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.

    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.


    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).

    Ramona's picture

    So It Happened And It Was Bad. No Quitting Now.

    It's been almost a week since the mid-term elections and you may or may not have noticed that this space has been empty.  Deserted.  Lights out.  Nobody home.

    Wattree's picture

    So What Do Progressives Do Now, In Response To The 2014 Midterm Disaster?

    There’s an old axiom that says, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." I would like to modify that to say, "When the going gets tough, the tough get tougher," and that’s exactly what must happen now that the Corporate/GOP Alliance has taken over congress if we’re going to save America.
    MrSmith1's picture

    The Drubbing ... Where do we go from here?

    Dems lost big last night.  What do we do now?  It's hard to feel optimistic about anything.  If our ideas are so great, why do so few people support and vote for them? 

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Midterms Open Thread

    Have you all noticed that over the last two days, whoever is picking op-eds for The New York Times has decided that we shouldn't even have midterm elections?

    Well, we do have them.  And you can discuss them and how they are all Obama's fault (or not) right here!


    Reclaiming a Feast of Family, Individualism and Creative Expression (And Finding Calm)

    October is a stressful month for both my husband Mike and me, as each of us is haunted by profound tragedies that occurred in our lives before we met. It doesn’t get easier with each passing year, and as October creeps into our lives so do our separate legacies of loss. As parents of a 4 ½ -year-old highly creative, imaginative superhero-obsessed son, we have come to indulge more and more each year in the festivities surrounding Halloween.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Thinking Like the Plague

    The Ebola panic in the American media seems uncannily familiar to me, in the worst possible way. Anyone who studies Renaissance literature for a living has read many accounts of terrible epidemics, and many stories of epidemic hysteria. (In fact, some people have written learned and illuminating books about literary responses to the plague; I can't pretend to be one of them.) Smallpox is a terrible affliction. Bubonic plague is worse.


    Her behavior is riling a lot of people up!

    After your jaw has returned to function following your review of this beyond merely entertaining segment on what I will without irony call "quarantinegate". you will want to turn your attention to some of the other ripples caused by that the latest wedge issue: "Should Kaci be quarantined?"

    Michael Maiello's picture

    The End of QE and the Bret Easton Ellis Era of Monetary Policy

    Quantitative Easing, we hardly knew ye, and now ye are gone without a lot of people even knowing what ye did or how ye did it. Well, here were some of your effects.

    Ramona's picture

    On The Internet Mean Streets

    There is a picture making its way around the internet of a grossly overweight woman standing in what looks like a cafeteria line.  She is wearing a pair of shorts that are several sizes too small and the fat rolls at her stomach and bottom are pushed up and exposed. I don't know who the woman is or where the picture came from, but from what I can tell, it's a picture that both liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, men and women, Americans and non-Americans, feel perfectly at ease making fun of.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Review: The Death of Klinghoffer

    Last night, we went to see The Death of Klinghoffer at the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center.  We’re new to opera.  We went to our first show, La Boheme last month.  This exploration of a new, for me, art form is quite invigorating and so far the Met’s productions are top notch and the opera house at Lincoln Center is just a beautiful place to spend an evening.  As a matter of pure art, I am totally convinced by composer John Adams and I’d definitely jump at the chance to see Nixon in China or

    trkingmomoe's picture

    Guy Cecil, Chairmen of The DSCC Explain's Ground Game, The Path to Keeping The Senate

    There has been so much spin about how the Democrats will lose the Senate this year by beltway pundits that most will be surprised at how well the Democrats will do in the end.  This election the Democratic Party has funded by the tune of $66 million dollars GOTV effort called The Bannock Street Project.  This effort is in all the states with competitive Senate seats. They started out by registering voters in low turn out parts of the states that are the natural base to the party.  These are voters that are normally not polled in the final weeks before election because of LV models.  Most are voters that have never voted before.  The get out to vote offices follow through with further contacts to make sure they do vote.  It is a system that helps the voter get what is needed to register and transportation also if needed to vote. What it comes down to is who gets their supporters to the polls.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Public Service Announcement: Ebola and New York City

    Our mayor just tried to calm the populace:

    "There is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed," de Blasio said at a news conference. "Being on the same subway car or living near someone with Ebola does not in itself put someone at risk."


    Stop reading this

    and instead go to the Library. Or a well stocked newsstand and get the November 6 New York Review of Books and read No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes.

    Ramona's picture

    Playing Hooky

    Just wanted you all to know that I had cataract surgery in one eye and will be doing the other eye next Tuesday.  Still having some trouble reading anything longer than a couple of sentences, but that's no excuse for not keeping the headlines up to date.  Sorry about that!  I gave myself the wet noodle treatment so you don't have to.

    Working on a blog, too, but it's slow going.  But I must say, the colors are really nice this fall--at least out of my left eye.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    A Way Back Book Review: The Mouse That Roared

    When I was a kid, my dad had mentioned a book called The Mouse That Roared and for some reason, his description of the premise – a tiny nation captures a nuclear bomb that makes it the most powerful country on Earth – stuck with me.  He must have mentioned this thirty years ago, but a few weeks ago I found myself Googling for it and finding it long out of print.  I looked on Amazon and people wanted $130 for it.  Sometimes, though, it pays to go local.  I found it at The Strand for $9.  Well, definitely had to have it


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