Eye Opener: Oct. 26, 2009
• Veterans' Mental health in focus: As part of the Obama administration's continued focus on veterans issues, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shineseki host a gathering Monday with mental health experts, veterans, their families and veterans service organizations to discuss how the military and government can provide better mental health services to men and women returning from war. The two secretaries have agreed to collaborate on veterans health care issues since the start of Obama's presidency, including efforts to seamlessly transfer medical paperwork from the Pentagon to the VA. The afternoon meetings end with a dramatic ancient Greek reading by Terrence Howard, David Straithairn, Elizabeth Marvel, and Adam Driver.
• New nominees announced: President Obama on Friday tapped Caryn A. Wagner to serve as undersecretary for intelligence and analysis at the Department of Homeland Security; Philip S. Goldberg to serve as the State Department's assistant secretary for bureau of intelligence and research and; P. David Lopez to serve as general counsel at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Track all of Obama's nominees with The Post's Head Count.
• Mark your calendars: The Project on Government Oversight hosts a special screening of "The Most Dangerous Man in America," on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Capitol Visitors Center. The documentary tells the story of Daniel Ellsberg, who shared the Pentagon Papers with the New York Times and The Washington Post.
• Cabinet and Staff News: Obama adviser David Axelrod discusses his daughter's fight with epilepsy on "60 Minutes." Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Steven Spielberg, Bruce Springsteen and their spouses all dine together in D.C. Education Secretary Arne Duncan scolds Hawaii on its school furloughs. Richard Holbrooke and George Mitchell are struggling with their overseas assignments. Chief Domestic Policy Adviser Melody Barnes becomes the first woman to golf with Obama during his presidency. A junior staffer is to blame for the Fox News-White House "poolgate."
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• Attorney general set to fill advisory panel: Eric H. Holder Jr. will announce a slate of appointees on Monday to a prestigious panel that advises DOJ leaders on how to combat gang violence, civil rights abuses and financial crimes. It will include a diverse batch of U.S. attorneys from across the nation.
• Stopgap measure might hitch a ride on Interior spending bill: A continuing resolution being drafted by the House Appropriations Committee would keep the federal government running likely through Dec. 15 and could be included as part of the fiscal 2010 Interior-Environment Appropriations conference report.
• Energy Department aid for scientists on the edge: It plans to start awarding research grants for ideas like bacteria that will make gasoline, enzymes that will capture carbon dioxide to counter global warming and batteries so cheap that they will allow the use of solar power all night long.
• Changes in sight for federal employees: Long-sought changes to the pay and benefits structure for current and former federal employees now only need President Obama's signature.
• FEHBP open season nears as Congress considers major health care reform: Ending or modifying the program has been a topic of Senate debate, and key players have discussed proposals for reducing prescription drug costs for feds.
• Advice for FERS employees scared about retirement: A financial planner has some tips on what to do.
• Outside Washington, Recovery.gov gets high marks for ease of use: Online transparency scholars beyond the Beltway like the newly released accountability features on the government's stimulus-tracking Web site, in contrast to complaints by many other open government activists.
| October 26, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: Eye Opener
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