Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Currently in Congress 1 - 15 September 2005

The latest issue of Currently in Congress is available on the U.S. Mission to South Africa's IRC webpage:

Congress returned to Washington from their summer recess a few days earlier than scheduled in order to rush through various measures relating to Hurricane Katrina relief. These include multi-billion dollar spending bills, tax relief, welfare payments, job creation, and student loan repayment relief.

This issue also includes information about the Combat Meth Act and the hearings of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts.

Hearing topics include Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts, U.S. foreign aid programs to Europe, how charities meet the needs of America's communities, protecting street children, U.S. and India relations, and Medicaid reform.

Previous issues are archived on the website.

Friday, September 16, 2005


Gapminder is "a non-profit venture for development and provision of free software that visualises human development. " The idea behind this Swedish initiative is to present health statistics and data in such a way as to enhance public understanding and awareness of world health and development challenges. See , for example, what Gapminder has done in its presentation of the UNDP's "Human Development Report 2005".

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

New foreign policy journal

And while on the subject of foreign policy, a new journal was launched recently.

The following summary comes from Bruce Gregory, directory of the Public Diplomacy Institute at George Washington University:

The American Interest, Vol. 1, No. 1, Autumn 2005. This new journal seeks "to analyze America's conduct on the global stage" and "examine what American policy should be." Edited by Adam Garfinkle, its editorial board is chaired by Francis Fukuyama and includes Anne Applebaum, Peter Berger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Eliot Cohen, Josef Joffe, and Walter Russell Mead. Articles of interest in this first issue include its defining statement, a collection of short articles on the sources of American conduct, and a conversation with Secretary of State Rice.

Here is an extract from its statement of purpose:

"The American Interest (AI) is a new and independent voice devoted to the broad theme of "America in the world." Our agenda is threefold. The first is to analyze America's conduct on the global stage and the forces that shape it--not just its strategic aspects, but also its economic, cultural and historical dimensions. American statecraft is not simply about power but also purpose. What is important to the world about America is therefore not just its politics, but the society from which those politics arise--including America's literature, music and art, as well as its values, public beliefs and its historical imagination.
The AI's second aim is to examine what American policy should be. It is our view that the challenges and opportunities of our time transcend the assumptions and vocabulary used by both the Left and Right in recent years, and that we need to move beyond the defense of obsolete positions. We therefore seek to invite the best minds from a variety of professions to engage in lively and open-ended debate founded on serious, sustained arguments and evidence. We wish to provoke and enlighten, not to plead or to please the guardians of any ideology. We take a pragmatic attitude toward policy problems, privileging creativity and effectiveness over contending orthodoxies.
Third, though its name is The American Interest, our pages are open to the world. The simple and inescapable defining fact of our era is that America is the foremost actor on the world stage. For good or ill, the United States affects the lives of billions because of its dominance in military, economic and, ever more so, cultural affairs. Hence, the AI invites citizens of all nations into the American national dialogue, convinced that Americans have much to learn from the experience and perspectives of others."

Posted by Tel Aviv IRC
# posted by Ralph Amelan : 1:13 PM

Monday, September 12, 2005

New CFR site

The Council on Foreign Relations launched an impressive new website last week which aims to be a "First-Stop Nonpartisan Resource on U.S. Foreign Policy and International Affairs"...according to their press release , “ is Rapidly Becoming the Google for the Foreign Policy Set.” less! Features on the new site include:
  • Nearly 200 Background on the News fact sheets on world events and
    critical issues.
  • More than 300 exclusive expert interviews conducted by consulting
    editor Bernard Gwertzman, former editor-in-chief of, and former
    foreign editor and diplomatic correspondent for the New York Times.
  • A selection of Must Reads culled by the Council to point our audience to
    the most innovative thinking on U.S. foreign policy.
  • Region and issue briefs by Council scholars.
  • Essential source documents ranging from constitutions and speeches to
    international agreements and treaties.
  • Articles and congressional testimony by Council fellows and other
  • Timely on-the-record transcripts, audio files, videos, and webcasts from
    CFR meetings in New York, Washington, DC, and around the country.
  • A world events list with links to twenty-four global calendars.
  • Nearly 100 links to national and international think tanks and their
  • Independent Task Force Reports and Council Special Reports on today’s
    most urgent issues.
  • Advance highlights and excerpts from Foreign Affairs, recently ranked the
    most influential media outlet in the United States, according to a study of
    U.S. opinion leaders.

Friday, September 9, 2005


For people who are wondering about the state of homes/neighborhoods in New Orleans, Scipionus might be of some is a description from
"Since launched Wednesday, it has become a giant visual "wiki" page, attracting tens of thousands of visitors who are collaborating in creating a public document of astonishing detail."
Here's an example, one of hundreds of entries: "9/8/05 4800 Block of Loveland reported to have approx.18-24 inches in houses. Added 09/08 21:53." We are inching towards virtual reality!

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Transatlantic Trends

The 2005 issue of Transatlantic Trends, an annual public opinion survey examining American and European attitudes toward the transatlantic relationship, was released today. Excerpt from the press release:

~More Europeans than Americans support democracy promotion as a foreign policy objective~

WASHINGTON, DC (September 7, 2005) — A new survey of Americans and Europeans released today finds that six months after George W. Bush’s ambitious outreach to Europe, European public opinion toward the United States remains unchanged. Both Americans and Europeans feel relations have stayed the same. The survey also reveals that Europeans desire a more independent approach from the United States on international security and diplomatic affairs...."

Friday, September 2, 2005

Library Clips

For current awareness blogs that follow neat new tools for librarians, Library Clips comes near the top of my list. And its RSS feed is at the top of the list on the left..