Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog
Wednesday 29 January 2014

"Mister Speaker, the President of the United States."

21:00 EST: I switched to CNN because Paul Krugman said he'd be on. He is not in evidence. Over to NPR, because the CNN commentators are so annoying.

21:03: I love NPR, and Mara Liasson in particular, but wow. Nobody knows anything.

21:05: The Republicans have had training on how to talk to women. That says everything you need to know about American politics these days. Fortunately, only men who own property can vote, so it doesn't really matter in November.

21:14: Is Boehner already drunk?

21:15: Education! Fuck yeah!

21:16: I can't even watch CNN video, it's too far behind the radio. I mean, what, they've got him on a delay? Seriously, CNN is 8 seconds behind NPR.

21:17: "It is you who make the state of the Union strong." My ruling on drinking games: this is semantically equivalent to "The state of the Union is strong."

21:18: China, already? Must be a mid-term year.

21:20: What un-american person would shut down the government? Commies. That's who.

21:21: "Inequality has deepened. ... Too many Americans are working too hard just to get ahead, and too many aren't working at all. ... Wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation...." I mean, I like this guy, and I'm frustrated by Republican intransigence, as happy as I am about recognizing inequality, I'm not happy about strengthening the executive.

21:25: "The son of a barkeep is the Speaker of the House." Thank you, thank you, don't forget to tip your bartenders.

21:26: "Both Democrats and Republicans have complained that our tax code is riddled with loopholes..." Yes, but we complain about different loopholes. Middle-class wage earners aren't exercised about the mortgage interest deduction; they're pissed about capital gains exclusions. This is non-trivial. And when I say President Obama—who I've supported in two presidential races and two U.S. Senate races—when I say this guy is a Republican, this is what I mean. If only the Republican Party could accept this.

21:31: Energy independence isn't possible in the U.S., not until we cut consumption by 40%. But he has to say this. And the Republicans have to sit on their hands, because they're in thrall to the energy companies. Wow, I wish we had an opposition party instead of a fringe group.

21:32: A friend just texted that her phone kept auto-correcting "Boehner" to "Bieber." Oddly, despite Bieber being a foreign national and citizen, I would be OK with the switch.

21:34: Sigh. Our children's children might say things to us, but we X-ers are getting married and reproducing so late in life, it's odds-against that we'll survive to see our grandchildren.

21:36: Immigration, fuck yeah! If only because, you know, 99.8% 100% of all Americans are descended from immigrants. (Seriously, what kind of hypocrite opposes immigration reform?)

21:38: "This Congress needs to restore the unemployment insurance you just let expire for 1.6 million Americans." YES. How can people actually oppose people having food, shelter, and health care?

21:43: Again, how can anyone oppose these things? Well, if you believe that partisan politics is more important than policy, it's natural. But if you get your head out of your ass, it's really hard to disagree.

21:46: Oh, no, the 77c fallacy. I mean, you read my blog, you know where I stand, but seriously. Our problem is parental leave, not "a Mad Men episode." Do we really have to make the same arguments we've been making for 60 years? I guess so, just in case some women might vote Republican in November. Comments, please: doesn't this sound patronizing already?

21:50: A $10.10 minimum wage may not even be enough. But it's a good step. My state's is $8.25, which isn't enough. Again, how do people oppose this?

21:54: WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU 50 MINUTES INTO THE SPEECH AND ONLY NOW TALKING ABOUT HOW GREAT THE ACA IS? This is simply the biggest accomplishment of his first term. Let me repeat that: THE ACA IS THE BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE PRESIDENT'S FIRST TERM. "Let's not have another 40-something votes to repeal a law that's already helping millions of people." I mean, shit, talk about burying the lede...

21:58: "Citizenship means everyone's right to vote." It's really sad that the President has to point this out to Congress. "It should be the power of our vote, not the size of our bank accounts, that drives our democracy."

22:02: "America's longest war could be over." America's longest war. Yeah, 13 years already. Except for the war on drugs, the war on poverty, and the war on metaphor, none of which we've ended. (Sorry, too snarky?)

22:05: "America must move off a permanent war footing." Sigh. Such a plain-English statement, with which I agree completely, but will it come to pass? Please, in the next 22 months, please help us not be Rome.

22:06: Closing Guantanamo? Because Constitution? Don't lie to me Barry. Don't lie to me.

22:07: "America's diplomacy, backed by the threat of force, is why Syria's chemical weapons are being eliminated." It's sad he has to mention our threat of force. But we live in the era of MURICA FUCK YEAH so, you know, baby steps.

22:10: "If Congress sends me a bill [that fucks with our diplomatic efforts with Iran], I will veto it." We have the chance to come to rapprochement with Iran. We are this close. Congress is now on notice not to start a war.

22:12: Shout out to Ukrainian democracy.

22:13: Seriously, the President mentions the Olympics, and you start a "U-S-A" chant? How insecure are you children?

21:17: I respect everyone who serves, or who has served, in our armed forces. But my dog, I hate props. Google these terms: argumentum ad populi. Argumentum ad misericordiam. Argumentum ad vericundiam. Circulus in probandum. Petitio principii. Let me suggest, with no irony, that these things named in Latin argue for their universality.

21:20: This is my President. I voted for him six times*. I get the job he has to do tonight. And in today's political climate, I continue to support him. But, wow, my Eisenhower-Republican grandparents would be perfectly happy with tonight's speech.

That's where we are today. President Obama just gave a perfectly competent, perfectly good sixth-year speech. I agree with just about all of it—but (a) how could you not? except (b) he argued for more executive power, in an era of unprecedented executive power.

Even though I've been live-blogging with ample assistance from the most excellent Anti-Hero IPA, I need to think about this speech. I think it's reasonable, living in a democracy, to make compromises; to accept that the leader of your party has to make public pronouncements for politics that you disagree with; to support the person that gets shit done in the general direction you want. And I recognize that my party's challenge in the next 10 months is to hold on to the U.S. Senate, especially since we've blown up the filibuster.

21:33: Oh, dog. The Republican response, from representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers from eastern Washington, is making my stomach churn.

Yes, folks. Here's the distinction. You can have policy, or you can have pabulum. "A vision...that champions the people, not the government...."

Bible...200th woman in Congress...Work hard, help others, and always, always dream for more...married a Navy guy...Down's syndrome...gift from God...we are not bound by what we come from...the gap between where you are, and where you want to be...securing our borders...her premiums were going up $700 a month**...you can find coverage, and a doctor who will treat you...we advance these plans every day...the true state of the union lies*** in your heart...with the guidance of God, we may prove ourselves worthy...may God guide you and our President...

tl;dr: our policies are hurting you, because you're an infidel, but the President is in a different party, so blame him, not us.

All right. Here's my wish. I want a strong, progressive party in the majority, and a strong, rational opposition. I see neither of those things right now. And I am frustrated.

* 2004 U.S. Senate primary, 2004 U.S. Senate general, 2008 presidential primary, 2008 general, 2012 presidential primary, 2012 presidential general.

** This result is actually not possible under the ACA unless she radically expanded her coverage.

*** Her word, not mine. I sincerely hope the state of the union never lies to you. I hope you listen carefully, and listen with reason.

Tuesday 28 January 2014 20:00:45 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | US | World#
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David Braverman is the Chief Technology Officer of Holden International in Chicago, and the creator of Weather Now. Parker is the most adorable dog on the planet, 80% of the time.
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