The Art of Power and House of Cards

Art of Power - Thomas Jefferson

All too will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression. Let us then, fellow citizens, unite with one heart and one mind, let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty, and even life itself, are but dreary things. And let us reflect that having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance, as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions…but every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all republicans: we are all federalists. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union, or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it.  – Thomas Jefferson, 1st inaugural address, 1801

Such measured, unifying, moderate words from the same man who also remarked of his political rivals, the Federalists and Monarchists, “Their leaders are a hospital of incurables and as such are entitled to be protected and taken care of as other insane persons are.”  Sounds like big government socialism to me!  Taking care of the insane, indeed!

These are but a few of the engaging, enlightening, entertaining, astounding words taken straight from Jefferson in Jon Meacham’s masterful biography, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power.

I swear to god by the end of this magnificent tome where Meacham describes Jefferson’s granddaughter in a dreamlike state wandering the vast empty rooms of Monticello following her grandfather’s death, I too was swept up in an all encompassing reverie where Terrence Malick was directing the story of Jefferson’s life and the images from Jefferson’s earliest memory of being lifted upon a pillow to a slave on horseback to his final moments with yet another slave dedicated at his bedside – all of his life – flashed before me in a cacophonous stream-of-consciousness scored by Micheal Nyman.

This biography is that intimate…that transportive…full of excerpts from letters, diaries, reports both second and first hand from those closest to him, from family and friends, from foreign diplomats, from rivals and scoundrels, even from his own slaves.  Continue reading

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State of the Union Drinking Game V. 2010

"Look...guys, relax...you know I still got this....right?"

Hope…where have ye gone?  Back to Arkansas?  Did you take the Laughter with you, Hope?  Were you shot in the face at the Crawford Ranch?  I sure do miss the good ol’ days of Bubba…and Dubya…when we could all laugh our problems away. 

I wrestled for a long time with putting up a drinking game for the 2010 State of the Union which will air live this Wednesday night, January 27th at 9pm EST. 

The ‘Spin has come a long way from the days of playing “Bush or Chimp” during past States of the Union. 

I feel maybe I’ve grown up some in the past few years…or maybe the country has.  Or maybe politics just aren’t funny these days.  There’s not much to laugh about with an economy still in shambles, wars still ongoing, Tea Parties gaining traction and a non-functioning and totally inept Congress that can’t get anything done. 

But I’d be a fool to overlook the fact that when my 2008 Presidential Debate Drinking Game appeared as a top link on The Huffington Post website, it was the first time The Schleicher Spin was put on the map.  To this day, despite all my literary and film-based blathering, that ridiculous thing remains my most popular post ever.

So, what the hell…if this is the new Great Depression…then consider Prohibition repealed, and let’s make COCO proud… Continue reading

State of the Union Drinking Game 2008

President George W. (Dubya) Bush will be delivering his State of the Union Address this Monday Night, January 28th, 2008 at 9pm EST. 

Unlike last year, there is some cause for celebration as this will be the last address Dubya will deliver as President.  Still, he has plenty of time to muck things up, so with equal parts fear and joy, the only way to get through this is to drink up!

Those who got drunk with me last year will notice a return of many of last year’s favorite rules, but stay focused, there’s much CHANGE from last year, and remember, folks, we all love the buzzword of CHANGE!

Here are the rules for The State of the Union Drinking Game, version 2008, Last Year of the Dubya: Continue reading