Monday, June 30, 2008

We're Number 15

SAN DIEGO – in the best position of any state to achieve high-quality economic growth thanks to its vast array of technology and science assets, a new Milken Institute study shows.

Massachusetts ranks first in the Milken Institute’s 2008 State Technology and Science Index, followed by Maryland, Colorado and California.
And New York? See above. (Thanks, Dale.)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Trendpedia - Blog Search

From the James J. Hill Library

Say you're interested in finding recent blog posts on a particular topic or in a niche industry. Or you want to track the use of a term in blogs over time. Forget about Google. Remember Trendpedia.

Trendpedia searches across recent postings in an attempt to shed light on what bloggers are talking about at a distinct moment in time. Today, for example. Or yesterday. Run a search on a term and find a chart tracking that term's use over time, complete with links to the actual blog posts themselves. You can also compare multiple terms (e.g. mobile vs. email marketing) and email results.

The site is European, which becomes evident from the date structure (June 24 = "24-06"), but the coverage is universal. Use Trendpedia to keep close tabs on the blogosphere.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Preparations for the 2010 census are a shambles.

From the June 23, 2008 New York Times; free registration may be required.

Committees in the House have been holding hearings to vet the problems and monitor progress. But with each hearing, it becomes more obvious that prospects for a robust census are unlikely to improve considerably unless and until the next president brings in new leaders. They are needed at the Commerce Department, which includes the Census Bureau, and at the bureau itself, which — like so many federal agencies — has been mismanaged and demoralized during the Bush years.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Gambling Revenue to the States

Gambling revenue plays a consistently important role in state finances, but slower growth in recent years may present new budget challenges for states, according to a new Rockefeller Institute report. States vary widely in their reliance on gambling revenue, the report finds. Read From a Bonanza to a Blue Chip? Gambling Revenue to the States.

"For more than two decades, states saw lotteries and casinos as a bonanza of new dollars for education and other programs," Institute researchers write. "Gambling revenue is now at an all-time high, but growth is slowing due to objections about social impacts and broader economic trends. From a fiscal perspective, state-sponsored gambling now resembles a blue-chip stock — reliably generating large amounts of cash, but no longer promising dramatic growth in revenue."

The report shows that states vary widely in their reliance on gambling revenues. Nevada, West Virginia, and Rhode Island lead the states in the proportion of their total revenues obtained from gambling, while New York, Illinois, Florida, and New Jersey are at the top in total dollars collected.

The Rockefeller Institute of Government is the public-policy research arm of the State University of New York.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Latino Census Network

In a recent e-mail, I discovered that there is A National Informational Network on Latino Census Issues organized by the National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP), 101 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013.

The story reads: The challenges facing an accurate Latino count by the 2010 Census in light of the negative environment created by anti-immigrant and anti-Latino sentiment in this country and other factors will be enormous. It is, therefore, critical that Census Bureau staff who will be doing the outreach have adequate numbers of Latinos in their ranks at all levels. It goes on to say that Census has done an inadequate job of hiring Latinos, below the civilian work force and even below the federal government workforce. Without being an apologist for the Bureau, I know the folks covering the regions that include New York State are anxious to have a well-trained d, diverse workforce.

The Census Bureau is now in the process of hiring people in preparation for the 2010 Census to staff their Early Regional Census Centers in management and office positions in


Boston (includes Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands)






Kansas City

Los Angeles

New York



For more information about employment openings at the Census Bureau, contact US Census Bureau Regional Offices or the Census Bureau.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bill proposes name for Census Bureau HQ:

The House of Representatives passed legislation (H.R. 5599) to name the new Census Bureau headquarters building in Suitland, MD, after President Thomas Jefferson, who as Secretary of State oversaw the first census in 1790. Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) sponsored the bill. The measure’s bipartisan original cosponsors include Rep. Tom Davis, senior Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which oversees the census and federal statistical policy generally.

Rep. Maloney called Jefferson “the father of the modern census” who “knew an accurate census was the key to fulfilling the Founding Father’s vision of a government with fair representation.” The House Committee on Transportation approved H.R. 5599 earlier this month; the House approved the bill by voice vote on June 4. The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Friday, June 20, 2008

3 Minute Ad Age

If you know people who care about marketing trends, they might consider spending 180 seconds checking out video news from AdAge every weekday. The June 13 post, for example, noted that as the "green" market tries to promote itself, the notion of "sacrifice" is not loved, that "environmentalism" is polarizing, and "conservationalism" is frumpy. However, the term "sustainability" is embraced better as an idea suggesting responsible consumption.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Open Door New York

"New Yorkers should know where their tax dollars are going. Open Book New York is part of State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s effort to promote more openness in government and give taxpayers better access to the financial workings of government."

"Easy-to-use online search tools identify spending for 113 State agencies and public authorities and display more than 60,000 State contracts. These tools will help you find out how much state government spends on everything from travel and employees’ salaries to telephones and consultants. You can also search State contracts in real time to see who is doing business with the State."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Why Boomers Are Forgoing Retirement


The demographics are in our favor because a worker shortage is forecast over the next few decades...companies are now figuring out how to entice their older workers to stay rather than ushering them out the door with a gold watch and pat on the fanny.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

2008 Horizon Report - Emerging Tech

From JJ Hill.

Every business is in the business of education. Telling potential customers about your product or service and showing them the benefit to buying it are essential business activities.

So when the 2008 Horizon Report profiles the top learning technologies set to dive into the mainstream over the next one, three, and five years, the implications for the business community are at least implicit. These technologies are the ones your business could be using to teach customers about you.

In the next year, look to grassroots video and online collaboration; in the next two to three years, think mobile and mashup ; and by the dawning of the five-year horizon, chances are that successful teaching businesses will be using collective intelligence and social operating systems to tell their stories. Will yours?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Press Release Grader


Even with social media, virtual world marketing, mobile outreach, and all the other newfangled marketing niches, the press release remains a standard in effective public relations. But are you doing press releases correctly?

The Press Release Grader analyzes your press release, gives you an overall score, and offers suggestions for optimizing your release for length, readability, online links, and more. Just paste your text from Word or the Web into the site and enter your email address. The tool creates an instant report card and sends you a perma-link so you can share the findings.

Use the Grader to improve your next press release - for both general readability and SEO should you decide to get all "newfangled marketing niche" and post your releases online.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Trapped in Gasoline Ghettos/How Many Use Public Transportation?

June 10, 2008
American Consumers Newsletter
from Cheryl Russell, Editorial Director, New Strategist Publications
If you have questions or comments about these editorial, e-mail New Strategist at

Trapped in Gasoline Ghettos

OK, this is bad. The rapid rise in the price of gas is turning the nation's far-flung rural and suburban areas into gasoline ghettos, locking millions of Americans into houses they cannot sell, far from their jobs, with little hope of escape.

Even before prices soared, gasoline consumed a large portion of the household budget. In 2006--the most recent year for which there is household spending data--gasoline ranked sixth among items on which the average household spends the most. Back then, the average price of a gallon of gas was less than $3.00. Those were the good old days. With gasoline now above $4.00 a gallon, it is likely the fourth most costly item in the household budget, behind only Social Security deductions, mortgage interest (or rent), and car payments.

This is worse than ouch. Gasoline is the blood supply of the sprawling American lifestyle. Here are the facts: most of us drive to work, and three out of four workers drive to work alone. The average commuter spends 25 minutes getting to his job. Many are in the car much longer. Twenty-one percent of workers live 20 or more miles from their place of work. Among the unlucky workers who live in newer homes (built in the past four years), an even larger 29 percent live at least 20 miles from their work, according to the American Housing Survey.

Those newer homes are the epicenter of the housing crisis because of their distance from jobs. According to an analysis (pdf download) by David Stiff, chief economist for Fiserv Lending Solutions, single-family home prices are falling the most in areas farthest from employment centers. "Because of sharp increases in gasoline prices, living closer to work has become an even more important consideration in the location decisions of homebuyers," says Stiff. He maps housing price changes from the price peak through the first half of 2007 in two metropolitan areas, showing how prices in Los Angeles and Boston have fallen the most in the outer rings. The future doesn't look bright either. "When combined with large inventories of unsold housing on the edges of urban areas, this shift in preferences will mean that prices for homes in outlying neighborhoods will continue their more rapid decline and will be slower to rebound when housing markets finally start to recover."

On top of this bad news, most of the millions living in gasoline ghettos have no alternative but to drive. Only 54 percent of households in the United States have access to public transportation, according to the American Housing Survey. Among homeowners, the figure is a smaller 47 percent. Among homeowners in newer houses--the houses in exurban rings--just 27 percent have public transportation in their area.

If we are lucky, the spike in gasoline prices is only a bubble, which will deflate once speculators withdraw from the market, or the summer driving season ends, or a new administration is in the White House. The bursting of an oil price bubble will give us time to prepare for the permanent era of expensive gasoline. We will have time to build more efficient vehicles, encourage people to live closer to job centers, and invest in public transportation. If we are not lucky, then we have run out of time, and we are about to feel the fury of all those trapped many miles from stores, schools, and jobs.


Percentage of Americans who favor requiring car makers
to manufacture cars that use less gasoline: 92.
Source: American Attitudes: Who Thinks What About the Issues That Shape Our Lives

2. Q & A

How Many Use Public Transportation?

Billions and billions. Public transit ridership reached an all-time high of 10.3 billion trips in 2007, according to the American Public Transportation Association. This is the highest level in 50 years, brags the APTA. Not to rain on their parade, but the U.S. population is also larger than ever, so it is only natural that the use of public transportation should be up. A more promising APTA statistic is this: the use of public transportation has grown 32 percent since 1995, more than double the 15 percent gain in population.

Still, the percentage of Americans who use public transportation is pitifully small. Overall, only 5 percent of the nation's workers use public transit to get to work, according to the 2006 American Community Survey. There is a good reason for this lack of use. Only 54 percent of households in the United States have public transportation available in their area, according to the American Community Survey. Narrow the focus to homeowners, and the numbers are even smaller. Only 47 percent of homeowners have access to public transportation. The figure is a higher 69 percent for renters, who are more likely to live in urban areas.

These numbers were collected a few years ago and are undoubtedly higher today. But not much higher. It takes years to get public transportation systems up and running. And we have another problem. The United States is the third largest country in the world. To make public transportation work here will require an enormous financial commitment at a time when the economy is already severely stressed. The way gasoline prices are rising, however, we may have no other choice.

By Cheryl Russell, editorial director, New Strategist Publications
If you have any questions or comments about the above Q & A, e-mail New Strategist at


Hours per day Americans spend traveling
from one location to another: 1.24.

Source: American Generations: Who They Are and How They Live

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sorry not to have posted recently

I've been laid up in a semi-comfortable chair. I'll be at work for the first time in a week. If you find post-worthy items, e-mail them to me, and I will endeavor to post.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

What Americans Think

There is an interesting book from New Strategist Publications called American Attitudes: What Americans Think about the Issues That Shape Their Lives, 5th ed. Price: $89.95. New Strategist also puts out the American Consumers newsletter. Here are some things Americans believe, based on the General Social Survey; the most recent results are from the 2006 survey.

1. We are tough. Among the world's nations, the United States ranks number one in prisoners per capita, yet
68 percent of Americans still think the courts are not harsh enough on criminals.
72 percent agree that it is sometimes necessary to discipline a child with a "good, hard spanking."

2. We want it both ways. Fully 63 percent of the public wants to cut the government's purse strings. Only 13 percent oppose spending cuts. But when asked what we should cut, our enthusiasm wanes. These are the percentages of Americans who want to cut spending by specific program area:
education: 4
health care: 6
retirement benefits: 7
law enforcement: 8
environment: 13
natural disasters: 14
military: 26
arts: 30

3. We are careless. Americans are forever thumping their chests with pride, and the one thing we boast about the most is our freedom. Yet the majority of Americans are willing to give up that freedom without much of a fight:
56 percent think the government probably or definitely should have the right to jail people without a trial.

4. We are religious. Among the world's developed countries, the United States stands alone in its religiosity.
59 percent pray at least once a day.
Only 50 percent believe in evolution.

5. We are hard working. In fact, we are workaholics. This may explain why American workers have so little vacation time compared to their European counterparts and why we do not demand more time off:
70 percent would continue to work even if rich.

6. We are diverse. The Census Bureau continually tells us how diverse we are, but does it matter much anymore?
74 percent of blacks have trusted white friends.
52 percent of whites have trusted black friends.
54 percent of blacks have white family members.
20 percent of whites have black family members.

7. We are alienated. Americans do not have warm and fuzzy feelings toward public officials or their fellow citizens:
Only 35 percent say politicians are interested in the problems of the average person.
Only 32 percent believe most people can be trusted.
80 percent believe others will take advantage of you if you are not careful.

8. We are uptight. Americans have a well-deserved reputation for being prudish about sex:
Only 46 percent believe premarital sex is not wrong at all.
Only 32 percent believe homosexuality is not wrong at all.
But we are also practical:
89 percent support sex education in the public schools.
54 percent think teens should have access to birth control.

9. We like to stay put. Americans live in the third largest country in the world, but they restrict themselves to a very small portion of it.
38 percent still live in the same city they lived in at age 16.
62 percent live in the same state they lived in at age 16.

10. We still dream. Perhaps the single defining characteristic of Americans in both good times and bad is our steadfast belief in the American Dream:
69 percent say hard work, rather than luck or connections, determines success.
70 percent say the United States gives people like them the opportunity to improve their standard of living.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Recovering from the 2005 hurricanes

The recovery process in communities damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 has begun accelerating while local officials who once talked optimistically of rapid rebuilding now talk of 10-year timeframes for recovery, according to the latest GulfGov report issued by the Rockefeller Institute of Government in New York and the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana. This latest report, the sixth, will be followed by a book that will examine overall lessons learned in the wake of the catastrophes. The joint effort was aided by a grant from the Ford Foundation.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

US consumer time with media

This was a question posed on the BUSLIB listserv: How much time do americans spr=end on leisue=re? Here are some of the amswers.

This document provides a webliography and bibliography of a sampling of sources dealing with a wide range of aspects of the use of free time and covers various age groupings in the sources cited.

US Dept of Labor (Bureau of Labor Statistics) publishes the American Time Use Survey (which is where New Strategist's American Time Use gets most of their data. I love New Strategist's books since they sort through all the massive amounts of data

MPAA study, esp. page 24. (That was my suggestion.)

The Statistical Abstract has this data, extrapolated from the VSresearch.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Commission of Investigation of the State of New York

With a broad mandate to investigate "any matter concerning the public peace, public safety and public justice," the State Commission of Investigation undertakes investigations of corruption, fraud and mismanagement in New York State and local government. The Commission is also charged with conducting investigations into organized crime and labor racketeering and their relation to the enforcement of State law.

Established by statute in 1958, the Commission recently issued its 50th Anniversary 2007 Annual Report. The report highlights investigations conducted during 2007.

Annual Reports and other reports of the Commission are available online from the Commission.

Monday, June 2, 2008

American Institute for Economic Research

The American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) conducts independent, scientific, economic research to educate individuals, thereby advancing their personal interests and those of the Nation. It offers commentaries regularly. The May 28 post, A Billion Americans? by 2100, based on Census projections, was particularly interesting.