For those just tuning in, Fisher does a good job summarizing why Hong Kongers have taken to the streets:

Today, the territory’s chief executive Leung Chun-ying asked Occupy Central to disband the demonstrators, casting the disorder as a threat to public safety, but the protest leaders are demanding a face-to-face meeting with Leung and threatening to occupy government buildings if the demand is not met. Christopher Beam takes the pulse of the protest movement going into this week:

The conventional wisdom after the Sunday night clashes was that the movement had lost momentum. But my conversations with protestors on Monday suggested the opposite. Many of the people I spoke with didn’t come out until after the police cracked down. Henry Wong, 19, a student at Chinese University of Hong Kong, decided to join after seeing a live broadcast of students fighting with police. “I’m here so I can sleep at night,” he told me. Michelle Chan, 18, also said she was galvanized by the use of force: “Police don’t have to be that cruel.” Tony Wong, 24, said he was skipping work to come to the protest. I asked if his boss would be upset. “I can get another job,” he said. “I can’t get another Hong Kong.”

Ishaan Tharoor looks ahead:

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The Case For Microwave Dinners, Ctd

Sep 30 2014 @ 11:17am

Sarah Kliff interviews Sarah Bowen, one of the researchers behind the home-cooking study we covered earlier this month:

SK: Was there anything in doing this research that surprised you?

SB: How much people were cooking. We hear all of the time that Americans have stopped cooking. A lot of the families in our study were cooking every night, especially the poorest families. They couldn’t afford to eat fast food and a lot didn’t have cars. People were cooking a lot and that surprised me a little, because of how much we hear that the opposite is true.

At the same time, they felt they weren’t cooking well enough. They felt like they didn’t have enough money and weren’t able to cook the right way or the way they should be.

Linda Tirado offers some more perspective in an interview we cited earlier:

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How Do You Enforce An Abortion Ban?

Sep 30 2014 @ 10:56am

That has always been the question hovering around abortion politics – and the pro-life forces have often danced around it. My general sense is that doctors would be penalized in some way, while adoption policies would be greatly expanded – because many pro-lifers are against the best defense against abortion there is, contraception. But executing the mother? At first I thought this was a joke of some sort – or had some context I was missing:

And for some reason, this is the treatment Williamson has in mind:

I have always found Williamson – even when I’ve disagreed with him – a stimulating writer. And maybe this sentiment is simply a function of Twitter wars getting out of hand. But it seems to me, as a leading writer for National Review, he needs to articulate how his favored abortion scheme would work with the hanging of sinful women. How would they be found guilty of using Plan B, for example? What kind of police state would be required? And as for hanging, why not stoning? Williamson is, indeed, as he puts it, old-fashioned.

What Are Ted Cruz’s Chances?

Sep 30 2014 @ 10:22am

Yesterday, I wrote, “I expect Cruz to run, and I would not be surprised if he won.” Jonathan Bernstein, on the other hand, gives him the “longest odds” of any “viable candidate”:

Not just because he’s an irresponsible demagogue, or because he’s made enemies in the Senate. And not just because he’s almost certainly a weaker general election candidate given that he’s by far the one most likely to be perceived by voters as an ideological extremist. The biggest reason Cruz’s nomination bid would be unlikely to succeed is that Republican party actors mostly identify him with the October 2013 government shutdown, which, apart from a small number of radicals, is perceived as a hugely damaging unforced error. Remember, not only were Republicans widely blamed for the shutdown, it also had the side effect of distracting the press from the disastrous first weeks of the Obamacare exchange rollout. Even party actors who are itching to nominate a real conservative after suffering through Mitt Romney and John McCain (and in many cases having decided that George W. Bush was no conservative after all) are unlikely to choose a candidate whose strategic judgment has proved to be suicidal for the movement.

But Michael Tracey isn’t writing off Cruz. One reason:

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Amanda Schaffer contemplates Eula Biss’s new book about vaccination:

Biss sympathizes with parents who fear vaccines, and she understands the cultural roots of their hesitation, which include an insistence on bodily independence; an obsession with physical purity, free from chemicals; and even a kind of pre-industrial nostalgia that casts vaccines as newfangled and SWITZERLAND-HEALTH-EBOLA-WAFRICAunnatural. She focusses on the historical antecedents to today’s shots, complicating the view that immunization is modern and therefore scary. In the eighteenth century, farmers observed that those who were exposed to cowpox tended not to develop smallpox later on. The physician Edward Jenner tested this connection by transferring fluid from a milkmaid’s pustule to the skin of a young boy, who then developed immunity to smallpox. Historical figures, including Cotton Mather, Mary Wortley Montagu, and Voltaire, championed the practice of variolation, in which individuals were infected with a mild form of smallpox to protect them from a more severe version of the disease.

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A History Of Neglected Teeth

Sep 30 2014 @ 9:00am

Olga Khazan considers why the ACA and most Medicaid plans don’t cover dental care:

The partition between dentistry and the rest of medicine dates back to the dental profession’s roots as an offshoot of hairdressing.

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Teju Cole also describes the work of artist Wangechi Mutu as “seductive in their patterning, grotesque in their themes”:

[Mutu] calls herself “an irresponsible anthropologist and irrational scientist.” Charged with historical misuses of science, her images Mutu_Hundred_Lavish_Months_of_Bushwhack_2004underscore the way female bodies can act as measuring devices of any society’s health. Her women respond to their environments with both intelligence and agony. Some are skinless, the rush of veins and colours alarmingly visible. Many are powerful, muscular, lithe, in heels, half-cyborg at times, often erotic, sometimes dangerous. Some are influenced by real women: Sarah Baartman (the so-called Hottentot Venus who was shown in European fairgrounds), Josephine Baker, Eartha Kitt, Grace Jones and Tina Turner. It’s an all-star line-up of black women who had fiercely ambiguous relationships with the racial and gender tropes imposed on them.

Mutu’s work is sensual, delighting in the materiality of its media (paper, paint, mica, wool, Mylar). Seen in a gallery, the organic forms, hybrid anatomies, wild hair, machine-like forearms, delirious patterns and compound eyes coalesce in a way that no digital reproduction can quite match. And what is true of the pictures is doubly true of the sculptures and installations, which also make use of smell and sound: dripping bottles, fermenting wine, rotting milk.

Correction Of The Day

Sep 30 2014 @ 7:31am

“A comment article on 13 August about the European Court of Human Rights said that the supply of heroin and gay porn to prisoners was now a ‘right’. We are happy to clarify that this was not meant to be taken seriously and is not the case,” – the Daily Mail.

The Best Of The Dish Today

Sep 29 2014 @ 9:15pm

Ted Cruz, some supporters are arguing, is dead-set on a presidential campaign for 2016 and determined to make foreign policy his focus. It does not appear, it would seem, that this comes from a long mulling over the state of the world today, but instead as a response to the current very Republican-friendly re-animation of the post 9/11 hysteria about Jihadist terror that Josh has now noted. And his position is not neoconservative. He has no illusions about the ability of developing countries, especially in the Middle East, to find a way forward to democratic stability with American help. And so he would be as skeptical as I am that Obama’s new war in Iraq will somehow prod the sects there to overcome their differences and construct a functioning broad-based government. Instead he just wants to bomb the crap out of places from the air – or engage in massive military efforts to quell enemies – and then run away. Or, in his words:

“If and when military action is called for, it should be A) with a clearly defined military objective, B) executed with overwhelming force, and C) when we’re done we should get the heck out. I don’t think it’s the job of our military to engage in nation-building. It is the job of our military to protect America and to hunt down and kill those who would threaten to murder Americans. It is not the job of our military to occupy countries across the globe and try to turn them into democratic utopias.”

Well, I’m with him on that last p0int. But I’m not sure that the “rubble makes no trouble” paradigm really works in practice. If you’re dealing with Islamist terror, brutal bombing raids, which would inevitably involve civilian casualties, could very well provoke more resistance, more anti-Americanism and more terrorism. Even an occupation designed to quell an insurgency, as in Iraq from 2004 – 2010, failed to do that. And such a policy would be very hard to sell to allies – as even the current containment policy toward ISIS suggests. Then there’s his softer belligerence: much tougher sanctions against Russia and Iran. As if sanctions against the one government policy supported by the Iranian people – a peaceful nuclear program – would somehow resolve the problem. Or as if Obama hasn’t done both those things already.

But I expect Cruz to run, and I would not be surprised if he won. In the current mood – with the right returning to outright panic over Islamism, despite no terror attacks from any of the putative deadliest foes – the atavistic strain is tumescent. The GOP base wants revenge and bombs and bombast – preferably against Muslims. And the symbol of all this will be Greater Israel – the state that bombs its enemies with ruthless abandon, and with no apology. Just as Obama has adopted the Likudnik policy of “mowing the lawn” in the Middle East, Cruz will take that even further. The world will be our Gaza!

Today, I wondered whether the administration cared any more about whether a terror threat was imminent or non-existent before going to war against it; I tried to makes sense of the president’s apparent conviction that the Shi’a, Sunnis and Kurds will at some point decide they love Iraq more than they hate each other; I outed John Oliver as a journalist; and Jake Weisberg penned a tart review of Rick Perlstein’s history of the right. Man, I miss Jake’s writing.

The most popular post of the day remained this Chart Of The Day on how successive recoveries have benefited the rich more and more; followed by this reflection on how envy kills mid-life friendships.

Many 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. 24 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 and polos are for sale here. A new subscriber writes:

Just wanted to let you know, I’ve been wanting to subscribe to The Dish for what seems like ages now, but promised myself I wouldn’t until I found a job (internships notwithstanding). Well, I finally found one! So, after getting my first paycheck and a credit card, it seemed about time to ante up. There was only one last hurdle: being told I was “part of the smartest, most diverse and open-minded community on the web,” without throwing up. You might as well put up a sign, “You must be this pretentious to enter.”

But subscribing to The Dish is a big deal to me. I’ve wanted to do it for so long. Because of the deal I made myself, it’s come to signify that I’m actually going somewhere in my life, that I finally have some income I can dispose of. So I was thrilled for this to be the first purchase made on my new card.

We’re all as thrilled as our slightly nauseated reader.

See you in the morning.

Dunham, Reviewed

Sep 29 2014 @ 8:33pm

Reviews are in for Lena Dunham’s new essay collection. Helen Lewis focuses on Dunham herself, and her advantaged upbringing:

DunhamDunham’s first appearance in print came in 1998, when a Vogue story on New York tweens quoted her thoughts about big-name fashion designers“I really like Jil Sander, but it’s so expensive”and her attempts to re-create them on a $5-a-week allowance. She was 11.

Within five years, she was already on her second appearance in the New York Times, after a reporter was despatched to a vegan dinner party she gave for her private-school friends. “A crunchy menu for a youthful crowd”, records the headline. The 16-year-old Lena found that “meat was easy to give up, cheese, almost impossible.” But: “One year into a totally vegan diet, she has become a soy connoisseur.”

Not exactly the kind of up-bringing I had. I was munching on liver and bacon and mash and gravy at that point – and loving it. Lewis does eventually get to the book itself:

This book is emphatically not a feminist polemic. There is one chapter where she imagines the memoir she’ll write at 80, in which she will name the names of all the creepy male directors who have propositioned her, and one letter (in a collection of “emails I would send if I were one ounce crazier/angrier/braver”) that smacks of real, rather than posturing anger, at having her feminism derided. But everywhere else, perhaps from a desire to separate art from activism, the focus is relentlessly inward. (Her sister, Grace, is arranging for representatives of Planned Parenthood to campaign at events on Lena’s book tour; the book does not mention abortion.)

She writes in the book: “When I am playing a character, I am never allowed to explicitly state the takeaway message of the scenes I’m performingafter all, part of the dramatic conflict is that the person I’m portraying doesn’t really know it yet.” The same applies to most of the book: Her whole life is a performance art piece where she plays a noxious brat with great skill, and poses herself, either eerily like one of her mother’s dolls, or sexually, like her father’s nudes. And as the carapace of fame around her has expanded, she has shrunk within it, leaving only gnomic statements about granola and blowjobs. Reading this book, you realize that Lena Dunham has been playing “Lena Dunham” for a long time. She is not real.

Michiko Kakutani, for her part, refuses to conflate Dunham with her “Girls” protagonist:

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