Archive for December, 2009

Obama’s Speeches

There are three separate sites containing  President Obama’s speeches. The first is Barack Obama Speeches 2002-2009 which lists over 200 addresses; the only problem is that it is not current as the last speech here dates from June 2009.  Needless to say, the White House has its own Speeches and Remarks section with the speeches arranged in reverse chronological order(that is libraryland lingo that tells you that the most recent item is at the top of the list; the second most recent is second, etc). There is an occasional speech from Mrs Obama here as well. The third repository is the Washington Post’s In Obama’s Words where you can search key speeches by broad category, keyword, date, or location. Videos of the speeches are available as well. This is an up-to-date site, having a speech already posted which was not on the White House site at the time of this writing. If you want all the speeches, go to whitehouse.gov;  if, however, you want selected speeches retrievable by various criteria, In Obama’s Words is the place to go.

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Facts and Figures for the Holiday Season

Brought to you by those busy folks at the Census Bureau.

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Employment Projections to 2018

What occupations are expected to show the most growth in the coming years? This issue of Monthly Labor Review  from the Bureau of Labor Statistics can help answer that question. Also included are statistic-laden articles discussing  future trends such as older workers staying more active, the economic recovery, and industrial output.

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Occupational Outlook Handbook

Want to find out authoritative information on a specific career? What education and training are required? What the salaries look like? What the job prospects are? What are the working conditions like? A guide to other sources of information? Look no further than the Occupational Outlook Handbook , the government’s definitive guide to careers. So popular/important is this resource that if you type “ooh” into Google, the first hit is this title. Another heavily consulted work is the Career Guide to Industries. For New Jersey, please consult the Industry Employment Projections and Occupational Employment Projections both of which are subsumed under Labor Market Information from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

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Almost 1% of Children Have Autism

This CDC report released today – Prevalence of Autistic Spectrum Disorders –  is much in agreement with previous published reports. So this represents a 50% increase in the diagnosis of autism in just two years. Additional information is available from: the New York Times, WebMD , CNN, and Autism Speaks. For all the blog entries on autism, please visit here.

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Six Hudson County High Schools Are Ranked Nationally

According to the latest U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best High Schools, Hudson County is home to six(one gold, one silver, four bronze) winning schools. Almost 22,ooo high schools were evaluated on the following criteria: test performance, performance of “least advanatged”(black, Hispanic, low-income) students, and college-readiness performance. You can search the rankings by state, top charter schools, top magnet schools, etc.

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Jersey City and Ethics Report

It will no longer be “business as usual” in Jersey City if the commissioned Report and Recommendations Concerning Development Practices and Procedures in Jersey City is approved by the City Council. This is in response to this past summer’s FBI investigation which resulted in 44 persons being accused of various felony offenses; among them 20 associated with Jersey City in some fashion, including a deputy mayor.  The report rightfully lauds Jersey City’s turnaround: “Anyone familiar with the Jersey City of the ’60s to the ’80s would know that Jersey City’s development since the ’80s to the present has been a spectacular success story.”(p.7) To ensure the continued development of the city, the report makes several commonsense recommendations, among them: ethics training for both city officials and developers, prominent posting of a guide laying out the proper procedures for developers to engage the city, no private meetings with contractors, and revising the city’s Master Plan. News reports on this guide are to be found at the Star-Ledger,  and the Jersey Journal

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Library Hours for 2009/2010 Winter Intersession

We’ll try to keep this as simple as possible. The Libraray will be open from 8:30am to 4:30 pm on these days: Tuesday, December 22-Thursday, December 24; Monday, January 4-Friday, January 8; Monday, January 11-Friday, January 15. We re-open with regular hours starting Tuesday, January 19 at 7:30am.

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Online State Encyclopedias – Virginia

Although still in beta testing, this online state encyclopedia is already replete with information. Each article contains timelines, further readings, embedded links, and access to external links. Articles can be searched either alphabetically or by broad subject categories. You can read about the encyclopedia’s goals and history here. Another great NEH-generated resource. This newest addition now brings the number of online state encyclopedias to 16.

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Too Much Information?

Do you at times feel like you are drowning in a glut of information and data? Well, quite honestly, you are. According to this recent study HMI? How Much Information, the American consumer is subjected to almost 12 hours of information (defined “… as flows of data delivered to people and we measured the bytes, words, and hours of consumer information a day.”) or 1.3 TRILLION hours in 2008. And information from the workplace was not included. No wonder we are tired. Information overload in the business environment is addressed here. “Information overload” is a term coined by Alvin Toffler.

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Extended Library Hours for Finals Week

The Library will remain open until 11PM from Monday, December 14 to Thursday, December 17.

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President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize Speech

Right here.

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Congressional Biographies

The newest edition of the Congressional Directory has just been published.  Issued at the start of every new Congress, this volume “…is the official directory of the U.S. Congress…[and] presents short biographies of each member of the Senate and House, listed by state or district…” Also included is contact information, committee memberships, and the names of chief staffers. Volumes back to the 1997/98 Congress are also available online. For those historically inclined, earlier volumes may be found at the Internet Archive: Text Archive, a marvelous repository. To read ALL the biographies of everyone who has served in Congress since the Continental Congress, your first source must be the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress, 1774 to Present; it is searchable by name, state, party, year, or position. For example, find out how many New Jersey Congresspersons  were Whigs. What the heck are Whigs? Find out here. If you, gentle reader, want to see previous attempts at Congressional biography, then we recommend these hoary tomes: Dictionary of the United States Congress: Containing Biographical Sketches…(1859),  The Political Register and Congressional Directory…(1878), Biographical Annals of the Civil Government of the United States (1887), and A Biographical Congressional Directory, 1774 to 1903.  An historical essay on the Biographical Directory is found at this Senate site.

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Today in History: Universal Declaration of Human Rights Proclaimed by the United Nations

“…throughout the world there are many people who do not enjoy the basic rights…without which no one can live in dignity and freedom.”  –   Eleanor Roosevelt, The Promise of Human Rights, (Foreign Affairs, April 1948).            

To commemorate this day, the following informative sites should be consulted: 370 different translations(from Abkhaaz to Zulu) of this fundamental document can be read; the Human Rights Library from the University of Minnesota contains over 60,000 documents; the Human Rights entry from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is a substantive read; a human rights timeline from antiquity to the 21st century is replete with links; look at both the Council on Foreign Relations and Chatham House(Royal Institute for International Affairs) sites; for Congressional hearings on human rights, go to the  Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight; to find ongoing legislation in Congress dealing with this topic, go to GovTrack;  current annual reports on human rights can be read in Human Rights Report, Amnesty International Report, and Country Reports of Human Rights Practices; other reports and monographs can be found here;  and lists of human rights organizations can be found at this Yahoo directory. Last, but certainly not least, the following two sites provide excellent guides to the electronic resources available:  International Human Rights Research Guide, and ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law: International Human Rights.

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Diesel Fumes Kill More People in NJ/NY than Murder

This rather startling revelation is contained within the report Hazardous to Our Health: The Human Impact of Port Truck Pollution on Truck Drivers and Residents in New York and New Jersey. Among the findings: New Jersey residents face the second highest cancer risk in the nation due to diesel soot; school children in Newark, home to the Newark Port, have an asthma rate of 27%; the death rate due to asthma in Newark is twice the level of suburban/rural areas in the state; Essex County, home to both Newark and Elizabeth Ports, has a cancer level 496 TIMES GREATER than the EPA standards; and Routes 1 and 9, used heavily by port truckers, has had devastating consequences for Hudson County(in particular Jersey City) in that it ranks #1 in the state with regards to health risks associated with diesel soot and 9th among all counties in the nation. The report is only 12 pages, but much information is packed in this report.

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Almost 50 Million People in U.S. Have Drunk Polluted Water

This disturbing fact is examined in a New York Times article which is part of its ongoing series on Toxic Waters, a series which we have already recommended for your perusal. Further information on this topic can be found at: Safe Drinking Water Act: Selected Regulatory and Legislative Issues (CRS); Safe Water Drinking Act: A Summary of the Act and Its Major Requirements (CRS);  Ground Water & Drinking Water (EPA); Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality, 3d ed.(WHO); Energy and Environment Legislation Tracking Database (National Conference of State Legislatures); Drinking Water (MedlinePlus); Surveillance for Waterborne Disease and Outbreaks Associated with Drinking Water… (CDC); Safe Drinking Water is Essential (NAS); Drinking Water and monographs on drinking water (National Academies Press).

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Live Webcasts of Nobel Prize Lectures

Use this site to view all the various Nobel lectures, including President Obama’s speech on Thursday, December 10. On demand copies will be made available shortly after the speech is delivered. We think that CSPAN will carry the President’s speech as well.

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Excessive “Perks” to Local/Municipal Employees

For those of you who have heard about this, the report The Beat Goes On: Waste and Abuse in Local Government Employee Compensation and Benefits from the New Jersey Commission of Investigation enumerates practices, all legally sanctioned by contracts between unions and municipalities, whereby employees are granted benefits rarely found in the public sector: a paid day off for Christmas shopping; three days off for your wedding; a paid day off for moving, etc (p.40). Read reports  from the Star Ledger, the Hudson Reporter, the Associated Press, the Press of Atlantic City,  the Courier Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Bergen Record.

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Online State Encyclopedias – Oklahoma

In several previous posts, we have enumerated other entries in this field. Today we welcome the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture. You can search alphabetically, chronologically, or by subject. Many of the articles have hyperlinked “see also” references as well as access to apposite articles from the journal Chronicles of Oklahoma.  Another noteworthy endeavor sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. This present volume brings to 15 the number of states represented online by authoritative and  scholarly encyclopedias.

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Economic Crisis – December 2009 Update

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