- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 10, 2009

Where’s Noah when you need him?

We’re told that a giant ark is being built on the Mall by members of an advocacy group of religious progressives to alert world leaders convening at the United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen.

“The idea is to let leaders at Copenhagen know what’s at stake: If we don’t get a real deal on climate, we could end up facing another Great Flood,” explains Katie Paris, a spokesperson for the ecumenical Faith in Public Life, in an e-mail. “Noah’s Ark signifies the scale of calamity that climate change poses to communities across the globe.”

The boat, which is 60 feet long by 16 feet wide, should be completed this weekend, just in time for a scheduled candlelight vigil on Saturday starting at 4 p.m., with members of the local clergy officiating.

People from around the world are expected to participate in more than 2,000 simultaneous candlelight vigils in over 130 countries praying for positive results to come out of the summit.

Judging from reports out of Copenhagen, the confab sure could use some friendly divine intervention.

There’s an app for that

The ancient idea of democracy has taken one more step into the 21st century. We hear that citizens can now use their iPhones to learn more about the ever-thorny health care debate while the United States Senate considers passage of H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act.Launching today is the Death Panel, a free iPod “touch game” and iPhone application developed to inform the public by testing the user’s knowledge of health care reform.The app’s developer Jason Petralia, the CEO of People Operating Technology, explains that the game is “nonpartisan” and allows the user to role-play as an officeholder who must stand before his constituents on a virtual platform and field questions about various health care policies, programs and relevant issues.Questions range from “the lighthearted” to the “heated,” according to Mr. Petralia.

He adds that you can post your results on social networking sites like Facebook and twitter to encourage your friends to play along, too. Our favorite part is the “player” feature that displays how much funding your representative in Congress has taken from health care lobbyists.

“I expect mobile applications like this to be leveraged from all sides (of the political debate),” predicts Mr. Petralia. “This is just the beginning.”

Feds get nods, too

Eat your heart out, Hollywood - it’s awards season here in the nation’s capital, too.

The Partnership for Public Service is opening up the voting for nominations for its Service to America Medals, dubbed “Washington’s Oscars” or “the Sammies.”

You don’t have to be a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to vote, just a concerned citizen.

Every fall, eight federal employees are honored for their extraordinary contributions to government service at a grand gala at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium (sans red carpet arrivals and those over-the-top swag bags, unfortunately).

Winners are selected based on three main criteria, according to a press release: “impact of their work on meeting the needs of the nation, on-the-job innovation and commitment to public service.”

Medal categories include Homeland Security, Career Achievement, Call to Service, Citizen Services, National Security and International Affairs, Justice and Law Enforcement, Environment and Science and Technology.

Any civilian federal employee is eligible, and recipients receive a cash prize along with their medal.

You can make your voice heard through Jan. 29 by going to www.servicetoamericamedals.org.

To contact Stephanie Green or Elizabeth Glover, e-mail [email protected]

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