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The Obama Administration: May 17-31, 2010

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This article is the thirty-third 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.

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"But when it comes to a specific company with its exploration plan in that one particular area -- they're going to drill right here in this spot -- Congress mandated that only 30 days could be allocated before a yes or no answer was given. That was by law. So MMS's hands were tied. And as a consequence, what became the habit, predating my administration, was you just automatically gave the environmental waiver, because you couldn't complete an environmental study in 30 days."__Barack Obama, President of the United States, in answer to a question at a press conference, May 27, 2010

Day479/May17th/Monday: The President delivered remarks before signing H.R. 3714 - the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act of 2009 in the Oval Office of the White House. Transcript Video

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The President sent his nomination of John S. Pistole for Assistant Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security (Transportation Security Administration) to the United States Senate. Source Bio

The President welcomed the NCAA champion University of Connecticut women's basketball team and delivered remarks in the Rose Garden of the White House to honor the Huskies for their second straight NCAA Championship and back-to-back undefeated seasons. Transcript Video

The President and South Korean President Lee Myong-bak spoke in the evening by telephone as part of their ongoing consultations on the full range of U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) alliance issues. President Lee provided an update on the status of the investigation into the sinking of the ROK naval vessel Cheonan in which 46 Korean sailors lost their lives. President Lee expressed appreciation on behalf of the Korean people for U.S. support in the Cheonan rescue and salvage operations, as well as for the participation of U.S. experts in the international inquiry. The two leaders emphasized the importance of obtaining a full accounting of the event and committed to follow the facts of the investigation wherever they lead. They also pledged their utmost efforts to ensure the security of the Republic of Korea, its armed forces, territory and its people. Both Presidents agreed to remain in close touch, and to meet at the time of the G-20 meeting in Canada in June 2010. Source

The President and Vice President Joe Biden released their 2009 financial disclosure reports:

View the President's 2009 financial disclosure report (pdf)

View the Vice President's 2009 financial disclosure report (pdf)

The United StatesTreasury Department released more details on the ways small businesses will benefit from health insurance reform. Example of the information supplied: "Transition Relief for 2010 Formalized. Because the tax credit is effective for 2010 but was not enacted until March 23, some small businesses that are providing health insurance in 2010 may not meet all the requirements for a qualifying health insurance offer. To ensure that these businesses benefit from the credit, the Administration is providing special transition relief for tax year 2010. The transition rules simplify the requirements for what constitutes a qualifying health insurance offer while maintaining the core requirement that an employer make a significant contribution to the employee's coverage. The transition relief was first mentioned in FAQs released on the IRS website on April 1, and has now been formalized in the new notice."

First Lady Michelle Obama announced that the Partnership for a Healthier America signed an agreement with The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) whose members are pledging to take actions aimed at reducing 1.5 trillion product calories by the end of 2015, beginning with an interim step to this goal by reducing calories by 1 trillion in 2012.Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation manufacturing companies decided to pursue their calorie reduction goals by growing and introducing lower-calorie options; changing product recipes where possible to lower the calorie content of current products; or reducing portion sizes of existing single-serve products. Source Video

Attorney Margaret Wong, representing the President's Kenyan aunt, Zeituni Onyango, said she had "received word from Judge Leonard Shapiro's office" that Zeituni Onyango has been granted asylum in her deportation case." Onyango had been living as an illegal immigrant. According to Attorney Wong, the ruling paved the way for Onyango to be eligible for a work permit, social security card and driver's license; and, in a year, allow application for permanent residency or a green card and in five years seek US citizenship. Source

Day480/May18th/Tuesday: The President traveled to Youngstown, Ohio, where he toured the facilities of V&M Star and delivered remarks on jobs and the economy to workers. Transcript Video

The President, upon his return to Washington, DC, met with Jewish Members of the Democratic Caucuses in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

The President sent to the United States Senate his nomination of Helen Reed-Rowe for Ambassador to the Republic of Palau, Department of State. Source Bio

The White House Council on Automotive Communities and Workers announced a federal framework to speed the cleanup of and redevelopment of shuttered auto facilities resulting from the GM bankruptcy. The framework will invest more than $800 million to put facilities back into productive use, creating jobs and economic growth in communities across the country. Dr. Edward Montgomery, Executive Director of the White House Council on Automotive Communities and Workers said, "Throughout my travel over the last year, I have heard many times that the redevelopment of shuttered auto facilities represents one of the largest economic development challenges our auto communities face. The new framework announced today embodies the Obama Administration's commitment to cleaning up plants and other properties left behind by GM and positioning them again for productive use." Source

The Judiciary Committee of the United States Senate released the answers to its questions by Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. The questionaire and Kagan's answers can be examined here.

Day481/May19th/Wednesday: The President and First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed President Felipe Calderon of Mexico and Mrs. Zavala to the White House. President Obama's Remarks President Calderon's Remarks Video

The President held a bilateral meeting with President Calderón in the Oval Office, then held a joint press conference with President Calderón in the Rose Garden of the White House. Transcript Video

The President met with Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Louis B. Susman in the Oval Office.

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

The President spoke with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan by telephone. Among the discussions, the President stressed the international community's continuing and fundamental concerns about Iran's overall nuclear program as well as Iran's failure to live up to its international obligations; indicated that negotiations on a new U.N. Security Council resolution will continue and noted that Iran's persistent refusal to meet with the P5+1 on Iran's nuclear program and recent refusal to halt enriching uranium to nearly 20 percent do not build confidence. The President and Prime Minister also discussed the ongoing government formation process in Iraq and the need to advance peace in the Middle East. Source

The President sent these nominations to the United States Senate:

Patrick S. Moon, Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Department of State

Christopher W. Murray, Ambassador to the Republic of the Congo, Department of State Source Bios

The President and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a State Dinner in the East Room of the White House for President Calderón and Mrs. Zavala, then a State Dinner Reception with President Calderón and Mrs. Zavala in a tent on the South Lawn of the White House. Toast Remarks Video Video#2

Declaration of the United States Government and United Mexican States Government Concerning 21st Century Border Management

United States National Security Advisor General James L. Jones , accompanied by U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Leon Panetta, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson, and other senior officials, were in Islamabad, Pakistan where they called on President Asif Ali Zardari in the Presidency. Among the discussions, President Asif Ali Zardari said that militancy and terrorism was the common enemy and that the existing robust cooperation between the two countries must continue to fight the menace. General Jones and Director Panetta provided an update on the ongoing investigation into the May 1, 2010 Times Square terrorist incident. Source

United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood was joined at the United Nations (UN) by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, and Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin in launching a Global Call to Action on Ending Distracted Driving. Source

The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) appointed John Flynn, general counsel of ICO Global Communications, to head the review of Comcast's proposed merger with NBC Universal, whether the merger is in the public interest. "The FCC staff has been working hard to analyze all issues presented by the proposed merger, and John's legal expertise and broad experience will help to ensure that the commission's review is thorough, fair, and efficient," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement. Source

United States Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a 30-day timetable iwithin which the Minerals Management Service (MMS) would be split into three branches: the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to develop energy resources, including offshore renewable resources; the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, which will police offshore operations and protect the environment; and the existing division of the agency that oversees $13 billion in annual revenue collection will evolve into the Office of Natural Resources Revenue, move to the Interior Department's budget and management division, and be entirely separate from Interior's land and minerals division. Source

Day482/May20th/Thursday: The President and Vice President Joe Biden met with United States Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner in the Oval Office of the White House.

The President delivered remarks on Wall Street reform from the Rose Garden of the White House. Transcript Source

The President sent these nominations to the United States Senate:

Anthony J. Battaglia, of California, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of California. Bio

Susan L. Carney, of Connecticut, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit Bio

Edward J. Davila, of California, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of California Bio

David J. Hickton, of Pennsylvania, to be United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania for the term of four years Bio

William C. Killian, of Tennessee, to be United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee for the term of four years Bio

Robert Leon Wilkins, of the District of Columbia, to be United States District Judge for the District of Columbia Bio Source

The President proclaimed May 22, 2010, through May 28, 2010, as National Safe Boating Week. Source

The President proclaimed May 23, 2010 through May 29, 2010, as Small Business Week. Source

The President proclaimed May 23, 2010 through May 29, 2010, as National Hurricane Preparedness Week. Source

The President proclaimed May 22, 2010, as National Maritime Day. Source

The President sent a letter to Amy Gutmann, Chair of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, requesting a consideration of the implications of the announced sucessful first time replacement of all the natural DNA inside a cell with laboratory-synthesized DNA that was copied from a natural blueprint -- the DNA of a naturally occurring bacterium closely related to the one into which the synthetic DNA was inserted--and report back to him within six months. letter.pdf

Vice President Joe Biden met with Crown Prince /Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain. Source

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was heckled by right-wing Israeli activists Itamar Ben-Gvir and Baruch Marzel with shouts of "shame on you, you hate Israel" and "traitor," as Emanuel visited Roman ruins in the Old City's Cardo area. The two men were arrested for insulting Emanuel. Source

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs released this statement:

"The United States strongly condemns the conviction and harsh sentencing of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga in Malawi. The criminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity is unconscionable, and this case mars the human rights record of Malawi. We urge Malawi and all countries to stop using sexual orientation or gender identity as the basis for arrest, detention, or execution". Source

Day483/May21st/Friday: The President delivered remarks in the Rose Garden of the White House and signed a Presidential Memorandum outlining the next steps in his vision for cleaner, more efficient vehicles. Transcript Video The President sent the Presidential Memorandum to the United States Secretaries of Transportation, Energy, and EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), requesting these additional coordinated steps be taken to produce a new generation of clean vehicles:

(1) the EPA and the NHTSA propose and take comment on strategies to reduce large tractor trailers gas emissions by as much as 20 percent and increase their fuel efficiency by as much as 25 percent with the use of existing technologies

(2) develop a coordinated national program under the CAA and the EISA to improve fuel efficiency and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of passenger cars and light-duty trucks of model years 2017-2025

(3) work with the State of California to develop by September 1, 2010, a technical assessment to inform the rulemaking process

(4)the Secretary of Energy promote the deployment of advanced technology vehicles by providing technical assistance to cities preparing for deployment of electric vehicles, including plug-in hybrids and all electric vehicles Source

United States Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins announced a new tax credit for biotechnology research, available to the small biotech firms around the country whose research has been judged by NIH experts to hold great promise to lead to new therapies and medical innovation. Source

The United States Justice Department's Antitrust Division filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. to block AMC Entertainment Group's proposed $275 million acquisition of most of the theaters operated by Kerasotes Showplace Theatres, announcing an offer of settlement that it will require AMC Entertainment Group to divest movie theater assets in Chicago, Denver and Indianapolis in order to proceed. Source

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that, because Afghanistan is a war zone and the United States in effect has sovereignty over Guantanamo Bay, detainees at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan cannot use U.S. courts to challenge their imprisonment the way detainees in Guantanamo Bay can. Source

The United States Solicitor General's Office argued in a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals erred in allowing a lawsuit, brought by a man who claimed he was sexually abused in the 1960s by an Oregon priest, by improperly ruling the case to be an exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, a 1976 federal law that sets limits on when other countries can face lawsuits in US courts. Source

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in an e-mailed response to questions submitted by ProPublica, confirmed that its Suspension and Debarment Office has "temporarily suspended" any further discussion with BP regarding its unresolved debarment cases in Alaska and Texas until an investigation into the unfolding Gulf disaster could be concluded. Source

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in a memo, declared number of attempted attacks against the United States in the past nine months has "surpassed the number of attempts during any other previous one-year period," and "We have to operate under the premise that other operatives are in the country and could advance plotting with little or no warning," Source

United States Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair officially resigned.

The week's West Wing Week was released.

Day484/May22nd/Saturday: In his Weekly Address, the President announced that he had created the independent commission BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling via Executive Order to be chaired by former Florida Governor and United States Senator Bob Graham and former EPA Administrator Bill Reilly. The President promised accountability not just for BP, but for those in government who bore responsibility. Transcript Video

The President delivered the commencement address at the United States Military Academy at West Point in West Point, New York. Transcript Video

A major multi-year infrastructure project began on the north side of the White House to improve the condition of critical utilities supplying the West and East Wings. Decades old heating, cooling, electrical, and fire-alarm equipment and unspecified security systems were to be replaced. According to Bob Peck, public buildings commissioner of the General Services Administration (GSA), which manages federal facilities, "This is the biggest upgrade since the complete renovation of the executive mansion in the Truman era." Source

Day485/May23rd/Sunday: Absolutely nothing to report.

Day486/May24th/Monday: The President attended a reception for the Federal Judge Association at the White House. Source

The President spoke by telephone with Gulf Coast Governors on the BP oil spill. Source


The President welcomed Prime Minister Saad_Hariri of Lebanon to the White House. Among their discussions, the President expressed his determination to continue U.S. efforts to support and strengthen Lebanese institutions such as the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Internal Security Forces, and to contribute to the economic growth and development of Lebanon. Source


The President hosted a reception to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the East Room of the White House. Transcript Video

The President endorsed South Korea's President Lee Myong-bak's demand that North Korea immediately apologize and punish those responsible for the March 26, 2010, attack that sank the South Korean ship Cheoan and killed 46 sailors. The President directed his military commanders to coordinate closely with their Republic of Korea counterparts to ensure readiness and to deter future aggression. Source

The President submitted a legislative proposal, the "Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act of 2010," to the United States Congress along with a section-by-section analysis of the legislation. The legislation would require the Congress to vote up or down on legislation proposed by the President to rescind funding, allowing the President to target spending policies that, in his view, do not have a legitimate and worthy public purpose by providing the President with an additional authority to propose the elimination of wasteful or excessive funding. These proposals would then receive expedited consideration in the Congress and a guaranteed up-or-down vote. This legislation would also allow the President to delay funding for these projects until the Congress has had the chance to consider the changes. Source

The President signed into law:

H.R. 1121, the "Blue Ridge Parkway and Town of Blowing Rock Land Exchange Act of 2009," which authorizes the Department of the Interior to exchange with the Town of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, approximately 20 acres of Federal land located in the Blue Ridge Parkway for approximately 192 acres of land owned by the Town.

H.R. 1442, which directs the Department of the Interior to convey the Federal reversionary interest in approximately 60 acres of land located in Salt Lake City, Utah, to the Mount Olivet Cemetery Association.

H.R. 2802, which extends the authority of Adams Memorial Foundation to establish a memorial to President John Adams and his legacy, on Federal lands in the District of Columbia.

H.R. 5148, which prohibits the U.S. Postal Service from delivering a solicitation by a nongovernmental entity if the term "census" is visible through the envelope or outside cover or wrapper unless: (1) the solicitation includes disclaimers that it is not a government document; and (2) the envelope includes the name of the entity that sent the solicitation and an accurate return address.

H.R. 5160, the "Haiti Economic Lift Program Act of 2010," which extends the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act and the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act, and provides additional trade benefits and customs support services for Haiti.

S. 1067, the "Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009," which requires a Presidential strategy to eliminate and mitigate the threat posed by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), and authorizes support for humanitarian needs and other activities in the area affected by the LRA. Source

The President today declared a major disaster existed in the State of Oklahoma and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms, tornadoes, and straight-line winds during the period of May 10-13, 2010. Federal funding was made available to affected individuals in Carter, Cleveland, McIntosh, Okfuskee, Oklahoma, Pottawatomie, and Seminole Counties. Assistance offered included 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 on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide. Source


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

The President sent the United States Senate his nomination of James Michael Cole, of the District of Columbia, to be Deputy Attorney General. Source Bio

Vice President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych spoke by telephone. Source

Day487/May25th/Tuesday: The President hosted award-winning small business owners from around the country in the Rose Garden of the White House as part of a National Small Business Week event, urging Congress to pass a Small Business Jobs Package. Transcript Video

The President visited the United States Capitol to address the Senate Republican Caucus about his legislative agenda, requesting their cooperation in finishing work on measures to help create jobs and improve the economy, including one to help make loans available to small businesses; in ratifying the START Treaty; and in confirming Elena Kagan to the United States Supreme Court in a timely manner so she could take her seat when the court reconvenes after summer; and urged the conference to work with him to address two major, unresolved issues: comprehensive immigration reform and energy legislation. Source

The President met with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy in the Oval Office of the White House. Source

The President talked with TNTs Marv Albert about the state of the National Basketball Association (NBA), LeBron James future, his NBA Finals pick and more in the first ever sit-down interview on the White House basketball court. Video ... (more info)

(less info)

The President traveled to San Francisco for a fundraiser for United States Senator Barbara Boxer and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee at the Fairmont Hotel, where he delivered remarks. Transcript#1 Transcript#2 In route, the President spoke with U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu by telephone from Air Force One. Secretary Chu provided his scientific and technical assessment of BP's plans for a possible "top kill" to the Presidenty and what the next steps would be if BP's "top kill" fails to stop the BP Deepwater Gulf of Mexico oil leak. Source

The President spent the night in San Francisco.

Vice President Joe Biden had a conference call with the following Mayors and officials to discuss implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:

Mayor Dewey F. Bartlett, Jr. (D-Tulsa, OK)

Mayor William A. Bell, Sr. (D-Birmingham, AL)

Mayor John Hieftje (D-Ann Arbor, MI)

Mayor Tomas P. Regalado (R-Miami, FL)

Chief Executive Paul Babb (D-Butte-Silver Bow, MT) Source

Vice President Joe Biden met with Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor. Among their discussions, the Vice President noted the one-year anniversary of Croatia's accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Oraganization (NATO), and expressed appreciation for Croatia's contributions to NATO operations, particularly in Afghanistan; acknowledged Croatia's efforts to foster stability and good relations within Southeast Europe; commended the Prime Minister for reaching a solution on the long-standing border dispute with Slovenia through an arbitration agreement; and praised the Croatian government's efforts to develop a closer bilateral relationship with Serbia, to support the Republic of Kosovo, and to assist efforts by the international community to advance reform and improve the functionality of the Bosnian state. Source

Vice President Joe Biden announced the new report (pdf) from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) was further confirmation that the Recovery Act "is a driving force behind recent economic growth and has already put millions of Americans to work across the country." Source

In a letter (pdf) to U.S. Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Committee on Armed Services in the United States Senate, National Security Advisor James L. Jones and Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan announced a "temporary utilization of up to 1,200 additional National Guard troops to bridge to longer-term enhancements in border protection and law enforcement personnel from the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Justice to target illicit networks' trafficking in people, drugs, illegal weapons, money, and the violence associated with these illegal activities" and counseled that there existed no modern precedent for Congress to direct the President to deploy troops in the manner sought by a Congressional Amendment. "It represents an unwarranted interference with the Commander-in-Chief's responsibilities to direct the employment of our Armed Forces and thus infringes on the President's role in the management of the Total Force," Jones and Brennon stated.

The United States Treasury's national debt-tracking website TreasuryDirect.gov announced the national debt stood at $12,995,779,490,444.52. Source

Director of the White House Internship Program announced that the application for the Fall 2010 White House Internship Program would close on June 6, 2010 and urged those interested not to miss the chance to apply to become a part of the next class of White House Interns. To learn more about the internship program, the application process, and who is eligible to apply for internships, visit the White House Internship Program page. Source

Day488/May26th/Wednesday: The President toured Solyndra, Inc., a solar panel manufacturing facility in Fremont, California and delivered remarks to workers on jobs and the economy. Transcript Video

The President sent these nominations to the United States Senate:

Matthew J. Bryza, of Illinois, 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 Republic of Azerbaijan.

Mark Charles Storella, of Maryland, 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 Republic of Zambia. Source & Bios

Vice President Joe Biden held a Middle Class Working Families Task Force roundtable with small business employers and employees who are participating in jobs programs around the country. Source

The United States Treasury Department announced it had completed the sale of around 20 percent of its stake in Citigroup, and would press on with the sale of its remaining 6.2 billion shares, asserting the first block sale shares netted around 6.2 billion dollars, before charges, and that it would "continue selling its shares in the market in an orderly fashion." Source

Day489/May27th/Thursday: The President welcomed the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men's Basketball Champion Duke Blue Devils to the White House to honor their 2009-2010 season and delivered remarks from the Rose Garden of the White House. Transcript Video

The President had lunch with former United States President Bill Clinton in the Private Dining Room of the White House.

The President delivered remarks and took questions from reports in the East Room of the White House. A few of the revelations the President gave in answers to questions:

"But when it comes to a specific company with its exploration plan in that one particular area -- they're going to drill right here in this spot -- Congress mandated that only 30 days could be allocated before a yes or no answer was given. That was by law. So MMS's hands were tied. And as a consequence, what became the habit, predating my administration, was you just automatically gave the environmental waiver, because you couldn't complete an environmental study in 30 days."

"The fact that oil companies now have to go a mile underwater and then drill another three miles below that in order to hit oil tells us something about the direction of the oil industry. Extraction is more expensive and it is going to be inherently more risky. And so that's part of the reason you never heard me say, "Drill, baby, drill" -- because we can't drill our way out of the problem. It may be part of the mix as a bridge to a transition to new technologies and new energy sources, but we should be pretty modest in understanding that the easily accessible oil has already been sucked up out of the ground."

"My job is to get this fixed. And in case anybody wonders -- in any of your reporting, in case you were wondering who's responsible, I take responsibility. It is my job to make sure that everything is done to shut this down. That doesn't mean it's going to be easy. It doesn't mean it's going to happen right away or the way I'd like it to happen. It doesn't mean that we're not going to make mistakes. But there shouldn't be any confusion here: The federal government is fully engaged, and I'm fully engaged." Transcript Video

The President was briefed by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano , FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, and NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco, and five FEMA Regional Administrators in the Situation Room of the White House on the 2010 hurricane season forecast and an overview of the Federal government's national hurricane preparedness. Summary & List of Attendees

The President met with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Liberia in the Oval Office of the White House. Remarks of President Obama and President Sirleaf before the Meeting Video

The President, Vice President Joe Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a reception in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month in the East Room. Transcript of the President's Remarks Video

The President signed into law:

H.R. 5014, which clarifies that certain health care programs, as determined by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, would qualify as minimum essential coverage for the purposes of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act t;

S. 1782, the "Federal Judiciary Administrative Improvements Act of 2010," which makes changes to several Federal court procedures intended to improve the administration of Federal courts; and

S. 3333, the "Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010," which extends from May 31, 2010, to December 31, 2014, the statutory licenses that permit satellite television service providers to retransmit television broadcast station signals to subscribers located within a station's local market area; and allow satellite television service providers to offer broadcast network signals to subscribers who cannot receive such signals through the use of a conventional television antenna. Source

The President, consistent with section 108 of the National Security Act of 1947, as amended (50 U.S.C. 404a), transmitted the National Security Strategy of the United States to the United States Congress. Source The pdf of the National Security Strategy can be found here.

The President ordered a halt to planned drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, which was due to begin off the coast of Alaska in July 2010. Suspensions were ordered, also, for drilling projects near Virginia, along with 33 others in the Gulf of Mexico. Source

The President announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key administration posts:

Paul Tiao, Inspector General, Department of Labor

Neile L. Miller, Principal Deputy Administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy

Eric Benjaminson, Ambassador to the Gabonese Republic, Department of State

J. Thomas Dougherty, Ambassador to Burkina Faso, Department of State

Anthony S. Bryk, Member, National Board for Education Sciences

Kris D. Gutie'rrez, Member, National Board for Education Sciences

Beverly L. Hall, Member, National Board for Education Sciences

Robert A. Underwood, Member, National Board for Education Sciences Source & Bios

The President sent these nominations to the United States Senate:

Max Oliver Cogburn, Jr., of North Carolina, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of North Carolina Source Bio

William J. Ihlenfeld, II, of West Virginia, to be United States Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia for the term of four years Source Bio

James E. Shadid, of Illinois, to be United States District Judge for the Central District of Illinois Source Bio

John William Vaudreuil, of Wisconsin, to be United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin for the term of four years Source Bio

Anthony Bryk, of California, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences for a term expiring November 28, 2011 Source

J. Thomas Dougherty, of Wyoming, 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 Burkina Faso Source

Kris D. Gutie'rrez, of Colorado, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences for a term expiring November 28, 2012 Source

Beverly L. Hall, of Georgia, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences for a term expiring March 15, 2012 Source

Neile L. Miller, of Maryland, to be Principal Deputy Administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration Source

Paul M. Tiao, of Maryland, to be Inspector General, Department of Labor Source

Robert Anacletus Underwood, of New Jersey, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences for a term expiring November 28, 2012

The President announced Eric K. Shinseki, United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs, will lead a delegation to the Kingdom of Belgium, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Kingdom of the Netherlands to attend Memorial Day ceremonies commemorating the 65th Anniversary of the End of World War II on May 2930, 2010. Members of the Presidential Delegation:

Ivo H. Daalder, U.S. Permanent Representative on the Council of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Fay Hartog Levin, U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Howard W. Gutman, U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium
Cynthia Stroum, U.S. Ambassador to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Charles Payne, World War II Veteran and President Barack Obama's Great Uncle Source

The President and First Lady Michelle Obama expressed their sadness in learning of the passing of Retired Navy Lt. John William Finn, the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient. Lt. Finn received the Medal for the heroism he displayed during the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Under a torrent of gunfire, Lt. Finn defended his fellow sailors, holding his position for two hours until the skies went quiet, despite suffering serious wounds. Source

The President and his family traveled to Chicago, Illinois, in the evening. During the flight, the President and Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama of Japan spoke by telephone. Among their discussions were the North Korea, Iran, and the U.S.-Japan alliance and both Presidents condemned the North Korean torpedo attack on the ROKS Cheonan; pledged to cooperate closely with the Republic of Korea, including in support of appropriate action by the UN Security Council. They reiterated their commitment to use this 50th anniversary year to strengthen cooperation under the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Security and Cooperation. They expressed satisfaction with the progress made by the two sides in reaching an operationally viable and politically sustainable plan to relocate the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. Source

The United States National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) issued an "urgent" recommendation to increase inspections of General Electric engines on U.S. aircraft. The CF6-45/50 series jet engines are used on some Airbus A300s, Boeing 747s, DC-10s, MD-10s and U.S. Air Force KC-10s. Source

Director of the United States Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service Elizabeth Birnbaum resigned.

Day490/May28th/Friday: The President spoke by telephone with Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh about the upcoming U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue.The President also expressed his condolences about the recent tragic airline accident and recent train attack in India. Source

The President traveled to the Gulf Coast of Louisiana to assess the latest efforts to counter the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The President toured Fourchon Beach, Louisiana. Remarks after the Tour Video

The President attended a briefing by Commander of the United States Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen at the U.S. Coast Guard Station Grand Isle in Grand Isle, Louisiana. The President, afterward, delivered remarks. Transcript Video

The President traveled to Chicago, Illinois.

The President proclaimed June 2010 as Great Outdoors Month. Source

The President proclaim Memorial Day, May 31, 2010, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and designated the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day as a time to unite in prayer, asking all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day. The President requested the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the appropriate officials of all units of government direct the flag be flown at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States and in all areas under its jurisdiction and control, and that the people of the United States display the flag at half staff from their homes for the customary forenoon period. Source

The President proclaimed June 2010 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. Source

The President proclaimed June 2010 as National Caribbean-American Heritage Month. Source

The President proclaimed June 2010 as National Oceans Month. Source

The President proclaimed June 2010 as African-American Music Appreciation Month. Source

The Obama Administration released several visitor records created prior to September 16, 2009 that were requested by members of the public during April 2010 pursuant to the White House voluntary disclosure policy. This release brought the grand total of records that the Obama White House has released to well over 350,000 records, which can be viewed here.

The week's West Wing Week was released.

Day491/May29th/Saturday: In his Weekly Address, the President asked all Americans to join him in remembering and honoring the men and women in uniform who have died in service to the United States of America. Transcript

The President spoke with National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, as well as Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, and senior White House advisors John Brennan and Carol Browner regarding the ongoing efforts to stop the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Source

Day492/May30th/Sunday: The President was briefed by the National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen and Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Policy Carol Browner regarding the ongoing efforts to contain the BP oil spill. He was informed that eight controlled burns were executed on May 29, 2010, and that skimming, dispersing, and burn operations continued. The President was also updated on BP's efforts to begin to put cutting machines into place for use in cutting the riser pipe for placement of an alternate containment device. Discussed also was the fact that the flow rate could increase as much as 20% until the containment device is applied over the leak. Admiral Allen indicated that, as per the President's direction, government and contractor resources in areas affected by oil would be tripled, and that officials on the ground had increased efforts to be more responsive to needs identified by local communities. Source

Day493/May31th/Monday: The President spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, assuring that he understood the Prime Minister's decision to return immediately to Israel to deal with the crisis after an assault by Israeli forces on a Gaza-bound flotilla left at least nine dead. They agreed to reschedule their meeting at the first opportunity. The President expressed deep regret at the loss of life in this day's incident, and concern for the wounded, many of whom are being treated in Israeli hospitals. The President also expressed the importance of learning all the facts and circumstances around this morning's tragic events as soon as possible." Source

The President laid a wreath at the tombstones of veterans at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois, and, afterward, tried to deliver remarks in a Memorial Day ceremony at the cemetery, but a violent storm compelled him to end his remarks and urge the hundreds in attendance to take shelter in their cars. Source

The President Obama spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Among thir discussions were the current situation in the Middle East and the upcoming G-8

and G20 Summits to be held in Canada. Source

The President and his family returned to Washington, D.C. in the evening, where the President delivered his Memorial Day speech remarks at Andrews Air Force Base. Source Video

[Author's note: all days in these chronicles are full days. The Obama Inaugeration on January 20, 2009 was a half-day, so not counted.]

 

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

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