The Great Debate

from Edward Hadas:

Fear no robot overlords. They can become our best friends.

By Edward Hadas
October 30, 2014

RTR4BYB0 (1).jpg

The “konditorei” in Sankt Florian, Austria offers fine pastries and wonderful hot chocolate. It was the perfect location to interrupt a holiday for a bit of work. Over a slice of strudel, I spent a few minutes last week contemplating my colleague Andy Mukherjee’s well argued article about the danger robots pose for the modern economy. Looking around the bakery-cafe, I saw why Andy should be proven wrong.

Why Israel doesn’t care what Obama thinks, or even what officials call Netanyahu

By Dimi Reider
October 30, 2014

bibichick

When a senior U.S. official calls Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “chickens–t,” you know the Israeli-American relationship has reached a new low point. The putdown was reported in The Atlantic just days after the Israeli defense minister’s request to meet with U.S. national security officials was rebuffed. Adding insult to injury, the rebuff was leaked to the press. While the White House distanced itself somewhat from the mudslinging, it did not retract any of the more substantive claims about U.S. discontent with Netanyahu’s policies.

How the Ebola quarantine became a ‘states’ rights’ issue

By Howard Markel
October 30, 2014

Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie speaks during a news conference about New York's first case of Ebola, in New York

What if someone with a deadly and mysterious infectious disease arrived at one of the largest urban centers in the United States? Certainly, we would expect the White House to consult the finest scientific minds in the federal government, academia and medicine to develop the best, most evidence-based approach to the contagious crisis.

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.