Syria Is Burning, The Pope Is Pontificating & Bumblebees Are Dying: July 10, 2015


RadioWhoWhatWhy: Fanning the Flames of Syria
By Jeff Schechtman
Just how bad is the situation in Syria? Four million Syrians have fled the country in the past four years as its cities smolder and civil war rages on. Strategic dysfunction on the part of the international community, led by the US, continued airstrikes, and growing violence perpetrated by the Islamic State are definitely part of the story that led to Syria’s descent into chaos. RadioWhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman sits down with Charles Glass, author of Syria Burning, to learn the rest of it.


The Decline of US Power?
BBC correspondent Nick Bryant examines American power and its diminishing international standing in the post-9/11 era. Americans are less and less comfortable with the role of “global policeman,” even as hyper-partisanship has made projection of power more difficult than ever. Some experts believe this signals about 20 more years of dominance before the world becomes fully multi-polar.

Unbridled Capitalism is the ‘Dung of the Devil’, says Pope Francis
Pope Francis is touring South America, asking indigenous peoples for forgiveness and making more headlines as he continues his verbal assault on neo-liberal capitalism and the “new colonialism” it promotes. In addition calling the unfettered pursuit of money “the dung of the devil,” he also called the attack on Christians in the Middle East a form of genocide.

Jeb Bush’s Money Juggernaut: $114 Million and Counting
Speaking of the unfettered pursuit of money, The Next Bush in Line has accumulated a big pile of devil’s dung. Although the media is obsessed with the carnival-like candidacy of Donald Trump, and although Trump topped a massive field of candidates in a new poll, Jeb’s dung-filled war chest portends an eventual rise to the top of the heap.

FBI Claims Arrests Tied to July 4 ‘Plots’
Director James Comey claims that the FBI thwarted “plots” (plural) on Uncle Sam’s birthday. Additionally, he “believes” these were “linked” to ISIS. So, what we’ve got is a whole bunch of qualifiers for a whole bunch of “plots” by ten unnamed potential assailants who were arrested in the weeks leading up to July 4. We don’t know what criteria the FBI used to identify those plotters… but here are the criteria the TSA uses to decide if you might be a terrorist.


The Scottish Accent is Dying Out
The “Dynamic Dialects” project is examining 1,500 tongues from 16 countries with a particular focus on the pronunciation of the letter “R” in a variety of words by a variety of speakers. In the case of Scotland, it is losing its distinct “hard R” sound to the softer “English R” of its UK partners. Sean Connery is still holding out, though.




Bumblebees Are Getting Squeezed by Climate Change
This is different than the plight of the honeybees, which seems to be related to neonicotinoid-based pesticides. Rather, their larger cousins are being walloped by climate change. The USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab has been tracking bumblebees and the data isn’t good. These vital pollinators are in decline in part because they cannot keep up with the warmer weather as they seek out higher ground with the cooler temperatures they prefer. And bees might not be the only species seeking out higher ground due to climate change.


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