More

Politics Aside, President Obama Just Beautifully Articulated What America Is

I'm not suggesting that I agree with all of Barack Obama's policies. In fact, I think a good number of them are detestable, ineffective, and sometimes even frightening. I believe in being relentlessly critical of power, no matter who wields it. You might even say I'm something of a cynic. That, however, is why even I couldn't help but giggle with delight at most of the President's second inaugural address. Really, he is an outstanding orator — one of our very finest. And he gets just about everything right in this speech. Sure, you might say, it's just empty rhetoric, just some pretty but shallow words floating above the reality of broken government and a divided America. But hearing the President speak so confidently and righteously about this country… well, it gives me hope.I know, I know — that's, like, his “thing." But there's so much more truth in this speech than vacuous slogans or shallow public image-crafting that even cynics like me are forced, begrudgingly, to remember that hope is real and reigns eternal. If you don't, you're doing it wrong.

Politics Aside, President Obama Just Beautifully Articulated What America Is




At 2:08, and with a charming turn of phrase, President Obama humbly reminds us Americans that the Constitution isn't some computer program that the Founding Fathers simply pressed “Run" to make magically work forever.




At 3:29, to the shock of everyone except Alex Jones, Obama admits he is a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary and intends to establish something he calls “Socialism with American characteristics." Just kidding. Actually he just says that America isn't about letting oligarchs gamble away the nation's wealth while letting disadvantaged people die in the gutter, all in the name of some mutated “liberty."





Plus, at 4:00, he basically says that conservatives are right about a lot of things.




At 6:27, he says some really reasonable things that reasonable people probably all found really decent and reasonable. Too bad those sorts of people don't have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.




At 7:10, Obama delivers a really great line that atheists and believers alike will swoon at.




At 8:15, you can hear the sound of every member of Congress's mind being blown, all at once.




At 9:13, you can hear the sound of every Ayn Rand-worshiping economist's mind being blown, all at once.




At 9:52, President Obama says something really important and good that you should agree with unless you don't understand that scientists aren't, in fact, magicians who conjure up whatever they want.




At 11:07, President Obama says something about “perpetual war," and every human being should hope he's being sincere.




At 13:22, he says something so amazingly beautiful and good that he spontaneously blasts off from the stage and up into the Canon of Great Orators.




At 14:27, President Obama acknowledges, finally, that the struggle of LGBTQ* folks are irrevocably part of any broader fight for civil rights. If only I could make text roar with applause.




At 16:30, President Obama drops some truth on our miserable Congress yet shows some stunning humility.



No matter what ideology you subscribe to, no matter what you think of the President's policies, this speech is worth watching and worth taking seriously. Watch it, share it.

Albert Einstein

One of the strangest things about being human is that people of lesser intelligence tend to overestimate how smart they are and people who are highly intelligent tend to underestimate how smart they are.

This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect and it’s proven every time you log onto Facebook and see someone from high school who thinks they know more about vaccines than a doctor.

The interesting thing is that even though people are poor judges of their own smarts, we’ve evolved to be pretty good at judging the intelligence of others.

“Such findings imply that, in order to be adaptive, first impressions of personality or social characteristics should be accurate,” a study published in the journal Intelligence says. “There is accumulating evidence that this is indeed the case—at least to some extent—for traits such as intelligence extraversion, conscientiousness, openness, and narcissism, and even for characteristics such as sexual orientation, political ideology, or antigay prejudice.”

Keep Reading Show less

'Merry Christmas' on YouTube.

The world must have been—mostly—good this year. Because Elton John and Ed Sheeran have teamed up to gift us all with a brand new Christmas single.

The song, aptly named “Merry Christmas,” is a perfect blend of silly and sweet that’s cheery, bright and just a touch bizarre.

Created with the holiday spirit in every way, it has whimsical snowball fights, snow angels (basically all the snow things), festive sweaters, iconic throwbacks and twinkling lights galore. Plus all profits from the tune are dedicated to two charities: the Ed Sheeran Suffolk Music Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

I personally don’t know which is more of a highlight: Ed Sheeran channeling his inner-Mariah, performing a faux sexy dance in a leg revealing Santa outfit, or him flying through the air with a giant Frosty the Snowman … who seems to be sporting glasses similar to Elton’s. Are we meant to believe that Elton is the Snowman? This music video even has mystery.
Keep Reading Show less