Strong Coal Ash Rules Sought at Public Hearing

Witnesses from across the country yesterday urged the EPA to set strong public health standards for coal ash. In an all-day hearing in Arlington, VA, environmental and public health advocates and members of the general public asked EPA to regulate coal ash, a toxic byproduct of coal combustion that can contain arsenic, lead, and other toxics, as a hazardous waste.

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Waging War via PowerPoint

The NATO command in Afghanistan last week fired a staff officer for publicly criticizing the military's use of Microsoft's presentation software PowerPoint.

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It's the Lack of Jobs that Causes Unemployment

Last week, in a post on the how dreadful the job market is, I mentioned that "some" argue that the 99-week limit on Unemployment Insurance is actually creating unemployment.

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FEC Approves Coordination Rule

With a 5-1 vote, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) approved a rule on coordinated communications, to regulate messages that are the "functional equivalent of express advocacy" for or against candidates. This "functional equivalent" language comes from the 2007 Supreme Court decision in Wisconsin Right to Life Inc. v. FEC.

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Is Standard Coding Just Around the Corner?

That was fast

It wasn't three weeks ago that Earl Devaney, head of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency (RAT) Board, told Congress that conducting oversight of Recovery Act funds was unnecessarily burdensome due to the lack of a standardized coding system for government contracts, and now the procurement regulating arm of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has proposed a solution.

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The Recovery Act Failed! Or Not

If one were to listen to most conservative politicians and pundits these days, you'd come away with the impression that the Recovery Act has failed. It hasn't created any jobs and it hasn't helped the economy, so the narrative goes.

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Report Urges the IRS to Improve Enforcement and Oversight of 527s

The Treasury Department's Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released a report calling on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to improve oversight of 527 tax-exempt political organizations that do not file timely or complete reports. According to the findings, one out of every four report that was reviewed in the audit had incomplete or missing contributor or recipient information. By aggressively fining groups for filing late or incomplete forms, the IRS could collect $5.3 million.

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Tell EPA to Protect Communities from Toxic Coal Ash

OMB Watch is asking you to tell the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set strong public health and environmental standards for coal ash, a toxic waste resulting from coal combustion.

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Administration Targets High-Risk IT Projects

I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.

The Obama administration released yesterday a list of 26 mission-critical information technology (IT) projects that will receive immediate attention from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) because they "have experienced problems such as significant cost increases or schedule delays." This reassessment process of IT projects, which is part of the administration's reform-minded 2012 budget process and their larger Accountable Government Initiative, seeks to set the programs straight before they waste any more taxpayer funds.

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Advocates Call for Transparency in Development Aid

Experts from around the world are meeting this week in London to advocate for transparency in development efforts. The Conference on Transparency, Free Flow of Information and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is being held in advance of next month's UN Summit to review progress toward the Goals.

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