Monday, March 31, 2008

Military Judges’ Benchbook For Trial of Prisoners of War
"Military Judges’ Benchbook for Trial of Enemy Prisoners of War
his is a new Department of the Army Pamphlet specifically tailored for trials
f enemy prisoners of war (EPWs) for either pre-capture offenses, which arise
nder the law of war, or post-capture offenses, which arise under the Uniform
ode of Military Justice. This Pamphlet incorporates the provisions of the
eneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of August 12,
949 (GC III), Chapter 3, Penal and Disciplinary Sanctions, into the substantive
nd procedural requirements found in DA Pam 27-9, Military Judges’ Benchbook (15
ep 2002 edition), and in the Manual for Courts-Martial (2002 edition). This
amphlet also includes decisions of international, military, and higher courts;
nd comments and opinions of individual legal specialists on international and
criminal law."
Demographics and Health Care Access and Utilization of Limited-English-Proficient and English-Proficient Hispanics
"Data from the 2004 Household Component of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS-HC) reveals that Hispanic adults with limited English proficiency (LEP) are a distinct population subgroup from English-proficient Hispanic adults. LEP Hispanic adults are more likely to be poor/low income, less educated, older, not employed, uninsured, without a usual source of care, and without a visit to a doctor or dentist than English-proficient Hispanic adults. English-proficient Hispanic adults are similarly disadvantaged compared to white non-Hispanic adults, and also have lower utilization."
Fact Sheet: Department of Justice Comprehensive Efforts to Fight Gang Violence
"The Department of Justice has enacted a comprehensive plan across its many components to effectively fight and limit the impact of gang violence nationwide. This plan includes two primary elements: Prioritize prevention programs to provide America’s youth, as well as offenders returning to the community, with opportunities that help them resist gang involvement; and ensure robust enforcement policies when gang-related violence does occur. This approach also recognizes the critical need for the Department to continue to work hand-in-hand with state and local law enforcement and local community groups."
Labor Force Characteristics of Foreign-Born Workers
" Foreign-born workers' share of the U.S. labor force continued to grow, the
Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. In
2007, 24.0 million persons, or 15.7 percent of the U.S. civilian labor force
age 16 and over, were foreign born. Their share of the labor force was up from
15.3 percent in 2006. The unemployment rate for the foreign born increased by
0.3 percentage point over the year to 4.3 percent in 2007. From 2003 to 2006,
it had declined by 2.6 percentage points. The jobless rate of the native born,
at 4.7 percent in 2007, was unchanged from the prior year."
Fact Sheet: the Department of Justice Public Corruption Efforts
"At every level of government, the Justice Department is committed to enforcing the laws that protect the integrity of our government. Because of this commitment to the rule of law, ordinary citizens are able to rely on and expect the honesty and integrity of government officials and other holders of the public's trust.

Over the last seven years, the Department has enjoyed tremendous success rooting out corruption and holding public officials who misuse their office or misspend taxpayer dollars accountable for their actions.

From 2001 to 2006 (the most recent period for which data is available) the Department of Justice charged 6,899 individuals with public corruption offenses nationwide and obtained 5,876 convictions."
Direct Broadcast Satellite Carriage Of Digital Television Broadcast Signals
"The actions taken in this Order represent another step in the Commission’s
ongoing efforts to complete the transition from analog to digital television. In this Order, we amend the rules to require satellite carriers to carry digital-only stations upon request in markets in which they are providing any local-into-local service pursuant to the statutory copyright license,1 and to require carriage of all high definition (“HD”) signals in a market in which any station’s signals are carried in HD. In recognition of the capacity and technological constraints faced by satellite carriers, the latter requirement will be phased in over a four-year period. These decisions are consistent with Section 338 of the Act’s instructions that the Commission implement comparable, rather than identical, carriage rules between cable and direct broadcast satellite (“DBS”), and is supported by the record in this proceeding. As discussed below, this decision also addresses a carriage complaint and Application for Review filed by Station WHDT-DT, Stuart, Florida. The Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“FNPRM”) seeks comment on the application of the statutory requirement for nondiscriminatory treatment in carriage of standard definition."
An Emergency Communications Safety Net: Integrating 911 and Other Services
"The present capability and future effectiveness of America’s network of
emergency telecommunications services are among the issues under review by
Congress and other entities. Emergency calls (911) on both wireline (landline) and
wireless networks are considered by many to be part of the public safety network.
As technologies that can support 911 improve, many are seeing the possibility of
integrating 911 into a wider safety net of emergency communications and alerts."
Dietary Assessment of Major Trends in U.S. Food Consumption, 1970-2005
"This report examines major trends in the amount of food available for consumption in the United States between 1970 and 2005 using data from the ERS Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System. The report also estimates whether Americans are meeting Federal dietary recommendations for each of the major food groups by comparing the data with dietary recommendations in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the MyPyramid Food Guidance System. Findings show that Americans do not meet the Federal dietary recommendations. For Americans to meet these recommendations, they would need to substantially lower their intake of added fats, refined grains, and added sugars and sweeteners and increase their consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat milk and milk products."
The Costs of Benefit Delivery in the Food Stamp Program: Lessons From a Cross-Program Analysis
"This study compares the Food Stamp Program (FSP) with eight other public assistance programs across four measures of program effectiveness—administrative costs, error payments, program access, and benefit targeting. The comparison includes two other USDA nutrition assistance programs, three cash assistance programs, and three programs providing noncash benefits other than food or nutrition assistance. Results show that the FSP and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) present contrasting patterns. The EITC program has lower administrative costs and higher program access rates than the FSP, but the FSP is more successful in limiting overpayments. Missing information makes it hard to generalize across the other programs, but there is some evidence suggesting that programs with higher errors have lower administrative costs. Low administrative costs also appear to be inversely associated with good program access for recipients. Also, programs that are more highly targeted tend to have higher benefit delivery costs."
USFA Releases Residential Building Electrical Fires Report
"The United States Fire Administration issued today a special report, part of its Topical Fire Report Series, examining the causes and characteristics of electrical fires that occur in residential buildings. An estimated 28,300 residential building electrical fires occur annually and cause 360 civilian deaths, 1,000 civilian injuries, and $995 million in direct loss."
Averting Financial Crisis
"There is no precise definition of “financial crisis,” but a common view is that
disruptions in financial markets rise to the level of a crisis when the flow of credit to households and businesses is constrained and the real economy of goods and services is adversely affected. Since mid-2007, central bankers — including the Federal Reserve — have labored to keep the downturn in U.S. subprime housing from
developing into such a crisis.

While subprime problems were widely anticipated, the subsequent spread of
turmoil into many seemingly unrelated parts of the global financial system was not.
Many losses occurring in diverse firms and markets — often quite severe — have
features in common: the use of complex, hard-to-value financial instruments; large
speculative positions underwritten by borrowed funds, or leverage; and the use of
off-the-books entities to remove risky trading activities from the balance sheets of
major financial institutions."
Government Interventions in Financial Markets:Economic and Historic Analysis of Subprime Mortgage Options
"This report summarizes and analyzes four previous government market
interventions (Home Owners Loan Corporation in 1933, Continental Illinois in 1984,
the savings and loan insurance fund shortfall in 1989, and the Latin American debt
crisis in 1989), in light of current mortgage market conditions. Current proposals to
help delinquent homeowners share many features in common with all of these
actions."
Privacy Technology Implementation Guide
"The Privacy Technology Implementation Guide (PTIG) offers assistance to technology managers and developers in understanding privacy protections as they design, build, and deploy operational systems. The guide is offered pursuant to the DHS Chief Privacy Officer’s responsibilities under Section 222(1) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, as amended, to assure that the use of technologies sustain privacy protections related to the use, collection, and disclosure of personally identifiable information. The PTIG is designed to allow each Component the flexibility to adapt privacy considerations to the way that Component does business while retaining a common DHS approach."
Credentials for the Infant/Toddler Child Care Workforce
"The purpose of this document is to serve as a technical assistance tool to State CCDF Administrators working to improve the quality of infant/toddler child care in their States through the development of an Infant/Toddler Credential for providers. This document was created as a result of the work of the States and Territories participating in the Infant/Toddler Child Care Credentials Learning Community. It is a comprehensive overview of the development and implementation of credentials for the infant/toddler work force."

Saturday, March 29, 2008

USA Counties data files
"USA Counties features over 5,900 data items for the United States, States and counties from a variety of sources. Files include data published for 2006 estimates and many items from the 2000 Census of Population and Housing, the 1990 census, the 1980 census and the 2002, 1997, 1992, 1987, 1982 and 1977 economic censuses.

Information in USA Counties is derived from the following general topics: age, agriculture, ancestry, banking, building permits, business patterns, crime, earnings, education, elections, employment, government, health, households, housing, income, labor force, manufactures, population, poverty, retail trade, social programs, veterans, vital statistics, water use, and wholesale trade."
HIV/AIDS in the United States
"At the end of 2003,* an estimated 1,039,000 to 1,185,000 persons in the United States were living with HIV/AIDS [1]. In 2006, 35,314 new cases of HIV/AIDS in adults, adolescents, and children were diagnosed in the 33 states with long-term, confidential name-based HIV reporting [2]. New HIV/AIDS diagnoses tell us how many people have been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS, but do not necessarily represent new HIV infections because a person may have been infected in years past but received a diagnosis in 2006.* CDC plans to release the estimated number of new HIV infections this year."
Public and Private Laws: Main Page
"Public and private laws are prepared and published by the Office of the Federal Register (OFR), National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). GPO Access contains the text of public and private laws enacted from the 104th Congress to the present. The database for the current session of Congress is updated when the publication of a slip law is authorized by OFR. Documents are available as ASCII text and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files. More on Public and Private Laws.

Beginning with the 110th Congress, the Public and Private Laws on GPO Access have been digitally signed and certified. GPO has signed and certified the PDF files to assure users that the online documents are official and authentic. More on GPO’s Authentication Initiative.

The digitally signed PDF files should be viewed using Adobe Acrobat or Reader version 7.0 or 8.0. Download the most recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader."
Protecting Consumers in the Next Tech-ade
"The Commission has issued a staff report highlighting the challenges of consumer protection in the face of emerging and evolving technologies in the next ten years. The report summarizes the proceedings of the FTC’s three-day public hearings, “Protecting Consumers in the Next Tech-ade,” and which will inform its consumer protection efforts in the next decade.

The report explains the FTC will work to prevent Internet fraud by using its new powers under the U.S. SAFE WEB Act to coordinate and cooperate more closely with foreign consumer protection officials, ensure that consumer-producers who engage in activities to market and advertise products for consideration do so within the confines of laws prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices in trade, and develop new strategies and to harness the power of technology to deliver timely and effective consumer education messages..."
State Personal Income 2007
"U.S. personal income grew 6.2 percent in 2007, down from 6.7 percent in 2006, according to preliminary estimates released today by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. On average, personal income has grown 6.2 percent for the last four years. Inflation, as measured by the national price index for personal consumption expenditures, slowed to 2.6 percent in 2007 down from 2.8 percent in 2006."
Hospital Compare - A quality tool for adults, including people with Medicare
"Welcome to Hospital Compare. This tool provides you with information on how well the hospitals care for all their adult patients with certain conditions or procedures. This information will help you compare the quality of care hospitals provide. Talk to your doctor about this information to help you, your family and your friends make your best hospital care decisions.

Hospital Compare was created through the efforts of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Department of Health and Human Services, and other members of the Hospital Quality Alliance: Improving Care Through Information (HQA). The information on this website has been provided primarily by hospitals that have agreed to submit quality information for Hospital Compare to make public."
Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents, 2008 ed.
"Veterans of the United States armed forces are eligible for a broad range of programs and services provided by the federal Department of Veterans Affairs(VA). These benefits are legislated in Title 38 of the United States Code. This booklet contains a summary of these benefits effective January 1, 2008. For additional information, visit the VA web site at http://www.va.gov/."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Global Warming & Climate Change
"Scientists study climate change from the perspective of eons of the earth’s history as well as the short-term effects of recent human-induced changes in the atmosphere, while engineers attempt to devise technological solutions, and politicians struggle with international protocols and methods of enforcement. The ever-increasing demand for fossil fuels, and energy consumption worldwide, complicates the problem. Are there solutions? Can technological innovations in energy production, conservation methods, and even innovative market solutions reverse the current trends soon enough? These are the questions that confront us as we face the possibility of crossing the “point of no return.”

The following guide is intended for those who are looking for a review of the literature and vetted online resources on these topics. Materials cited are available in the collections of the Library of Congress or on the Internet. This and other recent Tracer Bullets are available online from the Science Reference Section, at: http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/tracer-bullets/tbs.html"
New Data Showing Seat Belt Usage Among Truck Drivers Hits Record Level
"The number of professional truckers buckling up their seat belts jumped dramatically in 2007 to a record level of 65 percent, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters announced today during a national conference of state commercial vehicle law enforcement officers...

“Seat belt usage among commercial motor vehicle drivers rose to a new high of 65 percent,” said Secretary Peters. “Though we’ve made great strides, we won’t rest until 100 percent of commercial motor vehicle drivers wear a seat belt 100 percent of the time.”

Currently, 82 percent of passenger vehicle drivers wear seat belts. A survey conducted in 2003 found that only 48 percent of truck drivers used seat belts. In 2006, this figure had improved to 59 percent. The results announced today by Secretary Peters were the findings of the largest and most comprehensive study ever conducted."
Social Security Programs Throughout the World:The Americas, 2007
"This fourth issue in the current four-volume series of Social Security Programs Throughout the World reports on the countries of the Americas. The combined findings of this series, which also includes volumes on Europe, Asia and the Pacific, and Africa, are published at 6-month intervals over a 2-year period. Each volume highlights features of social security programs in the particular region.

The information contained in these volumes is crucial to our efforts, and those of researchers in other countries, to review different ways of approaching social security challenges that will enable us to adapt our social security systems to the evolving needs of individuals, households, and families. These efforts are particularly important as each nation faces major demographic changes, especially the increasing number of aged persons, as well as economic and fiscal issues."
eJournalUSA
"The Bureau of International Information Programs of the U.S. Department of State publishes a monthly electronic journal under the eJournal USA logo. These journals examine major issues facing the United States and the international community, as well as U.S. society, values, thought, and institutions."
Social Security Board of Trustees: Some Improvement in Long-Range Financing Outlook but Deficits Continue
"The Social Security Board of Trustees today released its annual report on the financial health of the Social Security Trust Funds. While the key dates for program costs exceeding tax revenues and Trust Fund exhaustion remain unchanged, the 2008 Trustees Report shows improvement in the projected long-term financial status of the Social Security program from last year -- particularly in the latter half of the long-range projection period. This improvement is principally the result of methodological changes for projecting certain aspects of immigration."
The Three Leading Causes of Injury Mortality in the United States, 1999-2005
"In 2005, poisoning continued to be the second leading cause of injury death in the United States, having surpassed firearms for the first time in 2004. In 2004, poisoning deaths exceeded those related to firearms by 2%; however, the difference increased to 7% in 2005, with 32,691 poisoning deaths compared with 30,694 firearm deaths. Motor vehicle traffic (MVT) deaths were the leading cause of injury death from 1999-2005, accounting for 43,667 deaths in 2005. From 2004 to 2005, MVT deaths increased 1%, firearm deaths, 4% and poisoning deaths, 8%. (1,2)

The age distribution of poisoning deaths differs from that for MVT and firearm deaths. The 2005 poisoning death rate peaked at ages 45-54 years, whereas the MVT and firearm death rates peaked at ages 20-24 years, with a secondary peak for MVT deaths at 85 years and over, see Figure 1. Before 2005, the highest poisoning death rate had been at ages 35-44 years, but it has shifted to ages 45-54 years."
July 1, 2007 Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area Population Estimates
"The Population Estimates Program publishes total resident population estimates and demographic components of change (births, deaths, and migration) each year. We also publish the estimates by demographic characteristics (age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin) for the nation, states and counties. In addition to the resident population universe, we also produce population estimates for these universes: resident plus armed forces overseas, civilian, and civilian non-institutional at the national level; and civilian at the state level. The reference date for estimates is July 1."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

George Washington: A Resource Guide
"The digital collections of the Library of Congress contain a wide variety of material associated with George Washington, including the complete George Washington Papers from the Manuscript Division, which consists of approximately 65,000 documents and is the largest collection of original Washington documents in the world. Document types in the collection as a whole include correspondence, letterbooks, commonplace books, diaries, journals, financial account books, military records, reports, and notes accumulated by Washington from 1741 through 1799. This resource guide compiles links to digital materials related to Washington such as letters, broadsides, government documents, books, and images that are available throughout the Library of Congress Web site. In addition, it provides links to external Web sites focusing on Washington and a bibliography containing selected works for both general and younger readers."
Slavery Resource Guide
"The digital collections of the Library of Congress contain a wide variety of material related to slavery, including photographs, documents, and sound recordings. This guide compiles links to slavery resources throughout the Library of Congress Web site. In addition, it provides links to external Web sites focusing on slavery and a bibliography containing selections for both general and younger readers."
Digest of Education Statistics, 2007
"In the fall of 2007, about 73.7 million people were enrolled in American schools and colleges (table 1). About 4.6 million people were employed as elementary and secondary school teachers and as college faculty, in full-time equivalents (FTE). Other professional, administrative, and support staff at educational institutions totaled 5.2 million. All data for 2007 in this Introduction are projected. Some data for other years are projected or estimated as noted. In discussions of historical trends, different time periods and specific years are cited, depending on the timing of important changes as well as the availability of relevant data."
Food Stamps and Obesity: What Do We Know?
"Results from reviewed studies indicate that for most participants in the Food Stamp Program—children, nonelderly men, and the elderly—use of food stamp benefits does not result in an increase in either Body Mass Index (BMI) or the likelihood of being overweight or obese. However, for nonelderly women, who account for 28 percent of the food stamp caseload, some evidence suggests that participation in the Food Stamp Program may increase BMI and the probability of obesity. Different results for age and sex subgroups remain unexplained. Further, because food stamp benefits are issued to households, not individuals, mixed results across age and sex subgroups make it difficult to target policy alternatives to address potential weight gain among some participants while not affecting others in the household."
The Hayward Fault: America’s Most Dangerous?
"An earthquake of M6.8 or greater on the Hayward Fault, in the heart of the San Francisco Bay area, is increasingly likely. The last major earthquake on the Hayward Fault was in 1868, 140 years ago: research by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and others indicate the past five such earthquakes have been 140 years apart on average.

According to newly updated information from members of the 1868 Hayward Earthquake Alliance, a major earthquake on the Hayward fault would impact more than 5 million people and property and contents valued in excess of $1.5 trillion in the six counties surrounding the fault..."
FEDERAL GUIDANCE TO ASSIST STATES IN IMPROVING STATE-LEVEL PANDEMIC INFLUENZA OPERATING PLANS
"Effective State, local and community functioning during and following an influenza pandemic requires focused planning and practicing in advance of the pandemic to ensure that States can maintain their critical functions. The Interim Pre-pandemic Planning Guidance: Community Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Mitigation in the United States – Early, Targeted, Layered Use of Nonpharmaceutical Interventions (February 2007) was developed to provide guidance for pandemic planning and response. For community mitigation strategies to be effective, State governments need to incorporate them into their operating plans and assist local communities, businesses, non-governmental organizations, and the public in doing the same. State governments must have robust operating plans that have been sufficiently tested and improved by staff who understand and perform proficiently their supporting activities. Community partners must also perform proficiently their roles and responsibilities and understand accurately what the State government will and won’t do and how it will communicate with both them and the public."
FHFB Authorizes Temporary Increase on Purchase of Mortgage Back Securities
"The Board of Directors of the Federal Housing Finance Board (Finance Board) today
by notational vote passed a resolution authorizing the Federal Home Loan Banks to increase their purchases of agency mortgage back securities (MBS). The resolution is effective immediately.

Pursuant to the resolution, the limit on Federal Home Loan Banks’ MBS investment authority would increase from 300 percent of capital to 600 percent of capital for two years. The resolution requires an FHLBank to notify the Finance Board prior to its first acquisition under the expanded authority and include in its notification a description of the risk management principles underlying its purchases. The expanded authority is limited to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securities."

Monday, March 24, 2008

Alphabetical List of Subject Pages(U.S. Government Publications)
An alphabetical list of subject guides to federal government resources with links to individual publications, databases, and agencies. Produced the the Government Publications Library University of Colorado at Boulder.
USDA State Fact Sheets
"State fact sheets provide information on population, employment, income, farm characteristics, farm financial indicators, and top commodities, exports, and counties for each state in the United States."
Updated March 21, 2008
Monitoring International Labor Standards (MILS) Database
Search a database and find information on labor standards by country.
Doing Business in MADAGASCAR: 2008 Country Commercial Guide
"An island nation in the Western Indian Ocean with a population of around 18 million, Madagascar ranks among the poorest countries in the world. Over 70 percent of the population lives in poverty. With the support of the World Bank, the IMF, and other donors, the Government of Madagascar (GOM) is seeking to move towards a market economy conducive to private sector development, openness to foreign investment, and withdrawal of the GOM from productive sectors. The strategy adopted by the GOM is focused on (i) the development of productive sectors such as manufacturing export industry, mining industry, tourism, agriculture in which partners are already active through projects and programs like “Millennium Challenge Account” (MCA) and the “Integrated Growth Pole” (IGP); (ii) the establishment of an incentive and secure framework both for national and foreign private investments, and (iii) the development of human capital by the improvement of the access of the population to education, water, and health services."
Doing Business in Sweden: 2008 Country Commercial Guide
"Sweden is one of the world’s leading free-trading nations, with more than half the
economy dependent on trade and business operating largely free of political influences. A new government elected in September 2006 styles itself as pro-business and trade oriented. In their first year, the new government has managed to pass significant tax reduction and some employment reform, reducing the costs to new business of hiring initial employees. They have eliminated the wealth tax, encouraging a return of investment, and decreased property taxes.

Sweden exports more than three times as much as it imports from the U.S. There
are signs that this imbalance may have peaked, with the lower value of the dollar attracting increased interest in U.S. products. The U.S. is the number two purchaser of Swedish products whereas imports from the U.S. to Sweden rank number 8. The U.S. Embassy, under the leadership of the Ambassador, has focused on redressing this imbalance and is working with the Swedish Government to promote U.S. products in key areas such as energy, auto parts and consumer products. Of special interest to potential importers should be the Cleantech Mission the Embassy will host in May 2008 to respond to the high demand for alternative energy and energy saving products in Sweden."
Doing Business in Canada: 2008 Country Commercial Guide
"The United States and Canada share the world’s longest open border. Ninety percent of Canada’s 33 million people, a population one-tenth that of the United States, live within 100 miles of the U.S. border. As a result, the U.S. and Canadian economies are closely intertwined. Also, the United States and Canada are each other’s largest trading partner, and the United States is the largest foreign investor in Canada and the most popular destination for Canadian investment. According to official Canadian statistics, in 2006, the two-way trade in goods amounted to approximately US $509 billion, representing US $1.4 billion of goods crossing the border each day. U.S. exports to Canada exceed U.S. exports to the entire European Union, even though the EU has 15 times Canada’s population. The two-way trade that crosses the Ambassador Bridge between Michigan and Ontario equals all U.S. exports to Japan."
Doing Business in Korea: 2008 Country Commercial Guide
"Korea is the 13th largest economy in the world and is an outstanding trading partner for the United States. With its high-tech industry, a sophisticated consumer market, and a long history of successful trade with the United States, Korea is an excellent market for U.S. companies to enter or expand their Asian presence. The United States and Korea concluded negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement in 2007, which will remove 95% of all tariffs and establish a framework for a more transparent and robust commercial environment that would increase an already strong bilateral relationship by more than USD 20 billion."
Border Searches of Laptops and Other Electronic Storage Devices
"The Fourth Amendment generally requires a warrant to support most searches
and seizures conducted by the government. Federal courts have long recognized that
there are many exceptions to this general presumption, one of which is the border
search exception. The border search exception permits government officials, in
most “routine” circumstances, to conduct searches with no suspicion of wrongdoing
whatsoever. On the other hand, in some “non-routine” and particularly invasive
situations, customs officials are required to have “reasonable suspicion” in order to
conduct a search."
2008 Federal Disaster Declarations
Listing by states of:
Major Disaster Declarations.
Emergency Declarations
Fire Management Assistance Declarations.
AIDS.gov
"A gateway to Federal domestic HIV/AIDS information and resources.
In 2006, more than 1 million persons are living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, and an estimated 40,000 new HIV infections are expected to occur this year."
FDIC State Profiles
Quarterly statistical information by states from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Fact Sheet on National Data Center Energy Efficiency Information Program"The voluntary National Data Center Energy Efficiency Information Program has been initiated. The Program coordinates a wide variety of activities from the DOE Industrial Technologies Program Save Energy Now initiative, the DOE Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), and the EPA ENERGY STAR program. The program is engaging numerous industry stakeholders who are developing and deploying a variety of tools and informational resources to assist data center operators in their efforts to reduce energy consumption in their facilities. These groups include, for example: 7 x 24 Exchange, AFCOM, American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Critical Facilities Roundtable, Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC), Silicon Valley Leadership Group, The Green Grid Association, and The Uptime Institute."

Friday, March 21, 2008

Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2006
"This web page describes background checks for firearm transfers conducted in 2006. The statistical tables below provide the number of applications checked by state points of contact and local agencies; the number of applications denied and the reasons for denial; and estimates of applications and denials conducted by each type of approval system. Data are also provided on appeals of denied applications and arrests for falsified applications. The Firearm Inquiry Statistics Program is an ongoing data collection effort focusing on the procedures and statistics related to background checks in selected states."
An Analysis of the President’s Budgetary Proposals for Fiscal Year 2009
"This Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the President’s budgetary proposals for fiscal year 2009—prepared at the request of the Senate Committee on Appropriations— was produced by the staffs of CBO’s Budget Analysis, Macroeconomic Analysis, and Tax Analysis Divisions under the supervision of Peter Fontaine, Robert Dennis, and Thomas Woodward, respectively. CBO prepared the baseline revenue estimates and the estimates of selected revenue proposals; the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) prepared most of the estimates of the President’s revenue proposals. The report expands on CBO’s preliminary analysis, which was released on March 3, 2008."
Five Years Later: New Strategy Improving Security In Iraq
"Today, President Bush spoke at the Pentagon to mark the fifth anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The past five years have been a critical time in history. U.S. troops should be proud of their partnership with Iraqis and the progress in Iraq.

* The battle in Iraq is noble, necessary, and just.
* Defeating the enemy in Iraq will make it less likely we will face this enemy here at home. The terrorists who murder the innocent in the streets of Baghdad also want to murder the innocent in the streets of American cities.
* Because we acted against Saddam Hussein, the world is better and America is safer. Because we acted, Saddam Hussein no longer fills fields with the remains of innocent men, women, and children, invades his neighbors, pays the families of suicide bombers, or defies the will of the United Nations. Saddam’s torture chambers, rape rooms, and children’s prisons have been closed for good..."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Phishing Scams, Frivolous Arguments Top the 2008 “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams
"The Internal Revenue Service today issued its 2008 list of the 12 most egregious tax schemes and scams, highlighted by Internet phishing scams and several frivolous tax arguments.

Topping this year’s list of scams is phishing, which encompasses numerous Internet-based ploys to steal financial information from taxpayers. New to the “Dirty Dozen” this year is a scheme, which IRS auditors discovered, that relates to unreasonable and/or excessive fuel tax credit claims.

“Taxpayers should be wary of scams and promises to avoid paying taxes that seem too good to be true,” Acting IRS Commissioner Linda Stiff said. “There is no secret formula that can eliminate a person’s tax obligations. People should be wary of anyone peddling any of these scams.”

Tax schemes can lead to problems for both scam artists and taxpayers. Tax return preparers and promoters also risk significant penalties, interest and possible criminal prosecution."
2007 IRS Data Book
"This report describes activities conducted by the Internal Revenue Service during Fiscal Year 2007 (October 1, 2006, through September 30, 2007). It provides information on returns fi led and taxes collected, enforcement, taxpayer assistance, the IRS budget and workforce, and other selected activities."
USE OF THE NATIONAL AIRSPACE SYSTEM
"This report presents the results of our audit of the use of the National Airspace System (NAS). The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure requested this audit to provide policymakers with a common understanding of who uses the NAS as they consider how to finance the aviation system into the future. Disagreement among stakeholders regarding their use of the NAS makes it difficult to evaluate Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) financing alternatives.

Our specific objectives were to determine: (1) how different groups use NAS elements, (2) how that usage contributes to aviation congestion, (3) whether NAS users can be grouped in a meaningful manner based on their usage of the system, and (4) how good a proxy is jet fuel for use of FAA air traffic services."
Economic Stimulus Payments Information Center
"Starting in May, the Treasury will begin sending economic stimulus payments to more than 130 million households. To receive a payment, taxpayers must have a valid Social Security number, $3,000 of income and file a 2007 federal tax return. IRS will take care of the rest. Eligible people will receive up to $600 ($1,200 for married couples), and parents will receive an additional $300 for each eligible child younger than 17. Millions of retirees, disabled veterans and low-wage workers who usually are exempt from filing a tax return must do so this year in order to receive a stimulus payment.

But there are more details to know about and even a calculator to use. Find out more here and visit this page regularly for the latest updates."

Project Play, Semester 2, Week 8

This week's assignment is an introduction to screencasts.

The demostration for CuePrompter works as perfectly as intended. The examples using FreeScreenCast would not load. I kept getting the message "Done, but errors on page". I assume some plugins are needed that aren't installed on my work computer. I took a look at the FreeScreencast.com site and one of the requirements for installing the software is having Microsoft .NET framework 2.0 on one computer. I checked and it isn't on my computer. So, even viewing the demostrations must require that one computer have .NET framework 2.0.

The examples given of libraries using screencasts seem like a natural extention of traditional tutorial guides. I wish the program was around when the 2000 census was published so I could have created a few tutorials for various products on our Census and Statistical Information web page. I will look at some other products as candidates for using the Screen-o-Matic product to demonstrate their features.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Pictorial Americana: Selected Images from the Collections of the Library of Congress
"Pictorial Americana, a 1955 Library of Congress publication, is being prepared for the Internet in stages. Links are added to the sections below as the content becomes available on the Web. For further information about Pictorial Americana, including rights and how to obtain copies, see the Introduction."
2007 Sets All Time International Tourism Record For U.S.
"U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez today announced that 2007 set an all time record for international tourism, with visitors pumping $122 billion into the U.S. economy from over 56 million international visitors supporting 8.5 million American jobs. Last year exceeded all previous records in both international spending and visitation to the United States. Over half of international visitors came to America from NAFTA alone."
NAFTA Regional Database
Find trade information by industry, country, and subjects for the NAFTA countires of Canada and Mexico.
Doing Business in Canada: 2008 Country Commercial Guide
"The United States and Canada share the world’s longest open border. Ninety percent of Canada’s 33 million people, a population one-tenth that of the United States, live within 100 miles of the U.S. border. As a result, the U.S. and Canadian economies are closely intertwined. Also, the United States and Canada are each other’s largest trading partner, and the United States is the largest foreign investor in Canada and the most popular destination for Canadian investment. According to official Canadian statistics, in 2006, the two-way trade in goods amounted to approximately US $509 billion, representing US $1.4 billion of goods crossing the border each day. U.S. exports to Canada exceed U.S. exports to the entire European Union, even though the EU has 15 times Canada’s population. The two-way trade that crosses the Ambassador Bridge between Michigan and Ontario equals all U.S. exports to Japan."
The Future of America's National Parks: A Report to the President of the United States
"...The challenge facing the National Park Service is to conserve what is timeless
while keeping pace with the modern needs of Americans. The National Park Service must make a 21st-century commitment to work in partnership to preserve parks, while re-connecting adults and children to the outdoors, history, and culture. An inner-city child in Washington, D.C. who catches a bluegill in a cement-lined pond in Constitution Gardens may one day explore the wilds of Alaska fishing for king salmon."
2008 Women's Health Calendar
Discusses a number of women's health issues associated with the month is which they are observed.
Voice of America Digital Archives
"The Library of Congress has been preparing for the digital age since the 1960's, when it used early technology to create and share its bibliographic information in electronic form. In the 1990's, the library started distributing digitized versions of its treasures to schools and libraries across the United States. Now, there are millions of digitized contents available on the library's web site for users across the world.
Around the World in Eight Charts
"Jules Verne isn't the only one who can take you on a worldwide adventure. Travel the globe in eight charts with the Bureau of Labor Statistics! Although BLS is the premier source for U.S. labor statistics, the Bureau is also widely recognized for providing comparable international data. BLS provides information on employment, unemployment, productivity, compensation costs, and other labor-related measures for countries in the Americas, Europe, and Asia and the Pacific. Let's begin our tour!"

Monday, March 17, 2008

Report of Investigation: Voter Fraud and Voter Intimidation Report
"The investigation found no evidence to support allegations that changes were made to the report due to improper reasons or political motivations. However, it did disclose a poorly conceived and managed project. The project was set to fail from the beginning due to an inadequate statement of work, which did not clearly define exactly what the contractors were expected to do, what the deliverables were expected to be, and how the deliverables were to be handled. The problems with the statement of work were compounded by EAC inadequate oversight of the consultants."
Coolest Winter Since 2001 for U.S., Globe
"The average temperature across both the contiguous U.S. and the globe during climatological winter (December 2007-February 2008) was the coolest since 2001, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. In terms of winter precipitation, Pacific storms, bringing heavy precipitation to large parts of the West, produced high snowpack that will provide welcome runoff this spring.

A complete analysis is available online.
U.S. Winter Temperature Highlights

In the contiguous United States, the average winter temperature was 33.2°F (0.6°C), which was 0.2°F (0.1°C) above the 20th century average – yet still ranks as the coolest since 2001. It was the 54th coolest winter since national records began in 1895."
MEDICARE ANNOUNCES FINAL COVERAGE POLICY FOR CONTINUOUS POSITIVE AIRWAY PRESSURE THERAPY FOR OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA
"The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today expanded Medicare coverage for continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices to include beneficiaries who have been diagnosed, using a home sleep test, with obstructive sleep apnea. CMS also announced changes to simplify certain test requirements.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a condition in which periods of temporary suspension in breathing (apnea) occur during sleep. In most instances, OSA is diagnosed by counting the number of sleep disturbances that occur during a specific time interval. Up to four million Medicare beneficiaries may suffer from some form of OSA."
USGS Report Identifies Natural Occurrences of Asbestos in the Southwestern U.S.
"A report published by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) contains a regional map and associated database that inventory 121 locations of reported natural asbestos and fibrous amphibole occurrences in the Southwestern United States, including Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. The map is based on a search of scientific literature and does not identify any new occurrences of asbestos. It is the fourth in a series, which originated in 2005 with a similar report for the Eastern U.S., followed in 2006 and 2007 by similar products that encompass the Central U.S. and the Rocky Mountain States, respectively."
New Study Shows Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates Increasing Among U.S. Adults
"The percentage of U.S. adults aged 50 years and older getting screened for colorectal cancer is increasing according to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The study uses state-level Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) data that have been combined to estimate that 60.8 percent of adults were current with colorectal cancer screening recommendations in 2006, compared with 53.9 percent in 2002...

CDC's Screen for Life: National Colorectal Cancer Action Campaign is aimed at informing men and women aged 50 years or older about the importance of having regular colorectal cancer screening tests. Information about Screen for Life can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/sfl/."
Fact Sheet: Taking Responsible Action to Help Homeowners and the Economy
"Today, President Bush delivered remarks at the Economic Club in New York and discussed the appropriate role the government must play to strengthen the economy and protect our communities. The U.S. economy is structurally strong, but we are experiencing a period of economic challenge. Concern over the housing market has shaken the broader economy, but the President believes the government can respect the principles of the free market, while also taking sensible, focused action to help responsible homeowners weather a rough patch."
The Federal Reserve on Sunday announced two initiatives designed to bolster market liquidity and promote orderly market functioning
"First, the Federal Reserve Board voted unanimously to authorize the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to create a lending facility to improve the ability of primary dealers to provide financing to participants in securitization markets. This facility will be available for business on Monday, March 17. It will be in place for at least six months and may be extended as conditions warrant. Credit extended to primary dealers under this facility may be collateralized by a broad range of investment-grade debt securities. The interest rate charged on such credit will be the same as the primary credit rate, or discount rate, at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Second, the Federal Reserve Board unanimously approved a request by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to decrease the primary credit rate from 3-1/2 percent to 3-1/4 percent, effective immediately. This step lowers the spread of the primary credit rate over the Federal Open Market Committee’s target federal funds rate to 1/4 percentage point. The Board also approved an increase in the maximum maturity of primary credit loans to 90 days from 30 days.

The Board also approved the financing arrangement announced by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and The Bear Stearns Companies Inc."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism: A Report Provided to the Congress
"In response to rising anti-Semitism worldwide, including in some of the strongest democracies, the U.S. Congress passed the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004. On October 16, 2004, President George W. Bush signed the legislation into law (Public Law 108-332).

The Act requires the U.S. Department of State to document and combat acts of anti-Semitism globally. To advance these goals, the Act mandated a one-time report on anti-Semitic acts, which the U.S. Department of State submitted to the U.S. Congress in January 2005.

The Act also established within the U.S. Department of State an Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. On May 22, 2006, Gregg Rickman was sworn in by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as the first Special Envoy."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Doing Business In Denmark: 2008 Country Commercial Guide for U.S. Companies
"Denmark is a constitutional monarchy which shares a southern border with Germany and which is connected by bridge to southern Sweden. With a total area of 43,096 sq. km. (16,640 sq. mi.) it is slightly smaller than Vermont and New Hampshire combined. The total population is 5.45 million people.
 Denmark is a rich, modern society with state-of-the-art infrastructure and distribution systems, a highly skilled labor force and a central location that makes it an excellent distribution point for the Scandinavian, Northern European and Baltic markets.
 Denmark‟s standard of living, with a GDP per capita of USD 53,354 in 2006 (2006, year-end exchange rate), is among the highest in the world.
 Denmark is a firm advocate of liberal trade and investment policies and actively encourages foreign investment. The country has been a member of the European Union (EU) since 1973."
Doing Business in Venezuela: 2008 Country Commercial Guide
"In light of current conditions, particularly President Chavez' 2007 nationalizations of several sectors of the Venezuelan economy and anti-U.S. rhetoric, U.S. exporters to and investors in Venezuela are well-advised to perform their risk-return calculations carefully, mindful of the uncertainties, but aware of the opportunities in the Venezuelan market.

With a population of 27 million, Venezuela is the sixth most populous nation in Latin America.

The political relationship between Venezuela and the U.S. has cooled significantly and is characterized by harsh anti-U.S. rhetoric by President Hugo Chavez (elected 1998 and re-elected in 2000 and 2006).

The U.S. remains Venezuela’s most important trading partner, claiming more than half of Venezuela’s exports (primarily petroleum and petroleum products) and a quarter of imports."
Doing Business In Israel:2008 Country Commercial Guide
"After growth of 6.2% in 2000, Israeli growth was negative in 2001 and 2002.
Growth resumed in 2003 with GDP of 1.7%, and continued to grow by 4.4% in
2004, 5.2% in 2005, 5.1% in 2006 and 6% in 2007.
• GDP nominal per capita in 2007 was $31,767 (source: IMF).
• Inflation: 1.2% in 2004, 1.3% in 2005. In 2006 inflation was slightly negative, in
2007 it was 3.4%.
• Unemployment declined to 9% in 2005 from 10.4% in 2004. It continued to
decline in 2006 to 8.5% and in 2007 to 7.4%.
• Israel ranked 3rd in the world for U.S. patents per capita, following Japan and
Taiwan.
• Exports to Israel in 2007 amounted to $13.019 billion, making Israel the 22nd
largest export market in the world for U.S. goods and services. Imports from
Israel amounted to $20.812 billion, creating a negative trade balance of $7.8
billion.
• The United States is Israel's largest single country trade partner, despite heavy
European competition."
Doing Business In Spain: 2008 Country Commercial Guide
"Spain has one of the fastest growing economies in the European Community. It
enjoys a long-standing and wide-ranging bilateral relationship with the United
States and has traditionally provided a healthy export market. U.S. exports to
Spain through September 2007 were USD 4.6 billion, an increase of 26 percent
compared with the same period in 2006."
Doing Business in Vietnam: 2008 Country Commercial Guide for U.S. Companies
"Vietnam is a quickly emerging market, offering ground floor and growing
opportunities for U.S. exporters and investors. Vietnam’s economic growth rate
has been among the highest in the world in recent years, expanding annually at
7-8.5 percent, while industrial production has been growing at around 14-15
percent a year."
NLM and ORWH Announce New NIH Web Site Source for Women's Health Research Information
"A new Web resource providing consumers with the latest information on significant topics in women's health research from scientific journals and other peer-reviewed sources is now available through the National Library of Medicine (NLM). The NLM, of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), through its Division of Specialized Information Services, Office of Outreach and Special Populations has partnered with the NIH Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH) to create this one-stop resource."

Women's Health Resources from the NLM Web site

Women's Health Resources from the ORWH Web site
The Science of Addiction: A Guide to Selected Resources
Find Monographs and serials, medical journals, and selected web resources compiled by the Science, Technology and Business staff of the Library of Congress.
Strengthened National Standards for Ground-Level Ozone
"The Environmental Protection Agency significantly strengthened its national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone, the primary component of smog. These changes will improve both public health protection and the protection of sensitive trees and plants."

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2007
"As President Bush has said, “Freedom can be resisted, and freedom can be delayed, but freedom cannot be denied.” In the long run, citizens who sacrifice for their dignity and their rights will prevail, just as the Havels and the Mandelas did before them. Like those towering figures, many of today’s defenders of human rights are denounced and persecuted, vilified as traitors, and targeted for repression by their own governments – just for insisting upon the freedoms enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These impatient patriots are an inspiration to their fellow citizens, and the high standard they set continues to give hope to people everywhere who work peacefully for their liberty, their dignity, and their rights."
Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq, March 2008
"The strategic goal of the United States in Iraq remains a unified, democratic and federal Iraq that can govern, defend and sustain itself and is an ally in the war on terror. This goal is being pursued along political, security, economic and diplomatic lines of operation. This report measures progress toward achieving that goal during the reporting period (December 2007 through February 2008) and challenges to the Iraqi and Coalition efforts to achieve their mutual objectives."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

EPA Knows More About Children's Health Today Than Ever - New Report Highlights 10 Years of Comprehensive Research
"EPA knows more now than ever about children's environmental health and how to create a healthier environment for children. This is the result of a 10-year research effort on children's environmental health highlighted in a new report issued today.

"Understanding potential environmental health risks to children is important to EPA," said George Gray, assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Research and Development. "This research will help us assess and address environmental factors that may affect some of the most vulnerable members of our society."

The report, "A Decade of Children's Environmental Health: Highlights from EPA's Science to Achieve Results Program" focuses on 10 years of research funded or performed by EPA's National Center for Environmental Research's Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grants program."

Project Play, Semester 2, Week 6

Week 6 assignment is an introduction to podcasting.

I have a Creative Zen Microphoto mp3 player that I puchased in June 2006. I wanted to subscribe to a podcast service and have the audio files downloaded to my mp3 player. So, logged onto the Creative site and found the section dedicated to podcasting. Creative use the ZENcast program which can be assessed online or downloaded to a computer, which is the recommended option.

So, I downloaded ZENcast Organizer and installed it on my computer. Unfortunately, the choices on this software aren't as detailed as the ones at the web site. Back to the online site. Finding the podcast component isn't intuitive. One has to select "Support- MP3 Player- Family Suites of Sites- Zencast". I selected the "Books" section and then the NPR Books podcast service. One cannot just download files, one needs to first register at the site. After registering, I was able to access the NPR Books site and download files to my computer.

I use the ZENcast organizer to transfer files from my computer to my Zen Microphoto player. One problem encountered was trying to find where the transferred ended up on the player. This mystery remains unsolved and thus I haven't been able to listen to the downloads on my player.

Following the instructions in the exercise, I logged onto the Podcast Alley site, located the NPR Book site and copied the address into Google Reader. I immediately was able to hear a reading of James McBride discussing his recent book Song Yet Sung.

After looking at a few of the listed library sites, the Denver Public Library sites is most impressive. The layout is clean. The podcast component is easy to find, just click on "DPL Downloads" and then "DLP Podcasts". It has a podcasting help page and one can subscrbe to the service using the RSS feed button.

While I don't see myself creating a podcast in the immediate future, I will be subscribing to some sites to kept abreast of current discussions. I envison others might setup a podcast for things like book talk programs.
Army Reports on Mental Health of Soliders in Iraq and Afghanistan
"The fifth Mental Health Advisory Team (MHAT) V was established by the Office of the U.S. Army Surgeon General. Historically, teams have been formed to support requests from the Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I); however, for MHAT V the request from MNFI-I was augmented by a request from the Service Chief, Army Central Command (ARCENT) to examine Soldiers in Afghanistan and Kuwait. Therefore, unlike previous years, the current MHAT report contains two separate reports - one for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) which includes a section on Soldiers in Kuwait, and one for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)."
Computer Security Incident Handling Guide
"Computer security incident response has become an important component of information technology (IT) programs. Security-related threats have become not only more numerous and diverse but also more damaging and disruptive. New types of security-related incidents emerge frequently. Preventative activities based on the results of risk assessments can lower the number of incidents, but not all incidents can be prevented. An incident response capability is therefore necessary for rapidly detecting incidents, minimizing loss and destruction, mitigating the weaknesses that were exploited, and restoring computing services. To that end, this publication provides guidelines for incident handling, particularly for analyzing incident-related data and determining the appropriate response to each incident. The guidelines can be followed independently of particular hardware platforms, operating systems, protocols, or applications."
FAA Adopts Upgrades for Aircraft “Black Boxes”
"The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has mandated significant upgrades to aircraft cockpit voice and flight data recorders — improvements that will enable investigators to retrieve more data from accidents and incidents requiring investigation...

Under the final rule, which affects manufacturers and operators of airplanes and helicopters with 10 or more seats, all voice recorders must capture the last two hours of cockpit audio instead of the current 15 to 30 minutes. The new rule also requires an independent backup power source for the voice recorders to allow continued recording for nine to 11 minutes if all aircraft power sources are lost or interrupted. Voice recorders also must use solid state technology instead of magnetic tape, which is vulnerable to damage and loss of reliability."
Employment Practices of Blackwater Worldwide
"Today I [Chairman, Henry A. Waxman] am sending letters to three federal agencies - the Internal Revenue Service, the Small Business Administration, and the Department of Labor - regarding Blackwater's compliance with federal tax, small business, and labor laws. This memorandum summarizes the evidence before the Committee and why I am taking this action...

On October 22,2007,I wrote to Blackwater CEO Erik Prince raising concern that
Blackwater evaded millions of dollars in federal tax payments through its improper classification of security guards as "independent contractors" rather than "employees." My letter was based in part on a March 2007lnternal Revenue Service ruling, which concluded that Blackwater violated federal tax law by designating an armed guard as an independent contractor. Committee staff
estimated that Blackwater failed to pay or withhold up to $50 million under its contract with the State Department."

Monday, March 10, 2008

HS INITIATIVES TO IMPROVE SECURITY ALONG THE U.S. NORTHERN BORDER
"The international boundary with Canada extends 3,987 miles across both land and water, and it is often described as the largest open border in the world. It separates two friendly nations with a long history of social, cultural, and economic ties that have contributed to a high volume of crossborder trade and travel. Almost all of Canada’s major metropolitan areas are located on or near the international boundary. In fact, 90 percent of Canada’s population lives within 100
miles of the border. While legal trade is predominant, there are networks of illicit criminal activity and smuggling of drugs, currency, people, and weapons between the two countries. The long, porous nature of the U.S. Northern Border provides a multitude of opportunities for clandestine and undocumented crossings. The primary threat along the Northern Border is the potential for extremists and their conveyances to enter the United States undetected."
Executive Compensation II: CEO Pay and the Mortgage Crisis, March 7,2008
"Today the Committee[House Committee on Oversigh and government Reform]is holding its second hearing on executive compensation. Our subject is the compensation of executives who preside over billion-dollar losses.

There seem to be two different economic realities operating in our country today.
And the rules of compensation in one world are completely different from those in the other. Most Americans live in a world where economic security is precarious and there are real economic consequences for failure. But our nation's top executives seem to live by a different set of rules..."
New Strategy to Help the Nation's Ports Go Green
"EPA has unveiled a new plan of action for working with public port authorities and other interested groups to reduce the environmental impacts of moving goods through ports. The "Vision, Mission, and Strategy for Sustainable Ports" recognizes the steady growth in global maritime commerce and the critical role American ports and related transportation and supply chain partners play in managing the environmental impacts of moving goods across the country. "

Friday, March 7, 2008

2006 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Survey
"Supplemental to the current Annual Capital Expenditure Survey (ACES), the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Survey collects investment figures related to technology falling below a company's capitalization threshold. This survey is sent to a sample of approximately 46,000 private non-farm employer businesses operating in the United States."

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Constitutional Limits on Hate Crime Legislation
"Federal and state legislators recognize the special concerns and effects of hate
crimes. Although there is some federal legislation in place, many states have
enacted some form of ethnic intimidation law or bias-motivated sentence-enhancement factors in attempts to curtail hate crimes. Several United States Supreme Court cases provide the framework in which states must legislate to ensure the constitutionality of hate crime legislation. After these landmark cases, the real questions for states involve identifying permissible ways to curtail hate crimes without infringing on any constitutionally protected rights. On the federal level, in light of U.S. Supreme Court cases, the question remains as to what extent Congress can broaden the classes of individuals subject to hate crime legislation. This report discusses constitutional considerations facing both individual states and Congress in enacting hate crime legislation."

Monday, March 3, 2008

Asylum Law and Female Genital Mutilation: Recent Developments
"Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a term encompassing a wide range of procedures that involve the removal or alteration of a woman’s genitalia. The federal courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) have classified FGM as a form of persecution, a showing of which can act as a basis for a successful asylum claim. However, recent developments in this area of law have created a split between the federal courts and the BIA over the treatment of applicants who have already been inflicted with FGM. The federal courts that have addressed this issue currently treat a past infliction of FGM as a basis for a well-founded fear of persecution. The BIA, on the other hand, has rejected this position, arguing that FGM is a one-time procedure, and that once inflicted, an applicant will not be persecuted with FGM again, and thus cannot act as a basis for an asylum application."
Operation Iraqi Freedom: Strategies, Approaches, Results, and Issues for Congress
"Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) was launched on March 20, 2003. The
immediate goal, as stated by the Bush Administration, was to remove the regime,
including destroying its ability to use weapons of mass destruction or to make them
available to terrorists. The broad, longer-term objective included helping Iraqis build “a new Iraq that is prosperous and free.”1 In October 2002, Congress had authorized the President to use force against Iraq, to “defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq,” and to “enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq>"

The most important short-term OIF issue for the Congress concerns the next
steps after the surge — the military strategies and approaches to be adopted in Iraq
after U.S. forces draw down to the pre-surge level. How OIF experiences to date are
evaluated — including policy decision-making, planning, and execution of both the
major combat and post-major combat efforts — are likely to have a significant
bearing not only on further U.S. government decisions about Iraq policy, but also on
broader, longer-term U.S. strategic concerns. Some of these include the future U.S.
military footprint in Iraq, Iraq as a U.S. national security concern, the future of the U.S. military force, and the distribution of roles and responsibilities among U.S. government agencies in complex contingencies."