Star Wars?  Eh.  Harrison Ford was good — especially as a sequel to this bit you probably saw with Stephen Colbert — but a seventh one of these?  Really?  OK.  I’ve only spoken to two other (much younger) friends who’ve seen it but both felt about the same way.

The Big Short, by contrast, is so so so so so so good.  And important!  Everyone involved in the disaster — especially the bankers and rating agency executives and mortgage brokers and non-bank bankers — should be forced to see it with their children, wearing hoodies emblazoned: I DID THIS AND ESCAPED PROSECUTION.

This short piece by David Ignatius — though in some ways critical of the President — nails it.

President Obama gave a speech Tuesday at the National Archives that stood in almost perfect counterpoint to the Republican[s]: Against the rising GOP tide of anger toward immigrants, Obama anchored himself among the historical documents that define American tolerance.

. . .

Certainly this was a year in which the president delivered on the rationalist’s agenda, against intense emotional opposition. He achieved an Iran nuclear deal that was bitterly opposed by Israel and the GOP; a Trans-Pacific Partnership on trade rejected by much of his own party; a normalization of relations with Cuba that broke a national political taboo; and a climate change agreement that triumphed over a right-wing cult of rejecting scientific evidence.

This was a good year, you might conclude, for fact-based governance.. . . It’s a paradox that Obama can have so many successes, and yet be seen by some at home and abroad as weak.

. . .

From his first year in office, Obama encountered a raw rejectionism from the Republican right; it wasn’t just criticism of his policies but a challenge to the very legitimacy of his presidency. Many details were fabricated, such as the allegation that he was secretly a Muslim, or that he had been born outside the United States. Yet these themes were repeated so often on conservative talk radio and cable news that they began to constitute an alternative reality.

. . .

Obama has a year remaining in which to craft his message better, so that it reassures and galvanizes a frightened country. That’s his biggest challenge — governing in the age of anxiety.

Worth reading the whole thing.

And here is the President’s own Top Ten List for 2015 — with reason to be hopeful for 2016.  Not to be missed.



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