The Great Debate

from Stories I’d like to see:

Should Obamacare be derailed by a single sentence?

By Steven Brill
November 11, 2014

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Most disputes that end up at the U.S. Supreme Court are about the interpretation of the Constitution and statutes, not about facts. The press is mostly left to provide the basic background of the dispute and then quote each side’s lawyers. Little independent digging is required.

from Ian Bremmer:

Oil price plummet won’t help U.S. with Iran or Russia

By Ian Bremmer
November 11, 2014

A motorist holds a fuel pump at a Gulf petrol station in London

Plummeting oil prices — down more than 25 percent since June to three-year lows — should relieve pressure on consumers at the pump. But is it pushing oil-exporting regimes past the breaking point?

from Jack Shafer:

Stop or I’ll write! Why cops shouldn’t fake being reporters.

By Jack Shafer
November 11, 2014

FBI Director Comey testifies before a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James B. Comey waved his truncheon at the New York Times last week in a concise letter of protest addressed to the paper's editor. The FBI, denounced in a Nov. 1 Times editorial for impersonating an Associated Press reporter in a 2007 Seattle-area case, had nothing to apologize for, insisted Comey. While the impersonation was "unusual," he wrote, it was still proper, appropriate, and lawful.

from Alison Frankel:

Novel suit to determine if soldiers can sue over wartime terrorism

By Alison Frankel
November 10, 2014

Exterior of the Federal Court building is seen during the Adis Medunjanin sentencing hearing in the Brooklyn borough of New York

Soldiers die in wartime. Charlotte Freeman knew that when her husband, Brian - a West Point graduate, world-class bobsledder and Army Reserve captain - went to Iraq in 2006. Patrick Farr knew it when his son Clay called home on his 21st birthday to say he'd been wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq but not badly, so he'd be back in action right away. After Brian Freeman and Clay Farr were killed - Farr by another roadside bomb a week after he was first injured in 2006, and Freeman in an attack on the provisional U.S. military headquarters in Kerbala in 2007 - their families grieved terribly. Charlotte Freeman was left to raise two tiny children on her own. Patrick Farr mourned the grandchildren he would never have.

Is saying hello sexual harassment?

By Tatyana Fazlalizadeh
November 10, 2014

Morning commuters walk the city sidewalks of New York

A video documenting a woman’s experience walking through the streets of New York City for a day went viral. The reason? In the space of 10 hours, she was harassed more than 100 times.

from Jim Gaines:

Surprise! There may be a way to fix Washington.

November 10, 2014

U.S. President Obama hosts a luncheon for bi-partisan Congressional leaders in the Old Family Dining Room at the White House in Washington

The morning after the midterm elections, one of the best places to go for hope that the 114th Congress might actually get something done was a think tank not far from the Capitol called the Bipartisan Policy Center.

It’s no love match, but divorce is not an option for U.S. and Turkey

By Andrew Finkel
November 10, 2014

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan listens to U.S. President Obama during joint news conference at the White House in Washington

Recent events in Kobani are a lesson in how relationships between nations can grow dysfunctional.

The U.S. military is good, but nobody is THAT good

By Neal Gabler
November 10, 2014

bourne-ultimatum

When an angry electorate headed for the polls Tuesday, the questions on their minds probably included: Why did a Liberian man with Ebola get into this country, and how did the authorities so botch his treatment that two American nurses were infected with the virus? How did a convoy of Islamic State fighters cross a desert in plain daylight without being blasted to smithereens by the U.S. Air Force? How could U.S. automobile companies commit one gaffe after another without being called to account after Washington bailed them out?

from Anatole Kaletsky:

Why political gridlock works for the U.S. economy, but not for Japan or EU

By Anatole Kaletsky
November 7, 2014

U.S. President Obama hosts a luncheon for bi-partisan Congressional leaders in the Old Family Dining Room at the White House in Washington

Is gridlocked government a betrayal of democracy? Or does it allow citizens to get on with their lives and businesses, unencumbered by meddlesome politicians?

Building Berlin’s Wall helped avoid a nuclear confrontation

By Nina Khrushcheva
November 7, 2014

West Berliners walk in front of the Berlin wall at the Allied checkpoint Charlie in Berlin

Twenty-five years ago Sunday, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev refused to use force when thousands of people from East and West converged to pull down the Berlin Wall. He taught us all a great lesson: No wall can hold back democracy. Since then, however, Russian President Vladimir Putin has taught another lesson: If a country’s people don’t want democracy enough, no Berlin Wall is needed to keep it out.