Maiello: Defeat the Press
Wolraich: Obama at the Gates of... Gates
Michael Wolraich is a non-fiction writer in New York City. He co-founded dagblog, contributes frequently to CNN.com, and wrote 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, 2010). 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.
There is a touch of hypocrisy in Mitt Romney's strident defense of free speech. It is hard to imagine that "freedom of speech" would be the first words out of his mouth if Jesus Christ were the target of ridicule instead of Muhammad.
Still, though Romney and his supporters would surely bristle at an offensive caricature of Jesus, the ambassadors of Muslim nations have nothing to fear from mobs of Christian fanatics. The United States has its fair share of religious zealots, but they are not prone to rioting and violence when their sacred symbols are profaned.
Why is that? Why are the Middle East and Indian subcontinent so much more more susceptible to religious explosions of mob violence than Western countries? [Read more]
I went to see my shrink today.
"Doc," I said to him after I'd sprawled myself on the couch, "I'm thinking about breaking up with my guy Barry."
"Is that so?" he replied. I like Doc. He's got this way of saying things without saying anything.
"Yeah, I mean, we've been together for what four years now? I'm just not sure it's going anywhere. It's like a...a rut. I was depressed when we started. I'm still depressed." [Read more]
The Republican National Platform of 2012 "may be the best one ever adopted" according to Phyllis Schlafly.
That's high praise for a party that once demanded the "utter and complete extirpation" of slavery from America's soil.
But if the Schlafly is guilty of shortsightedness, she holds a longer view than most Americans. 88-years-old and vigorous as ever, Schlafly was one of the conservative pioneers who first nudged the G.O.P. to the right many years ago. At that time, few would have imagined the radical platform that the the Republican Party has just endorsed. Schlafly's success reveals how it came to be. [Read more]
I'll say one thing for Todd Akin. He's consistent. Or rather, he's less inconsistent than his fellow abortion opponents.
Most abortion opponents share a core principle: Life begins at conception.
If you believe that a fetus is a person and entitled to the same human rights as the rest of us air-breathing old fogies, then nothing else really matters--not a woman's choice, not a child's future. You can't sacrifice a baby because his mother doesn't want him. You can't euthanize a child because she has down syndrome. Human is human. [Read more]
Politics is a serious matter, of course, of course. The future of the country is at stake, a great war of ideas and all that. Individualism and equality and security and liberty and lots of other weighty words.
But as we harrumph our way through the Economist and the New Republic, anyone looking over our shoulder might notice that we'd slipped the latest issue of People between the pages. For all our puffing about Ideas, we spend most of our political leisure time obsessing over gaffs and scandals and expensive haircuts and bad tans. [Read more]
Iran's government condemned the suicide bombing that killed five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria yesterday.
"The Islamic republic, the biggest victim of terrorism, believes terrorism endangers the lives of innocents," stated Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast.
But Israel's leaders blame Iran for the attack. They say that the bomber was a Hezbollah agent acting at Iran's behest.
Before politics, there was love.
Even the priggish old Bible that hurried God's busy hands into the dawn of time honored the proper order of the world. Before God admonished the first people to shun evil, he begged them to multiply. The old world's profession was the dating consultant.
I'm getting married on Saturday. [Read more]
Readers and friends,
I'm happy to announce that I've signed a deal for my second book, When the War Began: Teddy Roosevelt, Republican Progressives, and the Birth of Modern Politics.*
It will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in the Spring 2014. Palgrave is a great publisher, and I'm excited about the deal.
I haven't met with my editor yet, but I would like to ask her permission to publish excerpts of my work-in-progress in order to get feedback from all the clever folks at dagblog.
In the meantime, here's a brief description of the book: [Read more]
Demonstrating the shrewd political acumen for which he has become known, House Speaker John Boehner has come up with a new strategy to galvanize American voters before the election. Seeking to top his electrifying "Pledge to America" campaign from 2010, Boehner promised yesterday a bold new plan that may be the popular Republican campaign in history: Debt Ceiling Standoff, Take Two.
The Speaker is aware that the debt ceiling is a complicated legislative mechanism well beyond the understanding of most real Americans, so he asked me to help make sense of it. I will now take several questions from an imaginary interlocutor in order to help the ignorant electorate understand this exciting campaign. [Read more]
In a scene from Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act by South African dramatist Athol Fugard, a small boy builds an imaginary house in the sand. It has two rooms for his impoverished family of six. A man sees him playing and encourages the boy to expand.
"If you're going to dream," he says, "Give yourself five rooms, man."
President Obama has been playing in the sand ever since the Republican-dominated 112th Congress convened last year, a body so divided and deranged that it can barely pass routine measures, let alone critical legislation. As the election looms, Obama's chance of getting any bills passed is asymptotically approaching zero, and his proposals are like imaginary houses that will never be built.
That has not stopped him from producing them. His latest gambit is a five-point "to do list" for Congress. Its elements are all measures that he has previously proposed without success, including various tax incentives to encourage hiring, mortgage refinance efficiencies, and a jobs programs for veterans. [Read more]
Stay informed about my next book, When the War Began: Teddy Roosevelt, Republican Progressives, and the Birth of Modern Politics