Friday, November 30, 2007

Wonderland of Lights

Marshall, an East Texas city with a population of 24,000, boasts one of the largest light festivals in the United States. It is most famous for the white lights (approximately 125,000) decorating the former Harrison County Courthouse (now the Harrison County Historical Museum).

Besides admiring the lights, visitors may explore the history of East Texas. Numerous historical homes, such as the Starr Family Mansion, decorate for Christmas and offer tours throughout December.

For information about other holiday activities in Marshall, see the Marshall Chamber of Commerce website.

Monday, November 26, 2007

National Guard and Reserves Status

The Defense Science Board, a Federal Advisory Committee which provides independent advice to the Secretary of Defense, has issued a new report about the current deployment of National Guard and reserve troops. Entitled Deployment of National Guard and Reserve in the Global War on Terrorism, the report examined the "length and frequency of deployment of members of the National Guard and reserve." The board looked at the Secretary of Defense's January 2007 policy which set the following guidelines: "one year deployed and two years not deployed for the active force, one year mobilized and five years not mobilized for the reserve components." The report concluded that "given current levels of operational demand, today's Army active, National Guard, and reserve force structure will not support DOD's policy." It also emphasized the need for more training at reserve home stations before mobilization and expressed concern about having sufficient support at home to meet "homeland security, civil support, and domestic emergency requirements."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission will post its full 2007 report on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2007. The Introduction, Executive Summary and Recommendations, however, are already available. The report contains 42 recommendations for congressional action. It reveals positive news about such things as China's role in encouraging the dismantling of North Korea's nuclear weapons production capability, its contribution of forces to the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Sudan, and economic policies that have lifted the Chinese people out of poverty. The report also expresses concern about such things as a lack of enforcement of intellectual property laws, a "retreat by China from market-based economic principles, the growth of China’s information control regime, and the use by China of espionage to acquire military and industrial technologies."

Friday, November 16, 2007

The First Thanksgiving

When many people think of the first Thanksgiving in America, they imagine pilgrims and American Indians. However, 80 years before the pilgrims celebrated at Plymouth, Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado and 1,500 men celebrated Thanksgiving at Palo Duro Canyon. Palo Duro Canyon is now part of the Texas panhandle and a state park.

Still, many do not consider the Texas Thanksgiving the first Thanksgiving. Check out the Library of Congress website for more information on the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the United States.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Celebrate International Education Week

Join in celebrations for International Education Week 2007, November 12-16, sponsored jointly by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education. On the official Web site you can click on a map of the world and view events taking place in a particular country. You can also test your knowledge of the world by taking the Global IQ Quiz.

On Wednesday, November 14, the Center for the Study of Foreign Languages (CSL) at Rice University is hosting an International Education and Language Fair. From 4:00-5:00 pm on the first floor of Razor Hall, the CSL will have informational booths, songs, food and other visual arts. From 5:00-6:00 pm the center will offer Language and Culture Test Drives, mini courses in 12 languages to give participants a few new words and some fun facts.

In addition to the CSL fair, the Office of International Students & Scholars Web site has a complete listing of International Education Week events on the Rice University campus including a picture contest, a soccer tournament, and a tasting of international sweet treats.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Dissertation Funds for Congressional Research

The Dirksen Congressional Center is accepting applications for grants to fund research on congressional leadership and the U.S. Congress. The competition is open to anyone "with a serious interest in studying Congress" such as "political scientists, historians, biographers, scholars of public administration or American studies, and journalists." The Center encourages graduate students who have successfully defended their dissertation prospectus to apply for awards ranging from a few hundred dollars to $3,500. However, undergraduates or pre-Ph.D. students are not eligible. Details are available at The Dirksen Congressional Center Web site.

Terrorism in the United States - Update

The FBI has released its newest report concerning terrorist activities in the United States. Terrorism 2002-2005 includes three sections for each year: terrorist incidents, terrorism preventions, and significant events. The report also makes available a Chronological Summary of Terrorist Incidents in the United States 1980-2005 as well as the following charts:
Previous reports are also available:

Thursday, November 08, 2007

And the Winners Are

Harris County (Texas) election day and early voting (choose the election results tab, then early voting) results are available from HarrisVotes for the November 6, 2007 joint election. Houston news stations
ABC 13
, KHOU 11 (CBS), and (NBC) (under local headlines on the politics page) and the Houston Chronicle (politics page) have also compiled results in a user-friendly format. However, election results from these news organizations appear on their November 8, 2007 pages and may require searching archives to access the same information at a later date.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Celebrate Veterans' Day

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has a Veterans' Day (November 11, 2007) page filled with resources and information about ceremonies, observances, initiatives, proclamations, and resources to honor our nation's veterans.

In Houston a special Veteran's Day Parade will take place Sunday, November 11, 2007 from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm with a gathering at Hermann Square (900 Smith Street) and a parade on Smith Street from Texas to Lamar. See the flier for a list of activities and entertainment.

Rice University will honor its veterans with an outdoor ceremony around the Rice Memorial Center flagpole (Ray Courtyard) on Friday, November 9 at 11:00 am. A reception will follow the 20-minute ceremony. Veterans are welcome to wear their uniforms.

Monday, November 05, 2007


This month's issue of the electronic newsletter Liber8 from the Federal Reserve focuses on globalization and concerns Americans have about economic competition from China and India. It includes a summary of the issues, links to recent articles and more in-depth reading, and free data sources.

Voting Information for Nov. 6, 2007

League of Women Voters Guides with information about Harris County elections and the Texas Constitutional Amendments are available in Fondren Library or online for tomorrow's (Nov. 6, 2007) election. The Texas Secretary of State has also posted the text of the amendments in English and Spanish. To find a polling location or see a sample ballot, click on the Voting Information tab on the top of Harris Votes Web page and follow instructions given at the Election Day Voting Info. link. For a more comprehensive list of election resources, access Fondren Library's Government Information elections page.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Texas Clipper Reefing

On November 15th, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department plans to sink the Texas Clipper about 17 nautical miles from South Padre Island. During WWII the ship, now obsolete, transported troops. From 1964 to 1994, the Texas Clipper served as a training vessel for Texas A&M University-Galveston.

The Texas Clipper will join the Liberty Ships, WWII merchant marine ships sunk along the Gulf Coast, as part of the Ships-to-Reefs division of the Texas Artificial Reef Project. The sunken ships serve as historical sites, ocean habitats, and scuba diving and fishing areas.

Two other divisions of the Texas Artificial Reef Project, the Rigs-to-Reefs and Near Shore/Shallow Reefs, provide additional ocean habitats.