Book of the Month

Michael Maiello's picture

Corporations Are Oligarchs, My Friend

There is the Princeton oligarchy study and there is Thomas Picketty and now you really have to check out what Daniel Denvir has to say about Comcast, coming soon to the Time Warner Cable dominated market near you. [Read more]

William K. Wolfrum's picture

Statement of Support by William K. Wolfrum on Hero Cliven Bundy

"Today, noted blogger William K. Wolfrum announces his respect for American Hero Cliven Bundy. Faced with a tyrannical government, Mr. Bundy has shown himself to be brave, pure of heart, and most importantly, a great American. We will continue to support Mr. Bundy in all his endeavors. [Read more]

Doctor Cleveland's picture

The Shakespeare Silly Season

This week marks Shakespeare's 450th birthday, leading to many celebrations. We don't know exactly which day he was born (because we only have a record of his baptism, not of his birth), but it was sometime before April 26, and the April 23 has become the "official" birthday. (Why? 1. Shakespeare died on April 23, so wouldn't that be cool? and 2. April 23rd is an English national holiday, so wouldn't that be lovely and patriotic?)  But because it's a big round-number birthday, it's also attracting scammers and hucksters.
 [Read more]

William K. Wolfrum's picture

This conversation is a conversation worth having

We are living in perilous times. Now, more than ever, it is time for America to have a conversation.

This is why I am here. This is my job. To start this conversation. To get America talking. All I do is present you with the facts. Facts that are perfect conversation starters. Facts that - deep inside - hold truths. Truths that need to be discussed.

Yes, in a way, it is about bravery. The bravery I'm showing in trying to get a conversation started. It is the type of bravery that demands its own conversation, really. But that is not why I'm here. I am here to push you - yes, you! - to get involved in the conversation America truly needs. History will be the judge of whether I should be discussed. [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 Maiello's picture

Freedom to Defend...

I had high hopes for this op-ed called "Freedom to Offend Everyone" but Nesrine Malik has completely confirmed my otherwise irrational belief that non-Americans don't understand how freedom of expression works at all, ever, in any context. Malik concludes, wrongly:

"Those who fancy themselves defenders of free speech must be consistent in their absolutism, and stand up for offensive speech no matter who is the target." [Read more]

Michael Maiello's picture

Your Charming Tax Receipt

If you'd like to see where your tax dollars are going, the White House will show you. When I entered the median income of $50,000 for a filer with one child, that the filer paid $1,776 in income tax, assuming non-itemized filing. What an auspicious number. [Read more]

Michael Maiello's picture

How To Misread Flash Boys

Be David Brooks

One lesson of this tale is that capitalism doesn’t really work when it relies on the profit motive alone. If everybody is just chasing material self-interest, the invisible hand won’t lead to well-functioning markets. It will just lead to arrangements in which market insiders take advantage of everybody else. Capitalism requires the full range of motivation, including the intrinsic drive for knowledge and fairness.

This is the reasonable sounding "just getting started" paragraph, but you no doubt see the problem... [Read more]

Ramona's picture

Will the Real God Please Stand Up

I don't know God personally, of course, but it's a good bet He isn't looking kindly upon His follower, Tristan Emmanuel, who was out there defending His Good Name by calling for the flogging or hanging of a comedian (a comedian) because this "pugnacious degenerate" made some jokes about God and the proven nature of His wrath. (Proven, I should mention, because the Old Testament is full of stories about a God who is just scary angry. It's all in there.)
  [Read more]

Doctor Cleveland's picture

Copyright vs. Truth

The family of the poet Ted Hughes has just "withdrawn permission" for Hughes's biographer to quote from his papers and letters, including papers and letters that the family has already sold to the British Library. The biographer, who's been working on this book for years, has already read those papers. He knows what's in them. But he is no longer allowed to tell us what he knows. How can this be? Copyright law.
  [Read more]

Michael Maiello's picture

Conservatives Should Be Angry At Brendan Eich

Brendan Eich was appointed CEO of Mozilla, his donation in support of Prop 8, a proposed anti-same sex marriage in California came to light, many Mozilla employees and users loudly objected to the boss's politics and Eich stepped down. [Read more]

William K. Wolfrum's picture

Welcome to the Age of Narcissism

Humans have always been an extremely narcissistic bunch. Look at religion. A large swathe of humanity believes that there is a God - an actual God - who knows their name, address and Social Security number. And this God - with all the options of a God open - chooses to spend its time thinking about them.

 

Now that's having a high opinion of oneself.  [Read more]

Michael Maiello's picture

Everybody Knows The Dice Are Loaded...


At Gawker, Hamilton Nolan takes on some of the backlash against Michael Lewis which is coming from industry insiders and financial journalists yawning that the issues surrounding high frequency trading are old hat at this point and hardly cutting edge enough to make a bestselling book from. [Read more]

Michael Maiello's picture

Crowdrobbing

Today, Mark Zuckerberg took some of the money raised in Facebook's IPO and used it to buy the immersive experience of Oculus, something of an iPad that you jam onto your face so that you can wander around in your own personal Holodeck.  That's right, I'm old and this technology scares me. What's next, laser swords? [Read more]

Ramona's picture

Ye Auld New America: Didn't We Go Down This Road Before?

 
Working for someone else, fingers to the bone with no expectation of decent wages or a foothold on the ladder, is back in vogue here in America.   Even your big deal congresspersons will tell you that.  There are no greater patriots than the country's laborers, and the very, very finest--the finest patriots of all--are those who have no use for unions. The best patriot/workers understand that in America it's All for One and None for All.
 [Read more]

Michael Maiello's picture

The Data Haunted World

The one somewhat decent idea I had during theatre history class many years ago was that Aristotle's Poetics had managed to identify nothing more than a Tragic Mean and that if a writer followed Aristotle's rules perfectly they were more likely to write something average than remarkable.  Around this time I was also taking a lot of writing classes and reading books by people who offered structural advice for writers -- it was all based on Aristotle, though updated.  Aristotle told us what all the memorable Greek tragedies had in common.  Syd Field told us what all of the Hollywood blockbusters had in common.  Art is about knowing when to follow the rules and when to break them. [Read more]

Michael Maiello's picture

Titus on Wall Street

A couple of years back I started writing a bunch of short sketches where old stories, with some of the old tropes, found themselves recast in modern times.  It all ended with Troy! Troy! Troy! a retelling of the Trojan War with the twist that faulty intelligence led the Greeks to invade Troy only to wind up in a quagmire after learning that Helen was never there.  As it turns out, Euripides beat me to this premise by a rather long margin. [Read more]

Doctor Cleveland's picture

How to Break Up the CIA

We have reached the point where the CIA is publicly bucking the right of the Senate Intelligence committee to oversee it. If even half of the charges in Amy Davidson's superb piece are true, the CIA has become totally unmoored and no longer seems even to acknowledge the idea that it has to answer to our elected officials. But you don't have to believe Davidson, or even Dianne Feinstein, to read CIA director John O. Brennan's public statements. [Read more]

William K. Wolfrum's picture

Breaking: Scientists busted for hour laundering; Daylight Savings Times canceled

WASHINGTON, D.C. - More than 42,000 scientists across the globe - including such luminaries as Neil deGrasse Tyson and Stephen Hawking - have been arrested for hour laundering in a world-wide sting, sources say.

"They got them all, finally," said the source. "Finally, this terror ends." [Read more]

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