Monday, November 28, 2011

Mildly Revolutionary

I've laid down in the rain before
hoping I would drown and wake up upon your shore.
But even God can't hire everyone any more.
Even God can't hire everyone any more.

-- The Mild Revolution "Working Man Blues"

In this week's sift:

  • Liberal Media, Conservative Manipulation. Everybody knows that journalists are (sort of) liberal. So why does so much coverage slant to the right?
  • Where Occupy Goes Next and other short notes. Should Occupy Wall Street support a legislative agenda and candidates to carry it out, or would that just corrupt and co-opt the movement? Plus: The pepper-spraying cop becomes iconic. The world's lightest material. Do conservative policies promote conservative values? And Mitt Romney gets a taste of his own medicine.
  • Last week's most popular post. At last count, Now Look What You Made Me Do had 699 views, making it the sixth most popular post since the Sift moved to in July.
  • This week's challenge: Listen Local. If you're trying to eat local and shop local, you really ought to check out your local music scene too. (That's where I picked up this week's quote.)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Refraining From Violence

I want to be very clear in calling upon the Egyptian authorities to refrain from any violence against peaceful protesters. The people of Egypt have rights that are universal. That includes the right to peaceful assembly and association, the right to free speech, and the ability to determine their own destiny. These are human rights. And the United States will stand up for them everywhere.

-- President Barack Obama,
January 28, 2011

In this week's sift:

  • Now Look What You Made Me Do. When police attacked peaceful protesters in cities around the country this week, the media's unwillingness to "take sides" insured that Middle America would blame the protesters.
  • Will the Court Throw Out Obamacare?The Supremes will rule on the Affordable Care Act's constitutionality sometime between now and June. Two conservative appellate judges just gave us a preview of what they might do.
  • Paterno and the Bishops. Comparing the Penn State scandal to the Catholic Church scandal, it's clear that the public attitude towards sexual abuse has changed.
  • Last (two) week's most popular post. Jobless Recoveries Are Normal Now had 322 views.
  • This week's challenge. At your church, business, club, or other institutions, raise this question: Where do we do our banking? Many institutional accounts might be ineligible for credit unions, but could your institution move to a local bank more likely to keep your money in the community?

The length of this week's main articles crowded out Short Notes. As compensation, I offer this amazing photo from Iceland: The full moon illuminates a waterfall, the moonlight creates a rainbow in the spray, and between the foreground of the bow and the background of the starry night sky shine the Northern Lights.

As the Christmas carol says: "O, that we were there."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Seemingly Moral

No Sift next week. The Weekly Sift returns on November 21st.

There's no better way to justify relations founded on violence, to make such relations seem moral, than by reframing them in the language of debt -- above all, because it immediately makes it seem like it's the victim who's doing something wrong.

-- David Graeber
Debt: The First 5,000 Years (2011)

In this week's sift:

  • Jobless Recoveries are Normal Now. One very instructive graph and the disturbing conclusion you can draw from it: The fundamental nature of recessions has changed, and most of the policies we fight over have nothing to do with it.
  • The Cain Scandal After a Week. Scandals just have entertainment value until they start driving your supporters away. So far that's not happening.
  • The Death of the Follow-up Question and other short notes. Herman Cain's China problem, a food-industry insider defects, a true blue supporter of the family is a deadbeat dad, the iPod of government, SB-5 is going down tomorrow, the importance of the smart grid, a couple particularly stunning scenes from nature, and more.
  • Last week's most popular post. Nonviolence and the Police, with 329 views.
  • This week's challenge. Remember to vote in your local elections tomorrow. Also, Saturday was Bank Transfer Day, when people all over the country closed their accounts at too-big-to-fail banks and moved their money to community banks or credit unions. If you missed, it's not too late. AlterNet's Lynn Parramore gives a step-by-step.