Archive for November, 2012

Interviews with Music Industry Legends

From jazz to gospel, rock to folk, over two hundred interviews were conducted with such luminaries as Artie Shaw, Tom Jones, Sting, and Tina Turner. The first batch of  twenty-five have been made public featuring Graham Nash, Herbie Hancock, and Tony Bennett; the rest will be released over time. This disclaimer is attached to the collection by the Library of Congress: “Some contain adult language and touch on mature themes such as drug use and sexuality. They are presented as part of the record of our culture. They are historical documents which reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of the time in which they were recorded. The Library of Congress does not endorse the views expressed in these recordings, which may contain content offensive to users.”


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Governor Christie Releases Damage Assessment of Sandy – $37B

In a press release issued yesterday, Governor Christie tallied the amount of damage Sandy caused to New Jersey and also included additional funds for mitigation. The press release includes an itemized breakdown of the damage assessment. NJTV has a report on this development, and Governor Christie’s YouTube channel has the complete news conference.

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What Does a Congressperson Do?

We vote people into the House or Senate, they go to Washington, and then what do they actually do? What roles, duties, functions, responsibilities does a member of Congress have? Would you be surprised to find out that there are no set rules or guidelines that spell out what a Congressperson is supposed to do? But this CRS report – Roles and Duties of a Member of Congress: Brief Overview – will give us some insight into how members of Congress discharge their various roles as legislator, advocate, constituent representative, committee member,  leader, and office manager. Additional CRS reports of interest include: Congressional Staff: Duties and Functions of Selected Positions and Casework in a Congressional Office: Background, Rules, Laws, and Resources.

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New Jersey Charter Schools Outperform Their Public School Peers

That is the gist of a report from Stanford University’s Center for Research in Education Outcomes (CREDO). The report – Charter School Performance in New Jersey – states that “…the analysis shows that students in New Jersey charter schools on average make larger learning gains in both reading and mathematics.”(4-5) The methodology is presented (7-10) as well as the differences in student populations between charter schools and TPS(traditional public schools)(11-14). The charter schools in Newark are singled out for their overall superior numbers while the four other major clusters of charter schools in Camden, Jersey City, Paterson and Trenton do not fare as well.(16) Table 7 presents a “summary of statistically significant findings for average learning gains” of charter school students; the results are overwhelmingly positive for charter schools.(38) A good overview of this report can be found at NJ Spotlight (a favorite site of ours); School Finance 101 zeros in on the Newark results; Commissioner Cerf  issued a statement touting the results; and The Star-Ledger contains a story on this as does NJ101.5, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Education Week.

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World Energy Statistics

Published by the International Energy Agency, Key World Energy Statistics “…contains timely, clearly-presented data on the supply, transformation and consumption of all major energy sources.”(3) Therefore, information is presented on the production, export and import of biofuels, hydro, coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear energies. Graphs and charts accompany the breakdowns. Selected indicators for each country in the world follow in a separate section, which is in turn followed by a glossary of terms. Compare this to the 2009 Energy Statistics Yearbook from the UN or the International Energy Statistics section of the US Energy Information Administration.

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Hamlyn Lectures

The Hamlyn Lectures  is an annual event at which distinguished legal scholars and jurors discuss specific aspects of the law. The lectures normally go beyond a single day; more than a few span three days. These foremost practitioners have been delivering these lectures since 1949, and the published versions of these presentations are available freely online from 1949-2004. Such legal giants as Glanville Williams, Erwin Griswold, and Lord Denning are among those who have lectured. For anyone interested in the development of law during the past century, these lectures provide a remarkable treasure trove of considered opinion from the best legal minds around. A little digging  has resulted in some more recent lectures being available: 2005 Lecture – Can Human Rights Survive?; 2006 Lecture – The Sovereignty of Law – the European Way; 2010 Lecture – Lawyers and the Public Good (large excerpt in Google Books); 2011 Lecture – The Rule of Law and the Measure of Property; and the 2012 Lecture – The Future of the Criminal Courts (YouTube).

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Letter from America

Spanning the decades from the 1940s to the 2000s, the British journalist Alistair Cooke explained the United States to the United Kingdom and ultimately to ourselves in a series of weekly radio broadcasts on the BBC called Letter from AmericaListen to his letter the day after JFK was killed; read his original script with emendations for his letter on Thanksgiving. The BBC has provided us with 900 of his original broadcasts, searchable by date and theme. Boston University holds 2500 of his scripts, searchable in many ways. These two repositories provide us with a powerful portal to our past as interpreted by an outsider who eventually fell in love with America. Additional biographical information on Cooke can be found at: BBC, PBS, and The New York Times. Here is a C-SPAN video with the author of the first authorized biography of Cooke. And lastly, listen to In Alistair Cooke’s Footsteps, an hour-long broadcast from the BBC.

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