Whether or not the United States intervenes in Syria’s civil war, one thing about the current situation won’t change: Those of us outside Syria’s borders will never be entirely sure what’s happening within them. Syria has become the most dangerous country in the world for journalists, and legacy media outlets have, understandably, sent fewer and fewer of their reporters into harm’s way. This means that if journalists and policymakers in western countries want information from a source other than Bashar al Assad’s regime, they have to take it from citizen journalists, nearly all of whom are activists who openly support the opposition.
Last spring, Swarthmore joined the growing list of prestigious colleges induced to rewrite their sexual misconduct policies after students told the federal government the schools belittled their reports of assault.
Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry, in a speech at the State Department, said it is “undeniable” that chemical weapons have been used in Syria, and called the attack “a moral obscenity.” This leaves President Obama, who in 2012 called chemical weapons a “red line” that would “change my calculus” when it came to dealing with Bashar Assad, with no clear road forward. When I called some liberal heavyweights to ask what the United States can and should do about Syria’s bloody civil war, some told me we’ve left ourselves no choice but to invade, while others stressed that that’s the worst thing we could do. The majority said reaching accord with Russia, Syria’s powerful ally, is our last hope—but none seemed confident that Kerry will succeed at the bargaining table.
As my colleague Marc Tracy wrote yesterday, progressive New Yorkers seem to have fallen in love with Bill de Blasio, the public advocate who “lives in Park Slope with his multiracial family, and talks a lot about inequality.” This is a particularly harsh blow for the other bona fide progressive in the race, current city comptroller John Liu.
Tuesday night, the Wall Street Journal undertook the commendable task of calling attention to the student debt crisis. The article opens with the tearjerker story of a young couple whose dream is to create plastic cupcake toppers “in the shapes of zombies, bikes and deer antlers” and the like. Tragically, John and Christine Carney, ages 31 and 29 and both currently students at the University of Maine, can’t afford the business loan for the laser cutter their ambition requires.
It’s unusual for a criminal trial to endear the victims’ families to the lawyers for the defense. But up in Boston, where the mobster James "Whitey" Bulger has spent the summer on trial for nineteen murders (along with dozens of other counts of racketeering and conspiracy), that’s exactly what happened.
Last night, The Washington Post published a strongly worded argument about Reza Aslan, the scholar who Fox News pilloried for having the audacity to write a book about Jesus when he is (in the interest of “full disclosure”) a Muslim.
And he's waging war to keep his job in a small Pennsylvania town
Last week, out-of-towners flooded a council meeting in the 800-person community of Gilberton, in eastern Pennsylvania. Some carried signs that read “Impeach Obama, Mark Kessler for President” and “Legalize the Constitution.” Others just carried guns.
Addressing the National Press Club in its wood-paneled ballroom on Monday, Texas state Senator Wendy Davis fended off the same question before she even started her speech, the moment she finished it, and (disguised in different wording) at regular intervals throughout the Q&A: Will she run for governor in 2014?
Two hefty, anxious reports have this summer charted the decline of the humanities over the last several decades (setting off many dirges). But like most data sets, these numbers tell more than one story.