The Weekly Wrap


Friday on the Dish, after the blogosphere rejoiced as the unemployment rate fell to 7.8% – beneath the threshold Obama had long promised, Ezra Klein debunked 7.8%-denialism. The Romney-bot rebooted as Mitt recanted on the 47%, but Steve Kornacki wasn't buying it. Obama out-blinked Romney – a bad sign for the president – and a Romney campaign adviser planned to focus on ignoring Dem distractions, with Team Romney continuing the post-debate ad barrage. Meanwhile, the two Nates interpreted the first post-debate poll.

Sasha Issenberg then broke down data analytics, Kleiman pondered a marijuana legalization win and corporations relied heavily on government welfare. And as Serena Dai flagged a chart on housing foreclosures, Mooney argued climate change was a winning issue.

In global news, Adam Serwer urged perspective on the embassy attack, Evan Osnos explained why China can't satirize and Omid Memarian detailed the Iranian currency problems.

Andrew cherished his father's unwavering love and support, affirmative action created the mismatch effect and Mark Forsyth investigated political language. In more assorted commentary, Christopher Ryan explained how agriculture changed sex, diversity killed nicknames and scientific facts had a half-life. Meanwhile, the social security number market boomed, Alexis examined Facebook's growth numbers and Hugh Thompson reflected on England's natural history. VFYW here, FOTD here, and MHB here.

The rest of the week after the jump:


Debate dissection dominated the Dish on Thursday, with Andrew framing Romney as a master salesman. Meanwhile, readers reacted here, here, here and here, with blogger post-mortems here, here and here. Tweet reax here and here. And an Elmo FOTD here.

In additional debate analysis, Silver expected Romney to claim some gains, Jed Kolko guessed why the candidates ignored the housing crisis and Amy Davidson listed seven of Obama's missed opportunities. Kerry Howley then called the debates "empty promises," Mary Elizabeth Williams spotlighted the significance of Sesame Street and Clive Crook stood up for Lehrer.

Obama returned fire, while Team Romney unleashed new ads. Larison, meanwhile, recommended that Romney stick to his strengths, Douthat kept an eye on the polls and Daniel Gross awaited tomorrow's jobs numbers. And while Chris Wilson grouped political donations by name, Millman fingered the finance industry over inequality.

In world news, Syria and Turkey exchanged fire and Golnaz Esfandiari reviewed the civilian cost of bombing Iran. And in assorted commentary, Alyssa cheered a new music video, Robert Wiblin critiqued "private altruism" and gun-printing met with legal troubles. VFYW here, MHB here and ask Reihan anything!


by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Wednesday on the Dish, Andrew live-blogged the first presidential debate, saying "Obama may even have lost the election tonight," after which he dissected it on Beast TV. And as the blogosphere bashed Obama, Tweets ranged from snarky to baffled. Meanwhile, Big Bird grew worried.

Earlier in the day, after Andrew pole-axed Tucker Carlson, Weigel weighed in on Obama's "second race speech" and Alex Castellanos lamented. In debate previews, Larison framed tonight as Romney's "best available shot," bloggers wondered whether debates matter and Thomas M. Holbrook analyzed their history. Dickerson explained why presidential temperament mattered, Douthat wished Romney had run a better campaign and Nyhan urged blind debate coverage. The debate then went digital and John Cook believed the press treated Romney unfairly.

More generally, libertarian values surged, Obama's bounce faded in Florida and Quinnipiac found Obama leading with women. While bloggers pushed back on the fiscal cliff debate, Rohit Chopra pondered our fixation with entrepreneurs. And as "you didn't build that" lost traction, Paul Ryan shared his video diary of Steak Baby, er, Big Sweet Owl…?

Toobin suspected the marriage equality ballot measures would influence SCOTUS and Expedia rolled out a marriage equality commercial. Hillary then mugged next to Xtina, George W. Bush explained the racial roots of poverty and John Hodgman lamented the humbling nature of political humor online.

In global news, as Iran's economy faltered, Drezner said sanctions in Iran were working. Beinart then broke down how Zionism is in crisis, Mike Giglio reported on Assad's increasing cruelty and The Economist expected smart weapons to get cheaper. And as Eli Lake dug into the embassy attack, a former CIA analyst gave some perspective.

In assorted commentary, Andrew got visual on the MGM debate. John Self then defended lit crit bloggers, Farhad Manjoo hated online pagination, and as Noah Millman mulled Robot & Frank, "cocktail trees" bore fruit. Sarcastaball MHB here and VFYW here.

Tuesday on the Dish, Andrew made the conservative case for addressing inequality. He then critiqued Romney's strategy, posed a question toward the candidate and flagged the need for a Romney breakthrough tomorrow night. And after he reflected on the latest Ralph Reed mailing, he rounded up the marriage equality outlook.

Meanwhile, Obama faced high debate expectations, Stanley Crouch ranted and John Sides noted the significance of post-debate spin. And as Josh Marshall argued it would be hard for Romney to attack Obama, Nate Cohn said the race was tightening and kept tabs on young voters. Matt Viser then detailed Romney's clawback to victory in 2002, Elspeth Reeve called the debate a "reality show" and Ron Brownstein pinpointed the source of Obama's swing state advantage.

As the market priced in an Obama win and Felix Salmon mulled the finance industry's relationship with the president, Derek Thompson noted the implications of the fiscal cliff and Bartlett made the case for jumping off.

Molly Ball then evaluated Romney's Ohio prospects, Scott Brown stepped in it with his Scalia mention and Rove's Crossroads spent more. And while John Sides found evidence of increased interest in Mormonism, Bernstein begged for a sane Republican. Plus, Romney reflected on Chipotle … and then got photobombed, sort of.

Andrew then promoted "How to Survive a Plague," and responded to a reader's dissent about MGM. Elsewhere in the world, Christopher Stephen checked in on Libya's religious extremism, while William Saletan reflected on the freedom to hate.

And in assorted commentary, Ernest Shackleton fought colic with chronic, Le Whaf flavored and readers defended organic food. Readers chimed in on the law school debate, Nate Silver recalled his gambling days and Christopher Ryan explained sexless marriages. Neighborhood get-togethers dwindled, Harry Molotch explained how terrorism hotlines compromised safety and "Gangnam Style" was rendered musicless. VFYW here and VFYW winner here.

Monday on the Dish, Andrew marveled that the GOP was still focused on on its "Carter Strategy." He then called Paul Ryan "not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree," worried that Romney would embrace torture in the debates and qualified his support for Simpson-Bowles. And after Andrew wondered how partisan polarization could be changed, he summarized the polls and agreed with Touré that Obama's re-election could spur racial integration.

Seth Masket then previewed the first debate, the Romney campaign plotted zinging and Ezra Klein explained the Obama strategy. Big money migrated, abortion didn't hurt Dems and Obama relied on routine. And as the fiscal cliff loomed and Pew made Romney seem unusually unlikeable, Karl Rove's Super PAC embraced the "Carter Strategy" and Mike Murphy analogized poll denialism. Plus, Homer got Romneyed.

In global coverage, Andrew defended Beinart's critical read on the Middle East, no one knew the drone death count and Tom Freston visited Hezbollah's new Tourist Landmark of the Resistance. More generally, McKay Coppins pushed back on the Mormon excommunication issue, Eric Nusbaum reflected on the car chase suicide and Jesse Ellison reported the latest in US military rape.

Meanwhile, in assorted commentary, Rohin Dhar exposed the mattress racket, a philosopher pondered pain and Greg Beato praised electric bikes. Christopher Bonanos then compared Polaroid and Apple, Google Street View went under the sea and Christie Wilcox questioned the organic advantage. And as scientists confronted post-apocalyptic timekeeping, Adam Wilson likened Louie to Twin Peaks and Andrew thanked Dishheads, old and new. FOTD here, MHB here and VFYW here.


by Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images

Saturday and Sunday on the Dish, we provided an exceptionally eclectic look at this strange and fascinating world we inhabit. Our fraught search for pleasure received a great deal of attention: Steven Martin took us inside an opium den, Nate Berg covered smoking segregation, Priya-Elika Elias imagined romantic advice from Ernest Hemingway, Jeremy Harlin outlined the latest porn tropes, and Nick Douglas applauded the web show Awkward Sunrise's depiction of people having sex and talking. We didn't exclude our pets' happiness, either – readers joined the conversation about dogs and depression.

We also stepped back from current events to consider politics from a historical perspective. Harlow Unger surmised what John Quincy Adams would say to Romney and Obama, Lauren Weiner explored Ray Bradbury's understanding of dystopia, Michael Dirda revisited Richard Hofstadter's Anti-Intellectualism in America Life, Dorothy Wickenden celebrated Lincoln's collaboration with William H. Seward, Forrest Wickman claimed Jimmy Carter as our most religious president, and Elizabeth Kolbert lamented our generation's greatest failing – ignoring climate change.

In cultural news, Rose Eveleth provided a history of The Hobbit, Verlyn Klinkenborg reminded writers of a basic but neglected rule of composition, Michael Bourne appreciated the fiction of Junot Diaz, David Thomson reluctantly admitted he's entertained by cinematic mash-ups from the Internet, Robert Provine opined on the philosophical importance of tickling, John Lloyd's TED talk received a clever animated rendering, Mark Linsenmay doubted the philosophical value of literature, and Kate Rix highlighted the Mysteries of Vernacular series. Read Saturday's poem here and Sunday's here.

In religious coverage, Father Peter Cameron thought about beauty and God, Benjamin Wallace-Wells considered the the connection between business and faith in Mormonism, Nelson Jones critiqued the un-democratic process for selecting the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Brian Solomon profiled a billionaire evangelical, and Alyssa Rosenberg argued The Master was about faith in general – not just the Super Adventure Club.

We asked Dina Martina anything here and here. FOTDs here and here, MHBs here and here, VFYWs here and here, and the latest window contest here.

– G.G.