The Best Of The Dish Today

Nov 26 2014 @ 9:15pm

As bad as your wintry travels might get this Thanksgiving, be grateful you’re not these guys:

What you’re seeing:

A UTair flight froze to the ground at Igarka airport in Siberia on Tuesday, and passengers had to get out and push the 30-ton aircraft to get it moving again. One of the men in the video is heard saying: “Real men can plant a tree, build a house, and push a plane,” according to the Siberian Times. The temperatures in the region above the Arctic Circle hit below 52C, and the brakes froze because they used the wrong kind of grease.

We’re staying in by ourselves. It’s cocoon weather.

Today FTW: the surprisingly good politics (so far) of Obama’s executive action on immigration; why “last year was an all-time low for killings of police and a 20-year high for killings by police“; the cosmetic “make-up trajectory” of women; and the meaning of our tatted, inked body culture.

The most popular post of the day was What To Make Of Ferguson? Next up: Will Michael Brown’s Death Be A Turning Point?

Many of this week’s posts were updated with your emails – read them all here. You can always leave your unfiltered comments at our Facebook page and @sullydish. 22 more readers became subscribers today. You can join them here – and get access to all the readons and Deep Dish – for a little as $1.99 month. Gift subscriptions are available here. Dish t-shirts are for sale here and our new mugs here. A final email for the day:

Consider this a dispatch from deep in Blue America (I live in the most Democratic precinct in Portland, Oregon). I often chafe at your analysis of the lefty mind and currents in lefty thinking, but I totally agree with the thrust of the thread on Chuck Schumer’s revisionist history and magical thinking.

There was something about the election of Barack Obama that defied reason – and I mean literally. Both sides imagined he was somehow all-powerful. We know the ways in which the right reacted, but the left was just as crazy. The view that Obama somehow squandered an opportunity to remake the country as Sweden is not only universal, it has hardened into rancid resentment. I think it may well explain the midterms; after the unreasonable hopes of 2008, everything looks like desolation. Liberals around here don’t talk about politics anymore – less than any time in my adult life (I’m 46). They voted, but bitterly.

So many liberals look backward and see nothing but coulda-beens. It takes an ignorance of history combined with a lack of sophistication about the political process to see this man as anything but one of the most significant forces for liberalism in US history. And yet now, when we should be flush with excitement and optimism, liberals know only dissipation.

In one key way, the GOP should take pride in this. Their strategy of governing nihilism has indeed had a massive effect. That even a Senator who was in Congress at the time misremembers this history is evidence of how bad things are among the Dem base. It’s been a weird six years.

See you in the morning – and Happy Thanksgiving from all of us.

These advice columns are becoming a genre unto themselves. The stock villain: crazy right-wing uncle, the jokes about stuffing. But I recognize them by what they unwittingly emulate: guides for religious evangelism. The gentle, righteous self-regard, the slightly orthogonal response guides, the implied urgency to cure your loved ones of their ignorance. Your raging uncle will know the truth, and the truth will set him free.

That’s a problem. Our politics are taking on a religious shape. Increasingly we allow politics to form our moral identity and self-conception. We surround ourselves with an invisible community of the “elect” who share our convictions, and convince ourselves that even our closest and beloved relatives are not only wrong, but enemies of goodness itself. And so one of the best, least religious holidays in the calendar becomes a chance to deliver your uncle up as a sinner in the hands of an angry niece.

I’m as guilty of this as anyone.

Read On

A Poem For Wednesday

Nov 26 2014 @ 8:09pm


“Poem of Thanks” by Sharon Olds:

Years later, long single,
I want to turn to his departed back,
and say, What gifts we had of each other!
What pleasure—confiding, open-eyed,
fainting with what we were allowed to stay up
late doing. And you couldn’t say,
could you, that the touch you had from me
was other than the touch of one
who could love for life—whether we were suited
or not—for life, like a sentence. And now that I
consider, the touch that I had from you
became not the touch of the long view, but like the
tolerant willingness of one
who is passing through. Colleague of sand
by moonlight—and by beach noonlight, once,
and of straw, salt bale in a barn, and mulch
inside a garden, between the rows—once—
partner of up against the wall in that tiny
bathroom with the lock that fluttered like a chrome
butterfly beside us, hip-height, the familiar
of our innocence, which was the ignorance
of what would be asked, what was required,
thank you for every hour. And I
accept your thanks, as if it were
a gift of yours, to give them—let’s part
equals, as we were in every bed, pure
equals of the earth.

(From Stag’s Leap: Poems by Sharon Olds © 2012 by Sharon Olds. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. Photo by Ahmed Mahin Fayaz)


You could do a lot worse than this Facebook post by Benjamin Watson. If you think we are becoming incapable of nuance and balance in our public debate – and I do – then this piece is a reason to hope.

(Photo: A protester in Ferguson waves a black-and-white modified US flag during a march following the grand jury decision on November 24, 2014. By Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

Yglesias Award Nominee II

Nov 26 2014 @ 7:06pm

“What is the point of this bill? Does this bill not in fact play into the hands of those who seek to slander us? Into the very hands of those who wish to show that even among us, there are those who see contradiction between our being a free people in our land, and the freedoms of the non-Jewish communities in our midst? The declaration of independence, in its depth and greatness, bound together two components of the state as Jewish and democratic, democratic and Jewish,” – Israeli president Reuven Rivlin, a Likudnik who has become the country’s conscience in its rush to becoming an apartheid state.

Rape By Fraud?

Nov 26 2014 @ 5:56pm

New Jersey state Assemblyman Troy Singleton is proposing a law that would make it illegal to lie to a prospective sexual partner in order to get them in bed. The bill – which is unlikely to pass – defines “sexual assault by fraud” as “an act of sexual penetration to which a person has given consent because the actor has misrepresented the purpose of the act or has represented he is someone he is not”. Elizabeth Nolan Brown loses it:

No no no just no: we do not need a legal remedy for people having bad judgement. Is it a shame that some people misrepresent themselves to get people to sleep with them? Sure. But not every aspect of social and sexual relationships can be a matter for government concern. What’s next, making it a misdemeanor to use outdated photos on your Tinder profile? Criminalizing push-up bras? Throwing people in jail who say they’ll call the next day but don’t?

The situation Singleton says spawned his proposal involves Mischele Lewis, a woman defrauded by a man claiming to be a British military official. The pair had sex and Lewis also paid the man, William Allen Jordan, $5,000 for an alleged security clearance. When Jordan turned out to be a scam artist, Lewis pressed charges and he wound up pleading guilty to defrauding her. Justice served, right? Not in the warped worldview of New Jersey prosecutors, who apparently can’t stand the idea that some areas of interpersonal dynamics aren’t within their prosecutorial reach.

This is too much even for Amanda Marcotte:

Read On

Maxing Out Our Airports

Nov 26 2014 @ 5:19pm

Traveling for thanksgiving

Adam Minter predicts Thanksgiving-type travel days year-round in coming years:

[E]ven with billions worth of improvements in the pipeline, the picture for travelers remains bleak. Of the 30 busiest U.S. airports (accounting for 70 percent of total U.S. passenger flow), 13 already feel like the day before Thanksgiving one day a week on average. Three airports — Midway, Las Vegas McCarran, and Orlando International — suffer those levels of congestion twice a week. Worse yet, the capacity improvements that are currently slated won’t help much. Within six years, the study notes, 27 of the 30 busiest airports will be Thanksgiving-busy at least once a week.

That this state of affairs is unnatural should be apparent to anyone who flies outside the U.S. even occasionally. In 2011, the World Economic Forum ranked U.S. aviation infrastructure 32nd in the world — behind Malaysia (an assessment that, in my personal experience, remains accurate). This is both embarrassing and somewhat predictable. Developing countries such as Malaysia strongly subsidize airports and airlines, viewing them as important marketing opportunities and first-impression makers.

Clive Irving hates how airlines jam so many seats into coach:

Read On

Face Of The Day

Nov 26 2014 @ 5:00pm

Pope Francis Attends His Weekly Audience In St Peter's Square

Pope Francis attends his weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square on November 26, 2014. During today’s General Audience, Francis told pilgrims the Church is on a continuing journey towards heaven. By Franco Origlia/Getty Images.

Yglesias Award Nominee

Nov 26 2014 @ 4:42pm

“I cannot shake the image of “Jackie” being serially raped on a broken glass table by a fraternity gang a few hundred yards from my office at UVA, perhaps by men who have taken a class by me, especially knowing that her rapists have paid no legal or educational price for their heinous deeds. My own sense of horror and outrage is only deepened by what I found out yesterday: In my Sociology of the Family class, in an anonymous survey, seven of the 103 female students that I am teaching reported that they had been “forced into a sexual act against [their] will,” and an additional 33 of these students reported that a “UVA friend” has experienced such a violation. So, in one large class at the University of Virginia, fully 39 percent of the female students report having been directly affected by forcible sexual assault. To be sure, there are important debates about the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses, but UVA’s experience indicates that there are more cases of campus rape than many might expect,” – W. Bradford Wilcox, NRO, in a piece called “The Right And Campus Rape”.

Mental Health Break

Nov 26 2014 @ 4:20pm

We’ll be seeing a lot more reporter bloopers after Cato descends today: