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  • Co-Chair of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board: Who is Shirley Ann Jackson?

    Monday, March 27, 2017
    Jackson's work at Bell Labs was credited with the development of fiber optics, caller ID and call waiting for phones. In 1995, President Clinton appointed her to head the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and she became the 18th president of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She was the first female and first African-American to serve in those positions. In 2016, President Obama awarded her the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest honor for contributions in science and engineering.   read more
  • Director of the Office of Restoration and Damage Assessment: Who Is Steve Glomb?

    Tuesday, March 07, 2017
    Steve Glomb's M.S. thesis was on “Speciation in the oyster genus Crassostrea: It’s not just a shell game.” He was also the co-author of an academic journal article, “The effect of temperature on growth and ammonia excretion of the Manila clam Tapes japonica,” in Estuarine and Coastal Marine Science.   read more
  • What Does the Department of Energy Do?

    Monday, March 06, 2017
    When President Donald Trump nominated Rick Perry to be Secretary of Energy, there was some concern that Perry, who had proposed eliminating the Department of Energy, did not fully understand what the department does. That was probably an exaggeration. However, just in case, now that Perry has been confirmed for his new position, for him or for anyone else, a good place to start is AllGov’s page about the department here.   read more
  • Director of the State Department Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations: Who Is Lydia Muniz?

    Monday, March 06, 2017
    Muniz worked as office manager for Leon E. Panetta (D-California) in the House of Representatives. In 1995, she was legislative assistant in the Office of Legislative Affairs of the Office of Management and Budget and in 1996 she was special assistant for policy in the Office of the Secretary of the Army. She then served as deputy director of the Department of Media Affairs in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina.   read more
  • Director of the Art in Embassies Program: Who is Ellen Susman?

    Monday, March 06, 2017
    Susman produced a conference, “The Myth of Superwoman,” which focused on the challenges facing women in the workplace, and she edited a memoir of the life of her late sister who had worked as a photojournalist in the Middle East. In 2011, President Obama appointed Susman as a member of the President's Advisory Committee on the Arts for the JFK Center for the Performing Arts. Named as the top female Texas bundler for Obama, she donated $100,000 to the Obama super PAC, Priorities USA Action.   read more
  • Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs: Who Is Mari Carmen Aponte?

    Saturday, March 04, 2017
    In 1998, President Clinton nominated Aponte to be ambassador to the Dominican Republic, but Republicans killed the nomination, using rumors, later debunked, that she'd been recruited by Cuban intelligence. Aponte caused a stir in El Salvador in 2011 when she wrote in a local newspaper, “No one should be subjected to aggression because of who he is or who he loves. Homophobia and brutal hostility are often based on lack of understanding about what it truly means to be gay or transgender."   read more
  • Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, Environment and Science (OES): Who Is Judith Garber?

    Friday, March 03, 2017
    Garber oversaw bilateral relations with the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Slovenia. She later served as ambassador to Latvia, the first career diplomat to the small Baltic nation since Brian E. Carlson served in Riga from 2001 to 2004. Garber’s two immediate predecessors, Catherine Todd Bailey and Chuck. Larson, Jr., were non-career appointees who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the 2004 presidential campaign of George W. Bush.   read more
  • National Security Advisor: Who Is H.R. McMaster?

    Thursday, March 02, 2017
    McMaster has said that rather than taking an anti-Muslim stance, the U.S. should join forces with Muslim-majority countries to fight the Islamic State. Another contrast with Trump’s philosophy was outlined in an April 2015 speech at the University of South Florida, when McMaster said “the military-industrial complex may represent a greater threat to us than at any time in history.” McMaster also warned about military strategy think tanks that are actually funded by defense contractors.   read more
  • Vice President of the United States: Who Is Mike Pence?

    Wednesday, March 01, 2017
    Pence became the first sitting VP to speak at Washington's annual anti-abortion march, and later said, "America's Obamacare nightmare is about to end.” In December 2015, after candidate Trump called for a temporary halt to Muslims entering the U.S., Pence tweeted, “Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional.” Yet, when Trump, as president, signed an order banning the entry of Muslims from seven countries, Pence stood behind him, smiling and nodding approval.   read more
  • Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Who Is Victoria Lipnic?

    Tuesday, February 28, 2017
    As assistant secretary for employment standards in the George W. Bush administration, Lipnic backed employers’ calls to weaken the Family and Medical Leave Act and pushed through a change in overtime policy that allowed employers to exempt more of their workers from earning overtime pay. As an EEOC member, she dissented in a decision that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of sexual discrimination. She also voted against pay data requirements to curb discrimination.   read more
  • Secretary of the Navy: Who Was Philip Bilden?

    Tuesday, February 28, 2017
    “After an extensive review process, I have determined that I will not be able to satisfy the Office of Government Ethics requirements without undue disruption and materially adverse divestment of my family's private financial interests,” said Bilden. He is the second Trump armed services secretary nominee to withdraw for financial reasons. Early this month, billionaire Wall Street trader Vincent Viola pulled out as nominee for secretary of the Army due to "insurmountable" financial challenges.   read more
  • Secretary of Labor: Who Is Alex Acosta?

    Monday, February 27, 2017
    Acosta's cases included lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy in a casino deal; and Jose Padilla, accused of planning a “dirty bomb” attack. Acosta also cut a deal with Palm Beach financier Jeffrey Epstein, a social acquaintance of Donald Trump, who was accused of operating an international sex ring involving underage girls. In the deal, Acosta turned prosecution over to the state of Florida, which charged Epstein with a relatively minor offense.   read more
  • Acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Disability Employment Policy: Who is Jennifer Sheehy?

    Monday, February 27, 2017
    That was the summer when someone at a July 4 weekend pool party pushed her backward into the pool, causing her to hit her head on a wall and to suffer a broken neck. She spent the next few years in recovery, “relearning every single thing that you had to do with a spinal cord injury,” she said. In 2012, Sheehy was named deputy assistant secretary of ODEP. In 2016, President Obama appointed her to be a member of the Committee for Purchase from People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled.   read more
  • Acting Solicitor General: Who Is Noel Francisco?

    Saturday, February 25, 2017
    Francisco represented R.J. Reynolds Tobacco in its successful First Amendment challenge to a federal regulation requiring cigarette manufacturers to display graphic warning images on cigarette packages. Francisco also won the appeal of former Republican Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia, who’d been convicted of taking bribes. He recently found himself in the midst of a prominent case as acting solicitor general when he had to argue that Trump’s travel ban should be implemented.   read more
  • Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel: Who Is Steven A. Engel?

    Friday, February 24, 2017
    In the Bush Justice Dept's Office of Legal Counsel, Engel worked on Guantánamo detainee issues. Later as a partner at the Dechart law firm in Washington, he represented Republican governors in U.S. vs. Texas, in which those governors fought the implementation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, an Obama program to delay some deportations of undocumented immigrants. He also represented those challenging the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act.   read more
  • Secretary of the Navy: Who Is Philip Bilden?

    Thursday, February 23, 2017
    Bilden remained in Hong Kong for 20 years, becoming a major player in bringing private equity investment to Asia. He opened HarboutVest offices in Tokyo in 2010 and Beijing in 2012. Back in the U.S. in 2016, he he sat on the board of the Naval Academy Foundation and the Naval War College Foundation, where he was the inaugural chairman of the Center for Cyber Conflict Studies Task Force. Bilden's nomination was a surprise, as Trump adviser Randy Forbes was the expected choice.   read more
  • Director of the United States Attorneys: Who is Monty Wilkinson?

    Thursday, February 23, 2017
    In 1989, Wilkinson became a judicial law clerk to Eric Holder, who was at that time a judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. In 1990, Wilkinson joined the criminal division of the U.S. Dept of Justice, where he worked as a trial attorney in the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section and the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section. Three years later, he became special counsel to U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia (Holder), a position that lasted nearly four years.   read more
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