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State IT Workforce: Facing Reality with Innovation

May 14, 2015 Comments off

State IT Workforce: Facing Reality with Innovation
Source: National Association of State Chief Information Officers

The predicted shortage in the state information technology (IT) workforce has been discussed and debated for over a decade and states have been confronted with numerous challenges when it comes to identifying gaps in a changing IT workforce. A major concern for state CIOs continues to be the significant number of state IT employees who are eligible for retirement or have been eligible, but have postponed retirement due to the economic downturn. In spite of this, there is evidence that the economy is recovering and some states are experiencing record numbers of retirement. This report outlines the current data on the state IT workforce and focuses on innovation, best practices and recommendations.

All the President’s Psychologists

April 30, 2015 Comments off

All the President’s Psychologists (PDF)

Lead authors:
Stephen Soldz, Ph.D.
Nathaniel Raymond
Steven Reisner, Ph.D.

Co­authors:
Scott A. Allen, M.D. 
Isaac L. Baker
Allen S. Keller, M.D.

Reviewer:
Jean Maria Arrigo, Ph.D.

This report analyzes emails from the accounts of deceased RAND Corporation researcher and apparent CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) contractor Mr. Scott Gerwehr.1 Sixteen emails were selected for detailed analysis from a larger collection of 638 emails that were obtained by Mr. James Risen, author of Pay Any Price and a reporter for the New York Times. The emails were provided to the authors for analysis with the approval of the original sources of the emails, and with the agreement that only those selected as most relevant to the scope of the report would be released. All 638 emails were reviewed by the authors.

No findings of this report were in any way contradicted by the emails not included. The time frame of the emails analyzed in this report spans 2003 to 2006. (See more on methods and sources of data in Appendix I.) This report also includes publicly available information obtained from a variety of sources including the American Psychological Association’s website, released government documents, and reports in the media

Emails were selected for detailed analysis because they are evidence of the George W. Bush Administration’s integral role in shaping American Psychological Association (APA) ethics policy on psychologist participation in national security interrogations after September 11, 2001. Other emails were chosen because they either conflict with or contradict past public statements made by APA officials, as well as disclose new information related to this issue that the APA appears to have concealed. (See Appendix II for all primary source emails cited in this report.)

Based on analysis of the Gerwehr emails and reference to related open source documents, the authors note five key findings related to the APA:

1. The APA secretly coordinated with officials from the CIA, White House, and the Department of Defense to create an APA ethics policy on national security interrogations that comported with then­classified legal guidance authorizing the CIA torture program.

2. A US government research scientist, who had recently served as President Bush’s behavioral science advisor, is reported to have secretly drafted “language related to research” inserted by APA officials into the 2005 APA ethics policy on interrogations. While the exact language of the alleged contribution is not known, the section on research aligned that policy with the then­-classified Bradbury “torture memos.” The Bradbury memos directed health professionals to research and assess the supposed safety, efficacy, and health impacts of the “enhanced” interrogation techniques. The memos were introduced at a time when CIA Office of Medical Services (OMS) personnel were protesting the expanded involvement of health professionals in helping determine the legality of the techniques.

3. The APA had numerous contacts with CIA contract psychologists Drs. James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen starting in at least 2003, including contacts related to interrogation techniques; at least one senior APA official was informed of their clandestine role at the CIA related to interrogations; yet APA has consistently denied such contacts.

4. APA did not disclose Dr. James Mitchell’s past APA membership when it released its 2007 statement in response to journalists’ revelations regarding Mitchell’s role in abusive interrogations. Nor did APA include such information in its letter to the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists in 2010; APA staff sought to obscure past contacts with the CIA and with Mitchell and Jessen and their firm, Mitchell Jessen and Associates.

5. Despite substantial contact between the APA, the White House and CIA officials, including the over 600 emails noted in this report, there is no evidence that any APA official expressed concern over mounting reports of psychologist involvement in detainee abuse during four years of direct email communications with senior members of the US intelligence community.

See: American Psychological Association Bolstered C.I.A. Torture Program, Report Says (New York Times)

New Report Identifies Possible Next Steps in U.S. Energy Development

April 27, 2015 Comments off

New Report Identifies Possible Next Steps in U.S. Energy Development
Source: American Geosciences Institute

The U.S. energy portfolio changes over time. Scientific and technologic advances related to hydraulic fracturing have dramatically increased the supply of U.S. oil and gas; because of this, a methane economy – in which natural gas provides the leading share of primary energy consumption – is now a possible scenario for U.S. energy development. In a report released by the American Geosciences Institute (AGI), the social, political, technical and environmental components of a methane economy are identified. The report also addresses how industry, government and the public might best work together to advance common energy goals.

The report is based on the inaugural AGI Critical Issues Forum where experts were asked to consider whether a natural gas-dominant economy is achievable in North America and if such an economy would be desirable. In this forum, U.S. geoscientists, economists and environmental experts identified barriers and enablers to such an economy. They reviewed geological, infrastructural, technological, and financial factors that may affect future gas supplies and the demand for natural gas. The experts also considered the environmental, health, and safety factors that may have a significant effect on the development of natural gas.

One of the conclusions of the report is that social license granted by consensus public opinion – at the national, state and local levels – can be either a substantial enabler or barrier to a methane economy, and its importance cannot be overstated.

American Society of Magazine Editors Guidelines for Editors and Publishers

April 25, 2015 Comments off

ASME Guidelines for Editors and Publishers
Source: American Society of Magazine Editors

The true value of a print or digital magazine brand lies in its relationship with its readers. The unique relationship between magazine media and media consumers is founded on the reader’s trust in the magazine’s editorial integrity and independence.

The purpose of the ASME Guidelines for Editors and Publishers is to sustain that trust by articulating basic principles for the conduct of magazine journalists. The guidelines also summarize industry practices, drawn from those principles, concerning editorial content and advertising and include information about federal regulations relevant to magazine media.

In a rapidly changing media marketplace, no one set of guidelines can answer every question. The ASME Guidelines address only the critical challenges encountered by print and digital journalists working in today’s advertising-supported media. The basic principles that inform the guidelines, especially transparency, are also applicable to other forms of magazine media, including conferences and events.

SEC Staff and FINRA Issue Report on National Senior Investor Initiative

April 17, 2015 Comments off

SEC Staff and FINRA Issue Report on National Senior Investor Initiative
Source: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority

With the Social Security Administration estimating that each day for the next 15 years, an average of 10,000 Americans will turn 65, the staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) today issued a report to help broker-dealers assess, craft, or refine their policies and procedures for investors as they prepare for and enter into retirement.

The National Senior Investor Initiative report includes observations and practices identified in examinations that focused on how firms conduct business with senior investors. The examinations by the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) and FINRA focused on the types of securities purchased by senior investors, the suitability of recommended investments, training of brokerage firm representatives, marketing, communications, use of designations such as “senior specialist,” account documentation, disclosures, customer complaints, and supervision.

State Higher Education Finance Report — FY 2014

April 16, 2015 Comments off

State Higher Education Finance Report — FY 2014 (PDF)
Source: State Higher Education Executive Officers Association

A recession beginning in 2008 dramatically reduced state revenue and ended the growth in state and local support achieved between 2004 and 2008. In 2014, for the second straight year, overall state and local funding for higher education increased, reaching $86.3 billion, up 5.7 percent from 2013, but still below 2008-2011 levels. Initial estimates from the Grapevine survey of FY 2015 appropriations for higher education show continued growth overall of 5.2 percent in nominal terms. These data all point to continuing economic recovery and restoration of state funding for higher education on average nationally.

In addition to state and local revenues, public institutions collected net tuition revenue of $64.3 billion in 2014, for a total of about $150.7 billion available to support higher education. For the first time since the recession, the share of overall funding for public and private higher education from tuition decreased slightly to 42.7 percent (see Figure 1). Net tuition revenue as a share of public higher education revenue was 47.1 percent.

Of the $86.3 billion in state and local support during 2014, 76.8 percent was allocated to the general operating expenses of public higher education. Special purpose or restricted state appropriations for research, agricultural extension, and medical education accounted for another 12.2 percent of the total. The percent of total support allocated for financial aid to students attending public institutions declined 0.3 percent to 7.7 percent in 2014, although funding was increased slightly. The remaining 3.2 percent supported students attending independent institutions, operating expenses at independent institutions, and non-credit and continuing education expenditures.

State Blue Books and Encyclopedias

April 16, 2015 Comments off

State Blue Books and Encyclopedias
Source: American Library Association Government Documents Roundtable (State and Local Documents Task Force)

Welcome to SLDTF’s wiki for State blue books and State Encyclopedias. According to Wikipedia Blue book or Bluebook is a term often referring to an almanac or other compilation of statistics and information. The term dates back to the 15th century, when large blue velvet-covered books were used for record-keeping by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Information for each state includes the following: State, “Blue Book” Title, URL (If available), and Notes (if any).

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