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State of the Union: A Hopeful, Competitive and Oil Addicted America – But No Real Live Mermaids at SeaWorld

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Like many around the nation I watched the President’s State of the Union Address eager to hear something interesting, but was largely disappointed. Maybe I’m too familiar with what’s going on in the country or his past speeches, but it seemed like the speech was pretty much a rehash of things I’d heard before – some of them very good points, but few of them striking or original.

I actually spent much of the speech looking at the crowd reactions, but more on that later. Here are some specific points which I think were actually signficant.

After the obligatory mention of Coretta Scott King the focus was immediately on fighting for freedom, and Bush said some very meaningful but hardly remarkable things about our ongoing fight against the worldwide forces of oppression. Good stuff, but hardly new. But he did wrap up with a nice change of pace when he said:

Our coalition has learned from experience in Iraq. We have adjusted our military tactics and changed our approach to reconstruction. Along the way, we have benefited from responsible criticism and counsel offered by members of Congress of both parties. In the coming year, I will continue to reach out and seek your good advice.

Yet there is a difference between responsible criticism that aims for success, and defeatism that refuses to acknowledge anything but failure. Hindsight alone is not wisdom. And second-guessing is not a strategy.

He neatly acknowledged that the administration has had some troubled policies, while accepting the bipartisan nature of the effort and also getting a nice slam in on the endless complainers of the far left who offer nothing constructive to the process.

Bush went on a bit more about Iraq, and then he got to something interesting, and showed that he had read the recent polls that show a high level of national concern over Iran and a willingness to support military action there.

The same is true of Iran, a nation now held hostage by a small clerical elite that is isolating and repressing its people. The regime in that country sponsors terrorists in the Palestinian territories and in Lebanon, and that must come to an end. The Iranian government is defying the world with its nuclear ambitions, and the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons. America will continue to rally the world to confront these threats. And tonight, let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran: America respects you, and we respect your country. We respect your right to choose your own future and win your own freedom. And our nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran.

My only quibble with this is that the last time I checked the current government of Iran actually got into power by a ‘free and democratic’ process. The people of Iran are the ones who elected the theocratic nuts who are running the country, and while some may be dissatisfied with the results and there may have been some strong-arming, it’s hardly the kind of police state Iraq was.

Then Bush moved into a dark area:

Our country must also remain on the offensive against terrorism here at home. The enemy has not lost the desire or capability to attack us. Fortunately, this nation has superb professionals in law enforcement, intelligence, the military and homeland security. These men and women are dedicating their lives to protecting us all, and they deserve our support and our thanks. They also deserve the same tools they already use to fight drug trafficking and organized crime, so I ask you to reauthorize the Patriot Act.

Here’s another thought. How about instead of renewing the Patrior Act we repeal it and also repeal the laws which gave extraordinary unconstitutional powers to the DEA so it could prosecute the War on Drugs. Or better yet, let’s call off the War on Drugs alltogether and spend that money on fighting terrorism. Think how helpful all that completely wasted money could be if applied to actually helping Americans instead of putting millions of them in prison for victimless crimes.

I’ll skip over the inevitable discussion of domestic surveillance issues, because we’ve all heard it before and after that he moved on to the economy, where Bush seems to be most at home, and things got a lot more interesting.

The American economy is pre-eminent but we cannot afford to be complacent. In a dynamic world economy, we are seeing new competitors like China and India. This creates uncertainty, which makes it easier to feed people’s fears. And so we are seeing some old temptations return. Protectionists want to escape competition, pretending that we can keep our high standard of living while walling off our economy. Others say that the government needs to take a larger role in directing the economy, centralizing more power in Washington and increasing taxes. We hear claims that immigrants are somehow bad for the economy even though this economy could not function without them. All these are forms of economic retreat, and they lead in the same direction toward a stagnant and second-rate economy.

That’s just an outstanding summary of the negative political forces afoot in America today and the dangerous policies they advocate and the damage they could do to the economy. And Bush still has a strong plan for keeping our economic recovery going.

Keeping America competitive begins with keeping our economy growing. And our economy grows when Americans have more of their own money to spend, save and invest. In the last five years, the tax relief you passed has left $880 billion in the hands of American workers, investors, small businesses and families, and they have used it to help produce more than four years of uninterrupted economic growth. Yet the tax relief is set to expire in the next few years. If we do nothing, American families will face a massive tax increase they do not expect and will not welcome.

Because America needs more than a temporary expansion, we need more than temporary tax relief. I urge the Congress to act responsibly, and make the tax cuts permanent.

An inspiring recap of the impact of the tax cuts, and a very important reminder of how hard repealing those cuts will hit our families and the economy if we turn back the clock to the high tax era of the 90s which made us so vulnerable to recession. The Democrats were pointedly seated and silent as the rest of the room broke out in applause and I sure was glad to see that they were visibly outnumbered by those who see what’s best for the nation and rose to their feet in support.

Then Bush hit what was at least a ground-rule double when he summarized spending cuts, promised more for the future, and wrapped up with:

I am pleased that members of Congress are working on earmark reform because the federal budget has too many special interest projects. And we can tackle this problem together, if you pass the line-item veto.

That managed to leave the both sides of the hall in a state of uncomfortable mumbling and scattered applause. I don’t believe it will ever happen – they all like their pork too much – but I’d love to see this little dream come true.

Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security,

At this point the Democrat side of the hall applauded, but Bush went on:

yet the rising cost of entitlements is a problem that is not going away, and with every year we fail to act, the situation gets worse. So tonight, I ask you to join me in creating a commission to examine the full impact of baby boom retirements on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. This commission should include members of Congress of both parties, and offer bipartisan answers. We need to put aside partisan politics, work together and get this problem solved.

Well, that won them back. Both sides applauded. I guess it’s a nice idea politically, but it guarantees no real reform will take place. It’s the final nail in the coffin for Social Security privatization, so the people will continue to suffer with an ever growing monkey on their back until the system collapses.

I’ll skip over some additional pandering about health insurance. We’ll see if Bush gets to actually implement any reforms, but I have serious doubts. He did actually get some bipartisan applause when he mentioned tort reform, but certain Democrats remained conspicuously silent and looked uncomfortable.

Then he went on to what I think was the best part of the speech and what the news channels did pick up on pretty quickly, energy policy. Keep in mind that Bush has already passed the largest funding bill ever for alternative energy research and consumer energy rebates. Now he seems determined to latch onto this as a possible legacy issue – an excellent alternative if he can’t get Social Security reform, and one which harkens back to the days of Teddy Roosevelt.

Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. Here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.

The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop cleaner, cheaper, more reliable alternative energy sources, and we are on the threshold of incredible advances. So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative, a 22% increase in clean-energy research at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants, revolutionary solar and wind technologies, and clean, safe nuclear energy.

We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We will also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn but from wood chips, stalks or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years. Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75% of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. By applying the talent and technology of America, this country can dramatically improve our environment, move beyond a petroleum-based economy and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past.

I was impressed here in several unexpected ways. I hadn’t expected Bush to be so relatively well informed on Ethanol. It’s one of the easiest solutions to our current fuel problems, but it’s been sadly neglected. Despite the fact that 2/3 of the cars on the market can run on E85 Ethanol, it’s almost impossible to get hold of in most parts of the country unless you have a ‘connection’ to a manufacturer. It was also nice to see him mention nuclear, which has been wrongly maligned and might be one of our biggest and most easily achieved solutions to our energy needs.

He then went on a bit about education and making the nation more competitive with his American Competitiveness Initiative, but it didn’t impress me. Not one word about school choice, so all we’re talking about here is wasting more money trying to patch up the flaws in a critically failing system.

Then he went off into one of the creepy areas I wish he’d just avoid, talking about cultral values and other suspect ideas, and wrapping up with an intriguing vision of a future genetic engineering dystopia:

A hopeful society has institutions of science and medicine that do not cut ethical corners, and that recognize the matchless value of every life. Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research: human cloning in all its forms, creating or implanting embryos for experiments, creating human-animal hybrids and buying, selling or patenting human embryos. Human life is a gift from our creator and that gift should never be discarded, devalued or put up for sale.

Ok, has someone been giving him particularly bad Science Fiction novels? ‘Human-animal hybrids’? That’s pretty much out of the blue. I was expecting Charlton Heston to grab the microphone and start screaming about ‘damned dirty apes’. But I guess he was trying to broaden the market for his anti-genetic engineering message. I think even I’m against creating wereroaches and grafting the heads of aging politicians onto the bodies of gorillas. Well, mermaids might be cool. They’d be a big hit at SeaWorld.

Then there was some blather about a hopeful society and some drum thumping about staying the course and victory over evil. Standard stuff, but I did like this paragraph:

Yet the destination of history is determined by human action, and every great movement of history comes to a point of choosing. Lincoln could have accepted peace at the cost of disunity and continued slavery. Martin Luther King could have stopped at Birmingham or at Selma, and achieved only half a victory over segregation. The United States could have accepted the permanent division of Europe, and been complicit in the oppression of others. Today, having come far in our own historical journey, we must decide: Will we turn back, or finish well?

Hard to argue with. I actually didn’t notice it until I read the speech, because while he was actually talking I was still thinking about mermaids at this point.

That was about it. Not a bad speech, but not his greatest either. It was actually delivered remarkably well, with only a couple of stumbles, most notably when the failure of social security reform got applause.

A couple of things stood out.

First there were the catch phrases. I thought the ‘Keeping America Competitive’ theme was a bit tired. It’s an appealing idea but he didn’t really present anything substantive and new in his ‘American Competitiveness Initiative’. The ‘hopeful society’ theme he wrapped up with was also pretty weak. I understand his desire to combat all the negativity in the current political environment, but his idea of hope and mine don’t always find common ground. I’m pretty sure that denying condoms to AIDS victims in Africa and putting more drug users in jail isn’t what I think of as part of a ‘culture of hope’. But the catch phrase that I think did work was when he said ‘America is addicted to oil.’ That was right on target and he followed it up with some good suggestions and meaningful promises. I’d like to see him take this theme and run with it to produce some real, market-based incentives for fuel efficiency and alternative energy. It’s the kind of issue that could save a troubled presidency. Are you listening, George?

Then there was the crowd. The reaction shots reminded me again how truly unpleasant and off-putting Hillary Clinton is. They cut to her several times and caught her simpering in a truly bizarre way. First they got her looking like she’d swallowed some sort of live insect when Bush mentioned domestic surveillance, like she couldn’t decide whether to look enthusiastic or outraged and was searching around for someone to tell her which look would get her into the White House in 2008. She also has a pretty good pissed-off axe murderer look which she graced us with when Bush mentioned the close relationship between her husband and his father in a little joke towards the middle of the speech. But boy, she sure was standing up, applauding and grinning when he mentioned the failure of his social security reform plan, along with most of the other Democrats. I had to choke down my rage, and at one point I’d actually titled this article ‘Why Do Democrats Hate the American People’, but I thought better of it.

The rest of the crowd was interesting to watch too. When Bush called to make the tax cuts permanent the entire Democrat side of the crowd remained seated and silent with disapproving looks on their faces, though Barrack Obama did rub his hands together in a peculiar way. Bush’s mention of the line item veto caused John McCain to dance a little leprechaun jig in his seat, which was pretty amusing and almost got Bush to laugh himself. Reaction elsewhere in the audience was tepid despite the fact that Democrats were all for the idea when they held the White House. And I’ve got some new favorite senators who I’ve never noticed before, including the enthusiastic fat woman in the pink dress and the Democrat I’ve never noticed before who looks exactly like cult film director John Waters. The Supreme court was also interesting. They’re always a refreshing pool of complete stoicism in the midst of all the cheering and carrying on. But what really struck me is that with her hair down Ruth Bader Ginsberg is actually kind of cute. She should stick with her current hair and never go back to that horrible bun. Oh, and Bill Frist looks like Frankenstein on Halcyon and needs to get someone to work on his overbite.

Overall, Bush kept driving home a pretty positive message. He didn’t play up the terrorist threat disproportionately and did manage to make some good points. I sure would have liked to have seen some harder blows to his opposition and more discussion of ‘personal responsibility’, though he did mention it once. Not his greatest speech and as always a mixed message for those of us who like his economic policies and aren’t so happy with some of his other positions, but if there was an overall impact, I think it was to show that the administration has some plans for dealing with the problems the nation faces, and recognizing some of the successes to date. About what you’d expect in a State of the Union speech, and overall a very central, very moderate position statement which will work well for the 2006 election if Republican candidates play along.

You can read the full text at USA Today.

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About Dave Nalle

  • Shark

    I saw the Bush speech.

    …And we wonder why the terrorists hate us…

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    I agree with the Bush on reducing the oil intake and finding alternate energy sources. What a pleasant surprise. But I suppose since his buddies at Exxon turned such a freakin’ huge profit last year, I’m sure Bush now thinks it safe to talk up the alternative energy deal and not cut into their margins too much.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    By all the evidence Exxon isn’t actually one of the oil companies the administration is friendly with. They’ve pretty much frozen Exxon out – which is good since they are true corporate assholes.

    And as for the so-called inflated corporate profits which Sen. Kaine and you seem to believe in, as a percentage most of the oil companies, including those friendly with the administration, CUT their profit margins last year to reduce costs. Their profits still went up because prices went up and profits are based on a percentage of prices, but Shell, Chevron and a couple of others cut their percentage rate of profit.

    Dave

  • Maurice

    One last comment about oil:

    I know of no oil company that makes 18 cents a gallon which just happens to be the Federal Take er… I mean Tax on gas.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    And the federal tax on gas should be way, way higher too.

    Dave

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    It was a joke man. Lighten up.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Did you read the articles on the SOTUA from Adam Ash and Natalie Bennett? If that’s the spin the left is going to put on this amazingly innocuous and occasionally inspiring speech then I can’t help being just a bit touchy.

    I will say this though. The Secret Service should have let Cindy Sheehan sit in the gallery and waited until she made a scene before having her dragged out. Every new scheme her handlers put her up to makes it even clearer what a pathetic puppet she is, and letting her spew her bile all over him and end her 15 minutes of fame would be a smart move for Bush, because after that she won’t be useful to the left anymore and they’ll dump her.

    Dave

  • gonzo marx

    well now…all i can say is that the neocons have truly won

    and it appears that the Poster has drunk deep of the kool-aid

    enjoy the Victory…we will see how the next few years play out

    after the speech, i took my cel phone into the yard and smashed it to bits, i am seriously considering the same with my cable modem

    i may just have to actually do an Article this evening…

    “may you live in interesting times” – ancient chinese curse

    i will NOT go gently, folks

    Excelsior?

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Gonzo, did you watch the same speech I did? This was about the most inocuous bush has been in a long time. It was all about compromise and happy feelings. I can’t even imagine what there was in it to make you so mad. Was it the ban on genetically engineered sex mermaids?

    Dave

  • http://www.seaworld.com Mermaid Manny

    I wonder if W would have the same opinion towards stem cell research if one of his daughters had juvenile diabetes or a spinal cord injury? Life is so much simpler when you children are just garden variety drunks.

  • Dawn

    I just wish Bush would kill ALL the terrorists. Can he please finish this one task first?

    Also, I agree the war on drugs is an ENORMOUS waste of time and money.

    Having recently grilled a drug enforcement detective, his response is, “my job’s a joke, the criminals know it and I know it, but I choose to something, rather than nothing.” Oh if only we could channel the desire to do something good into an area of worth.

  • http://www.markiscranky.org Mark Saleski

    the problem with ‘killing all the terrorists’ is that it not a simple good guy vs. bad guy kinda thing (well, part if it is, and part of it isn’t)

    until we realize that some of what we do is at least partially responsible for the creation of terrorism (i.e. people who hate our guts), then we will always have this problem.

  • http://patfish.blogspot.com/ Pat Fish

    Dave,
    About as honest assessment of the speech as will likely be found in the blogosphere.

    It was a typical SOTU. That bit where the Democrats remained seated during Bush’s mention of the congressional failure to work on Social Security reform will be a sight bite right up there with Harry Reid’s famous “Today, we killed the Patriot Act”. It was so anti-American. The SS system in this country is about to fail and the Dems showed just how much they care.

    I don’t know of a single American who would not choose ethonol or any other form of fuel besides gasoline were it readily available and cheap enough. And it’s about time we get on the nuclear bandwagon and away from the doomsayers on the matter. I bet America could, in this technological era, build the best and safest nuclear reactors anywhere. Hell, FRANCE has lots of nuclear power plants and goodness knows France is no genius of technology.

    I agree with you about the Drug War. Waste of time, waste of money, lost cause.

  • http://patfish.blogspot.com/ Pat Fish

    I agree with you Dave about Cindy Sheehan. I think it would have been a real hoot to have the woman do her thing. It would have been embarrassing as hell to the Dems, one of which invited the Moonbat to the festivities.

    I note the left wing bloggers are moaning about how lovely Cindy was mistreated.

    Consider this…if any one of those Clinton women…Paul Jones, Broderick…goodness, dare I say Monica… if any one of those who Bill Clinton sexually abused had shown up at any one of his SOTU speeches with a nasty-sloganed Tshirt and plans to wreak havoc….raise your hand if you think Bill or Hillary would have tolerated it.

    No hands raised.

  • gonzo marx

    nice to see folks advocating arresting people for wearing a fucking t-shirt

    there goes the First Amendment, while the neocons cheer

    Excelsior?

  • http://www.markiscranky.org Mark Saleski

    i honestly don’t think sheehan should have been there.

    on the other hand, this whole thing about setting up “free speach zones” near political events just creeps me out.

    face it, if we heard about some socialist country doing such things, we’d look down our collective noses at it.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I agree with you Dave about Cindy Sheehan. I think it would have been a real hoot to have the woman do her thing. It would have been embarrassing as hell to the Dems, one of which invited the Moonbat to the festivities.

    Did you know that Lynn Wolsey who invited Sheehan introduced legislation last year to balance out the Department of Defense with a Department of Peace – I’m kind of mystified what they would actually do, though.

    Dave

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    nice to see folks advocating arresting people for wearing a fucking t-shirt

    Gonzo, not one person on this thread has supported Sheehan being arrested for wearing a t-shirt. I was denied entry to the gallery once because I wasn’t wearing a tie. There’s a dress code. She knew about it and violated it. Then she refused to comply with the officers. She wasn’t arrested for wearing the t-shirt she was arrested for resisting being removed. End of story.

    Dave

  • http://www.markiscranky.org Mark Saleski

    not the ‘end of story’. at all.

    if she had on proper dress, but had the message sewn onto the front (or back), she still would have been shown the door.

  • MCH

    “Consider this…if any one of those Clinton women…Paul Jones, Broderick…goodness, dare I say Monica… if any one of those who Bill Clinton sexually abused had shown up at any one of his SOTU speeches with a nasty-sloganed Tshirt and plans to wreak havoc….raise your hand if you think Bill or Hillary would have tolerated it.”

    Monica was sexually abused?

  • http://www.landofthefreehomeofthebrave.org/wp/ Margaret Romao Toigo

    From what I can tell thus far, is that despite being arrested, Ms. Sheehan managed to make the news anyway.

    Sure, today’s headlines could have been about her wearing a controversial t-shirt on live television, but her arrest is likely getting just as much attention as the original “plan” would have.

    Either way, we get yet another distraction from more important issues, more inspiration for pointless debate (the likely purpose of Mr. Bush’s brief nod toward the “culture warriors” and their fear of “mermaids”) and greater incentives to engage in petty partisan bickering.

    Meanwhile, who’s looking into that whole domestic spying thing? Is it prudent to engage Iran when we aren’t yet finished in Iraq and Afghanistan? And why doesn’t this administration try to think of Social Security reform that has better than the proverbial snowball’s chance of passing?

    BTW, I hope gonzo intends to make good on what he wrote in comment #8. I, for one, would be most interested in reading his take on it.

  • troll

    *Did you know that Lynn Wolsey who invited Sheehan introduced legislation last year to balance out the Department of Defense with a Department of Peace – I’m kind of mystified what they would actually do, though.*

    perhaps focus on ‘positive-sum’ solutions to conflict situations – ?

    take your ‘zero-sum’ nationalist gaming off my bridge

    troll

  • ss

    Patfish says in comment #14:
    “Consider this…if any one of those Clinton women…Paul Jones, Broderick…goodness, dare I say Monica… if any one of those who Bill Clinton sexually abused had shown up at any one of his SOTU speeches with a nasty-sloganed Tshirt and plans to wreak havoc….raise your hand if you think Bill or Hillary would have tolerated it.”

    Or you could consider this, from the Washington Times off the UPI newswire:

    A young Iraqi who suffered major burns during the 2003 invasion was on her way to the United States Monday for skin grafts and other specialized treatment.
    Waghdan Aljayashee and her grandmother, Haseeba Zaghairon, are expected to arrive in Lexington, Ky., on Tuesday. They will be living for as long as a year with a doctor’s family while she is treated at the Shriner’s Hospital in Cincinnati, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
    Haider Al-jayashy, Waghdan’s uncle, said that because her burns have not received any specialized treatment scar tissue has fused together skin in her armpits and upper arms. She has trouble moving her upper arms and even breathing deeply.
    The uncle, who lives in Fort Wayne, Ind., has been seeking help for his niece for months

    Even if you’ll only allow the best, most selfless reasons FOR foghting a war into the debate, isn’t war by it’s very nature just a teeny tiny bit more morally ambiguous then a Prez who can’t keep his dick in his pants?
    Doesn’t this level of moral ambiguity demand a debate where the range isn’t limited to the best way to win?
    I realize you all believe, very strongly, that more good than harm will be done by our actions. I also realize that putting a story of a burnt child on the thread(even one getting treatment in the US) is roughly equivalent to standing outside a clinic with a picture of an aborted fetus.
    I apologize, and I won’t do it again.
    But someone has to ask the questions that seems to be getting left out of the debate.
    What can we do to ensure a freer a better world without inflicting this level of harm on the defenseless?
    Aren’t we obligated to ask ourselves this?

  • Dawn

    Mark, I’d settle for getting rid of the ones we “know” are bad. But yes, I understand your point.

    Recently I have come to the conclusion that we just can’t hug and kiss our way back into the hearts of those who hate us.

    We must eliminate those who inherently hate us and build up from there. Sounds simple, but we all know it’s not.

  • gonzo marx

    decent points Dawn…

    part of my entire problem with this Administration when it comes to our security is that they are NOT “doing all they can” to fight the Foe…

    namely bin Laden, Mullah Omar and al Qaeda

    they did NOT push the advantage at Tora Bora, and since have diverted the vast majority of military and Intelligence resources away form that Task and towards Iraq, and now it appears towards monitoring folks while bypassing FISA

    aAAAarRRRRrrRRggGGGGhHHHHh!!!!

    but i will say i am all for bin Laden’s head on a spike on the Capitol lawn

    now, if osmebody could explain why a bunch of saudis and egyptians can blow up our buildijngs but we attack Iraq…i’d be a bit happier…

    but i digress

    Excelsior!

  • zingzing

    i liked the part where bush decried iran being governed by a “small clerical elite.” it was funny. made me laugh. some guy in the room with me (whom i didn’t know) started laughing and yelled, “fuck” as loud as he could… some woman scoffed and left the room.

    that said, it was an interesting speech. the bits on oil and alternative energy were interesting, the bits on social security and my parents generation siphoning all my dough was frightening… bush really didn’t seem to say much or offer anything more than vague “future” solutions to pretty obvious problems (and he skipped right over some glaring issues)… there was a lot of back-patting.

    it took me a while to notice that the dems and the republicans were sitting on opposite sides of the room. usually, i don’t watch the state of the union, but i was kind of a captive audience. the sound was off, but i could read the subtitles and there were interesting reactions from both sides. especially mccain. was he being sarcastic? hard to tell…

  • Imelda

    Hey Patfish (#14) are you equating the meaningless death of a child with a blow job? Nice.

  • Nancy

    I thought Dubya’s speech was interesting for what it didn’t say more than what it did; the things he carefully skirted rather than addressed; the items ignored rather than those acknowledged. On the whole, however, his speechifiers get a ‘D’ for dishing out the same old same old again. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve gotten to the point where every time Dubya starts in on terrorism vs national security, I roll my eyes. This fearmongering tactic is SO 2001, and BTW if terrorism is such a threat, then why isn’t BushCo working harder at getting their hands on Osama & Al-Zarqawi…unless, of course, such persons being at large is more valuable to BushCo than if they were captive or dead? An intriguing question I’m not the first person to begin wondering about, & I suspect some of the more sentient members of the US general public might also be starting to wonder about it, altho it obviously is over the heads of the majority who still think Dubya is their national security hero.

    As for Ms. Sheehan, if she wants to make a spectacle of herself, let her. As it is, it seems to me BushCo played right into her hands with such a response to what could have been shown to be a juvenile, cheap trick if handled better.

    Oh well. Guess there’s always next year.

  • troll

    *but i will say i am all for bin Laden’s head on a spike on the Capitol lawn*

    to what end – ?

    troll

  • gonzo marx

    decent Question, troll…

    how about…decoration?

    if he can be taken alive, and welded into a cell for the rest of his life, then i am fine with that too

    but i would like some time for questions and answers, like the stuff between his working for the CIA in the mujahadeen in the 80’s to the formation of al Qaeda

    fair enough?

    Excelsior!

  • Bliffle

    I’d be more enthusiastic about GWBs call for free trade if I thought he had any intention of freeing up domestic trading. There are so many industries being protected from free markets that if we de-privileged them a New Golden Age would ensue. The pharmas, in particular, are the cause of most of the contortions and extravagances in domestic econ policy, certainly in medicare, and will become even worse as more medical problems are solved thru drugs. The drug leviathon, which for perverse reasons we’ve heavily subsidized not thru direct subsidies but thru egregious patent privileges and monopoly exceptions, is the core of the menace people imagine in ‘entitlements’ problem.

  • ss

    I’ve had some time to think about my last post, and although it wasn’t actually meant to be hate-filled lefty rhetoric, it did hit way WAY below the belt for any rational conversation. It’s to late to withdraw it, but I would like to at least ammend it:

    Patfish, if you wan’t to point out out the moral ambiguities of the left, bring up Saddam and the consequences of inaction in Iraq, bring up Rawanda, bring up abortion if you want (though if you’re also against contraception you’ll lose the moral high ground on that one fast)
    but
    For the love of God
    don’t equate a war, an activity which must take innocent life (even if it’s for a good reason in the larger scheme) with a philandering husband and his frigid (just a guess) wife.
    We can argue over the necessity, the motives, the outcome, but for certain one’s a gut wrenching tragedy, the other is actually kinda comical to everyone but the couple themselves.

    Again, I saw the article in the last post, I was angry about it, but I shouldn’t haven’t used it the way I did.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Bliffle, Bush’s idea of free trade on the international front isn’t exactly free trade either, it’s selective and exclusionary and exploitative. NAFTA, CAFTA and their ilk may end up being good for the US, but they are certainly not free trade in any genuine sense of the word.

    Dave

  • Bliffle

    NAFTA and CAFTA are good for a few targeted US companies, but not for US business in general. If Bush could get Mexico to change it’s laws so a US businessman could build a business and KEEP it there would be a gold rush of US businessmen and investors rushing to Mexico to invest and hire workers. It would end the immigration problem and produce a blossoming of prosperity in Mexico that would be the wonder of the world. But a US businessman simply cannot do any good under the current rules, so after they get burned they quit. I tried it and many of my friends tried it.

  • http://www.EnergyPredicament.com Randy Park

    Bush stated “Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.” My first thought was “that’s quite an admission, where is he going with this?”

    Then he said: “The best way to break this addiction is through technology. …To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants; revolutionary solar and wind technologies; and clean, safe nuclear energy.”

    I’m confused – does Bush view this addiction as a problem or an opportunity? To put it another way, is he a healer or a dealer? Every addiction treatment program I’ve heard of works on weaning the addict from the substance, not substituting one drug for another. It’s like a drug dealer telling his customers “we’re having trouble getting cocaine, so we’re opening some labs to make crystal meth for you.”

    If President Bush is truly serious about reducing the addition to oil, he should be supporting programs to reduce oil use.

  • Judith Waits

    Victimless crimes? If that is the truth, how do explain to crack babies that they had the choice to use or not to use?

    You need to think before you “speak”.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Randy, the alternative to substituting one form of energy for another in your extended drug addiction analogy would be going ‘cold turkey’ in other words, not having things like electricity and cars. Is that really where you wanted to go with this analogy?

    Dave

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Victimless crimes? If that is the truth, how do explain to crack babies that they had the choice to use or not to use?

    You need to think before you “speak”.

    Seems like you haven’t really thought this one through, Junior Drug Warrior. If you legalize the drugs then you can control the drugs, get treatment for the users and monitor them so that they can be given long-term birth control, pregnancy counseling and even abortions. If you don’t legalize drugs then their habit is entirely underground and there’s no way to get them this kind of help.

    Dave

  • http://www.EnergyPredicament.com Randy Park

    Dave, the analogy is not perfect, nor did I start it, the President did. I don’t think it is desireable or necessary to go cold turkey; I think electricity in particular is essential to maintain and that will involve nuclear among other technologies. But unless energy use is reduced, I don’t believe the “technology will save us” solution will happen fast enough in view of declining oil and natural gas production.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Well, one of the big technologies at issue will be hybrid vehicles and they’re a win/win because they straight out reduce fuel consumption plus they can also use E85 ethanol as their fuel source. So that means reduction of total gas consumption by about 93% per vehicle. That’s a hell of an improvement. And it’s not far off. We’ve got the vehicles now and we’ve got ethanol production. What really needs work is the ethanol distribution system and the development of demand which will lead to greater levels of production.

    Oh, and as for the addiction analogy, I think of it as being more like an addiction to food rather than a drug. You need food, but you can get by on less of it. It’s more like putting America on a diet and eating healthier (ethanol and biodiesel).

    Dave

  • gonzo marx

    biodiesel hybrids…i said it months ago…

    for Margaret…your Wish is granted, we will see when it gets past the Editors and Posts…

    i will say there were one or two things that if the Pres is serious about, could be decent…but there was soOOooOOOooOOooo much pure shit in there that i just can’t believe ANYthing that comes out of that smirk

    Excelsior!

  • tony

    Isn’t anyone slightly upset by the fact , we cheered and became teary eyed when the mother who lost a son in the Iraq war was recognized with a standing ovation. However, a mother who also lost a son in the Iraq war, who was lead away in handcuffs is maligned. How have we accepted and allowed the politics we embrace to determine the way we are treated as Americans?

  • Bliffle

    Everyone on TV is buzzing about the Oil Addiction and Ethanol parts. But we’ve known about this for at least 30 years. Is it only now, when it appears important to Bush, that we give it attention? Do we elect Czars now, whose whim governs?

  • http://www.landofthefreehomeofthebrave.org/wp/ Margaret Romao Toigo

    “Crack Babies” were a 1980s drug war myth, which has been thoroughly debunked for quite some time now. Babies born addicted to cocaine (crack) do not usually suffer permanent dysfunctions once the drug is out of their systems.

    Even the most senior drug warriors do not seem to understand that, if you support prohibition, you support organized crime.

  • Lumpen Prole

    Tony, the mom who respects her son’s memory and choices tends to get a bit more sympathy from most people than the one who offers her son’s memory up as a political football.

  • RogerMDillon

    Yeah, Tony. Just because you have freedom in this country doesn’t mean you are supposed to use it.

    File away in the spoke to-soon dept.:

    “Neither guest should have been confronted about the expressive T-shirts,” said Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer.

    [Roger: please feel free to make your links active. You can email me at editoratlarge AT gmail if you’d like me to explain how. Comments Editor]

  • SonnyD

    Come on, people, it’s just another State of the Union address. Why pick it apart word by word. Haven’t you ever heard one before? So he didn’t solve all the worlds problems. What did you expect him to say?

    Most of the things I would have liked to comment on as I read this have already been answered. Doesn’t matter anyway, if you have already made up your mind to approve or disapprove, you won’t listen to someone else’s view.

    One thing that wasn’t answered was the human/animal thing. Well, there was the mermaid bit. But, seriously, it’s in the bible. Don’t remember where. I must have been around ten years old when I read it and thought, “Neato.” Things like that seem to stick in a kid’s memory.

  • Dave Nalle

    SD, the bible talks about having sex with animals, it doesn’t say anything about hybridizing humans and animals. I admire Bush for even thinking it might be an issue, but dammit I want my near-human-intelligence slave monkey houseboy. I’m going to name him Caesar.

    Dave

  • Dave Nalle

    If President Bush is truly serious about reducing the addition to oil, he should be supporting programs to reduce oil use.

    Isn’t that exactly what he proposed in the speech? Sure sounded that way to me. Plus there was a lot of support for alternative fuels and more fuel efficient vehicles in his last energy bill.

    Dave

  • Bliffle

    We’ve known for decades that we can’t drill our way out of our energy problems. 30 years ago I was reading that 2005 was the ‘peak oil’ year, after which oil yield would decline. And we proved during the ’73 oil crisis that we could use alternative fuels and conservation to reduce consumption 20%. Nevertheless, in 2001 Cheney bald-faced lied and said conservation wouldn’t work and we could only drill more. And people supported the oaf! Seemingly well-informed people!

    Now that GWB broached the subject of conservation and alternative fuel, people are supporting it! Did it not exist before it entered the Emperors little mind? Do we really need to bring a drugstore cowboy out of the backwoods of Texas to do our thinking for us?

    What sheep and dunces the American people have become!

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Bliff, I think the problem with the alternative fuels issue is that no one has been willing to take a leadership role on a national level. Lots of consumers are interested and the auto manufacturers are playing along, but the oil companies are the only ones with fuel distribution networks and it’s going to take someone like Bush to basically force them to distribute ethanol and biodiesel. Hell, half the stations don’t even carry regular diesel.

    All it would take is some cajoling from Bush for the ‘good guy’ oil companies like BP and Shell and Chevron to add alternative fuels to their inventories. Give them some sort of tax break and you’d see them on the pumps in a couple of months.

    Dave

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    Re-thinking it now…I’m not quite sure just how sincere Bush’s ideas on alternative energy really are. I’d be surprised to see him take any really big steps in that direction.

  • http://www.markiscranky.org Mark Saleski

    that’s my next granola move: a biodiesel volkswagan.

    always wanted a car that smelled like french fries.

  • Bliffle

    Dave:

    Well that’s the problem with allowing monopolies to flourish. Heck, the monopoly corps and the feds are partners in crime.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    You have a point, bliff, but the ‘good’ oil companies have branched out into solar and other areas of alternative energy and alternative uses and means of processing petrochemicals, so if there’s money to be made with ethanol and biodiesel all they should need is a nudge in the right direction.

    But the problem may be monopolies in a different way. A few giant agrobusinesses have the potential to dominate ethanol production, and if companies like ADM can’t be made to step up their productions it may be hard to get small companies to expand to fill the vacuum, especially if the giant agrobusinesses try to stop them.

    Dave

  • MT

    I date back more than most of you and clearly remember Nixon in 1973 saying that we must address our dependency on oil and develop alternate fuel sources. That was 33 years ago! What happened? Where have all our politicians been all this time when it comes to this issue? Bush is a bull in a china shop and sucks — we all know that — but so do all the Democrats and the rest of that bunch of corrupt old world blowhards in DC. This will not be the USA’s century. The good old days have come and gone.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Bush may be late coming to this issue, but unlike all of his predecessors except for Jimmy Carter he’s actually trying to do something. And his efforts appear to be far more sensible than Carter’s half-assed speed limit lowering.

    Dave

  • SonnyD

    Dave #48: You misunderstood my reference to the human/animal subject in the bible. Not having to do with humans having sex with animals. I suppose that is in there, too. This was a mention of creatures that roamed the earth at some time and were considered atrocities. If I remember right, they had been created in the past by some sort of human experimentation.

    I was just wondering if Pres. Bush had been reading his bible and thought it was possible that somebody might use cloning to attempt something like that.

  • MT

    Dave — time will tell if Bush actually means what he says about developing alternative fuel sources, or if its just more rhetoric. Already he has retracted his pledge to free us of oil dependency by the year 2025.

    You’re such a Bush-ite that you can’t see that this man is in over his head. The tide is turning, Dave, and you’re on the wrong side of the tracks. Americans do not like what they’re seeing.

  • Dave Nalle

    MT, I just like to give people the benefit of the doubt. No one else is doing anything to help out with important issues like fuel conservation or social security reform, so I have to hang my hopes on the little bit he’s offering.

    Dave

  • MT

    Dave — at the risk of sounding disrespectful — which is not my intention at all — all I can say is dream on. I don’t know what the mood is in your neck of the woods but in mine, Virginia, even the most rural folks are turning against W. The GWB hype has imploded. The spin won’t work anymore. The smear, the slur, the covert trick tactics have been revealed.

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    Wait, wait, wait…Dave…you give people the benefit of the doubt?? When in the hell did this start happening??

  • Dave Nalle

    Always, Scott. It’s my great weakness.

    MT, I live in Texas, and here we’re a little more realistic and there are still plenty who give Bush the benefit of the doubt.

    Dave

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com/ Christopher Rose

    Texans realistic? Now I truly have heard the last word in self delusion. I’m gonna be sniggering over that one for weeks!

    Thanks Dave, I needed something to cheer me up on a rare rainy day in Spain…

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    “there are still plenty who give Bush the benefit of the doubt”

    They’re called “morons.”

  • MT

    Texas more “ballistic” is more like it, Dave.

  • Bliffle

    “Bush may be late coming to this issue, but unlike all of his predecessors except for Jimmy Carter he’s actually trying to do something.”

    What?

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Christopher: Realistic in the sense of not having false expectations or unreasonable idealism.

    Scott: There are morons everywhere even in (insert home state).

    MT: Everything is better if it’s more ballistic.

    Bliffle: Read carefully. Jimmy Carter actually tried to do something about our dependence on foreign oil. Reagan, Bush I and Clinton did nothing. Bush II did more in his last energy bill for alternative energy than has ever been done before. See what I’m saying?

    Dave

  • gonzo marx

    #68 sez…
    *Bush II did more in his last energy bill for alternative energy than has ever been done before. See what I’m saying?*

    translation:Bush2 gave away a shitload of money to energy companies via outright cash and tax break fo rthem at least saying they would look into alternatives when they get around to it…no performance or milestones set…

    there….fixT

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Did I say ‘enough’, gonzo? He also provided a nice fat tax break for people who buy hybrid cars, and that’s a nice market-based effort that earns him some points.

    Dave

  • gonzo marx

    now now, Mr Nalle..did i aim that barb at you?…nope…that wa for the Shrub and Cheney and the s00per sekrit energy task force bullshit

    the hybrid hype is a step in the right direction, but if you look closely…much of it is in SIUV’s that get no bette rmileage, just boosting underpowered engines and a feel good sticker

    fuck that

    but i do agree it IS a tiny, baby step of progress

    nowhere near what the Admin is trying to crow about…and hence my snark…even you made it seem a bit more than the Reality in your quoted statement

    fair enough?

    Excelsior!

  • Dave Nalle

    the hybrid hype is a step in the right direction, but if you look closely…much of it is in SIUV’s that get no bette rmileage, just boosting underpowered engines and a feel good sticker

    Point me to these hybrid SUVs, because they are a tiny portion of the market and one of the whole TWO of them is the incredibly crappy Ford Escape. And if we can give the public what they want to drive (an SUV) with the gas mileage of a smaller car, then that’s ok with me. It’s still progress.

    Dave

  • http://www.fotolog.com/butki13 Scott Butki

    I’m pro-mermaid and pro your idea of ending the drug war.
    So we’re actually agreeing on something.

    Mark your diary accordingly

  • MT

    Dave — in your post # 68 you stated that everything is better if it’s more ballistic. Your comment was in response to my comment that Texans are ballistic versus your comment that they are more realistic when it comes to Bush and there are still plenty willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    This prompted me to turn to the dictionary for a definition of ballistic. Def:: “suddenly and extremely upset, or angry – not amenable to human habitation, or cultivation – uncontrolled, unruly, stormy, uncivilized, barbaric, wild.”

    Do you realize they could lynch you in Texas for such a comment?

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    MT, I was making a pun. Look at the other definitions of ballistic.

    Dave

  • Scott Butki

    Does this mean we don’t get the mermaid?

  • Dave Nalle

    I hope not, Scott. I’ve already put down a deposit for the deluxe model. We need someone to clean our pool.

    Dave

  • Scott Butki

    I believe that the person listening in on wiretaps to my phone calls has agreed to do the pool cleaning. Last time I was talking to my mom and the guy was listening in I said, “If you agree to clean the pool don’t hang up.” And he didn’t.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Well now that’s a good deal. If only more of us could get free, government pool cleaning services.

    Of course, with my background and experiences I’m shocked by the concept that someone might NOT be tapping my phone.

    Dave

  • Scott Butki

    What makes you so sure they are not.
    I’ve decided they must be tapping mine just because how could they not?
    I’d be crest-fallen if i’m not on some enemies list — it’d mean I’m not working hard enough to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted

  • Dave Nalle

    I figure they no longer tap my phone because they go too bored or they were driven insane by listening to my schizo pool guy who calls me 3 times a day to ramble on endlessly in a mumbling, self-medicated voice about impellers and bearings.

    Dave

  • Scott Butki

    I’m bored just reading that.

  • http://aboutimmigrants-formayschool brandon

    about immigrants-for may school project………..

    Why did they leave thier country?

    Why come to canada?

    Once in canada, how did they adjust?