Tales from Texas: Politics and News Sources

Currently on the road, but still trying to keep up with the news. I highly recommend a publication that has recently caught my eye, The Week: it offers a succint summary of views on current events, both national and international, as well as short pieces on topics in the arts, sciences, business, among others. What I most like about it is that it references the articles written by other, larger pubications (national ones like The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME magazine, etc., and international sources like the London Guardian, the Berlin Der Tagesspiegel, La Stampa from Italy, etc.). The only bad thing is that it’s not readily available: the two hard copies I purchased were at two Books-A-Million bookstores, in Florida, and I haven’t seen it in Hudson or other airport stores (at Ft. Lauderdale, Boston, Orlando, or Dallas, all airports I’ve been to this past week). Looks like a subscription is on the horizon for me.

Another easy way to access information on-the-go: news podcasts. I favor the BBC: my favorite programs are Global News (approx. 30 mins of world news), Best of Today (5-10 minute segments/interviews on mostly British, but also international, affairs, and From Our Own Correspondent, 30 minute journalistics segments on one location: I’ve heard reporters speak from the ice cream shop with most flavors in the world in Merida, Venezuela, to an underground, highly clandestine booze party in Tehran, Iran, to a matchmaking festival in Lisdoonvarna, Ireland. These guys get around.

As for me, I’m currently intrigued by the glass wall around Oscar Wilde’s tomb to shield it from lipstick kisses; David Cameron calling out Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, calling him “irresponsible, left-wing, and weak” over his attitude and support for the pension strikes; and the tension and near-severing of diplomatic ties between Iran and Britain.

After reading some of the sources I listed in my last post, I sense that the Iranian government was unwise to let the Basij militia trash the embassy. It’s one thing for them to continually show themselves as belligerent in the face of international scrutiny over the purposes of Iran’s nuclear program. But to allow such a public display of mob-rule go by unpunished goes beyond rhetoric: it gives any ambivalent nation more reasons to support more vocal governments (such as the US and Britain) in their suspicions about Iran’s intentions, and may lead to more pesky (if inefficacious) economic sanctions. If they aren’t cooking a nuclear bomb, it just gives Iran unnecessary problems and strains tensions with more neutral countries by association. If they ARE making a bomb, in light of the fact that the IAEA is increasingly suspicious of their program, not to mention that Israel has been increasingly pushing for US support in the scenario of a pre-emptive strike against Iran, you got to ask: why lose your underground advantage by giving your enemies more cause to suspect you and maybe attack you first?

Either way, I think the Iranian government would have been smarter to have shown more restraint; even as their rhetoric incites these radical groups to vandalism and violence, displaying even a minimal attempt to show who’s really in control to the international stage (by having an immediate riot police response to the militia’s attack) would have meant they could have had their cake and ate it too: show “true” young Iranians are against such imperialists, and minimize criticism to the formal government. But then…who knows what their real intent was here? I’m probably reading too much into it; maybe any hit against the West is better than no hit at all.

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