Let it All Hang Out

Here’s the video of Obama’s Google+ hangout, which happened yesterday, where 9 “average Americans” got to ask him a series of questions. It’s surprisingly good. There’s some personal stuff, but the policy stuff is pretty good. The people asking are well-informed and some of them are politically active (e.g., some kind of LGBT activist was one hanger-outer), which breeds good questions. It’s a hell of a lot better than a DC press conference, and the group wasn’t afraid to ask tough questions (like the one about drones, which I don’t think Obama answered too well).

Even though some of the time was spent trying to get Obama to choose a baby’s name (he, wisely, ducked it) and weigh in on whether husbands should buy Valentine’s Day presents (yes, duh), I’d rather watch another one of these than listen to the next idiocy Jackie Calmes or Major Garrett dreams up.

56 replies
  1. 1
    LittlePig says:

    I read that as “9 inch average americans”. I thought DAAYYYYMMMMM.

  2. 2
    MikeJ says:

    The guy who wrote the title song of this post lived across the street form me when I was a kid.

  3. 3
    Robin G. says:

    @LittlePig: A note on that: 9″ is a fairly popular length in erotic stories. Someone pointed out recently that that is roughly the length of your elbow to your wrist… which shut those folks up pretty quickly.

  4. 4
    Maude says:

    Obama is at his best with people. The WH press tries to play gotcha and is too ignorant to understand policies. They then go on the air and tell people what the president should do.

  5. 5
    jl says:

    I will have to watch it later.

    Did they make Obama spill his favorite quac recipe? That’s what I want to know. So I’ll watch it as soon as I can.

  6. 6
    ding dong says:

    I watched frontline last nite. Made me hate eric’traitor to his people”cantor even more. Also strenghthened my first impression of paul ryan being a watb. Felt sorry for boner and even sorrier for obama.

  7. 7
    BGinCHI says:

    Obama’s speech in Decatur yesterday was terrific.

    Even though Arne Duncan and the rest of the education reform charlatans have royally fucked up getting NCLB and the rest of the over-testing, teacher-blaming crap away from schools, this universal pre-school idea is excellent.

  8. 8
    BGinCHI says:

    OT, but this douchebag is a douchebag:

    http://livewire.talkingpointsm.....riminatory

    Checked his bio: BA from Oral Roberts University.

    Shocker.

    He also introduced a bill that would prevent law enforcement from enforcing any federal gun laws. Thank god it won’t pass here.

  9. 9
    jl says:

    @BGinCHI:

    thanks for heads up on the speech, looks like it, or a big chunk of it, is already up on youtube.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMhxrCPjeLs

    I’ll listen to that later too.

  10. 10
    Sly says:

    As soon as I saw John Green from VlogBrothers, I knew this was going to be good.

  11. 11
    BGinCHI says:

    @jl: I thought it was really terrific. And if you didn’t see any of the vid or pics from his visit to the classroom, check those out too.

  12. 12
    Nemo_N says:

    Did someone ask about how will the deficit murder us all? Or about the sino-soviet threat?

  13. 13
    Cassidy says:

    @BGinCHI: For people who claim to love the Constitution, they don’t really get how it works do they?

  14. 14
    Starfish says:

    I am hating his minimum wage answer so far. The one lady asks about how will that affect prices. He says that we are going to raise minimum wage by eating into corporate profits as if corporations will opt to let go of their profits when they have the option of winning at the expense of the poor and the middle class.

  15. 15
    Maude says:

    I bet Obama was glad that Todd and Tapper weren’t there to ask their usual questions.

    @Starfish:
    Corporations can’t just raise prices for the consumer. When the crops were low because of the 2012 drought, cereal makers didn’t raise prices to the consumer.
    It’s a bit more complicated than what you stated.
    Corporations aren’t evil entities. They make money for their shareholders.

  16. 16
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Why didn’t Ted Nugent get to ask a question? Perhaps next time.

  17. 17
    Starfish says:

    @Maude: Making money for shareholders is not a noble cause. Shareholders do not think long term and are not necessarily acting in the interest of the corporation, and most of the power is with the board of directors and not the shareholders unless a shareholder is a very big shareholder like Icahn.

    I know it is more complicated than what I said.

    Instead of putting it in terms of frivolities like overpriced warm beverages, I would have liked to have seen it in terms of more important things. Raising the minimum wage will probably raise the cost of hiring a babysitter for those times a stay-at-home mom needs to go to the doctor for herself.

  18. 18
    Greg says:

    @Starfish:

    These are silly objections.

    If a corporation can raise prices and get the same number of sales (or fewer sales but the price hike makes up for it), then they are ALREADY going to do that in order to make more money. Minimum wage, or wage prices at all do not effect this at all, unless it causes the production cost to rise so much that it is impossible to make a profit on the product at all. This is absolutely _not_ the case for any reasonable minimum wage for any non-trivial number of jobs/products.

    And babysitting is not applicable to the minimum wage because it’s generally a contracting arrangement (x time for y dollars this one time) and not an employment situation (hiring/firing/wage).

    (ETA: The only way babysitting price could possibly be effected is if there are no available babysitters for less because _everyone_ has a higher paying job. Oh, the horror if that came to pass!)

  19. 19
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Greg: Or, to put it another way, prices are much more governed by supply and demand than by the costs of labor and materials. (Obviously those things work together.)

  20. 20
    Starfish says:

    @FlipYrWhig: That makes sense. I live in an area where there are a limited number of babysitters because most people do find higher paying jobs.

    Obama said that he is going to use his bully pulpit for climate change.

  21. 21
    Maude says:

    @FlipYrWhig:
    Hey, how you doin’? You are right.
    I heard on Bloomberg radio a few weeks ago a president of a burger business that was drive in. The business expanded by putting in drive through windows.
    The female host asked what were the cost cutting measures. There was this pregnant pause. This man was offended by the question. He has been talking about his customers and the quality of the food. He said, after the question that they were putting in the drive through windows for the convenience of their customers.

  22. 22
    Poopyman says:

    @FlipYrWhig: And everyone on the other side always seems to neglect the effect an increased availability of money has on demand. Imagine that!

  23. 23
    gene108 says:

    @Greg:

    unless it causes the production cost to rise

    Actually the contra-argument to raising the minimum wage from a very basic supply/demand proposition is that a high minimum wage will create a surplus in the labor market, while employers will not want to hire so many people at higher wage rates. This will thus lead to higher unemployment.

    I think it works in a text book, but countries with no real wage controls still have issues with unemployment, so I don’t think it holds up in the real world.

    The impact on production costs seems to be a secondary concern.

    Also, too when right-wingers talk about increasing corporate income taxes will raise the price of goods, just let them know the cost of production is always calculated pre-tax. The income tax just skims of some more money that would otherwise go to the share holders.

  24. 24
    Poopyman says:

    @Maude: Talking contraction during an expansionary time. Well done, Bloomberg!

  25. 25
    gene108 says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Prices also largely depend on the elasticity of demand. Some products just don’t fluctuate in price that much no matter what happens, while others fluctuate wildly.

    There’s no form fitting answer to raise ‘x’ input cost and ‘y’ output will increase by ‘z’ amount.

  26. 26
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Starfish:

    Raising the minimum wage will probably raise the cost of hiring a babysitter for those times a stay-at-home mom needs to go to the doctor for herself.

    Babysitters don’t get minimum wage. Try telling even a high schooler that you’ll give her $21.75 to watch your kid for three hours (federal minimum is $7.25 an hour) and she’ll laugh in your face. I was getting more than that for babysitting when I was in high school 30 years ago and I was, to put it kindly, not a very good babysitter.

  27. 27
    NonyNony says:

    @Maude:

    The female host asked what were the cost cutting measures. There was this pregnant pause. This man was offended by the question. He has been talking about his customers and the quality of the food.

    I wonder why he was offended? Maybe he had some cost cutting measures that he didn’t want to talk about.

    Though really – it’s an odd question for anyone but a business journalist to ask. If you’re talking about expanding your business, that means that you’re either making more money or you’re investing into an expansion that you’re convinced will lead you to making more money. That isn’t really related to cost cutting. Except that business journalists are so used to Corporate Raider style “investment” that the assumption is that any time you increase profits you must be cutting costs somewhere – the idea that your costs are staying relatively fixed while expanding your sales seems to be a lost way of growing a business these days, at least to business reporters.

  28. 28
    Maude says:

    @Poopyman:
    You got it. I was amazed that she said it. It was a real boo boo. She wasn’t a regular host. Oops.
    The regular hosts don’t ask questions like that.

  29. 29
    Greg says:

    @gene108:

    Actually the contra-argument to raising the minimum wage from a very basic supply/demand proposition is that a high minimum wage will create a surplus in the labor market, while employers will not want to hire so many people at higher wage rates. This will thus lead to higher unemployment.

    This only happens in the (in real life rare) case where the price of the good was entirely dependent on the price of labor. (I.e. if a worker takes one hour to make a widget and demand for widgets is only high at a price of $9.00 or less, then if the worker wage rises to $9.00/hour or more, then it is no longer profitable to make widgets and that worker loses a job and the business stops.)

    This probably _was_ the case with a significant number of jobs during the beginning of the industrial revolution when there wasn’t much automation and there was a lot of piecework, etc, where labor was the main factor in production.

    These days, there is so much automation and the production of goods depends on so much more than simply labor, that there is no longer any tight coupling between labor costs and production costs in the vast majority of cases. Wages are simply not the main component of cost-of-goods-sold any longer, which means wages won’t effect the number of jobs available very strongly.

  30. 30
    Maude says:

    @NonyNony:
    He is a decent man. He was offended because sh implied that he was a greedy gus.
    The company was adding a service. Usually on the Bloomberg morning show, those types of questions aren’t asked. The guest does the telling.
    I don’t know the name of the company, but it has been around a long time is isn’t huge.
    My favorite question that Bloomberg hosts ask is: Is Goldman Sachs a commercial bank? I’ve only heard one guest answer that and he said of course not, it’s an investment bank.

  31. 31

    I wasn’t happy with the President’s response to the conservative who asked about the confiscation of existing assault rifles. I think it was a great opportunity to discuss the options such as “Do we ban them going forward and leave the existing ones alone? Is that enough of a safeguard? Or do we enhance laws regarding the existing ones in regards to personal responsibility by saying, no we won’t confiscate them BUT if you do lose it or it gets used to kill someone, accidental or not, you are partially responsible? Or do we increase registration requirements for current owners?”

    I think the correct answer by the President was to say, I’m not sure what we do about the existing assault weapons out there but that it has to be part of the conversation. It would be honest, fair and would directly answer the question. To me, it sounded like he avoided trying to answer it and the gun nuts will use that answer as proof that he is planning to confiscate them.

    Then again, they will grasp at any straw to use against him. Hell, those loonies are probably seeing the dots on his tie forming an image of “666”.

  32. 32
    quannlace says:

    I read that as “9 inch average americans”. I thought DAAYYYYMMMMM.

    I just thought he’d traveled to the Land of Lilliput.

  33. 33
    RP says:

    If a corporation can raise prices and get the same number of sales (or fewer sales but the price hike makes up for it), then they are ALREADY going to do that in order to make more money. Minimum wage, or wage prices at all do not effect this at all, unless it causes the production cost to rise so much that it is impossible to make a profit on the product at all. This is absolutely _not_ the case for any reasonable minimum wage for any non-trivial number of jobs/products.

    I’ve had this same argument with people about the cost of baseball and football tickets. You often hear complaints like “it’s terrible that Joe Smith is making $25 million a year because it means that I have to pay $40 for a ticket.” Doesn’t work like that.

  34. 34
    NonyNony says:

    @Maude:

    He is a decent man. He was offended because sh implied that he was a greedy gus. The company was adding a service.

    But it’s a business news channel – it’s a slightly more humane one than CNBC (where I think the reporters would be shocked to discover a company owner who wasn’t willing to sell his grandma to the glue factory for a few bucks), but their whole schtick revolves around corporate greed.

    I disagree with you about Bloomberg reporters not asking those kinds of questions though – when I’ve watched they ask those kinds of things. It’s just that normally they don’t have to, because their guests are champing at the bit to explain how they’re increasing profits by slashing costs across the board. She was probably confused because she had a business owner who was actually interested in growing a business and not setting himself to get bought out by some investment group looking to gut and flip the company for a quick buck.

  35. 35
    Maude says:

    @NonyNony:
    I listen to radio.
    I like Bloomberg because I learn a lot.
    If the guest talks about cost cutting, that’s one thing. This wasn’t the case I was talking about.
    A lot of guests talk about profit and stock price.
    The former head of Proctor and Gamble was on yesterday and didn’t once mention the products or the people who make them.
    It’s in the air that Buffet may try to buy General Mills. He’s a greedy old man.
    I figure that’s it’s better to know than not to know.

  36. 36
    Maude says:

    @Ms. D. Ranged in AZ:
    There’s an assault weapons ban that the Senate Dems are working on. Obama doesn’t want to get in the way of that.
    The NRA is now onto ads about large ammunition magazines.
    Like:
    You can’t be expected to hit your target with the first 100 rounds. Be sure to have back up ammunition for those close situations where more firepower is needed.

  37. 37
    Cassidy says:

    and the gun nuts will use that answer continue to believe he’s black and President as proof that he is planning to confiscate them.

    They don’t need an excuse. They never have.

  38. 38
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    OT – Speaking of “Letting it Out”

    American International soccer player Robbie Rogers comes out as gay.

    My Chicago Fire own the rights to Rogers but he says he’s “stepping away” from the game for awhile.

    Really hope he reconsiders. Rogers is a solid player and he’s an asset I was hoping the Fire would get a return on.

  39. 39
    Ted & Hellen says:

    I don’t give a fuck who the president in office is, schmaltzy PR events like this are embarrassing.

    Another sign of the impending fall of this country is that we find it acceptable that allegedly very busy public officials with tons of power, in this case the most powerful office in the world, spend their time doing shit like this.

    Just so very…stupid.

  40. 40
    RP says:

    Somebody sure needs to turn that frown upside down!

  41. 41
    bemused says:

    @Maude:

    Gasp. 100 rounds isn’t enough to hit your target?

  42. 42
    ruemara says:

    Things I learned this week:

    “the president needs to use the bully pulpit.” “the president doesn’t make a case for his policies.”

    +

    “why is he talking to people?” “It just seems like campaigning.”
    “this is stupid.”

    =
    Never getting what you want is easy if you just keep changing what you want.

  43. 43
    Ted & Hellen says:

    You consider this an example of the “bully Pulpit?”

    This explains much…

  44. 44
    Yutsano says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford: 25 is way too young to give up on a pro sport unless there’s another circumstance causing him to walk away. I don’t think comimg out would be tjat reason, but I can’t read his mind so I don’t know. I would certainly hope not. He’d be great in Rio for 2016.

  45. 45
    Cassidy says:

    @ruemara: Shit, That’s just our resident purity trolls. What did the pundits have to say?

  46. 46
    ruemara says:

    @Cassidy: Honey, that was the pundits. The people here I just consider God’s gift for internet amusement. Had to turn off the media. Pressure, you know.

    @bemused: I posted yesterday about a friend who just modded his ak to fire 900 rpm. Consider that. 900. WTF for?

  47. 47
    Yutsano says:

    @Cassidy: Let me tackle this one:

    Argle bargle dignity of the office oogity boogity never would have happened under St. Ronnie blah blah voters might be regretting their choice phbbt.

    Am I close?

  48. 48
    Maude says:

    @ruemara:
    I read: Obama could have done single payer, after the speech, not on here. He sold us out, He’s worse than Bush was the general theme.
    Toss them down a snake pit.

  49. 49
    Cassidy says:

    @Yutsano: Sounds about right.

  50. 50
    ruemara says:

    @Maude: “Just words.” “When Obama says [thing] he always means to do the opposite, so I am scared.”

    I love these guys. In a malicious enjoyment sort of way.

  51. 51
    Peter says:

    The man whose child he refused to name is John Green, of Vlog Brothers and Crash Course fame. He’s a pretty cool guy.

  52. 52
    Maude says:

    @ruemara:
    My favorite on cutting SS. But, he wants to cut it.

  53. 53
    SGT Hammer says:

    Conservative blogger: “If you raise the minimum wage, I’m worried that I’ll have to let a few employees go and about how much my latte at Starbucks is going to cost.”

    President: “Corporate profits are at record highs…My suspicion is, you’ll still be able to get your Starbucks”

    $9! That’s like $3.23 in 1980 inflation-adjusted moneyz! Which is 13 centz more than the $3.10 minimum wage at that time.

  54. 54
    Fluke bucket says:

    @SGT Hammer: I loved his answer to her.

  55. 55
    TriassicSands says:

    @BGinCHI:

    If he’d been around after the Civil War…um, excuse me, War of Southern Liberation, I imagine he would have felt that tinkering with slavery was discriminatory toward those whose livelihoods were enhanced by their God-given right to own people. Change can be painful and bigots are not immune.

  56. 56
    Biden2016 says:

    I think its interesting that the “liberals” on this blog have nothing to say about an American who was executed by the lapd without a trial, but can defend people who betray their country, declare war against it and join a foreign group to fight us, were “executed” without a fair trial.

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