Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Factors Affecting Former Residents' Returning to Rural Communities

This study reports on reasons for returning and not returning to small-town America and the impacts that return migrants make on their home communities. Interviews at high school reunions show that return migrants are primarily motivated by family considerations. They use skills and experiences acquired elsewhere to start businesses and fill leadership positions.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Sources of Increasing Differential Mortality Among the Aged by Socioeconomic Status

This paper uses data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to explore the extent and causes of widening differences in life expectancy by socioeconomic status (SES) for older persons. We construct alternative measures of SES using educational attainment and average (career) earnings in the prime working ages of 41-50. We also use information on causes of death, health status and various behavioral indicators (smoking, drinking, and obesity) that are believed to be predictors of premature death in an effort to explain the causes of the growing disparities in life expectancy between people of high and low SES.

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Racial/Ethnic Differences in Mental Health Service Use among Adults

Reports estimates of mental health service utilization among adults in the U.S. within different racial/ethnic groups. Highlights include past year utilization, prescription psychiatric medication use, outpatient and inpatient mental health service, and more.
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

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New Report: Women’s Role in U.S. Media: Still Dismal? Getting Stronger?

The report is based on new and original research that finds that the media landscape is still dominated by male voices and male perspectives. Taken together, the 49 studies are a snapshot of women in media platforms as diverse as news, literature, broadcast, film, television, radio, online, tech, gaming, and social media.
Source: Women's Media Center
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The Income-Achievement Gap and Adult Outcome Inequality

This paper discusses various methods for assessing group differences in academic achievement using only the ordinal content of achievement test scores. Researchers and policymakers frequently draw conclusions about achievement differences between various populations using methods that rely on the cardinal comparability of test scores. This paper shows that such methods can lead to erroneous conclusions in an important application: measuring changes over time in the achievement gap between youth from high- and low-income households. Commonly-employed, cardinal methods suggest that this “income-achievement gap” did not change between the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth (NLSY) 1979 and 1997 surveys. In contrast, ordinal methods show that this gap narrowed substantially for reading achievement and may have narrowed for math achievement as well. In fact, any weighting scheme that places more value on higher test scores must conclude that the reading income-achievement gap decreased between these two surveys. The situation for math achievement is more complex, but low-income students in the middle and high deciles of the low-income math achievement distribution unambiguously gained relative to their high-income peers. Furthermore, an anchoring exercise suggests that the narrowing of the income-achievement gap corresponds to an economically significant convergence in lifetime labor wealth and school completion rates for youth from high- and low-income backgrounds.
Source: Federal Reserve Board

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“They’re blowing up my phone”: Group Messaging Practices Among Adolescents

While group messaging has become popular, particularly among adolescents, it has not yet been explored in the HCI literature. We interviewed 48 adolescents, aged 15-24, who use group messaging regularly. We present a framework for understanding the types of groups they communicate with according to three dimensions: focus, membership, and duration. We also present findings about factors influencing their choice of group messaging tools and the problems they have managing multiple group threads using multiple tools. We explore the problem of notification overload and users’ strategies for managing frequent notifications. We describe one approach of “social alerting, ” when group members notify one another directly, rather than rely on app notifications. We relate our findings to prior work and offer design suggestions to address the challenges our participants faced in managing frequent group notifications.
Source: Microsoft Research

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Exploring the Economic & Employment Challenges Facing U.S. Veterans

From the Executive Summary
Working with our partners University of Southern California’s Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families, we have identified several important themes in this research that will guide our programs for vulnerable veterans in the future:
  • The need for “civilian basic training” that helps veterans transition to post-military life and workplaces
  • Benefits of veteran peer programs
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) remains a leading predictor of veteran unemployment.
  • Employment programs should help all veterans, including those with other than honorable discharges and involvement in the justice system

Source:Volunteers of America

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How Rich Will China Become?

China’s impressive economic growth since the 1980s raises the question of how much richer it will become over future decades. Its growing share of the world economy affects other national economies. Understanding the future course of the Chinese economy is therefore important for both fiscal and monetary policymaking in the United States and elsewhere.

Using fundamental growth theory, data from China and from Korea and Japan’s similar “miracle” growth experiences, we provide a suggestive calculation for China’s future per capita income. Our ballpark estimate is that China’s per capita income relative to that of the United States will grow by a factor of two to three over the next half-century.
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

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National Healthcare Quality & Disparities Report

Each year since 2003, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has produced the National Healthcare Quality Report and the National Healthcare Disparities Report. These reports to Congress are mandated in the Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-129). Beginning with the 2014 reports, findings on health care quality and health care disparities are integrated into a single document. The new National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report (QDR) highlights the importance of examining quality and disparities together to gain a complete picture of health care. The QDR provides a comprehensive overview of the quality of health care received by the general U.S. population and disparities in care experienced by different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. The report is based on more than 250 measures of quality and disparities covering a broad array of health care services and settings.
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

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Thursday, July 09, 2015

Legal Responses to Health Emergencies

This report contains discussions of the regulations addressing health emergencies in 25 jurisdictions, including countries from six continents, the European Union, and the World Health Organization. All surveys included in this report review government structures tasked with delivering public health protection, relevant legislative frameworks for addressing health emergencies, and the powers of government institutions in times of health crises and their ability to mitigate the consequences of such crises. Analyses of the regulation of such issues as disease surveillance and notification systems are also provided.
Source: Law Library of Congress

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Cognitive Aging: Progress in Understanding and Opportunities for Action (2015)

Cognitive Aging assesses the public health dimensions of cognitive aging with an emphasis on definitions and terminology, epidemiology and surveillance, prevention and intervention, education of health professionals, and public awareness and education. This report makes specific recommendations for individuals to reduce the risks of cognitive decline with aging. Aging is inevitable, but there are actions that can be taken by individuals, families, communities, and society that may help to prevent or ameliorate the impact of aging on the brain, understand more about its impact, and help older adults live more fully and independent lives. Cognitive aging is not just an individual or a family or a health care system challenge. It is an issue that affects the fabric of society and requires actions by many and varied stakeholders. Cognitive Aging offers clear steps that individuals, families, communities, health care providers and systems, financial organizations, community groups, public health agencies, and others can take to promote cognitive health and to help older adults live fuller and more independent lives. Ultimately, this report calls for a societal commitment to cognitive aging as a public health issue that requires prompt action across many sectors.
Source: Institute of Medicine via National Academies Press

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From Warriors to Guardians: Recommitting American Police Culture to Democratic Ideals

In this paper, the authors advocate for a recommitment to democratic ideals within law enforcement to combat the culture and mindset that officers are warriors at war with the people they are sworn to protect. While most law enforcement leaders recognize that creating stronger human connections and community engagement will lead to improved public safety and more effective crime fighting, law enforcement agencies lack a commitment to increasing community trust.
Source: National Insitute of Justice

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The Poor Get Prison: The Alarming Spread of the Criminalization of Poverty

Poor people, especially people of color, face a far greater risk of being fined, arrested, and even incarcerated for minor offenses than other Americans. A broken taillight, an unpaid parking ticket, a minor drug offense, sitting on a sidewalk, or sleeping in a park can all result in jail time. In this report, we seek to understand the multi-faceted, growing phenomenon of the “criminalization of poverty.”

In many ways, this phenomenon is not new: The introduction of public assistance programs gave rise to prejudices against beneficiaries and to systemic efforts to obstruct access to the assistance.
This form of criminalizing poverty — racial profiling or the targeting of poor black and Latina single mothers trying to access public assistance — is a relatively familiar reality. Less well-known known are the new and growing trends which increase this criminalization of being poor that affect or will affect hundreds of millions of Americans. These troubling trends are eliminating their chances to get out of poverty and access resources that make a safe and decent life possible.

In this report we will summarize these realities, filling out the true breadth and depth of this national crisis.
Source: Institute for Policy Studies

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Political Realism: How Hacks, Machines, Big Money, and Back-Room Deals Can Strengthen American Democracy

Political Realism: How Hacks, Machines, Big Money, and Back-Room Deals Can Strengthen American Democracy” builds on political realism, an emerging school of thought that is characterized by respect for transactional politics and by skepticism toward idealistic political reforms. In our era of intense polarization and gridlock, Jonathan Rauch asks: How can political home truths – truths our grandparents took for granted – help modern politicians negotiate, compromise, and govern?
Source: Brookings Institution

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The Rise of Partisanship and Super-Cooperators in the U.S. House of Representatives

It is widely reported that partisanship in the United States Congress is at an historic high. Given that individuals are persuaded to follow party lines while having the opportunity and incentives to collaborate with members of the opposite party, our goal is to measure the extent to which legislators tend to form ideological relationships with members of the opposite party. We quantify the level of cooperation, or lack thereof, between Democrat and Republican Party members in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1949–2012. We define a network of over 5 million pairs of representatives, and compare the mutual agreement rates on legislative decisions between two distinct types of pairs: those from the same party and those formed of members from different parties. We find that despite short-term fluctuations, partisanship or non-cooperation in the U.S. Congress has been increasing exponentially for over 60 years with no sign of abating or reversing. Yet, a group of representatives continue to cooperate across party lines despite growing partisanship.
Source: PLoSOne

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How Fox News Changed American Media and Political Dynamics

The creation of Fox News in 1996 was an event of deep, yet unappreciated, political and historical importance. For the first time, there was a news source available virtually everywhere in the United States, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with a conservative tilt. Finally, conservatives did not have to seek out bits of news favorable to their point of view in liberal publications or in small magazines and newsletters. Like someone dying of thirst in the desert, conservatives drank heavily from the Fox waters. Soon, it became the dominant – and in many cases, virtually the only – major news source for millions of Americans. This has had profound political implications that are only starting to be appreciated. Indeed, it can almost be called self-brainwashing – many conservatives now refuse to even listen to any news or opinion not vetted through Fox, and to believe whatever appears on it as the gospel truth.
Source: Social Science Research Network

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Librarians Vs. The Patriot Act

Can't help laughing at what the FBI thought librarians were up to...
Once called the "library provision," Section 215 of the Patriot Act forced libraries to become headliners in the battle waged to protect American freedoms. Producer Karen Duffin tells the origin story of the clash that began over a decade ago.
Source: "On the Media"

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A Matter of Equity: Preschool in America

While both states and the federal government invest in early learning, these efforts have fallen short of what is needed to ensure that all children can access a high-quality early education that will prepare them for success. 
Significant new investments in high-quality early education are necessary to help states, local communities, and parents close the readiness gap that exists between disadvantaged children and their more advantaged peers.
Source: U.S. Department of Education

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Strengthening Trust Between Police and the Public in an Era of Increasing Transparency

Events in recent months have focused national attention on profound fractures in trust between some police departments and the communities they are charged with protecting. Though the potential for such fractures is always present given the role of police in society, building and maintaining trust between police and the public is critical for the health of American democracy. However, in an era when information technology has the potential to greatly increase transparency of police activities in a variety of ways, building and maintaining trust is challenging. Doing so likely requires steps taken by both police organizations and the public to build understanding and relationships that can sustain trust through tragic incidents that can occur in the course of policing — whether it is a citizen's or officer's life that is lost. This paper draws on the deep literature on legitimacy, procedural justice, and trust to frame three core questions that must be addressed to build and maintain mutual trust between police and the public: (1) What is the police department doing and why? (2) What are the results of the department's actions? and (3) What mechanisms are in place to discover and respond to problems from the officer to the department level? Answering these questions ensures that both the public and police have mutual understanding and expectations about the goals and tactics of policing, their side effects, and the procedures to address problems fairly and effectively, maintaining confidence over time.
Souce: RAND Corporation

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The Processing and Treatment of Mentally Ill Persons in the Criminal Justice System: A Scan of Practice and Background Analysis

Mentally ill offenders possess a unique set of circumstances and needs. However, all too often, they cycle through the criminal justice system without appropriate care to address their mental health. Their recurring involvement in the criminal justice system is a pressing concern. This report provides a national landscape on the processing and treatment of mentally ill individuals in the criminal justice system. It also highlights challenges involved in the reintegration of mentally ill offenders into society, the diversity of policies and protocols in state statutes to address such challenges, and promising criminal justice interventions for mentally ill offenders.
Source: Urban Institute

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Global Publics Back U.S. on Fighting ISIS, but Are Critical of Post-9/11 Torture

The rise of ISIS has generated strong concerns in nations around the world, and a new Pew Research Center survey finds broad global support for American military efforts against the terrorist group. And unlike the Iraq War a decade ago, the current U.S. air campaign in Iraq and Syria is backed by majorities in America’s European allies and endorsed by publics in key Middle Eastern nations.

Source: Pew Research Center

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Raising Lower-Level Wages: When and Why It Makes Economic Sense

As the United States emerges from the Great Recession, concern is rising nationally over the issues of income inequality, stagnation of workers’ wages, and especially the struggles of lower-skilled workers at the -bottom end of the wage scale. While Washington deliberates legislation raising the minimum wage, a number of major American employers—for example, Aetna and Walmart—have begun to voluntarily raise the pay of their own lowest-paid employees.

In this collection of essays, economists from the Peterson Institute for International Economics analyze the potential benefits and costs of widespread wage increases, if adopted by a range of US private employers. They make this assessment for the workers, the companies, and for the US economy as a whole, including such an initiative’s effects on national competitiveness. These economists conclude that raising the pay of many of the lowest-paid US private-sector workers would not only reduce income inequality but also boost overall productivity growth, with likely minimal effect on employment in the current financial context. 
Source: Peterson Institute of International Economics

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EFF Report Charts Companies on Next Frontier of User Privacy — Annual Survey Delves Deeper into Practices of Apple, Google, Twitter, and More

Our digital lives are leaving data trails through social networking sites, email providers, Internet service providers, and mobile apps. But which companies fight the hardest to protect their customers from government data grabs of this sensitive information? Today, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released its fifth annual “Who Has Your Back” report, charting tech companies’ commitment to the next frontier of user privacy.

“Who Has Your Back” evaluates 24 companies, awarding up to five stars in categories like “tell users about government data requests” and “publicly disclose the company’s data retention policies.” Nine companies earned stars in every category available to them: Adobe, Apple, CREDO, Dropbox, Sonic, Wickr, Wikimedia,, and Yahoo. 

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation

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The Behavioral Economics Guide 2015

Introduction by Dan Ariely
Part 1 – Editorial
  • Behavioral Science: Theory and Practice
  • Selected Behavioral Economics Concepts
Part 2 – Resources
  • TED Talks on Behavioral Science
  • Scholarly Journals with Behavioral Economics Content
  • Postgraduate Programs in Behavioral Economics and
    Behavioral/Decision Science
  • Other Resources
Part 3 – Applied Perspectives
Behavioral Science in Practice
Appendix – Author and Contributing Organization Profiles

Measuring Think Tank Performance: Updated with 2014 Data

In 2013, our CGD colleagues Julia Clark and David Roodman designed a low-cost quantitative approach to ranking think tank performance. We applied their methodology in early 2015 to produce an updated ranking of US and international development think tanks on the basis of 2014 data. The rankings aim to provide a transparent and objective method of assessing the influence of select think tanks. We use citations in traditional and new media as well as academe to evaluate think tanks’ ability to garner public attention. Thus, the rankings are best understood as an indicator of public profile. While policy impact is hard if not impossible to measure, the strength of a think tank’s public profile is likely to be a good marker of its influence and potential for impact: ideas need to be noticed to be adopted (Clark and Roodman, 2013). Our methodology helps reduce the biases inherent in expert-perception based rankings and provides think tanks with clear strategies based on concrete metrics to improve their performance. In addition, by incorporating the size of a think tank, in terms of operating expenses, our rankings benefit from an added efficiency (‘bang-for-your-buck’) dimension that other approaches lack. The comparison of rankings between 2013 and now indicates considerable continuity of the measured public profile over time, with only moderate changes in aggregate rankings; although there is more variability in individual indicators. 

Source: Center for Global Development

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Identifying Technology and Other Needs to More Effectively Acquire and Utilize Digital Evidence

This report describes the results of a National Institute of Justice (NIJ)-sponsored research effort to identify and prioritize criminal justice needs related to digital evidence collection, management, analysis, and use. With digital devices becoming ubiquitous, digital evidence is increasingly important to the investigation and prosecution of many types of crimes. These devices often contain information about crimes committed, movement of suspects, and criminal associates. However, there are significant challenges to successfully using digital evidence in prosecutions, including inexperience of patrol officers and detectives in preserving and collecting digital evidence, lack of familiarity with digital evidence on the part of court officials, and an overwhelming volume of work for digital evidence examiners. Through structured interaction with police digital forensic experts, prosecuting attorneys, a privacy advocate, and industry representatives, the effort identified and prioritized specific needs to improve utilization of digital evidence in criminal justice. Several top-tier needs emerged from the analysis, including education of prosecutors and judges regarding digital evidence opportunities and challenges; training for patrol officers and investigators to promote better collection and preservation of digital evidence; tools for detectives to triage analysis of digital evidence in the field; development of regional models to make digital evidence analysis capability available to small departments; and training to address concerns about maintaining the currency of training and technology available to digital forensic examiners.
Source: RAND Corporation

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Early Childhood Education by MOOC: Lessons From Sesame Street

Sesame Street is one of the largest early childhood interventions ever to take place. It was introduced in 1969 as an educational, early childhood program with the explicit goal of preparing preschool age children for school entry. Millions of children watched a typical episode in its early years. Well-designed studies at its inception provided evidence that watching the show generated an immediate and sizeable increase in test scores. In this paper we investigate whether the first cohorts of preschool children exposed to Sesame Street experienced improved outcomes subsequently. We implement an instrumental variables strategy exploiting limitations in television technology generated by distance to a broadcast tower and UHF versus VHF transmission to distinguish counties by Sesame Street reception quality. We relate this geographic variation to outcomes in Census data including grade-for-age status in 1980, educational attainment in 1990, and labor market outcomes in 2000. The results indicate that Sesame Street accomplished its goal of improving school readiness; preschool-aged children in areas with better reception when it was introduced were more likely to advance through school as appropriate for their age. This effect is particularly pronounced for boys and non-Hispanic, black children, as well as children living in economically disadvantaged areas. The evidence regarding the impact on ultimate educational attainment and labor market outcomes is inconclusive.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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Orphan Works and Mass Digitization: A Report of the Register of Copyrights

The Copyright Office is reviewing the problem of orphan works under U.S. copyright law in continuation of its previous work on the subject and to advise Congress on possible next steps for the United States. The Office has long shared the concern with many in the copyright community that the uncertainty surrounding the ownership status of orphan works does not serve the objectives of the copyright system. For good faith users, orphan works are a frustration, a liability risk, and a major cause of gridlock in the digital marketplace. The issue is not contained to the United States. Indeed, a number of foreign governments have recently adopted or proposed solutions.
Source: U.S. Copyright Office

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Agencies Release Guide on LGBT Discrimination Protections for Federal Workers

From the Press Release:
...four Federal Government agencies with roles in ensuring fairness in the federal workplace released a guide on the rights and processes available to applicants and employees who allege sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination. The guide is being reissued after more than a decade and has been substantially revised to reflect major developments in the law.

The guide provides federal workers with a description of employee rights and agency responsibilities under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, and other agency and union procedures. It also offers a comparison table showing differences between procedures available at the EEOC and OSC. The goal of the publication is to assist LGBT employees make more informed choices about how best to pursue their individual claims when they believe they have suffered from discrimination.

This resource guide is a general introduction to the possible avenues available for addressing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 
Source: Office of Personnel Management
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Fact Sheet: Protecting Students from Abusive Career Colleges

Over the past six years, the Education Department has taken unprecedented steps to hold career colleges accountable for giving students what they deserve: a high-quality, affordable education that prepares them for their careers. The Department established tougher regulations targeting misleading claims by colleges and incentives that drove sales people to enroll students through dubious promises. The Department has cracked down on bad actors through investigations and enforcement actions. The Department also issued “gainful employment” regulations, which will help ensure that students at career colleges don’t end up with debt they cannot repay. The Department will continue to hold institutions accountable in order to improve the value of their programs, protect students from abusive colleges, and safeguard the interests of taxpayers. 

Source: U.S. Department of Education

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Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Investment Climate Statements 2015

Investment Climate Statements provide country-specific information and assessments prepared by U.S. embassies and diplomatic missions abroad on investment laws and practices in those countries. Select a report below to learn about the investment climate in that economy.

Link to page for downloading country-specific reports

Central Asia in a Reconnecting Eurasia: U.S. Policy Interests and Recommendations

Today, with combat operations in Afghanistan winding down, U.S. policy toward the states of Central Asia is transitioning to a third era. The United States now has an opportunity to refashion its approach to the region. In doing so, it should capitalize on trends already underway, in particular the expansion of trade and transit linkages, to help integrate Central Asia more firmly into the global economy, while also working to overcome tensions both within the region itself and among the major neighboring powers with interests in Central Asia. Central Asia in a Reconnecting Eurasia: U.S. Policy Interests and Recommendations examines the full scope of U.S. national interests in Central Asia and puts forward the broad outlines of a strategy for U.S. engagement over the coming years. 

Source: Central and Stratigic International Studies

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Top Languages Spoken by English Language Learners Nationally and by State

While the languages spoken by English Language Learner (ELL) students in the United States are very diverse, Spanish is the most common first or home language, spoken by 71 percent of ELL students. This fact sheet, drawing upon data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2013 American Community Survey (ACS) and the U.S. Department of Education, describes the home languages spoken by ELL students at national and state levels.

Chinese was the second most common language spoken in ELL students' homes representing 4 percent of ELLs, followed by Vietnamese (3 percent) and French/Haitian Creole (2 percent). A language other than Spanish was the top language spoken by ELLs in five states: Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, and Vermont. In 19 states and the District of Columbia, more than three-quarters of all ELL students spoke Spanish.
Source: Migration Policy Institute

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Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2014

This report analyzes results of the Board’s second Survey of Household Economics and Decision making, conducted in October 2014, and compares them with results from the previous year’s survey. The survey aims to capture a snapshot of the financial and economic well-being of U.S. households, as well as to monitor their recovery from the Great Recession and identify perceived risks to their financial stability.

Source: Federal Reserve Board

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Department of State and Foreign Operations Appropriations: A Fact Sheet on Legislation, FY1995-FY2015

Congress currently appropriates foreign affairs funding through annual Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations.1 Prior to FY2008, however, Congress provided funds for the Department of State and international broadcasting within the Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies appropriations (CJS) and separately provided foreign aid funds within Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs appropriations. The transition between the different alignments occurred in the 109th Congress with a change in appropriations subcommittee jurisdiction. For that Congress, the House of Representatives appropriated State Department funds separately from foreign aid, as in earlier Congresses, but the Senate appropriated State and foreign aid funds within one bill—the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations. By the 110th Congress, funding for both the Department of State and foreign aid were aligned into the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations in both the House and Senate.
Source: Congressional Research Service

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Is There a Research Basis for Requiring Trigger Warnings?

With current concern over incidents of sexual assault on America’s college campuses and with veterans returning to American universities in significant numbers after more than a decade of war in the Middle East, there has been a growing debate over how universities should protect students who may be coping with post – traumatic stress disorder from further injury. Some have argued that faculty should be required to provide “trigger warnings” in course syllabi, alerting students in advance to course content that might be disturbing to traumatized individuals.

Creating a duty by faculty to foresee and warn against possible emotional distress as a reaction to literature or art or ot her course materials raises serious concerns about academic freedom. However, would such warnings help to protect traumatized individuals from further trauma — or those around them from violent reactions to trauma triggers? Research suggests that identifying potential trauma triggers is far more difficult than looking for explicit depictions of violence or rape. Even seemingly neutral images associated with past trauma may evoke painful or violent responses. Before creating a new duty to foresee and warn against trauma triggers, policy make r s need to consider whether research and clinical experience indicate that the utility of trigger warnings would outweigh their chilling effect on free speech and robust scholarly inquiry.
Source: 31st Annual Symposium in Forensic Psychology

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New Eurostat flagship publication - Facts and views about quality of life in the EU - A multi-dimensional measurement of well-being

Traditionally official statistics describe economic and social developments by using indicators such as GDP. However, today it is widely accepted that GDP alone is not enough to show how well or badly people are doing. Quality of life is indeed a broader concept which includes a full range of factors which people value in life and their subjective assessments of these factors.

Quality of life in Europe — facts and views presents different aspects of people's well-being combining for the first time objective indicators with subjective evaluation of individuals' situations and covering various aspects of quality of life. The indicators are analysed together with different elements affecting quality of life such as educational level, activity, health status or family and financial situation. The emphasis in this publication has been placed on the data collected through the 2013 ad-hoc module on subjective well-being, which was added to the statistics on income and living conditions (EU-SILC). Data are presented for the European Union and its Member States as well as for the EFTA countries. Quality of life in Europe — facts and views provides an overview of the wealth of information that is available on Eurostat's website and within its online databases.
Source: Eurostat

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The changing nature of jobs – World Employment and Social Outlook 2015

Only one quarter of workers worldwide is estimated to have a stable employment relationship, according to a new report by the International Labour Organization (ILO). The World Employment and Social Outlook 2015 (WESO) finds that, among countries with available data (covering 84 per cent of the global workforce), three quarters of workers are employed on temporary or short-term contracts, in informal jobs often without any contract, under own-account arrangements or in unpaid family jobs. Over 60 per cent of all workers lack any kind of employment contract, with most of them engaged in own-account* or contributing family work in the developing world. However, even among wage and salaried workers, less than half (42 per cent) are working on a permanent contract. The first edition of the new, annual flagship report, entitled The Changing Nature of Jobs, shows that while wage and salaried work is growing worldwide, it still accounts for only half of global employment, with wide variations across regions. For example, in the developed economies and Central and South-Eastern Europe, around eight in ten workers are employees, whereas in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa the figure is closer to two in ten.
Source: International Labour Organization

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Estimating the Effect of Intimate Partner Violence on Women’s Use of Contraception: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is an important global public health problem. While there is a growing literature on the association between IPV and women’s reproductive health (RH) outcomes, most studies are cross-sectional—which weakens inference about the causal effect of IPV on women’s RH. This systematic review synthesizes existing evidence from the strongest study designs to estimate the impact of IPV on women’s use of contraception.
We searched 11 electronic databases from January of 1980 to 3 December 2013 and reviewed reference lists from systematic reviews for studies examining IPV and contraceptive use. To be able to infer causality, we limited our review to studies that had longitudinal measures of either IPV or women’s use of contraception.
Of the 1,574 articles identified by the search, we included 179 articles in the full text review and extracted data from 12 studies that met our inclusion criteria. We limited the meta-analysis to seven studies that could be classified as subject to low or moderate levels of bias. Women’s experience of IPV was associated with a significant reduction in the odds of using contraception (n = 14,866; OR: 0.47; 95% CI: 0.25, 0.85; I2 = 92%; 95% CII2: 87%, 96%). Restricting to studies that measured the effect of IPV on women’s use of partner dependent contraceptive methods was associated with a reduction in the heterogeneity of the overall estimate. In the three studies that examined women’s likelihood of using male condoms with their partners, experience of IPV was associated with a significant decrease in condom use (OR: 0.48; 95% CIOR: 0.32, 0.72; I2 = 51%; 95% CII2: 0%, 86%).
IPV is associated with a reduction in women’s use of contraception; women who experience IPV are less likely to report using condoms with their male partners. Family planning and HIV prevention programs should consider women’s experiences of IPV.
Source: PLoS One

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Norton Rose Fulbright releases 2015 Litigation Trends Annual Survey

Global legal practice Norton Rose Fulbright today released its 2015 Litigation Trends Annual Survey. This year’s survey is the 11th overall and the most extensive in its history, polling more than 800 corporate counsel representing companies across 26 countries on disputes-related issues and concerns. Survey respondents – primarily general counsel – indicated that the increasing number of class action lawsuits and a more litigious business environment were the most important issues impacting their companies. 

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Selection of Statistical Software for Solving Big Data Problems

The need for analysts with expertise in big data software is becoming more apparent in today’s society. Unfortunately, the demand for these analysts far exceeds the number available. A potential way to combat this shortage is to identify the software taught in colleges or universities. This article will examine four data analysis software—Excel add-ins, SPSS, SAS, and R—and we will outline the cost, training, and statistical methods/tests/uses for each of these software. It will further explain implications for universities and future students. 

Source: Sage Open

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Opportunity for All: Fighting Rural Child Poverty

Small towns and rural communities are home to millions of Americans, are a vibrant part of our nation’s economy, and include some of the most beautiful landmarks in the country. Rural America provides the vast majority of food, energy, and environmental benefits for the rest of the country, is the source of nearly 90 percent of renewable water resources, and is home to important service sector and manufacturing hubs. Despite this critical role in our nation’s economy, too many Americans in rural areas are not sharing in our nation’s economic growth. In 2013, 6.2 million Americans in rural areas lived in poverty, including about 1.5 million children.1 Moreover, in far too many of these communities, high rates of poverty have persisted for generations: over 300 rural counties have had poverty rates of over 20 percent in every Census since 1980.

Source: United States White House

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Family Support in Graying Societies :How Americans, Germans and Italians Are Coping with an Aging Population

The United States is turning gray, with the number of people ages 65 and older expected to nearly double by 2050. This major demographic transition has implications for the economy, government programs such as Social Security and families across the U.S. Among adults with at least one parent 65 or older, nearly three-in-ten already say that in the preceding 12 months they have helped their parents financially. Twice that share report assisting a parent with personal care or day-to-day tasks. Based on demographic change alone, the burden on families seems likely to grow in the coming decades.
 Source: Pew Research

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A Look at the End-of-Life Financial Situation in America

This report takes a comprehensive look at the financial situation of older Americans at the end of their lives. In particular, it documents the percentage of households with a member who recently died with few or no assets. It also documents the income, debt, home-ownership rates, net home equity, and dependency on Social Security for households that experienced a recent death.
Source: Employee Benefit Research Insititute

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bin Ladin's Bookshelf: declassified documents, books and magazines found during the 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

On May 20, 2015, the ODNI released a sizeable tranche of documents recovered during the raid on the compound used to hide Usama bin Ladin. The release, which followed a rigorous interagency review, aligns with the President’s call for increased transparency–consistent with national security prerogatives–and the 2014 Intelligence Authorization Act, which required the ODNI to conduct a review of the documents for release.

The release contains two sections. The first is a list of non-classified, English-language material found in and around the compound. The second is a selection of now-declassified documents.

The Intelligence Community will be reviewing hundreds more documents in the near future for possible declassification and release. An interagency taskforce under the auspices of the White House and with the agreement of the DNI is reviewing all documents which supported disseminated intelligence cables, as well as other relevant material found around the compound. All documents whose publication will not hurt ongoing operations against al-Qa‘ida or their affiliates will be released.

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