Normal Behavior

Is [St. Louis County] particularly bad in terms of the quotient of police officers who act like this? Or is this just normal, and we just happened to have the cameras pointed there?

Chris Hayes

This week’s featured post is “5 Lessons to Remember as Ferguson Fades into History“. Last week’s featured post “What Your Fox-Watching Uncle Doesn’t Get About Ferguson” was popular, getting over 7,500 page views. August as a whole was the highest-traffic month in Sift history, with 163K views — most of them for “Not a Tea Party, a Confederate Party“.

This week everybody was talking about police and black people

At least on the liberal side of the media, incidents where innocent blacks are harassed or otherwise mistreated by police are starting to be covered as a pattern, rather than as isolated events that may not be newsworthy on their own. That’s one of the topics discussed in “5 Lessons to Remember as Ferguson Fades into History“.

If you like the Norman Rockwell parody in that post, here’s a higher-art-quality version of the same idea.


Salon examines how a totally false “fact” — that Michael Brown fractured Officer Wilson’s eye socket — spread from a conspiracy-theory web site all the way to the Washington Post, without anybody bothering to check it until after it was national news.

and sexual harassment in the Senate

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has a new book coming out, and what everyone wants to talk about is her account of rude sexist interactions with male senators. (I suspect those take up a fairly small portion of the book.) Like this one recounted in The New York Post:

one of her favorite older senators walked up behind her, squeezed her waist, and intoned: “Don’t lose too much weight now. I like my girls chubby.”

Politico‘s John Bresnahan tweeted:

I challenge this story. Sorry, I don’t believe it.

But female journalists were far from shocked. MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell sounded like Casablanca‘s Captain Renault.

Men behaving badly on Capitol Hill? What a surprise.

and Market Basket

If you want a feel-good story for Labor Day, this is it. Workers and customers got together and fired management. It required a billion-dollar deal to buy out his cousin’s controlling interest, but Artie T is back in charge. Lawrence O’Donnell (who clearly enjoyed his chance to drop some R’s, i.e. “Mahket Basket”, “Ahty T” ) drew the lesson:

How many workers in America would do that? Go on strike because their very rich CEO was pushed out in a family feud power play? … That’s what it takes to be a beloved CEO: exactly what you think it would take. Pay well, know employees by name, care about them, talk to them, know what they want and what they need to do a better job.

Until these last six weeks I hadn’t realized that any of the local grocery chains treated workers better than the others, so I usually went to whichever store I happened to be passing when I realized I wanted something. But I stayed away from MB during the controversy, and observed that all the other stores were crowded with people who were also avoiding Market Basket. Now that the fight is over, Market Basket has won my loyalty.

and you also might be interested in …

AlterNet and DailyKos offer a precise estimate of the danger ISIS terrorists pose to U.S. cities: Zero.

How likely is it that a genuine ISIS cell is hiding in the United States lining up, let’s say, zeppelins of death right now? Very, very, very unlikely. So unlikely that even planning for it would prove we’re the ones who are insane.


So what are the odds that Republicans will eventually join Democrats in backing a carbon tax, which could both fight global warming and replace taxes they hate more? Also zero. Grist‘s Ben Adler is “sorry to burst your bubble“. But Republicans won’t support a carbon tax until they start accepting science, which they show no signs of doing.


Follow up to my comment about Hillary Clinton two weeks ago: Clinton’s tepid response to the Michael Brown shooting and the Ferguson protests hasn’t reassured me about her potential candidacy. It took until Thursday — 18 days after the shooting — for her to say anything, and then her comments had a little something for everybody.

Everybody sympathizes at some level with the Brown family, so Clinton started there: “my heart just broke for his family because losing a child is every parent’s greatest fear and an unimaginable loss.” Like everybody, she wants a “thorough and speedy investigation”. On the violence, she said: “This is what happens when the bonds of trust and respect that hold any community together fray. Nobody wants to see our streets look like a war zone.”

And that’s the problem: She’s criticizing Nobody. Whether you think police over-reacted or that their military response was appropriate in the face of black violence, she’s with you. It’s a tragedy; no one is to blame.

And even in the part of her remarks most sensitive to the black experience, she identified we with whites. OK, she was at a tech conference and the audience was probably pretty pale, but still:

Imagine what we would feel, what we would do if white drivers were three times as likely to be searched by police at a traffic stop as black drivers, instead of the other way around. If white offenders received prison sentences 10 percent longer … if a third of all white men — look at this room, take one third — went to prison during their lifetime. Imagine that.

Here’s what I’m imagining: A Democratic candidate who promotes Democratic ideals. One big advantage Republicans have had the last few decades is that in every election, their candidates tell the voters why they should embrace the conservative worldview. Democratic candidates typically “move to the center”, with the result that many voters never hear an empassioned liberal message.

I take Elizabeth Warren seriously when she says she won’t run and supports Clinton. Bernie Sanders is thinking about running. I love Bernie, but truthfully, I hope someone younger and cooler will carry the progressive flag.


This graph summarizes Pew Research polls about the views of members of various religious groups. It reminds me why I’m a Unitarian Universalist. Can the Anglicans really be that economically conservative? And the UCC, where Jeremiah Wright preaches?

We need a word for …

the sense of frustration you feel when you can’t join a boycott, because you never use that product anyway. Burger King is buying Tim Horton’s so that it can become a Canadian company and stop paying U. S. taxes. Good luck selling burgers to all those Canadian tourists, because patriotic Americans should stop buying them. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown suggests two alternatives:

Burger King’s decision to abandon the United States means consumers should turn to Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers or White Castle sliders. Burger King has always said ‘Have it Your Way’; well my way is to support two Ohio companies that haven’t abandoned their country or customers.

Unfortunately, the loss of my business is not going to do BK much damage.

Let’s close with some feminism in an unexpected place

Namely, country and western music. Maddie and Tae want guys to know what it’s like to be “The Girl in the Country Song”, so they made a role-reversing video.

And Kira Isabella gets serious about date rape in “Quarterback“.

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Comments

  • Carol Wheeler  On September 1, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    You are so right about Hillary Clinton, and about Democratic candidates moving to the right–I believe that really is why they lose. But of course if they say good, progressive things, and then do nothing to promote them when they’re elected, that also is bad, and tends to rub off on future Democratic candidates.

  • Kim Cooper  On September 1, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    I don’t think Bernie Sanders would pull a “Nader” and spoil the election: I think what he is hoping to do is to pull the discussion (and,hopefully, the actions) back toward the left.

  • fredxr2d2  On September 2, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    About Burger King:

    Tax and business planning attorney Paul Gilman of Chicago-based law firm Aronberg Goldgehn Davis & Garmisa expects that Burger King’s U.S. tax rate won’t change much “because they derive most of their income from franchisees, and (those in the U.S.) are still going to be subject to tax,” he said.

    from http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/08/26/burger-king-tim-hortons-merge/14608907/?utm_content=buffer5d81f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    So moving to Canada to avoid the tax rate doesn’t seem to be the right explanation, though I can understand the confusion with so many other companies doing the same thing.

    All that said, I rarely eat at Burger King and haven’t for some time.

  • Richard Wood  On September 5, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    Doug, if you decide the “strategic withdrawal from the race for the U.S. Senate seat in Kansas” is gonna get a mention in your next piece, you should read Michael Dorf’s take on it (although I suspect Dorf on Law is already on your reading list). Here: http://www.dorfonlaw.org/2014/09/true-but-trivial-equivalence-of.html

    • weeklysift  On September 6, 2014 at 7:41 am

      Thanks. I was going to mention Kansas. I’ll look at Dorf’s take first.

Trackbacks

  • By Waves | The Weekly Sift on September 8, 2014 at 11:17 am

    […] Fix” blog disagrees with my assessment of Hillary Clinton’s statement on Ferguson (from last week), finding it “surprisingly bold” and “among the most […]

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