The Link: Everything you need to know about the Shutdown and the Affordable Care Act


Flags at the Washington Monument in DC

From the recent 16 day shutdown of the federal government and the previous shutdown of 1995, to the launching of the new Affordable Care Act (ACA), to the management of programs such as Women, Infants & Children (WIC) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the decisions and initiatives of the U.S. Federal government have great influence on the daily lives of regular citizens.  For information on U.S federal government programs that impact the daily life of American citizens, take a look at the A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies.

A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies (find it on the ipl2)

The ipl2 has resources to explore if you would like more information about the recent and previous federal government shutdowns and how they affected people across the country.

66 questions and answers about the government shutdown (Find it on the ipl2)

This informative video and article from USA Today discusses what led to the recent government shutdown, how the conflict was perpetuated, and what the effects of the closure were on federal programs, the economy, citizens, and the country.

Remarks by the President on the Reopening of the Government (find it on the ipl2)

This is the complete transcript of President Barack Obama’s remarks on the signing of legislation to reopen the U.S. federal government on October 17th, 2013. He describes the financial and political costs of the recent shutdown and discusses the future.

The Clinton-Gingrich 1995 shutdown (find it on ipl2)

The U.S. government has shut down before. MSNBC takes viewers back in time with a newscast from 1995 on the government shutdown, with Tom Brokaw, Brian Williams and Robert Hager reporting.  This 4 minute video gives viewers an idea of the Republican and Democratic perspectives.

Affordable Care Act AKA Obamacare:
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, is a brand new federal program that impacts U.S. citizens across the nation. With the new website going live in October there have been a lot of questions about what this means for people in the United States. Check out the ipl2 resources below to find out how the Affordable Care Act affects you and your family and friends.

NEW! Health Insurance Basics

This useful page on the federal healthcare website provides many frequently asked questions concerning the Affordable Care Act and related issues such as exemptions and coverage. Each question gives a short answer and provides a link to a longer explanation.

NEW! US Health Policy Gateway: PPACA

This site is compiled by the Center for Health Policy & Inequalities Research, which is headed up by researchers at Duke University. The Affordable Care Act is broken down into sections, which provide explanations as well as links to other sites where information can be found.

Health Care Reform Pros and Cons (find it on the ipl2)

The ProCon website provides a section with a variety of statements and sources debating the major issues of the Affordable Care Act. Their goal is to provide a balanced perspective showing the pros and cons using quotes and information from both sides of the issue.

Kaiser Family Foundation ACA Consumer Resources (find it on the ipl2)

The Kaiser Family Foundation is a well-respected non-profit that has been providing healthcare information for over 50 years. This section of their site contains videos as well as FAQs, infographics, and other tools to try to make the Affordable Care Act understandable to everyone.

The U.S. federal government oversees many programs that are intended to support and improve the lives of U.S. citizens. Two of these programs are Women, Infants & Children (WIC) and Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP), which are designed to help meet the nutritional, health and housing needs of low-income families. Though you can get more information about WIC and SNAP resources from your state and local governments’ websites, here are some links to the national organizations.

Women Infants & Children (WIC) (find it on the ipl2)

Women Infants & Children (WIC) is a supplemental nutrition and education program that is funded through federal grants to states. It supports low-income mothers and their children through age five. This site describes the program and provides information on accessing individual state programs.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) United States Department of Agriculture (find it on the ipl2)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a government program that helps low income families in the U.S. pay for food based on the number of people who live in the household and the household income. The SNAP program has come under great scrutiny in recent months and was considered vulnerable during the shutdown.

For a comprehensive look at the U.S. federal government’s foundational documents as well as its roles and agencies, take a look at the United States Government Manual.

United States Government Manual (Find it in the ipl2)

Reminder: You can now subscribe to ipl2’s newsletter and weekly blog posts via email as well as RSS. The “Email Subscription” feature appears prominently in the upper left page on the ipl2′s News and Information WordPress blog. Subscription is free and open to all!


In the News: Immigration

President Obama and the U.S. Congress recently unveiled their proposals for an overhaul of the American immigration system. The sites below outline the history of immigration in the United States, as well as current information on this ongoing debate.

New resources that will be added to the ipl2 are noted NEW! All other resources can already be found in the ipl2 collection.

ipl2 Pathfinder: Immigration in the United States (find it on the ipl2)

This IPL pathfinder is a starting point for research on immigration issues in the United States. This page is designed for history students of all ages, educators, and anyone who wants to explore current immigration issues. Both print and Internet resources are provided.

Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930 (find it on the ipl2)

Examine the history of immigration in America with this digital collection from the Open Collections Program of the Harvard University Library, covering the period from the signing of the Constitution to the onset of the Great Depression. Search on your own, or browse by genre, topics, themes, people, and organizations. This site also includes a timeline.

The Immigration Debate (find it on the ipl2)

This collection from National Public Radio (NPR) features questions and answers about immigration debates (immigration policy in general, illegal immigrants and the U.S. economy, and the U.S.-Mexico border), and opinions about immigration from politicians and other leaders. It also includes stories on guest workers, border control, public opinion of immigration laws, immigration rights protests, and related topics.

National Immigration Forum (find it on the ipl2)

The National Immigration Forum advocates and builds public support for public policies that welcome immigrants and refugees and that are fair and supportive to newcomers in our country. The resources on this web site range from important immigration facts to current events and recent immigration legislation.

Immigration Equality (find it on ipl2)

This site explains, promotes, and defends the immigration rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and HIV-positive people under United States immigration law. The site addresses such issues as discrimination, referrals, consultations, outreach, and emergency asylum. It has a section where immigrants and would-be immigrants share their stories. Some information is also available in Spanish.

Thank you for supporting the ipl2! We hope you found these resources informative.

Reminder: You can now subscribe to ipl2’s newsletter and weekly blog posts via email as well as RSS. The “Email Subscription” feature appears prominently in the upper left-hand side of the page on the ipl2’s News and Information WordPress blog.  Subscription is free and open to all!


In the News: Social Media as a Force in Social Movements

The recent uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East have been fueled by news and other communications relayed through the Internet in general and new social media such as Facebook and Twitter in particular.  Iran has restricted access to Facebook and Libya reportedly cut off Internet access intermittently (perhaps following a precedent set in Egypt), which was seen as a means of eliminating communication between protesters and the outside world.

Some critics have said that the role of social media has been overplayed and that the movements arose from longer-term social forces.  Yet one cannot deny that social media have played a major role in the events now shaking Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Syria, Bahrain, Iran, Yemen, and Libya.  Read more about these events below.

New resources that will be added to the ipl2 are noted NEW! All other resources are already listed in the ipl2 collections.

NEW! How Cyber-Pragmatism Brought Down Mubarak

This article in The Nation describes how “cyber-pragmatism,” or dissemination of historical examples of nonviolent social activists such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King and organization of protests, through social media influenced the revolt in Egypt.

NEW! Facebook Officials Keep Quiet on Its Role in Revolts

Despite the major role played by social networks, particularly Facebook, in the revolts rocking North Africa and the Middle East, Facebook officials are trying to stay silent on the matter.  This article details Facebook’s desire to remain neutral so as not to alienate countries where it has just gained a foothold, and its determination to continue its policy of requiring users to sign up with their real names—a policy that has been criticized for possibly putting dissenters at risk—though it has assisted Tunisian protesters in their efforts to block government attempts to access their passwords.  The article also describes how other social media, such as Twitter and YouTube, have been more vocal in their support for the movements and even have taken initiatives to assist protesters.

NEW! The Twitter Revolution Debate Is Dead

This article from The Atlantic discusses how the argument that social media singlehandedly cause social movements that lead to revolution is passé and notes that authoritarian governments also can use technology to further their own goals, but points out that perhaps the most exciting development is that political pundits are now discussing the structure of revolutions and the role of technology in furthering them or subduing them.

NEW! All Eyes Turn To Internet In Libya, Bahrain

As part of efforts to stem growing protests, Libya apparently cut off access to the Internet at the end of last week.  Internet access was restored, but was intermittent over the weekend.  This article points out that the outages could have been caused by power failures and the relatively small number of Internet service providers in the country, but also describes how many believe that Internet access was deliberately shut down.

Thank you for checking in.  The teams at the ipl2 hope you find this information useful for learning more about social media as a force in social movements.

Reminder: You can now subscribe to ipl2’s newsletter and weekly blog posts via email as well as RSS. The “Email Subscription” feature appears prominently in the upper left page on the ipl2′s News and Information WordPress blog. Subscription is free and open to all!


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In the News: Protests in Egypt

Welcome to this week’s ipl2 Weekly Blog post.

This week’s post will highlight resources about the current protests in Egypt.

On January 25th, 2011, protests began in Egypt calling for the removal of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak from office. The past few days have seen a violent backlash from pro-Mubarak supporters, with several western journalists being violently assaulted and accused of instigating rebellion against the regime.

New resources that will be added to the ipl2 are noted NEW! All other resources are already listed in the ipl2 collections.

Resources about the protests:

NEW! Al Jazeera News – Spotlight on “Anger in Egypt”
The English language version of the website for Arab news channel Al Jazeera. Includes videos and print articles about the protests.

NEW! BBC News – Egypt Unrest
The latest BBC coverage of the events in Egypt. Features print articles, videos, and interactive maps.

NEW! Egypt News—The Protests
The New York Times aggregate page including all of their coverage on the situation in Egypt. Includes interactive maps, timelines, slideshow, print articles, and video coverage.

Resources with general information about Egypt:

BBC Country Profile (Find it on ipl2: Resources by Subject – Country Studies)
An overview of the country as presented by the BBC (British Broadcasting Company). Includes country facts, leadership information, and links to Egyptian media websites.

Egypt (find it on ipl2: Resources by Subject – Country Studies)
Maintained by the Columbia University Libraries, this is an aggregate of links about Egypt’s economy, education, history, foreign policy, politics, and online news.

NEW! The World Factbook – Egypt
Statistical information about the country’s geography, demographics, government, economy, transportation, and military. Includes maps and photographs of the country.

For more information about past and present Egypt, visit the ipl2 and search for “Egypt.”

Reminder: You can now subscribe to ipl2’s newsletter and weekly blog posts via email as well as RSS. The “Email Subscription” feature appears prominently in the upper left page on the ipl2′s News and Information WordPress blog. Subscription is free and open to all!


Sudan votes for independence

Welcome back to ipl2 Weekly Blog posts.

NOW AVAILABLE! You can now subscribe to ipl2’s newsletter and weekly blog posts via email as well as RSS. The “Email Subscription” feature appears prominently in the upper left page on the ipl2’s News and Information WordPress blog.  Subscription is free and open to all!

This week the ipl2 blog will highlight current events in Sudan.

For seven days in January 2011, the people of southern Sudan voted on a referendum on independence from Sudan.  The vote was largely peaceful, and final results will be released within 30 days of the end of voting.  It is widely expected that the vote will be for independence and the creation of the world’s newest country.  Hopefully the process will proceed as peacefully as the voting did.  Here are select resources on this topic.

New resources that will be added to the ipl2 are noted NEW! All other resources are already listed in the ipl2 collections.

Here are 4 websites specifically on the referendum and its outcome:

NEW! Southern Sudan Referendum Commission
This is the official website of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC), available in English and Arabic.  The SSRC organized the voting in north and south Sudan, and in eight countries worldwide with significant populations of southern Sudanese expatriates. The website details the formation and role of the SSRC, it’s members, goals and how the voting was conducted.

NEW! Southern Sudan 2011
Official referendum results posted by the SSRC.

NEW! Southern Sudan Referendum Commission Out of Country Registration and Voting
Contains information from the SSRC for southern Sudanese living outside of Sudan on eligibility, how to register to vote, where to vote, voting guide, FAQs, and the English text of the Referendum Act of 2009 which set the legal basis for the 2011 referendum.

NEW! South Sudan Referendum
Coverage of the voting, latest information, background on the referendum, and editorials.  From the British Broadcasting Company (BBC).

For current maps and satellite images visit:

NEW! The Satellite Sentinel Project
From the website: “The Satellite Sentinel Project — initiated by George Clooney — combines satellite imagery analysis and field reports with Google’s Map Maker technology to deter the resumption of war between North and South Sudan. The project provides an early warning system to deter mass atrocities by focusing world attention and generating rapid responses on human rights and human security concerns.”

These websites contain an overview of Sudan, articles, videos and current news:

The World Factbook: Sudan (Find it on ipl2:  Resources by Subject – Africa)
Facts, statistics, demographics, history, and a printable map of Sudan.  From “The World Factbook,” published annually by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

NEW! Sudan
Country profile, current news, past articles, videos and editorials from the New York Times online edition.

For additional resources search on ipl2 for “Sudan”.

Thank you for checking in.  The teams at the ipl2 hope you find this information helpful in better understanding our global community’s challenges and triumphs.

2010 U.S. Election and Voting Resources

It’s that time again! Fall is here and that means Election Day (November 2nd) is around the corner. While candidates are busy giving speeches, filming commercials, and making appearances, the American public is also busy deciding whom to vote for. The ipl2 has created a special collection of election and voting resources to assist voters in this important democratic mission.

Special Collections – Election and Voting Resources

Included in this collection are the following three websites.

One way to get up to date information on elections across the nation is through Project Vote Smart. Their interactive project, VoteEasy, provides a unique view of the issues and snapshots of the candidates in your area.

Project Vote Smart
Information for voters on political leaders, their positions on issues, and campaign finance, and encourages active participation in democratic processes through voting.

If you are having trouble deciphering political television ads and campaign statements, can help you sort the fact from the fiction.
Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania puts out this website to monitor the factual accuracy of statements made by and advertisements on behalf of major U.S. polictical figures.

To get an overall look at U.S. public policy, as well as international politics, the Brookings Institution presents extensive research and commentary from world-renowned experts in academia and government.

Elections – Brookings Institution
“The Brookings Institution is the nation’s oldest think tank. A private, independent, nonprofit research organization, Brookings seeks to improve the performance of American institutions, the effectiveness of government programs, and the quality of U.S. public policies. It addresses current and emerging policy challenges and offers practical recommendations for dealing with them, expressed in language that is accessible to policy makers and the general public alike.” This site has information about current affairs that are being researched. It has information about current research programs in Economics, Foreign Policy and Governmental. This also has selected articles from The Brookings Review and information about fellowships and Internships.

Making an informed decision can be difficult when there is so much information out there.  By selecting websites that are authoritative, accurate, and diverse, the ipl2 hopes to make it easier for voters this election season.