Friday, December 29, 2006

GAO Reports for the Week

Here are this week's Government Accountability Office reports, due to the holidays there is only one report this week. To learn more about the GAO, read the library's guide.


1. Long-Term Care Insurance: Federal Program Has a Unique Profit Structure and Faced a Significant Marketing Challenge. GAO-07-202, December 29.
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Thursday, December 28, 2006

State Department's Office of Protocol

Question: If both the U.S. national anthem and the national anthem of a foreign country were being played at an event (in the United States), which one would be played first? Find the answer at the Protocol FAQ page.

Since the time of the Egyptian pharaohs, there have been government officials in charge of diplomatic conduct. Today, more than 3,000 years later, it is the Office of the Chief of Protocol that advises, assists, and supports the President of the United States, the Vice President, and the Secretary of State on official matters of national and international protocol, ensuring that the accepted rules of conduct in every capital of the world are implemented.

Visit the following pages to learn more:
Check out books on diplomatic etiquette available through the University Libraries.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Senate History

Want to learn about interesting historic events this week in the Senate? Check out the Senate History page, the right sidebar highlights information on events this week.

The portrait on the left is Senator Henry Dodge of Wisconsin. His son, Caesar Dodge was also a Senator from Iowa, they are the only father-son who served at the same time in Senate history. Caesar Dodge took his oath of office on December 26th in 1848. Interestingly, both Dodge's served as one of the first two Senators for their states. View a list of Senators from Iowa and Wisconsin.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Who Got a Christmas Phone Call from the President?

Did you get a personal phone call from the President on Christmas Eve?

From Camp David, the President made telephone calls to members of the Armed Forces who are stationed overseas, or who have recently returned from overseas locations, to wish them a Merry Christmas, and to thank them for their service.

Find out who the call recipients were this year...

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Santa Claus and NORAD

Want to see where at Santa Claus is? NORAD tracks Santa across the globe as he delivers his presents to all the good children across the globe. NORAD has been tracking Santa since 1958. In addition to tracking Santa you can ask him questions and how many cookies has Santa eaten so far. Currently at 8:30 MST Santa is flying into Kabul, Afghanistan.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Tax Forms for 2006

Want to find tax forms online? We have set up a tax forms guide, which links to federal and state tax forms available electronically. We also have paper tax forms available on the third floor in the southwest corner of Norlin Library. The following is a list of the forms, instructions, and publications we have received in paper. While we attempt to keep this list up-to-date, due to high demand, some forms may be temporarily out of stock.

For those of you who get the blog via an RSS feed, we will be updating this page often and you may receive multiple copies in your feed reader.

  • 1040
  • 1040A
  • 1040-ES (includes instructions)
  • <1040ez
  • 1040EZ-T
  • 1040NR
  • 1040NR-EZ
  • 1096
  • 1098
  • 1099-DIV
  • 1099-MISC
  • 1099-S
  • 2106
  • 2441
  • 3903
  • 4562
  • 4868
  • 8283
  • 8822
  • 8829
  • 8843
  • 8863
  • 8913
  • Schedule 1, 1040A
  • Schedule 2, 1040A (includes instructions)
  • Schedule 3, 1040A (includes instructions)
  • Schedule A (on same sheet as B)
  • Schedule B (on same sheet as A)
  • Schedule C
  • Schedule C-EZ
  • Schedule D
  • Schedule E
  • Schedule EIC
  • Schedule F
  • Schedule R
  • Schedule SE
  • W-2
  • W-3
  • W-4


  • 1040
  • 1040A
  • 1040EZ
  • 1040NR
  • 1040NR-EZ
  • 1040X
  • 1098
  • 1099-DIV
  • 1099-MISC
  • 1099-S
  • 2106
  • 2441
  • 4562
  • 8283
  • 8829
  • 8913
  • Schedule 2, 1040A
  • Schedule 3, 1040A (includes form)
  • Schedule R
  • W-2
  • W-3
  • W-4


  • Publication 17
  • Publication 334
  • Publication 535
  • Publication 1796


  • Colorado Income Tax Guide (includes all the forms and instructions)

GAO reports for the week

Here are this week's Government Accountability Office reports. To learn more about the GAO, read the library's guide.


1. Transportation-Disadvantaged Populations: Actions Needed to Clarify Responsibilities and Increase Preparedness for Evacuations. GAO-07-44, December 22.
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2. Workforce Investment Act: Employers Found One-Stop Centers Useful in Hiring Low-Skilled Workers; Performance Information Could Help Gauge Employer Involvement. GAO-07-167, December 22.
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3. Homeland Security First Responder Grants: Cash Management Improvement Act Exemption and Cash Advance Funding Require Additional DHS Oversight. GAO-07-68, December 22.
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4. Defense Health Care: Access to Care for Beneficiaries Who Have Not Enrolled in TRICARE's Managed Care Option. GAO-07-48, December 22.
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5. International Energy: International Forums Contribute to Energy Cooperation within Constraints. GAO-07-170, December 19.
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6. Export Controls: Challenges Exist in Enforcement of an Inherently Complex System. GAO-07-265, December 20.
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7. Military Operations: High-Level DOD Action Needed to Address Long-standing Problems with Management and Oversight of Contractors Supporting Deployed Forces. GAO-07-145, December 18.
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8. New Drug Development: Science, Business, Regulatory, and Intellectual Property Issues Cited as Hampering Drug Development Efforts. GAO-07-49, November 17.
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9. Veterans' Disability Benefits: VA Can Improve Its Procedures for Obtaining Military Service Records. GAO-07-98, December 12.
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10. Federal Law Enforcement: Survey of Federal Civilian Law Enforcement Functions and Authorities. GAO-07-121, December 19.
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11. Compacts of Free Association: Micronesia and the Marshall Islands Face Challenges in Planning for Sustainability, Measuring Progress, and Ensuring Accountability. GAO-07-163, December 15.
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1. Defense Contracting: Questions for the Record. GAO-07-217R, December 21.

2. Response to a Posthearing Question Related to GAO's November 16, 2006 Testimony on the Defense Travel System. GAO-07-287R, December 19.

3. Head Start: Additional Information on Implementation of Transportation Regulations. GAO-07-194R, November 17.

Related Product:

1. Federal Law Enforcement: Results of Surveys of Federal Civilian Law Enforcement Components. GAO-07-223SP, December 19. [online only]

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Let it snow?

Whether we like it or not, a little snow has fallen out here in Colorado. Although as I look out the window this morning I can see a bit of blue sky peaking out from behind the mountains here. Two to three feet of snow fell since yesterday morning around the Denver metro area. For those of you in the Boulder area, the library is open, although there is no reference service, it is more of a big warm building to study in today.

So for those of you stuck in your house here, like me, here are some things to check out on the snow.

Denver International Airport (DIA): The airport is currently closed until Friday at noon. (I and a lot of other people are hoping that they won't extend that closure any farther!)

Governor Owen's Disaster Declaration: Governor Bill declared a state of emergency yesterday to help with the storm. The National Guard has been mobilized and has already helped people get out of their stuck cars and delivered supplies to the over 1000 people stuck at DIA.

National Weather Service: The current weather state here in the Denver/Boulder area. The snow is currently really light and hopefully coming to an end.

Colorado Travel Information: This site links to information on road closures and estimated travel times. And for those of your out of state who wonder about all the craziness over a few feet of snow, some live video cams of how the roads look (due to a high volume of web traffic this page may time out and require a few tries to load).

Finally, on a non-governmental front, the web site DenverChannel has videos and pictures of the snow around the state.

Monarchies in Nepal and Bhutan

According to articles in The New York Times from last Sunday, the monarchies in Nepal and Bhutan are both poised to lose power completely as the countries continue to move towards self-rule.
  • From the first piece, "As Nepal Shakes Up Ancient Order, All Is Up in the Air":

    "The very ground rules of nationhood are being rewritten here. In a sense, the Nepalese are making themselves into citizens of a nation rather than subjects of a king. In fact, the monarcy itself is an open question: a special assembly is to be elected next year to decide whether Nepal needs a king at all."

    Read the full story.

    Check out the Government Publications Library country guide on Nepal.

  • From the second, "King of Tiny Bhutan Steps Down Early to Make Way for Son":

    "In recent years, King Wangchuck has been slowly pushing his isolated mountain state toward modernity and has opted to relinquish much of the monarchy's power."

    Read the full story.

    See set of discussion papers on the Gross National Happiness (GNH) concept in Bhutan.

    Learn more about Bhutan from the official Bhutan web portal.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The National Weather Service

There's a major snowstorm raging as we speak... The Denver Post's website reads:

"Blizzard Paralyzes State
A dangerous blizzard blew into Colorado early this morning, shutting down cities, schools, Denver International Airport and the state's three Interstate highways from Denver east to Kansas and Nebraska and south to New Mexico. Even the U.S. Postal Service shut down early in the afternoon. Gov. Bill Owens declared the storm a disaster emergency and activated the National Guard to assist emergency workers."

Read the full article online...

According to the National Weather Service,
we should expect 10 inches in low-lying parts of the metro area and as much as 20 inches in the foothills.

So what is the National Weather Service?

The National Weather Service (NWS) is a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is part of the Department of Commerce.

According to its website the National Weather Service "provides weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy. NWS data and products form a national information database and infrastructure which can be used by other governmental agencies, the private sector, the public, and the global community."

Read more about the NWS.

Check out the Organization page to look at maps of weather forecast centers, river forecast centers, and aviation center weather centers as well as a list of NWS offices and centers by region and state.

Visit the Weather Education page for links to classroom teaching materials, photos and images, a weather glossary and bibliography, and to learn about weather-related careers.

Also, check out the Government Publications Library Weather and Climate subject guide.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

206th Congress 2nd Session - A "Do Nothing" Congress?

The 2nd session of the 109th House of Representatives (calendar year 2006) adjourned sine die on Friday, December 8th. Ending the year with only 101 legislative days (104 calendar days) in session, this House met fewer times than the "Do Nothing" Congress of 1948.

Since the 95th Congress, which convened 30 years ago in 1977, the House has had an annual average of 139 legislative days in session. The 95th House, 2nd session (1977) met for a total of 174 legislative days, followed by the 1st session of the 96th House, which met for 173. In contrast, the 2nd sessions of the 108th and 109th Houses, which met in 2004 and 2006 respectively, were in session for only 110 and 101 legislative days.

For more detail, check out the Days in Session Calendars for the House (back to 1975) and Senate (back to 1978) from the Library of Congress' Thomas site.

Monday, December 18, 2006

New Look and Feel

As many of you may have noticed the blog looks a lot different today! You may have also noticed the little labels at the bottom of the posts that started showing up last week. We decided after a year that perhaps it was time to play around a little with the template, so we redesigned the page to make it fit in with our new home page in the library.

As you can see from the "Tags" category on the right you can now click on and read the post on a particular topic. It will only display a few of the results on the first page, but if you want to scroll through, just click the "Older Posts" link at the bottom of the list. We have tagged all of the posts going back to the first one on the National Flu Pandemic.

If you have any comments on our design or the new layout, please post a comment or send us an email.

New Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

President Bush made a statement today at Robert Gates swearing in ceremony as the new Secretary of Defense.

After his confirmation Gates stated (available on the same page as Bush's statement):
"All of us want to find a way to bring America's sons and daughters home again. But, as the President has made clear, we simply cannot afford to fail in the Middle East. Failure in Iraq at this juncture would be a calamity that would haunt our nation, impair our credibility, and endanger Americans for decades to come."

Want to read the media's reaction? Check out the Washington Post's "Gates Sworn in as Defense Secretary" or the New York Times article "Replacing Rumsfield, Gates Issues warning on Iraq."

Want to know more about Gates? Check out the blog posting "Who is Robert M. Gates?"

New regulations of Oil and Gas Industry in Colorado

The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission adopted new rules this weekend regulating the oil and gas industry. You can read the rules and the discussions leading up to this decision on Revisions to Regulation No. 7. These changes will still have to be approved by the state legislature, when it reconvenes next year.

The Denver Post wrote about this decision today in the article "Strong rules for gas and oil."

Interested in learning more about government and the environment? Check out the library's subject guide.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

House and Senate Vacancies...

With all the news about Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota, I got to wondering...

Check out this Congressional Research Service report: House and Senate Vacancies: How are they filled?

Friday, December 15, 2006

GAO Reports for the week

This is this weeks Government Accountability Office reports. To learn more about the GAO, read the library's guide.


1. National Flood Insurance Program: New Processes Aided Hurricane Katrina Claims Handling, but FEMA's Oversight Should Be Improved. GAO-07-169, December 15.
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2. Defense Infrastructure: Continuing Challenges in Managing DOD Lodging Programs as Army Moves to Privatize Its Program. GAO-07-164, December 15.
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3. Smithsonian Institution: Additional Information Should Be Developed and Provided to Filmmakers on the Impact of the Showtime Contract. GAO-07-275, December 15.
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4. Federal Information Collection: A Reexamination of the Portfolio of Major Federal Household Surveys Is Needed. GAO-07-62, November 15.
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5. Bank Secrecy Act: FinCEN and IRS Need to Improve and Better Coordinate Compliance and Data Management Efforts. GAO-07-212, December 15.
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6. Information Technology: Status and Challenges of Employee Exchange Program. GAO-07-216, December 15.
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7. Prescription Drugs: Improvements Needed in FDA's Oversight of Direct-to-Consumer Advertising. GAO-07-54, November 16.
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8. Border Security: US-VISIT Program Faces Strategic, Operational, and Technological Challenges at Land Ports of Entry. GAO-07-248, December 6.
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9. Intercity Passenger Rail: National Policy and Strategies Needed to Maximize Public Benefits from Federal Expenditures. GAO-07-15, November 13.
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10. Next Generation Air Transportation System: Progress and Challenges Associated with the Transformation of the National Airspace System. GAO-07-25, November 13.
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11. USDA Conservation Programs: Stakeholder Views on Participation and Coordination to Benefit Threatened and Endangered Species and Their Habitats. GAO-07-35, November 15.
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12. U.S. Insular Areas: Economic, Fiscal, and Financial Accountability Challenges. GAO-07-119, December 12.
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13. Darfur Crisis: Progress in Aid and Peace Monitoring Threatened by Ongoing Violence and Operational Challenges. GAO-07-9, November 9.
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14. Darfur Crisis: Death Estimates Demonstrate Severity of Crisis, but Their Accuracy and Credibility Could Be Enhanced. GAO-07-24, November 9.
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1. Rebuilding Iraq: Status of DOD's Reconstruction Program. GAO-07-30R, December 15.

2. Homeland Security: Agriculture Specialists' Views of Their Work Experiences After Transfer to DHS. GAO-07-209R, November 14.

3. NASA's System for Tracking Foreign Contracts and Subcontracts. GAO-07-142R, November 9.

Special Publication:

1. 2006 Report on GAO's Use of Provisions in the GAO Personnel Flexibilities Act of 2000 and the GAO Human Capital Reform Act of 2004. [Appendix 2 of GAO's 2006 Performance and Accountability Report] GAO-07-289SP, December 2006.

2. Understanding Similarities and Differences Between Accrual and Cash Deficits. GAO-07-117SP, December 2006

Presentations by the Comptroller General:

1. "21st Century Challenges--Key Areas for Oversight: Retirement, Pension, and Health Care Insecurity" by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement, in Washington, D.C. GAO-07-270CG, December 7, 2006.

2. "Increasing Financial Literacy in America" by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission, in Washington, D.C. GAO-07-284CG, December 11, 2006.

3. "America's Fiscal Future: Implications for Higher Education and Global Competitiveness" by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the Council of Graduate Schools annual meeting, in Washington, D.C. GAO-07-261CG, December 7, 2006

Thursday, December 14, 2006

State of the World's Children

UNICEF has released the 2007 edition of the State of the World's Children. There are a number of ways to access this report: PDF, HTML and if you want to read the summary it is also available in PDF.

This report provides statistics on education, literacy, disease, economic indicators, pregnancy, and other factors affecting children. It also discusses in detail issues in equality. The key message of this year's report is on gender equality. The report states "Gender equality produces a double dividend: It benefits both women and children. Healthy, educated and empowered women have healthy, educated and confident daughters and sons. Gender equality will not only empower women to overcome poverty and live full and productive lives, but will better the lives of children, families and countries as well."

Some of the features of the report from the html version are:
  • Customizable Statistical Tables these tables allow you to compare countries or regions side by side using economic and social data.
  • Regional Reports UNICEF has also released regional reports on Latin America and South Asia, a report on the Middle East and South Africa is forthcoming.
  • Profiles There are individual profiles of women on a variety of issues from household equality to political equality.
  • Youth Centre This section links to photos of women and children, a gender equality quiz, an interactive web site for youth, and a profile of Kiriam a girl who was taken by a child collector.

Want to check out the older copies of this book? Some are available online and additional copies are available in print in the library, view the library record. Browse through Chinook, the library catalog, for publications from UNICEF.

Want additional resources on children? Check out the library's subject guide.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

NPR ran a story last night on "All Things Considered" about the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's proposed plan to make experimental drugs more widely accessible to patients with serious illnesses like cancer and AIDS.

What is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and what does it do?

The FDA is a consumer protection agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. It consists of a team of about 9,000 public health employees that includes physicians, nurses, consumer safety officers, lawyers, and scientists, with specialties ranging from biomaterials engineering to pharmacology.

The FDA dates its origin to June 1906, when President Teddy Roosevelt signed the Food and Drugs Act and entrusted implementation of this law to the Bureau of Chemistry of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Bureau, the oldest U.S. consumer protection office, eventually became the FDA, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The agency is responsible to the American public to ensure that:

  • Foods are safe, wholesome and truthfully labeled.
  • Drugs for both humans and animals, and vaccines for humans are safe and effective.
  • Blood used for transfusions is safe and in adequate supply.
  • Medical devices, from scalpels to CT scanners, are safe and effective.
  • Transplanted tissues are safe and effective.
  • Equipment that uses radiant energy, such as X-ray machines and microwave ovens, is safe.
  • Cosmetics are safe and properly labeled.

Visit the FDA's website to learn more about its structure and organization, locations, components, mission, and more. Take an online tour or watch a slide show.

Browse through Chinook, the Libraries Catalog, for titles about the FDA or published by the FDA.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Congress in Recess

Congress is in recess until next year, but rather then give up our weekly reports on Congress I thought I would highlight a variety of online resources.

This week I want to look at Thomas. Thomas is a database from the Library of Congress that gathers resources on legislation in Congress. This web site is a good free resource for searching for information on what Congress is doing. They actually have good coverage of going back as well. For a complete list, check out the About Thomas page, but here are a few of the resources you can find there:
  • Bill Summary and Status (1973 to present): The summary and status information includes: sponsor(s); cosponsor(s); official, short and popular titles; floor/executive actions; detailed legislative history; Congressional Record page references; bill summary; committees of referral; reporting and origin; subcommittees of referral; links to other committee information provided by the House of Representatives; amendment descriptions; subjects; a link to the full text versions and if the bill has been enacted into law, and a link to the full text of the law on the Government Printing Office Web site.
  • House Roll Call Votes (1990 to present) and Senate Roll Call Votes (1989 to present): These are the recorded votes of members of Congress.
  • Congressional Record (1989 to present): This is a record of what happens on the floor of both the House and Senate.
  • and much more....

If you are interested in additional legislative resources, check out the library's subject guide.

Online schooling in Colorado

Many of you may have caught today's Denver Post article, "Auditor Blasts Online Schools." Want to read the auditor's report that caused all the concern? It is available online from the Office of the State Auditor's web site, as "Online Education Department of Education Performance Audit."

You can also read more accountability reports on schools in Colorado, check out last week's post on Colorado School Accountability Reports.

Finally, if you want additional educational resources from the government, check out the library's subject guide.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Holidays at the White House

It is Monday morning and while I am sure you still have quite a pile of email to get through, why not take a break and check out the White House's Holiday web site. There are links to pictures of the White House, the Holiday Program, and videos of the First Lady receiving the tree and showing off the decorations.

All this is interesting, but my favorite tradition at the White House is the fifth annual Barney holiday video. Barney is President Bush's Scottish Terrier. This year Barney is putting on a big holiday show, but he has to deal with the Treasury telling him he has no budget and audition dancers like Karl Rove (who makes the cut) and Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings (who despite advice from Emmit Smith doesn't make the cut). Check out the transcript and video online, it is available in Windows Media, Quicktime, Real Media or you can download the podcast from iTunes.

Unrest and Potential Disaster in the Central African Republic

I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in a town southwest of the capital city of the Central African Republic (CAR) back in 1991-1993, so I obviously take personal interest in some of the current news coming out of central Africa. Sandwiched between Chad, the Darfur region of Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, CAR is now being dragged into the chaos plaguing the area.

Read more about what's happening in CAR from:

Learn more about the Central African Republic by visiting the Government Publications Library's subject guide.

Friday, December 08, 2006

GAO reports for the week

This is this weeks Government Accountability Office reports. To learn more about the GAO, read the library's guide. You may have actually heard about GAO's testimony before Congress this week on Katrina, check out the testimony further down this entry, or read the highlights online.


1. Intellectual Property: Strategy for Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP) Requires Changes for Long-Term Success. GAO-07-74, November 8.
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2. Information Technology: DOD Needs to Ensure That Navy Marine Corps Intranet Program Is Meeting Goals and Satisfying Customers. GAO-07-51, December 8.
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3. GSA Fleet: Information on the Effect of Donating Cars to YouthBuild USA and Potential Benefits to Rural YouthBuild Participants. GAO-07-153, December 8.
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4. No Child Left Behind Act: Education's Data Improvement Efforts Could Strengthen the Basis for Distributing Title III Funds. GAO-07-140, December 7.
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5. End-Stage Renal Disease: Bundling Medicare's Payment for Drugs with Payment for All ESRD Services Would Promote Efficiency and Clinical Flexibility. GAO-07-77, November 13.
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6. Export Controls: Agencies Should Assess Vulnerabilities and Improve Guidance for Protecting Export-Controlled Information at Universities. GAO-07-70, December 5.
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7. Export Controls: Agencies Should Assess Vulnerabilities and Improve Guidance for Protecting Export-Controlled Information at Companies. GAO-07-69, December 5.
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8. Financial Literacy and Education Commission: Further Progress Needed to Ensure an Effective National Strategy. GAO-07-100, December 4.
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2. VA Health Care: Spending for Mental Health Strategic Plan Initiatives Was Substantially Less Than Planned. GAO-07-66, November 21.
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1. End-Stage Renal Disease: Medicare Payments for All ESRD Services, Including Injectable Drugs, Should Be Bundled, by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the House Committee on Ways and Means. GAO-07-266T, December 6.

2. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Disaster Relief: Continued Findings of Fraud, Waste, and Abuse, by Gregory D. Kutz, managing director, forensic audits and special investigations, before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. GAO-07-252T, December 6.
Highlights -

3. Energy Employees Compensation: GAO's Prior Work Has Identified Needed Improvements in Various Aspects of the Program, by Daniel Bertoni, acting director, education, workforce, and income security issues, before the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims, House Committee on the Judiciary. GAO-07-233T, December 5.
Highlights -

4. Improper Payments: Incomplete Reporting under the Improper Payments Information Act Masks the Extent of the Problem, by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information,
and International Security, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. GAO-07-254T, December 5.
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5. Postsecondary Education: Multiple Tax Preferences and Title IV Student Aid Programs Create a Complex Education Financing Environment, by Michael Brostek, director, strategic issues, before the Senate Committee on Finance. GAO-07-262T, December 5.
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Presentation by Comptroller General:

"Modernizing Accountability Organizations in Times of Fiscal Constraint" by David M. Walker, Comptroller General of the United States, before the National Intergovernmental Audit Forum, in Silver Spring, Maryland. GAO-07-251CG, December 1, 2006.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

IAEA's Incident & Emergency Centre (IEC)

I recently read an online news article about a construction worker who found a small, shiny, metallic object at a building site in Chile. He put it in his pocket, showed it to a colleague, his boss, and six other coworkers. By evening, the worker was in the hospital, vomiting from radiation poisoning. What he´d found was a powerful, unshielded iridium-192 source. By accident, it had dislodged from equipment where it was used to check for welding flaws in the building under construction. Within days, Chile´s radiation and health authorities placed an urgent call for help to the International Atomic Energy Agency's Incident & Emergency Centre hotline.

The Incident & Emergency Centre (IEC) serves as the IAEA's focal point for responding to nuclear or radiological incidents and emergencies and for promoting improvement in Member States’ emergency response and preparedness.

The IEC provides for an integrated system through which States, their competent authorities, international organizations, technical experts and the Secretariat can effectively share information and experience, and coordinate the provision of assistance for response to or preparedness for incidents or emergencies.

The Incident and Emergency Centre was established 1 February 2005. It supersedes the former Emergency Response Centre (ERC) and its functions have been extended to include: incident reporting (INES/NEWS), coordinating prompt assistance to requesting States in the case of a nuclear security incident, and to providing coordinated technical support to the Agency’s Division of Public Information in the case of an event of safety or security concern to the media.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Colorado Disease Control and Environmental Epidemiology

Today I thought I would reward all those Colorado readers with a brief discussion on the Colorado Disease Control and Environmental Epidemiology division, which is part of the Department of Public Health and the Environment. According to their web site this group "tracks, controls and prevents communicable diseases and other conditions in Colorado to reduce illness and premature deaths. Staff members also assess risks from toxic exposures in the environment to prevent adverse health effects."

What can you find there?
  • Information on specific diseases effecting residents of Colorado, such as Flu, STDs/HIV and Tuberculosis.
  • Surveillance Reports showing information on the spread of antibiotic resistance, flu and sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Information on birth defects, developmental disabilities, and factors in developmental delays in Colorado children.
  • and much more...

This division has 180 employees and provides additional support on issues such as emergency preparedness and response, refugee health screening, and immunizations. For more information, check out their FAQ.

Interested in additional health information from the government? Check out the library's subject guide. The library also receives many publications from this agency, which you can find by searching our online catalog, Chinook.

Colorado School Accountability Reports

The Colorado Department of Education released the School Accountability Reports yesterday. These reports provide a quick overview of how the school compares to other schools in the area as well as some statistics on factors such as funding, school safety, and number of students. These reports will be mailed to all parents in the next few weeks, but if you would like to view them online they are available in two places:

Department of Education site: You can search by keyword or map and also read a review of student progress in the past five years.

Denver Post site: This site links to both the reports and the CSAP and ACT scores.

Want to view additional education resources? Check out the library's subject guide.

Iraq Study Group Report

The Iraq Study Group Report will be released this morning at 9:00 a.m. (Mountain) on the following four sites:

The Executive Summary is available now from The Washington Post's website.

Read President Bush's remarks after receiving the report.

Read more about the Iraq Study Group from an earlier blog posting.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Robert Gates before the Senate

The Senate Armed Services Committee met with Secretary of Defense nominee Robert Gates. The committee then approved his nomination and it now moves to the full Senate for a vote. Want to see the hearing? The Washington Post has opening remarks from Gates, Senator John McCain, and Senator Ted Kennedy. You can also read Gates written response to Committee questions, a 65-page document on the committee website.

Want to hear more from the hearing? Check out the Washington Post article "Senate Committee Unanimously Approves Gates."

Want to know more about Gates? Check out the blog posting "Who is Robert M. Gates?"

Monday, December 04, 2006

Rep. Tom Tancredo discusses Miami

Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) was on MSNBC's Tucker Carlson last week discussing Miami, which he called a "Third World Country." Want to watch the video? Checkout the video on his web site where you can also read his letter in response to Governor Bush's complaints about his comments.

Rep. Tancredo is the Chairman to the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus a group dedicated to "highlight the continuing growth in illegal immigration through an aggressive press and member education operation."

The Denver Post wrote an article on Rep. Tancredo's comments and Gov. Bush's response entitled "Jeb Bush, Tancredo go mano a mano."

Want to learn more about immigration? Check out the library's subject guide.

Rumsfeld Iraq Memo

From the BBC:

"Former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld proposed major changes to the Bush administration's strategy in Iraq just two days before he resigned.

He made the call in a classified memo to the White House, which has been obtained by the New York Times."

Read the full news story.

Read the full text of the memo.

Friday, December 01, 2006

GAO Reports for the week

This is this weeks Government Accountability Office reports. To learn more about the GAO, read the library's guide.


1. Immigration Benefits: Additional Efforts Needed to Help Ensure Alien Files Are Located when Needed. GAO-07-85, October 27.
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2. Telecommunications: FCC Needs to Improve Its Ability to Monitor and Determine the Extent of Competition in Dedicated Access Services. GAO-07-80, November 29.
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3. Private Pensions: Changes Needed to Provide 401(k) Plan Participants and the Department of Labor Better Information on Fees. GAO-07-21, November 16.
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4. Medicare: Payment for Ambulatory Surgical Centers Should Be Based on the Hospital Outpatient Payment System. GAO-07-86, November 30.
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5. Foreign Physicians: Data on Use of J-1 Visa Waivers Needed to Better Address Physician Shortages. GAO-07-52, November 30.
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6. National Transportation Safety Board: Progress Made, Yet Management Practices, Investigation Priorities, and Training Center Use Should Be Improved. GAO-07-118, November 22.
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7. Eminent Domain: Information about Its Uses and Effect on PropertyOwners and Communities Is Limited. GAO-07-28, November 30.
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8. Defense Acquisitions: Challenges Remain in Developing Capabilities for Naval Surface Fire Support. GAO-07-115, November 30.
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9. Depot Maintenance: Actions Needed to Provide More Consistent Funding Allocation Data to Congress. GAO-07-126, November 30.
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10. Credit Unions: Greater Transparency Needed on Who Credit Unions Serve and on Senior Executive Compensation Arrangements. GAO-07-29, November 30.
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1. Corporate Governance: NCUA's Controls and Related Procedures for Board Independence and Objectivity Are Similar to Other Financial Regulators, but Opportunities Exist to Enhance Its Governance Structure. GAO-07-72R, November 30.

Presentation by the Comptroller General:

1. "Saving Our Future Requires Tough Choices Today" by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, on the Fiscal Wake-Up Tour at Denver City College, Denver, Colorado. GAO-07-269CG, November 28.

Post-election discussions

So voting is completed and the votes are counted (except for a few recounts across the US). Now it is time to evaluate how everything worked. For those of you who had problems voting in Denver, Mayor John Hickenlooper and City Council President Michael Hancock are holding a series of meetings to discuss the elections.

On the subject of voting machines the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission is looking for comments on it's draft Procedural Manual for Voting System Testing and Certification Program.
The Washington Post reported on these guidelines in the article "Security of Electronic Voting Condemned."

Finally, the Colorado Secretary of State will be releasing the official election results today. As of this morning they are still not up, but they should be up this afternoon on the Elections Center web site.

Want to learn more? Check out the library's elections and voting subject guide.

World AIDS Day

December 1st is World AIDS Day. To mark the event, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was joined by UNAIDS Executive Director Dr Peter Piot and leaders of different faiths to commemorate World AIDS Day at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in New York. The Secretary-General delivered a poignant message calling AIDS ‘the greatest challenge of our generation’. The gathering in New York was one of a host of events taking place around the world to mark World AIDS Day 2006.

UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, brings together the efforts and resources of ten UN system organizations to the global AIDS response.

Cosponsors include UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank. Based in Geneva, the UNAIDS secretariat works on the ground in more than 75 countries world wide.

Read the 2006 UNAIDS/WHO AIDS Epidemic Update, which reports on the latest developments in the global AIDS epidemic. With maps and regional summaries, the 2006 edition provides the most recent estimates of the epidemic’s scope and human toll, explores new trends in the epidemic’s evolution.

Browse AIDS related government documents available through Chinook (the Libraries Catalog).

To research health and medical topics, check out our subject guide.