Michael Maiello's picture

    Who Gets The Benefit Of The Doubt?

    Two recent articles, one in the New York Times and one in The New Republic, worry that Americans are anti-science.  They are written, of course, by scientists.  I'm actually more worried that Americans are anti-literature.  There's always something that keeps us up at night, isn't there?

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    My Neighborhood, Times Two

    I was back in my old neighborhood a couple of weekends ago, walking toward the farmer's market, when I passed a little knot of people who were looking up and gesturing toward the dignified brick apartment buildings that line one of the boulevards. They were all clearly from somewhere else, and one of them was explaining the handsome buildings, which apparently struck them as odd, to the others:

    "I think they're pretty dumpy on the inside, but they look good from out here," he said.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    A TellIng Argument on Social Security

    Somehow this weekend I wound up in a Twitter tif with Ed Lorenzen, a senior adviser for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and, I gather, a Simpson/Bowles supporter.  In many ways, we had an unremarkable back and forth.  I'm sure he kicked my butt, he's more practiced at this debate than I am.  But, there was an interesting interaction.

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    Ramona's picture

    George Will ruminating on Detroit: About like Howdy Doody ruminating on the Moon

     

    So George Will, highly renowned municipal analyst and wicked good judge of character, has once again set his sights on Detroit. Somehow--don't ask me how--I knew this would happen.  I knew it would happen because the decline of Detroit, our allegedly foremost black and poor city, is in the spotlight, and it's beyond George Will's ability to say no to such delicious news.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The NSA Read Your Emails and All You Got Was This Lousy Fake Terrorism Prosecution

    Yesterday, The Washington Post gave us the tale of Basaaly Moalin, a 36-year-old San Diego cab driver from Somalia, who still has close family in his home country, who was recently convicted of sending $8,500 to a military group there that the United States designates as a terrorist organization.  He was caught, in part, through the National Security Agency's database of phone call details.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    So, Take Your Party To Your Own House

    On one hand, I am amused that the Republican National Committee, under the direction of Subcommander Reince Preibus, is angry that NBC might produce a movie biopic about Hillary Clinton.  Corporations are people, Reince.  Your side saw to it that these corpersonations were endowed with the rights of free political speech.  Heck, Citizens United was about the right of a corporation to fund an anti-Hillary movie.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    A Tale of Two Newspapers

    Everyone's talking about Jeff Bezos buying The Washington Post. But it's also been a dramatic week for two newspapers close to my heart in different ways: The Boston Globe and The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Two days ago, The Globe, like the WaPo, was sold to an individual billionaire with a high profile. Today the Plain Dealer, which has not been sold, stopped delivering the newspaper. It will still be printed every morning, but it will only be delivered three days a week.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Jerks For Cads (Rattner Prefers Summers)

    Last week I had a little stint guest blogging for Esquire while the unstoppable Charles Pierce took a vacation.  On of my topics was the Larry Summers for Fed Chair debate and my take was that even if you really, really like Larry Summers there's nothing about him that makes him so singular a talent that he and only he should run the Fed. Summers faces opposition from Wall Street, Congressional Democrats and prominent women, among others.

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    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.

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