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President Obama Addresses Students

Today at noon the President will be broadcast into preK-12 schools across the nation to talk to students.  His remarks, released yesterday, will focus on the importance of making and meeting educational goals.  Assignment ideas accompanied the speech announcement, both for preK-6 and 7-12.  Since the talk was announced, there has been some controversy about it.  Some parents are concerned that it might be an attempt to politicize children.  An earlier version of the suggested activities included students writing a letter to themselves about how they could help the President, which upset many parents (the language has since been changed).  In the end, the decision of whether or not to show the speech is being left up to schools.  Some schools with show it, some will decline, some are taping it so that they can review it for content before showing it to their children.  What do you think?  If you are interested in more, you can check out the CNN article that includes speeches given by Presidents Regan and H.W. Bush to school children.  For a local view, you can look at the comments that accompany the articles in the Bloomington Herald-Times, both before and after the text of the speech was released.  And, of course, you can tune into the speech itself live at noon.

Labor Day

Labor Day is the first Monday in September, meaning that this year it is as late as it can ever get.  The first Labor Day was on September 5th, 1882.  It’s a mixed blessing—it is both a day of rest for those who need it, and it usually signals the beginning of school.  Though you still have to go to class, take a few minutes to enjoy the day and celebrate the week and a half of school already finished.  If you are interested, USA.gov has interesting Labor Day information, including history, union information, photos of Labor Days gone by, sources for employment law, and interesting labor statistics (Did you know that 288,000 people work two full time jobs?).

Digitized Serial Set Expanded

The Wells Library has purchased a campus-wide subscription to the LexisNexis Serial Set Digital Collection, 1970-2003.  This module expands our previous (1789-1969) digitized Serial Set coverage.

The modern Serial Set includes House and Senate documents and reports, Senate executive reports, and Senate treaty documents.  Historically, the Serial Set included special publications, unusual historical data, exhibits of congressional and executive branch commissions, executive branch publications, and investigations and inquiries.

When complete, the LexisNexis Serial Set Digital Collection, 1970-2003 will provide comprehensive, full-text access to over 50,000 Congressional documents and reports published in over 2,600 volumes of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set from 1970-present. The Serial Set Digital Collection also provides full text access to all Senate Executive Documents and Reports, 1817-1979.

Features include:

  • Controlled vocabulary indexing
  • Full-text searchable PDFs
  • Durable URLs, which you can place into your own bibliographies and syllabi

Search by:

  • Keyword
  • Committee
  • Legislative numbers (report and document numbers and even citations to bills, public laws, and Statutes at Large)

LexisNexis is digitizing this collection incrementally on a chronological basis, so right now there will be data only from the early 1970s. LexisNexis should have roughly 60% of the pages from 1970-2003 online by the end of 2009, with the remainder going online in 2010.

The Serial Set Digital Collection is fully integrated into LexisNexis Congressional, which is accessible from the Law Library’s Online Resources page (find it alphabetically or under the Government Resources category).

Economic Research

Here’s an update from, Katrina Stierholz, Director of Library and Research Information Services at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, on what’s new in FRASER  (Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research).

Federal Banking Laws and Reports

  • A compilation of major Federal banking documents from 1780 to 1912. It includes founding documents for the Bank of North America (1781), ordinances for the First and Second Bank of the United States (1791, 1816) as well as reports and proceedings. It was published for the 50th anniversary of the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency in 1963.

Penn Central Failure and the Role of Financial Institutions

  • Five staff reports of the U.S. House Committee on Banking and Currency examine the collapse of the Penn Central Transportation Company, the single largest bankruptcy declaration in U.S. history at the time.

Operation of the National and Federal Reserve Banking Systems

  • A seven-part hearing from 1931, before a subcommittee of the Committee on Banking and Currency, U.S. Senate, to “inquire into the banking situation of the country.”  Hearing is pursuant to Senate Resolution 71: to make a complete survey of the administration of National and Federal Reserve banking systems.

Shadow Open Market Committee Policy Statements (1973-1997)

  • The Shadow Open Market Committee (SOMC), an independent organization with members from academic institutions and private organizations, was founded by Professors Karl Brunner of the University of Rochester and Allan Meltzer of Carnegie-Mellon.  Its first semi-annual meeting was held on September 14, 1973.  The objective was to evaluate the policy choices and actions of the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee (FOMC).  Since 1973, the SOMC has met semi-annually to discuss economic policy.

Public Statements of Marriner S. Eccles, Chairman of the Board of Governors (1934-1948)

Public Statements of the Members of the Board of Governors.  Eccles (1948-1951)

Federal Reserve Bulletin, Now available from 1915-2003.

The ACLU on Facebook

The ACLU has just released a new quiz on Facebook—which tells you how much of your personal information is being collected when you take quizzes on Facebook.  (They recognize the irony.) According to the quiz, you might be unknowingly sharing your personal information every time you take a quiz. In fact, your information can be retrievable when your friends take quizzes.  For more, look at the SiliconValley.com report.

Thanks to the Law Librarian Blog for the heads up!

Finding Newspapers

As many of the cite-checkers on our journals can attest to, it is not always easy to find old newspapers.  The Law Library has current issues, and maybe a week back for several papers, but older materials can be quite difficult to find.  Some papers keep wonderful archives—if you want the New York Times, for example, they have a nice archive on their own website—you can get from 1981 for free (not in PDF), from 1922-1980 in PDF for a price, and from 1851-1922 in PDF for free.  If you really need a PDF you may need to go looking through microfiche at the Wells Library, or it is possible that it is part of the ProQuest Historical Newspapers database. 

For really old materials, though, the Library of Congress has a website called “Chronicling America.”  The site includes information about US newspapers back to 1690, and PDFs of newspapers from select states from 1880-1922.  You may not often need a newspaper article from 1899, but even if you are not looking for a specific piece it is a very interesting website to browse.  Even the advertisements in these newspapers are a little slice of history.  Go take a look!

A Different Kind of Tobacco Lawsuit

A few months ago we reported on new tobacco legislation, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.  This act makes it illegal to sell flavored cigarettes (except menthol), to advertise within 1,000ft of a school or playground, to have color ads in magazines whose readership is more than 15% minors, and regulates that the top 50% of cigarette packages be devoted to warnings.  Altria, the parent of Philip Morris and the Marlboro brand, supports the legislation.  It seems now that other companies do not.  Yesterday several tobacco companies brought suit, claiming that the new law infringes on their first amendment rights. The companies say that the new restrictions on advertising make it very difficult to communicate with their customers, saying that even on the individual packages of cigarettes there is very little room left for company branding.  Are the tobacco companies’ first amendment rights being infringed?  To help you decide try taking a look at the law (linked above), the lawsuit, and the write-ups in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and our own Herald-Times.

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