Tuesday, July 7, 2015

President Obama Provides an Update on Our Strategy to Degrade and Destroy ISIL

" Today, President Obama provided an update on the U.S. mission to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group, ISIL. Watch his remarks at the Pentagon here:

ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) was formerly al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq, and has since gained territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border by taking advantage of sectarian strife and the Syrian civil war. Although ISIL calls itself the “Islamic State,” the President has emphasized that the terrorist group is neither Islamic nor a state..."

Monday, July 6, 2015

Show Us When You Are #GrillingLikeaPRO

"Summer is finally here! I can smell those steaks and burgers on the grill already. While grilling outside with our friends and family can be fun, it can also lead to food poisoning.

This summer, the USDA food Safety and Inspection Service is reminding  Americans everywhere that "Grilling Like a PRO" is the safest and easiest way to girll. You can't see harmful bacteria on your burgers, chicken, and steak - using a food thermometer is the only way to know that your food is safe to eat. The PRO method is an easy way to protect you and your family from foodborne illness..."


EPA Finalizes Rule to Reduce Climate-Damaging HFCs

"Today, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalizing a rule to prohibit certain uses of chemicals that significantly contribute to climate change in favor of safer, more climate-friendly alternatives. This action responds to President Obama's Climate Action Plan by reducing emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a class of potent greenhouse gases used in air-conditioning, refrigeration, and other equipment.

“Today’s action delivers on the President’s Climate Action Plan and the administration’s commitment to acting on climate. And it is in line with steps leading businesses are already taking to reduce and replace HFCs with safer, climate-friendly alternatives,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “This rule will not only reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, but also encourage greater use and development of the next generation of safer HFC alternatives.”

In the United States, HFC emissions are expected to nearly double by 2020 and triple by 2030. New technologies and new climate-friendly refrigerants can significantly reduce these emission increases. EPA estimates this final rule will reduce greenhouse gas emissions of 54 to 64 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2025, equal to the carbon dioxide emissions from the annual energy use of more than 5.8 million homes..."

HFCs climate reduction

History of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

"The Strategic Petroleum Reserve, or SPR, is a complex of four locations that stockpile emergency oil in deep underground storage caverns created in salt domes along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coasts.
Although the idea of stockpiling emergency oil arose as early as 1944, it took the oil embargo of 1973-74 to spur the creation of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which was included in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act signed by President Ford in late 1975.
The salt caverns on the Gulf Coast were chosen as an inexpensive and secure location close to many U.S. refineries and distribution points for tankers, barges and pipelines.
The SPR can hold up to 727 million barrels. These are split into barrels of sour -- meaning the oil contains more than 0.5 percent but less than 2 percent sulfur by weight -- and barrels of sweet -- oil with sulfur content less than 0.5 percent by weight. Sweet crude oil is more frequently requested from the SPR, as it can be processed by nearly all refiners; the same is not true of sour..."
Strategic petroleum reserve

DHS Blue Campaign Expands Public Awareness Effort to Fight Human Trafficking

"The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced the expansion of the DHS Blue Campaign’s public awareness efforts to major airports, truck stops, and motorist gas stations across the country to better enable Americans to recognize and report potential instances of human trafficking.  Travelers will now see Blue Campaign messages in new locations throughout their journey. For the first time, these messages will describe the signs of human trafficking to help the general public more readily recognize and report this heinous crime.
The Blue Campaign is the Department’s unified effort to combat human trafficking. Working in collaboration with law enforcement, government, non-governmental and private organizations, the DHS Blue Campaign strives to protect the basic right of freedom and to bring those who exploit human lives to justice..."
Human trafficking

Tips for Using Public Wi-Fi Networks

"Wi-Fi hotspots in coffee shops, libraries, airports, hotels, universities, and other public places are convenient, but often they're not secure. If you connect to a Wi-Fi network, and send information through websites or mobile apps, it might be accessed  by someone else.
To protect your information when using wireless hotspots, send information only to sites     that are fully encrypted, and avoid using mobile apps that require personal or financial information..."
Public wi-fi networks

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

New Web Application Helps Families Find Summer Meals in Their Communities

"USDA's Summer Food Service Program, a federally-funded, state-administered program,  last year served more than 187 million meals to children in low-income areas to ensure that they continued to receiver proper nutrition throughout the summer when schools were closes. Bu that number represents just a small fraction of the children who are eligible to receive summer meals. Many families may not have taken advantage of the program because they didn't know where meals were served near them.

That's why this summer we here at USDA's Food and Nutrition Service recently launched the Summer Meal Site Finder, a new web and mobile tool that allows parents, teens and children in all 50 states, as well a Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, to type in their address, city, state or zip code to get a list of the summer meal sties closest to them. The tool also provides information about each of the 45,000 sties already registered for this summer, including their operating hours, contact information, and directions to each site..."

Summer meals

This Day in History: National Organization for Women was Founded

"“We, men and women who hereby constitute ourselves as the National Organization for Women, believe that the time has come for a new movement toward true equality for all women in America, and toward a fully equal partnership of the sexes, as part of the world-wide revolution of human rights now taking place within and beyond our national borders.”
—National Organization for Women’s 1966 Statement of Purpose

On June 30, 1966, Betty Friedan wrote three letters on a paper napkin: N O W. She invited fifteen women to her hotel room. Then, Catherine Conroy slid a five-dollar bill onto the table and said, “Put your money down and sign your name.” In that moment, the National Organization for Women became a reality.

As representatives at the Third National Conference of Commissions on the Status of Women, these women were disgruntled by the lack of commitment to the convention's theme, “Targets for Action.” Inspired by the Civil Rights movement and historic marches such as in Selma, the women founded a parallel effort to ensure the equal treatment of both sexes. They brainstormed an alternate action plan to enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on sex, race, color, nationality, and religion..."


Procedures for Congressional Action in Relation to a Nuclear Agreement with Iran: In Brief

"An April 2015 framework for negotiations on a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran suggests that a final agreement that results in the easing of many existing sanctions on Iran might be reached. Amid concerns among some in Congress about the terms of the possible agreement, Congress passed, and the President signed, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-17).1 The act establishes a period for Congress to review any comprehensive agreement, during which certain presidential actions to provide relief from sanctions on Iran are barred. It also provides for congressional action during this period that could prevent (or allow) such relief. After this review period, further, the act requires the President to make certain certifications of Iran’s compliance with the agreement, and if these certifications are not made, it establishes expedited congressional procedures for legislation that could reinstate sanctions waived by the President..."

Appointment and Confirmation of Executive Branch Leadership: An Overview

"The Constitution divides the responsibility for populating the top positions in the executive branch of the federal government between the President and the Senate. Article II, Section 2 empowers the President to nominate and, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint the principal officers of the United States, as well as some subordinate officers.
These positions are generally filled through the advice and consent process, which can be divided into three stages:
• First, the White House selects and clears a prospective appointee before sending a formal nomination to the Senate.
• Second, the Senate determines whether to confirm a nomination. For most nominations, much of this process occurs at the committee level.
 • Third, the confirmed nominee is given a commission and sworn into office, after which he or she has full authority to carry out the duties of the office.
Executive branch appointments

Start with Security: a Guide for Business

"When managing your network, developing an app, or even organizing paper files, sound security is no accident. Companies that consider security from the start assess their options and make reasonable choices based on the nature of their business and the sensitivity of the information involved. Threats to data may transform over time, but the fundamentals of sound security remain constant. As the Federal Trade Commission outlined in Protecting Personal Information: A Guide for Business, you should know what personal information you have in your files and on your computers, and keep only what you need for your business. You should protect the information that you keep, and properly dispose of what you no longer need. And, of course, you should create a plan to respond to security incidents..."
Business security

Member Guide for the 114th Congress

Find the latest edition on the Congressional Members guide by name, state, Chamber and party from the U.S. Government Publishing Office. 
Congressional Members

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Remarks by the President in Eulogy for the Honorable Reverend Clementa Pinckney

Read the full text of President Barack Obama's eulogy of South Carolina Senator Clementa Pinckney in Charleston, South Carolina, June 26, 2015
Senator Clementa Pinckney eulogy

Saturday, June 27, 2015

3 Options to Consider if You Can’t Afford Your Student Loan Payment

"The U.S. Department of Education offers a number of affordable repayment options for borrowers who are struggling to pay back their student loans. The important thing to remember about all the options below is that it’s completely free to apply! Also, if you ever have questions or need FREE advice about your student loans, you can alwayscontact your Department of Education loan servicer..."
Student loans

Urine (Not Chlorine) Causes Red Eyes in Pools

"For many, a trip to the local swimming pool also results in red, itchy eyes. So what’s the reason behind eye irritation? Brace yourself — the answer is grosser than you might think. According to The Washington Post’s Ariana Eunjung Cha, the answer isn’t chlorine. It’s urine.
This nasty little bombshell was tucked in the Centers for Disease Control’s annual healthy swimming report. Though also shares less horrifying information like the number of pools in the United States (309,000 public pools, 10.4 million residential ones), the CDC also reports that a pool’s telltale “chlorine” smell — and red, stinging eyes after swimming — are caused by “pee, poop, sweat, and dirt from swimmers’ bodies.”
In fact, chlorine is still a culprit. Cha writes that when urine and chlorine mix, the combination turns chlorine into an ammonia derivative called chloramine, which has a distinctive smell, a reputation for causing respiratory problems, and a telltale effect on eyes..."
Urine in pools