Archive for March, 2012

Autism Diagnosis Rates Rise Sharply in New Jersey and the Nation

A CDC report released today shows that the chance of a child being diagnosed with autism has risen to 1 in 88; in New Jersey, it is 1 in 49. This study is based on 14 separate site reports; the one for New Jersey was based at UMDNJ (Table 1). As reported in The New York Times,  “… researchers cannot agree on whether the trend is a result of heightened awareness, an expanding definition of the spectrum, an actual increase in incidence or some combination of those factors.”(article) More information is available from: The Star-Ledger, Time, WebMD, Wall Street Journal, and Autism Speaks.


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Early Films of New York City

This site from the Library of Congress – The Life of a City: Early Films of New York, 1898-1906 – features 45 short films from either the Edison Company or the American Mutoscope and Biography Company. You can watch Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show parade down 5th Avenue or see a panoramic view from one of the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge. You can search by film title, subject or keyword; three viewing formats are available for each film: RealMedia, MPEG, and Quick Time. The Library of Congress also hosts Edison Motion Pictures, a collection of 341 of his and his company’s films including those in the previous New York City site. An informative biography and history is also appended.

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Amelia Earhart Online Collection

With Amelia Earhart recently back in the news, we recommend a virtual trip to this site – George Palmer Putnam Collection of Amelia Earhart Papers – containing as it does over 3500 items from letters to telegrams to newspaper clippings ranging from 1897 to 1971. You can search via material type, full text, subject, or date. The site also includes a biography, links to other Earhart sites, and a select bibliography. If you are interested, please read her The fun of it : random records of my own flying and of women in aviation published in 1932.

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Arguments Before the Supreme Court on Health Care Reform

While we have no objection to the frenzy surrounding Tim Tebow’s introduction to the New York media today, we would like to point to a more momentous occurrence in Washington, D.C. – the three days’ of oral arguments over health care reform before the Supreme Court. Being as there will be NO electronic recording devices in the Court, information will be handed out in dribs and drabs as reporters exit the hearings, file their observations, and go back into the hearings. Audio recordings and unofficial transcripts will be generated as quickly as possible by the Court.  Here are several excellent sources of information, presented in accessible language without the legal obfuscation that clouds minds: Health Care Reform and the Supreme Court (Times Topics, with guide, background materials, and additional links);  The Court and Health Care Reform (Oyez Today, contains briefs, filings, arguments of the original cases that have wound their way up the judicial ladder); Health Care Resource Page (SCOTUSblog, includes in-depth reviews of the individual cases along with numerous links, one the best ways of keeping up with what is happening anytime at the Court); Supreme Court Oral Arguments on Health Care (C-SPAN,  video resources of the various court cases that have preceded today’s oral arguments as well as providing  same-day audio recordings of said arguments); and these CRS reports –Health-Related Revenue Provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (April 2010), Health Care: Constitutional Rights and Legislative Powers (April 2010), and Grandfathered Health Plans Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA (January 2011).

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Immigration Statistics

Lots of updated statistics on a large number of immigration issues can be found at the Migration Policy Institute’s Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States. It should be considered a first stop for current figures that are all available in one place without the need for repeated searching in various other data sources.

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Lack of Foreign Language Skills is a National Security Issue

As U.S. Education Reform and National Security from the Council on Foreign Relations states: “The lack of language skills and civic and global awareness among American citizens increasingly jeopardize their ability to interact with local and global peers or participate meaningfully in business, diplomatic,and military situations. The United States is not producing enough foreign-language speakers to staff important posts in the U.S. Foreign Service, the intelligence community, and American companies.”(11) This finding combined with other weaknesses that have been covered in this blog in previous entries (here, here, and here), present a grave risk to America’s competitive standing in the world and undermine its ability to interact with other countries and cultures in a competent manner. The report continues, bemoaning the fact that public schools have largely abandoned the teaching of civics. citizenship, and cultural awareness.(15) Pointing to various national and international tests (refer to entries above), the report shows how the United States is lagging behind in so many areas. To remedy this situtaion, the report lists three recommendations:  expand the Common Core State Standards to include subjects vital to national security such as languages, science, and technology; “enhanced choice and competition” [charter schools]; and accountability.(44-45)  The report also includes dissenting opinions by some of the 30-member task force (a CFR trademark feature) as well as informative endnotes. News/reactions/opinions are at: The New York Times; Christian Science Monitor; Education Week (via; Wall Street Journal; BloombergNews, and PBSNewsHour (via YouTube).

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Statistics on America’s Women Veterans

There are 1.5 million female veterans in this country and Puerto Rico according to this report – America’s Women Veterans. Demographic and socioeconomic breakdowns are enumerated as is their utilization of VA services.

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