Monday, December 26, 2011

The Yearly Sift of 2011

What's past is prologue.

-- William Shakespeare, The Tempest

In this week's sift:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Pressures From Below

Silence never won rights. They are not handed down from above; they are forced by pressures from below.

-- Roger Baldwin

In this week's sift:

  • Detention Without Trial. President Obama isn't going to veto the NDAA after all. How big a problem is that?
  • Christopher Hitchens and the Politics of Atheism. I come to bury Hitchens, not to praise him. But all the same, there are some things you have to give him credit for.
  • Victoryish, and other short notes. What's the right way to mark the end of the Iraq War? NPR can't find the jobs that a millionaires' tax would kill. Are co-ops the future? More Rick Perry parodies. Links to my holiday stories. And more.
  • Last week's most popular post. In an extraordinarily slow week on the Sift, Perry and Parody was the most popular post with 107 views. (Whenever I have a low number to report, somebody always reminds me that around 300 people access the Sift in ways that don't show up in these statistics.)
  • This week's challenge. As you plan your holiday donations to charity, check out the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania. Don't just give your money away, give it away as effectively as possible.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Campaign Update

It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.

-- attributed to just about everybody

In this week's sift:

  • Your 2012 Deep Background Briefing. Forget the day-to-day of who's up and who's down. What's this campaign going to be about?
  • Evangelicals and the New Newt. Mainstream pundits are puzzled by how the religious right can rally to a morally challenged Newt Gingrich. It's really not that mysterious.
  • Perry and Parody. Rick Perry's "Strong" is the most disliked and most parodied political ad ever.
  • Hallelujah and other short notes. Now that corporations are people, they have reason to sing the Hallelujah Chorus. Not even rats are so ratty that they don't have empathy. What "freedom" means to MasterCard. Jon Stewart declares war on Christmas. The Santa Venn diagram. And more on news deserts.
  • Last week's most popular post. Liberal Media, Conservative Manipulation was the most popular post for the second week in a row.

Have an unchallenging week, everybody.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bird's Eye View

I will ascend above the tops of the clouds. I will be like the Most High.

-- Isaiah 14:14

In this week's sift:

  • Forgive Us Our Debts. Some large percentage of the major news stories are tied somehow to the issue of debt. Each one has its labyrinth of details, into which your attention can vanish and never return. But let's go the other way and try to look at the big picture: This is bigger than economics. It's about democracy and how we even start to think about morality.
  • Bankers' Law and other short notes. A judge rejects a sweetheart deal between the SEC and Citi. TARP was only a small part of the bailout. Illegal foreclosures. Congress approves detention-without-trial. 100 notable books. Inoculations against Ron Paul fever.  Marxist Muppets. Perry, Cain, Romney. Gas leases say more than farmers realize. And stop blaming Barney Frank.
  • Last week's most popular post. Liberal Media, Conservative Manipulation was the most popular post in nearly two months. It's the fifth post in history to get more than 2000 views. Last count: 2328.
  • Expand your vocabulary: news desert. A news desert is any segment of society so invisible to mainstream media that it's hard for the desert-dwellers to keep track of what's going on in their own community.