Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fixing calls, freezing trains, and The Explanation

Right now the Yahoo “What’s New” page is featuring this article about the State of the Union address. Currently*, the first paragraph of the article reads:

AP - President Barack Obama will devote most of his first State of the Union address on Wednesday to fixing an economy that has sapped the nation's spirits and eroded his standing, with calls for tax cuts for small businesses and more restraint from a government that keeps piling up debt.

I know I’m being overly picky but I feel a need to point out that a speech is not going to fix anything - and neither are calls. This is not a criticism of Obama so much as it is a criticism of the more general idea that talking about doing something is just as good as actually doing it.

Here on the other hand, there is room for criticizing Obama himself:

The president will seek a freeze on most domestic spending for three years, yet propose a 6.2 percent increase in spending on education, an investment in a popular arena that he sees as vital to an economic recovery. He will offer a highly anticipated way forward on how to salvage health care reform, take responsibility for mistakes in his first year and follow up his speech with a dash to Florida to announce $8 billion in awards for high-speed rail.

Is it just me or is there something not quite right about dashing off to Florida to blow $8 billion on trains immediately after announcing a spending freeze? I mean, setting aside for the moment my conviction that the Federal government does not belong in education, I can understand why education might not be an area we want to freeze. But trains? Really?

I’m not sure I’ve ever watched a State of the Union address live - I much prefer the written word to the spoken - but I may have to make an exception for this one:

"The president is going to explain why he thinks the American people are angry," Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said Wednesday morning.

Thank goodness. I was hoping someone would come along and explain to us all what we’re so upset about. At last I'll be able to sleep at night.


* Maybe it’s just my imagination but it seems to me that the articles Yahoo links to mutate over time and what is there now may not be there later.


Anonymous said...

I'm really looking forward to the President's explaining to me why I'm angry. No doubt it will be leftover anger from my disappointment with Bush, unless it's racism. (I do drive a pickup truck.)

The only thing he could possibly say tonight to turn me around is that he's going to slash taxes for all those bad rich people and corporations that hire people. Because I don't see anything else likely to decrease unemployment. Anything else will cost a bunch of money without creating jobs, and most likely will actually cost jobs. And by "jobs" I don't mean public sector make-work.

-- Texan99

Grim said...

It's not at all unusual for a wire service to alter its stories several times through the day. In the days of print newspapers we didn't notice, because we only saw the one that your particular paper put to print.

In open source intelligence, sometimes you'll take note of the changes in the article should a state-wire service -- Xinhua, say -- make alterations. It may be they are collecting data, and it may be that they are responding to pressure 'from above.'

The Associated Press, of course, does precisely the same thing. In both cases.