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.

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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.

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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.