Michael Maiello's picture

    Wise Men

    I'm certainly not the first to make this observation.  Logicians going back to Aristotle and probably prior, have warned us about the potential tyranny of experts that can arise in any society.  Even people with credentials can be wrong.  Einstein made mistakes.  When William F. Buckley joked, a long time ago, that he would rather be ruled by a random sampling from the Boston telephone book than the faculty of Harvard, he did have something of a point.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Silver Spoons

    I was actually a little embarassed for Talkingpointsmemo when I read its kind of breathless coverage of Obama stating the obvious fact that he "wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth."  TPM's editors seemed to think this was some sort of Oscar Wildean bon mot or Mencken-style broadside worth repeating.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Unforced Obama Errors

    I have a lot of sympathy for the position the president is in with our intransigent opposition party in control of part of Congress.  Yes, the stimulus was too small and yes, his advisors urged him to concede that fight too early, but given that the other side was bent on "doing nothing," I understand the reasons for the outcome.  With healthcare, traitors within his own party's caucus sealed the fate of the public option.  No speech will make Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman come around to a more liberal solution.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Term Limits For Supreme Court Justices

    When it comes to Social Security and Medicare, there's no shortage of pundits willing to tell me that the promises the government made to us in the past can no longer be kept because people are living longer, healthier lives than they used to. These arguments tend to be bogus because they ignore the fact that lifespans have increased, in part, because infant mortality is down.

    But there's one group of people who are certainly living longer, healthier lives than they were back when the nation was founded -- the influential, rich and powerful justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, who have unfettered access to the best health care in the world along with jobs that ain't exactly coal mining when it comes to the toll taken on the body.  This is why in my Daily column today, I argue for term limits on Supreme Court justices.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Pistol Whippin'

    In my column this week at The Daily I argue that it's time to give up on a strict second amendment interpretation and allow for states and municipalities to decide on their own gun control laws.  Since I grew up with guns, I'm actually sympathetic to states that want to have concealed carry laws or or that want to allow unregistered gun ownership (like former home state, New Mexico).

    But, it makes no practical sense to me that in a country where you can have countries where alcohol can't be sold and towns where strip clubs can't be built, but that you cannot have a town or state where gun ownership is banned, even if that's what the residents want.  All this because of an amendment to the Constitution that seems to me was explicitly included because, at the time, the Framers were worried that they might have to call on every able bodied man to lock, load and get ready for the next British or French invasion (or, more likely, to repel a perfectly justified attack from a Native American tribe).

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Unhinged Character Assassination Of A Dead Teenager

    Sorry for writing about Trayvon Martin again, but it's a topic I can't let go.  Once the President decided to comment on the issue, his political enemies have gathered in a predictable attempt to turn his from the heart honesty into a political liability.

    But they can only do that by proving that the President was foolish to comment on the issue and they can only do that by establishing that the President didn't know the facts and that he rushed to take sides based on race.  Obama's critics have, of course, found an enthusiastic audience for this argument.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    A Devastating Comment From The President

    "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon," says the President.

    There are moments when President Obama says just the right thing.  He cuts through the chatter and babble. 

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Stunning DHS News

    The news here is only preliminary and, of course, much might be redacted, but a Freedom of Information Act request from Gawker shows that the civil rights and liberties leadership at the Department of Homeland Security, seems to have taken its job seriously with regards to Occupy Wall Street.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Disgruntled Goldmanite

    Today, The New York Times printed an op-ed called "Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs."  I don't know how into investment banking you all are.  It's pretty dry stuff, I think, but I also feel a bit forced to take an interest, what with investment banks nearly destroying the world and all.  If we all lived in a comic book we'd have to take an interest in Lex Luthor too, even if he can drone on at times.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    "The Play's The Thing...

    ...wherein the Ghost of Andrew Breitbart will capture the conscience of the President!"

    Yes, the big Andrew Breitbart scoop is out and it's that in 1998, Barack Obama attended a play about the life of Saul Alinsky called "The Love Song of Saul Alinksy."  After the play, Obama participated in... wait for it... a panel discussion on the topic.  This is, by the way, in the tradition of the Chicago Little Theatre of the 20s and 30s, where they used to stage socially relevant (and Modernist experimental) plays and then invite the audience to stay and chat with the cast and directors afterwards.  Obama's night out 14 years ago sounds like fun to me!

    Breitbart's Ghost posits that Obama has expunged his record of radicalism from the 1990s and reinvented himself as a moderate Democrat.  My word, Obama was so radical that he appeared on that panel with... Studs Terkel! I may faint.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    He Wasn't Afraid To Make Enemies

    We don't need an Andrew Breitbart eulogy here, and I wouldn't be qualified to write one.  I've been reading them all day though.  Elizabeth Spiers, the young editor trying her best to save The New York Observer from extinction, writes one here that, I think, captures the tone.  Josh Marshall has a short and interesting piece as well.  The two dovetail nicely.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Snowe Job Game!

    Olympia Snowe is calling it quits as a Senator.  Apparently, she wants to rededicate her life to "help give voice to my fellow citizens who believe, as I do, that we must return to an era of civility in government driven by a common purpose to fulfill the promise that is unique to America."

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Derisive Religion Mocking

    Pssst.  I'd like to be president of the United States but before you vote for me, there's something you need to know.  I believe, literally, that Star Wars is a true story.  I believe in both the Old Testament story of Luke and Vader (parts IV-VI) and the New Testament origin of Vader (Parts 1-3 and The Clone Wars cartoon series).

    Does this make me an unfit leader?

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    U.S. Treasury Bites Labor at GM

    According to GM's last proxy, the U.S. government still owns 32% of the company.  So it's pretty sad to see that one the eve of reporting it largest ever annual profit ($8 billion) the company is freezing pay, cutting bonuses and ending pension benefits for salaried workers. Meanwhile, CEO Daniel Akerson's has been targeted to receive cash and stock worth $9 million a year.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The U.S. Government Does Not Believe That Homeowners Deserve Help

    Two big stories in the foreclosure mess today, both of them depressing.  The first, via Atrios, was broken by Bloomberg and reveals that Fannie Mae, which owns billions worth of underwater mortgages, canceled a program where the agency, as the holder of the debt, would write down the principal due on underwater mortgages to bring them more in line with present home values because executives were

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Freedom of Religion or Freedom From Laws?

    Your religion, should you choose to have one or choose to hang onto the one you were born with, is your own.  I will never take it away from you and would prefer that you not try to force it on me.  Our society, however, is not entirely your own or mine.  It is ours and we sometimes have to make rules for it.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    America's People Can't Have Jobs Because They're People

    Today, in my purely masochistic Thomas Friedman reading ritual, I followed a link to a long (and well written) article called "Apple, America and a Squeezed Middle Class," that I recommend to you because of the truth that it quietly reveals:

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Fascism!

    Recently, a new blogger here by the name of Iron Bolt Bruce has posted a couple of provocative pieces about the rise of fascism in America.  He's twice traced a timeline, of sorts, describing the evolution of various security legislation, ending at a proposal to strip suspected domestic terrorists of their rights of citizenship.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Idiocy and Ratings Agencies

    In August, Standard & Poor's downgraded U.S. Treasury debt, judging our political system broken enough to create some miniscule risk of default, whereas their previous rating judged our political system a smidgen competent enough to likely avoid a miniscule risk of default.

    Bondholders knew that S&P was all wet and bid up the prices of Treasuries so long as stocks looked risky.  That's what happens when you're a sovereign that controls your own currency and controls a currency that the world uses as it's reserve.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Romney and Bain

    The Daily asked me to debate an able writer from the American Enterprise Institute about whether or not Mitt Romney's years at Bain Capital are worthy of our praise of criticism.  I think I was pretty even-handed here, as I really don't have it out for the private equity industry, or the finance industry in general.  I think we should have a healthy, vibrant way to help allocate resources towards people's business ventures.

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