Michael Maiello's picture

    A Gun Truth Movement for Gun Truthers

    I admit, as a smoker in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I found those "Truth" anti-smoking ads to be pretty obnoxious and I expected that they would be no more effective than the "Just Say No," anti-drug ads of the 1980s.  But I was actually a little older than "The Truth" was aiming for, and a little too set in my ways. I had to find my own path away from nicotine. The Truth ads, meanwhile, were effective enough that a whole lot of people who were 5-15 years younger than me never had to waste any time or money on tobacco, much less endure the trial of quitting.  Good for The Truth.

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    The Watchdog's Watchdog

    BrockThe front page of Friday's Washington Post includes reporter David Farenthold's hit piece on Bernie Sanders. Much closer in tone and content to Charles Krauthammer on a bad day than legitimate journalism, Farenthold's commentary is expertly debunked by former Labor Secretary Robert Reich at Huffington Post and macroeconomist Dean Baker of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.

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    Ramona's picture

    Obama Says He'll Politicize Guns. NRA, Fox, GOP Say No Way, That's Our Job.

    . . .And, of course, what’s also routine is that somebody, somewhere will comment and say, Obama politicized this issue.  Well, this is something we should politicize.  It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic.
    Michael Maiello's picture

    Cadillacs All Around

    In the U.S., most people get their health insurance through their employers because... well, because the government wants it that way. 

    During World War II, American industry needed workers to meet the industrial needs caused by a gigantic war.  That demand for workers resulted in enormous wage inflation and the government decided to stop that by putting compensation caps into place.  Remember that next time somebody tells you that the government can't interfere with the markets by, say, regulating drug prices.  When it came to wages for ordinary people, the government interfered in the markets without much regret.

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    Ramona's picture

    The Pope's Parting Gift to Bigotry

    While much of the country was still coming off of the Papal Visit high last week (it was a trip, wasn't it?), that parade was not only rained on yesterday, it was deluged.

    Less than a week after Pope Francis the Terrific thrilled the country with a visit that filled our very souls with joy (Right?), the Papal love-fest is threatening to become a veritable wash-out. How did this happen? How could it happen?

    (Posting at Crooks and Liars.  Read more here.)

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Religious Leaders Want Theocracies

    A common answer to a liberal who objects that Pope Francis decided to meet privately with Kentucky County Clerk and homophobic bigot Kim Davis is that, hey, he's a Catholic and he doesn't support same sex marriage anyway, so what's the problem?

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    Elizabeth Warren's History Lesson

    warrenThis past Sunday Senator Elizabeth Warren gave a justly lauded speech at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate. Warren focused on the interplay between racial and economic injustice in America over the past 80 years. “Prominent [Black Lives Matter] activist DeRay McKesson,” according to Salon, “praised Warren as better than any other politician on her understanding 'that the American dream has been sustained by an intentional violence[.]'” (Emphasis supplied.) I fear McKesson got Warren's message precisely wrong.

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    Ramona's picture

    Okay Meanies, You Can Come Out Now. The Pope Is Gone.

    Is it just me or has anyone else noticed how quiet the resident meanies were while the Pope was here? Even Donald Trump gave it a rest for a few days.  Or am I wrong?  Did I just not notice because, to their credit (and my relief), the press took to covering the Pope every day in every way and kept it nice?
     

    Michael Maiello's picture

    We Brought Over-Policing On Ourselves

    Interesting piece in The New York Times about the origins of the Rockefeller drug laws and the tough on crime stance of Harlem social activists in the 1960s.  It seems a classic case of a community giving up power for safety and being abused for it.  I only take issue here with the total focus on black communities within the city -- over-policing is now a problem throughout America.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Winnowing the GOP Field with Jane Austen

    Scott Walker has left the Republican presidential primaries: the first dropout who was once considered a major contender for the nomination. That, and the departure of Rick Perry, leaves us with only fourteen or fifteen candidates left. In fact, the real number is much smaller than that, because of an economic concept called the Pareto principle; there have never been sixteen choices, because the Pareto principle cuts the number down to a smaller number of practical options.

    Ramona's picture

    How Do You Shame The Shameless?

    Every now and then I get to thinking about shame; about its legitimacy as a teaching tool ("Kids are starving in China and you won't eat your peas?"), about its necessity in a civilized society ("Shut the door! Were you born in a barn?"), and about its mean-spirited use as a weapon ("What kind of #$&*% are you, anyway?").

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Trump, Evangelicals and Showbiz Politics

    The great thing about Donald Trump is how he totally freaks out The New York Times while making CNN salivate.  The day after the debate, we get Frank Bruni bemoaning the blurred lines between politics and entertainment, an objection that makes me wonder where Bruni has been since the 1980s, when Trump ascended into the popular culture, Yes, CNN salivates at the prospect of a president that it can probably cover through sitcom, but let's not give into Bruni's yearning for a serious politics of yore that never was.

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    A Shameful Attack

    BrockReaders have pushed back against my varied criticisms of Hillary Rodham Clinton over the past few months. Some accuse me of cherry-picking her worst moments, e.g., her vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq. Others claim that I have misconstrued various statements and votes over the past twenty years or that I arrogantly believe that I know better than her supporters what's best for them.

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    William and I #feelthebern

    SandersCrowdYesterday evening, my 15-year old son William and I drove out to Manassas, VA, to see and hear Bernie Sanders. The rally began at 7:30 officially with Sanders due to appear at about 8. Here are my thoughts and experiences as they occurred.

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    Hillary Clinton and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

    emptyroomFor years I have criticized, frequently harshly, Hillary Rodham Clinton.  I think she is arrogant, aloof, and self-regarding.  Her political convictions are thin and yielding. More often than not she has shied away from tackling humankind's two most serious problems - economic injustice and global warming - perhaps because she seeks and accepts support from international business elites and the fossil fuel industry. 

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    Ramona's picture

    The Hopelessness of Homelessness - A Guest Post

    The post below was written by my internet friend and fellow writer, syrbal-labrys.  She posted it on her own blog, Experiential Pagan, about a month ago but I only just discovered it last week.  I asked her if I could re-post it here and she graciously agreed.  

    We talk about the homeless a lot, but most often as distant observers who can only imagine what it must be like.  This is a story of an encounter and a rescue, with an ending as elusive as the reasons why:

    Ramona's picture

    Labor Day, Brought to You By Unions Everywhere

    This year I joined the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981/AFL-CIO (NWU).  I advocate for unions all the time, and this just puts the icing on the cake for me, but more than that, more than how it makes me feel, union membership joins us, arms linked, as we struggle to give our labor force the respect it deserves.  (Yes, even those workers who rail against unions.  We fight for them, too.  Because who else will?)

    As I do every Labor Day, I went looking for Labor Day mentions, and the first thing I found was a list of Labor Day quotes to use on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.  Hey!  Great!  But after reading a few of them I noticed a pattern:  They were all about the rewards of hard work, the joys of labor, the shame of idleness.  Nothing about unions AT ALL.  On Labor Day. 

    Ramona's picture

    Please, Joe, Don't Run

    For years now I've been pushing for a Joe Biden run for the presidency.  Whenever I say Joe would make a better president than any candidate running, even people I like a lot have laughed at the idea.  They scoffed.  I kept pushing. 

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    Obama's Arctic Hypocrisy

    icebreakerPresident Obama is receiving praise for his fine-sounding speech at the Glacier Conference in Alaska Monday on the urgency of combating global warming.  If the soaring rhetoric, reminiscent of Obama circa 2008, were married to concrete action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, I'd be happy to join the acclaim.

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