Cocktail Chatter

A New iPad, an Ode to Warm Beer, and the Lameness of Mars

The week’s most interesting Slate stories.

Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney speaks in Tennessee. Is the South important to the GOP nomination?

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Down and Out in the Deep South: Southern states used to be must-wins if you wanted to be the Republican nominee. Not anymore,” by David Weigel. Mitt Romney, the GOP front-runner, isn’t much liked in the South: “Too many Southerners don’t think he’s conservative. Some of them—and some will admit it—cannot get past his Mormonism.” Weigel visits some Republican rallies in Tennessee and explains why Romney might still end up on top.

The iPad Is Unbeatable: Why Apple’s tablet competitors don’t stand a chance—and maybe never will,” by Farhad Manjoo. Apple unveiled its long awaited third-generation iPad on Wednesday, and it’s equipped with eye-popping definition, 4G capability, and a processor faster than any before. Manjoo explains why, if you’re the CEO of any tech company not named Apple, you should be very afraid of Apple’s “unbelievable emerging position in the tablet market.”

The Aspirin Strategy: What happens to college sex when you stop subsidizing birth control? Rush Limbaugh won’t like the answer,” by Will Saletan.  Saletan looks at what happened when federal subsidies for contraception on campuses were inadvertently cut off and explains that what happened “should give pause to both sides of the contraception debate”:  The added cost of birth control didn’t cause a crisis, and it pushed some students to cut back on sex. But the reduced sex didn’t decrease the accidental pregnancy rate, “because many women, instead of giving up sex, switched to cheaper, less reliable, and ad hoc birth-control methods.”

Grab Me a Warm One: Don’t believe Coors and Budweiser—cold temperatures ruin good beer,” by Mark Garrison. Highlighting an unfortunate experience at one of Brooklyn’s top breweries involving a too-cold glass and a quality beer ruined by its own frigid temperature, Garrison gives the low-down on why icy cold isn’t anywhere near right when it comes to imbibing a quality drink.

Integrate the Record Books: Black high-school athletes from the Jim Crow era have been denied their place in history. It’s time to change that,” by Evin Demiril. Before the civil rights movement took off, some of America’s top athletes didn’t make the record charts because they went to segregated schools. And because black schools didn’t garner the same media attention as their white counterparts, it’s hard to go back and correct the record books to reflect the achievements of African-American athletes. Demiril writes that it’s time to give credit where it’s due.

Sluts Unite: By standing up to Rush Limbaugh’s slur, Sandra Fluke shows how sex positivity is recharging feminism,” by Emily Bazelon. Last week, Rush Limbaugh called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” after she testified before Congress about requiring insurance plans to cover birth control. In an age of inadequate rape laws and increasing affronts on women’s reproductive rights, Bazelon explains how the Fluke- Limbaugh uproar is actually helping women reclaim the word that used to work best for shutting them up.

Give Me the Keys, Dad: Why there’s no personal, societal, or governmental solution for what to do about elderly drivers,” by Emily Yoffe.  As of 2008, 78 percent of people aged 70 and older were licensed drivers. Yoffe delves into the dangers of impaired elderly drivers on the road—and explains how the lack of standards regarding the older demographic isn’t doing much to help.

Life in the Tank: What really happens inside all those think tanks?” by Katy Waldman. The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, made headlines last week when Charles and David Koch tried to take over the leadership. What exactly goes on in a think tank—besides a lot of thinking? Waldman explains the details.

Mars: Can John Carter make the red planet cool again?” by Bryan Curtis. John Carter, a sort of “space Western,” places a former Confederate Army captain on Mars, where he must save the planet’s species from extinction. But, worried that a movie set on the red planet wouldn’t market well to women, director Andrew Stanton decided to scrap Mars from the title altogether. Curtis speculates whether a film set on the red planet can cut it in 2012.

 “Ku Klux Kontraction: How did the KKK lose nearly one-third of its chapters in one year?” by Brian Palmer. Palmer tells us why America’s most notorious white supremacist group is struggling to hold on to modern racists in an age when other hate groups are flourishing.