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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: National Vanguard
Posted: January 14, 2022 at 9:01 pm
After 80 years, it is time for Vanguard University to say goodbye to the Pit.
The university plans to demolish the gymnasium this summer and hold a groundbreaking for a new facility, Lions Arena, which officials are hoping to open on campus in 2024.
The construction is part of Vanguards 30-year campus master plan, which was approved by the Costa Mesa City Council in 2019. The first improvement was the opening of the Waugh Student Center in 2020, and the campus perimeter fencing and corner monument sign are now under construction.
Vanguard sent out an email blast to 60,000 alumni, fans and donors last week to announce Lions Arena, said David Vazquez, the schools senior director of external relations.
"[The Pit] is in the minds and hearts of so many people, Vazquez said. Its crazy. Were sad to see it go, but it needs to go. We need something new For us, its all about enhancing the Vanguard experience. This building was chosen as the next one because it does that, on the heels of doing the student center. Its enhancing the student experience overall.
A rendering of the outside of Lions Arena, which is slated to open on the Vanguard University campus in 2024.
(Courtesy of Vanguard University)
Lions Arena will be a three-story, 61,000-square-foot building that seats up to 1,910 people for athletic events, more than double the Pits capacity. It will also feature locker rooms, a weight room, athletics training room and various athletic offices.
As importantly, it will be home to the kinesiology department, including department offices, laboratories and four new general classrooms.
Vazquez said the total cost to bring Lions Arena online will be just more than $40 million. He said the university is actively raising $12.8 million of that total; the rest will be financed.
It will be a home for a burgeoning Lions athletic community. Vanguards student-athlete population has more than doubled to over 400 students in the last four years, Lions associate athletic director Rhett Soliday said, and the school has introduced new sports such as wrestling, a dance team, mens and womens golf and mens volleyball.
They add to the Lions proud tradition, which includes NAIA national championships in womens basketball in 2008 and mens basketball in 2014. The schools new STUNT cheer team won a national title in 2021.
Soliday is also the mens basketball coach, which means he has had plenty of special moments in the Pit. His children ages 16, 11 and 9 have grown up during his 12 years at Vanguard.
I can say without any doubt Ill cry when they take the Pit down, just because of the memories, he said. People talk about the Pit a lot, but when I think about this place I think about the people that have come through. Whether its the coaching staff, leadership change is hard, but its also necessary. [Lions Arena] is going to be a beautiful thing.
Lauren Baumgartner, a junior who plays point guard for the Vanguard University womens basketball team, gets some shots up at the Pit on Tuesday.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)
Vazquez said the school is trying to preserve some of the tradition of the Pit, which predates Vanguard at its current spot. The school, then called Southern California Bible College, moved to the present campus in 1950.
The court at Lions Arena will still be called Bill and Shirley Reynolds Court, in honor of the late former mens basketball coach and his wife. Vanguard is calling this the Pits farewell season and is holding alumni events at its mens and womens basketball home games on Jan. 22 and Feb. 17. Then, on April 29, there will be one final Farewell to the Pit event.
Vanguard womens basketball coach Russ Davis, in his 26th year, is excited for Lions Arena but will surely be sad to see it go. The games were a highlight, but also the basketball summer camps that the school would put on.
Davis was a friend of the late Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who would have his Mamba Academy teams practice in the Vanguard gym. Four days after Bryant and eight others, including his daughter Gianna, died in a helicopter crash in January 2020, Davis returned to the bench to coach Vanguard after undergoing a battle with throat cancer.
I knew everybody in the helicopter, except for the pilot, Davis said. It was sad to bring back those memories but that was a special night.
Another memory Davis had of the Pit was during the 1997-98 season. In his second year in charge, he led Vanguard then called Southern California College to the Golden State Athletic Conference title.
Lions Arena, when completed, will hold 1,910 fans in its gymnasium, more than double the amount of the Pit.
(Courtesy of Vanguard University)
Its been home for me for so many years, and weve had lots of great memories in our program there, Davis said. Lots of great wins, championships, great times with the team. I have a ton of memories that Ill hold with me forever.
Vanguard mens basketball senior Christian Wilson said the experience of the Pit definitely is unique. Unlike most more spacious college gyms, the stands go right up to the edge of the court, which can encourage trash-talking at times.
Its really loud and sweaty, Wilson said. There are times when the windows are fogging up, because of the people in there and how much energy is in there. Im going to miss that small environment. When a big play happens, its so loud you cant hear someone talk in front of you.
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Posted: at 9:01 pm
Energy companies defied the odds last year.
Despite a pandemic and pressure to phase out fossil fuels to combat global warming, the share prices of major energy companies outshone the rest of the S&P 500.
Oil and natural gas prices, which soared 59 percent, were the main impetus for the energy stock rally.
But the boom wasnt a steady one. Although energy stocks in the S&P 500 rose around 50 percent, it was an up-and-down year.
The ride getting there has been extreme, said Liz Ann Sonders, the chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab. She cautioned investors thinking of jumping in now to be mindful of the peril of chasing sector performance based on what it has done in the past year.
In 2021, oil prices rebounded from a decline in 2020, rising in response to growing demand as the coronavirus pandemic appeared to be ebbing. That helped drive inflation, and consumers grumbled about higher prices at the pump.
In November, President Biden led a multilateral effort which included Britain, Japan, South Korea, India and China to release oil from national reserves. OPEC Plus, a group of oil-producing nations, agreed to increase supply gradually. Adding to uncertainty about the oil prices are the still unclear effects of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus on the economic recovery. Longer term, there are major questions about how the world might make the transition to cleaner forms of energy like solar and wind power from oil, coal and natural gas.
David Lebovitz, a global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, said the large integrated oil and natural gas producers are working on developing renewable energy technologies in a bid to stay relevant. They have one foot on either side of the energy line, he said, so its a way for investors to play both sides of the story if they dont want to make a commitment.
Jan. 14, 2022, 6:54 p.m. ET
Funds that invest in the energy industry tend to be dominated by these global companies. For example, the Energy Select Sector SPDR, an exchange-traded fund run by State Street Global Advisors that ended the year with $26.4 billion in assets, had total returns of 53.26 percent in 2021 after a management fee of 0.12 percent. Forty-four percent of the portfolio is invested in two companies, Exxon Mobil and Chevron.
Michael Jin, a senior equity research analyst at Epoch Investment Partners, a New York subsidiary of Toronto-Dominion Bank, says U.S. utility companies are beginning to embrace solar and wind turbines. We kind of tiptoed into investing in renewable energy through the utilities sector, he said. Its a good way to gain exposure. They are still able to generate cash flow and pay dividends.
Utility funds, traditionally viewed as generators of steady income because of their holdings in regulated public utilities, posted strong returns last year. The Vanguard Utilities exchange-traded fund, with $5.6 billion in assets, returned 17.33 percent in 2021 after the 0.1 percent management fee. The funds yield was 2.7 percent.
The $4.9 billion Vanguard Energy fund, which once held mainly energy companies, has directed half its assets to holdings of utility companies since late 2020. Last year, the fund had total returns of 27.71 percent after a management fee of 0.33 percent. Its yield was 3.63 percent, according to Morningstar Direct.
How much demand there will be for oil in the coming decades remains a crucial issue for energy investors. A recent Morningstar report forecasts that global oil demand will peak around 2030 and then gradually decline. By the middle of this century, the report estimates, the global economy will consume 11 percent less oil than it did in 2019, in large part based on the projection that more than half the traffic on the worlds roadways will be electric vehicles.
Were bullish on the adoption of electric vehicles, said Dave Meats, the director of research for energy and utilities at Morningstar. In part, he said, that is because China has been subsidizing the development of electric vehicle technology in the hope of dominating this global market in the future.
But he predicted that oil would continue to be needed for global shipping and air travel in 2050. The weight of the batteries needed to cover long distances could be too much to keep ships afloat and planes aloft. He added that jet biofuel from sources like corn or used cooking oil would probably be more expensive than traditional fuel.
Oil may not be the fuel of the future, but oil consumption wont vanish overnight. Unlikely as it may seem, its possible that energy companies can continue defying the odds for some time.
See the article here:
Posted: December 19, 2021 at 6:52 pm
385-395 Nordhoff DriveEnglewood, NJMarch 2021 - $130 MM
950 Third StreetLos Angeles, CAMarch 2021 - $112 MM
1440 BroadwayNew York, NYMarch 2021 - $399 MM
340 W. Dallas StreetHouston, TXMarch 2021 - $470 MM
500 N 3rd StreetMinneapolis,MNMarch 2021 - $113 MM
4650 East West HighwayBethesda, MDFebruary 2021 - $76 MM
85 Jay StreetBrooklyn, NYFebruary 2021 - $76 MM
1200 K Street NWWashington, DCFebruary 2021 - $120 MM
1120 South Grand AvenueLos Angeles, CAFebruary 2021 - $260 MM
3221 Keller Springs RdCarrollton, TXFebruary 2021 - $57 MM
1 Park AvenueNew York, NYFebruary 2021 - $525 MM
Multi-site portfolioIDJanuary 2021 - $274 MM
Multi-site portfolioMAJanuary 2021 - $255 MM
299 Baldwin RoadParsippany, NJDecember 2020 - $273 MM
30-38 Morningside DriveNew York, NYDecember 2020 - $180 MM
1520 Mockingbird LaneCharlotte, NCDecember 2020 - $96 MM
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Holcomb Bridge RoadRoswell, GADecember 2020 - $51 MM
25 W Forsyth StreetJacksonville, FL December 2020 - $76 MM
40 Corporate DriveOrangeburg, NYDecember 2020 - $152 MM
825-55 East Front StreetPlainfield, NJDecember 2020 - $108 MM
222-230 East 20th StreetNew York, NYDecember 2020 - $623 MM
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801 Lakeview DriveWhitpain Township,PANovember 2020 - $148 MM
432 SE 1st StreetPompano Beach, FLNovember 2020 - $200 MM
29 Drydock AvenueBoston, MANovember 2020 - $150 MM
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One Westinghouse PlazaHyde Park, MAOctober 2020 - $255 MM
117 West 79th StreetNew York, NYOctober 2020 - $525 MM
800 North Delaware AvenuePhiladelphia, PAOctober 2020 - $199 MM
1 York StreetBrooklyn, NYOctober 2020 - $163 MM
14 53rd StreetBrooklyn, NYSeptember 2020 - $244 MM
711 Trinity CircleArlington, TXAugust 2020 - $212 MM
5055 Seminary RoadAlexandria, VAAugust 2020 - $101 MM
139 Crocker ParkWestlake, OHAugust 2020 - $140 MM
3750 Grand AvenueDes Moines, IAAugust 2020 - $61 MM
Moffett PlaceSunnyvale, CAAugust 2020 - $318 MM
3820 Sherwood StreetHarrisburg, PAJuly 2020 - $93 MM
1001 Boylston StreetBoston, MAJuly 2020 - $168 MM
40/56 10th AvenueNew York, NYJune 2020 - $150 MM
1340 East Bay AvenueBronx, NYJune 2020 - $239 MM
Paramount PlazaNew York, NYMay 2020 - $1250 MM
29 Drydock AvenueBoston, MAMay 2020 - $135 MM
109, 111, 113, 115 and 117 East 79th StreetNew York, NYMay 2020 - $220 MM
240-280 Park Hill AvenueStaten Island, NYMay 2020 - $174 MM
312 College AvenueIthaca, NYApril 2020 - $165 MM
971 John StreetColumbus, OHApril 2020 - $78 MM
202-08 Loetscher PlacePrinceton, NJMarch 2020 - $87 MM
1011 Morris AvenueUnion, NJMarch 2020 - $94 MM
1005 Main StreetPawtucket, RIMarch 2020 - $53 MM
201 8thAvenue SouthNashville, TNMarch 2020 - $185 MM
1431 East Whitestone BoulevardCedar Park, TXMarch 2020 - $101 MM
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617/639 62nd StreetBrooklyn, NY March 2020 - $648 MM
141 W. Jackson BoulevardChicago, ILFebruary 2020 - $256 MM
3300 South US Highway 41Terre Haute, INFebruary 2020 - $378 MM
215 North 10th StreetBrooklyn, NYFebruary 2020 - $162 MM
200 Kent AvenueBrooklyn, NYFebruary 2020 - $253 MM
4875 Susquehanna TrailYork, PAFebruary 2020 - $140 MM
1200 17th StreetDenver, COFebruary 2020 - $101 MM
400 North Olive Street, Dallas, TXJanuary 2020 -$275 MM
33 Hudson StreetJersey City, NJJanuary 2020 - $87 MM
Coal MinesCedar Creek, TXJanuary 2020 - $120 MM
888 North Douglas StreetEl Segundo, CAJanuary 2020 - $181 MM
950 NW Spanish River BoulevardBoca Raton, FLDecember 2019 - $217.8 MM
1007 South Congress AvenueAustin, TXDecember 2019 - $96.0 MM
685 Third AvenueNew York, NYDecember 2019 - $135.6 MM
1005 First Street NEWashington, DCDecember 2019 - $122.5 MM
1104 N Hancock StreetPhiladelphia, PADecember 2019 - $340.0 MM
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55 Hudson YardsNew York, NYNovember 2019 - $1,400.0 MM
4441 Collins AvenueMiami Beach, FLNovember 2019 - $975.0 MM
420 East 54th StreetNew York, NYNovember 2019 - $285.0 MM
6075 Northwest 105 CourtDoral, FLOctober 2019 - $253.0 MM
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28-30 Jackson AvenueLong Island City, NYSeptember 2019 - $250.0 MM
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18501 Collins AvenueSunny Isles Beach, FLSeptember 2019 - $460.0MM
55 John StreetNew York, NYSeptember 2019 - $101.0 MM
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575 Fifth Avenue Commercial Unit ANew York, NYAugust 2019 - $367.1 MM
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510 West 22nd Street New York, NYJuly 2019 - $145.7
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PARCEL D: 1045 Madison AvenueNew York, NYJuly 2019 - $430.5 MM
7130-7440 Orchard Lake RoadWest Bloomfield , MIJune 2019 - $59.3 MM
527 West 27th StreetNew York, NYMay 2019 - $100.7 MM
Pier 4Boston, MAMay 2019 - $288.0 MM
910 John StreetColumbus, OHMay 2019 - $75.1 MM
784 Northfield AvenueWest Orange , NJMay 2019 - $197.7 MM
1401 Elm StreetDallas, TXMay 2019 - $150.0 MM
The rest is here:
Posted: December 10, 2021 at 6:28 pm
Barry Harris, a pianist and educator who was the resident scholar of the bebop movement and ultimately, one of its last original ambassadors died on Wednesday in North Bergen, N.J. He was 91.
His death, in a hospital, was caused by complications of the coronavirus, which exacerbated a number of underlying health problems, said Howard Rees, his longtime business partner and collaborator.
[Those Weve Lost: Read about other people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic here.]
Starting in his teens and continuing beyond his 90th year, Mr. Harris performed, taught and toured with unflagging devotion, evangelizing for bebops stature as a form of high American modernism and helping to lay the foundation for the widespread academic study of jazz. Yet throughout his career he remained an independent educator: He never joined the faculty of a major institution, instead choosing to embed himself within New Yorksmusic community, reaching students of all ages.
For almost half a century, Mr. Harris led a weekly series of low-cost classes in the city, while also playing at prominent clubs around town and jetting off to perform and teach overseas. He was known for his acerbic tongue and his demanding nature, evidence of his passion for teaching.
Writing in 1986, the New York Times critic Robert Palmer described Mr. Harris as a one-man jazz academy.
He came up in the late 1940s and 50s in Detroit, where a thriving scene fostered some of the greatest improvisers in jazz. Many of the hometown musicians he grew up around the vibraphonist Milt Jackson; the guitarist Kenny Burrell; the Jones brothers (the drummer Elvin, the pianist Hank and the trumpeter Thad);the saxophonist Yusef Lateef; the pianist Tommy Flanagan would soon become leading figures, and their contributions would help define the hard-bop sound: a sizzling, blues-drenched style that boiled down some of bebops scattered intensity.
But Mr. Harris never eschewed bebops high temperatures, clattering rhythms and dashing melodies. He remained an evangelist for what he considered the apex of American music making.
We believe in Bird, Diz, Bud. We believe in Art Tatum. We believe in Cole Hawkins, Mr. Harris told his students later in life, name-checking bebops founding fathers. These are the people we believe in. Nothing has swayed us.
Mr. Harris was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master in 1989. He received multiple honorary doctorates, and was often referred to by friends and students as doctor.
He recorded more than two dozen albums, including a string of celebrated releases in the 1960s for the Prestige and Riverside labels. All those LPs featured him either in small ensembles or alone at the piano, demonstrating his wily, wandering harmonic sense and his unshakable feel for bebop rhythm.
A stroke in 1993 slightly limited his mobility at the keyboard, but it did little to slow him down. As he aged, he developed a stooped posture, but when he sat at the piano, bent lovingly over the keyswith a look of enamored study, his hunch became impossible to notice.
He is survived by a daughter, Carol Geyer.
Barry Doyle Harris was born on Dec. 15, 1929, in Detroit, the fourth of Melvin and Bessie Harriss five children. His mother was the pianist at their Baptist church, and when he was 4, she began teaching him to play.
As an adolescent, he set himself up at the elbow of some of the more experienced pianists around town. Almost immediately upon learning the fundamentalsof bebop, he became a kind of junior scholar of the movement, building a pedagogy around the music that Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell and their comrades had invented together in Harlem just a few years earlier.
He started hosting informal lessons at his mothers house, and musicians with considerably more experience often sought out his off-the-cuff symposiums, hoping to seep up what he called his rules: exercises and frameworks that could help them unpack the complex but often unwritten structures of bebop.
Trane took all my rules, he told The Daily News of New York in 2012, referring to John Coltrane. I made up rules for cats to practice.
His process as an instructor was just as improvisational as his performances. To watch him in action is to witness the oral tradition at its most profound, the critic Mark Stryker wrote of Mr. Harris in his book Jazz From Detroit.
In demand as both a bandleader and a side musician throughout the 1950s, Mr. Harris backed some of the eras leading musicians when they performed in Detroit, including Miles Davis. He sometimes sat in with Parker, bebops leading man, when he was in town.
Mr. Harris went on tour with the pioneering drummer Max Roach in 1956, and began traveling to New York frequently to record with the likes of Thad Jones, the saxophonist Hank Mobley and the trumpeter Art Farmer. But he had started a family in Detroit and was happily ensconced as a pillar of the scene there.
In 1960, at 30, he was finally persuaded by the saxophonist Cannonball Adderley to join the tide of Detroit musicians who had moved to New York. He continued living in the metropolitan area for the rest of his life, teaching and performing almost nonstop and appearing on albums like the trumpeter Lee Morgans 1964 hit The Sidewinder.
Not long after arriving, he became friends with Pannonica de Koenigswarter, the heiress and musicians advocate known as the jazz baroness, and she invited him to take up residence at her sprawling home in Weehawken, N.J., overlooking Manhattan and teeming with scores of cats. (Ms. de Koenigswarter arranged for Mr. Harris to stay in the house after she died; he continued living there for the rest of his life.)
In 1972, Thelonious Monk moved in, and he stayed until his death 10 years later. So Mr. Harris carried on at the elbow of a fellow master, trading information and further soaking up his language. The Monk songbook remained a pillar of Mr. Harriss repertoire throughout his life; perhaps thanks in part to his time spent living with Monk, his playing grew both more lyrical and more tautly rhythmic as he got older.
Starting in 1974, Mr. Harris held intensive weekly workshops in New York, open to adult students of all ages for a relatively low fee. Students could buy single-evening passes or pay for an entire year. He never stopped teaching the classes, continuing until the pandemic shut things down in March 2020, and then conducting them via Zoom into this year.
In 1982, Mr. Harris opened the Jazz Cultural Theater, a multipurpose space in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, where he taught classes seven days a week and hosted performances at night. At some of those performances, he featured a choir made up of children from the neighborhood.
Ms. de Koenigswarter helped to finance the establishment, but Mr. Harris declined to sell liquor, favoring a community orientation that would allow for children to be there at all times. As a result, he didnt turn a steady profit.
The theater closed after five years when the rent jumped, but Mr. Harris just moved his operation elsewhere and kept on teaching: at public schools, community centers and abroad.
He never really stopped performing either, gigging regularly at venues around New York into his 90s, including a more-or-less annual run at the Village Vanguard.
His last performance was in November, in a concert featuring recipients of the Jazz Masters award. He did not play the piano, but he sang a rendition of his own ballad, The Bird of Red and Gold, a tale of inspiration and triumph he had first recorded, in a rare vocal performance, in 1979.
Over time, Mr. Harriss students fanned back out across the globe and committed to carrying on his work. With his blessing, one former student set up a venue in Spain called the Jazz Cultural Theater of Bilbao.
Interviewed by The Times shortly before the pandemic, Mr. Harris had lost none of his passion for teaching. Contemplating the experience of hearing a student improve, he said, Its the most beautiful thing you want to hear in your life.
Continue reading here:
Posted: December 7, 2021 at 5:23 am
Bob Dolea Washington fixture who served for 27 years as a Republican Senator from Kansas, and was also a former candidate for both the presidency and vice-presidencydied in his sleep on Sunday at the age of 98. Last February, he had revealed he was being treated for lung cancer.
In February 1985, Washingtonian ran the following profile of Dole, who had been elected Senate Majority Leader the year before.
Here is the text of that 1985 article:
Bob Hope who is the Bob Dole of stage, screen, and television reportedly once said that the formula for a successful act is to stride up to the microphone and bowl over the audience with two lightning-fast minutes of one-liners.
And so, ladies and gentlemen, lets have a big round of applause for the new Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole!
There is no doubt that Bob Dole can lay em in the aisles. But the question is: Can he get his now expanded audience to take him seriously as Senate Majority Leader and, potentially, as a candidate in 1988 for the Republican presidential nomination?
A decade ago, the question itself might well have had em in the aisles. Then, Dole was not only regarded as the Senates funniest member, he was also seen as a slashing, driven partisan in the mold of Richard Nixon himself so much so that when Nixon chose him in 1971 to be Republican national chairman, succeeding the big and affable Rogers Morton, a White House aide said Nixon had replaced a St. Bernard with a hungry Doberman pinscher.
Not since the days of the two McCarthys from the Midwest Joe of Wisconsin and Gene of Minnesota had the Senate had such a verbal executioner. Joe was best known for his sobriquets for fellow senators such as Sanctimonious Stu Stymington and Stillborn Pell. Gene, when he heard that Republican presidential hopeful Governor George Romeny had said he was brainwashed in Vietnam, observed that hed thought a light rinse might have done the job. Similarly, Doles humor wasnt always appreciated in the Senate because it so often came at the expense of others.
As the partys national chairman, Dole was tough. The 1972 Democratic presidential nominee, George McGovern, later lamented that Dole used to eat me for breakfast, and he was far from the only Democrat to feel Doles bite. Dole acknowledges today that he was very partisan in the post but, he says I assumed it went with the territory. Dole quickly won the label of hatchet man, and it stuck even after he got booted as chairman following the 1972 election to make room, he says, for George Bush, who wanted out as United Nations ambassador.
For all his partisan efforts, Dole was never appreciated by the henchmen around Nixon, and in the inaugural parade of January 1973, he recalls, he was shunted to a rear car.
When President Gerald Ford picked Bob Dole as his running mate in 1976, the assumption was that he had won the job because he was such an experienced and effective ax-wielder. That view was reinforced in his debate with the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, Walter Mondale. Dole was his most acerbicfirst trying to wisecrack his way through, then ranting at Democrat warsone of which, he said, was World War II.
Many Republicans blamed the narrow loss of the Ford-Dole ticket to Carter-Mondale on Doles performance that night, though Ford himself credited Dole with holding the farm belt as well as the more conservative wing of the party. While Ford was campaigning from the Rose Garden, Dole observed later, he was assigned to the briar patch in the traditional running mates role of attacking the opposition and trying to be a lightning rod for the presidential candidate.
Later, he told dinner audiences: Ill never forget the Dole-Mondale debateand dont think I havent tried. I wont say how we did, but halfway through the debate, three empty chairs got up and walked out. . . . President Ford was supposed to take the high road, and I was supposed to go for the jugular. And I didmy own.
In the wake of the Ford-Dole defeat, he recalls, Nixon called and warned him, Now its scapegoating time. But Dole weathered the criticism, and today he says of that 1976 defeat, Im sort of the survivor. Carters gone, Fords gone, Mondales gone. Im still here.
After the 1976 campaign, Bob and Elizabeth Dole sat down together and watched television tapes of the debate with Mondale as well as other campaign performances. Whether or not that exercise led him to blunt the point of his oratorical spear, he did seem to wield it with more discipline thereafter. His humor had always had a self-deprecating style, and this aspect increasingly dominatedto the relief of his colleagues.
As Dole approached 1980 and his first try for the GOP presidential nomination, he already had put much of the criticism for harshness behind him. As long as you turn it on yourself, youre all right, he says now. But you get on a roll sometimes, he adds with a wry grin, and your judgement leaves you. I try not to be a free spirit so much anymore.
In competition with Ronald Reagan on the 1980 campaign trail, neither Dole nor any of the other Republican candidates was a fair match. He still led the league in one-liners, but he never achieved much political identification outside Washington.
As a long-time member of the minority party in the Senate, he never had much opportunity to demonstrate legislative effectiveness and political leadership. Dole ran poorly in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary and then got out of the race.
The success of Reagan in 1980, and of a host of Republican Senate candidates, unexpectedly gave Dole the chance to strut his stuff. The ousting of twelve Democratic senators in the 1980 election put the Republicans in control of the Senate for the first time since the Eisenhower sweep of 1952, and Dole suddenly found himselfas they say in this townthe influential chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.
Overnight, the spotlight was on Dole as the new President proceeded to act with a vengeance on his campaign pledge to drain the swampincluding sharp tax cuts, whose enactment came under purview of the Finance Committee. Doles performance in navigating the tax cuts, the cornerstone of Reaganomics, through his committee and the Senate at once marked him as a master legislator andto the surprise of those who still perceived him as the ruthless hatchet manas a deft conciliator.
These talents received continued exposure and drew continuing praise through 1982 and 1983, as the Reagan formula for prosperity first plunged the country into recession and then embarked on recovery. In August 1982, Dole took the lead away from a reluctant President and shaped and pushed through the Senate a tax increase of just under $100 billion that, with bipartisan support, temporarily saved Reagans bacon. If we hadnt had the 1982 bill, he muses now, what would the deficit be today?
The rescue operation was not without political cost to Dole, who came under fire from supply-siders who labeled him with the worst of all epithets in the Republican lexicona (gasp!) liberal.
But Dole did not back off. In an article in the Washington Post, he defended by noting his 94 percent rating in the Congressional Quarterly in support of party positions and 84 percent in support of Reagan in 1981.
Citing Henry Adamss observation that practical politics consists of ignoring the facts, Dole wrote, We Republicans have a responsibility to lead, to legislate effectively, and to keep the public interest always before us as our ultimate objective. We live up to that responsibility by confronting problems squarely, by standing firmly on our principles, and by reaching out through consensus to forge a partnership with those presumably non-political politicians who do not ignore the facts. We are not making a U-turn; we are merely adjusting the route to keep from going off the road. I am not a liberal. Neither am I a lemming.
In addition to shaping the 1982 bailout, Dole played a leading role in salvaging Reagans position in the 1983 bipartisan compromise on Social Security and that years down payment on deficit reduction. In four years as chairman of the Finance Committee, Dole established himself not only as an effective legislator and conciliator within the Senate, but as a cooperative but independent representative of Senate Republicans in dealing with the President of their own party.
He swallowed the Reagan formula in these years, but not hook, like, and sinker. Moreover, rather than go to the wall with his differences, he used his legislative skills to shape the finished products more to his liking without causing a serious rupture in his relations with the White House.
Nevertheless, Doles ambitions to be Senate Majority Leader did not get any visible helping hand from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Rather, the White House hunkered down during the intense electioneering for the late-November balloting that led to Doles narrow election over the Senate assistant Majority Leader, Ted Stevens of Alaska. In the end, in fact, a belief among his colleagues that Dole would protect the Senates prerogatives while carrying the Presidents mail on Capitol hill was a major factor in his election.
Now, unsurprisingly, there is nothing but praise coming from the White House about the choice. Outgoing White House chief of staff James Baker predicts Dole will be an extremely successful Majority Leader, as perhaps the very best legislative tactician and strategist in the Senate. We found that to be the case in the first four years, during his tenure as chairman of the Finance Committee. And contrary to what people may say about his independence, while he felt free to question the President on some things, when the President decided, bob was with him more times than not.
Senators on both sides of the aisle, and especially those who have served on the Finance Committee with him, also predict that Dole will be an effective Senate leader. Republican John Chafee of Rhode Island says Dole has an excellent capacity for bringing people together and touching all bases so people wont be surprised. He makes sure you get your day in court. Chafee says Doles sense of humor will stand him in good stead because it has softened and because it is natural and not programmed. His wit is not into the class-clown area by any means, he says. Hes not always groping for the gag, as some people do.
Democrat George Mitchell of Maine says that Dole, while not regarded with the affection in which retired Majority leader Howard Baker was held, is seen as very able, intelligent, and articulateaggressive and ambitious in the good sense of those words. And Democrat Bill Bradley of New Jersey calls him a strong leader, fair and knowledgeable, who understands compromise and how to deal across the aisle.
On the far right, Dole remains anathema to many. Representative Newt Gingrich of Georgia, in a stinging letter late last year to budget director David Stockman, referred derisively to Dole as the tax collector for the welfare state. Dole has been a particular champion of the food-stamp program and of programs for the handicapped, but he cannot fairly be accused of being an apostle of the federal handout. He is the founder of the nonprofit Dole Foundation in Kansas that helps train and employ the disabled in the private sector.
Gingrich says he was angry when he wrote the letter and that it wasnt intended for publication. And Doles observations right after his election as Majority Leader that he would take a look at a budget freeze, Gingrich says, suggested that he was backing off tax increases death to supply-siders such as Gingrich, who says economic growth in the Opportunity Society will solve the deficit dilemma.
Others on the right are not so hopeful about Dole. Conservative master fundraiser Richard Viguerie calls Dole Mr. Tax-Increaser and says he is no conservative. Would you say, he asks, that someone George McGovern has said has grown can be considered a conservative? Dole for his part, observes, I cant be all bad. Vigueries against me.
The opposition to Dole on the right, where he once seemed to sit very comfortably, is only one roadblock in a run for the 1988 Republican presidential nomination from the post of Senate Republican leader. Dole, in keeping with protocol, is not saying he will be a presidential candidate again. For one thing, he faces re-election to the Senate in 1986. His wife, Elizabeth, says they have not even talked about it, choosing to focus on the challenge of the Senate leadership for now.
But assuming he wants to shoot for the White House in 1988, some Senate colleagues and others doubt the wisdom of seeking the presidency while carrying the burdens of party leadership in the Senate. One reason for Howard Baker;s decision to quit not only the Majority Leaders post but ht eSenate itself was that he was convinced that his unsuccessful 1980 effort to run for Presidenthe was only Minority Leader thenwas handicapped by his heavy duties on Capitol Hill. Baker insists that this reason was not his prime consideration in leaving the Senate, though he admits few seem to believe him. Principal for me is that eighteen years is long enough, he says, and if Im ever going to do anything else, whether its political or non-political, now is the time to do it.
Dole himself, when he was faring poorly in the 1980 presidential race, expressed reservations about seeking the presidency from the Senate. I guess its hard to give two jobs 100 percent, he said then. Maybe Ive been too cautious. You cant generate any money money if youre not out there. Maybe Im my own worst enemy. Its so strange, but my biggest liabilitymy job. If that observation was valid five years ago, it would seem even more so now, with Doles greatly increased Senate responsibilities.
There is, at the same time, an up side to the situation. For one thing, Dole, as the former Finance Committee chairman and present Majority Leader, ought to have a much easier job raising money for a presidential campaign than he had in 1979 and 1980. For another, as Majority Leader for at least the next two years, he will be much more influentialand hence likely to draw much more media attentionthan was Baker as Minority Leader in 1979 and 1980. Dole will be seen coming out of the White House so often in the next two years that hell look as if he has set up premature residency.
The realities of politics may also work in Doles favor. As matters stand now, the chances seem good that he will have to surrender his Majority Leader post and slip down to Minority Leader in 1987. Of the 34 Senate seats up in 1986, 22 are held by Republicans and only twelve by Democrats, so the odds favor the Democrats regaining control. By that time, Dole should have obtained his biggest publicity boost from being Majority Leader and the somewhat lesser duties of Minority Leader might make it easier for him to focus on another presidential bid.
Dole says his first priority politically will be to retain GOP control of the Senate. His own political-action committee, Campaign America, already has $500,000 in the till that will go primarily for the re-election of Republican senatorsand, not incidentally, the storing away of political IOUs.
Doles observation upon being elected Majority Leader that holding on to the Senate was number-one with him and that Senate Republicans would support Reagan when we can raised some eyebrows at the time, hinting as it did at the famous Dole independent streak. On that point, Howard Baker says, He has one fundamental question to decide, the same question I had. I had to decide whether to be a Bob Taft or a Bill Knowland. Bob Taft [as Majority Leader] decided to support President Eisenhower, and he did it with great grace and skill. Knowland tried to be President himself. He lost the Senate, got himself defeated, and damaged Eisenhower. I read with great interest the columns and newspaper accounts about how independent the Senate may be [under Dole], and thats all well and good. The Senate is an independent body. But its also going to be part of the team, and the leader has to be the point man, and I rather expect Dole will come down on that side.
Baker says he and Dole have discussed the matter of running for President from the Majority Leaders post, and weve acknowledged one of us is making a mistake. Baker points out that the job has built-in pitfalls that go beyond the possibility of differing with the President on specific votes and being tied down to the Senate. The Majority Leader, he says, has the necessity of dealing with the other fellows issues every day and leaving precious little time for talking about your own positions and issues.
Concerning the possibility of a conflict between Doles role as Majority Leader advancing a Republican Presidents legislative goals and the need of a presidential hopeful to demonstrate independence, Jim Baker says the White House isnt worried. Its not easy to run for President from the majority leadership, he says. I think thats one reason Howard Baker got out. I dont see Bob using that office to maintain an independent posture from the President. The best way to be a presidential candidate is to be a good Majority Leader, and to be a good Majority Leader he will want to work with the President.
Dole says that while 1988 is probably remote for me, he doesnt agree with Howard Baker that being Majority Leader would be detrimental in seeking the White House. He says he knows he will have to walk a fine line between working with Reagan and defending his own and the Senates independence, but he notes his strong record of support for the President over the last four years and says he sees no reason it cant be continued while retaining independence. I cant serve the Senate and be a lap dog, he says bluntly. And Bill Bradley, who himself is being mentioned as a 1988 presidential prospect on the Democratic side, says, There ought to be a moratorium on talking about everybodys presidential ambitions for at least eighteen months.
Finally, there is what one of Bob Doles colleagues calls his extraordinary energy and stamina. Lean and fit at 61, he has been a whirlwind of activity not only as chairman of the Finance Committee but in taking leadership roles on legislation in his other two committee assignments before becoming Majority Leaderon Agriculture and Judiciaryand on the Senate floor.
Elizabeth Dole says her husbands being Majority Leader wont change their lives all that much because hes always on the go anyway. Another presidential campaign would only be in keeping with the all-out pace that has been his lifestyle for years.
Four years is a long time, and a lot can happen to clarify whether it will make sense for Bob Dole to try one more time for the White House in 1988. He has long since demonstrated that he has the sense of humor to be a very popular President, and in moving up to Senate Majority Leader he has shown he has the legislative and conciliatory talents to lift him to the vanguard of Capitol Hill operatives. But as a national figure able to draw the kind of support required for election to national office, he remains a question mark, with his 1976 and 1980 setbacks marked up against him.
Like Howard Baker before him, Bob Dole has succeeded far more inside the Beltway than outside it. One of his critics, Viguerie, observes that Doles quick wit and independence have made him a special favorite of the news media in Washington without giving him a comparable national constituency. Try taking it into Iowa, New Hampshire, and Florida [early caucus and primary states], he says. News-media popularity is capital you cant spend there, and it has a short shelf life. In fact, Viguerie insists, such popularity is a negative nowadays. Its inconceivable now that anyone who has the support of the national media is going to get the Republican nomination, he argues.
For now, Bob Dole is riding high, and he doesnt have to resort to Bob Hope one-liners to get attention. He used to get a laugh by asking Republican audiences, Can you hear me on the left? I know you can hear me on the right. Now when Bob Dole, Majority Leader of the United States speaks, even E.F. Hutton listens. Especially E.F. Hutton.
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Posted: December 5, 2021 at 11:38 am
According to Cocking, it's more common for agency consolidation to take a form like NAC's, where an F&I product administrator is the one buying agents. It's less common to see an agency focused on buying other agencies, she said. Brown & Brown Dealer Services and Vanguard Dealer Services have been among the exceptions to this rule, she said.
"If I had my own agency, that's what I'd be looking to do," Cocking said.
Most of the acquisitions involve agencies in the $1 million-$4 million EBITDA range, Cocking said. She said "very few" agencies produce more than $5 million worth of EBITDA.
"It's hard to scale," Cocking said, and an agent might not want to bother doing so. If the agency owner can do $2 million a year in sales thanks to relationships with just a few dealerships, she said, "why stress yourself out?"
Scaling also doesn't necessarily yield more profitability, which is why few agencies grow beyond a few million dollars in sales, she said.
However, there are benefits to scaling as well, particularly expanding one's geography.
"I think this is kind of the biggest advantage," Cocking said.
She gave the example of a small agent doing business with a dealership group customer in nearby states but unable to service the group's rooftops located farther away. If the agency had coverage in the other states, "you absolutely get those stores," Cocking said.
A small agency also will eventually reach a plateau in the number of products with which it can familiarize itself. Buying other groups means the vendor can represent more administrators specialized in different vehicle types, such as exotics or high-mileage older models.
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Posted: at 11:38 am
One afternoon in late October, Christine Y. Kim, a curator of contemporary art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, methodically scans the gallery floor with her iPhone, providing an impromptu virtual tour of the new exhibition shes hanging. The show, Black American Portraits, is designed as a tribute to the late curator David Driskells landmark 1976 LACMA exhibition Two Centuries of Black American Art and a complement to the portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama, by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald respectively, currently on view at the museum as part of their cross-country tour. Can you see this one? Kim says, angling the lens, accidentally catching herself via front-facing camera. A Kerry James Marshall painting zooms into view. She lingers on a photograph by Deana Lawson. Museum staff mull about, installing the works on hand, with brown paper cutouts as stand-ins for those that have yet to arrive.
This kind of digital mediation with art has become de rigueur during the Covid-19 pandemic. But the cataclysms of the past 20 months and a national reckoning over race have necessitated a wholesale rethinking of how art is commodified, curated, and experienced. The art world, traditionally a bastion of high-cultural power, has had its curtain lifted, revealing the stitches and the seams that have been holding it all together. It brought to the fore how much the social landscape informs or extends discourse in the art world and that such events arent happening only in a political or activist bubble, but are part of the complex American story, says Nicola Vassell, a veteran of New Yorks influential early 2000s Deitch Projects gallery, where Wiley launched his career. Vassell opened her own eponymous space in the citys high-wattage gallery district in Chelsea this past May with a show by photographer Ming Smith. We are at a unique crossroads of reimagining the present and history as something more multifaceted than the conqueror relishing conquest.
FROM JULIE MEHRETU: MID-CAREER SURVEY, CHECKERBOARD FILM FOUNDATION, ARTWORK JULIE MEHRETU, COURTESY THE ARTIST AND MARIAN GOODMAN GALLERY
There has never been a singular art world, but rather many constellations and microcosms with disparate power centers and subcultural spheres of financial influence. Too many museums have also not represented the communities they claim to serve; their history as projects of coloniality and racial exploitation is difficult to shake. But Kim and Vassell are part of a vanguard of curators and directors intent on reconfiguring museums and galleries in a more equitable, inclusive way.
Kim, who came to LACMA in 2009 after nearly a decade at the Studio Museum in Harlem, was recently named curator at large for North American art at the Tate Modern museum in the U.K. As institutions grapple with finding their way forward, Kim says that, among other things, she would like to see the recruitment of less formally trained artists and greater transparency from board members, trustees, and others in positions of power. More artists from underrepresented communities, more examination of complex social issues, more representation of artists who are or have been imprisoned, she says, ticking off her post-pandemic wish list. More of everything.
"There has never been a singular art world, but rather many constellations and microcosms with disparate power centers and subcultural spheres of financial influence."
There is little desire to return to normal. According to the Artnet Price Database, a comprehensive archive of auction results over the past three decades, of the $180 billion of art sold on the global auction market between 2008 and 2018, only $2.2 billion, or 1.2 percent, was by Black American artistsand one artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat, accounted for $1.7 billion of that total. Latinx people make up nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population, but the nations institutions have been slow to recognize their cultural contributions. A 1994 internal study at the Smithsonian Institution described the exclusion as willful and systematic; in December 2020, after decades of lobbying, Congress finally approved the creation of a national Latinx museum in Washington, D.C. And artists of color are still far less likely to have their work acquired by museums for their permanent collections.
ARTWORK LAUREN HALSEY, PHOTO BY CHASE HALL, COURTESY GAGOSIAN
This past summer, the New Yorkbased critic and curator Antwaun Sargent, who was appointed a director at the behemoth Gagosian gallery last winter, unveiled Social Works, an expansive group show at Gagosians Chelsea flagship that explored the relationship between space and social practice and featured the works of Black creators such as Theaster Gates, Lauren Halsey, and Sir David Adjaye. Everything happening now and in the last year is great, but its still unbelievably lopsided, Sargent says. A correction would require you to collect only Black art for the next 400 years to make this rightexclusively. The absurdity of that shows you the absurdity of this present predicament.
Naomi Beckwith was named deputy director and chief curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation last January, coming over from the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Like Kim, she spent time early in her career at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Beckwith was also among the advisors for Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America, an exhibition at New Yorks New Museum in early 2021. Conceived by the late Nigerian curator Okwui Enwezor, it was a timely meditation on the countrys racial past and present. This is the first time that calls for change inside museum institutions are as broad-based and urgent as the calls for greater social justice in our world, Beckwith says. But everyonefrom artists to each museum employee, from directors to trusteeshas now heard the call and will have to make decisions based on that. We are in a critical, vulnerable moment as institutions and these are the moments that call for the most care and foresight on how were going to restore trust with our artists, our audiences, and with each other. But Im most hopeful that there is a sense of alignment between where museums need to go and where the world needs to go and theres no turning back from here.
There was the feeling that the world was not working at its best, says the New Museums Isolde Brielmaier. And many of us have known this for a very long time.
I think the pandemic, the 2020 election, and the fight for racial justice in the wake of George Floyds murder were a huge cause for pause and an impactful reset, says Isolde Brielmaier, who was appointed deputy director at the New Museum in July and also serves as curator at large at the International Center for Photography. Brielmaiers career includes more than two decades of institutional, academic, and private-sector experience, as well as work with artists such as Wangechi Mutu, Carrie Mae Weems, and Tyler Mitchell. There was the feeling that the world was not working at its best, she says. And many of us have known this for a very long time. I think there is a senseon the part of galleries, museums, and so onthat we cannot continue business as usual, because it does not work and will not propel us into a meaningful, inclusive, innovative, sustainable, forward-thinking future. People have to embrace change, systems must be overhauled and re-built, culture must shift, and day-to-day work must and will be undeniably different.
Its complicated, but most salient is the number of people entering spaces where they have actual decision-making power, influence, and autonomy, where there have not been Black people and POC before, says Joeonna Bellorado-Samuels, who, as a director at Chelseas Jack Shainman Gallery, which represents Marshall, Weems, and Mitchell, has been party to a sea change in New York galleries. Its about people being moved into positions where they can have a real impact.
Its a shift that Brooklyn-based artist Rashid Johnson, whose multi disciplinary work resides in the permanent collections of the Guggenheim, LACMA, MCA Chicago, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, says is vital. Over the last few years, weve seen the adoption of a lot of Black artist practitioners into a more mainstream narrative, he says. The thing that was lacking was representation at the level of senior leadership. With sufficient changes at the top, we will never have to question whether Black artists will be given voices and spaces within cultural institutions.
ARTWORK RASHID JOHNSON, PHOTO BY FILIP WOLAK, COURTESY CREATIVE TIME
For Susanna V. Temkin, a curator at Spanish Harlems El Museo del Barrio, which has maintained its close ties to the citys diverse Latinx and Caribbean populations, fostering a strong sense of community is also crucial. This year, El Museo held its first-ever triennial, Estamos Bien, a survey featuring more than 40 Latinx artists from the U.S. and Puerto Rico. More than anything, Im enthusiastic and made hopeful by the sheer talent of so many Latinx artists working today, Temkin says. Im also encouraged by what I am feeling as a new willingness to collaborate between institutions and peers across the art field.
Pre-pandemic, there were already changes afoot in the art world: a greater recognition of the power of the young and media-savvy; the melding of high art and influencer; an ongoing critique of whose taste matters anyway. Its also impossible not to wonder if what we are witnessing now is akin to the glass cliff phenomenon observed in tech and other industries, in which minoritized employees are promoted into leadership positions in times of crisis. But for arts nominal gatekeepers, greater transparency could mean a new level of accountability.
DAVID HEALD, COURTESY THE SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM FOUNDATION 2021
I am cautiously optimistic as far as the long-term project and the many ways there can be visibility, says Rujeko Hockley, an associate curator at the Whitney (and another Studio Museum alum). Hockley, with co-curator Jane Panetta, oversaw the 2019 Whitney Biennial, which in part examined the subjects of race, gender, equity, and history. Different generations have pushed for artists to be more fully represented through exhibitions and acquisitions. Looking at almost any museum in the country, you can see that there have been real strides in those spaces. But there is much more on the curatorial and educational front that needs to shift, she says. It behooves us to think of what kind of museums we would like to have.
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Posted: at 11:38 am
Along with tens of thousands of university workers at 58 institutions across the UK, I have been on strike for three days this week over pensions, pay and conditions. For workers at Goldsmiths this national strike has fallen in the middle of an epic, local three-week strike of our own over management proposals to sack 52 staff, as part of a cost-cutting plan financed by big banks.
The national action and our local strike are connected: the factors that led to a vote for strike action by more than 70% of University and College Union (UCU) members nationally are the same ones that have produced a dramatic confrontation at Goldsmiths. Indeed, the situation at Goldsmiths, a small University of London college specialising in arts, humanities and social sciences, could be a window on to the future of higher education nationally: a future of casualisation, swingeing cuts and the possibility of troubling interventions from financial institutions.
The national dispute encompasses a wide range of elements, the most high-profile of which is pensions: like public sector workers before them, university staff face an attack on our defined-benefit retirement schemes. The employer, Universities UK, is attempting to cut our pensions by more than 30%, using a reportedly flawed valuation taken at a low point in the economic and social crisis caused by the pandemic. The dispute amounts to a cluster of grievances over working conditions known as the four fights: pay, equalities, workload and casualisation. Higher education is one of the most heavily casualised sectors in the UK, with two-thirds of researchers and half of teaching staff employed on fixed-term (ie temporary) contracts.
For many younger academics it is casualisation that has spurred us to take action in the national dispute. I spent seven years on seven different casual contracts across three institutions before I got my first permanent position at Goldsmiths this summer. Many of these contacts are desperately low paid; at times I was taking home just 2,000 a year from teaching, and having to work three jobs to survive. But it is also the insecurity that is crippling: it is impossible to plan your career trajectory and life in general without knowing if youll be in work next year. Casualised staff are also the first to be laid off in a crisis: Goldsmiths attempted to release nearly 500 of us at the start of the pandemic last spring, though we fought back.
The national dispute is the result of what has been called a decade of marketisation in higher education. And it is marketisation the move to turn education from a public service into a commodity that laid the conditions for our local dispute at Goldsmiths. The overhaul of higher education funding in 2010 by the coalition government, particularly the removal of most direct government funding for courses, meant universities became heavily reliant on the volatile and unpredictable stream of income from student tuition fees. Humanities departments outside of the elite universities have been under pressure ever since, with several (such as politics and history at Kingston) being shut down altogether. Universities have sought to cut staff costs through redundancies and increased use of casualised contracts.
The 2010 reforms also empowered a new generation of university senior managers who see their role as combining streamlining and cost-cutting measures with management speak about social justice and inclusion. Goldsmiths senior management is archetypal in this respect, with the warden, Frances Corner, dressing up a 2019 plan to axe staff as part of a mission to secur[e] our legacy as a beacon of progressive, critical thought and in the vanguard of social justice.
Goldsmiths latest move in this direction involves a plan to cut 52 jobs across professional services, English and creative writing, and history courses, centralising administration and likely cutting courses in the process. An alarming aspect of the plan is the mooted role of the banks: Lloyds and NatWest are thought to have insisted on reductions in staff costs as a condition of loans given to the university. If this is the case, it raises the worrying prospect of private banks dictating terms to a public university: an eerie echo of Gary Shteyngarts 2010 novel Super Sad True Love Story, which imagined a character studying art & finance at HSBC-Goldsmiths.
The possibility of an alliance of cost-cutting senior management and finance capital has provoked a heartening response from a militant union branch and a politicised student body: 86% of Goldsmiths UCU members, on a 70% turnout, voted to strike. The three-week period of industrial action has featured a varied programme of teach-outs run jointly by students and staff, a march on local branches of Lloyds and NatWest, and a huge solidarity rally addressed by former shadow chancellor John McDonnell.
Unless marketisation can be resisted at a national level, the situation at Goldsmiths in which funding volatility linked to the 2010 reforms has allowed banks to exert influence will become much more common. These are two struggles we have to win.
Jacob Mukherjee is a lecturer in media, communications and cultural studies, and co-secretary of Goldsmiths UCU
Posted: at 11:38 am
These impenetrable supermajorities serve a purpose beyond simple partisan advantage. The belief that Trump actually won the 2020 election is backed by the belief that elections are less about persuasion and more about rigging the process and controlling the ballots. And in the swing states that Trump lost, his strongest allies have pushed the radical idea that state legislatures have plenary authority over presidential elections even after voters have cast their ballots. Trump may lose the vote in Arizona, but under this theory, the Legislature could still give him the states electoral votes, provided there is some pretext (like voter fraud, for example). What this would mean, in practice, is that these legislatures could simply hand their states electoral votes to Trump even if he were defeated at the ballot box.
Its with this in mind that we should look to Wisconsin, where Republicans are fighting to seize control of federal elections in the state now that theyve gerrymandered themselves into an almost permanent legislative majority. (The Wisconsin Republican Party, along with the one in North Carolina, has been at the vanguard of the authoritarian turn in the national party.)
Last month, Senator Ron Johnson said that lawmakers in his state could take control of federal elections even if Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, stood in opposition. The State Legislature has to reassert its constitutional role, assert its constitutional responsibility, to set the times, place and manner of the election, not continue to outsource it through the Wisconsin Elections Commission, Johnson said, in reference to the bipartisan commission Republicans had established to manage elections. The Constitution never mentions a governor.
And of course, Trump is taking an active role in all of this. From his perch in Mar-a-Lago, he has endorsed candidates for state legislative elections in Michigan with the clear hope that they would help him subvert the election, should he run as the Republican nominee for president in 2024. Michigan needs a new legislature, Trump wrote last month in one such endorsement. The cowards there now are too spineless to investigate Election Fraud.
Increasingly untethered from any commitment to electoral democracy, large and influential parts of the Republican Party are working to put Trump back in power by any means necessary. Republicans could win without these tactics they did so in Virginia last month but theres no reason to think that the party will pull itself off this road.
Every incentive driving the Republican Party, from Fox News to the former president, points away from sober engagement with the realities of American politics and toward the outrageous, the antisocial and the authoritarian.
None of this is happening behind closed doors. We are headed for a crisis of some sort. When it comes, we can be shocked that it is actually happening, but we shouldnt be surprised.
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Posted: at 11:38 am
Dec 4th 2021
The War of Jenkins Ear. By Robert Gaudi. Pegasus Books; 408 pages; $29.95 and 22
IT SOUNDS MORE like a bad visit to the otolaryngologist than an important conflict between empires. The incident that gave the War of Jenkins Ear its name occurred in 1731, when a Spanish coastguard commander mutilated the captain of a British privateer suspected of smuggling in the Caribbean. Jenkins severed appendage was preserved in a bottle and presented to King George II of Britain as proof of Spanish barbarity. The ensuing conflict lasted from 1739 to 1742.
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Yet as Robert Gaudi writes in his new history, the wars causes went beyond a single outrage. Tension had simmered over a dispute about fees for Britains contract to provide slaves to the Spanish colonies. British ships ran contraband to and from the West Indies in defiance of bilateral agreements. And then there was the strange case of the Italian castrato opera star, whom King Felipe V of Spain whisked from London and made his personal divo in Madrid. One journal summed up the sentiment in Britain: What are the taking of a few Ships, and the cutting off the Ears of the Masters of our Merchantmen, to the loss of our dear, dear Farinello?
The war proved disastrous for Britain. It assembled an armada and intended to invade the Spanish ports at Cartagena (now in Colombia), and Santiago, Cuba. The Cartagena operation was a fiasco, bogged down by tropical weather, mosquito-borne disease and indecisive leadership. Bad planning and squabbling commanders meant that the Santiago campaign was over before it could even begin. Spain suffered defeats of its own, failing to take Georgia in the North American colonies. Led by James Oglethorpe, the British joined Native Americans and used ambushes to repel the larger Spanish force.
Among the engagements at sea was an action at Porto Bello, Panama, which yielded one of Britains few victories. Mr Gaudi, though, is less interested in the detailed narration of naval fracases than in sketching some of the vivid characters who fought them. The British succeeded at Porto Bello largely because of Admiral Edward Vernon, boisterous and bellicose, who became an instant national hero. (The song Rule, Britannia! was written in the afterglow of his achievement.) On the Spanish side was the pugnacious Don Blas, famous after an earlier incident in which, when he was only 15, his leg was amputated in the heat of battle.
Why does this forgotten war matter now? For two reasons, suggests Mr Gaudi. First, a different result could have changed the fate of North America. Had the Spanish invasion of Georgia succeeded, he speculates, Spain and not Britain might have become the dominant imperial force on the continent. Second, the war nurtured the resentment of Britain that ultimately led to the American revolution. The British recruited 3,000 Americans to fight in the Cartagena campaign, but held them back from the vanguard out of mistrust and fear of desertion.
The most heroic moment in the war came at the end, and softened the sting of Britains dismal showing. In an effort to attack Spanish possessions from the west, Britain had sent a fleet across the Pacific in 1740. Of the 1,600 men who set out, only 188 survived. But the flagship, Centurion, engaged and captured one of the fabled Manila galleons near the Philippines in June 1743. The prize was said to be so loaded with gold and gems that it took 32 wagons to unload it on the docks of London. That was some consolation for the king.
This article appeared in the Books & arts section of the print edition under the headline "Message in a bottle"
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