The Great Debate

‘Boyhood’ vs. ‘Birdman’: Inside Hollywood’s hive mind

By Neal Gabler
February 20, 2015
An Oscar statue stands in a parking lot near the Dolby Theater during preparations ahead of the 87th Academy Awards in Hollywood

An Oscar statue stands near the Dolby Theater during preparations for the Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 19, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Debaltseve debacle puts Ukraine’s leader in jeopardy. That suits Vladimir Putin just fine.

By Lucian Kim
February 19, 2015
Ukrainian servicemen who fought in Debaltseve are seen in a bus before leaving for home, near Artemivsk

Ukrainian servicemen who fought in Debaltseve are seen in a bus before leaving for home, near Artemivsk, Feb. 19, 2015. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Iraqis may fear Shi’ite militias more than Islamic State

By Mohamad Bazzi
February 19, 2015
A fighter from the Shi'ite Kata'ib Imam Ali (Imam Ali Brigades) militia runs as they search a house after taking control of a village from Islamist State militants, on the outskirts of Dhuluiya

A fighter from the Shi’ite Imam Ali Brigades militia runs after taking control of a village from Islamist State militants, on the outskirts of Dhuluiya, north of Baghdad, Dec. 29, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

The most expensive ingredient in beer? It’s not hops, it’s taxes.

By Grover G. Norquist and Patrick Gleason
February 19, 2015
Goose Island beer taps are seen amongst other craft beers at a bar in New York

Craft beer taps at a bar in New York, January 21, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Whether you like craft beer brewed in small batches or the mass-produced variety, the most costly ingredient that goes into every pint of beer in the United States is taxes. With federal, state and local levies, taxes make up, on average, more than 40 percent of the cost of beer purchased in the United States. In an effort to reduce the excessive tax bite, two competing bills have been proposed this month on Capitol Hill, along with legislation at the state level.

‘American Sniper’: The war we wished for just might win the Oscar

By Allen Steinberg
February 19, 2015
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Bradley Cooper playing Chris Kyle in ‘American Sniper.’ REUTERS/Warner Bros. Entertainment

How to arm Ukraine without starting World War Three

By Steven Pifer
February 18, 2015
Members of the separatist self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic army collect parts of a destroyed Ukrainian army tank in the town of Vuhlehirsk, west of Debaltseve

Members of the separatist self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic army collect parts of a destroyed Ukrainian army tank in Vuhlehirsk, about 10 km (6 miles) west of Debaltseve, February 16, 2015. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

No, Russia isn’t building a giant new aircraft carrier

By David Axe
February 18, 2015
Russian_aircraft_carrier_Kuznetsov -- better

Russian Aircraft Carrier “Kuznetsov,” January 1996. WIKIMEDIA/Commons

Why Arab Spring made life better in Tunisia, failed everywhere else

By Ellen McLarney
February 18, 2015
A Tunisian fan reacts after Tunisia lost their quarter-final soccer match of the 2015 African Cup of Nations against Equatorial Guinea in Bata

A Tunisian fan soccer fan. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Earlier this month, Tunisia’s newly elected parliament cobbled together a coalition government led by a secular party that included its Islamist rivals, who had been democratically ousted from power. The new government, coming on the heels of a historic presidential election, a new constitution and the first democratic elections to be held during the Arab Spring, marks an astonishing democratic culmination in the birthplace of the movement. It has also proven hard to replicate.

As free trade pacts expand, U.S. trade deficit soars. Why add one more?

By Leo Hindery Jr.
February 17, 2015
U.S. President Obama, Australian Prime Minister Abbott and Japanese Prime Minister Abe meet at the G20 in Brisbane

(L-R) President Barack Obama, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the G20 in Brisbane, November 16, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Why the 2016 Republican nominee is likely to be chosen by the blue states

By Bill Schneider
February 17, 2015
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush addresses delegates during the final session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush addresses delegates at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 30, 2012 REUTERS/Mike Segar