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A Week of Ironies — Iranian Hostages, Nikki Haley, and $1.5 Billion

US-Sailors-Iran-KerryIn his State of the Union speech, President Obama patted himself on the back for making peace with Iran while, at that very moment, Iran held 10 American sailors in violation of international law and the Geneva Convention.  The next day, Secretary John Kerry thanked the Iranians for not keeping the servicemen as hostages.

In the same speech, the president also lamented his failure to create an atmosphere of bipartisanship and cooperation, while passing up no opportunity to snipe at everyone who disagrees with him.

After South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley responded to the president’s address, the angriest voices loudly condemned her  for condemning the angriest voices.

Hillary Clinton, who can boast the lowest national rating on trustworthiness since Richard Nixon, dismissed a new FBI investigation into her mishandling of classified information by declaring “that’s just not the way I treated classified information.”  Transparency, at last.

falling dollarsHowever, none of this made much of an impression on an American public entranced by the dream of winning a 1.5 billion dollar lottery, even though about half of multimillion-dollar lottery winners eventually admit that sudden wealth proved more of a curse than a blessing.

Now that three winners are going to share the unprecedented payoff, they might want to take a page from the book of a middle-aged man in Atlanta who, back in the 1990s, won a $4 million dollar lottery – what was an exceptional amount for the time.

The winner had been working a double shift as a garbage collector.  When asked what he intended to do after winning so much money, the man replied, “I’m going to quit one of my shifts.”

“Only one?” asked the incredulous reporter.

“A man has to have work,” replied the new millionaire.

State of the Union: Four Faces of Leadership

1390825330401.cachedIf we need another example of how upside-down our culture has become, we only have to look at the hype leading up to tonight’s State of the Union address by soon-to-be Former President Barack Obama. Even as the pundits all agree that the speech will be largely irrelevant and predictable, they can find little else to talk about.

Mr. Obama is expected to tell us how wonderful things are, how many of his goals he has achieved, and how much the quality of our lives has improved since he took office.  The success of such an approach depends upon one of three factors:


  • that his claims are actually true;
  • that he can convince the people that his claims are actually true;
  • that he can pound home the message (with the cooperation of an obsequious media) until people think there must be something wrong with them if they don’t believe it.


Whether the president succeeds or not remains to be seen.  But it’s illuminating to compare his style to other presidents and presidential hopefuls, past and present.

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