Skimm for February 12th
THE STORY: President Obama will deliver the State of the Union address to Congress tonight to outline his agenda for his next term and how to get 'er done. Like New Year's resolutions, but two months late, much more sober, and with more clapping.
WHEN? 9 pm EST inside the Capitol.
WHERE? Everywhere. Cable channels and major networks will carry it live.
HOW LONG WILL IT BE? Usually about an hour, but sans applause, Washington's equivalent of a high school pep rally would be a lot shorter. Three cheers for national security, four for affordable education, five for the middle class, and a full-out standing O for America. Stop clapping.
WHY SHOULD I WATCH? This is an annual tradition where the president lays out where we are as a country and where we want to go. If you voted, you should watch. If you didn't, you should watch. If you want to take bets on which lawmaker falls asleep first, you should watch (and drink).
ARE THERE ASSIGNED SEATS? No, but it's also about as cliquey as "Mean Girls," where it becomes chamber gossip when lawmakers break party lines and sit together. We get it-- you're friends with legislative benefits.
WHO SITS BEHIND MR. PRESIDENT? House Speaker John Boehner (tan, a crier, pronounced Bay-nerr) and VP Joe Biden (work spouse, train enthusiast).
YAWN. DIDN'T OBAMA JUST SPEAK AT INAUGURATION? Yes, but per the Constitution, Congress invites the prez to come chat "from time to time." Obama RSVP'd yes.
SO HE AND CONGRESS TALK? Yes, but they don't always play nice. This speech will not be aimed at a bipartisan Kumbaya.
SO WHAT'S HE GOING TO TALK ABOUT? Things he's used to by now, like how the hell we reduce the deficit and give that job scene a boost. He is expected to define his second term around that magical catch phrase: middle class. He'll also try to talk about his hobbies: reforming immigration and gun control laws, improving education, and combatting climate change.
WHO ELSE IS GOING? The Varsity team. Some of the Supreme Court, Cabinet and Joint Chiefs of Staff get VIP seats, with Congress watching over them. Several lawmakers and high-profile attendees (Oh, hey, Michelle) will be bringing some special guests to drive home certain legislative agendas. Such guests include former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband, family members and survivors from some of the worst mass shootings (Newtown, VA Tech), an undocumented immigrant fighting deportation, and rocker and gun advocate Ted Nugent, who once said the president could suck on his machine gun.
IS THERE A PRE-SHOW? Not of the E! variety but there is a carpet and some fantastic entrances and fake hellos. One person will be missing though: the as yet to be determined "designated survivor," aka someone who won't attend the event. In case something very bad happens, this guarantees there will be at least one last understudy.
DO REPUBLICANS JUST SIT QUIETLY? No, they protest through lack of clap. It's all about body language. Rising GOP star, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) will give a rebuttal after Obama's address -- in English and Spanish, no less. Rubio represents a demographic that ran, not walked, to Obama's camp during the 2012 election. He's part of a bipartisan group of senators working on immigration reform and is expected to touch on that, in between talk of life, liberty, and limited government. If he looks down the right lens, he's got one up on Michele "can't find the camera" Bachmann.
I STILL DON'T WANT TO WATCH. Fine, Tweet with us @theSkimm. And make it witty.
REPEAT AFTER ME...What to say when your neighbor is loud... I'm going to file a complaint. South Korea did just that after its neighbor, North Korea, conducted a nuclear test. North Korea is banned by the UN from developing nuclear and missile technology but that doesn't seem to deter the isolated country from doing its own thing or talking a big game. South Korea was alerted to the test after measuring rare seismic activity near its neighbor's known nuclear test site. The blast was allegedly twice as big as a 2009 test. How comforting. With most of the international community furious over the "highly provocative act," the UN will talk amongst themselves to see what can be done to the already sanctioned country. Makes us appreciate that our loud neighbor is just shooting some "home movies."
What to say when your boss quits... Did he get a better offer? Is he sick? Was it something I said? Did he do something bad? These are all the questions many have, following the shocking resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. The pope no longer wants to be pope, citing deteriorating strength. It's been 600 years since a pope has packed his things, as pursuing other opportunities is not exactly what Saint Peter had in mind. Seriously, there was lightning. The Church is in a bit of a bind, now that it has just a few weeks, per tradition, to find a replacement. Wanted by Easter: A self-starter and PR expert, who loves a good conclave, and has a strong network outside of Europe.
What to say while online shopping... I am losing a key antidote to my shopping addiction, the fact that my wallet is all the way over there [points to nightstand]. Twitter and American Express have teamed up to make online shopping less strenuous by allowing AmEx users to sync with the little blue Bird and buy directly from the Twitterverse by using a hashtag. The e-commerce program will roll out over the next few days and initially feature a limited number of brands. It could be the key to unleashing the hashtag's potential and letting Twitter commerce run wild (or at least run somewhere).
What to say while reworking your resume... Hmm, too bad I can't put down "killed Osama bin Laden." The SEAL Team 6 member who supposedly ended OBL with three shots is telling his story for the first time to Esquire. And it ain't pretty. The unnamed shooter is having a hard time finding his way in civilian life and can't disclose his most identifying trait (think "Fight Club" and take it to the next level). The military basically told him to go "f*ck himself" and now he has no health care, no pension, and no protection for him or his family. Why not write a book like his SEAL Team 6 pal or sell special sunglasses? Because that would break the code of the "quiet professional" and insults the career path of a man who killed "Poopyface" (what his kids call the most known terrorist of our time). There are many things wrong with this situation.
BIRTHDAYS: Danielle Dueno (Savannah, GA); Austin Mader-Clark (San Mateo, CA); Sarah Muller (Brooklyn, NY); Dara Wilk (Portland, OR); Amanda Gorin (New York, NY); Cory Colligan (Fresno, CA)
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