Sunday, May 29, 2016

Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2015

"Overall, individuals and their families continue to express mild improvements in their general well-being relative to that seen in 2013 and 2014. However, a number of adults still indicate that they are experiencing financial challenges, and optimism about the future tempered in 2015.

• Sixty-nine percent of adults report that they are either “living comfortably” or “doing okay,” compared to 65 percent in 2014 and 62 percent in 2013. However, 31 percent, or approximately 76 million adults, are either “struggling to get by” or are “just getting by.”

Individuals are 9 percentage points more likely to say that their financial well-being improved during the prior year than to say that their financial wellbeing declined..."

The Condition of Eduction: 2016

"Congress has required that the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) produce an annual report to policymakers about the progress of education in the United States. The Condition of Education 2016 presents 43 key indicators on important topics and trends in U.S. education. These indicators focus on population characteristics, such as educational attainment and economic outcomes; participation in education at all levels; and several contextual aspects of education, including international comparisons, at both the elementary and secondary education level and the postsecondary education level. The three Spotlight indicators for the 2016 report provide a more in-depth look at some of the data. Supplemental indicators, which help to provide a fuller picture of the state of American education, are available online.

The Condition includes an At a Glance section, which allows readers to quickly make comparisons within and across indicators, and a Highlights section, which captures a key finding or set of findings from each indicator. The report contains a Reader’s Guide, Glossary, and a Guide to Data Sources that provide additional information to help place the indicators in context. In addition, each indicator references the data tables that were used to produce the indicator, most of which are in the Digest of Education Statistics..."

Friday, May 27, 2016

A Long-Lost Manuscript Contains a Searing Eyewitness Account of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921

"The ten-page manuscript is typewritten, on yellowed legal paper, and folded in thirds. But the words, an eyewitness account of the May 31, 1921, racial massacre that destroyed what was known as Tulsa, Oklahoma’s “Black Wall Street,” are searing.
“I could see planes circling in mid-air. They grew in number and hummed, darted and dipped low. I could hear something like hail falling upon the top of my office building. Down East Archer, I saw the old Mid-Way hotel on fire, burning from its top, and then another and another and another building began to burn from their top,” wrote Buck Colbert Franklin (1879-1960). 
The Oklahoma lawyer, father of famed African-American historian John Hope Franklin (1915-2009), was describing the attack by hundreds of whites on the thriving black neighborhood known as Greenwood in the booming oil town. “Lurid flames roared and belched and licked their forked tongues into the air. Smoke ascended the sky in thick, black volumes and amid it all, the planes—now a dozen or more in number—still hummed and darted here and there with the agility of natural birds of the air.”..."
Tulsa race riot

What Explains the Recent Rise in Rural Child Poverty?

"During the 1950s and 1960s, the adage “a rising tide lifts all boats” broadly applied to the U.S. economy. As average income grew, the share of the population living in poverty fell rapidly. In the 1970s and 1980s, however, this relationship changed: average income continued to rise, but poverty increased. This means that incomes actually fell for many families in the lower portion of the income distribution. In other words, income inequality increased, and this translated into higher poverty despite a growing economy.
Recent work by USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) shows that this dynamic persists, and helps explain trends in poverty among children in rural areas. According to official estimates, the share of rural children living in poverty grew between 2003 and 2007 even as the national economy expanded. Between 2007 and 2010, this share continued to increase, as might be expected given the profound economic recession of 2007-09. But the rural child poverty rate continued to rise through 2012, peaking at 26.7 percent, its highest level since at least 1968 — despite the resumption of economic growth at the national level. The rate finally began to decline between 2012 and 2014, but the 2014 level was well above that of 2003..."
Rural child poverty

EEOC Issues Final Rules on Employer Wellness Programs

"The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today issued final rules that describe how Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) apply to wellness programs offered by employers that request health information from employees and their spouses. The two rules provide guidance to both employers and employees about how workplace wellness programs can comply with the ADA and GINA consistent with provisions governing wellness programs in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, as amended by the Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act)..."
Employer wellness program

Salmonella and Eggs

"Eggs are one of nature's most nutritious and economical foods, but you must take special care when handling and preparing fresh eggs and egg products to avoid foodborne illness, sometimes called "food poisoning."
The inside of eggs that appear normal can contain a germ called Salmonellathat can make you sick, especially if eggs are eaten raw or lightly cooked. But eggs are safe when cooked and handled properly..."

New Email Alerts and RSS Feeds on

"Last year’s most viewed new post on In Custodia Legis was Legislation Email Alerts on  The email alerts are an excellent addition to the system that allow you to track a specific piece of legislation, what a Member of Congress is sponsoring and cosponsoring, and when the next issue of the Congressional Record is available.
Building on those email alerts, there is now an additional set of email alerts and the first RSS feeds that you can subscribe to from"

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Staying Healthy with Epilepsy

"If you have epilepsy, you are also more likely to have other health issues. Reduce your risk of other health problems by getting recommended screenings and services, eating a healthy diet, exercising safely, and managing your epilepsy well.
Epilepsy affects about 2.4 million adults in the United States. Research from CDC shows that adults with epilepsy often have other health conditions that also need to be managed.
Some of the health conditions that are more common in adults with epilepsy include high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, obesity, and history of stroke. Asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, migraine, arthritis and other pain are also more common in adults with epilepsy. If you have epilepsy, you must do everything possible to control your seizures, but don't ignore other health issues. Talk to your health care provider about all your health problem..."

Federal Reserve: Legislation in the 114th Congress

"The Federal Reserve (Fed) is the subject of legislation being considered in the 114th Congress. These bills contain wide-ranging provisions that can be grouped into four broad categories:

 Changes to Fed governance. Some proposals would change the Fed’s institutional structure. H.R. 22 (P.L. 114-94) reduced the dividend paid by the Fed to large commercial banks that hold stock in the Fed and permanently capped the Fed’s surplus at $10 billion. H.R. 3189 would permanently eliminate the Fed’s surplus. H.R. 26 (P.L. 114-1) changed and H.R. 3189 would change the qualifications for selecting individuals to the Fed’s board of governors and regional bank boards, respectively. H.R. 3189 and S. 1484/S. 1910 would make the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) responsible for setting the interest rate paid on bank reserves and provide each Fed governor with their own staff. S. 1484/S. 1910 would make the New York Fed President a presidentially appointed position. H.R. 3189 would change the voting privileges of FOMC members. S. 1484/S. 1910, H.R. 3189, and H.R. 2912 would create a congressional commission to recommend reforms..." 
Federal Reserve

Monday, May 23, 2016

After Hurricane Katrina: Where Are They Now?

"As you might know, we released the population estimates for cities and towns last week. However, following Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, the U.S. Census Bureau did not release these estimates for four Mississippi Gulf Coast communities— Bay St. Louis, Long Beach, Pass Christian and Waveland in 2006. The cities sustained severe damage from Katrina, and the impact to their populations and housing stock could not be reliably measured.
In the aftermath of the storm, the Gulf Coast would face many years of rebuilding, and learning how populations were rebounding would be critical for community leaders. For the Census Bureau, producing population estimates for places where many homes had been destroyed and people displaced presented a unique but vital challenge..." 
Hurricane Katrina

Sunday, May 22, 2016

FAA Releases Drone Registration Location Data

"The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today posted a large database showing the city, state and zip code of each registered drone owner. Release of the database responds to a number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests submitted since the new unmanned aircraft registration system began operating on December 21, 2015.
The FAA is not posting the names and street addresses of registered owners because the data is exempt from disclosure under a FOIA exemption that protects information in agency files from a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy..."


Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels

"The FDA today finalized the new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods to reflect new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. The new label will make it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices..."
Food label

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Drinking Water Health Advisories for PFOA and PFOS

"EPA has established health advisories for PFOA and PFOS based on the agency’s assessment of the latest peer-reviewed science to provide drinking water system operators, and state, tribal and local officials who have the primary responsibility for overseeing these systems, with information on the health risks of these chemicals, so they can take the appropriate actions to protect their residents. EPA is committed to supporting states and public water systems as they determine the appropriate steps to reduce exposure to PFOA and PFOS in drinking water. As science on health effects of these chemicals evolves, EPA will continue to evaluate new evidence.
To provide Americans, including the most sensitive populations, with a margin of protection from a lifetime of exposure to PFOA and PFOS from drinking water, EPA has established the health advisory levels at 70 parts per trillion..."
Drinking water

A Look at the Nearly 1 Million Who Ride Their Bikes to Work in the U.S.

"The proportion of workers who commute by bicycle has remained small, but relatively steady over the last few decades. The number of  bike commuters, which has grown to nearly 1 million, has increased at roughly the same rate as the labor force, which has not been the case for some modes of commuting such as transit and walking.

The number of men who bicycle to work still exceeds that of women, but the gender gap is narrowing. Women workers made up 28 percent of bike commuters in 2014, up from about 23 percent in 2006. Men made up about 77 percent of bicycle commuters in 2006, compared with 72 percent in 2014..." 
Bikes to work

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Electronic Cigarettes a Safety Issue on Aircraft

"DOT is determined to keep America’s airlines the safest in the world.  It is with that thought in mind that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, issued a final rule on May 13, 2016, prohibiting the carriage of battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices (e.g. e-cigarettes, e-cigs, e-cigars, e-pipes, personal vaporizers, electronic nicotine delivery systems) in checked baggage.  This includes prohibiting the charging of such devices and batteries aboard aircraft...: 
Electronic cigarettes

The Red Planet and Summer Triangle Will Soon Shine Bright

"Over the next few weeks, stargazers are going to have a chance for some great sights as summer skies creep closer and closer. From now through June, eagle-eyed astronomers will be able to pick out Mars and Jupiter as they sparkle in the night sky, while the star pattern known as the “summer triangle” makes its first appearance of the year.
On the heels of Mercury’s transit across the sun last week comes the opposition of Mars this weekend. Though it sounds like the title for a cheesy sci-fi flick, the exciting event only happens once every two years and 50 days when the red planet swings its closest to Earth.
Because Mars orbits farther from the sun than Earth does, one year on its surface is about equal to two Earth years. That means that every two years, the Earth swings between the sun and Mars, causing the two celestial objects to appear opposite to each other in the night sky—hence the name, “opposition of Mars,”Deborah Byrd writes for"

Walking and Pets

"Walking keeps people and pets healthy.
Photo courtesy of Rescue 2 Restore

Brad's Story

Brad, a 6-foot-6-inch former athlete, had a wake-up call in his mid-30s. His doctor said he was at risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke, because of his weight and lack of exercise.
Brad's grandfather died of a heart attack. His father had quadruple bypass heart surgery at age 50. And now Brad was showing signs of going down the same road—for example, his doctor had told him he had a low level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. You want to have high levels of HDL, which is known as the "good" cholesterol because it helps remove cholesterol from your arteries. The fast food, beer, and stress from work and family duties were catching up with him..."

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Libya: Transition and U.S. Policy

"Libya’s political transition has been disrupted by armed non-state groups and threatened by the indecision and infighting of interim leaders. After an armed uprising ended the 40-plus year rule of Muammar al Qadhafi in late 2011, interim authorities proved unable to form a stable government, address pressing security issues, reshape the country’s public finances, or create a viable framework for post-conflict justice and reconciliation.

Elections for legislative bodies and a constitutional drafting assembly were held and transparently administered in 2012 and 2014, but were marred by declining rates of participation, threats to candidates and voters, and zero-sum political competition. Insecurity remained prevalent in Libya following the 2011 conflict and deepened in 2014, driven by overlapping ideological, personal, financial, and transnational rivalries. Resulting conflicts involving Libyans in different parts of the country drove the political transition off course. At present, armed militia groups and locally organized political leaders remain the most powerful arbiters of public affairs. Criminals and violent Islamist extremists have exploited these conditions, and the latter have strengthened their military capabilities and advanced their agendas inside Libya and beyond its borders.."

Health, United States: 2015, with special features on Racial and Ethnic Dispairities

"Health, United States, 2015 is the 39th report on the health status of the nation and is submitted by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to the President and the Congress of the United States in compliance with Section 308 of the Public Health Service Act. This report was compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The Health, United States series presents an annual overview of national trends in health statistics.

The report contains a Chartbook that assesses the nation's health by presenting trends and current information on selected measures of morbidity, mortality, health care utilization and access, health risk factors, prevention, health insurance, and personal health care expenditures. This year's Chartbook includes a Special Feature on racial and ethnic health disparities.."
Health, United States

President Obama: I've Got News For You on Overtime

"President Obama wrote this message to petition signers to announce that the Department of Labor will be finalizing a rule that expands overtime pay to millions of American workers.
I wanted you to be the first to know about some important news on an issue I know you care deeply about: making sure you're paid fairly.
Tomorrow, we're strengthening our overtime pay rules to make sure millions of Americans' hard work is rewarded. If you work more than 40 hours a week, you should get paid for it or get extra time off to spend with your family and loved ones. It's one of most important steps we're taking to help grow middle-class wages and put $12 billion more dollars in the pockets of hardworking Americans over the next 10 years..."
Overtime rule

Plessy v. Ferguson

"Issued on May 18, 1896, the ruling in this Supreme Court case upheld a Louisiana state law that allowed for "equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races." It was not until the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas and congressional civil rights acts of the 1950s and 1960s that systematic segregation under state law was ended.." 
Plessy v Ferguson

Monday, May 16, 2016

FBI Releases Preliminary Numbers on Officers Killed in 2015

"On May 13, 2016, Director James Comey—joining U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, other officials, and families and friends of fallen law enforcement officers—participated in the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial’s annual candlelight vigil held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to honor the lives of officers whose names were recently added to the memorial wall. The vigil is one of many events held in honor of National Police Week, which officially began yesterday, May 15.
And today, the FBI released preliminary statistics on the number of law enforcement officers killed during 2015: Forty-one officers were feloniously killed (down from 51 in 2014), and an additional 45 officers were killed in line-of-duty accidents, the same number accidentally killed in 2014. Of the 41 felonious deaths, firearms were used in 38 incidents, and 30 of the 41 killed officers were wearing body armor at the time of the incident. Final statistics and complete details will be available in the Uniform Crime Reporting Program’s publication, Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2015, which will be released this fall..."
Officers killed

EEOC Issues Final Rules on Employer Wellness Programs

"The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today issued final rules that describe how Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) apply to wellness programs offered by employers that request health information from employees and their spouses. The two rules provide guidance to both employers and employees about how workplace wellness programs can comply with the ADA and GINA consistent with provisions governing wellness programs in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, as amended by the Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act).
The rules permit wellness programs to operate consistent with their stated purpose of improving employee health, while including protections for employees against discrimination.  The rules are available in the Federal Register at and EEOC also published question-and-answer documents on both rules today, available at and, and two documents for small businesses and"

 Wellness programs

Flood Safety Tips

"Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than any other hazard related to thunderstorms. The most common flood deaths occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. Fortunately, you can take steps to protect yourself, your family, and your home.

During a Flood Watch or Warning

  • Gather emergency supplies.
  • Listen to your local radio or television station for updates.
  • Have immunization records handy (or know the year of your last tetanus shot).
    • Store immunization records in a waterproof container.
  • Fill bathtubs, sinks, gallon jars, and plastic soda bottles so that you will have a supply of clean water.
    • Sanitize sinks/tubs first by cleaning them using bleach. Then rinse and fill with clean water.
  • Bring in outdoor possessions (lawn furniture, grills, trash cans) or tie them down securely.
  • If evacuation appears necessary: turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve.
  • Leave areas subject to flooding: low spots, canyons, washes, etc.."

Live Animal and Live Bird Markets

"Live animal and live bird markets are places where customers can buy an animal or bird to be slaughtered for food to take home. They are found in many cities and communities around the United States, serving customers with diverse ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds.

Salmonella and Raw Meat and Poultry

Live animals, such as cattle, sheep, goats, and swine, and live poultry, such as chickens, ducks, and geese, can carry Salmonella and other germs on the inside and outside of their bodies, even when they appear healthy and clean. Salmonella germs are shed in animal feces (poop) and can contaminate their bodies, including fur, skin, and feathers. These germs can get on raw meat or raw poultry from these animals during slaughter and processing..."
Live animal markets

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Search Is On for the Site of the Worst Indian Massacre in U.S. History

"In the frigid dawn of January 29, 1863, Sagwitch, a leader among the Shoshone of Bia Ogoi, or Big River, in what is now Idaho, stepped outside his lodge and saw a curious band of fog moving down the bluff toward him across a half-frozen river. The mist was no fog, though. It was steam rising in the subzero air from hundreds of U.S. Army foot soldiers, cavalry and their horses. The Army was coming for his people.
Over the next four hours, the 200 soldiers under Colonel Patrick Connor’s command killed 250 or more Shoshone, including at least 90 women, children and infants. The Shoshone were shot, stabbed and battered to death. Some were driven into the icy river to drown or freeze. The Shoshone men, and some women, meanwhile, managed to kill or mortally wound 24 soldiers by gunfire.
Historians call the Bear River Massacre of 1863 the deadliest reported attack on Native Americans by the U.S. military—worse than Sand Creek in 1864, the Marias in 1870 and Wounded Knee in 1890..."
Shoshone massacre

Underwater Finds Reveal Humans’ Long Presence in North America

"A handful of prehistoric stone tools and the remains of an extinct animal found in a Florida river reveal a glimpse of an ancient scene: About 14,550 years ago, hunter-gatherers likely butchered or scavenged a mastodon near a small pond. The age of these objects suggests that humans reached the southeastern United States as much as 1,500 years earlier than scientists had thought.
The finds also add to evidence from other sites of an early human presence in the Americas—evidence that has gradually been overturning long-held beliefs about when humans first reached the Americas and how they got there..."
Early American & Mastodon

FTC Issues Warning Letters Regarding Agency’s Eyeglass Rule

"Federal Trade Commission staff has sent 38 letters to eyeglass prescribers warning them of potential violations of the agency’s Ophthalmic Practice Rules, known as the Eyeglass Rule, which ensures consumers the right to comparison shop for prescription eyeglasses.
The Rule requires prescribers to provide patients with a copy of their eyeglass prescription immediately after an eye exam, even if the patient does not request it. Under the Rule, prescribers cannot require that patients buy eyeglasses as a condition of providing them with a copy of their prescription.
The Rule further states that prescribers cannot provide a notice of liability waiver, require patients to sign a liability waiver, or require patients to pay an additional fee in exchange for their prescription. Prescribers also cannot condition performance of an eye exam on the patient’s agreement to buy eyeglasses, contact lenses, or other ophthalmic goods from them..."
Eyeglass rule

FBI Reaching Out About Female Genital Mutilation

"More than 500,000 women and girls across the country—most of them living in metropolitan areas—are at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation, a procedure that has long been practiced in many African and Middle Eastern countries as a cultural custom but has been illegal in the U.S. since 1996.
The FBI is proactively investigating tips and leads on this illegal practice. Investigators are hoping victims and community members who are opposed to it will come forward and report cases..."
Female genital mutilation

Child Abuse and Neglect Technical Package

"Learn about CDC’s new technical package for use by states and communities to help prevent child abuse.
Child abuse and neglect affect children’s health now and later, and costs to our country are significant. Safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for all children and families can prevent child abuse and neglect and can help all children reach their full potential. CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention (DVP) created a technical package for states and communities to use in applying the best available evidence in preventing child abuse and neglect. Learn more about CDC’s technical package to prevent child abuse and neglect...".

Child Abuse

Wireless Substitution: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, July–December 2015

"Preliminary results from the July– December 2015 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) indicate that the number of American homes with only wireless telephones continues to grow. Nearly one half of American homes (48.3%) had only wireless telephones (also known as cellular telephones, cell phones, or mobile phones) during the second half of 2015—an increase of 2.9 percentage points since the second half of 2014. More than two-thirds of all adults aged 25-34 and of adults renting their homes were living in wireless-only households. This report presents the most up-to-date estimates available from the federal government concerning the size and characteristics of this population..."
Wireless phones

National Wetland Condition Assessment

"Wetlands are a vital component of our nation’s waters, providing a wide array of benefits that contribute to the overall health and integrity of aquatic ecosystems and people’s well-being. Though we are aware of the important benefits wetlands provide, we know very little about their actual ecological health. The National Wetland Condition Assessment (NWCA) is a statistical survey that begins to address some of the gaps in our understanding of wetland health by providing information on the ecological condition of the nation’s wetlands and stressors most commonly associated with poor condition..."

Uninsured Rate for Working-Age Adults Decreases in Majority of Counties

"The estimated uninsured rate for working-age adults (age 18-64) decreased in 72.1 percent of the nation’s counties (or 2,262 counties) from 2013 to 2014, according to new statisticsreleased today from the U.S. Census Bureau.
For the total population under age 65, the estimated uninsured rate decreased in 74.1 percent of counties (or 2,325 counties) between 2013 and 2014. There were no statistically significant changes in 25.9 percent of counties, and only one county experienced an increase in its uninsured rate.
“One way communities use these health insurance statistics is to guide access to screening services for breast and cervical cancer among low-income women.” said Lauren Bowers, a statistician in the Social, Economic and Housing Statistics Division. “For example, our estimates indicate that working-age females had a lower uninsured rate than males in about 40 percent of counties.”
In 2014, a provision of the Affordable Care Act went into effect giving the option for states to expand their Medicaid eligibility to most working-age adults living at or below 138 percent of poverty. In states that expanded Medicaid eligibility, 96 percent of counties had a decrease in uninsured rates for working-age adults. In comparison, among the states that did not expand their Medicaid eligibility, 37 percent of counties had a decrease in uninsured rates for their working-age adult.."


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Understanding How the Share of Business Activity by Size Varies Widely by Industry

"We’ve all heard about the importance of small businesses to the U.S. economy, but have you ever wondered what “small” means? Is it a business with a few employees, or is it based on sales? Is it based on an entire company, or each of its separate locations?
The Small Business Administration (SBA) defines a small business as a “business concernwith less than 500 employees or less than $7.5 million in annual receipts.” While this SBA standard is essential for specific purposes, it is not necessarily the only way to define “small.”
Fortunately, the Census Bureau publishes detailed statistics that allow us to classify business size in a variety of ways and for a variety of purposes. For example,  the Economic Census, County Business Patterns, and the statistics of US Businesses  produce data on establishment and firm size with respect to employment and sales for detailed industries and at the National, State, and local  area levels.  These data sources provide detailed breakouts that allow users to build their own totals using their own size definitions..."
Business activity

The Department of the Interior's Final Rule on Offshore Well Control

"On April 14, 2016, the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) released final regulations concerning blowout preventer systems and well control for oil and gas operations on the U.S. outer continental shelf. The regulations aim to reduce the risk of an offshore oil or gas blowout that could jeopardize human safety and harm the environment.

The regulations draw on findings about the causes of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Building on previous regulatory reforms implemented after the 2010 spill, the well-control rule contains new requirements for the design, manufacture, repair, maintenance, and testing of offshore well-control equipment, particularly blowout preventers (BOPs), the assemblies of specialized valves installed on a well that are designed to close in the event of an uncontrolled release of oil or gas. A BSEE fact sheet summarizes the rule's requirements..."
Offshore wells

Transportation Security: Issues for the 114 th Congress

"The nation’s air, land, and marine transportation systems are designed for accessibility and efficiency, two characteristics that make them highly vulnerable to terrorist attack. While hardening the transportation sector from terrorist attack is difficult, measures can be taken to deter terrorists. The dilemma facing Congress is how best to construct and finance a system of deterrence, protection, and response that effectively reduces the possibility and consequences of another terrorist attack without unduly interfering with travel, commerce, and civil liberties.

Aviation security has been a major focus of transportation security policy since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In the aftermath of these attacks, the 107th Congress moved quickly to pass the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA; P.L. 107-71) creating the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and mandating a federalized workforce of security screeners to inspect airline passengers and their baggage. Recent events, such as the destruction of a Russian passenger jet above the Sinai Peninsula on October 31, 2015, apparently by a bomb aboard the aircraft, have renewed concerns about the adequacy of passenger and cargo screening. Similarly, bombings in Brussels, Belgium, on March 22, 2016, renewed concerns over the security vulnerabilities of airport terminals and mass transit stations..."
Transportation security

HUD launches new Healthy Homes app

 "The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today unveiled a new mobile app to help educate the public about hidden home hazards that can impact the health of their families. 

TheHealthy Homes App is designed to raise awareness about potentially serious health and safety problems in the home and the steps consumers can take to protect themselves.

As consumers increasingly rely upon smartphones and other mobile devices to access information, this Healthy Homes app offers a convenient tool for users to learn about common health and safety risks in the home. The app provides extensive content in clear, simple language so that users can quickly understand the potential hazards throughout a home. The app also helps residents who live in condominiums, single- family detached homes, townhouses, or in apartment buildings.,,"

Healthy homes app

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Day

"May 12 is ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia International Awareness Day. Learn about chronic fatigue syndrome and how to participate.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is characterized by substantial debility, which affects daily activities, and is accompanied by profound fatigue that is not relieved by rest. While varying by person, symptoms include post-exertional malaise, cognitive problems, unrefreshing sleep, and pain...."
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Say hello to our new national mammal

"Today the American bison officially became the national mammal of the United States when President Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act into law. This majestic animal joins the ranks of the Bald Eagle as the official symbol of our country -- and much like the eagle, it’s one of the greatest conservation success stories of all time. 
Explore 15 fun facts about the American bison. Did you know you can tell a bison's mood by its tail?..."
National mammal: Bison

Monday, May 9, 2016

Extending Authorities to All Tobacco Products, Including E-Cigarettes, Cigars, and Hookah

"Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. As part of its goal to improve public health and protect future generations from the risks of tobacco use, the FDA has extended its authority to cover all products that meet the definition of a tobacco product.
Previously, the FDA regulated cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco, but in 2016, the FDA finalized a rule – Deeming Tobacco Products To Be Subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act – which extends the FDA’s authority to include the regulation of electronic nicotine delivery systems (such as e-cigarettes and vape pens), all cigars, hookah (waterpipe) tobacco, pipe tobacco and nicotine gels, among others.
This action is a milestone in consumer protection – going forward, the FDA will be able to:
  • Review new tobacco products not yet on the market;
  • Help prevent misleading claims by tobacco product manufacturers;
  • Evaluate the ingredients of tobacco products and how they are made; and
  • Communicate the potential risks of tobacco product..."

Tobacco products

Hydraulically fractured wells provide two-thirds of U.S. natural gas production

"For decades, hydraulic fracturing had been referred to as an unconventional completion technique, but over the past 10 years it has become the technique by which most natural gas is produced in the United States. Based on the most recent data from states, EIA estimates that natural gas production from hydraulically fractured wells now makes up about two-thirds of total U.S. marketed gas production. This share of production is even greater than the share of crude oil produced using that method, where hydraulic fracturing accounts for about half of current U.S. crude oil production.
Hydraulic fracturing, often in combination with horizontal drilling, involves forcing a liquid (primarily water) under high pressure from a wellbore against a rock formation until it fractures. The fracture lengthens as the high-pressure liquid in the wellbore flows into the formation. This injected liquid contains a proppant, or small, solid particles (usually sand or a manmade granular solid of similar size), that fills the expanding fracture. When the injection is stopped and the pressure is reduced, the formation attempts to settle back into its original configuration, but the proppant keeps the fractures open. This allows hydrocarbons to flow from the rock formation back to the wellbore and then to the surface..."

Fractured wells

FDA Investigates Listeria Outbreak Linked to Frozen Vegetables

"The FDA, CDC and state and local officials are investigating a multi-state outbreak of listeriosis identified in March 2016.
The CDC reports that eight people infected with the outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from three states (California, Maryland and Washington) from September 2013 – March 2016. Ill people ranged in age from 56 to 86, with a median age of 76. Epidemiology and laboratory evidence available at this time indicates that frozen vegetables produced by CRF Frozen Foods of Pasco, Washington, and sold under various brand names are one likely source of illnesses in this outbreak. As discussed further below, CRF Frozen Foods has initiated a recall of certain products.
As part of a routine product sampling program the Ohio Department of Agriculture collected packages of frozen vegetable products from a retail location and isolated Listeria monocytogenes from True Goodness by Meijer brand frozen organic white sweet cut corn and frozen organic petite green peas. Both products were produced by CRF Frozen Foods>>."

ViCAP, Part 2: The Highway Serial Killings Initiative

"More than a decade ago, analysts for the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP)—the only national database of serial crimes—began to see a marked increase in the number of bodies recovered along the side of the road. A majority of the victims were truck-stop prostitutes, and it turned out that many of the suspects were long-haul truckers. (While long-haul trucking is an honorable profession and the overwhelming majority of drivers are not murderers—it does happen, and the pattern is unmistakable.)..."
Highway serial killings

Principles of prevention

"CDC’s Principles of Prevention is a free, online training that teaches the fundamentals of violence prevention.
In 2013, 16,121 people were victims of homicide and 41,149 took their own life. In addition to the tremendous physical and emotional toll, violence has substantial medical, lost productivity, and other costs.
One way CDC is helping the nation prevent violence is a free online training that's available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It's called Principles of Prevention. The training—which offers continuing education credits through CDC—teaches the
  • Key concepts of primary prevention
  • Public health approach
  • Social-ecological model..."


Tips for Getting Your Steps In

"By walking with friends, family, even your co-workers, you can catch up, and enjoy the physical benefits at the same time.
These days you can't help but hear that many Americans suffer from serious health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease from eating poorly or not getting enough physical activity. Most of us know that regular physical activity is one of the most important things we can do to improve our health. Between work, school, running errands, and family commitments, finding ways to fit physical activity into our busy schedules can sometimes feel like a challenge..."
Exercise and Steps

Maternal Depression

"Did you know that as many as 1 in 9 women experience depression before, during, or after pregnancy? Depression is common and treatable. If you think you have depression, seek treatment from your health care provider as soon as possible.
In May, we observe both Mother’s Day and Mental Health Month. Moms and moms-to-be deserve the best— including the very best mental health. This feature focuses on depression among women before, during, and after pregnancy.

What is Depression?

Everyone feels sad sometimes, but these feelings normally pass within a few days. Depression can interfere with daily life and may last for weeks or months at a time..."

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Organic Survey(USDA): 2014

"The 2014 Organic Survey is a Census Special Study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) in conjunction with USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA). This is the third organic production and practices survey NASS has conducted on the national level; the previous data collection efforts were the 2011 Certified Organic Production Survey and the 2008 Organic Production Survey..."

Judge Merrick Garland: His Jurisprudence and Potential Impact on the Supreme Court

"On March 16, 2016, President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court created by the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February. Judge Garland was appointed to the D.C. Circuit by President Clinton in 1997, and is currently its chief judge, an administrative position that rotates among the active judges on the circuit. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Garland served in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where he notably oversaw the prosecution of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing case, as well as other cases. It remains to be seen whether or how the Senate might proceed in considering Judge Garland’s nomination; however, the nomination remains effective until it is withdrawn or this term of Congress ends, whichever occurs first.

This report provides an overview of Judge Garland’s jurisprudence and discusses what the impact on the Court might be if he, or a judge of a similar judicial approach, were to be confirmed to succeed Justice Scalia. In particular, the report focuses upon those areas of law where Justice Scalia can be seen to have influenced the High Court’s approach to certain issues, or served as a fifth and deciding vote on the Court, with a view toward how Judge Garland might approach those same issues if he were to be confirmed..."
Judge Merrick Garland

Arthritis on the Rise

"About 53 million U.S. adults have arthritis. However, the number of men and women with arthritis is growing and expected to reach more than 78 million in 2040, according to a new CDC study.
Learning what to do so you feel your best with arthritis, and being active are recommended for people with arthritis.

Arthritis Increases

CDC estimates that the number of men and women with arthritis will increase almost 49% to more than 78 million in 2040. About half of those with arthritis are working age adults—age 18 to 64 years.
In this just released study, an estimated 34 million adults will be limited in their usual activities because of their arthritis in 2040, an increase of 52%..."