An Unhappy Week
The title of MULLINGS following the State of the Union speech Wednesday morning was: "Not a Long, Nor a Long-Lasting Speech."
Boy, was I ever right.
Not only did the speech slip into history among the cable chat shows, even President Obama didn't see the need to keep up any momentum as he will be in Chicago this morning then head to Palm Beach, Florida for a mini-vacation over the holiday weekend.
The cable chat shows made far more of Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-Florida) leaning out of the frame for a sip of water during he rebuttal remarks than they did Mr. Obama's long list of new programs that he said will not cost one dime in new spending.
I Tweeted: "When I give a speech I generally keep the bottle within easy reach. And it's generally filled with Pinot Noir."
Got big laughs in the Twitterverse.
What with the Pope resigning - the first time a Holy Father has left the Papacy while still alive in over 600 years - and with San Bernardino County deputies using the David Koresh method of criminal extraction to finish off Christopher Dorner plus the coverage of that floating toilet bowl, the Carnival Cruise Lines "Triumph" there was plenty of other news to keep us busy.
Here in Our Nation's Capital, the cliffhanger vote counting over whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) could round up 60 votes to get former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel's confirmation for Secretary of Defense to the floor for an up-or-down vote.
He couldn't. According to the Huffington Post, four Republicans - Sens. Mike Johanns (Neb.), Susan Collins (Maine), Thad Cochran (Miss.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) voted with Democrats. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) voted present.
Republicans said they would allow his nomination to come to the floor later this month following the upcoming 10-day President's Day recess made necessary by the fact that the Senators have been working for nearly three weeks in a row taking only Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Monday mornings off during that back-breaking stretch.
Secretary of State Kerry and Secretary of Defense Hagel. And here I was worried there might be a shortage of material for MULLINGS for the next four years.
American Airlines and U.S. Airways decided to officially merge into one airline this week. Even though U.S. Airways was pushing for the marriage, the combined operation will still be called American Airlines.
That leaves three major U.S. international airlines: Delta, American and United. I am a million miler on both American and Delta so I can survive one more round of accretion in the industry before I have to move to the back of the plane.
Getting back to the President, the Gallup three-day tracking poll of Presidential approval showed him with his head barely above water 52% - 43%.
If the crack White House staff thought he was going to get a State of the Union "bump" they were mistaken. As of last night the poll showed Obama at 52-42.
The Congress is still sailing along on a tide of public adoration. According to the RealClearPolitics.com average of national polls since January the Congress is beloved by about 16 percent of those responding, and not so much by 79 percent.
Actually, that's an improvement over last August when the split was 12% approve, 84% disapprove. At that rate the Congress could be at 50 percent by sometime in April, 2017.
Maybe the entire Federal government is sliding into irrelevancy in the minds of Americans.
The only identifiable piece of good news all week was that Spring Training camps officially opened for Major League Baseball teams in Florida and Arizona.
The sainted Washington Nationals have improved their defense and pitching staff and have embarked on a World-Series-or-Bust campaign for the 2013 season. It is not good to tempt the Baseball gods, so it is better that we wait until they've played all 162 games and see where they are next September before popping the champagne.
That was the week that was. As Brooklyn Dodger fans used to say, "Wait'll next week."
I think that was it.
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the San Bernardino County story, the cruise ship story and the Huffington Post coverage of the Hagel story. Also, a Mullfoto of an almond tree in Eastern Morocco that is among the oldest in that country.