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State of the Science, 2012

Thoughts and twitterings around the ecosphere on President Obama's State of the Union address to Congress, Tuesday, January 24th, 2012.


  1. In the Wednesday morning quarterbacking that followed this year's State of the Union, pundits aired the perennial complaint that the President's speech ran too long, heavily-laden with a Clinton-style laundry list of programs. But citizens like to hear their favorite programs mentioned, and we in the science community are no exception! Technical education and funding for basic research briefly made the list, but the majority of the attention went to energy. The President pitched "clean" energy from wind, sun and reduced waste, alongside a drill-baby-drill enthusiasm for oil and gas exploration, while sidestepping any awkward mention of nuclear energy.

    Here's a replay of exciting moments in #SOTU, interleaved with a sampling of comments tweeted out of the eco-science bubbleverse. 
  2. Enter POTUS, with entourage.
    Shaking hands as he moves down the aisle, he sweeps down upon Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz) for a rare moment of bipartisan good-feeling. Giffords will formally resign on the following day to continue her recovery from the terrible head wound she suffered in a shooting last year.

  3. "As the camera pans around the Capitol chamber for President Obama’s State of the Union address, see if you can spot the representatives from the state of Oil: four avid supporters of the Keystone XL Pipeline who will attend the speech as the guests of House Speaker John Boehner." Scott Rosenberg, reporting in real-time on Gristlist.
  4. [*President Obama didn't actually kill the Keystone XL Pipeline; he rejected a bid from TransCanada. The project is on hold pending a State Department environmental review. Tune in to EcoTone's Policy News this Friday to learn more.]
  5. POTUS: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:
  6. [Kate Sheppard is clearly reading ahead in the script, because POTUS is still talking about courage, selflessness and teamwork, and coming together to get the job done, like the military (and unlike some other people he isn't going to name-- cough, Congress).]
  7. POTUS: On the day I took office, our auto industry was on the verge of collapse. Some even said we should let it die. With a million jobs at stake, I refused to let that happen. In exchange for help, we demanded responsibility. We got workers and automakers to settle their differences. We got the industry to retool and restructure. Today, General Motors is back on top as the world's number one automaker. Chrysler has grown faster in the U.S. than any major car company. Ford is investing billions in U.S. plants and factories. And together, the entire industry added nearly 160,000 jobs.

    We bet on American workers. We bet on American ingenuity. And tonight, the American auto industry is back.

    What's happening in Detroit can happen in other industries. It can happen in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Raleigh.
  8. POTUS: I also hear from many business leaders who want to hire in the United States but can't find workers with the right skills. Growing industries in science and technology have twice as many openings as we have workers who can do the job. Think about that - openings at a time when millions of Americans are looking for work.
  9. [We at EcoTone would also be interested to know the source of this claim.]
  10. POTUS: Now you need to give more community colleges the resources they need to become community career centers - places that teach people skills that local businesses are looking for right now, from data management to high-tech manufacturing.
  11. POTUS: Innovation also demands basic research. Today, the discoveries taking place in our federally-financed labs and universities could lead to new treatments that kill cancer cells but leave healthy ones untouched.
  12. POTUS: New lightweight vests for cops and soldiers that can stop any bullet.
  13. POTUS: Don't gut these investments in our budget. Don't let other countries win the race for the future. Support the same kind of research and innovation that led to the computer chip and the Internet; to new American jobs and new American industries.