Michael Maiello's picture

    Obama's Middle Class Legacy

    The early, very early, take on the Obama legacy is that it will be marred by the declining fortunes of America's middle class under his presidency.  This will be a tough narrative to counter.  But this is really not just Obama's fault.

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    Ramona's picture

    The Cowardly Liberal Talks About Strength

    About once a year or so I have a confidence crisis.  When it happens I'm able to convince myself that I can't go on writing about politics and hate and fear and unfairness.  This year it was even worse, brought on by the very real fact that the dreaded Republicans swept the elections last November and are now in almost complete control of our lives.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Common Sense About Making Fun of Islam

    When 12 people die violently and needlessly and a newspaper essayist doesn't have a lot of time to process events, things get said.  In The Financial TimesTony Barber gave us this:

    This is not in the slightest to condone the murderers, who must be caught and punished, or to suggest that freedom of expression should not extend to satirical portrayals of religion. It is merely to say that some common sense would be useful at publications such as Charlie Hebdo, and Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten, which purport to strike a blow for freedom when they provoke Muslims.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Your New Year's Public Domain Report, 2015

    I'm late with my annual public-domain update this year. But that's okay because yet again this year, nothing new entered the public domain this January 1. That's right, because of repeated extensions of the copyright laws in the US, no copyrights expired this year. Or last year. Or the year before. Almost none have since January 1, 1979.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    What Passes for Democratic Heroism in 2014

    Gina Raimondo, Governor of Rhode Island, says Frank Bruni of the New York Times.  As Treasurer of Rhode Island she addressed a public pension shortfall by completely suspending cost of living increases for already retired workers, in effect clawing back promised compensations from people who had already given their time and labor (commodities that, once given, can never be returned).  She was then elected Rhode Island's governor.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Middle Class Struggles Are All In Your Head?

    Congratulations, members of the American middle class!  Robert Samuelson at The Washington Post says that the system is rigged in your favor by craven politicians hunting for votes.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Police, Danger, and the Social Contract

    I was blogging about the police tonight, and about the responses to protests of police brutality. Then I heard about the shooting of two police officers in New York City,  so the rest of that post (and some of the others I have been working on) will have to wait.

    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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    Ramona's picture

    Say What You Will About Torture, It's Still Torture

     

    Last week the Senate Intelligence Committee released their report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program, and, while much of it had already been hashed over soon after the events at Abu Ghraib, there are enough new revelations within the report's 525 page summary to cause us to get stirred up all over again.

    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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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    The Fire This Time

    There is one truth that we need to face today, after the grand jury's decision in Ferguson. And that truth is simple. No one can live like this.

    No one can live with an arrangement where their sons can be killed with impunity. No one can make their peace with that. No one can accept that. No one can live like this.

    Ramona's picture

    John Kennedy's Death And How It Changed Us

    John Kennedy, even with his publicly reported physical frailties, was a man with an almost mythical presence.  He was young and vibrant, he had a beautiful wife and two small children, and, true or not, we perceived him as the peoples' president--as close to being one of us, his wealth notwithstanding, as we were likely to get.  He was the FDR we had been wishing for.
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    Ramona's picture

    So It Happened And It Was Bad. No Quitting Now.

    It's been almost a week since the mid-term elections and you may or may not have noticed that this space has been empty.  Deserted.  Lights out.  Nobody home.

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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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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Thinking Like the Plague

    The Ebola panic in the American media seems uncannily familiar to me, in the worst possible way. Anyone who studies Renaissance literature for a living has read many accounts of terrible epidemics, and many stories of epidemic hysteria. (In fact, some people have written learned and illuminating books about literary responses to the plague; I can't pretend to be one of them.) Smallpox is a terrible affliction. Bubonic plague is worse.

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    Ramona's picture

    On The Internet Mean Streets

    There is a picture making its way around the internet of a grossly overweight woman standing in what looks like a cafeteria line.  She is wearing a pair of shorts that are several sizes too small and the fat rolls at her stomach and bottom are pushed up and exposed. I don't know who the woman is or where the picture came from, but from what I can tell, it's a picture that both liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, men and women, Americans and non-Americans, feel perfectly at ease making fun of.

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