Michael Maiello's picture

    What If Bernie Broke Up The Banks?

    I'm not blogging politics right now because Infinite Jest.

    But if Rolling Stone has room for me, who am I to say no?

    Here's my take on what would happen if Bernie got his way on Wall Street.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Infinite Winter: The Hurt of Smart and Talented

    A huge theme of Infinite Jest is that there are pains inherent with talent.  A big part of this is athletic talent, which David Foster Wallace could write about because he was an immensely talented tennis player, just shy of pro. Another part of it is intellectual talent, which he could also write about because, well, if you’ve read him, I don’t have to try and convince you.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    DFW Told You What About A Fish?

    We have reached the 20th anniversary of the publication of Infinite Jest and I have just finished reading Signifying Rappers, a short book of essays written by David Foster Wallace and Mark Costello, designed to ape the style of the late music critic Lester Bangs, but about the burgeoning commercial and underground rap artists of the late 1980s and early 1990s.  It was a bit of a shock to realize that DFW hated The Beastie Boys but then, those were the “Fight For Your Right To Party” Beasties.  We have all grown up so much these days and some of us have died.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Live Blogging the Democratic Debate (Without Watching) OPEN THREAD

    Opener.  Bernie looking confident.

    Bernie:  You're going to be first against the wall when the revolution comes!

    HRC: Bring it, Trotsky.

    Martin O'Malley -- will not be utilized for these purposes.

    ***

    HRC: I was actually a member of Seal Team 6, then.  Never mentioned it before as it was classified. We dumped him in Mississippi.

    ***

    Bernie: Guns wouldn't be a problem if people had unions.

    ***

    HRC: I can't tell if The Revenant is a great movie or just a shallow revenge tale.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Trump-o-Nomics or, How To Bully China

    Okay, this is a brilliant reveal of the Donald Trump worldview which is, really, that a big borrower has all the power in the world, assuming people want to get paid back. Discussing how, as president, he would force China to handle the problem of North Korea, he says:

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Obama's America: The Final Year

    Four years ago, The Daily assigned me my last piece -- a look back at Obama's America from the vantage of 2016.  The finished product is no longer online, but I do have a draft in my Google docs.  In a broad sense, my predictions turned out pretty well.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Revolution of the 1%

    I know that I'm supposed to fear that the political ascendancy of Donald Trump is just evidence of our society sliding, like Weimar Germany, into unrepentant fascism, but I still think his campaign is a lot of fun because he is a very powerful man bent on speaking truth to power.

    Take, for example, his "sorry, not sorry," apology to Republican power brokers:

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Obama Should Not Have Spoken Tonight

    What happened in San Bernardino represents an unwelcome threshold between the ideal behind Islamic-inspired international terrorism and homegrown violence.  Obama made a mistake tonight by elevating a criminal event into an international incident.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Our Complicated, Uncompetitive Primary

    If you read the comments around Dag, you're not only seeing the best stuff on the site (pause for cheap pop from the regulars) but you'll also maybe notice that I've been pretty darned fascinated with Hal Ginsberg's pro-Sanders take on the Democratic primary.  This primary is interesting for a liberal who supports both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.  For one thing, Hillary is going to win.  But Sanders makes great contributions to the big national debate almost daily.  I am, in a word, happy.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    When Captain America Throws His Mighty Shield

    Marvel comics is soft-rebooting all of its titles.  Marvel is, along with Star Wars, Star Trek and pro wrestling, a huge part of my pop-cultural life.  I'd love to say, "my childhood," but we all know that's too kind.  

    Michael Maiello's picture

    What Ruth Marcus and Brookings Don't Get About Microeconomics

    Thanks to Hal for referencing The Washington Post's Ruth Marcus on Hillary Clinton the other day.  I don't read Marcus too regularly, but when I do, it reminds me why not reading her is probably an IQ booster.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    A Gun Truth Movement for Gun Truthers

    I admit, as a smoker in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I found those "Truth" anti-smoking ads to be pretty obnoxious and I expected that they would be no more effective than the "Just Say No," anti-drug ads of the 1980s.  But I was actually a little older than "The Truth" was aiming for, and a little too set in my ways. I had to find my own path away from nicotine. The Truth ads, meanwhile, were effective enough that a whole lot of people who were 5-15 years younger than me never had to waste any time or money on tobacco, much less endure the trial of quitting.  Good for The Truth.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Cadillacs All Around

    In the U.S., most people get their health insurance through their employers because... well, because the government wants it that way. 

    During World War II, American industry needed workers to meet the industrial needs caused by a gigantic war.  That demand for workers resulted in enormous wage inflation and the government decided to stop that by putting compensation caps into place.  Remember that next time somebody tells you that the government can't interfere with the markets by, say, regulating drug prices.  When it came to wages for ordinary people, the government interfered in the markets without much regret.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Religious Leaders Want Theocracies

    A common answer to a liberal who objects that Pope Francis decided to meet privately with Kentucky County Clerk and homophobic bigot Kim Davis is that, hey, he's a Catholic and he doesn't support same sex marriage anyway, so what's the problem?

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    We Brought Over-Policing On Ourselves

    Interesting piece in The New York Times about the origins of the Rockefeller drug laws and the tough on crime stance of Harlem social activists in the 1960s.  It seems a classic case of a community giving up power for safety and being abused for it.  I only take issue here with the total focus on black communities within the city -- over-policing is now a problem throughout America.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Trump, Evangelicals and Showbiz Politics

    The great thing about Donald Trump is how he totally freaks out The New York Times while making CNN salivate.  The day after the debate, we get Frank Bruni bemoaning the blurred lines between politics and entertainment, an objection that makes me wonder where Bruni has been since the 1980s, when Trump ascended into the popular culture, Yes, CNN salivates at the prospect of a president that it can probably cover through sitcom, but let's not give into Bruni's yearning for a serious politics of yore that never was.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Guys, Hillary Clinton Is Going To Be A Great President

    I like Bernie, too.  I'm going to vote for him in the New York primary, unless he's out and has endorsed Hillary Clinton by then.  Call it my political Pascal's Wager.  If I vote for him and he wins, I'll be plenty happy.  But I'm also wagering in New York, where Hillary's popularity is intact. She's not likely to lose the New York primary.  So, there you go.  I like Bernie.

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