Thursday, December 11, 2014

Depression in the U.S. Household Population

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009–2012

  • During 2009–2012, 7.6% of Americans aged 12 and over had depression (moderate or severe depressive symptoms in the past 2 weeks). Depression was more prevalent among females and persons aged 40–59.
  • About 3% of Americans aged 12 and over had severe depressive symptoms, while almost 78% had no symptoms.
  • Persons living below the poverty level were nearly 2½ times more likely to have depression than those at or above the poverty level.
  • Almost 43% of persons with severe depressive symptoms reported serious difficulties in work, home, and social activities.
  • Of those with severe symptoms, 35% reported having contact with a mental health professional in the past year.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Rape and Sexual Assault Among College-age Females, 1995-2013

Compares the characteristics of rape and sexual assault victimization against females ages 18 to 24 who are enrolled and not enrolled in college. This report examines the relationship between the victim and offender, the involvement of a weapon, location of the victimization, reporting to police, perceived offender characteristics, and victim demographics. Data are from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which collects information on nonfatal crimes, reported and not reported to the police, against persons from a nationally representative sample of U.S. households. The report also discusses methodological differences between the NCVS and other surveys that measure rape and sexual assault victimization and the impact of these difference on rape and sexual assault estimates.

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Tuesday, December 09, 2014

How Young Adults Today Compare With Previous Generations in Neighborhoods Nationwide

From the Press Release:
Five years of data collected between 2009 and 2013 provide statistics on more than 40 economic, housing and social topics, such as commuting, educational attainment and home value. As the nation’s largest ongoing household survey, the American Community Survey produces statistics at all levels of geography, down to the block group level. Today, for the first time users can access block group level statistics on the tool rather than via a separate FTP site.

Highlighting some of the topics available from the American Community Survey, the Census Bureau released “Young Adults: Then and Now,” a new edition of the interactive mapping tool Census Explorer. The tool illustrates characteristics of the young adult population (age 18-34) across the decades using data from the 1980, 1990 and 2000 Censuses and the 2009-2013 American Community Survey. The American Community Survey, which is a part of the decennial census, replaced the “long form” questionnaire soon after the 2000 Census.
Explore Interactive Map and Tool

AIDSinfo HIV/AIDS Drug Database From NLM, A New Health Reference App Available for Android and iOS

From the Description:

AIDSinfo, a collaboration of the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US National Library of Medicine, announces the release a new app, the AIDSinfo Drug App. Using data from the AIDSinfo Drug Database, the drug app provides information on more than 100 HIV-related approved and investigational drugs. The information, in English and Spanish, is tailored to meet the needs of both health care providers and consumers. The app is designed to automatically refresh the content when the user is connected to a wireless or cellular data network. The auto update feature eliminates the need to manually update the app to view the most current drug information. In addition, the app works offline, ensuring that health care providers and consumers can access vital drug information anywhere—even in health care facilities that may not have an Internet connection.

Health care providers surveyed on the AIDSinfo Web site indicated that access to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labels for HIV-related drugs would be a useful feature of a drug app. Thus FDA drug labels pulled from DailyMed are integrated into the app in an easy-to-navigate format. This feature, coupled with the auto update feature, makes it easy for health care providers to quickly find the latest drug information when seeing patients. In addition, information from the FDA labels is condensed in easy-to-understand summaries in English and Spanish for consumers. The app also includes information on HIV-related investigational drugs for both health care providers and consumers.
Available for both iOS and Android devices
Source: National Library of Medicine

"Nature" now open to non-subscribers

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Under the new policy, subscribers to 49 journals published by the Nature Publishing Group and collected on Nature’s website can create and share links to full-text versions of all of that content. About 100 media outlets also can include free links in news reports that reference articles in the group’s journals.

Nature’s new system falls short of open-access ideals in various ways, including that it restricts nonsubscribers to "read only" versions of articles. That prevents independent repositories from reformatting the articles for long-term storage, and it limits researchers’ ability to search or index the documents.
Read the full story here.

No True Bill: A Grand Jury’s Refusal to Indict, CRS Legal Sidebar

The constitutional rights of a grand jury target or potential defendant aside, the courts afford prosecutors enormous discretion over the question of when and whether to prosecute. One state Supreme Court has observed that, “[i]n our criminal justice system, the decision whether to prosecute, and if so on what charges, is a matter ordinarily within the discretion of the duly elected prosecutor. The decision whether to bring charges is at the heart of the prosecutorial function. 

Source: Congressional Research Service

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The Global Gender Gap Report 2014

The Global Gender Gap Report 2014 emphasizes persisting gender gap divides across and within regions. Based on the nine years of data available for the 111 countries that have been part of the report since its inception, the world has seen only a small improvement in equality for women in the workplace. According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2014, launched today, the gender gap for economic participation and opportunity now stands at 60% worldwide, having closed by 4% from 56% in 2006.
Source: World Economic Forum

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Executive Compensation at Private Colleges

About the data:
These data show the compensation received by 537 chief executives at 497 private nonprofit colleges in the United States during the 2012 calendar year. For our analysis, we reviewed data for the private nonprofit baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral institutions with the 500 largest endowments, as reported to the U.S Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, or Ipeds. Some nonprofit colleges don’t report the value of their endowments to Ipeds, and those were excluded from our analysis.

Compensation data were compiled from the Internal Revenue Service’s Form 990, which is filed by most nonprofit entities. Some private nonprofit universities cite a religious exemption from filing the Form 990 and were therefore excluded from our analysis. The excluded institutions are Brigham Young University- Idaho, Brigham Young University- Provo, and Brigham Young University-Hawaii.
Source: Chronicle of Higher Education

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Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program – Foreword, Findings and Conclusions, and Executive Summary

The Committee makes the following findings and conclusions
#1 The CIA’s use of its enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees.
#2 The CIA’s justification for the use of its enhanced interrogation techniques rested on inaccurate claims of their effectiveness.
#3 The interrogations of CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than the CIA represented to policymakers and others.
#4 The conditions of confinement for CIA detainees were harsher than the CIA had represented to policymakers and others.
#5 The CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information to the Department of Justice, impeding a proper legal analysis of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.
#6 The CIA has actively avoided or impeded congressional oversight of the program.
#7 The CIA impeded effective White House oversight and decision-making.
#8 The CIA’s operation and management of the program complicated, and in some cases impeded, the national security missions of other Executive Branch agencies.
#9 The CIA impeded oversight by the CIA’s Office of Inspector General.
#10 The CIA coordinated the release of classified information to the media, including inaccurate information concerning the effectiveness of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques.
#11 The CIA was unprepared as it began operating its Detention and Interrogation Program more than six months after being granted detention authorities.
#12 The CIA’s management and operation of its Detention and Interrogation Program was deeply flawed throughout the program’s duration, particularly so in 2002 and early 2003.
#13 Two contract psychologists devised the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques and played a central role in the operation, assessments, and management of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program. By 2005, the CIA had overwhelmingly outsourced operations related to the program.
#14 CIA detainees were subjected to coercive interrogation techniques that had not been approved by the Department of Justice or had not been authorized by CIA Headquarters.
#15 The CIA did not conduct a comprehensive or accurate accounting of the number of individuals it detained, and held individuals who did not meet the legal standard for detention. The CIA’s claims about the number of detainees held and subjected to its enhanced Interrogation techniques were inaccurate.
#16 The CIA failed to adequately evaluate the effectiveness of its enhanced interrogation techniques.
#17 The CIA rarely reprimanded or held personnel accountable for serious and significant violations, inappropriate activities, and systemic and individual management failures.
#18 The CIA marginalized and ignored numerous internal critiques, criticisms, and objections concerning the operation and management of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.
#19 The CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program was inherently unsustainable and had effectively ended by 2006 due to unauthorized press disclosures, reduced cooperation from other nations, and legal and oversight concerns.
#20 The CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program damaged the United States’ standing in the world, and resulted in other significant monetary and non-monetary costs.
Source: U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

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Expert Working Group Report: Native American Traditional Justice Practices

In April 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Access to Justice Initiative (ATJ) and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Office of Justice Services – Tribal Justice Support (TJS) jointly convened an Expert Working Group (EWG) on the use of traditional Native American justice interventions to respond to criminal and delinquent behavior.

The meeting was held in furtherance of the Tribal Law and Order Act’s mandate that both Departments work with Tribal court systems to develop a plan to address alternatives to incarceration. The meeting also evidenced the Administration’s commitment to Tribal sovereignty by recognizing and showcasing the importance of traditional Tribal custom.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice/U.S. Department of the Interior

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Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Revisiting the Dark Side of Political Deliberation

The Effects of Media and Political Discussion on Political Interest

Citizens’ deliberation and interest in politics are crucial to democracy and have always been understood as positively related. We argue here that political discussion, one of the most common mechanisms of deliberation, might lead to citizens’ political disengagement or lack of interest. Using the Comparative National Elections Project (CNEP), an innovative data set of postelection national surveys, we attempt to ascertain and shed light on these apparently contradictory effects on citizen engagement. The results indicate that political discussions, specifically those involving disagreements, can produce a lower level of interest when citizens are less informed, are strongly partisan, or hold strong social ties with those they disagree with.
Source: Public Opinion Quarterly

Download full pdf publication | Read full abstract online 

Generating Vocabulary Knowledge for At-Risk Middle School Readers: Contrasting Program Effects and Growth Trajectories

We tested whether urban middle-school students from mostly low-income homes had improved academic vocabulary when they participated in a freely available vocabulary program, Word Generation (WG). To understand how this program may support students at risk for long-term reading difficulty, we examined treatment interactions with baseline achievement on a state standardized test and also differential effects for students with (n = 398) and without (n = 1,395) individualized education plans (IEPs). Students in this unmatched quasi-experiment (5 WG and 4 comparison schools) completed pre- and postvocabulary assessments during the intervention year. We also retested student vocabulary knowledge after summer vacation and the following spring on 11 target words to construct a longitudinally consistent scaled score across 4 waves of data. Growth models show that students experienced summer setback. Although there were no average underlying differences in growth or differences in summer setback for students by baseline achievement, better readers improved more from program participation. IEP status did not predict differential benefits of program participation, and students with IEPs maintained gains associated with participation in WG; however, participation in the program did not change underlying growth trajectories favoring students who did not have IEPs.
Source: U.C. Irvine [via eScholarship Repository]

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Committee against Torture — Concluding observations on the third to fifth periodic reports of United States of America

From the introduction:
The Committee welcomes the State party’s unequivocal commitment to abide by the universal prohibition of torture and ill-treatment everywhere, including Bagram and Guantanamo Bay detention facilities, as well as the assurances that U.S. personnel are legally prohibited under international and domestic law from engaging in torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment at all times, and in all places. The Committee notes that the State party has reviewed its position concerning the extraterritorial application of the Convention, and stated that it applies to ‘certain areas beyond’ its sovereign territory, and more specifically to ‘all places that the State party controls as a governmental authority,’ noting that it currently exercises such control at ‘the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and over all proceedings conducted there, and with respect to U.S.-registered ships and aircraft.’ The Committee also values the statement made by the State party’s delegation that the reservation to article 16 of the Convention, whose intended purpose is to ensure that existing U.S. constitutional standards satisfy the State party’s obligations under article 16, ‘does not introduce any limitation to the geographic applicability of article 16,’ and that ‘the obligations in article 16 apply beyond the sovereign territory of the United States to any territory under its jurisdiction’ under the terms mentioned above.’

However, the Committee is dismayed that the State party’s reservation to article 16 of the Convention features in various declassified memoranda containing legal interpretations on the extraterritorial applicability of U.S. obligations under the Convention issued by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) between 2001 and 2009, as part of deeply flawed legal arguments used to advise that interrogation techniques, which amounted to torture, could be authorized and used lawfully. While noting that these memoranda were revoked by Presidential Executive Order 13491 to the extent of their inconsistency with that order, the Committee remains concerned that the State party has not withdrawn yet its reservation to article 16 which could permit interpretations incompatible with the absolute prohibition of torture and ill-treatment.
Source: United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

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Tuesday, December 02, 2014

More Than Six in 10 Americans Say Guns Make Homes Safer


The percentage of Americans who believe having a gun in the house makes it a safer place to be (63%) has nearly doubled since 2000, when about one in three agreed with this. Three in 10 Americans say having a gun in the house makes it a more dangerous place.
Source: Gallup

Download full report with raw data | Learn more and view graphs at Gallup

Americans’ Perceptions of Privacy are Varied

To better understand how the public thinks about privacy, a representative sample of 607 adults were asked an open-ended question in an online survey: “When you hear the word “privacy,” what comes to mind for you?” The responses that followed were striking in their variance, ranging from one-word entries to lengthier descriptions that touched on multiple concepts.
Source: Pew Research Internet Project

Download full pdf report | Download topline questionnaire (pdf) | Learn more

What Lessons Did We Learn (or Re-Learn) About Military Advising After 9/11?

As military operations in Afghanistan continue to wind down in 2014, the U.S. military and international partner armed forces need to codify lessons learned on military advising from 9/11 to the present, with special emphasis on capturing insights from the two major counterinsurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. A compendium of lessons should include answers to certain essential questions. What major advising lessons did the U.S. military learn since 9/11? What current advising lessons parallel previously gleaned insights from historic advising missions? How should armed forces treat the advising mission after the troops withdraw from Afghanistan?

The main purpose of this article is to provide a set of the most important military advising lessons learned from past and present. These lessons have been distilled from comparing historical and contemporary advisory experiences extracted from dozens of sources including military journal articles, doctrine, book chapters, and monographs.
Source: Military Review

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Teacher Pay Penalty

There is an increased emphasis in building a quality teacher workforce but little attention paid to the pay penalty teachers face for working in their profession.

Teachers working in the public sector who are represented by a union earn 13.2 percent less than other comparable college graduates. The pay gap is largest for private sector teachers without union representation (-32.1 percent). Separate analyses by gender are also presented given that the overwhelming majority of teachers are women (around 72 percent)—here female teachers were only compared to female non-teacher college-educated workers, and male teachers were only compared to male non-teacher college-educated workers. Compared to female teachers, the teacher pay penalty is worse for male teachers for each of the four teacher groups. In general, teacher pay disadvantages are mitigated if teachers are employed in the public sector—and more so if they have union representation.

Source: Economic Policy Institute

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High Potentials in Tech- Intensive Industries: The Gender Divide in Business Roles

Technology-intensive industries including high tech, oil and gas, and energy have grown rapidly in the 21st century, far outstripping other industries. Companies in these industries need employees with both the technical and managerial leadership skills to ensure their success—but the pipeline is leaky.
Women make up a significant proportion of the talent pool, particularly in business roles,  which are often a pathway to the top. How can tech-intensive companies attract and retain high-potential talent from day one and hold on to them over time?
This report:
  • Identifies the gender gap women experience working in business roles in tech-intensive industries from day one.
  • Uncovers the barriers holding women back and provides insight into why women leave.
  • Provides recommendations on how companies can reverse these trends by attracting and retaining top female talent in business roles and becoming employers of choice for women.
Source: Catalyst

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Publication Bias in the Social Sciences: Unlocking the File Drawer

We study publication bias in the social sciences by analyzing a known population of conducted studies–221 in total–where there is a full accounting of what is published and unpublished. We leverage TESS, an NSF-sponsored program where researchers propose survey-based experiments to be run on representative samples of American adults. Because TESS proposals undergo rigorous peer review, the studies in the sample all exceed a substantial quality threshold. Strong results are 40 percentage points more likely to be published than null results, and 60 percentage points more likely to be written up. We provide not only direct evidence of publication bias, but also identify the stage of research production at which publication bias occurs—authors do not write up and submit null findings.
Source: Stanford University | Author Neil Malhotra's Faculty Research Page

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Resource Guide for Enhancing Community Relationships and Protecting Privacy and Constitutional Rights

The Resource Guide for Enhancing Community Relationships and Protecting Privacy and Constitutional Rights is a collaboration between BJA and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) 
 “The Justice Department encourages law enforcement officials, in every jurisdiction, to work with the communities they serve to minimize needless confrontation,” Attorney General Eric Holder said. “It is vital to engage in planning and preparation, from evaluating protocols and training to choosing the appropriate equipment and uniforms. This is the hard work that is necessary to preserve the peace and maintain the public trust at all times—particularly in moments of heightened community tension.” 
“The role of law enforcement is not only to enforce the law, but to preserve peace, minimize harm, and sustain community trust,” said BJA Director Denise O’Donnell. “The resources available through this guide will help police departments and sheriffs’ offices maintain order and build effective police-community relationships, while promoting the rights and protecting the civil liberties of the citizens they serve.” 
For many years, BJA and the COPS Office have developed guides, publications, webinars, checklists and tools for law enforcement agencies on community policing, building community trust, diversity training, privacy protections, and safeguarding first amendment rights. Building strong police-community relations requires a sustained effort over time, yet maintaining these relationships is exceedingly difficult during and in the aftermath of a high-profile incident or civil unrest. Professional law enforcement departments and effective operations require training and ongoing support from all partners. This guide helps law enforcement agencies locate these resources in one place, including in-person and online training opportunities, publications, reports, podcasts, and websites.
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance, Department of Justice

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2015 Hunger Report :When Women Flourish…We Can End Hunger

From the Press Release
"...identifies the empowerment of women and girls as essential in ending hunger, extreme poverty, and malnutrition around the world and in the United States."

The report also shows that women’s willingness to share men’s breadwinning responsibilities has not been matched by men’s willingness to share unpaid household work or caregiving responsibilities. Though domestic work is a public good in the same way that education, clean water, clean air, and the food supply are, it is not recognized as such. Women constitute half the global population.

Source: Bread for the World Institute

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