Monday, November 14, 2011

President Nixon's Grand Jury Tapes Released

According to a National Archive's press release, on November 10, 2011 the first batch of grand jury records from the Presidency of Richard M. Nixon was released from the National Archives and from the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. The National Archives site is starting with transcripts of President Nixon's grand jury testimony of June 23-24, 1975, and associated material. The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum is making available textual materials and sound recordings of segments of five transcripts of White House taped conversations from 1971 and 1973 and approximately 3,000 pages of formerly classified national security materials including transcripts of  Henry Kissinger's telephone conversations.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Digital Goods and Copyright

In copyright law the first sale doctrine gives someone who purchases a copyrighted work the right to sell or dispose of it without getting permission from the copyright holder.  However, according to law professor Annemarie Bridy, regarding digital products " it will increasingly be the case that consumers do not own the information goods they buy (or, rather, think they've bought)." In The Digital Death of Copyright's First Sale Doctrine she reveals that on October 3 the Supreme Court refused to review Vernor v Autodesk, a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision about whether the first sale doctrine applied to transactions involving software and other digital information goods. She concludes:
Under the court's decision in Vernor, all a copyright owner has to do to effectively repeal the statutory first sale doctrine is draft a EULA that (1) specifies that the user is granted a license; (2) significantly restricts the user's ability to transfer the software; and (3) imposes notable use restrictions.
See her article linked above for the full discussion.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Income Distribution Reports

If the Occupy Wall Street movement has you wondering about income distribution in the United States, check out the following sources suggested by Charles E. Malone, Coordinator of Government and Legal Information at Western Illinois University:
Other government agencies also feature wealth-related reports for specific populations:
For those having access to Fondren's databases, ProQuest has prepared a LibGuide entitled Distribution of Wealth - A Selected Bibliography. Fondren has a subscription to Statistical Insight and Congressional (committee prints, hearings and reports). Notice Tips for Searching under To Find Related Reports.

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    Federal Reserve Board Finance and Economic Discussions Series

    The Federal Reserve Board Finance and Economic Discussions Series includes staff working papers on a variety of economic and financial topics of interest to the American public.  For example, Raven Molloy and Hui Shan 's "The Post-Foreclosure Experience of U.S. Households"  looks at  1999 to 2010 data from the credit reports of a large group of individuals.  They concluded, "Although foreclosure considerably raises the probability of moving, the majority of post-foreclosure migrants do not end up in substantially less desirable neighborhoods or more crowded living conditions."

    See the links for that report and the complete lists of reports at .

    Wednesday, September 07, 2011

    Remembering 9/11

    For a sampling of events, reports, and multi-media information about 9/11, please see the Remembering 9/11 LibGuide .

    GAO Study Evaluating US Postal Service Deficit Proposals

    The General Accounting Office (GAO) has released a short study addressing the United States Postal Service's (USPS) deficit. GAO evaluates key proposals made by USPS including the
    • USPS proposal to sponsor its own health benefit plan...
    • USPS proposal to seek reimbursement of its $6.9 billion FERS (Federal Employess Retirement System) surplus...
    • USPS proposal on workforce optimization...
    The report also poses key questions Congress should address including those that should be considered before USPS creates its own health benefit program.

    The report concludes that "USPS’s business model is broken" and that difficult choices must be made.

    Wednesday, August 31, 2011

    Research Center for the Prevention of Financial Fraud

    The Stanford University Center on Longevity and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation have joined forces to create the Research Center on the Prevention of Financial Fraud. The center is an "interdisciplinary resource for law enforcement, government and research groups studying financial fraud." The center plans to address the following questions:
    • Who is most susceptible to financial fraud?
    • How can people be effectively protected against fraud?
    • What techniques do fraudsters use to persuade victims?
    • Why do people fall victim to fraud?
    • What is the economic and emotional impact of fraud in the U.S.?
    If the fraud is committed online, the United States Department of Justice addresses fraud and cybercrime on its Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section page which includes information about how to report cyber and IP crime.

    Thursday, August 04, 2011

    Violent Extremism Prevention

    The National Strategy for Counterterrorism now has a partner document, Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism. The national strategy contains President's Obama's plan to protect the American people against al-Qa’ida, its affiliates and its adherents. The partner document describes how federal agencies will support local communities and agencies in their efforts to prevent violent extremism.

    Tuesday, August 02, 2011

    Analysis of the Budget Control Act of 2011

    What impact will The Budget Control Act of 2011 have on the deficit? Estimates from the Congressional Budget Office created for the House and Senate are now available online. The estimates include discussions on the following topics : Discretionary Caps, Program Integrity Initiatives, the Social Security Administration, Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control, Changes in Direct Spending for Education Programs, Pell Grants, Student Loans,Other Provisions, and Overall Budgetary Impact of the Legislation.

    On Aug. 2, 2011 President Obama signed into S. 365, The Budget Control Act of 2011, assigned as Public Law 112-25 (cite as Pub. L. No. 112-25, 140 Stat. 240 [28 pages]). The enrolled bill is available as a pdf at or in html at which also has links to previous versions of the bill.

    Thursday, July 28, 2011

    Transnational Crime

    According to a July 25, 2011 entry posted by Attorney General Eric Holder on the White House blog, the National Security Council has released its Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime. The strategy includes legislative proposals designed to strengthen anti-money laundering provisions and to identify and respond to evolving tactics used to conceal illicit operations and profits associated with transnational crime. The blog entry also links to fact sheets and assessments relating to transnational criminal activities.

    Friday, July 01, 2011

    Blog Commemorating 9/11

    Starting July 5 the Homeland Security Digital Library will publish one blog a week leading up to the ten year anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The blogs will honor those who died by highlighting lessons learned and societal changes made to ensure another such attack does not occur. The blog schedule is:
    • July 5 – Terrorism, Terrorists and Threats
    • July 12 – The Department of Homeland Security
    • July 19 – The 9/11 Commission Recommendations
    • July 26 – Emergency Preparedness
    • August 2 – Border Security and Immigration
    • August 9 – Transportation and Travel
    • August 16 – Freedoms and Rights
    • August 23 – Protecting Critical Infrastructure
    • August 30 – Communication
    • September 6 – Commemorating 9/11
    Access On the Homefront Blog entries at

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    Pentagon Papers Released 6/13/11

    On June 13, 2011 at noon ET the National Archives will release online all 7,000 pages of the Pentagon Papers, the informal name for the "Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force" commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in 1967. According to the National Archives, this version is unique for the following reasons:
    • No redactions compared to previous versions
    • Presented as Leslie Gelb presented it to Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford on Jan. 15, 1969
    • Includes all the supplemental back-documentation.
    • Includes the complete account of peace negotiations, significant portions of which were not previously available either in the House Armed Services Committee redacted copy or in the Gravel Edition.
    For more information including how to access a hard copy, see the Press Release.

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    Counterinsurgency Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Operations

    The Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Defense Intelligence Counterinsurgency (COIN) Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Operations is now available. The Department of Defense asked the task force to "identify how Department of Defense (DoD) intelligence can most effectively support COIN [counterinsurgency] operations." According to an introductory memorandum, the Task Force "examined the multi-phase COIN challenge, which includes the need to continue to support COIN operations in Afghanistan; prepare for emerging and urgent COIN ISR operations that will have to be met using current resources, and building a capability to deal with long-term COIN scenarios using new concepts of operations (CONOPS) and resources."

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    Where does your tax money go?

    Now that you've paid your 2010 taxes, are you wondering how your tax money is spent? Louis Garcia and Andrew Johnson, computer engineers from Minneapolis, wondered the same. They created an easy way to view how the federal budget is spent in relation to your tax dollars. Called What We Pay For, the database assumes that tax dollars are pooled into one lump sump to spend on the programs and operations of the federal government. To be sure their data was accurate, the engineers randomly sampled over a hundred records at different levels. They also provide a feedback section for reporting any issues. For more information, check their About page.

    In today's world of mashups Anil Kandangath got permission to use the data from What We Pay For to create an interactive chart for quick viewing. His Where Did My Tax Dollars Go? lets you choose the following categories to see proportionally how taxes are spent: single, married (filing jointly), married (filing separately), qualified widow(er), and head of household. Kandangath also has a tab for suggestions to improve the site.

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    Income Tax Deadline Extended Until April 18, 2011

    If you are rushing to complete your income tax return by April 15, relax a little. Because April 15 is Emancipation Day, a District of Columbia holiday, and D.C. holidays impact tax deadlines in the same manner as federal holidays, the tax deadline has been extended until Monday, April 18, 2011. For more information see IRS Kicks Off 2011 Tax Season with Deadline Extended to April 18.

    Open Government Initiatives Going Dark

    According to Federal News Radio, an internet-only all-news station focusing on the Federal Government and those who do business with it, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will shut down several public and internal government websites started under President Obama's Open Government Initiative because of a lack of e-government funding. Unless something changes, funding will begin to run out April 20 for the public sites:
    Funding is projected to run out soon after July 30 for Internal government sites reported to face the budgetary ax include some sites related to the FEDRamp cloud computing cybersecurity effort and:
    • (login required even to view the homepage), and
    • FedSpace
    • .
    For the complete story see OMB prepares for open gov sites to go dark in May (March 31, 2011 - 2:46pm).

    Other organizations are providing information about these proposed cuts too. William Matthews of discusses the scaling back or elimination of these open-government/transparency sites in his April 12, 2011 news story entitled Transparency websites hit by budget ax. (To read the article, click on Continue to Government Executive at the top of the advertising page the link initially accesses.) On April 12 Bill Shuman of the Sunlight Foundation also posted a blog entry entitled Major Cuts for Online Tech Transparency Progs. In the entry Shuman provides a link to bill H.R. 1473 containing the appropriations, a brief Save the Data video, and an opportunity to sign a letter to Congress asking members to protect funding for these sites.

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Discontinuing Statistical Abstract

    For many Statistical Abstract is the first source of statistical information they consult. Data that would take countless hours to compile is often available there in a table with source information included.  It appears that 2012 budget cuts will mean the demise of this statistical bible. Under the topic "Statistical Abstract and the Consolidated Federal Funds Report, and other noted publications from the Statistical Compendia Branch (Census Bureau)" the Government Printing Office (GPO) help site states:
    We've heard the Census Bureau has announced it is going to discontinue the Statistical Abstract and the Consolidated Federal Funds Report.
    Can you confirm this information?

    A representative of the agency states:
    "The just released 2012 budget does not include funding for the Statistical Compendia Branch which would mean the elimination of not only the Statistical Abstract, but all titles produced by that branch (State and Metropolitan Area Data Book, County and City Data Book, USA Counties, Quick Facts). No new editions would be produced in print or online. We have already started work on the Statistical Abstract 2012 edition and are still working on the local area products. We will continue to work on these products and have a contingency plan to have the Statistical Abtract 2012 out by the end of September, due to our uncertain future."
    The Consolidated Federal Funds Report (CFFR) was proposed for termination in the FY 2012 Budget.  The FY 2010 CFFR will be the last publication. The data can be accessed at

    The proposed elimination of the Statistical Compendia Branch originated in the U.S. Census Bureau's Budget Estimates as Presented to Congress, February 2011. Librarians across the country are uniting in protest of the proposed cut and starting a campaign to write Congressmen. *Concerns expressed by librarians include:
    • The abstract aggregates social, economic, and political indicators. It is time-consuming and difficult to compile this information. The multitude of government statistical programs and publications can be difficult for many members of the public to understand and use, much less compile.
    • The abstract provides source information for the statistics provided.
    • The printed abstract includes some copyrighted material that will no longer be easily accessible without it. According to the preface of the 2011 Statistical Abstract (under Statistical Abstract on other media), "The Abstract is available on the Internet and on CD-ROM. Both versions contain the same material as the book, except for a few copyrighted tables for which we did not receive permission to release in these formats."
    • A similar abstract is published by many developed countries around the world as a tool to understand the state of a nation's social, political and economic functioning. Terminating the Statistical Abstract program would lower the United States international standing as free and open society that values unfettered access to information.

    *Much of this information was organized into a sample letter by Hailey Mooney.

    Access Who Represents Me to find contact information for members of Congress from Texas.

    To see a 45 second video prepared by librarians at the University of Texas at San Antonio explaining what you can find in the Statistical Abstract, access

    Friday, February 18, 2011

    Census data release for Texas

    From the U.S. Census Bureau: 

                              THURSDAY, FEB. 17, 2011
    Public Information Office
    U.S. Census Bureau Delivers Texas’ 2010 Census Population Totals, Including First Look at Race and Hispanic Origin Data for Legislative Redistricting
          The U.S. Census Bureau today released more detailed 2010 Census population totals and demographic characteristics to the governor and leadership of the state legislature in Texas. These data provide the first look at population counts for small areas and race, Hispanic origin, voting age and housing unit data released from the 2010 Census.
       The official 2010 Census Redistricting Data Summary File can be used to redraw federal, state and local legislative districts under Public Law 94-171. The census data are used by state officials to realign congressional and state legislative districts in their states, taking into account population shifts since the 2000 Census.
       Data for Texas show that the five most populous incorporated places and their 2010 Census counts are Houston, 2,099,451; San Antonio, 1,327,407; Dallas, 1,197,816; Austin, 790,390; and Fort Worth, 741,206. Houston grew by 7.5 percent since the 2000 Census. San Antonio grew by 16.0 percent, Dallas grew by 0.8 percent, Austin grew by 20.4 percent, and Fort Worth grew by 38.6 percent.
          The largest county is Harris, with a population of 4,092,459. Its population grew by 20.3 percent since 2000. The other counties in the top five include Dallas, with a population of 2,368,139 (increase of 6.7
    percent); Tarrant, 1,809,034 (increase of 25.1 percent); Bexar, 1,714,773 (increase of 23.1 percent); and Travis, 1,024,266 (increase of 26.1
         The redistricting file consists of five detailed tables: the first shows the population by race, including six single race groups and 57 multiple race groups (63 total race categories); the second shows the Hispanic or Latino population as well as the non-Hispanic or Latino population cross-tabulated by the 63 race categories. These tabulations are repeated in the third and fourth tables for the population 18 years and over and are for the resident population of the United States. The fifth table provides counts of housing units and their occupancy status.
        These five detailed tables are available to the public online via FTP download at <> and will be available within 24 hours at .  (Access 2003 or Access 2007 shells or SAS scripts are provided to assist with importing and accessing the summary file data from the FTP site. These shells and scripts can be found at <>.  This Web page also contains special instructions for linking data downloaded from FactFinder and/or the FTP site with the Census Bureau’s geographic products.)
          By April 1, all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico will receive these data for the following areas: state, congressional districts (for 111th Congress), counties, minor civil divisions, state legislative districts, places, school districts, census tracts, block groups and blocks, and if applicable, American Indian and Alaska Native areas and Hawaiian home lands. In addition, data are available for the 46 states that voluntarily provided voting districts to the Census Bureau’s Redistricting Data Program. Unique geographies for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico are also available.
    Race and Hispanic Origin Data
          The Census Bureau collects race and Hispanic origin information following the U.S. Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) standards for collecting and tabulating data on race and ethnicity. In October 1997, the OMB issued the current standards, which identify five race groups: white, black or African-American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. The Census Bureau also utilized a sixth category — “some other race.” Respondents who reported only one race are shown in these six groups.
          Individuals were first presented with the option to self-identify with more than one race in the 2000 Census, and this continued in the 2010 Census. People who identify with more than one race may choose to provide multiple races in response to the race question. The 2010 Census results provide new data on the size and makeup of the nation’s multiracial population.
          Respondents who reported more than one of the six race groups are included in the “two or more races” population. There are 57 possible combinations of the six race groups.
          The Census Bureau included the “some other race” category for responses that could not be classified in any of the other race categories on the questionnaire. In the 2000 Census, the vast majority of people who reported only as “some other race” were of Hispanic or Latino origin. Data on Hispanics or Latinos, who may be of any race, were obtained from a separate question on ethnicity.
    How to Find Assistance
          Additional information about the redistricting data program, including news releases for other states, can be found online at <>. More information on the redistricting data program is also available at <>.
          For further information about Texas’ 2010 Census redistricting data,
          • Census Redistricting Data Office, U.S. Census Bureau,
             301-763-4039; e-mail: ;
          • Census Bureau Regional Office, Dallas, 214-253-4481; e-mail:
          • State Data Centers 
    Description of Five Custom Tables
          In addition to the full set of detailed tables to be available on FactFinder within 24 hours, five custom tables are also attached to this
    news release. The first (Table 1) shows the most populous counties and incorporated places in 2010, their change since the 2000 Census and their population rank for both decades.
          Table 2 shows data for all ages and for those 18 and older for the Hispanic or Latino population, as well as for people who reported one race and those who reported two or more races. This table also shows the numeric and percent change in the population by race and Hispanic origin between 2000 and 2010.
          Table 3 is similar to Table 2. However, it shows data for the six “race alone or in combination” categories. The concept “race alone or in combination” includes people who reported only a single race (e.g.., Asian) and people who reported that race in combination with one or more of the other major race groups (i.e., white, black or African-American, American Indian and Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, and some other race).
          The concept “race alone or in combination,” represents the maximum number of people who reported as that major race group, either alone or in combination with another race(s). The sum of the six individual “race alone or in combination” categories may add to more than the total population because people who reported more than one race were tallied in each race category.
          For people who reported two or more races, Table 4 shows the population in each of the 15 combinations of two races (for example, the number of people who reported being both white and black or African-American).
          Table 5 shows the population in the major race categories and of Hispanic or Latino origin for Texas’ most populous counties and incorporated places.
    Description of Two Custom Maps
          The attached custom maps show the total population by county for Texas and the percent change in the population by county.
    Texas resources:
    Custom tables -
    Map: Population totals (PDF) –
    Map: Population totals (JPEG) –
    Map: Population change (PDF) –
    Map: Population change (JPEG) –
    Interactive Map -
    FTP site -
    Press kit -
    Editor’s Note: The five detailed tables provided to the state are available to the public online via FTP download at <> and will be available within 24 hours at .
    Access 2003 or Access 2007 shells or SAS scripts are provided to assist with importing and accessing the summary file data from the FTP site. These shells and scripts can be found at <>.  This Web page also contains special instructions for linking data downloaded from FactFinder and/or the FTP site with the Census Bureau’s geographic products.

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    Egypt's Importance in Energy Production and International Energy Markets

    The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is highlighting a report about Egypt's importance in energy production and international energy markets.  The report includes links to additional sources of information.

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Searchable Scientific Videos from the U.S. Department of Energy

    According to a February 8, 2011 press release,  the U.S.Department of Energy (DOE) has released ScienceCinema, a multimedia tool to access scientific videos that highlight the most exciting research and development sponsored by DOE. The press release describes the new tool as follows:
    ScienceCinema uses innovative, state-of-the-art audio indexing and speech recognition technology from Microsoft Research to allow users to quickly find video files produced by the DOE National Laboratories and other DOE research facilities. When users search for specific scientific words and phrases of interest to them, precise snippets of the video where the specific search term was spoken will appear along with a timeline. Users can then select a snippet or a segment along the timeline to begin playing the video at the exact point in the video where the words were spoken. The timeline is synced with transcripts of the targeted portion of video.