Monday, April 21, 2008

Celebrate Earth Day

From NASA Visible Earth (

On Earth Day 2008, Tuesday, April 22, people around the world are celebrating events promoting environmental friendliness. The following sites provide ideas about how to commemorate the day and take part in saving the environment:

  • Earth Day 2008 Events Worldwide (earthdaynetwork) -- Campaigns, education, and outreach.

  • EnviroLink Network. -- Comprehensive list of world-wide Earth Day events "regardless of size, geographic location or organizational affiliation."

  • Sun-Earth Day: 2008 -- list of world-wide celebrations for the IHY (International Heliophysical Year) concentrating on this year's theme of space weather around the world.

  • Celebrate Earth Day -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency site with podcasts, environmental tips, and ideas to use at home, in the community, at school, at work, and while shopping.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Infant Abuse in the U.S.

In its MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report) newsletter of April 4, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released a shocking report about abuse of infants in the United States in federal fiscal year 2006 (Oct. 2005 - Sept. 2006). Data collected by the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) for infants who were reported to the Child Protective Services (CPS) system indicated the greatest risk for maltreatment by parents or caregivers occurs during the first week of life followed by the first month. A total of 91,278 infants under age one (23.2 per 1,000 population) and 29,881 (32.7%) age one week or less experienced nonfatal maltreatment. When sorted by race, 43.6% victims were white, 25.2% were black or African American, 19.3% were Hispanic, 1.3% were American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.6% were Asian, 3.1% had multiple race/ethnicity, and 6.9% were of unknown race/ethnicity. More infants were mistreated because of neglect (68.5%) than of physical abuse (13.2%). Medical personnel were the top reporters of abuse (60.8%) followed by law enforcement personnel (21.4%), social services personnel (15.1%), parents/other relatives (8.8%), and friends/neighbors (3.2%).

In addition to the report, the CDC has released a transcript of a web cast about this story that gives further information about the statistics, the problem, and possible solutions.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Congress in the Classroom

If you are a middle school or high school social studies teacher, this is an exciting year to apply to attend the Dirksen Congressional Center's Congress in the Classroom education program at the Hotel Pere Marquette in Peoria, Illinois, Monday, July 21 - Thursday, July 24. April 15 is the deadline to apply (online application) for the program which features sessions focusing on recent research about both congressional and presidential elections and ways to teach students about Congress and elections. Those selected for the program will receive three nights lodging, workshop materials, local transportation, and all but three meals, but must pay a non-refundable $135 registration fee and transportation costs to and from the event.

A small sampling of the proposed sessions include the following:

  • Where We Stand in the Presidential Race and What to Look For
    Tim Teehan, National Sales Director, Campaigns and Elections.
  • "I’m No Lady, I’m a Member of Congress": Women in Congress, 1917-2006
    Kathleen Johnson, Historical Publications Specialist, Office of History and Preservation, House of Representatives
  • Teaching with Primary Sources
    Cindy Rich, Project Director, Teaching with Primary Sources, Eastern Illinois University.
  • Predicting the Outcome of the Presidential Election
    Frank H. Mackaman, The Dirksen Congressional Center

See the Dirksen Center Web site for a complete listing and further information.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008

On April 2 Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT) (Chair) and Richard Shelby (R-AL) (Ranking Member) of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs announced a bipartisan agreement to address the current U.S. housing crisis. Provisions of their proposed Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 include:

  • providing counseling for those threatened with foreclosure
  • helping communities deal with abandoned or foreclosed properties
  • reforming the Federal Housing Administration to make available "affordable, safe, and government-back loans"

For a description of additional provisions, access the announcement on Senator Dodd's Web site. For discussion about the bill, access a March 31 article in U.S. News and World Report entitled "Senators Set to Debate Housing Crisis", or listen to "Senate Debates Bill Aimed at Curbing Foreclosures" on the April 3 morning edition of NPR (National Public Radio).