Book of the Month

Michael Wolraich's picture

Upgrade Imminent!

Hi folks, I want to offer my gratitude to everyone who helped out with the dagblog upgrade, both those who tested the new site and those who contributed to the development cost. I received $424.22, which by coincidence almost exactly covers the cost. You guys are the best!

If all goes according to plan, the upgrade will happen tonight. The site will be down for about 8 hours during the upgrade process, and I anticipate hiccups after the switch, so please bear with us, and let me know if you have any problems after the upgrade.

See you on the other side!

Michael Wolraich's picture

The Valkyries' Lament

There is something odd about the chorus of criticism against President Obama's foreign policy. Normally, the age-old debate over military intervention revolves around a particular conflict. From WWI to the Iraq War, hawks and doves have always squabbled over the ethics, efficacy, and necessity of attacking a particular enemy at a particular time.

But Obama's critics haven't focused on any particular conflict or enemy. They speak of the peril in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Ukraine, and the South China Sea. They warn of threats from Putin, Khamenei, Kim Jong-Un, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Taliban, or, more generally, dictators, fanatics, and terrorists. George W. Bush's Axis of Evil has become a Legion of Doom with new enemies, like ISIS, regularly joining the pantheon of international bad guys. [Read more]

Michael Wolraich's picture

Dag's New Digs

Dear friends,

Dagblog will turn six years old this September, which is 42 in blog years. Like many of us in our forties, the site has become a little chunky. OK, I'll be blunt. Dag's fat. Way fat. 9290 blog posts, 442 creative posts, 5250 news links, and 109,567 comments. Along with williamkwolfrum.com, who hangs out on the same server, dagblog often violates the 640 MB RAM limit, which is why it's been stalling and crashing so often. [Read more]

Michael Wolraich's picture

Eating Eric Cantor

If revolutions eat their children, then Eric Cantor is the plat du jour. Just a couple years ago, he was the supposed leader of the right-wing House insurgency. The press waited hungrily for him to revolt against John Boehner and claim the Speaker's crown for himself. But Cantor chose to wait it out, and now the same insurgent spirit that bolstered his ambition has tossed him out of the House entirely. [Read more]

Michael Wolraich's picture

Unreasonable Men: First Book Review

From Publishers Weekly:

From 1904-1912, the American political system underwent enormous growing pains, and political writer Wolraich (Blowing Smoke) gives this decade an exhaustive, detailed examination, from the first “creeping sense” of a new political body into a “war with only two sides” that birthed America’s enduring bipartisan identities. [Read more]

Michael Wolraich's picture

Dagslog

Hey folks, as you may have noticed, dagblog hasn't been feeling well today. I apologize for the downtime and log-in problems. Dag is feeling a bit better now, so blog away.

Meanwhile, we're working on an upgrade and a new daghouse that will make poor dag happy and peppy again. Stay tuned.

Michael Wolraich's picture

What Would Teddy Do? Theodore Roosevelt on Net Neutrality

“Above all else,” President Theodore Roosevelt admonished Congress in 1905, “we must strive to keep the highways of commerce open to all on equal terms.”

Roosevelt could not have imagined digital computers and fiber-optic cables. He was talking about railroads, the highways of commerce in his day. But though the technology has changed, the principle TR expressed remains as essential as it was a century ago. We ignore it at our peril.

Until now, our digital highways of commerce have been open to all on equal terms. Media conglomerates and big-box retailers transmit information through the same pipes as bloggers, startups and boutiques. This principle of equality, known as net neutrality, has stimulated competition and spurred innovation since the Internet began.

But it might not last much longer.

Read the full article at Reuters [Read more]

Michael Wolraich's picture

Bloomberg's Gun-Control Campaign: Right Idea, Wrong Guy

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg has a bold plan. He hopes to single-handedly revive America's comatose gun-control movement with a $50 million cash infusion and a fresh political strategy. He has money, connections, and an astute appreciation for what it will take to counter the gun-rights mania that has hijacked national politics. Too bad he's not the guy to pull it off. [Read more]

Michael Wolraich's picture

Your Top Ten Anti-Christian Acts of 2013

The title of this post comes from the subject line of an email that I received from Dr. Gary L. Cass, head of the "Christian Anti-Defamation Commission." If you read on, you'll notice that none of the "top ten anti-Christian acts of 2013" represent actual discrimination against Christians. Most of them are about Christians' "right" to discriminate against gays and lesbians. [Read more]

Michael Wolraich's picture

Dear angry American who has to pay more for better health insurance,

Bummer. I know the premiums are steep. I've been there. I remember when I moved from Philadelphia to New York City, and my rate jumped from $200 to $800--without even changing my plan. I received a letter saying that my premium might rise. The next thing I knew, boom, $800 charged to my credit card.

At least you get better coverage out of the deal. I still had to pay for my ER visit because it fell under my $3000 deductible. But what could I do? This America. Private companies are supposed to wring people out like dirty washcloths. It's called a free market.

But this is different, isn't it? It's not the free market that's squeezing you dry. It's the government. Government isn't supposed to squeeze people. It's supposed to get out of the way and let the free market squeeze people. [Read more]

Michael Wolraich's picture

Kamikaze Logic and the Republican Insurgency

The Republican effort to defund “Obamacare” is like playing chicken with a wall. The Senate Democrats will never vote against health care legislation they spent decades to pass. The voters will punish Republican legislators if they shut down the government or default on the debt. Whether the Republicans crash or swerve, this game has no positive outcome for them.

So why are they doing it? [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]

Michael Wolraich's picture

Russia Offers Asylum to Russian Dissidents

On Thursday, Russian officials announced that Russia had offered asylum to dissidents suffering persecution from the Russian government.

The group includes Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption blogger sentenced to five years in a corrective labor colony; Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former Russian oligarch imprisoned since 2005; members of punk rock protest band Pussy Riot, imprisoned since 2012; Russia's gay population; and the Chechen Republic. Russia also offered posthumous asylum to Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB agent assassinated by Russian agents after receiving asylum in Britain. [Read more]

Michael Wolraich's picture

Waiting for the GOP to Die

Demographics, we've heard, are pro-Democrat. In a few years, a wave of young Latinos will swamp those dastardly Republicans in their southern redoubts, and then the donkey will soar again. Huzzah!

But wait, it get's better. According to Michael Tomasky of the Daily Beast, "even working-class white people" are preparing to join the glorious Democratic demographic revolution. He discovered a Brookings poll that proves, "White working-class millennials are fairly liberal!"

In short, all we have to do is wait a decade or two for the new golden age of Democratic hegemony to come roaring back to Washington, courtesy of the aging process.

I call this the Wait for the Old Farts to Die strategy. [Read more]

Michael Wolraich's picture

Snowden, Prism, and Us - Food for Thought

"I don't want public attention because I don't want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing."

-- Edward Snowden, June 9, 2013

 

Media References, June 9-30, 2013 [Read more]

  Google Dagblog
  News articles Blog posts News links Comments
Prism 155,000 0 4 45
Edward Snowden 637,000,000 10 14 313
Michael Wolraich's picture

Better Gun Control

Last February, I wrote what columnists like to call a "think piece" about an alternative approach to gun control (with the implication that most punditry does not involve thinking).

My proposal was to tax gun manufacturers and retailers based on the lethality of their merchandise, as measured by crime statistics. The hope was to incentivize companies to create their own safeguards against misuse, in essence to financially discourage them from making weapons that appeal to criminals and from selling to customers who are likely to use the guns for crime.

 [Read more]

Michael Wolraich's picture

Iran's Last Chance

Hassan Rouhani, Iran's newly elected president, will serve for four years. By the end of his term, Iran and the U.S. will either reach an agreement, or they will go to war.

Last March, Obama told an Israeli television station that it would take "over a year or so" for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, the first time an American president stated a timeframe on the record. The dates coincide with a U.S. intelligence estimate during George W. Bush's administration: "sometime during the 2010-2015 time-frame." [Read more]

Michael Wolraich's picture

I Don't Give a Damn About Privacy

Go ahead, collect my phone records, track my websurfing, analyze my email.  I don't give a damn.

I do not write this out of any loyalty to Obama or because I worry about the Terrorist Threat.  I simply do not care about my data privacy and never have.

Why should I? My buying habits are ordinary, my emails are pedestrian, my phone calls would bore any spy to tears, my political opinions are very public and published under my own name. As long as no one spams me or steals my identity, why should I care what they do with my data? [Read more]

Michael Wolraich's picture

Obama Scandals: The Quest for the Perfect "Gate"

At last! Republicans have been awaiting this moment for five long years, the day that Obama finally gets his gate. You see, every two-term president has a defining scandal that renders him permanently villainous and/or ridiculous. By hallowed convention, the scandal must end with word "gate."

Nixon started it with the gate to begin all gates, Watergate. Ronald Reagan followed up with Irangate. Bill Clinton enthralled us with Monicagate. George W. Bush gave us Plamegate.

And now Obama has got his own gate...or rather his own gates. Since no single scandal is big enough bring him down, Republicans and pundits are eagerly gathering them up in a big stinking pile of nefariousness: IRSBenghAPgate! [Read more]

Michael Wolraich's picture

Don't Cry For Background Checks

Supporters of gun control lost yesterday. It was not a terrible bill. Expanded background checks would have stopped some future killers from buying guns. It should have passed. But it would have done little to reduce gun violence in America.

"Fighting" Bob La Follette, a progressive senator from Wisconsin, once wrote, "In legislation no bread is often better than half a loaf. I believe it is usually better to be beaten and come right back at the next session and make a fight for a thoroughgoing law than to have written on the books a weak and indefinite statute."

La Follette became famous for championing "radical" legislation that had no chance of passing--corporate regulations, labor rights, lobbyist restrictions, and popular election of U.S. senators. He took up his colleagues' time with "pointless" filibusters. He ran three times for president and never even came close to winning. [Read more]

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