Thursday, December 18, 2008

Social Capital’s Influence on the Likelihood of Mexican Immigrants Having Type 2 Diabetes or Being Obese in Los Angeles County

"Most social capital research in the United States has tended to address issues concerning a middle class white population and little has addressed specific health outcomes. Even though it is frequently presented positively, social capital might have a negative relationship for more socially and economically vulnerable populations like Mexican immigrants. For example, social capital is negatively related to Mexican women’s wages, while positively related for non-Latino white women. It is clear that social capital does not guarantee positive outcomes. The currency of social capital is found in the relationships that people have, as the resources embedded in the community remain dormant until they are activated by individuals who pass along information through social interactions. Often overlooked is that negative information and resources can be transferred as well as positive. This paper examines two health outcomes--diabetes and obesity--to explore how social capital is related to an individual’s health, controlling for the influence that might be experienced by a vulnerable lower socioeconomic group like Mexican immigrants." Source: Chicano Studies Institute, U.C. Santa Barbara

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mathematics Achievement of Language-Minority Students During the Elementary Years

"This Issue Brief uses data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K) to examine the scores of public-school language-minority students on a mathematics assessment in 1st grade, as well as the gain in their scores between 1st and 5th grades. Scores are reported by three background characteristics--student's race/ethnicity, poverty status, and mother's education--that have been found to be related to achievement. The findings indicate that language-minority students (English Proficient students and English Language Learners) scored lower on a 1st-grade mathematics assessment than did students whose primary home language was English. Between 1st and 5th grades, there was no measurable difference in gain scores on the mathematics assessment among the three language groups. However, gain score differences within and between the language groups were found by student background characteristics. For example, Asian language-minority students made greater gains than their Hispanic peers." Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Future of the Internet III: How the Experts See It

A survey of internet leaders, activists and analysts shows they expect major technology advances as the phone becomes a primary device for online access, voice-recognition improves, artificial and virtual reality become more embedded in everyday life, and the architecture of the internet itself improves.

They disagree about whether this will lead to more social tolerance, more forgiving human relations, or better home lives.

The full report, "Future of the Internet III," the third in a series, is built around respondents' responses to scenarios stretching to the year 2020. Their written elaborations, numbering in the hundreds, address such topics as: the methods by which people will access information in the future; the fact that technology is expanding the potential for hate, bigotry and terrorism; the changes that will occur in human relationship as a result of hyper-connected communication; the future of work and employer-employee relationships; the evolution of the tools for and use of augmented reality and virtual reality; the strength of respondents' concerns that the global corporations and governments currently in control of most resources might impede or even halt the open development of the internet; and the challenges to come as issues tied to security, privacy, digital identities, tracking and massive databases collide.

Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project

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Psychology of Bad Times Fueling Consumer Cutbacks

Job Worries Mount, 73% Spending Less on Holidays

"Americans continue to render extremely bleak assessments of economic conditions, both with respect to the national economy and their own financial situations. Fully 92% of the public rates the national economy as only fair or poor, and a substantial majority (61%) judges their personal finances that way. Both measures are among the most negative recorded in Pew Research Center surveys over the past 15 years." Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

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Latino Workers in the Ongoing Recession: 2007 to 2008

A small but significant decline has occurred during the current recession in the share of Latino immigrants active in the U.S. labor force. The decrease is sharpest among immigrants from Mexico and among immigrants who arrived in the U.S. since 2000. But the increase in the unemployment rate for immigrant Hispanics is not as high as the increase for native-born Hispanic workers. Also, median weekly wages fell for native-born Hispanics but not for the foreign-born. These developments, however, could be an artifact, a consequence of the withdrawal of low-wage foreign-born Hispanics from the labor force. Source: Pew Hispanic Center

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IP Rights and Technological Platforms

This paper is about intellectual property rights (IPRs) and platform technologies. After a brief introduction explaining some basics of networks, standards and platforms, I turn to three policy issues. The first is the role of IP in what might be termed platform policies, the decisions by courts and regulators concerning whether and how to promote multi-party access to important digital platforms such as media player hardware, cell phones, PCs, and the like. I argue that for the most part there is no need for IP law to directly promote interoperability, since market competition among competing platform technology owners will usually protect consumers quite well. Voluntary interoperability at various levels is the norm, an arrangement facilitated by the fact that property rights can and often are waived for strategic reasons. The apparent potential of IP law, and individual IP rights, to restrict access and harm consumers must therefore be seen in the context of competitive battles in which IP owners very selectively enforce their rights. Where coerced access through IP rules does prove necessary, it should be promoted sparingly and strictly ex post, only after rights have issued and their deployment and enforcement are shown to create anticompetitive effects. Second, I discuss optimal policy with respect to platform-content combinations, e.g., the question of whether to regulate or prohibit exclusive content licensing for a single platform, for example, the Apple iTunes/iPod system. Again I argue that competition, together with the divergent interests of content and platform owners, will usually protect consumers without the need for excessive regulation of platform-content deals. Finally, I consider ways to better accommodate traditional IP doctrines and policies to the need for flexibility and openness in platform battles, in particular, the need for a robust set of rules that permit an IP owner to credibly commit to open access to IPRs with a binding full or partial dedication of IP rights to members of the public or specific sub-groups. The idea is to more fully institutionalize the right of an IP owner to implement an “owned but open” platform strategy. I characterize this new sort of binding commitment to openness as “the right to include” – by analogy with the traditional notion of property as involving at its core a “right to exclude.” Source: Berkeley Center for Law and Technology. Law and Technology Scholarship (Selected by the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology). Paper 64.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2007, and Salaries of Full-Time Instructional Faculty 2007-08

"This report presents information from the Winter 2007-08 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) web-based data collection. Tabulations represent data requested from all postsecondary institutions participating in Title IV federal student financial aid programs. The tables in this publication include data on the number of staff employed in Title IV postsecondary institutions in fall 2007 by primary function/occupational activity, length of contract/teaching period, employment status, salary class interval, faculty and tenure status, academic rank, race/ethnicity, and gender. Also included are tables on the number of full-time instructional faculty employed in Title IV postsecondary institutions in 2007-08 by length of contract/teaching period, academic rank, gender, and average salaries." Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Policy and Research Recommendations for a New Administration and Congress

"At a time when limited government resources demand that the nation make the most of investments in social and education programs, policymakers will increasingly need to make decisions on the basis of reliable evidence. To assist the incoming Obama Administration and the new Congress, MDRC has developed a series of 15 two-page, evidence-based framing memos on pressing education and social issues — from preschool to prisoner reentry, from disability insurance to after-school programs." Source: MDRC

Link to collection

Rand Research Brief: The Evolution of Corporate Governance in China

Abstract: "Although China's economy has grown rapidly in recent years and investment in its stock markets has soared, corporate governance institutions remain nascent. A RAND report analyzes the evolution of Chinese corporate governance, describing recent reforms that have created Western-style oversight mechanisms. It also identifies obstacles to reform that stem from the continued prevalence of state ownership, and recommends policies that will help address those obstacles so that China can move toward international standards of corporate governance." Source Rand Corporation

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study

"The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2007 is the fourth comparison of mathematics and science achievement carried out since 1995 by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), an international organization of national research institutions and governmental research agencies. In 2007, 36 countries participated at grade four and 48 participated at grade eight." Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Download full pdf report | Link to online summary and report download links

High Birth Weight and Cognitive Outcomes

"While the effects of low birth weight have long been explored, those of high birth weight have been essentially ignored. Economists have analyzed the negative effects that low birth weight might have on subsequent school outcomes, while taking into account unobserved characteristics that may be common to families with low birth weight babies and negative outcomes in terms of school test scores when children, in addition to labor market income when adults. Today, however, with increasing obesity rates in the United States, high birth weight has become a potential concern, and has been associated in the medical literature with an increased likelihood of becoming an overweight child, adolescent, and subsequently an obese adult. Overweight and obesity, in turn, are associated with a host of negative effects, including lower test scores in school and lower labor market prospects when adults. If studies only focus on low birth weight, they may underestimate the effects of ensuring that mothers receive adequate support during pregnancy. In this study we find that cognitive outcomes are adversely affected not only by low birth weight (<2500 grams) but also by high birth weight (>4500 grams). Our results have policy implications in terms of provision of support for pregnant women." Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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Monday, December 08, 2008

RAND Report: Mental Health Consumer Providers

"Consumer providers (CPs) are individuals with serious mental illness who are trained to use their experiences to provide recovery-oriented services and support to others. There are several demonstrated benefits to employing CPs: They can serve as role models, voice and broker the needs of consumers, provide information and motivation, and mentor others (including potential CPs). CPs can have a variety of roles, including, among other things, assisting clients, providing support services (such as skills assistance and transportation), providing liaison services, dispelling possible stigma or bias toward clients, and augmenting overburdened mental health systems. Despite these roles and benefits, there are also challenges to and misconceptions about employing CPs, such as staff concerns, organizational issues, and perceived barriers related to the abilities and competence of CPs. As mental health providers turn to CPs to augment current services, it is useful to review these issues through the lens of hiring and integrating CPs into provider teams." Source: RAND Corporation

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Colleges and Universities Increasingly Rely on Underpaid Contingent Faculty to Teach Courses

From Press Release
Report Offers Model Approach for Solving Academic Staffing Crisis
"More than half of the undergraduate courses at U.S. public colleges and universities are taught by “contingent” faculty and graduate instructors rather than full-time tenured faculty, resulting in an unstable and financially exploited workforce, according to a report released today by the American Federation of Teachers. The report, “Reversing Course: The Troubled State of Academic Staffing and a Path Forward,” also includes a novel formula to track staffing and wage trends and correct inequities. “Reversing Course” was prepared for the AFT by the research firm JBL Associates." Source: American Federation of Teachers

Download full pdf report : Reversing Course | Link to Press Release

When giants fall : Shutdown of one or more U.S. automakers could eliminate up to 3.3 million U.S. jobs

From Press Release : "If these giants fall, they would take down more than auto worker jobs. When the wages from those auto sector jobs dry up, an additional 576,700 to 2.1 million “re-spending” jobs would be lost. These are jobs that would have been supported by the spending of auto and related workers. Tax losses and increased government payments would exceed $150 billion in the first three years following bankruptcy of all three domestic auto companies. Without cars to export, the U.S. trade deficit would rise by $109.3 billion." Source: Economic Policy Institute (Author: Robert E. Scott)

Download full pdf report : When Giants Fall
| Link to EPI

Video Games: Adults are Players Too

"More than half of American adults age 18 and older (53%) play video games,1 and about one-in-five adults (21%) play everyday or almost everyday. While the number of video gamers among adults is substantial, it is still well under the number of teens who play. Fully 97% of teens play video games.2

Independent of all other factors, younger adults are considerably more likely than older adults to play games, and the likelihood that an adult is a video gamer decreases significantly with age. Fully 81% of respondents 18-29 years old play games, while only 23% of respondents 65 years old and older report playing games." Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project

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Pew Research : Some Final Thoughts on Campaign '08

"A wrapup of possibly overlooked polling trends and end-of-campaign happenings.
From the beginning of the campaign to its conclusion, Democrats consistently expressed more interest in election news than did Republicans. That represents a change from previous campaigns. There were only a few weeks when Republican news interest matched or surpassed Democratic interest, including the weeks just before and after the nominating conventions. Despite signs of less Republican engagement, it is not clear whether core GOP groups turned out to vote at lower rates than in the past. What is evident from the national exit polls is that African American turnout increased markedly. More will be learned about this when the results of the Current Population Survey of voter turnout is available." Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

Read report online

13th report on the situation of Human Rights in Iraq covering the first half of 2008

From Press Release: 13th report on the human rights situation in the country covering the period 1 January – 30 June 2008. During the reporting period, Iraq has witnessed substantial improvements in general security conditions, with a marked drop in violent, high-visibility, high-casualty attacks by militias or criminal gangs, but the human rights situation in the country still remains serious.

“Human rights violations that are less visible need to be documented, reported and exposed publicly”, said Staffan de Mistura, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-general for Iraq (SRSG). “With the support of the international community, we hope the government of Iraq will continue to address these violations and combat impunity”.

The targeted killings of journalists, educators, medical doctors, judges and lawyers has continued, as did criminal abductions for ransom during the first six months of 2008. As Iraqi security institutions slowly and progressively asserted their control of more territory, politicians, security officials, policemen and members of pro-government militias frequently came under attack by armed groups.

During the reporting period, minorities continued to be the victims of targeted violence, threats, assassination and the destruction of property and cultural sites.

The report highlights the situation of detainees across the country that remains of serious concern, including in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. Many detainees have been deprived of their liberty for month or even years, often under harsh physical conditions, without access to defense counsel, or without being formally charged with a crime or produced before a judge. Continuing allegations of widespread torture and ill-treatment of inmates are of particular concern. Slow bureaucratic procedures, insufficient resources, degraded infrastructure and lack of effective accountability measures result in inordinate delays in processing detainees’ cases. Source: The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)

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| Link to press release

The Plum Book (United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions)

Every four years, just after the Presidential election, the United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions, commonly known as the Plum Book, is published, alternately, by the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs and the House Committee on Government Reform. The Plum Book is used to identify presidentially appointed positions within the Federal Government.

Link to the Plum Book online | Download the 2008 Plum book (pdf)

Global Terrorism Database (GTD)

The Global Terrorism Database (GTD) is an open-source database including information on terrorist events around the world since 1970 (currently updated through 2004). Unlike many other event databases, the GTD includes systematic data on international as well as domestic terrorist incidents that have occurred during this time period and now includes almost 80,000 cases. For each GTD incident, information is available on the date and location of the incident, the weapons used and nature of the target, the number of casualties, and -- when identifiable -- the identity of the perpetrator.

The START Center is making the GTD available to government policy makers and academics in an effort to increase understanding of terrorist violence so that it can be more readily defeated.

Source: Univeristy of Maryland | Study of Terrorism and responses to Terrorism

Link to Global Terrorism Database (GTD)

Measuring Primary and Secondary School Characteristics: A Group-Based Modeling

"In this paper we introduce a new way to conceptualize and measure the educational resources that young people encounter as they make their way from kindergarten to high school graduation. Using recent methodological advances in group-based modeling and a unique data set, we empirically test for and identify a series of categorically distinct school quality trajectories. We find that these trajectories vary significantly in terms of their intercept and slope, their prevalence within the sampled population, and in the sociodemographic makeup of their constituent members. We then present an extended empirical example illustrating relationships between school quality trajectories and important post-secondary educational outcomes, both before and after controlling for static, single-year measures of primary and secondary school characteristics. Our results suggest that the chronology of students’ exposures to different educational resources is significantly associated with college enrollment, college selectivity, and, in some instances, college completion." Source: California Center for Population Research. On-Line Working Paper Series. Paper CCPR-014-08. UCLA

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Monday, December 01, 2008

UNAIDS launches “AIDS Outlook”

"...a new report from UNAIDS that provides perspectives on some of the most pressing issues that will confront policymakers and leaders as they respond to the challenges presented by AIDS in 2009. In many ways the year ahead will be a year of transition—and acceleration. Many countries are reviewing their national strategies on AIDS. Even though political commitment for AIDS is at an all-time high, recent developments in the financial world will test the resilience of many." source: United Nations

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n | Link to online summary

Pew report: How the Media Cover Health

"Even as the news media environment in this country changes rapidly, it continues to hold a critically important role in society: millions of Americans turn to various news media every day for information, and what they learn there makes a difference in which issues rise or fall on the national agenda, how the public perceives key issues, and how well they understand important policy debates. The purpose of this study is to take a broad look at how the news media covered one vital area -- health and health policy -- in 2007 and 2008. While there have been many studies that have taken a narrow look at news coverage of specific health issues (breast cancer, diabetes) or at coverage in one particular news medium (local television, print) this report takes a wider look at the broad spectrum of health issues, across a wide range of news media." Source: Pew Project for excellence in Journalism.

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Public Elementary and Secondary School Student Enrollment and Staff From the Common Core of Data: School Year 2006-07

"This report presents 2006-07 school year information at the national and state level on student enrollment by grade and by race/ethnicity within grade, the numbers of teachers and other education staff, and several student/staff ratios." Source: National Center for Education Statistics.

Download full pdf report | Link to National Center for Education Statistics

Risky Business: Sex-work and Young Southeast Asian American Women in Oakland

Abstract: "This paper seeks to analyze why many young Southeast Asian American women in Oakland, California, are going into sex-work. I investigate the cultural and social factors that contribute to their popularity as sex-workers, as well as examine the existing structural problems that have led them to sex-work. I also begin to illuminate how these young Southeast Asian American women understand their own reasons for going into sex-work. The number of minors entering sex-work continues to increase, globally, nationally and locally, yet past and current literature tend to overlook the unique problems that exist at the local level that are tempting young women into sex-work. Research on young women and sex-work has identified sexual abuse, drug use and homelessness as risk factors that often lead minors into sex-work, but these risk factors do not apply to the population of young SEA American women in Oakland. Through studying this population who have been in or are at risk of entering sex-work, I attempt to complicate previous arguments that victimize and/or criminalize young sex-workers, by looking at the ways in which these young Southeast Asian American women demonstrate agency within societal and structural constraints." Source: Institute for the Study of Social Change. ISSC Fellows Working Papers. U.C. Berkeley

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Recent Developments in US Copyright Law

"The 1976 Act announces broad exclusive rights, offset by a myriad of specific exemptions, and one wide exception for “fair use.” In words and intent, the exclusive rights are capacious, but new technologies may have caused some of the general phrases to become more constraining than might have been expected from a text whose drafters took pains to make forward-looking. Thus, the scope of the reproduction right turns on the meaning of “copy;” the reach of the distribution right on “distribute copies” and “transfer of ownership;” the range of the public performance right on “public” and “perform.” Entrepreneurs and users of new technological means of exploiting copyrighted works have urged narrow constructions of each of these terms, arguing that broad interpretations will chill future innovation (and suppress present markets for copyright-exploiting devices or services). Copyright owners, concerned that unfettered new uses will supplant traditional copyright-controlled markets, have contended that the literal language, or, failing that, congressional intent, encompass the contested use. In addition, new technologies have called into question the identification of the person who “does” the copyright-implicating acts. Who makes a copy when the act is decomposed into steps taken by different actors? Who performs or displays a work when the work resides on one person’s server, but the public perceives it through another person’s website?

Several US courts have narrowly construed the reach of the exclusive rights of reproduction, distribution, public performance and public display, thus putting into doubt their efficacy in the digital environment. In particular, the Second Circuit’s recent decision in Cartoon Networks v. CSC Holdings, if followed, could substantially eviscerate the reproduction and public performance rights. The growing number of decisions rejecting a “making available” right attests to some difficulties in adapting the distribution right to online exploitation. By contrast, one bright spot for authors appears in the area of moral rights, in which digital media may provide a means to make at least some authors’ attribution interests enforceable. Because the decisions emanate from lower courts, including first-level courts, it is too soon to discern whether US copyright law is adopting a constricted conception of the scope of the economic rights under copyright, and if so, whether the decisions betoken an evolving (if often unarticulated) determination that copyright prerogatives should yield to technological preferences. In either event, the analyses and results contrast with solutions adopted in the European Union, and, in some instances, may be in tension with the US’ international obligations." Source: Columbia Law School. Columbia Public Law & Legal Theory Working Papers. Paper 08158.

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Police and National Security: American Local Law Enforcement and Counter-Terrorism After 9/11

Abstract: "What makes the issue of American policing and national security so interesting and complex is the decentralized and localized nature of most law enforcement in the United States. These attributes give rise to three challenges for policing and national security. First, the decentralized and localized nature of American policing creates enormous organizational problems in coordinating national security activities, and combating terrorism in particular. Second, the counter-terrorism agenda may influence or disrupt systems and patterns of political accountability of local police agencies. Third, some of the same attributes of local policing that makes it a useful counter-terrorism tool also create difficulties in effectively carrying out more traditional functions. The tension that sometimes exists between law enforcement efforts to prosecute criminals and secret intelligence activities to monitor them is exacerbated when stretched across local-federal lines, and some actions that may be important from a national security perspective may also be disruptive to more traditional law and order police efforts within localized communities. Whether and how these challenges are resolved depend heavily not only responses generated through the political system but on the evolutionary trajectory of the national security threats that spawn them." Source: Columbia Law School. Columbia Public Law & Legal Theory Working Papers. Paper 08157. Forthcoming in POLICE, COMMUNITY AND THE RULE OF LAW, Ben Bowling and Jeffrey Fagan (eds.), London: Hart Publishing.

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Federal Evidence Blog

"Highlighting recent cases and issues involving the Federal Rules of Evidence and other topical evidence matters. Topics range from the new Attorney-Client Privilege Rule (FRE 502), electronic, Internet and expert evidence issues, Confrontation Clause, pending rule amendments, legislation with an evidence impact, privilege issues, recent noteworthy cases and other issues, practical tips, and more." Source: Federal Evidence Review

Link to online resource: Federal Evidence Blog