This article is the thirty-fourth 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.
"A few months ago, I approved a proposal to consider new, limited offshore drilling under the assurance that it would be absolutely safe, that the proper technology would be in place and the necessary precautions would be taken. That obviously was not the case in the Deepwater Horizon rig, and I want to know why."__Barack Obama, President of the United States, in his first national address from the Oval Office, June 15, 2010
Day494/June1st/Tuesday: The President met with BP Oil Spill Commission Co-Chairs, former Senator Bob Graham and former EPA Administrator William K. Reilly, in the Oval Office of the White House. Source
The President spoke by telephone with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressing his deep condolences for the loss of life and injuries resulting from the Israeli military operation against the Turkish-flagged ship Mavi Marmara bound for Gaza. The President told Prime Minister Erdogan that the United States was working in close consultation with Israel to help achieve the release of the passengers, including those deceased and wounded, and the ships themselves. He also affirmed the United States' position in support of a credible, impartial, and transparent investigation of the facts surrounding the incident. The President affirmed the importance of finding better ways to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza without undermining Israel's security. He underscored the importance of a comprehensive peace agreement that establishes an independent, contiguous, and viable Palestinian state as the way to resolve the overall situation, and the United States' continuing commitment to achieving that goal by working closely with Turkey, Israel, and others with a stake in a more stable and secure Middle East. Source
The President sent the United States Senate and House of Representatives a letter regarding the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act in which he informed:
"This report to the Congress, under section 804(a) of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, 21 U.S.C. 1901-1908 (the "Kingpin Act"), transmits my designations of the following five foreign individuals as appropriate for sanctions under the Kingpin Act and reports my direction of sanctions against them under the Act:
Haji Agha Jan Alizai (Afghanistan)
Haji Bando (Afghanistan)
Ousmane Conte (Guinea)
Sergio Enrique Villarreal Barragan (Mexico)
Mohamed Bachir Suleman (Mozambique)" Source
The President issued a Presidential Memorandum to the United States Secretary of Defense and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security designating the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Defense as rotating Chairpersons of the Defense Production Act Committee. The Chair was to rotate annually on April 1 of each year, with the Secretary of Homeland Security designated to serve as Chairperson of the Committee for the remainder of the first term. The Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Defense were directed to formalize responsibilities for funding and administratively supporting the Committee through interagency agreement. Source
The President announced George Mitchell, Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, will lead these delegates to Bethlehem to attend the Palestine Investment Conference from June 2-4, 2010:
Neal Wolin, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury
Daniel Rubinstein, American Consul General in Jerusalem
Alonzo Fulgham, USAID Chief Operating Officer
Mara Rudman, Deputy Special Envoy for Middle East Peace
Dr. Ziad Asali, President and Founder of the American Task Force on Palestine
Saed Nashef, General Partner, Middle East Venture Capital Fund Source
Day495/June2nd/Wednesday: The President met with Commanding General of United States Forces in Iraq General Raymond Odierno in the Oval Office of the White House.
The President issued a Presidential Memorandum to the United States Secretary of State in which he directed: "Pursuant to the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 7(a) of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 (Public Law 104 45) (the "Act"), I hereby determine that it is necessary, in order to protect the national security interests of the United States, to suspend for a period of 6 months the limitations set forth in sections 3(b) and 7(b) of the Act." Presidential Memorandum
The President issued a Presidential Memorandum to the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services assigning to her ""the functions of the President under section 203 of the Public Health Service Act, as amended by Public Law 111-148, to appoint commissioned officers of the Ready Reserve Corps. The exercise of this authority is limited to appointments of individuals who were extended offers of employment for appointment and call to active duty in the Reserve Corps of the Public Health Service with an appointment date subsequent to March 23, 2010, the date of enactment of Public Law 111-148, but who were not on active duty on that date, and those individuals who are selected for the 2010 Commissioned Officer Student Training and Extern Program. This authority may not be re delegated." Presidential Memorandum
The President signed a Memorandum requiring Executive Branch agencies to take immediate action to extend to the same-sex domestic partners of Federal employees a number of benefits, from family assistance services to hardship transfers to relocation expenses, and ordered agencies that extend any new benefits to employees' opposite-sex spouses to make those benefits available on equal terms to employees' same-sex domestic partners to the extent permitted by law. Presidential Memorandum
The President, in videotaped remarks for the Korea Society 2010 Annual Dinner, declared, "The attack on the navy vessel Cheonan was an unprovoked act of aggression by North Korea. As I have told President Lee, I and the American people offer our deepest condolences, especially to the families of the 46 sailors who were lost." Transcript
The President and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted an evening concert in the East Room of the White House honoring Paul McCartney. The President presented McCartney with the 3rd Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from the Library of Congress. Participants included Stevie Wonder, the Jonas Brothers, Faith Hill, Emmylou Harris, Lang Lang, Herbie Hancock, Elvis Costello, Jack White, Corinne Bailey Rae, David Grohl, and Jerry Seinfeld. The concert was scheduled to be broadcast on PBS stations nationwide on Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 8:00 PM EDT as In Performance at the White House Celebrating the Music of Paul McCartney: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize. Transcript Video
The United States Department of Housing and Human Services (HHS) launched The Community Health Data Initiative (CHDI), a public-private collaboration to encourage innovators to utilize data made publicly available by HHS to develop applications that aid in raising awareness of community health performance, spark action to improve performance, and empower individuals and communities to make informed choices about their health. Source
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a complaint in federal court in Washington that charged bank ATM machine maker Diebold Incorporated with having inflated earnings through fraudulent accounting practices from at least 2002 to 2007. Source
The United States Interior Department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) approved a new drilling permit for Bandon Oil and Gas for a site south of Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge Game Preserve and about 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana and 115 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. Source
Day496/June3rd/Thursday: The President met with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in the Oval Office of the White House, where they discussed the President's decision to deploy up to an additional 1,200 requirements-based National Guard troops to the border and his upcoming request to Congress of $500 million in supplemental funds for enhanced border protection and law enforcement activities. The President noted that his Administration's ongoing border protection and security efforts had increased pressure on illegal trafficking organizations through record seizures of illegal weapons and bulk cash transiting from the United States to Mexico, resulted in significant seizures of illegal drugs headed into the United States, lowered the average violent crime statistics in states along the Southwest Border, and reduced illegal immigration into the United States.Regarding Arizona law SB1070, the President reiterated his concern with the measure, including that a patchwork of different state immigration regulations around the country would interfere with the federal government's responsibility to set and enforce immigration policy. Source
The President spoke by telephone with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, expressing his deep regret of having to postpone his trip to Asia that had been scheduled for later in the month. Source
The President delivered remarks in the evening at the Secretary of State's reception in honor of the Indian delegation to the United States-India Strategic Dialogue. Transcript Video
The President traveled to Hyattsville, MD where he toured K. Neal International, a commercial truck dealership and truck parts supplier and provided remarks on the May 2010 jobs numbers. Transcript Video
The President traveled to Louisiana. He met with Admiral Thad Allen and state and local elected officials at Louis Armstrong International Airport to further assess the latest efforts to counter the BP oil spill. "And the fact that BP can pay a $10.5 billion dividend payment is indicative of how much money these folks have been making. And given the fact that they didn't fully account for the risks, I don't want somebody else bearing the costs of those risks that they took. I want to make sure that they're paying for it," the President declared in his remarks (transcript Video); then toured Gulf Coast communities affected by the BP oil spill. Remarks of the President In Conversation With Local Residents Grand Isle Louisiana Video
The Obama Administration released a statement concerning the Gaza Flotilla:
"The Government of Israel has stated its desire to avoid a confrontation and a repeat of Monday's tragic events on the Mavi Marmara. It remains a U.S. priority to provide assistance to the people of Gaza. In the interest of the safety of all involved, and the safe transmission of assistance to the people of Gaza, we strongly encourage those on board the Rachel Corrie and other vessels to sail to Ashdod to deliver their materials to Gaza. We are working urgently with Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and other international partners to develop new procedures for delivering more goods and assistance to Gaza, while also increasing opportunity for the people of Gaza and preventing the importation of weapons. The current arrangements are unsustainable and must be changed. For now, we call on all parties to join us in encouraging responsible decisions by all sides to avoid any unnecessary confrontations and to ensure the safety of all involved." Source
The United States Justice Department announced Emmanuel Nnaji, 50, of Arlington, Texas was sentenced to 20 years in prison and his wife Ngozi Ihechere Nnaji, 40, a citizen of Nigeria, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge John H. Mcbryde to nine years in prison and ordered to pay $305,957.60 in restitution for forcing a Nigerian widow to perform domestic labor for them for more than eight years. On Feb. 2, 2010, both defendants were convicted by a Ft. Worth, Texas jury on all charges, including conspiracy to commit forced labor, forced labor, conspiracy to harbor an alien for financial gain, harboring an alien for financial gain, document servitude, and false statements to an FBI agent. Source
The United States Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) seized TierOne Bank in Lincoln, Nebraska (with $2.2 billion in deposits and $2.8 billion in assets), First National Bank of Rosedale, Mississippi and Arcola Homestead Savings Bank of Arcola, Illinois; raising to 81 the number of U.S. banks that have collapsed in 2010. Source
The Week's West Wing Week was released.
Day498/June5th/Saturday: In his Weekly Address, the President, speaking from Grand Isle, Louisiana in a message taped June 4, 2010, discussed the hardships local residents and small business owners face as a result of the BP oil spill, and pledged to make sure those responsible do not shortchange them. Transcript Video
The President presented in the Rose Garden of the White House James R. Clapper, Jr. as his replacement for previous Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dennis Blair, who resigned May 21, 2010. Transcript of the President's Remarks Video
Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden departed for Egypt, Kenya, and South Africa. Source
Day499/June6th/Sunday: Perhaps the President spent the day praying for divine intervention to close the damn hole in the Gulf of Mexico.
Day500/June7th/Monday: The President met with Cabinet Members to discuss his Administration's ongoing response to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen provided a briefing. In the Remarks of the President after the Meeting, he said, "One thing I'm absolutely confident about is that as we have before, we will get through this crisis And one of the things that I want to make sure we understand is that not only are we going to control the damages to the Gulf Coast, but we want to actually use this as an opportunity to reexamine and work with states and local communities to restore the coast in ways that actually enhance the livelihoods and the quality of life for people in that area." Video
The President traveled to Michigan to deliver the commencement address to the Kalamazoo Central High School Class of 2010, the 2010 Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge winner. Transcript Video
The President named 103 mathematics and science teachers as recipients of the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. A list of the award winners can be found here .
The President spoke by telephone with Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, expressing his and First Lady Michelle Obama's sorrow to hear about the loss of life caused by the June 6th tornados that swept through 5 midwest states including Ohio. They spoke about the fact that it will take time until the full extent of the damage is known and that the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would begin to conduct preliminary damage assessments June 8th. The President assured Governor Strickland that the federal government would provide a quick turn-around for any requests for assistance if needed. Source
The President and the First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a reception in the East Room of the White House honoring Ford's Theatre; then attended a performance at Ford's Theatre. Transcript of the President's Ford's Theatre Reception Remarks Transcript of the President's Ford Theatre Performance Remarks
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was secured in her job when the United States Supreme Court refused to hear arguments that she was ineligible to be U.S. Secretary of State under the Emoluments Clause of the United States Constitution that prohibits members of Congress from being appointed to a government post if that job's pay was increased during the lawmaker's current term. Source
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen held a press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House. Transcript Video
The Obama Administration announced the intent to create a new incentive for agencies to save on administrative expenses by allowing them to keep half of any savings they identify with the other half going to deficit reduction. Source
The United States Defense Department confirmed the arrest and confinement in Kuwait of army intelligence analysist SPC Bradley Manning on charges of leaking "classified information" and, possibly, hundreds of thousands of classified State Department records to whistleblower site Wikileaks. Manning had been exposed by a former computer hacker as having admitted leaking a video of a 2007 U.S.helicopter air strike in Baghdad that claimed the lives of several innocentcivilians, which Wikileaks posted online in April 2010. Source
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) announced $234 million in federal AmeriCorps grants to be distributed to more than 325 organizations across the country, supporting more than 57,000 new AmeriCorps members who would serve with a wide range of national and local nonprofit organizations, community and faith-based groups, educational institutions, and Indian Tribes. Collectively, these members were projected to earn more than $154 million in Segal Americorps Education Awards to help pay for college or to pay back student loans. A complete list of grants is available by clicking here. Source
Day501/June8th/Tuesday: The President conducted a national tele-town hall meeting at the Holiday Park Multipurpose Senior Center in Wheaton, Maryland with senior citizens to discuss the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and efforts to combat senior scams and fraud in advance of the first mailing of $250 "donut hole" rebate checks. Seniors across the country were able to participate by telephone. Transcript Video
The President met with United States Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota in the Oval Office of the White House. Source
The President issued a Presidential Memorandum to the U.S. Secretary of State authorizing, in the national interest of the United States, assistance "in an amount not to exceed $33 million from the United States Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund, for the purpose of meeting unexpected and urgent refugee and migration needs, including by contributions to international, governmental, and nongovernmental organizations and payment of administrative expenses of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration of the Department of State, related to humanitarian needs of refugees, conflict victims, and internally displaced persons in Africa, Asia, South America, and the Middle East." Source
The President signed into law:
H.R. 5128, which designates the United States Department of the Interior Building as the Stewart Lee Udall Department of the Interior Building;
The President, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), continued for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13405 blocking the property of certain persons undermining democratic processes or institutions in Belarus, pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706). Source
The President sent these nominations to the United States Senate:
Maura Connelly, of New Jersey, 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 Lebanon. Bio Source
Daniel Bennett Smith, of Virginia, 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 Greece. Bio Source
The President informed the United States Senate of his withdrawal of the nomination of Paul Steven Miller, of Washington, to be a Governor of the United States Postal Service for a term expiring December 8, 2016, which was sent to the Senate on February 1, 2010. Source
The President and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted an evening picnic at the White House for members of the United States Congress. Remarks of the President to the Picnickers Video
The Obama Administration ordered oil-drilling companies working in shallower waters to hire outside inspection firms to do what the United States Department of Interior's Mineral Management Service (MMS) failed to do. Source
The Obama Administration put out budget guidance for the 2012 fiscal year that reasserted the President's commitment to the non-security discretionary budget freeze. In addition, Budget Director Peter Orszag and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel sent a memo to all agencies asking them to identify their bottom-performing 5 percent of programs. Source
Day502/June9th/Wednesday: The President met with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority in the Oval Office of the White House. Remarks of Presidents Obama and Abbas after the Meeting Video
The President addressed, from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, the United Nations Security Council's vote to sanction Iran for its continued failure to rein in its nuclear weapons program. "The Iranian government has failed to live up to its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty," the President said. "It has violated its commitments to the International Atomic Energy Agency. It has ignored U.N. Security Council resolutions."Transcript Fact Sheet on UN Security Council Iran Sanctions
The President announced the United States would move forward with approximately $400 million in initiatives and commitments for the West Bank and Gaza for the purpose of helping to increase access to clean drinking water, create jobs, build schools, expand the availability of affordable housing, and address critical health and infrastructure needs. The President described the situation in Gaza as unsustainable and that, "These projects represent a down payment on the United States' commitment to Palestinians in Gaza, who deserve a better life and expanded opportunities, and the chance to take part in building a viable, independent state of Palestine, together with those who live in the West Bank." The projects announced today include:
"˘A $240 million investment by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) in the AMAL mortgage finance program in the West Bank, which is designed to increase homeownership by offering long-term mortgages at fixed and variable rates.
"˘$75 million in funding through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to support the Palestinian Authority's work to improve infrastructure throughout the West Bank and Gaza.
"˘$10 million in USAID-funded activities aimed at enhancing the Palestinian private sector's competitiveness.
"˘$40 million to support the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Emergency Appeal for Gaza and the West Bank, which will help improve educational and health services, increase job creation, and repair shelters in Gaza, while also addressing core humanitarian needs in the West Bank.
"˘$14.5 million in USAID projects for school rehabilitation, small-scale agriculture, the repair of a hospital facility and other community infrastructure in Gaza.
"˘$10 million for the construction of five new UNRWA schools in Gaza.
"˘$5 million to start nine USAID-funded projects to repair water distribution and wastewater collection systems in Gaza. Source
The President signed into law:
H.R. 2711, the "Special Agent Samuel Hicks Families of Fallen Heroes Act," which allows for payment for the transportation and moving expenses for immediate family of certain Federal employees who die in the performance of their official duties;
H.R. 3250, which designates the facility of the United States Postal Service located in Riverhead, New York, as the "Private First Class Garfield M. Langhorn Post Office Building;"
H.R. 3634, which designates the facility of the United States Postal Service located in Swifton, Arkansas, as the "George Kell Post Office;"
H.R. 3892, which designates the facility of the United States Postal Service located in Roper, North Carolina, as the "E.V. Wilkins Post Office;"
H.R. 4017, which designates the facility of the United States Postal Service located in Shrewbury, Massachusetts, as the "Ann Marie Blute Post Office;"
H.R. 4095, which designates the facility of the United States Postal Service located in Overland Park, Kansas, as the "Congresswoman Jan Meyers Post Office Building;"
H.R. 4139, which designates the facility of the United States Postal Service located in Hickory, Mississippi, as the "Sergeant Matthew L. Ingram Post Office;"
H.R. 4214, which designates the facility of the United States Postal Service located in Palm Desert, California, as the "Roy Wilson Post Office;"
H.R. 4238, which designates the facility of the United States Postal Service located in Greeley, Colorado, as the "W.D. Farr Post Office Building;"
H.R. 4425, which designates the facility of the United States Postal Service in North Troy, New York, as the "Martin G. "Marty" Mahar Post Office;"
H.R. 4547, which designates the facility of the United States Postal Service located in Cheyney, Pennsylvania, as the "Captain Luther H. Smith, U.S. Army Air Forces Post Office;"
H.R. 4628, which designates the facility of the United States Postal Service located in Westwood, New Jersey, as the "Sergeant Christopher R. Hrbek Post Office Building;" and
H.R. 5330, which extends through June 22, 2020, provision for limited civil antitrust liability for participants in the Justice Department's corporate leniency program, under which a company is protected from criminal prosecution for antitrust violations if it is first to come forward to advise the Department's Antitrust Division of an antitrust offense and cooperates with the Division's investigation. Source
The President sent these nominations to the United States Senate:
Mimi E. Alemayehou, Executive Vice President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the African Development Foundation for a term expiring September 22, 2015 Bio Source
James Frederick Entwistle, of Virginia, 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 Democratic Republic of the Congo. Bio Source
Donald Martin O'Keefe, of California, to be United States Marshal for the Northern District of California for the term of four years Bio Source
Robert E. O'Neill, of Florida, to be United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida for the term of four years Bio Source
The President reported to the United States Congress that it is in the national interest of the United States to terminate the suspensions under section 902(a)(3) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1990 and 1991 (Public Law 101-246) with respect to the issuance of permanent munitions export licenses for exports to the People's Republic of China insofar as such restrictions pertain to the LightScanner 32 System used for gene mutation genotyping for individualized cancer treatment. License requirements remain in place for these exports and require review on a case-by-case basis by the United States Government. Source
The United States Justice Department announced Syed Fahad Hashmi, 30, who pleaded guilty on April 27, 2010 to a charge of conspiracy to provide material support or resources to the Al-Qaeda terror network in Afghanistan, received the maximum sentence of 15 years in prison from US District Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York Loretta A. Preska. Source
The United States Justice Department announced U.S. District Judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida James I. Cohn sentenced attorney Scott Rothstein, 47, of Fort Lauderdale to a 50-year prison sentence in connection with the operation of a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme through the defunct Ft. Lauderdale law firm Rothstein Rosenfeldt and Adler. Source
United States Department of Agriculture Tom Vilsack released the department's first comprehensive report on USDA's deployment of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for rural broadband.It showed 68 investments already made to bring broadband access to an estimated 530,000 households, 93,000 businesses, and 3,300 anchor institutions like hospitals, schools, community centers and libraries. Source
Day503/June10th/Thursday: The President received a briefing on the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Cabinet Room of the White House.
The President met with United States House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, United States Senate Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid, Senator Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Congressman John Boehner, and Congressman Steny Hoyer in the Cabinet Room to discuss the upcoming work period, the economy and the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The President's Summary of the Meeting Video
The President met with the family members of the 11 killed on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Red Room and the State Dining Room of the White House and expressed his condolences. Source
The President met with business leaders and energy experts to discuss energy reform in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Source
The President issued an Executive Order establishing within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council and designating the United States Surgeon General to serve as the Chair of the Council. The Council was mandated to provide recommendations to the President and the Congress concerning the most pressing health issues confronting the United States and changes in Federal policy to achieve national wellness, health promotion, and public health goals, including the reduction of tobacco use, sedentary behavior, and poor nutrition. Source
The President issued a Presidential Memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies ordering them to accelerate the disposal of unneeded federal real estate; the increase of sales proceeds; cutting operating costs; and improving on overall energy efficiency. Source
The President proclaimed June 11, 2010, as the 90th Anniversary of the Department of Labor Women's Bureau. Source
The Obama Adminstration was represented by top advisors Patrick Gaspard and Jen O'Malley in a meeting with labor union official at AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C. to smooth over tensions that resulted from an anonymous Administration official's claim that unions had flushed $10 million down the toilet in support of United States Senator from Arkansas Blanche Lincoln's democratic primary runoff opponent, and to give assurances that the Obama Administration respected labor's decision. Source
United States National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen sent a letter to BP Chairman of the Board Carl-Henric Svanberg inviting him to meet with the President and other senior officials responding to the BP oil spill. Click HERE to view the letter.
United States Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh announced, at a Pentagon news conference, a series of management changes, including a new Army National Cemeteries Advisory Commission, led by former United States Senators Bob Dole and Max Cleland, to regularly review policies and procedures and provide guidance at Arlington National Cemetery, saying the U.S. Army inspector general found that, while cemetery staff conducted between 27 and 30 funerals a day "with dedication and to a high professional standard," they were hampered by "dysfunctional management, the lack of established policy and procedures and an overall unhealthy organizational climate." The investigation revealed more than 200 bodies had been misplaced or misidentified amid "dysfunctional management" by Arlington's two top administrators. Source
United States District Court Judge for the District of Columbia Henry H. Kennedy,Jr. released his May 2010 36-page opinion on the continued detention of Yemeni citizen Mohammed Mohammed Hassen Odaini in which the judge declared the detention "unlawful" and said he'd "emphatically" grant Odaini's petition for a writ of habeas corpus after Odaini's eight years of incarceration at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Kennedy added, "The evidence before the court shows that holding Odaini in custody at such great cost to him has done nothing to make the United States more secure." Source
The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced the Bureau had opened a probe into a security breach of Apple's IPad that exposed personal information of AT&T customers, including those of several high-ranking government officials. Source
Day504/June11th/Friday: The President received a briefing on the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Oval Office of the White House.
The United States Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) seized Washington First International Bank in Seattle, bringing the total of failures so far for 2010 to 82. East West Bank of Pasadena, California agreed to assume all of the deposits and most of the assets of Washington First, which had about $441.1 million in deposits and $520.9 million in assets as of March 31, 2010. Source
The week's West Wing Week was released.
Day505/June12th/Saturday: In his Weekly Address, the President called on United States Senate Republicans to stop blocking a legislative remedy that would bring relief to doctors facing deep cuts in their reimbursements from Medicare. Transcript Video
The President spoke by telephone with British Prime Minister David Cameron. Among their discussions were the impact of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The President reiterating BP had to do everything possible to respond effectively to that situation. The President and the Prime Minister agreed to disagree on the desired outcome of the June 12, 2010 U.S.vs England World Cup soccer match, with the President noting the historical record of previous World Cup matches between the United States and England favored the United States; and he wagered the best lager against the best beer in America on an American win over England. Source
The President telephoned Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe to offer condolences for the tragic loss of life during the June 11, 2010 flooding in Arkansas and expressed his concern for those who remained missing. President Obama assured Governor Beebe that FEMA would remain in close contact with Arkansas Emergency Management and report back any unmet needs. The President asked the Governor to let him know if he or the people of his state need further assistance. Source
The President proclaimed June 14, 2010, as Flag Day and the week beginning June 13, 2010, as National Flag Week. Source
Day506/June13th/Sunday: The chronicler found nothing OpedNews worthy to report.
Day507/June14th/Monday: The President traveled to the Gulf Coast of the United States for a two-day assessment of ongoing efforts to deal with the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Admiral Thad Allen and local officials at the Coast Guard Station in Gulfport, Mississippi briefed him on those efforts. In his remarks afterward, the President urged, "This is something that's been repeatedly emphasized, here in Mississippi, but it's true in Florida, it's true in Alabama and it's true in portions of Louisiana. There's still a lot of opportunity for visitors to come down here, a lot of beaches that are not yet affected or will not be affected. And we just want to make sure that people who have travel plans down to the Gulf area remain mindful of that, because if people want to know what can they do to help folks down here, one of the best ways to help is to come down here and enjoy the outstanding hospitality." Transcript Video
The President traveled by ferry from Dauphin Island, Alabama to Fort Morgan, Alabama.
The President traveled to Pensacola, Florida, where he stayed overnight.
The President announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to complete the membership of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling:
Frances G. Beinecke, Member, National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling
Donald Boesch, Member, National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling
Terry D. Garcia, Member, National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling
Cherry A. Murray, Member, National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling
Frances Ulmer, Member, National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling Source&Bios
The President issued a proclaimation on a number of issues involving Costa Rican sugar under the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act. Source
The President sent these nominations to the United states Senate:
Earl F. Weener, of Oregon, to be a Member of the National Transportation Safety Board for a term expiring December 31, 2015. (Reappointment) Source
Laurence D. Wohlers, of Washington, 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 Central African Republic. Bio Source
The United States the Treasury Department announced recipients of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Veterans, Railroad Retirement and U.S. government benefit recipients will receive benefits either through direct deposit into a bank account or through Treasury's Direct Express debit card. New recipients of Social Security and other government benefits as of March 1, 2011 would receive their benefits electronically; if already receiving benefits, they have until March 1, 2013 to convert. Source
The United States Federal Reserve approved a series of new limits on credit card companies. Among the new limits:
(1) Credit card companies can no longer impose multiple penalty fees for a single late payment or other violation.
(2) Any fees charged for violations of a credit agreement's terms have to be in proportion to the amount of a violation. So, the maximum penalty for a consumer whose $20 minimum payment is late or who exceeds a credit limit by $20 cannot be more than $20.
(3) Required credit card companies to reexamine any accounts on which they raised interest rates since Jan. 1, 2009, "to evaluate whether the reasons for the increase have changed and, if appropriate to reduce the rate."
(4) Consumers won't have to fear being charged a fee for failing to use their credit cards. (5) The Federal Reserve did allow larger penalty fees to be charged if a consumer has shown a pattern of "repeated" violations or if a card issuer can show that a higher fee reasonably offsets its own costs in dealing with the violation that spurred the penalty. Source
United States Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis announced a new regulation under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to expand new consumer protections to all Americans with health insurance:
(1) Health coverage that was in effect when the Affordable Care Act was enacted will be exempt from some provisions in the Act if they remain "grandfathered" under a provision in the law. Under the rule issued June 14, 2010, employers or issuers offering such coverage will have the flexibility of making reasonable changes without losing their "grandfathered" status. For example, employers will be able to make some changes to the benefits their plans offer, raise premiums or change employee cost-sharing to keep pace with health costs within some limits, and continue to enroll new employees and their families.
(2) However, if health plans significantly raise co-payments or deductibles, or if they significantly reduce benefits--for example, if they stop covering treatment for a disease like HIV/AIDS or cystic fibrosis--they"ll lose their grandfathered status and their customers will get the same full set of consumer protections as new plans. More information about the regulation can be found here. Source
Day508/June15th/Tuesday: The President was briefed by Admiral Thad Allen and local officials on efforts to fight the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Pensacola Beach, Florida. In remarks from the Fish Sandwich Snackbar, the President said, "I want every business person here in Florida to know that I will be their fierce advocate in making sure that they are getting the compensation they need to get through what is going to be a difficult season." Transcript Video
The President announced his selection of Michael R. Bromwich to lead the Administration's efforts to accelerate reforms in the regulation and oversight of offshore oil drilling by reformation of the Minerals Management Service (MMS) and restoration of integrity and rigor to the relationship between federal regulatory officials and oil companies. Source
The President announced his intent to nominate Judith Fergin, for Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, Department of State. Source & Bio
The President returned to Washington, D.C. where, in the evening, he addressed the nation on the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill from the Oval Office of the White House. Among the President's remarks, he said, "A few months ago, I approved a proposal to consider new, limited offshore drilling under the assurance that it would be absolutely safe, that the proper technology would be in place and the necessary precautions would be taken. That obviously was not the case in the Deepwater Horizon rig, and I want to know why." Transcript Video The Chronicler's analysis of this speech can be found here.
The President signed into law:
S. 3473 - Amending the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to authorize advances from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The bill authorized the Coast Guard to obtain multiple advances (up to $100 million each), with the total amount of all advances not to exceed the incident cap under current law ($1 billion), from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to underwrite Federal response activities with regard to the discharge of oil that began in connection with the explosion on, and sinking of, the mobile offshore oil unit Deepwater Horizon. Source
United States Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced $9 million in grants to provide veterans with green jobs training. The grants would provide an estimated 4,000 veterans individual job counseling, classroom or on-the-job training, placement assistance and other crucial follow-up services in a number of growing green industries. Source
The United States Justice Department had Lee Bentley Farkas of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker in Ocala, Florida arrested and charged with over a 1.9 billion dollar fraud that contributed to the failures of Colonial Bank, one of the 50 largest banks in the United States in 2009, and TBW, one of the largest privately held US mortgage lending companies. Allegedly, Farkas misappropriated more than 400 million dollars from Colonial Bank and 1.5 billion dollars from Ocala Funding, a mortgage lending facility controlled by TBW to cover its operating losses. Officials said Farlas then expanded on the fraud when he and others tried to obtain 553 million dollars in government bailout funds for the bank from the Troubled Asset Relief Fund (TARP). source
[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.]