Friday, September 28, 2007

New Government Blog

Six government employees from the Office of Citizen Services and Communications at the U.S. General Services Administration have joined together to create a daily blog entitled Gov Gab: Your U.S. Government Blog. These experts will blog about government services and information of interest to Americans in their daily lives. Judging from their lighthearted biographies, the blog promises to be entertaining as well as informative. You have a chance to add your own creative input as well since Gov Gab encourages feedback by comments or email.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

IRS Refund Scam

Have you received an authentic-looking email recently from the IRS indicating that you are due a tax refund? This falls under the category "too good to be true" and is an attempt to steal your identity and assets. To combat this latest phishing (identity theft over the Internet) attempt, the IRS has established an instruction page. The page gives directions about forwarding the email to the real IRS to help shut down the scheme. It also describes other similar schemes supposedly from government sites.

Friday, September 21, 2007

School Integration Milestone

The first notable test case of the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education happened 50 years ago on the morning of September 23, 1957 at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. President Eisenhower sent federal troops to protect nine African-American teenagers who integrated the school that day. Now the school is a National Historic Site with a visitor's center operated by the National Park Service. To see a list of events and links associated with this historic anniversary, access the Little Rock Central High Integration 50th Anniversary site.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Iraq and the "New Way Forward"

The White House has released its Benchmark Assessment Report about progress in Iraq. This is the second of two reports required by Section 1314 of the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007 (Public Law 110-28). (Deadlines for submitting the reports were July 15, 2007 and Sept. 15, 2007.) In addition to a summary of the Iraqi Government's achievements and shortfalls in meeting 18 specific benchmarks, the assessment explains current U.S. strategy in Iraq entitled the "New Way Forward."

Plan to Reform U.S. Intelligence Community

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) has released a follow up report to the original United States Intelligence Community (IC) 100 Day Plan for Integration and Collaboration. A 500 Day Plan will follow and build on the initiatives identified and addressed in this plan.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

In Remembrance

Nationally, statewide, and locally the nation is pausing today to remember those who lost their lives in events associated with 9/11 as well as those who continue to fight the Global War on Terror. The White House has issued a fact sheet, "The Sixth Anniversary of 9/ll: Remembering Lives Lost and Heroic Sacrifices Made." Also available from the White House is a Web page entitled Remembering 9/11 which contains videos, photos, and presidential remarks and statements.

In Texas Governor Perry has ordered all U.S. and Texas flags at buildings under the control of the state to be flown at half staff, and encourages others to do the same. Last year, on the fifth anniversary of 9/11, Perry helped dedicate a monument in Corpus Christi to Coastal Bend men and women who have served in the Global War on Terror.

In Houston Mayor Bill and Andrea White will serve as honorary chairs for the Second Annual Firefighters Gala at the Wortham Theater hosted by the Fire Fighters Foundation of Houston, established last year to commemorate the fifth anniversary of 9-11. The foundation provides non-governmental funding to help provide Houston's fire fighters with equipment, technology, and tools.

At Rice University the Rice Chorale, directed by Thomas Jaber, will commemorate 9/11 with a performance of Mozart's Requiem at 12 noon at the Shepherd School of Music.

Monday, September 10, 2007

General Petraeus' Report to Congress

General David H. Petraeus testified today before the House Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees. His prepared statement discusses force reductions and includes a chart showing planned reductions through July 2008 when pre-surge levels will be reached.

See also:
Ambassador Crocker's statement
C-SPAN coverage
CNN coverage

Friday, September 07, 2007

Report of the Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq

The 152 page Report of the Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq, released Sept. 6, 2007, concludes that although the Iraqi Security Forces are improving, they will not be able to operate independently in the next 12 to 18 months to "secure Iraqi borders against conventional military and external threats" (p.12). Headed by General James L. Jones, Jr., USMC (Ret.), the commission lists separate findings and recommendations for each branch of the Iraqi military (Army, Navy, Air Force), the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Interior, the Iraqi Police, the National Police (recommended disbanding them), and the Department of Border Enforcement.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

New Federal Reserve Newsletter

Librarians from the St. Louis Federal Reserve (8th District) have created a new non-technical newsletter aimed at government information and university librarians, students, and the general public. Published nine times a year (Jan.-May, Aug.-Nov.), the newsletter "is a selection of useful economic information, articles, data, and websites." The current issue of Liber8 features information about problems in the subprime mortgage industry.