State Of The Union Reaction

Bush @ SOTU 2006
In an effort to maintain our official status as “political junkies,” my wife and I sat down last night and watched both the Presdient’s State of the Union speech and the Democrats’ response as delivered by Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine. I thought that the “International Relations” portion of the speech was well-written and well-delivered by the President, particularly the calling out of Iran by name and the explicit recognition that we side with the people, it’s just the mullahs we despise. The domestic portion of the speech, however, left me scratching my head a bit and I found myself quickly fazing out, only to be snapped back to attention by the mention of “nucular” power. Nuclear power is such a common sense proposition and it is a continuing shame that the very notion of such has been so thoroughly demonized that we are unlikely to see any real progress made on construction of newer, safer and more efficient nuke plants. I also found myself a bit perplexed by the inclusion of Burma among the dictator-run nations on our watch list and the President’s call to outlaw human-animal hybrids. Did I miss some large portion of the news over the past few months? Has some Dr. Moreau come forth recently that I’m not aware of? And what’s going on in Burma?
On to the Democratic response. I was repulsed, although not entirely surprised, by the Democrats’ applauding themselves for stalling Social Security reform. It seemed in poor taste and more than a little mean-spirited and politically tone-deaf. Wait, we are talking about the new Democrats here. Never mind.
Tim "The Eyebrow" KaineI tried, so help me, I tried to pay attention to the words coming out of Tim Kaine’s mouth, but I found myself endlessly distracted by the man’s left eyebrow. Seriously, what’s up with that? It’s almost as if it has a mind of its own, fluttering up and down with very little connection to the contents of Kaine’s speech itself.
The speech in and of itself centered on the theme of “There’s a better way”. That way was never fully articulated, but Kaine seemed to suggest that the Democrats would be better choices for every position you could possibly think of, including non-political ones. They’ve got such servants’ hearts that they’d be glad to fill out our 1040EZs, walk our dogs and even take our cars to the garage, if only we could see clear to vote for them. Sorry, Kaine, et al, I’m not buying it. I don’t want “managers” or “servants” in government, let alone relentlessly meddlesome busybodies such as the ones comprising the leadership of your party – I want people concerned with 1) defending our homeland from foreign attack 2) defending our trade interests against foreign interference and 3) getting out of the way of the American people in most other respects.
Gah. Looked at that eyebrow again. I’ve lost my train of thought. I guess I’ll just close with a Moment of Zen, D.C. Still Image Edition:
UPDATE: By way of Jeff Harrell, we find out just what the heck Bush was referring to in the “manimal” section of his speech. Additionally, Jeff Goldstein’s liveblogging of the SOTU reminded me of one of the funniest/freakiest moments of the night:

Earmark reform? McCain clapped like a seal with a fresh mackerel in his maw.

Those of you that watched the speech know exactly what he is talking about. The way that man claps is unnatural, kids. It looked like he locked his elbows at a 45° angle and then swung his arms from the shoulders. I just tried it out here at my desk – that puts so much force behind each clap it hurts. The Big Giant Ego must really hate “earmarks” to get that into applause. Either that, or the very thought of appearing on live national TV is so exciting that he loses basic motor function control. Somebody needs to make an animated .gif out of his applause. Farkers, get right on it, mmmkay?


Nuclear power? Doug, you used to live not 10 minutes from Princeton Plasma Physics lab! Do you not know that the future lies with fission, not fusion? Ya, coming to you in ~ 10 years. Check it out here:
Sara, my Dad, and I had the recent opportunity to visit them and tour their plant because my Dad is an alumni of Rensselaer. Sara was bored, I was interested – especially looking inside the reactor (it was offline), my Dad was like a the fat kid in The Chocolate Factory. I’m sure he has pictures if you are interested.
And with the human/animal hybrids, maybe I wasn’t the only one freaked out when they grew that human ear on a mouse. Check out this link:
and check the kids comments below, they are AWESOME!
Hahaha, I’m still laughing!

Yech, the hybrid human/animal thing has me very disgusted. Just like conservativeprincess said, it’s like these scientists didn’t get that people who don’t like playing god with unborn fetuses won’t like the idea of playing god any more by creating human/animal crossbreed embryos to research. It’s horrifying, and feels like something out of a weird sci-fi movie where we create a slave race.

Ok. Time for a not quite liberal voice.
1) Nuclear: It’s about time it’s at least talked about. Yes, there are things that need more addressing. No worse then all the crap we get out of oil, or natural radiation found in many coal deposits.
2) Energy policy: Today there were reports that bush slashed some funding at the dept of energy, and researchers in biofuels were a target. True or not, I am confused on why he focused on wind/solar (blatant, outright pandering to the left – most knowledable people in teh industry know that neither are really useful in high-demand applications), and completely ignored biodiesel. Yes, I am a diesel-head, but only because the technology exists today, and biodiesel is a net positive energy balance while maintaining net zero carbon emissions. Ethanol, in all its forms and glory, is still energy negative (requires more to make then you get), and being that there is no pure ethanol engine out there, you still need 15% gas, which while it is an improvement, is no good.
3) Ear on a mouse. What’s the fuss? I WANT MY REPLACEABLE PARTS. Growing an ear on the abck of a mouse looks disgusting, but in fact it was just the cartialage (sp?) and more importantly, the mouse was not negatively impacted by it’s presence, nor would it be by it’s removal. I want scientists working n stuff like that. I want pig livers or other organs to be able to genetically modified to fit into people. I want replacement teeth. Real teeth.
4) Social Security absolutely needs some attention. The problem was in the solution. It wasn’t good enough. Sure, the Dems shouldn’t have applauded, but then again, the pres probably shouldn’t have brought it up.
5) Education: I would love to teach Science. Make it so I can earn my private sector salary, and we’ll talk.
6) Democratic response: Like you were really going to listen to it and like it. Yes, there was a lot of mention of “there’s a better way”, and it would be nice if every single time he mentioned it, he said something other then “talk to your counterparts”, but thats the way it is – this administration and congress has been decidedly one sided. There was very little public show of actual 2-way dialogue about pretty much anything going on. The last 2-3 years have been very much about what King George wants. Kaine was pointing out, very not-so-subtly (might want to consider a different speech writer) that he is the second dem in a row to win in a red state (that limits govs to one term), and he did so because of his record of going to the people involved and getting ideas and buy in on implementation (not just saying he is a uniter and then cramming his wants down their throats). This is how it SHOULD work in the real world, so why is this not the case in federal government?
7) Security of our nation is a big deal. But you can’t spy on the American people. Even if congress said you could. Even if you really mean it that you are only looking at international calls, and only those on a list of “to be listened to”. If this list is anything like the “no-fly” list, then liberties are being trampled. We are either a free society or a police state. There is no middle ground. With great power comes great responsibility, and with universal freedom comes exposure. The goal is to minimize exposure without touching freedom.
As an aside, I have quite a few opportunities to become a pennsylvanian again lined up…

Well I’m going to Repsond to AndyOne, I like his numerical system. I may skip a few though.
1. Nuclear – I have an IMBY attitude.
2. I’m still learning about the biofuels stuff. There was a paper published at Cal-Berkeley earlier this week that addressed the net-energy of ethanol. It evaluates 6 different models from previous papers with more up-to-date numbers. I haven’t read it yet, but apparently it concludes that ethanol is a net energy source. Also, biodiesel and ethanol are looking like they are actually approaching economic viability.
3. Hybrid humans growing new organs? See #1.
6. Saying there’s a better way and providing one are drastically different concepts. I hear echoes of John Kerry who, apparently “has a plan.” I haven’t seen any ideas from Kaine or his predecessor that I particularly liked.