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Good to Know…Week of December 19, 2011

DEATH OF A DICTATOR
North Korea’s Mercurial and Enigmatic Leader Kim Jong Il has Died
Kim Jong Il, North Korea’s mercurial and enigmatic leader, has died. He was 69.

To read this article, go to: WashingtonPost.com


ELECTED OFFICIALS
Governors are More Powerful than Ever
All
people may be equal before the law, but when a judge sentenced Rod
Blagojevich to prison this week, he made clear the punishment did more
than fit the crime. It fit the criminal and his august political office.

To read this article, go to: Governing.com


FEDERAL BUDGET AND SPENDING

House Approves $1 Trillion Budget Measure to Avert Shutdown
The House passed a $1 trillion spending bill to avert a U.S. government shutdown even as lawmakers remain at odds over what to do about an expiring payroll-tax cut.

To read this article, go to: Businessweek.com

Deal Reached to Avert Government Shutdown
After weeks of lurching, Congress moved swiftly on Thursday toward a deal extending the payroll-tax holiday and unemployment benefits, averting a partial government shutdown in the process.
To read this article, go to: GovExec.com

And the Crisis Winner Is? Government
Across Europe and the United States, the fiscal crisis is setting up an epic battle among government services, pensioners, government employees, creditors and taxpayers. There is simply not enough money coming in to pay all the promises politicians have made. The shortfalls and fights are challenging our democracies and shifting wealth from the private sector to ever bigger government.

To read this article, go to: Wall Street Journal

WTO Seals $100 Billion Deal Expanding Government Procurement
After more than a decade of negotiations, the World Trade Organization clinched a landmark agreement that opens up government-procurement contracts worth as much as $100 billion to more foreign competition.

To read this article, go to: Bloomberg.com

PUBLIC WORKFORCE
Proposal Aims to Offset Costs of Sequestration through Staff Reductions
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., has proposed legislation that would reduce the number of federal employees by 10 percent through attrition to offset spending cuts forced by sequestration in fiscal 2013.

To read this article, go to: GovExec.com

Postal Service to Delay Closures
The U.S. Postal Service said Tuesday that it will delay the closure or consolidation of thousands of post offices nationwide in response to requests from lawmakers who said Congress first needs to pass legislation to overhaul the cash-strapped mail agency.

To read this article, go to: WashingtonPost.com

Retirements Surge 24% Over Last Year
Retirement applications for the first 10 months of 2011 soared 24 percent from the same time last year, topping 92,000, according to statistics from the Office of Personnel Management.

To read this article, go to: FederalTimes.com

Short-staffed and Budget-bare, Overwhelmed State Agencies are Unable to Keep Up
A Stateline investigation found that agencies across the country are seeing growing backlogs of work, as increased demand for state services in a weak economy bumps up against the states’ efforts to cut their payroll costs.

To read this article, go to: Stateline.org

WAR IN IRAQ
U.S. Transfers Its Last Prisoner in Iraq to Iraqi Custody
The Obama administration turned over the last remaining prisoner in American custody in Iraq to the Iraqi government on Friday, a move expected to unleash a political backlash inside the United States even as the American military draws closer to completing its exit.

To read this article, go to: NYTimes.com

Iraq and Public Opinion: The Troops Come Home
More than eight years after U.S. troops entered Iraq, the United States military–with the exception of a few troops connected with the U.S. Embassy–will leave the country by the end of 2011. The public is overwhelmingly supportive of this action, with fully 75% saying in a national poll conducted in November by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press that they approve of President Barack Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of the year. Nine-in-ten Democrats approve of that decision while Republicans are divided. Independents support the decision by more than four-to-one (79% to 18%).

To read this article, go to: PewResearch.org

EDUCATION
UC Berkeley’s Gift to Middle-Class Families: A Cap on College Costs
UC Berkeley’s plan, similar to tuition caps at elite private institutions, is the first such initiative at a public university. It will cap costs at 15 percent of household income for families earning between $80,000 and $140,000.

To read this article, go to: CSMonitor.com

Course on Local Government Helps New Leaders Lead
Through the Local Government Academy’s Newly Elected Officials Course, these rising local leaders are learning how to best serve their counties, municipalities, townships and boroughs in a series of classes on key topics.

To read this article, go to: Post-Gazette.com

Failure Rate of Schools Overstated, Study Says
When the Obama administration was seeking to drum up support for its education initiatives last spring, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told Congress that the federal law known as No Child Left Behind would label 82 percent of all the nation’s public schools as failing this year. Skeptics questioned that projection, but Mr. Duncan insisted it was based on careful analysis.

To read this article, go to: NYTimes.com

TECHNOLOGY
2011: The Year of the Breach
This was the year in which we came to accept the fact that we could not depend on our defenses to protect us from cyber intrusions. The cybersecurity focus began to shift more to response and mitigation as we realized that compromise is a fact of life.

To read this article, got to: GCN.com

Government-backed Hacker Teams Do Most China-based Data Theft
As few as 12 different Chinese groups, largely backed or directed by the government there, commit the bulk of the China-based cyberattacks stealing critical data from U.S. companies and government agencies, according to U.S. cybersecurity analysts and experts.

To read this article, go to: USATODAY.com

ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Montana Grants Permit to Controversial Keystone XL Pipeline
Gov. Brian Schweitzer announced Thursday that the state has approved a permit for Calgary-based TransCanada to construct a large oil pipeline across six Eastern Montana counties.

To read this article, go to: GreatFallsTribune.com

UN Chief Urges All Countries to Take Action to Cut Carbon Emissions Following Climate Deal
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is urging all countries to cut carbon emissions following the recent agreement on a timeline to set a new course to combat climate change.

To read this article, go to: WashingtonPost.com

HEALTH CARE
CDC Estimates 2.5 Million More Young Adults Insured Because of ACA
About 2.5 million young adults have become insured because of a provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Wednesday.

To read this article, go to: Governing.com

Bigger Share of State Cash for Medicaid
Medicaid has steadily eaten up a growing share of state budgets over the past three years, while education has been getting a smaller slice of the pie.

To read this article, go go: NYTimes.com

IMMIGRATION
States Introduce More Immigration Laws, Enact Fewer
State lawmakers this year introduced more immigration-related bills than in 2010, but enacted fewer laws as state officials waited on the sidelines to see how court challenges to Arizona’s get-tough legislation played out, the National Conference of State Legislatures said on Tuesday.

To read this article, go to: Reuters.com

NONPROFIT INFORMATION
22 Must-Circle Nonprofit Bloggers and Resources on Google+
I joined Google+ a few months ago as an individual, but it hasn’t been until the recent launch of Google+ Pages that I began investing time in the exploring the Google+ community and tool set. Google+ is a bit more complicated than Facebook or Twitter, but already a significant source of traffic to this blog, and like most communities that get a lot of initial buzz, the growth rate of new followers is exponentially much faster during the early adoption phase. It’s definitely been worth the time investment thus far.

To read this article, go to: LinkedIn.com

Nonprofit Leaders Suggest Ways to Increase Charitable Giving
The Giving Pledge, the effort by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett to increase giving by the nation’s wealthiest people, missed a key opportunity, fund raisers say. Instead of simply reaching out to billionaires, they should have promised to match donations of people with a lot less money.

To read this article, go to: Philanthropy.com

Nonprofits See Mixed Results in Federal Budget Deal
Congress is set to pass a 2012 spending bill today that offers mixed results to nonprofits worried that the budget scalpel could cut deeply into programs that benefit them or people in need. The $1-trillion legislation, agreed to last night by House and Senate negotiators in time to avert a government shutdown, cuts spending in some areas, including the arts, national service, and energy assistance for low-income people.

To read this article, go to: Philanthropy.com

SOCIAL MEDIA
How to Create a Social Media Marketing Schedule
It’s easy to get into social media for the wrong reasons and to post too much or too little. Here’s how to balance out your social media efforts.

To read this article, go to: LinkedIn.com

A CEO’s Guide to Social Media in 2012
Senior executives are struggling to get a grasp of what to do about the social opportunity for their kingdom. But hey, it’s new, right? The kids only started signing up eight years ago. For lots of people, the biggest concern with technology is figuring out how to operate their BlackBerry in the post-trackwheel era.

To read this article, go to: FastCompany.com

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