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Eye Opener: Dec. 1, 2008

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Cabinet Making: President-elect Obama announces the new (or same) heads of the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and State (as well as his national security adviser and ambassador to the United Nations) today in Chicago. Plenty of coverage of the big announcements all day at washingtonpost.com. We'll be gauging reaction from the various federal workers' unions and other relevant groups once the announcements are made. The Old Grey Lady has built out an impressive collection of profiles of Obama's picks thus far.

Labor Dept. Straying From Enforcement (?): The Post continues its review of the cabinet departments today with a review of the Labor Department. "There are few federal agencies where the ideological differences separating many Democrats and Republicans play out more plainly. Labor is one of the government's largest regulatory enforcement agencies, overseeing issues from overtime payments and pension regulations to workplace safety and training programs. The agency has a total budget of $50.4 billion and 16,800 employees," reports The Post's Michael Fletcher. Among the names mentioned to head up the department: Michigan's governor Jennifer M. Granholm, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa and former Michigan congressman David E. Bonior -- all Democrats.

No Thanks: Mr. In The Loop & Co. notes the names who've said "no thanks" to roles in the Obama cabinet. Among them: James Clyburn, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe and the perennial also-mentioned Sam Nunn.

'Burrowers' Lists: "Leaders of the American Federation of Government Employees, the largest union of federal workers, and the Senior Executives Association, the group representing federal executives, said they want the government to release lists of political appointees who have been hired for career jobs and show whether agencies sought competition for the positions," reports The Post's Carol D. Leonnig. "The two groups said they are pressing the Office of Personnel Management for this information because they are concerned the agency is not carefully overseeing last-minute hires of political aides."

More 'Midnight Regulations': "The Bush White House in the past month has approved 61 new regulations on environmental, security, social and commercial matters that by its own estimate will have an economic impact exceeding $1.9 billion annually," notes The Post's R. Jeffrey Smith and Juliet Eilperin. "The rules cover obscure as well as high-profile social and economic issues: spelling out what kinds of records must be kept by sexually explicit performers and publications, exempting hobbyists' rocket motors from federal explosives controls, expanding the collection of DNA samples from federal prisoners." Make sure to read through the new regulations from EPA, Interior, Energy, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Justice, HUD and Homeland Security.

Defense Group Launches Offensive: The Aerospace Industries Association "is going on the offensive, with a lobbying push and a $1.5 million ad campaign to promote the number of jobs it creates, in what defense analysts call a preemptive measure to protect its lucrative weapons programs under a new Obama administration." The Post's Dana Hedgpeth reports the group "says the industry supports more than 2 million middle-class jobs, has more than 30,000 suppliers in 50 states and is the country's leading manufacturing export industry, at $97 billion per year. Some major defense companies, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and SAIC, helped pay for the ads."

FDA Details Food Safety: "The agency will release a report Monday that summarizes what officials call a “hugely ambitious” campaign to reshape its food inspection arm to root out safety hazards through things like sophisticated software and certifiers from the private sector," notes the New York Times. "In June, the agency was criticized by the Government Accountability Office for failing to provide details on the costs or specific strategies for carrying out the plan. Some lawmakers have repeatedly called the agency’s food protection efforts inadequate."

Events: The 19th annual PTO Day will be held today at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center. A morning general session and two breakouts are devoted to the trademark program.

This Day in History: "The House of Representatives convened to decide the presidential election because no candidate had received a majority in the Electoral College. John Quincy Adams was eventually chosen the winner over Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay." More from the New York Times.

Leave your comments, questions, news tips and event listings in the comments section below, or e-mail them to federaleye@washingtonpost.com.

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 1, 2008; 8:05 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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Comments

RE: Considering GOV. JENNIFER GRANDHOLM, MICHIGAN for the Labor Secretary Post....
God help us if President elect Obama selected Grandholm as his Labor Secretary -She is/has been a "DO-NOTHING" governor that promised the people of Michigan that if we elected her again "we would be blown away" and we are turning to dust! She has driven business out of the state because of her rotten taxes placed on our employers; biased leadership in Lansing, snickering and back stabbing, etc. The State of Michigan is in terrible shape because of her NON-LEADERSHIP! She is a "DO-NOTHING" who is a good talker who had done nothing to help business in Michigan and its people! It is ridiculous to even consider this woman for that position! However, we in Michigan would be glad to get rid of her!

Posted by: truth22 | December 4, 2008 7:53 AM | Report abuse

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