Michael Maiello's picture

    Never a Lovely So Real: The Life and Work of Nelson Algren

    book cover

    I'm hoping you all remember friend of Dagblog, Colin Asher, who has spent the last seven years working on a literary biography of Nelson Algren, once one of the most famous and celebrating working novelists in the United States and always a solid progressive and friend to the working class.

    I haven't read Colin's book yet, but I have read the article in The Believer that was the genesis of the project.  Colin's onto something big here, perhaps one of the last untold stories of McCarthyism.  He's also a terrific writer and this is going to be a great introduction to Algren's work for a lot of us.  It's not every day you get to discover a lost novelist of quality.

    The book's been getting great reviews, including five stars from Publisher's Weekly and serious treatment from The Nation and The New Yorker.

    You can make Algren spin in heaven by purchasing this book from Jeff Bezos.  Such is life.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Alas for Gene Wolfe

    Gene Wolfe, one of the greatest of science-fiction writers, has passed away. His work was subtle and superb. Wolfe wrote paragraphs you could lose yourself in, like a labyrinth, and come out a changed person on the other side. He thought profoundly about what story-telling means as few other writers have. He was honored inside the genre and sometimes outside it, but deserved far more honor in both places. Any account of 20th-century American literature that omits Gene Wolfe is incomplete.

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Your Blog Is Valuable!

     

    Photo Danny Cardwell

    There's more to blogging than writing! For every blogger capable of seamlessly weaving together succinct ideas at blazing speeds there are hundreds, if not thousands, slowly throwing words at a screen hoping they stick. Both groups are part of the same historical, social and cultural epoch. Our blogs, no matter how silly or serious, have the potential to be part of a larger canon. Our words confirm or refute the dominant narratives about the events defining our present and shaping the future. This is valuable. Historians and sociologist of the past would have loved to have access to all of the information we produce.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    You Can Never Undo Losing an Election

    Picture it... November 2000.  George W. Bush loses the popular vote to Al Gore but is declared President anyway because a Supreme Court made up of key people appointed by George W. Bush’s father decided that vote counting should cease in a state where George W. Bush’s brother was governor.  I was 25 years old.  I thought, for a months, “there’s no way this will be allowed to stand.”

    It was allowed to stand.

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    Trump Appts GOP Partisan Hack to Fed

    Stephen Moore, a total Republican political hack. His economic publishing history below.

    2004, pre-election pro Bush campaign swill:

    Bullish On Bush: How George Bush's Ownership Society Will Make America Stronger (Madison Books, 2004) ISBN 1-56833-261-0

    The next one, from 2014, came out only  in audio, the printing of it apparently cancelled.... as it was, by 2014,  so clear Moore was selling bs.  Obama had saved the economy after "Bush's Ownership Society" which Moore loved so much, had led to the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Is the US Heading for Anti-Hate Speech Laws?

    Was reading this morning about people in New Zealand being criminally prosecuted for downloading, distributing and even making statements in favor of the Mosque shooting.  New Zealand is a free and open society where freedom of expression is protected, but free speech rights are not quite so clear as they are here in the U.S.

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    On Breaking up Google - this is not your Grandma's Monopoly

    Another election and another round of liberal posturing - "how do we beat down the corporates, how do we dismantle their power?" "Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple...," exclaims Elizabeth Warren, "along with their little subsidiary acquisitions". Let's call these The Big Four.

    So let's tear this down - first, are these the monopolists you're looking for? Back in the day of the Robber Barons, we had goons showing up to beat up the competition - quite a bit of heat brought down on anyone who was in competition. This kind of activity is pretty rare these days - mostly it's just that customers are flocking to the big boys, and that's just tough on the rest.

    The IT age truly hit when Microsoft ended up with a practical monopoly on the desktop. Sure, Apple could scrape out 4 million laptop & desktop sales a quarter with a huge comparative margin, and techies could go for Linux or lately Chromebooks, but in terms of units at home and in the workplace, DOS-Windows machines predominated since 1982, and still do. Microsoft went on to do quite well in the Office software and database business - and people howled to break them up. But in the end, they went from a dominant consumer company to a dominant enterprise software company, with the whole industry resigning itself to the fact that the OS is boring, and is best off boring, and all the OS wars in the 70's and 80's mostly led to things not working with each other, whereas the Windows behemoth solved that problem. Until the Web came along and made everything interoperable in a different way, so the Windows monopoly became a "who cares?" We got a little flurry of excitement when Steve Jobs decided to put a knife in the heart of Flash and Adobe itself, pretending to go to a new standard that was far from market ready - and suddenly we saw what we'd avoided for 2 decades - having to choose when we really didn't care. Sure, Excel rolled over Lotus-1-2-3 and M$ killed some other fine mail & database software companies, but it was the 90's, baby - the Internet Age, and if things hadn't just worked, that would have harshed our mellow. 

    I am listening to Trump press conference live from Vietnam summit on CNN

    The chyron says summit cut short, no deal. But I would like to share a little of what Trump is saying.

    He seems in a very friendly and polite mood. Not hyper, calm. Taking a lot of questions.

    Trump says it's all been very productive. But not a good thing to be signing anything right now. He'll let Pompeo explain that later.

    But everyone's been great: Chairman Kim, China, Russia, they've all been great, real helpful. Great leaders! Pres. Moon. yes, another great leader. Real helpful. President Xi, a great leader. Everyone thinks so, especially in Asia. They are all great leaders!

    By the way, in case you foreign reporters didn't know this, you should know it's true: he gets along really well with all world leaders!

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Amazon’s Big Swingin’ Di—

    Well, The National Enquirer seems to have stepped in it by trying to go toe-to-toe with Jeff Bezos and his unlimited wallet.  The lame supermarket tabloid published details of Bezos’ affair (which I do not know because I never got caught up in the story) which has led to an impending divorce and Bezos wanting to know how those losers got information about his private life and having the means to launch his own investigation.

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    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Going Viral During The Superbowl

    On April 6, 2017, I asked a fellow blogger and activist to share a poem she'd written on Dagblog. Hannah was incredibly busy, but said she would set up a profile and consider blogging here from time to time. By 1:00 pm she published DEAR COLIN KAEPERNICK: ALL YOU HAD TO DO WAS PLAY THE GAME, BOY. Her post generated 10,000 clicks and over 45 comments. Impressive to say the least!

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    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Governor Northam: Exhibit (A) In The Case Against Politicians

    Rudolph Cardwell Sr., Perlista Henry, Ralph Northam, Linda Cardwell, Danny Cardwell 

     

    Ralph has to go! There's no way he can continue as the Governor of Virginia. This is a painful sentence to write, but a necessary one. I've covered the Governor at a debate, a ribbon cutting, and a few other small events. I've met him a handful of times. I sincerely thought he was the real deal. He came off as a kind and caring person, but he has to resign. I was fooled. We all were fooled. He. Has. To. Go.

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    When Satire Exposes Hate

    Nancy Pelosi is one of the few politicians who can say they have favorability, likeability, and approval ratings comparable to the president. According to a Monmouth University poll, Nancy Pelosi’s approval rating doubled after the government shutdown. The poll found that 34 percent of voters thought she was doing a good job— twice as high as the same poll found in November of 2018, when her approval rating was 17 percent. She doubled her approval rating and was still 16 points below 50%. There are legitimate reasons to like or dislike Nancy Pelosi, but more times than not people base their reasoning on the caricature of Nancy Pelosi.

    2020 Rejects & Remainders

    Ok, was trying to stay out of this, but so far the "no way Jose" list:

    - Tulsi Gabbard (Fox hawk if not Russian asset in Hawaiian hulu skirt with jackboots)

    - Howard Schultz (latte corporate vulture with an odd sense of "centrist" looking more like "blame the Dems for asking for nice things" misguided conception of "independent", while pitching a well-tarnished "businessman saves America" deficit-scold message. 15 years ago maybe - plus a business run only on young hipster easily-exploited youth hardly seems like it offers a breakthrough message for the rest of us)

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    Smart TV's are dumb

    Your TV Is Now a Computer, but Not in a Good Way by Alexis Madrigal @ TheAtlantic.com, Jan. 24. You don’t really own it, and it breaks in unpredictable ways.

    Reading this made arta want to rant in despair.

    This story brings back all kinds of nightmares for me, all the many frustrating aggravating and sometimes even frightening times dealing with PC's and their software in the 90's and cell phone cos. a decade ago and even MaBell in the 70's.... Why does this keep happening to us with each new technology change?

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Three Week Refuge from The Purge Open Thread

    Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

    Try to be nice to Peter (not verified). 

    See, the thing is, Trump was playing Battleship and Pelosi was playing checkers, and you can't play Battleship without a wall, so Trump quit.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Shutdown is Killing the Capital Markets

    So many of us are rightly worried about how long the Transportation Security Administration can keep pushing people through screening lines for free that, or how much food the federal government can inspect for safety for free, that we're just ignoring the huge work slowdown at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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    Danny Cardwell's picture

    The Service, Sacrifice and Faithfulness of MLK Jr.

    Since 2007, I have given close to 20 talks about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Many of these talks have been in churches, but some have taken place in "secular" venues: libraries, a courthouse and an office building. 

    I always approach a talk about Dr. King the same no matter where I may be speaking (or who I'm speaking to). It's not necessary for the audience to believe in the Christian God (or any God) to understand how Dr. King's religious convictions inspired his actions. With that said, I never proselytize, but I do ground his speeches and the actions he took in the Bible. Dr. King's service, sacrifice and faithfulness can all be traced back to the scriptures that shaped his life. 

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Legacy of Fighting Bob

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fascinates the press and electrifies progressives, but some Democratic colleagues just want her to pipe down and behave. One anonymous Democratic rep told Politico, “She needs to decide: Does she want to be an effective legislator or just continue being a Twitter star? There’s a difference between being an activist and a lawmaker in Congress.” According to the article, Ocasio-Cortez’s colleagues are particularly dismayed by her history of backing primary challenges to Democratic incumbents, and they warn that she will have “a lonely, ineffectual career in Congress if she continues to treat her own party as the enemy.”

    If Ocasio-Cortez does start to feel lonely, I urge her to visit the Senate Reception Room at the other end of the Capitol. There’s a man she should meet. His portrait hangs on the wall, the old guy with the bow tie and the enormous pompadour. Few remember him these days, but Senator Robert La Follette of Wisconsin was a political sensation in his day, loved by the press, hated by his Republican colleagues. They loathed him for his radical ideas, his outspokenness, and his disloyalty to the party. President Theodore Roosevelt called him “a shifty self-seeker” and “an entirely worthless Senator.” In 1907, a journalist memorably described him as “the loneliest man in the United States Senate.”

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    How the Shutdown Could Wreck the Economy

    The China trade war seems to be costing both the U.S. and China, as trade wars do.  President Trump is probably correct that China is suffering more, but if you look at Apple's warning about diminishing iPhone sales, you see that punishing China has something of a boomerang effect for American multinationals.  Of course, anything that hurts Apple hurts the entire semiconductor supply chain, so there are far reaching consequences. Still, if Trump's argument is that China will eventually give because it's feeling more pain, then I think I can at least entertain the notion.

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    Danny Cardwell's picture

    The Lies Are True; We Just Don't Get It!

    Donald Trump has convinced his followers that reducing the trade deficit with Mexico would pay for his wall; this lie, like the 7,000+ other lies he's told since becoming president, has been swallowed up whole and regurgitated by his base.

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