Source: Office of Special Counsel, July 27, 2010
In light of the many questions the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has received concerning Social Media, OSC provides the following guidance on the issue, in the form of frequently asked questions concerning less restricted and further restricted federal employees (see questions one through eleven) as well as federal agencies (see questions twelve through fourteen).
Note: This guidance refers primarily to Facebook and Twitter in the following questions due to the popularity of those sites for social networking, but the advice provided in response to these questions applies equally to all other social media, such as Myspace, Linkedin, etc.
Source: Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, Politics & Society, Vol. 38 no. 2, June 2010
The dramatic rise in inequality in the United States over the past generation has occasioned considerable attention from economists, but strikingly little from students of American politics. This has started to change: in recent years, a small but growing body of political science research on rising inequality has challenged standard economic accounts that emphasize apolitical processes of economic change. For all the sophistication of this new scholarship, however, it too fails to provide a compelling account of the political sources and effects of rising inequality. In particular, these studies share with dominant economic accounts three weaknesses: (1) they downplay the distinctive feature of American inequality -namely, the extreme concentration of income gains at the top of the economic ladder; (2) they miss the profound role of government policy in creating this “winner-take-all” pattern; and (3) they give little attention or weight to the dramatic long-term transformation of the organizational landscape of American politics that lies behind these changes in policy. These weaknesses are interrelated, stemming ultimately from a conception of politics that emphasizes the sway (or lack thereof) of the “median voter” in electoral politics, rather than the influence of organized interests in the process of policy making. A perspective centered on organizational and policy change -one that identifies the major policy shifts that have bolstered the economic standing of those at the top and then links those shifts to concrete organizational efforts by resourceful private interests -fares much better at explaining why the American political economy has become distinctively winner-take-all.
Source: Brendan Nyhan, Jason Reifler, Journal of Political Behavior, June 2010
From the abstract:
An extensive literature addresses citizen ignorance, but very little research focuses on misperceptions. Can these false or unsubstantiated beliefs about politics be corrected? Previous studies have not tested the efficacy of corrections in a realistic format. We conducted four experiments in which subjects read mock news articles that included either a misleading claim from a politician, or a misleading claim and a correction. Results indicate that corrections frequently fail to reduce misperceptions among the targeted ideological group. We also document several instances of a “backfire effect” in which corrections actually increase misperceptions among the group in question.
In Politics, Sometimes The Facts Don’t Matter
Source: NPR, Talk of the Nation, July 13, 2010
Source: Thomas L. Gais, Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, Presented at 27th Annual Conference of the National Federation of Municipal Analysts, May 7, 2010
The federal government during the Obama Administration has assertively sought to influence state policies, perhaps more so than any time since the 1960s. Sometimes it offers states more funding and flexibility; sometimes it seeks to constrain, guide, or direct state policy and budget decisions — generally in service of its views of what domestic policies ought to be.
Source: Georgetown University, April 6, 2010
Georgetown’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, in association with Dissent, The Nation, and The American Prospect, hosted a forum about national politics, progressives and the labor movement. Panelists talked about how the labor movement can grow and engage with a progressive movement and building of a broader progressive movement. This program contains strong language that may not be appropriate for all viewers.
Watch the video.
Source: LegiStorm, March 2010
We currently have earmark data for fiscal years 2008-2010. By viewing earmark spending data in a variety of ways, you can learn details about the locations receiving funds for special projects and which legislators are securing those funds.
Source: PA Times, Vol. 32 no. 9, October 2009
As economic distress continues through the summer and into the fall, Americans are suffering from a “civic foreclosure” that is limiting the range and depth of their civic engagement, according to a new study by National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC). The annual “America’s Civic Health Index,” based on survey data collected in May 2009, is a look at the state of civic engagement in America that reflects the impact of the economic crisis.
Source: Jason L. Jensen, Paul E. Sum, and David T. Flynn, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Vol. 19, Issue 4, October 2009
From the abstract:
Using data from 18 countries, we study the attitudes, behavior, and characteristics of government employees. Researchers have found mixed support when attempting to determine whether public employees differ from the general population, and they have speculated about the ramifications of any differences, including growth in the size of government and budget maximization. We assess whether government employees are comparatively more left leaning in their political ideology, vote at a higher rate, and vote for candidates on the left. In many countries, we find support for the prediction that public employees are more left leaning but we find much less support for the two behavioral predictions related to voting.
Source: Helen Norton, Duke Law Journal, Volume 59 Number 1, October 2009
This Article identifies a key doctrinal shift in courts’ treatment of public employees’ First Amendment claims–a shift that imperils the public’s interest in transparent government as well as the free speech rights of more than twenty million government workers. In the past, courts interpreted the First Amendment to permit governmental discipline of public employee speech on matters of public interest only when such speech undermined the government employer’s interest in efficiently providing public services. In contrast, courts now increasingly focus on–and defer to–government’s claim to control its workers’ expression to protect its own speech.
Source: Mike Webb, ProPublica, September 25, 2009
Tonight, in a story we did with the Brian Ross Investigative Unit for ABC News’ World News With Charles Gibson, the network is looking at how members of Congress actually use money from their Leadership PACs. (See their slideshow.) An in-depth version of this story will come this weekend. Leadership Political Action Committees are the second-largest source of political money for sitting members of Congress. Check out our database to see exactly what your representatives are spending their Leadership PAC money on. And be sure to come back this weekend to read the full story.