Hallelujah and other short notes

Daily Kos’ Beverley Woods is calling for “Occupy carols” and gives a few examples. It’s tempting to try to compose some, but nothing is going to top this anti-corporate-personhood version of the Hallelujah Chorus:


Folks who claim that evolution baked selfishness into our animal nature should maybe think again: Even rats have empathy and will display altruism.


Kevin Drum calls attention to some major-league hypocrisy from the Mastercard/Visa monopoly. (Visa and Mastercard are technically separate companies, but they compete only through advertising.)

Background: The Dodd-Frank bill capped the fees that credit-card companies can charge merchants. In response, Visa/Mastercard stopped giving merchants a break on small transactions, with the result that merchants whose business is mainly small items have seen their fees go up instead of down.

The WSJ quotes a Mastercard executive: “There will be some unhappy parties, as there always is when the government gets in the way of the free-market system.” Drum responds:

The sheer gall on display here is just mind-boggling. If card companies were really interested in a free market, they’d remove the clause in their standard contract that prevents merchants from charging higher prices on credit and debit card transactions. Merchants would then be free to pass along swipe fees to their customers or not as they saw fit, and the free market would determine the outcome.

To Mastercard, “freedom” means that it is free to charge whatever it wants, and your local convenience store is free to go out of business if it doesn’t go along.

I say: Starve the beast. Bank at a credit union, find nearby ATMs where you can get cash for free, shop local whenever you can, and pay cash to your local merchants.


The Daily Show’s December 6 show takes on the Fox “War on Christmas” sham. In the opening monologue he describes the fake-outrage campaign against Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee for having a “tree lighting ceremony” rather than a “Christmas tree lighting ceremony”. And in the middle segment he demonstrates what a real declaration of war on Christmas would be like.


What makes Santa unique? Let’s consult a Venn diagram.


Jon Huntsman used to be the grown-up in the room when Republicans discussed science. No more.


Last week’s vocabulary term was news desert. Thursday Tom Stites elaborated in an article at the Nieman Journalism Lab.

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  • By Campaign Update « The Weekly Sift on December 12, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    […] 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. […]

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