Thursday, June 17, 2021

Making It Easier for People to Find Federal Agencies

"Finding contact information for a federal department or agency is a top task at USA.gov and USAGov en EspaƱol. Our A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies directory is a popular feature and the result of many years of user testing and website user metrics. 

Over time, we’ve noticed a pain point when people search to find a government agency on our site. If someone searches for a federal agency using the USA.gov main search box located in the header, our agencies directory content doesn’t always appear high in the search results. Search.gov powers that search box and many others across the federal government. We consulted with them to find out how to change the situation. There were no short-term changes we could make to improve the search results, so we began looking for other options.

We decided to try adding a second search box to our agencies directory pages. It would search our agency content only. But two search boxes on a page can sometimes be confusing instead of helpful to users. Before this additional feature went live, we did user testing with a working prototype in one of our development environments.

Our goals for the user test were to:

  • Learn if people noticed the agency-only search box
  • Find out if people were inclined to use the agency-only search box
  • Discover if people thought the federal agency search was useful and effective
  • Find out if having two search boxes on one page would be confusing

Based on testing, we found that users noticed the new agency-only search box and found it easy to use. Some research participants weren’t clear about the difference between our two search boxes on the page. This was particularly true when a user was on a government agency's directory page, for example, the Social Security Administration page, and they were asked during testing to search for something that was not a federal agency. To address this issue:

  1. We took a close look at website usage data to see if it was common for users on the agencies directory pages to seek information other than agency contact information. It turns out that it’s not common. Most people come to the agencies directory to get contact information, and then leave.
  2. We made some design changes to our prototype to give our users visual clues that the search boxes were different, and integrated the agency-only search box more closely with the directory navigation elements.."
    Federal Agencies
     

Even Prior to Pandemic, Working Women Couldn’t Take Time Off When They Needed

"The COVID pandemic has thrown into sharp relief the struggles of working women in the U.S., amplifying the challenges they face as they try to succeed in the labor market while juggling family and personal responsibilities.

Even before COVID, though, many were in the position of needing time off but not being able to take it. Indeed, among all working women in the U.S., 1 in 10 had that exact experience in the prior month, according to the 2017-2018 American Time Use Survey Leave Module, a nationally-representative survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics sponsored by the Women’s Bureau.

Chart 1 shows which women are most likely to forego time off. The complete text for chart 1 is available at the bottom of the post.

Notes: Based on the main job of employed civilian, non-institutionalized women ages 16 and older. Results not shown for women in Natural resources, construction & maintenance due to insufficient sample size. Hispanics may be of any race. Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, American Time Use Survey Leave Module 2017-2018. Graphic: U.S. Department of Labor Women's Bureau. (plain text chart)

Women working in service occupations – who were also the least likely to have access to paid leave – were among the most likely to report having needed but not taken leave (13.5%). The shares foregoing leave were also high among African American women (15.4%) and those lacking a high school diploma (14.1%).

On the flip side, women working in production, transportation and material moving, and Asian women were among the least likely to report having needed but not taken leave (7.6% and 7.9% did so, respectively)

Chart 2 shows that the biggest share of women who forego time off need it for their own health care. Complete text for chart 2 is available at the bottom of the post.

Notes: Based on the main job of employed civilian, non-institutionalized women ages 16 and older. Respondents could provide more than one reason. Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, American Time Use Survey Leave Module 2017-2018. Graphic: U.S. Department of Labor Women's Bureau. (plain text chart)

By far the largest share of all women who needed but didn’t take leave (42%) reported needing to take off for their own illness or medical care. Sizeable shares also reported needing time off for errands or personal needs (26%), or to care for a family member who was ill or had medical needs (20%). Some 8% needed but did not take time off for child care (respondents could report more than one reason for needing time off)..."
Working women 

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Get Transcript

"WHAT'S NEW?

Caution: The Get Transcript Service is for individual taxpayers to retrieve their own transcripts for their own purposes. Use by any other entities is prohibited.

You can get various Form 1040-series transcript types online or by mail. If you need your prior year Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) to e-file, choose the tax return transcript type when making your request. To find out how much you owe or to verify your payment history, you can view your tax account.

The method you used to file your tax return, e-file or paper, and whether you had a balance due, affects your current year transcript availabilityNote: If you need a photocopy of your return, you must use Form 4506.

 

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  • a mobile phone linked to your name (for faster registration) or ability to receive an activation code by mail.

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  • All transcript types are available online
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  • Return or Account transcript types delivered by mail
  • Transcripts arrive in 5 to 10 calendar days at the address we have on file for you.."
    IRS transcript
     

Final Report: Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry

"Aerospace will be at the core of America’s leadership and strength in the 21st century. The role of aerospace in establishing America’s global leadership was incontrovertibly proved in the last century. This industry opened up new frontiers to the world, such as freedom of flight and access to space. It provided products that defended our nation, sustained our economic prosperity and safeguarded the very freedoms we commonly enjoy as Americans. It has helped forge new inroads in medicine and science, and fathered the development of commercial products that have improved our quality of life.

Given a continued commitment to pushing the edge of man’s engineering, scientific and manufacturing expertise, there is the promise of still more innovations and new frontiers yet to be discovered. It is imperative that the U.S. aerospace industry remains healthy to preserve the balance of our leadership today and to ensure our continued leadership tomorrow.

Our Urgent Purpose


The contributions of aerospace to our global leadership have been so successful that it is assumed U.S. preeminence in aerospace remains assured. Yet the evidence would indicate this to be far from the case. The U.S. aerospace industry has consolidated to a handful of players—from what was once over 70 suppliers in 1980 down to 5 prime contractors today. Only one U.S. commercial prime aircraft manufacturer remains. Not all of these surviving companies are in strong business health. The U.S. airlines that rely upon aerospace products find their very existence is threatened. They absorbed historical losses of over $7 billion in 2001 and potentially more this year.."
Aerospace industry 

New Documents Show Trump Repeatedly Pressed DOJ to Overturn Election Results Before Inciting Capitol Attack

"Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, released new documents showing President Trump’s efforts to pressure the Department of Justice (DOJ) to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 presidential election.  At 2:00 p.m., the Committee will hold its second hearing on the events of January 6, 2021, in which insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol to disrupt a joint session of Congress convened to count Electoral College votes.

 

“These documents show that President Trump tried to corrupt our nation’s chief law enforcement agency in a brazen attempt to overturn an election that he lost,” Chairwoman Maloney said.  “Those who aided or witnessed President Trump’s unlawful actions must answer the Committee’s questions about this attempted subversion of democracy.  My Committee is committed to ensuring that the events leading to the violent January 6 insurrection are fully investigated.”

 

On May 21, 2021, the Committee sent a letter to DOJ requesting documents relating to President Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election prior to the January 6 attack. 

 

Documents obtained by the Committee in response to this letter show that in December 2020 and early January 2021, President Trump, his Chief of Staff, and outside allies repeatedly put pressure on senior DOJ officials to challenge the results of the presidential election and advance unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud, with the apparent goal of keeping President Trump in power despite losing the 2020 election.

 

President Trump Sent Bogus Election Fraud Claims to Top DOJ Officials Minutes Before Announcing Their Promotions to the Top Two Spots in the Department

 

  • On December 14, 2020—the day electors in each state certified the Electoral College votes—President Trump’s White House Assistant sent an email with the subject “From POTUS” to then-Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.  The email attached materials about alleged voter fraud in Antrim County, Michigan, including “talking points” that asserted, “a Cover-up is Happening regarding the voting machines in Michigan,” and, “Michigan cannot certify for Biden.”

 

  • Just two minutes after President Trump’s assistant sent these documents to Mr. Rosen, then-Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, through his assistant, sent the same documents to the U.S. Attorneys for the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan. 

 

  • Approximately 40 minutes after sending this phony voter fraud information, President Trump tweeted that Attorney General Barr—who had said publicly that he had not seen widespread election fraud—would be stepping down, that Mr. Rosen would serve as Acting Attorney General, and that Mr. Donoghue would serve as Acting Deputy Attorney General..."
    Trump and Election results
     

Juneteenth National Holiday

"S.475 — 117th Congress (2021-2022)All Information (Except Text)

 

Text available as:

Shown Here:
Engrossed in Senate (06/15/2021)


117th CONGRESS
1st Session


S. 475

AN ACT

To amend title 5, United States Code, to designate Juneteenth National Independence Day as a legal public holiday.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the “Juneteenth National Independence Day Act”.

SEC. 2. JUNETEENTH NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE DAY AS A LEGAL PUBLIC HOLIDAY.

Section 6103(a) of title 5, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to Memorial Day the following:

“ Juneteenth National Independence Day, June 19.”.

Passed the Senate June 15, 2021..."
Juneteenth
 

Avoid bug bites

"Bugs, including mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and flies, can spread diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and Lyme. While some cases are mild, these diseases can be severe and have lasting consequences. Some diseases caused by bug bites can be prevented with vaccines or medication, like yellow fever and malaria; however, many cannot, such as Zika and Lyme. On your trip. avoid bug bites to prevent getting sick. 

Check Your Destination

Your destination and activities may determine what steps you need to take to protect yourself from bug bites. Check CDC Destinations pages to see what vaccines or medicines you may need and what diseases or health risks are a concern at your destination.

Your Activities Can Increase Your Risk for Bug Bites

Some activities put you more at risk for bug bites than others. Activities that can increase your chances of getting bug bites include hiking, camping, working with animals, and visiting farms and forested areas.

Take Steps to Prevent Bug Bites During Your Trip

Use insect repellent

repellent

  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the active ingredients below. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
    • DEET
    • Picaridin (known as KBR 3023 and icaridin outside the US)
    • IR3535
    • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
    • Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
    • 2-undecanone

Find the right insect repellent for you by using EPA's search tool.

repellent on child

  • If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first, and insect repellent second.
  • Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
  • Insect repellent tips for babies and children
    • Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs.
    • Cover strollers and baby carriers with mosquito netting.
    • When using insect repellent on your child:
      • Always follow label instructions.
      • Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children under 3 years old.
      • Do not apply insect repellent to a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, cuts, or irritated skin.
        • Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.

Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants

Treat clothing and gear with permethrin

permethrin on gear

  • Use 0.5% permethrin to treat clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents) or buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
    • Permethrin is an insecticide that kills or repels mosquitoes.
    • Permethrin-treated clothing provides protection after multiple washings..
    • Read product information to find out how long the protection will last.
  • If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions.
  • Do not use permethrin products directly on skin.
  • Watch the video What You Need to Know About Permethrin.

Keep mosquitoes out of your hotel room or lodging

  • Choose a hotel or lodging with air conditioning or window and door screens.
  • Use a mosquito net if you are unable to stay in a place with air conditioning or window and door screens or if you are sleeping outside.

Sleep under a mosquito net

bed net

  • Sleep under a mosquito net if you are outside or when screened rooms are not available. Mosquitoes can live indoors and bite during the day and night.
  • Buy a mosquito net at your local outdoor store or online before traveling overseas.
  • Choose a mosquito net that is compact, white, rectangular, with 156 holes per square inch, and long enough to tuck under the mattress.
  • Permethrin-treated mosquito nets provide more protection than untreated nets.
    • Permethrin is an insecticide that kills mosquitoes and other insects.
    • To determine if you can wash a treated mosquito net, follow the label instructions.

If you are bitten by mosquitoes, avoid scratching the bites and apply over-the-counter anti-itch or antihistamine cream to relieve itching. See Mosquito Bite Symptoms and Treatment.

Additional steps you can take to prevent or quickly find tick bites

Prevent Tick Bites

  • Know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals. Spending time outside walking your dog, camping, gardening, or hunting could bring you in close contact with ticks. Many people get ticks in their own yard or neighborhood.
  • Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings. Alternatively, you can buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. EPA’s helpful search tool can help you find the product that best suits your needs. Always follow product instructions. Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old.
  • Avoid Contact with Ticks
    • Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
    • Walk in the center of trails.

Find and Remove Ticks

  • Check your clothing for ticks. Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing. Any ticks that are found should be removed. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended. Cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks.
  • Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and daypacks.
  • Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting tickborne diseases. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it is a good opportunity to do a tick check.
stethoscope

If you traveled and feel sick, particularly if you have a fever, talk to a healthcare provider and tell them about your travel. Avoid contact with other people while you are sick.

If you need medical care abroad, see Getting Health Care Abroad..."
Bug bites
 

Preventing swine flu

"Pigs can be infected with their own influenza viruses (called swine influenza) that are usually different from human flu viruses. While rare, influenza can spread from pigs to people and from people to pigs. When people get swine flu viruses, it’s usually after contact with pigs. This has happened in different settings, including fairs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people take the following actions to help prevent the spread of flu between pigs and people.

CDC Recommendations for People with High Risk Factors:

  • Anyone who is at high risk of serious flu complications planning to attend a setting where pigs will be present should avoid pigs and swine barns.
  • People who are at high risk of serious flu complications include children younger than 5 years, people 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with certain long-term health conditions (like asthma and other lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune systems, and neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions).

CDC Recommendations for People Not at High Risk:

  • Don’t take food or drink into pig areas; don’t eat, drink or put anything in your mouth in pig areas.
  • Don’t take toys, pacifiers, cups, baby bottles, strollers, or similar items into pig areas.
  • Avoid close contact with pigs that look or act ill.
  • Take protective measures if you must come in contact with pigs that are known or suspected to be sick. This includes minimizing contact with pigs and wearing personal protective equipment like protective clothing, gloves and masks that cover your mouth and nose when contact is required.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and running water before and after exposure to pigs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • To further reduce the risk of infection, minimize contact with pigs in the pig barn and arenas.
  • Watch your pig (if you have one) for illness. Call a veterinarian if you suspect illness.
  • Avoid contact with pigs if you have flu symptoms. Wait to have contact with pigs until 7 days after your illness started or until you have been without fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, whichever is longer. If you must have contact with pigs while you are sick, take the protective actions listed above.

People with high risk factors who develop flu symptoms should call a health care provider. Tell them about your high risk factor and any exposure to pigs or swine barns you’ve had recently. Human seasonal flu vaccine will not protect against commonly circulating swine influenza viruses, but prescription influenza antiviral drugs can treat infections with these viruses in people..."
Swine flu 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Defense Primer: Emerging Technologies

"Both U.S. national strategy documents and Congress’s own bipartisan Future of Defense Task Force Report have identified a number of emerging technologiesthat could have a disruptive impact on U.S. national security in the years to come. These technologiesinclude

 artificial intelligence,
 lethal autonomous weapons,
 hypersonic weapons,
 directed-energy weapons,
 biotechnology, and
 quantum technology.

As these technologies continue to mature, they could hold significant implications for congressional oversight, U.S. defense authorizations and appropriations, military concepts of operations, and the future of war.."
Defense and technologies 

VFC Information for Parents

"The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program offers vaccines at no cost to eligible children through health care providers enrolled in the program. Vaccinating on time means healthier children, families, and communities. Find out if your child qualifies for the VFC program.

Children who are eligible for the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program can receive vaccines at no cost through a national network of participating health care providers. The VFC program helps ensure that all children have a better chance of getting their recommended vaccinations on schedule. These vaccines protect babies, young children, and adolescents from 16 diseases.

Who Is Eligible for the VFC Program?

Children ages 18 years or younger who meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Medicaid-eligible
  • Uninsured
  • Underinsured

What Is “Underinsured”?

Underinsured means that your child has health insurance, but the insurance policy:

Underinsured children are eligible to receive vaccines only at federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) or rural health clinics (RHCs). FQHCs and RHCs provide health care to medically underserved areas and meet certain criteria under Medicare and Medicaid programs. If you need help locating an FQHC or RHC, contact your state or city’s VFC program coordinator.

What Is the Cost?

There is no charge for the vaccines given by VFC providers to eligible children. Health care providers may charge other fees related to the visit, such as:

  • Giving a shot
  • Office visit
  • Non-vaccine services, like an eye exam or blood test

Where Can My Child Get Vaccinated?

Nationally, there are thousands of health care providers enrolled in the VFC program. If your child is VFC-eligible, ask your child’s doctor if they are a VFC provider. Other health care providers that might participate in the VFC program include pharmacies, urgent care clinics, and school-based clinics. For help finding a VFC provider near you, see if your state has a searchable website for VFC providers or call your state or local health department..."
Vaccines and children