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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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Obama's Big Chance

    This week in The Daily, I wrote about the Federal Reserve's white paper urging Congress to act to make it easier to convert foreclosed homes into rental properties, in order to support the real estate markets.  I was happy to see the Fed come to this conclusion, four years too late.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Anthropomorphic Corp. and Mitt

    I see from Talking Points Memo that Mitt Romney has now rehearsed and mastered a response to questions about why he referred to corporations as "people."  Talking about some mega corporation, or even a small one, the way we talk about the neighbor next door might sound like a faux pas to us but I think that a lot of people are going to find Romney's explanation rather compelling and even convincing.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    High Anxiety Of The China Variety

    If China were not the world's second largest economy and among the largest trading partners to the United States, I somehow doubt we would have friendly relations with its government which is oppressive, expansionist and, frankly, far more dangerous to world peace than many dictatorships we've toppled in the past.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Ron Paul and the Lack of Choices On The Left

    Ron Paul's crazy (and racist!  and paranoid! and misogynist!) 80s and 90s newsletter has drawn a lot of attention here on the left, and for good reason.  Ron Paul holds a certain attraction for some of us, as he's the kind of guy who, given the power, woul reliably keep the U.S. out of foreign wars and who would dismantle America's surveillance state while also bringing an end to the ridiculous drug war.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Half Of The Country Is Struggling Economically

    According to new census data, when you account for necessary expenses like rent, food and utilities, 48% of Americans are "struggling" economically -- living just above the poverty line.  I doubt this is news to everyone here, but it's a major problem and the subject of my latest for The Daily.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Facts! Lies! Facts! Lies!

    Does Paul Ryan want to permanently end Medicare, the way the program is run now?  Well, yes.  Does he want to keep the name Medicare so that people don't think he's trying to end Medicare?  Yes.  Was Politifact wrong last year when it accused Democrats of lying about Paul Ryan wanting to end Medicare?  Yes, by any reasonable measure, yes. 

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Was Christopher Hitchens An Overrated White Dude?

    Amanda Marcotte's quick reaction to Christopher Hitchens' passing was to post a pretty good headshot of him up at the Overrated White Dudes tumblr, a decision she explains in more detail here at Pandagon.  Elsewhere, she has argued (rightly, I think) that people who react to this by angrily crying "too soon" are taking the ridiculous position that Hitchens, a career bomb thrower who spoke

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    How socially progressive is Obama?

    This week for The Daily, I wrote about the Obama administration's overruling the FDA and continuing to restrict over the counter sales of Plan B birth control pills to women under 17.  When I posted the news item on this site last week, some of you commented that Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius had legitimate health concerns about how Plan B might affect younger users.  I'm no longer convinced that such concerns are valid, or that they truly factored into Sebelius' decision

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Angela Merkel's Fairytale

    In America, various right wing elements have tried to paint the poor, and even the middle class, as moochers who take more from society than they pay back into the system.  This story is meant to counter the seemingly obvious observation that the wealthiest Americans benefit more from our collective system that anyone else.  There's a productive class (rich people) and a consuming class (everyone else) and the morally just have been rewarded while the rest of us learn to be like them.  That's how the fable goes, anyway.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Rich Believe They Are Under Attack

    Hedge Fund manager and former Goldman Sachs banker Leon Cooperman, as self-made a billionaire as any billionaire can be, released today a scathing public letter to Barack Obama

    I read his letter and tried to keep an open mind, so hopefully if he's got an intern Googling for responses, he'll read my reply.

    Dear Mr. Cooperman,

    If you, as a self-described man of great wealth feel unfairly attacked and put upon by society and the government, how on Earth do you imagine that the rest of us, also all hard workers, feel?

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Use of Force

    The spirited discussion from my last post, as well as Wolfrum's takedown of thoughtless libertarianism and Another Trope's well thought out response to his critics, got me thinking about the use of force and police power in general.  I'm unlikely to break any new ground here, but if you'll all indulge me thinking out loud...

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