Paul Krugman:
If, as has been widely reported, President Obama devotes much of his State of the Union address to inequality, everyone should be cheering him on.

They won’t, of course. Instead, he will face two kinds of sniping. The usual suspects on the right will, as always when questions of income distribution come up, shriek “Class warfare!” But there will also be seemingly more sober voices arguing that he has picked the wrong target, that jobs, not inequality, should be at the top of his agenda.

Here’s why they’re wrong.

Greg Sargent:
With inequality and economic populism expected to be central to Obama’s State of the Union speech and Dem campaigns in the midterms, expect Republicans to argue Dems are wielding a familiar “class warfare” weapon to distract from the failure of the ”Obummer economy.”

But a new Pew poll digs into public opinion on inequality in a way I haven’t seen before, and it suggests Dems are on solid political ground with this focus. Large majorities think the gap between the rich and ”everyone else” has grown (65 percent) and that government should act to reduce that gap (69 percent). This is crucial.

More on the day's top stories below the fold.

Eugene Washington on Bob McDonnell's role in the scandal:

You’re broke, your spouse comes home with armloads of designer dresses and shoes, and you don’t freak out? You’re governor of Virginia, your wife asks a businessman for $50,000 and you don’t go ballistic?

Nobody’s as stupid as Bob McDonnell pretends to be.

David Sessions examines Dinesh D'Souza's "series of unfortunate events":
The indictment is just the latest in a tangle of personal and professional difficulties that swarmed around D’Souza at what was arguably the height of his success: the popularity of his 2012 anti-Obama documentary 2016: Obama’s America. The film, which was released in the summer of 2012 and became a slow-burn hit with conservatives in the run-up to the presidential election, earned over $33 million at the box office and was the highest-grossing documentary since 1982. But just a couple of months into the film’s promotion, D’Souza was out of a job: he resigned his lucrative position as president of the King’s College, a small evangelical Christian school in Manhattan, over reports that he was engaged to a 29-year-old woman while still being married to his wife of 20 years
The New York Times:
Once again, a thorough and independent analysis of the government’s dragnet surveillance of Americans’ phone records has found the bulk data collection to be illegal and probably unconstitutional. Just as troubling, the program was found to be virtually useless at stopping terrorism, raising the obvious question: Why does President Obama insist on continuing a costly, legally dubious program when his own appointees repeatedly find that it doesn’t work?
Finally, Andrew Rosenthal's take on Justin Bieber's arrest looks at the larger context:
A foreign national living in the United States on a work visa is arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana, alcohol and prescription drugs, while drag racing in a residential area. Given the climate of hostility toward immigrants in many parts of the country, and the Obama administration’s love affair with deportation, you’d expect him to be sitting in a holding cell awaiting a one-way trip out of the country.

At least you would expect that if he were poor, obscure and, say, Hispanic. But what if the malfeasant were wealthy, famous and, say, Justin Bieber?

Let me be clear: I’m not saying that Mr. Bieber should lose the visa he was granted because of his “extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics.” [...] It’s just worth pointing out that apart from the humor value of the traffic bust, which followed closely on the heels of Mr. Bieber’s infamous neighbor-egging caper, it is in a small way emblematic of the capricious, unbalanced and racially charged way in which immigration policy is conceived and enforced in this country.


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