Ralph ReilandAppearing to embrace the new civility and bipartisanship that’s the currently appropriate stance for politicians following the Tucson shooting, President Obama in his State of the Union address tossed a bone to the newly empowered congressional Republicans by giving a half-hearted nod to medical malpractice reform.

Chip WoodCongress may soon once again raise the national debt ceiling — for the 81st time since 1940! The ceiling limits how deeply in debt the federal government can go. Right now, Washington is not allowed to borrow a dollar over $14.29 trillion. And they’re already within $300 billion of that limit, give or take a few billion bucks.

Race to the Top, which President Obama glowingly spoke of in his dismal State of the Union address, is a $4.35 billion U.S. Department of Education boondoggle to get state and local education systems to adopt national reforms affecting curriculum and teacher preparation. Its stated aim is to encourage charter schools, improve teacher instruction, and get state systems to adopt common academic standards. Teacher unions don’t particularly care for the charter school idea.

Question: Are rules meant for only one side? Are civil laws meant for citizens but not the police? Are moral laws meant for laymen but not clergy?

Okay, one more: Are constitutional limitations meant for states but not the feds?

Jack KennyBudget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Congressman chosen to give the "official" Republican response to the President's State of the Union address, might have been the designated funeral director, but for the fortunate fact that the patient is, remarkably, still alive. In a dark suit, seated behind his Budget Committee desk, the chairman was instead the family doctor, doing his best to appear both solemn and hopeful as he brought us the grim news. The prognosis is not good. The nation's fiscal ills, with their "crushing burden of debt," could be fatal unless we stop consuming fatty stimulus programs and high-cholesterol health care mandates and begin to exercise fiscal discipline.