professor at Columbia Business School. Command-and-control leaders like Mr. Trump promote themselves and eschew consensus-building, he said.

Former Trump employees say Mr. Weisselberg fades into the background. “He fits in with the wallpaper,” said one of them. “That’s how he’s survived.”

Mr. Weisselberg’s reticence is nevertheless unusual, with Mr. Trump campaigning largely on his business bonafides. The CFO remains unknown to even close Trump associates, despite his decadeslong service.

“I don’t even recall the name Allen Weisselberg, and don’t believe we ever spoke or met,” wrote Andrew Beal, head of Beal Financial Corp., in an email. Mr. Beal’s Dallas bank once held $486 million in liens on casinos owned by Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc., a publicly traded company that in 2009 filed for bankruptcy. He was named to Mr. Trump’s economic advisory team in August.

Mr. Weisselberg is a contrast to his boss. He is quiet and, say former colleagues, eats salads and tuna sandwiches in the lunchroom or at his desk in a 26th floor office overlooking Madison Avenue. Mr. Weisselberg has been married to the same woman, Hilary, for 46 years.

He is also an outlier among modern CFOs, who are strategic partners with their bosses, communicating with bankers, suppliers and employees. “No big transaction is going to happen without the other party being comfortable with the CFO,” said Jack McCullough, founder of the CFO Leadership Council, a network of financial professionals.

Instead, Mr. Weisselberg is a throwback to when they acted as functionaries. At a business meeting last year, Mr. Trump reflexively solicited his CFO for his opinion.

“Isn’t that right, Allen?” Mr. Trump asked.

“One thousand percent,” Mr. Weisselberg responded.

One former employee used to joke about the symbiotic relationship, “If Donald had a cold, he [Allen] would sneeze.”

Mr. Weisselberg performs due diligence on properties, reviews leases on asset acquisitions, and deals with real-estate firms that might be interested in marketing a property using the Trump name.

However, Mr. Weisselberg seldom signs checks on behalf of the Trump Organization above a certain amount, saving those for Mr. Trump, a former colleague said. The CEO is wont to withhold final payment to contractors whose work he is dissatisfied with, according to former employees.

Many of Mr. Trump’s personal transactions are handled by Mr. Weisselberg, including payment of household expenses, as well as the purchases of boats or planes, said an ex-Trump executive. He also dealt with Mr. Trump’s stockbroker, the late Bear Stearns Cos. Chairman Alan “Ace” Greenberg.

Allen Howard Weisselberg attended Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn where he served on the student patrol, according to the 1965 yearbook. His future occupation: accountant.

He graduated from Pace College, now Pace University, in 1970 with an accounting degree.

Mr. Weisselberg started off working for Mr. Trump’s father, Fred, and by the late 1980s was controller of the Trump Organization. In this role Mr. Weisselberg worked under CFO Stephen Bollenbach, who was hired in 1990.

Read more: http://blogs.wsj.com/cfo/2016/11/05/donald-trumps-loyal-numbers-man/

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San Francisco Chronicle: "Clinton or Trump? What to watch for as election results roll in"

11/08/2016

San Francisco Chronicle: "Clinton or Trump? What to watch for as election results roll in"

One of the longest and nastiest presidential election campaigns in memory ends Tuesday night, with Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump each looking to win a four-year, all-expenses-paid stay at the White House.

But even before the first polls close at 4 p.m. Pacific time, it’s clear what the candidates need to do and what indications to watch for through the night to see whether Trump or Clinton is on track for victory.

For Clinton, the key is her blue firewall of six swing states: Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. Those states, which have a recent history of voting Democratic, would combine with solidly Democratic states like California and New York to give the former secretary of state just more than the 270 electoral votes she needs to become president.

But if Trump can crack that firewall by stealing one or more of those swing states, election night becomes much messier for Clinton, who then will have to win a toss-up state like Nevada, North Carolina or Florida.

Trump, though, has a narrower path to victory. He has to not only hold all the GOP-leaning states, but also virtually sweep the close races.

“Trump has to win all the battleground states,” said Jack Citrin, who runs UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies. “It would help if he could grab a state not thought to be close.”

But if Clinton can win traditionally Republican states like Arizona, Utah and possibly even Texas, “we’re looking at a landslide,” he said.

Viewers should watch for any early signs that either Clinton or Trump is doing worse than expected in their targeted states because, in elections, bad news tends to be contagious.

Here’s what to look for as the polls close across the United States. All times are Pacific Standard Time.

Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images Photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
4 p.m.: Virginia is the first battleground state to close. It was trending Democratic even before Clinton picked Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate. Democratic strength is in the cities and the Washington, D.C., suburbs, which tend to report their votes late.

While Indiana and Kentucky are Trump territory, they can give an early look at the evening’s trend, said David A. Caputo, a political science professor at Pace University in New York.

“People should look to see if there’s a surge in support for Trump,” he said. “In Indiana, if (Democratic Senate candidate) Evan Bayh is close or winning, that’s good news for Clinton.”

Read more: http://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/Clinton-or-Trump-What-to-watch-for-as-election-10599642.php

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Chronicle of Higher Education: Letter To the Editor: "Personal Views of Instructors Are Never Relevant in the Classroom"

11/03/2016

Chronicle of Higher Education: Letter To the Editor: "Personal Views of Instructors Are Never Relevant in the Classroom"

The Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, speaks in September at Miami Dade College. His boundary-defying campaign has political-science professors debating how much to express their views of his candidacy in the classroom. [Photo: Jewel Samad, AFP, Getty Images].

As someone who has taught the presidential elections course for more than 30 years and someone who is asked frequently for media commentary, the article on neutrality was perplexing (“The Tricky Task of Teaching About Trump,” The Chronicle, October 28), writes David A. Caputo, President Emeritus and Professor of Political Science at Pace University, in a letter to the editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education. Our personal views are never relevant in the classroom. Students have the right to an unbiased approach, and that is possible even in a divisive election year such as this one. You can, and I do, lecture on candidate traits, etc., but it must be done in a fair way. One can point out how a candidate’s rhetoric differs from past rhetoric, but again this can be done without introducing personal preferences. If you are going to have credibility, your personal views should not be part of the discussion.

Read more here.

 

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