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Eye Opener: March 30, 2009

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Happy Monday! The Eye will spend his morning at the Census Bureau's one-year kickoff event with its national partners devoting resources to encourage Americans to complete their Census forms. Updates throughout the day in the blog.

Today's Big Story: "White House data indicate that the administration has recovered from that little Daschle-Geithner problem and will set the modern world indoor record for the number of nominations and confirmations by March 31," reports The Post's Al Kamen. The money quote: "Obama has clearly caught his stride in announcing and nominating candidates for Senate confirmation," said Paul Light of New York University. "Now the question is whether the Senate can keep up. The logjam is broken at the White House and has moved up Pennsylvania Avenue." Track the Obama nominees by using The Post's Head Count.

Winds of Change Evident in U.S. Environmental Policy: "After years of chafing under political appointees who viewed stricter environmental regulation with skepticism, long-serving federal officials are seeing work that had been gathering dust for years translate quickly into action," reports The Post's environmental reporter Juliet Eilperin. "Whether that is a good thing depends on one's point of view."

The Post's Weekend Must-Reads: Christian Davenport's profile of bomb-sniffing canines working with the U.S. military; Spencer S. Hsu's reporting on Homeland Security's shifting its immigration raids policy from ordinary workers to businesses and executives; Space Shuttle Discovery's safe return to Earth; commentator David Rothkopf's concern that the current generation of leaders does not rise to the task; Jackson Diehl's concise and informative look-ahead at the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

In other news...

Navy Secretary Nominee Drew Notice Over Divorce: The New York Times reports on the messy divorce of former Mississippi Gov. Ray Mabus and what he did in 1998 to secure the custody of his children.

A Budget Watcher's Guide to the Action: The Post's Lori Montgomery with five things you need to know to follow the action this week on Capitol Hill.

Healthcare Reform Czar Has Insider's View: Nancy-Ann DeParle's business experience, coupled with her management of government medical programs, gives her an insider's perspective on the machinery of healthcare delivery. "But it also raises questions about Washington's revolving door between government and industry: Can DeParle avoid conflicts of interest, given the size and market share of some of the firms she has worked for?" asks the LA Times' Andrew Zajac.

Ezekiel Emanuel Profiled: The eldest Emanuel brother profiled by Chicago Tribune's Judith Graham and Noam N. Levey: "He's the eldest brother, a doctor and a scholar with a resume the size of a small book. Though brothers Ari and Rahm are both celebrities, he's the one they think could someday win the Nobel Prize. Now, Ezekiel Emanuel has become something of a public figure, like his famous siblings, as he pursues a new challenge: trying to help the Obama administration reform the health-care system."

Vilsack Favors Strong Link Between Performance Measures and Goals: ""Tying what we do to specific articulated results is a very important function of what the management side of this agency has to do," the agriculture secretary tells Government Executive. "To do that not only requires a commitment by leadership to make that happen, the president has been very clear in his expectation in that respect."

Obama Encouraged to Hire More Muslim Americans: "A book with the resumes of 45 of the nation's most qualified -- Ivy League grads, Fortune 500 executives and public servants, all carefully vetted -- has been submitted to the White House," reports Tribune's Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah. "The effort, driven by community leaders and others, including Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), was bumped up two weeks ahead of schedule because White House officials heard about the venture, said J. Saleh Williams, program coordinator for the Congressional Muslim Staffers Assn., who sifted through more than 300 names."

SEC Hands Out Bonuses Too: The government agency gave seven senior officers big raises and bonuses in 2008, according to a report from the agency’s inspector general, reports the Wall Street Journal's Kara Scannell.

Surge of Students Pursuing 'Clean Energy' Careers: "Concern about climate change is galvanizing more undergraduate students to turn toward a subject involving science and engineering, some educators suggest, in much the same way that Moscow's launching of the Sputnik space satellite jolted baby boomers to turn their eyes to the stars," reports the LA Times' Jim Tankersley.

In a Down Time Everywhere Else, K Street Bustles: "The $787 billion stimulus package -- along with an ambitious new federal budget, bank bailouts and the beginning of a regulatory overhaul -- has succeeded in stimulating the economy along Washington's avenue of influence," reports The Post's Ellen Nakashima and Brady Dennis.

Report Finds Fraud Rife in SBA Program: "The report, issued last week by the Government Accountability Office, uncovered repeated instances of fraud among companies participating in the Small Business Administration's Historically Underutilized Business Zone, which provides federal contracts to small companies located in low-income communities," reports the Wall Street Journal's Simona Covel.

Lawmakers Urge DOD to Halt Competitive Sourcing: "Reps. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., chairman of the committee, and Solomon Ortiz, D-Texas, chairman of the panel's Readiness Subcommittee, urged the Defense Department to stop any pending competitions under the guidelines in Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76, refrain from initiating new contests and rescind a 2008 policy memorandum on competitive sourcing," reports Gov Exec's Katherine McIntire Peters.

The Shrinking Post Office: The Deseret News opines that "The Postal Service has to get smaller. It has to concentrate mostly on the important stuff and on the people who have few alternatives. It may have to eliminate Tuesdays, or even another day as time goes by.""

Today's Big Event: The American Federation of Government Employees holds a rally to support TSA employees at Baltimore Washington International Airport today at 11 a.m. ET. Reps. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) will attend. More events here.

By Ed O'Keefe  | March 30, 2009; 7:33 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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Next: Live-Blogging the Census One-Year Kickoff


It absolutely SICKENS me that Ray Mabus may be Sec'y of the Navy. A man who cooludes with his PRIEST to secretly tape his wife to WIN at all costs in a divorce is a repulsive choice. Back to the days of Tailhook, with such a misogynist at the helm, I guess. Who would EVER want their daughter or niece to serve????

Posted by: cosmiccanine | March 31, 2009 1:17 AM | Report abuse

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