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The Obama Administration: May 1-16, 2010

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The U.S. Department of Commerce's Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship announced the i6 Challenge, where an award up to $1 million each will be given to six winning teams with the most innovative ideas to drive technology commercialization in their regions. Anyone interested in participating in the i6 Challenge was encouraged to submit their application by the July 15, 2010 deadline. More information could be found at where information on a special conference call for potential applicants on May 17, 2010 was available. Source

The Pentagon disclosed the number of nuclear warheads in the U.S. arsenal: 5,113, representing a 75 per cent reduction since 1989. Source: CBS Evening News, May 3, 2010.

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Day466/May4th/Tuesday: The President addressed the annual meeting of the Business Council, an influential corporate group whose members include chief executives from a broad array of industries and companies, such as Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX), Cardinal Health Inc. (CAH) and Goldman Sachs Groups Inc. (GS) (Source) at the Park Hyatt. Transcript Video

The President made calls to Times Square vendor Lance Orton and Officers Wayne Rhatigan and Pam Duffy to thank them for their vigilance that thwarted an attempted car bombing of Times Square. Lance Orton and Duane Jackson were the vendors who first reported the suspicious vehicle. Officers Rhatigan and Duffy were the officers on the scene whose actions led to the evacuation of the area and the immediate response. Source

The President had lunch with Elie Wiesel in the Private Dining Room of the White House. Source

The President and Vice President Joe Biden met with United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in the Oval Office of the White House.

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The President welcomed Indonesia's announcement at the opening session of the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference that they are "initiating the process of the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty." Source

The President declared a major disaster existed in the State of Tennessee and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms, flooding, straight-line winds, and tornadoes beginning on April 30, 2010, and continuing, making Federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Cheatham, Davidson, Hickman and Williamson. Assistance also include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster. Federal funding was also made available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis in the counties of Cheatham, Davidson, Hickman and Williamson for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance. Federal funding was also made available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide. Source

The President issued a Presidential Memorandum in which he ordered the U.S. Secretary of Energy: "By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 301 of title 3, United States Code, I hereby delegate to you the certification and reporting functions conferred upon the President by section 201(b) of the United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act (Public Law 110-369). Source

Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the selection of 15 communities across the country to serve as pilot communities for eventual wide-scale use of health information technology through the Beacon Community program. The 15 Beacon communities, their awards, and key strategies for success can be found here. Video

Vice President Joe Biden chaired his monthly Cabinet-level meeting on Iraq. United States Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill and Commanding General of United States Forces in Iraq Raymond Odierno briefed Principals on political and security developments via secure video teleconference and the U.S. Departments of Justice, State, and Homeland Security discussed Rule of Law programs in Iraq. Participants included Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, Commander of the U.S. Central Command General David Petraeus, National Security Advisor James L. Jones, Deputy National Security Advisor Thomas E. Donilon, State Deputy Secretaries James Steinberg and Jacob Lew, Deputy U.S. Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin, Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler, and representatives from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Departments of Energy and Commerce, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Source

To ensure consistent coordination with the Gulf Coast states, Admiral Thad Allen, Secretaries Janet Napolitano and Ken Salazar, Administrator Lisa Jackson and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Deputy Under Secretary Monica Medina began daily calls with the Governors from the five Gulf Coast states to provide updates on the response to the BP oil spill and answer any questions that arise. Governors Haley Barbour, Charlie Crist, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry and Bob Riley were invited to participate in the daily calls moving forward. Source

The White House and the U.S. Department of Education announced Kalamazoo Central High School in Kalamazoo, Michigan, was the winner of the first annual Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge, earning the prize of President Obama delivering the school's commencement address. Source

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Sallie Mae, the largest private student lender in the United States, announced that as of May 10, 2010 rates on its Smart Option Student Loan will be 2.88% to 10.25%, based on the current London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), the benchmark for the variable-rate loan; down from a range of 4.38% to 12.88%. Source

United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) would host a National Rural Summit, on Thursday, June 3, 2010, in Hillsboro, Missouri, to discuss the future of rural America. Source

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the first-ever national rules to ensure the safe disposal and management of coal ash from coal-fired power plants. The rules were to ensure that protective controls, such as liners and groundwater monitoring, are in place at new landfills to protect groundwater and human health. Existing surface impoundments would also require liners, with strong incentives to close the impoundments and transition to safer landfills, which store coal ash in dry form. Environmentally safe and desirable forms of recycling coal ash, known as beneficial uses, were to be promoted. Source

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

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