When I first started this blog, I had some things I wanted to talk about, and I had hoped there would be continued discussion. Although there have a been a few comments, I was disappointed by how few there were. So I sort of lost the motivation to keep posting. Also, I had felt that I needed to say something “significant” each time and that led to a form of writer’s block. I think I’ve dealt with both of those issues, and now I”ll just write whatever I want, significant or not, and regardless of the response or lack of response.
Last night Teresa and I went to see “An Evening of Classic Lily Tomlin” at the newly restored/renovated Balboa Theater. It was a fun show, and opened with a series of film clips to remind us all of the wonderful characters she has portrayed over the past 30 years. For me there was a striking contrast between her new material and the reprises of some of her classic characters. Her opening monologue was over the top funny and witty, dealing with current issues, including the collapse of the San Diego Chargers football team. On the other hand, her characters seemed a little dated. The main exception was Ernestine, the telephone operator, who is now employed at a medical insurance company, and provided Ernestine with the opportunity to deny coverage with glee and wonderful one-liners. I wish I could remember some for you.
State of the Union
Obama’s speech was wonderfully delivered as usual. I found many of the specific proposals to be merely interesting tweaks to existing policies, and some recommendations for new legislation rather symbolic and not that significant. The most important thing he said is that we have to learn how to work together, and that Congress should place the needs of the country over petty politics. He announced that he would begin to hold regular meeting with leaders of both parties, a proposal which was completely ignored by the Republican response. In fact, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell criticized him for not offering to meet with Republicans, which in fact he had done in the speech. McDonnell’s speech seemed written without regard to Obama’s, as though they had not made a draft available to him, which is the normal practice.
The idea of providing more money to small banks to make loans to small businesses seems like a futile gesture to me. As I understand it, banks have plenty of money to loan, but they are being particularly cautious about to whom they lend. After all, risky loans were part of the cause of the original problem. As one small business owner put it on KPBS radio, take that $30 billion and provide more stimulus, so that business activity increases and small businesses become more creditworthy.
Regarding health care, I still have hope. The specific features of the program are less important to me than the inclusion of the uninsured. Let’s get them covered now. The Republicans mentioned several items that they feel should be included in the bill, and I don’t see why the Democrats don’t throw those in. For example, tort reform and allowing the purchase of policies across state lines. If that will increase possibility of getting a bill passed, go for it.
Congress has been in a political gridlock for years, and it will take statesmanship at every level to make progress. The most striking evidence of that was the way the Republicans sat in stony silence in response to many of the ideas that are basic common sense. I would like to see a tabulation of the Republican “sitting” vs. Republicans “standing” issues, and the same for the Democrats.
I am hopeful that a better attitude in Washington will evolve and allow some progress.