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Michael Maiello (also known as "Destor23") is a New York based columnist, performer, fiction author and playwright. He is the author of Shuts & Failures, Rejected New Yorker Pieces (Also Rejected by McSweeney's!). He worked for ten years at Forbes Media, writing and editing for both Forbes Magazine and He also appeared frequently on CNBC, Fox News, Fox Business News, CNN and MSNBC.  He is also the author of the 2004 book Buy The Rumor, Sell The Fact: 85 Wall Street Maxims and What They Really Mean. He has performed stand up comedy at The Laugh Factory, The Comic Strip and the Philadelphia Fringe Festival and now reads regularly with Mama D's Arts Bordello in New York. He has had four plays published (Night of Faith and Waiting For Death by; Principia and Troy! Troy! Troy! by The New York Theatre Experience/indiethieatrenow). From inception to dissolution, he wrote a weekly op-ed column for The Daily, a News Corp. publication designed for tablet computers and he is an occasional op-ed contributor to Reuters and Esquire.

Favorite Quotes

"Hi, nice to meet you. I'm David Mamet.  Fuck." - David Mamet


Figure Four Leglock.


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Leave My Parents Alone, Bill Keller!

In the Times today, Bill Keller has a longish column about how selfish the Baby Boomers are for wanting their Social Security and their Medicare and even their Medicaid.  I'm not sure why he lumps Medicaid into it, as if poor people have a choice, but he does.  Keller's argument isn't novel.  He links to a Paul Begela Esquire article that made the esthetic anti-boomer case at the turn of the century.  The Begala piece, now 12 years old, is a fun read, if only to see how much has changed and how little has changed in more than a decade. [Read more]

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Are Democrats... Fighting?

Interesting action in the Senate today.  The Republican plan to extend the Bush-era tax rates for everyone failed and the Democratic plan to extend them for all household income up to $250,000 a year succeeded*.  Now the House is expected not to vote on, or to vote down the Democratic proposal and will likely pass the Republican one.  The bill will then go to the Senate, where Reid and company will replace it with the Democratic plan that the Senate passed and send it back to the House. [Read more]

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Misusing The Ring of Gyges

In the Times today, a professor of philosophy and a professor of government team up to tackle the "Moral Hazards of Drones," and they evoke Plato's tale of Gyges to make the case. [Read more]

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Pure Speculation on Bain and Romney

To me, one of the most amusing parts of the Mitt Romney/Bain story is that it took between early 1999 and late 2002 to transfer ownership of the company from Romney to his 26 managing directors.

Now, after 2000, when funding dried up because of the tech crash and recession (made worse in 2001 by the terrorist attacks), this might be understandable.  But in 1999, deals were getting done.

I can only conclude that Bain's 26, no doubt highly paid executives, had a little problem with the 1% in their midst.  Romney was the sole shareholder and his net worth was, at the time, likely defined by his illiquid ownership of a private equity company.  His executives, well paid as they were, did not have the cash to buy him out. [Read more]

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Oh, That's Rich

Like most of you (I'm guessing), I was delighted and appalled by the stories detailing the privilege and self regard of Mitt Romney's backers this morning.  Though I can kind of understand driving around the Hampton's yelling, "We're VIP!" at the help, given the amount of money these people had to give to Mittens.  They'd darned well better be VIP, right?  It's what they're paying for.  They want to be VIP in the eyes of the next president.

And it's certainly amusing how some of these people think that the poors and the college students aren't voting in their own interests.  I half expect them to come out with a book like "What's The Matter With New Haven?" [Read more]

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A Declaration of Independence From Government Incompetence

Hey, guess what?  I just read The Declaration of Independence for the first time in a very long time.  It's short!  It's part of a little pocket guide, combined with the Constitution, published by the CATO Institute, given to me a few years ago and I figured, what the heck, it's that time of year. [Read more]

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We Don't Need No Stinking Mandates

The Supreme Court will rule on Monday about whether or not the federal government can require people to buy health insurance from private insurance companies.  My own view is that, under the commerce clause, it can.  But, I see the point of conservatives here.  The mandate is probably the single biggest subsidy of a private, for profit, industry in history. [Read more]

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Stephen King's "The Red Throne"

Last week at KGB, four writers (including yours truly) read from the text of a lost Stephen King novel called "The Red Throne."  I wrote part three and, you'll all be shocked to know, Thomas Friedman is in it.

Check it out if you have a few minutes and could use a snicker.




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Should We Raise Taxes On The Middle Class?

It's speculative, but some non-partisan tax specialists have looked over Paul Ryan's budget and have come to the very reasonable conclusion that the only way you can cut taxes on rich people while maintaining budget neutrality is to raise taxes on the middle class (probably the amorphous "upper middle class," that everybody thinks they're part of.

This is a big deal, since Ryan's budget is Mitt Romney's.  It gives Obama a chance to campaign on an anti-tax platform.  After all, Obama has lowered taxes for everybody throughout his stimulus efforts and Republicans have responded by calling it socialism. [Read more]

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Obama's Brilliant Immigration Move

Actually, I don't mean brilliant politics here.  It may be.  But I really mean brilliant ethics.  There is no doubt in my mind that people who came to the United States as children, who were raised here and work here and who consider this their culture, not should be allowed to stay.

This is a personal issue for me.  I know an 18 year old in this situation.  I will, naturally be vague about the details.  This person came to the United States at age 2 and graduated from a public high school here.  This person is as American as anyone I know, except by accident of birthplace.  This person has no emotional connection to Mexico and, if sent back there, would live culturally as a foreigner. [Read more]

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