Archive for February, 2012

The American Mosque 2011 – Basic Characteristics of the American Mosque, Attitudes of Mosque Leaders

February 29, 2012 Comments off

The American Mosque 2011 – Basic Characteristics of the American Mosque, Attitudes of Mosque Leaders (PDF)Source: Council on American-Islamic Relations
From press release:

A comprehensive study of mosques and the attitudes of mosque leaders in the United States released today indicates that the number of American mosques increased 74 percent since 2000 and that Islamic houses of worship are ethnically-diverse institutions led by officials who advocate positive civic engagement.

The report’s major findings include:

  • The number of mosques and mosque participants continues to show significant growth, from 1,209 mosques in 2000 to 2,106 in 2011. New York and California have the largest number of mosques. Seventy-six percent of mosques were established since 1980.
  • Mosque leaders overwhelmingly endorse Muslim involvement in American society. More than 98 percent of mosque leaders agree that Muslims should be involved in American institutions and 91 percent agree that Muslims should be involved in politics.
  • The vast majority of mosque leaders do not feel that American society is hostile to Islam.
  • The majority of mosque leaders (56 percent) adopt a flexible approach to interpretation of Quran and Sunnah (the normative practice of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad) that takes into account the overall purposes of Islamic law and modern circumstances.
  • The vast majority (87 percent) of mosque leaders disagree that "radicalism" is increasing among Muslim youth. Many mosque leaders say the real challenge for them is not radicalism and extremism among the youth, but how to attract and keep them close to the mosque.
  • Mosques remain an extremely diverse religious institution. Only a tiny minority of mosques (3 percent) have just one ethnic group that attends that mosque. South Asians, Arab-Americans and African-Americans remain the dominant ethnic groups, but significant numbers of Somalis, West Africans and Iraqis now worship at mosques nationwide.
  • The number of mosques in urban areas is decreasing, while the number of mosques in suburban areas is increasing. In 2011, 28 percent of mosques were located in suburbs, up from 16 percent in 2000.
  • The conversion rate per mosque has remained steady over the past two decades. In 2011, the average number of converts per mosque was 15.3. In 2000 the average was 16.3 converts per mosque.
  • Shia mosques are also expanding in number. Some 44 percent of all Shia mosques were established in the 1990s.

Consumers Rely on OTC Cough Medicines to Stay Productive at Work, School

February 29, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Consumer Healthcare Products Association
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) today released the following statement regarding a new survey from the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest (CMPI) finding that the majority of adult consumers and parents in the United States rely on accessible, affordable over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines to treat themselves and their families’ cough symptoms. CMPI’s Cough Medicine Consumer Insights national survey found that 68 percent of adult consumers agreed that OTC cough medicines allow them to stay productive at work and school, and 60 percent of parents reported that these medicines allowed their children to stay productive at school.

Cough Medicine Consumer Insights National Survey

Presidential Memorandum — Proposed Revised Habitat for the Spotted Owl: Minimizing Regulatory Burdens

February 29, 2012 Comments off

Presidential Memorandum — Proposed Revised Habitat for the Spotted Owl: Minimizing Regulatory Burdens
Source: White House

Today, compelled by court order, the Department of the Interior (Department) proposed critical habitat for the northern spotted owl. The proposal is an initial step in gathering important information that will inform a final decision on what areas should be designated as critical habitat for the spotted owl, based on a full evaluation of all key criteria: the relevant science, economic considerations, the impact on national security, and a balancing of other factors.

Executive Order 13563 of January 18, 2011 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review), explicitly states that our “regulatory system must protect public health, welfare, safety, and our environment while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation” (emphasis added). Consistent with this mandate, Executive Order 13563 requires agencies to tailor “regulations to impose the least burden on society, consistent with obtaining regulatory objectives” (emphasis added). Executive Order 13563 also requires agencies to “identify and consider regulatory approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice” while selecting “those approaches that maximize net benefits.” To the extent permitted by law, our regulatory system must respect these requirements.

Quieter Cars and the Safety of Blind Pedestrians, Phase 2: Development of Potential Specifications for Vehicle Countermeasure Sounds — Final Report

February 29, 2012 Comments off

Quieter Cars and the Safety of Blind Pedestrians, Phase 2: Development of Potential Specifications for Vehicle Countermeasure Sounds — Final Report (PDF)
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

This project performed research to support the development of potential specifications for vehicle sounds, (i.e., audible countermeasures) to be used in vehicles while operating in electric mode in specific low speed conditions. The purpose of the synthetic vehicle sound is to alert pedestrians, including blind pedestrians, of vehicle presence and operation. The project developed various options and approaches to specify vehicle sounds that could be used to provide information at least equivalent to the cues provided by ICE vehicles, including speed change. Acoustic data from a sample of ICE vehicles was used to determine the sound levels at which synthetic vehicle sounds, developed as countermeasures, could be set. Psychoacoustic models and human-subject testing were used to explore issues of detectability, masking, and recognition of ICE-like and alternative sound countermeasures. Data were used to develop potential options that could be pursued to develop specifications for synthetic vehicle sounds. Project results indicate that vehicle detectability could potentially be met through various options including: recording(s) of actual ICE sounds; synthesized ICE-equivalent sounds; alternative, non-ICE-like sounds designed for detectability; and a hybrid of the options listed above.

Evaluation of Camera Use to Prevent Crime in Commuter Parking Facilities: A Randomized Controlled Trial

February 29, 2012 Comments off

Evaluation of Camera Use to Prevent Crime in Commuter Parking Facilities: A Randomized Controlled Trial (PDF)
Source: Urban Institute (National Criminal Justice Reference Service)

Recent research on the use of public surveillance cameras in high-crime areas supports the lack of impact found in this evaluation, finding that cameras are most likely to have an impact when they are highly concentrated, actively monitored, and well integrated into law enforcement crime control and investigative activities (La Vigne et. al 2011). These are critical factors that both current and future investors in camera systems should consider when implementing or expanding camera systems. It is equally important for law enforcement agencies to understand that technology is only as good as the manner in which it is employed. If it is employed minimally or is not well integrated into other policing functions, it is unlikely to yield a significant impact on crime. On a positive note, camera systems such as those implemented by MTP need not have a large impact on crime in order to be cost-effective, suggesting that an enhanced version of this type of intervention—cameras with surveillance capabilities—merits consideration by those aiming to prevent car crimes in parking facilities.

FRB — Beige Book (2/29/12)

February 29, 2012 Comments off

Beige Book (2/29/12)Source: Federal Reserve Board

Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts suggest that overall economic activity continued to increase at a modest to moderate pace in January and early February. Activity expanded at a moderate pace in the Cleveland, Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco Districts. St. Louis noted a modest pace of growth and Minneapolis characterized the pace of growth as firm. Economic activity rose at a somewhat faster pace in the Philadelphia and Atlanta Districts, while the New York District noted a somewhat slower pace of expansion. The Boston and Richmond Districts, in turn, noted that economic activity expanded or improved in most sectors.

Manufacturing continued to expand at a steady pace across the nation, with many Districts reporting increases in new orders, shipments, or production and several Districts indicating gains in capital spending, especially in auto-related industries. Activity in nonfinancial services industries remained stable or increased. Reports of consumer spending were generally positive except for sales of seasonal items, and the sales outlook for the near future was mostly optimistic. Tourism remained strong in some reporting Districts, but declined in the Minneapolis and Kansas City Districts because of reduced snowfall. Residential real estate market conditions improved somewhat in most Districts, with several reports of increased home sales and some reports of increased construction. Commercial real estate markets also showed positive results in some Districts. Banking conditions generally improved across the Districts. Agricultural conditions were mixed, while extraction activity generally increased.

Hiring increased slightly across several Districts, and contacts in a variety of industries faced difficulties finding skilled workers. Wage pressures were generally contained, and prices of final goods remained stable, although contacts in some Districts anticipate passing rising input prices through to consumer prices.

New From the GAO

February 29, 2012 Comments off

New GAO Report Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Uncertain Political and Security Situation Challenges U.S. Efforts to Implement a Comprehensive Strategy in Yemen. GAO-12-432R, February 29.