A Nation Addicted To War & Other Big Takeaways From Obama’s ISIS Address
Sep11

A Nation Addicted To War & Other Big Takeaways From Obama’s ISIS Address

President Obama has been fairly sparing in his prerogative of pre-empting prime-time television to address the nation over the last five and a half years, but last night’s address was a doozy. Here are the big takeaways: (1.) Hard to believe, but Barack Obama may be best remembered not as the president who rescued the economy and then provided millions of Americans access to decent health care, but as starting a war against the...

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Is Barack Obama Being Judged Too Harshly On Foreign Policy?  Yes and No.
Sep08

Is Barack Obama Being Judged Too Harshly On Foreign Policy? Yes and No.

In the ceaseless sturm und drang over Barack Obama’s foreign policy and the U.S.’s response to the many conflicts abroad, two important questions are not being asked: Isn’t the world different than it was even 10 years ago, let alone 50 years ago, and isn’t it unfair to judge the president without taking that into account? The answer is both yes and no. Yes, because while the U.S. remains the sole superpower...

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Shaun Mullen’s New Book Is Now Available On Kindle
Aug22

Shaun Mullen’s New Book Is Now Available On Kindle

A character in the Doonesbury comic strip once called the 1970s “A kidney stone of a decade,” and compared to the 1960s and 1980s, it indeed was. It was a period of economic and political decline and, of course, abuses of power with Watergate being the worst but by no means only scandal. Decades get demythologized; it is a quintessential part of the Great American Meat Grinder, but nobody has bothered to demythologize the...

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My New Book Now Available For Order Online: ‘When All Are One and One Is All To Be A Rock And Not To Roll’
Aug08

My New Book Now Available For Order Online: ‘When All Are One and One Is All To Be A Rock And Not To Roll’

A character in the Doonesbury comic strip once called the 1970s “A kidney stone of a decade,” and compared to the 1960s and 1980s, it indeed was. It was a period of economic and political decline and, of course, abuses of power with Watergate being the worst but by no means only scandal. Decades get demythologized; it is a quintessential part of the Great American Meat Grinder, but nobody has bothered to demythologize the...

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Book Excerpt: ‘There Must Be Some Way Out Of Here Said The Joker To The Thief’
Aug08

Book Excerpt: ‘There Must Be Some Way Out Of Here Said The Joker To The Thief’

(Excerpt from opening of first chapter) The first time I went out to Kiln Farm, bumping along in an aluminum beach chair anchored to the floor in the back of Eldon’s Chevy Step Van, it seemed like it took forever although the farm was only 10 miles from New Park. Back then New Park was a quaint college town without a single decent restaurant. But it did have the New Park Tavern, which Edgar Allan Poe is said to have cursed when...

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The New York Times Remembers Robert Stein (UPDATE: His poignant Marilyn Monroe columns)
Jul19

The New York Times Remembers Robert Stein (UPDATE: His poignant Marilyn Monroe columns)

ROBERT STEIN AND HELEN HAYES (UNDATED) The New York Times, celebrates late TMV contributor Robert Stein’s career. The Times says he helped expand the scope of women’s magazines in the early stages of the modern women’s movement, published articles about race and politics and introduced readers to the nascent writings of feminist leaders like Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem. Much more here. EDITOR’S UPDATE: Many...

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Happy July 2nd.  Try To Be Hopeful & Stay Dry
Jul02

Happy July 2nd. Try To Be Hopeful & Stay Dry

When the best thing to happened in months is the Supreme Court closing down for the summer, then you know that 2014 has not been the most auspicious of years. Neither was 1776, but there is a certain holiday celebrated because of the events on July Fourth of that year (except that nothing of consequence happened on the Fourth; the real events occurred 238 years ago today.) Anyhow, we are living through a time of extraordinary human...

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Will The Safety Recall Tsunami Force General Motors To Finally Change It’s Culture? Don’t Bet On It.
Jul01

Will The Safety Recall Tsunami Force General Motors To Finally Change It’s Culture? Don’t Bet On It.

With 29 million cars now having been recalled by General Motors for safety problems — which is substantially more than the 22 million recalled last year by all automakers combined — it is easy to conclude that GM has learned little from its turbulent recent past, which has included hemorrhaging market share for decades because of a crappy product line and then a near-death bankruptcy averted by a taxpayer and labor union...

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Will Amazon Take A Hit On J.K. Rowling’s Latest?
Jun25

Will Amazon Take A Hit On J.K. Rowling’s Latest?

The Silkworm, a new detective novel by Robert Galbraith, is the guaranteed hottest bestseller of the summer. If you’ve never heard of Galbraith, try J.K. Rowling, who has now written two books under that nomme de plume since publishing the last book of her wildly popular Harry Potter series. But what makes the buzz over this book different than the usual reviews of recommended beach-reading mystery fare is that Amazon, by far...

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Wanted: A Better Caption For This Photo
Jun25

Wanted: A Better Caption For This Photo

Queen Elizabeth II, last affectionately teased at TMV for a photograph of her bonding with a race horse, meets cast members of the HBO series “Game of Thrones” as she views the popular series’ Iron Throne. Photograph by Jonathan Porter -– WPA Pool/Getty...

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The Obama Administration’s Justification For Killing An American Abroad Doesn’t Fly
Jun24

The Obama Administration’s Justification For Killing An American Abroad Doesn’t Fly

There was a familiar odor emanating from the Justice Department memo finally made public this week that sought to justify killing the American citizen and radical Muslim cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, in a 2011 drone strike in Yemen: It was legal gobbledegook clearly designed to reach a desired conclusion, and the last time we saw antics on this scale was in the infamous Bush Justice Department memos justifying the use of torture despite it...

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The Crisis In Iraq: A Real-Life ‘Game Of Thrones’
Jun18

The Crisis In Iraq: A Real-Life ‘Game Of Thrones’

When the British diplomat Sir Mark Sykes sat down with François George-Picot, his French counterpart, on May 16, 1916 in London for the last in a six-month series of tea-and-negotiation meetings, it was the pilot episode of a sort of a real-life Game of Thrones. The diplomats had been negotiating on how to divvy up the spoils of the Ottoman Empire. The conclusion of World War I was still two and a half years away, but the end of...

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The O.J. Simpson Saga 20 Years On: The Big Story Remains Why He Became A Murderer
Jun17

The O.J. Simpson Saga 20 Years On: The Big Story Remains Why He Became A Murderer

O.J. and Nicole Brown Simpson on vacation with lawyer Robert Kardashian and his family in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico two months before the murders. It was a balmy June evening on the East Coast, 20 years ago today to be exact. We were watching Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets at Madison Square Garden on a Los Angeles television station because we were putting our recently installed 12-foot satellite...

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(UPDATE IV) How Should The U.S. Respond To The Iraq Crisis?  Are Air Strikes Now Inevitable?
Jun13

(UPDATE IV) How Should The U.S. Respond To The Iraq Crisis? Are Air Strikes Now Inevitable?

ISIS militants celebrate capture of U.S. vehicle from Iraqi Army I would like to personally thank George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. I would like to thank them for creating the conditions that have led to the probability that militants will successfully establish an Islamist ministate straddling Syria and Iraq, which will further destabilize the most unstable region in the world. And that President Obama will be forced,...

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The Sarah Palinization Of The Mainstream Media: Why It Continues To Allow Itself To Be Co-Opted
Jun11

The Sarah Palinization Of The Mainstream Media: Why It Continues To Allow Itself To Be Co-Opted

I have been reading books about and by Sarah Palin lately. Two reasons for this: I am contemplating collaborating with a scholar on a book about the Palin Birth Hoax and the mainstream media’s cowardly retreat from the likelihood that she faked a pregnancy in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election. And although I do not believe that there is an ounce of genuineness in this woman, I continue to grapple with why she remains...

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Should We Blame The Supreme Court For Our Politics, Not The Other Way Around?
Jun03

Should We Blame The Supreme Court For Our Politics, Not The Other Way Around?

It turns out that the Founding Fathers got three things very wrong. There are the absence of women’s suffrage and resolving the issue of slavery in the U.S. Constitution. The former, of course, was not on anyone’s bewigged radar back in those days, while the latter was very much on the Founders’ minds but was intentionally ignored in the service of crafting a document without endless dissent over the lightning-rod...

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In Which Sarah Palin Is Called Out Again
May28

In Which Sarah Palin Is Called Out Again

Sarah Palin, the former half-term Alaska Governor, vice presidential candidate, presidential wannabe, conservative heart throb and coiner of the term “death panels,” has never been good at irony. Come to think of it, in the six years since she burst on the national scene, she has repeatedly proven herself to be good at nothing except deception and obfuscation, as well as a pitch-perfect ability to say the wrong thing at...

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Perspective On The VA Scandal: Face It, We’re Indifferent To Our Well Being
May27

Perspective On The VA Scandal: Face It, We’re Indifferent To Our Well Being

Now that the dust is beginning to settle around the Veterans Administration hospitals scheduling scandal, it is time to put an unwelcome perspective on things. I say unwelcome because this scandal is merely the tip of an immense iceberg — a profoundly dysfunctional American health care system that thrives on indifference, a reality that virtually no one wants to acknowledge, let alone address. That perspective: * The VA hospital...

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This Is Not Your Ordinary Memorial Day Poem, But Then This Is Not An Ordinary Memorial Day
May23

This Is Not Your Ordinary Memorial Day Poem, But Then This Is Not An Ordinary Memorial Day

I have seen over 40 Memorial Days come and go since I was discharged from the Army. Barely at that, because I had a one-day growth of beard and a lifer wasn’t going to allow this lowly sergeant to board a Freedom Bird until I shaved. Having grown a pair while serving our country, I stared him down, he relented, and I flew home. Except for regular trims, I have not shaved since. Anyhow, this Memorial Day feels different. There is...

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Is Japan Plotting A More Militaristic Future While Not Confronting Its Past?
May19

Is Japan Plotting A More Militaristic Future While Not Confronting Its Past?

JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER ABE VISITS YASUKUNI SHRINE Nearly 70 years after the end of World War II, Germany is a fully fledged player in Europe and the world. Its Nazi past is not forgotten, but is no longer an issue. By contrast, Japan is a marginal player in Asia and nearly invisible on the world stage beyond its quality automobiles and electronic goods, and its militaristic past, let alone its inability to seriously confront its...

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