Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show BP officials discussing how to influence the work of scientists: ”BP officials tried to take control of a $500m fund pledged by the oil company for independent research into the consequences of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, it has emerged. Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show BP officials openly discussing how to influence the work of scientists supported by the fund, which was created by the oil company in May last year. Russell Putt, a BP environmental expert, wrote in an email to colleagues on 24 June 2010: “Can we ‘direct’ GRI [Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative] funding to a specific study (as we now see the governor’s offices trying to do)? What influence do we have over the vessels/equipment driving the studies vs the questions?”. The email was obtained by Greenpeace and shared with the Guardian. The documents are expected to reinforce fears voiced by scientists that BP has too much leverage over studies into the impact of last year’s oil disaster. Those concerns go far beyond academic interest into the impact of the spill. BP faces billions in fines and penalties, and possible criminal charges arising from the disaster. Its total liability will depend in part on a final account produced by scientists on how much oil entered the gulf from its blown-out well, and the damage done to marine life and coastal areas in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The oil company disputes the government estimate that 4.1m barrels of oil entered the gulf.”

Barry P. Bosworth, The Brookings Institution; Kathleen Burke, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: ”This analysis uses data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to examine the sources of variation in mortality for individuals of varying socio-economic status (SES). The use of the HRS allows a distinction between education and a measure of career earnings as primary determinants of socio-economic status for men and women separately. We use those predictions of mortality to estimate the distribution of annual and lifetime OASDI benefits for different birth cohorts spanning the birth years from 1900 to 1950. We find differential rates of mortality have had substantial effects in altering the distribution lifetime benefits in favor of higher income individuals.”

  • See also Growing Older in America: The Health and Retirement Study: “This publication is about one major resource — the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) — designed to inform the national retirement discussion as the population so dramatically ages. Since its launch in 1992, the HRS has painted a detailed portrait of America’s older adults, helping us learn about this growing population’s physical and mental health, insurance coverage, financial situations, family support systems, work status, and retirement planning. Through its unique and in-depth interviews with a nationally representative sample of adults over the age of 50, the HRS provides an invaluable, growing body of multidisciplinary data to help address the challenges and opportunities of aging.”

Employment in large metropolitan areas – From February 2013 to February 2014

April 20, 2014

BLS – “Employment in large metropolitan areas – From February 2013 to February 2014, nonfarm employment rose in 33 of the 38 metropolitan areas with annual average employment levels above 750,000 in 2013, decreased in 4 areas, and was unchanged in Kansas City, Missouri-Kansas. CHART IMAGE CHART DATA In February 2014, the largest over-the-year percentage […]

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BLS – High-income household spending and the economic recovery

April 20, 2014

Aaron E. Cobet: “In late 2007, the United States fell into a “Great Recession.” According to the National Bureau of Economic Research the recession officially ended in June 2009, but it took several more years for average household income and expenditures to exceed their 2008 levels in nominal terms. The recession lowered household income and consumer expenditures […]

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Labor-force Participation Rates of the Population Ages 55 and Older, 2013

April 20, 2014

“The labor-force participation rate for those ages 55 and older rose throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s, when it began to level off but with a small increase following the 2007–2008 economic downturn. For those ages 55–64, the upward trend was driven almost exclusively by the increased labor-force participation of women, whereas the male […]

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The Virtues of Private Securities Litigation: An Historic and Macroeconomic Perspective

April 20, 2014

Ramirez, Steven A., The Virtues of Private Securities Litigation: An Historic and Macroeconomic Perspective (April 18, 2014). Loyola University Chicago Law Journal, Vol. 45, No. 3, 2014. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2426661 “In the wake of the Great Depression, the federal securities laws operated to mandate disclosure of material facts to investors and extend broad private remedies […]

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What happens to the internet after the U.S. hands off ICANN to others?

April 20, 2014

Pew Research Center, Lee Raine: “It is important to remember that no one, no government and no organization “controls the internet.”  ICANN is a crucial cog in the functioning of the internet because computers (and the people who use them) cannot find each other on the internet without Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. ICANN oversees how those addresses […]

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Eleven states generated electricity from nonhydro renewables at double U.S. average

April 20, 2014

EIA: “About 6.2% of total U.S. electricity supplies in 2013 were generated from nonhydro renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal, up from 5.4% in 2012. But 11 states produced electricity at more than twice the national average from these sources—accounting for between 14% and 32% of their net electric generation—according to […]

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Frequently Asked Questions on Basel III’s January 2013 Liquidity Coverage Ratio

April 20, 2014

“The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision today issued frequently asked questions (FAQs) on Basel III’s liquidity coverage ratio (LCR). To promote consistent global implementation of those requirements, the Committee has agreed to periodically review frequently asked questions and publish answers along with any technical elaboration of the rules text and interpretative guidance that may be necessary. The Committee […]

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Earth Month Tip: Clean the area around the outdoor components of your HVAC system

April 19, 2014

“Did you know as much as half of your household energy use goes to heating and cooling? Airflow problems can reduce your HVAC system’s efficiency by up to 15% and contribute to carbon pollution. In fact, dirt and neglect are the top causes of heating and cooling system inefficiency and failure. Check out EPA’s A Guide to […]

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Institutions for Macroprudential Regulation: The UK and the U.S.

April 19, 2014

Donald Kohn, Brookings - Institutions for Macroprudential Regulation: The UK and the U.S. - ”The U.S. and the world economy still haven’t fully recovered from the global financial crisis that provoked the worst recession since the Great Depression. Nonetheless, a lot of effort already has gone into reducing the risk that we put the world through something […]

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Digital Public Library of America Celebrates Its First Birthday

April 19, 2014

“This week marks the one-year anniversary of the launch of the Digital Public Library of America, a groundbreaking all-digital library that brings together millions of items from America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. In celebration, DPLA is proud to announce the addition of six major new partners and […]

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