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President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington on Jan. 28, 2014. (Photo by Larry Downing/AFP/Pool/Getty)

The state of the issues you care about in America

01/20/15 06:02PM

Over the past week, msnbc.com has published "The State of America," a series culminating in President Barack Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Address on Tuesday, Jan. 20. This is the state of the issues you care about, as told by organizations promoting social change and other policy experts. read more

Low wage U.S. federal contract workers hold a strike rally, asking for a $15 per hour minimum wage, in front of the Capitol in Washington Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo by Gary Cameron/Reuters)

The state of inequality in America

01/18/15 02:59PM

The president has an opportunity in the State of the Union to tell the truth about the economy: Jobs are coming back, but wages aren’t. In December, the average wage actually dropped. ... read more

In this file photo released by the U.S. Navy on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, A-18C Hornet prepares to launch from the flight deck to conduct strike missions against Islamic State group targets, in the Arabian Gulf. (Robert Burck/U.S. Navy-File/AP)

The state of America's wars

01/20/15 10:30AM

The Middle East has not figured prominently in President Obama's past State of the Union addresses. This year, however, it will warrant a bit more discussion, given that the preceding year saw two major U.S. initiatives: An intensive effort by Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate a Palestinian-Israeli peace accord, which seemed to... read more

Fast food workers, healthcare workers and their supporters shout slogans at a rally and march to demand an increase of the minimum wage to 15USD per hour, in Los Angeles on Dec. 4, 2014. (Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty)

The state of low-wage America

01/18/15 05:08PM

Perhaps the most important development for struggling American families over the past two years has been the emergence of stagnant wages as a major issue – redefining our political debate and spurring direct intervention to raise pay at the state and local level.  While it was Occupy Wall Street that initially focused attention on our nation’s... read more

A woman holds an anti-fracking sign as a group of demonstrators gather for a rally for a Global Climate Treaty Dec. 10, 2014 near the United Nations in New York. (Photo by Don Emmert/AFP/Getty)

The state of the climate movement in America

01/19/15 05:49PM

As we enter 2015, the state of the climate movement is strong. Over the last year, we have grown in leaps and bounds. Together, we turned out over 400,000 people into the streets of New York City during last September’s People’s Climate March. It was the largest demonstration for climate action in history--and the largest march on any issue for... read more

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa rehearses her remarks for the Republican response to President Obama'€™s State of the Union address, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Susan Walsh/AP)

The Grand Old Party ... for the poor?

01/21/15 06:36AM

Both parties felt like they had something to prove in the aftermath of Tuesday night’s State of the Union address: Democrats want to be seen as saviors of the middle-class, and Republicans are trying cast themselves as the new defenders of America’s underclass. ... read more

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa rehearses her remarks for the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address, Jan. 20, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Susan Walsh/AP)

Joni Ernst delivers official GOP response, but not the only one

01/20/15 10:43PM

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst said Republicans "heard the message you sent in November loud and clear," in her State of the Union rebuttal, but her speech competed for American ears and eyes with an array of unofficial GOP responses that began well before President Obama spoke. ... read more

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 20, 2015. (Photo by Larry Downing/Reuters)

Obama heralds economic recovery in State of the Union address

01/20/15 07:29PM

A confident, often feisty President Barack Obama claimed credit for the improving economy in his State of the Union address Tuesday, chiding Republicans -- who won sweeping victories in the 2014 midterm elections -- to follow his lead in enacting policies to help the middle class. While pledging pragmatic steps that lawmakers of both parties... read more

Protesters rally against a grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner in Foley Square, Dec. 4, 2014, in New York, N.Y. (Photo by Jason DeCrow/AP)

The state of race and policing reform

01/20/15 03:28PM

The year 2014 brought us multiple tragic deaths of unarmed black men and a growing leaderless protest movement calling for police reform encapsulated by the hashtag: #BlackLivesMatter. ... read more

People wait in line to vote at busy polling facility on the Auraria Campus in Denver, Colo.

The state of the youth vote in America

01/20/15 12:48PM

The Millennial generation is the largest and most diverse in the United States – 93 million strong, 43% from communities of color, outnumbering even the Baby Boomers.  Despite making up over one-third of the population and holding the power to become the most influential voting bloc in the country, young people are frustrated with the political... read more

Demonstrators remember Michael Brown with a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march from the apartment complex where he was killed to the Ferguson police station on Jan. 19, 2015 in Ferguson, Mo. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty)

The state of human rights in America

01/20/15 12:01PM

If he's serious about promoting human rights at home, Obama should use the remainder of his term to push for accountability for torture, end the bulk collection of communications data, bring the legal framework for his counterterrorism policies into the light for public debate and review, and continue the push to close Guantanamo, as he... read more

US President Barack Obama gestures to hear the crowd as he speaks about the automotive manufacturing industry at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. on Jan. 7, 2015. (Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty)

Obama's 'Super Bowl': The road to the State of the Union

01/20/15 09:26AM

When President Obama delivers the State of the Union Tuesday night, he will outline ideas that have been months in the making. The speech is typically the most watched presidential address of the year – 33 million viewers caught it live in 2014 – yet many people may not realize how much goes into the big night. ... read more

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