The best of the federal blogosphere

Don’t rap and drive
Fast Lane blog
fastlane.dot.gov

Does Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood know hip-hop?

Probably not. But in his “Fast Lane” blog, he highlights a new campaign aimed at discouraging texting while driving, featuring what he calls “a catchy hip-hop music video with lyrics that lay out the potential consequences of texting and cell phone use while driving.”

Generation tXt, a group of young people based in Tulsa, Okla., launched the campaign in partnership with State Farm to raise awareness of those dangers. In addition to the video, the group makes presentations to eighth- and ninth-graders to instill the message before the kids start driving.

“There's nothing better than seeing engaged young people take the time to get involved and make their communities safer,” LaHood writes. “So many thanks to all of the teens working hard at Generation tXt to put an innovative, educational and youthful spin on our efforts to end distracted driving.”

Protecting security investments
OMBlog
www.whitehouse.gov/omb/blog

President Barack Obama will protect security spending from the more than $1 trillion in budget cuts mandated by the recent deficit reduction agreement, writes Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew in a recent “OMBlog” post.

“In the president’s view, security encompasses not only the Department of Defense, but also funding that is used to protect America at the Departments of Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, State and other international programs, and parts of the Department of Energy,” Lew writes. “In fact, ‘security’ is a category that has been used in all the administration’s budgets because it is important when allocating resources to recognize the roles that civilian and military agencies play and to be able to assess and balance all the national security tools they provide through one lens.”

To keep such spending safe, the administration is banking on a provision in the deficit agreement that will force across-the-board cuts in defense and other spending if Congress can’t agree on targeted cuts by the end of the calendar year, Lew writes.

That approach is “meant to be an unpalatable option that all parties want to avoid,” he writes. “The administration views these cuts in that way, and we imagine that both parties in Congress would as well. That is precisely the point: Design a sequester that would create a powerful incentive for Congress to do its job and pass balanced, responsible deficit reduction.”

Don’t drink the water
Government Book Talk
govbooktalk.gpo.gov

“Government Book Talk,” a blog by the Government Printing Office, continues to highlight interesting government publications. A recent entry concerned a “Pocket Guide to New Caledonia,” a guidebook about the Pacific island written during World War II.

The post highlights the thoroughness of the book but also its light touch in dealing with some sensitive subjects, such as dysentery.

“To check this latter ailment, the natives eat a certain grass which is called ‘dysentery grass’ and is supposed to have a herbaceous effect,” the book states. “Our troops have made not a few noble experiments with this particular variety of hay, and up to date, nobody has been hurt, though the record is confused as to whether anybody has been helped. So if you see a creature eating grass in New Caledonia, don’t shoot! It may be the corporal.”

Tag! You’re it.
AOTUS: Collector in Chief
blogs.archives.gov/aotus

Members of the public have added more than 1,000 tags to historical items posted online by the National Archives and Records Administration in the first month of a crowdsourcing project, reports U.S. Archivist David Ferriero.

The tagging feature was launched June 15 as part of the Online Public Access prototype system.

“Convinced that our users know a lot about the records we are stewarding, this is an opportunity to contribute that knowledge,” Ferriero writes. “As you search the catalog, you are invited to tag any archival description, person, or organization name records with the keywords or labels that are meaningful to you.”

The effort is expected to enhance the quality of the content and “make it easier for people to find what they are looking for,” he adds.

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