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Eye Opener: Dec. 11, 2008

By Ed O'Keefe

Good morning! Lots of interesting news, including word that HUD has been sued in Mississippi, Obama will keep his Chicago home (Do we have to call it the "Midwest White House"?) and a recap of where The Eye was last night.

In other news...

Eye Opener

Nobel Winner Picked To Head Energy: The nominee, Steven Chu, is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who heads the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Obama has also picked Carol M. Browner to fill a new White House post overseeing energy, environmental and climate policies and Lisa P. Jackson, recently appointed chief of staff to New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine (D) and former head of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, to head the EPA. Nancy Sutley, a deputy mayor of Los Angeles for energy and environment, will chair the White House Council on Environmental Quality. More here.

Cleaning Firm Used Illegal Workers at Chertoff Home: This is quite the story: A Maryland cleaning company hired by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to clean his home often sent illegal immigrants to the house. "The Secret Service uses workers' ID information to conduct security checks, not immigration checks, much like most police departments do when they pull over people for traffic stops." Immigration and Customs Enforcement fined the company $22,880 and put the company out of business. Read the whole story by Spencer S. Hsu, it's quite a read.


EPA Drops Proposals to Alter Air-Pollution Rules: "The Environmental Protection Agency yesterday abandoned its push to revise two air-pollution rules in ways that environmentalists had long opposed, abruptly dropping measures that the Bush administration had spent years preparing," reports The Post's David A. Fahrenthold. "One proposal would have made it easier to build a coal-fired power plant, refinery or factory near a national park. The other would have altered the rules that govern when power plants must install antipollution devices. Environmentalists said it would result in fewer such cleanups. ... 'These two items are not things we're going to get done in the next 48 days' before Obama's inauguration, EPA spokesman Jonathan Shradar said. He said the EPA still supports the proposals, which have both been in the works for at least three years."

Treasury Vows to Beef Up TARP Oversight: "We've heard the feedback," interim Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Neel Kashkari told the House Financial Services Committee yesterday. "We got it. We are working on it." GovExec.com reports that "Kashkari said Treasury will set up a monitoring program with banking regulators to better track how each bank is spending TARP dollars. The department is making changes after a scathing Government Accountability Office report called for more formal set-up of internal controls to ensure funds are used properly."

Shinseki Confirmation Fast-Tracked: Federal Times reports that Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee will hold a hearing Jan. 14 to consider the nomination of retired Gen. Eric Shinseki to head up the Veterans Affairs Department.

Princeton Settle Suit Over Training Future Government Leaders: The university "and a foundation that set up a fund worth hundreds of millions of dollars to support the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs have reached a settlement that ends a long-running dispute over the school's efforts to prepare students for government service," reports GovExec.com. More: "Under the settlement, Princeton will remain in control of the Robertson Foundation funds. But the university will reimburse the Robertson family $40 million for legal expenses and direct $50 million over seven years to the new foundation to support efforts to prepare students to work in government."

This Day in History: On this date in 1972, man landed on the moon for the last time during the Apollo 17 mission. More here.

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 11, 2008; 7:28 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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