News release: "Drawing from responses from more than 100 utilities across America, a new report released today shows that the nation’s electric grid remains highly vulnerable to attacks from Iran and North Korea, or other threats like geomagnetic storms from solar activity. The report, released by Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) indicates that the lengthy, industry-driven process by which grid security standards are set results in long delays and haphazard implementation of the voluntary security recommendations the industry refuses to make mandatory. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding a hearing on cybersecurity on Tuesday. The full report, entitled “Electric Grid Vulnerability: Industry Responses Reveal Security Gaps”, can be found HERE. In January, Reps. Markey and Waxman sent letters to more than 150 utilities asking how often the grid came under attack, what measures the utilities were taking to protect against cyber attacks like the Stuxnet computer worm, and other questions."
Association of Inspectors General - John Jay College of Criminal Justice: Directory of Oversight Agencies
News release: "The amount spent on cigarette advertising and promotion by the largest cigarette companies in the United States rose from $8.05 billion in 2010 to $8.37 billion in 2011, due mainly to an increase in spending on price discounts, or discounts paid to cigarette retailers or wholesalers in order to reduce the price of cigarettes to consumers. Spending on price discounts increased from $6.49 billion in 2010 to $7.00 billion in in 2011. The price discounts category was the largest one in 2011, as it has been each year since 2002. The number of cigarettes sold to wholesalers and retailers in the United States declined from 281.6 billion in 2010 to 273.6 billion in 2011...To read the full reports, click on Federal Trade Commission Cigarette Report for 2011, and Federal Trade Commission Smokeless Tobacco Report for 2011."
Teens, Social Media, and Privacy by Mary Madden, Amanda Lenhart, Sandra Cortesi, Urs Gasser, Maeve Duggan, Aaron Smith. May 21, 2013
"The following resources are available to people who were impacted by the Oklahoma tornadoes:
- Apply for disaster assistance at disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
- Find an open shelter if you need a place to stay.
- Let friends and family know you're safe by registering at the Safe and Well Registry.
- Talk to a counselor by calling the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990. It's free and confidential
- Natural Resources and Environment - Funding for 10 States' Programs Supported by Four Environmental Protection Agency Categorical Grants, GAO-13-504R, May 6, 2013
- Homeland Security - An Overall Strategy Is Needed to Strengthen Disease Surveillance in Livestock and Poultry, GAO-13-424, May 21, 2013
- Immigration Enforcement - Preliminary Observations on DHS's Overstay Enforcement Efforts, GAO-13-602T, May 21, 2013
- Telecommunications Networks - Addressing Potential Security Risks of Foreign-Manufactured Equipment, GAO-13-652T, May 21, 2013
- Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Request - U.S. Government Accountability Office, GAO-13-617T, May 21, 2013
Offshore Profit Shifting and the U.S. Tax Code - Part 2 (Apple Inc.), Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, May 21, 2013. Includes Member Statements, Witness testimony and Exhibits.
Gallup: "U.S. retirees with $50,000 or more in annual income are twice as likely as retirees below that threshold to say a work-sponsored pension plan is a major source of retirement funds. Instead, these lower-income retirees overwhelmingly cite Social Security as a major source of their retirement income...Among all U.S. retirees, Social Security continues to be the most commonly cited source of retirement funds, with 61% calling it a major source, followed by pension plans (36%), 401(k), IRA, or other retirement savings accounts (23%), and home equity (20%). Those sources differ from nonretirees' expected retirement income sources, with self-directed savings accounts such as 401(k) plans or IRAs topping the list of funding streams that pre-retirees expect to rely most on."
"GPO is requesting $128.5 million for FY 2014, which is provided through three separate accounts in the annual Legislative Branch Appropriations bill...GPO is the Federal Government's official, digital, secure resource for producing, procuring, cataloging, indexing, authenticating, disseminating, and preserving the official information products of the U.S. Government. The GPO is responsible for the production and distribution of information products and services for all three branches of the Federal Government, including U.S. passports for the Department of State as well as the official publications of Congress, the White House, and other Federal agencies in digital and print formats. GPO provides for permanent public access to Federal Government information at no charge through our Federal Digital System (www.fdsys.gov), partnerships with approximately 1,200 libraries nationwide participating in the Federal Depository Library Program, and our secure online bookstore. For more information, please visit www.gpo.gov."
News release: "NOAA presented to the U.S. Coast Guard today a new report that finds that 36 sunken vessels scattered across the U.S. seafloor could pose an oil pollution threat to the nation’s coastal marine resources. Of those, 17 were recommended for further assessment and potential removal of both fuel oil and oil cargo. The sunken vessels are a legacy of more than a century of U.S. commerce and warfare. They include a barge lost in rough seas in 1936; two motor-powered ships that sank in separate collisions in 1947 and 1952; and a tanker that exploded and sank in 1984. The remaining sites are 13 merchant marine ships lost during World War II, primarily along the Atlantic Seaboard and Gulf of Mexico. To see a list of the ships and their locations, visit here. The report, part of NOAA’s Remediation of Underwater Legacy Environmental Threats (RULET) project, identifies the location and nature of potential sources of oil pollution from sunken vessels. Knowing where these vessels are helps oil response planning efforts and may help in the investigation of reported mystery spills--sightings of oil where a source is not immediately known or suspected."
New Policy: "UNESCO will make its digital publications available to millions of people around the world free-of-charge with an open license. Following a decision by the Organization’s Executive Board in April, UNESCO has become the first member of the United Nations to adopt such an Open Access policy for its publications. The new policy means that anyone will be able to download, translate, adapt, distribute and re-share UNESCO publications and data without paying."
A State-by-State Snapshot of Poverty Among Seniors: Findings From Analysis of the Supplemental Poverty Measure. May 20, 2013 | Zachary Levinson, Anthony Damico, Juliette Cubanski and Patricia Neuman
U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General Report of Investigation Concerning the Improper Disclosure of U.S. Department of Justice Information to a Member of the Media, May 2013
- Prescription Drugs - Comparison of DOD and VA Direct Purchase Prices, GAO-13-358, Apr 19, 2013: "When GAO compared prices paid by the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for a sample of 83 drugs purchased in the first calendar quarter of 2012, DOD's average unit price for the entire sample was 31.8 percent ($0.11 per unit) higher than VA's average price, and DOD's average unit price for the subset of 40 generic drugs was 66.6 percent ($0.04 per unit) higher than VA's average price. However, VA's average unit price for the subset of 43 brand-name drugs was 136.9 percent ($1.01 per unit) higher than DOD's average price. These results were consistent with each agency obtaining better prices on the type of drugs that made up the majority of its utilization: generic drugs accounted for 83 percent of VA's utilization of the sample drugs and brand-name drugs accounted for 54 percent of DOD's utilization of the sample drugs. DOD officials told GAO that in certain circumstances they are able to obtain competitive prices for brand-name drugs--even below the prices for generic equivalents--and therefore will often preferentially purchase brand-name drugs.
- DOD Business Systems Modernization - Further Actions Needed to Address Challenges and Improve Accountability, GAO-13-557, May 17, 2013: "The Department of Defense (DOD) continues efforts to establish a business enterprise architecture (a modernization blueprint) and transition plan and modernize its business systems and processes, in compliance with key provisions of the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005 and amendments. Nonetheless, long-standing challenges remain."
"It has been nearly a half century since President Lyndon Johnson declared his War on Poverty, setting in motion development of America’s modern safety net. Back in the 1960s, tackling poverty “in place” meant focusing resources in the inner city and in isolated rural areas. The suburbs were home to middle- and upper-class families—affluent commuters and homeowners who did not want to raise kids in the city. But the America of 2012 is a very different place. Poverty is no longer just an urban or rural problem but increasingly a suburban one as well. In Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube take on the new reality of metropolitan poverty and opportunity in America. For decades, suburbs added poor residents at a faster pace than cities, so that suburbia is now home to more poor residents than central cities, composing over a third of the nation’s total poor population. Unfortunately, the antipoverty infrastructure built over the past several decades does not fit this rapidly changing geography. The solution no longer fits the problem. Kneebone and Berube explain the source and impact of these important developments; moreover, they present innovative ideas on addressing them."