Mental Health Break

Aug 29 2014 @ 4:20pm
by Dish Staff

Hope you have as much fun with your weekend as this elephant can with plastic:

Don’t Speak, Memory, Ctd

Aug 29 2014 @ 4:00pm
by Sue Halpern

It is the rare question that can elicit polar responses where both of them make perfect sense. In this case–asking if you’d erase or sweeten bad memories if you could–it is partly because people’s traumas and the circumstances of those traumas are different, partly because we are all psychologically and emotionally different, and partly because it is philosophical question as much as it is a practical one, and what we might want as individuals is different from what we might want as a society. For instance, while we might want to erase the memories that cause a person to suffer from PTSD, erasing the memories of war or, worse, sweetening them, may make us, collectively, more bellicose. Sometimes we forget that forgetting comes with its own costs, too.

I am reminded of the sentiments of the philosopher Paul Ricoeur, author of the book Memory, History, Forgetting, whose thoughts about mourning are central to those about forgetting.

This work of mourning is a long and patient travail, which brings under
interrogation the ability to narrate it. … To narrate otherwise what one has done, what one has suffered, what one has gained and what one has lost. The idea of loss is fundamental to life.

I hear echoes of Ricoeur in the words of these Dish readers:

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Worst Ebola Outbreak Ever

Aug 29 2014 @ 3:41pm
by Dish Staff

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Julia Belluz puts the West African epidemic in stark perspective:

The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa has now killed more people than all previous Ebola outbreaks combined. The latest World Health Organization data on this year’s Ebola outbreak in West Africa shows 3,069 probable and confirmed cases and 1,552 deaths. The number of cases continues to accelerate, with 40 percent of the total cases occurring in the last 21 days.

The WHO is warning that the epidemic could rage for another six to nine months, infect as many as 20,000 people, and cost half a billion dollars to contain. And yet, Chris Blattman cautions, “we must make sure the cure is not worse than the disease”:

Read On

by Dish Staff

Beutler wants the full video of this week’s tragic shooting released:

Horrendous, unnecessary gun deaths are so common in the U.S. that some of them get caught on tape. The videos can have tremendous power to shape the way people think about public policy. Just last week, the filmed shooting death of Kajieme Powell by St. Louis, Missouri, police reignited a national debate about police training. The video of an Uzi destroying Charles Vacca’s life would serve as a visceral reminder of the fact that when a bullet enters the human body, that body is very likely to die.

Nicole Flatow points out that “a lack of age restrictions isn’t the only way gun ranges are safety-free zones, and potentially the sites of preventable deaths”:

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The View From Your Window

Aug 29 2014 @ 3:02pm
by Dish Staff

Madulain, Switzerland

Madulain, Switzerland, 4.00 pm

Is Obama Fumbling Ukraine?

Aug 29 2014 @ 2:43pm
by Dish Staff

Christopher Dickey isn’t impressed with the president’s response to the Russian invasion, which he still won’t call an “invasion”:

Obama knows invasion is a “fightin’ word,” as they used to say in old Hollywood Westerns. And he knows — and we all know — a shootout in the Ukraine corral against the world’s other great nuclear power would be beyond foolish. But under the circumstances, even such a stalwart of administration policymaking as Ivo Daalder has run out of patience with the vague language coming out of Foggy Bottom and the White House. Daalder doesn’t recommend military action, certainly, but he does recommend NATO members step up their defense spending and deploy their vast military resources throughout the alliance in a way that makes the threat of force more credible. After all, Putin has shown his imperial appetite knows no bounds, and the tactics he’s used to shave off portions of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine could be turned on the NATO-member Baltics. Daalder also calls on Western countries to supply advance weapons and a steady stream of intelligence to Kiev. And finally the U.S. and the E.U. need to impose full-scale economic sanctions on Moscow.

Noah Rothman faults Obama for tying his own hands diplomatically by revealing too much:

One never takes a tool off the table during a negotiation without reciprocity from the negotiating partner. To do otherwise is to set a bad precedent, one which a smart negotiating partner will make you repeat. President Obama insisted that the sanctions regime he has imposed on Russia is working, that he will not approve a military solution to the crisis in Ukraine, and that providing lethal aid to Kiev’s forces is not under immediate consideration. What, then, is on the table? Our options are increasingly limited while Moscow’s freedom to escalate or de-escalate as he sees fit remains robust.

Steven Pifer recommends an assertive response, including more sanctions and military aid to beef up the Ukrainian army:

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“The Problem Is I’m Black”

Aug 29 2014 @ 2:27pm
by Dish Staff

Dan Savage passes along the disturbing video above:

A man was sitting in a public place waiting to pick his kids up from school. He wasn’t breaking any laws. A shop owner asked him to move—which the shop owner had no right to do—and the man got up and moved. He was then stopped by a cop who asked him his name. He refused to give his name. “I know my rights,” the man said to the cop. And he did know his rights: he was under no obligation to identify himself to her. “Minnesota does not currently have a ‘stop and identify’ statute in place” that would give police the right to arrest someone for [not] identifying himself,” RawStory points out. The cop, unfortunately, didn’t know his rights.

Conor is rightly outraged:

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When Women Rebuff Republicans

Aug 29 2014 @ 2:15pm
by Dish Staff

Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer present the latest on women’s attitudes towards the GOP:

Women are “barely receptive” to Republicans’ policies, and the party does “especially poorly” with women in the Northeast and Midwest, according to an internal Crossroads GPS and American Action Network report obtained by POLITICO. It was presented to a small number of senior aides this month on Capitol Hill, according to multiple sources.

Jamie Fuller observes that this “is not a new problem”:

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Burning Earth

Aug 29 2014 @ 1:52pm
by Bill McKibben

California Drought Dries Up Bay Area Reservoirs

At Burning Man in the desert, where the proprietor of this blog, and Grover Norquist, and a lot of other people are gathered this week, they had a rare heavy rainfall, which “intensified the misery of people waiting in the will call lines” at the box office. That A similar soaking in the Mojave Desert meant that the area of California under severe drought conditions fell last week from 97.5 to 95.4%, but the effect of the ongoing record aridity keeps magnifying. On the grossest scale, the region has now lost 63 trillion gallons of groundwater, which weighs about 240 billion tons, which has caused the state’s mountains to grow half an inch taller.

But the drought in California is probably not the worst such crisis underway on the planet at the moment, in part because California is rich. In Central America last week Guatemala became the latest country to declare a state of emergency, as the worst drought in decades wreaks havoc with bean and corn crops. According to the AP:

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The NFL Tackles Domestic Violence

Aug 29 2014 @ 1:29pm
by Dish Staff

The NFL announced (NYT) a new policy yesterday:

N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday that he had mishandled the Ray Rice case, in which the Baltimore Ravens running back was suspended for two games after being accused of assaulting his fiancée. … Goodell said that effective immediately any N.F.L. employee — not only a player — who is found to have engaged in assault, battery, domestic violence or sexual assault that involved physical force will be suspended without pay for six games for a first offense. Second-time offenders will be banished from the league for at least one year.

Ian Crouch states, reasonably enough, that “Thursday’s announcement should be the beginning of the N.F.L.’s response to domestic violence, not the end”:

The players need to be involved in the league’s attempts to combat violence against women, not simply as the potential recipients of fines and suspensions but as participants in its prohibition and enforcement.

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