The Great Debate

Elections were a wild party in the 1880s — that’s one reason why more people voted back then

By Donald P. Green
October 29, 2014

A man dressed as Uncle Sam drums up the crowd at an election campaign rally in Saginaw.

The United States has a low voter turnout by comparison to other Western democracies, and our turnout in midterm elections is especially abysmal, attracting roughly 40 percent of eligible voters to the polls.

The U.S.-Iran non-alliance alliance against Islamic State

By Aki Peritz and Faris Alikhan
October 29, 2014

Smoke rise over Syrian town of Kobani after an airstrike, as seen from the Mursitpinar crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border

One irony about the fight against Islamic State is that the nations now striking the extremist group the hardest also dislike each other the most.

from Breakingviews:

Rob Cox: Zuckerberg’s Chinese lessons are scalable

October 28, 2014

By Rob Cox

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Recent mandatory quarantine policies are unscientific–and dangerous

By Celine Gounder
October 28, 2014

q2.jpg

On Thursday, Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Chris Christie of New Jersey announced a mandatory 21-day quarantine for returning healthcare workers from Ebola-ravaged Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn followed suit a day later. Other U.S. states, including Minnesota, Georgia and Connecticut, have introduced similar measures.

from Stories I’d like to see:

Why Election Day won’t hold the answer to who will control the Senate for the next two years

By Steven Brill
October 28, 2014

Republican U.S. Senator Roberts campaigns at a conservative rally in Gardner

Scoping out the Senate Majority:

It seems likely that which party controls the U.S. Senate for the next two years will not be decided on Election Day.

Surprising source offers signs the global ‘war on drugs’ may be ending

By John Collins
October 28, 2014

U.S. coast guard officers stand next to seized cocaine packages, on the deck of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell at Naval Base San Diego

The contentious debate over international drug policy was potentially transformed a few weeks ago, when the United States strongly reiterated a major shift in policy.

How the West buys ‘conflict antiquities’ from Iraq and Syria (and funds terror)

By Sam Hardy
October 27, 2014

1“Many antique collectors unwillingly support terrorists like Islamic State, ” Michel van Rijn, one of the most successful smugglers of antique artifacts in the past century, told German broadcaster Das Erste this month.

Why finger pointing about Ebola makes Americans less safe

By Joan Bregstein
October 27, 2014

Demonstrators wearing surgical masks protest over the government's handling of Ebola in Madrid

With widespread accusations of repeated errors rampant in the media, it is easy to see how the public may feel the system’s response to the Ebola threat is one big mess.

How congressional hawks plan to kill Obama’s Iran deal

By Trita Parsi
October 27, 2014

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani gives a news conference on the sidelines of the 69th United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New York

Negotiations with Iran over the future of its nuclear program have not even concluded yet some members of Congress are preparing to manufacture a political crisis over a deal. Their beef? President Barack Obama may initially bypass Congress and suspend sanctions imposed on Iran to make a deal possible and only later ask lawmakers to end them permanently when it is determined that Iran has complied fully with its obligations under the deal.

Putin’s Moscow is anxious, gilded and hollow

By Lucian Kim
October 25, 2014

Putin chairs a meeting with members of the presidential council for civil society and human rights at the Kremlin in Moscow

The last time I saw Maria Baronova on Nikolskaya Street in Moscow, she was taking part in a silent anti-government demonstration before being bundled into a police bus with a half dozen other protesters. Now, almost three years later, we meet for a beer in an English pub on that same ancient street near the Kremlin. So much has changed. The Moscow protest movement fizzled out after Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency; activists like Baronova were prosecuted, and a blanket of repression is muffling the last voices of dissent.