Santorum vs. Gingrich, Komen vs. Planned Parenthood, and How Chipotle Is Like Apple: The Week’s Most Interesting Slate Stories

The week's most intriguing stories.
Feb. 11 2012 6:45 AM

Santorum vs. Gingrich, Komen vs. Planned Parenthood, and How Chipotle Is Like Apple

The week’s most interesting Slate stories.

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Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are both trying to convice voters that they are the best conservative candidate

Whitney Curtis/Getty Images.

The Last, Best Hope for Conservatives: Gingrich says that’s him. Then why is Santorum riding high?” by John Dickerson. After winning Missouri, Colorado, and Minnesota, John Dickerson says that Rick Santorum is a conservative voter’s best hope to beat Mitt Romney to the nomination. And he says Santorum is “the lonely warrior who has triumphed without playing a soundtrack of self-regard, without the ready millions of Gingrich's gambling-magnate patron, and despite more derision from the elite media than Gingrich has faced.”

Syria’s First Family: An illustrated guide to the Assad clan. How long can it cling to power?” by Andy Warner. Warner gives a step-by-step guide to the first family of Syria, which has more drama than a soap opera. A once-reserved ophthalmologist now leads the Syrian government’s increasingly brutal attacks against dissidents.

Chipotle Is Apple: The burrito chain is revolutionizing food: Why doesn’t it get more respect?” by Matthew Yglesias. Yglesias compares the burrito chain Chipotle’s booming business and innovative cooking techniques to the success of Apple. But he says that food industry winners like Chipotle don’t get the recognition that high-tech companies do. When will gigantic, tasty burritos get their due?

The Ties That Blind: It’s tough enough making decisions about elderly parents. What if you don’t like the siblings you have to agree with?” by Robin Marantz Henig. Clyde and Nancy were siblings born 13 years apart, and Clyde never got over his animosity toward his little sister. Then their mother got old and needed help. What to do? Enter the “elder mediator,” who can help such sibilings and their parents. Boomers are turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 a day, so call it a growth field.

Is That All You Got? How the proponents of a gay marriage ban just ran out of arguments,” by Dahlia Lithwick. Lithwick says that gay marriage ban supporters couldn’t summon up any convincing arguments against Proposition 8, which signaled “the death rattle of a movement that has no legal argument or empirical evidence.”

The Best and Worst Super Bowl Ads: The Coke bears weren't cute enough, and Budweiser went Ken Burns,” by Seth Stevenson. The Super Bowl may be over, but we’re still dissecting the ads. Stevenson says there were “not enough budget-busting epics” in the commercial line-up, but liked the apocalyptic world according to Chevy.

Questions for Bronson Pinchot: ’Dear God, let me find some bird-crap-colored wood,’ and other words of wisdom from the home-renovation devotee,” by June Thomas. Why does Balki from Perfect Strangers have his own home-renovation show? Thomas interviews Bronson Pinchot about the six homes he owns in one Pennsylvania town, why he’s obsessed with historical restoration, and the DIY Network’s The Bronson Pinchot Project.

How To Win the Westminster Dog Show: Step 1: Find a poodle. Step 2: Get a big-money backer,” by Josh Dean. If you thought the world’s most famous dog show was about raising cute dogs, parading them about in a circle and letting a judge pick her favorite, you need to read this piece. Who knew white show dogs are covered in powdered chalk or that it takes $800,000 to back a “Best of Show”? An excerpt from Josh Dean’s book Show Dog: The Charmed Life and Trying Times of a Near-Perfect Purebred goes behind the doggie scenes.

How Komen Became a Tool: Defunding Planned Parenthood over ‘controversy’ was politics by another name,” by William Saletan. Dissecting the mess surrounding the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s defunding and then refunding of Planned Parenthood, Saletan says, “What Komen needs in its grant criteria—and what any funder needs—is the same anti-politics safeguard the founders of our country put in the Constitution: checks and balances.”

No Hetero: Hanne Blank’s lively history of straights,” by Troy Patterson. In her zig-zagging and lively narrative, Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality, Hanne Blank explores the vague boundaries between gayness and straightness in defining one’s sexuality.

Anna Weaver is a writer living in the Seattle area. She is originally from Kailua, Hawaii.