Friday, June 30, 2006

Smoking ban in Colorado

The Colorado Legislature passed the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act this past session. This Act, which takes effect tomorrow, bans smoking in all indoor public spaces. The exceptions are: private homes, limousines under private hire, hotel rooms (no more then 25%), retail tobacco stores, cigar-tobacco bars, airport smoking concession, outdoor area of a business, workplace with 3 or less employees, farm or ranch (making less then $500,000), and casino retail floor plan. On a related note, the Surgeon General of the United States released a report on secondhand smoke this Tuesday. This report showed that even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can cause harm. For the executive summary and press releases, check out the Department of Health and Human Services web site. If you are a resident of Colorado and want to learn more about the law, you can read more about it at the Smoke Free Colorado web site. There are also links to the Colorado Quitline and Quitnet which provide resources for those who are trying to quit smoking.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Supreme Court Ruling on Guantanamo Bay Detainees

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled today that the military commissions set up to try Guantanamo detainees violated U.S. law and the Geneva Convention. Want to learn more about what this means? Check out the Washington Post article "Supreme Court Rejects War Crimes Trials." Want to learn more about the detainees at Guantanamo Bay? Check out the military's web site, detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

World Drug Report

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime released the annual World Drug Report for 2006. If you don't want to read the whole two-volume set, check out the Executive Summary for a quick overview. There is a nice map showing the main problem drugs for the world on page 3, which shows that cannabis leads with a 32% share of the pie, followed closely at 31% by cocaine-type drugs. This report not only tells you which drugs are being used and where they are coming from, but also the average prices of drugs. For example, the typical price for cannabis herb in the United States at the retail level is $15 a gram, whereas in the Netherlands it is $5.8 a gram (see Chapter 5, Prices).

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Fire season, already?

Yesterday, Governor Owens signed an Executive Order banning open fires and fireworks on state land. This is in response to the high fire danger this year, already there have been 576 wildfires, burning over 80,000 acres in Colorado already this year (see press release). Would you like to see some maps of the fires across the US? The National Interagency Fire Center has a collection of National Fire Maps from various agencies. If you are interested in reading more about the Mato Vega fire which has burnt 11,900 acres so far, check out the Denver Post article "Mato Vega firefighters make strides" (link good until 7/6, after that check out the ProQuest database).

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Veteran's Affairs Hearing

The Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs and Economic Opportunity of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs held an oversight hearing on Veterans Benefits Data Security. You can listen to the hearing on Windows Media Player. You can also read some of the prepared testimony off the witness list page. FirstGov also has a page linking to resources for the Veterans whose data was stolen. This stolen laptop contained data on "as many as 1.1 million military members on active duty, 430,000 members of the National Guard, and 645,000 members of the Reserves" (from the Veterans Affairs press release). If you are concerned you are a victim of identity theft, check out this quick how-to guide on dealing with and avoiding identity theft.

Monday, June 19, 2006

State of the World's Cities

The United Nations just released the State of the World's Cities. This report states that in 2007, the world's urban population will for the first time, exceed the rural population. This report examines the effects of urbanization on government and on individuals in these cities. There is special analysis of some cities, such New Orleans and Paris.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Global Education Digest

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has released the Global Education Digest. This report compares educational systems across the world, from Burundi to the United States. You can compare the percentage of students in school and how many teachers the systems have. If you would like more information on education, check out our subject guide on Education.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Donald Hall appointed new Poet Laureate

Donald Hall has been appointed the new Poet Laureate for the United States, he replaces outgoing Poet Laureate Ted Kooser. You can read the press release, which gives a bibliography of Hall who has published 15 books of poetry. The most recent "White Apples and the Taste of Stone" is a collection of selected poetry written between 1946 and 2006. For a more complete biography, with a list of all the books (poetry and prose), on Hall check out the "About the Poet Laureate" web site. This is also where you can hear Hall read his poem, "Mount Kearsarge."

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Ward Churchill report from Standing Committee on Research Misconduct

The Standing Committee on Research Misconduct has released it's "Report and Recommendations of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct Concerning Allegations of Research Misconduct by Professor Ward Churchill." This is their report in response to the earlier report by the investigative committee, which you can read about on our May 16th posting. If you don't want to read all 22 pages, check out the Denver Post article, "Panel: Churchill should be fired" (link good until 6/27, after that on campus users can find the article in ProQuest Newstand).

Violent crime up in US

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has released the preliminary Uniform Crime Report for 2005. This annual report shows that across the US violent crime increased 2.5% in 2005 in comparison to 2004. This is the preliminary report, so there is no specific data on Colorado, but violent crime went up 1.9% in the west. The Midwest had the largest increase, with a 5.7% increase overall. If you would like to see more detailed tables for 1995-2004, check out the FBI's Uniform Crime Report, when the final 2005 report comes out it will be on this page. If you are interested in additional crime statistics, check out our subject guide. If you would like to see the Washington Post's take on this release, you can read "Violent Crime Rises in the US."

Monday, June 12, 2006

Referendum to deny services to illegal immigrants

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the referendum to deny services to illegal immigrants violated the state constitutional requirement that initiatives deal with only one subject. The proposal was passed by the State Title Board back in January, see page 22 of the initiatives filed, but will now need to either be refiled using different language or droped altogether. The proposed initiative is available online. The Denver Post has put the Associated Press article, "Immigrant services item off the ballot," up on their web site.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Homeland Security Digital Library

We now have access to the Homeland Security Digital Library. This website is a joint project of the Department of Homeland Security and the Naval Postgraduate School. The HSLD contains most unclassified homeland security policy documents, Presidential directives, selected CRS and GAO reports, and papers written at the Naval Postgraduate School. There is basic and advanced searching, browse topics, and a page listing policy and strategy documents. Keep in mind that Homeland security deals with more than just terrorism and defense issues. You will find a lot here on bird flu and hurricanes. Look at the Browse Topics page to get an idea of the breath of topics covered.

For some reason, HSD and NPS feel that they have to have some control over who uses this site. Anyone can use it, but they have to register first. They now allow academic libraries to register their IP ranges so that no registration is required for University of Colorado users.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

"Clandestine ‘spider’s web’ of detentions and transfers"--Council of Europe

The Council of Europe released a report today titled "Alleged secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers involving Council of Europe member states." This report discusses the
CIA secret prisons and prisoner transfers in Europe. Presidential Press Secretary Snow reacted to the renditions of prisoners in his press briefing today, but did not comment directly on this report. The Council of Europe also proposed a draft resolution dealing with human rights, specificity dealing with transfers of prisoners and secret jails. For a fun graphic, check out "The global 'spider's web' of secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers." For analysis of these reports, check out the Washington Post article "Report Suggests Poland, Romania Allowed CIA Prisons."

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Taking a trip out of Boulder?

Did you know that the bigger the city you live in the higher the probability you will go on a trip on a mode of transportation other then your car? Did you know that only a little over 10 percent of long distance travel is via public transportation (air, train, bus, etc.)? Learn all these facts and more at the Bureau of Transportation Statistics "Long Distance Transportation Patterns." If you are thinking about flying out of Denver on your next trip, you might want to check out the Air Travel Price Index, which has the prices flying out of Denver going down in the latest quarter. Need more travel and transportation information? Check out our transportation subject guide or travel information guide.

Monday, June 05, 2006

World Environment Day

Today has been declared World Environment Day by the United Nations. Want to learn more about what this means? Check out the UNEP web site. In honor of today's celebration which focuses on drylands, the UNEP has released the Global Desert Outlook report. If you are interested in environmental issues, why not take a look at some of the library's subject guides on the Environment and Energy.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Latest on Katrina

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has just released the draft final report of the Interagency Performance Evaluation Taskforce (say that 5 times fast). The report is available in 9 volumes: Executive Summary and Introduction, Geodetic Vertical and Water Level Datum, The Hurricane Protection System, The Storm, The Performance - Levees and Floodwalls, The Performance - Interior Drainage and Pumping, The Consequences, Engineering and Operational Risk and Reliability Analysis and finally General Appendices. You might think you could breeze through the summary volume and see what the report has to say, but that volume alone is 68 pages. So if you just want a quick overview why not check out the Associated Press article "Corps takes blame for New Orleans flooding" available at the