Friday, February 27, 2015

FBI Counterterrorism Executive Briefs Congress on ISIL and Domestic Terrorism

"The day after a criminal complaint was unsealed in federal court in New York charging three Brooklyn residents with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), FBI Assistant Director Michael Steinbach briefed a congressional subcommittee on the dynamic threat posed by foreign fighters traveling in support of ISIL and the continued threat to America posed by homegrown violent extremists.
According to Steinbach, the conflict in Syria and Iraq is currently the most attractive overseas theater for Western-based extremists who want to engage in violence. The Bureau estimates upwards of 150 Americans have traveled or attempted to travel to Syria to join extremist groups, and it also has to consider the influence of groups like ISIL on individuals located in the U.S. who could be inspired (particularly through the Internet and social media) to commit acts of violence. “It is this blending of homegrown violent extremism with the foreign fighter ideology that is today’s latest adaptation of the threat,” said Steinbach..."

Isil and domestic-terrorism

Medical Tourism

""Medical tourism" refers to traveling to another country for medical care. It's estimated that up to 750,000 US residents travel abroad for care each year. Many people who travel for care do so because treatment is much cheaper in another country. In addition, a large number of medical tourists are immigrants to the United States returning to their home country for care. The most common procedures that people undergo on medical tourism trips include cosmetic surgery, dentistry, and heart surgery..."

Medical Tourism

2015 White House Coference on Aging

"I am deeply honored to serve as the Executive Director of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging and welcome you to our website. This website provides a regular blog, updates on recent events, and opportunities for you to get involved. Here you will also find information on key issues that we will explore in the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. The coming months will be a time for us to engage in a dialogue and build a shared vision on how to continue to maximize the contributions of Americans as we age, and how to advance priorities such as healthy aging, a secure retirement, accessing the services and supports older Americans need to remain in their communities, and protecting older Americans from financial exploitation, abuse, and neglect..."
Conference on Aging

Eleanor Roosevelt Resignation from DAR

View a copy of Eleanor Roosevelt's resignation letter to the Daughter of the American Revolution on their refusal to let  Marian Anderson sing at Constitutional Hall.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Housing Vacancies and Ownerships:2014

"The Housing Vacancies and Homeownership provides current information on the rental and homeowner vacancy rates, and characteristics of units available for occupancy. These data are used extensively by public and private sector organizations to evaluate the need for new housing programs and initiatives. In addition, the rental vacancy rate is a component of the index of leading economic indicators and is thereby used by the Federal Government and economic forecasters to gauge the current economic climate..."
Housing vacancies

Free Tax Return Preparation for Qualifying Taxpayers

"The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $53,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.
In addition to VITA, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors. The IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.
Before going to a VITA or TCE site, see Publication 3676-B for services provided and check out the What to Bring page to ensure you have all the required documents and information our volunteers will need to help you. *Note: available services can vary at each site due to the availability of volunteers certified with the tax law expertise required for your return.
Find a VITA or TCE Site Near You
VITA and TCE sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls and other convenient locations across the country. To locate the nearest VITA or TCE site near you, use the VITA Locator Tool or call 800-906-9887..."Find a VITA or TCE site near you.(button)

Free Tax Preparation

Monday, February 23, 2015

Every kid in a park initiative

"From sea to shining sea, our country is home to gorgeous landscapes, vibrant waterways, and historic treasures that all Americans can enjoy. But right now, young people are spending more time in front of screens than outside, and that means they are missing out on valuable opportunities to explore, learn and play in the spectacular outdoor places that belong to all of them.

President Obama is committed to giving every kid the chance to explore America’s great outdoors and unique history. That’s why, today, he launched an Every Kid in a Park initiative, which calls on each of our agencies to help get all children to visit and enjoy the outdoors and inspire a new generation of Americans to experience their country’s unrivaled public lands and waters. Starting in September, every fourth-grader in the Nation will receive an “Every Kid in a Park” pass that’s good for free admission to all of America’s federal lands and waters -- for them and their families -- for a full year..."
Kids in a park

Flag Raising on Iwo Jima, 02/23/1945

"On February 23, 1945, during the battle for Iwo Jima, U.S. Marines raised a flag atop Mount Suribachi. It was taken down, and a second flag was raised. Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal captured this second flag-raising. Now part of U.S. Navy records, it is one of the most famous war photographs in U.S. history..."
Iwo Jima

The Measles: Background and Federal Role in Vaccine Policy

"The earliest accounts of measles date back over 1,000 years. This report presents basic
information about this infectious disease, its history in the United States, available treatments to prevent individuals from contracting measles, and the federal role in combatting measles—from funding, to research, to the authority of the federal government in requiring mandatory childhood vaccinations. The report provides additional resources for information on measles and
recommendations for vaccination against the disease. 
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “measles is a highly contagious virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person.” It is transmitted through coughing and sneezing, and it can live for up to two hours on a surface or in an airspace where an infected person coughed or sneezed. Someone who is not immunized against measles and comes into contact with the virus has a 90% chance of becoming infected..."

How Social Security Benefits Are Computed: In Brief

"With about $900 billion in benefit outlays projected to be made in 2015, Social Security is the
largest program in the federal budget. It provides monthly cash benefits to retired and disabled workers and their family members as well as to the family members of deceased workers. Currently, there are about 59 million beneficiaries. Under current law, Social Security’s revenues are projected to be insufficient to pay full scheduled benefits after 2033. 
Monthly benefit amounts are determined by federal law. Social Security is an issue of ongoing interest both because of its role in supporting a large portion of the population and because of its long-term financial imbalance, and policy makers have considered numerous proposals to change its benefit computation rules..."

Social security benefits

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Presidential Libraries Act and the Establishment of Presidential Libraries

"The Presidential Libraries Act (P.L. 84-373; 69 Stat. 695), as originally enacted in 1955, sought to create a system of government “preservation and administration ... of papers and other historical materials of any President or former President of the United States.” Pursuant to the law, the General Services Administration’s (GSA’s) Administrator could, among other actions, accept ... the papers and other historical materials of any President or former President of the United States, or of any other official or former official of the Government, and other papers relating to and contemporary with any President or former President of the United States. (P.L. 84-373)
Amid concerns about growing costs of the libraries, the act was substantially amended in 1986 (P.L. 99-323; 100 Stat. 495) to “shift the burden of
on-going building operations costs of future libraries from the taxpayer to endowment funds.” 
Through the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the federal government currently operates and maintains 13 presidential libraries, and is currently engaging with representatives seeking to construct a presidential library for President Barack Obama..."
Presidential libraries

Thursday, February 19, 2015

President Obama Announces a Trio of New National Monuments

"The neighborhood of Pullman, Ill., is home to the first planned industrial town in the U.S. The town, then just south of Chicago, drew visitors from as far away as Europe after the first resident moved in on January 1, 1881. Residents worked for George Pullman’s eponymous railroad car company. It’s now known for its historic buildings and today, President Obama announces that it will join three other sites as as the newest National Monuments.

The other two new monuments will be in Colorado and Hawaii, reports On Earth, bringing President Obama’s monument creation count up to 16 so far..."
National monuments

2015 Economc Report of the President

Find the latest in the Annual Reports of the President along with  the Council of Economic Advisors Report. 
Economic Report of President

Becoming a U.S. Citizen: what you need to know?

Becoming a U.S. citizen: what you need to know?

How to Become a U.S. Citizen: Know the Basics
The process of becoming an American citizen requires planning and time. Knowing in advance what to do will help move things along a lot smoother.
The video featured in this blog highlights some general requirements that you must meet in order to become a U.S. citizen, such as:
  • Meet the minimum age requirement
  • Be a permanent resident of the United States and remain in the country while your naturalization is being processed. Note: your marital status may affect how long it takes to process your application.
  • Be able to read, write, and speak English
  • Have basic knowledge of U.S. history and government
  • Be a person of good moral character
  • Take the oath of allegiance to support and defend the United States and the Constitution

Choosing a Tax Professional

"A tax return preparer is trusted with your most personal information. They know about your marriage, your income, your children and your social security numbers – the details of your financial life.
Most tax return preparers provide outstanding service. However, each year, some taxpayers are hurt financially because they choose the wrong tax return preparer.
Anyone can be a paid tax return preparer as long as they have an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and they sign and enter it on all returns they prepare.  However, tax return preparers have differing levels of skills, education and expertise.
Choose wisely when selecting a paid tax return preparer. For assistance see:
Tax Professionals