Archive for January, 2012

News Coverage of the 2012 Presidential Campaign

In less than a year, the winner of this year’s contest will have been inaugurated as our new president.  Between now and then you need to keep yourself apprised of the ongoing developments, and recourse to news sources is recommended. Among the best are: The New York Times Campaign 2012 (includes free access to articles, videos, numerous polling results, slide shows, and special reports); Washington Post Campaign 2012 (features on the delegate race, campaign financing, campaign ads, along with its Fact Checker, that “examines the truth behind the rhetoric”); Wall Street Journal Election 2012; Infoplease Campaign 2012; C-SPAN Campaign 2012 (extensive video coverage, including the debates); CNN America’s Choice: Election Center (with nice section on campaign issues); and Politico 2012 Live. For an overseas perspective, try BBC U.S. Election. Gallup polls dealing with the election are here. The Pew Research for the People & the Press Center report – Campaign 2012: Too Negative, Too Long, Dull - echoes what many believe, and journalism.org (another Pew Center) has an excellent Campaign 2012 in the Media feature.

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New Jersey School Board Elections Can Be Moved to November Elections

Senate Bill S3148, recently signed into law by Governor Christie, allows school boards the option of moving school board elections to the general November elections as well as doing away with voter approval of school budgets if the budgets come under the 2% cap. As reported in the news, there are pros and cons to this shift. The Department of Education has produced an FAQ on this matter while the New Jersey School Boards Association, which supported this legislation, has an update and brief overview on this topic as well as stating that 81 school districts have already shifted their elections. Reportage is at: NJ Spotlight, The Star-Ledger, The Press of Atlantic City, The Bergen Record, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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Representative Gabrielle Giffords Resigns from Congress

This morning, Representative Gabrielle Giffords, greviously wounded last January, submitted her resignation to House Speaker Boehner. Her letter and video of her resignation can both be found at C-SPAN. A brief biography is available. Information on her voting record, stands on issues, public statements,  ratings by interest groups, and campaign finances are here.

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President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union Speech

His speech, a transcript of said speech, the Republican counter-speech, and various interviews are all aggregated at this C-SPAN site. Highlights of the speech are available courtesy of CBS News, along with analysis. Additional reportage is at: USA Today (includes a “fact check” of the speech); the Washington Post (with its own well-established “The Fact Checker“); The New York Times (along with “Choice Words” – a tally of selected words used by President Obama in his SOTU speeches and by the Republican presidential candidates in their debates, interviews, and speeches);  and The New Yorker. A very informative essay, accompanied by a linked listing of all previous SOTU messages and speeches, can be found at the American Presidency Project. Here is an interesting article from the Christian Science Monitor on how the foreign press viewed this speech.

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Oral History Collection of the United Nations

Dozens of interviews on numerous topics are featured in this collection. Based on over twenty-five years’ worth of interviews, subjects from Kofi Annan to U Thant reflect on the founding of the UN, the Congo question, Cuba, and many other significant international occurrences. Audio downloads and transcripts are available. A great primary resource.

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Two Unions Sign Contracts with New Jersey

Two smaller unions representing about 5000 state workers have signed contracts with the state. The contracts, which are retroactive to July 1, 2011, call for no raises in the first two years, followed by raises of 1% in the third year and 1.75% in the fourth year. New coverage is at: The Star-Ledger, and Bloomberg (in which Governor Christie says he expects similar concessions from the other unions).

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Income Inequality

There has been much press of late on income inequality, but many may not realize that the question of income inequality or the distribution of wealth has been a thorny topic for at least 200 years. The following are some recent publications that have a bearing on this problem: Changes in the Distribution of Income Among Tax Filers Between 1996 and 2006: The Role of Labor Income, Capital Income, and Tax Policy (a MUST read, CRS); Growth in the Residential Segregation of Families by Income, 1970-2009 (US 2010 Project); U.S. Neighborhood Income Inequality in the 2005-2009 Period (Census Bureau); Income Distribution (Brookings) ; and Is Income Inequality A Problem in the U.S.? (NPR). For statistics on this topic, please visit the Income, Expenditures, Poverty, and Wealth section of the 2012 Statistical Abstract of the United States. This question is not limited to the United States: Employment and Social Developments in Europe 2011 (Chapter 2 concentrates on income inequality, European Commission); Divided We Stand:Why Inequality Keeps Rising (a substantive examination, OECD); Income Inequality, various reports(World Bank);  Inequality and Unsustainable Growth: Two Sides of the Same Coin? (IMF); and World Income Inequality (Conference Board of Canada). And what brought this discussion to the forefront is this CBO report: Trends in the Distribution of Household Income Between 1979 and 2007.

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Governor Christie’s 2012 State of the State Address

You can watch the video here; the transcript is here. Various reactions are gathered here. Reportage can be found at: The Star-Ledger, The Bergen Record, and statehousesteps.

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Standard & Poor’s Rates the Credit of 16 European Countries

Of course, this was released on a slow news day – Friday. But here is the original text of the announcement. Find out which countires had ratings lowered and which were affirmed.

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Papers Go Online

There are more than a million documents associated with Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. The King Center has digitized an initial offering of two hundred thousand documents ranging from his sermons to letters he received from children. This is an ongoing project; more material will be added. An extensive photo archives in also available (in the “Spotlights” section, select “photos”). An unbelievable treasure trove of primary sources. This project supplements the scholarly edited  “Papers” already available online. (This latter site also allows access to the informative MLK Encyclopedia).

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Lists of Presidential and State Primaries and Caucuses

Here are two very straight-forward sites that deliver the above information: the first is a listing by date of presidential primaries/caucuses; the second is an arrangement by state that not only includes the presidential primaries/caucuses but also includes the state-level primaries/caucuses for congressional seats. This 2011 CRS report – Presidential Nominating Process: Current Issues - provides needed background on this topic. Also, chapter one of Stephen Wayne’s Road to the White House 2008 focuses on “Presidential Selection: A Historical Overview”; a partial 2012 version of this chapter is available at Google Books. Additionally, these articles are of help: Reforming the Presidential Nominating Process; Reforming Presidential Nominations: Rotating State Primaries or a National Primary?; and Polls and Elections: Support for Nationalizing Presidential Elections.

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U.S. News & World Report Ranks Online Degree Programs

This newsweekly examined hundreds of online programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels concentrating on business, education, nursing, computer information technology, and engineering. Several criteria were applied to each program (methodology is explained). A simple school name search is provided as well. It should be noted that no for-profit institution made the top of any list.

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Online Historical Maps of New York City

The New York Public Library has recently finished the digitization of 124 atlases on New York City. Most are fire insurance; i.e. Sanborn, maps of the city and its boroughs. The volumes range from 1815-1948 and contain over 7000 maps. If you want to see what neighborhoods looked like in startling detail back in the day, this would be a good first stop. These maps give you an idea of how the city has expanded over time, and that it did not have the same boundaries as it does now. For instance, where we grew up in Brooklyn is not even on the maps from the 1880s.

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American Historical Association – Presidential Speeches

At the annual meetings of the AHA, the outgoing president delivers a speech usually from one of the following categories: an historiographical perspective, a state-of-the-profession reflection, or a summation of his/her field of specialized research. Since 1884, some of the great names in history have been elected as president and have delivered speeches. The Archive of AHA Presidental Addresses includes all of these speeches. Read addresses from such luminaries as Frederick Jackson Turner, Robert Darnton, Carl Becker, Joseph Strayer, Charles Homer Haskins, and other prominent names in history.

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Economic Crisis – January 2012 Update

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Listing of Sears and Kmart Stores to Close

This list may be expanded to 120 stores in the near future. For now, there are 80 stores slated to close. For this go-around, New Jersey has been spared any closures.

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2011 Year in Review

 Gentle reader, in case you have forgotten or wish you had forgotten the previous year’s activities, here are some sites to refresh your memory: 2011: Year in Review (infoplease); 2011 Year in Review (Yahoo); Year in Review 2011 (Reuters); Dynamic 2011 Events to Shape the World for Years to Come (CNN); 2011: Year in Review (CBS); Year in Review 2011: Videos (New York Times); Year in Review: Science Stories of 2011 (NPR); 2011 Year-End Review (Wall Street Journal); 2011: Year in Review (Los Angeles Times);  365 Days: 2011 in Review (Nature); and let us not forget Dave Barry’s take on the past year. On a more local level, please read 2011: The Year in Review in Politics (NJ Spotlight); and 2011 Power List and Year in Review (PolitickerNJ).

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