State of the Union

Cancel the State of the Union

You may want to skip the State of the Union address and prepare for something humbler, like the Super Bowl.

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Mid-January is the time to ask the annual question: Are we ready for a big, noisy, overhyped prime-time production that has outgrown its simple origins and usually leaves us feeling both gorged and disappointed? If not, you may want to skip the State of the Union address and prepare for something humbler, like the Super Bowl.

President Barack Obama has been doing his best to make a low-news event a no-news event, by traveling the country unveiling the sort of programs presidents normally use the speech to unveil: free community college, paid job leaves, universal broadband access and more. By the time he actually ascends the House dais on Tuesday evening, we will already know pretty much everything he's going to say.

Too bad he isn't canceling the whole exercise. It would not be unprecedented. Richard Nixon decided to stay home in 1973, and that decision was not listed in the articles of impeachment. Dwight Eisenhower, recovering from a heart attack, elected not to appear in 1956, and both he and the country survived.

Not showing up on Capitol Hill used to be the norm. The Constitution says the president "shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union," but it doesn't specify the means of communication.

George Washington and John Adams delivered the address in person, but Thomas Jefferson sent written messages instead. The change, according to the Congressional Research Service, "was intended to simplify a ceremony that he believed to be an aristocratic imitation of the British monarch's Speech from the Throne, and thus unsuitable to a republic."

His successors followed that commendable example of restraint for more than a century. It was the notably unrestrained Woodrow Wilson who had the grand idea of visiting the Capitol to dazzle Congress with his radiance.

But it took another champion of the imperial presidency, Franklin Roosevelt, to cement this as the consistent practice. Lyndon Johnson, no shrinking violet, moved the show to the evening to get a bigger TV audience.

Republicans are also happy to exploit the occasion to the hilt: Ronald Reagan began the tradition of inviting and paying tribute to ordinary citizens who have done admirable things. There have been so many of those guests that there's a book about them.

The public appetite for the whole spectacle, however, is less than before. Since Obama's first one, the TV audience has shrunk every year. The 2014 viewer count was 33.3 million, down from 52.4 million in 2009. Laying out his agenda in advance is not likely to boost this year's Nielsen rating.

There will always be those citizens who will tune in hoping to see Obama clutching a Koran or Joe Biden throwing a spitball at John Boehner. Or—who knows?—maybe some livid House member will interrupt the president to bellow, "You lie!"

But most people who watch most likely will do so out of a heavy sense of civic duty rather than any urgent interest or any expectation that they'll learn much.

Presidents, of course, love these occasions for letting them occupy the undisputed center of attention, basking in waves of applause. The occasion dramatizes the theme of the 2008 book The Cult of the Presidency, by Cato Institute analyst Gene Healy: the chief executive as "the great leader of the Progressives' dreams, Herbert Croly's 'Thor wielding with power and effect a sledge hammer in the cause of national righteousness.'"

The State of the Union address has grown in step with presidential presumption. It's a conspicuous symptom of a dangerous malady: We expect too much of our presidents and limit them too little.

Whether this event is still worth their time, however, is doubtful. If there was ever a time that direct exposure to presidential eloquence could melt the hearts of hostile legislators, it has passed. Even the public seems to have acquired immunity.

The effort often backfires. "In a 2013 analysis of SOTU polling," Healy has noted, "Gallup found that 'most presidents have shown an average decrease in approval of one or more points between the last poll conducted before the State of the Union and the first one conducted afterward.'"

Obama might be surprised to learn that killing it off would have no downside. When Calvin Coolidge woke up from his daily White House nap, he would puckishly ask an aide: "Is the country still there?" It always was.

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252 responses to “Cancel the State of the Union

  1. But it’s a law that once a year the president either get inaugurated or read a teleprompter in front of the other two branches.

    1. The Constitution only says that the President shall give a report to Congress on the state of the Union. He can give a written report.

      During the Monica Lewinsky kerfuffle, when the Democrats were arguing the impeachment trial would distract from the State of the Union speech, I recall suggesting the Repulicans should have the President give his speech at the breakfast hour. Voila, no disruption of Congress’ work!

      1. Until we invented radio and then television for self-aggrandizing politicians, a clerk was sent over from the White House to read the report to Congress.

        1. “It’s hard to read the President’s handwriting, but he seems to have written, ‘FU, cut spending.'”

        2. It’s too much pomp and circumstance for any pathological modern president to pass up.

    2. But nothing says it has to be on TV.

      I’d like to hear the libertarian State of the Union.

      “OK, pass a budget and then go home. That’s the plan.”

      1. Maybe we can add:

        “If you are expecting me, and the rest of your elected officials to change the problems in your life, then you are sad and pathetic.”

        1. But what about the unelected officials and all of those regulatory agencies at every level of government? Surely they can change my life for the better?

          1. Indeed, they’re all rock hard and ready to be fellated by the citizenry. Go get’em!

      2. the libertarian State of the Union.
        “OK, pass a budget and then go home. That’s the plan.”

        “OK, cut the budget by 50%, close the Depts of Ed, EPA, Commerce, HSA, HHS, and a few others, then go home.”

        1. I’m imagining how it should go once the government has already been libertarianized.

    1. Or at least some alt-text

    2. What, you don’t see them? Too bad, we were all talking about you.

    3. funny how on the ‘Gov-Bank employee only’ holidays Reason always seems to be ‘off’.

    4. Whosever turn it is to do AM Links has chosen to let freedom ring in lieu of his alarm clock.

      1. ^nice. I say Fist should post a Fist List of topics in lieu of the links.

        1. All of the topics would be about Game of Thrones but I would disable commenting for fear of spoilers NO SPOILERS

          So, um, what good movies are out these days?

          1. The Wedding Ringer?

          2. Anything by Bill Zebub? Not porn, but NSFW

          3. The Bad and the Beautiful was on TCM yesterday. That’s always worth a watch.

          4. For some reason, I went on a Kurt Russell binge this weekend.

            Escape from NY, Escape from LA, Big Trouble in Little China.

            Awesome.

            1. Nice.

            2. The Thing!!!

              1. +1 really upset stomach

    5. ‘Am links’ means ‘on the left’ in German. Fun thought.

  2. Who cancelled the Mourning Lynx?

    1. It was vetoed by President Golf.

  3. no Mourning Lynx because of the fake holiday?

    1. Cosmotarians don’t deliver the mail on holidays.

      1. Here’s a moning link for you:

        http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/19/…..sman-dead/

        No, nothing suspicious here.

      2. And another:

        http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/0…..nship-game

        1. The football season ended when the Packers lost. 🙁

          1. I wanted Belichick to say at the press conference, “Championship game? Shit, the Ravens were a lot tougher than the sad crew we played today.”

            1. I blame Torrey Smith, or no, maybe Dean Pees.

              Ah fuck.

          2. No, the season ended when Bama lost

        2. If the NFL had an analogue to the Lady Byng Trophy, some member of the Patriots would come in dead last every single year. What a brutally effective bunch of douchebags they are.

          1. Worse than Ndamokung Suh?

            1. I’m going to re-do my proposal: If there existed some sort of anti-Lady Byng for organizations, the Pats would win it basically every year.

          2. I admit I don’t get the hate against the Patriots.

            I don’t see how they’re any worse than the Seahawks who are starting to get on my nerves.

            1. Constant success, many unlikable personalities, and a tendency towards methods that are less than sporting. Mine gets ramped up moreso than most because of a couple of ingrained hatreds: as a Jets and Buckeyes fan, the rise and continued success of Tom Brady and the goddamn Patriots is like a bad running joke at my expense.

            2. That’s the great thing about sports. You can be totally irrational as a fan. I hate the Patriots for no good reason at all, really. And that’s OK.

            3. People like the underdog in sports. The Patriots are no longer pluck underdogs. They are one of the most well run franchises in sports so people will always take shots against them.

            4. Other than the big, dumb retard of Gronkowski, what is there to like?

              Mood-swinging pretty boy? The Most Rumpled Man in History? Bahstan?

        3. If there is an inspection protocol concerning the game balls, how is it possible that someone with the motive to alter them in this way would come into possession of the balls after the initial inspection? And given that the refs are touching the footballs all the time and would surely notice an under inflated football, why would anyone think that this could be done and not discovered? I am no fan Belichick, but he is an intelligent person who would recognize the absurdity of such a conspiracy.

          But if I’m wrong about Belichick, to quote Al Davis, ‘If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.’

          1. Come on now, it’s deinflating a football, not exactly rocket science, and the refs have better things to do than constantly re-check the air level of the footballs. It’s exactly the sort of grey area where the Pats love to sit, which is why the allegation seems credible.

            It’s a total non-issue, IMO, but it’s completely believable that it would happen. USC got busted for the same thing two years ago.

            1. I’m not suggesting that the refs would would be checking inflation levels with a pressure gauge, rather that they would be able to recognize under inflation by feel.

        4. The Seahawks gave the game ball to Bostick.

          No word yet on its inflation level.

          1. Bostick is now the Bill Buckner of the Packers.

      3. And this should get the Sheldon Richman crowd going:

        http://www.foxnews.com/world/2…..-in-syria/

  4. Do the dems have anything other than wealth envy and class warfare to campaign on?

    1. When you are eaten up with envy, you are eaten all the way

    2. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

    3. Incidentally, it will probably work. Wouldn’t be surprised if Obama’s temper tantrum “why won’t you let me give free stuff to my friends!” to Congress brings enough of the people to remember what a dashing Rbonhood he is and turn back left in 2016. I have little faith in the masses.

      1. Robinhood, not Rbonhood.

  5. Why do reason links writers get a day off in celebration of a noted commie?

    1. We celebrate him as the last public speaker in U.S. history, of whatever Politics, whose speeches were actually with listening to on purely esthetic level.

      1. Fair enough. I certainly don’t wish to diminish Dr. King’s outstanding work to popularize and organize the civil rights movement. His powerful oratory was certainly a great thing for advancing the cause of human freedom.

        1. Lots of important or (positively) influential people believed stupid things.

          Plus, federal holiday. Any excuse to avoid the AM Links!

      2. Perhaps of interest: current scholarship holds that the “I have a dream…” section of his most famous speech was not in the draft of the speech. But, as he was working his way through his notes, he recognized that he was losing the crowd through disinterest. So he ad-libbed that section from less formal speeches & sermons and American history was created.

      3. unfortunately, what was an inspiring message has been wholly lost amid the race hustlers, panderers, and various others who pretend that life for blacks is somehow worse without state sponsored segregation, Bull Connor types, etc etc.

        The dream died, of self-inflicted wounds on the part of those charged with carrying it out. They saw too much gain in perpetuating grievance and no personal wealth to be amassed from alleviating it.

        1. You kidding. Read a book about King’s beliefs sometimes. He may of preached equality in his speeches, but all his beliefs were full prog. He though black should get preferential treatment in both housing and college.

        2. You’re just not ‘color brave’ enough, like Eric Holder said you should be.

  6. I’m tempted to summon the Lynx by posting some Daily Fails…

      1. Waiting until 9:30. If I see no Mourning Lynx by then then I’ll post my Daily Fails. All four of them.

        1. Too late; we already went to the Fail and read them all.

  7. Why do reason links writers get a day off in celebration of a registered Republican?

  8. Uproar after Miss Lebanon’s selfie with Miss Israel

    In 1993, the country stripped its Miss Lebanon, Ghada al-Turk, of her title after Agence France Press distributed a photo of her smiling arm-in-arm with her Israeli contender.

    This time around, the Lebanese government has vowed to “launch an investigation” and will decide this week whether the offensive photo will get her crown snapped, too.

    That’s exactly what Miss Israel was shooting for, said Miss Lebanon’s delusional agent, who likened the beauty to a stealthy saboteur, stalking his client with her camera drawn before she “photo-bombed” Greige standing with Miss Japan and Miss Slovenia, according to Lebanese media.

        1. She does not look like any Filipina I’ve ever seen.

    1. Miss Israel is hot. Miss Lebanon is hotter.

    2. In 1993, the country stripped its Miss Lebanon, Ghada al-Turk, of her title after Agence France Press distributed a photo of her smiling arm-in-arm with her Israeli contender.

      I assume this is today’s episode of Stupid People And The Stupid Things They Care About?

      1. In 1993, the country stripped its Miss Lebanon,

        Yes, go on . . . .

        of her title

        Well, shoot.

    3. Given the uproar over the selfie, it’s just as well they didn’t find the *videos* of Miss Lebanon and Miss Irael.

      1. Israel

  9. Meh.

    Holy crap how the Packers can look themselves in the mirror today!

    And big shit about the Pats deflating balls. They massacred the Colts.

    1. The onside kick, that shit happens, but the 2 point conversion was when it turned retarded.

      1. No kidding.

      2. How. Is. No. Play. Made. On. That? The ball was in the air, blindly thrown, for what seemed like 15 seconds; it was like a pop fly.

        1. The defender changed his mind mid jump and went for a pathetic tackle instead.

    2. Yeah, it’s a total non-controversy. What they did against the Ravens is worse, but legal; I think the NFL is going to use the balls as a pretext for handing out a punishment they’d have liked to hand out over last week’s antics, which is straight out of the NCAA’s playbook.

    3. Bwelaceck, you’re bweaking my bwalls!

      /Ghost of Kim Jong Il

    4. In retrospect, three FGs from three red zone trips killed the Packers. That game could have been over at the half.

      1. Coulda been over at several points in the game including stopping that retarded two point play. I mean, really?

        Seattle fluked this one out. They made the plays when it counted while the Packers, er, packed it in.

    5. Almost looks like Vince McMahon scripted it. Almost.

      1. XFL FTW!

  10. I have followed politics to one extent or another since roughly the ouster of Nixon, and I have yet to hear a State of the Union speech that was an improvement on listening to paint dry. I don’t expect Obama’s to be different, although if he used the opportunity to commit seppuku (which, if he had a sense of shame he would) THAT would be worth seeing.

  11. Morning Narratives:

    “One member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the governing body that awards the Oscars, said Kyle “seems like he may be a sociopath.” That voter admitted he hadn’t seen the movie, only read an article in The New Republic about it.”

    Hollywood complaints about American Sniper

    1. OMGZ!11!! Talking about American Sniper on MLK day is a dog-whistle!!111!!!!

      1. You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and ? blow.

      1. oh at the link they mention several others (e.g., Michael Moore)…presumably the others did not admit they were commenting on a movie they had not seen.

    2. Kyle was a lying shitheel. If he hadn’t have lied, he’s just be a shitheel.

      1. What are you saying he lied about? That Ventura stuff? I believe that. Ventura is a piece of shit.

        1. Ventura is a piece of shit. That doesn’t make the story true.

          Nonetheless, there are lots of stories in the autobiography that have had their veracity called into question. One of them is the post-Katrina Superdome story. And even if the story is true, then Kyle appointed himself judge, jury, and executioner of people accused of stealing TVs.

          So, fuck that shitheel either way.

          If you haven’t heard any of the accusations, you might want to get out of your echo chamber once in a while.

    3. The folks at LewRockwell.com agree.

    4. That’s funny, because I think Bill Clinton raped Jackie from UVA and all those other women and framed Bill Cosby for it. Admittedly, it’s only because I heard Rush Limbaugh said so.

      1. If someone accused him, it must be true.

  12. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetw…..asnt-there

    Shots fired near Biden’s Delaware home, but he wasn’t there. Maybe a neighbor was trying to scare somebody off with a few shotgun blasts in the air?

        1. I thought he took Amtrak everywhere? Like to that diner he used to frequent…

        2. While wearing a wife-beater shirt.

  13. ‘They are cowards not heroes’: Michael Moore slams ‘military assassins’ as Oscar-tipped movie American Sniper storms box office
    Documentary maker Michael Moore said snipers ‘shoot you in the back’
    Said that he was taught that snipers were ‘cowards’ and ‘not heroes’
    Tweets came a day after Clint Eastwood’s film American Sniper came out
    Movie starring Bradley Cooper is a biopic of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle
    He was credited with most confirmed kills in American military history: 160
    The film is tipped for Oscar success after receiving six nominations

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..aters.html

    1. Remember a few years back when a news program (60 Minutes?) did a special on Iraqi snipers killing American troops in public spaces such as the local market?

    2. They admit not seeing the movie. It seems like Clint’s Hollywood pals are punishing him for speaking at the RNC convention.

    3. He was taught they were cowards? By whom?

      And incidentally, if snipers are cowards then what are the guys on the boats launching the missiles? How about those guys flying around in planes raining death from above after total air superiority has been achieved?

      1. Dude. You’re asking Michael Moore to use logical consistency.

        MICHAEL MOORE. The single biggest disingenuous, faux-polulist, lying sack of shit douchebag there is out there in Hollywood.

        1. What’s funny is, he talks about the heroism of Iraqi snipers defending their country from invaders.

          Moore’s uncle, of course, was killed by a Japanese sniper… who was defending his country against invaders…

          What about the pilot in the Enola Gay? He coward?

      2. If he has any kind of consistent standard, those people would be even bigger cowards, I would think.

    4. This is typical behavior of Hollywood progressives. They are perfectly happy to exploit the popularity of the military by producing blockbuster combat thrillers or introspective looks at the hell of war with hand wringing films about the effects on fighters. But they resist acknowledging the dirty truth of war, which is that people like them send other people to go and do the nasty things they can’t or won’t bring themselves to do. They are perfectly happy to reap the rewards of hiring and ordering killers to go to other countries and kill in their name, but they cannot understand that killing is a part of war. In that way they are as delusional as any who call out enemy tricks and attacks as “cowarldy” when they themselves refuse to internalize the adage that “all’s fair” in war.

    5. Does the movie include a scene where Kyle doesn’t punch out Jesse Ventura?

    6. Who taught him this?

      And is this really a point he wants to argue? That a soldier should be more concerned with honor and bravery than safely and efficiently neutralizing a target? I imagine that snipers save lives on both sides of a conflict.

      1. Apparently his uncle, who was killed by a sniper in WWII, or so he says. But really, snipers go way out in front of the line. They spend most of their time observing and sending information back to the command post, to be acted upon by the infantry. In COIN, they’re used a lot a “Guardian Angels.” They take positions where they have great vantage and alert or engage threats to patrols or check points before those threats can engage friendlies. Snipers are very brave, very skilled, and save a lot of lives.

        1. Michael Moore bases his opinions on war on what he sees in Michael Bay films most likely. Ya know, a couple guys duking it out mano e mano in the front line. Probably because he subscribes to the “I’m a leftist so it’s ok for me to be retarded” school of reasoning.

    7. It’s quite rich hearing the fatty who won’t go into any actually dangerous area to film with his crew accuse other people of being ‘cowards.

  14. Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl turns a Chilean crowd’s enthusiastic chant into a new song
    Fans at the concert were singing songs before the band had a chance to play them
    Grohl commented he had never experienced such a phenomenon
    Excited crowd began to sing patriotic version of Ol? Ol? Ol?
    Band played along creating a unique rock show experience

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..-song.html

  15. Rock ‘n’ roll cradle snatcher: In his Led Zeppelin heyday, he had a girlfriend of 14 and limos of young groupies. So why has a very middle-class girl of 25 fallen for 71-year-old Jimmy Page?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvs…..-Page.html
    Seriously, what the fuck do people with that big of an age gap talk about? Makes me think Page isn’t the most mature individual out there.

    1. Page, who is one of the wealthiest men in rock and worth ?80 million

      Probably helps answer the question in the headline. And it’s Jimmy Page.

      As to your question, I don’t know. But when I am 70 I hope I get to find out.

      1. ‘Can you, like, play that song? The one about the stairs?’

    2. He’s a rock star. His life is so alien from the rest of us that he has pretty much nothing to talk about with anyone. So if you can’t have interesting conversations you might as well go young, hot, and up for anything.

    3. Rock stars aren’t very mature to begin with for the most part.

    4. “Seriously, what the fuck do people with that big of an age gap talk about?”

      Estate planning.

      1. Fiber.

        1. The Prune Song

      2. Diabeetus.

    5. Talk?

    6. Seriously, what the fuck do people with that big of an age gap talk about?

      Yeah, I don’t know how they get by without some kind of communication breakdown.

  16. Gun enthusiast who shot police chief four times during raid walks free because cops ‘didn’t have enough evidence to charge him’
    Sentinel, Oklahoma Police Chief Louis Ross survived the attack thanks to a bullet-proof vest he borrowed from a sheriff’s deputy
    Ross and other officers were raiding the home owned by Dallas Horton Thursday morning in connection to a bomb threat
    Earlier that morning a man identifying himself as Horton called 911 to say a bomb had been planted in a local community center
    Analysts later discovered that the phone call did not come from Horton’s house
    Horton said he didn’t know police were breaking into his house when he pulled out his gun
    He was released later that same day since police did not have sufficient evidence to charge him with a crime

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..e-him.html

    Chief Ross’s wife Mary says she’s eternally grateful to the deputy who gave his vest to her husband, and saved his life.
    ‘He allowed my husband to come home tonight,’ Mrs Ross told KOCO. ‘Had he not had that vest, my husband would not be here tonight.’

    And that is the most important thing, right?

    1. So sounds like someone tried to use the police to murder this guy. It would be amazing if this blew up publicly. I think it would be fascinating to see a national trial about someone being accuse of using the police as their own personal hit squad.

    2. SWATting should be considered, at the very least, attempted murder.

    3. Analysts later discovered that the phone call did not come from Horton’s house

      Your new professionals at work.

    4. Analysts later discovered that the phone call did not come from Horton’s house

      What? I thought *you* got the number off of caller ID!

  17. ‘I made a huge, huge mistake that will haunt me to my grave’: ‘Hanoi’ Jane Fonda speaks out as Vietnam vets protest her Maryland event 43 years later

    In 1972 Jane Fonda made comments against soldiers fighting in Vietnam
    Vietnam war vets protested against her saying they would ‘never forget’
    One said that he blamed Fonda for the loss of hundreds of U.S. lives
    Fonda said her celebrity status made her a ‘lightening rod’

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..later.html

    1. What she did was certainly stupid. But it seems a bit ridiculous that people are still all pissed off. People can and often do change their minds about things and acknowledge mistakes.

      1. Some of them get nominated for President.

      2. I don’t blame soldiers for remaining pissed off at all.

        And I agree people can make mistakes but in her case, something rubs me the wrong way. She doesn’t come off as genuine.

        1. Just seems like a waste of time energy. Haven’t people got better things to do than protest an aging and mostly irrelevant actress? What is their goal? Get her to publicly commit suicide or something?

          1. It would do us well to remember that the protests we see are obviously by the people who are upset with her. VN veterans, like my brother, who do not think it’s a big deal, aren’t exactly going to march in the streets with big signs that say, “MEH”.

            1. I’m not suggesting that all VN vets are nuts about this.

              I think the main thing is that protesting, particularly in relatively free and peaceful places, is for the most part silly and ineffective.

    2. I don’t believe a word of it.

      She know damn well what she was doing and her dumbass smug face in those pictures make it clear.

      She’s a prog through and through…and still is.

      1. knew.

      2. I think, deep down, the reason progressives always seem to suddenly find their skepticism when we are fighting a foreign enemy, is that they really won’t those men with guns at home, pointing them at non-progressives.

    3. Without reading the article, I assume her big mistake was agreeing to be in Monster In Law?

    4. What’s a lightening rod?

      1. Part of the de-heavyfication process, isn’t it?

  18. Sex siren, flapper, waif or bootylicious, how the shape of the ‘perfect’ body has changed over the last 100 years

    Women were inspired by Charles Dana Gibson’s illustrations in 1910
    Curves came into fashion in 1930s and 1940s
    Kate Moss personified the Waif of 1990s
    Today, Kim Kardashian and Beyonce champion curves and a big bottom

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/fem…..years.html

    1. Kardashian and Beyonce are disgusting.

  19. I fell off the wagon and went to Gawker…and read the comments:

    Obama to Call for Tax Hike on Wealthy

    1. Following in the brave and highly.effective footsteps of Francois Hollande, I see.

      1. but it will be different here. Better TopMen.

        1. Well, to be fair, it will be in degree at least. A 70% top rate (or whatever it was in France) would not go anywhere here. But any increase is still a terrible idea.

          People just can’t seem to get over the idea that some people being rich is the reason why some other people are poor.

          1. That’s what happens when people equate money with wealth and believe the economy to be a zero-sum game.

            People like Tony who feel that the Walton family are terrible for being rich don’t understand that you can’t feed Walmart stock to starving children.

            1. People like Tony who feel that the Walton family are terrible for being rich don’t understand that you can’t feed Walmart stock to starving children.

              And if you could, it would be pretty expensive. Might be a good way to keep stock prices up, though.

          2. The newish thing I really hate is referring to tax increases as “revenue” as if there is a linear relationship between tax rates and revenue.

            1. Not only is it linear, but there’s no opportunity cost!

    2. Bill Clinton at least had enough brains to realize that he had to change after the Republicans took the house in 1994.

      1. But Obama’s lefty base.is saying that he needs to change farther.to the.left, because he has compromised too much already with the right. Now is the time for him to get stuff done since he doesn’t have to.worry about reelection.

        Clinton knew better and softened the lefty crap in favor of building a legacy and working with republicans. Had the whole Lewinsky thing not happened, we would have had President Gore for at least 4 years and Clinton would have been remembered as even better than he is now.

        1. I know very well what Obama’s lefty base is saying. I live in New England now.

          Thankfully, that’s not most of the country.

          “President Gore”, ugh, that’s almost as bad as Obama.

          1. I agree with you, but Obama is not learning a lesson from Clinton (the man seems incapable of.learning from others). He is listening to the wrong people. He could use these last 2 year’s of his presidency to heal divides and work together with his opposition, but he is instead scrambling for every lefty policy he can find a foothold for. To the left, every door that was previously slammed shut has a silver.of light around it now and Obama’s job is to jam a wedge in as many as he can, for later followup. His reward will be endless speaking contracts or maybe a few seats on university boards of trustees. The man speaks from a script well, and that is all he has ever.wanted to do.since.running for.office.

            1. I have a copy of this book, which the founder of Liberty magazine put together:

              http://www.amazon.com/Last-Dem…..t+bradford

              He thought Clinton would be the last Democrat president. We know now he was wrong. I wonder if Bradford was just off by a little bit.

              1. I doubt it. 10 years ago (maybe a little more now) we were going to have a permanent Republican majority.

        2. Then his lefty base should have come out and voted when he said his agenda was on the ballot. Elections have consequences….amiright?

      2. But isn’t the country further to the left than in 1994 (Millennials and all)?

        The median Democratic politician is certainly further to the left than in 1994. “Blue Dogs” existed until the last few cycles.

        1. The Blue Dogs changed their spots when they were coerced into voting for the ACA.

  20. I ordered a copy of “Escape from Camp 14” yesterday, and saw this story today. From what I see at CNN, it sounds like Shin Dong-hyuk just changed some details, but I am now wondering what else might not be true in his story.

    1. You mean he really didn’t go to Heaven?

    2. “I did it all for the nookie.”

  21. I could have told you 6 months ago what Obama was going to talk about in his SOTU: more free stuff!

    1. GIVING FREE SHIT IS FREEDOM!

      What part of that equation don’t you get?

    2. The question is whether this will politically irresistible.

    1. One death is one death too many.

    2. “He has been unemployed for a long time, and internet cafes were the only place he could go to.”

      I can hear it now: “We need to ban unemployment!”

  22. So I guess this is AM links today?

    Crooked narco cops: 10 outrageous ways police have enriched themselves on the drug trade

    9. Houston

    Like Maldonado-Dick, Marcos E. Carrion of Houston was busted for agreeing to provide cover to drug dealers moving loads of cocaine. According to Houston’s Local 2 Investigates, “Carrion agreed to watch for police and run license plate numbers of other people in the area while the drug deal was taking place,” receiving $5,000 from an informant for his work. If convicted of his charges, he will face 10 years to life in prison and up to a $10 million fine.

    Some are more sensational, but I went with a local pull quote.

    1. Those are the ones who got caught.

      1. Thankfully, it does happen on occasion.

  23. We all have our different ways of observing the King holiday. NPR is re-running a 1995 interview with Mario Cuomo.

    1. They had some rarely heard recording of a King speech on this morning, which was kind of interesting.

      That man was a hell of an orator.

      1. He helped topple Jim Crow, and Jim Crow needed topplin’. That was heroic.

        Too bad he also went into ultra-lefty politics on other issues.

        1. And discouraging a more violent approach was another great contribution of his, I think.

      2. “Articulate and bright”, even.

        1. Articulate and bright, even without a teleprompter.

          1. No mention on the crease in his pants.

  24. None of the President’s left-populist proposals will advance through the House or Senate

    will they be so overwhelmingly popular with the voting public that the Democrats retake both houses in 2016?

    Has Secretary Clinton been all on board with this leftward shift?

    1. “Wait, wait – how about free, uh, candy bars? Free toilet paper?”

      1. The presumed governmental response would be free candy bars and then free gym memberships.

        And then mandated candy bars and mandated gym.

        1. They can’t offer free gym memberships! That would be a loss of the revenue on the wealthy they tax on gym memberships.

      2. Cuba had free toilet paper. Until it ran out.
        http://m.huffpost.com/us/news/cuba-toilet-paper/

        1. Maybe they could get some from their Socialist Comrades in Venez… never mind.

  25. OT: I have a question for my libertarian friends. Over the weekend I had a conversation with an acquaintance, which claims to be a hardcore libertarian. After talking for a while it became apparent that he is more of a prog. He seems to be a radical egalitarian. His main concern seems to be treatment of what he calls “special classes” of people (black and gay are his favorites) even at the expense of other’s liberty. The conversation centered on title 2 and private business. My contention being, private property is private, meaning discrimination “should” be legal if one chooses such a path. His reply was if you have a public business, government has a right to force title 2 upon you; Meaning personal private (home) and business private are different somehow. Of course he took it to an illogical level and asked if I would condone a man standing in his yard naked, while the chillenz went off to the re-education camp that morning. After considering it for a while, I think I would have to support an individuals right to do such a thing on his lawn, of course I would not personally condone such behavior, but I do believe one has the right to do such a thing. Of course he said I was sick and should be flogged and shunned by society. He also said I was an anarchist, not a libertarian? I was just looking for some feedback. Thanks.

    1. My feedback would be to stay off politics with this, ah, eccentric friend. See if the friendship is tolerable under these conditions.

      1. Of course, ask him to reciprocate on the staying-off-politics thing.

        Discuss something noncontroversial, like religion or sports.

        1. “Discuss something noncontroversial, like religion or sports.”

          Who was the Green Bay idjit who intercepted Brady with 6 minutes left, and instead of running for the end zone, fell down and rolled around as if time had run out?

          1. Not Brady, Wilson.

      2. +1. Try discussing deep dish pizza or something.

        He also said I was an anarchist, not a libertarian?

        That’s actually a compliment, I think. Well done!

      3. Yeah. You can’t reason people out of positions they arrived at through emotion. Being that leftists are all emotion, there is absolutely nothing to be gained by trying to talk logically about politics or economics with them.

        1. I agree. It’s quite exhausting.

    2. He seems to be a radical egalitarian.

      Equality through force (egalitarianism) requires institutionalized injustice, because government cannot both protect private property rights (justice) while also giving one person a claim to the property of another (injustice).

      The two are mutually exclusive.

      As far as discrimination by businesses goes, so many people seem to think that government abolished discrimination. The truth is that Jim Crow required legislation, as in government force, to make businesses discriminate against blacks. The only color a successful business cares about is green.

      I find it ironic how leftist simultaneously claim that corporations are evil because they only care about profits, while also claiming that if it wasn’t for government those evil corporations would refuse to make profits off of certain groups of people.

    3. If your friend does not want to allow the free speech of dangling brain, your friend should move to a neighborhood owned by a private home owners association.

      Of course, that is unnecessary given illegal indecency laws already on the books and plenty of Barney Fife’s to enforce them.

      1. Gah, Fifes

      2. He seems to think a child’s innocence is their liberty. Therefore by being flashed or seeing Mr. Jones mowing in the buff, he would be stealing children’s liberty. As a parent I certainly would have issues with this, but again I do think it’s his right.

        1. I may be in the minority, but I would ban people from being nude in public, whether in sight of children or not.

          But that doesn’t mean I want to flog you, that’s just weird.

          1. How do you intend to enforce the ban?

            1. Uh, the same way it’s enforced today (outside of San Francisco)? Have cops arrest the naked guy. I’m not aware of cops shooting a naked guy they’re arresting – it’s not as if they can claim he was reaching for his waistband.

              1. Eric Garner wasn’t reaching for his waste band. He had his hands out. Didn’t stop cops from choking him out over $5.85 in cigarette taxes. Is it so offensive that it is moral for someone to escalate force against them up to, and including, lethal force? They’re just body parts. We all have them and we’ve all seen them.

              2. What if the naked guy is covered in vegetable oil? Now that’d be fun arrest attempt to watch. Cops might just shoot him to avoid the hilarity.

            2. How do you intend to enforce the ban?

              Exactly. Every ban comes with a potential death sentence for those who resist. Just ask Eric Garner. So think real hard before you decide to use government force to ban something.

              1. Absolutely.

                The fact that the guy would by definition be unarmed tends in itself to reduce the possibility of a fatal encounter.

                Even NAP-oriented laws (and I’m not saying this is one) have the potential for escalating to a fatal confrontation, eg., laws against trespassing or shoplifting. The danger can never be abolished without abolishing all law, the answer is to reduce the danger of fatal encounters.

                1. The danger can never be abolished without abolishing all law, the answer is to reduce the danger of fatal encounters.

                  All encounters are going to be dangerous. That’s not going to change. It’s the nature of the people who seek out a job that allows them to violently force their will onto others.

                  The answer is to keep legislated criminal law down to a bare minimum.

                  1. “The answer is to keep legislated criminal law down to a bare minimum.”

                    Sure, but where I part company with you guys is in including basic public-order regulations within the bare* minimum.

                    *Ha ha, *bare* minimum!

                    1. I wouldn’t shoot someone, or violate their liberty for flashing their junk for all to see. I would just exercise my own freedom by looking away and disassociating. I think more people could do with lessons on proportionality as it applies to escalation of force.

              2. “It was cocked and ready, your Honor, I really had no choice….”

          2. He didn’t actually say flog. But, he did say, I was a sick bastard and I should be put that list… Things went downhill from there… Again I don’t condone many things, this being one of them. But I do stand up for individuals to make these decisions, not the state.

    4. Stand naked in his front lawn. That should take care of a lot of this.

      1. I’m no exhibitionist.

        1. Giving new meaning to the phrase “get off my lawn.”

    5. Sounds like he got a 97% on the Libertarian Purity Test…

    6. You logic in the argument is perfect. A person’s business is private property. But your friend thinks that a business, when it sells to the public, becomes a public entity and any conceivable regulation can be imposed upon it using the argument that public entities are managed for the public’s good.

      You also come to the correct conclusion that there is a difference between not condoning a certain behavior and making the behavior illegal, to be enforced by the state through threat of violence. Statists such as your friend are unable to make such a distinction. He has no issue with using the state to enforce his standard of behavior.

      1. Thanks. I was just trying to confirm that I had not run off the rails and become a complete lunatic.

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  27. Our skinny, cowardly, feminine little Marxist will set new standards for hubris in his su “speech”.

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