Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Regulatory Reform 10 Years After the Financial Crisis: Systemic Risk Regulation of Non-Bank Financial Institutions

"When large, interconnected financial institutions become distressed, policymakers have historically faced a choice between (1) a taxpayer-funded bailout, and (2) the destabilization of the financial system—a dilemma that commentators have labeled the “too-big-to-fail” (TBTF) problem. The 2007-2009 financial crisis highlighted the significance of the TBTF problem. During the crisis, a number of large financial institutions experienced severe distress, and the federal government committed hundreds of billions of dollars in an effort to rescue the financial system. According to some commentators, the crisis underscored the inadequacy of existing prudential regulation of large financial institutions, and of the bankruptcy system for resolving the failure of such institutions.

In response to the crisis, Congress passed and President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) in 2010. Titles I and II of Dodd-Frank are specifically directed at minimizing the systemic risk created by TBTF financial institutions. In order to minimize the risks that large financial institutions will fail, Title I of Dodd-Frank establishes an enhanced prudential regulatory regime for certain large bank holding companies and non-bank financial companies. In order to “resolve” (i.e., reorganize or liquidate) systemically important financial institutions, Title II establishes a new resolution regime available for such institutions outside of the Bankruptcy Code.."
Regulotory reform

Monday, April 16, 2018

Data, Social Media, and Users: Can We All Get Along?

"In March 2018, media reported that voter-profiling company Cambridge Analytica had exceeded Facebook's data use policies by collecting data on millions of Facebook users. Cambridge Analytica did this by working with a researcher to gain access to the data, so the company itself was not the entity seeking access to the information. This allowed Cambridge Analytica to "scrape" or download data from users who had granted access to their profiles, as well as those users' Facebook friends (whose profiles the first user had access to, but for which the friends did not authorize access).

At this time, it is publicly unknown what data were accessed. Facebook hired a digitalforensics firm to audit the event. Based on media reporting and old Facebook applications, user profile data such as interests, relationships, photos, "likes," and political affiliation may have been accessible, but not all data held by Facebook appear to have been accessed by an outside party. Additionally, as initial access to a user's profile was granted via an app, other information about the user, such as other apps installed on the device and Internet Protocol addresses, may have been accessed. With this information, Cambridge Analytica built profiles of potential voters to test messaging and target advertisements. In addition to ads on Facebook, search engine optimization may have been used to drive users toward ads and other web content (i.e., blogs) outside Facebook..."
Data and social media

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Get Seizure Smart!

"About 1 out of 10 people may have a seizure in his or her lifetime.1,2 That means seizures are common, and one day you might need to help someone during or after a seizure. Would you know what to do?

First Aid for any Type of Seizure

There are many types of seizures. Most seizures last for a few minutes. Here are general steps to help someone who is having any type seizure:
  • Stay with the person until the seizure ends and the person is fully awake. After it ends, help the person sit in a safe place. Once they are alert and able to communicate, tell them what happened in very plain terms.
  • Comfort the person and speak calmly.
  • Keep yourself and other people calm.
  • Check to see if the person is wearing a medical bracelet or other emergency information.
  • Offer to call a taxi, friend, or relative to make sure the person gets home safely..."

Sexual Harassment and Title VII: Selected Legal Issues

"Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) generally prohibits discrimination in the workplace, but does not contain an express prohibition against harassment. The Supreme Court, however, has interpreted the statute to prohibit certain forms of harassment, including sexual harassment. Since first recognizing the viability of a Title VII harassment claim in a unanimous 1986 decision, the Court has also established legal standards for determining when offensive conduct amounts to a Title VII violation and when employers may be held liable for such actionable harassment, and created an affirmative defense available to employers under certain circumstances.

Given this judicially created paradigm for analyzing sexual harassment under Title VII, this report examines key Supreme Court precedent addressing Title VII sexual harassment claims, the statutory interpretation and rationales reflected in these decisions, and examples of lower federal court decisions applying this precedent. The report also discusses various types of harassment recognized by the Supreme Court—such as “hostile work environment,” quid pro quo, constructive discharge, and same-sex harassment—and explores tensions, disagreements, or apparent inconsistencies among federal courts when analyzing these claims.."
Sexual harassment

Statutory Interpretation: Theories, Tools, and Trends

"In the tripartite structure of the U.S. federal government, it is the job of courts to say what the law is, as Chief Justice John Marshall announced in 1803. When courts render decisions on the meaning of statutes, the prevailing view is that a judge’s task is not to make the law, but rather to interpret the law made by Congress. The two main theories of statutory interpretation— purposivism and textualism—disagree about how judges can best adhere to this ideal of legislative supremacy. The problem is especially acute in instances where it is unlikely that Congress anticipated and legislated for the specific circumstances being disputed before the court. While purposivists argue that courts should prioritize interpretations that advance the statute’s purpose, textualists maintain that a judge’s focus should be confined primarily to the statute’s text.

Regardless of their interpretive theory, judges use many of the same tools to gather evidence of statutory meaning. First, judges often begin by looking to the ordinary meaning of the statutory text. Second, courts interpret specific provisions by looking to the broader statutory context. Third, judges may turn to the canons of construction, which are presumptions about how courts ordinarily read statutes. Fourth, courts may look to the legislative history of a provision. Finally, a judge might consider how a statute has been—or will be—implemented. Although both purposivists and textualists may use any of these tools, a judge’s theory of statutory interpretation may influence the order in which these tools are applied and how much weight is given to each tool..."
Statutory interpretation

Monday, April 9, 2018

Sexual Violence Prevention

"April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Sexual violence is a serious public health problem that affects millions of women and men. In the United States, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact at some point in their lives. Statistics underestimate the problem because many victims do not tell the police, family, or friends about the violence.
CDC’s goal is to stop sexual violence before it begins.

Understanding Sexual Violence

Sexual violence is any sexual activity where consent is not freely given. This includes completed or attempted sex acts that are against the victim’s will or involve a victim who is unable to consent through use of force or alcohol/drug facilitation.

Other forms of sexual violence are:
  • Non-physically pressured unwanted sex
  • Unwanted sexual contact (intentional sexual touching), or
  • Non-contact, unwanted sexual experiences (such as verbal sexual harassment)..."
    Sexual violence

Child Abuse Prevention

"April is National Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month.
Children and families thrive when they have access to safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments. Policies and programs that are supportive of children and families can prevent child abuse and neglect and other early adversity. CDC works to better understand the problem of child abuse and neglect and to prevent it before it begins.

Facts about Child Abuse and Neglect

Child abuse and neglect are significant public health problems in the United States.
  • In 2016, more than 1,750 children died in the United States from abuse and neglect.
  • According to child protective service agencies, about 676,000 children were victims of child abuse or neglect in 2016, although this number likely underestimates the true occurrence.
  • One in 4 children have experienced abuse or neglect at some point in their lives and 1 in 7 experienced abuse or neglect in the past year.
  • The total lifetime cost associated with just 1 year of confirmed cases of child abuse or neglect is $124 billion.
Exposure to child abuse and neglect and other adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) cause toxic stress that can disrupt early brain development and harm the nervous and immune systems. Exposure to childhood adversity can increase a person’s risk for future violence, unhealthy behaviors, poor health and wellness, and limit life opportunities. This impact can be long-lasting and may continue across future generations..."
Child abuse

Preventing Dog Bites

"Dog bites can cause pain and injury, but they can also spread germs that cause infection. Nearly 1 in 5 people bitten by a dog requires medical attention. Any dog can bite – know how to enjoy dogs without getting bitten.
Dogs can be our closest companions – in the United States, over 36% of households own at least one dog. Dogs have been proven to decrease stress, increase our exercise levels, and are playmates for children. But sometimes man’s best friend will bite. In addition to causing pain, injury, or nerve damage, dog bites can become infected, putting the bite victim at risk for illness or in rare cases death.
Although the idea of being bitten by a dog is scary, it doesn’t mean you need to avoid dogs completely. If you work or live around dogs, be aware of the risks and learn how to enjoy being around dogs without getting bitten..."
Dog bites

The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2018 to 2028

"In CBO’s baseline projections, which incorporate the assumption that current laws governing taxes and spending generally remain unchanged, the federal budget deficit grows substantially over the next few years. Later on, between 2023 and 2028, it stabilizes in relation to the size of the economy, though at a high level by historical standards.
As a result, federal debt is projected to be on a steadily rising trajectory throughout the coming decade. Debt held by the public, which has doubled in the past 10 years as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), approaches 100 percent of GDP by 2028 in CBO’s projections. That amount is far greater than the debt in any year since just after World War II. Moreover, if lawmakers changed current law to maintain certain current policies—preventing a significant increase in individual income taxes in 2026 and drops in funding for defense and nondefense discretionary programs in 2020, for example—the result would be even larger increases in debt..."

Federal budget

House Committee Markups: Manual of Procedures and Procedural Strategies

"A principal responsibility of House committees is to conduct markups—to select legislation to consider, to debate it and vote on amendments to it (to mark up), and to report recommendations on passage to the House. This manual examines procedures and strategy related to committee markups and provides sample procedural scripts.

A committee faces many decisions when it considers a policy matter in a markup. It must select what legislation to mark up; decide whether to mark up in committee only or in both subcommittee and committee; consider the effect of referral on the markup; choose how to report to the House; and take into account congressional and Administration sentiments. With policy and political considerations in mind, the committee plans its procedural strategy.

The first element of a markup strategy is selection of a markup vehicle. A committee might mark up a measure as introduced, a version of the measure previously marked up in subcommittee, a draft prepared before, after, or without subcommittee markup, or an amendment in the nature of a substitute. Procedural and political consequences attach to each markup vehicle. Two parts of the manual deal with this element: Procedural Strategy and the Choice of a Markup Vehicle, and Beginning a Markup..."
House Procedures manual

Articles of Agreement Relating to the Surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia

"On April 9, 1865, Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee met in the parlor of a house in Appomattox Court House, VA, to discuss this surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, which would end the Civil War. According to the terms, the men of Lee's army could return home in safety if they pledged to end the fighting and deliver their arms to the Union Army. Read More at Our Documents..."
Robert E. Lee's Surrender

Saturday, April 7, 2018

"San Francisco, California. The family unit in kept intact in various phases of evacuation of persons of Japanese ancestry".

"This photo of Japanese-American evacuees was taken by Dorothea Lange on April 6, 1942. The caption reads "A view at Wartime Civil Control Administration station, 2020 Van Ness Avenue, on April 6, 1942, when first group of 664 was evacuated from San Francisco." Under the authority of Executive Order 9066, issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, approximately 110,000 Japanese-Americans were interned in 10 relocation centers for the duration of World War II. Professional photographers, including Dorothea Lange, were commissioned by the WRA to document the daily life and treatment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.."
Japanese relocation in World War 2

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Whose Line is it Anyway: Could Congress Give the President a Line-Item Veto?

"In announcing his intention to sign H.R. 1625, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018,” President Trump, noting his concerns over the fiscal size of the bill, called on Congress to provide him with a “lineitem veto for all government spending bills.” Two days later, the Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, similarly maintained that Congress “should give the president a line-item veto.” These remarks resulted in immediate rebukes by several commentators, who, citing the Supreme Court’s 1998 ruling in Clinton v. City of New York, argued that the Court already resolved the legality of the line-item veto by striking down such a provision in a 1996 law. At the same time, the Trump Administration’s calls for a line-item veto echo those of other Presidents who sought such authority even after City of New York, under the premise that the invalidated law could be revised to address the Court’s objections. Because Congress has not enacted any such proposals, the question remains whether the High Court’s 1998 ruling wholly forecloses Congress’s ability to authorize the President’s veto of individual provisions of spending legislation. This Sidebar provides an overview of the Court’s decision in City of New York and examines what (if any) possibility exists for a constitutional, line-item veto authority for the President..."
Line-Item veto power

Trends in Public Transportation Ridership: Implications for Federal Policy

"Despite significant investments in public transportation at the federal, state, and local levels, transit ridership has fallen in many of the top 50 transit markets. If strong gains in the New York area are excluded, ridership nationally declined by 7% over the past decade. This report examines the implications for federal transit policy of the current weakness and possible future changes in transit ridership.

Although there has been a lot of research into the factors that explain transit ridership, there seems to be no comprehensive explanation for the recent decline. One complication is that national trends in public transportation ridership are not necessarily reflected at the local level; thus, different areas may have different reasons for growth or decline. But at the national level, the two factors that most affect public transportation ridership are competitive factors and the supply of transit service. Several competitive factors, notably the drop in the price of gasoline over the past few years and the growing popularity of bikeshare and ridesourcing services, appear to have adversely affected transit ridership. The amount of transit service supplied has generally grown over time, but average fares have risen faster than inflation, possibly deterring riders..."
Public transit ridership

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2017

"A joint effort by the National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, this annual report examines crime occurring in schools and colleges. This report presents data on crime at school from the perspectives of students, teachers, principals, and the general population from an array of sources—the National Crime Victimization Survey, the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the School Survey on Crime and Safety, the Schools and Staffing Survey, EDFacts, and the Campus Safety and Security Survey. The report covers topics such as victimization, bullying, school conditions, fights, weapons, the presence of security staff at school, availability and student use of drugs and alcohol, student perceptions of personal safety at school, and criminal incidents at postsecondary institutions...."

School crime