Gabfest Radio: The Master and Commander-In-Chief 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 Mitt Romney’s comments about the 47% of Americans who don’t pay federal income taxes. And they look at the variety of same-sex marriage cases that may be taken up by the Supreme Court this term.

Then on the Culture Gabfest portion of the show, panelists Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner discuss Paul Thomas Anderson’s new movie The Master, about a charismatic spiritual leader and a drifting WWII veteran. They’re then joined by Slate DoubleX co-founder and Atlantic senior editor Hanna Rosin to discuss her new book "The End of Men: And the Rise of Women." Finally, they talk sugary drinks, pondering the recently-passed New York City soda ban, the benevolent dictatorship of the nanny state, and the nutrition science behind limiting refined sugars and the public’s access to them.

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):

The New York Times has a useful historical review of the evolution of tax policy across GOP and Democratic administrations.

Who are the 47%? John mentions that most people pay payroll taxes. For more data on the 47%, see Mark Thoma and Ezra Klein.

Slate’s Dave Weigel considers the conservatives defending Romney and asks: What would Pat Buchanan do?

Slate’s Elliot Spitzer considers why redistribution is good for America.

Emily is surprised when David omits the part about naked swimming pool parties; David Corn, the Mother Jones writer who first posted the video of Romney, goes there.

David points to David Frum’s two-part essay on the sinister message that underlies Romney’s gaffe.

John remembers that Romney’s week started with news about campaign infighting; Politico has the piece driving that discussion.

Read Emily’s piece for more about SCOTUS and gay marriage. SCOTUSblog also has a post on the challenge to California’s Proposition 8, and about the cases relating to DOMA’s benefits ban.


Cocktail Chatter:

John chatters about a Twitter conversation between two Star Trek commanders about their cable woes.

Emily chatters about a New York Times policy change on after-the-fact quote approval by sources.

David chatters about an amazing cancer story


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

Dana Stevens on The Master for Slate.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s movies There Will Be Blood, Boogie Nights and Magnolia.

The Master’s soundtrack, composed by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood.

Hanna Rosin’s book "The End of Men: And the Rise of Women."

Hanna’s 2010 Atlantic cover story “The End of Men” and her recent New York Times Magazine piece “Who Wears the Pants in this Economy?”

Steven Pinker, author of "The Better Angels of Our Nature" who argues that as the number of women in world leadership roles increases, human violence decreases.

The NYC Board of Health’s approval of a ban on the sale of sugary drinks in amounts greater than 16 ounces at restaurants, bodegas, movie theatres, stadiums, and food carts.

Slate’s Dan Engber on the science behind the soda ban.

New York Times columnist Mark Bittman on sugary drinks and the NYC ban and the upside of governmental “nannying” when it comes to nutrition.

Joss Whedon’s 2005 movie Serenity, which picks up where the short-lived TV series Firefly left off.



Dana’s pick: The album notes and artist write-ups on your Pandora radio stations provided by

Julia’s pick: Firefly, Joss Whedon’s short-lived space western TV series from 2002. 

Stephen’s pick: The Kings of Convenience’s fragile and beautiful take on A-ha’s “Manhattan Skyline.”