Thursday, May 22, 2008

Food Crisis

Global Food Crisis is a compilation of material from 2008 about rising food prices, food security, and contributing factors to the world food situation. It includes updates, maps, key documents, FAQs, data, and resources for further information.

Source: ReliefWeb, administered by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Green Book

Chairman Rangel Announces Rollout of the 2008 Green Book:

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) today announced the release of the 2008 edition of “Background Material and Data on the Programs within the Jurisdiction of the Committee on Ways and Means,” informally known as the Green Book.

The Green Book provides updated data and information on programs within the Committee’s jurisdiction, such as Medicare, Social Security, Unemployment Compensation, Foster Care and welfare. Additionally, it includes a discussion of related issues, such as the well-being of the elderly and of children and families. Since its first publication in 1981, the Green Book has become a valued reference guide for legislators, administrators, researchers and interested citizens.

Upon completion, individual chapters of this volume will be accessible on the Committee’s website ( The first of these completed sections, Child Support Enforcement Program, was posted today. Once all sections have been completed, a printed edition of the entire book will be made available for purchase from the Government Printing Office.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Homeland Security: Small Vessels

Fact Sheet: DHS Small Vessel Security Strategy

Traditional maritime security efforts have primarily focused on large commercial vessels, their cargoes, and crew. Efforts to address the small vessel environment have largely been limited to traditional safety and law enforcement concerns. Small vessels, however, are readily vulnerable to potential exploitation by terrorists; smugglers of weapons of mass destruction, narcotics, aliens, and other contraband; and other criminals. Small vessels have also been successfully employed overseas by terrorists to deliver Waterborne Improvised Explosive Devices.

As the U.S.S. Cole attack vividly demonstrated, there is a clear need to close security gaps and enhance the small vessel security environment. The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Small Vessel Security Strategy (SVSS) addresses these concerns, providing a coherent framework to improve maritime security and safety. It envisions a coordinated effort of federal, state, local and tribal authorities, together with international partners, private industry, and the recreational users of the waterways.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Carbon Offsets

Voluntary Carbon Offset Information Portal provides information about buying carbon offsets to neutralize carbon dioxide emissions created by individual air travel. It features a consumer handout on "flying green,"a report on voluntary offsets for air travel carbon emissions, a paper with an overview of international climate change policies and the current carbon market, description of offset project types, a list of carbon offset companies, a glossary, and more. The portal is a joint project of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and Tufts Climate Initiative (TCI).

Thursday, April 17, 2008

ALEC Report Card on American Education

2007 Report Card on American Education from the American Legislative Exchange Council (the 14th edition) gathers and presents in a quick-glance format helpful data for reviewing the condition of education among the states. The “snapshot” pages reveal states’ “inputs” and “outputs,” as well as demographic information. Policymakers and parents will be able to easily reference per-pupil spending, for example, as well as class size and achievement scores. By compiling this data from its sources, the Report Card aims to contribute to a well-informed community of parents and leaders.

The Report Card also reviews the data across states to identify any promising relationships among “inputs” and “outputs” in an effort to help answer the question: What works?
The results show that we are not doing enough to prepare America’s children for global competitiveness. International data and trends cannot be ignored. The latest results of comparison among participating nations of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development peg American students’ achievement levels in science below dozens of other countries including Croatia, Latvia, and mainland China. In fact, the United States scores below the combined average of all countries observed. These results come on the heels of a Wall Street Journal editorial warning that America’s output of American-born Ph.D. students is losing ground to foreign-born students with temporary visas.

Individual state reports also are available.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Subprime Mortgages

Subprime Outcomes: Risky Mortgages, Homeownership Experiences, and Foreclosures provides the first rigorous assessment of the homeownership experiences of subprime borrowers. It considers homeowners who used subprime mortgages to buy their homes, and estimates how often these borrowers end up in foreclosure. In order to evaluate these issues, homeownership experiences in Massachusetts over the 1989–2007 period are analyzed, using a competing risks/ proportional hazard framework. Two findings are presented: first, homeownerships that begin with a subprime purchase mortgage end up in foreclosure almost 20 percent of the time, or more than 6 times as often as experiences that begin with prime purchase mortgages; second, house price appreciation plays a dominant role in generating foreclosures. In fact, most of the dramatic rise in Massachusetts foreclosures during 2006 and 2007 were due to the decline in house prices that began in the summer of 2005.

Source: Federal Reserve of Boston

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Transportation and Climate Change

Climate change will have a significant impact on transportation infrastructure and operations : While every mode of transportation in the U.S. will be affected as the climate changes, potentially the greatest impact on transportation systems will be flooding of roads, railways, transit systems, and airport runways in coastal areas because of rising sea levels and surges brought on by more intense storms, says a new report from the National Research Council. Though the impacts of climate change will vary by region, it is certain they will be widespread and costly in human and economic terms, and will require significant changes in the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of transportation systems.

Source: National Research Council/National Academies Press