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The Obama Administration: March 17-31, 2011

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Susan H. Hildreth , Member, Board of Trustees of the American Folklife Center

Gary Hirshberg , Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

Edwin Schlossberg , Member, Commission of Fine Arts

Lesley Weiss , Member, Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad   Source&Bios

The President spoke in the evening with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan from Air Force One, reiterating the determination of the   United States to support the people of Japan in their efforts to deal with the devastating effects of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of close U.S.-Japanese cooperation in dealing with the ongoing nuclear plants emergency. Source

The President returned to the White House.

United States Energy Secretary Stephen Chu announced a new program called "America's Next Top Energy Innovator," to reduce the cost and paperwork for start-up companies to purchase the Department's many thousand unlicensed patents and start bringing more of these new energy technologies to the U.S. marketplace. "Our goal is simple," said Secretary Chu, "unleash America's innovation machine and win the global race for the clean energy jobs of the future." Starting May 2, 2011,   entrepreneurs could apply for any of the patents by submitting a business plan for how they proposed to use them. Within the scope of the challenge, a portfolio of up to three patents would cost an upfront fee of $1,000--a total savings of $10,000 - $50,000. The top entrepreneurs, who completed the process and demonstrated significant progress toward executing their business plan and commercializing the technology, would appear in a showcase at the 3rd Annual ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in 2012--the premier annual gathering of clean energy investors and innovators around the country. Source

The United States Interior Department released a report (pdf) that concluded:

1)      although the Department of Interior has made available significant acreage for resource development over the past two years, substantial acreage has not been leased by industry

2)      tens of millions of acres that are currently under lease remain idle

3)      In total, 22 million leased onshore acres -- acres already in the hands of oil and gas companies -- are not being used;   roughly the size of Indiana.

4)      Over 70 percent of the tens of millions of offshore acres under lease are inactive. In the Gulf of Mexico alone, there are nearly 24 million inactive leased acres. That's about the size of Kentucky. DOI estimates that this area includes approximately 11.6 billion barrels of oil and nearly 60 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.


Day765/March30th/Wednesday: The President delivered a speech at Georgetown University that outlined his plan for America's energy security. Transcript Fact Sheet: America's Energy Security Video

The President sent these nominations to the United States Senate:

Henry S. Ensher , of California, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria bio
Kenneth J. Fairfax, of Kentucky, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Kazakhstan bio
Deepa Gupta, of Illinois, to be a Member of the National Council on the Arts for a term expiring September 3, 2016 (New Position) bio Source

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