Orders are starting to pour in for our new t-shirts and polos, both detailed here. One happy customer writes:

Finally, Andrew, finally. I can now claim my Dishness loud and proud wandering around Denver. Order placed! This little experiment of yours is the best chance to save journalism. Hope more swag is on the way.

It is. Another owner of a new shirt:

I bought one despite my frequent disagreements with you. Good luck with the retail endeavor.


Boom! Just ordered a blue women’s t-shirt. Just in time, too, before I move abroad!


Another doubled-down:

God help me I just bought two. Will I get hit on by bears if I wear these? If so I’ll order more …


WooHoo! Finally, I just purchased a baby blue t-shirt and I love the simple design. I can’t wait to see how it fits – I’m particular with the fit of t-shirts since most are too short after one washing. If all goes good I am getting the gray one also.

The high-quality tri-blend fabric is designed not to shrink. Another reader:

Sweet. Earlier this week, my subscription to the Dish auto-renewed and I missed the chance to up my contribution for the year like I had intended. Now ordering a polo gives me a chance to make up for it.

And just as our gift subscriptions are great for birthdays, a Dish shirt for your friend or family member could be as well. Or you could wait a little, like this reader:

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 8.02.53 AMThe new T-shirts look great! I have to say, the resemblance between the Howler T and my cousin’s beagle upon finding me in their guest bedroom/basement/his territory is uncanny. I think I know what my cousin is getting for Christmas.


I’d like to lodge an official protest. Where are the slogans we voted on? Nothing on the back? Now, mind you, this didn’t stop me from buying one. But if you later come out with slogan t-shirts I’m going to be pissed!

We are definitely keeping the slogans in mind for other merch, such as mugs and totes, but there wasn’t enough demand for individual slogans to use them for the screen-printed bulk ordering process we’re doing for these shirts, in order to keep costs down. Another reader suggests for the “next round: please also do long-sleeve versions for chilly Portland.” Duly noted. One more:

As a big fan from the New Republic-then-blog-tip-jar days, how could I resist these shirts? Plus I’m DOG PEOPLE from way back. I got me a Howler and a navy polo and look forward to people asking what they’re about. Apropos of which: why don’t you get your current intern or Special Teams to work up a simple one-page promo “flyer” or some such, that us hardcore fans could give to curious fellow truth-or-whatever seekers? In my life and work I interact with a lot of potential Dish readers, mostly smart and curious like your base readership. Just suggestin’.

P.S. I’m not much in the looks department, but when I get shirts I’ll take a picture with my darling little bitches: Two Tibetan terriers (mostly – they’re mutts) about 18 months old. Beagles aren’t the ONLY game in town.

Definitely send some pics our way. And as far as a one-page promo “flyer”, this page describing the shirts in detail and illustrating them with photos might do the trick. And if you’re interested in a shirt but haven’t bought one yet, don’t delay – go here now! We’re about to print our first big order of shirts, so act now to get yours in the first shipment.

Thanks to all our merch customers for supporting the Dish. And a big shout-out to Jerzy Shustin and everyone else at BustedTees who set up our storefront and helped shepherd us through this often bewildering process. Jerzy is actually a long-time Dishhead and wrote to us when we first started talking about doing t-shirts, asking if we needed any help. So like most things on the Dish, you readers are integral to its success.

The answer – finally – appears to be yes:

Although the European Union agreed last week to consider sanctions against Russia’s energy, defense, and financial industries, it was unclear how far they would go. It’s still uncertain how broad the sanctions will be, but the call on Monday indicated a change of tone from last week, when EU politicians were trading barbs over whether Britain or France was more reliant on Moscow’s money.

The EU will likely restrict each industry slightly, rather than imposing a full ban — such as an arms embargo. That approach would help address the fundamental problem of different EU countries relying more on Russian business in different industries.

Yglesias is excited:

After a five-way conference call between the leaders of Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Italy the European Union seems ready to outline tough new sanctions on Russia. Not just the shooting down of MH 17, but Russia’s total lack of remorse or post-shootdown restrain appears to have been a game-changer in terms of German politics and that’s been enough to swing the situation around. The sanctions package is looking very similar to ideas outlined last week in a memo obtained by the Financial Times. The new package belies the notion of a “weak” Europe that is refusing to counter Russian aggression.

But Cassidy doesn’t expect the sanctions to amount to much:

Read On

The Shifting Israel Debate

Jul 29 2014 @ 11:58am

Tensions Remain High At Israeli Gaza Border

It’s hard to recall now but Tony Judt was once ostracized and vilified for writing this (among other things):

We can see, in retrospect, that the victory of Israel in June 1967 and its continuing occupation of the territories it conquered then have been the Jewish state’s very own nakba: a moral and political catastrophe. Israel’s actions in the West Bank and Gaza have magnified and publicized the country’s shortcomings and displayed them to a watching world. Curfews, checkpoints, bulldozers, public humiliations, home destructions, land seizures, shootings, “targeted assassinations,” the separation fence: All of these routines of occupation and repression were once familiar only to an informed minority of specialists and activists.

Today they can be watched, in real time, by anyone with a computer or a satellite dish – which means that Israel’s behavior is under daily scrutiny by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. The result has been a complete transformation in the international view of Israel. Until very recently the carefully burnished image of an ultra-modern society – built by survivors and pioneers and peopled by peace-loving democrats – still held sway over international opinion. But today? What is the universal shorthand symbol for Israel, reproduced worldwide in thousands of newspaper editorials and political cartoons? The Star of David emblazoned upon a tank.

For these heterodox views, Judt was banished from the New Republic masthead, and targeted by the ADL and American Jewish Committee. He subsequently sighed: “I didn’t think I knew until then just how deep and how uniquely American this obsession with blocking any criticism of Israel is. It is uniquely American. Apparently, the line you take on Israel trumps everything else in life”.

No longer. I doubt Judt would recognize the kind of debate now raging – that so many tried to stop. I offer one example today – Matt Yglesias attributing the lockstep support in Congress for anything Israel does as a function in part of donors whose litmus test is support for Greater Israel. The leaked internal documents of Michelle Nunn’s campaign for the Senate – which show that she has to adopt a maximalist pro-Israel stance if she is to get anywhere with Jewish donors – is the latest proof. Money quote:

Jewish donors are very important to Democratic Party finances, some of these donors have strongly held hawkish views on Israel, and the financial clout of AIPAC is the stuff of legend. At the same time, talk of rich Jews throwing their financial muscle around to influence policy in favor of Israel touches far too many anti-semitic tropes to be regularly mentioned in political discourse. But the concrete world of political fundraising doesn’t leave a ton of time for beating around the bush, so we get a little window here into how it looks to the finance people: if Nunn wants to maximize her donations, she needs to take the right stance.

Note the core point: not so long ago, anyone saying that Jewish donor money made an even-handed approach to Israel-Palestine a pretty dead letter would be deemed ipso facto an anti-Semite.

Read On

Eating Man’s Best Friend

Jul 29 2014 @ 11:43am

John D. Sutter doesn’t understand why we don’t eat dogs:

The United States euthanizes 1.2 million dogs per year, according to the ASPCA. Would 6741960599_a1e9c58d64_zeating them be so different? It actually could be seen as helpful.

“[U]nlike all farmed meat, which requires the creation and maintenance of animals, dogs are practically begging to be eaten,” Jonathan Safran Foer, a vegetarian and novelist, writes in the book “Eating Animals.” Euthanizing pets, he says, “amounts to millions of pounds of meat now being thrown away every year. The simple disposal of these euthanized dogs is an enormous ecological and economic problem. It would be demented to yank pets from homes. But eating those strays, those runaways, those not-quite-cute-enough-to-take and not-quite-well-behaved-enough-to-keep dogs would be killing a flock of birds with one stone and eating it, too.”

objects to this line of reasoning:

Read On

Does The Safety Net Need Fixing?

Jul 29 2014 @ 11:22am

Jordan Weissmann argues that Paul Ryan’s anti-poverty plan is a solution in search of a problem, and that the safety net as it is has been successful at keeping most Americans out of long-term poverty:

In 2011, according to the Survey of Income and Program Participation, the annual U.S. poverty rate was 14 percent. But only 3.5 percent of Americans were chronically poor, meaning they had been impoverished for three straight years. … One take-away from these numbers is that, yes, chronic poverty is real, and we need to work toward fixing it. But another is that, by and large, most people don’t need a life contract to escape poverty; the existing safety net catches them and helps them back onto their feet.

To his credit, Ryan makes some of these distinctions. The animating idea of his plan is that our approach to poverty should be customized person by person. His plan even distinguishes between the sort of approach the government could take to help a woman facing “situational poverty” versus someone stuck in “generational poverty.” He clearly sees the poor as individuals, which is far better than many politicians. But in order to make custom poverty prevention a reality, he wants to tear down a system that already works fairly well for the majority and has without question diminished material deprivation in this country.

Bouie turns to similar statistics to fire back at Reihan’s defense of the Ryan plan’s inherent paternalism:

Read On

Tunnel Vision

Jul 29 2014 @ 11:02am

Ben Caspit attributes the Israeli public’s willingness to stomach a ground invasion of Gaza to the discovery of Hamas’ network of tunnels leading into southern Israel:

It should be remembered that had Hamas not rejected the Egyptian cease-fire initiative, Israel would not have discovered the scope of this threat, and Hamas would have continued digging and expanding its tunnel network, right until the moment it was deployed.

One senior Cabinet member I spoke with this week described that possibility to me: “Imagine,” he said, “that we are in the middle of a conflict with Hezbollah up north. Our top-notch infantry brigades are up there, in the north, when suddenly Hamas deploys its network of dozens of tunnels all at once. Some 2,000 Hamas commandos suddenly burst out of them and embark on a killing spree, slaughtering thousands of people in the cities and towns across Israel’s south, from Sderot through Ashkelon, Netivot and Ofakim, maybe even all the way to Beersheba.

Read On

Tweet Of The Day

Jul 29 2014 @ 10:45am

Now I really am scared by the naked bike ride. See you there, Grover!

Serhiy Kudelia expects that, if Ukrainian “insurgents are pushed out of big cities, the ongoing asymmetric warfare in Donbas that will be fought largely by conventional means is likely to take the form of an underground guerrilla movement”:

Similar to the PKK in Turkey, ETA in Spain or the IRA in the Northern Ireland, it will rely on sporadic attacks on government and military installations to exhaust the incumbent and damage its governing capacity rather than establish control over a territory. And like Hezbollah in Lebanon or FARC in Colombia, it will rely on outside powers for provision of arms, funds and training. In its new form, guerrilla attacks will likely spill over to other Ukrainian regions, particularly Western Ukraine. According to the latest poll, most Donbas residents (39%) blame radical nationalist organizations for the ongoing conflict, with Western intelligence services being close second (34%).

The path to solving the current conflict in Donbas goes not only through Brussels or Washington, but also through Moscow.

Read On

A reader adds to the other near-death experiences sparked by Sarah Bakewell’s How To Live:

I am 65 years old. In 1958, when I was 9, I suffered a ruptured appendix that was misdiagnosed as flu, so I lay in my bed for a week getting sicker and sicker until I was taken to Lankenau Hospital outside Philadelphia. They treated me with drugs for three days and then operated.

I have a number of memories from the three weeks I spent in the hospital but my near-death experience is still very close to me 55 years later. I, too, have a vivid memory of looking down on myself from up high, the minister at my right hand, and my already grieving parents on my left. I remember seeing a bright light and feeling a great sensation of peace and comfort surrounding me. Then my father kept shaking me. He kept saying “Wake up! Don’t go to sleep!” He pulled me back from that gate or passage I was about to enter.

I also have another vivid memory which I have kept from that time. While I was passing in and out of consciousness I had a dream that has stuck with me.

Read On

Rebecca Traister mulls the lack of big political donors among women:

[M]en have known for generations how to use money to exert influence and buy access, shape policy, and make inroads into the world of electoral politics. Women, by contrast, historically saw money not as a means to expand public power, but to ensure personal or familial security, survival, perhaps a slim chance of independence. There are many phrases for the small caches of money that women stash away: pin money, mad money, the Yiddish word knippel, which means a secret sum of money that a wife siphons off in order to protect herself and her family in case she loses the husband on whom she has had to depend. These phrases existand almost always refer to money used for the literal safety and protection of womenbecause money was so scarce for women, and chances to replenish funds lost on a bad bet or ill-timed investment were non-existent.

It’s not crazy that, in a contemporary context, throwing money at politicians and policy-makers would still be an easier, looser, more practiced move for wealthy men than it would be for even wealthy women, who we like to think of as having clambered over all the gendered obstacles of the past, but whowith 95 percent of CEOs still maleremain a very small exception to very long-standing male rule.