The Best Of The Dish Today

Sep 16 2014 @ 9:00pm


Check out this review of the Boies-Olson book. It’s by David France, who made the best documentary about the AIDS years, the Oscar-winning How To Survive A Plague. And, yes, I’m persistent.

Speaking of documentaries, “Do I Sound Gay?” was the runner-up in the People’s Choice award at the Toronto Film Festival. Since Dishheads contributed to the Kickstarter, and the whole debate opened up a great thread, I thought I’d let you know.

Oh, and I finally found out what Grover was wearing at the Burn:

I had a French Legionnaire’s hat with the back cover that comes up under. That’s what I wore the whole time, with a couple of different T-shirts. But I brought with me a Soviet officer’s uniform, something I got in Afghanistan years ago, which, when it gets cold at night, if you’ve got to wear something for the cold, that’s a great thing to wear …. And I had Moroccan flowing robes that I got in Morocco, and I thought, ‘Well, if everybody’s looking like Gandalf or something, I’m prepared.’ But they don’t.

Well, some do. Serious beardage all over the place.

Today was the day for taking me to task. Readers told me to take a chill pill on Obama’s decision to go to war. Then they came at me for one more bash. If that weren’t enough, the Guardian busted me for an embarrassing eggcorn (explanation here). I also parsed Pope Francis’ recent mass wedding of several unconventional couples; and defended Sam Harris from the charge of sexism. Dish team analysis of the looming Scottish referendum here and here.

The most popular post of the day was The Offense Industry On The Offense; followed by Freddie’s joyous rant against intolerant social liberals.

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. 20 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 for sale here.

See you in the morning.

Aaron Blake highlights a Pew poll that shows Americans are united in their support for military action against ISIS:

9-15-2014_01But that unity is only a few inches deep. That’s because it’s becoming clear that Republicans are angling for a more active role in combating the Islamic State, while Democrats are very much concerned about so-called “mission creep” — i.e. getting too involved and not being able to go back. Pew asked people whether they were more concerned about going too far in Iraq and Syria or not going far enough. Republicans and conservatives both say overwhelmingly that they worry about not going far enough; Democrats and liberals worry more about doing too much. It’s basically Iraq 2004 — 10 years later.

And who was right then? Waldman entertains the possibility that the public isn’t being hysterical after all:

Read On

David Roberts contrasts preventing climate change with adapting to it. He focuses on the altruism of global warming prevention:

Remember the famous carbon time lag: Carbon emitted today affects temperatures 30 (or so) years from now. So mitigation today doesn’t actually benefit humanity today; it benefits humanity 30 years in the future, when the carbon that would have been emitted would have wrought its effects. It benefits people who are both spatially and temporally distant. That’s almost pure altruism.

Roberts sees climate adaption as “nearly the opposite” of that:

Read On

The New Anti-Semitism In Germany

Sep 16 2014 @ 7:32pm

Leonid Bershidsky reflects on Angela Merkel’s latest response to it:

At Sunday’s rally, people held up signs that said “Jew-hate — Never Again,” but today’s anti-Semitism in Germany has little to do with its previous incarnation: Demonstrators from the euro-skeptic, anti-immigration party Alternative fuer Deutschland carried their own placards at the rally, saying: “Anti-Semitism Is Imported.” For once they were right.

The two men being held by police in connection with the Wuppertal attack are German Muslims, allegedly members of the increasingly active local Salafi community. Although Germany’s Jewish population has rebounded to about 200,000, from the post-World-War-II nadir of about 30,000, Muslims are much more numerous. Berlin, for example, has a Jewish population of about 30,000, and about 200,000 Muslims. …

Merkel’s difficulty in combating this new wave of anti-Semitism is that she cannot speak freely of its nature, because that might be interpreted as xenophobic.

Read On

The ISIS Fearmongers

Sep 16 2014 @ 7:03pm


Elias Groll and Simon Engler round up some of the worst offenders, like Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe:

“ISIS, they are really bad terrorists, they’re so bad even al Qaeda is afraid of them,” Inhofe told a local Fox station last month. “They’re crazy out there and they’re rapidly developing a method of blowing up a major U.S. city and people just can’t believe that’s happening.”

Perhaps Inhofe is right, [counterterrorism chief Matthew] Olsen is wrong, and Islamic State militants are indeed plotting an attack right now inside America’s borders. American intelligence officials have certainly been wrong before about the threat posed by terror groups, and the Islamic State has alarmingly large numbers of fighters with American passports who could return to the U.S. to carry out strikes here at home. But the phrase “rapidly developing a method of blowing up a major U.S. city” goes far beyond what experts inside and outside of government say about the group’s capabilities. There is no substance here, only speculation likely designed to inspire fear and drum up support for military action.

Weigel examines the partisan implications of threat inflation:

Read On

Poseur Alert

Sep 16 2014 @ 6:41pm

“As a friend put it to me: A tattoo isn’t the Word made flesh, but the flesh made word. It may strike old-fashioned types as pedestrian narcissism and adolescent conformity, and sometimes it surely is. But in a deeper and more troubling way, it is canny and subversive artifice, spiced with a moralistic claim to personal liberation. A tattoo is a personal statement but also an anthropological position that accords with the prevailing transvaluations of our time. It’s a wholly successful one, too, judging from the entertainment and sports worlds, and youth culture. With the mainstreaming of tattoos, another factor in the natural order falls away, yet one more inversion of nature and culture, natural law and human desire. That’s not an outcome the rationalizer’s regret. It’s precisely the point,” – Mark Bauerlein.

Face Of The Day

Sep 16 2014 @ 6:15pm

Scottish Referndum Debate Continues As Vote Is Too Close To Call

“Yes” campaigners take part in a demonstration in Buchanan Street in Renfrew, Scotland on September 16, 2014. Just two days of campaigning remain before polling stations open and voters across the country will hold Scotland’s future in their hands. By Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.

The Other NFL Abuse Scandal

Sep 16 2014 @ 5:39pm

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been accused of beating his kid. Amy Davidson runs through what appears to have happened:

This preschooler wasn’t paddled or, as Peterson put it to police, “swatted”; he was whipped with a stick and left with open wounds on his body. It’s also not obvious that Peterson has been at all straightforward. (This is something a jury or judge will work out.) In his statement, Peterson said, “I have to live with the fact that when I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child, I caused an injury that I never intended or thought would happen.” This is apparently a reference to the specific wound to the child’s scrotum and a particularly ugly one to the leg. (In another text message, he told the boy’s mother the same thing, adding, “Got him in nuts once I noticed. But I felt so bad, n I’m all tearing that butt up when needed!” He also wrote that she would probably get “mad at me about his leg. I got kinda good wit the tail end of the switch.”) Peterson claimed to the police that he hadn’t noticed that the “tip of the switch and the ridges of the switch were wrapping around” the boy’s thigh.

Amanda Hess, who strongly disapproves of such punishments, notes:

Reactions from around the NFL imply that “love” is a valid reason for beating a child. “I got a ass whippn at 5 with a switch that’s lasted about 40mins and couldn’t sit for 2days. It’s was all love though,” Arizona Cardinals defensive end Darnell Dockett tweeted in Peterson’s defense. Added New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram Jr.: “When I was kid I got so many whoopins I can’t even count! I love both my parents they just wanted me to be the best human possible!”

Khadijah Costley White asks for less emphasis on race:

[I]f you think the media coverage of men like Ray Rice or Adrian Peterson make black people look bad, then just think what it looks like when you defend and justify their abuse. …

Read On


Yishai Schwartz offers up one, arguing that the president’s approach to ISIS has been perfectly coherent, and not just a reaction to the beheading videos or polls:

Obama began ramping up interventions in Iraq well before these murders, and he did so in response to substantive strategic realities. It was in mid-June that Islamic State militants routed the far larger and better-equipped units of the Iraqi army. Only days later, reports began to surface that President Obama had offered air strikes in support of the Iraqi military, but made them conditional on Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s resignation. On August 7, IS militants seized the crucial Mosul Dam.

The same day, profound humanitarian and strategic considerations forced President Obama to compromise somewhat on pressuring Maliki, as he authorized his first air strikes to protect the besieged Yezidi population and to bolster buckling Kurdish forces. Around the same time, the U.S. began to build the international coalition against IS that would emerge weeks later. On August 15, Maliki finally caved to international and internal pressure and stepped aside, and on August 17, American forces helped the Kurds retake the Mosul dam. All of this occurred well before the video of Foley’s murder went online.

This chain of events does not look like a sudden reversal after pressure from post-beheading opinion polls. It looks like a roadmap to war …

I guess you can take this to be reassuring – if you believe in a sustained, perpetual US war in Iraq (currently a war that has lasted from 1990 – 2014). Schwartz’s reading of the chronology is also problematic:

a steadily deteriorating strategic situation, an expressed American willingness to strike predicated on the meeting of a condition, the fulfilment of the condition …

But a clear-eyed assessment of the actual situation does not lead many to believe that IS was about to take over all of Iraq. If it were, do you think Turkey would be hanging back? In fact, its capture of Mosul may well have been its high watermark – unless Americanizing the war gives IS a new lease on life. Then “the meeting of a condition”. I think that refers to getting rid of Maliki. But that was not the condition. The condition was a unified, multi-sectarian government in Iraq – which was the point of the “surge” as well. It never happened under the surge – which is why it failed; and it hasn’t happened even as these loons have come close to Baghdad.

Today, the Iraqi parliament could not confirm the new prime minister’s nominations for the defense and interior ministries – the two that really count, and the two that are still a function of Iraq’s permanent sectarian divides. So as the US president commits this country to war in defense of “Iraq”, the same “Iraq” is so divided it cannot form the government that Obama explicitly said was a prerequisite. Which means it was not a prerequisite. It was more bullshit for an open-ended war with no Plan B that had already been decided upon.

To me, that does not seem something that we elected Obama to do. Au contraire. I will add a couple more points: General Dempsey today filled in the blanks for what happens after the current “strategy” fails:

Read On

Mental Health Break

Sep 16 2014 @ 4:20pm

Hailing a high-five:

(Hat tip: Lauren Evans)