Baruch College

Earmarks of Waste

November 2, 2010 | Baruch College, CUNY Lecture Series

Earmarks — tax money set aside in budgets for small projects — are a big waste of time and should be eliminated, says Carol Kellerman, head of the Citizens Budget Commission, an agency that tries to make sure New Yorkers’ taxes are spent wisely. “We shouldn’t have earmarks at all,” she says. “Members spend an inordinate amount of time working on these very small earmarks and aren’t spending enough time scrutinizing, asking questions and pressuring the mayor on the $63 million billion budget,” says Kellerman, who participated in a Peter F. Vallone Sr. Lecture Series panel on “Pork Barrel Spending: Are Earmarks Kosher?,” sponsored by Baruch College School of Public Affairs.
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Big Boost for Small Campaign Donors

October 13, 2010 | Baruch College, CUNY Lecture Series

More people are contributing to political campaigns since the rate of public funds that match their contributions was increased in 2007, according to Amy Loprest, executive director of the New York City Campaign Finance Board. The effect has been significant, says Loprest, who was part of a panel entitled, “Small Donors, Big Democracy: The Impact of Campaign Finance Regulation on Citizen Partnership,” sponsored by Baruch College School of Public Affairs. “In 2009 there were 34,000 new donors,” Loprest says, “that’s more than half of all the donors.” When the CFB was started two decades ago, one goal was to reduce the influence of big money in elections, and “the purpose of giving matching funds was to make smaller contributors feel that their contributions meant something,” says Loprest.
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What’s Next for Immigration Reform

June 7, 2010 | Baruch College, CUNY Lecture Series

The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that by 2042 minorities including the largest-growing group — those of Hispanic origin — will become the majority. Fear of this change is driving renewed resentment towards non-natives, according to Ana Avendano, a special assistant to the president for immigration and community affairs at the AFL-CIO. “The word ‘illegal’ makes it very easy for people to channel their racism,” said Avendano, at an immigration reform forum sponsored by the Murphy Institute and CUNY Citizenship Now! where five community activists gathered to discuss next steps and acceptable tactics. “I believe that some kind of partial reform will allow the American people to see that immigration reform is not a terrible thing and that these people will contribute to society,” said Allan Wernick, Baruch College professor and director of CUNY Citizenship Now!
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Illuminating Cells

May 3, 2010 | Baruch College, Newsmakers

Green fluorescent proteins, discovered in the early 1960s by two scientists who first isolated a calcium-dependent bioluminescent protein from jellyfish, were a significant biomedical discovery because the proteins act as reflectors illuminating the internal workings of living cells, says David Gruber, assistant professor of Biology and Environmental Science at Baruch College. “Normally, when you look at a living cell you can’t see the specific proteins, but by using fluorescent proteins suddenly all of this became illuminated,” he explained in an interview about his research on biofluorescence and bioluminescence. “You could put this fluorescent protein in front of any protein and watch it interact to see what happens in diseases, when things start going wrong.”
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Star Wars, Google vs. China

March 26, 2010 | Baruch College, CUNY Lecture Series

Now that Google has decided to move most of its search functions to Hong Kong from mainland China to avoid censorship, the economic fallout for both giants of industry will take time to play out. “This shows a short and long term bad turn for China, in terms of moral leadership in the international system, and economic development at home,” said Devin Stewart, director of the Global Policy Innovations at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. “China will eventually need to open up.” As part of a panel entitled “Google vs. China,” the first seminar in the David Berg Foundation Series on Ethics and Accountability, hosted by the Robert Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity at Baruch College, Stewart was joined by Joey H. Lee of Human Rights in China, and Zachery Karabell, author of “Superfusion: How China and America Became One Economy and Why the World’s Prosperity Depends On It,” to discuss what’s at stake for the Chinese government, the hundreds of millions of Chinese who use Google, and the effect the move will have on Google’s business.
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Krugman’s Change

January 19, 2010 | Baruch College, CUNY Lecture Series

Paul Krugman, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics, calls the Obama heath care initiative and the President’s agenda for change the beginning of a long overdue and much needed redistribution of wealth in America. “Nobody else in the advanced world has the kind of new Gilded Age-levels of inequality that we do in this country.” Krugman, a professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University, was the featured speaker at the annual Dr. Donald H. Smith Distinguished Lecture at Baruch College. In his lecture, “Are We Getting the Change We Need,” he explored parallels between the Great Depression and the Great Recession and asserted that further progressive changes are needed to stabilize the economy.
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Unemployment Tops 10% – Now What?

December 15, 2009 | Baruch College, CUNY Lecture Series

As financial forecasters try to predict the beginning of the end of the longest recession since the Great Depression, New York City’s unemployment rate joined the rest of the country’s in hitting the 10% mark. In a panel discussion entitled “Unemployment Tops 10%: Where Can We Turn?” at Baruch College, moderated by Sarah Bartlett, director of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s urban and business journalism programs, four economic experts addressed the latest jobs report and which economic indicators offer hope of a recovery in the near future. “We do see a number of signs on the horizon that indicate things are going to get better,” said Robert Lieber, New York City’s deputy mayor for economic development, “and we are hopeful that the resilience of the New York City economy will help us as we come out of this economic downturn.”
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Changing Dynamic of Public Relations

November 10, 2009 | Baruch College, CUNY Lecture Series

No matter what platforms people choose for communication, the business of public relations essentially remains the same, according to industry experts. “You still need to build a personal brand that stands for something,” says Don Middleberg of Middleberg Communications, whose client list includes American Express, Consumer Reports and Reuters. “Whether it’s personal contacts, bloggers, or journalists, someone still needs to pick up your phone call or answer your e-mail or tweet.” Middleberg was part of a panel discussion at Baruch College that explored ways to meet the unique challenges brought on by the decline in print outlets and the rise in social marketing media tools such as Twitter and YouTube. Other participants included Peter Himler, founder of Flatiron Communications; Bill Southard, founder of Southard Communications; Jeff Gluck of IBM and Dave Armon, past president of PRNewswire, who served as moderator.
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Mayoral Control of Schools: Is It Working?

June 11, 2009 | Baruch College, CUNY Lecture Series

As the deadline nears for renewing the 2002 legislation that gave Mayor Bloomberg control of public schools, New Yorkers weigh in on whether the system should remain under the Panel for Educational Policy or be overhauled. In a discussion moderated by Baruch College Professor Doug Muzzio and led by Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, the teachers union and city were in agreement. “The present structure is sound,” said Klein, cautioning against tweaking it. “We would undermine it and create divided authority.” United Federation of Teachers Vice President Michael Mulgrew said, “Not a single person (here) wants to go back to the old system…We want to move forward.” The event was co-sponsored by Citizens Union and the Center for Innovation and Leadership in Government at Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs.
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Going Viral in a Social Marketing World

May 14, 2009 | Baruch College, CUNY Lecture Series

Overnight, the video clip of Scottish singing sensation Susan Boyle went viral. More than 30 million people watched her “Britain’s Got Talent” TV performance, on YouTube alone. Digital marketing leaders want advertisers to use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to sell their products to similar-sized audiences. “The primary gateway to content and branded content will be search and social networks.” says Steve Rubel, senior VP of Insights for Edelman Digital. “We need to make sure what we’re creating is relevant and discoverable…we’re redefining how we do public relations.” Rubel was joined by panelists Peter Himler, founder of Flatiron Communications; social media strategist Howard Greenstein, and Les Blatt, former editor/producer for ABC News, and others, at a Baruch College conference, “Yes We Can: Going Viral in a Social Marketing World.”
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