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Archive for October 2008

Mintz’s daughter on The Daily Show

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Mintz's daughter on the Daily show -- in the back row


Transportation Department CIO Dan Mintz’s daughter, Miriam, is an actress in New York. And this political season, she got a big break — to play an undecided voter on Comedy Central’s fake news program The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Yes — one of those people who are undecided.

Miriam Mintz on The Daily Show

Miriam Mintz on The Daily Show

Daily Show “correspondents” Samantha Bee and Jason Jones brought together a focus group to try and figure out what eight undecided voters are waiting to hear. Remember — she’s acting! (More information on Miriam Mintz on her Web site: Being a good and proud father, Dan Mintz let me know that she is going to be in a Shakespeare play next month in Flushing, and that Miriam works at Lure Fish Bar restaurant in SoHo.

You can watch The Daily Show focus group for yourself here.

Written by cdorobek

October 29, 2008 at 8:57 AM

Posted in Circuit, community

Happy birthday to… Karen Evans

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Dorobek and Evans

Dorobek and Evans

A very happy birthday to… none other then Karen Evans, administrator of the Office of Electronic Government and Information Technology (IT) at the Office of Management and Budget.

Evans has been enormously influential over the years — particularly in this role, which services as the de factor government CIO. And, agree or disagree with her — and I have done both — and while even she acknowledges that she can be a difficult boss sometimes. All of that aside, there is no doubt that she is passionate and dedicated to government service and agency missions. And, as I have grown to know her better personally, she is a very honest and honorable person.

Unfortunately, the biggest event on this date in history… well, this event strikes just a bit too close to home these days — it is the stock market crash of 1929. Any idea the percentage that the market dropped on that day? I’ll give you part of the answer — it dropped some 38 points.

Here is the write-up from the public radio’s Writer’s Almanac

It’s the anniversary of Black Tuesday, which happened in 1929 — the worst stock market crash in the history of the United States. The economy had been so good during the 1920s that people kept speculating in the markets, so stock prices were too high, much higher than the stocks themselves were worth. When they suddenly fell, it was a snowball effect. People had borrowed money to buy stocks, thinking that they could turn around and sell the stocks at a profit, and now they went bankrupt. On Black Tuesday, stock prices fell so fast that by the end of the day many companies couldn’t sell their shares at any price.

Black Tuesday was the beginning of the Great Depression. By 1932, more than 100,000 businesses had failed and 13 million people had lost their jobs.

This from Wikipedia:

On Black Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 38 points to 260, a drop of 12.8%. The deluge of selling overwhelmed the ticker tape system that normally gave investors the current prices of their shares. Telephone lines and telegraphs were clogged and were unable to cope. This information vacuum only led to more fear and panic. The technology of the New Era, much celebrated by investors previously, now served to deepen their suffering.

Black Tuesday was a day of chaos. Forced to liquidate their stocks because of margin calls, overextended investors flooded the exchange with sell orders. The glamour stocks of the age saw their values plummet. Across the two days, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 23%.

By the end of the week of November 11, the index stood at 228, a cumulative drop of 40 percent from the September high. The markets rallied in succeeding months but it would be a false recovery that led unsuspecting investors into the worst economic crisis of modern times. The Dow Jones Industrial Average would lose 89% of its value before finally bottoming out in July 1932.

Want to find out more — which Simpsons star was born today… which senator was born today… and earlier we told you about the birthday of one of Charlie’s Angels — another “Angel” shares Evans’ birthday today… Find out more after the break…

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by cdorobek

October 29, 2008 at 8:19 AM

Posted in birthdays, community

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Worth watching — A National Dialogue: OMB taps into the power of us

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There is an amazing program that deserves to be watched carefully because of what it might mean for other agencies.

Everybody has their own definition of Web 2.0 — and, by extension, government 2.0. My definition is that Web 2.0 is the theory that all of us are smarter then any one of us individually — it is the wisdom of crowds. There are other cases of this theory — markets, for example, seek to tap into the power of us… so does brainstorming. Web 2.0 takes those experiences and adds the powers of the Internet, which makes the power of us possible on a much larger, networked scale.

OMB is conducting a wonderful test of these Web 2.0 tools in a test case that could offer some real lessons learned. And OMB found a partner with the National Academy of Public Administration, which has been way in front helping provide government with ways to implement collaboration with their Collaboration Project.

This week, NAPA and OMB launched what they are calling a Web 2.0 National Dialogue , which you can find at This specific “dialogue” will focus on health IT and privacy around the question: How should we expand the use of information technology and protect personal privacy to improve health care?

Earlier, we had Lena Trudeau, program area director for strategic initiatives at NAPA on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris recently. You can hear that conversation here [MP3].

Some more information from The National Dialogue’s FAQ:

This national discussion will engage a diverse group of voices in tackling one of the key issues confronting the nation’s health care system: How can we use information technology to improve the way patients interact with the healthcare system, while safeguarding their right to privacy? Participants will have an opportunity to discuss challenges, generate breakthrough ideas, and recommend principles that will be presented to the next Administration.
How can I participate in the National Discussion?

The National Discussion is open to everyone. It’s easy to submit and rank ideas. To learn more, please read our tutorial on using this site.

How will my participation in the National Discussion make a difference?

The National Discussion will produce concrete, actionable suggestions for government leaders. A panel of Fellows from the National Academy of Public Administration will distill the results of this dialogue into a report that captures “citizen-centric” recommendations. The report will be presented to the transition team for the new Administration, as well as OMB, the United States General Services Administration, the Federal CIO Council, and other relevant Federal agencies.
Who is hosting the National Discussion?

The National Discussion on Health Information Technology and Privacy is being hosted by the National Academy of Public Administration, in partnership with AmericaSpeaks and Delib. Established in 1967 and chartered by Congress, the National Academy is a non-profit, non-partisan coalition of top public management and organizational leaders who tackle the nation’s most critical and complex challenges. As the home of The Collaboration Project, the National Academy is uniquely positioned to host this discussion. We are proud to be working in partnership with AmericaSpeaks and Delib, non-partisan experts in online and face-to-face citizen engagement and public deliberation.

You can also get more information here and here. [PDFs]

There are all sorts of ways that this kind of idea can be used. For example, why can’t an agency put its regulations out in this form — let people offer their comments by writing how they think the regulations should be. (To be honest, I don’t really get e-government initiative. In the end, all it does is put regulations online — and not in a particularly usable form. More on this later.) Agencies could do the same thing with an internal policy — tap into the knowledge in your agency. Or use it on HR policies — what a way to get buy-in.

So… let’s watch and I hope we all learn.

Written by cdorobek

October 28, 2008 at 8:16 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

ELC 2008 — the year without Marty… but, in the 10.28 update, real progress

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In many ways, Marty Wagner has been very present at ELC 2008 — in a way, because he is not here. Wagner, of course, had an accident in July and has been in the hospital since then. And this is probably the first ELC — maybe ever — that is Marty-less. While it has been a good conference, it is… Marty-less. It does not have those Wagner insights. And there has been rememberences of Marty… by IBM’s Anne Altman… by Cisco’s Allan Balutis…

Last week, we got word that Wagner has been showing progress… and then, tonight, word of real progress.

Martin has begun to actually repeat and say basic words. He has very distinctly been repeating numbers, the alphabet, names and other words with some of us. What a joy to hear him say family names, including his own! Staff tell us that he can count to ten by himself. He now answers with the word “yes” to questions, unfortunately even when the answer should be no. Regardless, we think it is very impressive since he was in a vegetative state just two weeks ago! The speech therapist has given us a number of tips to help him vocalize. We are very encouraged by this development since it is the first clear sign to us of his cognitive recovery potential.

It’s very good news.

Written by cdorobek

October 28, 2008 at 12:38 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Navy out with one of the first Web 2.0 policy memos

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Robert Carey, the CIO of the Department of the Navy, was the first CIO with a public blog. Well, now the Department of Navy’s CIO’s office is out with what I believe is one of the first policy memo on the use of Web 2.0. We’re working to get Carey on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris soon to talk about it.

You can read the five page document for yourself here [PDF] and find it on the Navy’s CIO site here [link to a PDF].

The purpose of this memo is to provide initial guidance for all Navy and Marine Corps commands regarding the use of emerging web tools to facilitate collaboration and information sharing in the Department of the Navy. These tools, described in enclosure (I) include wikis, blogs, mash ups, web feeds (such as, Really Simple Syndication and Rich Site Summary (RSS) feeds), and forums, which are often referred to as components of “Web 2.0” and can significantly enhance mission effectiveness through collaboration. The Department endorses the secure use of Web 2.0 tools to enhance communication, collaboration and information exchange; streamline processes; and foster productivity improvements. However, their application must not compromise data confidentiality and integrity.

The Oct. 20, 2008 memo is not very specific — it is only five pages, and a lot of that is definitions. I think that is on purpose. Carey told me that they left it somewhat vague — this is a first go at a policy and I think there is an acknowledgment that this is going to have to evolve as the tools evolve. The policy is designed to guide and to ensure that people think — and address — all of the important issues, such as security, for example.

Two key quotes from the document:

  • Do it — safely: “The Department endorses the secure use of Web 2.0 tools to enhance communication, collaboration, and information exchange; streamline processes; and foster productivity improvements. Useof these tools supports Department of Defense (DoD) and DON goals of achieving an interoperable, net-centric environment by improving the warfighter’s effectiveness through seamless access to critical information. Web 2.0 tools are useful in a global enterprise, such as the DON,’ as they enable widely dispersed commands and personnel to more effectively collaborate and share information.”
  • Why it matters: “The gains in productivity, efficiency, and innovation can be significant. Commands are encouraged to use Web 2.0 tools, consistent with applicable laws, regulations, and policies.
  • Let’s be careful out there: “While these collaborative tools present many useful opportunities, their application must not compromise data confidentiality and integrity.”

The National Academy of Public Administration’s Collaboration Project is also working on a framework of a government Web 2.0 policy. They had initial meetings last week — no, they wouldn’t let me attend. They hope to have a framework out early next year.

EPA CIO Molly O’Neill put out a memo on Web 2.0 on Dec. 17, 2007. I’m not sure if that was technically a policy, but… The memo presented the “initial guidelines for the use of Web 2.0 at EPA, which presented some precursory guidelines for the use of Web 2.0 as we explore these technologies and put them to use at EPA.

Here are those principles:

Initial Guidelines for the use of Web 2.0 at EPA
    We are all beginning to consider how we can best use Web 2.0 at EPA. As we learn, we need to keep the following in mind:

  1. Normal product review processes apply to using Web 2.0 for public access. Please discuss any ideas you have with your content and infrastructure coordinators (see the list at Through the Web Council, they will coordinate with both OEI and the Office of Public Affairs.
  2. We will be seeking guidance from the Office of General Counsel on whether the use of the Web 2.0 technologies raises any new legal issues. In the interim, please refer to OEI’s existing information policies and guidance concerning the use of the Agency’s website and the Internet, which are available at; Web-specific policies, orders, and memoranda are at
  3. The Agency currently has only one external blog, “Flow of the River” (, written by Deputy Administrator Marcus Peacock. We’re learning a lot, and it’s possible we will have more blogs, but it will probably be several months.
  4. Like all federal agencies, we are grappling with many technical and policy issues. Early adopters may need to adjust to emerging approaches.

I think these policies are important. I think it is also important that they focus on collaboration — what can be accomplished. Many organizations already have a ton of hurdles. They need to enable the testing of the water, not be yet another reason to be afraid of the Web 2.0 swimming pool.

Written by cdorobek

October 27, 2008 at 6:17 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

Most read DorobekInsider items for the past week

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Written by cdorobek

October 27, 2008 at 9:03 AM

Posted in DorobekInsider

The food of ELC 2008 — Sunday night, Oct. 26

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This is the first of regular posts “profiling” the food on the circuit.

This is from ACT/IAC’s ELC 2008 here at the Williamsburg Lodge in Williamsburg, VA.

Caramelized onion and cheese tart with mixed baby greens

Grilled chicken breast and stuffed shrimp, savory corn bread stuffing, roasted tomato coulis, and a lend of seasonal vegetables

Written by cdorobek

October 27, 2008 at 1:46 AM

Posted in Circuit, Food

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