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Eye Opener: Aug. 13, 2009

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Happy Thursday! Follow The Federal Eye on Twitter and submit your news tips or other comments here.

In the news...

Cabinet and Staff News: U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice gives a big speech at NYU on Wednesday. Why are Tom Vilsack and Janet Napolitano in the Cabinet? Bill Clinton speaks out on Hillary Clinton's outburst, kinda. Four cabinet secretaries tour rural Alaska.

Presidential Vacations Carry Heavy Baggage: The luxuriousness of President Obama's upcoming Martha's Vineyard getaway poses a political challenge for him at a time when many Americans are struggling with economic distress.

Military Spouses to Get Federal Jobs Preference: Federal agencies will soon have the option of hiring certain military spouses without having them compete for federal jobs, under new guidelines the Obama administration issued Wednesday.

Airlines Set to Ask More of Passengers: The change comes as the Department of Homeland Security takes over responsibility for checking airline passenger names against government watch lists.

Terrorism Trials May Be at New Va. Court: A new, high-security courthouse in Newport News, Va., could be the site of terrorism trials for some Guantanamo Bay inmates, law enforcement sources said.

Buyers of Long-Term Care Insurance Riled by Premium Increase: The Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program will see fee increases between 5 and 25 percent for about 150,000 members.

At Library of Congress, Vets Clash Over Lynndie England Appearance: The former Army Reservist who became the face of military abuse of prisoners at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison speaks on Friday during a veterans event at the nation's top library.

NASA Panel Grapples With Cost of Space Plans: The United States cannot afford to send humans anywhere beyond the space station -- especially Mars -- unless it wants to spend more money.

New Army Handbook Teaches Afghanistan Lessons: The handbook, “Small-Unit Operations in Afghanistan,” strikes a tone of respect for the Taliban and other insurgent groups, which are acknowledged to be extremely experienced fighters

A Window Into C.I.A.’s Embrace of Secret Jails: The existence of the network of prisons to detain and interrogate senior operatives of Al Qaeda has long been known and in recent interviews, several former intelligence officials have provided a fuller account of how they were built, where they were located and life inside them.

Agencies Ramp Up Student Loan Repayments: During calendar year 2008, 35 federal agencies provided 6,879 employees with $51.6 million in student loan repayments.

Stimulus Money for Weatherization Goes Unspent: State and local officials nationwide are sitting on millions in stimulus money targeted for weatherization, worried about running afoul of arcane federal rules governing how much workers should be paid for making energy-saving home improvements.

By Ed O'Keefe  | August 13, 2009; 6:10 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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