Ramona's picture

    Feeling Good in Detroit

    They’ve elected a new mayor in Detroit, which, in other circumstances, might be a big deal, but since Detroit is under the thumb of a state-appointed emergency manager (who promptly–and probably unconstitutionally–took away all authority from every elected city official), the new mayor, Mike Duggan, will likely be mayor in name only.  He’ll be invite

    Ramona's picture

    Why Do we Plebians keep blaming the Super-rich? Because, Dammit, They're to Blame

    We're an odd bunch, we Americans.  We've had a hate-hate relationship with the very rich for as long as we've existed as a country, but, damn their black hides, we can't stop taking care of them.

    After all these years we've become used to sparring with the super-rich over how much they get to keep and how much they should share.  They want to keep it all, and we know that.  We want them to behave like responsible citizens, and they don't think they should have to.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Dear angry American who has to pay more for better health insurance,

    Bummer. I know the premiums are steep. I've been there. I remember when I moved from Philadelphia to New York City, and my rate jumped from $200 to $800--without even changing my plan. I received a letter saying that my premium might rise. The next thing I knew, boom, $800 charged to my credit card.

    At least you get better coverage out of the deal. I still had to pay for my ER visit because it fell under my $3000 deductible. But what could I do? This America. Private companies are supposed to wring people out like dirty washcloths. It's called a free market.

    But this is different, isn't it? It's not the free market that's squeezing you dry. It's the government. Government isn't supposed to squeeze people. It's supposed to get out of the way and let the free market squeeze people.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Insurance Coverage You Can Drive A Truck Through

    Coming back from the gym this morning, I encountered an 18 wheeler with a flatbed trailer, stuck on a narrow West Village street, trying to navigate between the fancy cars parked on both sides.  I asked the driver if eyes outside the truck would help.  He was happy to tell me where to look while he steered the truck back and forth in an effort to straighten out the trailer without smooshing anybody's fine examples of German luxry auto manufacturing. 

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    Ramona's picture

    How to Stop Ted Cruz? Stop the Presses!

     

    Ted Cruz, that notorious commie-hunting senator from Texas channeling a certain notorious mid-20th century commie-hunting senator from Wisconsin, is just one in a long line of rock star politicians who think they've latched onto the best way to get their cockamamie ideas across:  Get out there and make shocking accusations

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The World's Shadow Government

    The NSA's answer to charges that it spies on the phone calls of citizens in the European Union is that it isn't spying, it is analyzing information provided to it by the intelligence agencies of allied governments.  See, the NSA doesn't spy on Spanish people's phone calls.  Spain does.  Then they tell the NSA all about it.  Glad we cleared that up.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Obamacare's Website Benghazi'd His Birth Certificate

    This morning I was not feeling 100% and so I skipped the very cool calisthenics class I like to take on Wednesdays for the more tender embrace of the elliptical machine.  Unfortunately, this meant that I did my silly walk while facing CNN with the sound off but closed captioning on.  It is very funny to watch report after report, rendered by CNN's botched, real time closed captioning, about how Kathleen Sebelius should resign her cabinet post because the Obamacare website hasn't worked.

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    Ramona's picture

    Medicare and Obamacare: Same Old Story

    Note:  Thanks to Alan Colmes, I am now a regular contributor on his website, Liberaland.  He posted this piece this morning, so if you're interested in reading the complete piece it continues over there.  Thanks.

    In the next town over from us the recycling station is in a huge semi-trailer.  You have to climb six narrow metal steps to get up into it, but there is an aisle you can walk down and there are huge open boxes in which to throw your stuff. 

    Michael Maiello's picture

    A New, Democratic Bull Market For Treasuries?

    A big fear among investors and people running actual businesses in the U.S. is that at some point, interest rates must rise from historic lows.  This must happen, in part, because nothing lasts forever.  But behind that truism, there is a lot that could cause rates to rise.

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    Ramona's picture

    The Threat of Obama's Worst Enemies

     

    Leaving aside the usual suspects--the terrorist factions round the world, the seething Middle East mountain and desert folk--who are President Obama's worst enemies? The Republicans who saw it as their mission to keep him from winning a second term but failed? Those 30 members of the House and the Tea Party now holding the country hostage over an already approved health care plan nicknamed after this president? The Religious Righteous? The far Left disillusioned? The whites-only-as-long-as-they're-not-women crowd?

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    A Plague on False Centrists

    “A plague on both houses!” I've seen that line from Romeo and Juliet quoted repeatedly for the last two weeks,  as pundits and bloggers devoted to “balance” argue that the Democrats and Republicans share the blame for the current budget shutdown and the looming threat of default. The line itself is a cliche, but quoting Shakespeare makes you sound learned, and that is too often the major aim of both-sides-do-it journalism: making the journalist seem wise and above the inconvenient facts of the fray.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Kamikaze Logic and the Republican Insurgency

    The Republican effort to defund “Obamacare” is like playing chicken with a wall. The Senate Democrats will never vote against health care legislation they spent decades to pass. The voters will punish Republican legislators if they shut down the government or default on the debt. Whether the Republicans crash or swerve, this game has no positive outcome for them.

    So why are they doing it?

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    The Tragedy of the Will

    Twenty years ago, while I was talking politics with my friend Mike, he said that Reagan's great achievement was what he called "the Nietzschification of the Right." I didn't grasp what he meant at first, since I typically encountered Nietzsche quoted by leftist literary critics. Mike's point was that Reagan had transformed American conservatism from a stodgy, rationalist enterprise into an emotional, charismatic movement like the New Left of the 1960s. Main Street conservatism gave way to Movement Conservatism, founded upon passionate emotion and conviction.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    So, We Default?

    There are two kinds of borrowers who default on their debts.  One type defaults because they cannot pay.  It is typical to say that they have over borrowed but it is easily as likely that some sort of catastrophe has destroyed the borrower's earnings power, perhaps permanently.  Then there are defaults of choice.  A borrower decides not to pay, even if they have the means.  Perhaps they feel that they were swindled by the lender and that the debt is thus invalid.  Or, maybe they just don't want to pay.

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    Ramona's picture

    Charlie Pierce's Brilliant Take on The Electeds out to Destroy our Government. We Did This. (Well, not ME)

     

    Have you read this?  Charles Pierce is a genius at grabbing the god-awful truth and shining bright lights on it.  His latest Esquire piece, "The Reign of Morons is Here", is pure Charlie--raging, brilliant, and, of course, spot on: 

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Papal Utterances

    Posts like these generally start with a pronouncement of lapsed Catholicism on the part of the author.  I can be very atheisty.  I do not study the church.  I do not consider its views when I make any of my own decisions, be they moral, social, financial or dietary.  This means that I have something of a tin ear for the nuance of the papal utternance.

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    Ramona's picture

    Republicans Vote to Keep Folks Hungry and Sick and Their Base Loves It. The Rest of Civilization is Appalled.

     

    Yesterday the Republicans in the House voted to slash 40 billion dollars in annual food stamp (SNAP) coverage over 10 years, putting some 3.8 million poor people in jeopardy of losing their pitiful but essential pennies-a-day government food support.  (There are some 47 million people at the poverty level here in the United States.  A shameful fact that should point out the absolute need to keep the SNAP program alive rather th

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Larry Summers Is Not the Main Problem

    I'm as pleased as anyone that Larry Summers has withdrawn from consideration as the next Chair of the Fed. I thought he would do a terrible job. But Summers himself was never the real problem. His candidacy was only a symptom. The real problem is that we have a President who wanted to nominate Summers in the first place. Obama does not understand what's wrong with the American economy, and five years into his term, he persists in some basic misunderstandings.

    Ramona's picture

    Julian Assange Lost Big Time. Look Out, Australia!

     
    WHEN asked to explain why he was running for a seat in the Australian Senate while holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, Julian Assange quoted Plato: “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” 
     
    Plato was “a bit of a fascist,” he said, but had a point.
     
    Imagine the chagrin Mr. Assange must feel now, given that not only did he fail to win a place in the Senate in the recent election, but he was less successful than Ricky Muir from the Motoring Enthusiasts Party. Mr. Muir, who won just 0.5 percent of the vote, is most famous for having posted a video on YouTube of himself having a kangaroo feces fight with friends. 
     
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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Bloomberg, Syria and the Wisdom Of People

    On another blog I got into a bit of a dust-up on Syria.  While not really advocating for anything, I asked the writer, some one recommended high by Princeton foreign affairs pundit Anne Marie Slaughter on Twitter, why he wasn't giving much weight to the idea the fact that American voters from both parties were mildly to intensely against military intervention in Syria.  I laid out the usual concessions to the nature of a Democratic Republic and the problems inherent in foreign policy by opinion poll but still, I insisted (and insist) the public appetite for something like this should carry

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