Book of the Month

Doctor Cleveland's picture

A Tale of Two Newspapers

Everyone's talking about Jeff Bezos buying The Washington Post. But it's also been a dramatic week for two newspapers close to my heart in different ways: The Boston Globe and The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Two days ago, The Globe, like the WaPo, was sold to an individual billionaire with a high profile. Today the Plain Dealer, which has not been sold, stopped delivering the newspaper. It will still be printed every morning, but it will only be delivered three days a week. Nearly one third of its reporters were laid off on Wednesday. It's not the first round of buyouts or layoffs at the PD, and it's not the second either. [Read more]

Michael Maiello's picture

Jerks For Cads (Rattner Prefers Summers)

Last week I had a little stint guest blogging for Esquire while the unstoppable Charles Pierce took a vacation.  On of my topics was the Larry Summers for Fed Chair debate and my take was that even if you really, really like Larry Summers there's nothing about him that makes him so singular a talent that he and only he should run the Fed. Summers faces opposition from Wall Street, Congressional Democrats and prominent women, among others.  In the face of that, and given the presence of Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Janet Yellen as a perfectly qualified candidate, why all the emotional and mental energy spent on Summers? [Read more]

Michael Wolraich's picture

Russia Offers Asylum to Russian Dissidents

On Thursday, Russian officials announced that Russia had offered asylum to dissidents suffering persecution from the Russian government.

The group includes Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption blogger sentenced to five years in a corrective labor colony; Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former Russian oligarch imprisoned since 2005; members of punk rock protest band Pussy Riot, imprisoned since 2012; Russia's gay population; and the Chechen Republic. Russia also offered posthumous asylum to Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB agent assassinated by Russian agents after receiving asylum in Britain. [Read more]

Doctor Cleveland's picture

Tribal Knowledge

Fox News's hostile interview with Reza Aslan has lit up the internet. (See Michael Maiello and Historiann for two of the smarter takes.) Obviously, interviewer Lauren Green's insistence that something must be very wrong for a Muslim to write a book about Jesus, and that such a book must be wrong, is a problem. But Green (and her producers) are simply peddling a toxic version of an idea that lots of us entertain in various forms. [Read more]

Ramona's picture

Huma Abedin is not Anthony Weiner


There is a part of the American feminist movement that drives me nuts.  It's the part where all women who call themselves feminists have to be smart and sassy and so damned tough any public sign of vulnerability or weakness, particularly where men are involved, is reason enough to drum them out of the corps.
 [Read more]

Michael Maiello's picture

The Stupidity of Talking To Stupid People

Poor Reza Aslan who participated in a cringeworthy Fox News interview about his new book about the historical Jesus only to be asked repeatedly why he would even write such a thing since he is a devout Muslim.

These are the minor incidences in life that fill me with dread.  They are the reminders that it is very hard to talk to a lot of people.  Worse, that other people very much control the conversation. [Read more]

Ramona's picture

Hey, Detroit. It's Only Art

Safe to say that ever since the news broke that the entire city of Detroit was filing for bankruptcy hundreds of thousands of us Detroiters and ex-Detroiters and Michiganders everywhere have been biting our nails, gnashing our teeth, pounding the walls, spending partially-sleepless nights worrying about the fate of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA).
  [Read more]

Doctor Cleveland's picture

Larry Summers Is Bad with Money

So, apparently Larry Summers is now the leading candidate for Chairman of the Federal Reserve. This is a bad idea, for lots of reasons, not least of which is that Summers' sudden ascendancy is a sign that The Usual Suspects are talking him up, and it's The Usual Suspects who not only got our economy into this mess but made our government's top priority not getting out of the mess "too quickly." Summers himself was one of Obama's leading economic advisers during the first term, and neither his advice nor Obama's first-term policy were effective in turning the Great Recession around. The result of Summers's advice was always too little, too late. It was Summers who insisted on asking Congress for a smaller stimulus package than the economy needed, on the theory that the smaller package would get passed. Of course, Congress took that smaller package and cut it down even more. [Read more]

Michael Maiello's picture

Never Ever Give Up, Ever

The New York Times comically believes that Anthony Weiner should drop out of the New York City mayoral race because... he sexted some willing people online?  Ah, we're told, it's a big deal because he kept sexting willing people online after having resigned from Congress for sexting willing people online.

Sexting willing people online. [Read more]

jollyroger's picture

impunity bites

There are few occasions for international irritation more abrasive than the refusal by one sovereign to honor the request of another that a fugitive from justice be surrendered to the tribunals if the aggrieved nation.

Recall that the proximate casus belli for the longest war in American history was the refusal by the Taliban rump Afghan government to extradite Osama Bin Laden. [Read more]


In case you didn’t notice, with all the recent fanfare involving ground-breaking Supreme Court decisions, government spying, or the demise of a Southern cooking empire, Texas—where they do everything on a grand scale—carried out its 500th “modern execution.” Modern, that is to say, since 1982, when the death penalty was resumed in that state. [Read more]

Wall Street Fleecing Main Street, Gaming Commodities

While the public is thoroughly distracted with unending news and commentary on phone call logs, metadata, roller coaster accidents or the lack of accountability for the murder of a teen in Florida, one lonely article in the New York Times discusses how Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Blackrock are fleecing the consumer on Main Street with a game of merry go-round played with 1,500 lb. bars of aluminum in the environs of bankrupt Detroit: [Read more]

Ramona's picture

If Texas cared about Babies, they would take care of the Babies they have

The Good Ol' Boys in Texas have decreed that they're in charge of women's reproductive decisions, and the little ladies just gotta take it.  If it was just making abortions more difficult for women that would be one thing. (We expect that sort of thing when privileged men get together to use their power.) But they want to make sure women are ground down even more by setting impossible standards for reproductive clinics, by forcing ultrasounds, and by banning the Morning After pill--a most merciful choice for avoiding unwanted pregnancies.  Why do all that?  Because you just can't punish women enough for having sex with men. [Read more]

Wattree's picture

Save Your Breath, Zimmerman Supporters - The Black Community Know You Better Than You Know Yourselves

The vast majority of people in this country - both Black, White, and others - are good people. While we all have a strain of racism in us, it’s not a conscious racism, and most of us of normal intelligence are engaged in a constant internal struggle to eradicate it when we recognize it in ourselves. What makes it such a struggle is we’re constantly inundated by it in this country, and the reason we try so desperately to weed it out is, being of normal intelligence, we see it for what it is - a form of gross stupidity. [Read more]

Wattree's picture

Let Us Use Trayvon’s Death to Breathe Life Back Into America

Many bigots in this country are giddy with delight over what they view as a victory for bigotry in the George Zimmerman verdict. But since scientific studies have shown that racist attitudes have a positive correlation with gross ignorance (, many of them are probably not familiar with the concept of "unintended consequences?" [Read more]

Wattree's picture

Trayvon Martin is Dead Because He Was Born Black in America - Period

White conservatives often criticize Black people for being too quick to play what they call "the race card." On the other hand, many Black people criticize America for not being sensitive enough to the reality that race plays in American life. George Zimmerman’s trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin clearly validates the Black community’s point of view. [Read more]

Michael Maiello's picture

"I Am Deeply Concerned About Urban Riots."

Dear White People,

I understand through the Internet and mainstream media that some of you are "deeply concerned about urban riots," as the Zimmerman verdict approaches.  Please, white people, keep this deep concern to yourself.  Your concerns sound quite patronizing to the, um, no doubt multicultural assemblage of rioters that you imagine is gathering informally on the streets of Miami.

I suppose that people might erupt into riots at pretty much any time.  I'd just point out that the people interested in seeing George Zimmerman stand trial for the shooting of Trayvon Martin didn't riot when Zimmerman wasn't arrested and didn't riot when it looked like he wasn't going to be charged with anything. [Read more]

William K. Wolfrum's picture

Aaron Hernandez: Did PEDs or head injuries play a part in the murder of Odin Lloyd?

As everything points to former New England Patriots' tight end  Aaron Hernandez being the person who murdered Odin Lloyd, one wonders if the media will eventually take a look at some factors regarding the case. Factors the NFL would not want investigated. [Read more]

Michael Wolraich's picture

Waiting for the GOP to Die

Demographics, we've heard, are pro-Democrat. In a few years, a wave of young Latinos will swamp those dastardly Republicans in their southern redoubts, and then the donkey will soar again. Huzzah!

But wait, it get's better. According to Michael Tomasky of the Daily Beast, "even working-class white people" are preparing to join the glorious Democratic demographic revolution. He discovered a Brookings poll that proves, "White working-class millennials are fairly liberal!"

In short, all we have to do is wait a decade or two for the new golden age of Democratic hegemony to come roaring back to Washington, courtesy of the aging process.

I call this the Wait for the Old Farts to Die strategy. [Read more]

Facebook Jailing & Voting Rights Act................. (I'm afraid of Americans)

Unconcern about all the privacy scandals often wraps around "yeah, but it doesn't really affect you, theoretically these things could happen but in real life..."

I made one of those comments out with a friend on 9/10 2001, something about the wisdom of the American people pulling back from too much hysteria.

So here's Texas jailing a teen for violent-sounding (but fairly obvious joking) Facebook comments - now in his 5th month in jail awaiting trial, bail at $500K, charges up to 8 years in jail. Even if he's found innocent, he's served 5 months for a joke. [Read more]

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