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Monday, December 22, 2008

Two new reports explore President Bush's legacy

A report from the Governemnt Documents department...

At the close of George W. Bush’s administration, the White House has released a new report that highlights our forty-third president’s accomplishments over the last eight years. Both reports can be found on the Bush Record webpage.

The report is called Highlights of Accomplishments and Results: The Administration of President George W. Bush, 2001-2009. This 52-page document explores President Bush’s legacy and includes an appendix called 100 Things Americans May Not Know About the Bush Administration Record.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Transition to a New Administration

As promised in the previous post, we are providing links to sources that will allow you to follow our country’s transition to a new presidential administration.

On the website for 2008-2009 Presidential Transition Resources, the following is noted:

The Presidential Transition Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-293) authorizes the General Services Administration (GSA) to develop a transition directory in consultation with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The Act provides that the transition directory "shall be a compilation of Federal publications and materials with supplementary materials developed by the Administrator that provides information on the officers, organization, and statutory and administrative authorities, functions, duties, responsibilities, and mission of each department and agency." Senate Report 106-348 clarifies that the directory is intended to "assist in navigating the many responsibilities that fall on a new administration" that is "confronted by an overwhelming amount of material."

Among other resources, this site includes organizational charts, a guide to inauguration events, and links to important government documents regarding leadership, recordkeeping, and national security. Two sources are worth special mention: The Plum Book and The Prune Book.

The Plum Book (a.k.a the United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions) is published every four years by the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs and the House Committee on Government Reform. It lists more than 7,000 federal civil service leadership and support positions in the legislative and executive branches and is used to identify presidentially appointed positions within the Federal Government. This reference tool will keep you informed about the various positions our new president will be required to fill in the coming months, including agency heads, policy advisors, and members of the cabinet.

The Prune Book, published by the Council for Excellence in Government, is also designed for use during the transition to a new presidential administration. It profiles the toughest management jobs in the federal government and is “written specifically to equip the incoming presidential administration with insights into staffing the key appointed positions.” A related resource, A Survivor’s Guide for Presidential Nominees, is a handbook for those who aspire to work in the new administration or those who have been nominated for federal positions. It is designed to answer all your questions regarding “nomination and clearance, Senate confirmation, and compliance with ethics laws and financial disclosure rules.” If you’re selected to work for President Obama, this is the source to consult when making your decision to accept or decline the position.

Change.gov is another good source for information about the transition period. This website will keep you up-to-date on latest news, events, and announcements as America ushers in the new Obama-Biden administration.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Government Documents Highlighted Each Month

At least twice a month, we will be highlighting an interesting government website or online resource. Often these resources will pertain to topical issues or current events. Many of the websites will be online publications produced by the federal government or a federal government agency. Others will be sites created by academic institutions, think tanks, or independent organizations and will provide commentary or analysis on the actions of the government. Occasionally, we will also include sources produced by or for state and local government entities

The first topic we are going to address is the presidency. In particular, we have chosen to highlight a source that examines voting trends both past and present. In the next blog post, we will provide links to resources that address the transition to a new administration.

To view voting trends throughout America from 1840 to 2004, visit the site, Voting America. This site, developed by the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond, was designed to explore “the evolution of presidential politics in the United States across the span of American history. The project offers a wide spectrum of cinematic and interactive visualizations of how America voted in presidential elections at the county level over the past 164 years. You can also find expert analysis and commentary videos that discuss some of the most interesting and significant trends in American political history.”

Consolidated analysis of 2008 presidential voting trends is not yet available in a comprehensive or organized fashion. Voter turnout and some demographic trends have been reported in various sources, but, so far, no one-stop reference tool has been created to examine the detailed patterns of American voting behavior in 2008. (If you think that we’ve overlooked such a source, please let us know!)