Wednesday, January 29, 2014

State of the Union Set the Tone For 2014 Elections

Rather than add to the misery I thought I would do a quick next day update and move on….

"It felt realistic and, perhaps, reassuring. The economy is improving. The deficit is coming down." 

I didn't watch a second, a fraction of a second even and have seen no clips. All I know is what the Globe tells me.

"Obama vows executive steps to narrow economic gap; In State of Union talk, also urges hike in minimum wage" by Matt Viser |  Globe Staff, January 29, 2014

WASHINGTON —  As Obama began framing his final three years in office — and attempted to turn around his troubled presidency — his State of the Union address amounted to a populist plea to a nation that has grown increasingly disenchanted with his performance.

Well, they got that right!

With few areas of legislative daylight, Obama said he was preparing to utilize the full powers of his office to take action himself on an economic agenda that aims to raise the minimum wage, provide more assistance to middle-class families, and help the long-term unemployed…. 

I don't want a dictator. no matter how well-meaning.

As the midterm elections approach, Obama said his focus would be to combat a growing gap between the rich and the poor. The economy may be improving, he said, but not all Americans are benefiting from the growth.

And once they are over, he will turn his focus to something else.

“Those at the top have never done better,” Obama said. “But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by – let alone get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all.”

Yeah, we all know and your watch has only accelerated and exacerbated the problem.

Obama announced he was signing an executive order that raises the hourly minimum wage to $10.10 for workers under new federal contracts starting in 2015. The change in policy will help hundreds of thousands of federal contract workers, but it’s a far cry from the millions that would be affected by a broader change in the minimum wage.

Obama also called on Congress to raise the minimum wage for all Americans to $10.10 an hour, up from the current $7.25, but Republicans in the past have ignored similar proposals. The minimum wage in Massachusetts is $8, among the nation’s highest.

Related: What to Expect for the 2014 Elections 

I believe I noted that somewhere in there.

Opportunity is who we are,” Obama said, noting the House speaker is the son of a barkeeper and the president is the son of a single mom.

House Speaker John Boehner — who gave a thumbs up at the mention of his father — earlier on Tuesday said an across-the-board minimum wage increase could damage a fragile economy. He also warned the president in stark terms against attempting to wield too much executive power. 

That is going to be the iconic moment that will $et the tone for all of 2014! 

And whadda ya' mean he didn't talk as much about inequality?

“This idea that he’s just going to go it alone, I have to remind him we do have a constitution,” Boehner said.

Have you read it lately, a$$hole?

“And the Congress writes the laws, and the president’s job is to execute the laws faithfully. And if he tries to ignore this he’s going to run into a brick wall.”

What does that mean, because short of impeachment it is nothing but an empty threat.


The hour of uninterrupted time to speak directly to the American public gave Obama an opportunity to make a comeback, reinvigorate his presidency, and regain the trust of a public that has given him poor reviews in polls.

Look at the ma$$ media bemoaning that no one watches their $hit anymore. Ha-ha-ha!

It was a striking contrast to a year ago, when he came off his reelection with more confidence and a bigger agenda….

The president who once said he was coming to change Washington’s partisanship is now turning his attention to things he can take action on without the consent from Congress. The catchphrase now at the White House is that he plans to use the “pen and phone” sitting on his desk to make change.

You know where you can stick that pen and phone.

He’ll use the pen to sign executive actions that require no congressional approval, and he’ll use the phone to call business and university leaders to encourage them to adopt new policies. For example, he hosted university presidents at the White House earlier this month to discuss ways to increase educational access for low-income and minority students.


"The event, which attracted more than 100 leaders in higher education, underscored both the power of the presidency to convene influential figures to bring about change as well as the limitations of a second-term president trying to drive sweeping changes in the face of a divided Congress… 

In one of the more unusual initiatives, Tufts University said it would launch a program to help high school seniors take a year off to do community service before enrolling. Crucially, Tufts said it would provide enough financial aid to make the “gap year,” already popular among affluent young people, affordable for all students, regardless of their ability to pay. 

Stepping out of school for a year is a bad idea, but affluent don't have to worry. This is about getting youth to do free work for a year and make them more pliable for military service.

Obama, speaking to the audience of college presidents, business leaders, and philanthropists, vowed to fulfill a campaign promise to expand educational opportunities and take other steps to help more Americans enter the middle class. Congress has been reluctant to pass many of Obama’s initiatives, so the president is increasingly focused on using his bully pulpit as he did Thursday. “I’ve got a pen to take executive actions where Congress won’t, and I’ve got a telephone to rally folks around the country on this mission,” he said. Colleges have been taking heat in recent years, including from the president, for exploding tuition costs and uneven results." 

What good is all the aid and debt with no jobs? 

Related: Reinharz Received $5 Million From Brandeis 

UPDATE: Upon further inflection….

Also seeObama targets college sexual assault epidemic

Somebody is getting raped, $tudents. 

Remember, the student loan deal they came up with raised interest rates, tied them to the market where they have nowhere to go but up, and the government is going to make billions of you so they can wave more money at bond-buying investors.

In the small portion of the speech dedicated to foreign policy, Obama defended negotiations with Iran to reduce, and eventually eliminate, its stockpiles of uranium. He also noted the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Actually, if you look at the amount of words it was what he talked about the most -- meaning I was wrong on that one!

While presidents often describe the state of the union as “strong,” Americans increasingly are describing it in other ways. In a new poll, 37 percent said it was “divided,” while 23 percent said it was “troubled” and 21 percent said it was “deteriorating.” Only 3 percent said it was “strong.”

RelatedAmericans more pessimistic

I'm pessimistic about getting to that article in a future post now, readers. I might, but then again I might not. Tells us we don't care about the Big Brother surveillance, and that is something I can not believe no matter how brain-dead the Amurkn public has become.

The poll, conducted by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News, also found that only 43 percent of those surveyed approve of the job Obama is doing, putting him on rocky ground. In recent decades, only President George W. Bush had such low ratings heading into his sixth year as president. 

I told you yesterday he was approaching Bush country! Cut the number in half and that is his real approval rating with the public.

Web version left out Clinton at 59 and Reagan at 64 at same points in second term. Must have been before the Iran-Contra scandal hit.

Obama plans to hold a series of events over the next several days. He’s traveling to a Costco in Maryland on Wednesday, followed by a steel mill in West Mifflin, Pa. On Thursday, he’s heading to a General Electric facility in Milwaukee and a high school in Nashville. 

I would say thanks for contributing to the greenhouse gas and global warming problem, but I think he will get a fresh blast of fart mist for himself.

What the web version added to my print copy:

Obama said he would reform the nation’s surveillance programs, only briefly alluding to the revelations that have come from documents leaked by Edward Snowden and the complaints that government is invading the privacy of average Americans.

Related: I.E.P. 

They even have an app for that now, but Snowden is nothing more than a psycho -- or worse.

One of the most poignant parts of the speech came toward the end, as the president mentioned Cory Remsburg, an Army Ranger who has learned to speak, stand, and walk again after he was nearly killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. At the mention of his resilience the room rose in long, sustained applause.

Be it the unemployed or a maimed serviceman, I can't stand the use of them as props for the lies. Sorry.


"Pair linked by Marathon attack join Michelle Obama" by Kimberly Railey |  Globe Correspondent, January 29, 2014

WASHINGTON — A Boston Marathon bombing victim who lost both legs in the attack and his rescuer sat in Michelle Obama’s box Tuesday night as the president delivered his annual State of the Union speech.

They were not recognized by the president, nor did Obama mention the April 15 attack….

Wow. Yesterday's Globe led me to believe he would.

In what has become an iconic photograph, a cowboy-hat-wearing Carlos Arredondo is wheeling an injured Jeff Bauman to safety as both flee the carnage. Arredondo, who fashioned a tourniquet from a sweater sleeve, is credited with helping to save Bauman’s life.

The emotional photo — taken on Boylston Street — became famous for embodying the heartbreak and heroism of the day….

Yesterday it was chaos and courage.

At the Marathon, Bauman was waiting for his girlfriend to cross the finish line when the first of two bombs exploded and blew his legs off.

Since then, Bauman and Arredondo have forged a close friendship, marked by trips together to Costa Rica and France and shared holidays, including a birthday celebration and Thanksgiving. In Washington, D.C., for their State of the Union visit, the pair are staying in adjacent hotel rooms.

“He is a beautiful person,” Arredondo said of Bauman.

The script has a happy ending.

Arredondo, whose Marine son died in Iraq in 2004, was at the Marathon to support military service members who were marching in the race in honor of fallen soldiers. When Arredondo learned of his son’s death, he set himself on fire inside a Marine van. In 2011, as he was recovering, his other son committed suicide. 

Seems to have recovered real well.

On Tuesday, he was at the White House with Bauman, attending a reception before the speech, getting a tour, and taking a picture with Michelle Obama. After the gathering, Arredondo, Bauman, and others headed to the Capitol while their families remained at the White House to watch the speech….

Other guests included….



Also seeUK magazine apologizes to Boston Magazine

Then they headed over for a meal:

"Farm bill would trim food stamps, shift crop subsidies; Backers seeking moderate votes to ensure passage" by Mary Clare Jalonick |  Associated Press, January 29, 2014

WASHINGTON —Cuts to food stamps….

continue generous subsidies for farmers….

Meaning hungry mouths go unfed while Big Agro's corporate coffers are filled. That's what that means.

Goodies scattered through the almost 1,000-page bill for members from all regions of the country: a boost in money for crop insurance popular in the Midwest; higher rice and peanut subsidies for Southern farmers; renewal of federal land payments for Western states. There are cuts to the food stamp program — $800 million a year, or around 1 percent — for Republicans who say the program is spending too much money, but they are low enough that some Democrats will support them. 

(Blog editor's heart sunk when he saw that. Democrats won't even stand up for the ever-increasing poor in an election season' what makes anyone think they will once the campaign is over given the track record?)

Negotiators on the final deal also left out a repeal of a catfish program that would have angered Mississippi lawmakers and language that would have thwarted a California law requiring all eggs sold in the state to come from hens living in larger cages. Striking out that provision was a priority for California lawmakers….

The House is scheduled to consider the legislation Wednesday. Passage of the bill, which would spend almost $100 billion a year and save around $2.3 billion annually, isn’t certain. But farm-state lawmakers have been working for more than two years to strike just the right balance to get the massive bill passed as congressional compromise has been rare.

Hoping to put the bill past them and build on a budget deal passed earlier this month, House Speaker John Boehner, Republican of Ohio, and House majority leader Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia, endorsed the bill. Both said they would like to see more reform but are encouraging colleagues to vote for it anyway….

Leader$hip wants it passed? Then VOTE NO!

‘‘A coalition of the middle, yes,’’ simply another name for corporate governance and pure fa$ci$m, and I find it amazing that since the Globe offered the solutions to their complaining about what parts of the agenda did not get through the place has become a model of biparti$an$hip.

Senate Agriculture chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, Democrat of Michigan, was more assured, saying she is confident the votes were there in the Senate. That chamber is expected to take up the bill shortly after the House.

Thanks for standing up for hungry kids, Senate Democrats!

Lucas and Stabenow have touted the bill’s overall savings and the elimination of a $4.5 billion-a-year farm subsidy called direct payments, which are now paid to farmers whether they farm or not. The bill would continue to heavily subsidize major crops — corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, and cotton — while shifting many of those subsidies toward more politically defensible insurance programs. That means farmers would have to incur losses before they received a payout.

That's the corporate welfare check part!

Still unclear, though, was how Republicans would get the votes they needed to pass the final bill on the House floor….

After all this positive pre$$ and public relations promotion?

Some conservatives were certain to oppose the scaled-back cuts to food stamps, along with many of the farm subsidies the bill offers.

The final food stamp savings are generated by making it more difficult for states to give recipients a minimal amount of heating assistance in order to trigger higher food stamp benefits…. 

The oil tank is already dry, and now they are asking you to decide between freezing or hunger.


Still, many liberal Democrats were also expected to vote against the bill, saying the food stamp cuts were too great.

Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts and a longtime proponent of food stamps, said he would vote against the bill and would encourage his colleagues to do the same.

He's mine.

‘‘They are trying to ram this thing through before anyone has a chance to read it,’’ he said after the bill was released late Monday and scheduled for an early Wednesday vote.

That's true of everything they vote on!

A coalition of powerful meat and poultry groups, generally strong supporters of the legislation, also said Monday they would work against the bill after the heads of the agriculture panels did not include language to delay a labeling program that requires retailers to list the country of origin of meat. Meat packers say it is too costly for the industry.

They will work to have that eliminated from the bill, and then will offer their $upport (if you know what I mean).


Nothing about GMOs in there, or do I have to go to blogs to find out? 

RelatedThe bipartisan fix

Now back the divisive partisanship and rancor that so delineate and distinguish the two corporate war party factions: 

"House vote to restrict abortion funding tricky for GOP; Party is trying to shed image as anti women" by Jeremy W. Peters |  New York Times, January 29, 2014

WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives voted Tuesday to impose tighter restrictions on federal payments for abortions, thrusting the issue of a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy into the polarizing politics of an election year.

The bill stands no chance of being passed by the Democratic-controlled Senate. But that mattered little to members of both parties, who seemed to relish the chance to accuse their opponents of twisting the issue to their political advantage….

Both playing into the part in the $hit-fooley I call AmeriKan politics.

“Here we go again,” said Representative Barbara Lee, Democrat of California. “It’s another battle in the war on women.”

Republicans, bristling at accusations that they are hostile to women’s rights, said Democrats were unfairly characterizing their motives….

You guys are doing it to yourselves to perpetuate this fal$e debate and divisiveness.

Though the bill had solid support from the House Republican leaders, their unanimity Tuesday obscured tensions within the party.

Republicans have long sought to restrict abortion rights as a move to satisfy their social conservative base, particularly during election years. Just last week, Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader, spoke at the March for Life, an annual Washington protest by opponents of legalized abortion.

See: Dirty Catholics 

Cantor is a Jewish, btw.

"Animal rights groups appealed to Pope Francis to end a practice of releasing doves over St. Peter’s Square, a day after a pair of the peace symbols were attacked by a sea gull and crow. The National Animal Protection Agency published an open letter reminding Francis that domesticated doves are easy prey for predators

Isn't that what always happens to those representing peace, be it bird or man?

Gulls nest atop the colonnade of St. Peter’s Square, far from natural seaside habitats, scavenging for garbage in Rome. The agency said freeing doves in Rome is like ‘‘condemning them to certain death.’’ Proanimal advocate and former tourism minister Michela Brambilla said she was confident that Francis, with his ‘‘extraordinary love’’ for all creatures, would reconsider. The Vatican didn’t immediately comment on the doves. As tens of thousands of people watched on Sunday, a sea gull and a large black crow swept down on the doves right after they were set free from the Apostolic Palace."

Sorry to fly off the handle there.

But the issue has become more challenging for Republicans, both because of insensitive comments from Republican men, on and off the campaign trail, and an aggressive effort by Democrats to portray the party as anti women.

You women liking this $hit-fooley? I guess jobs, good schools, good health care, and a clean society, etc, etc, etc, are not important to you. Only abortion matters -- as the drone missiles continue to perform them as Obummer rains them down on the planet. 

Cut him a break, right? At least he hasn't bombed Syria or Iran yet?

The timing of the vote was telling. Notably, the House leadership chose to bring the measure up on a day when all of Washington, and much of the news, was consumed with President Obama’s State of the Union address. Republican leaders decided to make the bill one of their first orders of business this year, disposing of it nearly 10 months before Election Day. An aide to Republican leadership said it will probably be the only time an abortion-related bill comes up this year.

Oh, they wanted to abort the abortion issue for the campaign?

Representative Louise M. Slaughter, Democrat of New York, noted how the current legislation had moved through the House almost exclusively with the votes of Republican men….

“This has been the problem for a long time: men in blue suits and red ties determining what women should do,” Slaughter said.

Well, men do have some stake in the issue. The fact that the emotional impact of the woman's decision on the man is completely omitted from the discussion tells you a lot about unseen and unmentioned discrimination.

Some Republicans said that they would rather be talking about other problems, like the shortage of jobs and problems with the Affordable Care Act.

Yeah, me too, like WAR and WEALTH, the only two issues that matter and the only ones that truly affect us all.

“I’ve always said that we ought to avoid taking on these hot-button social issues; they don’t do us any good,” said Representative Charlie Dent, Republican of Pennsylvania. Dent voted for the abortion bill Tuesday, but he noted how some of his colleagues were so ill-equipped to talk about women’s health issues that the party leadership has had to advise its members how to delicately approach the topic.

“There were some memos floating around saying how Republican candidates should speak to women,” Dent said. “Here’s my suggestion for a communications strategy for some of these guys. Four words: Shut the bleep up.”

Republicans gave the bill an unremarkable title — the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” intended to convey its uncontroversial and popular goal. But Democrats contend that the act is a deceptive assault on women’s rights that would further restrict coverage for abortion among federal employees, low-income women, and those who visit military hospitals overseas, among others.

Over and over, Democrats used the wordswar on women” Tuesday to describe Republicans’ actions, a line of attack that was politically potent for them in the 2012 elections. 

I already saw this movie!

It is a line they plan to repeat often in this year’s midterm elections, especially in states like North Carolina, where Democrats believe that Republicans have overreached by enacting tough new abortion restrictions.

Related: Carving Up North Carolina 

Good luck down there.

But not all Democrats think their party is well served attacking Republicans with the economy foremost on voters’ minds.

“I’m a skeptic,” said Representative Peter Welch, Democrat of Vermont. “The people we represent need jobs, need better incomes, and want us focus on the economy.”

My agenda-pushing ma$$ media is not going to do that!


Also see:

Governor Patrick looks back on his successes
Patrick looks ahead — and back
Governor Patrick set to address problems of DCF
Patrick sees chance to ‘rethink’ state family agency

Related: Hot Fart Mist From the Boston Globe 

He picked the wrong night to reschedule -- or did he?