A lot of things about a President's State of the Union address are numbingly predictable, and that's probably why a lot of Americans tune out, seeking entertainment. (Of course, for die-hard politicos, the theater of the State of the Union and the opposition party's response ARE entertainment.)
And it's preordained: Republicans will criticize the President for vowing executive orders over the heads of Congress. But keep something in context. See this article from NATIONAL JOURNAL:
Not all Republican guests put the focus on the failure of 0bamaCare.
Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., is bringing along Charles Woods, father of Navy SEAL Ty Woods, one of four Americans killed in the 2012 Benghazi attack. Woods has been highly critical of the Obama administration and its handling of the incident.
Mike from Delaware
Tue, Jan 28, 2014 5:55pm
Interesting article, Allan. So Reagan far outpaced Clinton, Bush Jr., & Obama in who used his pen to bypass Congress to get his way. Yet, the G.O.P. / TEA Party will be whining about how Obama is violating the Constitution & is a dictator, etc., by signing Executive Orders.
This is the kind of hypocrisy that keeps me from taking the G.O.P./TEA Party folks seriously. It's OK if their guy does it, but evil if the DEM guy does it??? What a double-standard!
Tue, Jan 28, 2014 7:28pm
"Because they lead my people astray, saying, "Peace," when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash." - Ezekiel 13:10
Tue, Jan 28, 2014 7:53pm
"A lot of things about a President's State of the Union address are numbingly predictable, and that's probably why a lot of Americans tune out, seeking entertainment."
This shows the brain-dead media lemming mentality. The throne speech is on all the regular networks plus all the cable news networks, plus public television. What's the point? Why on every channel? Are they trying to force people to watch the damn thing? Yes, they probably are. And the newsies, of course, want to inflate their own self-importance. And of course by running it live, they allow all the lies to go uncorrected. Too bad one network doesn't have the guts to run regular programs (and score the entire audience) and then run a "fact checked" version later - with graphics showing Obama's nose growing or his pants on fire.
Loudell wants again continues his penchant for recycling in journalism. NPR, the closest thing in radio to an actual news organization, has been doing stories on Obama and executive orders for several days now. "Thou shalt not steal."
Tue, Jan 28, 2014 8:38pm
MFD: We're not whining. We're just exposing the fraudster.
Mike from Delaware
Tue, Jan 28, 2014 9:21pm
My point Mrpizza is you'd not complain if Prez Romney was doing it, the double standard is the turn off for me.
Tue, Jan 28, 2014 10:21pm
Don't bet on it. I judge a politician on his or her merits. Since President Romney didn't get elected, I can't evaluate him on that basis.
As far as Obama, I already know he doesn't have any merits.
Wed, Jan 29, 2014 5:57am
What is it with MikeFromDelaware and these words in ALLCAPS? The other day Fresh Air (where they do real interviews) did an interview about a book on the cozy relationship between the Vatican and MUSSOLINI. IL DUCE insisted Eye-talian newspapers print his name and title in ALL CAPS, too (an offer they couldn't refuse). ALL CAPS must be an Eye-talian thing.
When you look at all the similarities, the ROMAN Catholic Church is just the spiritual branch of the MAFIA. Just another line of business to fleece the gullible.
According to "Pope and Mussolini," Pius XI was getting ready to break with Benito, and he died suddenly (and his letter to Eyetalian bishops disappeared, thanks to the guy in curia who became Pius XII). Just like John Paul I died under suspicious circumstances when he was uncovering a scandal in the Vatican Bank involving the Mafia.
Wed, Jan 29, 2014 6:03am
OBAMA Lies (again).
FACT CHECK: Less than meets eye in Obama speech
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama promised to clear red tape away from highway projects that actually are stalled because there's no money for them, not because rules are in the way. He's ordering a higher minimum wage for a sliver of the workforce, which affects no one now and not many later.
Going it alone — without Congress making a law — just doesn't go as far as Obama made it sound at times Tuesday night in his State of the Union speech.
And when he talked about his health care law — a source of Obama misstatements in the past — he hit another fact bump.
A look at some of the facts and political circumstances behind his claims, along with a glance at the Republican response:
OBAMA: "Because of this (health care) law, no American can ever again be dropped or denied coverage for a preexisting condition like asthma, back pain or cancer. No woman can ever be charged more just because she's a woman. And we did all this while adding years to Medicare's finances, keeping Medicare premiums flat, and lowering prescription costs for millions of seniors."
THE FACTS: Some Medicare premiums have gone up, not stayed flat.
As Obama said, insurers can no longer turn people down because of medical problems, and they can't charge higher premiums to women because of their sex. The law also lowered costs for seniors with high prescription drug bills. But Medicare's monthly premium for outpatient care has gone up in recent years.
Although the basic premium remained the same this year at $104.90, it increased by $5 a month in 2013, up from $99.90 in 2012. Obama's health care law also raised Medicare premiums for upper-income beneficiaries, and both the president and Republicans have proposed to expand that.
Finally, the degree to which the health care law improved Medicare finances is hotly debated. On paper, the program's giant trust fund for inpatient care gained more than a decade of solvency because of cuts to service providers required under the health law. But in practice those savings cannot simultaneously be used to expand coverage for the uninsured and shore up Medicare.
OBAMA: "Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled."
THE FACTS: The most recent evidence suggests that mobility hasn't worsened. A team of economists led by Harvard's Raj Chetty released a study last week that found the United States isn't any less socially mobile than it was in the 1970s. Looking at children born between 1971 and 1993, the economists found that the odds of a child born in the poorest 20 percent of families making it into the top 20 percent hasn't changed.
"We find that children entering the labor market today have the same chances of moving up in the income distribution (relative to their parents) as children born in the 1970s," the authors said.
Still, other research has found that the United States isn't as mobile a society as most Americans would like to believe. In a study of 22 countries, economist Miles Corak of the University of Ottawa found that the United States ranked 15th in social mobility. Only Italy and Britain among wealthy countries ranked lower. By some measures, children in the United States are as likely to inherit their parents' economic status as their height.
OBAMA: "We'll need Congress to protect more than 3 million jobs by finishing transportation and waterways bills this summer. But I will act on my own to slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key projects, so we can get more construction workers on the job as fast as possible."
THE FACTS: Cutting rules and regulations doesn't address what's holding up most transportation projects, which is lack of money. The federal Highway Trust Fund will run out of money in August without action. To finance infrastructure projects, Obama wants Congress to raise taxes on businesses that keep profits or jobs overseas, but that idea has been a political nonstarter.
The number of projects affected by the administration's efforts to cut red tape is relatively small, said Joshua Schank, president and CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation, a think tank. "The reason most of these projects are delayed is they don't have enough money. So it's great that you are expediting the review process, but the review process isn't the problem. The problem is we don't have enough money to invest in our infrastructure in the first place."
OBAMA: "More than 9 million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage."
THE FACTS: That's not to say 9 million more Americans have gained insurance under the law.
The administration says about 6 million people have been determined to be eligible for Medicaid since Oct. 1 and an additional 3 million roughly have signed up for private health insurance through the new markets created by the health care law. That's where Obama's number of 9 million comes from. But it's unclear how many in the Medicaid group were already eligible for the program or renewing existing coverage.
Likewise, it's not known how many of those who signed up for private coverage were previously insured. A large survey released last week suggests the numbers of uninsured gaining coverage may be smaller. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found that the uninsured rate for U.S. adults dropped by 1.2 percentage points in January, to 16.1 percent. That would translate to roughly 2 million to 3 million newly insured people since the law's coverage expansion started Jan. 1.
OBAMA: "In the coming weeks, I will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour, because if you cook our troops' meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn't have to live in poverty."
THE FACTS: This would be a hefty boost in the federal minimum wage, now $7.25, but not many would see it.
Most employees of federal contractors already earn more than $10.10. About 10 percent of those workers, roughly 200,000, might be covered by the higher minimum wage. But there are several wrinkles. The increase would not take effect until 2015 at the earliest and it doesn't apply to existing federal contracts, only new ones. Renewed contracts also will be exempt from Obama's order unless other terms of the agreement change, such as the type of work or number of employees needed.
Obama also said he'll press Congress to raise the federal minimum wage overall. He tried that last year, seeking a $9 minimum, but Congress didn't act.
REP. CATHY McMORRIS RODGERS of Washington, in her prepared Republican response: "Last month, more Americans stopped looking for a job than found one. Too many people are falling further and further behind because, right now, the president's policies are making people's lives harder."
THE FACTS: She leaves out a significant factor in the high number of people who aren't looking for jobs: Baby boomers are retiring.
It's true that a large part of the still-high unemployment rate is due to jobless workers who have given up looking for a job. There are roughly three people seeking every job opening, a circumstance that can discourage others from trying. But one big reason people aren't seeking employment is that there are so many boomers — the generation born in the immediate aftermath of World War II — and therefore more than the usual number of retirements.
As of December, the economy had gained 3,246,000 jobs since Obama took office in January 2009. When he was inaugurated, the unemployment rate was 7.8 percent and on the rise. It peaked at 10 percent in October 2009 and has been inching down ever since, to 6.7 percent this past December.
Mike from Delaware
Wed, Jan 29, 2014 7:01am
Billsmith: What all caps are you talking about? I only USE all caps to EMPHASIZE my point. So big deal. What's your point?
Thanks for the extensive fact check thing on the Prez & the G.O.P. response.
Wed, Jan 29, 2014 9:27am
Looks like there's finally something bill and I agree on...this president lies, lies, and then lies some more.
Mike from Delaware
Wed, Jan 29, 2014 1:28pm
Sadly, both sides do it.
I'll give Jack Markell credit for stating today in an election year, that Delaware needs to raise the gas tax 10 cents. Of course Markell is in his second term, so he'd not be affected, but the folks in Dover are and probably won't be anxious to be on record voting to raise that tax in 2014.
Wed, Jan 29, 2014 2:39pm
Well, that's one of the biggest problems with this sick country. Everybody wants roads, more roads, better roads, safer roads, less crowded roads and with no Jersey barriers. Nobody wants to pay a higher gas tax or any other tax to finance roads. This country's real religion is the Church of the Free Lunch.
Mike from Delaware
Wed, Jan 29, 2014 3:20pm
Billsmith: To use that phrase you detest, but is correct, well said, excellent point. Same goes with funding mass transit. If DART could lure 1/3 of the traffic off the roads and onto buses and trains, the other 2/3's would have a far better experience on the roads with less traffic, not to mention less pollution going into the atmosphere, a win/win for everyone.
Talking about roads in Delaware, one thing I've noticed over the years is that Delaware has the habit of taking a two lane road that had a posted speed limit of 50 mph and making it into a four-lane divided highway with medians, left turning lanes, right turning lanes, sidewalks, wide shoulders, and then dropping the speed limit from 50 to 45. Why? That doesn't make sense to me. Examples of such roads: Linden Hill Road in Pike Creek, Rt. 273 from Hares Corner heading away from New Castle, Rt. 7 from Rt. 273 to US Rt. 40 at Bear [actually Rt. 7's speed dropped to 40 from 50 mph].
The other question is with the computerized traffic lights we have, why won't they coordinate them, say, in a cluster of 3 lights, so that when you stop for the first one as a Red, you being on the main highway will not have to stop again until at least the 4th light? Why do we get stopped at every light? It's like having a series of Stop signs.
None of that has anything to do with the gas tax, but still I'd would like to know the answers to those questions.
Wed, Jan 29, 2014 6:28pm
MFD: I only detest the phrase when you use it to disagree with something I don't agree with.
Yes, so much about road design makes no sense. Traffic lights, too. For all the examples you point out locally, PennDOT seems even nuttier. Whatever they call it in Jersey, they actually seem to do things that make sense (like those jug handles instead of left turns). It seems like the traffic engineers are just arrogant. Must be where the phrase "my way or the highway" started. They seem to think it's their road, and they do us a favor by letting us use them - on their terms, of course.
Ever notice how you have to keep changing lanes on I-95 in Delaware? Traffic is always merging. Not only when another highway comes in but just because they keep changing the number of lanes or because (for instance) they end the right lane and start a left lane.
Ever come home late and have to sit at a red light with nobody going through the green light? Then the light changes just as some cars approach?
No wonder nobody trusts the government to do anything.
Wed, Jan 29, 2014 8:19pm
Until Allan explained in the previous post what a Jersey barrier was, I actually thought it was the Delaware Memorial Bridge when the eastbound side is shut down for an accident.
Mike from Delaware
Wed, Jan 29, 2014 9:01pm
Billsmith: I totally agree.
Thu, Jan 30, 2014 4:26am
Yes, I have to give Bill a lot of credit this time around. He had to have done some quite extensive research on the subject of Obama and the logical conclusion of the free lunch religion.
An A+ to Bill Smith!
Thu, Jan 30, 2014 6:55am
Thanks, Pizza. But it's not just Obama. I watched the HBO movie "Too Big To Fail" the other day (available on DVD on online). Big bankers are just as much apostles of the free lunch as anybody else - only their lunches are a lot more expensive.
Thu, Jan 30, 2014 9:09am
I don't know if it's due to the Earth's magnetic pole reversal.. but I again agree with you Bill. The big bankers are just as guilty as Big Government, yet none of them face consequences for their deeds.
Will we soon be told that 0bamaCare is "too big to fail" and needs a bailout by the taxpayers of this country?
Thu, Jan 30, 2014 9:21am
BTW, for those who watched the SOTU speech...what in the world is MyIRA? (something even the president seems unable to pronounce or adequately explain). MYRA? My-IRA?...LOL!
Thu, Jan 30, 2014 9:26am
Earl: "Obamacare" itself can't go under. But the insurance companies could claim they are going under because of it. Young and healthy aren't signing up, just paying the token uninsured penalty. Old and unhealthy, who were denied coverage before, are signing up but without young and healthy to offset their claims. So, now Blue Cross, Aetna, and the rest want to be bailed out (so the suits can keep their bonuses and golden parachutes).
Speaking of the Earth's magnetic field, did you see the stories about how dogs line up with the magnetic field when they poop? Really!
Mike from Delaware
Thu, Jan 30, 2014 10:08am
Billsmith and EarlGrey: Great, just we need more, corporate welfare in bailing out the insurance companies.
I believe instead of us bailing out the insurance companies, which both DEMS and the G.O.P./TEA folks I'd hope would be totally against doing; that might be the time to finally admit a national Single Payer System is the answer which would simply put those suits in the insurance industry out of business, and on unemployment, as they look for new jobs.
Thu, Jan 30, 2014 11:49am
bill: I actually did read the stories about dogs and the Earth's magnetic field...interesting but odd at the same time.
Thu, Jan 30, 2014 11:56am
MFD: Agreed. The simplest solution would have been to extend Medicare for everybody (under 65). Basic Medicare takes care of basic needs. Then have Medicare Supplement plans from private insurance companies to add additional benefits for those who want them (and are willing to pay extra for them). Coverage for everyone and opportunities for insurance companies to make money. Everybody's happy.
For some reason, countries with national health care like Britain and Canada don't seem to like the idea of supplementary coverage but it's been working for Medicare here for half a century.
Many of the people fighting to end "Obamacare" are on Medicare and would fight even harder if somebody tried to do away with that. Seems like Medicare for people under 65 would have diffused most of that opposition. How can you oppose your kids getting something you already have and benefit from?
Mike from Delaware
Thu, Jan 30, 2014 1:19pm
Billsmith: Sounds like an easy and very workable solution. Basic Medicare for all, and have the insurance companies do the Medicare Supplemental plans. Yep, a win/win.
Thu, Jan 30, 2014 1:56pm
MFD: Thanks. I guess some politicians don't want things easy. People's FICA amounts would go up to cover basic Medicare. Medicaid would cover that for people with low incomes. Employers could offer Medicare Supplements as a benefit, the way they offer health insurance now.
Since Medicare is between the government and the individual, employers who object to birth control coverage would not be an issue. (It would make sense to include birth control in basic Medicare because the pill is a lot cheaper than a pregnancy.)
It would be universal, meaning mandatory, and some people would squawk on general principles. But people complained about Medicare, too, 50 years ago.
And we have another anniversary: 50th anniversary of the Beatles arrival in New York. And of Larry Kane first coming to public attention making the US tour with them.
Fri, Jan 31, 2014 3:48am
The great national tune-out! Even though the White House and the compliant news networks want to force everybody to watch by removing other options, lots of people ignored Obama's throne speech. On 16 networks, he got about one-third the eyeballs expected for the Super Bowl on only one network.
Americans change the channel as State Of The Union gets worst ratings since 2000 with 33.3 million viewers
* Nielsen reports 33.3 million people watched President Obama's speech
* It is Obama's lowest-rated State of the Union Address
* 8.8 million saw something about it on Twitter
Billsmith: the last bit if info from that article states:
"Last year, President Obama hit his personal rock bottom in ratings for a State of the Union address.
About 33.5 million people tuned in for the speech, the lowest number since 2000, when about 31.5 million watched President Bill Clinton’s State of the Union swan song.
But Mr. Obama’s numbers were actually worse than that.
IN terms of household ratings - the percentage of U.S. television households that tuned into the speech at any given moment — last year’s State Of The Union garnered a score of 21.8.
That was the lowest in the last 20 years of data, even worse than 2000’s 22.4.
Household ratings offer a better comparison of viewership than raw viewer numbers because they take into account changes in the number of TV households."
So no matter how they measure it, folks were tuning out.
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