Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Edward Moore (Ted) Kennedy, 1932-2009

Family statement from Edward Kennedy's senate website:

Edward M. Kennedy—the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply—died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port. We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever. We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness and opportunity for all. He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it. He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it’s hard to imagine any of them without him.

Statement from President Barack Obama on the death of Senator Ted Kennedy
Michelle and I were heartbroken to learn this morning of the death of our dear friend, Senator Ted Kennedy.

For five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts.

I valued his wise counsel in the Senate, where, regardless of the swirl of events, he always had time for a new colleague. I cherished his confidence and momentous support in my race for the Presidency. And even as he waged a valiant struggle with a mortal illness, I've profited as President from his encouragement and wisdom.

An important chapter in our history has come to an end. Our country has lost a great leader, who picked up the torch of his fallen brothers and became the greatest United States Senator of our time.

And the Kennedy family has lost their patriarch, a tower of strength and support through good times and bad.

Our hearts and prayers go out to them today--to his wonderful wife, Vicki, his children Ted Jr., Patrick and Kara, his grandchildren and his extended family.

Edward (Ted) Kennedy's Biography from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress

Ted Kennedy's Speeches on the House and Senate floors for the 111th Congress, 2009-2010 from

See tributes, videos, and pictures of the senator and share memories and sympathy with the Kennedy family at

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Texting while Driving - a BIG No No!

Heddlu Gwent Police in Wales dramatically addressed the problem of texting while driving. They produced a four-minute video hosted by YouTube about a young woman who killed four people in a three-car accident because she was distracted by texting. "COW - the film that will stop you txting and driving" used local drama students to produce this realistic and gruesome public service announcement.

Deborah Hersman, Chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, reacted to the Welsh video by saying that it provides a powerful lesson. She said 40,000 people lose their lives each year because of distracted driving practices (cell phone use and texting). In a speech before the International Symposium on Distracted Driving held in Oct. 2008 in Arlington, Virginia, her predecessor, Mark Rosenker, acting Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board discussed the need for states to improve their impaired driving laws. Regarding teen drivers, he urged states to "enact graduated driver licensing legislation that teach teens to drive gradually, restrict the number of teen passengers traveling with young novice drivers, and prohibit use of wireless communications devices by young novice drivers."

More information about safe driving for teens is available from the following sites:

Friday, August 21, 2009

H1N1 (Swine Flu) Recommendations for Institutions of Higher Education

On Aug. 20, 2009 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a document containing guidelines for institutions of higher education to follow regarding the spread of the H1N1 (Swine Flu) virus. Entitled Guidance for Responses to Flu for Institutions of Higher Education during the 2009-2010 Academic Year, the document contains strategies to implement if the disease starts spreading quickly. It also provides a checklist for making decisions and includes guidance for dormitories and residence halls.

The document is one resource from the CDC's H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu):Resources for Child Care Programs, Schools, Colleges and Universities page. The page also provides an online toolkit entitled Preparing for the Flu: A Communication Toolkit for Institutions of Higher Education which contains fact sheets, a poster, a template letter, and a template announcement to use for communicating about H1N1 with students, faculty, staff, and parents.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New Department of Defense Web Portal

According to an Aug. 17, 2009 news release, the Department of Defense (DoD) launched a new home page,, "designed to invite participation from the public and make military news and information more accessible." A new feature called "We Want to Hear From You" allows users to ask Department of Defense leaders questions and vote on policy issues they would like to have explained. It also includes a frequently asked questions section. The site provides quick access to the most popular DoD sites including DoD news, the Pentagon Channel, and DoD social media sites.

The former portal,, will now serve as a news Web site and will be accessible from

Monday, August 10, 2009

New Drought Portal

Fifteen government agencies have come together to create a new portal for ascertaining the location and impacts of droughts in the United States. from the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) is part of an interactive system designed to:

  • Provide early warning about emerging and anticipated droughts
  • Assimilate and quality control data about droughts and models
  • Provide information about risk and impact of droughts to different agencies and stakeholders
  • Provide information about past droughts for comparison and to understand current conditions
  • Explain how to plan for and manage the impacts of droughts
  • Provide a forum for different stakeholders to discuss drought-related issues

The portal includes the U.S. Drought Monitor and the Drought Impact Reporter which alternate on the screen and use a clickable color-coded United States map to provide a dramatic visual display. Drought conditions and impact statements for states and regions are available from a pull-down menu. Other features include forecasting, planning, research, and recovery information, and educational materials targeted to general audiences and to K-12 students and teachers.

Monday, August 03, 2009

NYT Artist/Blogger Maira Kalman series on American democracy

Thanks to colleague Scott Shaffer (University of Vermont) for sharing this amazing NYT blog entry on Benjamin Franklin and inventing by Maira Kalman:

Artist Maira Kalman's series on American democracy, "And the Pursuit of Happiness", begins with the inauguration of President Obama and continues with a new entry each month. The artwork is beautiful and the entries are thoughtful and inspiring.

For the RSS feed: