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| State of The Union Address - 2014
|Posted Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Filed under Commentary
|This entry was posted Wednesday, January 29, 2014; filed under Keeba’s Commentary.
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|Keeba Smith is a published writer and desired screenplay artist. She is the author of “Shades of Bright Pale” and many other
unacquainted writings. Please visit www.Keeba.org to find out more about Keeba Smith, read additional critiques and her
unpublished autobiography, “Spirit in the Dark.”
|President Obama's key points:
will Congress help to improve and further progress or be a hindrance?
Often times, it seemed as though he was throwing quick jabs at the
current Congressional House, but it was fair when he reminded the
Nation that it was Congress who chose to shutdown the government. He
made mention how much their actions hurt the Nation. He also told them
to stop creating more problems but more jobs. (Why does it sound as if
he is a schoolmaster telling juveniles how to behave? Why SHOULD he
have to tell adults how to do their jobs when most of them have been on
the job for decades?)
Other key points:
President Obama said that everyone deserves the same opportunity to succeed. He went on to say: "…there are
millions of Americans outside Washington who are tired of stale political arguments, and are moving this country
forward. They believe, and I believe, that here in America, our success should depend not on accident of birth,
but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams. That’s what drew our forebears here. It’s how
the daughter of a factory worker is CEO of America’s largest auto-maker; how the son of a barkeeper is Speaker
of the House; how the son of a single mom can be President of the greatest nation on Earth."
He said that if Congress does not act, then he would use his executive powers.
Other key points:
|State of the Union - 2014
On Tuesday, January 28, 2014, President Barack Obama gave his fifth State of the Union speech
to the Country.
While I am always happy to hear what our presidents have to say to the Nation - informing of the
status of our Nation - I begin to wonder about the salutation. Although each of our presidents has
addressed the Nation the same way for as long as I have been alive, I have finally noticed
something that is unsettling - to me.
|Each of our presidents begin their State of the Union speeches as follows, "Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice
President, Members of Congress, my fellow Americans."
Each time the President of the United States, he addresses we, the people, last. Because we, the
people are the very ones that own this Nation, we should have been respectfully addressed first.
Moreover, although I know why the White House was named "The White House," and at one time
was named The Presidents House", it would seem more fitting if it were called "The People's
Nonetheless, I always like to watch the beginning, before the president comes out. As the camera
sweeps across the room, I like to see who attends, their appearance, where they are seated and
who shakes hands with whom. I then like to watch when the president comes out and whom he
shakes hands with, hugs and stops to have a brief quick conversation. (Where is the short guy that
usually announces the president when he first comes out? It was a female this time; I suppose
that was a good move.)
As usual, the speech was engaging, and President Obama provided many talking points.
However, those who are avid political watchers, knew that some Republicans would not act
accordingly, as they have no interest in doing what they were hired to do. Instead, some of our
politicians are political career seat warmers and do not intend to work in favor of The People; a
job they were hired to do. But of course, they should not shoulder all the blame - those that
support them certainly are not exempt.
President Obama began his speech by telling us that the Nation is experiencing the lowest
unemployment rate in five years. Whatever that means, I have no idea, as it is always
questionable no matter who is president, however the announcement lead to approved clapping -
from the Left.
Boehner clapped. However, Obama said that last year he asked
Congress to assist States in making pre-K a high priority, but it is apparent
that they did not act as tonight, he asked them again. He said that 30
States have raised pre-K funding on their won - without the help of
going to do, he said that he would appeal to entrepreneurs and businesses
for their help.
fact, he appeared as though he sat on his hand and the expression on his face changed from being stone-faced to just a
plain frown. If he is not embarrassed, he and his cronies should be, as they failed to act in favor of all of America's
Obama said that he wants to work with Congress to help students who are trapped with student loan debt. Again,
Boehner did not clap but looked down - probably at his sorry hands - hands that failed to act in favor of our children.
|Federal Minimum Wage Increase
Obama mentioned the inequality of men of color. However, the
majority stood and clapped when he mentioned the unfairness in
women's pay. It was funny that he would use the comparison to
an episode of "Mad Men".
inequality in pay and that Americans are forced to raise their
families in poverty. Yet, Congress had previously refused to
approve an across the board increase in minimum wage. (The
majority stood and clapped.)
Obama said that in the years that he has asked Congress to raise minimum wage, five States have passed local laws to
raise theirs. He went on to mention John Soranno, owner of Punch Pizza in Minneapolis. Obama said that Mr. Soranno
increased his employee's pay to $10.00 an hour, which resulted in increased morale.
that would require all federal contractors to pay their federally funded
workers at least $10.10 per hour. He implored that other business leaders
to follow Mr. Soranno's lead and increase their employees' wages.
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."
Of course, it should be noted that while $10.10 is better than $7.25 per hour, it is only a $2.85 increase. It should also be
noted that the poverty level for a four-person household is 23, 850, and if only one person is working, that household
would only earn $21,008 per year.
Nevertheless, President Obama said that people should not be forced to live in poverty and that the federal minimum
wages is worth 20% less than when Ronald Reagan was president. (This part of Obama's speech received high praise
from the majority of those in attendance.)
President Obama said that the he agreed with Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio that the EITC does not go far
enough and does not help those who are single and without children. He said that they should work together to help
President Obama said that he will direct the treasury department to create a way for working Americans to start saving
for retirement. The new plan is called MyRA and is designed for people to create a nest egg. He said that it would yield
a decent return - no risk of losing what a person puts in. He said that Congress is more than welcome to help the plan
that will help the not so rich save money.
He went on to say, "…since the most important investment many families make is their home, send me legislation
that protects taxpayers from footing the bill for a housing crisis ever again, and keeps the dream of
homeownership alive for future generations of Americans."
|Affordable Care Act/ObamaCare*
Obama mentioned the Affordable Care Act and the multiple votes Congress have had attempting to repeal it. He slightly
joked that the first 40 times were plenty. (It is ALREADY law!) He said that the ACA is designed to keep people from
filing bankruptcy. In regards to the ACA, he mentioned the following:
President Obama said that if Republicans have a better plan he urged them to bring it forward. (Boehner looked as
though he wanted to bludgeon him.) Obama said, "We all owe it to the American people to say what we’re for, not
just what we’re against."
*Note: The ACA is NOT Obama's health care plan, but Senator Orin Hatch's.
I can recall Kentucky being one of the States that had the most success with signing people up for the ACA. Governor
Steve Beshear did such a great job in implementing a website called "Kentucky Connect" that Kentuckians were saying,
"Oh, this is much better than ObamaCare", when in fact, it WAS ObamaCare a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act. Anyway,
Obama pointed out governor Beshear and mentioned how dedicated the governor was in getting people signed up for
affordable health care. It is sad that not enough governors are as dedicated as Mr. Beshear and others. It is even sadder
that Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell refused to work for the betterment of his constituents. (I am sure Obama did
not receive any kudos from the Republicans.)
Boehner appeared as though he wanted to toss up his lunch when Obama said that everyone has the right to vote - a
bipartisan effort. He said that last year, part of the Voting Rights Act was weakened but both Republicans and
Democrats are working to strengthen it. He said, "It should be the power of our vote that drives the right to vote and
not the size of bank accounts driving democracy."
Throughout his speech, President Obama received kudos from both sides of the aisle, but when he mentioned immigration
reform, the feelings were mixed. As the camera panned around the room, Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor clapped but
Boehner did not. Some stood and clapped while Boehner remained in his highchair.
prolonged with everyone on their feet. (There is nothing like
cheering on sending our young men and women to endless wars,
as it only means money in the pockets for the big wigs. Moreover,
there is nothing like sending our young men and women to war
when their much-needed benefits are forever delayed. Our
politician's actions hurt our military men and women when they
keep them from getting medical care.)
the end of this year, but that NATO allies and a few troops would
President Obama made it seemed as though that Guantanamo Bay remains open due to Congress. Regardless, I say it is
WAY too late to close it now! I do not think they should add additional so-called prisoners, but leave it open for a
minimum of 20 years.
President Obama said that for the first time in a decade, the U.S. and Iran have gotten closer in having peace talks. Iran
has agreed to eliminate their stockpile of enriched uranium and thus will prevent them form obtaining a nuclear weapon.
In addition, Obama said that an agreement may not come to fruition but at least it is a diplomatic way in getting things
powerful adversaries during their time, so we should be able to deal with
less powerful adversaries now. During this portion, I could not help but
laugh when Arizona Senator John McCain was shown clapping but then
when he looked up, it was if he knew he was on camera and was
embarrassed. He quickly stopped clapping and appeared to sit on his
previously motioning hands. He thought he was quick, but oops, not quick
enough. I suppose he did not want to appear to be caught clapping in
agreement to what Obama had said. (Talk show host Rush Limbaugh
certainly has a lot of power.)
Notwithstanding, Obama went on to say that he believes in diplomacy but if agreements with Iran did not work, then he
would call for more sanctions. He said that there is not always a need to go to war as if war is always the answer.
|In the end, Obama simply told the Republicans, 'Either get on board and help me move this Nation with further progress,
or get out the way.'
It was a good and inspiring as well as an in-your-face-with-eggs, speech.
walked out. He said he did not want to hear President Obama further abuse his
boundaries of the Constitutional separation of powers," Stockman said in a
press release shortly after Obama’s speech ended. "Needless to say, I am
deeply disappointed in the tone and content of tonight’s address."
majority Republican Congress to eat dirt while he goes about change and further
progress on his own. Mr. Stockman and those others who are now crying fowl
when Obama kept constantly telling Congress they either help or get out the way
are suddenly disappointed that failure will not continually go their way. Now the
Do Nothing Congress is upset? Really? Five years in a row of blocking Obama
and now that he is stepping out on his own, they say he a dictator? Wow! Who
is fooling whom, here?
I question if Mr. Stockman knew what President Obama was saying, as he was busy Tweeting. However, while he
WAS Tweeting throughout the SOTU speech, he could have shown less disrespect had he used his time during the
speech searching the web of presidents who have used their executive powers. Had he had done so, he would have
learned the following:
Someone should tell Mr. Stockman that reading and web searching is essential when it is used properly. Oh, Mr.
Stockman has serious issues. This year, his guest was Chad Henderson, a young man that is proven to have fibbed about
his enrollment experience in ObamaCare. (Last year, Mr. Stockman's guest was rocker and NRA enthusiast Ted
Nugent.) Oh and speaking of guest, Louisiana Republican Vance McAllister invited a member of the "Duck Dynasty"
Republican Representative Michael Grimm about the State of the Union
speech, Scotto asked Grimm about allegations of his campaign being
investigated of financial violations. Representative Grimm became so
upset, that he used an explicative when he threatened to throw Scotto off
a two-story balcony.
Representative Grimm? At first Grimm said he was within his rights to
be upset. He did not apologize until the recording of his threats of bodily
harm went viral. Who knew that the threats would be recorded on
video? One thing for sure, is that any camera that is capable of recording
will almost always go viral.
I heard that there were thousand of responses to President Obama's SOTU speech, but there was only one on my NBC
delivered the Republican response.
because the Republican Party's ideas and actions have been proven to be
extremely opposing toward women. Moreover, I suppose its purpose was
to let female voters know her past and as a female, her loyalty to the
Republican Party. (At least she was allowed to hold on to her last name.)
I do not know if I am biased, but Mrs. McMorris-Rodgers seemed as though she was introducing herself to the Nation. It
was a résumé - HER résumé.
Mrs. McMorris-Rodgers' speech was rather dull, but funny. It was dull to have her read a speech that was blatantly
obvious it was written before Obama's speech. It was funny that she would mention pay and employment. A Republican
female talking about pay and employment?!
Mrs. McMorris-Rodgers was right when that the President has great ideas but they will not come true. Those great
ideas will not come into fruition because for the last five years the Republican-controlled Congress has purposefully done
everything in their power to block those "great ideas".
They continuously said that Obama did not work to decrease unemployment so jobs were their running platform.
However, when they took over Congress, their top priority was making sure Obama was a one-term president; blocking
every job bill Obama implemented.
Most American would agree with Mrs. McMorris-Rodgers when said that she wants Washington to play by the same
rules that America does. In fact, that was just one of many disagreements that Republicans had with the ACA.
Republicans wanted the ACA to offer the same insurance plans that are available to members of Congress and the
Senate. When Obama agreed, they were disappointed and looked for other particulars they could disagree with.
Mrs. McMorris-Rodgers mentioned that she worked hard. Well, because most Republicans are so out of touch with
everyday people's reality, they are clueless that there are millions of people such as Misty DeMars. Moreover, there are
millions of people that are in worse position than Mrs. DeMars, they are called the working poor - working more than 1
job while living in poverty - continuously.
Mrs. McMorris-Rodgers spoke of opportunities she had, however I am not sure if she is aware that there are millions of
Americans who are taking advantage of those opportunities that her generation handed them. There were great
opportunities back then - for Whites only. However, today, the Republicans in Congress are stifling not only minorities,
but poor and middle class Whites. Today, even greater opportunities are available but not for middle and working class,
which includes Whites and minorities. They are being suffocated with no help from this Republican controlled House.
Other points of reference Mrs. McMorris-Rodgers mentioned:
Mrs. McMorris-Rodgers said that Republicans had plans to fix these problems but unfortunately, she did not say what
It was rather dull listening to Mrs. McMorris-Rodgers. Although her essential points were the same as President
Obama's, she seemed to discredit his while she failed to provide any solutions.
It was interestingly funny listening to Mrs. McMorris-Rodgers tell America that Republicans will never help grow this
nation. She proved that there would be more Republican opposition to come.
|President Obama gave great accolades to Sergeant First Class Army Ranger Cory Remsburg for his dedication to
service. Obama and Ranger Remsburg met before he (Remsburg) was almost killed in Afghanistan. Although he has
suffered immensely, he is committed to service and wants to return to his troops. "My recovery has not been easy," he
says. "Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy."
The House stood and faced Sergeant First Class Army Ranger Cory Remsburg; showing their gratitude and respect.
They remained standing and clapping for what seemed like minutes. It was an echoing sound of applause and some non-
Obama ended his speech talking about Army Ranger Remsburg and the commitment to bravery he and other men, and
women have made to our Country.
He reiterated that his pinpoints on education, our children's future and employment.
"My fellow Americans, men and women like Cory remind us that America has never come easy. Our freedom, our
democracy, has never been easy. Sometimes we stumble; we make mistakes; we get frustrated or discouraged. But
for more than two hundred years, we have put those things aside and placed our collective shoulder to the wheel
of progress – to create and build and expand the possibilities of individual achievement; to free other nations
from tyranny and fear; to promote justice, and fairness, and equality under the law, so that the words set to
paper by our founders are made real for every citizen. The America we want for our kids – a rising America
where honest work is plentiful and communities are strong; where prosperity is widely shared and opportunity
for all lets us go as far as our dreams and toil will take us – none of it is easy. But if we work together; if we
summon what is best in us, with our feet planted firmly in today but our eyes cast towards tomorrow – I know it’s
within our reach. Believe it. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America."