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How would you grade Obama’s State of the Union speech?


OBAMA-SPEECHPresident 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.

from Global Investing:

Is it time for a Scottish wealth fund?


Oxford SWF Project, a university think tank on sovereign wealth funds, is looking at reports that the latest entry in the field could be Scotland. The project has a new post about the Scottish government floating the idea of an oil stabilisation fund to use oil and gas revenues.  It cites Scottish cabinet secretary for finance John Swinney looking abroad gleefully:

“We want to harness the benefit of oil revenues now for future years. An oil fund can provide greater stability, protect our economy and support the transition to a low carbon economy. Norway’s oil fund is worth over £200 billion – despite the first instalment being made as recently as the mid 1990s – and Alaska’s oil fund even gives money back to its citizens every year.”

“We should talk with al Qaeda”, ex-Blair aide says


powell.jpgThe government should look at ways of opening communication channels with groups like al Qaeda and the Taliban if it wants a long-term political solution as well as a security solution, a former senior aide to Tony Blair says.

Jonathan Powell, who served as Blair’s chief of staff between 1995 and 2007, told the Guardian newspaper that such a policy helped secure a peace deal in Northern Ireland.

Divided on Silda Wall Spitzer


Silda Wall SpitzerSilda Wall Spitzer stood beside her husband, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, as he resigned on Wednesday amid a scandal over a $1,000-an-hour prostitute. The mother of the governor’s three daughters also stood by her husband’s side at a news conference on Monday where he admitted he had violated his obligations to his family and his “sense of right and wrong.”

The public reaction to Mrs. Wall Spitzer’s stance to “stand by her man” has been mixed at best, New York Magazines notes . Political blog from N. Dakota, “Say Anything” , said it would have paid to see Silda Spitzer punch her husband on the podium.silda-spitzer2.jpg