The Weekly Wrap

Today on the Dish, Andrew eulogized his friend Hitch, and we assembled remembrances here, here, and here. Peter Hitchens remembered his brother's courage, we revisited his final interview, and in our AAA video, Andrew recounted a night with Hitch. Hitchens ranted against Mother Teresa and Princess Diana, he flourished in the aftermath of Jerry Falwell's death, and Sullivan wouldn't give tongue. In a friend one should have one's best enemy, Sully and Hitch were as one for America, and Hitch knew this poem by heart. 

We revisited Ron Paul's racist newsletters, the GOP field is wildly out of touch on Iraq and Iran, and the candidates (with the exception of Paul) have "pandered to fear and much worse " on gay rights. A reader made the electability argument for Ron Paul, E.D. Kain came out for the anti-war candidate, and we lingered on the outsized brains of London cabbies. We may have missed our chance on climate change, Obama is the "worst socialist ever," and the Louis CK model is not necessarily scalable. TNC detailed the life of "a poor black kid," violence returned to Cairo, and autopsies are indispensable.

Malkin award nominee here, Christmas hathos alert here, poems for the day here and here, VFYW here, MHB here, FOTD here, and the insanity of the drug war here

Leaving iraq
By Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Thursday on the Dish, Andrew live-blogged the last debate before the Iowa caucuses, and we collected reax here. Gingrich lost altitude in the polls, Romney saw a lift in Iowa, and Fox News rejected the democratic process (more disdain here, and a reader's thoughts here). Gingrich has done everything for himself, and he may not even want to be president. In our AAA video, Andrew thought through a Ron Paul presidency, he elaborated on his endorsement in a response to Frum, and Brian Doherty reflected on Paul as a normal political choice. Paul did in fact disown Reagan, Romney has a private equity problem, and his life as a poor missionary in Paris came under dispute. We previewed a crucial moment of Gingrich's candidacy, assembled reax to the Ryan-Wyden plan to reform Medicare, and Obama capitulated on indefinite detention. We assessed Ron Paul's chances, the congressman refused the marriage pledge (take a look at the comments at NRO here),National Review put out an entire magazine to "anti-endorse" Gingrich, and the Weekly Standard held out.

The war in Iraq came to a formal end, John McCain doubled down on US imperialism, and Greenwald provided an update on the Josh Block smears. We imagined a post-Assad Syria, Huntsman is unreasonable on Iran, and every people is "an invented people."

We debated the best ways to discourage and prevent date rape, the field of neuroeconomics emerged, and the typical law professor knows nothing about being a lawyer. A reader warned against playing with gender stereotypes, Hitch has not found God and is not finding God (related dissent of the day here), and infertile women do not lack families. 

Chart of the day here, FOTD here, MHB here, VFYW here, and shit gay guys say here

Ron paul
By Tom Williams/Roll Call

Wednesday on the Dish, Andrew endorsed Ron Paul for the GOP nomination, Christine O'Donnell championed Romney, and Nate Silver ran the latest numbers in Iowa. Mitt has an evangelical problem, his brand of capitalism is inadequate, though his tax plan is relatively moderate. The former governor borrowed the KKK's slogan, he went after Gingrich's money, and may run (back) to the center. The GOP may be willing to lose in 2012, but electability can be persuasive, and the president can't let the chairman of the Fed go. The Freddie Mac bailout was even worse than 144 Solyndras, and Gingrich represents a liberal's idea of a Tea Partier

We reimagined the US-Saudi relationship, checked in on Afghanistan, and celebrated British "obstructionism." The Muslim Brotherhood clamped down in Egypt, Google documented post-tsunami Japan, and Russia is beside the point. China may be more Westphalian than the West, the two likeliest Republican nominees are far more supportive of Netanyahu than their own president, and in 1982 Reagan urged a settlement freeze. 

In our AAA video, Andrew explained his distaste for the HRC, Louis CK won the Internet, and readers sounded off on date rape and personal responsibility. We explored the psychology of murder, reexamined the conservatism of Russell Kirk, and delved into the criminalization of HIV. A la carte pricing would force active viewers to pay more for cable, Facebook is making us jealous and sad, brain structure is not fixed, and the face of Muslim America is banal.

Quote for the day here, today in Syria here, Malkin award nominee here, VFYW here, FOTD here, MHB here, and Andrew on Hitch here

Tuesday on the Dish, Andrew discussed meditation, he considered the many ways to God, and "that thing out there" is conscious. Conservatives went berserk over the Gingrich surge (more unconcealed panic here), and the former speaker proposed an average tax cut of $1.9 million for everyone in the top 0.1 percent. Romney defined his views as "progressive" in 2002, he had a hard time connecting with a gay vet, and his lead in New Hampshire may not be forever. The "less weird" candidate will win, Newt mastered the counter-punch, and he waged a lonely campaign. We collected reax to the Gingrich-Huntsman "debate," a conservative Christian brought Perry back to earth, and Ron Paul could "change the math" in Iowa (more on Paul as protest vote here). 

The foreign minister of Israel defended Putin's corruption, Assad has murdered more than 5,000 Syrians, and drones hovered in the US. We explored Palestinian identity, and the EU faces a problem of scale. 

We debated the merits of political fact-checking, met YouTube's oppo researcher, and covered the controversy surrounding Lowe's and All-American Muslim (Jonah Goldberg's thoughts here). DOMA complicates the tax code, cable bundling enables Fox News, and the blogosphere's most talented political reporter ditched blogging. We have a primordial need to hoard food, sugar makes us tired and sad, and e-cigs are an effective replacementfor cigs. City rankings are useless, and the pit bull is the American muscle dog.

Poseur alert here, FOTD here, MHB here, VFYW here, VFYW contest winner #80 here, the 2011 economy in 10 graphs here, and the Christmas gift idea for the man who has everything here

Wasilla, Alaska, 11.26 am

Monday on the Dish, Newt opened up a bigger lead in the early states, he took up the fundamentalist's war against secularism, and he acted "exactly like one of those obnoxious elitist intellectual know-it-alls that the right-wing no-nothings think is the hallmark of an intellectual" (more on Newt's appeal here). Andrew embraced Gingrich's proposal for a series of Lincoln-Douglas debates, we placed the former speaker in the recent history of improbable candidates, and the GOP field erupted into negative attacks. Greater Israel is at the core of the GOP base, Santorum once gave an award to Jerry Sandusky, and Romney self-consciously ducked class warfare. The debates have been a disaster for the GOP (further reax to the $10,000-bet debate here), the headline unemployment rate could actually rise next year, and a 15-year-old boy spent his entire adolescence imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay. 

We tracked developments in Syria, Stephen Walt warned against covert war in Iran, and Marty Peretz stood up to right-wing Israelis. A former AIPAC spokesman introduced a campaign to target several critics of Netanyahu as anti-Semites over a list-serv, Middle Eastern Jews and Palestinians are genetically almost identical, Britain resisted European integration, and the British coalition showed worrying signs of fracture. 

In our AAA video, Andrew discussed his opposition to infant circumcision, Xeni Jardin Instagrammed her mammogram, and Roland Fryer measured school culture. Molten lava isnothing like water, fungi grow toward their food, and Facebook is keeping tabs. We continued the debate over emergency contraception for teens, addressed the first rule of blogging, and the Army invented a sandwich that stays fresh for two years. We shouldn't require "sparks" on the first date, cremation powered electricity in England, birds see things humans cannot, and there's a theory that only someone who has had a twin in utero can be "truly left-handed." 

Quote for the day here, hathos alert here, chart of the day here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here