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Saturday, Apr 19th

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Obama taps budget guru, technocrat for health job

Sylvia BurwellSylvia Mathews Burwell, nominated to run "Obamacare," would bring a wealth of expertise in economics and government management to one of Washington's toughest jobs, even though she has little direct experience in the health care industry.

In selecting Burwell to replace Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Obama chose a veteran technocrat who members of both parties say is up to the challenge of running a $1 trillion bureaucracy that rivals the Pentagon in complexity. If confirmed, she'll inherit a beleaguered agency seeking desperately to turn the page on a tumultuous chapter characterized by the shambolic rollout of Obama's health care law and HealthCare.gov.

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HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius resigns

Kathleen SibeliusAfter a difficult five years shepherding President Obama's signature health care law, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has tendered her resignation, according to two senior administration officials.

Obama accepted the resignation this week and intends to announce that he will nominate Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell to replace Sebelius.

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Christie Prosecutor Gets Its Star Witness to Start Talking

David WildsteinBad news for Chris Christie -- and very good news for the citizens of New Jersey: Esquire has learned from sources close to the investigation that David Wildstein, the former Port Authority operative who helped plan and execute the Great Fort Lee Clusterfk, is now cooperating with Paul Fishman, the federal prosecutor investigating the soon-to-be-ex-governor and his minions for criminal conduct.

Fishman has also increased the number of investigators at work on the case, and has begun presenting evidence and witnesses to a grand jury in Newark.

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Obama To Sign Executive Orders On Equal Pay

equal pay executived orderPresident Barack Obama will sign two new executive orders on equal pay for women Tuesday, Politico reports. The executive actions coincide with "Equal Pay Day" -- the date that symbolizes how far into 2014 women must work to earn the same amount of money men earned last year.

Both executive orders mirror provisions of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which Congress has twice failed to pass. One would prohibit federal contractors from retaliating against employees who share their salary information with each other. The provision is inspired by Lilly Ledbetter, the namesake of the first bill Obama signed on equal pay in 2009, who worked for nearly 20 years at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. before discovering that men in her same job with equal or lesser experience were earning significantly more money than she was.

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Chris Christie Bridge Scandal Investigation Clears Big Hoboken Hurdle

chris christieOfficials in Hoboken, New Jersey, on Wednesday approved a measure that would allow a city attorney to cooperate with investigators probing claims of political intimidation by aides to Republican Governor Chris Christie, a likely White House contender.

The Hoboken City Council voted 7-1 to allow City Attorney Joseph Maraziti to disclose private conversations he had with Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who accuses the Christie administration of withholding federal storm recovery money to pressure her.

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Rumsfeld Thinks “A Trained Ape” Could Do What Obama Can’t

Donald RumsfeldDonald Rumsfeld, whose mastery of foreign policy was amply displayed in Iraq, thinks that “a trained ape” could have done a better job handling Afghanistan’s President, Hamid Karzai, than President Obama and his team have. The problem, Rumsfeld told Greta Van Susteren, of Fox, on Monday night, is that Obama has not been deferential enough to Karzai: “The President has been unpleasant to him.”

His entire Administration has dealt with Karzai “repeatedly and publicly in an abusive, unpleasant manner.” Is that perhaps what Rumsfeld considers untrained?

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Feds accused of steering funding to anti-pot researchers

Feds pushing anti pot researchAs the nation’s only truly legal supplier of marijuana, the U.S. government keeps tight control of its stash, which is grown in a 12-acre fenced garden on the campus of the University of Mississippi in Oxford.

From there, part of the crop is shipped to Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina, where it’s rolled into cigarettes, all at taxpayer expense.

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