Spring 2017 fundraiser


You know how some days you turn on NPR or settle in to watch something nice and educational on PBS, and they hit you with one of those pledge drives? And you’re like “aw, man, I just want some content, man, get on with it.” But they don’t get on with it, and you just sit there counting the minutes until the program starts again?

Welcome to’s pledge drive.

I don’t have any totebags or t-shirts or mugs to offer (though if there are any graphic design types out there who have some free time and don’t mind working on spec, hit me up), but on the plus side this won’t take as long as the usual public broadcasting spiel.

This site has come a very long way since 2012 (!) when it was pulling about a dozen clicks a month (please don’t go back through the archives, they’re…not my best work). I know that the work I do here–covering world news, criticizing American foreign policy, writing about obscure historical events–isn’t exactly mainstream, but there’s clearly an audience for the niche this site occupies. If you’re reading this, you’re proof of that.

If you’re reading this and you’re already contributing something to keep ATTWIW in business, then you’ve got my deep gratitude. But I’d like to ask you to help me keep growing the audience for this site. Share links to the site on social media. If you know people who are interested in what’s happening in the world and you think they’d appreciate my take on the world, send them here. Tell your friends about me, in other words. I remain an SEO and social media novice, but I think word of mouth–or, uh, word of Facebook or whatever–can be a great way to keep this site growing.

If you’re reading this and you haven’t contributed, I’d like to ask you to consider jumping on board. Every little bit helps. The most direct way to contribute is via PayPal, but the most effective way is to make a monthly commitment through Patreon.

Now, I want to spend the last bit of this pitch focusing on Patreon, because a regular monthly contribution is the best way to support this site. Right now we’ve got two reward tiers for contributors at the $1/month level and at the $5/month level (I’m open to suggestions for tiers beyond that). For $1/month patrons you get access to a weekly “Ask Me Anything” feature where I’ll answer your questions (or try, anyway, depending on the topic), respond to your comments, listen to your rants, and, you know, just Be There for you. At $5/month you can request a piece on the topic of your choice and, as long as I’m not completely out of my element, I’ll put together a blog post just for you. Got something that you’ve always wondered about? Maybe you’re not sure why the Bosniaks converted to Islam under the Ottomans when most Slavic peoples remained Christian? Well, if you’re a $5/month ATTWIW patron, ask and you shall receive.

Your support is crucial to ATTWIW’s success. I can’t do this without you! I have plans for where I’d like to take things–projects (like my glossary idea that hasn’t gone anywhere because I can’t devote enough time toward it), more regular features, guest writers (?), maybe even a podcast or two–but they can only happen if the support for the site grows, and that’s where you fine people come in.

Thank you for your time, and we now return to our regular programming.

Site update



Although when I started writing those conflict/world news digests I said they would not become a nightly feature, they have become basically a nightly feature, with only occasional breaks when I’m indisposed and/or at the end of my rope. Which is fine, people seem to appreciate them and it helps me stay on top of world news, which I like because I am a gigantic nerd with atrophied social skills. But I think I am going to try to take Saturday nights off from now on unless something absolutely demands otherwise, because those things are a beast to put together every night. I’m starting tonight because inasmuch as this is a three-day weekend, the possibility of taking a night off seems even more pleasant than it does in general. As always, thanks for reading!

Out for the weekend


Things will be going all or at least mostly quiet around here until at least Monday due to family matters (in this case, a memorial service). I was thinking I would get one more day of blogging in today before closing up shop for the weekend, but there’s just too much stuff that needs to be done in preparation for me to be writing today. Thanks for your patience and support.

A new way you can help attwiw



Astute readers may notice that there’s a new link to Amazon in the sidebar (or at the bottom of the front page on mobile). I decided to sign up for the Amazon associates program to help bring in a little more revenue to keep the site going. I don’t really have any idea how it works or even if it works, but in theory if you’re planning to do some shopping and you go through that link instead of going to Amazon’s homepage, attwiw should get a few coins for your trouble. Because is pretty limited in terms of allowing banners, all I could manage was to make that link there in extra large print.

I want to extend another thank you to those who have donated to keep the site running, either one-time via PayPal or monthly via Patreon. This is one more way you can help, and if you’re already going to buy something from Amazon anyway it won’t cost you anything other than the time it takes to come here first. Thanks again!


Friends, I hope you won’t hold it against me if I say I need to take a couple of days away from the blog and recharge my batteries a little. I was already struggling yesterday, but I’m really feeling it today. I’ll be back for a little history on Sunday and hopefully back to normal on Monday. Next week look out for a feature on Iranian celebrity general/international pariah Qasem Soleimani, by special request. Thanks for reading!


It’s possible that I have a crayon in my brain, I’m not sure

P.S. If you’re in search of more reading on today’s Iranian elections, I recommend checking out a couple of pieces at Brookings’s Markaz blog. I’ll presumably have some thoughts on Monday once we have some idea how the election unfolded.

The day that was: February 25 2016

Hi. It’s late, I know. Today was one of those days where I just didn’t feel like writing anything, but I made myself do it. For you. Message: I care.

Today we noted that some enterprising Egyptian tried to sell his or her president on eBay, and that somebody was willing to pay 6 figures for him despite the fact that he’s been pretty terrible.

We looked at the Darayya suburb of Damascus and why it alone might be enough to derail the Syrian ceasefire almost before it actually starts.

I wrote a primer on the Iranian elections and posted it at Medium, where you should definitely go read it ASAP please.

We talked a little about the shared roots of the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban movements, and the responsibility that Pakistan’s intelligence service bears for the existence of both.

Last night I posted John Oliver’s bit on Hollywood whitewashing, but the highlight of Sunday’s show was his long, funny-but-serious piece on the evisceration of abortion rights around this country. Here it is:

I need your help to keep this blog going! Please read this and consider contributing something. Also, while you’re out there on the internet tubes, please consider liking this blog’s Facebook page and following me on Twitter! And please share my work with your friends/followers to help me grow the audience around here! Thank you!