Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Immigrant Voting in the United States

"In recent decades, immigration has driven population growth more than natural increase. Therefore, it is useful to examine the degree to which immigration status shapes the voting-eligible population, or “electorate.” A new report released today from the U.S. Census Bureau examines a number of generational characteristics, including voting patterns.
In 2012, there were 214.8 million U.S. residents who satisfied both the age and citizenship requirements for voting. The Constitution stipulates that voters must be at least 18 years of age and U.S. citizens by birthright or naturalization...."
Immigrant voting

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention for Boys, Too!

"Boys need HPV vaccine, too. Here's why.
Every year in the United States around 11,000 men get cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infections. HPV infections that don’t go away can cause cancers of the anus and rectum, mouth/throat (oropharynx), and penis in men.
Cases of anal cancer and cancers of the mouth/throat are on the rise. Unlike cervical cancer, there are no screening tests for these cancers, so they are often caught at a later stage when they are more difficult to treat.
Many of the cancers caused by HPV infection in both men and women could be prevented by HPV vaccination. HPV vaccination is recommended by doctors and other health experts for both boys and girls at ages 11-12..."

HPV and boys

Health Insurance Marketplace and Women

"The Marketplace is now open for 2017! Get health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace until January 31, 2017 and learn about free preventive services available to women. If you already have coverage through the Marketplace, learn about Coverage to Care and other resources to help you navigate the health care system.
In the Marketplace, you can:
  • Compare different plans based on price, benefits, quality, and other features important to you
  • Choose a combination of price and benefits that fit your budget and meet your needs.."

Health Insurance and women

USDA’s FoodKeeper App Uses Open Data to Keep Consumers Safe and Food Fresh

"The FSIS FoodKeeper app is an easy way for consumers to keep their food safe by providing valuable advice on storing foods and beverages to maximize freshness and minimize food waste. By helping users understand food storage, the app empowers consumers to select methods that extend shelf life and keep items fresh longer than if they were not properly stored.  The app is available for Androidand Apple devices.
How FoodKeeper’s Data Gets to You
In 2016, the application was updated to include more than 400 food and beverage items that are available in an online data feed. Each time a user opens the FoodKeeper app, it will check the data feed for updates.
This data is not only available for the FoodKeeper app, but it is open to the public on and Those interested in using the information for their own purposes can download the data feed, and find specific storage and cooking guidance on hundreds of items, including various types of baby food, dairy products, eggs, meat, poultry, produce, seafood and more. The data also includes user storage timelines for the refrigerator, freezer and pantry...."

Food safety

Growth and Opportunity in the Organic Sector

"Since USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) implemented the organic regulations in 2002, the U.S. organic sector has tripled in size to over 22,000 certified organic operations with over $43 billion in U.S. retail sales.  Demand for organic products is expected to continue growing.  This strong consumer demand outruns supply, providing market opportunities within the organic sector.
USDA offers many resources for organic producers and businesses – including organic certification cost share assistance, organic price reporting, conservation programs, and so much more – to facilitate growth within the organic sector. We also provide assistance to producers transitioning to organic production, and work to facilitate international trade.
To learn more about our services, you can now visit the redesigned USDA organic portal.  The new site features a more user-friendly design with updated content that allows you to access the USDA resources for the organic community from one centralized location..."

Organic farming

Helping Farmers Adapt to Extreme Weather and a Changing Climate

"Changes in climate and more extreme weather are already increasing challenges for agriculture and natural resource managers nationally and globally.  Many of these challenges are expected to continue into the future.
A new USDA report Adaptation Resources for Agriculture: Responding to Climate Variability and Change in the Midwest and Northeast provides educators and advisors information, perspective and resources to help farmers in the region prepare for, cope with and recover from the adverse impacts of a changing climate. Developed collaboratively by scientists, conservationists and educators, the report translates the best available climate science into usable resources for making climate-informed decisions..."
Farming and weather

Monday, November 28, 2016

Highlights of women’s earnings in 2015

"In 2015, women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median usual weekly earnings that were 81 percent of those of male full-time wage and salary workers. In 1979, the first year for which comparable earnings data are available, women’s earnings were 62 percent of men’s. Since 2004, the women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio has ranged from 80 to 83 percent. (See chart 1 and tables 1 and 12.)
This report presents earnings data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a national monthly survey of 60,000 eligible households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The weekly and hourly earnings estimates in Highlights of Women’s Earnings reflect information collected from one-fourth of the CPS monthly sample and averaged for the calendar year. These data are distinct from the annual earnings estimates for full-time, year-round workers collected separately in the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to the CPS and published by the U.S. Census Bureau..."
Women's wages

Friday, November 25, 2016

Can a New Administration Undo a Previous Administration's Regulations?

"Following the election of Donald J. Trump on November 8, 2016, questions have been raised as to whether and how a new President's administration can amend or repeal regulations issued by the previous administration. In short, once a rule has been finalized, a new administration would be required to undergo the rulemaking process to change or repeal all or part of the rule. If a rule has not yet been finalized, however, a new President may be able, immediately upon taking office, to prevent the rule from being issued. In addition to these administrative actions, Congress can also take legislative action to overturn rules.
Changing or Repealing Previously Issued Rules

Under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), "rulemaking" is defined as "formulating, amending, or repealing a rule," meaning that an agency must follow the rulemaking procedures set forth by the APA and other statutory and executive order requirements to change or repeal a rule. (For more on these procedures, see CRS Report RL32240, The Federal Rulemaking Process: An Overview, coordinated by Maeve P. Carey.)..."
Federal regulations

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Diabetes, Heart Disease, and You

"Diabetes is a serious condition that happens when your body can't make enough of a hormone called insulin or can't properly use the insulin it has. Insulin helps your body digest sugars that come from what you eat and drink. Without enough insulin, sugar builds up in your blood. Over time, that sugar buildup damages your nerves, blood vessels, heart, and kidneys.
More than 29 million Americans have diabetes, or about 1 of every 11 people. 1 About 8 million of them don't know they have diabetes. Another 86 million—more than 1 in 3 Americans older than 20 years—have prediabetes, a condition in which a person's blood sugar is high, but not yet high enough to trigger diabetes.2..."
Diabetes and heart disease

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Helping Everybody to Quit Smoking

"The percentage of adults who smoke cigarettes is higher among people with disabilities than people without disabilities. If more people with disabilities are included in smoking cessation programs, the percentage of those who smoke can be reduced.
Tobacco use continues to be the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.1 Although progress has been made with reducing cigarette smoking among U.S. adults, declining from 1 in 5 adults in 2005 (45.1 million smokers) to 1 in 6 adults in 2015 (36.5 million),2 differences in prevalence of smoking between groups of people still persist. For example, in 2014, cigarette smoking was significantly higher among those who reported having any disability (more than 1 in 5 were smokers) compared to those who reported having no disability (about 1 in 6 were smokers). In addition, similar to people without disabilities, research shows that the percentage of smokers among people with disabilities also differs by race and ethnicity. For instance, the percentage of American Indian/Alaska Natives with a disability who smoke cigarettes was almost three times as high as among Asians with a disability (41.2% versus 12.8%).3..."

Saturday, November 19, 2016

United States-China Economic Security Commission Annual Report

"This year marks the 15th anniversary of China’s World Trade Organization (WTO) accession. While China’s transformation has accelerated over the past decade and a half, its economic liberalization has fallen far short of global expectations. The reality of the U.S.-China economic relationship, too, has turned out to be much different than many had hoped. In 2015, the U.S. trade deficit with China was $365.7 billion, the highest on record; in the first eight months of 2016, the deficit was $225 billion. The cumulative U.S. trade deficit with China since it joined the WTO is a staggering $3.5 trillion. As it protects its domestic industry from foreign competition, China continues to dump its massive overcapacity in U.S. and other global markets, materially damaging U.S. industries, including steel..."
U.S.-China relations

Presidential Transitions: Issues Involving Outgoing and Incoming Administrations

"The crux of a presidential transition is the transfer of executive power from the incumbent to the President-elect. Yet the transition process encompasses a host of activities, beginning with preelection planning and continuing through inauguration day. The process ensures that the federal government provides resources to presidential candidates’ transition teams, and, eventually, the President-elect’s team; and includes close coordination between the outgoing and incoming Administrations. The Presidential Transition Act (PTA) of 1963, as amended, established formal mechanisms to facilitate presidential transitions and authorizes the Administrator of General Services to provide facilities and services to eligible presidential candidates and the Presidentelect. A presidential transition facilitates the establishment of a new Administration and prepares it to govern. Additionally, as noted by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs in a report on S. 1172 (114th Congress, Presidential Transitions Improvements Act of 2015), planning for a presidential transition helps to ensure the nation’s security..."
Presidential transitions

Irans 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..."

CRISPR: A Revolutionary Tool for Editing the Code of Life?

"Genes, the fundamental code of life, are written in DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). Before DNA was even discovered, humans sought to manipulate it through selective breeding. Since its discovery, scientists, science fiction writers, philosophers, and others have speculated on the implications of being able to modify DNA. Over the last half century, billions of dollars and immeasurable effort have been devoted to understanding, characterizing, and controlling DNA. These efforts produced early gene editing tools and, in 2003, the completion of the Human Genome Project. Similar sequencing has been completed on thousands of other species.

Current gene editing tools have allowed scientists to edit the genomes of agricultural crops (e.g., improving insect resistance) and to create animal research models (e.g., transgenic mice). However, shortcomings in gene editing technologies have hindered even wider use.

CRISPR-cas9 (CRISPR for short) is a new gene editing tool that offers the potential for substantial improvements in ease of use, speed, efficacy, and cost. Many in the scientific, engineering, and business communities believe CRISPR may offer revolutionary advances in the investigation, prevention, and treatment of diseases; understanding of gene function; crop yields and varieties; production of chemicals used in biofuels, adhesives, and fragrances; and control of invasive species. CRISPR has already been used to modify the genomes of a variety of species—ranging from mice and fruit flies to corn and yeast. Some scientists believe the relative simplicity and lower cost of CRISPR represents the democratization of genetic engineering.."

How to Safely Thaw a Turkey

"The USDA recommends thawing your turkey in the refrigerator. This is the safest method because the turkey will thaw at a consistent, safe temperature. This method takes some time, so allow one day for each 4 – 5 pounds of weight. If your turkey weighs 16 pounds, it will take about four days to thaw. Once thawed, the turkey is safe for another two days, so you can start thawing it six days before thanksgiving (the Friday before Thanksgiving).
The other two methods (cold water and microwave) must be done immediately before you start cooking the turkey, so you’ll have to wait until Thanksgiving morning..."

Turkey preparation

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Agency Final Rules Submitted After May 30, 2016, May Be Subject to Disapproval in 2017 Under the Congressional Review Act

"With a change of presidential administrations taking place in January, some in Congress are paying renewed attention to a parliamentary mechanism that might enable the new Congress and the new President to overturn agency final rules of the Obama Administration issued after late-May 2016.

The Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. §§801-808), enacted as part of the 104th Congress's (1995-1996) "Contract with America," established a special parliamentary mechanism whereby Congress can disapprove a final rule promulgated by a federal agency. While Congress has considered several CRA joint resolutions of disapproval since 1996, the CRA mechanism has successfully overturned only one agency final rule: a 2000 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule related to workplace ergonomics standards. Perhaps the most widely cited reason why the CRA has overturned only one agency rule in 20 years is the de facto supermajority vote required to enact a CRA resolution of disapproval. While all of the congressional votes related to a CRA disapproval resolution are simple majority votes, the way the mechanism is structured all but assures that a veto override—requiring a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress—will be necessary to enact the disapproval resolution. This is because a President is most likely to veto a joint resolution that attempts to strike down a rule proposed by his own Administration. For example, in the 114th Congress (2015-2016), President Barack Obama has vetoed five CRA disapproval resolutions presented to him by Congress.."

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Hate Crime Statistiss: 2015

"Crimes reported to the FBI involve those motivated by biases based on race, gender, gender idendity, religion, disabiility,  sexual orientation, and ethnicity..."
Hate crimes

Friday, November 11, 2016

Intelligence Community Spending: Trends and Issues

"This report examines Intelligence Community (IC) funding over the past several decades, with an emphasis on the period from 2007-2017—the period in which total national and military intelligence program (NIP and MIP) spending dollars have been publicly disclosed on an annual basis. Intelligence-related spending (such as the Homeland Security Intelligence Program) that does not fall within the NIP and MIP is outside the scope of this report.

Total intelligence spending is usually understood as the combination of (1) the National Intelligence Program (NIP), which covers the programs, projects, and activities of the intelligence community oriented towards the strategic needs of decision makers, and (2) the Military Intelligence Program (MIP), which funds defense intelligence activity intended to support tactical military operations and priorities.."
Intelligence spending

Women in Congress, 1917-2016: Biographical and Committee Assignment Information, and Listings by State and Congress

"One hundred eight women currently serve in the 114th Congress: 88 in the House, including four Delegates (65 Democrats and 23 Republicans), and 20 in the Senate (14 Democrats and 6 Republicans). This is higher than the previous record from the 113 th Congress (101 women initially sworn in, and 1 House Member subsequently resigned and 3 were elected)

The first woman elected to Congress was Representative Jeannette Rankin (R-MT, 1917-1919, 1941-1943). The first woman to serve in the Senate was Rebecca Latimer Felton (D-GA). She was appointed in 1922 and served for one day.

A total of 313 women have been elected or appointed to Congress, 202 Democrats and 111 Republicans. Of these women, 267 (173 Democrats, 94 Republicans) have been elected only to the House of Representatives; 35 (21 Democrats, 14 Republicans) have been elected or appointed only to the Senate; and 11 (8 Democrats, 3 Republicans) have served in both houses. These figures include six non-voting Delegates, one each from Guam, Hawaii, the District of Columbia, and American Samoa, and two from the U.S. Virgin Islands. Of the 46 women who have been elected or appointed to the Senate, 14 were first appointed and 5 were first elected to fill unexpired terms..."
Women in Congress

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Epilepsy in Veterans

"What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a broad term used for a brain disorder that causes seizures. A seizure involves sudden, abnormal electrical activity in the brain that causes brief changes in how a person behaves, thinks, or feels.

How many Veterans have epilepsy?

Epilepsy affects about 2.4 million adults in the United States.1 Experts aren't sure exactly how many veterans have epilepsy. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) estimated that the prevalence of veterans with epilepsy under treatment at VA facilities was 13.9 per 1000 in 2014.2 Imagine a football stadium that could seat 100,000 veterans. That means almost 1,400 of them are treated for epilepsy in VA facilities. The VHA data show that about 13% of veterans with seizures were less than 45 years old, 39% were between 45-65 years old, and about 7% were female..."
Epilepsy and veterans

Who are the veterans?

"The U.S. veteran population totals 19 million men and women living in the United States and Puerto Rico who have served on active duty in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard. These veterans served for different lengths of time and during different wartime and peacetime periods. They entered the military at different ages and came from different backgrounds. Some were drafted, while others volunteered.
Their differences make each veteran unique and influence the size and overall characteristics of veterans as a group. So, who are veterans? Understanding the population we call “veterans” requires some basics in military history and policies..."

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Healthy Student Travel

"Prepare for a safe and healthy study abroad experience by following CDC's travel health tips for students.
Missing out on a unique cultural experience because you're stuck in bed with a travel-related illness or injury is probably not part of your plan for a great study-abroad experience. Fortunately, CDC is here to help! In celebration of International Education Week (November 14–18), we've put together a "study guide" to help you prepare for safe and healthy travel..."

Student travel

Women Responsible for the Increasing Number of “Vetrepreneurs”

"After serving their country, millions of military veterans contribute to the nation in another, important way: as entrepreneurs. Between 2007 and 2012, the ranks of veteran-owned businesses rose by 74,074, or 3.0 percent, to reach 2.5 million.
Women were solely responsible for this overall increase in the number of veteran-owned firms. In a span of only five years, the number of female veteran-owned firms approximately quadrupled, from 97,114, or 4.0 percent of all veteran-owned firms, to 383,302, or 15.2 percent. While the number of female veteran-owned businesses was rising, the number of male veteran-owned firms was falling, from 2.3 million to 2.1 million..."
Women Entrepreneurs

The Terrorist Screening Database and Preventing Terrorist Travel

"After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the federal government developed a unified regimen to identify and list known or suspected terrorists. The regimen has received repeated congressional attention, and this report briefly discusses for congressional policymakers how the U.S. government fashions and uses the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB) to achieve such an end. It also discusses how the federal government engages in two travel-related screening processes—visa screening and air passenger screening. Both processes involve subsets of the Terrorist Screening Database..."
Terrorist travel

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Managing Obesity, One Paw at a Time

"In the United States, 71% of adults are overweight or have obesity. Heavier adults are at risk for serious chronic diseases and health problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.
The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates approximately 53% of dogs and 58% of cats are overweight or obese. These pets face many of the same weight-related health problems as humans, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, urinary disease, skin problems, and breathing problems. Also, overweight pets often have shorter lives than fitter pets.
Research shows overweight pets tend to have overweight owners—who may feed their furry friends table scraps and frequent snacks, use food as a behavior or training reward, and not exercise or play much with their dogs and cats..."
Pets and exercise

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Recent State Election Law Challenges: In Brief

"During the final months and weeks leading up to the November 8, 2016, presidential election, courts across the country have ruled in numerous challenges to state election laws. For example, there have been recent court rulings affecting the laws regulating early voting, voter photo identification (ID) requirements, registration procedures, straight-party voting, and voter rolls. Accordingly, many such laws have been recently invalidated, enjoined, or altered. Others continue to be subject to litigation.

Recent rulings in Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas are illustrative examples. In Michigan, a court preliminarily enjoined a 2016 law that ended the ability of voters to vote for a political party’s entire slate of candidates with a single notation—straight-party voting— concluding that it was likely that the challengers would succeed on the merits of their claims under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In North Carolina, a court invalidated several recent changes to that state’s election laws, including a voter photo ID law, holding that the laws were enacted with a racially discriminatory intent in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and Section 2 of the VRA. In Ohio, a court held that a law setting forth the process for removing the names of inactive voters from the voter rolls violates the National Voter Registration Act, and in another case, upheld a law that eliminated a period of early voting and same-day registration, known as “Golden Week,” against a challenge under the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause and Section 2 of the VRA. Finally, in contrast to the North Carolina ruling, a court declined to invalidate a Texas voter photo ID law, but required it to be administered on November 8, 2016, with modifications, holding that the law has a discriminatory effect on minority voting rights in violation of Section 2 of the VRA..."
Election law challenges

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Retaliation: Illegal and Bad for Business

"Last year Jesus Serrato Zuniga and Maria Mendez Zuniga, owners of La Iguana restaurant near Corpus Christi, Texas, fired a cook of 13 years, believing the employee had complained to federal authorities and sparked an investigation that uncovered the Zunigas had been shorting their workers to the tune of $25,000.
It’s illegal to retaliate against workers who speak up about not being paid what they are owed. Federal law protects those who file wage complaints with the U.S. Department of Labor and cooperate with its investigations. Unfortunately, many workers face retaliation whether they’ve formally spoken to authorities, or privately complained directly to their employer..."

Spending Habits by Generation

"Move over, baby boomers: millennials are now America’s largest generation.* Over the past few years, my colleagues and I at the Bureau of Labor Statistics have gotten a lot of questions about millennials’ spending habits. As more millennials enter the workforce, the purchasing power of this generation increases, and both marketers and researchers are interested in how millennials choose to spend their paychecks.
So we decided to start sorting our data on American spending habits by generation two years ago. We now have a much better idea of household spending for millennials, Gen X, baby boomers, the Silent Generation and Greatest Generation..."
Spending habits

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Conflicts of Interest and the Presidency

"Does federal law require the President to relinquish control of his or her business interests? Federal regulation of financial conflicts of interest is aimed at preventing opportunities for officials to personally benefit from influence they may have in their official capacity. As a general rule, public officials in the executive branch are subject to criminal penalties if they personally and substantially participate in matters in which they (or their immediate families, business partners or associated organizations) hold financial interests. However, because of concerns regarding interference with the exercise of constitutional duties, Congress has not applied these restrictions to the President. Consequently, there is no current legal requirement that would compel the President to relinquish financial interests because of a conflict of interest..."

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

VW buybacks and lease terminations to begin

"Earlier this year, the FTC sued Volkswagen for falsely claiming that its diesel cars had low levels of harmful emissions. A federal judge approved the FTC order that requires Volkswagen to provide up to $10 billion to owners and lessees of VW and Audi 2.0 liter diesel cars. Here are some pointers for people who own or lease a 2009 to 2015 VW TDI Beetle, Golf, Jetta, Passat or Audi TDI A3.
  • You have until September 1, 2018 to submit a claim. You can change your mind about which option you want until you bring your car in to VW.
  • You can submit a claim on, or call 1-844-98-CLAIM to request a paper claim form. In order to complete your claim, you will need certain documents, including the vehicle title and proof of registration.
  • After you submit your claim, VW has 10 business days to tell you whether your claim is complete. If your claim isn’t complete, VW will tell you what you need to do to complete it.
  • After your claim is complete, VW has 10 business days to review it and confirm that you’re eligible..."

Electorate Profiles: Selected Characteristics of the Citizen, 18 and Older Population

"The following tables present estimates of the citizen, 18 and older population for all states and congressional districts. Selected characteristics include age, sex, race, Hispanic Origin, educational attainment, poverty status, and household income. The data used in these tables come from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). For general background on the ACS, please visit For information on the statistical accuracy of the ACS, please visit documentation/code-lists.html,,"

Electorate population

CIA Releases Controversial Bay of Pigs History

"The CIA today released the long-contested Volume V of its official history of the Bay of Pigs invasion, which it had successfully concealed until now by claiming that it was a “draft” and could be withheld from the public under the FOIA’s "deliberative process" privilege. The National Security Archive fought the agency for years in court to release the historically significant volume, only to have the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2014 uphold the CIA’s overly-broad interpretation of the "deliberative process" privilege. Special credit for today’s release goes to the champions of the 2016 FOIA amendments, which set a 25-year sunset for the exemption:  Senators John Cornyn, Patrick Leahy, and Chuck Grassley, and Representatives Jason Chaffetz, Elijah Cummings, and Darrell Issa.
Chief CIA Historian David Robarge states in the cover letter announcing the document’s release that the agency is “releasing this draft volume today because recent 2016 changes in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires us to release some drafts that are responsive to FOIA requests if they are more than 25 years old.” This improvement – codified by the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 – came directly from the National Security Archive’s years of litigation..."

Bay of Pigs