Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Congressional Staff Pay Implications

On December 21, 2010 the Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to government transparency, released a report about Congressional staff pay and turnover. Keeping Congress Competent: Staff Pay, Turnover, And What It Means for Democracy by Daniel Schuman compares the generally higher salaries offered by the private sector with those of Congressional staffers and the resulting exodus of experienced Congressional staff. Schuman also discusses the limitations of this report due to the lack of easily accessible House and Senate employment data.

In November 2009 the  House of Representatives began making data more accessible by offering online House Expenditure Reports in PDF format. Since the format of those reports is not easy to search, the Sunlight Foundation  created the  House Expenditure Reports Database. The Senate plans to release comparable data online starting the third quarter of 2011.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Overview of the Afghanistan and Pakistan Annual Review

On December 16, 2010 the White House released the Overview of the Afghanistan and Pakistan Annual Review. A video and transcript of President Obama's discussion about the report is also available which reveals that our core goal is "focused on disrupting, dismantling and defeating al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and preventing its capacity to threaten America and our allies in the future."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

GPO-Google E-Book Partnership

According to a Dec. 14, 2010 press release, the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and Google have partnered to sell e-books of federal government titles through the new Google ebookstore. Starting with about 100 titles, GOP will continue adding to the Google site over the next several months.

GPO also offers other online tools to find government information including the Federal Digital System (FDsys) which lists and links many titles and the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications with descriptive records and links to many publications available for free online.

Also check Fondren's catalog before purchasing. As a selective Federal Depository Library Fondren receives free access to a wide range of government titles many of which are available electronically.

Friday, December 10, 2010

FAST | Financial Allocation Study for Texas

Susan Combs, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, has released a study to "help identify strategies for containing the costs associated with public education without compromising academic progress." The FAST (Financial Allocation Study for Texas) is divided into five parts some of which are pdfs:The FAST site also allows you to run custom reports.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Limiting Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Medium & Heavy Duty Motor Vehicles

A 497 page document containing the proposed regulations for limiting greenhouse gas emissions from medium and heavy duty motor vehicles is now available in the Federal Register. Proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the regulations are designed to transition the United States to a "new generation of clean vehicles." Vehicles proposed for regulation include combination tractors, heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, vocational vehicles, and gasoline and diesel heavy-duty engines.

The summary at the beginning of the document mentions that NHTSA's proposed fuel standards for these vehicles would be voluntary in 2014 and 2015 but mandatory for new models in 2016. EPA's proposed gas emission standards would begin with 2014 models.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission 2010 Report

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission was created on Oct. 30, 2000 to "monitor, investigate, and submit to congress an annual report on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, and to provide recommendations, where appropriate, to Congress for legislative and administrative action." The commission's 2010 Report to Congress is now available. Topics addressed in the report are:
  • China’s proliferation practices,
  • the qualitative and quantitative nature of economic transfers of U.S. production activities to China,
  • the effect of China’s development on world energy supplies, 
  • the access to and use of U.S. capital markets by China, 
  • China’s regional economic and security impacts, 
  • U.S.-China bilateral programs and agreements,
  • China’s record of compliance with its World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments, and 
  • the implications of China’s restrictions on freedom of expression.
The report includes 45 recommendations to Congress.  An executive summary is also available.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

America Recycles Day, Nov. 15, 2010

America Recycles Day
November 15, 2010

Do you know how, where, when, and what to recycle in your community? If not, check the America Recycles Day website to find answers to those questions. The site includes a widget that lets you fill in what kind of material you want to recycle along with your zip code or city/state to find when and where to recycle that material. Their Links & Resources page provides recycling information from federal and state agencies and  battery, glass, paper, plastic, and steel industrial sites. If you would like to sponsor a recycling event, you can use their America Recycles Day Tool Kit. You can also find them on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

For campus environmental and recycling information see the Enviro-Web of Rice University.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Election Results

Harris Votes from the County Clerk's office (upper left link) has as yet unofficial results from Harris County for the Nov. 2, 2010 elections.  A pdf or html format is available and includes data showing the number of people voting straight party tickets, the number of people registered to vote, and the percentage who actually voted.

Preliminary election night returns are available for Texas from the Office of the Secretary of State. You can choose to view a statewide race summary, a county race summary from a county drop-down menu, or county by county results from a dropdown menu of specific races including judicial elections.

The wiki Ballotpedia, a free online encyclopedia about state politics with contributions from the public, includes preliminary election results for Texas and other states and extensive background information about candidates and issues. To see the results, under ballots and elections choose a link for the 2010 races (gubernatorial, senate, house, etc.).

New Multimedia Congressional Timeline

The Dirksen Center has created a fun and informative multimedia Congressional timeline by session from 1933 to the present. Using a clever revolving cube to access audio, videos, photos, and documents, the site spotlights major legislation during each session and includes information about women and African American members, measures of productivity, and the partisan composition of each Congress.  A wiki allows for participation by viewers.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Consumer Protection Act Reports, Summaries, and Commentaries

The Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C (LLSDC) has created a new Web site to provide a comprehensive history along with summaries and commentaries on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Financial Protection Act ( The site enables a user to determine when a provision got into the bill and how that provision changed in other versions when applicable. It also makes looking for related reports, hearings, and other documents easier.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Federated Government Search Tool

The Catalog of U.S. Government Publications has just released a new MetaLib federated search tool. The tool searches across more than 50 U.S. Federal government databases with more to be added in the future. Use it to retrieve reports, articles and citations. MetaLib offers basic, advanced, and expert search and includes an A-Z resource list to locate specific databases and to create a personalized set of databases to search at a user's convenience. It also offers a session-based My-Eshelf so that users can create their own resource lists, save records, and define preferences for the display of results for that session only.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Focus on American Education

Combating the decline in American educational achievement has been the focus this week of the following events/sites: NBC's Education Nation, the new recruitment site, and President Obama's press release announcing plans to recruit 10,000 new Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) teachers over the next two years. Highlights from the September 26-27 education summit in New York are available on the Education Nation website and include interviews with such notables as President Obama, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell to name a few. is the United States Department of Education's effort to let young people know what it is like to be a teacher and give them the tools to become one. In his STEM press statement President Obama stressed expanding education and career opportunities for underrepresented groups such as women and minorities, giving American students the tools to catch up with their peers in other high performing nations, and helping them learn to think critically in STEM fields. Now the challenge is to turn the focus into results.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

2010 Secrecy Report Card

On September 7, 2010,, a coalition of groups committed to open government, released the 2010 Secrecy Report Card. In the corresponding press release, Patrice McDermott, Director of, states, "In general, after hitting high water marks during the Bush Administration, statistics indicate the creation of new national security secrets is slowing ebbing." However, the report also highlights "looming secrecy problems the Obama Administration should address."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China

On August 16, 2010 the Department of Defense released a report entitled "Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China." According to the report, despite making some progress, Chinese military transparency is still lacking. For more information, see the full report or the news article describing it.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Country Reports on Terrorism 2009

The State Department has released its 2009 Country Reports on Terrorism. Starting in 2004, this annual report replaced Patterns of Global Terrorism. The report "serves as a reference tool to inform policymakers, the general public, and our foreign partners about our efforts, progress, and challenges in the campaign against international terrorism."

Country Reports on Terrorism (2004-2008) and Patterns of Global Terroism (1995-2003) are also available at

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Constitution Day Quizzes, Puzzles, and Kids Contest

In preparation for Constitution Day, Sept. 17, 2010, is sponsoring a poster contest for students in grades K-12. Posters should show how the students benefited from the freedoms embodied in the U.S. Constitution.

How much do you know about the U.S. Constitution? The site also offers crossword puzzles, treasure hunts, word finds, and the following four interactive quizzes:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Nuclear Weapons Effects National Enterprise

"The Nuclear Weapons Effects National Enterprise," the latest report from the Joint Defense Science Board (DSB)/Threat Reduction Advisory Committee Task Force is now available at

According to Paul G. Kaminiski's introductory memorandum in the report:
Nuclear weapons remain a serious threat to our nation's security. The nation's capability to deter against this threat and provide assurance to our allies requires that US nuclear and conventional forces are able to operate in a nuclear environment. Unfortunately, the nation's expertise and capability to operate in a nuclear environment have decayed. As a result the Department of Defense and the nation are not as well prepared as it should be to deter, defend, and mitigate an attack.
Additonal reports from the Defense Science Board are available at

Friday, July 16, 2010

Changes in Canadian Census

Until recently one of every five Canadian households received a long-form census with 53 extra questions about such things as ethnicity, disabilities, religion, education, and income. In response to complaints that this long form was an invasion of privacy, starting next year the Canadian government will send out a voluntary form with more detailed questions than the short form to one of every three households. Many think tanks, academic experts, statisticians, genealogists and public policy developers fear this move since they think it might impact policy and funding decisions because of skewed and incomplete information.

More information about the impacts of this decision is available on the July 14, 2010 CBC Radio One Show, "The Current". Included on the show is Ivan Fellegi who was Statistics Canada's Chief Statistician for 23 years before retiring in 2008, Richard Shearmur who is a professor of urban and regional economics at the Universite du Quebec, and Dean del Mastro, the Conservative MP for Peterborough and a Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage.  Industry Minister Tony Clement who currently oversees Statistics Canada was unable to participate in the radio interview but did include a written statement.

Monday, July 12, 2010

New Tool for Assessing Effects of Hurricanes on the Workforce

According to a July 12, 2010 news release, the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Weather Service have released a new Web-based tool to provide workforce data for areas impacted by hurricanes. OnTheMap for Emergency Management: Hurricanes allows users to see characteristics of the local workforce including affected industries, ages of workers, and workers' earnings. The site also includes historical data.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ups and Downs of American Finance, 1861-1938

FRASER, the Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research, has created a graphic presentation of American financial history 1861-1938. Available files include an index by subject and by year, topics of interest, and a slideshow for the years 1861-1935.  Also on the site is a link to the related publication, Business Booms and Depressions since 1775.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Historical Publications of the United States Commission on Civil Rights

The Thurgood Marshall Law Library at the University of Maryland has added forty new titles to its Historical Publications of the United States Commission on Civil Rights project. The  latest additions include hearings and reports from 15 states plus material specific to the area surrounding Baltimore.

In a partnership with the United States Government Printing Office and the United States Commission on Civil Rights, the law library also added reports received directly from the Civil Rights Commission including:
The site provides access by title, subject, date of publication and Superintendent of Documents number.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Widgets for Accesssing News about Congressional Bills

Votetocracy, a Web site that allows people to vote on bills before Congress, is now providing widgets to enable bloggers and Web site owners to show bills currently in Congress. Widgets are available for the following categories: economy, education, environment, health care, technology, war and military, and latest votes in Congress.
Here's what the latest votes in Congress widget looks like:

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

IRS Taxpayer Assistance Open House

On Saturday, June 5, 2010 approximately two hundred IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers across the U.S. will be open from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. to help individual taxpayers with questions about notices and payments, return preparation, and a variety of other tax issues. To find the location nearest you, access the list of Taxpaper Assistant Centers. In Houston the NW, SE, and SW offices will participate. On an email notification the downtown office was not listed as a participant in Saturday's event.

The IRS is also partnering with other organizations to assist taxpayers. In Houston the Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication Office (SPEC) is located at:
Internal Revenue Service
8701 S. Gesner, Stop 6610-Hal
Houston, TX 77074

For Houston, Taxpayer Advocate Service is available at 713-209-3660.

Caution: Many IRS offices are located in Federal Office Buildings which may NOT allow visitors to bring in cell phones with camera capabilities.

Visit for a variety of useful links.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

National Moment of Remembrance (3 p.m. Monday)

On December 28, 2000 Congress passed Public Law 106-579 to establish a time for Americans to pause and remember military personnel who have died in service to our country. The National Moment of Remembrance occurs at 3 p.m. each Memorial Day.

Congress also established the White House Commission on Remembrance as an independent non-partisan government agency to coordinate honoring our fallen and their families. The Commission's website provides a message about the National Moment of Remembrance with taps playing in the background and includes links to names of the fallen by war from Vietnam to the present with World War I and II to be completed soon.  Information is also available about efforts by Operation Laughter to boost our troops' morale. Included in the morale-boosting efforts is Task Force Snoopy, a flat-Stanley-like movement which involves sending a stuffed animal version of the beloved cartoon character around the world with our military units.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Collegiate Inventors Competition Deadline June 25, 2010

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the Abbott Foundation are sponsoring the 19th Annual Invent Now Collegiate Inventors Competition. Graduate and undergraduate individuals and teams will be competing for nearly $80,000 in cash prizes. Entries are judged on "originality of the idea, process or technology, and their potential value and usefulness to society."

Entry forms and more information about the competition including descriptions of past winning inventions are available from the Collegiate Inventors Competition site. The entry deadline is June 25, 2010.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Audit of U.S. Government Agencies' Open Government Plans

To explore the success of President Obama's December 8, 2009 Open Government Directive, recently completed audits of U.S. Government agencies' open government plans. Receiving high marks were NASA for "inviting the public to collaborate in the development of technologies that are core to its mission" and Health and Human Services for planning to identify and publish high value data sets this year. The report also praises the Labor Department for making "significant amounts of information publicly accessible" and opening new platforms for potential internal and external collaboration, and the Department of Energy for improving on its Open Energy Information platform. However, the Department of Energy was also included in the group receiving the five lowest scores. Ranked from the best of the worst to the worst of the worst are the Department of Treasury, the Department of Defense, the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Justice.

Agencies have until the end of May to revise their plans. In early June will review the plans again to ascertain agencies' responses to the audits.

A full list showing how agencies' plans rank is available from The full audit results and links to agency evaluations are available from

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Resources

Paula Webb from the University of South Alabama has created an online bibliography of national and Alabama resources relating to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill incident. For information from Texas state agencies see: Deepwater Horizon Response hosts media briefings, fact sheets, graphs, and photographs to provide the latest updates about response efforts.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Green Energy Portal

On the 40th anniversary of Earth Day the Department of Energy (DOE) launched DOE Green Energy, a free online public portal "designed to ease access to green energy R&D information for use by researchers, scientists, educators, students and the general public." DOE's Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) describes the portal as follows:
The portal provides technical documents from thousands of R&D projects conducted at DOE National Laboratories and by DOE-funded awards at universities. The DOE Green Energy portal is part of the DOE Open Government Plan, which furthers the Administration's Open Government Initiative. DOE Green Energy contains both current and historical research, including bibliographic citations, technical reports and patent information on different types of renewable energy resources and energy conservation. Subject areas include but are not limited to solar, wind, bioenergy, hydroelectric, geothermal, tidal and wave power, and energy storage.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Childhood Obesity, a Threat to National Security

According to an April 20, 2010 press release, Mission Readiness, a non-profit group of more than 130 retired admirals, generals and other senior military leaders, released a report indicating that being overweight is now the leading medical reason recruits are rejected for military service. More than nine million young adults age 17 to 24 are too obese to qualify for military service. Entitled Too Fat to Fight, the report contains data analyzed by staff of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing a dramatic rise in obesity among young people since 1995. Alarmingly in the last ten years "the number of states with 40 percent or more of young adults considered to be overweight has risen from one state to 39 states." Since young people consume 40 percent of their daily calories at school, the group strongly supports efforts by Senator Lugar and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack for new legislation to improve school nutrition programs.

Monday, April 19, 2010

National Park Week, April 17-25

Celebrate National Park Week by visiting one or more of the nation's 392 National Parks for free Saturday, April 17 - Sunday, April 25, 2010. On Saturday, April 24, National Junior Ranger Day, children can take part in kid-friendly activities and earn a junior ranger patch. National parks are also hosting special events and volunteer projects on Earth Day, April 22, and throughout the week.

Health reform - what does it mean to me?

On March 23, 2010 President Barack Obama signed major health reform into law.  The law is as complicated as the issue, so where do we go to learn what the changes mean?  Here are some key resources: features answers to questions for:
If you don't find the information you need, submit your question to  The site provides information by state - see Health Insurance Reform and Texas.  

From the Whitehouse: 
White House Health Care Reality Check
Legislation - take a look at the CRS summaries for a quick overview:

New EPA Database

On March 24, 2010 the Environmental Protection Agency released a new database, Health and Environmental Research Online (HERO). The database references key studies scientists from EPA's National Center for Environmental Assessment(NCEA)use in developing assessments that "characterize the nature and magnitude of health risks to humans and the ecosystem from pollutants and chemicals in the environment." You can browse the database by three topics(air pollutants, chemicals & substances, and health & environmental effects)or search for a specific author, title, etc. Articles link to publishers' websites where you can determine if they are free or can be purchased.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Nuclear Posture Review Report

The Department of Defense has released its April 2010 Nuclear Posture Review Report. The preface indicates the report "describes how the United States will reduce the role and numbers of nuclear weapons" in keeping with President Obama's agenda for reducing nuclear risks to the United States. It states that central elements of the agenda include the "New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia, the Nuclear Security Summit, our work to strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime, and a broader approach to deterrence." The report indicates a need for money to revamp our aging nuclear infrastructure and recommends a stockpile management program to extend the life of our nuclear weapons without having to develop new nuclear warheads.

For news stories, press releases, fact sheets and other information related to the report see

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Security and Stability in Afghanistan

The Department of Defense has released its latest Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan (Oct. 2009). The report identifies the following key elements necessary for success in the region:
  • Expanding the size and capability of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF)
  • Engaging the Afghan government and bolstering its legitimacy
  • Building Afghan civilian capacity
  • Building provincial and local government capacity
  • Breaking the link between narcotics and the insurgency
  • Building Pakistan's capacity to fight extremists
  • Increasing and broadening U.S. economic assistance to Pakistan
  • Strengthening Pakistani government capacity
  • Mobilizing greater international political support for objectives in Afghanistan and Pakistan
  • Encouraging and facilitating bilateral and trilateral coordination among Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the United States and broader engagement with the international community
Previous reports are available on the Department of Defense publications' page.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Government Book Talk

The Government Printing Office (GPO) has a new blog, Government Book Talk, designed to raise the profile of  government publications. The blog will review new and popular publications including some out-of-print classics. Jim Cameron, the GPO blogger who works in the publications sales program, wants feedback from readers so  the blog will become a "community of book lovers."

President Obama's Plan for Offshore Drilling

The U.S. Department of Interior has created a site entitled Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Strategy containing information about President Obama's plan to pursue "a balanced, science-based strategy for exploring and developing oil and gas resources on the Outer Continental Shelf." The site includes clickable maps with more information about development, exploration, and protection in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Pacific and Alaska regions. The site also includes links to resources such as press releases, memorandums, questions and answers, 5 year plans, regional information pages, hi-resolution maps, and Federal Register Notices.

For a brief summary about the comprehensive strategy for offshore oil and gas development and exploration, see Secretary of the Interior Ken Salzar's March 31, 2010 press release.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Health Care Law

If you'd like to keep up with what the House and Senate are debating each day about health care, you can browse the daily edition of the Congressional Record. Today's daily digest is actually a day or so behind, but still provides a quick way of seeing what amendments are being proposed to The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed March 22, 2010 in the House of Representatives. 

To see the bill that became The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act go to THOMAS from the Library of Congress and access the text of House bill  HR 3590 and the separate House Reconciliation bill H.R. 4872.   Once you access a bill on THOMAS, you'll see a chart that provides links to additional information such as CBO (Congressional Budget Office) cost estimates, related bills,  and CRS (Congressional Research Service) summaries. Under the Latest Major Action there is a link to Public Law No: 111-148. The text of this law will be available in the near future from the link on Thomas and from Public and Private Laws.

Monday, March 29, 2010

2010 Census Help

Did you receive the notification card that your census form was on the way, but still haven't received the form?  The Census Bureau has provided 283 answers to questions like this about the 2010 census on its Find Answers page. The link to "Did not receive a questionnaire" indicates if you have not received the form by April 12, 2010, you should call the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance center during the hours of 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. (your local time) seven days a weeks from February 25 - July 30, 2010. Different extensions are listed for those who speak English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Russian and for those who are hearing impaired.

For more information about the importance of census, access the 2010 Census home page. Notice the "Select a Language" pull down on the left side.  It allows for viewing the site with a choice of 34 different languages.

Monday, March 08, 2010

March 8, 2010 - International Women's Day

2010 Theme
 Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all

In honor of International Women's Day (March 8, 2010), Secretary of State Hilliary Rodham Clinton suggests that we "rededicate ourselves to advancing and protecting the rights of women and girls, and to join together to ensure that no one is left behind in the 21st century." To see her complete message access

More information about worldwide celebrations of International Women's Day is available from In the United States 128 events are listed to celebrate the day. To see if a celebration is planned near you, access

Monday, March 01, 2010

Texas Primaries Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tomorrow (March 2, 2010) candidates from both the Democratic and Republican parties will be trying to win their party's primary elections. The League of Women Voters provides information about the candidates in their online voters' guides available for both Harris and Ft. Bend Counties. Paper copies of the Harris County guide are also available at service points in Fondren Library.

Harris Votes for those residing in Harris County provides a link to "Find your Election Day Poll and View Voter Specific Ballot."

Registered voters in Texas can choose to vote in either primary, just not both.

Monday, February 22, 2010

2010 Census Myth and Reality

The Census Bureau is sending out advance letters letting people know that their census forms will be coming in March. Most people will receive their forms in the mail, but those in areas where mail is not delivered uniformly will receive their forms in a plastic bag affixed to their doors. Those who live in remote areas will have face-to-face interviews with Census workers. Those who live on military bases will have forms delivered to housing units.

The 2010 Census form only has 10 questions. No matter what you might have heard to the contrary, all questions must be answered. If not, census workers will come to your door to complete the form via a face-to-face interview.

President Obama stresses the importance of participating in the census:
“Every 10 years, our Constitution requires the federal government to conduct a census. This helps determine your representation in Congress, as well as how federal funds are spent on things like schools and roads, and where businesses decide to put new stores and factories. So when you get your census form in mid-March, take about 10 minutes to answer 10 questions — remembering to include everyone in your household. Because we can't move forward until you mail it back.”

For more information about how the Census operates, see the Census blog.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Fiscal Year 2011 Budget of the United States Government & DOD Budget Proposal

The Budget of the United States Government Fiscal Year 2011 is now available. Budget documents are available as PDFs digitally signed to ensure authenticity.

The Department of Defense also released its 2011 budget proposal along with a summary containing charts. The summary ends with a chart showing the 2010 war funding supplemental request. Strategic defense reviews including the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), the Ballistic Missile Defense Review (BMDR), and the Space Posture Review (SPR) are also posted.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Register to vote by Feb. 1, 2010

Monday, Feb. 1, 2010 is the last day to register to vote in the March 2 primary elections. To see a sample Harris County Democratic and Republican ballot for the March 2 election access Harris Votes provided by the Harris County Clerk's Office. Harris Votes also provides links with information about early voting locations and a ballot by mail application. Early voting will be available from Feb. 16 through Feb. 26. The last day to apply for ballot by mail (received, not postmarked) is Feb. 23.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report (Order Number: RL30588) dated 12/30/2009 that provides background information about issues surrounding the conflict in Afghanistan.   The Thurgood Marshall Law Library has made available online "Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy." The 41 page document complete with tables and a map of Afghanistan provides a succinct summary of issues our government must consider in dealing with the conflict in Afghanistan.

Overview of the U.S. Financial System

A 12/14/2009 report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) provides useful background information as hearings about the financial crisis get underway.  The Thurgood Marshall Law Library has made available online CRS Order Number: R40249,. "Who Regulates Whom? An Overview of U.S. Financial Supervision." The report "provides an overview of current U.S. financial regulation: which agencies are responsible for which institutions and markets, and what kinds of authority they have."

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan

On Jan. 4, 2010 the Center for a New American Security released a report entitled "Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan" which examines the relevance of the U.S. intelligence community to the counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan.  The report argues "that because the United States has focused the overwhelming majority of collection efforts and analytical brainpower on insurgent groups, the intelligence apparatus still finds itself unable to answer fundamental questions about the environment in which U.S. and allied forces operate in and the people they are trying to protect and persuade."  The authors, Major General Michael T. Flynn, Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence in Afghanistan, his advisor Captain Matt Pottinger, and Paul Batchelor, Senior Advisor for Civilian/Military Integrations at ISAF, recommend "sweeping changes to the way the intelligence community thinks about itself – from a focus on the enemy to a focus on the people of Afghanistan."

House of Representatives Disbursements

In response to Speaker Nancy Pelosi's request to publish the U.S. House of Representatives Statement of Disbursements (SOD) online in addition to the paper volumes, the online statements from July 1, 2009 through September 30, 2009 are now available. Since 1964 Congress has published the quarterly SOD in three paper volumes within 60 days of the end of each quarter.