Gabfest Radio: The Bringing a Gun to a Puppy Fight Edition

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On this week’s episode of Gabfest Radio from Slate and WNYC, Political Gabfest panelists Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz discuss the turmoil in the Arab world, including the death of the American ambassador to Libya, and the uproar over Mitt Romney’s response. They also assess the small polling bounce Barack Obama received after the conventions, and what the polling tells us about the state of the American electorate.

Then on the Culture Gabfest portion of the show, panelists Stephen Metcalf and Dana Stevens (Julia Turner is off this week) record the show from the Slate annual retreat in upstate New York. John Dickerson returns to talk about his great passion, Bob Dylan, who has a new album out. Then culture editor John Swansburg stops by to discuss his passion, the 1992 movie Sneakers. And tech columnist Farhad Manjoo joins Steve and Dana to argue that the recent Harvard cheating scandal is being overblown.

Join the Gabfest discussion all week long at the Political Gabfest Facebook page and the Culture Gabfest Facebook page

Here are links to some of the items mentioned in this week’s episode:


POLITICAL GABFEST (Click here for this week’s individual episode at Slate):

Timelines of the events in Egypt and Libya, from Slate’s Dave Weigel and The Washington Post.

Weigel also says “Romney did not ‘gaffe.’” John says that “in international affairs, what, when, and how you say something is important.”

Just how important is a good ambassador? That and other Libya answers from Slate’s Brian Palmer.

Gallup’s Sept. 11 post-convention analysis tracked a 3-point bounce for Obama; Nate Silver’s Sept. 11 analysis wondered if that bounce would hold.

John talks about a Sept. 11 Washington Post-ABC News poll that found a larger bounce for Obama among registered voters than among likely voters.

David thinks Obama needs to spend heavily on ground efforts to make up for his relatively worse polling among likely voters. Nate Cohn has a similar analysis.


Cocktail Chatter:

John chatters about a harrowing tale of a climate scientist in Libya.

Emily chatters about a breast-feeding professor.


CULTURE GABFEST (Click here for this week’s individual episode at Slate):

Bob Dylan’s 35th studio album Tempest and the video for “Duquesne Whistle,” one of the album’s tracks.

Tempest’s title track, a 14-minute song about the sinking of The Titanic as well as the album’s singles “Long and Wasted Years” and “Early Roman Kings.”

Dylan’s earlier ripped-from-the-headlines songs, including “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll.”

Bob Dylan’s albums Down in the Groove (1988), Time Out of Mind (1997), Love & Theft (2001), Modern Times (2006), and Together Through Life (2009).

Brownsville Girl,” co-written with Sam Shepard, from Dylan’s 1986 album Knocked Out Loaded.

No Direction Home, Martin Scorsese’s documentary about Bob Dylan.

Samuel Butler’s 1903 novel The Way of All Flesh.

Jody Rosen on Tempest for The New Yorker’s Web site.

Slate’s Culturebox discussion about the 20th anniversary of the release of the movie Sneakers as well as Stephen Tobolowsky’s memories of making the movie, Nicholas Britell on what makes the movie’s score so great, and Lowen Liu on his attempt to re-create his favorite scene from Sneakers and his explanation of how a bit of Sneakers trivia ended up on a real U.S. intelligence agency uniform.

The Movie Sneakers: What the Character Cosmo Tells Us About Hacktivism in Capitalist Democracy

Manhattan and Battle of Algiers, the movies you don’t watch when you decide to watch Sneakers instead.

Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1970 movie The Conformist.

The 1993 movie Tombstone.

The Harvard cheating scandal and Slate’s Farhad Manjoo on why it’s neither cheating nor a scandal.

Genre thriller authors Thomas Harris, Patricia Highsmith, and Ross MacDonald.



Dana’s pick: Rob Delaney’s stand-up comedy special Live at the Bowery Ballroom, released last week for $5 online and his Twitter feed, @robdelaney.

John’s pick: Sasha Issenberg’s book The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns about the way campaigns use data and targeting to game the system and get votes.

Stephen’s pick: Margaret Millar’s 1956 genre thriller Beast in View.