Cocktail Chatter

Obama’s Missed Deadlines, Holder’s Testimony, and Palin’s Future

The week’s most interesting Slate stories.

1) “The Deadline Presidency: Does it matter that Obama is behind schedule on most of his major plans?” by John Dickerson. The president’s inability to finish tasks by his self-imposed deadlines makes it easier for his detractors to criticize him.

2) “Holder Laughed: The attorney general tries to sell us on New York terror trials,” by Dahlia Lithwick. After persistent questioning from Republican lawmakers, Holder laughed at thought that the Justice Department defends terrorists.

3) “Sarah Palin = Dan Quayle: There’s no way she will be president,” by David Greenberg. The track records of failed vice-presidential candidates suggests that the ex-Alaskan governor will never sit in the White House.


4) “This War Is Hell: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 made me feel terrible about myself, and I loved it,” by Chris Suellentrop. Its plot is absurd, even for a video game, but Modern Warfare 2 evokes the real emotions stirred up by war.


5) “Artful Prague: The gloomy wonders of Prague,” by Emily Yoffe. In a five-part travelogue, Yoffe gets to know the beautiful Czech city—and gets reacquainted with her artistic side.

6) “Reidcare: The Remix: What’s inside the ‘blended’ Senate health reform bill,” by Timothy Noah. While not differing much from the House legislation, the Senate bill is ultimately stingier and will aid fewer people.

7)  ”The Real Price of Trying KSM: Defense lawyers will inevitably create bad law,” by David Feige. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s judge and jury will be against acquittal, so KSM’s defense attorneys could set undesirable precedents for future terrorist trials.


8) “Sorry, Snuffleupagus: Enough with the plaudits for Sesame Street. The best preschool programming on TV is Nick Jr’s Yo Gabba Gabba!” by Bret Asbury. Even childless adults can enjoy this hip kids’ show.

9) “How Do You Say ‘Pink Cadillac’ in Mandarin? Why the American brand Mary Kay is thriving in China,” by Daniel Gross. The Texas-based direct-selling company Mary Kay revamped its business model to flourish in the Chinese marketplace.

10) “Dirty Rockets: What’s the environmental impact of going into space?” by Nina Shen Rastogi. Despite all of the nasty pollutants space shuttles emit, they actually account only for a tiny amount of human-caused ozone depletion.


This Week’s Best from The Slatest

1) A Texas Democratic candidate for attorney general claims a 2005 amendment banning gay marriage actually outlawed all forms of marriage.

2) Reports indicate that Google will finally launch its own smartphone early next year.

3) How do you stop Somali pirates? Send Nicolas Cage, according to the United Nations.

4) Trying terrorists in civil courts could actually debunk myths and diminish the fear we have of them.

5) In another attack on ACORN, Doug Hoffman, the conservative candidate in the New York 23rd congressional district race, alleges the community organization stole the election from him.