Morning Must Reads: November 27

The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

200,000+ Without Power

As most of the U.S. prepares to celebrate Thanksgiving, spare a thought for more than 200,000 American families who were facing the holiday without electricity after heavy snow felled power lines from West Virginia to Vermont early Thursday

Is Turkey Actually Good for You?

Do the nutritional perks of turkey deserve to be at the center of your Thanksgiving feast? Our weekly poll of five experts answer the questions that gnaw at you

Ferguson Rallies Across the U.S.

Demonstrators across the U.S. took to the streets in protest against a grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson

TIME for Thanks: Public Figures Count Their Blessings

Thanksgiving is a time when families across the country gather around their dining room tables and reflect on life’s many blessings—not least of these being the blessing of family itself. This year, TIME asked public figures to reflect on what they’re thankful for

How Parkinson’s Disease Changed One Family

“Taking Care” is a series intimately covering the lives of caregivers and the people they care for. Photographer Abby Kraftowitz, who has been documenting one family since 2012, offers a deep look into those affected by the disease

Cricket Star Phillip Hughes Dies

Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes has died at Sydney’s St. Vincent’s Hospital. The 25-year-old was hospitalized in critical condition after he was hit on the head by a ball while batting during an important domestic tournament on Tuesday

8 Gadgets to Help You Survive Thanksgiving

Let’s be honest: Even if we love grandpa, we’ve heard the same story every year since 2003. So we’ve put together a Thanksgiving survival guide: eight gadgets for putting up with eight troublesome family members

Ebola Cases in Sierra Leone Will ‘Soon Eclipse’ Liberia

Sierra Leone will “soon” dethrone Liberia as the hardest-hit country in West Africa’s Ebola outbreak, the World Health Organization cautioned Wednesday. Nearly one-fifth of its total cases were reported in a three-week period that ended Sunday

Amazon Slashes Kindle Prices for Black Friday

Amazon’s $79 Kindle e-reader will be on sale for $49, and the company’s Kindle Fire tablets are also dramatically cheaper, with the Fire HD 6 going for a mere $79 (vs. its usual $99 price tag) and the Fire HD 7 on sale for $109 (vs. $139)

Cleveland Officer Shot 12-Year-Old Within Seconds on Scene

The Cleveland officer who fatally shot Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy, on Saturday was a rookie cop who fired his gun within moments of arriving on the scene, according to surveillance video and police statements released Wednesday

Avatar Sequels Will Be ‘Bitchin” Cameron Says

James Cameron has divided Avatar sequel scripts to a team that includes Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silva, Josh Friedman and Shane Salerno. “I can tell you one thing,” Cameron told Empire magazine, “they’re gonna be bitchin'”

Labor Group Plans Strike of Walmart Stores on Black Friday

Employees at Walmart stores in at least six states and Washington, D.C., plan to strike on one of the busiest shopping days of the year to protest workers’ wages and hours. For the third year in a row, OUR Walmart is organizing a massive strike on Black Friday

Get TIME’s The Brief e-mail every morning in your inbox

TIME person of the year

Narendra Modi Leads TIME’s Person of the Year Poll

Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India waves to the crowd as he arrives to give a speech during a reception by the Indian community in honor of his visit to the United States at Madison Square Garden, Sept. 28, 2014, in New York. Jason DeCrow—AP

India's leader is well ahead of the Ferguson, Mo., protesters and Russia's Vladimir Putin

Vote Now for TIME’s Person of the Year.

Narendra Modi, the newly elected Indian prime minister, has a significant lead in TIME’s 2014 Person of the Year polls, with 11.1% of the vote as of Wednesday evening. The leader of the world’s largest democracy has raised hopes among Indians that he’ll invigorate the country’s economy and tear down the bureaucratic red tape that has slowed development.

Should Narendra Modi Be TIME’s Person of the Year? Vote Below for #TIMEPOY

The Ferguson, Mo., protesters now stand at 8.8% as of late Wednesday, edging out Russian President Vladimir Putin (5.9%), who was TIME’s Person of the Year in 2007, and the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner ever, Malala Yousafzai (5%).

The earlier bump for the protesters came amid violent unrest in the St. Louis suburb and subsequent demonstrations that rippled across the U.S. Thousands expressed solidarity with slain 18-year-old Michael Brown’s family following the grand jury announcement not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for causing his death. Crowds from New York to Los Angeles gathered and chanted the rallying cry, “Black lives matter.”

Since 1927, TIME has named a person who for better or worse has most influenced the news and our lives in the past year.

The Person of the Year is selected by TIME’s editors, but readers are asked to weigh in by commenting on any TIME Facebook post that includes #TIMEPOY, tweeting your vote using #TIMEPOY, or by heading over to TIME.com’s Person of the Year voting hub, where Pinnion’s technology is recording, visualizing and analyzing results as they are received. Votes from Twitter, Facebook and TIME.com’s voting hub are pooled together to create the totals displayed on the site. You can see the results of the poll and vote on your choice for person of the year here.


Morning Must Reads: November 26

The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

Ferguson Protests Across the U.S.

Anger over a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson, who shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown to death, continued to reverberate around the country on Tuesday, with protests and demonstrations from coast to coast

Thanksgiving Travel Tips

There are going to be some 41 million people in motion before and after Thanksgiving. Here’s how to navigate the chaos


Bill Cosby’s Nephew Speaks Out

Braxton Cosby, head of Cosby Media Productions, said his 77-year-old uncle “is innocent” in light of the “unjustified claims” of sex assault by multiple women


The One Battle Michael Brown’s Family Will Win

Body-worn cameras are poised to become standard for police around the U.S. after the tragedy in Ferguson, Mo. Circumstances surrounding the death of teenager Michael Brown, shot by police officer Darren Wilson, remain muddled due to the lack of visual evidence

S.F. Passes First-Ever Retail Worker ‘Bill of Rights’

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved new protections for the city’s retail workers aimed at giving staffers more predictable schedules and access to extra hours ahead of their hectic Thanksgiving and Black Friday shifts


Thanksgiving Travel Chaos Amid Winter Storms

More than 200 commercial flights had been canceled by late Tuesday night ahead of the busiest travel day of the year for Americans, as weather forecasters predict that snowstorms and rain are likely to pound the northeast throughout Wednesday and Thursday


ISIS Got Up to $45 Million in Ransoms, U.N. Says

A U.N. expert told a meeting of the Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee that an estimated $120 million in ransoms were paid to terrorist groups between 2004 and 2012. She called kidnapping “the core al-Qaeda tactic for generating revenue”


Ebola Isolation Is ‘Vacation’ for U.S. Service Members

Ebola quarantine for health care workers has been likened to prison, but isolation for military personnel appears much more relaxed. American service members returning from missions in West Africa are required to undergo 21-day quarantines


HBO Lands Brett Morgen’s Kurt Cobain Documentary

Two years after airing Brett Morgen’s Rolling Stones documentary, Crossfire Hurricane, HBO has signed up to air his long-simmering documentary on Kurt Cobain. The film will debut on HBO, and Universal will release the film internationally in 2015


Hong Kong Police Clear Protest Site

Hong Kong student leader Joshua Wong, who featured last month on the cover of TIME’s international edition, was arrested Wednesday along with several more pro-democracy activists, after police continued their crackdown on the Mong Kok protest site


The First 3-D Printer in Space Prints Its First Object

The object, a replacement faceplate for the printer’s casing that holds its internal wiring in place, is one of about 20 objects that will be printed aboard International Space Station over the coming weeks and then sent down to Earth for analysis

Johnny Depp Doesn’t Care Anymore

Johnny Depp doesn’t care anymore — not about what you think, nor what his critics think, nor even about what he himself thinks. But contrary to what it sounds like, the Hollywood superstar says letting go of expectations allows him to be more free and versatile

TIME Crime

Watch Live: Family of Michael Brown Addresses Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

The family of the unarmed teenager who was shot dead by Ferguson police offer Darren Wilson is speaking at a news conference Tuesday afternoon after a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson.

Watch the news conference live above.


Morning Must Reads: November 25

The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

Ferguson Erupts as Cop Cleared

A prosecutor’s announcement late Monday that a grand jury declined to indict Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting unarmed black teenager Michael Brown sparked renewed violent protests in the St. Louis suburb throughout the night

Understanding the Cosby Scandal

Here’s a cheat sheet to understanding a scandal that mixes old allegations and new; 16 women have publicly accused the comedian of sexual assault

Why Chuck Hagel Resigned

The Defense Secretary is stepping down less than two years into the job, after his low-profile demeanor was deemed ill-suited for ISIS fight

FDA Beefs Up Calorie Count Requirements

Regulators on Tuesday will announce new rules mandating that a wider array of businesses than ever before display calorie counts for their food and alcoholic beverages, including chain restaurants, movie theaters, and even vending machines

Your Thanksgiving Travel Will Be Snarled by Snow

Roads north and west of I-95 will likely be blanketed by snow Wednesday night, and the National Weather Service says the New York area could see 6 to 10 in. of snow. Travelers should expect clogged roads and airport delays up and down the east coast into Thursday

Americans Divided Over Obama’s Immigration Moves

Americans are sharply split on their reaction to President Barack Obama’s recent executive actions to protect about five million undocumented immigrants from deportation and give them temporary legal status, according to a new poll

Toy Guns Create Deadly Problems for Police

The death of a 12-year-old boy named Tamir Rice, who was killed by Cleveland police after they mistook his novelty gun for a real one in a public park, is the most recent example of what can happen when police mistake a play weapon for a real firearm

Why Detroit Schools Are Courting Middle-Class Parents

Detroit school officials are pursuing the city’s high percentage of middle-class families in an attempt revitalize its troubled school system. But to significantly improve, the school system needs more students – and the money that comes with them

Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Are at It Again

The pair are no strangers—most memorably, they collaborated together on Stefani’s 2005 hit “Hollaback Girl”—and they’re at it again, this time for her latest single, “Spark the Fire.” Stefani hasn’t released a new album since 2006’s The Sweet Escape

U.N. Will Miss Dec. 1 Goal for Containing Ebola

The U.N. mission responsible for responding to the Ebola outbreak will miss its Dec. 1 target for containing the disease because of rising transmission rates in the West African countries of Sierra Leone and Mali. The mission chief said fresh setbacks made the target impossible

Casablanca Piano Sells for $3.4 Million

The piano on which Ilsa famously asked Sam to play “As Time Goes By” in Casablanca was sold at a New York auction on Monday for $3.4 million. A miniature instrument and golden yellow in color, the piano is hard to recognize as an iconic prop from the 1942 blockbuster

Western New York Prepares for Floods

New York officials warned that the record-breaking amount of snow blanketing the western parts of the state might wreak more havoc, as warmer weather threatens to inundate the area with water

Get TIME’s The Brief e-mail every morning in your inbox

TIME Crime

Mexican Cartel Drug Trafficker Sentenced to 22 Years

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman
This Feb. 22, 2014, file photo shows Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the head of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel, being escorted to a helicopter in Mexico City following his capture overnight in the beach resort town of Mazatlan Eduardo Verdugo—AP

Prosecutors say Alfredo Vasquez-Hernandez is a lieutenant for Mexican drug lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman

Vowing to send a message to drug traffickers around the world, a U.S. judge sentenced Alfredo Vasquez-Hernandez, 59, to 22 years in prison for his role in a billion dollar narcotics trafficking conspiracy.

Hernandez, reputed to be a lieutenant in a Mexican drug cartel led by Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, asked for “forgiveness and pity” moments before the sentence was read out, reports the Associated Press.

Chief U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo was unmoved, however. “I tell you on behalf of all citizens of Chicago … we are tired of this drug trafficking,” he said.

Hernandez pleaded guilty of possessing heroin and cocaine with intent to distribute. However, his attorney, Paul Brayman, requested the minimum 10-year sentence, maintaining that “anything more … is a death sentence,” considering his client’s advanced years.

The prosecution relied primarily on the testimony of twins Pedro and Margarito Flores, former associates of the Sinaloa cartel turned government witnesses. They portrayed Hernandez as a close aide who helped Guzman move tons of illicit drugs from Mexico to Chicago within furniture cargo.

In mitigation, Brayman said Hernandez was merely an auto-mechanic caught in a one-off drug deal while the testimony of the Flores twins could not trusted, as they had to have cut a deal with prosecutors.

Castillo maintained that while the legitimacy of what the twins said could be called into question, it was not the ranking of Hernandez within the cartel that mattered. The judge also questioned the portrayal of Hernandez as an hapless auto-repairman caught in the act for which he was extradited to Chicago in 2012.

“I am not going to sit here … and think for one second this was the first time you happened to do this,” said Castillo.

After hearing the sentence, Gabriel Vasquez, the 43-year-old son of Hernandez, told reporters his father was “not the monster that everyone says he is,” and that the sentence was too harsh.

[Associated Press]

TIME movies

Dustin Hoffman Smitten by ‘Scrumptious’ Judi Dench

Roald Dahl's "Esio Trot" VIP Red Carpet Screening
Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench attend Roald Dahl's Esio Trot VIP red-carpet screening on Nov. 12, 2014, in London Nicky J Sims—Getty Images

"I wouldn't have let you get away," said Hoffman of Dench

Hollywood actor Dustin Hoffman admits to being starstruck by Judi Dench, after the actors appeared alongside one another in the BBC adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot. Hoffman, 77, described Dench, who is two years his senior, as a “scrumptious-looking woman.”

“I said to Judi, ‘If I met you then, I wouldn’t have let you get away,'” said Hoffman as quoted by Agence France-Presse. He appears in Esio Trot as a bachelor in love with his neighbor, played by Dench, who seems to be more inclined toward her pet tortoise.

Hoffman, who rose to stardom playing an awkward love-struck youth in late Mike Nichols masterpiece The Graduate, was hopeful of doing “a love story where we meet in our 20s but yet we’re acting as we are now.”

Esio Trot is being adapted by British screenwriter Richard Curtis, whose previous work includes the acclaimed romantic comedies Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral. His latest opus is scheduled to be screened over Christmas.

Among all the characters of his films, Curtis said last month, the couple played by Hoffman and Drench in Esio Trot were “most likely to stay together.”


TIME Bill Cosby

Morning Must Reads: November 24

The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

Western N.Y. Braces for Floods

Officials warned the record amount of snow that fell on parts of the state might wreak more havoc this week, as warmer weather threatens to inundate the area. With temperatures set to hit the high 40s, flood warnings were issued for several areas

What to Do About The Cosby Show?

Should Bill Cosby’s show lose its place in TV history in the wake of sexual assault allegations against the comedian?

Ferguson Awaits a Decision

A grand jury is set to reconvene Monday, trying to decide whether to indict a white police officer in the August shooting death of an unarmed black teen

See the Winners of the 2014 American Music Awards

The American Music Awards honored the most popular acts of the year, based on polling data and chart performance. One Direction won Artist of the Year, while Taylor Swift received the Dick Clark Award for Excellence

Israel Advances Bill to Define as Jewish State

The Israeli Cabinet, backed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Sunday approved draft legislation to call Israel the nation-state of the Jewish people, a measure that critics say could further strain the state’s frayed relationship with its Palestinian population

Lisa Bonet Denies Slamming Bill Cosby on Twitter

A fake Twitter account tweeted out, “According to the karma of past actions, one’s destiny unfolds, even though everyone wants to be so lucky,” which was aimed at comedian Bill Cosby. Bonet’s manager has remarked that the actress does not use any social media

Ohio Cops Fatally Shoot 12-Year-Old

A boy who was shot by police on a Cleveland playground after officers mistook his replica airsoft gun for the real thing died on Sunday. Police said in a statement that an orange marker that typically appears on toy guns to distinguish them from real guns was missing

Voters Want ‘Fresh Start’ in 2016, Says Obama

President Barack Obama said in an interview aired on Sunday that voters will be looking for a “fresh start” as they go to the polls in 2016 to select his successor. “I think the American people, you know, they’re going to want — you know, that new car smell,” he said

D.C. Mourns ‘Mayor for Life’ Marion Barry

Washington D.C. is mourning former mayor Marion Barry, who died on Sunday at age 78. Barry served as the city’s second elected mayor from 1979 until 1991. In 1990, the FBI and Washington police busted him in a drug sting

Charge Filed Against Mom of Newborn Left in Drain

A 30-year-old Sydney mother has been charged with trying to kill her newborn son by abandoning him in a roadside drain for five days before passers-by heard his cries, police said on Monday. The baby was in serious but stable condition a day after he was found

Sting Joins Cast of His Own Show

Sting will take the leading role of the musical The Last Ship between Dec. 9 and Jan. 10 in a bid to boost failing ticket sales. The show, for which Sting wrote both music and lyrics, has been losing $75,000 a week since it premiered on Sept. 29

New Hunger Games Wins the Weekend Box Office

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 won not only the weekend box office but also the year: it had a stronger opening than any other film so far in 2014, beating out Transformers: Age of Extinction’s $100 million debut

Get TIME’s The Brief e-mail every morning in your inbox


#AskTIME Subscriber Q and A: Michael Scherer

Welcome to TIME Subscriber Q&A, with TIME’s Washington bureau chief, Michael Scherer. He has a story in this week’s TIME about America’s New Anchor, Jorge Ramos of Noticiero Univision. His other stories can be found here.

To read the full post, you need to be a subscriber. It’s not too late to sign up.

sacredh asks, Do you think that Jim Webb throwing his hat into the ring could signal interest in the VP job if Hillary gets the nomination?

From my time with Webb, he doesn’t strike me as the sort of guy who is all that comfortable toeing someone else’s line, and I would guess the Clinton camp would be worried, with good reason, that he might not follow marching instructions. There is another reason I would guess this is unlikely, at least at this point. If you read his announcement letter, he is pretty clearly positioning himself, like Obama did in 2007, as someone who can turn the page on the Clinton v. GOP wars of the past. On the issues, he is likely to campaign to her right.

Outsider asks, Thanks for bringing the feature back this week, Mike.

In your piece about the end of the post-partisan dream, you wrote:

Now we come to the final hours of this miserable season. It’s likely, though not certain, that when you wake up Wednesday, Republicans will control the Senate for the first time since 2006, give or take a recount in the West or a runoff in the South. But don’t expect that result to tell you much about the direction of the country.

Other than TV ads, how can anyone get the voting population to actually get at the polls? This election had the lowest turn out in a very long time. And how do you think the media played into the lack of enthusiasm for voting?

Since most people get their information via reporting, how do you think, or do you think, the media could help raise the level of concern regarding voter participation?

I tend to be a glass half full guy when it comes to Democracies: Large groups of people, even if sometimes ill informed, tend to be completely rational. How do you get people to the polls? You give them an incentive. Either a candidate they can believe in, or the prospect of political or economic change that they desire. As a rule, candidates in 2014 offered neither. It was a grim time, highlighted by the fact that gridlock in Washington has reduced everyone’s power to actually accomplish much of anything, and the voting public, a rational body, sort of gets that. Also people are upset, about the economic stagnation of their own lives and the childlike spectacle of their elected leadership. It will change when the conditions change, and a Presidential election, which inevitably ask bigger questions and bring bigger characters to the stage, will help that along, though I would not be surprised if 2016 turnout is far lower than 2012 and 2008.

What is the media’s role? To say what is happening, and explain what it means. I think people are interested in both, but I don’t think they will look to my opinion to decide whether voting is worth their time. For the record, I think everyone should vote, with the possible exception of those living in false democracies, where not voting can send a stronger signal than voting.

outsider asks, Hey Michael, in your piece about the end of Post-Partisan dream, you wrote:

Message control, in other words, has replaced governing.

This is absolutely true: Why do you think that more politicians aren’t called on doing that very thing when they are questioned by members of the media?

I think they are called on it, but they just keep repeating the soundbites. At some point, especially at the end of expensive campaigns, the voice of the journalist tends to diminish. We can say so-and-so did not answer the question, or does not actually have a plan to govern. But that is just an article or news report in a sea of endless television spots and direct mail pieces peddling balderdash.

deconstructive asks, Michael, how do you explain the disconnect over Obamacare between its unpopularity (in polls, media coverage, etc.) and its success (in numbers of people covered, etc.)?

Yes, I think this is quite simple. About 20 million have gained coverage under Obamacare, but this country has 316 million people. It’s a tiny fraction. For the people who have got coverage, or the millions more who have a chronic condition that is now covered or get coverage they could not get before, Obamacare is seen for the most part as a good thing. But most of us still get our insurance through our employers, and it is still more than we want to pay, and increasing in cost (though slower), and insurance companies are still difficult, and our wages are flat. Liberals support Obamacare because they are ideologically predisposed to think it is a good think. Conservatives opposes because they assume it is bad. And most in the middle don’t really understand what it does, or how it has done for them. Some are convinced it has harmed them. Thus, you get a sort of general discontent.

deconstructive asks, Michael, after our midterm election, how you explain the disconnect between populist issues winning in red states – especially the minimum wage – and GOP politicians winning in those states who consistently fight those same issues? Low voter turnout, especially among D’s and minorities, explains a lot, but maybe not this – are populist issues popular with conservative working class voters too?

Progressives have identified a few issues that are popular with lots of voters, but for which Republican politicians oppose. Minimum wage and pot decriminalization are two, which did well this cycle. But neither issue is a top issue for many voters, meaning it is not the issue that voters decide on when they choose their elected leaders. Those choices are made for other reasons, including their general satisfaction with the direction of their lives, the state and the country. This cycle had a huge anti-incumbent undercurrent because of those issues. Also, there a group of Republican and independent voters who vote in low-turnout elections for Republicans, even if they don’t mind pot and want higher minimum wages.

yogi asks, MS, does the pentagon release statistics on the sorties that are being flown in Syria and Iraq? What is the percentage break down of sorties flown by the US compared to the other allied nations supposedly fighting ISIS? (Perhaps this would be a good post by MT if the data is available).

Mark Thompson replies, “The U.S. is flying 85% of the air strikes since Aug. 8, according to the latest Pentagon data. The U.S. has flown 843 of them—459 against targets in Iraq and 380 against targets in Syria. Sixteen allies have flown 163 air strikes, including 102 in Iraq and 61 in Syria. U.S. officials also say U.S. planes are conducting most of the intelligence, escort and refueling missions.”

yogi asks, #AskTIME, MS, do members of both branches of Congress really believe their kabuki vote on Keystone XL meant anything to the citizens they serve? Why waste time on a vote, that Obama has said he would veto and there is so little time until they have another recess? Especially when Congress has more important issues like a budget and actual debate and vote on whether to wage war against ISIS.

Republicans use Keystone as a cudgel, looking to paint Democrats as ideologues who don’t care about jobs and the middle class. Environmentalists see Keystone as both a substantive issue, given the emissions that might be prevented by delay of Canadian oil development, and as a symbolic stand that could shift the conversation about fossil fuel development. As an electoral issue, the evidence suggests that it has been a winner for Republicans, similar to the way equal pay has been a winner for Democrats. It arguably helped the GOP in a number of races in 2014, when Democratic candidates had to distance themselves from the party. That’s why you are almost certainly going to see more votes. When Republicans talk about Keystone they are usually winning, which is not always true on issues that deal with global warming.

Sue_N asks, Seriously, how far can we expect to see the rampant obstructionism of the GOP go? How long can this government tolerate being shackled and kept from functioning? And, hey, while I’ve got your ear (eye, whatever), can we expect to see this oh-hell-no continue beyond Obama’s presidency? Yes, a lot of it seems personal, but the ugly genie of the Party of No has been let out of the bottle. When another Democrat is elected to the White House in 2016, are the shackles going to stay on?

There was a moment in 2005, when President George W. Bush decided to push hard on Social Security reform. His bet was that he could get some form of personal investment accounts by Democrats in the Senate by offering to bargain on other issues, like the long term solvency of the program. Instead the Democrats countered with: You get nothing. It was probably the right political move for Democrats, who cleaned up in the 2006 elections. Republicans did something similar after Obama came into office, and most Democratic strategists will tell you that it was probably a good short term political strategy. They now control both chambers. That said, there is now far more pressure on Republicans to actually come up with a credible positive agenda, which has not been much in evidence over the last few years, in part because the party is so fractious.

Your question could be, how long will rampant political polarization that punishes compromise and rewards obstruction continue? I would argue that this is more important. I don’t know the answer, but I can tell you some factors that would alleviate the pressures: less partisan redistricting after 2020 that allows for more competitive seats, population changes that make more Senate seats competitive, an improvement in the labor market that begin increasing wages broadly across the country, the emergence of a candidate or set of candidates that convinces a large share of the American people that there is a third way, or a shift in the national mood away from finding comfort in ideological extremes.

Sorry for the delay in getting these up today. There will be no Subscriber Q&A again next week, but we’ll be back in the first week of December. In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving. And keep commenting.


TIME Bill Cosby

Morning Must Reads: November 21

The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

Obama Unveils Immigration Plan

President Barack Obama announced on Thursday night he is granting temporary legal status and work permits to almost 5 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, the largest single immigration action in modern American history

Behind Bill Cosby’s Silence

The comedian and his wife Camille have largely been reticent about sexual-allegations directed at him. History tells us why this silence is oppressive

Forecasters Warn of Rain in N.Y.

After relentless snowfall blanketed much of western New York this week, officials warned on Thursday that a new danger is now threatening the area — rain

NSA Warns Cyber Attacks Could Cripple U.S. Infrastructure

NSA director Mike Rogers said U.S. adversaries are performing electronic “reconnaissance” on a regular basis so that they can be in a position to disrupt the industrial control systems that run everything from chemical facilities to water treatment plants

World Heads Toward Warmest Year Ever

October marked the fifth month to break worldwide heat records. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced on Thursday that the average global temperature for October was 58.43ºF (14.74ºC)

U.S. to Up Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine, Says Report

Washington is ready to increase its delivery of nonlethal aid to the Ukrainian government, but will refrain from furnishing Kiev with weapons to use in its fight against pro-Russian forces in the country’s southeast, according to a Reuters report citing unnamed U.S. officials

University of California Approves Steep Tuition Hike

Tuition at University of California schools could rise by as much as 28% by 2019 under a plan approved on Thursday. The vote by the system’s board pitted top state officials, including Governor Jerry Brown, against those who run the UC’s 10 campuses

Michael Brown Sr. Urges Calm Ahead of Grand Jury

The father of Michael Brown, the black teenager shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., this summer, has asked people not to “hurt others” or “destroy property” ahead of a grand jury decision into whether the officer will be indicted in the killing

Suicide Helpline Aims to Help Transgender People

On 2014’s annual day of remembrance for transgender victims of violence, Trans Lifeline, a crisis hotline staffed entirely by transgender people, aims to help transgender people struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts

How TIME Reviewed the Work of Mike Nichols

The Oscar-winning director, who died on Wednesday aged 83, first appeared in TIME in 1958 as he was becoming famous as a comedian. But after Hollywood came calling, his movies got rave reviews from our critics — with one or two notable exceptions

Zoolander Will Return, With Penelope Cruz Attached

The Spanish actress will bring her finest Blue Steel to Ben Stiller’s long anticipated sequel to his 2001 supermodel comedy. No word yet on whether Will Ferrell and Owen Wilson will return for the follow-up, which is reportedly set in Europe

Oakland Raiders Win First Game Since 2013

The Raiders used a 17-play touchdown drive and a late defensive stop to pull off the shocking upset, 24-20. It was their first victory since a 28-23 triumph at Houston on Nov. 17 of last season

We will hold an #AskTIME subscriber Q&A today, Friday, November 21, at 1 p.m., with TIME Washington bureau chief, Michael Scherer, who wrote this week’s story on America’s New Anchor, Jorge Ramos of Noticiero Univision. His other stories can be found here.

You can submit your questions beforehand on Twitter using the #AskTIME hashtag or in the comments of this post. We depend on smart, interesting questions from readers.

You will need to be a TIME subscriber to read the Q & A. ($30 a year or 8 cents a day for the magazine and all digital content.) Once you’re signed up, you can log in to the site with a username and password.

Get TIME’s The Brief e-mail every morning in your inbox

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser