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West Florissant, Mo. Explodes in Protest of Police Shooting, More Than 30 Arrests

West Florissant, Mo. Explodes in Protest of Police Shooting, More Than 30 Arrests

Special to the NNPA from the St. Louis American

The Target parking lot of the Buzz Westfall Shopping Center was filled with dozens and dozens of police vehicles and the area of West Florissant from Jennings to Ferguson was blocked off. Helicopters and tanks –as well as vehicles from a host of area departments – descended on West Florissant as looting and vandalism…

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Suppress Voting, Impeach Obama and Close HBCUs

Suppress Voting, Impeach Obama and Close HBCUs

By Peter Grear

Our campaign has sought to educate our communities to the point that they would organize and mobilize for a massive voter turnout for the November General Election and beyond. 

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Risky Situations Increase Women’s Anxiety, Hurt Their Performance Compared to Men

Risky Situations Increase Women’s Anxiety, Hurt Their Performance Compared to Men

Study author Susan R. Fisk

“On the surface, risky situations may not appear to be particularly disadvantageous to women, but these findings suggest otherwise,” 

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Voter Suppression: An Existential Threat to Democracy

Voter Suppression: An Existential Threat to Democracy

By Peter Grear

To properly understand where we are today, we must look to history, to Black Slavery.  Slavery has existed since the time of ancient civilizations and in its inception was based upon conquerors enslaving the conquered without regards to race.  

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Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson Installed as International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated

Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson Installed as International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated

Charlotte, NC (BlackPR.com)

Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a business executive, was installed as the 2014-2018 International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (AKA)

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Nielsen Expands Communications Leadership Team with Key Media Relations Hire

Nielsen Expands Communications Leadership Team with Key Media Relations Hire

New York (BlackPR.com)

New York (BlackPR.com) -- Nielsen today announced that Andrew McCaskill has joined Nielsen as Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications. He will report to Chief Communications Officer Laura Nelson.

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Voter Suppression: It’s Mobilization Time

Voter Suppression: It’s Mobilization Time

Written by Peter Grear

With this article we will start detailing the ingredients of a revisable action plan that needs comments and revisions as we move toward the Tuesday, November 4, 2014 General Election.  

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Voter Suppression: NC Black Republican Advisory Board

Voter Suppression: NC Black Republican Advisory Board

Written by Peter Grear

Educate, Organize and Mobilize: I confess that I’m amazed. The Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of North Carolina announced last week that they have launched theNorth Carolina Black Advisory Board (BRAB) 

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Why Public Contracts Follow Different Rules than Private Contracts

Written by Featured Organization on 23 October 2009.

Have you ever wondered why government agencies engage in costly and inefficient public contracts? Political economist Pablo Spiller found that a fundamental difference between public and private contracting is the potential scrutiny of public contracts by opportunistic third parties. Understanding the risk associated with this scrutiny, according to Spiller’s latest research, is the first step toward improved regulation, efficiency, and reduced costs.

 

Spiller is the Jeffrey A. Jacobs Distinguished Professor of Business and Technology at the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business. His research focuses on institutional analysis, regulatory issues, and the political economy. Spiller belongs to a group of Haas School faculty experts renowned for their research in organizational economics that includes Nobel Laureate Oliver Williamson, David Teece, Steven Tadelis, and Rui de Figueiredo.

Consider this basic example. The government plans to buy new computers. Despite a variety of choices in quality and price, the government selects a model that fits its specifications, but is not the best quality for the price. “It’s not because of collusion against the government, but because the government cannot easily enter into long-term, exclusive contracts that may be called favoritism,” explains Spiller.

The findings in Spiller’s paper, “An Institutional Theory of Public Contracts: Regulatory Implications,” incorporate the outcomes of more than 50 contractual conflicts between governments and contractors that occurred over the past 20 years. Many of the conflicts occurred when the government attempted to either adhere strictly to the terms of the contract in reaction to an unexpected event or unilaterally change the terms of the contract. Private party conflicts arising from similar unexpected events tend to be resolved through negotiation and adaptation within the existing contract. In such cases, Spiller notes, formal “re-contracting” is the exception more than the norm. Spiller differentiates between “third-party opportunism” and “government opportunism” as two basic kinds of conflicts that lock public agencies into rigid and potentially costly contracts.

Governmental opportunism involves unilateral changes in the rules of the contractual game when political or economic conditions change. An example is the privatization of public utilities in Argentina in the 1990s and their subsequent reversals. In 2002 the country faced a large-scale devaluation that would trigger automatic price increases of public utility services. In response, Argentina changed the implementation of the privatized utilities’ concession contracts, forcing many into default.

Third-party opportunism, on the other hand, involves interested third parties who may benefit politically from exposing a hint of corruption in a public agent’s actions. Spiller says it is often difficult to separate complex implementation from corrupt implementation, and that is when the potential for third party opportunism occurs. “Complex implementation is required in flexible contract adaptation between private contracting parties,” explains Spiller. “Corrupt implementation is when a public agent adapts a contract to benefit the contracting part. “

The possibility of third-party opportunism, in turn, creates incentives for public agents and their contractors to develop more specific and inflexible contracts in the first place. “These contracts are likely to demand more rigid procedural processes, including formal procedures for renegotiation,” says Spiller.

Third-party opportunism thrives, says Spiller, where some political contestability and fragmentation exists. Climates ripe with political instability breed governmental opportunism. “In the middle, between stable centralized party control and rampant instability, is where most of the world democracies fall.”

Spiller concludes the propensity for third-party opportunism limits attempts to compare the productivity and performance of public procurement contracts with contracts between private organizations. Instead, he says, governments seeking to improve their contractual relationships would benefit by studying comparable bureaucracies, such as neighboring states.

“Third-party supervision, however, is also fundamental in a democratic society,” writes Spiller, “Here in the United States, we can’t complain about seemingly inefficient public contracts. It’s the price of civil society.” Spiller, however, suggests remedies may be reached through regulation and reviewing the use of incentives.

Watch Prof. Spiller discuss his research on video: http://www2.haas.berkeley.edu/Videos/Research%20Videos.aspx

The full paper is available at http://www.nber.org/papers/w14152.

Haas Research Intelligence features the latest research news from Berkeley-Haas faculty: http://www2.haas.berkeley.edu/News/Research%20News.aspx

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