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As high-tech aerial weaponry rains down on Syria and Iraq, the medieval Islamic State, or ISIS, is not just holding on but threatening to take new territory. ISIS artillery is in range of the Baghdad airport. A Syrian city on the border with Turkey is at risk of falling. Elsewhere, airstrikes may be creating a backlash. Meantime, as the US tries to hold a coalition together, Vice President Biden is apologizing for having accused some allies of fueling the extremists. We’ll look at the early days of America’s latest offensive in the Middle East. Is there a coherent strategy? What would constitute “victory” or “defeat?”

Also the Supreme Court rules in favor of gay marriage, and Las Vegas is up while Atlantic City is down.

Banner Image: Turkish army tanks take up position on the Turkish-Syrian border near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province October 6, 2014. Outgunned Kurdish fighters vowed on Monday not to abandon their increasingly desperate efforts to defend the Syrian border town of Kobani from Islamic State militants pressing in from three sides and pounding them with heavy artillery. Despite the heavy fighting, which has seen mortars rain down on residential areas in Kobani and stray fire hit Turkish territory, a Reuters reporter saw around 30 people cross over from Turkey, apparently to help with defence of the town. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Gay Marriage in 5 States 6 MIN, 21 SEC

On this opening day of this year’s session, the US Supreme Court was asked to take up same-sex marriage appeals from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. As so often happens, there was a surprise. The justices turned them all down.

Adam Liptak is Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times.

Adam Liptak, New York Times (@adamliptak)

The Islamic State Is Making Advances Despite Air Strikes 35 MIN, 32 SEC

Airstrikes by the US and other countries have not yet slowed advances by the so-called Islamic State–ISIS or ISIL. One place threatened by the brutal extremists is Kobane, a Kurdish town in Syria near the border with Turkey. We’ll hear reports and analysis of how the warfare is going.

Liz Sly, Washington Post (@lizsly)
Asli Aydintasbas, Milliyet (@asliaydintasbas)
Robin Wright, US Institute of Peace / Woodrow Wilson Center (@wrightr)
Borzou Daragahi, BuzzFeed News (@borzou)
Douglas Ollivant, New America Foundation (@DouglasOllivant)

Is the Atlantic City Dream Dead? 7 MIN, 49 SEC

Two US gambling meccas—Las Vegas and Atlantic City—both faced the same economic downtown and similar challenges from casinos run by Native American tribes. But the results couldn’t be more different. In Atlantic City, casinos have closed their doors this year. More than 7,000 card dealers, hotel maids, cooks and other workers are expected to be laid off. Why is that happening in New Jersey—while Las Vegas, in the Nevada desert, is booming?

Israel Posner is Executive Director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

Israel Posner, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey (@izzyposner)

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