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1.) Phil Mickelson, America’s Gerard Depardieu? — French actor Gerard Depardieu protested his country’s confiscatory tax rates and hostile rhetoric towards the rich by leaving the country. Will PGA pro Phil Mickelson pull a Depardieu in the U.S.? TheDC’s Jessica Stanton reports:
“Professional golfer Phil Mickelson told reporters Sunday that he is considering ‘drastic changes’ in response to state and federal income tax hikes — including possibly leaving the United States. … When pressed by reporters about whether those ‘drastic changes’ could include leaving California or even the United States, the four-time major championship winner didn’t foreclose the possibility. But he made clear the reason he is considering such drastic options is the massive tax burden he now shoulders. ‘But if you add up, if you add up all the federal and you look at the disability and the unemployment and the Social Security and the state, my tax rate’s 62, 63 percent. So I’ve got to make some decisions on what I’m going to do,’ said Mickelson.”
Of course, Depardieu lost a bit of his appeal when he left France for the decidedly illiberal Putinastan (i.e. Russia). And abandoning your precious American citizenship over taxes, no matter how unsavory, does seem a bit extreme and even unpatriotic. But leaving California for another state in protest? That sounds more reasonable.
2.) The myth of Obama’s speechifying — George Will says Obama isn’t quite as persuasive as he thinks he is. TheDC’s Jeff Poor reports:
“On this weekend’s broadcast of ABC’s ‘This Week,’ Washington Post columnist George Will raised doubts as to whether President Barack Obama’s gun control proposals will ever become law, even though chief White House adviser David Plouffe vowed legislative reform on the same program. … ‘A durable myth of the Obama presidency, to which Mr. Obama subscribes, is that he’s tremendously persuasive. I don’t think his advocacy of Obamacare and the health care bill supports that. It did pass with chicanery and reconciliation and lots of other things, but he did not move the country, which is what he’s trying to do with the NRA. Obama’s approval rating at this point is 52 percent. The NRA’s approval rating is 54 percent.'”
3.) Piers Morgan, gun-slinger — Piers Morgan may demonize guns on our TV sets every night, but back in Britain, he used to make jokes about shooting people to death. Charles Johnson reports for TheDC:
“CNN host and outspoken gun-control advocate Piers Morgan once joked about shooting professional enemies and separately wrote that he was a ‘rabid fascist’ who wanted burglars tortured after a ‘decent period of cattle-prodding, testicle electrode treatment, and slow gentle skewering over hot coals.’ Morgan’s comments came in an interview with England’s Daily Mail newspaper. They concerned his dismissal as editor of the Daily Mirror, a rival British tabloid, after he was fired for publishing fake photos supposedly showing British soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners. Morgan, wrote Daily Mail reporter Frances Hardy, ‘ruminate[d] merrily’ about things he imagined doing to his professional enemies, including Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson, writer A.A. Gill and editor Ian Hislop. ‘So the real question is, if I had a gun with just two bullets, who would I shoot?’ Morgan said during the May 2006 interview.”
4.) The Biden presidency, also to be known as four years of tears — TheDC’s Alex Pappas has uncovered five signs that seem to suggest the VP man is actually serious about this. Among the signs is that Biden seems to be getting friendly with New Hampshire politicos:
“Among the 120 guests Biden invited to the Naval Observatory on Jan. 20 for his swearing-in for a second term as vice president was New Hampshire Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan. The Granite State traditionally holds the first presidential primary in the nation.”
If Biden goes for it, the campaign season will be spectacular to cover.
6.) Today in North Korean News –BREAKING: “Kim Jong Un’s New Year Address Supported by Kyrgyz Political Figure”