Michael Wolraich's picture

    Russia Offers Asylum to Russian Dissidents

    On Thursday, Russian officials announced that Russia had offered asylum to dissidents suffering persecution from the Russian government.

    The group includes Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption blogger sentenced to five years in a corrective labor colony; Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former Russian oligarch imprisoned since 2005; members of punk rock protest band Pussy Riot, imprisoned since 2012; Russia's gay population; and the Chechen Republic. Russia also offered posthumous asylum to Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB agent assassinated by Russian agents after receiving asylum in Britain.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Tribal Knowledge

    Fox News's hostile interview with Reza Aslan has lit up the internet. (See Michael Maiello and Historiann for two of the smarter takes.) Obviously, interviewer Lauren Green's insistence that something must be very wrong for a Muslim to write a book about Jesus, and that such a book must be wrong, is a problem.

    Ramona's picture

    Huma Abedin is not Anthony Weiner

     

    There is a part of the American feminist movement that drives me nuts.  It's the part where all women who call themselves feminists have to be smart and sassy and so damned tough any public sign of vulnerability or weakness, particularly where men are involved, is reason enough to drum them out of the corps.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Stupidity of Talking To Stupid People

    Poor Reza Aslan who participated in a cringeworthy Fox News interview about his new book about the historical Jesus only to be asked repeatedly why he would even write such a thing since he is a devout Muslim.

    These are the minor incidences in life that fill me with dread.  They are the reminders that it is very hard to talk to a lot of people.  Worse, that other people very much control the conversation.

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    Ramona's picture

    Hey, Detroit. It's Only Art



    Safe to say that ever since the news broke that the entire city of Detroit was filing for bankruptcy hundreds of thousands of us Detroiters and ex-Detroiters and Michiganders everywhere have been biting our nails, gnashing our teeth, pounding the walls, spending partially-sleepless nights worrying about the fate of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA).
     

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Larry Summers Is Bad with Money

    So, apparently Larry Summers is now the leading candidate for Chairman of the Federal Reserve. This is a bad idea, for lots of reasons, not least of which is that Summers' sudden ascendancy is a sign that The Usual Suspects are talking him up, and it's The Usual Suspects who not only got our economy into this mess but made our government's top priority not getting out of the mess "too quickly." Summers himself was one of Obama's leading economic advisers during the first term, and neither his advice nor Obama's first-term policy were effective in turning the Great Recession around. The result of Summers's advice was always too little, too late. It was Summers who insisted on asking Congress for a smaller stimulus package than the economy needed, on the theory that the smaller package would get passed. Of course, Congress took that smaller package and cut it down even more.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Never Ever Give Up, Ever

    The New York Times comically believes that Anthony Weiner should drop out of the New York City mayoral race because... he sexted some willing people online?  Ah, we're told, it's a big deal because he kept sexting willing people online after having resigned from Congress for sexting willing people online.

    Sexting willing people online.

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    Ramona's picture

    If Texas cared about Babies, they would take care of the Babies they have

    The Good Ol' Boys in Texas have decreed that they're in charge of women's reproductive decisions, and the little ladies just gotta take it.  If it was just making abortions more difficult for women that would be one thing. (We expect that sort of thing when privileged men get together to use their power.) But they want to make sure women are ground down even more by setting impossible standards for reproductive clinics, by forcing ultrasounds, and by banning the Morning After pill--a most merciful choice for avoiding unwanted pregnancies.  Why do all that?  Because you just can't punish women enough for having sex with men.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    "I Am Deeply Concerned About Urban Riots."

    Dear White People,

    I understand through the Internet and mainstream media that some of you are "deeply concerned about urban riots," as the Zimmerman verdict approaches.  Please, white people, keep this deep concern to yourself.  Your concerns sound quite patronizing to the, um, no doubt multicultural assemblage of rioters that you imagine is gathering informally on the streets of Miami.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Waiting for the GOP to Die

    Demographics, we've heard, are pro-Democrat. In a few years, a wave of young Latinos will swamp those dastardly Republicans in their southern redoubts, and then the donkey will soar again. Huzzah!

    But wait, it get's better. According to Michael Tomasky of the Daily Beast, "even working-class white people" are preparing to join the glorious Democratic demographic revolution. He discovered a Brookings poll that proves, "White working-class millennials are fairly liberal!"

    In short, all we have to do is wait a decade or two for the new golden age of Democratic hegemony to come roaring back to Washington, courtesy of the aging process.

    I call this the Wait for the Old Farts to Die strategy.

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    Ramona's picture

    Independence Day: We do Have Something to Celebrate

     
    "The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence.
    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    The Muslim Brotherhood Blows It

    One of the most startling things about the terrible events in Egypt is that the Muslim Brotherhood, the great-granddaddy of all Islamist movements, has blown its shot at governing the country, a chance the Brotherhood spent decades waiting and planning for. That does not excuse the military coup, and the Brotherhood isn't the only party to blame. But there's no point in pretending that Morsi and the Brotherhood have been defenders of constitutional democracy either, and their refusal to share power or respect civil process helped create the mess their country is in tonight.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Surveillance and Human Rights

    I'm impressed and a bit surprised to see that The New York Times has become the most consistent progressive voice against the post 9/11 security state.  Today, the Times very gently criticizes U.S. snooping on the private communications of our friends and fellow Earth inhabitants of the European Union, who are our collective largest trading partner and our strategic allies.

    Two items in the op-ed most intrigue me.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Snowden, Prism, and Us - Food for Thought

    "I don't want public attention because I don't want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing."

    -- Edward Snowden, June 9, 2013

     

    Media References, June 9-30, 2013

      Google Dagblog
      News articles Blog posts News links Comments
    Prism 155,000 0 4 45
    Edward Snowden 637,000,000 10 14 313
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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    What College Trustees Are For

    So it turns out that New York University has bought its president a summer home on Fire Island (h/t Tenured Radical). Or rather, a special foundation associated with New York University has loaned the university president, John Sexton, around a million dollars to buy a beach house, and there seems a real possibility that much of that million-dollar mortgage will eventually be forgiven, so that Sexton won't have to pay it back. NYU has also made similar vacation-home loans to other top administrators and VIP faculty, at least some of them on the same forgive-over-time plan. This represents a brave new financial frontier in higher education. No other university buys its executives second houses. This seems like an obvious story of an out-of-control administration. But more importantly, it's the story of a board of trustees failing to do its job.

    Ramona's picture

    I probably should have tried Marijuana

     
    In a daring raid in 1948, Robert Mitchum got caught smoking marijuana in Hollywood:
    Sept. 1, 1948: Actor Robert Mitchum and starlet Lila Leeds were reportedly caught smoking marijuana during a police raid at the actress' Hollywood Hills home. Two others were also arrested.

    Mitchum told police that he and another friend were in the neighborhood looking to buy a house when they stopped to visit Leeds and her roommate, dancer Vickie Evans.
    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Red States and Blue States after DOMA

    I'm delighted about the Supreme Court's decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor. It's a triumph for human dignity, and also a triumph for federalism. The federal government should not be in the business of restricting the rights that individual states extend to citizens. If thirteen states see fit to recognize same-sex marriage, Washington should not interfere. 

     

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Don't Catch Him If You Can

    I admit it, my underdog leanings are with Edward Snowden.  I'd like to see him avoid prosecution.  Beyond that, I don't think it's necessary or important to prosecute him.  Oddly enough, commodities trader and former fugitive villain Marc Rich died today.  When I think about the U.S.'s real interest in Snowden, I can't help but thinkof Rich, safely snowed into Zug, Switzerland, making billions of dollars for years, out of reach of Rudy Giuliani, the man who had him indicted him for trading with Iran and for tax evasion.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Better Gun Control

    Last February, I wrote what columnists like to call a "think piece" about an alternative approach to gun control (with the implication that most punditry does not involve thinking).

    My proposal was to tax gun manufacturers and retailers based on the lethality of their merchandise, as measured by crime statistics. The hope was to incentivize companies to create their own safeguards against misuse, in essence to financially discourage them from making weapons that appeal to criminals and from selling to customers who are likely to use the guns for crime.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Hard Truths About College Admissions and Affirmative Action

    Public debates over affirmative action in college admissions, such as all the hubbub about Fisher v. Texas (in which a not-so-qualified white student named Abigail Fisher sued before the Supreme Court to end affirmative action at the University of Texas), usually run into basic confusion about how college admission works in the first place.

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