Jan 26, 2011

Division in America, Unrest in Egypt

First, in Egypt historic pro-democracy protests erupted yesterday only to be quashed today. It is unclear whether the popular discontent with the dictatorial government of Hosni Mubarak and a floundering economy will carry over into future protests, but many analysts tie this unrest in with the revolt in Tunisia. An amateur photographer took this spectacular shot of a protester in Cairo.

UPDATE: It appears that the protests continue despite the government crackdown.

After a State of the Union address that seemed like an olive branch last night, the pundits are alternately praising and damning President Obama. There was a lot in the speech that angered liberals - no line on gun control after the violent rampage in Tuscon. No talk about climate change, even though the speech was focused on 'Winning the Future'. Finally, Obama seems to be co-opting GOP deficit language, especially his freeze on spending.

Conservatives, on the other hand, are split between those who don't believe Obama's talk on getting serious about deficits and those who don't think his spending freeze goes far enough. Despite the fact that the president seems serious about streamlining the federal government and focusing federal spending on innovation and investment for future technology, jobs and infrastructure, many conservatives insist that these roles lie outside of the federal government's mandate.

In the end, this speech was aimed at independents in the country, who seemed to react favorably to the president last night. This is the triangulation I was talking about yesterday.

For 61 minutes of the president's speech, we all got along - there was bipartisan applause and no repeat of the Joe Williams (R-SC) "You Lie!" interjection.

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Keep it civil and pg-13, please.