Applying Pressure

What I’d like is if news accounts on pressure to intervene in Syria made it clear that the “growing calls … for forceful action” aren’t coming from the people, or Congressional majorities, or an expert consensus. The pressure is being applied by a tiny, insular elite that mostly lives in Washington, D.C., and isn’t bothered by the idea of committing America to military action that most Americans oppose.

— Conor Friedersdorf, “How an Insular Beltway Elite Makes Wars of Choice More Likely
The Atlantic, August 28, 2013

This week everybody was talking about Syria

and so am I. This is one of those rare times when making yourself heard could change history, so say something, and try to get it right. I lay out my own thought process as methodically as I can in Congress Is Listening. What Should You Say?

Some of this week’s Syria talk was amusing, like the Onion’s Poll: Majority Of Americans Approve Of Sending Congress To Syria and Assad Unable To Convince Putin That He Used Chemical Weapons On Syrians.

and the hits just keep coming at the NSA

If you think that little lock icon in your browser is keeping them from watching you, think again. Also, they’re building back doors into software security. Even if you trust the NSA, what if somebody else finds those doors?

and you also might be interested in

All over the world, people tie sneakers together and throw them over wires. And all over the world, people have explanations of what it means.


A couple links to remind you that we’re not anywhere near a “post-racial America” yet. In Charlotte, a church tries to put its best foot forward by making sure that “only white people” greet newcomers at the front door. Meanwhile, a private school in Tulsa sends a little girl home for having dreadlocks.


Have you ever wondered whether those sponsor-a-child programs make any difference? It turns out they do.


50 years after Michael Harrington’s The Other America launched the War on Poverty, poverty is still holding its own.


Grist examines the is-global-warming-slowing-down question. Conclusion: Heat cycles in the Pacific Ocean are slowing the increase in air temperatures, but the planet as a whole is continuing to get hotter.

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Comments

  • SamChevre  On September 12, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Per the linked article on the North Charlotte church, the pastor who sent the “only white greeters, please” email is black, and the church is majority-black.

    That seems to me to be an important detail; I know that several of the churches I have attended have tried to have greeters not be exclusively drawn from the churches most typical members (on both race and age grounds), in the interest of making sure visitors who were in the minority groups felt not just welcomed, but included.

    • weeklysift  On September 14, 2013 at 6:31 am

      I saw that detail, but when I looked into it deeper I decided it was misleading. The pastor who sent the email was black, but very very junior. The faces of the church are the senior pastors, Troy and Penny Maxwell, who are white. No way that policy was thought up by the black woman they had announce it.

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