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SOTU gallery

Except this time, all of it from the gallery [Paul Morse /]

State of the Union coming, January 31st. On this day of ritual, when the Speaker of the House announces the President and Congress stands and applauds — half of it emphatically, the other half slightly embarrassed — we are turning not to dais or to Congress, but outside the building. To the Blogs of the Union.

BOTU. And out of the Blogs of the Union, an hour of radio. A picture of what we are, on the same day the President tells us what’s next.

IF YOU HAVE A BLOG, write your State of the Union — a paragraph, a post, your description of how America’s doing — and include somewhere the acronym “BOTU.” Leave a link in the comment thread below, or we’ll find it on Technorati.

IF YOU DON’T HAVE A BLOG, write it in the comment thread below.


  1. Call (415) 856-0205.
  2. Enter (877) 673-6767 as your primary number.
  3. The pin is 6767.
  4. Press #, then 1 when you’re done talking.
  5. Press 2 to exit.

Without these last two steps it won’t work.

You can hear all of the phoned-in states-of-the-union here. We’ll be featuring these sound clips throughout the show. (Thanks to Odeo for the phone-in tool.)


Words and phrases you may not use

Bush, Administration, Iraq, Liberal, Conservative, Progressive, Republican, Democrat, FISA, Abramoff, Culture of Corruption, Culture of Life, Cultural Inheritance, Inheritance Tax, Treason, Kerry, Rove, Israel, Palestine, Sunni, Shia, Kurd, Shari’a, Gore, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, MSM, CIA, FBI, Dean, James Frey, Kanye West, Katrina, Fox, Liberal Bias, Mehlman, Delay, Unemployment, Interest Rates, Housing Starts, Schwarzenegger, Kennedy, Adjustable-Rate Mortgage, Red State, Blue State, Shriver, Darwin, Cindy Sheehan, Freedom on the March, Cut and Run, Boots on the Ground, Michelle Malkin, Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, Flyover States, East-Coast Elite, Middle America, the American People or Synergy.

If your name happens to be Michelle Malkin, you may use the phrase “Michelle Malkin.” We really do hate the word “synergy.”


We’ll be booking this show a little differently; Steve Almond will be helping Chris out with color commentary in the studio, and we’ll be calling out to a couple of bloggers who answered our BOTU call.

Steve Almond

Author, The Evil BB Chow and Other Stories,

My Life in Heavy Metal and Candyfreak.

Debbie Galant

Editor, Baristanet

Author, Rattled

Jon Donley


Open Source guest, and The New Plan for New Orleans

Matt Stoller

Blogger, MyDD

Arianna Huffington

Publisher, The Huffington Post

Gordon Atkinson

Real Live Preacher

Pastor, Covenant Baptist Church

Amardeep Singh

Professor of postcolonial literature, Lehigh University

blogger, Amardeep Singh

Amanda Jones

Wife of Randal “Lee” Jones, B Company, 150th Dixie Sappers, recently returned from Iraq. Amanda was a guest on Soldiers and Families: Life in the 150th

Dave Winer

Blogger, Scripting News

Standard Author, RSS 2.0

Inventor, Podcasting

Brian Conley

Alive in Baghdad

Update, 1/31/06 5:57 pm

Our cup runneth, and keeps running. Here’s part of the volume of response we’ve gotten on this, and there are more coming.

To the honorable assembly of Congress,

Eminencies, Reverends, Highnesses,

Gods, Hemigods, Semigods and Demigods,

Publicans, Publicists, Re-publicists, Re-publicans,

Cloven hooved, Invertebrates, Household pets of all Distinction,

Higher Botanies, Hardwoods, Potted Plants, Herbs, Humble Fungi,

Plankton, Ameobae, Paramecia, BOTUlinus, Certain Strains of Viruses, Prions,

and My Fellow Americans:

plaintext , comment to Open Source

It is in some ways a credit to the American spirit of optimism and our belief that we as individuals and a nation can accomplish anything, that we borrow today firm in our belief that we will be able to pay tomorrow. But for some time now we have forgotten that tomorrow will come, and those debts will come due.

Stephen Macklin, Hold the Mayo, State of The Union

BOTU’-ism: a deadly toxin assaulting the body politic and causing a violent immune reaction… We the people have developed a marked immunodeficiency over time by not keeping our fledgling republic up-to-date on its vaccinations and check(-ups) and balances!

A little yellow bird, comment to Open Source

There is an end to the public purse and the public patience. We are Better Off Throwing Up (BOTU). Our States need to throw up the functions of religion that they have usurped, and clean their systems of the corruption of forced education, forced holiness, and forced charity.

Rycke, comment to Open Source

F IS FOR FREEDOM, that precious commodity coveted by people around the world, in countries run by oppressive forms of government, including one form discredited, and defeated, when Ronald Reagan won the Cold War in the 1980’s, and I pledge to continue this country’s efforts to support the fight for it around the globe in my final years in office.

Kiril Kundurazieff, Sneakeasy’s Joint, A Sneakeasy State of the Union

Like all Americans, we are survivors. With or without help, we struggle through the day, enduring brutal living conditions and rebuilding what we can. We bury ourselves in our work to forget, and collapse in tears during the mind-numbing commute to our makeshift homes. Some of us live in tiny temporary apartments, some live in the second stories of gutted homes, some live in the rare trailers, and some sleep in tents in the rubble of their homes. From above, we are a checkerboard of blue roofs, even in the areas least damaged.

John Donley, Voices of Katrina, The state of our union

We should appreciate the lives we lead because it seems likely that our generation is the bridge between the vast epochs of man’s past when he was still a creature of his nature, limited by the tools that evolution provided, and the post-human future when the melange of bioengineering and cybernetics consumes us. Let us give thanks for the affluence that technology affords us.

razib, Gene Expression, Blogs of the Union

But now, grudgingly, Americans are getting up, taking their bearings, and restarting the drive to America’s ideals.

America is reawakening.

Slowly the the problems are being identified. Slowly the plans of action being drafted. Slowly the leaders are mobilizing. Slowly the people are heeding the calls to action.

mulp, comment to Open Source

The State of the Union AS COMPARED TO……..

Katrina – Rescue completed in 4 days

Compared to Pakistan – 5 months after their Earthquake many still are waiting for medical treatment. The winter weather will lead to more deaths for people reside in canvas tents without insulation.

ConstructiveFeedback, comment to Open Source

No, the State of our Union is not good. And it is worsened by the river of apathy that overflows among all of us. But we can get through it, and rebuild the moral prosperity that undergirds who we are. That is our purpose, and that has always been our purpose.

Matt Stoller, MyDD, Blog of the Union

Like it or not, it’s a new country now, a land where one leader will have absolute, unchecked power over each citizen’s life and freedom. The fact that said leader may change every four to eight years, and may even be a member of the Democratic party on occasion, does not lessen the magnitude of the sea-change we’ve gone through.

JDWalley, from a comment to “Blog of the Union” on MyDD,
Update, 2/01/06 12:16 pm

And more, and more, and more. Thanks, everyone, the response has been great.

I believe it’s Craigslist, with its bewildering main page array of activities, jobs, real estate, stuff for sale, and personals, that makes the best metaphor for America’s current state of disunion. … You have dog-clubs and tennis-clubs; sperm donors wanted, and sperm donors offering. You see want ads for potential spouses and some for fiddlers (and some that are both at once!).

Amardeep Singh, Amardeep Singh, Craigslist as a Metaphor For America

Why are people like myself so anxious to continue a fictional presidency, even willing to consider a fictional Republican presidency, as an alternative to the real President of the United States? Well, perhaps its because we can see into the machinations of the fictional one and like what we see. Sure, they’re human beings, but they labor over the big quesitons, make the thoughtful compromises we’d like to see our leaders make, hell, they’re actually leaders. …having the TV show to compare against reality gives me hope that at least some Americans share a hope for the greatness of our country.

Dave Winer, Dave’s WordPress Blog, Television, U.S. Politics

This might be how the world looks to Tony the Barber: quilted in reliable gloom, but smooth, like Sinatra in the wee small hours, or talc. Two doors down, in the Winter Hill Bakery, sweetrolls cuddle the racks, bakers wear thick mitts to yawn the ovens open. The fellow who sells liquor across Broadway has spent time in jail (let’s be honest) but emerged calm before the hours.

email from Steve Almond in Winter Hill, Somerville MA

I’m not sure what the state of the Union is, but I feel the state of our hearts, and many of us are afraid. I don’t remember fear like this since the days when we used to worry about the Soviet Union. Our preemptive strike has not only proved to be unprovoked, but now we have poked a big stick into the worst hornets’ nest on the planet, and that’s a scary thing indeed.

And our budget is suddenly frightening again. I thought the Republicans were the party of fiscal responsibility. If we’re going to spend more money than we have, I wish we had a Democrat in the oval office. At least he would spend more than we have on something nice, like children or midnight basketball.

from an email from Gordon Atkinson, Real Live Preacher

We live in a pretty damn good place. We have big trees, which only fall and kill people once in a while, and nice old interesting houses. The houses may be expensive to maintain and may be taxed beyond the pale, but at least they’re not aesthetically deadening, and many have welcoming front porches that foster a sense of community. We’re surrounded, for the most part, by smart people (though not smart enough to stay off their cell phones while driving) and, as Baristanet and the front-yard flamingo flocks prove, by people with a sense of humor. For all these things — but for the falling trees, the taxes and the distracted drivers — we are blessed.

Debbie Galant, Baristanet, The State of Baristaville

The opportunities for average citizens to participate in the decisions that impact their civic, social and economic lives are probably fewer and less meaningful today than they have been since the Gilded Age. At all levels, government is for sale. Millionaire candidates solicit donations from millionaire supporters and then create policy in partnership with millionaire lobbyists who represent multi-billion dollar corporate interests. Only in America could such a process be called free speech.

Paul, Pandachews, BOTU for OpenSource with Christopher Lydon

In 2005, there is no longer a nation. The government is in shambles and all appearances of forward momentum reflect individual gains by individual parties. Each party considers the interests of its members or its tribe first, and the interests of a unified nation second.

Brian, Alive in Baghdad, State of a Lack of Union in Iraq, A Preview of Tonight’s Address

We have, at this moment, a choice between two paths. We can continue down the path that we have been – a path of ten-word policy soundbites, a path where distorting the arguments of your opponents is the norm, a path where every policy decision is treated as a win or lose contest by the two main parties.

That is the path to national destruction, but we can continue along it until it reaches its end. We can choose to fail.

TQA, One Nation, Divided, One Nation, Divided.

The State of the Union is bruised, bloodied and sore. We have been tread upon in secret: behind closed doors, by parties unknown, in the deep of night, singly and in groups. We have been deceived by our leaders, by our proxies and by ourselves. We have lingered too long at the trough, and now pay with our liberty, sated and lazy with rhetoric and a false sense of security.

drspiffy, doctor spiffy: MD in training, Open Source » Blog Archive » BOTU

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