So six weeks to go before Election Day, but in-person early voting has already started in a handful of states. Many others will begin soon, and more and more of us are choosing to vote early. In Colorado, for example, where we just heard from Ari Shapiro, nearly 80 percent of votes were cast early in the 2008 presidential election.
Michael McDonald tracks these trends with the U.S. Elections Project at George Mason University and he joins me now. Welcome to the program.
Former political detainees, Michael Fernandez (left), 72, and Tan Jing Quee (second from right), 66, participate in a forum in Singapore. A notebook used by Fernandez to scribble notes while he was jailed is projected behind them at the event held in 2006. Fernandez and Tan are among the hundreds of Singaporeans detained by the government without trial for, they say, political reasons.
Credit Calvin Wong / Reuters/Landov
The crowd cheers as Singapore's former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew (C) arrives for the annual National Day Parade celebrations in Singapore, Aug. 9. Critics of what they say are the city-state's repressive laws say Lee, Singapore's founding father, used laws such as the Internal Security Act to quash dissent.
After decades of enforced silence, Singaporeans who spent years in jail without charges or trial are shattering a political taboo by speaking out about their detention — and the colonial-era security laws that made it possible.
The affluent trading hub — known for its solid rule of law — still allows the government to detain citizens indefinitely.
But people who say that the laws were used to abuse them and silence their dissenting voices are now talking — which many see as a foreshadowing of bigger political changes for Southeast Asia's wealthiest nation.
Last year, after the Atlanta rock band Black Lips released the album Arabia Mountain, its members planned a trip to tour the Middle East, but the wave of Arab Spring protests forced them to change plans. Yet even with simmering anti-Americanism persisting throughout the region, singer-guitarist Ian St. Pe was determined to see this through. Cairo, where I spoke with them on Friday, was the band's second stop.