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In a live recording of the Slate Political Gabfest at the Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago, Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz discuss the turmoil in Egypt, and the challenges it poses for the Obama administration. They also discuss Eliot Spitzer’s decision to run for office and whether the former New York governor (and Slate contributor) deserves forgiveness. Plus, what adults might learn at summer camp. During the cocktail chatter portion of the show, the Gabfesters are joined by special guest Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me.
Here are some of the links and references mentioned during this week's show:
- Need an Egypt overview? Shadi Hamid, director of research for the Brookings Doha Center, talks to the Washington Post’s Wonkblog about the recent ouster of President Mohammed Morsi.
- Slate’s Will Dobson writes that the window is closing fast for a democratic transition out of Egypt’s revolution.
- An unhealthy economy isn’t helping Egypt’s stability—Emily cites the country’s GDP growth rate, which began descending around 2007.
- David curated his favorite Slate posts by Eliot Spitzer, several of which advocate for more shareholder activism. Spitzer wrote The Best Policy column for Slate from 2008–13.
- While Spitzer is asking for forgiveness, he’s rarely offered it to others, writes John.
- David references a New York Times report about a summer camp where adults go for a tech-disconnect.
- “You are how you camped,” argued Timothy Noah in a 2010 Slate piece.
Special guest Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me, chatters about Osama Bin Laden’s cowboy hat, one of Bin Laden’s countersurveillance strategies described in a leaked Pakistani government report first published by Al-Jazeera. David was reminded of a Slate Explainer that wondered, “Where do Palestinian militants buy ski masks?”
John chatters about The Civil War in 50 Objects, by Harold Holzer.
Emily chatters about how pregnancy can change a runner’s gait.
David chatters about an impossible “literacy” test Louisiana gave black voters in the 1960s.
There was a sing-along! Peter notes that Woody Guthrie’s original lyrics for “This Land Is Your Land” differed from the version sung at the Gabfest. Wikipedia confirms this verse as part of the original 1940 lyrics:
Was a high wall there that tried to stop me
A sign was painted said: Private Property,
But on the back side it didn't say nothing —
God blessed America for me.
[This land was made for you and me.]
The Gabfest audience sang a variation. Peter recommends Joe Klein’s Woody Guthrie: A Life, saying it describes how variations of the song reflect different political messages.
During the Q-and-A period, an audience member asked for summer reading recommendations. Here’s what David, Emily, John, and Peter are reading:
- David: This Town; Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk; The Last Lion.
- Emily: The Line of Beauty; Life After Life.
- John: The Checklist Manifesto; The Glory and the Dream; and The Interestings, which John recommends was also recently featured in the Slate Audio Book Club.
- Peter: Gone Girl; American Savage; The Ocean at the End of the Lane; Godiva: A Novel.
Topic ideas for next week? You can tweet suggestions, links, and questions to @SlateGabfest. The email address for the Political Gabfest is firstname.lastname@example.org. (Email may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)
Podcast production by Mike Vuolo. Links compiled by Jeff Friedrich.