Thursday, July 29, 2010

Black Population of the United States: 2007 & 2008
Find recent figures on the African American population in the United States
Asian Population of the United States: 2007 & 2008
Find recent data on the Asian and Pacific Islanders populations in the United States

Monday, July 26, 2010

Americans With Disabilities Act
"The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA also mandates the establishment of TDD/telephone relay services.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) provides information about the ADA through a toll-free information line. This service permits businesses, state and local governments, and individuals to call and ask questions about general or specific ADA requirements including questions about the ADA Standards for Accessible Design..."
Department of Justice Announces Plans to Prepare New ADA Regulations
"The Justice Department announced today that it will publish four new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) proposals addressing the accessibility of websites, the provision of captioning and video description in movies shown in theaters, accessible equipment and furniture, and the ability of 9-1-1 centers to take text and video calls from individuals with disabilities. The proposals are in the form of advance notices of proposed rulemaking, or ANPRMs, which provide information on these ADA issues and ask questions seeking comments and information from the public. The four ANPRMs will be published in the Federal Register on July 26, 2010.

“We are working hard to ensure that the ADA keeps up with technological advances that were unimaginable 20 years ago,” said Attorney General Holder. “Just as these quantum leaps can help all of us, they can also set us back – if regulations are not updated or compliance codes become too confusing to implement. To avoid this, the Department will soon publish four advanced notices of proposed rulemaking regarding accessibility requirements for websites, movies, equipment and furniture, and 9-1-1 call-taking technologies.”.."

Monday, July 19, 2010

Trends and Characteristics of Home and Other Out-of-Hospital Births in the United States, 1990–2006
"Results—In 2006, there were 38,568 out-of-hospital births in the United States, including 24,970 home births and 10,781 births occurring in a freestanding birthing center. After a gradual decline from 1990 to 2004, the percentage of out-of-hospital births increased by 3% from 0.87% in 2004 to 0.90% in 2005 and 2006. A similar pattern was found for home births. After a gradual decline from 1990 to 2004, the percentage of home births increased by 5% to 0.59% in 2005 and remained steady in 2006. Compared with the U.S. average, home birth rates were higher for non-Hispanic white women, married women, women aged 25 and over, and women with several previous children. Home births were less likely than hospital births to be preterm, low birthweight, or multiple deliveries. The percentage of home births was 74% higher in rural counties of less than 100,000 population than in counties with a population size of 100,000 or more. The percentage of home births also varied widely by state; in Vermont and Montana more than 2% of births in 2005–2006 were home births, compared with less than 0.2% in Louisiana and Nebraska. About 61% of home births were delivered by midwives. Among midwife-delivered home births, one-fourth (27%) were delivered by certified nurse midwives, and nearly three-fourths (73%) were delivered by other midwives..."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Financial Reform Bill (H.R. 4173 (ENR) - DODD-FRANK WALL STREET REFORM AND CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT)
"The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) has made the financial reform bill
passed by the U.S. Congress available in electronic form. The authentic, electronic version of H.R. 4173, Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, is available on GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys), named by Government Computer News as one of the government’s best websites.
GPO authenticated the document by digital signature. This signature assures the public that the
document has not been changed or altered. A digital signature, viewed through the GPO Seal of
Authenticity, verifies the document’s integrity and authenticity..."
BTS Releases State Transportation Statistics 2009
"Friday, July 9, 2010 - The U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), today released State Transportation Statistics 2009 (STS) – a reference guide to transportation data by state. The seventh annual STS consists of 112 tables of state data on infrastructure, safety, freight transportation, passenger travel, registered vehicles and vehicle-miles traveled, economy and finance, and energy and environment plus a U.S. Fast Facts page. For the first time, STS is available as a web-only product. STS 2009 can be viewed on the BTS website."
Mortality In Local Jails, 2000-2007
"Describes the specific medical conditions causing deaths in jails nationwide during an eight-year period. For the leading medical causes of mortality, comparative estimates and mortality rates are presented by gender, age, race and Hispanic origin, and the length of time served in jail. The report includes detailed statistics on causes of death as well as more acute events such as suicides, homicides and accidents. Mortality as related to the size of the jail will also be discussed. Jail inmate death rates are compared with rates in the general U.S. resident population using a direct standardization. Estimates and mortality rates for the top 50 jail jurisdictions in the United States are also presented.

Highlights include the following:

From 2000 through 2007, local jail administrators reported 8,110 inmate deaths in custody. Deaths in jails increased each year, from 905 in 2000 to 1,103 in 2007.
The mortality rate per 100,000 local jail inmates declined from 152 deaths per 100,000 inmates to 141 per 100,000 between 2000 and 2007, while the jail inmate population increased 31% from 597,226 to 782,592.
Between 2000 and 2007, the suicide rates were higher in small jails than large jails. In jails holding 50 or fewer inmates, the suicide rate was 169 per 100,000; in the largest jails, the suicide rate was 27 per 100,000 inmates..."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

AMERICA'S CHILDREN IN BRIEF: KEY NATIONAL INDICATORS OF WELL-BEING, 2010
"Each year since 1997, the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics has published a report on the well-being of children and families. Pending data availability, the Forum updates all 40 indicators annually on its Web site (http://childstats.gov) and alternates publishing a detailed report, America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, with a summary version that highlights selected indicators. The America's Children series makes Federal data on children and families available in a nontechnical, easy-to-use format in order to stimulate discussion among data providers, policymakers, and the public.

The Forum fosters coordination and integration among 22 Federal agencies that produce or use statistical data on children and families and seeks to improve Federal data on children and families. The America's Children series provides accessible compendiums of indicators drawn across topics from the most reliable official statistics; it is designed to complement other more specialized, technical, or comprehensive reports produced by various Forum agencies..."
National Archives Announces Launch of New "Our Archives" Wiki
"The National Archives announces the launch today of its first public wiki called “Our Archives” on Wikispaces... “Our Archives” provides a collaborative space for members of the public, researchers, and staff to share knowledge about National Archives records, resources and research. The wiki is an opportunity for researchers, historians, archivists, and citizen archivists to work together to create pages on specific records or topics as well as to share information and resources to connect with other researchers.

Users may participate in the wiki in the following ways:

Create new pages and edit pre-existing pages about historical subjects and records held by the National Archives;
Expand upon a description in the National Archives online catalog;
Publish a transcription of a document;
Add information to build upon other resources;
Collaborate with other users working on similar subjects or to work together on research projects;
Join in the discussions for various pages..."
Spotlight on Statistics- Travel
"Is it time for you to take a vacation? Whether taking a lengthy vacation or just a short pleasure trip, travelers may have a lot to consider when thinking about where they want to go and how they want to get there.


The travel industry depends on travelers to support its businesses, and travelers rely on the travel industry to provide them with services such as transportation, lodging, food and beverages, and entertainment.

This Spotlight presents BLS data to provide insight into travel-related expenditures, overall employment within the leisure and hospitality industry, as well as employment and earnings of various travel-related occupations..."
Interior Details Path Forward on Indian Gaming Policy
"The Department of the Interior will continue to process eligible pending applications for gaming on Indian lands while it consults and collaborates with tribal leaders in a comprehensive review of federal Indian gaming policy, Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk said today.

“Secretary Salazar believes that the Interior Department needs to establish clear guidelines for how it will review and make decisions on Indian gaming applications or requests under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act,” Echo Hawk said. “I agree with the common-sense approach outlined in Secretary Salazar’s memorandum on Indian gaming. With this guidance, we intend to continue to move forward not only on pending applications and requests for gaming on Indian lands, but also on meaningful consultation on federal Indian gaming policy in accordance with President Obama’s commitment to the government-to-government relationship with tribal nations.”

The Interior Department’s path forward on Indian gaming policy is outlined in a memorandum from Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to Assistant Secretary Echo Hawk.

The Interior Department, through the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs, has the authority and responsibility to review and approve applications to take land into trust for Indian gaming, adhering to the legal standards set forth in federal law, including the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) and the Indian Reorganization Act. Congress enacted IGRA to provide a basis for gaming by federally recognized tribes “as a means of promoting tribal economic development, self-sufficiency, and strong tribal governments.” ..."
Secretary Sebelius Announces Final Rules To Support ‘Meaningful Use’ of Electronic Health Records
"U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced final rules to help improve Americans’ health, increase safety and reduce health care costs through expanded use of electronic health records (EHR).

“For years, health policy leaders on both sides of the aisle have urged adoption of electronic health records throughout our health care system to improve quality of care and ultimately lower costs,” Secretary Sebelius said. “Today, with the leadership of the President and the Congress, we are making that goal a reality.”

Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009, eligible health care professionals and hospitals can qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments when they adopt certified EHR technology and use it to achieve specified objectives. One of the two regulations announced today defines the “meaningful use” objectives that providers must meet to qualify for the bonus payments, and the other regulation identifies the technical capabilities required for certified EHR technology.

Announcement of today’s regulations marks the completion of multiple steps laying the groundwork for the incentive payments program. With “meaningful use” definitions in place, EHR system vendors can ensure that their systems deliver the required capabilities, providers can be assured that the system they acquire will support achievement of “meaningful use” objectives, and a concentrated five-year national initiative to adopt and use electronic records in health care can begin..."
Using Biofuel Tax Credits to Achieve Energy and Environmental Policy Goals
"The federal government supports the use of biofuels—transportation fuels produced
mainly from renewable plant matter, such as corn—in the pursuit of national energy, environ-
mental, and agricultural policy goals. Tax credits encourage the production and sale of bio-
fuels in the United States, effectively lowering the private costs of producing biofuels, such
as ethanol or biodiesel, relative to the costs of producing their substitutes—gasoline and
diesel fuel. In addition, federal mandates require the use of specified minimum amounts and
types of biofuel each year through 2022. Together, the credits and mandates increase domestic
supplies of energy and reduce U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases, albeit at a cost to taxpayers.

This Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study, which was prepared at the request of the
Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure of the Sen-
ate Committee on Finance, assesses the incentives provided by the biofuel tax credits for
producing different types of biofuels and analyzes whether they favor one type of biofuel
over others. In addition, the study estimates the cost to U.S. taxpayers of reducing the use
of petroleum fuels and emissions of greenhouse gases through those tax credits; it also
analyzes the interaction of the credits and the biofuel mandates. In keeping with CBO’s
mandate to provide objective, impartial analysis, the study contains no recommendations..."
We're for Water
"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense program today is kicking off its national “We’re for Water” campaign to encourage Americans to make simple choices that save water. The program, in collaboration with its partner, American Water, will spread the word about saving water by traveling cross-country, stopping at national landmarks and educating consumers about WaterSense labeled products. WaterSense products use about 20 percent less water than standard models.

“Whether by replacing an old, inefficient plumbing fixture with a WaterSense labeled product or adopting more water-efficient behaviors, together we can help save water for future generations,” said Peter Silva, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. "WaterSense offers consumers simple tips that can help the environment and keep money in their pockets.".."
State and Local Government Spending Increases by 6.5 Percent in 2008, Census Bureau Reports
" State and local government spending increased by 6.5 percent in 2008, totaling more than $2.8 trillion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Education topped government spending ($826.1 billion), followed by public welfare ($404.6 billion), insurance trust expenditures ($234.6 billion), utilities ($193.4 billion) and highways ($153.5 billion).

“These data provide a detailed look at state and local government spending priorities,” said Lisa Blumerman, chief of the U.S. Census Bureau's Governments Division.

These findings come from the 2008 Annual Surveys of State and Local Government Finances, which includes data on revenues, expenditures, debt and assets (cash and security holdings) for state and local governments..."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Secretary Salazar Issues New Suspensions to Guide Safe Pause on Deepwater Drilling
"Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today directed the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEM) to issue new suspensions of deepwater drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), saying a pause is needed to ensure that oil and gas companies first implement adequate safety measures to reduce the risks associated with deepwater drilling operations and are prepared for blowouts and oil spills.

Shallow water drilling activities that use different technologies do not present the same type or level of risks as deepwater drilling operations and can continue to move forward if operators are in compliance with all safety and environmental requirements, including new safety and environmental requirements implemented through recent Notices to Lessees. Production activities in federal waters of the Gulf are not affected by the deepwater drilling suspensions.

“More than eighty days into the BP oil spill, a pause on deepwater drilling is essential and appropriate to protect communities, coasts, and wildlife from the risks that deepwater drilling currently pose,” said Secretary Salazar. “I am basing my decision on evidence that grows every day of the industry’s inability in the deepwater to contain a catastrophic blowout, respond to an oil spill, and to operate safely.”

Secretary Salazar’s decision to impose new deepwater drilling suspensions is based on his authorities and responsibilities under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) to ensure safe operations on the OCS. The new decision is supported by an extensive record of existing and new information indicating that allowing new deepwater drilling to commence would pose a threat of serious, irreparable, or immediate harm or damage to the marine, coastal, and human environment..."
National HIV/AIDS Strategy of the United States
"Thirty years ago, the first cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) garnered the world’s attention. Since then, over 575,000 Americans have lost their lives to AIDS and more than 56,000 people in the United States become infected with HIV each year. Currently, there are more than 1.1 million Americans living with HIV. Moreover, almost half of all Americans know someone living with HIV.

Our country is at a crossroads. Right now, we are experiencing a domestic epidemic that demands a renewed commitment, increased public attention, and leadership. Early in my Administration, I tasked the Office of National AIDS Policy with developing a National HIV/AIDS Strategy with three primary goals: 1) reducing the number of people who become infected with HIV; 2) increasing access to care and improving health outcomes for people living with HIV; and, 3) reducing HIV-related health disparities. To accomplish these goals, we must undertake a more coordinated national response to the epidemic. The Federal government can’t do this alone, nor should it. Success will require the commitment of governments at all levels, businesses, faith communities, philanthropy, the scientific and medical communities, educational institutions, people living with HIV, and others..."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

National Archives Unveils New Federal Register 2.0 Web Site to Mark 75th Anniversary
"...To mark the 75th anniversary of the Federal Register Act on July 26, 2010, the National Archives Office of the Federal Register (OFR) and the Government Printing Office (GPO) will launch FR 2.0 on FederalRegister.gov.

The FR 2.0 web site will be similar to a daily web newspaper, with a clear layout and new tools to guide readers to the most popular topics and relevant documents. The site will display individual news sections for Money, Environment, World, Science & Technology, Business & Industry, and Health & Public Welfare. FR 2.0 will have greatly improved navigation and search tools and will highlight each agency’s significant rules. The new web site takes advantage of social media and integrates seamlessly with Regulations.gov and the Unified Agenda to make it easy for users to submit comments directly into the official e-Rulemaking docket, and view the history of rulemaking activity through a regulatory timeline..."

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cigarette Use Among High School Students --- United States, 1991--2009
"Understanding the trends in the prevalence of cigarette smoking among youths enables policy makers to target prevention resources more effectively. Every 2 years, CDC analyzes data from the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) to evaluate trends in cigarette use among high school students in the United States. This report updates a previous report (1) and describes results of CDC's 2010 analysis of YRBS data from 1991--2009 for three measures: ever smoked cigarettes, current cigarette use, and current frequent cigarette use. For ever smoked cigarettes, the prevalence did not change from 1991 (70.1%) to 1999 (70.4%), declined to 58.4% in 2003, and then declined more gradually, to 46.3% in 2009. For current cigarette use, the prevalence increased from 27.5% in 1991 to 36.4% in 1997, declined to 21.9% in 2003, and then declined more gradually, to 19.5% in 2009. For current frequent cigarette use, the prevalence increased from 12.7% in 1991 to 16.8% in 1999, declined to 9.7% in 2003, and then declined more gradually, to 7.3% in 2009. For all three measures, rates began to decline in the late 1990s, but the rate of decline slowed during 2003--2009. To increase the rate of decline in cigarette use among high school students, reductions in advertising, promotions, and commercial availability of tobacco products should be combined with full implementation of communitywide, comprehensive tobacco control programs (2--5)..."
The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace
"Cyberspace has become an indispensible component of everyday life for all Americans. We have all witnessed how the application and use of this technology has increased exponentially over the years. Cyberspace includes the networks in our homes, businesses, schools, and our Nation’s critical infrastructure. It is where we exchange information, buy and sell products and services, and enable many other types of transactions across a wide range of sectors. But not all components of this technology have kept up with the pace of growth. Privacy and security require greater emphasis moving forward; and because of this, the technology that has brought many benefits to our society and has empowered us to do so much -- has also empowered those who are driven to cause harm..."
Fact Sheet: the National Space Policy
"Today, President Obama announced the administration’s new National Space Policy. The National Space Policy expresses the President’s direction for the Nation’s space activities. The policy articulates the President’s commitment to reinvigorating U.S. leadership in space for the purposes of maintaining space as a stable and productive environment for the peaceful use of all nations.

Leading Collaborative, Responsible, and Constructive Use of Space

The space age began as a race for security and prestige between two superpowers. The decades that followed have seen a radical transformation in the way we live our daily lives, in large part due to our use of space. The growth and evolution of the global economy have ushered in an ever-increasing number of nations and organizations using space to observe and study our Earth, create new markets and new technologies, support operational responses to natural disasters, enable global communications and international finance, enhance security, and expand our frontiers. The impacts of our utilization of space systems are ubiquitous, and contribute to increased transparency and stability among nations..."

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Vital Signs: Breast Cancer Screening Among Women Aged 50--74 Years --- United States, 2008
"Background: Breast cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer deaths for women in the United States. Screening with treatment has lowered breast cancer mortality.

Methods: Every 2 years, CDC uses Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data to estimate mammography prevalence in the United States. Up-to-date mammography prevalence is calculated for women aged 50--74 years who report they had the test in the preceding 2 years.

Results: For 2008, overall, age-adjusted, up-to-date mammography prevalence for U.S. women aged 50--74 years was 81.1%, compared with 81.5% in 2006. Among the lowest prevalences reported were those by women aged 50--59 years (79.9%), persons who did not finish high school (72.6%), American Indian/Alaska Natives (70.4%), those with annual household income <$15,000 (69.4%), and those without health insurance (56.3%). Highest mammography prevalence was among residents of the northeastern United States.

Conclusions: In recent years, mammography rates have plateaued. Critical gaps in screening remain for certain racial/ethnic groups and lower socioeconomic groups, and for the uninsured..."
Endangered Sea Turtle Nests to Receive Special Transportation
"New Orleans, 7/1/10 -- The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is proud to announce that FedEx Corporation (NYSE: FDX) is joining the efforts to protect sea turtle nests and eggs from potential impacts of the oil spill in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The company will be donating resources to transport hundreds of nests containing thousands of eggs to Florida’s Atlantic Coast, and its logistics experts are working with the Unified Command and its partner organizations to implement this complex translocation. The relocation efforts are scheduled to begin in mid-July and continue throughout the hatching season.

FedEx is working closely with Unified Command Wildlife Branch scientists to create a safe and secure transportation solution for the relocation effort. FedEx will take great care to protect the sea turtle nests and eggs, which will travel exclusively in its FedEx Custom Critical air-ride, temperature-controlled vehicles..."
FDA: New Final Rule to Ensure Egg Safety, Reduce Salmonella Illnesses Goes Into Effect
"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that as many as 79,000 illnesses and 30 deaths due to consumption of eggs contaminated with the bacterium Salmonella Enteritidis may be avoided each year with new food safety requirements for large-scale egg producers.

The new food safety requirements will become effective on July 9, 2010, through a rule for egg producers having 50,000 or more laying hens – about 80 percent of production. Among other things, it requires them to adopt preventive measures and to use refrigeration during egg storage and transportation.

Large-scale egg producers that produce shell eggs for human consumption and that do not sell all of their eggs directly to consumers must comply with the refrigeration requirements under the rule; this includes producers whose eggs receive treatments such as pasteurization. Similarly, those who transport or hold shell eggs must also comply with the refrigeration requirements by the same effective date.

Egg-associated illness caused by Salmonella is a serious public health problem. Infected individuals may suffer mild to severe gastrointestinal illness, short-term or chronic arthritis, or even death. Implementing the preventive measures would reduce the number of Salmonella Enteritidis infections from eggs by nearly 60 percent.

Salmonella Enteritidis can be found inside eggs that appear normal. If the eggs are eaten raw or undercooked, the bacterium can cause illness. Eggs in the shell become contaminated on the farm, primarily because of infection in the laying hens.

“Preventing harm to consumers is our first priority,” said Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., commissioner of food and drugs. “Today's action will help prevent thousands of serious illnesses from Salmonella in eggs.”

The rule requires egg producers with fewer than 50,000 but at least 3,000 laying hens whose shell eggs are not processed with a treatment, such as pasteurization, to comply with the regulation by July 9, 2012..."

Friday, July 9, 2010

Vital Signs: Colorectal Cancer Screening Among Adults Aged 50--75 Years --- United States, 2008
"Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) remains the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States and the leading cause of cancer deaths among nonsmokers. Statistical modeling indicates that, if current trends in health behaviors, screening, and treatment continue, U.S. residents can expect to see a 36% decrease in the CRC mortality rate by 2020, compared with 2000.

Methods: Every 2 years, CDC uses Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data to estimate up-to-date CRC screening prevalence in the United States. Adults aged ≥50 years were considered to be up-to-date with CRC screening if they reported having a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) within the past year or lower endoscopy (i.e., sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy) within the preceding 10 years. Prevalence was calculated for adults aged 50--75 years based on current U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations.

Results: For 2008, the overall age-adjusted CRC screening prevalence for the United States was 62.9% among adult respondents aged 50--75 years, increased from 51.9% in 2002. Among the lowest screening prevalences were those reported by persons aged 50--59 years (53.9%), Hispanics (49.8%), persons with lower income (47.6%), those with less than a high school education (46.1%), and those without health insurance (35.6%).

Conclusions: CRC screening rates continue to increase in the United States. Underscreening persists for certain racial/ethnic groups, lower socioeconomic groups, and the uninsured..."
Global Legal Information Catalog
"The Global Legal Information Catalog includes information about publications which reprint the laws and regulations of multiple jurisdictions on a particular legal topic. The purpose of the database is to provide additional identifying information about titles, beyond that which is provided in the Library's online catalog. The database works as an interface with the Library of Congress's online catalog and is searchable by jurisdiction, title, subject and keyword."
Taxing Caloric Sweetened Beverages: Potential Effects on Beverage Consumption, Calorie Intake, and Obesity
"The link between high U.S. obesity rates and the overconsumption of added sugars, largely from sodas and fruit drinks, has prompted public calls for a tax on caloric sweetened beverages. Faced with such a tax, consumers may reduce consumption of these sweetened beverages and substitute nontaxed beverages, such as bottled water, juice, and milk. This study estimated that a tax-induced 20-percent price increase on caloric sweetened beverages could cause an average reduction of 37 calories per day, or 3.8 pounds of body weight over a year, for adults and an average of 43 calories per day, or 4.5 pounds over a year, for children. Given these reductions in calorie consumption, results show an estimated decline in adult overweight prevalence (66.9 to 62.4 percent) and obesity prevalence (33.4 to 30.4 percent), as well as the child at-risk-for-overweight prevalence (32.3 to 27.0 percent) and the overweight prevalence (16.6 to 13.7 percent). Actual impacts would depend on many factors, including how the tax is reflected in consumer prices and the competitive strategies of beverage manufacturers and food retailers."
State Fact Sheets
"State fact sheets provide information on population, income, education, employment, federal funds, organic agriculture, farm characteristics, farm financial indicators, top commodities, and exports, for each State in the United States. Links to county-level data are included when available."

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Polishing Technology’s Golden Triangle
"New technologies are changing our world fast, as is obvious to anyone using the latest smart phone, wearing the latest nano-fiber fabric, or filling a prescription for the latest biotech-derived medicine. Now the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) wants to hear from you about how the Federal government can best use its resources so three of the newest and most promising technologies provide the greatest economic benefits to society.

This information-gathering process is being coordinated by the President’s Innovation and Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC), part of the PCAST. Through PCAST, PITAC advises the President on matters involving science, technology, and innovation policy. As part of its advisory activities, PITAC is soliciting information and ideas from stakeholders—including the research community, the private sector, universities, national laboratories, State and local governments, foundations, and nonprofit organizations—regarding a technological congruence that we have been calling the “Golden Triangle.”.."
EPA Proposal Cuts Pollution from Power Plants in 31 States and D.C. / Rule would reduce smog- and soot-forming emissions contributing to unhealthy air
"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing regulations to cut air pollution that impairs air quality and harms the health of people living downwind. The regulation will target power plant pollution that drifts across the borders of 31 eastern states and the District of Columbia. Air pollution is linked to thousands of asthma cases and heart attacks, and almost 2 million lost school or work days. Along with local and state air pollution controls, the new proposal, called the transport rule, is designed to help areas in the eastern United States meet existing national air quality health standards..."
Country Analysis Brief: Syria, 2009
"Syria is the only significant crude oil producing country in the Eastern Mediterranean region, which includes Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. In 2009, Syria produced about 400,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) of crude and other petroleum liquids. Oil production has stabilized after falling for a number of years, and is poised to turn around as new fields come on line. In 2008, Syria produced 213 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas, and is expected to double its gas production by the end of 2010. While much of its oil is exported to Europe, Syria's natural gas is used in reinjection for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and for domestic electricity generation."
Small Business and Credit: How Small Business Uses Bank Credit, Trade Credit or No Credit
"Today the Office of Advocacy released a study examining the type of credit utilized by small business. Bank Credit, Trade Credit or No Credit: Evidence from the Surveys of Small Business Finances, by Rebel A. Cole, compares firms that use credit (leveraged) with those that do not (unleveraged). The study also looks at which kind of credit leveraged firms use–bank credit (loans or lines of credit) trade credit (from suppliers) or both. The study found that the two types of credit (bank credit and trade credit) used by small firms are complements, with many small firms using both types of credit simultaneously.

“Access to credit is one of the most important issues facing small business today” said Acting Chief Counsel for Advocacy Susan Walthall. “A study that provides a better understanding of the credit used by small business is invaluable to policymakers, small business and their suppliers.”

The study finds that small firms that use no credit are significantly smaller, more profitable, more liquid, and have better credit quality; yet they hold fewer tangible assets. The study also finds that those firms that use credit are larger, and the amount of credit used as a percentage of assets is positively related to the firm’s liquidity. In addition, three-fifths of the small firms that use credit use trade credit..."
View full report

Gulf Coast Ports Surrounding the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

"This fact sheet provides a snapshot of two major seaports (New Orleans, LA, and Mobile, AL) and summary tables of other Gulf coast seaports close to the Deepwater Horizon mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) explosion and oil spill. New Orleans is approximately 132 miles from the site, and Mobile is approximately 136 miles from the site..."

Monday, July 5, 2010

Country Analysis Brief- Mexico,2009
"In 2009, Mexico was the seventh-largest oil producer in the world, and the third-largest in the Western Hemisphere. State-owned Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) holds a monopoly on oil production in the country and is one of the largest oil companies in the world. However, oil production has begun to decrease, as production at the giant Cantarell field declines. The oil sector is a crucial component of Mexico’s economy: while its relative importance to the general Mexican economy has declined in the long term, the oil sector still generates over 15 percent of the country’s export earnings. More importantly, the government relies upon earnings from the oil industry (including taxes and direct payments from Pemex) for about 40 percent of total government revenues. Therefore, any decline in production at Pemex has a direct effect upon the country’s overall fiscal balance..."
West Nile Virus Activity --- United States, 2009
"West Nile virus (WNV) was first detected in the Western Hemisphere in 1999 in New York City and has since caused seasonal epidemics of febrile illness and neurologic disease across the United States, where it is now the leading cause of arboviral encephalitis (1). This report updates a previous report (2) and summarizes WNV activity in the United States reported to CDC in 2009. A total of 38 states and the District of Columbia (DC) reported 720 cases of WNV disease. Of these, 33 states and DC reported 386 cases of WNV neuroinvasive disease, for an incidence of 0.13 per 100,000 population. The five states with the highest incidence of WNV neuroinvasive disease were Mississippi (1.05 per 100,000), South Dakota (0.74), Wyoming (0.73), Colorado (0.72), and Nebraska (0.61). Neuroinvasive disease incidence increased with increasing age, with the highest incidence among persons aged ≥70 years. A total of 33 WNV deaths were reported, 32 from neuroinvasive disease. Calculating from the number of neuroinvasive disease cases and projections from 1999 serosurvey data, CDC estimated that 54,000 persons were infected with WNV in 2009, of whom 10,000 developed nonneuroinvasive WNV disease. The continuing disease burden caused by WNV affirms the need for ongoing surveillance, mosquito control, promotion of personal protection from mosquito bites, and research into additional prevention strategies..."
National Compensation Survey: Occupational Earnings in the United States, 2009
"The National Compensation Survey (NCS) provides comprehensive measures of occupational earnings, compensation cost trends, the incidence of benefits, and detailed benefit provisions. This bulletin presents estimates of occupational pay for the Nation. These national estimates originate from the NCS locality survey data and are weighted to represent the Nation as a whole. The estimates include pay for workers in major sectors within the U.S. economy in 2009–the civilian, private, and State and local government sectors–and by various occupational and establishment characteristics. The civilian sector, by NCS definition, excludes Federal Government, agricultural, and household workers..."
Introducing the QCEW State and County Map Application
"The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has developed an interactive state and county map application available at http://beta.bls.gov/maps/cew/us. The application displays geographic economic data through maps, charts, and tables, allowing users to explore employment and wage data of private industry at the National, State, and county level. Throughout this application, URLs are specific to the data displayed, so links can be bookmarked, reused, and shared. The application includes maps, charts, tables, and a link to standard BLS data tables and graphs."

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Social Security Policy Options
"Social Security, the federal government’s largest single program, provides benefits to retired workers (through Old��Age and Survivors Insurance, OASI), to people with disabilities (through Disability Insurance, DI), and to their families as well as to some survivors of deceased workers. Those benefits are financed primarily by payroll taxes collected on people’s earnings. In 2010,
for the first time since the enactment of the Social Security Amendments of 1983, Social Security’s annual outlays will exceed its annual tax revenues, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects. If the economy continues to recover from the recent recession, those tax revenues will again exceed outlays, but only for a few years. CBO anticipates that starting in 2016, if current laws remain in
place, the program’s annual spending will regularly exceed its tax revenues..."
From Solicitor General to Supreme Court Nominee: Responsibilities, History, and the Nomination of Elena Kagan
"On May 10, 2010, President Obama nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan to replace retiring
Justice John Paul Stevens. If confirmed, Elena Kagan would be the first serving Solicitor General
to be appointed to the Court since the elevation of Thurgood Marshall in 1967. She would also be
only the fifth of 111 Justices to come to the bench with such experience.

Given that Solicitor General Kagan has made few public statements on important legal and policy
issues, some have looked to her record as Solicitor General for some indication of her views.
Others have looked to her time as Solicitor General as an important element of her professional
experience, especially in light of the criticism of some that her lack of judicial and litigation
experience make her unqualified to sit on the bench. Understanding the role and responsibilities
of the Solicitor General can provide a useful backdrop against which to evaluate Elena Kagan’s
statements and official actions and assess her professional qualifications.

The role of the Solicitor General is unique in the American legal system. Not only does the
Solicitor General represent the interests of the United States government before the Court, but the office is also charged with assisting the Supreme Court in the exercise of its judicial function. Through repeated opportunities to argue before the Court, some suggest that the office of the Solicitor General has built a “special relationship” with the Supreme Court based on trust and interdependence established over multiple and continuing interactions. The Court relies on the
Solicitor General to perform a “gatekeeping” function by recommending for review only the most
meritorious of the government’s cases and providing the highest quality arguments for the Court’s
consideration. Through these actions, the Solicitor General seeks to convince the Supreme Court
that the government’s position is the correct one. Although scholars disagree on the exact nature
of the office’s influence, most of the time, the Solicitor General is successful in this task..."
Putting a Lid on International Scams: 10 Tips for Being a Canny Consumer
"Mass marketing fraud is a significant source of income for international crime rings. Con artists ignore geographic boundaries to reach out to potential victims by phone, email, postal mail, and through the Internet, and then trick them into sending money or giving out personal information. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, Americans report losses of more than a billion dollars a year to these frauds.

To be sure, con artists can be clever, but many can be foiled by knowledgeable — and equally canny — consumers.
Here are 10 things you can do to stop a scam:

Keep in mind that wiring money is like sending cash: the sender has no protections against loss. Con artists often insist that people wire money, especially overseas, because it’s nearly impossible to reverse the transaction or trace the money. Don’t wire money to strangers, to sellers who insist on wire transfers for payment, or to someone who claims to be a relative in an emergency (and wants to keep the request a secret).

Don’t send money to someone you don’t know. That includes an online merchant you’ve never heard of — or an online love interest who asks for money or favors. It’s best to do business with sites you know and trust. If you buy items through an online auction, consider a payment option that provides protection, like a credit card. Don’t send cash or use a wire transfer service.

Don’t respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial information, whether the message comes as an email, a phone call, a text message, or an ad. Don’t click on links in the message, or call phone numbers that are left on your answering machine, either. The crooks behind these messages are trying to trick you into giving up your personal information. If you get a message and are concerned about your account status, call the number on your credit or debit card — or your statement — and check it out.

Don’t play a foreign lottery. First, it’s easy to be tempted by messages that boast enticing odds in a foreign lottery, or messages that claim you’ve already won. Inevitably, you’ll be asked to pay “taxes,” “fees,” or “customs duties” to collect your prize. If you send money, you won’t get it back, regardless of the promises. Second, it’s illegal to play foreign lotteries.

Don’t agree to deposit a check from someone you don’t know and then wire money back, no matter how convincing the story. By law, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. You are responsible for the checks you deposit: When a check turns out to be a fake, it’s you who is responsible for paying back the bank.

Read your bills and monthly statements regularly—on paper and online. Scammers steal account information and then run up charges or commit crimes in your name. Dishonest merchants sometimes bill you for monthly “membership fees” and other goods or services you didn’t authorize. If you see charges you don’t recognize or didn’t okay, contact your bank, card issuer, or other creditor immediately.

In the wake of a natural disaster or another crisis, give to established charities rather than one that seems to have sprung up overnight. Pop-up charities probably don’t have the infrastructure to get help to the affected areas or people, and they could be collecting the money to finance illegal activity. Check out ftc.gov/charityfraud to learn more."

Talk to your doctor before buying health products or signing up for medical treatments. Ask about research that supports a product’s claims—and possible risks or side effects. Buy prescription drugs only from licensed U.S. pharmacies. Otherwise, you could end up with products that are fake, expired or mislabeled — in short, products that could be dangerous. Visit ftc.gov/health for more information.

Remember there’s no such thing as a sure thing. If someone contacts you promoting low-risk, high-return investment opportunities, stay away. When you hear pitches that insist you act now, guarantees of big profits, promises of little or no financial risk, or demands that you send cash immediately, report them to the FTC. For more information about investment fraud, visit cftc.gov.

Know where an offer comes from and who you’re dealing with. Try to find a seller’s physical address (not just a P.O. Box) and phone number. With VoIP and other web-based technologies, it’s tough to tell where someone is calling from. Do an internet search for the company name and website and look for negative reviews. Check them out with the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org.
Drinking Water
From MedlinePlus:
"Every living creature needs clean and safe drinking water. How much do you need? It depends - your size, activity level and the weather all make a difference.
The water you drink is a combination of surface water and groundwater. Surface water includes rivers, lakes and reservoirs. Groundwater comes from underground. The United States has one of the safest water supplies in the world, but drinking water quality can vary from place to place. It depends on the condition of the source water and the treatment it receives. Treatment may include adding fluoride to prevent cavities and chlorine to kill germs.
Your water supplier must give you annual reports on drinking water. The reports include where your water came from and what contaminants are in it..."
Hurricanes and the Oil Spill
"What will happen to a hurricane that runs through this oil slick?

Most hurricanes span an enormous area of the ocean (200-300 miles) — far wider than the current size of the spill.

If the slick remains small in comparison to a typical hurricane’s general environment and size, the anticipated impact on the hurricane would be minimal.

The oil is not expected to appreciably affect either the intensity or the track of a fully developed tropical storm or hurricane.

The oil slick would have little effect on the storm surge or near-shore wave heights..."
HHS Launches New Consumer Focused Health Care Website www.HealthCare.gov
"The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today unveiled an innovative new on-line tool that will help consumers take control of their health care by connecting them to new information and resources that will help them access quality, affordable health care coverage. Called for by the Affordable Care Act, HealthCare.gov is the first website to provide consumers with both public and private health coverage options tailored specifically for their needs in a single, easy-to-use tool.

“HealthCare.gov helps consumers take control of their health care and make the choices that are right for them, by putting the power of information at their fingertips,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “For too long, the insurance market has been confusing and hard to navigate. HealthCare.gov makes it easy for consumers and small businesses to compare health insurance plans in both the public and the private sector and find other important health care information.”

HealthCare.gov is the first central database of health coverage options, combining information about public programs, from Medicare to the new Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan, with information from more than 1,000 private insurance plans. Consumers can receive information about options specific to their life situation and local community..."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Federal Duck Stamp Program
"Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, commonly known as “Duck Stamps,” are pictorial stamps produced by the U.S. Postal Service for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. They are not valid for postage. Originally created in 1934 as the federal licenses required for hunting migratory waterfowl, Federal Duck Stamps have a much larger purpose today...

Federal Duck Stamps are a vital tool for wetland conservation. Ninety-eightEarly Duck Stamp Contest) cents out of every dollar generated by the sales of Federal Duck Stamps goes directly to purchase or lease wetland habitat for protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Understandably, the Federal Duck Stamp Program has been called one of the most successful conservation programs ever initiated and is a highly effective way to conserve America’s natural resources..."