The week's most interesting Slate stories.

The week's most interesting Slate stories.

The week's most interesting Slate stories.

The week's most intriguing stories.
Sept. 11 2009 11:03 AM

Lies, Trigger Options, and Presidential Impostors

The week's most interesting Slate stories.

1) "Reaction Shot: The raucous, ribald peanut gallery at Obama's address to Congress," by Christopher Beam. When to applaud and when to sit stoically was a tricky proposition for members of the joint congressional session. Yelling, "You lie!" almost certainly wasn't in the Republican playbook, though.

2) "Obamacare 2.0: Did Obama's speech succeed in recasting the debate over health care reform?" by John Dickerson. It was reminiscent of his stirring oratory on the campaign trail, but did President Obama win any Republican converts?

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3) "Triggernometry: Olympia Snowe's mechanism for compromise has a sorry history," by Timothy Noah. If congressional history is any indication, a plan that would "trigger" a public health care option should insurance companies fail to meet a deadline to expand coverage and lower costs will likely be ineffectual.

4) " Saving Face: A chick-lit novel written in real time," by Dahlia Lithwick. Read the first installment of Lithwick's novel, written over the course of a month—with Slate reader input. In Chapter 1: Despite news of her best friend getting divorced, our heroine is more concerned with impressing other ritzy mothers in a clothing swap.

5) "A Modesty Proposal: How should Roger Federer—the greatest tennis player on Earth—talk about his own greatness," by Ben Yagoda. Bucking Muhammad Ali's boastful model for Michael Jordan-like modesty, the best tennis player in the world is as gracious as they come. How does he do it?

6) "Change You Can Make-Believe In: The race to become Obama's top look-alike," by Christopher Maag. The lucrative market to become the best President Obama impersonator is under way. Top presidential look-alikes can earn millions but have a limited shelf-life.

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7) "Down With Megahertz! A better way to market computers: Say what they can actually do," by Farhad Manjoo. Instead of marketing their processors with names like Core i7 and Core 2 Quad, computer makers should instead highlight important things—like how long it takes to download Michael Jackson's Thriller or load Yahoo Mail.

8) "I'm Tasting Tar, Traffic Cones, Motor Oil …: A planned bridge could ruin Germany's cherished Mosel wine region," by Mike Steinberger. A proposed mile-long highway bridge could mar one of the world's greatest wine valleys, a fragile ecosystem that produces some of the best Riesling available.

9) "The Last Sellouts: Pearl Jam's brilliant new single, brought to you by Target," by Jonah Weiner. Although known for bucking the trend of selling out for a big payout, Pearl Jam finally breaks down and allows its newest album to be sold almost exclusively through Target and iTunes.

10) "Who Are You Calling Genius? It's time to retire the term," by Ron Rosenbaum. With everyone from Quentin Tarantino to the Mario Bros. video game designer being labeled a genius, it's time to stop deeming individuals geniuses and look more closely at the notion itself.

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The Week's Best From "The Slatest"

1) Reports on the severity of New York Times reporter Stephen Farrell's hostage situation vary: One report suggests he was treated well by his captors, another that his life was in immediate danger.

2) The feel-good story of 17-year-old Melanie Oudin's U.S. Open run is now marred by a salacious report about her parents' divorce. (Hint: It involves Oudin's tennis coach.)

3) The search for Osama Bin Laden continues for the CIA, but this time it isn't running the show. Pakistani spies are

4) Despite audiotape suggesting otherwise, California Assemblyman Michael Duvall denies having affairs with multiple women.

5) Although he may be one of the most popular pitchers in recent Red Sox history, Boston voters aren't getting behind a potential Curt Schilling Senate run.