Michael Wolraich's picture

    Liberals Don't Persuade

    I've spent a lot of time studying the tactics of the right wing. While I've expended a great deal of energy disparaging them, I have also developed a certain respect for the right's ability to recruit millions of Americans to its side. In a few decades, the conservative movement has transformed itself from a faction within the once vastly outnumbered Republican Party to the most powerful voting block in the nation.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Book Review: The Great Stagnation

    The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All The Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better by Tyler Cowen

    The Great Stagnation, a short yet ambitious e-book by economist Tyler Cowen, has been generating a lot of buzz lately. It has been recommended by Matthew Yglesias (ThinkProgress), Ezra Klein (Washington Post), Tim Harford (Financial Times), and Nick Schulz (Forbes), to name a few.

    I bought the book on the suggestion of EmmaZahn here at dagblog. I found it to be clear, original, and so engrossing that I missed my subway stop. But I did not ultimately find it persuasive.

    In the book, Cowen argues that America's spectacular growth of the past 200 years has been driven by the consumption of "low-hanging fruit" which we have now exhausted. In particular, he cites cheap land, advances in education, and technological innovation. He argues that since we can no longer rely on these drivers, our economy will stagnate for the foreseeable future.

    But you don't have to be an economist to see that the evidence Cowen relies on to bolster his low-hanging fruit theory has been derived from some aggressive cherry picking.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Israel vs the United Nations: The More Things Change, the More They Don't

    The U.N. Security Council is poised to vote on a resolution that would condemn Israeli settlement activities in occupied Palestinian territory, calling the construction "illegal" and "a major obstacle to the achievement of peace."

    The White House is trying to block the resolution, but Obama has not indicated whether the U.S. would veto it. Predictably, American politicians and pundits from across the political spectrum are furious that Obama would "sell out" Israel.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Marching on Pittsfield

    Williams College was never Berkeley. Founded in 1793 among the minor mountains of western Massachusetts, the red brick buildings of this tiny liberal arts college housed generations of white, Protestant elites from the East Coast. In 1961, the New York Times Magazine described Williams as "a gentleman's school -- fashionable, mildly snobbish, not too obtrusively intellectual."

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Will Iran Be Next?

    "The conspirators are nothing but corpses."

    -- Hossein Hamadani, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran

    As Egypt glows bright and the media buzzes sunnily about the benevolent power of online social networks, anything seems possible.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    My Glorious "Resignation" Speech to the Impudent Mewling Nothings of the Blogosphere

    Dear readers, compatriots, and assorted morons,

    There have been rumors that I would bow to the outpouring of popular contempt by resigning my position as Administrator in Chief at dagblog.com, one of the most populous and strategic properties in the blogosphere. Those rumors are lies.

    I have faced public flaming several times in my illustrious career. I did not submit, nor yield to ad hominem attacks. I do not negotiate with trolls.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Tired of the Oppression Biz? Retire In Style with Professional Autocrat Consulting Services

    You've worked hard your whole life. It was a tough job with grueling hours, intense pressure, and dangerous working conditions, but you never gave up. You sacrificed everything to do the best you could.

    As retirement nears, all you want is recognition for your distinguished service and a small nest egg with which to enjoy your twilight years.

    At Dagblog Autocrat Consulting Services, we recognize your impressive accomplishments and appreciate your desire for an honorable legacy. That's why we've put together a full-service retirement program that will enable you to make a graceful exit and retire in comfort.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    BREAKING: "Liberal" Blogger Joins Dark Side

    Friends, we have been betrayed. A blogger whom you have long trusted to deliver information untainted by the slightest hint of conservative doctrine, a liberal's liberal, a progressive's progressive, a man so far to the left that he has been compared to Mao Tze-tung, Che Guevara, and Susan Sarandon, is working for the king of right-wing propaganda: Rupert Murdoch.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    My Life is Empty Without Terror Alerts

    I am sad to report that the Department of Homeland Security has announced plans to scrap the beloved five-level, color-coded terrorism advisory system in favor of a new two-tiered system that may or may not have colors.

    To many Americans, the Homeland Security Advisory System has long been a force of comfort and guidance.

    For the past nine years, I have woken up each day and immediately raced to the computer to find out if the security level had finally dropped from yellow (significant risk of terrorist attacks) to blue (general risk of terrorist attacks).

    I have a bottle of champagne and some blow horns prepared for the occasion. I used to have blue helium balloons, too, but they shriveled back in 2004. Of course, I never expected to reach green (low risk of terrorist attacks) in my lifetime. Green is a utopian ideal to aspire toward like world peace or a cure for baldness.

    Read the full article at CNN.com

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    TPM Book Club: Blowing Smoke


    Talking Points Memo Cafe is hosting a book club for Blowing Smoke. A couple of dagblog regulars, including Michael Maiello (destor23) and Michael Orion Powell (Orion) will be participating along with a few other experts in the field, so it should be a great discussion.

    The book club will run until Friday. Please join the conversation at http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/tpmcafe-book-club/.

    And don't forget to give the articles a rec for old times sake.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Rep. Paul Ryan: King Herbert Hoover II

    We need to reclaim our American system of limited government, low taxes, reasonable regulations, and sound money, which has blessed us with unprecedented prosperity. And it has done more to help the poor than any other economic system ever designed. That's the real secret to job creation -- not borrowing and spending more money in Washington. Limited government and free enterprise have helped make America the greatest nation on earth.

    -- Paul Ryan, 2011

    By adherence to the principles of decentralization, self-government, ordered liberty, and opportunity and freedom to the individual our American experiment has yielded a degree of well-being unparalleled in all the world. It has come nearer to the abolition of poverty, to the abolition of fear of want that humanity has ever reached before. Progress of the past seven years is the proof of it.

    -- Herbert Hoover, 1928

    Great minds think alike.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Return of the Genghis! Plus...Genghis on the TV - Sat. 9pm, Sun. 10am ET

    As news of Keith Olbermann's departure from MSNBC stormed through the blogosphere like a hyperactive Nor'easter, distraught liberals took heart in the return of another beloved hero from self-imposed exile. Genghis is back!

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Facebook Like Buttons

    Hello folks, you've probably noticed the new Facebook Like buttons at the top of each post. We added these to facilitate social sharing of dagblog content. If you click a post's Like button, your recommendation will appear on your Facebook news feed, and hopefully, a few of your friends will check it out. Ideally, if the piece is really good, some of your friends will also click the Like button, and it will go viral.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Jews for Christmas

    I'm not a Christian, but like many Jews, I've envied Christmas since childhood. I like the twinkly lights, pink-cheeked carolers, heartwarming television specials, and exuberantly ho-ho-ho-ing Santa Clauses ... pretty much everything except the endless renditions of "Jingle Bells" warbling from every audio speaker in the country.

    Most of all, I love the spirit of good will associated with Christmas -- smiles from strangers, charitable giving and other acts of kindness. We Jews have a holiday called Purim for spreading joy and charity, but Purim also involves raucously cheering the murder of 75,000 Persians, which is somewhat low on the good will meter.

    In recent years, however, I've been dismayed that the Christmas spirit I admire has come under attack. Angry people have been exploiting the holiday as an opportunity to vilify their opponents. Vilifying opponents is also low on the good will meter, albeit not as low as murdering Persians.

    Read the full story at CNN.com

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Blowing Smoke in New York: Tuesday, December 14th at Barnes & Noble

    Keeping it virtual is great, but tomorrow, New Yorkers and other denizens of the Tri-State Area will have an opportunity to see Genghis live, uncut, uncensored, unplugged, and undressed. (Update: Upon advice from his lawyer, his publicist, and his mother, Genghis will remind dressed.)

    Come listen to him read from his critically acclaimed, mindblowingly brilliant, mouthwaterlingy scrumptious masterpiece 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.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    New: In the News Section

    Hello folks. By now you've probably seen the new In the News section on the right sidebar. If you haven't tried it out, here are some tips:

    • Hold the mouse over a link to see a summary description of the article
    • Click the link to go directly to the article
    • Click "Add link" to contribute a link yourself
    • Click "more" to see a full list of news articles

    What do you think of it? Is it useful? How can we improve it?

    To get you started:

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Bend Over to Pick Up the Soap

    "If 'don't ask, don't tell' is repealed and you are assigned to bathroom facilities (that have)] an open bay shower that someone you believe to be a gay or lesbian service member also used, which are you most likely to do?"

    -- Question on 2010 Department of Defense Comprehensive Review Survey of Uniformed Active Duty and Reserve Service Members

    It seems that ensuring shower security for American soldiers and Marines is critical to maintaining our global military pre-eminence. If our brave men and women cannot comfortably bathe in environments free from the risk of homosexual lust, how can we expect them to battle armed Taliban insurgents and other enemies?

    In order to assess the gay shower hazard and other threats to military readiness if the "don't ask, don't tell" policy were repealed, the Department of Defense surveyed American troops over the summer.

    Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, found the results reassuring. He told the Senate Armed Services Committee, "Repeal of the law will not prove an unacceptable risk to military readiness. ... I believe our troops and their families are ready for this," although he acknowledged, "some soldiers and Marines may want separate shower facilities."

    Read the full story at CNN.com

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Creative Corner?

    Hey dagsters. I know that there are a number of creative types running around these parts, and I was wondering if you'd have any interest in adding an arts section to dagblog for fiction, poetry, graphic art, photography, et cetera. It would be a separate section with links in the left panel just below the Readers section. Would you be interested in reading? Contributing? Do you have any suggestions for how it might work?

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    God Relents: Condoms Cool for Sick Gay Prostitutes

    God announced through his spokesman Pope Benedict XVI that male prostitutes with HIV would be permitted to use condoms in order to prevent the spread of the disease. The ruling applied retroactively, so past condom use under appropriate conditions would be pardoned. In principle, the pardon could elevate unrepentant condom users from Purgatory or even Hell, but divine experts expect the ruling to have little practical significance for condemned souls.


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