Monday, March 31, 2008

Welcome Stranger

The Urban Libraries Council (ULC) conducted a survey of its members, gathering data on the ways in which urban public libraries are involved with the transition of immigrants into American life. The findings of the survey, augmented with data collected in another 2003 member survey, are summarized in this report. They show that urban public libraries are in the forefront of the effort to make their cities stronger by welcoming and integrating new residents from all over the world.

Download full pdf report

Social Explorer Gets Religion!

"Social Explorer, in association with the Association of Religious Data Archives, releases maps and reports at the county level that provide counts of adherents and congregations of most demoninations in the United States for 1980, 1990 and 2000, including Catholics, many Protestant Denominations, both Evangelical and mainline, Mormons, Muslims and Jews, etc.

Based on the Religious Congregations and Membership Study (RCMS) this is the most complete census available on religious congregations and their members. These data were developed by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies (ASARB). "

Link to Religious Maps from Social Explorer and ARDA

Related link:
Association of Religious Data Archives

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Student Speech Rights in the Digital Age

"Last year, the Court ducked an opportunity to determine in Morse v. Frederick whether public schools have authority to restrict student speech that occurs off of school grounds. The Court's refusal to address this issue was unfortunate. For several decades lower courts have struggled to determine when, if ever, public schools should have the power to restrict student expression that does not occur on school grounds during school hours. In the last several years, however, courts have struggled with this same question in a new context -- the digital media. Around the country, increasing numbers of courts have been forced to confront the authority of public schools to punish students for speech on the Internet. In most cases, students are challenging punishments they received for creating fake websites mocking their teachers or school administrators or for making offensive comments on websites or instant messages. More often than not, the lower courts are ruling in favor of the schools." Source: Boston College Law School.

Download full pdf report | Link to online Abstract

Obama Weathers the Wright Storm, Clinton Faces Credibility Problem

National Discontent Approaches 20-Year High, Bush Approval at 28%

The videos of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's controversial sermons and Barack Obama's subsequent speech on race and politics have attracted more public attention than any events thus far in the 2008 presidential campaign. A majority of the public (51%) said they heard "a lot" about the videos, and an even larger percentage (54%) said they heard a lot about Obama's speech, according to the weekly News Interest Index.

However, the Wright controversy does not appear to have undermined support for Obama's candidacy. The latest nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted March 19-22 among 1,503 adults, finds that Obama maintains a 49% to 39% advantage over Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, which is virtually unchanged from than the 49% to 40% lead he held among Democrats in late February. Obama and Clinton continue to enjoy slight advantages over John McCain in general election matchups among all registered voters. Source: Pew Research for People and the Press

Download full pdf report | Download online questionnaire | link to online summary

Merida Initiative: Proposed U.S. Anticrime and Counterdrug Assistance for Mexico and Central America

"Increasing violence perpetrated by drug cartels, youth gangs, and other criminal groups is threatening citizen security and democracy in Mexico and Central America. Mexican and Central American government efforts to combat drug trafficking and organized crime have been hindered by inadequate resources, corruption, and weak judicial systems." Source: Congressional Research Service

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| Link to online summary

Satellite Surveillance: Domestic Issues

"Reconnaissance satellites, first deployed in the early 1960s to peer into denied regions of the Soviet Union and other secretive enemy states, have from time to time been used by civilian agencies of the federal government to assist with mapping, disaster relief, and environmental concerns. These uses have been coordinated by the Civil Applications Office at the U.S. Geological Survey, a component of the Interior Department. Post 9/11, the Bush Administration has sought to encourage use of satellite-derived data for homeland security and law enforcement purposes, in addition to the civil applications that have been supported for years. In 2007, it moved to transfer responsibility for coordinating civilian use of satellites to the Department of Homeland Security. The transfer occurred, however, apparently without notification of key congressional oversight committees. Members of Congress and outside groups have raised concerns that using satellites for law enforcement purposes may infringe on the privacy and Fourth Amendment rights of U.S. persons." Source: Congressional Research Service

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Government Interventions in Financial Markets: Economic and Historic Analysis of Subprime Mortgage Options

"This report summarizes and analyzes four previous government market interventions (Home Owners Loan Corporation in 1933, Continental Illinois in 1984, the savings and loan insurance fund shortfall in 1989, and the Latin American debt crisis in 1989), in light of current mortgage market conditions. Current proposals to help delinquent homeowners share many features in common with all of these actions." Source: Congressional Research Service.

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| Link to online summary

Pumas, Planets and Pens: How Cues in the Environment Influence Consumer Choice

"In the paper, "Dogs on the Street, Pumas on Your Feet: How Cues in the Environment Influence Product Evaluation and Choice," the first part of the title refers to the results of an experiment in which participants who were shown repeated images of dogs were quicker to recognize the Puma brand, and liked its sneakers more, than those who had not seen the images. Confused? It turns out that dogs are associated with cats, and cats are associated with Puma."Source: Knowledge@Wharton Univ. of Pennsylvania

Download pdf of "Dogs on the Street, Pumas on Your Feet" | Link to online article

Rwandan Catholic priest genocide appeal ruling

Summary of the Judgment of of the Appeals Chamber: The Prosecutor v Athanase Seromba, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, March 12, 2008 [upholding the conviction of Catholic priest Father Athanase Seromba for genocide and extermination during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and increasing his sentence to life in prison].

Seromba was the first priest convicted by the ICTR, which sits in Arusha in neighboring Tanzania.

Source: Jurist (Univ. of Pittsburgh School of law)

Download pdf opinion | Link to online report

Catholic priest Father Athanase Seromba Case Materials
The additional coverage from the UN News Centre

Global and U.S. Immigration: Patterns, Issues, and Outlook

In 2005, 3 percent of the world’s residents left their country of birth or citizenship for a year or more. These migrants include persons in all legal statuses whose reason for being abroad range from study to work to settlement. Most industrial countries have organizations that advocate no borders at one extreme and no immigrants at the other. These extremes have hardened, and each faction seems to prefer the status quo to a compromise that can be enacted into law, which may explain the persistence of the status quo.

The U.S. had 37 million foreign-born residents in 2007, totaling 12.3 percent of the U.S. population and almost 20 percent of the world’s international migrants. The Senate in May–June 2007 debated and failed to approve the “comprehensive immigration reform” favored by President Bush and most Democrats, which aimed to reduce the influx of unauthorized foreigners and provide a path to legal status for many of them. The failure of immigration reform has led to a range of consequences including the no-match enforcement strategy, the failure of the DREAM and AgJOBS bills, and the thorny status of immigration in the 2008 presidential election. Source: U.C. Berkeley : Center for Latin American Studies. CLAS Policy Papers. Paper 8.

Download full pdf report | link to online abstract

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Digest of Education Statistics, 2007

The 43rd 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 pdf of full report | Link to online digest 2007

Related: Access pdf versions of NCES Digest 1990-2007

Monday, March 24, 2008

After School Programs in the 21st Century: Their Potential and What It Takes to Achieve It

"This research brief draws on seminal research and evaluation studies to address two primary questions: (a) Does participation in after school programs make a difference, and, if so (b) what conditions appear to be necessary to achieve positive results? The brief concludes with a set of questions to spur conversation about the evolving role of after school in efforts to expand time and opportunities for children and youth in the 21st century." Source: Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP)

Download full Research Brief
| Download Executive Summary | Download Research Companion

Democracy as Human Empowerment: The Role of Ordinary People in the Emergence and Survival of Democracy

"This article argues that “human empowerment” is the most important driving force behind effective democratization. Though elite agreements are central to establish nominal democracy, effective democracy does not emerge because elites concede it to the masses, but because ordinary people become increasingly capable and willing to place effective mass pressures on the elites. Effective democracy is thus the outcome of a broader process of 'human empowerment.'" Source: Center for the Study of Democracy. Paper 08-03. U.C. Irvine

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Emergency Communications Legislation: Implications for the 110th Congress

"Since September 11, 2001, several bills introduced in the U.S. Congress have included provisions to assist emergency communications. Key provisions from a number of these bills have become law. Legislation addressing communications among first responders focused first on interoperability -- the capability of different systems to connect -- with provisions in the Homeland Security Act (P.L. 107-296). The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (P.L. 108-458) provided more comprehensive language that included requirements for developing a national approach to achieving interoperability. Some of the legislative requirements were based on recommendations made by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission)." Source: Congressional Research Service: Library of Congress

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| Link to online abstract

Alternatives to Powerpoint: 13 Online Presentation Apps

Nice compilation of online presentation tools most are free and allow for easy sharing.

from Mashable : Social networking News.

Link to list

Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific 2007

"The monitoring of social, economic and environmental development requires the use of data that is comparable across countries and over time. This is realized in the 2007 edition of the Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific. For the first time in its 50 year history, the Yearbook presents data compiled from global sources maintained by United Nations agencies and other international organizations.

You can access the Yearbook by chapter, or download the whole publication.

Download entire publication in pdf format
| Link to online TOC

report on the consolidation of peacekeeping accounts

Purpose "was to consolidate retroactively all peacekeeping accounts, of both active and closed missions, except ... those of UNEF, ONUC, the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund and the strategic deployment stocks. The Secretariat continues to consider this to be the preferred approach, the one that would lead to the greatest flexibility in the use of peacekeeping resources with increased reimbursements to troop- and formed police-contributing Member States and at the same time would simplify the administrative processes for the financing of peacekeeping operations." Source: United Nations

Download full pdf publication (English) | Link to publication in other languages

Fewer Voters Identify as Republicans

Democrats Now Have the Advantage in "Swing" States

"The balance of party identification in the American electorate now favors the Democratic Party by a decidedly larger margin than in either of the two previous presidential election cycles.

In 5,566 interviews with registered voters conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press during the first two months of 2008, 36% identify themselves as Democrats, and just 27% as Republicans." Source: Pew Research Center.

Link to online article

7 Things You Should Know About Google Apps

"Google Apps is a collection of web-based programs and file storage that run in a web browser. The applications include communication tools (Gmail, Google Talk, and Google Calendar), productivity tools (Google Docs: text files, spreadsheets, and presentations), a customizable start page (iGoogle), and Google Sites (to develop web pages). Google stores all of the files and content centrally and keeps a record of the different versions of a file. With Google Apps, sharing content is as simple as granting someone access, which facilitates collaboration, peer review of academic materials, and the collective generation of knowledge."

Source: Educause

Download pdf publication | Link to Educause abstract

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: A "New" Perspective on Protectionism

"This paper analyzes the determinants of protectionism in a small open economy with search frictions. This this environment, jobs generate rents whose access depends on the level of trade protectionn. By raising the domestic price of a good, a government may attract more firms in a particular industry. This raises the probability that workers will find jobs in this sector, and in turn, will benefit from the associated rents. Though simple, this channel may help explain a variety of stylized facts on the structure of trade protection and individual trade-policy preferences." Source: Department of Economics, UCSD. Paper 2006-05R.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Trends in Undergraduate Borrowing II: Federal Student Loans in 1995-96, 1999-2000, and 2003-04

"This Postsecondary Education Descriptive Analysis Report uses data from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Studies (NPSAS:96, NPSAS:2000 and NPSAS:04) to examine trends in Stafford loan borrowing among undergraduates. Since 1995-96, borrowing of subsidized Stafford loans increased among low-income dependent undergraduates and among independent students at all income levels. The rate of borrowing any Stafford loan (subsidized or unsubsidized) increased among all but those in the lowest income category, for both dependent and independent undergraduates alike. While the average amount of subsidized loans has leveled off over time, unsubsidized loans have continued to grow both in the amount of the average loan as well as in the percentage of borrowers. Unlike subsidized loans, interest on an unsubsidized loan accrues and is usually added to the principal of the loan while the student is enrolled in school and not yet in repayment. This study found that between 1995-96 and 2003-04, an increasing proportion of both dependent and independent student borrowers at all income levels took out unsubsidized loans either alone or in addition to their subsidized loans. This was true particularly among independent students whose higher loan limits allow more of them to take out both types of loans. The Stafford loan program permits dependent students to take out both subsidized and unsubsidized loans, but the combined amount cannot exceed the maximum amount of a single loan. In 2003-04, about three-fourths (73 percent) of all dependent student borrowers took out the annual maximum amount allowed in subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans combined. This was an increase from 57 percent in 1995-96." Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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| Link to online summary

Sunday, March 16, 2008

2007 Sets All Time International Tourism Record For U.S.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez today announced that 2007 set an all time record for international tourism, with visitors pumping $122 billion into the U.S. economy from over 56 million international visitors supporting 8.5 million American jobs. Last year exceeded all previous records in both international spending and visitation to the United States. Over half of international visitors came to America from NAFTA alone. Source: U.S. Department of Commerce

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Long, Hard Road: NCO Experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq

"The call to war is often met by young Soldiers who lack an understanding of what they are about to encounter. These young Soldiers must be trained, prepared, and then led in battle by those with experience and understanding—the Noncommissioned Officer Corps. In an effort to preserve the history of the US Army Noncommissioned Officer and to provide future noncommissioned officers with an understanding of the actions necessary to prepare Soldiers and to lead them in war, the US Army Sergeants Major Academy undertook a program to gather and publish the stories of NCOs who had served in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Most of the papers received were from students of the US Army Sergeants Major Course who had already deployed to either Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom. This work highlights a few of those stories. A wide range of topics have been chosen to allow the reader to understand the preparations, training, and actions needed for NCOs to accomplish their missions." Source: US Army Sergeants Major Academy

Download full pdf report | Link to US army sergeants major academy

Women and Nation-Building

"This study examines gender-specific impacts of conflict and post-conflict and the ways in which events in these contexts may affect women differently than they affect men. It analyzes the roles of women in the nation-building process and considers outcomes that might occur if current practices were modified. The recent nation-building activities in Afghanistan are used as a case study. Despite the difficulty of collecting data in conflict zones, the information available from Afghanistan provides several pragmatic points for consideration. Gender issues have been overtly on the table from the beginning of U.S. post-conflict involvement in Afghanistan, in part because of the Taliban’s equally overt prior emphasis on gender issues as a defining quality of its regime. Also, the issue of women’s inclusion is an official part of Afghanistan’s development agenda, so all the active agents in the nation-building enterprise have made conscious choices and decisions that can be reviewed and their underlying logic evaluated." Source: RAND Corporation

Download full pdf publication | Download pdf Summary | Link to online abstract

Whose Responsibility?

"How should scientists and engineers respond to the concern over technology-driven threats? Although there are persuasive arguments for the proposition that they not engage in public policy debates or speculate about the possibility of social harm emanating from research and development, the author believes that they should possess the analytical techniques to evaluate (not judge) the societal impacts of technology. Technology impact studies should be incorporated into the research plans of major new initiatives, along with formal requirements to mitigate known negative societal impacts. Finally, scientists and engineers should undertake, on their own initiative, efforts to reduce the negative impacts of their work." Source: Rand Corporation

Downlod pdf publication | Link to online abstract

Global Employment Trends for Women

"More women are working than ever before, but they are also more likely than men to get low-productivity, low-paid and vulnerable jobs, with no social protection, basic rights nor voice at work according to a new report by the International Labour Office (ILO) issued for International Women’s Day.

The report shows that improvements in the status of women in labour markets throughout the world have not substantially narrowed gender gaps in the workplace. The share of women in vulnerable employment – either unpaid contributing family workers or own-account workers, rather than wage and salaried work – decreased from 56.1 to 51.7 per cent since 1997. However the burden of vulnerability is still greater for women than men, especially in the world’s poorest regions." Source: International Labour Organization

Download full pdf report
| Link to Press Release

Freedom of information: a comparative legal survey; second edition revised and updated

"The importance of the right to information or the right to know is an increasingly constant refrain in the mouths of development practitioners, civil society, academics, the media and governments. What is this right, is it really a right and how have governments sought to give effect to it? These are some of the questions this book seeks to address, providing an accessible account of the law and practice regarding freedom of information, and an analysis of what is working and why." Source: United Nations

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| Link to online abstract

Public Closely Tracking Details of Campaign

38% Have Heard a Lot about "Obama's a Muslim" Rumors

"Not only are Americans following election news in record numbers this year, they are tracking the details of the campaign -- the charges, countercharges and controversial advertisements -- extremely closely. Large majorities say they have heard at least something about rumors that Barack Obama is a Muslim; Hillary Clinton's 3:00 a.m. phone call ad; and George Bush's endorsement of John McCain. And the revelation that a top foreign policy advisor to Barack Obama had referred to Clinton as a "monster," a one-day story at best, registered with a large percentage of the public." Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

Download full pdf report | Link to Online Summary

Maternity Leave and Employment Patterns of First-Time Mothers: 1961–2003

"This report examines trends in maternity leave and the employment patterns of women who gave birth to their first child between January 1961 and December 2003.

The analysis primarily uses retrospective fertility, employment, and maternity leave data from the 2004 panel of the U.S. Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation" Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Download full pdf report

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mobile Access to Data and Information

"62% of all Americans are part of a wireless, mobile population that participates in digital activities away from home or work. Not only are young people attuned to this kind of access, African Americans and English-speaking Latinos are more likely than white Americans to use non-voice data applications on their cell phones." Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project

Download pdf report
| Link to online summary

Related Report:

iPass Mobile Broadband Index

"Everything you need to know about introducing speakers and running a panel discussion"

"Conference Rules pt. 1" from the Chron. of Higher education provides the steps a chair can take to encourage an effective session. Link to online article

Sunday, March 09, 2008

How Many Struggle to Get by In Retirement?

Abstract:" This paper uses data from the 2004 Health and Retirement Study to demonstrate how the poverty rate of adults 65 and older changes using alternative resource and threshold measures. Results show that alternative poverty measures that account for health spending produce higher poverty rates than the official measure, even those that include the value of housing and financial assets. Poverty remains concentrated among singles (disproportionately women), blacks and Hispanics, and adults 85 and older regardless of how it is measured because these populations have relatively little housing equity or financial assets." Source: Urban Institute

Download pdf report | Link to online abstract

Student Loans for Higher Education

"Student loans are a rapidly growing $85 billion a year industry fueled by the substantial higher economic returns associated with a college education, increased demand from students and their parents, and grant and scholarship funds that have not kept pace with rising school tuition and fees. This report describes federally subsidized and guaranteed loans, examines the private student loan industry, and discusses issues relating to student debt and financial counseling. We describe practices that have led to allegations and findings of fraud and abuse in the student loan system, and recent federal and state legislative and administrative responses. The report was requested by Assemblymember Sally Lieber in order to better understand the national student loan scandal and responses to it." Source: California Research Bureau (California State Library)

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Does the Twenty Statements Test Elicit Self-Concept Aspects that are Most Descriptive?

"The Twenty Statements Test (TST) is widely used in cross-cultural psychology to elicit descriptions of the self-concept through free-format responses. This study examines whether the TST elicits descriptors that are most descriptive of the self-concept. Members of four ethnic groups in the United States participated, to assess the generalizability of the obtained patterns. Participants generated self-descriptions for the actual, ideal, and ought selves, then rated each description for its descriptiveness. Although a large proportion of self-descriptions were rated as “extremely descriptive,” some participants did not use the “extremely descriptive” rating for any of the descriptions they generated. Results suggest that descriptors generated earlier in the sequence are most descriptive, as are those generated in the actual self measure. The ratings of the extent of descriptiveness of the responses did not vary across four ethnic groups in the United States. These results are discussed in terms of the interpretation of TST-generated self-descriptions in cross-cultural research and other potential factors that influence which descriptors are elicited." Source: World Cultures eJournal: Vol. 16: No. 1, Article 3.

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| Link to online abstract

15 Years after the “Collapse” of Soviet Socialism: The Role of Elite Choices, Class Conflict, and a Critique of Modernization Theory

"In this paper, it is argued that the abandoning of the command administrative economy in the Soviet Union and its transformation into an ostensibly market capitalist system in post-Communist Russia was a reaction by the Soviet elite to emerging threats to their accumulated privileges and power presented from the campaign for socialist legality² launched by Andropov and later Gorbachev in the 1980s. Threatened by the prospect of being purged for corruption and of losing their entitlements, the Soviet elite responded to the campaign for socialist legality by transforming itself into an official bourgeoisie that could legally claim the power and property it already controlled. Capitalist legality was embraced to protect this power and property from possible reappropriation from below. The challenge of Andropov and Gorbachev to the Soviet New Class was ultimately defeated when the elite pushed ahead with laws that destroyed the socialist economy. The alternative explanation for the transition put forward by the modernization theory is criticized in detail." Source: Berkeley Program in Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies. Paper 2008_02-aktu.

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Are Overconfident Executives More Inclined to Commit Fraud?

"No one makes it to the top ranks of corporate management without a healthy amount of self-assurance. Confidence underlies decisive, strong leadership, but does overconfidence lead managers to cross the line and commit fraud?

New Wharton research that combines results from the psychology literature and SEC fraud enforcement records is examining how top executives might be inclined to engage in fraudulent behavior because they are overconfident about their firm's ability to perform in the future." Source: Knowledge@wharton [UPenn]

Download pdf article | Link to article online

Voting Religiously

"While Sen. John McCain clinched the GOP nomination with recent victories in the March 4 primaries, the Democratic contest between Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama remains deadlocked. Pew Forum Senior Fellow John Green discusses how the candidates fared among religious voters on March 4, the role that religious and unaffiliated voters could play in upcoming Democratic primaries and whether false rumors about Obama's faith could hurt his chances for the nomination."

John Green, Senior Fellow in Religion and American Politics, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

Link to online interview

Public Sends Mixed Signals on Energy Policy

Ethanol Research Loses Ground, Continued Division on ANWR

"At a time of rising energy prices, the public continues to be conflicted in its overall approach toward energy and the environment. A majority of Americans say that developing new sources of energy, rather than protecting the environment, is the more important priority for the country. However, when asked specifically about energy policy priorities, 55% favor more conservation and regulation of energy, compared with 35% who support expanded energy exploration." Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

Download full pdf report | Link to online summary

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Cross-Cultural Comparison of Family Size and Composition between Muslim and Santal Communities in Rural Bangladesh

Abstract: "Every family adapts from one generation to another to specific environment in which they live and meet their human needs. In so doing, the couples of the family desire and plan ideal family size and composition and reproduce accordingly. They continue their reproductive behavior until they acquire planned family size. This paper, based on primary data collected from March to October, 2005 including 100 couples chosen by Cluster random sample (70 couples from Muslim community and 30 couples from Santal community), is an attempt to compare and explain family size and composition: ideal, actual, expected and adoption practice between Muslim and Santal communities in rural Bangladesh. Average current age of the study participants was 37.89 for husband and 29.89 for wife of the Muslim sample and 38.39 for husband and 29.04 for wife of the Santal sample. The analyses of independent sample t-tests revealed that there are significant differences in ideal, and expected family size and composition as well as adoption practice, but significant similarities in actual and usual family size and composition between the two communities selected." Source: World Cultures eJournal: Vol. 16: No. 1, Article 2. U.C. Irvine

Download full pdf report | Link to online abstract at the eScholarship Repository

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Ten Years After College: Comparing the Employment Experiences of 1992-93 Bachelor’s Degree Recipients with Academic and Career-Oriented Majors

"Using longitudinal data from the 1992-93 Baccalaureate and Beyond Study (B&B:93/03) representing about 1.2 million bachelor’s degree recipients that year, this report examines college graduates’ work experiences in 1994, 1997, and 2003, describing their labor force status, employment stability and intensity, occupations and industries, salaries and benefits, and perceptions about their jobs. It compares the experiences of graduates with academic and career-oriented undergraduate majors. About half of all the graduates (51 percent) were employed and not enrolled at all three follow-ups, but the other half moved into and out of the workforce, often to pursue further education. By 2003, some 46 percent of graduates had ever been unemployed (not working, but looking for work) since they had graduated, but unemployment became less prevalent the longer graduates had been out of college. By 2003, most graduates were settled in a job they considered a career and used their education, and the average salary for a graduate employed full time at one job, adjusted for inflation, had roughly doubled since 1994. A majority were satisfied with their pay, fringe benefits, job security, and opportunity for promotion. Compared with graduates with academic undergraduate majors, those with career-oriented majors appeared to establish themselves in the labor force earlier and relatively fewer obtained additional education." Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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‘I Am Somebody’: Victory Outreach, Masculinity and Upward Mobility in Low-Income Latino Neighbourhoods

Segmented assimilation theorists posit that second generation immigrants today are at risk of downward acculturation and socio-economic mobility, and that dense co-ethnic communities provide the greatest resistance. Drawing upon data from ethnographic interviews and non-participant observation at a Pentecostal church, this paper will suggest that American-origin religious institutions may provide shelter against downward mobility through ‘religious optimism’. Using a race-gender framework to explain exit from gang lifestyle and acculturation into a group promoting mainstream American values, this paper will suggest that religious optimism may sometimes be infused with traditions from the black Protestant church, as well as inner-city stylistic expressions. Therefore, the first suggestion in this paper is that the segmented assimilation paradigm should not dichotomize the values of immigrant groups against those of native-born blacks and Latinos. The second suggestion in this paper is that segmented assimilation theorists should take into consideration that trajectories may shift in adulthood. Source: Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. Spotlight on Immigration: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Immigrants and Their Children. Paper 200801.

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| Link to eScholarship repository

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Latin America's Progress on Gender Equality

"Though Latin America has shown notable progress in achieving gender equality, poor women in the region still face limited opportunities for decent work. In a new analysis published by the International Poverty Centre, Carnegie Senior Associate Eduardo Zepeda unravels the complexity of women’s labor force participation in Latin America: many poor women can only find work performing domestic chores for rich or middle-class households, which in turn enables wealthier women to secure higher wage employment outside the household. Zepeda argues that policymakers aiming to reduce gender inequality need to look beyond national averages in order to uncover the real conditions women face in the labor market." Source: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

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“Getting Ahead or Losing Ground: Mobility in America.”

"Since our nation’s founding, the promise of economic opportunity has been a central component of the American Dream. And while the Dream remains a unifying tenet for an increasingly diverse society, it may be showing signs of wear. Growing income inequality and slower economic growth suggest that now is an important moment to review the facts about opportunity and mobility in America and to attempt to answer the basic question: Is the American Dream alive and well?

This volume, authored by a team of scholars at the Brookings Institution, is one in a series of major research products that aims to further enlighten the public dialogue on economic opportunity. While it offers reassuring findings in some areas, in many others there is room for concern. By arming the public and policy makers with facts about the status of opportunity in America today, this volume seeks to stimulate and frame the debate about which policies are likely to be most effective in ensuring that the American Dream endures for the next century" Source: The Brookings Institution

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What Students Don't Know, Even Now

"This report documents continuing weaknesses in our students' knowledge of history and literature. We think it likely that similar surveys would show large gaps in our students' knowledge of many of the liberal arts and sciences, including civics, science, languages, and arts. This is unacceptable. We believe, as do most concerned citizens, that our schools must teach our students the great ideas, controversies, and events that have shaped our nation as well as the skills needed for life in our democratic society. We believe that such knowledge is essential in preparing for postsecondary education, for the modern workplace, for informed understanding, and for civic participation." Source: American Enterprise Institute
Link to online summary with download options

Copyright’s Paradox

The United States Supreme Court famously labeled copyright “the engine of free expression” because it provides a vital economic incentive for much of the literature, commentary, music, art, and film that makes up our public discourse. Yet today’s greatly expanded copyright law often does the opposite—it can be used to quash news reporting, political commentary, church dissent, historical scholarship, cultural critique, and artistic expression.

In Copyright’s Paradox, Neil Weinstock Netanel explores the tensions between copyright law and free speech concerns, revealing how copyright law can impose unacceptable burdens on speech. Netanel provides concrete illustrations of how copyright often prevents speakers from effectively conveying their message, tracing this conflict across both traditional and digital media and considering current controversies such as the YouTube and MySpace copyright infringement cases, Hip-hop music and digital sampling, and the Google Book Search litigation. The author juxtaposes the dramatic expansion of copyright holders’ proprietary control against the individual’s newly found ability to digitally cut, paste, edit, remix, and distribute sound recordings, movies, TV programs, graphics, and texts the world over. He tests whether, in light of these developments and others, copyright still serves as a vital engine of free expression and he assesses how copyright does--and does not--burden speech. Taking First Amendment values as his lodestar, Netanel argues that copyright should be limited to how it can best promote robust debate and expressive diversity, and he presents a blueprint for how that can be accomplished.

Copyright and free speech will always stand in some tension. But, as Netanel demonstrates, there are ways in which copyright can continue to serve as an engine of free expression while leaving ample room for speakers to build on copyrighted works to convey their message, express their personal commitments, and fashion new art. Source: Neil Netanel, "Introduction, Copyright's Paradox" (February 28, 2008). UCLA School of Law. UCLA Public Law Series. Paper 8-01.

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Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board: New Independent Agency Status

"Recommended by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission), the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) was initially established as an agency within the Executive Office of the President (EOP) in 2004. Critics, however, maintained that the board appeared to be a presidential appendage, devoid of the capability to exercise independent judgment and assessment or to provide impartial findings and recommendations. This viewpoint gained acceptance in the 110th Congress when the PCLOB was reconstituted as an independent agency within the executive branch by the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act (IR9/11CA), signed into law on August 6, 2007. Monitoring the transition of the PCLOB to, and its initial operations in, its new independent status, this report will be updated as events warrant." Source: Congressional Research Service

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Child Welfare Issues in the 110th Congress

"As the U.S. Constitution has been interpreted, states have the primary obligation to ensure child welfare. However, Congress provides significant federal funds to help states exercise this responsibility ($7.9 billion appropriated in FY2008). Most of this support is provided for children who are in foster care and who meet specific federal eligibility criteria. This report discusses the federal framework for child welfare policy; reviews the scope of activities, and children and families served, by state child welfare agencies; summarizes several child welfare-related hearings that were held in 2007; describes child welfare and related legislative proposals that have been introduced in the 110th Congress; and reviews child welfare programs for which funding authorization has expired or is set to expire on the last day of FY2008. Child welfare agencies seek to ensure the well-being of children and their families, including protecting children from abuse or neglect and ensuring that they have a safe and permanent home. In FY2005 child protection agencies found more than 899,000 children to be victims of abuse or neglect. Some of these children were removed to foster care, some remained in their homes and received services, while others received no further follow-up from the agency." Source: Congressional Research Service

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Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Issues and Arguments

"The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty would ban all nuclear explosions. It was opened for signature in 1996. As of February 2008, 178 nations had signed it and 144 had ratified. To enter into force, 44 specified nations must ratify it; 35 have done so. The Senate rejected the treaty in 1999; the Bush Administration opposes it. The United States has observed a nuclear test moratorium since 1992. There have been many calls worldwide for the United States and others to ratify the treaty. Many claim that it would promote nuclear nonproliferation; some see it as a step toward nuclear disarmament. Several measures have been introduced in Congress regarding the treaty; it might become an issue in the presidential election." Source: Congressional Research Service.

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Obama Has The Lead, But Potential Problems Too

Increasing Optimism About Iraq

"The latest survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Feb. 20-24 among 1,508 adults, also finds signs of trouble for the GOP's frontrunner. Even as there are indications McCain is consolidating his support within the Republican base, nearly half of conservative Republicans (46%) say his positions on the issues are not conservative enough. McCain's image among independent voters has slipped since early February, and currently Obama edges McCain by 49% to 43% among independents in a general election matchup." Source: Pew Research Center for people and the press.

Section 1: General Election Patterns of Support
Section 2: Candidate Images
Section 3: The Primary Contests
Section 4: Opinions of the Parties and Congress
Section 5: Iraq, Afghanistan and Terrorism

Topline Questionnaire

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