The Penny Chronicles

My name is Penny.

This week I had the best day ever.  The Leader had a big bone.  She could have kept it all for herself.  That is what I would have done.  But the Leader gave the bone to me.  That is why I love the Leader!

When I get a bone, I start at one end.  I bite it and chew it and lick it and tug it until the end falls off.  By then, the end is very wet and chewy, so I eat that part.  Then I bite and chew and lick until I have eaten everything but the other end.  Then I do it all over to that end until it is gone.  By then, my stomach is so full!  Even though I am sad the bone is gone, I feel good.

When I get a big bone, it takes a long time to finish.  I carry the bone with me everywhere, even when we go out for walks.  I can’t stop looking at it, either.  I take it to bed with me, too.  I don’t even go to sleep right away, because eating that bone is so much fun.

There is nothing better than chewing on a big bone — except food.

Tuning Out

I didn’t watch the President’s State of the Union speech earlier this week.  It turns out I’m not alone.

According to the New York Times, 37.8 million viewers watched the President’s speech.  That’s down from 42.8 million in 2011, 48 million in 2010, and 52.3 million for the President’s 2009 speech to Congress.  In short, 15 million people who watched the President’s initial speech to Congress have just stopped watching.  And it’s not as if they lacked the opportunity to do so — the speech was carried on 14 different networks.

I’m sure those 15 million people have stopped watching for lots of different reasons.  I stopped because I think the State of the Union speech is stunningly boring and I hate the stylized standing ovations given with robotic predictability by the Members of Congress of the President’s party.  I’m sure others have stopped watching because they thought this year’s speech would be repetitive of last year’s speech, and some probably didn’t watch because they have just tuned President Obama out.  For those formerly hopeful people, perhaps, the bloom is off the presidential rose after three years of a bad economy and widespread joblessness, despite massive federal spending and huge budget deficits.

The falling viewership for the State of the Union speeches must be of concern to the President and his reelection staff.  In America, we vote as much with our channel changers as we do with the lever in our voting booths.  And, if I were the President, it’s the last group of non-viewers that would concern me most.  If Americans have given up and tuned out on President Obama, how can he turn around their negative perception of him?