Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Dylan's Nobel and the State of American Literature

    I was very pleased when Bob Dylan got the Nobel Prize today. But I understand a number of people were not. Almost immediately upon the announcement my social media stream was full of disgruntled poets complaining that Dylan should not be eligible for the prize. (The silver lining was that one of the talented poets I know was immediately pushing back on this.) And by mid-afternoon the websites of major periodicals were full of think pieces, ready for tomorrow's print editions, about why Dylan should not have won.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    To Trump or Not to Trump

    You can't spin sexual assault. You can spin sex. You can spin assault. You can spin talking about sexual assault (Locker room talk!) But sexual assault can't be spun.

    Donald Trump's only option is to deny, to call these women liars, which he will do tomorrow.

    And then all the Republicans walking that tightrope between endorsing and denouncing will be forced to choose: Trump or his victims.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Is Wikileaks the End of Snowden?

    I've been an Edward Snowden fan because I believe, without much doubt at this point, that anything he's done that his critics call out as "bad' such as releasing information about legitimate U.S. intelligence operations against overseas targets or seeking refuge with Vladimir Putin are either forgivable or understandable within the context of him giving the American people the knowledge they needed in order to give consent to their own government.

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    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Grab Them By The ______: Dualism In America

    Blue Ridge Mountains (n.) A place where many of the same parents who forbade their children from hearing a 2009 back to school address by President Obama now decorate their bodies, cars, and yards with campaign paraphernalia from the most vulgar candidate who's run for office in modern history.

     

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Hillary Clinton and the First Wives' Club

    So, Camp Trump has decided, again, that the smart thing to do is to go after Hillary Clinton because her husband was unfaithful to her. When you're facing an opponent who has had trouble being taken as human and sympathetic, what better way to go?

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Death by Counterpunch

    Six months ago, I wrote:

    Trump's biggest mistake during the primary was to feud with people who were not running against him...Clinton can exploit Trump's propensity to retaliate against anyone who crosses him by deploying surrogates to batter him with a fusillade of insults. If Trump were smart, he would ignore them and focus on Clinton, but his reaction to Elizabeth Warren's tweets suggests he cannot resist the urge to counterpunch, even when it doesn't serve his interests. With every over-the-top smackdown, he will distract voters from his message and deflate whatever presidential gravitas he manages to muster.

    Since then, we have seen this scenario play out repeatedly, most remarkably in the case of Trump's feud with the parents of Humayun Khan.

    Now it's happening again, and I believe that this feud with former Ms. Universe Alicia Machado will finally spell the end of his campaign.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Congress Was Right To Overturn Obama's Veto

    President Obama had vetoed a bill passed by Congress that allows U.S. citizens who are victims of state sponsored terrorism to sue the governments who sponsor that terrorism in U.S. courts. This has sparked some outrage overseas even as it gives families of 9/11 victims some shot at holding the Saudi Royal family accountable in U.S. courts, if the families can prove their case (and if they get that far). Obama opposed the law on the grounds of sovereign immunity, which generally immunizes recognized states from civil lawsuits or criminal prosecution.

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    Ramona's picture

    Donald Trump is Not Redeemable. He Cannot Be President.

    The first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is behind us now and, except for the usual tiresome trolls, the racists, the bigots, the misogynists, and a few souls who genuinely want to believe a cruel, crass billionaire will be their saving Messiah, the consensus is that Hillary whomped The Donald, slammed him to the ground, and wiped the floor with him. Like a rag mop.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Thinking: Not Just for "Elites"

    The pundits handicapping tonight's Trump-Clinton debate were slowly driving me insane, and now they've speeded up. The debate is not a fair fight, and should not be. A guy who doesn't know anything is supposed to lose a debate against a smart person who knows a lot. Anything that makes those people an "even" match is a fix. But the craven attempts to frame Trump v. Clinton as an even-money proposition has finally put my finger on something that's been bugging me for a long time: the insistence that being smart is elitist.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Hillary, Choose Your Trump

    Inquiring minds want to know, which Donald Trump will show up to the debate tonight? The name-calling bully? The xenophobic scaremonger? The misogynist jerk? The entertaining clown? The pathological liar? The dog-whistling bigot? The reckless lunatic? The shallow narcissist? Or some new incarnation of softer, smarter Trump who uses big words.

    Chris Matthews doesn't know. Mark Halperin doesn't know.  Ed Kilgore doesn't know. Some editor at the Atlantic doesn't know. Hillary Clinton doesn't know.

    She literally said, "I do not know which Donald Trump will show up."

    Well, she better figure it out, quick. Because if she hopes to triumph at the debate tonight, she can't wait and see which Trump shows up at the lectern. She must choose her Trump.

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    Ramona's picture

    A Deplorable Thought: Trump Could Win

    I was standing in line at the grocery store yesterday looking at this National Enquirer cover, trying to convince myself I'm too old to be horrified by these things anymore. It made me queasy and a little breathless but I managed to get past it and move my groceries from my cart to the belt.
     

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    A Great Day In Dag History

    On September 17th of 1981 the greatest of all time, the Nature Boy Ric Flair, put hard times on rival Dusty Rhodes, to win his first world heavyweight wrestling championships.  He is now (sadly) retired but his 16 world championship reigns remain a record, destined to be matched or exceeded by (shudder) John Cena.

    Well, here it was, his first belt:

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    The Grey Lady Takes the Gloves Off

    "Breaking News," tweeted the New York Times yesterday, "Trump backed off birther claims: 'President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period.'"

    Typical of the Times' election reporting, the tweet made no mention of Trump's lies or his dishonest attempt to shift the blame onto Hillary Clinton. (By contrast, the Washington Post called it straight: "Breaking: Trump admits Obama born in U.S. but falsely blames Clinton for starting rumors.")

    But today, the Grey Lady took her gloves off. The headline for the lead story on the front page provocatively declares, "Trump Gives Up Lie But Refuses to Repent."

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    The New Normal

    Everyone wants someone to blame for the election of 2016. It's the media's fault that Donald Trump is running neck and neck with Hillary Clinton. No, it's Hillary's secretiveness and her Wall Street connections. No, it's the bankers. No, it's the economy, stupid. No, it's sexism, racism, reality television. And so on.

    Many of these factors do affect the race, but none of them really explains the Trump phenomenon. Sure, Hillary would be further ahead if she were more charismatic or if the press were easier on her, but the real mystery is how a man like Donald Trump is in the race at all.

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    Ramona's picture

    How Hillary Can Appease the Press

    I've been thinking for a long time about the ways Hillary Clinton might possibly appease the press and get them to look at her as a living, breathing whole person and not just Bad Hillary. I think I've finally got it.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Doubts of Hazard

    Today, Richard Cohen visits Hazard, Kentucky to profile Trump supporters.  The long and short of it seems to be that eight years of Obama's Environmental Protection Agency pushing the country away from coal asn an energy source has destroyed Eastern Kentucky's economy.  No doubt that, along with low oil and natural gas prices, have taken their toll on the region.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Why Art?

    Why study the arts? Some politicians ask the question as a joke, mocking this or that discipline as impractical. Those who defend the arts and humanities answer in economic terms, arguing for the rich and versatile skills one learns in the humanities classroom. I have made that economic case myself. As far as it goes, it is true. But it is not the only argument, and it does not go far enough.

    We need the humanities because we are human. We need the arts because we are mortal. We need art and poetry because everyone we love will some day die.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Balanced Coverage and Baseball

    So today, Paul Krugman told it like it is about the newspaper that employs him and its strange "balance via bias" coverage of the Clinton and Trump campaigns, in which the Grey Lady tries to give both candidates equivalent amounts of negative coverage.

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