State of the Union Live Blogging

Using Facebook, rebelling against the Twitter trend. Who needs the 140 character limit? The live comments are here.

Update: An actual post discussing the speech is posted here.

Update II: Text of the Facebook live comments have been pasted under the fold.


Joe Lieberman, Not a Good Old-Fashioned New England Moderate Republican

In an interview on Face the Nation, Joe Lieberman was asked if he could see himself as a Republican. Lieberman said, “it’s possible. A good old-fashioned New England moderate Republican.”

I see “a good old-fashioned New England moderate Republican” as one who would have broken with his party and opposed the Iraq war and who would have joined the Democrats in working towards health care reform without killing good ideas such as the public option and the Medicare buy-in.

Mixed Signals on Health Care Reform

Going into President Obama’s first State of the Union Address we continue to get mixed signals as to plans to proceed with health care reform. White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer did say that Obama will reiterate his commitment to health care reform.

Members of the House are saying that they are willing to consider passing the Senate bill along with passing a second bill with fixes which will be passed as part of budget reconciliation where only a simple majority is needed for passage. However House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is also talking about a two track effort to pass simpler matters first and more comprehensive reform at a later date. Considering the degree of opposition to the bill nationally, as well as opposition to passing the Senate bill in the House, this might be the most realistic path.

Passing a more scaled-back plan with promises of more comprehensive reforms in the future might not be accepted by the left but Bennie Sanders, one of the most liberal member of the Senate, has signaled his willingness to support a scaled-back effort.

It might not even be necessary to scale back a new bill very much. Polls show that half the country want to start over, but that those who say this do not know what is actually in the bill. Theoretically Congress could pass a new bill which is virtually the same as the old bill, name it New Health Care Reform, and most voters would not know the difference. What would matter is explaining the individual components as polling has been clear that while Americans might say they oppose Obama-care in general they also support all the key aspects when asked specific questions.

Howard Zinn Dies At 87

From The Boston Globe:

Howard Zinn, the Boston University historian and political activist who was an early opponent of US involvement in Vietnam and a leading faculty critic of BU president John Silber, died of a heart attack today in Santa Monica, Calif, where he was traveling, his family said. He was 87.

“His writings have changed the consciousness of a generation, and helped open new paths to understanding and its crucial meaning for our lives,” Noam Chomsky, the left-wing activist and MIT professor, once wrote of Dr. Zinn. “When action has been called for, one could always be confident that he would be on the front lines, an example and trustworthy guide.”

For Dr. Zinn, activism was a natural extension of the revisionist brand of history he taught. Dr. Zinn’s best-known book, “A People’s History of the United States” (1980), had for its heroes not the Founding Fathers — many of them slaveholders and deeply attached to the status quo, as Dr. Zinn was quick to point out — but rather the farmers of Shays’ Rebellion and the union organizers of the 1930s.

As he wrote in his autobiography, “You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train” (1994), “From the start, my teaching was infused with my own history. I would try to be fair to other points of view, but I wanted more than ‘objectivity’; I wanted students to leave my classes not just better informed, but more prepared to relinquish the safety of silence, more prepared to speak up, to act against injustice wherever they saw it. This, of course, was a recipe for trouble.”

Posted in Breaking News. 2 Comments »

Obama To Seek Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

Obama to seek repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in State of the Union speech tonight according to several news agencies.

Ben Nelson Shows He Cannot Be Trusted

Yesterday I noted that Ben Nelson, the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, had stated he would not support a reconciliation measure to get health care reform passed. Today he says he would support reconciliation as long as he supports the underlying bill.

Nelson apparently does not realize that using the internet we can find out what he is saying to others, such as when he said in an interview with a conservative site that he planned to filibuster the final conference report in an effort to insert stronger anti-abortion language.

It looks to me like he is trying to please both Democrats who support health care reform as well as conservatives who oppose it by saying different things to different audiences. In other words, neither side should trust him.