Circuit

Another step for paperless government

General Services Administration officials have reached another milestone. They have created the eOffer Web site, which enables information technology vendors to submit documents electronically. The site is one of the first completely paperless award processes in the federal government. It guides vendors through the submission process, eliminating the need for officials to send amended documents by mail or fax, or during negotiations.

"GSA is committed to continually improving the contracting process for companies that want to do business with the federal government," said Donna Bennett, commissioner of the Federal Supply Service. "eOffer makes use of new technology, which enables a company to prepare and submit its offer and interact with our contract specialists in a more effective and efficient manner."

Online since May 17, GSA's eOffer can be found at www.eoffer.gsa.gov.

'Go on. Be a Tiger'

Officials at Accenture, the consulting firm that recently won the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology contract, are consorting with other winners. The company's advertisements feature golf champion Tiger Woods. According to Accenture's Web site, "associating with a leader of Tiger Woods' caliber is an unmistakable way of reinforcing Accenture's own leadership, stating the kind of company we are and the kind of clients we work with. With these five short words, 'Go on. Be a Tiger,' we present the benefits of working with Accenture as we help our clients to become high-performance businesses."

Riding the circuit

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who has represented the Silicon Valley since 1994, has long been a leader on cybersecurity policy. For her work as ranking member of a House subcommittee on cybersecurity, Lofgren recently accepted an award from the Women's High-Tech Coalition, a national group for professional women in technology fields.

Accepting the award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., Lofgren praised her colleague Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security's Cybersecurity, Science and Research and Development Subcommittee.

"Obviously, there are many issues we don't agree on," Lofgren said. "He's a Republican from Texas, and I'm not. But he's a great guy, he's a smart guy, and I really appreciate that we may be the only subcommittee in Congress where the staffs work together and members work together to try to accomplish something."

Blogs 'R' Us

Blogs may soon replace newspapers and news Web sites. Associated Press officials will launch their first Web log at the Democratic and Republican national conventions in Boston and New York, respectively. Blogs facilitate online conversations that anyone can join.

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Walter Mears will write the AP's first foray into the increasingly popular medium.

AP officials also announced that they will use software from Convera Corp. to categorize, search and distribute their multimedia news content as part of a major technology initiative. Convera specializes in products that enable the search and categorization of information in text, video, image and audio formats.

A different kind of Friday night

For most federal workers, Friday night is a time to kick back and forget about work. But not for Ed Meagher, the deputy chief information officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

That's when Meagher, other VA officials and a group of Vietnam War veterans greet U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq, many of whom are severely injured. Every Friday, a shuttle bus takes soldiers who have returned from Iraq — most of whom are amputees — to Fran O'Brien's Stadium Steak House in downtown D.C. for free drinks and dinner.

"These kids get treated like gold," Meagher said. "They are treated like anyone with a fat wallet." For those helping out, it's a labor of love. Many of these service men and women have been told they will be recovering for six months to a year at Walter Reed Medical Center. With little to do except rehabilitation, depression and despair could easily set in.

"Most of these kids are just getting used to what happened to them," Meagher said. "These kids are badly broken."

But the volunteers comfort the wounded soldiers with promises of a good future. One Vietnam veteran amputee brings a milkshake to every hospitalized soldier and spends time making sure he or she knows "he's had a good life," Meagher said. When they get back to the United States, "most of these kids are too hurt to move."

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