Book of the Month

Michael Maiello's picture

Congress: What Is Good For?

Those of you who know me know that I torture myself with The New York Times Op-Ed page, allowing many of my first post gym hours to be consumed by perplexed rage at the chosen few who have access to the most coveted op-ed space in all the land.  [Read more]

Orion's picture

Mr. Rodman Goes To Pyongyang

In the chaos surrounding the possible Syria strike, mass shootings, George Zimmerman and all sorts of other things, you might have missed out on a really strange story - Dennis Rodman's apparent new job as ambassador to North Korea. [Read more]

Michael Maiello's picture

Can Everybody Be Right?

Whatever is ultimately decided regarding Syria, I think that we have finally found an issue where both sides, in the main, have very reasonable and persuasive arguments.

The arguments for action are humanitarian, have long term implications for global stability and, as recently argued by Secretary of State John Kerry, have a certain timeliness in that failing to act now could conceivably result in our having to react to something worse later on.  I also buy Michael Wolraich's argument that the use of chemical weapons is more akin to sending soldiers house to house to kill the families of the opposition than it is to the conventional use of weapons on the battlefield. [Read more]

Ramona's picture

Three Years ago Julian Assange Lost his Luggage. He Just Now Noticed?

It was a long weekend and I was devilishly busy and exhausted to the point of just plain weary, so you'll have to forgive me if I didn't get this right:
I read today that on September 27, 2010--almost three years ago--Julian Assange of Wikileaks fame checked a bag at an airport in Sweden containing three laptops filled with Wikileaks stuff, including some top secret "war crimes" information that, if it hadn't been stolen by some shady government dudes, would have knocked our socks off with revelations of dirty deeds so devastating, if they had ever, ever been revealed, the world as we know it might just stop spinning.  Or heads would roll.  Or Assange would be hailed as the hero he fancied he already was.  Whatever.  Something BIG would happen if ever those revelations saw the light of day.  So, of course, they were stolen by one or more shadowy government dudes who were not about to let that happen.
 [Read more]
Michael Maiello's picture

What Is The Norm on WMD?

The best argument for intervening in Syria is that the U.S. would enforce a normal surrounding the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction that, whatever the short run costs, would benefit the world in the long run.  We would seek to create a world where, I don't care if the rebels are at your door, you're not allowed to infect their home village with a disease or unleash the mustard gas.

The notion that war needs rules was hard learned.  A lot of what we call WMD today was just ordinary brutality for much of history.  Diseases were used against Native Americans.  Mustard gas was used in World War I.  Agent Orange was used in Viet Nam and might be considered a WMD today.  Of course, the U.S. has twice used atomic weapons. [Read more]

Ramona's picture

Labor in America: Those were the Days - (A Repeat)

Note:  Labor Day weekend is here once again, and let's enjoy it while we can.  I have a feeling, if things keep going this way, anything that smacks of celebrating labor in this country will disappear. 
I guess you've heard that Michigan, my Michigan has become a Right-to-Work state?  Who would have dreamed it would ever happen to Michigan?  Are businesses flocking to our border now, wanting to take advantage of cheap, unprotected labor?  Do I even have to answer that?  (I'm throwing this in because I'm still so mad about the whole damned thing.  I may throw it in many more times in future posts. Because I'll never stop being mad about the whole damned thing.)
 [Read more]

285 to 272

was the vote in the House of Commons against the UK supporting military action against Syria in response to the use of chemical war fare measures allegedly by the regime.

Cameron immediately responded essentially that while he disagreed with this implied instruction of the  House  he was required to be guided by it.

The response from Obama's spokesmen is that we do what we think is right.

That reminded me of the  UK's "Suez" debate of 1956. The most memorable moment came when Nye Bevan said that Britain had once had to fight alone, then paused, lowered his voice and said: "but then we had honor on our side".

Orion's picture

That Degrading Black Culture

It seems like the proverbial shit has been hitting the fan a lot with American society  these days. I grew up in it at its best so I can tell you - at its height, living in America was generally so comfortable that it was easy to ignore things, to bury things and to put lingering problems to the side.

With the economic downturn, the election of Barack Obama and other factors, the American lifestyle itself seems to have changed. The way people behave and talk seems different - the tone is much more extreme than it ever was before.

And of course - what's the thing to hit the fan when America begins to unravel. Race. And with race of course comes pop culture - as Fox News reminded us today: 

 [Read more]

Michael Wolraich's picture

Genghis Speaks: Journalism in the 21st Century - Blogs and Social Media

Hello folks. I'm sorry you haven't heard much from me lately. My nose is pressing hard against the proverbial grindstone as I race to finish my book by October. It has a new title, by the way...

Unreasonable Men: Theodore Roosevelt and the Republican Rebels Who Created Progressive Politics

In the meantime, I'd like to share a video from a journalism conference that I participated in last January at the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. Historians have eagerly anticipated the release of this raw, unscripted Q/A session, which offers new insight into the mind of the Blogger Formerly Known As Genghis during the pivotal period before he achieved worldwide fame and fortune.

The subject of the panel discussion is "Journalism in the 21st Century: Blogs and Social Media." [Read more]

Richard Day's picture


The curse of being Irish is that
women just love me for my stories!

Honesty is the best policy?


Forget the best policy aspect of this Franklinian (is that a word?) proverb; does it work or do we need more stories from Irishmen?

Honesty has been creeping into our media lately and the honesty has been coming from the repubs; of all people?

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.) told an 11-year-old girl who spoke out at a town hall meeting last week that her undocumented father should be deported, saying "we need to follow" current immigration laws.

 [Read more]

Michael Maiello's picture

Who Gets The Benefit Of The Doubt?

Two recent articles, one in the New York Times and one in The New Republic, worry that Americans are anti-science.  They are written, of course, by scientists.  I'm actually more worried that Americans are anti-literature.  There's always something that keeps us up at night, isn't there? [Read more]

Doctor Cleveland's picture

My Neighborhood, Times Two

I was back in my old neighborhood a couple of weekends ago, walking toward the farmer's market, when I passed a little knot of people who were looking up and gesturing toward the dignified brick apartment buildings that line one of the boulevards. They were all clearly from somewhere else, and one of them was explaining the handsome buildings, which apparently struck them as odd, to the others:

"I think they're pretty dumpy on the inside, but they look good from out here," he said.
 [Read more]

Orion's picture

Macklemore Calls Out White America - Is It Listening?

I am so proud to be from Seattle and to be involved in hip-hop. This is amazing: 

Gawker quotes Macklemore’s Rolling Stone interview, in which he says in part: “If you’re going to be a white dude and do this sh*t, I think you have to take some level of accountability. You have to acknowledge where the art came from, where it is today, how you’re benefiting from it. At the very least, just bringing up those points and acknowledging that, yes, I understand my privilege, I understand how it works for me in society, and how it works for me in 2013 with the success that The Heist has had.” [Read more]

Ramona's picture

I Called Elmore Leonard “Dutch” Once

I woke up to the sad news that Elmore Leonard, our most famous Detroit-based writer, has died.  He was 87 years old but I thought that guy would go on forever.  There was never anything old about him and I doubt I’m the only one who felt that way, but I admit I haven’t seen him in person for almost 20 years. [Read more]

TimDanahey's picture

Advice for the Enemy

It may seem un-American to offer advice to the enemy but, if ever there was a win-win situation, this is it.

If Al Qaeda would like to win, all they have to do is copy our Vietnam experience, declare victory, and go home.  The American people can finish your job.  It will be peaceful, bloodless, and all of our objectives will be fulfilled. [Read more]

Michael Maiello's picture

A TellIng Argument on Social Security

Somehow this weekend I wound up in a Twitter tif with Ed Lorenzen, a senior adviser for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and, I gather, a Simpson/Bowles supporter.  In many ways, we had an unremarkable back and forth.  I'm sure he kicked my butt, he's more practiced at this debate than I am.  But, there was an interesting interaction.

I pointed out that the Social Security Administration actuaries have notoriously used too low an estimate of GDP growth in their projections, making the problem of Social Security solvency seem worse than it is.  This is not a knock on the actuaries.  They should be conservative.  But, it is true.  He replied: [Read more]

Orion's picture

For The Church And Wrestling, It's Nonchalantly Gay

One of the really amazing things about Pope Francis rebuking homophobia was how nonchalant he was about it. There was no huge press conference or media campaign with long explanations about why being gay was now okay - in fact, the Pope seemed to secede his authority on the issue altogether - "Who am I to judge?"

We have a possibly equally strange rebuke of homophobia in the form of professional wrestler Darren Young. After being asked by a reporter if "a gay wrestler could be successful in the WWE," Young simply laughed and said "Absolutely. Look at me. I'm a WWE superstar and to be honest with you, I'll tell you right now, I'm gay. And I'm happy. I'm very happy." Here's the video from The Young Turks: [Read more]

When Social Media Becomes Too Much To Bear (Death Goes Viral)

I’ve thought a lot about this trend of people planning and sharing on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, anywhere online they they’ll gain the most attention, the most morbid and intimate details of death, knowing they will go viral. Today’s post by Martin Manley explaining why he chose suicide has narrowed my opinion to two options: I am, by all accounts, an old school oldster who can’t deal with the oversharing, hypersocial world that would be embraced by a real post-modernist; this is a sign that we’ve ignored death far too long as a society and now people who cannot deal with the pain must express themselves publicly with the desire of informing as many people as possible. [Read more]

Another Trope's picture

Preface Draft Part 2 has been two and half months since my previous blog and I suppose one might say that a lot has happened, as  in it has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster.  I am still technically unemployed, and by “technically” I mean I am working on starting a small business (a downtown diner of all things) with another person (who is putting up all the money).  At the same time, there is the ebb and flow of personal relations with the all the dysfunction and chaos that comes from that.

There is much more than that, but the details aren’t important.  The details keep changing, as does my perception of them.  I have been dinking with this particular blog over the course of the past two and half months, and each time it becomes something a little different than the previous draft.  Most of the time, it was struggle, because I kept wondering just what the point was I was trying to make. [Read more]

acanuck's picture

Can we finally call it a coup?

Egypt's democratic revolution is effectively over. The army has decided to roll back things back further than they stood when Mubarak fell. For several election cycles, the Muslim Brotherhood had been illegal but tolerated, even electing legislators as long as they ran as independents. That won't happen again. [Read more]

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