Quick Takes

* Here is the post-SOTU discussion between Paul Glastris – editor-in-chief of the Washington Monthly – and Julie Mason.

* Charles Pierce notes that while a lot of pundits are saying that a part of President Obama’s speech last night was directed at Trump without particularly naming him, part of it was also directed at SCOTUS without naming them…this part:

And if we want a better politics, it’s not enough to just change a Congressman or a Senator or even a President; we have to change the system to reflect our better selves. We have to end the practice of drawing our congressional districts so that politicians can pick their voters, and not the other way around. We have to reduce the influence of money in our politics…We’ve got to make voting easier, not harder, and modernize it for the way we live now.

On that last one, let’s hope POTUS reads Phil Keisling’s article in the current edition of the Washington Monthly about the benefits of universal vote by mail.

* Esther Yu-Hsi Lee notes that there was a striking difference between the GOP SOTU response given in English by Gov. Nikki Haley and the Spanish version from Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart. On the topic of immigration, here’s what Gov. Haley said:

At the same time, that does not mean we just flat out open our borders. We can’t do that. We cannot continue to allow immigrants to come here illegally. And in this age of terrorism, we must not let in refugees whose intentions cannot be determined.

And here’s how Rep. Diaz-Balart framed the issue:

It’s essential that we find a legislative solution to protect our nation, defend our borders, offer a permanent and humane solution to those who live in the shadows, respect the rule of law, modernize the visa system and push the economy forward.

* Steve Benen catches Speaker Paul Ryan speaking some gibberish about the economy.

According to the transcript, via Nexis, a reporter asked Ryan if he believes the president “deserves any credit at all” for economic improvements. The Republican Speaker responded, “I think the Federal Reserve has done more. And by the way, I think the Federal Reserve has given us, in combination with Obama policies, more regulations, higher taxes, more uncertainty; has given us trickle-down economics.”…

As for the GOP leader’s complaints about “trickle-down economics,” this really is through-the-looking-glass rhetoric, even by 2016 standards. We’re talking about a lawmaker whose claim to fame is a budget plan that rewards the very wealthy with massive tax breaks – while slashing domestic spending – in the hopes that prosperity will eventually reach everyone once the rich has even more money in their pockets.

Paul Ryan doesn’t get to complain about trickle-down economics; Paul Ryan is a champion of trickle-down economics.

* What have I been saying for weeks now about superpacs?

Major GOP donors and fundraisers are wondering whether they’re wasting their money on super-PACs…

“People are upset about the Citizens United decision; people are upset about all this money flowing into politics, but at the end of the day it has no impact,” said New York financier Anthony Scaramucci, who was a national finance co-chair for Scott Walker’s presidential campaign before moving to raise funds for Bush when Walker quit the race…

Jordan, the Rubio supporter, says the conservative donors he talks to “are in the head-scratching phase.

They haven’t figured out what is going on,” he said. “They just know that the usual stuff is not working.

* Anne Kim writes that because infected workers account for the majority of food borne illnesses, paid sick leave would keep all of us healthier.

* Finally, here’s one more look at last night’s SOTU. Damon Young has some fun with the question: Exactly How Black Was President Obama’s Final State of the Union Address?

…by virtue of being the first — and probably the last for a while — Black president, everything he does at this point is demonstratively and unambiguously Black by default. The only question is the degree of Blackness.

Which brings us back to the State of the Union address. We know it was Black, but exactly how Black was it? On the Blackness scale from one (Rachel Dolezal) to 10 (Marcus Garvey), where did it rate? Let’s see!

To give you some idea of the rating system Young uses, here are a couple of examples:

Being extremely proud that gas was under $2 a gallon: Remember, President Obama isn’t just Black. He’s a middle-aged Black man. And no one has ever been happier about anything than middle-aged Black men get about cheap gas. This alone is worth 23 Black points.

Literally says “Ask Osama bin Laden about me“: You know how Black it is to tell someone to ask a dead person a question about you? I don’t know either. But I do know it’s pretty damn Black, and worth at least 70 Black points.

Check it out and enjoy!

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .