The Weekly Wrap

Mar 23 2012 @ 10:28pm

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Friday on the Dish, Andrew called out for help in the coming marrige equality fights, solicited more etch-a-sketch moments from readers, reupped "Ask Steven Pinker Anything," and shared documentation of an "emo killing" in Iraq. We kept up the debate on Beinart and settlements (here, here, and here), explained why Obama wasn't ready to bomb Iran just yet, got pessimistic about Afghanistan's future, watched Turkey turn (far to the) west, heard a harsh take on Islam's "true" face, aired reader debate on whether American soldiers were heroes, were horrified by genital wounds, examined whether the TSA was an overreaction to terrorism, and located the world's smokers. The boring primary slogged on, Romney's gaffe piqued readers' intersts, and Obama surged in Virginia. Ad War Update here.

Andrew also disabused anyone of the notion that Paul Ryan's budget was in touch with reality, while we guessed that Roberts would uphold Obamacare and checked in on the law's precedents. The Tea Party benefitted from good weather and had a curious artistic sense. Obama spoke out about Trayvon Martin, testimonies of Christianism breeding atheism rolled in, PETA dissembled about murdering animals, legal pot appeared unlikely to solve the budget deficit, Mormon feminism sparked discussion, and catcalling was horrifying. The Dish's male readership imbalance became a bromance, good advertising required better products, employers demanded access to Facebook passwords, science fiction got darker, The Hunger Games fit our times, sex scenes made actors very uncomfortable, and television recaps died out. We found evidence that people in big cities walked faster, detailed how an Etch-A-Sketch actually worked, and wondered if the obese should pay more for airfare. Hewitt Nominee here, Creepy Ad here AAA here, VFYW here, FOTD here, and MHB here.

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Thursday on the Dish, Andrew chronicled the offensive against Peter Beinart, went another round with Jeffrey Goldberg on related issues, flagged Roger Cohen's critique of Goldberg's reporting, called him out again, and restated his basic position on Beinart's boycott. Peter himself challenged opponents to articulate an alternative for restricting settlement growth, the Libyan war might have precipitated a coup in Mali, size of a state's economy was an ambiguously useful metric of global power, and traumatic brain injury was a serious problem for soldiers.

Andrew also explained in great depth why the Etch-A-Sketch gaffe was so devastatingly embarrassing for the Romney campaign while we followed up on some reactions from blogosphere to it, dug up one instance of his Etch-A-Sketchness, compared The Gaffe to equivalents in campaigns past, gave Mitt a chance in Louisiana, yawned at Jeb Bush's endorsement, wondered when the losers would drop out, and noted the importance of the Presidential race for shaping who controlled the Senate. Ad War Update here.

Finally, we posted an Urtak for Ask Steven Pinker Anything, charted the rise of Mormon feminism online, explored the "cost of being a woman," updated you on a victory for marriage equality in NH, aired a critique of Christianist "freedom," and looked at how a self-defense law enabled the murder of Trayvon Martin. Striking down the health care mandate looked likely to make premiums skyrocket, environmentalism hurt asthma sufferers, mapping the brain appeared capable of revolutionizing medicine, and referring to former politicians by their ex-titles seemed silly. Sexual desires were inextricably linked to your identity, fairy tales returned to their dark roots, an amazing chess story might be corrupted by Hollywood, the truth's imperfections helped create a story's value, the Clintons got an airport, and men cheered. AAA here, FOTD here (follow-up to yesterday's here), VFYW here, and MHB here.

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Sedona, Arizona, 8.30 am

Wednesday on the Dish, Andrew called the end of the horse race, explained why he couldn't get on board with Paul Ryan's plan, and delved into the data suggesting that the GOP's Christianism was, rather than saving Christianity, destroying it. We blamed Romney's failings as a candidate for the overlong primary (follow-up here), noted the weaknesses of another veep pick, cornered the constituency responsible for Santorum's possible tactical victory in Louisiana, and listened to him disavow one of them. The next Democratic nominee looked poised to embrace marriage equality, Obama's supposed funding problem got scrutinized, and David Corn analyzed Obama's "strategic patience." Ad War Update here.

Andrew also got into it with Jeffrey Goldberg on arguments from "authoritah" on Israel and notified y'all about his Bill Maher appearance this Friday. We aired a sophisticated dissent from a reader on how to deal with the settlement problem, listened to more readers on the same topic, examined Peter Beinart's own rebuttal to his "Zionist boycott" proposal's critics, were appalled by the terrorist assault in Toulouse, checked on Syria's reverberations in Lebanon, and spotted basic Russian and Chinese weaknesses in global politics. American soldiers may (or may not) have been properly given the label "hero" automatically and officers made bank.

The web reacted to Paul Ryan's new budget, inequality's causes were debated, the ranks of the suburban poor swelled, men left professions that women entered, Obamacare litigation received scrutiny, a lottery ticket's value wasn't principally financial, and lying about Foxconn deflated the truth. Trayvon Martin was unjustly murdered, humanity seemed able to avoid extinction, horse racing brutalized horses, firefighter vision disoriented us, anonymous sobering helped many, and female Dish readers kept speaking up. AAA here, Quotes for the Day here and here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here.

Tuesday on the Dish, Andrew went after Jeffrey Goldberg's dismissal of The Crisis of Zionism, noticed two other instances of a growing "Ignore. Peter. Beinart." movement, explained how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict fuelled Bin Laden's fanaticism, and decried some home-grown religious craziness from a Santorum supporter. We compiled reax to Romney's win-verging-on-blowout in Illinois, heard the "primary is over" chorus out, checked on how long it would take for Romney to wrap it up, explored his extraordinary underperformance, wondered if Mitt's military non-service would become an isssue, and gathered evidence that Rubio would be a terrible VP pick (electorally speaking). Ad War Updates here and here.

Andrew also blasted two cardinals' nigh-GOP endorsements, reacted to thoughts from the Dish's female readership on the gender imbalance, and brought Ask Jonah [Lehrer] Anything back to your attention. We spotlighted the spate of recent debt ceiling debate autopsies, rubbished fears of dumb voters, continued debate on the Alexandra Pelosi Obama voter video, waited for Obama's reelection for an about-face on marriage equality, bet SCOUTS would leave Obamacare alone, and dug up some old-but-relevant remarks from Obama on striking Iran. India might not have begun a rise to great power status, Iraq didn't help the victims of "emo killings," and Apple wasn't any worse about immoral outsourcing than its competitors. Steve Jobs led his company to an enormous fastly rise, Google fell by trying too hard to fight Facebook, a dictator used Photoshop, and an iPad met concrete. Glenn Beck profited online, hockey loved the gays, historians verified chop suey's authenticity, yellow fever got filmed, spring came early, and Ryan Gosling aged like scotch. Chart of the Day here, Malkin Nominee here, Quote of the Day here, AAA here, VFYW Contest Winner here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here.

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By Tim Hetherington

Monday on the Dish, Andrew reupped his defense of Democratic fiscal conservatism over the GOP's profligacy, argued that Obama and Cameron's respective fiscal strategies made sense in the context of each of their countries, spotted the "critical bad play" in the debt ceiling negotiations, explained why Catholics were rejecting Santorum and the Church hierarchy, noted Romney's new spin on the economy, and called out Drudge for merging with the Romney campaign. We noted Romney's significant victory in Puerto Rico (and its undercoverage by the press), previewed a potential blowout in Illinois, and gaped at Gingrich's perseverence. Readers debated Alexandra Pelosi's Obama voter "expose," American voting looked pretty tribal, and presidential rhetorical power was pretty limited.

Andrew also introduced the poll for "Ask Jonah Lehrer Anything," flagged both a great PSA on being gay in hockey and a horrific interview with Tony Blair and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on the latter's support for laws banning homosexual sex, got angry about the Dharun Ravi verdict, and uncovered a truly repellent instance of Church corruption. We grabbed reax to the Mike Daisey Apple-In-China fiasco, guessed an Iran war could never be won, and saw Gitmo assimilate its opponents. The Catholic hierarchy didn't always hate gays, an abortion in Texas was excruciating, and the sex offender registry had unintended consequences. Obamacare's legality came up for debate in anticipation of next week's case, domestic oil appeared unlikely to solve high gas prices, cities greened, and ways to increase creative thinking got examined.

We told you to relax and get bored, cautioned against over-optimism, rubbished human nature, watched detectives use data to succeed, marvelled at the consequences of global warming, and broke down why decaf coffee tasted terrible. The Hunger Games discussion went on, films critics ceased to matter, Luck's luck ran out after one-too-many killed horses, and another reader kept up up the discussion of gore in fiction. Hathos Alert here, Hathos Red Alert here, AAA here, Chart of the Day here, Quote of the Day here, MHB here, VFYW here, and FOTD here.

- Z.B.