Michael Maiello's picture

    We Brought Over-Policing On Ourselves

    Interesting piece in The New York Times about the origins of the Rockefeller drug laws and the tough on crime stance of Harlem social activists in the 1960s.  It seems a classic case of a community giving up power for safety and being abused for it.  I only take issue here with the total focus on black communities within the city -- over-policing is now a problem throughout America.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Ask Me About Shakespeare, Round Two

    So, last year I had an Ask Me About Shakespeare thread that people seemed to enjoy. (Answers to the first round of questions are at the link.) Let's try it again.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Winnowing the GOP Field with Jane Austen

    Scott Walker has left the Republican presidential primaries: the first dropout who was once considered a major contender for the nomination. That, and the departure of Rick Perry, leaves us with only fourteen or fifteen candidates left. In fact, the real number is much smaller than that, because of an economic concept called the Pareto principle; there have never been sixteen choices, because the Pareto principle cuts the number down to a smaller number of practical options.

    barefooted's picture

    Danger In Donald's Name

    Donald Trump is becoming a dangerous leader of an ignorant, angry base of people who don't give a damn about politics. They aren't looking for ways to improve our economy, policies to help the middle class or the wealthy, taxes up or down, nor do they care about wars in general - their focus is clearly on nationalism with a very white bent. "Immigration" means keeping non-whites out, "unemployment" means a Mexican took your job. "Poor" equals black and dangerous, "religion" means Christian.

    Ramona's picture

    How Do You Shame The Shameless?

    Every now and then I get to thinking about shame; about its legitimacy as a teaching tool ("Kids are starving in China and you won't eat your peas?"), about its necessity in a civilized society ("Shut the door! Were you born in a barn?"), and about its mean-spirited use as a weapon ("What kind of #$&*% are you, anyway?").

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Trump, Evangelicals and Showbiz Politics

    The great thing about Donald Trump is how he totally freaks out The New York Times while making CNN salivate.  The day after the debate, we get Frank Bruni bemoaning the blurred lines between politics and entertainment, an objection that makes me wonder where Bruni has been since the 1980s, when Trump ascended into the popular culture, Yes, CNN salivates at the prospect of a president that it can probably cover through sitcom, but let's not give into Bruni's yearning for a serious politics of yore that never was.

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    Hal Ginsberg's picture

    A Shameful Attack

    BrockReaders have pushed back against my varied criticisms of Hillary Rodham Clinton over the past few months. Some accuse me of cherry-picking her worst moments, e.g., her vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq. Others claim that I have misconstrued various statements and votes over the past twenty years or that I arrogantly believe that I know better than her supporters what's best for them.

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    Richard Day's picture

    LIVE: SEND IN THE CLOWNS! A DEBATE ENSUES...

    The election is only one year and  six weeks away for heaven sakes.

    A man named Trump leads the GOP polls and just under this guy a man Named Carson appears.

    Neither man has ever run for anything, except the first ran from his debts on several occasions whilst the other guy ran away from neurosurgery.

    This reality show is way ahead of schedule and so are the cable stations attempting to cover this debate tonight because twenty two million folks viewed the last debate.

    And Trump has not paid a dime in advertising. hahahhahah

    So we shall send in the clowns.

    Hal Ginsberg's picture

    William and I #feelthebern

    SandersCrowdYesterday evening, my 15-year old son William and I drove out to Manassas, VA, to see and hear Bernie Sanders. The rally began at 7:30 officially with Sanders due to appear at about 8. Here are my thoughts and experiences as they occurred.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Loving Shakespeare's Language, Then and Now

    This Sunday's New York Times Magazine carries an elegantly written lament by Stephen Greenblatt of Harvard University, who has come to believe that his students don't love Shakespeare's poetry as poetry anymore:

    Hal Ginsberg's picture

    Hillary Clinton and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

    emptyroomFor years I have criticized, frequently harshly, Hillary Rodham Clinton.  I think she is arrogant, aloof, and self-regarding.  Her political convictions are thin and yielding. More often than not she has shied away from tackling humankind's two most serious problems - economic injustice and global warming - perhaps because she seeks and accepts support from international business elites and the fossil fuel industry. 

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    Ramona's picture

    The Hopelessness of Homelessness - A Guest Post

    The post below was written by my internet friend and fellow writer, syrbal-labrys.  She posted it on her own blog, Experiential Pagan, about a month ago but I only just discovered it last week.  I asked her if I could re-post it here and she graciously agreed.  

    We talk about the homeless a lot, but most often as distant observers who can only imagine what it must be like.  This is a story of an encounter and a rescue, with an ending as elusive as the reasons why:

    Richard Day's picture

    PROGNOSTICATION

    I awoke at 3AM and began playing on my PC.

    Rather than closing a tab, I clicked the weather channel on my TV.

    Weather approximations are given for each hour of the day.

    Temp and wind and chances of rain....

    6 AM seemed ominous.

    Ramona's picture

    Labor Day, Brought to You By Unions Everywhere

    This year I joined the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981/AFL-CIO (NWU).  I advocate for unions all the time, and this just puts the icing on the cake for me, but more than that, more than how it makes me feel, union membership joins us, arms linked, as we struggle to give our labor force the respect it deserves.  (Yes, even those workers who rail against unions.  We fight for them, too.  Because who else will?)

    As I do every Labor Day, I went looking for Labor Day mentions, and the first thing I found was a list of Labor Day quotes to use on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.  Hey!  Great!  But after reading a few of them I noticed a pattern:  They were all about the rewards of hard work, the joys of labor, the shame of idleness.  Nothing about unions AT ALL.  On Labor Day. 

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    America's Longest Conversation

    Anyone who has spent time on crutches knows how good it feels to walk unaided. If, however, you were bedridden or in a wheel chair those crutches would be a major achievement. That's how civil rights function in America. The life of racial and ethnic minorities is leaps and bounds better than their ancestor's, but that can't be the only metric we use to judge progress. It's easy for someone in 2015 to question the motives of those who highlight racial disparities in our economic, educational, and legal systems, but how many of those critical of the shared struggle for equality can honestly say race and ethnicity don't factor into the lives of minorities? 

    Ramona's picture

    Please, Joe, Don't Run

    For years now I've been pushing for a Joe Biden run for the presidency.  Whenever I say Joe would make a better president than any candidate running, even people I like a lot have laughed at the idea.  They scoffed.  I kept pushing. 

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    Hal Ginsberg's picture

    Obama's Arctic Hypocrisy

    icebreakerPresident Obama is receiving praise for his fine-sounding speech at the Glacier Conference in Alaska Monday on the urgency of combating global warming.  If the soaring rhetoric, reminiscent of Obama circa 2008, were married to concrete action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, I'd be happy to join the acclaim.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    In Praise of Fred Rogers

    A county clerk down in Kentucky, Kim Davis, is refusing to do her job, getting herself thrown in jail for contempt, and posing as a martyr. Once again, an extremist and divisive version of Christianity, obsessed with minor points of doctrine and followed by only a minority of Christians, is presented to the American public as "Christianity." This is nonsense, of course. Only a tiny, tiny minority of Christians believe that handing same-sex couples a wedding license is somehow sinful.

    Ramona's picture

    The Nothingness of Donald Trump

    This will be short.  My eyes, dammit, are still bothering me, but not nearly as much as Donald Trump bothers me.  I HATE writing about Donald Trump, adding to the list of people who make him deliriously happy whenever we mention his name, but he hit a new low the other day, even for him, when he went after Hillary Clinton's aide, Huma Abedin, and then went after Hillary's aide's husband.

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    Richard Day's picture

    I BE MAD AT GOD!

    I have been viewing West Wing again. (Season 2, Ep 22)

    In this episode Mrs. Landingham purchases a brand new car. And yet, as she drives this automobile home, she is killed when a drunk driver misses a light and runs right into this brand new car.

    The episode goes retro and sends us to the fifties or sixties when President Bartlett is either in prep school or college. It was during his youth that our fictional President first met Mrs. Landingham.

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