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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