Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Entering day 43

We are now in day 42 of at least an inch of snow cover here in the Denver/Boulder area. Tomorrow, we will be tied for the 4th most consecutive days, according to the National Weather Service. As I look at the window, I see even more falling, so unless a surprise warming trend happens (not the current forecast) we may soon be in third place. For more information on the historical weather in February here, check out the February forecast. Last year in February we actually got to 77 degrees...

If you are in Denver and are wondering when the snowplows will get to your ice covered street, the city has put up a schedule for Snow and Ice Removal. This page is maintained by the Public Works Department for the City and County of Denver. This department is responsible for "year-round road maintenance and repair, weekly household trash collection service to 163,000 households, design and construction management of streets, bridges, and public buildings, transportation services through our parking management, transportation planning, engineering and operations offices, and protection of our urban environment." They are also the group that maintains the traffic cams, which will let you look at the various states of snow removal.

If any of you reading this want to know more about the National Weather Service, check out this blog posting.

Want more resources on climate and weather? Check out the library's guide.

Congressional restrictions on military actions

The Congress has been debating whether or not they have the authority to restrict the military operation in Iraq. The Congressional Research Service has just released a timely report on this topic, "Congressional Restrictions on U.S. Military Operations in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Somalia, and Kosovo: Funding and Non-Funding Approaches."

This report gives background on the various approaches to conflict that Congress has taken or attempted to take in the past.

Want to learn more about the Congressional Research Service? Check out this blog posting from March of last year.

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

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

New Leadership, new House web site

As most of you know the Democrats are now in the majority in both the House and the Senate. The House now has a new home page to go with a new leadership. All the information is still there, but the interface has changed. So here is a brief overview of the web site:

There is a list of representatives and committees on the top. There is also my favorite feature, a search by zip code to find out who your representative is. If you want to contact your representative to express your opinion on any of the legislation coming in the next few weeks, check out this page, which also lets you search for your representative and takes you directly to their comments page if they have one.

The center of the page contains links to legislative resources, such as the schedule for the week, U.S. Code, Congressional Record, or Roll Call votes.

On the sidebars you will find links to particular offices in the House, such as the Clerk of the House, as well as fun features, like Kids in the House and the local weather forecast.

International Human Rights Information

The Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has just released an updated set of country pages. These pages have "country's status of ratification for various human rights instruments, its reporting status, and any special procedures, as well as the most recent concluding observations from the human rights treaty committees. See this graphic of the reporting process as well as the pages regarding the human rights bodies, for more information" (from the UN Pulse Blog).

Interested in more country pages? Check out the library's Foreign Information by Country page.

Interested in more information on Human Rights? Check out the library's guide.

Monday, January 29, 2007

President's Radio Address

Each week President Bush has a short radio address. This week the President focused on "reducing our dependence on oil and expanding access to affordable health care," both issues he addressed in his State of the Union address earlier in the week. You can read or listen to this week's radio address online. These addresses are archived back to 2001.

The Democratic Party always responds to the radio address. This week Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles delivered the response, in which he focused on "Challenges like energy, health care, the need for comprehensive immigration reform, education and Iraq." There is an archive of these responses back to 2005, on the Democratic Party's web site.

Friday, January 26, 2007

GAO Reports for the Week

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


1. Rail Safety: The Federal Railroad Administration Is Taking Steps to Better Target Its Oversight, but Assessment of Results Is Needed to Determine Impact. GAO-07-149, January 26.
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2. Federal Disability Assistance: Stronger Federal Oversight Could Help Assure Multiple Programs' Accountability. GAO-07-236, January 26.
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3. Force Structure: Joint Seabasing Would Benefit from a Comprehensive Management Approach and Rigorous Experimentation before Services Spend Billions on New Capabilities. GAO-07-211, January 26.
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4. Poverty in America: Economic Research Shows Adverse Impacts on Health Status and Other Social Conditions as well as the Economic Growth Rate. GAO-07-344, January 24.
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5. Homeland Security: Progress Has Been Made to Address the Vulnerabilities Exposed by 9/11, but Continued Federal Action Is Needed to Further Mitigate Security Risks. GAO-07-375, January 24.
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6. Office of Personnel Management: Key Lessons Learned to Date for Strengthening Capacity to Lead and Implement Human Capital Reforms. GAO-07-90, January 19.
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7. Understanding Similarities and Differences between Accrual and Cash Deficits, Update for Fiscal Year 2006. [Supplement to GAO-07-117SP, December 2006]. GAO-07-341SP, January 22.

8. Highlights of a GAO Forum: Global Competitiveness: Implications for the Nation's Higher Education System. GAO-07-135SP, January 23.
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9. Federal Employees Health Benefits Program: Premium Growth Has Recently Slowed, and Varies among Participating Plans. GAO-07-141, December 22.
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1. Chemical Demilitarization: Actions Needed to Improve the Reliability of the Army's Cost Comparison Analysis for Treatment and Disposal Options for Newport's VX Hydrolysate. GAO-07-240R, January 26.

2. Federally Chartered Corporation: Financial Statement Audit Reports for the Legion of Valor of the United States of America, Inc., for Fiscal Years 2006 and 2005. GAO-07-322R, January 26.

3. Federally Chartered Corporation: Financial Statement Audit Report for the Navy Club of the United States of America for Fiscal Year 2005. GAO-07-323R, January 26.

4. Federally Chartered Corporation: Financial Statement Audit Report for the Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc., for Fiscal Year 2005. GAO-07-324R, January 26.

5. Federally Chartered Corporation: Financial Statement Audit Reports for the Gold Star Wives of America, Inc., for Fiscal Years 2006 and 2005. GAO-07-325R, January 26.

6. Federally Chartered Corporation: Financial Statement Audit Report for the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association for Fiscal Year 2005. GAO-07-326R, January 26.

7. Federally Chartered Corporation: Financial Statement Audit Reports for the Air Force Sergeants Association for Fiscal Years 2006 and 2005. GAO-07-327R, January 26.

8. Federally Chartered Corporation: Financial Statement Audit Reports for the American Council of Learned Societies for Fiscal Years 2003-2005. GAO-07-328R, January 26.

9. Federally Chartered Corporation: Financial Statement Audit Report for the National Woman's Relief Corps, Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic, Inc., for Fiscal Years 2005 and 2004. GAO-07-329R, January 26.

10. Medicaid Outpatient Prescription Drugs: Estimated 2007 Federal Upper Limits for Reimbursement Compared with Retail Pharmacy Acquisition Costs. GAO-07-239R, December 22.


1. Poverty in America: Consequences for Individuals and the Economy, by Sigurd R. Nilsen, director, education, workforce, and income security issues, before the House Committee on Ways and Means. GAO-07-343T, January 24.
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2. Long-Term Budget Outlook: Deficits Matter--Saving Our Future Requires Tough Choices Today, by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the House Committee on the Budget. GAO-07-389T, January 23.

3. Tax Compliance: Multiple Approaches Are Needed to Reduce the Tax Gap, by Michael Brostek, director, tax issues, before the Senate Committee on the Budget. GAO-07-391T, January 23.
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Presentation by 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 the John Glenn School of Public Affairs, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. GAO-07-374CG, January 10.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

State of Food and Agriculture

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has released the 2006 report State of Food and Agriculture. This report examines food aid relief, for an overview check out the press release on this from the United Nations. The report's main conclusions are that while food aid saves lives, there are real economic costs to the recipients and that other models for aid should be examined.

If you are interested in earlier reports, check out the record for this item in Chinook, the library's catalog.

If you are looking for additional agricultural information, check out the library's subject guide.

Finally, if you would like to learn more about the FAO and the resources they have to offer, check out the library's guide.

World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum is taking place this week in Davos, Switzerland. The meeting, which is attended by a number of public figures, began yesterday, January 25th and will wrap up on Sunday, the 28th.

The website for the annual meeting is packed with a variety of information. Check out:

Learn more about the World Economic Forum.

HIST 1025 class

This is a blog entry for the HIST 1025-040 class. Feel free to discuss issues or any other discussions from the class here in the blog. This blog is monitored by librarians, so feel free to ask questions of us as well as each other. The handout used in this class is available online.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

U.S. Commission of Fine Arts

There are two more years left in the U.S. Mint's 50 State Quarters Program. Five states will get their quarters released this year and the last five next year. Have you ever heard of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts? And did you know that it is involved in the evaluation process of choosing the design for each state quarter? Just this past week, the Commission of Fine Arts weighed in on the proposed designs for the Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska, and Hawaii state quarters.

What is the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and what does it do?

"The Commission of Fine Arts, established in 1910 by Act of Congress, is charged with giving expert advice to the President, Congress and the heads of departments and agencies of the Federal and District of Columbia governments on matters of design and aesthetics, as they affect the Federal interest and preserve the dignity of the nation's capital. The Commission consists of seven "well qualified judges of the fine arts" who are appointed by the President and serve for a term of four years; they may also be reappointed.

The Commission provides advice to the U. S. Mint on the design of coins and medals, and approves the site and design of national memorials, both in the United States and on foreign soil, in accordance with the Commemorative Works Act or the American Battle Monuments Act, whichever applies.

Within the District of Columbia community, the Commission advises on design matters affecting the Historic District of Georgetown, under the Old Georgetown Act, as well as other private sector areas adjacent to federal interests, under the Shipstead-Luce Act.

Lastly, the Commission administers the National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs program, which was created by Congress to benefit non-profit cultural entities whose primary purpose is to provide Washington with exhibition or performing arts."

Learn more about the Commission of Fine Arts.

To read more, check these titles in Chinook, the Libraries catalog.

Lies, More Lies, and Statistics

Frank will be doing a presentation this afternoon from 4-5 in E160 in Norlin Library entitled "Lies, More Lies, and Statistics." This session will discuss how to start a statistical search and how to determine which resources to use. The session will focus on sources for historical statistics in print format as well as statistical databases like the Census, LexisNexis Statistical, UN Common Database, World Development Indicators, and more.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

State of the Union 2007

President George W. Bush made his seventh State of the Union address tonight. You can view it online on his State of the Union 2007 web page. This page also has a quick summary of the address along with links to the 2005 and 2006 photo essays.

Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) gave the Democratic response, which is available from the Washington Post's web site.

Interested in historical States of the Union? Check out the American Presidency Project's State of the Union page, which has them back to the first State of the Union by President George Washington.

Want more presidential information? Check out the library's subject guide on Presidents.

Nomination of Lieutenant General David H. Petraeus

The Senate Armed Services Committee today held a hearing on the confirmation of Lieutenant General David H. Petraeus, to be General and Commander, Multi-National Forces-Iraq. You can read the prepared statements from Lieutenant General Petraeus on the web site for the hearing.

You can read more about this hearing in the Washington Post's "Petraeus Confident in New Iraq Strategy" or in the New York Times' "General Call Iraq Situation 'Dire.'"

Want to learn more about Iraq? Check out the library's country guide.

Friday, January 19, 2007

GAO reports for the week

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

1. Hospital Accreditation: Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations' Relationship with Its Affiliate. GAO-07-79,December 15.
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2. Human Capital: Retirements and Anticipated New Reactor Applications Will Challenge NRC's Workforce. GAO-07-105, January 17.
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3. DOD's High-Risk Areas: Progress Made Implementing Supply Chain Management Recommendations, but Full Extent of Improvement Unknown. GAO-07-234, January 17.
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4. Trade Adjustment Assistance: New Program for Farmers Provides Some Assistance, but Has Had Limited Participation and Low Program Expenditures. GAO-07-201, December 18.

5. Department of Energy: Key Challenges Remain for Developing and Deploying Advanced Energy Technologies to Meet Future Needs .GAO-07-106, December 20.
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6. Budget Issues: FEMA Needs Adequate Data, Plans, and Systems to Effectively Manage Resources for Day-to-Day Operations. GAO-07-139,January 19.
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1. Agricultural Conservation: USDA Should Improve Its Management of Key Conservation Programs to Ensure Payments Promote Environmental Goals, by Lisa R. Shames, acting director, natural resources and environment, before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. GAO-07-370T, January 17.
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2. Securing, Stabilizing, and Rebuilding Iraq: GAO Audit Approach and Findings, by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the House Committee on Armed Services. GAO-07-385T, January 18.

3. Oil and Gas Royalties: Royalty Relief Will Likely Cost the Government Billions, but the Final Costs Have Yet to Be Determined, by Mark E. Gaffigan, acting director, natural resources and environment, before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. GAO-07-369T, January 18.
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4. Passenger Rail Security: Enhanced Federal Leadership Needed to Prioritize and Guide Security Efforts, by Cathleen A. Berrick, director, homeland security and justice issues, before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. GAO-07-225T, January 18.
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5. Defense Acquisitions: DOD Needs to Exert Management and Oversight to Better Control Acquisition of Services, by Katherine V. Schinasi, managing director, acquisition and sourcing management, before the Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, Senate Committee on Armed Services. GAO-07-359T, January 17.
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1. Intercity Passenger Rail: Highlights of GAO Report on Need for National Policy and Strategies to Maximize Public Benefits from Federal Expenditures. GAO-07-382R, January 18.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Avian Influenza in Egypt and Indonesia

When bird flu became a hot topic in the news a couple years ago, most cases were coming out of Southeast Asia, specifically Thailand and Vietnam. According to the World Health Orgnization (WHO), in 2006, 64 percent of all cases and 70 percent of all deaths from avian flu were recorded in Indonesia and Turkey.

Already this year, a new case has been reported in Egypt, bringing the total to 19 cases since March 2006. New cases and deaths have also been reported in Indonesia this year.

Check out the table showing the Cumulative Number of Confirmed Human Cases of Avian Influenza A/(H5N1) Report to WHO.

For further research, visit the following:

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

FirstGov becomes

FirstGov has been renamed What is It is a portal to U.S. government information. There are 5 areas of links: Citizens, Business, Federal Employees, Government-to-Government, and Visitors to the U.S. Each of these portals provides a set of links to various government services. For example, under the Citizens tab there is a link to resources on Money and Taxes, which links to resources from the IRS, state tax groups, consumer guides, and investing.

This web site also provides search capabilities, you can use the quick search on the top of every page or the go for an advanced search which allows you to choose which government domains you want to search.

They have also introduced a new live web chat feature, which available from 12-8PM EST.

Want an non-governmental option for searching for government information? Google has developed a rival search called Google U.S. Government Search.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Iraqi civilian deaths in 2006

The UN estimates that over 34,000 civilians were killed in 2006, according to this press release. Of these, over 6000 were killed between November and December of 2006.

The full UN report on human rights for November and December of 2006, can be viewed online. ReliefWeb, a Internet hub for time-critical humanitarian information on Complex Emergencies and Natural Disasters, which is operated by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, also has a number of additional reports on Iraq.

For additional information on Iraq, check out the library's country guide.

Congress Losing Free Sports Tickets

According to news reports, the U.S. House passed a resolution earlier this month to ban gifts of free tickets to expensive sporting events, and the Senate is poised this week to do the same.

From USA Today:

"The Senate is moving this week to ban members from accepting free tickets to sporting events to cut ties between Congress and the special interests that provide the seats.

Lawmakers have long enjoyed seats in luxury skyboxes paid for by lobbyists and corporations, despite a $50 limit on the gifts they can accept. That's because the tickets often bore no prices or were valued at below the gift limit.

The House adopted a ban on expensive sports tickets earlier this month. Melanie Sloan of the liberal-leaning watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said it was 'crazy' that lawmakers 'could say a ticket worth thousands was worth $50.'"

Read the full story.

The House version, (House Resolution 6), dated January 5, 2007 is available online. See Section 304: Valuation of tickets to sporting and entertainment events.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Martin Luther King Day

Many of us got today off from work or school in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Today, President Bush honored the holiday by sending letters to victims of Hurricane Katrina. He encouraged others to remember that "One of the things that Mrs. King wanted was for MLK Day to be a day of service" (statement at Cardozo High School in Washington, DC).

The White House has also put up a page on African American History on their web site. This page focuses on post-1965 history.

Want to learn more about Martin Luther King? Check out the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institution online.

Interested in more information on African American History? Check out the library's subject guide.

Friday, January 12, 2007

GAO Reports for the Week

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


1. Securing, Stabilizing, and Rebuilding Iraq: Key Issues for Congressional Oversight. GAO-07-308SP, January 9.

2. Indian Issues: The Office of the Special Trustee Has Implemented Several Key Trust Reforms Required by the 1994 Act, but Important Decisions about Its Future Remain. GAO-07-104, December 8.
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1. U.S. Office of Special Counsel's Procedures for Assigning Incoming Cases to and within Organizational Units. GAO-07-263R, January 12.


1. Long-Term Budget Outlook: Saving Our Future Requires Tough Choices Today, by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the Senate Committee on the Budget. GAO-07-342T, January 11.

2. Prescription Drugs: An Overview of Approaches to Negotiate Drug Prices Used by Other Countries and U.S. Private Payers and Federal Programs, by John E. Dicken, director, health care, before the Senate Committee on Finance. GAO-07-358T, January 11.
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Presentation by the Comptroller General

1. "Fiscal, Social Security, and Health Care Challenges" by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, at the Awakening Conference in Sea Island, Georgia. GAO-07-345CG, January 7, 2007

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Nuclear Year In Review

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has posted a "2006 Year In Review" page highlighting events and developments in 2006, a year that "reflected a challenging nuclear agenda."

For a more comprehensive look at news from 2006 (or any year back to 2000), check out their Frontpage News Archive site.

For more on nuclear and other forms of energy, check out the Government Publications Library subject guide to Energy and Alternative Fuels.

President Bush's speech on Iraq strategy

Last night President Bush addressed the nation in regards to his new strategy in Iraq. The White House web site has the following resources in regards to the speech:

Senator Dick Durbin, the Senate Majority Whip, gave the Democratic response.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Fun with food

Today is Wednesday, which in the Denver Post is the food section day and today they featured some recipes using onions. The paper said they got them from the Colorado Department of Agriculture, which reports that in 2005 Colorado produced 418 million pounds of onions, which makes it the 5th largest producer in the nation.

The Department of Agriculture's Division of Markets is the group that puts out the recipes. This division works with farmers to sell their products from local markets to international markets. You can find information on their web site on resources from industry directories to business development tools.

For farmers and ranchers there is a directory of resources, such as information for beginning farmers and market news and aquaculture licensing.

Finally, for those of us who just like to eat the products, there is a section on Colorado Proud Recipes, featuring a recipe for Onion Rings with Cranberry Aioli, Tomato Dijon and Horseradish Mint Sauces.

Want more agriculture resources? Check out the library's subject guide on Agriculture.

US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps

This Friday, former Surgeon Generals Dr. C. Everett Koop and Dr. Richard Carmona will attend the annual Anchor and Caduceus Dinner, which commemorates the founding of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. The highlight of the dinner will be the Honorary C. Everett Koop Lecture delivered by the 17th U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Richard Carmona. Dr. Carmona will discuss "Plagues, Prevention, Preparedness and Politics."

Just what is the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (USHSC) and what does it do?

The Corps is led by the Surgeon General and consists of approximately 6,000 officers in a variety of health professions. The mission of the Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service (Corps) is protecting, promoting, and advancing the health and safety of the Nation. The Commissioned Corps achieves its mission through rapid and effective response to public health needs, leadership and excellence in public health practices, and the advancement of public health science. As one of the seven Uniformed Services of the United States, the Corps is a specialized career system designed to attract, develop, and retain health professionals who may be assigned to Federal, State or local agencies or international organizations. Read more about its mission.

Learn about the history of the USHSC.

Browse items available through Chinook, the University Libraries online catalog, about or by the USPHS.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

U.S. House gets to work on national security bill

The U.S. House of Representatives got to work today introducing a bill aimed at passing recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission.

See related news from CNN, MSNBC, and CBS News.

The first bill introduced by the 110th Congress (H.R. 1) can be tracked using the Library of Congress's THOMAS website.

See the Government Publications Library previous blogs on the 9/11 Commission and its report:

Monday, January 08, 2007

No Child Left Behind is 5 Years Old Today!

President Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act five years ago today on January 8, 2002. U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings celebrated the fifth anniversary with a speech and question and answer session with national education and business leaders at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Read more from the Department of Education's press release including Secretary Spelling's remarks.

Read a transcript or listen to President Bush's January 6th radio address in which he discusses the No Child Left Behind Act.

For more information on No Child Left Behind, visit the following sites:

Friday, January 05, 2007

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. Medical Devices: Status of FDA's Program for Inspections by Accredited Organizations. GAO-07-157, January 5.
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1. Childhood Obesity: Factors Affecting Physical Activity. GAO-07-260R, December 6.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Two countries join European Union

Bulgaria and Romania joined the European Union on January 1st.

To learn more about how the European Union adds new members, check out the European Commission's Enlargement website. You'll find information about the enlargement process, candidate countries, potential candidate countries; a link to questions and answers, key documents, a glossary; myths and facts about Enlargement; Enlargement videos and a photo gallery; and much more...

Check out BBC's profiles on Bulgaria and Romania.

See the Government Publications Library's guide to European Union Resources.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Gerald Ford in Congress

Former President Gerald Ford, the 38th President of the United States, was honored today by the United States at a state funeral held in Washington's National Cathedral. He is probably remembered by most as the only unelected Vice President and President in our nation's history. However, before becoming Vice President and later President, he served in the House of Representatives from January 3, 1949 to December 6, 1973, being reelected twelve times, each time with more than 60% of the vote.

Check out some of the following resources from the Ford Presidential Library and Museum:

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

Ahh, it is New Year's Day and time to resolve to do better this year. If you would like the government's help with any of those popular resolutions, such as losing weight or quiting smoking, check out the web site at on FirstGov.

FirstGov is the official web portal to the United States government. It has links to federal, state and local resources on a variety of topics.