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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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Obama-py Wall Street

    When Henry Louis Gates was arrested, Barack Obama wasn't afraid to step into the fray and to speak his mind.  Yes, he was criticized for interfering in a local matter, but that always struck me as silly.  The President is, of course, allowed to speak up about local matters.  It happens all of the time.  Another criticism was that he was speaking off the cuff and didn't know the whole story.  Fair enough, though it seems his position was basically vindicated in the end.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Rorschach Of The New York Times

    In The Watchmen graphic novel, the vigilante hero Rorschach is inspired by news of the real-life murder of Kitty Genovese, which occurred in public, while the residents of outer Queens neighborhood Kew Gardens watched from their apartment windows.  Nobody went out to the street to help her or called the police.  Some say nobody heard her screams for help, some say it's an example of the bystander's syndrome -- we tend to walk past the unpleasant.  Driven by a total lac

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Brooks vs. Destor23, A Smackdown

    The Inequality Map, a Rebuttal

    David Brooks vs. Destor23

    DB: Foreign tourists are coming up to me on the streets and asking, “David, you have so many different kinds of inequality in your country. How can I tell which are socially acceptable and which are not?”

    D23:  There is no way this has actually happened to you.  Try again.

    DB: This is an excellent question. I will provide you with a guide to the American inequality map to help you avoid embarrassment.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Scofflaws in the Park!

    Just took Lil Destor to the playground at Union Square Park.  It's a great facility and an example for me about how the city sometimes provides just what you need.  When I was in my 20s, it was an outdoor bar.  Now it's a playground.  Good timing, folks!

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    A Tepid Defense Of Political Extremism

    One doesn’t have to crawl far on the Web to run into stories or commentaries about whether or not the Occupy movement

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Joe Nocera Borks Himself

    In the Times today, Joe Nocera (who I am loving as a left of center columnist who knows business) really whiffs it when he claims that Robert Bork deserves to have be on the Supreme Court today.  He doesn't say it that way.  What he says is that the Democratic opposition to Bork's nomination, back in 1987, was the start of all the partisan division we're experiencing today.  In short, he claims the Democrats were unfair to Bork, and that Republicans decided to retaliat

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Feeling Suspicious About The Iran Plot?

    To me, one of the more troubling aspects of the War on Terror is how often our law enforcement agencies have broken potential terrorism cases by, in essence, finding disaffected losers and egging them on.  In these cases, the police or FBI get wind of somebody mouthing off on the Internet about how they want to blow something up in an act of anti-American jihad and then they make contact, pretend to be al-Qaeda, and set the perp up with a phony bomb or plan of what have you, and then arrest him when he finally tries to pull the trigger on a plan that he would never have been able to pull of

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Government Is Arbitrary!

    Last week, I sat in a room and listened to a billionaire tell me, and a couple of hundred other people, that the thing he fears most is the government.  He justified his fear by saying that the government is often arbitrary in its rulemaking and in the way it uses its power.  Also, he hates Obama and accused the president of encouraging the Wall Street protesters when "he should be doing the exact opposite."

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Attention Must Be Paid

    Today's horrible story about a man's suicide after being fired from his job makes me think of Willy Loman, and the anxieties of power and employment that have always been part of American society.  In "Death of a Salesman," Arthur Miller broke with tradition and wrote a classical tragedy about an ordinary man.  This is something we take for granted now, but when Miller was writing, people in the theatre were  seriously debating whether or not it was even possible to write a tragedy with a prosaic

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