The Gabfest on the Pope's Stunning Interview

Slate's weekly political roundtable.
Sept. 20 2013 12:25 PM

The Washington on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown Gabfest

Listen to Slate's show about mass shootings and gun control, the looming government shutdown, and the pope's startling interview.

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On this week’s Slate Political Gabfest, Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz discuss why the massacre at Washington's Navy Yard hasn't prompted serious discussion of gun control laws. They also consider Republican threats to shut down the government if Obamacare isn't defunded. Finally, they discuss whether Pope Francis' comment that the Catholic church spends too much energy opposing abortion and homosexuality signals a new direction for the Vatican.

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during this week's show:

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  • The Navy Yard shooting shows that our approach to guns combined with our approach to mental illness is deadly, Emily writes.
  • Criminologist James Alan Fox has found that white Americans tend to be more interested in white shooters than black ones.
  • John argues that the Republicans' "hell no caucus" risks validating the president’s argument that the party has let a reckless minority take the wheel.
  • Could Obama keep the government running by minting a $1 trillion platinum coin? Matt Yglesias says maybe.
  • In an interview with the Jesuit publication La Civiltà Cattolica, Pope Francis explains why he has chosen not to spend much time talking about abortion, homosexuality, and contraception. America magazine has the English translation. Will Saletan writes that the interview is proof Francis is a liberal.

Emily chatters about a triad of articles related to sexual assault and Internet harassment in The Verge, Rolling Stone and Jezebel.

John chatters about John Feehery's essay "This Other Town," about the victims of the Navy Yard shooting.

David proposes a Friday Night Lights musical. Would you see it? Weigh in on the Gabfest Facebook page!

Topic ideas for next week? You can tweet suggestions, links, and questions to @SlateGabfest. The email address for the Political Gabfest is gabfest@slate.com. (Email may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)

Podcast production by Mike Vuolo. Links compiled by Rebecca Cohen.

Emily Bazelon is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine and the author of Sticks and Stones

John Dickerson is Slate's chief political correspondent and author of On Her Trail. Read his series on the presidency and on risk.

David Plotz is Slate's editor at large. He's the author of The Genius Factory and Good Book.

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