Archive for June, 2011

2011 New Jersey July 4th Celebrations

A long list of celebrations for northern, central, and southern New Jersey is here.

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New Jersey Beach Conditions for 2011

New Jersey ranks second-highest in the nation with regards to the lack of bacteria-caused beach closings according to the National Resources Defense Council’s Testing the Waters 2011.  However, that doesn’t mean the beaches are pristine, it just means that New Jersey’s beaches are less worse than others. Beaches are listed by county and give the frequency of testing, the total number of samples, the percentage of samples that exceed state limits, and the number of advisory/closing days.

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2010 Worldwide Climate Report

This annual report  –  State of the Climate in 2010 – presents extensive reportings and observations from around the world and places them in historical context. This almost 300 page report is replete with maps, charts. and figures. A highlights document distills most of the major findings; the report itself can be searched by chapters – chapter 7 covers North America. Previous years are accessible here. For a more local flavor, visit the Office of the New Jersey State Climatologist (on the left side of the page look for the “NJ” section where climate information is found with some records going back to 1895.) For those wanting to peruse older volumes (1890 to 1905) from the New Jersey Weather Service, please visit here.

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President Obama’s Afghanistan Troop Withdrawal Speech

Both a transcript and a video of the speech are here. Analysis can be found at: NPR, The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, PBS, and the Los Angeles Times.

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New Jersey Really Is the Garden State

As was mentioned in 1855:  “The wealth of New Jersey lies in her lands, in the happy and convenient location of her territory, in its capability of improvement, and its proximity to markets.” (Jacob Miller. An Address Delievered before the New-Jersey State Agricultural Society.) And this can be proven by the recent release of over 2000 digitized images from the NJ Department of Agriculture held by the State Archives. You can search by full text, pre-selected subjects or corporate names, location, photographer, or year. (If you type “1899” in the “latest year” box, you’ll retrieve 165 images predating 1900.) All the images have linked subjects as well. For those wishing to know more about farming in this state, a great place for statistics is the Historical Census Publications site of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Starting in 1840 and lasting until 1950, the Census Bureau included various and numerous questions on farm production and value. A one-volume compendium of statistics, with a separate narrative chapter on native American and colonial farming is New Jersey Agriculture: Historical Facts and Figures (1943); while more current numbers can be found here. Also, the Statistical Abstract of the United States has a separate section centered on agriculture; New Jersey is mentioned in some of the tables contained therein. Additional information can be found in: Kimberly Sebold. From Marsh to Farm: the Landscape Transformation of  Coastal New Jersey.(National Park Service, 1992); New Jersey Agriculture: A Bibliography (Rutgers, 2008); New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station; and books on New Jersey agricultural history.

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Congressional Salaries Since 1789

This informative CRS report, in discussing recent salaries adjustments and denials, also provides a handy listing of what Congressional pay has looked like over the course of 200+ years. Another CRS report of value is the Salaries of Members of Congress: Congressional Votes 1990-2010. These two reports cover the salaries of Congress but do not discuss other appropriations given to each member; for that, you need to peruse Congressional Salaries and Allowances (again from CRS). In this document, gentle reader, you will find that each Representataive is given an average allowance of $1.5 million for district office staffing and the like, while Senators are alloted an average of $3.34 million. You can see the amount of money paid to staff by visiting this site from Legistorm; a history on Congressional staffing can be found here. You can also visit the Statement of Disbursements from the House of Representatives which is available within 60 days of the end of each calendar quarterly.

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U.S. Life Expectancy Falls Behind in World Rankings

Despite spending more per capita on healthcare than any country in the world, the United States ranks only 38th on the list for life expectancy.  This information is contained in the report Falling behind: Life expectancy in U.S. counties from 2000-2007 in an international context. According to the data (a link to which is found at the bottom of this page), life expectancies vary widely across the country; i.e.,  people in the South and Appalachia live the shortest lives, while  Bergen County ranks as the 22nd highest county as far as life expectancy goes. The tables are broken down by state, county, sex, and race over a span of 20 years, along with a “years behind” category (“This means that some counties have a life expectancy today that nations with the best health outcomes had in 1957.”)

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