5 takeaways from Biden’s State of the Union address : NPR


U.S. President Biden delivers the State of the Union handle earlier than a joint session of Congress within the U.S. Capitol Home Chamber on Tuesday.

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U.S. President Biden delivers the State of the Union handle earlier than a joint session of Congress within the U.S. Capitol Home Chamber on Tuesday.

Pool/Getty Pictures

President Biden’s first formal State of the Union handle centered on Ukraine, inflation, the coronavirus pandemic and a four-point “Unity Agenda.”

He urged world unity in standing as much as Russia, listed methods he is making an attempt to handle rising costs (even when they may possible have restricted to no impact within the brief time period) and provided an optimistic outlook in regards to the finish of the pandemic.

Biden made point out of some progressive coverage gadgets, equivalent to the necessity for sturdy voting-rights laws and stood up for transgender and abortion rights (whereas leaving out another subjects equivalent to local weather change).

And he additionally touted a few of his accomplishments of his first yr, such because the COVID aid invoice and the bipartisan infrastructure invoice. However the speech’s emphasis on a lot of Biden’s centrist coverage positions, like not defunding the police, was a transparent selection in an election yr. It was reminiscent, in some methods, of Invoice Clinton’s 1995 State of the Union handle made after Republicans’ historic positive factors within the 1994 midterm elections.

Listed below are 5 takeaways from Biden’s handle to Congress:

1. This was a way more unified-looking Congress (for probably the most half) than in previous years.

Watchers of State of the Union addresses are fairly used to seeing, actually seeing, partisan applause traces. One half of the viewers – the president’s social gathering – normally stands and applauds for many issues, whereas the opposite half – the opposition social gathering – sits quietly or… voices their displeasure.

However for probably the most half, Tuesday night time, the temper was extra unified. And that is due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainian blue and gold was a hard-to-miss image of unity in a deeply polarized Congress with a number of members donning blue-and-gold flags and lapel pins.

The president’s defiant tone on the disaster elicited a number of moments of bipartisan applause, one thing uncommon on this partisan age. That’s, in fact, apart from some normal suspects.

2. Biden painted an optimistic portrait of life after COVID.

One other hanging visible was the absence of masks on this speech within the age of COVID. It was an indication of the eagerness that People really feel in wanting to maneuver previous the pandemic, and the president was cautiously optimistic.

Biden known as for individuals to get vaccinated, for kids to get vaccinated and for manufacturing and distribution of antiviral capsules to guard susceptible individuals. He additionally forcefully known as for the nation to get again to work, to “fill our downtowns” and to maintain faculties open.

On the similar time, in contrast to final July when he was near declaring independence from the pandemic, solely to be derailed by lethal variants, Biden stated, “I can’t promise a brand new variant will not come. However I can promise you we’ll do all the pieces inside our energy to be prepared if it does.”

On Wednesday, the White Home is about to announce a brand new roadmap for shifting ahead on the pandemic.

3. He tried to empathize on inflation, however delivered a wholesome dose of financial nationalism.

Biden tried to say he understands that inflation is pinching a number of People. “I grew up in a household the place if the worth of meals went up, you felt it,” the president stated, earlier than declaring that that is why he pushed to cross the COVID aid invoice.

It was nearly as if the White Home had learn the NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist ballot, which requested People what they thought needs to be Biden’s high precedence. Far and away, the highest reply was inflation.

“I get it,” he stated. “That is why my high precedence is getting costs beneath management.”

Biden laid out a kitchen-sink strategy. He stated he approved releasing oil from the strategic petroleum reserve; he spoke out towards value gouging; and known as for the affirmation of his Federal Reserve Board nominees. He additionally took a nationalistic flip, selling making merchandise in America.

“Decrease your prices, not your wages,” he urged firms. “Make extra vehicles and semiconductors in America. Extra infrastructure and innovation in America. Extra items shifting sooner and cheaper in America. Extra jobs the place you possibly can earn dwelling in America. And as an alternative of counting on overseas provide chains, let’s make it in America.”

You can virtually hear the chants of, “USA! USA! USA!”

All that’s meant to point out he is on it, however historically merchandise made within the U.S. are dearer due to the labor prices disparity between the usand different nations, equivalent to China. Transport prices are at present excessive, so there’s an argument that now is an efficient time to make a transition to creating extra at residence.

However there is not a lot a president can do to curb inflation within the brief time period. He has to hope because the pandemic recedes, inflation goes together with it.

4. Biden touted his accomplishments and punched again towards Republican assaults.

The speech struck a unifying tone early on, however Biden obtained in his digs on Republicans, too, whereas boasting of his first-year legislative accomplishments.

“In contrast to the $2 trillion tax reduce handed within the earlier administration that benefitted the highest 1% of People,” Biden stated, “the American Rescue Plan helped working individuals — and left nobody behind. And it labored. It labored. It created jobs. Plenty of jobs.”

Speaking in regards to the bipartisan infrastructure invoice, Biden thanked Republicans who voted for it, however obtained this in on former President Trump. “We’re accomplished speaking about infrastructure weeks,” he stated. “We’ll have an infrastructure decade.”

On this period of unabashed base politics, Biden must shore his up. The newest NPR ballot discovered Biden missing in his depth of help. The White Home has to hope a few of this rhetoric – and delight – might help with that.

5. Not fairly “triangulation,” however getting shut.

Cowed by sweeping Republican positive factors within the earlier yr’s midterm – and with a watch to his personal re-election – former President Clinton gave a State of the Union handle in 1995 that sought center floor.

Biden definitely tried to hunt out a center path that centered on what he known as a “Unity Agenda” with 4 components – beating the opioid epidemic, taking over psychological well being, supporting veterans and ending “most cancers as we all know it.”

Past that, simply take a look at how he talked in regards to the police. All through his marketing campaign, Biden broke from liberals in his social gathering and known as for extra funding of police. He emphasised that once more on Tuesday night time.

“Let’s not abandon our streets – or select between security and equal justice,” Biden stated, including, “We must always all agree: the reply is to not defund the police. The reply is to fund the police. Fund them with the assets and coaching they should shield our communities.”

Biden has been struggling with independents, a gaggle he received within the 2020 presidential election, and Republicans have been making an attempt to model him a socialist beholden to the left-wing of his social gathering.

This was clearly an try and push again towards that and enchantment to moderates at a time when lots of the points hampering him are out of his management.

5 takeaways about ‘CODA,’ ‘Squid Game’ and more : NPR


Ariana DeBose accepts the SAG Award for excellent efficiency by a feminine actor in a supporting function. She performed Anita in “West Facet Story.”

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP


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Ariana DeBose accepts the SAG Award for excellent efficiency by a feminine actor in a supporting function. She performed Anita in “West Facet Story.”

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

The Display Actors Guild Awards occurred on Sunday night time — the primary of the guilds to provide out their large prizes this season. The guilds — your Display Actors Guild, but additionally your Administrators Guild and your Producers Guild and your Writers Guild — make notably attention-grabbing predictors of Oscar season (not like, as an example, the Golden Globes), as a result of they’re chosen by a number of the similar voters. That may make guild awards stable predictors, or a minimum of as stable as any. For example, earlier than Parasite gained what was initially thought-about a longshot greatest image Oscar two years in the past, it picked up a win on the SAG Awards, and that is when its win for greatest image began to appear to be a shot that was not fairly so lengthy.

So what can we take away from Sunday night time’s wins?

1. Right here comes Squid Sport. The South Korean drama sequence a couple of sport that gives members the possibility to get out of debt or actually die attempting gained large in tv drama: Lee Jung-jae and Jung Ho-yeon gained for lead actor and actress, and the present’s stunt ensemble gained of their class as effectively. (The SAG Awards are one of many solely locations the place stunt performers are honored, a regrettable omission elsewhere that was famous by my colleague Glen Weldon in a current lament in regards to the Oscars.)

When the Emmys come round within the fall, will Squid Sport handle to beat out the lauded Succession, the solid of which gained final night time’s ensemble award? It is all the time arduous to know when reputation — hotness, if you’ll — goes to translate into awards recognition. Early indicators for Squid Sport (and thus Netflix) are good, however Succession remains to be a beast, and it had an excellent third season. Must be a great struggle.

2. CODA is getting some good momentum. CODA, the crowd-pleaser a couple of younger lady named Ruby on the brink of go away for school (or not), gained the award for its ensemble — the closest factor the SAG Awards need to greatest image. And Troy Kotsur, who performs Ruby’s father, gained the supporting actor award. Observe that Kotsur was the primary deaf actor to win a solo SAG award, and the solid was the primary predominantly deaf solid to win.

This is a aspect word about Troy Kotsur and CODA: I used to be just lately watching an episode of Meals Community’s The Nice Meals Truck Race, as you do, and the individuals engaged on one of many meals vans have been overcome after they have been visited by Marlee Matlin, whom they (appropriately and fairly) went gaga over. They didn’t, nonetheless, pay any consideration to the man who was along with her. That man was Troy Kotsur, present Oscar frontrunner.

The movie has been on a little bit of a roller-coaster: When it got here out at Sundance, it was lauded and bought for a ton of cash; hopes have been excessive. However possibly as a result of it bought to Apple TV, nonetheless a service that does not have the attain of one thing like Netflix, and possibly as a result of its theatrical launch got here in August, when theatrical attendance was nonetheless fairly rickety, it appeared to fade just a little within the public consciousness.

Till just lately, it felt to me — this, admittedly, is my extraordinarily unscientific intestine intuition — that greatest image would most likely go to both Energy of the Canine or Do not Look Up, but it surely’s simple to wonder if CODA may sneak in there. A crowd-pleaser does, in any case, generally please simply sufficient of the gang.

3. Will Smith could also be shut. Will Smith has been nominated for Oscars twice earlier than, for The Pursuit of Happyness and Ali. A few of his different performances have felt, for lack of a greater phrase, awards-y, however haven’t been nominated: your Concussion, your Seven Kilos, and so forth. This 12 months, he is nominated for King Richard. He is already gained the Golden Globe — however as we have mentioned prior to now, that does not inform you a lot. Now, nonetheless, he is gained the SAG Award, which advances the notion that we could also be trying on the Will Smith Oscar 12 months.

4. Your film does not need to be an enormous knockout so that you can win. Full disclosure: The Eyes of Tammy Faye remains to be on my Oscar spreadsheet as “To Watch,” not as “Watched.” However that movie was nominated for simply two Oscars: Jessica Chastain for greatest actress and the movie’s make-up and hairstyling. It is not an enormous haul, and the evaluations have been what we would name good-not-great. Nonetheless, Chastain gained the SAG on Sunday, and like Will Smith, she’s on her third Oscar nomination. But when she beats out, on Oscar night time, Nicole Kidman, Olivia Colman, Kristen Stewart and Penélope Cruz? That is an enormous win for a film that has not essentially been outstanding this season.

5. It is an Ariana DeBose world. Ariana DeBose gained for West Facet Story on Sunday, persevering with — as a few people famous — a talent pipeline from Fox’s actuality present So You Assume You Can Dance. However extra instantly, DeBose is simply on an enormous roll, and whereas there aren’t a variety of “rising star” tales anymore the place all people appears to suppose the particular person is simply luminous and fabulous, she’s bought what looks like an especially excessive approval score at this level. She’s additionally the primary Latina actress and the primary brazenly queer lady of coloration to win for movie. In the event you’re searching for a great story this Oscar season, look no additional.