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January’s Nation-of-the-Month is Qatar

http://bit.ly/Xl01jc

Tools for Monitoring Global Incidents

The following is a website that has a variety of maps that are useful for visually analyzing geographic density data and monitoring associated trends…Global Incident Maps

  • Amber Alert Map
  • HAZMAT Situation Map
  • Forest Fires Map
  • Disease Outbreaks Map
  • Gang Activity Map
  • Border Security Issues Map
  • Presidential Threat Map
  • Terrorism Event Predicitions Map
  • Earthquakes Map
  • Drug Interdictions Map
  • Non-Terror Aviation Incidents Map
  • Food/Medicine Incidents Map
  • Human Trafficking Map

WMD Terrorism Database

“The Monterey WMD Terrorism Database is the largest open source catalog of worldwide incidents involving the acquisition, possession, threat and use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by sub-state actors.”

http://wmddb.miis.edu/

How-to Evaluate Congress – Federal/State Legislation, Congressional Members, Committee Activities, etc.

The following is an incredible resource for tracking U.S. Congress.  It is very difficult to keep up with all that is happening in Washington and at the state levels, yet it is imperative that as Americans we are well-informed and have quality data upon which to make educated decisions.  GovTrack provides an excellent set of tools to analyze much of that data in a variety of different ways … check it out http://www.govtrack.us.

GovTrack helps you find:

  • The status of U.S. federal legislation
  • The status of state legislation
  • Voting records for the Senate
  • Voting records for the House of Representatives
  • Information on individual members of Congress
  • Information on congressional committees
  • Congressional district maps

GovTrack helps you monitor:

  • Major Activity on All Legislation
  • Enacted Bills
  • Legislation Coming Up
  • Roll Call Votes
  • Introduced Bills & Resolutions
  • Major Activity on All Legislation Except New Introductions
  • Committee Meetings
  • All Activity on State Legislation
  • Customized tracking lists to monitor the legislation and/or Members of Congress that are of the most interest to you

Michigan’s Right-to-Work Law — The data beyond the media spin

Economic growth generated from right-to-work is a myth?

“On the right-to-work side, the big myth is that economic growth in states with the law is higher. Studies sponsored by the Mackinac Center, a think tank in Midland, Michigan, that favors right-to-work, conclude as much. But it’s not necessarily so. The Mackinac studies don’t disentangle the effect of right- to-work laws from other factors, such as a housing bust, rapid population growth (a feature of many Sunbelt states) or a robust energy sector.”

– Bloomberg View

OK, let’s pretend for a moment that it is just a “myth’ …

The following is an excerpt from “The Dunlop Report and the Future of Labor Law Reform”, by Samuel Estreich, a professor of labor and employment law at New York University, counsel at Cahill, Gordon & Reindel and was a member of an advisory group to the Dunlop Commission …

“… survey of American workers conducted by commission member Richard B. Freeman and Wisconsin law professor Joel Rogers reported: ‘By an overwhelming 86 percent to 9 percent margin, workers want an organization run jointly by employees and management, rather than an independent, employee-run organization. By a smaller, but still sizable margin of 52 percent to 34 percent, workers want an organization to be staffed and funded by the company, rather than independently through employee contributions’.”

“The key problem in the area of employee involvement is section 8(a)2 of the original NLRA, the so-called company union prohibition. This provision was broadly written to reflect Sen. Robert F. Wagner’s belief that employers should not be able to institute a form of collaborative representation that might compete with independent, multiemployer labor organizations … [and] … also to bar any forum developed and controlled by management for bilateral dealings with employees.”

“American workers born after World War II are less inclined to favor collective and statist solutions… Also, unions increasingly operate in less friendly terrain because of shrinking manufacturing employment, growing service industries, and the movement of plants and jobs from “rust- belt” to “sunbelt” states… America’s labor laws are based on an outdated view of the employment relationship’ that emphasizes the conflict of interest between labor and capital… The model no longer works. From a high point in the mid-1950’s-when unions represented over 35 percent of workers in private firms, influenced the terms of employment for nonunion workers, and effectively imposed their ‘master’ agreements across entire product markets-the unionization rate has plummeted to under 12 percent of the private sector workforce. It is likely to fall even further.”

A final thought to ponder…

Even if you forget about the economic growth, what about the rights of the workers themselves?

The union radicals making the most noise, causing the most violence and getting their pictures on the front page of the media don’t represent the majority of Americans.  Freedom is a value we cherish — forcing all workers to be “unionized” without choice is a model that is “outdated” and will “no longer work”.

References:

Glossary:

Rust Belt” – About.com

“States primarily associated with the Rust Belt include Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana. Bordering lands include parts of Wisconsin, New York, Kentucky, West Virginia and Ontario, Canada. Some major industrial cities of the Rust Belt include Chicago, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Cleveland and Detroit.”

Sun Belt” – About.com

“The Sunbelt typically includes the states of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California.”

Nation of the Month: Lebanon (daily news, historical facts and data in bite-sized chunks)

In order to understand politics it is important to have background on the nations around the world, the problem is that there are 196 different countries and reading through the mounds of national data  becomes tedious.

Nation of the Month is a Twitter feed that randomly selects a new nation each month and tweets a daily mixture of  historical information, current events and relevant data.

It’s a fun way to learn a variety of new information without taking a lot of time out of the day.  I think it could also be a good resource for the younger generation; these days schools  are more interested in getting students to pass state tests rather than planting seeds of fun information that can grow and foster curiosity.  Pouring in the information in smaller doses allows time for the data to percolate throughout the brain, generate that curiosity and stick  in memory.

This month’s nation is “Lebanon” and  the Twitter feed can be found here.

Prosperity Rankings by Country (2010 – 2012)

Economy

Taiwan, China & Malaysia moved ahead of the U.S.

Entrepreneurship & Opportunity

Finland, Norway, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Australia, Iceland, Netherlands and Singapore moved ahead of the U.S.

Governance

New Zealand, Sweden, Finland, Canada, United Kingdom and Austria moved ahead of the U.S.

Education

U.S. moved ahead of Norway, South Korea, Finland and Iceland

Health

No change (Luxembourg is #1, but there is no 2010 data for them)

Safety & Security

Czech Republic moved ahead of the U.S.

Personal Freedom

Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany and Portugal moved ahead of U.S.

Social Capital

U.S. moved ahead of Switzerland

Overall

Netherlands moved ahead of U.S.

References:

The Legatum Prosperity Index “A unique global inquiry into wealth and wellbeing”