Obama’s speech last night was, in my opinion, second only to his game-changing speech on race. Here’s the video:

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Obama’s speech last night was, in my opinion, second only to his game-changing speech on race. Here’s the video:

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Obama’s speech last night was, in my opinion, second only to his game-changing speech on race. Here’s the video:

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Republican Governor John Huntsman (from staggeringly conservative Utah) recently lambasted the Republican “leadership” in Congress in some breathtakingly honest remarks. As John Cole opined, sometimes you have to give credit where credit is due:

“I don’t even know the congressional leadership,” Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. told editors and reporters at The Washington Times, shrugging off questions about top congressional Republicans, including House Minority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. “I have not met them. I don’t listen or read whatever it is they say because it is inconsequential – completely”…

“That’s why no one is paying any attention,” he said. “Our moral soapbox was completely taken away from us because of our behavior in the last few years. For us to now criticize analogous behavior is hypocrisy. We’ve got to come at it a different way. We’ve got to prove the point. It can’t be as the Chinese would say, ‘fei hua,’ [or] empty words.”

Good job, Governor. I hope your honest words don’t land you in too much hot water with the nutjob ideologues in your party.

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A scientist responds to Creationists seeking a propaganda exercise debate:

Academic debate on controversial topics is fine, but those topics need to have a basis in reality. I would not invite a creationist to a debate on campus for the same reason that I would not invite an alchemist, a flat-earther, an astrologer, a psychic, or a Holocaust revisionist. These ideas have no scientific support, and that is why they have all been discarded by credible scholars. Creationism is in the same category.

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I don’t know how I missed this polling data from back in December:

Three-quarters of U.S. adults (75%) favor either marriage or domestic partnerships/civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. Only about two in 10 (22%) say gay and lesbian couples should have no legal recognition.

That’s pretty stunning. Three-quarters of Americans favor at least civil unions for gay couples, with only 22% saying that gay people should just go burn in hell already and stop trying to interfere with their God-given right to hate.

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Matt Yglesias put up a thought-provoking graph which illustrates that legalization of pot receives a higher approval rating among Americans than the Republican Party and its leaders:

popularity.png

I wonder what else is more popular than Republicans right now? Repo men? VD?

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This has got to be one of my favorite quotes in a while:

“The president prefers to tell the truth, rather than make the numbers look better by pretending.”

That’s Obama’s OMB Director Peter Orszag on a remarkable step forward toward greater transparency in government that was announced earlier today.

Here’s what happened in a nutshell. Over the last eight years, whenever Bush submitted a proposed budget to Congress, he intentionally hid hundreds of billions of dollars in spending (for things like, say, the Iraq War) as so-called “off-budget” items. This was done with the intent of making Bush’s budgets seem way smaller than they really were.

What Obama has now done is to do away with all that. His budgets will now include all budget spending and will no longer hide countless billions in an “off budget” footnote.

Here’s Steve Benen:

It’s about damn time. The smoke-and-mirrors approach to which we’ve grown accustomed was ridiculous. It was a problem policymakers recognized, but didn’t want to talk about, and had no interest in fixing. It’s not only heartening to see Obama bring some sanity to the process, it will also have key practical consequences — honest budgets lead to better policy making.

Noam Scheiber added that it will be “kinda helpful to have a budget that actually means something when you’re debating public policy,” and added the political upside to using honest budget numbers for a change: “Why not make the long-term deficit look as large as possible at the beginning of your term? Not only can you fairly blame your predecessor at that point; the bigger the deficit looks, the easier it is to show progress, which Obama will need to do as he runs for re-election. To take one example, you can’t claim savings from drawing down in Iraq if you don’t put Iraq spending on the budget in the first place (which Bush mostly didn’t).”

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