The Speech Comment Thread

Here you go. Have fun talking about it.

My thoughts, briefly: Good speech, done well. But then, I’m a sucker for a president who says, in essence, “You know all that crap everyone else kept putting off? Yeah, now we’ll be dealing with it.” Jesus Christ amen, man. I wouldn’t complain if I got to be part of a responsible generation, one that didn’t sucker punch our children as we made our way out the door.

139 thoughts on “The Speech Comment Thread

  1. I’m still having trouble believing he’s the real president. I keep expecting him to announce an asteroid is going to crash into the planet, or to thank Spiderman for his service to the country.

    That and this is the first time in my lifetime that the President and First Lady have appeared to like each other.

  2. I agreed with nearly all of what he had to say (holding full approval until I see details). Mostly, I just think it’s nice to be talked to by my president like he thinks that I might not be going to the 6th grade on the little bus.

  3. I really enjoyed the emphasis on the it isn’t a Democrat problem, it isn’t a Republican problem, it’s an American problem. It was also interesting to see who stood, and who didn’t stand, and in what blocs that happened. A pleasure seeing John McCain standing when the rank and file weren’t.

  4. Trillions of dollars of new spending isn’t sucker-punching our children?

    Did you watch a some other country’s President speak tonight or something?

  5. Hell, I’m just impressed we’ve got a president who can pronounce the phrases “nuclear proliferation” and “pandemic diseases”, let alone actually sound like he knows what they mean.

  6. I cannot stop laughing at Rachel Maddow and the fact she cannot find big-girl words to describe Jindal’s response and has reverted to macrospeak. No, literally, she said “government is FAIL” at one point, because he rendered her so speechless she couldn’t manage basic grammar. Help, someone, I think I laughed my spleen right out. As for Mr. President, wonderful stirring speech (the man gives you goosebumps!). Party of No response? After the first three minutes I only heard Charlie Brown’s teacher. Waaaaaay too long.

    Is it bad that I’m finding the political pundits’ responses more entertaining than the speeches themselves?

  7. I find it refreshing to have a President who, if my hometown were destroyed in an earthquake, likely wouldn’t scramble Air Force One on a flyover so he could piss on the ruins.

  8. *sigh* Government spending is what got us out of the Great Depression. It’s the only policy that has been actually tested in the real world.

    So, no, “trillions of dollars of spending” is most emphatically NOT “sucker-punching our children”. It’s making sure that they have an economy and a government when they’re grown up. As long as that money is spent on, say, actually building things, creating jobs and educating people, and not enriching the top 1% stock portfolios, or buying a bunch of war toys and blowing them up in the desert and spilling far too much human blood.

  9. Whatever happens, Obama is going to spend the rest of his term in office dealing with a major recession that isn’t his fault. Hopefully he won’t end up getting the blame for it when it’s over.

  10. Julia@7: I can’t stop laughing that the though that anyone would consider the cable talking fat-heads worthy of a nano-second worth of attention. (And I don’t consider Mad Cow any better than Innanity and O’Ranty on the other channel. The left wing of a rotten turkey tastes as bad as the right one.) But, as that great philosopher Sly Stone once said: Different strokes, for different folks.

    But I do find it amusing that Jindal thinks the simulus bill is the work of Satan, but will take the money any way. There’s (two) words for people who do that, and they’re not often used in polite company.

  11. Craig @11: Indeed, but there are many news channels. So many, in fact, that an Internet stranger need not insult another Internet stranger’s choice of entertainment in a strange bid for moral superiority.

  12. Romeo Vitelli @10: Since a lot of people seem to like wailing on FDR for “prolonging the depression”, it seems like Obama’s going to get the blame for it whatever he does; it’s probably enough that there’s a recession while he’s in office.

    (Please note; I don’t know, and don’t really care, whether FDR’s policies /did/ prolong the depression. It’s incidental to the point I’m making in this case)

  13. On a lighter note, who else chose to deliberately misunderstand “cyber threats” as “killer robots”?

    Term one: fix America. Term two: put an end to the robot invasion. :D

  14. John,

    He doesn’t appear to be bent on spending that money as stupidly as the last president did, Rob, so, no.

    Clearly you and I have different definitions of “stupid.” I’m not defending Bush on spending, but Obama just tucked more into a “stimulus” packaged based on a failed economic premise than we spent in almost six years on Iraq.

    And when he says he’s going to “cut the deficit” he means cut it down from where he’s already inflated it. Which, if he meets his goal of cutting it by 2/3′s (unlikely, but for the sake of argument) it’ll be at about $600 billion.

    Or about $150 billion more than Bush’s last budget deficit.

    So, excuse me if I’m not exactly sharing your enthusiasm for Obama’s “let’s do the hard work” schtick. Because I don’t think he means it.

  15. I did enjoy the fact that President Obama managed to ever so politely, but firmly, SPANK the last White House resident and his administration quite firmly on several occasions for the multiple messes they created during their tenure. On more than one occasion, I thought Nancy Pelosi was going to explode trying to keep a straight face! The faces of the Republicans in the chamber were priceless.

    Worse, the speech ended nearly two hours ago and GWB still hasn’t figured out Obama was talking about him.

    Yay to the President! Quite a speech. I’m sure my neighbors thought I was nutz, I was applauding right along with everyone else the whole time.

  16. I dunno, John, from what I’ve seen, I see absolutely nothing but stupid spending that’s been proposed. But then again, I don’t happen to think that the vast majority of what the Federal government spends money on should be spent at all. Defense? Sure. Protecting the borders? Yup. Most of the rest of everything? Not so much.

    As far as tough choices go, I didn’t watch the speech, I was doing more important things, but there’ll be a fairly quick test to see whether or not it was complete bullshit – does he veto the appropriations bill loaded up with thousands of earmarks that sharply increases spending from last year’s version (larded up by both sides, btw), or make any attempt to get Congress to slim it down? If he does, good for him, and I’ll support that. If not, well, it will pretty much answer the question about hard choices.

  17. Julia@11: I don’t want out host to bring out the Mallet of Loving Correction, but some people are also entertained by homeless men paid to beat the crap out of each other. I just find it rather sad that folks like Maddow and O’Reilly still get air-time (and very fat paycheques) from networks that are firing journalists hand over fist and cutting budgets for actual news-gathering.

  18. Oh, and Julia — I’ll take Gov. Jindal seriously when his state refuses to accept a single penny of stimulus money. Otherwise, he reminds me of the kind of teenager who can say with a straight face, “I’m still a virgin, because blow-jobs don’t count.”

  19. But then again, I don’t happen to think that the vast majority of what the Federal government spends money on should be spent at all. Defense? Sure. Protecting the borders? Yup. Most of the rest of everything? Not so much.

    People say things like this because they have no idea what society was like (cf Britain, 1870 or the US, 1890) when government *didn’t* spend money on anything but defense and sundry other matters.

  20. to follow up David @20, or the the late 1920s.

    @Skip
    Do police officers, fireman and teachers count as defense or protecting our borders?

  21. I loved the speech. He’s actually suggesting WE take some responsibility and act like adults. We have a President who likes science. Yes, we sat in our living room and clapped. It dawned on me that I haven’t looked forward to a Presidential speech since I was a kid. It’s like being put back into a world where things make sense and leaders lead. Yes, we still have to see what happens – words are not results. But I feel like I’m actually being talked to and listened to by this administration. I feel like there is a real attempt to do the things that need to be done. And maybe, maybe he’s ambitious and smart enough to deal in a world where change happens so fast a blink makes you fall behind and where some problems are so big it will take all the world to fix them (climate change/ecology).
    I hope so.

  22. David@20, are you seriously postulating that the reason life is better today than in the 1890s is because of government spending? That’s a real laugh. We don’t currently have any examples of truly low government spending, but on the scale we do have, lower government spending equates to higher standard of living, in more or less free-market economies. I’ve been to Europe, outside of the tourist areas. I absolutely don’t want the US going that way.

  23. Peter@21, nope, none of them do. And none should be funded by the Federal government. Those should all be state and local things.

  24. I did miss the federal government part of your post.

    unfortunately states can’t do deficit spending, so even though services are desperately needed around the country, the states still have to balance their budgets.

    in the long term if states would raise taxes and appropriately pay for such things as police, teachers, and fireman then I could probably agree with you.

    I’m not holding my breath though after listening to Bobby Jindal “I’m only taking 3.7 billion dollars” of the stimulus, but not the .1 that helps poor people.

  25. @20- Hypothetically, what if they do? In other words, if they _do_ want to see a society where the overall wealth is greater than it was in the 1890s or so, but where there’s no real effort to divert any of that wealth into public works, and they do have some idea what that society would look like? “Snow Crash” didn’t seem terribly unpleasant, for one example…

  26. I liked the FDR Fireside Chat nature of the speech, going over the heads of Congress to the people who elected them. I liked the emphasis on Education. I liked the schoolgirl who wrote the letter to Congress, sitting besides Mrs. Obama. Just don’t think USA needs to claim invention of car or TV. Nor did Al Gore invent the internet, y’know.

    On the other hand, I liked Bobby Jindal’s semi-joke about his Democrat Sheriff friends who, in mid-Katrina, invited him to be arrested. And “Americans can do anything.” I immediately thought about Faster than Light, Time Travel, and finding the Girl in the Golden Atom.

  27. Every time I hear Mr. Obama on the TV or radio, I’m reminded of the 9 long years (counting from the 2000 primaries) when I had to listen to, or avoid listening to, G. W. Bush. How nice that my family and I can be exposed to the president of the United States without jumping for the remote to turn him off. I would have enjoyed the Republicans’ repudiation last November even more if it had been just a little more thorough, but I can’t complain. As Kirk said of the Klingon Empire: “Let them die.”

  28. From where I’m sitting, watching, reading of the Obama Presidency, what I see is a man that, on his first day of office, sat in that seat in that Oval shaped office and thought, “I’ve said it, now I had to do it.”

  29. Skip @23 said I’ve been to Europe, outside of the tourist areas. I absolutely don’t want the US going that way.
    What do you mean Skip? Are you just slandering our European friends in general or do you have some specifics in mind? I must admit there are parts of Paris I’d be reluctant to visit as a tourist but the same goes for Sydney, London, LA or New York.

  30. Skip @ 23: I’ve been to Europe, outside of the tourist areas. I absolutely don’t want the US going that way.

    Potemkin villages? Where is this “outside of the tourist areas”, specifically?

    One howler by the President: “I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it.”

    Indeed, and the homeland of Daimler and Benz is increasing the car scrapping grant to 2500 Euros to improve sales of new cars.

  31. Skip @ 23: I happen to live in Europe, and by God, I am sooooooo happy not to live in the US.

    On average, we are so much better off, you would not believe it. In terms of quality of living, social security, health care, educational system, cultural life, really anything that matters in life except having a Great Big Army that fights Great Big Wars all over the world, Western European citizens have it a lot better. And that includes “outside of the tourist areas”.

    Just look at crime and homeless rates, look at life expectancies, racial inequality, and I could go on for a looong while.

    What President Obama has been telling you for a while now is that the US has a lot of catching up to, because the global leadership position that you enjoyed for most of the last century is not in danger of slipping away, no, you lost that somewhere in the last decade of near-sighted neo-con nepotism that was the Bush era.

    What I fail to comprehend is that many people in the US still believe the system isn’t broken and that giving away all the money to the ultra-rich will somehow benefit all. History, basic economics, just basic common sense dictates that it won’t. Look at the bailout bonus scandals or the corporate jets bought after receiving bailout money. Money injected directly into private pockets stays there, and it doesn’t flow back to the masses in any meaningful way.

    Sorry to disillusion you.

  32. Char@14 – read Wired for War by P.W. Singer. You’ll realize he DID mean the robots. The horrible horrible robots.

    Because robots may strike at any time. And when they grab you with those metal claws, you can’t break free… because they’re made of metal, and robots are strong.

  33. @34- This is sort of a fundamental disconnect that occurs within politics even in the US– what is the purpose of a government anyhow? To some, it’s a bit like a family– making sure that everyone gets a bit of dinner at the table, everyone has a blanket and bed, etc. To others, it’s like a referee at a game or sports event– just making sure that everyone’s more-or-less playing within the same set of rules/laws.

    To the former, people starving/poor is a sign that something’s not working in the society. To the latter, that’s as silly as saying that having a team that loses all its games in a season means that the rules of the game are broken.

    And yes, there’s probably also a divide between people who consider life a competition to be won or lost and people who don’t…

  34. It seems clear to me that President Obama cares deeply about this country and that he has focused in on three fundamental problems: Education, Energy and Health Care.

    I can get behind focusing on these issues.

    I like the education challenge he gave to America. It reminds me of Kennedy’s fitness program, back in the day.

    Of course, the devil will be in the details. I am generally against the cap and trade program. But I am for fixing Social Security and Medicaid. But notice that few Democrats applauded this part of the speech.

    I am for reducing automotive car emissions and plugging green energy into an enhanced transmission grid. And Health Care costs is a problem that needs to be solved.

    Overhauling entitlement programs is another worthy goal as is cutting the deficit.

    And I was glad to hear that he was intent upon increasing the force level of our military and rededicating our government to Veteran health care.

    The President gave a very hopeful and optimistic address last night. He is an easy and affecting speaker.

    I liked the speech. I have no doubt he is sincere. I think he is focusing on the right issues.

    And I hope he can herd the cats in a generally reasonable direction.

    But it will not be easy because there is little doubt that his own party will give him trouble on a good portion of his agenda.

  35. David @34,

    I don’t know if you’ve ever lived in the U.S., but unless you’ve spent time in both environments, you can’t really make that kind of judgment.

    I’ve spent 24 years in a Western European country, and 13 in the U.S., and I have the opposite experience–I much prefer living here than back in Europe. Those socila programs you cite as the reason why Europeans are better off? Those come with a huge price tag. Sure, I had universal health care back there, but I also had half my paycheck going to income taxes, I had to shell out 14% VAT at the store for anything I bought, and thanks to the triple taxation on gasoline, I had to pay $4 a gallon back when gas was “cheap”.

    “Free” government services aren’t free. You end up paying for them, just in a different way. You may be able to go to the doctor’s office without leaving any money on the counter, but you’ll pay for it at the gas pump or in the grocery store. It comes out of your wallet one way or the other. Same holds true for your “free” education.

    As for culture…European and American cultural environments are different, but I don’t see how anyone can claim one to be “better” than the other. Any such claim can only relate to your personal preferences. I realize the Europeans have this idea that their culture is superior to ours (especially in the arts, which is why American authors like Don DeLillo and Cormac McCarthy get openly and publically snubbed for the Nobel because “Americans are too ignorant and don’t participate enough in the great dialog of literature” ), but when it comes to cultural impact, relevance, and variety, cities like New York City, Boston, or San Francisco are just as diverse as Paris, London, or Berlin.

  36. To follow up on Nargel’s point @30, under the Bush administration, budgets did not include the cost of the wars. As Obama pointed out, he’s ending that practice with his first budget, with the effect of making the deficit appear even larger than it was reported under Bush.

  37. The only thing that worries me is the hint of a suspicion that the president’s agenda includes attempting a long-term shift of the political center to the left. And the reason that worries me, is that the previous president made no secret that he thought he could shift the center to the right, and create a republican hegemony. And we all saw how well that did.

    I guess I’m burned out on that kind of thing. Not that it’s possible to escape it.

  38. I have to say the speech left me with more hope than I had yesterday. I believe Obama means what he says, and if there is one person to force Congress into meaningful action, it’s him. However, I wonder if he promised too much.
    - reformed health care by the end of the year
    - responsibly ending the wars by 2010
    - A plan to cut the deficit in half in four years
    - investments in energy
    - highest proportion of college graduates by 2020

    I’m sure I’ve forgotten some. I wonder if he can actually deliver these promises. After all, he does have to rely on Congress to write and pass the legislation. Obama I have faith in, but not those dinkleberries in Congress.

  39. I have DVR and kept rolling back his entry at the beginning. He had a BIG grin on his face, then got serious when the Sgt of arms called for the Speaker. That grin came right back when the words “The President of the United States” were called. He’s loving this as much as we are.

    I loved listening to an articulate, intelligent President last night. I loved the fact that he spoke to *US*, as well as those assembled in the room. I love the fact that he is taking the problems seriously, and expects Congress – and the American people – to do so, as well.

    And, yes, I noticed those who stood and applauded, and those who sat on their hands.

  40. Eh, I’ve lived both places and would be happy living in either. But if I lost my job, or when I retire? I’d rather be in Europe. But then, to me, the price Marko complains about is worth paying — I paid much higher taxes there, but my overall quality of life was just as good, if not better. I do admit it would be much harder for me to buy a home in England or German, though.

    I listened to the speech, and I think not seeing it may have given me a slightly different perspective. It really didn’t sound all that different to me than many of his debate and campaign speeches. I agree with what most of you are saying about being treated like an adult, and I even agree with the stimulus in theory. But I’m seriously worried about the way money is being spent and the apparent lack of safeguards.

    It seems to me there are so many things that clearly need to be done that would help the economy and would also help rectify the problems of not spending on infrastructure — and really, if we use the ‘shovel-ready’ test, those things won’t ever get done. No one will hire the engineers and project managers, good white collar jobs, btw, until there’s money to spend. Meanwhile, the federal government has a hiring freeze at NSA, CIA, and the FBI. Seems to me that those are the kind of jobs that are useful and necessary. FDA inspectors would be good, too. Lots of them.

    I’m not so thrilled with bailing out banks, especially the major lenders like CitiGroup, unless there is some guarantee that they will be more careful about lending and have some limits put on how much they can jack around people’s interest rates and impost penalties.

    I dunno — it just seems to me that the last time we did this, plans weren’t shovel-ready, and yet projects got done (some of them, like the TVA, at huge human cost, but still). I’m not seeing that here.

  41. @ a bunch of y’all — Well, I’ve actually lived in Europe, outside the “tourist areas,” for several years, and I think you might have been doing it wrong. Yeah, you pay either way, but under one system, getting cancer is far less likely to bankrupt your entire family for two generations. (Look, we’re living shorter lives and actually growing shorter. Let’s just buck up and revamp the damn health care, okay? Twelve-year-olds should not be dying for an easily fixed tooth-infection in an industrialized country.)

    (Re: the speech — I think we, as Americans, need to get over the fact that we did not actually invent the automobile. I know I’m nit picking… it’s just… can we stop SAYING that now? It’s embarrassing. We are awesome and trailblazing in many other ways. We are innovative, entreprenurial… and we went to the damn moon!)

  42. (Addendum — It’s not a binary proposition, by the way. We don’t HAVE to “become Europe” to improve what we have.)

  43. are you seriously postulating that the reason life is better today than in the 1890s is because of government spending?

    Skip, are you seriously creating a strawman of my position? Why yes, yes you are.

    Life is better now *partly* because of government spending on things like medical research, food standards (yes, even despite the peanut butter), water cleanliness, etc, etc, etc.

    The River Thames was so polluted in the 19th century that it *caught fire* twice from methane emissions. The. River. Caught. Fire.

  44. Typical state of the union address. Lots of talk, talk, talk. Obama trying to pass the buck and blame as something he “inherited” and he and all the rest of congress had nothing to do with it. Anyone who believes that is a fool.
    Some nice parts, but then again we have heard it all before.

  45. 48. Fred – but he did inherit this mess from W & the policies of the last 8 years – you know, when the Republicans were (mostly) in charge.

  46. I do so wish, when calling out the defecit he “inherited”, that he would have reminded congress that most of them in the room were the ones that voted to pass it on. Opportunity lost, there.

  47. Okay, I’ll bite. So the Democrats under Clinton did the same stupid stuff that continued for another eight years under Bush. And that means what, exactly? That it’s not the Republicans’ fault? That we shouldn’t call the deregulation a stupid, money-grubbing, short-sighted act?

    The article you link doesn’t seem to say much more than that the relief funds can’t be targeted that exactly, that trying to save money over ten years is not a panacea, and that it’s not the fault of the previous administration. yawn.

  48. BeVibe @# 42: “He’s loving this as much as we are.”

    At one point, the President said, “Those of us gathered here tonight have been called to govern in extraordinary times. It is a tremendous burden, but also a great privilege…”

    They say that the great sports players are the ones who want the ball with the game on the line. The shortstop who wants the ball hit to him with two out in the bottom of the ninth; the point guard who wants to take the shot down two with the clock running out; the receiver who wants the ball thrown to him in the two-minute drill.

    That’s what I picked up from Obama when he said those words. The game is on the line, and I’m the guy.

    That gives me at least as much confidence as the specific plans he is proposing.

  49. Sorry, but talking about reducing the deficit by half 2 days after signing the largest deficit spending package in the history of the world is a level of hypocracy that makes the Republicans look like paragons of virtue.

    It would be laughable if it wasn’t so damn depressing.

  50. You know, no one is going to dispute that the upper midle class have it better in the US, as long as they remain employed, and unburdened by crippling medical bills, than they do in Europe.

    Saftey nets do in fact cost taxpayer money, no dispute. But when you fall, in Europe, it’s no where near as bad as it is than in the US, where I’ve known people who had to raise money to get life saving surgery, or the hospital would have flat refused until it was a direct life threatening emergency that might well have killed them. After which they’d have been billed anyway.

    And people who’ve been injured on the job who had to fight a costly fight to get compensation enough to pay rent. And people who got laid off so regularly from jobs they were competent at that they ran out of unemployment, and had to either become homeless, or move in with parents.

    America is a great place for the wealthy.

  51. Mark–

    Fixed your post for you:

    Sorry, but talking about reducing the deficit by half 2 days after signing the largest deficit spending package in the history of the world is a level of responsibility that makes the Republicans look even worse.

  52. I can’t wait until we start taking the houses and property of the rich, like they do in Zimbabwe.

    Why should they have anything when the rest of us don’t?

  53. I would like to point out that while I do not particularly like the stimulus plan either (would like to see a huge alternate energy program put in place, the manufacturing of materials would be huge by itself) that the trillion dollar deficit spending is nothing new.

    I did a little googling a few months ago and loosely approximated that the US spent a total of around $1 trillion on military & military related expenses for 2008. I didn’t bother looking into 2007 but it couldn’t have been much better. How many years have we run this way? That is probably more than 8% of the US GDP for 2008 by the way: $8 out of every dollar of wealth created in the US spent in this manner. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am NOT anti-military, but I do believe that there must be a more efficient way of protecting our nation than this wasteful manner.

    So, why is there suddenly this newly found interest in fiscal responsibility? I would leave that for others to decide for themselves. I personally cannot help but wonder if there aren’t people out there who actually put party politics above the interest of the nation, which I find at best unsettling. I would like to point out that I am not a democrat, and were the party roles reversed I would be saying exactly the same thing and with the same sense of shock. This is not a partisan statement on my part.

    Fiscal responsibility and the situation we leave our children are of great importance, important enough that it should be outside of partisan bickering. The gop after their time in power (you decide on how well they did) have the role of the dissenting voice now but it falls upon them to voice a reasonable dissent; one that points to a constructive path. I would further point out that their complaints of taxing and spending are fatuous at best: they have already spent the money for many years now, they simply don’t want to pay the bills, which would be taxes. None of us really like the stimulus bill I suspect, and that’s fine. Just come up with a reasonable alternative that doesn’t come down to even greater deficits through reduced taxes, which the last 8 years have given us, or the other alternative W gave us on our mighty war effort, to go to the mall.

  54. “Otherwise, he reminds me of the kind of teenager who can say with a straight face, “I’m still a virgin, because blow-jobs don’t count.””

    That was no teenager, that was the President of the United States who said that…under oath.

    Seriously, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a governor opposing the stimulus before Congress and then taking the money when it’s now the law. I generally support a simplified tax code with limited deductions, but I still take the home mortgage deduction. Does that make me a hypocrite?

  55. I can’t wait until we start taking the houses and property of the rich, like they do in Zimbabwe.

    Ah, when grammar substitutes for an argument. “I can’t wait until we [some evil thing], like they do in [Zimbabwe/the Soviet Union/Cuba/France/Evil place of evil people]”

    Does that make me a hypocrite

    If you spent a lot of time publicly announcing that you weren’t going to take the mortgage deduction, why then, yes, it would.

  56. I wouldn’t mind all the giant government spending if I a) thought there was actually going to be some real oversight and b) we could realistically believe that an eventual tax hike for Middle America is not going to be the end result of all this glorious bankrolling from the feds.

    IMHO the fault comes back to the voters. We’ve not demanded accountability. We haven’t held their feet to the fire when they’ve spent poorly in the past. Now they think they can just spend, spend, spend, like the coffers are bottomless and ever-flowing, and I am not sure how we can avoid huge inflation when it seems clear that the feds will simply print more money to come up with all the greenbacks necessary to fuel this “recovery plan” that is in the works.

  57. John ScAAAAL-ziiii, come out and plAAAAA-aaay!

    John Cole linked to “I hate your politics” this morning in a thread on libertarian responses to the speech, and there’s a nerd war starting over your dissing of Logan’s Run, its imperfect evocation of dystopia and its production values.

    It’s reached the point of documenting Mark Hammill’s hairstyles. Please come on over!

  58. @Fred,48 – Back in the beginning of 2000, when the country had a surplus rather than a deficit (as many people like to remember), the country soon went into a recession when the dotcom bubble burst.

    Many people like to lay the blame for that on Bush because he was the man in charge then but the reality of the situation is that it’s called the “Clinton recession” because of the policies that Clinton inacted that allowed it to happen; Bush, somewhat unfairly, got the blame for that recession.

    Now, I find many Republicans beginning to blame this recession on Obama yet it started months before he even won the election (stocks started to fall in August if you’ll remember). So, yes, he did inherit it from Bush and his failed policies just as Bush got a belated recession from Clinton’s. Did Congress have a hand in it? Partially, many of the Senators in Congress were in Congress for the last two years and some for longer than that, and I do feel that some of the blame lays with them but I have to blame the people who were in charge when the decisions were made to begin this whole mess, which was the Republican lead Congress of the 1998-2006 period.

  59. I had a very movieish moment last night, hearing part of it over the radio while in a parking lot. As Obama was talking about “rebuilding,” I had flashbacks to Aunty Entity’s “We can rebuild!” speech after the energy component of Bartertown went ‘splodey in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. But the thought of Obama giving that speech in front of Congress wearing a faux-chainmail jacket and long dyed hair was just too much…

  60. Bevibe – Fred – “but he did inherit this mess from W & the policies of the last 8 years – you know, when the Republicans were (mostly) in charge.”

    That is like saying that W had 9/11 happen because of the limp policies of Clinton during the 90s. Do you believe that? Of course not.

    The economic mess has been brewing for years, some could say it was Clinton era policies and democrat housing programs that helped create the mess. Which of course is not the whole picture either.

    It is folly to try to blame one person, policy or party for the problem, it just does not hold up to scrutiny.

    As usual, he starts up good and acts like he will be bipartisan but then flubs it completely. By doing so, in essence, the change in gov’t and new era of cooporation he talks about will never happen. Sort of like the change for no lobbyists and accountability which within the first two weeks were riddled with holes.

    In the end, Obama will be a chump just like all the others. He is good at herding the cattle in ways that W could not but similar to how Clinton and Reagan could.

  61. Anyone who voted for Bush V. 2.0 has no real call to criticize something that hasn’t gotten into play yet for a lack of oversight. Those f&%@^s literally lost (cannot account for) $23 billion in aid money in Iraq.

    No one knows where that money went. It just up and vanished. And I’m not even counting the billions in over billing by Halliburton, who was granted a license to print money, and the tried jacking the US for even more, and was still embraced by the Bush white house.

    No, I’m sorry. No lecturing from Bush voters on lack of oversight, as if it was something they can teach us about. Your team blew it. You have no credibility anymore.

  62. “…we could realistically believe that an eventual tax hike for Middle America is not going to be the end result of all this glorious bankrolling from the feds.”

    I have been thinking a lot lately about how the phrase “tax hike” puts such instinctive fear into so many.

    I mean, let’s say (completely hypothetically… this is not based on anything real) that we could resolve most of our budget issues for the next 10 years with an annual tax hike for Joe Average of about $500.00.

    Upon hearing that, how would Joe Average react? Would it be an “no way, over my dead body” reaction? Or would it be “hmmm… there’s no way that I’m going to miss $40/month, so go for it!”?

    Is there a particular value that would tip the reaction one way or another? I suppose knowing that answer would be political gold…

    I know that I tend to react to the talk of tax hikes like I will be losing tens of thousands of dollars a year. But when I stop and think about the numbers, (at least at my level of income) I wonder if I’d really even notice it?

  63. Fred – amazing isn’t it, how people actually have to stop and *think* about race issues, now? Personally, I don’t know if our media can handle the mental strain required.

  64. Frank – I don’t often say this to you, but I respected what you did there. That was some good analysis and reaction.

  65. I know that I tend to react to the talk of tax hikes like I will be losing tens of thousands of dollars a year. But when I stop and think about the numbers, (at least at my level of income) I wonder if I’d really even notice it?

    What’s that you say? “Fiscal conservatives” might be breathlessly overhyping fears by conflating ‘taxes’ with ‘the worst possible thing in all the world’?

    I am shocked, SHOCKED, to find gambling going on in here!

  66. Cullen Hightower

    “There’s always somebody who is paid too much, and taxed too little – and it’s always somebody else.”

  67. Frank: “the underlying issue is the cost and we should be focusing on what we can do to reduce that cost.”

    If you’re this concerned about cost, you might do well to consider the relative overhead and administrative costs:

    After exclusions, administration accounted for 31.0 percent of health care expenditures in the United States and 16.7 percent of health care expenditures in Canada. Canada’s national health insurance program had overhead of 1.3 percent; the overhead among Canada’s private insurers was higher than that in the United States (13.2 percent vs. 11.7 percent). Providers’ administrative costs were far lower in Canada.

    (source)

    Hmm. I’m no math whiz, but I’m pretty sure 31 > 16.7 > 1.3.

    (For comparison, our homegrown, apple-pie American government health care program, Medicare, typically has administrative costs running at 2%. For those playing along at home, that means that the private sector requires over fifteen times as much bureaucracy as the government-run system.)

    http://www.pnhp.org/news/2003/august/administrative_costs.php

  68. I’ve spent a lot of time in Europe, Asia and the U.S. I did not like Asia at all (Japan, Korea and the Phillipines). I enjoyed Norway and Scotland a lot. But I prefer the U.S.

    I do not claim that the U.S. is superior. I acknowledge that my preference is likely a cultural bias, as I was born and raised in the U.S. But the cultural bias exists as there is a difference between the U.S. and European states. Which you prefer pretty much depends on were you are standing.

  69. Fred @ 67:
    “That is like saying that W had 9/11 happen because of the limp policies of Clinton during the 90s. Do you believe that? Of course not.”

    If you will substitute “the limited and weak policies that Clinton was allowed to use due to lack of support from congress” for ‘limp policies of Clinton’, then yes, I certainly do believe that.

    And that’s setting aside the issue that on 9/10, Bush made Clinton look like Jack Bauer.

  70. “That is like saying that W had 9/11 happen because of the limp policies of Clinton during the 90s. Do you believe that? Of course not.”

    Of course nobody believes that – everybody knows 9/11 happened because W was too busy clearing brush in Crawford to respond to the memo that said “Bin Laden dtermined to strike the US.” Lest we forget.

    Bad argument.

  71. “And that’s setting aside the issue that on 9/10, Bush made Clinton look like Jack Bauer.” LOL… riiiiighhht.

  72. “Of course nobody believes that – everybody knows 9/11 happened because W was too busy clearing brush in Crawford to respond to the memo that said “Bin Laden dtermined to strike the US.” Lest we forget.
    Bad argument.”

    Perfect argument, Clinton received same memos years in advance. But hey! He blew up some tents that has to count for something right?

    At least we have almight Obama now, he will make everything better…. ;-)

  73. “Bad arguments and pointless rhetoric are all the cons have right now. Don’t begrudge them of it.”
    Alas that is true, now I know what poor libs must have felt like for 8 years.

  74. Fred:

    There’s not reason those couldn’t have all been in a single post. Please read through the thread before responding and put your responses in a single post. It’s just one of those things of mine.

  75. President Obama gave a good speech and Governor Jindal gave a good rebuttal. They both impressed me as men who were honest and believed in what they were saying. As far as the stimulus bill is concerned, I would have preferred a bill that was flensed of everything that wouldn’t have an immediate and dramatic effect on the economy. One thing is for sure, something had to be done and if this doesn’t work, well then, we’ll just have to try something else. When thousands of people are losing their jobs, the only entity that can offer some quick relief on the scale required is the government. If they don’t get it right the first time, you can rest assured they’ll come back with something else. Yes it is expensive, but we’ll get over it, we always do. I’ve noticed that the only people who are totally against government intervention are people who are working or who happen to be very well off (Yes, I have a job, but I also have compassion for my fellow Americans who don’t).

    Somehow Europe got involved in this discussion and several comments were made about how wonderful their systems are over there. Europe is what it is today because we made it that way, something very few people are willing to give America its due. Yes, I think Europe is a wonderful place. I spent a year there and traveled widely, but I’m not going to delude myself into thinking that the Europeans are worldly wise when they’re not. The only two times there has ever been a long lasting peace in European affairs is when the Romans ruled the area and the since 1945 to the present under American hegemony. If we were to pull our troops out of Europe, they would fall back to their old habits. History has proven that too many times.

  76. “And that’s setting aside the issue that on 9/10, Bush made Clinton look like Jack Bauer”

    I think you meant 9/11. And frankly, I’m glad to see the back of a government who held Jack Bauer up as “the right way to do things” without those petty things like laws and the Constitution to get in his way.

    Frankly, I just hope Obama’s as competent as he seems. Bush was every bit as useless as he seemed. It would be nice to have a President and his staff in the Oval who actually knew how to make stuff, not just break it. The US is in well shit order (to use a Britishism) at the moment, and fixing the buggered economy, trying to get some sort of balance-of-trade in place and generally stopping the whole thing burning down around our ears appears to be the first order of business.

    As to the yahoos who put the country into a flat spin with both engines on fire… well… you know what? I still haven’t forgiven you. Nor am I likely to anytime soon. Not until this gh0d-awful mess is sorted out, plus about eight years of healthy earning and having lots of fun. Bipartisanship is a lovely, lovely goal, but I don’t think I can bring myself to it this week. Call again later.

  77. Perfect argument, Clinton received same memos years in advance. But hey! He blew up some tents that has to count for something right?

    Number of deaths on American soil from Islamic terrorist attacks during Clinton administration: 0

    Number of deaths on American soil from Islamic terrorist attacks during Bush Administration: c3000

    Number of American deaths from unnecessary wars during Clinton Administration: Under 100 (depends on definition of unnecessary)

    Number of American deaths from unnecessary wars during Bush Administration: over 4000 (no, I’m not including Afghanistan).

    Budget at end of Clinton Administration: In surplus.

    Budget at end of Bush Administration: Not in surplus.

    Number of catastrophic economic collapses during Clinton Administration during which people sincerely started talking about a “New Depression”: 0

    Number of catastrophic economic collapses during Bush Administration during which people sincerely started talking about a “New Depression”: 1

    Europe is what it is today because we made it that way, something very few people are willing to give America its due.

    Oh, Good Lord, no, it isn’t. Did we rebuild it after World War II? Sure. That’s not the same thing. Your comment shows a stunning lack of knowledge of Europe’s recent history.

    The only two times there has ever been a long lasting peace in European affairs is when the Romans ruled the area and the since 1945 to the present under American hegemony.

    Oh, Good Lord the Second. The Roman Empire wasn’t that peaceful; neither was the last fifty years. Better than 1914-45, but about on par with 1815-1914.

    Stop, please. You’re making my eyes bleed.

  78. @BrianH Interesting idea for a speculative history of America piece. “Government overspending caused the first Great Depression”. Since we’re outlining a new novel work we should probably have a plot which would imply that A leads to B then B to C and so forth for between 250 and 500 pages. So if government over spending resulted in the collapse of American currency and exchange markets thereby precipitating similar cascading effects globally when everything was backed with the Gold Standard what happens next? I’d like to discuss how this might affect our plucky hero, but I fear we’ll require a plot device in order to implement the precipitous event. How can you “overspend” when the value of your currency is guaranteed by a stagnant commodity which is used to guarantee its value?

  79. What Rob said.
    I am not a big fan of Bush either. He gave away too much of my taxes too.
    If you run your buisness into the ground then you should be unemployed. If you own stock in a company that got run into the ground then you should lose that money. If you borrowed more than you can afford then you lose the house or car you financed. If you are a bank and you loaned to too many bad credit risks then you should be out of buisness. Wait there’s more, if you bought a house at the peak of market then you will be upside down on your house for a few years. None of this is very complicated. There was a time when America was a capitalist society. If a person spent more than they earned they would end up paying sooner or later. Same for buisness. There are consequences to your actions. Guess what? There will be consequences to the actions of the last President trying to nulify the consequences by giving away a boat load of our taxes and this shinny new President is giving away even more of our taxes. Yep, I think we are totally sucker punching our kids and kicking our grand kids in the crotch.
    Man, this is the first and only time I have ever even slightly wished I lived a couple of time zones east of here. Here being about ten miles from the Pacific and about an hour north of the Mexican border. Sigh I am always late to the Scalzi party.
    Sunny and 70 today. Ok I am over it.
    Ok I am

  80. David
    @93

    If you are thinking of the EU, I’m very aware of it and its fractious nature. As to your other comment, you failed to list a 70-year period of peace in European history between 485 AD and 1945. Could it be there hasn’t been any?

  81. Funny I thought WWII is what got the US out of a bad depresison.

    It sure helped. So did the New Deal.

    If you are thinking of the EU, I’m very aware of it and its fractious nature.

    Then why on earth would you be asserting that the U.S. *made* Europe?

    As to your other comment, you failed to list a 70-year period of peace in European history between 485 AD and 1945. Could it be there hasn’t been any?

    I assume that your 70 year period of peace for comparison is supposed to be the 1945-2009 period. You, of course, leave out a few wars during that period, including between Greece and Turkey and the late unpleasantness in the Balkans. If you’re including “European powers at war” as part of it then your statement about post-WWII becomes even more laughable. So, no 70 year period. If you want another period of peace, 1815-1850 for a starter.

    As to the Roman Empire; you realize that Europe was constantly at war during the period after about 133 AD (some civil wars, some foreign invasions). Before that, Britain wasn’t even conquered until the middle of the 1st century and then witnessed civil wars throughout the rest of the period.

    As to “peace” would you care to name a 70 year period in which the United States didn’t go to war?

    Eyes still bleeding.

  82. The major arguments against the stimulus bill boil down to “government is bad, and it should take and spend almost nothing”. That’s a philosophy, not a sound argument that the stimulus won’t work.

  83. Silby,

    I know this is getting WAY off subject here and I do apologize to the host, but I’ll go ahead and answer as briefly as I can. When I was referring to American hegemony over Europe I was referring to Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Britain, Austria, and Spain (all those places Americans love to visit) and none of those countries have been involved in warring against each other since 1945. I was not referring to all the NATO countries of the European continent and most especially former Soviet territories. The Balkans episode is a perfect example of what I was talking about. They were at peace with one another until the Soviets pulled out. As far as Britain is concerned, the tribes that weren’t under Roman control were certainly warring against one another and yes it’s true we haven’t had a 70-year period of peace in our history, but many of those wars were the end result of European colonialism. Were they justified? That’s anybody’s opinion. I’m not going there.

  84. Josh at 70: Claiming that Team R failed to oversee the budget strips them of the ability to claim that Team D is failing to oversee the budget seems to be a recipe for TWO budgets being blown, not just one.

    And until Obama actually does something to control the budget (and doubling the deficit in his 1st month is not a good start) color me sceptical that Team D will do any better job than Team R. Early signs, pretty words aside, is that Team B will be doing a heck of a worse job.

  85. When I was referring to American hegemony over Europe I was referring to Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Britain, Austria, and Spain (all those places Americans love to visit) and none of those countries have been involved in warring against each other since 1945.

    If you only choose the countries that haven’t fought against each other, then, yes, your point is easier to prove.

    It may surprise you to know that “Europe” is much more extensive than your definition. Your “Europe” is commonly known as Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Britain, Austria, and Spain. It leaves out such exciting European countries as the Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Poland, etc, etc, etc.

    In other words, your “Europe” is a figment of your imagination and should not be used as evidence in an argument in the real world.

    And if you’re including Britain, would you care to discuss the decades-long guerilla war that they fought in Northern Ireland from the late 1960s to the early 1990s?

    Oh wait, Ireland’s not part of “Europe,” so it doesn’t count.

    Eyes still bleeding.

  86. John Scalzi – “There’s not reason those couldn’t have all been in a single post….”
    Yeah, your right. Thanks

  87. bradwphilpot @ 89 If we were to pull our troops out of Europe, they would fall back to their old habits. History has proven that too many times.

    Sorry bradwphilpot but that is a remarkably ignorant thing to say.

    Stevem @ 81 is probably right when it comes to cultural bias about where you prefer to live. However as an unbiased (heh) Australian I’d prefer Europe over the USA if I had to move to one or the other. I wouldn’t mind working in the US for a bit too though.

    I remember being in a group discussion with a couple of Europeans and an American once and the Yank got quite offended that none of us wanted to immigrate to the USA. He couldn’t quite grok that we all thought the US was a nice place to visit but we wouldn’t want to live there – that we weren’t clamouring to get in.

  88. @103
    The truth of the matter is too many people want to come in and live here (US). But none of this has to do with the stimulus package. Strange how these topics invariably get turned into “We are better than You” conversations, I for one was waiting for an American to say Canada sucks.

  89. trackst, you’re right. There are heaps of places worse off than the States. Many of those believe in the idea of America. You’ve always been a good at taking in the the great unwashed. However, that ideal isn’t just limited to the US these days. Sanctuary can be found in Europe, Canada, Australia etc as much as in the USA.
    It’s not as if the son of an immigrant African can become president or anything. ;-)

  90. I would like to see how he plans on dealing with the SS/Medicare/Medicaid crisis, which looks to be an order of magnitude bigger than the current issue.
    Also for the “history buff” above, WWII pulled us out of the Great Depression, which yes, is kind of government spending. (low end estimates are that SS is underfunded by tens of trillions, not to mention medicare/medicaid)

  91. @ bradwphilpot: I refuse to believe all of your comments are sincerely meant, and suspect some flaming intent.

    If they are, sorry, but there’s really no point in continuing a discussion.
    You’ve clearly got no idea of what Europe is like; and as pointed out in some other posts, the EU now stretches from Portugal to the Balkans. That’s a lot of ground to cover with your sweeping remarks.

    Of course, I’d rather live in New York than in a village in Romania. Of course many people in the US are better off than some in Europe. No one will dispute that. However, it’s not as though our “expensive” social security systems have turned our societies into the kind of bleak places full of oppressed people that communism was so good at producing.
    On the contrary, many of the countries you mentioned are very, very prosperous. We may pay more taxes, yes, but when something goes wrong in our lives we don’t have to panic, sell our houses and cars to afford surgery, when we get laid off we can actually continue living comfortably for a while, and so on.

    So yes, if you’re reasonable wealthy, employed and healthy, the US is a great place to live.
    If you lose your job, get cancer, or have another misfortune: we’ll talk again.

    – there, I’ve gone and let myself get carried away in rebuttals again. I should just give up on comments like yours, but somehow I can’t…

    @ Nick B in 106: that is my personal biggest fear, that the “solution” to the Great Depression will repeat itself. Massive government and private spending funneled into a war. Let’s the rather more benign plans proposed now will do the trick.

  92. Latest news of Obama spending….
    1.75 trillion dollar deficit increase just this year. Here ya go kids!
    No earmarks of course (riiiiighhhtt), dig a little.

  93. Fred,

    Even assuming that all of Obama’s intentions are as darksome and hideously commie-tastic as some folk seem to think, none of this would be happenning if the country hadn’t been put into a nose-dive, and the precedent of huge bailout spending set by the previous occupants of the Oval.

    Not trying to be nasty or anything, just pointing out (ahahhahaa) An Inconvenient Truth.

  94. Latest news of Obama spending

    Nothing more entertaining than a Republican lecturing about fiscal good sense. It’s like Britney Spears giving a good motherhood lecture.

  95. @ David 110: very true. After all, the trend of huge federal budget deficits, as well as the trend in US households to stop saving and overspend wildly on cheap credit, both these trends started under… President Reagan.

    Also, (one of) the biggest tax hike(s) on the middle class, according to Wikipedia, seems to have been Reagan’s AMT reform of 1986.

    Interesting…

  96. mythago wrote: “The major arguments against the stimulus bill boil down to “government is bad, and it should take and spend almost nothing”. That’s a philosophy, not a sound argument that the stimulus won’t work.”

    It’s a philosophy based on the idea that one’s country is no different from a condo, and taxes are just like a condo fee. All they want is to pay as little as possible to cover the minimal upkeep required to maintain the value of their property. It’s a very small-minded conception of a nation.

  97. “President Obama gave a good speech and Governor Jindal gave a good rebuttal.”

    Jindal did not give a good rebuttal. He made light of the idea of Federal spending on volcano monitoring.

    I suppose Jindal thinks that volcano threats should be dealt with through exorcism.

  98. I think Jindal needs to apologize, and more than that, to show true contrition, he needs to step down and allow someone not so prone to verbal diarrhea take his place, I mean, if he had any character at all that is.

  99. Fred @ 85:

    Congratulations on your joke-recognition skills. Now why don’t you try out your serious-response-making skills on the first part of my post at 82.

  100. Stevem @ 100 – no, just that, as economic thinkers, Republicans, and the people they rely on had some very wrong ideas about how to make economies work. So trusting them now, after they and people they enabled broke the whole system is stupid.

    And we’ve *seen* how economies recover from big crashes in banking systems. It’s not like Democrats are pulling new ideas out of their asses. They’re proposing some previously successful measures. And to add to that, they’re taking at least part of the Republican proposal (tax cuts) and offering at least some of them.

    If things were reversed, and Republicans were in charge, they’d use something they’d call a “stimulus” to gain power, and destroy Democrats while enriching the corporations who support them. We’d have billions handed over to Halliburton, and zero input from Democrats.

    Hell, Johm McCain actually admitted that “the way the Bush administration, when we were in charge, that’s the way we did business”. He did so in criticizing what he saw as Obama’s lack of bipartisanship, but sadly, he was wrong. The stimulus bill was vastly more bipartisan than anything Bush came up with.

    Obama is actually trying to get good ideas from the other side. But you know what? When any Republicans try to work with him, their own party threatens them with removal in the next primaries.

    Quite frankly, outside of liberal vs. conservative, Republican leaders are failing hard at being decent human beings.
    —————-

    Re: Jindal’s rebuttal? Any politician from Louisiana who criticizes budgeting for disaster preparedness (he complained about a budget line for early warning systems for volcanoes) should be forced to explain in person to the people of New Orleans why disaster preparedness funding is a bad idea.

    Seriously. What a schmuck.

  101. Josh Jasper, I so completely agree.

    I wish they could switch Nagin for Jindal, then we could se some serious thought go into disaster preparedness!

  102. “Bobby Jindal was ‘pitiful,’ Helen Thomas tells film crew, right before making a ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ crack.”

    I laughed with her when she said it.

  103. Josh Jasper @ 116

    Re: Jindal’s rebuttal-

    I’m not even going to try to go point by point through Jindal’s pathetic ‘monolog’. One simple point: the ‘Sheriff story’ is a transparent lie. It’s a matter of record that Jindal didn’t make it to New Orleans till, at the earliest, September 1st.

  104. I read an article (of course, now I can’t find it) estimating that advance warning in the Mt Pinatubo eruption saved between 5,000 and 20,000 lives, and prevented between $250M and $400M in property damage.

    I would submit that spending $140M on volcano monitoring is preferable to, say, sacrificing virgins.

  105. Crag Ranapia said,

    I just find it rather sad that folks like Maddow and O’Reilly still get air-time (and very fat paycheques) from networks that are firing journalists hand over fist and cutting budgets for actual news-gathering.

    Tory writes:
    You don’t get it, do you? Maddow and O’Reilly would tell you themselves that they’re not journalists. They’re entertainers. And, frankly, they’re entertaining (and I’m a left-of-the-left bi-sexual). Get off your high horse or your low ass or whatever you rode in on and smell the coffee, Crag.

    Tory McFarland

  106. We’re most of the way down the road to becoming second rate (or even third) countries like all of Europe. As Margret Thatcher said “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

    We’re literally dying from an overabundance of Government at all levels. Government doesn’t create anything, it only consumes. Today, over half of the entire nation’s GDP is consumed by government, both local, state and federal.

    What products does government produce and sell to others? What services to foreigners does government provide at a profit?

    Japan has a lot of great bridges and roads, but still no vibrant economy.

    We need to produce goods and services that others are willing to trade for, and government’s not going to provide that. It can only consume the very resources that the private sector might use to do so.

    So enjoy your universal health care, until like Britain you have to lose one eye to macular degeneration until they’ll save the other. Or better yet, you get denied cancer treatment because you have lived most of your useful lifespan.

    Enjoy your write down on mortgages, until lenders increase your PMI requirements, interest rate, or down payment obligation to cover the additional risk that a bankruptcy judge might force them to take a loss on your loan.

    Enjoy increased funding for government schools that continually fail their students in spite of the massive per student cost already being paid.

    Enjoy your victory over the “greedy corporations” until the only management they can afford are the ones that can’t demand more than a pittance anyway. Capable people will move to fields where they can be compensated in accordance with their capabilities.

    Enjoy your carbon cap and trade, while the planet enters another of it’s frequent cooling cycles.

    Enjoy your victories over the filthy rich, until those who produce decide that it isn’t worth the effort and stop creating real jobs and real wealth. Who among you has ever been employed by a poor person?

    Mankind has created no process better than the free market for the allocation of resources. It is a self organizing wonder that has created monstrous wealth for mankind. An almost living, breathing organism made up of the millions upon millions of decisions that people make daily about how to allocate their finite resources to best meet their personal goals. An organism with a natural predator, anyone who would take your resources in order to further their own goals at your expense. Can you not see the hubris in those that believe they understand and can direct such an astoundingly complex as an economy? The only way it can work is through self-organization. You can’t “control” it without impairing it in significant ways.

    So far we’re right on target for meeting all the steps that led to our two previous depressions. When this is done the one in the 30′s won’t be the “Great” depression anymore. It was just a warm-up for this one.

    If you want to understand, check out http://www.mises.org and ask yourself how the students of the Austrian school have accurately predicted every economic downturn we’ve ever had. Then ask yourself why isn’t that the dominant economic model. If you’re really honest, you just might have to admit that it’s only because it would diminish the power of government.

  107. Tory@121: You don’t get it, do you? Maddow and O’Reilly would tell you themselves that they’re not journalists. They’re entertainers. And, frankly, they’re entertaining (and I’m a left-of-the-left bi-sexual). Get off your high horse or your low ass or whatever you rode in on and smell the coffee, Crag.

    Thanks for your interest in my arse, but I’m afraid what someone who finds Bill O’Reilly “amusing” would do to it.

    Still, I can see why you find these idiots so appealing just from your prose. The basic error of fact (come on, is my name that hard to spell correctly?), fitting five cliches into a meaningless sentence, and the misplaced belief that a pissy attitude is a substitute for knowing what the fuck you’re talking about are textbook symptoms of Advanced Dittoheadism. Do you work for Fox News, by any chance?

    I’m all for a free press and a free market, but you can go to hell if you think that obliges me to like the results.

  108. Oh, and Tory also wrote:
    Maddow and O’Reilly would tell you themselves that they’re not journalists.

    Guess you better tell O’Reilly to update the biography page on his own website.

    http://www.billoreilly.com/g/Bill-O%27Reilly%27s-Bio/515.html

    For more than seven consecutive years, The O’Reilly Factor on The FOX News Channel has been the highest rated of any cable news show

    and

    The Factor, as most people call it, remains an unequaled blend of news analysis and hard hitting investigative reporting dropped into what Bill reminds us nightly is “The No Spin Zone.”

    and

    Bill was certainly fresh, and already bold, when he started his broadcasting career in Scranton, Pennsylvania before moving on to report and anchor in other places such as Dallas, Boston and New York. His national exposure began with CBS and ABC News , and as host of the first version of Inside Edition. It was in 1996 that O’Reilly landed at FOX News. Along the way, as Bill gained his considerable following, he has also accumulated more than his share of journalism awards , including 3 Emmys, the latest being the special 2008 Governor’s Award in his old Boston stomping ground.

    Bill OReilly certainly seems to think he’s a credible journalist fronting a news show.

    ‘Fess up, Tory, you really do work for Fox News, don’t you? Someone who is dumb as a post and/or functionally illiterate and/or a shameless liar couldn’t find a better place to use their talents.

  109. David #110 – ahhh but your response makes my point, Obama is no different than any other politician. The change and accountability that he promised is not there. Lobbyists, earmarks, etc. they are all still there. The Washington game continues. Some people bought into the blue sky promises that Obama made hook, line and sinker.

  110. None of us like lobbysts, or the Washington money game, but there actually is a difference for some of us between Obama and that other guy who came in second in the Presidential race. “No different” is a subjective thing, it seems. If you’re gay, a feminist, against the occupation of Iraq, or in favor of public health care, Obama is a change for the positive after 8 years of things really sucking.

    I don’t think I “bought into the blue sky promises that Obama made hook, line and sinker.” on any of those things.

  111. John Scalzi@125:
    Now, now, people. Happy thoughts.

    Um, thanks Tory for remembering I still do have an arse? That kinda tickled my vanity. Whew… this happy thoughts malarkey isn’t so bad.

  112. [Deleted because ALL CAPS offend my tender sensibilities. If you want to try again, Tory, learn the subtle joys of the lower case -- JS]

  113. Crag Ranapia wrote:
    ‘Fess up, Tory, you really do work for Fox News, don’t you? Someone who is dumb as a post and/or functionally illiterate and/or a shameless liar couldn’t find a better place to use their talents.

    Tory replies –

    I have to respectfully disagree (for John Scalzi’s sake, not yours). The best place is here, where unemployed bloggers on methadone can actually have an audience for their pompous rambling and their bitterness over a lifetime of seeing others do better than themselves. And while I am dumb as a post, I am not “functionally illiterate.” The correct term is “functioning illiterate” which, I’m guessing here, just couldn’t clear that last perceptual hurdle in your sludge-blocked brain. I am a “functioning illiterate,” Crag. But you, you’re just plain stupid.

  114. ahhh but your response makes my point,

    I’m sorry, Britney, I can’t hear you. Can you speak up?

  115. That’s right, you take a nice long nap, Crag. But when you wake up, you’ll still be you.

  116. John:

    While I’m ignoring Tory, I wonder if you could see your way clear to deleting the methadone crack. I’m all for the principle “if you can dish it, you can take it back” but I don’t recall taking any shots (cheap or otherwise) about Tory’s supposed mental health and/or drug use.

  117. I assumed the “unemployed bloggers on methadone” crack was about me, actually, and found it middlin’ amusing, if ultimately pointless.

  118. Far be it from me to horn in on someone else’s insult-junk. :) I’m just a stupid, pompous elitist who wouldn’t recognize an adverb unless it was hosting a pledge drive on PBS.

    I’ve just had another happy thought: Rush Limbaugh is bloviating on talk radio, his fans are marinating in their own bile and the articulate grown-up actually won an election.

  119. I think I like you, John S. You’re all right. And the crack was meant for a much larger target than you and Crag, who’s (badly) pretending to ignore me.

  120. Why isn’t Rachel Maddow a journalist? She’s brilliant and presents a lot of well researched stories that don’t get play elsewhere.

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