Helping Kids and Families Cope With Violence: Safe Start Promising Approaches. RAND Corporation. Dana Schultz et al. March 30, 2017.
Although rates of children’s exposure to violence have been declining in the United States, the problem remains extensive. The most recent study found that more than half of children in a national sample had been exposed to violence in the past year. Children who have been abused or witnessed violence are more likely than other children to develop mental health problems and engage in risky behaviors. Some of these problems can persist into adulthood. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
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The Crisis of Democracy. YaleGlobal. Joanna Korey. March 30, 2017
At the close of the 20th century, democracy was the world’s most popular form of governance, an inspiring force. Then the 2008 economic crisis struck, a result of excess and debt, and eroded trust in national and global democratic institutions to identify and resolve big challenges. Increasing numbers of resentful citizens in democracies have fallen prey to leaders who talk tough and blame elites, and too many voters rely on misleading reports and promises of quick fixes “The success of any modern democratic state or system requires a fine balance between the popular mandate given to a leader and the rule of law that prevails in the state,” argues Joanna Korey. The leaders who capture majority support if only for a short while claim to have a mandate to upend systems and laws. “Naturally, such populists and their supporters must oppose all outside influences and forces of globalization – namely, an interconnected and fluid international system, a process that has not benefited the working class as much as elite insider groups,” she concludes. “Without active and educated voters, an inclusive political culture, accountability and transparency democracy may not survive in the coming years, and no viable alternative seems ready to take its place.” [Note: contains copyrighted material].
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Twelve Economic Facts on Energy and Climate Change: A Joint Report from the Hamilton Project and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. Brookings Institution. March 27, 2017
The United States is in the midst of an energy revolution. The North American shale boom has unlocked vast quantities of natural gas, upending domestic electricity markets and enabling rapidly growing export volumes. American shale oil has sent global oil prices to their lowest sustained level in a decade and slashed U.S. imports in half. Meanwhile, the cost of renewable fuels like wind and solar electricity has plummeted, and they now account for the majority of new electric generating capacity.
Given this technological and economic context, the United States has perhaps never been better positioned to tackle the urgent threat of climate change. Though it is often discussed as a future problem, climate change caused by greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is happening now. The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has increased from 317 parts per million in 1960 to more than 400 parts per million in 2016 (NOAA 2016), while the global average temperature has risen 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9° Celsius) above its 1960 level.
These changes are already impacting our everyday lives. Record-breaking temperatures, melting ice caps and more frequent coastal flooding, prolonged droughts, and damaging storms are just some of the intensifying risks we face as our planet continues to warm (IPCC 2007a). Despite these risks, the prices U.S. consumers pay for fossil fuels rarely reflect their costs, skewing consumption and investment choices away from cleaner fuels and discouraging the kinds of technological advancements that would allow the nation to make more efficient use of its energy resources. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 24 pages, 2.19 MB].
How To End The Practice of Anonymously Held Corporations, One Year Post-Panama Papers. Brookings Institution. Aaron Klein. March 27, 2017
One of the core tenets of America’s terrorism finance and anti-money laundering (AML) strategies is that financial institutions are under an affirmative requirement to ‘know your customers’—or KYC. The centrality can be seen in the ubiquity of the KYC acronym, often appearing alongside AML as a merged six-letter short hand.
Despite the importance of the tenet, however, corporations are still legally able to set-up anonymous shell entities that are entitled to open bank accounts and not required to provide information regarding the company’s beneficial owners—a shady practice that received international attention almost one year ago with the publication of the now-infamous Panama Papers. How can banks be expected to know your customer, when the customer is entitled to anonymity? What are the implications of anonymous ownership and of revising this practice? [Note: contains copyrighted material].
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The Changing Global Religious Landscape. Pew Research Center. April 5, 2017.
More babies were born to Christian mothers than to members of any other religion in recent years, reflecting Christianity’s continued status as the world’s largest religious group. But this is unlikely to be the case for much longer: Less than 20 years from now, the number of babies born to Muslims is expected to modestly exceed births to Christians, according to new Pew Research Center demographic estimates. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 46 pages, 2 MB].
Independence of Federal Financial Regulators: Structure, Funding, and Other Issues. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Henry B. Hogue, Marc Labonte, Baird Webel. February 28, 2017
Conventional wisdom regarding regulators is that the structure and design of the organization matters for policy outcomes. Financial regulators conduct rulemaking and enforcement to implement law and supervise financial institutions. These agencies have been given certain characteristics that enhance their day-to-day independence from the President and Congress, which may make policymaking more technical and less “political” or “partisan,” for better or worse. Independence may also make regulators less accountable to elected officials and can reduce congressional influence, at least in the short term.
[PDF format, 32 pages, 811.45 MB].
Unlocking Skills: Successful Initiatives for Integrating Foreign-Trained Immigrant Professionals. Migration Policy Institute. Margie McHugh and Madeleine Morawski. February 2017.
With nearly 2 million college-educated immigrants and refugees in the United States unable to fully utilize their professional skills, better understanding of the elements of successful programs and policies that reduce the waste of advanced education and skills can benefit immigrants, their families, and the U.S. economy more generally.
This report explores a range of frontline programs and policy reforms that are providing cutting-edge career navigation, relicensing, gap filling, and job search assistance for foreign-trained professionals in a wide range of occupations. It also examines different state policy and licensing contexts that affect these highly skilled individuals, with a focus on the dense thicket of state laws and regulations that slow or prevent qualified individuals from practicing in a wide range of occupations. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 43 pages, 5.65 MB].
2016 Law Enforcement Use of Social Media Survey: A Joint Publication by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Urban Institute. KiDeuk Kim, Ashlin Oglesby-Neal, Edward Mohr. March 3, 2017
A national scan of practice among law enforcement agencies across the United States reveals that they use social media to notify the public of safety concerns, manage public relations, and gather evidence for criminal investigations. The Urban Institute and the International Association of Chiefs of Police partnered to develop a comprehensive understanding of law enforcement’s use of social media. A total of 539 agencies representing 48 states participated in the survey and answered questions regarding their use of social media, the management of social media engagement activities, barriers to success, and their future social media needs. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 22 pages, 410.63 KB].
Federally Funded Academic Research Requirements: Background and Issues in Brief. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Laurie A. Harris, Marcy E. Gallo. February 28, 2017
For decades, the federal government and academic research institutions have been partners in supporting American innovation, competitiveness, and economic growth. The federal government is the largest source of academic research and development (R&D) funding in the United States, providing funds through more than two dozen federal agencies, with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) providing the largest portions of federal R&D funding to U.S. colleges and universities.
As part of oversight of federal funding for academic research, Congress and federal agencies have established requirements through statutes, regulations, and guidance documents that U.S. universities and other research institutions must comply with when applying for, receiving, and reporting on the results of federal research grants. Such requirements seek to ensure transparency and effectiveness of federal funds, while helping to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse.
[PDF format, 16 pages, 695.76 MB].
Large Majorities See Checks and Balances, Right to Protest as Essential for Democracy. Pew Research Center. March 2, 2017
Large majorities of the public, Republicans and Democrats alike, say open and fair elections and a system of governmental checks and balances are essential to maintaining a strong democracy in the United States.
However, there is less consensus about the importance of other aspects of a strong democracy – notably, the freedom of news organizations to criticize political leaders. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
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