Archive for Social Issues

100 years of American eating

The Food Availability Data System, created by USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), has just been updated.  For many of the several hundred food commodities covered, this new release marks 100 years of data – from 1909 to 2008.

“Food availability” is essentially the per capita amount of food in the U.S. food marketing system available for consumption. ERS economists include production and imports of the various foods, and exclude exports as well as farm and industrial uses, to arrive at an approximation of what Americans consume on average. Food availability includes all food-from grocery stores, restaurants, school cafeterias, and other eating places.

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Digital nation — broadband use in the USA

Broadband internet access in U.S. homes continues to grow: 64 percent of households have broadband access compared to 51 percent in October 2007, according to the report Digital Nation: 21st century America’s progress towards universal broadband internet access.

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released this report taking a first look at data collected through the Internet Usage Survey of more than 50,000 households, commissioned by NTIA and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in October 2009.

Since 2007, the data show that while virtually all demographic groups have experienced rising broadband Internet access adoption at home, historic disparities among particular demographic groups overall continue to persist.

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Acknowledgement is the first step to healing

Sorry written in the sky over the Sydney Opera House

From Ambassador Bleich:

Saturday was the second anniversary of the National Apology Day for the Stolen Generation, and it has made me think about the parallels in America’s and Australia’s histories – both good and bad.

The history of Native Americans and indigenous Australians has been strikingly similar, and similarly tragic. As a lawyer in the States, I worked on Native American issues to protect Indian children from being removed from their native homes. It exposed me to the sad history of Native American tribes and the difficulty we all still face in repairing the damage. U.S. reform efforts have generally followed one of three approaches – (1) assimilating, (2) isolating, or (3) empowering and then neglecting tribes – all without appreciable success.

» Continue reading “Acknowledgement is the first step to healing”

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February is African American history month

Free at Last

President Obama has proclaimed February as National African American History Month.

“As we mark National African American History Month, we should take note of this special moment in our Nation’s history and the actors who worked so diligently to deliver us to this place,” the President remarked. “One such organization is the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People — the NAACP — which this year will witness 100 years of service to the Nation on February 12. Because of their work, including the contributions of those luminaries on the front lines and great advocates behind the scenes, we as a Nation were able to take the dramatic steps we have in recent history.”

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2010 Statistical Abstract of the U.S. released

The Statistical Abstract, also known as “Uncle Sam’s Almanac,” has been published since 1878 — before automobiles, airplanes and motion pictures had even been invented. Contained in the 129th edition are more than 1,400 tables of social, political and economic facts which collectively describe the state of our nation and the world.

Did you know that in 2007, the nation’s 16,604 libraries collectively had an average of 12.5 public-use computers connected to the Internet per library?

Every edition of the Statistical Abstract, dating from 1878, is available in PDF or zip files on the Census Bureau’s Web site.

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President considers the State of the Union

“I never suggested that change would be easy, or that I could do it alone,” President Obama said today in his first State of the Union speech to the U.S. Congress. “Democracy in a nation of 300 million people can be noisy and messy and complicated. And when you try to do big things and make big changes, it stirs passions and controversy. That’s just how it is.

“We have finished a difficult year.  We have come through a difficult decade.  But a new year has come.  A new decade stretches before us.  We don’t quit.  I don’t quit.  Let’s seize this moment — to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more.”

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Secretary of State Clinton promotes internet freedom

In a major foreign policy speech, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton outlined the U.S. commitment to internet freedom, which she said is essential to upholding human rights and encouraging economic prosperity.

» Continue reading “Secretary of State Clinton promotes internet freedom”

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Economic growth linked to good governance

The link between stable, honest government and economic prosperity is being recognized increasingly around the globe by governments, private sector leaders, and entrepreneurs. Governance and Growth, the latest e-journal from the Department of State’s Bureau of International Information  Programs, explores the reality behind President Obama’s statement to Ghana’s parliament earlier this year: “Development depends on good governance.”

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December 10 is Human Rights Day

Promoting freedom and democracy and protecting human rights around the world are central to U.S. foreign policy. The values captured in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in other global and regional commitments are consistent with the values upon which the United States was founded centuries ago.

The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 1948.

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Honoring our veterans on 11 November

“On Veterans Day, we honor the heroes we have lost, and we rededicate ourselves to the next generation of veterans,” wrote President Obama in his proclamation.  ”Today, we reflect upon the invaluable contributions of our country’s veterans and reaffirm our commitment to provide them and their families with the essential support they were promised and have earned.”

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