Joe Biden's first congressional address got incredibly high marks from just about everyone
via The White House / YouTube

President Biden's first address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday did a great job at connecting with viewers according to polls taken last night. CBS News-YouGov found that 85% of viewers approved of the speech and only 15% did not.

Nearly 80% of viewers said the speech made them feel more optimistic about the country and 83% said the COVID-19 pandemic was improving.

Poll respondents described the speech using the following terms most frequently: "Presidential, "Caring," "Inspiring" and "Bold."


The address began with a sharp focus on the administration's attempts to eradicate the COVID-19 virus. At the beginning of the speech, Biden took a victory lap for doubling his initial pledge to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccination doses over his first 100 days.

Another major focus was The American Jobs Plan which puts a major emphasis on improving the country's aging infrastructure. The president claims his ambitious plan will create "jobs to upgrade our transportation infrastructure. Jobs modernizing roads, bridges, and highways. Jobs building ports and airports, rail corridors, and transit lines. It's clean water."

He also pitched proposals to expand universal primary education, improve health care access, create tax breaks for families, and increase access to higher education.

A big reason why the speech was so well received is that the audience was heavily Democratic. Fifty-four percent of respondents to the CBS-You Gov poll identified as Democrats, while only 18% as Republicans.

It was expected that many Republicans would avoid watching the speech, but it had a positive effect on those who made an attempt to listen to the new president. Republicans who believe Biden's policies will move the country in the right direction improved from 13% to 27% after the speech. Among independents that number grew from 61% to 73%.

Biden's speech also looks strong given recent history. Comparing Biden's numbers to recent presidents, his first address to a joint session of Congress was better received than those by Donald Trump (57%), Barack Obama (68%), and George W. Bush (66%).

When the "Me Too" movement exploded a few years ago, the ubiquitousness of women's sexual harassment and assault experiences became painfully clear. What hasn't always been as clear is role that less overt, more subtle creepiness plays in making women feel uncomfortable or unsafe as they move through the world, often starting from a young age.

Thankfully—and unfortunately—a viral video from a teen TikToker illustrates exactly what that looks like in real-time when a man came and sat down with her while she was doing a live video. He asked if the chair at her table was taken, and she said no, thinking he wanted to take it to another table. Instead, he sat down and started talking to her. You can see in her face and in her responses that she's weirded out, though she's trying not to appear rude or paranoid.

The teen said in a separate TikTok video that the man appeared to be in his 30s. Definitely too old to be pulling up a chair with someone so young who is sitting by herself, and definitely old enough to recognize that she was uncomfortable with the situation.

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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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