Washington Statistical Society
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October 2008


18th Annual Morris Hansen Lecture
October 28, 2008

Louis Kincannon, former director of the U.S. Bureau of the Census, will give the 18th Annual Morris Hansen Lecture on Tuesday October 28 at 3:30 P.M. in the Jefferson Auditorium of the Department of Agriculture's South Building (Independence Avenue SW, between 12th and 14th Street).

The title of the lecture is: The Federal Statistical System: Is It Stronger Now Than It Was Eight Years Ago? Janet Norwood and Robert Parker will be the discussants.

The Hansen Lecture Series is sponsored by the Washington Statistical Society, Westat, and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

The USDA South Building (Independence Avenue SW) is between 12th and 14th Streets at the Smithsonian Metro Stop (Blue Line). Enter through Wing 5 or Wing 7 from Independence Ave. (The special assistance entrance is at 12th & Independence). A photo ID is required.

Please pre-register for this event to help facilitate access to the building. Pre-register on line at http://www.nass.usda.gov/morrishansen/.

Download the program brochure (pdf)

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Seminar Series
Administrative Data in Support of Policy Relevant Statistics

The Public Policy Program of the WSS, in partnership with the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology's Subcommittee on the Statistical Uses of Administrative Records, is pleased to announce the launch of a seminar series on "Administrative Data in Support of Policy Relevant Statistics." The series will run from Fall 2008 until Spring 2009, with approximately one seminar a month. The series will focus on federal statistical uses of state- and locally-held administrative records, often in concert with survey data, including for federal program evaluation and other policy relevant applications.

Confirmed seminars will cover Medicaid undercount issues, Earned Income Tax Credit impact on employment, improving recidivism research, and outcomes of students attending the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. Seminars in the planning stages include examining Food Stamp eligibility and participation, innovations with the Quarterly Census of Employment, and others.

The first seminar will be: "Administrative Data in Support of Policy Relevant Statistics: The Medicaid Undercount Project." It will be held on November 13, 2008, in Room 8 of the BLS Conference Center. The full session abstract is provided below. Please put the first seminar on your calendar and watch this space for updated information each month. Direct any questions to Shelly Wilkie Martinez (rmartinez@omb.eop.gov) or Michael Cohen (MCohen@nas.edu).

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Administrative Announcement

WSS needs your help to assure your contact information is up-to-date

WSS wants to do what we can to keep all WSS members informed, primarily by email. Vince sends out notices and the WSS monthly newsletter to WSS members via the WSS listserv. The WSS newsletter is available at the WSS website, http://scs.gmu.edu/~wss , shortly after newsletter editor Mike Feil finishes creating it.

WSS maintains a list of WSS member email addresses for the WSS listserv, independent of ASA. Many WSS members receive WSS email at a different address than the one on file with ASA. Thus, we do not change a member's email address in the WSS list unless we receive a request from the member, or there is a listserv delivery problem. Recently, there was a delivery problem with some email notices sent for the WSS election, even though we are not seeing delivery problems when WSS listserv messages are sent to most of those addresses. Thus, we can't be certain that an email address is valid just because it appears to be receiving WSS listserv messages.

If you change your email address with ASA, and you want WSS to also make this change, please tell us (Chris and Vince) - we don't do it automatically. If you are a WSS member, and you are not getting WSS listserv messages and you want to, please tell us. If you would like WSS to use a different email address for the WSS listserv than the one currently being used, please tell us, and we'll do an update.

Organizations periodically update spam and other filters that block messages from the WSS listserv. We generally have no way to know if the mail is being blocked. Typically, the WSS listserv sends out 8-10 messages per month (newsletter, meetings, employment opportunities, etc.). If you are not getting mail from the WSS listserv for a few weeks, please contact us to see if there is a difficulty. If there is a spam or other blocker problem at the organization, we will try to work with the member's IT folks to resolve the problem.

We obtain email addresses for new ASA/WSS members from ASA, so it's important that ASA has up-to-date contact information for you. If you're not sure if your contact information is current with ASA, you can check this online at the ASA website, using the "Members Only" function. If you didn't get an email notice recently from ASA about the ASA election, it's likely that ASA does not have a valid email address on file for you, and WSS probably doesn't either.

Thank you!
Chris Moriarity (cdm7@cdc.gov) and Vince Massimini (svm@mitre.org)

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Administrative Announcement

Mailing Address Change

The mailing address for the Washington Statistical Society is now P.O. Box 2033, Washington, DC 20013 which is in the same building as BLS. The Suitland P.O. box mailing address will be retained for a limited time during the transition.

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SAS - New Extensions

The Statistical Computing Section of WSS is jointly sponsoring with the DC SAS User Group, DCSUG, two presentations by Bob Rodriguez of SAS Institute. The talks, listed below, discuss statistical graphics and a new product, SAS Stat Studio. The talks will be held on Tuesday, December 9, 2008, from 9:15 to 11:45 in the BLS Conference Center. Further details for this presentation can be found at www.dc-sug.org (from Oct 1 onwards). On that website, DCSUG is currently promoting their September 9 morning & September 24 evening meetings.

All those who plan to attend must be on WSS or DCSUG entry list or have a BLS ID.

Getting Started with ODS Statistical Graphics in SAS 9.2
Robert N. Rodriguez, SAS Institute

SAS 9.1 introduced an experimental extension to the output Delivery System (ODS), which enabled over two dozen SAS/STAT and SAS/ETS procedures to create statistical graphics as automatically as they create tables. This extension, referred to as "ODS Graphics" for short, requires minimal additional syntax, and it provides commonly needed displays for data analysis and statistical modeling, including scatter plots, histograms, and box-and-whisker plots. Many ODS features, such as styles and destination statements, apply equally to tables and graphs.

With the production release of ODS Graphics in SAS 9.2, over sixty statistical procedures have been enables to use this new functionality. New SAS/GRAPH procedures, as well as existing SAS/QC procedures, also take advantage of this functionality. Additional ODS styles for statistical work are available. You can use a new point-and-click graphics editor to make changes to graphs, such as modifying titles and annotating points. This talk explains the basics of using ODS Graphics to create and manage graphs for data exploration and statistical analysis.

An Introduction to SAS Stat Studio
Robert N. Rodriguez, SAS Institute

SAS Stat Studio 3.1 is new statistical software in SAS 9.2 that is designed to meet the needs of innovative problem solvers who are familiar with SAS/STAT or SAS/IML but need more versatility to create customized analyses. Stat Studio provides a rich programming environment that blends the flexibility of the IML matrix language with the ability to call SAS procedures as functions and create customized dynamic graphics.

With Stat Studio, you can build on your familiarity with either SAS/STAT or SAS/IML to write programs that explore data, fit models, and use linked graphics to relate the results to the data. You can move seamlessly between programming and interactive analysis. If your programs use methods that are computationally intensive, you can run them simultaneously in multiple workspaces. This talk demonstrates how Stat Studio facilitates techniques that would otherwise be difficult with traditional SAS programming.

Biographical Sketch

Bob Rodriguez joined SAS in 1983 and is currently a senior director in SAS R&D with responsibility for the development of statistical software, including SAS/STAT and SAS/QC. He received his Ph.D. in statistics from the University of North Carolina in 1977, and was a staff research scientist at General Motors Research Laboratories from 1977 until 1983. Bob is active in the American Statistical Association, where he currently serves as vice president.

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107th Meeting of the Committee on National Statistics

The National Academies, NAS building, 2100 C St., NW, Washington, DC

October 31, 2008

Open Session Public Seminar and Reception

2:00 p.m.m. DevelopmentsLight refreshments for Seminar Guests NAS Great Hall Seminar Auditorium
2:25 p.m.m. DevelopmentsWelcome Bill Eddy, CNSTAT Chair and Carnegie Mellon University
2:30 p.m. Developments at the OMB Statistical and Science Policy Office Katherine K. Wallman, Chief Statistician
2:40 p.m. Featured Topic:
Immigration Flows: What Do We Know? How Can We Learn More?
Michael Hoefer, Director, Office of Immigration Statistics, Department of Homeland Security
Alexa Kennedy-Puthoff, Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau
Jeffrey Passel, Pew Hispanic Center
3:50 p.m. Floor discussion
4:00 p.m. Reception, Great Hall
5:00 p.m. Adjourn

Abstract: The history of the United States is built on waves of immigration from the first settlements to the present day, each wave raising issues of what it means to be an American. In recent years, increased immigration particularly by people who enter or stay in the country illegally has produced heated debate and divided views on appropriate policies.

It has not always been possible to provide sufficient light, from high-quality statistics, to inform public debate. Douglas Massey will chair and lead off a panel of experts on what we know about immigration flows and how we can learn more. Doug will set the stage by providing historical context on immigration flows. Mike Hoefer will hit the highlights of what useful information the Office of Immigration Statistics provides and would like to provide; Alexa Kennedy-Puthoff will describe how the Census Bureau produces estimates of total immigration and their strengths and weaknesses; and Jeff Passel will describe the estimates that he produces using OIS and Census Bureau data and what improvements, as a data user, he believes are necessary and feasible. Doug will conclude with an overview of his work with the New Immigrant Survey, the Mexican Migration Project, the Latin American Migration Project, and the New Immigrant Destinations survey.

Note: All venues are handicapped-accessible. There is limited first-come, first-served parking in the visitors' lot on 21st St. The nearest Metro station is Foggy Bottom at 23rd and I Sts., NW (Blue and Orange Lines).

Please RSVP by October 28 to Bridget Edmonds at 202-334-3096 or cnstat@nas.edu.

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Federal Committee On Statistical Methodology Statistical Policy Seminar

Beyond 2010: Confronting the Challenges
November 18-19, 2008

The Ninth in a Series of Seminars Hosted by COPAFS
(The Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics)

Participants will include statisticians, economists, and managers, as well as other professionals in the broader statistical community who share an interest in keeping current on issues related to federal data.

Support Provided by:

  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
  • Bureau of Economic Analysis
  • Bureau of Justice Statistics
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Bureau of Transportation Statistics
  • Energy Information Administration
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Agricultural Statistics Service
  • National Center for Education Statistics
  • National Center for Health Statistics
  • Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics of the Social Security Administration
  • Statistics of Income Division of the Internal Revenue Service * U.S. Census Bureau * Science Resources Statistics/National Science Foundation


  • Statistical Uses of Administrative Records in Federal Agencies
  • Case Studies in the Statistical Uses of Administrative Records
  • Cell Phones: The New Frontier in RDD surveys
  • New Perspectives and Practices on Non-Response Bias Analyses
  • Current Issues in Privacy and the Safekeeping of Personally Identifiable Information
  • Survey Respondent Incentives
  • Current Trends in Access to Restricted-Use Data
  • Development and Management of Human and Institutional Capital in Statistical Organizations
  • 2010 Census Experiments
  • Issues of Data Capacity and Statistical Quality to Support Modeling and Micro-simulation Efforts
  • Making Survey Processes More Robust in Response to Funding Reductions
  • Using Paradata to Improve the Management of Survey Costs

Keynote Address: Hermann Habermann, Consultant

Location and Seminar Cost: L'Enfant Plaza Hotel, 480 L'Enfant Plaza, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024 Cost: $195.00 per person

For Further Information, Contact the COPAFS Office at: Phone: 703-836-0404 Email: copafs@aol.com Fax: 703-836-0406

The registration form is available at the COPAFS web site at: www.copafs.org

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SIGSTAT Topics for Fall 2008

October 15, 2008: Survival Models in SAS: PROC PHREG Part 4

Continuing the series of talks based on the book "Survival Analysis Using the SAS System: A Practical Guide" by Paul Allison begun in October 2007, we'll finish Chapter 5: Estimating Cox Regression Models with PROC PHREG.

Topics covered are:

  1. Cox Models with Nonproportional Hazards
  2. Interactions with Time as Time-Dependent Covariates
  3. Nonproportionality via Stratification
  4. Left Truncation and Late Entry into the Risk Set
  5. Estimating Survivor Functions
  6. Residuals and Influence Statistics
  7. Testing Linear Hypotheses with the TEST Statement

November 19, 2008: Survival Models in SAS: PROC PHREG Part 5

Continuing the series of talks based on the book "Survival Analysis Using the SAS System: A Practical Guide" by Paul Allison begun in October 2007, we'll finish Chapter 6: Competing Risks.

Topics covered are:

  1. Introduction
  2. Type-specific hazards
  3. Time in Power for Leaders of Countries: Example
  4. Estimates and Tests without Covariates
  5. Covariate Effects via Cox Models
  6. Accelerated Failure Time Models
  7. An Alternative Approach to Multiple Event Types

December 17, 2008: GeoDA

GeoDa is thelatest incarnation in a long line of software tools developed by Dr. Luc Anselin's Spatial Analysis Laboratory (SAL) in the Department of Geography at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. It is designed to implement techniques for exploratory spatial data analysis (ESDA) on lattice data (points and polygons). The free program provides a user friendly and graphical interface to methods of descriptive spatial data analysis, such as spatial autocorrelation statistics, as well as basic spatial regression functionality. The latest version contains several new features such as a cartogram, a refined map movie, parallel coordinate plot, 3D visualization, conditional plots (and maps) and spatial regression.

SIGSTAT is the Special Interest Group in Statistics for the CPCUG, the Capital PC User Group, and WINFORMS, the Washington Institute for Operations Research Service and Management Science.

All meetings are in Room S3031, 1800 M St, NW from 12:00 to 1:00. Enter the South Tower & take the elevator to the 3rd floor to check in at the guard's desk.

First-time attendees should contact Charlie Hallahan, 202-694-5051, hallahan@ers.usda.gov, and leave their name. Directions to the building & many links of statistical interest can be found at the SIGSTAT website, http://www.cpcug.org/user/sigstat/.

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Note From The WSS NEWS Editor

Items for publication in the November issue of the WSS NEWS should be submitted no later than October 10, 2008. E-mail items to Michael Feil at michael.feil@usda.gov.

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Click here to see the WSS Board Listing (pdf)
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