It’s not easy being independent.

It’s been three years since I said goodbye to a steady paycheck and joined the nervous but optimistic ranks of the self-employed.

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This isn’t your father’s IBM. Your father’s IBM used to make calculating machines and computers, mostly in New York State, and export them all over the world. This generation’s IBM describes itself as a $100-billion worldwide business that seeks to structure big data for the world, to teach customers about cloud computing, and to connect effectively to social business through peripheral devices.

Buying components from other manufacturers, the new IBM makes fewer and fewer machines itself. Instead, IBM provides business services for a digital world.

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Paul Harrington, the director for the Center of Labor Markets and Policy at Drexel University, was the keynote speaker at a discussion on the state of the Hudson Valley economy last Tuesday at the SUNY New Paltz Student Union. He provided a thorough analysis of the ups and downs of the regional labor market during the recent harsh recession and slow recovery.

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The overarching premise for this plan is a belief that Advanced Primary Care (APC), defined as an augmented patient-centered medical home (PCMH) that provides patients with timely, well-organized and integrated care and enhanced access to teams of providers, is the foundation for a high-performing health system.
— New York State Health Innovation Plan, December 2013

There’s nothing equivocal about the direction of New York State’s healthcare planning. Its performance goals and the time frames for achieving them are blunt and specific: This is what we’re going to do year by year for the next five years and these are what the measurable results will be.

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caduceus pairs

Turning a cruise ship around in a narrow channel is child’s play compared to what’s involved in changing a national healthcare system. Forget that millions of lives are involved in profound organizational change as compared to the matter of a few thousand paltry souls on a pleasure ship. In a systemic turnaround of an entire sector of the economy, the considerations that must be taken into account are infinitely more complex as well as more important. In addition, there’s the politics: the fact that the captain, the crew, the passengers and the owners all seem determined to steer this particular vessel in different directions probably doesn’t help.

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Construction Money

“Construction’s the biggest sector in the economy,” proclaimed one of the three members of the governance committee of the Ulster County Industrial Development Agency last Friday afternoon at the county office building in Kingston.

The other two members of the committee didn’t comment. Neither did either of the two county employees who administer the IDA.

The statement, which is demonstrably incorrect, reminded me of the old days when backbench Ulster County legislators would routinely get up and remind their colleagues that agriculture was the biggest and most important sector of the Ulster County economy. Nobody would contradict them, either.

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two heads better than one

Eighteen months ago, Ulster County executive Mike Hein announced that up to 250 new jobs would be created by a firm called SourceHOV in the Town of Ulster. The company would process state paper personal tax returns and remittances. Hein’s statement gave credit where he said it was due: “It was a county tax decrease, great workforce and available location that tipped the balance in this decision.”
“We were told earlier this week that they will be pulling out in August,” said one worker on May 8 of this year, 18 months later. The person is not being identified by name because he or she signed a state non-disclosure agreement. Another worker on the same shift confirmed the notification.
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