Cocktail Chatter

Tiger’s Bad Week, Obama’s War Plan, and Pop’s First Wild Child

The week’s most interesting Slate stories.

1) “Par for the Course: Why we can’t get enough of the stories about Tiger Woods and the Salahis,” by Jack Shafer. Plus: Did Woods lie to Florida law enforcement to keep his wife out of jail? And a history of social climbing.

2) “The Fog of War: Obama’s Afghanistan speech was confusing,” by John Dickerson. Plus: Columnist Fred Kaplan explains his ambivalence about Afghanistan and how Obama’s war differs from Bush’s.

3) “AOL’s Latest Dumb Business Plan: Write stories based on search terms, mimic universe’s worst news site,” by Farhad Manjoo. Catering its content to data-mined search terms may net AOL more readers initially, but quick, vapid articles won’t be a long-term draw.


4) “Vanishing Act: In search of Eva Tanguay, the first rock star,” by Jody Rosen. A century ago, the vaudevillian performer achieved unprecedented celebrity. Now forgotten, Tanguay epitomized the libidinous, iconoclastic attitude later adopted by the likes of Madonna.


5) “You Really Should Be Watching Parks and Recreation: How the NBC sitcom found its voice. Plus: its mustachioed secret weapon,” by Jonah Weiner. Sluggish early on, Parks and Recreation has hit its stride. So how come nobody’s watching?

6) “Mother’s Little Helper: The iPhone is the ultimate kid-pacification device,” by Michael Agger. Child-centric applications make life a little easier for iPhone-wielding parents.

7) “It Knows If You’ve Been Speeding: Can a device that tracks when I swerve, accelerate, and brake make me a better driver?” by Tom Vanderbilt. An electronic backseat driver could improve your commute.


8) “The KSM Trial Will Be Fair Enough: And military detention is legit, too,” by Jack Goldsmith. Accused 9/11 conspirator Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will receive as fair a trial in New York as he would anywhere else, despite criticism of the plan.

9) “Will Health Reforms Lower Premiums: Yes and no, says the Congressional Budget Office,” by Timothy Noah. A hint: If you buy your own insurance, you may have reason to worry.

10) “The Foxes Guard the Financial Henhouse: Who is Congress putting in charge of the market for credit-default swaps?” by Daniel Hemel. Proposed legislation could give Goldman Sachs and other major banks more power than ever in regulating financial markets.

The Week’s Best From the Slatest

1) A survey shows one-third of 14-24-year-olds engage in “sexting.”

2) Blackwater CEO Erik Prince claims he spied for the CIA.

3) Google says it will not try to kill off newspapers.

4) German newspapers are battling over an obscene sculpture of an editor.

5) Paraguayan officials were embarrassed  to learn their U.S. consular pick is an illegal immigrant.