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.