Monday, January 27, 2020

What You Should Know About Flu Antiviral Drugs

"Can flu be treated?

Yes. There are prescription medications called “antiviral drugs” that can be used to treat flu illness. CDC recommends prompt treatment for people who have flu infection or suspected flu infection and who are at high risk of serious flu complications, such as people with asthma, diabetes (including gestational diabetes), or heart disease.

What are antiviral drugs?

Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid, an inhaled powder, or an intravenous solution) that fight against flu viruses in your body. Antiviral drugs are not sold over-the-counter. You can only get them if you have a prescription from a health care provider. Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics, which fight against bacterial infections.

What should I do if I think I am sick with flu?

If you get sick with flu, antiviral drugs are a treatment option. Check with your doctor promptly if you are at high risk of serious flu complications (see box below for the full list of high risk factors) and you develop flu symptoms. Flu signs and symptoms can include feeling feverish or having a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs to treat your flu illness..."
Flu antiviral

Friday, January 24, 2020

A Look at America’s Family Farms

Distribution of farms, land operated and value of production by farm type, 2018 chart
"The more than 2 million farms in the U.S. vary greatly in size and characteristics. For example, annual gross revenue can range from as little as $1,000 to more than $5 million.
USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) recently released its widely used annual report that describes characteristics of different types of U.S. farms, titled America’s Diverse Family Farms: 2019 Edition. Farms are classified based on ownership of the farm, annual gross revenue, and the primary occupation of the principal operator..."
Family farms

Gold Mine in the Sierra Nevada

Photograph of four men outside a mine shaft. The foremost man appears to be cutting timbers for bracing the interior of the shaft. (National Archives Identifier: 296580); Copy Negatives and Prints, ca. 1870 - ca. 1930; Records of the U.S. Mint, 1792 - 2002; Record Group 104; National Archives.
On January 24, 1848, gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill in California. The mine pictured here is unidentified, but was probably located in California's Sierra Nevada gold mining district.."
Gold discovery

Thursday, January 23, 2020

The Impeachment Process in the Senate

"After the House impeaches a federal officer, the Senate conducts a trial to determine if the individual should be removed from office. The Senate has a set of rules specific to the conduct of an impeachment trial, most of which originated in the early 19th century.

The impeachment rules lay out specific steps that the Senate takes to organize for a trial. House managers (Members of the House who present the case against the impeached officer in the Senate) read the articles of impeachment on the Senate floor. The Presiding Officer and Senators take an oath to do impartial justice, and the Senate issues a “summons” to the accused and requests that a written answer be filed. The House Managers are also invited to respond to the answer of the impeached officer.

Actions after these organizing steps, however, are not specified in the impeachment rules. The impeachment rules mention some actions that are common in judicial trials, such as opening and closing statements by the parties to the case and the examination of witnesses, but provide little specific guidance. Instead, the rules allow the Senate, when sitting for a trial, to set particular procedures through the approval of “orders.” Some orders of the Senate are unanimous consent agreements, but others are proposals adopted by the Senate. If such a proposal is considered while the Senate is sitting for the trial, then debate is limited by the impeachment rules. As a result, the support of three-fifths of the Senate to invoke cloture is not necessary to reach a vote to approve a procedural proposal. In previous trials, such proposals have been subject to amendment. Senate published precedents do not provide guidance on what can or cannot be included in such an order..."
Impeachment in Senate

Smoking Cessation: A Report of the Surgeon General

"Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S. Although the percentage of adults who smoke is at an all-time low in the U.S., 34 million adults still smoke and therefore continue to be at risk of developing smoking-related diseases.
This report makes it clear that one of the most important actions people can take to improve their health is to quit smoking. This is true regardless of their age or how long they’ve been smoking.
Quitting smoking can be difficult, but there are proven treatments and strategies to help people quit smoking successfully. The report outlines the latest research on these treatments including counseling (in-person and over the telephone with a quitline) and medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The report also sheds light on new and emerging opportunities to further promote and support cessation in our country.
We know more about the science of quitting than ever before. Ultimately, the report serves as a call to action to our nation—we can and must do more to ensure that proven cessation treatments are reaching the people that need them.

Full Report

Smoking cessation

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

2019 Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report

"Preliminary statistics show overall declines in both violent and property crime in the first half of 2019 compared to the same time frame the previous year, according to FBI crime statistics released today.
The Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report covers January through June 2019. It contains data from more than 14,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide that voluntarily submitted information to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program.
According to the report, all categories of violent crime offenses decreased between the first half of 2018 and the first half of 2019, including:
  • Robbery (-7.4 percent)
  • Rape (-7.3 percent)
  • Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter (-3.9 percent)
  • Aggravated assault (-0.3 percent)
Property crime also declined during the same period, specifically:
  • Burglary (-11.1 percent)
  • Motor vehicle theft (-6.7 percent)
  • Larceny-theft (-4.2 percent)
The full Crime in the United States, 2019 report will be released later this year.."
Crime statistics

Sunday, January 19, 2020

FoodKeeper App

"The FoodKeeper helps you understand food and beverages storage. It will help you maximize the freshness and quality of items. By doing so you will be able to keep items fresh longer than if they were not stored properly. It was developed by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, with Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute. It is also available as a mobile application for Android and Apple devices..."

Friday, January 17, 2020

Presidential Pardons: Overview and Selected Legal Issues

"Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution authorizes the President “to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” The power has its roots in the king’s prerogative to grant mercy under early English law, which later traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to the American colonies. The Supreme Court has recognized that the authority vested by the Constitution in the President is quite broad, describing it as “plenary,” discretionary, and largely not subject to legislative modification. Nonetheless, there are two textual limitations on the pardon power’s exercise: first, the President may grant pardons only for federal criminal offenses, and second, impeachment convictions are not pardonable. The Court has also recognized some other narrow restraints, including that a pardon cannot be issued to cover crimes prior to commission.

The pardon power authorizes the President to grant several forms of relief from criminal punishment. The most common forms of relief are full pardons (for individuals) and amnesties (for groups of people), which completely obviate the punishment for a committed or charged federal criminal offense, and commutations, which reduce the penalties associated with convictions. An administrative process has been established through the Department of Justice’s Office of the Pardon Attorney for submitting and evaluating requests for these and other forms of clemency, though the process and regulations governing it are merely advisory and do not affect the President’s ultimate authority to grant relief..."
Presidential pardons

City of Madison Workplace Climate Survey Report


 In the summer of 2019, the Multicultural Affairs Committee (MAC) and Women’s Initiatives Committee (WIC) administered a survey to all City of Madison employees to evaluate the workplace culture and climate, particularly in areas of concern to women and employees of color. A total of 913 employees responded to the survey.

After reviewing and analyzing the results, MAC and WIC identified the following themes:

Safe/Respectful Workplace Concerns

One out of four survey respondents (25%) said they had experienced workplace harassment, bullying, or discrimination in the past year.

 Less than half of respondents reported their experience with harassment, bullying or discrimination. The main reasons these respondents didn’t report is because of the fear of social retaliation (being ostracized or shunned at work), closely followed by not trusting the complaint process or outcome.

 Respondents said most of the harassment and bullying was instigated by peers (40% of incidents), supervisors (33% of incidents), and patrons/members of the public (18% of incidents). Multiple employees in frontline positions described a hostile work environment where patrons/members of the public harass and verbally abuse staff with impunity. Some employees reported being stalked or physically assaulted..."
Workplace climate

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

NOAA Analyses Reveal 2019 Second Warmest Year on Record

"According to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Earth's global surface temperatures in 2019 were the second warmest since modern recordkeeping began in 1880.
Globally, 2019 temperatures were second only to those of 2016 and continued the planet's long-term warming trend: the past five years have been the warmest of the last 140 years.
This past year, they were 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (0.98 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.
“The decade that just ended is clearly the warmest decade on record,” said GISS Director Gavin Schmidt. “Every decade since the 1960s clearly has been warmer than the one before.”
Since the 1880s, the average global surface temperature has risen and the average temperature is now more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit (a bit more than 1 degree Celsius) above that of the late 19th century. For reference, the last Ice Age was about 10 degrees Fahrenheit colder than pre-industrial temperatures.."
2nd warmest year on record

HPV Diseases and Cancers

"HPV infections can lead to certain to certain types of cancer in men and women. Whether you have a son or daughter, talk to your child’s doctor about the HPV vaccine to prevent these cancers.

6 types of cancer caused by HPV

HPV can cause cancers of the:
Cancer often takes years, even decades, to develop after a person gets HPV. CDC recommends HPV vaccination at ages 11-12 to protect against these cancers.
There is no way to know which people who have HPV will develop cancer or other health problems. People with weakened immune systems (including individuals with HIV/AIDS) may be less able to fight off HPV and more likely to develop health problems from it..."

Stalking: Know it. Name it. Stop it.

"Stalking affects millions of women and men in the United States.
Stalking occurs when someone repeatedly harasses or threatens someone else, causing fear or safety concerns. Most often, stalking occurs by someone the victim knows or with whom they had an intimate relationship.
Help prevent stalking by knowing the warning signs and how to get help.
January is National Stalking Awareness Month.
Facts about Stalking
  • Stalking is common. About 1 in 6 women and 1 in 17 men have experienced stalking in their lifetimes.
  • Stalking starts early. Nearly 54% of female victims and 41% of male victims experienced stalking before the age of 25.
  • Stalking impacts the physical and mental health of victims. Research shows stalking can lead to depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. About 68% of female and 70% of male victims experienced threats of physical harm during their lifetime..."

Portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Born on January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a key leader of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s in the United States. King and his followers fought for the equal rights and equal justice that the United States Constitution ensures for all its citizens. The great legal milestones achieved by this movement were the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In the later 1960s, the targets of King's activism were less often the legal and political obstacles to the exercise of civil rights by blacks, and more often the underlying poverty, unemployment, lack of education, and blocked avenues of economic opportunity confronting black Americans..."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Before You Travel Tips

"First, know your health status.

Work with your doctor to evaluate your health, or the health of those traveling with you, by using the guide below. In general, you should not travel by plane if you:
  • Have recently had any type of surgery, especially stomach, brain, eye, or orthopedic (bone or joint) surgery. Check with your doctor to see when it is safe for you to travel.
  • Have had a recent heart attack or stroke
  • Are suffering from:
    • Chest pain, pneumothorax, or a severe chronic respiratory disease
    • Severe sinus, ear, or nose infection
    • Any disease that you can easily spread to other people
    • A fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or greater
    • Swelling of the brain caused by bleeding, injury, or infection
    • Sickle cell disease
    • Uncontrolled psychotic illness.."
      Travel and health

Monday, January 6, 2020

Campaign and Election Security Policy: Overview and Recent Developments for Congress

"In the United States, state, territorial, and local governments are responsible for most aspects of selecting and securing election systems and equipment. Foreign interference during the 2016 election cycle—and widely reported to be an ongoing threat—has renewed congressional attention to campaign and election security and raised new questions about the nature and extent of the federal government’s role in this policy area.

This report provides congressional readers with a resource for understanding campaign and election security policy. This includes discussion of the federal government’s roles; state or territorial responsibilities for election administration and election security; an overview of potentially relevant federal statutes and agencies; and highlights of recent congressional policy debates. The report summarizes related legislation that has advanced beyond introduction during the 116th Congress. It also poses questions for consideration as the House and Senate examine whether or how to pursue legislation, oversight, or appropriations..."
Election security