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General News    H4'ed 9/18/10

The Obama Administration: September 1-15, 2010

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This article is the fortieth 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.

"This Labor Day, we are reminded that we didn't become the most prosperous country in the world by rewarding greed and recklessness. We did it by rewarding hard work and responsibility. We did it by recognizing that we rise or we fall together as one nation one people all of us vested in one another."__Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, in his Weekly Address, September 4, 2010

Day585/Sep1st/Wednesday: The President was briefed via telephone by the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate on the preparations for potential impacts of Hurricane Earl on the East Coast and New England. Readout


The President met with Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in the Oval Office of the White House. Remarks by President Obama & Prime Minister Netanyahu after Bilateral Meeting Video

The President met with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority in the Oval Office.

The President met with King Abdullah II of Jordan in the Oval Office. Readout

The President met with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt in the Oval Office. Readout

The President delivered a statement to the press in the Rose Garden, announcing the
Israelis and Palestinians, after nearly two years, would relaunch direct talks starting September 2, 2010, ""intended to resolve all final status issues. The goal is a settlement, negotiated between the parties, that ends the occupation which began in 1967 and results in the emergence of an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian state, living side by side in peace and security with a Jewish state of Israel and its other neighbors." Transcript Video

The President hosted a working dinner for the visiting leaders in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House.

The President and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt delivered statements to the press in the East Room of the White House. Transcript Video

The President declared an emergency existed in the State of North Carolina and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from Hurricane Earl beginning on September 1, 2010, and continuing, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts for the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in Beaufort, Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Columbus, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hyde, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Pitt, Tyrrell, and Washington Counties. Specifically, FEMA was authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, were provided at 75 percent Federal funding. Source

The President proclaimed September 2010 as National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and encouraged all Americans to take action by learning about and engaging in activities that promote healthy eating and greater physical activity by all of the children of the United States. Source

The United States Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit for religious discrimination in the United States District Court in San Francisco against Abercrombie & Fitch on behalf of an 18-year-old woman who said she applied for her first job at the company's store at the Great Mall of the Bay Area in Milpitas and was turned down because she wore a Muslim headscarf. "This retailer that targets a youth market is sending the message that you cannot aspire to their 'All American' brand if you wear a head covering to comply with your faith," said William Tamayo, the agency's regional attorney. Source

The United States changed commanders in Iraq. Commanding General of United States Forces in Iraq Raymond Odierno turned over the reins of the approximately 50,000 American troops who remained in Iraq to Army General Lloyd Austin. Remarks of Vice President Joe Biden at the Change of Command Ceremony Video

Day586/Sep2nd/Thursday: The President met with his national security team in the Situation Room of the White House.

The President telephoned French President Nicolas Sarkozy to thank him for his support for a comprehensive Middle East peace, and to consult on next steps to encourage further progress in the direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The President noted that he had a productive series of meetings on September 1, 2010, and said that he believed Israel and the Palestinian Authority were committed to achieving progress. President Sarkozy affirmed his full support for the peace talks and his commitment to working with President Obama and the other leaders to advance the process. Source

The President issued a Presidential Memorandum to extend until September 14, 2011 the exercise of certain authorities under the Trading with the Enemy Act with respect to Cuba.

United States Energy Secretary Stephen Chu announced that the University of Michigan and West Virginia University would each lead consortia under the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center. The two consortia would receive $25 million in total funding from the U.S. Department of Energy for this work, matched by the guarantees, for a total of $50 million in U.S. funding. The Chinese side would contribute an additional $50 million, for a total of $100 million for the project. Source

The United States Justice Department announced that a federal grand jury in Honolulu indicted Mordechai Orian, an Israeli national; Pranee Tubchumpol, Shane Germann, and Sam Wongsesanit, of Global Horizons Manpower Inc., located in Los Angeles; and Thai labor recruiters Ratawan Chunharutai and Podjanee Sinchai for engaging in a conspiracy to commit forced labor and document servitude. The charges arose from the defendants' alleged scheme to coerce the labor and services of approximately 400 Thai nationals brought by the defendants to the United States from Thailand from May 2004 through September 2005 to work on farms across the country under the U.S. federal agricultural guest worker program. Orian, Tubchumpol, and Chunharutai were also charged with three substantive counts of compelling the labor of three Thai guest workers. Source

The U.S. Justice Department filed suit against Sheriff Joe Arpaio, accusing the Arizona lawman of refusing for more than a year to turn over records in an investigation into allegations his department discriminated against Hispanics. Source

Day587/Sep3rd/Friday: The President provided remarks from the Rose Garden of the White House on the release of employment figures for August 2010, noting that while the private sector created 67,000 new jobs last month, his Administration would continue to make the economy and employment its top priority. Transcript Video

(less info) The President issued a Presidential Memorandum that declared that, under the Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1962 , "" it is important to the national interest to furnish assistance under the Act 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 resulting from recent devastating flooding in Pakistan."

The President declared an emergency existed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and ordered Federal aid to supplement Commonwealth and local response efforts in the area struck by Hurricane Earl beginning on September 1, 2010, and continuing. The President's action authorized the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts for the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the counties of Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Essex, Middlesex, Nantucket, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester. Specifically, FEMA was authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, was provided at 75 percent Federal funding. Source

The President proclaimed September 6, 2010, as Labor Day. Source

The week's West Wing Week was released.

Day588/Sep4th/Satursday: In his weekly address, the President reaffirmed his commitment to America's workers and the middle class, declaring, "This Labor Day, we are reminded that we didn't become the most prosperous country in the world by rewarding greed and recklessness. We did it by rewarding hard work and responsibility. We did it by recognizing that we rise or we fall together as one nation one people all of us vested in one another." Transcript Video

National Economic Council Director Larry Summers and Deputy National Security Advisor Thomas E. Donilon traveled to Beijing, China for three days of meetings with Chinese leaders and policymakers, including Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo. Summers and Donilon discussed a wide range of issues touching on bilateral and international issues. Source

Day589/Sep5th/Sunday: The President had nothing scheduled.

Day590/Sep6th/Monday: The President traveled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he announced a comprehensive infrastructure plan to expand and renew the roads, railways and runways of the United States at the Milwaukee Laborfest. Transcript Plan Details Video

Day591/Sep7th/Tuesday: The President and Vice President Joe Biden met with United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office of the White House.

The President met with the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Anders Fogh Rasmussen, in the Oval Office, where he thanked the Secretary General for the significant NATO commitment to promoting peace and stability around the world, particularly in Afghanistan where nearly 50,000 non-U.S. ISAF troops, trainers, and civilians served alongside Americans. The two leaders discussed progress in implementing shared strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan and ways to further strengthen the international community's efforts. The President and the Secretary General discussed goals for the November 19 - 20 NATO Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, including unveiling a new NATO Strategic Concept that reinforces the allied commitment to invest in 21st Century capabilities, particularly missile defense, cyber defense, and civilian-military capabilities; reforming NATO's structures to make it more agile and efficient; and affirmed NATO's role as the hub of a network of security partnerships that advance global stability. Source


The President and Vice President Biden met with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in the Oval Office.

The President and Prime Minister David Cameron spoke by telephone. They discussed Afghanistan, counterterrorism cooperation, Middle East peace, and Pakistan flood relief efforts. Source

The President spoke by telephone with Julia Gillard to offer his congratulations on her successful formation of a government and becoming the new Prime Minister of Australia. The President and Prime Minister agreed to work closely to ensure common security and prosperity in the Asia Pacific and around the world. The President told Gillard he looked forward to working with her at the G-20 and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summits in November 2010. Source

The United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled tracking cell phones "does not require the traditional probable-cause determination" contained in the Fourth Amendment's prohibition of "unreasonable" searches. The panel did side with civil-liberties groups that, in at least some cases, judges may require investigators to obtain a search warrant. That is, however, "an option to be used sparingly," the court said. Source Text of Ruling pdf

Civil rights lawyers filed suit in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn against the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as well as U.S. customs and immigration authorities in an attempt to stop authorities from snooping in the laptops, cell phones and cameras of international travelers without probable cause. Source

United States Chief District Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the District of Columbia denied the Obama Administration's request to drop his decision to temporarily block federal funding for embryonic stem cell research pending an appeal of the decision. Source

Day592/Sep8th/Wednesday: The President traveled to Parma, Ohio, where he delivered remarks on the economy at Cuyahoga Community College West Campus. Transcript Video

The President announced the release of a new Spanish-language version of HealthCare.gov www.CuidadoDeSalud.gov. in an oped published in major Spanish-language newspapers across the United States. Source

United States Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announced another $1 billion had been allocated into the National Community Stabilization Trust funding to help communities buy and redevelop foreclosed and abandoned homes and residential properties. HUD had already provided $6 billion in two rounds of Neighborhood Stabilization Program funding. Source

The United States 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco dismissed a lawsuit filed by a group of plaintiffs represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against Jeppesen Dataplan Inc, that alleged Jeppesen had helped the CIA illegally transport prisoners to secret facilities overseas. "We ... acknowledge that this case presents a painful conflict between human rights and national security," 9th Circuit Judge Raymond C. Fisher declared in the decision. The U.S. Department of Justice intervened in the case on behalf of Jeppesen. Source

Day593/Sep9th/Thursday: The President spoke by telephone with Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta to inform him that he will be awarded the Medal of Honor for acts of gallantry at the risk of his life that went above and beyond the call of duty. Then-Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta distinguished himself by acts of gallantry at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a rifle team leader with Company B, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment during combat operations against an armed enemy in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan on October 25, 2007. Readout

The President met with United States Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner in the Oval Office of the White House.

The United States Center for Medicare Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary released an update regarding their annual National Health Expenditures report that confirmed a central point of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: the Act would make health care more affordable for Americans. In fact, the Actuary's report indicated that total health care spending per insured American would be more than $1000 lower because of the provisions of the new law than it would have been if the United States Congress and the President had not acted. Specifically, by 2019, overall health spending per insured person was projected to average $14,720 instead of the $16,120 projected by the Actuary before the Act was enacted into law. Source

The United States Inspector General for Tax Administration released to the public a report that claimed about 950,000 of the nearly 1.8 million Americans who claimed the New Homebuyer Tax Credit on their 2009 tax returns would have to return the money. According to CNN Money, "Those who bought properties during 2008 were to deduct, dollar for dollar, up to 10% of the home's purchase price or $7,500, whichever was less. The catch: The money was a no-interest loan that had to be repaid within 15 years. Had they waited to buy until 2009, they could have gotten a much sweeter deal. Congress extended the credit and made it a refund rather than a loan. Now, the IRS is developing a strategy for separating the 2009 taxpayers who are required to repay the credit from those who are not."

The United States Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C. Circuit granted a request from the U.S. Justice Department to lift a temporary injunction issued Aug. 23, 2010 that blocked the funding, deciding the court needed more time to consider the case. The court made it clear, however, they were not making a final decision. "The purpose of this administrative stay is to give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the merits of the emergency motion for stay and should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits of that motion," the appeals court wrote in its one-page decision. Source

United States District Court for the Central District of California Judge Virginia A. Phillips ruled the U.S. military's ban on openly gay service members unconstitutional because it violated the First Amendment rights of gay and lesbians, granting a request for an injunction halting the government's "don't ask, don't tell" (DOMA) policy for gays in the military. Phillips said the policy doesn't help military readiness and instead has a "direct and deleterious effect" on the armed services. Source

Day594/Sep10th/Friday: The President held a news conference in the East Room of the White House. Transcript Video

The President designated Austan Goolsbee as the Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Source

The President announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key administrations posts:

Karen L. Braitmayer, Member, Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Access Board

Howard A. Rosenblum, Member, Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Access Board

Demetria Henderson, Member, President's Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Helen T. McAlpine, Member, President's Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Alma Johnson Powell, Member, President's Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities

E. John Rice, Jr., Member, President's Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Dianne Boardley Suber, Member, President's Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities Source&Bios

The President announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to Mexico City to attend the Bicentennial of the Independence of Mexico on September 14, 2010. Hilda Solis, Secretary, United States Department of Labor was designated to head the delegation of Carlos Pascual, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Maria Otero, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, U.S. Department of State, and Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio. Source

The President notified by letter to the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives he had decided to continued for an additional year the national emergency previously declared on September 14, 2001, in Proclaimation 7463, with respect to the 911 terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States. Source

The President proclaimed September 12, 2010, as National Grandparents Day. Source

The President proclaimed September 12 through September 18, 2010, as National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week. Source

The President proclaimed September 2010 as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Source

The President proclaimed September 11, 2010, as Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance. Source

The President proclaimed Friday, September 10, through Sunday, September 12, 2010, as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, asking the people of the United States to honor and remember the victims of September 11, 2001 and their loved ones through prayer, contemplation, memorial services, the visiting of memorials, the ringing of bells, evening candlelight remembrance vigils, and other appropriate ceremonies and activities. Source

Vice President Joe Biden spoke with British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg via video teleconference. He discussed his recent visit to Iraq in conjunction with the U.S. change of mission and the status of Iraqi efforts to form an inclusive government. Clegg briefed Biden on his visit to Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he met with leaders in both countries and visited British NATO ISAF troops serving in Helmand. The Vice President and Deputy Prime Minister discussed U.S./UK close counterterrorism cooperation and expressed support for the resumption of direct talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. Clegg accepted the Vice President's invitation to meet with him in Washington, DC, on September 23rd. Source

Vice President Joe Biden spoke by telephone to Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani to reiterate U.S. Government support to Pakistan during the current flood crisis. Biden noted that the U.S. Government had provided around $260 million in emergency humanitarian assistance to the people of Pakistan to date and other civilian and military in-kind assistance in the form of halal meals, pre-fabricated steel bridges and other infrastructure support. Readout

The Obama Administration announced the release of Federal Agency Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans (available at www.whitehouse.gov/ceq.) which were geared to achieve the environmental, economic and energy goals called for in the Executive Order on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance (Executive Order 13514) signed by President Obama on October 5, 2009. As the single largest energy consumer in the U.S. economy, the Federal Government spent more than $24.5 billion on electricity and fuel in 2008 alone. Agencies were asked to develop, implement and annually update a plan that prioritized sustainability actions based on a positive return on investment for the American taxpayer and to meet energy, water, and waste reduction targets. Source

The United States Pentagon issued new ground rules for media coverage of the prison and trials at the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, creating an appeals process in the event of a dispute:

(1) reporters could publish information already released by other media outlets, even if the information is declared "protected information" by a Guantanamo military tribunal judge

(2) relaxed some censorship on photographs of a prisoner or a guard, but authorities "may request two images per person per day be cropped to meet security requirements"

(3) photographers could appeal censoring and be entitled to an answer on their demand within 24 hours.

(4) media workers could have better access to prosecution and defense teams "at the discretion of the counsel"

(5) if a journalist proved noncompliant with the new regulations he or she risked being banned from the facility, but would be notified in writing and allowed a hearing Source

The week's West Wing Week was released.

Day595/Sep11th/Saturday: In his Weekly Address, the President marked the ninth anniversary of the 911 terrorist attacks as a National Day of Service and Remembrance to honor those who lost their lives. Transcript Video

On this 9th anniversary of September 11, 2001 attacks upon New York City and the United States Pentagon, the President observed a moment of silence at 8:46 AM at the White House.

The President delivered remarks and participated in a wreath laying ceremony and moment of silence at the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. Transcript Video

The President volunteered with Greater DC Cares as part of the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. President Obama joined over 80 of Greater DC Cares volunteers at the Ron Brown Middle School in Washington, D.C. where he painted a portion of the room and commended other volunteers as they made quilts for Operation Kid Comfort. Source

The President telephoned California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to express condolences for the tragic loss of life in the September 9, 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion. Readout

Day596/Sep12th/Sunday: The President telephoned Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey just as the 2010 FIBA World Basketball Championship final game between the United States and Turkey was getting underway in Istanbul. The President said he was rooting for the American team but, whoever won, both teams had played great basketball. The President also acknowledged the vibrancy of Turkey's democracy as reflected in the turnout for the referendum that took place across Turkey that very day. Readout

Day597/Sep13th/Monday: The President delivered remarks at the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Reception in the Grand Foyer of the White House. Transcript Video

The President telephoned A123 Systems from the Oval Office of the White House to congratulate them on opening the nation's first manufacturing facility to mass-produce electric vehicle batteries, made possible by a $249 million Recovery Act advanced battery grant the company received in August 2010 and matched dollar-for-dollar by the company with private capital. A123 Systems hired 250 workers for the Livonia, MI plant since receiving the award and had signed contracts with Navistar International and Fisker Automotive to supply advanced batteries for their electric vehicles. Overall, A123 expected to employ 3,000 workers at the Livonia plant and a second Michigan plant that was scheduled to open in 2011. Transcript

The President conducted his regular monthly meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan with his national security team in the Situation Room of the White House. Readout

The President traveled to Fairfax, Virginia, where he met with the John Nicholas and Nicole Armstrong Family and held a discussion in their backyard on the economy with families from the area. Transcript Video

The President returned to the White House, where he met with United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in the Oval Office.

The President sent a letter to the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, enclosing Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 Budget amendments for the United States Department of the Interior necessary to strengthen oversight of offshore oil and gas operations, address deficiencies in mineral revenue collection, and facilitate the reorganization of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement, formerly known as the Minerals Management Service (MMS). Source

The President sent these nominations to the United States Senate:

Samuel Epstein Angel, of Arkansas, to be a Member of the Mississippi River Commission for a term of nine years. (Reappointment) Bio

Mari Carmen Aponte, of the District of Columbia, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of El Salvador, to which position she was appointed during the last recess of the Senate. Bio

Thomas M. Beck, of Virginia, to be a Member of the National Mediation Board for a term expiring July 1, 2013 Bio

Alan D. Bersin, of California, to be Commissioner of Customs, Department of Homeland Security Bio

Donald M. Berwick, of Massachusetts, to be Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Bio

Peter A. Diamond, of Massachusetts, to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for the unexpired term of fourteen years from February 1, 2000 Bio

Jeffrey Alan Goldstein, of New York, to be an Under Secretary of the Treasury Bio

Elisabeth Ann Hagen, of Virginia, to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety, to which position she was appointed during the last recess of the Senate. Bio

Cameron Munter, of California, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Bio

Winslow Lorenzo Sargeant, of Wisconsin, to be Chief Counsel for Advocacy, Small Business Administration, to which position he was appointed during the last recess of the Senate. Bio

Richard Sorian, of New York, to be an Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, to which position he was appointed during the last recess of the Senate. Bio

Marsha Ternus, of Iowa, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the State Justice Institute for a term expiring September 17, 2012 Bio

Pamela Ann White, of Maine, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of The Gambia Bio Source

Louis B. Butler, Jr., of Wisconsin, to be United Stated District Judge for the Western District of Wisconsin Bio

Robert Neil Chatigny, of Connecticut, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit Bio

Edward Milton Chen, of California, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of California Bio

Goodwin Liu, of California, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit, vice a new position created by Public Law 110-177, approved January 7, 2008. Bio

John J. McConnell, Jr., of Rhode Island, to be United States District Judge for the District of Rhode Island Source Bio

The President announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to Santiago, Chile, to attend the Bicentennial of the Republic of Chile on September 18, 2010. Arturo Valenzuela, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, was designated the head of the delegation of Alejandro D. Wolff, U.S. Ambassador-designate to Chile. Source

The President issued a Presidential Memorandum, with Respect to Foreign Governments' Efforts Regarding the Trafficking in Persons Act, to deny assistance for the below listed countries' governments for Fiscal Year 2011, until such governments comply with the minimum standards or make significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance, as may be determined by the United States Secretary of State in a report to the U.S. Congress pursuant to section 110(b) of the Act:

Burma and Zimbabwe; Cuba, the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea (DPRK), Eritrea, and Iran.

The President determined with respect to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Dominican Republic, Kuwait, Mauritania, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan, that provision to these countries' governments of all programs, projects, or activities of assistance described in sections 110(d)(1)(A)(i) and 110(d)(1)(B) of the Act would promote the purposes of the Act or was otherwise in the national interest of the United States.

The President declared a major disaster existed in the State of New Mexico and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms and flooding during the period of July 25 to August 9, 2010. Federal funding was made available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms and flooding in Cibola, McKinley, Mora, San Juan, and Socorro Counties. Federal funding was also made available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide. Source

The President, in the evening, honored championship teams and student athletes from across the NCAA with a reception on the South Lawn at the White House. Transcript Video

Day598/Sep14th/Tuesday: The President traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to deliver his second annual Back-to-School Speech at Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School, a 2010 National Blue Ribbon School. Transcript Video

The President, in a released statement, expressed his pleasure that Sarah Shourd had been released by the Iranian government, and soon united with her family, adding, "We are grateful to the Swiss, the Sultanate of Oman, and other friends and allies around the world who have worked tirelessly and admirably over the past several months to bring about this joyous reunion." The President lamented, however, that Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal remained prisoners in Iran.

Vice President Joe Biden hosted a conference call with Governors Jennifer Granholm (D-MI), Martin O'Malley (D-MD) and Jodi Rell (R-CT) to discuss implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act). Source

United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced new guidelines for Pentagon purchases of goods and services to save costs: more "fixed price incentive fee" contracts, which typically required a supplier to absorb cost overruns but also rewarded the contractor for meeting a project's cost targets and, under the new guidelines, stricter rules would not allow expensive weapons projects to go forward if they did not stay within projected costs. Source C-Span Video

Day599/Sep15th/Wednesday: The President and Vice President Joe Biden met with General Raymond Odierno in the Oval Office of the White House. Readout

The President held a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House.

The President met with United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and U.S. House Representative George Miller of California in the Oval Office.

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 and flooding during the period of August 17-21, 2010. Federal funding was made available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms and flooding in the counties of Clay, Cocke, Hardin, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Smith, and Wayne. Federal funding was also made available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide. Source

The President delivered remarks from the Rose Garden of the White House on the need for the United States Senate to pass the Small Business Jobs Bill. Transcript Video

The President sent these nominations to the United States Senate:

Carol Fulp, of Massachusetts, to be a Representative of the United States of America to the Sixty-fifth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Bio

Gregory J. Nickels, of Washington, to be an Alternate Representative of the United States of America to the Sixty-fifth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Bio

Jeanne Shaheen, of New Hampshire, to be a Representative of the United States of America to the Sixty-fifth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Bio

Roger F. Wicker, of Mississippi, to be a Representative of the United States of America to the Sixty-fifth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Bio Source

The President announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Jill Appell, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

Pamela G. Bailey, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

C. Fred Bergsten, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

Bobbi Brown, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

Michael E. Campbell, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

Lisa Carty, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

Governor Chris Christie, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

Michael Ducker, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

Mayor Buddy Dyer, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

John B. Emerson, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

Bill Frenzel, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

Dean Garfield, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

Leo W. Gerard, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

Joseph T. Hansen, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

James P. Hoffa, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

Robert Holleyman, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

Sandra Kennedy, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

Jim Kolbe, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

Fred Krupp, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

David Lane, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

Kase Lawal, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

Robert A. McDonald, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

Harold McGraw III, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

Wade Randlett, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

Robert W. Roche, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

Matthew Rubel, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

David H. Segura, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

Bob Stallman, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

John Surma, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

Luis Ubi├▒as, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations Source&Bios

The President proclaimed September 15 through October 15, 2010, as National Hispanic Heritage Month. Source

The President, in the evening, delivered remarks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's 33rd Annual Awards Gala at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Transcript Video

The Obama Administration ordered oil and gas companies to permanently plug more than 3,000 abandoned wells in the Gulf of Mexico to prevent new leaks. Source

The White House, United States Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs jointly released a new web video in which President Obama encouraged active duty troops and veterans whose service in Iraq or Afghanistan was involuntarily extended or retirement was suspended due to "stop loss' to apply for the special retroactive pay to which they are entitled. Under legislation President Obama signed into law in 2009, servicemen and women who served between September 11, 2001 and September 30, 2009 and whose service was extended due to "stop loss' are eligible for $500 per month in retroactive pay for each month their service was extended. "As your Commander in Chief, I'm here to tell you that this is no gimmick or trick," President Obama said in the video. "You worked hard. You earned this money. It doesn't matter whether you were Active or Reserve, whether you're a veteran who experienced "stop loss' or the survivor of a service member who did--if your service was extended, you're eligible." Eligible servicemen and women should submit their applications for this retroactive pay to www.defense.gov/stoploss. Source To see the full video, click here: LINK

[Author's note: all days in these chronicles are full days. The Obama Inauguration 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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