Should We Pay People to Vote?

Slate's weekly political roundtable.
Aug. 22 2014 10:22 AM

The “Why Isn’t Everyone Rioting?” Edition

Listen to Slate’s show about the aftermath of Ferguson, the horrifying execution of journalist James Foley, and L.A.’s potential voting lottery.

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On this week’s Slate Political Gabfest, David Plotz, Emily Bazelon, and Mike Pesca discuss the aftermath of Ferguson, James Foley’s brutal execution at the hands of ISIS, and L.A.’s cash-for-votes lottery.

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

  • Clashes between law enforcement and people protesting the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, are beginning to wane.
  • Some protesters and supporters of the Brown family are skeptical that St. Louis prosecutor Robert McCulloch can conduct a fair investigation. McCulloch is widely viewed as friendly toward the police—his prosecutorial record, statements on the conduct of Ferguson officers, and family ties to law enforcement suggest sympathy for police.
  • The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report highlights justified killings by police officers in annual reports. On the other hand, the bureau classifies unjustified killings as crimes, making them immeasurable with data currently available.
  • Two St. Louis police officers shot and killed 25-year-old Kajieme Powell this week. After the police department released a video of the shooting, some media outlets noted that the video didn’t match the officers’ accounts of the incident.
  • Sen. Rand Paul penned an op-ed railing against the militarization of police.
  • In response to protests and police activity in Ferguson, some cops are asking people to back off during encounters with law enforcement.
  • Ferguson generates a lot of its revenue through court fees and traffic tickets.
  • The legal defense nonprofit ArchCity Defenders found last year that the Ferguson Municipal Court disposed of 24,532 warrants, or approximately three warrants per household.
  • After being held for more than two years by ISIS, American journalist James Foley was brutally beheaded this week by his terrorist kidnappers. The news broke after ISIS released a gruesome video of the execution.
  • Since 2008, European governments have shelled out millions in backdoor hostage exchanges with terrorists.
  • David Rohde, who was kidnapped in Afghanistan, wrote that the U.S. and Europe need consistent policies for dealing with kidnappings in order to deter terrorists.
  • In its rampage across the Middle East, ISIS has seized millions of dollars.
  • ISIS is utilizing modern video production and social media distribution techniques to attract online audiences.
  • L.A.’s 2013 mayoral election saw the city’s  lowest voter turnout in a two-candidate runoff in 100 years.
  • The city is considering a cash-prize lottery to bring people to the polls.
  • Weather can keep voters home. The New York Times cites anonymous sources that speculate that the chilly 59-degree weather discouraged voting. Two weeks ago, Hawaii’s Democratic primary was bracketed by two separate hurricanes, which many feared would suppress turnout.
  • Social pressure tends to encourage people to vote.

Emily chatters about Amanda Hess’ piece on Little League World Series pitcher Mo’ne Davis.

Mike chatters about unused vacation days and the “Work Martyr Complex.”

David chatters about Joseph Ellis’ George Washington biography His Excellency.

Topic ideas for next week? You can tweet suggestions, links, and questions to @SlateGabfest.

The email address for the Political Gabfest is gabfest@slate.com. (Email may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)

Podcast production by Mike Vuolo. Links compiled by Max Tani.

Emily Bazelon is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine and the author of Sticks and Stones

Mike Pesca is the host of the Slate daily podcast The Gist. He also contributes reports and commentary to NPR.

David Plotz is the CEO of Atlas Obscura and host of the Slate Political Gabfest.

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