Thursday, September 29, 2016

Healthy Schools, Successful Students

"Schools, health agencies, parents, and communities share a common goal of supporting the link between healthy eating, physical activity, and improved academic achievement of children and adolescents. Academic achievement includes, academic performance (class grades, standardized tests, and graduation rates), education behavior (attendance, dropout rates, and behavioral problems in schools), and students' cognitive skills and attitudes (concentration, memory, and mood). Evidence shows that the health of students is linked to their success in school, so by working together, we can ensure that young people are healthy and ready to learn..."
Healthy schools

Digest of EEOC Law(2016)

"The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the latest edition of its federal sector Digest of Equal Employment Opportunity Law (EEO Digest), which is available online.
This edition (Fiscal Year 2016, Volume 4) features a special article entitled Discrimination on the Basis of Mental Health Conditions Under the ADA and Rehabilitation Act.
"Unlike physical disabilities, which are often recognizable, mental health impairments are often hidden," said Carlton M. Hadden, director of EEOC's Office of Federal Operations (OFO). "Federal agencies should be mindful of the unique needs and obstacles that employees with mental health conditions face in the workplace."
The EEO Digest, a quarterly publication prepared by OFO, features a wide variety of recent Commission decisions and federal court cases of interest. The Digest also includes hyperlinks so that stakeholders can easily access the full decisions which have been summarized..."


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

EEOC Releases New Online Resource Center for Small Businesses

"The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released today a new online resource center designed to help small business owners comply with the laws enforced by EEOC.
The Small Business Resource Center (SBRC), located on EEOC's public website at, provides a user-friendly one-stop source for information on federal employment anti-discrimination laws. The Resource Center was designed for the busy small business owner who needs information both quickly and in a format that is easy to understand. In addition to providing general information on EEOC's laws and ways in which EEOC can assist small businesses, there are also answers to frequently asked questions, guidance in making employment decisions and tips for small businesses on a variety of potential workplace discrimination issues.
EEOC is also launching the first in a series of short videos for small business owners on frequently asked compliance questions. The videos feature EEOC employees from across the country addressing topics, such as responding to an EEOC discrimination charge, and many helpful strategies for small businesses to follow when they start the hiring process..."

Smalll Business resources

Emergency Preparedness Is Not “One Size Fits All”

"Emergency preparedness is not "one size fits all." Each of us is different, and emergency plans should be tailored to meet specific needs. People with disabilities, communities, and public health professionals can work together to be prepared.
Here are some general tips for people with disabilities, communities and emergency managers:
  • Those who take medications should keep an adequate supply on hand, along with copies of their prescriptions.
  • People who need power for medical or other assistive devices should keep extra sets of batteries, and consider a generator for home use if a power outage may jeopardize health or safety.
  • People with dietary needs should have an emergency food supply.
  • Emergency managers can send emergency alerts and warnings in an accessible form for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Prepare for service animals. People with service animals should make sure they have an emergency kit for their service animals. Local shelters are required by law to admit service animals during emergencies..."

Emergency preparedness

Be Ready: Make a Kit

"Making a preparedness kit is one important way you can protect yourself and those around you. Remember that there are many types of emergencies – from those caused by illness to natural disasters – and you need different types of kits for a variety of situations.,,"
Emergency preparedness

Iran Sanctions

"The comprehensive nuclear accord (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA), finalized on July 14, 2015, provides Iran broad relief from U.S., U.N., and multilateral sanctions on Iran’s energy, financial, shipping, automotive, and other sectors. Sanctions were suspended or lifted upon the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) certification on January 16, 2016, that Iran had complied with the stipulated nuclear dismantlement commitments under the agreement (“Implementation Day”). On Implementation Day, Administration waivers of relevant sanctions laws took effect and relevant Executive Orders (E.O.s) were revoked by E.O. 13716.

Remaining in place are those secondary sanctions (sanctions on foreign firms) that have been imposed because of Iran’s support for terrorism, its human rights abuses, its interference in specified countries in the region, and its missile and advanced conventional weapons programs. Most sanctions that apply to U.S. companies, including regulations barring transactions between U.S. and Iranian banks, remain in place. Under U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231 (July 2015, most U.N. sanctions terminated as of Implementation Day, but U.N. restrictions on Iran’s development of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles and its importation or exportation of arms remain in place for several years..."
Iran Sanctions

Monday, September 26, 2016

FBi Crime Statistics

"Today, the FBI released its annual compilation of crimes reported to its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program by law enforcement agencies from around the nation. Crime in the United States, 2015 reveals a 3.9 percent increase in the estimated number of violent crimes and a 2.6 percent decrease in the estimated number of property crimes last year when compared to 2014 data.
According to the report, there were an estimated 1,197,704 violent crimes committed around the nation. While that was an increase from 2014 figures, the 2015 violent crime total was 0.7 percent lower than the 2011 level and 16.5 percent below the 2006 level..."

Crime in the United States

Debating on Television: Then and Now

"A little more than half a century ago, American politics stumbled into a new era. In WBBM-TV studios in Chicago on September 26, 1960, presidential candidates Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy stood before cameras and hot lights for the first-ever televised presidential debate. An extraordinary 60 percent of adults nationwide tuned in. This encounter—the first of four—boosted support for Kennedy, a little-known Massachusetts senator and political scion who would go on to win the White House. Elections in the United States would never be the same again. No single aspect of presidential campaigns attracts as much interest as televised debates, and they have provided some of the most memorable moments in modern political history..."

Presidential debates

The Burden of Rabies

"Rabies is a dangerous virus that is spread through the saliva of animals sick with rabies. Anyone can get it if they handle or get bitten by an animal that has the disease.

Rabies in the U.S.

Rabies continues to be a serious threat to the health of people and animals. Every year, about 40,000 people receive a rabies prevention treatment called post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) because they had contact with potentially rabid animal.
More than 90% of all rabid animals reported to CDC each year occur in wildlife. The animals that get rabies the most are raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats. However, most people in the U.S. get PEP due to close contact with domestic animals such as cats or dogs...."


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Celebrating the National Museum of African American History and Culture

"In this week’s address, President Obama commemorated the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The President recognized the museum for celebrating the many accomplishments of the African American community – and for telling the fuller story of America by facing the uncomfortable truths of our Nation’s history all while embracing the knowledge that America is a constant work in progress.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture not only tells the African American story – it tells the American story. By telling the fuller account of the American story, the President said, the museum will give all of us a chance to reflect and set the course for generations to come..."
Museum of African American History and Culture

Celebrating the National Museum of African American History and Culture

"In this week’s address, President Obama commemorated the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The President recognized the museum for celebrating the many accomplishments of the African American community – and for telling the fuller story of America by facing the uncomfortable truths of our Nation’s history all while embracing the knowledge that America is a constant work in progress.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture not only tells the African American story – it tells the American story. By telling the fuller account of the American story, the President said, the museum will give all of us a chance to reflect and set the course for generations to come..."
Museum of African American History and Culture

Friday, September 23, 2016

Seeing is believing

"Fall is perhaps one of the most beautiful times of the year in North America and every year the U.S. Forest Service celebrates with the launch of our Fall Colors Webpage
The changing myriad of colors on trees from bright reds, brilliant oranges and bold yellows really make for a stunning backdrop to any family photo album. That’s why this year we have created our own road trip photo album with the help of a really cool app called Story Map..."

Fall colors

Wisconsin Court Rejects Employer’s Argument That Wellness Programs Are Insulated from Disability Law

"A federal court has ruled in favor of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in a disability discrimination case involving wellness programs filed against Orion Energy Systems, the federal agency announced today. The court rejected the employer's argument that the insurance safe harbor provision in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) immunizes wellness plans from ADA scrutiny.

In the Orion lawsuit (EEOC v. Orion Energy Systems, Inc., No. 14-CV-1019 (E.D. WI)), EEOC argued that Orion required Wendy Schobert to submit to medical testing as part of a wellness program or pay 100 percent of the premium for the employer-provided health insurance. EEOC contended that this violated the ADA's prohibition against involuntary medical exams. However, Orion contended that its wellness plan was covered by the ADA's so-called "insurance safe harbor," and thereby was excused from ADA compliance except if it operated as a subterfuge. Orion also argued that the plan was lawful under the ADA because it was voluntary.

The district court rejected Orion's safe harbor argument, and held that the plan was subject to ADA review. The court concluded that EEOC's recently issued regulations on the ADA's safe harbor provision were within EEOC's authority, and further held that the safe harbor provision did not apply even without regard to the new regulations. However, the court found that the wellness plan was lawful under the ADA because it concluded that the employee's decision whether to participate was voluntary under that statute..."
Wellness programs

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Nanotechnology: A Policy Primer

"Nanoscale science, engineering, and technology—commonly referred to collectively as “nanotechnology”—is believed by many to offer extraordinary economic and societal benefits. Congress has demonstrated continuing support for nanotechnology and has directed its attention particularly to three topics that may affect the realization of this hoped for potential: federal research and development (R&D) in nanotechnology; U.S. competitiveness in the field; and environmental, health, and safety (EHS) concerns. This report provides an overview of these topics and two others: nanomanufacturing and public attitudes toward nanotechnology..."

Researching Current Federal Legislation and Regulations: A Guide to Resources for Congressional Staff

"This report is designed to introduce congressional staff to selected governmental and nongovernmental sources that are useful in tracking and obtaining information on federal legislation and regulations. It includes governmental sources, such as, the Government Publishing Office’s Federal Digital System (FDsys), and U.S. Senate and House websites. Nongovernmental or commercial sources include resources such as HeinOnline and the Congressional Quarterly (CQ) websites. The report also highlights classes offered by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and the Law Library of Congress..."
Researching federal regulations

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

FDA Regulation of Medical Devices

"Prior to and since the passage of the Medical Device Amendments of 1976, Congress has debated how best to ensure that consumers have access, as quickly as possible, to new and improved medical devices and, at the same time, prevent devices that are not safe and effective from entering or remaining on the market. Medical device regulation is complex, in part, because of the wide variety of items that are categorized as medical devices; examples range from a simple tongue depressor to a life-sustaining heart valve. The regulation of medical devices can affect their cost, quality, and availability in the health care system..."
Medical devices regulation

Flooding: A Checklist for Small and Very Small Meat, Poultry and Egg Inspection Processing Plants

"Rivers rise. The ground is saturated. Levees fail. Floods happen, and they happen beside rivers, along the coasts, in deserts and in city streets. Flooding might be a fact of nature but that does not mean you have to lose your business and possessions to flood waters. 
It is never too early to prepare.  Because September is National Preparedness Month, it is a good time to think about emergency planning.  Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make an Emergency Communication Plan.
That is why the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) developed the “Flooding: A Checklist for Small and Very Small Meat, Poultry and Egg Inspection Processing Plants.”  This brochure has simple and inexpensive steps that you can take right now to protect your business and employees from disaster. 
Every state is at risk from a flood and it is critical that every plant is aware of flood hazards no matter where they are located. It is especially vital if your business is in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam. 
This brochure covers what you can do to prepare for a flood, respond to a flood that has occurred and the steps your business can take to begin the recovery process if the worst happens. 
Every page is filled with steps you can take to prepare your facilities and employees, and the products your plant produces. The flooding brochure is available on the web at"


Adults Need Vaccines, Too

"Vaccines are not just for kids! Regardless of age, we ALL need immunizations to protect against serious, and sometimes deadly, diseases. Protection from vaccines you received as a child can wear off over time, and you may be at risk for new and different diseases.

Find Out Which Vaccines You Need

The specific vaccines you need as an adult are determined by factors such as your age, job, lifestyle, health conditions, locations of travel, and vaccines you've received in the past. Throughout your adult life, vaccines are recommended to get and maintain protection against:

  • Seasonal influenza (flu) (for all adults)
  • Pertussis (whooping cough) (for all adults who have not previously received the Tdap vaccine and for women during each pregnancy)
  • Tetanus and diphtheria (every 10 years following Tdap vaccine)
  • Shingles (for adults 60 years and older)
  • Pneumococcal disease (for adults 65 years and older and adults younger than 65 who have  specific health conditions)..."

Adult vaccines

Monday, September 19, 2016

New American Community Survey Statistics For Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Available For States and Local Areas

"The U.S. Census Bureau today released its most detailed look at America’s people, places and economy with new statistics on income, poverty, health insurance and more than 40 other topics from the American Community Survey.
Many states saw an increase in income and a decrease in poverty rates between 2014 and 2015. During that same period, the percentage of people covered by health insurance increased in all of the largest 25 metropolitan areas. The findings are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey, the nation’s most comprehensive  information source on American households. Today’s release provides statistics on more than 40 social, economic and housing topics for U.S. communities with populations of 65,000 or more.
"The American Community Survey allows us to track incremental changes across our nation on how Americans live and work, year-to-year,” Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said. “It helps people, businesses and governments in all of our states and local communities better understand the needs of their populations, the markets in which they operate and the challenges and opportunities they face.”
Below are some of the local-level income, poverty and health insurance statistics from the American Community Survey that complementthe national-level statistics released earlier this week from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. The Current Population Survey is the leading source for national-level data, and the American Community Survey is the leading source for community and local-level data. For more information on the topics included in the American Community Survey, ranging from educational attainment to computer use to commuting, please visit"

State & local areas income and poverty

Physical Inactivity Among Adults Aged 50 Years and Older — United States, 2014

"Physical activity can help delay, prevent, or manage many of the chronic diseases for which adults aged ≥50 years are at risk (13). These diseases can impact the length and quality of life, as well as the long-term ability to live independently.* All adults aged ≥50 years, with or without chronic disease, gain health benefits by avoiding inactivity (2,3). To examine the prevalence of inactivity by selected demographic characteristics and chronic disease status in mid-life and older adults, CDC analyzed data on adults aged ≥50 years from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Overall, 27.5% of adults aged ≥50 years reported no physical activity outside of work during the past month. Inactivity prevalence significantly increased with increasing age and was 25.4% among adults aged 50–64 years, 26.9% among those aged 65–74 years, and 35.3% among those aged ≥75 years. Inactivity prevalence was significantly higher among women than men, among Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks than among non-Hispanic whites, and among adults who reported ever having one or more of seven selected chronic diseases than among those not reporting one. Inactivity prevalence significantly increased with decreasing levels of education and increasing body mass index. To help adults with and without chronic disease start or maintain an active lifestyle, communities can implement evidence-based strategies, such as creating or enhancing access to places for physical activity, designing communities and streets to encourage physical activity, and offering programs that address specific barriers to physical activity..."
Adult physical activity

Friday, September 16, 2016

Epilepsy in Children

"The term epilepsy is a broad term used for conditions that affect the brain and cause recurring seizures. About 460,000 children have epilepsy in the United States.1-2 Picture a school with 1,000 students—that means at least 6 students would have epilepsy.
A CDC study showed that students aged 6–17 years with epilepsy were more likely to miss 11 or more days of school in the past year compared with students who had health concerns other than epilepsy. Students with epilepsy were found to be more likely to have difficulties in school, use special education services, and have activity limitations such as less participation in sports or clubs.3 CDC researchers also found that a child or adolescent with epilepsy had an additional $9,103.25 per year in associated medical costs than children without the disorder..."
Children and Epilepsy

Thursday, September 15, 2016

FTC Charges Academic Journal Publisher OMICS Group Deceived Researchers

"The Federal Trade Commission has charged the publisher of hundreds of purported online academic journals with deceiving academics and researchers about the nature of its publications and hiding publication fees ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
The FTC’s complaint alleges that OMICS Group, Inc., along with two affiliated companies and their president and director, Srinubabu Gedela, claim that their journals follow rigorous peer-review practices and have editorial boards made up of prominent academics. In reality, many articles are published with little to no peer review and numerous individuals represented to be editors have not agreed to be affiliated with the journals.
According to the FTC’s complaint, OMICS does not tell researchers that they must pay significant publishing fees until after it has accepted an article for publication, and often will not allow researchers to withdraw their articles from submission, thereby making the research ineligible for publication in another journal. Academic ethics standards generally forbid researchers from submitting the same research to more than one journal.."
Academic journal fees

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction

"Corruption in Conflict: Lessons from the U.S. Experience in Afghanistan is the first in a series of lessons learned reports planned to be issued by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). The report examines how the U.S. government—primarily the Departments of Defense, State, Treasury, and Justice, and the U.S. Agency for International Development—understood the risks of corruption in Afghanistan, how the U.S. response to corruption evolved, and the effectiveness of that response. The report identifies lessons to inform U.S. policies and actions at the onset of and throughout a contingency operation and makes recommendations for both legislative and executive branch action..."
Afghanistan reconstruction

Sea-Level Rise and U.S. Coasts: Science and Policy Considerations

"Policymakers are interested in sea-level rise because of the risk to coastal populations and infrastructure and the consequences for coastal species and ecosystems. From 1901 to 2010, global sea levels rose an estimated 187 millimeters (mm; 7.4 inches), averaging a 1.7 mm (0.07 inch) rise annually. Estimates are that the annual rate rose to 3.2 mm (0.13 inches) from 1992 to 2010. Although the extent of future sea-level rise remains uncertain, sea-level rise is anticipated to have a range of effects on U.S. coasts. It is anticipated to contribute to flood and erosion hazards, permanent or temporary land inundation, saltwater intrusion into coastal freshwaters, and changes in coastal terrestrial and estuarine ecosystems..."

Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2015

"The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that real median household income increased by 5.2 percent between 2014 and 2015 while the official poverty rate decreased 1.2 percentage points. At the same time, the percentage of people without health insurance coverage decreased.
Median household income in the United States in 2015 was $56,516, an increase in real terms of 5.2 percent from the 2014 median income of $53,718. This is the first annual increase in median household income since 2007, the year before the most recent recession.
The nation’s official poverty rate in 2015 was 13.5 percent, with 43.1 million people in poverty, 3.5 million fewer than in 2014. The 1.2 percentage point decrease in the poverty rate from 2014 to 2015 represents the largest annual percentage point drop in poverty since 1999.
The percentage of people without health insurance coverage for the entire 2015 calendar year was 9.1 percent, down from 10.4 percent in 2014. The number of people without health insurance declined to 29.0 million from 33.0 million over the period..."
Income and poverty

Monday, September 12, 2016

Education, training, and library occupations in May 2015

"In May 2015, there were about 1.4 million elementary school teachers, excluding special education—the largest occupation among teachers. These teachers had an average annual wage of $57,730. Excluding special and career/technical education, there were 963,000 secondary school teachers and 633,000 middle school teachers. Secondary school teachers earned an average annual wage of $60,440 and middle school teachers earned $58,760..."
Teacher salaries

2014 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics

"Statistical data on immigration have been published annually by the U .S . government since the 1860s . Over the years, the federal agencies responsible for reporting on immigration have changed, as have the content, format, and title of the annual publication . Currently, immigration data are published in the Yearbook of Immigration Statistics by the Office of Immigration Statistics in the Policy Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security.."
Immigration statistics

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Foreign Relations of the United States

"The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity. The series, which is produced by the Department of State's Office of the Historian, began in 1861 and now comprises more than 450 individual volumes. The volumes published over the last two decades increasingly contain declassified records from all the foreign affairs agencies.
Foreign Relations volumes contain documents from Presidential libraries, Departments of State and Defense, National Security Council, Central Intelligence Agency, Agency for International Development, and other foreign affairs agencies as well as the private papers of individuals involved in formulating U.S. foreign policy..."

Foreign relations

2014 Business Dynamics Statistics

"The Business Dynamics Statistics provide annual statistics on establishments, firm startups, and job creation and loss from 1976 to 2014 by firm size, firm age, industrial sector, state and metropolitan statistical area. These statistics provide snapshots of current and historical U.S. entrepreneurial activity, plus geographic and industry detail about where jobs are being created and lost in the U.S. economy. 
Data tables are available by firm characteristics and establishment characteristics, as well as through the application programming interface. The application programming interface provides easier access to data products, allowing developers to customize Census Bureau statistics to create a variety of applications and tools.
Business Dynamics Statistics visualization tools allow users to analyze the data easily with a variety of graphical interfaces..."
Business Dynamics Statistics

Remembrance, Recovery, and Resilience: 9/11 Memorials in NYC Metropolitan Landscapes

"Following 9/11, the Forest Service documented hundreds of community-based living memorials. We recently revisited 35 of them in the New York City metropolitan area. Revisiting sites that sprang up immediately after 9/11 was an opportunity to chart the role of landscapes of resilience in community recovery from disaster. We were particularly struck by those that played a role in ecological as well as emotional recovery.
Many of the memorials retain their focus on 9/11. A few had even broadened their purpose to include healing from disasters that have happened since 9/11, including other international tragedy.  For example, the Sterling Forest Arrow Lake Memorial in Tuxedo, NY grew from earlier efforts in the 1990s, when health professionals began prescribing experiences in Sterling Forest to support patients’ recovery from emotional and physical trauma. Following 9/11, the forest hosted families from the Fire Department of New York whose loved ones died at the World Trade Center. In a subsequent commemorative tree planting event, the families were joined by children from Sierra Leone who had survived violence in their own country..."

9/11 memorials

Grandparents and Grandchildren

"Statistics from the American Community Survey provide information on grandparents living with their grandchildren, including those who have primary care of them. Thesestatistics help federal, state and local program managers understand the needs of this group and design programs for both generations.
2014 American Community Survey data released last year tell us who these grandparents are and how their numbers and profiles have changed since data on grandparent caregivers were collected in Census 2000.
Grandparents and Grandchildren

Friday, September 9, 2016

How the Census Bureau Measures Income and Poverty

"Income, poverty and health insurance statistics for 2015 from the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC) will be released Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. One-year statistics from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS) will be released on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016.
In all likelihood, the national statistics from these two sources will not be identical. Why not, which is correct? Well, it is complicated.
There are several reasons why the statistics from the two surveys differ. One of the most notable ways is that the CPS asks respondents about income in the previous calendar year while the ACS asks respondents about income in a rolling 12-month period throughout the year..."

What Does it Mean to be in Poverty in the U.S., Statistically Speaking?

"You may have heard public officials or the media talk recently about the poverty rate in America. In advance of the U.S. Census Bureau’s release of its annual income and poverty reports next week, we thought it might be worth reviewing how poverty is officially defined and measured in the United States.
The official poverty measure for the United States was established in 1969 and is calculated based on data collected in the Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is a household survey sponsored jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and has data dating back to 1965 on key socio-economic topics about the population.
Two factors are used to determine a family’s or individual’s poverty status: (1) their family or individual income and (2) their poverty threshold. If a family’s total income for the year is below its assigned poverty threshold, then that family — and every individual in it — is considered to be in poverty..."

Climate Change: Frequently Asked Questions about the 2015 Paris Agreement

"Experts broadly agree that stabilizing greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere to avoid dangerous GHG-induced climate change could be accomplished only with concerted efforts by all large emitting nations. Toward this purpose, delegations of 195 nations adopted the Paris Agreement (PA) on December 12, 2015. The PA outlines goals and a structure for international cooperation to slow climate change and mitigate its impacts over decades to come..."
Climate change and Paris agreement

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments

"A ban on all nuclear tests is the oldest item on the nuclear arms control agenda. Three treaties that entered into force between 1963 and 1990 limit, but do not ban, such tests. In 1996, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which would ban all nuclear explosions. In 1997, President Clinton sent the CTBT to the Senate, which rejected it in October 1999. In a speech in Prague in April 2009, President Obama said, “My administration will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.” However, while the Administration has indicated it wants to begin a CTBT “education” campaign with a goal of securing Senate advice and consent to ratification, it has not pressed for a vote on the treaty and there were no hearings on it in the 111th, 112th, or 113th Congresses. There will be at least one hearing in the 114th Congress—a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the CTBT planned for September 7, 2016..."
Nuclear test-ban treaty

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Health Insurance Coverage Measurement in Two Survey

"Next week, the U.S. Census Bureau is releasing two important sources for health insurance statistics in the United States: the Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey and the American Community Survey.
Many people ask us which estimate they should use. Well, it depends. The benefit of the Current Population Survey is the combination of detailed employment and detailed income information, along with the health insurance coverage statistics, which provides an excellent overall picture of the well-being of our nation. With the new Current Population Survey baseline in 2013, annual comparisons are rich with detail. For detailed analysis of subnational geographies, we recommend using the American Community Survey statistics because of its larger sample size and smaller sampling errors. Also, the American Community Survey can provide historic comparisons back to 2008...."
Health Insurance

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the Significant Decrease in Household Food Insecurity in the United States

"Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today issued the following statement on the release of the USDA Economic Research Service analysis, Household Food Security in the United States in 2015, which points to the lowest figures on record for food insecurity among children:
"Today's report marks a significant benchmark in our battle against hunger and food insecurity, underscoring in clear terms that our nation's families and children are better off today than they were when the President took office in 2009. In fact, today's report points to the lowest figures on record for food insecurity among children--a major achievement in our country's efforts to ensure every child has a safer, healthier future filled with unlimited opportunity. In 2015, household food insecurity fell 1.3 percentage points from 2014 and 2.2 points from 2011--the peak of the recession. At the same time, very low food security has dropped to 5 percent from a peak of 5.7 percent. Today's data mean that 7.9 million fewer people were struggling to provide adequate food for themselves or household members than when President Obama took office in the midst of the worst economic downtown since the Great Depression. The figures released today also remind us that our work to fight for access to healthy food for our nation's most vulnerable families and individuals is far from over. We must work to preserve the critical Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which prevented millions of Americans from falling into poverty or becoming food insecure during the most difficult stretches of the recession. And we must continue to encourage the public and private sectors alike to invest in our rebounding rural communities--the place that produces our food, fiber and fuel. As our economy continues to gain strength with millions of new jobs, falling unemployment and growing wages, today's report just underscores that America is greatest when everyone gets a fair shot."..."

Food security

CPSC Urges Riders To Keep Off-Road Vehicles Off Roads

"As the long Labor Day weekend approaches and riders head out for one of their last adventures this summer, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges riders to keep all off-road vehicles – OFF roads. This includes all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs), side-by-sides, dirt bikes, and other utility vehicles.
At least 900 deaths (or 33% of reported deaths during a four-year period) were related to ATVs being ridden on paved roads or parking lots. It’s important for every rider at every age to know:
      • Off-road vehicles are designed to be driven only on off-road terrain, not paved surfaces.
      • Off-road vehicles are difficult to control on paved surfaces and are at risk of overturning.
      • On paved roads, off-road vehicles are at a higher risk of being in a collision with cars, trucks and other vehicles.
      • In many states, it is illegal to ride off-road vehicles on paved roads..."

Off-road vehicles

FASD Awareness

"September is FASD Awareness Month. FASD Awareness Month is an expansion of FASD Awareness Day that has been held each year on September 9th since 1999.
Alcohol use during pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, which are physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities that last a lifetime. Often, a person with an FASD has a mix of these problems. It is recommended that women who are pregnant or might be pregnant not drink alcohol. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are completely preventable if a developing baby is not exposed to alcohol before birth....:

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs (ASE

"Among the 5.4 million U.S. firms with paid employees, 481,981, or 8.9 percent, had been in business for less than two years in 2014, according to findings from the U.S. Census Bureau's inauguralAnnual Survey of Entrepreneurs.
In contrast to the employer firms that had been in business for less than two years, there were 167,917, or 3.1 percent, that had been in business for 16 years or more. More than 4 in 10 employer firms (2.4 million, or 44.1 percent) have been in business between 11 and 15 years..."


National Transit Map

"The National Transit Map is a nationwide catalog of fixed-guideway and fixed-route transit service in America that is gleaned from publically available information. A geospatial database is included that can be used to display transit agencies’ stops, routes, and schedules for the purpose of supporting research, analysis, and planning.

The initial National Transit Map, released in August 2016, consists of data submitted to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) in response to a March 2016request for the data from U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. Data from 270 transit agencies provided information on over 398,000 stops and stations and almost 10,000 routes. Development of the National Transit Map is a continuing process, and two updates are expected by the end of 2016..."

National transit map

Safety and Effectiveness of Consumer Antiseptics; Topical Antimicrobial Drug Products for Over-the-Counter Human Use

"The Food and Drug Administration (FDA, we, or the Agency) is issuing
 this final rule establishing that certain active ingredients used in over-the-counter (OTC) consumer antiseptic products intended for use with water (referred to throughout this document as consumer antiseptic washes) are not generally recognized as safe and effective (GRAS/GRAE) and are misbranded. FDA is issuing this final rule after considering the recommendations of the Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee (NDAC); public comments on the Agency's notices of proposed rulemaking; and all data and information on OTC consumer antiseptic wash products that have come to the Agency's attention. This final rule amends the 1994 tentative final monograph (TFM) for OTC antiseptic drug products that published in the Federal Register of June 17, 1994 (the 1994 TFM). The final rule is part of the ongoing review of OTC drug products conducted by FDA...."
Antimicrobial soaps

Civil Rights Data Collection

Take a look at civil rights data collected from the nation's public schools by the U.S. Department of Education.
Civil Rights Data

HS 812 318 August 2016 2015 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview

"The Nation lost 35,092 people in crashes on U.S. roadways during 2015, an increase from 32,744 in 2014. The 7.2-percent increase is the largest percentage increase in nearly 50 years. The largest percentage increase previously was an 8.1-percent increase from 1965 to 1966. The estimated number of people injured on the Nation’s roads increased in 2015, rising from 2.34 to 2.44 million injured people. Fatalities increased from 2014 to 2015 in almost all segments of the population—passenger vehicle occupants, passengers of large trucks, pedestrians, pedalcyclists, motorcyclists, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities, male/female, daytime/nighttime. Fatalities of drivers of large trucks was one of the few groups that remained unchanged. The estimated number of police-reported crashes increased by 3.8 percent, from 6.0 to 6.3 million..."
Motor vehicle fatalities

Thursday, September 1, 2016

How Can the Results of a Presidential Election Be Contested?

"In the midst of the presidential campaign season, the possibility of election fraud has been raised. This discussion briefly examines how the results of a presidential election may be contested.

Although it has national impact, the presidential election is in essence 50 state and District of Columbia elections for presidential electors, held on the same day throughout the country. Therefore—and consistent with the states’ traditional authority over the administration of elections within their jurisdictions—states have the initial responsibility for resolving challenges, recounts, and contests to the results of a presidential election.

Specifically, the Electoral Count Act of 1887, as amended, contemplates that contests and challenges to the vote for presidential electors are to be initially handled in the states. Codified in part at 3 U.S.C. § 5, the law provides that if a contest or challenge in a state to the election or appointment of presidential electors is resolved in that state before the sixth day prior to the meeting of the electors, such determination shall be “conclusive” and shall “govern” when Congress counts the electoral votes as directed by the Twelfth Amendment. The Supreme Court has referred to this as the “safe harbor” provision. This year, the presidential electors are scheduled to meet on December 19. Six days prior is December 13, which therefore, will be the last day for the states to make a final determination in order for it to be conclusive when Congress counts the votes..."
Contested Elections

Chronicling America:Historic American Newspapers.

"Chronicling America is a Website providing access to information about historic newspapers and select digitized newspaper pages, and is produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). NDNP, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress (LC), is a long-term effort to develop an Internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers with descriptive information and select digitization of historic pages. Supported by NEH, this rich digital resource will be developed and permanently maintained at the Library of Congress. An NEH award program will fund the contribution of content from, eventually, all U.S. states and territories..."
Chronicling America

EEOC Issues Final Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues after Public Input Process

" Today the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its final Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues, to replace its 1998 Compliance Manual section on retaliation. The guidance also addresses the separate "interference" provision under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits coercion, threats, or other acts that interfere with the exercise of ADA rights.
The Commission has also issued two short user-friendly resource documents to accompany the new guidance: a question-and-answer publication that summarizes the guidance document, and a shortSmall Business Fact Sheet that condenses the major points in the guidance in non-legal language.
"Retaliation is asserted in nearly 45 percent of all charges we receive and is the most frequently alleged basis of discrimination," said EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang. "The examples and promising practices included in the guidance are aimed at assisting all employers reduce the likelihood of retaliation.  The public input provided during the development of this guidance was valuable to the Commission in producing a document to help employers prevent retaliation and to help employees understand their rights."..."
EEOC Retaliation guidance