President Obama delivers the 2014 State of the Union address

Read The Full Text Of President Obama's 2014 State Of The Union Address

Today (Jan. 28), viewers halted their typical TV regimen to tune in to President Obama's annual State of the Union Address (Mara Brock Akil even withheld a new episode of BET's Being Mary Jane so people would pay attention to the more important message). In case you weren't able to make your way to a television set, here is the transcript of his speech, which was delivered at the U.S. Capitol in Washington:

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, my fellow Americans:

Today in America, a teacher spent extra time with a student who needed it, and did her part to lift America’s graduation rate to its highest level in more than three decades.

An entrepreneur flipped on the lights in her tech startup, and did her part to add to the more than eight million new jobs our businesses have created over the past four years.

An autoworker fine-tuned some of the best, most fuel-efficient cars in the world, and did his part to help America wean itself off foreign oil.

A farmer prepared for the spring after the strongest five-year stretch of farm exports in our history. A rural doctor gave a young child the first prescription to treat asthma that his mother could afford. A man took the bus home from the graveyard shift, bone-tired but dreaming big dreams for his son. And in tight-knit communities across America, fathers and mothers will tuck in their kids, put an arm around their spouse, remember fallen comrades, and give thanks for being home from a war that, after twelve long years, is finally coming to an end.

Tonight, this chamber speaks with one voice to the people we represent: it is you, our citizens, who make the state of our union strong.

Here are the results of your efforts: The lowest unemployment rate in over five years. A rebounding housing market. A manufacturing sector that’s adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s. More oil produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world – the first time that’s happened in nearly twenty years. Our deficits – cut by more than half. And for the first time in over a decade, business leaders around the world have declared that China is no longer the world’s number one place to invest; America is.

That’s why I believe this can be a breakthrough year for America. After five years of grit and determined effort, the United States is better-positioned for the 21st century than any other nation on Earth.

The question for everyone in this chamber, running through every decision we make this year, is whether we are going to help or hinder this progress. For several years now, this town has been consumed by a rancorous argument over the proper size of the federal government. It’s an important debate – one that dates back to our very founding. But when that debate prevents us from carrying out even the most basic functions of our democracy – when our differences shut down government or threaten the full faith and credit of the United States – then we are not doing right by the American people.

As President, I’m committed to making Washington work better, and rebuilding the trust of the people who sent us here. I believe most of you are, too. Last month, thanks to the work of Democrats and Republicans, this Congress finally produced a budget that undoes some of last year’s severe cuts to priorities like education. Nobody got everything they wanted, and we can still do more to invest in this country’s future while bringing down our deficit in a balanced way. But the budget compromise should leave us freer to focus on creating new jobs, not creating new crises.

In the coming months, let’s see where else we can make progress together. Let’s make this a year of action. That’s what most Americans want – for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations. And what I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all – the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead.

Let’s face it: that belief has suffered some serious blows. Over more than three decades, even before the Great Recession hit, massive shifts in technology and global competition had eliminated a lot of good, middle-class jobs, and weakened the economic foundations that families depend on.

Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by – let alone get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all.

Our job is to reverse these trends. It won’t happen right away, and we won’t agree on everything. But what I offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class. Some require Congressional action, and I’m eager to work with all of you. But America does not stand still – and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.

As usual, our First Lady sets a good example. Michelle’s Let’s Move partnership with schools, businesses, and local leaders has helped bring down childhood obesity rates for the first time in thirty years – an achievement that will improve lives and reduce health care costs for decades to come. The Joining Forces alliance that Michelle and Jill Biden launched has already encouraged employers to hire or train nearly 400,000 veterans and military spouses. Taking a page from that playbook, the White House just organized a College Opportunity Summit where already, 150 universities, businesses, and nonprofits have made concrete commitments to reduce inequality in access to higher education – and help every hardworking kid go to college and succeed when they get to campus. Across the country, we’re partnering with mayors, governors, and state legislatures on issues from homelessness to marriage equality.

The point is, there are millions of Americans outside Washington who are tired of stale political arguments, and are moving this country forward. They believe, and I believe, that here in America, our success should depend not on accident of birth, but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams. That’s what drew our forebears here. It’s how the daughter of a factory worker is CEO of America’s largest automaker; how the son of a barkeeper is Speaker of the House; how the son of a single mom can be President of the greatest nation on Earth.

Opportunity is who we are. And the defining project of our generation is to restore that promise.

We know where to start: the best measure of opportunity is access to a good job. With the economy picking up speed, companies say they intend to hire more people this year. And over half of big manufacturers say they’re thinking of insourcing jobs from abroad.

So let’s make that decision easier for more companies. Both Democrats and Republicans have argued that our tax code is riddled with wasteful, complicated loopholes that punish businesses investing here, and reward companies that keep profits abroad. Let’s flip that equation. Let’s work together to close those loopholes, end those incentives to ship jobs overseas, and lower tax rates for businesses that create jobs here at home.

Continue reading the rest of the speech on The Washington Post.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Kanye West, EMI Working Towards Private Settlement

Kanye West and EMI could be close to settling their legal drama. Each party filed documents requesting a stay of the case to “explore the potential for a resolution,” The Blast reports.

West sued EMI in an effort to “gain freedom” from his contract, and to own his publishing. In the lawsuit, ‘Ye argued that his contract ended in 2010 under California law, which bars entertainers from being tethered to an agreement for more than seven years. The multi-Grammy winner, who signed the deal back in 2003, also accused the company of slavery because the contract doesn’t allow him to retire.

“Even if the contract were not lopsided in EMI’s favor (it is), even if its terms valued Mr. West’s artistic contributions in line with the spectacular success he has achieved for EMI (they do not), and even if EMI had not underpaid Mr. West what it owes him (EMI has), he would be entitled to be set free from its bonds,” the lawsuit reads.

EMI hit back with a countersuit filed in New York, instead of California. The suit pointed out that the 41-year-old rapper signed multiple contract extensions, in addition to accepting millions in advances.

According to The Blast, West and EMI now feel that putting a hold on the legal proceedings will be beneficial to both sides “and the Court by enabling the parties to engage in meaningful discussions in an attempt to resolve this action without having to incur the burden and expense of litigation and motion practice.”

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Megan Thee Stallion Mourns Loss Of Her Mother

According to a recent post on Megan Thee Stallion's Instagram account, her mother, Holly Thomas, has passed away.

The rapper revealed the news of her mother's death in an Instagram post on Friday (March 22), publishing a photo of herself with "the strongest woman on the planet."

"The best mom in the whole world," she wrote. "...I can't even put complete sentences together rn RIP mama."

The best mom in the whole world. The strongest woman on the planet. I can’t even put complete sentences together rn RIP mama

A post shared by Hot Girl Meg (@theestallion) on Mar 22, 2019 at 10:49am PDT

Just like the Tina Snow artist, Thomas was a rapper who went by the name of Holly-Wood. With no doubt that her lyrical abilities rubbed off on her daughter, Thomas refused to let the "Tina Montana" emcee rap professionally until she turned 21. Beyond their bond, Megan Thee Stallion's mother doubled as her first assistant and manager.

In VIBE's NEXT feature, the 24-year-old artist revisited the moments her mother listened to her music. “Sometimes when we’re in the studio, I get her so hyped that she’s like, ‘Megan, I’m about to get in the booth and come out with another mixtape,’” she said.

There are currently no reports stating the cause of death.

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A 7,62X39mm round sits next a a 30 round magazine and an AK-47 with a bump stock installed at Good Guys Gun and Range on February 21, 2018 in Orem, Utah. The bump stock is a device when installed allows a semi-automatic to fire at a rapid rate much like a fully automatic gun. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

Teachers Will Be Allowed To Carry Firearms In New Florida School Bill

A new bill has been approved by the Florida House committee that would allow the arming of teachers in classrooms.

The Sun-Sentinel reports the bill, gives educators the option to carry weapons on school grounds. The legislation was made following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year. It also indicates that educators must have the approval of the school board before carrying a weapon school grounds.

For the teachers who volunteer, they are required to pass a psychological test as well as a drug test, participate in 144 hours of firearms training, and hold a valid concealed weapon permit.

The law was passed on Thursday (March 21) and advocates of the legislation believe that it would work to make the school safer while critics of the law have rejected it and do not feel as though teachers should play the role of law enforcement personnel in these schools. The main proponent for the legislation, as the Sun-Sentinel reported, Republican Rep. Jennifer Sullivan of Eustis advocated strongly for the law.

"The more people that are there to defend students, to defend other teachers, the better. If a teacher does not want to go through the program, I don't want them to go through the program." On the other side of the spectrum, Democratic Rep. Susan Valdes of Tampa had this to say, "teachers want to teach children and broaden children's minds. If they wanted to be a cop, they would have gone to the police academy and become a cop."

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