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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    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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