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Well according to sources that AP writer Dina Cappiello has spoken with, he's the frontrunner.  And before you dismiss this as yet another error-ridden AP report, keep in mind that energy and environment is Dina's beat and she doesn't have a history of throwing out unsubstantiated claims:

http://www.google.com/...

But officials close to the transition team privately say that Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize winning physicist, appears to be increasingly on track to become energy secretary.

A Chinese-American, Chu is a professor of physics and molecular and cell biology at the University of California-Berkeley and has been the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory since 2004, where he has pushed aggressively for research into alternative energy as a way to combat global warming.

(video of Chu below the fold)

If you look at the history of the Department of Energy, you'll find that there's never been a Secretary who actually was an expert on energy.  The closest we've ever gotten was Charles Duncan who had a chemical engineering degree and had a cup of coffee out of school at Humble (later Exxon).  For some reason it just never occurred to the President to install a person who was qualified for the position.

Instead we've been subjected to a long line of career politicians, military men and folks that were as far away from energy as you could get (Reagan's first Secretary of Energy was an oral surgeon) . Is it any wonder that our energy policy is set by industry since the person who is supposed to do that doesn't have a clue?

Not only does Chu have a clue, he's a Nobel-prize winning scientist and is already working under the auspices of the Department of Energy at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.  A scientist, ya'll.  As the Secretary of Energy.  Oh. My. Gawd.

Check out what Chu says about jobs being taken out of the hands of lobbyists and assigned to engineers in 3:48-4:23 timeframe.  Classic.

Update 5:03 pm ET:  MSNBC and CNN are both reporting that Chu is the pick and will be officially announced next week.  Break out the champagne.

Originally posted to Shawn in ShowMe on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 11:51 AM PST.

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