Michael Maiello's picture

    A Way Back Book Review: The Mouse That Roared

    When I was a kid, my dad had mentioned a book called The Mouse That Roared and for some reason, his description of the premise – a tiny nation captures a nuclear bomb that makes it the most powerful country on Earth – stuck with me.  He must have mentioned this thirty years ago, but a few weeks ago I found myself Googling for it and finding it long out of print.  I looked on Amazon and people wanted $130 for it.  Sometimes, though, it pays to go local.  I found it at The Strand for $9.  Well, definitely had to have it

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    Short Century: A Novel of War and Taboo

    Thanks to The Lost and Found Show, I had the opportunity to read at Word Bookstore as part of the Brooklyn Book Festival this year.  Believe me, I was hilarious.  No, really.  I was funny.  But, beyond that, I met the author David Burr Gerrard and his debut novel Short Century. I just finished reading it and it was a bl

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Friday Deep Thoughts (Open Thread!)

    When U.S. trade policies wreck entire industries and cause unemployment, our answer is "train the workers."

    When U.S. foreign policies wreck entire regions, sending them into a tailspin of ethnic, religious and economic violence and chaos our answer is "train the local armies to deal with it."

    I think we need to combine these two things to turn the unemployed into the world's most effective killing machine.  I mean, it's just synergy, right?

    **End of Week Open Thread!**

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Attack on ISIS (Watch Your Wallet)

    As I somewhat expected, the military hawks have won over American public opinion regarding Syria/Iraq/ISIS, though what they get for that is tempered by Obama's pru

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    What If The People Who Want To Go To War In Syria Are Fantasists?

    This Foreign Affairs article by Kenneth M. Pollack is a sight to behold. In it, the Brookings Senior Fellow and oft-quoted historian of military history in the Middle East, suggests that the United States should recruit, train, fund and equip a new Syrian army capable of defeating ISIS and deposing Bashar al-Assad at the same time.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    All You Need To Know About The Debt In 3 Seconds

    In my mailbox this morning was a little cartoon from Brookings promising "The Federal Debt: All You Need To Know In Three Minutes."

    I can beat that.  All you need to know is that the Congressional Budget Office just reduced its economic growth projection for 2014 and increased slightly its estimate of what the annual budget deficit will be as well as the total amount it believes will be added to the debt over the next 10 years.

    Or, the short version: Less growth leads to higher deficits, more growth leads to lower deficits.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    How Foreign Policy Non-Experts Think

    I am no a foreign policy expert.

    I am definitely not an expert in military history or tactics.  I have little familiarity with the science, such as it is, of national and international security.

    I am particularly not adept at issues involving the Middle East, a region of the world that I have never visited and that is populated by diverse cultures that I know little about and people who speak languages that I don't speak.  I can't even call their languages "beautiful" as is the tradition, because I am not cunning linguist enough to know.

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    Book Review: Sharp Knives, Sharp Stories

    When I read really great fiction or watch a really good play or movie, whether it’s new or years old, I find that the work speaks to whatever is going on in the world.  That’s When The Knives Come Down, the debut collection of short stories by Dolan Morgan, certainly fits the bill.  Though the dozen story collection is diverse in narratives and tone, the common theme in all the stories is the relationship of people to place.  The w

    Michael Maiello's picture

    The FPD Officer Who Shot Michael Brown Did Not Know That His Victim Was a Robbery Suspect

    Sorry for the separate post on this but when the Ferguson Police Department released the name of the police officer who shot Michael Brown to death they also released a long police report detailing Brown as a suspect in a petty theft incident -- very clearly implying that Brown was killed while resisting arrest for a legitimate, though minor, crime.

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    Last Night, Police Shut Down All Live Feeds from Ferguson (Open Thread)

    They had already blocked mainstream media from the town.  Now, Jezebel reports that all live feeds have been shut down. That means that police have successfully intimidated or forced citizen journalists to give up, for a time.  By the time you read this, I'm sure some will be back up, But this is amazingly chilling.

    Let's make this an open thread, I know you all have a lot to say.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Long March To War

    I'm finding the current foreign policy narrative, as pushed by those who identify as liberal hawks, very disturbing.  The Obama administration is certainly not rushing to use U.S. ground forces but this is where drone strikes and aerial bombardment inevitably leads.  Our military interventions start with the low risk choices and then, as things progress, we start to hear about the "limits of air power," and "the limits of technology."  Before you know it, you're back to fighting an old fashioned war, the one human activity with, apparently, no limits.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Intellectual Heft Behind Broken Windows

    The March 1982 Atlantic article called "Broken Windows" by George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson is a darned interesting artifact 32 years later.  It begins with an experiment with community policing and foot patrols in Newark, New Jersey in the mid-1970s.  We are, at that point, seeing the start of the use of technology in law enforcement and, of course, the start of globalization and the hollowing out of America's cities that resulted.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    It's Time For Bill de Blasio To Abandon "Broken Windows"

    Best I can tell, "broken windows" policing does sort of work to reduce crime rates, though it probably also gets more credit than it should.  The theory behind it is that you can reduce crime by reducing "disorder."  There's a logic to this that can't be dismissed.  If millions of people living in New York City really internalize the idea that the city cannot be governed, then the city will be harder to govern.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Why Cutting Benefits Helps Nobody

    One of the ancillary benefits of the success of Michael Wolrach's Unreasonable Men is that when websites like The National Memo choose to excerpt from it I get to know websites like The National Memo.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Cause Of Poverty

    I can't say this enough, especially with regards to this where David Brooks tells us from up high that character defects cause poverty.  See, I know a lot of wealthy people who have character defects.  I know a lot of poor saintly types.  Most people fall somewhat in between on both matters of wealth and character.  But, here's the truth: we don't live in a world where people necessarily get what they deserve.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Unreasonable Men and the Art Of The Political Long Game

    The Theodore Roosevelt that I thought I knew was the trust-busting, Bull Moose rebel – a liberal reformer with the interests of the people foremost on his mind. In Unreasonable Men, Theodore Roosevelt and the Republican Rebels Who Created Progressive Politics, my mythical Teddy (a myth I believe others have shared) is forcibly upended.

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    Q&A With Michael Wolraich: "The Ted Cruz Of His Day"

    I am working on a review of Unreasonable Men, but there is no reason to rush when the book is getting such great coverage by top writers like Elias Isquith at Salon.

    My favorite part is here:

    "For people who don’t know, the Gilded Age — especially the late stages of it — was a period with a lot of financial instability, right?

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    How Foreign Policy People Get Things Wrong

    Leslie H. Gelb's op-ed in The New York Times this morning struck me as important. I don't know if he's right that Iraq needs some sort of unified, three state confederation.  It seems reasonable to me. I'm sure it's more complicated than it sounds. But, consider this:

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Your Boss Makes A Lot Of Decisions For You

    Doctor Cleveland says this morning

    "Your religious freedom is yours, alone. It does not belong to your employer, to your landlord, or to anybody else. The deepest stupidity of the inane Hobby Lobby decision is that it uses religious freedom to let your boss take away your religious freedom. That is not acceptable. And it is not sustainable. Five allegedly rational Supreme Court justices have just opened the door to vicious religious conflict. Because letting your boss make your religious decisions is not acceptable, and over the long run people will not accept it."

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    How Domestic Policy People Think, Part I

    Here is a Wonkblog article by Zachary A. Goldfarb about why taxes have to eventually rise on the middle class.  Whether or not you buy that premise, look at this:

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