Officially In: Karen Kornbluh to OECD

On June 25, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Karen Kornbluh to be the Permanent Representative of the U.S. to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD Paris). The WH released the following official bio:

Karen Kornbluh is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Center for American Progress. She served as policy director in then-Senator Obama’s Senate office, beginning in 2005. Ms. Kornbluh founded the Work and Family Program at the New America Foundation, a centrist think tank, where she was also a Markle Fellow. Previously, she served as deputy chief of staff at the US Treasury Department. From 1994 to 1997, she filled several roles at the Federal Communications Commission, including Assistant Chief of the Commission’s International Bureau, helping to negotiate the World Trade Organization Agreement on Basic Telecommunications, and Director of the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs while the agency was implementing key provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. She earlier worked for Senator John Kerry (D-MA) on economic issues. Ms. Kornbluh began her career as a management consultant to Fortune 500 manufacturing companies and an economist at forecasting firm Townsend-Greenspan & Co.

She received a Masters from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a BA from Bryn Mawr College.

* * *

Ms. Kornbluh was
Barack Obama’s chief policy director from the beginning of his Senate tenure throughout his 2008 presidential campaign. If confirmed, she would replace Christopher Egan, who was appointed during George W. Bush’s second term.

Related Item:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 6-25-09

Officially In: James Knight to Cotonou

On June 25, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate James Knight to be Ambassador to the Republic of Benin. The WH released the following official bio:

James Knight, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, is Director of the State Department’s Office of East African Affairs, which provides political and economic policy support and liaison for Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda. Mr. Knight was previously Team Leader of the Ninewa Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), based in Mosul, Iraq. Before Iraq, Mr. Knight was Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) for the U.S. Mission to Angola. Previous assignments include DCM for Embassy Praia, Cape Verde; Country Affairs Officer for Ethiopia in the Office of East African Affairs; Political Officer for Embassy Antananarivo, Madagascar; Political, Economic, and Consular Officer for Embassy Banjul, the Gambia; and General Services Officer at Embassy Lagos, Nigeria.

Before the Foreign Service he worked as an economic development specialist for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Niger and as a software developer for the private sector. Mr. Knight holds a PhD from the University of Chicago.

* * *

If confirmed, Mr. Knight would replace career diplomat, Gayleatha B. Brown who was appointed US Ambassador to Benin in 2006.

Related Item:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 6-25-09

In the Loop’s Name That Flu Contest Winners

According to Al Kamen, In the Loop’s Name the Flu contest was aimed at finding a moniker catchier than H1N1, neutral on Mexico and fair to America’s pork producers.

Apparently many hundreds of entries were received – “from as far away as Afghanistan, Slovakia, El Salvador and New Zealand — sifted themselves into broad categories: slams on 24/7 media hype; plays on the H1N1 name, some trying to work out anagrams that will be easier for people to remember; and creative ways to avoid defaming Mexico or speaking ill of pigs.”

CNN Flu, Fox News Flu, Ponzi Flu, NAFTA Flu, PC flu – were among the entries that got special mention in Al Kamen’s column on June 19. Not terribly exciting submissions or creative submissions I must say. A Foreign Service officer in El Salvador did submit “Y2K Flu,” adding: “The same hype and senseless waste of money. Twice.”

But — none of the names submitted would remind you to run to the bathroom and wash your hands one more time. The PONZI flu may remind you to check your wallet. The PC flu may urge you to check your computer’s temperature … you know what I mean? We need something bulky, severe and scary like SARS; just saying it out loud is big thud, a sure attention getter. We need something solid like that.

Read the results here.

Officially In: David Killion to UNESCO

From Wikipedia

On June 25, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate David Killion to be the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with the rank of Ambassador. The WH released the following official bio:

David Killion is a Senior Professional Staff member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and is the Committee’s top expert on International Organizations and State Department Operations. Mr. Killion managed the drafting of this year’s State Department Authorization Act on behalf of Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA), which passed the House on June 10th. He has also coordinated Committee initiatives to improve UN management and to reform UN human rights mechanisms. Mr. Killion served as top UN advisor to the late Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA) the previous Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee. In this capacity he worked on legislation that Mr. Lantos introduced and passed in 2001 authorizing U.S. re-entry to UNESCO. Prior to serving on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr. Killion was an appointee of the Clinton Administration in the Department of State in the bureau of Legislative Affairs (1996-2001), and as a legislative assistant to Congressman David Skaggs (D-C0) (1994-1996).

Mr. Killion holds a BA from Wesleyan University in Middletown Connecticut and an MA from the University of California at Los Angeles.

* * *

If confirmed, Mr. Killion would replace Louise V. Oliver, a Reagan-era Republican who was appointed Permanent Representative to UNESCO by George W. Bush in 2004. The United States withdrew from UNESCO on December 31, 1984. It announced its intention to rejoin UNESCO on September 12, 2002.

Related Items:

Officially In: Judith G. Garber to Riga

On June 25, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Judith G. Garber to be Ambassador to the Republic of Latvia. The WH released the following official bio:

Judith Garber currently serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs at the Department of State. A career Foreign Service Officer, she joined the Foreign Service in 1984. Her previous diplomatic assignments include Economic Counselor in Madrid, Spain, Deputy Economic Counselor in Tel Aviv, Israel, Economic Officer in Prague, Czech Republic, Economic Officer in Mexico City, Mexico, and Vice Consul in Seville, Spain.

Ms. Garber’s Washington assignments include Director for North Central Europe in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Director for Overseas Development Finance in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, and the Department’s Executive Secretariat staff.

Ms. Garber holds a Bachelor of Science from Georgetown University.

* * *

If confirmed, Ms. Garber would replace Charles W. ‘Chuck’ Larson, Jr., a former Iowa State Senator and chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, who was appointed US Ambassador to Latvia during George W. Bush’s second term. Except for the first US Ambassador to Latvia in 1922 and the last two US Ambassadors who were political appointees, career diplomats had been appointed ambassador to Riga since 1931.

Related Item:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 6-25-09

Officially In: William Eacho to Vienna

Source: State Department/OIG Photo

On June 25, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate
William Eacho to be Ambassador to the Republic of Austria. The WH released the following official bio:

William Eacho is the CEO of Carlton Capital Group, LLC, a private investment company focused on real estate and private investments primarily dealing with alternative energy and technology. Previously, he was the executive vice president of Alliant Foodservice, Inc., a $6 billion national food service distributor based in Chicago, with primary responsibility for technology and acquisition strategy. He joined Alliant after the company’s acquisition of Atlantic Food Services in Manassas, Virginia. Under Mr. Eacho’s leadership, Atlantic increased its sales tenfold. Prior to that Mr. Eacho was a founding co-chairman of UniPro Foodservice Inc., the food service distribution industry’s top procurement and marketing cooperative, with combined member sales of over $20 billion. From 1996-1997, Mr. Eacho served as chairman of ComSource, a $9 billion cooperative, until helping to negotiate a merger with its leading competitor, EMCO, to create UniPro Foodservice. Mr. Eacho serves on the boards of directors of Capital Transportation Inc., Stanley Martin Companies Inc., Systems 4 Inc. and Bialek Healthcare Environments Inc.

* * *

According to, Bill Eacho is one of President O’s bundlers who raised a minimum of $500,000 during the campaign. If confirmed, Mr. Eacho would replace David F. Girard-diCarlo, the 2000 chairman of the Bush-Cheney election campaign who was appointed US Ambassador to Austria in 2008. The last career diplomat who was appointed US Ambassador to Austria was Douglas MacArthur II who served there from 1967-1969.

Related Item:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 6-25-09

Insider Quote: 4th of July Go Smoothly – Makers

Classic British seaside donkeys in SkegnessImage via Wikipedia

“Shortly after our arrival in Kingston, we celebrated a Fourth of July party for the diplomatic corps and all Americans. I met countless times with the wives of our Consular staff to make sure everything would go smoothly. We hired a little donkey saddled with a pannier on each side filled with rum. Christopher led the little donkey around, offering our guests a drink which his older sister had prepared at the last minute with too much emphasis on the rum, as we discovered later. It is not surprising that the party was a huge success, the best ever given on American Independence Day we were told by many who attended. We were still happily celebrating when it became dark and we quite forgot to haul down the flag. Later in the night, we were reminded by one of the departing guests. At about the same time, I discovered that some of our staff had passed out from the leftover rum in the little donkey’s panniers. A memorable evening!”

Mildred Teusler Ringwalt

Memoirs of a Foreign Service Officer’s Wife 1938-1958
The Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training

WH Rolls Out 5th Batch of Nominees for Ambassadors

On June 25, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals for key administration posts:

  • William Eacho, Ambassador, Republic of Austria
    (Political Appointee)

  • Judith G. Garber, Ambassador, Republic of Latvia
    (Career Diplomat)

  • David Killion, rank of Ambassador during his tenure of service as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
    (Political Appointee)

  • James Knight, Ambassador, Republic of Benin
    (Career Diplomat)

  • Karen Kornbluh, Permanent Representative of the U.S. to OECD
    (Political Appointee)

  • Bruce Oreck, Ambassador, Republic of Finland
    (Political Appointee)

  • Charles A. Ray, Ambassador, Republic of Zimbabwe
    (Career Diplomat)

  • David Thorne, Ambassador, Italian Republic and the Republic of San Marino
    (Political Appointee)

Related Item:

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 6-25-09

Confirmed: Koh, Campbell, Tauscher, Rooney

The following civilian Executive Nominations for the Department of State were confirmed by the Senate on June 25:

PN225 * Harold Hongju Koh, of Connecticut,
to be Legal Adviser

PN373 * Kurt M. Campbell, of the District of Columbia,
to be an Assistant Secretary of State (East Asian and Pacific Affairs).

PN403 * Ellen O. Tauscher, of California,
to be Under Secretary of State for Arms Controland International Security.

PN587 Daniel M. Rooney, of Pennsylvania,
to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States
of America to Ireland.

— (Senate – June 25, 2009)

[Page: S7114] GPO’s PDF

— (Senate – June 25, 2009)

[Page: S7114] GPO’s PDF

Video of the Week: Robert Full and the Gecko

Biologist Robert Full studies the amazing gecko, with its supersticky feet and tenacious climbing skill. But high-speed footage reveals that the gecko’s tail harbors perhaps the most surprising talents of all.

UC Berkeley biologist Robert Full is fascinated with cockroach legs that allow them to scuttle at full speed across loose mesh and gecko feet that have billions of nano-bristles to run straight up walls. He’s using his research to design the perfect robotic “distributed foot,” adding spines, hairs and other parts to metal legs and creating versatile scampering machines.

He’s helped create robots, such as Spinybot, which can walk up sheer glass like a gecko — and he even helped Pixar create more realistic insect animations in the film A Bug’s Life.