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Eye Opener: Dec. 2, 2008

By Ed O'Keefe

Good morning! The Eye and Almost Mrs. Eye attended the Washington debut of "Frost/Nixon" last night. Make sure you go see it when it hits theaters... it's great!

Now to the news...

Eye Opener

Cabinet Making: A few notes on President-elect Obama's national security picks. The Post's Ann Scott Tyson notes that many of Robert Gates' deputies may leave, creating big vacancies at the Pentagon; Carrie Johnson and Spencer S. Hsu report that Janet Napolitano and Eric Holder are "two Democrats with sterling law-and-order credentials but less experience in detecting threats and gathering intelligence in the age of international terrorism." The status of Guantanamo Bay and border security top the must-do lists for Holder and Napolitano, respectively.

Homeland Semantics: The Fed Line blog wisely reported something The Eye's ears also heard: "She understands the need for a homeland security department that can respond to terrorist attacks and respond to catastrophes," Obama said of Napolitano. "What’s interesting is the part about 'respond[ing] to catastrophes,'" notes Gregg Carlstrom. "That’s the responsibility of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. And there’s been a lot of talk about removing FEMA from DHS and restoring it to the Cabinet-level status it had before DHS was founded. But if Obama’s language this morning is any indication -- and he tends to pick his words carefully -- that doesn’t look likely."

EPA to Curb Medical Emissions: "The Environmental Protection Agency moved yesterday to curb pollution released by medical waste incinerators, ending an 11-year battle over how to best regulate the emissions," reports The Post's environmental reporter Juliet Eilperin. "Environmentalists hailed the move as an important precedent for controlling toxic releases into the air, saying EPA based its calculations on the availability of technologies to significantly clean up incinerator pollution." In the words of one environmentalist: "This is the first time I've ever seen [EPA] do an air toxic rule right,"

Diversity Among Senior Executive Service: Mr. Federal Diary, Joe Davidson, devotes today's column to a new GAO report that "says representation of women and people of color in the senior corps grew overall between October 2000 and September 2007, but not at all agencies. Representation at the departments of Agriculture, Education, and Health and Human Services fell in certain categories, and sometimes those dives were steep." More: "At Education, for example, the percentage of African American men dropped sharply, from 13.3 percent to 4.5 percent. Hispanic men disappeared altogether, from a nearly invisible 1.7 percent in 2000 to zero last year. There were no Latinas among the executives at either point. Black women, however, did experience a significant increase, from 1.7 percent to 7.6 percent."

Contract Spending Shocker: The POGO Blog discovered that "the government spent over $510 billion on goods and services in FY 2008. Yes, over half a trillion dollars! And if history repeats, this total will increase by an additional $10-$20 billion as agencies (cough cough DOD) report additional information. Just to put this number in perspective: the amount spent on U.S. contracting in FY 2008 would rank as the 25th largest GDP in the world, higher than that of 200 countries including South Africa, Egypt, and Sweden." Woah.

Events: Join The Eye today for the daily Post Politics Hour Live Discussion at 11 a.m. ET. Submit your questions about the federal government, transition and politics.

This Day in History: The EPA began operations on this date in 1970. See more history here.

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 2, 2008; 7:42 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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"Diversity Among Senior Executive Service"

Perhaps there was no applicant qualified?

Posted by: darmar40 | December 2, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

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