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President Barack Obama proposed a five-year freeze on some government spending and struck a centrist tone in his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday, hoping to prove he has fiscal discipline and can work with resurgent Republicans.
Obama also said that voters want Democrats and Republicans to govern with “shared responsibility”. He offered a raft of proposals that some of his opponents might find appealing as he positions himself for a 2012 re-election bid, but stopped short of the massive spending cuts demanded by some Republicans.
He called for a job-creating “Sputnik moment” fed by new investments in research and education like the 1950s space race, saying what is at stake is “whether new jobs and industries take root in this country, or somewhere else.” In a nod to business, Obama also called for lowering the corporate tax rate.
What do you think of Obama’s call for a five-year halt on domestic spending to help rein in the national deficit? Do you think his approach to job creation will work? Grade his speech below.
Was it right for WikiLeaks to leak the Afghan war documents?
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WikiLeaks created a firestorm in Washington and Afghanistan last week when it leaked secret documents related to the war in Afghanistan.
The whistle-blowing website published tens of thousands of war records, a move the Pentagon said could cost lives and damage the trust of allies by exposing U.S. intelligence gathering methods and names of Afghan contacts. WikiLeaks is at least morally guilty over the release of the classified documents, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said.
The statement announcing the Nobel Peace Prize for U.S. President Barack Obama says that "his diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population". (Photo: Obama at the United Nations, 23Sept 2009/Kevin Lamarque)
Is there actually a set of values and attitudes shared by most people around the world? It would be interesting to know exactly what the Norwegian Nobel Committee meant by this. Are they talking about some vague form of world political consensus or even global ethics? The citation text mentions Obama's "vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons" and his preference multilateral diplomacy, dialogue and negotiations. But none of these efforts has yet borne much fruit.
President Barack Obama has just pledged to make a new start for United States relations with the Muslim world: "To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect," he said in his inaugural address. "To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." (Photo: President Obama delivers his inaugural address, 20 Jan 2009/Jason Reed)
It's not clear what he plans to do. One idea he's mentioned is to deliver a major speech in a Muslim country in his first year in office. There's already a lively discussion on the web about where he should go. During his speech, CNN showed a shot of the crowd with some people holding up signs urging him to deliver the speech in Morocco.
Barack Obama became the first black president of the United States on Tuesday. In his much-anticipated inaugural speech, he said the “economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.”
But the new president also said the United States remained “the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth,” and that “we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.”
The economy lost over half a million jobs in December and shed the greatest number of workers in 2008 since the end of World War II. The grim news didn’t stop there: the unemployment rate jumped to 7.2 percent, the highest in 16 years. Many analysts say it will only get worse before it gets better.
“The job situation is ugly and is going to get uglier. There’s no reason to expect hiring anytime in the next three to six months,” said Richard Yamarone, chief economist at Argus Research in New York. Tempus Consulting’s Matt Esteve agrees. “No matter how you look at it, those are dismal numbers,” he said.
The auto industry’s Christmas present from the government — in the form of a $1 billion loan to General Motors and a $5 billion stake in GMAC — may have left other industries hoping that the giving season isn’t over yet.
The steel industry is pressing President-elect Barack Obama to boost the flagging demand for U.S.-made steel by instituting a “buy American” clause in his infrastructure stimulus package, the New York Times reported.
Now here's an interesting question. The New York Times reports that President-elect Barack Obama wants to make "a major foreign policy speech from an Islamic capital during his first 100 days in office." But from which one? As NYT staffer Helene Cooper explains, it's a question that's fraught with diplomatic, religious and personal complications. After a day of calling around Washington, she found a consensus:
It’s got to be Cairo. Egypt is perfect. It’s certainly Muslim enough, populous enough and relevant enough. It’s an American ally, but there are enough tensions in the relationship that the choice will feel bold. The country has plenty of democracy problems, so Mr. Obama can speak directly to the need for a better democratic model there. It has got the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist organization that has been embraced by a wide spectrum of the Islamic world, including the disenfranchised and the disaffected.
Private employers are slashing jobs and the services sector, which powers most of the economy, is in its worst slump ever. “It’s impossible to find any ray of light here,” Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers in St. Louis, Missouri, said of the job losses last month.
With the government working to bail out banks, and possibly automakers, and with a top adviser to President-elect Barack Obama underscoring the need for an economic stimulus package, do you think things will get better and when?
If Hillary Clinton is confirmed for secretary of state in President-elect Barack Obama’s cabinet, New York Gov. David Patterson must name a replacement to fill her Senate seat. The front-runner is New york Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. Former President Bill Clinton’s name has also been thrown in the mix.Patterson can name anyone, famous or not, to fill the seat. Who should he select and why?