Archive for March, 2012

Kennedy and the Spirit of Churchill

March 29, 2012 | Book Beat, CUNY Lecture Series, Hunter College

The author of Churchill Defiant: Fighting On, 1945-1955, claims that the British prime minister’s influence on John F. Kenney’s intellectual thinking and political strategies is indisputable. “I don’t think Jack Kennedy would have been half the man he was if it wasn’t for Winston Churchill,” says Barbara Leaming, the author of Jack Kennedy: The Education of a Statesman (2006), in which she detailed her research. Leaming, who spoke at the Tina Santi Flaherty Irish Voices Literary Series at Hunter College, discussed how Kennedy “looked to his idol for inspiration, in almost all his decisions, including the (1963 Limited Nuclear) Test Ban Treaty which put an end to the Cold War.”

Real Mad Men Could ‘Think Small’

March 28, 2012 | CUNY Lecture Series, Graduate Center

Before advertising’s creative revolution in the late 1950s and 60s, the TV commercial landscape was filled with dull, repetitive images — like dancing cigarettes — lacking wit and originality. “People were bored and sick of the jingles,” says Andrew Cracknell, author of The Real Mad Men: The Remarkable True Story of Madison Avenue’s Golden Age. “After the revolution they began to treat consumers with intelligence and give them something with substance,” referring to work by agencies such as Doyle Dane Berbach, who created the groundbreaking “Think Small” campaign for Volkswagon in 1959. At a Graduate Center event, Cracknell was joined by Barbara Lippert, former advertising critic for Adweek, and Amil Gargano, advertising executive and a founder of the agency, Ally & Gargano, to discuss how these real life “Mad” men and women inspired others in the industry.

Behind the Curtain of Charter Schools

March 26, 2012 | CUNY Lecture Series, Graduate Center

Some charter schools get funding from Wall Street, and the support may be there for reasons that ultimately benefit business, says Michelle Fine, a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the Graduate Center. In the continuing debate over the effectiveness of charter schools versus traditional public schools, the source of support is an important factor that people should be aware of, according to Fine. Two-thirds of the Harlem Children’s Zone is funded by private money, “some of that from Goldman Sachs,” said Fine, referring to the Harlem-based charter school. “It’s a tax write-off, a way into the privatization of all things public, and a way to break up the unions,” said Fine in her lecture, “Charter Schools: The Promise vs. The Evidence,” part of the CUNY Science Cafe lecture series.

A Once Decent Job Is Being Sold Out

March 14, 2012 | Newsmakers

For decades the retail industry provided a stable career path —with paid benefits and steady wage increases — but that’s no longer the case, according to recent study by CUNY’s Murphy Institute. “Retail is such a large sector and an important part of our economy,” says Stephanie Luce, lead author of “Discounted Jobs: How Retailers Sell Workers Short.” But “if we continue to pursue a policy of low-wage workers — with no benefits — for such a large portion of the country, our economy won’t be able to sustain itself.” Luce discussed the study, which found, among other things, that the majority of retail workers in New York earn a median of $9.50 an hour, work temporary or part-time hours and don’t receive health insurance through their jobs.

Helping Working Families Move Forward

March 14, 2012 | Book Beat, Brooklyn College, Newsmakers

Third Way initiatives that would combine both liberal and conservative ideas could help the millions of Americans who are out of work, said Robert Cherry, co-author of a new book, Moving Working Families Forward: Third Way Policies That Can Work. “We propose that the government buy up a million housing units and turn them into subsidized housing,” says Cherry, professor of economics at Brooklyn College and at the Graduate Center. “This policy would combine the liberal view that government should spend money to help people move forward and the conservative idea of efficiency-it’s the cheapest way for the government to create affordable housing.”

Dan Barry’s ‘This Land’ Story

March 12, 2012 | CUNY Lecture Series, Hunter College, Issues in Journalism

For New York Times columnist Dan Barry, it was the confluence of two critical events — a personal battle with cancer, followed by the heartbreak of 9/11 — that changed him both personally and professionally. “I came to understand, more acutely, the preciousness of life, not only as a person but as a reporter,” Barry said to audience at Hunter College as part of the Tina Santi Flaherty Irish Voices Literary Series. “I also found myself less interested in investigative journalism and more interested in bearing witness.” Barry recalled the impact of his Irish-American, working class roots and how writing the “This Land” column has given him the opportunity to “seek out the small moments that reveal the larger truths.”

Political Directions: Left or Right

March 12, 2012 | CUNY Lecture Series, Graduate Center

Progressives tend to see the Great Recession as the result of the untrammeled free market. Tea Party conservatives argue that government gone wild is the real story. Who’s right? Listen as Peter Beinart of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism joined by Richard Lowry, editor of the conservative National Review magazine and Josh Marshall, editor of the liberal political blog, TalkingPointsMemo.com, deconstruct the 2012 presidential campaign in a lively discussion at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Bookstores Under E-Siege

March 8, 2012 | CUNY Lecture Series, Graduate Center

Twenty years ago Barnes & Noble introduced super stores that “specifically targeted venerable independents and undermined them with discounts,” says literary agent Eric Simonoff. Now e-books and online sales are targeting both the Barnes and Noble giants and the few remaining niche booksellers. Simonoff, author Jonathan Ames and others gathered at the CUNY Graduate Center to consider the future of neighborhood bookstores, once fixtures throughout the city. “The e-book is here to stay, and Amazon is the big bully on the block,” says Simonoff.

Subcommittee on Audit

March 6, 2012 | Board of Trustees Meetings & Public Hearings

Meeting of the Board of Trustees, Subcommittee on Audit, March 6, 2012

Haiti Since the Quake: Relief in Question

March 6, 2012 | Book Beat, Newsmakers, York College

Billions of dollars in pledged foreign aid and private donations have poured into Haiti since the catastrophic earthquake that struck the capital, Port-au-Prince, in January 2010, but much has been wasted by inept nongovernmental organizations in charge of relief efforts. “The problem is that we don’t really know what’s going on with the NGOs — there’s a lack of transparency,” says Mark Schuller, assistant professor at York College and co-editor of new, wide-ranging anthology, Tectonic Shifts: Haiti Since the Earthquake. “As of last fall only 6 percent of the displaced people camps have had any kind of water or sanitation services because the NGOs have spent out their money.”