Friday, February 27, 2015

FBI Counterterrorism Executive Briefs Congress on ISIL and Domestic Terrorism

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

Isil and domestic-terrorism

Medical Tourism

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

Medical Tourism

2015 White House Coference on Aging

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

Eleanor Roosevelt Resignation from DAR

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

Housing Vacancies and Ownerships:2014

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

Free Tax Return Preparation for Qualifying Taxpayers

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

Free Tax Preparation

Monday, February 23, 2015

Every kid in a park initiative

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

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

Flag Raising on Iwo Jima, 02/23/1945

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

The Measles: Background and Federal Role in Vaccine Policy

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

How Social Security Benefits Are Computed: In Brief

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

Social security benefits

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Presidential Libraries Act and the Establishment of Presidential Libraries

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

Thursday, February 19, 2015

President Obama Announces a Trio of New National Monuments

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

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

2015 Economc Report of the President

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

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

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




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

Choosing a Tax Professional

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

U.S. Department of State and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Launch Innovative International Air Quality Program

"Secretary of State John Kerry and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signed a statement of intent today to launch a new air quality partnership between the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The effort will provide U.S. citizens and government personnel with better information on air quality at select embassies and consulates around the world to reduce health risks from outdoor air pollution, and will offer greater opportunities for the United States to create partnerships on air quality with other nations..."
International air quality

Teen Dating Violence: Prevention through Raising Awareness

"February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. Learning how to spot the signs of an abusive relationship can make a dramatic impact on the lives of teens suffering from dating violence – and could also save lives.
According to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC), teen dating violence includes the physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence that may occur within a relationship. In many cases, teens in abusive relationships experience severe psychological conflict which can lead to changes in their behavior. Some warning signs to watch out for include increased levels of aggression, isolation from family and friends, and erratic mood swings. If you suspect a teen is experiencing an abusive relationship or are unsure of the warning signs, the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline will offer immediate and confidential support.."
Teen dating

FTC Challenges Proposed Merger of Sysco and US Foods

"The Federal Trade Commission today filed an administrative complaint charging that the proposed merger of Sysco and US Foods would violate the antitrust laws by significantly reducing competition nationwide and in 32 local markets for broadline foodservice distribution services. The FTC alleges that if the merger goes forward as proposed, foodservice customers, including restaurants, hospitals, hotels, and schools, would likely face higher prices and diminished service than would be the case but for the merger.
The FTC also authorized staff to seek in federal court a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to prevent the parties from consummating the merger, and to maintain the status quo pending the administrative proceeding..."

Sysco & US Foods

2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Submits Report

"The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a group of prestigious outside experts, submitted its recommendations to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, in order to inform the 2015 edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Today, the Secretaries have released the advisory committee's recommendations report online, making it available for public review and comment. The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture (USDA) will consider this report, along with input from other federal agencies and comments from the public as they develop the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015, to be released later this year.
The public is encouraged to view the independent advisory group's report and provide written comments at www.DietaryGuidelines.gov for a period of 45 days after publication in the Federal Register. The public will also have an opportunity to offer oral comments at a public meeting in Bethesda, Maryland, on March 24, 2015. Those interested in providing oral comments at the March 24, 2015, public meeting can register at www.DietaryGuidelines.gov. Capacity is limited, so participants will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis..."
  Dietary guidelines

Snails’ Teeth Beats Spider Silk As Nature’s Strongest Material

"Marine snails, commonly called limpets, cling tenaciously to rocks as waves batter them. They can clamp on with a force of 75 pounds per square inch, using their muscular mollusk "foot" and a chemical secretion. But even that feat isn’t as stunning as their ability to grind down rock as they feed, using a tooth-studded tongue called a radula. Now the snails have upped their tough-guy street cred with help from engineers based in the U.K., who discovered that these snails’ teeth are made of the strongest natural material out there.
Spider silk, often compared to kevlar, has wowed with its tough yet flexible powers. But when tested, the tooth material was, on average, about five times stronger than most spider silk, reports BBC News. This makes it the strongest natural material on Earth. Tests in the lab revealed that it can withstand pressure that would turn carbon into diamond. That’s comparable to a single strand of spaghetti holding up about 3,300 one-pound bags of sugar, the study’s lead author, Asa Barber of the University of Portsmouth, told the BBC..."
Snails

VFC Program

"The Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program offers vaccines at no cost for eligible children through doctors enrolled in the program. Find out if your child qualifies. Vaccinating on time means healthier children, families and communities.
The Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program helps provide vaccines to children whose parents or guardians may not be able to afford them. This helps ensure that all children have a better chance of getting their recommended vaccinations on schedule. These vaccines protect babies, young children, and adolescents from 16 diseases (see the list).

Who Is Eligible for the VFC Program?

  • Medicaid-eligible
  • Uninsured
  • American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Underinsured if receiving VFC vaccines at a Federally Qualified Health Center or Rural Health Clinic..." 
  • Vaccines

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Executive Order Promoting Private Sector Cybersecurity Information Sharing

"Today[2/15/15], President Obama will sign an Executive Order to encourage and promote sharing of cybersecurity threat information within the private sector and between the private sector and government. Rapid information sharing is an essential element of effective cybersecurity, because it enables U.S. companies to work together to respond to threats, rather than operating alone. This Executive Order lays out a framework for expanded information sharing designed to help companies work together, and work with the federal government, to quickly identify and protect against cyber threats..."
Cybersecurity

2013 Toxics Release Inventory National Analysis

"Tens of thousands of chemicals are used by industries and businesses in the United States to make the products on which our society depends, such as pharmaceuticals, clothing, and automobiles. Many of the chemicals needed to create these products are toxic, and while the majority of toxic chemicals are managed so that they are not released into the environment, some releases of toxic chemicals are inevitable.
It is your right to know what toxic chemicals are being used in your community, how they are being disposed of or otherwise managed, and whether their releases to the environment are increasing or decreasing over time. The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) is an EPA program that tracks the management of certain toxic chemicals that may pose a threat to human health and the environment. This information is submitted by thousands of U.S. facilities on over 650 chemicals and chemical categories under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA)..."
Toxics release inventory

Friday, February 13, 2015

Hard Truths: Law Enforcement and Race

"FBI Director James B. Comey called on the nation’s law enforcement personnel and the citizens they serve to participate in a frank and open conversation about the disconnect that exists in places like New York City and Ferguson, Missouri—and many communities across the country—between police agencies and many citizens, particularly in communities of color..."
Law enforcement & race

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Authorization of Military Force Against ISIL Terrorists: What You Need to Know

"Right now, America’s armed forces are working with some 60 nations to degrade and destroy ISIL, a terrorist group that has committed countless barbaric atrocities and poses a grave threat to the people and territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria, regional stability, and the national security interests of the United States and its allies and partners. Coalition air strikes have been instrumental in disrupting ISIL’s command and control and supply lines and taking out their commanders and fighters.

The mission is a difficult one, but make no mistake, our coalition is on the offensive, ISIL is on the defensive, and ISIL is going to lose.

Although the President already has the legal authority he needs to take action against ISIL, he has noted that we are strongest as a nation when the President and Congress work together. A bipartisan authorization of the use of military force (AUMF) against ISIL would provide a clear and powerful signal to the American people, to our allies, and to our enemies that the U.S. is united behind the effort to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL.."
Authorization of Military Force

Public high school 4-year adjusted cohort graduation rate

Find the latest on public high school graduation rates.
High school graduation

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Clothes Dryers for Consumers

"ENERGY STAR certified dryers use 20 percent less energy than conventional models without sacrificing features or performance. They do this using innovative energy saving technologies, such as moisture sensors that detect when clothes are dry and automatically shut the dryer off. Many ENERGY STAR dryers also include convenient features, such as steam cycles that can help save time on ironing clothes by preventing wrinkles..."
Clothes dryers

National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking

"The National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking establishes guiding principles and strategic priorities for U.S. efforts to stem illegal trade in wildlife. This Strategy positions the United States to exercise leadership in addressing a serious and urgent conservation and global security threat. It calls for strengthening the enforcement of laws and international agreements that protect wildlife while reducing demand for illegal wildlife and wildlife products. It affirms our Nation’s resolve to work in partnership with governments, local communities, nongovernmental organizations, the private sector, and others to strengthen commitment to combating wildlife trafficking.."
Wildlife trafficking

The Economics of Chocolate

"Look at a graph of cocoa prices since Valentine's Day 2014, and you'll see a jagged line as ragged as a broken heart. It looks sort of like the crack you'd imagine in a broken heart.

The price line includes plenty of peaks and valleys, but the sharpest came last September. The line jerked suddenly upward, plateaued at cocoa's highest price in several years, and then plummeted to its original level. It left an ascending spike of almost perfect symmetry. That spike was Ebola, converted into cocoa prices. (And the most recent drop resulted from declining demand for chocolate.)

Cocoa makes a long and winding journey from bean to bar. The crop starts in the farms of tropical nations, especially in West Africa, and travels through ports, shipping containers and processing plants. But before they can reach your bag of M&M's, cocoa beans also travel through an intangible dimension—the financial world of price graphs, futures contracts and commodity ETFs. Ever since the New York Cocoa Exchange was founded in 1925, cocoa has been bought and sold in abstract form..."
Chocolate

New Guidelines on Cholesterol: Eggs Are Ok, Butter's Still Bad

"The story of cholesterol isn’t as cut-and-dried as advice originally proffered in the 1970s might make it seem. And, after years of experts developing a more complicated understanding of how eating habits lead to high levels of blood cholesterol, the official U.S. Dietary Guidelines are finally getting a revamp that includes dropping the warnings over high-cholesterol foods.

This doesn’t mean that heaps of bacon and gobs of fried foods are back on the table. Eggs, organ meats, lobster and other seafood don’t deserve the scorn they’ve gotten for being high-cholesterol. But foods high in saturated fats remain on the list of things to limit.

The new guidelines aren’t out yet, but some changes, including the cholesterol revision, were previewed at the December meeting of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, the group that assesses scientific knowledge and makes recommendations to the Agriculture and Health and Human Services Department about changing the official guidelines.."
Cholesterol

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Lynchings Were Even More Common in the South Than Previously Thought

"Between 1877 and 1950, lynching was all too common in the segregated South. But even previous accounts of thousands of lynchings did not document the full extent of this practice. Now,  in a new report, a group of criminal justice reformers, led by Bryan Stevenson, has enumerated hundreds more lynchings than previous work had counted, in states including Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia.

The new report, by the Equal Justice Initiative, counts 700 cases of lynchings that were not previously reported, bringing the death toll to nearly 4,000..."
Lynchings

10 Reasons To Get Vaccinated

"Many adults in the U.S. are not aware of vaccines recommended for them – and that means they are not taking advantage of the best protection available against a number of serious diseases. According to the 2013 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS):
  • Only about 1 out of 5 (21%) adults 19-64 years old with certain high-risk medical conditions had received a pneumococcal vaccination.
  • Only about 1 out of 4 (24%) adults 60 years and older, had received a shingles vaccination.
  • Only about 1 out of 6 (17%) adults 19 years and older, had received a Tdap vaccine in the last 8 years to provide protection from tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough)..." 
  • Adult vaccinations

Make Blood Pressure Control Your Goal

"This American Heart Month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Million Hearts®–a national effort to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes in the United States by 2017–are encouraging Americans to know their blood pressure, and if it's high, to make control their goal.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure[469 KB] is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. In fact, more than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure.1 People with high blood pressure are 4 times more likely to die from a stroke and 3 times more likely to die from heart disease, compared to those with normal blood pressure...."
Blood pressure

National Security Strategy - 2015

"In a young century, opportunities for America abound, but risks to our security remain. This new
National Security Strategy positions the United States to safeguard our national interests through strong and sustainable leadership. It sets out the principles and priorities to guide the use of American power and influence in the world. It advances a model of American leadership rooted in the foundation of America’s economic and technological strength and the values of the American people. It redoubles our commitment to allies and partners and welcomes the constructive contributions of responsible rising powers. It signals our resolve and readiness to deter and, if necessary, defeat potential adversaries. It affirms America’s leadership role within a rules-based international order that works best through empowered citizens, responsible states, and effective regional and international organizations. And it serves as a compass for how this Administration, in partnership with the Congress, will lead the world through a shifting security landscape toward a more durable peace and a new prosperity.."
National security

Beyond Traffic: Trends and Choices 2045

"In the enabling legislation that gave rise to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Secretary
of Transportation is vested with the responsibility to report on current and future conditions of our transportation system. With the nation’s transportation system experiencing repeated trauma due to inaction in the public sphere, such a report could not come at a more crucial time. 
Beyond Traffic : Trends and Choices 2045 has been developed over the course of a year. U.S. DOT assembled a team of internal and external experts to conduct a comprehensive examination of our
nation’s transportation system. This team shared key findings and solicited feedback in six public webinar sessions that drew 1,300 participants. These participants included engineers, researchers,
transportation planners, pilots, truck drivers, transit operators, safety advocates and disability rights advocates, among others..."

Traffic trends

IRS Launches Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers; Online Tool Offers New Option to Help Taxpayer

" The Internal Revenue Service today announced the launch of a new, online public directory of tax return preparers. This searchable directory on IRS.gov will help taxpayers find a tax professional with credentials and select qualifications to help them prepare their tax returns.


The directory is a searchable, sortable listing featuring:  the name, city, state and zip code of attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents and those who have completed the requirements for the voluntary IRS Annual Filing Season Program. All preparers listed also have valid 2015 Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTIN).

Taxpayers may search the directory using the preferred credentials or qualifications they seek in a preparer, or by a preparer’s location, including professionals who practice abroad. Tax return preparers with PTINs who are not attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents or Annual Filing Season Program participants are not included in the directory, nor are volunteer tax return preparers who offer free services..."

Directory of Federal Tax Preparers

Snapshot of reverse mortgage complaints December 2011 – 2014

"Reverse mortgages are a special type of loan that allows homeowners, 62 and older, to borrow against the accrued equity in their homes. Reverse mortgages can help some older homeowners meet financial needs, but they can jeopardize retirement security if not used carefully.

We’ve heard many complaints from consumers who have experienced problems with reverse mortgages. Today we are releasing a report on those complaints.

This Snapshot provides an overview of consumer complaints submitted to the CFPB involving reverse mortgages from December 2011 through December 2014. The most common reverse mortgage complaint is about difficulty with changing the loan terms, and problems communicating with loan servicers..."

Reverse mortgage

Congress.gov Offers Users New Alert System

"The free legislative information website Congress.govoffers users a new optional email-alerts system that makes tracking legislative action even easier. Users can elect to receive email alerts for tracking:
  • A specific bill in the current Congress: Receive an email when there are updates to a specific bill (new cosponsors, committee action, vote taken, etc.); emails are sent once a day if there has been a change in a particular bill’s status since the previous day.
  • A specific member’s legislative activity: Receive an email when a specific member introduces or cosponsors a bill; emails are sent once a day if a member has introduced or cosponsored a bill since the previous day.
  • Congressional Record: Receive an email as soon as a new issue of the Congressional Record is available on Congress.gov..."
  • Congress.gov

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Measles Cases and Outbreaks

"From January 1 to January 30, 2015, 102 people from 14 states were reported to have measles*. Most of these cases are part of a large, ongoing multi-state outbreak linked to an amusement park in California. On January 23, 2015, CDC issued a Health Advisory to notify public health departments and healthcare facilities about this multi-state outbreak and to provide guidance for healthcare providers nationwide. For more information see CDC Press Briefing Transcript: Measles in the United States, 2015, January 29, 2015.
* CDC will update this data weekly on Mondays.

The United States experienced a record number of measles cases during 2014, with 644 cases from 27 states reported to CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). This is the greatest number of cases since measles elimination was documented in the U.S. in 2000..."

Measles

Data on Drug Poisoning Deaths

"Recent Trends
  • Since 2000, the age-adjusted drug poisoning death rate more than doubled, from 6.2 per 100,000 in 2000 to 13.1 per 100,000 in 2012.
  • In 2012, 41,502 deaths were due to drug poisoning; 80 percent of these deaths were unintentional, 13 percent were suicides, and 7 percent were of undetermined intent.
  • In 2011, opioid analgesics were involved in 41 percent of drug poisoning deaths (16,917 deaths); in 2012, that decreased to 39 percent (16,007 deaths).
  • The age-adjusted rate for deaths involving opioid analgesics more than tripled from 1.5 per 100,000 in 2000 to 5.4 per 100,000 in 2011, then declined to 5.1 per 100,000 in 2012..."
    Drug poisoning

NCHS Obesity Data

"More than one-third of U.S. adults (34.9 percent) were obese in 2011-2012.  This includes 33.5 percent of men and 36.1 percent of women.  There was no significant change in the prevalence of obesity among all men or all women between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012.
  • The prevalence of obesity among middle aged adults aged 40-59 (39.5 percent) was higher than among younger adults aged 20-39 (30.3 percent) or older adults aged 60 and over (35.4 percent) in 2011-2012.
  • The prevalence of obesity in women aged 60 years and older increased between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012.
    Obesity

NCHS Data on Arthritis

"Arthritis includes more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions affecting joints. The most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Arthritis affects more than 1 in 5 adults aged 18 and over.
  • Approximately 50 million adults have physician-diagnosed arthritis; an additional 35 million have experienced pain, aching, or stiffness in or around a joint in the last month.
  • Among adults aged 18 and over, arthritis affects a larger percentage of women (25.9%) than men (18.6%). For each age group, women were more likely to report a diagnosis of arthritis than men. Arthritis prevalence increases with age for both men and women..." 
  •  Data on Arthritis

Wage Data by Area and Occupation


Find wage data by occupations for the United States, regions, states, and local metropolitan areas.
wages and occupations

Railroads: old industry still vital in today’s economy

From the January 2015 issue of the Monthly Labor Review comes an article entitled "Railroads: old industry still vital in today's economy..."
"In the early 20th century, annual revenues of railroads constituted the largest industry in America. This is no longer the case, but because of both economic growth and population growth railroad revenue exceeded $70 billion last year, and railroad employment rose to approximately 180,000, according the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

In Tracking the economy: an old industry chugs along (Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, EconSouth, May–August 2014), writer Charles Davidson describes how railroad companies are adapting to modern technologies and shipping techniques. Using new technology, the intermodal terminal shipping system—which transports cargo via multiple modes of transportation such as trains, trucks, and ships—tracks containers through the use of GPS. There are dozens of intermodal terminals in the Southeast and hundreds across the country, with CSX Transportation—one of two major railroads in the eastern United States—having more than 60.
There are double-container stacked freight trains more than a mile long crossing the country carrying coal, gas, and every commodity imaginable. After severe financial difficulties in the 1960s and 1970s, regulatory reforms helped railroads become more competitive. In the 1980s railroads were freed from the requirement of providing service where it didn’t pay. By discarding miles of unprofitable track, railroads now operate 140,000 miles of track, less than half as much as in the mid-1960s. Railroads also consolidated from 106 Class I, or major, companies in 1960 to 7 now. Today, five of those seven companies generate almost 90 percent of total railroad revenue..."

Railroad industry

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Vital Signs: Disparities in Nonsmokers’ Exposure to Secondhand Smoke — United States, 1999–2012

"Prevalence of SHS exposure in nonsmokers declined from 52.5% during 1999–2000 to 25.3% during 2011–2012.
During this period, declines were observed for all population subgroups, but disparities exist. During 2011–2012, SHS was highest among: children aged 3–11 years (40.6%), non-Hispanic blacks (46.8%), persons living below the poverty level (43.2%), and persons living in rental housing (36.8%). Among children aged 3–11 years, 67.9% of non-Hispanic blacks were exposed to SHS compared with 37.2% of non-Hispanic whites and 29.9% of Mexican Americans.
Overall, SHS exposure in the United States has been reduced by half since 1999–2000. However, 58 million persons were still exposed to SHS during 2011–2012, and exposure remains higher among children, non-Hispanic blacks, those living in poverty, and those who rent their housing..."

Second hand smoke

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Japan Country Analysis: 2015

"Japan has a limited  domestic energy resources that have met less than 9% of the country's total primary energy use since 2012, compared with about 20% before the removal of nuclear power following the Fukushima plant accident. It is the third largest oil consumer and net importer in the world behind the United states and China. Furthermore, it ranks as the world's largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and second largest importer of coal behind China"....
Japan

Second Hand Smoke

"Make your home and vehicles smoke free for cleaner air and a healthier heart and lungs.
More than 58 million nonsmokers in the United States are still exposed to secondhand smoke, even though cigarette smoking rates are dropping and many states prohibit smoking in public places such as worksites, restaurants, and bars. In all, about 1 of every 4 nonsmokers is exposed to the dangerous chemicals in secondhand smoke..."
Second hand smoke

Monday, February 2, 2015

The President's Fiscal Year 2016 Budget


Find information on President Obama's 2016 federal budget of the United States as issued by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
federal_budget

Women and Heart Disease

"Get Informed: Facts on Women and Heart Disease
  1. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, killing nearly 422,000 each year.
  2. Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a "man's disease," around the same number of women and men die each year of heart disease in the United States. Following a heart attack, approximately 1 in 4 women will die within the first year, compared to 1 in 5 men.
  3. Some conditions and lifestyle choices increase a person's chance for heart disease, including diabetes, overweight and obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity, and excessive alcohol use.
  4. Among women, black women are at highest risk of dying early from heart disease and stroke followed by American Indian/Alaska Native, White, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander women.
  5. High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. Lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol and not 
  6. smoking will reduce your chances for heart disease..."
  7. Women and Heart Disease

Taking Action to Protect Communities and Reduce the Cost of Future Flood Disasters

"Across the country, extreme weather and other impacts of climate change are threatening the health, safety, and prosperity of our communities. This month, NOAA and NASA announced that 2014 was the hottest global year on record.  And as the planet continues to warm, impacts like rising sea levels, intensified storms, and heavy downpours are contributing to an increased risk of flooding. President Obama is committed to ensuring that American communities thrive in the face of a changing climate.  That is why, today, the President signed an Executive Order establishing a flood standard that will reduce the risk and cost of future flood disasters by requiring all Federal investments in and affecting floodplains to meet higher flood risk standards..."
Floods