Michael Maiello's picture

    Marriage Is Not An Anti-Poverty Program

    Over at The New York Times Ross Douthat wants to argue that Republicans can fight poverty by fighting single parenthood, which means promoting marriage on the argument that two parent families are more economically and socially successful.  Matt Yglesias at Slate wants to know how small-government Douthat is going to accomplish using the government, of all things, to get people to marry and stay marry. Douthat's plan involves:

    Ramona's picture

    It's the Ego, Stupid


    Yesterday New Jersey governor Chris Christie took 108 minutes out of his busy schedule to do something so unprecedented there wasn't a pundit anywhere in the country who wasn't on top of it, who didn't have an opinion about it, and who, almost to a person, saw it as the beginning of the end of that lovable bully.  No White House for you, big guy!

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Writing Prompts For 2014

    When the political news of the day is about whether or not the governor of New Jersey caused a traffic jam to punish a political rival, I can finally tune out and think about the important stuff like art.

    Richard Day's picture


    BernardMadoff.jpg From 2005 to 2008, there are on average 14,172,384 arrests made per year in the United States. This is based on data from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’™s Uniform Crime Reporting program. Of all reported arrests, drug abuse violations remains the greatest, with on average 1,819,970 arrests made per-year/

    I checked with MADD and a little over one million of those arrests involved DUI's. So if I got this right, only three million of the 14 million arrests last year relate to drugs or alcohol?

    GOP: To Fight for the Poor

    NYTWASHINGTON — Senator Marco Rubio says the American dream has become “unattainable.” Senator Mike Lee says reforming government benefits programs should be the country’s “first priority.” And Representative Paul D. Ryan says the government safety net has “failed miserably.”...

    After doing nothing but obstructing every appointment, order, action, bill, spending measure, or legislation associated or backed by the President, along with unending muckraking investigations of the IRS, Benghazi, birth certificates and ACORNs, the GOP now plans to return to the 'compassionate conservatism' meme last used by George W. Bush who, in 8 years, started 2 wars with 'fabrications, deceptions and cover-ups' that killed somewhere in the range of 1 million people, cost trillions and plunged Iraq into permanent chaos, and also oversaw the crash of the US economy and banking sector.

    Minimum Wage? Hell, No! Maximum Wage

    The degrading squabble over the level at which a nation still retaining some small capacity for shame will say "Below this wage, by irrefutable presumption, labor is uncompensated, ergo (implicitly) slavery", serves only to distract the working class, the surplus value of whose labor is being stolen, from the fact of the theft;

    We need a maximum  ratio by which the most highly compensated may command the compensation of multiples of their fellow humans.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Your Top Ten Anti-Christian Acts of 2013

    The title of this post comes from the subject line of an email that I received from Dr. Gary L. Cass, head of the "Christian Anti-Defamation Commission." If you read on, you'll notice that none of the "top ten anti-Christian acts of 2013" represent actual discrimination against Christians. Most of them are about Christians' "right" to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Your New Year's Public Domain Report, 2014

    It's January 1 again, the day when works enter the public domain because their copyright expired at last year's end. And yet again, because of repeated extensions to the length of copyright, nothing at all entered the public domain in the United States. Almost nothing has since January 1, 1979.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Inflation and the Dragon

    One of the hardest things for many people to grasp during the Great Recession has been the idea that inflation is too low. We generally talk about inflation as pure economic evil, something that could never possibly be too low. But it is.

    If you say inflation is too low, some people will bring up the high inflation of the 1970s or, more hysterically, the hyper-inflation in Weimar Germany during the rise of the Nazis as proof that Inflation Is Bad. But that doesn't really make sense. Inflation is bad when it gets too high, but that doesn't make a modest amount of inflation bad. The sun is bad in Death Valley when it's 130 degrees, but that doesn't make sunshine a universal menace. 15% inflation would be a very bad thing, but that doesn't mean 1.5% inflation is a good thing. 130 degrees Fahrenheit is murderous, but so 13 degrees is also a killer. A lot of our public debate about inflation is like trying to treat a case of frostbite while people keep shouting that heat is a terrible thing and then angrily tell you a long story about forest fires.

    Richard Day's picture

    2013 LISTS; HERE'S TO 2014!

    I think the biggest stories of 2013 relate to energy.

    Over the last four or five or six years, some things have changed dramatically.

    Forget politics for a sec; capitalists decided that wind energy and sun energy became profitable enterprises, and this Administration has provided the tax credits and income tax provisions that add to this new substantial contribution to the national energy grid.

    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Breaking: Edward Snowden leaks Naughty or Nice list

    Rostov-on-Don, RUSSIA -- Leaker extraordinaire Edward Snowden unleashed his biggest coup to date, leaking Santa Claus' Naughty or Nice list on Christmas Eve.

    "I just want us to have a discussion, is all," said Snowden. "Let's talk. I want to talk. We should talk." Claus, a shadowy figure known mostly by song, has long fought off civil liberties activists who say more transparency is needed in regard to the famed list.

    "A debate, perhaps?" said Snowden. "A little tea time conversation, maybe?" I really wanna talk about this."

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Eating the Turkey Soup: A Christmas Story

    One December when my brother and I were around ten and twelve years old, our mother enlisted us in a holiday good deed she was doing. She wouldn't tell us who we were doing it for, and after we got caught up in our task itself we stopped wondering. When we were finished, we went back to thinking about other things. But on the afternoon of Christmas Eve someone came by our house with a pot of turkey soup to thank our mother, and we realized who we'd been doing that small good deed for.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Times "Pity Party"

    Atrios and friends frequently take The New York Times  to task for its coverage of the economic issues facing its affluent readership.  The problem, an old one, is that the Times reader typically makes a lot of money compared to the average but they do not typically make so much money that they are care free wealthy.  This is because the economy does not actually gr

    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Unemployed guy who doesn't care about his social media reputation says anything he wants

    God celebrates the DNC folding over a non-issue. DES MOINES -- "Gay people are made of orange peels and frog legs," shouted William K. Wolfrum.

    "Black people poop pumpkin pie!" Wolfrum added.

    Wolfrum, who is unemployed, said he was practicing his First Amendment rights to say anything he likes.

    Ramona's picture

    What's in a Name? Depends on Who's Calling It.


    Over this past week I packed and cleaned and wore myself out getting ready for a long trip toward the places where I'm hoping merry holiday spirits abide. It would be a cruel trick if they didn't.


    Gallup Polls, How to Bamboozle the Public

    The Gallup Poll question:

    In your opinion, which of the following will be the biggest threat to the country in the future - big business, big labor, or big government?

    The poll seems like some stupid question on a grade school standardized test:

    'Billy is playing his plug in radio while bathing in the bathtub, in your opinion, the biggest threat to Billy's future is big water, big electricity, or big slippery soap?'

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    In Praise of the Late Term Paper

    It's that time of year again, or actually one of the two times each year, when semesters end and bleary-eyed college professors scale mountains of ungraded papers and exams. One of my friends claims that he can track the academic calendar by the crescendo of professors griping on Facebook and Twitter about bad papers, worse excuses, and outrageous examples of student entitlement. Some of this is necessary foxhole camaraderie, some of it verges on the unprofessional, and some does a lot more than verge. Too many lame papers and excuses will put most people in an ugly mood.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Homeless Aren't Homeless When They Are Sheltered?

    I think it's impossible to be a parent without having moments where you don't fear your own incompetence.  Some day, you know, you will be exposed as something less than a perfect protector, much less provider.  Your child will want something you cannot provide.  That might not be a tragedy, but it will be a moment.  Worse, your child might need something you cannot provide.  That will hurt.

    Ramona's picture

    The Terrible Horrible No Good War on Happy Holidays

    I’ve been sending out Christmas cards since I was around 16 years old, when my mom told me I was old enough to start sending out my own cards.  The cards I chose over the course of many,many, many years depended on a lot of things, but it never occurred to me—ever–to wonder if my choice of card would offend anyone.



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