Russia “Invades” Ukraine

Aug 22 2014 @ 11:31am
by Dish Staff

A Russian aid convoy bound for eastern Ukraine crossed the border today without the permission of the Ukrainian government, which is calling the act an “invasion”:

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday morning that Moscow had run out of patience with “delays” and other “excuses” from Ukraine. It charged that Ukraine’s leaders were deliberately trying to slow-walk the delivery of aid to the war-torn region of Luhansk until “there is no one at all to provide help to.”

The decision to send in the aid without the consent of the Red Cross or Ukrainian authorities marked a dangerous new step in the four-month conflict. If Ukrainian forces fire on the trucks, they could trigger an all-out invasion by Russian forces that have accumulated by the tens of thousands across the border from eastern Ukraine. If they allow the trucks to disperse across the Luhansk region without any Ukrainian controls, Russia in effect will have imposed a cease-fire in the fight against pro-Russian separatists without Kiev’s permission.

That’s precisely what Ed Morrissey suspects the Kremlin is trying to do:

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by Dish Staff

Senator Mark Pryor shows his party how it’s done:

Jonathan Cohn reminds us that “this is how Democrats usually win on Medicare and Medicaidby reminding voters of what they have to lose from proposed Republican attacks on the programs”:

This isn’t just some ad the Pryor campaign posted online, in order to gin up donations from liberals. Greg Sargent of the Washington Post reports that it’s airing across the state, at a cost that runs into hundreds of thousands of dollars. And while one ad does not a political trend make, you don’t have to squint to see signs that the politics of Obamacare are shifting. Bloomberg News just did a study of Republican television ads and discovered that mentions of Obamacare are way down from where they were a few months ago. Meanwhile, as Sargent has pointed out several times, Republican Senators and Senate candidates are struggling to explain their opposition to the law, even in conservative states.

Alex Rogers looks at why Pryor’s ad works:

First, he hones in on the most popular aspect of the Affordable Care Act: coverage for those with preexisting conditions, which has support across the aisle.

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Inconsolable In Islamabad

Aug 22 2014 @ 10:48am
by Dish Staff

Pakistan may be on the brink of a political crisis after opposition leader Imran Khan suspended talks with the government in response to the appointment of a new police chief in Islamabad:

Khan, a famed cricketer-turned-politician, and fiery cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri have led massive protests from the eastern city of Lahore to the gates of parliament in Islamabad to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, accusing him of rigging the vote that brought him to power last year. The protests have raised fears of unrest in the nuclear-armed US ally with a history of political turmoil, and after a request from the country’s powerful military the government convened talks with Khan and Qadri’s representatives early Thursday. Shah Mahmood Qureshi, a senior leader of Khan’s party, told reporters that the opposition presented six demands, including Sharif’s resignation. …

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Why ISIS Brought Back Beheadings

Aug 22 2014 @ 10:13am
by Dish Staff

Videos of masked militants beheading captive Westerners were a common feature of jihadist propaganda in the early years of the last decade, but such videos had scarcely been seen in a decade when the video of James Foley’s murder came to light this week. Katie Zavadski explains why:

According to University of Massachusetts, Lowell, professor Mia Bloom, the videos faded because they were frowned upon by higher-ups in organizations like Al Qaeda. Although Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a high-ranking Al Qaeda in Iraq operative, was said to have personally executed Americans Nicholas Berg and Eugene Armstrong, Bloom says superiors, including Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, looked down on the practice. “AQI got into a lot of trouble for those public beheadings,” she says, because they did more to alienate potential supporters than to recruit them.

“What’s interesting is that you saw a drop-off of these videos because they provoked somewhat of a backlash,” agrees SUNY Albany professor Victor Asal. While everyone knew these groups were doing horrible things, including beheadings, there was something particularly distasteful about videotaping their executions. By returning to these videos, ISIS is saying, “We will do what we want, how we want,” Asal says. “Be very, very scared of us.”

Adam Taylor explores ISIS’s macabre devotion to this particularly bloody method of murder:

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The Social Segregation Of Whites

Aug 22 2014 @ 9:42am
by Dish Staff

Social Networks

Robert Jones highlights it:

Drawing on techniques from social network analysis, PRRI’s 2013 American Values Survey asked respondents to identify as many as seven people with whom they had discussed important matters in the six months prior to the survey. The results reveal just how segregated white social circles are.

Overall, the social networks of whites are a remarkable 93 percent white. White American social networks are only one percent black, one percent Hispanic, one percent Asian or Pacific Islander, one percent mixed race, and one percent other race. In fact, fully three-quarters (75 percent) of whites have entirely white social networks without any minority presence. This level of social-network racial homogeneity among whites is significantly higher than among black Americans (65 percent) or Hispanic Americans (46 percent).

by Dish Staff

This video of police shooting and killing Kajieme Powell has been making the rounds. Conor Friedersdorf can’t help but wonder whether deadly force was necessary:

A police officer might retort that law enforcement shouldn’t be obligated to take on any extra risk to their own lives in a dangerous situation wholly and needlessly created by a person menacing them. A citizen deliberately baiting police with a deadly weapon cannot expect restraint. Even a small knife can be deadly.

In the abstract, I can’t disagree with those principles—and if questionable police killings were confined to such circumstances, there’d be less cause than now to complain about overzealous law enforcement. Yet watching this video, it seems certain in hindsight that the threat could’ve been stopped with force short of at least nine and as many as 12 gunshots; and again, if they’d kept more initial distance between themselves and a man they knew to have a knife before they even arrived, perhaps no deadly threat would’ve materialized. If they’d stood well back and engaged, perhaps Powell would’ve kept coming with a knife until stopped.

But Beutler expects that you “won’t find many police who’ll say that what the police did to Kajieme Powell is a great or unjustifiable departure” from normal police protocol:

And if that’s a shock to you, then you’re a newcomer to a very basic argument: That if this is proper protocol, then the protocol is bad.

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The Tea Party Ponzi Scheme

Aug 22 2014 @ 8:16am
by Dish Staff

Tea Party

Tom Dougherty exposes it:

The problem is evidence indicates some Tea Party groups care far less about your ideals and far more about your money—taking it and making it their own. They’re an ideological Ponzi scheme; they use donations to generate more donations, by creating sensationalistic ad campaigns to persuade donors they’re getting value, and to scare or guilt them, and new donors, into sending more donations.

Does Personality Peak?

Aug 22 2014 @ 7:34am
by Dish Staff

Christian Jarrett looks at research that finds “the stability of personality increases through youth, peaks in mid-life and then gradually reduces again into old age”:

The questionnaires measured the Big Five traits (extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience) and also an honesty-humility factor. The researchers then looked to see how the “rank-order stability” of people’s traits (how their scores ranked compared to other people’s) varied across that two-year gap, and how this stability varied as a function of age.

The participants’ personalities showed “impressive” stability, as you’d expect since personality is meant to be a description of people’s pervasive traits. Extraversion was the most stable trait, and agreeableness the least. However, the key finding was that personality stability varied through the lifespan, increasing from the 20s to the 40s and 50s, and then declining towards old age, up to age 80. This broad pattern was found for all traits, except for agreeableness, which showed gradually reduced stability through life. For conscientiousness, openness to experience, and honesty-humility, trait instability had returned at the oldest age to the levels seen at the youngest age.

For the five traits that showed an inverted U-shape pattern of changing stability through life, [researchers Peter] Milojev and [Chris] Sibley found that the specific point of peak stability varied – extraversion and neuroticism showed highest stability in the late 30s, while the other traits (openness, honesty-humility, and conscientiousness) showed peak stability in the late 40s, early 50s.

Face Of The Day

Aug 21 2014 @ 8:32pm
by Dish Staff

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A model wears a Phoenix costume during the 13th annual Jember Fashion Carnival on August 21, 2014 in Jember, Indonesia. This year the carnival’s theme is ‘Triangle, Dynamic in Harmony’ and consists of ten parades: Mahabharata, Tambora, Phoenix, Pine Forest, Apache, Borobudur, Flying Kite, Wild Deers, Stalagmite, and Chemistry. The street carnival is claimed to be one of the biggest in the world and comprises more than 850 performers parading along 3.6 km of road, which is treated like a catwalk. Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images.

“No. No. No.” Ctd

Aug 21 2014 @ 8:07pm
by Dish Staff

A reader writes:

Like many others, I was simply floored by the post in which a woman bravely details her experience of being raped and dealing with its aftereffects. (I’d call her a “rape survivor,” but I hate the term. That’s not all we are.) Never before has someone, even the two therapists I have seen since my rape – not even novelists, and I’ve read a few – crystallized those feelings, that experience, that shame, so powerfully and so accurately. It was all the things I’ve wanted to say for years but for which I’d never been able to find the exact right words. And then there they were.

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