Choosing the three most important Federal news stories of the week this week: —Chris Dorobek, host of the DorobekInsider radio show and blog on Federal News Radio 1500AM —Bill Eggers, Global Director, Public Sector Industry, Deloitte Research
“There could be changes coming that could require you to have goals for the number of disabled employees in your company.
“Federal contractors might have to give hiring preferences to people with disabilities. The Labor Department has posted a notice of potential rulemaking that seems to indicate that federal contractors might face placement goals for hiring disabled workers.
“During the Government 2.0 Summit being held in Washington D.C., as reported by Federal News Radio, Ellen Miller – founder and executive director of the Sunlight Foundation – openly criticized the accomplishments of the US federal administration around open government. In particular she focused on the little achievements in terms of open data publication by several agencies and the little usefulness of data in USASpending.gov, in spite of several redesigns. As a consequence, she announced that the Sunlight Foundation has launched ClearSpending, to scrutinize data in USASpending.gov.
“Is anybody really surprised? Reality is that it doesn’t matter how much governments try to do to be more open and transparent, it won’t ever be enough. ClearSpending will be yet another watchdog, as we have seen in the past, when open data was not flooding the web and yet there were organizations keeping an eye on how well governments operate.”
“Millions of people first eligible to vote in the 2008 election were just kids (grade or middle school) on 9-11-01. For them, domestic terrorist attacks like the shoe-bomber or the underwear bomber may not seem real. Or serious.
“The impact on them varied, obviously. My guess would be it hit kids hardest in New York City and Washington where locals could see the smoke and the traffic gridlock. Or who maybe lost a friend or relative that day.
“But for the average 10 or 11 year old, now hopefully a registered voter and employed or in school, it probably wasn’t a defining moment – like Pearl Harbor or the assassinations of John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King Jr. – for their generation. That moment, for them, is yet to come.”
“Next month, the federal government will launch a new .gov website with a big idea behind it and high hopes that there will be big ideas generated within it. Challenge.gov is the latest effort in the evolution of collaborative innovation in open government. Should the approach succeed, challenges and contests have the potential to leverage the collective expertise of citizens, just as apps contests have been used to drive innovation in D.C. and beyond.
“In August, senior government officials and private sector enjoyed a preview of Challenge.gov at the Newseum at the second annual Fedscoop forum on reducing the cost of government. Challenge.gov is already live to federal employees for exploration and contribution. The next step for the site, where the Americans are invited to share, vote and contribute ideas, is likely to happen this September, potentially as soon as next week at the Gov 2.0 Summit in Washington, when federal CIO Vivek Kundra and U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra speak about closing the innovation gap.”
“Large deficits and a weakened financial system have made the United States less competitive in the global economy, the World Economic Forum said in its annual review of the competitiveness of countries.
“The United States slipped from second to fourth in the survey, behind Switzerland, Sweden and Singapore. It had fallen from first place the year before.
“The study includes statistical measures as well as a survey of business owners to compare countries. In the United States, the entrepreneurs cited access to credit and government regulation among their chief concerns.
“But it was government debt and the country’s overall economic outlook that pushed the United States down in the rankings, said Irene Mia, senior economist at the forum, a Geneva-based think tank that sponsors the annual gathering of world leaders in Davos, Switzerland.”
“The Harlem-based educator and activist Geoffrey Canada first met the filmmaker Davis Guggenheim in 2008, when Canada was in Los Angeles raising money for the Children’s Defense Fund, which he chairs. Guggenheim told Canada that he was making a documentary about the crisis in America’s schools and implored him to be in it. Canada had heard this pitch before, more times than he could count, from a stream of camera-toting do-gooders whose movies were destined to be seen by audiences smaller than the crowd on a rainy night at a Brooklyn Cyclones game. Canada replied to Guggenheim as he had to all the others: with a smile, a nod, and a distracted ‘Call my office,’ which translated to ‘Buzz off.’
“Then Guggenheim mentioned another film he’d made-An Inconvenient Truth-and Canada snapped to attention. ‘I had absolutely seen it,’ Canada recalls, ‘and I was stunned because it was so powerful that my wife told me we couldn’t burn incandescent bulbs anymore. She didn’t become a zealot; she just realized that [climate change] was serious and we have to do something.’ Canada agreed to be interviewed by Guggenheim, but still had his doubts. ‘I honestly didn’t think you could make a movie to get people to care about the kids who are most at risk.’
“Two years later, Guggenheim’s new film, Waiting for ‘Superman,’ is set to open in New York and Los Angeles on September 24, with a national release soon to follow. It arrives after a triumphal debut at Sundance and months of buzz-building screenings around the country, all designed to foster the impression that Guggenheim has uncorked a kind of sequel: the Inconvenient Truth of education, an eye-opening, debate-defining, socially catalytic cultural artifact.”