Eye Opener: Federal Food Drive Ramps Up
Happy Tuesday! Top Obama administration officials get in on the volunteer action today when they drop off food collected by federal employees as part of “Feds Feed Families.” The food drive was launched by the Office of Personnel Management in June as part of the White House's summer-long “United We Serve” initiative. The Eye has seen food collection receptacles placed in the lobbies of federal buildings where employees can leave donations for the needy.
OPM Director John Berry, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan and Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) will deliver the goods this morning the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington.
• Volunteerism Climbs, According to Government: The cabinet's volunteer initiative comes as a new government report reveals that more Americans volunteered last year despite the worsening economy. Almost a million more people donated their time to civic causes in 2008 than in 2007 even though volunteer rates typically drop during economic downturns, according to a survey by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the agency that runs AmeriCorps and other programs. In all, 61.8 million people volunteered last year. (And many expected to be available to help with hurricane relief efforts.)
• E-Gov Satisfaction Survey: Take it with a big grain of salt since it's not a poll equal in caliber to Post-ABC surveys and other national polls, but a new study quantifies the impact of online transparency and satisfaction on both overall trust in government and on citizen engagement with government. According to research from ForeSee Results, "increased transparency drives satisfaction, and citizens who are highly satisfied with a given federal website are much more likely to engage in desired outcomes than less satisfied citizens."
• Cabinet and Staff News: Robert Gates lands in Iraq. Video: Steven Chu's tug of war for Energy Dept. funding. Hillary Rodham Clinton will tour seven African nations and will meet with the Somali president. Janet Napolitano tours new Olympic security facility in Washington State.
• Dr. No Succeeds in Killing Sick-Leave Bill, For Now: Sen. Tom Coburn's (R-Okla.) latest target was a bill eagerly awaited by many federal employees that would have allowed those in the Federal Employee Retirement System to count unused sick leave in their retirement calculations.
• Crime Rate of Veterans in Colo. Unit Cited: Soldiers returning from Iraq after serving with a Fort Carson, Colo., combat brigade have exhibited an exceptionally high rate of criminal behavior in their home towns.
• Power Shifts in Plan for Capital Calamity: Military officials at the White House get a bigger operational role in creating a backup government if the nation’s capital were “decapitated” by a terrorist attack or other calamity, according to current and former officials involved in the decision.
• SEC Moves To Limit Short Sales Of Stocks: The new measures will lead to greater disclosures but don't impose any significant new restrictions on short selling.
• In Study, Texting Lifts Crash Risk by Large Margin: The texting analysis was financed by $300,000 from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which has the mission of improving safety in trucks and buses.
• Airports Queue to Fly to Cuba: U.S. airports are pressing the government to broaden the list of ports of entry allowed to handle flights to and from Cuba, even though the White House is proceeding cautiously with changes in travel policy.
• FedFleet: By the Numbers: The year’s biggest conference for federal fleet managers, officially begins today in Chicago. While most of the conference is devoted to vehicle fleets, 25 hours of training are devoted to aviation fleet managers.
• Oshkosh Races on Pentagon Vehicle: The truck maker last month won a $1.05 billion contract to produce military vehicles built to withstand the rugged terrain of Afghanistan. The hitch: The Pentagon wants 2,244 of them ready by year's end.
• Congressional Committees Raise Concerns Over Pentagon's Strategic Communications: House and Senate panels suggest that the military is producing propaganda and other materials that mask U.S. government sponsorship and focus "far beyond a traditional military information operations."
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