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Eye Opener: Jan. 12, 2010

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

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In the news...

Code of Federal Regulations Goes XML: Another victory for transparency and Gov 2.0 advocates: The Code of Federal Regulations, or the codification of the rules published in the Federal Register, is now available in XML format from 2007 forward. The Government Printing Office and National Archives will make it available dating back to 2000 in the next few months. “For the first time ever, the complete body of all the regulations of the federal executive departments and agencies is available, as a whole, for search and retrieval, combination into new formats and development of applications to particular citizen needs,” said Ray Mosley, director of the Federal Register.

FOIA Ombudsman Hosts Briefing on Thursday: Miriam Nisbet will host a briefing for reporters at the National Archives about the new Office of Government Information Services. Among other things, Nisbet's office will eventually mediate disputes between freedom of information act requesters and federal agencies.

Cabinet and Staff News: President and Mrs. Obama will attend the funeral for Vice President Biden's mother in Delaware on Tuesday. Obama's national security speechwriter Ben Rhodes profiled. On her way to the Pacific region, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton downplays any tensions with China. Undersecretary of State Bill Burns meets with Europeans, Russians about Iran. White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra chided at CES. Ron Sanders, chief human capital officer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is stepping down.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT:
Fort Hood review: Doctors voiced concerns, did not act: The picture emerging from the review is one of supervisors who failed to heed their own warnings about an officer ill-suited to be an Army psychiatrist.

EDUCATION DEPARTMENT:
Union head to propose tying test scores, teacher evaluations: Education Secretary Arne Duncan said union boss Randi Weingarten "is really showing courage" by raising the issues.

FEDERAL RESERVE:
Federal Reserve earned $45 billion in 2009: The numbers are good news for the federal budget and a sign that the Fed has been successful, at least so far, in protecting taxpayers as it intervenes in the economy.

FEMA:
Ex-FEMA worker charged in $721K in Katrina fraud: The worker is accused of using a government database to get information about storm victims who applied for assistance. Prosecutors say the worker used the information to get FEMA to send money to a bank account.

GOVERNMENT WORK/LIFE:
House to vote on GAO improvement bill: The bill would give the Comptroller General more authority to obtain agency records, including the ability to bring civil actions against the person or people withholding information.

Unions create governmentwide coalition: Building on their success in battling the Pentagon's pay-for-performance system with a united front, a number of federal labor unions announced on Monday a new governmentwide coalition to advocate for federal workers on the policy front.

Senator working on efforts to fix Md. traffic before BRAC breaks it: What Ben Cardin hopes to do before construction projects and the big moves end.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT:
U.S. orders crackdown on tribal crime: Attorney General Eric Holder was to announce the initiative after his deputy issued a memo to federal prosecutors in those areas instructing them to do more to fight a problem the department has long been accused of ignoring.

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION:
SEC seeks new charge against Bank of America: The basis of the agency's proposed amended complaint is that the multibillion-dollar losses incurred at Merrill merited a change to the bank’s proxy statement to shareholders before they voted to approve the merger of the two firms.

STATE DEPARTMENT:
Many U.S. embassies lack additional layer of visa security: The expansion of a seven-year-old federal program designed to tighten the visa application process is moving too slowly, a Republican lawmaker said.

DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS:
Suicide rate increases among veterans: According to preliminary data, the suicide rate among 18- to 29-year-old men who have left the military went up 26 percent from 2005 to 2007.

By Ed O'Keefe  | January 12, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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