Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Dream Team

As Barak Obama assembles his cast and crew for the next term, there are some odd, yet refreshing choices. All is subject to vetting and blessing, which will happen this week, but what a fun bunch of new friends to land in D.C.

We hear that 39-year-old, medical journalist, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is being recruited to the esteemed U.S. Surgeon General post. Great news. Smart guy. Let's hope he isn't on the pharma-dole.

And Leon Panetta might get the CIA head gig. Lot's of grumbling about his lack of experience but this anti-torture, long-term insider has the right stuff. Some people are explaining why this is a well measured, sound choice.

From CNN's site:
"Robert Baer wrote a piece in Time magazine praising the nomination. Baer, who had a storied career with the CIA as an operative in the Middle East for decades, is popularly known for having inspired the film "Syriana," which is based on his book "See No Evil."

The CIA could use Panetta to "hold off the Senate and House intelligence committees, which are gearing up to rip into the CIA for the last eight years of renditions, secret prisons and bad intelligence on Iraq," Baer wrote.

'Mistakes aside, the last thing the CIA needs is another round of overly intrusive congressional hearings like those that so badly damaged it in the '70s. If today's Congress were to deliver a coup de grace to the CIA, the Pentagon would effectively be the nation's only intelligence agency.'

Most relevant for Panetta's possible new job is that he has been a vocal critic of the agency's interrogation techniques, which Obama decried as torture during the presidential campaign."

Hilda Solis, is being considered for Labor Secretary. She's the daughter of a union shop steward from Mexico and an assembly line worker from Nicaragua. She served in the California state legislature before she was elected to the U.S. Congress in 2000.

Lisa Jackson is a strong choice for EPA chief. She’s a trained scientist, and spent 15 years working at the US EPA before heading to the Garden State, focusing on hazardous-waste cleanup and enforcement, and knows the Agency’s culture and jargon inside out.

Time outlines Eric Shinseki, Obama's pick for Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

After his December 7th nomination as President-elect Barack Obama's Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Retired Army Gen. Eric Shinseki became living proof that one President's trash can be another President's treasure. The decorated veteran is most remembered for his controversial role as Army Chief of Staff in the Bush Administration. His testimony in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee regarding the need for several hundred thousand troops in Iraq was challenged and dismissed as "wildly off the mark" by the Department of Defense. Spoiler alert: Shinseki ended up being right, but his public dissent of the Administration's estimate irreparably strained his relationship with his superiors. He unceremoniously retired in June 2003.

There are a few more:

Hillary Clinton, for Secretary of State. Watch that closely this week.

Eric Holder
, Attorney General, putting the veteran Washington lawyer is in place to become the first African-American to head the Justice Department.

Lawrence H. Summers
, former chief economist at the World Bank and the president of Harvard University from 2001 to 2006 Treasury Secretary.

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