To be honest, I was approximately as jazzed to spend an hour listening to the President yammer on about his policy agenda as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and given her noted history of pre-gaming the event, probably just as drunk. But regardless, in selfless stewardship to the public interest, I watched the whole thing, paid attention through most of it, and only flipped the channel once to check out whether the Travel Channel had a show on that would send my OCD into overdrive. I flipped back because it was something about RVs and camping isn't exactly my forte. Even in an RV.
The Spectacle Blog
House Speaker John Boehner has issued an invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress on February 11th concerning Iran.
Boehner issued the invitation in response to President Obama's threat to veto further sanctions against Iran.
If anyone can make the case of the folly of entering a nuclear deal with Iran, it is Netanyahu. Not that it would make a difference to President Obama who loathes Netanyahu. Nevertheless, Netanyahu's words will resonate with a large segment of the American public.
This isn't the first time Bibi has addressed a joint session of Congress. He did so previously both in 1996 and more recently in 2011. Yet it would provide another opportunity to contrast Obama's glib buffoonery and Netanyahu's eloquent statesmanship.
Yesterday, Dr. Michael Davidson, a cardiovascular surgeon was shot and killed at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston.
Stephen Pasceri, the man responsible for the shooting, then took his own life. Pasceri apparently was angry with Dr. Davidson over the treatment of his mother who passed away back in November.
This one kind of hit home for me because of my father's recent triple bypass surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. The work cardiologists and their staffs do on a daily basis is incredible. But even the best doctors cannot prevent death.
Pasceri's father passed away in 2011 and after being presented with an $8,000 hospital bill from Massachusetts General Hospital and complained to then Senator John Kerry and Congressman Jim McGovern about it although the family had no issue with the treatment he had received.
Here are my 10 observations from President Obama's hour long State of the Union address.
1. President Obama began the speech by making the case that 15 years into this century that we've turned the page from a century that was "dawned with terror" along with "two long and costly wars." With the acension of ISIS and the fact we've had to return troops to Iraq what makes Obama certain we won't do the same in Afghanistan. Will Afghanistan adopt the same model against terrorism as Yemen? As Obama speaks, a possible coup is underway in Yemen. Al Qaeda is not on the run. Far from it. Not only have we not turned the page, it has yet to be written.
2. Obama paid tribute to our troops. It's too bad he couldn't do the same for those veterans receiving care at the VA Hospital in Phoenix which had been plagued by scandal under his administration's watch. Instead of visiting them last week, his motorcade just drove on by.
Here is what I wrote last week upon learning American Sniper was one of seven movies nominated for Best Picture:
I was pleasantly surprised to see American Sniper receive a Best Picture nomination. I don't think Hollywood would have nominated a movie about the Iraq War from the point of view of someone who viewed it as a worthy mission released during the Bush Administration. While there are criticisms that the movie is too pro-American there is probably been just enough distance from the time Chris Kyle served in Iraq to judge the film on its own merits. American Sniper received six nominations including a Best Actor nomination for Bradley Cooper who portrays Kyle. Interestingly, Clint Eastwood did not earn a Best Director nod. Maybe Hollywood still hasn't forgiven Eastwood for his empty chair speech at the RNC in 2012.
The State of the Union is an annual celebration of what the government can do for you, regardless (mostly) of party, designed to capture the imagination of a public that is primarily agitated that they can't find their regularly scheduled reality television on the major cable networks, if anyone still watches any of that. It's usually a laundry list of government programs or government ideals that end up costing more than they're worth or never pass in the first place.
Barack Obama has been slightly more effective at making his SOTU wishes come true, and according to the National Taxpayers Union, we've paid handsomely for it. Well, except for 2012 when he was in the midst of a campaign. Then, we got a $28B reprieve while he geared up to sock us again in 2013.
President Obama has proposed an average $41.7 billion in new government spending in each of his State of the Union addresses, according to the National Taxpayers Union Foundation.
Argentina is in turmoil over the sudden death of Alberto Nisman, a prosecutor who late last week accused Argentinian President Christine Fernandez de Kirchner and other government officials with conspiring with Iran to put the kibosh on investigating Iran's role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires which left 85 people dead. Nisman had been investigating this for a decade and It is alleged that Kirchner offered Iranians suspected in the bombing immunity in exchange for Iranian oil.
Nisman was scheduled to testify before a congressional hearing on Monday, but was found dead of a gunshot wound on Sunday. Argentinian officials claim that Nisman committed suicide, but the public isn't buying it and have taken to social media and to the streets with the slogan, "Yo Soy Nisman", a play on "Je Suis Charlie".
Elections are due in October. Kirchner is prohibited from running. But if a prosecutor can be murdered hours before giving damning testimony then anything is possible. We may soon cry for Argentina.
As per tradition, at 9pm EST/8pm CST, we'll be breaking into the liquor cabinet in order to enjoy the State of the Union as it was meant to be enjoyed: by getting increasingly drunk as the speech progresses, theoretically according to the official rules set forth by Cloture Club, but more likely on an ad hoc basis relating specifically to our individual policy interests and tolerance for Obama's key phrases.
By "we," I mean myself and my #Chatterbox co-host (and American Spectator's resident domestic goddess) Amelia Hamilton. And also you, too! Thanks to the advent of social media, you can follow our #SOTU updates in real time on Twitter, by following us individually (I'm @emzanotti, she's @ameliahammy), or by following along with the hashtag, #Chatterbox. We guarantee a good time. And possibly an informative time.
We already know that the State of the Union will feature a $320 billion "Robin Hood" tax hike, which is ridiculous, not just because it's both a blatant attempt at income redistribution and because it's designed, primarily to troll Republicans, but because the "real" Robin Hood actually stole the wealth from the corrupt beneficiaries of a tyrannical government and gave it back to a citzenry taxed into poverty.
Anyway, the bigger concern is who will be there to witness either the last Obama State of the Union that really matters, as he has approximately six months until he officially becomes a lame duck and can take up golfing with such regularity, he can be on the pro tour before Hillary's inaugrual pantsuit returns from the dry cleaners. Alongside various high-profile media figures from the year, the official White House guest list usually includes a cadre of characters carefully selected from the White House correspondence pile. This year is no exception.
Drummer Dallas Taylor, best known for his stint with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, died yesterday at the age of 66.
Taylor appears on the cover of the CSNY classic Deja Vu. He would also later drum with the group Manassas which was founded by Stephen Stills and Chris Hillman of The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers.
Unfortunately, Taylor had a very nasty alcohol and drug problem. Even The Who's Keith Moon, who once had to be replaced by a fan in the audience because he was so high, told Taylor he did too many drugs and drank too much. When Keith Moon tells you that you're doing too many drugs then you've got a big problem.
He would eventually get sober and became a highly respected alcohol and drug counselor. Despite his sobriety, Taylor would eventually need a liver transplant in 1990 and his wife would donate him a kidney in 2007.
Dallas Taylor did manage to save his life in time to help save others.