In his final State of the Union address, President Obama admits a single 'regret.'

President Obama delivered his final State of the Union address last night.

It was full of rousing moments, brutal mic drops, and two appearances of the phrase "pass muster," which gave the whole thing a nice Gatsby feel.

While a lot of important issues were addressed, like terrorism and curing cancer, some were not — abortion rights and police brutality to name a few.


Obama delivering his final State of the Union address. Photo by Evan Vucci/Getty Images.

One topic Obama brought up toward the end carried with it his only use of the word "regret."

"Democracy breaks down when the average person feels their voice doesn’t matter; that the system is rigged in favor of the rich or the powerful or some narrow interest. Too many Americans feel that way right now. It’s one of the few regrets of my presidency  —  that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better."

It's not often you hear a president use the word "regret."

He's expressed frustration at gun control and in 2015 said that he wishes he closed Guantanamo Bay on his first day in office.

But for Obama to express regret in his final address, before all of congress and America, is a pretty big deal.

Especially since the issue at the heart of his regret is one we hear about often — divisiveness and partisanship in Congress and in this country.

Americans, more than ever, feel divided and that their voices simply aren't being heard the way they used to.

According to a recent CNN poll, 75% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the government is being run. That's a huge problem in a country that is supposed to be "of the people."

From billionaire bankers who can crash the economy without spending a second in jail, to corporate CEOs who can buy and sell presidential candidates to unarmed black men being killed by police on sight — and those cops who never see a day in court because of a system of politics that protects them — it's pretty easy to see why people aren't feeling just dissatisfied but completely unmotivated.

Most Americans look at the scope and scale of the problems this country faces and just aren't sure they can do anything about it.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's election in 2013 received record-low voter turnout. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

Voter turnout is on the decline in presidential elections, and in local and primary elections, turnout has been abysmal. Not to mention even if people do turn out to vote, politicians have gerrymandered districts, something the president called for an end to in his State of the Union, or as he described it, "the practice of drawing our congressional districts so that politicians can pick their voters and not the other way around."

Once again, in a country that elects its leaders to represent them, this is — to put it lightly — not good.

But there may be one silver lining to this problem, in the form of millennial voters.

According to a poll conducted by Rock the Vote and USA Today, millennial voters (the country's largest demographic) no longer reliably identify as liberal or conservative.

Millennials are more likely to cast their votes based on issues, not candidates, and their political alignments reflect a need for radical systemic change rather than just another party politician.

It might explain why there's so much support for Bernie Sanders, a candidate who, much like Obama eight years ago, many young voters believe carries with him the radical change they're looking for.

On the other hand, it could also explain millennial Republicans' support for Donald Trump, a candidate who also represents an anti-establishment ideology.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is surging in popularity just ahead of the Iowa Caucus. Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.

Maybe that's what bridging this almighty divide will look like. Voters turning out to voice their concern on specific issues and candidates who, as a result, have to be representatives of the people first and politicians second. As it should be.

This is what one of the most powerful world leaders, the president of the United States, says he regrets not being able to change in his years in office.

Of course, the president went on to say that he would do his best in his remaining year in office to address this problem.

"There’s no doubt a president with the gifts of Lincoln or Roosevelt might have better bridged the divide, and I guarantee I’ll keep trying to be better so long as I hold this office."

He went on to say that what's necessary is a change of the entire system, an end to practices like gerrymandering that will help us "to reflect our better selves."

But the president's call to action is significant because the people, with a united voice, are one thing that's more powerful than he is.

With an election coming up this year, the voice of the American people has the potential to be louder than it ever has. As the president noted in his closing paragraphs, it's not enough to just sit at home and be frustrated.

More
Youtube

Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

Most Shared
via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

Keep Reading Show less
Family