There are at least four things to like about his approach. First, without mentioning Rep. Paul Ryan by name, he called out Ryan’s truly reactionary budget proposal for what it is: an effort to slash government programs, in large part to preserve and expand tax cuts for the wealthy. “That’s not right,” he said, “and it’s not going to happen as long as I’m president.”
Second, he was willing to speak plainly about raising taxes, and he insisted correctly on restoring the Clinton-era tax rates for the wealthy. Tax reform, which he also proposed, is a fine idea, though there is ample reason for skepticism as to how much revenue it can produce. It would be far better to return to all of the Clinton tax rates and then build tax reform on that base, in particular through higher taxes on investment income.
Third, he was right to focus on the need to cut security spending. Any serious effort to reduce the deficit cannot exempt defense. It’s laughable for Republicans to criticize defense cuts and then be utterly unwilling to increase taxes to pay for the defense they claim we need.
Finally, he was eloquent in defending Medicare and Medicaid, and he proposed saving money by building on last year’s health-reform law. There are two ways to reduce the government’s health-care expenses. One is Ryan’s path, which, Obama said, “lowers the government’s health-care bills by asking seniors and poor families to pay them instead.” The alternative, which the president rightly embraced, “lowers the government’s health-care bills by reducing the cost of health care itself.”
Oh my, for Joan Walsh, it's love again!
I'm glad I waited for President Obama's heralded budget speech Wednesday before criticizing it (such a novel idea); there was much to praise in it and little to challenge. The best news: Obama laid out the kind of sweeping "story" of American democracy, and the bold vision of how we grow together, that I thought was too much to ask for even yesterday. He even talked about the scariest fact of American inequality: The dangerous hold the top 1 percent of Americans has on wealth, income and (he didn't say this) politics. He pushed back on the cruel GOP deficit plan, made his toughest case yet for tax hikes on the richest, and stayed away from the worst ideas floated by his own deficit commission. The devil will be in the deficit-cutting details, and frankly, there weren't a whole lot of them in the speech. But the president came out fighting with firmness, and with a rhetoric of social justice and equality, that I haven't seen enough of these last two years.
Every kid I hung out with in Gaithersburg in the mid to late 70s bussed tables at Roy's Place for at least twenty minutes before quitting or passing out on quaaludes (who was that? Skinner?) or getting fired trying to sneak six packs out in the trash.
Bless Roy's Place, whose restaurant I first ate at when it was on Montgomery Street in Rockville (I remember twice, when Roddy started working for MCPS - it was lunches, he was in meetings, it was summer, it was once when we lived in that weirdly unnamed triangle of Connecticut, Randolph, Veirs Mill - it's not Twinbrook, not Aspen Hill, not Glenmont, not Wheaton - and once the year after we'd moved to Gaithersburg) before Rockville set out on it's endless quest to fuck-up downtown Rockville, and whose restaurant, relocated to Diamond Avenue, just down from the firehouse, hired and fired me at least three times.
See, this is why I'd rather autoblogography and bleggalgaze than reiterating the obvious. What should I say about Obama's (quintuple pint bets stand) cynical and well-executed pivot and the motherfucking professional rubes who cynically don't note Obama's cynicism while applauding Obama's well-executed pivot and pig-trap sprung? Only 512 days until the General Election, boyee! Still, I've been warned to stop bleggalgazing, and since that recent seizure is squeezed dry anyway, OK, though it can't possibly be as squeezed dry as reminding you what a fucker Obama still is and what roobish whores our professional progressives are.
- Created equal?
- Thunder pointed to another example in comments.
- Biggest hoax in American political history?
- A frothy mix of fecal matter and lube.
- 77 Democrats.
- 77 Democrats mocked by Milbank.
- Real housewives of Wall Street.
- Amateurs, experts, education.
- Dull as a sculptured egg.
- Listen to Irwin. His Dan Tullis/Joel Clark series is fabulous.
- The Amanda files.
- Ignite. I love the Raveonettes.
- Don't know about you.
WHAT [THE FLOWER SERMON]
The flower sermon: critique is like a swoon but with a step increase, the awkward daughter who grows to join the NBA. All we want (ever wanted) was to be on that mailing list, parties at which slim caterers offer red, yellow, black caviar spilling off the triangular crackers while off on the bay rainbow-striped sails dip and bob and twist. The woman in the yellow raincoat sits on a bench at the edge of the schoolyard while two small children race across the asphalt plaza. Too many books sail the moth. A tooth that's lost while flossing. A short line makes for anxious music. Not breath but civilization. The president of Muzak himself says that humming along constitutes time theft. First snow in the Sierras = cold showers here. The east is past. Margin of terror. The left is where you feel it (dragging the eyes back contra naturum). We're just in it for the honey. Spackling paste edits nails in wall when painted. Elbows, shoulders jammed together on the bus. At each transfer point, glimpse how lives weave past. A woman with an interesting book in her purse which I pretend not to see. Letters crowd into a thought. Green paper folded around long-stemmed roses is stapled shut. Rapid winter sunset lacks twilight. They take out the breast and part of the lymph system. I stare through a lens at the near world. Hot tea sits dark in its cup. Seeing is deceiving. Big tears are eyes' response to a dawn chill, first frost. Clang of empty bottles in a paper sack. The boulevard was a kind of free verse, big noun skyscrapers, until the freeway blew out the margin. Baseball cap with the bill worn to the side or back. Steam pours plume-like from the roof of the new senior tower. Thus lawn-sprinklers sweep the air. This wool hat itchy on your forehead, those mysterious white sores that dot the mouth. New boots with Leather-Plus uppers and waffler stomper soles. The way gas stations dwindled overnight, now go the banks: people huddle in the rain as close as they can to the wall lined up for the automated teller. But I just want to snuggle. Jumping the curb on my skateboard. Even before the war was over, vets began to fill the J.C.s on the GI bill, men playing rummy on the quad at lunch. The way street folk make the sidewalk their bench. Taking my glasses off, sensing the muscles in the eye flex as they refocus. Cars at a stop light, each with its own lone rider. Standing on the bus, using both hands to hold on. The sun in the trees still, slowly rising. Beeper on a belt. The container inverted shall never be repeated, fungus in a hot tub. A swamp entitled Stanley Marsh. Black spot on the thumbnail is permanent. Neo-social democrat sneaks back into Lenin closet. Not democratic socialist. Folding chair triangulates space. Shirt collar as mock root for neck's trunk. Small physical detail enlarged (enraged) refocuses the whole room in the midst of the banquet. Retrofit theory to text. The idea of a doorstop extends the wall. Thin palms kept trim along commercial strip. Hollow is as garbage truck sounds. Ghetto barber: shop behind bars. Ask bus driver to call out destination. Chapped Lip Alert. Man on a park bench intent over crossword. The sound of a piano hung over the courtyard. Bliss approximates emotional state. Gay nerds (complex style). Drunk on the streetcorner snaps to attention, salutes the slow-cruising black-and-white. Old manikin in used clothing store, cheeks chipped, nose missing. Bin of loose sneakers in front of shoe shop. Dreams prod you with their skewed pertinence. Like fingering around in your pocket for a nickel, an ambiguous coin, with your gloves on. The pom-pom girl is sucking on a kiwi as the sun rises, little startled bird. Carved into nice pink slices, art history is served on seaweed-wrapped balls of rice. At the checkout stand, the bagger hooks the plastic sack into its wire mould, dropping in the brown spotted bananas before the bottles of cider. The close-out sale of fiction at Dalton's fails to attract afficionados from their new improved "ring" frisbees. Please don't call it xerox. Just because it rhymes. An absence of form is pictured on a milk carton. The dumpsters are ripe. The present tense calls up a terrific nostalgia foreshadowing antacids. Can you explain why Ezra Pound and Ty Cobb were never, not once, photographed in the same room together? The way cryotechnology accounts for the Rolling Stones. Heads of cauliflower wrapped in plastic. Half moon rising in the red dusk sky, streetlamps on illuminating nothing. Twisting the orange on the glass juice squeezer. Before dawn, alone in the supermarket parkinglot, hosing it down. Van's awning signals catering truck. A leaf had fallen onto the damp cement, its image sharp years after. Old green Norton anthology perfect for doorstop. Albino mulatto's curiously blonde hair. Linebreak muted says I'm a normal guy. To generalize a detail (use of plurals) entails violence. Body language at staff meeting very stiff. Birds scatter high over a schoolyard (asphalt baseball diamond). My own breath instead of a lung. Offhand, by comments hidden in the brain, we reiterate an old refrain. My mind instead of an onion. That these 20 year olds call their shared housing a commune seems quaint. Old black woman with a cane struggles to pull herself onto the bus. I strain to see these words. Chronicle of Higher Medication. Learning that I can't pick my nose when I read, because the gesture bumps my glasses. Our program is compromise all positions at all points, radical at the cash bar. The colon swells while the dash is but a double hyphen. Thus paint freckles an old ladder. Hair, combed from the part, over the large bald dome, barely throws strands of a shadow. Men huddle predawn in the vacant lot for the grey trucks that will carry them out into the valley, hot day harvesting crops. Yuppie world where everyone's successful, everyone's white. This guy's got great pecs, strong deltoids, tight abdominals, but through one nipple -- small gold safety pin. This poem, 15 lines of free verse, defining (and as if "as spoken to") a noun naming a common household object has been designed to compete successfully for space against cartoons in the New Yorker. Man striding down the street, whistling loudly. Now that soft drinks come in boxes. The Gift of Security, the lock with 1,000 personal combinations: the only lock in the world that let's you set your own combination and change it anytime, in seconds, without tools. Because friends were coming over for dinner, they began to think about cooking in the early afternoon. The honey in the 5 gal. can had begun to crystallize, so she put it in the oven to heat up. Then a neighbor phoned (the details here are less certain) and they went over to smoke some dope that had just been purchased. This state expands one's sense of time, of the moment. To be within the present can be totally sensuous. When they returned later, the honey can had exploded, tearing off the oven door. Boiling honey (it was just like napalm) clung to the ceiling, floor and walls.