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Biography

Michael Wolraich is a non-fiction writer in New York City. He co-founded dagblog and has contributed  to the Atlantic, the Daily Beast, New York Magazine, CNN.com, TalkingPointsMemo.com, Reuters, and Pando Daily.

Books:

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.

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Mr. Robot

You know who I'm talking about. At first, I thought I was experiencing a deja vu. My wife thought there was a technical glitch. After the third repetition, she became convinced that he was suffering from a neurological condition. I just started laughing.

This was was Rubio's Howard Dean scream. Not just because the performance was cringe-inducing and is destined to be endlessly rehearsed and enhanced on YouTube but because it cemented the perception that he's an automaton.

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Two Types

There are two types of Democrats in this world: Hillary supporters and Bernie supporters.

If you're a Hillary supporter, then you must be a plutocrat, an angry feminist, or a moron.

If you're a Bernie supporter, then you must be a naive dreamer, a misogynist, or a moron.

Conclusion: The Democratic Party is composed of plutocrats, angry feminists, naive dreamers, misogynists, and morons.

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Why Paul Krugman’s Wrong About Bernie Sanders

Paul Krugman may be a terrific economist, but he should study his history. In a trenchant New York Times column titled “How Change Happens,” Dr. Krugman asserts that legislative change requires “hardheaded realism” and “accepting half loaves.” Dismissing presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’s uncompromising idealism as “happy dreams” and “destructive self-indulgence,” he asks rhetorically, “When has their theory of change ever worked? Even F.D.R., who rode the depths of the Great Depression to a huge majority, had to be politically pragmatic, working not just with special interest groups but also with Southern racists.”

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Insurgency: The Difference Between Democrats and Republicans

The insurgent impulse is not unique to Republicans. The right has its Trump. The left has its Sanders. But last night's debate illuminated the stark contrast between Democratic insurgents and Republican insurgents.

In his debate performance, Bernie Sanders showed himself to be principled, passionate, knowledgeable, and virtuous. He argued relentlessly against the corruption of money and the plight of American workers--as he has for decades. When he had an opportunity to prick Hillary Clinton over the email scandal, Sanders chose instead to dismiss the brouhaha as a distraction from the issues that matter. He is a revolutionary in the finest tradition of high-minded American revolutionaries, from George Washington to F.D.R., who would change the world without sacrificing dignity or decency. He is, to use my grandfather's term of highest praise, a mensch.

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Who Won the Republican Debate?

The pundits are all over the map. The NYT's Nate Cohn picked Rubio, Walker, and Kasich. He thinks Bush flubbed it, and Trump "had the weakest performance." But the Atlantic called Trump's performance "one of the standouts of the night," lauding him for turning "weaknesses into strengths" and says Jeb made "a strong impression." CNN and WaPo opinionators agree with Cohn that Rubio was the winner, but Josh Marshall calls him "all but invisible." Ann Coulter weighs in, "Every GOP I'm talking to hated Rubio & Kasich, " but Laura Ingraham at Fox News tweets "@GovMikeHuckabee and @JohnKasich." A Republican focus group in Pella, Iowa described Ben Carson as "ready for prime time," "brilliant," and "someone you can really trust."

Go figure.

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The Myth of the Militant Homosexual

Indiana Governor Mike Pence is shocked—shocked—that people see anything objectionable in Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. “Was I expecting this kind of backlash?” he exclaimed, “Heavens no.”

After all, who could object to religious freedom?

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I Sorted Hillary’s Email

When Hillary Clinton released emails from her personal account last week, many assumed that her attorneys had personally reviewed the messages before sending them to the State Department, but that’s not what happened. As detailed in her press statement, the review team used keyword searches to automatically filter over 60,000 messages, flagging about half as work related.

“I have absolute confidence that everything that could be in any way connected to work is now in the possession of the State Department,” Clinton declared.

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Do You "Like" Dag?

Ramona and I have been whipping dagblog's Facebook page into shape after a long period of neglect. If you haven't done so, head over to facebook.com/dagblog and show us some "like." Then our posts and news links will start appearing in your Facebook feed.

And if you already like us, spread the like by inviting your friends. Just click the unassuming box in the left column that helpfully suggests, "Invite your friends to like dagblog."

PS We're on twitter too.

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MW on the TV

Just in case anyone wants to see how I look like on the small screen...

Obama & Teddy Roosevelt: Similar Legislative Strategies?

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American Democracy - Not Dead Yet

Thanks to Michael M. for highlighting Matthew Yglesias's Cassandra prophesy at Vox: "American Democracy is Doomed." In the piece, Yglesias warns that political polarization will sooner or later trigger "a collapse of the legal and political order" in the United States. "If we're lucky," he adds gloomily, "it won't be violent."

You don't have to be a seer to see that the federal government is in crisis. We have been reading about congressional paralysis for five years straight. The immediate cause is no mystery--the American checks-and-balances system does not handle polarization well. The founding fathers, in their zeal to prevent totalitarianism, designed a system that empowers its various branches to sabotage one another for political gain.

If Yglesias had limited his conclusions to these observations, the result would have been an interesting if prosaic political commentary. But where's the fun in that? Headline-grabbing doom prophesies trend much better than humdrum political commentary. Fortunately for the health of American democracy, they are invariably specious, and this one is no exception.

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