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Eye Opener: Dec. 15, 2008

By Ed O'Keefe

Good morning!

Eye Opener

Today is The Bill of Rights Day, in honor of its 217th birthday. The ten amendments were added to the U.S. Constitution on this date in 1791.

Hope you had a great weekend, as The Eye did while visiting New York City. His best find was Papa Bubble, a candy shop that makes some of the tastiest, most creative stuff you'll ever eat.

Now to the news...

Uncertainty Surrounds NASA's Future: "These are awkward times at NASA, which may or may not have a new leader soon and may or may not be on the verge of building a brand-new moon rocket," reports The Post's Joel Achenbach. "Hovering over everything are cosmic quantities of uncertainty, a real problem in an agency in which missions are planned many years in advance, broad strategies take decades to implement and the engineering is customized down to the last bolt." Sounds frustrating!

Obama to Announce Energy, Environment Teams: The nearly-complete roll out of the next Cabinet continues this afternoon in Chicago. "Obama is expected to name Carol Browner, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, as the head of a new policy council to coordinate climate, environment and energy issues. He is also planning to make official other choices: Steven Chu, a Nobel laureate in physics, as his energy secretary; Lisa Jackson, the chief of staff for New Jersey's governor, as head of the EPA; and Nancy Sutley, deputy mayor of Los Angeles, as head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality," reports The Post's Anne E. Kornblut.

Bronx Borough Prez Joining Up: Adolfo Carrion, a rising star in New York State politics, will head to Washington to lead up Obama's newly created White House Office of Urban Policy. It was thought the Bronx Borough President would head up HUD, reports The Post's Scott Butterworth and Chris Cillizza, but he'll instead take on an area of special importance to the president-elect. "Obama campaigned on the creation of an urban policy office, saying it was needed 'to ensure that all federal dollars targeted to urban areas are effectively spent on the highest-impact programs.'"

'Material Weaknesses,' Financial Mismanagement at the Pentagon: The Pentagon's deputy inspector general for auditing released a 140-page independent auditor's report on the Defense Department's financial statements for fiscal 2007 and 2008. Adding all components, the Pentagon had more than $1 trillion to spend last year, and $835.4 billion of it was obligated. "Among the "material weaknesses" cited for fiscal 2008 was the inability of the department to account for government-owned property, plants and equipment and materials supplied to contractors," reports The Post's Walter Pincus.

Washington-Area Job Growth Ending?: The National Capital Region was one of four major metropolitan areas to see job growth reports The Post's V. Dion Hayes. "What happens next year will depend on the clash between two strong forces powering the region's job growth. President-elect Barack Obama's staffing of initiatives such as the Troubled Asset Relief Program could, according to analysts, add thousands of government and ancillary private-sector jobs while weak employer confidence could reduce the labor market."

Events: Today is the busiest day of the year for the U.S. Postal Service, which expects to handle millions of packages headed somewhere as a holiday gift. Be careful if you're hoping to ship items online with the Postal Service, as their Web site has been experiencing service interruptions.

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 15, 2008; 7:49 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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