General Question

KNOWITALL's avatar

Thoughts on Obama's State of the Union address yesterday?

Asked by KNOWITALL (15285points) February 13th, 2013

Pro or con, what do you think is feasible?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

35 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Very little is feasible because of an obstructionist House. But lots of good ideas.

And the daily waste of lives from gun violence does deserve a vote that cowards in Congress that think guns are okay can’t hide behind.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@zenvelo I’d be interested in which specific ideas you think are truly feasible if you care to share.

ETpro's avatar

Everything covered is readily doable. But the fact that John Boener sat through virtually the whole speech and rarely even clapped for a point made tells me, hello sequester. Long live the do-nothing Congress. If we’re going to fix anything we first have to remove the roadblock that is ensuring that nothing even goes to the floor for a vote except anti abortion bills, kill Social Security budgets, repeal Obamacare measures and the like, none of which will go anywhere outside the House.

JLeslie's avatar

I need to watch the entire speech, I haven’t yet. I saw about 10 minutes and during the time Obama spoke about doing something by executive order if he could not get congress to cooperate? Do any of you remember that part? I found it amazing he said that and there was little reaction in the audience.

Blackberry's avatar

I didn’t watch it, but I imagine he spouted the same slogans as every state of the union in history. Get people back to work, america is a team and we need to work together etc etc.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Issues discussed that I recall:

MediCaid Reform
Election Reform (non-partisan)
Minimum Wage increase to $9 per hr
Background checks/ guns
Afghanistan (troops out by 2014)

Jaxk's avatar

The only thing that sounded interesting to me was his statement about graduating High School with some usable skills. I think of things like metal shop, wood shop, auto shop, etc. I know he is more interested in things like computer science but that works as well. Kids that want to work with thier hands really don’t have much left to help them. College isn’t going to crank out mechanics but we need them. I could get on board with with a High School program designed to get you ready to find a job.

Otherwise his speech was just a rehash of the same ol’ crap. Tax the rich and all my spending won’t increase the debt. Nonsense.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk I saw that part too now that you mention it. I loved the emphasis on graduating high school with usable skills. He mentioned a school in NYC that students can actually graduate with an AA. But, I agree, mechanic, woodworking, and even college programs like AA, all of it is good in my opinion if a student excells and can handle the curriculum or has a specific skill they would like to learn about, apprentice for, and make a career.

On the other side, he spoke of funding preschool/early education, I am not so find of using our funds for that when we are so limited on funds.

ragingloli's avatar

In Germany that is handled by either companies professionally training young people or special job schools

wundayatta's avatar

I thought is was very symbolic. I don’t put too much stock in the content, though.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
gambitking's avatar

It gave me a good opportunity to ask for a raise.

I’ll need it now so I can pay the higher prices on EVERYTHING that will surely follow the minimum wage increase

Jaxk's avatar


We have an obsession with going to college. Nothing wrong with that but not everyone is going to get there. Even the ones that do quite often don’t know what they want to do with the rest of thier life. So they end up with a liberal arts degree that doesn’t provide any usable skills but loads them up with debt. A little broader curriculum in High schools may help to get them steered in the right direction.

I’m with you on the PreSchool. It sounds too much like government sponsored day care.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk Well, I don’t mind if a student is unsure what they want to major in when they enter college. I like our system of students being able to explore various studies during their first two years of a bachelors degree. However, I do not think all students should go to college. Professors and students I know talk about schools around here where the classes arw full of studebts who really cannot do the curriculum. There is pressure to pass them along. That is ridiculous! These are Jr. Colleges and city schools in my area. I like having a plethora of options so young men and women can find a good fit for their interests and skills.

I have a problem with the constant bombardament that you can’t do anything unless you have a college degree. It promotes a feeling among those without one that they somehow don’t measure up. Worse, there is a backlash now against those with higher education, almost a subculture of people who don’t want to listen to those with higher educations and label them as elitists. The extremes on both sides does not help our children or society. I am glad Obama seems to be taking the conversation to what I beieve is a reasonable middle ground.

Jaxk's avatar


It will be interesting to see if it actually reasonable middle ground. The devil is in the detail.

JLeslie's avatar

Yes, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. If anything is actually put into motion to change our education system regarding this. My high school had a few vocational curriculums. We had automechanics and cosmetology. Literally you could graduate high school, take the state test and be cutting hair in a salon when you graduate. Some of the auto mechanics guys did half day school, and apprenticed in garages part of the day. We also had a daycare at my high school that was also a class. I took Accounting and worked as a bookkeeper and data entry for a local franchiser. In addition we had AP classes in the sciences, math through calculus. I would think public high schools still have quite a bit of variety of offerings, but I am sure it varies by community,

Rarebear's avatar

It was wonky.

Roby's avatar

Didn’t watch it. I don’t watch anything he is on. He is not allowed on my TV at all.

Judi's avatar

@Jaxk , I was happy to hear that too. One thing that has always frustrated me about Obama was that when he talked about education it always seemed to be geared towards college prep. The reality is that not everyone in America will go to college. The country will always need janitors and food service workers, mechanics and construction workers. High school should prepare people for the work force as well as provide an opportunity for college prep.
I thought that his speech might have indicated an acknowledgement of the fact that most schools have been so focused on College prep that they don’t do any WORLD prep.

KNOWITALL's avatar

The most interesting thing to me in this speech, was the call to corporate America to help uplift the lower-middle class workers by paying them what they deserve.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL You say “interesting.” Does that mean you agree with it.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie When feasible, yes I do. Since I work for a major media corporation, I can tell you that to preseve financial gains in the boardroom they have sacrificed over half the employees at my company. Those of us remaining, have tripled up on jobs with a pay freeze for about five years now.

One of my new bosses asked me about it, and I said it was like being in an abusive relationship in that you don’t want to leave, but you know it’s not good for you to stay.

I am skeptical that corporate America will do it just because the President thinks it’s a good idea though. sigh

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL Corporate America absolutely will not do it unless forced. Well, some companies pay better than others of course, even without being forced by law. There are Q’s all over fluther with people defending paying people horribly low wages. There seems to be no care for the negative imapct on society or the individiual. I of course think companies need to be profitable to survive, but the extremely high profits they seek are at the cost of other things all too often. Do you ever watch Undercover Boss? I think that show demonstrates how many of the exutives in corporations in the ivory tower have no idea how hard people work.

While unemployment is high and the economy is suffering employers can “abuse” employees even if the numbers in their specific business are very good. Everyone is desperate to keep their job, or afraid they won’t find another job, so as you explained they are intertangled in an abusive relationship. The conversation around us and in the media that unemployment is high and people are in desperate situations helps employers.

There will be a backlash I think if things don’t change. More unions, more walkouts, more employees snapping. I hope things change before any of that happens.

mattbrowne's avatar

Presidents can’t really create job. Good leaders in private enterprises can. But governments can invest in infrastructure, education, research and technologies with great future potential.

susanc's avatar

I believe a lot of research has shown that little kids who are offered intellectual excitement do better all the way through school, socialize better, learn how to problem-solve more easily. “Government sponsored day care” is exactly what it is. It’s a good investment in a society (see the Netherlands, Scandinavia…). But there’s a very long-term payoff, so no president will get credit for it within his term of office.

ETpro's avatar

@susanc I’m sure you are right that it takes a long time for investment in early education to pay back. But I am equally sure it does pay back. The US incarcerates a larger percentage of its population than any other nation on Earth. Repressive regimes like the DPRK manage their repression without having to lock up anywhere near the numbers the US jails. Much of this is due to our war on drugs versus a large part of our teens and young adults having educations so poor they are virtually unemployable, and they end up locked into gang activity dealing and abusing drugs. Imagine the savings to society if just 10% of those who now end up serving life without parole for drug offenses instead ended up being technically skilled workers or successful entrepreneurs.

When President Eisenhower launched the Interstate Highway System, opponents could only see the price tag howl. Today, we can look back at the productivity boost it enabled, the increases in interstate commerce and tourism, at where we would be in today’s competitive world if we’d never built our interstate highway infrastructure, and realize that it was a relatively modest investment that is continuing to pay back many times over 6 decades after the initial outlay.

JLeslie's avatar

@susanc A lot of research has shown that children who have been in programs at young ages do much better through about second grade and then by third and after the differences in scoring on almost all parameters tested dissappears. The kids all start to even out. It is either because the early start does not matter, or because we don’t continue in our school systems to give them what they need to continue to excell. We have a whole popuation of people who did not even go to kindergarten who did just fine. 6 year olds do not drop out of school, 16 year olds do, and I think that has more to do with what is going on in high school than whether the child loved pre school.

The Netherlands and Scandanavia cannot be compared to America in my opinion. We are much more diverse and more poverty. Not that I don’t think we should look at their school system and learn from it, I just take issue with throwing a lot of tax payer dollars at early education when I think with limited funds it should be on the later years of secondary education. Take the children to college campuses so that does not feel foreign and scary to them. Have more subjects available for children to explore. Have more vocational education in high school. Allow children to fast track out of high school if they hate it or have trouble socially.

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie That’s highly at odds with what Oklahoma and Georgia found. There, preschool program paid off all the way though graduation rates for advanced degrees, reduced crime rates, individual health, lifetime earnings…

JLeslie's avatar

@ETpro That is all they changed? Preschool?

JLeslie's avatar

I just read up on some studies regarding Head Start and preschool. Many of them demonstrate white kids do benefit a lot from these, but black children quickly lose the benefit as they get past the age of 10, especially the extra money that is thrown in by Head Start seems to be a waste. Or, maybe they need to throw more money at secondary school in addition to Head Start to maintain the level of the children’s performance. There is more going on than simply preschool. I will assume Oklahoma is pretty white, although I don’t know what income and education levels of parents are across the board. Georgia obviously would have more diversity, and it would be interesting to know how their results broke down by race and income level.

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie I admit to diing a cursory search. That turned up this, which is of questionable objectivity. I too would be interested at seeing objective studies aimed at answering the legitimate questions you raise. Hopefully, before we go racing off on yet another half-baked educational initiative, we will take the time to gather the research, or do if if it remains undone.

JLeslie's avatar

@ETpro Honestly, I don’t know what to think. It would be interesting to see studies that compare various school programs at older ages. I just feel like we are overfocused on 4 year olds. I was 4 when I started kindergarten, most friends were 5, some were 6. I went to nursery school a few days a week half day. My mom needed a break, and I was a social smart little kid so going to something structured worked well for me. Then she wanted to get me into kindergarten early, and the response was if she put me in private K then if I did ok they would mainstream into public first grade. But, my parents could not afford private K. Innthe end they got me into public school K very young, I won’t bother with the details. If there had been public preK my mom probably would have been fine with that.

I’m not against funding preK, I just don’t think it gives the results people are really looking for, and I worry it distracts us from something that might be more effective for children. That is my biggest concern, not knowing or pursuing what will really make a significant difference for our children.

The article you provided talked up a lot of stats following a very small sample of kids. Their methodoligy is questionable. I don’t like stats without the numbers. They talk about 44% improvement and other percentages, but if the original number is 3, then a 44% improvement is miniscule. They didn’t give a lot of numbers. Articles I have read are all over the map also, I am not criticizing your choice in what article you linked.

One of the articles I read yesterday, I should have given you the link, and Now I can’t find it, was from the 1990’s measuring parameters like IQ, health, and I think one other. It showed not much improvement or none in these measures. The research I think was really a cost analysis; does it benefit the country financially to fund these things. Kids in head start were more likely to have all their shots earlier, but it did not have a significant effect on their health, things like that. It also said, as I said above that black children won’t up with almost no academic gains long term.

The SEED program, public boardng school, seems to have a lot of positive results. Even children who start in it in high school who are way behind catch up. Their entire environment is changed.

Roby's avatar

Didn’t watch it. He is not allowed on my TV.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther