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CRS — Chemical Facility Security: Issues and Options for the 113th Congress (updated_

March 11, 2014 Comments off

Chemical Facility Security: Issues and Options for the 113th Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via University of North Texas Digital Library)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has statutory authority to regulate chemical facilities for security purposes. The 113th Congress extended this authority through January 15, 2014. Congressional policymakers have debated the scope and details of reauthorization and continue to consider establishing an authority with longer duration. Some Members of Congress support an extension, either short- or long-term, of the existing authority. Other Members call for revision and more extensive codification of chemical facility security regulatory provisions. Questions regarding the current law’s effectiveness in reducing chemical facility risk and the sufficiency of federal chemical facility security efforts exacerbate the tension between continuing current policies and changing the statutory authority.

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Categories: Uncategorized

2008-2012 American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Sample Files Now Available

March 6, 2014 Comments off

2008-2012 American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Sample Files Now Available
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) files for the 2012 American Community Survey five-year statistics are now available for users to create their own tabulations. The files contain a 5 percent sample of the housing unit universe while protecting the confidentiality of survey respondents. The files show population and housing characteristics down to Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMAs), which are areas containing no fewer than 100,000 residents. Users can create tabulations through their own tabulation systems or through the Census Bureau data tool DataFerrett.

Categories: Uncategorized

Trade-Offs in Immigration Enforcement

January 31, 2014 Comments off

Trade-Offs in Immigration Enforcement (PDF)
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic confront significant constraints in addressing the population of unauthorized migrants, not least with respect to insufficient resources to tackle illegal migration and legal frameworks that protect individuals regardless of their residence status. This report explores the trade-offs that policymakers face with respect to comprehensive enforcement efforts, which often have adverse consequences in related policy domains, such as public health and safety.

Categories: Uncategorized

SSRN — Top Papers of 2013

January 8, 2014 Comments off

Top Papers of 2013
Source: Social Science Research Network

2014 is right around the corner and it’s about that time to highlight our most downloaded papers from the past year. These articles covered it all – organ transplants, game theory, asset management, government surveillance and privacy and beyond.

Categories: Uncategorized

2013 Audit of the CFPB’s Information Security Program

December 11, 2013 Comments off

2013 Audit of the CFPB’s Information Security Program (PDF)
Source: Federal Reserve Board, Office of Inspector General
From Executive Summary (PDF)

Overall, we found that the CFPB has taken multiple steps over the past year to develop, document, and implement an information security program that is consistent with FISMA requirements. The CFPB has also taken several actions to strengthen its information security program in the 11 areas outlined in DHS’s 2013 FISMA reporting guidance for IGs. We found that the CFPB’s information security program is generally consistent with the requirements outlined in DHS’s FISMA reporting guidance for IGs in 6 out of 11 information security areas: identity and access management, incident response and reporting, risk management, plan of action and milestones, remote access management, and contractor systems.

Categories: Uncategorized

CRS — Legislative Actions to Repeal, Defund, or Delay the Affordable Care Act (updated)

December 6, 2013 Comments off

Legislative Actions to Repeal, Defund, or Delay the Affordable Care Act (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Congress is deeply divided over implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the health reform law enacted in March 2010.1 Since the ACA’s enactment, lawmakers opposed to specific provisions in the ACA, or to the entire law, have debated implementation of the law on numerous occasions and considered multiple bills to repeal, defund, delay, or otherwise amend the law. Most of the legislative activity on these ACA-related bills has taken place in the House. The legislation has included stand-alone bills as well as provisions in broader, often unrelated measures that would (1) repeal the ACA in its entirety and, in some cases, replace it with new law; (2) repeal, or by amendment restrict or otherwise limit, specific provisions in the ACA; (3) eliminate appropriations provided by the ACA and rescind all unobligated funds;2 (4) replace the mandatory appropriations for one or more ACA programs with authorizations of (discretionary) appropriations, and rescind all unobligated funds; and (5) block or otherwise delay implementation of specific ACA provisions. A few bills containing provisions to amend the ACA that have attracted sufficiently broad and bipartisan support have been approved in both the House and the Senate and signed into law.

Categories: Uncategorized

Think Tank Review — November 2013

December 5, 2013 Comments off

Think Tank Review — November 2013 (PDF)
Source: Central Library of the General Secretariat of the EU Council

Welcome to issue 8 of the Think Tank Review compiled by the Council Library. It references papers published in October 2013. As usual, we provide the link to the full text and a short abstract.

Medicare Improperly Paid Millions of Dollars for Prescription Drugs Provided to Unlawfully Present Beneficiaries During 2009 Through 2011

October 31, 2013 Comments off

Medicare Improperly Paid Millions of Dollars for Prescription Drugs Provided to Unlawfully Present Beneficiaries During 2009 Through 2011
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General

Federal health care benefits are not allowable for services provided to unlawfully present beneficiaries. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has specifically implemented a policy that bars Federal payments for health care services provided to unlawfully present beneficiaries in Medicare Parts A and B. Furthermore, an individual is eligible for Part D benefits if he or she is entitled to Medicare benefits under Part A or enrolled in Part B and lives in the service area of a Part D plan. Thus, Federal law prohibits Part D payments for prescription drugs provided to unlawfully present beneficiaries.

CMS did not have a policy addressing payments for unlawfully present beneficiaries under Medicare Part D that was equivalent to the existing policy that covers payments for these beneficiaries under Parts A and B. Without such a policy, CMS incorrectly treated unlawfully present beneficiaries as eligible for Part D benefits and did not prevent Part D payments on behalf of them. Of the prescription drug event (PDE) records submitted by Part D sponsors for calendar years 2009 through 2011, CMS inappropriately accepted 279,056 PDE records with unallowable gross drug costs totaling $29.0 million on behalf of 4,139 unlawfully present beneficiaries and used those records to make its final payment determinations to sponsors.

Because CMS did not have such a policy, it did not have internal controls to identify and disenroll unlawfully present beneficiaries and to automatically reject PDE records associated with them.

We recommended that CMS (1) resolve improper Part D payments made for prescription drugs provided to unlawfully present beneficiaries, (2) develop and implement controls to ensure that Medicare does not pay for prescription drugs for unlawfully present beneficiaries, and (3) identify and resolve improper payments made for prescription drugs provided to unlawfully present beneficiaries for periods after the period of this review but before implementation of policies and procedures. CMS concurred with our first two recommendations but did not concur with our third recommendation. Although CMS did not concur with our third recommendation, we maintain that once CMS has begun the process of recovering improper payments, it should continue and resolve any improper payments that were incurred after the period of this review until system changes are in place that would effectively prohibit the coverage of these beneficiaries under Medicare Part D.

Holding the Fort: Nonprofit Employment During a Decade of Turmoil

October 9, 2013 Comments off

Holding the Fort: Nonprofit Employment During a Decade of Turmoil (PDF)
Source: Johns Hopkins University (Center for Civil Studies)

This report presents previously unavailable data on year-to-year changes in employment in private, nonprofit establishments in the United States from January 2000 through June 2010, with a special focus on how nonprofit employment fared during the 2007-2009 recession.

A Framework for Restructuring the Military Retirement System

August 7, 2013 Comments off

A Framework for Restructuring the Military Retirement System
Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

The current military retirement system has been integral to sustaining the All Volunteer Force (AVF). Mounting federal budget challenges, however, have raised concern that the program may become fiscally unsustainable. While several restructuring proposals have emerged, none have considered the implications of these changes to the broader issue of manning an AVF. Changes to the existing system could create military personnel shortfalls, adversely affect servicemember and retiree well-being, and reduce public confidence in the Armed Forces. With the right analytical framework in place, however, a more holistic system restructuring is possible, one that avoids these negative effects while significantly reducing costs. A comprehensive framework is provided, as well as a proposal that stands to benefit both servicemembers in terms of value and the military in terms of overall cost savings.

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves

August 1, 2013 Comments off

U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves
Source: Energy Information Administration

In 2011, oil and gas exploration and production companies operating in the United States added almost 3.8 billion barrels of crude oil and lease condensate proved reserves, an increase of 15 percent, and the greatest volume increase since the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) began publishing proved reserves estimates in 1977 (Table 1). Proved reserves of crude oil and lease condensate increased by 2.9 billion barrels in 2010, the previous record. Proved reserves of U.S. wet natural gas1 rose by 31.2 trillion cubic feet in 2011 to a new record high of 348.8 trillion cubic feet. Though this increase was lower than the 33.8 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) added in 2010, it was only the second year since 1977 that natural gas net reserves additions surpassed 30 Tcf.

Categories: Uncategorized

CRS Memorandum: The 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force: Background in Brief

July 24, 2013 Comments off

CRS Memorandum: The 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force: Background in Brief (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

This memorandum responds to your request for information on presidential utilization of the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF; P.L. 107-40; 50 U.S.C. § 1541 note), enacted in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, to justify and undertake military and other action. It contains very brief discussions of the relevant provisions of the AUMF, and the use of U.S. armed forces and other actions initiated under AUMF authority. Material in this memorandum may be used in other Congressional Research Service (CRS) products.

Note: Response to request for information from Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA13)

Categories: Uncategorized

Note to followers of FullTextReports

July 8, 2013 Comments off

Just a periodic reminder that some of the papers and reports posted on FullTextReports.com are freely available online for just a limited time before they disappear behind a paywall (or go away entirely). If you see something you suspect might be useful to you (or a colleague) in the future, download it the day you see it because it may not be accessible later without a subscription (or it may have been moved or taken offline).

FullTextReports.com offers links to these documents and does not archive them.

Categories: Uncategorized

DoD OIG — Release of Department of Defense Information to the Media

June 19, 2013 Comments off

Release of Department of Defense Information to the Media (PDF)

Source: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General

In a letter dated August 9, 2011, the Honorable Peter King, Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, U.S. House of Representatives, cited concerns involving "ongoing leaks of classified information regarding sensitive military operations." Chairman King referenced an August 6, 2011, New York Times op-ed column that claims, "Administration officials may have provided filmmakers with details of the raid that successfully killed Usama Bin Laden (UBL)." According to this article, filmmakers Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal received "top-level access to the most classified mission in history." Chairman King requested that Department of Defense (DoD) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Inspectors General explore related matters and respond to the following questions:

  • "What consultations, if any, occurred between members of the Executive Office of the President, and Department of Defense and/or CIA officials, regarding the advisability of providing Hollywood executives with access to covert military operators and clandestine CIA officers to discuss the UBL raid?"
  • "Will a copy of this film be submitted to the military and CIA for pre­ publication review, to determine if special operations tactics, techniques and procedures, or Agency intelligence sources and methods, would be revealed by its release?"
  • "How was the attendance of filmmakers at a meeting with special operators and Agency officers at CIA Headquarters balanced against those officers’ duties to maintain their covers? How will cover concerns be addressed going forward?"
  • "What steps did the Administration take to ensure that no special operations tactics, techniques, and procedures were compromised during those meetings?"

Summary: Our review did not identify consultations between DoD personnel and representatives from the Executive Office of the President (EOP) regarding the advisability of providing filmmakers with access to military special operators. The EOP, however, did communicate with the DoD regarding providing the filmmakers interviews with Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (USD(I)) Michael G. Vickers. We identified internal DoD communications in which various Department representatives discussed the extent to which DoD should support the filmmakers. DoD representatives also discussed whether the filmmakers should be provided access to military special operators. It was ultimately determined that a special operations planner would speak to filmmakers on background. Our review revealed attempts to set up a meeting between the planner and filmmakers; however, based on information obtained, no meeting took place.

[[Category U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General, national security, media and entertainment, military and defense]

Categories: Uncategorized

Trends in Health Coverage for Part-Time Workers; IRA Withdrawals: How Much, When, and Other Saving Behavior

June 6, 2013 Comments off

Trends in Health Coverage for Part-Time Workers; IRA Withdrawals: How Much, When, and Other Saving Behavior

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute

Trends in Health Coverage for Part-Time Workers

  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) requires that employers with 50 or more full-time workers pay a penalty if they fail to provide health coverage to full-time workers in 2014, which has raised concern that employers may respond by cutting back on health coverage for part-time workers or by increasing the proportion of part-time workers employed.
  • The recent recession has already resulted in an increased use of part-time workers: The percentage of workers employed part-time has been rising since 2007, increasing from 16.7 percent to 22.2 percent in 2011.
  • Part-time workers have experienced a much larger decline in coverage than full-time workers. Between 2007 and 2011, full-time workers experienced a 2.8 percent reduction in the likelihood of having coverage from their own jobs, while part-time workers experienced a 15.7 percent decline.
Categories: Uncategorized

In Gay Marriage Debate, Both Supporters and Opponents See Legal Recognition as ‘Inevitable’

June 6, 2013 Comments off

In Gay Marriage Debate, Both Supporters and Opponents See Legal Recognition as ‘Inevitable’

Source: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

As support for gay marriage continues to increase, nearly three-quarters of Americans – 72% – say that legal recognition of same-sex marriage is “inevitable.” This includes 85% of gay marriage supporters, as well as 59% of its opponents.

The national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted May 1-5 among 1,504 adults, finds that support for same-sex marriage continues to grow: For the first time in Pew Research Center polling, just over half (51%) of Americans favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. Yet the issue remains divisive, with 42% saying they oppose legalizing gay marriage. Opposition to gay marriage – and to societal acceptance of homosexuality more generally – is rooted in religious attitudes, such as the belief that engaging homosexual behavior is a sin.

At the same time, more people today have gay or lesbian acquaintances, which is associated with acceptance of homosexuality and support for gay marriage. Nearly nine-in-ten Americans (87%) personally know someone who is gay or lesbian (up from 61% in 1993). About half (49%) say a close family member or one of their closest friends is gay or lesbian. About a quarter (23%) say they know a lot of people who are gay or lesbian, and 31% know a gay or lesbian person who is raising children. The link between these experiences and attitudes about homosexuality is strong. For example, roughly two-thirds (68%) of those who know a lot of people who are gay or lesbian favor gay marriage, compared with just 32% of those who don’t know anyone.

Part of this is a matter of who is more likely to have many gay acquaintances: the young, city dwellers, women, and the less religious, for example. But even taking these factors into account, the relationship between personal experiences and acceptance of homosexuality is a strong one.

[Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, LGBT issues, marriage and divorce, public opinion, social and cultural issues]

Categories: Uncategorized

New From the GAO

June 5, 2013 Comments off

New GAO Report and Testimony

Source: Government Accountability Office

Report

1. SSA Representative Payee Program: Addressing Long-Term Challenges Requires a More Strategic Approach. GAO-13-473, May 29.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-473
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/654894.pdf

Testimony

1. SSA Representative Payee Program: Long-Term Strategy Needed to Address Challenges, by Daniel Bertoni, director, education, workforce and income security issues, before the Subcommittee on Social Security, House Committee on Ways and Means. GAO-13-673T, June 5.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-673T

[Source:  Government Accountability Office, Social Security]

Categories: Uncategorized

Most Americans Say Religion Is Losing Influence in U.S.

May 30, 2013 Comments off

Most Americans Say Religion Is Losing Influence in U.S.

Source: Gallup

Over three-quarters of Americans (77%) say religion is losing its influence on American life, while 20% say religion’s influence is increasing. These represent Americans’ most negative evaluations of the impact of religion since 1970, although similar to the views measured in recent years.

Americans over the years have generally been more likely to say religion is losing rather than increasing its influence in American life. In addition to the previous peak in views that religion was losing its influence measured in 1969 and 1970, at least 60% of Americans thought religion was losing its influence in 1991-1994, in 1997 and 1999, in 2003, and from 2007 to the present.

Americans were more likely to say religion was increasing rather than decreasing its influence when the question was first asked in 1957, in 1962, at a few points in the 1980s during the Reagan administration, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in late 2001 and early 2002, and in 2005. The high point for Americans’ belief that religion is increasing its influence, 71%, came in December 2001.

These perceptions of religion’s influence in American society are not related to Americans’ personal religiosity, as measured by church attendance or the self-reported importance of religion in one’s life. In general, highly religious Americans are neither more nor less likely to say religion is losing its influence than those who are not religious. There is, however, a modest relationship between Americans’ ideology as well as partisanship and their views of the influence of religion, with liberals and Democrats more likely than conservatives and Republicans to say religion’s influence is increasing in American society.

[Gallup, religion and spirituality, public opinion]

Categories: Uncategorized

Credential Recognition in the United States for Foreign Professionals

May 18, 2013 Comments off

Credential Recognition in the United States for Foreign Professionals (PDF)
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Foreign-trained professionals in the United States often encounter significant obstacles on their path to professional practice, among them difficulties in demonstrating the value of their past work experience and qualifications. This report examines the decentralized US credential recognition process, particularly with regards to recertification in the medical and engineering sectors and offers recommendations for improvement.

Categories: Uncategorized

AERA Issues Report on Prevention of Bullying in Schools and Colleges

May 13, 2013 Comments off

AERA Issues Report on Prevention of Bullying in Schools and Colleges

Source: American Education Research Association

The American Educational Research Association (AERA) today issued a new report titled Prevention of Bullying in Schools, Colleges, and Universities: Research Report and Recommendations. The report results from the work of a blue-ribbon AERA task force mandated to prepare and present practical short-term and long-term recommendations to address bullying of children and youth. The report’s release coincides with the association’s 94th Annual Meeting in San Francisco, where more than 15,000 education researchers are gathered to discuss research findings.

The epicenter for bullying is schools and colleges, yet may administrators, teachers, and related personnel lack training to address bullying and do not know how to intervene to reduce it.

The peer-reviewed report, presented as a series of 11 briefs, addresses legislative, policy and procedural matters with pragmatic and practical strategies for prevention of bullying.

The briefs, which range in length from four to 10 pages each, include:

  • Looking Beyond the Traditional Definition of Bullying
  • Bullying as a Pervasive Problem
  • Bullying and Peer Victimization Among Vulnerable Populations
  • Gender-Related Bullying and Harassment: A Growing Trend
  • Legal Rights Related to Bullying and Discriminatory Harassment
  • Improving School Climate: A Critical Tool in Combating Bullying
  • Students, Teachers, Support Staff, Administrators, and Parents Working Together to Prevent and Reduce Bullying
  • Putting School Safety Education at the Core of Professional Preparation Programs
  • Reinvigorated Data Collection and Analysis: A Charge for National and Federal Stakeholders

[Category American Education Research Association

Categories: Uncategorized
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