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Federal Eye: April 25, 2010 - May 1, 2010

Gates to Congress: Don't vote yet on 'don't ask'

Defense Secretary Robert Gates once again asked Congress not to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy before the Pentagon completes a review of it.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 30, 2010; 5:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Congress, Workplace Issues  
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Justice Dept. investigating W.Va. mine explosion

The Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation of the explosion that killed 29 people at a West Virginia coal mine, and current and former employees of the mine's owner have been interviewed by the FBI, law enforcement sources said Friday.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 30, 2010; 2:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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Friday Feedback: SEC porn scandal; 'SNL' mocks government workers; big vs. small government; border security

A sampling of some of the comments from this week's most popular Federal Eye items. The thoughts expressed below do not represent the views of The Federal Eye or The Washington Post

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 30, 2010; 2:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  About the Blog  
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Soldiers go Gaga in Afghanistan

A shout out to "MalibuMelcher" and his fellow soldiers in the 82nd Airborne Division for this remake of Lady Gaga's "Telephone," shot from somewhere in Afghanistan. (Portions of the video at :52 and 2:50 are especially funny. You may notice weapons in the background.)

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 30, 2010; 11:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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Oil spill: The government's response

Despite today's focus on the response to the the April 20 Gulf Coast oil rig explosion, Obama administration officials stress that federal agencies have been involved since the start.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 30, 2010; 10:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
Categories:  Administration, Agencies and Departments  
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Saluting the gobbledygook in government

In a not-so-subtle jab at bureaucratic language often found in U.S. Code or the Federal Register ("in witness thereof," "notwithstanding" and "directive," among other classics), the Center for Plain Language awarded its National ClearMark Awards on Thursday for the best and worst examples of language in government, business and the nonprofit community.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 30, 2010; 5:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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'Ted Sox' reunite Sunday to honor Kennedy

Coach Griff Doherty, center, and the Ted Sox before a 2009 game. (Photo By Terri Roney For The Washington Post) The U.S. Senate Softball League will play this year for the first time in 43 years without the “Ted...

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 29, 2010; 4:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Congress, Workplace Issues  
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Hillary Clinton on Dorothy Height: 'We gave her a good send off'

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks with The Washington Post's Hamil Harris and reflects on the ceremonies celebrating the life of Civil Rights icon Dorothy Height.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 29, 2010; 4:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Administration, Video Report  
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Government's new modus operandi for innovation: The Prize

The U.S. government is giving away prizes. In seeking solutions to problems, it has discovered the magic of contests, or challenges -- also known as open grantmaking or open innovation. Or crowdsourcing.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 29, 2010; 2:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Administration, From The Pages of The Post  
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Feds can't cover adult children until January

Although several health insurance companies said they will cover adult children on their parents' policies by June 1, the Office of Personnel Management says existing federal law prohibits that coverage for those in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program until a new health insurance law takes effect in January.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 29, 2010; 1:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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Few government folks on 'TIME 100' list

Another week, another magazine publishing a "list" issue in an effort to boost sales. This time it's TIME Magazine and its TIME 100 list of "the people who most affect our world."

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 29, 2010; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Administration  
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What will it be like for women on submarines?

Did you hear that the Navy will soon allow women to serve on submarines?

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 29, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Workplace Issues  
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Postal Service angered by regulator review schedule

Updated 2:48 p.m. ET The U.S. Postal Service said Thursday it is disappointed with the schedule put forth by postal regulators to consider proposed changes to Saturday mail delivery, arguing the Postal Regulatory Commission needs to move faster to help...

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 29, 2010; 10:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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What's going on at the border?

The Obama administration is mulling a lawsuit against Arizona to block its new immigration law from taking effect.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 29, 2010; 6:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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USA.gov winner is a contest pro

How does USA.gov make your life better? For stay-at-home dad Peter Sullivan of Nashville, it put $2,500 in his bank account.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 28, 2010; 3:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Miscellaneous  
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FEMA launches new mobile site

Stuck in a flood with good cellphone reception and need to find help? No, there's not an app for that (yet), but there is a new mobile site from the Federal Emergency Management Administration. The agency launched m.fema.gov on...

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 28, 2010; 2:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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72% of households responded to 2010 Census

The 2010 Census response rate matched returns for the 2000 Census, the U.S. Census Bureau said Wednesday.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 28, 2010; 1:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Census  
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Salazar approves Cape Wind development

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will approve Wednesday the construction of a major wind farm off Nantucket, Mass., the nation's first offshore wind farm, according to a source briefed on the decision. The move ends a nearly decade-long political feud and could open the way for significant offshore wind development along the East Coast.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 28, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Administration, Agencies and Departments  
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House passes new 'census mailer' bill

The House unanimously approved a bill Wednesday that closes loopholes in the "census mailer" law in an effort to stop the Republican National Committee from using the word "census" on fundraising mailers.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 28, 2010; 11:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Census, Congress  
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Post poll question on smaller vs. larger government

The new Washington Post-ABC News poll spells trouble for incumbents and finds once again that Americans favor a smaller government with fewer services.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 28, 2010; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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USA.gov's redesign to promote interaction

By The Post's Ylan Q. Mui: The USA.gov Web site, which serves as a virtual front door for thousands of citizens accessing government services, is undergoing a comprehensive redesign to encourage more public interaction. The General Services Administration, which runs...

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 28, 2010; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, From The Pages of The Post  
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Study: 61% of adults use web for government info

The Pew Internet and American Life Project have published a fantastic study of how Americans use the Internet to learn about all levels of government. Let's dive right into the highlights:

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 28, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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SEC porn scandal results in zero firings, agency says

None of the Securities and Exchange Commission employees caught using government computers to view pornographic images has been fired, according to the agency.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 27, 2010; 8:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (108)
Categories:  Oversight, Workplace Issues  
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Issa offers bill ending 'census mailer' loophole

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) planned to introduce a measure today designed to -- pardon the pun -- seal a loophole in the so-called "census mailer" law.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 27, 2010; 4:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Census  
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NIH: More stem cell lines OK'd for federal funds

The National Institutes of Health will announce Tuesday that four additional lines of human embryonic stem cells are now eligible for federal funding, including the most widely used line.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 27, 2010; 4:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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Did the 2010 Census save taxpayer money or not?

Picking up on an issue he raised in The Federal Eye raised on Monday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) -- a vocal critic of 2010 census operations -- has done the math to prove his point that the 2010 Census was much more expensive than the 2000 Census, thus rendering this year's efforts a failure.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 27, 2010; 3:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Census  
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MSHA evacuates 3 mines after anonymous tips

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration said its inspectors evacuated three West Virginia mines owned by Massey Energy Co. this month after receiving anonymous complaints. The announcement came just minutes before agency officials appeared on Capitol Hill for the first Congressional hearing on this month's deadly West Virginia mine blast.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 27, 2010; 2:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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Chat With The Eye: Lindsey Graham; Ronald Reagan on the $50 bill; Charlie Crist; immigration reform

Highlights of Tuesday's Post Politics Hour, which included queries about Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and whether Ronald Reagan will ever end up on our money.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 27, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  About the Blog  
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NSPS transition ahead of schedule

Here's some relief for civilian Defense Department workers fed up with the controversial National Security Personnel System: More than 103,000 civilian DOD workers will transition to the General Schedule pay system by the end of June, according to the office that oversees the pay plan repealed by Congress last year.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 27, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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Republicans continue 'census mailings' despite law

The Republican National Committee believes a new round of mailings that use the word "Census" does not violate a new law banning such deliveries.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 26, 2010; 3:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Census  
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Video: 'SNL' mocks government workers

Combine long-held negative perceptions of federal workers (lazy, overpaid, complainers), mix in Precious" actress Gabourey Gabby Sidibe and the creativity of "Saturday Night Live," and you get the segment above, called "Public Employee of the Year Awards."

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 26, 2010; 12:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (65)
Categories:  Video Report, Workplace Issues  
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New campaign for 'don't ask' repeal

Tapping into President Obama's interest in reading letters from ordinary Americans, a group opposed to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy for at least the next month plans to publish letters sent to the president from people impacted by the gay ban.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 26, 2010; 12:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Congress, Workplace Issues  
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6 Obama officials to lead public sector recognition

Six Obama administration officials will serve as the honorary co-chairs of next week's series of events to honor and thank public sector workers.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 26, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Administration, Congress, Workplace Issues  
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Was 2010 Census a success?

At least 72 percent of American households returned their forms to the U.S. Census Bureau this year, matching returns for the 2000 headcount. Final numbers will be announced on Wednesday and Obama administration officials cheered the early numbers late last week as evidence of successful outreach efforts.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 26, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  Census, Eye Opener  
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