Michael Maiello's picture

    The Problem of Waiting on Civil Rights Issues

    In 2003 and 2004, I had the unique opportunity to have written an experimental musical that was produced off-off Broadway and in the New York International Fringe Festival.  The framed poster from the debut is in my apartment.  To me, it's a major accomplishment.  Somewhere along the run, two men met and fell in love.  They were together for years after I went separate ways with the company that produced the show but technology has allowed us all to meet, disperse and stay in touch.

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    Ramona's picture

    Goodness and Mercy and The Charleston Massacre

    On Wednesday evening, June 17, a 21-year-old White Supremacist sat for an hour in a prayer meeting with the good people of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston and, when the hour was up, opened fire with his .45 caliber Glock.  He slaughtered nine innocent church members for no other reason than that he held such a deep, abiding hatred for blacks he wanted to be the one to kill them.  His goal was to start a race war.


    Later, after he was caught, he admitted to the police that the parishioners were so nice to him he almost didn't do it.  It was the twist of the knife for those of us already grieving over his murder victims.  One single second of conscience, one deviant drop of human kindness, and the people who welcomed him into their fold might have been saved.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Why Not Say It's Racism? The Charleston Massacre

    The murder of nine people in Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston has left me sick and stunned, as it has left many of you. And what I needed badly, over the last two days, was national unity. But I didn't get it. Apparently, we're too divided as a nation to band together after a terrorist attack. We're so divided that some of us won't admit that the terrorist had the motives that he clearly proclaimed. Apparently, there are sides to take in everything, even this.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Dag Pardon and Clemency Project

    President Obama will be in office quite awhile longer but the time to tell him who to pardon on the way out is now.  It won't due to wait until his last months in office because the decisions will largely have been made by then.  Let's start a pardon and clemency list.  Put your suggestions for who should be pardoned, and why, in the comments and I'll sweep through and move all of the new suggestions, without comment, into the main thread.  Of course. we can debate the merits below.

    Pardon and Clemency List

    1. Piper Kerman

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Rachel Dolezal and the de-Professionalized University

    Rachel Dolezal, currently this week's Object of Public Shame on the Internet, has apparently been fired from her job teaching at Eastern Washington State. Or rather, I learn from today's New York Times, they didn't have to bother firing her. You see, Dolezal was what's called an "adjunct instructor," someone who teaches on a course-by-course basis for low pay without any security for the next semester. There are more adjunct teachers than normal salaried professors in American universities today. So, EWU didn't have to fire her. She's just not hired for any classes for next fall.

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    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Michael Des Barres documentary travels from Live Aid to Alf

    The upcoming documentary "Michael Des Barres: Who Do You Want Me to Be?" began exactly 30 years ago. That's when a 14-year-old J. Elvis Weinstein watched Live Aid - the mega-concert created to raise funds for to help the Ethiopian famine. The Duran Duran off-shoot band Power Station helped kicked off the festivities, but without lead singer Robert Palmer.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Seveneves: A Short Review of a Long Book

    By sheer coincidence, I finished Neal Stephenson's Seveneves a couple of days before learning that two friends from college, including the former managing editor of The Daily Lobo, our independent school paper, were in town.  Back in the 1990s, the staff of our paper passed around copies of Stephenson's Snow Crash, a witty send-up of the cyber-punk genre.  We loved that book. 

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    The Two-Body Problem: What I Learned

    A few weekends ago I came home from commencement, hung up my silly robe for another year, cleaned my fridge, packed my car, and left town for the city where I live with my spouse. I won't be back until later in the summer. I've been making that five-hundred-mile round trip nearly every weekend for three of the last four years, with breaks for summers or sabbaticals. But this was the last time.

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    Ramona's picture

    No More Making Fun of the Iowa Straw Poll. Except This One Last Time

    Just got the news that Iowa has decided to dump their traditional GOP fundraiser, their presidential-hopeful-quasi-indicator-of-nothing, their old-fashioned, hilariously awful Iowa Barbecue and Straw Poll .  I thought I would be happy when they finally took my advice and got rid of that thing, but now I feel sad.  I've laughed so much over their shenanigans, I feel the way I do whenever a favorite comedy show bites the dust. Sad, but so glad for the memories.

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    Hal Ginsberg's picture

    The TPP and the Washington Post

    The Washington Post's jihad against American workers continues with its latest [June 10] unrestrained attack on critics of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Since March, the newspaper that Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos purchased in 2013 has promoted the multi-lateral free trade deal in a number of lead editorials.

    Currently, Republican House leaders are trying to round up enough votes to grant President Obama Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). If TPA is granted, the House and Senate would only have the right to vote up or down after negotiators finalize the TPP's language. This would almost certainly lead to the bill's passage.

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    Ramona's picture

    Beau Biden: What Might Have Been

    I awoke yesterday to the news that Beau Biden has lost his battle with brain cancer.  The pain I felt, even though I didn't know Beau Biden personally, was a visceral as if I had lost a dear friend.  It's no secret that I adore his father, Joe, and much of what I'm feeling, I'm feeling for him.  (I wrote about him here.)  The grief, the sorrow, must be awful.  He lost his first wife and his small daughter in a tragic car-truck accident, and nearly lost Beau and his brother, Hunter. He should not have to endure another loss of a beloved child.
     

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    Hal Ginsberg's picture

    The Case for a Fossil Fuels Tax part 4

    This is part 4 in a series. The first three parts are here, here, and here.

    The truth is out there. Indeed it is Mulder and Scully. In fact, the truth can sometimes be found in such unpromising soil as a column by conservative pundit James Poulos or an address to investors by the CEO of Exxon. Poulos is known, if at all, for posing in print the antediluvian question: “What are Women For?” Yet Poulos provides real insight into how to solve anthropogenic global warming (“AGW”). As improbably and in conjunction with Poulos, 

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Do We Have a Constitution, Officer?

    A country is only as democratic as its police, and Constitutional rights are only as real as its police treat them. The fight over police work in America is ultimately a fight over whether or not the United States Constitution is real.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Financial Illiteracy and Bill Clinton's "Secret Company"

    The right wing is all agog about Bill Clinton's "secret" company called WJC LLC.  The "secret" company, which has twice incorporated itself with public documents naming Bill Clinton as its majority shareholder in two states (New York and Delaware), is not actually a secret company at all.

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    Ramona's picture

    Breaking (Old) News: Bush and Cheney Lied us into Iraq.

    In a startling conversation on Tuesday--three days ago by my calendar, not that you would know it by the mainstream media coverage--Chris Matthews, bless his passionate, irritating bulldoggedness, pulled the truth out of Michael Morell, George Bush's CIA intelligence briefer during the lead-up to the Iraq war: the Bush White House lied about WMDs in order to get us into a war with Iraq.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Re-Free Martha Stewart

    This week brought news that five large global banks had admitted to felonies and agreed to pay $5.6 billion in fines to the U.S. Treasury for colluding to rig global currency markets.  The amount of the fines captured headlines but the amounts are actually relatively small.

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    Hal Ginsberg's picture

    False Consciousness isn't False

    This is the 2nd in a series. Part 1 is here. Historian Corey Robin and his critics reject “false consciousness” as an explanation for working class support of anti-labor legislators.  Nevertheless, it seems clear that it is a thing.  False consciousness theory posits that voters may support a politician even after he pursues policies that objectively harm them. A Pew Research poll released this past January on the Trans Pacific Partnership (“TPP”) exemplifies this phenomenon.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Well, A Blog I'll Just Call Crime and Punishment

    Federal prosecutors convinced a Massachusetts jury to give Dzhokhar Tsarnaev the death penalty.  One might assume that would be a tough sell in a highly educated blue state and maybe it was a tough sell that happened to close.  Few tears will be shed, even by the staunchest death penalty opponents.  Tsarnaev is not a sympathetic person.

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    Hal Ginsberg's picture

    The TPP is likely to empower China in the long-run

    President Obama apparently recognizes that China's rapidly growing economy and military pose significant problems for the US and the rest of the world. In response, he urges swift passage of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). "If we don’t write the rules, China will write the rules out in [the Trans-Pacific] region" Obama warned in a Wall Street Journal interview. That outcome would mean: “We will be shut out—American businesses and American agriculture. That will mean a loss of U.S. jobs.” The President's analysis is flawed.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Age of Marvel

    I haven't seen Avengers: Age of Ultron yet, but there's no doubt that will happen.  I actually haven't seen the second Captain America either.  Parenthood will do that.  But I have seen most of the Marvel movies, I watch Agents of Shield and just finished Daredevil on Netflix.  I know what all the plans for the Marvel cinematic universe are and I know the term "Marvel cinematic universe."

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