journalism, politics

Syria and the international view

John Kerry’s speech (or, more specifically, the tweets about it) inspired me — to go check the international media to see what’s being said elsewhere.

A couple of reasons I immediately looked overseas:

1. We’re too insular. That’s one critique of the American media I’ll never deny.

2. I wonder if we’ll ever see a day in which the USA is not the world police. When will someone else enforce international will on atrocities?

Onward ..

The Economist sees Obama painted into a corner from which he may simply have to lash out, even if their analyst raises a few doubts on whether military action will really accomplish much.  Their “leader” (editorial, in U.S. terms) says in simple terms, “Hit him hard,” though it immediately clarifies a brief and limited (but “grievous”) action. “America’s cautiousness has cost lives,” the paper argues, but it doesn’t address Britain’s cautiousness, NATO’s cautiousness, Australia’s cautiousness or anyone else’s.

– The Christian Science Monitor is a U.S. publication, but it leads with Britain and David Cameron’s political defeat. Tucked away in that story is this tidbit: “Professor Grant points to memories of Iraq as the root cause of Cameron’s defeat. “Iraq overshadowed this vote. Iraq destroyed trust in politicians and intelligence gathering which was reflected in public opposition.” Surely the statement in bold applies to the USA, too, in case anyone has forgotten that such sentiment pre-dates 2009.

– The BBC has live coverage that links to its stories, including an analysis of the complicated politics of Iran, and a Panorama film crew has a video I have no intention of watching but should probably be shown at the United Nations.

(Incidentally, another popular story at the BBC today asks why people still fly Confederate flags.)

Australia’s ABC checks the impact of the Syrian situation on the coming election, noting that the winner will also inherit leadership of the UN’s Security Council. And … it says little else.

– I couldn’t get to the site for the Syrian news agency.

– And just for amusement, the headlines at Russia Today include “US intelligence report stops short of confirming Assad is responsible for chemical attack” and “Britain’s parliament finally turns against the neo-cons and serial warmongers.”

music, videos

Best music videos ever? Well, there’s Radiohead and Foo Fighters

A lot of the selections in NME’s 100 Greatest Music Videos are from what you might call the post-MTV era, so color me skeptical. I might need to go back at some point and check out a few of them.

But the top 10 has some excellent choices, including the wonderfully enigmatic clip for Radiohead’s Just and the clever cooperative dreams that add another layer of sweetness to the Foo Fighters classic Everlong.

comedy, politics, sports

Potpourri: Boggle vs. Scrabble, the Bible, SNL meets EPL

So many links, not enough time …

1. With all due respect to fellow sports wordsmith Stefan Fatsis, I agree with this Slate writer: Boggle is better than Scrabble.

2. Lex points out the counterproductivity of current food stamp ideology.

3. A theologian tries to find a way out of the literal/metaphor debate of the Bible with a couple of interesting distinctions — the Enlightenment distinction between values and facts, the idea that the Bible is meant to persuade rather than prove — and a demonstration of God’s presence using a scene from Pulp Fiction.

4. I’m not sure everything mentioned here is a “placebo button,” but the underlying theory — that people don’t even notice a long wait if they’re moving and active — is sensible.

4. NBC promotes the English Premier League with a great ad featuring Saturday Night Live alum Jason Sudeikis as a U.S. football coach hired at Tottenham Hotspur. Blink and you’ll miss a neat joke about Wales: