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Daily Archives: July 16, 2017

CRS – Democracy Promotion: An Objective of U.S. Foreign Assistance

Democracy Promotion: An Objective of U.S. Foreign Assistance, May 31, 2017. R44858.
“Promoting democratic institutions, processes, and values has long been a U.S. foreign policy objective, though the priority given to this objective has been inconsistent. World events, competing priorities, and political change within the United States all shape the attention and resources provided to democracy promotion efforts and influence whether such efforts focus on supporting fair elections abroad, strengthening civil society, promoting rule of law and human rights, or other aspects of democracy promotion. Proponents of democracy promotion often assert that such efforts are essential to global development and U.S. security because stable democracies tend to have better economic growth and stronger protection of human rights, and are less likely to go to war with one another. Critics contend that U.S. relations with foreign countries should focus exclusively on U.S. interests and stability in the world order. U.S. interest in global stability, regardless of the democratic nature of national political systems, could discourage U.S. support for democratic transitions—the implementation of which is uncertain and may lead to more, rather than less, instability. Funding for democracy promotion assistance is deeply integrated into U.S. foreign policy institutions. More than $2 billion annually has been allocated from foreign assistance funds over the past decade for democracy promotion activities managed by the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the National Endowment for Democracy, and other entities. Programs promoting good governance (characterized by participation, transparency, accountability, effectiveness, and equity), rule of law, and promotion of human rights have typically received the largest share of this funding in contrast to lower funding to promote electoral processes and political competition. In recent years, increasing restrictions imposed by some foreign governments on civil society organizations have resulted in an increased emphasis in democracy promotion assistance for strengthening civil society. Despite bipartisan support for the general concept of democracy promotion, policy debates in the 115th Congress continue to question the consistency, effectiveness, and appropriateness of such foreign assistance. With the Trump Administration indicating that democracy and human rights might not be a top foreign policy priority, advocates in Congress may be challenged to find common ground with the Administration on this issue. As part of its budget and oversight responsibilities, the 115th Congress may consider the impact of the Trump Administration’s requested FY2018 foreign assistance spending cuts on U.S. democracy promotion assistance, review the effectiveness of democracy promotion activities, evaluate the various channels available for democracy promotion, and consider where democracy promotion ranks among a wide range of foreign policy and budget priorities.”

LC Online Exhibition – Drawing Justice: The Art of Courtroom Illustration

“Drawing Justice: The Art of Courtroom Illustration showcases the Library’s extensive collections of original art by talented artists hired by both newspapers and television to capture the personal dynamics of legal trials. Skilled at quickly conveying both individual likenesses and the atmosphere of the courtroom, these artists reveal, in intimate detail, the dramatic and, at… Continue Reading

ABA Committee Recommends Referral Resolution

“RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges courts and other governmental entities, bar associations, non-profit organizations and entrepreneurial entities that make forms for legal services available to individuals through the Internet to provide clear and conspicuous information on how people can access a lawyer or a lawyer referral service to provide assistance with their legal… Continue Reading

Stronger Together: Increasing Connections Between Academic and Public Libraries

Stronger Together: Increasing Connections Between Academic and Public Libraries, Maureen Richards, John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Collaborative Librarianship. Vol. 9: Iss. 2, Article 10. (2017) “Much has been written about collaborations between public and academic libraries. These collaborations generally take the form of joint libraries, special programs or consortia. They are motivated by the… Continue Reading

Paper – Metadata: The Most Potent Weapon in This Cyber War

Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology – “Metadata, or “data about data,” is collected and recorded to describe data, identify trends, administer algorithmic solutions, and model potential scenarios. When one understands how to make sense of seemingly random metadata or how to pair the data with other exfiltrated data pools, there are limitless possibilities for social… Continue Reading

Google Earth for Desktop

View satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, galaxies far in space, and the deepest depths of the ocean. See also Google Maps timelapse shows how big Houston’s neighborhoods have gotten over the past 30 years Continue Reading

NYT As Elites Switch to Texting Watchdogs Fear Loss of Transparency

As Elites Switch to Texting, Watchdogs Fear Loss of Transparency, Kevin Roose – “Lawmakers, executives and other leaders are turning to encrypted chat apps to keep their communications under wraps, causing problems in industries where careful record-keeping is standard procedure…Secure messaging apps like WhatsApp, Signal and Confide are making inroads among lawmakers, corporate executives and other… Continue Reading

Report – 66% of US law firms reported a breach in 2016

NetSecurity – “The majority of US-based law firms are not only exposed in a wide variety of areas, but in many cases, unaware of intrusion attempts. These findings were based on Logicforce survey data from over 200 law firms, anonymous system monitoring data and results from their on-site assessments. The degree of preparation and vigilance… Continue Reading

16 yrs of change in global terrestrial human footprint and implications for biodiversity conservation

Article is open – Sixteen years of change in the global terrestrial human footprint and implications for biodiversity conservation. Nature Communications 7, Article number: 12558 (2016). doi:10.1038/ncomms12558. “Human pressures on the environment are changing spatially and temporally, with profound implications for the planet’s biodiversity and human economies. Here we use recently available data on infrastructure, land cover… Continue Reading