The Evening CSIS: Shattered, To China, The Cisco Kid & More
December 7, 2016
Welcome to The Evening CSIS—my daily guide to key insights CSIS brings to the events of the day plus HIGHLY RECOMMENDED content from around the world. To subscribe, please sign up here.
Syrian government forces swept through the Old City of Aleppo on Wednesday as rebel forces—besieged and facing certain defeat—debated when to withdraw from their shattered stronghold, as the Washington Post’s Louisa Loveluck and Karen DeYoung report.
Dive Deeper: Chatham House’s Hayder al-Khoei recently published a research paper, "Syria, Iraq and the Struggle for Power: Intertwined Futures."
Plus, our latest “Bob Schieffer’s About the News” podcast “Journalism is Disappearing from War Zones” features an interview with International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) director general Yves Daccord, a former journalist, about how war is being reported on globally.
Nearly 100 people were killed early today and more were feared dead after a powerful earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Sumatra, with many of the victims crushed to death in their homes as they slept, as the New York Times’ Joe Cochrane reports.
President-elect Donald Trump has selected six-term Gov. Terry Branstad of Iowa to be the next US ambassador to China, as the Wall Street Journal’s Michael Bender reports.
The Des Moines Register is one of America’s great regional news organizations, and it has rock solid coverage of Branstad’s appointment.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy formally resigned Wednesday, but the president asked him to stay on until a new government is in place, as the Financial Times’ James Politi reports.
In That Number
The percentage of American adults who feel overloaded by information. Source: Pew Research Center.
For more, check out Bob Schieffer’s About the News podcast, where Bob and I explore information overload and other topics with media personalities.
“The fact that Branstad has a relationship with Xi gives him an opportunity to break through some of that and have better access.”
— CSIS’s Scott Kennedy on the implications of Governor Branstad's appointment as US ambassador to China. Source: Financial Times.
One to Watch
(Photo Credit: Twitter.)
Former Bob Schieffer aide and CSIS fellow Kaylee Hartung (@KayleeHartung), now a reporter with ESPN, has been slated along with Brent Musburger and Jesse Palmer to cover this year’s Sugar Bowl. Kaylee, a native of Baton Rouge, has attended the Sugar Bowl (held every year in New Orleans) as a fan. Now she’s the one to watch for smart reporting on the game. Congratulations Kaylee!
(Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images.)
Defense Secretary-nominee, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, is photographed today during a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Capitol Hill.
ICYMI, (and I did until this morning) my buddy Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner authored an interesting piece late yesterday: “US economy: No recovery, wages in reverse.”
Dive Deeper: The study on which Paul’s article is based, “US Economy: No Recovery,” was conducted by Gallup on a pro-bono basis for the nonpartisan US Council on Competitiveness. The full report is here.
CSIS’s Project on Prosperity and Development hosted the launch of the new report, Achieving Growth and Security in the Northern Triangle of Central America, featuring a keynote address from Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA).
CSIS’s Energy and National Security Program hosted “COP22: A Readout from Marrakech,” a discussion of evolving risks of climate change, the outcomes of the Marrakech climate conference, and the future of international climate cooperation.
Join CSIS’s Strategic Technologies Program at 9:00 a.m. for “The State of Cybercrime: A Look Back and a Look Forward,” with Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell, Criminal Division, Department of Justice.
And join CSIS’s International Security Program at 10:00 a.m. for “Implementing Innovation Series: Leading Innovative Organizations,” with Dr. Harold Brown, former secretary of defense, on the Department of Defense’s Second Offset.
This Town Tomorrow
Join the Wilson Center at 11:00 a.m. for “Governance and Security in Post-ISIL Iraq.”
And join the New America Foundation at 12:15 p.m. for “The Chibok Girls: The Boko Haram Kidnappings and the Islamist Militancy in Nigeria.”
CSIS On Demand
The opening session of our Global Security Forum, “Navigating 21st Century Security Challenges,” with Leon Panetta and Mac Thornberry, is now available on demand.
Smart Women, Smart Power released a new podcast today: “Powering Innovation and Growth in Africa.”
I Like It Like That
A superb visualization by the Guardian that shows how the opposition is shrinking in the battle for Aleppo using maps.
One of premium television’s greatest series is “The Wire,” David Simon’s Baltimore crime drama which aired from 2002-2008. Simon, a former Baltimore police reporter wanted the show to have an authentic feel. That extended to the show’s soundtrack. Simon’s use of music was innovative and I think ingenious on several levels.
What was most interesting to me about The Wire’s soundtrack is that Simon made it a policy for the show to not play any music unless the music was portrayed as coming from a source that was visibly discerned on camera such as a car stereo, music in a club, or from a radio in a character’s residence or place of business.
There are many songs The Wire featured that contributed to the show’s gritty vitality. Perhaps my favorite example comes from “Hot Shots” the third episode of the show’s second season.
“Hot Shots” concludes with a long pan down a cell block in Maryland’s State Penitentiary at Jessup with one of the show’s lead characters, Avon Barksdale, relaxing on his cot and calmly reading a book with his cell door wide open as if it were his bedroom at home. Blaring from the radio and echoing down the hallway is War’s “The Cisco Kid.” Barksdale, the show’s Kingpin, is dangerous even behind bars and clearly in charge—he’s the Cisco Kid, the fictional desperado of Wild West movies (and comic books) who kills for sport but is nonetheless mythologized as an heroic caballero…what a song.
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