Slate's Political Gabfest for April 24.

Slate's Political Gabfest for April 24.

Slate's Political Gabfest for April 24.

Slate's weekly political roundtable.
April 24 2009 11:09 AM

The Tighty-Whitey Podcast

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

1_123125_2160797_2161017_2161018_060603_gabfest

Buy tickets for the May 13 live Political Gabfest taping in Washington, D.C. Become a fan of the Political Gabfest on Facebook.

Listen to the Gabfest for April 24 by clicking the arrow on the audio player below:

You can also download the program here, or you can subscribe to the weekly Gabfest podcast feed in iTunes by clicking here.

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 chatters about an article by Avishai Margalit and Michael Walzer from the most recent New York Review of Books. The article explores the actions of Israeli soldiers during the recent incursion into Gaza and whether, in war, the "safety of 'our' soldiers takes precedence over the safety of 'their' civilians."

Advertisement

The e-mail address for the Political Gabfest is gabfest@slate.com. (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)

Posted on April 24 by Jefferson Pestronk at 11:13 a.m.

April 17, 2009

Listen to the Gabfest for April 17 by clicking the arrow on the audio player below:

Advertisement

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 Russ Woods, who recommends Fry and Laurie Read Daudet and Jerome: Letters from My Windmill & Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow. 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: The Justice Department releases four of the Office of Legal Counsel "torture memos"; Navy SEALs rescue Capt. Richard Phillips from Somali pirates; and protesters stage modern-day tea parties.

Here are some articles and other links related to this week's topics:

Advertisement

The Justice Department released four of the controversial OLC torture memos. President Obama issued an accompanying statement announcing that the administration does not intend to prosecute members of the intelligence community who acted in good faith. Spanish prosecutors recommended that a Spanish court end its investigation into six Bush administration officials. However, the officials are not safe from prosecution yet.

Hostage Capt. Richard Phillips was freed after Navy snipers killed three Somali pirates. Slate's Fred Kaplan wrote about innovative ways to fight piracy. Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo responded to Rep. Ron Paul's suggestion that issuing "letters of marque and reprisal" could be a cheap way to combat piracy. A variety of legal and safety issues make the situation more complicated than merely arming crews.

President Obama gave another economic update. The next day, tax day, thousands of people participated in tea parties to protest what they characterize as an out-of-control government. President Obama announced that his administration will attempt to unite liberals, moderates, and conservatives by simplifying the tax code; he also justified bailing out banks by citing the "multiplier effect" of bank capital.

John chatters about President Obama and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's hopes that the current financial crisis will encourage the "best and brightest" to pursue scientific, engineering, and innovation-based jobs rather than simply pursuing high salaries on Wall Street.

Advertisement

David chatters that former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's efforts to join the cast of the reality show I'm a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here demonstrate just how weird that ongoing saga has gotten.

Emily credits her 94-year-old grandma for the chatter about the disparity in charitable giving between President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

Questions for resourceful or knowledgeable readers from this week's Gabfest: Do Somali pirates have their own lingo? Do they even call themselves pirates? Has Steven G. Bradbury, author of the Bradbury memos, found a job?

The e-mail address for the Political Gabfest is gabfest@slate.com. (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)

Advertisement

Posted on April 17 by Jefferson Pestronk at noon.

April 10, 2009

Listen to the Gabfest for April 10 by clicking the arrow on the audio player below: You can also download the program here, or you can subscribe to the weekly Gabfest podcast feed in iTunes by clicking here.

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 suggestions come from listener Peter Blake, who recommends Into Thin Air and Memoirs of a Geisha.

Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz talk politics. This week: President Obama, gay marriage, and the Justice Department.

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

The Pew Research Center poll showing the continuing political partisanship of American voters.

The New York Times poll on the economy.

The Fox News poll that indicates just 5 percent of Americans blame President Obama for the current financial crisis.

The Pew poll from March that shows 11 percent of Americans mistakenly think President Obama is a Muslim.

David chatters about a Washington Post profile of Martha Stewart.

Emily talks about being impersonated on Twitter.

John chatters about President Obama's response to a question about American exceptionalism.

The e-mail address for the Political Gabfest is gabfest@slate.com. (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)

Posted on April 10 by Dale Willman at 10:48 a.m.

April 3, 2009

Listen to the Gabfest for April 3 by clicking the arrow on the audio player below:

You can also download the program here, or you can subscribe to the weekly Gabfest podcast feed in iTunes by clicking here.

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 suggestions for Audible books came from two listeners, both of whom recommend books by Charles Dickens. The first recommendation is for Bleak House, read by David Case. The listener says listening to the book is helping her cope with pregnancy-induced insomnia. Another listener recommends Little Dorrit.

Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz talk politics. This week: The auto industry stares into the abyss; President Obama makes an eight-day, five-country tour of Europe; and right-wingers make accusations against Obama appointees Dawn Johnsen and Harold Koh.

Emily mentions an April Fools' story on Car and Driver magazine's Web site that said President Obama was ordering Chevy and Dodge out of NASCAR.

John discusses a New York Times article about stars who use ghostwriters for their Twitter posts.

Emily talks about a New York Times op-ed by Paul Light about the Senate's agonizingly slow confirmation process.

Emily chatters about David's visit to Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, where he discussed his new book, Good Book.

John talks about a bill moving to President Obama's desk that creates the largest expansion ever of the AmeriCorps public service program. The $5.7 billion measure was passed by Congress this week.

David chatters about a visit last week by Miss Universe, Dayana Mendoza, to the U.S. military facility at Guantanamo Bay.

The gang gives a special shout out to Slate V's Andy Bouvé and his spoof video about "the new Twitter," Flutter.

David also reminds listeners that the Gabfest's latest live show is coming up in Washington, D.C., on May 13. Ticket information can be found on the Web site of the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue.

The e-mail address for the Political Gabfest is gabfest@slate.com . (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)

Posted on April 3 by Dale Willman at 11:00 a.m.

Slate Senior Editor Emily Bazelon, Chief Political Correspondent John Dickerson, and Editor David Plotz host the Gabfest weekly.