Pot Taxes, Orphan Tweets, and a Catholic Sex Fight
The week's most interesting Slate stories.
1. "Orphaned Tweets: When people sign up for Twitter, post once, and never return," by John Swansburg and Jeremy Singer-Vine. Are you one of the thousands of people who dipped a toe into the Twitterverse and then fled? Slate collected the best of the single tweets, which are sometimes puzzling, sometimes pungent, and always evocative.
2. "A Toke and a Tax: If governments tax marijuana, how much revenue can they raise from it?" by Jeremy Singer-Vine. Pot commerce is already a big business. Slapping a hefty tariff on weed might help relieve cash-strapped states, but even legalization advocates can't agree on the best way to tax it.
3. "Children of Bad Memories: Jonathan Torgovnik's photos of children born of rape during the Rwandan genocide," by Mia Fineman. A gallery depicts Rwandan children, now teenagers, whose fathers raped their mothers and left them to an uncertain future. Even more heartbreaking is the testimony of the mothers, who find it hard to love their children of rape.
4. "What Do Pope John Paul II and Hugh Hefner have in Common? An intense debate erupts over Catholic sexuality," by Michael Sean Winters. A Catholic layman is using John Paul II's teachings on the theology of the body to support his argument in favor of more sexual variety. And nothing has been more controversial than his suggestions about anal sex.
5. "The Recession Wrecks Friendships: One friend gets poorer, the other stays the same," by Emily Bazelon. What happens when two people suddenly can't afford the same level of apartment or Saturday-night fun? Lost jobs hit pocketbooks, but also the relationships that make life worth living.
6. "White Men Can't Judge? Why Sonia Sotomayor might really believe that Latina women make better judges," by Dahlia Lithwick. She didn't just say the magical 32 words once—Sotomayor made her "wise Latina woman" argument on repeated occasions. If ideas about the value of understanding multiple perspectives are legitimate, she may have a point.
7. "No Fight Left: Just like grown-up Republicans, College Republicans face an identity crisis," by Lydia DePillis. The College Republicans are just as messed up as their parent national party. They haven't figured out how to be an effective minority party. It doesn't help that their leaders are all white males and their main outreach strategy is Twitter.
8. "The Circus Comes to Albany: Why the State Senate bedlam will be good for New York," by Eliot Spitzer. The former New York governor explains that the shakeup in Albany, though absurd, might finally bring substantive debate on real issues to the state capitol.
9. "Is There a Gay Couple in That Insurance Ad? A progressive new campaign from Progressive," by Seth Stevenson. They are tripping some people's gaydar—the mannerisms, the rainbow T-shirt—but Progressive Insurance says they were actually just going for a "Joey and Chandler dynamic." Nevertheless, audiences seem to like it.
10. "Health Care Reform FAQ: What we argue about when we argue about health care policy," by Christopher Beam. "Public option"? "Individual mandate"? "Budget reconciliation"? It's a tangled, buzzword-ridden world out there. This piece explains all the jargon and all the different policy options.
Lydia DePillis is a writer living in New York.