Five Years after Market Crash, U.S. Economy Seen as ‘No More Secure’

Five Years after Market Crash, U.S. Economy Seen as ‘No More Secure’. Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. September 12, 2013.

Five years after the U.S. economy faced its most serious crisis since the Great Depression, a majority of Americans (63%) say the nation’s economic system is no more secure today than it was before the 2008 market crash. Just a third (33%) think the system is more secure now than it was then. Large percentages say household incomes and jobs still have yet to recover from the economic recession. And when asked about the impact of government efforts to deal with the recession, far more believe that economic policies have benefitted large banks, corporations and the rich than the middle-class, the poor or small businesses. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 22 pages, 638.27 KB].

Blame for Both Sides as Possible Government Shutdown Approaches

Blame for Both Sides as Possible Government Shutdown Approaches. Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. September 23, 2013.

If the federal government shuts down because Republicans and the Obama administration fail to agree on a budget, there will be plenty of blame to go around. About as many say they would blame the Republicans (39%) for such a standoff as say they would blame Obama (36%), with 17% volunteering that both would be equally to blame. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 19 pages, 506.33 KB].

Cell Internet Use 2013

Cell Internet Use 2013. Pew Internet & American Life Project. Maeve Duggan and Aaron Smith. September 16, 2013.

63% of adult cell owners now use their phones to go online, a figure that has doubled since Pew Research Center first started tracking internet usage on cell phones in 2009. In addition, 34% of these cell internet users say that they mostly go online using their cell phone. That means that 21% of all adult cell owners now do most of their online browsing using their mobile phone–and not some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 15 pages, 999.01 KB].

For Now, Putin Struts on the World Stage

For Now, Putin Struts on the World Stage. YaleGlobal. Thomas Graham. September 19, 2013.

The crisis over the use of chemical weapons in Syria has offered an opportunity for a diplomatic initiative that Russian President Vladimir Putin has grasped with both hands. The result, writes Thomas Graham, has been to bring Russia center stage in Middle East diplomacy. For years, Putin has criticized the U.S. for its hegemonic designs and violating sovereignty of states in the name of humanitarian intervention, but has received scant support. Russia hopes that the planned elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons will open the path to a negotiated settlement, strengthening its position in the Middle East. While his success is not assured, Putin’s decisive and deft diplomacy has brought Russia back to the world stage. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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As Health Care Law Proceeds, Opposition and Uncertainty Persist

As Health Care Law Proceeds, Opposition and Uncertainty Persist. Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. September 16, 2013.

As a key step in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act approaches, public views of the 2010 health care law are as negative as ever, and many are unaware of the elements of the law that will be going into place. While opposition to the law runs deep, critics are divided over whether the effort should be to make the law work as well as possible or to make it fail. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 22 pages, 471.80 KB].

State Marijuana Legalization Initiatives: Implications for Federal Law Enforcement

State Marijuana Legalization Initiatives: Implications for Federal Law Enforcement. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Lisa N. Sacco and Kristin Finklea. September 9, 2013.

A number of criminal networks rely heavily on profits generated from the sale of illegal drugs, including marijuana, in the United States. As such, scholars and policymakers have questioned whether or how any changes in state or federal marijuana policy in the U.S. might impact organized crime proceeds and levels of drug trafficking-related violence, particularly in Mexico. In short, there are no definitive answers to these questions; without clear understanding of (1) actual proceeds generated by the sale of illicit drugs in the U.S., (2) the proportion of total proceeds attributable to the sale of marijuana, and (3) the proportion of marijuana sales controlled by criminal organizations and affiliated gangs, any estimates of how marijuana legalization might impact the drug trafficking organizations are purely speculative. Given the differences between federal marijuana policies and those of states including Colorado and Washington, Congress may choose to address state legalization initiatives in a number of ways, or choose to take no action. Among the host of options, policymakers may choose to amend or affirm federal marijuana policy, exercise oversight over federal law enforcement activities, or incentivize state policies through the provision or denial of certain funds.

[PDF format, 26 pages, 409.99 KB].

UN Retains Strong Global Image

UN Retains Strong Global Image. Pew Research Global Attitudes Project. Pew Research Global Attitudes Project. September 17, 2013.

As the United Nations opens its 68th General Assembly session, publics around the world continue to have a positive impression of the international organization. Clear majorities in 22 of the 39 countries surveyed say they have a favorable view of the UN, including thumbs-up from Security Council permanent members Britain, France and the U.S. Ratings for the UN are on balance favorable in Russia. But the Chinese are divided in their opinion. However, views trend negatively in key Middle Eastern publics, including Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Turkey. Overall, a median of 58% across the 39 countries surveyed express favorable views of the UN, with just 27% holding an unfavorable opinion. South Koreans express the highest support (84%). Ban Ki-moon, who heads the UN, is South Korean. Meanwhile, roughly eight-in-ten Indonesians and Filipinos approve of the international body. Support is also high in Africa, and most of Europe and Latin America. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 25 pages, 354.40 KB].

Economic Insecurity in Children’s Lives: Changes Over the Course of the Great Recession

Economic Insecurity in Children’s Lives: Changes Over the Course of the Great Recession. Urban Institute. Lisa Dubay and Elena Zarabozo. September 18, 2013.

Given the high stakes for children living in economically insecure families, it is important to document how many children are living in such circumstances, how economic insecurity has changed over the course of the Great Recession, and which children were most affected. It is also critical to consider whether children are receiving public program benefits, how this support has changed over the course of the Great Recession, and whether these programs appear to be meeting the needs of families with children. The paper analyzes these issues by exploring how children’s circumstances changed between 2007 and 2010. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 42 pages, 674.02 KB].

Syria’s Chemical Weapons: Issues for Congress

Syria’s Chemical Weapons: Issues for Congress. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congree. Mary Beth D. Nikitin et al. September 12, 2013.

Syria has produced, stored, and weaponized chemical agents, but it remains dependent on foreign suppliers for chemical precursors. The regime of President Bashar al Asad possesses stocks of nerve (sarin, VX) and blister (mustard gas) agents, possibly weaponized into bombs, shells, and missiles. The government also has associated production facilities. Chemical weapons and their agents can deteriorate depending on age and quality; little is known from open sources about the current condition of the stockpile. Syria continues to attempt to procure new supplies of chemical weapons precursors, which are dual-use, through front companies in third countries. Most countries that have had chemical weapons arsenals in the past have destroyed, or are in the process of destroying, these weapons under the Chemical Weapons Convention. The U.S. intelligence community cites Iran, North Korea, and Syria as having active chemical weapons programs. The use or loss of control of chemical weapons stocks in Syria could have unpredictable consequences for the Syrian population and neighboring countries, as well as U.S. allies and forces in the region.

[PDF format, 29 pages, 353.13 KB]

The Hospital Costs of Firearm Assaults

The Hospital Costs of Firearm Assaults. Urban Institute. Embry M. Howell and Peter Abraham. September 13, 2013.

There is renewed national attention on the consequences of gun violence in the U.S. The study presents new information on the prevalence and cost of emergency department visits and inpatient hospital stays in U.S. hospitals for injuries associated with armed assault. In 2010, young adult men, residents of low income areas, and the uninsured had the highest rates of use. The total hospital cost of such injures is very high, equivalent to the cost of the Medicaid program one state. The prevention of firearm assaults should receive increased attention as a high public health priority. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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