The week's most interesting Slate stories.

The week's most intriguing stories.
Sept. 4 2009 11:00 AM

No Doctor in the House, a Talking Cure, and Wiki Malaise

The week's most interesting Slate stories.

1) Roxanne's Nonexistent Revenge: Heard about the rapper who forced her label to pay for her Cornell Ph.D.? It never happened," by Ben Sheffner. Hearts across the blogosphere melted over one-hit wonder Roxanne Shanté's story of triumph. But a Slate investigation has revealed that her story is full of holes.

2) "Tweeting Avengers: Does venting consumer outrage on Twitter actually work?" by Farhad Manjoo. Forget the Better Business Bureau. If you don't get what you need from customer service, your best bet may be to tweet your frustration.


3) "Romancing the Parliamentarian: If Alan Frumin can't be bullied or bought, can he be bypassed?" by Timothy Noah. If the Senate tries to pass health care reform via budget reconciliation, the most influential man in the Senate could be one nobody has heard of: the Senate parliamentarian.

4) "Talking Cure: Has Obama failed to sell health care reform? Or are Americans just not in the mood to buy?" by John Dickerson. President Obama's famous powers of persuasion may have reached their limit. When it comes to his pitches for health care form, America seems to have its collective fingers in its ears.

5) "The Fix Is In: The hidden public-private cartel that sets health care prices," by Darshak Sanghavi. Can't get in to see a new primary care doctor? That's because nobody wants to be one. The medical field is dominated by specialists who formulate how we evaluate and pay doctors. Guess who the formula rewards?

6) "Hang Up and Listen, the Mighty Gator Edition: Listen to Slate's podcast about the week in sports," by Stefan Fatsis, Josh Levin, and Mike Pesca. No doubt Florida quarterback Tim Tebow is a great guy. But traditional media outlets seem afraid to ask him tough questions, like whether Roman Catholics go to heaven.

7) "Torture Makes the FBI's Job Harder: Goodwill toward the United States is an agent's best tool, at home and abroad," by Asha Rangappa. The FBI gathers critical intelligence by persuading high-level foreigners to rat out their home countries. But it's hard to get someone to commit treason to help a nation known for torture.

8) "Nuts to That: The people profiting from food allergies," by Meredith Broussard. More than one-third of schools ban foods to protect kids from allergies. But why are we wasting time and money fretting about something that kills fewer people per year than lighting strikes do?

9) "Masters of the Wikiverse: Wikipedia's new editing policy isn't the end of the encyclopedia's democratic age. It's business as usual," by Chris Wilson. A rule change will require seasoned users to vet changes to the pages of high-profile living individuals. It's been met with jeers, but the rule is actually old-hat.

10) "Bill Us Later: Why we don't need to worry too much about the national debt," by Conor Clarke. We may be passing on truckloads of debt to our children, but it's not the end of the world. Improvements in technology and productivity mean future generations will be able to foot the bill.

The Week's Best From " The Slatest"

1) U.S. Embassy Cracks Down on Lewd Guards: After allegations that guards at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan were throwing nude, drunken parties, the embassy has assigned security to oversee rogue guards and has banned alcohol from contractors' living quarters.

2) Women (Almost) Majority in Workforce: There's still plenty of inequality in the workplace, but, for the first time, women are on the verge of holding the majority of the nation's jobs.

3) What's the Story With Kidnapper's Wife? No One Knows: While much is known about alleged kidnapper/rapist Phillip Garrido, very little is known about his wife, Nancy. Police believe she kept Jaycee Dugard imprisoned while her husband was in jail.

4) Want a Job? Look to the Federal Government: Those in the medical, security, legal and law-enforcement fields will have a good chance snapping up new federal jobs and vacancies created by retiring Baby Boomers.

5) CIA Doctors Charged With "Human Experimentation": An organization that investigates the role of doctors in torture situations has accused the CIA of illegally conducting human experimentation.


The World

The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

Are the Attacks in Canada a Sign of ISIS on the Rise in the West?

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

Is It Offensive When Kids Use Bad Words for Good Causes?

Fascinating Maps Based on Reddit, Craigslist, and OkCupid Data


The Real Secret of Serial

What reporter Sarah Koenig actually believes.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea

Can Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu Pull Off One More Louisiana Miracle?

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