Vote like the Gov Depends on it — Plus Your DorobekINSIDER 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:
  • The six-month old program is starting to get some traction. So can Portfolio Stat and can it really make a difference at your agency? Click here for full recaps.
But up front: Election 2012 -- it is just about over. Early voting has been going on... and come 11p ET Tuesday, the polls will have closed in the lower 48 states. What time do polls close?  2012 poll closing times by state (map) -Politico Staff and Associated Press Chris was away last week on the Disney Cruise Line’s Fantasy enjoying a fantastic time with his son, in-laws and friends. One of the challenging things about a cruise is you are somewhat detached from the rest of the world, but one of the best things about cruising is your are detached from the rest of the world. And it gives you time to ponder... well, it gives people who don’t have a 1-year-old time to ponder. Chris writes, "One interesting aside: Being a mostly Washington group, my friend Mary Beth Albright asked the driver who was taking us from the airport to the cruise ship if he thought there really were undecided voters in Florida and, curiously, he said he was undecided. I told him that in Washington, DC, a undecided voter is something like a mythical creature, like a unicorn." The WSJ’s CFO Journal writes that businesses are awaiting election answers. Unfortunately, I think we will have very few answers on Wednesday -- National Journal is calling it the do nothing election. A good part of that is because the country is so divided -- and seems unable to even listen to anybody else. But our political leaders have also largely failed us. I have been disheartened by the months of campaigns precisely because there hasn’t been the wonderful debate of ideas that should define elections. On Facebook, my friend Tony Russo asked: If you could get Romney and Obama to agree on one major issue (besides the economy) what would it be? My response: I'd love to see them agree that the campaign wasn't about THEM, but it was about what was best for the country... that the ends of the campaign (ie: winning) wouldn’t justify the means (vilifying) ... that they were going to treat the public like intelligent people... that the candidates would lay out a play and debate the merits of those plans on a range of issues... that we could have a battle over ideas rather than a battle about personalities. This is the standard that we should have for our candidates. All of that being said, I will be spending election night 2012 at NPR headquarters here in Washington, DC at the invitation of Andy Carvin, NPR’s social media guru. There will be a number of people there.See who they are here. According to NPR, the public radio network will be offering seven hours of live on-air and online election coverage. It will be anchored from NPR headquarters in Washington, with journalists reporting from campaign headquarters and from more than a dozen cities across the country. NPR's coverage will also be available by live stream at npr.org, which will also feature blogging, election results, and reporting. NPR News "Election 2012" to Offer Seven Hours of Live Election Night Coverage, On-Air and Online, fr... - And our group is using the Twitter hashtag #NPRmeetup if you want to follow along or ask questions through the night. I will also be using the Twitter hashtag #VoteGov when there are issues that are specifically government focused. Two other election items: CIO Magazine has 7 Free Election Day Apps for Political Junkies - http://www.cio.com/slideshow/detail/72742 And CBS This Morning today notes the “Redskins Rule,” the last Washington Redskins home game before the Presidential election is an indicator of who will win the electoral vote on Election Day. When they lose, the non-incumbent party wins. There are just a few more hours... The SEVEN stories that impact your life
  1. Conflict-of-interest concerns have been raised as President Obama races to implement health reform. The Hill Newspaper reports the Obama administration is relying heavily on outside contractors to implement a core component of healthcare reform as it races to set up a federal health insurance marketplace before 2014. The fast-approaching deadline gives the administration little time to scrutinize private-sector partners for conflicts of interest…The quiet nature of the transaction, which was not disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has fueled suspicion among industry insiders that UnitedHealth Group may be gaining an advantage for its subsidiary, UnitedHealthcare.
  2. Washington area contractors plan for sequestration delay. The Washington Post reports as mandatory federal spending cuts of nearly $1 trillion loom larger, many Washington area government contractors are making bets the cuts will be delayed, and they are holding back on lowering their financial guidance to Wall Street. With limited information from the government about how the spending reduction known as sequestration would be implemented, contractors say they are sticking with their current projections for next year.”
  3. The Federal News Radio reports despite extending Northrop Grumman's deadline for its Flat Sequencing Systems from Oct. 30, 2010, to July 2011, USPS claimed the company didn't finish rolling out the project until a month later. Now USPS wanted the contractor to pay nearly $400 million for damages caused by the delays. Six months ago, Northrop Grumman filed suit seeking nearly $180 million. It claims agency delays and disruption caused them to miss their deadline.
  4. The Patent and Trademark Office said its generous telework policy helped it to keep going through the worst of last week's weather. It estimated that it maintained a 70-percent productivity rate Monday and Tuesday. Director David Kappos called that "remarkable," considering many patent examiners did not have power at home. He said the Trademark Assistance Center remained fully operational because all of its teleworking employees did their jobs. About 7,000 PTO employees telework at least one day a week. Half of those work from home nearly all the time. PTO has a full-time telework coordinator, who has received national recognition for her role.
  5. The Justice Department will be monitoring polling places in 23 states tomorrow. The Civil Rights Division will send about 800 employees to observe voting. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 lets the agency oversee polling practices to make sure no voters are discriminated against. Many of the jurisdictions are mandated by the law because they are in states with a history of discrimination. But others are in swing states like Ohio and places like Miami-Dade, which have a more recent history of disputed vote-counting. (Justice)
  6. Federal Trade Commission staff wants the agency to sue Google over its smartphone-technology patents. Bloomberg News reported the staff has made a formal recommendation to commissioners. They argued that Google was breaking antitrust laws by trying to block imports of competitors' products. Google has gone to court, saying some competitors' technology made overseas infringes on its patents. At issue are products like Microsoft's Xbox and Apple's iPhone and iPad. The FTC began investigating in June. The commission most likely will wait until after next week's elections to act but is inclined to go with the recommendation.
  7. And on GovLoop did you know that federal agencies can now effectively utilize Amazon Web Services (AWS) GovCloud and Esri technology to build and manage geospatial content? As a result, existing Esri federal government users can more easily share their own GIS applications and data with other agencies! Register now and join Esri and GovLoop as we MeetUp to talk GovCloud.
A few items from the DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder
  • SUNSTEIN: The next president is sure to break the rules. ”Everybody knows that Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney sharply disagree about financial regulation, health care and environmental protection. What is less obvious is that whoever is elected on Nov. 6, his administration will soon be focusing on leading issues of regulatory reform…[I]n light of the current economic situation, any president, Democratic or Republican, is going to take steps to control the flow of new rules, particularly if they are expensive…For many years, American business has contended that in the modern economy, it makes no sense to require companies to comply with frustratingly different regulations across national boundaries…When they impose different regulatory requirements, it may be because of a simple failure of coordination. Advance coordination can eliminate pointless redundancy and inconsistency.” Cass R. Sunstein in Bloomberg.
  • On Google, a political mystery that’s all numbers. A WSJ examination reveals that Google customizes the results of people who have recently searched for “Obama,” but not those who recently searched for “Romney.” But don’t blame political bias, the WSJ reports. “The findings are among the latest examples of how mathematical formulas, rather than human judgments, influence more of the information that people encounter online,” she writes. Google explains that the disparity reflects the fact that more people searched for “Obama” followed by a search for a news item such as Iran or Medicare than the number of people who searched for “Romney” and then a hot button news item. As a result, people who searched for Iran or Medicare after Obama got a customized blend of Iran-Obama news in their search results. Romney searchers didn’t.
  • “There is no good way for us to calculate with any accuracy the cost of closing federal government buildings,” spokesman Thomas Richards said in an e-mai to the Washington Post. “New technologies allow federal employees to work from home and some will find ways to make up their work at no cost to the federal government.”
  • Did you turn your clocks back? Fast Company finds ways to be more productive when It's always dark out. The end of Daylight Saving Time gives us another hour to sleep, but the loss of daylight is linked to a lack of productivity. Here's how to keep yourself motivated as the long nights of winter set in.
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