Archive for February, 2009

2009 Facts & Figures: How Does Your State Compare?

This Tax Foundation “…booklet compares the 50 states on 38 different measues of taxing and spending,…”  Each table is accompanied by lucid explanations of the methodology and the rankings. Compare New Jersey’s business figures with the other states. We rank 50th in business tax climate(Table 3); 48th in individual income tax(Table 5); 50th in property tax(Table 8); and 1st in state and local tax burden as a percentage of state income(Table 30). Just so you know, none of those figures are good for us Garden Staters.

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New Federal Withholding Tax Tables Published

As part of the economic stimulus, tax cuts have been authorized. These new tax tables are to be mailed out to employers next month; workers who qualify may see tax reductions as early as April. Explanations from the IRS are online as well.

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Full Text of President Obama’s Address to the Joint Session of Congress

You can read and watch President Obama’s address and also view  and read the Republican rebuttal delivered by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a highly touted possible presidential candiadate in 2012. An analysis by CNN is available; reactions to the speech can also be perused; here is the BBC’s take on the speech; look at  the New York Times editorial on the speech, while  you can also read editorials from various New Jersey news outlets.

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State of the Union Address

Although President Obama and his staff have stated that his address before a joint session of Congress tonight is NOT a State of the Union address, it nonetheless fits the criteria of one. He is not the first president not give a state of the union address during his first term; his predecessors Presidents Reagan, both Bushs, and Clinton did not give an address during their first year in office, having given an inaugural address just one month previously. In fact, it is nowhere stated that the president has to speak before Congress at all; Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution merely states  that the president”…shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union…” Washington and John Adams spoke to Congress, but Thomas Jefferson eschewed that practice, sending his personal secretary to deliver copies to both houses, where they were read. (His secretary, by the way, was Meriwether Lewis, of Lewis and Clark fame.) So began a tradition of the president not appearing before Congress; that continued until Woodrow Wilson in 1913 went to Congress, initiating the more modern-day process. And even then, not all the reports were delivered orally, many were submitted in writing. The custom of delivering a  speech before Congress became the norm with FDR in 1934,  yet not all subsequent reports were in the form of speeches. For additional information,  please consult the following:  The President’s State of the Union Address: Tradition, Function, and Policy Implications (CRS); The President’s State of the Union Message: FAQ (CRS, very informative)); C-SPAN: State of the Union(videos back to 1989); State of the Union Messages (American Presidency Project, with a good historical introductory note and other special features); and State of the Union (New York Times, numerous articles and links; )

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ARRA State Tables for U.S. Department of Education Funded Programs

From Title 1 to Pell Grants to Federal Work Study programs, these prelimiary figures can act as a guide to Federal disbursements. The monies may be expended over a two-year period.

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81st Annual Academy Award Winners

Here is the complete winners’ list, along with acceptance speeches.

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Historical Timelines

The assignment – “Class, I want you to prepare an historical timeline on….” – is met with dismay and dread by many students. To help alleviate those feelings, we present sites which will assist you: the Library of Congress’ American Memory Timeline goes from the 1600s to the 1960s with links to relevant documents interspersed along the way; the Smithsonian contributes the American History Timeline replete with links; the BBC Timelines includes British history(obviously) as well as ancient history chronologies; we always enjoy a dip into the NASA History Timelines from 1915 to 1995; Timelines of Art History contains links to articles and representative art works from ancient times to the 1600s; African Timelines provides copious links and stretches from ancient Africa until the present; World History Timelines spans space and time; Age of Exploration Timeline from 3200BCE to 1779CE; the Mystic Seaport has several timelines pertaining to the slave trade; American Women Through Time  covers prehistory to the 21st century accompanied by a multitude of links; the African American World program from PBS contains a hyperlinked timeline which may be supplemented by the African-American History Timeline from infoplease and Gale’s Events in African American History; Gale has also produced Events in Hispanic American History; we are adding this site, the Books Timeline from Astrodene’s Historic Naval Fiction because we can; and last but certainly not least, please look at the WebChron page with its numerous hyperlinked timelines and germane articles.

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