Report of Investigation Regarding Allegations of Mishandling of Classified Documents by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales: Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales "mishandled classified materials" while in office, concludes the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General. A yearlong investigation finds that Gonzales improperly stored notes and documents related to a highly classified NSA surveillance program and other matters. Some notes were kept in an office safe that did not meet the department's standard for security, and to which his assistants had access. Gonzales took other documents home, where, the report notes, he had a safe, but he "could not open" it and "appears not to have known the combination."
FEMA on Hurricane Gustav: Hurricane Gustav has moved past the Gulf Coast, and cleanup has just begun, even though more storms may be on the way. FEMA's website provides updates about the storm's aftermath in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and parts of Texas. The site offers information about how affected residents can apply for assistance or track down family members and friends. If you would like to help, FEMA provides links to relief organizations seeking donations but advises prospective volunteers to "wait until there is a clear understanding of what volunteer resources will be needed and where."
Midwest Flooding Disaster: Rethinking Federal Flood Insurance?: A Congressional Research Service report looks at what kind of relief the government should provide to homeowners in flood-prone areas, examining the National Flood Insurance Program and the "lack of understanding of the national flood risk." In the aftermath of this summer's midwestern flooding, CRS summarizes legislation being considered in Congress and notes that "many people believe that the government will provide them with economic assistance despite their lack of insurance." Scientists predict that global warming will increase the frequency of such extreme weather events in the years ahead.
U.S. Counterterrorism in Sub-Saharan Africa: Sub-Saharan Africa is a key "front in the conflict to counter global Islamic extremism," but the region is too little understood by the West, writes Donovan Chau, a political science professor at California State University-San Bernardino. In a paper for the Strategic Studies Institute at the Army War College, Chau considers the relationship from U.S. and African perspectives and recommends that the United States should focus on "development and defense" while cultivating a deeper understanding of the region. Washington must "think long term and build relationships" to be successful in fighting militants in sub-Saharan Africa.
Social Equity and Health: Economic policy, among other things, can have a "determining impact" on a person's health, quality of life, and life expectancy, according to the World Health Organization's Commission on Social Determinants of Health. A new report, "Closing the Gap in a Generation: Health Equity Through Action on the Social Determinants of Health," finds that living conditions and access to resources vary widely, in rich and poor countries alike. WHO recommends a worldwide effort to measure and address the problem, saying that "health equity within a generation is achievable."