CRS — Congress’s Contempt Power and the Enforcement of Congressional Subpoenas: Law, History, Practice, and Procedure
Congress’s Contempt Power and the Enforcement of Congressional Subpoenas: Law, History, Practice, and Procedure (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
Congress’s contempt power is the means by which Congress responds to certain acts that in its view obstruct the legislative process. Contempt may be used either to coerce compliance, to punish the contemnor, and/or to remove the obstruction. Although arguably any action that directly obstructs the effort of Congress to exercise its constitutional powers may constitute a contempt, in recent times the contempt power has most often been employed in response to noncompliance with a duly issued congressional subpoena—whether in the form of a refusal to appear before a committee for purposes of providing testimony, or a refusal to produce requested documents.
Preservation and Disposal of Historic Properties (PDF)
Source: U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General
The Postal Service did not know how many historic properties it owned or what it cost to preserve them, as required by the National Historic Preservation Act. It did not report the status of historic artwork to the National Museum of American Art, as required by Postal Service Handbook RE-6, Facilities and Environmental Guide, when it sold 10 historic post offices.
The Postal Service did not collaborate with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to improve its compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act and did not submit its 2011 status report to the council. The council could help the Postal Service establish covenants to protect historic features and help secure covenant holders to monitor compliance with those covenants. Also, the council could help review public requests to participate in the preservation process. The Postal Service could also use the U.S. General Services Administration — which employs experienced real estate and historical preservation professionals — to assist in the preservation process.
Voice-induced cross-taxa emotional recognition is the ability to understand the emotional state of another species based on its voice. In the past, induced affective states, experience-dependent higher cognitive processes or cross-taxa universal acoustic coding and processing mechanisms have been discussed to underlie this ability in humans. The present study sets out to distinguish the influence of familiarity and phylogeny on voice-induced cross-taxa emotional perception in humans. For the first time, two perspectives are taken into account: the self- (i.e. emotional valence induced in the listener) versus the others-perspective (i.e. correct recognition of the emotional valence of the recording context). Twenty-eight male participants listened to 192 vocalizations of four different species (human infant, dog, chimpanzee and tree shrew). Stimuli were recorded either in an agonistic (negative emotional valence) or affiliative (positive emotional valence) context. Participants rated the emotional valence of the stimuli adopting self- and others-perspective by using a 5-point version of the Self-Assessment Manikin (SAM). Familiarity was assessed based on subjective rating, objective labelling of the respective stimuli and interaction time with the respective species. Participants reliably recognized the emotional valence of human voices, whereas the results for animal voices were mixed. The correct classification of animal voices depended on the listener’s familiarity with the species and the call type/recording context, whereas there was less influence of induced emotional states and phylogeny. Our results provide first evidence that explicit voice-induced cross-taxa emotional recognition in humans is shaped more by experience-dependent cognitive mechanisms than by induced affective states or cross-taxa universal acoustic coding and processing mechanisms.
Finding That College Students Cluster in Majors Based on Differing Patterns of Spatial Visualization and Language Processing Speeds
For over 30 years, researchers such as Eisenberg and McGinty have investigated the relationship between 3-D visualization skills and choice of college major. Results of the present study support the fact that science and math majors tend to do well on a measure of 3-D visualization. Going beyond these earlier studies, the present study investigated whether a measure of Rapid Automatic Naming of Objects—which is normally used to screen for elementary school students who might struggle with speech, language, literacy, and numeracy—would further differentiate the choice of majors by college students. Far more research needs to be conducted, but results indicated that college students differentially clustered in scatterplot quadrants defined by the two screening assessments. Furthermore, several of these clusters, plus a statistical multiplier, may lead to a new understanding of students with phonological processing differences, learning disabilities, and speech and language impairments.
New Report Documents That Liberal Arts Disciplines Prepare Graduates for Long-Term Professional Success
New Report Documents That Liberal Arts Disciplines Prepare Graduates for Long-Term Professional Success
Source: Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS)
The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) released today a new report on earnings and long-term career paths for college graduates with different undergraduate majors. In How Liberal Arts and Sciences Majors Fare in Employment, authors Debra Humphreys and Patrick Kelly analyze data from the 2010-11 US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and provide answers to some common questions posed by students, parents, and policy makers who are increasingly concerned about the value of college degrees.
Responding to concerns about whether college is still worth it and whether liberal arts majors provide a solid foundation for long-term employment and career success, the report compares earnings trajectories and career pathways for liberal arts majors with the earnings trajectories and career pathways for those majoring in science and mathematics, engineering, and professional or preprofessional fields like business or education.
“Recent attacks on the liberal arts by ill-informed commentators and policy makers have painted a misleading picture of the value of the liberal arts to individuals and our communities,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. “As the findings in this report demonstrate, majoring in a liberal arts field can and does lead to successful and remunerative careers in a wide array of professions.”
‘That’s it, you’re out’: disorderly conduct in the House of Representatives from 1901 to 2013
Source: Parliamentary Library of Australia
- Of the 1,093 members who have served in the House of Representatives from 1901 to the end of the 43rd Parliament in August 2013, 300 (27.4%) have been named and/or suspended or ‘sin binned’ for disorderly behaviour in the Chamber. This study outlines the bases of the House’s authority to deal with disorderly behaviour, and the procedures available to the Speaker to act on such behaviour. It then analyses the 1,352 instances of disorderly behaviour identified in the official Hansard record with a view to identifying patterns over time, and the extent and degree of such behaviour. It does not attempt to identify the reasons why disorderly behaviour occurs as they are quite complex and beyond the scope of this paper.
- The authority for the rules of conduct in the House of Representatives is derived from the Australian Constitution. The members themselves have broad responsibility for their behaviour in the House. However, it is the role of the Speaker or the occupier of the Chair to ensure that order is maintained during parliamentary proceedings. This responsibility is derived from the standing orders. Since its introduction in 1994, the ‘sin bin’ has become the disciplinary action of choice for Speakers.
- With the number of namings and suspensions decreasing in recent years, the ‘sin bin’ (being ordered from the chamber for one hour) appears to have been successful in avoiding the disruption caused by the naming and suspension procedure. However, as the number of ‘sin bin’ sanctions has increased, it may be that this penalty has contributed to greater disorder because members may view it as little more than a slap on the wrist and of little deterrent value.
- Most disorderly behavior (90%) occurs during Question Time and in the parliamentary proceedings which often take place during or just after it. Such behaviour also tends to increase daily as the sitting week progresses.
- Front benchers and parliamentary office holders account for about 57% of instances of disorderly behaviour. Opposition members are sanctioned 90% of the time no matter which party occupies that role. No prime minister has been sanctioned for disorderly behaviour but two deputy prime ministers and seven opposition leaders have, although not all have been ordered from the House. Christopher Pyne leads the list of members most disciplined on 45 followed by Anthony Albanese on 34. Women members have accounted for 15% of disciplinary actions since they first entered Parliament in 1943.
- Members were disciplined most frequently under the Speakership of Peter Slipper followed by Anna Burke, David Hawker and Harry Jenkins.
- On four measures of disorderly behaviour (number of disciplinary actions, number of sitting weeks in which a member was disciplined, number of days when four or more members were disciplined, number of different members disciplined), the Rudd/Gillard Parliaments (42nd and 43rd, 2008–2013) were more disorderly than the Howard Parliaments (38th to 41st, 1996–2007). The most disorderly Parliament was the 43rd.
Lessons for a Negotiated Settlement in Afghanistan — If History Serves as a Guide
Source: RAND Corporation
Historical insurgencies that ended in settlement after a stalemate have generally followed a seven-step path. A “master narrative” distilled from these cases could help guide and assess the progress toward a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan.
Copyright, Permissions and Fair Use among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities
Copyright, Permissions and Fair Use among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities (PDF)
Source: College Art Association
From press release:
CAA is pleased to announce the publication of Copyright, Permissions and Fair Use among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities: An Issues Report. Endorsed by CAA’s Board of Directors on January 24, 2014, the report is now available on CAA’s website (here) and will also be distributed in printed form at the upcoming Annual Conference in Chicago. The report was written by Patricia Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi, professors of communications and law, respectively, at American University; and graduate fellows Bryan Bello and Tijana Milosevic. Aufderheide and Jaszi are the project’s lead researchers and two of its principal investigators. Their report summarizes 100 interviews of art historians, artists, museum curators, editors and publishers describing issues related to the use of third-party images in creative and scholarly work. The research was further informed by a CAA membership survey on fair use and a review of relevant literature and legal precedents.
This issues report reveals a situation in which uncertainty about copyright law and the availability of fair use, particularly in the digital era, has made many practitioners risk-averse, too often abandoning or distorting projects due to real or perceived challenges in using copyrighted materials. The report was read by the project’s Principal Investigators, Project Advisors, and members of the CAA Task Force on Fair Use, its Committee on Intellectual Property, and a Community Practices Advisory Committee. A full list of these individuals appears as an appendix in the report.
There is not a single book industry. There are many subsectors within the book industry; the major categories include: Trade books, educational books, scientifi c/professional books, children’s books, art/coffee table books and religious books. For the purposes of this research, we focused on the two largest sectors, trade books and educational books. The majority of the output is black text, with limited four-color usage in educational books.
Both trade books and educational book industries are undergoing tremendous changes. Like many industries undergoing change, the changes tend to be driven by new technologies enabling a shift in who controls the value of that industry. The Internet laid the tracks from which new technologies could be deployed, enabling shifts in control over sales/distribution, publishing and where content could be displayed. Combined, these new technologies caused a decline in printed book purchases that since the 2008/2009 recession has run between 4 to 5 percent annually.
But there is a silver lining, a lining that is benefiting the digital production printing industry. With orders for books becoming ever smaller and more frequent, and with more titles being introduced annually than ever before (due to self-publishing and backorder list titles), production inkjet printing technology is solving problems faced by book manufacturers related to the compression of order size, handling increases in order frequency and reducing manual labor through automation.
- Across all AAMD member museums, women hold less than 50% of directorships. Comparatively, 48% of CEOs at non-profits with budgets above $1 m are women and 5% of Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies are led by women.
- The average female director’s salary lags behind that of the average male director. Female art museum directors earn 79¢ for every dollar earned by male art museum directors.
- The overall disparities in the number of female art museum directors and in their salaries are mostly driven by the largest museums. These museums have operating budgets of more than $15 million and represent roughly the top quarter of AAMD member museums by operating budget. At these largest museums, female directors earn 71 cents on average for every dollar earned by male directors.
- For the other three quarters of member museums with budgets of less than $15 million, female directors on average earn $1.02 for every dollar that male directors earn.
Staging Exclusive & Interactive Experiences: The Case of Music & Craft
Source: Martin Prosperity Institute
With declining entry barriers, digital technologies and global integration, the marketplace for cultural products – including music and craft – has become saturated and highly competitive. Indeed, Apple’s iTunes music store offers over 37 millions songs and Etsy listed over 34 million new cultural products in 2013. This ‘dilemma of democratization’ curtails the ability of independent cultural producers to command monopoly rents. In response, cultural entrepreneurs are developing innovative strategies to market and monetize their products and to ‘stand out’ in the crowded marketplace (Hracs et al. 2013). This chapter contributes to our understanding of the experience economy, consumption and entrepreneurship by examining the ways in which poorly understood independent cultural producers are using experiences as standalone products to help supplement and promote their goods and services. In particular, it demonstrates how local producers are manipulating four different aspects of their experience offerings (exclusivity, interactivity, space and time) and harnessing consumer desires for symbolic value, authenticity and creative expression.
4th edition of EUI Library ‘Bibliography of Academia’ now available
Source: European University Institute
The Library issued a new edition of the Bibliography of Academia on 20 January. The 4th edition covers works on early career development for young academics; methodology in the humanities and social sciences; writing and publication; presenting and teaching; digital innovation; copyright; academia in Europe; and university strategy and finance. All works are available at the EUI Library. Shelfmarks are provided for each title.
Canadian Heritage Designations
Source: Library of Parliament
Over the years, the federal government has granted 3,500 heritage designations to places, buildings, events and people of historical significance. These designations, which showcase the creativity and cultural traditions of Canadians, commemorate significant events in Canada’s history and foster understanding about how the country was built.
Citigroup: A Case Study in Managerial and Regulatory Failures
Source: Indiana Law Review (forthcoming); GWU Legal Studies Research Paper; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper
Citigroup has served as the poster child for the elusive promises and manifold pitfalls of universal banking. When Citicorp merged with Travelers to form Citigroup in 1998, Citigroup’s leaders and supporters asserted that the new financial conglomerate would offer unparalleled convenience to its customers through “one-stop shopping” for banking, securities and insurance services. They also claimed that Citigroup would have a superior ability to withstand financial shocks due to its broadly diversified activities.
By 2009, those bold predictions of Citigroup’s success had turned to ashes. Citigroup pursued a high-risk, high-growth strategy during the 2000s that proved to be disastrous. As a result, the bank recorded more than $130 billion of losses on its loans and investments from 2007 to 2009. To prevent Citigroup’s failure, the federal government provided $45 billion of new capital to the bank and gave the bank $500 billion of additional help in the form of asset guarantees, debt guarantees and emergency loans. The federal government provided more financial assistance to Citigroup than to any other bank during the financial crisis.
During its early years, Citigroup was embroiled in a series of high-profile scandals, including tainted transactions with Enron and WorldCom, biased research advice, corrupt allocations of shares in initial public offerings, predatory subprime lending, and market manipulation in foreign bond markets. Notwithstanding a widely-publicized plan to improve corporate risk controls in 2005, Citigroup continued to pursue higher profits through a wide range of speculative activities, including leveraged corporate lending, packaging toxic subprime loans into mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations, and dumping risky assets into off- balance-sheet conduits for which Citigroup had contractual and reputational exposures.
Post-mortem evaluations of Citigroup’s near-collapse revealed that neither Citigroup’s managers nor its regulators recognized the systemic risks embedded in the bank’s far-flung operations. Thus, Citigroup was not only too big to fail but also too large and too complex to manage or regulate effectively. Citigroup’s history raises deeply troubling questions about the ability of bank executives and regulators to supervise and control today’s megabanks.
Citigroup’s original creators – John Reed of Citicorp and Sandy Weill of Travelers – admitted in recent years that Citigroup’s universal banking model failed, and they called on Congress to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act’s separation between commercial and investment banks. As Reed and Weill acknowledged, the universal banking model is deeply flawed by its excessive organizational complexity, its vulnerability to culture clashes and conflicts of interest, and its tendency to permit excessive risk-taking within far-flung, semi-autonomous units that lack adequate oversight from either senior managers or regulators.
The President’s State of the Union Address: Tradition, Function, and Policy Implications (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. Senate)
The State of the Union address is a communication between the President and Congress in which the chief executive reports on the current conditions of the United States and provides policy proposals for the upcoming legislative year. Formerly known as the “Annual Message,” the State of the Union address originates in the Constitution. As part of the system of checks and balances, Article II, Section 3, clause 1 mandates that the President “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” In recent decades, the President has expanded his State of the Union audience, addressing the speech to both the nation and Members of Congress.