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Jun 14 2013

Best of the Scout Report for 2013

  • Better Data, Better Health
  • There has been extended discussion about the ways in which better data can improve public health problems such as obesity, rising health care costs, and other areas of concern. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is intimately concerned with the possible applications of “big data”, and this site offers some fine commentary and reporting on this situation. A good place to start is the Q&A with RWJF Chief Technology and Information Officer Steve Downs. “Better Data = Better Health: Stories from the Field” looks at the applications of mobile health applications, GPS sensors in the service of tracking asthma symptoms, and much more. The footer of the site includes sections analyzing how data is transforming the overall health of communities. There are data sets, reports, rankings and access to publicly available reports that include information on the quality of care delivery, patient outcomes, and patient feedback on physicians, hospitals, and cost.

  • Frontline: Digital Nation
  • How is technology changing our lives? It’s a very difficult question to answer, but this engaging program from Frontline takes first steps into this brave new digital world. This website covers various topics such as Family/Children, Foreign Affairs/Defense, Government/Elections/Politics, Race/Multicultural and so on. On a note that appears on the site’s homepage, Rachel Dretzin (the producer) remarks that “Digital Nation is an effort to define this new space and to put some walls around it.” On the homepage, visitors can watch the entire 90-minute program and also view special segments such as Living Faster, Relationships, Waging War, and Virtual Worlds. The Virtual Worlds area is particularly compelling, as it looks at how virtual reality is being used to treat the post-traumatic stress disorder experienced by soldiers.

    [Source: Scout Report]

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Jan 09 2013

New publication is available at the Scout Report!

Facing Freedom
This fine site from the Chicago History Museum asks the question: “What would you do for freedom?” With this in mind, the site encourages young people to “experience four ways Americans have defined freedom:” through workers’ rights, armed conflict, race and citizenship, and public protest. The four themes are further divided into eight specific historical occurrences, including strikes by the United Farm Workers in California and the struggle for American Indian rights in South Dakota in 1973. Visitors young and old can use the primary and secondary sources here (including photos, audio clips, and videos) to interpret the history featured in the exhibit. It’s a thoughtful and interactive way to explore these issues, and visitors who wish to par ticipate more can add to the online if they so chose.

[Source: Scout Report, Volume 19, Number 1, January 4, 2013]

 

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May 17 2012

Latest resources from Urban Institute

  1. FIRST TUESDAY FORUM
  2. What We Talk about When We Talk about Fairness

    To watch the video webcast or a recording, you may click here.

    This forum will tackle the many dimensions of fairness through multiple lenses: economics, history, and philosophy, especially as they come into play in debates over taxes, spending, and public policy more generally. With election season heating up and candidates drafting their stump speeches, they’ll be making a lot of claims about fairness. Are there ways to assess these claims beyond whether the policy prescriptions agree with ours?

  3. ENROLLMENT GROWTH DRIVES SPENDING FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID
  4. Medicare, Medicaid and the Deficit Debate” - By John Holahan and Stacey McMorrow

    Between 2000 and 2010, Medicare enrollment increased due to the aging population and Medicaid enrollment increased because of two recessions, with more poor people qualifying for the latter. However, expenditure growth per enrollee was 2.7 percent per year, slightly below that of private insurance. Thus, spending growth in both programs on a per-enrollee basis is close to growth in GDP per capita, the target often advocated by those concerned with the nation’s deficit. Deficit-reduction proposals such as premium support and block grants will have a hard time achieving better outcomes. They produce savings primarily by shifting costs onto existing enrollees and, in the case of Medicaid, onto the states as well.

  5. WHO FALLS OUT OF THE MIDDLE CLASS?
  6. Downward Mobility from the Middle Class: Waking Up from the American Dream” - By Gregory Acs

    A third of Americans raised in the middle class (between the 30th and 70th percentiles of the income distribution) fall out of that category as adults. Marital status, education, test scores, and drug use have a strong influence on whether a middle-class child loses economic ground as an adult. Only among whites are women more downwardly mobile than men: 30 percent of white women fall out of the middle class, compared with 21 percent of white men.

  7. TESTIMONY ON TAX REFORM AND STATES
  8. What Federal Tax Reform Means for State and Local Tax and Fiscal Policies” - By Kim Rueben

    The need for fundamental federal tax reform is critical, but it is important to consider how any changes shape not only federal revenues and economic activity but the tax and fiscal policies of state and local governments, Kim Rueben told the Senate Finance Committee.

  9. NOT ALL ELIGIBLE WOMEN AND CHILDREN RECEIVE NUTRITION ASSISTANCE
  10. WIC Participants and Their Growing Need for Coverage” - By Michael Martinez-Schiferl

    In 2009, 2.7 million infants, 9.5 million children, and 2.9 million women were eligible for benefits from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), but only 2.2 million infants, 4.8 million children, and 2.2 million women received them. This brief summarizes key features of the WIC program, including eligibility rules, participation rates, benefits, and administration.

  11. SIX STATES TO STREAMLINE LOW-INCOME FAMILIES’ ACCESS TO WORK SUPPORT BENEFITS
  12. Read more at http://www.urban.org/publications/901498.html.
    Fragile households seeking solid footing in a weak economy will receive reinvigorated support as Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and South Carolina take up the challenge of streamlining services aiding low-income working families. The six states have been awarded three-year grants to test and implement easy-to-navigate, quick-to-deliver public benefit systems. The grants, the centerpiece of the Work Support Strategies: Streamlining Access, Strengthening Families (WSS) initiative, average about $460,000 per state for each year. The Ford Foundation, the WSS project’s lead funder, has committed $21 million over five years. The Open Society Foundations and the Annie E. Casey Foundation have provided additional support.

[Source: Urban Institute]

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Nov 08 2011

Latest Urban Institute Reports

KIDS AND NATIONAL PRIORITIES

  • Today’s Children, Tomorrow’s America: Six Experts Face the Facts - by C. Eugene Steuerle…[et al.]
  • Urban Institute scholars from diverse disciplines tackle a simple-to-state, hard-to-answer question: How can solutions to our national and state budget crises fit the facts about children in the United States? In their responses, the contributors wrestle with recent and approaching economic and demographic challenges in different ways and bring very different experiences to bear.

     

    Watch a conversation on this topic, moderated by PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff, at
    http://www.urban.org/events/Kids-and-Budget.cfm.

     

CHILDREN OF IMMIGRANTS

  • Children of Immigrants: Growing National and State Diversity - by Karina Fortuny and Ajay Chaudry
  • Between 2000 and 2009, minorities’ share of U.S. children under age 18 increased from 38 to 44 percent, driven by growth in the number of Hispanic and Asian children and a decline in white children. Children of immigrants accounted for most of the growth. This brief highlights trends in the changing demographics of the U.S. child population nationally and across states.

     

  • Children of Immigrants: The Changing Face of Metropolitan America - by Ajay Chaudry and Karina Fortuny
  • Of the 17 million children of immigrants in the United States, 84 percent live in the 100 largest metropolitan areas. The share of minority children reached 51 percent in 2009 in these metros, many of which became “majority minority.”

     

[Source: Urban Institute]

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Oct 31 2011

Latest reports from IssueLab

  1. Supporting Youth in Transition to Adulthood: Lessons Learned from Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice
  2. Status of Girls in Illinois Report - Executive Summary
  3. State of the Race: A Look at Population Trends for Bay Area Blacks
  4. The Struggle Between Migration Control and Victim Protection: The UK Approach to Human Trafficking
  5. Facing Homelessness: A Study of Homelessness in Chicago and the Suburbs
  6. Victims of Human Trafficking in the Midwest
  7. They Don’t Even Know Me! Understanding Anti-Gay Harassment and Violence in Schools
  8. Facing Homelessness

 

[Source: IssueLab]

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Oct 03 2011

Latest reports from IssueLab

  1. Attitudes and Beliefs of Job Development Professionals Toward Employers
  2. Contributing organization(s): Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. Job development and placement professionals assist people with disabilities to secure, maintain, and advance in employment and thus have an important role in achieving quality employment outcomes for job seekers they represent. This research, conducted in NJ and MD, describes findings related to the attitudes and beliefs of job development professionals toard employers and the employment process…

     

  3. Chicago Recovery Partnership Evaluation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
  4. Contributing organization(s): The Chicago Community Trust. From 2009-2011, the City of Chicago and Cook County received a total of $2.35 billion in funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [ARRA]. The stimulus money was allocated to seven areas: education, basic needs, transportation and infrastructure, housing and energy, public safety, broadband and workforce development. The Chicago Recovery Partnership Evaluation of ARRA analyzes the impact of the stimulus spending…

     

  5. Civic Engagement, Volunteerism and Charitable Giving: Americans Retiring in Mexico’s Coastal Communities
  6. Contributing organization(s): International Community Foundation. This study examines whether the American commitment to volunteerism and charitable giving is as evident among U.S. retirees in other countries as it is in the U.S., and in particular, how committed U.S. retirees in their adopted Mexican communities are engaged in civic engagement and charitable giving. As baby boomers - - the generation of 77 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 - - retire, they represent a tremendous… 

     

  7. Creating Shared Value: A How-to Guide for the New Corporate (R)evolution
  8. Contributing organization(s): FSG Social Impact Advisors. Creating Shared Value (CSV) requires comprehensive and sustained efforts across a corporation. Drawing heavily on real-life examples, this report identifies ten key building blocks that together form a blueprint for translating CSV into action, and explores how companies can get started on that process…

     

  9. Evaluating Workforce Programs: A Guide to What Policymakers Need to Know to Structure Effective, User-Friendly Evaluations
  10. Contributing organization(s): Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. This brief discusses the value and purpose of program evaluations, highlights different evaluation tools and techniques, and illustrates how policy makers and program managers can structure and implement evaluations of workforce development programs…

     

  11. Graduating to Success in Employment: How Social Media Can Aid College Students in the Job Search
  12. Contributing organization(s): Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. This issue brief, the second in a series on social media in workforce development, explores how college career service centers can assist college students and recent college graduates in using social media as part of their job search…

     

  13. The Greening of U.S. Retirement Destinations in Mexico: Emerging Issues and Trends in Coastal Communities
  14. Contributing organization(s): International Community Foundation. This report analyzes environmentally specific consumer perceptions and preferences among U.S. retirees and second home buyers in Mexican coastal communities, including recycling, reducing consumption, and green building. In addition, the report reviews how U.S. retirees are addressing the environment independently in Mexico and how developers can capitalize on growing consumer interest in “greener” living. Finally, the…

     

  15. The Impact of Cutting Social Security Cost of Living Adjustments on the Living Standards of the Elderly
  16. Contributing organization(s): Center for Economic and Policy Research. During the negotiations over raising the debt ceiling, President Obama proposed cutting the annual cost of living adjustment for Social Security by switching to an index that would show a lower measured rate of inflation. This alternative index, the chained consumer price index (CCPI-U), shows an annual rate of inflation that averages approximately 0.3 percentage points less than the consumer price index (CPI-W) that is…

     

  17. Linking Audiences to News: A Network Analysis of Chicago Websites
  18. Contributing organization(s):  The Chicago Community Trust. The mass media model, which sustained news and information in communities like Chicago for decades, is being replaced by a “new news ecosystem” consisting of hundreds of websites, podcasts, video streams and mobile applications. In 2009, The Chicago Community Trust set out to understand this ecosystem, assess its health and make investments in improving the flow of news and information in Chicagoland. The report you are… 

     

  19. News That Matters: An Assessment of Chicago’s Information Landscape
  20. Contributing organization(s): The Chicago Community Trust. The Community News Matters project of The Chicago Community Trust conducted surveys and focus groups of the general public, local leaders and low-income residents to assess the level to which critical information needs of democracies are being well-met in the Chicago region and to identify critical information gaps and deficiencies in Chicago’s information landscape that may need to be addressed…

     

  21. Open to All? Different Cultures, Same Communities
  22. Contributing organization(s): The Chicago Community Trust. Produced for the Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs with the support of the Chicago Community Trust, this report aims to better understand immigrants living in the northern suburbs of Chicago — who they are, where they live in relation to housing patterns and conditions, and the extent to which they exert political influence on local housing decisions. It was produced as part of The Chicago Community Trust’s…

     

  23. The Promise of Citywide Charter Strategies
  24. Contributing organization(s): FSG Social Impact Advisors. Charter school enrollment is on the rise in many urban areas. In fact, 56% of all public charter schools are located in urban areas, and 10 of our nation’s largest school districts now have 20,000 students enrolled in public charter schools. With this growth in the charter movement, there is an increasing need for local infrastructure support through technical services, advocacy, and coordination. This report examines the potential…

     

  25. Talking About Poverty in a Jobs and Economy Framework
  26. Contributing organization(s): Center for Economic and Policy Research. Reducing poverty substantially is not a small project. Unfortunately, only 1 percent of Americans point to “poverty” when asked about the most important problems facing the nation. This presents anti-poverty activists with a strategic problem: we need major policy reforms to substantially reduce poverty, but hardly any Americans — including, it must be said, those officially categorized as poor — view…

     

  27. What Does the Census Tell Us About Metropolitan Chicago?
  28. Contributing organization(s): The Chicago Community Trust. This publication examines key trends in population shifts across the metro Chicago region (defined as Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties). Among the report highlights are the following: 1. Metropolitan Chicago is home to 8.4 million persons, and the area grew by 3.5 percent between 2000 and 2010. 2. The Metro population is shifting westward…

     

  29. Who’s Above the Social Security Payroll Tax Cap?
  30. Contributing organization(s): Center for Economic and Policy Research. When most workers look at their pay stubs, they can see that the Social Security payroll tax rate is 12.4 percent — with the employee and employer each paying 6.2 percent. But many workers do not know that any annual wages above $106,800 are not taxed by Social Security. In other words, a worker who makes twice the Social Security wage cap — $213,600 per year — pays Social Security tax on only half of his or her earnings…
     

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Nov 02 2010

Latest reports from IssueLab

  1. Intellectual Capital and Revitalizing Manufacturing
  2. Contributing organization(s): Athena Alliance. In December 2009, the White House released a paper outlining their manufacturing policy, A Framework for Revitalizing American Manufacturing. The Framework makes an excellent case that the federal government has a strong role to play in reinvigorating this important sector of the U.S. economy. It outlines the challenges facing manufacturing while describing the opportunities in new product areas. However,…

  3. Revealing Socioeconomic Factors That Influence Your Health (supplement to the unequal distribution of health in the Twin Cities report)
  4. Contributing organization(s): Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation. “Revealing socioeconomic factors that influence your health” is a supplement to “The unequal distribution of health in the Twin Cities report.” It is an executive summary of the full report that documents the link between health and median area income, education, race and neighborhood conditions. In response to the full report, this report offers ideas by community leaders in a variety of…

  5. The Unequal Distribution of Health in the Twin Cities
  6. Contributing organization(s): Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation. “The Unequal Distribution of Health in the Twin Cities” was commissioned by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation to ask a very important question: “Is there a connection between socioeconomic status and health in the Twin Cities?” The results of the study show that here, as elsewhere across the country, health is connected to median area income, education, race and…

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Sep 09 2009

Journal of Transnational American Studies (JTAS)

The Journal of Transnational American Studies (JTAS) is a peer-reviewed online journal that seeks to broaden the interdisciplinary study of American cultures in a transnational context. JTAS is the first academic journal explicitly focused on what Shelley Fisher Fishkin in her 2004 American Studies Association presidential address called the “transnational turn” in American Studies. JTAS is sponsored by UC Santa Barbara’s American Cultures and Global Contexts Center and Stanford University’s Program in American Studies.

JTAS functions as an open-access forum for Americanists in the global academic community, where scholars are increasingly interrogating borders both within and outside the nation and focusing instead on the multiple intersections and exchanges that flow across those borders.

Moving beyond disciplinary and geographic boundaries that might confine the field of American Studies, JTAS is a new critical conduit that brings together innovative transnational work from diverse, but often
disconnected, sites in the U.S. and abroad. In order to facilitate the broadest possible cultural conversation about transnational American Studies, the journal will be available without cost to anyone with access to the Internet.

JTAS brings together the vital contributions to transnational American Studies from scholars who focus on topics as diverse as cultural studies, film and new media, literature, visual arts, performance studies, music, religion, history, politics, and law, as well as scholarship that deals with ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, and class.

Please click here to access.

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