DorobekINSIDER: What the Democratic Platform says about government and your 7 stories

We are tweaking the format of our program a bit starting today. Rather than posting an hour long show, we will post each part of the program individually. Our goal remains helping you do your job better, and that will continue to be our paramount focus. We continue to work on new ways to provide you with knowledge -- maybe even wisdom -- to be successful. We will continue to bring you the 7-stories that make a difference in your life. I continue to believe that one of the biggest challenges is sorting out what really matters amid all the so-called news out there. We try to do that for you -- and bring you the information that you need to do your job better. We continue to hope that the discussions on GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER are the launching point for a larger discussion. This is GovLoop, after all. And we’d love to get your thoughts, as always. On the DorobekINSIDER:
  • Homeless veterans -- it seems like an intractable problem, but VA and HUD are making a difference. We’ll talk to one of the people behind a program that has reduced veteran homelessness by 12 percent in its first year
  • In the past few years, the federal government has moved toward data transparency. And the Data Act would make federal budget transparency law. We’ll talk to the Data Transparency Coalition who says before we can have transparency we need uniform standards.
Your DNC Preview Yes, it is campaign season. This week, the Democrats will be conventioning in North Carolina. Last week, we discussed the Republican platform and what it says about government. The Democratic Party released its platform this week. Most of the items about government are contained in a section titled “21st Century Government: Transparent and accountable.” I don’t think anybody will be surprised that it takes a kinder and gentler view of government. An excerpt:
President Obama and the Democrats are committed to rethinking, reforming, and remaking our government so that it can meet the challenges of our time. We reject the idea that we need to ask people to choose between their jobs and their safety. We reject the argument that says for the economy to grow, we have to roll back protections that ban hidden fees by credit card companies, or rules that keep our kids from being exposed to mercury, or laws that prevent the health insurance industry from shortchanging patients. Rules should be simpler and more flexible, and regulations should be based on sound science and secure Americans’ freedom of choice. In our platform hearing we heard about the importance of a safety net that works, public schools that educate, and government that invests in a strong economy. A 21st century regulatory system must promote economic growth, innovation, and job creation while also protecting public health and welfare.
Much like the GOP platform, the Democrats voiced support for open Internet policies that protect free speech and consumer choice, stronger cybersecurity laws and the protection of movies and songs from online copyright violations, the Washington Post reports. One other item worth nothing: With all the conference brouhaha going on these days, Federal News Radio reports that there is some push-back on the GSA inspector general for his aggressive tactics -- including interviews at 11 p.m. Good reporting by WFED’s Jason Miller recounts what happened in the investigation of one conference -- a conference where it was determined there was no wrongdoing. A survey of government executives by GovExec found a clear majority of federal employees believe such gatherings are important and that their supervisors remain open to their participation. The SIX stories that impact your life 
  1. A senior appointee at Immigration and Customs Enforcement has stepped down amid allegation of misconduct. The Associated Press says ICE Chief of Staff Suzanne Barr is accused of inappropriate sexual behavior lodged by at least three Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees. Barr was a longtime aide to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Barr says the allegations are "unfounded" but says she didn't want the case to distract from ICE's mission. She had previously taken an administrative leave.
  2. A federal contracting group says sequestration would cost civilian agencies $39 billion in top-line budget cuts. The figures are from the Professional Services Council a contractors trade group. Government Executivereports, the Obama administration so far has declined to spell out details on sequestration planning, though it must submit such a plan by Sept. 6 under a law passed in August.
  3. The Government Accountability Office says the government has dozens of programs that overlap when it comes to helping small businesses. Federal Times says, four agencies — the Small Business Administration and the Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, and Agriculture departments — offer 52 different economic development programs that help entrepreneurs create business plans, learn to manage start-ups and obtain funding. 24 of the programs offer entrepreneurs in any industry a range of technical assistance, such as business training and counseling. Sixteen programs offer loans to entrepreneurs in any industry.
  4. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is going mobile. Federal Computer Week reports, is getting ready to send tablets into the field as it oversees the construction of new nuclear power plants. The tablets will help NRC personnel track information and communicate more easily throughout the construction inspection processes, offering better mobility and faster access. The decision to go mobile comes after President Obama pushed for the agency to explore mobile and bring your own device plans.
  5. The State Department is still investigating the terrorist attack in Pakistan that targeted U.S. staff. Ambassador Richard Hoagland said local security forces saved the lives of two diplomats and two local employees who worked at the U.S. consulate in Peshawar. Some of the injured were airlifted to a hospital in Islamabad. The New York Times reported that the State Department knows Peshawar is a dangerous area. It limits U.S. staff to short tours of duty and prohibits them from fraternizing with locals. Two people were killed and more than a dozen injured in the attack.
  6. And on GovLoop we want to know are paper records really a thing of the past? The President released a memorandum for Federal agencies to manage all permanent electronic records in an electronic format by the end of 2019. Following similar themes of open government and transparency, the President’s memorandum states that the objectives are "to promote openness and accountability and reduce costs in the long term" in the slow march towards a digital government. But is this realistic? Tell us what you think.
A few items from the DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder Amid the political conventions, NPR looks at How 'Government' Became A Dirty Word. As robots do more and more, the Economist looks at a research project considers how the law should deal with technologies that blur man and machine Let the iPhone hysteria begin. Apple has announced a product announcement next week -- September 12.
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