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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

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."

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

"I've also directed Secretary Shinseki to focus on a top priority: reducing homelessness among veterans. After serving their country, no veteran should be sleeping on the streets. No veteran. We should have zero tolerance for that." Transcript Video

The United States Justice Department filed a brief defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), declaring it was doing so only because it is standard practice for the Justice Department to defend all federal laws, even those it doesn't agree with, stating: "This administration does not support DOMA as a matter of policy, believes that it is discriminatory, and supports its repeal. Source: DOJ Memorandum Smelt & Hammer V. United States. The President released a statement: "This brief makes clear"that my administration believes that the act is discriminatory and should be repealed by Congress." Transcript

The Obama Administration shut down flag@whitehouse.gov, which had been set up to receive information on "fishy" claims about the President's health reform plans.E-mails to that address now bounce back with the message: "The e-mail address you just sent a message to is no longer in service. We are now accepting your feedback about health insurance reform via http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck." Source: Politico.com

Day208/Aug18th/Tuesday: The President met with Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak in the Oval Office of the White House. Remarks to the press by President Obama & President Mubarak Video

The President met with United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office.

The President met in the Situation Room of the White House with former United States President Bill Clinton for nearly forty minutes. The President thanked Clinton for undertaking the humanitarian mission that secured the release of two American citizens, Euna Lee and Laura Ling, who had been detained by North Korea for over four months. After the meeting, the President invited Clinton to the Oval Office to continue their conversation for another half hour. Source

The United States State Department granted permission for two North Korean diplomates to meet with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. Source: MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show __August 18, 2009

Day209/Aug19th/Wednesday: The President honored the 2008 Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson on the South Portico of the White House. Transcript of the President's Remarks Video

The President participated in a conference call in the evening with faith leaders to discuss health insurance reform. Audio

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

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