Wednesday, May 31, 2017

NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

"The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries serves as the trustee for a network of underwater parks encompassing more than 600,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters from Washington state to the Florida Keys, and from Lake Huron to American Samoa. The network includes a system of 13 national marine sanctuaries and Papahānaumokuākea and Rose Atoll marine national monuments...."
National Marine Sanctuaries

The Condition of Education: 2017

"The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting, analyzing, and reporting data related to education in the United States and other nations. It fulfills a congressional mandate to collect, collate, analyze, and report full and complete statistics on the condition of education in the United States; conduct and publish reports and specialized analyses of the meaning and significance of such statistics; assist state and local education agencies in improving their statistical systems; and review and report on education activities in foreign countries.

NCES activities are designed to address high-priority education data needs; provide consistent, reliable, complete, and accurate indicators of education status and trends; and report timely, useful, and high-quality data to the U.S. Department of Education, the Congress, the states, other education policymakers, practitioners, data users, and the general public. Unless specifically noted all information contained herein is in the public domain..."
Condition of Education

The Fifth Amendment in Congressional Investigations

"Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn recently invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against selfincrimination in response to a subpoena issued by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for documents related to the Committee’s ongoing investigation into possible Russian involvement in the 2016 election. As noted in this previous Sidebar, this is neither the first, nor is it likely to be the last time that a witness in a congressional investigation invokes the Fifth Amendment as justification for not complying with a committee subpoena.

As a general matter, witnesses may invoke the Fifth Amendment privilege during a congressional investigation with regard to testimony or documents that are: (1) testimonial (“relate[s] a factual assertion”); (2) self-incriminating (any disclosures that tends to show guilt or that furnishes any “link in the chain of evidence” needed to prosecute); and (3) compelled (not voluntarily given). Oral testimony given pursuant to a subpoena and in response to committee questioning almost always qualifies as testimonial and compelled. Therefore, the central inquiry is typically whether the responsive testimony would be “incriminating.” The Supreme Court has taken a broad view of what constitutes incriminating testimony, holding that the privilege protects any statement “that the witness reasonably believes could be used in a criminal prosecution or could lead to other evidence that might so be used.” Even a witness who denies any criminal wrongdoing can refuse to answer questions on the basis that he might be “ensnared by ambiguous circumstances.”..."
Fifth Amendment

What's the Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI)?

"The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015, requires us to remove Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from all Medicare cards by April 2019. A new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) will replace the SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) on the new Medicare cards for Medicare transactions like billing, eligibility status, and claim status. You can find more details in our 11/1/16 SSNRI Open Door Forum slides
We currently use an SSN-based HICN to identify people with Medicare and administer the program. We’ve used the HICN with our business partners:
Under the new system, for each person enrolled in Medicare, we’ll:
  • Assign a new MBI
  • Send a new Medicare card..."

Social Security Numbers

Friday, May 26, 2017

Gypsy Moths Want to Devour Your Favorite Destinations

"Memorial Day Weekend means hitting the road for many of us – vacations, camping, or even moving to a new home. But watch out for an invasive pest that also enjoys new destinations—the destructive gypsy moth. Gypsy moth caterpillars can defoliate, weaken and kill more than 300 different species of trees and shrubs. Since 1970, more than 83 million acres have been defoliated by the gypsy moth in the U.S.
This destructive insect is always interested in a free ride to new locales where its caterpillars can feast.  And Americans are on the move in May—that’s why it’s National Moving Month—giving gypsy moths plenty of opportunities to spread.
Residential moves account for 85 percent of all new gypsy moth infestations, and approximately 40 million Americans will relocate their households this year. Slowing the movement of the gypsy moth is the reason the U.S. Department of Agriculture asks homeowners to inspect for and remove gypsy moth egg masses from household goods before they move from an infested area to a non-infested area..."
Gypsy moths

How Consumer Price Index Data Impacts You

"Every month, Debi Bertram, an economic assistant in our Philadelphia region, checks the price of milk at a local grocery store. She also goes to several stores to check the prices of items such as toothpaste, sports equipment and appliances. You may not know Debi – or any of the men and women who collect data for the Bureau of Labor Statistics – but their findings have a real impact on your life.
Among other things, they’re used for making changes in the federal income tax structure and providing cost-of-living wage adjustments for millions of American workers. Additionally, the president, Congress and the Federal Reserve Board use trends in that data to inform fiscal and monetary policies.
How does it work? BLS data collectors visit or call thousands of locations across the country, from grocery stores to doctors’ offices, to get the prices of about 80,000 different items every month. That data helps BLS compile the Consumer Price Index, which measures the average change over time in prices consumers pay for a market basket of goods and services. It is the key measure of consumer inflation in the U.S. economy..."

Consumer Price Index

New Tool Compares County Criminal Juistice Statistics for Wisconsin and other states

(Via WisBlawg..
"Earlier this week, the nonprofit Measures for Justice launched an amazing new data portal “to assess and compare the criminal justice process from arrest to post-conviction on a county-by-county basis. The data set comprises measures that address three broad categories: Fiscal Responsibility, Fair Process, and Public Safety.”
According to The Marshall Project:
The project, which has as its motto “you can’t change what you can’t see,” centers on 32 “core measures”: yardsticks to determine how well local criminal justice systems are working. How often do people plead guilty without a lawyer? How often do prosecutors dismiss charges? How long do people have to wait for a court hearing? Users can also slice the answers to these questions in different ways, using “companion measures” such as race and political affiliation.
Just six states are included so far, but fortunately for us, Wisconsin is one of them.  The others are Washington, Utah, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida..."
Criminal justice statistics 

The South Is Home to 10 of the 15 Fastest-Growing Large Cities

"Ten of the 15 fastest-growing large cities were located across the South in 2016, with four of the top five in Texas, according to new population estimates released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Conroe, Texas (near Houston), was the fastest-growing large city (population of 50,000 or more) between 2015 and 2016 at 7.8 percent, making its growth rate more than 11 times the nation’s growth rate of 0.7 percent. Some of the other fastest-growing cities were: Frisco, Texas (6.2 percent); McKinney, Texas (5.9 percent); Greenville, S.C. (5.8 percent); and Georgetown, Texas (5.5 percent).
“Overall, cities in the South continue to grow at a faster rate than any other U.S region,” said Amel Toukabri, a demographer in the Census Bureau’s population division. “Since the 2010 Census, the population in large southern cities grew by an average of 9.4 percent. In comparison, cities in the West grew 7.3 percent, while cities in the Northeast and Midwest had much lower growth rates at 1.8 percent and 3.0 percent respectively.”
Four cities in the West — Bend, Ore.; Buckeye, Ariz.; Lehi, Utah; and Meridian, Idaho — were among the top 15 fastest growing. Only one city in the Midwest, Ankeny, Iowa, topped the list while no cities in the Northeast were among the nation’s fastest growing.
The statistics released today  cover all local governmental units, including incorporated places (such as cities and towns), minor civil divisions (such as townships) and consolidated cities (government units for which the functions of an incorporated place and its parent county have merged).
Later this summer, the Census Bureau will release additional population estimates by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin for the nation, states and counties..."
Cities population changes

Transit and Ground Passenger Transportation Increased in 2015

" Nonemployer businesses, establishments without paid employees, in the Transit and Ground Passenger Transportation subsector (North American Industry Classification System (NAICS 485) increased by 59.4 percent from 362,445 in 2014 to 577,809 in 2015, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics released today. Receipts in this subsector increased 21.9 percent from $11.7 billion in 2014 to $14.3 billion in 2015.
Examples of the Transit and Ground Passenger Transportation subsector include rideshares, taxi and limousine services, chartered bus, school bus and special needs transportation. The Transit and Ground Passenger Transportation subsector had the largest increase within the Transportation and Warehousing sector (NAICS 48-49).
“The Transportation and Warehousing sector reached 1.5 million nonemployer establishments in 2015 leading all sectors in both rate of change (with a 22.2 percent increase) and number of establishments gained (277,383),” said Jenny Tran, chief of the Business Statistics branch. “By comparison, when looking across all sectors covered, the number of establishments rose by 494,466 or 2.1 percent to 24.3 million from 2014 to 2015.”..."
Transportation statistics

Children in a democracy. A migratory family living in a trailer in an open field

"Dorothea Lange, whose photographs of the unemployed and migratory farm workers became synonymous with the Great Depression, was born on May 26, 1895. The caption of this photo reads "On Arizona Highway 87, south of Chandler. Maricopa County, Arizona. Children in a democracy. A migratory family living in a trailer in an open field. No sanitation, no water. They came from Amarillo, Texas. Pulled bolls near Amarillo, picked cotton near Roswell, New Mexico, and in Arizona. Plan to return to Amarillo at close of cotton picking season for work on WPA." 

The photo is one of a series taken for an agricultural "Community Stability and Instability" study by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. Taken by Dorothea Lange and Irving Rusinow, the photographs are a record of pre-World War II rural life and social institutions. Of particular interests are images of African Americans in Alabama and Georgia and migrant laborers hired to work in cotton fields in Arizona and California..." 
Dorothea Lange photography

Take a Ride, On the Safe Side!

"OK, let’s start with a little fun. When is a bicycle not a bicycle? Answer: When it turns into a driveway.While there are a lot of jokes out there about bicycles, let’s be clear, bike safety is NO laughing matter.
We estimate that there are more than 450,000 injuries associated with bicycles that landed people in ERs in 2016.   The most frequent diagnoses were contusions/abrasions (23.0%), fractures (21.7%), and lacerations (15.4%).
And, according to our friends at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) more than 800 bicyclists died in 2015 due to motor-vehicle-related crashes on public roads and highways.
These are some staggering statistics.  We need to do much more to keep kids and adults safe while biking.
May is National Bicycle Safety Month, a good time to remind family and friends to take a ride—a ride on the safe side!  Here’s how:
Helmet Safety:
  • First, use your head: wear a helmet! Wearing one while cycling can significantly reduce the risk of head injury in the event of a fall.
  • When buying a helmet look for the label that reads “Complies with U.S. CPSC Safety Standards for Bicycle Helmets.”
  • Size matters, make sure the helmet fits. Also, it must have a chin strap and buckle that will stay securely fastened during impact.
  • Regularly check the helmet for cracks or degradation. Remember if you crash it, trash it!.."

Bicycle helmets