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Cinematic Treasures Named to National Film Registry

December 18, 2014 Comments off

Cinematic Treasures Named to National Film Registry
Source: Library of Congress

The horrors of war, the heroism of sacrifice, a vaudeville pioneer, the devil and a master of the macabre represent the diversity of an elite selection of films recognized for their cultural, historic or aesthetic significance. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced today the annual selection of 25 motion pictures to be named to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. Selection to the registry will help ensure that these films will be preserved for all time.

Spanning the period 1913-2004, the films named to the registry include Hollywood classics, documentaries, silent movies, student films, independent and experimental motion pictures. This year’s selections bring the number of films in the registry to 650, which is a small fraction of the Library’s vast moving-image collection of 1.3 million items.

The 2014 registry list includes such iconic movies as “Saving Private Ryan,” a treatise about the harsh realities of war, which earned director Steven Spielberg an Academy Award; the chilling 1968 horror masterpiece “Rosemary’s Baby”; Arthur Penn’s Western saga starring Dustin Hoffman, “Little Big Man”; director John Hughes’ “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”; and Joel and Ethan Coen’s cult classic, “The Big Lebowski.”

The list also includes John Lasseter’s 1986 animated film, “Luxo Jr.”; the 1953 “House of Wax,” the first full-length 3-D color film produced and released by a major American film studio; 1971’s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” starring Gene Wilder; Howard Hawks’ 1959 Western “Rio Bravo”; and Charles Laughton comic turn in the 1935 “Ruggles of Red Gap.” Also making the list is Efraín Gutiérrez’s 1976 independent movie, “Please Don’t Bury Me Alive!,” considered by historians to be the first Chicano feature film.

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ASTHO Announces Release of 2014 National Health Security Preparedness Index™

December 15, 2014 Comments off

ASTHO Announces Release of 2014 National Health Security Preparedness Index™
Source: Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and CDC

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and more than 35 development partners, released today the 2014 National Health Security Preparedness Index™ (NHSPI™), which measures and advances the nation’s readiness to protect people during a health emergency or disaster. The 2014 Index includes updated data and new content, especially in the areas of healthcare delivery and environmental health.

The 2014 national result,7.4 on a scale of 10, suggests that substantial health security preparedness capability exists across the nation with progress to sustain and build upon. It also suggests significant work still needs to be done. As with 2013 findings, 2014 areas of relative strength include Countermeasure Management, Incident & Information Management, and Health Security Surveillance. Areas suggesting need for greater development include the new domain of Environmental & Occupational Health, and Healthcare Delivery (previously Surge Management) and Community Planning & Engagement.

America’s Health Rankings — 2014 Annual Report

December 12, 2014 Comments off

America’s Health Rankings — 2014 Annual Report
Source: United Health Foundation

For the third consecutive year, Hawaii is the healthiest state in America’s Health Rankings®–2014 Edition. Vermont ranks second, also for the third consecutive year. Massachusetts improves to third after spending 2 years ranked fourth. Connecticut improves 3 places to fourth, and Utah joins the top 5 states after spending 2 years ranked sixth. Minnesota and New Hampshire drop out of the top 5.

Mississippi ranks 50th for the third consecutive year. Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Oklahoma complete the bottom 5 states. Oklahoma changes from 44th to 46th, and Kentucky changes from 45th to 47th, which moves West Virginia and Alabama out of the bottom 5 states.

Hawaii has consistently been in the top 6 states since the inception of the rankings in 1990. Its continued presence among the top states is due to its low prevalence of both smoking and obesity; a low percentage of children in poverty; small disparity in health status by education level; and low rates of preventable hospitalizations, cancer deaths, and cardiovascular deaths. Hawaii’s challenges are a high prevalence of binge drinking at 18.3% of the adult population, a high incidence of Salmonella infections at 24.7 cases per 100,000 population, and a low immunization coverage among children. Hawaii’s immunization coverage among children decreased 17% in the last year, moving its rank from 1st to 40th.

Mississippi has ranked among the bottom 3 states since the inception of the rankings. Mississippi ranks well for low prevalence of binge drinking, high immunization coverage among children, and small disparity in health status. However, it ranks in the bottom 5 states on 16 of the 27 measures including a high prevalence of obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes, children in poverty, and low birthweight infants; low high school graduation rate; limited availability of primary care physicians and dentists; and a high incidence of infectious disease. Mississippi also ranks 50th for all health determinants combined, so its overall ranking is unlikely to change significantly in the near future.

10 U.S. Counties with the Highest Mortgage Interest Deduction Claim Rate

December 11, 2014 Comments off

10 U.S. Counties with the Highest Mortgage Interest Deduction Claim Rate
Source: Brookings Institution

The mortgage interest deduction (MID) is one of the nation’s largest federal tax expenditures, allowing taxpayers whose total itemized deductions exceed the standard deduction to deduct interest on their primary residence or secondary home up to certain limits. Using zip-code level data on taxes and demographics, Benjamin Harris—a fellow in Economic Studies—and Research Assistant Lucie Parker examine characteristics of the MID in a new Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center paper. Their findings include:

• Twenty percent of zip codes claim roughly half of the aggregate MIDs
• Zip codes with high claiming rates tend to have disproportionately white, middle-aged, and married taxpayer
• Counties west of the Mississippi River and on the East Coast disproportionately benefit from the MID

Freedom on the Net 2014

December 11, 2014 Comments off

Freedom on the Net 2014
Source: Freedom House

Freedom on the Net 2014 – the fifth annual comprehensive study of internet freedom around the globe, covering developments in 65 countries that occurred between May 2013 and May 2014 –finds internet freedom around the world in decline for the fourth consecutive year, with 36 out of 65 countries assessed in the report experiencing a negative trajectory during the coverage period.

In a departure from the past, when most governments preferred a behind-the-scenes approach to internet control, countries rapidly adopted new laws that legitimize existing repression and effectively criminalize online dissent.

The past year also saw increased government pres­sure on independent news websites, which had previously been among the few uninhibited sources of information in many countries, in addition to more people detained or prosecuted for their digital activities than ever before.

DHS OIG — DHS Open Unresolved Recommendations Over Six Months Old, as of September 30, 2014

December 10, 2014 Comments off

DHS Open Unresolved Recommendations Over Six Months Old, as of September 30, 2014
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General

The list includes all the unresolved issues raised by OIG audits and inspections reports, some dating back over six years.

The list includes the report number, title, recommendation, date issued, DHS agency, and number of days the recommendation has remained unresolved.

The Best Places to Work in the Federal Government 2014

December 9, 2014 Comments off

The Best Places to Work in the Federal Government 2014
Source: Partnership for Public Service

Designed to help a broad audience of government leaders, employees and job seekers, the 2014 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government® rankings include the views of more than 392,700 civil servants on a wide range of workplace topics. More than 389 federal organizations are ranked according to overall employee satisfaction and commitment, as well as on 10 additional workplace issues such as strategic management, teamwork, leadership and work–life balance.

The 2014 Best Places to Work data show a decline in federal employee satisfaction with their jobs and workplaces for a fourth consecutive year. Government-wide, federal employee job satisfaction and commitment fell 0.9 points to a score of 56.9 out of 100.

For the third year in a row, the number one Best Places to Work large agency is NASA with a score of 71.6. In the mid-size category, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation took top honors with a score of 82.3, and the top-ranked small agency—and the highest-scoring agency of all—is the Surface Transportation Board, with a score of 86.8.

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