The Daily Wrap

Today on the Dish we watched Obama adopt "Drill Baby, Drill!" Follow-up here. In Vatican coverage, Andrew dug up previous praise for Ratzinger but took him to task for his failings. Hitch was a bit harsher. A Kentucky lawsuit took aim at the Church, June Thomas brought up the abused girls, an Italian bishop spewed some bigotry, and Bill Donohue followed suit.

Palin backed Bibi, tried to hide Willow, peeved her "guests," and got some competition in the reality-show arena.

In other coverage, Suzy Khimm noted some strides in ending DADT, Friedersdorf sounded off on gender pay, readers pounced on the "misogynist asshole," and PZ Myers challenged Andrew on Christianity. More Romney commentary here and here. Animal-suicide blogging turned into parasite blogging. Marcotte got a Moore Award. And a real-life Cartman crashed Chatroulette.

— C.B.

Face Of The Day


Ettie Wooldridge studies a butterfly at the Natural History Museum's 'Butterfly Explorers' exhibition in west London, on March 31, 2010. The exhibition features examples of butterflies from all over the world and offers visitors the chance to learn how they live in different climates. By Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images.

“A Different Kind Of Hell Every Day”

Jonah Lehrer argues that home buyers usually underestimate the value of a short commute:

Why is traffic so unpleasant? One reason is that it's a painful ritual we never get used to – the flow of traffic is inherently unpredictable. As a result, we don't habituate to the suffering of rush hour. (Ironically, if traffic was always bad, and not just usually bad, it would be easier to deal with. So the commutes that really kill us are those rare days when the highways are clear.) As the Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert notes, "Driving in traffic is a different kind of hell every day."

I am so lucky to have my ridiculous little bike.

Fined For What?

It's utterly disgusting that an evangelical preacher is fined $1600 for preaching what he believes is the truth about homosexuals on the streets of Glasgow:

Shawn Holes, a US Baptist street preacher from New York State, was fined £1,000 (over $US1,500) for telling passers-by in Glasgow city centre: "Homosexuals are deserving of the wrath of God – and so are all other sinners – and they are going to a place called hell." Mr Holes, aged 47, was on a tour of the UK when he was arrested while preaching in Glasgow's main street.  In court in Glasgow, he admitted breaching the peace on 18 March by "uttering homophobic remarks" that were "aggravated by religious prejudice".

It's enough to make you give Maggie Gallagher a hug. The preacher doesn't even single out homosexuals; every other sinner is going to hell as well. But please note that the leading campaigner of gay rights in Britain, Peter Tatchell, is as appalled by this as I am. I think more gay men and women need to start speaking out more vociferously in defense of religious freedom – especially when it offends and demonizes gays. This is not about them; it's about us: our respect for freedom of speech and conscience.

On Bullying

Emily Bazelon reports on Phoebe Prince, a 15-year-old who hanged herself after months of bullying. Nine classmates have been charged in connection with the suicide. Matt Steinglass reflects on bullying more generally:

I have to confess that I've often taken a skeptical attitude towards the new prominence of anti-bullying campaigns. Kids have always bullied each other, and with little data to suggest the problem is any worse now than it has been in the past, other issues seemed more pressing. But I'm pretty sure my instinctive hesitancy on this point is wrong, for three reasons. The first is simply that research suggests anti-bullying programs in schools work fairly well.

His second and third reasons can be read here.

What Motivates A Female Suicide Bomber?

Pivoting off Lindsey O'Rourke's op-ed, Hanna Rosin wonders:

O’Rourke proposes an interesting theory that many female suicide bombers are in fact operating out of very traditional instincts. They want to restore gender norms that they have somehow violated. They are, she writes, "women who realize they have deviated, intentionally or unintentionally, from the gender behavior norms of their society and may feel pressure to reaffirm a connection to it." They have lost their rightful place by being raped, or divorced, or infertile, or failing to get married, and bombing restores them to a place of honor in their community. Female suicide bombers, for example, tend to be a few years older than their male counterparts, and past marrying age. One failed Palestinian bomber O’Rourke profiles, for example, is 35 and tomboy-ish, maybe even transgendered. When asked what motivated her, she said, "Who would want to marry someone like me?"