The SOTU is less than an hour away, so up until then I’ll post any relevant pre-SOTU info here.
Well, to start out with some sad news, America’s Most Dangerous Man, Howard Zinn, is dead at the age of 87. You all know him, you all love him. His impact on this country, specifically on this country’s junior high and high school students, can’t be overstated. I found that reading A People’s History was the non-fiction equivalent of reading The Catcher in the Rye. Both books taught me — for the first time in their respective fields — that reading could be a transformative experience. It was no longer something I was just supposed to be doing, but instead something that would tell me more about myself and the world at large. With any luck, over the next few days the country will remember how important he was.
Now for the SOTU stuff!
1) CNN is reporting that Obama is going to single-handedly repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell tonight, and maybe even make some GOP members kiss each other. Obama has said in the past that he would like to get rid of DADT, but in his first year in office he hasn’t taken any specific action towards that end, which has, rightly, pissed off the LGBTQ community.
2) Apparently GOP leaders are telling their children (elected party members) to not yell things during the fancy speech. It’s good advice, but probably won’t be followed.
3) Ezra Klein takes a look at the guest list, and isn’t thrilled with what it says about the emphasis it places on health care reform.
One way to predict the focus of the State of the Union is to scan the list of guests who’ll be sitting with Michelle Obama. This year, for instance, we’ve got Li Boynton, an “18-year-old senior from Bellaire, Texas whose passion for science and global health has led her to new and potentially ground-breaking methods for testing the quality of drinking water.” Then there’s Jeffrey Brown, owner of a “growing ten-store supermarket chain.”
And that’s pretty much how the whole list looks. There are inspiring small business stories, inspiring educational stories, and a lot of soldiers. There’s exactly one person who represents health-care reform: Cindy Parker-Martinez, whose entire family — down to her 11-month-old daughter — was denied health-care coverage on the individual insurance market. If health care’s role in the speech is proportional to its role in the first lady’s box, don’t expect tonight to be a big night on that score.
OK, time to get ready for this thing that — like teenage sex — causes so much anxiety but will most likely produce hilariously low amounts of satisfaction. Get your drinks ready.