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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Education, Energy, and the State of the Union

President Bush Delivers State of the Union Address

Overall I thought it was an ok speech. It was certainly more significant than the forgettable democratic response. He was specific in laying out specific steps for the domestic agenda and made some hard statements related to Iran and Syria. He touched upon, in some form, the issues that hit the average American every day: gas prices, illegal immigration, and health care costs. I was especially impressed by his comments on education and energy.

As though he was taking cues from Thomas Friedman's best selling book, The World is Flat, the President connected education and energy policies for the upcoming years:
Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable alternative energy sources -- and we are on the threshold of incredible advances.

So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative -- a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research -- at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants, revolutionary solar and wind technologies, and clean, safe nuclear energy. (Applause.)

We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We'll also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn, but from wood chips and stalks, or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years. (Applause.)

Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. (Applause.) By applying the talent and technology of America, this country can dramatically improve our environment, move beyond a petroleum-based economy, and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past. (Applause.)

And to keep America competitive, one commitment is necessary above all: We must continue to lead the world in human talent and creativity. Our greatest advantage in the world has always been our educated, hardworking, ambitious people -- and we're going to keep that edge. Tonight I announce an American Competitiveness Initiative, to encourage innovation throughout our economy, and to give our nation's children a firm grounding in math and science. (Applause.)

First, I propose to double the federal commitment to the most critical basic research programs in the physical sciences over the next 10 years. This funding will support the work of America's most creative minds as they explore promising areas such as nanotechnology, supercomputing, and alternative energy sources.

Second, I propose to make permanent the research and development tax credit -- (applause) -- to encourage bolder private-sector initiatives in technology. With more research in both the public and private sectors, we will improve our quality of life -- and ensure that America will lead the world in opportunity and innovation for decades to come. (Applause.)

Third, we need to encourage children to take more math and science, and to make sure those courses are rigorous enough to compete with other nations. We've made a good start in the early grades with the No Child Left Behind Act, which is raising standards and lifting test scores across our country. Tonight I propose to train 70,000 high school teachers to lead advanced-placement courses in math and science, bring 30,000 math and science professionals to teach in classrooms, and give early help to students who struggle with math, so they have a better chance at good, high-wage jobs. If we ensure that America's children succeed in life, they will ensure that America succeeds in the world. (Applause.)

Preparing our nation to compete in the world is a goal that all of us can share. I urge you to support the American Competitiveness Initiative, and together we will show the world what the American people can achieve.
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Thoughtful Readers Speak:
If America is so great, why do none of my friends who are here studying abroad want to stay?
In 2003 Bush pledged 1.6 billion dollars for development of alternate energy sources.

Now, oil companies are posting the higest profits any corporation has ever had in the history of mankind, for the second full quarter now.

Is it perhaps too much to suggest that that 1.6 billion was not well-spent? What, exactly, happened to it?
erica, come on, you're not that inept. that's like saying well, since i vacation in france america must not have any good vacation spots.

chet, development denotes the process of being development. apparently it hasn't been developed--yet.

about oil, they make a lot of money but chet your number. Exxon's profit margin was 8%--smaller than most industries including fast-food. that means their expenses were 92 cents on every dollar. they also paid over 90 billion dollars in taxes last year. don't get too hyped up on the anti-oil company propaganda.
Franklin, you've got to remember that they are socialists, i.e. from each according to his ability, to each according to their need. And they are VERY needy.
chet, development denotes the process of being development. apparently it hasn't been developed--yet.

You don't find it significant that Bush did not even mention this program, or give any indication of its progress or success?

Truly, Franklin, your credulity in regards to this president knows no bounds.
truly, your incredulity in regards to this president knows no bounds
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