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.

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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).

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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….

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