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DorobekINSIDER: Recapping the DNC and the 7 stories you need to know

On today’s program

  • E-government — the term has been evolving for years and it is increasingly key to how agencies accomplish their mission. But there aren’t universal best practices. Now there’s a new book out on the issue. You’ll hear from the author.
  • It’s been a rough few months for federal employees. But there were some shining spots for some feds this summer. Like the NASA scientists who successfully landed the Curiosity Rover on Mars, or the federal firefighters battling the wildfires out west. It really was the summer for exceptional federal leadership stories. You’ll hear some of them.

Your Democratic Convention Roundup

Michelle Obama closed off day one of the Democratic National Convention. You can here her full speech here. Day 1 also featured Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro. The Wall Street Journal has pulled together analysis from night one from both sides of the aisle.

But the Washington Post is asking, “What is the Obama’s second-term plan?” The article hits on the top economic and social questions that still need answered. The Post says Obama may use his address on Thursday night to outline potential solutions to major issues like sequestration, immigration and alternative energy.

GovExec says the 22,000 page Democratic platform also blames the Congressional stalemate for slowing progress.

“What is holding our nation back is a stalemate in Washington between two fundamentally different views of which direction America should take,” says the document, prepared by a committee on the eve of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. “We believe in deficit reduction not by placing the burden on the middle class and the poor, but by cutting out programs we can’t afford and asking the wealthiest to again contribute their fair share.”

The Federal Times says the Democratic platform also supports collective bargaining.

“Democrats believe that the right to organize and collectively bargain is a fundamental value,” the platform said. “Unions helped build the greatest middle class the world has ever known. We will fight for collective bargaining rights for police officers, nurses, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, teachers and other public-sector workers — jobs that are a proven path to the middle class for millions of Americans.”

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. The General Services Administration is trying to remake its real estate unit following the 2010 Western Regions Conference Scandal. The Washington Post reports GSA is brining in the Defense Department official who oversaw the Defense Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) process to take over as the as new commissioner of the Public Buildings Service. Dorothy Robyn, served as the Pentagon’s deputy undersecretary for installations and environment for the past three years. The Public Buildings service unit oversees the federal government’s real estate portfolio.
  2. The President’s Campaign to Cut Waste has already saved $4 billion. Jeffrey Zients, the acting administrator at the Office of Management and Budget says, “agencies saved on travel and printing in the first half of fiscal 2012.” OMB says agencies are on track to reach the $8 billion goal in fiscal 2013. Zients says it’s not just about cost cutting but also about spending money smarter. In one case, the Agriculture Department reduced its roster of cell phones and saved nearly $5 million. The Social Security Administration also saved vehicle fleet costs.
  3. The Labor Department has launched a Disability Employment App Challenge. The idea was to find innovative technology tools to improve employment opportunities and outcomes for people with disabilities. The challenge asked participants to use publicly available information, resources and data to build an application that promotes the employment of people with disabilities. In the end the DOL chose 3 projects.
    1. Innovation Award = Access Jobs
    2. Above and Beyond Accessibility Award = AccDC: Accelerated Dynamic Content
    3. Public Choice Award = VoisPal – Speak as You Think!
  4. Government auditors have dealt a blow to the Health and Human Services Department’s plan to loosen its welfare-to-work requirements. The Government Accountability Office said the agency must seek Congress’ approval if it wants to make the program more flexible. Federal News Radio says HHS wants to waive parts of the law for states that move at least 20 percent more people from welfare to work within a year. The agency had claimed that it had the authority to do so. But GAO said the change was so broad that the department must propose a rule and submit it to Congress.
  5. Yesterday we told you about the sexual discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against the Homeland Security Department. Now it seems the lawsuit is likely to be settled out of court. The case has led to the resignation of Suzanne Barr, the chief of staff of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Federal News Radio says, in the suit, James Hayes said Barr ran ICE like a frat house and humiliated male employees. Hayes is seeking $4 million in damages. His lawyer now says a federal magistrate judge will mediate the case in Washington, and that the Justice Department agreed to mediation. Two other male employees have made similar claims. Barr has denied the allegations.
  6. Malware attacks are on the rise. CNN reports, computer viruses, trojans and web attacks are soaring at their fastest pace in four years. In its quarterly “Threats Report,” Intel (INTC, Fortune 500) subsidiary McAfee said that it had found more than 8 million new kinds of malware in the second quarter, up 23% from the first quarter. There are now more than 90 million unique strands of malware in the wild, the security company said.
  7. And on GovLoop: a gun advocacy charity has filed a lawsuit against the city over deleted posts on the Honolulu Police Department’s Facebook page. Hawaii Defense Foundation filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday for violations of the First Amendment, claiming Honolulu police arbitrarily delete posts and ban those who make comments that are unfavorable to the department on the social media site. So we’re asking you, should you be fired for posting on Facebook?

A few items from the DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder

  • A good kind of gas-guzzling: Military technology: New kinds of paint for military vehicles can detect, absorb and neutralise gases in a chemical-weapon attack.
  • Can the military take apps to war? Maybe so. The Wall Street Journal reports, the Army is using small tablet computers even in war zones. WSJ says the hardened version of the five-inch Dell Streak developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency contained a custom application with Google-like maps based on satellite images. Lt. Pelletier used it to update the precise location of fellow soldiers engaged in a fight with two dozen insurgents.
  • It’s the political season and your Facebook feed is probably filled with political rants. But do these rants actually change anyones mind? TechPresident says they might. “People whose friends post some (or a lot of) political content on social networking sites are much more likely to say that they have changed their mind about a political issue or become more involved with a political issue after reading/discussing them on a social network (compared with people whose friends don’t post much political content),” said Aaron Smith, a senior researcher at Pew.

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