Slatest PM: Obama's Not-So-Subtle SOTU Message

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 28 2014 4:43 PM

Slatest PM: Obama's Not-So-Subtle SOTU Message

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U.S. President Barack Obama works on a draft of his State of the Union address in the Oval Office January 27, 2014 at the White House in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

SOTU Preview: Washington Post: "President Obama will announce in the State of the Union address Tuesday that he will use his executive power to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour for workers on new government contracts, fulfilling a top demand by liberal lawmakers and groups, according to a White House document. Obama will also renew his call for Congress to pass legislation to raise the federal minimum wage for all workers from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour by 2015. But the president is taking the executive action with no clear timeline for Congress acting on the broader legislation."

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The Not-So-Subtle Message to Congress: New York Times: "The order ... is meant to underscore an increased willingness by the president to bypass Congress if lawmakers continue to resist his agenda, aides said. After a year in which most of his legislative priorities went nowhere, Mr. Obama is seeking ways to make progress despite a lack of cooperation on Capitol Hill. The minimum wage plan provides an example of what he has in mind. Mr. Obama called on Congress during last year’s State of the Union address to raise the minimum wage for workers across the board, only to watch the proposal languish on Capitol Hill, where opponents argued it would hurt businesses and stifle job creation. With prospects for congressional action still slim, Mr. Obama is using the executive order covering federal contractors to go as far as he can on his own."

The Message to the Public: Associated Press: "White House officials see a robust rollout of executive actions as the most effective way to show the public that Obama still wields power as the clock ticks on his presidency. ... Washington's current focus on inequality comes as many parts of the economy are gaining strength. But the soaring financial markets and corporate balance sheets stand in contrast to the millions of people still out of work or struggling with stagnant incomes that don't stretch as far as they used to. Seeking to address those issues, Obama will also announce executive actions on job training, boosting employment opportunities for the long-term unemployed and expanding retirement savings for low- and middle-income Americans."

More SOTU Coverage From Slate

It's Tuesday, January 28th, welcome to the Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees, and the whole team at @Slatest.

Hawaii School Lockdown: Associated Press: "A police officer shot a 17-year-old runaway in the wrist at a Hawaiii high school after the teen cut one officer with a knife and punched two others, authorities said. State Department of Education spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz said the boy showed up Tuesday morning at Roosevelt High School. Officials there recognized him as a runaway who was not registered for classes, and called police. Maj. Richard Robinson, commander of the Honolulu Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division, said the boy lunged at officers who arrived at the public high school near downtown Honolulu and tried to take him into custody. Robinson said the teen attacked one of the officers with a knife, leaving him with a minor cut on his torso. He also hit two other officers, but neither suffered serious injuries, he said. One of the officers then fired two shots, hitting the boy once in the wrist. The teen was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, Robinson said."

Apparent Suicide Note: Washington Post: "Before Monday night, the public essentially knew two things about Jesse Ryan Loskarn: The former Republican aide had been arrested for possession of child pornography and had committed suicide last week. That night, however, a letter purporting to be his suicide note and claiming that he was sexually abused as a child was posted online, apparently by family members. 'I found myself drawn to videos that matched my own childhood abuse,' reads the note, which appears on the Web site JesseRyanLoskarnsLastMessage.com. 'I pictured myself as a child in the image or video. The more an image mirrored some element of my memories and took me back, the more I felt a connection.'"

Update From Ukraine: Reuters: "Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov resigned on Tuesday while deputies loyal to President Viktor Yanukovich, acting to calm violent street protests, back-tracked and overturned anti-protest laws they rammed through parliament 12 days ago. The first real concessions by Yanukovich since the crisis erupted two months ago brought cheers from several thousand demonstrators on Kiev's Independence Square, focal point of the protests. Opposition leaders said they would continue to harness street power to wring more gains. ... The 66-year-old Azarov tendered his resignation as parliament met for an emergency session to work out a deal that would satisfy the opposition and end protests in the capital Kiev and in other cities in which six people have been killed."

College Team Tries to Unionize: ESPN: "For the first time in the history of college sports, athletes are asking to be represented by a labor union, taking formal steps on Tuesday to begin the process of being recognized as employees. Ramogi Huma, president of the National College Players Association, filed a petition in Chicago on behalf of football players at Northwestern University, submitting the form at the regional office of the National Labor Relations Board. Backed by the United Steelworkers union, Huma also filed union cards signed by an undisclosed number of Northwestern players with the NLRB -- the federal statutory body that recognizes groups that seek collective bargaining rights."

That's all for today. See you back here tomorrow. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. Follow him on Twitter.