Archive for June, 2010

Obesity in New Jersey

We may be among the most heavily taxed states in the country, but New Jersey ranks in the lower tiers for the prevalence of obesity. (How obesity is defined.)  New Jersey is the tenth least obese state in the nation according F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2010.  Our adult obesity rate is ONLY 23.9 % whereas 38 states have obesity rates north of 25%; Mississippi leads the nation with the dubious distinction of having 33.8% of its adult population classified as obese. The report highlights the disparities among population groups; i.e., in New Jersey the obesity rates among blacks was 36.1%, among Latinos 25.4%, and among whites 23.1%. Geography also plays a factor in that 10 out of the 11 most obese states were located in the South; income also plays a significant role. Childhood obesity is of grave concern; almost 20% of children from 6 to 19 are classified as obese. Hence, the report from the White House Childhood Task Force on Childhood Obesity: Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity Within a Generation. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has a very informative Obesity and Overweight page; MedlinePlus from the National Library of Medicine has substantial sections on obesity  and obesity in children as well. Please visit this Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report site for relevant research such as Differences in Prevalence of Obesity Among Black, White, and Hispanic Adults-United States, 2006-2008; Estimated County-Level Prevalence of Diabetes and Obesity-United States, 2007; and QuickStats: Prevalence of Obesity…Among Adults Aged (greater than/equal to) 20 years…2007-2008.

Leave a Comment

2010-2011 New Jersey Budget Passed

Early this morning the State Assembly passed the budget that had been previously approved by the State Senate Monday evening. Higher education, once again, comes up short. The differences between Governor Christie’s budget and the one approved are outlined in this Summary of Appropriations Act. For news information, please consult The Star-Ledger (with accompanying photos as well as recaps of other bills voted upon by both the Assembly and the Senate), and the Bergen Record (with videos). As far as the higher education sector goes, please read the Office of Legislative Services’ Analysis of the New Jersey Budget: Higher Educational Services; Flunking Out: New Jersey’s Support for Higher Education Falls Short. March 2010 Update (New Jersey Policy Perspective); How to Fix a Broken System: Funding Public Higher Education and Making It More Productive (Princeton); and the NJ College/University Accountability Sourcebook 2010 (NJASCU).

Leave a Comment

Confirmation Hearings for Elena Kagan

C-SPAN will have complete coverage of the proceedings which begin today. Previous posts have provided biographical information as well as her published writings, speeches, interviews, etc. Additional documents of interest include: Report of the American Civil Liberties Union on the Nomination of Elena Kagan…; Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan: Presidental Authority and the Separation of Powers (CRS); Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan: Defamation and the First Amendment (CRS); and Legal Analysis of Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s Record on Abortion Rights (Center for Reproductive Rights).

Leave a Comment

S3000 (NJ Budget) Closer to Approval

The compromise budget was approved by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee last night after a long day of deal-making. S3000 was passed, but it was not the only bill under consideration during this long day. Many other bills were also considered; some passed, some did not. The committee will meet again today while the Assembly Budget Committee will hold its own hearings today and Friday. More information is available from: The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Star-Ledger, and The Trentonian. NJN is providing live coverage of the hearings in both houses; you can go to its archives section for additional coverage. A final vote by the Legislature is expected on Monday.

Leave a Comment

Funding Restored for New Jersey Libraries

According to the just-released bill S3000 that details the appropriations for the state budget and is still subject to technical review, it would appear that about $8 million will be restored to the library community in New Jersey.

Leave a Comment

Who is General McChrystal?

As of today, he is at the center of controversy thanks to his Rolling Stone interview. For now, he is the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Of course, one does not get to such a high rank without some previous experience. Biographical information on him is at: ISAF(International Security Assistance Force) Afghanistan, Time, and The Guardian.  The New York Times has an extensive section on him. General McChrystal has been in the news before: The Tillman Fratricide: What the Leadership of the Defense Department Knew (House Hearing).

Leave a Comment

New Jersey Budget Compromise

The compromise between Governor Christie and the Legislature did involve restoring funding to programs previously cut by the Governor. Unfortunately, neither libraries nor higher education were featured. For a listing of restored programs, the bottom of this article enumerates them. Additional information will found courtesy of: The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Times of Trenton, Bloomberg News, and The New York Times. In a possible foretaste of things to come, the Number of Retiring N.J. Teachers Nearly Doubles….

Leave a Comment

Governor Christie’s Proposed 2.5% Property Tax Cap

In an address on April 29, 2010 at the annual New Jersey Conference of Mayors, Governor Christie proposed a 2.5% tax cap on property taxes, citing Massachusetts and its Proposition 2.5(here is a primer on it). Now bills ACR130 and ACR131 have been introduced with that goal in mind; supposedly, this cap will have no deleterious effects on education as per this widely-circulated report: Do Property-Tax Caps Work? Lessons for New Jersey from Massachusetts. This report which received a favorable write-up by William McGurn in the Wall Street Journal (The Tax Caps Cometh) was sponsored by two organizations: the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, that according to the redoubtable SourceWatch, “…is a right-wing 501(c)(3) non-profit think tank founded in 1978 by William J. Casey, who later became President Ronald Reagan‘s CIA director.” and the recently-established Common Sense Institute of New Jersey, the brainchild of Mr Jerry Cantrell, an anti-tax advocate. Two additional viewpoints are available: Schoolfinanceblog101‘s astute musings on New Jersey (with various informative links) and the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Property Tax Cap Wouldn’t Improve New Jersey Policies: Response to the Manhattan Institute. Ongoing news coverage can be found here.

Leave a Comment

Those Without Health Insurance Increase

At least that is what the  Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, 2009 states. Highlights of the report as well as the fulltext version are available. As should come as no surprise, those at or near the poverty level as well as young adults represent those groups most lacking in health insurance. See how New Jersey rates in this report.

Leave a Comment

Bloody Sunday Report

The  ten-volume Report of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry is online. Additional information can be found at  The Irish Times (including a timeline from 1972 to 2010),  the Londonderry Sentinel, the BBC, and the Guardian.

Leave a Comment

Summer Reading Lists

Don’t know what to read for the summer? (Luckily, that is not a problem for us!) We heartily recommend perusing the various lists attached to Rebecca’s Pocket. This ever-expanding enumeration takes you from science fiction to historical fiction to vampire fiction to business school reading. There are dozens of lists to examine. Enjoy!

Leave a Comment

Who is Ray Mabus?

Ray Mabus is the person President Obama has named to coordinate the restoration of the Gulf areas devastated by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He is presently the Secretary of the Navy and is not a stranger to public service. He was also Governor of Mississippi (additional gubernatorial bio here) and appointed by President Clinton as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Additional biographical information is presented by: Head Count:Tracking Obama’s Appointments, whorunsgov, The New York Times, and CNN.

Leave a Comment

President Obama’s Speech on the Gulf Oil Spill

His first Oval Office speech can be viewed and the transcript read here. Analysis and comments can be found at: The New York Times, The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, BBC, and The Washington Post. For more information, please read our previous posts on this environmental disaster.

Leave a Comment

Ted Kennedy’s FBI Files Released

These files, over 2000 pages, are NOT FBI investigations of the late Senator, but rather are primarily compilations of FBI reports concerning threats against him. A typical example can be found on page 14 of this file, containing threats both against him and Ethel.

Leave a Comment

Jersey City Has Nationally Top-Ranked High School

According to the U.S. News and World Report’s 2010 America’s Best High Schools, Academic High School (or more formally known as the Dr. Ronald McNair Academic High School) ranks #43 (gold medal)  out of the more than 21,000 high schools examined. Hudson County, NJCU’s home, counts five high schools among the best, garnering one silver and four bronze medals. The methodology for the various components of the ranks is online. Information about the Jersey City school district is here. FYI, Jersey City ranks as the 216th largest school district in the country.

Leave a Comment

Afghanistan’s Newly Discovered Mineral Wealth

According to this New York Times article, the Pentagon has just announced that Afghanistan contains untold mineral wealth. However, this comes as no surprise to even the cursory reader of some of the US Geological Survey’s publications on Afghanistan. “The Minerals Industry of Afghanistan” section of the 2008 Minerals Yearbook clearly states that: ”…Afghanistan has significant amounts of undiscovered nonfuel mineral resources.(1) This “Minerals in Afghanistan” brochure from the Afghanistan Geological Survey provides additional, though at times highly technical, information; also consult “The Potential for Gold“ study from AGS. While at the AGS, read the Geology and Mineral Resources of Afghanistan, especially volume 2 that details the various minerals found in their country. For those who want to peruse more of the Minerals Yearbook, then look no further than here for 1933-1993 volumes; the more recent volumes can be accessed here.

Leave a Comment

Governor Christie Plans for State Shutdown

According to this memo, all state departments are to prepare shutdown plans that are to be submitted to the Governor’s office no later than Monday, June 21. News reports can be found at: The Star-Ledger, PoliTickerNJ, examiner.com, and The Bergen Record. In 2006, then-Governor Corzine shut down the state government, the first time in New Jersey history.

Leave a Comment

Another Piece in the Puzzle of Autism

Leave a Comment

2010 Primary Results for New Jersey

All the results (at the time of this writing still unofficial) of yesterday’s primary elections are available from the New Jersey Division of Elections; results back to 1925 can be consulted. (County results can be accessed by just scrolling down the screen a bit.)

Leave a Comment

Recent Climate Change Reports

It’s not like climate change has disappeared, right? The United States recently submitted to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) the mandated fifth Climate Action Report that details what specific measures this country is undertaking to mitigate this major problem. Any country that is a member of the UNFCCC must submit reports every 3 to 5 years; these countries’ reports, almost all in English, can also be read (there are hundreds of them). In 2008, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) was directed by Congress to enter into climate change studies with the National Academy of Sciences and produce reports within two years. The first three are now available: Advancing the Science of Climate Change, Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change, and  Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change. Other related books from the NAS are also available. A U.S.-centric Chronology of the International Climate Change Negotiations from CRS provides both a timeline as well as explanations of the various international protocols, accords, and action plans focused on climate change. For a more global perspective, look at The World Bank’s 2010 Development Report entitled Development and Climate Change.

Leave a Comment

Older Posts »
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 98 other followers