Book of the Month

Doctor Cleveland's picture

Why Obama Won't Make College Cheaper

Education reform in America is always an attempt to get something for free. It has been that way for at least twenty-five years. No matter what the scheme of the hour is (charter schools, Teach for America, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top) or whether you're talking about K-12 or college, every reformer makes one of two promises. Either they promise to make education better without spending any more money, or they promise to make education better while spending less money. Education reformers basically say, "Four dollars is too much to pay for a hamburger. Bring me a three dollar steak."
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Ramona's picture

9/11/2001. It Will Be With Us Forever.

Today marks the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. [Read more]

Michael Maiello's picture

Congress: What Is Good For?

Those of you who know me know that I torture myself with The New York Times Op-Ed page, allowing many of my first post gym hours to be consumed by perplexed rage at the chosen few who have access to the most coveted op-ed space in all the land.  [Read more]

Michael Maiello's picture

Can Everybody Be Right?

Whatever is ultimately decided regarding Syria, I think that we have finally found an issue where both sides, in the main, have very reasonable and persuasive arguments.

The arguments for action are humanitarian, have long term implications for global stability and, as recently argued by Secretary of State John Kerry, have a certain timeliness in that failing to act now could conceivably result in our having to react to something worse later on.  I also buy Michael Wolraich's argument that the use of chemical weapons is more akin to sending soldiers house to house to kill the families of the opposition than it is to the conventional use of weapons on the battlefield. [Read more]

Ramona's picture

Three Years ago Julian Assange Lost his Luggage. He Just Now Noticed?

It was a long weekend and I was devilishly busy and exhausted to the point of just plain weary, so you'll have to forgive me if I didn't get this right:
 
I read today that on September 27, 2010--almost three years ago--Julian Assange of Wikileaks fame checked a bag at an airport in Sweden containing three laptops filled with Wikileaks stuff, including some top secret "war crimes" information that, if it hadn't been stolen by some shady government dudes, would have knocked our socks off with revelations of dirty deeds so devastating, if they had ever, ever been revealed, the world as we know it might just stop spinning.  Or heads would roll.  Or Assange would be hailed as the hero he fancied he already was.  Whatever.  Something BIG would happen if ever those revelations saw the light of day.  So, of course, they were stolen by one or more shadowy government dudes who were not about to let that happen.
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Michael Maiello's picture

What Is The Norm on WMD?

The best argument for intervening in Syria is that the U.S. would enforce a normal surrounding the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction that, whatever the short run costs, would benefit the world in the long run.  We would seek to create a world where, I don't care if the rebels are at your door, you're not allowed to infect their home village with a disease or unleash the mustard gas.

The notion that war needs rules was hard learned.  A lot of what we call WMD today was just ordinary brutality for much of history.  Diseases were used against Native Americans.  Mustard gas was used in World War I.  Agent Orange was used in Viet Nam and might be considered a WMD today.  Of course, the U.S. has twice used atomic weapons. [Read more]

Ramona's picture

Labor in America: Those were the Days - (A Repeat)

Note:  Labor Day weekend is here once again, and let's enjoy it while we can.  I have a feeling, if things keep going this way, anything that smacks of celebrating labor in this country will disappear. 
 
I guess you've heard that Michigan, my Michigan has become a Right-to-Work state?  Who would have dreamed it would ever happen to Michigan?  Are businesses flocking to our border now, wanting to take advantage of cheap, unprotected labor?  Do I even have to answer that?  (I'm throwing this in because I'm still so mad about the whole damned thing.  I may throw it in many more times in future posts. Because I'll never stop being mad about the whole damned thing.)
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Michael Wolraich's picture

Genghis Speaks: Journalism in the 21st Century - Blogs and Social Media

Hello folks. I'm sorry you haven't heard much from me lately. My nose is pressing hard against the proverbial grindstone as I race to finish my book by October. It has a new title, by the way...

Unreasonable Men: Theodore Roosevelt and the Republican Rebels Who Created Progressive Politics

In the meantime, I'd like to share a video from a journalism conference that I participated in last January at the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. Historians have eagerly anticipated the release of this raw, unscripted Q/A session, which offers new insight into the mind of the Blogger Formerly Known As Genghis during the pivotal period before he achieved worldwide fame and fortune.

The subject of the panel discussion is "Journalism in the 21st Century: Blogs and Social Media." [Read more]

Michael Maiello's picture

Who Gets The Benefit Of The Doubt?

Two recent articles, one in the New York Times and one in The New Republic, worry that Americans are anti-science.  They are written, of course, by scientists.  I'm actually more worried that Americans are anti-literature.  There's always something that keeps us up at night, isn't there? [Read more]

Doctor Cleveland's picture

My Neighborhood, Times Two

I was back in my old neighborhood a couple of weekends ago, walking toward the farmer's market, when I passed a little knot of people who were looking up and gesturing toward the dignified brick apartment buildings that line one of the boulevards. They were all clearly from somewhere else, and one of them was explaining the handsome buildings, which apparently struck them as odd, to the others:

"I think they're pretty dumpy on the inside, but they look good from out here," he said.
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Ramona's picture

I Called Elmore Leonard “Dutch” Once

I woke up to the sad news that Elmore Leonard, our most famous Detroit-based writer, has died.  He was 87 years old but I thought that guy would go on forever.  There was never anything old about him and I doubt I’m the only one who felt that way, but I admit I haven’t seen him in person for almost 20 years. [Read more]

Michael Maiello's picture

A TellIng Argument on Social Security

Somehow this weekend I wound up in a Twitter tif with Ed Lorenzen, a senior adviser for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and, I gather, a Simpson/Bowles supporter.  In many ways, we had an unremarkable back and forth.  I'm sure he kicked my butt, he's more practiced at this debate than I am.  But, there was an interesting interaction.

I pointed out that the Social Security Administration actuaries have notoriously used too low an estimate of GDP growth in their projections, making the problem of Social Security solvency seem worse than it is.  This is not a knock on the actuaries.  They should be conservative.  But, it is true.  He replied: [Read more]

Ramona's picture

George Will ruminating on Detroit: About like Howdy Doody ruminating on the Moon

 

So George Will, highly renowned municipal analyst and wicked good judge of character, has once again set his sights on Detroit. Somehow--don't ask me how--I knew this would happen.  I knew it would happen because the decline of Detroit, our allegedly foremost black and poor city, is in the spotlight, and it's beyond George Will's ability to say no to such delicious news.
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Michael Maiello's picture

The NSA Read Your Emails and All You Got Was This Lousy Fake Terrorism Prosecution

Yesterday, The Washington Post gave us the tale of Basaaly Moalin, a 36-year-old San Diego cab driver from Somalia, who still has close family in his home country, who was recently convicted of sending $8,500 to a military group there that the United States designates as a terrorist organization.  He was caught, in part, through the National Security Agency's database of phone call details. [Read more]

Michael Maiello's picture

So, Take Your Party To Your Own House

On one hand, I am amused that the Republican National Committee, under the direction of Subcommander Reince Preibus, is angry that NBC might produce a movie biopic about Hillary Clinton.  Corporations are people, Reince.  Your side saw to it that these corpersonations were endowed with the rights of free political speech.  Heck, Citizens United was about the right of a corporation to fund an anti-Hillary movie.

But, of course, the RNC has free speech rights, too.  If NBC or CNN is behind a pro-Hillary movie that the RNC doesn't like, then the RNC should feel free to restrict NBC and CNN access to its primary election process. [Read more]

Doctor Cleveland's picture

A Tale of Two Newspapers

Everyone's talking about Jeff Bezos buying The Washington Post. But it's also been a dramatic week for two newspapers close to my heart in different ways: The Boston Globe and The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Two days ago, The Globe, like the WaPo, was sold to an individual billionaire with a high profile. Today the Plain Dealer, which has not been sold, stopped delivering the newspaper. It will still be printed every morning, but it will only be delivered three days a week. Nearly one third of its reporters were laid off on Wednesday. It's not the first round of buyouts or layoffs at the PD, and it's not the second either. [Read more]

Michael Maiello's picture

Jerks For Cads (Rattner Prefers Summers)

Last week I had a little stint guest blogging for Esquire while the unstoppable Charles Pierce took a vacation.  On of my topics was the Larry Summers for Fed Chair debate and my take was that even if you really, really like Larry Summers there's nothing about him that makes him so singular a talent that he and only he should run the Fed. Summers faces opposition from Wall Street, Congressional Democrats and prominent women, among others.  In the face of that, and given the presence of Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Janet Yellen as a perfectly qualified candidate, why all the emotional and mental energy spent on Summers? [Read more]

Michael Wolraich's picture

Russia Offers Asylum to Russian Dissidents

On Thursday, Russian officials announced that Russia had offered asylum to dissidents suffering persecution from the Russian government.

The group includes Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption blogger sentenced to five years in a corrective labor colony; Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former Russian oligarch imprisoned since 2005; members of punk rock protest band Pussy Riot, imprisoned since 2012; Russia's gay population; and the Chechen Republic. Russia also offered posthumous asylum to Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB agent assassinated by Russian agents after receiving asylum in Britain. [Read more]

Doctor Cleveland's picture

Tribal Knowledge

Fox News's hostile interview with Reza Aslan has lit up the internet. (See Michael Maiello and Historiann for two of the smarter takes.) Obviously, interviewer Lauren Green's insistence that something must be very wrong for a Muslim to write a book about Jesus, and that such a book must be wrong, is a problem. But Green (and her producers) are simply peddling a toxic version of an idea that lots of us entertain in various forms. [Read more]

Ramona's picture

Huma Abedin is not Anthony Weiner

 

There is a part of the American feminist movement that drives me nuts.  It's the part where all women who call themselves feminists have to be smart and sassy and so damned tough any public sign of vulnerability or weakness, particularly where men are involved, is reason enough to drum them out of the corps.
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