Obama Challenges Congress As Giffords Bids It Goodbye.

"Anyone want me to hear me do 'Love and Happiness'?"

There was a lot to like in President Obama’s fourth (and possibly last if he’s not reelected) State of the Union speech.   Not that you would know if you looked at how tight and screwed up the faces of House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor were.  Their seething contempt for Obama almost came off in visible waves.

That’s cool.  Let them gripe, groan and gnash their teeth.   I know and Obama knows he’s not going to get a damned thing out of the Republicans in Congress.  That’s fine because the audience he was going for were Democrats and Independents and from polling results of the president’s speech, they seemed to like what they heard from him.

In a presidential year, everything boils down to politics and so did Obama’s last State of the Union before voters go to the polls to retain or replace him in 40 weeks or so. He used the speech to lay out not just a broad agenda for 2012, but to lay out the initial case for his reelection.

The president also took aim indirectly at Mitt Romney when he renewed his call for tax reform and economic equality and fairness.  Romney launched a preemptive strike at the speech and pimped the Republican standard line that the president is pushing class warfare, envy and dividing Americans.  As if the country isn’t already divided between the few doing well and the many catching hell.

While I was a little surprised President Obama didn’t mention the recovering Gabrielle Giffords who announced this week she would be leaving Congress in his speech, he greeted her on the floor of the House with a big bear hug that Giffords seemed earnestly appreciative of.

Giffords submitted her letter of resignation to the assembled House before the president’s speech and received a standing ovation from her colleagues from both sides of the aisle.

Gabrielle Giffords is a testament to the power of faith, healing and courage. She has served her state and constituents well. Now she needs to serve her own needs and heal.

I wish her well. Godspeed, Gabby

Slipping Into Darkness

Normally I don’t believe in symbolic gestures.  Activism without action usually strikes me as little more than feel good gestures that may attract attention, but have little genuine effect.

But there are always exceptions…

This year will mark my fourth year of blogging.  At some point I will end The Domino Theory and move on to something else.  When I do pull the plug I want it to be my decision and not that of some wrong-headed legislation pushed through Congress for the benefit of some greedy corporations looking to regulate and control content of the Internet.

Writing in The New York Times, Rebecca McKinnon describes the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in stark terms with dire consequences.

“The potential for abuse of power through digital networks – upon which we as citizens now depend for nearly everything, including our politics – is one of the most insidious threats to democracy in the Internet age … This is no time for politicians and industry lobbyists in Washington to be devising new Internet censorship mechanisms, adding new opportunities for abuse of corporate and government power over online speech.

My blog will be “going dark” today for 12 hours to protest the SOPA/PIPA legislation being pushed through Congress by Republicans with the support of some clueless Democrats and opposed by the Obama Administration. If you visit Wikipedia or Google among other websites you will see “blacked out” images. This is not hypothetical and this is not theoretical. This is CENSORSHIP and it is here

We’ve seen this battle before.  It used to be fought over audio tape cassettes and VCRs.   Then it was waged over file sharing, ripping music and pirating movies.  Now it’s about whether you’ve secured the proper permissions and rights to share that You Tube video you’ve been passing around to your 5,000 Facebook friends.

I would like to assume this lousy legislation will die a quick and painful death in the halls of Congress, but when money and power wants something they tend to work very hard to get what they want.   We who depend on the Internet to stay free so we can speak freely must work equally hard.

Fight for the future.