Michael Maiello's picture

    Do You Have The Right to Secrets?

    The world is not consistent on this point, but I think I've been pretty reliably of the belief that people's consensual and private romantic entanglements really aren't anybody else's business, absent naked hypocrisy on the issue by people in public life. That way, I can forgive Bill Clinton and John Edwards their affairs and not so much Newt Gingrich, who is a public scold and worse.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    I Really Want To Go Into The Cockpit (And It's My Right)

    I'm a good person and not at all crazy or harmful to anybody in any way.  It's just that when I fly, I have my preferences.  Some people like to drink.  Some people nap.  Some read or watch movies or listen to music.  I like to go into the cockpit to talk with the crew.  I've been doing it since I was a kid.  They used to give you little plastic wings to pin to your shirt on American Airlines and TWA. There is nothing more sacred and American than this.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Enemy of The President is Not Your Friend

    Donald Trump tends to turn things upside down just by being Donald Trump. Of late, His Fraudulency has hurled himself into a feud with the Federal Bureau of Investigations, turning the agency into an arm of the resistance.  Except that the FBI is not a leftist organization, not by a long shot, and it never has been and neither is the rest of the security/intelligence apparatus in the U.S.

    James Comey is not a good guy.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    When You're Adorable to Deplorables

    Our friend Josh has been making the point that public revelations of predatory behavior only matter to people and entities who have to serve constituencies that care about such things. This seems an obvious point. The bachelor party at Scores is not going to get worked up about people objectifying the dancers, at least not on that particular night.  It does mean, however, that the political/social consequences of engaging in such behavior will differ more based on who you are or what you serve than what you did.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Then They Came for Bill Clinton (Again)

    Really, liberals?  Really?  More than seventeen years after we movedon.orged this issue, we're going to turn on Bill Clinton? As with most progressive mistakes, this seems to come from a well-meaning place.  We lefties like to be intellectually and ethically consistent and we are trying to make the world a better, more inclusive place, after all.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    On Donna Brazile...

    ...yeah, no, I just can't.

    Except to say that I really don't believe that Bernie Sanders ever expected a warm embrace from the party establishment that he was explicitly running against.

    Also, the warm embrace of the party establishment does not seem to translate automatically into winning the general election, so there's that.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Social Media Sucks and Taibbi and Ames Are Not Rapists

    In 2000, Matt Taibbi and Mark Ames wrote a book called The Exile, about their time in the 1990s running an English-speaking alternative newspaper in Moscow, after the fall of the Soviet Union and during what we now look back on as the rise of oligarchs and Vladimir Putin.  The Exile crashed together the ethos of gonzo journalism from the Hunter Thompson years (still ongoing) with the style of the self-published Zine movement (not yet displaced by blogs) with what we might still recognize as "regular journalism" (which no longer exists, I kid.)

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Starship Troopers Phase of Trumpism

    In 1997, Paul Verhoeven took a militaristic Robert A. Heinlein novel and satirized it as a movie.  When it came out, a lot of the audience missed the joke. Since then, a cult following has brought people along and now everybody gets it.  A big part of the Starship Troopers joke is society's compulsion towards military service. Mankind has branched out into the stars and found wars to fight. In order to preserve an all-volunteer military while compelling people to enlist, the "Terran Federation" has come up with a new form of governance:

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Amongst Its Diverse Weaponry Are...

    “A powerful social media network that, with no physical presence, allows it to spew propaganda, claim responsibility for terrorist attacks, and not just inspire attacks but also help plot and execute them remotely.”

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    There Was a Shooting and Who Wants This Fight Again?

    Honestly, I have nothing to add about 58 people (58?  Really?) being murdered at a music festival by somebody with a weapon of mass destruction.  It's all just too repetitive, isn't it?

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Equifax and the CFPB

    Two days before we found out that credit reporting agency Equifax had been hacked and 143 million consumer records were compromised, I received an alert from my credit card company that somebody had attempted to buy $200 worth of merchandise at a Foot Locker in Queens.  Later, the Equifax website did acknowledge that my information may have been compromised.  I took the necessary steps to change cards and passwords.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Record Levels of Median Income (Not What It Seems)

    Last week, we learned that the median household income in the U.S. 2015 had jumped by around 5% to $56,000 a year. The news was greeted with good cheer and David Brooks even wrote a column in the Times proclaiming that capitalism is not broken.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Amazon Should Go to H--

    I expect you've all noticed that Amazon has started up a race to the bottom among suitor cities who would like to house it's next headquarters.  I think I've come up with a better spot...  I can't take the credit, though. Hail Satan!

    My third McSweeney's piece!

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Necessary Anachronism of The Presidential Pardon

    I think it goes without saying that the best way to stop president from pardoning racists like Joe Arpaio is to not elect presidents who support such racism.  None of the angry commentary matters to Trump.  He didn't do this to please lefty, centrist or even mainstream Republican critics.  I suspect Trump had a bunch of reasons, ranging from a cagy signaling to associates who might be asked to court Robert Mueller's contempt to the banal "because he could."

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Taking Care With Language, Part II

    I should probably take down my last post, since NCD eviscerated it with, of all things, a dictionary, but I've waded so far into the river of blood that we may as well keep on wading, especially after this insane Times column by Bret Stephens this morning where he puts language in some sort of complex chokehold to argue that Trump failing to immediately condemn white supremacy is really no different from Obama's failure to call out "Islamic Extremism" during his terms in offi

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Taking Care With Language

    We use language casually.  I suspect we always have, but if it appeals to you for me to say we use it more casually now in an era of constant news and Twittering, I'll at least say that a crush of imprecise language can probably warp our collective understanding of events.

    In Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday, 32-year-old Heather Heyer was murdered by a 20-year-old named James Field Jr., who used his car as a weapon. He injured 18 other people in the attack.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Gravity of the Office Cannot Change Character

    The terrifying power of the presidency was supposed to have tempered the judgment and actions fo Donald Trump, the way I think we all kind of imagine it would temper all of our worst traits, were we to somehow find ourselves in the Oval Office. I assume we all dream about it a little bit.  Oh, the wonderful things we might do.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    War and Words and Words and War

    Today, our president uttered threats at North Korea that sounded comic book villainish or, to take it to the real world, a little more like what I expect from saber rattling emergent enemies of the United States who might make reference to "The Great Satan" or say thinks about streets running red with the blood of innocents, or even that the United States is "not worth an old shoe." Yep, our president sounded like somebody who had come to power through heredity or coup, rather than an election. 

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    What They've Wanted To Repeal For Seven Years

    Ever since the Affordable Care Act became law, Republicans have sought to repeal it. In the most recent failed attempt, I've seen numerous references to the difficulty of repealing an "entitlement" once people have grown used to having it and the use of that word mostly reminds me of just what a paltry entitlement the ACA is for most people.

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