Cocktail Chatter

Peace and Quiet

The week’s most interesting Slate stories.

1) “The Wizard of Oslo: Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?” by John Dickerson. The committee selected Obama not for his actual contributions to world peace but for his “atmospheric” ones. The question is, will he turn down the honor?

2) “Freaky Fortnight: I’ll Do My Husband’s Job at Slate. He’ll Take Care of the Kids,” by Michael Agger and Susan Burton. A Slate editor and his wife gain perspective on their family by swapping daily duties.


3) “All Quiet on the Afghan Front: Robert Gates wants all advice to the president, not just advice from the military, to stay quiet,” by John Dickerson. The defense secretary wants to put a sock in public chatter from White House aides and Army generals about Afghanistan war strategy.

4) “The Very Grouchy Daddy: I’ve read The Very Hungry Caterpillar to my daughter 796 times. Please make it stop,” by Daniel B. Smith. A parent takes down one of the most popular children’s books of all time.


5) “Health Care Reform Winners and Losers: How the House bill redistributes money to the middle class,” by Timothy Noah. Middle-class households could potentially save upward of $1,000 per year if the bill takes effect. Millionaires are the real losers.


6) “Glutton Intolerance: What if a war on obesity only makes it worse?” by Daniel Engber. Could the “war on obesity” be causing mental anguish and further sickness among the severely overweight?

7) “Sniffing Out Swine Flu: Researchers hope to create a better way to diagnose swine flu and other ailments,” by Amanda Schaffer. Despite traditional theories of how to diagnose illnesses, the best way to detect swine flu might be by monitoring immune response.

8) “Cross-Eyed: The high court looks again at religious symbols on public lands,” by Dahlia Lithwick. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia came out swinging in a contentious debate over a war memorial cross on federal land.

9) “The Great ATM Robbery: The obscenely high new bank fees for ATM usage and overdrawn checks,” by Daniel Gross. Banks have continued to raise ATM and overdraft fees, which hit customers’ wallets hard but raise much needed cash for struggling banks.


10) “World Music: Is it better for the planet to listen to CDs, records, or MP3s?” by Nina Shen Rastogi. Buying MP3s online is clearly better for the environment than any alternative, but there are steps you can take to help the cause, even if you still are buying CDs.

The Best From the “ Slatest

1) Playgirl magazine will soon feature a high-profile pinup: Levi Johnston, the father of Sarah Palin’s grandson.

2) The Nobel Prize for literature goes to German-Romanian author Herta Müller.

3) Dick Cheney may join forces with his two daughters to form a political consulting firm.

4) A genealogist has mapped first lady Michelle Obama’s ancestry and found a white forebear.

5) Taliban leaders have stated they are not an international threat but will not hand over Afghanistan.