Wednesday, April 30, 2008

BEA: Local Area Personal Income, 2006
"Today, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released estimates of personal income at the county level for 2006 based on newly available source data. Personal income is a comprehensive measure of the income of all persons from all sources. In addition to wages and salaries it includes employer–provided health insurance, dividends and interest income, social security benefits, and other types of income."
FAA Takes Steps to Ensure Proper Reporting of Operational Errors
"The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced steps to strengthen the reporting system designed to classify airspace errors, in response to a report by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Inspector General (IG) that revealed the intentional misclassification of operational errors at the Dallas-Fort Worth Terminal Approach Control (TRACON).

In direct response to IG recommendations contained in a report issued today, the FAA removed both the facility manager and assistant manager at the Dallas-Fort Worth TRACON from their positions pending a final determination on possible further personnel actions; additional personnel actions may be taken. The Air Traffic Safety Oversight organization has implemented unannounced on-site audits at the TRACON, requiring monthly reports to the FAA’s acting administrator. Additionally, the FAA will accelerate deployment of the Traffic Analysis Review Program (TARP) — software that automatically detects losses of aircraft separation at terminal facilities — at Dallas-Fort Worth TRACON. The program will be implemented by the end of fiscal year 2008."
CBO TESTIMONY Statement of Peter R. Orszag Director, Implications of a Cap-and-Trade Program for Carbon Dioxide Emissions
"Chairman Baucus, Senator Grassley, and Members of the Committee, thank you for the invitation to discuss the implications of cap-and-trade programs that are designed to reduce U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases, most prominently carbon dioxide (CO2).

Global climate change is one of the nation’s most significant long-term policy challenges. Human activities are producing increasingly large quantities of greenhouse gases, particularly CO2. The accumulation of those gases in the atmosphere is expected to have potentially serious and costly effects on regional climates throughout the world. The magnitude of such damage remains highly uncertain, but there is growing recognition of the risk that the damage may be extensive and perhaps even catastrophic..."
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2007
"The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices are submitted annually by the U.S. Department of State to the U.S. Congress in compliance with sections 116(d) and 502B(b) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA), as amended, and section 504 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended. The law provides that the Secretary of State shall transmit to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, by February 25 "a full and complete report regarding the status of internationally recognized human rights, within the meaning of subsection (A) in countries that receive assistance under this part, and (B) in all other foreign countries which are members of the United Nations and which are not otherwise the subject of a human rights report under this Act." Reports on several countries are included that do not fall into the categories established by these statutes and that thus are not covered by the congressional requirement."
Pakistan-U.S. Relations
"A stable, democratic, prosperous Pakistan is considered vital to U.S. interests.
U.S. concerns regarding Pakistan include regional and global terrorism; Afghan
stability; democratization and human rights protection; the ongoing Kashmir
problem and Pakistan-India tensions; and economic development. A U.S.-Pakistan
relationship marked by periods of both cooperation and discord was transformed
by the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States and the ensuing enlistment of Pakistan as a key ally in U.S.-led counterterrorism efforts. Top
U.S. officials regularly praise Pakistan for its ongoing cooperation, although doubts exist about Islamabad’s commitment to some core U.S. interests. Pakistan
is identified as a base for terrorist groups and their supporters operating in Kashmir, India, and Afghanistan. Pakistan’s army has conducted unprecedented and largely ineffectual counterterrorism operations in the country’s western tribal areas, where Al Qaeda operatives and their allies are believed to enjoy “safehavens."
FTC Testifies on Efforts to Protect Consumers in Subprime Mortgage Market
"The Federal Trade Commission testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Interstate Commerce, Trade, and Tourism, about the Commission’s continuing efforts to protect subprime mortgage borrowers.

The testimony described the agency’s priorities, including deceptive mortgage advertising, deceptive or unfair servicing practices, discrimination in lending, and foreclosure rescue scams, and it emphasized the following points:

* The Commission has been at the forefront of the fight against deceptive subprime lending and servicing practices since 1998, when it filed its case against Capital City Mortgage. The case alleged that the defendant took advantage of African-American consumers in Washington, D.C.

* In the past decade, the FTC has brought 22 actions in the mortgage lending industry, with particular attention to entities in the subprime markets. Through these cases, many of which have challenged deceptive advertising and marketing practices, the FTC has returned more than $320 million to consumers."
Make Every Day Earth Day
A new web site from the U.S. Department of Energy offering tips to save money and protect the environment.
Oil Industry Profit Review 2007
"Increases in the price of crude oil that began in 2004 pushed the spot price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI), a key oil in determining market prices, to nearly $100 per barrel in the third quarter of 2007. Tight market conditions persisted through the remainder of 2007, with demand growth in China, India, and other parts of the developing world continuing. Uncertain supply related to political unrest in Nigeria, Venezuela, Iraq, and other places continued to threaten the market and contribute to a psychology that pushed up prices. The decline of the value of the U.S. dollar on world currency markets, as well as the investment strategies of financial firms on the oil futures markets, has also been identified by some as factors in the high price of oil. The profits of the five major integrated oil companies remained high in 2007, as they generally accounted for approximately 75% of both revenues and net incomes. For this group of firms, oil production led the way as the most profitable segment of the market, even though oil and gas production growth was not strong. The refining segment of the market performed relatively poorly."
Self-Employed Women Differ From Their Wage And Salary Earning Counterparts
"Self-employed women differ from their wage and salary earning counterparts in several human capital areas. Most notably, self-employed women tend to be older, are better educated, and have more managerial experience than wage and salary earners. These findings are contained in a report, Human Capital and Women’s Business Ownership, released today by the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“Human capital factors such as education and experience have long been known to have a positive correlation with entrepreneurship,” said Dr. Chad Moutray, Chief Economist for the Office of Advocacy. “This report delves deeper into women’s business ownership and shows that factors such as occupational skills and entrepreneurial preparedness are essential to women’s entrepreneurship.”

The report, written by Business Development Advisors with funding from the Office of Advocacy, also compares human capital factors of self-employed women and men, as well as between self-employed whites and minorities. The authors presented the report during the annual meeting of the Urban Affairs Association in Baltimore on April 26, 2008."
High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP) and High Power Microwave (HPM) Devices: Threat Assessments
"Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is an instantaneous, intense energy field that can
overload or disrupt at a distance numerous electrical systems and high technology
microcircuits, which are especially sensitive to power surges. A large scale EMP
effect can be produced by a single nuclear explosion detonated high in the
atmosphere. This method is referred to as High-Altitude EMP (HEMP). A similar,
smaller-scale EMP effect can be created using non-nuclear devices with powerful
batteries or reactive chemicals. This method is called High Power Microwave
(HPM). Several nations, including reported sponsors of terrorism, may currently
have a capability to use EMP as a weapon for cyber warfare or cyber terrorism to
disrupt communications and other parts of the U.S. critical infrastructure. Also,
some equipment and weapons used by the U.S. military may be vulnerable to the
effects of EMP."
Director’s Comments Transcript: Gum Disease and Marijuana
"Marijuana smoking was linked to serious gum disease in young adults for the first time in a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

A study of 903 young men and women from Dunedin, New Zealand suggests a serious loss of gum tissue is associated with (non-medical supervised) marijuana smoking irrespective of tobacco use and is unrelated to a person's dental plaque accumulation. An editorial accompanying the research explains that until the current study, destructive gum (or periodontal) disease was perceived to be less related to lifestyle choices and was thought to be caused primarily by accumulating dental plaque...

MedlinePlus' gum disease health topic page notes gingivitis is a more common form of gum disease, which is not as advanced as the destructive periodontal disease assessed in this research."
Since You Asked - Bisphenol A
Questions and Answers about the Draft National Toxicology Program Brief on Bisphenol A
Iraq: Regional Perspectives and U.S. Policy
"Iraq’s neighbors have influenced events in Iraq since the fall of the Saddam
Hussein regime in 2003, and developments in Iraq have had political, economic, and
security implications for Iraq’s neighbors and the broader Middle East. Ongoing
violence in Iraq and discussion of options for modifying U.S. policy toward Iraq
are fueling consideration of Iraq’s future and the current and potential policies
by Iraq’s neighbors. Policymakers and observers are considering a number of different “Iraq scenarios,” ranging from the resolution of outstanding Iraqi political disputes and the successful consolidation of Iraq’s government and security forces, to a return of sectarian violence and the potential for greater intervention by Iraq’s neighbors."
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 next major marker in the development of U.S. Iraq strategy and practice is
likely to be the update reports to the Congress from U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan
Crocker and Commanding General of the Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I)
General David Petraeus, scheduled for April 8 and 9, 2008. A second major marker
is a security agreement between the governments of the United States and Iraq,
expected to be achieved by July 31, 2008, and to include the parameters for the
presence of U.S. personnel in Iraq after December 31, 2008."
Presidential Claims of Executive Privilege: History, Law, Practice and Recent Developments
"Presidential claims of a right to preserve the confidentiality of information and
documents in the face of legislative demands have figured prominently, though
intermittently, in executive-congressional relations since at least 1792. Few such
interbranch disputes over access to information have reached the courts for
substantive resolution, the vast majority achieving resolution through political
negotiation and accommodation. In fact, it was not until the Watergate-related
lawsuits in the 1970’s seeking access to President Nixon’s tapes that the existence
of a presidential confidentiality privilege was judicially established as a necessary
derivative of the President’s status in our constitutional scheme of separated powers.Of the eight court decisions involving interbranch or private information accessdisputes, three have involved Congress and the Executive but only one of
these resulted in a decision on the merits. The Nixon and post-Watergate cases established the broad contours of the presidential communications privilege. Under those precedents, the privilege, which is constitutionally rooted, could be invoked by the President when asked to produce documents or other materials or information that reflect presidential decisionmaking and deliberations that he believes should remain confidential. If the President does so, the materials become presumptively privileged.The privilege, however, is qualified, not absolute, and can be overcome by an adequate showing of need..."
DoD Computer Network Operations: Time to Hit the Send Button
"The Department of Defense (DoD) is rapidly moving forward into the cyber domain
of warfare, but the United States Government is not ready to exploit this evolution in Civil-Military affairs. With the United States facing new threats to its national security at home and abroad like never before, U.S. policy and law must change to enable DoD to fully defend and fight in cyberspace. Due to the highly automated and interconnected nature of U.S. critical infrastructure, it is not practical to erect a barrier between military and civilian operations that can serve U.S. national interests. Within the interagency framework, DoD should serve as the lead, including the response phase, whenever defense critical infrastructure is involved or when a cyber attack has seriously affected other national critical infrastructure."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Asian Pacific American History and Culture
"In just 10 short years, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program has had significant impact on how the Smithsonian, the world’s largest museum complex, is evolving to better reflect the diversity of our nation of immigrants.

Since 1997, the Asian Pacific American Program has provided vision, leadership, and support for Asian Pacific American (APA) activities at the Smithsonian, while also serving as the Smithsonian'ss liaison to APA communities.

Through exhibitions, programs, research, and collaborations, the Program works to incorporate the experiences of APAs in all aspects of Smithsonian work, improve the public's appreciation of the roles of Asian Pacific Americans in the history of the nation, and empower Asian Pacific American communities by increasing their sense of inclusion in the national culture."
State Estimates of Persons Aged 18 or Older Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Illicit Drugs"
"Based on SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2006 an estimated 30.5 million persons aged 12 or older reported driving under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past year and 10.2 million reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs during the past year. Illicit drugs included marijuana/hashish, cocaine, crack cocaine, inhalants, hallucinogens, heroin, or prescription-type drugs used nonmedically.

* Combined data from SAMHSA's 2004 to 2006 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health were used to produce average annualized data on driving under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs in the past year for each State based on self reports by adults aged 18 or older.

* Based on the combined 2004 to 2006 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health data from current drivers aged 18 or older, 15.1% had driven under the influence of alcohol during the past year and 4.7% had driven under the influence of illicit drugs.

* States with the highest rates of driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year among adults aged 18 or older were Wisconsin (26.4%), North Dakota (24.9%), Minnesota (23.5%), Nebraska (22.9%), and South Dakota (21.6%)."
Proposed Regulations to Strengthen No Child Left Behind
"U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings today announced proposed new regulations to strengthen and clarify No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The proposed regulations focus on improved accountability and transparency, uniform and disaggregated graduation rates and improved parental notification for Supplemental Education Services and public school choice. The Secretary made the announcement at the Detroit Economic Club in Detroit, Mich...

The Secretary noted that these new regulations build on NCLB's positive results and are consistent with the law's core principles of annual testing, publishing data and helping schools that fall behind. She added that in her travels to nearly two dozen states—which included meetings with governors, state school chiefs and state legislatures—discussions focused on how states and districts can improve struggling schools, more accurately measure dropout rates and chart student progress over time."
HIV in Prisons, 2006
"# Between 2005 and 2006, the number of HIV-positive prisoners decreased 3.1% from 22,676 to 21,980 while the overall prison custody population grew 2.2% during the same period.
# At yearend 2006, 1.6% of male inmates and 2.4% of female inmates in state and federal prisons were known to be HIV positive or to have confirmed AIDS.
# Three states, New York (4,000), Florida (3,412), and Texas (2,693), housed nearly half (49%) of all inmates known to be infected with HIV or to have confirmed AIDS in state prisons at yearend 2006.
# New York continued to see a large decrease (down 440) in the number of HIV/AIDS cases. Other notable decreases at yearend were in Georgia (down 98) and California (down 94).
# The overall rate of estimated confirmed AIDS among the prison population (0.46%) was more than 2½ times the rate in the U.S. general population (0.17%)."
NOAA Reports Carbon Dioxide, Methane Rise Sharply in 2007"Last year alone global levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the primary driver of global climate change, increased by 0.6 percent, or 19 billion tons. Additionally methane rose by 27 million tons after nearly a decade with little or no increase. NOAA scientists released these and other preliminary findings today as part of an annual update to the agency’s greenhouse gas index, which tracks data from 60 sites around the world."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Secretary Peters Proposes 25 Percent Increase in Fuel Efficiency Standards Over 5 Years for Passenger Vehicles, Light Trucks
"Fuel efficiency standards for both passenger vehicles and light trucks would increase by 4.5 percent per year over the five-year period ending in 2015 – a 25 percent total improvement that exceeds the 3.3 percent baseline proposed by Congress last year – under an ambitious new proposal announced today by U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters."
Trains Transporting the Most Toxic Hazardous Materials Must Use Safest, Most Secure Route
"Railroads will be required to route every train carrying the most toxic and dangerous hazardous materials on the safest and most secure route under a new federal rule announced today by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters...

Secretary Peters explained that beginning June 1, the rule requires railroads to conduct a comprehensive safety and security risk analysis of its primary route and any practicable alternative routes over which it has authority to operate. The analysis must consider information provided by local communities and a minimum of 27 risk factors like trip length, volume and type of hazmat being moved, existing safety measures along the route, and population density, she said. Railroads must implement their routing decisions based on these analyses by September 2009."
The Future of the Internet
Congressional hearing on the "Future of the Internet" held by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Technolgy, April 22, 2008
COST ESTIMATE H.R. 5613 Protecting the Medicaid Safety Net Act of 2008
"H.R. 5613 would extend existing moratoria on certain regulatory actions taken by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) with regard to the Medicaid program. Those actions are related to payments for services furnished by public providers, for graduate medical education, for school-based administration and transportation services, and for rehabilitation services. In addition, the bill would impose new moratoria on Medicaid regulations involving targeted case-management services and provider taxes and on a proposed regulation involving outpatient hospital services. The bill would appropriate $5 million to study the effects of these regulations on the Medicaid program."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"The National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) convened a Working Group to study the impact of chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) events on the critical infrastructure worker, and to make recommendations to the White House and the Department of Homeland Security that will strengthen our nation’s ability to respond to a CBR event. The timing and methodology of such an event is difficult to predict, and estimates on its impact are wide-ranging. However, there are specific principles that, when effectively implemented, will improve our ability to identify, respond to, and recover from an attack on our critical infrastructure. The NIAC designed this report to identify attributes of different chemical, biological, or radiological event scenarios, identify key elements necessary to sustain critical infrastructure operations, and to make recommendations that will improve our ability to contain the impact, recover from its consequences, and restore the nation’s critical infrastructure to a pre-event state."
"In 2008 Germany was still grappling with the effects of unification of the democratic Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the communist German Democratic Republic (East Germany) on October 3, 1990. Unification brought together a people separated for more than four decades by the division of Europe into two hostile blocs in the aftermath of World War II. Economically, a division remains between East and West, exacerbated by the decision following unification to substitute the German mark (subsequently replaced by the euro in January 1999) for the East German currency, generally at a 1:1 rate, and the adoption of similar wages and benefits in both parts of the country in spite of unequal productivity. Despite massive investment from the western part of Germany into the new German states of the East—a transfer of wealth that totaled about US$1.6 trillion from 1991 to 2004—the latter still suffer from extremely high unemployment. Germany’s government, run by a “Grand Coalition” of the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union and the Social Democratic Party, is continuing to pursue an economic reform effort aimed at reducing taxes and generous unemployment and other social benefits. The expansion of the European Union (EU) in 2004 into low-wage Eastern Europe, including neighboring Poland and the Czech Republic, poses a fresh challenge to Germany’s social-market economy."
Chairman Waxman Requests Information on Increase in Military Personnel Waivers
"In a letter to Under Secretary of Defense Chu, Chairman Waxman requested documents related to the recent sharp increase in the number of personnel conduct waivers, which allow the enlistment of U.S. service members who would otherwise be precluded by recruitment standards, and released the number of waivers granted for specific criminal felonies in FY 2006 and FY 2007."
Food Price Inflation: Causes and Impacts
"U.S. food prices rose 4% in 2007 and are expected to gain 3.5% to 4.5% in 2008.
Higher farm commodity prices and energy costs are the leading factors behind
higher food prices. Farm commodity prices have surged because (1) demand for
corn for ethanol is competing with food and feed for acreage; (2) global food
grain and oilseed supplies are low due to poor harvests; (3) the weak dollar has increased U.S. exports; (4) rising incomes in large, rapidly emerging economies
have changed eating habits; and (5) input costs have increased. Higher energy costs increase transportation, processing, and retail costs."
Tibet: Problems, Prospects, and U.S. Policy
"On March 10, 2008, a series of demonstrations began in Lhasa and other Tibetan regions of China to mark the 49th anniversary of an unsuccessful Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. The demonstrations appeared to begin peacefully with small groups that were then contained by security forces. Both the protests and the response of the PRC authorities escalated in the ensuing days, spreading from the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) into parts of Sichuan, Gansu, and Qinghai Provinces with Tibetan populations. By March 14, 2008, mobs of angry people were burning and looting establishments in downtown Lhasa. Authorities of the People's Republic of China (PRC) responded by sealing off Tibet and moving in large-scale security forces. Beijing has defended its actions as appropriate and necessary to restore civil order and prevent further violence..."
Information on Adverse Event Reports and Heparin
"The chart below shows numbers of deaths reported after heparin administration that occurred and were submitted to FDA from January 1, 2007 through April 13, 2008."

Monday, April 21, 2008

Preliminary FoodNet Data on the Incidence of Infection with Pathogens Transmitted Commonly Through Food --- 10 States, 2007
"The Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) of CDC's Emerging Infections Program collects data from 10 U.S. states* regarding diseases caused by pathogens commonly transmitted through food. FoodNet quantifies and monitors the incidence of these infections by conducting active, population-based surveillance for laboratory-confirmed infections (1). This report describes preliminary surveillance data for 2007 and compares them with data for previous years. In 2007, the estimated incidence of infections caused by Campylobacter, Listeria, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157 (STEC O157), Salmonella, Shigella, Vibrio, and Yersinia did not change significantly, and Cryptosporidium infections increased compared with 2004--2006. Progress toward the targets for Healthy People 2010 national health objectives and targets (2) regarding the incidence of foodborne infections occurred before 2004; however, none of the targets were reached in 2007. Salmonella incidence was the furthest from its national health target, suggesting that reaching this target will require new approaches."
Growing Disparities in Life Expectancy
"In a continuation of long-term trends, life expectancy has been steadily increasing in the United States for the past several decades. Accompanying the recent
increases, however, is a growing disparity in life expectancy between individuals with high and low income and between those with more and less education. The
difference in life expectancy across socioeconomic groups is significantly larger now than in 1980 or 1990. A similar trend is evident in Great Britain but
not in Canada, where the gap in life expectancy between high- and low-income individuals has declined."
Agency Stovepipes vs Strategic Agility: Lessons We Need to Learn from Provincial
Reconstruction Teams in Iraq and Afghanistan

"Provincial Reconstruction Teams vary quite dramatically between Iraq and
Afghanistan and even between provinces in each theater of operations. Generally though, PRTs are teams of civilians and military personnel charged with working in areas of conflict with host-country locals and governments below the national level, to build their capacity and their ties to the national government. They do have a security mission, but their focus is on civil community building and development. While the military mission has been to develop host nations’ security forces and to help secure the population, that alone will not bring independence, peace, and prosperity. Economic and political advances are needed as well, and this is where PRTs are meant to contribute. While part of the PRTs’ mission is labeled reconstruction, in
some places PRTs must construct anew. In other cases, their mission is not about construction or reconstruction, but instead focuses on developing capacity for governance."
2008 Elections
"A look at the population, selected characteristics and 2004 voting percentage of each state as it approaches its 2008 primary or caucus."
"The NTP Brief on Bisphenol A is intended to be an environmental health resource for the public and regulatory and health agencies. It is not a quantitative risk assessment nor is it intended to supersede risk assessments conducted by regulatory agencies. The NTP Brief on Bisphenol A does not present a comprehensive review of the health-related literature or controversies related to this chemical. Only key issues and study findings considered most relevant for developing the NTP conclusions on concerns for potential reproductive and developmental human health effects of bisphenol A are discussed. Literature cited includes the most relevant studies reviewed in the CERHR Expert Panel Report on Bisphenol A and research articles published in the peer-reviewed literature subsequent to the deliberations of the expert panel."
Earth Day
Selected publications tracing the history of Earth Day.
Households using the Internet in and outside the home, by selected characteristics:Total, Urban, Rural, Principal City, October 2007
Data on internet use compiled from a Census Bureau Current Population Survey, October 2007 for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Redesigned Naturalization Test
"In the interest of creating a more standardized, fair, and meaningful naturalization process, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently completed a multi-year redesign of the naturalization test. The revised test, with an emphasis on the fundamental concepts of American democracy and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, will help encourage citizenship applicants to learn and identify with the basic values we all share as Americans...

The resulting redesigned test was publicly introduced on September 27, 2007. Naturalization applicants will begin taking the revised test on October 1, 2008."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

International Violence Against Women:U.S. Response and Policy Issues
"In recent years, the international community has increasingly recognized
international violence against women (VAW) as a significant human rights and
global health issue. VAW, which can include both random acts of violence as well
as sustained abuse over time, can be physical, psychological, or sexual in nature.
Studies have found that VAW occurs in all geographic regions, countries, cultures,
and economic classes, with some surveys showing that women in developing
countries experience higher rates of violence than those in developed countries.
Many experts view VAW as a symptom of the historically unequal power
relationship between men and women, and argue that over time this imbalance has
led to pervasive cultural stereotypes and attitudes that perpetuate a cycle of violence."
Fact Sheet: Taking Additional Action to Confront Climate Change
"Today, President Bush announced a new national goal to stop the growth in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. This new goal marks a major step forward in America's ongoing efforts to address climate change. If we fully implement our strong new laws, adhere to the principles the President outlined, and adopt appropriate incentives, we will put the United States on an ambitious new track for greenhouse gas reductions. The growth in emissions will slow over the next decade, stop by 2025, and begin to reverse thereafter, so long as technology continues to advance. Taken together, these landmark actions will prevent billions of metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere. The President's announcement:

* Comes as this week's Major Economies Meeting in Paris begins to lay the groundwork for the world leaders' climate meeting to be held in conjunction with the G-8 summit in July.
* Informs the debate Congress will soon be having on legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
* Urges decisions on regulating greenhouse gases to be debated openly and made by the elected representatives of the people they affect, rather than unelected regulators and judges."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

CBO: Policy Options for the Housing and Financial Markets
"The housing markets and financial markets are both in the midst of severe adjustments. House prices are falling rapidly, and expected to continue to decline. Mortgage foreclosures, particularly among subprime borrowers, have risen to record levels and are still increasing. The financial markets are having severe difficulties in adjusting to the loss of mortgage collateral."
EPA Publishes Annual National Greenhouse Gas Inventory
"This report presents estimates by the United States government of U.S. anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and sinks for the years 1990 through 2006. A summary of these estimates is provided in Table 2-1 and Table 2-2 by gas and source category in the Trends in Greenhouse Gas Emissions chapter. The emission estimates in these tables are presented on both a full molecular mass basis and on a Global Warming Potential (GWP) weighted basis in order to show the relative contribution of each gas to global average radiative forcing.1 This report also discusses the methods and data used to calculate these emission estimates."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Iraqi Civilian Deaths Estimates, updated March 13, 2008
"This report presents various governmental and nongovernmental estimates of
Iraqi civilian dead and wounded. The Department of Defense (DOD) regularly updates total U.S. military death and wounded statistics from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), as reflected in CRS Report RS21578, Iraq: Summary of U.S. Casualties. However, no Iraqi or U.S. government office regularly releases publically available statistics on Iraqi civilian deaths or civilians who have been wounded. Statistics on Iraqi civilian dead and wounded are sometimes available through alternative sources, such as nonprofit organizations, or through statements made by officials to the press. Because these estimates are based on varying time periods and have been created using differing methodologies, readers should exercise caution when using these statistics and should look on them as guideposts rather than as statements of
"The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today adopted a First
Report and Order (Order) that will support the ability of the nation’s wireless carriers to transmit timely and accurate alerts, warnings and critical information to the cell phones and other mobile devices of consumers during disasters or other emergencies...

Wireless carriers that choose to participate in the CMAS will transmit text-based alerts to their subscribers. As technology evolves, the CMAS may eventually include audio and video services to transmit emergency alerts to the public. To ensure that people with disabilities who subscribe to wireless services receive these emergency alerts, the FCC adopted rules that will require wireless carriers who participate in the CMAS to transmit messages with both vibration cadence and audio attention signals."
The Role of Offsets in a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Cap-and-Trade Program: Potential Benefits and Concerns
"If Congress establishes a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction program
(e.g., cap-and-trade system), the treatment of GHG emission offsets would likely be
a critical design element. If allowed as part of an emissions program, offsets could
provide cost savings and other benefits. However, offsets have generated concern.

An offset is a measurable reduction, avoidance, or sequestration of GHG
emissions from a source not covered by an emission reduction program. If allowed,
offset projects could generate “emission credits,” which could be used by a regulated
entity (e.g., power plant) to comply with its reduction requirement. Offsets could
include various activities:

! agriculture or forestry projects: e.g., conservation tillage or planting
trees on previously non-forested lands;
! renewable energy projects: e.g., wind farms;
! energy efficiency projects: e.g., equipment upgrades;
! non-CO2 emissions reduction projects: e.g., methane from landfills"
Income Inequality, Income Mobility, and Economic Policy: U.S. Trends in the 1980s and 1990s
"Income inequality has been increasing in the United States over the past 25
years. Several factors have been identified as possibly contributing to increasing
income inequality. Some researchers have suggested the decline in unionization and
a falling real minimum wage as the primary causes. Others have argued that rising
returns to education and skill-biased technological change are the important factors
explaining rising inequality. Most analysts agree that the likely explanation for rising income inequality is due to skill-biased technological changes combined with a
change in institutions and norms, of which a falling minimum wage and declining
unionization are a part."

Monday, April 14, 2008

SENIOR CITIZEN FRAUD: How To Protect Yourself
"Why are the elderly such an attractive target for con artists?

* Many seniors have a "nest egg."
* They're less likely to report a fraud because they don't know where to go or they’re too embarrassed to talk about it.
* If they do report the crime, it's sometimes hard for them to remember exact details.
* Many of the products/services being hawked by con artists appeal to individuals of a certain age—i.e., anti-aging and other health care products, health care services, and investments related to retirement savings."
Country Analysis Brief: Ecuador
"Ecuador is one of Latin America’s largest crude oil exporters, with net oil exports estimated at 350,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2006. The oil sector dominates the Ecuadorian economy, accounting for almost half of total export earnings and one-third of all tax revenues. Despite its large oil exports, Ecuador must still import refined petroleum products due to the lack of sufficient domestic refining capacity to meet local demand. As a result, the country does not always enjoy the full benefits of high world oil prices: while these high prices bring Ecuador greater export revenues, they also increase the country’s refined product import bill."
Latest Findings on National Air Quality
"For more than 35 years, EPA has been working to reduce pollution and make the nation’s air cleaner and healthier to breathe. This summary report highlights
the agency’s most recent evaluation of status and trends in our nation’s air quality."
EPA Launches the Environmental Indicators Gateway
"The Environmental Indicators Gateway features information on EPA's environmental indicator projects. These projects provide information on environmental conditions and trends over a range of geographic scales and time periods. The Gateway provides summaries of the indicator projects and links to the related reports and Web sites developed by each project. You can search these summaries by geographic location, keyword, and topic."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

China: Description of Selected Government Practices and Policies Affecting Decision Making in the Economy
"This is the first in a series of three reports by the U.S. International Trade Commission (the Commission) on U.S.–China trade requested by the Committee on Ways and Means (the Committee) of the U.S. House of Representatives. The Committee requested that this first study describe the practices and policies that China’s central, provincial, and local government bodies use to support and attempt to influence decision making in the economy, including the manufacturing, agricultural, and services sectors; the second study is to assess, to the extent possible, the relative impact of these policies on selected sectors; and the third study is to examine the role of these policies in influencing patterns of production and investment in the Asian region."
Cost Estimate for S. 2191, America’s Climate Security Act of 2007
"S. 2191 would set an annual limit or cap on the volume of certain greenhouse gases (GHGs)emitted from electricity-generating facilities and from other activities involving industrial production and transportation. Under this legislation, the Environmental Protection Agency.

(EPA) would establish two separate regulatory initiatives known as cap-and-trade
programs—one covering most types of GHGs and one covering hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
EPA would distribute allowances to emit specific quantities of those gases. Some of the allowances would be allocated to the Climate Change Credit Corporation (the Corporation), an entity created by this bill. The Corporation would auction those allowances and use the proceeds to finance various initiatives, such as developing renewable technologies, assisting in the education and training of workers, and providing energy assistance for low-income households. EPA would distribute the remaining allowances at no charge, to states and other recipients, which could then sell, retire, use, or give them away. Over the 40 years that the proposed cap-and-trade programs would be in effect, the number of allowances and emissions of the relevant gases would be reduced each year."
Inside the Experience
"In April, interactive technologies will make the Library of Congress and its collections more dynamic and accessible than ever. This Library of Congress Experience will offer “hands-on” interaction with rare cultural treasures in ways that inspire and engage.

Artifacts like the Waldseemüller map (the first to include the name “America”), the rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, the Gutenberg Bible and original volumes from Thomas Jefferson’s Library will be virtually at your fingertips. You’ll be able to flip through their pages, magnify sections of interest and access commentary from the Library’s top experts-all on the same touch screen."

Friday, April 11, 2008

Food CPI, Prices, and Expenditures
"The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all food is forecast to increase 3.5 to 4.5 percent in 2008, as retailers continue to pass on higher commodity and energy costs to consumers in the form of higher retail prices. The CPI for food increased 4.0 percent in 2007, the highest annual increase since 1990. Food-at-home prices, led by eggs, dairy, and poultry prices, increased 4.2 percent, while food-away-from-home prices were up 3.6 percent in 2007."
Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism:A Report Provided to the United States Congress
"The U.S. Department of State’s January 2005 Report on Global Anti-Semitism surveyed anti-Semitic incidents throughout the world. The annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and the annual Report on International Religious Freedom include country-by-country assessments of the nature and extent of acts of anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic incitement. The Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism contributes to the anti-Semitism sections of these annual surveys, pursuant to the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act. Both reports have revealed that incidents of anti-Semitism have become more frequent in recent years.

Consistent with the U.S. Department of State’s commitment to assess and counter anti-Semitism, this report is provided to the U.S. Congress to further assess contemporary anti-Semitism by exploring anti-Semitic themes and practices."
Nuclear Power 2010
"New baseload nuclear generating capacity is required to enhance U.S. energy supply diversity and energy security, a key National Energy Policy (NEP) objective. The Nuclear Power 2010 program, unveiled by the Secretary on February 14, 2002, is a joint government/industry cost-shared effort to identify sites for new nuclear power plants, develop and bring to market advanced nuclear plant technologies, evaluate the business case for building new nuclear power plants, and demonstrate untested regulatory processes. Accomplishing these program objectives paves the way for an industry decision to build new advanced light water reactor nuclear plants in the United States that would begin operation early in the next decade. The Department is actively engaged with the industry to address the issues affecting future expansion of nuclear generation."
Pollution Abatement Costs and Expenditures: 2005
"The Pollution Abatement Costs and Expenditures Survey is conducted jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This survey collects data on capital expenditures and operating costs for pollution prevention and treatment for the manufacturing sector by cost category (treatment/capture, prevention, disposal and recycling) and by media (air, water discharge and solid waste)."
FEMA Infrastructure Funds Surpass $10 Billion Mark For Gulf Coast Recovery
"Financial assistance to state and local governments to help repair or replace infrastructure throughout the Gulf coast damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita has topped the $10 billion mark, according to officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The money has been obligated to the states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on behalf of state and local governments through FEMA's Public Assistance program for a variety of repair and reconstruction projects, like damaged schools, roads, utilities and reconstituting other critical infrastructure."
Foreign Terrorist Organizations
"Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) are foreign organizations that are designated by the Secretary of State in accordance with section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended. FTO designations play a critical role in our fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business."
White House Fact Sheet: Fact Sheet: The Way Forward in Iraq
"Today, President Bush announced that – after detailed discussions with the Secretaries of State and Defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff – he is accepting General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker's recommendations on the way ahead in Iraq. General Petraeus reported that security conditions have improved enough to withdraw all five surge brigades by the end of July. This is a 25 percent decrease of U.S. combat brigades in Iraq from the year before. General Petraeus has explained that he then will need time to consolidate his forces and assess the reduced U.S. presence on the ground before making measured recommendations on further reductions."
House Committee on Small Business Explores Updating Tax Code as Means of Helping Entrepreneurs Spur the Economy
"Times change and so should the tax code, but with tax day less than a week away millions of entrepreneurs are facing outdated IRS provisions that stifle their ability to boost the economy. Today, the House Committee on Small Business heard from a panel of business owners and tax experts at a hearing focused on modernizing sections of the code while making it more small business friendly. As part of the forum, the Committee also issued a report titled “Seven Ways to Stimulate the Economy by Updating the Internal Revenue Code,” which provides specific recommendations on fixing provisions that impact small firms."
FTC: Do Not Call Registrations Permanent
"Telephone numbers placed on the National Do Not Call Registry will remain on it permanently due to the Do-Not-Call Improvement Act of 2007, which became law in February 2008. More than 157 million phone numbers are on the National Do Not Call Registry.

Under the Act, the Federal Trade Commission will continue to remove telephone numbers that have been disconnected and reassigned to other customers. Consumers can delete their telephone numbers from the registry at any time by calling 1-888-382-1222 (TTY 1-866-290-4236) – the call must be made from the telephone number they wish to delete."

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Doing Business In Kenya 2008: A Country Commercial Guide for U.S. Companies
"Kenya is the most developed economy in Eastern Africa. With a nominal 2006 gross domestic product (GDP) of USD 22.8 billion, it is also the economic, commercial, and logistical hub of the entire region. Kenya’s estimated population is 36.9 million.

Kenya enjoys an extensive (if uneven) infrastructure, a large portion of the population that is extraordinarily well educated, English-speaking, and multi-lingual, and a strong entrepreneurial tradition. It is also a very young country with almost 50% of Kenya’s population under the age of 15. An estimated 46% of the population lives below the poverty line, and the country's GDP per capita is approximately USD 478."
Doing Business in Costa Rica: 2008 Country Commercial Guide
"The United States is Costa Rica’s main trading partner, accounting for over half
of Costa Rica’s total imports. According to U.S. Census Bureau trade data, the
U.S. had a trade surplus of US$637 million in the trade of goods with Costa Rica
in 2007. This compares to a surplus of US$288 million in 2006 and a US$183
million in 2005, and a deficit of US$27 million in 2004.

Total foreign direct investment in the country topped the $1 billion mark in 2006
(the latest available year for this data), a dramatic increase from $861 million in
2005. The United States accounted for just under half of the total. U.S.
companies like Intel, Procter & Gamble, Hewlett-Packard, Baxter and a number
of franchising and service companies have invested in facilities in Costa Rica,
and others have followed in the past year."
Doing Business in Ethiopia: A Country Commercial Guide for U.S. Companies
"Ethiopia’s population of over 77 million (2006) make it potentially one of the
largest markets in Africa. Despite a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of
about $180, Ethiopia has been among the top ten U.S. markets in sub-Saharan
Africa over the last several years.
• Since the early 1990's, Ethiopia has pursued a development strategy based on a
mixed economy of both state and private enterprises. It has eliminated
discriminatory tax, credit, and foreign trade treatment of the private sector and
tried to simplify bureaucratic regulations and procedures.
• Real GDP was estimated at $11.5 billion in 2007. The economy is predominantly
agricultural, with agriculture contributing 46 percent to the GDP and employing
over 80 percent of the population. Annual average GDP growth for the last four
fiscal years (2003/4 / 2006/07) was 11.8 percent, reflecting sustainable growth
after a recovery from severe droughts in 2002/03. From 1997/98-2006/07, the
country achieved an annual average economic growth rate of about 6.4 percent."
Doing Business in Afghanistan: 2008 Country Commercial Guide
"Afghanistan is rebuilding after nearly 30 years of conflict and is continuing its transition from a state-based model to a free market economy.

The new government is working to improve the country’s physical infrastructure, which was largely destroyed, while at the same time struggling to provide basic services and humanitarian assistance to a growing population with some of the most challenging social indicators in the world.

A multi-billion dollar international effort to help reconstruct Afghanistan is underway, led by the United States and other international donors. Many current business opportunities are linked to these reconstruction efforts."
Biographical Sources in the Sciences -- Life, Earth and Physical Science (1989-2006)
"This guide offers a systematic approach to the wide variety of published biographical information on men and women of science in the life, earth and physical sciences, primarily from 1989 to 2006, and complements TB88-3 (Biographical Sources in the Sciences, compiled 1988) and TB06-7 (Biographical Sources in the Sciences -- General Works and National Sources, compiled 2006). Works previously listed in TB88-3 have not been retained, but older works which did not make it into the previous bibliography have been included. Both historical and contemporary scientists are covered, with emphasis on Americans. As in TB88-3, bibliographic citations include the indication of illustrations, particularly portraits, and the inclusion of preliminary pagination extending to more than 13 pages and unnumbered as well as numbered series notes."
Testimony of General David Petraeus to Congress on the Situation in Iraq
"Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member, Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to provide an update on the security situation in Iraq and to discuss the recommendations I recently provided to my chain of command.

Since Ambassador Crocker and I appeared before you seven months ago, there has been
significant but uneven security progress in Iraq. Since September, levels of violence and civilian deaths have been reduced substantially, Al Qaeda-Iraq and a number of other extremist elements have been dealt serious blows, the capabilities of Iraqi Security Force elements have grown, and there has been noteworthy involvement of local Iraqis in local security. Nonetheless, the situation in certain areas is still unsatisfactory and innumerable challenges remain. Moreover, as
events in the past two weeks have reminded us and as I have repeatedly cautioned, the progress made since last spring is fragile and reversible. Still, security in Iraq is better than it was when Ambassador Crocker and I reported to you last September, and it is significantly better than it was 15 months ago when Iraq was on the brink of civil war and the decision was made to deploy additional US forces to Iraq..."
Motor Gasoline Consumption 2008: A Historical Perspective and Short-Term Projections

* Income growth rates have less of an impact on recent trends in gasoline consumption than in the past, but short-run effects are still significant.

* High gasoline prices are once again motivating drivers to conserve by driving less and purchasing more fuel-efficient transportation.

* The increasing share of lower-Btu-content ethanol has contributed to a growing divergence between volume-based and energy-content-based measures of trends in gasoline consumption.

* Consumer sensitivity to gasoline price changes increases during periods when retail prices exceed $2.50 per gallon.

* High gasoline prices and a slowing economy, which have reduced gasoline demand in recent months, are also projected to impact demand during the 2008 summer driving season."

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Short-Term Energy and Summer Fuels Outlook
"West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices, which averaged $72.32 per barrel in 2007, are projected to average $101 per barrel in 2008 and $92.50 per barrel in 2009.

The projected higher costs for crude oil will contribute to higher petroleum product prices. Motor gasoline prices are projected to average $3.36 per gallon in 2008, up 55 cents from last year. Diesel prices are projected to show even larger increases in 2008, averaging $3.62 per gallon, or 74 cents above the 2007 average price. The monthly average gasoline price is projected to peak at about $3.60 per gallon this spring, while monthly diesel prices are expected to average about $3.90 per gallon in March and April. Weekly diesel prices have already crossed the $4.00-per-gallon threshold in many regions of the country."
"On Monday, FBI Director Robert Mueller spoke at the Chatham House think tank in London about the evolving threat of terrorism and the FBI’s role in combating it through global partnerships and intelligence work.

Al Qaeda, Mueller said, remains a resilient enemy that "continues to adjust its strategies and tactics."

Referring to the terrorism trial underway in Great Britain now, Mueller said that the "plot to bomb United States bound airliners reminds us that al Qaeda's core organization still exists and still thirsts for dramatic, mass casualty attacks."
Department of Defense Releases Selected Acquisition Report
"The Department of Defense (DoD) has released details on major defense acquisition program cost, schedule, and performance changes since the September 2007 reporting period. This information is based on the Selected Acquisition Reports (SARs) submitted to the Congress for the December 2007 reporting period.

SARs summarize the latest estimates of cost, schedule, and performance status. These reports are prepared annually in conjunction with the President's budget. Subsequent quarterly exception reports are required only for those programs experiencing unit cost increases of at least 15 percent or schedule delays of at least six months. Quarterly SARs are also submitted for initial reports, final reports, and for programs that are rebaselined at major milestone decisions."
SEC Takes Action to Halt Online Account Intrusion and Identity Theft Scheme
"The Securities and Exchange Commission today took action to stop a sophisticated Internet scheme that stole the identities of unsuspecting individuals and netted more than $66,000 in illicit profits in just seven weeks.

In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, the SEC alleged that one or more unknown traders conducted their entire online account intrusion scheme over the Internet and concealed their identities by, among other things, fraudulently opening brokerage accounts in the names of individuals who responded to a job advertisement on the Web site Craig’s List."

Monday, April 7, 2008

Selected Titles on Specialized Gardens: Fragrant Gardens, Sanctuary Gardens and Evening Gardens
Selected title from the Library of Congress's Science Reference Section.
Track Flooding with the New USGS Flood Map
"An online, user-friendly map that tracks flood conditions has been developed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

As expected rains drive flood waters higher along the Mississippi River Valley, USGS crews are in the field collecting data needed to update the flood maps, prepare forecasts, manage the flood and warn communities.

This new system is part of the USGS WaterWatch suite of web-based streamflow products and can be accessed at the Map of flood and high flow conditions Web site.

"The water monitoring systems shown on this map help ensure timely and uninterrupted water information for forecasters, emergency managers, scientists and the general public," says Robert Hirsch, USGS Associated Director for Water. "Improved flood monitoring and assessment will help reduce the risks to communities, property and human life."

This real-time water monitoring is part of a continuing effort by the USGS to assist the National Weather Service (NWS) in making accurate and timely flood forecasts. During a flood, teams of USGS hydrographers travel to streamgages to keep the instruments operating and to make crucial calibration measurements of the streamflow."
Committee Examines Role of Credit Cards in the Financing of Small Firms
"Without capital, small businesses can’t grow, and the American economy loses out on their important contributions. In the current economic climate, however, small firms are finding it difficult to secure affordable financing. Today, witnesses told the House Committee on Small Business that as traditional sources of capital diminish—including SBA loans—their credit card use is on the rise.

“When a small firm can’t buy equipment, or has to lay off its workers, our entire economy suffers,” said Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez. “These businesses are the principal drivers of our economic growth, but without capital they can’t lead us back to recovery.”

In a recent Federal Reserve survey of senior loan officers, 65% of respondents reported tightening lending standards in the first quarter of 2008. The impact of this move is compounded by federal loan programs—such as the SBA’s 7(a) initiative—which are increasing fees and making it more difficult for entrepreneurs to get financing. Witnesses at today’s hearing noted that because SBA’s programs are falling far short of their intended purpose, they are having to turn elsewhere to meet their capital needs. This has contributed to small firms’ increased use of credit cards—up 14% in the past five years alone."
The Second Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress
"The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is pleased to present this second national report to Congress on homelessness in America. The first Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) was submitted in February 2007.1 These reports were developed in response to a series of Congressional directives beginning with the FY 2001 HUD Appropriations Act. In that year, Congress directed the Department to assist communities to implement local Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS) and required every jurisdiction to have client-level reporting within three years. Senate Report 106-410 noted that HMIS data could be used to develop an unduplicated count of homeless people and to analyze the use and effectiveness of homeless assistance services. To that end, Congress further charged the Department with collecting and analyzing HMIS data from a representative sample of communities in order to understand the nature and extent of homelessness nationally."
Blackwater: On-the-Record Briefing With Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Gregory B. Starr
Briefing of Acting Assistant Secreatary of State for Diplomatic Security Gregory B. Star concering Blackwater USA activities in Iraq.
"Halfway through fiscal year 2008, the federal government has incurred a deficit of $310 billion, CBO estimates, $51 billion more than the shortfall incurred during the same period in 2007. Outlays have risen by 5 percent in the first half of the year, whereas revenues have grown by about 2 percent."

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Project Play, Semester 2, Week 10

Week's 10 is an introduction to Mashups.

The assignment is to add ones library to the Project Play sandbox at the site. Following the directions on the included screenscast on how to use mapbuilder, I added a entry for MPL Federal Depository web page (name of library, address, phone number, and link to the web page). At first, I couldn't get the link to work. Just clicking after adding the address didn't work. I eventually decided to use the link insert key and this worked.

Most of the examples of libraries using Mashups are informative and gets one to thinking of services and procedures on could modify using Mashups. The Go-go Google Gadget of John Blyberg at Ann Arbor District Library and the Hot Title Carousel at the Cambridge Libraries in Ontario, Canada looks like they could be readily adopted to do like project at MPL. Using the mapping features of Google Maps that Mel Delivery Locations and Libraries 411 are additional adaptive to some of our efforts.

In terms of efforts at my library, tracking population growth in the planning process for future branch locations or service changes would seem a nature for a Mashup mapping project. I would also like to be able to use a Mashsup map project to view changes in circulation by Dewey numbers for library locations over a few years. The idea is to get a graphical view of what areas of the collection are in most need of building up, transferred to other location or weeded/discarded.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Kidney Disease Newest Offering on NIHSeniorHealth
"Information about the diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease has just been added to NIHSeniorHealth, the National Institutes of Health Web site designed especially for seniors. Consumers can visit to learn more about kidney disease, which affects a growing number of older adults and is most often caused by diabetes or high blood pressure. Kidney disease occurs when the kidneys can no longer remove wastes and extra water from the blood or perform other functions vital to maintaining health. If allowed to progress, it can lead to kidney failure and the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant."
U.S. Legal Permanent Residents: 2007
"In 2007, a total of 1,052,415 persons became LPRs of the United States (see Table 1 and Figure 1). The majority of new LPRs (59 percent) already lived in the United States when they were granted lawful permanent resi-dence. Two-thirds were granted permanent residence based on a family relationship with a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States. The leading countries of birth of new LPRs were Mexico (14 percent), China (7 percent) and the Philippines (7 percent)."
New FTC Videos Help Consumers Spot Phishing Scams
"The Federal Trade Commission has released three 60-second videos to help alert consumers to phishing scams. Phishing uses deceptive spam to trick consumers into divulging sensitive or personal information, including credit card numbers and other financial data, through an email or a link to a “copycat” site. The goal of the videos is to offer practical, useful, and memorable messages."
Mortgage Payments Sending You Reeling? Here’s What to Do
"The possibility of losing your home because you can’t make the mortgage payments can be terrifying. Perhaps you are one of the many consumers who took out a mortgage that had a fixed rate for the first two or three years and then had an adjustable rate. Or maybe you’re anticipating an adjustment, and want to know what your payments will be and whether you’ll be able to make them. Or maybe you’re having trouble making ends meet because of an unrelated financial crisis.

Regardless of the reason for your mortgage anxiety, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, wants you to know how to help save your home, and how to recognize and avoid foreclosure scams."
The Geographic Distribution and Characteristics of Older Workers in Wisconsin: 2004
"The statistics about older workers in Wisconsin in 2004 show this group’s
proportion of the state’s labor force has increased. Changes in the size and composition of age groups may affect government program and policy choices and the options available to businesses..."

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Quick Information for Your Health
"The following titles represent easy-to-read health information available in both English and Spanish. Some titles are available as printable PDFs and as printed brochures for ordering."
Internet Crime Report: The Top Scams of 2007
"Pets, romance, and secret shoppers.
They’re each among the top ruses used by Internet scam artists in 2007, according to a comprehensive report on online crime just issued by the Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3."
Subprime Outcomes: Risky Mortgages, Homeownership Experiences, and Foreclosures
"This paper provides the first rigorous assessment of the homeownership experiences of subprime borrowers. We consider homeowners who used subprime mortgages to buy their homes, and estimate how often these borrowers end up in foreclosure. In order to evaluate these issues, we analyze homeownership experiences in Massachusetts over the 1989–2007 period using a competing risks, proportional hazard framework. We present two main findings. First, homeownerships that begin with a subprime purchase mortgage end up in foreclosure almost 20 percent of the time, or more than 6 times as often as experiences that begin with prime purchase mortgages. Second, house price appreciation plays a dominant role in generating foreclosures. In fact, we attribute most of the dramatic rise in Massachusetts foreclosures during 2006 and 2007 to the decline in house prices that began in the summer of 2005."
Disaster Information Management Research Center
"Aim: To provide access to quality disaster health information to the nation at all stages of preparation, response, mitigation and recovery.

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has a long history of providing health information during times of disaster. Recognizing the potential for the use of libraries as major untapped resources during disasters, and responding to the current increased need for disaster health information, the Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC) has been created to aid the nation’s disaster management efforts. DIMRC is tasked with the effective collection, organization, and dissemination of health information for natural, accidental, or deliberate disasters.

DIMRC is committed to providing this essential information as part of the Federal effort to help prepare, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the adverse health effects of disasters in conjunction with Federal, State, local government, private organizations, and local communities. To accomplish this, DIMRC will focus its efforts on providing disaster health information resources and informatics research that will be directly beneficial for public health officials, healthcare providers, special populations, and the public."
Archival Research Catalog
The Archival Research Catalog (ARC) is the online catalog of NARA's nationwide holdings in the Washington, DC area, Regional Archives and Presidential Libraries.
Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Annual Report 2007
"The Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS), the law enforcement and security arm of the U.S. Department of State, provides a secure environment for the conduct of American
diplomacy. To advance American interests and foreign policy, DS protects people, property, and information at more than 285 State Department missions worldwide."

Project Play, Semester 2, Week 9

Martin Luther King, Jr., I've Been to the Mountain Top speech, April 3, 1968

Week 9th assignment is an introduction to YouTube.

Most of the sample videos provide an introduction to library services-children's storytime programs, and introductions to basic services. The ones from the Green Gables Elementary School Library, Lakewood, Colorado, Allen County Public Library, Baltimore Public Library are especially well done.

Another service I didn't see mention is book discussions. This would seem a natural service to videotape.

I haven't really formed an opinion about likes or dislikes of YouTube. Just haven't used it enough yet. But, I can see its use in finding speeches by famous persons.

I added a video of Martin Luther King Jr's I've Been to the Mountain Top speech of April 3, 1968, his last speech before his assassination. This seem most appropiate in that the 40th anniversary of is death is this year.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Questions and Answers: Intercountry Adoption Instructions — Post-Hague Adoption Convention Implementation
"What is the New Hague Adoption Convention?

The HagueConvention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) is an international treaty that provides important new safeguards to protect the welfare of children, birth parent(s) and adoptive parent(s) engaged in intercountry adoptions.
When does the Hague Adoption Convention go into Effect?

The Hague Adoption Convention enters into force with respect to the United States on April 1, 2008. Effective April 1, 2008, intercountry adoptions between the United States and other Convention countries must comply with the Hague Adoption Convention standards."
Your Guide to Coumadin®/Warfarin Therapy
"Coumadin®/warfarin is a medicine that helps your blood flow easier and not clot. Your Guide to Coumadin®/Warfarin Therapy explains what to expect and what to watch out for during therapy."
Small Firm Workers Pick Large Firm Benefits
"Couples tend to use the health care coverage of the large-firm employed spouse. That is a central finding of a study released today by the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The study also shows that children are more likely to have health care coverage if a large firm employs one or both parents."
Dynamic Maps of Nonprime Mortgage Conditions in the United States
"The Federal Reserve System on Tuesday announced the availability of a set of dynamic maps and data that illustrate subprime and alt-A mortgage loan conditions across the United States.

The maps, which are maintained by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, will display regional variation in the condition of securitized, owner-occupied subprime, and alt-A mortgage loans. The maps and data can be used to assist in the identification of existing and potential foreclosure hotspots. This may assist community groups, which can mobilize resources to bring financial counseling and other resources to at-risk homeowners. Policymakers can also use the maps and data to develop plans to lessen the direct and spillover impacts that delinquencies and foreclosures may have on local economies. Local governments may use the data and maps to prioritize the expenditure of their resources for these efforts."
The Truth About Cell Phones and the Do Not Call Registry
"The Federal Trade Commission today reiterated that despite the claims made in e-mails circulating on the Internet, consumers should not be concerned that their cell phone numbers will be released to telemarketers in the near future, and that it is not necessary to register cell phone numbers on the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry to be protected from most telemarketing calls to cell phones.

The truth about cell phones and the DNC Registry is:
* Contrary to the e-mail, cell phone numbers are NOT being released to telemarketers, and you will NOT soon be getting telemarketing calls on your cell phone.
* There is NO deadline by which you must register your cell phone number on the Registry..."
Hearing — Rape as a Weapon of War: Accountability for Sexual Violence in Conflict
"The Senate Committee on the Judiciary has scheduled a hearing before the Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law on “Rape as a Weapon of War: Accountability for Sexual Violence in Conflict” for Tuesday, April 1, 2008, at 10:00 a.m. in Room 226 of the Senate Dirksen Office Building."
Webcast of hearing available.
Shuttle to Constellation Transition
"NASA's evolution of people, property, processes, and plans to enable NASA's space exploration missions by evolving from our Space Shuttle-based human space flight system to a new architecture designed to achieve the objectives of the Vision for Space Exploration. This architecture is the Constellation human space flight system. For this major transition, NASA has employed focused methods to evolve today's human spaceflight capability to the exploration capability of tomorrow."

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Section 108 Study Group Report(copyright)
"After nearly three years of intensive work, the independent Section 108 Study Group has issued its report and recommendations on exceptions to copyright law to address how libraries, archives and museums deal with copyrighted materials in fulfilling their missions in the digital environment. The report is available at Section 108 is the section of the Copyright Act that provides limited exceptions for libraries and archives so that they may make copies to replace copyrighted works in their collections when necessary, preserve them for the long term and make them available to users."
U.S. Nuclear Electricity Generation at Record Level in 2007
"The U.S. nuclear industry supplied a record 806.5 billion kilowatthours of electricity in 2007. The largest increase came in Tennessee, with 4 billion kilowatthours more nuclear-provided electricity in 2007 than in 2006, an increase of 16 percent, according to preliminary Energy Information Administration (EIA) data released today. National total nuclear generation was 2.4 percent higher than in 2006, and 2.3 percent higher than in the previous record year, 2004. The capacity factor (the amount of power actually generated compared with the maximum amount that could be generated) for 2007 was 91.8 percent, exceeding the previous record capacity factor of 90.3 percent in 2002."
First-Ever County Level Report on Stroke Hospitalizations
"The highest rate of stroke hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries exists among African-Americans and in counties located primarily in the southeastern states, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in collaboration with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The report, “Atlas of Stroke Hospitalizations Among Medicare Beneficiaries,” also reveals that a significant number of Medicare beneficiaries live in counties that have no access to care or inadequate choices for emergency health care when they suffer a stroke."
Nutrient content of the U.S. food supply, 2005
"The U.S. Food Supply Series measures the amount of nutrients available for
consumption on a per capita and per day basis. The Series, dating back to 1909,
provides information on food energy and the energy-yielding nutrients—protein,
carbohydrate, and fat (total, saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated
fatty acids), cholesterol, dietary fiber, 10 vitamins, and 9 minerals. The Nutrient
Content of the U.S. Food Supply, 2005, estimates on the availability and
percentage contributions of nutrients by major food groups. The data and trends
presented in this report are invaluable for monitoring the potential of the food
supply to meet nutritional needs; for examining relationships between food
supplies, diet, and health; and for examining dietary trends of Americans.
Additionally, estimates of nutrients in the food supply reflect Federal enrichment
and fortification standards and technological advances in the food industry, as
well as contribute to the Federal dietary guidance system."
Country Analysis Briefs: Syria
"Syria is the only significant crude oil producing economy in the Eastern Mediterranean region, which includes Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories. Regional integration, particularly in the energy sector, while increasing, is complicated by the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict."
Country Analysis Briefs: Bahrain
"Bahrain is comprised of a group of small islands in the energy-rich Persian Gulf. The country’s economy is highly dependent on the oil sector, with oil revenues amounting to about two-thirds of total government revenues. While Bahrain is a net exporter of oil, it is the smallest Middle East oil producer by volume, and unlike other Gulf states, Bahrain exports refined petroleum products rather than crude oil. Domestically, the vast majority of Bahrain’s total energy consumption comes from natural gas, with the remainder supplied by oil. Hydrocarbons also provide the foundation for Bahrain’s two major industries: refining and aluminum smelting. With demand for energy rising and domestic production falling, Bahrain will become increasingly dependent on oil and gas imports unless it can increase domestic production."
Army Corps and EPA Improve Wetland and Stream Mitigation
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released a new rule to clarify how to provide compensatory mitigation for unavoidable impacts to the nation's wetlands and streams. The rule will enable the agencies to promote greater consistency, predictability and ecological success of mitigation projects under the Clean Water Act."
EPA: New requirements to protect children from lead-based paint hazards
" To further protect children from exposure to lead-based paint, EPA is issuing new rules for contractors who renovate or repair housing, child-care facilities or schools built before 1978. Under the new rules, workers must follow lead-safe work practice standards to reduce potential exposure to dangerous levels of lead during renovation and repair activities. "
USFA Position on Residential Fire Sprinklers
"We at USFA have carefully reviewed the data and the relevant research and it is our official position that all Americans should be protected against death, injury, and property loss resulting from fire in their residences. All homes should be equipped with smoke alarms and automatic fire sprinklers, and families should prepare and practice emergency escape plans. The Fire Administration fully supports all efforts to reduce the tragic toll of fire losses in this nation by advocating these actions, including the proposed changes to the International Residential Code that would require automatic sprinklers in all new residential construction."
Three Decades of Housing Data
"A recent study prepared for HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research portrays changes in American housing and households using the American Housing Surveys (AHSs) from 1973 to 2005. The report, 32 Years of Housing Data, statistically describes developments in housing that occurred in tandem with extensive demographic shifts in a population that grew larger, older, and more diverse. Some of the most compelling findings from this study are highlighted below."