Two Beautiful People Wed

Aug 29 2014 @ 12:02pm
by Dish Staff

As the magazines by the supermarket checkout would have told you soon enough, Brangelina just made things official. Brandon Ambrosino notes the same-sex marriage connection to these opposite-sex nuptials:

In 2006, Pitt said he and Jolie would not tie the knot until marriage was allowed for both LGBT and non-LGBT Americans. When DOMA was struck down on June 26, gossip swirled that the power couple would soon begin planning their wedding. … Some opponents of marriage equality argue that same-sex marriage will undermine the integrity of marriage in society overall. But for Brangelina and Krax, marriage equality did just the opposite: for them, gay marriage made them want to enter into a “traditional” marriage.

Brian Moylan, however, accuses Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie of not waiting long enough:

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by Dish Staff


Jason Karaian and Heather Timmons bring us up to speed on the latest developments in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine:

On the ground, Ukraine troops in the southeastern city of Novoazovsk told Vice News that they’re not getting the support they need to repel invading fighters. Russia Today released a video of a separatist flag being raised over a Novoazovsk state building. And Ukraine’s security council distributed a video of what it said was a Russian tank in Novoazovsk[.]

Overnight, Russian president Vladimir Putin issued an appeal to the separatist groups to create a “humanitarian corridor” in order to allow besieged Ukrainian troops to return “to their mothers, wives and children.” But in addressing the rebels as the “Novorossiya militia,” he employed a provocative Czarist era term that implies Russian ownership of a big chunk of modern-day Ukraine. A separatist leader said that his forces would grant safe passage for Ukrainian troops to flee the fighting, on the condition that they left all of their weapons behind.

Max Fisher is perturbed by Putin’s use of the term “Novorossiya” or “New Russia”:

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So Random

Aug 29 2014 @ 11:18am
by Phoebe Maltz Bovy

Jesse Singal laments the decline of the traditional college roommate experience, in which you’re paired with a random classmate:

It’s unlikely a circa-2014 college freshman will ever have to go more than a few hours without having a chance to communicate with distant loved ones. All of which only makes the rando roommate more important.

Just ask Bruce Sacerdote, a Dartmouth economist and one of the leading researchers into the effects college roommates have on each other. Sacerdote is a fan of random roommate assignment. Partially, that’s because it’s exactly the sort of event just about all social scientists love: a predictably timed injection of randomness. In what other situation could a researcher — ethically, at least — say, “Hey, let’s see what happens when you have a white Midwesterner live in close quarters with a Vietnamese immigrant for a year!” Since colleges have loads of data about who kids were before they matriculated — and since it’s easy to keep track of them in the years that follow — random roommate assignment is a unique opportunity to study how humans influence one another.

Singal goes on to cite research showing how beneficial roommates-of-difference can be:

According to Sacerdote, research shows that rooming with someone from a lower socioeconomic class “impacts your attitudes about financial aid, about redistribution,” leading to greater support for policies that help close the wealth game. It’s easy to see why: Rich kids tend to come from rich towns, and as a result don’t have much of a sense of what it means to struggle economically. But if you live with someone who is living financial aid check to financial aid check, things will (hopefully) snap into perspective pretty quickly.

This is well and good, until you consider how it goes for the learning-experience-providing roommate.

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The President And The Fashion Police

Aug 29 2014 @ 10:55am
by Dish Staff

Obama wore a tan suit to a big press conference. Was it a fashion don’t or the height of chic? Danielle Kurtzleben rounds up a bunch of tweets fashion-shaming the President, under a headline deeming the controversy “a promising sign of gender equality.” An example Kurtzleben cites:

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“No. No. No.” Ctd

Aug 29 2014 @ 10:29am
by Dish Staff

A reader writes:

I felt a slow-creeping horror building in the pit of my stomach when I read your reader’s incredibly brave essay “No. No. No.” It wasn’t the same visceral horror the men who wrote to you felt, though I’m grateful the piece could shed some light for them. Instead, my horror came from the fact that all I could summon up from this harrowing story of trauma was a dull, familiar ache.

I know this story.

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A Sand Wedge Issue, Ctd

Aug 29 2014 @ 10:02am
by Dish Staff


The public isn’t buying criticism of Obama’s golf habit, but as usual, there’s a distinct partisan split:

The opinions of Republicans, who mostly think Obama plays too much golf, and independents, who are split on the question, look a bit more like the current president’s favorability numbers when his name is mentioned. However, compared to the 87% of Republicans in the survey who have an unfavourable opinion of Obama, the 55% who say he plays too much golf could seem small. Among all the respondents who have overall negative opinions about President Obama, only half go on to say he plays “too much” golf, revealing a significant number of Americans who are otherwise unhappy with the president, but unprepared to extend their opprobrium to his golf habit. By contrast, only 4% of those who see the president favorably think he plays too much golf.

Michael Brendan Dougherty joins the chorus rolling their eyes at this line of attack:

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by Dish Staff

A reader adds his two cents to the discussion:

I wouldn’t want my daughter to make her living in porn, but not because I have a moral objection to it. My problem is with the career trajectory. A porn actress’s earning power peaks fairly early on. And after that happens and she wants to get a job outside of the adult industry, that porn history will put a pretty low glass ceiling over her head.

Another has a more philosophical objection:

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The Battle For The Youth Vote

Aug 29 2014 @ 8:57am
by Dish Staff

The Onion is watching it closely:

Libertarian Nick Gillespie – shock – suggests a more libertarian candidate would do the GOP good:

If the economy stays flat or especially rough for younger Americans, or if we’re plunged back into aimless wars without end, all that will make things tougher still for any Democrat in 2016 to easily win the youth vote. Especially if [Clinton] is facing a youthful Republican who is OK with pot legalization and gay marriage, pro-privacy, anti-war, and seems to have a clue on economic policy.

Alan I. Abramowitz shatters Gillespie’s fantasy. He finds that “nominating libertarian candidates would be unlikely to improve the Republican Party’s performance among younger voters because these voters are much more likely to be liberals than libertarians and because the vast majority of those who do hold libertarian views already identify with the Republican Party and vote for Republican candidates”:

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Hollywood Handouts

Aug 29 2014 @ 8:29am
by Dish Staff

California Governor Jerry Brown has approved a bill offering up to $330 million in tax credits to subsidize film and TV production in the state over the next five years. Dennis Saffran blasts a similar program in New York, which costs taxpayers millions and offers little in the way of a return:

Its $420 million price tag makes it the state’s second-largest tax subsidy, trailing only the credit for redevelopment of contaminated “brownfields” (itself a program of dubious merit benefitting a politically favored industry). Both were blasted in a report prepared last year for Cuomo’s tax-reform commission, which recommended cutting the film-credit program by $50 million because “it does not appear to pay for itself.” The report spelled out how lucrative the film credits—which equal at least 30 percent of qualifying production costs—can be to their recipients. The “credit exceeds tax liability many times over,” the report’s authors noted. And because the credit is “refundable”—meaning that the taxpayer is entitled not only to a tax refund but also to a cash payment if the credit exceeds tax liability—the state in fact receives no tax revenue, but rather pays recipients to film here.

These payments go to a tiny sliver of the state’s businesses. The report noted that the “film production credit accounts for 22 percent of the total cost of New York’s business tax credits, but the industry accounts for less than one percent of the state’s employment.”

The Dish last took a look at film and TV production credits back in February, when the producers of House of Cards tried to shake down Maryland for a bigger tax break.

Chart Of The Day

Aug 29 2014 @ 8:02am
by Dish Staff

Swear Words

Swearing may be getting more common:

Kristin Jay, a psychologist at Marist College who’s collected data on public swearing says that, on the whole, it seems to be getting somewhat more common. Recently, she and her husband Timothy Jay asked a group of American adults to rigorously record every time they heard a swear word in public for an entire year. When they compared their data to a similar study conducted in 1986, they found that the frequency of most words had increased over time.

In an interview, Jay cautioned from reading too deeply into the findings — especially on the individual word level — because the volunteers might not have perfectly recorded every curse they heard, and the subjects weren’t spread out across the country (they were clustered in New England and Southern California). That said, Jay notes one possible reason that swearing may be on the upswing. “We see changing speech standards in the media we consume,” she says. “The media we used to consume were much more sanitized, and we had fewer things to choose from and less control over what we exposed ourselves to.”