Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Think Progress » Who Is Steven Chu? A Nobel Physicist Who Believes In Bold Energy Transformation

Think Progress » Who Is Steven Chu? A Nobel Physicist Who Believes In Bold Energy Transformation: “Numerous media outlets are reporting Dr. Steven Chu will be President-elect Obama’s choice to head the Department of Energy. Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, is the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California where he has been addressing the climate crisis by pushing breakthrough research in energy efficiency, solar energy, and biofuels technology.

Colleagues who know Chu best say “he’s not a manager, he’s a leader.” In an interview with the Wonk Room, David Roland-Holst, an economist at the Center for Energy, Resources and Economic Sustainability at UC Berkeley, described Chu as a “very distinguished researcher” and “an extremely effective manager of cutting edge technology initiatives.””

The Raw Story | Obama says creating jobs can help US race relations

The Raw Story | Obama says creating jobs can help US race relations: “President-elect Barack Obama, the first African-American to serve in the White House, said in an interview that producing new jobs would help improve race relations in the United States.

"The biggest challenges we face right now in improving race relations have to do with the universal concerns of Americans across color lines," Obama told the Chicago Tribune in an interview published in its Wednesday edition.” - Ethics committee expands Rangel probe - Ethics committee expands Rangel probe: “By Susan Crabtree Posted: 12/09/08 06:21 PM [ET]Democrats faced more bad ethics news Tuesday when the House ethics committee voted to expand its investigation into Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.).

The investigation will now include more recent allegations involving an oil company executive’s pledge to an education center bearing Rangel’s name.

The same day Democrats were under fire after the arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on pay-to-play charges, the ethics panel voted Tuesday to broaden the Rangel probe. ”

NPR Announces 7 Percent Staff Cut, Show Cancellations

NPR Announces Layoffs, Show Cancellations Huff Post: “NPR Interim President & CEO Dennis Haarsager announced plans to reduce 7% of its workforce and cancel two shows, "News & Notes" and "Day to Day" in a memo to staff Wednesday afternoon. The memo outlines NPR's financial difficulties and explains the rationale for eliminating 64 employees and canceling the two shows:”

Lesbian Nancy Sutley Leading Obama's Environmental Council

Nancy Sutley Leading Obama's Environmental Council: “WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama intends to round out his environmental and natural resources team with a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and three former Environmental Protection Agency officials from the Clinton administration.

The president-elect has selected Steven Chu for energy secretary, Lisa Jackson for EPA administrator, Carol Browner as his energy "czar" and Nancy Sutley to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Democratic officials said Wednesday.

Still unclear is whom Obama will tap for interior secretary.

Officials close to the transition said support for John Berry, the director of the National Zoo and a former assistant secretary at the Interior Department, was growing. But these officials also said Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva and California Rep. Mike Thompson were still in the running.”

Minnesota Election Between Coleman and Franken Could Be Decided Friday

Minnesota Election Could Be Decided Friday: “The Minnesota Senate recount election will make a giant step towards a conclusion on Friday, when the state's canvassing board meets to determine the fate of improperly dismissed absentee ballots.

On Tuesday, Al Franken's chief counsel traveled to Washington D.C. to brief reporters on the current status of the election. He deliberately did not close the window on legal action if unlawfully rejected absentee voters were not counted.”

-- But what if Coleman's indicted? He would have to step down, right? More soon.

FBI Investigating Coleman, Paper Reports

FBI Investigating Coleman, Paper Reports: “The Twin Cities Pioneer Press reports that a probe has been launched into Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman's ties to businessman Nasser Kazeminy:

Federal investigators are looking into allegations that a longtime friend and benefactor tried to steer money to U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, the Pioneer Press has learned.

Agents with the FBI have talked to or made efforts to talk to people in Texas familiar with the allegations, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Houston is where the first of two lawsuits was filed alleging Nasser Kazeminy, a Bloomington financier, tried to steer $100,000 to Coleman via his wife's Minneapolis employer. The second suit, filed in Delaware, alleges Kazeminy initially tried to get money directly to the senator.”

Reid: Blagojevich Must Go, Must Not Make Appointment

Reid: Blagojevich Must Go, Must Not Make Appointment Blagojevich gets more in more in hot water, with reported 50 democrats including President-Elect Obama calling for the Gov. to step down.

World Bank Chief Economist: World Faces "Worst Recession Since The Great Depression"

World Bank Chief Economist: World Faces "Worst Recession Since The Great Depression": “Global oil demand will collapse next year and commodities will not return to the highs they reached this summer in the foreseeable future, two authoritative reports said on Tuesday as they forecast a long and painful worldwide recession.

The stark conclusions came as the World Bank's chief economist predicted that the world faced "the worst recession since the Great Depression".

The US energy department said global oil demand will fall this year and next, marking the first two consecutive years' decline in 30 years.

"The increasing likelihood of a prolonged global economic downturn continues to dominate market perceptions, putting downward pressure on oil prices," it said, forecasting that demand would drop 50,000 barrels a day this year and a hefty 450,000 b/d in 2009. US oil demand will drop next year to the lowest level in 11 years.”

Illinois' top lawmakers to strip Blago of senate pick power | Crain's Chicago Business News

Chicago Business News, Analysis & Articles | Illinois' top lawmakers to strip Blago of senate pick power | Crain's: “(Crain’s) — The state’s top two legislative leaders Tuesday said they will move fast to seize control of the process of selecting a replacement for Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate, taking that power away from Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
In separate statements, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President Emil Jones said they will call a special legislative session next week to repeal the state law that now gives the governor the power to fill Mr. Obama’s seat. Both said they will press instead for a special election to fill the remaining two years of Mr. Obama’s term.
“I am prepared to convene the House next Monday to change state law to provide for a special election for the U.S. Senate replacement,” Mr. Madigan said. “I would urge U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin to take note of this action.”
Mr. Durbin earlier on Tuesday had called for such action in the wake of Mr. Blagojevich’s arrest on federal corruption charges.”