Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pew Report: Adults and Social Network Websites

"The share of adult internet users who have a profile on an online social network site has more than quadrupled in the past four years -- from 8% in 2005 to 35% now, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project's December 2008 tracking survey."

While media coverage and policy attention focus heavily on how children and young adults use social network sites, adults still make up the bulk of the users of these websites. Adults make up a larger portion of the US population than teens, which is why the 35% number represents a larger number of users than the 65% of online teens who also use online social networks. Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project

Download full pdf report | Link to online memo

Monday, January 26, 2009

The White House Blog

The Obama administration has overhauled the White House web site and added a blog where the public will be able to view President Obama's weekly addresses and download relevant reports.

This week the President's address focuses on the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan" and offers a downloadable pdf of the Recovery Plan Metrics Report

Link to blog : The White House Blog

Download pdf of "Recovery Plan Metrics Report"

Cumpulsory DNA Collection: A Fourth Amendment Analysis

Despite relying on different legal standards, courts have generally upheld laws authorizing law enforcement?s compulsory collection of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) as reasonable under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. However, several developments might call this judicial consensus into question. Source: Congressional Research Service

Download full pdf report | Link to download site

Membership of the 111th Congress: A Profile

This report presents a profile of the membership of the 111th Congress. Statistical information is included on selected characteristics of Members, including data on party affiliation, average age and length of service, occupation, religious affiliation, gender, ethnicity, foreign births, and military service.

Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress

Download full pdf report | Link to online abstract

Hispanics and the New Administration: Immigration Slips as a Top Priority

From the online summary : "A year and a half after a lengthy, often rancorous debate over immigration reform filled the chambers of a stalemated Congress, the issue appears to have receded in importance among one of the groups most affected by it--Latinos. Only three-in-ten (31%) Latinos rate immigration as an "extremely important" issue facing the incoming Obama administration, placing it sixth on a list of seven policy priorities that respondents were asked to assess in a nationwide survey of 1,007 Latino adults conducted from December 3 through December 10, 2008, by the Pew Hispanic Center. The top-rated issue among Latinos is the economy; 57% of Hispanics say it is an "extremely important" one for the new president to address.

Looking forward, Hispanics are optimistic about the incoming Obama administration. More than seven-in-ten (72%) say they expect Obama to have a successful first term. Looking back, Latinos offer a negative assessment of the outgoing Bush administration. More than half (54%) of Latinos say that the failures of the Bush administration will outweigh its successes. In comparison, 64% of the U.S. general population holds the same view." Source: Pew Hispanic Center

Download full pdf report
| Link to full online summary

Out of the Shadows: Undocumented Latino College Students

"This paper analyzes how “undocumented” students make sense of school, schooling, and their social standing in the U.S. Based on two years of ethnographic research with 20 undocumented Mexican immigrant college students in California, this study examines the factors that have led these students to abandon their state of “social invisibility” and participate in higher education. The study finds that undocumented students decide to seek a higher education in an attempt to improve their chances for upward social mobility and incorporation into mainstream U.S society. They also see schools as safety zones and schooling as a mechanism of assimilation. This paper further explores how segmented assimilation theory can be utilized to understand the processes by which these students’ assimilate into mainstream U.S society. Lastly, the paper considers how assimilation theory can be expanded to better understand and depict the divergent paths of immigrant incorporation in the U.S. " Source: Institute for the Study of Social Change. ISSC Fellows Working Papers. Paper ISSC_WP_34.

Download full pdf publication
| Link to online abstract

The Warren Court, Legalism and Democracy: Sketch for a Critique in a Style Learned from Morton Horwitz

"Morton Horwitz’s Transformation books developed a critical approach that elaborates the underlying premises of legal doctrine and compares them to suppressed or ignored alternative perspectives. However, Horwitz’s Warren Court book is largely an appreciation of the Court’s doctrine that accepts at face value its underlying premises and the judges’ claim to vindicate democratic values. In this essay, I speculate on what a Transformation-style critique of the Warren Court might look like and suggest that the Court is vulnerable to criticisms analogous to those the Transformation books make of earlier doctrine. I suggest that book ignores an alternative perspective on social justice that emerged clearly after the Warren Court era but was conceptually available during it." Source: Columbia Law School. Columbia Public Law & Legal Theory Working Papers. Paper 09159.

Download full pdf report | Link to online abstract

Teaching Writing through the Arts in Urban Secondary Schools: A Case Study

"This article explores commonalties between literacy instruction and learning to understand the symbolic languages of the visual and performing arts. A detailed case study of an urban professional development program for secondary arts teachers looks at the learning initiated by writing assignments that prompted students to reflect on arts experiences. Evidence of the effectiveness of integrated arts and literacy instruction is provided by a quasi-experimental study, which showed that the expository writing skills of the students of participating teachers improved significantly." Source: Journal for Learning through the Arts: A Research Journal on Arts Integration in Schools and Communities

Download full pdf publication | Link to online abstract [eScholarship Repository]

Commonwealth Legal Information Institute

The Commonwealth Legal Information Institute (CommonLII) aims to provide one central Internet location from which it is possible to search – for free – core legal
information from all Commonwealth countries.

The Commonwealth Legal Information Institute (CommonLII) <> provides:

558 full text Databases from 59 Commonwealth and common law countries and external territories (see separate CommonLII Databases list).
A Catalog of nearly 10,000 websites from all Commonwealth and common law countries and territories. There is also a Websearch facility that allows searches of the content of many (but not all) of the websites in the Catalog.
A ‘Law on Google’ facility for all Commonwealth jurisdictions, which assists users to more easily find legal materials from a particular jurisdiction using the Google search engine.

CommonLII therefore provides three methods of finding law from across the Commonwealth.
Access to everything CommonLII provides is free to users.


Thursday, January 08, 2009

NCES Repart: Indirect County and State Estimates of the Percentage of Adults at the Lowest Literacy Level for 1992 and 2003

"NCES gathered data from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), a nationally representative sample of more than 19,000 Americans age 16 and older, and the 2000 Census, which provided "predictor variables" such as education and income.

NAAL data were correlated with the predictor variables to see if there was a pattern among them. From this information, a model was established. Using the model, estimates were predicted for areas where there were not sufficient assessment data. The same approach was also applied to the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS), so changes from 1992 to 2003 can be examined.

The report is accompanied by an interactive web tool, which shows the percentage of adults lacking Basic Prose Literacy Skills for all states and counties. In addition to allowing users to view adult literacy percentages for any given state, the web tool also allows for comparisons to be made between two states, two counties in the same state, two counties in different states, across years for a state, and across years for a county." Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Download full pdf report | Link to interactive web tool

Hispanics and the Economic Downturn: Housing Woes and Remittance Cuts

"Like the U.S. population as a whole, Latinos are feeling the sting of the economic downturn. Almost one-in-ten (9%) Latino homeowners say they missed a mortgage payment or were unable to make a full payment and 3% say they received a foreclosure notice in the past year, according to a new national survey of 1,540 Latino adults conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center. Moreover, more than six-in-ten (62%) Latino homeowners say there have been foreclosures in their neighborhood over the past year, and 36% say they are worried that their own home may go into foreclosure. This figure rises to 53% among foreign-born Latino homeowners.

The survey also finds that the economic downturn has had an impact on the amount of money that Latinos sent to relatives or others in their country of origin in the past year. Among Hispanic immigrants who sent remittances in the last two years, more than seven-in-ten (71%) say they sent less in 2008 than in the prior year.

Latinos hold a more negative view of their own current personal financial situation than does the general U.S. population. More than three-in-four (76%) Latinos, and 84% of foreign-born Latinos, say their current personal finances are in either fair or poor shape, while 63% of the general U.S. population says the same.

As a result of current economic conditions, many Latinos are adjusting their economic behaviors. More than seven-in-ten (71%) report that they cut back spending on eating out. More than two-thirds (67%) planned to curtail holiday spending. Over one-fourth (28%) report that they helped a family member or friend with a loan."
Source: Pew Hispanic Center

Download full pdf report | Link to online Summary