Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Racial and Ethnic Disparities Juvenile Justice Data Map

About the datamap:

Under the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), States are required to address Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) in their juvenile justice systems. The nature of DMC and/or racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system varies among States, as does each State's effort to reduce DMC and disparities.

To facilitate analysis of these variations, our interactive map provides State-by-State and County data regarding juvenile justice system involvement, using data from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Click the desired State to learn about State data on racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system, State's efforts to reduce disparities, and State's juvenile justice system information, including state contact information and relevant law.

Source: Burns Institute for Juvenile Justice Fairness & Equity

Link to interactive map

‘Hidden Marks: A study of women students’ experiences of harassment, stalking, violence and sexual assault

"...a snapshot of the harassment and violence that women students have faced whilst they have been at their current institution."

Source: U.K. National Union of Students

Download full pdf publication | Link to news release from UK National Union of Students

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

From the overview:

The Department of State prepared this report using information from U.S. embassies and consulates abroad, foreign government officials, nongovernmental and international organizations, and published reports. The initial drafts of the individual country reports were prepared by U.S. diplomatic missions abroad, drawing on information they gathered throughout the year from a variety of sources, including government officials, jurists, the armed forces, journalists, human rights monitors, academics, and labor activists. This information gathering can be hazardous, and U.S. Foreign Service personnel regularly go to great lengths, under trying and sometimes dangerous conditions, to investigate reports of human rights abuse, monitor elections, and come to the aid of individuals at risk, such as political dissidents and human rights defenders whose rights are threatened by their governments.

Once the initial drafts of the individual country reports were completed, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, in cooperation with other Department of State offices, worked to corroborate, analyze, and edit the reports, drawing on their own sources of information. These sources included reports provided by U.S. and other human rights groups, foreign government officials, representatives from the United Nations and other international and regional organizations and institutions, experts from academia, and the media. Bureau officers also consulted experts on worker rights, refugee issues, military and police topics, women's issues, and legal matters. The guiding principle was to ensure that all information was assessed objectively, thoroughly, and fairly.

The reports in this volume will be used as a resource for shaping policy, conducting diplomacy, and making assistance, training, and other resource allocations. They also will serve as a basis for the U.S. Government's cooperation with private groups to promote the observance of internationally recognized human rights.

Source: U.S. State Department

Link to report - list by country

Labor Force Characteristics of Foreign-Born Workers

From Press Release:

...compares the labor force characteristics of the foreign born with those of their native-born counterparts. The data on nativity are collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of approximately 60,000 households. The foreign born are persons who reside in the United States but who were born outside the country or one of its outlying areas to parents who were not U.S. citizens. The foreign born include legally-admitted immigrants, refugees, temporary residents such as students and temporary workers, and undocumented immigrants.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Link to site with available data tables | Link to BLS summary

Immigration Reform Issues in the 111th Congress

There is a broad-based consensus that the U.S. immigration system is broken. This consensus erodes, however, as soon as the options to reform the U.S. immigration system are debated. The number of foreign-born people residing in the United States is at the highest level in U.S. history and has reached a proportion of the U.S. population--12.6%--not seen since the early 20th century. Of the 38 million foreign-born residents in the United States, approximately one-third are naturalized citizens, one-third are legal permanent residents, and one-third are estimated to be unauthorized (illegal) residents. Some observers and policy experts maintain that the presence of an estimated 11 million unauthorized residents is evidence of flaws in the legal immigration system as well as failures of immigration control policies and practices. The 111th Congress is faced with strategic questions of whether to continue to build on incremental reforms of specific elements of immigration (e.g., employment verification, skilled migration, temporary workers, worksite enforcement, and legalization of certain categories of unauthorized residents) or whether to comprehensively reform the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). President Barack Obama has affirmed his support for comprehensive immigration reform legislation that includes increased enforcement as well as a pathway to legal residence for certain unauthorized residents. This report synthesizes the multi-tiered debate over immigration reform into key elements: legal immigration; legalization; immigration control; refugees, asylees, and humanitarian migrants; and, alien rights, benefits and responsibilities. It delineates the issues for the 111th Congress on permanent residence, temporary admissions, border security, worksite enforcement, employment eligibility verification, document fraud, criminal aliens, and the grounds for inadmissibility. Addressing these contentious policy reforms against the backdrop of economic crisis sharpens the social and business cleavages and narrows the range of options.

Source: Congressional Research Service

Download full pdf publication | Link to online summary

Pooh-Poohing Copyright Law’s “Inalienable” Termination Rights

From its earliest manifestations, copyright law has struggled to deal with the equitable and efficient division of value and control between creators and the enterprises that distribute their works. And for almost as long as copyright has existed, there has been concern about creators getting the short end of the stick in their dealings with distributors. Since 1909, Congress has sought to protect authors and their families by allowing them to grant their copyrights for exploitation and then, decades later, to recapture those same rights. After judicial interpretation of the 1909 Act frustrated this intent by upholding advance assignments of renewal terms, Congress spoke unambiguously in 1976: “Termination of the grant may be effected notwithstanding any agreement to the contrary . . . .” Yet recent decisions in the Ninth and Second Circuits have eviscerated that clear Congressional command by permitting a grantee to renegotiate the terms of the grant so as to frustrate recapture by the author’s family. After critically analyzing these decisions, this article provides a comprehensive framework for restoring the integrity and clarity of the termination of transfer provisions.

Source: Berkeley Program in Law and Economics, Working Paper Series, Berkeley Program in Law and Economics, UC Berkeley [via eScholarship Repository]

Download full pdf publication | Link to eScholarship Repository

Supreme Court Database

Database contains over two hundred pieces of information about each case decided by the Court between the 1953 and 2008 terms. Examples include the identity of the court whose decision the Supreme Court reviewed, the parties to the suit, the legal provisions considered in the case, and the votes of the Justices.

Datasets are available for download or you can use the online analysis tools to run queries on the data.

Created and maintained by Prof. Harold Spaeth of Michigan State University College of Law

Link to database

Discrimination by Comparison

From the Abstract:
Contemporary discrimination law is in crisis, both methodologically and conceptually. The judiciary’s favored heuristic for observing discrimination – a comparator who is like the discrimination claimant but for the protected characteristic – has nearly depleted discrimination jurisprudence and theory. The resulting deficit can be explained, in turn, by the comparator methodology’s profound mismatch with current understandings of identity discrimination and the realities of the modern workplace. Even in run-of-the-mill cases, comparators often cannot be found, particularly in today’s mobile, knowledge-based economy. This difficulty amplifies for complex claims, which rest on thicker understandings of discrimination developed in second-generation intersectionality, identity performance, and structural discrimination theories. By collapsing an observational heuristic into a defining element of discrimination, courts have largely foreclosed these theories from consideration, leaving the mismatch in place and sharpening the divide between theory and practice. At the same time, courts have further shrunk the very idea of discrimination by disregarding the lesson of harassment and stereotyping jurisprudence that discrimination can occur without a comparator present.

Source: Columbia Public Law & Legal Theory Working Papers. Paper 9185.

Download full pdf | Link to online

Alternative Schools and Programs for Public School Students At Risk of Educational Failure: 2007-08

This First Look report presents data from a recent district Fast Response Survey System (FRSS) survey about alternative schools and programs available to students during the 2007-08 school year. Alternative schools and programs are specifically designed to address the educational needs of students at risk of school failure in a setting apart from that of the regular public school. They can be administered by the district or an entity other than the district. The study includes information on the availability and number of alternative schools and programs, the number of students enrolled in alternative schools and program, and district policy on returning students to a regular school.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Download full pdf publication | Link to online summary

Terms of Engagement Men of Color Discuss Their Experiences in Community College

This study draws on the experiences of 87 African-American, Hispanic, and Native American men who were enrolled in developmental math courses at four Achieving the Dream institutions to find out more about what affects the success of men of color in community college. The fieldwork explored how students’ experiences in their high schools and communities, as well as their identities as men of color, influenced their decisions to go to college and their engagement in school. The students offered their perspectives in their own words in three rounds of focus groups and interviews during the 2007-08 academic year.

Source: MDRC

Download full pdf publication | Download pdf Executive Summary | Link to online overview

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dying to Give Birth: Maternal Health in the US

More than two women die every day in the USA from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Approximately half of these deaths could be prevented if maternal health care were available, accessible and of good quality for all women in the USA.
Maternal mortality ratios have increased from 6.6 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1987 to 13.3 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2006. While some of the recorded increase is due to improved data collection, the fact remains that maternal mortality ratios have risen significantly.

Source: Amnesty International

Download full pdf report | Link to online summary

Morocco: Current Issues

The United States government views Morocco as a moderate Arab regime, an ally against terrorism, and a free trade partner. King Mohammed VI retains supreme power but has taken incremental liberalizing steps. Since 9/11, Moroccan expatriates have been implicated in international terrorism, and Morocco has suffered terror attacks. Morocco takes a proactive approach to countering terror, but some of its measures may be setting back progress in human rights. Morocco's foreign policy focuses largely on Europe, particularly France and Spain, and the United States. In the Middle East, it supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and has severed diplomatic relations with Iran for bilateral reasons.

Download full pdf publication | Link to online summary

High risk of depression among low-income women raises awareness about treatment options

Depression in young women living in poverty has devastating consequences if left untreated. Low-income women are at a higher risk for depression than other income groups, and the majority of these women are untreated. The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale was used to assess depression symptoms in women under 45 years old in five California counties. More than 45% were identified as depressed, and the highest level of depressive symptoms was found in Sonoma County. We also found a significant negative association between the number of people in the household and depressive symptom scores, that is, with fewer people in the household depression increased. This result may indicate the need for a support system that is more accessible to individuals in smaller households or it may be an artifact of Hispanics having larger families and lower depression scores.

Source: California Agriculture, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources Communication Services, UC Office of the President [via eScholarship Repository]

Download pdf publication | Link to eScholarship Repository

The Story of Bob Jones University v. United States: Race, Religion, and Congress’ Extraordinary Acquiescence


On May 25, 1983, the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had authority to deny tax-exempt status to Bob Jones University, Goldsboro Christian School, and other private and religious schools with racially discriminatory educational policies. The Court relied on the statute’s broad purpose and placed significant weight on Congress’ failure to enact legislation to overturn the IRS policy. A complete account of the legislative history, provided here, both supports and undercuts the Court’s opinion. More importantly, this story provides an account of the dynamic interaction among a Supreme Court critical of racial integration, a Congress divided on this issue, and a presidency at war with itself. In the end, the story suggests that Bob Jones may have a limited role in shaping interpretive methodology, but that the case reveals how all three branches of government (as well as the public) interact to shape a statute’s meaning.

Source: Columbia Public Law & Legal Theory Working Papers. Paper 9184.

Download full pdf publication | Link to online abstract

Friday, March 12, 2010

"Expanding Access to Paid Sick Leave: The Impact of the Healthy Families Act on America's Workers,"

"...estimating the impact of the Healthy Families Act (S. 1152, introduced by Senator Chris Dodd, and H.R. 2460, introduced by Representative Rosa DeLauro), on access to paid sick leave. The report, "Expanding Access to Paid Sick Leave: The Impact of the Healthy Families Act on America's Workers," was requested by the Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families and analyzes the demographics of workers who currently have access to paid sick leave and workers who would gain access to paid sick leave under the Healthy Families Act."

Source: U.S. Joint Economic Committee

Download full pdf publication | Link to Press Release

America's Tomorrow: A Profile of Latino Youth

This statistical brief examines the status of Latino youth in the United States. Latino youth, who compose nearly 20% of all youth in the country, experience high levels of poverty, high dropout rates, low graduation rates, high unemployment rates, and low rates of health insurance. Given that Latinos will compose about 30% of the U.S. population by 2050, the ability of Latino youth to overcome these pressing challenges today will directly impact the economic and social success of our nation in the future.

Source: National Council of La Raza

Download pdf publication | Link to National Council of La Raza

Family Factors and Student Outcomes

To examine the effects of family process variables (specific things families do) and family status variables (who families are) on students' academic achievement and nonacademic outcomes, the author uses the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, a U.S. longitudinal dataset that follows a nationally representative sample of children from kindergarten through fifth grade, and the Programme for International Student Assessment, a cross-country cross-sectional dataset that assesses academic achievement of 15-year-old students. The U.S. data indicate that even after controlling for demographics and school inputs, student achievement was associated with such process variables as parental expectations and beliefs, learning structure, resource availability, home environment, parenting and disciplinary practices, and parental involvement. In addition, doing homework more frequently, having home Internet access, and owning a community library card had higher returns in terms of student achievement for black children or children from low socio-economic families than for their counterparts. U.S. students did not fare as well as their peers in other countries and economies, and family process variables, especially considered collectively, are important factors in explaining student achievement in an international setting.

Source: RAND Corporation

Download full pdf publication
| Download pdf executive summary | Link to RAND

Trade Agreements: Impact on the U.S. Economy

The United States is in the process of considering a number of trade agreements. In addition, the 111th Congress may address the issue of trade promotion authority (TPA), which expired on July 1, 2007. These agreements range from bilateral trade agreements with countries that account for meager shares of U.S. trade to multilateral negotiations that could affect large numbers of U.S. workers and businesses. During this process, Congress likely will be presented with an array of data estimating the impact of trade agreements on the economy, or on a particular segment of the economy. An important policy tool that can assist Congress in assessing the value and the impact of trade agreements is represented by sophisticated models of the economy that are capable of simulating changes in economic conditions. These models are particularly helpful in estimating the effects of trade liberalization in such sectors as agriculture and manufacturing where the barriers to trade are identifiable and subject to some quantifiable estimation. Barriers to trade in services, however, are proving to be more difficult to identify and, therefore, to quantify in an economic model. In addition, the models are highly sensitive to the assumptions that are used to establish the parameters of the model and they are hampered by a serious lack of comprehensive data in the services sector. Nevertheless, the models do provide insight into the magnitude of the economic effects that may occur across economic sectors as a result of trade liberalization. These insights are especially helpful in identifying sectors expected to experience the greatest adjustment costs and, therefore, where opposition to trade agreements is likely to occur. This report examines the major features of economic models being used to estimate the effects of trade agreements. It assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the models as an aid in helping Congress evaluate the economic impact of trade agreements on the U.S. economy. In addition, this report identifies and assesses some of the assumptions used in the economic models and how these assumptions affect the data generated by the models. Finally, this report evaluates the implications for Congress of various options it may consider as it assesses trade agreements.

Source: Congressional Research Service

Download full pdf publication | Link to online summary

Southwest Border Violence: Issues in Identifying and Measuring Spillover Violence

There has been a recent increase in the level of drug trafficking-related violence within and between the drug trafficking organizations in Mexico. This violence has generated concern among U.S. policy makers that the violence in Mexico might spill over into the United States. Currently, U.S. federal officials deny that the recent increase in drug trafficking-related violence in Mexico has resulted in a spillover into the United States, but they acknowledge that the prospect is a serious concern. The most recent threat assessment indicates that the Mexican drug trafficking organizations pose the greatest drug trafficking threat to the United States, and this threat is driven partly by U.S. demand for drugs. Mexican drug trafficking organizations are the major suppliers and key producers of most illegal drugs smuggled into the United States across the Southwest border (SWB). The nature of the conflict between the Mexican drug trafficking organizations in Mexico has manifested itself, in part, as a struggle for control of these smuggling routes into the United States. Further, in an illegal marketplace--such as that of illicit drugs--where prices and profits are elevated due to the risks of operating outside the law, violence or the threat of violence becomes the primary means for settling disputes. When assessing the potential implications of the increased violence in Mexico, one of the central concerns for Congress is the potential for what has been termed "spillover" violence--an increase in drug trafficking-related violence in United States. While the interagency community has defined spillover violence as violence targeted primarily at civilians and government entities--excluding trafficker-on-trafficker violence--other experts and scholars have recognized trafficker-on-trafficker violence as central to spillover. When defining and analyzing changes in drug trafficking-related violence within the United States to determine whether there has been (or may be in the future) any spillover violence, critical elements include who may be implicated in the violence (both perpetrators and victims), what type of violence may arise, when violence may appear, and where violence may occur (both along the SWB and in the nation's interior). Currently, no comprehensive, publicly available data exist that can definitively answer the question of whether there has been a significant spillover of drug trafficking-related violence into the United States. Although anecdotal reports have been mixed, U.S. government officials maintain that there has not yet been a significant spillover. In an examination of data that could provide insight into whether there has been a significant spillover in drug trafficking-related violence from Mexico into the United States, CRS analyzed violent crime data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Report program. The data, however, do not allow analysts to determine what proportion of the violent crime rate is related to drug trafficking or, even more specifically, what proportion of drug trafficking-related violent crimes can be attributed to spillover violence

Source: Congressional Research Service

Download full pdf report | Link to online summary

Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons: Proliferation and Security Issues

Pakistan's nuclear arsenal consists of approximately 60 nuclear warheads, although it could be larger. Islamabad is producing fissile material, adding to related production facilities, and deploying additional delivery vehicles. These steps will enable Pakistan to undertake both quantitative and qualitative improvements to its nuclear arsenal. Whether and to what extent Pakistan's current expansion of its nuclear weapons-related facilities is a response to the 2008 U.S.-India nuclear cooperation agreement is unclear. Islamabad does not have a public, detailed nuclear doctrine, but its "minimum credible deterrent" is widely regarded as primarily a deterrent to Indian military action. Pakistan has in recent years taken a number of steps to increase international confidence in the security of its nuclear arsenal. In addition to dramatically overhauling nuclear command and control structures since September 11, 2001, Islamabad has implemented new personnel security programs. Moreover, Pakistani and some U.S. officials argue that, since the 2004 revelations about a procurement network run by former Pakistani nuclear official A.Q. Khan, Islamabad has taken a number of steps to improve its nuclear security and to prevent further proliferation of nuclear-related technologies and materials. A number of important initiatives, such as strengthened export control laws, improved personnel security, and international nuclear security cooperation programs have improved Pakistan's security situation in recent years. Instability in Pakistan has called the extent and durability of these reforms into question. Some observers fear radical takeover of a government that possesses a nuclear bomb, or proliferation by radical sympathizers within Pakistan's nuclear complex in case of a breakdown of controls. While U.S. and Pakistani officials continue to express confidence in controls over Pakistan's nuclear weapons, continued instability in the country could impact these safeguards.

Source: Congressional Research Service

Download full pdf report
| Link to online summary

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crime: a London Case Study

...reveals the trends behind underreported violence against Muslims in London. It illuminates how contexts of fear and prejudice against Muslims are providing a basis for violence against Muslim communities. This is the first step in a ten year research project led by the European Muslim Research Centre at the University of Exeter that will investigate Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate crime in towns and cities across Europe.

Source: European Muslim Research Centre, Univ. of Exeter

Download full pdf publication | Link to EMRC

Power, voice and rights: a turning point for gender equality in Asia and the Pacific.

From Press Release:
While Asia and the Pacific can take pride in the region’s vibrant economic transformation in recent decades, this has not translated into progress on gender equality.

Discrimination and neglect are threatening women’s very survival in the Asia-Pacific region, where women suffer from some of the world’s lowest rates of political representation, employment and property ownership. Their lack of participation is also depressing economic growth.

Those were some of the findings of the UNDP-sponsored 2010 Asia-Pacific Human Development Report launched today.“Empowering women is vital for achieving development goals overall, and for boosting economic growth and sustainable development,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, in presenting the Report: Power, Voice and Rights: A Turning Point for Gender Equality in Asia and the Pacific, here today. “Policy needs to advance gender equality, so that women as well as men can benefit from job creation and investments in social infrastructure.”

Source: UN Development Programme (UNDP)

Download full pdf publication
| Link to press release

Mixed Views of Hamas and Hezbollah in Largely Muslim Nations

Across predominantly Muslim nations, there is little enthusiasm for the extremist Islamic organizations Hamas and Hezbollah, although there are pockets of support for both groups, especially in the Middle East.

A survey conducted May 18 to June 16, 2009 by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project also finds limited support for the Lebanese Shia organization Hezbollah.1 While most Palestinians (61%) and about half of Jordanians (51%) have a favorable view of Hezbollah, elsewhere opinions are less positive, including Egypt (43%) and Lebanon (35%). As with many issues in Lebanon, views of Hezbollah are sharply divided along religious lines: nearly all of the country's Shia Muslims (97%) express a positive opinion of the organization, while only 18% of Christians and 2% of Sunni Muslims feel this way.

Source: Pew Research Center

Download full pdf report | Link to online summary (with graphs)

Legitimacy and Deterrence Effects in Counter-Terrorism Policing: A Study of Muslim Americans

This study considers the circumstances under which members of the Muslim American community voluntarily cooperate with police efforts to combat terrorism. Cooperation is defined to include both a general receptivity toward helping the police in anti-terror work, and the specific willingness to alert police to terror related risks in a community. Two perspectives on why people cooperate with law enforcement, both developed with reference to general policing, are compared in the context of anti-terror policing and specifically among members of the Muslim American community. The first is instrumental. It suggests that people cooperate because they see tangible benefits that outweigh any costs. The second perspective is normative. It posits that people respond to their belief that police are a legitimate authority. On this view legitimacy is linked to the fairness and procedural justice of police procedures. Data from a study involving interviews with Muslim Americans in New York City between March and June 2009 strongly support the normative model by finding that the procedural justice of police activities is the primary factor shaping legitimacy and cooperation with the police.

Source: New York University Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers. Paper 182.

Download full pdf publication | link to online abstract

India Code Database

India Code the India Code Information System contains all Central Acts of Parliament right from 1836 onwards. Each Act includes: Short Title, Enactment Date, Sections, Schedule and also Foot notes.

Search on the following fields:
1. Act Year
2. Act Number
3. Short Title
4. Act Objective

Free Text Search is also available.

Source: Legislative Branch, Gov't of India

Link to India Code

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Primary Sources: America’s Teachers on America’s Schools,

...a landmark report presenting the results of a national survey of more than 40,000 public school teachers in grades pre-K to 12. The survey reveals that, while teachers have high expectations for their students, they overwhelmingly agree that too many students are leaving unprepared for success beyond high school. Primary Sources reveals teachers’ thoughtful, nuanced views on issues at the heart of education reform – from performance pay and standardized tests to academic standards and teacher evaluation.

Source: Scholastic Inc. and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Download full pdf report | Link to press release

Analysis Shows Varying Rates of Improvement in Low-Performing Schools

The report—the first in a four-part “Stuck Schools Series” that examines school achievement and improvement patterns—explores the data on improvement in initially low-performing schools in two states, Maryland and Indiana. These states were selected as examples because they illustrate quite different improvement patterns that are evident in the eight other states the authors examined.

Source: The Education Trust

Download full pdf report | Link to online summary

Social Networking and Constituent Communications: Member Use of Twitter During a Two-Month Period in the 111th Congress

Beginning with the widespread use of e-mail by Congress in the mid-1990's, the development of new electronic technologies has altered the traditional patterns of communication between Members of Congress and constituents. Many Members now use e-mail, official websites, blogs, YouTube channels, and Facebook pages to communicate with their constituents--technologies that were either non-existent or not widely available 15 years ago. These technologies have arguably served to enhance the ability of Members of Congress to fulfill their representational duties by providing greater opportunities for communication between the Member and individual constituents, supporting the fundamental democratic role of spreading information about public policy and government operations. In addition, electronic technology has reduced the marginal cost of constituent communications; unlike postal letters, Members can reach large numbers of constituents for a relatively small fixed cost. Despite these advantages, electronic communications have raised some concerns. Existing law and chamber regulations on the use of communication media such as the franking privilege have proven difficult to adapt to the new electronic technologies. This report examines Member use of one specific new electronic communication medium: Twitter. After providing an overview and background of Twitter, the report analyzes patterns of Member use of Twitter during August and September 2009. This report is inherently a snapshot in time of a dynamic process. As with any new technology, the number of Members using Twitter and the patterns of use may change rapidly in short periods of time. Thus, the conclusions drawn from this data can not be easily generalized nor can these results be used to predict future behavior. The data show that 205 Representatives and Senators are registered with Twitter (as of September 30, 2009) and issued a total of 7,078 "tweets" during the data collection period of August and September 2009. With approximately 38% of House Members and 39% of Senators registered with Twitter, Members sent an average of 116 tweets per day collectively. Members' use of Twitter can be divided into eight categories: position taking, policy, district or state activities, official congressional action, personal, media, campaign activities, and other. The data suggest that the most frequent type of tweets were district or state tweets (24%), followed by policy tweets (23%), media tweets (14%), and position-taking tweets (14%).

Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress

Download full pdf publication
| Link to online Summary

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. Currently, in the House of Representatives, there are 262 Democrats (including five Delegates and the Resident Commissioner), 178 Republicans, and one vacant seat. The Senate has 57 Democrats; 2 Independents, who caucus with the Democrats; and 41 Republicans. The average age of Members of both Houses of Congress at the beginning of the 111th Congress was 58.2 years; of Members of the House, 57.2 years; and of Senators, 63.1 years. The overwhelming majority of Members have a college education. The dominant professions of Members are public service/politics, business, and law. Protestants collectively constitute the majority religious affiliation of Members. Roman Catholics account for the largest single religious denomination, and numerous other affiliations are represented. The average length of service for Representatives at the beginning of the 111th Congress was 11.0 years (5.5 terms); for Senators 12.9 years ( 2.2 terms). A record number of 93 women serve in the 111th Congress: 76 in the House, 17 in the Senate. There are 41 African American Members of the House and one in the Senate. This number includes two Delegates. There are 29 Hispanic or Latino Members serving: 28 in the House, including the Resident Commissioner, and one in the Senate. Twelve Members (eight Representatives, two Delegates, and two Senators) are Asian or Native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander. The only American Indian (Native American) serves in the House.

Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress

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| Link to online summary

A Human Rights-Based Approach to Programming Practical Information and Training Materials

This Manual provides step-by-step guidance on how to apply a culturally sensitive, gender-responsive, human rights-based approach to programming in each of UNFPA’s three core areas of work: population and development, reproductive health, and gender. It also covers how to apply such an approach in the context of a humanitarian emergency.

This Manual was designed primarily for use by UNFPA Country Staff, but will also be useful for UNFPA implementing partners and others working in the fields of population and development, sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment.

In addition to serving as a standalone reference tool, the Manual may also be used in conjuction with the accompanying Training Materials (Part III) as a basis for conducting a training in human rights-based programming.

This Manual was produced through a collaboration between the Program on International Health and Human Rights, Harvard School of Public Health and the Gender, Human Rights and Culture Branch of the UNFPA Technical Division, with the involvement of UNFPA staff and outside consultants.

Site to download report and materials in sections

Public Focuses on Health Care and Olympics Modest Rise in Expectation That Health Care Reform Will Pass

Americans say the two news stories they followed most closely last week were the reinvigorated debate over health care reform in Washington and the second week of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

In interviews shortly after the Feb. 25 bipartisan summit on health care legislation, a quarter of the public (25%) says they followed the health care debate more closely than any other story last week. A comparable number (24%) say they followed the Winter Olympics most closely, according to the latest News Interest Index survey, conducted Feb. 26-March 1 among 1,008 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

Source: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

Download full pdf report | Download pdf topline questionnaire | Link to online summary

Monday, March 01, 2010

International benchmarking of healthcare quality

There is growing interest in the systematic assessment and international benchmarking of quality of care provided in different healthcare systems, and major work is under way to support this process through the development and validation of quality indicators that can be used internationally.

Recognising that cross-national data comparison remains a challenge, there is now a considerable body of data that allow for comparisons of healthcare quality in selected areas of care. The report includes a description of existing indicators that could be used to compare healthcare quality in different countries, along with a discussion of specific problems in making comparisons at this level of detail. This is illustrated with case studies of two measures widely used for international comparisons: avoidable mortality and cancer survival. These show both the potential power of cross-national comparisons and some of the difficulties in drawing valid interpretations from the data.

Source: RAND Corporation

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| Link to online summary

Understanding illicit drug markets, supply-reduction efforts, and drug-related crime in the European Union

The European Drugs Strategy concentrates on demand reduction and supply reduction through international cooperation and research, information and evaluation. However, efforts to provide insight in the different aspects of Europe’s illicit drug problems have largely focused on indicators developed to assess demand-side strategies. The development of measures capturing dimensions of the supply of different illicit substances is an emerging field in the EU. To advance these efforts, the European Commission DG Justice, Freedom and Security commissioned a study to recommend indicators for improving the understanding of illicit drug markets, supply reduction efforts, and drug-related crime in the EU. In this study we reviewed literature and RAND’s previous work in this area, and we gathered insights from European experts and policymakers.

Based on these insights and a conceptual framework for thinking about drug markets, we develop a number of immediate-term, near-term, and long-term recommendations. These recommendations will improve both Member States’ and the European Commission’s ability to monitor drug markets and drug-related crime as well as initiate analyses regarding the effectiveness of supply reduction strategies.

Source: RAND Corporation

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| Link to online Summary

Responding to the Needs of Young Latino Children: State Efforts to Build Comprehensive Early Learning Systems

Recent policy developments and investments in early care and education (ECE) reflect a renewed commitment to improving the school readiness and, ultimately, the school success of young children. Most importantly, these new proposals present a prime opportunity to incentivize states to design early learning systems that meet the needs Latino children. This white paper examines how states are working to build comprehensive early learning standards and to address issues of professional development to ensure the success of Latino and English language learner children and families. Based on interviews with state leaders, the white paper reveals that states have a long way to go to develop early learning programs that are responsive to the needs of Latino and English language leaner children and families.

Source: National Council of La Raza

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MetLife Mature Market Institute Produces Demographic Profiles of Different Age Segments of American Adults

A series of publications from the MetLife Mature Market Institute provide a history of the generations born since the early 1900s. There are almost as many members of Gen Y (born 1977-1994) in the U.S. in comparison to the largest group, the Baby Boomers. Younger Baby Boomers, those 45-50, have the highest average income. All groups spend most of their money on housing and transportation. The youngest, Gen Y, say they are the healthiest; they are also projected to live the longest. The fastest growing sub-group is the over 85 group who number six million, including 99,000 centenarians. They have also seen the most change as some were born before cars, central heat and refrigerators were ubiquitous.

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Older Boomers
Middle Boomers
Younger Boomers
Gen X
Gen Y

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Supporting Parents of Young Children in the Child Welfare System

This report explores the challenges and opportunities of improving mandated parent training for parents of young children in the child welfare system. Drawing on lessons from research and practice, it calls on states, courts and communities to use more intentional, cost effective, and strategic approaches to required parent training. The report is based on Improving Parenting Outcomes for Children in the Child Welfare System: an emerging issues roundtable that the National Center for Children in Poverty conducted in July 2007 in New York. The forum brought together leaders in child welfare, policymakers, philanthropists, researchers and those with practice expertise to explore the best means to ensure effective parenting training and to consider action steps to help this high risk population.

Source: National Center for Children in Poverty

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Strong Chinese growth resumes but increased social spending needed, says OECD report

With the help of massive government stimulus action, China is now leading the world economy out of recession, according to a new OECD report. Already the world’s second largest economy, China could well overtake the United States to become the leading producer of manufactured goods in the next five to seven years, it says.

Source: Organisation for economic cooperation and development

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