“Couples Therapy: Why Barack Obama and John Boehner work so well together,” by John Dickerson. The once-chilly relationship between John Boehner and Barack Obama is warming, Dickerson writes. And if a deal is ever reached on the debt limit, the story of how “the chain smoker and the ex-smoker” learned to work together will be at the core of it.
“Bachmann Hits the Books: Can dropping names like Ludwig von Mises, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Gore Vidal help establish her as an intellectual anti-Palin?,” by Kate Julian. Liberal media outlets may sneer as the GOP presidential contender name drops authors like some pretentious grad student. But the author issues a warning: The last time a goofy candidate professed his love of Ludwig von Mises to conservatives, he was elected president.
“How To Fix Horror: Stop Trying To Be So Respectable,” by Jason Zinoman. Can horror directors ever produce something as gripping as Assault on Precinct 13’s depiction of a young girl gunned down in the street? Only if they realize that terrorism and the uncontrollable nature of the internet are far more frightening than silly haunted houses. Zinoman offers his advice for saving the horror genre in a four-part series.
“Murdoch Pulls the Ultimate ‘Reverse Ferret’: The real meaning of the News of the World closure,” by Jack Shafer. The phone hacking scandal that sunk the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World is sort of like a ferret crawling into the pants of a powerful person, explains Shafer. No, really. While he’s at it, Shafer also slams the statements of Murdoch’s son, who blamed the phone hacking on a few rogue staffers.
“Did Dominique Strauss-Kahn Try To Rape Tristane Banon?: Seven ways to check his story and hers against the evidence,” by William Saletan. While a New York woman’s case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn implodes, the goddaughter of his second wife now alleges that the former IMF head tried to rape her. Saletan lays out the trail of evidence investigators could follow to test the veracity of her claims, and Strauss-Kahn’s.
“Get a Job, Kid!: Only 25 percent of American teens have summer jobs, the lowest percentage on record. Why? Are they lazy?,” by Annie Lowrey. Teenage summer employment has reached a record low, meaning that America’s teens are missing out on the thin paychecks and thick forearms that come from months of scooping ice cream. But they’re not lazy, writes Lowrey. They’re just grappling with increased job competition and pressure to get ahead academically over the summer months.
“A Tight-Knit Community: Why Facebook can’t match Ravelry, the social network for knitters,” by Farhad Manjoo. The author spins a yarn about a popular social networking site devoted to knitting. It’s the love child of a knitter wife and her blogger husband. And it’s successful because it’s not like Facebook: Social networking sites are always more fun when they’re small and focused on a particular activity, Manjoo explains.
“Life is a Self-Driving Highway: Will Americans be able to adapt to the autonomous car?,” by Adam Waytz. Driverless cars will provide motorists with some quintessentially American opportunities, like cruising along at 60 mph with a Big Gulp in one hand and a Big Mac in the other. But driverless cars also represent the collision of two fundamental American values: convenience and free choice. Americans may love the ease of a driverless car, but will they love it enough to abandon the autonomy they’re used to behind the wheel?
“The Love Movement: At the heart of the A Tribe Called Quest documentary is a touching story of a fraught friendship,” by Jonah Weiner. Rapper Q-Tip was friends with fellow A Tribe Called Quest member Phife Dawg long before he left his wallet in El Segundo. This friendship makes up the core of Beats, Rhymes & Life, and it’s what makes Michael Rapaport’s documentary so compelling.
“Dispatches From Gaza: Hotel Hamastan,” by Sharon Weinberger. Step inside Gaza’s first five-star hotel, constructed partially from materials smuggled into the blockaded city through a network of tunnels. The luxurious edifice in this tumultuous region will even eventually boast a Turkish bath and a sauna. But it’s unclear who, exactly, will stay there.
“Does Health Coverage Make People Healthier?: A new study provides a compelling answer to the vexing question underlying the health care debate,” by Ray Fisman. The Affordable Care Act includes a provision that guarantees Medicaid coverage for uninsured low income adults. But does the insurance actually make people healthier? It’s complicated, the author explains, but Medicaid’s tangible benefits make it worth fighting for.