Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A New CU Boulder Libraries News Blog

The University Libraries at CU Boulder are very pleased to announce the launch of a brand new, libraries-wide weblog that provides all-in-one access to news about events, collections, workshops, and services from all parts of the CU system.

The CU Libraries blog is available at http://libpress.colorado.edu.


The blog for the Government Information Library at CU Boulder has been a great success, but we are equally excited to share the same kinds of posts we've written in the past --whether highlighting how government information informs or is produced by current events, or exploring interested sources from within our collections -- within this new blog to bring these highlights to an entirely new audience.

To subscribe to the new blog, visit http://libpress.colorado.edu.

If you'd like to follow only news at the Libraries blog from Government Information, then you'll want to bookmark this link:  http://libpress.colorado.edu/?cat=5

We will continue to update this blog for the next few weeks, and it's archive will remain available here.  When the GIL bloggers have moved over to the new platform fully, another announcement will appear on this site.

Thanks for following us along on a new adventure in blogging!






Friday, July 13, 2012

We're Not the Only Ones Worried About the Census



Census Project presents the viewpoints about the decennial census and the American Community Survey (ACS) from various stakeholders.  A diverse group of stakeholders are involved including academic associations, public policy interest groups, retail and business organizations, and organizations representing ethnic and minority groups.

Recently the House voted not to fund the American Community Survey for 2013.  The Census Project  notes, "Currently, because of economic, fiscal and political challenges, the ongoing budgets to adequately fund planning for Census 2020 and the ACS’ ongoing work will be under a microscope in Congress."

The site includes fact sheets, issue briefs, letters, and other information.  A recent report, Eliminating America's Playbook, is a compilation of "scores of case studies and comments on why the ACS is one of the most useful tools the nation has to measure how its communities are doing each year."

Check it out!




Friday, July 06, 2012

El Nino--Keep Your Fingers Crossed

Last night for the first time in months we had a nice amount of rain in Boulder.  According to the Boulder Daily Camera, "Experts say Colorado's weather is likely to shift to a much wetter El Niño pattern this year, which could mean good news for firefighters, farmers and those just sick of hot, dry weather."  The experts are at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) facility in Boulder.  Understanding and predicting El Niño is so important to predicting the weather and climate that the phenomenon has its own website:  http://www.elnino.noaa.gov/.  Weather and climate have profound and sometimes surprising effects.  The latest research suggests a link between El Niño and the global flu pandemic of 1918/19 which killed over 50 million individuals worldwide.

According to the site "El Niño is characterized by unusually warm temperatures and La Niña by unusually cool temperatures in the equatorial Pacific." The site features a link to a YouTube video explaining how NOAA collects data on ocean temperatures using sea buoys.

Collecting Data from An Ocean Buoy

In addition to information that is too technical for most people to understand, the site features educational materials about El Niño and the related La Niña phenomenon.  Check it out. 

 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Oops--Not a good day for CNN and Fox

Gary He Photoshopped a photo of Truman triumphantly displaying the newspaper which errorneously reported on his loss.  This time it's President Obama with an iPad.
CNN and Fox, in a rush to announce the results of the Supreme Court decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, announced on live television that the mandate for individual health insurance was unconstitutional.  Both got it wrong.   Corrections and amusement followed quickly on the heels of this major gaffe.   On the Daily Show, Jon Stewart observed that you need to read beyond the first page.   The complete opinion is available at the Supreme Court website.  All 905 pages of the act are available at FDsys--GPO's Federal Digital System.  Happy reading. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Your House is Worth Less and So (Probably) are You


If you didn't know already, the Federal Reserve has confirmed that your net worth declined between 2007 and 2010.   Net worth is defined at the total value of assets such as homes, bank deposits and stocks, minus debts such as mortgages and credit cards. The biggest factor in the decline was the drop in home values.  Adjusted for inflation, family net worth is the same as it was in 1992.  Achy Breaky Heart or Remember the Time anyone?  The complete report is online at http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/bulletin/2012/pdf/scf12.pdf.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Fire in the West

As the smoke curls its way across the state and we watch another fire blow up here in the west I thought it might be useful to link up some of the sources you can go to find out more about these large wildfires as well as on the High Park fire in particular.

Fire Information for the Government
  • FEMA Wildfire Preparedness This web page provides information on individuals and homeowners on preparing for and dealing with wildfires.
  • InciWeb This site provides information on emergency incidents across the United States. Currently there are 111 incidents listed on this site, including the High Park Fire. Each incident has an overview of the problem, the road closures and evacuations, who is involved, maps, and contact information. You can follow an incident on RSS or Twitter.
  • National Interagency Coordination Center This is the interagency that coordination the mobilization of resources for wildland fire. You can find information on particular fires as well as statistics on fires. This year so far there have been 23,725 fires with 934,014 acres burned compared with 31,267 fires last year with 4,049,520 acres burned. On average for the past ten years there have been 32,634 fires with 1,496,330 acres burned (press release).
  • FireDetect Map This interactive map from NOAA tracks the smoke released by fires and right now clearly demonstrates how the smoke from the High Park fire has made it to Iowa.

High Park Fire Information
Finally, to get a picture of the scale, check out this satellite photo from NASA's Aqua Satellite yesterday:

Friday, May 25, 2012

State Department Releases Country Reports on Human Rights

The U.S. State Department released the 2011 report on human rights practices around the globe.   It's been a busy year.  While Libya is responding harshly to calls for a democratically-elected government, Burma (also known as Myanmar) appears to be loosening its restrictions on political dissent. Noting that "the yearning for change we have witnessed in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Syria is inspirational", the report also notes troubling increases in persecution of religious groups, ethnic and racial minorities, and gays, lesbians, and transgendered individuals. 

For additional resources, consult our Human Rights page which includes links from other governmental entities and international organizations such as Amnesty Internation, Human Rights Watch, and others.  Many in the international community are critical of the United States for its practice of the death penalty.

Friday, May 11, 2012

House Votes Not to Fund the American Community Survey

The House passed a budget bill for the Census which eliminates funding for the American Community Survey.  The headline at Business Week states "Killing the American Community Survey Blinds Business."  The Washington Times notes that the "House Reins in Census Bureau, Justice."   The director of the Census has a blog with information and a video.  The director comments, "Modern societies need current, detailed social and economic statistics; the US is losing them." 

Stay tuned.  If you read this blog on a regular basis you've probably noticed that we regularly feature postings on the Census.  It's our go to place for statistics when we answer reference questions. 

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Go Colorado!!!

On April 26, 2012, Colorado became the first state in the nation to enact the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (ULEMA).  The legislation includes provisions for permanent public access to official, authentic online legal materials.  The bill (HB1209), which enjoyed broad support,  covers the Constitution, Session Laws, Revised Statutes and Agency Regulations.  The regulations will be the first release under the new law. 

The American Association of Law Libraries was quick to celebrate, offering "Kudos to incoming AALL Government Relations Committee vice chair Susan Nevelow Mart, who worked closely with Senator Morgan Carroll, the majority caucus chair of the Senate and chair of the Judiciary Committee, to ensure passage."  Susan is the director of the Wise Law Library in the School of Law at the University of Colorado at Boulder. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Welcome to CU Boulder, Mr. President!

The entire staff and faculty of the University of Colorado Libraries would like to extend a warm and heartfelt welcome to President Barack Obama as he visits the CU Boulder campus on Tuesday, April 24.  We are honored to be recipients of this visit by our nation's 44th President.

Update: The White House video of the President's speech on Tuesday has been embedded below.  A transcript of the speech is available here.


* * *

Photos taken from the White House Flickr feed.
Photos taken from the White House Flickr feed.
Photos taken from the White House Flickr feed.

Finally, a photo from CU Boulder student Madalyn Starkey via Instagram.
This picture of Ms. Starkey and the President at The Sink has gone viral via social networking.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Lower North Fork Fire Report Released

Pyro-cumulus from the Lower North Fork Fire


The State of Colorado released a report on the prescribed burn (read fiasco) that lead to the Lower North Fork Fire which killed three people and destroyed homes in Jefferson County.  According to the press release, several factors contributed to the disaster:
  • Unburned fuels and residual heat still present within the prescribed burn area four days after the initial burn.
  • Routinely successful best practices, including a 200-foot buffer around the burn, proved to be ineffective.
  • Professional judgment by fire managers that the burn was secure and that readiness for wildfires in uncontrolled settings took priority.
  • Weather and fire behavior projections that did not sufficiently predict the complete set of circumstances.
  • Rapidly escalating winds creating spot fires that exceeded the capacity of firefighters on the ground.
The full text of the report is available here.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Save The Date: The 2nd Six-State Government Information Conference Coming in August 2012

After the success of the first Six-State Government Information Conference in 2010, the University of Colorado Boulder, in conjunction with its partners in the six-state region, is pleased to announce that the 2012 Six-State Government Information Conference will be held virtually August 8-10 of this year.


The 2012 keynote speaker will be Malcolm Byrne, Deputy Director and Director of Research for the National Security Archive.  The National Security Archive is, according to its Web site, an "independent, non-government research institute and library" that specializes in the publication of declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  


Mr. Byrne has worked at the Archive since 1986. In addition to his contributions listed at the NSA Web site, Mr. Byrne "currently directs the Openness in Russia and Eastern Europe Project, and the U.S.-Iran Relations Project, both of which promote multinational and multi-archival approaches to the study of recent, controversial historical events. Previously, he served as co-director of the Iran-contra documentation project, and coordinated the Archive's project on U.S.-Soviet relations during the Cold War.

Mr. Byrne's keynote address will be Thursday, August 9th, 11:00 a.m. MST.

Please visit the Six-State Government Information Conference Web site for information about conference registration, use of the Adobe Connect software to participate remotely, and for details on conference submissions, planned speakers, and the integration of social media throughout the three-day event.  Details are being added to the site as they become available.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Stunning Real-Time Surface Wind Map

Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg, leaders of Google's "Big Picture" visualization research group and owners of the hint.fm Web site, have found an ingenious and beautiful use for the real-time surface wind data compiled by the National Digital Forecast Database.

Using the NDFD -- which is explicitly a database "available for members of the public to use in creating text, graphic, gridded and image products of their own"  -- Viégas and Wattenberg created a animated, zoom-able map that displays, in real-time, surface wind speeds across the United States.

The HINT.fm Real-Time Wind Map

The end result has gained positive attention from multiple media outlets, including CNET, MIT's Alumni News site, and io9 and is hypnotizing to watch.

Here is one public user's experience with the site.


The NDFD, a product of the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, consists of "gridded forecasts of sensible weather elements (e.g., cloud cover, maximum temperature)" and "a seamless mosaic of digital forecasts from NWS field offices working in collaboration with the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP)."


The National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD) was designed to provide access to weather forecasts in digital form from a central location. 

Thursday, April 05, 2012

NASA's Joke Goes Over Everyone's Head

On Sunday this week, NASA posted details of a new mission involving the craft currently orbiting the planet Mercury called MESSENGER or "MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging."


The mission, PIA 15542, or "Mooning Mercury" to the layearthling, centers on a newly discovered natural satellite (moon) measuring 230 ft. across at a distance of about 8,890 miles above the planet.  The proposed name for this moon is Caduceus.

The very, very, very small moon, Caduceus.
The mission description goes on to say that rather than study this moon, as they might normally do, NASA had another plan.  It goes like this...
...The new plan is to use the remaining propellant to crash MESSENGER into Caduceus. "Our detailed analysis tells us that if we act now, and with the right trajectory, MESSENGER will impart just enough momentum to the moon to break it free of Mercury's gravity well and set it on an Earth-crossing trajectory suitable for recovery as a Mercury meteorite," said Panini.

...If Caduceus is successfully released from the pull of Mercury and placed on a course to reach Earth, we can expect the moon to arrive at Earth by 2014. "The risk to the public is reassuringly small", offers MESSENGER mission design lead Adam McJames. "We have designed a trajectory that will bring the moon to Earth at a remote location on the Wilkes Land ice sheet in Antarctica. This trajectory will avoid all population centers and will put the moon's impact site within reach for retrieval by the scientific staff at the U.S.-operated McMurdo Station."
In other words, something a little like the plot of the 1979 movie, "Meteor."


If you don't think about the odds of being able to map that trajectory so specifically across the minimum 48,000,000 miles between Earth and Mercury, this all sounds well and good, but NASA gives its joke away with in love of acronyms.
If successful, MESSENGER's extended extended MIN-C mission will mark the first instance of the documented arrival to Earth of material from the Mercury system. Moreover, it will serve as the basis for a new Discovery-class mission proposal currently in development by the Applied Psychics Laboratory for a Mercury lander mission for in situ X-ray analysis of surface composition. That mission is to be named the Hermean On-surface Analysis with X-rays.
That's right.  The mission's name is H.O.A.X.  At least when NASA makes a joke, they do it big.  Happy April Fool's Day.

* * * * 

In related news that is not so enjoyable, NASA has begun the process of decommissioning the Space Shuttles and their overall program.  President George W. Bush first called for the retirement of the shuttle program in January of 2004, in the aftermath of the shuttle Columbia accident and its disintegration over Texas during atmospheric re-entry.  In speaking about a new focus for NASA on the International Space Station, Bush said:
Excerpt of  President Bush's 2004 remarks to NASA, announcing the
retirement of the shuttle program.
The photoblog In Focus, from The Atlantic Monthly, has compiled a series of images from the dismantling and preparation for display of shuttles Discovery and Endeavor as well as of the launching pads, cargo bays, and propulsion systems.  It is good-bye, for now, to American manned spaceflight.

Click on these images to visit the In Focus set.





Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Reminder: The 1940 U.S. Census to be Released on Monday, April 2

We've written previously on the upcoming release of the 1940 U.S. Census, and we are hardly the only ones excited by the issue.  Staff at the State Library of North Carolina are planning a 1940's themed party around the release, complete with music, clothing, and toys on display from the era.

The State Library staff were also interviewed by their local public radio station for a segment that highlights the kinds of information to be found in the data release.  If you're curious as to why people get so excited about the released of new Census data, click on the image below and stream their interview.  The interview provides an excellent context for the historic importance and value to researchers of this Census data.


And don't forget to visit the National Archives and Records Administration (that's NARA to me and you) April Second to search these records of an America from just before World War II and the subsequent post-War Baby Boom.  The opportunity to compare it to the 1950 Census data is only ten years away!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Watergate Break-In Turns 40 in May -- Celebrate with The Beastie Boys

The break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. on May 28, 1972, was the beginning of a series of events that would culminate in the eventual resignation of then-president Richard M. Nixon -- the first time a sitting had U.S. president had resigned from the office.
Bob Woodward's Washington Post article on the 2nd, June 17, 1972 Watergate break-in.
From ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

Since that time, not only has "Watergate" become an adjective synonymous with government corruption, but the standard -- and the standard journalistic phrase -- against which every subsequent presidential scandal is measured. Whether it has been William Clinton's "Lewinsky-gate,"  Hilary Clinton's "Whitewater," Ronald Reagan's "October Surprise,"  or George W. Bush's quest for the "weapons of mass destruction" that initiated the war in Iraq, every political journalist has aspired to uncover a story with as much staying power and cultural impact as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's Watergate.

The original cover to the 1974 book.
Wikipedia offers an excellent brief summary of the events and repercussions stemming from the Watergate scandal, and reading the piece offers the opportunity to gauge the weight of events that have become, to a modern audience, commonplace examples of government corruption.  But the writing that broke the story was the investigative journalism of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward for The Washington Post, later re-purposed for a book and film treatment:  All The President's Men.

In a stroke of more cross-cultural brilliance, Vimeo user Jeff Yorke has taken the tense pace of the 1974 film and married it to a soundtrack that speaks to empowerment in the face in injustice, the 1994 track from The Beastie Boys: "Sabotage."  (This video should be played in full-screen mode with the volume up loud to full understand the power of the Fourth Estate.)




Read more about it!
If you are interested in the rich history of the Watergate affair, its effect on contemporary journalism, or how it changed the political climate of the United States perhaps forever, there are a wealth of primary sources and compiled documents relating to the scandal available at Norlin Library, as well as dozens of secondary histories.

The book "All the President's Men," co-authored by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, is available at Norlin Library, as is the screenplay of the film, authored by well-known Hollywood screenwriter William Goldman.  The 1976 film is available through Prospector.  Norlin does hold the 2008 film, Frost/Nixon, which dramatizes Nixon's famous remark "that when the President does it, it's not illegal."

The Gerald R. Ford Library & Museum Web site offers an expansive timeline of events, from the May 28, 1972 burglary of the DNC headquarters through to President Gerald Ford's pardon of the disgraced Richard Nixon on September 8, 1974.

Playable audio files and transcripts of the Nixon White House tapes and the Watergate Trial tapes are available from the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum Web site.

Clearly, this massive topic can be explored, recreated, and remixed in any number of ways.  But mapping it all to The Beastie Boys is a bit of creative genius*.

*The Beastie Boys video came to our attention via a tip by an investigative internet user in Arlington, Va., Sarah Mercure. Thanks for the suggestion, Sarah!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports

Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a research agency of Congress and writes reports at Congress' request. These short reports (usually 10-40 pages long) cover recent topics of concern. This month brings us reports on the budget, foreign relations, military issues, and much more. Although these reports are in the public domain, there is no central database available to the public. To get a copy of a CRS report, you can request it from your senator or representative. These reports were discovered by Secrecy News:
Interested in historical CRS reports? If you are here at the Boulder campus, check out the Congressional database, which has reports dating back to 1916.

Not on campus but still want access to additional reports? The library has a guide linking to various additional sources of CRS reports.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map Has Nothing to Do With The Hunger Games

Confused if Spring is here to stay?  You aren't the only one.  Imagine life as a plant -- growing a little, getting buried under snow the next week, listening to passers-by complain about how listless you are -- all because every year some hapless gardener forces you into survival mode, planting you far from your native temperature zone, and demanding you thrive in extreme situations well outside your range.  Does this sound a lot like the premise of the popular Hunger Games series to you?  Us either, but we're running with it.
There is Not Much In Common Between This Book and the Updated
 Plant Hardiness Zone Map.  Or is there...?
Whether you are a plant, a gardener, or someone who pretends at times to be survivalist archer Gale Hawthorne, you will be pleased to learn that The Department of Agriculture has updated its Plant Hardiness Zone Map.
Panem, as portrayed by the USDA
As described on the Web site,
"The 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones."
Boulder, Colorado is coded to Zone 6a, seen in bright green on the map below, which means our Tributes --er, plants -- typically live with extreme temperatures between -10F and -5F (which is honestly like District 1 or 2 compared to some parts of the country. Take that, Katniss!)
The ability to search the Plant Hardiness Map by zip code is a new feature as of this month.  Other new features include these items:  
  • Two new zones, 12 and 13, have been added for regions with average annual extreme minimum temperatures above 50 degrees and 60 degrees F. These zones appear on the maps for Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
  • The 2012 map reflects 30 years of weather data (1976-2005). The previous edition--published in 1990--reflected 13 years of data (1974-1986).
  • Learn more about what's new in the 2012 edition of the Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

New Districts 12 and 13, you say?  That sounds suspicious to all of us in Panem.  And if the pressure to survive weren't enough, the United States National Arboretum has posted this list of what it suspiciously calls  "Indicator Plant Examples."  Yes, that does sound like a conspiracy to select extreme weather survivors, doesn't it?

Katniss Everdeen explores USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 7a
in this photo that was in no way made by the government.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Government Accountability Office (GAO) Reports and Releases

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) which is often called the investigative arm of Congress. This month brings us publications from GAO investigating taxes, foreign policy, education, and many other issues. If you would like to know more about GAO, check out the library's guide.

Reports
Testimonies
  • More Efficient and Effective Government: Opportunities to Reduce Duplication, Overlap and Fragmentation, Achieve Savings, and Enhance Revenue, by Comptroller General of the United States, Gene L. Dodaro, before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. GAO-12-449T, February 28. 
    http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-449T
     
  • Cybersecurity: Challenges to Securing the Modernized Electricity Grid, by Greg C. Wilhusen, Director, Information Security Issues, and David C. Tremble, Director, Natural Resources and Environment, before the House Energy And Commerce Committee: Oversight And Investigations Subcommittee. GAO-12-507T, February 28.
    http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-507T

    Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/588914.pdf 
  • Information Technology: Potentially Duplicative Investments Exist at the Departments of Defense and Energy, by David A. Powner, Director, Information Technology Management Issues, before the Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. GAO-12-462T, February 17.
    http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-462T
     
  • Workforce Investment Act: Innovative Collaborations between Workforce Boards and Employers Helped Meet Urgent Local Workforce Needs by Andy Sherrill, director, education, workforce, and income security, before the Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, And Pensions. GAO-12-419T, February 16.
    http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-419T
     
  • National Nuclear Security Administration: Observations on NNSA's Management and Oversight of the Nuclear Security Enterprise, by Gene Aloise, Natural Resources and Environment, before the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, House Committee on Armed Services. GAO-12-473T, February 16
    http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-473T
    Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/588647.pdf 
  • Law Enforcement Body Armor: DOJ Supports Its Use and Enhancements, but Could Strengthen Management of Its Related Grant Programs, by Dave C. Maurer, Director, Homeland Security and Justice, before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. GAO-12-448T, February 15.
    http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-448
  • Information Technology: SBA Needs to Strengthen Oversight of Its Loan Management and Accounting System Modernization by David Powner, director, information technology, before the House Committee on Small Business. GAO-12-395T, February 8.
    http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-395T
  • Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Request: U.S. Government Accountability Office, by Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States, before the Subcommittee on Legislative Branch, House Committee on Appropriations. GAO-12-455T, February 7.
    http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-455T
     
  • Improper Payments: Moving Forward with Governmentwide Reduction Strategies, by Beryl H. Davis, Director, Financial Management and Assurance, before the Subcommittee on Government Organization, Efficiency, and Financial Management, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. GAO-12-405T, February 7.
    http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-405T
    Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/588229.pdf 
  • Supply Chain Security: Container Security Programs Have Matured, but Uncertainty Persists over the Future of 100 Percent Scanning, by Steve L. Caldwell, Director, Homeland Security and Justice, before the Subcommittee on Border And Maritime Security, House Committee on Homeland Security. GAO-12-422T, February 7.
    http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-422T

    Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/588250.pdf 
  • Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program: Governmentwide Fraud Prevention Control Weaknesses Leave Program Vulnerable to Fraud and Abuse, but VA Has Made Progress in Improving Its Verification Process, by Richard J. Hillman, Managing Director, Forensic Audits and Investigative Service, before the Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform, House Committee on Oversight And Government Reform. GAO-12-443T, February 7.
    http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-443T
    Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/588214.pdf 
  • Department of Homeland Security: Additional Actions Needed to Strengthen Strategic Planning and Management Functions, by David Maurer, Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues, before House Committee on Homeland Security: Oversight, Investigations, And Management Subcommittee. GAO-12-382T, February 3.
    http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-382T

    Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/588196.pdf 
  • Arlington National Cemetery: Actions Needed to Ensure Lasting, Positive Changes in Contracting and Management, by Brian Lepore, Director, Defense Capabilities and Management, and Belva Martin, Director, Acquisition and Sourcing Management, before House Committee on Armed Services: Military Personnel Subcommittee, and House Committee on Armed Services: Oversight And Investigations Subcommittee. GAO-12-436T, February 3.
    http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-436T

    Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/588198.pdf 
  • OPM Retirement Modernization: Progress Has Been Hindered by Longstanding Information Technology Management Weaknesses by Valerie C. Melvin, director, information management and technology resources issues, before the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District Of Columbia, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. GAO-12-430T, February 1.
    http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-430T

    Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/588171.pdf
Special Publication

Friday, March 09, 2012

Interesting Facts from the Census Bureau

The Census Bureau publishes a series of tip sheets for journalists called Facts for Features. What kind of information is included? The Valentine's day release includes facts on flowers, candy, dating services, marriages and more. The Super Bowl release gives details on the population of the home towns for the two teams and for the host city.


Here's a list of the regular features:
  • African-American History Month (February)
  • Super Bowl
  • Valentine's Day (Feb. 14)
  • Women's History Month (March)
  • Irish-American Heritage Month (March)/
    St. Patrick's Day (March 17)
  • Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
  • Older Americans Month (May)
  • Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
  • Mother's Day
  • Hurricane Season Begins (June 1)
  • Father's Day
  • The Fourth of July (July 4)
  • Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26)
  • Back to School (August)
  • Labor Day
  • Grandparents Day
  • Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
  • Unmarried and Single Americans Week
  • Halloween (Oct. 31)
  • American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month (November)
  • Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • The Holiday Season (December)
Enjoy! 

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Along with Everybody Else, The CDC Thinks Rihanna Could Do A Lot Better

Rihanna and her, um, sometime friend, musician Chris Brown made news last month when, for Rihanna's 24th birthday, she tweeted not one, but two remixes that paired the duo's vocals -- one on a new version of "Birthday Cake," and the other for Chris Brown's "Turn Up The Music."



Gossip columnist Perez Hilton summed up the exchange best, but unfortunately used a vocabulary that we should probably not repeat.  Needless to say, fans who knew of Chris Brown's February 2009's assault of the then 20-year-old Rihanna (and the subsequent restraining order) were shocked by the musical collaboration, and psychologists everywhere will have something to say about it for years.




Probably not-at-all-coincidentally, February was proclaimed Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month was in January of 2011 by President Barack Obama.  In his statement last year, the President seemed particularly aware of how social networking and portable communications can contribute to incidents of dating violence -- issues that were rumored to be catalysts in the attack upon Rihanna.    

Click for larger text.
Indeed, the CDC found that there was a 50% increase between 2000 and 2005 in electronic aggression, and that 67% of electronic victimization occurred through instant messaging, and 16% through text messages.


the Centers for Disease Control had published, three days before the collaboration, a reminder that February is the first anniversary of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

"Did you know that in the past 12 months, one in 10 teens report being hit or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend at least once? And nearly half of all teens in relationships say they know friends who have been verbally abused."  
"Before violence starts, a teen may experience controlling behavior and demands. One partner may tell another what to wear and who to hang out with. Over time, the unhealthy behavior may become violent."  
"That's why adults need to talk to teens now about the importance of developing healthy, respectful relationships."


The CDC's Teen Dating Violence Web site has extensive information available on how to recognize dating violence, understanding healthy versus unhealthy dating relationships, and warning signs for trouble ahead.  There is also a broader site for Intimate Partner Violence.

For a localized treatment of the topic, the University of Colorado is home to the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, and of course for concerns about personal safety, services are offered on campus under several category types.

Clearly this is an issue that affects more than only popular musicians, but it is still enjoyable to see that the government can subtly find ways to perhaps call a few people out.