It's been a week of major showdowns: Obama vs. Romney. Giants vs. Tigers. Berlusconi vs. the Italian IRS. Nation interns have rounded up other key contests, from a series of game-changing state ballot initiatives to Romney's attack on public land.
Nader Atassi focuses on Middle Eastern politics and society.
“What is a Car Bomb?” by Maya Mikdashi. Jadaliyya, October 19, 2012.
On October 19, 2012, a car bomb exploded in the middle of Beirut, Lebanon, targeting the head of the Lebanese intelligence Wissam al-Hassan, but also injuring and killing many other civilian bystanders. In this piece, Maya Mikdashi, a Beirut native who now lives abroad, reacts to this event with a piece analyzing what a car bomb means in this context. The piece is part a poetic deconstruction of bombs and the logic of violence, and part a personal reflection of the events that happened in Beirut that day. Why do car bombs scare us? Well, for one thing, it is because a car bomb is "a warning, or perhaps a reminder, that life is cheaper than TNT."
Jeff Ernsthausen focuses on domestic politics and the influence of money on public institutions.
“23 Ballot Measures to Keep an Eye On,” by Gavin Aronson. Mother Jones, October 24, 2012.
Mother Jones has compiled a great summary of what's at stake on the ballot in states across the country this year. From workers' rights to reproductive rights, conservatives and progressives alike are taking their issues directly to state voters. Some measures would repeal recently passed state laws, such as laws legalizing gay marriage in Maryland and Washington, or the undemocratic emergency financial manager law in Michigan, while others aim to advance a legislative or constitutional agenda by other means, such as efforts to legalize marijuana in states like Colorado. While less frequently polled than the presidential or most congressional races, these measures can radically transform the rights of individuals at the state level, and could even have an impact on national politics.
Stefan Fergus focuses on US media, the presidency and China.
“The All-Powerful President,” by Micah Zenko. Foreign Policy, October 23, 2012.
This article is about the "five core principles of U.S. foreign policy that are widely held on both sides of the aisle," which are actually reflections of a profound misunderstanding of how American foreign policy is conceived, formulated and executed. The article's a little thin, but it's a good jumping-off point for a discussion of how politicians visualize the foreign policy-making process—both in and out of the executive branch.