Archive for March, 2011

Today in History: Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

Trapped in suffocating quarters amid a conflagration and with locked exit doors blocking their escape, the workers, mostly young  Jewish and Italian women immigrants, were forced to jump to the deaths while others were burned alive. In about a quarter of an hour, 146 people were dead. This happened one hundred years ago to the day. The best place to find extensive information, including primary sources is Cornell University’s The Triangle Factory Fire. Other valuable sites include: Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire (1911)(New York Times – access to its articles from the time); Topics in Chronicling America – Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire (Library of Congress – contemporary newspaper articles); The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Trial 1911 (University of Missouri); Remembering the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, 100 Years Later (WNYC); and Archival Coverage of the Triangle Fire (Jewish Daily Forward – the first-ever English translations of  contemporary Yiddish-language articles from this paper).

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Google Books Settlement Rejected

Justice Chin, in a written opinion, has turned down the Amended Settlement Agreement (ASA) originally worked out between Google and copyright holders. Including a legal memo from  Germany that considers Google a “serial scanning infringer,” Justice Chin concludes that the ASA is not “fair, adequate and reasonable”(22) Background information on this important case can be found at: Google Books Settlement and Privacy (EPIC); Google Book Settlement (American Library Association, please read the informative Guide for the Perplexed: Part I, Part II, and Part III); The Google Library Project: Is Digitization for Purposes of Online Indexing Fair Use Under Copyright Law? (CRS); Google Book Search (New York Times Topics); and Google Books Bibliography (replete with many links).

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Are Public Employees Overcompensated?

As various unions enter into negotiations with the state, it would be of benefit to peruse these recent reports: Comparing Public and Private Sector Compensation over 20 Years (Center for State and Local Government Excellence), Public Employees, Unions and Fiscal Austerity (Brookings), Scapegoating Public Sector Workers (Economic Policy Institute); Are Federal Workers Overpaid? (FactCheck); Government vs Unions: Are State’s Public Employees Overpaid? (American Enterprise Institute); and a previous blog entry Do New Jersey Public Employees Earn Too Much?

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The New York Times Introduces a Paywall

Starting March 28, full access to The New York Times will be through a digital subscription service; those who receive home delivery of the paper will have free access. As online versions of newspapers are not attracting the advertising support that had been predicted, papers of all sizes have instituted paywalls. The Times is the largest paper to do so. A Brief History of Paywalls, Play Paywall! (Nieman Journalism Lab), a comparison of newspaper paywalls, and paywall articles from the Columbia Journalism Review should be reviewed.

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Nuclear Power Pros and Cons

In light of the recent incidents in Japan, we thought a review of some pertinent literature was warranted: Nuclear Power’s Global Expansion: Weighing Its Costs and Risks (Strategic Studies Institute); Nuclear Energy Policy (CRS); Pros and Cons of Nuclear Power (howstuffworks); Nuclear Energy: Balancing Benefits and Risks (Council on Foreign Relations); Fukushima and the Global “Nuclear Renaissance” (Brookings); Nuclear Power Pros and Cons (Florida State); Key Issues (Nuclear Energy Institute); The Case For and Against Nuclear Power (Wall Street Journal); The Nuclear Option: Is Atomic Energy Clean and Green (Slate); and  Nuclear’s Comeback: Still No Energy Panacea (Time).

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Translations of pre-1700 Women Authors

This site, Other Women’s Voices, guides the reader to sites providing substantial English translations of approximately 125 women authors ranging from 2300BCE to around 1700. The translations are in modern English which adds to this site’s utility, and each entry is accompanied by biographical information.  You can search chronologically or alphabetically. Obviously a labor of love.

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Nuclear Power and Japan

With the drama in Japan still unfolding, we’d like to supply you with some informative sites. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission maintains a reading room of pertinent documents on the U.S. nuclear industry. This site can be supplemented with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s updated news section on Japan along with its many technical documents which are freely available. The U.S. Energy Information Agency provides Japan: Country Analysis that investigates Japan’s energy sector. Google Crisis Response includes a person locator, maps, and message boards while How Nuclear Power Works is an understandable primer on this topic and includes a section on the pros and cons of nuclear power; another good source is from NPR: Primer: Japan’s Nuclear Crisis. Come here to find the number of nulcear plants operating in New Jersey. News sources include The Guardian, BBC News, Reuters, The Washington Post, The New York Times and CNN.

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Recent Health Reports

Disparites in healthcare have long been acknowledged as major problems in this country. This report – National Healthcare Disparities Report 2010 – comprehensively examines this issue and offers recommendations for its remediation. A snapshot of the health of this country can be seen in Health, United States, 2010 which is full of graphs, charts, and statistics covering a wide variety of health related topics; i.e., access to care, health risk factors, health insurance coverage, etc. It also contains a special feature on death and dying. Other reports of interest include: Vital Signs – Hypertension; Vital Signs – Control of High Levels of LDL Cholesterol; and Geographic Distribution of Diagnosed Diabetes in the U.S. (the “diabetes belt” article).

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Tsunami in Japan

The massive earthquake that rocked Japan, the largest in its history, has also triggered a tsunami alert for much of the Pacific basin. Check this BBC site for live, updating reportage. These sites provide additional information on just what a tsunami is: NOAA (with “latest event messages” section); Tidal Waves and Tsunamis (NY Times); Tsunami (FEMA); Tsunami Links (US Geological Survey); Physics of Tsunamis (University of Washington); Tsunami Research Center (USC); and Preparing for Events, Tsunamis (The American Red Cross). This 2008 CRS report may be of interest: Tsunami Detection and Warnings for the United States. Also, these 2005 Congressional hearings can be consulted: Tsunamis: Is the U.S. Prepared? and Tsunami Response: Lessons Learned.

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2011 List of New Jersey St Patrick’s Day Parades

Here ’tis, slainte!

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1,210 Richest People in the World

That is the number of billionaires on ForbesThe World’s Billionaires list;  Carlos Slim still heads up the list at $74B. You can limit by industry, country, and state; New Jersey is home to five of these very wealthy individuals.

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Biographies of Women Athletes

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“Muslim Radicalization” Hearings

Much has been written of late on these hearings that start today: New York Times, The Detroit News, The Washington Post, Politico, NPR, and ACLU. Chaired by Rep. Peter King of the House Committee on Homeland Security, these hearings begin at 9;30am; they can be viewed from a number of sites: the Committee’s site, live.cnn, or C-SPAN. Two previous blog entries contain many reports: Homegrown American Terrorists and Terrorist Threats to the United States.

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Women in Politics Database

This public database from the Inter-Parliamentary Union focuses on the participation of women in the political sector. Thousands of citations can be searched by document type, country, keywords, year, language, and author. Each citation is accompanied by an abstract, and while you cannot limit the results to full-text, if a free full-text version of the citation is available, the appropriate url is found at the end of the abstract. It is kept current and includes many major publishers, periodicals, and government and NGO entities. Well worth a look. The IPU also sponsors the Women in National Parliaments section that details the participatory rate of women in national legislatures. See where the United States falls in this list.

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2010 State Labor Laws Enacted and 2011 Proposed Labor Laws

It has certainly been a tumultuous year for labor across the country. We recommend these two sources if you want an overview of what has transpired in New Jersey as well as the rest of the country: State Labor Legislation Enacted in 2010 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Monthly Labor Review,  134(#1, January 2011)) contains a recap of legislation passed both from a topical-oriented (34 major categories are presented) view as well as by state; the always excellent National Council on State Legislatures sponsors the 2010 Labor & Employment Bill Summaries which are arranged by subject, then by state as well as the 2011 Labor & Employment Legislation section which embeds within itself the very important  Collective Bargaining and Labor Union Legislation Database highlighting pending laws (New Jersey currently has 61 proposed laws waiting).

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Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month; herewith are some good resources worthy of your time: Women’s History Month (lots of links to government resources); Facts for Features: Women’s History Month 2011 (from the Census Bureau); Women’s History Month( another great job by infoplease, contains history, timelines, biographies, and statistics); Women’s History Month (from Gale); Distinguished Women of the Past and Present (numerous links to biographical information);  Women’s History (from biography.com, numerous features including 150 video clips);  ViVa Women’s History (International Institute of Social History, provides a searchable bibliography of over 12,000 citations covering ancient times to the present); New Jersey Women’s History (Rutgers, containing images, primary sources, bibliography, etc); History of Women in Sports Timeline (from AAUW, a very detailed list from 776 BCE to the present); Women in History: Historical Figures (extensive biographies and links); and Encyclopaedia Britannica’s Guide to Women’s History.

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Status of Women in America

On December 14, 1961, President John F Kennedy issued Executive Order 10980 that established the President’s Commission on the Status of Women. It issued its report in 1963 entitled American Women which detailed the advances women had made and laid out future challenges. It is almost fifty years later, and the second report of this body – Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being – has been published. Progress has definitely been made, but more needs to be done.

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Social Media in the Middle East

As the role of social media (or “new new media” as coined by Paul Levinson) in political events becomes more evident, it is time to disseminate timely reports on the social media in the Arab world. So here are a few of the more pertinent reports we have found: Social Media in the Arab World: Leading Up to the Uprisings of 2011 (actually written before events of the last two months, it gives a review of the digital revolution in this part of the world, Center for International Media Assistance);  Social Media’s Role in Egyptian, Arab World Protests (PBS); Social Media as a Tool for Protest (STRATFOR); These Revolutions Are Not All Twitter (New York Times); Saudi Bloggers, Women’s Issues and NGOs (Arab Media & Society, more relevant articles from this journal are here);  Arab Social Media Report (this January 2011 issue is the beginning of a new quarterly publication, sponsored by the Dubai School of Government);  Investigative Journalism in the Arab World (Harvard); The Internet & Uprisings in the Arab World (90 minutes+ video held at New York Google); and The New Arab Journalist (Dart Center). Additional information can be located at the  Middle East Media Research Institute as well as OpenNet Initiative.

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Economic Crisis – March 2011 Update

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