Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry (UK)

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry was published on 6 July 2016.

From the links on the page you can access the Executive Summary and the Report, search the supporting documents and review transcripts and recordings of the original hearings.

From METRO: The 12-volume, 2.6 million-word report, which comes at a turbulent time in British politics... found that British military action was not the last resort and that policy on Iraq was made on the basis of flawed intelligence that was never challenged.

From the Independent:

Sir John Chilcot has published his long awaited report into the Iraq War.

The Iraq Inquiry has concluded the war was "unneccessary" as Saddam Hussein posed no immediate threat to the US or the UK.

Sir John said the secret intelligence reports "did not justify" former Prime Minister Tony Blair's belief in the presence of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) but found that Mr Blair did sincerely believe they were there.

In direct contradiction to what Mr Blair told the inquiry, Sir John also found he and George W Bush were made aware that the country could descent into sectarian civil war after the invasion so "hindsight was not required".

See also

Saturday, July 2, 2016

The baffling reason many millennials don’t eat cereal

From the Washington Post:
Few things are as painless to prepare as cereal. Making it requires little more than pouring something (a cereal of your choice) into a bowl and then pouring something else (a milk of your choice) into the same bowl. Eating it requires little more than a spoon and your mouth. The food, which Americans still buy $10 billion of annually, has thrived over the decades, at least in part, because of this very quality: its convenience.

And yet, for today's youth, cereal isn't easy enough.

The New York Times published a story about the breakfast favorite, and the most disconcerting part was this:

Almost 40 percent of the millennials surveyed by Mintel for its 2015 report said cereal was an inconvenient breakfast choice because they had to clean up after eating it.

The industry, the piece explained, is struggling — sales have tumbled by almost 30 percent over the past 15 years, and the future remains uncertain. And the reasons are largely those one would expect: Many people are eating breakfast away from the home, choosing breakfast sandwiches and yogurt instead of more traditional morning staples. Many others, meanwhile, too busy to pay attention to their stomachs, are eating breakfast not at all.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Proposed 2020 Census Residence Criteria and Residence Situations

A Proposed Rule by the Census Bureau on 06/30/2016

From the Federal Register:

he Bureau of the Census (U.S. Census Bureau) is providing notification and requesting comment on the proposed “2020 Census Residence Rule and Residence Situations.” In addition, this document contains a summary of comments received in response to the May 20, 2015, Federal Register document, as well as the Census Bureau's responses to those comments. The residence criteria are used to determine where people are counted during each decennial census. Specific residence situations are included with the criteria to illustrate how the criteria are applied.

The U.S. Census Bureau is committed to counting every person in the 2020 Census once, only once, and in the right place. The fundamental reason that the decennial census is conducted is to fulfill the Constitutional requirement (Article I, Section 2) to apportion the seats in the U.S. House of Representatives among the states. Thus, for a fair and equitable apportionment, it is crucial that the Census Bureau counts everyone in the right place during the decennial census.

The residence criteria are used to determine where people are counted during each decennial census. Specific residence situations are included with the criteria to illustrate how the criteria are applied.

1. The Concept of Usual Residence

Monday, June 20, 2016

May 2016 Is the Eighth Temperature Record-Breaking Month in a Row

From Slate:

October. November. December. January. February. March. April. And now May.
For the sixth seventh eighth month in a row, we’ve had a month that has broken the global high temperature record. And not just broken it, but shattered it, blasting through it like the previous record wasn’t even there.
According to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space StudiesMarch April May 2016 was the hottest March April May on record, going back 136 years. It was a staggering 1.28°C 1.11°C 0.93° C above average across the planet. The previousMarch April May record, from 2010 2014, was 0.92° 0.87° 0.86° above average. This year took a huge jump over that.
Welcome to the new normal, and our new world.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

New York Report Chronicles ACA Implementation Progress

With the overall national experience in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) being uneven, often reflecting stark political divisions within states, the implementation of the ACA in New York State has been relatively smooth, according to the just released findings of researcher Sarah F. Liebschutz, a distinguished service professor emerita of the State University of New York (SUNY) and former chair of the political science department at SUNY Brockport.

Liebschutz's study is the latest in a series of more than 30 reports released through the efforts of the 40-state, 70-researcher ACA Implementation Network of the Rockefeller Institute of SUNY, the Brookings Institution and the Fels Institute of Government of the University of Pennsylvania.

According to the study, New York's success is attributable to the fact that "New York's leaders (executive and legislative) affirmed state options early and subsequently acted to improve access, quality, and cost savings. They were influenced by past experience and enhanced ACA implementation through partnerships with statewide, nonprofit organizations," the study concluded.

Liebschutz also discussed the significance of the addition of New York's Basic Health Plan (BHP) during the third open enrollment period. New York is now the nation's leading and largest BHP, an example of how New York's leaders used federal funds to take advantage of recent health system change opportunities.

Through the expansion of Medicaid eligibility and the establishment of the New York Health Benefit Exchange, known as the NY State of Health, the enrollment of insured New Yorkers increased by approximately 961,000 in the program's first year to more than 2.8 million in year three.

Thomas Gais, director of the Rockefeller Institute, commented on the report and the forum: "What I find impressive about New York's implementation of the ACA is its integration of several different programs ---- including Medicaid, Child Health Plus, the Qualified Health Plans, and the Essential Plan ---- into a wide-ranging yet accessible whole for New York residents seeking health care. The federal government may operate these as separate 'silos.' But New York has connected them for the sake of its people. That's federalism at its best."

Specifics of the New York implementation were discussed in a public event held at the Rockefeller Institute on June 6th.

To read the report, go to

To view the video of the event, go to

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Nancy Zimpher to end tenure as SUNY chancellor on June 30, 2017

Dear SUNY Family,

Serving as chancellor of The State University of New York during a time of such change and challenge, and of wonderful opportunities and possibilities, is a great honor. The strides we have made together to improve the delivery and quality of public higher education in New York State are the highlights of my career.

Today, I write to tell you that I will end my tenure as chancellor on June 30, 2017. My hope is that by sharing this news now, Chairman McCall and the SUNY Board of Trustees will have ample time to find my successor, someone who will continue to carry out our collective vision for SUNY.

When I came to SUNY seven years ago, New York was in a period of major transition. You know better than anyone the serious toll the Great Recession took on our state’s finances, creating challenges for our campuses and SUNY System Administration alike. As this university has done throughout its 60-plus year history, we rose to the challenge and met our responsibility to students, faculty, staff, and taxpayers. SUNY came together and worked in a more unified way than ever before. In realizing our full potential for systemness, we brought together SUNY’s 64 campuses to serve as an engine of economic revitalization and life-enhancing opportunity throughout our state.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Subcounty Population Estimates

 Georgetown, Texas, saw its population rise 7.8 percent between July 1, 2014, and July 1, 2015, making it the nation’s fastest-growing city with a population of 50,000 or more, according to estimates released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Georgetown is part of the Austin-Round Rock metro area, which crossed the 2 million population threshold in 2015 for the first time, according to statistics released earlier this year. This metro area is also home to Pflugerville, the nation’s 11th fastest-growing large city. Austin itself added more people over the period (19,000) than all but seven other U.S. cities.
Texas was home to five of the 11 fastest-growing cities (New Braunfels, Frisco and Pearland were the others), and five of the eight that added the most people (Houston, San Antonio, Fort Worth and Dallas were the others).
New York remained the nation’s most populous city and gained 55,000 people during the year ending July 1, 2015, which is more than any other U.S. city.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Scammers push people to pay with iTunes gift cards

One thing we know about scammers — they want money, and they want it fast. That’s why, whatever the con they’re running, they usually ask people to pay a certain way. They want to make it easy for themselves to get the money — and nearly impossible for you to get it back.
Their latest method? iTunes gift cards. To convince you to pay, they might pretend to be with the IRS and say you’ll be arrested if you don’t pay back taxes right now. Or pose as a family member or online love interest who needs your help fast. But as soon as you put money on a card and share the code with them, the money’s gone for good.
If you’re not shopping at the iTunes store, you shouldn’t be paying with an iTunes gift card. Other payment methods scammers might ask for include Amazon gift cards, PayPal, reloadable cards like MoneyPak, Reloadit, or Vanilla, or by wiring money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram. Government offices won’t require you to use these payment methods.
If you get targeted by a scam like this, report it to the FTC at
Want to know more about avoiding scams? Read 10 Ways to Avoid Fraud.