Religious freedom turning into passive-aggression

http://weeklysift.com/2013/07/08/religious-freedom-means-christian-passive-aggressive-domination/

To make this work, conservative Christians need to divert attention from the people they are mistreating by portraying themselves as the victims. And that requires cultivating a hyper-sensitivity to any form of involvement in activities they disapprove of. So rather than sympathize with the lesbian couple who gets the bakery door slammed in their faces, the public should instead sympathize with the poor wedding-cake baker whose moral purity is besmirched when the labor of his hands is used in a celebration of immorality and perversion.

~ Doug Muder

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What’s really wrong with Congress?

http://weeklysift.com/2013/04/29/whats-really-wrong-with-congress/

Everybody seems to agree that Congress doesn’t work.

If you’re liberal, you’re appalled that even something like universal background checks for gun purchases (90% public approval!) can’t pass. If you’re conservative, you’re horrified that nothing can be done about the mounting national debt or the projections for exponential growth in entitlement spending.

And even if you care not at all about parties or ideologies, it’s just embarrassing to watch our leaders create one artificial crisis after another. We’re the richest country on the planet, and yet we’re constantly threatening to shut down our government, default on our bonds, mint a trillion-dollar coin, or do some other weird thing that would shame the generalissimo of a banana republic.

Is this any way to run a super power?

~ Doug Muder

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What if there is no spending problem?

http://weeklysift.com/2013/02/25/what-if-theres-no-spending-problem/

Summing up: Liberals and conservatives agree that we have a long-term problem, but they argue about what kind of problem: a government spending problem or a healthcare cost problem.

Recently I ran into a potentially game-changing question: What if there is no problem? In other words, instead of being trapped in the dismal liberal/conservative argument about which apocalypse we’re headed towards, what if we’re actually not headed towards an apocalypse at all?

~ Doug Muder

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The distress of the privileged

http://weeklysift.com/2012/09/10/the-distress-of-the-privileged/

If you are one of the newly-visible others, this all sounds whiny compared to the problems you face every day. It’s tempting to blast through such privileged resistance with anger and insult.

Tempting, but also, I think, a mistake. The privileged are still privileged enough to foment a counter-revolution, if their frustrated sense of entitlement hardens.

So I think it’s worthwhile to spend a minute or two looking at the world from George Parker’s point of view: He’s a good 1950s TV father. He never set out to be the bad guy. He never meant to stifle his wife’s humanity or enforce a dull conformity on his kids. Nobody ever asked him whether the world should be black-and-white; it just was.

~ Doug Muder

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The real American discipline problem

http://weeklysift.com/2013/04/08/mike-rice-sean-hannity-and-the-real-american-discipline-problem/

I agree that America faces a major discipline problem, but I see the lack of discipline at the top: the bankers, the billionaires, the CEOs. Like Mike Rice, they’re out of control and need to face the consequences of their actions.

The Rice video was seen by Rutgers officials months ago, and their response was a wrist-slap: Rice was suspended for three games and told not to do it again. Isn’t that typical of how things go in America?

~ Doug Muder

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What if secretaries became programmers

http://weeklysift.com/2012/05/14/77-cents-part-ii-what-if-secretaries-became-programmers/

But why do women make less? Is it for reasons we can all live with, or is the pay gap an injustice that needs fixing? Several reasons are frequently offered, together with explanations why we can live with those reasons. (Never forget that those are two separate conversations. Even if the whole pay gap could be boiled down to something as simple as “Girls don’t like math”, we’d still need to discuss whether that’s a problem we can or should fix.)

~ Doug Muder

VERY interesting gender/salary math.

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Student debt

http://weeklysift.com/2012/04/02/student-debt-the-new-involuntary-servitude/

Put it all together, and even a student who works part-time and attends a second-rate state university can easily graduate owing over $100,000.

Welcome to the professional class, kid. Just don’t expect to keep any of the money you make. And I almost forgot to mention: We’ve let public transportation go to hell, so you’ll need to buy a car. (Here’s another loan.) We’re letting public schools fail, so if you have kids and want them to stay in the professional class, you’ll need to send them to private schools (Here’s another loan.) And we’re going to toss that national-health-care idea out on its ear, but don’t worry, if you get sick you can put it on your Visa.

~ Doug Muder

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You don’t have a job, you have a hobby

http://weeklysift.com/2012/04/16/rich-people-dont-have-jobs/

That’s the only test that counts. It’s not how hard you work, it’s what happens if you stop. If quitting means real hardship for you or your family, you have a job. If you keep at it even though you could spend the rest of your life skipping rocks at your house by the lake, you have a hobby.

I’ve got nothing against hobbies. The Weekly Sift is a hobby. One way to describe the Marxist vision of Utopia is that we’d all be hobbyists, and the world’s work would get done by people who just wanted the satisfaction of doing it. (That vision even works sometimes: Wikipedia, open source software, and so on.)

~ Doug Muder

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The republic of babel

http://weeklysift.com/2012/03/05/the-republic-of-babel/

But democracies need to be able to talk. I have to know more than just what you want to do or want me to do. I need to understand why you want what you want, and I need to be able to explain why I want something different. We have to be able to discuss the nuances of our hopes and fears and plans — what’s absolutely essential and what isn’t — so that we can cobble together a solution that we can all live with.

~ Doug Muder

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Where the jobs are

http://weeklysift.com/2012/01/30/where-the-jobs-are-and-why/

While America continues to create market-dominating companies like Apple or Google, the number of American jobs they provide doesn’t compare with market-dominating American companies of the past like General Electric or Ford.

The reason why is simple: While much of the design and management happens in America, most of the physical products are manufactured in low-wage economies like China. Those factories that remain in America are highly automated, so that our manufacturing employment plummets even as our manufacturing output continues to rise. America still makes a lot of stuff, it’s just not made by people.

~ Doug Muder

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