Did the Canadian government break the law? Known as the Phoenix fiasco, the Canadian government's efforts to modernize its payroll system has caused further stress on a public service already transitioning to a newly elected government while undergoing collective bargaining. The minister responsible reported 80,000 cases of payroll errors, including employees being underpaid, overpaid, or not paid at all. Privacy breaches have been reported. The CBC has been providing stories from some of the affected public servants. [more inside]
Dustin Cable, a researcher at the University of Virginia's Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, has created a map of the United States incorporating 2010 US Census data. 308,745,538 colored dots represent every citizen of the United States (as of 2010, anyway.)
...But most of all, I am emerging from this drama with a renewed appreciation for the value of my taxpayer-supported public services. The Berkeley Fire Department did right by me — not only by saving most of my house from burning to the ground, but also by demonstrating real human kindness and connection in the middle of fire and chaos. In the rubble, I found magic. And in a strange way, I feel like I deserved it. In Berkeley, we are addicted to high taxes — in the 25 years I’ve lived here, I can’t even count how many times I and my fellow citizens have said a resounding yes to yet another tax hike or bond measure. Two weeks ago, I got my money’s worth. [more inside]
Judd Apatow made a public service announcement for the American Jewish World Service that won't be shown on TV, and not just because it's five minutes long. AJWS is a quiet but powerful force for good in the world. The organization was among the first on the ground and continues to help rebuild in Haiti, post-tsunami India, and many other places around the world. This is its 25th year of philanthropy and humanitarian aid (and its president's 70th birthday).
March 19, 1979 - The United States House of Representatives goes live on television for the first time in history. Footage from the House floor aired on a network created by a consortium of American cable companies. The first member of Congress to speak? Al Gore (Sorry, only seems to be available on Real Player. Embedded video, in case weird link fails). [more inside]
U.S. Public Service Academy : A proposal by two Teach for America alum to provide fully-funded top-notch undergraduate education in public service in the style of military academies, but with a mandatory 5-year local/state/federal service work requirement. A bill for this school was put into Congress by Senators Hillary Clinton and Arlen Specter.
"They're willing to sacrifice their lives for this great country. What I'm asking all of you tonight is not to put on a uniform. Put on a bumper sticker. Is it that much to ask? Is it that much to ask to step up and serve your country?"
As the world meets in Bangkok to discuss responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic (wow, even Richard Gere thinks it's important!), these very effective public service ads (1, 2, 3 all .mpg files) from the Stephen Lewis Foundation bring the epidemic down (or up) to an emotional level.