Short Notes

As the debt-ceiling deadline gets closer, the markets are starting to get nervous. As I said three weeks ago, I don’t see how the deal gets done without the motivation of a market panic, so I think we’ll see one.

Eventually this may get resolved by President Obama claiming the power to act on his own, as this NYT op-ed advocates. It’s a scary thought: Democracy becomes so dysfunctional that we need unilateral executive action to avoid default.

Meanwhile, a few conservatives economists are starting to explain to the faithful why the debt ceiling has to be raised. But only the Onion could tell it straight: Congress Continues Debate Over Whether or Not Nation Should Be Economically Ruined.


If you’re planning to lie to a Senate committee, first check whether Al Franken is on it. Focus on the Family’s Tom Minnery didn’t and wishes he had.


A father of daughters explains why women have trouble breaking into the mainstream: It all goes back to dogs and smurfs.


It’s been fascinating to watch the media react to the Norway attacks. They instantly assumed Islamic terrorism. And then when it turned out to be the exact opposite — an Islamophobic nativist — the follow-ups were like “Oh, sorry. We thought it was terrorism.”

So a political extremist kills nearly 100 civilians, including teens at a the summer camp of the Labour Party’s Workers’ Youth League, but it’s not terrorism because he’s a blond Christian rather than a swarthy Muslim. Glenn Greenwald is right: terrorism has become meaningless.


After receiving the proper military and presidential certification that it is not necessary for combat readiness, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell will officially end September 20. I love the advice from the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps: “Get over it. … Let’s be Marines.”


Grist wonders: Could News Corp have hacked the ClimateGate emails?


As all the Murdoch properties circle the wagons to defend against the phone-hacking scandal, it becomes clearer than ever that (in Jay Rosen’s words) “News Corp is not a news company at all, but a global media empire that employs its newspapers – and in the US, Fox News – as a lobbying arm.”

Watch Jon Stewart’s reaction to Fox News’ attempt to paint Murdoch as the victim.


For nearly two years, Republicans have been complaining that half of Americans pay no income tax. (Often they overstate this as “pay no tax“, ignoring the Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes, plus state and local taxes.) Cantor, Bachmann and others have been singing this tune recently.

Nobody remembers: Cutting low-wage families’ income tax to zero or near-zero was one of the talking points for the Bush tax cuts. In his 2003 State of the Union, President Bush promised

A family of four with an income of $40,000 would see their federal income taxes fall from $1,178 to $45 per year.

But conservative rhetoric turns on a dime, and now those families are moochers and deadbeats. People over 55 should remember them when Paul Ryan promises full Medicare benefits. Conservatives promise you something, then vilify you later for taking it.


In case “love thy neighbor” needs clarification.


As the Captain America movie opens, the Mighty God King blog speculates on Steve Rogers’ Depression-era communist upbringing. Underneath that jingoistic costume, the Captain is a liberal. He even provided a Sift quote once.

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  • By “Hear that, Fido?” « The Weekly Sift on July 25, 2011 at 11:05 am

    […] Short notes. If you’re not Muslim, it’s not terrorism. The debt ceiling comes down to the wire. Yesterday’s talking points are today’s deadbeats. The hazards of lying to Al Franken. Dogs and smurfs. And the week’s most interesting question: Did communists raise Captain America? […]

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