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Good to Know…Week of July 18, 2011

Alabama Cuts Medicaid Drug Costs by Examining Pharmacy Receipts
Three years ago, Carol Steckel, Alabama’s Medicaid director, sent a national alert to all of her counterparts around the country. She asked them to join her in attacking fraudulent prices published by major drug makers–prices that she said inflated the amount all states were paying to pharmacies.

To read this article, go to: Stateline.org

Women as Second-Class (Health) Citizens
June 13, 2011–As Remapping Debate recently reported, new findings show that life expectancy for women has declined significantly in hundreds of U.S. counties over the course of the last generation. That trend is leading many to ask why so many states fail to put basic public health measures in place, especially since the absence of those measures–often thought of as “gender neutral”–exerts a profoundly negative and disproportionate effect on women.

To read this article, go to: RemappingDebate.org

U.S. Status as World’s Superpower Challenged by Rise of China
In most regions of the world, opinion of the United States continues to be more favorable than it was in the Bush years, but U.S. image now faces a new challenge: doubts about America’s superpower status. In 15 of 22 nations, the balance of opinion is that China either will replace or already has replaced the United States as the world’s leading superpower.

To read this article, go to: PEWResearch.org


Security Council Clears Way for South Sudan’s UN Membership
The United Nations Security Council voted by acclamation today to recommend the admission of the oil-rich Republic of South Sudan as the world body’s 193rd member government.

To read this article, go to: Bloomberg.com


How Hackers Stole 24,000 Files From The Pentagon
The Pentagon won’t say what files went astray, or the level of secrecy associated with the contents of the stolen data. But we can assume that at least some of it was highly secret–secret enough that Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III felt compelled to admit to the attack during a speech about the future of cyber policy yesterday.

To read this article, go to: FastCompany.com

Pentagon Discloses Largest-Ever Cyber Theft
Washington, DC–The Pentagon on Thursday revealed that in the spring it suffered one of its largest losses ever of sensitive data in a cyberattack by a foreign government. It’s a dramatic example of why the military is pursuing a new strategy emphasizing deeper defenses of its computer networks, collaboration with private industry and new steps to stop “malicious insiders.”

To read this article, go to: MilitaryTimes.com

The Chinese Way of Hacking
Adam Segal, one of the Council on Foreign Relations’ top experts on China and technology, talks to Fast Company about what’s special about Chinese cybercriminals, Chinese fears of NSA backdoors, and bored East Asian teenagers.

To read this article, go to: FastCompany.com

How to Secure Data in Cloud? Stick With it Like Glue.
The concentration of computing resources is changing the nature and methods of agency data security, experts say. In the emerging world of cloud computing, data must now be protected while at rest, in transit and even when accessed by those authorized to handle it.

To read this article, go to: GCN.com

DOD’s 5-point Cyber Plan Sees Internet as an ‘Operational Zone’
Strategy also stresses public/private effort to secure infrastructure.
Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn announced July 14 the Defense Department’s new strategy for defending U.S computer networks, stressing the critical threat the nation faces and the need for a multi-faceted, evolving approach–including key partnerships–to counter the threat.

To read this article, go to: GCN.com

A Discreet Nonprofit Brings Together Politicians and Corporations to Write ‘Model Bills’
This week, both the Los Angeles Times and The Nation put the spotlight on a little-known but influential conservative nonprofit that creates “model” state legislation that often make its way into law. The organization has helped craft some of the most controversial–and industry-friendly–legislation of recent years.

To read this article, go to: ProPublica.org

State Legislative Bills Raise Conservative Group’s Profile
The nonprofit American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, made up of conservative state lawmakers and corporate executives, crafted the language that has resulted in similar legislation in several states. Watchdog groups are scrutinizing the organization’s practices.

To read this article, go to: LATimes.com

ALEC Exposed
“Never has the time been so right,”
Louisiana State Representative Noble Ellington told conservative
legislators gathered in Washington to plan the radical remaking of
policies in the states. It was one month after the 2010 midterm
elections. Republicans had grabbed 680 legislative seats and secured a
power trifecta–control of both legislative chambers and the
governorship–in 21 states.

To read this article, go to: TheNation.com

New Faces, New Maps, New Battles
The swelling ranks of Latinos here are a big reason Nevada will win a new seat in Washington. And so, as part of the once-a-decade redistricting process, leaders here are sketching out a new Congressional district that would give Latino neighborhoods more sway over their representation in Washington.

To read this article, go to: NYTimes.com

Annual SAVE Award Seeks Money Saving Ideas from Federal Workers
The SAVE award is part of a White House Campaign to Cut Waste that launched this spring (see video). The contest started accepting submissions starting Friday at http://www.whitehouse.gov/save-award through July 31.

To read this article, go to: WashingtonPost.com

Be a ‘Budget Hero’: Computer Game Shows How Favorite Policies Alter the Government’s Budget
Washington, DC–Think you might do better than President Barack Obama and congressional leaders in picking and choosing what government spending to cut–or taxes to raise–to stave off a debt showdown that could wreck the economy? A new computer game gives you, too, the chance to play “Budget Hero.”

To read this article, go to: WashingtonPost.com

Harry Potter as Servant Leader
No doubt, many of you will be seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows this weekend and in the days to come. Enjoy it. It’s a wonderful film and a fitting end to the series. If you have any mental and emotional bandwidth left over as you’re watching Harry save the world, you might also put your leadership lens on for some examples of servant leadership in action.

To read this article, go to: GovExec.com

Can Innovation Really Be Reduced To A Process?
Rumors of the failure of design thinking appear to have been somewhat overblown. At the recent Design Research conference in Seattle, the consensus reportedly held that whether or not you like the term, design thinking is here to stay.

Nonetheless, it’s also somewhat hard to find many fervent supporters of design thinking. Designers I’ve talked to still bristle at a phrase they see as subtly maligning the validity of the rest of their work. Executives meanwhile, still seem baffled by the term, even if they quite like the general idea of adding design into the business mix.

To read this article, go to: FastCompany.com

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