Michael Maiello's picture

    The Big Hollywood Crack Up

    Initially, when Sony announced it was yanking the premiere of the Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy The Interview I thought that Sony's marketing people had come up with a way to make lemonade out of the hacking situation.  The media giant could easily cut deals with Amazon, Netflix and the larger cable companies to stream the movie so great that North Korean leader Kim Jung-Un sent terrorists to stop you from seeing it.  

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    Fracking bans widen, N.Y. joins Denton, Texas.

    New York joins a small but growing conglomeration of states and cities which have instituted bans on fracking, including an astounding decision by the city of Denton, in North Texas, about fifty miles from where I live. The bans are highly significant and give me a shot of optimism here at year end especially because citizen activism has played such a huge roll in these bans. I can remember watching Mark Ruffalo on T.V. a few years back elucidating the health dangers of fracking in his native upstate New York, and truthfully, I thought he was a voice in the wilderness---but his involvement changed things.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Best o' Dag 2014 - Seeking Nominations

    Hello folks. Our old friend Wolfrum passed on a splendid invitation to me yesterday. In the early-ish days of the blogosphere, a writer named Al Weisel launched a faux-conservative blog under the pseudonym Jon Swift. His hilarious, award-winning satire quickly propelled him to the top ranks of the blog community, but he generously supported smaller bloggers struggling to gain an audience. One of his outreach projects was an annual competition called, "Best Posts of the Year, Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves."

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    Ramona's picture

    Say What You Will About Torture, It's Still Torture

     

    Last week the Senate Intelligence Committee released their report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program, and, while much of it had already been hashed over soon after the events at Abu Ghraib, there are enough new revelations within the report's 525 page summary to cause us to get stirred up all over again.

    Contrarian's picture

    Women in STEM + Men in Nursing & Teaching?

    There's been a ton of ink spilled recently about the dearth of women in STEM fields and there's no shortage of people advocating strategies for significantly increasing the number of women who enter these fields. I was thinking about this yesterday while reading Jeff Guo's Washington Post article about the expanding gender gap in the attainment of college degrees and the theory that it's due to career choice. He mentions the speculation (from Goldin, Katz, and Kuziemko) that this is just a result of natural differences making themselves evident. However, like those who discount the idea that the STEM gap is attributable just to 'boys are better at math,' I've always considered it highly doubtful that this is what is really driving the disparity.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Torture Report Open Thread

    Honestly, I don't know what to say.  Would be very interested in hearing from all of you.

    Full report, via Mother Jones

    Great Annotation of Top Findings by WaPo

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    It's A Hard Knock Life (For Cops)

    Today, David Brooks gives us the requisite "police officers have hard jobs" column.  Whenever we discuss police brutality, somebody says this and in the most recent discussions, it's been said quite often,  Police officers have hard jobs.  Very few of us non-police officers envy their professions.  It has few reliable perks.  You can use a siren to run red lights.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    White Uncollared Crime

    I have a fun party story about a road trip that went through Texas, way too fast, wound up in a kind of high speed pursuit and ended with a very reasonable ticket.  The punch-line is that the story would have been tragic had the trooper searched my car.  What also makes the story kind of funny is that while I was driving way too fast I was in total control of my vehicle, on an empty straight-away in the Texas panhandle.  My crime was victim free, as speeding cases go.  That the punishment was light was, in the end, appropriate.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Are Other People That Dangerous?

    Ross Douthat frets that Ferguson is now too ambiguous a story for people who are against the militarization of American police forces to use to make their case.  Me, I tend to think that supporters of military-surplus policing always seem to find ambiguity.  They have not been phased by actions taken by police forces since at least the WTO protests of the 1990s.  Some people just love authority.

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    coatesd's picture

    Taking the Imperial out of the Role of America Abroad

    “You can do many things with a bayonet, except sit on it.” (Talleyrand)

                    There is never a good or easy time to argue that the United States should begin to completely reset the character of its foreign policy, especially when the argument being made – as here – is that a key element in that resetting must be a reduction in the scale and role of American arms abroad. Anyone making that kind of case invariably touches a deep American nerve, so that any resulting rebuttal often moves quickly from an argument about facts to one about patriotism.

    Wattree's picture

    Ode to An African American Patriot - And His White Brothers In Arms

    A retired Black disabled vet said,
    .
    "...to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing the National Anthem causes conflict within me. I grew up watching Cowboys vs. Indians every Saturday morning, John Wayne war movies, and the Combat TV program. In a nutshell, I knew early on it was my destiny to become a 'fighting man' who would proudly wear the uniform of MY country because I would make my fellow countrymen proud. I would die, with honor. Taps played at my funeral, followed by a rifle volley...

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Keep the Police Away From the Public

    I'm having a hard time believing Darren Wilson's story, particularly where he says that Michael Brown, while struggling for the cop's weapon in a confrontation that lasted less than a minute, said, "you're too much of a pussy to shoot me."  This brings to mind the words that George Zimmerman put into the mouth of Trayvon Martin -- all bluster and villainy, the street thug equivalent of Dr. Doom telling Mr. Fantastic that "You'll crumble before the power of my atomic nullifier!" rather than just using the damned thing.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    The Fire This Time

    There is one truth that we need to face today, after the grand jury's decision in Ferguson. And that truth is simple. No one can live like this.

    No one can live with an arrangement where their sons can be killed with impunity. No one can make their peace with that. No one can accept that. No one can live like this.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Strategic Overview of J. Alfred Prufrock

    I reimagined The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock as a PowerPoint presentation.

    Ramona's picture

    John Kennedy's Death And How It Changed Us

    John Kennedy, even with his publicly reported physical frailties, was a man with an almost mythical presence.  He was young and vibrant, he had a beautiful wife and two small children, and, true or not, we perceived him as the peoples' president--as close to being one of us, his wealth notwithstanding, as we were likely to get.  He was the FDR we had been wishing for.
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    Personas eat policy wonks for breakfast.

    I go a little nuts when I hear Democrats talk about the recent election in terms of programs and policies---that we simply didn't blow our own horns loudly enough. We exist in a society so dominated by a media focus on celebrity that no subject with even a smidgen of factual information has a chance of taking more than one breath in a public forum. Last week a space ship landed on a comet---breathtaking. Unfortunately the comet landing was easily upstaged with a camera lens which landed on Kim Kardashian's bare backside. Personally, I did not go looking for Kim's buttocks. But every time I turned on my computer, there was the picture again and again. Kim has reached the lunar landing level of celebrity status---her latest quip being, "One large cheek for man, the other cheek for mankind".  Democrats will win when they master the art of manufactured personas and studied quips, not when they can explain policies better.

    coatesd's picture

    The Mid-Term Elections: Taking the Longer View

    In the wake of an electoral setback on the scale experienced by the Democrats two weeks ago, the temptation to immediately rush to judgment is enormous. So also, if my e-mails and robo-calls are any guide, is the temptation to engage in yet more fundraising, as though money was the big thing of which Democrats were short. But both temptations need to be resisted. We need to throw less money and more brainpower at our politics, and we need to take our time doing both.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Turning Down the Imaginary Car (Advice from Actors to Academics, Part 2)

    I blogged earlier about how the academic job search can be framed like the search for an acting job (where the odds are incredibly steep, rejection is pervasive, and the stakes feel deeply personal). Today's post is a second installment of advice from Robert Cohen's classic Acting Professionally, a very career-specific book of advice that I have found applicable to other careers.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Why Is Brookings Pushing Scammy Annuity Products?

    On Saturday morning, a Tweet from Brookings caught my eye.  It suggested “Longevity Annuities” would be a great solution to the post-pension problem of longevity risk.  This is such an unbelievably bad idea that my first thought was that some insurance company had corrupted Brookings.  I see no evidence of that, however.  It’s probably just a case of two Hamilton Project thinkers who are overly in love with private industry solutions to truly public problems.

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    Tea Party Indictment of Obama

    In the spirit of Richard Day and his post Exiled Cubans, Rubio and Cruz. Case against Barack Obama, URPS officers Prosecutor Ted Cruz and his Assistant Prosecutor Marco Rubio (Union of Republican Prosperity Spreaders).

    Resolved that propagation and dissemination of GOP ideology (tax cuts raise revenue, Obama faked birth certificate, earth 6000 years old, evolution liberal plot, climate change a hoax, war is peace etc) are both ubiquitous, and as uncompromising and obsessive as that of Stalin, a Tea Party indictment follows, drawing from  Article 58 of the Stalinist legal codes (as listed in the book Escape from the Future, by Vladimir Petrov).

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