Streams

 

Sotu

Slate Political Gabfest

The "Is It Rude to Fall Asleep During the State of the Union?" Edition

Friday, January 23, 2015

Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz discuss Obama's State of the Union address, the Supreme Court's next (final?) marriage equality case, and the controversy over the movie Selma.

Comment

The Takeaway

SOTU 2015: Reading Between the Lines

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The president laid out an ambitious agenda in last night's State of the Union address. We parse through the proposals laid out in the address and the GOP response to the speech.

Comments [2]

The Takeaway

Can American Presidents Still Do Big Things?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What we expect of our president likely differs by party affiliation, but the historical records shows that some presidents are more effective than others. Why?

Comments [4]

Slate Political Gabfest

The Political Gabfest: The State of the Union Cannot Be Saved Edition

Friday, January 31, 2014

Slate's Political Gabfest, featuring David Plotz, John Dickerson, and Emily Bazelon. This week: The "State of the Union" is lame, immigration reform is unlikely, and new news is the news.

Comment

Transportation Nation

INTERACTIVE CHART: From One State of the Union to the Next; A Shift from Building the New to Fixing the Old

Friday, January 20, 2012

President Obama began 2011 arguing in lofty terms for building 21st century infrastructure. He ended it pleading for the maintenance of our 20th century roads and bridges. Transportation Nation analyzed the number of times he mentioned various infrastructure-related words over the course of the year. As the chart shows, he shifted from regularly mentioning ambitious, long term projects like high-speed rail, to calling for repair of our roads and bridges as a means to spur construction jobs.

For a year in review of infrastructure and transportation policy extracted from this data, mouse over the chart month by month. Play with the chart to see how different issues trended over time. Here's the full dataset if you want to make your own charts, just credit us and let us know.

For more news and analysis on the world of transportation and infrastructure follow TransportNation on Twitter, like us on Facebook or subscribe to our RSS feed.

Read More

Comments [3]

The Brian Lehrer Show

SOTU: The View From the Floor

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gregory Meeks, U.S. Congressman from New York's 6th Congressional District, Southeast Queens, gives his reaction to the State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Read a recap of this conversation at It's a Free Country

The Takeaway

First Take: Sputnik 2.0

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

At last night's State of the Union, President Obama drew on a moment from a very different era to make one of his biggest points. He said we've reached our generation's "Sputnik moment." Like the space race of 40 years ago, the president said, the U.S. needs to come up with the Apollo projects of our time.

On tomorrow's show, we'll look at how the first Sputnik moment changed America and what Sputnik 2.0 might look like.

We'll also look at another issue raised in the State of the Union: How American students can get better at math and science. We'll look at what can inspire today's kids to pursue careers in those fields, as the president is asking. And we've been asking you what, if anything, inspired you to study math or science. Here's what you've told us by text message today:

Read More

Comments [2]

Transportation Nation

GOP Response: It's Only So-Called "Investment"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wisconsin) response to the State of the Union:

"Whether sold as "stimulus" or repackaged as "investment," their actions show they want a federal government that controls too much; taxes too much; and spends too much in order to do too much.

"And during the last two years, that is exactly what we have gotten — along with record deficits and debt — to the point where the President is now urging Congress to increase the debt limit.

"We believe the days of business as usual must come to an end."

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Obama: 80 Percent of Americans Should Have Access to High Speed Rail By 2036

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

(Washington, DC -- Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama is calling for what aids are calling "an upfront investment" in 2011 so that by 2036, eighty percent of Americans have access to high speed rail. That would mean high speed rail lines connecting, more or less, Tampa to Orlando, San Francisco to Southern California, Boston to Washington,  Chicago to Milwaukee, St. Louis to Detroit, and Portland to Seattle, at a cost to exceed -- conservatively -- $100 billion.

Right now, no Americans have access to high speed rail.  The administration has invested $10 billion to date. China has spent at least half a trillion dollars.

"America is the nation that built the transcontinental railroad, brought electricity to rural communities and constructed the interstate highway system," according to prepared remarks distributed by the White House. "The jobs created by these projects didn't just come from laying down tracks or pavement. They came from businesses that opened near a town's new train station or the new off-ramp.

"Within 25 years our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high speed rail which could allow you to go places in half the time it takes to travel by car," the President said. "For some trips it will be faster than flying -- without the pat-down. As we speak, routes in California and the Midwest are already underway."

A year ago, the President also spoke of high speed rail in his State of the Union.  The next day, he flew to Tampa  to announce that city's high speed rail project would be one of main recipients of high speed rail grants. At the time, it seemed a deft move by the President -- he got to travel to a purple state and announce a big, future-looking infrastructure project. It seemed to be a win-win.

But in the past year, high speed rail has become a considerably murkier political issue. Scott Walker, running for Governor of Wisconsin, explicitly campaigned against high speed rail in a television commercial, and set up a website notrain.com. His explicit theme: "their" rail would drain money from "our" roads.  Walker won handily.  In Ohio, John Kasich promised in a debate that he'd send $400 million  for high speed rail back to Washington. He is now the governor of Ohio.   And in Florida, Governor Rick Scott, who just took over from Charlie Crist, has said he'd only support that state's high speed rail if Florida taxpayers don't have to pay.  That project is one of the farthest along in the country, and the Tampa-Orlando route is expected to be among the first that's up and running.

But Obama is pressing ahead, with advisors heavily hinting he'd be talking about infrastructure for several days as a way to invest in jobs and the future of the American economy.  Meanwhile, the administration was brushing off naysayers.  At a Washington, DC conference for transportation professionals, Deputy Transportation Secretary John Porcari said "he's optimistic" that Americans will embrace the idea of infrastructure investment if it's adequately explained.

And Joe Szabo, the Federal Rail Administrator, was even more animated when Transportation Nation asked him about the mixed political reception to high-speed rail in the last year. "It's about quality of life for Americans. There' s going to be 70 million more people in the United States in the next 25 years, the vast majority of those concentrated in the megaregions. To the critics I would ask 'what's your plan?  How do you plan to move 70 million more people. How do you plan to do it while reducing congestion, reducing fuel consumption, and improving air quality?'"

President Obama has been completely consistent on this issue -- supporting high speed rail spending in his campaign, supporting it in the stimulus bill, (in fact,Rahm Emmanuel, now running for Mayor of Chicago, pushed high speed rail spending from $1-2 billion to $8 billion in the wee hours of the morning before the bill was announced,) emphasizing it at the outset of the 2010 campaign season with a Labor Day plan to spend $50 billion on roads, rails, and airports, and then inviting guests to the White House on Columbus Day to emphasize the plan. Even as the public reacted with a shrug, the President kept touting the plan.

Supporters of high speed rail hailed the President's remark. US PIRG said it would "revolutionize" transportation the way the interstate highway system had.  But there was measured optimism. "We need to need to figure out a way to pay for it," said Robert Puentes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Puentes said funding for the project may come from "untraditional" sources. "We have an 8 billion down payment plus 2 billion that came in the budget. That' s a fraction of what we'll need."

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.


Read More

Comments [2]

Transportation Nation

President: We Have To Do Better on Infrastructure

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Excerpt from the President's State of the Union address: "The third step in winning the future is rebuilding America. To attract new businesses to our shores, we need the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods, and information -- from high-speed rail to high-speed internet.

Our infrastructure used to be the best -- but our lead has slipped. South Korean homes now have greater internet access than we do. Countries in Europe and Russia invest more in their roads and railways than we do. China is building faster trains and newer airports.  Meanwhile, when our own engineers graded our nation’s infrastructure, they gave us a “D.”

We have to do better. America is the nation that built the transcontinental railroad, brought electricity to rural communities, and constructed the interstate highway system. The jobs created by these projects didn’t just come from laying down tracks or pavement. They came from businesses that opened near a town’s new train station or the new off-ramp.

Over the last two years, we have begun rebuilding for the 21st century, a project that has meant thousands of good jobs for the hard-hit construction industry. Tonight, I’m proposing that we redouble these efforts.

We will put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges. We will make sure this is fully paid for, attract private investment, and pick projects based on what’s best for the economy, not politicians.

Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80% of Americans access to high-speed rail, which could allow you go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying – without the pat-down. As we speak, routes in California and the Midwest are already underway.

Within the next five years, we will make it possible for business to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to 98% of all Americans. This isn’t just about a faster internet and fewer dropped calls. It’s about connecting every part of America to the digital age.  It’s about a rural community in Iowa or Alabama where farmers and small business owners will be able to sell their products all over the world. It’s about a firefighter who can download the design of a burning building onto a handheld device; a student who can take classes with a digital textbook; or a patient who can have face-to-face video chats with her doctor.

All these investments – in innovation, education, and infrastructure – will make America a better place to do business and create jobs.  But to help our companies compete, we also have to knock down barriers that stand in the way of their success.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Obama: One Million Electric Vehicles by 2015

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

From the speech: "At the California Institute of Technology, they’re developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, they’re using supercomputers to get a lot more power out of our nuclear facilities.  With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

"We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s."

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Madison To Get Bike Share Program, Distracted Walking Under Fire, and NYC To Renovate Dozens of Subway Stations

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Perfect transit moment in DC, not too far from the Transportation Research Bureau conference: Metro, bikes, buses, pedestrians, cars (Kate Hinds)

Lawmakers in New York and Arkansas are considering restrictions on using cell phones and music players such as iPods by people running and walking on the street or sidewalk. (AP via Syracuse.com)

Mazda gets in the electric vehicles game; the "Demio" to be produced in Japan next year. (Business Green)

The NYC MTA is renovating dozens of subway stations in the outer boroughs. (NY1)

Five leading Democrats in the Virginia state Senate have crossed party lines and agreed to co-sponsor a $3.3 billion transportation package advanced by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, significantly boosting the chances that one of the Republican governor's top legislative priorities for the year will pass the General Assembly. (Washington Post)

Madison's finance committee approved funding for a bike-share program that could begin in May. (Wisconsin State Journal)

The Transport Politic tries to explain the Republican party's reluctance to invest in transit infrastructure. In a nutshell: "The Democratic Party holds most of its power in the nation’s cities, whereas the GOP retains greater strength in the exurbs and rural areas."

Which means: the president will be taking some political risks when he makes a pitch for funding infrastructure in tonight's State of the Union speech. (New York Times)

Stories we're following:  Republican and Democratic officials spar on merits of infrastructure spending, can rail and roads stabilize Afganistan, and Ghanzhou's BRT, with 800,000 riders, wins sustainable transport award.

Read More

Comment

The Brian Lehrer Show

Open Phones: Political Chat Roulette

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Listeners from opposing sides of the political spectrum call in, pair up, and ask each other questions, in the spirit of the new bipartisan State of The Union seating arrangements.

Comments [40]

The Brian Lehrer Show

Non-Partisan Seating

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mark Udall, U.S. Senator from Colorado (D), talks about his call for members of Congress not to sit in party blocs during the President's State of the Union address tonight.

Read More and Join the Converastion at It's A Free Country

The Takeaway

Is America Losing its Edge in the World?

Monday, January 24, 2011

President Obama revealed a big theme of his upcoming State of the Union address: competitiveness. In a video preview released over the weekend, the president says it will be his number one focus in order to "win the future."

On Tuesday's show, we'll look at just what the president means by this — in what area can the United States still be number one in the world? Is it education? Is it helping entrepreneurs? Or is it something else?

In advance of the conversation, we're asking you why competitiveness is the focus: Do you think America is losing its edge? And where do you think we should be most competitive?

Read More

Comments [9]