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Sharpen your Civics with the Latest in Govdocs

By Scott West

Lots of new government documents have made their way into the collection at the University Libraries since my last dispatch in September. In fact, we have a section just for these recent items in the newly renovated Roesch Library. Go to the northeast corner by the newspapers, magazines, and the reference collection.

Civics Flash Cards for the Naturalization Test/Tarjetas de Educación Civica para el Examen de Naturalización
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (2019)
  • HS 8.2:F 61/2/2019 and HS 8.2:F 61/2/2019/SPAN

These flashcards are one of the really interesting items that make their way into the GovDocs collection. There are two separate items ― one in English and the other in Spanish ― designed to help potential citizenship candidates for the naturalization test. They focus specifically on U.S. history and government. These would be great for any domestic classroom as well. Test yourself! Available in print.

Examining the Actions of Drug Companies in Raising Prescription Drug Prices
  • Hearing before the Committee on Oversight and Reform, House of Representatives (Jan. 29, 2019)
  • Y 4.OV 2:116-01

If you take prescription medications, then you may be familiar with extraordinary costs confronting consumers. This hearing, early in the tenure of the 116th Congress, presents a series of witnesses bringing to light apparent profit-mongering of the pharmaceutical industry. The first witness is Antoinette Worsham, the mother of two insulin-dependent children, and she is followed by representatives of AARP, Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins University, and the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity. The hearing was chaired by the late (and great) Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland. Available in print and online.

Fortune’s Distant Shores: a History of the Kotzebue Sound Gold Stampede in Alaska’s Arctic
  • By Chris Allan, Fairbanks Administrative Center, National Park Service (2019)
  • I 29.2:G 22/8

Many people have heard of or are at least somewhat familiar with the Gold Rush in the contiguous United States or the infamous Klondike of the Canadian Yukon, but most are not familiar with the Kotzebue Sound Gold Stampede in Alaska. This extraordinary history details the efforts of prospectors to make their fortune in the most demanding of environmental conditions. The author explains that roughly 2,000 stampeders going into Kotzebue Sound were “thrusting themselves into a world of extremes where they would live side by side with indigenous people and struggle with rugged terrain, profound cold, accidents, and disease.” The book is filled with maps and extraordinary images. Available in print.

Grand Canyon: 100 Years, One Million Lives, 1 Grand Canyon
  • Johanna Lombard (ed.), Grand Canyon National Park, National Park Service (2018)
  • I 29.2:G 76/38

This extraordinarily colorful and informative booklet celebrates the 100th anniversary of Grand Canyon National Park. It provides not only a list of centennial events, but wonderful bits of history and excellent visitor advice. Available in print.

Made by Maduro: the Humanitarian Crisis in Venezuela and U.S. Policy Responses
  • Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade, U.S. House of Representatives (Feb. 26, 2019)
  • Y 4.F 76/1:116-7

As the situation in Venezuela grew more dire, many people became desensitized to those circumstances. Moreover, other crises such as hurricanes and mass shootings made it hard to remember what was and is happening in South America. Rep. Albio Sires (New Jersey), subcommittee chairman, describes the oppressive policies of Nicolas Maduro that have denied human rights adn devastated the economy of Venezuela, a country flush with oil money not too long ago. This includes detaining a U.S. journalist. This hearing was intended to identify ways for the international community to support the Venezuelan people. Witnesses included Marcela Escobari of the Brookings Institution; Santiago Canton, formerly of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; and Moises Rendon of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Available in print and online.

Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Science and Technology
  • Hearing before the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives (March 6, 2019)
  • Y 4.SCI 2:116-4

The hearing charter for this meeting provides the best possible description: “On Wednesday, March 6, 2019, the Science, Space, and Technology Committee will hold a hearing to assess the current state of U.S. science and technology (S&T) in the global context and what is needed to maintain U.S. leadership. The hearing will examine the role of federal investments in S&T; partnerships between academia, government and industry; the future of U.S. research universities; STEM education and the U.S. STEM workforce; and increasing international competition in areas of emerging technology as well as opportunities for increased international collaboration on pressing global challenges.” The witness group is just as broad with representatives from the National Academy of Sciences, the University of Pittsburgh, and PepsiCo. Available in print and online.

NATO at 70: An Indispensable Alliance
  • Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives (March 13, 2019)
  • Y 4.F 76/1:116-13

April 4, 2019, was the 70th anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Rep. Elliot Engel (New York), chairman, explains that this hearing is intended “to really assess where the alliance stands in the year 2019.” Though President Trump has openly criticized the leadership among the NATO nations, support for this alliance remains both bipartisan and strong in Congress. Available in print and online.

Oil and Gas Development: Impacts on Air Pollution and Sacred Sites
  • Oversight Field Hearing before the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources of the Committee on Natural Resources (April 15, 2019)
  • Y 4.R 31/3:116-12

This hearing was held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, rather than Washington, D.C. There, the subcommittee was shown the impact of oil and natural gas development in the area. In the hearing, it was made clear that air quality has deteriorated dramatically but also begins to threaten land held in reverence by local indigenous people. Events at Standing Rock over the last few years show the seriousness with which people consider these issues. Development is undeniably profitable, but there are profound questions about the risks. Witnesses included representatives from the New Mexico state government, including Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham; members of the Pueblo and Navajo nations; archaeologists; and representatives of health advocacy groups. Available in print and online.

Resolution Recommending that the House of Representatives find William P. Barr, Attorney General of the United States, and Wilbur L. Ross, Jr., Secretary of Commerce, in Contempt of Congress for Refusal to Comply with Subpoenas Duly Issued by the Committee on Oversight and Reform
  • Report of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, House of Representatives (June 24, 2019)
  • Y 1.1/8:116-125

This report (all 1087 pages) details the events supporting the contempt charges. Available in print and online.

Spies in Space: Reflections on National Reconnaissance and the Manned Orbiting Laboratory
  • By Courtney V.K. Homer, Center for the Study of National Reconnaissance (May 2019)
  • D 17.2:SP 4

This book’s topic is something that seems so very obvious. Well, of course we had plans to put surveillance teams in orbiting satellites! The truth is that the United States planned and trained, from 1965 to 1969, for just such an endeavor. It just never really happened. Using information declassified in 2015, Homer uses firsthand accounts to provide a picture of this Cold War program in which national security, military interests and space exploration intersected. Available in print and online.

— Scott N. West is an information resources specialist in the University Libraries. Any resemblance of his job title’s abbreviation to any actual government department is purely coincidental.

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