Today on the Dish, we followed Tunisia as its President dissolved the government, and a state of emergency was declared. Larison stressed the importance of Tunisians deposing an autocrat on their own, without US intervention and Andrew debated Evgeny Morozov on how instrumental Twitter was. We rounded up reax and reports from the ground in Tunisia here, here, and here, and the role of Wikipedia in the coup here and here.
Sarah Palin said sorry seven times (last year), Limbaugh sunk to new lows, and Julian Sanchez explained why we love to hate politicians. Andrew called the death threats to Palin despicable, while Nancy Goldstein (and readers) scrutinized them. Clive Crook called Palin the anti-president, and she wouldn't even appear on Bill O'Reilly. Andrew pinpointed the divide in discourse is not between left and right but open and closed, while Mark Levin only suggested someone kill himself, not that they commit murder. Frum fought against paranoid narratives, Kate Pickert previewed the tone of next week's agenda, McWhorter railed against compromise, and Dan Amira didn't want Republicans and Democrats to sit together during the SOTU. Gary Wills connected Obama's speech to Lincoln's from Gettysburg, and Greg Sargent stressed Obama's smarts.
Andrew urged the GOP or Obama to take on tax reform, and Ezra Klein corrected the record on the "job-killing" healthcare bill. Ta-Nehisi explained slavery's social construct, Chabon jumped in on Obama's rain puddle in heaven, and the double space after a period is wrong. Computers can never copy human brains, meth travelled from Mexico, Pew predicted the fuel efficiency of cars in 2050, and it helped to know someone's name.
Kenema, Sierra Leone, 12 pm
Thursday on the Dish, we rounded up the web's best reax on Obama's Tucson speech, where he called for a more civil and honest discourse, and Andrew characterized him as the most Christian president in recent memory. Conor proposed a civility pact for the blogosphere, Limbaugh's poster contradicted his defense, and this video evidenced how dangerous discourse has become. Andrew used "blood libel" in a historically appropriate manner, Joe Klein captured Obama's rhetorical power, and Politico dropped the ball. Sprung parsed Loughner's currency kick, Weigel made the case for enacting no Tucson-inspired legislation, Lee Woodruff shared the harder parts of healing a spouse's brain trauma, and more bloggers bucked against locking people up. Palin scrubbed her Facebook page in record time, Jennifer Rubin faulted her for surrounding herself with loyal amateurs, and even Jpod told her she needed to serious herself up. Chris Christie backed slowly away from her, and Palin's breath would keep Andrew awake tonight.
Tunisia had the Arab world on edge, Ethan Zuckerman wondered if it could be the next Twitter revolution, and the Internet captured the bloodshed and the spark that started it all. Andrew answered Greg Mankiw on what rich people deserve, Yglesias asked if the US caused the spike in global food prices, and Norquist kept conservative on a possible war in Lebanon. Pawlenty would reinstate DADT, and Serwer balked at the chaos it would cause. David Boaz summed up the CPAC controversy, climate change accelerated, and Palin intimidated future presidential candidates. Howard Gleckman pleaded for tax reform in the SOTU, the goverment could steal your tweets, and Jenny McCarthy couldn't let go of her vaccine conspiracies. Reihan hyped up the Florida Governor's new education reform proposal, and these were the five emotions invented by the Internet. Michael Chabon blogged, Wikipedia passed its own test, and it was hard to quantify the mechanics of beauty. A reader who wanted to adopt according to her own race defended herself, readers argued over neti pots and Sudafed, and a Cannabis Closet reader connected with "God." Chatroulette wanted to monetize more schlongs, Joan Rivers terrified Andrew, and a drag policewoman kept Baltimore on its toes.
Wednesday on the Dish, Andrew live-blogged Obama's moving speech in Tucson. He still didn't buy Palin's victimization, which tightened her grip on the base. Readers broke down her skewed logic on whether rhetoric can inspire violence, Ezra Klein seconded Andrew on what she should have said, and Steve Benen focused on the ever-opaque Palin model of interacting with the press. We worked Dan Riehl over for his vile discourse and moral grandstanding, and Jews apologized to Palin. The left also had a bullseye map, and Andrew nominated Boehner to revolutionize the right in tone. Clive Crook pushed back against anger, Mark Thompson grew tired of debate over debate, and a reader amended Buchanan's Yglesias nomination. Nate Silver applied statistics to threats and tried to understand the evolution of the gun debate. Choire Sicha couldn't compute how we identify crazy, and Shafer sized up Loughner's mugshot. Tony Woodlief feared for his own parenting habits, and readers balked at involuntarily committing patients. Serwer and Sullum rejected Loughner's schizophrenic connections to cannabis, Andrew pored over his gamer days and political obsessions, and we grasped at the science of Giffords' survival here.
John Seabrook marked the Haiti earthquake anniversary on a personal note, Brazil whooped the US in combatting poverty, Cowen explained why the French succeed, and Stieg Larsson's trilogy upended our assumptions about Sweden. Larison had concerns about South Sudan, Schwarzenegger never wanted a safety net, and conservates and liberals both thought the other was illegitimate. Readers offered more background info on adoptions, and on the war against meth. Ta-Nehisi feared for the film adaptation of the Great Gatsby, Jessa Crispin decoded Berlin through books, some compliments were never doled out to restaurant websites, and 50 Cent made mad money off of Twitter.
Tuesday on the Dish, Andrew seized on David Brooks' accusation that the media dared to politicize the attempt on Giffords' life and Joe Klein sided with Brooks. Andrew fingered the right's rhetoric not for partisan reasons but out of genuine fear for the future. Limbaugh came out swinging, and Andrew thought he seriously crossed the line, along with many other leading conservatives in America. Ailes took the high road with calls for his staff to tone it down, and Scarborough and Buchanan admitted they'd have apologized if the crosshairs were theirs. Andrew predicted this moment was made for Obama to take charge, since the right flagrantly refused to take any responsibility. Pawlenty dug in at Palin, and Instapundit mocked Pawlenty's masculinity.
Glenn Beck brandished a gun to "stand together against all violence," Andrew once found himself in the line of crosshairs (and they weren't Palin's), and Amy Davidson considered the blood on our hands. E.D. Kain understood Loughner as at war with reality, Larison saw pure nihilism, William Galston advocated for involuntary commitment to protect the rest of society, and Weigel predicted an armed Arizona. Henry Farrell likened the debate over rhetoric to the climate change fight, and McWhorter argued that was in part the Internet's fault. The National Review called for more civility, and Matt Taibbi accepted some of the media's blame. Ross Douthat and Michelle Goldberg proved civil discourse is possible, and Giffords' doctor updated us on her condition.
DADT caused blackbirds to die, Kevin Drum offered a toin coss for $1 million that most people opted to refuse, and Angry Birds weren't all fundamentalists. Tom Delay was sentenced under the same rules that apply to all Americans, and the drug war on meth made it harder for sick people to get cold medicine and more lucrative for the meth business to buy drugs. Sudan verged on becoming two separate countries, and rape ran rampant in Haiti's tent cities. Huckabee pulled ahead in Iowa, and Greg Ip called out Paul Ryan. We wondered if the U.S. should shill for Internet freedom, and Arran Frood imagined computerized nutrition. James McWilliams argued animals aren't objects for eating, and a reader corrected the record on a dying Vanuatu culture. This Cannabis reader (and grower) also donated to the political cause, and a new drug entered the Dish spirituality thread. Porta-potties impressed Canadians, and green apples spark bonobo orgies.
Monday on the Dish, Andrew unravelled the right's evasions on the assassination. The market for Palin tanked, Andrew wouldn't let her dismiss the shooting as non-political, and Frum didn't think Palin demonstrated any larger humanity with her response. Beck calmed Palin down by presaging an assasination attempt on her, and Conor didn't want to blame her for thinking politics was all a big joke. Palin's own adviser evaded responsibility for her actions, while even enraged football players apologize for their violent rhetoric, and Giffords herself predicted Palin's need to accept the consequences. The 9-year-old father spoke, crosshairs weren't the culprit, and some chalked it up to a silly poster, instead of the usual Grand Theft Auto excuse. Loughner's friend admitted his unstable mentality reminded him of the Joker's, but it wasn't pot that pushed him over the edge. Andrew disparaged gun violence worship, and Ezra Klein begged for a dialdown in the rhetoric of fear. Some feared we'd become Pakistan, and most were concerned that the shooting would hurt the essence of in-person democracy.
A reader hoped we'd see the gay intern who saved Giffords' life at the State of the Union, Jonathan Alter hypothesized how Obama will reference it in his speech, and Westboro church amazed us with this pure vitriol. We examined the roll of Giffords' religion and the possible American Renaissance connection with Loughner's motives. Jim Burroway didn't think it could happen so close to home, and Peter Beinart imagined if Jared Lee Loughner were named Abdul Mohammed. Stephen Budiansky wouldn't let the right off the hook, especially when threats against congressmen have tripled. Reader's asked how Loughner got a legal gun, and the blogosphere examined his weapon of choice. Jonathan Cohn and Vaughan Bell assessed our mental health system, and Joe Gandelman predicted a temporary calm in rhetoric.
Answering David Link, Andrew unpacked what CPAC's version of conservatism would look like if it weren't anti-gay. Andrew Bacevich traced the military-industrial complex from Ike's day to ours, Gordon Adams questioned Gates on defense cuts, and Serwer argued that those "cuts" are really an increase. Noah Millman reconsidered military intervention, Goldberg praised Obama's work on Iran, and on the flipside, sanctions forced Iran to use 40-year-old planes which often crash. Scary climate changed commercials don't work, some Home Ec classes used to practice on real babies, and California outlawed ironic Twitter impersonators. Roger Ebert reprimanded HuffPo for wimping out on Huck Finn, readers attacked Phillip S. Smith's review of the Cannabis Closet, and the Tea Party really is that insane on the debt.