This week’s Republican National Convention brought fake compassion, fire-and-brimstone, terrible hair-cuts and even worse music from inside Madison Square Garden; close to 1,800 or so arrests in the streets of New York; a raft of progressive film screenings, concerts, readings and panels and protest activity everywhere.

It’s unclear how much of this filtered into the US consciousness as ratings numbers and polls showed most Americans turning away from convention coverage, even in this heated election year, in record numbers. Aside from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Comedy Central’s brilliant gift to the American polity and CSPAN’s cinema verite coverage, TV offered little of value.

And, in the print and online worlds, there was lots of smart commentary, but, as usual, it was difficult to find, among the glut of decidedly insipid coverage. As is frequently the case, it sometimes helped to look abroad for the most incisive material. Below are links to some good articles from the last week.

S3 Wrap-Up; Jail Crisis by New York IMC, Sept. 3

Bush by Numbers by Graydon Carter, The Independent, Sept. 3

Vigor, Vitriolics but no Violence by Josh Robin, New York Newsday, Sept. 3

Protest Groups ‘Empowered’ by Large Turnout by Martha T. Moore and Charisse Jones, USA Today, Sept. 3

Flogging the Flag by Simon Schama, The Guardian, Sept. 2

NY Expressionism by David Segal, Washington Post, Sept. 2

The World Election by Timothy Garton Ash, The Guardian, Sept. 2

Don’t Send More Kids to War by Michael Moore, USA Today, Sept. 2

On the Differences Between Kerry and Bush by Noam Chomsky, International Socialist Review, Sept. 1

And, though it’s self-referential for me to point out, I want to take every opportunity to draw attention to The Nation‘s special RNC week weblog, New York Minutes, which dispatched a team of Nation writers to report on the protests through a revolving series of more than 15 dispatches over the course of the week.

Click here and scroll down to read pieces by Victor Navasky, Katha Pollitt, Liza Featherstone, Jennifer Block, Eyal Press, Esther Kaplan, Richard Kim, Ari Berman, Tom Gogola, Debbie Nathan, David Enders and Kristin Jones. Also check out Tom Engelhardt’s valuable website, produced in concert with The Nation Institute, which published lots of valuable material during RNC week.

Finally, watch this space for info on urgent campaigns and projects being undertaken in the next two months to unseat George W. Bush on November 2.