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How Local and State Governments Can Rev Up Business Creation

March 27, 2015 Comments off

How Local and State Governments Can Rev Up Business Creation
Source: Kauffman Foundation

The paper recommends that state and local governments adopt several strategies to refocus their entrepreneurship support efforts, including:

  • Facilitate catalytic events that bring entrepreneurs together to learn and connect.
  • Reinvent existing public venture funds in ways that distribute multiple small investments and involve local entrepreneurs in award selection.
  • Reorganize existing incubators along a holistic format that integrates incubated firms, other local startups and experienced local entrepreneurs.
  • Identify and celebrate successful local entrepreneurs.
  • Reexamine professional and occupational licensing with an eye toward lowering barriers for startups.
  • Simplify tax codes and payment systems.
  • Rethink non-compete agreements.
  • Streamline zoning and approval processes.
  • Welcome immigrants, who have been nearly twice as likely as native-born Americans to start businesses.
  • Track the progress of whatever strategies are implemented.

While this may conflict with the goals of politicians seeking quick results, the paper emphasizes that all of the recommended strategies require a long-term outlook in order to work.

What Went Wrong with the FISA Court

March 26, 2015 Comments off

What Went Wrong with the FISA Court
Source: Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court is no longer serving its constitutional function of providing a check on the executive branch’s ability to obtain Americans’ private communications. Dramatic shifts in technology and law have changed the role of the FISA Court since its creation in 1978 — from reviewing government applications to collect communications in specific cases, to issuing blanket approvals of sweeping data collection programs affecting millions of Americans.

Under today’s foreign intelligence surveillance system, the government’s ability to collect information about ordinary Americans’ lives has increased exponentially while judicial oversight has been reduced to near-nothingness. This report concludes that the role of today’s FISA Court no longer comports with constitutional requirements, including the strictures of Article III and the Fourth Amendment. The report lays out several steps Congress should take to help restore the FISA Court’s legitimacy.

Distraction and Teen Crashes: Even Worse than We Thought

March 25, 2015 Comments off

Distraction and Teen Crashes: Even Worse than We Thought
Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

The most comprehensive research ever conducted into crash videos of teen drivers has found significant evidence that distracted driving is likely much more serious a problem than previously known, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The unprecedented video analysis finds that distraction was a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes, which is four times as many as official estimates based on police reports.

CA — Wage Watch. A comparison of public-sector and private-sector wages

March 24, 2015 Comments off

Wage Watch. A comparison of public-sector and private-sector wages
Source: Canadian Federation of Independent Business

The broad public sector is a major employer in Canada. As a group, it employs 3.6 million Canadians—more than one job in five. Because the large share of these jobs are supported in whole or in part by tax revenues, it is certainly appropriate to question how representative and appropriate public sector salaries are in relation to private sector norms. Latest findings based on the 2011 National Household Survey, which represents earnings from 2010, show a continued and substantial gap in salary compensation in favour of government or public sector employees—even after adjustments for differences in occupation mix, age and education. The gaps grow even wider once employment benefits such as working hours and pensions are taken into account.The impacts on the public purse are significant, adding almost $20 billion to the hard costs of compensating the public sector in 2010.

Violence Against Women: Engaging Asian Men

March 23, 2015 Comments off

Engaging Asian Men
Source: Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence

In their introduction to a multi-country study on men and gender violence in Asia and the Pacific, the authors write: The elimination of harmful gender norms and practices can be achieved through the engagement of men and boys. (…) Ending violence against women requires coherent policies and programmes that emphasize gender equality as non-negotiable and the transformation of social norms.

The notion of ‘engaging men and boys’ has come to mean a lot of things, from men’s role in the anti-domestic violence movement to approaches that range from bystander engagement to tertiary prevention. Because sociocultural differences influence how patriarchy is enforced, how hetero-normative masculinity is defined, and how women’s self-determination is expressed or controlled, these very contexts also influence what engaging men means.

Keeping Score When It Counts: Graduation Success and Academic Progress Rates for the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament Teams

March 23, 2015 Comments off

Keeping Score When It Counts: Graduation Success and Academic Progress Rates for the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament Teams (PDF)
Source: Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (University of Central Florida College of Business Administration)

The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida (UCF) released its annual study, “Keeping Score When It Counts: Graduation Success and Academic Progress Rates for the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament Teams.” This study provides the most comprehensive analysis of the academic performance of student-athletes on teams participating in the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.

The study examined the Graduation Success Rates (GSR) and Academic Progress Rates (APR) for tournament teams as reported by the NCAA. This study also compared the graduation rate data of white and African-American male basketball student-athletes.

“There is good news to report as almost every category examined got better. The GSR numbers for white male basketball student-athletes increased from 89 percent in 2014 to 93 percent in 2015. The GSR for African-American male basketball student-athletes increased from 65 in 2014 to 69 percent in 2015.

However, the enormous gap between the graduation rates of white and African-American student-athletes in 2015 remained the same as 2014 at a terrible 24 percent.

See also: Keeping Score When It Counts: Academic Progress/Graduation Success Rate Study of 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament Teams (PDF)

Defend Innovation: How to Fix Our Broken Patent System

March 20, 2015 Comments off

Defend Innovation: How to Fix Our Broken Patent System
Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation
From press release:

The U.S. patent system is in crisis, but there are clear steps Congress and the White House can take to mitigate the impact of vague patents, patent trolls, and a weak legal process to protect competition and creativity, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) explains in a new report released today.

The “Defend Innovation” whitepaper is the culmination of two-and-a-half years worth of research, drawing from the stories, expertise, and ideas of more than 16,500 people who agree that the current patent system is broken. Split into two parts, the report covers both the challenges facing innovators under the current patent regime, as well as concrete measures that policymakers must take in the coming year.

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