Obama and Rubio speak with parched lips

President Obama’s last significant State of the Union speech was a missed opportunity.

Monday night was a singular moment, but Obama failed to seize the brass ring.

Last night’s window already is closing. Free from facing the electorate ever again, riding the coattails of Moe Mentum in the wake of his reelection, and a year away from becoming a dreaded lame duck, he had the ideal time to rise above partisan bickering and distrust.

But it slipped through Obama’s hands like he was a Phillies’ corner outfielder.

It was a call for statesmanship but Obama never heeded the call.

Rather, he offered a laundry list oozing with shop-worn liberal ideas. Mired in the muck of an ongoing budget crisis, high unemployment and a tepid economic recovery, he kept rolling out expensive new proposals as if they were merely quarter-inch hex nuts.

And he was ham-handed in overplaying his hand on gun control as he enlisted a posse of victims and survivors of gun violence.

This was a State of the Union address, not a stump speech. I guess Obama never got the memo.

A State of the Union speech should inspire all of us so in the background we all hear Sinatra flying us to the moon.

Obama didn’t even get us off the ground.

As for the Republican response, Marco Rubio repeated the party line that big government is badder than the Big Bad Wolf but nobody will remember Rubio’s words because he took a moment to take a swig from his water bottle.

I assume Rubio also missed a memo, this one decreeing that our leaders die of thirst if need be.

Chip Kelly’s offense with a Vick-Foles QB tandem hardly the greatest pairing since Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid

I don’t know about you, but last year’s Eagles reminded me of cats: They lacked responsibility, defied authority, didn’t do anything useful, and were no fun to watch.

You didn’t need to know the metric system to count all their turnovers.

Now I know why guppies eat their young.

Granted, I was excited about Chip Kelly coming to Philly. A new coach, a new offense, a new direction, a new quarterback, a new era, a new set of sound bites livelier than Novocain.

Or so we thought.

Yesterday came news that was uglier than eating Brussels sprouts.

New meets old. How the hell did this twain meet?

Vick will be dueling with Nick Foles for the starting job.

Neither seems a fit for Kelly’s high-octane offense. Vick’s mind is too slow and Foles’ feet are too slow.

Kelly’s Oregon offense was all about speed. Speed kills. Speed chills. Speed thrills.

With Vick and/or Foles at the throttle, Kelly’s Eagle offense may be slower than dial-up. You may be able to time its tempo with a sundial.

I guess Kelly saw that the quarterback landscape is pathetic with a draft pool shallower than Snooki and a free agent class thinner than Kate Moss.

So 2013 is a transition year until Chip Kelly’s real quarterback joins the team in 2014.

Prison time passes faster.

Pope Benedict XVI too pooped to pope

Pope Benedict XVI is resigning Feb. 28 because he simply is too old and infirm to carry on. Plus, I’m pretty sure he will get to keep his health insurance.

After all, he is the Good Shepherd and 1.2 billion Catholics are a lot of sheep to keep an eye on and make sure they are keeping the Commandments and putting a nice slice of dough in each week’s collection envelope.

Benedict’s job would have worn out a 25-year-old who drains 5-hour energy drinks every 3 hours.

Benedict’s mission was to reawaken Christianity in a secularized Europe, to rekindle the faith in a world which seems to think it can do without God, and shoulder the monumental task of purging the Catholic world of a sex abuse scandal that festered under Pope John Paul II and exploded during his reign into the church’s biggest crisis in decades, if not centuries.

Man, I got exhausted just typing all that out. It might have been easier for Benedict to restore the Roman Empire.

That’s a mountain of work to pile on a pontiff who didn’t get the job until he was 78 years old in 2005. I guess the cardinals who white-smoked his papacy thought he would simply be a caretaker pope, a bridge to the next generation following the long reign of John Paul II.

But God had other plans and Benedict still is alive if not so well. So the 85-year-old pope too matters into his own hands today, becoming the first pontiff to resign since 1415.

Benedict always seemed the reluctant pope anyway, a shy bookworm who preferred solitary moments to the public glare and majesty of the Vatican pageantry.

As a practicing Catholic (and one of these days I’m praying that practice makes perfect so I don’t have to practice any longer), I’m praying that the next Catholic is young, dynamic, abolishes confession and makes Sunday Mass optional.

Right now if a Catholic misses Sunday Mass and then dies without confessing it, it’s a one-way ticket to hell.

Which means hell must be as crowded as hell these days and filled with a lot of Europeans.

Lindsey Graham not ready to rock and roll on Hagel and Brennan nominations

On this night when the Grammy Awards are captivating America, you probably couldn’t find a lot of people who still are focusing on the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

Especially with the Oscars coming up, everybody is so retro with terrorist attacks and obsessing with Argo.

Trust me, nobody ever accused Lindsey Graham of being a superficial pop culture groupie.

That no more fits the DNA of a Republican Senator from South Carolina than Timothy Leary chromosomes.

Graham may have two hips, but he sure as hell isn’t hip.

Graham plans to block two of President Barack Obama’s top national security nominees until he gets answers from the White House on Benghazi.

Granted, Graham may have to employ water boarding to get some answers on that.

When it comes to that subject, the White House couldn’t be anymore tight-lipped had it being wearing Superglue lipstick.

I guess it’s waiting for Ben Affleck to film the true story 30 years hence.

Speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation” today, Graham said he was not going to let Chuck Hagel go forward as Secretary of Defense nor let John Brennan move ahead as CIA director unless he gets more information on the president’s involvement in the response to the consulate attack that resulted in the killing of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.

Graham’s obstructionism is enough to give the president facial tics.

But I’ll worry about that tomorrow. For now, I’m concentrating on who is popping out of their Grammy dresses.

Unlike Graham, I know cool even more than a guy named Biff with 12-pack abs and Freon nerves.

A blizzard of a name game

I like it that hurricanes and tropical storms have names.

They personalize the assassins who stalk us and destroy us.

Nobody wants to be tormented by a bully they can’t put a name to.

My only complaint is why there never seems to be a hurricane named Zeke.

The Weather Channel now is naming winter storms, too. There’s no discrimination among those folks apparently.

This has kicked up a storm with the National Weather Service, which has advised its forecasters not to follow The Weather Channel’s lead.

Can’t anybody get along?

Nevertheless, I think these winter storm names will catch on.

But they’ve got to come up with better names. The monster storm of the century that supposedly is going to smother New England tonight is named Nemo.

Say what?

Did they name it after Captain Nemo?

If so, why?

Wouldn’t Death From Above have a much more we’re-all-gonna-die fear factor?

With a name like that, toilet paper would be flying off the supermarket shelves because everybody would be scared you know what.

I’m just glad that I live in relatively tropical Berks County, PA, where already Nemo seems destined to fizzle like the hula hoop or Chris Christie’s six-pack.

As of this writing they have cancelled the winter storm warning for these parts and we’re down to a measly winter weather advisory.

Which suits me just fine. So I will refrain from renaming this storm Wimp.

Republican hardball will mean hard times

Playing kick the can is fine for kids who need a respite from all their digital apps.

But playing kick the can down the road is simply a measure of desperation for adults.

With a long-term budget deal looking dimmer than the Superdome was for 34 minutes during the Super Bowl, President Obama called on Congress today to pass a mix of stopgap measures to avert the economic damage from the forthcoming sequester cuts and give Congress more time to figure out a solution.

Guess what? Even if that can starts rattling down the road, a solution may prove as elusive as a butterfly.

No wonder that Obama suddenly is looking like a guy watching his Jaguar catch fire in the driveway.

It appears as if the Republicans simply want to cut spending and damn the consequences, even if it cripples our military might.

When that GOP machine of a mindset whirs like a giant Transformer, the swath of destruction can be stacked like piles of cordwood.

If the Republicans get their way, the austerity the cuts induce will cost oodles of jobs and batter the economy more than a speed bump in the Target shopping complex parking lot on Broadcasting.

Granted, we need to cut spending. But with a machete, not a wheat thresher.

Too much austerity when an economy is on life support is what turned Europe into a helpless overturned turtle.

Across-the-board cuts to defense programs and domestic discretionary programs (not to Social Security and entitlements) would start to take effect March 1 and over the next seven months would likely mean $55 billion in defense cuts and $27 billion in domestic cuts and, insert drum roll here, cost at least a million jobs.

The bigger collateral damage will be to the economy, which could be wheezing its terminal breath.

Ravens’ Super Bowl thriller a high voltage (maybe not) event

Sort of an electric Super Bowl last night, don’t you think?

The 34-minute blackout in the Superdome was quite the digital divide, sort of like Moses parting the Red Sea.

The Ravens, with Joe Flacco spiraling precise pigskins, were up 28-6 when half the stadium went dark.

I wonder if the ghost of Joseph Conrad scripted this Heart of Darkness sequel.

Perhaps Beyonce’s highly charged halftime performance overloaded a breaker, but at least to me, watching Beyonce was worth the subsequent delay. Talk about a performer with juice.

That bizarre blackout turned the blowout into a shootout as Colin Kapernick began unleashing piercing passes downfield to climb back into the apocalyptic fray.

But the Niners’ furious comeback came up short in the waning minutes as the Ravens and retiring legend/lightning road Ray Lewis mounted a valiant goal-line stand against some dubious 49er play selection.

Suffice it to say that Lewis will be bellowing about that last stand until hell freezes over and turns Lucifer into Frosty the Snowman.

John bested Jim 34-31 in the Brothers Harbaugh bash, but nothing came easy in the Big Game in the Big Easy.