Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Thinking Like the Plague

    The Ebola panic in the American media seems uncannily familiar to me, in the worst possible way. Anyone who studies Renaissance literature for a living has read many accounts of terrible epidemics, and many stories of epidemic hysteria. (In fact, some people have written learned and illuminating books about literary responses to the plague; I can't pretend to be one of them.) Smallpox is a terrible affliction. Bubonic plague is worse.

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    Ramona's picture

    On The Internet Mean Streets

    There is a picture making its way around the internet of a grossly overweight woman standing in what looks like a cafeteria line.  She is wearing a pair of shorts that are several sizes too small and the fat rolls at her stomach and bottom are pushed up and exposed. I don't know who the woman is or where the picture came from, but from what I can tell, it's a picture that both liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, men and women, Americans and non-Americans, feel perfectly at ease making fun of.

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    Hal Ginsberg's picture

    Don't sell. Buy!

    On Sunday September 21, over 300,000 people rallied in Manhattan at the People's Climate March.

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    Ramona's picture

    Hey, Democrats, You Want To Win? Try Being Democrats

    The mid-term elections are less than a month away and there's a good chance the Republicans will hold the House and possibly take the Senate.  Stunning as that probability possibility is, considering the shoddy business the Republicans have been engaged in ever since their guy, Mitt Romney, lost to Barack Obama, the truth is, it looks like half the country's voters are still more than willing to vote for that particular party.  

    You hear that, Democrats? The Republicans could win.  I mean, WIN.

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    Hal Ginsberg's picture

    The Case of Steven Salaita

    Generally, I am skeptical of claims of anti-semitism in the academy. I think that people for a variety of reasons confuse legitimate criticism of Israel with anti-semitism. Accordingly, I was inclined to side with former University of Illinois Professor Steven Salaita and CUNY-Brooklyn Professor Corey Robin who claim that Salaita was wrongly terminated from the University of Illinois because he tweeted critically of Israel.

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    Ramona's picture

    Making Excuses For Spanking: Adding Insult To Injury

    Every few months--sometimes less--a story about child abuse hits the airwaves and everyone takes it to the top and talks about it.  Everyone agrees that child abuse is bad.  How could they not?  Child abuse IS bad.  This time it's

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Friday Deep Thoughts (Open Thread!)

    When U.S. trade policies wreck entire industries and cause unemployment, our answer is "train the workers."

    When U.S. foreign policies wreck entire regions, sending them into a tailspin of ethnic, religious and economic violence and chaos our answer is "train the local armies to deal with it."

    I think we need to combine these two things to turn the unemployed into the world's most effective killing machine.  I mean, it's just synergy, right?

    **End of Week Open Thread!**

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Attack on ISIS (Watch Your Wallet)

    As I somewhat expected, the military hawks have won over American public opinion regarding Syria/Iraq/ISIS, though what they get for that is tempered by Obama's pru

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Obama's Mission

    Barack Obama was elected because the American people were tired of being bogged down in unwinnable foreign wars. He was elected because a majority of American voters had come to view the Iraq war as a mistake. This is a basic, bottom-line political fact. Therefore, it is not (and cannot be) Official Beltway Wisdom.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    What If The People Who Want To Go To War In Syria Are Fantasists?

    This Foreign Affairs article by Kenneth M. Pollack is a sight to behold. In it, the Brookings Senior Fellow and oft-quoted historian of military history in the Middle East, suggests that the United States should recruit, train, fund and equip a new Syrian army capable of defeating ISIS and deposing Bashar al-Assad at the same time.

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    Ramona's picture

    A Labor Day Round Up: Let's Hear It For The Workers

    Thomas Perez has been Secretary of Labor for just about a year now, having been sworn in on September 4, 2013.  He missed giving his first Labor Day pronouncement by two days, so this year's pronouncement is his first.

    Here's what he had to say:

    Statement on Labor Day by US Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    All You Need To Know About The Debt In 3 Seconds

    In my mailbox this morning was a little cartoon from Brookings promising "The Federal Debt: All You Need To Know In Three Minutes."

    I can beat that.  All you need to know is that the Congressional Budget Office just reduced its economic growth projection for 2014 and increased slightly its estimate of what the annual budget deficit will be as well as the total amount it believes will be added to the debt over the next 10 years.

    Or, the short version: Less growth leads to higher deficits, more growth leads to lower deficits.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    How Foreign Policy Non-Experts Think

    I am no a foreign policy expert.

    I am definitely not an expert in military history or tactics.  I have little familiarity with the science, such as it is, of national and international security.

    I am particularly not adept at issues involving the Middle East, a region of the world that I have never visited and that is populated by diverse cultures that I know little about and people who speak languages that I don't speak.  I can't even call their languages "beautiful" as is the tradition, because I am not cunning linguist enough to know.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Let's Review the Michael Brown Case

    Let's review some basics from the Michael Brown case:

    • If a police office kills an unarmed person for jaywalking, that is murder. 
    • If a police officer kills an unarmed person for shoplifting five bucks' worth of cigars, that is murder. 
    Michael Maiello's picture

    The FPD Officer Who Shot Michael Brown Did Not Know That His Victim Was a Robbery Suspect

    Sorry for the separate post on this but when the Ferguson Police Department released the name of the police officer who shot Michael Brown to death they also released a long police report detailing Brown as a suspect in a petty theft incident -- very clearly implying that Brown was killed while resisting arrest for a legitimate, though minor, crime.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Last Night, Police Shut Down All Live Feeds from Ferguson (Open Thread)

    They had already blocked mainstream media from the town.  Now, Jezebel reports that all live feeds have been shut down. That means that police have successfully intimidated or forced citizen journalists to give up, for a time.  By the time you read this, I'm sure some will be back up, But this is amazingly chilling.

    Let's make this an open thread, I know you all have a lot to say.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Long March To War

    I'm finding the current foreign policy narrative, as pushed by those who identify as liberal hawks, very disturbing.  The Obama administration is certainly not rushing to use U.S. ground forces but this is where drone strikes and aerial bombardment inevitably leads.  Our military interventions start with the low risk choices and then, as things progress, we start to hear about the "limits of air power," and "the limits of technology."  Before you know it, you're back to fighting an old fashioned war, the one human activity with, apparently, no limits.

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    Ramona's picture

    Charles Koch Schools Us on How to Keep His Family the Second Richest In The Country

    The gazillionaire Charles Koch, the Right Wing benefactor whose father was a co-founder of the John Birch Society,  the same Charles Koch who, along with his brother, David, works tirelessly against any sign of government interference when it comes to health care, public education, infrastructure, climate change, or  aiding the pitifully down and out, and who most generously funds any person, politician or party promising to fight along with them on the Kill the Government Before They Kill Us battleground--that very same Charles Koch has just written

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Intellectual Heft Behind Broken Windows

    The March 1982 Atlantic article called "Broken Windows" by George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson is a darned interesting artifact 32 years later.  It begins with an experiment with community policing and foot patrols in Newark, New Jersey in the mid-1970s.  We are, at that point, seeing the start of the use of technology in law enforcement and, of course, the start of globalization and the hollowing out of America's cities that resulted.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    The Other Two Sides in Israel and Palestine

    It is not only hard to write about the bloodshed in Israel and Palestine without taking sides. It is impossible for most people to read about the violence in Israel and Palestine without taking sides. So the debate bogs down into questions of justification and self-defense and proportionality: that is, into the utterly useless question of whether Israel or Hamas is more in the wrong. It may well be that one side or the other is more justified, or more culpable. But since the answering that question will not prevent even a single death, the question is meaningless.

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