WhiteHouse.gov~Good News from the Auto Industry~As the auto industry and financial markets begin to stabilize, the President says the government’s emergency interventions are now winding down. He pledges that real reform, particularly on Wall Street, must now begin.
WhiteHouse.gov~Holiday Greetings~~~In this week of Easter, Passover, and faithful celebration, the President offers a holiday greeting and calls on people of all faiths and nonbelievers to remember our shared spirit of humanity.
WhiteHouse.gov~~Two Major Reforms on Health Care & Higher Ed~~The President looks back on a week that saw the passage of two major sets of reforms: one putting Americans in control of their own health care, and one ensuring student loans work for students and families, not as subsidies for bankers and middlemen. Vodpod videos no longer available.
WhiteHouse.gov~Time for Action on Financial Reform for the Economy
As a key committee in the Senate takes up reforming the ways of Wall Street, the President lays down a marker: “I urge those in the Senate who support these reforms to remain strong, to resist the pressure from those who would preserve the status quo, to stand up for their constituents and our country. And I promise to use every tool at my disposal to see these reforms enacted: to ensure that the bill I sign into law reflects not the special interests of Wall Street, but the best interests of the American people.” Vodpod videos no longer available.
WhiteHouse.gov~The Immediate Benefits of Health Reform~President Obama raises the point that health reform will not only have long-term advantages for the country but will have immediate protections and benefits this year if passed by Congress. Vodpod videos no longer available.
WhiteHouse.gov~~~The Olympic Spirit, the Spirit of Bipartisanship, and Health Reform~The President takes a moment to congratulate our Olympic athletes. Discussing the unity and pride Americans feel in cheering them on, the President relates that sentiment to his own desire for bipartisanship in Washington. He praises the recent bipartisan meeting and talks about moving forward on health reform. Vodpod videos no longer available.
Ken Hunter, son of the sole IRS worker killed when Joseph Stack flew his plane into the building where he worked.
CNN/Associated Press~ The son of the IRS worker who was the sole person to be killed last week when a tax protester piloted his plane into a Texas office building says his father was an innocent bystander who died at the hands of a terrorist.
And Ken Hunter, whose father, Vernon, was killed in Thursday’s plane attack said it was “disgusting” that the pilot’s daughter had called her father a hero — a statement she later retracted.
Joe Stack, 53, set fire to his family home before plowing his single-engine plane into the office building, killing himself and Hunter, a tax service employee and two-tour veteran of the War in Vietnam.
“How is it heroic to take upon acts that Al Qaeda used on September 11 of 2001? What makes that heroic?” Hunter said in an interview Monday.
He spoke after Stack’s adult daughter, Samantha Bell, told ABC News that her father’s beliefs were heroic, and “Now maybe people will listen.”
Stack targeted the building, where nearly 200 IRS workers were employed, after posting a ranting manifesto against the agency and the government.
“He did not write the tax law,” Hunter said of his father. “No one in that building wrote the tax law.”
Vernon Hunter ~ RIP
“Are you telling me that an American citizen committing an attack of terrorism against the United States is heroic?” he continued.
Bell said she offered her deepest condolences to Hunter’s family, and she said her father’s last actions were “inappropriate.”
“But if nobody comes out and speaks up on behalf of injustice, then nothing will ever be accomplished,” she said in the interview. “But I do not agree with his last action with what he did. But I do agree about the government.”
Bell later retracted her statement that her father was a hero, telling ABC that the only hero who died that day was her father’s victim. “I don’t want to hurt anybody,” she told ABC. “We are mourning for Vernon Hunter.”
Vodpod videos no longer available.
President Obama Sends Condolences To Austin
Last week, tragedy befell public servants in Austin, Texas. Earlier today, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner met with IRS employees in Austin to express his sympathies and support, and he read this note from the President:
“To the men and women of the Internal Revenue Service at Austin:
I asked Secretary Geithner to carry this message to you.
It is with great sadness that I write to you on the tragic events of February 18th. You, your families and colleagues are in my thoughts and prayers.
Michelle and I extend our condolences to you on the death of your colleague, Mr. Vernon Hunter. Vernon dedicated his life to service to this great country, serving over 20 years in the military before joining the IRS. We mourn his death.
As we work with law-enforcement agencies to investigate the events leading up to this plane crash, I want the dedicated employees of the IRS to know that I am thankful for your dedication, courage and professionalism as we rebuild in Austin. And as you continue your work, we will do what is needed to ensure your safety.
We are grateful for your service to this country.
May God bless you and the United States of America.
The White House and the Department of Education have announced a new Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge and are inviting public schools across the country to compete to have President Obama speak at their graduation. At the beginning of the school year, the President encouraged students across the country to take responsibility for their education, study hard and graduate from high school. The Race to the Top High School Commencement challenge encourages schools to show how they are making great strides on personal responsibility, academic excellence and college readiness.
Applications must be completed by students and submitted by a high school’s Principal using the Commencement Challenge Application Form no later than Monday, March 15th at 11:59 pm EST. Each school may submit only one application and high schools must be public to apply. Following the application deadline, six finalists will be selected by the White House and Department of Education. These schools will then be featured on the White House website and the public will have an opportunity to vote for the three schools they think best meet the President’s goal. The President will select a national winner from these three finalists and visit the winning high school to deliver the commencement address to the class of 2010.
The application’s four essay questions focus on demonstrating how the school is helping prepare students to meet the President’s 2020 goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. Applications will be judged based on the school’s performance and dedication to providing students an excellent education that will prepare them to graduate ready for college and career choices. Each question must be answered in full to qualify and data that substantiates each answer is strongly encouraged.
In addition to the required essay responses, applicants are invited to submit the following optional supplemental materials:
A video — no more than 2 minutes in length — showing the school’s culture and character and highlighting how it is a model of educational success for other high schools around the country.
Supplemental data on key indicators such as attendance, student achievement, graduation rates and where available, college enrollment rates. This data may be presented in the form of tables, graphs or spreadsheets and should be used to help the school make the most compelling arguments possible.
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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).