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Posts from 2011 January

By Brendan Loy

From a FiveThirtyEight post on presidential approval ratings and re-election chances, a nifty chart:

appre4

“What does this mean for Barack Obama?” Nate Silver asks rhetorically, then answers:

Right now, we’re still in the period where the most useful number for estimating his re-election chances is not his approval rating but rather the historical track record of incumbent presidents. … [S]ince the Civil War, 73 percent of incumbent presidents who sought another term won, as have 70 percent since World War II.” Obama’s current approval ratings suggest “a 65 percent likelihood of re-election — but again, this is a really rough guess, based mostly on the high historical batting average for incumbents rather than anything to do with Mr. Obama himself.

FWIW, Intrade is just slightly less bullish on Obama, giving him roughly a 60% chance.

By Brendan Loy

At the end of a fantastic column about Egypt, Ross Douthat says something I was trying to say recently, and says it better:

The long-term consequences of a more populist and nationalistic Egypt might be better for the United States than the stasis of the Mubarak era, and the terrorism that it helped inspire. But then again they might be worse. There are devils behind every door.

Americans don’t like to admit this. We take refuge in foreign policy systems: liberal internationalism or realpolitik, neoconservatism or noninterventionism. We have theories, and expect the facts to fall into line behind them. Support democracy, and stability will take care of itself. Don’t meddle, and nobody will meddle with you. International institutions will keep the peace. No, balance-of-power politics will do it.

But history makes fools of us all. We make deals with dictators, and reap the whirlwind of terrorism. We promote democracy, and watch Islamists gain power from Iraq to Palestine. We leap into humanitarian interventions, and get bloodied in Somalia. We stay out, and watch genocide engulf Rwanda. We intervene in Afghanistan and then depart, and watch the Taliban take over. We intervene in Afghanistan and stay, and end up trapped there, with no end in sight.

Sooner or later, the theories always fail. The world is too complicated for them, and too tragic. History has its upward arcs, but most crises require weighing unknowns against unknowns, and choosing between competing evils.

Read the whole thing.

[Cross-posted from Pioneer Pulse.]

By Brendan Loy DU

Denver got a Mean Green monkey off its back Saturday, winning for the first time in six tries against defending Sun Belt champion North Texas — and cementing a commanding West Division lead in the process.

The Pioneers bounced back impressively from an early 11-3 deficit, winning convincingly at home by a final margin of 80-67. Junior guard Brian Stafford, seen below battling UNT’s Josh White for a loose ball, led the way with 21 points.

IMG_7033.JPG

The victory, combined with Arkansas State’s win later Saturday at Arkansas-Little Rock, means Denver now leads by three games in the loss column over its nearest competitors in the Sun Belt West. Midway through its 16-game Sun Belt season, Denver is 7-1 in conference play; every other team in the division has at least 4 league losses.

Continue reading »

2 Comments  |  Categories: Pioneer Pulse

By Brendan Loy

I’m not paying nearly enough attention to events in Egypt, but from the tweets I’m seeing here & there, it’s clear that things are pretty damn serious. What I can’t figure out is whether I should be #PANIC!!!-ing (instability!), rejoicing (democracy!), or both. Anyway, here’s a live feed of Al Jazeera English (though it may be shut down soon, apparently).

[Cross-posted from Pioneer Pulse.]

By Brendan Loy DU

It’s cliché to say this, and perhaps foolhardy to do so in advance, but Saturday’s game at Magness Arena against North Texas — a team that’s beaten Denver five times in a row, dating back to February 2008 — feels very much like a potential turning point in the Pioneers’ season, for good or ill.

Continue reading »

2 Comments  |  Categories: Pioneer Pulse

By Brendan Loy

Mickey Kaus says it better than me:

[Tuesday] night Obama staked “his claim to decades of well-worn political detritus,” writes Ed Kilgore, who accurately notes that the president’s plans “could easily have been harvested from any number of interchangeable speeches given during the last 20 years—not just by presidents but by members of Congress, governors, mayors, and CEOs—from both parties.”

A brilliant move, Kilgore argues. By talking grandly and optimistically while embracing some “small familiar ideas for creating jobs and growth,” Obama is forcing the GOP to either go after Social Security and Medicare on their own—which is very perilous to a party whose base has become older voters—or demand unprecedented cuts for those popular public investments that were the centerpiece of his speech.

Kilgore’s right, I think, as a matter of political strategy. If the economy keeps growing, Obama’s new, comfortingly mainstream platform of familiar locker-room exhortations and familiar medium-sized plans will be hard to beat. But as a matter of governing it’s fundamentally irresponsible, because it leaves to Republicans the unpopular job of cleaning up the country’s fiscal mess, which means we’re less likely to even make a start at it until 2013 at best. (If Obama has the electoral upper hand on the budget-cutting question, why would it make political sense for him to cut a grand deal before the election? It’s more likely Republicans will back off.)

I’m not saying Obama’s (and Bush’s) stimulus spending and health care spending wasn’t justified. I’m saying at some point soon we’re supposed to bring deficits back into a normal range. Obama used to talk as if his idea was to spend in the short term and balance the budget in the long term. That’s gone. Last night he sided with the left and the pollsters against significant cuts in Social Security—as Kilgore put it, he’s “refused to offer Republicans the cover they crave for ‘entitlement reform.’” Cutting deficits costs votes, a mistake Ronald Reagan for one learned not to make (at least not without a Social Security crisis) before coasting to a second term in 1984. In essence, the president seems to have chosen his own reelection over the nation’s long-term economic security. Obama comes first. The future he is winning is his own.

Like I said: a typical politician, putting his short-term interests ahead of the country’s long-term interests, like they all do. He was supposed to be the Chosen One? Well, he’s not.

By Brendan Loy

He was epic, as per usual, last night against #4 San Diego State:

Yeah, I think I need to go this guy in person. Remember when Becky and I almost impulsively drove from South Bend to Spokane to see Adam Morrison and the Zags? Well, this is sort of like that, except this time, I only have to drive to either Laramie or Colorado Springs. I can’t miss the opportunity, I just can’t.

My Laramie-to-Fort-Collins Excellent Adventure may be derailed, though, by Colorado State not letting ticketholders in after halftime — I need to call and check. If that’s the case, then I guess I need to start working on those spousal brownie points ahead of some February 9-10 back-to-back basketball at AFA and DU. :)

(Video courtesy The Big Lead, via @slmandel.)

Meanwhile, tonight vs. St. Mary’s is a near must-win for shockingly bubblicious Gonzaga.

4 Comments  |  Categories: College Basketball

By Brendan Loy

Curated and elaborated from my Twitter stream, here are some raw, incomplete, somewhat disjointed thoughts on last night’s State of the Union address:

After that underwhelming speech, I have little hope for 2011 and, of course, none for 2012. Obama failed to inspire or lead. And so the nation creeps ever closer to its day of fiscal reckoning, with no one apparently willing to make us make the hard choices. #PANIC

I don’t mean “no hope for 2012″ in reference to Obama’s re-election bid, by the way. I mean agenda-wise. Nothing will get done in 2012, because it’s a presidential election year, so the only hope to credibly tackle the long-term deficit during Obama’s first term is/was to address it head-on now and make it a priority in 2011. Obama touched on it last night, but made no concrete proposals and declined to endorse any of his commission’s politically difficult options. Instead he did what politicians always do, proposing short-term deficit measures that are either nonspecific (across-the-board spending freeze!), relatively painless (no more pork! eliminate waste!), or both. Above all, they’re measures that will do precious little to actually solve the problem they’re being offered as solutions to.

Yes, Obama acknowledged that his proposals only address a small percentage of the budget. That, at least, makes him a bit more honest than much of the GOP, which seems endlessly willing to use the public’s inability to process the difference between millions, billions and trillions to its advantage. (OMG, we’re wasting tens of millions of dollars on Fannie Mae legal bills! We should stop doing that! Look at me, I’m a deficit hawk!) But despite acknowledging that long-term structural deficits are the core of the problem, Obama didn’t propose anything to address them. He only paid them lip-service, neither offering nor endorsing any potential solutions (not even kinda sorta quasi-specific ones!). And he took several options off the table. Thus, in terms of actual proposals, Obama’s deficit cutting agenda is Republican Lite. Totally unserious, focused on the small-bore and short-term instead of the big-picture and long-term. By endorsing an earmark ban, a spending freeze, etc., he vindicates GOP bulls**t instead of pivoting to the real problem (long-term structural deficits).

He needed to call GOP’s bluff, to call out its ridiculous focus on short-term deficits and small-bore measures. Instead he joined ‘em. He needed to say, OK, so you’re deficit hawks and Tea Partiers? Great, let’s make X, Y & Z painful choices to fix the long-term budget. Challenge them to come along with him, or face presidential scorn and mockery for their hypocrisy if they don’t. If necessary, go over Congress’s heads, like Reagan did, and use his soaring rhetoric and communication skills to sell the public on the necessity of making these hard choices now (a tall order, I know, but if he’s not going to try it, who will?). Instead he said, meh, we gotta do something, I haz a commission, they said some stuff, let’s think about it some more. Tom Coburn is right: he voted present.

Obama has said he’d rather be a one-term president who gets things done than a two-termer who doesn’t. After last night, I say: “YOU LIE!” What we needed was rare, courageous leadership from him. What we got was politics as usual. Where we’re going is Hell in a handbasket. After last night’s speech, I’m more convinced than ever that we’re going to #LoseTheFuture.

Obama was supposed to be different. If I may channel Obi-wan for a moment: “You were supposed to be the Chosen One!!!” ;) Instead, he’s just a typical politician, doing the easy/obvious thing and trying to position himself to get re-elected. #FAIL

(Or, as Becky put it, “The Budget Deficit: brought to you by bloated entitlements that neither party has the political courage to address. #DemFAIL #GOPFAIL.”)

See also, everything Ross Douthat said:

If you were a visitor from Mars, watching tonight’s State of the Union address and Paul Ryan’s Republican response, you would have no reason to think that the looming insolvency of our entitlement system lies at the heart of the economic challenges facing the United States over the next two decades. From President Obama, we heard a reasonably eloquent case for center-left technocracy and industrial policy, punctuated by a few bipartisan flourishes, in which the entitlement issue felt like an afterthought: He took note of the problem, thanked his own fiscal commission for their work without endorsing any of their recommendations, made general, detail-free pledges to keep Medicare and Social Security solvent (but “without slashing benefits for future generations”), and then moved swiftly on to the case for tax reform. Tax reform is important, of course, and so are education and technological innovation and infrastructure and all the other issues that the president touched on in this speech. But it was still striking that in an address organized around the theme of American competitiveness, which ran to almost 7,000 words and lasted for an hour, the president spent almost as much time talking about solar power as he did about the roots of the nation’s fiscal crisis.

Ryan’s rejoinder was more urgent and more focused: America’s crippling debt was an organizing theme, and there were warnings of “painful austerity measures” and a looming “day of reckoning.” But his remarks, while rhetorically effective, were even more vague about the details of that reckoning than the president’s address. Ryan owes his prominence, in part, to his willingness to propose a very specific blueprint for addressing the entitlement system’s fiscal woes. But in his first big moment on the national stage, the words “Medicare” and “Social Security” did not pass the Wisconsin congressman’s lips.

None of this was particularly surprising. It’s clear that both parties have decided that a period of divided government twelve months before a presidential election is the wrong time to make big moves on entitlements and the deficit. Better to wait, jockey for position, and hope that the correlation of forces after 2012 will be more favorable to their preferred solutions. And it’s clear, too, that they’ve decided (with honorable exceptions) that it’s too risky to even begin building support for the unpopular cuts or tax increases ahead. The bet, on both sides, is that there’s still time to work with, and that the other party will blink, or at least give ground, before the real crunch arrives.

Let’s hope they’re right.

I have little hope of that. There’s always another election less than two years away. I thought 2011 might be the year Obama would seize the moment and show his true leadership. Will 2013 instead be that year? Maybe, but ugh, I’m done giving free passes to this guy based on the potential that he might show real seriousness at some point. If he’s still our last best hope, and he may be, it’s only because the alternatives are so poor. (But cf., Mitch Daniels ‘12?) For the first time, though, I fairly strongly suspect that Obama is not the right man for this moment. Would McCain have been better? Certainly not. Hillary? I dunno. But Obama is looking more and more like an near-perfect example of squandered potential. And America really can’t afford that right now.

P.S. Clive Crook: “[T]his was not the speech of a president focused, as Mr. Obama should be, on the country’s fiscal condition. He expressed concern about it, but no great sense of urgency. The thrust of the speech, in fact, pushed the other way. … Did he start to prepare the country for the coming fiscal restraint? The ‘Sputnik moment’ says no. Did he give even an outline of the path back to fiscal control? No.”

P.P.S. Reason’s Matt Welch:

[A]s Rep. Paul Ryan rightly emphasized last night, the only real policy issue in America right now is that we are on the verge of fiscal catastrophe because cannot afford the government we’re paying for today, let alone the one we’re promising for tomorrow. And the president, though he is much more serious on this issue than a huge swath of his political party, is nonetheless not remotely serious about this issue. Vowing to cut $400 billion over 10 years (a plan that, judging by the two people clapping when he proposed it, will likely be cut to ribbons if it survives through Congress), at a moment when the deficit for this year is more than three times that, indicates that Democrats (and a helluva lot of Republicans as well) are hunkering down in our awful status quo–half-heartedly tinkering around the edges of spending, making incremental changes this way and that, then launching new moonshots and redoubling old impotent efforts. Politicians have put us on the precipice of financial ruin, and they show no indication of doing a damned thing about it.

And I think they know it. Look at the plaintive, semi-desperate, Stuart Smalleyesque mantra Obama kept repeating at the end: “We do big things.” By his insistence his anxiety shall be revealed. We don’t do big things, America, not in the moonshotty Marshall Plan way of speechwriters’ cliche box. Increasingly, we don’t do little things, either — like keeping libraries open five days a week in California. What we do is snarf up ever-larger portions of your grandkids’ money for purposes that are usually obscure and often criminal. …

No, these people are not serious about the task at hand. The state of our union, as measured by the competence of people in power, is a f***ing disgrace.

P.P.P.S. More good analysis from Doug Mataconis.

By Brendan Loy

Like I said earlier, I’m not sure how much live-tweeting I’ll do during the SOTU tonight. But to the extent I do tweet it — and also, to the extent Becky tweets it — our tweets will appear in the CiL window below. You can join in the conversation by tweeting something “@brendanloy” (or “@MileHighBecky“); those reply tweets, too, will appear below.

By Brendan Loy

Twas the night before SOTU, and all through the House
Not a member was stirring, not even to grouse.
The prompters were hung ‘fore the podium with care
In hopes that Obama soon would be there.

The partisans, nestled all snug in their beds,
dreamed of cross-the-aisle prom dates to enhance #NewTone cred.
And Bachmann, the wingnut, and Boehner, the sap,
had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.

–me, last night, on Twitter

I’m not sure how much live-blogging/tweeting of the State of the Union I’ll do tonight. Maybe a lot, maybe only a little; I haven’t decided yet. My parents are in town, and will be watching with us, so that’s one factor. Another factor is how successfully we’re able to manage the conflict between the speech and the girls’ bedtimes. Still another factor is that I might like to actually listen to the speech, and live-tweeting tends to equal live-snarking, which is a very different way of experiencing a speech from actual, honest-to-goodness listening. But, who am I kidding, I’ll end up live-tweeting at least somewhat. Even if I plan not to, I’ll grab my iPhone or laptop the instant Boehner makes a face or Biden yawns or the camera pans to some bipartisan odd couple sitting together awkwardly. I can’t help myself. :)

In any event, until the big event this evening, this thread is your venue to talk about the speech: What do you expect? What are you hoping for? What should Obama say? What will he say? Why is Wisconsin men’s basketball coach Bo Ryan giving the Republican response? (What? Paul Ryan? Oh. Never mind.) What sort of crazy s**t will Michele Bachmann say in the Tea Party Response? Why isn’t Bernie Sanders giving a Socialist Response? Which member of the Cabinet will skip the speech? Will the Supreme Court show up? What random members of the public will Obama point out during the speech? How drunk will people get if they play the SOTU drinking game? (Hint: very.) Make no mistake: there’s a lot to talk about. So let me be clear: comment away!

[Cross-posted from Pioneer Pulse.]

By Brendan Loy DU

TUESDAY UPDATE: It sounds like this was a false alarm. Here’s the official statement from the Mountain West Board of Directors:

Over the past two days, the Board of Directors has engaged in a very thorough discussion of several key topics pertinent to the future of the Mountain West Conference. This has included, but not been limited to, issues related to television, the Bowl Championship Series and membership. The Board feels strongly the membership configuration already established going forward creates outstanding prospects for future success. In addition, we are continuing with our strategic initiatives related to our television partnerships and the MWC’s efforts to effect change in the BCS structure. The Board is excited about what is undoubtedly a bright future for the Conference.

In other words, no expansion right now. So… uh… never mind! (The WAC-enstein Zombie: IT’S ALIIIIIIIVE!!!!!!!) Original post below.

Continue reading »

33 Comments  |  Categories: Pioneer Pulse

By Brendan Loy

This evening, I went with my parents (who are in town visiting), Kristy and V to hear Brian Clancy, a local Irish pub singer — no relation to the Clancies of Makem/Clancy fame, though he sings a lot of their stuff — sing at the Irish Snug. During his second set, he sang “The Old Dun Cow,” a very funny song about a pub catching fire (and everyone running to the basement to drink up the booze). Here’s the chorus:

There was Brown! Where? Upside down!
Lappin’ up the whiskey on the floor.
“Booze, booze!” the firemen cried
As they came knockin’ on the door
Oh don’t let ‘em in till it’s all drunk up
Somebody shouted MacIntyre! (MACINTYRE!)
And we all got blue-blind paralytic drunk
When the Old Dun Cow caught fire.

And then — true story — maybe 20 or 30 seconds after Clancy stopped singing, before he’d even started the next song, the fire alarms went off.

As my tweet says: “And we all got blue-blind paralytic drunk when The Irish Snug caught fire!!!”

Well, not really. The show was halted (and replaced by recorded music to help drown out the screeching alarm) for maybe 15 minutes, as the Fire Department came to the scene and checked things out. There was no fire, and everything was fine; I’m not sure what caused the alarm to sound, but the firefighters promptly turned it off, which allowed Clancy to resume his show.

But regardless, wow, what awesome timing! LOL! As you can see above, I took a bunch of video, which I then mixed together on the spot, using iMovie on my iPhone, and tweeted within maybe a half-hour of the incident, while still at the pub listening to Clancy. Note: technology is amazing.

No Comments  |  Categories: Colorado, Music

[Cross-posted from Pioneer Pulse.]

By Brendan Loy DU

Just two days after their euphoric 38-point home win over Arkansas State, the Denver Pioneers fell back to earth with a 59-49 road loss to Middle Tennessee State, ending their eight-game winning streak and giving them their first loss in Sun Belt play. I wasn’t able to watch the game, but DU committed 20 turnovers and allowed 16 offensive rebounds, which pretty much tells the tale.

Denver is now 6-1 in conference and 10-10 overall, heading into a crucial showdown next Saturday with division rival North Texas, which is 5-2 in conference and 16-4 overall, at DU’s Magness Arena. (The teams will play again in Denton, TX on February 26.) The Sun Belt West appears, for the moment anyway, to be a two-team battle between the Pioneers and the Mean Green, with Arkansas-Little Rock now having 3 losses and everyone else having 4 or more.

1 Comment  |  Categories: Pioneer Pulse

By David K.

MSNBC talk-show host Keith Olbermann unexpectedly announced the end of his show Countdown today. The eight-year-long show was the highest-rated on MSNBC. Olbermann, who gained fame as a host of Sports Center on ESPN, started the show as a humorous look at the news, but morphed into a vocal liberal critic in the later half of the Bush presidency. (Hat tip: President Bartlett for the title.)

[Cross-posted from Pioneer Pulse.]

By Brendan Loy DU

Denver is 6-0 in the Sun Belt, 10-9 overall — above .500 after a 2-9 start! — and riding an eight-game winning streak, their longest ever in Division I, capped by this evening’s utter demolition of Arkansas State at Magness Arena.

Just an amazing, phenomenal performance by the Pioneers, winning by 38 points — their largest margin of victory since returning to Division I in 1998-99. Needless to say, they dominated in every facet of the game, and they never let up or lost focus.

Now, 3 road games out of the next 4. And the home game? Against North Texas.

2 Comments  |  Categories: Pioneer Pulse

By Brendan Loy

Two years to the day before America either inaugurates a new president or re-inaugurates the current one (or, you know, fails to inaugurate anybody due to the declaration of martial law amid the post-apocalyptic nightmare following the End of the World in 2012), Larry Sabato offers some political junkie porn in the form of 19 — count ‘em, 19 — breakdowns of potential GOP candidates. (And I decided to call it “political junkie porn” even before I read this statement: “The GOP field is not set. The contenders are in various stages of undress as the strip tease proceeds.” Um, #PANIC?!)

Anyway, Sabato says: “No one can be rated as having an ‘excellent’ chance at winning the nomination (yet someone will eventually win). Mitt Romney, widely considered to be leading the early pack, starts out as a weak frontrunner. Six actual or possible contenders are placed in the First Tier; four more in the Second Tier: four in the Third Tier; and five in the Fourth Tier. Obviously, the nominee is likely to be found in Tiers 1 and 2.” The first-tier contenders are Romney, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin (#PANIC!!!), Tim Pawlenty, Haley Barbour, and Mitch Daniels (described as “everybody’s second or third choice”; my tentative first choice, for what little it’s worth). Money quote: “One of the most famous pre-candidates in recent presidential history, Sarah Palin continues to dominate a campaign she has not entered and may never enter.” The second-tier contenders are Newt Gingrich, Mike Pence, John Thune and Marco Rubio (who would have half the Senate experience Obama did in ‘08; more likely to be a VP candidate, Sabato says). Among those in the third tier is Michelle Bachmann (#PANIC!!!!!). Among those in the fourth tier are Ron Paul and John Bolton.

Anyway, enjoy!

By Brendan Loy

For those without the time or patience to listen to today’s podcast episode to learn our “news,” I suppose I’ll come out and say it:

Becky and I are expecting Baby Loy #3 in July!!! Specifically, on July 8 — the very same date that Loyacita was due back in 2009 (though she was born five days late).

We don’t know the sex yet, but we intend to find out when we can, likely in a month-and-a-half or so. We’ll let y’all know when we know.

For those keeping score, this means we’ll have a 3 1/2-year-old, a 2-year-old, and a newborn. Donations to our college fund can be sent to brendan@brendanloy.com via PayPal. :) No, but seriously: call us crazy, but we wanted to have them this close together. If we’d waited a few months longer, we would have ended up with a big, exaggerated gap between #2 and #3, school-wise: we’d have had a fourth-grader, a third-grader, and a kindergartner. Instead, it’ll be 3rd, 2nd, and K. (And senior, junior & freshman… #PANIC!)

As for whether we hope Baby Loy #3 is a boy or girl, we’re both torn. For my part, notwithstanding Becky’s statement in the podcast that I “want a girl,” I can really see the pros and cons of both. I guess my heart leans toward a girl, my head toward a boy, but both are only very slight leans. I’ll be genuinely delighted with either; I just want a healthy baby. We’ve been so blessed thus far, in terms of health, happiness and cuteness. :)

Anyway, stay tuned for an eventual Baby Pool, discussion of a blog nickname (once we know the gender), etc. Oh — and there’s a new countdown in the left-hand sidebar. :) 170 days and counting!!

9 Comments  |  Categories: Parenthood

By Brendan Loy

Andrew Sullivan:

I backed Obama because he promised to resist the easy political calculus and do the right thing to grapple with our serious problems. If he ducks the debt test in his SOTU, if he fails to offer substantive measures to bring the debt and deficit and spending down now, then, to my mind, he fails a core test of his seriousness as a candidate and his integrity as a president.

Embrace [the] Bowles-Simpson [deficit commission's recommendations], Mr. President. It was your commission. It would drastically change the economic climate, reassure international markets, and save the next generation from a debt burden that is simply immoral. Yes, tax reform can be part of this package, as Bowles-Simpson argued. But if Obama simply grabs tax reform and ignores spending, he will have bungled the key moment for his long-term success.

And the nation’s. Because, as all serious, grown-up participants in the conversation about our nation’s long-term fiscal health know (yes, I’m looking at you, Tea Party), you can’t fix this problem if you look at increased revenue and decreased spending as an either/or proposition. It’s a both/and. Nor, of course, can you fix the problem if you declare two-thirds of all federal spending — i.e., Medicare, Social Security and the military (and of course debt service) — off-limits.

Anyway, I generally agree with Sullivan, and I’m very interested and anxious to see what will happen Tuesday (as I mention in the podcast). This is very likely the most important speech of Obama’s presidency, both for his political fortunes and for the nation’s, well, national fortunes. It is a moment of great opportunity fraught with extreme peril. Rise to it, Mr. President.

By Brendan Loy

A lot has happened since the last Living Room Times Podcast. Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives, and picked up a bunch of Senate seats. Notre Dame beat USC for the first time since I became an “Irish Trojan.” Boise State lost at Nevada, just as I predicted before the season. TCU won the Rose Bowl. Auburn won the national championship. College basketball season started, and got to roughly its halfway point. The UConn women surpassed the UCLA men, then lost to the Lady Drunken Trees. There was an eclipse. “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was repealed. “Don’t touch my junk” was uttered. Ireland was bailed out. Tragedy struck our neighborhood, and later Arizona and the nation. Winter began, Thanksgiving came and went, as did Christmas and the New Year — complete with balloons and a Bally dropping. Urban Meyer re-resigned, and Brett Favre re-retired. The NCAA made a bunch of dumb decisions. The seventh Harry Potter movie debuted, and was awesome. I finally published my #2 and #1 “Defining Days” of the (Previous) Decade. Loyacita started walking and talking. Loyette turned 3. Oh, and there was this one other thing… but you’ll have to listen to the podcast to hear about that.

Anyway, Becky and I are back after a two-and-a-half month hiatus. Our topics in this week’s podcast — recorded on Monday, Martin Luther King Day — include our hopes, fears and expectations for the new Congress (from roughly the 7:30 mark to 26:30), our thoughts on the Tucson memorial service (26:30-34:00), Christmas at the Loys’ (34:30-37:30), and University of Denver basketball (37:30-52:30), among other things. Oh, and we’re interrupted a couple of times by Loyette, which is kind of entertaining. Enjoy…

As always, you can subscribe with iTunes here. Here’s the official episode page on Pod-O-Matic, and here’s the official podcast page, which gives you a range of subscription options. You can also directly download this episode as an MP3 file, if you like. And you can subscribe to this blog’s LRT Podcast category as an RSS feed, or subscribe to the official RSS feed of the podcast, again from Pod-O-Matic.

Previous episodes, if you missed ‘em: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4 and Episode 5.

Oh, and that John Gasaway article I mention in the podcast, about Belmont? Here it is.

And here’s a picture of Loyette at Saturday’s DU game, utterly fascinated by the cheerleaders:

IMG_6770.JPG

By Brendan Loy

Joe Lieberman will announce Wednesday whether he intends to seek re-election as Connecticut’s senior U.S. Senator in 2012, and reports say he has decided not to run. [UPDATE: It's official.]

As long-time readers know, this blog and its predecessors have a long and complicated history with Senator Joementum. I am, of course, a Nutmegger by birth, and thus have followed Lieberman’s career more closely than most. I enthusiastically supported his 2004 presidential bid, quit the Democratic Party in support of him in 2006, and generally made an ass of myself stoking enmity with Ned Lamont supporters that autumn. But before long, Joe and I had our differences, which caused me to sour on him and his sometimes dumb ideas in recent years. Ultimately, though, I still think Lieberman is a good and decent man, if not the political saint I once painted him as, and I still think he’s right about a lot of things… like, for instance, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which he almost single-handedly shepherded through Congress last month by sheer force of will.

Having said all that, this is clearly the right decision by Lieberman. I have long felt that he had no evident path to victory in 2012, and fighting a bitter, losing campaign would have simply diminished him and caused him to go out with the whimper. Instead, he gets two years of lame-duck status to cement his legacy — whatever he wants it to be — and decide what to do next. I can’t imagine he’s done with public life.

I just hope the Dogs for Joe don’t take the news too hard.

Anyway, here are my initial reactions to the news, via Twitter. The first tweet was auto-posted by CNN, not actually by me.

CNN Breaking News — Joe Lieberman, the Democrat-turned-independent senator, plans to announce he won’t seek re-election, sources say.

#JoementumPANIC #JoementumPANIC #JoementumPANIC #JoementumPANIC #JoementumPANIC #JoementumPANIC #JoementumPANIC #JoementumPANIC

PARTY AT KOS’S HOUSE! RT @cnnbrk: Sources: Sen Joe Lieberman not seeking re-election http://on.cnn.com/hJ8XK9

In all seriousness, I’m not remotely surprised by Lieberman’s decision. It wasn’t at all clear what his path to victory was going to be.

I just wonder what he’ll do next. I can’t believe he’s done with politics. #joementum

Hello and welcome, Senator Bysiewicz.

FACT: I was about to tweet my prediction that Bysiewicz would run, then I googled the spelling of her name & learned she announced yesterday [actually earlier today -ed.]

That’s how obvious Susan Bysiewicz’s careerist ambitions are. I knew she was running without even knowing she was running. :)

So, two years hence, it’ll be Blumenthal & Bysiewicz. Amazing seismic shift after 22 years of Dodd & Lieberman. #LandOfSteadyHabitsPANIC

I guess Bysiewicz will face primary & she’s not the most appealing personality, but I suspect CT Dem establishment will anoint her. #HerTurn

RT @capitolwatch: @brendanloy Not so fast…Chris Murphy, Linda McMahon, Joe Courtney, Tom Foley and Rob Simmons may have something to say about that!

@capitolwatch I don’t think GOP will win an open seat in CT-SEN, barring an even worse political cycle than 2010. Murphy/Courtney, maybe.

Re: Bysiewicz & “her turn,” I’m talking thru my hat… if a serious Dem challenger emerges quickly, all bets are off. #Courtney #Murphy

My “seismic shift” point stands whether it’s Bysiewicz or not. After 22 yrs of same 2 guys, CT will have 2 new senators in ‘13 #SteadyHabits

RT @dmataconis: So you think tomorrow we’ll see the end of Joementum? | Not unless Ned Lamont throws the One Ring into the Charter Oak.

@dmataconis: Joementum will not end, it will merely take on a new form.

RT @dmataconis: @brendanloy Much like Rock & Roll, JoeMentum will never die

So, Lieberman’s going to be a lame duck for the next 2 years. Freed of electoral constraints, he might start pissing off liberals sometimes.

By Brendan Loy

I headed down to the Denver "Marade" for lunch. Lots of people honoring Dr. King. Also some miscellaneous protest causes, like these "Yes, Tunisia Can" folks. Love it. More pics at www.twitter.com/brendanloy.

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