Archives For: Premium

Where The Drivers Drive You Away

Sep 2 2014 @ 8:12am
by Dish Staff

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Brian Palmer determined the worst places to drive in the US:

No. 5: Baltimore. Baltimoreans just can’t keep from running into each other. They were outside the top 10 in fatalities, DWI deaths, and pedestrian strikes, but their rate of collision couldn’t keep them out of the top five overall.

No. 4: Tampa, Fla. Tampa doesn’t do any single thing terribly, but it is consistently poor:

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by Dish Staff

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Stephen Mihm studies it at length:

In 2002, two economic historians, Stanley Engerman and Kenneth Sokoloff, published an influential paper that tried to answer a vexing question: why are some countries in the Americas defined by far more extreme and enduring levels of inequality—and by extension, limited social mobility and economic underdevelopment—than others? The answer, they argued, lay in the earliest history of each country’s settlement. The political and social institutions put in place then tended to perpetuate the status quo. …

Harvard economist Nathan Nunn offered a more detailed statistical analysis of this “Engerman-Sokoloff hypothesis” in a paper first published in 2008. His research confirmed that early slave use in the Americas was correlated with poor long-term growth. More specifically, he examined county-level data on slavery and inequality in the United States, and found a robust correlation between past reliance on slave labor and both economic underdevelopment and contemporary inequality. He disagreed with Engerman and Sokoloff’s claim that it was only large-scale plantation slavery that generated these effects; rather, he found, any kind of slavery seemed to have begotten long-term economic woes.

Nunn also offered a more precise explanation for present-day troubles.

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A Double Negative

Sep 1 2014 @ 6:32pm
by Dish Staff

Ivan Kreilkamp entertainingly tears down the practice of titling polemics “Against [X]“:

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by Dish Staff

In an interview about his new book, Our Great Big American God, Matthew Paul Turner dissects the problems with an all-too-Americanized God, our habit of “affecting, reimagining, shaping, and changing God’s story”:

God was never meant to be a nationalized deity. The very idea that God would showcase geographical favorites or advance the kingdom of one at the expense of another or several others goes against many of Jesus’s basic teachings. Moreover, our relationship with God has caused a large majority of America’s Christians to posses an elitist attitude or worldview, at times even imperialistic. Rather than humility, mercy, and redemption, God seems to have made us controlling, know-it-alls, materialistic, and far too certain of what God thinks about political, social, and spiritual issues.

Throughout our history we’ve branded God into a deity that works for us, one that mixes well with American values, one that agrees with our wars, and one who not only adheres to our way of life, in many cases, our way of life is God’s ideal, which we often suggest is one of the reasons he blesses us with prosperity. The biggest issue perhaps is that many of us are so comfortable with our American God, so certain of his ways, that to believe that we might be wrong is impossible.

In an excerpt from the book, Turner explores the complex legacy of Jonathan Edwards, the theologian and preacher most famous for his hellfire and brimstone sermon, “Sinner in the Hands of an Angry God,” and whom he identifies as one of the key influences on the American understanding of the divine:

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by Dish Staff

Henri Cole cites Rilke’s thoughts on the age-old divide:

Look at the dogs: their confident and admiring attitude is such that some of them appear to have renounced the oldest traditions of dogdom in order to worship our own customs and even our foibles. It is just this which renders them tragic and sublime. Their choice to accept us forces them to dwell, so to speak, at the limits of their real natures, which they continually transcend with their human gazes and melancholy snouts.

But what is the demeanor of cats?—Cats are cats, briefly put, and their world is the world of cats through and through. They look at us, you say? But can you ever really know if they deign to hold your insignificant image for even a moment at the back of their retinas. Fixating on us, might they in fact be magically erasing us from their already full pupils? It is true that some of us let ourselves be taken in by their insistent and electric caresses. But these people should remember the strange, abrupt manner in which their favorite animal, distracted, turns off these effusions, which they’d presumed to be reciprocal. Even the privileged few, allowed close to cats, are rejected and disavowed many times.

Montaigne’s take:

“When I play with my cat”, he wrote, “who knows if I am not a pastime to her more than she is to me?”

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A Founder Left Behind By The Left

Sep 1 2014 @ 1:24pm
by Dish Staff

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Christian Parenti advises liberals to look to Alexander Hamilton for inspiration, not Thomas Jefferson. He especially praises Hamilton for his far-reaching economic insights:

Hamilton was alone among the “founding fathers” in understanding that the world was witnessing two revolutions simultaneously. One was the political transformation, embodied in the rise of republican government. The other was the economic rise of modern capitalism, with its globalizing networks of production, trade, and finance. Hamilton grasped the epochal importance of applied science and machinery as forces of production.

In the face of these changes, Hamilton created (and largely executed) a plan for government-led economic development along lines that would be followed in more recent times by many countries (particularly in East Asia) that have undergone rapid industrialization. His political mission was to create a state that could facilitate, encourage, and guide the process of economic change — a policy also known as dirigisme, although the expression never entered the American political lexicon the way its antonym, laissez-faire, did.

Parenti goes on to suggest how an appreciation of Hamilton might connect with a pressing contemporary issues – climate change:

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The Disparities In Dining Out

Sep 1 2014 @ 12:35pm
by Dish Staff

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Roberto Ferdman flags a report that reveals gender wage gaps in the restaurant industry, even when tips are accounted for:

The median hourly wage paid to women is less than it is for men in all but one of the eleven jobs surveyed in a report by the Economic Policy Institute. In some cases, the gap is slight—for cashiers, dishwashers, food preparation workers, and hosts and hostesses, it’s a matter of cents. But in others, including supervisors and bartenders, the difference is well over a dollar. For managers, the highest earning occupation, the disparity was nearly three dollars per hour.

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Off With Their Heels

Sep 1 2014 @ 10:48am
by Phoebe Maltz Bovy

Rebecca Willis ponders the eternal question of why (some) women wear high heels:

We’ve heard it all before and it is, of course, a conundrum. Women say they feel empowered in heelsperhaps because they can look men in the eyewhen in reality they are physically handicapped by them. A lot of ink has been spent over the years trying to explain why we still wear them. To summarise: a high heel is sexual, changing the way we move, signalling passivity and availability. It’s misogynist, rendering women decorative and in need of a strong arm to hold. It’s a sign that we’ve escaped the prison of domesticityhave you tried doing housework in heels? And it’s a status symbol, as tallness is associated with privilege and good nutrition. Even so, many women, women with brains enough to understand that feet are a feminist issue, still want to wear heels. The long view may be that we’re going through a patch of cultural turbulence, but the close-up is that we really want that sense of lift. So for now let’s accept the existence of that desire, however ideologically unsound it may be. …

You have only to go to the chemist’s and stand in front of the shelves of gel insoles, corn pads, blister plasters and heel grips to see that footwear can be torture. And women are more tortured than men: according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, women are two to four times more likely to have hallux valgus (that’s bunions to you and me) and four to five times more likely to have hammer toes. If we could make ourselves immune to fashion and novelty, we’d be better off spending our money on a couple of custom-made pairs of shoes rather than lots of the off-the-shelf, one-shape-fits-all variety.

But what if this question is not, in fact, eternal? In a piece accompanied by a sketch by Konstantin Kakanias of fashion’s A-list in their preferred flats, Sadie Stein (NYT) announces a new, hobble-free era:

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Looking Forward to Labor Day

Aug 31 2014 @ 9:03pm
by Bill McKibben and Sue Halpern

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We used to think we worked pretty hard, but that was before we agreed to help out this week in Andrew’s absence. As Dish guest-bloggers we were each doing three posts a day, and the pressure seemed unrelenting – we’d sigh the minute one went up on the site because it felt like the countdown clock was ticking already. It felt like Lucy on that chocolate assembly line. We’ve always admired this place, but now we’re in a kind of awe: we have no idea how the staff and the proprietor keep it up day after day (and we think Maureen Dowd et al are living the high life – I mean, once every three days? Come on.)

We realized, too, that though we’ve always thought of ourselves as opinionated, there are actually vast swaths of current events on which we have no useful thought at all. Vladimir Putin is clearly a bad guy, but God knows what we should do about him. Ditto Libya. There are other questions, happily, where we can subcontract our opinion-forming to each other: anything to do with computers and internets, for instance, is Sue’s domain, for instance. Ditto butterflies, dogs, and how the brain works. Bill, as you may have noticed, is good on climate change and also climate change. But that leaves a little uncovered; which is why the crowd wisdom that comes with a Dish subscription seems like such a good value.

The one other thing we both know a little about is journalism.

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Lessons From A Long-Time Loner

Aug 31 2014 @ 8:37pm
by Dish Staff

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Christopher Knight spent nearly three decades living alone in the woods of Maine, earning him the nickname “the North Pond Hermit,” before getting caught for theft and sentenced to prison. Michael Finkel asked Knight about what he learned from a solitary, hardscrabble existence:

Anyone who reveals what he’s learned, Chris told me, is not by his definition a true hermit. Chris had come around on the idea of himself as a hermit, and eventually embraced it. When I mentioned Thoreau, who spent two years at Walden, Chris dismissed him with a single word: “dilettante.”

True hermits, according to Chris, do not write books, do not have friends, and do not answer questions. I asked why he didn’t at least keep a journal in the woods. Chris scoffed. “I expected to die out there. Who would read my journal? You? I’d rather take it to my grave.” The only reason he was talking to me now, he said, is because he was locked in jail and needed practice interacting with others.

“But you must have thought about things,” I said. “About your life, about the human condition.”

Chris became surprisingly introspective.

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