Hey Union, How You Doin'?
THE STORY: In case you missed it, our Union is still here.
THE WHAT: Now that the "rubble of crisis" is out of our way, phew, the State of our Union is strong (or stronger than the last time we had this chat). President Obama made clear he wants his second term to include a revived middle class with an agenda focused on the economy and jobs. Also, he wants a vote on guns. Sometimes a vote is just a vote. Except when it means so much more.
HMM OK, WHAT WAS THE TONE? We'll be straight with you. It was the most boring of times, it was the most moving of times. SOTU was really a tale of two speeches.
WHAT WAS THE FIRST PART? We learned we're not in need of a bigger government, "but a smarter government that sets priorities" and invests in growth.
MORE PLEASE.* Deficit... as in what President Obama wants to do will cost money, but his proposals won't increase the deficit, which he promises to reduce. He will only support "balanced" efforts that include spending cuts and tax increases.* Sequester... as in, yah, we probably shouldn't let those automatic spending cuts happen since they would hurt the economy and stop important government programs.* Climate Change... as in Al Gore might as well have been up there. The president wants Congress to do more on climate change and even gave a shout out to the work Sen. John McCain has done on this. Oh, '08, how far away you seem.* Preschool... as in private costs a pretty penny. The president wants to make high-quality preschool education available to all of America's children so that more graduate and less get knocked up as teens or turn into criminals.* Education... as in a new form of college rankings brought to you by Team Obama; "College Scorecard" will rank the most bang for your educational buck.* Immigration... as in it's time to reform it. Send him the bill.* Jobs... as in "Fix-it-First," a $50 billion program to fix the worst of the worst in infrastructure. And companies like Siemens and Apple are bringing jobs to the US of A.* Minimum Wage... as in our summer jobs would have been a lot cushier under Barry, who wants to raise the min. wage to $9 an hour, so no full-time worker is impoverished.* Afghanistan... as in another 34,000 troops are comin' on home and by the end of next year our war will be over. Hooray! Too bad al Qaeda affiliates are still out there.* Cyber Defense... as in a new signed, executive order that increases info sharing and protective standards.
SO WHEN DID IT GET GOOD? When the president talked about protecting our right to vote and our children. The Capitol transformed into an emotional chamber as President Obama emphatically ("Gabby Giffords deserves a vote"; "Newtown deserves a vote") stated that gun control proposals deserve a vote, "because in the two months since Newtown, more than 1,000 birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun." Chills.
HOW WAS JOE? Happy, smiley, fidgety, distracting. It took VP Biden awhile to find a comfortable position: tie in, tie out; glasses on, glasses off; pen cap on, pan cap off; rub injured eye, don't rub injured eye. What was unclear? If his glasses were tinted purple. What was clear? He hearts Barry. A lot.
AND JOHN? House Speaker Boehner was either suffering a severe case of dead leg or found it too difficult to stand and applaud for pretty much anything. Apparently, minimum wage, protecting voting rights, and celebrating a 102 year-old voter are not his thing.
TELL ME ABOUT DESILINE. Desiline Victor is everyone's new hero. The 102-year-old, who became a naturalized citizen in 2005, stood in line for hours to exercise her right to vote and cast her ballot in Florida last year. We're going to take a guess she voted for Obama. She got a nice shout out and brought most (cough, Boehner, cough) to their feet. Get it gurl.
HOW WAS THE AFTER-PARTY? Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) revealed to the nation that he has a drinking problem. As a part of the Republican rebuttal, Rubio challenged Obama's commitment to the middle class and expansion of government. He worked hard on behalf of his party to appeal to the Hispanic community and the middle class. Perhaps, he worked too hard, as he needed a drawn out, awkward gulp of water that made us wonder if he was also auditioning for a Poland Spring commercial. The SNL writing team will be sure to thank him for giving them an early start to this week's script.
WHO DIDN'T WATCH? Banana Joe. Joe the Affenpinscher won Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show. He beat out fan favorite Swagger, an Old English sheepdog. We expect both canines to go on to fame, fortune, and a mating life only the Situation could dream of.
REPEAT AFTER ME...What to say when you feel relief... Thank goodness that's over. Everyone in Southern California is breathing a sigh of relief after the hunt for fugitive and ex-LAPD cop Christopher Dorner has seemingly come to an end; Dorner is believed to be dead in a burned-out cabin in Big Bear, CA. Dorner had been on the lam for over a week, after killing three people and making it clear he was out for revenge against the LAPD. Dorner did not go quietly into the good night and led police into a crazy standoff in the mountains. First, Dorner allegedly broke into a mountain home, took a couple hostage, and stole a car. Then he ended up in a shoot out with police, killing one deputy. He made it to a cabin, where more gunfire was exchanged and ultimately a fire raged. A charred body was found in the cabin, although it may take days to confirm it's Dorner.
What to say about Ash Wednesday... I'm willing to give up chocolate, alcohol, and gossiping but I have my limits. And JT is not in the mix. Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z are said to be taking their suits and ties on the road and joining forces for a stadium tour that can only be described as "AHHHH." Well this explains why Jessica Biel looked so buddy buddy with Mr. and Mrs. Carter at Sunday's Grammys. A multi-city tour is said to be in discussion, meaning Skimm HQ will be relocating as needed, driving in the HOVA lane.
What to say when you rent an apartment... You know what, I'm feeling good about this place, let's buy the whole thing! Comcast is clearly feeling good about NBCUniversal, which it acquired a majority stake of in 2011, and just bought the rest of it. GE is giving up its 49% stake in the company a lot sooner than expected but hey, $16.7 billion isn't a bad parting gift. GE plans to use the money to give back to shareholders and invest in its industrial business. Comcast, which now owns everything from Ryan Seacrest to Andy Cohen and Housewives to our "Law & Order: SVU" marathons, will also get to take famed 30 Rock. The actual building. Insert Liz Lemon comment here.
What to say about "House of Cards"... Must get sleep. I'm hooked, which means I'm way too tired to go to Fashion Week. Thankfully, designer Peter Som thought ahead and after ten years of traditional fashion shows, Som will present his inaugural digital runway show this morning. The collection was filmed last week and edited down to a six-minute show, which puts less pressure on models to be, well, perfect.
What to say when no one sits next to you on the subway... Wrestling found out it was unpopular, too. It even has less friends than modern pentathlon. The International Olympic Committee voted by secret ballot, because no one likes to offend a sport to its face, to drop wrestling from its 2020 schedule in an attempt to "streamline" the Olympics and to make room for new sports like golf and rugby. While golf and rugby have nice shirts, wrestling has gone where diplomacy, or even freshly pressed cotton t's, cannot, when it brought athletes from Iran and the US to compete and hug post match in 2012.
BIRTHDAYS: Rachel Sessions (Austin, TX); Afiya Williams (Atlanta, GA); Barbara Zakin (New York, NY); Carly Crigler (Baton Rouge, LA); Molly McConn (Houston, TX)
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