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Court Testimony on the New Reforms
In 2002 Congress enacted the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), the first major revision of federal campaign finance law in a generation. In March 2001, after a fiercely contested and highly divisive seven-year partisan legislative battle, the Senate passed S. 27, known as the McCain-Feingold legislation. The House responded by passing H.R. 2356, companion legislation known as Shays-Meehan, in February 2002. The Senate then approved the House-passed version, and President George W. Bush signed BCRA into law on March 27, 2002, stating that the bill had "flaws" but overall "improves the current system of financing for federal campaigns." The Reform Act was taken to court within hours of the President's signature. Dozens of interest groups and lawmakers who had opposed passage of the Act in Congress lodged complaints that challenged the constitutionality of virtually every aspect of the new law. Following review by a special three-judge panel, the case is expected to reach the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003. This litigation constitutes the most important campaign finance case since the Supreme Court issued its decision in Buckley v. Valeo more than twenty-five years ago. The testimony, submitted by some of the country's most knowledgeable political scientists and most experienced politicians, constitutes an invaluable body of knowledge about the complexities of campaign finance and the role of money in our political system. Unfortunately, only the lawyers, political scientists, and practitioners actually involved in the litigation have seen most of this writing until now. Ins ide the Campaign Finance Battle makes key testimony in this historic case available to a general readership, in the process shedding new light on campaign finance practices central to the congressional debate on the reform act and to the landmark litigation challenging its constitutionality.
Soft Money and Issue Advocacy in the 2002 Congressional Elections
The 2002 midterm elections were noteworthy U.S. congressional campaigns for many reasons. They marked the last national contests before implementation of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) and thus were expected by many to be the "last hurrah" for soft money. These midterm campaigns provided a window on the activity of parties, interest groups, and political consultants on the eve of BCRA, as they prepared to enter a new era of American elections. The results of Campaign 2002 were remarkable. As the party in power, the Republicans defied history by gaining seats in both houses of Congress, giving them a majority in the Senate. To some degree this resulted from the GOP's new emphasis on "ground war" voter mobilization. Another key was the unusually aggressive support of the sitting president, who leveraged his popularity to advance his party's candidates for Congress. Th e Last Hurrah? analyzes the role of soft money and issue advocacy in the 2002 battle for Congress. Having been granted access to a number of campaign operations across a broad array of groups, David Magleby, Quin Monson, and their colleagues monitored and documented a number of competitive races, including the key South Dakota and Missouri Senate contests. Each case study breaks down the campaign communication in a particular race, including devices such as advertising, get-out-the-vote drives, "soft money" expenditures, and the increasingly influential role of the national parties on local races. They also discuss the overall trends of the midterm election of 2002, paying particular attention to the impact of President Bush and his political operation in candidate recruitment, fundraising, and campaign visits. Magleby and Monson consider an important question typically overlooked. How do voters caught in the middle of a hotly contested race deal with and react to a barrage of television and radio ads, direct mail, unsolicited phone calls, and other campaign communications? They conclude with a look to the future, using the trends in 2002 to understand just how candidates, political parties, and interest groups might respond to the new campaign environment of BCRA.
New Steps in U.S.-Cuba Relations
Today the United States has little leverage to promote change in Cuba. Indeed, Cuba enjoys normal relations with virtually every country in the world, and American attempts to isolate the Cuban government have served only to elevate its symbolic predicament as an "underdog" in the international arena. A new policy of engagement toward Cuba is long overdue. From the Introduction
As longtime U.S. diplomats Vicki Huddleston and Carlos Pascual make painfully clear in their introduction, the United States is long overdue in rethinking its policy toward Cuba. This is a propitious time for such an undertaking the combination of change within Cuba and in the Cuban American community creates the most significant opening for a reassessment of U.S. policy since Fidel Castro took control in 1959. To that end, Huddleston and Pascual convened opinion leaders in the Cuban American community, leading scholars, and international diplomats from diverse backgrounds and political orientations to seek common ground on U.S. policy toward Cuba. This pithy yet authoritative analysis is the result.
In the quest for ideas that would support the emergence of a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Cuba one in which the Cuban people shape their political and economic future the authors conducted a series of simulations to identify the critical factors that the U.S. government should consider as it reformulates its Cuba policies. The advisers' wide-ranging expertise was applied to a series of hypothetical scenarios in which participants tested how different U.S. policy responses would affect a political transition in Cuba.
By modeling and analyzing the decisionmaking processes of the various strategic actors and stakeholders, the simulations identified factors that might influence the success or failure of specific policy options. They then projected how key actors such as the Cuban hierarchy, civil society, and the international and Cuban American communities might act and react to internal and external events that would logically be expected to occur in the near future.
The lessons drawn from these simulations led to the unanimous conclusion that the United States should adopt a proactive policy of critical and constructive engagement toward Cuba.
What International Assessments Tell Us about Math Achievement
Standards for education achievement are under scrutiny throughout the industrial world. In this technological age, student performance in mathematics is seen as being particularly important. For more than four decades, international assessments conducted by the International Association for Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) have measured how well students are learning mathematics in different countries. The latest round of mathematics testing of the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) takes place in 2007. Beyond the horse race the rankings that compare nations what have we learned from the wealth of data collected in these assessments? How do US math curriculums compare to those used overseas? Is the effect of technology in the classroom uniform across nations? How do popular math reforms fare abroad? Those are some of the critical issues tackled in this important book. The authors use the database to address several pressing questions about school policy and educational research. For example, Ina Mullis and Michael Martin review the major lessons learned over the history of TIMSS testing. William Schmidt and Richard T. Houang examine whether curricular breadth affects student achievement. Jeremy Kilpatrick, Vilma Mesa, and Finbarr Sloane evaluate American performance in algebra relative to other nations and pinpoint strengths and weaknesses in American students' learning of algebra.
Improving Accountability for Public Spending in Developing Countries
Because of its potential impact, and, in some cases, the harm it has brought, foreign aid is under the microscope. Donor countries, who don't want simply to give money away; recipient nations, who need to make the most of what they have and get; and analysts, policymakers, and writers are all scrutinizing how much is spent and where it goes. Perhaps more important, aid is only a small part of what developing country governments spend. Their own resources finance 80 percent or more of health and education spending except in the most aid-dependent countries. Lives in the Balance investigates a vital aspect of this landscape how best to ensure that public spending, including aid money, gets to the right destination.
The development of democratic institutions and the spread of cheap communications technology in developing countries make it possible for the "demand-side" citizens and civil society institutions to advocate for improved transparency, stronger accountability, better priorities, reduced corruption, and more emphasis on helping the poor. Securing real reform will depend not only on knowledge of how the recipient government operates, but also how to work with partner entities the media, the private sector, other organizations, and legislators to raise awareness and compel change.
Examining the Unexamined Goal
A generation ago little attention was focused on low-income homeownership. Today homeownership rates among under-served groups, including low-income households and minorities, have risen to record levels. These groups are no longer at the margin of the housing market; they have benefited from more flexible underwriting standards and greater access to credit. However, there is still a racial/ethnic gap and the homeownership rates of minority and low-income households are still well below the national average. This volume gathers the observations of housing experts on low-income homeownership and its effects on households and communities. The book is divided into five chapters which focus on the following subjects: homeownership trends in the 1990s; overcoming borrower constraints; financial returns to low-income homeowners; low-income loan performance; and the socioeconomic impact of homeownership.
New Partnerships for Real Change
Bringing change to our public school system is hard, and the current system of education governance creates barriers that can make that reform even harder. Here six authorities in public education discuss how local philanthropies can overcome them even if school districts cannot. Making School Reform Work identifies new institutions that can be created by foundations and civic groups to remedy deficiencies in local school governance, formulate bold reforms, and guarantee implementation. These institutions include incubators for starting new schools, independent data analysis centers, public-private partnerships for recruitment and training of school leaders, and new ways of funding and managing school facilities. The contributors are Sarah Brooks (Carleton College), Michael DeArmond (University of Washington), Marguerite Roza (University of Washington), and Abigail Winger (Milwaukee consultant).
Local Rigors of U.S. Environmental Regulation
Federal policies have made great progress protecting the environment. But the policies sometimes have imposed inordinate costs on local governments. Managing Green Mandates describes how various federal environmental directives do not suit diverse conditions at the local level, and compel local communities to spend their revenues on reducing relatively minor risks to the public health. While policymakers have thrown far-reaching requirements at the feet of local authorities, the federal government is providing them less aid to comply with the increasingly stringent standards. The burden of these underfunded mandates can further disadvantage many overtaxed municipalities. Pietro Nivola is a senior fellow in the Governmental Studies program at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of The Laws of the Landscape: How Politics Shape Cities in Europe and America (Brookings 1999). Jon Shields is a graduate student in the Department of Government and Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia.
India is now enmeshed in the deterrence game actively with its traditional adversary Pakistan, and potentially with China. At the same time it is finding easier access to fissile materials and strategic technologies. In order to deal with these developments safely and wisely, the nation needs a much more sophisticated and multidisciplinary understanding of the strategic, technological, operational, and cost issues involved in nuclear matters.
In this important book, Indian strategic analyst Verghese Koithara explains and evaluates India's nuclear force management, encouraging a broad public conversation that may act as a catalyst for positive change before the subcontinent experiences unthinkable carnage.
The defense management system of a nuclear power absolutely needs to be sound and thorough. In addition to the considerable demands of managing its nuclear forces, it also must control conventional forces in a manner that forestalls nuclear escalation of a conflict by either side. Expanding and upgrading nuclear forces without enhancing deterrence is dangerous and should be avoided. India's nuclear force management system is grafted onto a woefully inadequate overall system of defense management.
Koithara dissects all of these issues and suggests a way forward, drawing on recent developments in deterrence theory around the world.
Patents, Copyright, and Software
This lively and innovative book is about computer code and the legal controls and restrictions on those who write it. The widespread use of personal computers and the Internet have made it possible to release new data or tools instantaneously to virtually the entire world. However, while the digital revolution allows quick and extensive use of these intellectual properties, it also means that their developers face new challenges in retaining their rights as creators. Drawing on a host of examples, Ben Klemens describes and analyzes the intellectual property issues involved in the development of computer software. He focuses on software patents because of their powerful effect on the software market, but he also provides an extensive discussion of how traditional copyright laws can be applied to code. The book concludes with a discussion of recommendations to ease the constraints on software development. This is the first book to confront these problems with serious policy solutions. It is sure to become the standard reference for software developers, those concerned with intellectual property issues, and for policymakers seeking direction. It is critical that public policy on these issues facilitates progress rather than hindering it. There is too much at stake.