It’s been a busy week for news. The Chris Christie Bridgegate scandal broke open. The polar vortex came and went. An al-Qaeda-linked group claimed control of Fallujah, a town that was a memorable Iraq-War battlefield for American troops; in this country that news pulled the scab off arguments that had been quiet since the last American combat troops left Iraq: What did Bush’s whole Iraq excursion accomplish? Or did Obama screw up Bush’s accomplishments by pulling out too soon?
Wednesday was the 50th anniversary of another war: President Johnson’s War on Poverty. That touched off a similar debate: Was the War on Poverty an example of misguided liberal over-reach? Or was it working until conservatives managed to sabotage it? What about poverty today? And what about growing inequality, which is pushing the lower middle class towards poverty?
At least one pundit claimed that the most important news of the week was something boring that nobody was paying much attention to: Inflation in the healthcare market slipped below the overall inflation rate for the first time since … well, maybe ever. If healthcare inflation starts behaving itself, then those scary exponential-growth-in-government-spending graphs go away.
With all that to discuss, most of this week’s Sift is devoted to the weekly summary. I did split off one short article to connect two stories related to atheism: A Christian pastor announced his intention to live 2014 as if there were no God and blog about the results; he got results much faster than he expected. And an atheist blogger tried to raise funds for charity and discovered nobody wanted his money; his attempt to do a good deed got him and his readers compared to the KKK and denounced as a “hate group”. The lesson I draw is that prejudice against atheists is alive and well. Christians who imagine they’re being discriminated against really have no idea what atheists go through.
The atheist article should be out in the next hour or so, and the weekly summary before noon.