Archive for March, 2009

The Decline of Newspapers

The list of newspapers that has gone under or have morphed into an Internet version is seemingly endless: Rocky Mountain News, Cincinnati Post, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Detroit Free Press, and The Christian Science Monitor, to name a few. This was adumbrated by a Pew report issued a few months ago –Internet Overtakes Newspapers as News Outlet. So dire has the sitution become that Maryland Senator Benjamin Carbin is sponsoring the Newspaper Revitalization Act, allowing newspapers to act as non-profit entities. The fact that the respected International Herald Tribune has just been subsumed under the New York Times and been sub-titled “The Global  Edition of the New York Times” only adds an urgency to this situation. Read this informative Reuters entry on the takeover. Also, other articles worth looking at are : “The Death and Life of America’s Great Newspapers” from The Nation,  “Stop the Presses” from cbsnews.com, andThe 10 Most Endangered Newspapers in America” from Time.

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China’s Military Power

This annual report to Congress highlights China’s burgeoning military growth.  Compare this to previous reports issued by the Department of Defense. For additional information, please consult: China: Pentagon Military Report Distorted (CNN);  Central Military Commission (globalsecurity.org);  China’s National Defense in 2008 (Information Office of the State Council of the PRC);  China Military Statistics (CIA World Factbook); Country Profile-China (Library of Congress); U.S.-China Military Contacts, China Naval Modernization, U.S. Conventional Land Forces and Nuclear Deterrence: A China Case Study, and  China and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Missiles:Policy Issues (all CRS); Backgrounder: China’s Military Power (Council on Foreign Relations);  China Responses to U.S. Military Transformation and Implications for the Department of Defense, Modernizing China’s Military, and The United States and a Rising China: Strategic and Military Implications(all RAND Corporation); Russia, China, and the United States in Central Asia, The “People” in the PLA: Recruitment, Training, and Education in China’s Military, Right-Sizing the People’s Liberation Army, and China’s Nuclear Forces (all Strategic Studies Institute); Chinese Military Power (Commonwealth Institute);  and China Military Guide (globalsecurity.org);

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Tracking Obama’s Political Appointments

President Obama has literally hundreds of government positions to fill in his new administration. Head Count from the Washington Post allows us to keep track of this process. You can search by individual, agency, and status, and you can also view demographic breakdowns of his appointments.  Biographical information is included as well; a  previous  blog entry will direct you to additional biographical resources.

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Digest of Education Statistics 2008

This annual volume from the National Center for Education Statistics provides “…a compilation of statistical information covering the broad field of American education from prekindergarten through graduate school.” This compendium is widely used and quoted by diverse audiences and is considered a definitive source. Chapter 6 contains “international education” figures from OECD countries as well as “partner economies,” among them Brazil and Russia ; chapter 7 focuses both on libraries(academic, school, and public) and on educational technology. Previous volumes back to 1990 can also be accessed.

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Webcast of AIG Hearings

The webcast before a subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee is available, as are prepared statements/testimonies. A blow-by-blow description of this hearing from the New York Times should be perused; it’s not pretty.

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State of the News Media 2009

This annual report from the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism examines the major sectors in journalism (newspapers, online, network TV, cale TV, local TV, magazines, audio, and ethics news outlets) using the following tools: analysis, audience demographics, economics, news investment, and ownership. Special reports are also included along with an extensive bibliography which has hyperlinks in many cases.

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2010 State Aid for New Jersey Municipalities

This listing is arranged by county, then municipality. Almost all towns are losing state aid; Jersey City will lose almost $2 million. Some reactions are here and here.

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Projected 2009-2010 State School Aid

This site lists state school aid for all New Jersey school districts. See if your school district is receiving a boost. In related news, Allocation One of funds approved for school construction projects has been released.

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St Patrick’s Day Parades in the Area

This list gives parades for New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Slainte!!

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Health Care for Those with Mental Health Illness

A new report entitled Grading the States 2009 from the National Alliance on Mental Illness(NAMI) examines on national and state levels the kinds of help provided to those who suffer from mental illness. What it reveals are systems inadequate to the demand. As a whole, the United States rates a “D”; New Jersey rates a “C.” Go to the NAMI homepage for additional resources and look at this informative page courtesy of the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

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Emerald Guide to Baseball

Once again the harbinger of spring – baseball – is upon us. For your delectation, the Society for American Baseball Research is making freely available its Emerald Guide to Baseball, a compendium of virtually every statistic on every minor/major league team from the previous season. This almost 600 page tome should statisfy all of you number-crunching fanatics of America’s pastime.(Free registration is required.)

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Homeless Children in America

According to America’s Youngest Outcasts from the National Center on Family Homelessness, one out of every fifty children- 1.5 million –  is homeless. Among the criteria examined are: extent of homelessness, age, race, housing and income, health, and education. The national report is available online as well as individual state reports; here is New Jersey’s. According to the report,  New Jersey rates an “inadequate” for state planning and policy. Additional information can be accessed at the National Coalition for the Homeless where you can peruse their “publications” and “resources” sections for reports and directories.

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Governor Corzine’s 2010 Budget Address

You can read, watch, and hear his speech here.  Some details are available from Reuters and philly.com. You can read some reactions to the address. Read what some local news outlets have to say: The Star-Ledger, nj.com, Daily Record, Vineland Daily Journal, and PolitickerNJ.

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Life in Tibet is “Hell on Earth” – Dalai Lama

Here is his statement coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising against Communist China. Read the Council on Foreign Relations Tibet’s Tense Anniversary as well as its Backgrounder – The Question of Tibet. For primary source documents on U.S. interests, see Status of Tibet: Consideration of Policy of the United States in View of Tibet’s Claim of Independence and Danger to Tibet from Communist-Dominated China (Foreign Relations of the United States, 1949. The Far East: China. Volume IX(1949); additional sources are at the Tibet Justice Center. As always, the New York Times has a topical section on Tibet and also refer to this 2008 CRS report  – Tibet: Problems, Prospects and U.S. Policy. A brief blog entry cannot do justice to this issue; we recommend Melvyn Goldstein’s The Snow Lion and the Dragon: China, Tibet, and the Dalai Lama (University of California Press, 1997). An excellent portal is the newly-constructed Columbia Online Research Guide for Modern Tibetan Studies.

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President Obama’s Speech on Education

In a speech that has more than a little interest for NJCU given its past, President Obama today laid out his plans for revitalizing the American education system. “America will not remain true to its highest ideals…unless we give them [children/students] the knowledge and skills they need in this new and changing world.” A previous post highlighted some of the concerns discussed by President Obama today.

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Obama Allows U.S. Funding for Stem Cell Research

In an executive order, President Obama has cleared the way for the resumption of federal funding for stem cell research which had been banned by the previous administration. For background information on this topic,  see the following CRS reports: Stem Cell Research(2006), and Background and Legal Issues Related to Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research (2008). CNN presents a wide-ranging site on this subject as does the New York Times and the BBC. Check out Stem Cells at the National Academies and Stem Cell Information (National Institutes of Health).  Also, please read Ethics of Stem Cell Research from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and Stem-Cell Science: When Medicine Meets Moral Philosophy from Harvard Magazine.

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Earmarks for New Jersey

There is no acceptable single definition for earmark; most of us are comfortable with the term “special funding” or the more widely-used term – “pork.” This CRS report helps to explain the vagaries involved with this term, while this 2009 CRS addition details the workings of earmarks in the House. Another great site to look for an explanation is SourceWatch. Whatever you think of this process, hundreds of millions of dollars are being funneled to New Jersey via earmarks in the 2009 Omnibus Spending Bill. The Taxpayers for Common Sense has analyzed this bill and has constructed a database listing all the earmarks it could find. You can search by senator/representative, by bill, and by state. Here is the breakdown for New Jersey. See if Jersey City is to be the recipient of any funds; how about your own hometown?(By clicking on the city/location arrow, you can limit to specific towns.) Please read “Plenty of Pork” from Inside Higher Ed.

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Library Hours for 2009 Spring Break

The Guarini Library will be open 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday, March 9 through Friday, March 13 and closed on Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15. Regular hours resume Monday, March 16.

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New Jersey to Spend $900 Million on Transportation Projects Funded by the Stimulus Package

Governor Corzine announced that New Jersey will spend $894 million of ARRA monies to upgrade the transportation infrastructure in the state. These are already-identified projects which will be completed within a year. New Jersey Transit projects are outlined here; NJ Department of Transportation projects can be read here. Read about this in The Star Ledger.

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New Rules for New Jersey Teen Drivers

Four new bills – two approved and two more awaiting ratification – will improve and strengthen the skills of young drivers. Bill A3067, which needs Senate approval, would eliminate plea bargaining for a young driver convicted of a motor vehicle transgression;. while Bill A3068, also awaiting Senate approval, would require 50 hours of behind the wheel driving, 10 of which must be done at night. A parent, guardian or “…the person who accompanied and supervised the permit holder during the practice driving” must certify these hours. Bill A3069, which is to be signed by Governor Corzine, requires removable decals to be attached to any vehicle being driven by a provisional license holder; while Bill A3070, already appproved and awaiting the Governor’s signature, limits the number of passengers in the car to one(unless an adult is present in the front seat) and prolongs the driving curfew to encompass the hours of 11PM to 5AM, rather than the current restricted hours of midnight to 5AM. A previous blog posting offers additional information.

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