The Library of Congress is seeking nominations for the 2012 National Film Registry.
Under the National Film Preservation Act, the Librarian of Congress names 25 films to the National Film Registry every year. In order for a film to be eligible, it must be at least 10 years old and be culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant. Find out which films made the 2011 list.
Public nominations and input play a key role when the Librarian of Congress and National Film Board consider the final selections for the year.
Not a question, but thank you, whoever reads through this inbox. It means a lot that you really do answer questions, and you're so polite and decent about it even when the questions are hard to decipher. I have a job a little like yours, so I'm guessing you have to deal with some very frustrating people. So... I wanted to thank you; this is a really cool blog.
Thanks! We’re really glad you like our blog. By answering questions, we can highlight the government information and services that people need the most.
I collect the Presidential dollar coins but the banks say they have not received them. The release date was Nov. 21st. I was wondering when the banks will receive them. Thank you. Valerie Burns.
Banks can order Presidential $1 coins directly from the U.S. Mint. Unfortunately, we can’t say when they will receive the coins. You should call your bank to find out if have any available before you visit.
The rising value of gold has been advertised as a lucrative way to make money in a lean economy, either by investing in it or selling your gold jewelry as a way to get quick cash.
While investing in gold (and other precious metals) can be beneficial, there are risks. The value of gold can fluctuate dramatically and may not yield long-term returns you expected. However, if you research your options, it could be smart addition to your investment portfolio.
You can invest in gold by purchasing gold coins, shares in a mutual fund that contains gold, or shares of a gold mining company. However, most people normally think of buying gold bars or bullion coins. The U.S. Mint produces the American Eagle gold bullion coin, the only coins guaranteed by the United States government. Coins can be purchased from coin dealers, banks and private brokers. Before you buy, do your homework:
Research and understand the vocabulary associated with investing in gold, such as purity, grading and melt value.
Investigate the seller with your local consumer protection office or attorney general.
Avoid high pressure, “buy now” sales tactics.
Be cautious of endorsements claims that are too good to be true; remember that the U.S. Mint does not endorse any precious metal brokers.
Selling your gold
If you have jewelry you haven’t worn in a long time, you may be interested in selling it to put some extra money in your wallet. While it may seem easy to sell your jewelry, you should still do some research to make sure you don’t get cheated.
Before you approach any buyers, make sure that you know the purity (ex. 10K or 24K) of all your jewelry and keep different values separate to avoid confusion. You should weigh your jewelry yourself or have it evaluated by an independent appraiser so that you have a general idea of the value.
Get estimates from 3 different buyers. When researching potential buyers, ask them if their scales have been tested by your state’s department of weights and measures; there should be a seal to verify.
Don’t let the jewelry out of your sight, or let the buyer take it to another location to weigh; the buyer could switch out your jewelry with lower quality gold. You may also have heard offers to buy your jewelry if you mail it in. Beware of these offers; you have even less control over these types of transactions and run the risk of your jewelry being lost in transit.
stamp increase- does this mean if we use an OLD forever stamp we must add a .1cent stamp also? And can old unused "h" stamps still be used?
The cost of Forever stamps will increase by 1 cent on January 22, 2012. This means sending a First-Class letter will soon cost 45 cents.
Once purchased, Forever stamps can always be used to send a one ounce, First-Class letter, no matter how many times the price of the stamp changes in the future. You do not need to add an additional 1 cent stamp.
The H stamp was issued in 1998 and is worth 33 cents. The H rate make-up stamp is worth 1 cent. These stamps can still be used as postage, both domestically and internationally. Find the value of nondenominated stamps.
Does my minor son need a passport to enter into Canada?
All minors regardless of age, including newborns and infants, must have their own passport when traveling internationally by air. If traveling by land or sea, minors under the age of 16 may be able to present a U.S. birth certificate instead of a passport.
On December 28, 2011, the Librarian of Congress announced the 2011 additions to the National Film Registry.
Under the National Film Preservation Act, the Librarian of Congress names 25 films to the National Film Registry every year. In order for a film to be eligible, it must be at least 10 years old and be culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.
Films selected for the 2011 National Film Registry include:
Hate Crimes Remained Steady in 2010, According to FBI Report
The FBI’s 2010 Hate Crime Statistics report recorded 6,628 hate crimes, staying consistent with the numbers from the 2009 report. Traditional crimes become hate crimes when they are committed because of a person’s race, gender, religion or other targeted reason.
The 2010 report highlights the types of biases that motivate hate crimes, the nature of the offenses, information about the victims and offenders, as well as a break down of hate crimes by jurisdiction.
Some statistics from the report include:
Of the 6,628 hate crime incidents reported for 2010, nearly all (6,624) involved a single bias—47.3 percent of the single-bias incidents were motivated by race.
A reported 4,824 offenses were crimes against persons; intimidation accounted for 46.2 percent of these offenses; simple assault for 34.8 percent; and aggravated assault for 18.4 percent.
31.4 percent of reported hate crime incidents took place in or near homes.
The FBI considers the investigation of hate crimes their number one priority as part of their civil rights program. The report was compiled with the support of national and state criminal justice organizations and thousands of law enforcement agencies nationwide who report hate crimes.
More than one and a half million people file for bankruptcy every year. Many people fall behind on their bills because they’ve lost their jobs, suffered from a long-term illness, or because they were unable to manage their personal finances properly.
Fortunately, there are many resources out there that can help you put together a plan to pay off your debt, including credit counseling agencies.
Signs Your Finances Are in Trouble
You don’t have to be close to filing for bankruptcy to realize that you are in financial trouble. These are some signs that you might have too much debt:
You are frequently late on your payments
You are close to your credit limit on your credit cards
You use your credit cards to make payments on other cards
You find it difficult to save money
You’ve been denied credit recently
How to Get out of Debt
To get out of debt and set your finances straight, carefully analyze your income and expenses. Make sure you:
Make a budget and stay within its limits.
Figure out your total debt and also what you owe to each creditor, your monthly payments, interest and payment due dates.
Prioritize repayments, focusing first on things such as your mortgage, rent, and utilities.
Make a repayment plan for each creditor and determine how long it will take you to pay off the debt. Make sure to review your credit card statements, as they will include information about how long it will take to pay off your balance, per new credit card laws that went into effect in 2010.
Don’t incur any additional debt.
How to Choose a Credit Counseling Agency
Consider a credit counseling agency if your debt is too much to handle. These companies offer workshops on how to manage your money and advice on how to administer your debt. They can also help you create a budget and even negotiate your debt with creditors.
Many of these companies are nonprofit organizations, however be careful, as some charge excessive fees for their services and others might not even deliver what they promise. Consider these important suggestions before choosing a credit counseling agency:
Pick a counseling agency that offers several services. This will help you avoid organizations that promote only certain services.
Avoid credit counseling agencies that charge you for simply providing information, or agencies that demand a percentage of the amount that you are supposedly saving. Ideally, you should request the cost of their services in advance and in writing.
Stay away from agencies that ask you to stop making payments on your debt or ask you not to contact creditors.
You are considered overweight based on your BMI and have weight-related health problems or a family history of such problems.
You have a waist that measures more than 40 inches if you are a man or more than 35 inches if you are a woman.
We all know that it’s hard to stick to a weight-loss diet that works over the long term. Choose a healthy weight loss plan that’s right for you, and that takes into account your likes and dislikes, and includes a variety of foods that give you enough calories and nutrients for good health.
Picking a plan that fits your lifestyle will make it easier for you to stick with the changes long term.
Congress has agreed to extend unemployment insurance and payroll tax cuts for two months. The bill passed both the House and Senate and was signed by the President on December 23, 2011. Read the text of the bill.
Over the next few days, we will be sharing tips to help you stick to some of the most common New Year’s resolutions that we make every year. Today we’re sharing tips on how to get out of debt.
Do you want to take control of your debt in 2012? Many people face a financial crisis at some time in their lives because of personal or family illness, the loss of a job, or overspending. It can seem overwhelming, but debt can often be overcome.
There is no such thing as a quick and easy way to get out of debt. Turning to a business that offers help in solving debt problems may seem like a reasonable solution when your bills become unmanageable. But before you do business with any company, check it out with your state Attorney General, local consumer protection agency, and the Better Business Bureau.
The good news is that there are realistic steps that you can take to get your debt under control.
Develop a Budget
Do a realistic assessment of how much money you take in, and how much money you spend. Start by listing your income from all sources, then, write down all your expenses, even those that seem insignificant. This will help you track your spending, identify necessary expenses, and prioritize the rest. The goal is to make sure you can make ends meet on the basics: housing, food, health care, insurance, and education.
Contact Your Creditors
Contact your creditors immediately if you’re having trouble making ends meet. Tell them why it’s difficult for you, and try to work out a modified payment plan that reduces your payments to a more manageable level. Don’t wait until your accounts have been turned over to a debt collector. At that point, your creditors have given up on you.
Deal with Debt Collectors
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is the federal law that dictates how and when a debt collector may contact you. A debt collector may not call you before 8 a.m., after 9 p.m., or while you’re at work if the collector knows that your employer doesn’t approve of the calls. Collectors may not harass you, lie, or use unfair practices when they try to collect a debt. And they must honor a written request from you to stop further contact.
Manage Your Car and Home Loans
If you stop making payments, lenders can repossess your car or foreclose on your house.
By Felicia Chou, a program analyst in the Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery at the Environmental Protection Agency
'Tis the season to be gushing about the new electronic gadgets you've received for the holidays, and figure out what to do with your old ones. Sure, you could keep them in your closet or attic, waiting for the day VHS tapes are all the rage again, or when radio-sized phones are back in style. Maybe that old TV can be used as a giant paperweight. But there are plenty of better alternatives to put your unwanted electronics to use.
I’ve had this laptop since college and believe it or not, it still works. Well, besides the fact that the touchpad and keyboard aren’t working; and I have to keep it plugged in because the battery is pretty much dead. If, like me, you don’t want to part with your old computer just yet, see if you can upgrade the hardware or software to put it on par with your new gadgets. In my case, I would replace the battery and the keyboard, and plug in a new wireless mouse. Or, after clearing out your personal data (PDF), you can donate working electronics to those who need them.
The next best thing is to recycle your old gadgets, but before you start carting loads of electronics to your nearest electronics collection program or drop-off point, check if they’re working with a third-party certified recycler. You’re probably thinking, third-party what? Well, companies that recycle electronics can be certified by outside organizations (like R2 Solutions and eStewards) and regularly audited to make sure that your electronics will be managed safely. That way, you can rest assured that your old gadget is being recycled in a way that is protective of our health and the environment. Check out R2 Solutions and e-Stewards for a list of certified recyclers.
So, why shouldn’t you just let your electronics sit at home and collect dust, or worse, get thrown away in the garbage?
Electronics are made of precious metals and materials, like gold, copper, and glass. If they’re thrown away, all that precious material that required a lot of energy to mine and manufacture will go to waste. When you recycle your electronics, those precious materials can be used in other products, such as electric cars or watches. You’ll also be preventing the pollution that would have been caused by having to mine and manufacture raw materials. In fact, recycling one million laptops saves enough energy to power over 3,000 US homes for a year.
So while you’re having a blast trying out all the new features on your shiny new gadgets, just remember to put your old ones to good use. I, for one, will be looking forward to the new battery and keyboard to keep my beloved laptop working for as long as I can.
Gray wolf populations in the Great Lakes region have recovered and no longer require the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Wolves in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and in portions of adjoining states, will be dropped from the list of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants.
With more than 4,000 wolves thriving in the region, the program has surpassed its recovery goal, and the wolves have made a successful comeback. The wolves no longer need federal protection.