Data overload. Online for all time. Making votes count. How far can you go?
Members of Congress continue to press the Homeland Security Department to complete the national inventory of critical assets and infrastructure. And they are wondering why it's taking so long when the department has been working on it for more than a year.
The initiative did start slowly, admitted Robert Liscouski, DHS assistant secretary for infrastructure protection, but he said that was a good thing.
In fact, last week Liscouski told a joint hearing of two subcommittees of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security that he had hoped that there would be a slow start because otherwise the department might have gotten more information than it could handle at that point.
Now, however, officials are ready and eager to get all the information they can from state and local governments and the private sector, he said.
How far can you go?
Doing his own family tree is a passion for L. Reynolds Cahoon, the National Archives and Records Administration's chief information officer and assistant archivist. And he's in the perfect position to do it. He can trace his family back to the 11th century on one side and the 14th century on the other.
It makes him appreciate people who keep good records, he told a business group last week. In researching genealogy, Cahoon said he finds inspiration for his government job preserving federal records.
"It's the legacy we need to leave to our great-great-great-grandchildren," he said.
Online for all time
Meanwhile, the Department of Veterans Affairs is making information on grave site locations for veterans available online for the first time. The nationwide grave locator contains more than 3 million records of veterans and their dependents buried in the VA's 120 cemeteries. The records date to the establishment of the first national cemeteries during the Civil War and contain a treasure trove of information for genealogy buffs and family members.
The Web site at www.cem.va.gov will be updated nightly with information on burials the previous day.
Making their votes count
Federally Employed Women recently launched an electronic map at www.few. org that provides statistics on the number of federal workers in every congressional district broken out by county and agency.
"Federal employees are considered a large constituency, and we want legislators to know how many of their constituents are employed by the federal government," said FEW President Patricia Wolfe.
There's also a method behind their work. They want members of Congress to know how voting on workplace issues such as outsourcing and pensions will affect their constituents.
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