Patrick Watson has a lovely, flexible voice and a gift for wringing evocative sounds out of everything from vintage keyboards to bicycle chains, but his real gift lies in his ability to maximize beauty at all times; to guide every noise in such a way that it coheres into something dramatic and graceful. When the Polaris Prize winner performs, he seems almost hypnotized by the sounds around him, yet every second and every unlikely component seems plotted to maximize its impact.
Rand Slim is an adjunct research fellow at the New America Foundation and a scholar at the Middle East Institute.
The massacre in Houla, where Syrian military forces and allied militiamen massacred more than 100 civilians in cold blood, leaves no doubt about the intentions of President Bashar Assad's regime: survival at any cost and through any means. Assad does not have a Plan B.
Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.
In his State of the Union speech in 2011, President Obama referred to "small business" five times and alluded to it seven more. Progress in America is measured, he said, "by the prospects of a small business owner who dreams of turning a good idea into a thriving enterprise." In this year's address, the mentions were down to three.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee is down to the 50 semifinalists. Today at 10:00 Eastern, they'll compete in the semifinals (broadcast on ESPN2), and then tonight at 8:00, they'll hold the finals (broadcast on ESPN). You can also follow an online streaming version at ESPN online, but to be honest, it's an extremely cumbersome process that I haven't yet gotten to work for me.