We Need to Talk About Kevin…McCarthy

This week, Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz discuss the now-former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy and the for-now Republican Matt Gaetz; the Supreme Court’s new term; and crime in America.


Here are some notes and references from this week’s show:

Marianna Sotomayor, Leigh Ann Caldwell, and Colby Itkowitz for The Washington Post: “Fight for speakership begins as House reels from McCarthy ouster”

David Leonhardt for The New York Times: “America’s Political Turmoil”

Matt Ford for The New Republic: “The Supreme Court Eyes Its Next Big Power Grab”

Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley for The American Presidency Project: “Summary of the Report of the Committee on Administrative Management [the Brownlow Report].”

Ian Millhiser for Vox: “The Supreme Court will decide if abusive spouses have a right to own guns”

Mark Sherman for AP: “Supreme Court is asked to reject limits on a drug used in the most common method of abortion”

Andrew Chung for Reuters: “Supreme Court ethics concerns aren’t going away”

Ernesto Lopez, Richard Rosenfeld, and Bobby Boxerman for the Council on Criminal Justice: “Crime Trends in U.S. Cities: Mid-Year 2023 Update” 

Rebecca Crosby, Judd Legum, and Tesnim Zekeria for Popular Information: “Target says it’s closing 9 stores due to theft. The crime data tells a different story.”

Trisha Ahmed and Jim Salter for AP: “Some small towns in America are disbanding police forces, citing hiring woes”

Gabe Cohen for CNN: “Doubling up on classrooms, using online teachers and turning to support staff: How schools are dealing with the ongoing teacher shortage” 

John Dickerson for CBS News: “Chronic school absences on the rise in 40 states, study finds”

Michael D. Shear for The New York Times: “Bidens’ Dog Is No Longer at White House After Latest Biting Incident”

Molly Olmstead for Slate: “The Bidens’ Dog Keeps Biting People. Why?”

Judicial Watch: “Judicial Watch Sues Secret Service for Records of Attacks by Biden German Shepherd ‘Commander’”


Here are this week’s chatters: 

Emily: North Woods: A Novel by Daniel Mason and “Tiny Beautiful Things” on Hulu

John: “Endeavour” on PBS; Daniel Garisto for Scientific American: “This Year’s Physics Nobel Awards Scientists for Slicing Reality into Attoseconds”; John Uri for NASA: “65 Years Ago: Sputnik Ushers in the Space Age”; and Charles Fishman for Fast Company: “The birth of the electronic beep, the most ubiquitous sound design in the world”

David: Paul M.M. Cooper’s Fall of Civilizations Podcast and Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast

Listener chatter from Danny O’Malley: “Canary” 

For this week’s Slate Plus bonus segment, Emily, John, and David discuss President Joe Biden’s dog, Commander, his biting of Secret Service personnel, and his recent banishment from the White House. 

In the next Gabfest Reads in October, David talks with Kristi Coulter about her book, Exit Interview: The Life and Death of My Ambitious Career.


Email your chatters, questions, and comments to gabfest@slate.com. (Messages may be referenced by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)


Podcast production by Cheyna Roth

Research by Julie Huygen

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