An icy rain is pelting about 30 protesters who’ve converged at the gate of a natural gas drilling site near Manchester, England. On the other side of a fence topped with razor wire, a 10-story-high rig is boring into shale to determine if it’s suitable for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The demonstrators unfurl a banner: “Fracking will poison our children.”
Another drive is under way to reform the nation’s election system -- this one led by a new bipartisan commission. Expectations, as usual, are low. Even before President Barack Obama named the members of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration in May, the defeatist drumbeat had begun. Commissions are ineffective; there is too much partisan rancor to get anything done; registration snafus and long lines at polls can’t be solved.