Federal Drive Show Blog – Aug. 23, 2013

This is the Federal Drive show blog. Here you can listen to our interviews, find more information about the guests on the show each day, as well as links to other stories and resources we discuss.

Today’s interviews:


Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

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More agencies are choosing to manage Freedom of Information Act requests in the cloud to cut back on paper and costs. Edith Pemberton is the manager of Information Management and Customer Relations at the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Frank Vance is a FOIA officer at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in the Treasury Department. Together, they tell Federal News Radio’s Executive Editor Jason Miller how the cloud is changing their FOIA processes.

Greg Rinckey
Managing Partner and Former Army Prosecutor
Tulley Rinckey

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Sentenced to 35 years for the biggest breach of classified documents in the nation’s history, Army Pvt. Bradley Manning says now he’s ready to get on with his life as a woman. He wants to be known as Chelsea Manning. And he wants the Army to pay for hormone therapy while he’s in prison. The military has a policy against it, but the issue still raises thorny questions. Former Army Prosecutor Greg Rinckey is now a managing partner at Tully Rinckey.

Connie Deshpande
Social Media Consultant and President
Connie’s Confidante Consulting

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When you start a Facebook or other social media presence, you can feel like you’re back in junior high. You wonder if people will like you or dump on you. A few federal agencies have used advertising methods to boost the number of likes on their Facebook accounts. Is that a good strategy? Connie Deshpande is a consultant and writer who’s helped federal agencies with their social media strategies.

Kevin Washburn
Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs
Interior Department

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In the 1800s, the federal government divided Indian reservation land among tribal members. As they died, the land passed to heirs. The result? In one typical case, an 80-acre lot is split among 2,000 owners. Under the Cobell Trust Land Consolidation program, the Interior Department has a budget of $1.9 billion to buy back land to consolidate it and put it to better use. Kevin Washburn is assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, and he has more about the project.

Madeline Neighly
Staff Attorney
National Employment Law Project

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FBI records are considered the gold standard of criminal background checks, so it’s no wonder employers turn to them before hiring job candidates. But those background checks don’t tell the whole story. Half of them are missing critical information, such as when someone is acquitted of a crime. Madeline Neighly is a staff attorney with the National Employment Law Project.

Vanessa Griffin
Director of the Office of Satellite and Product Operations
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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You don’t see them directly, but every citizen who checks the weather is accessing data gathered and downloaded by a satellite. Weather and climate observation satellites come under the purview of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It’s about to retire one of its birds. We wondered how NOAA makes sure it avoids an interruption of the mssion. Joining Tom and Emily with some answers is Vanessa Griffin, NOAA’s director of satellite operations.

Jerry Brito
Senior Research Fellow and Director of Technology Policy Program
Mercatus Center, George Mason University

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Some have likened the world of virtual currency to the Wild West, where cyber criminals can bury their financial tracks. Federal regulators and lawmakers are just starting to grapple with the growing industry. Jerry Brito is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and director of its Technology Policy Program. He’s written a new primer on Bitcoins, the most popular virtual currency.

Heard Tom and Emily talk about another story during the show, but don’t see it here? Check out our daily federal headlines for the latest news affecting the federal community.