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Eye Opener: Feb. 6, 2009

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Happy Friday! The Eye makes his debut in on The Post's print edition Fed Page today with a report on some bureaucratic challenges facing the Obama administration:

"Since President Obama took office, the Food and Drug Administration has been criticized for lax food safety inspections, the Securities and Exchange Commission has been berated for missing Bernard L. Madoff's alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme, and just this week the Drug Enforcement Administration raided Southern California medical marijuana facilities, despite Obama's stated opposition to such practices.

"These problems are far from isolated: A major federal labor union is pushing to oust Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue over budget cuts and personnel shortages; several Justice Department enforcement programs have been slashed in recent years; and the Environmental Protection Agency has struggled under a tight budget, just as the new administration has called for renewed focus on global warming."

The Eye's colleague Joe Davidson ends his reporting week with some good news: Aetna has approved overnight nursing care for Shelby Rogers, 12, of Arlington, Va., daughter of Philomena and John Rogers through the end of this year. Joe reported last fall that the insurance company had planned to cut Shelby's nursing service. John's health care coverage comes through his job with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

In other news...

Chertoff's Parting Gift: Al Kamen and Philip Rucker scoop today that it cost the Department of Homeland Security $11,200 to put together "Select Speeches," a collection of some of the former secretary's public addresses from 2005 and 2008. "Not available in bookstores, the lovely, 315-page paperback, making the rounds in Washington recently, was given to between 200 and 300 DHS folks, putting the cost per book at $37 to $55. That may sound like a lot, but the paper that DHS used to print the book is very heavy."

Solis Hearings Delayed: Once is understandable, twice is troubling, three times is inexcusable... so what do you call the fourth incident involving taxes and an Obama nominee?! "A Senate committee yesterday abruptly called off a session to consider President Obama's nomination of Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) to be labor secretary after learning that her husband had paid about $6,400 to settle tax liens, some on file as long as 16 years." Michael A. Fletcher notes that the White House defended Solis, saying that the taxes paid Wednesday were for the Los Angeles area auto repair business owned solely by her husband, Sam Sayyad.

Treasury Overpaid for Bank Assets in Bailout: "The Bush administration received assets that were worth $78 billion less than the amount it invested as part of the massive infusion of capital into the country's banks, congressional investigators have found," writes Amit Paley. Of course, the guy now in charge of the department underpaid his taxes. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

'New Chapter' at CIA Promised: Leon Panetta told a Senate panel he would banish controversial interrogation policies while demanding greater candor and accountability with Congress and the American public.

Meet Obama's Lawyer: What did you do in the first three weeks of your new job? Anne E. Kornblut reports that if you're Gregory B. Craig you have "already played an outsize role in shaping the Obama administration. He safely guided the transition team through a scandal in which the governor of Illinois sought to auction off President Obama's old Senate seat. He produced the four executive orders that defined Obama's opening act in office -- overturning Bush-era rules on detention of enemy combatants and torture -- and has crafted or is in the process of drafting as many as 35 other such documents on Obama's behalf."

Reviving the Labor-Management Process: Government Executive reporter/blogger Alyssa Rosenberg writes that AFGE president John Gage would prefer Obama not revive the labor-management partnership councils President Clinton established back in 1993. "I would like a stripped-down partnership. All the rules on consensus, I don't know if we need them. To go through all the rules that came up from the Clinton administration, and how many facilitators [the councils were required to use]...the philosophy of it got in the way of doing good, solid labor-management business."

USDA Suspends Peanut Corporation: "The one-year suspension takes effect immediately. It prevents the company and its subsidiary, Tidewater Blanching, from participating in government contracts or subcontracts as well as federal nonprocurement programs. Agriculture also is proposing to debar the company for three years," writes Federal Times' Tim Kauffman.

Today's Big Event: The Senate Intelligence Committee continues its hearings on the nomination of Leon E. Panetta to serve as CIA director. More here.

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 6, 2009; 6:10 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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"Chertoff's Parting Gift: Al Kamen and Philip Rucker scoop today that it cost the Department of Homeland Security $11,200 to put together "Select Speeches,"

Gotta' love the protect the GOP semantics in that statement. In a REAL America, the statment would proffer: :"...that it cost the AMERICAN TAX PAYERS WHO FUND THE DHS $11,000 to put together "Select Speeches"... of a man who had absolutely no previous life or career qualifications to have the DHS job in the first place.

But then we all know who the "protect America" media is actually protecting....not the customers/readers who fund their salaries

Posted by: spritey | February 6, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

• Solis Hearings Delayed: Once is understandable, twice is troubling, three times is inexcusable... so what do you call the fourth incident involving taxes ....

Umm, excuse us, the American citizens who have listened to eight years (actually decades) of GOP screams from roof tops, headlines and airwaves . . .that taxes are socialist, communist and every other "ist" they could come up with so much so -

They themselves are not only customers of off shore bank accounts, are the owners of off shore bank accounts to avoid those taxes need to support those troops paychecks and killing toys they wanted to repay their campaign donors with hostile corporate take-overs in nations with oil.

You'd think the GOP talking heads getting all the press time they so desire to not only support non-tax paying political appointees but brag about them being "one" with GOP's aversion to paying taxes.

Posted by: spritey | February 6, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

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