The Monday Morning Teaser

Welcome to the hundreds of new Weekly Sift subscribers. The Sift works like this: All posts come out on Mondays. First thing Monday morning, a teaser appears. It’s chatty and previews what I plan to post. Throughout the morning, one or more featured articles come out, and finally the weekly summary with a lot of short notes and links. I try to keep the total word count of all posts (other than the Teaser) down to 3,500. I usually overshoot, but it’s seldom much over 4,000.

It’s been a wild week at the Sift. Last week’s featured article “Not a Tea Party, a Confederate Party” had the hottest first week in Weekly Sift history. It already has the Sift’s third-highest total pageview count at (currently) a little over 60,000. It’s still viral, with almost 7K hits yesterday. If you were considering sharing it on Facebook, discussing it on your blog, or voting it up on Reddit, I hope you do.

For the first time ever I shut down comments on a post, for two reasons: (1) By Saturday, I couldn’t both keep up with the comments and write this week’s Sift, and (2) commenters were starting to get nasty with each other. I also deleted a non-spam comment for the first time, because its only content was a crude insult against another commenter. I need to rethink my policy, so that I do stuff like this in a coherent way. I want comments, and I have a high tolerance for comments that disagree with my posts, but I also want commenters to feel comfortable and safe. Feel free to make suggestions below.

Anyway, that was last week. This week’s featured post should come out around 10 (EDT). I’m calling it “The Ferguson Test” and discussing how the events in Ferguson give us all a chance to observe the unconscious racism in our reactions. Our conscious opinions about race are one thing, but the way our pre-conscious mental processes frame a racially charged situation is something else.

In the weekly summary (probably around noon; these estimates are never exact) I’ll link to a lot of stuff other people wrote about Ferguson and the week’s other big story, the death of Robin Williams. Hillary Clinton’s attempts to separate herself from the Obama administration’s foreign policy have got me thinking about 2016, which I’ve been trying not to do. In particular: I’m a liberal Democrat, so do I want Clinton to face only token opposition in the primaries, leaving her well set up for a Democratic victory in the general election? Or do I want a strong candidate promoting a more liberal agenda and forcing Clinton left, even if that increases the chances of a Republican win? Or is that the wrong way to look at it?

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  • David Lance  On August 18, 2014 at 8:53 am

    I hope you begin connecting some of the dots you have been documenting. Not everyone in the Tea Party carries a misspelled sign. These guys depend upon you underestimating them. Stop thinking they are all named Bubba. Take Ferguson, for example. What a ponderous coincidence that the kid they executed was caught on video tape only moments before he was gunned down, robbing a convenience store. A digital confederate party, with private messaging and think tanks. And this time in the heartland! Nice touch. Why, I can almost hear the good American folks all across the land, queuing up for ammo and debating whether they’ll take their voting advice from Rush or Fox. Wonder why these riot events occur every year, about the same time, and with a similar set of ambiguous circumstances. I guess the GOP is just lucky. Sort of like how building 7 just fell straight down, and didn’t wreck any of the Audi’s parked out front. Plain ole dumb luck. I wish there was some kind of fourth estate that digs deep into stories like this. Maybe someday…

  • Carol Wheeler  On August 18, 2014 at 9:03 am

    I totally agree with David Lance except that “these events” seem to happen more than once a year, sadly. And it’s funny how looting is the only event that really riles up these people–dead black men don’t really get their attention.

    As to Hillary, I’d like us all to vote for a third party candidate like Jill Stein (last time on the Green Party). Of course it couldn’t win, but it sure would send a message in probably the only way this awful Democratic Party could hear it–at the ballot box nationally–and all of us on the coasts could probably do it without electing someone even worse.

  • SamuraiArtGuy  On August 18, 2014 at 11:46 am

    “In particular: I’m a liberal Democrat, so do I want Clinton to face only token opposition in the primaries, leaving her well set up for a Democratic victory in the general election? Or do I want a strong candidate promoting a more liberal agenda and forcing Clinton left, even if that increases the chances of a Republican win? Or is that the wrong way to look at it?”

    I am not entirely sure, but I am sure of this, there is precious little depth on the “Varsity Bench” on the Democratic side. The only person with any heft seems to be Elizabeth Warren. But she’s a freshman senator and would be INSANE to run till she’s got a little more seniority. I do know that I have lost much faith in the Democratic party of late and the only thing matching the obstructionism and destructiveness of the GOP is the political cowardice, clueness-ness and utter lack of spine in the current Democratic ranks.

    I have recently moved to West Virgina form the NYC suburbs and have every expectation to re-register as an Independent despite my Liberal leanings. It’s become painfully obvious to me that both parties are utterly owned by and serve the Corporations and monied elites that finance their campaigns and hardly pretend to serve the American people or the Nation, much less take any responsible attitude as a world player.

    And apparently I am not alone in my disillusionment. with the Party. Joe Piscopo recently put up an opinion piece in the Washington Times with his own disaffection.

    “I was a Democrat because I believed in civil rights, like Lyndon Johnson. I was a Democrat because while it was clear to me that the Republican politicians were out of touch and cared for only the upper class, Democrats like Franklin Roosevelt cared for the masses and helping the working man. I was a Democrat because I believed in a strong defense and opposed communism, like John F. Kennedy. And I was a Democrat because I loved the fact that Kennedy understood we needed lower marginal tax rates.

    “By and large, none of these values are represented in the Democratic Party today. From where I’m standing, the party has largely abandoned its commitment to civil rights and instead allows race-baiters to be national power brokers. As spokesman for the Boys and Girls Clubs of New Jersey, I am hurt that there is not one Democrat in Washington who cares enough about the great inner cities of this country to help those in dire distress from poverty and crime. These cities are in worse shape than those countries from which all those illegal “children” crossing our borders daily are coming.” -Joe Piscopo

  • Alan Miles  On August 24, 2014 at 1:51 am

    “Not a Tea Party; A Confederate Party” was the smartest, most thoughtful essay I’ve read in ages and it has given me so very much to ponder. Thank you.

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