Friday Morning Federal Newscast – September 10th

The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear Federal Drive hosts Tom Temin and Amy Morris discuss throughout the show each day. The Newscast is designed to give users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • The U.S. was slow to take seriously the threat posed by homegrown radicals. That’s according to a new report compiled by the former heads of the Sept. 11 Commission. The report also says the government has failed to put systems in place to deal with the growing phenomenon.
  • Point and Shoot? Tourist or Terrorist? An image on a TSA poster has some amateur photographers complaining in the blogosphere. The image is of a person wearing a hooded sweatshirt holding a camera with a zoom lens. That image was taken from an instructional video produced by TSA a few years ago that recommends aviation workers report any activity they consider to be suspicious. One local photographer/blogger says the TSA is playing into the irrational fears photographers deal with every day, especially here in DC, home to every kind of federal structure you can imagine and an army of private and federal officers guarding them.
  • Agencies are pledging to go on an energy diet. They’ve started turning in plans for responding to an October 2009 executive order to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Federal Times reports, initial reports show agencies struggling to meet the mandate because of expanding workloads and conflicts with other mandates. Still, the Interior Department says it will cut emissions by 20 percent and indirect emissions by 9 percent by using renewable sources and buying green products. The Defense Department plans a 34 percent cut in direct carbon output, and a 13.5 percent cut indirect emissions using telework and recycling.
  • The money for a new Social Security data center came with the stimulus bill in early 2009. But the data center won’t be built until the end of 2013 at the earliest. Why so long? The General Services Administration and SSA still haven’t found a piece of property to build the data center on. NextGov reports, the agencies were looking to buy land. Several lawmakers, including Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, questioned why SSA couldn’t use empty space on SSA’s Woodlawn, Maryland campus. There is pressure to get the work done. SSA officials have said their existing data center can’t support new technology the agency wants to install to help deal with the coming onslaught of baby boomer claims. Site selection for the $500 million project is now expected later this month.
  • It hasn’t even been awarded, yet a big contract planned by Veterans Affairs is already being protested. A small, service-disabled veteran-owned business filed a protest in August, the day before bids were due for the $12 billion Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology procurement. According to NextGov, the protest claims the planned procurement favors big businesses. The company, Vetrepreneur LLC, said the VA plan violates the 2006 Veterans Benefits, Health Care and Information Technology Act.
  • President Barack Obama will name Austan Goolsbee to be chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Sources tell the Wall Street Journal the president will announce the appointment at a White House press conference today. Goolsbee, a longtime adviser to the president, is a University of Chicago business school economist who trained at Yale and MIT. He would replace Christina Romer, who returned home to California in August.
  • Ever worry when you see the pilot of the plane you are boarding let out a big, sleepy yawn? Better rested pilots is the goal of FAA proposals for new regulations expected today. The new FAA rules would mean the first major revisions of pilot work rules in decades. The new rules are said to be based on scientific research about fatigue and how long people can safely work at various tasks. The rules, in the discussion phase for 15 months, are applauded by pilots’ unions, and opposed by airlines because they would increase labor costs.
  • Hundreds of levees throughout the nation no longer meet federal standards for flood prevention, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA has revoked accreditation of 300 levees, and that could force thousands of property owners to buy federal flood insurance. FEMA is in the midst of updating flood hazard maps. Most of the revocations occur in California and Arizona, and FEMA still has 48 more state maps to update, reports FederalTimes. Local officials are responsible for ensuring levees and dams meet federal standards.

More news links

Proposal could waive out-of-state tuition for children of Federal employees moving with BRAC (HuntsvilleTimes)


More job cuts for BAE (York Daily Record)


Coming up today on The DorobekInsider:

** You’ve been working on sustainability plans — how to green your agency. OMB has been reviewing them. How did you do? OMB’s assessment is just out and we’ll hear from the White House official responsible for greening the government.

** And lawmakers have been talking about your pay. Well, how many people on Capitol Hill haven’t paid their taxes? We’ll tell you.

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