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Federal Eye: May 16, 2010 - May 22, 2010

Do Supreme Court justices tweet?

In short, no. But the answers given Thursday at a House Administration Committee hearing by Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia ("My wife calls me 'Mr. Clueless.'") and Stephen Breyer (who used it to monitor the recent Iranian protests) are...

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 21, 2010; 5:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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Dispute over Census questions ends in Calif. woman's death

A U.S. Census Bureau worker in California was threatened by a man with a firearm on Thursday night and the man's wife was later shot and killed by police officers.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 21, 2010; 5:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
Categories:  Census  
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Drop-side cribs to be banned due to safety risks

They've been a fixture in millions of American homes since the 1940s, used by parents, then passed down to friends and relations. But the federal government is moving to ban drop-side cribs, saying the nursery furniture with a movable side poses lethal dangers to children.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 21, 2010; 3:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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Justice official to compare notes with Italians on organized crime

The 1992 assassination of Judge Giovanni Falcone, Italy's leading Mafia investigator, galvanized the fight against international organized crime and made him a hero to prosecutors and FBI agents in the United States.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 21, 2010; 3:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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Friday Feedback: Mother of 2nd grader; TSA agent suspended; federal pay cuts

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 21, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  About the Blog  
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Dennis Blair's resignation letter

It's rare that an embattled boss sends a goodbye note to the rank and file, so here's a nice example from outgoing National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair, sent Thursday evening: It is with deep regret that I informed the President...

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 21, 2010; 10:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Administration, Revolving Door  
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Robert Gates surrenders on military pay raise

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chief of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen signaled Thursday that he won't let a pay raise for military service members derail this year's Defense Authorization Bill.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 21, 2010; 7:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Eye Opener, Workplace Issues  
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Thad Allen will continue as oil spill response chief

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen will continue to serve as President Obama's point man on the Gulf Coast oil spill after he retires later this month, the administration said Thursday.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 20, 2010; 3:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Revolving Door  
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Official: Contractors will still play 'a vital role'

The mix of government work done by federal employees and that done by outside contractors is out of balance, but the right balance doesn't necessarily mean having those employees do more of the contractors' work, the Obama administration planned to tell Congress Thursday.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 20, 2010; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Congress, Contracting, Workplace Issues  
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Mother of student who questioned Michelle Obama will not face action

The mother of a Maryland second-grader who questioned First Lady Michelle Obama about the Obama administration's immigration policy will not be deported, federal officials said Thursday.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 20, 2010; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (242)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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David Broder on the big hit against big government

"The Dean" David Broder weighs in today on Tuesday's primary elections and finds that once again big government helped derail some candidacies.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 20, 2010; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  From The Pages of The Post  
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Lawmakers question lease for Census tied to mosque

Two Republican lawmakers are raising questions about the U.S. Census Bureau’s decision to lease space in an office building owned by a Falls Church mosque.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 20, 2010; 7:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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White House State Dinner: Government guests

Arguably one of the best perks an administration official can hope for is an invite to a White House State Dinner.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 19, 2010; 5:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Administration  
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Bike ride to honor CIA officers killed in bombing

Barred by law from uttering his slain comrades' names in public, retired CIA officer Rob Richer recently hit upon a novel idea for memorializing the seven agency operatives killed in last year's suicide bombing near Khost, Afghanistan: He would climb on his mountain bike and ride across the country in their honor.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 19, 2010; 3:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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Investigation: CDC misled public on health risks of lead in D.C. water

The nation's premier public health agency knowingly used flawed data to claim that high lead levels in the District's drinking water did not pose a health risk to the public, a congressional investigation has found. But, investigators determined, the agency has not publicized its later internal research showing the problem did harm children and continues to endanger thousands of city residents.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 19, 2010; 1:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Oversight  
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TSA pick renews call to make the job a 10-year term

President Obama's nomination of FBI Deputy Director John S. Pistole to serve as head of the Transportation Security Administration led a Republican lawmaker to revive his idea of giving the TSA boss a 10-year term.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 19, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Congress  
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Senate approves federal hiring reform bill

Last week, President Obama ordered a series of actions designed to revamp the way Uncle Sam hires. Late Tuesday, the Senate approved the Federal Hiring Process Improvement Act of 2010.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 19, 2010; 11:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Congress, Workplace Issues  
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Senate move gives watchdogs more independence

Senators approved an amendment to the financial regulation bill Tuesday night that keeps federal watchdogs at five financial regulatory agencies from becoming presidential appointments. The Senate voted 75 to 21 to make the five inspectors general accountable to all of...

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 19, 2010; 10:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Congress, Oversight  
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TSA agent suspended, charged with stealing cash

A Transportation Security Administration agent surrendered to authorities Tuesday and was charged with stealing almost $500 from a wheelchair-bound woman passing through a security checkpoint at Newark Liberty International Airport.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 19, 2010; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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Senate vote on same-sex benefits 'within weeks'

The Senate could vote on a bill extending fringe benefits to the same-sex partners of gay federal employees "within weeks" and well before July 4, according to aides to Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.).

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 19, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Eye Opener, Workplace Issues  
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Could Obama ask for a federal pay cut?

President Obama last week "encouraged" Spain to follow through with plans for an austerity budget, which includes a 5 percent pay cut for the country's federal employees.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 18, 2010; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
Categories:  Administration, Workplace Issues  
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2020 Census will have an online option

How will Americans use the Internet in 2020? Will we all use cell phones? Will we still have snail mail? A team of experts at the U.S. Census Bureau is asking those questions in preparation for the 2020 Census even as temporary workers are knocking on doors to complete the 2010 Census.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 18, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Census, Eye Opener  
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CBO: Benefits for same-sex partners would cost $310 million

A Congressional Budget Office cost estimate for legislation to provide fringe benefits for the same-sex partners of federal employees could jeopardize efforts to pass the bill this year.

By Washington Post Editor  | May 17, 2010; 5:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (59)
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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New Web sites for federal courts, Commerce Dept.

Courtesy USCourts.gov Two government Web sites launched overhauls on Monday -- vast improvements over their old online homes. USCourts.gov, the online home of the federal court system, now includes court locator, court services and employment links above the fold....

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 17, 2010; 4:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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Obama makes third TSA pick

President Obama announced his third pick to lead the Transportation Security Administration on Monday, tapping FBI Deputy Director John S. Pistole to lead the airport security agency.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 17, 2010; 4:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Administration, Revolving Door  
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Elena Kagan's deputy takes over

Solicitor General Elena Kagan was not at the Supreme Court this morning to hear that she had won one of the cases she argued. And she told the court in a letter that her deputy will take over all filings at the court while her nomination to replace Justice John Paul Stevens is pending.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 17, 2010; 2:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Administration, Revolving Door  
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Interior Dept. official at MMS resigns

Chris Oynes, the top Interior Department official who oversees offshore oil and gas drilling for the Minerals Management Service, announced Monday that he will retire on May 31, The Washington Post has learned.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 17, 2010; 2:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Revolving Door  
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Federal managers warn of financial hit for some DOD workers

As thousands of Defense Department civilian workers transition from a pay for performance system to the General Schedule, the Federal Managers Association says many of them will be financially hurt, despite assurances in the law that they should not be.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 17, 2010; 1:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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A cautionary tale for whistleblowers

College David S. Hilzenrath penned an incredibly well-reported story for Sunday's Post about the travails of Bradley Birkenfeld, a former Swiss banker who knew secrets that eventually led UBS to admit it helped Americans dodge taxes and paid the government $780 million.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 17, 2010; 11:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  From The Pages of The Post, Workplace Issues  
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Pentagon budget fight, 'in-sourcing' and oil spill investigations

Among all the others, here are three stories especially worth your time today:

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 17, 2010; 7:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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