January 29, 2014

10 things I might have live-blogged, if I'd blogged the State of the Union Address last night.

1. Most memorable line: "Are you going to have sex with me or do I have to rape you?" That's a paraphrase. Let me get the actual quote from the text. Obama said he had "a set of concrete, practical proposals," and "Some require congressional action, and I’m eager to work with all of you. But America does not stand still, and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation... that’s what I’m going to do."

2. The inanity of the congressional dress-up. Is every woman wearing bright red? As Obama squeezes in down the aisle, the backdrop of red looks like an array of military personnel from some European country, but it's just the congresswomen, bulging into the aisles. Of course, military personnel would clear a path, not make it more difficult for The Commander to walk by. The congressmen are less showily dressed. What choice do they have? If a male member wore anything other than a dark, neutral color, you'd think he's lost his mind, but the women seem to think they can't look crazy. "Shirley Temple is there," I said, spotting Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and being unfair to Shirley Temple, whose ringlets — as I do an image search this morning — look artlessly subtle and not at all like Debbie's headful of boing-y springs. Incredible what women can do to themselves and still be taken seriously. Respect the women! You'd better. Or else!

3. Obama kept kissing women. No selfies were taken, but what's with kissing so many women? "He should kiss some men," I said, and not because he's The First Gay President. He should kiss some men to establish that the kissing isn't sexual.

4. Meade announced "He looks high." I glanced up from the iPad game I was playing for the purpose of paying attention — solitaire — and noted the heavily drooping eyelids, then returned to my listen-only mode, with the audio in the room augmented by Meade's intermittent outbursts on the Obama-is-high theme, which fit the text, in ways that perhaps point #5 will make you see. If you're high. And, no, Obama said nothing last night about legalizing marijuana. And, also, Althouse and Meade were not high, not both of us or either of us. We were already talking and laughing as if we were. Artificial enhancement might tip us over into crying and despair.

5. Instead of talking about the government and anything related to his job or Congress's job, Obama begins by telling us about one American character after another, each described with irrelevant specificity. "An entrepreneur flipped on the lights in her tech startup...." Who the hell cares that the light was "flipped" on? Are we supposed to flip on with the excitement of your action verb "flipped"? This is why I don't read pulp novels. Characters continually commit actions that create a picture in your head, but it's always a dumb picture — flicking on light switches — and these details don't matter, don't connect to any meaning the author has to give. It's the opposite of turning on light. I can imagine the speechwriter deluding himself into thinking that this picture would somehow intrigue us, but it makes us feel that our time is being wasted. "An autoworker fine-tuned some of the best, most fuel-efficient cars in the world..." There's zero pretense that anybody checked to see if there really was that guy — "today in America" — doing exactly that. It's detail that is really the absence of detail. We're swimming in bullshit. "A man took the bus home from the graveyard shift, bone-tired" — no one noticed "bone" next to "grave"?! — "but dreaming big dreams for his son" — a deliberate allusion to Obama's autobiography title? I know he's trying to say This Is America. Like that's going to open us up for the paragraphs of policy that we know lie ahead.

6. The characters are more real when they're present in the room, like "Misty DeMars... a mother of two young boys." Okay, they really did find a person to represent this generality, and she's undeniably real. She's right there. But what does it mean that one particular lady got insurance? It's all worthwhile — all the clusterfuck of Obamacare — because Misty DeMars got insurance? And there's Estiven Rodriguez. Something about education happened to him, so that must mean something. I forget what. We got distracted by the way Obama's said "Rodriguez" — close to "Rod Regrets."

7. It's late, and we got tired, and we're on Central Time. I felt a little sorry for all those 50 and 60ish Congressfolk having to act excited that late at night. We were watching the speech on TV, and then I got it streaming on the mini-iPad, and we got in bed, each reading on iPads, while the mini, between us, blabbed on. Do those Congressfolk feel they're enjoying rare privilege, or do they wish they could be in bed too? I notice none of them seem to be wearing glasses, but they must need glasses, which means they are all wearing contact lenses. That must feel awful that late at night.

8. So much clapping. Clapping is quite an annoying noise, and this clapping happens and is going to happen so regularly, so exaggeratedly. The time-wastage is a constant, nagging presence. The speech is literally claptrap. Our legislative branch is trapped into clapping. At least the Democratic side. The judicial branch is represented, but they're trapped into not clapping. I see Roberts, Kennedy, and Kagan. (Kagan glowed red when Obama greeted her at the beginning.) I don't see Scalia, who once called the State of the Union "a juvenile spectacle" and said: "I resent being called upon to give it dignity…. It’s really not appropriate for the justices to be there." I, too, resent being called upon to give it dignity, not that anyone's calling on me, and I wonder if it's "appropriate" for a law professor to blog the SOTU into the indignity it deserves. Am I saying anything properly legal? If you don't think so, reread point #1 and dig the dignity of the lawprof blogger's concision.

9. With all the applause made the absence of applause stunning at the end the last thing he said about Iran. I said: "Wow!" at the time and made a mental note to check the text in the morning. It's: "If Iran’s leaders do not seize this opportunity, then I will be the first to call for more sanctions and stand ready to exercise all options to make sure Iran does not build a nuclear weapon. But if Iran’s leaders do seize the chance — and we’ll know soon enough — then Iran could take an important step to rejoin the community of nations, and we will have resolved one of the leading security challenges of our time without the risks of war."

10. The speech that began with a string of generically specific American characters ends with a long tribute to one character, present in the gallery, an Army Ranger named Cory Remsburg. He's already been on camera numerous times because he's sitting next to Michelle Obama (who, by the way, is wearing something that seems halfway between a 1950s little girl's party dress and an enlarged insect's carapace). There can be no dissent from solemn respect for Cory Remsburg, but are we to be bamboozled into thinking there can be no disrespect for this speech? Why is the President using Cory Remsburg as his shield from criticism, as he creaks to the end of this spectacle? Maybe everyone's so tired and so desirous of an end that we will be swept up into this it-must-be-the-last story — The Story of Cory — after which the applause must be so long and thunderous — because it must be bigger and louder than any of all the previous applauses — that we will have forgotten everything, as we dissolve into Dreams From My President.

But it's morning now, and I have the text. I can read where he bounced off the Army Ranger. Cory embodies the will and strength to fight back. It's not easy. "Sometimes we stumble; we make mistakes; we get frustrated or discouraged." Obama has stumbled and made mistakes, not that he directly admits it. Look there: It's Cory. But Cory didn't stumble and make mistakes. He did his duty, got injured, and kept going, doing what he, individually, needed to do. But he is appropriated to symbolize The People as a Whole. America as an entity moves forward: We have "placed our collective shoulder to the wheel of progress." The dismal old cliché put your shoulder to the wheel gets tricked up with the lefty words "collective" and "progress," and the workmanlike action verb "put" becomes the never-did-a-day-of-manual-labor word "placed." And now, we've gotta get out of this place, back into our individual lives, and I don't want to be in your collective, I'm tired of your "progress," and I've got my own wheels.

110 comments:

MadisonMan said...

I didn't watch; graded stuff instead.

I wish I had text comparing software. I'm sure he recycled from the previous SOTUs.

Ask Laurie Watson said...

I liked John Stossel's SOTU version better... that would have been REVOLUTIONARY!

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/01/29/re-state_of_the_union_121388.html

Mark said...

Republican response reminded me of Jindal, the tone was weird like she was talking to children. A bit too much praying for me, but at least she didn't try to throw anyone over the balcony like Rep Grimm.

The speech had noting of note, again.

stlcdr said...

Solitaire is more important than the President?!

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Myra wanting to invest my retirement money in bonds reminded me of Bush wanting to invest my social security in stocks at his 2005 SOTUS. This morning, I think you might be onto something that Myra was high.

RecChief said...

I didn't watch it. My wife did. I happened to come in the room when the president said he was going to bypass Congress, and half of Congress stood up and cheered. I then went into the bathroom to throw up.

mrs. e said...

Didn't watch. Swam, watched some Orphan Black, Sherlock and Justified, instead... Thanks for reviewing, though. I'll take it with a grain of salt, along with the other's, today.

Tom said...

50 Shades of Gray is the foremost political novel ever written - far more instructive than The Prince - because it proves in quantifiable numbers - sales - how many women in America are moved by basic imagery and being told what they want to already believe. It's enough women to elect this disaster of a president twice.

Clyde said...

Fortunately, I had to leave for work just as the speech was starting. Fortunately for my blood pressure, anyway. I was already yelling back at his lies after the first couple of sentences before turning the TV off. "More oil production in the U.S.!" (No thanks to YOU!) "Unemployment lowest in five years!" (Labor participation rate lowest in decades!) You get the idea.

Hagar said...

It has gotten to be a farce. I hope the next president goes back to the pre-Wilson practice of just sending a written message over to Congress. And let it be a message that has something to do with something.

Matthew Sablan said...

To point 6: I really dislike the argument by anecdote that the State of the Unions have devolved to [then again, this isn't new. I remember at least as far back as Clinton that presidents did that. I wouldn't be surprised if it went back even further!]

Because it opens up a bag of worms: If I find someone who lost insurance due to the ACA, or who can't go to their doctor -- who wins the argument?

Tank said...

I had some important guitar to play, then I watched some instructional videos on Youtube.

I appreciate you putting in the time (but can't imagine how you did it).

Michael K said...

A couple of Doc Martin segments on NetFlix were better; especially for my sanity.

CStanley said...

@Matthew- I think Reagan is mainly "credited" with starting the anecdotes. Certainly he started the practice of inviting the subjects of these anecdotes to sit in the gallery. No president has been able to resist the tactic since then.

PB Reader said...

if Obama believes what he spoke he's delusional. If he doesn't then he's a liar so pathological his picture should be next to the word in the dictionary.

JoyD said...

I really hated the opening - So lame! Where are Sam and Toby for an infusion of soul?
I really couldn't believe the opening. Quieter than at Meadhouse, we two just gave each other the eyebrow and head shake.
I think Obama looked thrown by how lame it started off, with little response even from his side of the aisle, and then he got weaker from there. Because he needs that adoration, and when it's not forthcoming, he's not all there.
And speaking of our esteemed Congress. Ugh. Camping out all day like teenagers for a seat to get their face on camera, and who cares? Husband says they make the staffers sit there all day, of course, because they have the great issues of the day to consider, like what to WEAR, or where they're going out to eat afterward.

Bruce Hayden said...

My preference is Sudoku over Solitaire. My father is the Solitaire nut, along with crossword puzzles. Never was smart enough to get them. Reminds me - no one gave him a crossword calender this year for Christmas.

Definitely liked the Stossel SOTU speech a lot better than the Obama one, which I mostly missed, knowing that I would spend the rest of the evening watching and reading commentary about it. Apparently, it took him 40 minutes to get to ObamaCare, and then he quoted statistics already given 3 Pinocchios because he was adding in the steady state Medicaid signups of a couple million over the last four months as new.

Watched the 5 at 5 on FNC, and Gutfeld suggested a drinking game, but I suspect that anyone who played by his rules would have been drunk w/i 15 minutes. Don't see why anyone watches it anymore. Yes, it is supposedly out civic duty, but who made it so? The politicians in DC, who are trying to convince us how important they are? I don't watch the Oscars, Academy Awards, Grammys, etc for similar reasons - they are narcissistic and self-congratulatory. Best way to make them go away is to vote with the clicker, and watch something else instead. SOTU was playing on at least 6 networks last night, and was rebroadcast for the few who wanted to see it in its entirety and couldn't make it the first time. Who TF cares.

RecChief said...

why is everyone so surprised that he didn't focus on the things that he could actually work with congress on? Instead, he chose to stick a finger in the eye of half of Congress.

It's what community organizers do. divide, separate, it's standard fair. What surprises me is that after 5 years of this, people are still surprised by it.

Skeptical Voter said...

I dunno. Some New York based "newspaper" said that poor Obama had had to stay up until 2 a.m. two nights running to "polish" the speech. And yet he reads it like he'd never seen it before. If Obama were a drinker, I'd say the only thing he'd been "polishing" on those two nights was polishing off a bottle of bourbon.


And as for "rape"? It's not Congress this constitutional law professor will be raping--it's the Constitution.

Thorley Winston said...

I took the time to get caught up on “Rick and Morty” on demand instead and there was an episode where one of the characters was being assaulted by a blob in the men’s restroom who kept saying “stop struggling, this is going to happen so just let it.”

It sounds like I caught the gist of the SOTU address.

Hagar said...

NBCNews this morning has SOTU in a sidebar this morning under the heading:"Obama's address in 60 seconds."

CStanley said...

I used to enjoy some of the pomp but now....

We really need a Pope Francis type for our next president. I think only an infusion of humility can save us now.

Peter said...

Overall a strong SOTU announces a realizable agenda. This one just didn't have much to say about any large agendas the administration intends to accomplish next year- it's really all just petty political crap.


"The inanity of the congressional dress-up. Is every woman wearing bright red?"

Even people who know nothing about television know that when you're in doubt, make it red. Red does look good on TV, it's just disconcerting when everyone wears red, it begins to look like a Korean synchronized image.

RecChief said...

Why does there need to be a "grand agenda"?

Hagar said...

If you don't have anything to say, don't say it.

rhhardin said...

Obama is a piece of shit.

It's as if the idiom was invented for him.

I wonder if a good analysis of the phrase has been done.

damikesc said...

I love that he thinks we should pay men and women for equal work...while paying women in his admin less than men and he has pretty much total control over their jobs, etc.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

"Season 4, Episode 6: Evans Versus Davis
27 October 1976
A local politician wants JJs help for his campaign. Since JJ does not like the man, he refuses. The politician threatens to have them evicted from their apartment."

This summary of "Good Times" from the IMDB gets to the heart of it.

john said...

Why has no one picked up on Ann's sexist and sizeist comment about the "congresswomen bulging into the aisles"?

rhhardin said...

Actual pieces of shit are getting a bad rap.

The normal ones come off the carpet completely cleanly with a baggie, no residual detectable that require any treatment.

Obama is a pool of urine would be a better metaphor but is not the idiom.

Mr. Apropos said...

Ha! I love the summary at #1.

The Drill SGT said...

"If Iran’s leaders do not seize this opportunity, then I will be the first to call for more sanctions and stand ready to exercise all options to make sure Iran does not build a nuclear weapon.

Does anybody, Dem, GOP, EU, Israeli, or Iranian, believe that:

- I will be the first to call for more sanctions
- stand ready to exercise all options

If only the Iranians had US Passports, then they'd be domestic enemies instead of foreign enemies and Teh Won would be ready to war on them...

prairie wind said...

... these details don't matter, don't connect to any meaning the author has to give.

I love that point. Newspaper writers could benefit from that realization. Hard to find a newspaper article that doesn't start with some inconsequential detail that is supposed to draw us in.

Thanks for the post-speech blogging. I cannot stand his voice for more than a moment so I appreciate your comments and the other comments posted here.

F said...

I started watching the replay after missing the original so I could go to dinner with a friend. Then I was called out of the room and found myself near enough to hear the sound but not understand what was being said. I was surprised to realize that without understanding the words, the tone was one of hectoring, scolding, even feeling sorry for oneself. It was a community organizer's tone: "give us what we want or we'll torch the neighborhood". And the tone of someone who was angry at where he was. Remind me again who made him run for this office he doesn't want?

NotquiteunBuckley said...

http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/sotu

You don't know anything about rank, sheer hypocrisy until you hear this, Sen. Obama's response to Bush's 7th State of the Union.

It is short.

"POTUS said the surge is working; we know that's just not true."

It's 4:42.

He is a liar on nearly every single point, from worrying about Bush's deficit and the debt to the surge to his killing adventures in Kabul to "politics that says it's okay to demonize your political opponents..."

gerry said...

Solitaire is more important than the President?!

Well, the president was playing the cardgame spades with his male companion during Benghazi. Seems pretty fair to me, and Obama is about fairness, right?

rhhardin said...

For all I know, actual pieces of shit absorb dirt from the points of contact with the carpet and leave the carpet cleaner.

prairie wind said...

... these details don't matter, don't connect to any meaning the author has to give.

I love that point. Newspaper writers could benefit from that realization. Hard to find a newspaper article that doesn't start with some inconsequential detail that is supposed to draw us in.

Thanks for the post-speech blogging. I cannot stand his voice for more than a moment so I appreciate your comments and the other comments posted here.

Roughcoat said...

Did Kagan literally glow red? If not ... what does that mean?

(I didn't watch).

Pogo is Dead said...

SOTU was tl;dl.
I can't take anymore of that "Endeavor to persevere" bullshit.

Althouse's critique aside, it's a near-guarantee that women will give us Preezie Hillary, i.e., Obama in a pantsuit.

Because she's "the best", or something.

rhhardin said...

The various analyses I've looked at try to take piece of shit too broadly, as if its meaning did not depend on its object.

It goes to character when its object is a person.

It seems to take the negative worth feature from the broad meaning but apply it to any dealings with the person by another person.

Without however putting a value on its object independent of relations.

Just don't have any direct or indirect dealings with him, would be the point. He will fuck them over.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

hy·poc·ri·sy
/hiˈpäkrisē/
noun
noun: hypocrisy; plural noun: hypocrisies
1.
the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform; pretense.synonyms: dissimulation, false virtue, cant, posturing, affectation, speciousness, empty talk, insincerity, falseness, deceit, dishonesty, mendacity, pretense, duplicity;

jr565 said...

"because Misty DeMars got insurance?"
Misty DeMars is a good name for a character in a novel. A plucky private eye, or bail bondsman who's divorced, but still has relationship with her ex who is a cop, and goes after the bad guys with a vengeance. She's also a black belt in Karate and an expert marksman and did a tour in Iraq, no, Afghanistan (since fighting in Iraq would be fighting in the bad war).
In the movie version, I'm thinking Katherine Heigel could play her, and maybe Gerard Butler could be her ex.

jr565 said...

notquiteunBuckley wrote:
POTUS said the surge is working; we know that's just not true."

Wait, I thought the dems were cooperative with Bush (or as I like to refer to him - the worlds biggest terrorist) and weren't acting against his policies, including his war policies? Surely your quote must be mistaken.

jr565 said...

Matthew Sablan wrote:
Because it opens up a bag of worms: If I find someone who lost insurance due to the ACA, or who can't go to their doctor -- who wins the argument?

Well you can be sure they won't be highlighted at the presidents SOTU that's for sure.
But it's the Cindy Sheehan issue all over again. They trot out a woman who has absolute moral authority because she lost her son. But, if the other side trots out a woman who also lost her son who doesn't think that the war is a complete fabrication and that her son died for nothing, wouldn't she too have absolute moral authority? So, then which wins.

St. George said...

The calm. The storm.

jr565 said...

"Are you going to have sex with me or do I have to rape you?"


That's pretty much been Obama's approach the whole time he's been president. That's what he called a balanced approach.
My way or the highway. I won. He's totally open to compromise so long as Republicans are the one's that compromise completely.

Mark O said...

Obama's not particularly good at this sort of thing. Everything sounds the same.

C_Oliver said...

The American (far-)Right is a piece of shit.

See, look how clever and cutting that makes me (and this blog, by association) too.

Bruce Hayden said...

I love that he thinks we should pay men and women for equal work...while paying women in his admin less than men and he has pretty much total control over their jobs, etc.

Whenever you see this claim, that women don't earn as much as men for the same work, you know that the perp making this claim is pushing the WoW (War on Women) meme. Women do make the same money for the same work, but invariably, when you see differences, it is because the women just aren't working as hard, or as long. New male doctors working 90 hours a week, while the new new female ones working 40 or 50 hours, and then a decade later, everyone is amazed that the male doctors are making more money. Female lawyers going on the mommy/non-partnership track (and, again, not working as many hours). Or, women taking jobs with easier entry and exit, such as teaching and nursing. The dirty secret is that the women who do work the 60-90 hour weeks, and don't take time off for raising a family, etc., do make as much as the males doing the same. It is just that their averages are dragged down by all the women who do put other things, such as family, first.

Bob Boyd said...

War on women?
This guy's waging a war on all of us.

JPS said...

jr565:

"My way or the highway. I won. He's totally open to compromise so long as Republicans are the one's that compromise completely."

Or as Thomas Carlyle put it, "Let me have my own way in exactly everything, and a sunnier pleasanter creature does not exist."

RecChief said...

here's what greg gutfeld said on his twitter feed last night:

"every notion so far depends on government help. This isn't a state of the union, it's a defense of the government."

"This is a speech that believe risk is a detriment to achievement, and that ambition is not required, if you work for him."

"Everything he touts is government driven; nothing regarding the powerful nature of the individual. this is your decline."

"Accentuating division is a predictable distraction to your abysmal failure in addressing a country as a whole"

Now, I didn't watch the speech, although I did catch the one part where he said that he was going to bypass Congress. But, Gutfeld's tweets do capture the essence of the man.

jr565 said...

In regards to having the govt give america a raise - it's all well and good to say that people should make more money, but this president's economic policies have created more govt jobs at the expense of private sector jobs, which pay well but which are limited. You can only have so many people working at the post office for example. And his policy have also created an excess of McDonald's jobs. Jobs that pay low wages.

IN the case of Mcdonalds' though, while I totally am sympathetic to the idea that you should be abe to make money to live, these are jobs that are supposed to be entry level jobs. If people are making careers out of McDonald's jobs then something is wrong. I did the whole coffee bar thing, which were better paying McDonalds jobs for about a year or two after college, but then I moved on because I wasn't making any money. That's the way it's supposed to be. Those are not supposed to be careers.

If McDonald's or the coffee bar I worked at (which wasn't Starbucks) had to pay people a "living wage" they wouldn't be in business. So, we shouldn't expect things from things that can't produce the the results we want.

It would be like saying I want to go see a movie that stresses the value of peace and love, is not gratuitously violent, and deals with the nuances of the human condition in a humanistic way and then picking Friday the 13 part 7, Jason Kills Again.

I'm not going to find what I want in a movie if I see Friday the 13th, and thinking I can change Friday the 13th into a movie that is about the nuances of of the human condition will completely break the movie, and it will cease to be what it is.


Biff said...

I was struck by the relative silence on my Facebook feed this morning about the SOTU. Aside from a couple of canned "talking points" posts from an acquaintance who is a local Democrat party official and a couple of "Thank God for Netflix" posts from an outspoken conservative, even the crickets are silent.

RecChief said...

Misty De Mars sounds like a stripper or a porn actress.

Sorry, my inner 11B came out.

jr565 said...

Bruce Hayden wrote:
Whenever you see this claim, that women don't earn as much as men for the same work, you know that the perp making this claim is pushing the WoW (War on Women) meme.

Yes!
There was an article that instapundit linked to about how the women in the Obama administration were making less then then men, on average. And I debated the link on a certain chat site, saying this showed that Obama was waging a war on women (i was deliberately goading the liberals, I admit). I also mentioned that it was a boys club and there were very few women.
And they argued to me that it's an average of salaries and so is not an accurate metric of individual salaries. And that women were doing different jobs and at different experience levels so you couldn't argue that there was a war on women going on in the white house.
So then, just as it wasn't a valid argument for the Obama white House, so too the rest of the country.

You will NEVER get perfect parity between salaries. Not because of any inherent sexism but simply because of math and reality.

Biff said...

As someone else said, "Maybe the SOTU has finally become the STFU."

Dixie_Sugarbaker said...

Every Dem that got up and applauded when Obama said he would bypass Congress should be primaried and asked why we need them if they are going to forego their responsibility and roll over to the Executive Branch. No matter what your political persuasion, that was offensive. Their constituents should be demanding answers.

It reminds me of the scene in one of the Star Wars (3 or 6, don't understand the numbering) when the Senate voted to give their power to the President and someone said "This is how a Republic dies and an Empire is born", or something to that effect.

jr565 said...

Bruce Hayden wrote:
Women do make the same money for the same work, but invariably, when you see differences, it is because the women just aren't working as hard, or as long. New male doctors working 90 hours a week, while the new new female ones working 40 or 50 hours, and then a decade later, everyone is amazed that the male doctors are making more money.

Yes. Or take time off to give birth and raise a kid. Or start a job at a lower experience level than the guy that's been there for a while. if you're taking an average and noticing a disparity, it doesn't always mean that something sinister is going on. It simply means that ON AVERAGE there is a difference between men and women and how they are working that is then reflected in their average salaries.
I hate beating this dead horse, but women's lib is supposed to guarantee equal access to opportunity, not guaranteed parity in results.

CStanley said...

And I want to cut through the maze of confusing training programs so that from now on people like Jackie have one program, one website, and one place to go for all the information and help that they need. It is time to turn our unemployment system into a re- employment system that puts people to work.

Didn't we just see the results of cutting through the confusing maze of purchasing health insurance, and providing one website to go for "help" and "information"?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Ann, that is one terrific takedown. I didn't watch (caught the highlights reel on the evening news), but I knew that the likes of yourself and Stephen Green would take on the dirty job for me. Thanks!

Re: the sea of red: I know. What the hell is it with female power-dressing these days? The spectrum goes all the way from red to fuchsia, apparently; every other color is out. It's irritating.

As for the SOTU itself, I think Woodrow Wilson has an awful lot to answer for. Not just minor stuff like, oh, resegregating the civil service, but above all establishing the "tradition" of making the (Constitutionally required) report by the President to Congress of the "state of the Union" into a speechifying opportunity. It ought to be a report. In, you know, writing. A report of how things currently are, as opposed to a wish list of stuff you hope will happen.

The damn ritual gets worse and worse by the year, and yet it's incessantly hyped up as though we're to expect anything but the now-traditional blatherfest. NPR's Morning Edition spent the whole last week speculating about "what's going to be in the SOTU." For the love of God, who cares? If it were what it was meant to be, a report to the legislature about the actual state of the actual Union, I would actually read it.

Biff said...

We gotta get out of this place
If its the last thing we ever do
We gotta get out of this place
Girl, there's a better life for me and you
Believe me baby
I know it baby
You know it too

jr565 said...

I got home and it was on, I watched it about 3 minutes started yelling at the tv and realized I had to put on Modern Family reruns just to stop the madness.

I feel like Kramer from Seinfeld, who went into seizures whenever hearing Mary Hart's voice. So too with me and Obama. I don't get seizures, but I can feel the blood pressure go up.

betamax3000 said...

I Chose Instead to Write a Woody Allen Phone call to Mia Farrow in the Cafe Post: A Better Way to Keep My Sanity than the SOTU.

lge said...

It was an 8-ounce plastic tub of chicken sh*t, labelled "Chicken Salad."

FleetUSA said...

Thank you Professor for so ably summarizing the speech and speaker I never like hear.

He's obviously driven the car off the road and doesn't know how to get it back. The only tools he knows how to use are regulations and edicts.

SteveR said...

I played Sudoku while not watching it. 3s were a problem last night

prairie wind said...

If McDonald's or the coffee bar I worked at (which wasn't Starbucks) had to pay people a "living wage" they wouldn't be in business

But he's raising wages for federal govt employees. They AREN'T in business. They do not have market pressures on their wage structure; they have Obama and his pen...and his need for their vote.

The part of the discussion about raising the minimum wage that we do not hear is this: when the minimum wage is boosted, other wages/salaries will follow. Unions base wages on the minimum wage, for example. So looking at minimum wage jobs and talking about how the raise would affect those workers, those jobs is not enough; we need to look at the jobs and workers up the chain who will also be affected. Cheaper to lay off more expensive workers who want a raise to stay ahead of the minimum wage people and hire more minimum wage workers, even at the higher minimum.

SOTU = STFU...I do like that.

Tank said...

I admit that, while I despise the Zero and can't stand to see or hear him or Mrs. Zero, I also could not sit through a speech by W, or Clinton, or Carter.

I think the last president who I could listen to without cringing was Reagan.

Mark said...

On floor of house waitin on "Kommandant-In-Chef"… the Socialistic dictator who's been feeding US a line or is it "A-Lying?"
— Randy Weber (@TXRandy14) January 29, 2014

Keep it classy, Republicans!

MadisonMan said...

In fairness, I never watch SOTU.

Misty DeMars is a good name for a character in a novel. A plucky private eye, or bail bondsman who's divorced, but still has relationship with her ex who is a cop, and goes after the bad guys with a vengeance. She's also a black belt in Karate and an expert marksman and did a tour in Iraq, no, Afghanistan (since fighting in Iraq would be fighting in the bad war).
In the movie version, I'm thinking Katherine Heigel could play her, and maybe Gerard Butler could be her ex.

You know they have a child -- adopted -- with special needs, too, and the birth mother can be played by someone like Jennifer Hudson (she sings a lot of melancholy lullabies).

And the (interracial) couple that lives next door to Ms. DeMars has a secret!

DeWayne Stark said...

I was surprised on how many women he kissed must have been some kind of record.

Richard Dolan said...

Some memorable lines:

"Incredible what women can do to themselves and still be taken seriously."

!!!, but that's because they only get 77 cents on the dollar. O-man said so.

"We're swimming in bullshit."

She knows you can't swim in bullshit, but used that image only because it was too racy to speak of a yellow tide.

"Clapping is quite an annoying noise, and this clapping happens and is going to happen so regularly, so exaggeratedly. ... The speech is literally claptrap."

Something Vonnegut might have written, if he had ever written about an O-man SOTU. Nice at many levels.

My personal favorite:

"Michelle Obama ... is wearing something that seems halfway between a 1950s little girl's party dress and an enlarged insect's carapace".

LOL. Brava.

Portia said...

How anyone can watch the SOTU is beyond me. It is so fake and has been for years. It should be call the STFU instead.

RecChief said...

saw this in the comments on an item linked by instapundit:

“A naked emperor addressing a parliament of whores.”

I think that sums things up nicely

Kelly said...

MadisonMan, I think the neighbors should be a gay transgendered couple. You've already got the interracial angle covered with the adopted kid.

Ann Althouse said...

"How anyone can watch the SOTU is beyond me."

For me, the answer is:

1. Play solitaire on the iPad at the same time.

2. Have Meade cracking jokes the whole time.

3. Have a blog where, if you have any stray observations, you know you can write them down and get a whole lot of people to read them, whatever they might be.

Skeptical Voter said...

Red Chief as an Eleven Bravo!

Well there is something about an infantryman. You live in the dirt and dung and get shot at and shoot back. Teaches you how to recognize BS when you see it.

As an old Eleven Hotel, I know that.

Marty Keller said...

Speaking of silent crickets, wonder why Inka, Garage, and our other resident rubes haven't weighed in yet on their hero's bravura defense of their utopian dreams?

furious_a said...

"How anyone can watch the SOTU is beyond me."

For me, the answer is:


Take my 9y-o to soccer practice and watch her and a gaggle of other 9 y-o's learn the Beautiful Game. Then over to Quaker Steak for Buffalo Wings. She loves wings.

Then Disney Channel 'Top 30' on the way home...

Unfortunately I harshed that mellow by switching to an AM,station and inadvertently caught the part of the STFU (love it!) where the President AGAIN took credit for the Shale Gas revolution and called for more taxpayer subsidies for his rent-seeking "green energy" cronies.

RecChief said...

Much Respect for the guy who keeps the armor outta my AO.

jr565 said...

When he started talking about natural gas and energy I thought he might address why he continues blocking the pipeline from Canada. But, alas, he remained silent on that.a nd yer he's taking credit for the moves of the oil and gas companies who've moved despite govt reticence.
And so, its just more of the same. By the way isn't that the definition of insanity? doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?
You'd think for a party that says it has an open mind, that they wouldn't be so reluctant to different things.

Unknowable said...

RecChief: "It's what community organizers do. divide, separate, it's standard fair. What surprises me is that after 5 years of this, people are still surprised by it"

Welcome to Obama's, "Disunified States of Fundamentally-Transformed America".

And, contrary to the many rumors, the new flag of the DSFT America is not a hammer and sickle on red background...

It's more of a dark'ish salmon.

lemondog said...

@Madman

Create an online novel/script writing site to advance the plot, in which anyone can provide a line, paragraph, chapter. As editor, you select the best submitted, add it or portions of it, to the manuscript, then continue it from there.

When you think it finished, acknowledge the hundreds of co-authors, publish under a pseudonym through Amazon or submit it to TV/movie producers.

Who know, it might give birth to a masterpiece, a Pulitzer prize....

Eat your heart out Q. Tarantino.

Scott M said...

I hope the next president goes back to the pre-Wilson practice of just sending a written message over to Congress.

Ditto. I've been hoping that since Clinton's second term. But think about how that would go over nowadays. The text, the font, the weight of the paper, all of it would be ground into a tacky media paste and served up non-stop for days.

Hagar said...

MDM,
Wilson did not "re-segregate" the Civil Service; he segregated it - apparently by executive policy decisions - not necessarily publicly issued executive orders as far as I can tell from Wikipedia.
And of course, he segregated the military, which would have had to be by orders issued within the War Dept., at least.

Which is also why Truman could reverse this by executive orders, and his action cannot be used as an example of "going around Congress."

Birches said...

Hit it out of the park with #10.

And now, we've gotta get out of this place, back into our individual lives, and I don't want to be in your collective, I'm tired of your "progress," and I've got my own wheels.

Did anyone actually buy what he was selling last night? Did anyone actually care?

RecChief said...

@Birches:
Yes there are lots of leftists who loved it. "It jsut didn't go far enough!!!"

Some were sitting in the audience last night, who cheered when he said that he was going to bypass them. But then, many of the elite colleges no longer require government classes to teach why we have divided government, and I hear that some high schools no longer spend much time on it either.

MountainMan said...

Kevin Williamson at NRO had a brutal commentary yesterday on just what an awful spectacle the SOTU has become. Personally, I haven't watched one since Reagan's first term. I think it would be great if Scott Walker were to be elected and the first thing he did was to ditch this embarrassing spectacle and return to the written report. And I mean a serious report, like a corporate annual report, with key facts and figures, specific targets, plans for achieving those targets, and measures against progress. This could include not only the budget but also some of the measures that have gone so disastrously wrong during this mis-administration, like the labor force participation rate, food stamp usage, disability payments, and the like. Perhaps then our voting populace would have more hope that our republic can be saved and the lame-stream media would have to pay attention to some things that matter. But I dream on.

jr565 said...

rec chief wrote:
Some were sitting in the audience last night, who cheered when he said that he was going to bypass them. But then, many of the elite colleges no longer require government classes to teach why we have divided government, and I hear that some high schools no longer spend much time on it either.

Obama threatened to do gun control with or without congresses help. In other words he's going to bypass them if they don't go along.
Fine, if those are the rules you want to live by. Then the next republican president so inclined can say "I'm going to tackle abortion control with or without congresses approval". And libs supporting this power grab better shut up about it then.

RecChief said...

@jr565:

Do you really think that Republicans, as a group, have the intestinal fortitude to do something like that?

Look, in my mind, Republicans or Democrats aren't separated by all that much daylight. Both parties function much more like Russian aristocracy prior to 1905 or the French Aristocracy prior to 1789. Both parties are fine with Big Government as long as they are running it. There has been a steady scope creep for at least the last 150 years if not longer. While I detest the totalitarian impulse exhibited by leftists, I am also under no illusions about Establishment Republicans who think they have to "do something". I'd much rather they wrote concise, detailed legislation, if that resulted in only 1-2 laws (or better yet, less) promulgated each Congressional term, I would be all for it.

It's time people remembered the 10th Amendment: "The Tenth Amendment states the Constitution's principle of federalism by providing that powers not granted to the federal government by the Constitution, nor prohibited to the States, are reserved to the States or the people."

James Pawlak said...

In too long a time, but we may paraphrase Shakespeare and write: He was but a walking shadow, a poor player who strutted and fretted his hour upon the stage And then was heard no more. His was a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing

James Pawlak said...

In too long a time, but we may paraphrase Shakespeare and write: He was but a walking shadow, a poor player who strutted and fretted his hour upon the stage And then was heard no more. His was a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing

Birches said...

the first thing he did was to ditch this embarrassing spectacle and return to the written report. And I mean a serious report, like a corporate annual report, with key facts and figures, specific targets, plans for achieving those targets, and measures against progress. This could include not only the budget but also some of the measures that have gone so disastrously wrong during this mis-administration, like the labor force participation rate, food stamp usage, disability payments, and the like.

Sounds like something Romney would have done. . .

RecChief said...

to expand my point a little, that detailed, concise legislation would not leave the bulk of the law up to a faceless bureaucracy filled with political appointees and career public sector union members who don't have a fear of being fired who actually most of a law through the regulation writing process. Obamacare is only one instance of this pattern of Congress giving away their legislative duties. Remind me, why aren't we the taxpayers only paying Congress the federal minimun wage?

Chef Mojo said...

Play "Misty" for me.

And so he did. Played her good and hard.

Clyde said...

I do not like Obama,
I'd like to send him packing
Instead of having to put up
With his infernal yakking!

Wilbur said...

I didn't watch it, but I heard some congressman yelled "You high!"

Wilbur said...

I didn't watch it, but I heard some congressman yelled "You high!"

Archie said...

Lying bastard.

Saint Croix said...

Rand Paul gave his own response to the SOTU. It's quite good.

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

Yesterday morning the Harlingen, TX "Valley Morning Star" carried an Associated Press article by Josh Lederman headlined "Obama address an opening salvo for elections."

The SOTU was expected by one and all to be a political speech. Nowhere was it suggested that the SOTU report, as required by the Constitution, is not supposed to be a political screed.

Does nobody read the Constitution anymore, or care what it says?

The President and Legislators, not so much, I guess. Jeez!

Humperdink said...

To which someone responded: "Welcome to the Choom Gang".

JoyD said...

So, Althouse, blog = power trip is what you're saying? Well, of course it is, and everyone is playing the game. I wonder, though, if some of your commenters are reading you well, or if they just like to spew. Their choice, and our choice whether to log on. And most days, I do.

JoyD said...

Oh, and re the really big issues of the day, I also thought Michelle's dress was ridiculous. Generally I applaud her for trying to set her own style and for somehow camouflaging that odd body of hers. But I do cringe to see the baby doll look on grown women, or the little-girl-party-dress any time past junior prom.

Carl Pham said...

Brilliant post, Althouse. The ideal combination of punch and curlicue. You really have an impressive ability to write.

EMD said...

I'm thinking Katherine Heigel could play her, and maybe Gerard Butler could be her ex.

Cast Heigl and watch it do zero business.

Jennifer Lawrence? Now you're talking.

Crazy Jane said...

I turned it off after the bit about more investments in solar energy.

JamesB.BKK said...

Prof., this is awesome, esp. this riff: "The dismal old cliché put your shoulder to the wheel gets tricked up with the lefty words "collective" and "progress," and the workmanlike action verb "put" becomes the never-did-a-day-of-manual-labor word "placed." And now, we've gotta get out of this place, back into our individual lives, and I don't want to be in your collective, I'm tired of your "progress," and I've got my own wheels."