Tonight's State of the Union Address

Tonight at 9pm President Obama will give his first State of the Union address where I imagine he'll both look back at what has happened in the past year, as well as where we are heading in the years to come.  I'll be listening on NPR for the first part since I'll be driving home from Raleigh to Chapel Hill at 9 (I checked with the WUNC Interim Program Director and they will be broadcasting it).  Since many local elections are the country will be affected the general mood towards Democrats, and President Obama is the captain of that ship, I think it is a good time to look at what he has accomplished, and what he still needs to do.




President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, he signed a bill to expand veteran benefits, he signed kids tobacco legislation, he signed a land protection act, & SCHIP, gave the Cairo speech to the Muslim world & has represented our country abroad (Europe seems to be pretty fond of him for the most part), he oversees an EPA that has shown it is willing to get tough on environmental issues via regulation if the congress won’t via legislation, he gave a widely watched education speech, he's advocated for science in our schools, & is for stem cell research, he's appointed a supreme court justice, he's ended torture, respects the Geneva Convention, and has plans to close Gitmo (albeit behind schedule after responding to facts on the ground), he's going to have us out or Iraq next year and starting to pulling out of Afghanistan (the one that actually attacked us) at the same time.

And since he gets a hard time on gay rights (& deservedly so) , here is a section on what he has done so far. On the gay rights from he has signed legislation such as the hate crimes bill, and ryan white care act, he has lifted the travel/immigration ban based on HIV status earlier this month, he has expanded federal benefits to gay spouses which is the largest employer in the US & in some sense sets the tone for many other employers, he's invited gay couples to public white house family holiday events (& to the State of the Union, the guest list even mentions a gay couple adopting), he's appointed openly gay officials as well as gay ambassadors. He's called for the end of Don't Ask Don't Tell on the campaign trail, again after taking office during the National Equality March weekend, and said (although he should certainly say it louder & more often) he would sign legislation relating to repealing DADT, the repealing of the Defense of Marriage Act, & enacting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

And then of course there is all the day to day of meetings & running the country. All of this without mentioning any health care reform efforts or economic recovery efforts which are the areas that have seen the most work. And it wasn’t just keeping Wall Street from collapsing, but cash for clunkers which had an economic and environmental aspect to it, and first time home buyer subsidies, and so on. Combine that with recent efforts to get money back from the banks, and recent efforts to fight corporate rule, & the SCOTUS decision (see ) and I think he has had a busy first year.

As far as the speech goes I expect we will see a lot of discussion of job creation, and deficit cutting.  I've heard he may even say he now has many military leaders behind the DADT repeal idea... although that remains to be seen.

What do you expect to see, and what do you hope to see?



If I weren't stuck in class, I'd be watching all the pre-SOTU commentary that starts on a lot of stations at 8.  But alas class goes almost until 9 (on 10 minute break atm)

on CNN. I like the pomp and circumstance of the officials walking in and the President being announced. Very curious what Obama is going to be saying about Healthcare reform of course - what is he planning... 

I bet he didn't apologize for Afhan & Pakistan civilian deaths or pledge to have a national discussion on the use of drones.

He didn't talk about either of those things. He did pledge to continue to work to end the wars he's been saying.

"Everybody's crying peace on earthJust as soon as we win this warStraight ahead, gotta knock em deadSo pack your kit, choose your own hypocriteYou don't have to go to off-BroadwayTo see something plain absurdEverybody's crying mercyWhen they don't know the meaning of the word"

Abroad, America's greatest source of strength has always been our ideals. The same is true at home. We find unity in our incredible diversity, drawing on the promise enshrined in our Constitution: the notion that we are all created equal, that no matter who you are or what you look like, if you abide by the law you should be protected by it; that if you adhere to our common values you should be treated no different than anyone else. We must continually renew this promise. My Administration has a Civil Rights Division that is once again prosecuting civil rights violations and employment discrimination. We finally strengthened our laws to protect against crimes driven by hate. This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.

I'm happy he said that, I bolded the 2 of the most important words in that segment.

My jaw hit the floor.  I mean...seriously?  

He included the words "drill and fill" in a string of controversial issues raised during the year.  That was the only mention, however, and he certainly didn't push for drilling.  I thought the speech was terrific.  Anybody read Game Change yet?  Highly recommended.  - c.

I also thought the speech was terrific.  I felt the old stirring of hope.  The  part I was referring to follows.  You're right that he doesn't push for drilling, but I wish he hadn't mentioned it at all!"But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. And that means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country. It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development. It means continued investment in advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies. And, yes, it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America."

Obama is smart enough to know that "clean coal" is a fantasy, so why does he promote it? 

North Carolina Receives $545 Million for High-Speed Rail from American Recovery and Reinvestment ActGov. Bev Perdue announced today that North Carolina is receiving $545 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for further development of the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor, a nearly 500-mile route that will allow trains to travel between Charlotte and Washington, D.C. at top speeds of up to 90-110 miles per hour and an average speed of 86 mph.“Building this high-speed rail corridor will put our people to work on critical infrastructure projects and boost local economies in North Carolina,” said Gov. Perdue. “This is a huge leap toward making high-speed rail in North Carolina a reality.”Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson announced the funding award today during a ceremony at the newly renovated Durham train station. The project is expected to create or maintain 4,800 private sector jobs in North Carolina and provide environmental and energy benefits through reduced congestion and improved air quality.“Every dollar we spend on high speed rail is an investment in job creation and in cleaning the air we all breathe,” said U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Building high speed rail will put people in North Carolina to work right away, lay the foundation for long term growth and make travel faster and cheaper - all while reducing our impact on the environment.”Under the recovery funding, North Carolina received $520 million for improvements that will enable higher track speeds along the corridor between Raleigh and Charlotte and $25 million for projects to improve reliability of existing service from Raleigh north to Virginia. In addition, Virginia received $75 million for improvements to the Richmond to Washington, D.C. section of the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor.“We’ve been working with our partners in multiple states to lay the foundation for a high-speed rail network that will serve as the Main Street of the East Coast,” said state Transportation Secretary Gene Conti. “These funds will help us realize that vision and continue our efforts here in North Carolina to build a 21st century transportation network that incorporates all modes of travel.”Since the USDOT designated Charlotte to Washington, D.C. as a high-speed rail corridor in 1992, the N.C. Department of Transportation has invested more than $300 million in the state’s intercity passenger rail service for renovation and construction of train stations, track work improvements and corridor preservation projects in order to pave the way for high-speed service.The high-speed rail corridor funding award meshes with the goals outlined in NCDOT’s new Complete Streets policy, which calls for a diverse transportation infrastructure that encompasses all modes of travel, from bicycles and ferries to cars and rail. The corridor project is also in conjunction with the Statewide Logistics Plan, which leverages the state’s assets to improve the economic well-being of all North Carolinians.

I heard the president was down in Florida promoting this initiative, and Biden and other administration officials were out promoting it too mostly in the more populated coastal states that are getting more of the funds.  Obviously it’ll put some people to work, but in the long run I think more shifts to mass transit is both more environmentally sound and a solid infrastructure investment.  The president said in the speech that 2010's focus will be jobs, and this sounds like a good start to me.

I wanted to ask anyone who is up for it to make this quick call.  My class starts in 5 minutes downstairs, I'm posting from the comp lab.  So I didn't have time to type up an original message so I am going to copy and paste what I wrote for my facebook page here in this area since the President called for DADT repeal in the SOTU.  Please consider making this call. Please call Sen. Hagan, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, at 202-224-6342
& ask whatever aide picks up that you want her to cosponsor the
Military Readiness Enhancement Act (the bill to repeal Don't Ask Don't
Tell). I just did. It'll be a 2 or 3 minute convo after 2 or 3 minutes
on hold, but our Senator needs to her constituents want this repealed. You can point out, if you'd like, that Public Policy Polling has polled
North Carolinians on this issue last month and 67% of dems & 59% of
independents (the groups who voted for her) support repealing DADT.I don't make calls to Washington as often as I should, but there isn't
much point in voting if you aren't going to let your elected officials
know where you stand. Please take a few minutes to do this.Here is a short call script if you want one:... See More post a comment here to let everyone know you called, maybe we can rack
up a few calls today on the day that those leading the charge announced
the DADT repeal Senate bill will be introduced soon. If we want Hagan
to lead, we must ask her to TODAY ----
this to send an e-message in the next day or two asking her to
cosponsor the Military Readiness Enhancement Act. We can't let up, if
she is going to cosponsor it, that needs to happen soon.  


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