Monthly Archives: February, 2010

MDA: Obama-esque logo actually three years old

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A hat tip to Ed O’Keefe over at the Washington Post for following up on this Missile Defense Agency logo foofarah. Conservative bloggers got all worked up because a new MDA logo’s color scheme and apparent “O” shape resembled the Obama campaign logo. Some of the loonier commenters online thought it was patterned after the Islamic star and crescent, echoing the “Obama is a Muslim” smear from 2008. One blogger, Frank Gaffney, made the especially silly claim that the logo proves Obama’s decision to kill the highly flawed and, according to the Air Force chief of staff, “not … operationally viable”…

Fallout from the WH party crashers

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White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers is leaving her job a few months after her office allowed uninvited guests to attend a state dinner, the White House announced today. Rogers will be returning to the private sector in Chicago, where she first met President Obama, reports The Washington Post. Rogers faced blistering criticism from Congress and the media after employees of her office, which clears guests for White House events, failed to catch three uninvited guests who walked into a state dinner for the prime minister of India. In a statement, the president and Michelle Obama thanked Rogers, a longtime…

Social networking and the hunt for Saddam

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Slate.com is running a remarkable series this week on the hunt for Saddam Hussein, and how enterprising soldiers used their passion for social networking theory to track down the fugitive Iraqi dictator. According to Slate, the US Army didn’t start making progress on the mission until they stopped looking for the high-ranking Ba’ath party bureaucrats on the infamous deck of cards and started hunting for cousins, in-laws, and fishing buddies of the people who were hiding Hussein: The reason social network diagrams are essential to counterinsurgency, [Army interrogator Staff Sgt. Eric] Maddox says, is that they help you predict what will…

GSA seeks a video star

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How many times have you visited the government’s online information portal, www.usa.gov, and thought: If only I could express my love for this site through video? Well now’s your chance. The General Services Administration, which manages the site, has launched a contest for the most entertaining and creative 30- to 90-second video demonstrating how your life has improved by using the information available on the site. The winner will receive $2,500 and the chance to become a YouTube sensation. There’s a lot on the site to choose from: everything from applying for student loans and finding a good childcare provider…

Banjos, Claymore mines and TSA love

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I was listening to Sirius XM’s alt-country station last night and heard what is surely the only banjo-driven love song ever written about a Transportation Security Administration screener: “TSA” by Texas musician Danny Barnes. In the live clip below, Barnes says that his banjo brings him a lot of scrutiny from TSA because, apparently, its body is about the right size to hide a Claymore mine. And all the quality time he spent with airport screeners inspired lyrics like “her hair in a bun/her hand on her gun/we made love with the radio on.” Being both a federal government reporter…

How many contractors does DHS actually have? ctd.

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We’ve explored this question before on the blog: At a December Senate hearing, Elaine Duke, the department’s undersecretary for management, admitted DHS doesn’t really know how many contractors it has. The question came up again this week: In a letter to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee, DHS secretary Janet Napolitano said the department had roughly 200,000 contractors — more than the 188,000 civilian employees who work for the department. That number prompted an outraged reaction from senators on the committee; as I mentioned in my story yesterday, they questioned whether contractors or federal employees are “actually making…

National Cancer Institute getting new home

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Employees at the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute will be moving into new digs in 2013. The General Services Administration announced Wednesday that it’s awarded a build-to-suit lease for 575,000 square feet of office space for the agency, whose employees now are scattered among five buildings. The JBG Companies of Washington will develop two facilities, connected by a central atrium, at the Shady Grove Life Sciences Center in Montgomery County, Md., for the agency. JBG is leasing land for the project from Johns Hopkins University. The facilities will be built to achieve the second-highest rating from the U.S. Green Building…

Army officials share social networking tips

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The Army is at the forefront of social networking, offering Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages to connect the public with soldiers in uniform. And while the military enjoys broad support online — the Army’s Facebook page has 173,000 fans — that doesn’t mean it’s immune from inappropriate posts from those who take issue with the military or politics. Policing racist, sexist or harassing comments is important to maintaining the military’s integrity, but deleting too many comments may make users suspicious of censorship, said Staff Sgt. Josh Salmons, emerging media coordinator at Fort Meade’s Defense Information School during a Feb. 24…

These days, everything's politicized — even agency logos

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Washington Times blogger Kerry Picket yesterday noted the Missile Defense Agency’s new logo and sees a resemblance to the Obama campaign logo. Despite the similar red-and-blue color scheme, Picket is probably reading a little too much into it. But that didn’t stop Matt Drudge from taking the silliness to new heights today:                                     No, Matt Drudge. I don’t think the Missile Defense Agency has been taken over by Muslim hordes. But thanks for asking.

VA expands oversight of IT projects

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The Veterans Affairs Department has expanded its information technology oversight program designed to weed out underperforming IT projects to include all of the agency’s 282 projects. The program management and accountability system – PMAS – will be used to evaluate and restart or terminate all VA IT projects. The change was effective Feb. 15 but announced by VA’s Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology Roger Baker at a House Veterans Affairs Committee subcommittee on oversight and investigations hearing Feb. 23. Using the system to evaluate all of VA’s IT projects will give officials greater insight into how the projects are…

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