Helping Homeowners Invest in Energy-Efficient Homes
President Barack Obama speaks at Savannah Technical College in Savannah, Ga., March 2, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Earlier today, after touring Savannah Tech, President Obama announced the initiatives for HOMESTAR, a program that offers incentives for people to make their homes more energy-efficient.
The President explained that the new program will save families several hundred of dollars on utilities, make the economy less dependent on fossil fuels, create work for small businesses and contractors, and bring back construction jobs.
“Here’s one of the best things about energy efficiency – it turns out that energy-efficient windows or insulation, those things are products that are almost exclusively manufactured right here in the United States of America. It’s very hard to ship windows from China. So a lot of these materials are made right here in America.”
Through the HOMESTAR Program, homeowners who make investments for energy-efficiency in their homes will be eligible to receive:
Direct rebates for energy-saving investments
50 percent rebates for the cost of each upgrade up to $1500
Rebates up to $3000 for those who choose to retrofit their whole homes
Guaranteed quality installations through quality assurance providers who would conduct field audits after work is completed
Support for financing through State and local governments
President Obama explained that these short-term investments will lead to long-term savings for homeowners and consumers.
“Just like a responsible homeowner will invest in their homes in the near term to fortify their economic security in the long term, we’ve got to do the same as a country. It will have some costs on the front end — you buy a new boiler, or you get some insulation, or you get some new windows, that’s going to have an initial cost, and the same is true from a government perspective. And it’s going to be politically difficult to do some of this, but it’s what’s right to plan for our future.” Vodpod videos no longer available.President Obama speaks with students in alternative energy programs at Savannah Technical College on today’s White House to Main Street tour. Vodpod videos no longer available.
President Barack Obama stops to greet workers as he tours the Chatham Steel Company in Savannah, Ga., March 2, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Just before giving a speech in Savannah, GA, President Obama chats with building manufacturers and local contractors about the importance of retrofitting. Around the circle are Mark Andrews of Knauf Insulation, Michael Lawrence of Insulation Systems, Howard Feldman of Coastal Green Building Solutions, Patrick Shay of Green Sweep, and Larry Laseter of MASCO Home Services. Vodpod videos no longer available.
President Barack Obama sits down for lunch with other customers during a stop at Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room in Savannah, Ga. March 2, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
During his “White House to Main Street” tour today in Savannah Georgia, President Obama made a surprise lunch stop. If there’s one thing better than meeting new folks on the road, it’s meeting new folks out on the road and having them cook you up some of the best food in the country. So it was when the President sat down with some of the regulars at the famous Mrs. Wilkes’ Boarding House restaurant in Savannah, Georgia today. They were polite enough to offer not to ask him any questions so he could relax, an offer he jokingly declined: “How often you gonna have lunch with the President? Might as well ask some questions.”
Please visit our friends at Obama Foodorama for details on the lunch menu and more info about this historic restaurant.
First Lady Michelle Obama prepares to read Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat, during an event at the Library of Congress on March 2, 2010 in Washington, DC. Over three hundred local students participated in the event to promote reading . and to mark Read Across America Day and the birthday of author Theodor Seuss Geisel. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America)
AP~First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday Tuesday by reading “The Cat in the Hat” to a group of children wearing red-and-white-striped stovepipe hats like the book’s main character.
Mrs. Obama helped kick off the National Education Association’s 13th annual “Read Across America” celebration at the Library of Congress. The event marked the day that Dr. Seuss, or Theodor Seuss Geisel, would have turned 106.
“Do you know the president of the United States reads all the time,” Mrs. Obama told a group of more than 200 students from elementary schools in Washington and Arlington, Va. “Our girls at home read every single night.”
The first lady said that her daughters, Sasha and Malia, are allowed to stay up 30 minutes later if they are reading.
Some of the first family’s favorite children’s books are “Horton Hatches the Egg,” by Dr. Seuss and “Where the Wild Things Are,” by Maurice Sendak, Mrs. Obama said in response to one of the children’s questions.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan also read “Horton Hears a Who!”
NEA President Dennis Van Roekel led the children in a rhyming pledge to read every day. It began: “I promise to read each day and each night. I know it’s the key to growing up right.”
On Monday President Barack Obama proclaimed March 2 Read Across America Day.
What is NEA’s Read Across America?
NEA’s Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss.
NEA’s Read Across America also provides NEA members, parents, caregivers, and children the resources and activities they need to keep reading on the calendar 365 days a year.
In cities and towns across the nation, teachers, teenagers, librarians, politicians, actors, athletes, parents, grandparents, and others develop NEA’s Read Across America activities to bring reading excitement to children of all ages. Governors, mayors, and other elected officials recognize the role reading plays in their communities with proclamations and floor statements. Athletes and actors issue reading challenges to young readers. And teachers and principals seem to be more than happy to dye their hair green or be duct-taped to a wall if it boosts their students’ reading.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks next to Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (C) and first lady Michelle Obama (L) at the 2010 Governors Ball at the White House in Washington February 21, 2010.
The nation’s governors and their spouses gathered at the White House on Sunday night for the Governors’ Ball hosted by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle. The ball is a annual black-tie event held in the State Dining Room. President Obama in the evenings first toast, praised the nation’s state leaders for “helping to right the ship” during the economic crisis in the United States the past couple of years. President Obama began his toast by joked “This is not too stiff of an affair, because last year, Ed Rendell led a conga line. We still have photographs that we may use.” He also added, “to our spouses and families who make extraordinary sacrifices…Michelle is starting to clink already,” as he glanced and smiled playfully at his wife.
“Each of you in your own respective states saw how brutal it was on so many families — hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs every month, home foreclosures, small businesses having to shut down unable to make payroll and people not sure about the future,” President Obama said. “It is worth this organization taking some extraordinary credit for helping to right the ship.”
He attributed the success of a portion of the recovery efforts to the governors and their willingness to work across state and party lines for the good of the people.
The annual Governors’ Ball is seen as an opportunity for the leaders of each of the 50 states to get together in a non-working environment, allowing them to get to know one another on a personal level.
Gov. Douglas (R-Vermont) also delivered a toast, despite the president prematurely ushering the ceremony to the first course, only to renege on the announcement, “Dinner is served.”
For all the foodie details out there, please check out the excellent behind the scenes coverage of the ball from our friends at Obama Foodorama, they’ve got ‘all the juice‘ on the dinner menu, wines, place settings, linens, and flower arrangements. Check them out here…
The seating arrangement according to the pool report:
“Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota was seated to the right of FLOTUS. Neither he nor any other guest was seen measuring drapes, though of course the pool can only attest to the 10 minutes it was in the room.
In the back row: Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida – well beyond hugging range – at Table 3 with Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Mike Beebe of Arkansas, and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of Calif. sat beside Wisconsin Gov Jim Doyle, with Interior Sect. Salazar two seats to Arnold’s right, and the two governors clicked glasses at the toasts.
Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who got a shoutout from Obama during his pre-toast remarks, was in a striking emerald jacket at Table 12 with FLOTUS and Pawlenty.
Also spotted, at separate tables: Gov. David Paterson of NY, Gov. Bill Richardson of NM. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood were seated together.
Vice President Biden was at the table in the middle, with a head-on view of the lectern.
Apologies to the many other VIPs. Presumably, all the governors in town for the NGA were at the dinner, but no attendance list was available. I can report that Texas’ chief executive, Rick Perry, nine days from the primary and never a fan of the NGA anyway, was home campaigning today.”
Click here for the biography and filmography of George Clooney
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Morgan Freeman in Invictus
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Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker
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Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart
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Colin Firth in A Single Man
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Did You Know?
In the acting categories, 12 individuals are first-time nominees. Five of the nominees (George Clooney, Morgan Freeman, Penélope Cruz, Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep) are previous acting winners. Matt Damon received an Oscar® for Original Screenplay for Good Will Hunting (1997).
James Cameron ~ AVATAR
JAMES CAMERON (Director-Writer-Producer-Editor) was born in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada, and grew up near Niagara Falls. In 1971, he moved to Brea, California where he studied physics at Fullerton Junior College while working as a machinist and, later, a truck driver. Setting his sights on a career in film, Cameron quit his trucking job in 1978 and raised money from a consortium of local dentists to produce a 35mm short film.
The visual effects in this film led to work on Roger Corman’s “Battle Beyond the Stars” (1980), on which he served as production designer, matte artist and visual effects director of photography. Next, he became second unit director on Corman’s subsequent sci-fi thriller, “Galaxy of Terror” (1981).
In 1983 Cameron wrote three scripts: “Rambo: First Blood Part 2,” “Aliens” and “The Terminator.” He directed “The Terminator,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, in 1984. It became an unexpected box office hit and made Time magazine’s ten best films of the year list.
Cameron subsequently directed “Aliens” (1986), then wrote and directed “The Abyss” (1989). Following that, he wrote, produced and directed “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991), “True Lies” (1994), and “Titanic” (1997). He also co-wrote and produced “Point Break” (1991) and “Strange Days” (1994), and produced “Solaris” (2003).
His films have blazed new trails in visual effects and set numerous performance records both domestically and abroad. “Titanic” currently holds both the domestic and worldwide box office records having grossed over $1.8 billion at the global box office. Cameron’s films have also earned numerous nominations and awards from a variety of organizations, culminating in “Titanic’s” fourteen Academy Award nominations (a record) and eleven Oscars, including Cameron’s three Oscars for Best Picture, Best Direction and Best Editing.
In 1999, Cameron co-created the one-hour television series “Dark Angel.” The show ran for two seasons on the Fox Network and gained a loyal following and a number of prestigious nominations and awards, including the People’s Choice Award for Best New Television Drama. It also launched a new star: Jessica Alba.
Cameron also set to work on a digital 3-D camera system, which he developed with partner Vince Pace. The goal was to bring back the experience of deep ocean exploration with unprecedented clarity to a global audience.
Using this new camera system, Cameron proceeded to make underwater documentaries with his company, Earthship Productions. His team’s historic exploration of the inside of Titanic was the subject of Cameron’s 3-D IMAX film, “Ghosts of the Abyss.” In May 2002, Cameron guided his robotic cameras inside the wreck of Bismarck, which resulted in groundbreaking discoveries about the sinking of the legendary German battleship, and the Discovery Channel documentary, “James Cameron’s Expedition: Bismarck. Cameron’s team then made three expeditions to deep hydrothermal vent sites in the Atlantic, Pacific and Sea of Cortez over a two-year period, which became the subject of “Aliens of the Deep,” also released in 3-D IMAX. He was joined in his exploration of these extreme environments by a team of young scientists and marine biologists to study how life forms discovered there represent life we may one day find on other planets and moons in our solar system. Most recently, Cameron returned again to the Titanic to complete his interior exploration of the ship, which was showcased in the Discovery Channel’s program, “Last Mysteries of the Titanic.”
Cameron continues to work with his engineering partner, Vince Pace, to develop camera systems and tools for 3D photography, for movies, documentaries, sports and special events. Their Fusion Camera System is the world’s leading stereoscopic camera system, and has been used on AVATAR, “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” “Hannah Montana: Best of Both Worlds,” “U2:3D,” “Tron: Legacy,” and “The Final Destination,” as well as numerous special event projects, such as the NBA All Star Game. Cameron is also continuing to develop a number of ocean projects, and other environmentally themed documentaries.
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Jason Reitman ~ UP IN THE AIR
JASON REITMAN (Director/Screenplay/Producer) is an Oscar®-nominated director who has established himself as an original, smart and funny storyteller known for his pitch-perfect commentaries on society. Reitman recently produced the horror comedy Jennifers Body for Fox. The Diablo Cody-scripted film was directed by Karyn Kusama and stars Amanda Seyfried and Megan Fox. In addition, Reitman executive-produced Atom Egoyan’s Chloe starring Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore, which debuted at this year’s Toronto Film Festival and has been picked up for release by Sony and is set for release in 2010. Reitman is also set to executive-produce Max Winkler’s directing debut Ceremony and is currently at work on an adaptation of Joyce Maynard’s novel Labor Day.
Through his company, Right of Way Films, Reitman is developing new scripts by Jenny Lumet and the Duplass brothers. He is also developing a feature film based on the cult children’s television show Yo Gabba Gabba.
He made his feature film directing debut with the 2006 hit Thank You for Smoking, based on the acclaimed novel by Christopher Buckley, which Reitman adapted for the screen. The film had its world premiere at the 2005 Toronto Film Festival, where it was acquired by Fox Searchlight. Thank You for Smoking went on to earn a Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture, an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay and a WGA nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. In 2006, Reitman was named Best Debut Director by the National Board of Review.
In December 2007, Fox Searchlight released Reitmans second feature, Juno, which follows the story of a pregnant teenager. Juno has earned widespread praise since its debut at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival, and has grossed over $230 million worldwide.
Reitman was nominated for an Academy Award® for directing Juno. The film earned one win for Diablo Cody’s screenplay and additional nominations for Best Picture and Best Actress (Ellen Page). Juno won three Independent Spirit Awards and a Grammy Award. Reitman was born in Montreal on October 19, 1977. At age 19, his first short film, Operation, premiered at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. Reitman’s short films have played in over a hundred film festivals worldwide.
Reitman is half of the mash-up turntable band “Bad Meaning Bad.”
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Quentin Tarantino ~ INGLORIOUS BASTERDS
With his vibrant imagination and his trademark dedication to richly detailed storytelling, Quentin Tarantino has established himself as one of the most celebrated filmmakers of his generation. Tarantino continues to infuse his distinct, innovative films with appreciative nods to classic moviemaking styles, genres and motifs.
Most recently collaborated with Robert Rodriquez on GRINDHOUSE, an unprecedented project from the longtime collaborators (FROM DUSK TO DAWN, FOUR ROOMS and SIN CITY) which presented two original, complete films as a double feature. Tarantino’s DEATH PROOF, one half of the double feature, is a white knuckle ride behind the wheel of a psycho serial killer’s roving death machine.
Tarantino guided audiences on a whirlwind tour of the globe in KILL BILL VOL. 1 and KILL BILL VOL. 2, in which Uma Thurman, as “the bride,” enacted a “roaring rampage of revenge” on her former lover and boss. KILL BILL VOL. 1 and KILL BILL VOL. 2 also star David Carradine as the doomed title character, and Lucy Liu, Daryl Hannah, Vivica A. Fox and Michael Madsen as his equally moribund team of assassins.
Following the worldwide success of KILL BILL VOL. 1 and KILL BILL VOL. 2, Tarantino seized another opportunity to collaborate with longtime friend and colleague Robert Rodriguez as a special guest director on the thriller SIN CITY. Based on three of co-director Frank Miller’s graphic novels, SIN CITY was released in 2005. The ensemble cast included Jessica Alba, Powers Boothe, Rosario Dawson, Benicio Del Toro, Michael Clarke Duncan, Michael Madsen, Brittany Murphy, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis and Elijah Wood.
Tarantino then turned his attention to the small screen, directing the season five finale of CSI. In the episode, entitled “Grave Danger,” Tarantino took the show’s fans on a chilling, claustrophobic journey six feet underground into a torturous coffin that contained CSI team member Nick Stokes (George Eads). The episode garnered Tarantino an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series. Tarantino made his television directorial debut in 1995 with an episode of the long-running drama ER entitled “Motherhood.”
Tarantino wrote and directed JACKIE BROWN, a comic crime caper loosely based on Elmore Leonard’s novel Rum Punch, starring Pam Grier, Robert Forster, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Bridget Fonda and Michael Keaton. JACKIE BROWN was released in 1997. Grier garnered both Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations for her performance in the title role. Forster was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Supporting Actor. Jackson won the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1998 for his performance as Ordell Robbie.
Tarantino co-wrote, directed and starred in PULP FICTION, which won the Palme D’Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival, numerous critics’ awards, and a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay. Tarantino made a return visit to Cannes in 2004 to take on the prestigious role of jury president. PULP FICTION was nominated for seven Academy Awards® including Best Picture and Best Director, and Tarantino received an Academy Award® for Best Screenplay. The time-bending, crime fiction collage stars John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Eric Stoltz, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Maria de Medeiros, Amanda Plummer and Christopher Walken.
He made a bold debut with RESERVOIR DOGS, a cops and robbers tale that Tarantino wrote, directed and produced on a shoe-string budget. The film boasts an impressive cast that includes Harvey Keitel, Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth and Michael Madsen.
Following the success of RESERVOIR DOGS, the screenplays that Tarantino wrote during his tenure as a video store clerk became hot properties: Tony Scott directed Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette in TRUE ROMANCE and Robert Rodriguez directed George Clooney and Salma Hayek in FROM DUSK TILL DAWN.
Tarantino joined Allison Anders, Robert Rodriguez and Alexandre Rockwell by directing, writing and executive producing a segment of the omnibus feature FOUR ROOMS.
Tarantino’s diverse work as a producer exemplifies both his dedication to first-time filmmakers and his enthusiastic support for his experienced peers and colleagues. Tarantino served as an executive producer on Eli Roth’s HOSTEL, a chilling horror film about vacationers who fall victim to a service that allows its patrons to live out sadistic fantasies of murder. In 2005, Tarantino also produced first-time director Katrina Bronson’s DALTRY CALHOUN, starring Johnny Knoxville and Juliette Lewis. Tarantino’s additional executive producer credits include Robert Rodriguez’s FROM DUSK TILL DAWN and Roger Avary’s KILLING ZOE. The longtime fan of Asian cinema presented Yuen Wo Ping’s IRON MONKEY to American audiences in 2001 and Zhang Yimou’s HERO in 2004.
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Lee Daniels ~ Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
Lee Daniels began his career in entertainment as a casting director and manager after a chance meeting with a Hollywood producer, who recognized that Daniels had the business and artistic savvy to succeed. He initially started out as a casting director working on projects such as Under the Cherry Moon and Purple Rain, and continued managing talent that included several Academy Award nominees and winners.
Monster’s Ball, the first production of Lee Daniels Entertainment, was a remarkable pioneering achievement. The film marked Daniels as the first African-American sole producer of an Academy Award earning substantial critical and box office success, Monster’s Ball was nominated for two Academy Awards in 2002—Best Original Screenplay and Best Actress, for which Halle Berry won an Oscar.
Daniels’ next producing effort was The Woodsman. The film, starring Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick and Mos Def made its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004. Nominated for three 2005 Independent Spirit Awards, the film received the CICAE Arthouse Prize at the Cannes Film Festival; Jury Prize, Deauville International Film Festival and Special Mention for Excellence in Filmmaking from the National Board of Review.
Shadowboxer, marks Daniels’ directorial debut. This bold and heart wrenching tale of a pair of controversial assassins stars Helen Mirren, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Stephen Dorff, Vanessa Ferlito, Mo’Nique, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Macy Gray and had it’s world premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Daniels received a nomination for the New Directors Award at the 2006 San Sebastian Film Festival on behalf of the film.
Krystal joins them along the way. The film will be shot in New Mexico and Tennessee. It is produced by Daniels, written by Russell Schaumberg and will be directed by Aaron Woodley who directed the critically acclaimed Rhinoceros Eyes.
Outside of his work in film, Daniels briefly stepped into the world of politics and community development. Upon the request of Harlem neighbor and former president Bill Clinton, Daniels produced public service announcements to inspire young people of color to vote.The effective campaign was launched in March 2004 and featured actor/musician LL Cool J and Grammy winner Alicia Keys.
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Kathryn Bigelow ~ THE HURT LOCKER
KATHRYN BIGELOW (Director and Producer) has distinguished herself as one of Hollywood’s most innovative filmmakers. In 1985, Bigelow directed and co-wrote the stirring cult classic Near Dark, produced by Steven- Charles Jaffe. The film was critically lauded as a “poetic horror film.” As always, Bigelow’s visual style garnered positive reactions from the press, who described it as “dreamy, passionate and terrifying, a hallucinatory vision of the American nightworld that becomes both seductive and devastating.” Following the release of the film, the Museum of Modern Art honored Bigelow with a career retrospective.
In 1991, Bigelow directed the action thriller Point Break, which starred Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. Executive produced by James Cameron, Point Break explored the dangerous extremes of a psychological struggle between two young men. The Chicago Tribune commended her astonishing filmmaking sensibilities and described her as “a uniquely talented, uniquely powerful filmmaker…Bigelow has tapped into something primal and strong. She is a sensualist in the most sensual of mediums.”
When Strange Days was released in 1995, Roger Ebert called it a “technical tour de force.” In the film, Bigelow explored the unsettling prospects of computer-generated virtual reality and the impending new millennium. Strange Days received rave reviews and was highly praised for its energy and unique, intense visuals. Janet Maslin, in The New York Times, stated that “the furiously talented” Bigelow was “operating at full throttle… using material ablaze with eerie promise… she turns Strange Days into a troubling but undeniably breathless joyride.” Starring Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett and Juliette Lewis, Strange Days was co-written by James Cameron and released by Twentieth Century Fox.
Bigelow also directed The Weight of Water, starring Sean Penn, Sarah Polley, Catherine McCormack and Elizabeth Hurley. Based on the bestselling Anita Shreve novel, The Weight of Water made its world premiere in a gala screening at the 25th annual Toronto International Film Festival in 2000 and drew praise from critics and filmmakers alike. Variety described the film as being “Bigelow’s richest, most ambitious and personal work to date; imbued with suspense, benefiting from Bigelow’s penchant for creating a visual sense of menace and an atmosphere of fear.”
On the release of K-19: The Widowmaker, The New York Times declared Bigelow “one of the most gifted…directors working in movies today.” Starring Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson and Peter Saarsgard, it was one of the more critically well-received films of the summer of 2002. The film tells the true story of a heroic Soviet naval crew who risked their lives to prevent a near nuclear disaster aboard their submarine. Critics praised Bigelow as “an expert technician who never steps wrong” (Roger Ebert).
Bigelow went where no other filmmaker has gone before, making Soviet soldiers from the Cold War era the heroes of a major American production. For Bigelow, there was a larger purpose to telling this important forgotten chapter of history. “…At times I allow myself to hope that K-19 will also have another role to play, that it can help to throw open the narrow ideological window through which we, as Americans, have viewed a particular past and culture. In those moments I’m thinking back over the many disquieting things I saw in Russia, and most of all the people I met there: Our former enemies whose great courage we may now, finally, after all these years, be prepared to acknowledge.”
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