The Weekly Wrap

Andrew Sullivan —  Oct 7 2011 @ 11:10pm

Today on the Dish, Jon Stewart pronounced Sarah Palin "a crazy person," McGinniss issued a closing indictment of the MSM, and Andrew defended the metaphorical truths of Genesis against the Biblical literalism of atheists and fundamentalists. The Republican horse race came to life as Cain blew past Romney, somehow the former governor has become more of an unknown than he was four years ago, and he forked over just 14% of his gross income in taxes last year. We reevaluated the three-person contest, Rick Perry's political careerism may prove to be his greatest strength, a surrogate believes that Mormonism is a cult and Romney isn't a Christian, and a reader asked Andrew why the Republican candidates haven't attacked Perry's proud secessionism. Obama embraced the populist fight and co-opted Reagan's arguments, Palin's social security file is locked with an alert in place, and apparently we haven't graduated from debates over suffrage. 

The wage gap approached a winner-takes-all model, and the "millionaire's tax" sets the income bar too high. Eric Cantor pooh-poohed Occupy Wall Street, while the protests brought others back to Tahrir Square. More open-minded neoconservatives once assumed that criticizing Israeli policies in public was a healthy approach. Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. has leverage over China, and being seen as pro-Israel in the U.S. seems to have "increasingly little to do with actually supporting Israel." We still don't know what it will take to win in Afghanistan after ten years of war, and the perils of cyberwar are difficult to gauge. Liel Leibovitz assessed the threat of settler violence to Israel's security, we discussed the implications of "doubling down" on Iran, and India lagged far behind China. In media news, Dick Cheney subjected himself to a polite conversation with his daughter. 

Steve Jobs got us to shower his products with love, but didn't create as many jobs as you might think (a reader pointed out that he produced many more indirectly), and another reader celebrated the spiritual "counterculture" of Northern California. Procreation in space is still a tricky proposition, Pharaoh was the Hitler of the pre-Godwin era, and Yelp has upended the traditional advertising business. Hormones inform our gaydar capabilities, and a reader delighted Andrew with a shipment of homemade gluten-free scones. We explored moral questions surrounding armed humanitarianism and the "it takes a white man" narrative, doing only "what you love" can be irresponsible, and our genetic codes are headed for USB drives as medicine becomes more personal.

MHB here, VFYW here, FOTD here, and evidence that "everything is a remix" here

Thursday on the Dish, Andrew gave a eulogy for Steve Jobs, who lived fearlessly and was the only man in America who "knew what the hell was going on" (thoughts on how Jobs changed the world here). Andrew admitted to being stunningly wrong about Palin, he confronted his future in Trig-blogging, and the Palinistas reloaded. Andrew's retraction from yesterday's post on the Palin news here.  

GOP voters and institutions refused to grow up, the anti-Romney right became restless as the field crystallized, and we debated whether the former governor's success can be attributed to luck or skill. Laura Ingraham broadcasted an unhinged indictment of Obama and affirmative action, Cain's schedule revealed the true nature of his presidential ambitions, and Chait and Matt Welch duked it out over libertarian dogma. The global economy braced for election season, and Bank of America's new fees are annoying but out in the open.

Andrew discussed Obama's record on Israel, we lingered on Pinker's incredible study of violence, and Ken Ballen shared insights into the disarming earnestness of terrorists. Americans and our veterans grew weary of the neocon agenda, and drones are appealing as a better way to kill, but we still need more information. Adam Chandler connected Israel's tent protests to Occupy Wall Street. 

Readers continued to discuss the gender wage and education gap, and Andrew went another round on atheism and Biblical literalism. SlutWalk was crowded out by the occupiers, whose 99% slogan confoundsSesame Street broached the issue of hunger and poverty, movie subsidies proved indefensible, and medicine doesn't mix well with protest movements and politics. A brand consultant claimed that our brains are in love with iPhones, and a conflicted owner gave his up. Implants can serve a critical purpose, big men cry, and it's better not to risk actually liking your opponents by meeting them. Alyssa wondered what outlandish rape scenes accomplish, and the virtual classroom asks a bit too much.

Tweet of the day here, chart of the day here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here.

Wednesday on the Dish, Andrew mourned one of the best in American history and rejoiced as one of the worst bowed out. The GOP's erratic base resisted Romney as elites resigned themselves to him, a liberal issued confidence in his sobriety, and Latino voters fled (Jon Stewart's devastating take-down here). We examined the Herman Cain boomlet as he took the lead in some states, and the GOP's "black friend" doesn't appear to have any gay ones. Bachmann suggested that the president should be impeached, and aggregate spending on political ads matters more than messaging. In our video feature, Andrew celebrated his Americanism.

We lost confidence in the super committee's willingness to cut a deal, Bartlett exposed the notion of "regulatory uncertainty" as sheer political invention, and individual rights stimulate economic growth. Cheney should apologize to Obama and not the other way around, and Rumsfeld flopped in his first real interview. Roger Ailes refreshingly admitted the obvious, David Cameron made Andrew's conservative argument for gay marriage, and Russell Kirk envisioned a conservatism of "thought and imagination." A buttoned-down Wall Street occupier defended the movement as Wilkinson smiled upon it, and idealism surrounding divided government was crushed.

Foreign aid hit the chopping block, but our "fetishistic" funding of Israel remained sacrosanct, and Congress undermined the security of Israel by taking steps to punish the Palestinians in spite of Netanyahu. Military conscription waned, the army prepped a young veteran for homelessness, Russia and China had Assad's back in the UN, and we won't sweat China's economic slowdown.

Apple made an uncanny prediction about its new voice assistant feature 24 years ago. Employers snooped on our not-so-private lives, atheists really shouldn't take the Bible literally in their critiques, free sperm donors proliferated, and false confessions are easier toextract than you would think.

VFYW here, MHB here, FOTD here, and gay vintage military recruiting posters here

Rincon-Puerto Rico-1050am

Rincon, Puerto Rico, 10.50 am

Tuesday on the Dish, Obama's jobs bill was proclaimed dead on arrival, and Andrew wondered if the GOP's cynical partisan destruction would prove to be as successful in the long-term as it has been in the short. The Tea Party is better at politics than the Wall Street occupiers, who don't really have a purpose but might actually re-center the debate. Chait skewered Cheney's absurd attempts at vindication, a Republican casualty of the Tea Party begged for climate science sanity, and a country music star came out for marriage equality. Andrew remembered the evening of June 23, 1993, when he found out he had HIV.

In election news, Chris Christie is sitting this one out, but his fatness warranted more discussion. Readers packed the in-tray with more definitions of "niggerhead," Perry honed his position on immigration but collapsed in the polls, and Cain, the "GOP's black friend," surged. Naturally, Bachmann received the Bad Lip Reading treatment, and an angsty Sarah Palin had a 100-second meltdown (but there's still a chance she'll declare in the coming weeks). 

We compared 2011 to 1948 and parsed Bibi's demand for an official "Jewish state," and readers reacted to settler fundamentalism. Awlaki's assassination carries heavy implications for Muslim-Americans and the fate of the Yemeni dictator. We experienced the front-lines of the Libyan war, Egyptian democracy remains fragile, and shrinking the U.S. military simply makes strategic sense. In Europe, Greece is the new Lehman, and in the U.S., pro-lifers are the new prohibitionists

The mystery of the impossible Oxford interview was unlocked, we need our "little bugs," and Steven Pinker elaborated on the historic trend toward pacifism. Educating a workforce doesn't create high-skilled jobs, and small business isn't all it's cracked up to be. We weighed the economic theories of Darwin and Smith and checked out the new iPhone. Exercise fuels creativity, a hearing implant introduced a 29-year-old to the miracles of our ordinary life, and "fuck" continued to surprise. A cashier smiled as a man attempted to rob his gas station, and we're psyched for the new season of South Park.

Cool ad watch here, MHB here, FOTD here, VFYW here, and VFYW contest winner #70 here.


Dusty, waiting …

Monday on the Dish, the media descended on Paint Creek and turned up an ugly stone in Rick Perry's pasture, and a reader explored the peculiar meanings of "niggerhead." Obama upped the ante on gay rights and social issues, and Andrew perceived a tipping point. In our video installment, Andrew predicted that the Republican electorate will probably nominate Perry and will probably regret it. Michael Gerson berated Romney for a sinister and incoherent attack on the Texas governor's immigration record. Looks do matter in a president, and it happens that Chris Christie looks like much of America. 

Andrew reiterated his stance on the assassination of al-Awlaki, he wants our troops out of Iraq this year, and Dick Cheney won't give up his panicked struggle to rewrite history (and the rule of law). A pastor physically attacked his own son and his boyfriend in church, a Perry-affiliated Christianist was convinced Israel would ultimately be "saved," and we witnessed a disturbing view into the fundamentalist settler mentality. Israeli politicians are like investment bankers, Ron Kampeas traced the GOP's conversion to the U.S. party of Likudniks, and Goldblog blamed Turkey for Israel's settlements. Kevin Williamson explained why China hawkery is misguided, we needn't worry about an Iranian blockade, and a reader shared a harrowing story of female genital mutilation in Somaliland. Another reader introduced us to the new documentary Tahrir, and territorylessness leads to indiscriminate forms of violence in civil wars.

Robert Spencer and David Horowitz tried to explain away the term Islamophobia as an elaborate enemy invention, and Roseanne Barr unleashed an unhinged attack on guilty bankers. We've lost the physiological capacity to self-regulate, added conspirators undermine conspiracies, and Mike Konczal outlined an agenda for the Wall Street protestors as the movement entered DC. Walter Russell Mead fawned over Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum's new book, and the MSM continued to dismiss Joe McGinniss's. Immigration won't be the silver bullet that will save Social Security, the film American Teacher's case for higher teacher salaries stopped short of raising the hard questions, and a libertarian woke up

Biking is for everyone, and Americans migrated South in record numbers. Parenthood ruined Dreher's appetite for dramatic violence, rogue DNA spurred the evolution of modern human pregnancy, and moms are getting older. We marveled at the curiosity of children, men with master's degrees out-earn female PhDs, and in general women tend to be more precise about their "number." Credit histories don't predict how reliable an employee will be, a PB&J sandwich isn't "non-obvious" enough to be rewarded with a patent, and a solar company has devised a smarter payment plan for its service. Pundits can't seem to tell the truth, and we couldn't resist hot Wall Street occupiers and the most well-hung characters on TV.

FOTD here, VFYW here, MHB here, and creepy ad watch here