Friday, January 27, 2006

Picturing Peace: Local and Universal Symbols in Three Cultures

Picturing Peace is an ArtsBridge collaboration in which K-12 students learn to use digital cameras to communicate their feelings and ideas about peace. The photographs of three student cultures were analyzed. Both local and universal symbols of peace were found, such as nature, light, community, environment, peace signs, play, spiritual symbols, diversity, body and innocence. Source: Center for Learning through the Arts, U.C. Irvine

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Law: High-Impact U.S. Universities, 2000-04

"Ranked by average citations per paper, among the top 100 federally funded U.S. universities that published at least 100 papers in Thomson Scientific-indexed law journals between 2000 and 2004." Source : ISI Thompson Scientific

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New Edition: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress 1774 - 2005.

"Last published in 1989, the comprehensive 2,236 page directory provides the biographies of thousands of Members of the Senate and House who have served from the first through the 108th Congress. The most recent edition of the Biographical Directory details the changing face of Congress and lists Members by their full name, and for the first time nicknames or initials. Also listed are territorial delegates, resident commissioners, and vice presidents." Source: U.S. Government Printing Office.

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Post Brown vs. the Board of Education: The Effects of the End of Court-Ordered Desegregation

"In the early 1990s, nearly forty years after Brown v. the Board of Education, three Supreme Court decisions dramaically altered the legal environment for court-ordered desegregation. Lower courts have released numerous school districts from their desegregation plans as a result. Over the same period racial segregation increased in public schools across the country -- a phenomenon which has been termed resegregation. Using a unique dataset, this paper finds that dismissal of a court-ordered desegregation plan results in a gradual, moderate increase in racial segregation and an increase in black dropout rates and black private school attendance. The increased dropout rates and private school attendance are experienced only by districts located outside of the South Census region. There is no evidence of an effect on white student along any dimension." Source: The Federal Reserve Board

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

The American [College] Freshman - National Norms for 2005

From Press Release:
This year s entering college freshmen exhibit record increases in commitments to social and civic responsibility, according to the results of UCLA s annual survey of the nation s entering undergraduates. Two out of three (66.3 percent) entering freshmen believe it is essential or very important to help others who are in difficulty, the highest this figure has been in the past 25 years, and an increase of 3.9 percentage points over last year (roughly 50,000 students nationally). The survey is part of the Cooperative Institutional Research Project (CIRP) conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies.

The beliefs of entering freshmen also are reflected in their actions. An all-time high of 83.2 percent volunteered at least occasionally during their high school senior year and 70.6 percent typically volunteered on a weekly basis. Additionally, the survey revealed an all-time high in the percentage of students who believe there is a good or some chance that they will continue to volunteer in college, at 67.3 percent. Source: Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies.

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Lobbying Disclosure and Ethics Proposals Related to Lobbying Introduced in the 109th Congress: A Comparative Analysis

The regulation of lobbying activities by lobbyists, and the actions that certain members of the executive branch and legislative branch may take in their interactions with lobbyists, are governed by laws and congressional Rules. Several proposals to revise these laws and congressional Rules with regard to lobbying activities and the disclosure of such activities by lobbyists and Members of Congress have been introduced in the 109th Congress. Measures introduced include H.Res. 81, introduced by Representative Mark Green, directing the Clerk of the House to post on the Internet all lobbying registrations and reports; H.R. 1302 and H.R. 1304, both entitled the Stealth Lobbyist Disclosure Act of 2005, introduced by Representative Lloyd Doggett; H.R. 2412, the Special Interest Lobbying and Ethics Accountability Act of 2005, introduced by Representative Martin Meehan; S. 1398, the Lobbying and Ethics Reform Act of 2005, introduced by Senator Russell Feingold; S. 2128, the Lobbying Transparency and Accountability Act of 2005, introduced by Senator John McCain; H.R. 4575, the Lobbying Transparency and Accountability Act of 2005, introduced by Representative Christopher Shays; H.R. 3177, the Lobby Gift Ban Act of 2005, introduced by Representative George Miller; H.R. 3623, introduced by Representative Robert Andrews to amend 18 U.S.C. 207, to increase the period during which former Members of Congress may not engage in certain lobbying activities; and S. 1972, the Terrorist Lobby Disclosure Act of 2005, introduced by Senator Rick Santorum. It has been reported that other measures may be introduced when Congress reconvenes later in January, including proposals by the majority and minority leadership in the House and Senate. This report, which will be updated as events warrant, provides context, comparison, and discussion of the issues addressed in the various legislative proposals addressing lobbying and lobbying-related laws and congressional Rules introduced thus far in the 109th Congress. For further background and discussion of the current proposals, please consult CRS Report RL33065, Lobbying Disclosure Reform: Background and Legislative Proposals, 109th Congress, by R. Eric Petersen; CRS Report RS22317, Congressional Gifts and Travel, Legislative Proposals for the 109th Congress, by Mildred Amer; and CRS Report RS22226, Summary and Analysis of Provisions of H.R. 2412, the Special Interest Lobbying and Ethics Accountability Act of 2005, by Jack Maskell. Source : Congressional Research Service

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Congressional Gifts and Travel: Legislative Proposals for the 109th Congress

It has been a decade since the House and Senate examined their rules on the acceptance of gifts and travel expenses. Press accounts of alleged excesses in privately funded congressional travel and gifts, particularly from lobbyists, have provided an impetus for proposed changes in the 109th Congress. Legislative proposals introduced thus far and related to congressional gifts and travel all focus on some aspect of lobbyists and lobbying and include changes to (1) requirements for the disclosure reports required by the Lobbying Disclosure Act; (2) permissible gifts given to Members of Congress under the current congressional gift rules; and (3) the various types of officially-connected travel Members, officers, and employees of Congress are allowed under current rules. The bills addressing some or all of these issues in the 109th Congress are H.R. 2412, introduced by Representative Martin Meehan; H.R. 3177, introduced by Representative George Miller; S. 1398, introduced by Senator Russ Feingold; S. 2128, introduced by Senator John McCain; and H.R. 4575, introduced by Representative Christopher Shays. This report provides an analysis of the proposals for change introduced or discussed in the 109th Congress and will be updated as events warrant. For additional information, please refer to CRS Report RL33065, Lobbying Disclosure: Background and Legislative Proposals, 109th Congress, by Eric Peterson, and CRS Report RL33234, Lobbying Disclosure and Ethics Proposals Related to Lobbying Introduced in the 109th Congress, A Comparative Analysis, by Eric Peterson. Source: Congressional Research Service

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On The Corner: Day Labor in the United States

"They attend church, raise children and participate in community activities and institutions. Yet, when America's day laborers go to work, they have experiences that would shock any other upstanding community member: police harassment, violence at the hands of employers, withheld wages and conditions so dangerous that is not unusual for them to be sidelined for more than a month with work-related injuries or to work for weeks on end in pain."
Source: UCLA Social Sciences, Center for the Study of Urban Policy

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2005 Update on the HIV/AIDS Epidemic and Response in China

"China’s AIDS epidemic shows no signs of abating with an estimated 70,000 new HIV infections occurring in 2005, according to a report released today by the Chinese Ministry of Health, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization. The latest data indicate that 650,000 (range 540,000 to 760,000) people are now living with HIV in China and that overall HIV prevalence is now estimated at approximately 0.05 per cent." Source: Ministry of Health, People's Republic of China; Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, World Health Organization

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Quiet Revolution that Transformed Women's Employment, Education, and Family

Abstract : The modern economic role of women emerged in four phases. The first three were evolutionary; the last was revolutionary. Phase I occurred from the late nineteenth century to the 1920s; Phase II was from 1930 to 1950; Phase III extended from 1950 to the late 1970s; and Phase IV, the "quiet revolution," began in the late 1970s and is still ongoing. Three aspects of women's choices distinguish the evolutionary from the revolutionary phases: horizon, identity, and decision-making. The evolutionary phases are apparent in time-series data on labor force participation. The revolutionary phase is discernible using time-series evidence on women's more predictable attachment to the workplace, greater identity with career, and better ability to make joint decisions with their spouses. Each of these series has a sharp break or inflection point signifying social and economic change. These changes, moreover, coincide by birth cohort or period. The relationship between the development of modern labor economics and the reality of women's changing economic role is explored. The paper concludes by assessing whether the revolution has stalled or is being reversed. Women who graduated college in the early 1980s did not "opt-out,"but recent cohorts are too young to evaluate. Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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Friday, January 20, 2006

Foreign-Born Population of the United States : American Community Survey

"Data on the foreign-born population in 2003 illustrating demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, such as age, educational attainment, poverty status, and population by state. These characteristics are presented by U.S. citizenship status, year of entry into the United States, world region of birth, and by sub-region of birth for Latin America." Last Revised: January 19, 2006 Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Link to online tables and reports

The Moldenhauer Archives

"The Moldenhauer Archives at the Library of Congress contain approximately 3,500 items documenting the history of Western music from the medieval period through the modern era and is the richest composite gift of musical documents ever received by the Library.

"This online presentation includes representative examples of more than 130 items from the Archives including many complete works and, as a special presentation, an electronic version of the book's text, which is intended to replace the printed edition. In addition, the book’s inventory of the Archives appears as a finding aid."

Source : Library of Congress

Link to online presentation

Is Production "Pulling" Knowledge Work to China? A Study of the Global Computer Industry

"China has become the world s largest producer of computer hardware, driven by large scale investment by multinational and Taiwanese companies. At the same time, computer hardware production and employment in the U.S. have fallen by about one-third since 2000. A new concern is that knowledge activities such as new product development are being pulled along with manufacturing to China. Based on a study of the notebook PC industry, it is concluded that production is pulling some product development activity to China, although the shift is also driven by the availability of low cost engineering talent. While the U.S. has retained its role in marketing, concept design, and product planning, it has lost many of the engineering jobs associated with notebook design. The number of jobs affected is relatively small, but the movement of knowledge work may portend similar changes in industries with larger numbers of jobs at stake." Source : Center for Research on Information Technology and Organizations. I.T. in Government. U.C. Irvine

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Collaborative Regional Initiatives: Civic Entrepreneurs Work to Fill the Governance Gap

From 1997 to 2004, The James Irvine Foundation (Irvine) invested more than $20 million in grants to support Collaborative Regional Initiatives (CRIs), partnerships that engaged Californians from public, private, and nonprofit sectors in most of the state’s major regions. These CRIs all emerged from collaborative processes involving diverse stakeholders. They varied in their origins, focus, and outcomes —- each emerged from its region’s unique challenges, and each addressed these in different ways. Across the group, they dealt with at least three of four major types of issues: (1) natural resource protection, (2) workforce and economic development, (3) regional infrastructure development, and (4) civic engagement.

The overarching goals of Irvine’s CRI program were to enhance economic vitality, increase social equity, and protect the natural environment of California regions over the long term through strategic, collaborative action by business, community, and government leadership. The effort was part of Irvine’s Sustainable Communities program, the purpose of which was to help California accommodate growth in a way that benefited the economy, the environment, and all levels of its diverse population. In 2003, Irvine restructured its strategic approach to grantmaking and no longer has a separate Sustainable Communities program. However, some of its goals are now a part of Irvine’s California Perspectives program, which seeks to inform public understanding, engage Californians, and improve decision-making on significant issues of long-term consequence to the state. Source: Institute of Urban & Regional Development. U.C. Berkeley IURD Working Paper Series. Paper WP-2006-04

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The Economic Costs of the Iraq War: An Appraisal Three Years After the Beginning of the Conflict

"We have not attempted in this paper an overall assessment of whether the war was conducted in the most cost efficient manner, i.e. whether, given what has been achieved (however that is defined), those objectives could have been achieved at lower costs. We have taken the expenditures, as they have occurred, not as they might have been. The Administration has explicitly tried to fight the war on the cheap, that is limit direct commitments of American troops, even shortchanging body and personnel armor. In violating the Powell doctrine, this may be one of those instances of 'penny wise-pound foolish'. Certainly, the long run costs to the individuals and to society of the individuals who died or were badly maimed (not to mention the additional costs of recruitment) far exceed the savings from not purchasing better body protection. Many observers believe that the manner in which the War was conducted led to the extended insurgency, which too has greatly increased cost." Source: Allied Social Sciences Association

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The New Children of Terror: The Making of a Terrorist: Recruitment, Training, and Root Causes

"Terrorism, it is said, is the 'weapon of the weak.' But while our conception of warfare is often an assumption of men in uniform fighting for the political cause of their nation–states, it is a misnomer. The reality of contemporary conflict is that increasingly it has pulled in the 'weak' of society, most specifically children, both as targets and participants. Although there is global consensus (based on moral grounds) against sending children into battle, this terrible practice is now a regular facet of contemporary wars. There are some 300,000 children (both boys and girls) under the age of 18 presently serving as combatants, fighting in almost 75 percent of the world's conflicts; 80 percent of these conflicts where children are present include fighters under the age of fifteen." Source: The Brookings Institution, Saban Center for Middle East Policy (Book chapter 8: The Making of a Terrorist)

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Education Statistics Quarterly-Vol. 7 Issues 1&2

"The Quarterly offers a comprehensive overview of work done across all of NCES. Each issue includes short publications and summaries covering all NCES publications and data products released in a given time period as well as notices about training and funding opportunities. In addition, each issue includes a featured topic with invited commentary, and a note on the topic from NCES." Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

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Comparing Poverty Rates by Official and Experimental Measures in the United States

"The results from the Census Bureau reports and our analysis show that the experimental poverty rates are higher than the current official poverty rates, particularly for older persons in 2001. The results indicate that it is important to precisely include medical out-of-pocket expenditures in experimental poverty estimates. The results also suggest that reducing the burden of medical out-of-pocket expenditures on older persons, (through prescription drug coverage under Medicare, for example), could potentially have a significant effect on reduction of poverty in this population."
Source: AARP Public Policy Institute

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Occupations, Cultures, and Leadership in the Army and Air Force

"In the United States, the relatively recent separation of the Air Force from the Army, coupled with the rapid rise of the Air Force as a powerful, independent institution since World War II, offers a unique opportunity to explore the organizational cultures of these two services, and to better understand the implications of culture on leadership styles in each of the services." Source: Parameters, U.S. Army War College

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Statutory Procedures Under Which Congress Is To Be Informed of U.S. Intelligence Activities, Including Covert Actions

"This memorandum examines certain existing statutory procedures that govern how the executive branch is to keep Congress informed of U.S. intelligence activities, reviews pertinent legislative history underpinning the development of those procedures, and looks at the notification process that reportedly was followed in informing certain Members of Congress of the President's decision to authorize the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect signals intelligence within the United States." Source: Congressional Research Service

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Friday, January 13, 2006

The State of the News Media 2005

"The State of the News Media 2005 is the second in our annual effort to provide a comprehensive look each year at the state of American journalism.

Our goal is to put in one place as much original and aggregated data as possible about each of the major journalism sectors.

For each area, we have produced original research and aggregated existing data into a comprehensive look at many of the pressing issues facing the news media. In addition, we have collected the statistical data in an interactive area called Charts & Tables where users can customize their own charts. This year we have added new elements to the original content study and in most chapters have added an essay from a prominent industry professional or analyst.

The study is the work of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, an institute affiliated with Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. The study is funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, and was produced with a number of partners, including Rick Edmonds, the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Michigan State University, the University of Alabama, and Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Source: Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism"

Link to online report

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Truthiness Voted 2005 Word of the Year by American Dialect Society

"In its 16th annual words of the year vote, the American Dialect Society voted truthiness as the word of the year. First heard on the Colbert Report, a satirical mock news show on the Comedy Channel, truthiness refers to the quality of stating concepts or facts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true. As Stephen Colbert put it, 'I don't trust books. They're all fact, no heart.'

Word of the Year is interpreted in its broader sense as 'vocabulary item'?not just words but phrases. The words or phrases do not have to be brand new, but they have to be newly prominent or notable in the past year, in the manner of Time magazine?s Person of the Year. The election is serious, based on members' expertise in the study of words, but it is far from solemn."

Other winners include : podcast, "jump the couch"

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New Digitized Collection: American Left Ephemera Collection

"The collection of American Left ephemera on this website reflects the personal collection of Richard J. Oestreicher, Associate Professor within the History department at the University of Pittsburgh. The material primarily documents three of the largest and most influential left-wing organizations in the twentieth century in the U.S.: Socialist Party of America (SPUSA), Communist Party of the USA (CPUSA), and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Digitized items include flyers, leaflets, pamphlets, posters, postcards, illustrations, photographs, pins, ribbons, and miscellaneous objects." Source : University of Pittsburgh

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Top 10 literary hoaxes

"Bestselling author Tom Carew may have been somewhat economical with the truth in his colourful account of his adventures in Afghanistan - according to the Ministry of Defence, he never served in the SAS. However, Carew's stunt is just the latest in a long line of literary hoaxes, from Shakespearean 'discoveries' to flying saucer frauds." Source: The Guardian Unlimited, UK

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The Impact of Academic Patenting on the Rate, Quality, and Direction of (Public) Research Output.

Abstract : We examine the influence of faculty patenting activity on the rate, quality, and content of public research outputs in a panel dataset spanning the careers of 3,862 academic life scientists. Using inverse probability of treatment weights (IPTW) to account for the dynamics of self-selection into patenting, we find that patenting has a positive effect on the rate of publication of journal articles, but no effect on the quality of these publications. Using several measures of the "patentability" of the content of research papers, we also find that patenters may be shifting their research focus to questions of commercial interest. We conclude that the often-voiced concern that patenting in academe has a nefarious effect on public research output is, at least in its simplest form, misplaced. Source : National Bureau of Economic Research

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How Black Candidates Affect Voter Turnout

Abstract : Both Black and White voter turnout increases 2-3 percentage points with each Black Democrat on the ballot. Given the groups' representations in the population, the White response is numerically greater. Whites of both parties are less likely to vote for their parties' candidate when s/he is Black. The turnout findings are not explained away by voter, election, or politician characteristics. However the fact that there is no turnout response to Black Republicans suggests that a perception of Blacks' ideology may be a factor. Source : National Bureau of Economic Research

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Sticking with Your Vote: Cognitive Dissonance and Voting

Abstract : In traditional models, votes are an expression of preferences and beliefs. Psychological theories of cognitive dissonance suggest, however, that behavior may shape preferences. In this view, the very act of voting may influence political attitudes. A vote for a candidate may lead to more favorable interpretations of his actions in the future. We test the empirical relevance of cognitive dissonance in US Presidential elections. The key problem in such a test is the endogeneity of voter choice which leads to a mechanical relationship between voting and preferences. We use the voting age restrictions to help surmount this difficulty. We examine the Presidential opinion ratings of nineteen and twenty year olds two years after the President's election. Consistent with cognitive dissonance, we find that twenty year olds (who were eligible to vote in the election) show greater polarization of opinions than comparable nineteen year olds (who were ineligible to vote). We rule out that aging drives these results in two ways. First, we find no polarization differences in years in which twenty and nineteen year olds would not have differed in their eligibility to vote in the prior Presidential election. Second, we show a similar effect when we compare polarization (for all age groups) in opinions of Senators elected during high turnout Presidential campaign years with Senators elected during low turnout non-Presidential campaign years. Thus we find empirical support for the relevance of cognitive dissonance to voting behavior. This finding has at least three implications for the dynamics of voting behavior. First, it offers a new rationale for the incumbency advantage. Second, it suggests that there is an efficiency argument for term limits. And finally, our results demonstrate that efficiency may not be increasing in turnout level.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Neighborhoods and Academic Achievement: Results from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment

Abstract : "Families originally living in public housing were assigned housing vouchers by lottery, encouraging moves to neighborhoods with lower poverty rates. Although we had hypothesized that reading and math test scores would be higher among children in families offered vouchers (with larger effects among younger children), the results show no significant effects on test scores for any age group among over 5000 children ages 6 to 20 in 2002 who were assessed four to seven years after randomization. Program impacts on school environments were considerably smaller than impacts on neighborhoods, suggesting that achievement-related benefits from improved neighborhood environments are alone small." Source : National Bureau of Economic Research

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Sex and Power Who Runs Britain? 2006

This report provides statistics on British womens representation in senior positions in politics, public life and business. The data is compared with male representation and commentary is provided about the glass ceiling faced by women. Source : U.K Equal Opportunities Commission

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Monday, January 09, 2006

CRS Memo : Presidential Authority to Conduct Warrantless Electronic Surveillance to Gather Foreign Intelligence Information

"The Administration s views have been the subject of debate. Critics challenge the notion that federal statutes regarding government eavesdropping may be bypassed by executive order, or that such laws were implicitly superceded by Congress s authorization to use military force. Others, however, have expressed the view that established wiretap procedures are too cumbersome and slow to be effective in the war against terrorism, and that the threat of terrorism justifies extraordinary measures the President deems appropriate, and some agree that Congress authorized the measures when it authorized the use of military force."

"This memorandum lays out a general framework for analyzing the constitutional and statutory issues raised by the NSA electronic surveillance activity. It then outlines the legal framework regulating electronic surveillance by the government, explores ambiguities in those statutes that could provide exceptions for the NSA intelligence-gathering operation at issue, and addresses the arguments that the President possesses inherent authority to order the operations or that Congress has provided such authority." Source : Congressional Research Service

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Pew Internet & American Life Project Report: Women and Men Online

"A wide-ranging look at the way American women and men use the internet shows that men continue to pursue many internet activities more intensively than women, and that men are still first out of the blocks in trying the latest technologies. At the same time, there are trends showing that women are catching up in overall use and are framing their online experience with a greater emphasis on deepening connections with people."
Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project

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Enhancing Police Integrity

"What factors contribute to—or detract from—police officer integrity, and how can police administrators measure integrity? From a national survey of police officers, researchers identified characteristics of agency culture that encourage officers to resist or tolerate certain types of misconduct. This Research for Practice summarizes the survey findings and includes an assessment tool that police chiefs can use to measure integrity within their departments." Source: National Institute of Justice

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Program Design and Student Outcomes in Graduate Education

"Doctoral programs in the humanities and related social sciences are characterized by high attrition and long time-to-degree. In response to these long-standing problems, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation launched the Graduate Education Initiative (GEI) to improve the structure and organization of PhD programs, and in turn reduce attrition and shorten time-to-degree. Over a 10-year period starting in 1991, the Foundation provided a total of $80 million to 51 departments at 10 major research universities. This paper estimates the impact of the GEI on attrition rates and time-to-degree. Our analysis is based on a competing-risk duration model and student-level data spanning the start of the GEI, including data on students at a set of control departments. We estimate that, on average, the GEI had modest impacts on student outcomes in the expected directions: reducing attrition rates, reducing time-to-degree, and increasing completion rates. The overall impacts of the GEI appear to have been driven in part by reductions in cohort size, increases in financial aid, and increases in student quality." Source: Cornell Higher Education Research Institute (CHERI)

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Forcing a People to Be Free

"Is forcing a people to be free possible, and if so, is it ever morally permissible? The question in some form is very much on our minds, provoked by the war in Iraq and one of its stated justifications: freeing the Iraqi people from tyranny. An account of normative peoplehood is presented under which a people can fail to be a competent group agent, and so be a justified target of paternalism, even though the natural persons who make up the people are competent agents who are not justified targets of paternalism. Connections between a competent group agent, a free people, and a legitimate government are drawn. In response to the worry that this view permits limitless and never-ending regime change, an asymmetry between criteria for initiating intervention and criteria for ending intervention is shown to follow from the account of minimal legitimacy presented." Source: Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, Faculty Research Working Paper Series

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The Google Book Search Project: Is Online Indexing a Fair Use Under Copyright Law?

"Google, Inc. is digitally scanning the collections of several prominent libraries in order to create a vast searchable database of literary works. Copyright holders who have not authorized and object to the digitization have filed suit against the company. This report provides background on the pending litigation. It will be updated as judicial developments warrant." Source :U.S. Congressional Research Service

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USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 (H.R. 3199): A Side-by-Side Comparison of Existing Law, H.R. 3199 (Conference), and H.R. 3199

"By virtue of Section 224 of the USA PATRIOT Act, P.L. 107-56 (2001), several of the act's amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, 50 U.S.C. 1801-1862, and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. 2510-2522, 2701-2712, 3121-3127, were scheduled to expire on December 31, 2005, 115 Stat. 295 (2001). S. 2167 postpones the expiration dates of those provisions and of Section 6001 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 ("lone wolf" amendment), 118 Stat. 3742 (2004), until February 3, 2006. The version of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005, H.R. 3199, which the Senate sent to conference, primarily addresses the provisions scheduled to expire and related matters such as the issuance of "national security letters" under 18 U.S.C. 2709. The version of H.R. 3199 upon which the conferees agreed represents a compromise between the Senate version and the version passed by the House. The conference bill also contains provisions, amended by the conferees in several instances, that originated in the House but that in some cases have been considered in the Senate under separate legislative proposals. These include sections relating to the death penalty, seaport security, combating terrorism financing, and methamphetamine abuse."
Source: U.S. Congressional Research Service

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National Security Whistleblowers

"To discharge its constitutional duties, Congress depends on information obtained from the executive branch. Domestic and national security information is provided through agency reports and direct communications from department heads, but lawmakers also receive information directly from employees within the agencies. They take the initiative in notifying Congress, its committees, and Members of Congress about alleged agency illegalities, corruption, and waste within the agency. This type of information comes from a group known as whistleblowers. Through such techniques as "gag orders" and nondisclosure agreements, Presidents have attempted to block agency employees from coming directly to Congress. In response, Congress has enacted legislation in an effort to assure the uninterrupted flow of domestic and national security information to lawmakers and their staffs. Members of Congress have made it clear they do not want to depend solely on information provided by agency heads. Overall, the issue has been how to protect employees who are willing to alert Congress about agency wrongdoing. The first procedures enacted to protect agency whistleblowers appeared in the Civil Service Reform of 1978. It also contained language that excluded protections to whistleblowers who work in federal agencies involved in intelligence and counterintelligence. In 1989, Congress passed the Whistleblower Protection Act in an effort to strengthen statutory protections for federal employees who assist in the elimination of fraud, waste, abuse, illegality, and corruption. That statute continued the exemption for national security information. It did not authorize the disclosure of any information by an agency or any person that is (1) specifically prohibited from disclosure by any other provision of law, or (2) "specifically required by Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or the conduct of foreign affairs." Several statutes apply expressly to national security information. Congress has passed a series of laws known collectively as the Military Whistleblowers Protection Act, under which members of the military may give information to Members of Congress. It also passed the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998 to encourage the reporting to Congress of wrongdoing within the intelligence agencies. In crafting this legislation, Congress has sought to balance its need for information with national security requirements, giving intelligence community whistleblowers access to Congress only through the intelligence committees." Source: U.S. Congressional Research Service

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Russian Oil and Gas Challenges

"Russia is a major player in world energy markets. It has more proven natural gas reserves than any other country, is among the top ten in proven oil reserves, is the largest exporter of natural gas, the second largest oil exporter, and the third largest energy consumer. Energy exports have been a major driver of Russia's economic growth over the last five years, as Russian oil production has risen strongly and world oil prices have been very high. This type of growth has made the Russian economy dependent on oil and natural gas exports and vulnerable to fluctuations in oil prices. Russia's ability to maintain and expand its capacity to produce and to export energy faces difficulties. Russia's oil and gas fields are aging. Modern western energy technology has not been fully implemented. There is insufficient export capacity in the crude oil pipeline system controlled by Russia's state-owned pipeline monopoly, Transneft. And, there is insufficient investment capital for improving and expanding Russian oil and gas production and pipeline systems. The Russian government has moved to take control of the country's energy supplies. It broke up the previously large energy company Yukos and acquired its main oil production subsidiary. In Central Europe, Russian firms with close links to the Russian government have used leverage to buy energy companies to gain control over energy supply. Russia continues to maintain energy ties with Central Asian countries, as many transportation routes in that region are oriented toward European Russia. In East Asia, Russia is contemplating a pipeline destination that would allow it to decide to whom its oil gets sold. Also, Russia tried to cut off gas supply to Ukraine because the latter did not agree to greatly increase what it pays for the gas. Russia restored supply after other European countries complained. Much of Russia's gas exports to Europe pass through Ukraine. A number of proposals would build new or expand existing Russian oil and natural gas export pipelines. Some are contentious, and although the Russian government is faced with a perceived need to expand its oil and gas export capacity, it also has limited resources. This report discusses several different major proposals. Given that the United States, as well as Russia, is a major energy producer and user, Russian energy trends and policies affect U.S. energy markets and economic welfare in general. An increase in Russia's energy production and its ability to export that energy westward and eastward may tend to ease the supply situation in energy markets in the Atlantic and Pacific Basins. On the other hand, the Russian government's moves to take control of the country's energy supplies noted earlier may have the effect of making less oil available. Possibly as important as Russian oil and gas industry developments is the associated potential for U.S. suppliers of oil and gas field equipment and services to increase their sales and investment in Russia. However, while they consider the climate to be improving, potential investors complain that the investment climate in Russia is inhospitable with respect to factors such as poor intellectual property rights protection, burdensome tax laws, and inefficient government bureaucracy." Source: U.S. Congressional Research Service

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Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2004, and Salaries of Full-Time Instructional Faculty, 2004-05

"This report presents information from the Winter 2004-05 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) web-based data collection. Tabulations represent data requested from all postsecondary institutions participating in Title IV federal student financial aid programs. The tables in this publication include data on the number of staff employed in Title IV postsecondary institutions in fall 2004 by primary occupational activity, length of contract/teaching period, employment status, salary class interval, faculty and tenure status, academic rank, race/ethnicity, and gender. Also included are tables on the number of full-time instructional faculty employed in Title IV postsecondary institutions in 2004-05 by length of contract/teaching period, academic rank, gender, and average salaries." Source: National Center for Education Statistics.

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Census Bureau : Statistical Abstract of the United States

Released January 4, 2006.
The Statistical Abstract of the United States, published since 1878, is the standard summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. It is designed to serve as a convenient volume for statistical reference and as a guide to other statistical publications and sources. The latter function is served by the introductory text to each section, the source note appearing below each table, and Appendix I, which comprises the Guide to Sources of Statistics, the Guide to State Statistical Abstracts, and the Guide to Foreign Statistical Abstracts. Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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Busyness as the Badge of Honor for the New Superordinate Working Class

Abstract : There is a paradoxical relationship between, on one hand, the observation that, in general, people feel busier now than they did previously, and on the other, the evidence (from time diary data) that societies have somewhat less, or at least overall, no more work than they had previously. But the connections between amounts of work and feelings of busyness are in fact neither direct nor simple. In what follows, a line of theoretical argument from Thorsten Veblen, and dating from the end of the 19th century, concerning the social construction of leisure, is redeployed, in the context of the changed economic circumstances at the start of the 21st century, to the construction of feelings of busyness. Work, not leisure, is now the signifier of dominant social status. Evidence from three UK time diary studies (1961, 1983/4 and 2001) shows that over this period the Veblen-type negative relationship between social status (as indicated by human capital) and work time is reversed high human capital is now associated with longer hours of work. This is consistent with the Veblen-derived theoretical line; however a complete demonstration of the theoretical position would require historical evidence on both time allocation and feelings of busyness for the same individuals, which is not available for the UK.
Source : Institute for Social and Economic Research

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