Monthly Archives: December, 2010

NASA forced to pay half billion for rocket to nowhere

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A quirk in the 2010 budget and the continuing resolution have forced NASA to continue funding already-canceled Ares V rocket program to the tune of $465 million through March 4. The Orlando Sentinel caught this one: At the root of the problem is a 70-word sentence inserted into the 2010 budget — by lawmakers seeking to protect Ares I jobs in their home states — that bars NASA from shutting down the program until Congress passed a new budget a year later. That should have happened before the Oct. 1 start of the federal fiscal year. But Congress never passed…

Senate confirms SSA deputy commissioner

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The Social Security Administration has a new deputy commissioner. Carolyn Colvin was confirmed before the Senate Wednesday, after being nominated by President Barack Obama in Oct. 2009, according to an agency news release. Colvin, a former chief executive officer at AMERIGROUP, DC, has held various positions within SSA including deputy commissioner for policy and external affairs and deputy commissioner for programs and policy. “Carolyn brings a wealth of expertise that will be extremely valuable as we face the dual challenges of ever increasing workloads and reducing current backlogs in an environment of fiscal austerity,” SSA Commissioner Michael Astrue said in the release. “I look…

One CR down, at least one more to go

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The continuing spending resolutions continue . . . To give itself a little breathing room, Congress has approved a three-day extension of the continuing resolution, or CR, that would have expired at midnight tonight. The extension, approved Friday, pushed the deadline back to Tuesday. Before that point, lawmakers are expected to pass one more CR that would run into early next year. The resolutions generally leave agency spending frozen at fiscal 2010 levels; the latest round comes after Senate Democrats could not round up the votes to break a likely Republican filibuster of a catch-all appropriations bill for fiscal 2011. …

Senate repeals ban on gays in military

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The Senate on Saturday repealed the long-standing “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which prohibited openly gay men and women from serving in the military. The final vote was 65-31 in favor of repeal. The bill now goes to President Obama, who is expected to sign it next week. View our sister websites, including ArmyTimes.com, for more coverage.

Senate passes bill to bolster acquisition workforce

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The Senate unanimously passed a bill on Dec. 13 that would strengthen the Federal Acquisition Institute and require consistent training standards across the civilian acquisition workforce. S 2902, the Federal Acquisition Improvement Act, also requires the institute’s director be “appointed by and report directly to” the Office of Federal Procurement Policy administrator. The bill would allow greater flexibility in spending dollars from the Acquisition Workforce Training Fund, which is financed by fees collected from non- Defense Department governmentwide contracts. The bill would instruct all civilian acquisition training and internship programs to align with standards set through the institute by the…

Google's ebookstore offers federal titles

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If you’ve longed to own a copy of the appendix for the federal budget (all 1,416 pages for fiscal 2011), you’re in luck. You can snag a copy for just $9 .99 on Google’s ebookstore. The search engine giant is partnering with the Government Printing Office to offer federal government titles in its collection of ebooks, which include biographies and memoirs. GPO has added nearly 100 government titles in the catalog “and will continue to add titles in the next several months,” according to a GPO announcement made Tuesday. For now, you can read up about the space age or the history of Walter Reed Army Medical…

Postal worker ditches clothes for special delivery …

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A U.S. Postal Service mail carrier definitely took customer service to an inappropriate and illegal level when he decided to cheer up a woman on his route by delivering her mail while naked. Let’s just say it didn’t go over well. According to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “A male postal worker was arrested for lewd and lascivious behavior after walking naked into an office to deliver mail in the 300 block of West Silver Spring Drive, at 1:10 p.m. Dec. 4.” The man said he told a 21-year-old female employee in that office that he would retrieve…

No exposure for SEC employees in porn case

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Two-dozen past and present Securities and Exchange Commission employees are probably breathing easier. The reason? A federal judge ruled against making their names public after they got caught watching pornography and other sexual images on the job. In a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed this May, Denver attorney Kevin Evans had argued that government workers who “knowingly and intentionally” used taxpayer-financed property to engage in misconduct had no right to privacy. In a ruling last week, U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello disagreed. Not only were their privacy rights intact, Arguello wrote in an interesting line of judicial reasoning, but…

Marine Corps purchases two electric trucks

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The Marine Corps has purchased two all-electric trucks as part of its effort to become more sustainable, according to a press release. The Smith Electric medium trucks have a top speed of 55 MPH and can go as far as 120 miles on a single charge. The trucks can also carry up to 16,000 pounds. The trucks will be delivered to Camp Pendleton, Calif., by February, 2011. This is all part of an effort to reduce its energy use 30 percent by 2015 and increase its reliance on renewable electrical energy to 25 percent by 2025.

Audit finds problems in ACORN grant

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ACORN may have filed for bankruptcy last month, but its name continues to surface: A newly released audit finds that the Federal Emergency Management Agency skirted the rules to award an ACORN affiliate $450,484 in fire prevention and safety funds. The idea behind the fiscal 2007 grant was to let the ACORN Institute develop best practices for community organizations to canvass high-risk neighborhoods and install smoke detectors and other safety equipment, according to the audit by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general. In its grant application, the ACORN Institute claimed to have plenty of experience in that line via…

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