Archive for November, 2009

Most Corrupt Nations in the World

Transparency International has just issued its latest Global Corruption Report which ranks 180 countries on their ability to ferret out corruption and bribery both within their borders and out. At 180 (the bottom of the scale), the most corrupt country this year is Somalia, the very embodiment of the term “failed state.” In addition to in-depth reporting on selected countries, each annual report highlights  a certain facet of corruption: the 2009 report deals with corruption and the private sector, while the 2008 report features a most disturbing and alarming analysis of corruption in the water sector. FYI, the United States ranks 18 out of 180 along with Belgium and Japan.

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The Fight Against Cancer

An informative and illuminating series of articles is appearing in the New York Times under the heading Forty Years’War. These articles, filled with hyperlinks to original studies/reports, also lead the reader to a plethora of information contained within the TimesHealth Guide section, a comprehensive guide to over 3000 topics. For those who have lived through the horrors of this disease, or who have lost loved ones to its ineluctability, these articles are well worth the read.

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States in Fiscal Danger Including New Jersey

We have all been reading about California’s fiscal woes, but it is not the only state is such trouble. New Jersey also qualifies as one of eight states in a similar predicament to the Golden State. This dubious distinction may be read in  Beyond California: States in Fiscal Peril from the Pew Center on the States. This work draws its information from a wide variety of sources, many accessible online.

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Veterans Day 2009

Let us not forget those who have given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. You can go to Honor the Fallen for their names, circumstances of their deaths, and news clippings  if available.  Oral military histories from New Jersey veterans can be found at this Rutgers site.This updated feature from the Census Bureau provides an array of statistical data, while a previous blog entry will point you to additional information. A listing of New Jersey memorials is also available.

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Health Insurance Coverage by Congressional District

This report from the Urban Institute uses Census Bureau information to examine the level of insurance (private, public, uninsured) in all congressional districts. Would it surprise you to learn that New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District ranks highest in the country for private health insurance coverage? If you want to know what district you are in, please consult this interactive guide.(BTW, NJCU is in the 10th, while most of Jersey City is in the 13th).

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All 1860 issues of Life Available Online

Through the auspices of Google, all the issues of Life magazine are now available freely online. You may browse issue by issue or use other search commands to retrieve articles on a single topic. This is an historical treasure trove, which combined with Google’s collection of Life photographs, gives an unparalleled look at the world of the 20th century.

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Today in History: The Fall of the Berlin Wall

On June 17, 1987, President Reagan gave his Brandenberg Gate speech which included these words: “Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”(transcript and video) He was referring to the Berlin Wall, which fell(actually, it was pushed) on November 9, 1989. His words were a contributory factor to the wall’s demise, but by no means should his actions be construed as the sole reason for this historic event. The following sites provide both background information on the Wall itself, as well as discussions on its impact: an excellent interactive timeline (The Financial Times);  On the Frontlines of the Cold War: Documents on the Intelligence War in Berlin, 1946 to 1961(CIA); Prague Communists Called for Wall to Open on November 8, 1989A Different October Revolution: Dismantling the Iron Curtain in  Eastern Europe, and Fall of Berlin Wall Caused Anxiety More than Joy at Highest Levels (Electronic Briefing Books from the National Security Archives);  The Challenge to Soviet Interests in Eastern Europe (a very prescient report from RAND); The Berlin Wall: 20 Years Later (america,gov); The Berlin Wall: The Tale of a City Divided( audio and video reports from the BBC dating back to 1948); Momentous Day Twenty Years Ago in Berlin (Council on Foreign Relations);  Foreign Relations of the United States(FRUS): Kennedy Administration, volume XIV, Berlin Crisis, 1961-1962; FRUS, Johnson Administration, volume XV, Germany and Berlin; and FRUS, Nixon-Ford Administrations, volume XL, Germany and Berlin, 1969-1972(FRUS is the OFFICIAL RECORD all of things diplomatic); The Rise of the Berlin Wall (US State Dept); The Berlin Wall(Newseum); What You Should Know about the Wall( propaganda from East Germany);  The Berlin Wall (CNN);  World Leaders Celebrate Fall of Berlin Wall (C-SPAN); Twenty Years After the Berlin Wall (Newsweek); and The Berlin Wall: 20 Years Later (New York Times).

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