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Good to Know…Week of November 14, 2011


PUBLIC SENTIMENT
30% and 26%—Anger with Government Rises Among Silents, Boomers
Most Americans say they are frustrated with the federal government; anger at the government has been increasing across generations, with the exception of Millennials.

To read this article, go to: PEWResearch.org

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
Seattle Police Test Taking Drug Offenders Straight to Treatment
Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood, located just south of the iconic Space Needle, is a popular night spot for young professionals, and its high-rise condos are home to many Microsoft and Amazon.com employees.

To read this article, go to: Stateline.org

Feds Confirm Prisons Vulnerable to Stuxnet-like Attack
Federal authorities have confirmed an assertion by security researchers earlier this year that Stuxnet-like malware poses a potential threat to controls at prisons and penitentiaries across the country.

To read this article, go to: GCN.com

TRANSPORTATION
Senate Committee Advances Highway and Transit Bill
A Senate panel cleared legislation Wednesday overhauling federal highway programs, prompting lawmakers to talk of a looming bipartisan consensus that would end years of stalemate on repairing and expanding an aging transportation network.

To read this article, go to: Governing.com

UNDEREMPLOYMENT
The Hidden Toll of Underemployment
The many impacts of unemployment—including social and psychological ones—have long been catalogued. But much less is known about the consequences of “underemployment.” Millions of Americans—at least as many as are unemployed, and perhaps more—have either been forced to take part-time work because full-time jobs are not available, or are forced to work in jobs for which they are overqualified.

To read this article, go to: RemappingDebate.org

PUBLIC WORKFORCE PAY
A New Pay System for Wisconsin State Workers
The increased contributions that Wisconsin state employees are now making toward their pension and health care benefits already feel like a pay cut. The required contributions are part of Act 10, the controversial bill whose passage last spring eliminated most collective bargaining rights for state employees.

To read this article, go to: Stateline.org

Pay Gap Grows in Private Sector’s Favor, Council says
The pay advantage private-sector employees enjoy over federal employees grew 2.25 percentage points this year, bringing the pay gap to 26.3 percent, the Federal Salary Council said Friday.

To read this article, go to: FederalTimes.com

HEALTH CARE
Health and OPEB Funding Strategies: 2011 Survey of Local Governments
A new Cobalt Community Research survey of cities, counties, townships, and special districts finds that more governments are cutting their funding for retiree health insurance or eliminating it entirely.

To read this report, go to: CobaltCommunityResearch.org

Medicaid Directors to Feds: Give States Flexibility
State Medicaid directors are asking the federal government to fast-track state Medicaid improvements by emphasizing health over bureaucratic process and rapidly disseminating best practices so that states can benefit from the success of others.

To read this article, go to: Stateline.org

Malaria: The Beginning of the End?
You wait for years for a breakthrough in the battle against malaria, and then two come along in two weeks. But the advance announced yesterday by scientists at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge is potentially far more significant than last month’s news of an experimental vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline (and part-funded by Bill Gates), which showed partial success in early clinical trials. Scientists involved in those trials emphasised that the vaccine would only be able to contribute to the control of malaria.

To read this article, go to: Independent.co.uk

Panel Recommends New Agency to Investigate Safety of Health Information Technology
Health information technology has been touted as crucial to better health care, but a new report says an entirely new agency is needed to investigate this largely unregulated sector, which can also injure or kill patients if it’s not operating properly.

To read this article, go to: IWatchNews.org

Safety Risks Seen in Computerized Medical Records
The nation’s transition to electronic medical records, now in full swing, risks overlooking potential patient safety problems, independent advisers warned the Obama administration in a report Tuesday.

To read this article, go to: Governing.com


BANKRUPTCY

Bankruptcy Rarely Offers Easy Answer for Counties
When Alabama’s Jefferson County filed for the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history this week, it looked a little like another domino had fallen.

To read this article, go to: NYTimes.com

ENERGY AND CLIMATE CONTROL
Energy Dept. Panel Warns of Environmental Toll of Current Gas Drilling Practices
A federal energy panel issued a blunt warning to shale gas drillers and their regulators today, saying they need to step up efforts to protect public health and the environment or risk a backlash that stifles further development.

To read this article, go to: ProPublica.org

World Headed for Irreversible Climate Change in Five Years, IEA Warns
The world is likely to build so many fossil-fuelled power stations, energy-guzzling factories and inefficient buildings in the next five years that it will become impossible to hold global warming to safe levels, and the last chance of combating dangerous climate change will be “lost for ever,” according to the most thorough analysis yet of world energy infrastructure.

To read this article, go to: Guardian.co.uk

He Who Pays the Paupers…
AMID the wreckage of the 2009 Copenhagen climate summit, an agreement that rich countries would, by 2020, furnish developing ones with $100 billion a year to help them mitigate and adapt to global warming looked like a rare achievement. This commitment will also be a big talking point at the next annual UN summit, due to start in Durban on November 28th.

To read this article, go to: Economist.com

Poor and Vulnerable Countries are Defying Climate Inaction
Slow progress at global climate talks is belied by the plethora of actions in many smaller and more at-risk developing nations.

To read this article, go to: Guardian.co.uk

POVERTY
Poverty May be Worse Than in ‘Official’ Count
The number of Americans living in poverty totaled 46.2 million in 2010—or 49.1 million. Both figures come from the federal government. So which number is accurate and why the discrepancy?

To read this article, go to: Stateline.org

INTERESTING…
Chinese Civil Servants to be Taught Ethical Behavior
BEIJING—Public servants are to receive systematic and compulsory training in ethics over the next five years, according to the State Administration of Civil Service.

To read this article, go to: ChinaDaily.com

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