Friday, April 28, 2017

Swing, Slide, Have fun. Play safe! Playgrounds Shouldn’t Hurt

" Seesaws, swings and slides! Now that springtime is here, playground season is in full swing. CPSC believes playgrounds should be safe! Far too often however, fun and games at the community playground or on the backyard play set can lead to injuries—and even death.
A new playground equipment report (pdf) was just issued by CPSC and it found that from 2009 to 2014, 19 of the 34 fatal playground incidents that we investigated were the result of hanging or asphyxiation. During that same time period, nearly 1.5 million injuries associated with playground equipment were treated nationally in emergency departments. Annually, that breaks down to about 243,000 ER treated injuries..."
Playground safety

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on Enforcing Statutory Prohibitions on Federal Control of Education

"EXECUTIVE ORDER
ENFORCING STATUTORY PROHIBITIONS ON FEDERAL CONTROL OF EDUCATION
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to restore the proper division of power under the Constitution between the Federal Government and the States and to further the goals of, and to ensure strict compliance with, statutes that prohibit Federal interference with State and local control over education, including section 103 of the Department of Education Organization Act (DEOA) (20 U.S.C. 3403), sections 438 and 447 of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), as amended (20 U.S.C. 1232a and 1232j), and sections 8526A, 8527, and 8529 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) (20 U.S.C. 7906a, 7907, and 7909), it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1.  Policy.  It shall be the policy of the executive branch to protect and preserve State and local control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, and personnel of educational institutions, schools, and school systems, consistent with applicable law, including ESEA, as amended by ESSA, and ESEA's restrictions related to the Common Core State Standards developed under the Common Core State Standards Initiative..."
Federal control of education

National Population by Characteristics Datasets: 2010-2016

"These datasets feature Vintage 2016 population estimates by age. Additional files featuring sex, race, and Hispanic origin detail will be added in mid-2017. Until that time, please refer to Vintage 2015 for the full suite of products by demographic characteristics..".
Population characteristics

Cybersecurity: Critical Infrastructure Authoritative Reports and Resources

"Critical infrastructure is defined in the USA PATRIOT Act (P.L. 107-56, §1016(e)) as “systems and assets, physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health and safety, or any combination of those matters.”

Presidential Decision Directive 63, or PDD-63, identified activities whose critical infrastructures should be protected: information and communications; banking and finance; water supply; aviation, highways, mass transit, pipelines, rail, and waterborne commerce; emergency and law enforcement services; emergency, fire, and continuity of government services; public health services; electric power, oil and gas production; and storage. In addition, the PDD identified four activities in which the federal government controls the critical infrastructure: (1) internal security and federal law enforcement; (2) foreign intelligence; (3) foreign affairs; and (4) national defense..."
Cybersecurity

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act: Background and Summary

"Beginning in 2007, U.S. financial conditions deteriorated, leading to the near-collapse of the U.S. financial system in September 2008. Major commercial banks, insurers, government-sponsored enterprises, and investment banks either failed or required hundreds of billions in federal support to continue functioning. Households were hit hard by drops in the prices of real estate and financial assets, and by a sharp rise in unemployment. Congress responded to the crisis by enacting the most comprehensive financial reform legislation since the 1930s.

Then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner issued a reform plan in the summer of 2009 that served as a template for legislation in both the House and Senate. After significant congressional revisions, President Obama signed H.R. 4173, now titled the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (P.L. 111-203), into law on July 21, 2010.

Perhaps the major issue in the financial reform legislation was how to address the systemic fragility revealed by the crisis. The Dodd-Frank Act created a new regulatory umbrella group chaired by the Treasury Secretary—the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC)—with authority to designate certain financial firms as systemically important and subjecting them and all banks with more than $50 billion in assets to heightened prudential regulation. Financial firms were also subjected to a special resolution process (called “Orderly Liquidation Authority”) similar to that used in the past to address failing depository institutions following a finding that their failure would pose systemic risk.."
Dodd-Frank Act

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The War Powers Resolution: Concepts and Practice

"This report discusses and assesses the War Powers Resolution and its application since enactment in 1973, providing detailed background on various cases in which it was used, as well as cases in which issues of its applicability were raised. It will be revised biannually.

In the post-Cold War world, Presidents have continued to commit U.S. Armed Forces into potential hostilities, sometimes without a specific authorization from Congress. Thus the War Powers Resolution and its purposes continue to be a potential subject of controversy. On June 7, 1995, the House defeated, by a vote of 217-201, an amendment to repeal the central features of the War Powers Resolution that have been deemed unconstitutional by every President since the law’s enactment in 1973. In 1999, after the President committed U.S. military forces to action in Yugoslavia without congressional authorization, Representative Tom Campbell used expedited procedures under the Resolution to force a debate and votes on U.S. military action in Yugoslavia, and later sought, unsuccessfully, through a federal court suit to enforce presidential compliance with the terms of the War Powers Resolution..."
War powers resolution

See It Before You Sign It!

"Living off-campus while away at school is an exciting time in a college student’s life. With spring in the air, many students and parents are beginning their search for off- campus housing in time for the fall semester.  Parents and students are encouraged to put fire safety first.
Did you know that according to a study by the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), 94% of fatal campus fires from 2000-2015 took place in off-campus housing? That same study showed 58% of fatal campus fires had no smoke alarms or smoke alarms that did not have working batteries.
Sadly, last year, a Southern Illinois University student died in an off- campus house fire and just this year, an Oregon college student, died in an off- campus apartment fire.
To help prevent these tragedies, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has teamed up with USFA, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Campus Firewatch to help get the message out about off- campus housing fire hazards.  The See It Before You Sign It campaign encourages parents to take a more active role in helping their student find fire safe housing.
It is important to never sign a lease until you have seen the housing.  Once you see the house or apartment, make sure it has:
  • Working smoke alarms in every sleeping room as well as outside each sleeping area and on each level of the apartment or house. Test monthly.
  • Fire sprinklers
  • Two ways out of each room for a safe escape.."

Living off campus

Monday, April 24, 2017

Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks

"EPA has prepared the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks since the early 1990s. This annual report provides a comprehensive accounting of total greenhouse gas emissions for all man-made sources in the United States. The gases covered by the Inventory include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and nitrogen trifluoride. The Inventory also calculates carbon dioxide emissions that are removed from the atmosphere by “sinks,” e.g., through the uptake of carbon and storage in forests, vegetation, and soils..."
Greenhouse gases

Earth-Friendly Jobs

"Here at the Department of Labor, we track jobs, including jobs that take care of our planet. If you love the great outdoors, here are six career paths to consider:
What they do: Study the weather and climate, and how those conditions affect human activity and the earth in general.
  • 2016 median pay: $92,460
  • Typical entry-level education: bachelor’s degree
  • Number of jobs 2014: 11,800
  • Projected growth 2014-24: 9 percent
What they do: Protect the environment and human health by cleaning up polluted areas, advising policymakers, or working with industry to reduce waste.
  • 2016 median pay: $68,910
  • Typical entry-level education: bachelor’s degree
  • Number of jobs 2014: 94,600
  • Projected growth 2014-24: 11 percent
What they do: Study the physical aspects of the Earth, such as its composition and structure, to learn about its past, present and future.
  • 2016 median pay: $89,780
  • Typical entry-level education: bachelor’s degree
  • Number of jobs 2014: 36,400
  • Projected growth 2014-24: 10 percent
What they do: Study how water moves across and through the Earth’s crust, and solve water quality or availability problems.
  • 2016 median pay: $80,480
  • Typical entry-level education: bachelor’s degree
  • Number of jobs 2014: 7,000
  • Projected growth 2014-24: 7 percent
What they do: Carry out plans that environmental engineers develop to prevent or clean up environmental pollution.
  • 2016 median pay: $49,170
  • Typical entry-level education: associate’s degree
  • Number of jobs 2014: 18,600
  • Projected growth 2014-24: 10 percent.."

Earth friendly jobs

Prevent 350 Fall Fatalities and Stand-Down

"Construction contractors can prevent falls from heights. Plan ahead for safety, provide the right equipment, and train workers to use the equipment safely. Join the National Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction and Stand-Down.
In 2015, there were 350 fall fatalities out of 937 total fatalities in construction. Those deaths were preventable. There were more fatal injuries in construction than any other industry in the United States in 2014, accounting for nearly 20% of the nation’s 4,679 work-related deaths that year. (See Chart). Falls account for 35% of the work-related deaths suffered by construction workers (See Chart). Almost two-thirds of those fatal falls were from roofs, scaffolds, and ladders..."
Fall fatalities

Are you getting enough sleep?

"Learn how much sleep you need for good health.
People will often cut back on their sleep for work, for family demands, or even to watch a good show on television. But if not getting enough sleep is a regular part of your routine, you may be at an increased risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and stroke, poor mental health, and even early death. Even one night of short sleep can affect you the next day. Not surprisingly, you’re more likely to feel sleepy. On top of that, you’re more likely to be in a bad mood, be less productive at work, and to be involved in a motor vehicle crash.
How much sleep you need changes as you age. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend.."

Sleep

Meningococcal Vaccines for Preteens, Teens

"Meningococcal disease is not very common in the United States, but teens and young adults are at increased risk. There are licensed vaccines to help prevent the most common types of meningococcal disease in the United States.

CDC Recommends Meningococcal Vaccines for Preteens and Teens

All 11 to 12 year olds should be vaccinated with a single dose of a meningococcal conjugate vaccine. CDC recommends a booster dose at age 16. The booster dose gives teens continued protection during the ages when they are at highest risk. If your teenager missed getting a dose, ask their clinician about getting it now.
Teens and young adults (16 through 23 year olds) may also be vaccinated with a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine, preferably at 16 through 18 years old.Multiple doses of serogroup B meningococcal vaccine are needed and the same brand must be used for all doses. Talk with your teen’s clinician if you are interested in serogroup B meningococcal vaccination..."
Meningococcal vaccines

Download Your Congress.gov Search Results

"You can download search results from Congress.gov for any search against a single collection, such as Legislation. Downloading search results for a multi-collection search, such as All Sources, is not available at this time.
Follow these steps to download search results.
  1. Execute a search from any search page including the homepage search, quick search, query builder, advanced legislation or command line.
  2. Look for the Download Results link on the top left side of the search results page, next to the Save this Search link.
  3. Click on the Download Results link.
  4. Click OK on the popup that appears.
  5. Use your browser controls to open or save the file.
Congress.gov search results are delivered as a comma-separated file, with a .csv filename extension. This format works well when opened by a spreadsheet application, such as Microsoft Excel.
When you open the file as a spreadsheet, you will see the date and time of your download in the first row, and the URL of the search used to retrieve the results in the second row.
After a blank third row, column headers are included in the fourth row. Data from your search results are included in the following rows, with each item retrieved by your search in its own row. Data is current as of the date of your download.
Only the data fields that appear on your search results page are available in the downloaded file..."
Congress.gov

Friday, April 21, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on Buy American and Hire American

"EXECUTIVE ORDER
 BUY AMERICAN AND HIRE AMERICAN
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and to ensure the faithful execution of the laws, it is hereby ordered as follows:
 
Section 1.  Definitions.  As used in this order:
 
(a)  "Buy American Laws" means all statutes, regulations, rules, and Executive Orders relating to Federal procurement or Federal grants    including those that refer to "Buy America" or "Buy American"    that require, or provide a preference for, the purchase or acquisition of goods, products, or materials produced in the United States, including iron, steel, and manufactured goods..."
Buy American

The Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood: 1975-2016

"This report looks at changes in young adulthood over the last 40 years. It focuses on how the experiences of today’s young adults differ, in timing and degree, from what young adults experienced in the 1970s—how much longer they wait to start a family, how many have gone to college, and who are able to live independently of their parents. This report looks at a snapshot of the young adult population, defined here as 18 to 34 years old, and focuses on two periods: 1975 and today (using data covering 2012 to 2016 to reflect the contemporary period). Many of the milestones of young adulthood are reflected in the living arrangements of young people: when they move out of their parents’ home and when they form families. Because these milestones are tied to young adults’ economic security, the report also focuses on how education and work experience vary across young adult living arrangements..."
Demogrpahics of young adulthood

PRINCIPLES FOR REFORMING THE MILITARY SELECTIVE SERVICE PROCESS

"To the Congress of the United States:
I transmit herewith Principles for Reforming the Military Selective Service Process, in accordance with section 555 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (Public Law 114– 328), which calls for the President to establish principles for reform of the military selective service process in support of the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service.
DONALD J. TRUMP. THE WHITE HOUSE, April 3, 2017..."
Selective Service

How Does CBO Estimate the Effects of Proposed Legislation Affecting Immigration?

"When CBO’s Director testified at Congressional hearings at the beginning of February, he was asked some questions about how CBO analyzes potential changes to immigration policy. Because answers during Congressional hearings must be brief, this blog post provides additional information.

What Factors Does CBO Consider When Estimating the Economic Effects of Proposed Legislation Affecting Immigration?

In 2013, CBO published an economic analysis of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744). That act would have revised laws governing immigration and the enforcement of those laws, allowing for a significant increase in the number of noncitizens who could lawfully enter the United States permanently or temporarily. The bill also would have created a process for many currently unauthorized residents to gain legal status, subject to their meeting conditions specified in the bill..."

Immigration legislation

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Child Abuse Prevention

"April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
The Division of Violence Prevention at CDC works to better understand the problem of child abuse and neglect and to prevent it before it begins.
Essentials for Childhood: Assuring safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for all children is CDC's framework for preventing child abuse and neglect. 

Facts about Child Abuse and Neglect

Child abuse and neglect are significant public health problems in the United States.
  • More than 1,670 children died in the United States in 2015 from abuse and neglect.
  • According to child protective service agencies, about 683,000 children were victims of child abuse or neglect in 2015.
  • One in 4 children have experienced abuse or neglect at some point in their lives, and 1 in 7 children experienced abuse in the last year, according to self-reports from the National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV). 
  • The financial costs for victims and society are substantial. A CDC study showed the total lifetime cost associated with just 1 year of confirmed cases of child abuse or neglect is $124 billion...."

Child Abuse

Telegram Announcing the Surrender of Fort Sumter

"he first engagement of the Civil War took place at Fort Sumter on April 12 and 13, 1861. After 34 hours of fighting, the Union surrendered the fort to the Confederates. Major Robert Anderson informed Secretary of War Simon Cameron of the surrender in this telegram, dated April 18..."
Fort Sumter

Monday, April 17, 2017

Measles: Make Sure Your Child is Fully Immunized

"Measles is a very contagious disease caused by a virus. Measles starts with a fever. Soon after, it causes a cough, runny nose, and red eyes. Then a rash of tiny, red spots breaks out. It starts at the head and spreads to the rest of the body. Measles can be serious for young children. It can lead to pneumonia, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), and death. Measles spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people around him or her will also become infected if they are not protected.

People in the United States still get measles, but it's not very common. That's because most people in this country are protected against measles through vaccination. However, measles is still common in other parts of the world, including many countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa. Every year, unvaccinated people get measles while they are abroad and bring the disease into the United States and spread it to others.
Measles can spread quickly in communities where people are not vaccinated. Children and anyone else who is not protected against measles is at risk of getting infected. That's why it is so important to be up to date on vaccinations, including before traveling abroad..." 
Measles

Be Food Safe: Protect Yourself from Food Poisoning

"Foodborne illness, often called food poisoning, is a common, costly—yet preventable—public health problem. Each year, about 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. Learn more about foodborne illnesses and what you can do to lower your chances of getting sick.

Common Foodborne Illnesses and Symptoms

The most common foodborne illnesses are norovirus, Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, and Campylobacter. In most affected persons, symptoms of food poisoning include vomiting and diarrhea, but in some cases, such life-threatening complications as organ failure occur.
In severe cases, foodborne illnesses can cause serious acute illness, long-term health problems or death. Young children, pregnant women, adults over 65, and people with weak immune systems are more likely to get food poisoning, and if they do get sick they might have more severe symptoms..."
Food safety

Fighting Opioid Overdose

"The opioid overdose epidemic is devastating families and communities across America. Whether you’re a professional working in preventing drug abuse or treating addiction, or a healthcare provider, first responder, or law enforcement officer the opioid epidemic is likely affecting you, someone you love, or your community. No matter who you are, our goal is the same—to end the opioid overdose epidemic currently ravaging the United States...

Do you know about the opioid overdose epidemic?

According to the most recent CDC data, we know that most drug overdose deaths in the United States involve an opioid. Some numbers to know are:
  • Opioids were involved in more than 33,000 deaths in 2015.
  • Sixty three percent of drug overdose deaths in 2015 involved an opioid.
  • Every day, 91 Americans die from an opioid-related overdose.
  • The number of overdose deaths involving opioids has quadrupled since 1999.
  • Heroin-related overdose deaths increased by 21 percent from 2014 to 2015.
  • In 2015, 12,989 people died from a heroin-related overdos..."
Opiods

Who Wants to Know? Consumer Expenditures

"How much did you spend on ice cream last year? If you read my recent blog post, you’ll know the average household spends $54.04 each year. Last week I explained why that information matters to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and to the researchers, business owners, lawmakers and many others who use our data every day. Today I’d like to take another dive into some of the data we collect.
The BLS Consumer Expenditure Interview and Diary surveys ask lots of questions about households’ spending and the characteristics of all the family members, and then publishes updated tables every six months. Why does BLS collect so much information, and who uses it?
Let’s take a look at some of the questions the surveys ask (and if you’re thinking that some of these questions sound a little personal, you’ll be glad to know that all the answers are kept completely confidential)..."

Consumer Expenditures

My Congressional District

"My Congressional District gives you quick and easy access to selected statistics collected by the U.S. Census Bureau through the American Community Survey (ACS) and County Business Patterns (CBP). The ACS provides detailed demographic, social, economic, and housing statistics every year for the nation's communities. CBP provides annual statistics for businesses with paid employees at a detailed geography and industry level. My Congressional District is powered by ACS and CBP data through the Census Application Programming Interface (API)..."
Congressional District

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Census Bureau Survey Shows Adoption of Structured Management Practices at U.S. Manufacturing Establishments

"Manufacturing establishments in the South and Midwest utilize more structured management practices than their counterparts in the Northeast and West, according to new results from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Management and Organizational Practices Survey.
Structured management practices in the South and Midwest received the highest scores of 0.568 and 0.556, respectively. The West followed with a score of 0.533, and the Northeast adopted the least structured management practices with a score of 0.517.
These scores were based on the survey, which includes 16 questions, that the Census Bureau used to construct a management score that summarizes establishments’ degree of structure in their management practices. Each of the questions on management practices was scored on a scale from zero, for least structured, to one, for most structured. More structured practices are those that are more explicit, formal, frequent or specific. The questions also identify:
  • How activities are monitored.
  • How targets for production and other monitored performance indicators are set.
  • How achievement of those targets are incentivized..."

Manufacturing practices

Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response

"A deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria on April 4, 2017, and a U.S. military strike in response on April 6 have returned the conflict—now in its seventh year—to the forefront of international attention. In response to the April 4 attack, some Members of Congress called for the United States to conduct a punitive military operation. These Members and some others since have praised President Trump’s decision to launch a limited strike, with some calling on the president to consult with Congress about Syria strategy. Other Members have questioned the president’s authority to launch the strike in the absence of specific prior authorization from Congress. In the past, some in Congress have expressed concern about the international and domestic authorizations for such strikes, their potential unintended consequences, and the possibility of undesirable or unavoidable escalation.

Since taking office in January 2017, President Trump has stated his intention to “destroy” the Syria- and Iraq-based insurgent terrorist group known as the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIL, ISIS, or the Arabic acronym Da’esh), and the president has ordered actions to “accelerate” U.S. military efforts against the group in both countries. In late March, senior U.S. officials signaled that the United States would prioritize the fight against the Islamic State and said that Syrian President Bashar al Asad’s future would be determined by the Syrian people. Nevertheless, in the wake of the April 4 attack, President Trump and senior members of his Administration have spoken more critically of Asad’s leadership, and it remains to be seen whether the United States will more directly seek to compel Asad’s departure from power while pursuing the ongoing campaign against the Islamic State..."
Syrian conflict

Introduction to the Legislative Process in the U.S. Congress

"This report introduces the main steps through which a bill (or other item of business) may travel in the legislative process—from introduction to committee and floor consideration to possible presidential consideration. However, the process by which a bill can become law is rarely predictable and can vary significantly from bill to bill. In fact, for many bills, the process will not follow the sequence of congressional stages that are often understood to make up the legislative process. (See CRS Report IG10005, From Bill to Law: Stages of the Legislative Process, by Valerie Heitshusen and Jennifer E. Manning for a one-page visual presentation of the relationship among the procedural stages.) This report presents a look at each of the common stages through which a bill may move, but complications and variations abound in practice.

Throughout, the report provides references to a variety of other CRS reports that focus on specific elements of congressional procedure. CRS also has many other reports not cited herein that address some procedural issues in additional detail (including congressional budget and appropriations processes). These reports are organized by subissue at http://www.crs.gov/iap/ congressional-process-administration-and-elections..."
Legislative process

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Portraits of Nineteenth Century African American Women Activists Newly Available Online

"African American women as well as men assumed civic responsibilities in the decades after the Civil War. William Henry Richards (1856-1941) was active in several organizations that promoted civil rights and civil liberties for African Americans at the end of the nineteenth century.
Richards taught at Howard University Law School from 1890 until his retirement in 1928. In 2013, the Library acquired his collection from the descendants of William C. McNeill, his physician at the end of Richards’ life. Both men were on the faculty of Howard University.
 
Richards’s collection includes portraits of people who joined him and others working in the suffrage and temperance movements and in education, journalism and the arts. Among them were women who were in the public eye, active in a variety of professions and causes. In honor of women’s history month, Prints and Photographs Division staff digitized selected photographs from the collection showing women who were identified by name. These photographs show the women at earlier ages than most portraits previously available of them online..."
19th Century African American Women Activists

U.S. Climate Change Regulation and Litigation: Selected Legal Issues

"On March 28, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order to encourage and promote energy development by modifying climate change policies. As the Trump Administration implements its environmental policies, various legal challenges to Obama Administration climate change regulations remain pending before courts. During the last term of the Obama Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration finalized a series of regulations to address emissions from cars, trucks, and their engines that may contribute to climate change. In addition, EPA finalized regulations pursuant to its authority under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to reduce GHG emissions from stationary sources such as power plants, GHG-emitting oil and gas sources, and landfills. Various stakeholders have challenged a majority of these rules generally contesting the scope of EPA’s authority and its methods for regulating GHG emissions..."
Climate change law

Filibusters and Cloture in the Senate

"The filibuster is widely viewed as one of the Senate’s most characteristic procedural features. Filibustering includes any use of dilatory or obstructive tactics to block a measure by preventing it from coming to a vote. The possibility of filibusters exists because Senate rules place few limits on Senators’ rights and opportunities in the legislative process.

In particular, a Senator who seeks recognition usually has a right to the floor if no other Senator is speaking, and then that Senator may speak for as long as he or she wishes. Also, there is no motion by which a simple majority of the Senate can stop a debate and allow itself to vote in favor of an amendment, a bill or resolution, or most other debatable questions. Most bills, indeed, are potentially subject to at least two filibusters before the Senate votes on final passage: first, a filibuster on a motion to proceed to the bill’s consideration and, second, after the Senate agrees to this motion, a filibuster on the bill itself..." 
Filibusters

Staying Safe in a Tornado

"On April 27, 2011, a series of deadly tornadoes destroyed parts of Tuscaloosa, Cullman, Birmingham and rural communities in northwest Alabama killing 247 people[498 KB] and nearly injuring 1,400. Nearly a month later, a monster tornado tore through Joplin, Missouri, killing 161 residents. In 2013, Oklahoma experienced back-to-back tornado events; the deadliest was in Moore, OK where 25 people died and almost 400 were injured.        
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) there is no guaranteed safety during a tornado. Indeed, we must take seriously even the possibility of a tornado. Although the most violent tornadoes can level and blow away almost any house and those within it, extremely violent EF5 tornadoes are very rare. Most tornadoes are much weaker. You can survive a tornado if you follow safety precautions. Here are three important tips to help keep you safe.
House after a tornado
Make sure you and your loved ones know what constitutes a “safe shelter.”

TIP ❶: Be prepared.

The best way to stay safe during a tornado is to be prepared with:
  •  fresh batteries and a battery-operated TV, radio, or internet-enabled device to listen to the latest emergency weather information;
  • a tornado emergency plan including access to a "safe shelter" for yourself and for people with special needs;
  • an emergency kit (including water, non-perishable food, and medication); and
  • a list of important information, including telephone numbers..."
    Tornadoes