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The Obama Administration: August 17-31, 2009

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This article is the fifteenth in a continuing series chronicling the unfolding history of the Obama Administration. The writer's opinions are not offered, leaving the readers to arrive at their own conclusions.

"The outpouring of love, gratitude and fond memories to which we've all borne witness is a testament to the way this singular figure in American history touched so many lives. His ideas and ideals are stamped on scores of laws and reflected in millions of lives: in seniors who know new dignity, in families that know new opportunity, in children who know education's promise, and in all who can pursue their dream in an America that is more equal and more just, including myself."__Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, on the death of U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, August 26, 2009

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Day207/Aug17th/Monday: the President addressed the VFW National Convention in Phoenix, Arizona, and announced he directed his Chief Performance Officer, Chief Technology Officer and Chief Information Officer to join with United States Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki in a new reform effort, launching a new competition to capture the very best ideas of VA employees. Among the President's other remarks:

"So already I've put an end to unnecessary no-bid contracts. I've signed bipartisan legislation to reform defense procurement so weapons systems don't spin out of control. And even as we increase spending on the equipment and weapons our troops do need, we've proposed cutting tens of billions of dollars in waste we don't need."

"If a project doesn't support our troops, if it does not make America safer, we will not fund it. If a system doesn't perform, we will terminate it. And if Congress sends me a defense bill loaded with a bunch of pork, I will veto it. We will do right by our troops and taxpayers, and we will build the 21st century military that we need."

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"My budget ensures that our severely disabled veterans will receive both their military retired pay and their VA disability benefits."

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Retired, Robert Arend was president of an AFSCME local from 1997-2007.

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