President Obama is delivering his State of the Union Address tonight and the usual suspects are spinning up expectations and related goo. DD covered a report from Politico that noted that President Obama won’t be extending any olive branches to Republicans this year, and I have been listening to NPR a decent portion of the morning and they are repeating the same thing. What I don’t hear is WHY the President should be extending olive branches to a party who works hard at not cooperating in the business of government. I suspect it is the same old — Democrats are supposed to cooperate and Republicans get a pass on obstructing (with the excuse of sticking to their principles). Anyone else noticing this narrative?
Having the president greet dozens of lawmakers as he enters and exits the House chamber for the State of the Union already seems like a huge waste of time, and the situation is even worse than it appears. To secure an aisle seat, members of Congress have to claim the spot ten to twelve hours in advance. According to the Washington Post, there’s a devoted group of State of the Union squatters, and scoring five seconds of inane conversation with the president involves a surprising amount of preparation.
Competition for aisle seats is fierce, and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy sent out a note on Monday reminding members of Congress that simply leaving your jacket on a chair doesn’t count. “Members may reserve their seats only by physical presence,” he said.
I’m not sure that I knew this. But I note that they don’t mind asking for a physical presence for reserving seats to this event, but a talking filibuster is out of the question.
The list of the President and First Lady’s guests for the speech includes quite a few victims of gun violence — including a teacher from Newtown.
Marco Rubio is supposed to deliver the GOP response to the SOTU in both English and Spanish. Except some of his party think that English-only is the only way to go:
“There’s a conflicting message that comes out from the Republicans if we want to recognize the unifying power of English, and meanwhile, we send out communications in multiple languages,” King said in an interview with National Journal. “Official business and documents needs to be in English.”
The resistance behind closed doors contrasts with the public posture taken by most Republican Party leaders since seven out of 10 Hispanic voters rejected Mitt Romney in the 2012 election, and may give the party more reasons to worry about King’s possible run for the soon-to-be-open Senate seat in Iowa. Already, the Karl Rove-backed super PAC American Crossroads has launched the Conservative Victory Project to help quash primary candidates it views as outside the mainstream and destined to lose a general election. Since he is often seen on the fringe of the party, King could be a target if he runs for the seat left vacant by retiring Democrat Tom Harkin.
Way to fumble the ball again, gang.
Research on the influence of video games on violent behavior — basically the games might be one small factor out of many:
A burst of new research has begun to clarify what can and cannot be said about the effects of violent gaming. Playing the games can and does stir hostile urges and mildly aggressive behavior in the short term. Moreover, youngsters who develop a gaming habit can become slightly more aggressive — as measured by clashes with peers, for instance — at least over a period of a year or two.
Yet it is not at all clear whether, over longer periods, such a habit increases the likelihood that a person will commit a violent crime, like murder, rape, or assault, much less a Newtown-like massacre. (Such calculated rampages are too rare to study in any rigorous way, researchers agree.)
“I don’t know that a psychological study can ever answer that question definitively,” said Michael R. Ward, an economist at the University of Texas, Arlington. “We are left to glean what we can from the data and research on video game use that we have.”