Slate's Political Gabfest for Jan. 30.

Slate's weekly political roundtable.
Jan. 30 2009 11:25 AM

The Absurd and a Little Testy Gabfest

Listen to Slate's review of the week in politics.

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See all of Slate's inauguration coverage.

(Continued from Page 2)

Here are links to some of the articles and other items mentioned in the show:

The group discusses their experiences in Washington, D.C., during Tuesday's inauguration. Emily spent time in the crowd gathered near the Washington Monument. John had a better vantage point from which to watch the ceremony—sitting on the risers along the Capitol steps.

There has still been no official estimate of the number of people gathered on the Mall. However, some people used satellite pictures in an attempt to arrive at a number.

Some critics said Obama's speech didn't have enough soaring rhetoric at a time of crisis. John says it's very difficult to say a great deal in one speech.

The president quickly got down to business by issuing several presidential directives. Among them were orders to begin the process to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and to restrict the methods available for interrogation of prisoners. He also issued an executive order to freeze the pay of high-level government officials and improve the ethics of the White House.

A vote of the full Senate has now been scheduled for Timothy Geithner's nomination to be treasury secretary. On Wednesday, Geithner told senators that he regretted the tax problems revealed during his confirmation hearings.

David chatters about how a former Russian KGB officer turned businessman has purchased the Evening Standard. The Standard is London's largest regional newspaper.

Emily talks about how Michelle Obama dancing with her husband made a wonderful statement for tall women around the world. The first lady is more than 5 feet 10 inches tall and wore heels, not flats, to the inaugural events.

John chatters about a quick reversal by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. Frank had wanted a law that, among other things, required any company that receives government bailout funds to sell off its private aircraft and to remove all aircraft leases. Frank changed his mind when a fellow representative pointed out that many of those aircraft were made in America.

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