Archive for the ‘DC’ Category
Aug 14

Martha Kanter Leaves Higher Ed Department

Martha Kaner

Martha Kaner

Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter announced yesterday she would be leaving the administration and returning to academia. In a farewell email to friends and staff, Kanter praised President Barack Obama and her work at the Department of Education.

“Together we have accomplished important milestones in improving education for Americans at all levels, especially for those most in need. I know from experience that great teaching, learning and research have the power to transform our nation and the world. To build on the work and considerable outcomes we have achieved, I have decided to return to academia and will leave federal government service this fall,” she wrote in an email. Kanter joined the Department of Education when she was appointed in 2009. Her exit, however, is a massive hole in DoE according to Politico. Her goodbye stressed her accomplishments and praise for the administration:

“I know from experience that great teaching, learning and research have the power to transform our nation and the world. To build on the work and considerable outcomes we have achieved, I have decided to return to academia and will leave federal government service this fall.

Delivering a world-class education for all is what I have dedicated my life to get done every day. Serving as your Under Secretary has deepened my understanding and appreciation of what “service to improve the public good of our nation” really means. The promise and power of delivering good government to our students and families is a tireless, phenomenal effort, often with few external rewards if done honestly, fairly and well. What unfolds each and every day never ceases to amaze me, even now. I could never have imagined a more exciting and challenging opportunity. For that I thank President Obama, Secretary Duncan and each of you.”

With an uplifting sign-off (“Full speed ahead!”) Kanter plans to go back into education. There are no current names being thrown around for her role or the still-vacant Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education. Even the days of 2009 where Kanter was confirmed in three months seem like a forgotten era. Kanter hasn’t specified exactly what type of “academia” she’s heading back to, but it’ll hopefully have a better cafeteria and quad than Seaton Section Park outside of DoE.

Photo via Twitter

Aug 13

White House Continues Trend of Referencing Mean Girls

Once again, it seems like the White House made a Mean Girls reference.

The 2004 comedy staring Lindsay Lohan, who we’re aware is something of a Washington sparklie, is ripe for referencing inside the Beltway. In a tweet sent out by the official White House account, Bo is the culprit in this recent attempt to reference the lack of fetch ever happening. But who’s the real culprit?

Mean Girls has been a subtle staple inside the Obama media team since the 2012 re-election campaign. A gif here, a(n unofficial) quickmeme template there and a random Ann Coulter reference that makes us think she’s never seen the film. But Mean Girls is essential when dissecting Washington, especially in gif form. Could this be a sign of DoJ fighting the American Airlines/U.S. Airways merger? Proof of Cronut coming to D.C.? Or worse–nothing at all except a brief tweet on a Tuesday?

No word when the administration will start using The Canyons as a talking point.

Jul 1

Washington’s the Church, Hollywood’s the Steeple. Here’s Who Opens the Doors for all the Veeple

Veep Season 2 screening

The Washington City Paper continues their love of Veep by going into the consultants behind shows like Alpha House, House of Cards and the glory days of The West Wing. Marin Cogan dives into the Beltway folks that have re-energized and brought more to hashing out the “Veeple” instead of living out the dream of very confused Secret Service hopefuls after White House down and Olympus has Fallen. And sometimes, the shows continue to get things wrong about Washington (we’re looking at you Homeland and King & Maxwell:

It’s easy to spot when Hollywood gets something majorly wrong about Washington, like when Homeland portrays Farragut Square as a sprawling green park rather than a tiny city square. What’s less obvious is the effort some shows, like House of Cards or Veep, put into hewing closely to the real look and feel of Washington—if not in character and plotlines, then at least in setting and dialogue. It’s the result of a lot of effort from obsessive directors, writers, line producers, props and set designers. But behind all of them are political consultants, current or recovering politicos offering up their experiences and insight as grist for visual fiction.

Veep ended two weeks ago and House of Cards is back in production for season two in Balitmore–conveniently in the same soundstage as the HBO show. The City Paper goes into the nitty gritty, explaining the shared friendships and co-working conditions that befit programs about Washington as fittingly as the city’s own working relationships around government, private sectors and stealing lines from science fairs.

WCP – Hollywood Squares

Jun 19

Washington Sees Off Leslie Dach

Leslie Dach Reception

When Tony Podesta sends an invitation, smart people always say yes. But an invite from Tony and Walmart’s Senior Director of Federal Government Ivan Zapien to fete the outgoing Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs Leslie Dach has all the smart people accepting.

Tosca’s front room was packed with Washington’s finest to take a moment away from big issues to celebrate a Big Man on the Washington Campus (Leslie, of course). After leading their Washington office for seven years, he’s leaving behind all the good works of the corporate affairs office to a new role as consultant to the company. Leslie with his wife Mary and their daughter hugged and chatted with friends as yummy hors d’oeuvres were passed around the early-evening crowd.

Guests included Sylvia Matthews, former director of OMB, who Leslie recruited to Walmart to run their philanthropy, Washington Super-Lawyer Bob Barnett, Martha’s Table CEO/President and Philanthropist Patty Stonesifer, Mary Tydings Smith and The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer. Other guests included Ron Brownstein and Eileen McMenamin, Amy Weiss and Peter Kadzik, Ann Walker Marchant, Melissa Moss and John Podesta.


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Jun 17

This Week Welcomes Jeremy Bash To The Talking Heads

A new Obama pundit joined the Sunday show ranks yesterday. Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff to former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and his top deptuy at the CIA, appeared on This Week’s panel explaining the President’s new position on Syria. Joining him were George Will, Jeffrey Goldberg and Martha Raddatz.

While Will went with the Napolean quote to lead of the Sunday conversation, Bash used his own experience at the CIA to go over the issues.

The Week – Roundtable I: U.S. Role in Syria