Michael Wolraich's picture

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http://michaelwolraich.com
Biography

Michael Wolraich is a non-fiction writer in New York City. He co-founded dagblog and has contributed  to CNN.com, TalkingPointsMemo.com, and Pando Daily. Wolraich has been a guest on C-SPAN's BookTV, The John Batchelor Show, Culture Shocks, and various radio shows across the country. He is currently working hard on his next masterpiece, When the War Began: Theodore Roosevelt, Republican Progressives, and the Birth of Modern Politics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

Wolraich is also the computer genius who maintains dagblog's state-of-the-art software, but he denies responsibility for technical glitches and advises users to "quit sniveling." In his spare time, Wolraich raises peach mold and performs live impressions of the law of gravity.

Books:

Unreasonable Men: Theodore Roosevelt and the Republican Rebels Who Created Progressive Politics (Palgrave Macmillan, July 22, 2014)

Blowing Smoke: Why the Right Keeps Serving Up Whack-Job Fantasies about the Plot to Euthanize Grandma, Outlaw Christmas, and Turn Junior into a Raging Homosexual (Da Capo Press, 2010)

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Blog Posts

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Ken Burns and the Myth of Theodore Roosevelt

The Roosevelts, a new PBS documentary by director Ken Burns, presents President Theodore Roosevelt as a political superhero. In photo after photo, Burns’s famous pan-and-zoom effect magnifies Roosevelt’s flashing teeth and upraised fist. The reverential narrator hails his fighting spirit and credits him with transforming the role of American government through sheer willpower. “I attack,” an actor blusters, imitating Roosevelt’s patrician cadence, “I attack iniquities.”

Though exciting to watch, Burns’s cinematic homage muddles the history. Roosevelt was a great president and brilliant politician, but he was not the progressive visionary and fearless warrior that Burns lionizes. He governed as a pragmatic centrist and a mediator who preferred backroom deal-making to open warfare. At the time, many of his progressive contemporaries criticized him for excessive caution. The “I attack” quote, for example, came from a 1915 interview in which Roosevelt defended himself from accusations that he had been too conciliatory.

Read the full article at New York Magazine's culture website, Vulture.com

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Half-Assed: Why America Cannot Stop the Slaughter in Iraq

As ISIS pursues its genocidal dreams in Syria and Iraq, Bruce Levine asks, "whether we as human beings living in the most powerful nation in the world can stand by yet again and do nothing -- as thousands or tens of thousands of innocent human beings  are slaughtered."

The question conceals a heavy premise: that we have the power to stop the slaughter if we choose to exercise it.

I do not deny the premise, at least in principle. If we unleash our full military and economic might, we can surely defeat ISIS forces and build stable, peaceful states in Iraq and Syria. But full mobilization and massive nation-building projects are not realistic options in the current political environment. We may muster the will for limited military operations in Iraq, but we're unwilling to do what it takes to succeed. Consequently, our efforts to stop the slaughter are doomed to fail and may make the situation even worse.

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The Washington Post just reviewed Unreasonable Men

As Michael Wolraich argues in his sharp, streamlined new book, “Unreasonable Men,” it was “the greatest period of political change in American history.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/book-review-unreasonable-men-on-p...

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Upgraded!

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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