Presentation sheds light on women in Congress

January 26, 2021

first_imgThe 116th Congress has the most women of any U.S. Congress: less than 25%. Record numbers of women were elected to Congress in 2018, yet the U.S. ranks 79th worldwide in female representation in a parliamentary body. These facts opened a presentation from Kathryn Pearson, the speaker hosted by the Constitutional Studies Department in Jenkins-Nanovic Hall on Tuesday.Pearson, a professor of political science at the University of Minnesota, began with some stereotypes about congresswomen: they are more cooperative but also more timid, making them less inclined to take the lead in Congress but more likely to cross party lines in voting. Pearson’s research showed that women and men not only win Congressional races at about the same rate, but there is no difference in their success rates at the primary level. Women who run also have more experience than men and secure more money fundraising than men, according to Pearson’s statistics.“For the most part, the results of elections through 2016 suggest that the women who do run for Congress are more experienced, strategic, more prepared and work harder to raise money to achieve gender-neutral results,” she said.Pearson highlighted two key traits of Congress that might explain why: the need for women to prove themselves to a body made up of mostly men, and the advantages that come with being fiercely loyal in today’s government.“When I think about gender dynamics inside of Congress, there’s two forces that are really important in explaining gender differences in legislative behavior,” she said. “The first is the fact that serving in a male-dominated institution gives Congresswomen extra incentives to prove their credentials to their colleagues and constituents. Women introduce more bills than men. Women in Congress … give more speeches on the House floor.”Pearson said women in Congress are also more effective at bringing appropriations back to their districts in the form of federal spending.“The second is the fact that the current Congress has been very polarized along partisan lines,” Pearson said. ”We’re seeing two parties that behave as competitive teams. [Party leaders] not only use their power to control the agenda, but they also have the power to reward loyalty.”Pearson analyzed more than just voting record in determining that loyalty. She tracked discharge petition signatures, a function of the House of Representatives that requires some representatives to cross party lines in order to get a bill out of committee and onto the floor. She also looked at analyses of one-minute speeches in the House and at fundraising loyalty. On the whole, she said, her results were conclusive.“Congresswomen have extra incentives [to support their party] and their strategic responses are shaped by significant gender dynamics … stereotypes about Congresswomen and their behavior, a legacy of bipartisan cooperation among Congresswomen, institutional and party rules and differences in the type of districts where women run and win,” she said.The numbers and trends presented on Tuesday focus on the political realities of a very turbulent time in government. More analytics on the nature of this government can help us understand it, according to Pearson.“My research really speaks to a broader need of the understanding of the effects of Congressional polarization in the contemporary era,“ she said.Tags: American Politics, Constitution Day, women in congresslast_img read more

Weekend Poll Results: Rent Voted Ultimate NYC Musical

January 18, 2021

first_img 3. West Side Story — 11% They’re drawin’ the line, so keep your noses hidden! The Jets and the Sharks danced their way into the final spot of the top three picks, with some mambo moves and rumble choreography in tow. The 1957 Broadway musical by Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents has seen several productions since, in addition to a feature film. Thanks to West Side Story, songs such as “Maria,” “Tonight,” and “I Feel Pretty,” are now part of the Great American Songbook. It just goes to show: it helps to know your roots, save a spot for the classics, and get cool, boy! The new Broadway musical If/Then opened at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on a rainy March 30, and even in the abysmal weather, the show put us in a New York state of mind. We asked fans what show they consider to be the ultimate New York City musical. It’s been called a “hell of a town,” “a city of strangers,” and sure, “naughty, bawdy, gaudy, sporty,” but the results are in, and here are the top three shows that scream Big Apple. 2. Newsies — 21% Oh, to return to the big city in the late 19th century! Times have certainly changed (thanks, inflation,) but what could be better than a town run by dancing paperboys? The Disney musical, with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman and a book by Harvey Fierstein, made the leap from screen to stage in 2011 at the Paper Mill Playhouse, and shortly thereafter became a Tony-winning Broadway hit. We’ll just ignore the fact that our leading man opens the show with dreams of escaping to, you guessed it, Santa Fe. (Hey, wait a minute! Is this a theme?) Either way, there’s no denying that these Kings of New York deserve a place on this list. 1. Rent — 22% The musical may have closed on Broadway in 2008, but Rentheads continue to make their voices heard! Of the 18 choices, Rent comes closest to depicting the New York we know today. Yes, the Life Café has since closed for good. No, people don’t leave messages on answering machines anymore (in song, no less.) And fortunately, our awareness and treatment of HIV and AIDS has developed since the mid-90s. But the late composer Jonathan Larson’s message of “no day but today” lives on, and that’s why Rent will always be a New York City staple—even if they spend their time daydreaming about Santa Fe. View Commentslast_img read more

State announces new global trade partnership

January 1, 2021

first_imgNEW GLOBAL TRADE PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCEDPartners to Collaborate in Providing Trade AssistanceA new public/private partnership will provide international trade assistance to Vermont businesses, according to Kevin Dorn, Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.”The Vermont Global Trade Partnership, consisting of a broadly based group of organizations and institutions that provide international trade programs and services has been formed under the leadership of the Vermont Department of Economic Development,” said Dorn. “As more and more Vermont businesses seek to expand markets, it is critical that seamless and coordinated assistance be readily available.”The partnership includes representatives from the twelve Regional Development Corporations, Vermont Chamber of Commerce, Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, Champlain College, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Vermont Congressional delegation. The Vermont World Trade Office Board of Directors will serve as advisors to the partnership.”This new model leverages the strength of a variety of international trade players,” said Mike Quinn, Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development. “This partnership is in the same tradition as so many of the programs and services the department provides in areas including business expansion and recruitment, permit process assistance, workforce training and government contracting.”Dorn stated that one of the primary reasons for formalizing this new collaboration is the expectation of declining federal funding for the Vermont World Trade Office. VWTO has received approximately $900,000 in the last ten years, and funding will likely run out by January, 2005.”We need a new and sustainable model to make sure businesses get the help they need,” added Dorn. “As federal grants wind down, the governor has directed that we continue to invest state funds in support of international trade. We will do that by building capacity within the Department of Economic Development and work in a collaborative fashion with members of this partnership.”last_img read more

Merchants Bancshares Declares Dividend

January 1, 2021

first_imgSOUTH BURLINGTON, VT-Merchants Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: MBVT), the parent company of Merchants Bank, announced today that its Board of Directors declared a dividend of 28 cents per share, payable February 19, 2009, to shareholders of record as of February 5, 2009. Merchants plans to release earnings on or about January 28, 2009.last_img

Is your credit union a Ruth’s Chris or a McDonalds?

December 18, 2020

first_imgEasy answer, right? We all want to say that we provide a premium experience for our members. That’s what separates us from the “ugly B” and for so many years, we’ve hung our hat on personal service.At the same time, so many credit unions strive to be the low-cost leader. I’m certain there aren’t many members paying a “premium” for that premium service. I suppose that must mean that we have reached the holy grail in retail services: no compromises.Or, perhaps it means we’re not really fulfilling our promise in either area.For the past five years, I’ve helped to install a “sales culture” in our organization at Leaders Credit Union. We’ve had call nights, scrubbed credit reports, practiced cross-selling, and the like. Yet still, some of our staff seem hesitant to embrace the consultant mindset when working with our members. I’ve always assumed this was a people problem, and we needed to “coach up, or coach out”. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Confronting a crisis of relevance with the next generation of members

December 17, 2020

first_img 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Thomas Belekevich Thomas Belekevich has been employed by World Council since 2004 and currently serves as Program Manager of its international training and education programs. He is a polyglot – speaking Spanish, Portuguese, … Web: www.woccu.org Details The largest fintech in Latin America is only six years old but already it has more than 12 million customers—70% of which are under 36 years of age. If that doesn’t scare you, it should. Financial cooperatives need to take a serious look at the crisis of relevance they face with the next generation of members.   When David Velez looked at the banking system in his home country of Brazil in the beginning of this decade, he found it to be very bureaucratic and inefficient. Velez saw long lines at branches, confusion instead of solutions, hidden costs and high service fees. He also saw an opportunity to give control back to people when it came to their financial lives. In 2013, Velez created NuBank and a simple product—a no-fee credit card that people could manage through a digital app. NuBank began a financial revolution—encouraging competition and increasing transparency. New products are now available—digital savings accounts, personal loans and even digital accounts for SMEs. And now NuBank is expanding from Brazil to Argentina, where 51 % of the adult population lacks a transaction account, and to Mexico with an unbanked population of 42 million. Survey results from the Global Fintech Adoption Index 2019 indicate that 68% of consumers would consider a nonfinancial services company for financial services. FinTech’s like NuBank are multiplying every day in the financial services’ space—and they’re connecting with young people.It’s time for credit unions to confront a simple reality: they face a crisis of relevance with young members who feel no connection to them. We all recognize the importance of technology for remaining relevant, but we need to do much more if credit unions are going to change their relationship with young people. But the good news is—there are inspirational examples from credit unions in Brazil that are doing just that!The Sicredi Youth Committee ModelIn May 2019, World Council’s Global Classroom organized the first Young Professional Exchange in Curitiba, Brazil, bringing together WOCCU’s Young Credit Union Professional Program (WYCUP) and Sicredi—a credit union system that serves more than four million members at 116 affiliated credit unions throughout Brazil. During the Exchange, Sicredi also hosted its 2nd Annual Youth Summit—bringing young credit union professionals from throughout the western hemisphere together with their peers and the young members who make up Sicredi’s Youth Committees.2019 Sicredi Global Youth SummitThe Youth Committees are formed by individual credit unions, bringing together a group of young members (generally 16-30 years old) to empower them by putting them in charge of creating and implementing community development projects. The initiative supports young members’ professional development at a key time in their lives. It builds awareness of financial cooperatives among this important demographic and strengthens the relationship between the two by:stimulating a culture of volunteering and encouraging social responsibility.providing professional development resources and support.encouraging entrepreneurship and cooperativism as tools for social and economic development.The exchange program highlighted several community development projects there were launched through Sicredi’s Youth Committees—turning young credit union members into ambassadors. These dedicated young people have inspired us to take on the challenge of replicating the Sicredi model globally and networking youth committees through the World Council. Back to Brazil, then on to the UKIn January 2020, World Council’s Global Classroom will return to Brazil to bring together a delegation of advocates for YP initiatives and do a deep-dive into the Sicredi Youth Committee model and structure. The international delegation will visit Youth Committees and see their development projects in several rural communities. Our team of YP advocates will then be tasked with taking the experience and creating a toolkit to help credit union systems around the world replicate the model.2019 WOCCU Young Professional ExchangeThe toolkit will be launched in March during our Global Youth Summit 2020 in the United Kingdom (London and Manchester). Young credit union professionals gathered from around the world will utilize that toolkit to replicate youth committees at their own credit unions. This entirely new professional development resource has the potential to redefine the relationship between young people and their credit union. It’s already happening in Brazil. It could be soon at your credit union too!last_img read more

Consider other ways to interpret kneeling

October 20, 2020

first_imgI’ve lived long enough to remember when “taking a knee” could have meant genuflecting in a profound act of respect before a high altar or the cross, as well as an act of humility and seeking redress from a supreme power. Thus, POTUS 45 could be criticizing a quiet act of religious supplication. To trample the right to pray would be hypocritical, since he ran on a Christian platform with much ballyhoo about his religious convictions. He would do himself and his nation a service to consider that there are other possible interpretations. Some of us hope that stating our goal in public supports its scope. In this vein, I noted and accepted that some professional athletes were “taking a knee” during our National Anthem and patriotic displays. It surprised me to hear our president characterize the act as disrespectful and abhorrent and to make a prolonged public issue of it. I admit to being naïve on football, but no one can be so naïve that they believe that there is, in the United States, “liberty and justice for all” at all times and places. Many of us proudly repeat those words with our hands over our hearts as a hope and a promise and a commitment to the value of a communal goal. We also feel pride and gratitude that the opportunities for liberty and justice are manifold in our lives and in our nation. What I dislike the most is the fact that average Americas are being asked to regard this peaceful and quiet act as unpatriotic or even civil disobedience. This is language perversion and madness promoted by, no surprise, our chief perverter and divider. ScotiaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Schenectady teens accused of Scotia auto theft, chase; Ended in Clifton Park crash, Saratoga Sheriff…EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidation BETTY PIEPER Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

Four Indonesians in Japan recover from COVID-19: Minister

October 19, 2020

first_imgFour of the nine Indonesian citizens who tested positive for COVID-19 in Japan have since recovered, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said on Tuesday.“Four out of nine positive Indonesians have been declared negative [recovered] and the remaining five are still undergoing treatment in the hospitals and they are in a stable condition,” Retno told reporters in Jakarta on Tuesday.The nine Indonesians are crew members of the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship that had been docked in the port of Yokohama, Japan. Sixty-nine of their fellow crew members who tested negative for the disease have been evacuated from the ship and are currently quarantined in Sebaru Island, Thousand Islands regency, Jakarta. Retno said the Foreign Ministry was closely monitoring the well-being of Indonesians in countries that were hardest hit by the virus. “Our focus is on the countries that have had a significant increase of [confirmed] cases […] We are intensively communicating with our missions abroad in Iran, Italy, South Korea and Japan [as countries with significant surges in cases],” she said.“Our embassies are also consistently showing support for the [governments] of the affected countries,” Retno added.Read also: Jakarta steps up efforts to tackle COVID-19 following two confirmed casesSeparately, the ministry’s director for citizen protection, Judha Nugraha, said on Wednesday that the recovered Indonesian crew members were still hospitalized to undergo a second test – except for one who has already taken the two tests and had been evacuated along with the other crew members who tested negative.As of Wednesday, real-time data from the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) recorded 93,158 confirmed cases worldwide, with a total death toll of 3,198. South Korea bears the second-highest number of cases, second only to China, with 5,328 confirmed cases. Meanwhile, Italy has 2,502 cases, Iran has 2,336 cases and Japan has 293 cases so far.More than 50,600 people worldwide have recovered from the disease.Topics :last_img read more

PIMCO warns of sustained periods of uncertainty in fixed income market

September 29, 2020

first_imgInvestors will need to adjust to more frequent periods of market uncertainty, the head of PIMCO’s European operation has warned.Andrew Balls, a deputy CIO at the Allianz Global Investors-owned asset manager, said he believed the recent market uncertainty caused by the tapering of the US Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing (QE) was simply a sign of things to come.“We had this [market turbulence] last year around the taper[ing], we had it around emerging markets,” he said at a briefing summing up PIMCO’s longer-term market views. “We think you’re just going to get more bouts of market turbulence – we should get used to it.“This is the natural thing to happen if the market makers aren’t making markets.” Balls noted that the instability would also be triggered by market participants re-thinking their investments, or events such as hedge funds speculating – which was last week believed to be behind an increase in Italian government yields.He added: “Fixed income markets, in a way, look a bit more like equity markets. So, over time, there should be good opportunities for us to absorb risk, when you get these temporary dislocations.”The deputy CIO also predicted the European Central Bank (ECB) would eventually undertake its own QE programme.He said ECB president Mario Draghi had made clear how the bank viewed its role in reacting to immediate liquidity concerns versus inflationary pressures.“If they take the inflation target seriously, it seems there is a pretty good chance they’ll do quantitative easing,” Balls said. “Maybe they’ll try to do it via private sector assets, but that seems pretty impractical, so it’s likely they’d do government bonds.”Balls’s colleague Mike Amey, a managing director and portfolio manager in the firm’s London office, also expressed concerns about the low levels of inflation seen within the euro-zone.“We’ve been stuck at below 1% inflation for some time,” he said. “We think it would drift up over time, particularly if the ECB does QE. But there is real risk of expectations becoming entrenched for lower inflation.”Amey later added that the low inflationary rate would pose a problem if a shock to the euro-zone were to occur.“We think we’ll eventually get back above 1.5, but having the probability of inflation getting stuck at about 1% is non-trivial.”According to the most recent data from Eurostat, euro-zone annual inflation stood at 0.7% in April, an increase from 0.5% in March – both well below the ECB’s stated target of 2%. Amey said: “In terms of the credibility of the [ECB’s inflation] target, respectful of the difficulty of managing a committee, if you take seriously a target of close to 2% inflation, you should be responding if three years out you still have inflation so low.”last_img read more

Dutch medical consultants’ scheme reduces risk exposure

September 29, 2020

first_imgSPMS, the €9bn pension fund for medical consultants, has reduced its risk exposure by decreasing its strategic equity portfolio from 34% to 26%, as well as by increasing the interest hedge of its liabilities. In a newsletter to its participants, the pension fund said that an asset-liability management study has shown that it could also achieve its indexation target of at least 3% with less risk.SPMS, which reported a funding level of 123.8% at July-end, said it had replaced its divested equity holdings with government bonds. As a result, its strategic fixed income portfolio increased to 53% of assets.In addition, the scheme’s CIO Marcel Roberts had also raised its interest hedge from 70% to 78%. “As a consequence, interest rates changes can hardly affect the funding ratio, increasing the probability that our participants are to receive the pension they expect,” Roberts said.A reduction in risk by Dutch pension funds is currently quite rare, as many schemes are keen to increase their investment risk to boost returns.According to Roberts, the pension fund’s ample funding was the drivinf factor behind its decision to reduce risk.“Because interest changes are difficult to predict, whereas their impact can be significant, we have opted to increase the interest hedge,” he said.In contrast, many other pension funds have lowered the interest hedge, as they expected that interest rates were more likely to increase.The pension fund posted a 25.3% return over the course of 2014, including 13.1 percentage points attributed to its interest hedge through long-duration swaps.The scheme’s fixed income holdings produced an overall result of 19.4%, with inflation-linked bonds and euro-denominated government bonds yielding 23.2% and 27%, respectively.Emerging market debt delivered no more than 11%, thanks to the depreciation of local currencies relative to the euro, according to SPMS.Equity holdings in the US, Europe and emerging countries generated 25.5%, 7.4% and 10% respectively, it said.The scheme’s 9% hedge funds allocated returned 2.9%.The medical consultants’ scheme said it had introduced real estate debt as a sub asset class within its 10% property portfolio.Jeroen Steenvoorden, the pension fund’s director, said that the new investment – of 1 percentage point of its real estate holdings – was meant to stabilise returns and as a diversifyer.He declined to provide details about expected returns, but indicated that the yield was supposed to match the overall benchmark for its property portfolio of 6.5%.The pension fund for medical consultants said it incurred administration costs of €544 per participant and spent 0.72% on asset management, including 0.16% for transactions.SPMS has more than 8,000 active participants, 1,170 deferred members and 6,590 pensioners.last_img read more