The Weekly Wrap

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Friday on the Dish, Patrick went in-depth on whether labels make you stupid (reader thoughts here), Chris debuted the Ask (Spencer) Ackerman Anything poll, Maisie pondered Romney's path on foreign policy, and I nodded in the direction of a political solution for Syria during a cease fire (follow-up here) and posed some pragmatic challenges to advocates of a settlement boycott. We worried that geese could set off nuclear war betwen Israel and Iran, examined the implications of North Korea's failed missile test here and here, wondered if Latin America could end the drug war as we know it, determined the scope of media mistreatment of foreign countries, and noticed that fighting wars helped presidents in history's eyes. Romney always had a woman voter problem, swing voters weren't who you thought, and the campaign ushered in the media silly season.

We fit alien movies to American foreign policy, thought over what made a book unfilmable (follow-up here), noted an important addendum to the young adult literature conversation, asked science for symphonies, and re-read The Closing of the American Mind. Ebook sellers irritated the Justice Department and the pot law patchwork confused growers. Readers continued discussiong "boxing on ice," dating with disabilities (here and here), and the value of gyms. Pants lied, fancy restaurant ordering required ordering weird-sounding stuff, the Titantic disrupted social norms, and Friday(s) the 13th creeped people out. Ask Charles Murray Anything here, Malkin Award Nominee here, Quote for the Day here, View From Your Airplane Window here, FOTD here, VFYW here, and MHB here.

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Avalon, California, 7.42 am

Thursday on the Dish, I defended the idea that liberal democracy was here to stay, spoke up in favor of gyms (follow-up here), and clarified a point on drug legalization versus criminalization, while Patrick debunked a wildly misleading statistic from the Romney campaign. Today's nontroversy merited a meh, the Buffet Rule tested the GOP's elasticity, Mitt needn't fret about the empathy gap (an attribute that probably didn't matter much in Presidents anyway), and Eisenhower's approach got deconstructed. We took in arguments as to why Obamacare wouldn't increase the deficit, spotlighted Connecticut's decision to ax the death penalty, and kept up the political labels v. intelligence debate. Ad War Update here.

We also glimpsed the life of gay teenagers gripped by ex-gay theory, examined "dating with disability" (follow-up here), and further distanced asexuality from anti-intimacy. Readers debated the VAT as tax simplification, paying for education with future earnings, and fighting in hockey. War might have been less likely if it was harder to start, Communtiy explained real wars, the quality of American food fell off - as did walking, stay-at-home mothers were less well off, and Microsoft Word sucked. Pet obituaries created problems and a dog talked. Ask Charles Murray Anything here, the (above) Hathos Alert here, VFYW here, FOTD here, and MHB here.

Wednesday on the Dish, Patrick waded into the debate and humbled pundits attempting to estimate the cost of Obamacare, Maisie reframed the Buffet Rule debate, I pushed back against a drug war talking point, and Chris gave you the above weirdness and reupped Ask Jennifer Rubin Anything. We wondered if Santorum really pulled Romney right, looked at Mitt's next steps, heard the case for Romney-Ryan, pinned the Democratic platform's embrace of marriage equality to 2016 at the latest, and acknowledged Bush's tax victory. Ad War Update here.

We also surveyed Arab attitudes toward Iran, previewed the upcoming negotiations, busted some myths about Israeli and American politics, examined 9/11's impact on Canada, and pinpointed the most violent place on Earth. Economic growth increased death rates, IPOs created "death spirals" for young buisnesses, Facebook bought Instagram for some pretty understandable reasons, and future earnings hypothetically financed college. Reading surged, some YA novels really were worth it for adults (thread-ending Quote for the Day here), and age didn't always increase wisdom. Race divided a parent from child, American Pie broke down sexual norms, religiosity mattered, and humans were incorrigibly optimistic. We pondered the rationality of hating murders, thought through veterinary ethics, heard the sound of meals, and readers continued the cannabis and hockey violence threads. Ask Charles Murray Anything here, Hathos Alert here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here.

Tuesday on the Dish, Maisie compiled reax to Santorum's drop out and I defended the idea that the man had legitimate appeal inside the GOP. Chris thought through the phenomenology of asexuality and implored you to Ask Jennifer Rubin Anything, Patrick posed a tough question for Ross Douthat, and I both sharpened the liberal/neoconservative line on foreign policy and explored a justification for US global military presence. We fit Romney into a chameleon suit and explained the real reason a veep matters. Ad War Update here.

We also checked a new study on Obamacare costs, looked at the View from Your Recovery, explored a quick path to tax simplification, battled with IRS bureaucracy, worried about privacy in a cashless world, cautioned against smartphone addiction, and broke down the evidence about putting head shots in resumes. Student debt exploded and alumni offered loans.

Libya's future was murky and Assad buckled. We questioned the durability of federal marijuana laws, debated pot's creativity-enhancing effects, noted that caffeine could theoretically make you lazy, and warned against the dangers of sitting. The morality of procreation discussion moved away from abstraction, nose erections were a thing, and readers aired thoughts on YA books (here) the comparison between injuries in football and hockey (here and here). Ask Charles Murray Anything (on his marriage equality conversion) here,VFYW Contest Winer here, VFYW here, FOTD here, and MHB here.

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By Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Monday on the Dish, I defended good-versus-evil narratives, Chris invited you to ask Tyler Cowen Anything and chuckled at a penguin, and Patrick gave you a moment of Andrew. Romney distinguished between Mormon "doctrine" and "practices," it appeared possible that the GOP might have to defend both in the election, and Gingrich reconciled (sort of) to the inevitable. We debated the Ryan plan's seriousness, listened to reader feedback on the "Social Darwinism" label for it, and dove into the science of ideology. John Derbyshire's firing got more scrutiny here and here, gender roles limited female opportunities in Congress, and journalists prophesied their own doom.

We also weighed in on pink slime, took in advice on getting out of food ruts, examined how to prevent human extinction, zoomed in on the secret life of plankton, and learned about human society from an octopus. Posthumous marriage and child conception posed ethical issues, homophobia came from repressed gayness (shocker, that), a (potentially false) coming out story moved us, and monogamy worked for many. The deluge on Big Football continued, tackling Saddam was expensive, our energy crisis needed to be solved socially, your dollars went to office workers, and the government had more to do if it wanted to improve our economic situation. Laughter bonded and Korean pop spread. Ask Charles Murray Anything here, View from your Airplane Window here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here.

Z.B.