In its multi-modal full-court press around the State of the Union, the Obama White House provided this BTS video.
** EARLY EXCERPTS FROM OBAMA’S STATE OF THE UNION — OUR “SPUTNIK MOMENT.”
With their votes, the American people determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties. New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans. We will move forward together, or not at all – for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics.
At stake right now is not who wins the next election – after all, we just had an election. At stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country, or somewhere else. It’s whether the hard work and industry of our people is rewarded. It’s whether we sustain the leadership that has made America not just a place on a map, but a light to the world. We are poised for progress. Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again.
But we have never measured progress by these yardsticks alone. We measure progress by the success of our people. By the jobs they can find and the quality of life those jobs offer. By the prospects of a small business owner who dreams of turning a good idea into a thriving enterprise. By the opportunities for a better life that we pass on to our children. That’s the project the American people want us to work on. Together. …
Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik¸ we had no idea how we’d beat them to the moon. The science wasn’t there yet. NASA didn’t even exist.
But after investing in better research and education, we didn’t just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.
This is our generation’s Sputnik moment.
** JERRY BROWN “TURNS” ON ENERGY, REGULATORY APPOINTMENTS. Governor Jerry Brown made several rather pro-consumer and progressive appointments today to the California Public Utilities Commission and the state Energy Commission. Two of today’s four appointees are leaders of TURN (The Utility Reform Network). All are Democrats.
Mike Florio, TURN’s senior attorney since 1978, was named today by Brown, along with Santa Clara Law Professor Catherine Sandoval, a Rhodes Scholar.
The Public Utilities Commission has come under fire for being too pro-business, especially in the wake of the spectacular explosion of a Pacific Gas & Electric natural gas line in a Bay Area community last year.
Brown also appointed two to the state Energy Commission, including 32-year old Rhodes Scholar Carla Peterman, a member of the TURN board of directors who has done a series of studies on solar photovoltaics for the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and is a PhD. candidate at UC Berkeley, and Dr. Robert Weisenmiller, a veteran energy consultant first appointed to the commission a year ago by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Weisenmiller fills the engineer/scientist slot on the Energy Commission, and is Brown’s pick to serve as its new chairman.
** NEW POLL: ECONOMIC CONFIDENCE HITS THREE-YEAR HIGH. On the day of President Barack Obama’s third State of the Union address, a new Gallup Poll shows that U.S. economic confidence is the highest it’s been in three years.
This, despite the fact that unemployment remains stubbornly high.
Of course, economic confidence is higher among upper-income Americans.
Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index improved to an average of -21 in Gallup Daily tracking so far in January, up from -28 in December. If these optimism levels continue through the end of the month, January 2011 will have the most positive economic confidence score since Gallup began daily measurement in January 2008. …
Optimism among upper-income Americans is increasing faster than that of their lower- and middle-income counterparts. Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index among upper-income Americans (those making $90,000 or more annually) has averaged -7 so far in January — a sharp improvement from -18 in December, and better than the -18 in January 2010. Lower-and middle-income Americans’ confidence shows a similar, if more modest, improvement: to -24 thus far in January, from -30 in December and -27 in January 2010. …
Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index consists of two measures, both of which show improvement: one gauging Americans’ perceptions of current economic conditions and the other, their economic outlook. In January to date, 42% of Americans rate current economic conditions “poor” — a slight improvement from 44% in December and 45% in January 2010. Consumers’ assessments of current economic conditions improved slightly more among upper-income than among lower- and middle-income Americans (those making less than $90,000 annually). …
Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index shows that consumers are more optimistic about the economy in January than they have been in three years. It may be that the start of a new year, the more cooperative tone in Washington, the continued gains on Wall Street, the Federal Reserve’s continuing efforts to stimulate the economy, and the extension of the Bush tax cuts late last year have combined to make all Americans — and particularly upper-income Americans — more optimistic about the U.S. economy. Confidence is also up despite fears of continued financial problems in Europe, inflation problems in Asia, and state and local financial problems as well as housing issues in the U.S. …
Although overall economic confidence remains low as reflected by its negative score, its improved January status also provides a somewhat more positive setting for President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday. Improved economic perceptions may not only explain, at least in part, the recent increase in the president’s approval rating, but may also make Americans more receptive to any new actions he puts forth, particularly if they have bipartisan support.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin vowed retribution for yesterday’s terrorist bombing of Moscow’s busiest airport.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington.
It’s State of the Union Day.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have received the daily intelligence and economic briefings in the Oval Office. Biden has thankfully been released from jury duty in Delaware.
At 12 noon Pacific, proverbial senior Obama Administration officials will hold an off-camera briefing in the South Court Auditorium to preview the President’s State of the Union Address. The briefing will be embargoed until the beginning of the president’s speech.
At 6 PM Pacific, Obama delivers the State of the Union Address in the United States Capitol.
Obama is spending much of his day prepping for his State of the Union address.
Given the Republican takeover of the House and widespread concern, especially among independent voters, about the burgeoning federal budget deficit, Obama will de-emphasize big ticket spending programs and focus on “future”-oriented topics such as education reform, technological innovation and competitiveness.
Obama’s moving somewhat back to the center since the midterm elections has resulted in a jump in the polls and big leads over all Republican candidates for the 2012 presidential race.
The White House will have a host of online venues for viewing and participation around the State of the Union. They are available here at WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU.
The viewing experience of the speech is enhanced online by a companion stream of visual aids, such as charts and quick stats to provide context and emphasize key points. Immediately after the speech, there is a live Open for Questions event with policy experts from the White House answering online questions about key issues in the speech.
In other action, former White House chief of staff, by far the frontrunner for mayor of Chicago, received a lifeline this morning in his attempt to avoid being thrown off the ballot by a state appellate court ruling that he is not a qualified resident of Chicago. The Illinois Supreme Court directed Chicago election officials not to go to the printer today with ballots as previously scheduled. Emanuel appealed late yesterday.
Obama is also monitoring geopolitical crises in Tunisia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, and the Korean peninsula, as well as the Wikileaks crisis.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Sacramento today.
He has no scheduled public events as of this morning.
Brown is working on California’s chronic budget crisis and on developing his nascent administration.
Late yesterday, he made several appointments. They include Gareth Edwards as legislative affairs secretary, former Acting Lieutenant Governor Mona Pasquil as appointments secretary, Sue Johnsrud as director of operations, and Nettie Sabelhaus as special advisor for appointments.
Edwards and Sabelhaus are former top aides to former state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, a longtime Brown ally who narrowly lost his bid for mayor of Oakland in November.
Johnsrud worked under Brown and, before that, former Attorney General-turned-Treasurer Bill Lockyer as chief administrative officer of the state Department of Justice.
Pasquil is a veteran of many Democratic campaigns. I worked with her a few decades ago when I was John Garamendi’s senior political advisor and she was a young assistant. Since then she worked in the White House political office under President Bill Clinton, was political director for Governor Gray Davis and a deputy political director of John Kerry’s presidential campaign, then chief of staff for Garamendi, who by this point had been elected lieutenant governor of California. When Garamendi won a special election for Congress, Pasquil took over as acting lieutenant governor until Abel Maldonado was finally confirmed as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s appointee.
In addition, Brown named Michael Cohen, a longtime senior staffer at the Legislative Analyst Office, as chief deputy director of the Department of Finance, Pedro Reyes, a former top aide to the Assembly Speaker’s Office, as chief deputy director for policy of the Department of Finance, and H.D. Palmer as deputy director for external affairs of the Department of Finance.
Palmer, who played the same role for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, is the first Republican appointed to the Brown Administration.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE. Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is in Canada.
He is on a three-day speaking tour of Canada.
He appears in Calgary for a luncheon speech to 2300 at the Telus Convention Center.
Tonight Schwarzenegger speaks at the Fairmont Hotel in Winnipeg, capital of Manitoba Province.
The event is sold out, with 800 attendees at $275 per person.
Manitoba, incidentally, is governed by the New Democratic Party, Canada’s social democratic party.
** OBAMA AND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE JFK INAUGURAL 50 YEARS ON. Why, 50 years after the fact, did official Washington celebrate the inauguration of a most imperfect man who served less than one term as president, and had far fewer accomplishments than many other presidents?
The answer undoubtedly lies in why John F. Kennedy continues to be rated higher in polling than all other modern presidents, and why Barack Obama became a major political figure in the first place and is resurgent today. Ideology, policy, even accomplishment has remarkably little to do with it.
Obama flashed on to the national scene in 2004 on the strength of nothing more than one great speech, his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. He was only a state senator in Illinois, about to become a freshman U.S. senator. But after that one speech, he was a major presidential prospect.
So, too, with Kennedy, finding his place on the stage of history with his great inaugural address.
When Senator John Kerry selected Obama to deliver the 2004 convention keynote, like most in politics I’d barely heard of him. But his obscurity and newness on the scene — in 2000, Obama had struggled to even get into the Democratic national convention in Los Angeles, as he endearingly recounted in The Audacity of Hope — didn’t stop him from delivering one of the great convention stemwinders of all time, an exercise in uplift, ennoblement, and possibility that launched him on a steep trajectory taking him to the presidency four years later. …
From my January 22nd essay.
** THE JERRY BROWN ERA UNFOLDS (AGAIN). And he is off and running as governor of California. Again. The first week of Jerry Brown’s governorship told us a lot, and set the stage for the second week, in which a hellacious state budget proposal is dominating.
First, let’s look at that, and then at the first week of the Brown governorship as he took over from Arnold Schwarzenegger. A week that was telling and even, in its way, festive. At least at first. … From my January 11th feature.
** 2010: A JERRY BROWN ODYSSEY. … From my December 20th feature.
** OBAMA: RIDING WITH HISTORY. (NOTE: As Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, this column was the featured column on the top of the front page of the Huffington Post.) … From my January 19th, 2009 Huffington Post column.
The Academy Award nominees were announced early this morning in Los Angeles. The King’s Speech led the way with 12 nominations, establishing it as a rival for The Social Network for Best Picture.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer, bringing you English-language, jargon-free, fast-paced coverage of global and Russian news from the Russia Today channel. You probably already know about CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. Russia Today, which also features culture, entertainment, and sports, is based in Moscow and is owned and operated by the TV Novosti division of Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti. While it’s quite foolish to expect to see, say, criticism of Vladimir Putin on Russia Today, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. With U.S. cable news chattering away as it does, this sort of respite can be informative. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM AL JAZEERA. With the US entangled in two wars in the region, it’s valuable to keep up with news and perspectives from the leading Middle Eastern-based TV news network. Based in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, Al Jazeera is very influential and more than a bit controversial. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer. The NWN live link to AJ does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND NATIONAL ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. Having crashed over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, 2008, crude oil is trading around $87 per barrel.
This is up about $53 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, reflecting a low point in global economic activity.
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