Hey, everyone. Feeling more demoralized than I anticipated coming back from the lovely Labor Day break. I've also completely checked out from world occurrences for the last three days, so let's discover what's what as a team this morning. Who knows what we'll find?
Oh, hey! We still haven't attacked Syria, though the conversation has decidedly stopped revolving around the "ifs" and moved largely to the "whens." President Obama has reached out to Japan to justify his reasoning, and has secured the qualified approval of Sen. John McCain (who, obviously, is most concerned that Obama won't commit to enough destruction).
But Obama wants all of Congress to sign off on the action, and that means he's sending his people up Capitol Hill today to try to convince House Republicans and peacenik Democrats to play, essentially, a bellicose variant of "just the tip."
A big reason why things have gotten this far—beyond the Syrian government's apparent use of chemical weapons on its own people Aug. 21—is Obama's earlier statements that such an attack would cross a "red line." So now the thinking goes—and I just heard McCain repeat it on NPR—we look like jerks if we don't bomb Syria after all that talk. And what would Iran think?
Meanwhile, Israel is freaking people out by conducting an unannounced missile test, in conjunction with the US, amid all this crazy tension.
But on to more pressing international stories: Dennis Rodman is headed back to North Korea to break bread anew with jowly dictator Kim Jong Un. He'll "bridge a gap with Americans and North Korea," he says, but won't parse over the thorny issues currently dividing our nations. Here's hoping he doesn't end up in front of a firing squad.
Have any fresh privacy concerns emerged while we've all been sitting near mountaintops, gorging ourselves on turkey hot dogs and rye whiskey? Yup, and not even from the NSA. Turns out the Drug Enforcement Administration has been frolicking through decades'-worth of AT&T call information.
Diana Nyad is 64 years old, arguably "touched," and new owner of an impressive distinction: first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. That took more than two days of swimming, and Nyad's tongue was swollen on her arrival to Key West from swallowing sea water. She first tried the swim at age 28.
Mississippi's record for largest alligator was broken twice in a day. This augurs poorly for the people of Mississippi, right?
The folks behind the Columbia River Crossing send out press releases again, and they don't ever nod to mammoth changes in the proposal as backers scramble to save it. Washington legislators, it was believed, killed the project by refusing to pony up $450 million. Now, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber is mulling going it alone. Anyway, the bridge currently envisioned is still too low, meaning we'd need to pay out $90 million to three companies hamstrung by the span.
I'm resigned, today, to the rains that must soon o'ertake us.
I realize I may be alone in this—that perhaps you're still grasping at summer glory. Better get your Grill Skills up.
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