Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Trafficking in Persons Report 2015

"This year’s Report places a special emphasis on human trafficking in the global marketplace. It highlights the hidden risks that workers may encounter when seeking employment and the steps that governments and businesses can take to prevent trafficking, including a demand for transparency in global supply chains.

"The bottom line is that this is no time for complacency. Right now, across the globe, victims of human trafficking are daring to imagine the possibility of escape, the chance for a life without fear, and the opportunity to earn a living wage. I echo the words of President Obama and say to them: We hear you, and we will do all we can to make that dream come true. In recent decades, we have learned a great deal about how to break up human trafficking networks and help victims recover in safety and dignity. In years to come, we will apply those lessons relentlessly, and we will not rest until modern slavery is ended." – John F. Kerry, Secretary of State..."

Human trafficking

Sunday, July 26, 2015

FTC Takes Action Against LifeLock for Alleged Violations of 2010 Order

"The Federal Trade Commission today asserted that LifeLock violated a 2010 settlement with the agency and 35 state attorneys general by continuing to make deceptive claims about its identity theft protection services, and by failing to take steps required to protect its users’ data.
In documents filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, the FTC charged that LifeLock failed to live up to its obligations under the 2010 settlement, and asked the court to impose an order requiring LifeLock to provide full redress to all consumers affected by the company’s order violations.
“It is essential that companies live up to their obligations under orders obtained by the FTC,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “If a company continues with practices that violate orders and harm consumers, we will act.”
The 2010 settlement stemmed from previous FTC allegations that LifeLock used false claims to promote its identity theft protection services. The settlement barred the company and its principals from making any further deceptive claims; required LifeLock to take more stringent measures to safeguard the personal information it collects from customers; and required LifeLock to pay $12 million for consumer refunds..."
Lifelock

Economic Espionage: Nationwide Awareness Campaign Announced

"Economic espionage is a problem that costs the American economy billions of dollars annually and puts our national security at risk.
To raise awareness of the issue, the FBI and the National Counterintelligence and Security Center have launched a nationwide campaign and released a short film aimed at educating anyone with a trade secret about the threat and how they can help mitigate it. Based on an actual case, The Company Man: Protecting America’s Secrets illustrates how one U.S. company was targeted by foreign actors and how that company worked with the FBI to resolve the problem and bring the perpetrators to justice..."
Economic espionage

Executive Order 9981: Desegregation of the Armed Forces

View a facsimile of President Harry Truman's Executive Order 9981,  issued on July 26, 1948 establishing the President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services committing the government to integrate the armed forces..."
Armed forces desegregation

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 25th Anniversary

"July 26th marks the 25th anniversary of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a civil rights law that strengthens the inclusion of people with disabilities at work, school, or other community settings. Learn what CDC is doing to include people with disabilities in public health research and health promotion activities.
Anyone can have a disability at any point in their life. Disabilities, which limit how a child or adult functions, may include difficulty walking or climbing stairs; hearing; seeing; or concentrating, remembering, or making decisions. An estimated 37 million1 to 57 million2 people are living with a disability in the United States, and many people will experience a disability at some time during the course of their life.
Enacted on July 26, 1990, the goals of the ADA are to promote equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities.3 The ADA has made a positive difference in the lives of those who have disabilities by providing better access to buildings, transportation, and employment. However, access to health care, and the inclusion of people with disabilities in health promotion, and disease prevention programs is still a challenge; people with disabilities continue to face significant differences in health compared to people who do not have disabilities.."
ADA

2015 KIDS COUNT Data Book

"The KIDS Count Data Book is an annual publication that assesses child well-being nationally and across the 05 states, as well as in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Using an index of 16 indicators, the report ranks states on overall child well-being and in economic well-being, education, health and family and community.

The  2014 KIDS Count Data Book focuses on America's children in the midst of the country's economic recovery. While data show improvements in child health and education, more families are struggling to make ends meet., and a growing number of kids live in high-poverty neighborhoods. In addition to ranking state in several areas of child well-being, the report also examines the influences of parents' education, health and other life circumstances on their children..."

Kids count databook

Labor Day 2015: Sept. 7

" The first observance of Labor Day was likely on Sept. 5, 1882, when some 10,000 workers assembled in New York City for a parade. That celebration inspired similar events across the country, and by 1894 more than half the states were observing a “workingmen’s holiday” on one day or another. Later that year, with Congress passing legislation and President Grover Cleveland signing the bill on June 29, the first Monday in September was designated “Labor Day.” This national holiday is a creation of the labor movement in the late 19th century — and pays tribute to the social and economic achievements of American workers. 

Who Are We Celebrating?

157 million
Number of people 16 and over in the nation’s labor force in June 2015.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Table A-1
<http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf>..."
Labor Day 2015

Electronic Health Records on Mobile Devices

"Stolen personal information can have negative financial impacts, but stolen medical information cuts to the very core of personal privacy. Medical identity theft already costs billions of dollars each year, and altered medical information can put a person’s health at risk through misdiagnosis, delayed treatment or incorrect prescriptions. Yet, the use of mobile devices to store, access, and transmit electronic health care records is outpacing the privacy and security protections on those devices.
Cybersecurity experts at the NCCoE collaborated with health care industry and technology vendors to develop an example solution to show health care providers how they can secure electronic health records on mobile devices. The example solution is packaged as a “How To” guide, providing organizations with the detailed instructions to recreate our example. Specifically, we show how security engineers and IT professionals, using commercially available and open source tools and technologies that are consistent with cybersecurity standards, can help health care organizations that use mobile devices more securely share electronic health records..."
Electronic health records

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Dark Web

"The layers of the Internet go far beyond the surface content that many can easily access in their daily searches. The other content is that of the Deep Web, content that has not been indexed by traditional search engines such as Google. The furthest corners of the Deep Web, segments known as the Dark Web, contain content that has been intentionally concealed. The Dark Web may be used for legitimate purposes as well as to conceal criminal or otherwise malicious activities. It is the exploitation of the Dark Web for illegal practices that has garnered the interest of officials and policy makers..."
Dark web

Women in Combat: Issues for Congess

"Over the past two decades of conflict, women have served with valor and continue to serve on combat aircraft, naval vessels, and in support of ground combat operations. The expansion of roles for women in the armed forces has evolved since the early days of the military when women were restricted by law and policy from serving in certain occupations and units. Women are not precluded by law from serving in any military unit or occupational specialty. However, a 1994 Department of Defense (DOD) policy prevented women from being assigned to units below brigade level where the unit’s primary mission was to engage directly in ground combat. This policy barred women from serving in infantry, artillery, armor, combat engineers, and special operations units of battalion size or smaller. On January 24, 2013, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta rescinded the rule that restricted women from serving in combat units and directed the services to review their occupational standards and assignment policies for implementation no later than January 1, 2016.."
Women and combat

Is There a Judicial Remedy for Victims of Federal Data Breaches?

"The scope of information believed to have been compromised by a series of cyber-intrusions at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) continues to grow. OPM recently announced that further investigation of the initial breach affecting 4.2 million current and former federal employees has led officials to conclude that sensitive information on 21.5 million individuals had been stolen from separate OPM databases used in connection with background investigations. In addition to the potential effects on domestic and foreign policy that may result from these breaches, which are discussed here, two recently filed lawsuits raise questions regarding what redress, if any, is due to affected individuals beyond the free credit monitoring that has been offered by OPM..."
Federal data breaches

Who Votes? Congressional Elections and the American Electorate: 1978–2014

"Voting is among our most fundamental domestic responsibilities and important civic opportunities. Without free and open elections, American democracy would not exist. Maintaining and improving our system of elections requires not only documenting election results, but also understanding the composition of America’s electorate, both historically and presently.
Since 1964, the U.S. Census Bureau has fielded the Voting and Registration Supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS) every 2 years. Generally speaking, national American elections fall into two categories: elections where voters decide on the office of the President and congressional seats, and elections where congressional seats are the highest offices decided. To avoid confusion with presidential elections, the following report refers to nonpresidential year elections as “congressional elections.” Election results and voting patterns tend to vary between these two types of elections (specifically, voting and registration rates are lower in years with congressional elections only), and the majority of this report will focus on congressional election years only (2014, 2010, 2006, etc.)..."
Voting


International report confirms: 2014 was Earth’s warmest year on record

"In 2014, the most essential indicators of Earth’s changing climate continued to reflect trends of a warming planet, with several  markers such as rising land and ocean temperature, sea levels and greenhouse gases ─ setting new records.  These key findings and others can be found in the State of the Climate in 2014 report released online today by the American Meteorological Society (AMS)..."
Climate

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Bringing Our Immigration System into the Digital Age

"In November, President Obama announced a series of Executive Actions to fix the broken immigration system. As a part of these efforts, he charged the key federal agencies responsible for administering our legal immigration system to explore ways to modernize and streamline the system. The goal was to develop recommendations to bring the system into the 21st century to grow our economy, help businesses and workers, and protect families.
Today, we are taking the next step in this effort, releasing a report on Modernizing and Streamlining Our Legal Immigration System for the 21st Century. This report includes a wide range of new actions that federal agencies will undertake to improve the visa experience for families, workers, employers, and people in need of humanitarian relief..."


 Immigration

CDC's VetoViolence Website

"VetoViolence is CDC's online source of free violence prevention trainings, tools, and resources. Check out the VetoViolence website to learn how to stop violence, before it happens.

Why Use VetoViolence?

Are you a busy violence prevention practitioner, short on time, doing more with less, and looking for ways to maximize your resources? CDC's VetoViolence website offers free, online, interactive, and engaging violence prevention tools, trainings, and resources based on the best available evidence and research. The tools, trainings, and resources provide practical knowledge and skills to assist and enhance the work of violence prevention practitioners..."
Vetoviolence

New Productivity Report, July 2015

"The seven regions analyzed in this report accounted for 95% of domestic oil production growth and all domestic natural gas production growth during 2011-13..."

Energy production

Singles, Mingles and Wedding Jingles: Partnerships and Living Arrangements from 1967 to 2014

" For nearly half a century, the Census Bureau has been collecting data on America’s living arrangements. Young adults age 18 to 34 have experienced significant changes in who they live with when compared over several generations. This blog will examine some of those differences.
In 1967, almost nine in 10 young adults were living in just two arrangements, either with a parent or with a spouse. While about half of 18- to 24-year-olds still live with a parent today, the other half live in more diverse arrangements. Among young adults between the ages of 25 and 34, the majority no longer live with a spouse but with a partner, alone or with others (see Figure 1). Living with others includes living with relatives other than a parent (such as a child) or nonrelatives.."Singles mingles and wedding

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Lyme Disease is Spreading, and It's People's Fault

"Every year, somewhere between 30,000 and 300,000  people in the United States contract Lyme disease from the prick of a tiny bloodsucking bug. In Europe, the World Health Organization estimates that each year 85,000 people contract the disease. And in both places the number of cases each year has grown steadily over the last few decades, Gwynn Guilford reports for Quartz. And that increase is largely due to human activity. 
Guildford argues that there are two main reasons Lymes disease is becoming more common: a growing population of mammals for ticks (carriers of the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria that causes Lyme disease) to bite, and climate change. Both compounding factors have aided the spread of tick carriers — the blacklegged deer tick (Ixodes scapularis) in the U.S. and the castor bean tick (I. ricinus) in Europe..."
Lyme disease

Heroin Use in the United States Increased 150 Percent Between 2007 and 2013

"Heroin abuse has become a huge problem in the United States, Arielle Duhaime-Ross writes for The Verge. According to a recent study, more people than ever are using the illegal drug, and thus, more are dying from overdoses and catching needle-sharing infections like HIV and Hepatitis.  
Based on U.S. Centers for Disease Control report released July 7, the statistics on heroin use are pretty grim. Over the last decade, use of the drug has increased by 62.5 percent. And that increase is even more marked in recent years — between 2007 and 2013, the number of people using heroin increased 150 percent. From 2000 to 2013, deaths involving heroin poisoning have quadrupled and deaths tripled between 2010 and 2013 alone..."
Heroin abuse

President Obama Announces 46 Commutations in Video Address: "America Is a Nation of Second Chances"

"As a former Assistant U.S. Attorney and criminal defense attorney, I'm well acquainted with how federal sentencing practices can, in too many instances, lead nonviolent drug offenders to spend decades, if not life, in prison. Now, don't get me wrong, many people are justly punished for causing harm and perpetuating violence in our communities. But, in some cases, the punishment required by law far exceeded the offense.
These unduly harsh sentences are one of the reasons the President is committed to using all the tools at his disposal to remedy unfairness in our criminal justice system. Today, he is continuing this effort by granting clemency to 46 men and women, nearly all of whom would have already served their time and returned to society if they were convicted of the exact same crime today..".
Presidential 46 commutations

Families and Living Arrangements: 2014

"For nearly half a century, the Census Bureau has been collecting data on America’s living arrangements. Young adults age 18 to 34 have experienced significant changes in who they live with when compared over several generations. This blog will examine some of those differences.
In 1967, almost nine in 10 young adults were living in just two arrangements, either with a parent or with a spouse. While about half of 18- to 24-year-olds still live with a parent today, the other half live in more diverse arrangements. Among young adults between the ages of 25 and 34, the majority no longer live with a spouse but with a partner, alone or with others (see Figure 1). Living with others includes living with relatives other than a parent (such as a child) or nonrelatives.."
Family and Living Arrangements

Monday, July 13, 2015

New Resource Provides A Key to Unlock Tips on Healthy Aging

"Just in time for the 2015 White House conference on Aging, the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and :Promotion and National Institute on Again, part of the National Institute on Aging, are co-publishing a new resource, "Choosing Healthy Meals as You Get Older: 10 Healthy Eating tip for People Age 65+ to provide practical advice about enjoying healthy meals no matter what your age. Our bodies change through our 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyong and making healhy food choices is a smart thing to do at any age.!"...

Healthy aging

Reducing Sodium, Boosting Health for our Nation’s Schoolchildren

"Reducing sodium in school meals is an important part of a broader effort to scale back sodium intake for all Americans. To that end, our nation's school nutrition professionals are actively working  to lower the sodium content in our children's meals during the school day. Many schools have already achieved USDA's sodium targets, thanks to student feedback on menu planning, changes in recipes and products,, and sharing best practices with their colleagues.

The benefits of reducing sodium are significant and supported by science, which indicates overcomption can lead to heart disease and other chronic conditions. Through the What's Shaking? sodium reduction initiative, USDA has teamed with our partners across the country to make a healthful difference for our nation's children and for their futures..."
Sodium and Children

USDA Support for Older Americans

"USDA is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of older adults, ensuring that all older Americans have access to healthy food, and that older adults in rural America have access to housing. Low-income older Americans continue to be an underserved and vulnerable population, due in part to administrative complexities associated with participating in federal assistance programs. USDA is working with state and federal partners to reduce participation barriers and increase access for seniors.
Nutrition Assistance: Seniors represent a particularly vulnerable demographic to food insecurity, with unique health, social, and nutrition challenges that can include decreased mobility, limited shopping and cooking ability, and health challenges related to food insecurity. USDA works to positively impact the nutritional and health outcomes of these low-income seniors through seven nutrition assistance programs that are available support the health and nutrition of older Americans. Three of USDA's nutrition assistance programs are exclusively for seniors; the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, and the Nutrition Services Incentive Program which is run in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living..."

Older Americans

Why So Few Scientists Are Studying the Causes of Gun Violence

"Every time there is a mass shooting, the debate on gun control and gun rights sparks again in the United States. Numbers show that there are more guns out there than ever before, though fewer people actually own them. At the center of the debate is the question whether having a gun makes people safer or not. Normally, in order to answer questions about safety, people might turn to science, where researchers could study cases of gun violence and gun ownership to determine whether they make a person safer. It's not an easy question to answer, but due to legal restrictions, most scientists never even get to try.
For nearly 20 years, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been subject to what some call a ban on funding to study gun violence. Originally including in the 1996 appropriations bill as a rider proposed by Arkansas Representative Jay Dickey, the amendment doesn’t explicitly ban gun research. Instead it says that "none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control," reports Christine Jamieson for the American Psychological Association’s Psychological Science Agenda.."
Gun control

Adults Meeting Fruit and Vegetable Intake Recommendations — United States, 2013

"Eating more fruits and vegetables adds nutrients to diets, reduces the risk for heart disease, stroke, and some cancers, and helps manage body weight when consumed in place of more energy-dense foods (1). Adults who engage in <30 1.5="" 2="" activity="" and="" class="Apple-converted-space" consume="" cup="" cups="" daily="" equivalents="" fruit="" minutes="" moderate="" of="" physical="" should="" span="" vegetables=""> 
daily.* However, during 2007–2010, half of the total U.S. population consumed <1 76="" 87="" and="" cup="" cups="" daily="" did="" fruit="" intake="" meet="" not="" of="" recommendations="" span="" vegetable="" vegetables="">2). Although national estimates indicate low fruit and vegetable consumption, substantial variation by state has been observed (3). Fruit and vegetable intake information from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is the sole source of dietary surveillance information for most states, but frequency of intake captured by BRFSS is not directly comparable to federal intake recommendations, which are expressed in cup equivalents. CDC analyzed median daily frequency of fruit and vegetable intake based on 2013 BRFSS data for the 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC) and applied newly developed prediction equations to BRFSS to calculate the percentage of each state's population meeting fruit and vegetable intake recommendations. Overall, 13.1% of respondents met fruit intake recommendations, ranging from 7.5% in Tennessee to 17.7% in California, and 8.9% met vegetable recommendations, ranging from 5.5% in Mississippi to 13.0% in California. Substantial new efforts are needed to build consumer demand for fruits and vegetables through competitive pricing, placement, and promotion in child care, schools, grocery stores, communities, and worksites..."Fruits and Vegetables 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Investigating Human Rights Reaching Out to Diaspora Communities in U.S. for War Crimes Tips

"Five years ago, nearly a dozen former soldiers who served during the Bosnian civil war in the early ‘90s before settling in Arizona were sentenced for lying on their applications for refugee status when they came to the U.S. Last year, a Bosnian-born Minnesota man was arrested on fraud charges for not disclosing crimes—including murder, kidnapping, and robbery—he allegedly committed during his military service in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In January, a Bosnian-born Vermont man was found guilty of lying to get into the U.S. and obtain his naturalized citizenship.
These cases illustrate efforts across multiple agencies and international borders to hold accountable any individuals who committed war crimes or atrocities overseas before entering and settling in the U.S. And Bosnian war criminals represent just a sampling of the subjects being sought. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is pursuing more than 1,900 leads and cases on individuals from about 96 countries. The FBI, which works alongside HSI and special prosecutors at the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center in Northern Virginia, has pending investigations in nearly a third of our 56 field offices..."
Human rights

Family Options Study Short-Term Impacts of Housing and Services Interventions for Homeless Families

"Family homelessness has stubbornly persisted despite more than three decades of federal investment. The 2010 release of Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan To Prevent and End Homelessness established an ambitious goal to end homelessness among children, families, and youth by 2020. Until now, HUD had little empirical evidence comparing outcomes across interventions to guide policy and program decisions toward this goal.

The Family Options Study, launched by HUD in 2008 (and still under way), is a rigorously designed experimental study intended to provide the strongest evidence possible about the effectiveness and relative costs of four main interventions available to homeless families—permanent housing subsidy, project-based transitional housing, community-based rapid re-housing, or usual care. More than 2,200 homeless families, including more than 5,000 children in 12 communities, were randomly assigned to one of four interventions. The families are being tracked for a minimum of 3 years and were extensively interviewed at baseline, 18 months after random assignment, and again 36 months after random assignment to assess outcomes related to housing stability, family preservation, adult well-being, child well-being, and self-sufficiency..."
Housing and homelessness

Friday, July 10, 2015

Local Police Departments, 2013: Equipment and Technology

"The overall percentage of the more than 12,000 local police departments in the United States authorizing the use of conducted energy weapons (CEWs) increased from 7% in 2000 to 81% in 2013 (figure 1). CEWs include Tasers and stun guns. Large increases were observed in all population categories. About 9 in 10 departments also authorized their officers to use pepper spray and batons in 2013..."
Police & tasers

2015 List of Distressed or Underserved Nonmetropolitan Middle-Income Geographies

"The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation today announced the availability of the 2015 list of distressed or underserved nonmetropolitan middle-income geographies, where revitalization or stabilization activities will receive Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) consideration as community development.

Distressed nonmetropolitan middle-income geographies and underserved nonmetropolitan middle-income geographies are designated by the agencies in accordance with their CRA regulations.  The criteria for designating these areas are available on the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) website (http://www.ffiec.gov/cra).  The designations continue to reflect local economic conditions, including unemployment, poverty, and population changes..."

Distressed Metropolitan areas

Systemically Important or “Too Big to Fail” Financial Institutions

"Although “too big to fail” (TBTF) has been a longstanding policy issue, it was highlighted by the near-collapse of several large financial firms in 2008. Financial firms are said to be TBTF when policy makers judge that their failure would cause unacceptable disruptions to the overall financial system, and they can be TBTF because of their size or interconnectedness. In addition to fairness issues, economic theory suggests that expectations that a firm will not be allowed to fail create moral hazard—if the creditors and counterparties of a TBTF firm believe that the government will protect them from losses, they have less incentive to monitor the firm’s riskiness because they are shielded from the negative consequences of those risks. If so, they could have a funding advantage compared with other banks, which some call an implicit subsidy..."
Financial institutions

Testimony. Understanding the Long-Term Budget Outlook

"The long-term outlook for the federal budget has changed little since last year, according to CBO’s projections. If current laws remained generally unchanged in the future, federal debt held by the public would decline slightly relative to the economy’s annual output, or gross domestic product (GDP), over the next few years, CBO projects. After that, however, growing budget deficits— caused mainly by the aging of the population and rising health care costs—would push debt back to, and then above, its current high level. The deficit would grow from less than 3 percent of GDP this year to more than 6 percent in 2040. At that point, 25 years from now, federal debt held by the public would exceed 100 percent of GDP. (Federal debt is now equivalent to about 74 percent of GDP, a higher percentage than at any point in U.S. history except a seven-year period around World War II.).."
Federal budget

Heroin Epidemic

"Most demographic groups are increasingly using heroin and other drugs. During the past decade,
heroin use has increased across the United States among men and women, most age groups, and all income levels, with some of the greatest increases occurring in demographic groups that have had historically lower rates of heroin use, according to a new Vital Signs report.
  • A wider variety of people are using heroin. Rates remained highest among males, 18–25 year olds, people with annual incomes less than $20,000, people living in urban areas, and people with no health insurance or those enrolled in Medicaid. However, rates increased significantly across almost all study groups. They doubled among women and more than doubled among non-Hispanic whites.
  • It is common for people who use heroin to use other drugs. Nearly all (96 percent) people who reported heroin use also reported using at least one other drug in the past year. More than half (61 percent) used at least three other drugs. Prescription opioid painkiller abuse or dependences was the strongest risk factor for heroin abuse or dependence; 45% of people who used heroin also abused or were dependent on prescription opioid painkillers in the past year.
  • As heroin abuse or dependence increased, so have heroin-related overdose deaths. From 2002 through 2013, the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled..."
    Heroin

Information about OPM Cybersecurity Incidents

"OPM recently discovered two separate but related cyber-security incidents that have impacted the data of Federal government employees, contractors, and others:
  1. In April 2015, OPM discovered that the personnel data of 4.2 million current and former Federal government employees had been stolen. This means information such as full name, birth date, home address and Social Security Numbers were affected. This number has not changed since it was announced by OPM in early June and you should have already received a notification if you were impacted.
  2. While investigating this incident, in early June 2015, OPM discovered that additional information had been compromised: including background investigation records of current, former, and prospective Federal employees and contractors. OPM and the interagency incident response team have concluded with high confidence that sensitive information, including the Social Security Numbers (SSNs) of 21.5 million individuals, was stolen from the background investigation databases. This includes 19.7 million individuals that applied for a background investigation, and 1.8 million non-applicants, primarily spouses or co-habitants of applicants. Some records also include findings from interviews conducted by background investigators and approximately 1.1 million include fingerprints. Usernames and passwords that background investigation applicants used to fill out their background investigation forms were also stolen. Notifications for this incident have not yet begun.While background investigation records do contain some information regarding mental health and financial history provided by applicants and people contacted during the background investigation, there is no evidence that health, financial, payroll and retirement records of Federal personnel or those who have applied for a Federal job were impacted by this incident (for example, annuity rolls, retirement records, USA JOBS, Employee Express).."
    Cybersecurity

Tune in on July 13 to Join a National Conversation on Aging in America

"2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security. On July 13, President Obama will host the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. It will be an opportunity to recognize the importance of these landmark programs, while looking ahead to address the issues that will improve the quality of life for older Americans for the next decade..." 
2015 Whitehouse Conference on Aging

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

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

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

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

Monday, July 6, 2015

Show Us When You Are #GrillingLikeaPRO

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

This summer, the USDA food Safety and Inspection Service is reminding  Americans everywhere that "Grilling Like a PRO" is the safest and easiest way to girll. You can't see harmful bacteria on your burgers, chicken, and steak - using a food thermometer is the only way to know that your food is safe to eat. The PRO method is an easy way to protect you and your family from foodborne illness..."
https://farm1.staticflickr.com/420/19142512418_d812281591.jpg

Grilling

EPA Finalizes Rule to Reduce Climate-Damaging HFCs

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

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

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

HFCs climate reduction

History of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

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

DHS Blue Campaign Expands Public Awareness Effort to Fight Human Trafficking

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

Tips for Using Public Wi-Fi Networks

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


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

New Web Application Helps Families Find Summer Meals in Their Communities

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

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

Summer meals

This Day in History: National Organization for Women was Founded

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

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

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

NOW

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

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

Appointment and Confirmation of Executive Branch Leadership: An Overview

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

Start with Security: a Guide for Business

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

Member Guide for the 114th Congress


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