Archive for June, 2009


Supreme Court’s New Haven Case Ruling Reflects Poorly on Sotomayor


George LaNoue

LaNoue, an expert on the Supreme Court, weighs in on today’s SCOTUS ruling in the Ricci v. DeStefano case.

“The majority decision is a narrow one with far reaching implications. The Court returned to the original purposes of Title VII which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion or gender and the specific provision that employers can not alter the outcome of legitimate employment selection systems to create preferred group outcomes.

The court did not change the standard that employments tests have to be valid as related to specific jobs, but it did say employers had to have a “strong basis  in evidence” that a test was not valid before abandoning it.
The decision is significant because Title VII applies to both public and private employers.  The Court held that the outcome of valid tests may not reflect discrimination even if group pass rates are different (the disparate impact theory).  The Ricci decision stands as a barrier to those who would make racial patronage the key to public service jobs or who advocate that proportional representation is the standard by these jobs should be allocated.

The decision indirectly reflects poorly on the jurisprudence of Judge Sotomayor who without engaging in any substantive analysis had earlier approved New Haven’s decision to abandon the tests. The 5/4, 93-page decision and Justice Ginsburg’s 39-page dissent makes Judge Sotomayor’s earlier treatment of the case look shallow.”



Immigrant family separation hurts education

1592ECONOMICS PROFESSOR TIM GINDLING was a guest on WYPR’s Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast June 10 to discuss research he conducted with Dr. Sara Poggio on the education challenges faced by children of Latin American immigrants. Listen to the full story here and a Web Extra clip from WYPR here.


Twitter Revolution in Iran? Tools for Tumultuous Times


The massive protests in the wake of Iran’s disputed election demonstrate how many-to-many communication technologies have the potential to radically change the nature of civic participation. Iran is not the first instance where these tools have been deployed to challenge a regime – from the Philippines to Burma, from the pro-immigrant rallies in the United States organized through text-messaging to Iran where Twitter has emerged as a central information dissemination channel, people are turning to their cell phones and their computers during times of upheaval.

Repressive regimes everywhere have long depended on their monopoly over one-to-many communication –i.e., they, and only they, can broadcast– and their ability to keep their population isolated from each other and the world. However, the genie seems to be finding it easier and easier to escape from the bottle. In Iran people are coordinating protests, organizing rallies and informing each other and the rest of the world of the latest developments through Twitter, Flicker, YouTube, Blogs and Facebook. In tumultuous times, these tools provide the opportunity to focus and direct the energy and the anger of millions of people.



Smog Blog live blogs Maryland’s Place in Space

From UMBC Physics Professor Ray Hoff’s Smog Blog Saturday, May 30:

We are coming to you live from the Baltimore Convention Center and will be live blogging a special feature with visitors to the UMBC booth. In the words of one of the Convention visitors “Wow, was that ever cool!”

The hit was Marci Delaney’s lunar rover competition where visitors to the booth built lunar rovers out of cardboard, sticks and wheels and had to get an egg to roll down a ramp without dumping the egg.

As an example of a blog post, we put the following images together live in the Convention Center. On top, we show smoke from yesterday’s fires in Central America. Below, today’s fires from the US south and Texas2009_05_30_CA2009_05_30_USEAST

UMBC’s Faculty Experts Vlog


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