Archive for March 20th, 2009

Kundra takes leave of absence from federal CIO post

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Computer World:

March 13, 2009 (Computerworld) WASHINGTON — The fallout from Thursday’s arrests of a District of Columbia IT security official and contractor quickly raised questions about the fate of Vivek Kundra, the new federal CIO who until recently ran the office now mired in bribery allegations.

Until his appointment by President Barack Obama as CIO less than two weeks ago, Kundra was chief technology officer for the District of Columbia. But yesterday, Kundra’s former ninth-floor office in a downtown government building was a crime scene. A police officer was stationed in the office lobby while investigators searched through records.

2009 Cavalier Film Festival

Friday, March 20th, 2009

JCCC:

CALLING ALL FILMMAKERS: ENTRIES DUE MARCH 23 FOR CAVALIER FILM FESTIVAL

Get ready for the 2009 Cavalier Film Festival! Students are invited to submit their film work to be viewed and judged by film professionals in the greater Kansas City area. In addition to receiving valuable critiques, students will have the opportunity to have their work viewed on the big screen, as well as receive valuable awards and prizes! Don’t miss this exciting opportunity!

Entries must be turned in with a completed entry form by 5 p.m. by Monday, March 23, at the Student Information Desk, 106 SC.

More information and printable entry forms can be found at www.jccc.edu/filmfest

Please contact Morgan at mhonnol1@jccc.edu or ext. 7657 for more information or details.

KU paper: Leadership changes come during an uncertain time

Friday, March 20th, 2009

KU University Daily Kansan:

The University Administration faces major changes as the University bids farewell to Chancellor Robert Hemenway and Provost Richard Lariviere. In these economically uncertain times, both top-ranking positions will need to be filled quickly by a search committee selected by the Kansas Board of Regents.

In December, Hemenway, after 14 years of leadership, announced that he would retire at the end of the 2008-2009 academic year.

As the University’s chief executive, Hemenway directed all the University’s campuses, research facilities and educational centers.

On March 2, Hemenway announced that Lariviere, provost and executive vice chancellor, had been selected to become the president of the University of Oregon, a position he would take on July 1.

As the chief operations and academic officer on the Lawrence and Edwards campuses, Lariviere is tasked with fulfilling the mission of the University alongside the chancellor, administrators, faculty, staff and students. Lariviere has been at the University for three years.

Webinar: Increasing Cognitive Engagement in the Online Classroom

Friday, March 20th, 2009

JCCC:

INCREASING COGNITIVE ENGAGEMENT ONLINE IS TOPIC OF MARCH 26 WEBINAR

In a traditional classroom, it doesn’t take Miss Marple to detect students’ lack of engagement. The heavy eyelids … the doodling … the faint, furious scrabbling of text messages. Caps pulled down, heads in hands, heads on desks.  Subtle, it’s not.

Things are different in an online classroom. You don’t really know how students are reacting: whether they’re fully engaged or even fully awake.  Certainly the risks of disengagement are high. Online students don’t experience the social elements – the group dynamics – that lend immediacy to the traditional classroom. And wherever they are, they’re presented with substantially greater opportunities for distraction. If they’re feeling bored, it’s simple enough to pick up a phone, a video game or the car keys.

So it’s fair to say that student engagement is a significant issue in your online classroom. You’ll get some practical advice and innovative strategies for boosting engagement in the new online seminar, Increasing Cognitive Engagement in the Online Classroom, featuring presenter, Dr. B. Jean Mandernach of nearby Park University.  You’ll receive a wealth of tools for keeping online students involved and focused, including:  Methods of engaging online students efficiently and effectively; Empirically supported instructional strategies to increase students’ interest; Ways to modify instructional approaches to be more active and authentic; Low- (or no-) cost strategies that foster a personal connection with students; and Insights into the cognitive barriers associated with online learning.

Staff Development is pleased to present this Webinar from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, March 26, in 264 GEB.  Registration is required; you may do so through MyJCCC using CRN 30483.  Questions may be directed to staffdev.dept@jccc.edu or Ext. 7654.

Computer World on online tax filing

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Computer World:

The move to online tax filing in the U.S. continues apace, according to a new survey from The Conference Board and TNS:

About 40 percent of online households are planning to file their federal taxes online this year, up from less than 34 percent four years ago, according to The Consumer Internet Barometer, a quarterly report produced by The Conference Board, the global business research and membership organization, and TNS, a global market insight and information group. The report surveys 10,000 households across the country and tracks who’s doing what on the Internet.

The report notes that the security of online tax filing is less of a concern for consumers than it was a few years ago:

Those who are extremely concerned with the security of filing taxes online have dropped from about 50 percent in 2005 to only 36 percent today. Conversely, those who claim they are not very concerned or not concerned at all have increased to nearly 40 percent from 27 percent five years ago.

Really? With a steady stream of data breaches and a rising tide of identity theft over the past few years, people are less concerned about sending their most personal of personal information over the Internet?

I certainly understand the appeal of online filing — it’s quick and convenient and much greener than printing out paper. But I just don’t think the security risks are worth it.

Brownback on AIG

Friday, March 20th, 2009

The Star:

In a statement, Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas said, “I will do everything I can to see that AIG returns its bonus money to taxpayers. Any AIG executive who received a bonus should return it or be fired.”

JCCC: Staff Development to present online seminar ‘Increasing Cognitive Engagement in the Online Classroom’

Friday, March 20th, 2009

From JCCC:

MARCH 26 WEBINAR FOCUSES ON INCREASING COGNITIVE ENGAGEMENT ONLINE

Staff Development is pleased to present a new online seminar, “Increasing Cognitive Engagement in the Online Classroom,” with Dr. B. Jean Mandernach of Park University from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, March 26 in GEB 264.

In a traditional classroom, it doesn’t take Miss Marple to detect students’ lack of engagement. The heavy eyelids … the doodling … the faint, furious scrabbling of text messages. Caps pulled down, heads in hands, heads on desks.  Subtle, it’s not.

Things are different in an online classroom. You don’t really know how students are reacting … whether they’re fully engaged or, for that matter, even fully awake.  Certainly the risks of disengagement are high. Online students don’t experience the social elements – the group dynamics – that lend immediacy to the traditional classroom. And wherever they are, they’re presented with substantially greater opportunities for distraction … if they’re feeling bored, it’s simple enough to pick up a phone, a video game or the car keys.

So it’s fair to say that student engagement is a significant issue in your online classroom. You’ll get some practical advice and innovative strategies for boosting engagement, including a wealth of tools for keeping online students involved and focused:

·         Methods of engaging online students efficiently and effectively,

·         Empirically supported instructional strategies to increase students’ interest,

·         Ways to modify instructional approaches to be more active and authentic,

·         Low- (or no-) cost strategies that foster a personal connection with students, and

·         Insights into the cognitive barriers associated with online learning.

Registration is required; you may do so through MyJCCC using CRN 30483.  Questions may be directed to staffdev.dept@jccc.edu or ext. 7654.

Computer World — Memo to Microsoft: Avoid Yahoo like the plague

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Computer World:

The Associated Press reports that there’s renewed speculation that a Microsoft-Yahoo deal may be in the offing because Yahoo’s CFO  said the company is “not opposed” to selling its search business. He added, though, that it would be tough to sell just the search business — clearly, he’d like to sell the whole thing.

Ballmer previously this week said that Microsoft is still interested in talking with Yahoo.

Microsoft should stay away. It’s this simple: Microsoft will never catch Google when it comes to search. It shouldn’t spend billions of dollars trying.

Instead, Microsoft should focus on where it’s stronger than Google, in the application business. It should create online versions of its applications such as Office, and fight Google there. Microsoft also has many very good online applications that few people have heard about, such as Live Mesh and Live Sync. It should pump money into them as well.

The five biggest changes from Windows 7 beta

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Computer World:

Microsoft just released details of changes it’s made since the beta of Windows 7 was released. Here are the top five changes.

The Engineering Windows 7 blog lists three dozen changes. None are earth-shaking. But here are the top five changes:

At-Tab integrates with Aero Peek

Aero Peek is one of the niftiest new features of Windows 7, and lets you “peek” underneath open windows to the desktop. With the latest build of Windows 7, when you use Alt-Tab, Windows Peek also springs into action, but only when you want it.

It’s easier to spot newly installed programs

Whenever I install new software, I generally want to run it, and right away. But software doesn’t always launch right after installation. With Windows, it usually takes some hunting and pecking to find your newly installed software. No longer. Now the icon for newly installed software will automatically be placed at the bottom of the Start menu, so you can easily find it.

UAC improvements

Microsoft continued to tinker with UAC. In the previous beta, there were complaints it was so watered down that safety was compromised. New tweaks supposedly make it safer.

AARP: As the economy nose-dives, a debit card for your 401(k) is stirring up controversy

Friday, March 20th, 2009

AARP:

When the gas tank is empty, the mortgage is due, or your spouse’s job has just been cut, it’s natural to search everywhere for the cash to keep up financially. That’s when tapping into your retirement nest egg can become increasingly tempting—especially when it’s as easy as swiping a card at the cash register. And that’s exactly what the 401(k) debit card will let you do.

But not without some controversy.

In recent weeks, financial industry overseers have warned consumers that using the debit card can result in paying excessive fees, spending retirement savings on unnecessary expenses, and draining accounts intended to be a retirement safety net. The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging has also discussed the issue in hearings, and two senators have introduced legislation to prohibit employers from offering the cards to employees who have 401(k) accounts.

But why such a strong reaction against this particular way of borrowing against your 401(k) funds at a time when the economy is in turmoil, banks are tightening credit, and your home equity is rapidly deflating?

NRO: Are Those Darn ‘Youths’ Are At It Again?

Friday, March 20th, 2009

NRO:

Are Those Darn “Youths” Are At It Again? [Andy McCarthy]

What kind of “youths”?  Why, Asian youths, of course.  From the UK Jewish Chronicle:

A Birmingham school is looking into claims by a 12-year-old girl, its only Jewish pupil, that she was terrorised by a mob of 20 youths chanting “Kill all Jews” and “Death to Jews” on her way home from school on Friday.

Eden Simones-Jones and some friends were standing outside a shop at a bus stop on their way home from Moseley College.
She said: “One of my friends said an Asian [South Asian] girl from the year above asked her why she was talking to me because I am Jewish. I asked the girl in a friendly manner if she had a problem with me being Jewish. She said ‘yeah, I do’.
“I managed to punch her before she hit me but then she grabbed me by the hair and swung me around shouting ‘f****** Jews, I hate Jews’.
“But then another Asian girl rounded up a whole gang. They were all in school uniform and they came running towards me shouting ‘death to Jews’ and ‘kill all Jews.’”

History of judicial activism

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Bench Memos:

This Day in Liberal Judicial Activism—January 31 [Ed Whelan]

2006—Upon the Senate’s confirmation of Samuel Alito’s Supreme Court nomination, Justice O’Connor’s July 2005 decision to retire from active service takes effect.  Plucked by President Reagan from the obscurity of an Arizona intermediate appellate court in 1981, O’Connor failed to live up to her early promise.  Averse to any judicial principle that would limit her discretion in future cases, O’Connor was notorious for her inconsistency.  Worse, in her last 15 years on the Court, she cast her vote for liberal judicial activist results in many major cases.  Her jurisprudential legacy consists primarily of the infinitely malleable and subjective standards that she concocted, such as her “endorsement” standard for review of Establishment Clause claims (a standard endorsed by no other justice) and her “undue burden” standard for abortion regulations.

Legislative update from Todd Tiahrt

Friday, March 20th, 2009

A recent legislative update from Congressman Todd Tiahrt:

U.S. Capitol Update
March 9, 2009

Dear Friend,

Welcome to this weeks U.S. Capitol Update.

Freezing Federal Spending Levels
The unemployment numbers released last week (8.1 percent nationally) only confirm what American families across the country have been experiencing. Far too many workers are out of a job, and it is the responsibility of this Congress to find solutions that help get people back to work. There are tools available that would immediately offer incentives for businesses to hire workers, invest in capital, increase exports, and boost sales.

Unfortunately, Democrats in Washington are content to grow the size of the federal government instead of helping businesses create high-paying, high-quality jobs for American workers. (more…)

Perry: What Does Annual Real GDP Growth Tell Us?

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Mark Perry:

Quarterly growth rates in real GDP receive a lot of media attention, and we hear a lot of comparisons of today’s economic conditions to the Great Depression, but what about looking at annual real GDP growth over a longer period of time to get a little historical perspective? Tim Iacono makes that point here on Seeking Alpha. The chart above (click to enlarge) shows annual real GDP growth from 1930 to 2008.


Much of the discussion about the “worst economy since the Great Depression©” assumes that we are already close to the economic conditions of the 1930s. The chart below of annual real GDP growth from 1970-2008 shows that the economic conditions of 2008 (measured by real GDP growth) aren’t even as bad yet as the 2001 recession, when real GDP grew at .80% for the year. And assuming the consensus forecast of -.30% real GDP growth for 2009 is accurate, the 2008-2009 recession (+1.3% and -0.30% consecutive growth rates) would be a little more severe the 1990-1991 recession (+1.9% and -0.20%), but less severe than the recessions of 1974-1975 and 1981-1982.

Star: Former MSM reporters taking jobs with the administration, fueling debate on favoritism

Friday, March 20th, 2009

The Star last month:

WASHINGTON | Republicans have long accused mainstream journalists of being on the payroll of President Obama and the Democratic Party, a common refrain of favoritism especially from those on the losing end of an election (see Bush vs. Gore, Clinton vs. Bush and Bush vs. Dukakis).

But this year the accusation has a new twist, The New York Times reports: In some notable cases it has become true, with several prominent journalists now on the payrolls of Obama and the Democratic Congressional leadership.

An unusual number of journalists from prominent, mainstream organizations started new government jobs in January, providing new kindling to the debate over whether Mr. Obama is receiving unusually favorable treatment in the news media.

Redstate: The nuance of the pro-torture Left (HRW edition)

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Redstate.com:

Good term, Wizbang: I like it. Anyway, via Dissenting Justice (via Instapundit) we can see in miniature the… ah, evolution of our opposite numbers on the Online Left’s stance on Obama’s reversion to rendition. Our hypocrites for the day are Human Rights Watch*:

April 7, 2008 to at least January 19, 2009:

The US government should:

·Repudiate the use of rendition to torture as a counterterrorism tactic and permanently discontinue the CIA’s rendition program;

Some time after January 20, 2009:

“Under limited circumstances, there is a legitimate place” for renditions, said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. “What I heard loud and clear from the president’s order was that they want to design a system that doesn’t result in people being sent to foreign dungeons to be tortured — but that designing that system is going to take some time.”

Kansas First Student Workers Choose Teamsters Union

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Press Release:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — School bus drivers, attendants and mechanics who work at First Student in Blue Valley, Kansas, took the first major step to a better workplace by voting 71-14 to join Teamsters Local 838 in Kansas City, Missouri. The workers united in order to secure fairness, respect and improved working conditions.

“It’s all kind of surreal that we did this; we’re very happy right now,” said Teresa Christensen, a First Student driver in Blue Valley. “We need to be better appreciated, by having fair pay, guaranteed hours and affordable health care. We need fair treatment and are looking forward to getting these things.”

The workers formed a strong committee to organize at their location. They also had the support of workers at the First Student school bus yard in Olathe, Kansas, a few of which came to talk with the Blue Valley workers about what it’s like to be Teamster members. The 228 workers in Olathe became Teamsters with Local 838 in October. There are 135 workers at the Blue Valley First Student location.