Fedblog FedblogFedblog
Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

The Government Will See You Now

When was the last time you interacted with a federal agency to conduct some personal business? If your experience was anything like that of most Americans trying to enroll in a federal program or fulfill some civic duty—clarify a tax issue, update public records—it probably wasn’t great. A report last week by the American Customer Satisfaction Index shows that we are increasingly dissatisfied with the service we receive from government employees and websites.

“Only Internet service providers have a lower customer satisfaction score,” according to the index, which tracks 43 industries. Think about that. More people seem to find it easier to dispute a claim with their health insurer than deal with a federal agency.  

It’s no surprise then that the Obama administration wants to make agencies more responsive to the people they exist to serve. Specifically, the White House says it is committed to “delivering world class customer service:”

The Administration is continuing its efforts to improve the quality, timeliness, and effectiveness of Federal services by developing standards, practices, and tools for agencies to improve their customer service. We have established the Federal Customer Service Awards program, which will recognize individuals and teams who provide ...

DHS: Buying a Super Bowl Jersey? Make Sure It's Not Fake.

The Super Bowl is one of the United States' biggest annual cultural events, reportedly bringing in tens of billions of dollars in revenue. Everyone wants in on the money, including a lot of merchandise pirates.

Federal agencies are teaming with the National Football League this year on a law enforcement effort aimed at getting rid of counterfeit sports merchandise and tickets featuring the NFL and its flagship event.

According to a National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center release, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah R. Saldaña, Customs and Border Protection Director of Field Operations William K. Brooks, and NFL Counsel Dolores F. DiBella spoke at the Super Bowl site near Phoenix Thursday of the initiative, dubbed “Operation Team Player.” The operation has been successful at weeding out fake hats, jerseys and pro football merchandise nationwide, they said.

 Hundreds of counterfeit NFL jerseys were seized by CBP at the JFK International Mail Facility in New York in January 2014. (Customs and Border Protection photo)

Official NFL merchandise can sell for hundreds of dollars -- and tickets to the event are going for more than $4,000 on the secondary market -- but this is copyrighted material. Fans may see the merchandise as ...

Bob Dylan is Thinking About the Government

“I’m on the pavement, thinking about the government,” Bob Dylan sang in Subterranean Homesick Blues in 1965. Apparently he’s been thinking about it again lately.

Specifically, the folk and rock legend doesn’t think much of government as a job creator, and would prefer that wealthy business leaders pick up the slack.

In an interview with AARP The Magazine in connection with the upcoming release of Shadows in the Night, an album of American standards previously recorded by Frank Sinatra, Dylan offered his opinion on the state of the American economy and government’s role in it:

The government’s not going to create jobs. It doesn’t have to. People have to create jobs, and these big billionaires are the ones who can do it. We don’t see that happening. We see crime and inner cities exploding with people who have nothing to do, turning to drink and drugs. They could all have work created for them by all these hotshot billionaires. For sure that would create lot of happiness.

Dylan went on to say that billionaires ought to keep their focus on helping out at home, “because there are a lot of things that are ...

TSA Does Its Job, Finds More Guns in Carry-ons Than Ever Before

The Transportation Security Administration posted its 2014 year in review on its blog Friday and in it, the agency announced it had discovered more than 2,000 firearms in carry-on luggage during the year, in over 224 airports.

The 2,212 firearms were not all loaded, but the blog post noted that "most" were. The number is a 22 percent increase from the 1,813 firearms found in 2013. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport was the No. 1 American airport for firearms discoveries, with 120 uncovered last year. Two other Texas airports were in the top 10. Florida also had three airports on the list.

All of the airports in the top 10 were in states with conceal carry laws. In addition to the 2,212 guns discovered in carry-on bags, TSA agents found scores of other dangerous weapons.

Other dangerous items discovered last year include: a fireworks making kit, fireworks, black powder pellets, live flash bang grenades, propane, a flare gun, seal deterrent, M-1000 fireworks, over 700 stun guns and live smoke grenades.

In Arizona's Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport, an 8.5 inch knife was discovered in an enchilada, which brings up the question of why ...

State of the Union: The Message for Feds

  • By Eric Katz and Katherine McIntire Peters
  • January 20, 2015
  • Leave a comment

10:10 p.m. It's a wrap. "A brighter future is ours to write," Obama says.

9:58 p.m. Obama is now speaking about the National Security Agency and other federal offices that have come under fire for their surveillance of American and foreign citizens: “As promised, our intelligence agencies have worked hard, with the recommendations of privacy advocates, to increase transparency and build more safeguards against potential abuse. And next month, we’ll issue a report on how we’re keeping our promise to keep our country safe while strengthening privacy.”

9:53 p.m. No threat poses a greater challenge than climate challenge, Obama says. He gives a shoutout to federal scientists: “ I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We ...