Michael Maiello's picture

    The Social Safety Net Isn't Good Enough

    A fascinating analysis in The New York Times today takes a crack at the Thomas Frank problem of why people vote Republican, against their own economic interests. Alex MacGillis reports his way to a new conclusion -- people using government assistance aren't voting at all.  Those who have used it, successfully, to clamber into the lower rungs of the middle class are voting and they are voting against the programs that helped them succeed.


    Marco Rubio's Islamic Dreams

    Marco Rubio, from interview with Marco Rubio in the UK Guardian:

    “The only way to defeat Isis is for Sunni Arabs themselves to reject them ideologically and defeat them militarily,” Rubio said. “They must be defeated on the ground with a ground force that is made up primarily of Arab Sunni fighters from Iraq, from Syria, but also from Jordan, from Egypt, from the Emirates, from Saudi Arabia.”

    Orion's picture

    Twin Burdens: Child Care Costs and Living in Seattle

    “Family values” is spoken of often in politics. It usually alludes to incredibly superficial issues – same sex marriage or abortion being among them. The actual politics of raising a family in this society are not mentioned often.

    It’s incredibly expensive to raise a child in this country. Daniel Marans, a reporter for the Huffington Post, said that, in many states, it is actually “more expensive than college.” More specifically, the cost of child care for one infant exceeded that of the cost of in state tuition at a public four year university.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Anger of the West

    Richard Roger Cohen, who seems more and more like a left-leaning Western declinist with each column, writes angrily today in The New York Times about America's incapacity for anger in the wake of the Paris attacks.  Cohen is remarkable tone deaf, given the history of Western anger in the Middle East and what it has wrought for us since 9/11.

    Hal Ginsberg's picture

    University Unrest - It's Complicated

    TalleyrandI'm a hard-core liberal progressive definitely. Or perhaps I'm a progressive liberal. Anyway, I'm one or the other unless I'm both.  Conservative ideology in my view is morally and intellectually bankrupt.

    Back in the last century, my somewhat more moderate - but still definitely liberal - father and my teenage self debated this. When the argument heated up, he would put his hand on my shoulder and say “my son, surtout pas trop de zèle.” Okay, maybe he didn't always say “surtout pas trop de zèle” but I'm pretty sure he did at least one time. And if he didn't he should have.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    America Needs More Refugees

    The cheap fear-mongering about Syrian refugees loses sight of some basic facts. The United States has taken in refugees before, and that decision has worked out really, really well for us. In fact, taking in refugees has been great for America, and we should take in more whenever we get a chance.

    trkingmomoe's picture

    Nina Turner Has Joined The Sanders' Campaign

    A few years ago Ohio State Senator Nina Turner burst on to the National Stage with her criticism of voter suppression in Ohio.  She has a unique style of getting her point across when she speaks.  The day she stood in front of MSNBC camera with a tee shirt that told the GOP to stay out of her panties, was the day I became of fan of hers.  Sometimes a women has to do what a women got to do to draw attention to a wrong, that includes being bombastic.  

    Driving While Black: Car Purchasing Edition

    There is a bill in Congress that challenges government efforts to end a form of discrimination in car loans. Car dealerships can finance car loans. The dealerships work with banks who determine the credit worthiness and suggested cost of the loan. The car dealership can legally add a "markup" to make profit on the loan. In practice the loans are discriminatory. Black and Latinos face a higher markup at the dealership despite their credit rating. In addition, the bank raises the cost of the loan it suggests to the car dealer based on race. Minorities are openly discriminated again in the current system.

    Richard Day's picture


    The US Supreme Court has ofttimes used a 'balancing formula' to decide its cases over the last 80 years or so.

    Individual interests vs. societal interests: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_J._Brennan,_Jr.


    political interests vs. money: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._FEC


    the interests of the many vs. the interests of every goddamn moneyed prick who owns this country


    Anyway, my understanding of this nation is that we citizens must balance interests.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Profiles in Cowardice

    My thoughts are with Paris today, and with Beirut. We were in the airport, waiting for a delayed flight, when the news broke Friday evening, and so the Paris new broke to us through cable TV and the Beirut news did not reach us at all. There is too much to say about these crimes. For now I can only say that the United States has, at this point, precisely the news media that terrorism wishes us to have.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    For the Love of Wall Street!

    If you get your news from Politico, you are a strange person, but they have been pushing the line for months that Wall Street likes Hillary Clinton and also Jeb Bush.  The line is that anonymous financial services types find both acceptable.  The inference for liberals is that this means Clinton is as much a tool of the financial industry as a member of the Bush family.


    Dem Debate Tonight (Open Thread for Reactions)

    O'Malley did a good job of pushing at the front runners, now and then.  And he had some smart little soundbites, here and there.

    But Clinton and Sanders ran 41 to 40 percent interest all night, in CBS polling.

    About what I expected.

    What I walked away with, tonight, is that Clinton is great, but Sanders is doing almost as good in the polls and opinions.  What I walked away with, tonight, is that people ARE taking Bernie Sanders seriously....including Hillary.


    MrSmith1's picture

    Thirty Woodstocks ...

    I just don't think people can get their heads around how ridiculous it is that Donald Trump is saying he is going to deport 12 million people.   So ... let's put things in perspective, shall we?  I mean, the logistics of this 'grand event' should make everyone laugh this moron back to his gold lame penthouse in Trump Tower.

    Deporting 12 million people is the equivalent of deporting every person at 30 Woodstocks.  That's right, THIRTY times the number of people that attended fucking WOODSTOCK! There were only 400,000 people at Woodstock.  This is 30 times that number!! 

    Debating Abortion

    In 538's summary of the GOP debate, I was struck by this item:

    In his closing statement, Ben Carson said that since the debate had started, 200 abortions had been performed. That stat caught our ear. Turns out, he’s right. In 2011, according to the Guttmacher Institute, the abortion rate in the U.S. was 121 per hour, or 242 over the course of the debate.

    According to the CDC, there were 730,322 legal abortions in the U.S in 2011. That breaks down to about 83 per hour, or close to 170 for the two-hour debate.

    Unalienable Rights

    Reactionaries abhor change. When minority groups demand the rights guaranteed by the Creator or simply as being human, reactionaries push back. Reactionaries stand athwart history yelling "Stop". For reactionaries things are the way they are because that is the way things were supposed to be. When change occurs, reactionaries demonize the people seeking change. Minorities are criminals or terrorists. Women are emasculating or FemiNazis. Gays are depraved individuals who will rape children and destroy the institution of marriage.

    Marco Rubio flashes the full welder.


    In last night's attempt by Murdoch and Ailes to clear the brush around Marco Rubio, the boy candidate who doesn't know which end of a screw driver is the handle flashed hard working Americans with the Full Welder, and believe me it wasn't pretty. I have spent the last week with a friend and neighbor putting up fence and welding farm gates, and I can tell you that Rubio's glib, uninformed, contrived comments about welders, philosophers and wages are worth about the price of two cow pies. The canned junk speech which Rubio has been spouting all week---comparing welders to college philosophy majors---is an insult to workers as well as to those who have worked hard to earn a college degree and are spending a big chunk of their income paying down student loans.

    Ramona's picture

    It's Been Fun. But Seriously, Folks, It's The Presidency.

    Since at least the turn of the 21st Century it's been a time-honored tradition to bring in the clowns and have some fun with the quest for the highest job in the nation.  You would think the duties and obligations of the presidency of the United States would cause most people to turn and run and keep on running, but every four years the most unlikely characters come out of the woodwork, shouting, "Hey, I could be president!  Why not?  How hard could it be?"

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Brett Foster Goes Out Singing

    I was blogging today about art, especially about poetry and about grief, but that post was interrupted by the news of an old friend's death. My own thoughts about grief can wait. I will still be thinking them tomorrow. Today I give way to the beautiful, kind-hearted poet and scholar Brett Foster, who has passed out of this world. He was a better man than I have ever been, and I will miss him.

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Hate Radio As A Second Language: University Of Missouri

    Growing up in a small southern town has blessed me with the gift of translating Conservative hate radio. I live in a town where a lot of people never learned that it's not acceptable to call a black man boy, and the Confederate flag is not a racist relic. For decades people of color comprised less than 10% of the total population in my town; very few of them, no matter how educated or qualified, worked (or work) in any field other than hospitality or service. When combined, these factors create the perfect atmosphere for people to talk unfiltered.

    White working class entrapment, American Style


    The recent statistics revealing increases in the mortality rates of middle aged white Americans during the period 1999 to 2013 seem to defy easy narratives as to why it's happening now here while the reverse--lower mortality rates--is true in other countries. It also appears to be more of a white problem than a minority problem. The factors of personal responsibility, equality, freedom, declining wages and morality are all included in various diagnoses of this peculiar white illness. There are criticisms of the statistical methodology employed but all agree that the rate is going up, disturbingly so. Less education, lower wages and general hopelessness are common descriptors of this endangered group.


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