STATE OF THE UNION
THE NEW YORK TIMES – Obama to Renew Drive for Cuts in Nuclear Arms
President Obama will use his State of the Union speech on Tuesday to reinvigorate one of his signature national security objectives — drastically reducing nuclear arsenals around the world — after securing agreement in recent months with the United States military that the American nuclear force can be cut in size by roughly a third.
Mr. Obama, administration officials say, is unlikely to discuss specific numbers in the address, but White House officials are looking at a cut that would take the arsenal of deployed weapons to just above 1,000. Currently there are about 1,700, and the new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia that passed the Senate at the end of 2009 calls for a limit of roughly 1,550 by 2018.
NBC NEWS – Focusing of the economy
President Obama’s inaugural address last month was billed as a call to action, as well as a not-so-subtle declaration that American politics had been transformed — on the role of government, on gay rights, and on war. But tomorrow night’s State of the Union will have a slightly different focus, White House aides say, with Obama emphasizing the economy and revisiting the economic themes from his re-election campaign. The speech “will outline his plan to create jobs and grow the middle class by investing in people,” an administration official tells First Read, adding: “The president’s plan grows the economy from the middle out by investing in manufacturing, clean energy, education, and infrastructure.” Obama also will call on Congress to reduce the nation’s deficit and debt, including via entitlement reform, but he will say these cuts need to be balanced and not borne solely by the middle class. The White House always viewed his two big speeches in three weeks (the inaugural and State of the Union) as two bites at the bully-pulpit apple. And the same administration official calls the two speeches “two acts in the same play.” While the White House maintains they have been focused on the economy, tomorrow’s speech will put an end to the chatter (they hope) that they haven’t spent enough time TALKING about the economy.
POLITICO – Obama’s State of the Union: Aggressive
President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech will be less a presidential olive branch than a congressional cattle prod.
Emboldened by electoral victory and convinced the GOP is unwilling to cut deals, Obama plans to use his big prime-time address Tuesday night to issue another broad challenge at a Republican Party he regards as vulnerable and divided, Democrats close to Obama say.
NORTH CAROLINA GENERAL ASSEMBLY
NEWS & OBSERVER – Senate plan to cut 12 judges, sweep out commissioners faces obstacles in House
A plan by Senate Republicans to take control of several key state commissions – criticized by Democrats as an audacious power grab – is likely to meet a more skeptical audience once it hits the House.
The reason is that some House Republicans might have a problem with a provision in the bill to eliminate 12 special superior court judges, which some have warned would add to an already overburdened caseload and be an unconstitutional violation of the separation of powers.
NEWS & OBSERVER – Sen. Phil Berger spreading bad healthcare information, policy experts say
Months after the U.S. Supreme Court settled the debate about much of the federal health care law, Senate leader Phil Berger is circulating an online petition to “Stop Obamacare in North Carolina.”
The petition appears on the Eden Republican’s campaign website. And its language perpetuates one of the bigger myths about the Affordable Care Act, said Mark Hall, a health policy expert at Wake Forest University’s law school.
WRAL – Berger pushes ‘Stop Obamacare’ petition
Sen. Phil Berger is trying to rile up support for a state measure that would buck two key provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act.
"Please help me stop Obamacare in North Carolina," Berger writes on his campaign website. The note continues:
WFMY – Civil Rights Rally Draws Thousands In Raleigh
Economic sustainability, educational equality and universal healthcare were on the agenda Saturday when demonstrators from several of North Carolina’s civil rights and left-leaning groups held an annual march and rally in downtown Raleigh.
The seventh annual HKonJ – or Historic Thousands of Jones Street – rally began at 10:30 a.m. at Shaw University, where participants began a march to the Legislative Building on Jones Street.
WTVD – Thousands march in 7th annual HK on J
State and national civil rights leaders in Raleigh, along with the public, marched in Saturday’s seventh annual HK on J rally.
The march to the Legislative Building began at 10:30 a.m. near Shaw University.
Organizers believed 145 organizations, including student groups, faith-based groups, and civil rights groups were in attendance.
Before they hit the streets, North Carolina NAACP President Rev. William Barber held a worship service to help inspire participants Friday evening.
THE NEW YORK TIMES – The Ignorance Caucus
PAUL KRUGMAN – Last week Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, gave what his office told us would be a major policy speech. And we should be grateful for the heads-up about the speech’s majorness. Otherwise, a read of the speech might have suggested that he was offering nothing more than a meager, warmed-over selection of stale ideas.
To be sure, Mr. Cantor tried to sound interested in serious policy discussion. But he didn’t succeed — and that was no accident. For these days his party dislikes the whole idea of applying critical thinking and evidence to policy questions. And no, that’s not a caricature: Last year the Texas G.O.P. explicitly condemned efforts to teach “critical thinking skills,” because, it said, such efforts “have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”
North Carolina Democratic Party