Wednesday, January 27, 2010

State of the Union

Obama's speech is technically not a "State of the Union" address, just addressing a joint session of Congress. I just watched most of it in bits and bobs. As much as I could take in one sitting, anyway.

A few "fun" facts about State of the Union Addresses from Robert Schlesinger at USNEWS.COM:

"...Actually, the speech was not always called the "State of the Union" and, for that matter, was not always a speech. Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution says that the president "shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient."

... Thomas Jefferson, the third president, started a long tradition of presidents sending their reports up in written form. The next president who gave the annual report (not yet the "State of the Union," mind you) in person as a speech was Woodrow Wilson in December 1913.

...Franklin Roosevelt started the modern tradition by delivering his first report to Congress, in 1934, as a speech. It was the first such address titled the "State of the Union." It wasn't until 1947, however, that the name came into general usage.

...Coolidge's 1923 address was the first broadcast over the radio; Harry Truman's 1947 State of the Union was the first broadcast on television; George W. Bush's 2002 speech was the first webcast from the House's website.

...The longest State of the Union (or whatever we call it) by words: Jimmy Carter's 1981 address—which was also the last such written message—was an astounding 33,667 words.

...The shortest such speech in terms of words was the first: Washington's 1790 report to Congress, which he delivered to a joint session in New York City, was a mere 1,089 words. The picture of brevity."

This year?

I should have burned a $20 on the porch, pointed my finger at picture of Bush, told myself everything is going to be alright because Obama is the second coming while shoving a baseball bat up my ass and beating off. At least I would've got the happy ending AND would've ended a half hour earlier.

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