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Showing posts from January, 2015

Music Spotlight Tuesday: Andrae Crouch & The Disciples- Soulfully

This week's spotlight is in loving memory of Andrae Crouch who passed on January 8. I would like to focus on his 1972 album Soulfully. A title rightly given to an album that is indeed, soulful.

The project begins with "Everything Changed." Led by Mr. Crouch himself, this song about how Christ can come in to one's heart and transform a life.
"My world was empty before Christ came into my life. My days were lonely and dark before He came and brought the light. Just like a song wanting to be sung, but there was no melody. I never thought there could be happiness in this world for me. But everything changed when Christ stepped into my life."

"Everything Changed" is followed by "He Proved His Love to Me," and "Oh I Need Him." Together, these songs project Crouch's form of melodic testimony: the brassy, thumping, bass-driven, tambourine-shaking, soulful sound of the 70's supporting Crouch's lyrics of testimony.


The Economy by an MIT Professor

Professor Simon Johnson testified to the House Ways and Means Committee on January 13th.

Of all the other economists, Mr. Johnson, Professor of Global Economics and Management at MIT, gave an illustrious description of the US economy and growth potential in his brief introductory remarks.

Paraphrasing, I would like to share some of his opening statement:

We are rebounding from the worst global financial crisis since the 1930's. The US has effectively utilized discretionary fiscal policy. As a result, the deficit is down and the national debt is manageable enough to avoid another crisis.

The US' problem is a lack of consensus over the use of fiscal policy resulting in confrontations about the debt ceiling and the various issues that triggered the government shutdown. These are destabilizing to financial markets. They create a high degree of uncertainty and they damage the economies of our trading partners.

In our attempt to recover, we passed the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial refo…

3 Reasons You Should Attend City Council/County Commission Meetings

The title says it all:

Learn what's happening in your community. Meetings of your local governing body are where important decisions are made. They are where your elected officials decide on your community's future. A number of matters are openly discussed: taxes, fire, police, infrastructure, economic development, finance and host of other issues . Matters you should be aware of. Matters that impact your community.Voice your opinion. As a taxpayer and citizen, your voice matters. Council or Commission meetings (depending on where you live) offer citizens the opportunity to speak. Each meeting has a public input period. Speak. If there is a piece of legislation, a local matter that concerns you, or you simply want input on a issue being decided, public meetings offer you the chance to speak. And if you feel compelled enough, you should. Meet other concerned citizens. Most people do not attend public meetings. Typically, only the most concerned or those who simply can attend, at…

Coaching Economic Development

Athletes, former athletes, and sports fans know unconsciously and involuntary we compare everything to sports.

That is where sports and economic development meet in this comparative way.

Happening right now in the college football world, schools and coaches are on a non-stop chase to visit recruits and prospective commits before the "dead period" arrives on January 31. Whenever allowed, college football coaches are always on the road visiting recruits. They visit their schools, drop by their homes, send them mail, call them, text them, tweet to them. It is a relentless pursuit to secure top-notch talent. Simultaneously, coaches have to make sure their existing players are properly developing and improving. They cannot forsake their duties to players already on the team for the sake of landing new recruits.

Economic development is similar. Like coaches, economic developers hit the recruiting trail showing prospects (potential businesses and investors) the possibilities of &qu…

Mercedes to Atlanta

The year has just begun and this looks like a top story for economic developers, planners, college students, and public officials to study closely.
Mercedes-Benz is moving its US headquarters out of New Jersey and to Atlanta. Mercedes-Benz is expected to relocate or create 800 to 1,000 jobs in the region.
Stephen Cannon, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA shared some of the reasons behind the move. They are: Connectivity- Mercedes will likely relocate along the GA 400 corridor, perhaps the most enterprising area in Atlanta and the metro areaWorkforce- Atlanta's large number of "Gen Y" workers and technology talentQuality of Life- "It gave us the most balance and diversity we can find." On December 23, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his Economic Development head met with Cannon and simply asked "What's it going to take?'" 
Cannon replied "Look, this isn't about us trying to chase the biggest pile of incentives, because that …

Music Spotlight Tuesday: Jackie Hill Perry- The Art of Joy

The Art of Joy is rapper Jackie Hill Perry's debut album on Humble Beast Records. Its release date was November 4, 2014.
The album hits from the very beginning. Track 1, "The Argument" sets the tone for the entire album. You really have to listen to her every word because Perry's lyricism is witty, metaphorical, and articulate. Every bar is loaded with deep-cutting truth and relevant metaphors.
The album takes off from there! Each track complements the other. And, when played in order, they all augment each other which ultimately builds to the title track "The Art of Joy." 
For me to begin recommending songs would not do the entire work justice. But, I will state that "Get There" is my favorite. If you have a pre-game, pre-workout, pre-anything playlist, you will want to add this! It is all about improvement in life and improvement in Christ.
As a pianist, I have to give props to the producers, Beautiful Eulogy and Daniel Steele, along with Perry&…

The Streetcar

Last Tuesday the Atlanta Streetcar made its debut. It comes as great news for the City of Atlanta and the metro region.

Atlanta is growing in its desirability for millennials, technology companies, and tourism- all major economic engines.

Millenials, my generation, value connectivity and urbanism over long hours in traffic and the disconnectedness characterized by the suburbs.

Atlanta, like many large cities, is seeing an uptick in millenial population growth. A trend that will likely continue.

Here are few of the benefits of the Streetcar:

Improved above-ground infrastructureInner-city transportationMore economic activity targeted towards downtownGreater attraction for tourismIncreased quality of lifeFriendlier sentiments toward MARTA and metro public transportationGreater economic competitivenessMore attractiveness for a young workforce and businesses Speaking of Atlanta, I am thrilled to see the Atlanta Hawks topped ESPN's NBA Power Rankings
And lastly, speaking of ESPN, I am …