Early Briefing: The Four-Day Workweek

Like long weekends?

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) is pushing a work week of four, 10-hour days for federal employees, according to Federal Diary columnist Joe Davidson.

In a letter, released this week, to the Office of Personnel Management, he asked the agency to "undertake comprehensive analysis of the transitioning to a 4-day work week for all possible federal employees and inform me by August 31, of any additional actions Congress would need to take to implement such a policy by the end of fiscal year 2008."

* It's a bird! It's a fruit bowl! It's . . . Giant Food's new logo.

Gone is the familiar big blue G with the red Giant in block letters. In the new look, the name is the shade of eggplant and topped with a colorful array of abstract half-moons that bring to mind a tropical bird, or perhaps a fruit salad, depending on how you squint.

The logo has begun popping up this week in advertising circulars. The official unveiling is scheduled for today at the Georgetown Square store in Bethesda. Employees will also be donning new "logo wear" uniforms -- purple and gold polos, aprons and hats -- to replace the old, drab green.

Along with the new logo, Giant is planning to expand its selection of prepared foods and private-label offerings. It also is instituting a family checkout lane that bans tabloids and candy in favor of yogurt, animal crackers and bottled water. Hand-held scanners soon will be available for shoppers to ring up groceries while they browse the store.

* Staff writer Jeffrey Birnbaum says the struggles of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are taking the housing market with them, reinforcing a downward spiral in which their troubles translate into pricier home loans and increasing foreclosures, further undermining the companies.

* Frozen food producer Cuisine Solutions of Alexandria announced that it had taken a majority ownership interest in the Centre de Recherche et d'Etudes pour l'Alimentation (CREA) of Paris, which provides training and research in the sous-vide, or "under vacuum," method of slow cooking in airtight plastic bags. Cuisine Solutions plans to integrate all of its sous-vide education under its FiveLeaf subsidiary.

Under the guidance of CREA founder Bruno Goussault, many of the world's top chefs have been trained in sous-vide.

Cuisine Solutions said CREA generated more than $1 million in service revenue last fiscal year.

* Pennsylvania officials have recommended that authorities in that state reject a proposal by Dominion Virginia Power and another company to build a 240-mile transmission line that begins there and cuts through Northern Virginia.

The recommendation deals a blow to proponents of the 500-kilovolt line, which would end in Loudoun County. A Virginia agency is expected to rule this year on whether the local portion can be built, but the project may not go forward if West Virginia and Pennsylvania reject their portions.

Dominion and Allegheny Energy say their $1.3 billion project is needed for a reliable flow of electricity to Northern Virginia and elsewhere.

By Dan Beyers  |  August 22, 2008; 6:52 AM ET
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