Friday, September 29, 2006

Interrogation of Detainees: Overview of the McCain Amendment

"This report discusses the McCain Amendment, as modified and subsequently enacted into law. This report also discusses the application of the McCain Amendment by the DOD in the updated 2006 version of the Army Field Manual, particularly in light of the Supreme Court's ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. In addition, the report discusses recent legislation relating to Al Qaeda detainees that references the McCain Amendment. The proposals discussed by this report are S. 3929 and S. 3930, which are both entitled the Military Commissions Act of 2006, introduced by Senator Mitch McConnell on September 22, 2006; S. 3901, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, proposed by Senator John Warner and voted out of the Senate Armed Services Committee on September 14, 2006; S. 3861, the Bringing Terrorists to Justice Act of 2006, and S. 3886, the Terrorist Tracking, Identification, and Prosecution Act of 2006, both introduced by Senator Bill Frist; and H.R. 6054, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, introduced by Representative Duncan Hunter. For a discussion of the provisions in the DTA that limit judicial review of challenges to U.S. detention policy, see CRS Report RL33180, Guantanamo Detainees: Habeas Corpus Challenges in Federal Court, by Jennifer K. Elsea and Kenneth Thomas." Congressional Research Service

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The Supreme Court and Women’s Rights: Gathering Storm Clouds,

The report, The Supreme Court and Women’s Rights: Gathering Storm Clouds, highlights recent cases involving key legal protections for women, many of them decided by narrow margins. This time of transition on the Court may not bode well for women’s hard-won legal gains, especially in the areas of constitutional rights to privacy and equal protection, and the federal statutory protection of women’s rights in employment, education, health, safety and welfare.
Source: National Women's Law Center

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| Link to online press releease

Thursday, September 28, 2006

New study indicates faculty treatment matters more than compensation

"A new study by the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE), a research project based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, has revealed that climate, culture, and collegiality are more important to the satisfaction of early career faculty than compensation, tenure clarity, workload, and policy effectiveness.

The survey of 4,500 tenure-track faculty at 51 colleges and universities discovered that there are key climate variables for junior faculty, such as: interest senior faculty take in their work, fairness with which they are evaluated, opportunities to collaborate with senior faculty, how well they seem to fit in their departments, sufficient professional and personal interaction with colleagues, and a sense of community in the department. The survey revealed that collegiality matters much to the success and satisfaction of new scholars, in stark relief to studies of an earlier generation that showed autonomy was one of the most important attractions to academic life." Source: Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Ed./Harvard School of Education

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The Future of the Internet II

Technology thinkers and stakeholders assess the future social, political, and economic impact of the internet.

"Hundreds of internet leaders, activists, builders and commentators were asked about the effect of the internet on social, political and economic life in the year 2020. The views of the 742 respondents who completed this survey were varied; there is general agreement about how technology might evolve, but there is less agreement among these respondents about the impact of this evolution. Most believe the internet will continue to spread in a "flattening" and improving world. There are many, though, who think major problems -- such as out-of-control surveillance and tracking systems and the formation of renegade bands of technology "refuseniks" -- will accompany technology advances by the end of the next decade." Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project Report

Download PDF Report | View Lee Rainie's interview on the Lehrer Newshour

Medicaid Crowd-Out of Private Long-Term Care Insurance Demand: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Survey

Abstract: "This paper provides empirical evidence of Medicaid crowd out of demand for private long-term care insurance. Using data on the near- and young-elderly in the Health and Retirement Survey, our central estimate suggests that a $10,000 decrease in the level of assets an individual can keep while qualifying for Medicaid would increase private long-term care insurance coverage by 1.1 percentage points. These estimates imply that if every state in the country moved from their current Medicaid asset eligibility requirements to the most stringent Medicaid eligibility requirements allowed by federal law – a change that would decrease average household assets protected by Medicaid by about $25,000 – demand for private long-term care insurance would rise by 2.7 percentage points. While this represents a 30 percent increase in insurance coverage relative to the baseline ownership rate of 9.1 percent, it also indicates that the vast majority of households would still find it unattractive to purchase private insurance. We discuss reasons why, even with extremely stringent eligibility requirements, Medicaid may still exert a large crowd-out effect on demand for private insurance." Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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Do Female Physicians Capture Their Scarcity Value? The Case of OB/GYNs

This paper analyzes how the imperfectly competitive market for Obstetricians and Gynecologists clears in the face of an excess demand for female OB/GYNs. This excess demand results from the convergence of three factors: i) all OB/GYN patients are women, ii) many women prefer to be treated by a female OB/GYN, iii) only a small portion of OB/GYNs are female. The paper finds that both money and non-money prices adjust: female OB/GYNs charge higher fees and also have longer waiting times. Furthermore, these effects are mediated by institutional structure: in contract settings in which money prices are rigid (i.e. managed care), waiting times are more likely to adjust, and in settings in which money prices are more flexible, the reverse occurs. In the end, female OB/GYNs are able to capture some of the value of the preferred service they provide but do not entirely close the gender income gap. Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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A New Populism in Latin America?

Abstract: "Adolfo Gilly, Department of Political Science, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), talked about neo-liberalism and the emergence of a “new populism” in many Latin American countries. Alfredo Saad Filho, Department of History, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), talked about the political and economic transition to liberalism in Brazil. He discussed the Worker’s Party (PT), the administration of Luiz Inacio da Silva (Lula), and neo-liberalism in Brazil." Source: Center for Social Theory and Comparative History. Center for Social Theory and Comparative History Seminar Series. Paper 2006-J.

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| Link to online abstract with access to audio files

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Latino Labor Report 2006

The Hispanic unemployment rate reached a historic low of 5.2% in the second quarter of 2006. The gap between the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rates for Latinos and non-Latinos was just 0.6 percentage points--the smallest since 1973, when employment data on Latinos first became available. Wages for Latino workers also rose between the second quarters of 2005 and 2006, and at a faster rate than for other workers. Those developments reflect significant improvement in the labor market for Latinos in 2005-06 and indicate that the jobs recovery from the recession in 2001 is nearing completion for Hispanic workers. Source: Pew Hispanic Center

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Israel’s Separation Fence

Gadi Algazi, Department of History, Tel Aviv University, talked about colonialism and civil resistance in the West Bank. He discussed the non-violent resistance movement which began in the Palestinian villages. He also talked about the new Jewish settlements which were predominantly driven by economics rather than Zionism. The accompanying audio file provides the complete recording and audience discussion of the talk given by the author. Those who download the audio file must have their own software for playing and listening. Source: Center for Social Theory and Comparative History Seminar Series. Paper 2006-I

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Reproductive Genetic Testing: What America Thinks

"Advances in reproductive genetic technologies offer prospective parents an increasing array of options to help them have healthy babies, but these same advances also can raise troubling questions about the extent to which parents can or should choose the characteristics of their children.

Parents today can be tested to see if they carry a mutation in a gene that puts them at risk to have a child with a serious genetic disorder. Parents who are at risk can test embryos created through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and select which embryos to transfer to the mother's womb, or test a fetus during pregnancy to see if it is affected. Today we test for serious genetic disorders. In the future, as we learn more about genes, it may be possible to test for less serious disorders, or even characteristics such as behavior and intelligence.

This report presents the first look at the largest ever series of social science research studies to learn what Americans know, think and feel about the use and regulation of reproductive genetic testing - carrier testing, prenatal genetic diagnosis and preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). These studies, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and conducted by the Genetics and Public Policy Center between October 2002 and August 2004, include 21 focus groups, 62 in-depth interviews, two surveys with a combined sample size of over 6000 people, and both in-person and online Genetic Town Halls." Source: Genetics and Public Policy Center

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Immigration and African-American Employment Opportunities: The Response of Wages, Employment, and Incarceration to Labor Supply Shocks

"The employment rate of black men, and particularly of low-skill black men, fell precipitously from 1960 to 2000. At the same time, the incarceration rate of black men rose markedly. This paper examines the relation between immigration and these trends in black employment and incarceration. Using data drawn from the 1960-2000 U.S. Censuses, we find a strong correlation between immigration, black wages, black employment rates, and black incarceration rates. As immigrants disproportionately increased the supply of workers in a particular skill group, the wage of black workers in that group fell, the employment rate declined, and the incarceration rate rose. Our analysis suggests that a 10-percent immigrant-induced increase in the supply of a particular skill group reduced the black wage by 3.6 percent, lowered the employment rate of black men by 2.4 percentage points, and increased the incarceration rate of blacks by almost a full percentage point." Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8

"What is science for a child? How do children learn about science and how to do science? Drawing on a vast array of work from neuroscience to classroom observation, Taking Science to School provides a comprehensive picture of what we know about teaching and learning science from kindergarten through eighth grade. By looking at a broad range of questions, this book provides a basic foundation for guiding science teaching and supporting students in their learning." Source: National Academies

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As Mid-Term Elections Loom, a Record Number of Americans Look to the Net for Information and Guidance

On a typical day in August 2006, 26 million Americans turned to the internet for news or information about politics and the upcoming mid-term elections. That number translates into 19% of adult internet users, or 13% of all Americans over the age of 18.

This is a high-point in the number of internet users turning to cyberspace on the average day for political news or information, exceeding the 21-million figure registered in a Pew Internet Project survey during the November 2004 general election campaign.1

Comparing August 2006 figures with those from a similar point in the 2002 mid-term election cycle is particularly revealing. In July 2002, approximately 11 million Americans, or 13% of online users, said they got some news or information about politics and the campaign from the internet on the average day. The August 2006 number is nearly two-and-a-half times larger than the mid-summer 2002 figure. Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Link to online report

Publics of Asian Powers Hold Negative Views of One Another

"There is a good deal of dislike, if not outright hostility, in how the publics of major Asian countries view their neighbors. The deepest divides exist between traditional rivals - roughly seven-in-ten Japanese express an unfavorable view of China and an equal number of Chinese dislike Japan. Similarly, most Indians have an unfavorable view of Pakistan and most Pakistanis hold negative views about India. But there are other divisions as well. Both the Chinese and Japanese express generally unfavorable views of Pakistan, while the Chinese tend to feel negatively toward India as well." Source: Pew Global Attitudes Project

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Undisclosed U.S. Detention Sites Overseas: Background and Legal Issues

"The existence of secret prisons on a state's territory or the use of its airfields to transport prisoners, with or without the involvement or knowledge of the government involved, may entail a breach of international obligations. This report provides background information regarding the controversy and discusses the possible legal frameworks that may apply. It is based on available open-source documentation, as cited, and not on any independent CRS investigation. It focuses on protections accorded to persons under international law, and is not intended to address intelligence operations or policy. It also focuses primarily on the allegations relating to Europe, although other countries may be involved, and includes in its appendix a status discussion concerning relevant investigations being conducted by the European Parliament and the Council on Europe." Source: Congressional Research Service

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Pacifica Radio/UC Berkeley Social Activism Sound Recording Project:

"The UC Berkeley Social Activism Sound Recording Project is a partnership between the UC Berkeley Library, the Pacifica Foundation, and other private and institutional sources. The intent of the project is to gather, catalog, and make accessible primary source media resources related to social activism and activist movements in California in the 1960's and 1970's. Some recordings have been edited for purposes of sound quality and continuity." Source: Media Resources Center, Moffitt Library U.C. Berkeley

Link to site

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Black Churches and the Faith-Based Initiative: Findings from a Survey

"Black churches have been major institutions in African American communities, providing focus for charitable giving, social support, and civic engagement, as well as spiritual strength. This may make them logical beneficiaries of the federal government’s Faith-based and Community Initiative. But little is actually known about their level of engagement in this program, their interest in being involved, or their capacity to perform. This report summarizes major findings from a Joint Center study on black churches’ views toward and interest in the federal program. It provides insights for government policymakers, churches who are interested in participating in the FBCI, and the general public." Source: Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

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Is the Academy a Liberal Hegemony?

The Political Orientations and Educational Values of Professors

In the last several years, conservatives have argued that an overwhelmingly Left and liberal faculty has taken over American colleges and universities. In particular, two main claims have been advanced: (1) a disproportionate percentage of the faculty is liberal; and (2) these liberal faculty are pushing their values on students and colleagues, skewing the educational process. However, data to support these contentions come from unrepresentative institutions and/or disciplines and mistakenly equate party identification with political ideology. In contrast, we use two nationally representative surveys done by the Carnegie Foundation (in 1989 and 1997) to address these concerns. We have several key findings: (1) although left-of-center faculty increased slightly, the best overall description of these trends suggests increased movement to the center, toward a more moderate faculty, between 1989 and 1997; (2) there are sizable differences across disciplines and institutional types, with conservatives being the plurality in some fields and in two-year colleges; (3) changes in age and gender have offsetting effects on changes in liberalism; and (4) there are significant differences in educational values between liberal and conservative professors. Source: Public Opinion Quarterly

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Does More Money Buy You More Happiness?

Abstract: Why do we believe that more money will buy us more happiness (when in fact it does not)? In this paper, we propose a model to explain this puzzle. The model incorporates both adaptation and social comparison. A rational person who fully accounts for the dynamics of these factors would indeed buy more happiness with money. We argue that projection bias, the tendency to project into the future our current reference levels, precludes subjects from correctly calculating the utility obtained from consumption. Projection bias has two effects. First, it makes people overrate the happiness that they will obtain from money. Second, it makes people misallocate the consumption budget by consuming too much at the beginning of the planning horizon, or consuming too much of adaptive goods.Source: Decisions, Operations, and Technology Management. Paper RS16. Anderson School of Management, U.C.L.A.

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The Changing Non-Voter: What Differentiates Non-Voters and Voters in Asian American and Latino Communities?

Abstract: Asian Americans and Latinos are currently one of the fastest growing racial minority groups in the United States. However, much of this growth is due to immigration: over half of both communities are new immigrants. Thus, Asian American and Latino political incorporation is directly related to the challenges associated with immigration and in ensuring the transition from citizen adult to voter. This paper explores the effect of immigration on the Asian American and Latino political behavior. Applying DeSipio’s (1996) model of new electorates, we disaggregate immigrants from both communities into three non-voting categories: non-naturalized immigrant adults, citizen adults not registered to vote, and registered voter adults who did not vote in the 2000 or 2004 election. Using Current Population Survey (CPS) data we identify and compare the factors that differentiate these three non-voting categories from those who voted between both communities. We find that Asian American and Latino political incorporation cannot be predicted solely on the basis of individual socioeconomic factors. In addition, we must take into account influences related to immigration and political institutions such as labor unions. Source: Center for the Study of Democracy. U.C. Irvine

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Friday, September 15, 2006

8th Annual Report on International Religious Freedom

“The purpose of this report is to document the actions of governments—those that repress religious expression, persecute innocent believers, or tolerate violence against religious minorities, as well as those that respect, protect, and promote religious freedom. We strive to report equally on abuses against adherents of all religious traditions and beliefs. The governments we report on range from those that provided a high level of protection for religious freedom in the broadest sense (those that “generally respected” religious freedom) to totalitarian regimes that sought to control religious thought and expression and regarded some or all religious groups as threats.” Source: U.S. Department of State

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Eight Americas: Investigating Mortality Disparities across Races, Counties, and Race-Counties in the United States

"Disparities in mortality across the eight Americas, each consisting of millions or tens of millions of Americans, are enormous by all international standards. The observed disparities in life expectancy cannot be explained by race, income, or basic health-care access and utilization alone. Because policies aimed at reducing fundamental socioeconomic inequalities are currently practically absent in the US, health disparities will have to be at least partly addressed through public health strategies that reduce risk factors for chronic diseases and injuries." Source: Public Library of Science Journal of Medicine.

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Enriching Discourse on Public Domains

Is there one public domain, or are there many public domains? The scholarly literature predominantly assumes there is only one, for references abound to “the public domain” in the singular. Yet, even a cursory review of this literature reveals that scholars sometimes define this term differently. So if there is only one public domain, but many definitions, perhaps one objective of scholarly discourse about the public domain should be to seek consensus on the one “true” definition.

Professor James Boyle has provocatively suggested that there are many public domains, and has urged scholars to develop a rich vocabulary for distinguishing among them. He points out that the word “property” has multiple meanings, and discourse about property proceeds without confusion because legal professionals have learned to discern which meaning is intended from the textual context. Boyle urges intellectual property scholars to develop a similarly nuanced public domain vocabulary so that it will be possible to distinguish among its several meanings as well. Source: Berkeley Center for Law and Technology. Law and Technology Scholarship (Selected by the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology). Paper 23.

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Americans See Less Progress on Their Ladder of Life

"In the past four years, some of the edge has come off good old American optimism.

Just under half (49%) of the respondents in a new Pew Research Center survey rate the quality of the life they expect to be leading five years from now higher than their current quality of life. As recently as 2002, more than six-in-ten (61%) Americans said their future would be better than their present." Source: Pew Research Center

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Democrats Hold Solid Lead; Strong Anti-Incumbent, Anti-Bush Mood

"As the congressional midterm campaign begins in earnest, the mood of the electorate is sharply drawn. Voters are disappointed with Congress and disapproving of President Bush. Anti-incumbent sentiment, while a bit lower than a few months ago, is far more extensive than in the previous two midterms and remains close to 1994 levels. Moreover, there are indications that voters are viewing the election through the prism of national issues and concerns. Many more voters see their vote as being against the president than at a comparable point in 1994, and a solid majority says party control of Congress will be a factor in their voting decision.

Voters are expressing strong and consistent anti-Republican attitudes. The GOP lags well behind the Democratic Party on nearly all major issues, including the economy, Iraq, education, health care, the environment and the budget deficit. And the Republicans have lost ground in recent years even on such traditional strengths as terrorism and improving the nation's morality." Source: Pew Research

Full PDF Report | Link to online summary | Topline Questionnaire (PDF)

American Piety in the 21st Century: New Insights to the Depths and Complexity of Religion in the U.S

BSR-Baylor Survey of Religion

"Most survey studies that include questions about religion only have space to ask about basic religious indicators such as church attendance and belief in God. This is understandable, as most surveys are focused on other topics such as crime or politics and space is at a premium. ISR has received a major three-year grant from the John M. Templeton Foundation, to conduct a nationally representative multi-year study of religious values, practices, and behaviors. After several years devoted to development and pretesting by Baylor faculty, the Baylor Religion Survey (BSR) was fielded during the winter of 2005 and the data were made available for analysis in the spring of 2006." Source: Baylor University

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Why Study Users? An Environmental Scan of Use and Users of Digital Resources in Humanities and Social Sciences Undergraduate Education

This paper presents an overview of a two-year study funded by the Andrew W. Mellon and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundations that (1) mapped the universe of digital resources available to undergraduate educators in the humanities and social sciences (H/SS) and (2) examined how a better understanding of the variation in use and users can benefit the integration of these resources into undergraduate teaching. In order to address questions around user demand and resource sustainability, we used a variety of methodologies that included an extensive literature review; discussions with and surveys of faculty from different disciplines and institutions; and discussions and interviews with site owners, use researchers, librarians, and educational technology professionals. Our results suggest that faculty use a vast array of online materials from both educational and "non-educational" sources, including their own personal collections and the ubiquitous Google-type search. Individual characteristics, including disciplinary and institutional affiliation, affected patterns of use. Many faculty, however, do not use digital resources for a host of reasons including the lack of direct relevance to their preferred pedagogical approaches and insufficient time and classroom resources. Our discussions with digital resource providers confirmed that resources created by higher education institutions will continue to proliferate despite a lack of formal knowledge about users and/or clear models for financial sustainability. A more precise understanding of the diversity of use and user behavior, and the ability to share findings from user studies, will demand that the digital resource development community make typologies, standards of data and data collection, and results more transparent.
Source: Center for Studies in Higher Education. Paper CSHE-15-06.

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Universities and the Entrepreneurial State: Politics and Policy and a New Wave of State-Based Economic Initiatives

The convergence of US federal science and economic policy that began in earnest in the Reagan administration formed the first stage in an emerging post-Cold War drive toward technological innovation. A frenzy of new state-based initiatives now forms the Second Stage, further promoting universities as decisive tools for economic competitiveness. State governments have largely become the political environment in which new policy ideas are emerging, influenced by a sense of increased competition among states and other international economies for economic growth. The paper outlines the characteristics of this Second Stage, and offers short case studies of two influential HT initiatives in California--a leading HT state. Among the author's conclusions: HT economic activity is already relatively widespread among the various states (more so than perhaps previously thought); leading HT states rely heavily on their university sectors and a highly educated workforce, yet are increasingly importing talent and neglecting investment in the education and skills of their native populations; the long-term commitment of states to financially support the frenzy of HT initiatives is unclear; and state initiatives are rationalized by lawmakers as filling a need not currently met by the private sector or universities and, in part, as a response to a sense of competition between states, and thus far with only a minor concern for global competition. As this paper explores, the politics of HT--including the focus on university-industry collaboration and neo-conservative religious/moral controversies over stem cell research--is a significant factor for understanding how and why most states are pursuing the Second Stage. John Aubrey Douglass Source: Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley

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The Core Analytics of Randomized Experiments for Social Research

"This paper examines the core analytic elements of randomized experiments for social research. Its goal is to provide a compact discussion for faculty members, graduate students, and applied researchers of the design and analysis of randomized experiments for measuring the impacts of social or educational interventions. Design issues considered include choosing the size of a study sample and its allocation to experimental groups, using covariates or blocking to improve the precision of impact estimates, and randomizing intact groups instead of individuals. Analysis issues considered include estimating impacts when not all sample members comply with their assigned treatment and estimating impacts when groups are randomized." Source: MDRC

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NCES : Projections of Education Statistics to 2015

"Some highlights from the report: enrollment in public elementary and
secondary schools rose 18 percent between 1990 and 2003 and is projected
to increase an additional 6 percent between 2003 and 2015; between 2003
and 2015, private school enrollment is expected to increase by 7 percent;
college enrollment rose by 25 percent between 1990 and 2004 and is
projected to increase a further 15 percent by 2015; the number of high
school graduates increased by 21 percent between 1990-91 and 2002-03 and a
further increase of 6 percent is projected by 2015-16." Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

from PW : "The art of the blurb"

Have you been asked to write a cover blurb? The author provides effective strategies for a stylish blurb.

Source: Publisher's Weekly

link to online article

Friday, September 08, 2006

A Sociological Critique of Bottled Water Consumption

Abstract: "This working paper excerpts some passages from my forthcoming book, Imaginary Refuge/Political Anesthesia, (University of Minnesota Press, 2007). In that book I name, define and explore the important features of what I call “inverted quarantine,” a particular type of response to feeling threatened. I have, elsewhere, called inverted quarantine a fatalistic, perverse form of environmental consciousness and action: A person knows enough about environmental hazards to feel threatened, but instead of doing something substantive about it, that is, acting politically, with others, to address the problem, he or she merely tries to buy protection for themselves, individually. The concept of “inverted quarantine” is applicable to certain popular forms of reaction to social issues – suburbanization and retreat to gated communities in response to the problems of the city, crime, racial tensions; home schooling in response to the real or perceived problems of the public education system. In the book, the focus is on inverted quarantine in response to toxic environmental threats. In addition to bottled water and water filters, explored in this working paper, the book also discusses organic food consumption and the marketing of “natural” or “organic” household products. In this working paper, only the most prominent features of the inverted quarantine phenomenon are discussed. Those who wish to see more details in the analysis of the concept are encouraged to read the full work, when it appears in print. A. Sz." Source: Center for Global, International and Regional Studies. U.C. Santa Cruz

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Defending Against Strategic Terrorists Over the Long Run: A Basic Approach to Resource Allocation

Abstract: "The efficient allocation of resources to defend the United States’ critical infrastructure and key assets against terrorist attacks involves both short and long-run issues. The former focus on attempts to detect and disrupt the planning and execution of operations already underway. The latter focus on long-term efforts to harden sites, reduce vulnerabilities,and make attacks more difficult and less attractive. Because these are longer-term efforts, strategic terrorists will adjust and respond to these measures in order to strike where the defense is weak and the expected gains are high. Recognizing that terrorists are strategic and that resources are limited, the Department of Homeland Security emphasizes that resources must be allocated on the basis of risk. This paper shows that the current approach to risk management does not threat terrorists as fully strategic and that the failure to do so can lead to a significant misallocation of defensive resources. The paper also provides a framework for allocating resources against long-term threats." Source:Institute of Governmental Studies, U.C. Berkeley

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

What Impact, If Any, Will Higher Minimum Wages Have on Retailers and Low-income Workers?

"The struggle to raise pay for low-income workers, once fought in agricultural fields and on factory floors, is moving to the aisles of big retailers in Chicago where large national chains like Wal-Mart and Target may be forced to offer higher wages along with every-day low prices.

While retailers complain the legislation may lead them to stall plans for new downtown stores, Wharton faculty say Chicago's proposed living wage law is largely symbolic and would have little real impact on large retail chains or their employees. "The bottom line is it's feel-good legislation that won't have an effect on firm location or firm costs -- or on low-income families in Chicago, either," says Wharton finance professor Robert Inman.

Under a proposal passed by Chicago's City Council in July, retail chains with sales of more than $1 billion or stores larger than 90,000 square feet will be required to pay workers $10 an hour in wages and $3 in benefits by 2010. Illinois' current minimum wage is $6.50 an hour, while the federal minimum wage -- last increased in September 1997 -- remains at $5.15 an hour." Source: Knowledge@Wharton

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Income Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the U.S.

"This report presents data on income, poverty and health insurance coverage in the United States based on information collected in the 2006 and earlier Annual Social and Economic Supplements (ASEC) to the Current Population Surcey (CPS) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau." Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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Reducing the Racial Achievement Gap: A Social-Psychological Intervention

Two randomized field experiments tested a social-psychological intervention designed to improve minority student performance and increase our understanding of how psychological threat mediates performance in chronically evaluative real-world environments. We expected that the risk of confirming a negative stereotype aimed at one's group could undermine academic performance in minority students by elevating their level of psychological threat. We tested whether such psychological threat could be lessened by having students reaffirm their sense of personal adequacy or "self-integrity." The intervention, a brief in-class writing assignment, significantly improved the grades of African American students and reduced the racial achievement gap by 40%. These results suggest that the racial achievement gap, a major social concern in the United States, could be ameliorated by the use of timely and targeted social-psychological interventions. Source: Science Mag

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Measuring Up : the National Report Card for Higher Education

Measuring Up 2006 consists of the national report card for higher education and fifty state report cards. Its purpose is to provide the public and policymakers with information to assess and improve postsecondary education in each state. Measuring Up 2006 is the fourth in a series of biennial report cards.

This Web site provides state leaders, policymakers, researchers and others with access to the national report card as well as access to all fifty state report cards. In addition, the site can compare any state with the best-performing states in each performance category, compare indicator scores and state grades for any performance category, obtain source and technical information for indicators and weights, and allow visitors to download the reports. Further, the Measuring Up Web site has the capacity to view previous report cards from 2000, 2002, and 2004. Source: National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education

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Exploring Gender Differences in Employment and Wage Trends Among Less-Skilled Workers

"In contrast to less-skilled men, less-skilled women have experienced growing labor force involvement and moderate wage increases. Compared to more-skilled women, less-skilled women have fallen behind. We investigated the reasons behind these trends in labor force participation and wages for male and female workers of different skill levels over the past 25 years, from 1979-2004. We find that less-skilled women have found themselves in an 'intermediate' place in the labor market. Like less-skilled men, they experienced deteriorating returns to education but, unlike the men, they benefited from a growing positive impact of accumulated experience on labor market outcomes. More-skilled women experienced both growing returns to education and greater accumulation of experience, leading to faster wage growth. In addition, at the same time that experience levels have grown, the returns to experience on wages and labor force participation have also risen among less-skilled women, while the returns to experience have declined among less-skilled men. The negative effect of children and marital status on wages and labor force participation has also declined markedly among women of all skill levels." Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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How Corruption Hits People When They Are Down

"Using cross-country and Peruvian data, I show that victims of misfortune, particularly crime victims, are much more likely than non-victims to bribe public officials. Misfortune increases victims' demand for public services, raising bribery indirectly, and also increases victims' propensity to bribe certain officials conditional on using them, possibly because victims are desperate, vulnerable, or demanding services particularly prone to corruption. The effect is strongest for bribery of the police, where the increase in bribery comes principally through increased use of the police. For the judiciary the effect is also strong, and for some misfortunes is composed equally of an increase in use and an increase in bribery conditional on use. The expense and disutility of bribing thus compound the misery brought by misfortune." Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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Computer and Internet Use by Students nursery school and K-12

"This report examines the use of computers and the Internet by American children enrolled in nursery school and students in kindergarten through grade 12. The report examines the overall rate of use (that is, the percentage of individuals in the population who are users), the ways in which students use the technologies, where the use occurs (home, school, and other locations), and the relationships of these aspects of computer and Internet use to demographic and socioeconomic characteristics such as students' age and race/ethnicity and their parents' education and family income. This report confirms that patterns of computer and Internet use seen in previous research are observed in more recent data. One of the more important findings presented in the report is that schools appear to help narrow the disparities between different types of students in terms of computer use. Differences in the rates of computer use are smaller at school than they are at home when considering such characteristics as race/ethnicity, family income, and parental education." Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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The Health Literacy of America’s Adults: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy

"The Health Literacy of America’s Adults is the first release of the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) health literacy results. The results are based on assessment tasks designed specifically to measure the health literacy of adults living in the United States. Health literacy was reported using four performance levels: Below Basic, Basic, Intermediate, and Proficient. The majority of adults (53 percent) had Intermediate health literacy. About 22 percent had Basic and 14 percent had Below Basic health literacy. Relationships between health literacy and background variables (such as educational attainment, age, race/ethnicity, where adults get information about health issues, and health insurance coverage) were also examined and reported. For example, adults with Below Basic or Basic health literacy were less likely than adults with higher health literacy to get information about health issues from written sources (newspapers, magazines, books, brochures, or the Internet) and more likely than adults with higher health literacy to get a lot of information about health issues from radio and television." Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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Friday, September 01, 2006


"Input any address and then view the relevant demographic data from the Census 2000 Report as well as the Census 2000 Housing Report. A Google Map identifying the particular region appears alongside the displayed data."

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Is There a Correlation between Scholarly Productivity, Scholarly Influence and Teaching Effectiveness in American Law Schools?

"This empirical study attempts to answer an age-old debate in legal academia: whether scholarly productivity helps or hurts teaching. The study is of an unprecedented size and scope. It covers every tenured or tenure-track faculty member at 19 American law schools, a total of 623 professors. The study gathers four years of teaching evaluation data (calendar years 2000-03) and creates an index for teaching effectiveness." Source: Social Science Research Network.

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Presidential Signing Statements and Executive Power

"A recent debate about the Bush administration's use of presidential signing statements has raised questions about their function, legality, and value. We argue that presidential signing statements are legal and that they provide a useful way for the president to disclose his views about the meaning and constitutionality of legislation. Although President Bush has challenged more statutory provisions in signing statements than prior administrations have, his signing statements are similar in many respects to the signing statements issued by prior presidents, such as President Clinton. In addition, basic tenets of positive political theory suggest that signing statements do not undermine the separation of powers or the legislative process and that, under certain circumstances, they can provide relevant evidence of statutory meaning." Source: Social Science Research Network

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The Economics of Open-Access Journals

“A new business model for scholarly journals, open access, has gained wide attention recently. An open-access journal’s articles are available over the Internet free of charge to all readers; revenue to cover publication costs comes from authors’ fees. In this paper, we present a model of the journals market. Drawing upon the emerging literature on two-sided markets, we highlight the features distinguishing journals from examples economists have previously studied (telephony, credit cards, etc.). We analyze the efficiency of equilibrium author and reader fee schedules for various industry structures and for various assumptions about journals’ objective functions. We ask whether open-access journals are viable in these various economic environments.” Source: Social Science Resource Network

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Why PIRG Is Wrong: Myths and Facts About College Textbooks

“While other higher education costs continue to rise faster than the price of textbooks, Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) projects have waged a biased and misleading campaign against publishers of textbooks. For the past two years, PIRG has disseminated inaccurate, incomplete and misleading information about college textbooks and the publishing industry. PIRG’s student volunteers ‘cherry-pick’ only a few figures to help support PIRG’s premise, creating a false and misleading picture. The organization continues to ignore industry-wide data, valid research, and information from independent, third party sources.” Source: Association of American Publishers, Inc.

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Many Americans Uneasy with Mix of Religion and Politics

"The relationship between religion and politics is a controversial one. While the public remains more supportive of religion's role in public life than in the 1960s, Americans are uneasy with the approaches offered by both liberals and conservatives. Fully 69% of Americans say that liberals have gone too far in keeping religion out of schools and government. But the proportion who express reservations about attempts by Christian conservatives to impose their religious values has edged up in the past year, with about half the public (49%) now expressing wariness about this." Source: Pew Research Center

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American Work Life is Worsening, But Most Workers Still Content

"Americans believe that workers in this country are worse off now than a generation ago - toiling longer and harder for less in wages and benefits, for employers who aren't as loyal as they once were, in jobs that aren't as secure, and in a global economy that might very well send their work overseas." Source: Pew Research Center

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Cubans in the United States

"Compared with the rest of the Hispanic population in the United States, Cubans are older, have a higher level of education, higher median household income and higher rate of home ownership. While there are important differences among Cubans, particularly between those who arrived before 1980 and those who arrived in subsequent years, as a group Cubans in the United States are distinct in many ways from the rest of the Hispanic populations." Source: Pew Hispanic Center

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U.S. v. Moussaoui documents

"The following web pages link to all 1,202 exhibits admitted into evidence during the trial of U.S. v. Moussaoui, with the exception of seven that are classified or otherwise remain under seal. This is the first criminal case for which a federal court has provided access to all exhibits online. The exhibits were posted on July 31, 2006.

Many of these exhibits are extremely large files; to view them, a broadband Internet connection is strongly recommended."

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Digital South Asia Library

"The Digital South Asia Library provides digital materials for reference and research on South Asia to scholars, public officials, business leaders, and other users. This project builds upon a two-year pilot project funded by the Association of Research Libraries' Global Resources Program with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Participants in the Digital South Asia Library include leading U.S. universities, the Center for Research Libraries, the South Asia Microform Project, the Committee on South Asian Libraries and Documentation, the Association for Asian Studies, the Library of Congress, the Asia Society, the British Library, the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, MOZHI in India, the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram in India, Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya in Nepal, and other institutions in South Asia."

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