Michael Maiello's picture

    28 Days In November (also December and January)...

    ...Picture it.  It was the middle 1990s.  Kurt Cobain still breathed.  Courtney Love still made sense.  People wore flannel on top of their flannel.  Britney Spears was a Mouseketeer and a virgin.  Some people still carried pocket pagers, known as "beepers."  Well, only drug dealers.  Pay phones existed.  The rapper Ice-T was an unlikely candidate for starring in a Law and Order spin-off.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Chuck Hagel's A Fine Guy -- But Sign This Petition, Please

    Friends, please consider signing this petition urging President Obama to think harder and to come up with a qualified Democrat, rather than former Senator Chuck Hagel, as the next Secretary of Defense.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    I Think I Have The Gun Solution (Not Kidding)

    This might be* stupid, but hear me out.

    One of the problems with guns is that for all the fancy gadgets and accessories, they are pretty low tech.  You can put a laser site on a rifle.  It's still just an enhanced version of a very old technology.  It's a technology that is so old that it is not networked in any way.  It cannot be controlled from afar any more than a hammer or hacksaw can be.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Hero Fantasy

    I know I've brought this up before but back in the 90s, when I worked at a chain book/video/music store, a dude used to come in with his family and a nine millimeter pistol in a shoulder holster.  The rules back then in New Mexico were that it was legal to carry an unconcealed firearm, though establishments were allowed to ban them and it was illegal to discharge a firearm within the city limits.  So, this guy with his military style haircut (but not the kind of body or discipline you'd associate with having completed the most basic basic training) would come into the store with his piece i

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Zombie Gun Ideas

    There are 300 million guns in America, which is enough to arm everyone.  About half of households are gun owners.  That includes the house I grew up with.  It includes some of my colleagues and friends.  It includes right wingers and left wingers.  They're good people and to them, guns are objects and they have as much a right to them as they do to any other object in their lives.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Chained CPI Scam

    From a spending standpoint one of the problems for Social Security, and for any retirement annuity or lifetime pension, is how to maintain purchasing power for recipients in a world of generally rising prices.  It would be so nice, all agree, if prices could just be made not to rise so quickly.  This is, unfortunately, very difficult to control.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Bring The Pain

    The way David Gregory framed his "fiscal cliff" question on Meet The Press today is extremely revealing.  "What cuts," he asked his Democratic guest (I'm paraphrasing a little), "are Democrats willing to accept that will be truly painful?"  The answer, by the way, was "farm subsidies."  So, yes, the whole exchange was absurd.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Thomas Friedman, Teacher's Unions and Vladimir Putin

    Unconventional ideas need champions and they have to start somewhere.  Today, Thomas Friedman pushes Arne Duncan, current Secretary of Education as the next Secretary of State.  It's a quirky idea, but interesting.

    First, though, Friedman has to deal with the very obvious problem of why he'd prefer such a contrarian pick over the front runner, current Ambassador to the United Nations and longtime Obama confidante, Susan Rice.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Phony Equivalence of Shared Sacrifice

    Decided to torture myself with Meet The Press this morning.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Unskilled Workers

    Today my favorite Op-Ed writer of them all, Thomas Friedman, tackles the skills of America's workers.  Based on the testimony of Traci Tapani, who inherited a small sheet metal company in Wyoming, Friedman has concluded that America's workers don't have the skills for what modern work requires.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Mitt Romney, Unchanged

    Fascinating piece in The LA Times about a call that Mitt Romney had with his donors.  Romney basically repeats the 47% argument, without the blunt language.  Obama won, says Romney, because he turned out throngs of people who want health care and the possibility of student loan forgiveness.

    For example:

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Obama Era

    Late in the week, The Daily called with the kind of assignment that no opinion writer could turn down.  Obama has a chance to be the Reagan of the left, they said.  If he gets a reasonable amount of what he wants in his second term, what will America look like?  Writing this longer essay was an exercise in optimism and, though I tried to be realistic, I also found it kind of a tonic for cynicism.  Things can get better, with just the ideas that Obama has expressed and hinted at.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Philip Roth Has Retired

    At 78, Roth says he hasn't written anything of substance in 3 years and that 2010's Nemesis will have been his last novel.  Oddly enough, I picked up

    Michael Maiello's picture

    About This Nov 7th Stock Crash...

    It's noon and the Dow is down over 300 points (about 2.4% in this age of big numbers) and so, if it hasn't started already, people are going to try to say that the markets are rejecting the public's choice of a second Obama term, and of a larger Democratic majority in the Senate, or both of those things.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Do The White Thing

    Ramona asks, flabbergasted, why this guy Romney is even able to make a race out of this.  Over at Slate, Tom Scocca seems to have the answer.  Race.  Well, and gender.  It's white guys who are giving Romney a fighting chance, even though, as Daggers like DF have concluded, it's still Obama's election to lose.  E

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Don't Play Around, Even In Safe States

    As a New Yorker, I've always been willing to vote third party in general elections.  Heck, when my wife and I moved this year and needed to re-register, we both switched form Democrat to Independent.  We'd only joined the Dems to vote for Hillary when she ran in the Senate primary.  Overall, we both have the same problems with mainstream Democrats that many of you do.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Meanwhile, Bondholders Are Murdering People In Greece...

    There's just no nice way to say this.  Greece's creditors are murdering Greece's citizens.  When Greece went to the Troika (the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission) for a loan to keep itself solvent in 2011, the country had to agree to stop covering hospital treatments for unemployed, uninsured citizens.  These people, sick and with no hope of finding work, are now required by the terms of the loan agree

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Rich Never Expire

    I really think that we should forbid the government from passing temporary laws, especially tax cuts with sunset provisions.  By enacting tax cuts that would eventually expire, George W. Bush was able to win the long-term "budget scoring" game, while also setting a trap for whoever occupied the White House after him.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Why Is Romney Being Taken Seriously on Libya?

    Mitt Romney keeps swinging and missing on the Libya issue, but it doesn't seem like anyone in the media is telling the Republican nominee to move on.  The attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi is still being treated by the mainstream as some sort of Obama administration failure.

    Yet, the complaints seem very picayune in the context of Libya's recent history.

    Romney's first complaint, issued nearly as the attack was underway, was that the Obama administration had signaled weakness by "apologizing" for an anti-Muslim Youtube video.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Panditocracy

    I think that most of us Americans who work for others worry about keeping our jobs.  Today, the board of directors of Citigroup has reached an agreement for Vikram Pandit to leave the board and step down as chief executive.  Pandit was the successor CEO to Charles Prince, who followed the legendary Sanford Weill.

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