Tag Archives: speech

SOTU – Polarized, Gridlock

State of the Union - Standard Speech

My proposed template for all future State-of-the-Union speeches, and opposition party responses.

Last night, as our POTUS gave the SOTU with the FLOTUS and SCOTUS present, a few thoughts crossed my mind.  First…The State of the Union address happens once a year.  I’m not sure it’s THAT common of a concept in most people’s minds that they see “SOTU” in the headlines and realize what the hell the story is going to talk about.  Hey, I work for the government.  We’re acronym loonies.  But enough with the SOTU headlines, just freakin’ spell it out.

My second thought was…is a speech like this REALLY focusing on the “State of the Union”?  Or, is it more a political stump speech for the next election?  It’s ALWAYS the latter more than the former, but even more so in an election year.  I couldn’t stomach either the speech itself for very long, or the Mitch Daniels GOP “response”.

What bugs the hell out of me…why does there NEED to be a “response” from the “other” party after a State of the Union address?   For an event that’s supposed to bring Americans together to focus on the primary issues affecting or nation, why instead has it become an event that even further strengthens the intense polarization that typifies American politics?  In the State of the Union, the President at least has to give SOME appearance that he’s outlining a path forward for our country, that Americans as a whole need to come together to solve our problems.  For the “other” party response?  As with other opposition party responses in the past, Mitch Daniels might as well have just issued a short statement…”Obama sucks, vote Republican in November”.

Not exactly a Lou Holtz type of speech to motivate the team.  The State of the Union evening has become just one more night of campaigning for both Democrats and Republicans.  There is no attempt from either side to realistically discuss bridging the gaps between the “two” sides.  Because of course, there ARE just two types of Americans…Democrats, and Republicans, an oil-and-water combo that can NEVER mix.  Instead of a night that uplifts the spirits of the American people, where we discuss our Nation’s accomplishments and path forward, it’s become a depressing night where each side tries to out-do each other in blaming the other, where the state-of-the-union is NEVER good, and it’s ALWAYS the other party’s fault for CAUSING such a sucky state of affairs.

The thunderous applause for Gabrielle Giffords was a nice moment.  That’s about what it takes for Democrats or Republicans to work together or even talk to each other…a near-death experience.  Even that isn’t above the depressing political rhetoric though, given the AMPLE stories this week from John Boehner and others, touting the chances of Republicans taking the seat from Giffords in an upcoming special election. 

I propose we replace the State of the Union speech and response with a simple press release.  “State of the Union – Gridlock in Washington, Political Partisanship Increasing – Public Following Politicians’ Example and Becoming More Polarized”.   Three little phrases, phrases that for all intents and purposes, provide the same message as  provided by the president’s State of the Union speech and the opposition party’s response.   We’d save millions in taxpayer $$$$, as the same wording, the same press release materials, could be distributed year, after year, after year, regardless of who sits in the Oval Office.  A depressing message to be reiterated every year, sure…but no more depressing than watching the current slate of speeches on State of the Union night.

Perusin’ & Musin’

Thinking AnimationSome random thoughts from perusing the web…

2010 a Record Year for Greenhouse Gas EmissionsDespite a slow global economy, global greenhouse gas emissions set an all-time high in 2010, with greenhouse gas quantities in the atmosphere now even worse than the WORST-case scenario projected by experts several years ago.  Just another day in climate change news, a day that also noted a giant crack found in an Antarctic glacier

Perry Drunk?  On Drugs?  Or just being himself? – Rick Perry today was forced to respond to allegations that he was either drunk or on pain medications during a recent New Hampshire speech.  Perry said no, he wasn’t drunk or on drugs.   You know, there just MIGHT be a problem with your qualifications for president if people can’t tell if you’re acting normally, or if you are drunk or on drugs. 

Senate GOP Blocks Infrastructure/Jobs Bill - Republicans again today showed that they will not allow any legislation to pass which might help the economy before next year’s elections.  They know their best chance to oust Obama is for the weak economic conditions to continue until the election.  Democrats have been trying to pass pieces of Obama’s jobs bill, without any success, thanks to GOP obstruction.  Today, GOP senators blocked a $50 billion infrastructure bill designed to get Americans working again by funding work to repair road and rail networks.  The bill would have been paid for by a 0.7% tax increase on people making more than $1,000,000 a year.   The debate today is also yet another example of what a joke Republicans are when they call for “shared sacrifice”, when they continue to shield millionaires from even the tiniest of tax increases. 

National Zoo Scientist Convicted of Poisoning Cats – A researcher at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. was convicted of poisoning stray cats in her neighborhood.   My first thought is that there’s no end to the sickening things people will do.  My second thought…I wonder if she’d be willing to help me with the neighbor’s cat that keeps EATING THE BIRDS AT MY FEEDERS!!!  Ok, no, I would never do such a thing.  But my GOD, what do you do with neighbors that refuse to restrain their cats?  What do you do with neighbors who deny that their precious cat could ever catch, much less eat, a bird?   It IS a very sweet cat, other than when it’s killing every living thing it comes across.  But I have about had it with that cat, and with my neighbors behind me.  We HAVE talked to them about it.  They MUST see me when I’m chasing their cat out of my yard about 10 times a day on the weekend.  If people want a pet, then for god’s sake, be prepared to act responsibly.

Nebraska 45, Northwestern 27 – I’m taking my 8-year old son to his first Nebraska football game this weekend!  He’s not a sports fan at all, but I think he’ll get a kick out of it.  He’s never been in an atmosphere like this.  Northwestern has a bad record, but they led in each of the 5 games they lost, including leads over 3 ranked teams in the 2nd half.   Northwestern has a great mobile QB in Dan Persa, and they can score on anyone.  They can’t stop anyone though.  I think Northwestern will give Nebraska all they can handle for the first half, before Nebraska pulls away in the second half.

Perusin' & Musin'

Perusin' & Musin'Some random thoughts from perusin’ the web…

Warming related to clouds?  Think again…In case you haven’t followed it, climate change idiots skeptics crowed when the peer-reviewed journal “Remote Sensing” recently published a paper by Roy Spencer that Fox News (of course), Forbes (of course), and other conservative “media” outlets touted as proof that climate change was a scam.   Uh-oh, idiots skeptics.  The paper was widely panned by REAL climate change scientists, and the journal’s editor has now resigned, admitting his journal shouldn’t have published it.   I wonder if Fox or Forbes will report on THIS side of the story with the same fervor that they reported on the paper’s publication?

Photographer Fakes Nature Photos — Not a surprise that an award-winning nature photographer was caught digitally faking photos.  It’s hard not to be cynical about “nature” photography after you’ve been involved in it for a while.  It’s gotten to the point where more often than not when posting my photos for critique on nature photography websites, I’ll get comments saying I should “clone out” distracting branches or other photo elements.   You know, “distracting” things like actual habitat.   The saying “if it sounds to good to be true” can be altered to “if it looks to good to be true”, when it comes to nature photography.  There are some truly amazing “nature” photos out there.   There are also a heck of a lot of them that are either staged shots, or are digitally altered.

Divorce Rates High in Bible BeltWhat?!?!  How can this BE?!?!?  How can divorce rates be so low in the godless, liberal Northeast, and so high in the morally superior Bible belt?!!?  I like how the religious spokesmen in the article somehow take the facts and totally turn them around to come up with the conclusion that the “key to a divorce-proof marriage is strong faith”.   If there’s one thing you QUICKLY learn from “perusin” the headlines, it’s that there’s no correlation between supposed religious belief and morality.

Republicans Skipping Obama’s Speech to Congress – How nice.  Let’s not even PRETEND to have any respect for what a non-Republican has to say now.  Let’s not even PRETEND to have any respect for the office of the presidency.  The “my way or the highway” approach of the GOP, putting politics before the good of the country, is a hell of a good way to run us further into the ground.

Photo from iPhone 5 May have Surfaced! – WHO FLIPPIN’ CARES!?!?!  I wonder what percentage of television or web ads are for cell phones/electronic devices?   Am I the ONLY one who is perfectly happy with a cell phone that just makes calls?  Am I the ONLY one who couldn’t care less that a photo of the next iPhone “may have surfaced”?   Does this “story” REALLY deserve front page coverage on the Washington Post website?

Huskers Win!  Fans in a Panic!! – Such is the nature of being a Nebraska Cornhusker fan!  Nebraska beat a hopelessly outmanned UT-Chattanooga team last Saturday, 40-7, but the win has had many fans worried about how “bad” our offense looked.  I’m a scientist!  I’m a logical man!! But as a born and bred Husker, EVEN I am not immune to the dangers of Husker paranoia!  It’s not enough that we win by 33 points!  We must win every game!  We must win impressively, or we Husker fans will worry!  It’s in our blood!!!

Obama is losing me…

Obama - Progress?

Progress? It's been more backpedaling than progress lately.

Don’t get me wrong, the alternative possibility in 2012 is just too disgusting to even be considered.  I will vote for Obama.  There have been few politicians I have supported as much as Obama.  But with every passing day, I find it harder and harder to support him.

Today Obama wanted to schedule a speech for next week before Congress to announce his jobs creation plan.  John Boehner, being the  complete jackass that he is, defied all historical precedent and asked Obama to move the date, making up some complete BS excuse about scheduled votes and security issues.  Other Republicans have also defied Obama and told him to move the date.  The Republicans have almost single-handedly brought our government to its knees, making bipartisanship a dirty word, utterly dismissing ANYTHING the Democrats support, even if it was a position the Republicans had previously supported (e.g., the payroll tax issue from last week), and stoking pure HATRED towards political opponents.  God help us all if the economy continues to tank, and as a result, whoever runs against Obama next fall is elected.

With that said…Obama has somehow transformed in the last 2 1/2 years from a vibrant and inspiring politicians to a completely gutless and ineffective leader of the Democratic party.  Obama and his team stupidly wanted to schedule this speech on the same night as a GOP debate, and I’m sure they were just daring the Republicans to call their bluff.  After all, no one ever HAD turned a president’s request down to address Congress.  But look at the last year and a half.  First Obama complete caves in and extends the Bush tax cuts, without a HINT of negotiating for Democratic priorities.  Then came the debt ceiling “debate”, only turned INTO a debate because the Obama administration so cluelessly mis-handled things and LET Republicans turn it into a debate. 

Obama’s team made a VERY stupid decision to try and draw some attention from the GOP debate that night…and again they’re going to be embarrassed by the Republicans.  The Republicans weren’t ever going to get along with Obama.  Obama has been as much of a Republican as any Democrat EVER should be, caving to Republican demands at every turn and looking more like Ronald Reagan than Bill Clinton, and STILL the Republicans keep pushing.  It’s simple…they know they CAN keep pushing.  

I keep waiting for that brilliant, engaging politician from 2008 to show up.  And instead, I keep finding myself wishing I would have supported Hillary Clinton instead of Obama.  What a bush-league move from the Obama team today…