Annotated SOTU Coming (but Not Right This Second)

Last night I watched, discussed, and took real-time notes on the State of the Union address at The Atlantic's viewing fest in New York. As soon as I can finish working through the approx 7000 words in the speech transcript, ideally on the train back to Washington starting soon [and the rest of the day], and as soon as our web team can get the whole thing formatted so as to display annotations, glosses, and general play-by-play with each relevant passage, I'll post the Official Annotated State of the Union, 2013 Edition, in this space. For samples of what I mean about the annotation and the formatting, you can check out last year's version, or the one before that, or the one before that (just after Scott Brown's election ended the several-month stretch in which the Democrats held a 60-vote filibuster-breaking majority in the Senate), or this one from back in G.W. Bush's second term.

Last night's speech was very long, as you may have noticed, and like Obama's second inaugural address contained some surprises of policy -- plus rhetorical surprises of both the good and bad variety. For more, watch this space, I hope some time later today probably tomorrow.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.


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