Syria: The United States launched 59 cruise missiles at an airfield in Syria, Thursday night, early Friday morning local time in Syria, reports NBC News, The Washington Post, The Atlantic and CNN.

The Trump administration believes Syrian forces are responsible for a chemical attack on civilians on Tuesday and authorized the strike in response. U.S. officials believe the airfield was used to carry out that attack. This marks the first direct military action by the U.S. against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

USA Today provides a timeline from 2011’s “Arab Spring” through yesterday.

Said President Trump from his Mar-a-Lago resort:

“It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”

Speaking on the chemical attack in Syria this week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said:

“We have a very high level of confidence that the attacks were carried out by aircraft under the direction of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and we also have very high confidence that the attacks involved the use of sarin nerve gas.”

Russia, Syria’s biggest ally, condemned the attack, says The New York Times. CNBC reports the “Kremlin says Syria strikes do significant damage to US-Russia ties.” CNN quotes the Kremlin as well, saying, “Risk of US-Russia collision in Syria ‘significantly increased.’”

Russia said it would suspend an October 2015 arrangement designed to minimize in-flight incidents between Russian and American aircraft.

The Los Angeles Times looks at the history of Russian-Syrian relations. They speak to Daniel Treisman, a professor of political science at UCLA:

“Putin thought that a victory in Damascus for forces he considers terrorists would be a huge victory for Islamist terrorists in the Middle East.”

“Also, if Assad fell, that could be perceived as ‘victory of the West over a traditional Russian client and Putin wanted to prevent that. The intention was to preserve the credibility of the image of Russia as a reliable friend.’ ”

So that’s troubling.

CBS News looks at global reaction, adding Iran, Syria’s other major ally, to Russia’s condemnation of the attacks. However, Turkey, Israel, France, Germany, Italy, Britain and Australia all voiced some degree of support.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s office called it “an appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack launched by the Syrian regime, and is intended to deter further attacks.”

NPR, CBS News, and CNN look at the Congressional reaction. Republican Senators McCain, Graham and Rubio praised President Trump’s action, as did Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer.

Others, however, believe the president should have received approval from Congress before the strikes. Chief among them: Sen. Rand Paul, reports The Hill and CNN.

On Twitter, Sen. Paul said:

“While we all condemn the atrocities in Syria, the United States was not attacked.”

“The President needs congressional authorization for military action as required by the Constitution, and I call on him to come to Congress for a proper debate.”

“Our prior interventions in this region have done nothing to make us safer, and Syria will be no different.”

Interestingly enough, Senator Paul has an agreement from an unexpected source: 2013 Donald Trump.


You Said It: A federal judge dismissed President Trump’s free speech defense against a lawsuit filed in Louisville, says USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, CNN and The Chicago Tribune.

US District Judge David Hale ruled, “At this early stage of the case, the court finds most of the plaintiffs’ claims to be sufficient.”

A small group of protesters attended a Trump campaign stop at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville on March 1, 2016. Kashiya Nwanguma, Molly Shah and Henry Brousseau said they were there “peacefully protesting” then-candidate Trump. They had signs. Maybe they said some things. The candidate didn’t like it and neither did his fans.

So Mr. Trump says, “get ’em out of here,” which his supporters oblige, but they did not ask, “May I kindly show you to the exit of the facility?” but rather they commenced with the screaming and the pushing and maybe some punching.

Video below:

The protesters are suing two of the more active participants of their ejection for assault. They accuse the Trump campaign of incitement to riot, negligence, gross negligence and recklessness.

The Trump campaign says there was no riot and claims he was actually asking security to remove the protesters. U.S. District Judge David Hale countered the supporters didn’t move on the protesters until Trump’s command and his suggestion, “don’t hurt ’em,” was clearly not directed at security, but rather the people already engaged. And then-candidate Trump goes on a lengthy rant about what the press will say about his language choice, “go get ’em” versus “don’t hurt ’em.”

Trump attorneys also suggest the protesters were trespassing, but that’s not how that works, either. It was a ticketed event and they had tickets.

And the free speech defense is no good because it’s not protected if it incites violence and there’s some evidence that he knew violence was a possible outcome.


’Night, Mother: Last week we talked about the courtship of Jennifer Lawrence and Darren Aronofsky. This week, we look at the film project that brought them together.

Details of the new film “mother!’ are slowly coming to light, says /Film, Collider, Digital Spy, CinemaBlend and InStyle. We know the setup: Ms. Lawrence stars with Javier Bardem as a couple whose relationship is “tested” by uninvited guests.

And we know the genre: the film is said to be a horror-thriller. Early word likens it to his Oscar-winning film, “Black Swan.”

I don’t know that I thought of “Black Swan” as a horror movie, so I turned to Vanity Fair for the answer in their piece: “Is Black Swan a Horror Movie? (And 24 Other Urgent Questions)” They ask:


Q: Is Black Swan the scariest movie you’ve seen this year?
A: Black Swan is the scariest movie I’ve seen in at least the last five years.

Q: Is Black Swan a horror movie?
A: Not in the traditional sense. I mean, it’s not a gory *Saw-*type movie. But, for lack of a better term, Black Swan is one dark, f—ed-up movie.”

And CinemaBlend said: “Black Swan’s greatest trick was convincing Oscar that it isn’t horror.”

So there you go.

And we know it’s due out on October 13, in time for both Halloween and Oscar, should it prove a return to form.

Kind of a dark week, this one.  So let me leave you with a with a different kind of film — a short on nurturing creativity from Madrid-based animators Daniel Martínez Lara and Rafa Cano Méndez:

Let’s put some color in the world.

See you next week.