Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Condition of Education 2009

The Condition of Education 2009 summarizes important developments and trends in education using the latest available data. The report presents 46 indicators on the status and condition of education. The indicators represent a consensus of professional judgment on the most significant national measures of the condition and progress of education for which accurate data are available. The 2009 print edition includes 46 indicators in five main areas: (1) participation in education; (2) learner outcomes; (3) student effort and educational progress; (4) the contexts of elementary and secondary education; and (5) the contexts of postsecondary education.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Download pdf of full report | Browse report online

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cultural Borders and Mental Barriers: The Relationship Between Living Abroad and Creativity,

From Press Release:

Living in another country can be a cherished experience, but new research suggests it might also help expand minds. This research, published by the American Psychological Association, is the first of its kind to look at the link between living abroad and creativity.

“Gaining experience in foreign cultures has long been a classic prescription for artists interested in stimulating their imaginations or honing their crafts. But does living abroad actually make people more creative?” asks the study's lead author, William Maddux, PhD, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at INSEAD, a business school with campuses in France and Singapore. “It's a longstanding question that we feel we've been able to begin answering through this research.”

Maddux and Adam Galinsky, PhD, from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, conducted five studies to test the idea that living abroad and creativity are linked.

Source: APA

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| Link to press release

The Impact of Credit Cards on Spending: A Field Experiment

In a field experiment, we measure the impact of payment with credit card as compared with cash on insurance company employees' spending on lunch in a cafeteria. We exogenously changed some diners' payment medium from cash to a credit card by giving them an incentive to pay with a credit card. Surprisingly, we find that credit cards do not increase spending. However, the use of credit cards has a differential impact on spending for revolvers and convenience users: Revolvers spend less when induced to spend with a credit card, whereas convenience users display the opposite pattern.

Source: Social Science Research Network

Link to abstract - pdf available for download at SSRN

International perspectives on positive action measures - A comparative analysis in the European Union, Canada, the United States and South Africa

This study was undertaken to help the European Commission develop a framework for better understanding the role that positive action measures can play in practice in preventing or remedying discrimination. In addition, it offered insight into the kind of practical positive action measures already being taken in the EU (and in the EFTA-EEA countries), as well as the possible costs and benefits of the positive action measures. The study also sought to examine how legal frameworks, policies and practices of positive action in the EU compared with Canada, the United States and South Africa.

Source: European Commission on Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities

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Out of the Shadows: Preventive Detention, Suspected Terrorists, and War

From Abstract:

This article examines the appropriate and inappropriate role of "preventive detention" in responding to terrorist threats. It offers a constitutional jurisprudence of preventive detention, maintaining that absent a showing that dangerous behaviour cannot be addressed through criminal prosecution, preventive detention is unconstitutional. But criminal prosecution is not always a realistic option, and in those circumstances, preventive detention, carefully circumscribed and meticulously safeguarded by procedural protections, may be permissible. Familiar examples of accepted preventive detention regimes include civil commitment of dangerous persons who because of a mental disability cannot be held criminally responsible, and detention of enemy soldiers in a traditional war, whose hostile activities cannot be criminalized so long as they respect the laws of war.

Source: Georgetown Law Faculty Working Papers. Paper 106.

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Does the Wall Still Stand? The Implications of Transhumanism for the Separation of Church and State

Suppose a required course in a public high school taught transhumanism. The course covered topics such as how nanotechnology can improve brain functioning, and it took a positive, optimistic perspective on the possibility that we can become posthuman beings. Would such a course constitute an unconstitutional establishment of religion? The Malnak test and other sources suggest that the answer might be yes. From the perspective of a non-transhumanist, it seems that it would be honest and sensible for transhumanists to embrace the idea that they offer an alternative to traditional religions.

Steven Goldberg, Georgetown Law
Speech at the Workshop on Transhumanism and the Future of Democracy, Templeton Research Lectures at the Arizona State University Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, April 24, 2009

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Tort Law Tally : Tort Laws that Save Americans the Most Money

From Press Release: identifying which state tort reforms reduce tort losses and tort insurance premiums the most.

The analysis identifies 18 reforms to state civil-justice systems that significantly reduce tort losses and/or tort insurance premiums. The cumulative effect of reforms across all tort categories is a 47-percent reduction in losses and a 16-percent reduction in insurance premiums for consumers. “Our study helps state legislators and legal reformers identify which tort reforms produce the biggest bang for the buck,” said Lawrence J. McQuillan, PhD, project director and PRI director of Business and Economic Studies.

Source: Pacific Research Institute

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

U.S. Health Care System Fails To Protect Patients From Deadly Medical Errors

From Press Release:
“To Err is Human – To Delay is Deadly,” Consumers Union detailed the lack of progress since the IOM estimated in 1999 that as many as 98,000 Americans die every year from preventable medical errors. Consumers Union’s report was released as lawmakers in Congress are working on legislation to address the rising cost of health care and expand access to coverage. Consumers Union maintains that reducing medical harm -- including hospital-acquired infections and medication errors -- would not only improve patient care but also provide significant costs savings to help make expanded access to health coverage possible.

Source: Consumer's Union

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Dangerous But Not Omnipotent Exploring the Reach and Limitations of Iranian Power in the Middle East

Following the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the Iranian threat to U.S. interests has taken on seemingly unprecedented qualities of aggressiveness and urgency. Added to its provocative positions on the nuclear program, support for non-state militants, and development of threatening military capabilities is the sense that Iran is trying to effect far-reaching changes on the regional and even global stage. Within this context, this report aims to provide policy planners with a new framework for anticipating and preparing for the strategic challenges Iran will present over the next ten to fifteen years. In an analysis grounded in the observation that although Iranian power projection is marked by strengths, it also has serious liabilities and limitations, this report assesses four critical areas — the Iranian regime's perception of itself as a regional and even global power, Iran's conventional military buildup and aspirations for asymmetric warfare, its support to Islamist militant groups, and its appeal to Arab public opinion. Based on this assessment, the report offers a new U.S. policy paradigm that seeks to manage the challenges Iran presents through the exploitation of regional barriers to its power and sources of caution in the regime's strategic calculus. Source: RAND Corp.

Download full pdf report | Download Summary (pdf) | Link to online abstract

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Food for Thought: Building a High-Quality School Choice Market

From the press release:
Proponents of school choice have long argued that the power of markets is an essential element for creating a better public school system. But while the charter school movement has spurred the creation of highly successful school models, it has become increasingly clear that markets alone will not dramatically improve the supply and demand for great public schools, particularly in low-income, urban communities that have long suffered from low educational achievement.

"The reality is that supply and demand are more difficult to manufacture than originally conceived and are unlikely to fully develop on their own," argues Policy Analyst Erin Dillon in Food for Thought: Building a High-Quality School Choice Market, a new report from Education Sector. "In order to pressure all public schools to improve and to raise student achievement overall, school choice reforms need to not just increase the supply of any schools. They need to increase the supply of good schools, and parents who know how to find them."

Source: Education Sector

Download full pdf report | Link to online summary

U.S. Lags World in Paid Sick Days for Workers and Families

From the Press Release:
The report, "Contagion Nation: A Comparison of Paid Sick Day Policies in 22 Countries," finds that the U.S. is the only country among 22 countries ranked highly in terms of economic and human development that does not guarantee that workers receive paid sick days or paid sick leave. Under current U.S. labor law, employers are not required to provide short-term paid sick days or longer-term paid sick leave.

Source: Center for Economic Policy and Research

Download full pdf report | Link to online Press Release

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sex and Science: How Professor Gender Perpetuates the Gender Gap

Why aren’t there more women in science? Female college students are currently 37 percent less likely than males to obtain a bachelor’s degree in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and comprise only 25 percent of the STEM workforce. This paper begins to shed light on this issue by exploiting a unique dataset of college students who have been randomly assigned to professors over a wide variety of mandatory standardized courses. We focus on the role of professor gender. Our results suggest that while professor gender has little impact on male students, it has a powerful effect on female students’ performance in math and science classes, their likelihood of taking future math and science courses, and their likelihood of graduating with a STEM degree. The estimates are largest for female students with very strong math skills, who are arguably the students who are most suited to careers in science. Indeed, the gender gap in course grades and STEM ma jors is eradicated when high performing female students’introductory math and science classes are taught by female professors.. In contrast, the gender of humanities professors has only minimal impact on student outcomes. We believe that these results are indicative of important environmental influences at work. Source: Author: S.E.Carrell, U.C.Davis, NBER [via Chron of Higher Ed]

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U.S.-Mexico Economic Relations: Trends, Issues, and Implications

Mexico has a population of about 110 million people making it the most populous Spanish- speaking country in the world and the third most populous country in the Western Hemisphere. Based on a gross domestic product (GDP) of $1.0 trillion in 2008 (about 7% of U.S. GDP), Mexico has a free market economy with a strong export sector. Economic conditions in Mexico are important to the United States because of the proximity of Mexico to the United States, the close trade and investment interactions, and other social and political issues that are affected by the economic relationship between the two countries. The United States and Mexico have strong economic ties. An important feature of the relationship is the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has been in effect since 1994. In terms of total trade, Mexico is the United States' third largest trading partner, while the United States ranks first among Mexico's trading partners. In U.S. imports, Mexico ranks third among U.S. trading partners, after China and Canada, while in exports Mexico ranks second, after Canada. The United States is the largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Mexico. These links are critical to many U.S. industries and border communities. In 2008, about 11% of total U.S. merchandise exports were destined for Mexico and 10% of U.S. merchandise imports came from Mexico. In the same year U.S. exports to Mexico increased almost 10%, while imports from Mexico increased about 3%. For Mexico, the United States is a much more significant trading partner. About 82% of Mexico's exports go to the United States and 50% of Mexico's imports come from the United States. FDI forms another part of the economic relationship between the United States and Mexico. The United States is the largest source of FDI in Mexico. U.S. FDI in Mexico totaled $91.7 billion in 2007. The overall effect of NAFTA on the U.S. economy has been relatively small, primarily because two-way trade with Mexico amounts to less than three percent of U.S. GDP. Major trade issues between Mexico and the United States have involved the access of Mexican trucks to the United States; the access of Mexican sugar and tuna to the U.S. market; and the access of U.S. sweeteners to the Mexican market. Source: Congressional Research Service

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The Kurds in Post-Saddam Iraq

"The Kurdish-inhabited region of northern Iraq has been relatively peaceful and prosperous since the fall of Saddam Hussein. However, the Iraqi Kurds' political autonomy, demands, and ambitions have caused friction with Christian and other minorities in the north, with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and other Arab leaders of Iraq, and with neighboring Turkey and Iran. These outstanding issues between the Kurds and the central government do not appear close to resolution, and tensions—which are likely to increase now that Kurdish representation in two key mixed provinces has been reduced by the January 31, 2009 provincial elections—threaten to undermine the stability achieved throughout Iraq in 2008. The Kurds face further political setbacks in 2010 because a senior Kurdish leader, Jalal Talabani, said he would not be available to continue as president of Iraq after the next national elections expected at the end of 2009. It is likely that Sunni Arabs will push for one of their own to take that position. It is likely to require U.S. political influence over the Kurds to prevent a near term de-stabilizing escalation of these disputes. However, the U.S. ability to keep these tensions contained could wane as U.S. combat forces draw down from Iraq by August 2010." Source: Congressional Research Service

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National Science Foundation Releases Comprehensive Report on Global Impacts of Climate Change

"The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a report on global climate change, entitled "Solving the Puzzle: Researching the Impacts of Climate Change around the World," that describes how, over nearly 60 years, NSF-funded researchers have found signs of a changing climate in nearly every corner of the globe, from the icy expanses of Earth's polar regions to its equatorial ecosystems."

"NSF has also launched a Foundation-wide Climate Change Education program aimed at improving K-12 to graduate education in climate change science and increasing the public's understanding of climate change and its consequences."

Download full pdf report
| Link to NSF

Survey Finds Colleges Moving Away From Pure "Cafeteria-Style" General Education Requirements

The Association of American Colleges and Universities released findings today from a survey of its members revealing trends in undergraduate general education and the use of engaged and integrative curricular practices. The survey of chief academic officers at 433 colleges and universities of all sorts (public and private, two-year and four-year, large and small) suggests that many colleges and universities are reforming their general education programs and developing new curricular approaches and ways to assess key learning outcomes. As institutions review their general education programs, many are choosing to incorporate more engaged and integrative curricular practices. Source: The Association of American Colleges and Universities

Download full pdf report | Link to press release

Rich States, Poor States - ALEC path to economic recovery for states

In the midst of economic turmoil, federal bailouts, and budget deficits in more than 40 states, a new report from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) offers a roadmap to recovery based on economic performance trends from states over the last 10 years. The second edition of Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index shows how the federal bailout of the states may simply encourage out-of-control spending by states, which is up 124 percent over the last 10 years, without requiring them to make the tough decisions needed to bring about financial stability.
Source: American Legislative Exchange Council

Download full pdf report | Link to ALEC

The Establishment Clause and Government Funding of Faith-Based Organizations

"The debate over government funding of religious groups and institutions raises some of the thorniest issues in the ongoing discussion about the appropriate relationship between church and state. Most legal scholars agree that the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution limits at least some government funding of religion, but they disagree sharply on exactly what is permissible.

Participants in the debate fall roughly into two camps: On the one side are "separationists," who broadly interpret the Establishment Clause -- which prohibits all laws "respecting an establishment of religion" -- to require that government refrain from aiding or promoting religion or religious institutions. Strict separationists therefore claim that most, or even all, government funding of religion is unconstitutional. On the other side are those who interpret the Establishment Clause much more narrowly, contending that government funding of religion is constitutional as long as the funding is neutral, meaning it does not favor religion over non-religion or favor a particular faith over other faiths." Source: Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

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USC Annenberg School 2009 Digital Future Report

The Center for the Digital Future at the USC Annenberg School is pleased to present the results of the eighth year of our project, “Surveying the Digital Future.” The eight years of longitudinal research comprise an absolutely unique data base that completely captures broadband at home, the wireless Internet, on-line media, user-generated content and social networking. As usual, the report continues to track off-line media use, purchasing both off-line and through e-commerce, social and political activity and a wealth of other data.

The Center for the Digital Future at the USC Annenberg School has been tracking a representative sample of the American population for over eight years, watching as people move on-line and then move from modems to broadband. The project also carefully tracks those who drop off the net each year and whether they return and, if so, when and what brings them back. At the end of eight years, we also have an unparalleled view of the non-users who do not go on-line. We carefully examine why they are not users and whether they are likely to ever go on-line.

Report highlights (pdf) | Link to site for purchase of full report

Changing Patterns of Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States

This report examines data on nonmarital births from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS). The principal measures reviewed are the number of births to unmarried women, the birth rate for unmarried women, and the percentage of all births to unmarried women. The most recent data available are from the 2007 preliminary birth file. Data for 2006 are shown where the 2007 data are not available. Comparisons are also made with selected earlier years reflecting key points of change.

Key findings

Data from the Natality Data Sets, National Vital Statistics System (NVSS)

* Childbearing by unmarried women has resumed a steep climb since 2002.
* Births to unmarried women totaled 1,714,643 in 2007, 26% more than in 2002. Nearly 4 in 10 U.S. births were to unmarried women in 2007.
* Birth rates have risen considerably for unmarried women in their twenties and over, while declining or changing little for unmarried teenagers.
* Nonmarital birth rates are highest for Hispanic women followed by black women. Rates for non-Hispanic white and Asian or Pacific Islander women are much lower.
* Most births to teenagers (86% in 2007) are nonmarital, but 60% of births to women 20–24 and nearly one-third of births to women 25–29 were nonmarital in 2007.
* Teenagers accounted for just 23% of nonmarital births in 2007, down steeply from 50% in 1970.

Source: CDC Center for Health Statistics

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Occupying Iraq : A History of the Coalition Provisional Authority

The American engagement in Iraq has been looked at from many perspectives — the flawed intelligence that provided the war's rationale, the failed effort to secure an international mandate, the rapid success of the invasion, and the long ensuing counterinsurgency campaign. This book focuses on the activities of the Coalition Provisional Authority and its administrator, L. Paul Bremer, who governed Iraq from May 2003 to June of the following year. It is based on interviews with many of those responsible for setting and implementing occupation policy, on the memoirs of American and Iraqi officials who have since left office, on journalists' accounts of the period, and on nearly 100,000 never-before-released CPA documents. The book recounts and evaluates the efforts of the United States and its coalition partners to restore public services, reform the judicial and penal systems, fight corruption, revitalize the economy, and create the basis for representative government. It also addresses the occupation's most striking failure: the inability of the United States and its coalition partners to protect the Iraqi people from the criminals and extremists in their midst.

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| Download pdf Executive Summary | Link to online abstract

2009 Industry Outlook: Challenging Times, Emerging Opportunities

"In 2009, the United States must deal with some of the greatest economic challenges it has encountered in two generations: Financial markets are in turmoil; prices for oil and other commodities are fluctuating wildly; housing, automotive and other industries are fighting for survival; more than 10 million people are unemployed2 – the litany of woes continues as the United States and other nations slip into a global recession. Yet, even amid the economic upheaval, opportunities and positive signs exist: Medical and technology advances are continuing apace; greening initiatives are moving forward; a new president and Congress are taking office amid high expectations for change; and governments, corporations and citizens around the world are collaborating to identify real and lasting solutions to today’s and tomorrow’s challenges." Source: Deloitte

Link to full report online

Monday, May 11, 2009

Reaching America's Health Potential: A State-by-State Look at Adult Health

"This chartbook, released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to Build a Healthier America, provides state and national data on self-reported adult health status. These data illustrate a consistent and striking pattern of incremental improvements in health with increasing levels of educational attainment: As levels of education rise, health improves.

This report also compares the current state of adult health in the United States to a national benchmark—a level of good health that should be achievable for all Americans. This national adult health benchmark is set at the lowest rate of less than very good health observed in any state among the most educated adults who also practiced healthy behaviors."

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| Link to online summary

Older Workers on the Move: Recareering in Later Life

Recareering, or career change, is common at older ages. Workers who change careers typically move into jobs that pay less and offer fewer benefits. However, the new careers tend to offer more flexible work arrangements, less stressful working conditions, and fewer managerial responsibilities. For workers interested in delaying retirement after long careers, such jobs may be just what they are looking for.

Relatively little is known about recareering. This PPI Research Paper by examines the characteristics of workers who change careers in late life. Using data from eight waves of the biennial Health and Retirement Study (1992-2006), Richard W. Johnson, Janette Kawachi, and Eric K. Lewis of The Urban Institute examine the extent and nature of career change by older workers and its consequences for later-life employment. Special attention is paid to the circumstances surrounding later-life job separations that influence career change. Source: The Urban Institute [via AARP]

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| Link to online summary

The 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) Outbreak: Selected Legal Issues

From the summary:
Recent human cases of infection with a novel influenza A(H1N1) virus have been identified both internationally and in the United States. Since there has been human to human transmission and the new virus has the potential to become pandemic, it is timely to examine the legal issues surrounding this emerging public health threat. This report provides a brief overview of selected legal issues including emergency measures, civil rights, liability issues, and employment issues.

Source: Congressional Research Service [via American Federation of Scientists]

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Mandated Parent Education Programs: Lessons From the United States

What should family law do about divorcing parents? A legislative wave sweeping through the United States has answered “teach them a lesson.” This legislation requires that divorcing parents take “parent education programs.” Thus it has turned these programs from a fad in American family courts into an established and mandatory stop on parents’ path to divorce. These programs, and the legislation mandating them, are currently being replicated in other English-speaking jurisdictions, typically relying on American materials and expertise. In Canada, parenting classes for divorcing parents are required in several provinces and are already mandatory for all divorcing parents in Alberta. An American expert participated in lobbying for similar legislation in the United Kingdom, where pilot programs are in the making. A close scrutiny of the American experience, therefore, is especially timely. This Article critically scrutinizes the American legislation and shows that it appeals to a widely held belief that divorcing parents are not only responsible for the adverse consequences of divorce on children, but that they should also be blamed for them. This blaming has resulted in legislation that does little to ameliorate children’s lives and downplays the detrimental effects of divorce on mothers. Instead, the Article proposes that letting go of blame and focusing on helping parents “move on” as quickly and steadily as possible would yield better results for a legal system committed to improving children’s well-being and to gender equality. Source: Cornell Law School

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Transforming America’s Community Colleges: A Federal Policy Proposal To Expand Opportunity and Promote Economic Prosperity

"To renew America’s status as the world’s leader in college attainment, the federal government needs to transform America’s community colleges and equip them for the 21st century. This long-overdue investment should establish national goals and a related performance measurement system; provide resources to drive college performance toward those goals; stimulate greater innovation in community college policies and practices to enhance the quality of subbaccalaureate education; and support data systems to track student and institutional progress and performance." Source: The Brookings Institution

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| Link to online overview

Attached at the Wallet: The Delicate Financial Relationship between the U.S. and China

For nearly two decades, the United States and China have held each other in an awkward but mutually beneficial economic embrace. Despite the countries' political differences, American consumers gobbled up Chinese-made goods, while China piled up billions of dollars from U.S. trade.

The arrangement worked for years. But recently, under mounting pressures from the global economic crisis, the financial relationship between China and the U.S. is beginning to look like an unhealthy co-dependency. China holds so much of its foreign reserves in dollar-based assets that it is now vulnerable to shifts in the U.S. economy. And the U.S. has allowed China to purchase so much of its debt that it is now beholden to Chinese interests. Source: Knowledge @ Wharton, Wharton School of Business

Download article in pdf format | Link to article online

Engaging women in computer science and engineering: Insights from a national study of undergraduate research experiences

At UCLA, the Center for Embedded Network Sensing (CENS) in the School of Engineering received NSF funding for a unique project titled: Women @ CENS, created to explore issues of gender equity in engineering and computer science (ECS) undergraduate research internship programs. The Women @ CENS project includes two studies: 1) an evaluation of our own CENS REU program and 2) a national study of REUs in ECS. The goals of these studies were to learn about promising practices in addressing gender equity in the REU setting from our own summer internship program, and to learn about what other REUs were doing in regards to promoting gender equity such that more women will choose to pursue advanced degrees and faculty careers in ECS. Study One utilizes the evaluation of the CENS REU over four program years to understand what has and has not worked for our female students in particular. For Study Two, we surveyed program directors of NSF funded Computer Science and Engineering REUs nationwide about espoused program goals, practices, participant demographics, and in particular, specific efforts designed to address gender inequity in these fields. Source: Center for Embedded Network Sensing. Papers. Paper 2248. [via eScholarship repository]

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UN : Anti-racism conference outcome document – what it actually says

"The outcome document of the Durban Review Conference is designed to bring real changes for the millions of victims of racism worldwide. It has identified “concrete measures and initiatives at all levels” to stamp out racial discrimination and intolerance.

High Commissioner Navi Pillay: the outcome document is a carefully balanced and yet meaningful outcome enshrining a common aspiration: to defy racism in all its manifestations and work to stamp it out wherever it may occur.Victims are given special consideration in the document, which was adopted by consensus at the Durban Review Conference. It represents the latest global consensus on how to fight all forms of racism.

Contrary to a common misconception, the Durban Review Conference and its outcome did not focus on a single issue, conflict or group of people – the Middle East for instance is not mentioned in the outcome document. Rather, it emphasizes that all victims of racism 'should receive the same necessary attention and protection and accordingly appropriate treatment.'"

Link to entire article from the United Nations
| Download Conference Outcome Document

Public Remains Divided Over Use of Torture

Amid intense debate over the use of torture against suspected terrorists, public opinion about this issue remains fairly stable. Currently, nearly half say the use of torture under such circumstances is often (15%) or sometimes (34%) justified; about the same proportion believes that the torture of suspected terrorists is rarely (22%) or never (25%) justified.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted April 14-21 among 742 adults interviewed in English and Spanish on landlines and cell phones, finds little change in opinions about the use of torture against suspected terrorists. Source: "Pew Research Center for the People & the Press"

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| Download pdf topline questionnaire | Link to online overview

Foreign-Born Population Map Series by Selected Countries of Birth

"These state level maps provide percent distributions and some detailed socio-economic characteristics from Census 2000 for the foreign-born population in the United States and Puerto Rico for selected countries of birth.

The map series includes selected countries of birth that met a national threshold of 500,000 persons or more. In total, fourteen countries of birth were selected: Mexico, China, Philippines, India, Vietnam, Cuba, Korea, Canada, El Salvador, Germany, Dominican Republic, the United Kingdom, Jamaica, and Colombia.1 The percent distributions of the foreign-born populations born in these countries are displayed geographically by state and Puerto Rico.

In addition, selected characteristic maps are also shown for nine countries of birth: Mexico, China, Philippines, India, Vietnam, Korea, Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom.1 The characteristics maps have a state level threshold of 1,000 persons or more of the foreign-born population born in a selected country of birth in most states. Data for certain states and Puerto Rico that did not meet this criterion are not shown. For example, in 2000 Florida’s total number of the foreign-born population born in China has to be equal to or above 1,000 persons in order to be displayed in the map. Cuba, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Colombia did not meet this criterion, so only percent distribution maps are available. For comparative purposes, the total foreign-born and native populations are also included by percent distribution and for selected characteristics. The fourteen countries of birth listed below are in order by size of their total foreign-born population at the national level." Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Link to Foreign-Born Population Map Series

Monday, May 04, 2009

Survey Finds Nearly Half of Americans Concerned They or Their Family May Get Sick from Swine Flu

From Press Release "Following the declaration of a public health emergency due to the new H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, the Harvard Opinion Research Program at the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a poll about how concerned Americans are about the outbreak, how they are responding and what they believe about transmission, prevention and treatment."

Source: Harvard School of Public Health

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| Download charts (pdf) | Link to online press release

Public Takes Conservative Turn on Gun Control, Abortion

Public attitudes on a pair of contentious national issues -- gun control and abortion -- have moved in a more conservative direction over the past year. In both cases, the changes have been driven in part by relatively large shifts among men, while opinions among women have not changed very much.

For the first time in a Pew Research survey, nearly as many people believe it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns (45%) than to control gun ownership (49%). As recently as a year ago, 58% said it was more important to control gun ownership while 37% said it was more important to protect the right to own guns.

Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

Link to online report with charts

Health Care Reform: An Introduction

Health care reform has emerged as an issue in the 111th Congress, driven by growing concern about widely discussed problems. Three predominant concerns involve coverage, cost and spending, and quality. Commonly cited figures indicate that more than 45 million people have no insurance, which can limit their access to care and their ability to pay for the care they receive. Costs are rising for nearly everyone, and the country now spends over $2.2 trillion, more than 16% of gross domestic product (GDP), on health care services and products, far more than other industrialized countries. For all this spending, the country scores but average or somewhat worse on many indicators of health care quality. Source: Congressional Research Service

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Organized Crime in the United States: Trends and Issues for Congress

"Organized crime threatens multiple facets of the United States, including the economy and national security. In fact, the Organized Crime Council was recently reconvened for the first time in 15 years to address this continued threat. Organized crime has taken on an increasingly transnational nature, and with more open borders and the expansion of the Internet, criminals endanger the United States not only from within the borders, but beyond. Threats come from a variety of criminal organizations, including Russian, Asian, Italian, Balkan, Middle Eastern, and African syndicates. Policymakers may question whether the tools they have provided the federal government to combat organized crime are still effective for countering today's evolving risks. In the wake of the economic downturn, organized crime could further weaken the economy with illegal activities (such as cigarette trafficking and tax evasion scams) that result in a loss of tax revenue for state and federal governments. Fraudulent activities in domains such as strategic commodities, credit, insurance, stocks, securities and investments could further weaken the already-troubled financial market." Source: Congressional Research Service

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Insolvency of Systemically Significant Companies: Bankruptcy vs. Conservatorship/Receivership

This report first discusses the purposes behind the creation of a separate insolvency regime for depository institutions. The report then compares and contrasts the characteristics of depository institutions with SSFCs. Next, the report provides a brief analysis of some important differences between the FDIC's conservatorship/receivership authority and that of the Bankruptcy Code. The specific differences discussed are: (1) overall objectives of each regime; (2) insolvency initiation authority and timing; (3) oversight structure and appeal; (4) management, shareholder, and creditor rights; (5) FDIC "superpowers," including contract repudiation versus Bankruptcy's automatic stay; and (6) speed of resolution. This report makes no value judgment as to whether an insolvency regime for SSFCs that is modeled after the FDIC's conservatorship/receivership authority is more appropriate than using (or adapting) the Bankruptcy Code. Rather, it simply points out the similarities and differences between SSFCs and depository institutions, and compares the conservatorship/receivership insolvency regime with the Bankruptcy Code to help the reader develop his/her own opinion. Source: Congressional Research Service

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Did Corporate Governance 'Fail' During the 2008 Stock Market Meltdown? The Case of the S&P 500

In 2008, share prices on U.S. stock markets fell further than they had during any one year since the 1930s. Does this mean corporate governance “failed”? This paper argues “no”, based on a study of a sample of companies at “ground zero” of the stock market meltdown, namely the 37 firms removed from the iconic S&P 500 index during 2008. The study, based primarily on searches of the Factiva news database, reveals that institutional shareholders were largely mute as share prices fell and that boardroom practices and executive pay policies at various financial firms were problematic. On the other hand, there apparently were no Enron-style frauds, there was little criticism of the corporate governance of companies that were not under severe financial stress and directors of troubled firms were far from passive, as they orchestrated CEO turnover at a rate far exceeding the norm in public companies. The fact that corporate governance functioned tolerably well in companies removed from the S&P 500 implies that the case is not yet made out for fundamental reform of current arrangements.

Source: Social Science Resource Network
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Educational Attainment in the United States

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that workers with a bachelor’s degree earned about $26,000 more on average than workers with a high school diploma, according to new figures that outline 2008 educational trends and achievement levels.

The tables also show that in 2008, 29 percent of adults 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree, and 87 percent had completed high school. That compares with 24 percent of adults who had a bachelor’s degree, and 83 percent who had completed high school in 1998.

Educational Attainment in the United States: 2008 is a series of tables containing data by characteristics such as age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, marital status, occupation, industry, nativity, citizenship status and period of entry. The tabulations also include historical data on mean earnings by educational attainment, sex, race and Hispanic origin.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Link to site to download data tables

Dissecting the 2008 Electorate: Most Diverse in U.S. History

"The electorate in last year's presidential election was the most racially and ethnically diverse in U.S. history, with nearly one-in-four votes cast by non-whites, according to a new analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Research Center. The nation's three biggest minority groups--blacks, Hispanics and Asians--each accounted for unprecedented shares of the presidential vote in 2008."

Source: Pew Hispanic Center

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