The Weekly Wrap

May 25 2012 @ 10:29pm

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Friday on the Dish, Andrew found more support for the "Obama-as-penny-pincher" theory, dismissed Tim Cavanaugh's ridiculous theory that we've got a stagflation problem, noted the increase in marriage rates after marriage equality was legalized, and pondered "Mr. Half Dollar's" sexism-inspired homophobic fears. We coralled evidence that Obama alone transformed black opinions about marriage equality, heard readers challenge Grennell on the GOP and gays, spotlighted an Orthodox case for marriage equality, bet the campaign wouldn't be as nasty as previously thought, wondered if the Tea Party could drive the Romney train, speculated as to the impact of his candidacy on Mormonism, and gaped at his favorite novel (Battlefield Earth?????). More thoughts came in the supposed "decline of pro-choicers" here and here, liberals and conservatives reacted to the S.E. Cupp affair, talking heads declined, Lanny Davis ruined Washington, and Obama bogarted.

Andrew also committed to Eurobonds as the only way to save the EU and revisited Wodehouse and fascism. We compiled reax to the Egyptian elections, got real about Greece, found competing views of a Grexit's importance, discovered a potential Chinese recession, and looked at examples of rifles destroying society. We further assessed 50 Shades of Grey, profiled a 29-year old virgin Olympian, and kept up discussion on the objectification of men. Organ markets seemed capable of saving lives, the car industry lobbied for jaywalking, and entrepreneurship became a necessity. The biology of drinking altered speech, our knowledge had limits, and a reader really loved plywood. Ask Jim Manzi Anything here, Hathos Alert here, Yglesias Award Nominee here, Quote for the Day here, Tweet of the Day here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here.

Thursday on the Dish, Andrew rebutted more attempts to pin the spending surge on Obama, credited the President with turning public opinion around on marriage equality, found another conservative thinker who's given up on the GOP, compared the US media to Australia's on Trig, and came around to single payer. We worried deficits would help the GOP, scrutinized Obama's Appalachia problem, found another problem with the Republicans-as-civil-rights-champions argument, labelled Obama the "mobile phone candidate," gaped at Obama's huge lead among Hispanics, spotlighted Romney's education plan, and continued discussion of Mormonism and racism. Frum explained Washington dysfunction, right-wing media exposed little, Giuliani worked with Serbian nationalists, and this interview icked us out. Ad War Update here.

Andrew also commemorated P.G. Wodehouse, put Britain's recession in historical context, and set expectations for Iran negotiations. We reported on the desire for change in Libya, bet the war on terror would look like the drug war, exposed the reality of the latter, and found American clothes in Haiti. Being treated like a woman broke a male celebrity, frozen eggs addressed gender inequalities, and teenage girls had caves. Men moved into traditionally "female" jobs, Facebook's IPO wasn't great but also wasn't all bad, and corporate raiders found a champion. Reader discussion exploded on the parking psychology topic, the ginger prejudice discussion also continued, science made a better ketchup bottle, and a blog changed the world. Ask Tyler Cowen Anything here, Cool Ad here, Moore Award Nominee here, Quotes for the Day here, here, and here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here.

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By Jewel Samad /AFP/Getty Images

Wednesday on the Dish, Andrew debunked an ideological broadside against Obama, looked into the implications of Obama's pro-equality stance, labelled Romney "the war candidate," worried about the hierarchy's influence over Catholic voters, theorized about causes behind the decline of "pro-choice" identification, and adjudicated the debate over the partisan history of the civil rights movement in favor of the Democrats. We noticed confidence in the economy go up (it's still low, though), explained Obama's Appalachia problem (don't exclude race), labelled Colorado the "swingiest swing state," noticed the Obama's tricky randomized ad gambit, and aired more thoughts on the politics of Bain. Romney looked like the war candiate to Colin Powell as well, raised our hackles with his odd laugh, and sparked reader debate (here and here) about "the Mormon mask." The big 2012 fiscal policy fight appeared to be the key determinant of future policy success, low reading complexity didn't necessarily make you dumb, Palin got laughed at in Australia, Reagan's blood sold on the market, and the GOP had an absurd idea of compromise. Ad War Updates here and here.

Andrew also looked at the politics and policy of the Afghan withdrawal, critiqued studies claiming to show circumcision reduced the spread of AIDS, and reflected on his lives in Britan and America. Egypt voted, everything was classified, a Spanish vacation would cost you, Piers Morgan taught hacking, and Will.i.am acted chutpah-riffic on climate change. More heartbreaking stories about gay-straight marriages poured in, gay literature saved, and ending prison rape took real moral change. Markets created spaceships, parking lot behavior was justified by etiquette norms, turning left solved corn mazes, and, uh, Sticky Buddy. Ask Steven Pinker Anything here, Quote for the Day here, Creepy Ad here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here.

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Cannonville, Utah, 7.01 pm

Tuesday on the Dish, Andrew blasted the GOP's record on spending as compared to Obama's, worried Romney would be par for the Republican course, linked Mitt's Mormonism to his Ward Cleaver public image,  and hit home the stakes in the marriage equality fight. We saw no real impact on the campaign from Obama's marriage equality announcement, evaluated Obama's line on Bain, figured no one was going to remember what we're talking about now in November anyway, explored the Derb and conservative racial panic, kept up the heat on Obama on marijuana, and laughed at the idea that Hillary would replace Biden as veep.

Andrew also judged Leo Strauss a philosophical "mediocrity" (follow-up here), expressed concerns about John Brennan's targeted killing powers, and extolled online courses. An Iran deal inched closer to reality, Egypt moved towards a historic vote, Obama blanked on an important piece of the Israeli-Palestinian puzzle, and global politics doomed the climate. The Ivies looked a lot like the 1% of universities.

Andrew also grieved over Mary Kennedy and her struggle with depression and engaged with the roots of anti-ginger prejudice. We heard a new perspective on the race/sexual orientation conversation and straight dating exposed latent prejudices about sexuality. Lobsters trailblazed on eternal youth, long days made for poor decisions, food ills worsened, and city animals hid. "Broken windows" policing broke lives, innovation didn't live up to expectations, living at home wasn't terrible, and counterfeiting took real skill. Plywood fascinated, Siri raged, and apocalyptic fiction mainstreamed. Ask Jim Manzi Anything here, Yglesias Award Nominee here, VFYW Contest Winner here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here.

Monday on the Dish, Andrew defended federalism as the best solution to the culture wars, wondered if the health care industry just raised prices because it could, and looked down on the new GOP legislators' English skills. We clarified the debate surrounding Romney's Bain days, worried about President Romney's cabinet, figured the GOP wouldn't cut spending, told Republicans to start paying more attention to Spanish-language media if they wanted to win, decoded polling on whether evangelical anti-Mormonism would hurt Mitt, declared Romneycare a success, watched a hyperbolic climate change denial organization implode, found an absolutely appalling anti-gay outburst, and didn't expect a truly gay president for decades. Ad War Update here.

Andrew also defended non-scientific means of knowing about the world, accepted the Dharun Ravi verdict, confessed his obsession with pageviews, told us about his fascination with a real reality show and Crystal Bowersox, and debunked Jose Rodriguez's narrative of the torture program (follow-up here). We checked in on Egypt's election, were afraid the liberals might have failed, noted an instance of settler violence, spotlighted a sad Palestinian story, tracked some absurd resupply lines in Afghanistan, and theorized that the rise of the BRICs might not be so bad for the US.

Inequality caused teen pregnancy, childbirth produced poverty, the rich had prettier cities, and labelling more people alcoholics wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Work sparked a civil war in your brain, parking spot tussles created a territorial response, creative thinking required forgetting purpose, sex/gender norms shifted our perception of straight relationships, and worms grew in brains. Lawns destroyed and Romans walked. Readers sent in beautiful eclipse pictures and a remixed Cold War film blew our minds. The Avengers appealed to our post-Great Recession psyches and readymade food grossed us out. Ask Tyler Cowen Anything here, Quote for the Day here, Yglesias Nominees here and here, Moore Award Nominee here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here.

- Z.B.