Archive for February, 2014

Mayor Fulop’s 2014 State of the City Address

Last night, Mayor Fulop gave his first “state of the city” address; the text and photos of this event are online, courtesy of The Jersey Journal.

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National Security Reports – February 2014 Update

Terrorism Designations FAQ (State Dept); Arctic Strategy — U.S. Department of DefenseNational Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations: Legal Background; National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations: A Glimpse at the Legal Background; Nuclear Power Plant Security and VulnerabilitiesImplementation of Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS): Issues for Congress; China and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Missiles: Policy Issues; Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons; Next Steps in Nuclear Arms Control with Russia: Issues for Congress; Threats to U.S. National Security Interests in Space: Orbital Debris Mitigation and Removal; CRS – Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources, by Topic; Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons; Russian Political, Economic, and Security Issues and U.S. Interests; Identity Theft: Trends and
Issues
 (all CRS); 3D Cyberspace Spillover: Where Virtual Worlds Get Real (DNI); Identifying Enemies Among Us: Evolving Terrorist Threats and the Continuing Challenges of Domestic Intelligence Collection and Information Sharing (RAND); Review of the Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Facilities in Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012, together with Additional Views (Senate Select Committee on Intelligence); Staying Safer in Cyberspace: Cloud Security on the Horizon (SafeGov); Do NSA’s Bulk Surveillance Programs Stop Terrorists? (New American Foundation); Report on the Telephone Records Program Conducted under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and on the Operations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board – U.S. Congress); and Global Risks 2014 (World Economic Forum).

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Today in New Jersey History – February 28

Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the only signer captured by the English, died at his home in 1781 the result of his imprisonment. His jailing and ill-treatment caused the Continental Congress to authorize George Washington to look into this matter.(Journal of the Continental Congress, 7:12-13; a letter from John Hancock to Washington on this matter is also available.) (English atrocities against Americans were well-known occurrences. Witness this speech by Sen. Edward Kennedy and this entry – Prisoners of War – from the Digital Encyclopedia of George Washington. We have access to Washington’s letters to and fro with General William Howe, the English commander, re: prisoners and their treatment.) Other biographical information on Stockton can be found: Signers of the Declaration (National Parks Service); Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to Present; About Stockton (Stockton College, NJ); Richard Stockton (Princeton Companion); and Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, vol.5: 693-94.

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Economic Crisis – February 2014 Update

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Transcript of Governor Christie’s 2015 Budget Message

For those who like to read the words as well as hear them, a transcript of his speech as prepared for delivery is available from his office. Reactions to his speech can also be read online.

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International Tax Rates for 2014

We hear all the time about how United States taxes, especially for business, are onerous on companies. Before we engage in that conversation, let us look at tax tables complied by Deloitte. Corporate Tax Rates 2014, Corporate Tax Rates 2010-2014, and Withholding Tax Rates 2014 for interest, dividends and royalties can be perused. The data is presented by country with explanatory sidebars where warranted.

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Crimes Against the Disabled Higher Than the Rest of the Population

According to Crimes Against Persons with Disabilities, 2009-2012 from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, people with disabilities are victims of crime at a higher rate than those who are not disabled. It doesn’t matter if viewed through the lens of age, race, or sex, disabled people suffer more crime; i.e., rape, robbery, sexual assault, assault. The sobering numbers are presented in thirty tables. At times, the rate of crime against the disabled is three times higher. Additional resources can be found at: Responding to Crime Victims with Disabilities: Resource Directory for Service Providers;  Victims-Special Populations-Disabled (National Criminal Justice Reference Service); and Hate Crimes Against Individuals with Disabilities (Civilrights.org).

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EdTech Reports – February 2014

During the 2012/13 academic year, Harvard and MIT started to offer MOOCs through their edX site. Reports on the courses are here (HarvardX) and here (MITx)); in addition, there is one report that summarizes the outcomes of all the courses. The usefulness of MOOCs in different postsecondary environments is examined in The Economics of Online Postsecondary Education: MOOCs, Nonselective Education, and Highly Selective Education (National Bureau of Economic Research). Parents’ opinion of the use of educational media in the home is highlighted in Learning at Home: Families’ Educational Media Use in America from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. Numerous tables and charts and a copy of the survey instrument further the utility of this report. In addition, key findings are summarized on page 6. Upgrades of the E-rate program have been announced by the FCC in this fact sheet. This report from the Census Bureau –Computer and Internet Access in the United States:2012 – is rather self-explanatory.

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Today in New Jersey History – February 27

The New Jersey Historical Society was founded on this day in 1845; the charter members numbered seventeen and one of the posts was for a librarian.((Proceedings, 1(1845):2)) Housed in Newark, this repository of state history contains thousands of objects: manuscripts, photographs, maps, and archival collections. In addition to publishing the Proceedings, the Society also was responsible for the Collections of the New Jersey Historical Society; Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey; various other monographs; and New Jersey History, a periodical now being published by Rutgers University and freely available online.

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Governor Christie’s 2014 Budget Address – Key Statements

The Governor’s office released key excerpts from his upcoming speech today; most deal with additional pension reforms. BTW, the speech will be streamed by nj.com starting at 2pm.

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2014 State of the State Addresses

Please go to C-SPAN for videos of these speeches; texts of all the speeches are  available courtesy of NASBO.

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Online Primary Sources for American History: The Nimitz Graybook

So named for its gray covers, this “operational diary” of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz is comprised of daily summaries by his staff of all aspects of the American naval presence in the Pacific during World War II. It is the only source of its kind, and is considered an authoritative source on World War II for that theater of operations. Any new histories being written about the Pacific war will now have immediate access to this most important source.

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2012 Demographic Statistics of the European Union

European Social Statistics presents a vast array of socio-economic data embedded within a narrative structure. There are seven main chapters dealing with such topics as education, healthcare, income, etc. Supported by figures and links to publications and data sources, this site should be among the first places one should look for information on the current state of life in the EU.

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Today in New Jersey History – February 24

On this day in 1763, William Franklin, the son of Benjamin Franklin, became the last royal governor of New Jersey. Appointed by George III, he earned a reputation as an able administrator, but his espousal of the Loyalist cause put him at odds with the state’s populace as well as causing an irreparable breach with his father with whom he never reconciled. Volumes 9 and 10 of Documents Relating to the Colonial History of New Jersey contain writings generated during his tenure as governor. Additional information can be found at: The Franklin Institute and the American Philosophical Society. Letters from Benjamin Franklin to his son are found here.

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Biographies of New Jersey Governors

A very brief history and a complete list of New Jersey governors back to colonial times is available. Infoplease profiles many of the colonial governors as does encyclopedia.com. Biographies of post-colonial governors can be found at the National Governors’ Association and those who also served in Congress are profiled in the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 – Present. Rutgers University’s Center for the American Governor has some very informative research on New Jersey governors; it also provides links to interviews/forums/resources for ex-Governors Byrne, Kean, Florio, and Whitman.

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Annual Statistical Supplement to the Social Security Bulletin

“The Supplement is a major resource for data on our nation’s social insurance and welfare programs. The majority of the statistical tables [over 240] present information about programs administered by the Social Security Administration—the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program, known collectively as Social Security, and the Supplemental Security Income program. In addition, data are presented on the major health care programs—Medicare and Medicaid—and social insurance programs, including workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, temporary disability insurance, Black Lung benefits, and veterans’ benefits.” (Preface, iii) Editions back to 2000 are also available online.

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Freedom in the World or Lack Thereof

According to Freedom in the World 2014, this marks the eighth straight year that democracy has declined in the world. Political rights and civil liberties are under attack around the world. “Modern authoritarianism” has repressed democratic institutions in fifty-four countries, while gains are reported in forty. Facts sheets and regional overviews are presented; individual country reports are added as they become available. Previous reports back to 1998 can be read online along with other pertinent series such as “Freedom of the Press,” “Freedom on the Net,” and “Women’s Right in the Middle East and North Africa.” Compare to the U.S. Department of State’s Human Rights Report.

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Is Recent Bad Weather Here and Abroad Caused by Climate Change?

We have of late been battered by cold, ice, sleet, snow and thunder snow. Great Britain has had its hare of weather woes as well – gale force winds, torrential rains (the most in 248 years), river flooding, etc. Can climate change be the cause of all this bad weather on both sides of the Atlantic? Maybe, according to The Recent Storms and Floods in the UK from the UK Meteorological Office. As this report states: “As yet, there is no definitive answer on the possible contribution of climate change to the recent storminess, rainfall amounts and the consequent flooding.”(2) But it does go on to request that: “More research is urgently needed to deliver robust detection of changes in storminess and daily/hourly rain rates. The attribution of these changes to anthropogenic global warming requires climate models of sufficient resolution to capture storms and their associated rainfall. Such models are now becoming available and should be deployed as soon as possible to provide a solid evidence base for future investments in flood and coastal defences.”(26) Charts and references are provided. Reportage is found courtesy of The Guardian and Scientific American.

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2012 Academic Library Statistics

How much money did academic libraries spend on ebooks in 2012? How large are their staffs? How many institutions conduct information literacy programs? How many feature text messaging as a reference service? These and other questions are answered in the NCES publication Academic Libraries: 2012, Did you know that academic libraries are visited 22.4 MILLION times a week?(Table 3) That these libraries contain 1.1 billion paper items (books, journals, etc), 253 million ebooks, 1 billion microforms, and 123 million AV materials? (Table 5) Statistics are arranged by control (public/private), enrollment size, Carnegie classification, and level (2 year to doctorate).

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Photos of Jim Cramer at NJCU

For photos of Jim Cramer speaking at NJCU on February 11, 2014, please go here. Photos courtesy of The Jersey Journal.

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