The Great Debate

Under assault by U.S.-led coalition, Islamic State may shift tactics

By David Axe
October 14, 2014

Militant Islamist fighters take part in a military parade along the streets of northern Raqqa province

This summer, Islamic State fighters swept into the expanse of desert straddling the Iraq-Syria border. Riding in pickup trucks mounted with heavy machine guns, supported by skilled snipers and at least one tank, the Islamists captured the town of Rabia on the Syrian side of the border.

Read this to get a better understanding of how Ebola spreads

By Celine Gounder
October 13, 2014

A member of the CG Environmental HazMat team disinfects the entrance to the residence of a health worker at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who has contracted Ebola in Dallas

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Sunday that a nurse at a Dallas hospital who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, who died from Ebola last week, was the first person to become infected with the virus on U. S. soil. The nurse reportedly wore a gown, gloves, a mask and a face shield while caring for the Liberian national at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. Many, including CDC Director Tom Frieden, are questioning how the nurse became infected despite wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment, which should have shielded her from direct contact with Duncan and his bodily fluids.

Staying on the sidelines: In fight for Kobani, Turkey doesn’t see any good guys

By Andrew Finkel
October 13, 2014

Turkish Kurds watch the Syrian town of Kobani from near the Mursitpinar border crossing

ISTANBUL – Mayhem and civil war in Syria has become a grim spectator sport on the Turkish side of the border. Turkish Kurds gather on the hilltops overlooking the smoldering Syrian town of Kobani, under siege from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. They cheer and sing patriotic songs, certain that the town’s defenders, Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units, hear them and take heart.

Here’s what it will take for Americans to start getting pay raises

By Robert Kuttner
October 13, 2014

Demonstrators rally to raise the hourly minimum wage for fast-food workers at City Hall in Seattle

What will it really take to give America a raise?

A lot of well-credentialed policy experts have been writing nonsense about why Americans can’t be paid more.

from Anatole Kaletsky:

An ‘atomic bomb’ is hovering over France’s economy

By Anatole Kaletsky
October 10, 2014

France's President Hollande and German Chancellor Merkel talk during a conference on jobs in Milan

An “atomic bomb” is about to blow up in “the confrontation between Paris and Brussels.”

from John Lloyd:

Once the hamburgers are gone, can a government hold on?

By John Lloyd
October 10, 2014

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It’s often said that Russia’s Vladimir Putin, along with the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party, owe their popularity and the relative stability of their nations to their success in giving their people not so much bread and circuses but McDonald’s hamburgers and satellite TV. If the burgers and entertainment dry up, the foundations of the two regimes are supposed to tremble.

Meet Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi, a savior to children

By Monique Villa
October 10, 2014

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It is thanks to Kailash Satyarthi that thousands of children have been saved from a life of slavery and agony in India. It is thanks to his organization, BBA — the ‘Save the Childhood Movement’ — that these children can regain trust in other human beings, the vital ingredient of life.

Luck replaces grit in baseball playoffs, just like in real life

By Neal Gabler
October 10, 2014

MLB: NLDS-Washington Nationals at San Francisco Giants

“Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America,” the scholar Jaques Barzun famously said, “had better learn baseball.” This week, during the first round of Major League Baseball playoffs, it seems more apt than ever. Not because, as Barzun may have thought, baseball captures America’s steadfast values that reward discipline and perseverance, but because the game reflects the nation’s newer values: You succeed by being lucky.

Why Hong Kong showdown could never have morphed into Tiananmen 2.0

By Sergey Radchenko
October 10, 2014

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As pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong confronted police in the fumes of tear gas, the world looked on in admiration of their spirit and bravery and in fear of a possible crackdown.

One reason Congress is broken? Negative ads cripple even the winners.

By David B. McLennan
October 9, 2014

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North Carolina is nearing the end of the most expensive U.S. Senate campaign in its history. The volume of negative ads in the race between Democratic Senator Kay Hagan and Republican state Speaker Thom Tillis is unprecedented. These ads matter — but not in the ways that the candidates and their campaign consultants hope they do.