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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Archive for January 2015

Weekly Address: President Obama – A Path Towards a Thriving Middle-Class

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.


From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President described the progress our economy has made, laying a foundation for a future that prioritizes middle-class economics.

This week, the President will send a budget to Congress centered on the idea that everyone who works hard should have the chance to get ahead. His plan will reverse harmful sequestration cuts and instead make paychecks go further, create good jobs here in the United States, and prepare hardworking Americans to earn higher wages. The President made the case for his budget, and affirmed his commitment to doing everything he can to ensure more Americans can get ahead in this new economy.

(In Spanish, from Juan Gonzalez, asesor del Vicepresidente para asuntos del Hemisferio Occidental, more at

Six Years Ago: The 111th Congress Began The People’s Work

From the White House:

(Transcript below)

On January 29, 2009, President Obama signed his very first piece of legislation: the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The law, named after a woman who discovered her employer was paying her less than men doing the same job, makes it easier for Mrs. Ledbetter and others like her to effectively challenge unequal pay.

Lilly Ledbetter took her pay discrimination complaint all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in 2007 that claims like hers had to be filed within 180 days of an employer’s decision to pay a worker less-even if the worker didn’t learn about the unfair pay until much later, as was the case for Mrs. Ledbetter .

To make sure that people can effectively challenge unequal pay, the law President Obama signed shortly after taking office amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 so that unfair pay complaints can be filed within 180 days of a discriminatory paycheck-and that 180 days resets after each paycheck is issued.  

Since then, the Roberts Supreme Court has succeeded in undermining many other rights, including the right to vote and the right to fair elections – elections free of the corrupting influence of dark money. The difference was that in 2009, the president had partners in Congress who were willing to do the people’s work and fix the mistakes of the court. So much has changed, so much work that will not be done until we can elect a Congress that reflects the values of the majority of our people. That will not happen with the 114th Congress, dubbed “America’s New Congress ™” by the Republican majority – dubbed “America’s Nightmare Come True ™” by the majority of Americans.

We can fix this, we must fix this.

Between now and November 2016, tell everyone you know of the enormous power each and every citizen has: the power to choose our government. Talk it up, pump them up … so that when we all exercise that “most basic human right”, we can once again have a government creating laws like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act.  

Odds & Ends: News/Humor

I post a weekly diary of historical notes, arts & science items, foreign news (often receiving little notice in the US) and whimsical pieces from the outside world that I often feature in “Cheers & Jeers”.

OK, you’ve been warned – here is this week’s tomfoolery material that I posted.

Solid Waste from Iowa

On Saturday, the best and brightest of the Republican Party met in Iowa to plumb the depths of their descent into madness*.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) invited the 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls to strut their stuff (sorry for the visual!) at the Iowa Freedom Summit. King is most recently “famous” for calling young Latino college students, who were sitting with the First Lady at the State of Union, “deportables”.

The Iowa Freedom Summit was a Very Important Event: one can tell because it has “freedom” in it and it is a “summit”. And IOWA!! The place of the first nominating contest because nothing says Bellwether like a state that is 98% white and which selected Mike Huckabee in 2008 and Rick Santorum in 2012 as the Republican standard bearers. Finger on the pulse of America, Iowa, finger on the pulse.

Eric Wolfson @EricWolfson

If ignorance is bliss, #IAFreedomSummit must be the happiest place on earth.

Watching the assault on our democracy, and on our common sense, unfold would be more entertaining if it were not for this sobering observation:

BWD @theonlyadult  

One of these people might be the next president. Nothing funny about this #IAFreedomSummit

PLEASE don’t let that happen.


The one thing every Republican candidate seems to have in common with normal people is they don’t think Jeb Bush or Mitt can beat Hillary.

And with that, let’s follow the summit of freedumbs on Twitter …

Weekly Address: President Obama – Middle Class Economics

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.


From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President shared his plan, outlined in his State of the Union address earlier this week, to give hardworking families the support they need to make ends meet by focusing on policies that benefit the middle class and those working to reach the middle class.

Through common-sense proposals like closing loopholes that benefit the wealthy and providing tax relief to the middle class, making two years of community college free for responsible students, strengthening paid leave policies and access to quality child care for working families, and raising the minimum wage, we can ensure that everyone benefits from, and contributes to, America’s success.

Middle-class economics is working, and we have laid a new foundation, but there is still progress to be made, and the President said he is eager to get to work.


President Obama: “Tonight, we turn the page …”

President Barack Obama delivers his sixth State of the Union address, at the United States Capitol, January 20, 2015:

From the White House: Enhanced SOTU

President Barack Obama speaking to Congress and the American people:

… tonight, we turn the page.  Tonight, after a breakthrough year for America, our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999.  (Applause.)  Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis.  More of our kids are graduating than ever before.  More of our people are insured than ever before.  (Applause.)  And we are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we’ve been in almost 30 years.  (Applause.)

Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over.  (Applause.)  Six years ago, nearly 180,000 American troops served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Today, fewer than 15,000 remain.  And we salute the courage and sacrifice of every man and woman in this 9/11 Generation who has served to keep us safe.  (Applause.)  We are humbled and grateful for your service.

America, for all that we have endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back; for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this:  The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong. (Applause.)

Transcript below the fold …

Kordale, Kaleb, and Nikon

The recent advertising campaign, launched by Nikon, “I Am Generation Image,”  has attracted a huge amount of media buzz, specifically because two of their featured subjects are a black gay male couple and their kids.

librarisingnsf had a diary about them last week. The Instagram photo they uploaded doing their girl’s hair in the morning, set off a firestorm – some supportive, and some very hateful, but it got them noticed by Nikon.

Kordale & Kaleb: Dads

“Last year, we were surprised when a picture of us doing our daughters’ hair went viral. To us, that’s just part of our morning routine. With our images, we want to share our family’s life – and maybe reveal how much our family is like yours.”

Previewing the State of the Union Address – January 20, 2015

From the White House:

Click on this link to connect to the Enhanced State of the Union Address tonight at 9pm Eastern. Guaranteed to be pundit-free.

Watch Here

The president previews the State of the Union …

The First Lady will be sitting with Dr. Jill Biden and Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President. Her guests are people from all over the country including:

Anthony Mendez (Bronx, NY)

Student, “Reach Higher” Initiative

Growing up in the South Bronx with his mother and three siblings, Anthony Mendez names two experiences from his formative high school years. In ninth grade, his best friend was murdered in his neighborhood, and the next year his family was evicted from their home and moved into a homeless shelter. Living two hours away from school, for six months Anthony had to wake up at 4:30AM to continue his education. Overcoming these experiences, he became the first high school graduate in his family – his story of perseverance represents the core of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative. In July he met the First Lady and fellow students who never took their education for granted, and he said he learned to be proud of his past and never hide from it. Today Anthony is a freshman at the University of Hartford — where he plans to study Political Science – on a partial track and field scholarship.

Follow the State of the Union on Twitter

Punditry below the fold …