Has Putin Lost Touch With Reality?

Slate's weekly political roundtable.
March 7 2014 12:47 PM

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Listen to Slate's show about the crisis in Ukraine, decriminalizing marijuana, and revising the SAT.

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On this week's Slate Political Gabfest, recorded live at Washington’s Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, David Plotz, and special guest Julia Ioffe of the New Republic discuss Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, D.C.’s decriminalization of marijuana, and the College Board's revamp of the SAT.

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

  • Hillary Clinton recently compared Putin’s actions in Ukraine to Hitler's actions in the 1930s.
  • Putin's invasion of Crimea has nothing to do with protecting the Russian speakers there, Julia writes.
  • Also from Julia: If you want to predict what Putin will do, just take the most cynical approach.
  • After speaking with Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Obama that she was not sure the Russian president was in touch with reality.
  • The D.C. Council voted Tuesday to decriminalize marijuana.
  • Colorado's governor said the state’s tax revenue from legalized marijuana has far exceeded expectations.
  • Governor Moonbeam no more: California Gov. Jerry Brown said on Meet the Press that he's worried California would have too many potheads if it legalized marijuana.
  • Legalization of marijuana probably won't put Mexican cartels out of business.
  • The College Board is working on a major overhaul of the SAT.
  • A recent study found no significant difference in the college GPAs of students who did and didn't submit SAT scores as part of their college applications.
  • In The Smartest Kids in the World, Amanda Ripley writes that almost every country with high-achieving schools has a high-stakes standardized test.
  • A famous 1995 study found that fear of confirming negative stereotypes about African-Americans can hurt African-American students’ performance on standardized tests.

Emily chatters about a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling that state law does not prohibit upskirting.

John chatters about Stalin’s daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva.

David chatters about a Supreme Court case in which an Arkansas prisoner is suing for the right to grow a beard.

This week's credits were in the style of a sleazy pickup artist.

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 was a Slate senior editor from 2005 to 2014. She is 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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