Posts Tagged ‘Administration’
Obama administration backs FAA despite uproar (Reuters)
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 April 2011 05:35 Written by admin Thursday, 21 April 2011 05:35
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration has full confidence in the top U.S. aviation security official and his agency following a string of very publicized lapses by air site visitors controllers, which includes 1 this week involving a plane carrying very first woman Michelle Obama.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood advised Reuters on the sidelines of a transportation conference on Wednesday that he supports Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) chief Randy Babbitt “1,000 %.”
He also stated he noticed no want for an independent evaluation of the FAA’s performance beyond the investigations already under way.
LaHood said the FAA has started off nine investigations into embarrassing disclosures of controllers sleeping on the task and other security-connected incidents and is doing work as rapidly as achievable to locate out what went wrong in every scenario.
“We are undertaking a leading-to-bottom evaluation,” LaHood mentioned. “We feel we’re searching into this as completely as we perhaps can.”
On the PBS “NewsHour” program, LaHood mentioned the FAA had fired two controllers who had been on suspension –including 1 who had been sleeping on the work in Knoxville, Tennessee.
“A controller actually manufactured a bed in the management tower, brought a pillow, brought blankets, he’s been fired,” he stated. “We’re not going to sit by and allow that kind of conduct take place in control towers.”
A 2nd controller, in Miami, was violating methods by directing a 737 to fly also closely to a more compact plane to check it, LaHood stated.
Hank Krakowski, the FAA official in cost of day-to-day operations involving the nation’s fifteen,000 air targeted traffic controllers, resigned last week more than the uproar accompanying disclosures of controllers sleeping on the job in several locations, including Washington.
The National Transportation Security Board (NTSB) is also seeking into controller problems and tiredness. The board, which is an independent agency, said on Wednesday it would investigate Monday’s incident involving Michelle Obama’s jet.
Representative John Mica, chairman of the House of Representatives Transportation Committee, told Reuters in a separate interview that he also supported Babbitt, a previous airline pilot and fiscal advisor who took the work in 2009.
“He still has my self-assurance,” Mica said. “I assume he inherited a mess and he’s attempting to kind via it.”
LaHood explained he had not spoken with the White Property about the newest mishap involving a authorities jet carrying Mrs. Obama and Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, on a flight from New York.
The first lady’s plane was ordered to abandon its landing tactic to Andrews Air Force Base outdoors Washington soon after controllers at a Virginia radar middle permitted the Boeing 737 to get too close to a military cargo plane flying about 3 miles ahead.
There was a concern that the lumbering Air Force C-17 would not distinct the runway ahead of Mrs Obama’s plane, the following in line on the method route, was ready to land.
The Boeing jet made a sequence of subtle maneuvers before generating a new tactic with out incident. Neither plane was actually in any imminent hazard and both landed securely, the FAA mentioned.
The mistake, known as an operational error, is not unheard of and generally they are corrected simply and rapidly with little, if any, exterior observe.
(Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Jackie Frank)
The Democratic Dream Team? a Look at Obama’s Picks for the Coming Administration
Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 February 2011 12:19 Written by admin Tuesday, 22 February 2011 12:19
by WCHI News
The Democratic Dream Team? a Look at Obama’s Picks for the Coming Administration
Even before the inauguration, President Elect (though that may already be the most overused term of 2009) Obamaâs already gained both praise and controversy, mostly for his administrative picks. Given the hype surrounding his win, not to mention the fact that the last eight years have made the Dems power-starved, Obama pretty much had free reign to choose anyone he wanted for his administration. And it looks like he did pretty much that, picking the most prominent Democrats to run his cabinet. Indeed, if the Obama administration were a baseball team, theyâd be the Yankees (as opposed to the more Red Sox like team Clinton picked back in 92, when his cabinet had a surprisingly large number of unknown stars). Obamaâs picks also give optimism that this President will truly build on his campaign promise of bridging the gap between Republicans and Democrats. Compared to the way the GOP has been hoarding power for the last eight years, though, Obama seems like Mother Theresa in comparison. This is great news, because liberal social values with conservative economic policies (the real kind, not the Bush chicaneries that created the current crisis) are the only way to go. Obviously though, the cabinet leans more toward the Dem, but that should be expected. Some of his calls, though, are questionable, including probably his most important pick, Treasury Secretary Geithner.
Chief of Staff â Rahm Emanuel: Even though he may be Ari Goldâs brother, this man is no joke. Rahm Emanuel has a serious reputation as being tough, even-handed and somewhat hot headed, which means heâs just the guy to kick some asses around should the new administration decide to pick some of the bad habits left over from the old one (such as criminal negligence bordering on complicity). Obama basically gave this guy the top spot, which is good news for those of us who were wondering what his policy would be on the Middle East (Emanuelâs a staunch advocate for Israel). This man is also full of ideas (in case you couldnât tell from his book, The Plan: Big Ideas for America), though many of them are undeniably liberal (which is not necessarily a bad thing). Things like universal health care for children, universal college access and universal citizen service to balance it all out are not bad ideas, though they may not be feasible given the current deficit. Though he advocates full disclosure in all government spending, itâs hard to account for dollars you donât even have. Yup, Emanuel is the super Dem, a bull dog for liberal values, costs be damned. This is kind of a good thing though, because heâs genuinely trying to help people. Thankfully, the rest of Obamaâs picks, as well as the man himself, appear more even-handed, which means theyâll help balance Emanuelâs optimism and transfer it to feasible plans that can be accomplished given our current fiscal situation. Oh, and for those of you that didnât get the Ari Gold thing, the Entourage character of super agent Ari Gold is based on Emanuelâs brother, Ari. I guess they make âem tough in the Emanuel house.
Secretary of State â Hilary Clinton: By far his most notable pick, Obamaâs choice of Hilary Clinton for Secretary of State shows that the man definitely does not hold a grudge. I mean, six months ago she said he was too inexperienced to run for president. Now, she has to call him sir and confer on all statements. However, Clinton brings with her a wealth of experience, as well as an effective communicative style that will help her when dealing with foreign leaders. Even though she is the third woman to hold the position, after Condalliza Rice and Maddeline Albright, some feel that foreign leaders, particularly in the Muslim states, may not be as likely to listen to a woman in foreign negotiations. In fact, some of the more chauvinistic voters even admitted that this was one of the reasons they preferred Obama to be president over Hilary. Nonetheless, her wealth of experience, not to mention extensive contact list (which she no doubt owes to Bill and his questionable line of donors) will make her an undeniable asset in terms of crafting and delivering solid foreign policy that brings the US out of the international leper colony and back into the top spot as the worldâs lifeguard.
Treasury Secretary â Timothy Geithner: This has to be Obamaâs worst call by far. I mean, who elects a tax evader as treasury secretary? Okay, okay, so Obama may not have known about it when he appointed the man. Fine. And ya, we all hate paying taxes. But weâre not all running for treasury secretary. If Geithner didnât have the foresight to know that tax evasion would hurt his chances of being an effective treasury secretary, then he doesnât have the foresight to know anything about the economy. Given the volatility of the economy, as well as the fact that crooks have already ransacked the governmentâs coffers, passing an IRS audit should be the minimum requirement to hold this position. Also, his support for the Lehman Brothers and the Bear Sterns bailouts shows he cares more about keeping the old financial guard on life support than spurring new innovations and actual progress in the financial world, which has degenerated into a speculative game of sport. I fear his election may have more to do with the fact that he and Obama share certain characteristics, such as an international upbringing, a wonderkind reputation, and an inexplicable belief that the government should bail out dying investment companies and even purchase major insurance companies (AIG). Bail outs create artificial pressures on the market and serve to correct mistakes that should be learned from, but will instead by erased. Instead of tightening lending policies, creating opportunities for investment, and promoting more transparency in the market, financial institutions will learn that the stock market is a roulette wheel, and that Daddyâs always there to bankroll you. Geitner used to describe himself as a moderate Republican, but his moves are decidedly anti-market, even if he claims otherwise. And his association with the NY Federal Resereve will surely fuel conspiracy theorists that major banking interests are controlling the economy (see Zeitgeist). Obama needs to do whatâs right here, and replace this man.
Secretary of Defense â Robert Gates: And here Obama demonstrates his generosity, giving Robert Gates, a classic Republican, another shot at being Defense Secretary. This was a pretty strong pick, considering this man managed to clean up Donald Rumsfeldâs mess in Iraq and create a somewhat cohesive military operation. âOperation Iraqi Freedomâ (if theyâre even still calling it that) has certainly improved, in that American body bags are no longer flying home daily. As the man behind the surge (along with the ubiquitous General Patrias), Gates is to be commended on understanding that foreign operations require more than a handful of soldiers and some Black Hawks, and that victory requires more than toppling over a statue of a government figurehead. Dems may be complaining that the move makes them look weak in terms of the military, but I think Obama is to be commended on being a pragmatist. After all, the Dems really are weak when it comes to the military.
Iâll be back with my calls for the rest of Obamaâs picks in a few days.
Obama administration campaign takes on anti-gay bullying in school – Washington Post
Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 October 2010 02:04 Written by admin Tuesday, 26 October 2010 02:04
The Obama administration is launching a campaign to prevent anti-gay bullying and other harassment at school, advising educators that federal law protects students from many forms of discrimination.
The advisory from the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, to be made public Tuesday, does not break new legal ground, officials said. But the officials described it as the federal government’s most comprehensive guidance to date on how civil rights law applies to the sort of campus situations that in some cases have led persecuted students to commit suicide. President Obama is expected to help promote the initiative.
“We’ve got to dispel this myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage,” Obama said in a video posted last week on the White House Web site.
“Our goal here is to provide school districts, colleges and universities with details about when harassment can rise to the level of a civil rights violation and what they should be doing about it,” Russlynn H. Ali, assistant education secretary for civil rights, said Monday. Ali wrote the advisory.
As an example, Ali noted in the advisory that a gay student might withdraw from school activities after being subjected to anti-gay slurs and other intimidation. If the school reprimands the perpetrators to stop the bullying, her advisory said, that would not necessarily be enough to ensure that students are free from harassment based on gender stereotypes.
“The school had an obligation to take immediate and effective action to eliminate the hostile environment,” Ali wrote.
In another example, the advisory discussed a school in which students are subjected to anti-Semitic comments while a swastika is scrawled on a bathroom wall. Administrators might find and punish the perpetrators, the advisory said, but the school would still be responsible for determining whether Jewish or other students feel intimidated by incidents that add up to a pattern of misconduct. In that case, further action would be required.
“Discipline alone was likely insufficient,” Ali wrote. Other possible steps, she said: counseling the perpetrators, publicly labeling incidents as anti-Semitic and publicizing how students can report harassment.
Administration to ask for more Pakistan aid – Washington Post
Last Updated on Saturday, 23 October 2010 02:27 Written by admin Saturday, 23 October 2010 02:27
The Obama administration will ask Congress to expand military aid to Pakistan, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday, announcing a five-year, $ 2 billion package that would increase current financing for weapons purchases by about one-third.
“The United States has no stronger partner when it comes to counterterrorism efforts against the extremists who threaten us both than Pakistan,” Clinton said at the end of a meeting with top Pakistani officials in Washington.
News of the aid came as the Obama administration has moved to cut off assistance to individual Pakistani military units believed responsible for human rights abuses, including the summary execution of alleged insurgents.
The juxtaposition made for an awkward conclusion to the third “strategic dialogue” the administration has held with Pakistan this year as it tries to calibrate policy toward one of its most important allies in the Afghanistan war.
In a White House meeting Wednesday with the Pakistani delegation, including Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, the military chief of staff, President Obama praised Pakistan’s efforts but said the United States expects a more robust offensive against al-Qaeda and Taliban sanctuaries in the tribal areas along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan.
Obama, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials, repeated a message that has been transmitted several times by the administration: If a terrorist attack on the United States is ever shown to have emanated from Pakistan, the U.S. government will be forced to respond.
The White House session was the centerpiece of the Pakistani visit here and was carefully choreographed to ensure that Obama would meet face to face with Kayani, seen as Pakistan’s most powerful figure. Administration officials scheduled a session with the Pakistani delegation – officially headed by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi – to be held in the Roosevelt Room and arranged for a presidential “drop-by” that lasted about 35 minutes.
Most of the aid increase announced by Clinton on Friday applies to the State Department-administered Foreign Military Financing program, which gives Pakistan funds to purchase U.S. military equipment. Pakistan receives about $ 300 million a year in FMF funds; the administration’s new request would increase that figure to about $ 400 million annually for the next five years.
The Pakistani military has sought a multi-year guarantee that would match a five-year package of nonmilitary aid, totaling $ 7.5 billion, approved by Congress last year. The plan would allow Pakistan to increase U.S.-funded purchases of helicopters and other equipment it calls essential to its counterterrorism fight. Overall U.S. military aid to Pakistan this year totals about $ 2 billion.
Despite the administration’s five-year guarantees, Congress must still authorize both the military and civilian funding in each year’s budget, and lawmakers have expressed concern about expanding military aid amid questions about Pakistan’s commitment to counterterrorism and repeated reports of human rights abuses by the Pakistani military.
“If there is going to be progress against al-Qaeda, we need the support of the Pakistani army,” Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said Friday. “But there is a lot of concern with extrajudicial killings by the army that remain unpunished, and this will be a factor when we consider a request for more aid. Respect for our law and the laws of war is fundamental.”
Leahy heads the Appropriations subcommittee responsible for State Department funding. He is also the author of a 1997 law that requires the United States to vet the armed forces of countries receiving military aid and to withhold aid to specific units found responsible for human rights abuses. The “Leahy amendment” does not specify the size of a “unit” or require public notification of any cutoffs.