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Eye Opener: Nov. 18, 2008

By Ed O'Keefe

Good morning! Alan Parson's "Eye in The Sky" kicks us off today. Perhaps appropriate today since President Bush will announce his plans to ease holiday air traffic congestion during a speech at the Transportation Department. Leave your Eye-themed humor or pop culture suggestions in the comments section below.

In other news...

Burrowing: "Just weeks before leaving office, the Interior Department's top lawyer has shifted half a dozen key deputies -- including two former political appointees who have been involved in controversial environmental decisions -- into senior civil service posts," reports The Post's Carol Leonnig and Juliet Eilperin. "Burrowing" has also reportedly happened at the Labor Department and Housing and Urban Development. "The personnel moves come as Bush administration officials are scrambling to cement in place policy and regulatory initiatives that touch on issues such as federal drinking-water standards, air quality at national parks, mountaintop mining and fisheries limits." But this trend is not exclusive to the Bush administration: "In its last 12 months, the Clinton administration approved 47 such moves, including seven at the senior executive level."

Lieberman's Fate: A secret vote is expected today to determine the fate of Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, reports CongressDaily. "Senate Democrats will cast ballots over Lieberman's fate as committee chairman, a momentous event that could determine whether the Connecticut senator continues to caucus with the Democrats or joins forces with Republicans." The Post's Paul Kane reports that "Sens. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) and Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) will present a plan at a caucus meeting that would strip Lieberman of a low-profile subcommittee chairmanship, possibly one on global warming. But Lieberman would retain the gavel of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee." Mr. Federal Diary, Joe Davidson, notes that "Losing his full committee chairmanship is not the only possible penalty, but if that happens federal employees will miss a man who has been on their side for years. 'I think Joe Lieberman has been a hero for federal employees,; said Beth Moten, legislative and political director for the American Federation of Government Employees. 'He's been a leader of every issue for federal employees since he's been chairman.'"

Bailout Watchdog Hearings: "Senior lawmakers yesterday criticized the Bush administration's delay in appointing a watchdog to oversee the $700 billion bailout plan, but said they hoped the president's nominee would be confirmed by the end of the week," reports The Post's Amit Paley. Neil M. Barofsky "pledged to meet the congressionally mandated deadline of issuing a report on the program within 60 days of his confirmation. He also said his work as an assistant U.S. attorney in New York, including acting as the head of its mortgage fraud unit, qualified him for the position." Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is among the senators unhappy with the current arrangement: “It’s like Dodge City before the marshals show up,” he said, according to the FedLine blog.

Anthrax Case: "A federal judge ordered the Justice Department yesterday to release documents that explain why investigators suspected Steven J. Hatfill in the 2001 anthrax mailings. Hatfill has since been exonerated." It's a victory for the New York Times and Los Angeles Times who want to see the documents, according to The Post's Del Quentin Wilber. "In June, the former bioweapons researcher settled a lawsuit alleging privacy violations by the Justice Department for $5.85 million. Prosecutors later officially 'excluded' him as a suspect in the attacks."

Veterans' Economic Woes: We missed a New York Times report yesterday about military veterans taking a harder hit during the nation's economic downturn. "The triple-whammy of injury, unemployment and waiting for disability claims to be processed has forced many veterans into foreclosure, or sent them teetering on its edge, according to veterans’ organizations." ... "Service organizations report that requests for help from military personnel and new veterans, especially those who were wounded, mentally or physically, and are struggling to keep their houses and pay their bills, has jumped sharply."

Events: The New America Foundation hosts Google chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt, who's also a member of President-elect Barack Obama's transition economic advisory board. He'll front a discussion called "What's Ahead: Technology, Economic Growth and Open Government." 1 - 2:30 p.m. at the Ronald Reagan Building Amphitheater. Submit your events to federaleye@washingtonpost.com.

This Day in History: On this date in 1987, "The congressional Iran-Contra committees issued their final report, saying President Ronald Reagan bore 'ultimate responsibility' for wrongdoing by his aides." More here.

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 18, 2008; 9:15 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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Comments

Bush and his promises to his many friends. It appears he just doesnt know when to stop. Good Ole W giving his politically appointed crooks a free pass right into the federal govt especially since they are the incompetents that messed it up to start with. And if I am not mistaken wasnt it his administration with its cronies that didnt want big govt and did everything they could to tear it apart? But now they are flocking to have those same secure high paying federal govt positions...go figure. I would think they would want to go back to their private industry gigs but oh I forget half of those agencies have folded and gone out of business. Well W needs to understand that there is a new Sheriff in town and that this is definitely not going to fly with President Obamas Administration and the democrats so far as I am concern those political appointees need to pack up and get the heck out!! They are now the weakest link...Bye, Bye!!LOL

Posted by: msruby36 | November 18, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

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