Re: Obama

1

At this point it wouldn't surprise me if a Cuban exile took a shot. Poor Marco looked like a lost puppy in the crowd while everyone else stood to applaud "When you try something for 50 years that doesn't work, it's time to try something different."


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-20-15 7:50 PM
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"I know, because I won both of them."

I don't agree with some of his views, and with fewer of his tactical decisions. But I'm still going to miss him a lot when whichever awful person who makes it through the election in 2016 succeeds him.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 01-20-15 8:59 PM
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My main concern along those lines was during the summer of 2010 (which was the big Tea Party/ "government hands off my Medicare rallies") when the rhetoric at places like Fox carried a heavy dose of "refresh the tree of liberty/Why shouldn't open carry extend to presidential events?" In my private thoughts it was the summer we decided whether or not it was OK to kill the black president.

Alternatively, Slash/Summer.

However, I actually think that a significant percentage of assassinations of political leaders are completely detached from any discernible politics.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 5:57 AM
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3.3. I instinctively agreed with this, then I tried to think of some examples and now I think "significant percentage" is wrong. Who did you have in mind? (I'll give you Guiteau, but who else.)


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 6:18 AM
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If you define assassination as including unsuccessful attempts, you have Hinckley and Squeaky Fromme.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 6:22 AM
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I think both the people who tried to kill Andrew Jackson were detached from politics.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 6:26 AM
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Though maybe in his case we should take into account the very high base rate of people trying to kill him.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 6:27 AM
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Of course, the swamp rabbit attacked Carter because it was opposed to giving the canal back to Panama.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 6:33 AM
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5: I don't know about Hinckley, but Fromme seemed to believe that her motivations were political. I guess maybe that doesn't meet the "any discernible" standard specified in 3.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 6:36 AM
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I am trying to decide whether it is mere coincidence that Obama has finally decided to start talking about real populist or at least quasi-populist policies only now that both houses of congress are firmly under republican control and so the policies have absolutely zero, rather than near-zero, chance of being enacted, because it feels like an intentionally calculated way to throw rhetorical bones to the democratic base without any serious risk of actually moving policy to the left in any respect, and if it were actually intentionally calculated in that way, it would make me think lowly of Obama in a way that I would prefer not to, not that I think all that highly of him now; I suppose it's possible that he just now feels free from electoral pressures and so more of his true colors are showing, but honestly that feels like maybe just a feel-good story.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 7:18 AM
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I already regret comment 10; I don't want to turn this discussion into that discussion (again). Let me hereby replace comment 10 with: I too am glad that Obama has not been assassinated.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 7:22 AM
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In 2008, I thought there was a non-trivial chance that Obama would be assassinated.

Isn't there a non-trivial chance that any president will be assassinated, or at least be the victim of an attempted assassination? I assume you mean that Obama's chances were higher than baseline, which feels probably true although could be impossible to quantify. I mean, GWB wasn't exactly popular and it's not like there aren't plenty of crazy people on the left.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 7:25 AM
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Part of me is loving the new populist Obama, part of me is really pissed off he waited until after the midterms to make a peep.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 7:27 AM
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I mean, GWB wasn't exactly popular

Except for those immediately post-9/11 years when he was phenomenally popular. Its amazing how far he came down off that pedestal.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 7:29 AM
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I mean, shit, GWB was still so popular in 2004 that he actually won the popular vote, which is the only time a Republican has pulled that off since 1988.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 7:32 AM
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Somebody should have started a "Draft Ross Perot" movement.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 7:33 AM
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14: yeah, bad phrasing--by "popular" I meant "popular with the left".


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 7:33 AM
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Get the pop corn on.

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Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 7:50 AM
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the only time a Republican has pulled that off since 1988

There have only been six presidential elections since 1988.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 7:51 AM
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"Populist Obama" is "Running For Election Obama". He gives fantastic speeches. It doesn't translate into anything, but speeches are nice if they're not expected to translate into anything else.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 7:51 AM
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18: I don't understand the rules for where they can or can't sue. Can they sue in some European or British court?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 7:53 AM
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20: That seemed to be true previously, but now it's been proven false since "Populist Obama" has returned, and "Running for Election Obama" is gone.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 7:56 AM
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Maybe he's going to do like John Quincy Adams and run for Congress after his term is up.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 7:58 AM
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22: They're suing in the sharia court in the 18th Arondissment. The ayatollah there claims unlimited jurisdiction.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 7:58 AM
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24 was to 21, not 22. Even I am not that nonsensical.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 7:59 AM
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24: And non-Muslims can't even go there.

Oh wait ...


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 8:02 AM
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but now it's been proven false since "Populist Obama" has returned, and "Running for Election Obama" is gone.

I mean that our current Obama is letting his campaign colors fly, because he's in marketing-mode rather than translate-to-policy-mode.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 8:06 AM
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21: Wouldn't be unprecedented for somebody in France to sue a US publication for libel in the UK.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 8:15 AM
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19: 1-5 is a pretty crappy record for an NFL team.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 8:15 AM
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because he's in marketing-mode rather than translate-to-policy-mode.

I think that's right. He's got a lot of preferences that were never going to be enacted by a Democratic Congress, so there was never much point in bringing them up. Now, lacking a Congress that will support him on anything, he's got nothing to lose.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 8:28 AM
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non-Muslims can't even go there

I was amused to see that one of the purported no-go areas is the neighborhood of Fleur's borderline neofascist French cousins, who have owned a house there since Hausmannian times. They would definitely agree with Fox News that the influx of darkies has been a blight on the neighborhood, but they would scoff at the idea that it is a no-go zone for European Christians.

Amusing tangential anecdote: I once organized a surprise party for Fleur at their house, to which were invited a bunch of her old friends, including one friend who is married to a 0.001 percenter. They, of course, stayed at the Ritz. And when they ordered a car to take them to the specified location, the doorman told them they must be mistaken, that couldn't possibly be la bonne adresse.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 8:30 AM
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21, 28: Wouldn't be unprecedented in general, but the specifics here really don't make for a good defamation case. For a start, it's basically impossible to slander/libel a public authority in the UK. So if it's the city of Paris suing, they can't. They may be able to get around that by identifying some individuals who were defamed by the general comment - there's a case where a claim about the Malaysian judiciary in general was ruled to have defamed specific senior judges. You've also got to establish what the defamatory statement even is. Is saying somewhere is a no-go area for non-Muslims defamatory? Of whom?

Now there might be a case under other laws, like incitement of racial hatred, but I'd have thought it would be much harder to establish jurisdiction and/or enforce any penalty. The extra-territoriality of the UK's libel laws stem from its broad definition of publication*, which basically means that anything that can be read/seen in the UK is published there. As far as I know that's not the case for incitement law, but I'm much less familiar.

*Actually the case law on this has tightened the materiality threshold considerably in the last few years.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 8:33 AM
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To get anything done with the Democratic Congress, Obama always had to consider the views of 100% of his own party. Now, he can merely speak for the 90% of his party that isn't composed of assholes.

(I haven't done the math on this. Its possible that his smaller Democratic Party is closer to 100% non-assholes. Where are the Liebermans of yesteryear?)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 8:34 AM
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30: He never had anything to lose.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 8:34 AM
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34: He had stuff to lose. If he starts to show up the Liebermans and Nelsons of the world as intransigent assholes who work to block his intelligent, humane agenda, then he doesn't get anything at all from them. He wanted to pass stuff.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 8:40 AM
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Assholes gonna asshole. This is the lesson Republicans have been teaching for years. Is there reason to think Democratic assholes are less intransigent?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 9:06 AM
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Now, he can merely speak for the 90% of his party that isn't composed of assholes.

70%, tops.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 9:16 AM
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Of course, you might be right, pf, and, regardless, Obama may have been convinced along those lines.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 9:20 AM
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36: How many Republican assholes voted for ACA? Not one. How many Democratic assholes could Obama afford to lose on ACA? Not one. He had to work with the Democrats if he was going to get anything accomplished, and the Democrats were more ideologically diverse.

So now he's got a more united party, and he's got opposition that's not going to be swayed no matter what he says. So he's got much more freedom to act according to his own wishes. (Freedom's just another word for nuthin' left to lose.) That's what we're seeing here.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 9:22 AM
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40

Your theory is consistent, but it implies that the most conservative Democrats had veto power over legislation, executive action, and rhetoric.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 9:28 AM
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41

Apply Henley's rule as needed.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 9:28 AM
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40: I'm only saying that Obama needed unanimous support from Nelson, Landrieu, Lieberman, etc. to pass Obamacare and the stimulus. He wasn't going to get that 100% support for free community college, I'm guessing, so the only reason to bring it up would be to create a wedge issue between himself and other Democrats (and Republicans). Maybe that would have been a good idea - maybe he should have campaigned against Landrieu and Nelson. Even I kind of think he should have campaigned against Lieberman. But it's easy to see why he didn't.

Now, on the other hand, he's got an opportunity to distinguish Democrats from Republicans, and he's taking advantage of it. That's fine with me. All the Obama critics (of which, of course, I am one) have been bitching for years about how he refused to use the bully pulpit. Now that he's doing so, that's fine with me.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 9:42 AM
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I'm only saying that Obama needed unanimous support from Nelson, Landrieu, Lieberman, etc. to pass Obamacare and the stimulus.

Only because 60 is the new 50 in the Senate. Allowing that precedent to become established is the original sin of Obama, Harry Reid and the Democratic Party here.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 9:49 AM
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30: He's got a lot of preferences that were never going to be enacted by a Democratic Congress, so there was never much point in bringing them up. Now, lacking a Congress that will support him on anything, he's got nothing to lose.

This makes it sound like populist Obama's ideas are some sort of throwaway, which I don't think is right. I'm not the first to mention this, god knows, but he's setting the stage for 2016. It will (or should) be embarrassing as hell for Congressional Republicans to refuse to pass -- or at least discuss/negotiate on -- the various middle class tax credits he's outlined, the mandatory 7-day/year paid sick leave, equal pay for equal work, and so on. These are obviously extremely popular ideas, and Republicans have sworn to prove that they can govern ... and in theory, anyway, they're going to look really bad if they nix every single one of these proposals.*

He's also -- and again, I'm not at all the first to say so -- setting an agenda for the Democratic candidate(s) in 2016. Hillary et al. are going to have to say whether they do or do not support these proposals. It wouldn't surprise me if she's a tad annoyed by this, actually.

*Someone called in to the Diane Rehm show this morning saying that he'd voted for McCain in 2008, but at this point would never be able to vote for a Republican again.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 10:15 AM
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45

44: If asked, all anyone has to say in 2016 is "That was then, this is now" and then push whatever they're going to push. The general public isn't going to remember what was said yesterday.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 10:22 AM
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It will (or should) be embarrassing as hell for Congressional Republicans to refuse to pass -- or at least discuss/negotiate on -- the various middle class tax credits he's outlined, the mandatory 7-day/year paid sick leave, equal pay for equal work, and so on. These are obviously extremely popular ideas

This seems to rely on the idea that people will vote based on their material interests rather than culture wars BS.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 10:27 AM
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46: It's certainly true that the best counter Republicans have to what Obama decided to call "middle class economics" is that it's a case of class warfare (against the rich): the same response they've had for many years now. With Elizabeth Warren on the scene now, though, I'm not sure that has as much sway as it once did.

But that's probably not what you mean by culture wars BS. I mean, obviously 2016 comes down to turnout; Republicans will do their best to put cultural issues on state ballots in order to turn out the conservative base. Allow me to be optimistic for a moment, though, and declare that the economic populist (Dem) base is larger in number.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 10:55 AM
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I also harbor hopes that state-level politics will, come two years from now, reveal that at least some of the entirely Republican-led states have become dreadful.

Slightly related to this: I read recently that Gov. Sam Brownback's Kansas is number 7 in the list of states that've seen the largest number of residents leaving. I was curious about the rest of that list, but didn't see any link/reference.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 11:00 AM
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48.2: I was specifically thinking of Brownback's reelection when I wrote 46. That he was reelected after what he's done to the state has made me despair of the prospects of people voting based on their economic well being.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 11:05 AM
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50

Hillary et al. are going to have to say whether they do or do not support these proposals. It wouldn't surprise me if she's a tad annoyed by this, actually.

Why would she be annoyed? All these proposals are specifically designed to create problems for the Republicans and it's pretty easy for individual Dems to say things like "I would actually go even further" or "that's a good idea but I personally prefer alternate proposal X."


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 11:17 AM
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||
Global capitalism!

The Czech model whose vagina is the basis for the popular Fleshlight sex toy paid a visit to a factory in Saville, Spain, to observe the process of turning part of her body into a mass-produced plastic tube that men around the world use to masturbate.
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 11:25 AM
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49: Was Brownback reelected on the basis of culture wars BS? I confess I haven't delved into things like voter turnout in KS ... but Wikipedia shows that Brownback won by appx. 30,000 votes (3% of voters). Apparently 51% of registered voters cast a ballot.

But yes, "culture wars" these days are, I think, morphing from pro-choice and same-sex marriage questions to economic questions. I blame libertarians.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 11:52 AM
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I don't understand why the implication in 40 is supposed to be incorrect. Of course the rightmost 5% in the Dem caucus effectively had a veto. And, as usual, made a point of making sure the WH understood this. (It's from the time before, but I think this is why Sen. Nunn and others made such a big deal about the campaign promise re: gays in the military during Clinton's transition.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 12:18 PM
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It's odd that new populist Obama isn't really demagoging, or indeed mentioning a all, the environment, the one big issue that (a) has a broad-based classic New Democrat middle class constituency and (b) he is actually doing something (yes insufficient but what isn't) about, through legislature-avoiding administrative action and jackbooted executive fiat of the kind I approve. But while keeping it mostly quiet. This isn't a "bash Obama" or "love Obama" point, it's just something I find interesting.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 12:22 PM
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54: He did. Mention and speak a bit about climate change.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 12:26 PM
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Overview here.

That doesn't go into any detail or make any proposals.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 12:32 PM
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I'm a bit disappointed that Obama didn't take advantage of his lame duck status to go ahead and say "Fuck you, clown" to John Boehner. I guess we still have time.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 12:48 PM
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54. Taking action on climate change is tricky, because it imposes costs without any benefits beyond combating climate change. So Obama, as you note, appears to be doing what he can unilaterally. And he's taking advantage of the big speech to educate the public.

"I've heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they're not scientists; that we don't have enough information to act. Well, I'm not a scientist, either. But you know what -- I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we'll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe."

So he's taking on the issue, and the effectiveness of his speech was endorsed by House Republicans.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 1:22 PM
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58 is probably right.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 1:26 PM
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For what it's worth, Obama did also say this about climate issues:

And that's why, over the past six years, we've done more than ever to combat climate change, from the way we produce energy to the way we use it. That's why we've set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history. And that's why I will not let this Congress endanger the health of our children by turning back the clock on our efforts. I am determined to make sure that American leadership drives international action. (Applause.)
In Beijing, we made a historic announcement: The United States will double the pace at which we cut carbon pollution. And China committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions. And because the world's two largest economies came together, other nations are now stepping up, and offering hope that this year the world will finally reach an agreement to protect the one planet we've got.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 1:36 PM
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He's definitely snubbed climate change in previous SOTU's - I don't think he mentioned it all in 2011 (not coincidentally, that was his worst year as President.) I was reasonably satisfied with the attention it got in this speech, although, of course, even more would have been nicer.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 1:43 PM
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Taking action on climate change is tricky, because it imposes costs without any benefits beyond combating climate change.

Calling 911 when your house is on fire is a bit tricky because it imposes costs without any benefits beyond fighting the fire.

Buying your partner chocolates on their birthday is a bit tricky because it imposes costs without any benefit beyond giving your partner a birthday gift.

Coming in out of the rain is a bit tricky because it commits you to being indoors without any benefits except not getting soaking wet.

I could play this all day.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 2:27 AM
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"I'm a bit disappointed that Obama didn't take advantage of his lame duck status to go ahead and say 'Fuck you, clown' to John Boehner."

"I won both of them" amounts to the same thing, plus it's funnier.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 3:05 AM
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"In 2008, I thought there was a non-trivial chance that Obama would be assassinated. Non-trivial enough to be frightening."

I remember thinking/feeling something similar about Bill Clinton back in 1992. Before Bill, no Democratic president had governed for two full terms since FDR.

If Obama lives as long as Nelson Mandela did, we'll have him around for another 40 years or so. This makes me very happy.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 3:11 AM
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I suppose this is the thread to say that I'm unreasonably happy about Obama refusing to meet with the Republican Senator from Israel.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 4:01 PM
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