Michael Maiello's picture

    I Wrote A Book! (Almost!)

    As we head into the long weekend, you Daggers are probably wondering what you're going to read.  Might I suggest a short and cheap solution to your entertainment needs?  It's got more action than My Dinner With Andre.  More laughs than The Deer Hunter.  More insight than the entire oeuvre of David Brooks.  It is:

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Defeat The Press

    I don't think there's much doubt that, in terms of law enforcement we are headed down a path that will lead to the prosecution of a journalist for publishing something classified.  My guess is that the first target will not be a strictly mainstream journalist, but I could be wrong about that.  It will almost certainly be a target that doesn't have much public sympathy.  It's not going to be somebody who has revealed unmitigated wrongdoing.  The Attorney General, whoever it is that first goes down this path, will want to contend with at best, a divided public.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Biggest Political Scandal Ever...

    ...played out in the wrestling ring, years ago.

    When Irwin R. Schyster (always announced as "I...R...S!")

    Fought the red, white and blue blooded (but orange-skinned) Patriot!

    That's all that needs to be said about this latest scandal, right?

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Baz Luhrman’s The Great Gatsby is a Triumph (whether you like it or not)

    Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, is a fable.  It is not a fable now, years after it was written.  Fitzgerald structured it as a fable and intended it to be read as such.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Slaughter In Syria?

    I worry when I write about the Middle East because I have no confidence that I know what I'm talking about and probably less interest in the differences and similarities between a Shiite and an Alawite than I do in whether or not I think that Richard Foreman's latest play at New York's Public Theater was any good (it was not.)  I sometimes confuse Wahabi with the condiment for sushi.  Heck, I don't even feel bad about this -- if the sectarian issues of

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Tyranny of Breakfast In L.A. Schools

    At Esquire, Charles Pearce flags a National Review article wherein some person named Dennis Prager complains that free breakfasts for public school children in Los Angeles will damage the character of the city's young, who will grow up thinking that life is nothing but a bunch of government hand-outs.  Oh, and, he says, it encourages lazy parents not to feed their kids before school.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Unhealthy Austerity

    An Oxford University economist and a Stanford University epidemiologist have combined their considerable breadth and knowledge to conclude the Great Recession and accompanying austerity have caused 10,000 suicides and a million diagnoses of depression in the U.S. and Europe.  If you find that hard to stomach, here's something more concrete -- AIDS is once again a full blown epidemic in Greece where budgets have been cut from HIV-prevention programs.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    A Society Of Snoops and Tattletales

    This afternoon, Reuters published an Op-Ed from me about the online investigations into the Boston bomb attack.  I am very concerned about the "if you see something, say something culture," and how it has mixed with technology to create something of a society full of amateur detectives and complainers.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Mathematical Proof That Thomas Friedman Is An Idiot

    This morning, Thomas Friedman writes that it is unfair for lefties to criticize Obama's Chained CPI Proposal.  In his words:

    "It was good to see President Obama put out a budget proposal that addressed all three needs. The attacks on him from the left are unfair because, ultimately, we will need to do all three even more. As Bloomberg News reported on Monday: 'Typical wage-earners retiring in 2010 will receive at least $3 for every $1 they contributed to the Medicare health-insurance program, according to an Urban Institute study.'"

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Keep Calm and Friedman On

    Headlines are generally written by editors, not writers, so maybe I can cut Friedman some slack for today's, "Bring on the Next Marathon," with its obvious reference to George W. Bush inviting Iraq's insurgents to "bring it on."  Iraq's insurgents did, in fact, bring it on.  By the time Bush said that, it had already been broughten.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Obama Wants It (Social Security Cuts and Tax Increases On The Middle Class)

    I think Charles Pierce is very persuasive on this point.  We Obama supporters generally take solace in the idea that when Obama is up to something we don't like that he doesn't really mean it.  Chaining Social Security benefit increases and tax brackets to a lower measure of inflation (which means cutting benefits and raising taxes without having to say either explicitly) gets to be "no his ideal budget."  Health care without a public option?  We all know he'd have preferred a public option, right?  Or co

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    CPI Unchained Open Thread

    I've written about the Chained CPI here at Dag, oh... a lot of times.  I also wrote about it when I had my column for The Daily and, as I've done a lot of research, I consider myself an informed Chained CPI dissenter as a matter of political and economic fairness.  In short, I believe that its use of "the substitution effect," where consumers respond to the rising prices of some goods by buying others, can be used to mask changes in standards of living.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    How Republicans Try To Save Face On Same Sex Marriage

    The "values" wing of the Republican party decided, against the advice of their more libertarian brethren, to wage a social war against same sex marriage and, whatever the Supreme Court decides in its two big marriage cases, the "values" bloc has clearly lost the fight.  Though your experience may vary by region, the country has evolved to at best a pro-same sex marriage consensus and at least a healthy "live and let live," attitude about it.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Are We Selfish Or Misled?

    One of the things that most irks me about Thomas Friedman, aside from the fact that he's a terrible writer who has somehow won a huge audience, is that he is so willing to blame Americans for their own problems.  This morning, for example, he cites Adam Garfinkle:

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Violence Is Not The Only Authority

    Libertarians tend to be very interested in the government's monopoly on legitimate violence.  It's true.  It's a major issue.  I think I get where Rand Paul was coming from last week and I even support it.  The government can take your life, your property and your freedom.

    But, you know, it usually doesn't.  You are unlikely, my friends, to ever find yourself in combat with government agents.  That's a good thing.  The government will largely not restrict your freedoms.  The government largely doesn't care.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Of Papacies and Powerpoints

    I was baptized Catholic though, at that point in my life, I was too young to have much say in the matter.  As I grew older (not much older, it turns out) and more into a wise ass, I found myself in frequent conflict with my catechism teachers over the issues of where babies come from (I did not, in fact, have any real idea though I was pretty sure that Jesus was not magic).

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Filibuster Open Thread! *Updated*

    Okay, Rand Paul is basically unloved around here.

    But I like that he's using the talking filibuster to make his point about Obama's drone policies.  That, rather than procedural games, requires some physical, mental and emotional sacrifice.  It i in keeping with the spirit of passionate argument and debate, rather than parliamentary trickery.

    Also, his demand: that Obama clarify whether or not a weaponized drone can be used against an American and for what purpose, sounds totally reasonable to me.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Sequester Is Making Us Stupid

    One of the things that's always bothered me about the debt ceiling and about the sequester is that they've been touted as some sophisticated form of "game theory" that can somehow force Congress to make responsible decisions.  It's just not so.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Romney Has Learned Nothing

    Back during the debates about the Affordable Care Act, I complained quite loudly and often that the legislation did not do enough good for people who already have health insurance, particularly through their employers.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    What's Your Bank Worth?

    For Reuters today, I've decided to argue that the whole question about whether or not a bank is solvent, or what it's worth, is something that we'd all be better off without.  And, in a world where you can get the daily net asset value of more than $13 trillion in mutual funds and $2 trillion in exchange traded funds, there's really no excuse for not forcing banks to become more radically transparent.

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