Monday, August 25, 2014

Bureau of the Fiscal Service

Have you ever had trouble getting your checkbook to balance?  If so, just imagine how difficult it must be to get the U.S. government's checkbook to balance.  The agency in charge of making and collecting payments, as well as tracking federal revenue and debt, is the Bureau of the Fiscal Service within the Department of the Treasury:

It was created in 2012 by combining the Bureau of the Public Debt and the Financial Management Service.  The Bureau of the Fiscal Service issues several publications, including the Financial Statement of the United States Government, the Monthly Treasury Statement, and the Treasury Bulletin.  With the quantity of money they're responsible for tracking, let's hope the Bureau's accountants are eating their Wheaties every morning.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


The recent death of Robin Williams has sparked a new interest in depression.  What is it?  What are the causes?  What are the signs?  What can be done to treat it?  The National Institute of Mental Health has attempted to answer many of those questions in this online "booklet" on depression:

The good news is that there are many effective treatments.  The key is getting everyone to realize that just as significant physical pain should trigger a visit to a doctor, significant mental pain should trigger one as well.

Monday, August 11, 2014


You've likely heard about the influx of unaccompanied children from Central America coming to the U.S. to escape the violence in their home countries.  If this is an unusually high number of refugees, how many refugees normally come to the U.S. each year?  Fortunately, the Office of Refugee Resettlement within the Administration for Children and Families keeps statistics on the numbers of refugees by their home country and by the state where they're initially resettled.  Its site includes data from 2000 through 2012 and links to more recent data from the State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration:

Obviously, Tom Petty was wrong.  Lots of people do have to live like a refugee.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Waters of the U.S. - Regulations

If you have friends or family who live near Toledo, Ohio, you may be aware that their tap water hasn't been safe to drink for the last few days due to an algae bloom in Lake Erie.  The cause of the bloom is thought to be agricultural runoff and other pollutants.  This incident may increase your interest in recently proposed changes to Clean Water Act regulations:

The period for submitting comments about the proposed changes has been extended to October 20.  Take a look and let the EPA know what you think.  As the people of Toledo would tell you (when they finally get out of the shower), having clean water is extremely important.