The Monday Morning Teaser

The Sift is going to run a little long this week, because there are two featured articles, plus a lot of news to discuss.

The first article “Who’s Right About Food Stamps?” should be out shortly. It arises from my general frustration over the quality of the public conversation about the House’s attempt to cut $39 billion from the SNAP program in the next decade. Fox News anointed a California surfer bum “the new face of Food Stamps” and talked about lottery winners, while liberal commentators focused on starving kids. I realize details are boring, but couldn’t we talk just a little about what the House bill actually changes and where that $39 billion comes from?

The second article follows up on a short note from last week. I linked to Amanda Marcotte’s article on AlterNet about how the media and the general public should pay more attention to the crazy things right-wingers say, because often it’s not just one guy spouting off. There’s a whole subterranean layer of crazy over there, and we shouldn’t let pundits and politicians play to that craziness without paying a price.

My interpretation was not that the Sift should cover more right-wing trolling like Rush Limbaugh or Ted Cruz; frequently they’re just looking for attention and glorying in the left-wing outrage they provoke. But ten days ago a professor at Patrick Henry College (an institution you should know more about) gave the annual Faith and Reason lecture. A few other bloggers have covered the outrageous sound bites from that speech, but I think the speech-as-a-whole gives a lot of insight into the psychology of the Religious Right, particularly how their lack of self-awareness reveals itself in criticisms of others that apply better to themselves. That article “Pots, Kettles, and the Projections of the Religious Right” will be out later this morning.

And finally, the weekly summary: The battle over ObamaCare is heading towards a government shutdown. We had another mass shooting that raises all the gun issues again. And the Syria peace process keeps moving forward in spite of the near-universal opposition of the pundit class. How will they survive without a war to cover?

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