Predictions Correct: It’s the Economy…..Again, Plus Education by Cathy Sandeen

Following-up on my post from yesterday, President Obama’s State of the Union Address last night did conform to American’s priorities, as reflected in Pew survey cited on January 27.

 The following provides an interesting graphic depiction or word cloud of main components of Obama’s speech:

NPR - wordle

From NPR website Jan 28 Wordle

I’ve also included a few notable excerpts, especially around my interests in higher education and economic and workforce development issues.

Full transcript of speech here

Video here



“One year ago, I took office amid two wars, an economy rocked by a severe recession, a financial system on the verge of collapse, and a government deeply in debt.  Experts from across the political spectrum warned that if we did not act, we might face a second depression.  So we acted -– immediately and aggressively.  And one year later, the worst of the storm has passed.”


“But the devastation remains.  One in 10 Americans still cannot find work.  Many businesses have shuttered.  Home values have declined.  Small towns and rural communities have been hit especially hard.  And for those who’d already known poverty, life has become that much harder.”

“Because of the steps we took, there are about two million Americans working right now who would otherwise be unemployed.  Two hundred thousand work in construction and clean energy; 300,000 are teachers and other education workers.  Tens of thousands are cops, firefighters, correctional officers, first responders.  And we’re on track to add another one and a half million jobs to this total by the end of the year.”

“But I realize that for every success story, there are other stories, of men and women who wake up with the anguish of not knowing where their next paycheck will come from; who send out resumes week after week and hear nothing in response.  That is why jobs must be our number-one focus in 2010, and that’s why I’m calling for a new jobs bill tonight. “


“Next, we need to encourage American innovation.  Last year, we made the largest investment in basic research funding in history -– (applause) — an investment that could lead to the world’s cheapest solar cells or treatment that kills cancer cells but leaves healthy ones untouched.  And no area is more ripe for such innovation than energy.  You can see the results of last year’s investments in clean energy -– in the North Carolina company that will create 1,200 jobs nationwide helping to make advanced batteries; or in the California business that will put a thousand people to work making solar panels.”

Higher education

“To make college more affordable, this bill will finally end the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that go to banks for student loans.  Instead, let’s take that money and give families a $10,000 tax credit for four years of college and increase Pell Grants.  And let’s tell another one million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only 10 percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after 20 years –- and forgiven after 10 years if they choose a career in public service, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college.”


“In the end, it’s our ideals, our values that built America  — values that allowed us to forge a nation made up of immigrants from every corner of the globe; values that drive our citizens still.  Every day, Americans meet their responsibilities to their families and their employers.  Time and again, they lend a hand to their neighbors and give back to their country.  They take pride in their labor, and are generous in spirit.  These aren’t Republican values or Democratic values that they’re living by; business values or labor values.  They’re American values.”

Overall, I thought it was a realistic, pragmatic, but positive message. Your thoughts?



2 responses to “Predictions Correct: It’s the Economy…..Again, Plus Education by Cathy Sandeen

  1. I agree with your summary that President Obama’s speech was “realistic, pragmatic, but positive.”

    But what I find interesting about the word cloud is that it does not even list what I felt was the most important message that was in the President’s speech – Leadership. And the lack thereof in both the Senate and the House.

    The most important line in the President’s speech in my opinion was this, ” Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it’s not leadership. We were sent here to serve our citizens, not our ambitions. (Applause.) So let’s show the American people that we can do it together. (Applause.)”

    With so much technology available to us, and using this word cloud as an example, it is still much more important to connect on the “human” level. The word cloud simply spits out the data as it was inputted, assigning corresponding values to words that appear the most in a document. But reducing the speech to that analysis falls short to what I feel was the most important message in the speech. It just would not have made much sense for the president to repeat “Leadership” over and over again – but perhaps he should have.

    It is time for ALL THOSE in Washington to lead or get out of the way!

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