Michael Maiello's picture

    The Big Hollywood Crack Up

    Initially, when Sony announced it was yanking the premiere of the Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy The Interview I thought that Sony's marketing people had come up with a way to make lemonade out of the hacking situation.  The media giant could easily cut deals with Amazon, Netflix and the larger cable companies to stream the movie so great that North Korean leader Kim Jung-Un sent terrorists to stop you from seeing it.  

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Torture Report Open Thread

    Honestly, I don't know what to say.  Would be very interested in hearing from all of you.

    Full report, via Mother Jones

    Great Annotation of Top Findings by WaPo

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    It's A Hard Knock Life (For Cops)

    Today, David Brooks gives us the requisite "police officers have hard jobs" column.  Whenever we discuss police brutality, somebody says this and in the most recent discussions, it's been said quite often,  Police officers have hard jobs.  Very few of us non-police officers envy their professions.  It has few reliable perks.  You can use a siren to run red lights.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    White Uncollared Crime

    I have a fun party story about a road trip that went through Texas, way too fast, wound up in a kind of high speed pursuit and ended with a very reasonable ticket.  The punch-line is that the story would have been tragic had the trooper searched my car.  What also makes the story kind of funny is that while I was driving way too fast I was in total control of my vehicle, on an empty straight-away in the Texas panhandle.  My crime was victim free, as speeding cases go.  That the punishment was light was, in the end, appropriate.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Are Other People That Dangerous?

    Ross Douthat frets that Ferguson is now too ambiguous a story for people who are against the militarization of American police forces to use to make their case.  Me, I tend to think that supporters of military-surplus policing always seem to find ambiguity.  They have not been phased by actions taken by police forces since at least the WTO protests of the 1990s.  Some people just love authority.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Keep the Police Away From the Public

    I'm having a hard time believing Darren Wilson's story, particularly where he says that Michael Brown, while struggling for the cop's weapon in a confrontation that lasted less than a minute, said, "you're too much of a pussy to shoot me."  This brings to mind the words that George Zimmerman put into the mouth of Trayvon Martin -- all bluster and villainy, the street thug equivalent of Dr. Doom telling Mr. Fantastic that "You'll crumble before the power of my atomic nullifier!" rather than just using the damned thing.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Strategic Overview of J. Alfred Prufrock

    I reimagined The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock as a PowerPoint presentation.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Why Is Brookings Pushing Scammy Annuity Products?

    On Saturday morning, a Tweet from Brookings caught my eye.  It suggested “Longevity Annuities” would be a great solution to the post-pension problem of longevity risk.  This is such an unbelievably bad idea that my first thought was that some insurance company had corrupted Brookings.  I see no evidence of that, however.  It’s probably just a case of two Hamilton Project thinkers who are overly in love with private industry solutions to truly public problems.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Midterms Open Thread

    Have you all noticed that over the last two days, whoever is picking op-eds for The New York Times has decided that we shouldn't even have midterm elections?

    Well, we do have them.  And you can discuss them and how they are all Obama's fault (or not) right here!

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The End of QE and the Bret Easton Ellis Era of Monetary Policy

    Quantitative Easing, we hardly knew ye, and now ye are gone without a lot of people even knowing what ye did or how ye did it. Well, here were some of your effects.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Review: The Death of Klinghoffer

    Last night, we went to see The Death of Klinghoffer at the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center.  We’re new to opera.  We went to our first show, La Boheme last month.  This exploration of a new, for me, art form is quite invigorating and so far the Met’s productions are top notch and the opera house at Lincoln Center is just a beautiful place to spend an evening.  As a matter of pure art, I am totally convinced by composer John Adams and I’d definitely jump at the chance to see Nixon in China or

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Public Service Announcement: Ebola and New York City

    Our mayor just tried to calm the populace:

    "There is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed," de Blasio said at a news conference. "Being on the same subway car or living near someone with Ebola does not in itself put someone at risk."

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    A Way Back Book Review: The Mouse That Roared

    When I was a kid, my dad had mentioned a book called The Mouse That Roared and for some reason, his description of the premise – a tiny nation captures a nuclear bomb that makes it the most powerful country on Earth – stuck with me.  He must have mentioned this thirty years ago, but a few weeks ago I found myself Googling for it and finding it long out of print.  I looked on Amazon and people wanted $130 for it.  Sometimes, though, it pays to go local.  I found it at The Strand for $9.  Well, definitely had to have it

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Short Century: A Novel of War and Taboo

    Thanks to The Lost and Found Show, I had the opportunity to read at Word Bookstore as part of the Brooklyn Book Festival this year.  Believe me, I was hilarious.  No, really.  I was funny.  But, beyond that, I met the author David Burr Gerrard and his debut novel Short Century. I just finished reading it and it was a bl

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Friday Deep Thoughts (Open Thread!)

    When U.S. trade policies wreck entire industries and cause unemployment, our answer is "train the workers."

    When U.S. foreign policies wreck entire regions, sending them into a tailspin of ethnic, religious and economic violence and chaos our answer is "train the local armies to deal with it."

    I think we need to combine these two things to turn the unemployed into the world's most effective killing machine.  I mean, it's just synergy, right?

    **End of Week Open Thread!**

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Attack on ISIS (Watch Your Wallet)

    As I somewhat expected, the military hawks have won over American public opinion regarding Syria/Iraq/ISIS, though what they get for that is tempered by Obama's pru

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    What If The People Who Want To Go To War In Syria Are Fantasists?

    This Foreign Affairs article by Kenneth M. Pollack is a sight to behold. In it, the Brookings Senior Fellow and oft-quoted historian of military history in the Middle East, suggests that the United States should recruit, train, fund and equip a new Syrian army capable of defeating ISIS and deposing Bashar al-Assad at the same time.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    All You Need To Know About The Debt In 3 Seconds

    In my mailbox this morning was a little cartoon from Brookings promising "The Federal Debt: All You Need To Know In Three Minutes."

    I can beat that.  All you need to know is that the Congressional Budget Office just reduced its economic growth projection for 2014 and increased slightly its estimate of what the annual budget deficit will be as well as the total amount it believes will be added to the debt over the next 10 years.

    Or, the short version: Less growth leads to higher deficits, more growth leads to lower deficits.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    How Foreign Policy Non-Experts Think

    I am no a foreign policy expert.

    I am definitely not an expert in military history or tactics.  I have little familiarity with the science, such as it is, of national and international security.

    I am particularly not adept at issues involving the Middle East, a region of the world that I have never visited and that is populated by diverse cultures that I know little about and people who speak languages that I don't speak.  I can't even call their languages "beautiful" as is the tradition, because I am not cunning linguist enough to know.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Book Review: Sharp Knives, Sharp Stories

    When I read really great fiction or watch a really good play or movie, whether it’s new or years old, I find that the work speaks to whatever is going on in the world.  That’s When The Knives Come Down, the debut collection of short stories by Dolan Morgan, certainly fits the bill.  Though the dozen story collection is diverse in narratives and tone, the common theme in all the stories is the relationship of people to place.  The w

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