Fiscal Cliff Progress – Plus the DorobekINSIDER 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:
  • Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, better known as RGIII, has electrified fans by his exciting style of play and poise under pressure. We look at his leadership secrets. And cull out tips for the Presidential Management Fellows. Click here for the full recap.
But First: Your Fiscal Cliff Update 21 days - that's how long Congress has to avoid the fiscal cliff. You can watch the countdown clock here.  So what progress was made over the weekend? The Washington Post reports, hope still alive for a resolution by Christmas, President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) met Sunday at the White House, their first face-to-face meeting in nearly a month and their first one-on-one session since July 2011, when they last tried to forge a far-reaching compromise to tame the national debt.
Neither side would provide details, but White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage and Boehner spokesman Michael Steel released identical statements saying “the lines of communication remain open.” With all this talk about the fiscal cliff - do you actually know what it would do to you? The Post has created a fiscal cliff calculator. Check it out.  
The SEVEN stories that impact your life
  1. Federal agencies are considering furloughs, as well as hiring and contracting freezes, as they prepare for the possibility of automatic budget cuts set to go into effect on Jan. 2, 2013. The White House has directed agencies to intensify their planning, according to a Washington Post report.
  2. Feds, today is your last chance to pick health benefits. Open Season ends today. Federal News Radio reports if you do nothing, you'll automatically stay with your current health insurance, dental and vision plans for another year. But benefits and premiums might change, and you have to re-enroll to continue putting money aside in a flexible spending account. This is the only time of the year you can change your benefits, unless you get married, divorced or have another qualifying life event.
  3. Government Executive reports, President Obama signed into law a bill delaying the online posting of senior executives’ personal finances until spring 2013. The law postpones the posting requirement for thousands of high-ranking career employees subject to the 2012 Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act until April 15. Congress passed the bill last week and Obama signed it into law Dec. 7, one day before the current deadline expired.
  4. NASA.gov, which has been a high-profile web site for nearly two decades, is about to undergo its first redesign since 2007. FCW recently reported on NASA's use of Ideascale to seek user feedback for the redesign.  And in the Nov. 7 podcast from PBS's Mediashift project, NASA.gov content manager Brian Dunbar elaborated on the site and his plans for the revamp.
  5. Federal Times reports, more than 14,600 federal employees will be moved out of their offices and into efficient, environmentally friendly buildings as part of a General Services Administration plan to transform a large swath of southwest Washington. GSA issued a request for information Dec. 3 for ideas on how to redevelop more than 3 million square feet of office space in Washington’s Federal Triangle area and allow for more retail and dining options — all without paying large upfront costs.
  6. New figures show homelessness among veterans dropped by 7 percent this year. Federal News Radio reports that 62,000 veterans are on the streets. The Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development have been working to end homelessness among vets by 2015. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said they are on the right track. But advocates are skeptical that the government can meet its goal at this pace. Nonetheless, veterans are doing better than the rest of the country. The overall rate held steady this year, with a slight increase in homelessness among families.
  7. And on GovLoop, have you seen our new Technology Guide. The report features the top technology trends in 2012 and previews the hot topics in 2013. It is a must read. Check it out here.
The DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder
  • GCN unlocks the 106 easiest to crack passwords.
    • The forbidden passwords include the obvious — “123456” and “abcdef,” “password” and “qwerty” — as well as some less obvious — “trustno1” and “zapata.” For the tipplers there is “miller” and “molson” (RIM is Canadian, after all). Some of the residents of Pooh Corner show up, including “eeyore,” “piglet,” “poohbear” and “tigger.” 
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