Ramona's picture

    It's Hard to Be Merry At Christmas When It's "Merry Christmas" Or Else

    The last time I wrote about Christmas I thought I was being pretty polite, considering the message I was getting from my friends and relatives and neighbors at the height of the War on Christmas.  To wit:  How DARE you even THINK about not wishing me a Merry Christmas!  Which, of course, led me to respond by pleading "not guilty"--which caused me to tell a lie at Christmas since I didn't feel the least bit guilty. Why would I?

    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Big Hollywood Crack Up

    Initially, when Sony announced it was yanking the premiere of the Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy The Interview I thought that Sony's marketing people had come up with a way to make lemonade out of the hacking situation.  The media giant could easily cut deals with Amazon, Netflix and the larger cable companies to stream the movie so great that North Korean leader Kim Jung-Un sent terrorists to stop you from seeing it.  

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Best o' Dag 2014 - Seeking Nominations

    Hello folks. Our old friend Wolfrum passed on a splendid invitation to me yesterday. In the early-ish days of the blogosphere, a writer named Al Weisel launched a faux-conservative blog under the pseudonym Jon Swift. His hilarious, award-winning satire quickly propelled him to the top ranks of the blog community, but he generously supported smaller bloggers struggling to gain an audience. One of his outreach projects was an annual competition called, "Best Posts of the Year, Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves."

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    Ramona's picture

    Say What You Will About Torture, It's Still Torture

     

    Last week the Senate Intelligence Committee released their report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program, and, while much of it had already been hashed over soon after the events at Abu Ghraib, there are enough new revelations within the report's 525 page summary to cause us to get stirred up all over again.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Torture Report Open Thread

    Honestly, I don't know what to say.  Would be very interested in hearing from all of you.

    Full report, via Mother Jones

    Great Annotation of Top Findings by WaPo

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    It's A Hard Knock Life (For Cops)

    Today, David Brooks gives us the requisite "police officers have hard jobs" column.  Whenever we discuss police brutality, somebody says this and in the most recent discussions, it's been said quite often,  Police officers have hard jobs.  Very few of us non-police officers envy their professions.  It has few reliable perks.  You can use a siren to run red lights.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    White Uncollared Crime

    I have a fun party story about a road trip that went through Texas, way too fast, wound up in a kind of high speed pursuit and ended with a very reasonable ticket.  The punch-line is that the story would have been tragic had the trooper searched my car.  What also makes the story kind of funny is that while I was driving way too fast I was in total control of my vehicle, on an empty straight-away in the Texas panhandle.  My crime was victim free, as speeding cases go.  That the punishment was light was, in the end, appropriate.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Are Other People That Dangerous?

    Ross Douthat frets that Ferguson is now too ambiguous a story for people who are against the militarization of American police forces to use to make their case.  Me, I tend to think that supporters of military-surplus policing always seem to find ambiguity.  They have not been phased by actions taken by police forces since at least the WTO protests of the 1990s.  Some people just love authority.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Keep the Police Away From the Public

    I'm having a hard time believing Darren Wilson's story, particularly where he says that Michael Brown, while struggling for the cop's weapon in a confrontation that lasted less than a minute, said, "you're too much of a pussy to shoot me."  This brings to mind the words that George Zimmerman put into the mouth of Trayvon Martin -- all bluster and villainy, the street thug equivalent of Dr. Doom telling Mr. Fantastic that "You'll crumble before the power of my atomic nullifier!" rather than just using the damned thing.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    The Fire This Time

    There is one truth that we need to face today, after the grand jury's decision in Ferguson. And that truth is simple. No one can live like this.

    No one can live with an arrangement where their sons can be killed with impunity. No one can make their peace with that. No one can accept that. No one can live like this.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Strategic Overview of J. Alfred Prufrock

    I reimagined The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock as a PowerPoint presentation.

    Ramona's picture

    John Kennedy's Death And How It Changed Us

    John Kennedy, even with his publicly reported physical frailties, was a man with an almost mythical presence.  He was young and vibrant, he had a beautiful wife and two small children, and, true or not, we perceived him as the peoples' president--as close to being one of us, his wealth notwithstanding, as we were likely to get.  He was the FDR we had been wishing for.
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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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!

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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

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