Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Looking for a place to emote about the State of the Union and the official responses thereto? Express yourselves in the comments to this post. I may jump in with a thought or two myself, if I can work up the kinetic energy.
Updates are numbered.
1. I am ashamed to say that my first comment relates to fellow Princetonian Michelle Robinson Obama's choice of attire. It is undignified and wrong for me to point out that she is far to broad in the hips to wear that pink dress. The wine made me do it.
2. Isn't it awesome that we do not have look at Nancy Pelosi back there? (Dang, I'm catty tonight.)
3. I think Obama just made John Boehner cry. On purpose. He knew damned well what he was doing, right?
4. Egads, Boehner's barely keeping it together back there. Love the pink tie, though.
5. Oh good. Investments in "biomedical research" -- that's my industry, government intervention here we come! -- and "clean energy." "We're not just handing out money, we're issuing a challenge." No, you're just handing out money.
6. "By 2035, 80% of America's energy will come from clean energy sources." Apparently we are including natty gas and "clean coal" among these, so I'm wondering if that is the stretch goal it seems to be. The climate change activists are not going to be thrilled.
7. Nice pivot from the usual tip o' the hat to teachers -- pretty de rigeur in a Democratic SOTU -- to demanding merit assessments. My well-documented objection is this: Meritocracy is inherently incompatible with unionization, so if you do not also attack the teachers unions you cannot honestly claim to support merit assessments.
8. All this infrastructure talk leaves me completely cold. High speed rail? Oh, gawd, that is so pointless in our continental country. And the pat-down joke was no joke -- who is in charge of the TSA?
9. President Obama wants to "simplify" federal corporation tax to close the loopholes and lower rates. I work in an industry with an established track record of no clout, so I am all for that, but what does he mean by "close loopholes"? Get rid of deferrals on foreign income, which he has previously proposed? That would do severe damage to American competitiveness. How about just getting rid of corporation tax?
10. Nice little joke on healthcare reform. And, egads, did he just propose getting rid of the new 1099 requirement? Or was it limited only to "small businesses"? It is damn expensive for big business, too.
11. The airplane engine joke was violent eliminationist rhetoric.
12. Here's a word cloud of the SOTU.
13. Ooh. Medical malpractice reform to reign in frivolous lawsuits! Sadly, I have never met a legislative expert who thinks that is possible because of the clout of the trial lawyers in Congress.
14. "We should ask millionaires to give up their tax break." Bite me. One cannot "give up" a tax break.
15. Biden looks as though he thinks that Obama's promise to veto any bill with earmarks is a joke. Just saying.
16. Tough talk on the Tollybahn, which isn't just a toll road in Germany.
17. Very nice that he called upon universities and colleges to open up to ROTC and military recruiters in the wake of the repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell." That was the problem, right? Not that any of us believed it, so a pat on the back to president for calling out the academic liberals.
18. Is it just me, or this a long speech?
And on my screen Michelle's dress was gray.
I think Obama just made Boehner cry
Pfffttt. Like that's difficult:~> How many times do we have to watch this guy get premenstrual at the mention of his hardscrabble roots? Jeez. You'd think he was the only who ever scrubbed a floor. Get over yourself, Johnny.
I thought it was a good speech made even better by the blurring of the two sides of the aisle. Less of the mob mentality with applause and standing Os
My favorite line in the State of the Union:
"government's role is...to help provide a safety net for those who cannot provide for themselves."
Oh wait. My bad. That line is from the Republican Response to the SOTU!
Well, blow me down! Ryan is espousing government saftey nets. Heh. Socialist:))
We should ask millionaires to give up their tax break
What tax break would that be? My understanding of the tax code is that millionaires (by which I mean people making ~$175k or so) have exemption and deduction phaseouts that regular folk don't suffer from. Last I looked those were tax hits, not tax breaks.
Obama is like the actor who, despite a wonderful delivery, cannot make up for the fact that the script is trite. Couple that with the odd atmospherics of the SOTUA, and you virtually guarantee disappointment. How about that standing ovation for removing a bit of needless paperwork from the health care bill? Was that not a moment of national glory?
We should have stuck with our original plan and watched the Swedish movie version of the Girl With the Dragon tattoo...
If the number of times Boehner applauded is any indication, than Obama gets high marks.
Maybe the Reps and Dems sitting together confused the new Speaker of the House or maybe it was Obama's "what's not to like?" speech but three-quarters of the way through, Boehner looked like he needed a post-coital smoke!
Our undocumented Kenyan president again failed to emphasize one of his very key energy issues, unicorn urine.
Countless good paying, green jobs are available in the industry that collects urine from unicorns and converts it to cheap, clean fuel. I'm sure that Gore, Dashele and the other needy dem politicians could profit from an emphasis on the key industry.
Saving myself a great deal of angst, I used the magic "mute" button on Obama and listened only to Paul Ryan. Obama's obvious and complete lack of experience in all aspects of productive economic life has finally overcome my sense of duty in listening to the President give the SOTU: I just can't listen to the empty suit anymore.
Not only did I get in a couple of guffaws, reading a selction from the McAuslan stories, but I heard all the important bits on TV too. Ryan was excellent.
I had "invest!" as my Beer Pong word -- so after 12 shots I was slow getting up this morning. Actually I usually just speed read the transcripts of these things the day after. A few observations:
Boehner & Co are trying to avoid the mistakes that Gingrich made back in 1996 -- hence Kumbaya. The play is for the Independent vote, most of whom hate confrontation. Obama has gotten a lot of spin out of the Tuscon shooting enabled by nearly all MSM, Fox included. Once again, passive aggressive wins for Obama as Tea Party anger has been muted.
This even affected Paul Ryan's rebuttal, which I thought pretty good. Ryan didn't challenge Obama with "Bernie Madoff accounting" as he has in the past. But Ryan's rebuttal is mostly being ignored by MSM -- including Fox and WSJ.
With her own "Tea Party Express" rebuttal, Michelle Bachmann shows she's a shameless opportunist -- very Tracie Flick. She scares me in the same way that many are scared by Sarah Palin -- but my gut says Sarah's very different. Am I wrong? Understand that the "Tea Party Express" is filled with political hustlers sucking the blood out of what could be a genuine grassroots movement.
The Big Fight alluded to last night is over the size of government, especially the Federal government. Obama says he wants to put in a spending freeze at current levels, the Republicans want to roll back to 2008 or even 2006. The federal government is now over 25% of GDP with tendrils into huge parts of the private sector. But its never had a peace-time tax base greater than 18%. Hence projected trillion dollar deficits from here to eternity. This is unsustainable: The Borg will either get bigger or smaller.
Related to all this is Jobs. Who will be better at creating jobs -- government or business? We have a horrendous unemployment problem papered over with extended unemployment and foreclosure forebearance -- as well as Son of Stimulus, the trillion dollar package that got passed last month. Meanwhile the true private sector has been frozen, which has kept unemployment high.
We have two painful alternatives. Fiscal Austerity will lead to a double dip, and lots of "resets." But current trajectory takes us to Weimar or an all-controlling Borg. Pick your poison.
Ironically, equity markets are up because they're a (relative) safe haven. But from what I hear, the debt markets expect that we'll see the End of Days once Bernanke runs out of tricks.
"There will be growth in the Spring" -- Peter Sellers as Chance in Being There (1979)
It seemed like a flat speech to me. Little energy, enthusiasm or emotion. That was due, I think ironically, to all the slobber over the lack of civility which made that nut kill 6 folks in Tucson. I liked it better when the dems and repubs sat on different sides. I liked it better when one side, fearful an applause line would fall flat, would cheer uproariously on cue. Last night what you had was a room full of big egos being nice and not cheering so as to avoid looking, in the eyes of the person next to him, like the only guy clapping after the movie.
The high point for me was Ryan's speech. I've believed for a long time that he was stinky smart, very articulate and not inclined to put his foot in his mouth. What I didn't know was whether he could speak to regular folks in the living room without looking like a complete nerd. In fact he can communicate. He has timing, grace, great delivery and excellent body language to combine with his excellent construction of his ideas. Although I have a history of falling for folks who could never get elected, I have to say Ryan is looking like the complete kit of parts.