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Daily Archives: July 29, 2014

Comparison of House & Senate Versions of the USA FREEDOM Act – CDT

“Today Senator Patrick Leahy introduced a new version of the USA FREEDOM Act. The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) supports the Senate version of the USA FREEDOM Act and urges Congress to pass the bill quickly without weakening it. This bill addresses many issues identified by CDT as problematic in the House version of the bill, and includes many key changes that CDT recommended. The most significant differences present in the Senate bill are described in these PDF charts.”

Federal and State Wiretaps Up 5% in 2013 According to Annual Report

EPIC: “The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has issued the 2013 Wiretap Report, detailing the use of surveillance authorities by law enforcement agencies. This annual report, one of the most comprehensive issued by any agency, provides an insight into the debate over surveillance authorities and the use of privacy-enhancing technologies. In 2013, wiretap applications increasedContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Budget Issues, Combatting Nuclear Smuggling, Federal Real Property, 401(K) Plans, Medicaid Financing, Flood Insurance, USDA Farm Programs

BUDGET ISSUES: Opportunities to Reduce Federal Fiscal Exposures Through Greater Resilience to Climate Change and Extreme Weather, GAO-14-504T: Published: Jul 29, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 2014. COMBATING NUCLEAR SMUGGLING: Past Work and Preliminary Observations on Research and Development at the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, GAO-14-783T: Published: Jul 29, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 2014. FEDERAL REAL PROPERTY: Better Guidance andContinue Reading

National Taxpayer Advocate FY 2015 Objectives – Report

“To date, fiscal year (FY) 2014 has been an active year for the IRS. In addition to accepting the National Taxpayer Advocate’s proposal to adopt a Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TBOR), the IRS ran a generally successful filing season (although taxpayer services were sub-optimal largely due to staffing limitations), instituted a more equitable approach toContinue Reading

Surveillance Costs: The NSA’s Impact on the Economy, Internet Freedom & Cybersecurity

New America Foundation – “It has been over a year since The Guardian reported the first story on the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs based on the leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, yet the national conversation remains largely mired in a simplistic debate over the tradeoffs between national security and individual privacy. It is timeContinue Reading

The July 2014 Fiscal Confidence Index, Modeled after the Consumer Confidence Index, is 41 (100 is Neutral)

News release: “The Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s July Fiscal Confidence Index, a monthly measure of public attitudes about the nation’s long-term debt and the efforts elected leaders are making to address America’s fiscal challenges, shows that Americans remain highly concerned about the nation’s fiscal situation. The Fiscal Confidence Index, modeled after the Consumer Confidence Index,Continue Reading

Debt in America

Debt in America by Caroline Ratcliffe, Signe-Mary McKernan, Brett Theodos, Emma Kalish, Additional Authors. July 2014. “Debt can be constructive, allowing people to build equity in homes or finance education, but it can also burden families into the future. Total debt is driven by mortgage debt; both are highly concentrated in high-cost housing markets, mostly along the coasts. Among AmericansContinue Reading

Impact of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Coral Communities Is Deeper and Broader than Predicted

“A new discovery of two additional coral communities showing signs of damage from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill expands the impact footprint of the 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The discovery was made by a team led by Charles Fisher, professor of biology at Penn State University. A paper describing this work and additionalContinue Reading

The New Face of Hunger in America

National Geographic: “Millions of working Americans don’t know where their next meal is coming from. We sent three photographers to explore hunger in three very different parts of the United States, each giving different faces to the same statistic: One-sixth of Americans don’t have enough food to eat…In the United States more than half of hungry householdsContinue Reading