What makes feds tick?

Normally when I slink away for vacation we fill this space with the “best of” columns which — even if they got lots of hits and attention — is a little pretentious. So what to do?

One member of the staff (me) came up with a brilliant idea. Let the readers and listeners write the column. The rules were simple. Keep it clean. Not too short. Not too long. But be yourself. Talk about your job, what you think, where you live. What ticks you off? What floats your boat?

Let it all hang out, up to a point!

Which people did. I think you are going to like them. I did.


One of my favorite features of The Washington Post (my long-time home and favorite paper) is the Free For All section. It runs every Saturday in the editorial section. The letters are sometimes accompanied by pictures or drawings. The one’s selected are sort of like a letter-to-the-editor on steroids. They are often fascinating. Sometimes entertaining. Usually educational.

The fascinating part is that for the most part, the letters that make the Free For All section are not written by professional writers. Yet their stuff is often better, funnier and more informative than the news and features produced by professional writers and editors.

So check out the column over the next two weeks. The writers may not be pros, but they definitely are not amateurs either.

Back here soon…


By Jack Moore

Ever wondered why the picture of the Big Mac on the advertisements always looks more enticing than the real thing? McDonald’s Canada posted a YouTube video showing how “food stylists” prep the burger for its big moment — an hours-long process that includes carefully organizing pickles and slivered onions and even fixing some imperfections in PhotoShop.

(h/t NPR’s food blog, The Salt)


Agency officials tout progress on security clearances
Agency officials from the Defense Department and the Office of Personnel Management, along with a handful of other agencies, cited significant improvements in both timeliness and accuracy in the security-clearance program at a Senate subcommittee.

Senators frustrated by FAA nominee’s lack of specifics about delayed safety provisions
The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee put Michael Huerta, the prospective administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, under pressure regarding slow rule-making during a nomination hearing.

NIH director voices concerns about sequestration
National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins and members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee on Health shared concern about effects of potential sequestration on the agency, specifically in the area of funding grants.