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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    Michael Maiello's picture

    "Unfortunate" Republican Bigotry

    If you're in a really generous mood, you can kind of forgive a few people for shouting "let him die!" in response to a question about a person without health insurance who is suddenly stricken ill.  That shrieking answer might well be directed at the hypothetical itself and not any one individual.  Hypotheticals like that can be frustrating, particularly when you lack a non-sociopathic answer.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Death Watch

    I never even know even the most scant details about most death penalty cases and that I only  take notice when one makes the national news -- that's sad.  In a lot of ways, that's understandable, but it's also, given the magnitude of the punishment that society is about to deliver, unforgivable.

    It's also, at least by my watching of CNN over the last hour, very disturbing to me as an observer of human evolution.  This "death watch" coverage is very bread and circuses. 

    If I can be Stone Column Punk about it:

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The U.S. Will Never Pay Off Its Debt (Update)

    So, when I posted this, it looked as if my column, "The U.S. Will Never Pay Off Its Debt" would not be published.  I had hoped that by posting it here, you guys would ferret out its flaws for me.  But, instead, it was well received, which made me think, "darn it, this should be published."  The Daily now seems to agree.

    But, they'd also like me not to scoop my own column, in the event that we run it next week.  So, I'm taking the draft down, but leaving the very good thread intact.  Thank you all for the help on this.  I thought I was losing my mind.

     

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Open Spaces

    It's rare that I praise Nicholas Kristof because, most of the time, he typifies the kind of "conventional wisdom of the TED Conference" type that I just can't stand.  You know, the pro-globalization, let's let a blue ribbon panel of tech billionaires and former maverick politicos solve all of our problems, bunch.  The Bloombergians.  Oh wait, but I'm not here to bury Kristof but to praise his column, "We're Rich (In Nature)."

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Capitalists Starting To See The Truth

    Investor Jeremy Grantham, well known for years and around the world (he manages more than $100 billion) has recently come around to the idea that some mortgage debt forgiveness might be necessary.  Given that Grantham invests in bonds from time to time, this is amazing stuff.  Bond investors hate the idea of debt forgiveness.  They usually prefer "debt repayment at all costs, or I get to take your stuff."  I recommend reading Grantham's latest letter to clients, which you can find here, or perhaps my

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    I'm Ron Burgundy?

    He has the hair.  He doesn't know anything about science or history.  He likely misuses the phrase, "when in Rome."  My column for The Daily this week is about Rick Perry, the conservative superstar and great Republican hope of the moment who reminds me entirely of Ron Burgundy.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Tax The Poor!

    The media is so allergic to common sense these days that nobody has reported on the obvious implications of the Republican complaint that nearly half of Americans had no income tax liability in 2010.  Republicans want to raise taxes on the poor.  This is the subject of my column in The Daily this week.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Things To Like About Conservatives

    Playing Diogenes, good ol' jollyroger asked us to name some respectable conservatives.  It's a tough game because they all have sins.  I used to cite William Buckley as a personal favorite for his general tone and writing style, but would always be confronted with the crass and ignorant things the guy said about homosexuals in response.  From our lens, none of them are perfect.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    People Who Want To Hurt US

    My column for The Daily today is about the S&P downgrade and its effects but, beyond that, it's about an undercurrent of belief in the U.S. that we should be collectively punished for the sins of borrowing and profligate spending.

    There's actually a whole school of "hard money" economics adherents, known as the "Austrian School," that believes this very explicitly.  They see stimulus packages, quantitative easing, Keynesian money printing and other Federal Reserve tactics as ways of avoiding necessary economic pain.  Ron and Rand Paul are in this camp.  They believe that you deal with high unemployment or stagnant wages or even inflation by... living with it.  These are the necessary results of speculative bubbles that you never should have let happen in the first place and if you'd just let the supply of gold be the disciplining factor in economic life, you wouldn't have had these problems in the first place.  I tend to believe that if we did that we'd still be living in 15th century conditions, but that's another story.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    What Obama Sacrificed

    I see over at Swampland today that likely casualties of the budget deal include the long-term unemployed (who are unlikely to get another extension of unemployment benefits) and, of all things during a time when we're encouraging people to get more education to be better at their jobs, graduate students, who will lose the ability to take out federally subsidized loans.  One can only hope that pulling subsidies for those loans will eventually bring the costs of graduate schools dow

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    March Of The Centrists

    My latest column for The Daily was a reaction Thomas Friedman's recent New York Times column calling for a third party presidential candidate to be selected by some Internet Web site that he says is backed by flashy hedge fund money.

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