I was going to tweet some of my thoughts, but Twitter seems to be overwhelmed with people trying to do the same.
I'm watching it online at the Los Angeles Timeswebsite (which annoyingly refreshes itself every five minutes, forcing me to miss about fifteen seconds of speech). [UPDATE: The Telegraph has the transcript of the speech, which I may put snippets of in the text below.]
I'll tell you, it's essentially State of the Union 2011-1/2. A lot of good points, many of the reiterations of things he's called for in the past (e.g., taxes done in a way where everyone pays their fair share), but the highlight — and the opener — was his America Jobs Act (?) full of such things as building up infrastructure, giving tax breaks to those who hire new people, helping veterans get jobs, etc. It has a lot more in it than I'm laying out here — and he insists it will be paid for — so I'm not doing it justice. Go read up on it.
As I expected him to do, he called for quick passage of the FTA with South Korea, but also with Panama and Colombia (I wasn't so sure he'd include those two). That's a great point, but again he says that if people in America are going to drive Hyundais and Kias, he wants to see people in Korea driving Chryslers and Fords and Chevys (I hope he realizes they already drive Chevrolets!).
His regulation-reducing effort was also highlighted. We need to make sure that regulations are there to protect the health and welfare of the country. At the same time, he says, we should resist the desire to deregulate completely, getting rid of things that provide environmental protections, protections for workers. "We shouldn't be in a race to the bottom, ... but a race to the top." Dismantling protections to make the corporations stronger is not the way to go, he says.
That was, in fact, not his only nationalism-infused statement. American will be #1 again, we'll be top in the world, there's no reason we can't beat China, etc., etc.
Overall, a good and timely speech, one that emphasizes bipartisanship (he emphasized over and over how his proposed jobs bill was a litany of things supported by both Dems and Republicans) and is filled with a bunch of points that I generally agree with. Now just get on it. As you said, the people who elected "us" don't have fourteen months to wait.
Of course, with House Speaker John Boehner not applauding at things one would think Republicans would support — like how the GI Bill helped a whole lot of people go to college who otherwise couldn't have — I expect something of an uphill battle (some Republicans who weren't even going to attend dismissed the speech before it was even made, some even boycotting it).
And why not? If the Republicans want to re-take the White House next year, it's better for them if the unemployment rate remains high, and it seems that gridlock to block Obama's plans to fix the economy in order to keep it high actually is their strategy. But Boehner may have been listening to that speech and thinking, at some point, that maybe his job will be more secure and he can effect more of the changes he wants, if he remains head of the House in a second Obama administration. But that's just a thought; I can't read his mind, nor he mine.
Nate is a former newscaster and sometime journalist, Korean Studies specialist, current doctoral grad student in public health, professional writer and editor, Yonsei alumnus, UCI alumnus, lover not a fighter, Gen-Xer, 1980s pop music aficionado, 5K-per-day runner, fast walker, hiker, temporary permanent resident of Hawaii, Seoul slumlord, California native straight out of Compton, Orange County "native" with a Seth Cohen personality but not a Seth Cohen trust fund, national parks visitor, former Disneyland employee, former UPS employee who still has the uniform and plots ways to abuse that fact, amateur photographer and cinematographer, Mac enthusiast, uncle of several and cousin of many, semi-professional blogger, contrarian scourge, lifelong "Orange Dog Democrat" (Dem from OC) who distrusts other Democrats, ordained minister, eater of oatmeal, onetime student of Japanese who can still put together sentences based on knowledge of Korean, world traveler, frequent flier, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf preferred customer, lover of all things Italian, filial son, frequent visitor of Japan and Hong Kong, and driver of an LPG Kia minivan. Email me.
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My sitemeter.com data shows that a lot of the 1000 or so people a week who land on my site are looking for cultural information on Korea (e.g., "When did Syngman Rhee die?" "What did the Indians bring to the first Chusok?" etc., etc.), as well as practical or historical stuff.
That got me thinking that, hey, I have a master's degree in Korean studies and a minor in Japanese studies, I've lived in Seoul far longer than most foreans my age (whether they're kyopo or non-kyopo), I teach introductory courses on Korea and its cultural trappings and history, so why not offer a free service where I attempt to answer people's questions, point them in the direction of where they can get them answered, and/or offer my regulars (that's you!) a chance to take a stab at some of this stuff, too.
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Explore Monster Island (um... search this site)
九十五大怪獣란? 쿠시보의 몬스터 아일랜드란?
Pearls of witticism from 'Bo the Blogger: Kushibo's Korea blog... Kushibo-e Kibun... Now with Less kimchi, more nunchi. Random thoughts and commentary (and indiscernibly opaque humor) about selected social, political, economic, and health-related issues of the day affecting "foreans" ("foreigners" in Korea be they kyopo or non-kyopo), Koreans, Korea and East Asia, along with the US, especially Hawaii, Orange County, and the rest of California, plus anything else that is deemed worthy of discussion. Forza Corea!
To read my many posts on Laura Ling, Euna Lee, or Mitch Koss, the two CurrentTV crew who were held in North Korea and their executive producer who could run faster than they could because he wasn't weighted down with incriminating videotapes, PLEASE CLICK HERE.
Old photos of Jeollanam-do and Gwangju.
[image: 1941 Jeollanamdo Provincial Office]
*Taken in front of the Jeollanam-do Provincial Office, 1941.*
[image: Sajik Park]
*Sajik Park observatory in the...
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If you're one of dozens of people each week who stumble across this blog looking for quotes, information, or (nearly) full scripts of "The Simpsons," then go to snpp.com (for "Springfield Nuclear Power Plant"), the premier Simpsons resource that is not controlled by the evildoers at Fox.
Blog roll of blogs that list me in their blog roll (plus a few other blogs I like or check out)
Even before I went into into semi-retirement, I essentially stopped commenting on Marmot's Hole and other K-blogs altogether. But I still occasionally shoot off an editorial comment here and there or respond when someone calls my name. See the COMMENTS section here for some of these pearls of witticism.
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How did you find Monster Island?
* Monster Island (actually a peninsula)
The name of this blog comes from a line in "Lisa on Ice," a beloved episode of The Simpsons, perhaps my all-time favorite television show (even though for several seasons there, it really did suck). Lisa is imagining being sworn in as president, but at the last minute, it is discovered that she failed P.E. (physical education) and she is thus "sentenced to a lifetime of horror" on Monster Island. "Don't worry," the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court confides in her, "It's just a name."
Fast forward to Lisa and other prisoners running in panic through a tropical jungle, chased by Godzilla-like creatures, including a monster turtle and a monster firefly.
"He said it was just a name!" Lisa screams to the man next to her. While he, too, runs for his life, the unidentified man calmly says, "What he meant is that Monster Island is actually a peninsula."
Anyway, I thought in some ways that punchline summed up modern-day Korea in a nutshell. For many people—foreigners and Koreans—the ups and downs and everyday travails of the Republic of Korea make it as precarious as a Monster Island would be (and with the DMZ being the only land border, it really is like an island). But it actually is a peninsula. Okay, it made sense in my head.
So as you can see, despite the hits I get from people looking for Japanese tentacle porn, it has nothing to do with anything salacious as that.
Sarah Palin may not recall what papers she reads, but Kushibo knows what he checks out every day.