1. Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr addresses crowds during the March On Washington at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC, where he gave his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech.August 28, 1963
Photograph: AFP/Central Press/Getty Images 

    Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr addresses crowds during the March On Washington at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC, where he gave his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech.
    August 28, 1963

    Photograph: AFP/Central Press/Getty Images 

     
  2. So it is with America. Each time I look at that flag, I’m reminded that our destiny is stitched together like those fifty stars and those thirteen stripes. No one built this country on their own. This Nation is great because we built it together. This Nation is great because we worked as a team. This Nation is great because we get each other’s backs. And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great; no mission too hard. As long as we’re joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward, our future is hopeful, and the state of our Union will always be strong.

    Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.
    —  Obama
     
  3. Those of us who’ve been sent here to serve can learn from the service of our troops. When you put on that uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; Asian or Latino or Native American; conservative or liberal; rich or poor; gay or straight. When you’re marching into battle, you look out for the person next to you, or the mission fails. When you’re in the thick of the fight, you rise or fall as one unit, serving one Nation, leaving no one behind.
    —  Obama
     
  4. I’m a Democrat. But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed: That Government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more. That’s why my education reform offers more competition, and more control for schools and States. That’s why we’re getting rid of regulations that don’t work. That’s why our health care law relies on a reformed private market, not a Government program.

    On the other hand, even my Republican friends who complain the most about Government spending have supported federally-financed roads, and clean energy projects, and federal offices for the folks back home.

    The point is, we should all want a smarter, more effective Government. And while we may not be able to bridge our biggest philosophical differences this year, we can make real progress. With or without this Congress, I will keep taking actions that help the economy grow. But I can do a whole lot more with your help. Because when we act together, there is nothing the United States of America can’t achieve.
    —  Obama
     
  5. We don’t begrudge financial success in this country. We admire it. When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it’s not because they envy the rich. It’s because they understand that when I get tax breaks I don’t need and the country can’t afford, it either adds to the deficit, or somebody else has to make up the difference – like a senior on a fixed income; or a student trying to get through school; or a family trying to make ends meet. That’s not right. Americans know it’s not right. They know that this generation’s success is only possible because past generations felt a responsibility to each other, and to their country’s future, and they know our way of life will only endure if we feel that same sense of shared responsibility. That’s how we’ll reduce our deficit. That’s an America built to last.
    —  Obama
     
  6. When it comes to the deficit, we’ve already agreed to more than $2 trillion in cuts and savings. But we need to do more, and that means making choices. Right now, we’re poised to spend nearly $1 trillion more on what was supposed to be a temporary tax break for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. Right now, because of loopholes and shelters in the tax code, a quarter of all millionaires pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households. Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.

    Do we want to keep these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans? Or do we want to keep our investments in everything else – like education and medical research; a strong military and care for our veterans? Because if we’re serious about paying down our debt, we can’t do both.
    —  Obama
     
  7. You see, an economy built to last is one where we encourage the talent and ingenuity of every person in this country. That means women should earn equal pay for equal work. It means we should support everyone who’s willing to work; and every risk-taker and entrepreneur who aspires to become the next Steve Jobs.
    —  President Obama
     
  8. "Student leader lashes out at principal"

    I want everyone to give kudos to Vignesh Markandu, a graduating student at my former high school, who left his final high school year with a bang — by delivering a speech in front of the school that slammed the principal, and the administration.

    Since he gave the speech Monday afternoon (I’m a bit late to the story, I had virtually no internet access since Sunday) many people have written celebratory posts on his Facebook wall, showing that he is not alone in his feelings about the school and the approach it takes towards students and their opinions. (An online petition has started, which has already amassed 140 signatures as of this writing.)

    When I went to Central, the issues Vignesh outlined in his speech were even prominent then. A Principal that was noticably out of touch with the student body, a distinct condecentary tone from the administration, a basic idea that the student populous and their opinions were largely unimportant and pointless, because - face it - they’re just teenagers. What do they know.

    The Principal after hearing the speech, told the London Free Press’ Jennifer O’Brien essentially that he, and the administration, had no idea that the students felt this way (why would they, they didn’t listen to us) and that he was “very disappointed by the speech.”

    To which I reply with a big “yeah right.”

    The administration repeatedly did things, mostly things that didn’t make sense, without even asking, or caring, what the students thought. “Student parking? They wouldn’t care if we just made it unavailable here or there would they? Ah hell, why not make it unavailable altogether. School dances? They wouldn’t notice if we just made them total shit, would they? Eh, who cares.”

    I’m sure most of the changes and decisions that the administration made were direct from the school board, which wouldn’t surprise me given all the other nonsensical things the board has done over the years, but the school administration should have at least given the student body the chance to voice their opinion on things that would affect their time throughout high school, one of the most stressing and disappointing of experiences.

    “I personally dislike the condescending tone Mr. Robertson takes with his students, and his inability to look any of us in the eye when we speak to him,” said one student to Vignesh. His inability to look any of us in the eye? Mr Robertson, when the students notice that you cannot even give them the courtesy of eye contact when you are taking to them, it shows that not only do you and the administration lack respect towards the students, you lack even the most common of manners.

    [london free press]

    Markandu’s speech is transcribed in full. (Click ‘read more’ if on dashboard)

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