The Debt Fight Heats Up – Plus the 7 Gov Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • Every summer, my family would load into our minivan and journey more than 21 hours to my grandparents house in Denver, Colorado. The only way I was able to distract myself, was to track our progress on the massive nation-wide maps my dad used as a navigation tool. In the 15 years since those journey's west, technology has changed the face of transportation. So what is the next frontier of GIS based design? Why does place based knowledge matter in the digital age, when you can plug into the internet from virtually anywhere? We get answers from a University of Minnesota professor. 

You can find all of our programs online: DorobekINSIDER.com and GovLoop Insights at http://insights.govloop.com. 

But up front: The debt fight

Lawmakers may have passed a budget, but… they are still haggling over the debt ceiling. 

The Washington Post: Boehner proposes linking debt-limit hike to a restoration of recent cuts to military benefits: House Speaker John A. Boehner scrambled to sell a new debt-ceiling solution to his Republican colleagues on Wednesday, encouraging them to demand a restoration of recently cut military benefits in exchange for a one-year extension of the federal government’s borrowing authority. Though Boehner (R-Ohio) did not formally endorse the idea as his own, he did ask his lieutenants to test it among rank-and-file ­Republicans. 

And Palo Alto, CA goes all out for open government

Government Technology: Palo Alto Proclaims Open Data as Default for City:  “The city of Palo Alto, Calif., a city largely known as the epicenter of Silicon Valley, officially adopted an Open Data by Default proclamation to celebrate more than two years of data transparency efforts and to formalize the future practice of open data. Palo Alto Mayor Nancy Shepherd read and endorsed the proclamation in front of public and city council members the evening of Feb. 3. The city hopes the proclamation not only points out a path to future open data efforts, but also becomes a catalyst for communities and cities to join the open data movement — an initiative to make government data public and machine readable. “If we can inspire other agencies to do the same thing, that’s like gravy, that’s an amazing outcome,” said Palo Alto CIO Jonathan Reichental.

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. The Hill: Republicans unload on the IRS: “Leading GOP lawmakers are urging the IRS to withdraw new proposed rules governing tax-exempt groups, casting the regulations as an political power play meant to silence conservatives.” 
  2. Federal Times: Travel spending drops 18 percent in 2013. “Federal travel spending fell 18 percent from fiscal 2012 to 2013 -- from $8.5 billion to about $6.9 billion -- as measured by data from the General Services Administration’s SmartPay charge card program.”
  3. NextGov: 75 Percent of Pentagon Contractors Adjusted Security After Snowden Leaks. “Leaks of national secrets by former federal contractor Edward Snowden drove 75 percent of U.S. defense company executives to adjust information security procedures, mostly by increasing employee training and going on high alert for deviant behavior, according to a new study.”
  4. White House: This is the First Time Our Judicial Pool Has Been This Diverse. “President Barack Obama nominates the first openly gay black man to serve as a federal judge. Florida state judge Darrin Gayles is one of four new picks for U.S. district courts.”
  5. Bloomberg: Robert Work Said to Be Obama Choice for Pentagon’s No. 2. “The White House is expected to announce as soon as tomorrow that President Barack Obama will nominate Robert Work as the Pentagon’s No. 2 civilian leader, according to U.S. officials who asked not to be identified in advance of an announcement.”
  6. APNewsBreak: FAA to examine airport towers. “ A lightning strike that injured an air traffic controller at Baltimore's main airport has exposed a potential vulnerability at airport towers during storms and is prompting Federal Aviation Administration officials to inspect hundreds of towers nationwide, The Associated Press has learned.”
  7. FCW: NASA has 'significant problems' with $2.5B IT contract. “NASA has problems with a major IT program that are resulting in a botched technology refresh, a slew of security vulnerabilities and a host of other issues for the space agency. NASA and the contractor are pointing fingers at each other, but NASA Inspector General Paul Martin says there is plenty of blame to go around.”

Before we finish up... a few items from the DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder... yes, we’re trying to help you make your water-cooler time better too... 

  • NextGov: GSA Wants to Use Computer Games to Teach Contracting: GSA “wants to use interactive computer games to train the next generation of government contracting officers, solicitation documents show. The games, which will be accessible through a mobile application, will cut down on the cost of in-person training and give future contracting officers more flexibility to learn by experience, and by failure, than in-person training where there’s less room to explore innovative approaches, according to the Dec. 18 solicitation from the GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service.
  • Defense One: Government Passwords Are Incredibly Easy to Hack: Some of the federal government’s most sensitive data are protected by passwords that wouldn’t pass muster for even the most basic civilian email account, according to a new congressional report. Passwords like “password,” “qwerty,” and users’ names have left Homeland Security Department data vulnerable, says a report released Tuesday by the Republican staff of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. And the password fiasco, the report says, is only the tip of the iceberg—plenty of other agencies have lost sensitive data as well.
  • SlashDot: Rome Police Use Twitter To Battle Illegal Parking: "Illegal parking has always been a major problem in Rome. More than half of Rome's 2.7 million residents use private vehicles, and the ancient city has a staggering ratio of 70 cars per 100 residents. So many residents park, uh, creatively. But now authorities think they've found a way to fight bad parking using social media. Basically, they've asked residents to post photos of bad parking jobs to Twitter. In December, the Italian cops began encouraging smart phone users to snap pics of illegally parked cars and tweet those photos to the department's Twitter account.
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