Late Night Open Thread: Character, Characters

Ben Collins, at Esquire, looks for the silver lining:

Colbert didn’t want to be in this character forever. He was just good at it…

He dropped his character to speak to his alma mater, Northwestern, at a commencement ceremony in 2011. He joked around a lot, kidded about piercings and the bad economy, but then he ended on this:

“In my experience, you will truly serve only what you love, because, as the prophet says, service is love made visible.

If you love friends, you will serve your friends.

If you love community, you will serve your community.

If you love money, you will serve your money.

And if you love only yourself, you will serve only yourself. And you will have only yourself.

So no more winning. Instead, try to love others and serve others, and hopefully find those who love and serve you in return.”

President Obama on LBJ: Looking Back, to Look Forward

Yes, it’s long, but it’s well worth the listen. Video via the Washington Post. (CNN has a three-minute clip, if you’re in a hurry.) Transcript from the Wall Street Journal:

Four days into his sudden presidency — and the night before he would address a joint session of the Congress in which he once served — Lyndon Johnson sat around a table with his closest advisors, preparing his remarks to a shattered and grieving nation.

He wanted to call on senators and representatives to pass a civil rights bill — the most sweeping since Reconstruction. And most of his staff counseled him against it. They said it was hopeless; that it would anger powerful Southern Democrats and committee chairmen; that it risked derailing the rest of his domestic agenda. And one particularly bold aide said he did not believe a President should spend his time and power on lost causes, however worthy they might be. To which, it is said, President Johnson replied, “Well, what the hell’s the presidency for?” (Laughter and applause.) What the hell’s the presidency for if not to fight for causes you believe in?

Those of us who have had the singular privilege to hold the office of the Presidency know well that progress in this country can be hard and it can be slow, frustrating and sometimes you’re stymied. The office humbles you. You’re reminded daily that in this great democracy, you are but a relay swimmer in the currents of history, bound by decisions made by those who came before, reliant on the efforts of those who will follow to fully vindicate your vision.

But the presidency also affords a unique opportunity to bend those currents — by shaping our laws and by shaping our debates; by working within the confines of the world as it is, but also by reimagining the world as it should be…

He understood laws couldn’t accomplish everything. But he also knew that only the law could anchor change, and set hearts and minds on a different course. And a lot of Americans needed the law’s most basic protections at that time. As Dr. King said at the time, “It may be true that the law can’t make a man love me but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.” (Applause.)…

And that means we’ve got a debt to pay. That means we can’t afford to be cynical. Half a century later, the laws LBJ passed are now as fundamental to our conception of ourselves and our democracy as the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They are foundational; an essential piece of the American character.

But we are here today because we know we cannot be complacent. For history travels not only forwards; history can travel backwards, history can travel sideways. And securing the gains this country has made requires the vigilance of its citizens. Our rights, our freedoms — they are not given. They must be won. They must be nurtured through struggle and discipline, and persistence and faith…

And a coda, from Texas political cartoonist Ben Sargent:

gop not termites sargent

“I’ll Bite Yer Legs Off, You Bastard!”


Okay, not my best work in the wine foil medium. But I figured y’all could use an open thread.

Afternoon Open Thread


I’ve shared with you lucky folks my dogs’ disgusting penchant for eating chicken poop. We allow our flock to free-range each evening, keeping the dogs in the house or on the other side of a fence to prevent them from harassing / eating the chickens.

But as soon as the chickens tuck themselves in for the night and we latch up the coop and allow the dogs to roam that portion of the yard again, the hounds search for chicken droppings and hoover them up as if each turd were the finest beluga caviar. Weird.

The eggs pictured above were fresh from the hen-chute (i.e., unwashed) and must carry a faint whiff of chicken-butt detectable by the pictured dog’s highly developed olfactory system. This inspired her to stand on her hind legs to identify the source of the heavenly scent. Gross.

Please feel free to discuss more pleasant topics.

TBogg Has Outdone Himself

Just go read it: Kiss me, deadly: If Vance McAllister had hired a hooker, he’d be talking about Benghazi today.

Via EconWatcher in the comments.