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Federal Eye: May 2, 2010 - May 8, 2010

Ex-Interior Secretary Walter Hickel dies at 90

Hickel was fired from his Interior post in late 1970, after sending Nixon a letter critical of his handling of student protests following the National Guard shootings at Kent State and the U.S. invasion of Cambodia.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 8, 2010; 9:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Administration  
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Stier's latest defense of federal workers

We need to reconnect Americans to their government. People need to better understand that public servants are their friends and neighbors who are helping address our collective challenges here and abroad.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 8, 2010; 9:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  From The Pages of The Post, Workplace Issues  
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Gates clarifies goal of 'don't ask' review team

The Pentagon's review of its "don't ask, don't tell" policy will determine how -- not whether -- the military can best prepare for a possible repeal of the ban on openly gay soldiers, Defense Secretary Robert Gates clarified in a letter written Thursday.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 7, 2010; 2:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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TSA screener arrested for beating co-worker

A Transportation Security Administration screener at Miami International Airport was arrested this week for allegedly beating up a co-worker after months of jokes about the size of the screener's genitalia that colleagues observed during training with full-body scanning machines.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 7, 2010; 12:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Workplace Issues  
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Friday Feedback: Tom Strickland's rafting trip; name change at the Dept. of Navy; Gates and 'don't ask, don't tell'

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  | May 7, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  About the Blog  
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First women chosen for sub duty excited

They never expected to get the chance, but the Midshipmen chosen to be the Navy's first female submariners are ready to go -- after some more training.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 7, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Video Report, Workplace Issues  
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Third weekend of oil spill response begins

The mission to drop a 100-ton concrete-and-steel box over a blown-out oil well on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico continues -- as does the federal response.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 7, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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A presidential visit for Nashville?

Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen said Thursday he would welcome a presidential visit his storm-devastated state soon but understands the commander in chief has had a lot on his plate this week. Weekend storms and flooding across Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky have killed at least 29 people and at least five people are still missing.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 6, 2010; 5:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Administration  
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Postal Service profits, volume continue to drop

The agency said it lost $1.9 billion in the six months that ended March 31, and mail volume dropped 6.3 percent compared with the same period in 2009.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 6, 2010; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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Telework bill fails in the House; Senate delays action

Federal workers may soon cut their commute times considerably as Congress today is set to pass bills that expand telework options across the government.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 6, 2010; 12:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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Census computer glitch could jeopardize count

Frequent glitches with the computer system built to manage the 2010 Census could jeopardize its accuracy and drive up costs beyond its $15 billion price tag, according to a new watchdog report.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 6, 2010; 9:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Census  
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As oil leaked, Interior Dept. official rafted with wife

Though the Obama administration has stressed its involvement with the April 20 BP oil spill since "day one," at least one Interior Department official decided instead to phone it in and go white water rafting in the Grand Canyon with his wife and other officials.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 6, 2010; 6:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (178)
Categories:  Administration, Eye Opener  
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Obama signs bill expanding health services for vets

President Obama signed legislation Wednesday that significantly expands health services available to veterans, saying "there's always more we can do and more that we must do" for those fighting America's wars and those who help them when they return.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 5, 2010; 3:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Administration, Workplace Issues  
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Agencies to keep closer tabs on stimulus recipients

Robert Brodsky at GovExec reports must now make direct contract with new recipients of economic stimulus dollars to remind them of their obligations to file quarterly spending reports.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 5, 2010; 3:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Tracking the Stimulus  
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National Zoo welcomes a new baby

Officials at the National Zoo announced their latest addition: a scimitar-horned oryx born April 9 at their conservation center in Front Royal, Va.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 5, 2010; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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Oil spill: Officials dispatched again

Colleague Karen Tumulty nailed the Obama administration's new dilemma in today's Post, noting that the White House is dealing with the "delicate challenge of management and message" as it addresses the April 20 BP oil spill and the thwarted Times Square bombing.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 5, 2010; 1:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Administration, Agencies and Departments  
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Sgt. 'Gaga' explains his spoof

The military spoof of Lady Gaga's hit song "Telephone" has boosted troop morale in Afghanistan, and the soldiers behind it will not face disciplinary charges, according to the video's mastermind.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 5, 2010; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Video Report, Workplace Issues  
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Government launches a book blog

The Government Printing Office has launched Government BookTalk, a blog devoted to the thousands of publications, reports and manuals published by the federal government each year.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 5, 2010; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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Health-care relief for the children of feds?

Lawmakers have introduced a measure that would allow the Office of Personnel Management to extend health-care coverage to the adult children of federal workers before the new federal health-care law takes effect next year.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 5, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Eye Opener, Health Care, Workplace Issues  
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MSHA establishes another mine blast team

The Mine Safety and Health Administration said Tuesday that a new investigative team will focus on anonymous whistle-blower tips and concerns expressed by mine workers and the families of victims of the April 5 West Virginia mine blast.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 4, 2010; 4:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Oversight  
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Working for an 'improved picture' of public servants

As Public Service Recognition Week begins, the Federal Eye spoke with Max Stier, president of the Partnership for Public Service, about this week's events, President Obama's recent defense of government and why it's still hard to get a job with the government.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 4, 2010; 3:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Public Service  
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Report: 15 of 73 watchdog jobs vacant

At least 15 of the 73 federal inspectors general, auditor, or whistleblower protection jobs are vacant or tied up in the Senate confirmation process, according to a new report by the Center for Public Integrity.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 4, 2010; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Oversight  
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Oil spill: Two weeks in

It's Day 14 of federal efforts to stave off a massive oil spill and environmental disaster. Here's a rundown of where things stand from a federal perspective:

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 4, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Administration, Agencies and Departments  
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Oil spill responder: 'Amazing' to see coordination

Coast Guard Cmdr. Jim Elliott spoke with The Federal Eye for Tuesday's Post about his work at the unified command post in Mobile, Ala. and how this stint compares to his service after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 4, 2010; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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Will Department of Navy get a name change?

The House is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a bill that has more cosponsors than any other in Congressional history -- but will likely die once again in the Senate.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 4, 2010; 6:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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6 census takers die in auto accidents in past week

Six census takers have died in auto accidents within the past week, including two Texans whose vehicle was hit by a tractor-trailer as they were delivering census materials.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 3, 2010; 4:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Census, Workplace Issues  
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Oil spill: Issa launches probe

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is asking the Interior Department and the Minerals Management Service for any and all information related to the April 20 oil rig blast in the Gulf of Mexico.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 3, 2010; 2:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Congress, Oversight  
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Ex-HUD secretary Jackson cleared of charges

Former Housing and Urban Development secretary Alphonso Jackson, who resigned amid allegations that he steered business to friends, is no longer the target of a federal investigation, his attorneys said Monday. Former HUD secretary Alphonso Jackson. (Image by Hampton University)...

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 3, 2010; 1:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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Obama's 'spirited defense of government'

Amid a busy news weekend -- President Obama's trip to the Gulf Coast, his joke-filled address to the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner and the Times Square bomb scare -- let's go back and review Obama's commencement addressed delivered Saturday morning at the University of Michigan.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 3, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Public Service  
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Oil spill: Update on the government response

It's Day 13 of the coordinated public-private Deepwater Horizon Response with no immediate end in sight. "Worst-case scenario: This thing could keep going on for 90 days," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said during one of four Sunday talk show...

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 3, 2010; 10:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Administration  
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Gates's 'don't ask' letter angers gay rights groups

Gay rights groups and supportive Democratic lawmakers spent the weekend striking back at Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and their request that Congress hold off on voting to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy until after the Pentagon finishes a review of a potential repeal.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 3, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Eye Opener, Workplace Issues  
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