Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

"This is good news, people." --President Obama -- SOTU Speech

Yes. Yes it is.

Last night's SOTU was terrific.  President Obama was optimistic and confident about the country's economic improvements and monumental social and health care gains that no one believed we'd achieve six years ago.

Here are some of the best parts of President Obama's SOTU:

"We still may not agree on a woman's right to choose, but surely we can agree it's a good thing that teen pregnancies and abortions are nearing all-time lows, and that every woman should have access to the health care she needs....We may go at it in campaign season, but surely we can agree that the right to vote is sacred; that it's being denied to too many; and that, on this 50th anniversary of the great march from Selma to Montgomery and the passage of the Voting Rights Act, we can come together, Democrats and Republicans, to make voting easier for every single American...We may have different takes on the events of Ferguson and New York. But surely we can understand a father who fears his son can't walk home without being harassed. Surely we can understand the wife who won't rest until the police officer she married walks through the front door at the end of his shift. Surely we can agree it's a good thing that for the first time in 40 years, the crime rate and the incarceration rate have come down together, and use that as a starting point for Democrats and Republicans, community leaders and law enforcement, to reform America's criminal justice system so that it protects and serves us all."

And this:

"You know, just over a decade ago, I gave a speech in Boston where I said there wasn't a liberal America, or a conservative America; a black America or a white America - but a United States of America. I said this because I had seen it in my own life, in a nation that gave someone like me a chance; because I grew up in Hawaii, a melting pot of races and customs; because I made Illinois my home - a state of small towns, rich farmland, and one of the world's great cities; a microcosm of the country where Democrats and Republicans and Independents, good people of every ethnicity and every faith, share certain bedrock values. Over the past six years, the pundits have pointed out more than once that my presidency hasn't delivered on this vision. How ironic, they say, that our politics seems more divided than ever. It's held up as proof not just of my own flaws - of which there are many - but also as proof that the vision itself is misguided, and naïve, and that there are too many people in this town who actually benefit from partisanship and gridlock for us to ever do anything about it. I know how tempting such cynicism may be. But I still think the cynics are wrong."

Money quote (literally):

"And to everyone in this Congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage, I say this: If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, go try it." 

IOW, Bite Me! 

And finally:

"At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits. Instead, we've seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in fifty years. This is good news, people."

On the SOTU speech by other analysts and pundits:

Danny Vinik, The New Republic:

"The president has spent the first six years of his presidency waiting for the moment he could take that credit, knowing it was coming. On Tuesday night, it came. Even with five separate responses to the president’s address, there was nothing Republicans could say to fight the growing sense that Obama’s policies are working and that the GOP has been wrong for the past six years. "

Catherine Rampell: 

"Last year, government scientists tell us, was the hottest year on record. This news is terribly — what’s the word? — inconvenient. No, not for polar bears or drought victims or coastal dwellers. It’s inconvenient for politicians across the country who, despite whatever data or overwhelming scientific consensus might be proffered, insist on denying global warming."

Roger Simon:

A Better Politics “isn’t one where Democrats abandon their agenda or Republicans simply embrace mine,” Obama said. “A Better Politics is one where we appeal to each other’s basic decency instead of our basest fears.”  

A Better Politics, he said, “is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues, and values, and principles, and facts, rather than ‘gotcha’ moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people’s daily lives.” Personally, I found that last point terrifying. No more “gotcha” moments? No more concentration on trivial gaffes or fake controversies? What on Earth will the press do for a living?

"This is good news, people."

Oh yes it is, but not for the whiners and doom-gloomers who've chosen to see Mr. Obama as their enemy and usurper.  They've been wrong on just about every issue, but most spectacularly wrong on their desperate hope for IRS and BENGHAZI! scandals. Bad news for them.  Their own GOP House committees have found no involvement in the IRS scandal by the White House and no cover-up by the Obama administration on BENGHAZI!  Reality is a beeyotch, innit?

Okay.  Now that this yearly ritual is over, we've still got a lot of work to do, and wouldn't it be great if the opposition tried a thing called cooperation?  That may be asking too much of a party that has worked to make Mr. Obama's presidency a failure even before he took his first oath of office. The country's mood has changed.  The GOP's constant obstruction and petty sniping at everything (tan suit and presidential vacations, e.g.) this president does won't sit well with the American people who are clearly more optimistic and approving of the direction the country is going and the job President Obama is doing.

Observation:  John Bohner looked like he had swallowed a $2-a-gallon pitcher of lemon juice throughout the speech.  LOL!

Joni Ernst?   She was a vast improvement over Jindal and Rubio.  Presented well and looked professional.  But. Meh.  Warmed over Tea Party crumbs for the base.  An anti-climax after a great SOTU speech by President Obama.


Shaw Kenawe said...

Flying Junior left this comment on the pre-SOTU blog post below:

Flying Junior said...
The real bummer about the republican response to the SOTU, is, of course, that it's mostly pre-recorded. We have seen that for several years now. There isn't really shit that they can say in the face of real progress.

Let's not forget that Bush II turned the greatest economic engine of prosperity ever known to humankind into the greatest depression since 1930.

We were hurting.

A lot of people will never make it back. They lost their jobs. Businesses were forever closed, never to come back. People have fallen back on their families, their churches and whatever social social safety nets that we had in place. Would you like to be in their place?

Bush screwed the entire United States of America and with it the world economy. Probably much of the blame rests with liberal hero, Clinton. But Bush hammered the deadly spike into the heart of the world economy.

Obama brought us out of that nightmare. Remember the Stimulus Package? Remember two wars with a cost of over four trillion dollars coupled with tax cuts? E-mail me to learn what those federal stimulus dollars did for San Diego County.

Republicans can just STFU.

Apologize! Please!

Anyway, none of this means anything at all. I'm just waiting for somebody else to say something nice about the President's speech.

Pantheon. Great moments in history. Eat you hearts out republicans. Boehner never looked so sad in his entire life.

January 21, 2015 at 1:42 AM Delete

Josh said...

You're not the least bit worried about all the extra-extra government Obama was proposing for Americans last night?

My favorite part, and I'll very poorly paraphrase it:

"We've put more people back to work than anyone else!"

...some minutes later

"We need to give people more paid leave!"

LOL. So, okay, just when we thought it was going good, employers were getting folks back to work, as if they were doing something right, lo and behold, we need social justice for tummy aches.

The guy can make a speech; I'm not breaking balls. Though I don't find myself inspired as some. Looks like we can look forward to more laws, more regulations, more taxes, and even more government.

Shaw Kenawe said...

"...we need social justice for tummy aches."

That's a really adolescent remark. You, apparently, have no idea what a family goes through when a catastrophic illness hits it, do you. We are the only advanced nation on the planet that does not give paid leave for families who bread winners are incapacited by serious illness, and you make a childish joke on it.

"You're not the least bit worried about all the extra-extra government Obama was proposing for Americans last night?"

Did you worry about that when GWB dragged us into two unpaid wars? I never heard one conservative bring up how we would pay trillions and trillions of dollars for those wars, but they never miss a chance to go bonkers over proposed legislation to help a family through tough times.

BTW, you don't know one thing about how the president would propose paying for these programs. And neither do I. All you do is come here and make jokes about "tummy aches."

You'd have been taken seriously had you simply asked how those programs would be funded. A fair question. Instead you acted like a troll by dropping a cheap shot.

Anonymous said...

The righties are depressed. Their blogs are full of bitching and moaning about how great last night's speech was. Their worst nightmare come true.

Reality is tough on them. Poor dears.

Josh said...

Wait, Shaw. Let me get my time machine ready. Apparently, Obama is such a sacred cow here, (maybe "saintly" after all) that I can't even offer very, very minor criticisms without the illogical questions pouring out about: "What about Bush!" I'll go back in time and criticize the idiot.

Because we know a partisan is only capable of seeing the entire world in black and white -- their side and their enemy's side; as if just because I'm giving Obama a little jazz, that means I must support Bush, his ignorant-ass justifications for the nonsense he did, and his atrocious wars.

Not one person I know of or have ever met in my life--save some mysteriously well-timed political stories lol--has been a good employee in good standing yet were mistreated when they fell ill.

And if someone is let go because they miss too much work, yeah, it probably sucks beyond words. But it's not right to go into someone else's pocket over it.

Appeal to emotion all you want. But what do I do when I'm an employer and not only have to pay for an employee who isn't at work, but then must double my expenses to pay for someone to fill that spot, including new taxes and new insurance and new tasks added to do new payroll, etc?

We all know the magic gubment fairies are going to pay for these programs. Duh!

Seems like you're seeing ghosts like a punchy boxer or sacked quarterback. Bad dreams about the "smut hut" last night? lol

I don't live by the standard that if something doesn't seem 100% fair to 100% of people, GOVERNMENT! And trying to approach that in a lighthearted way that didn't come across as if I were attacking Obama--'cause I knew that woulda been a no-no and probably not even approved to print--is obviously still read as an attack.

Obviously this means I'm a Bush-loving rightie who wants sick people to lose their jobs and die penniless. Naturally.

What else do you expect from Josh-by-Gosh-le-Hogwash? I'm the leader of the cringe fringe! Troll numero uno. Those other right-wing moderates like Perry, Santorum, Palin, Bachmann and the whole of the Tea Party got nothin' on me!

Die, sick people, die!

Shaw Kenawe said...

This is what you wrote, Josh:

"We've put more people back to work than anyone else!"

...some minutes later

"We need to give people more paid leave!"

LOL. So, okay, just when we thought it was going good, employers were getting folks back to work, as if they were doing something right, lo and behold, we need social justice for tummy aches.

I criticized you for making a serious problem into a joke, "social justice for tummy aches." You made fun of the idea of paid sick leave, which has NOTHING to do with people going back to work, and everything to do with struggling families that get hit by serious illnesses.

You wondered where the funds would come from to help families, I wondered if the righties worried about funds to start two wars. Parallel ideas on where the money comes from.

Appeal to emotion? Calling paid sick leave "social justice for tummy aches" is dumb, and it appeals to certain people's emotions.

Your idiotic reference to the Slime Pit @Lisa's place has nothing to do with any of this.

You're a troll.

Get lost.

Alberto M. said...

shaw...octopus was right...josh is a troll...and probably one of lisa's pals sent here to taunt're well rid of him.

Rational Nation USA said...

"You're not the least bit worried about all the extra-extra government Obama was proposing for Americans last night?"

Did you worry about that when GWB dragged us into two unpaid wars? I never heard one conservative bring up how we would pay trillions and trillions of dollars for those wars, but they never miss a chance to go bonkers over proposed legislation to help a family through tough times.

Then of course there is the Patriot Act, Homeland Security, TSA, and all that. The biggest expansion of the Federal Government since FDR. Thank you GBW, from the bottom of our "conservative" hearts.

Rational Nation USA said...

Oh yes, the SOTU Sddress? Meza Mez. Lots of self back pats, some accurate info and some embellishments, Obama did what effective speakers do best.

His lets go to community college free proposal is especially troublesome, not because it is a bad idea necessarily but rather who pays the bills? Billions it will cost no doubt and none of his programs carry a zero price tag.

Problem is this: when the nation is flush with economic growth and the increased revenue associated with economic expansion these ideas might make sense and we can likely afford some of these programs. But, when the economy hits the skids, and it will again at some point, none of these programs ever get suspended until the economy improves and we become flush again.

Side note: It does make sense to cut taxes during an economic downturn and increase taxes during economic expansion, to a reasonable level that is. Say Clinton era levels?

For certain the one thing we can be sure of is this, with the two parties having their feet firmly planted on polar opposites we will see more of the same for two more years.

One thing you can say about Obama is he has guts. It will be interesting to see how many times he uses the veto and how many times it gets overridden.

Dave Miller said...

Alberto, I'm doubting very much Josh is a troll, unless someone who genuinely believes differently from many of us here should be considered a troll.

He's never stooped to the behavior of those at some of the conservative sites we check in on regularly and I've never seen him use foul language.

He can be snarky, but I've been known to exhibit that trait too.

I think there is danger in classifying all those with different opinions as trolls, simply because we disagree.

Now to Josh...

I think you make a good underlying point, in that businesses cannot simply continue to see expenses, whether for labor, or even regulation, rise.

You expressed it artfully, using the type of example, a tummy ache, that reeks of Rand Paul arrogance. You remember he said something like everyone over 40 gets up with some back pain, get over it...

As if all people on disability are malingerers...

I've been an employer, with up to 350 employees at one point. Here's what I found. While there is a real cost to giving sick days, in a sense, a double up, there is also a real benefit.

Employees that know they have good employers, are more likely to be good employees.

Sure there are always going to slackers, but in general, I found the above to be true.

To your point about good employees losing their jobs for missing work, i would say sometimes.

Many jobs have a 90 day probation. If the employee gets sick during that time, all bets are off. Even if they are a great employee because rules are rules.

Is there no middle ground we can seek on this? Like Obama wants 7 days, the GOP none, could we all agree on at least three?

Or is all or nothing for both sides? If you think compromise is a good idea, ask yourself this... which party will balk at that right now?

You see, that is where we are. Because Barack Obama is President, there can be no compromise towards the Dems on anything by the GOP.

The GOP claimed that if they were elected in 2012, by 2016, unemployment would be at 6%. Well it is below that. The economy is humming, businesses are making bank and yet few Republicans, who would have cheered for days had a President Romney said those words, sat on their hands.

They are so invested in the failure of Pres Obama they cannot help themselves.

Riddle me this... when was the last time a SOTU had this much economic good news?

I'll wait...

Dave Miller said...

Amen RN and any conservative who did not acknowledge this as it was happening, has no credibility blaming Obama now.

No, just because GWB did it does not make it right, as you know.

What is wrong, or at least inconsistent, is when people only hold one side, or person to a specific economic standard.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

Yup, I too am rather damn upset over the polemics and false stalking points from that damn stealth troll and worthless sack of $chitt named Josh. Where to start?

Privatized services versus government services: In his universe, everything about government is BAD to the bone; but study after study shows that governments in RED STATES, - especially those in the neo-confederate south - FAIL ON EVERY MEASURE of education and public health. Where illiteracy rates are the highest; where rates of alcoholism, poverty, diabetes, obesity, infant mortality, and longevity are the worst. Yes, the conservative South is where Republicans in state governments predominate.

In the state of Florida, there is no educational system. Rather a punishing system of mandated tests that have flushed real education down the toilet; where students are taught how to test; labeled by how they test; where teachers are judged by the test; and schools are funded by the test. Florida ranks at the bottom among all 50 states.

Why? Because BUSH BROTHER NUMBER FOUR owned an educational testing company that sold the infamous FCAT test that siphoned hundreds of millions of dollars from Florida’s education coffers. NEPOTISM and CRONYISM are the twin pillars of corruption, and the GOP has been selling this line of ALL-GOVERNMENT-IS-BAD BULLSHIT to benefit its rich patrons - the OLIGARCHY! What a scam!

Here’s another one: State-Sanctioned Child Abuse in the Rotten State of Florida, about privatized, profit-driven prison enterprises that abuse children, beat children, starve children, and in some cases even kill children; where: “Children are choked and slammed head first into concrete walls, their arms and fingers bent back and twisted to inflict pain for infractions as minor as failing to follow an order to stand up,” according to a lawsuit.

And here is a story about The Texas Horror promoted by GOP Governor Chris “Bully Tactics” Christie (NJ) who once worked as registered lobbyist for this atrocity!

Here’s the most galling part: This asshole of a troll has no blog of his own; yet abuses this forum with off topic rants to advance his bullshit but offers to forum in kind with no EQUAL TIME for anyone to refute his rubbish. Talk about a sucker play!

That’s why I despise trolls who have no blog of their own. Psy-Ops trolls do $chitt like this.

billy pilgrim said...

it's all a trap for the republicans. the republicans will oppose it and then in the next elections the dems can play all the 20 second sound bytes of the republicans rejecting feel good initiatives.

at least that's how i see it.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Dave, RN came here and made his points and disagreements without resorting to taunts and catcalls and strawmen arguments.

Josh doesn't know how to do that.

Just because we here at P.E. don't insult, bash, and malign President Obama, Josh and most of those Tea Party blogs you visit think that means we "worship" the president. Of course you know that's not true. You and others who visit here have pointed out when Mr. Obama messes up and makes mistakes. And you're not deleted when you do so.

You and RN and a few others are able to do that without reducing the subject to childish taunts, insults, and whines.

Here's what's amusing to me. Those Tea Party blogs you and RN and Ducky visit are relentless, absolutely relentless, in their rabid hatred of EVERYTHING this president and his wife says and does. Yet I don't know if their regulars ever label that as Obama Debasement, do they.

It's perfectly acceptable for them to heap insults and scorn and worse, lies, on the president, but when liberal blogs don't join in that condemnation we're called Obama worshippers.

I think Josh has an agenda, and his taunt about Lisa's Slime Pit of a blog revealed that to me.

Free Twinkies said...

SOTU speech is supposd to be about the incumbent and what he and his party have accomplished over the past year. Yeah it's mostly a dog and pony show withthe dumb applauding and standing but its the same thing whether the Dems or the Repubs are in power. Obama had a right to talk about the improvements in the economy and everywhere else. If he was a Repub president, his party would have put him on Mt. Rushmore by now.

Redmond, WA said...

RN's right. Obama is a gutsy president.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

Dave: “I'm doubting very much Josh is a troll … He's never stooped to the behavior of those at some of the conservative sites we check in on regularly …


I do not understand your logic here.

The tactic of a STEALTH TROLL is to DISRUPT the posted topic of conversation in order to advance a partisan agenda and then turn it into the focus of conversation. What makes you think this person is not a troll?

One need not engage in outright VERBAL ABUSE to be considered a troll. When a person hijacks a comment thread, upends the topic of conversation, and forces his agenda upon others – these are the signature traits of a troll.

When you click on the name of subject commenter and the page returns this message, “Profile Not Available” with no attendant information or corresponding web log, what makes you sure subject person is not perpetrating a ruse? Anonymous, bogus, and dishonest monikers are the signature traits of a troll.

(Please note: A troll named ‘Silverfiddle’ ambushed the Swash Zone community years ago by feigning friendship and inviting a friendly exchange of views. Instead, subject troll plagiarized over 8,000 words – ambushed for purposes of ridicule. His entire self-introduction was deceptive and predicated on a lie.)

Consider the asymmetry of exchanging views with persons having no identity, no address, and no web log - thus offering no means of fair and reciprocal exchange. Trolls use and abuse the hospitality accorded them, then offend with impunity, with no means of recourse because they remain essentially anonymous in Cyberspace. Note: Terrorism is a form of asymmetrical warfare, and trolls are the Internet analogues of terrorists.

How do stealth trolls respond to valid criticism of bogus claims? They play the tone-deaf card and ignore any critique; or pile non sequitur upon non sequitur to obfuscate any discussion; or counter attack with outright sarcasm and derision as Josh has demonstrated here. Are dishonest comments invisible to some readers? Are you still naïve to these taunts and tactics?

I do not understand the logic of patronizing Lisa’s Romper Room of bullies, predators, and sociopaths. Why subject yourself to unrelenting VERBAL ABUSE?

Finally, there are larger moral issues at stake here: Quoted examples of anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, rabid racism, vicious intolerance, and partisan hatred documented in these pages by others and me. IMO, these people are as unsavory as the KKK, Aryan Nations, and the lunatic adherents and aspiring henchmen of Stormfront.

The worst atrocities in history started with words. Having lost ancestors in the Holocaust, I do not take words lightly. The Cringe Fringe is no video game contest between Hobbits and Goblins.

When you engage the Fringe in conversation and make excuses for them, you legitimize them and ENABLE them. I regard any commerce with such people -- who openly espouse your persecution -- as downright misguided and self-sabotaging. I refuse to consort with them; yet, there are readers of this forum who make this choice impossible.

There is no missionary purpose served in conversing with malevolent people; frankly it’s a fool’s mission.

Boston Bean Sammy said...

For Josh:

What do Papua New Guinea, Oman, and the United States of America have in common? They are the only three countries in the world with no paid-maternity-leave law. When you point out the deficiencies of the United States in this regard, somebody often replies, “This isn’t Scandinavia; we can’t impose cuddly capitalism”—the M.I.T. economist Daron Acemoglu’s phrase—“and still enjoy economic growth.” Granted, we’re not Sweden, but neither are we Romania, Uganda, Bolivia, or any of the hundred and eighty-five other countries that, according to a 2014 report from the U.N.’s Institute of Labor, provide their citizens with paid leave to care for a new child. Ninety-eight of those countries offer paid leave for fourteen weeks or more. In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Barack Obama vowed to make family leave and sick days a priority in the final two years of his Presidency. He has work to do.