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How can I see an original Pennsylvania birth certificate from the 1920s?

My grandfather was born in Pennsylvania to Italian parents during the 1920s in Lackawanna County / Scranton. I was able to obtain a new birth certificate from the PA Dept of Vital Records, but the last name was misspelled. When I called about this, they could only tell me that the mis-spelling "was what it said on the birth certificate". How do I go about seeing the original to get the mistake corrected? [more inside]
posted by NYC-BB on Jun 13, 2014 - 5 answers

Help with State Laws Website

I've built a website that combines all state constitutions in one place. I want to build another website that puts all state laws in one place. But state laws change much more often than state constitutions. And although states make their laws available online (usually in the form of revised statutes), their word count greatly exceeds the total word count of state constitution. It took six months to build the state constitutions website. [more inside]
posted by CollectiveMind on Jun 13, 2014 - 13 answers

What was Google's early government subsidy, if it existed?

In Rebecca Solnit's latest LRB piece on San Francisco's tensions around the tech boom there, she makes an unsourced reference about "Google set[ting] itself up with the help of a $4.5 million dollar government subsidy". The LRB is very respectable but this claim seems a bit wobbly. Perhaps my Google Google-fu is failing me but I can't find a reference or more detail for this claim online. All I get is very vague and untrustworthy CIA funding conspiracy theories on tinfoil hat crank sites. I can't find anything re: that $4.5m figure. Solnit likely may not mean the CIA at all but some other kind of government subsidy. Can the MeFi hive mind help factcheck this claim? Are there reliable sources with more detail on this?
posted by zresearch on Feb 13, 2014 - 2 answers

Identify my job (government/nonprofit) so I can find a different one

What is in a job title? What partnership building jobs exist in the public and nonprofit sectors? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Feb 3, 2014 - 7 answers

How can I find contact info for a new White House Task Force?

I'm charged with delivering a letter from a group of sexual assault prevention experts to the newly formed White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. The task force only exists for 90 days, so time is of the essence, yet I can't find a way to contact them. [more inside]
posted by helpthebear on Jan 31, 2014 - 3 answers

What is happening in Thailand right now?

Can anyone recommend some good sources to learn about the current political situation in Thailand? [more inside]
posted by InkaLomax on Jan 20, 2014 - 6 answers

Looking for abandoned places for neat photography shoots!

Do you live or know of neat places in Illinois, Missouri and Indiana that my explorer/photographer friend could visit? Let me know! [more inside]
posted by Driven on Jan 8, 2014 - 9 answers

How much more secure are older low tech phones than the more modern ones

Are older phones or phones designed for poorer countries any less susceptible to spying than the latest Apple, Google or Android models? I've read about CEO's looking for the very old brick phones because since they don't have the sophisticated technology of the modern phones, they're harder to monitor or track. I understand the phones w/o apps are clearly more secure regarding third parties because they aren't sending personal data to companies. But what the government and everything else; voice, location via cell towers, SMS; the very basics.
posted by CollectiveMind on Jan 4, 2014 - 12 answers

sweet jeebus i want to stop explaining this

Soooo...my name is Siobhan. However, the typist for my birth certificate spelled it Siobahn, which means my legal name is misspelled. It's not an alternate spelling, like Suzanne/Susanne. It's just wrong. I called Vital Statistics in PA and the woman there said I have to pay for a name change via a lawyer. I explained it was a typo, not a name change. Am I looking at several hundred bucks to fix this or is there something else I can do? I use the correct spelling for everything except legal stuff and bills. It's just getting to be annoying and I want to get this fixed the cheapest way possible. [more inside]
posted by sio42 on Dec 27, 2013 - 24 answers

Strange Women Lying in Ponds Distributing Swords Is Right Out

Other than right of conquest or inheritance, how does one become a king? I'm particularly interested in people who became kings by election or acclaim. Historical examples, please! [more inside]
posted by Eyebrows McGee on Dec 9, 2013 - 46 answers

Trying to find a restaurant with dishes named after government orgs?

I remember hearing about a restaurant with dishes named after city organizations. For example, the "department of sanitation sandwich" or the "FDNY sandwich." It is probably in NYC. It may have shut down. Can you help me find this restaurant?
posted by yaymukund on Dec 7, 2013 - 5 answers

Who has stood alone to say no?

On a recent trip to South Africa, I was fascinated to learn about Helen Suzman, "the sole parliamentarian unequivocally opposed to apartheid for thirteen years from 1961 to 1974." It reminded me of Barbara Lee's solo "no" vote on the post-9/11 war powers authorization in the U.S., and I'm now curious: What other examples are there of legislators or similar figures who have taken a deeply unpopular stand and (I know this may be contentious) been borne out by history?
posted by psoas on Oct 23, 2013 - 19 answers

Government shutdown, need help with a witty sign, thanks!

Government shutdown consequences. This is definitely a 1st world problem relative to others I've read about ... but the government is shut down and my snowbird parents are shut out of their campground (that's run by the Army Corps). So ... they're moving into my front yard. Can y'all help me with a witty sign? [more inside]
posted by Dave. on Oct 10, 2013 - 19 answers

miss manners: government shutdown edition

How can I, a government employee, tactfully field ribs about being furloughed? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Oct 10, 2013 - 38 answers

USGS Layers

Because of the federal government shutdown, the USGS website has been shuttered and all the data that I use regularly has been taken offline. I need to find a source for the "Official Soil Descriptions" [google cache works now, but I anticipate this will last a while, so I need all of them] and the soil survey layers for the state of Texas. Any idea where I can download these?
posted by Brent Parker on Oct 4, 2013 - 14 answers

How will the government shutdown affect a trip to Maui?

I'll be traveling to Maui next week and just realized that there will be some closures due to the government shutdown. It looks like Haleakala will be closed - does that just cover visitor centers and bathrooms and such, or will the entire park be physically inaccessible? Any portions of the Road to Hana affected? What else should I be aware of, either on Maui or about air travel in general during this time? Thanks!
posted by mshrike on Oct 4, 2013 - 4 answers

401K semi panic

We will need to be cashing out a 401k in the month of October and... [more inside]
posted by Chrischris on Oct 3, 2013 - 9 answers

Selective Service Indeed

Guys singled out to the exclusion of girls. Why? [more inside]
posted by terrier319 on Sep 29, 2013 - 19 answers

Career Crisis- How to get hired after only 2 months at current job?

Hello, Metafilter! Long time lurker (10 years), first time poster. To sum it up- after a failed stint as an AmeriCorps VISTA (6 months) following graduation from the University of South Carolina with a degree in International Studies and a minor in Economics- I have spent a year unemployed, a year as a bank teller, another year unemployed, and over a year as a server and a tax season as a tax pro at H&R block. I went back to school during the time as a server to get enough credits to sit for the CPA (one computer apps class away from obtaining accounting certificate at a local community college). Moved back to SC and spent from 07/12-06/13 as an Assistant Service Manager at a car dealership (hated it because A, I have asthma and missed a ton of work due to complications from working outside, B, I knew nothing about cars, and C, I am not a fan of Customer Service/commission pay). [more inside]
posted by nicolemariecherie on Sep 22, 2013 - 4 answers

My bills WERE all paid 4 years ago, but now they want more?

So imagine you attended a private Pennsylvania University. You received your diploma and all the certified transcripts you needed for your job search. Now, 4 years later, you ask for another transcript but are told there is a hold on your account because they think you owe over $1,000 due to a mistake they apparently made six years ago. Phone calls, emails, certified mail have all failed to get action, and you NEED the transcript, but you don't have that kind of money. What are your rights in this case? Can they just hold your transcript hostage? Ideas? Anyone? this is extremely frustrating!
posted by mmf on Sep 19, 2013 - 13 answers

How many dollars is a human life worth to the US government?

On NPR today, I heard an explanation of why there are less safety requirements for cargo planes than for passenger planes: Every time the government (USA) wants to implement a new safety measure, they are required to run a cost/benefits analysis. Since an accident on a passenger plane can kill a whole bunch of people, while one on a cargo plane is likely to only kill the pilot and the copilot, it's more difficult to get a safety measure past the required threshold on the cost/benefits for a cargo plane than for a passenger plane. This to me implies that they must have put a dollar value on each human life; otherwise they couldn't compare cost in dollars versus benefit in lives saved. What is that price? [more inside]
posted by Flunkie on Aug 16, 2013 - 7 answers

What are the authoritative resources for knowing what local laws are?

For instance, I know that in some states it is legal to park on the "wrong" side of the street (i.e., the subjective left side), and in some states it is illegal. Other laws that differ from state to state include smoking laws, gun laws, phone recording laws, etc. How would I go about determining what laws are actually in effect in a given place (in this country), without resorting to something as unofficial and possibly unreliable as Wikipedia or question-and-answer websites?
posted by CustooFintel on Jul 12, 2013 - 16 answers

Is there a history of librarian collusion and resistance to repression?

In this New Yorker blog post, Internet Archive's Brewster Kahle mentions this in an answer: "Libraries have had a long history of dealing with authoritarian organizations demanding reader records—who’s read what—and this has led to people being rounded up and killed. As a librarian, you take this very, very seriously." Is there a concise history of this somewhere?
posted by history is a weapon on Jun 29, 2013 - 4 answers

Everything is regulated, thank god

My Google-fu sucks. Help me find a specific argument for government regulation of society that I came across in the past. [more inside]
posted by hamandcheese on Jun 25, 2013 - 3 answers

Separation of Powers

The subsection of the Colorado Constitution, “General Consideration” under Article III, Distribution of Powers, gives more than thirty-five examples of why and how separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government must be. They all seem to say the same thing, but they all are justified by different dictums, references and notations. Why, at least in Colorado and I suspect, in other states, is there the need for so much specificity as it relates to the republican tripartite system?
posted by CollectiveMind on Jun 10, 2013 - 4 answers

What is the legality for a web site to make credit transactions?

In order for any web site to charge one for services or goods, in this case services, what are they legally required to record and produce? I'm having a little trouble wording my exact question so maybe this will help. The web site in question provides phone service for inmates in correctional facilities and in order for one to receive calls from a loved one in the correctional facility you have to set up an account and attach a phone number to it while loading money for the overpriced service... $5 for 15mins. The company charged me a fee of $5 every time I was to load money on the account which did not show the rate for a call per min and also charged me numerous unknown fees. I could not tell why or how much I was charged which was made worse by their not being a way to track credits and charges to the account. When I contacted customer support they also could not account for the charges and would not refund them, refused to refund my visa purchase, and claims to have no way of producing charges and credits to my account. Their customer service is no help and I'm not sure how to handle the situation. [more inside]
posted by isopropyl on Jun 9, 2013 - 4 answers

Turbotaxable (but not yet Turbotaxed) oGovernment Paperwork

Websites and software like Turbotax make it fast and easy(-ish) to file taxes. But what about everything else? I'm curious what kinds of paperwork could be "turbotaxed," but doesn't yet have a streamlined website or program to help people get through the red tape. [more inside]
posted by Green Winnebago on May 29, 2013 - 8 answers

Paying for Public Documents by the Government

Is there any research on people who pay for publicly available documents that are bound and sold by the government, not third parties? I was fascinated that when the 911 Commission issued it's report, it flew off the shelves when it was bound and sold by the GPO even though the same report was also fully available online. I'm also not referring to services provided by USSearch or KnowX. I mean, I guess, anything produced by the Government Printing Office that is for sale as a bound document (since they are also public documents), but is also available for free online. I would think if people could repackage and sell publicly available documents, that would open a whole world of new publishing opportunities.
posted by CollectiveMind on May 26, 2013 - 5 answers

Does a map exist of USG Locality Pay Areas?

Either Google is playing dumb or I don't know what to search for, but I'm coming up with nothing. Where can I find (or easily populate) a map of the locality pay areas as defined by the U.S. Government? Bonus if they're somehow shaded on a scale reflecting the locality payment (% increase from "base salaries").
posted by psoas on May 22, 2013 - 3 answers

I'm looking for a quote from a founding father about leaving government

I remember reading something, somewhere from one of the founding fathers about the original intent of legislators to NOT be a political class. To serve a term or two and go home so that people from outside could contribute and people inside didn't get too jaded. Though maybe I'm adding a lot of subtext. Is there anything from any of the FF's on this that rings a bell? Do you have a quote or two?
posted by rileyray3000 on May 10, 2013 - 3 answers

Can I effectively protest the actions of my state tax authority?

I'm seeing reporting that bothers me that my state tax authority is targeting artists for auditing based on what sounds like some specious assertions regarding whether their business models and expenses are appropriate. I realized I don't know what I should do to formally protest these actions. [more inside]
posted by Luke Skywalker on Apr 30, 2013 - 10 answers

I love my country; just don't make me live there.

I am a US citizen living and working overseas until mid-2015. I want to figure out how to make it permanent. Difficulty: I am a federal employee in a sensitive position, and so I can't just pull chocks and do the same work for somebody else. How do I solve this in the next two years? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Apr 9, 2013 - 12 answers

Question re: Organizational Cultures in the Federal Government

Where do classy, educated, intelligent people work in the (U.S.) Federal Government? Which organizational cultures would welcome me? [more inside]
posted by the hot hot side of randy on Apr 4, 2013 - 38 answers

Health insurance subsidy?

My wife and I are both graduate students living on about $30k a year in southeastern Pennsylvania. We're about to turn 26 and will be losing our health insurance coverage through our parents. Does the state of Pennsylvania or the government offer any sort of subsidies or vouchers to help us purchase our own insurance? [more inside]
posted by Aanidaani on Mar 30, 2013 - 13 answers

Making the Most of a Full-time MPP Program

I recently accepted an offer for a spot in a full time MPP program from a very decent, non-Ivy school. My funding (per an assistantship or researcher position) reduces the total tuition to approximately $3000, and the program provides an allowance for an unpaid or poorly paid summer internship. I have enough money saved to avoid going into debt if I work part time. I want to offset the opportunity costs of two years outside of work by making myself as employable as possible. [more inside]
posted by pinterecki on Mar 10, 2013 - 6 answers

More Money

How much money is the US government losing, and how much revenues are US exporters losing, due to the US government assessing import custom duties at FOB value instead of landed (CIF) value like the rest of the world does? [more inside]
posted by Dansaman on Feb 27, 2013 - 0 answers

SF85 - Please calm me down.

I have accepted a job through a contractor and start next week. I have just been sent the SF85P-S and SF85P to fill out and bring with me the first day of my job. I am freaking out. I figure if it was a super huge deal and not just a formality, they would have had me fill out this stuff a while back, right? I had no idea I would be filling this out or that the job was a federal agency, I thought it was just for the state, like civil service. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Feb 20, 2013 - 6 answers

Career ladder positions in the Federal system.

I am in a career ladder position in the Federal government. I'm approaching the end of my first year on the job. I have heard from colleagues/friends in government, that going up to the next GS-level in the ladder is almost automatic (requires sign-off from supervisor). Is this true? How do I request this increase from my supervisor? Also, can you help me find documents online which show that one is eligible to go up a grade after one year? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Feb 8, 2013 - 10 answers

I would like to keep my job, but I might have to sue you...

What are best practices for navigating an employment situation that maybe is heading in the direction of filing a complaint with an EEO commission? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 23, 2013 - 5 answers

states borrowing money from who?

My state, like many, has referendum on our ballot requesting permission to borrow money. Where does the money come from? [more inside]
posted by Librarygeek on Oct 28, 2012 - 10 answers

Only thing that's on my mind

Who is going to run this town tonight? [more inside]
posted by eustacescrubb on Oct 18, 2012 - 6 answers

Making Sense of Prop 31

Help me understand California prop 31 on state budget reform [more inside]
posted by ilikemefi on Oct 15, 2012 - 8 answers

Who gave us powered eggs in 1974?

I'd like to find out more information on a 1970's US food program. [more inside]
posted by Marky on Oct 1, 2012 - 13 answers

What time-card should my small start-up use for DCAA compliance

Got a Government research contract - now everybody needs to start tracking their time with some kind of DCAA compliant time card system. We're a small 10 person start-up and there's a bewildering range of people and companies offering time tracking solutions. So I'm seeking the hive mind's experience. Should I just use a paper time-cards? If so, where can I find a good template or sample? Should I go with a software or web-based solution? We only have one contract and it encompasses almost everything we do so there's not a lot of complexity tracking multiple proposals. Our business is not to be a government contractor - this project is more in the line of a small business incubator grant.
posted by Long Way To Go on Sep 27, 2012 - 5 answers

Readings on changes of power?

Can you recommend books/articles about the dynamics of political power transitions? [more inside]
posted by Westringia F. on Aug 22, 2012 - 1 answer

If three-quarters of Washington isn't already on on psych meds, they should be

Does being treated for anxiety disorder pose a threat to the career of a mid-level Treasury employee? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Aug 19, 2012 - 8 answers

Why can't amtrak turn a profit

Why is Amtrak not profitable despite massive subsidies? And just how environmentally friendly is Amtrak? [more inside]
posted by bluelight on Aug 6, 2012 - 64 answers

Shadowy names?

What are some obliquely named bureaucracies, organizations, and companies? [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 25, 2012 - 46 answers

Schedule A Hiring Authority

Has anyone been hired by a US government agency under the Schedule A Hiring Authority? [more inside]
posted by daninnj on Jun 21, 2012 - 2 answers

Is it illegal to make profit out of purchased government logos?

Is it illegal to make profit of products carrying a government logo? [more inside]
posted by delasoull on Jun 16, 2012 - 4 answers

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