Archive for September, 2008
Most sources state that the presidential debates as we know them began in 1960, when a strict format was developed as to the procedures to be employed. The Commission on Presidential Debates is the organizing force behind the debates and has sponsored them since 1988. Of course, as with anything political, this supposedly neutral body cannot really be considered as such as it is headed by the ex-chairpersons of both main political parties, meaning that third-party presidential candidates receive short shrift. The ever-reliable Poynter Online site has this truly comprehensive compilation with extensive links to past debates. The American Presidency Project has a debate section as well. Of course, many of us believe that the first presidential debates actually occurred during an 1858 Senate race – the famed Lincoln/Douglas debates. You may read these historic speeches here and here. These debates were widely covered by newspapers; click here for both the text of the debates as they appeared in local(Illinois) newspapers and for the accompanying commentaries on them. And browse through the Abraham Lincoln papers at the Library of Congress for mention of Stephen Douglas(this also includes letters written between the two men).
“The Commission encourages institutions to consider dropping the admission test requirements if it is determined that the predictive utility of the test or the admission policies of the institution(such as open access) support that decision….” (p.7, Italics added by the author) So reads The Report of the Commission on the Use of Standardized Tests in Undergraduate Admission. The report goes on to state “…college admission exams – such as the SAT and ACT – may not be critical to making good admissions decisions at many of the colleges and universities that use them”(p.7) This document also opines that minimum test scores for merit aid eligibility should be done away with; that test scores should be eliminated from the US News and World Report college rankings issue; that predicting first-year grades for ESL is extremely difficult; and that the College Board’s AP tests and the IB tests are better indicators of academic performance. Other recommendations and findings are also included in this 50+ page report. Check here to find the almost 800 schools that do NOT use the SAT or ACT as an admission tool.
The recent failure of financial houses and the government’s planned interventions are not new. The government has done this before and will probably have to do it again in the future. For a brief, understandable review of what has happened, along with a table outlining previous governmental rescues, please read this from CRS. Another CRS report looks at the bailout proposal itself, and once again it is in plain language. The full text of the draft legislation for the bailout is here. (Update as of October 3. Read the full version of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008). The Brookings Institution weighs in with some of its concerns. For those interested in the previous “S&L crisis” of the 1980s, check out this site from the FDIC, and also this report from Time Magazine.
Developed at Harvard, this is a list of the procedures necessary to vote with an absentee ballot; all fifty states are included. Links are also provided for those states that allow you to download an absentee ballot application.
The Census Bureau has just released the 2007 American Community Survey, an annual investigation of the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of states, counties, and municipalities with populations exceeding 65,000 people. Over 3,000,000 households were surveyed for this survey, giving government planners more current data than those supplied by the decennial census(which is required by the Constitution, btw). So, if you come from a state, county, or municipality which has more than 65,000 people, you can get recent population information right here. And since Jersey City fits the above criterion, its figures can be accessed here.
Recently, the National Archives released the grand jury transcripts for the trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. This makes news on more than one level since grand jury proceedings are always sealed, but the historical significance of these transcripts was deemed so high that they had to be released. A review of the legal arguments concerning these documents may be found at the Jurist site. A good overview of the Rosenberg case, based primarily on government sources, can be accessed at this CCNY site. A very comprehensive treatment of the trial is here.