Not the State of the Union

(live blogging--I'm not psychic so the quotes aren't always perfectly correct)

(It's not actually the State of the Union address, but President Obama is addressing a joint session.) 

Goddammit but NBC has the most annoying commentary...and the best sound quality.

The President is rather popular during the aisle, apparently.  Really I'm more curious about the Republicans...okay, they've finally gotten to that.  Pretty awesome that his popularity has gone up despite the giant crisis: I think many are blaming Bush's neglect for this and are instead lauding President Obama's efforts to get things done.

Studying FDR's fireside chats: more parallels to the Depression.  I'm starting to wonder if it is even possible to escape this entirely.

8.15--finally at the podium.  Still clapping, though.  It's really funny (strange) to see President Obama not towering over everyone (Biden and Pelosi are behind him on an elevation).  And it turns out that that wasn't even the official introduction...more clapping.  For the record, the House of Representatives has incredibly comfortable seats.
(Addressing everyone: Michelle Obama gets her own standing ovation.  Definitely a Jackie O feel.)

"...to speak frankly and directly to the men and women who sent us here."  Plain words time.  Avoiding the numbers: the qualitative cost of the horrible economy.

"The United States of America will emerge stronger than before."  Standing ovation.  I keep forgetting how awesome his voice sounds with good bass...turning that up.  Definite call for real, fundamental change.  "The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation...."  YES!  He mentioned that the future rests in the laboratories first!  Of course, universities, etc. as well.  This has got to be the most consistent campaigning ever.

'For too long, we have avoided certain responsibilites'..."our economy did not fall into decline overnight."  "We have known for decades..."--accusations of the Bush and Reagan administrations?

"We have lived through an era where too often short-term gains were [valued] above long-term prosperity."  Definitive accusations of the previous administration.  "Regulations were gutted...", etc.  People blamed, but not nearly as much as banks and, above all, the avoidance of "critical debates."

The "day of reckoning" has arrived--Biblical, clever rhetoric, or both?

Time for the economic agenda.  (Definitely covering for Geithner's messing up.)

First things first--jobs.  He claims to not believe in bigger government and is also mindful of the debt we're in.  "A failure to act would've worsened..." the crisis.  The American Economic Recovery & Investment Act is now law.  (This doesn't say that much, though, because the Democrat majority could've pushed this all by themselves.)

Definite plans familiar of the New Deal, with the notable addition of laying broadband (important nowadays).

95% of Americans receive a tax cut!  Refunds arriving starting April 1st.  Tax credit for four years of college...goddammit, where was Mr. Obama four years ago (when I started college)?  To the skeptics: he understands "how quickly good intentions can turn into broken promises, wasteful spending...".  VP Biden will lead a "tough" oversight, "because nobody messes with Joe."  Applause, smiles.  Mayors & governors will be held accountable: new website, recovery.gov for easy access to find out where the money's going.  Yes!  Use that technology!

"No real recovery unless we clean up the credit crisis..."  Speaking plainly and candidly:  "every American should know that it affects you and your family."  But the concern is the importance of restarting lending: "the flow of credit is the lifeblood of our economy."  Banks are afraid of lending money because of debts...but this is pretty much just a vicious cycle.  Based on everything that has been said about Wall Street, this seems to be perfectly true.

New lending fund ("largest one ever") for college, auto, small business loans.

A housing plan for responsible families facing foreclosure--lower interest rates to combat lowered house values.  Chance of saving at least $2,000 a year on the mortgage (this really isn't that much).

"Wall Street may be more comforted by a bailout...with no strings attached."  But the real appeal will be made to--dare I say it--Main Street.  "This time, they will have to clearly demonstrate" how their use of money will "help the American taxpayer."  No more fancy jets, upholstery, etc.  Standing ovation for this standard of accountability.  "Still, this plan will require significant resources from the federal government."  "The cost of inaction will be far greater, for it could result in an economy that sputters along...for a decade.... I refuse to let that happen."  Another standing ovation from the floor.

"In a time of crisis, we cannot afford to govern out of anger or yield to the politics of the moment."  All, take heed.  It's time to dump this excessive partisan bullshit and do something.  "It's not about helping banks, it's about helping people."

Building houses is the awesome is what this is coming down to.  I think the real idea here is to not only encourage lending but also to reinspire spirit in home ownership--it's funny, because this used to be a real big part of the "American Dream."

Asking Congress to "move quickly."  "It is time, it is time"--Another standing ovation.  No shortcuts, no abuse.  These steps are the immediate ones, but the long-term investments are the most important.

The submission of a budget to Congress: "I see [this document] as a vision for America, a blueprint for the future...it reflects the stark reality of what we've inherited."  Again, reminders that this is from the last administration.  Even though things will have to be put in the backburner, we still have to pay attention.

The best part: "I reject the view that things will take care of themselves."  "In the midst of the Civil War, we laid railroads...."--the bailout doesn't mean that his campaign promises will be dropped.  The opposite, in fact, since he thinks that this really is the only route for America.

Energy, healthcare, education.  (Remember 9/11, 9/11, God Bless America?  I most certainly prefer this version.)

"We invented solar technology but we've fallen behind countries like Germany and Japan in producing it."  "I do not accept a future where [our production has] fallen beyond our borders."  Why is America inventing things but not making them?  Americans are so reluctant to hard, tedious work: a sacrifice that Obama hasn't specifically mentioned.  Talk of research, etc.  But still, menial labor has to happen here.

"Clean, renewable energy" has to be "the profitable kind of energy."  A market-based cap on carbon emissions: interesting idea.

$15 billion/year to develop wind, solar, biofuels, clean coal, and American-built efficient cars and trucks.

About the auto industry:  "we should not and will not protect them from their own bad practices.  But we are committed to a reimagined, retooled" auto industry.  "The nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it."

"This is America; we do what's necessary to move this country forward."

Healthcare--"the crushing cost of healthcare."  Goddamn, premiums are rising like college tuition.  What's that?  Nationalized healthcare is socialist?  :P Who cares.  "We can no longer afford to put healthcare reform on hold."

Awesome and highly deadly drinking game: every time he gets a standing ovation.  At least six shots by now...and two in 30 seconds, just now (8.43).

AAAUGH.  "a cure for cancer in our time."  Have I mentioned how impossible this is?  Hell, Wired--which really is ahead of our time mentioned this...oh, good.  "Preventive care."  That's where all the money should be going...that and EARLY DETECTION.

"Nearly a century after Teddy Roosevelt called for reform..." things still suck.  Healthcare reform 'must not, cannot' wait another year.  (That's another standing ovation.)


"In a global economy, where the most valuable skill you can sell is your own knowledge...."  Wait, our high school dropout rate (one of the highest among industrialized countries) and college finish rates ("half") are that high?!  Welp, the Republicans definitely didn't stand for that standing ovation (they zoomed to McCain for a moment, he has this weird smile on his face).

"We need to make college affordable for 7 million more students."  "Our schools don't just need more resources, they need more reform."  New incentives for teacher reform--a little unclear there.  Higher standards, closed achievement gaps--extended to charter schools.  "It is our responsibility as lawmakers--and as educators--to make the system work.  But it is also the responsibility of every American to participate."  "Dropping out of high school is no longer an option."  Also attending beyond that--I mean, really not going to happen for people who have been out of the system.  We'll see if this actually affects people in school now.  (I wish they'd show whether or not the Republicans were standing...I think they just stood for both of the ovations.)

A new goal: "By 2020, America will have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world."

"A bipartisan legislation" from Sens. Orrin Hatch and Edward (?) Kennedy.  Definitely a shout-out to that whole terminal thing that Kennedy doesn't want discussed.

"Responsibility for our children's education must begin at home.  That's not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue.  That's an American issue."  Also, the responsibility of not passing on a giant-ass debt.

We must "do what it takes" to bring this debt down.

He's proud of passing a plan "without earmarks."  Pledge to cut the deficit in half by 2012 (hey, maybe that's why the Apocalypse will happen!)

Allegedly, the staff has already identified "2 trillion dollars" in wasted budget money.  Elimination of bad education, agribusiness, big contracts in Iraq, and reform of defense budgets "so that we're not spending on Cold War* defense systems we don't use."  No more tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas!  (What about offshore businesses.)

No tax breaks for the wealthiest 2% of Americans--annoyed about the allegations of massive tax increases.  Under $250k households will "not see [their] taxes increased by one single dime."  "These checks are on the way"!  O hai.

"To preserve fiscal health": the growing cost of Medicare and Social Security; the former can be dealt with by comprehensive healthcare reform.  Something needs to be done about the latter, though.

"Accountability and honesty" in the budget: including the "full cost of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan...no longer will we hide its price".  The budget will also look 10 years in the future.  Soon to announce a withdrawal from Iraq "that leaves Iraq to its people": McCain stood for this one.

God, I love that he knows how to pronounce the 'a' in Pakistan.  More full-room ovation for discussion of national security.

For the troops: "We honor your service...and you have our unyielding support."  Definitely.

"My budget increases the number of soldiers and Marines."  Expanded healthcare, benefits, and pay raise for the veterans/servicepeople.  Which should be quite possible "To overcome extremism, we must also uphold values"--"Living our values doesn't make us weaker, it makes us safer, and it makes us stronger."  Why Guantanamo was closed.  "The United States of America does not torture."  (Standing ovation from everyone.)  (Shatner on the last bit, there...and of course he's used the. one. word. sentence throughout tonight.)

Hey, Kerry!

An envoy to sustain the effort of creating peace between "Israel and her neighbors."  Fighting all threats...including cyber ones, good, good.  Working with the G20 (wait, seriously?!) to restore the economy.

"The world depends on us having a strong economy, just as ours depends on..." the world having a strong one.  Lots of how important America is (yes, it is inevitable)...finally, an acknowledgment on how that goes both ways.

The entire world is watching us.  (Vox dramatis.  I made that Latin up.)

It's easy to become "cynical and doubtful"...any emos watching this?

Description of some cool bank dude.  Anecdotes, etc.  I'm not really that interested in the inspiration because I am nobody at the moment, nor do I need an emotional appeal where rationality does the job.

*ABOUT FUCKING TIME.  I have much to say about the stupid legacy post-Cold War generations have been saddled with.

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