Ramona's picture

    Not "The Onion": GOP Senators Tell Iran Obama's Not The Boss, They Are

    In a stunning open letter to the leaders of Iran, 47 Republican senators let it be known that while Barack Obama might occupy the White House and temporarily hold the title of President and Commander-in-chief of these United States, it is Congress--most especially the Republican Congress--that holds the cards when it comes to any kind of nuclear deal.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Olds and Scolds

    Well, I just can't let this one go.  David Brooks looks at the struggles of poor families in America (through the eyes of Robert Putnam) and determines that the biggest problem with growing up poor in America isn't all the poverty but a glut of moral relativism.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    MW on the TV

    Just in case anyone wants to see how I look like on the small screen...

    Obama & Teddy Roosevelt: Similar Legislative Strategies?

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    American Democracy - Not Dead Yet

    Thanks to Michael M. for highlighting Matthew Yglesias's Cassandra prophesy at Vox: "American Democracy is Doomed." In the piece, Yglesias warns that political polarization will sooner or later trigger "a collapse of the legal and political order" in the United States. "If we're lucky," he adds gloomily, "it won't be violent."

    You don't have to be a seer to see that the federal government is in crisis. We have been reading about congressional paralysis for five years straight. The immediate cause is no mystery--the American checks-and-balances system does not handle polarization well. The founding fathers, in their zeal to prevent totalitarianism, designed a system that empowers its various branches to sabotage one another for political gain.

    If Yglesias had limited his conclusions to these observations, the result would have been an interesting if prosaic political commentary. But where's the fun in that? Headline-grabbing doom prophesies trend much better than humdrum political commentary. Fortunately for the health of American democracy, they are invariably specious, and this one is no exception.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Democracy's Tricky Ending

    Over at Vox, Matthew Yglesias argues that American Democracy is Doomed.  The flaws that have taken down every other constitutional republic in the world will one day come for America, irrevocably altering the system and ending the experiment of 1776.  It's a neat essay.  He's also set up his argument so that you'd have to be an extremist American exceptionalist to say he's wrong.

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    Ramona's picture

    CPAC! A Fond Look Back on the Circuses That Were

    It's CPAC time!  I almost missed it!  (My invitation no doubt was lost in the mail.)  Since 2009, shortly after I first started writing this blog, I've been fascinated by the dizzy doings over at CPAC (Conservative Po
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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    National Adjunct Walkout Day (and Why It Matters to You)

    Today, February 25, is National Adjunct Walkout Day. The majority of college teachers in America today are not full-time instructors with salaries, benefits, or job security, but allegedly "part time" adjunct faculty members paid a few thousand dollars per course. Today, across our country, those adjunct faculty members will be walking out of their classes and holding events to raise awareness.

    Ramona's picture

    Yes, Rudy, It Was a Horrible Thing to Say. Thank You

    According to an article in Politico, former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani told a group of Republicans gathered to pay some sort of attention to Wisconsin governor Scott Walker that it's his belief that President Obama doesn't love them, him, or even the entire United States of America.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Why Don't Overworked, Underpaid People Get Involved In Politics?

    Adam Seth Levine, a professor of government at Cornell University, took to The Times this morning to promote his book American Insecurity: Why Our Economic Fears Lead to Political Inaction.  We on the left have been wondering forever why people "vote against their economic interests" or why progressive political messages fail to inspire or convince so many people.

    Levine observes, based on experiment:

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    Ramona's picture

    We Need Paid Sick Leave Because Workers Are Humans First

    There's a fuss going on in Michigan over whether the state should mandate paid sick leave for all workers.  It's the Democrats who are proposing it but the Republicans dominate the government, so at this point it's not a question of winning the issue, it's a question of how far their bill gets before it fails.  (The sad backstory:  This same bill was first introduced in 2012.  The Republicans made sure it didn't get to committee for consideration. It was reintroduced in 2013.  Same story.  Now, in 2015, the Dems, bless their hearts, are trying again.)

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    A Story from the Crusades

    Apparently, some people are very upset that President Obama suggested that some Christians did bad things during the Crusades. Where does he get off saying something like that? Let me tell you a little story from the Third Crusade.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    What Is The Point Of All This Capitalism?

    If capitalism isn't functioning to make the world a better place for, at the very least, most people, than it is an exercise in cruelty.  If the benefits that accrue to most are dwarfed by the benefits that go to the very few on top, it's just a more complex rationalization of the divine right of kinds.

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    Ramona's picture

    The Things We Leave Undone While We Sweat The Small Stuff

     

    In this country millions of children are going hungry.  There are as many reasons as there are hungry children, but not a single one of them is the fault of the child.

    This year's count puts the homeless at nearly 600,000. Many of them are our veterans, come home from wars with wounds that won't heal.  Nearly a third of them live on the streets.  Some cities work diligently to keep them off the streets, not by sheltering them but by making their attempts to sleep outdoors more difficult.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Against Rock Stars

    This summer, I went to a Cleveland Indians game which involved a pregame celebration for Johnny "Johnny Football" Manziel. [Full disclosure: I am a lifelong Boston sports fan living in Cleveland. Although I sometimes go to the Jake just to watch the Indians, I was there that night because my Red Sox were in town.] Everybody in the building seemed to be deliriously excited about Johnny Football. Everybody was making his little money-fingers gesture.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Typhoid Mary and the Anti-Vaxxers

    The measles outbreak in Southern California has been generously made possible by California law's "personal belief exemption," which allows adults to refuse vaccinations for their children or themselves based on their so-called "personal belief" that vaccines cause autism. Here "personal belief" is extended to include not simply religious and moral teachings -- the question here isn't that religion teaches that vaccination is morally wrong -- but factual errors.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Obama's Middle Class Legacy

    The early, very early, take on the Obama legacy is that it will be marred by the declining fortunes of America's middle class under his presidency.  This will be a tough narrative to counter.  But this is really not just Obama's fault.

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    Ramona's picture

    The Cowardly Liberal Talks About Strength

    About once a year or so I have a confidence crisis.  When it happens I'm able to convince myself that I can't go on writing about politics and hate and fear and unfairness.  This year it was even worse, brought on by the very real fact that the dreaded Republicans swept the elections last November and are now in almost complete control of our lives.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Common Sense About Making Fun of Islam

    When 12 people die violently and needlessly and a newspaper essayist doesn't have a lot of time to process events, things get said.  In The Financial TimesTony Barber gave us this:

    This is not in the slightest to condone the murderers, who must be caught and punished, or to suggest that freedom of expression should not extend to satirical portrayals of religion. It is merely to say that some common sense would be useful at publications such as Charlie Hebdo, and Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten, which purport to strike a blow for freedom when they provoke Muslims.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Your New Year's Public Domain Report, 2015

    I'm late with my annual public-domain update this year. But that's okay because yet again this year, nothing new entered the public domain this January 1. That's right, because of repeated extensions of the copyright laws in the US, no copyrights expired this year. Or last year. Or the year before. Almost none have since January 1, 1979.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    What Passes for Democratic Heroism in 2014

    Gina Raimondo, Governor of Rhode Island, says Frank Bruni of the New York Times.  As Treasurer of Rhode Island she addressed a public pension shortfall by completely suspending cost of living increases for already retired workers, in effect clawing back promised compensations from people who had already given their time and labor (commodities that, once given, can never be returned).  She was then elected Rhode Island's governor.

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