Of course, many of us are celebrating Thanksgiving here in the United States — one of several times of real reflection over the next few weeks. But despite all the travel headaches, for me Thanksgiving is a fairly special time because it isn’t about gifts. It’s about… well, thanks… and family… and friends.
I have pulled together some government Thanksgiving resources, but… a DorobekInsider privilege… some of my thanks for 2009…
* Federal News Radio listeners and DorobekInsider.com readers… It is one of those trite but true statements: We — and I — thanks you so much for your support. We work very hard to try and bring you news, information, insights and analysis that help people in the government market do their jobs better. And we try to make even some of the dryer issues — we often refer to them as “boring but important” issues — we try hard to present those in a more accessible way. Regardless, it is such a fascinating time to be doing this work. I started covering the business of government some 18 years ago when my now colleague TomTemin hired me as a reporter for Government Computer News — and this market has evolved so much since then. Back then, people would often say to me, ‘The government uses computers?’ Today, I don’t get that question these days. To the contrary, tech luminaries are interested in the government market. The best thing about my job is that I get to talk to exceedingly smart people each and every day. What a great gig.
* Team Federal News Radio 1500 AM… A few weeks ago, we spoke to Government Executive editor Tom Shoop on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris and he mentioned in passing when he started two decades ago, he never expected there would be a radio station focusing on government issues. I have to say that I agree. But what a wonderful creation. And what a unique creation. As I have said, my first love of journalism was through radio — in part because it is intimate. It is there when you wake up in the morning… and in the car… and in your headphones… and now, even on your computer. And while reading is absolutely essential to deep understanding of complex issues, hearing somebody talk about an issue — their own words, their intonations, there particular focus — that is something that Federal News Radio provides to this market.
And I’m thrilled to be a part of it. I have been working at Federal News Radio for a little more than a year. Federal News Radio program director Lisa Wolfe took a real chance hiring a print guy who had little radio experience — and she has taught me so much. Furthermore, Wolfe and Federal News Radio sales czar John Meyer constantly have to deal with me as I send them notes saying, ‘I have an idea..’
Federal News Radio has also assembled a group of remarkable and talented journalists. (It’s interesting because our team regularly breaks news, yet one recent tally of federal news sources failed to include FederalNewsRadio.com among the more traditional outlets. Disappointing, but… we’re making progress.) We have a remarkable team, such as my co-anchor, Amy Morris, has really taught me so much. But above and beyond being amazing talented, Morris is really a joy to work with every day. Not only do we respect either others skills and talents, we really enjoy working together each and every day. I am alsohonred to work each and every day with Federal News Radio senior correspondent Mike Causey , who has been covering this market for more than four decades. He is a legend and I’m proud and honored to work along side him. Julia Ziegler, who has a number of jobs at Federal News Radio, is not heard on air but has a remarkable ear for radio and hastought me so much. We also have a great Daily Debrief team — Internet editor Dorthy Ramienski , who works every day to try and find innovative ways to present our information online… and also Daily Debrief producer Scott Carr… and the other people at Federal News Radio — Federal Drive anchors TomTemin and Jane Norris, Jason Miller, Max Cacas, Federal Drive producer Ruben Gomez… and the entire team.
* Those who are passionate about their jobs… One of the best things about what I get to do is deal with people who love their jobs. It is one of the great things about people who decide to focus on the government — and, in my experience, that is true in both the public and private sectors — they do what they do because they love what they do. They are passionate about the mission, whatever that may be. In general, government workers get an unfair rap — is government customer service really any worse then your credit card company? Really? In my experience, they areimpassioned about the mission facing them — and too often, they are the victims of bureaucracy, not the purveyors of it.
* The people who continue to amaze me with their quality and innovation… It is actually such a long list. Most of the people have been on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris because I love talking to smart, innovative people… Among the people: the remarkable CIOs like DOD’s Dave Wennergren, Navy’s Rob Carey, NASA’s Linda Cureton, and VA’s Roger Baker — and yes, there are others… Inspirational thinkers such as Deloitte’s William Eggers and Harvard Prof. Andrew McAfee and Mark Drapeau, who are inspirational thinkers… people like GSA’s Mary Davie, who is working to use collaborative tools such as The Better Buy Project, to enable people to come together to help them do their jobs better… and the absolutely remarkable government 2.0 community, which has taken the opportunity presented to the in the past year and they are just doing it. These are challenging times — but from those challenges, there are real opportunities.
* Finally, I want to thank my families. I don’t mean to be coy — and I will have news one way or another in a few weeks — but my families have simply gone above and beyond in the past year — in ways that I just couldn’t imagine.
Finally, some (belated) Thanksgiving resources…
Topping the list for those of you traveling… FlyOnTime.us, one of the applications spurred by federal CIO Vivek Kundra’s data.gov combined with the Sunlight Lab’s Apps for America 2 contest… this application tells you how likely flights will be on time — using government data sets. If you’re flying, it is worth checking out.
Thanksgiving Facts and Statistics – Last year, the major pumpkin-producing states brought us 1.1 billion pounds of pumpkins. Read more about pumpkins and other Thanksgiving fun facts from the Census Bureau.
On September 28, 1789, just before leaving for recess, the first Federal Congress passed a resolution asking that the President of the United States recommend to the nation a day of thanksgiving. A few days later, President George Washington issued a proclamation naming Thursday, November 26, 1789 as a “Day of Publick Thanksgivin” – the first time Thanksgiving was celebrated under the new Constitution
3… Number of places in the United States named after the holiday’s traditional main course. Turkey, Texas, was the most populous in 2008, with 456 residents, followed by Turkey Creek, La. (361) and Turkey, N.C. (272). There are also nine townships around the country named Turkey, three in Kansas.
5… Number of places and townships in the United States that are named Cranberry or some spelling variation of the red, acidic berry (e.g.,Cranbury , N.J.), a popular side dish at Thanksgiving. Cranberry township (Butler County), Pa., was the most populous of these places in 2008, with 27,194 residents. Cranberry township (Venango County), Pa., was next (6,795).
28… Number of places in the United States named Plymouth, as in Plymouth Rock, the landing site of the first Pilgrims. Plymouth, Minn., is the most populous, with 71,486 residents in 2008; Plymouth, Mass., had 55,705. There is just one township in the United States named “Pilgrim.” Located inDade County, Mo., its population was 128 in 2008. And then there is Mayflower, Ark., whose population was 2,231 in 2008.