Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Digest of Education Statistics, 2006

The 42nd in a series of publications initiated in 1962, the Digest’s primary purpose is to provide a compilation of statistical information covering the broad field of American education from prekindergarten through graduate school. The Digest contains data on a variety of topics, including the number of schools and colleges, teachers, enrollments, and graduates, in addition to educational attainment, finances, and federal funds for education, libraries, and international comparisons. Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Download full pdf publication | link to online summary (individual chapters are also available for download)

Demographic and School Characteristics of Students Receiving Special Education in the Elementary Grades

"This Issue Brief provides a detailed description of the proportion of elementary school students receiving special education in kindergarten, first grade, third grade, and fifth grade; the primary disabilities of these students; and the variation in these measures across a range of demographic and school characteristics. Data for this analysis are drawn from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K). Findings from the analysis indicate that for the cohort of students beginning kindergarten in 1998, specific learning disabilities and speech or language impairments were the most prevalent primary disabilities over the grades studied. The percentage of the student cohort receiving special education grew from 4.1 percent in kindergarten to 11.9 percent of students in fifth grade. The results also indicate that higher percentages of boys than girls and of poor students than nonpoor students received special education." Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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Understanding Privacy -- and the Real Threats to It

Summary: "Properly defined, privacy is the subjective condition people experience when they have power to control information about themselves. Because privacy is subjective, government regulation in the name of privacy can only create confidentiality or secrecy rules based on politicians' and bureaucrats' guesses about what "privacy" should look like. The most important, but elusive, part of true privacy protection is consumers' exercise of power over information about themselves. Ultimately, privacy is a product of personal responsibility and autonomy.

Law has dual, conflicting effects on privacy. Law is essential for protecting privacy because it backs individuals' privacy-protecting decisions, but much legislation plays a significant role in undermining privacy. Indeed, the principal threats to privacy come from governments.

These threats fall into three classes. The first, government surveillance, is a profound and well-recognized threat to privacy. Governments also undermine privacy by collecting, cataloging, and sharing personal information about citizens for administrative purposes. Less acknowledged -- but no less important -- is the wide variety of laws and regulations that degrade citizens' power to protect privacy as they see fit.

Whether it is anti-privacy regulation, data collection required by all manner of government programs, or outright surveillance, the relationship of governments to privacy is typically antagonistic. Privacy thrives when aware and empowered citizens are able to exercise control of information about themselves. Thoughtful policymakers should recognize the detrimental effects many programs have on consumers' privacy and respond with proposals that reduce the role of government in individuals' lives." Source: CATO Policy Institute

Download full pdf report | HTML version available.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Child Health USA

"Child Health USA is published to provide the most current data available for public health professionals and other individuals in the private and public sectors. The book’s succinct format is intended to facilitate the use of the information as a snapshot of measures of children’s health in the United States.

Population Characteristics is the first section, and presents statistics on factors that influence the well-being of children, including poverty, education, and child care. The second section, entitled Health Status, contains vital statistics and health behavior information for the maternal and child health population. Health Services Financing and Utilization, the third section, includes data regarding health care financing and newly implemented health policies. The final sections, State Data and City Data, contain information on selected indicators at those levels. Please note that Child Health USA is not copyrighted. Readers are free to duplicate and use all or part of the information contained herein." Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

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Parental Qualities Found to Significantly Affect the Civic Competence of Adolescents

From Press Release: "What parents do with their adolescent children, and what parents know about politics and government, are generally more important for youth civic development than who the parents are in terms background characteristics.

The research is presented in an article entitled “The Influence of Family Political Discussion on Youth Civic Development: Which Parent Qualities Matter?” authored by Hugh McIntosh (independent scholar), Daniel Hart (Rutgers University), and James Youniss (Catholic University). The article appears in the July issue of PS: Political Science & Politics, a journal of the American Political Science Association (APSA) and is available online."

Download PDf Report | Link to press Release

Day Labor in the Golden State

"Situated on busy street corners and in front of home improvement stores, day labor markets are highly visible. Yet little is known about day laborers themselves—their demographic characteristics, economic outcomes, or working conditions. Using data from the National Day Labor Survey, this report examines the day labor population and looks at the ways local governments are responding to the presence of day labor markets in their communities." Source: Public Policy Institute of California

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YouTube Traffic Characterization: A View From the Edge

"This paper presents a traffic characterization study of the popular video sharing service, YouTube. Over a three month period we observed almost 25 million transactions between users on an edge network and YouTube, including more than 600,000 video downloads. We also monitored the globally popular videos over this period of time. In the paper we examine usage patterns, file properties, popularity and referencing characteristics, and transfer behaviors, and compare them to traditional Web and media streaming workload characteristics. We also analyze social networking (Web 2.0) aspects of YouTube. We conclude the paper with a discussion of the implications of the observed characteristics. For example, we find that as with the traditional Web, caching could improve the end user experience, reduce network bandwidth consumption, and reduce the load on YouTube's core server infrastructure. Unlike traditional Web caching, Web 2.0 provides additional metadata that should be exploited to improve the effectiveness of strategies like caching." Source: HP Labs

Download pdf report | Link to online abstract

Technology, Competition, and Values

Abstract: Law can advance or retard the distributive effects of innovation and its diffusion in many ways. Certain technologies merit special monitoring because they promote the leveraging of economic advantage into social or cultural advantage without substantially increasing overall social welfare. Others threaten to undermine collective values and perceptions commonly used to evaluate technology. A final category threatens to do both, creating unfair or wasteful competition while blunting our capacity to recognize its morally dubious character.

As new sectors of life become more game-like and competitive, methods of leveling the playing field developed in sports and college admissions might become more broadly relevant. Inequality impact statements may be as important to our cultural environment as environmental impact statements are to the natural world. Finally, current laws regulating the use of controlled substances may need to be extended to precision chemical-based emotional enhancement, even if such pharmaceutical interventions are non-addictive. Technology should not be allowed to accelerate wasteful or unfair arms races or to undermine the very values we rely upon to evaluate it. Source: Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology, Forthcoming Available at SSRN

Link to download site at SSocial Science Resource Network

Report: President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors

"Our report is rooted in the work done by the Commission over the past three months plus the work of other Task Forces and Commissions that have been examining similar issues. This Commission has heard testimony at seven public meetings and has conducted 23 site visits to military bases, VA hospitals and treatment centers across the country. We have heard from experts on providing physical and mental health care, navigating health care and disability evaluation and compensation systems, members of Congress and their staff, and most importantly, service men and women, their families and the health care professionals charged with their care." Source: President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors.

Download Full pdf report | Link to press release

China's Economic Conditions

"Since the initiation of economic reforms in 1979, China has become one of the world's fastest-growing economies. From 1979 to 2005 China's real gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an average annual rate of 9.7%. Real GDP grew by 11.1% in 2006, and during the first quarter of 2007, it rose by 11.1% over the same period in 2006. China is expected to continue to enjoy rapid economic growth over the next several years, provided that it continues to implement needed reforms, particularly in regard to its inefficient state-owned enterprises and the state banking system. If projected growth levels continue, China could become the world's largest economy within a decade or so. Trade and foreign investment continues to play a major role in China's booming economy." Source: Congressional Research Center

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70% - Say Internet Pornography Is Harmful

"A large 70%-majority of Americans reject the idea that "nude pictures and X-rated videos on the internet provide harmless entertainment for those who enjoy it"; only 27% agree; in general, opinions about pornography have become slightly more conservative over the past 20 years. Currently 41% agree that "nude magazines and X-rated movies provide harmless entertainment for those who enjoy it," while 53% disagree. The number saying such material is harmless has fluctuated, declining from 48% in 1987 to 41% in 1990 and then varying by no more than four percentage points thereafter. The pattern is more mixed for other values related to freedom of expression." Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

Link to online summary

Hillary Clinton Most Visible Presidential Candidate

"The 2008 presidential campaign remained a top tier news story last week both in terms of coverage and public interest. The campaign has been one of the top five most covered news stories for much of the year, and public interest has remained fairly consistent. This past week, the national news media devoted 9% of its overall coverage to the campaign, making it the second most heavily covered story of the week, after the Iraq policy debate. Among the public, 16% followed campaign news very closely and 10% listed this as their most closely followed story.

Democratic candidates continue to have a clear advantage over Republican candidates in terms of visibility. When asked which candidates they have been hearing the most about in the news recently, 67% of the public named a Democrat while only 8% named a Republican. Even Republicans themselves name Democratic candidates more readily than GOP candidates by a better than two-to-one margin (54% name a Democratic candidate, 21% name a GOP candidate)." Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

Download full PDF Report | Link to pdf topline questionnaire | link to online summary

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wiki Awareness

"Wetpaint recently commissioned Harris Interactive to ask online users about their awareness of wikis, as compared to blogs, social networks, forums. The result was that only 16% of the US online population is familar with what a wiki is. Even if you just look at the online trendsetters (18-34 year olds), only 27% of those online users are familiar with wikis."

The entire set of survey results are available for download on the Wetpaint site.

Download .doc format

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Marketing Approach to Earning Popular Support in Theaters of Operation

"Virtually every action, message, and decision of a military force shapes the opinions of an indigenous population: strategic communication, treatment of civilians at vehicle checkpoints, and the accuracy or inaccuracy of aerial bombardment. Themes of U.S. goodwill mean little if its actions convey otherwise. Consequently, a unified message in both word and deed is fundamental to success. Business marketing practices provide a useful framework for improving U.S. military efforts to shape the attitudes and behaviors of local populations in a theater of operations as well as those of a broader, international audience. Enlisting Madison Avenue extracts lessons from these business practices and adapts them to U.S. military efforts, developing a unique approach to shaping that has the potential to improve military-civilian relations, the accuracy of media coverage of operations, communication of U.S. and coalition objectives, and the reputation of U.S. forces in theater and internationally. Foremost among these lessons are the concepts of branding, customer satisfaction, and segmentation of the target audience, all of which serve to maximize the impact and improve the outcome of U.S. shaping efforts." Source: RAND Corporation

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Regulating Older Drivers : Are New Policies Needed?

"Are older drivers posing an increasing risk to the public? If they are, what options should policymakers consider to mitigate that risk? This research offers a new perspective on these questions. Using an innovative approach to estimate the extent to which older drivers are on the road and their riskiness compared with drivers of other age groups, the study finds that older drivers (those 65 and older) are slightly (16 percent) likelier than drivers aged 25 to 64 to cause an accident and that they pose much less risk to the public than do drivers aged 18 to 24, who are nearly three times likelier than older drivers to cause an accident. However, because of their greater frailty, older drivers are much likelier than other drivers to be seriously injured or killed when involved in an accident. In light of these findings, the authors find little support for the idea that stricter licensing policies targeting older drivers would substantially improve traffic safety." Source: RAND Corporation

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Gay Sex and Marriage, the Reciprocal Disadvantage Problem, and the Crisis in Liberal Constitutional Theory

"While it is true that constitutional protection for gay rights depends upon contestable moral judgments, the failure to protect these rights also rests on such judgments. The argument that courts should not take a side in the “culture war” is therefore a wash. Conservatives are nonetheless eager to discredit the argument for gay rights because the failure to do so would challenge core assumptions of standard constitutional theory." Source: Georgetown Law

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Should Wal-Mart, Real Estate Brokers, and Banks Be in Bed Together?

"The application in July 2005 by Wal-Mart to obtain a specialized bank charter from the state of Utah and to obtain federal deposit insurance re-opened a national debate concerning the separation of banking and commerce. Simultaneously, bank regulators were considering the possibility of allowing banks to enter the area of residential real estate brokerage, which is another facet of the same set of issues. Though Wal-Mart withdrew its application in March 2007, the issues and the debate continue. This paper offers a principles-based approach to these issues that begins with the recognition that banks are special and that safety-and-soundness regulation of banks is therefore warranted. Building on that recognition, the paper lays out the principle that the “examinability and supervisability” of an activity should determine if it should be undertaken by a bank or by a bank’s owners. Even if an otherwise legitimate activity is not suitable for a bank, it should be allowed for a bank’s owners (whether the owners are individuals or a holding company), so long as the financial transactions between the bank and its owners are closely monitored by bank regulators. The implications of this set of ideas for the Wal-Mart case, for real estate brokerage, and for banking and commerce generally are then discussed." Source: New York University School of Law.

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In mid-June 2007 Hamas completed the seizure of Gaza, defeating elements of the nationalist Fatah movement. The development effectively left the Palestinian Territories divided, with the Islamists of Hamas in control of Gaza, and Fatah retaining control of the West Bank.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned Hamas’s actions and announced the formation of an Emergency Government largely composed of technocrats. He said he would rule by decree until the conditions were right for fresh elections. The Prime Minister of the outgoing Government, Ismail Haniya, rejected the move, although Hamas leaders said that they would be willing to talk to Mr Abbas.

The EU and US have normalised relations with the new Government and the Quartet (the US, EU, UN and Russia) has agreed to lift the economic embargo on direct assistance to the Palestinian Authority that had been in place since Hamas entered government in early 2006.

This paper looks at the background to these events and considers their potential implications.

Source: UK. Parliament House of Commons Research Library

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The Effect of Wealth and Race on Start-up Rates

"The wealthiest nascent entrepreneurs are more likely to start a business than are their less wealthy counterparts, concludes a study released today by the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration. However, this effect differs when the race and ethnicity of the entrepreneur are considered as factors.

“Self-employment rates among minorities are generally less than would otherwise be predicted,” said Dr. Chad Moutray, Chief Economist for the Office of Advocacy. “Yet, there tends to be more ‘pre-business’ activity among nascent minority entrepreneurs. This study looks at some of the possible factors that might explain that gap.”

The study finds that as a whole, the wealthiest (top 25 percent as determined by net assets) nascent entrepreneurs (individuals putting effort towards opening a business, but who have not yet done so) are four times more likely to open a business than those in the lower part of the wealth distribution. However, even controlling for net wealth, white nascent entrepreneurs are more likely to open a business than are Black or Hispanic nascent entrepreneurs." Source: U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy

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Backgrounder: Is The Fairness Doctrine Fair Game?

"It has been 20 years since the Fairness Doctrine was repealed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Yet in recent weeks, the rule that required broadcasters to balance views they aired on controversial subjects has re-emerged as a topic of debate in media circles—and particularly on talk radio.

Some hosts in the conservative-dominated talk radio universe have warned listeners that Congressional Democrats and liberals want to revive the Fairness Doctrine in an effort to silence voices and views they don’t like. And some have warned that any return to the rule would produce a “Hush Rush Bill.” (The National Review published a recent cover story on the topic, complete with a photo of Rush Limbaugh gagged with duct tape.)

A few weeks ago, Limbaugh raised that prospect when he described his show as something “that frightens and scares the American left to the point that they want to deny this program Constitutional access to the First Amendment.”

Conversely, Ed Schultz, a syndicated liberal talker, has accused conservatives of setting up a “straw man” by playing up the threat of a new Fairness Doctrine. “I can guarantee you folks that no one is out there saying ‘let’s have the Fairness Doctrine,’’’ Schultz declared, and he blamed conservatives for trying to stifle liberal voices on the air. " Source: Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism

Link to online report

U.S. Military Operations in Iraq - Updated Report

"Though initially denying that there was an organized resistance movement, DOD officials have now acknowledged there is regional/local organization, with apparently ample supplies of arms and funding. CENTCOM has characterized the Iraqi resistance as "a classical guerrilla-type campaign." DOD initially believed the resistance to consist primarily of former regime supporters and foreign fighters; however, it has now acknowledged that growing resentment of coalition forces and an increase in sectarian conflicts, independent of connections with the earlier regime, are contributing to the insurgency. Joint counterinsurgency operations involving both U.S. and Iraqi forces are being intensified in Baghdad and al-Anbar province, focusing on a "clear, hold, and build" strategy. By mid-June the last of the units composing the force "surge" announced in January had arrived in Iraq to begin counterinsurgency operations. According to DOD, as of June 30 2007, 3,572 U.S. troops had died in Iraq operations. There have been more than 26,558 U.S. personnel wounded or injured since military operations began. Non-U.S. Coalition fatalities have totaled 287, while Iraqi security force fatalities from June 2003 through July 11, 2007, are estimated to be 7,202. The latest unclassified DOD statistics indicate that as of July 1, about 156,250 U.S. troops are in Iraq, with approximately 20,000 additional military support personnel in the region." Source: Congressional Research Service

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Survey Finds Young Americans’ News Use Is Half That of Older Adults

From Press Release: "Most of America’s teens and young adults do not follow the daily news closely, according to a new report released today by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

The report, titled “Young People and News,” is based on a national sample survey of 1800 Americans that included teens (ages 12-17), young adults (ages 18-30), and older adults. The sample is noteworthy for its inclusion of teenage respondents, who’ve seldom been polled nationally on their news habits." Source: Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Link to full pdf report | Link to press release

Census Bureau Publishes First-Ever Reports on Veteran Entrepreneurs and Their Businesses

"The first-ever reports examining veterans in business show that prior to establishing, purchasing or acquiring their firms, veteran owners were somewhat better educated compared to other business owners. In 2002, veterans were about as likely to have either bachelor or postgraduate degrees as all owners of respondent business firms (40.7 percent vs. 40.1 percent). But they were more likely to have postgraduate degrees (19.2 percent vs. 17.3 percent) and less likely not to have graduated high school (4.3 percent vs. 6 percent)." Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Download full pdf report | Link to press release

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Undocumented Latina/o Students in Chicago’s Colleges and Universities.

"Through the collection of educational oral histories from students in higher education, this research explores the experiences of undocumented Latino students in Chicago to illustrate common factors that enabled this group to be educationally successful despite educational and immigration policies that criminalize every facet of their lives and construct them to be simultaneously extraneous to schooling, but essential to the service economy. In this political moment when the United States is debating the “legitimacy” of amnesty and extending citizenship to those undocumented, and the mainstream media frequently circulates representations of “illegals” with the themes that these individuals are “lazy” or “illegal” and thus undeserving of rights, it is vitally important that the voices and experiences of those undocumented is made visible. In the context where “aiding and abetting” those undocumented was potentially a crime as proposed in the House of Representatives Bill 4437 (The Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 or the "Sensenbrenner Bill,") that was passed by the United States House of Representatives on December 16, 2005 by a vote of 239 to 182, educators cannot afford to ignore immigration policy as an educational issue, and we must connect both educational and immigration policies to the expansion of the punitive branches of our incarceration-nation." Source: InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies. Vol. 3, Issue 2, Article 6.

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Factors Driving the Silicon Valley Housing Market in 2007

"With Silicon Valley employment still well below the 2000 peak, and rising foreclosures nationwide, this article examines whether the area's housing market is vulnerable to a correction. Recent statistics suggest that several factors have helped support home prices, but that there are uncertainties going forward. Although the San Jose MSA has regained less than one-fifth of jobs lost since 2000, there are now strong signs that employment is in recovery, with job growth occurring in diverse sectors. The San Jose MSA's wage and salary jobs now outstrip the area's resident labor force, suggesting that there may be a pent-up demand for housing from commuters in surrounding communities. This demand may be one of several factors that kept the region's housing prices stable immediately following the dot-com bust, and allowed price increases to follow in the absence of full employment recovery. Other factors include low interest rates; a mobile younger workforce, whose departure affected rent more than home prices; and a shift in investment from stocks to homeownership following the dot-com bust. In the 2007 housing market slowdown, the greatest impact nationwide has been at the low end of the market, while Silicon Valley's expensive housing market has a foreclosure rate well below the statewide average. Nevertheless, there is some evidence of softening. The number of home sales has decreased. The same-home sales price index was down slightly first quarter, as was the median price for new homes. The median price of existing homes is rising, but in part because of the drop off in sales at the low end and in part due to sellers taking homes off the market rather than lowering prices. The paper concludes with several possible scenarios for Silicon Valley home prices going forward--a two-tiered market with price increases in some segments and declines in others; price stabilization across home-types; or a significant recession-induced price decline." Source: Fisher Center for Real Estate & Urban Economics. Fisher Center Research Reports: Report #0607. U.C. Berkeley

Download pdf publication | Link to online summary via eScholarship repository

From Motherhood Penalties to Fatherhood Premia: The New Challenge for Family Policy

"The processes that occur in the family are today probably the largest obstacle to continued progress in gender equality in the workplace. Gender differences in wages between single men and women are consistently found to be considerably smaller than among men and women who are married or have children. This study examines how family processes affect gender differences on wages using longitudinal matched employee-employer data from Norway, 1980-1997. We find that over this period the large wage penalty initially associated with marriage and children for women decreases substantially, so that by 1997 women who do the same work for the same employer earn similar wages, regardless of marital status or motherhood. This is not true among men, where the small wage premia for marriage and fatherhood remain relatively constant across this period. Thus, while gender differences at the beginning of this period were primarily due to women being penalized for marriage and motherhood, by the end of this period, family processes create gender differences in wages primarily through the premia for men. These results suggest that Norwegian family policies have been largely successful at ameliorating the wage penalties for women, so that the role of family on gender differences in wages is now primarily due to the male premia. We explore how these processes play out in wage growth and promotions, and conclude by discussing the policy implications of these findings for Norway and the United States." Source: Institute for Research on Labor and Employment Working Paper Series. Paper iirwps-154-07. U.C. Berkeley

Download PDF Publication | Link to online summary [eScholarship Repository]

Iraq: Oil and Gas Legislation, Revenue Sharing, and U.S. Policy

"Iraqi leaders continue to debate a package of hydrocarbon sector and revenue sharing legislation that will define the terms for the future management and development of the country's significant oil and natural gas resources. The package includes an oil and gas sector framework law and three supporting laws that would outline revenue sharing mechanisms, restructure Iraq's Ministry of Oil, and create an Iraqi National Oil Company. Both the Bush Administration and Congress consider the passage of oil and gas sector framework and revenue sharing legislation as important benchmarks that will indicate the current Iraqi government's commitment to promoting political reconciliation and long term economic development in Iraq." Source: Congressional Research Service

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Pay Discrimination Claims Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

A Legal Analysis of the Supreme Court's Decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Inc.

"This report discusses Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Inc., a recent case in which the Supreme Court considered the timeliness of a sex discrimination claim filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. In Ledbetter, the female plaintiff alleged that past sex discrimination had resulted in lower pay increases and that these past pay decisions continued to affect the amount of her pay throughout her employment, resulting in a significant pay disparity between her and her male colleagues by the end of her nearly twenty year career. Under Title VII, a plaintiff is required to file suit within 180 days after an alleged unlawful employment practice has occurred. Although the plaintiff in Ledbetter argued that each paycheck she received constituted a new violation of the statute and therefore reset the clock with regard to filing a claim, the Court rejected this argument, reasoning that even if employees suffer continuing effects from past discrimination, their claims are time barred unless filed within the specified number of days of the original discriminatory act. Currently, several bills that would supercede the Ledbetter decision by amending Title VII have been introduced in the 110th Congress, including H.R. 2660 and H.R. 2831, and a companion bill to H.R. 2831 has been announced for introduction in the Senate." Source: Congressional Research Service

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China's Online Population Explosion

What It May Mean for the Internet Globally...and for U.S. Users

"The influx of tens of millions of new online participants each year can be expected to have far-reaching consequences for the people of China, for its government and economy, and for the larger world. At the very least, the internet will offer ever greater numbers of Chinese a much more sophisticated information and communications world than the one they currently inhabit. And because the Chinese share a single written language, despite the multiplicity of spoken tongues, it could have a unifying effect on the country's widely dispersed citizenry. An expanding internet population might also increase domestic tensions that could spill over into China's relations with the U.S. and other countries while the difference between Chinese and Western approaches to the internet could create additional sore points over human rights and problems with restrictions on non-Chinese companies." Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project

Link to online report

Fewer Mothers Prefer Full-time Work

"In the span of the past decade, full-time work outside the home has lost some of its appeal to mothers. This trend holds both for mothers who have such jobs and those who don't.

Among working mothers with minor children (ages 17 and under), just one-in-five (21%) say full-time work is the ideal situation for them, down from the 32% who said this back in 1997, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Fully six-in-ten (up from 48% in 1997) of today's working mothers say part-time work would be their ideal, and another one-in-five (19%) say she would prefer not working at all outside the home." Source: Pew Research Center

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Campaign Internet Videos: Viewed More on TV than Online

"Short videos produced for the internet are becoming an important component of campaign news. In some cases, candidates themselves are producing videos and releasing them on their campaign websites. Candidates also are seeing their own gaffes or embarrassing moments packaged in a brief video and put up on the web for all to see. And while these videos originate on the internet, more people are viewing them on TV than online." Source: Pew Research Center for people and the press

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Friday, July 13, 2007

How to make people buy books

Esquire Magazine Interviews Chip Kidd who discusses what goes into great book design for covers that attract buyers.

Source: Esquire Magazine

Link to online article

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Does American Culture Frown on Vacations?

"For at least 10 years now, many global studies have found that Americans worked longer hours than workers in any other developed country. A lobbying organization that believes Americans should have a mandatory amount of vacation time, Take Back Your Time, notes that last year 25% of American workers got no paid vacation at all, while 43% didn’t even take a solid week off." Source: Emory University via Knowledge@Emory

Link to online report

Monday, July 09, 2007

Overborrowing and undersaving: lessons and policy implications from research in behavioral economics

"The U.S. household carries over $7,500 in uncollateralized debt and likely saves at a negative rate. There is a growing body of evidence that this borrowing and saving behavior may not, as assumed by standard economics, be the product of rational financial planning. This paper discusses insights from behavioral economics on how self-control problems could play a crucial role in determining such financial outcomes. It is important to note that self-control problems, as defined in this paper, are thought of as an issue affecting all people, not just those involved in our specific research. ; The paper reports results from a field study targeted to low-to-moderate income individuals conducted in Dorchester, MA. It links measured self-control to borrowing and savings outcomes taken from individual credit reports and survey questions respectively. We find that self-control problems are associated with higher borrowing, specifically on credit cards, and lower savings of income tax refunds. The paper discusses how policy prescriptions built around addressing self-control issues could prove helpful in improving financial outcomes." Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

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Status and Progress of Women in the Middle East and North Africa

"This overview updates the main findings of the Regional Gender Report with respect to the status of women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).1 The regional Report on Gender and Development highlighted several points. On the one hand, MENA’s achievements in health and education during the 1980s and 1990s compared favorably with those of other regions. On the other hand, women’s labor force participation remained low and women were underrepresented in national parliaments and in other decision making bodies." Source: World Bank

Download full Gender Overview" pdf report | Status and Progress of Women in the Middle East and North Africa PDF update | Link to online download site

Review of Graduate Student Compensation Costs Charged to National Institutes of Health Research Grants

Executive Summary: "Our objectives were to (1) determine whether universities and colleges limited the graduate student compensation charged to National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grants to the amount paid to a first-year, postdoctoral scientist performing comparable work at the same institution and to the National Research Service Award stipend in effect when NIH awarded the grants and (2) provide statistical estimates of the number of grants with graduate student compensation costs charged; the number of researchers who received graduate student compensation, including tuition remission, from NIH grants; and the costs of such compensation.

For all sampled grants with graduate student compensation charges, we found that universities and colleges appropriately limited graduate student compensation charges to the amount paid to a first-year, postdoctoral scientist performing comparable work at the same institution and to the National Research Service Award stipend in effect when NIH awarded the grants. This report also provides statistical estimates related to graduate student compensation costs charged to NIH grants. The report contains no recommendations." Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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| Link to executive summary

Grant of Executive Clemency and other Presidential Proclimations

Text of recent Grant of Clemency for Scooter Libby and links to other recent Presidential Proclamations.

Link to download site at whitehouse.gov
"Dramatic events in London and Scotland last week attracted a large news audience. Roughly a third of the public paid very close attention to news that British police had found and defused two car bombs in London, and another 31% followed the story fairly closely. Fully 21% said this was the single news story they followed more closely than any other – making it the most closely followed news story of the week.1 Interest in the attempted bombings did not reach the level of last summer's major terrorism scare. In August 2006, 54% of the public paid very close attention to news about a foiled plot to blow up planes flying from England to the U.S. using liquid explosives." Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

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Law in the Labor Movement's Challenge to Wal-Mart

"This Article studies the role of law in the successful community-labor challenge to Wal-Mart’s first proposed Los Angeles-area Supercenter in the working-class city of Inglewood. It focuses on the use of legal and legislative challenges to mobilize opposition to Wal-Mart’s Inglewood initiative—a technique known as the “site fight” because of its focus on blocking Wal-Mart at a specific location. The aims of this Article are twofold. First, it seeks to understand the site fight in relation to broader shifts within the labor movement, which have driven some unions to promote pro-labor legal reform at the municipal government level. Part I therefore explores how labor leaders have responded to the limits of traditional unionism by pursuing an alternative model of labor activism that uses political opportunities available in the local development process to advocate policy reforms designed to increase union density. This local approach is built upon three pillars: (1) it targets non-exportable service industries tethered to local economies and thus offering strong opportunities for union organizing; (2) it relies on community-labor coalitions to exert political influence within the local development process; and (3) it leverages local opportunities for legal advocacy outside the traditional confines of labor law to promote development practices accountable to labor and community stakeholders. To illustrate the dynamics of local labor activism, Part II provides a detailed case study of the defining campaign of the anti-Wal-Mart movement—the Inglewood site fight—in which labor leaders allied with land use and environmental lawyers to oppose Supercenter plans on the ground that the negative community impacts outweighed consumer benefits. The second goal of this Article is to use the Inglewood site fight to engage the scholarly debate about the role of law in social change processes generally and the relationship between law and contemporary labor organizing specifically. Part III draws four central lessons from the Inglewood campaign. First, in contrast to portraits of lawyers derailing social movements by pursuing rights in court at the cost of grassroots mobilization, the Inglewood case study provides an example of multi-level legal activism where lawyers worked in different institutional venues to challenge Wal-Mart site proposals and develop policy reforms. Second, the Inglewood site fight highlights a flexible advocacy model characterized by tactical pluralism, in which lawyers advanced a coordinated labor campaign using traditional litigation alongside nontraditional skills such as drafting legislation and conducting public relations. Third, the case study reveals the sophisticated ways in which labor client groups operate as consumers of legal services, assembling lawyer teams that contribute networked expertise in such areas as land use, environmental, and election law to advance labor organizing objectives. Finally, the case study provides an interesting perspective on the problem of multi-tiered accountability that arises in the context of low-income community representation, where lawyers must navigate complex relationships with multi-organizational coalitions that, in turn, struggle to represent competing conceptions of community." Source: UCLA School of Law. UCLA Public Law Series. Paper 7-01.

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Does Collective Identity Matter? : African-American Conventional and Unconventional Political Participation

"This study is the first to compare the role of feelings of collective identity, or a shared sense of common fate, on the likelihood of participating in conventional (electoral) low-commitment political activity that takes little time (voting), conventional high-commitment involvement that requires more time and effort (participation in a voter registration drive), unconventional (non-electoral) low-commitment political activity (signing a petition), and unconventional high-commitment activity (participation in a protest march or demonstration). The paper concludes that collective identity is a powerful predictor of the likelihood of participation in unconventional but not conventional political activity irrespective of the level of commitment." Source: Center for the Study of Democracy U.C. Irvine

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Why has the LDP Stayed in Power so Long in Post-War Japan?

"Why has the LDP stayed in power so long? This is the biggest puzzle in Japanese politics, especially considering the fact that Japan has been constitutionally a liberal democracy in the postwar period. This paper exams possible reasons for why the LDP has stayed in power for so long. I empirically exam three different explanations, namely the political culture explanation, the political economy explanation (or the Clientelism with centralized fiscal structure), and the system support explanation. While the political culture and the political economy explanations have some validity, neither one can exclusively explain the LDP dominance in the postwar party system. The system-support explanation provides evidence that supports that those Japanese who support the Japanese political system are more likely to support the LDP. Thus, the LDP’s linkage to system evaluation may be another answer to this puzzle of LDP dominance that has been overlooked in previous research." Source: Center for the Study of Democracy. U.C. Irvine

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Democrats Go Domestic: Analyzing the 6-28 Debate

A Comparison of the Candidates' Views with Those of the Public

"Eight candidates for the 2008 Democratic nomination for president squared off last night in a debate held before a predominantly black audience at Howard University in Washington D.C. and televised nationally by PBS. Here is a run-down of how their views on key issues stacked up against the attitudes of the general public, of self-identified Democrats, Republicans and independents, and of African Americans generally, as measured by recent Pew Research Center surveys." Source: Pew Research Center

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New state laws bring changes July 1

"on July 1, the fiscal years of 46 states begin and several new laws take effect. So South Carolina gang members, Virginia teenage tanners and Illinois truants, take note: Life’s about to get a little tougher.

A few laws are borne out of events likely to inspire TV episodes of “Law & Order.” It now will be a felony to dismember or hide a body to conceal a crime in Iowa. The law closes a loophole that constricted police investigating a woman who helped her boyfriend cut up and hide the body of his murdered roommate. They could charge her only with lying to investigators and taking the victim’s belongings." Source: Stateline.org via Pew Research

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Monday, July 02, 2007

As Marriage and Parenthood Drift Apart, Public Is Concerned about Social Impact

"Americans believe that births to unwed women are a big problem for society, and they take a mixed view at best of cohabitation without marriage. Yet these two nontraditional behaviors have become commonplace among younger adults, who have a different set of moral values from their elders about sex, marriage and parenthood, a new Pew Research Center Survey finds." Source: Pew Research Center

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Census Bureau: Facts for the 4th of July

Statistics on U.S. population and the 4th of July activities.

Many of the year's 74 million + barbecues will be held this Wednesday where people will consume hot dogs most likely from Iowa, and Potato Salad or Chips from Idaho or Washington crops.

Over $206.3 millions worth of imported Chinese fireworks will wow audiences on what should be a grand celebration.

Full press release with links to data

The Rule of Law in the Age of Terrorism - An Audit

"I now want to explore the history of the present, or at least the last few years since 9/11. Timothy Garton Ash observed that at the end of the twentieth century the Cold War had ended and “Western values” of “freedom, human rights, democracy, and the rule of law” had triumphed. But he goes on to argue that the 21st century really began with September 11 and that terror has brought about a crisis for the free world.2 Other bombings by Islamic terrorist organisations in Bali, Madrid and London led to responses from Australia, Britain and the United States - exemplars of “Western values” - to trade those values at a heavy discount for security. On international markets - the United Nations, the law of war, human rights, torture, the Geneva conventions, and on domestic markets - the separation of powers, the rule of law, preventive detention, due process, freedom from warrantless access to financial records, search and
wiretapping - all sold at substantial discount." Source: David J. Neal, SC, "The Rule of Law in the Age of Terrorism - An Audit" (January 30, 2007). Center for the Study of Law and Society Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program. Papers Presented in the Center for the Study of Law and Society Bag Lunch Speaker Series. Paper 36.

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