Pre-SOTU Open Thread

President Obama's State of the Union address begins at 9pm ET. If you are not by a TV, you can watch live on C-Span here or at the White House website.

The topics: "Restoring security for middle class families after a lost decade of declining wages, eroding retirement security and escalating health care and tuition costs," unemployment, health care, and the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan.

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    Any drinking games? (5.00 / 0) (#2)
    by observed on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:08:05 PM EST
    What are the odds that he says the words "Nobel Prize" during the speech?

    2 shots if Michelle's sleeveless- (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Joan in VA on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:42:26 PM EST
    it's helpful to start drinking before he starts speaking.

    Get ready to gulp a double (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:38:29 PM EST
    of something, anything, when we get to this part of the speech.  Per the WH's Robert Gibbs:

    The president is going to explain why he thinks the American people are angry and frustrated."

    Okay, see, what I think, as an American person, is that he ought to be listening to us explain it to him. . . .


    Ok, I'll get ready a triple in case (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by observed on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:44:22 PM EST
    he says we're "bitter".

    Chug, chug, chug (none / 0) (#9)
    by waldenpond on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:20:37 PM EST
    Drink on 'bi-partisan'?

    Nah, I don't trust the ER response (none / 0) (#10)
    by observed on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:21:51 PM EST
    where I live, should I drink that much.

    'inherited' take (none / 0) (#13)
    by kidneystones on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:26:43 PM EST
    two sips.

    Here's a prediction: this will be the first speech where the number of 'we's outnumber the number of 'I's.

    I never watch infomercials. My tastes in that kind o crap run more to the 700 club and vintage Jim and Tammy. Who could forget Jimmy Swaggart's tear-filled many mea culpa's.

    Oh yeah, expect the head to twitch back and forth like one of those little bobble-heads with the jaw jutting out halfway into the hall.


    He must be very stubborn: (none / 0) (#14)
    by observed on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:27:59 PM EST
    Bush corrected several problems in his speaking over the years. I'm sure Obama has been told how annoyingling patrician he looks when his nose is up.

    Nah (none / 0) (#21)
    by kidneystones on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:43:21 PM EST
    He's simply TERRIFIED!

    Folks on the right are now voicing my secret fear: that he's going to snap/Jimmy Carter style and meltdown. Not on camera, but privately.

    This is the problem and one I suspect we can all understand. Somebody asks us to perform a task beyond our abilities, to answer a question we don't truly understand and may not be able to grasp.

    On another thread I noted that we don't really know whether he passed or failed Econ 101. Do we? That was a jab.

    Then I started thinking about it. Maybe he did take the course and fail it, or get a poor grade.

    Either way, words alone aren't going to solve anything and from what I'm reading about the House private meetings on the next step for HCR  the message appears to be: 'ignore Brown and we're f$cked'

    The difference between now and '94 is Dems have 'me'. I suspect that straw is slipping even from the great man's grasp. If he let's go..

    Biden Time!


    What do you mean when you (none / 0) (#22)
    by observed on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:44:30 PM EST
    say Carter snapped?

    TNR: Presidency on Brink of Collapse (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by kidneystones on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:20:26 PM EST
    That's the problem.

    Had a chat with someone who actually benefited from the struggling economy here in Asia last night.

    She's been charged with pulling the fat out of the fire for one part of her company. She enjoys the confidence of her boss. They all took a pay cut of about 5% last year, but year to year revenues remained steady.

    Contrast that scenario with what the US is facing. Paulson claims that without the stimulus unemployment would have hit 25%. My guess is a large part of the US problem is that very few business people in America today have much confidence in the Obama team's ability to pull this out.

    I am so not concerned with DODT at this juncture I'm astonished anyone has the temerity to broach the issue, especially the WH who trot their commitment to gay and lesbian rights out whenever they fear liberals might be straying too far from the reservation.

    This gang evidently feels that keeping unemployment at 10% is doing a good job.

    The TNR editorial is sobering.


    I would like to move to Asia---esp. (none / 0) (#39)
    by observed on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:26:09 PM EST
    Japan, then Korea.
    1. I love the food,
    2. I play go
    3. I'm about as unAmerican as they come---never had a car, don't want one, never buy on credit, etc. People here think I'm crazy.
    4. I have no faith in this country's direction.

    Ho-ho (none / 0) (#42)
    by kidneystones on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:30:15 PM EST
    Asia is nice. So is Europe and Australia. I prefer America at the moment.

    You folks still have the finest research universities in the world.

    I'm a big fan. One of the best things about the US is that the country is far bigger and more interesting than its leaders.

    Good thing, eh?


    Sure, but the food in so much of (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by observed on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:32:00 PM EST
    the country is deadly.
    I've been in the Midwest and South recently. Man, did I pack on the lbs.
    Now I'm in a place where the food is lousy and the weather is great, so I've lost 40 lb. (with lots of exercise too).

    Wow! (5.00 / 0) (#54)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 09:17:43 PM EST
    Congratulations on that.

    thanks! (none / 0) (#57)
    by observed on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 07:23:34 AM EST
    Funny story about best (none / 0) (#47)
    by observed on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:41:18 PM EST
    research universities. A very famouse Taiwanese born American mathematician told me that several decades ago he was taking Japanese lessons from a Japanese lady in Taiwan.
    One day, some math grad students were also there, and when they heard he was a Harvard prof, they oohed and aahed and said that Harvard was a world class university. The lady responded by saying that she thought there were two world class universities: Imperial University of Tokyo, and Imperial University of Kyoto.

    snapped (none / 0) (#29)
    by kidneystones on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:56:51 PM EST
    probably isn't the right word. When the problems overwhelmed the man and he clearly understood he wasn't going to be bringing the hostages home.

    I found a lot to like in Jimmy, but 21% interest rates are impossible to defend. A genuine smart guy, Jimmy figured he could figure it all out.

    He lacked the brute aggression necessary for the job. The current occupant doesn't have the parts to crack heads either. Nor, does Brown, I suspect.

    There's a large element of coercion involved in practicing the art of the possible. Republicans understand that, as do successful Dems.

    I don't see one standing before the American people tonight.

    I see 10% un-employment and PANIC!


    I really did not expect that (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by observed on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:22:54 PM EST
    1 year of Obama would make me appreciate how skillful Bush was, politically, not at ALL!
    For one small thing, Bush knew the value of being underestimated.
    He was NOT as stupid as he let on, of that I'm sure.

    Bush (none / 0) (#51)
    by txpolitico67 on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 08:21:19 PM EST
    IS stupid.  I hope this isn't thought of as name-calling but the man is proud of his ignorance.  I cannot praise him on anything he ever did as governor of TX or POTUS.

    Well, obviously I don't care for (none / 0) (#53)
    by observed on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 09:01:29 PM EST
    his politics, but I'd have to see he is a savvier politician than Obama.

    BTW, some people may not (none / 0) (#24)
    by observed on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:47:02 PM EST
    like this observation, but I think that Michele is not the right person to be a supportive first lady, whatever other virtues she has. Remember during the campaign when she said how lucky the public was that Obama was running, because he was really way too smart to be in politics?
    That rubbed me the wrong way, but also, it told me she is not the sort of person who can give him straight talk in private.

    Oh My (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by daring grace on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:17:50 PM EST

    Sacrifice (none / 0) (#30)
    by Salo on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:59:46 PM EST
    Or synonyms for " we can afford a world war AND feed everyone in a consumer economy.". Pass the gin.

    End DADT? (5.00 / 0) (#3)
    by caseyOR on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:08:23 PM EST
    According to a story in the WaPo, Obama will call for the repeal of the evil policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in the SOTU tonight.

    Obama has always claimed he would end DADT, but there is a long list of things he has said but not actually acted on. So, while I can believe he'll call for repeal, color me skeptical until he fights for passage of and signs the necessary legislation.

    [http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/01/obama-will-ask-in-state-of-uni.html?wpisrc=newsletter]Here is the link.

    There is simply no way that Obama or (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by tigercourse on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:35:58 PM EST
    this congress is going to take on DADT. They didn't do it when he had approval in the low 70's high 60's, they certainly aren't going to do it in an election year when he is sub 50 and the House and Senate Democrats are looking to get whooped.

    So, it's just empty "promises".


    Sorry about that link (none / 0) (#5)
    by caseyOR on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:10:51 PM EST
    Not sure why it didn't work.

    Try this one.


    The Washington Post does (none / 0) (#15)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:28:06 PM EST
    say "repeal".  Hope this  is (a) the case, and not "modify", alter, change (something to watch for),  (b) the words are matched by presidential action, at once with a stop enforcement order with the support for specific legislation, and (c) it will occur in this millennium.

    Blah, blah, blah (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Zorba on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:10:08 PM EST
    I'm not even going to listen to the SOTU, lest I raise my blood pressure and wind up throwing a brick through my TV set.  Barry talks a good game, but he has shown that he's "all hat, no cattle."  Show me some action that really helps the poor, the working class, the middle-class, as opposed to Wall Street and the banksters, Barack, and maybe I'll start to take you seriously.  

    Feeling the same here. Ask me (none / 0) (#7)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:19:25 PM EST
    in a few months how good his SOTU speech was.  Tonight, it's still just (more) words.  So ask me after a few months more of misery -- or dare we audaciously hope for a change with follow-through this time?  In time to start looking up for fall elections, I suspect.  Until then, I've got work to do.  All the work I can get, while I can get it, to keep working for all of the others in my family who are not so fortunate.  Oh, and they all voted for him.  And he has lost them all.

    Latest on a jobs plan: Think small. (none / 0) (#11)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:24:50 PM EST
    Just read that Dems in Congress already are dialing back as fast as they can from a big jobs plan -- an $83 million plan.  The money can't be found.  (Ahem, yet we just were told that the stimulus bill already passed is going to go $75 over for the banks and big businesses. . . .)  But "the idea of using leftover Wall Street bailout money"  -- leftover, when it's going over?  do these people even try to make sense? -- "to pay for the jobs agenda is fading fast."

    Why"? "Key Democrats like Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., now opposed to the switch. Dropping that move could reduce Republican opposition to a bite-size jobs measure."  Again, let's try to make some sense here, people.  The reason is a Dem from the major welfare state (farm subsidies) in the land, who doesn't want to help anyone else in the country -- and that could reduce Republican opposition?

    They're all nuts.  The pols, the media, et al.


    cx: Bailout is running $75 billion over (none / 0) (#12)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:25:56 PM EST
    yet two-thirds has not been spent.  Got it.  Whatever.  

    Let's try (none / 0) (#19)
    by Zorba on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:39:25 PM EST
    bringing the troops back from Iraq and Afghanistan and removing the cap on FICA (the Social Security withholding) before we talk about "We don't have the money for (jobs, health care, you-name-it, even though we had the money to bail out the banks."  I'm sick and tired of this sh!t.  

    Well, first we have to negotiate w/ (none / 0) (#23)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:45:48 PM EST
    the Taliban.

    The $75 billion over.. (none / 0) (#56)
    by Raskolnikov on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 05:17:38 AM EST
    ...was because unemployment benefits were much more extended than anticipated; that is to say, more people are unemployed longer than they had predicted.  So at least that extra money went the right place, but obviously the stimulus has yet to do enough where it actually matters in our economy.  

    Sadly, Howard Zinn died today (5.00 / 5) (#8)
    by caseyOR on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:20:27 PM EST
    Historian and thinker Howard Zinn died of a heart attack today at age 87.

    I still have a copy of his 1980 book A People's History of the United States

    Here is the mandatory link.

    Just loaned my copy (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:28:39 PM EST
    to my newcomer to America, who is asking for books to learn about her new land.  The People's History led the list, lucky her -- so that she can have the reverse of the education that I got, finally finding it after years of the watered-down textbook pap we too often were taught.  (I also gave her some Tuchman, Takaki -- also lost this year --- etc.)

    But you can bet that I made sure to put my name in my copy of The People's History, with stern instructions to return it.  RIP, Prof. Zinn.


    Tuchman, good choice (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by caseyOR on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:37:20 PM EST
    My entire way of thinking about history was initially nurtured by reading her excellent WW I book The Guns of August when I was in the 7th grade. I came across a copy in my parents' bookcase. It was a very different way of viewing history than what this little Catholic schoolgirl had been exposed to before.

    Niall ferguson (none / 0) (#28)
    by Salo on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:55:54 PM EST
    Did a groovey one. The Pity Of War.

    Ah, yes. We no doubt (none / 0) (#32)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:06:02 PM EST
    had the same schooling, as I also was a little Catholic girl.

    On the other hand, we did learn cool stuff that the Protestants never knew -- as I found out when some of us in college went to Canada and got to Quebec.  I recognized the Plains of Abraham immediately, but they never had heard of the site or of that battle.  I recognized the convent of the Ursulines and knew their significance to all of this continent; again, nada from the public schoolers.

    So we got into quite a good discussion of how differently history can be taught -- and what sheer joy can come from confronting all we have been taught to relearn it all again.  When I had to tell them that Marquette was not just the name of a basketball team and campus but that the latter had been named for a Cat'lic faddah with the adventurous spirit to lead the expedition to be first of the Europeans to espy the mighty upper Mississippi, more than 400 years ago . . . well, we all started swapping books as well as stories.  

    And to this day, as I look at so many standard textbooks foisted on the next generations, it is interesting to see how deliberately Catholicism -- and the backlash against it -- has been eradicated from our history.  Moral of the story is that we are the lucky ones to have learned both versions, actually, to put it together for ourselves.  


    Both Irish Catholic schoolgirls, (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by caseyOR on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 08:31:41 PM EST
    in the midwest, in the '50s and '60s, in staunch Democratic homes. Yes, CC, I do believe our schooling, and probably our upbringing, was quite similar.

    Well, except for the whole Bears/Packers thing.


    Midwestern public schools (none / 0) (#38)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:25:18 PM EST
    I attended taught about Pere Marquette and Joliet.  And Vasco de Gama, Magellan, et al.  Endlessly.  Nothing about the Anasazi.  Also, was not introducted to Orwell's "Animal Farm" or "1984," both of which I just fiished listening to as audio books.  Questy:  were these books too controversial for the Midwest during the cold war?  We also never read "To Kill a Mockingbird" or the book, so famous, whose title I cannot retrieve, about the alienated young high school student who ditches his boarding school.

    You forget the name of his book... (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 01:35:39 PM EST
    ...and now JD Salinger is dead.  

    Is it my fault? (none / 0) (#59)
    by oculus on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:04:47 PM EST
    Pretty weird. (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:19:55 PM EST
    Maybe he read TL and was just too heartbroken to go on.

    Maybe so. But didn't Salinger (none / 0) (#62)
    by oculus on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:28:09 PM EST
    prefer everyone just leave him alone?

    "Catcher in the Rye" (none / 0) (#45)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:37:06 PM EST
    Ah, Zinn was an inspiration ... (none / 0) (#55)
    by desertswine on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:40:59 PM EST
    and a gentle man.

    From where I sit (none / 0) (#61)
    by jondee on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:25:00 PM EST
    neither Obama, Rahm or the Clintons are worthy of sipping water from Zinn's muddy foot prints.

    Now THAT was someone actually worthy of some "why cant Obama be more like?!" regrets.


    Thank God for Friday Night Lights... (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:52:47 PM EST
    comes on at 9:00 ET, so will be watching that, but looking in here to see the reactions.

    My fantasy Obama SOTU is that after all the pomp and circumstance, Obama reaches the podium and after multiple rounds of applause, with everyone on the edges of their seats, media waiting with bated breath, Obama says...

    My fellow Americans...(looks down, sighs, takes a deep breath, looks up)...Tonight I...I...I got...nuthin'.  Thank you, and God Bless America...she's going to need all the help she can get.

    I guess I'll find out if that was the upshot of the speech.

    Thanks for the outline. I see health care (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 05:58:09 PM EST
    has slipped as a priority.

    I expect to be at Met HD encore broadcast of Strauss's "Der Rosenkavalier," featuring Renee Fleming and Susan Graham.

    A major substantive question is (none / 0) (#6)
    by observed on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:15:43 PM EST
    whether he will propose an executive Gut and Cut commission for SS and Medicare, since the Senate failed to form one.

    Wait don't tell me- Guns AND Butter? (none / 0) (#26)
    by Salo on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:54:17 PM EST
    Bwahahahaha. This will be a disaster.

    SoS Clinton on Tavis Smiley Reports 8PM PBS (none / 0) (#27)
    by nycstray on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:54:50 PM EST

    But she will not be at the SOTU. (none / 0) (#31)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:04:39 PM EST
    Ah. Some things become more clear (none / 0) (#33)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:07:40 PM EST
    here on the grassy knoll. :-)

    I'm thinking she is a really savvy person. (none / 0) (#41)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:29:20 PM EST
    Thanks! (none / 0) (#34)
    by Joan in VA on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:16:00 PM EST
    I'm honestly prepared to be impressed (none / 0) (#40)
    by andgarden on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:28:41 PM EST
    I doubt if there's much he could say that would make me feel worse.

    Ok, i'm setting aside a couple (none / 0) (#44)
    by observed on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:32:44 PM EST
    shots for when you write that you were impressed.

    I guess I was bored tonight (none / 0) (#49)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 08:03:50 PM EST
    And I don't want to watch the SOTU.  My daughter and I were talking about lab grown gems, so then I google about it to read up and guess what I found?  You can make a diamond out of the carbon or your loved one.  I always said my husband was a diamond in the rough :)  If I outlive him I will eventually completely "fix" him :)  And they claim they have Michael Jackson hair and they are going to make diamonds out of him too.

    New York Disco Music ca 78-79 (none / 0) (#50)
    by txpolitico67 on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 08:16:21 PM EST
    I am immersing myself in the Ritchie Family, Donna Summer, Alec Constandino and other disco artists from my childhood.  Jimmy Carter was president then.  

    I. will. keep. my. mouth. shut.

    I love disco!