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Week in Review

This week saw the return of comments here at Via Meadia. We made same changes to the system to improve the quality of the dialogue:

1. Comments can be voted up or down, and reader rankings will determine the prominence of each comment. This is an important tool, and we hope the community will take advantage of it. Hopefully it will allow the best comments to rise to the surface and allow the community to shape the discussion.

2. We will not be moderating comments as they go up…please also take note of the “flag comment as inappropriate” feature. It’s located in the upper-right hand part of each comment, under the downward-facing triangle. Flagging a comment as inappropriate immediately sends staff an email to investigate the comment. Please don’t abuse this, but also don’t hesitate to point out if something is offensive.

3. On a related note, if you want to tell us about technical issues or if you have suggestions as to how to improve the site, please don’t use the comments for that. Shoot us an email instead, using the Contact Via Meadia button above the comment stream.

4. Longtime readers will remember the Grandmother Mead test to determine what comments are considered appropriate. The Grandmother Mead test is a simple one: if in either language or tone a comment would not have been permitted at WRM’s grandmother’s Sunday dinner table, it won’t be permitted on the site…

5. Finally, a request: please consider using your real name as you post, and additionally consider posting a photo. We understand that some people prefer to be anonymous, but we’d like to foster a more intimate community feel here, and we’d like everyone to be on relatively familiar terms. This is, of course, only a request. We will not make this a requirement. But we certainly would appreciate it. It will make for a better experience overall.

We’re happy to see some familiar faces back already in the comments, but we’d like to see more new faces as well. Sign up with Disqus and be a part of the discussion!

Another essay this week focused on the contentious issue of gay marriage. We concluded the essay saying that “It’s more important that we find a way to get along than that we reach a consensus on every divisive social issue. In recognizing and protecting the rights of sexual minorities, we should not forget to honor and respect the rights of religious dissenters as well.”

In China, ducks were the domestic soup de jour. Beijing signed a raft of energy and arms deals with Russia, though it seemed intent on provoking its other neighbors. A “green détente” seems unlikely on the Korean peninsula; the Norks put their tantrum into overdrive. Religious persecution flared up in the region as Christians and Shiites were targeted in Indonesia, and Buddhists mobs in Burma are being blamed for the disappearance of Muslims.

Cyprus featured in news out of Europe this week. The deal Cyprus reached with the EU and the IMF to secure a bailout for its banks spared small depositors, but made the markets gasp. And Hollande’s handling of the crisis showcased France’s waning influence in Europe. As Israel-Turkey relations continued to warm, anti-Semitism spread in Europe; in Libya, a prominent Jew was banned from visiting the new regime he helped create. And France still refuses to label Hezbollah a terrorist group.

Syria’s future looks grim as the opposition is in shambles, and the conflict threatens to spill into Iraq. Things aren’t looking much better in Egypt; what would happen there if the Muslim Brotherhood were to fail?

When it comes to Obamacare, even the good news is bad news: the new system will cost restaurant chains much less than initially reported, but only because workers will choose to opt out of coverage. That trend could destabilize the entire healthcare system. And as we found out on Tuesday, Obamacare will raise insurance premiums for some Americans, especially for young men. The War on the Young rolls on.

Silicon Valley is the new home of American political giants, and also home to the production facilities of the much-hyped upcoming Google Glass project. And while Google is moving beyond the internet by pioneering a new same-day delivery service, a Congressman is keen to harness the power of the internet and get politicians teleworking. That could be a politically savvy decision—telework can save children from asthma.

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