The Best Of The Dish Today

Oct 23 2014 @ 9:30pm

For late-breaking Dish coverage of the first confirmed case of Ebola in New York, follow the updates compiled by Bodenner below. For continued coverage of Gamergate, here’s some perspective from Christina Hoff Sommers:

God, I love Christina. More on why I find myself increasingly on the side of the much-despised gamers tomorrow.

Meanwhile, more absurdity from Amanda Taub over yesterday’s shooting spree in Ottawa:

Reports imply that because Zehaf-Bibeau was Muslim, jihad is the likely motivation for his attack. But at this stage, without any actual evidence, it makes no more sense to come to that conclusion than it would to assume that he was motivated by Quebecois separatism, just because he was from Quebec. At this point, our focus on the Ottawa shooter’s religion says more about our own fears than it does about anything to do with Islamist terrorism.

A Canadian reader spat out his coffee:

Taub repeatedly refers to him as an (alleged) Muslim even though Canada’s Globe and Mail confirmed his conversion with his Imam, his best friend, his mother and the RCMP within 5 hours of the shooting. Then she implies that there is no real reason to believe in a connection between Islam and the attack even though Canada’s parliament just voted to attack ISIS and two other soldiers were run down by a separate Islamic extremist last week

But the best part, the part that makes this one of the worst articles of the year coming from a credible news source, is when she writes the following about the 1979 shooting at Quebec’s national assembly: “If we applied the same logic to people from Quebec that we apply to Muslims, then today we would see media reports suggesting that their shared Quebecois heritage likely explains this attack.”

Actually, if we applied the same logic to Muslims that we applied to people from Quebec, our prime minister would invoke the War Powers Act, immediately declare martial law in the affected province and round up and arrest any and all suspected sympathizers with the attackers.

Look: it may well turn out Zehaf-Bibeau was mentally ill and Islam got into his muddled head. But he was already on a list as a possible flight risk to ISIS. And the reflexive denial of the salience of a warped version of Islam in countless recent shootings strikes me as pure p.c. posturing. Along with Ezra’s recent capitulation to the “affirmative consent” machine – a few hangings of a few men will suffice for them all to get the message! – the dreary Vox tropes against “Islamophobia” depress the hell out of me. For a saner review of the facts, check out our post here.

Today was Palin day on the Dish! Feels like old times. My response to the right’s jerking knee in defense of the indefensible is here; my fisking of Bristol’s latest self-serving victimology is here. Our Face of the Day was the Canadian Parliament’s Sergeant-at-Arms – don’t miss the video of him getting a standing ovation entering the House of Commons here. It gave me a lump in my throat. And then some.

Plus: our book club discussion of Sam Harris’ negation of the “self” is here (and your collective mind never disappoints) and an exploration of the changing face of nerdom is here (ditto).

dish-beerMany of today’s posts were updated with your emails – read them all here. You can always leave your unfiltered comments at our Facebook page and @sullydish. 26 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, including the new “Know Dope” shirts, which are detailed here.

See you in the morning.

(Photo from a Dish reader at Oktoberfest in Stuttgart)

Patient Four?

Oct 23 2014 @ 8:32pm

[Re-posted and updated from earlier today, at 6.02 pm]

Still a big question mark surrounding a possible case of Ebola in New York is confirmed:

But Mali joins the dreadful club of countries:

New tweets posted below:

After a two-hour meeting between Hong Kong officials and protest leaders made no real progress toward resolving the standoff, the demonstrations continued yesterday, including some 200 protesters marching to the home of the territory’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. Many are reportedly outraged over comments Leung made to the foreign press on Monday insisting that open elections were unacceptable because they could give the poor too much of a voice:

In an interview with a small group of journalists from American and European news media organizations, [Leung's] first with foreign media since the city erupted in demonstrations, he acknowledged that many of the protesters are angry over the lack of social mobility and affordable housing in the city. But he argued that containing populist pressures was an important reason for resisting the protesters’ demands for fully open elections. Instead, he backed Beijing’s position that all candidates to succeed him as chief executive, the top post in the city, must be screened by a “broadly representative” nominating committee appointed by Beijing. That screening, he said, would insulate candidates from popular pressure to create a welfare state, and would allow the city government to follow more business-friendly policies to address economic inequality instead.

Beinart ties this in with the debate over voter ID laws and early voting in the US, arguing that “Leung’s views about the proper relationship between democracy and economic policy represent a more extreme version of the views supported by many in today’s GOP”:

Read On

Can You Be Agnostic And Catholic?

Oct 23 2014 @ 7:32pm

Hoffman-ChristAndTheRichYoungRuler

Concluding a series of conversations with philosophers of religion – many of which we’ve featured on the Dish – Gary Gutting conducts a self-interview, posing and answering the question:

G.G.: How can you be an agnostic and still claim to be a Catholic?

g.g.: Because, despite my agnosticism, I still think it’s worth pursuing the question of whether God exists, and for me the Catholic intellectual and cultural tradition has great value in that pursuit.

G.G.: Still, I don’t see how you can find a place in a church that claims to be the custodian of a divine revelation, when you don’t believe in that revelation.

g.g.: The fundamental revelation is the moral ideal expressed in the biblical account of Christ’s life.

Read On

Amoral Allies In Afghanistan

Oct 23 2014 @ 6:54pm

British MP Rory Stewart reviews Anand Gopal’s No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes, which “demonstrates that the failures of the intervention were worse than even the most cynical believed”. In particular, Stewart praises the insight Gopal brings to just how ethically compromised our alliances with Afghan warlords really were:

His long interviews with warlords, his sympathetic accounts of their youth and sufferings, make their crimes only more convincing and more shocking.

Read On

Chart Of The Day

Oct 23 2014 @ 6:13pm

Pew finds that men and women experience different sorts of online harassment:

Online Harassment

Jake Swearingen sees how “men, on the whole, report higher rates of less severe types of harassment (with the exception of physical threats), while women are more likely to be the focus of the two most frightening forms of it: sexual harassment and stalking.” Elise Hu connects the Pew survey to Gamergate:

The Pew research supports the notion that women are less welcome in the world of online gaming. Survey respondents, who were both men and women, were asked about a series of online platforms — social networks and online commenting forums, for example — and whether they thought those platforms were more welcoming to women, equally welcome to both sexes or more welcoming toward men. The findings show that while most online environments are viewed as equally welcoming, gaming is not. “The starkest results were for online gaming,” the researchers write, where 44 percent of respondents said the platform was more welcoming to men.

But Amanda Hess acknowledges the limits of Pew’s survey:

Pew asked respondents to elaborate on their experiences with harassment, and the resulting collection of anonymous accounts speaks to the difficulty of arriving at a shared definition of what “harassment” even is.

Read On

Will The UK Stay In The EU?

Oct 23 2014 @ 5:48pm

EU Support

Iain Martin nods:

Ipsos Mori shows that support for the EU at its highest level since 1991. YouGov’s EU referendum tracker also gives the status quo a narrow lead by 40 per cent to 39 per cent this month. How can this be when Ukip is running rampant? The truth is that for all the cocky Ukip rhetoric about a people’s army, the party appeals to nothing like a majority.

Alex Massie suspects that “that UKIP, paradoxically, tarnish and hamper their own cause”:

Read On

The Odd Lies Of Bristol Palin

Oct 23 2014 @ 5:10pm

Well, she couldn’t help herself, could she? Maybe Charles Cooke will ask Bristol Palin why she is spilling so much ink on the topic. But today she brings us her deliciously hathetic view of the past couple of months, including her account of the brawl she was in. She might have given just her side of the story. But, of course, she also had to go there didn’t she, with the usual Palinite victimology and press-bashing. So let’s fisk it a little, shall we?

First, the media said Trig was not really my mom’s kid.

Untrue. No mainstream outlet touched the question of her mother’s bizarre account of her last pregnancy, let alone stated that Trig was not her son. And the few of us who merely asked for a simple verification of the alleged improbable facts – including me and the Anchorage Daily News – were vilified by the rest of the press, treated as pariahs, and told to jump off a cliff by the Palins. There must be a mountain of medical records that could easily have verified Palin’s own bizarre “I was only pregnant a month” account of her last pregnancy – including a wild plane ride from Texas to Alaska, with one stop-over, while in labor with a child with Down Syndrome – but none was forthcoming. I begged her to make a fool out of me for merely asking. Instead, she released a reclusive doctor’s letter about her medical history just hours before the polls opened.

I don’t know the truth about this and never claimed I did. But the only reason why any doubt exists at all is because of Palin’s refusal to dispel it (even after the campaign to a news source offering to debunk the conspiracy tales). That’s not on me; it’s on her. And still is.

After a month and a half of hearing rumors about myself and family, I’ve finally decided to comment about the situation. Instead of listening to all the people who weren’t there — people who claim they heard this from their cousin/brother/sister-in-law/step-daughter/long lost little brother – let me tell you what actually happened.

“People who weren’t there?” “Rumors”? We’re talking about a public police report detailing the views of the people, on both sides, in the middle of the melee. Then Bristol gives an account of the incident in which she simply dismisses the eye-witness accounts of all the non-Palins there that she confronted the owner of the house and repeatedly punched him in the face until he finally stopped her. The incident has now become a very disturbing and unprovoked – “scary and awful” – assault on a vulnerable woman whose only crime was acting in self-defense. Which raises the obvious question: if this is true, why on earth did she not press charges? If it’s that serious, she surely should have. Which is why CNN anchors should not be intimidated by the rightwing noise machine.

Then this:

I have mostly stayed out of the public eye for the past few years.

Oookaaay: two appearances on Dancing With The Stars in 2010 and 2012, one of the highest-rated shows in network TV; appearing on the ABC show, My Secret Life As A Teenager, in 2010; appearing on Sarah Palin’s Alaska reality TV show; her own reality-show, Life’s A Tripp, in 2012; and a memoir, Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far, in 2011. Apart from that, she was a fucking recluse.

Read On

John Adams and Alice Goodman’s 1991 opera explores the murder of Leon Klinghoffer, a wheelchair-bound American Jew who was killed during the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro by members of the Palestine Liberation Front. The Metropolitan Opera’ new staging of the play opened on Monday night, but long before the curtain was drawn, the drama had already begun, as the Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish organizations (and some guy named Rudy Giuliani) protested the Met’s decision to stage a show that they claim has anti-Semitic overtones and tries to justify an act of terrorism:

Angry protesters gathered across from the Met on the opening night of the opera season last month; a pair of public talks with members of the “Klinghoffer” creative team were quietly called off; and Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, said that he had received threats related to the production. He recently sent an email to the opera’s cast expressing regret that they had been subject to “Internet harassment” and defending the work from its critics, according to a copy obtained by The New York Times. Many Jewish leaders, including liberals and conservatives, are finding themselves drawn into the debate. The Met’s attempts to calm things by canceling a planned transmission of the opera to movie theaters around the world this fall accomplished little — and may have fueled more criticism. Now “Klinghoffer” threatens to become the Met’s most controversial company premiere since 1907, when Strauss’s “Salome” was deemed outrageous and banned for decades.

Alex Ross, vitally, reveals the hateful illiberalism of the opera’s prime critic:

The most aggressive rhetoric came from Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, a money manager who has also worked as a political operative. A few years ago, Wiesenfeld won notoriety for seeking, unsuccessfully, to deny the playwright Tony Kushner an honorary degree, on account of Kushner’s criticisms of Israel. Wiesenfeld led the “Klinghoffer” rally, and he had much to say. “This is not art,” he thundered. “This is crap. This is detritus. This is garbage.” He declared, as he did at an anti-“Klinghoffer” event last month, that the set should be burned. He made a cryptic joke to the effect that, if something were to happen to Gelb that night, the board of the Met would be the first suspects.

Burning the set?

Read On

Mental Health Break

Oct 23 2014 @ 4:20pm

Whom does an atheist thank after making a game-winning play?