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- Just Give Every American an IDDemocrats in Congress are considering a policy that was long unthinkable: a federal requirement that every American show identification before casting a ballot. But as the party tries to pass voting-rights legislation before the next election, it is ignoring a companion proposal that could ensure that a voter-ID law leaves no one behind—an idea that is as obvious as it is historically controversial. What if the government simply gave an ID card to every voting-age citizen in the country?Voter-ID requirements are the norm in many countries, as Republicans are fond of pointing out. But so are national ID cards. In places such as France and Germany, citizens pick up their identity card when they turn 16 and present it once they’re eligible to vote. Out of nearly 200 countries across the world, at least 170 have some form of national ID or are implementing one, according to the political scientist… ..... Read More.3 weeks ago
- Dulles Airport Is the New Ellis IslandThe very first United Airlines evacuation flight from Ramstein Air Base, in Germany, on Sunday had 300 passengers on board, and those passengers had many questions. Some wondered where the flight was headed and how long the trip would be. Others asked crew members where their luggage was, whether it had made it out of Hamid Karzai International Airport, and whether it would catch up to them in America. Many people asked about the Wi-Fi; it wasn’t working, so they couldn’t tell their family members that they were alive. A few asked for medical attention: One person had sliced open his foot running barefoot toward the airport in Kabul; another person had broken a leg in the crush of the crowd. Children begged flight attendants for bread and candy.Jillian Johnson, a 35-year-old crew member, tried her best to answer all of the questions. Through an interpreter, she told the evacuees… ..... Read More.3 weeks ago
- Gavin Newsom Could Be in Real TroubleWe did not meet at the French Laundry.Gavin Newsom, the California governor who faces a recall election on September 14, hasn’t been back to the extravagantly expensive Napa Valley restaurant since he dined there with lobbyists last year in violation of his own COVID-19 restrictions. We met instead at a café in a nonprofit bookstore in the Mission District—much more on message.Newsom had just made the first stop on his Delta-constrained campaign to persuade Californians to vote no on the recall. He’d spoken with volunteers who had been helpfully positioned for the media at five tables along the sidewalk. He’d scolded reporters at a press conference, reminding them that the recall effort was funded by right-wing Republicans who—according to Newsom—completely misunderstood what makes California great. He’d tried for Jed Bartlet–style lines in his aging Sam Seaborn body. At the café, he quickly ate a banana and slurped the top of… ..... Read More.3 weeks ago
- Will the White House Face a Reckoning Over Afghanistan?Who, exactly, is responsible for today’s calamity in Afghanistan? ISIS appears to be the author of this tragedy, but are American officials at fault as well? At least 12 U.S. soldiers and dozens of Afghan civilians are dead after attacks by a pair of suicide bombers just outside the Kabul airport. The number of casualties is sure to rise.For that matter, who will Americans blame when they think about the image of desperate Afghans clinging to a departing C-17? Even before the bombings in Kabul, the U.S. evacuation of Afghanistan had been intermittently chaotic—some of those lucky enough to escape were transferred to rat- and feces-infested holding facilities in Qatar. A lost war is ending much as it began 20 years ago, with a gruesome terrorist attack targeting Americans.Prior to today’s attacks, Congress had already opened hearings into the Biden administration’s handling of the Afghanistan pullout, though Washington has its… ..... Read More.3 weeks ago
- The West’s Summer of ExtremesAfter this summer’s first searing heat wave baked the Pacific Northwest, the environmental scientist Robert Rohde posted an unusual observation on Twitter.Looking through a report that analyzed temperature patterns for the region over the past 70 years, he noted, “the heatwave was statistically ‘impossible.’” Obviously, the heat wave wasn’t literally impossible, given that, after all, it happened. But the broiling temperature that the Northwest reached—108 degrees Fahrenheit at one point in Seattle, 121 degrees in British Columbia—was so far beyond the observed experience, he explained, that it exceeded even statistical models’ outmost potential extremes for the area.A few weeks later, I caught up with Rohde, the lead scientist for Berkeley Earth, a nonprofit research group that analyzes current and historical climate data, via Zoom from Zurich, where he’s now living. He reiterated that the Northwest temperatures reached this summer were outside the boundaries “of what we thought was possible.”Rohde allowed… ..... Read More.3 weeks ago
- Why Biden Is Really Slipping in the PollsLosing a war undermines the public’s trust in any leader. But the setback causing the most damage to Joe Biden’s political standing likely isn’t the U.S. military defeat in Afghanistan—it’s the frustrating home-front struggle against the resurgent coronavirus pandemic.Support for Biden’s performance as president has tumbled in the most recent batch of polling. For the first time since he took office, a higher percentage of people disapprove of the job he’s doing than approve, according to the RealClearPolitics average. (Biden remains just a hair above water in the FiveThirtyEight trend line.) On Tuesday, a USA Today/Suffolk University poll found his approval rating at 41 percent—a dismal showing more commonly associated with Biden’s unpopular predecessor, Donald Trump, who never won the support of a majority of voters.The easy explanation for these numbers is that the public is blaming Biden for the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban. Voters seem to be… ..... Read More.3 weeks ago