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President Obama’s State Of The Union Address

The State of the Union.  President Obama makes his case. We talk about the President’s agenda, Congress, and the road ahead.

President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, gestures as he gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP)

President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, gestures as he gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP)

The state of the union is “stronger,” President Obama said last night. No claim of full-on strong. But out of the “rubble of crisis,” he said. And ready to roll — if… and then came his list.

Of measures he wants the government to take. Investments. Changes. To undergird growth and good lives. On education, innovation, immigration, the budget, climate change, gun violence, the minimum wage. Smart government, he said.

Republicans weren’t buying last night. But we’ve got to do something, said the President.

This hour, On Point: the State of the Union.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Jon Meacham, executive editor at Random House. Former editor of Newsweek. Pulitzer-Prize-winning author. (@jmeacham)

Kristen Welker, White House correspondent for NBC News. (@kwelkernbc)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Washington Post “President Obama challenged Congress on Tuesday night to assist an American middle class squeezed by rising costs and stagnant wages, making clear that he will devote much of his second term to closing the income gap between rich and poor.”

Bloomberg “President Barack Obama will announce in his State of the Union address tonight that about 34,000 U.S. troops will be home from Afghanistan by this time next year, cutting the military presence there by half. The U.S. will continue to reduce the number of military personnel through the end of 2014 as Afghans take full responsibility for their security and the U.S. role in the war comes to an end, the administration said in a statement distributed to reporters. Obama hasn’t made a decision about the timing of additional troop reductions.”

CBS News “When the curtain rises on President Obama’s State of the Union speech tonight, the White House wants it viewed as ‘Act Two’ – a follow-up to the national goals and policy objectives of which he spoke 22 days earlier on the West Front of the Capitol. ‘The president has always viewed the two speeches, the inaugural address and the State of The Union, as two acts in the same play,’ said press secretary Jay Carney yesterday.”

 

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  • plaintext

    I only remember a few things.  Obama goads Congress to do something about gun violence and voting anomalies.  He calls for an increase in the minimum wage and wants to tie it to inflation.  Congress is chastened for its preoccupation with deficits and political tactic of gridlock.  Did I hear something about him circumventing Congress with Executive Orders or something like that?

    • Don_B1

      Executive orders have a legitimate role in government.

      It is when Congress is dysfunctional that every executive, feeling the need to get things done, takes steps to do just that through Executive Orders.

      Many, if not most, people who recognize the overwhelming threat of climate change from the increase of atmospheric CO2 from the extraction and burning of fossil fuels wish that President Obama had taken that route years ago when they would have been even more effective.

      When this country faced a growing threat from Germany, Italy and Japan in the late 1930s, against Republican opposition, President Roosevelt pressed Lend-Lease and created the spending levels that simultaneously finally extracted the country from the Great Depression.

      Today, Republicans are not only opposing “arming for the threat” of climate change, they are advocating the 1930s equivalent of selling our tanks and ships to the future enemy.

  • JGC

    Chug-a-lug, Senator Rubio!

  • JGC

    JGC, Armchair Physician:  

    I have totally been distracted from Obama’s State of the Union address by the astounding Republican Response from Senator Marco Rubio. He kept making these unfortunate slurping and lip-smacking noises as he spoke, and had to wipe his mouth two or three times during his speech, before s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g off set to slurp from his water bottle. Some would say this was due to the ancient Gypsy curse placed on all “rising star” Republicans who foolishly step up to the podium after an Obama State of the Union speech (see: the Governor Bobby “Kenneth the Page” Jindal response).  But I don’t believe in ancient Gypsy curses (much). Here is what I came up with to explain Rubio’s Salivary Syndrome:

    Hypersalivation is excessive production of saliva. It can contribute to drooling if there is an inability to keep the mouth closed or if there is difficulty in swallowing the excess saliva.  Hypersalivation also often precedes emesis (vomiting) where it accompanies nausea.  Hypersalivation is commonly triggered by psychological events such as fear, apprehension and nervous anxiety, as well as in anticipation of food treats.

    O.K., I found this on the vet section of WebMD, but you have to admit it all fits (except maybe for the part about the food treats). Hypersalivation causes given by the Mayo Clinic site just didn’t seem to fit: pregnancy, GERD, arsenic poisoning, rabies, syphilis, ill-fitting dentures.

    Luckily for Rubio, hypersalivation may be covered by Obamacare. But just leave enough in the pot for the next generation, Marco.

    • Don_B1

      Beyond the obvious theatrics, Rubio indulged in old Republican theatrics (spinning LIES) like the section where he said:

      This idea – that our problems were caused by a government that was too small – it’s just not true. In fact, a major cause of our recent downturn was a housing crisis created by reckless government policies.

      was correct only in saying the Great Recession (downturn? — that means they don’t yet really realize just how bad it was! — and for the 1% it really wasn’t) was “reckless government policies” but he was clearly “dog-whistling” to the hard right that it was the CRA and GSEs and Democrats that caused it when it was people like Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan who refused to use his power (provided by a Democratic Congress-passed law) to regulate the shadow banks and Bush appointees like Christopher Cox, chair of the S.E.C. who probably did not even understand derivatives and took the Senator Phil Gramm provisions of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act preventing regulation of derivatives fully to heart.

      See:

      http://rortybomb.wordpress.com/2011/11/01/bloombergs-awful-comment-what-can-we-say-for-certain-regarding-the-gses/

      for a full explanation of why the CRA and GSEs did not cause the Great Recession.

      But I don’t expect Jon Meacham (or Ms Welker), for all his historical acumen, to have a clue as he has demonstrated his lack of macroeconomic knowledge or current economic problems regularly on “Morning Joe.”

      • JGC

        Well, if Rubio was dog-whistling, maybe he really was thinking about food treats, after all…(slurp)

    • HarryAnchorite

      Dear JGC-

      Thank you for providing such a classically Liberal analysis of the Rubio speech.  So insightful, so incisive, so  intellectually engaged.  I can see we are going to have a discussion that will rival the Lincoln-Douglas debates.  I hope the reference to “armchair physician” does not indicate that you are actually a doctor.

      • JGC

        De rien, eh! I really don’t buy that Rubio was just having an attack of dry mouth, as he was apparently putting out on the morning talk show circuit.  He was exhibiting symptoms of fear and panic. Although he is known to be a fine speaker in most cases, his canned words last night did not even matter; here he was extremely nervous as he contemplated the presentation of his prime time moment, his audition for Commander-in-Chief in the 2016 election.  

        For any future opposition party response (this goes for all parties), they should do an outline of their main points, but then in the 10-minute break in between the two speeches, quickly tie/rewrite it to the actual words of the address they are responding to.

        Next week:  JGC, Armchair Gun Enthusiast  

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          All I can think about is reading, ages ago, some political underling’s prep work for someone–Truman, VP Garner, don’t know–and it sticks in my mind that this fellwow wrote about the three must-haves when The Boss was giving a speech: Two copies of the speech (before TelePrompters were invented), a spare light-bulb in case the bulb at the lectern illumiating the speech burned out when it was switched on, and a pitcher of water with a glass.

          It didn’t have to be national TV. It could be a Mother’s Day Speech to the Ladies’ Auxiliary Club, something I hope any pol could put together 10 ad-hoc minutes on out of their own heart.

          But this isn’t Politics 101. It’s practically Remedial Politics.

  • Fredlinskip

    That was a great address. Man am I glad that man is in there and not the other guy. 
    Rubio was a Romney wannabe- Good luck with that.

  • Coastghost

    Obama has unmitigated gall if he has nothing else. In his 2013 SOTU address, he laments that “we are betraying our own ideals” the way “we” (meaning: you, me, us, the American people, anyone not formally a part of the Obama Administration) just don’t make the process of voting easy.
    Just after his February 2009 address to Congress, Obama helped steer $35 million to a school district in South Carolina (remember Ty’Sheoma Bethea? she sat with Michelle that night) that did not then and does not today permit white OR African-American OR Hispanic OR any other voters to vote for local school board members, for the very “citizens” charged with oversight of what are putatively public schools.
    Obama just happened to pick the ONLY county in SC without one single solitary elected school board member to entrust with $35 million in “stimulus funds”: entrusted these millions to unelected school board members: all are political appointees and all are appointed by (elected) Democratic officeholders.
    Yet Obama did not extend his generosity in 2009 with the demand that local school board members be subject to election: no.  
    These voters are to this day NOT PERMITTED TO VOTE, because Obama has kept the unelected bureaucracy in place with his gift of $35 million. (No local transparency, no accountability, no actual oversight of what the unelected geniuses are up to with their Federal play money.) 
    Obama himself thus has assisted in denying the vote to people who have NO representation in the way their public schools are run (and they are run quite poorly, to judge from local test scores and other metrics).
    So yes, because Obama is in 2013 trumpeting his paternal concern over perceived voting difficulties, he is indeed a man and a President of unmitigated gall.

    • nj_v2

      When you blather on like this without giving any citations or sources, we can only assume that this engenders about as much credibility as your previous efforts such as the gun photo posting on the OnPoint site after Newtown (ie zero).

      • Coastghost
      • Coastghost

        I must have attained to some credibility earlier, otherwise I much doubt an “On Point” staffer would have removed the (prematurely posted and fear-mongering) AR-15 photo in the scant hours prior to the CME Saturday pm newser, nor would someone have posted the lame excuse offered at the time for its removal.

        • nj_v2

          The depth of your self-importance and delusion is remarkable.

  • http://wh.gov/IVp4 Yar

    I really like a minimum wage tied to cost of living, and am hopeful for a path to citizenship for immigrants.  Anything less than full citizenship for american workers is slavery.  If there are jobs in America that Americans won’t do, then make the people who do those jobs American citizens.  I am troubled by the Tea party response given by the Junior Senator from Kentucky.  Paul said. “We must be the party who sees immigrants as assets, not liabilities. We must be the party that says, ‘If you want to work, if you want to become an American, we welcome you.’ ”
    “People as assets”, unless they are fully protected citizens, is the definition of slavery. 

    • sickofthechit

       There are not “jobs in America that Americans won’t do”, there are jobs in America that have artificially low wages because the Federal minimum wage has not been raised, and we are unwilling to pay more for our food so farm workers can be adequately compensated.  I work in Agriculture and we are not subject to overtime pay no matter how many hours we work.  A little “exclusion” to help the farmers, to hell with the workers.  As for all the jobs being done by illegal immigrants it takes an American who is only looking for the lowest possible cost to keep them filled with illegals.  Our greed and selfishness has created this problem. charles A. Bowsher

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        Yep. Read any headline about “Employers can’t fill X Jobs in Anytown”, and somehow the other shoe (“at the wages offered”) never gets dropped.

      • http://wh.gov/IVp4 Yar

        It is called economic slavery, I too work in agriculture, I don’t hire labor, for the reasons you describe.  So in effect my labor is valued at the same as that of illegal immigrants.  My desire to see them become citizens will help raise my wage.  Maybe it is selfish, but I believe it is the right thing to do.  Yes, this will cause inflation, but inflation is acceptable when we protect the poor, disabled and elderly.  Inflation is a tax, and it taxes those with more money than those who have little.  Inflation is the only hope we have of actually balancing our budget.  Those who wish to cut spending are really trying to save the value of their own money.  They gained that money in a debt based economy, now that they have theirs, they are saying the hell with the rest of us.
        The truth is, here in Kentucky, without Federal program money the state would be insolvent.  Not just Government, but we couldn’t keep businesses running.  Just look at the percentage of GDP based on healthcare in the ‘golden triangle.’  This is the focus of medicaid and medicare dollars from all over the state.  Take all that away and you couldn’t fill Rupp Arena with fans who could afford to buy a ticket.  In other words. this is a state of takers.  How we got our two senators is beyond me, maybe “bite the hand that feeds” should be our state’s motto.ThanksRay

  • LinRP

    It is now time for, we the people, to demand that much of what was outlined last night be made real.

    • Don_B1

      It is unlikely to happen unless the citizens of the country make it clear that they want it done.

      One starting point would be to join the 350.org protest of allowing the Keystone XL pipeline to be built, which is being held in Washington, D.C. this weekend. Info at 359.org.

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    This has nothing to do with the address last night.  However, it was an important news item.  Given yesterday’s events in Big Bear CA, I’m sure that some radical left wing ACLU lawyer will say that Christopher Dorner’s rights were violated and that justice was compromised.  And some other scum bag lawyer will probably sue the police for not reading him his Miranda rights!

    • Ray in VT

      … and I’m also sure that some whacked out, right wing nuts this morning are screaming about how this is another Waco or Ruby Ridge.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        I’ve been tied up, was there a Tank there?

    • Jasoturner

      Your initial sentence is absolutely, 100% correct.

      • Fiscally_Responsible

        As is the rest of what I said.  Just watch in the days ahead as “Democracy Now”, The Nation Magazine, and other radicals wax speculatively about a vast racially motivated police conspiracy to get this guy without due process.

        • MrNutso

          I’m not an expert on due process, but from a smell test standpoint: the suspected  triple(?) murderer/cop killer is cornered in a cabin, a gun fight ensues, the Police fire tear gas to flush the guy out, the cabin caught fire, possibly caused by the tear gas and (as reported) one gun shot was heard from inside the cabin.  The guy is found dead.

          He could have surrendered at any time, or not even started the killing spree he went on.

          I suppose the alternative is to just sit around waiting for him to surrender including giving him food and anything else he asked for to meet his personal needs.

        • nj_v2

          [[ Just watch in the days ahead as "Democracy Now", The Nation Magazine, and other radicals wax speculatively about a vast racially motivated police conspiracy to get this guy without due process. ]]

          Don’t worry, we will be watching. And when it doesn’t happen we’ll be sure to remind the forum about how closely your post resembles a pile of fresh, steaming horse excrement.

    • jefe68

      You’re right. Your comment has nothing to do with the State of The Union address nor the incident with Dorner at Big Bear CA.

    • Coastghost

      Oh no, not a radical left wing ACLU lawyer: probably just a graduate of Harvard Law School. And no, not a scumbag lawyer: likely just a graduate of Columbia Law School.

  • StilllHere

    Not very memorable or inspiring.  By next week, no one will care.  Here comes the sequester!

    • Don_B1

      You are advocating that the country cut off its nose to spite its face?

      • DrewInGeorgia

        Nose hell, StillHere thinks we should cut of our face to spite our existence.

    • nj_v2

      [[ Not very memorable or inspiring. ]]

      Kinda like your posts.

      By next week the time one finishes reading them, no one will care.

      • StilllHere

        LOL, thanks for the reply, disproving your own point dimwit. You make it too easy.

  • Jasoturner

    It seems that Obama was trying to draw a feasible map to get us from where we are, to where we want to be.  I think this is politically clever, agree with his map or not, since the republicans have not produced a counter-narrative that really hangs together logically.  They are implicitly being challenged to change that.

    The problem is, the republicans are loath to acknowledge anything Obama proposes as feasible, sensible or beneficial.  Consequently, even commonsensical ideas get shot down or ridiculed.  Until they decide to blend in reality based policy components, it’s going to be hard for republicans to tell a convincing story.  And let’s face it, a convincing story has to contain at least some of the components of the traditional democratic approach.

    • Prairie_W

      That’s really hard, like when you’re mentally and emotionally 12 and owe an apology because you know you’ve been behaving like a real idiot.  We’re not talking about grownups when it comes to Republicans these days.

      Speaking of 12, the Guardian has a great/horrible analysis of the age level the State of the Union has been addressed to over the years.  We start back in the early 1800′s with mid-twenties.  Now we’re at grade 8.

      Onward and upward…

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2013/feb/12/state-of-the-union-reading-level

      • Don_B1

        I believe the Defense Department (and probably other departments) require manuals to be written in sixth-grade English.

        But whatever level it is written to, it will not be “understood” when the listener is a Republican living in their fantasy world.

  • Bluejay2fly

    Empty rhetoric from yet another politician.

  • MrNutso

    Will water be provided?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1453092741 Miriam Pickens

    Why does Senator Rubio get to make a stump speech?  He’s supposed to make a response, but it’s obvious that his speech was written and set before he even heard what the President said.

    • MrNutso

      These “rebuttal” speeches are a joke.  It’s bad enough that the requirement that the president from time to time report to congress on the state of the union has turned in to a chance for political grandstanding (whether or not I like the President and/or what he said), but now we have multiple “oh no you didn’t” speeches.

      These rebuttals are not part of the constitution and should not allowed.  If the Republicans don’t like what the  President has to say, they should get one of their own elected.

      • Ray in VT

        I definitely agree with your first paragraph, but not with your second.  Let the opposition go out and say what they please.  Did anyone also listen to the Tea Party rebuttal?

        • MrNutso

          Haven’t heard anything about the teabagger speach.  I guess Ron Paul was smart enough to have a glass of water before he started.

          • Ray in VT

            I’m guessing that it’s more of the same.  Cut spending massively, cut taxes, cut regulations.  Unleash the market and let it make us all rich.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            I never foresaw that a drinking game would include the line “take a shot when the Republican drinks water”.

            At least Paul Ryan kept drinking H2O in the debate because he had to string words in his head together to make up embarrassing answers while totally outclassed. I have no idea what Rubio’s problem is.

          • Don_B1

            He had something really salty for lunch.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            I can’t even tell if you’re Onioning me. Too-shay, as the French would put it.

      • hennorama

        MrNutso – I believe the opposing political party’s response to the SOTU speech is aired under the Equal Time Rule.

        That is likely why Sen. Paul’s remarks were not aired live on any cable network or any major broadcast network.  Paul is a member of the Republican Party, and the Republicans already had someone making their official response to the SOTU.

        http://www.museum.tv/eotvsection.php?entrycode=equaltimeru

  • Ray in VT

    I have a comment on Senator Marco Rubio’s rebuttal.  He made some comments regarding how it is entrepreneurship and risk taking, not government programs and spending (or something to that affect), that allows people to move up the ladder into a Middle Class life.

    Given that, do any of you find it ironic that he attended two publicly funded colleges and took out a Sallie Mae student loan.  Given those two things, hasn’t the government, along with the values instilled in him by his parents, what abilities he has cultivated and his own work, helped him to rise up the ladder?

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Ironic, no. Insulting, yes.

    • MrNutso

      Remember, Republicans are convinced it’s not their policy ideas, it’s their message/messenger.  You could have put a cardboard cut out of Mittens in front of Rubio, and it would have been just like a campaign speech from last summer, sans the water.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Rubio’s another Drawbridge Randian: He got his because he’s just that superior. Nobody afterwards deserves the same; if they did they wouldn’t be in the position of having Rubio take these things away from them.

      Also see: Clarence Thomas, Paul Ryan. Add to the list at will.

  • Coastghost

    Two acts in the same play, Jay Carney, or simply a two-act play? Yes, Obama won re-election but every moment that passes, he loses momentum, and he won’t be generating fresh support from here on out to judge by his election victory, since he won with millions of fewer votes in 2012 than he won in 2008.
    An enthusiastic supporter of lethal aerial drones, Obama seems to have decided not to let a good metaphor go to waste, so he spent an hour droning on and on and on and on  . . . . should a third act surface, presumably it will involve a coronation ceremony for “President Drone”.

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    When, if ever, will anyone get serious about dealing with the $16.5 trillion debt that is being passed along to our children?  it sure would be nice if the president would lead on this.  The Simpson-Bowles Plan should have been accepted as-is as it was bipartisan, embraced both revenues and expenses, and probably made everyone angry because it involved sacrifice on all sides.  Both parties quietly set the report recommendations aside and prefer to simply ignore the problem.  It is too large to be ignored. 

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

       We’ll get serious when the GOP gives a crap while they’re in charge, when the Simpson-Bowles committee (stacked with Pain Caucus types) actually passes a plan, and when half the press corpse all of a sudden stops dealing in big scare numbers and rather uses ratios.

      It’s fiscally responsible (to coin a phrase) to not austere the economy to death now and take steps about the deficit later.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

         Have you been to DC lately?  There is nothing austere about anything happening in metro DC.  They never experienced the recession.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          Your reading comprehension–well, you’ve used up all your “honest mistakes”. You’re an idiot who must like responding to things in print with crap which doesn’t even rise to the level of “twisting my words”.

          Have you been to the rest of America, where the Beltway Consensus is that nothing is so good for the poor and the middle class as “feeling the pain of cuts”?

          Please tell us more about how no Republican in power is ever a TruePrincipledConsservative, and how Democrats have to do the dirty work of austering us into another recession. And I’d ask you not to give a second thought to tax receipts and the business cycle, except it’s shown that you haven’t given it a first thought.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

             Get back to me when the Federal government is running under a budget to control spending priorities.

            Better yet, get back to me when the Feds revert to zero based budgeting so a ‘cut’ is truly a cut and not a slowing of increases.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            I don’t need to “get back to you”. You’ve left the reality event horizon. All you tens of millions of Teabaggers are invited to make Republicans own their shit the next time they’re in power. Go to FoxNation or some other cesspit instead of wasting our time here.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

             Do you work for onpoint?  What makes your opinion so important?

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            1) No. 2) No answer. I just come here to remind NPR that  the journalism they’re capable of can only happen if they don’t bend over forwards to be too polite to right-wing feces-flingers, no matter how politely they want to come across.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            There’s tens of millions of them?

            :’(

            I just went from feeling like a cat in a room full of empty rocking chairs to a cat in a room full of rocking chairs with a Pitt Bull in each one.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Nah, they’re just treated like they number in the tens of millions. (But I think you figured that out already.)

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Phew, I fell better now.

            Then again, they might actually number in the tens of millions…I’ve just never really thought about it that directly before. That’s what kind of freaked me out. The image of thirty million ignorant lemmings gleefully marching along as they drag the country off a cliff popped into my head. Thirty million is only ten percent…..I don’t want to think about it anymore. Thanks for trying to make me feel better though.

            :’)

        • JGC

          I haven’t been to DC lately, but I used to live there in the 1980′s. Government towns always know how to take care of themselves first.  (Same thing for Ottawa in Canada.)  That is possibly part of the problem: policy is being made in the Land of Oz, with muted understanding about more humble lives lived beyond the metro DC area.

          And it is not even just the politicians, or even mainly the politicians; there is all that money sloshing around from lobbyists and PACs and association headquarters.  

      • Fiscally_Responsible

        Unfortunately, Democrats’ arguments to “deal with the deficit later” is like the proverbial carrot on the end of a stick dangled in front of the horse.  As the horse goes forward, the carrot moves forward as well, with the result that the horse never does get the carrot.  Most people who make this argument will always argue that economic conditions are not quite good enough yet, with the result being that the debt and structural deficit problems will never be addressed.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          Unfortunately you need to read more ecnomists. The number one thing to do for the deficit in ~5-6 years is to add, say, 2% to the GDP now.

    • nj_v2

      There was no S-B plan. The co-chairs (a tired, over-the-hill conservative, an someone never elected to any position) couldn’t even get the committee to agree on anything.

    • Don_B1

      Not one Republican member of the House of Representatives on the Simpson-Bowles Commission voted to approve the Simpson-Bowles recommendations; the Congress would have gad to take them up if they had.

      But name me ONE, just ONE, Republican member of the House Tea/Republicans who would vote for the added revenue that S-B (or better, B-S) called for. Do you even KNOW how much that is?

      • WorriedfortheCountry

         Tom Coburn – a budget hawk did vote for it.

        The House GOP members would have gone for it IF it also included the largest debt/deficit driver – Medicare reform.  Why didn’t the debt commission address the largest debt driver?

        • Don_B1

          He is a member of the Senate! And he has pledged to leave office after his current term ends in 2016.

          The problem is the WAY the Republicans want to “reform” Medicare, which would essentially eliminate it. And no Democrat is going to sign up for that.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            You are incorrect.  Paul Ryan has a bipartisan Medicare reform proposal with Democrat Oregon Senator — Ron Ryden.  Their plan is a variant of a plan promoted by Clinton era Democrat – Alice Rivelin. 

            At least they put something on the table.  Maybe they don’t have enough Dem votes but the obstructionist Dems should put an alternative on the table.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            The plan Wyden has disowned? Is that the one you’re talking about?

          • Don_B1

            Exactly!

            The “plan” never made it beyond an outline that as Ryan tried to fill it in, Wyden backed away from.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            “the obstructionist Dems”

            Submitted without comment.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Someone’s reading from my cue-cards.

            “If this is anybody but Steve Allen, you’re stealing my bit!”

            –Krusty the Clown

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Obama was pushing the ‘you deserve a vote’ theme while promoting his agenda last night.  Too bad he didn’t promote the ‘you deserve a vote’ over the last 4 years when it came to Harry Reid blocking votes on the budget.

    Given the last 4 years of broken promises, I found last nights speech particularly tough to listen to.  However, as usual with Obama, it was well executed.

    • J__o__h__n

      How about the Senate Republicans blocking votes?

      • WorriedfortheCountry

         I wasn’t aware they were blocking votes on the budget.  If they are, then shame on them.

  • OnpointListener

    Marco Rubio:  That dog don’t hunt.

  • http://twitter.com/ThrillaManilla2 ThrillaManilla

    It’s so good to see that President Obama is using his second term to strongly advocate a comprehensive Progressive *pathway* for the country.  Still needs to address drone policy, though.

    • Coastghost

      Obama addresses drone policy each and every time he orders or authorizes another drone strike.

  • http://twitter.com/ThrillaManilla2 ThrillaManilla

    Also, the line “Stronger Families, Stronger Communities, Stronger America” should have been his campaign mantra.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Is anyone going to bother telling The President that $9 an hour is going to have about as much impact as adding a single drop of water to a drought starved pasture? If we had Universal Healthcare, it might make a difference. If employers were forced to stop working their serfs twenty hours or less a week, maybe it would have an impact.

    You know what will change if The Federal Minimum Wage is raised to nine dollars an hour? Not a damn thing.

    • Coastghost

      No: raising the Federal minimum wage to $9/hr will further reduce employment in low-wage sectors of the economy.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        Now tell us why that is. Tell us all about how those poor, poor, poor benevolent companies will be forced out of business because they can’t afford to pay their workers a subsistence wage. Tell us about those CEO’s who are going to have to “make the tough calls”. Tell us about those skyrocketing costs of Domestic Goods and Services that must be the result of a practically non-existence increase in The Federal Minimum wage. Tell us all your lies and misconceptions as those poor companies make record profits and those hard working Administrators spend their bonuses…

        An optimistic outcome would be that some people could go from working 3-4 PTMW jobs to working 2-3. And yes, in my view, that’s an extremely optimistic outcome.

        • Coastghost

          You seem to be trying to compare a $9/hr minimum wage with the $25/hr wage some entry level union member might earn. The apt comparison, tho, is the $9/hr wage compared to companies paying workers only about $10/hr. None of these latter are positions in huge corporate behemoths, unless by chance the work is found with some local TV or radio station, e. g.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Wrong as usual, I’m not comparing anything to anything. I’m saying that if you make $200 a week and spend fifteen to twenty percent (or more) on transportation to and from work, twenty percent in Federal and State taxation, and thirty to forty percent to eat, what you have left will NOT be a Living Wage.

            I guess Wal-Mart isn’t a Corporate Behemoth.

            What part of “We are strangling ourselves to death” is it that those of your ilk fail to comprehend?

          • Coastghost

            Minimum wage is for UNSKILLED LABOR. It’s rent paid for a body to perform some menial or mechanical task. (I earned minimum wage back in the day during my summers baling hay and policing cotton and soybean fields.) Raising the minimum wage for unskilled workers does not enhance their competitive prospects in the job market, just as it does nothing to enhance worker skills. And it leaves employers less likely to hire MORE workers when they are required pay HIGHER wages. 

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Looking down on those you deem to be “menial” is the majority of the problem. I contend that there are no “menial” workers, just as there is no “menial” work. Even the least among us, if not especially the least among us, deserve respect for a job well done and the ability to support themselves.

            You worked a PTMW job once upon a time. So? I’ve worked three PTMW jobs…at the same time. And when was it that you were providing your noble service for minimum wage? Bet it wasn’t during the past decade. You can’t buy a house for twenty grand or a car for 3K anymore.

            I bet you’re also the kind of person that becomes incensed when you receive crappy service from an employee with a piss poor attitude yet never consider how you would feel if no matter how hard you worked you couldn’t feed your family. I’m not excusing a poor work ethic, mine stays the same regardless of the amount of money I make. I certainly understand why the cashier is an ass sometimes though.

          • Coastghost

            Don’t mischaracterize what I say, please: I said specifically “menial task” and referred to “unskilled workers”. Your conflation shows evidence of poor education, perhaps at the elementary level. 

          • DrewInGeorgia

            lmao, literally. You’re such a tool.

            You’re right. I’m an illiterate, uneducated, unjustifiably conflating menial uhmearIcan. I would tell you to get a clue but I don’t think that would be possible even if you were provided with an electron microscope.

          • Coastghost

            You literally will never suffer from hemarrhoids, in which case.

    • Don_B1

      Demos has conducted a study showing real strong effects of raising the full-time yearly salary of retail workers to $25,000, which they indicate would convert to $12.25 per hour.

      http://www.demos.org/publication/retails-hidden-potential-how-raising-wages-would-benefit-workers-industry-and-overall-ecAdmittedly, Obama’s proposal is a bit less than halfway, but I believe it would make a significant jump in the economy. Think of how the 2% cut in the F.I.C.A. deduction strengthened the economy.

      The Demos study also addresses the supposed “job-loss” by the poor, and as Mr. Krueger’s studies have shown it is negligible.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      9$ an hour WOW! You guys are behind the times.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        No kidding. The sorry sacks of skin that currently consider themselves to be “Conservative” seem to believe that we’re ahead of the curve. I hope we continue to manage to avoid climbing into their Way Back Machine. The last thing we need to do is allow ourselves to get taken for another ride.

  • nj_v2

    I’ll have to read the address (maybe). Can’t stand the sound of the man’s voice anymore. 

    Often, too large a gulf between what he says and what he eventually does (or doesn’t do) along with just plain regressive policies—Gitmo, appointing corporate hacks after promising to eliminate lobbyists in government, drones, indefinite detentions, extended Patriot Act, loan guarantees for nukes, lack of public option in Obamacare, dramatic increase in government secrecy, huge arms sales to dictatorships, crackdown on government whistle blowers, etc., etc., etc.

    Really, who cares what he says anymore?

    • http://www.facebook.com/stewsburntmonkey David Stewart

      You do realize he can’t just snap his fingers and make things happen.  There are political realities he has to deal with (like that pesky check and balance called Congress).

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Agreed. But note the country’s tendency to place so much hope in the Commander and Chief.  

      We cherish the democratic process in name only while we want results that’d come from a dictator. 

      We forget that a gov for and by the people is messy, slow and frustrating – especially when the majority is perennially absent save for a crisis. 

      • Don_B1

        And in crises it is easy to stampede a majority of the electorate to select the wrong solution, because it appeals to biases, not the full facts of the problem.

        • NrthOfTheBorder

          The result of when pressing issues are not addressed as they should be.  Then the public demands help or a solution from the government which is not capable of responding fast enough, if at all.

  • Coastghost

    I’ll call Obama on his “universal pre-school” fluff and raise him: the Federal government should just declare and exercise a monopoly on human reproduction: this way, the Federal government can indeed assert its cradle-to-grave ambitions with much less ambiguity.

    • Vandermeer

       As a teacher, I know being prepared for elementary school is essential. This is not “fluff”. Poor students from working homes start off disadvantaged.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        Don’t worry, Coastghost will be willing to piss and moan about the idea of pre-K while at the same time complaining why kids aren’t ready to learn from Day One.

        The fix you’ll hear from others (not me)? “Values”, “will”, anything but actual programs actually funded to recognize the incredible increase in childhood poverty over the last couple of generations.

        • Fiscally_Responsible

          Studies have clearly proven that the rise in childhood poverty is largely due to the rise in households headed by women where no father is present.  That rise coincides with our nation’s abandonment of traditional moral values (sexual relations and reproduction confined to monogamous heterosexual marriages) in favor of an “anything goes with no accountability to God or anyone else” perspective.  Universal preschool isn’t going to fix that.  In fact, it will probably just encourage more of it since irresponsible people can get rid of their kids early and “let the government take care of them”.

          • http://www.facebook.com/stewsburntmonkey David Stewart

            Studies have shown a correlation, not a causation (there are many factors that lead to poverty and to single-parenthood).  The highest correlation is actually parent’s education level.  Hence the focus on education.  In any event, it is not the place of the government to enforce morality.

          • Coastghost

            Is it the govt.’s role, then, to PRACTICE morality? An account of innate govt. philanthropy, devoid of self-perpetuating interest, might be entertaining.

          • NrthOfTheBorder

            F/R So what do you suggest? You stated a problem – directed adroit criticism – but it’d be nice to hear a solution or two. 

          • jefe68

            I have personal proof that your wrong. It’s about education and how well one is able to cope with changes in the work place. 

            Your so called studies are incorrect  but they seem to be very convenient to back up your religious beliefs. 
            Which leads one to think your full of it.

      • Coastghost

        As a former middle school teacher, I know that no Federal education program can provide the lack that disadvantaged parents supply their disadvantaged children with. Federal education policy is rather ineffectual in the outcomes it proposes AND in the outcomes it produces. 

        • jefe68

          So lets do nothing and use Third World nations as models for our nation. This is what your saying, at least it seems to me that is the subtext of all your diatribes.

          Granted, the US has some serious problems with it’s education system.
          However doing nothing does not seem to be a good idea. 

          Funny how most Americans alive now came up through the public education system and  we have one of the largest economies on the planet inpart due to having an decently educated population. It’s failing now for a lot of reasons and the complexity of the situation seems pretty large. We did something right after WW2 as there was a huge amount of growth. Granted we were for a few years the only industrial nation left standing in tact after WW2, but that said our education system worked very well then. 

          Again, doing nothing as you seem to be suggesting is a recipe for failure on even a larger scale. Which is what the right wants it seems. They seem to want the entire New Deal and Great Society to collapse so they can prove they were right. Even if it means turning our nation into a Third World economic backwater. Quite astonishing and so childish.

          • Coastghost

            I’m not saying “do nothing”. I’m saying that the only way to do anything effectual with education is to do it at the local level, which is what was occurring (when it was) in the US just after WWII and BEFORE the Federal govt. began putting its Federal nose into US education policy. Federal education policy only interferes with local implementation of education, and we see the results after a robust forty-years+ of pedagogical experimentation. 

          • jefe68

            Yes you are saying that, and now you change your tune.

            Well as for the local level it’s not any better on that front.
            Last year the Texas G.O.P. explicitly condemned efforts to teach “critical thinking skills,” because, it said, such efforts “have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”

            This is idiocy on a grand scale.

          • Don_B1

            You are absolutely right in saying that doing nothing cannot be the answer.

            But, as Paul Krugman gas pointed out, the strength of the U.S. economy after WWII came more from the pent-up demand and forced savings from the price and wage controls put in place during the war and removed afterwards, than from exports, which were often funded by the U.S. government (e,g,. Marshall Plan). Not to say that exports were unimportant, however.

        • Don_B1

          Head Start programs refute your experience, at least for the first few years.

          What that is more likely to mean is that first and subsequent year elementary school teachers are not trained or given the resources to maintain that progress in children from disadvantaged homes.

          • Coastghost

            I can also assure you from experience that in no small measure our present-day educational outcomes result from public school teachers themselves plucked from intellectually-impaired and economically disadvantaged homes. You might be aghast to learn just how widespread rote ignorance is perpetuated in America’s public schools, and mostly because of “good intentions”. 

          • Coastghost

            It also seems to turn out that FINLAND (whose education policies were lauded here at “On Point” just recently, last week, wasn’t it?) has no robust program of “pre-school education”. The Finns’ national system doesn’t take in students until age six; and their system has been recognized by Tom Ashbrook & Co. as the world’s leading state system of education.

          • Coastghost

            Head Start has not been a stark raging success for the tens of billions spent on it. The modest improvements it is credited with in early grades seem to lose their efficacy by the time children leave primary school.

  • Coastghost

    NO NO NO, Tom Ashbrook: Obama presides over not merely a divided Congress, he has helped engineer a divided America.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Your comment has been placed on anonymous hold and will not be voted on for appearance until 60% of the board approves

      Really, please don’t bother us with your crap. The everlasting gobstoppers were dedicated, on day Minus One, to doing everything they could to stop him from getting reelected. And it shows.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

         Censorship is a fascist.

        • nj_v2

          “Censorship is a fascist.”

          Incoherent much?

          • Ray in VT

            I thought that he was just talking about my neighbor, Fred Censorship.  That guy is a fascist.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            lol

          • nj_v2

            I knew there had to be a rational explanation!

      • Coastghost

        I refused to vote for Obama in 2008 and in 2012 for the very good reasons that his contenders for the Democratic Presidential nomination excoriated him with back in August 2007 following his address to the CFR at the Woodrow Wilson Center. His doltish pronouncement of US unilateralism and the utter contempt he expressed for recognizing other nations’ sovereignty and territorial integrity showed to my satisfaction the man had absolutely no business being President of the US. I continue to think he has no business being POTUS, his exercise of critical judgment I find gravely lacking. (We’ll see how his overruling his intelligence and military advisors over intervening in Syria plays out, too, sooner rather than later.)

        • jefe68

          So. 

    • jefe68

      So I guess all those folks who voted for Obama don’t count in your little right wing world.

      • Coastghost

        Obviously they don’t count, or they don’t count well, since according to their math the Federal govt can spend tax revenues far in excess of the govt’s ability to raise revenue, in perpetuity.

        • jefe68

          You might think your play on words is clever. But it’s not. Also you seem to have little understanding on how governments work. The telling word in this case is perpetuity. Which is absurd in the context in which you use it. It’s as if you have cristal ball and see into the future. Well that does go well with the right wing’s love of magical thinking. 

        • Don_B1

          Just because Democrats who follow wise economists who advocate spending cheaply borrowed money today to get to a full employment economy now as quickly as possible and then, at full strength, deal with the rising healthcare costs which are the major driver of future deficits.

          There is a big shift in medical care delivery going on that is slowing the growth in costs, which is being spurred by coming PPACA, and the best way to continue that progress may not be discernable for several years.

          • Coastghost

            Effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Tax Act are already being felt: unionized city employees in Chicago have recently learned their negotiated medical insurance benefits may well be supplanted entirely by PPACTA administration. Premium add-on fees for smokers yet to be covered by PPACTA are already being mentioned.

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    Universal preschool=bigger and more expensive government.  If the schools can’t educate our children in 13 years, adding more time and expense isn’t going to improve it at all.  It’s simply pandering to the teachers’ union for more powerand money and the liberal thought police to remove the last vestiges of parental guidance of their children and instead entrust it to even bigger government.

    • Coastghost

      US public education already fails grandly, if we judge by the measure that over 40% of college undergrads are obliged to enroll in some kind of remedai program.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        remedai? Is that you Eric Cartman?

        Education, like Healthcare, does fail grandly.
        Let’s Privatize and De-Regulate it, then throw in a little Creationism, stir it up real good, and Our Melting Pot will be Back On Top, right?

        • Coastghost

          Thank you for the typo alert.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            I Couldn’t help myself, it was a comment regarding Remedial Education after all. When you said remedai, my brain screamed authoritai.

          • Coastghost

            I commend you for a good catch. (I’m also a former copyeditor and proofreader in book publishing: my motto became “in life it’s always something, in publishing it’s always something else”.)

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       Obama falsely claimed that studies show this investment pays dividends for lifelong education success.  The current research shows that all benefits dissipate by the 5th grade.

      • Ray in VT

        I assume that you are referring to the criticisms of Head Start.  Although there could be better results, I don’t think that your statements are accurate either for Head Start or for preschool programs in general.

        A 2005 article from Developmental Psychology concluded “that Oklahoma’s universal pre-K program has succeeded in enhancing the school readiness of a diverse group of children.”

        Another article from that same issue concluded that “Compared with controls, Early Head Start parents were more emotionally
        supportive, provided more language and learning stimulation, read to
        their children more, and spanked less. The strongest and most numerous
        impacts were for programs that offered a mix of home-visiting and
        center-based services and that fully implemented the performance
        standards early.”

        I’m not familiar with this organization, but this looked interesting:

        http://www.ffyf.org/blog/busting-myths-about-head-starts-effectiveness

        Education Week had an article from last month discussing the new study, and it stated that not “all benefits dissipate”.  While benefits could be better, and the administration appears to be opening competition between providers in order to improve provider quality.

        The article goes on to state that “In the study’s first phase, a group of children who entered Head Start
        at age 4 saw added benefits from spending one year in the program,
        including learning vocabulary, letter-word recognition, spelling, color
        identification, and letter-naming, compared with children of the same
        age in a control group who didn’t attend Head Start. For children who entered Head
        Start at age 3, the gains were even greater. The second phase of the
        study showed that those gains had faded considerably by the end of 1st
        grade, with Head Start children showing an edge only in learning vocabulary over their control-group peers.  In the final phase, “there was little evidence
        of systematic differences in children’s elementary school experiences
        through 3rd grade, between children provided access to Head Start and their counterparts in the control group,” the researchers write.  “We’ve seen this movie before with the 1st
        grade results and now at the end of 3rd grade,” said Grover J. “Russ”
        Whitehurst, the director of the Brown Center on Education Policy at the
        Washington-based Brookings Institution. “There are clear signals here
        that we need some innovative policies around the delivery of services.”

        Certainly there is great room for improvement, but one need not throw out the baby with the bath water.  Education may be costly, but ignorance costs us more.

        • JGC

          I agree. There is an article in Montreal today about pre-age 7 musical training having lasting impacts into adulthood, seen on brain scans. The researchers believe “practicing an instrument before age 7 likely boosts the normal maturation of connections between motor and sensory regions of the brain, creating a framework upon which ongoing training can build…It is something that stays with them, like learning a second language at a young age.”

          • burroak

            Interesting, JGC, this article, I hope, is further testimony that the symbiotic relationship of brain developement and musical-instrument-practicing with preschoolers is a subject that will encourage further study.
            I assume, most Americans, have been inspired by some piece of music.
            So, how does music effect childhood brain development and activity?

          • JGC

            The head researcher is Krista L. Hyde of the Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University. She had a paper called The Effects of Musical Training on Structural Brain Development, which in the discussion, said “These findings of structural plasticity in the young brain suggest that long term intervention programs can facilitate neuroplasticity in children.  Such an intervention could be of particular relevance to children with developmental disorders and to adults with neurologic diseases. (They do a lot of studies on music at McGill University, where Daniel J. Levitin,author of “This is Your Brain on Music” also does his research.)

            Which brings me to Gabby Giffords. Didn’t she look great last night? In spite of her terrible injuries from the shooting 2 years ago, she is making great headway. She must be working so hard, and making use of underused, undamaged brain connections and making some new ones. I have to wonder what skills she learned in her early years that she is drawing on now, 40 years or so later. And now compare Giffords to the young girl in Pakistan who also suffered her shooting injury to her brain, but has responded even more quickly than Giffords.  Age is important when it comes to brain connections and growth.

            Last, McGill also has done research into bilingualism. People who learn more than one language from an early age are somewhat protected from dementia at advanced ages. 

          • Coastghost

            What explains then why foreign language instruction/acquisition is not a core element of elementary-grade curricula? Why hasn’t consensus on this approach to pedagogy been reached, even though its been an identified factor for centuries (G. B. Vico cited it in Napoli in the early 18th cent.)?

          • JGC

            You know why. We both know why.

          • Coastghost

            Truth be told, I do not (I’m not being coy or clever here: I would vastly have benefitted from second or third language acquisition before age 7 or 8). Even tho I live in SC, where descendants of Huguenots do not speak French.

          • burroak

            Afternoon, JGC, thank you for your reply. Yes Gabby Giffords looked remarkable. Her progress is amazing. And, so too is the young Afghan girl, her recovery is incredible. Again, thank you for your response.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

           Unfortunately, I don’t have a source for a study.  I heard it referenced on a talking head show by the head of the Pioneer Institute, a public policy think tank here in MA.  They were discussing the Deval Patrick’s proposal for a massive tax increase to pay for expansion of government programs, including early childhood education.

          There may be merits to early childhood education.  However, my instinct it this shouldn’t be a Federal government issue.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            “There may be merits to early childhood education.”
            Gee, ya think?

            “However, my instinct it this shouldn’t be a Federal government issue.”

            Here’s something most of us seem bent on ignoring: We ARE the Government. Those of a certain Political Persuasion think it’s “Us against Them”. Hey Geniuses, I’ve got some news for you: It’s Us against US.

            If we stopped worrying so much about our individual sorry asses and started holding our politicians to task we could begin to affect meaningful change. How many Americans actually vote? I don’t know what the answer is as to how to get the populous more involved in their own governance. I do, however, have a sneaking suspicion that once a large enough portion of the citizenry is literally starving it might start sinking in. Of course History says at that point it’s too late.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

             Why does this need to be a Federal government program?   That is usually the most inefficient use of resources.

            At least we can agree that we need to hold the politicians accountable.  For me that means holding them accountable for a balanced budget and paying down the debt and the not the expansion of big Federal programs.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            “Why does this need to be a Federal program?”

            I’ve seen the Texas lege in action, for one.

            Texas has great swaths of hidden administrative government departments dedicated to keeping government services out of the hands, of erecting hurdles to get in the way, of people who supposedly qualify for them.

            I don’t expect you to know that or appreciate it. Don’t bother answering back

          • Ray in VT

            I think that early childhood education can do some very good things for kids, and the study summaries that I looked at said that the kids who seemed to have the best and longest lasting positive outcomes were those kids whose parents were actively involved, and I think that many parents are not.  Some parents are juggling multiple jobs, have other difficulties or are just not participating in the education of their children, and that’s a problem that no program will fix.

            I realize that there are inherent problems with large or nationally based structures of beauracracies, but I don’t think that leaving it up to the states is the best way to go either.  My wife was watching CNN this afternoon, and they showed a graphic, which I have not been able to easily find, that listed 11 states that don’t do much or anything in terms of funding preschool.  Neither of our states were on there, and it was mostly the states that one might expect.  I do worry that kids in poorer states might not be getting adequate access to the educational opportunities that might help them get ahead.  There are big problems with no easy solutions.

            Is your daughter still going to UVM?  That was where you said she went, right?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/TSSZX2JK43AU7VFAF5XIZ34ZIE Left Righty

      The whole pre-school push is because women have to work and when they work for such low wages they can’t afford to pay someone to take care of the kids.

    • JGC

      Universal pre-school is a great and expensive idea. Those early years are so important; the administration and some NGOs are also targeting to improve nutrition for the up-to-2-year old cohort worldwide. If the kids don’t get the nutrition and don’t get the mental stimulation in those early years, it can never be recovered. Never. A terrible start for the future work force.

      What if there was universal pre-school, but high school years were compressed from four to three?  (I am sure most people wouldn’t mind escaping from high school a year early.)  High school diplomas by age 16, and then it is on to trade school or to junior college for the next two years. 

      • Coastghost

        Agreed: let’s just make all citizens wards of the state from birth. (We can raise the minimum wage for gravediggers on the other end.)

        • JGC

          Agreed. (Gee, that was easy…)

          • Coastghost

            You really are a Lincoln devotee, hunh?

    • http://www.facebook.com/stewsburntmonkey David Stewart

      How is making pre-K available equivalent to removing parental guidance?  Are parents somehow forbidden from taking care of their child?  Making such clearly ridiculous arguments really doesn’t help your cause at all.

      As far as American teachers, they work longer hours for less money than virtually every other industrialized nation.  Looking at other nations it seems clear more money and power for teachers would deliver a much better education system.

      • Don_B1

        Everyone needs to ask, why would a person decide to become a teacher even if they would enjoy it when, particularly those that would be the best teachers, they can earn double the amount in private industry.

        When public education was first established, the teachers were mostly men, until cities and towns realized they could get women to teach for much lower wages. Women in those days could get married and be full-time housewives or work as secretaries, teachers or nurses, or become Nuns.

        Teacher salaries have largely not fully recovered as women find much wider employment opportunities in the private sector, with better though still not “full” pay.

        The take from this is that education costs money as other countries have accepted; see the On Point session on Korea and Finland education.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          “see the On Point session on Korea and Finland education”

          Ditto, it was a good discussion.

  • Vandermeer

    I have an idea to fix Social Security, an entitlement that we need to fix. The solution is easy … raise the cap on the amount of salary that is taxed. Why isn’t this easy solution discussed.

    When you have wages or
    self-employment income covered by Social Security, you pay Social
    Security taxes each year up to a maximum amount set by law. For 2013,
    you will pay Social Security taxes on income below $113,700. That means those making millions a year only pay SS taxes a very small portion while most Americans pay taxes on all their wages.

    Tom, Please discuss this today or soon!!!

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Yes, that’s the easy fix to a minor, long-term problem which is only on the front burner because the right wants to destroy SS.

      As more $ have been redistributed to the top, more are over the cap, so the logical thing is to raise it. The ominous thing is that nobody is talking about raising the cap, and the righty media sure aren’t bringing it up!

      Meanwhile, our Rockefeller republican President continues to flirt with the “chained CPI” class warfare which translated into English is a CUT in benefits.

      Meanwhile the right and the corporate media continue the deficit hysteria to try to scare people into giving up what they deserve. Good chart today about gvt spending in the real world:

      http://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/spendingchart.png

      That’s right gvt spending is FALLING which is a terrible, stupid thing in the aftermath of a massive economic crash. Note that the usual division by GDP always gives a rise after a crash, since GDP falls, distorting the info.

    • Kiep99

      Correct. 

      That’s why the FICA wage/salary cap must be eliminated, not just raised.  Also, annual compensation by “carried interest,” dividends, stock options & interest should also fall under FICA/FISA.  Capital gains deductions should only start after assets have been held for 10 years.Those minor changes would make FICA/FISA true income taxes & not just salary/wage taxes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Patrick-Dwyer-Jr/100002088204784 James Patrick Dwyer Jr.

       You are absolutely correct. I have wondered the same thing several times.

    • pwparsons

      Bernie Sanders’ working on it! Go Bernie!!

    • OnPointComments

      There is a cap on the amount of salary that is subject to the Social Security tax because there is a cap on the amount of the Social Security benefit that is paid.  The person who earns $113,700 gets the same Social Security benefit as the person who earns $1,113,700.

    • Stephen_Mangion

       Tom and the other “powers that be” will not discuss this because, in general, the “powers that be” would have to pay more SS taxes. 
      Instead the “PTB” will come up with reasons to not raise the SS taxes – on themselves!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    To paraphrase Jack, reading from reputable polls: “Republicans are in favor of not drinking carbolic acid, until they’re told that President Obama is in favor of not drinking carbolic acid. Then they want to do it.”

    Most predictable poll result ever.

    • toc1234

      I don’t know.. the poll that says, a large majority of Americans are in favor of raising taxes on the top one pct of earners, was right up there too.  and the way the media reported this ‘finding’ that people are in favor of raising taxes on somebody else was some sort of news flash was pathetic…

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        Oddly, when you cite polls about “raising taxes on the rich” without context, all I hear is “letting the top marginal rate expire”.

  • toc1234

    psst - they don’t have enough anti-gun Dem votes in the senate.

    • Don_B1

      Unfortunately some 7 Democratic Party Senators up for reelection in 2014 are from “purple states” and feel threatened by an NRA opposition.

      It might help in the future if one of those senators who vote against sensible gun laws lost their reelection bit and exit poll data showed the gun issue played a big role.

  • http://wh.gov/IVp4 Yar

    Newtown was more like the The 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

  • Coastghost

    Yet African Americans in Dillon County, South Carolina, do not merit the right to vote for local school board members, because Obama himself has helped insure that they will not be permitted to vote, in perpetuity. Barack Obama, Civil Libertarian.

    • nj_v2

      What the hell are you prattling about?

      What’s the causal connection (or any connection at all) between the local redistricting and Obama or the stimulus. The article neither describes any direct connection, nor provides sufficient information from which to draw any inference.

      • Coastghost

        The redistricting ruse is the latest excuse not to permit election of school board members in the County. And don’t thank me for the lack of published reports: EVERY OUTSIDE MEDIA REPORT from the Feb 2009 period (NPR, Salon, Chgo Tribune, McClatchy, notably) failed to adduce the local political setup in their coverage, they were so concerned to document one run-down bldg on one middle school campus (Obama had his picture taken there in Aug 2007, which was featured in his Denver nomination acceptance video in Sep 2008.) Obama helped steer the $35 million in stimulus funds to this County in 2009 with the help of former Rep. John Spratt (D) with no strings attached and NO requirement that school board elections be introduced. (Rep. Spratt was defeated in Nov 2010.)

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/TSSZX2JK43AU7VFAF5XIZ34ZIE Left Righty

    Obama, Democrats, Republicans.

    DO NOT ADD MILLIONS MORE FOREIGNERS TO THIS COUNTRY UNTIL YOU CREATE 23 MILLION JOBS FOR OUT OF WORK AMERICANS.

    WE WILL NOT STARVE QUIETLY.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Question L/R. Jobs taken up by immigrants – temporary or otherwise – are there for the taking, so what gives?

      Do you suggest subsidizing the cost of vegetables, fruit, restaurant food, meat packing, maid services, child care etc so US citizens would show up for (not to mention stay with) these jobs? 

      Starve? Who’s starving that’s willing to work?

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/TSSZX2JK43AU7VFAF5XIZ34ZIE Left Righty

        There for the taking. Really? Try to get hired if you aren’t an illegal alien in these jobs. You won’t be hired because they will only hire illegals they can pay nothing.

        Throw the employers in jail and fine the crap out of them.

        The illegals will “self-deport” and Americans will be paid a few dollars more and work in those jobs.

        • NrthOfTheBorder

          Sorry, I didn’t know that employers discriminated against Americans in favor of illegals. I would have thought it was all a matter of price. 

          And if what your saying is true – sounds like a basis for a discrimination complaint which a citizen would win handily. 

        • Don_B1

          That’s the way it worked in Alabama last year after its legislature passed and the governor signed strict anti-undocumented worker laws (?); but a lot of crops decayed in the fields for lack of field hands reports show.

    • http://www.facebook.com/stewsburntmonkey David Stewart

      Why are you demanding handouts?  Why not embrace the America dream through the American way, hard work and competition?  Create your own job, its really the only way good jobs have ever been created.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/TSSZX2JK43AU7VFAF5XIZ34ZIE Left Righty

        Sounds wonderful.

        Too bad the rich have stacked the deck in their favor.

        Sorry Dave, but reality of the America today is only the rich win. Everyone else struggles and loses.

        • http://www.facebook.com/stewsburntmonkey David Stewart

          I agree that things are massively weighted in favor of the rich, but that is something we need to combat, not surrender too.  Demanding jobs from the government or wanting to stop immigration is not the way to solve this problem.  We can all help combat this imbalance by not supporting big corporations (not shopping frequently at Walmart, McDonalds, Starbucks, etc.), supporting local businesses and small farms, working hard and conscientiously at our jobs, etc.  The problem is not the rich or the government, it is our collective laziness and willingness to take the benefits of corporate culture without accepting responsibility for it.

          • burroak

            Perceptive, thank you David.

          • Don_B1

            The problem with unemployment is not that the government needs to create them directly; by purchasing goods and services (infrastructure and school classes plus police protection), the government creates a mix of private and public jobs whose workers will have money to spend in excess of what they have today, that excess spending by the private sector will create aggregate demand and businesses will then spend some of its savings on capital equipment and more workers.

            That is the only path to a speedy recovery to a full employment economy, where much of the deficit will disappear  Then the more intelligent decisions to further reduce the deficit.debt can be made based on what is found to work best from the changes in the PPACA, etc.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Waking up in the morning is a slippery slope. I wish the person closest to someone who rattles of that phrase would slap them any time it is uttered. I don’t recall vast kvetching about suspension of Habeas Corpus being a Slippery Slope, maybe that’s because we were already done sliding.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    “People who own guns understand what different kinds of guns are used for,” per Meacham.

    As a lifetime Yankee suburbanite, all I have is my media crit, so: I may suggest that, despite all their media power and the fealty the gun lobby is shown far too often in our mainstream press, not a lot of that knowlege is coming across to “purple” states and suburbs, the places where the majority of Americans live.

    I submit that this disconnect may be a disagreement between the critical mass of lawful gun owners, and the NRA. Let’s cover the controversy. 

  • ailesbury

    Since America cares more for money than for human life (think about it!), I’m not hearing anyone talk about the costs of gun violence – the health care costs, the court and funeral costs . . . THAT should appeal to some lawmakers looking for savings

    • MrNutso

      Because those who support gun rights on the basis of the second amendment think that is part of the consequences of a free society.  It is better to be free to have unrestricted access to guns with collateral damage then to reduce collateral damage at the expense of reducing gun freedoms.

    • Don_B1

      @MrNutso:disqus @ailesbury:disqus 

      The use of such statistics could be a great force in making decisions for saner gun laws, and that is undoubtably the reason the NRA has worked to get language inserted in various laws PREVENTING the collection and study of such data.

      • JGC

        Would also like to pursue the idea of insurance policy mandates on the manufacturers to indemnify them in case of accidental shootings or murders with intent. 

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    “…will not raise the deficit by a single dime.”  We have heard this many times in the past as it is the argument that Democrats use to get large social programs passed that end up costing many many many more times more expensive than originally “projected”.

    • Ray in VT

      As opposed to fiscally responsible policies like Medicare Part D and invading Iraq?

      • TomK_in_Boston

        ….and tax cuts that were justified because we were paying off the debt too fast? BTW that’s a fact, W argued that paying off the debt too fast was bad economics so we needed a tax cut to keep more debt, and now the righties won’t admit that means we should raise taxes if we want less debt.

    • hennorama

      Fiscally_Responsible – it’s reasonable to be skeptical of the broad agenda Pres. Obama has articulated, but it’s not reasonable to single out any political party as regarding an assertion that a proposal or set of proposals “…will not raise the deficit by a single dime.”

      As you say, this is not a new assertion, but it is hardly unique to any political party.  One can recall a recent President claiming his approach would “retire nearly $1 trillion in debt over the next four years” and a recent Vice President who said “deficits don’t matter.”

  • Davesix6

    Amazingly the Associated Press did a “Fact Check” on President Obama’s State of the Union Address last night.
     
    Looks like he got a few of his “facts” wrong, they pointed out six in the article.

    http://news.yahoo.com/fact-check-overreaching-state-union-speech-032654575–politics.html
     
    Oh they checked Rubio as well, called him on one issue.

    • hennorama

      Davesix6 – it’s a bit of a stretch to say Pres. Obama “got a few of his “facts” wrong, they pointed out six in the article.”

      Certainly Pres. Obama presented the strongest possible infomation to support his positions and proposals – one would hardly expect him to do otherwise.  But to say he was “wrong” is a stretch.

      At best, one could fairly say, as Calvin Woodward does, that Pres. Obama “did some cherry-picking.”  However, there is a factual basis for everything Mr. Woodward discussed.  One might say of the six items discussed, the most controversial would be Pres. Obama’s assertion that “Already the Affordable Care Act is helping to reduce the growth of health care costs” due to the fact that the main provisions of the ACA are not yet in complete effect.

      Sen. Rubio’s assertion “The real cause of our debt is that our government has been spending $1 trillion more than it takes in every year. That’s why we need a balanced-budget amendment.” is somewhat akin to a teenager explaining to a parent “The real cause of my getting a speeding ticket is that our car has been moving faster than the posted speed limit. That’s why we need higher speed limits.”

      Sen. Rubio’s statement of the obvious, that US debt has increased as a result of Federal budget deficits, failed completely in getting to the “real cause” of federal deficits and resultant debt increases.  He presented only one half of the cause – increased spending, and completely ignored the other half – decreased revenues.  Federal Revenues declined dramatically from their peak in FY 2007, and have not yet recovered to those 2007 levels.  They may finally surpass FY 2007 levels in constant dollar terms in FY 2013, but that is far from certain.

    • Don_B1

      Most of the “problems” the Associated Press cited are minor quibbles, such as:

      1) most economists do not count the effects of a president’s programs as starting at their inauguration or even the passage of their programs. It took until May or June for the effects of the stimulus to stop the GDP free-fall and unemployment, a traditional lagging indicator, should not have been expected to begin recovery for at least an additional six months, and with the severity of the Great Recession, at least a few months longer, particularly with the small size of the stimulus.

      2) so Obama did what many politicians do: he took credit for something he had put in motion but will not, unfortunately, be in office when it is achieved. But the final result will not come in a single step: there will be a continuous incremental improvement from model to model over those years. It would have been better if he had indicated that, and I thought he would get some flack as I listened to the speech, but I can’t get too excited about the hyperbole.3) how much effect the PPACA has had on health care costs. It is clear that for those over 18-y-o or out of college but under 27-y-o, health insurance costs have been reduced, and insurance costs for women have been reduced as of last August. But Republicans have no problem making up numbers showing huge increases in insurance costs.4) so Obama did not explicitly detail what “going to the back of the line” means; there was NO “wrong” fact there.5) the vocabulary study showing “relapse” of vocabulary learning after a few grades may well be an artifact of the teaching in those elementary schools, not the pre-kindergarten programs.6) the time period of seven months (the short length not noted by the AP) was taken up with President Obama’s and Senate Democrats’ reaching out to Republicans to get a bipartisan healthcare bill (PPACA) which the Republicans, after getting many of their ideas adopted, refused to vote for out of party animus, not because they had not supported the ideas in the bill. After the Republican/Tea Party antics at town hall meetings during the August 2009 recess, too many (Blue Dog) Senate Democrats were cowed into rejecting making an effort to pass an equivalent to the Waxman/Markey bill that the House had passed in June. It was the successful delaying tactics of the Republicans that prevented climate legislation in Obama’s first term.

      Marco Rubio made more really grievous errors beyond the one singled out by the AP. For one, he “dog-whistled” the Republican “Blame Someone Else” meme for causing the Great Recession (which he called a “downturn” as if it was a minor blip in the economy, and, unfortunately for the rest of us, for many in the top 1% that is all it was) as reckless government action, meaning the CRA and the GSEs, when the recklessness came from Republican actions and mostly lack of actions: Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan refused to use the Democratic House members sponsored legislation giving him the power to regulate the shadow banks much as he had the power to regulate the big investment banks, and SEC Chairman Christopher Cox who may not have had any understanding of derivatives and the ways the big banks and insurance companies were misusing them but he undoubtedly knew that the Sen Phil Gramm (R, TX) had written the Commodities Futures Modernization Act to prevent their regulation.

      This is all documented here:

      http://rortybomb.wordpress.com/2011/11/01/bloombergs-awful-comment-what-can-we-say-for-certain-regarding-the-gses/

      It might be expected that the complete documentation of all this would have ended the Republican use of this alibi, but Republicans never seem to fear raising zombie arguments, depending on the ignorance and blind “loyalty” of its followers to believe the zombie.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/TSSZX2JK43AU7VFAF5XIZ34ZIE Left Righty

    Raise the minimum wage.

    We can’t live on the pathetic minimum wage.

    Idiot caller.

  • http://wh.gov/IVp4 Yar

    A minimum wage tied to inflation is the as close to a balanced budget amendment as anything proposed in the past three decades.  Inflation is a tax, this balances the budget off old money.  With that we must also have a strong social safety net. It will also take money out of park, people will spend to keep their cash from losing value.

  • Coastghost

    ONE ECONOMIST Jack Bleatty can cite to stutter his support for his weak argument.

  • Coastghost

    “WAR IS OVER.” NOT: victory proclaimed, certainly not mission accomplished. What architect will receive the Federal commission to design and build our glorious forthcoming triumphal arch commemorating our exit from Afghanistan?

  • toc1234

    I’m sure kruger had to do a lot of research to finally find a set of assumptions that supported his desired result that rasing minimum wage doesnt increase unemployment.

    • Don_B1

      No, he found actual that supported his results, not cherry-picking data as right-wing “think tanks” do.

      I would encourage you to actually look up some of his published work; if you can open your mind to real data, you just might learn something.

  • ailesbury

    No one is talking about the financial costs of the gun issue. Since money is much more important than human life to so many in this country, perhaps the costs of health care, court costs, funeral costs and the loss of earning power incurred as a result of the widespread massacres of Americans should be considered, even if the loss of precious lives isn’t as important.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/H2OXD7NTOLDJZWZMM2DG6W6LC4 CBSSportscom

    Why not raise the minimum wage to $10 and offer businesses tax credits that decrease over the first five years after the increase? It reduces the shock to small businesses and after the five years, the boost to the economy (and some of the added cost’s absorption into prices – hopefully not enough to offset the gains to households that have minimum wage jobs) will make more cash more available to these businesses to pay the higher wage.

    • http://www.facebook.com/hdctambien Justin May

      A temporary tax credit today is a “raising taxes” 5 years from now…

      • BHA_in_Vermont

         Yep. And of course one CAN NOT let a TEMPORARY change lapse as PLANNED and VOTED FOR by the same people who now claim it is a “tax increase”

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/UGQ5WKK44VYE7OY64ZYPX5OZT4 Jason

      Raising the minimum wage is offensive to those who have invested greatly in themselves and thier children.  The minimum wage is offered to those who have made minimal investments in themselves.  Eventually, the conditions they are in should motivate them to change their situation.  A case should be made for differentiation of earnings based on personal investment and value added.  Give people a path to self-investment and self-improvement, not a hand-out that minimizes the comparative value of making that investment (since that better job would then pay less, relatively).  Give people a safety net and opportunity to invest in themselves. Don’t give them a crutch.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        More Boot Strap Bull Skat.

        Your diatribe in a Nutshell:

        You come across Tiny Tim wobbling along on crutches. Kicking one out from under him, you watch him fall to the ground. Then, as he looks questioningly up at you, you patiently explain that if he really wants to better himself he need only stand up.

        Yes Humans are Parasites, tell us something we don’t know. I completely understand the need of most people to believe that they “got where they are” solely by their own efforts. I said I understand it, I didn’t say it was true.

        • OnPointComments

          Your diatribe in a Nutshell:
           
          Joe drops out of school in the 7th grade, fathers three children out of wedlock, goes to prison for the crimes he has committed, and abuses drugs.  You look plaintively at Joe and patiently explain that he really had no control over any of the choices he made, that even if he had tried to better himself he would have been knocked down.  Joe doesn’t realize, as liberals do, that the poor cannot succeed without the guiding hand of a liberal to lead them along.
           
          I completely understand the hubris of liberals that causes them to believe that people are doomed unless a liberal helps them.  I said I understand it, I didn’t say it was true.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            You’re not talking to Joe.

            Wasn’t Joe a plumber?
            I seem to recall something about how he couldn’t succeed because The Big Bad GubbaMint was trying to tax him out of business. I always wondered what the heck was wrong with that guy. Surely he could have just worked harder for a little less money and eventually his exceptional efforts would have made him a wealthy man.

          • Steve__T

             Your data tribe shows, your just a nut!

      • Steve__T

         Try to tell that to a full time collage student working at a burger joint and maybe another low paying job with a 50k+ loan over their heads and two kids to support.
         What planet do you live on?
        Oh I know your a 1%er You have no clue.

    • William

       Why raise the minimum wage and let the employee start to pay for the unemployment and workman comp. insurance. Let the employers off the hook.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/TSSZX2JK43AU7VFAF5XIZ34ZIE Left Righty

    14 year war for nothing. (except profits for military industrial complex)

    No wonder no one can remember we are “at war”.

  • toc1234

    like the troop withdrawal has anything to do with wise policy… it has everything to do with off-setting the political fallout from his drone kill list…

    • jimino

      I think it has more to do with ceasing the deployment, at vast expense, of our troops in unwinnable wars during which a significant number of them apparently incur lifelong disabilities for which will require lifelong treatment and financial support, not to mention the personal harm to them and their families.

      Failiing to recognize a calamitous mistake, let alone doubling down on it, is profoundly stupid. 

  • ThisDudeAbides

    This debate about minimum wage is absolutely infuriating. President Obama began his speech by laying out an important fact of our society today: wages have TANKED while corporate profits have SOARED. So the argument that raising wages will force businesses to cut workers is complete bunk. 

    It’s greed. Pure and simple. And it’s sickening.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Class warfare is raging 24/7, abetted by the corporate media. And, their talking point is that if you even mention that you are getting screwed over, you are the one engaging in class warfare.

      You never hear an original thought from the righties, just a talking point for every situation. I could write a script that generates an output indistinguishable from the “ideas” of a typical righty :)

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      Not only corporate profits, profits of the execs.

      The company I work for just chipped away at the retirement plan AGAIN. As usual, the execs are collecting their stock bonuses, at $0/share and selling it the same day for multimillion dollar profits. More money in one ‘trade’ than the average employee will make in 30 years. And they do the same with their millions of dollars in stock options bought at 50% or less of market value. Of course they get their well deserved multimillion dollar salaries on top of that.

    • hennorama

      ThisDudeAbides – this chart, which uses Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED), shows Wages & Salaries (in red), and Corporate Profits After Tax (in blue), both as percentages of GDP.  The green line shows the difference between the two.

      As you can see, the green line stays in a wide range of 40 to 50% of GDP, then drops out of that range in the early/mid-2000s, as Wages & Salaries make up a lower share of GDP, and Corporate Profits make up a larger share of GDP.

      Simultaneously.

      Make of it what you will – it’s just data.  Or to paraphrase a famous tagline – “FRED reports, you decide.”

      One point of clarification.  I use the shorthand “Wages & Salaries” for the technical term FRED uses – “Compensation of Employees: Wages & Salary Accruals” (WASCUR).  This is ALL employee compensation, including management, and not simply a chart of non-management (aka. “blue collar”) compensation.

      WASCUR (in red) peaked in 1970 and has declined steadily since, rising only during the economic boom years of the mid to late 1990s.

      Corporate Profits After Tax (CP, in blue) have ranged between 4 and 7 percent of GDP from the mid 1950s thru the mid 1980s.  They broke out of that range only recently, in the early/mid-2000s.

  • HarryAnchorite

    If “Patriotism is the Last Refuge of the Scoundrel,” then “Emotion is the Last Refuge of a Bankrupt Liberalism.”  Never was this more clear than in President Obama’s exploitation of the victims of tragedy in his pursuit of more gun control.  

    Of course, Mr. Obama must realize at some level that gun control does not work. He is, after all, from Chicago where there has been in force for decades a much more stringent gun control regime than even he can hope to implement nationwide. And during his time there Chicago managed to make “Nation’s Murder Capital” more than once.  The question is, Is he so blinded by his ideology that he simply cannot deal with facts, or is he just cynically attempting to generate a great emotional binge which will overwhelm all reason and allow him to ram through new gun control?

    And Mr. Beatty, it is clear that a fact is even safer in your presence than a quail.  Could you catch one even if it hit you in the face?  You are obviously ignorant of the fact that so-called “assault weapons” are implicated in an extremely small percentage of crimes.  Moreover, we have already run this experiment and it failed; even the Federally-mandated study of the Assault Weapons Ban 1994-2004 found it ineffective.  And since most criminals supply themselves from the great black market of stolen weapons (ca. 500,000 per year), the more rigorous imposition of background checks on legitimate transactions is hardly likely to do any good.

    Mr. Ashbrook, can’t you find any discussants who are knows something about this issue?  Must you continue to plague us with pundits who think that being liberal somehow makes them knowledgeable?

    • DeJay79

       ”discussants who are knows something about this issue?” means?

      • HarryAnchorite

        Joyce Lee Malcolm, Gary Kleck, Don Kates, Gary Mauser, John Lott, for starters, or just about anyone who has read beyond the editorials in New York Times and the Washington Post.

        Kates and Kleck “The Great American Gun Debate” is a good starting place.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      The right has no patriotism, Chinese wage slaves and American wage slaves are just costs to be minimized by the one-world international brotherhood of plutocrats.

      • HarryAnchorite

        I have read response from TomK about three times now, and it simply makes no sense – not even coherent enough to be demonstrably wrong.

        • Steve__T

          ” Mr. Ashbrook, can’t you find any discussants who are knows something
          about this issue?”

          ” not even coherent enough to be demonstrably wrong.”

          Mmm, Is English your second language?

          • HarryAnchorite

            No, just poor editing.   But I believe my meaning is clear. 

        • TomK_in_Boston

          I’ve heard “three times for the normal mind”, but maybe you need more.

          • HarryAnchorite

            Yes, I apparently do, since you still don’t make any sense.   

            Have you ever heard of Strunk and White?  Probably not.    

    • jimino

      Hey I understand you.  As far as you’re concerned, statistically speaking NOTHING happened in Sandy Hook so why worry about it.  It certainly isn’t enough to have any impact on your ability to possess any type of weapon you want.

      Do I have it right?

      • HarryAnchorite

        No, you understand nothing and you don’t have anything right.  

        Sandy Hook was an outrage.  I care enough to study the issue, to read extensively, to identify measures that don’t work and to look for ones that might possibly be of some use.  You apparently have done none of these.   

        It is clear that making the Sandy Hook school a “gun-free zone” did not protect it.  It is clear that Connecticut’s rigorous gun control did not protect it.  The teachers there did not die protecting their students, they died, heroically and futily, because they had not the means to protect either themselves or their students.   I would remove the “gun-free” designation of schools since it serves more to attract murderers than to repel them, and I would allow properly trained teachers to have access to properly secured firearms for emergencies like this.   

        Your way clearly does not work and you and those like you have some accessory responsibility for bloody catastrophes like this.   

  • sickofthechit

    “Raising the minimum wage will hurt poor people.”

    What an absurd statement!  Tell that to someone who is taking home $240 per week.  Ask them what $1.75/hr would mean to them.  Yes,it might be inflationary, but isn’t that better than the depressionary life of someone who only gets raises when the minimum wage is increased?  Workers have never been more efficient in our nations history, yet it is only the shareholders. the CEOs who benefit.  This outrage has got to stop.  The peasants still have pitchforks you know.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Standard talking point. It falls under the general talking point category of “What seems good for you is really bad for you”. Another is “What seems good for the 1%, like cutting taxes, is really good for you.”

      The actual 1%, their dupes and sheep, and the corporate media will just keep repeating this “chit” until they feel the sting of a few pitchforks.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        The worse the medicine tastes the better it is for you right? Thank goodness I can afford to never be sick. Now if you’ll excuse me, my creme broulette awaits. Enjoy your cake.

        Disclaimer: This comment is ALL snark, No substance.

    • burroak

      Insightful, continue your conversation about this much overdue and neglected topic.

    • harverdphd

       I never had any outrage against CEO’s

      • nj_v2

        It’s good to admit your failings. It’s the first step in self-improvement.

    • Coastghost

      Some recent economic data suggest German workers are presently more efficient than their American counterparts, though without citing historical data to indicate the last time US workers were more productive. (The poor performance of US public education often surfaces in discussions of economics, amazing how poorly Americans understand how their economy functions.) ((US moral education is even more abysmal, since Americans so readily prefer “prescriptive economics” to “descriptive economics”.))
      I think the data I cited at the top are embedded here:
      http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DatasetCode=LEVEL

    • Coastghost

      BTW: where I come from and live, a low-wage job often supplies sufficient incentive to search earnestly for a higher paying job. I don’t think this basic rule of economics has been repealed, as much as you might wish.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/TSSZX2JK43AU7VFAF5XIZ34ZIE Left Righty

    Elections are stolen electronically in America.

    But hey let’s keep pretending.

    • Ray in VT
      • WorriedfortheCountry

         How about the Ohio election official who admits she voted TWICE for Obama in the 2012 general election?  Didn’t you see the report on 60 minutes or NBC news?

        http://www.teaparty.org/ohio-election-official-i-voted-twice-for-obama-19902/

        • Ray in VT

          Nope, I didn’t see that, although I did see a reference to the Nevada Republican who tried to vote twice:

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/03/roxanne-rubin-nevada-voting-twice_n_2068999.html

          Of course the problem with the case that you cited is an absentee ballot and an in person vote.  Presumably if her absentee ballot had already been processed, then she should have popped up as having already voted.  To be sure there is a lot that we can do to improve our voting system.

          However, I don’t think that your case in any way gets at the point that I was trying to make regarding the lunacy of the modern GOP, namely that many people think that a defunct organization stole the election for Romney when it wasn’t close in terms of the popular or electoral vote.  That doesn’t really surprise me, though, considering how many people believe in alien abductions or that Sadaam was directly involved in carrying out the 9/11 attacks.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Wait a minute, you mean Sadaam wasn’t calling the shots? I can’t seem to locate my tin-foil hat and my thinking may be clouded but that sounds an awful lot like a GubbaMint CubbaUp.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, check out some of the quotes and links that I provided on Friday’s page, although that stuff was probably all faked by the Democrats in an attempt to discredit Bush and the GOP.

        • Ray in VT

          I also didn’t see either of my points reported in what may be called the Mainstream Media.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

             Don’t worry.  Obama’s new voter commission will solve all ills.

          • StilllHere

            LOL.  The Jobs Commission got the job done, right?

          • Ray in VT

            Oh, I don’t expect it to, but maybe we can get some workable ideas to improve the process.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            First step: The voter commission simply has to stop any right-wing attempt to reform voting.

            Of course, this is just another instance in which “stopping any rightwinger using the word reform” makes for policy improvement. Funny how often that works.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          Nope, don’t watch television.
          Should I be Worried? Let me guess, the answer is yes.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/TSSZX2JK43AU7VFAF5XIZ34ZIE Left Righty
        • Ray in VT

          I was joking, but that’s what people interviewed said.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          Yeah, RayinVT has a world-class deadpan. He’s with you.

          • Ray in VT

            Thanks, TF.  I do what I can.

      • nj_v2

        ACORN!!?? Oooooooo, nooooooo, not ACORN!!!

  • Bluejay2fly

    I am disheartened that TOM has condescended into the one sided Fox “information” land when talking about guns. He manages the narrative and uses talking heads to blindly support his position rather than have any kind of meaningful conversation. How can I defend NPR to my conservative coworkers when propaganda like this goes on? Liberals are open minded and scholarly until you touch upon one of their hobby horses and suddenly they are as closed minded as Shaun Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Anne Coulter or anybody else on the far right who we malign as unenlightened, media whores. I thought you were better than that, Tom? I have no choice but to still listen to your show because 95% of the time you are propounding a topic with meaningful discourse, for which I greatly appreciate. In the future perhaps it would be more prudent to take the day off and let a relief take over when you cannot discuss the topic in a meaningful fashion.

  • JGC

    My action list for this week:

    1.) Make a contribution to Gabby Gifford’s americansforresponsiblesolutions.org

    2.) Contact my Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA-8)and ask him to vote on anti-gun violence measures, which for me will at least include universal background checks and restrictions on magazine capacity.  Also thank him again for crossing the aisle to be a “Problem Solver”.

    3.) Send link to Senator Rubio alerting him to toastmasters.org

    • MrNutso

      Good luck with Mike “high taxes and government regulations are hurting job creators” Fitzpatrick.

      • JGC

        Well, you gotta start somewhere!

        It seems like only yesterday that he was a Rand Paul understudy, saying outrageous things while being secretly taped at Bucks County Tea Party gatherings… And now, here he is, a Democratic PAC target for the 2014 election in a split district, and joining the No Labels “Problem Solvers.” 

    • OnPointComments

      There is a bit of irony that those who became nearly apoplectic over the constitutional rights of voters being infringed if they were required to produce an ID don’t have any problem with their Second Amendment rights being infringed if they have to submit to background checks.

      • JGC

        The Voter ID law is still winding its way through the Pennsylvania courts.   

    • JGC

      Update:  Items 1, 2 and 4 completed.  This turned out to be a sort of interesting POV experiment –  they all want your issue to be put into a category on their e-mail checklist.  In my mind, I was looking for something along the lines of “Gun Violence”.  What I found on Toomey’s (A grade from the NRA) list was “Gun Rights”.  On Casey’s was the more neutral sounding “Firearms”. And on Fitzpatrick’s (who has had to wage a seesaw battle every other year to retain his seat in a tossup district) was…nothing.  The closest I could find on his category list was “Social Issues”.

    • Coastghost

      An ammo clip is fairly simply a spring-loaded metal or composite box, apparently quite easy to fashion with a minimum of effort. How confident are you that Federal restrictions on sales of high capacity ammo clips will in truth and in fact limit their circulation? (Among “law abiding citizens”, that is.)

  • PithHelmut

    I realize that this is normal fare even in these modern times, but there is something perverted about people who enjoy killing of any kind, and that includes the killing of animals. It seems no one looks at this issue from the angle of anyone but the killer’s. Yes we have to eat but to enjoy the killing, to call it sport?  Anyone who does this ought to look within. Preventative action should have them discharged from any public or high office. To take a life, any life, deliberately and to tout it as something that should be acceptable is twisted. Where’s the Golden Rule here? And if one can do this to a lesser being, what other savagery lurks beneath their exterior? The public fails to bring up this perspective mainly because those who control the argument prefer us to be distracted while they do their heinous deeds unsuspectingly. Much like the argument on climate change (eg: when do we hear the fact that fossil fuels cause the overdose of CO2?)

    • Coastghost

      I fear Georges Franju’s 1949 documentary “Blood of the Beasts” (even though filmed in B/W) would greatly upset your dainty moral sensitivities: I advise you don’t make the attempt.

      • Ray in VT

        One not be described as being “dainty” for being repulsed by the enjoyment of killing.  I love meat, and I know that animals must die for that.  I have had to deal with dying and dead animals, and I take no pleasure in the necessity of ending the life of an animal (insects and arachnids excluded).

        Farming isn’t pretty.  I’ve seen a vet try to pull a calf and have the legs come right off.  I’ve had to clean up the parts after the vet had to cut a calf up while still inside the cow in order to get it out and save the cow.  It’s gross, but that’s the reality of farm life.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          You’re dead on about Farm Life.
          I think there might be something wrong with me though because I find our current Civilized Society to be far more repulsive than most anything I’ve ever encountered while farming.
          Maybe I’m just desensitized.

          • Ray in VT

            I expect the animals on the farm to act like animals, but I expect better of people, and I have sometimes been greatly let down.  That was one thing that was especially hard, at times, about being a history major.  The books are full of the many examples of people being terrible to each other.

            There are some real advantages to farm life.  At the end of a hard day of work, I really feel like I have earned that sleep.  It can really keep the weight off and the body strong, although it will break you down faster.  Sometimes it is just funny to surprise someone with what you know.  I do white collar work mostly, and it surprises people to know that I’ve pulled calves, been gored or know where to shoot a cow in the head to actually kill it (it isn’t in the front if you’ve got a smaller caliber weapon).

          • Coastghost

            In Franju’s documentary a pole-axe was used to dispatch cattle, a captive-bolt pistol for taking down a horse. Calves and sheep simply had their throats sliced. Fascinating film. (Also memorializes Emile Decroix, propagateur of horse meat, relevant to the present European dispute.) 

    • Sy2502

      I guess you aren’t very familiar with the concept of Evolution then. Nature has a way of making things that are crucial for our survival (sex, food, etc) pleasant to give us an incentive to do them. Since humans are predators, it makes perfect evolutionary sense for hunting to be pleasurable. The fact YOU don’t get it doesn’t make everyone else that doesn’t share YOUR view some sort of psychopath.

      • nj_v2

        Humans like to distinguish themselves from “lower animals” by virtue of their somewhat broader, deeper, more nuanced sense of consciousness.

        While eating can be pleasurable, the awareness of taking a sentient life can certainly at least temper the interaction. While hunting tribes and peoples celebrate the hunt, they devote at least as much energy and attention in honoring the lives they take.

        • Sy2502

          People can enjoy the hunt AND respect the animal they are going to kill and eat. The 2 are not mutually exclusive. I personally don’t hunt for the same reason I don’t jump off planes or play golf: I don’t like it. But I certainly don’t imply there’s something wrong with those who do. I don’t have that high an opinion of my personal preferences as to think everyone who doesn’t feel like I do must be mentally damaged.

    • Coastghost

      Might be instructive for us carnivores to know just where your categorical imperatives come from. Not from the Golden Rule, which utterly lacks the ameliorative “should”, the forensic “ought”, and the imperative “must”. (The ethics of Jesus of Nazareth are couched in terms of “do” [NOT "try"] and “be” [NOT "I suggest to you . . ."]). Davy Hume wouldn’t seem of much help here, either . . . 

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Did anyone notice that Obama couldn’t control his laughter when he was reading the teleprompter about ‘manufactured crisis’s’ created by the Federal government?
    Why was he chuckling?  Because he knows that he has been the  master of using manufactured crisis’s for his own advantage.

    • JGC

      He was happy because manufacturing is up.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        lol

    • http://www.facebook.com/stewsburntmonkey David Stewart

      How so?  What crises has he manufactured?

      • WorriedfortheCountry

         You can start with the phony war on women.

        • http://www.facebook.com/stewsburntmonkey David Stewart

          I’m not sure that really fits the definition of crisis he was talking about.  However, there clearly are numerous gender issues which need to be addressed.  He and the Democrats want to address them, but they are bringing the government to a halt to force the issue.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          Spread your cheeks, this Govt-mandated rectal probe will hurt a little. Unless it’s “phony”.

          • JGC

            lol…oh my word, too unfortunately on target

          • WorriedfortheCountry

             You need an anatomy lesson my friend.

          • JGC

            No, TF is turning the table. This is how it would play out if there was a roughly equivalent “war on men” law.

          • Coastghost

            Operative word, “if”. We may do well to wait and see how our forthcoming “women’s battalions of death” perform in combat before deciding on outcomes.

          • JGC

            I hope the women in the volunteer armed forces who apply for combat duty acquit themselves more admirably than Sunshine Patriot/Vietnam War Dodger Ted Nugent.  I believe they will.

          • Ray in VT

            How did Nugent get out of the war?  Did he hurt his back doing the Wango Tango?

          • Bear Walker

            FAIL: So is it now that anyone who didn’t serve in Nam is a dodger?  If so, that makes millions of men draft dodgers, why single out Nugent?

          • JGC

            I am being strangledbyDisqus. I will reply to you further above.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Wow, that’s a pathetic pivot.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Spread your cheeks. This will hurt a little. And you’ll need to talk to my priest to get your ED meds.

    • StilllHere

      Like the sequester, he created it, now he’s against.  I say let it happen.  We have the tax increases, now let’s get the spending cuts.  Neither were pretty, but Washington doesn’t do pretty.

      • OnPointComments

        I assume that the numerous reports I have read and heard about the sequester are true:  “spending cuts” is just Washington-speak for a smaller increase in spending; the sequester never reduces spending in one year to an amount that was less than the preceding year.  I agree with you:  We have the tax increases, now let’s get the spending cuts.

    • Fredlinskip

      I don’t know. Perhaps creating arbitrary deadlines and then having GOP say we are going to close Gov or default on our obligations and risk another credit downgrade if  Dems don’t cave to ALL GOP demands- that’s sort of funny I guess.
          GOP putting rhetoric first and country last- that is kind of funny when you think of it. Why would anyone who cared a wit for their country try such a thing?

      • WorriedfortheCountry

         LOL  You don’t believe that there should be a debt limit?

        What actually happened was the Dems refused to pass a budget and thus locked in high spending with arbitrary priorities.  Once the debt limit approached, the GOP attempted to do the right thing by removing wasteful spending and they were blocked by the Dems and Obama.

        I agree that the GOP lost the political battle but that wasn’t because they were wrong.  It is because they are inept politicians and Obama has a compliant media.

        This is a good example of a phony crisis created by Obama.  According to Bob Woodward’s book, Obama and Boehner had a ‘deal’ to avoid the crisis but Obama went back on the deal and insisted on additional revenue.  Obama then did NOTHING to lead on the issue until the debt limit approached.  The only rational conclusion is he wanted the phony crisis and standoff with the GOP instead of a real solution or compromise.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          I can’t say for the rest, but all many of us lefties and media crit watchers want is for “debt ceiling” to matter as much now, to the Beltway Inbreds, financial press corpse, and mushy nonpartisan middletypes at this part in the business cycle, as it did in the middle of the last decade during a 5+ year expansion, on the rise of the business cycle.

          Now gather up all your TruePrincipledConservative friends and be the change you say you want. I’ll save you a corner booth at a Friendly’s.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Friendly’s is still in business? That’s comforting. Twenty five or thirty years ago I was in a couple of cities that had them, the ice cream was really good.
            Mmmmmm, ice cream…

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Some of them are, but fewer now.

            I’d suggest that America’s taste for ice cream has become, well, better since you were in a Friendly’s three decades ago.

            They still make good ice cream, but getting gourmet ice cream is much easier now in many parts of Georgia, I’ll guess. And you don’t have to worry about going out in blizzards.

        • Fredlinskip

          Woodward sold out long ago. He hung out with the wrong crowd for too long and can no longer think.
          What happened is Dems worked as well as they could with GOP who would rather see U.S. credit rating drop than give an inch on  tax rates more consistent with a healthy economy. And a GOP who’s #1 goal was to make Obama a 1 termer –  nation be damned.
          Fight for them corporate jet tax breaks and Cayman island loopholes to your last breath, please.
                

    • Steve__T

       Their was someone in the audience making clown faces at Boehner trying to make him crack a smile.

  • Coastghost

    For Ray in VT (posting here, thanks to Disqust): Franju did not document revulsion or repulsion on the parts of slaughterhouse employees, neither did he document much mirth and frivolity: what would be squeamish work to the uninitiated seemed to be simply a matter of quiet skill and monotonous routine, presumably for the benefit of Parisian diners and visiting gastronomes. The most unsettling aspect perhaps came with the revelation that we have ably retained our animal instincts, and our anomalocaridid ancestors would have starved to death in the Cambrian period had they been practitioners of what I termed “dainty moral sensitivity”.
    Life feeds on life: when it fails to do so, it dies. Period. Morality can hardly improve on this formula if it fails to recognize the reality underlying it. 

  • TomK_in_Boston

    The attacks (aka “reform”) on SS give the clearest view through the righty camo to the real class warfare.

    SS is the soundest program on the planet. It’s all set for 15-25 years, depending on how the economy does, and then worst case is a benefit cut by about 25%. Can you tell me what else is that solid?…didn’t think so. Also, it doesn’t contribute to the deficit, and in fact was explicitly set up that way to protect it from righty attacks.

    So, here we are in a jobs crisis and weak economy in the aftermath of the worst crash since 1929. What do the rightys want to talk about – cutting SS! Faced with an immediate, short term problem, they want to go out 15-25 years, when they can’t plan anything else for next month.

    OK, kids, here’s your first Quiz in Class Warfare 101. Pick a) or b):

    The right is talking about “reforms” to SS, even tho they have nothing to do with our immediate problems, because:

    a) They are so deeply concerned about the poor senior citizens.

    b) They’ve hated SS since FDR created it, and they are using  phony deficit hysteria as their latest tactic in the never ending attack on SS.

    Anyone not know the answer? – ROTFL

    • OnPointComments

      Shouldn’t we bring the sound practices of the Social Security System to the private sector?  Instead of having companies make cash payments to their workers’ retirement plans, why not let the company put an IOU in the plan, and instead use their cash for other things.

      • jimino

        You mean like use the real money (cash) to purchase treasury bills, you know, the same financial devices used by wealthy individuals and sovereign nations to safely park their cash? 

        Is that what you are proposing?

      • Mike_Card

        Maybe because public and private sectors have different purposes?

      • DrewInGeorgia

        IOU? Sure, why the hell not? Let the good altruistic companies make money off of the retirement investment that is supposed to go DIRECTLY to the employees. Then, just prior to that IOU coming due…..Oops, we’ve made some bad investments. Ooops, Billy Bob had their hand in the Cookie Jar. Oooops, we’ve decided it’s more important to liquidate our assets (including your retirement), make sure the Vultures have a decent meal, and Get The Hell Out Of Dodge.
        Thanks for the loan! Have a nice life!

        You continue to impress.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        Talking point alert!

        A bond is an IOU. US Treasury bonds are considered to be ultra-safe investments in every context except in the SS trust Fund, where, according to righty talking points, they are worthless IOUs.

        Maybe try an idea of your own instead of parroting the official Party Line?

        • twenty_niner

          It’s going to be really interesting how the market is going to value Treasuries after the Fed (along with most every other central bank, for that matter) ceases its massive buying program; “interesting” as in the Chinese curse.

    • Bear Walker

      So you say SS is in good shape for the next 15-25 years and I assume that makes you “safe”.  What about our kids and grand kids?  You got yours, to hell with everyone else, huh?

      • TomK_in_Boston

        Hey Bear, or Troll as the case may be, if you read the other thread you’ll see that we say raise the cap and fix SS forever, with no cuts – what’s the problem?

        Let’s be clear. It’s the right that wants to screw the kids, with their cutting, voucherizing and privatizing. Proposing to give the kids a ryan groupon instead of real medicare is criminal class warfare, a real “to hell with you”. Of course they call it “reform” and “saving the program” but nobody here is stupi enough for that.

        Meanwhile, it’s very suspicious that the right has a focus on SS, which has a small long term problem, when we face a short term jobs crisis. Like I said, are the righties really concerned, or are they using deficit hysteria as a scare tactic to attack SS? I guess you fail the quiz.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Regarding “The Rebuttal” to the State Of The Union address:

    Rich White People Get Latino Guy To Do Some Work For Them

    • hennorama

      The Onion strikes again.

      I’m a bit disappointed, though, as The Onion for some reason failed to point out that the “Latino Guy” demonstrated ”a clear thirst for the opportunity.”

  • Bruce94

    Regrettably, I had to miss last night’s State of the Union and just finished listening to a pod-cast of it — a great speech with all the right modulations that filled in the contours of the vision articulated in the Inaugural address in such an eloquent manner.

    Seems that one of the President’s underlying themes he expressed was that broad-based, shared prosperity in our country must be based on BOTH the public investments in human capital and infrastructure on which a thriving middle-class ultimately depends AND a strong foreign policy that rests on not only the projection of military power, but also diplomatic and trade initiatives as well as economic and cultural development of mutual benefit. 

    Judging from the GOP response(s), it seems to me that Republicans understand only one-half of the above equation and, even at that, they would emphasize the military aspects of that half much more than is warranted by common sense and recent experience. 

    • OnPointComments

      It was a contrasting juxtaposition of news items to watch President Obama with his parade of gun violence victims at the State of the Union address, after having seen an ABC World News story hours earlier about how the government has betrayed the 13 people killed and 32 others shot in the Fort Hood shooting by calling the incident “workplace violence.”
       
      http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/fort-hood-hero-obama-betrayed-victims/story?id=18465024

    • harverdphd

       But if Republicans understand half of your “equation” it’s probably because they currently represent half of the voters, or at least enough to thwart the president’s “themes” until the composition of our government changes.

  • gslouch

    After listening to congressman Rubio’s response to the State of the Union, it’s clear that Republicans remain the party of No.   A regurgitation of the same old, tiresome line of bull.  How many times has the president tried to pass job bills?  Perhaps not perfect bills ,but catalysts to jumpstart America’s workers.  How many times has he offered to compromise?  What the heck is the federal government there for?  To help the people!  Apparently, they really did not see the light after this last election.   This closed-minded, miserly approach to politics is only going to slow America’s recovery, but it seems that’s what this reactionary party wants!

    • harverdphd

       Despite your talking points I might remind you that the Republicans you refer to represent enough of America’s voters to thwart the president’s liberal agenda.

      • Mike_Card

        Let me remind you that the Republicans are in a minority.

        • harverdphd

           Which makes them even more powerful by contrast…thanks for that.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            It doesn’t mean they are “even more powerful by contrast”, it just means they whine and throw tantrums a lot more frequently. If a spoiled little brat pitches a bitch fit often enough you’ll give them a pacifier just to shut em’ up.

          • VinceD2

            And the Dems did the same when they were the minority. I even remember the Republicans threatening the “nuclear option”. 

            If our congressmen were our kids, we’d spank them! 

          • Mike_Card

            Which means that their ideas don’t wash–that’s what democracy means.  Majorities mean something–that’s why we have elections.

      • jefe68

        And let me remind you that that majority in the House is being chipped away at. 

    • Coastghost

      Errr ummm uhhh: Senator (he wasn’t demoted for being thirsty).

      • DrewInGeorgia

        Congress is comprised of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Senator Rubio is a man. Senator Rubio serves (term used very loosely) in Congress.
        Senator Rubio is a congressman.
        Where’s the Beef?

        • Coastghost

          Drew, you’re in Georgia, I’m in SC: is it really so different north or south of the Savannah River? Regardless: around here, “congressman” refers practically exclusively to a Congressional “representative”. I’ve never heard of a US Senator referred to as a “congressman”–never. Until today.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            huh, that’s strange. I’ve heard Georgia Senators referred to pretty regularly as congressmen over time. By Georgians no less. We have had some real winners though so maybe the term congressman was being used as a derision. I never got that impression though.

        • jefe68

          Sorry Senator Rubio is in the Senate for the state of Florida. He’s not in the House of Representatives which would make him a Congressman.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Yeah, call him Senator. The bonus? It’s a reminder of how embarrassed Floridians should be of electing him.

          • jefe68

            Well I’m just trying to get the vernacular straight.

            Personally I think the mans a complete ignoramus. Despite his status in society.
            For the love of the universe, this guy thinks the earth is 6000 years old when we all know it’s 5773…

  • VinceD2

    Obama is promoting a massive amnesty for illegal aliens, and he will succeed if we fail to rise up in opposition.

    This amnesty will instantly legalize 20 million currently illegal aliens. (Sure, they say “only” 11 million, don’t believe it!) These

    folks will then sponsor in their families, add another 30 million, so

    now we have 50 million. In a generation, that will double to 100

    million! These folks will gain citizenship and the vote and will

    demand even more immigration to this country.

    Now please consider that we have over 20 million Americans out of work. What will be the effect of adding 100 million people to the workforce It can only mean massive increases in poverty.

    Most of these illegals are undereducated and will use more in social services than they will pay in taxes. The strain on our social benefits will be incredible.

    What about our environment? Can the continent support 100 million more people? What about energy? How will we educate their kids?

    This is a disaster being manufactured for the purpose of pandering to the Latino vote. Unfortunately for the Democrats, it really is that simple. Some Republicans also are on board, the Chamber of Commerce wants the cheap labor.

    Hopefully you can see that our politicians are selling us out and

    hopefully you will sign the petition in the link below:

    https://www.numbersusa.com/petition?id=14372

    Also please check out http://www.numbersusa.com for a lot of good info on this issue. 

    • JGC

      Many of our citizens are undereducated, overeducated, and everything in between; and we all use more in social services than we will ever pay in taxes.

      • VinceD2

        And investing in education so that people get better jobs and contribute was one of the highlights of the speech! 

  • JGC

    Does anyone here personally know someone who was shot and injured or killed by a gun (not as part of a war action outside the U.S.) , whether it was by accident or by suicide or a murder?  Just curious.

    • Coastghost

      Si oui ja da and yes. Both were suicides. (Two other childhood chums killed themselves w/o using firearms.)

      • JGC

        Me, too. But not suicide. 4th grade accident between two classmates, one showing the other his dad’s gun.  Years can go by without me thinking about them, but every once in a while they find a way to give me a nudge.

    • VinceD2

      Yes, I know 2 people who were accidentally shot. One where kids found a “toy” gun, not a toy. The other was a defective gun that went off unexpectedly. He’s paralyzed. 

      Gun safety education would have prevented both of these. 

    • Ray in VT

      Yes.  I knew a couple of kids in high school who killed themselves, and there was a kid here in my town who just accidentally killed his brother while going to clean his rifle.  I don’t know the boys, but I do know some other members of the family.

    • hennorama

      JGC – unfortunately, yes.  It’s difficult to discuss or even think about some of the details, so I’ll simply say I have personal experience with firearms-related homicide, suicide and accidental injury, and sadly more than one in each category.

    • jefe68

      Yes. A two when I was in High School. Which was quite a long time ago. All drug related and dumb actions by the victims. One got away with being shot in the foot. The other was murdered, shot in the face as I recall.
      They were not close friends, but people I knew at the time. 

      There was another shooting death but it effected someone I shared a work space with. They were also shot in a drug related crime, but had nothing to do with drugs. Just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    • wareinparis

      Yes. When I was five years old, my friend, a 38 year old police officer was murdered in his patrol car – - multiple shots before he could even draw his weapon. The ten year old brother of a high school friend killed himself playing with his father’s gun. The husband of a friend committed suicide by handgun a few months ago.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      No shortage of answers here.

    • JGC

      Thanks everyone for your stories. All I can say is, wow. Shocking. If I had thought to ask the question at the beginning of the day instead of at the end, when more folks were on this forum, I wonder how many more people would have added their stories on to the list. How could anyone not agree that gun availability contributes to a major public health crisis?

      • hennorama

        JGC – reading the other stories prompted me to point out something that is rarely discussed – the firearms/alcohol/drugs connection.  All but one of the victims in my personal experiences involved alcohol and/or drug consumption on the part of the victim, the shooter, or both.  Predominantly alcohol, but drugs (both legal and illegal) were in the mix.  When firearms are combined with the use of alcohol and/or drugs, the risks involved appear to be greatly increased.

        Research on this topic is not widely available, and much of the available data is at least 15 years old.  This is mainly due to the restrictions on funding firearms-related research and the restrictions on the release of available data to researchers.

        But if you ask any hospital emergency room worker, they will tell you that at least 25% of all GSW (gunshot wound) victims test positive for alcohol and/or drugs.

        I agree with you that firearms are far too easy for a disturbed person or criminal to access, and far too easy to be misused spontaneously as a result of their wide availability.

        • JGC

          I am in agreement with your main points (drug/alcohol influences, publication bans on firearms research) but I do have to note that if 25% of all GSW victims are testing positive for  alcohol/drugs, that means 75% are not. (And I realize that does not account for any alcohol/drug influences on the person who actually pulled the trigger.)

          I just don’t want to let people be misled that this is a drug enforcement problem first.

          • hennorama

            JGC – TY for your response. I understand your point. Certainly firearms violence is not “a drug enforcement problem first” and I did not mean to imply that firearms violence is only associated with alcohol and/or drug use. Far from it.

            My point is that easy access to firearms, combined with the use of alcohol and/or drugs, is a potent mix and perhaps far more likely to result in injury or death than when those two risk factors are not combined.

            As I stated, it’s difficult to get unbiased non-anecdotal info or research on firearms use in the US and its consequences, whether those consequences are positive or negative. Research is available using data from sources outside the US, but extrapolation is problematic, and the use of such data opens one up to easy criticism of the “Yeah it happened there, but what about here?” variety.

            Clearly consumption of alcohol can greatly lower inhibitions, increase confidence and potentially release violent impulses, as virtually anyone who has been at a crowded bar on a Friday night knows. Certainly alcohol and/or drugs can help someone contemplating suicide to overcome their natural instinct for self-preservation. And alcohol and/or drug use can lead to a higher incidence of accidents of all types.

            Putting firearms into the equation only increases the potential for negative outcomes. Combining two risk factors is seldom a good idea.

      • HarryAnchorite

        You can support any position with anecdotes.  If you read The American Rifleman you would find a page every month of news stories reprinted from the media of people using guns to protect lives and property.   

        And if you had done any research, you would be aware guns are used more often to defend against violence than to perpetrate violence.  See, Kleck, Point Blank:  Gun Violence in America.  

        We do not, of course, have the option to magically eliminate all guns from society; we have only the option to pass laws, and the experience of Britain indicates that this does not work too well.  See Joyce Lee Malcolm in the Wall Street Journal.  

        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323777204578195470446855466.html

        • JGC

          You are right about the anecdotes. It is all in how the question is framed. When I initially thought of the question (“I wonder if anyone on this forum has ever directly experienced gun violence?”) it was a result of the Obama SOTU exhortation that “they deserve a vote”.   It was my young 4th grade buddies that rose up to needle me (as they do from time to time) to remember, to ask, to act. 

          I’ll read the wsj article you mention, and I’ll give it some thought, and probably reply back here soon. (I’m a slow thinker.) But you know the Australian PM Howard (great friend of GWB) published an op-ed in the NYT recently, pointing out how successful the weapons ban has worked in Australia.

          Thanks again. I need conservatives to keep me sharp, especially since Gregg Smith is away on holiday.  

          • HarryAnchorite

            I have not looked at Howard’s OpEd yet, (thanks for the reference) but I am somewhat skeptical having found politicians generally not very knowledgeable on this issue.  While you are reading, have a look at the Frazer Institute Report by Gary Mauser, 
            “Guns and Crime, the Failed Experiment,” 
            Covering the experience of Australia, Canada, Britain, and Wales, with
            restricting guns and rising crime.  http://www.gunsandcrime.org/faildxprmt.pdf 

            The Australian procedure involved first registration then confiscation.  (This scenario makes gun owners very leery of registration) The Aussies’ violent crime leveled out for awhile and then started to rise again.   The data in the Mauser report ends ca. 2007 and I don’t know has happened since.  

  • twenty_niner

    This guy does not sound intelligent to me, only slightly sharper than George Bush, and now I have corroboration:

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