The Grey Lady Endorses Legal Weed

Jul 28 2014 @ 12:42pm

Over the weekend, the NYT editorial board declared that the “federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana”:

There are no perfect answers to people’s legitimate concerns about marijuana use. But neither are there such answers about tobacco or alcohol, and we believe that on every level — health effects, the impact on society and law-and-order issues — the balance falls squarely on the side of national legalization. That will put decisions on whether to allow recreational or medicinal production and use where it belongs — at the state level.

Well, now that Sarah Palin has picked the online subscription route and the NYT has embraced marijuana legalization, our work here at the Dish is nearly done. But sheesh, the whole hoop-la over there about it almost makes you think they’re ahead of the curve, as opposed to about twenty years too late. Almost twenty years since National Review endorsed it! Nonetheless, it’s not nothing:

It is worth noting this is the exact same way alcohol prohibition ended. The 21st amendment gave states the power to decide how alcohol is treated within their borders. While many states ended their own alcohol prohibitions right after some states keep their bans on alcohol going for years and even decades later. It wasn’t until 1966 when Mississippi become the last state to end its prohibition.

Hamilton Nolan needles the Times for being behind the times:

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The US embassy in Libya was evacuated over the weekend:

The U.S. Embassy in Libya evacuated its personnel on Saturday because of heavy militia violence raging in the capital, Tripoli, the State Department said. About 150 personnel, including 80 U.S. Marines were evacuated from the embassy in the early hours of Saturday morning and were driven across the border into Tunisia, U.S. officials confirm to CNN.

Jamie Dettmer sees reason to believe the the embassy won’t be back to its usual operations anytime soon:

Classified documents, databases and sensitive equipment were either destroyed or taken along to Tunisia, which suggests that despite U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’ insistence that the closing of the embassy is only temporary, Libya could be without U.S. diplomatic representation for weeks and even months.

Freddie uses the upheaval in Libya to condemn liberals who supported the Libyan intervention:

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The View From Your Window

Jul 28 2014 @ 12:01pm

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Buffalo, New York, 6.45 pm

The Lie Behind The War, Ctd

Jul 28 2014 @ 11:40am

After the Israeli police spokesman gaffed to the BBC that the casus belli of Netanyahu’s latest war on Gaza was a lie – that Hamas orchestrated the murders of three teens – Eli Lake sprang into action. You can tell where Eli is coming from by his opening sentence:

Over the weekend it appeared that an Israeli official conceded something very valuable to Hamas.

Actually something very valuable to anyone trying to figure out the truth. And the worries come from people of good faith around the world not just “pro-Palestinian activists,” as Lake describes all those outraged by the Netanyahu government’s collective punishment. So Lake re-reported the news. He couldn’t get the spokesman to repeat what he had told the BBC, but then concedes:

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Banking On Change

Jul 28 2014 @ 11:24am

The BRICS countries recently established $100-billion development bank that some say could rival the World Bank. Ali Burak Güven believes it could shake up the world of development financing:

[I]f its evolution even remotely parallels that of the World Bank, it might end up having a formative impact on economic policy-making and overall development strategy in the Global South.

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Taking In The Theater Of War

Jul 28 2014 @ 11:00am

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Jan Mieszkowski suggests there’s little to be gained by watching conflicts unfold in real time:

As movie and television-news producers have lamented for the past decade, people aren’t particularly enthralled by battlefield scenes – at least not for very long. Modern militarism, billed as the greatest show on earth, consistently fails to live up to our expectations. Audiences are beset by indifference and even boredom, quickly moving on to the next story.

No matter how carefully we scrutinize the battlefield, it never has enough to tell us about what makes war right or wrong, avoidable or inevitable. Far from offering insights into the mysteries of history and politics, these spectacles give us a sense that we are further away than ever from understanding their causes, their implications, and their consequences. Combat makes for a disappointing program – we approach it with great expectations, prepared to encounter essential truths of human existence, but we leave empty-handed. Whatever controversy may arise from the scenes of Israelis eating popcorn as they watch the bombing of Gaza, the most striking fact is just how unenlightening the show is likely to have been.

(Photo: Israeli residents, mostly from the southern Israeli city of Sderot, sit on a hill overlooking the Gaza Strip, on July 12, 2014, to watch the fighting between the Israeli army and Palestinian militants. Sderot has suffered rocket attacks from Gaza for years. By Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

Hathos Red Alert

Jul 28 2014 @ 10:48am

Yes, there is now an online video channel for the former half-term governor. (Conor watches so you don’t have to.) The subscription costs ten five times the Dish’s. Not even Roger Ailes can cramp her style now. Twitter? Well … #PalinTVShows is going strong:

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Doing Right By Dairy

Jul 28 2014 @ 10:32am

Josh Harkinson considers the environmental costs of no-kill dairies:

If all dairies became slaughter-free, we’d need three to four times as many dairy cows to produce the same amount of milk, which would mean adding at least 27 million additional cows to our herds. Those added cows would each year produce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to four large coal-fired power plants. We’d also need more meat cows to keep up with the demand for products such as veal and dog food. Pasturing all of these cows would displace wildlife or agricultural crops, straining biodiversity and increasing food prices.

Perhaps bioengineered vegan gouda is the answer?

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The Rise Of Agriculture

Jul 28 2014 @ 10:04am

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Tim Heath and Yiming Shao see it in vertical farming:

It has been suggested that a 30-story, 27,800,000-square-meter vertical farm could be achieved within one New York City block. That farm could feed 50,000 people, providing 2,000 calories for every person each day. With results like that as a prospect, it’s easy to see why enthusiasts see vertical farms as the future. … Vertical farms do indeed have many advantages. They would enable us to produce crops all year round using 70 percent less water. We wouldn’t need to use agro-chemicals and could avoid the adverse environmental factors that affect yield and quality in more traditional farming. And if food were grown in urban areas in the first place, we could eliminate the financial and environmental costs of importing food into towns and cities.

And in fact, we have the technology to do it:

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Best-Selling Out?

Jul 28 2014 @ 9:34am

What’s the real measure of a book’s success? Tim Parks considers how big sales numbers affect the literary landscape:

Would J. K. Rowling have written seven Harry Potters if the first hadn’t sold so well? Would Knausgaard have written six volumes of My Struggle, if the first had not been infinitely more successful (in Norway) than his previous novels? Sales influence both reader and writer—certainly far more than the critics do.

In general I see nothing “wrong” with this blurring of lines between literary and genre fiction. In the end it’s rather exciting to have to figure out what is really on offer when a novel wins the Pulitzer, rather than taking it for granted that we are talking about literary achievement. But it does alert us to the fact that as any consensus on aesthetics breaks down, bestsellerdom is rapidly becoming the only measure of achievement that is undeniable.

Or put it another way: a critic who likes a book, and goes out on a limb to praise it, may begin to feel anxious these days if the book is not then rewarded by at least decent sales, as if it were unimaginable that one could continue to support a book’s quality without some sort of confirmation from the market. So while in the past one might have grumbled that some novels were successful only because they had been extravagantly hyped by the press, now one discovers the opposite phenomenon. Books are being spoken of as extraordinarily successful in denial of the fact that they are not.