Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What Did You Think About the State of the Union?

Good morning family. Last night, Obama gave his State of the Union address. Here are a few excerpts from his speech (New York Times):

But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact. (Applause.) And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did. (Cheers, applause.)

Finally, if we’re serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, law enforcement — and fix our broken immigration system. (Cheers, applause.) Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have acted, and I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same. Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades. And for good reason: When people come here to fulfill their dreams — to study, invent, contribute to our culture — they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everybody. So let’s get immigration reform done this year. (Cheers, applause.) Let’s get it done. It’s time....

The good news is, we know how to do it. Two years ago, as the auto industry came roaring back, Andra Rush opened up a manufacturing firm in Detroit. She knew that Ford needed parts for the best-selling truck in America, and she knew how to make those parts. She just needed the workforce. So she dialed up what we call an American Job Center; places where folks can walk in to get the help or training they need to find a new job, or a better job. She was flooded with new workers, and today, Detroit Manufacturing Systems has more than 700 employees. And what Andra and her employees experienced is how it should be for every employer and every job seeker.

So tonight, I’ve asked Vice President Biden to lead an across- the-board reform of America’s training programs to make sure they have one mission: train Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now. (Cheers, applause.) That means more on-the-job training, and more apprenticeships that set a young worker on an upward trajectory for life. It means connecting companies to community colleges that can help design training to fill their specific needs. And if Congress wants to help, you can concentrate funding on proven programs that connect more ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs...

Of course, it’s not enough to train today’s workforce. We also have to prepare tomorrow’s workforce, by guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education. (Applause.)...

You know, today, women make up about half our workforce, but they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment.
Women deserve equal pay for equal work. (Cheers, applause.)...
In the year since I asked this Congress to raise the minimum wage, five states have passed laws to raise theirs.
Many businesses have done it on their own. Nick Chute is here today with his boss, John Soranno. John’s an owner of Punch Pizza in Minneapolis, and Nick helps make the dough. (Laughter.) Only now he makes more of it. (Laughter.) John just gave his employees a raise to 10 bucks an hour, and that’s a decision that has eased their financial stress and boosted their morale.
Tonight I ask more of America’s business leaders to follow John’s lead. Do what you can to raise your employees’ wages. (Applause.) It’s good for the economy; it’s good for America. (Sustained applause.)
To every mayor, governor, state legislator in America, I say, you don’t have to wait for Congress to act; Americans will support you if you take this on. And as a chief executive, I intend to lead by example. Profitable corporations like Costco see higher wages as the smart way to boost productivity and reduce turnover. We should too. In the coming weeks I will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour because if you cook — (cheers, applause) — our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you should not have to live in poverty. (Sustained applause.) ....
Now, I do not expect to convince my Republican friends on the merits of this law. (Laughter.) (Chuckles.) (Laughter.) But I know that the American people are not interested in refighting old battles. So again, if you have specific plans to cut costs, cover more people, increase choice, tell America what you’d do differently. Let’s see if the numbers add up. (Applause.) But let’s not have another 40- something votes to repeal a law that’s already helping millions of Americans like Amanda...
Today, all our troops are out of Iraq. More than 60,000 of our troops have already come home from Afghanistan. With Afghan forces now in the lead for their own security, our troops have moved to a support role. Together with our allies, we will complete our mission there by the end of this year, and America’s longest war will finally be over. (Applause.)
After 2014, we will support a unified Afghanistan as it takes responsibility for its own future.  If the Afghan government signs a security agreement that we have negotiated, a small force of Americans could remain in Afghanistan with NATO allies to carry out two narrow missions: training and assisting Afghan forces and counterterrorism operations to pursue any remnants of Al Qaeda.
Read the entire transcript here.
The President is a brilliant orator. I hope that his ambitious and noble goals become a reality.

On the other hand, I find it troubling that any US troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014. I find it troubling that Guantanamo Bay remains open after all of the campaign rhetoric. In light of recent the killings of Trayvon Martin, Jonathan Ferrell, Jordan Davis and Renisha McBride, I find it troubling that the President did not mention race in his State of the Union address. Finally, the President should have said more about his plans to reform U.S. surveillance programs. He should have more thoroughly discussed the "prudent limits on the use of drones." America cannot fight terrorism with terrorism.

What did you think about the President's State of the Union address?


  1. An oustanding SOTU address, the best of his presidency, so far, and any in recent memory. It was very concilliatory, but managed to hit the nail on the head.
    It did fail to mention XL pipeline, womens' reproductive rights and the absolutely INSANE far-right Tea Poopers obstructionism, who are already threatening lawsuits over his use of Executive Power to get SOMETHING accomplished here, the fewest use of which in the last 100 years by presidents.
    My Gawd, something has to be done to move this country forward. We need good paying jobs, that don't require a Masters degree, reign-in the all powerful and greedy corporations, lobbyists and the HUGE Military-Industrial Complex, which Pres. Eisenhower warned us about, and who now are REALLY the de-facto government of America. Honest to Gawd folks, it is.
    And you and I are required, under penalty of death, to pay taxes to this sham government, and we pay alot!. The GOP isn't going to lift a finger to help.
    The IRS says it is vested by the 14th amendment to levy income tax, but the truth of the matter is this. The amendment was not legally sanctioned, because the required 2/3 majority of the states vote, to amend the Constitution, at that time was not achieved. But it was pushed through on a technicality, by congressmen who were HEAVILY financed (bribed) by the Robber Barons of the time, namely multi-millionaires JD Rockefeller, Gould, JP Morgan (Chase), Carnegie and others who thrived during the "Gilded Age" under McKinley, untill someone got fed up with his shit, and shot and killed him. There was no income tax, no regulation, no EPA.. It was truely a huge free- for- all (known as laisse-fare) (leave them alone) for them and a huge mess for the poor average worker, but not so for the money men who called all the shots. Not much different from DC today, ya think? The more things change, the more they stay the same.
    GOP wants to return us to that era because, like their masters, they worship at the Altar of the Almighty Dollar, and they could care less about YOU! If you don't believe me, look it up, it's all written down
    I want to apoligize for the tirades, but we sane Americans must step up and vote out these crazy Republicans who hate Obama and obstruct everything he tries to do to help the middle class and the poor.May Gawd help us in that endeavor.

    1. Thank you for your feedback. You raised some good points about GOP obstructionism, the military industrial complex and job creation.