The Best Of The Dish Today

Nov 25 2014 @ 9:15pm

Seal Pup Season Continues At Donna Nook Reserve

So it looks as if we’re going to have a showdown between the citizens of the District of Columbia who have just voted by an overwhelming margin to legalize possession of weed and a congressman from Maryland, Andy Harris:

Rep. Andy Harris said he “absolutely” intends to launch a push to dismantle the new law when Congress returns with an empowered GOP majority in the 114th Congress. The Maryland Republican, who led the GOP’s charge this year against a separate D.C. law decriminalizing the drug, said the newer legalization statute poses an even greater health risk for young people in the nation’s capital. “It’s obviously even worse for D.C.’s teenagers and young adults than the decriminalization,” Harris said Thursday.

Really? and what evidence does he have for that? What’s staggering to me is that he doesn’t feel the need even to advance the evidence. We can vote 65 – 27 percent and for some reason, we need to be “educated” by this person from another state entirely. If he tries this, he should explain why he opposes the principle of democratic self-government. It’s really that simple.

Today, we were all over Ferguson. My take is here; yours is here and here. John McWhorter’s sanity is here. Some other topics: the racial discrimination against Asian-Americans at Harvard; the teetering talks with Iran; and the ism police now targeting art critics for the usual sins. Liberalism is under siege from the left again. Plus: a mental health break for pyromaniacs. My favorite post of the day? This window view from Alcatraz.

The most popular post of the day was Yes, Obama Is A Phony On Torture; followed by What To Make Of Ferguson?

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. 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.

On a personal “Who’s Honoring Me Now?” note, I was given the Editorial Intelligence Award in London today for my Sunday Times column on America. It was an impressive list of winners to be counted among. I’m sorry I was unable to make the ceremony.

See you in the morning.

(Photo: A Grey Seal pup lies in the grass at the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust’s Donna Nook nature reserve on November 24, 2014 in Grimsby, England. Seal pup numbers have increased on last year with over 800 pups born at the reserve so far. The Donna Nook reserve is the UK’s premier destination to see Grey Seals and thousands of visitors from across the country come to see the wildlife spectacle every year. By Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.)

The Racial Divide Over Ferguson

Nov 25 2014 @ 8:41pm

YouGov measured it recently:

Racial Divide Ferguson

Russell Moore observes that “the Ferguson situation is one of several in just the past couple of years where white and black Americans have viewed a situation in starkly different terms”:

White Americans tend, in public polling, to view the presenting situations as though they exist in isolation, dealing only with the known facts of the case at hand, of whether there is evidence of murder. Black Americans, polls show, tend to view these crises through a wider lens, the question of whether African-American youth are too often profiled and killed in America. Whatever the particulars of this case, this divergence ought to show us that we have a ways to go toward racial reconciliation.

Jelani Cobb remarks that, in Ferguson, “the great difficulty has been discerning whether the authorities are driven by malevolence or incompetence”:

Read On

Chilled By Climate Denial

Nov 25 2014 @ 8:00pm

Chris Mooney flags a study suggesting “the climate issue may have become so politicized that our very perceptions of the weather itself are subtly slanted by political identities and cues”:

Comparing Gallup polling results from early March 2012 (just after the winter ended) with actual temperature data from the lower 48 U.S. states, the researchers analyzed people’s perceptions of the warmth of the winter they’d just lived through in light of the temperature anomalies that actually occurred. … It was no surprise that temperatures predicted people’s perceptions of temperatures (duh), but what was surprising is the other factors that also shaped their assessment of how warm it was. The researchers found that political party affiliation had an effect — “Democrats [were] more likely than Republicans to perceive local winter temperatures as warmer than usual,” the paper reports.

Cass Sunstein highlights a related research showing that cold weather makes people “less likely to be concerned about global warming. And when the day seems unusually hot, concern jumps”:

Read On

Face Of The Day

Nov 25 2014 @ 7:27pm

Riots After Grand Jury Decision Rip Apart Ferguson, Missouri

Missouri national guardsmen in riot gear line up in front of the police station on November 25, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Over 2,000 Missouri national guardsmen are being deployed a day after demonstrators caused extensive damage in Ferguson and surrounding areas following a St. Louis County grand jury decision to not indict Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown. By Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Yglesias Award Nominee

Nov 25 2014 @ 6:45pm

“As I was blearily trying to indicate last night, I am open to the argument that McCulloch was in fact not right. I said his critics have a point. And as I read up on the proceeding this morning, I think that point gets stronger. For those who believe Michael Brown was murdered, what they see is a prosecutor who bent over backwards for a police officer in a way he never would have for nearly any other criminal suspect in the dock. McCulloch let Wilson testify at great length … If McCulloch was determined to get an indictment, this process wouldn’t have taken nearly as long … For those who want me to be all on one side or another of this (Twitter has been an ugly place for the last twelve hours), all I can say is that I am honestly conflicted. Even in this obscenely polarizing chapter of American life, not everything is black and white,” – Jonah Goldberg, NRO.

Hating On Click-Bait

Nov 25 2014 @ 6:00pm

Room for Debate covers the insidious practice. Jazmine Hughes feels condescended to:

[T]he majority of backlash against click bait headlines is a response to the forced push of emotion that click bait content foists onto a consumer. The promise that “you won’t believe what comes next” or “you’ll never feel the same” deprives readers of their analytic agency and imposes an uncontextualized reaction on them. It’s aggressive, empty and intellectually reductive — or, simply, super annoying. There’s nothing wrong with an enticing headline, but pique my interest, don’t belittle my intelligence.

And Baratunde Thurston comments on its cry-wolf quality:

Read On

I suspect part of what’s behind the frustration of people like McCulloch is that social media makes everyone a critic. Thousands and thousands of people are watching over your shoulder to see if you slip up, checking what you missed, judging whether you were thorough enough, questioning your agenda. Good. Having everyone watch you do your job, or not do it, may be a pain, it may be stressful, but in an imperfect justice system, it’s not exactly a bad thing.

Tim Mak Arthur Chu agrees:

“Blaming the media” for always distorting the story, for making a big deal out of minor misunderstandings, for drawing attention to things that “aren’t any of their business”—it’s the favorite rhetorical trick of powerful people who want to be left to continue doing what they were doing. Sure, the media frequently make terrible mistakes. But a kneejerk rejection of “the media” and a demand for those of us in the audience to “mind our own business” is an implicit statement that the people the media make miserable—business owners, politicians, police chiefs, celebrities—don’t make mistakes. It’s an implicit call to trust them to do the right thing without fear of external scrutiny.

Obama Bites His Tongue On Ferguson

Nov 25 2014 @ 4:44pm

Last night, Beutler called on the president to give a big speech on Ferguson:

This is Obama’s first opportunity (for lack of a better word) to use the bully pulpit to steer the national agenda in a positive direction since the slaughter at Newtown, Connecticut, and it’s the first time since he became a national figure that he’ll be able to address a racially charged issue without an election in his future to deter him.

But the statement Obama delivered last night, as Cillizza remarks, “was almost doomed from the start”:

The combination of Obama’s status as the nation’s first black president and the powerful visuals coming out of Ferguson, which are catnip for cable TV, made it a) absolutely necessary that he speak about Ferguson on Monday night and b) absolutely inevitable that whatever he said would be criticized by almost everyone emotionally invested in the story — and outrun by events on the ground that were being broadcast simultaneously with his remarks.

That sort of lose-lose proposition is increasingly becoming a hallmark of the modern presidency.

How Ezra understands Obama’s dilemma:

Read On

Mental Health Break

Nov 25 2014 @ 4:20pm

A music video with flash-fires:

Iran Talks Get An Extension, Ctd

Nov 25 2014 @ 3:55pm

Aaron David Miller and Jason Brodsky are skeptical that the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, which were just extended, will ever bear fruit, given the toxic domestic politics in both Tehran and Washington. “But,” they add, “there may well be something even more fundamental at work: a strategic disconnect”:

We can’t end Iran’s nuclear capacity, so we are working to constrain it through buying time. Iran is trying to preserve as much of that capacity as possible while easing and eliminating economic pressure. And Iran is also playing with and for time. There’s really no end state, either on the nuclear issue or sanctions relief. And thus any comprehensive agreement is, by definition, interim at best. That just doesn’t add up in today’s highly charged and suspicion-laden political environment, no matter how moderate and well-intentioned the negotiators themselves may be.

The fact is that Iran knows what it wants: to preserve as much of its nuclear weapons capacity as possible and free itself from as much of the sanctions regime as it can. The mullahs see Iran’s status as a nuclear weapons state as a hedge against regime change and as consistent with its regional status as a great power. That is what it still wants. And that’s why it isn’t prepared — yet — to settle just for what it needs to do a deal. Ditto for America. And it’s hard to believe that another six months is going to somehow fix that problem.

With Republicans champing at the bit to push through more sanctions, Jeffrey Lewis figures any future talks are doomed:

Read On