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Eye Opener: Jan. 15, 2009

By Ed O'Keefe

Happy Thursday! The Eye now has more than 100 Twitter "followers" and hopes to have more than 200 before next Tuesday, when he will "live tweet" from the National Mall during the Inaugural ceremony. If you follow his Twitter feed, The Eye promises to follow yours.

Eye Opener

As you'll see in the video posted above, The Post's Lois Romano recently spoke with Carol Browner, the new presidential assistant for energy and global climate change. The pair discuss several topics, including the Obama administration's plans to consider rolling back "a rather long list" of Bush administration regulations and rules deemed contrary to the new president's energy and global climate change policies.

Today Obama's picks to lead the Justice and Homeland Security departments face Senators today. Make sure to review the suggested questions for Eric Holder and Janet Napolitano. The Post's Carrie Johnson writes today about Holder's late sister-in-law, Vivian Malone Jones, who after helping integrate the University of Alabama in 1963, later took a job with the Justice Department's civil rights division.

It seems the only punishment for Treasury pick Timothy F. Geithner's tax errors is a delayed Senate confirmation hearing. The former president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank still has strong support from senators of both parties, but his confirmation hearing will be delayed until next week.

Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah) offered a fantastically quotable defense of Geithner to The Post's Lori Montgomery: "If I was a traffic officer, I'd say he may have exceeded the speed limit, but he wasn't weaving out of lanes, he wasn't drunk and he wasn't endangering anybody. He may have some explaining to do, but in the end, I think he's going to be just fine."

In other news...

Eric Shinseki's VA Hearing: "Several senators expressed gratitude for Shinseki's willingness to take on the challenges at VA, which is struggling to meet the needs of a growing population of more than 25 million veterans," reports The Post's Ann Scott Tyson. "Shinseki pledged to speed up the sluggish process for approving claims, which takes an average of six months; to streamline the transfer of medical and other records from the Defense Department to VA; to better meet the needs of veterans living in rural areas; and to modernize the delivery of benefits."

Big Changes Coming to EPA: "The former head of New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection said she would consider regulating coal ash waste from power plants in the aftermath of recent spills and take a more active approach toward other environmental concerns," reports The Post's Juliet Eilperin. "Science must be the backbone of what EPA does," Jackson said.

LaHood Hearing Delayed: The Senate Commerce Committee has delayed hearings for Obama's pick to lead the Transportation Department until at least next week. "Obama's transition team has become increasingly anxious about the backgrounds of nominees now that two nominees have hit significant bumps in the rush of confirmation hearings, and the committee is waiting to get some background paperwork on LaHood that it says is usually provided on nominees," reports The Post's Carol D. Leonnig.

Full Confirmation Roundup: The staff of Federal Times is working overtime this week covering confirmation hearings. Review all of their coverage here.

New NASA Director: Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Jonathan Scott Gration, "A highly decorated fighter pilot, close to President-elect Barack Obama but almost completely unknown to the space community, has emerged as the top candidate to run NASA," reports The Post's Joel Achenbach. The Air Force veteran "traveled through Africa with Obama in 2006 and served as a military adviser to him during the campaign."

Bush Administration Failures: Last month The Eye wrote about the Center for Public Integrity's list of "failures" committed by the Bush administration and now its readers have selected the top ten. The justification for the Iraq war, failure to provide 45 million Americans with health insurance and the administration's "controversial assertion of executive power" top the list. Read the rest of it here.

From College to Government: "A new survey of undergraduate students indicates that government and public service careers are a top choice for employment after graduation," reports GovExec. "Out of 46 career fields, government and public service vocations are the most popular among young people, with 17 percent of U.S. undergraduates selecting the category as "ideal" for their first job after graduation."

By Ed O'Keefe  | January 15, 2009; 7:47 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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