The week's most interesting Slate stories.

The week's most intriguing stories.
Sept. 18 2009 1:03 PM

Missile Defense, Swine Flu Shield, and the Attack on Max

The week's most interesting Slate stories.

1) "Mad at Max: Direct some anger at Max Baucus toward the president," by John Dickerson. In a rare show of bipartisanship, Democrats and Republicans alike have balked at Sen. Baucus' health care reform legislation. But Baucus' "White House bill" is backed by Obama, so why is the president getting off easy?

2) "Murder Draped in Ivy: Why the press can't get enough of Harvard or Yale murders," by Jack Shafer. The murder of Yale student Annie Le has received an inordinate amount of media coverage. Does the press have an elitist bias or do these institutions occupy exceptional places in our national psyche?

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3) "Shielded: Obama's smart decision to scuttle Bush's European missile-defense plan," by Fred Kaplan. By surrendering a military foothold in Poland and the Czech Republic, President Obama has cleared the way for better cooperative measures between the United States and Russia.

4) "Plan B: What to do when all else has failed to change your kid's behavior," by Alan E. Kazdin and Carlo Rotella. If you're interested in getting your stubborn child to act right, act less interested. A little reverse psychology can go a long way.

5) "Head Case: Trying to decide whether to have brain surgery," by Peter Hyman. There is no playbook to follow when it comes to removing a brain tumor. Hyman, whose tumor hadn't yet caused any ill affects, was faced with two choices: a dangerous pre-emptive operation or living in fear.

6) " 'Yes We Can' Meets 'No We Won't': Obama's attempts to broker Middle East peace are doomed to fail—for now," by Shmuel Rosner. The Obama administration has hit the ground running, while Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas prefer to proceed slowly and carefully.

7) "To Boost or Not To Boost: The United States' swine flu vaccines will leave millions worldwide unprotected," by David Dobbs. The U.S. swine flu vaccine order allows Americans to breathe easier, but the rest of the world has reason to panic. By ordering almost all of its doses in unboosted form, the U.S. has put a strain on valuable worldwide antigen supplies.

8) "The Eco-Perils of Cheap Décor: Is fake-wood furniture bad for the environment?" by Nina Shen Rastogi. Before buying another piece of furniture from you friendly neighborhood Swedes, you should know that particleboard furniture takes a lot of energy to produce, releases a carcinogen, and may be more harmful to the environment than solid wood products.

9) "Nine Questions for Ben Bernanke: He'd better answer them before the Senate confirms him to another term as Fed chairman,"by Eliot Spitzer. With the Federal Reserve poised to play a more prominent role in the near future, Ben Bernanke needs to explain how the Fed can learn from past mistakes and reinvent itself.

10) "Dan Brown's Washington: What does The Lost Symbol get wrong about the nation's capital? Everything," by David Plotz. Dan Brown gets bogged down in the spiritual and, in doing so, ignores what really makes D.C. tick. Plus, create your own convoluted plot with Chris Wilson's "Dan Brown Sequel Generator."