Michael Wolraich's picture

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http://michaelwolraich.com
Biography

Michael Wolraich is a non-fiction writer in New York City. He co-founded dagblog and has contributed  to CNN.com, TalkingPointsMemo.com, and Pando Daily. Wolraich has been a guest on C-SPAN's BookTV, The John Batchelor Show, Culture Shocks, and various radio shows across the country. He is currently working hard on his next masterpiece, When the War Began: Theodore Roosevelt, Republican Progressives, and the Birth of Modern Politics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

Wolraich is also the computer genius who maintains dagblog's state-of-the-art software, but he denies responsibility for technical glitches and advises users to "quit sniveling." In his spare time, Wolraich raises peach mold and performs live impressions of the law of gravity.

Books:

Unreasonable Men: Theodore Roosevelt and the Republican Rebels Who Created Progressive Politics (Palgrave Macmillan, July 22, 2014)

Blowing Smoke: Why the Right Keeps Serving Up Whack-Job Fantasies about the Plot to Euthanize Grandma, Outlaw Christmas, and Turn Junior into a Raging Homosexual (Da Capo Press, 2010)

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6 years 7 months

Blog Posts

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The Myth of the Militant Homosexual

Indiana Governor Mike Pence is shocked—shocked—that people see anything objectionable in Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. “Was I expecting this kind of backlash?” he exclaimed, “Heavens no.”

After all, who could object to religious freedom?

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I Sorted Hillary’s Email

When Hillary Clinton released emails from her personal account last week, many assumed that her attorneys had personally reviewed the messages before sending them to the State Department, but that’s not what happened. As detailed in her press statement, the review team used keyword searches to automatically filter over 60,000 messages, flagging about half as work related.

“I have absolute confidence that everything that could be in any way connected to work is now in the possession of the State Department,” Clinton declared.

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Do You "Like" Dag?

Ramona and I have been whipping dagblog's Facebook page into shape after a long period of neglect. If you haven't done so, head over to facebook.com/dagblog and show us some "like." Then our posts and news links will start appearing in your Facebook feed.

And if you already like us, spread the like by inviting your friends. Just click the unassuming box in the left column that helpfully suggests, "Invite your friends to like dagblog."

PS We're on twitter too.

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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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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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Dagblog Hack Alert

Hi everyone, I recently discovered that dagblog has been hacked. The North Korean government denies responsibility, but supreme leader Kim Jong Un has been known to harbor animosity against dagblog after we suspended his account for ad hominem attacks, hijacking comment threads, crimes against humanity, and other ToS violations. Homeland Security has been notified and promises to take unspecified reprisals against unspecified nations as soon as they figure out their funding situation.

In all seriousness, the site was hacked. I don't believe that the hackers did anything other than use our server as a spam-generator, but as a precaution, I suggest that you make sure that you're not using your dagblog email and password on other sites that have more sensitive information. If you are, I recommend that you change your passwords on those other sites. There is no need to change your dagblog password. I don't think the hackers are interested is blogging here. But if it makes you feel more comfortable, you can change it here or go to My Account in the top bar.

I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience. I will add additional security precautions to prevent this from happening in the future.

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Best o' Dag 2014 - Seeking Nominations

Hello folks. Our old friend Wolfrum passed on a splendid invitation to me yesterday. In the early-ish days of the blogosphere, a writer named Al Weisel launched a faux-conservative blog under the pseudonym Jon Swift. His hilarious, award-winning satire quickly propelled him to the top ranks of the blog community, but he generously supported smaller bloggers struggling to gain an audience. One of his outreach projects was an annual competition called, "Best Posts of the Year, Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves."

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Ken Burns and the Myth of Theodore Roosevelt

The Roosevelts, a new PBS documentary by director Ken Burns, presents President Theodore Roosevelt as a political superhero. In photo after photo, Burns’s famous pan-and-zoom effect magnifies Roosevelt’s flashing teeth and upraised fist. The reverential narrator hails his fighting spirit and credits him with transforming the role of American government through sheer willpower. “I attack,” an actor blusters, imitating Roosevelt’s patrician cadence, “I attack iniquities.”

Though exciting to watch, Burns’s cinematic homage muddles the history. Roosevelt was a great president and brilliant politician, but he was not the progressive visionary and fearless warrior that Burns lionizes. He governed as a pragmatic centrist and a mediator who preferred backroom deal-making to open warfare. At the time, many of his progressive contemporaries criticized him for excessive caution. The “I attack” quote, for example, came from a 1915 interview in which Roosevelt defended himself from accusations that he had been too conciliatory.

Read the full article at New York Magazine's culture website, Vulture.com

Michael Wolraich's picture

Half-Assed: Why America Cannot Stop the Slaughter in Iraq

As ISIS pursues its genocidal dreams in Syria and Iraq, Bruce Levine asks, "whether we as human beings living in the most powerful nation in the world can stand by yet again and do nothing -- as thousands or tens of thousands of innocent human beings  are slaughtered."

The question conceals a heavy premise: that we have the power to stop the slaughter if we choose to exercise it.

I do not deny the premise, at least in principle. If we unleash our full military and economic might, we can surely defeat ISIS forces and build stable, peaceful states in Iraq and Syria. But full mobilization and massive nation-building projects are not realistic options in the current political environment. We may muster the will for limited military operations in Iraq, but we're unwilling to do what it takes to succeed. Consequently, our efforts to stop the slaughter are doomed to fail and may make the situation even worse.

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The Washington Post just reviewed Unreasonable Men

As Michael Wolraich argues in his sharp, streamlined new book, “Unreasonable Men,” it was “the greatest period of political change in American history.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/book-review-unreasonable-men-on-p...

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