Archive for July, 2009

Water Quality of New Jersey Beaches

The Natural Resources Defense Council has just released the 19th edition of its Testing the Waters: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches. Find out what beaches were subject to closures or advisories due to contamination. This detailed study also provides information by state; New Jersey’s profile, with beaches listed by county, begins on page 292. Additional information can be gleaned from this 2008 CDC(Centers for Disease Control) report – Surveillance for Waterborne Disease and Outbreak Associated with Recreational Water Use…. as well as EPA’s Beaches page. Also, visit the Travel Channel’s best beaches list.

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Party Leaders in Congress, 1789-2012

For those interested in history, government, or political science, this document provides a wealth of information, descriptions, and historical tables concerning the following positions: for the House – Speaker, Party Floor Leader, Party Whip, and Conference or Caucus Chair; for the Senate – President Pro Tempore, Party Floor Leader, Party Whip, or Conference Chair. This Party Leadership site from the Senate offers a plethora of information as well; the House’s Office of the Clerk provides this House History.

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Condition of Education

This widely consulted annual publication “Summarizes important developments and trends in education using the latest available data. The report presents 46 indicators on the status and condition of education.”  Previous reports back to 2000 are available.

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2007 Public School Financing

This report examines in detail the financing and spending for the 15,000 school districts in the U.S. This publication and its accompanying tables reveal, among others items, that New Jersey ranks only behind New York in per pupil spending(NJ: $15691; NY: $15981). Information on individual school districts can be found as well; Jersey City is district #8230 when you scroll down the numerical list. The coded columns are explained here.

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Updated Socioeconomic Statistics for Hudson County

Actually, the Census Bureau has released updates for all the counties in the United States. Among the items of information is one that should not be too surprising for those of us who know Hudson County – it has no farms! But if you want the latest information on the population characteristics of Hudson County or any county in the U.S., this is the place to be.

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Cell Phone Use and Crashes

Of late, much has been made of government reports, held in secret for six years, which showed a positive correlation between cell phone use and car crashes. These reports are now available courtesy of the Center for Auto Safety after it filed a FOIA(Freedom of Information Act) request. The New York Times has initiated a series of articles on this pertinent topic. Here is the New Jersey  Motor Vehicle Commission’s take on cell phone safety. Cell phone driving laws for all the states can be read here.

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Statistical Information on School Districts

The National Center for Education Statistics has recently issued five reports generated from its Schools and Staffing Survey program. The reports profile school districts from many different perspectives: characteristics of schools, teachers, library media centers, and principals.  Each report is replete with statistical information and tables on a wide variety of areas; for instance, the report on teachers features information on the number of teachers broken down by race/ethnicity, their average class size, their base salaries, and highest degree earned. A fifth report presents highlights of these four reports. In all more than 13,000 schools in over 5,000 districts were surveyed for these reports.

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Today in History: The First Moon Landing

At 4:18 pm EDT, July 20, 1969,  after being hand-flown by astronaut Neil Armstrong as alarms sound, the lunar module Eagle  lands on the Moon with only thirty seconds of fuel left. Armstrong then utters one of the most famous short sentences in history: “The Eagle has landed.” This achievement brings to reality President Kennedy’s words that “…I believe that this nation should commit itself to the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.”(Special Message to the Congress on Urgent National Needs, May 25, 1961) NASA’s 40th anniversary site is a place to start, including as it does Google Moon. Hundreds of NASA histories are available online, among them Apollo Expeditions to the Moon. Other sources of information include National Geographic, the BBC’s On This Day feature on the landing and the New York Times coverage of this event. Another source of interest is the JSC(Johnson Space Center) Oral History Project which now contains over 500 transcripts of interviews with various players in the space program. Here you can read a 100+ page interview with Neil Armstrong as conducted by historians Stephen Ambrose and Douglas Brinkley. This article’s title is self-explanatory: The 12 Moonwalkers: Where Are They Now?

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Confirmation Hearings for Judge Sotomayor

We’ve already posted four previous entries on the Supreme Court and Judge Sotomayor. However, today the process starts in earnest as the formal confirmation hearings begin; they will be broadcast live and all the witness statements from such diverse luminaries as NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg and former Mets and Yankees pitcher David Cone will also be available online. Needless to say, C-SPAN will be covering this as well. Some additional resources: the Clinton and Bush Presidential Libraries and the National Archives have released records relating to Sotomayor(beware, the files contain 310MB); the American Bar Association calls Sotomayor “Well Qualified“; ACLU review of her opinions;  the Alliance for Justice report; her record on immigration(Senate Schumer); the NRA’s view; Judge Sonia Sotomayor: Analysis of Selected Opinions (CRS); Supreme Court Nominations: Senate Floor procedure and Practice, 1789-2009 (CRS);  the Washington Post’s coverage of the Supreme Court;

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FBI Interviews with Saddam Hussein

From the esteemed National Security Archive comes this new release: transcripts of twenty interviews and five “casual conversations” with Saddam Hussein between February and June 2004. Also, peruse their Saddam Hussein Sourcebook. See early mentions of Hussein in the Foreign Relations of the United States. More than two thousand references to Hussein can be found in the Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States.

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July 4th 2009 Celebrations

Check this list for many localities’ festivities, including Jersey City.  Additional fireworks displays are highlighted here and here; this latter site also indicates which roads in Hudson County will be closed on the 4th as the Macy’s fireworks display, for the first time since 2000, will be anchored in the Hudson River, not the East River. For those wishing to view the displays, pay close attention to which roads will be closed.

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Economic Crisis – July 2009 Update

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