The Tighty-Whitey Podcast
Listen to Slate's review of the week in politics.
Updated Friday, April 24, 2009, at 11:09 AM
Get your free 14-day trial membership of Gabfest sponsor Audible.com, which includes a credit for one free audio book, here. This week's suggestion comes from listener Iain DeWitt, who sent a list of his favorite Audible selections. Iain recommends The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, by Richard Feynman; The Kissinger Transcripts, edited by William Burr; and A History of the Arab Peoples, by Albert Hourani. We had a great response to the call for Audible recommendations this past week, so keep on sending in your suggestions for audio books to highlight on the Gabfest.
Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz talk politics. This week: more on the torture memos, the Supreme Court takes on school strip searches, and the Chávez handshake.
Here are some articles and other links related to this week's topics:
The controversy surrounding the recently released Office of Legal Counsel memos continued this week. Although President Obama hoped that the release of the memos would mollify both sides, Slate's Dahlia Lithwick wrote that getting over torture too easily could augur future problems. Even the Obama administration seemed conflicted on its position, as Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel discounted all prosecutions while President Obama did not go quite as far. Roles reversed as former Vice President Dick Cheney called for the release of more documents. Battling op-eds, one from former President George W. Bush's chief speechwriter and one from an FBI agent who supervised interrogations of Abu Zabaydah, came to different conclusions about whether abusive interrogation techniques produce reliable information. Despite the barrage of revelations about the alleged torture, much of the public still believes torture may be justified.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of a 13-year-old girl who was strip-searched by school administrators looking for contraband ibuprofen. The particulars of the case led the justices to unusual lines of questions and comments. Slate Vintern Lindsey Hough wrote about a similar experience that happened to her when she was 13. Emily defines the term in loco parentis for any listeners who do not speak Latin (read: most of us), but you'll find more information about the doctrine here.
President Obama was photographed shaking the hand of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez at the Summit of the Americas. The president's grip-and-grin with the frequently anti-U.S. Chávez outraged some on the right, but others read less into the gesture. The incident recalled President Obama's bow to the Saudi king at the G20 summit, as well as Michelle Obama's supposed gaffe when she placed her hand on the queen of England's back. However, a recent Pew Research Center poll suggested that Americans approve of how the president is handling foreign policy. David recommends one of John's recent pieces, a slide show of candid photos of the president and key advisers that shows them in informal and unscripted situations here at home.
David chatters about his friendship in college with John Yoo, author of several infamous OLC memos. David recently rediscovered a 1988 article from New England Monthly, written by Phillip Weiss, that chronicled Yoo's efforts to become president of the Harvard Crimson. Yoo had an expansive view of the powers of the Crimson president, foreshadowing his role in the OLC. The article is not online, but David will scan and post it in the next few days.
John chatters about another result from the recent Pew poll. First lady Michelle Obama is immensely popular, even garnering a 60 percent approval rating from Republicans. However, Vice President Joe Biden's popularity has slipped by 12 percentage points since the inauguration, and John posits that the V.P. (and Congress) may no longer be benefiting as greatly from the euphoria of the Obama election.
Emily Bazelon is a Slate senior editor and writes about law, family, and kids. Her forthcoming book, Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Empathy and Character. Find her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook or Twitter.
John Dickerson is Slate's chief political correspondent and author of On Her Trail. He can be reached at email@example.com. Read his series on the presidency and his series on risk. Follow him on Twitter.
David Plotz is the Editor of Slate. He's the author of The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank and Good Book. He appears on Slate's Political Gabfest.