SINCE 1759

Free alert to Candide's Notebooks
Your email:


Candide’s Latest: Friday, September 22, 2006
L'Infâme Resplendant
Does anyone remember that country?

 An assassin’s warning to Pope Benedict: “The man who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981 has warned Pope Benedict XVI, whose remarks enraged Muslims last week, not to visit the predominantly Muslim Turkey in November, saying the pontiff's life could be in danger, “ the Sydney Morning Herald reports. “As a man who knows these things, I am saying that your life is in danger, don't come to Turkey. I can't welcome you because I'm in prison," lawyer Mustafa Demirbag quoted Mehmet Ali Agca as saying. The lawyer said Agca made his statement during a meeting at the high-security Kartal prison in Istanbul on Monday.”

US Threatened to bomb Pakistan “back to the stone age” in 2001unless it joined the fight against al-Qaeda, President Pervez Musharraf says. “General Musharraf said the warning was delivered by former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to Pakistan's intelligence director. "I think it was a very rude remark," Mr Musharraf told CBS television. Pakistan agreed to side with the US, but Gen Musharraf said it did so based on his country's national interest. The extracts from the CBS show 60 Minutes, which will run on Sunday, were released on the same day that the White House praised Pakistan for its co-operation in America's "war on terror".

Torture in Iraq worse than under Saddam: “ Torture may be worse now in Iraq than under former leader Saddam Hussein, the UN's chief anti-torture expert says. Manfred Nowak said the situation in Iraq was "out of control", with abuses being committed by security forces, militia groups and anti-US insurgents. Bodies found in the Baghdad morgue "often bear signs of severe torture", said the human rights office of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq in a report.”

State-sponsored barbarism East and West: What Iraq and Jordan have in common with Florida: lust for the death penalty.

Anti-Americanism as a good thing: Michael Young asks in the Beirut Daily Star: “… if ideas matter, then why assume that dislike of the US is necessarily a product of American wrongs? Can't many in the Middle East have a marked distaste for the US simply because it represents ideas or concepts they find distasteful? In other words, and accepting that attitudes toward the US fluctuate, isn't a foreign policy based on popularity destined somewhere to hit up against a brick wall of ideological rejection? Aren't there hearts too hard and minds too dubious out there for us to expect greater fondness for America?” Well, surely they are. But the questions are disingenuous. There was no dislike nearly that intense for America five years ago. And the dislike now has gone global. It’s not only in the Arab world, or the Muslim world. What have Latin America and South Asia in common? The United States isn’t projecting “tough love,” as apologists like Young imply. It’s projecting hubris mixed in with incompetence.

The joys of serving in the U.S. military: Go risk your life in a pointless war in Iraq while the army cuts your family’s benefits back home: “ Army officials have told base commanders to prepare for even deeper cuts in family support programs and other non-war-related expenses next fiscal year,” Stars & Stripes reports. “In June, the Army announced cuts in base discretionary spending and other non-war expenses to offset unexpected costs associated with military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan . Even after Congress approved supplemental military funding in response, service officials said they would continue to curb spending. And although the fiscal 2007 defense budget is still being debated in Congress, Army officials already have warned base commanders that they’ll likely face more belt tightening under next year’s budget because of the ongoing combat operations.”

When even the Wall Street Journal editorial page can muster revulsion at America’s walls of shame: “It wasn't so long ago, during the Reagan era, that Republicans sought to tear down walls, not erect them. But last week House Republicans passed a bill to construct a 700-mile, double-layered fence along the Mexican border while also approving a study on building a similar wall-like structure along the Canadian border. Price tag for the Mexican portion: $7 billion.Sixty-four Democrats joined all but six Republicans in voting for the measure, and the Senate GOP may also now vote to build this Great Wall of America. Later this week the House will vote on legislation that would deputize local police forces as agents of the border patrol. This will further burden local law enforcement that already has enough work handling bona fide felons. What we have here is panicked Republicans engaging in pre-election theatrics as they seek to remind voters that they're tough on the illegal immigration problem they've done nothing to actually solve. Here's one example of how tough they are. Steve King of Iowa suggested in front of the C-SPAN cameras that at the top of this new fence "we electrify this wire with the kind of current that would not kill somebody, but it would be a discouragement for them to be fooling around with it." Then he added: "We do this with livestock all the time." Equating people with cattle: There's an inclusive political message for you.”

Like the Americans in Iraq, the Israeli army, too, has its cases of checkpoint abuse of civilians.

In Other Worlds

Flag and anthem inanity, the Japanese version:The Tokyo District Court on Thursday ruled that the Tokyo board of education's directive forcing teachers to stand for the Hinomaru flag and to sing the "Kimigayo" national anthem was both unconstitutional and illegal,” Asahi Shimbun reports. “Hinomaru was legally defined as Japan's national flag, and "Kimigayo" the national anthem, in 1999. In October 2003, the Tokyo board of education issued a notice ordering public school teachers to stand and sing the anthem at school ceremonies, such as graduations. Teachers who failed to do so would be disciplined.” In Florida, by contrast—re-emerging market of backwardness—it’s illegal for schoolteachers not to display an American flag of a certain size.

Alaska’s oil-welfare addiction: This year’s prize, for every legal Alaskan resident, comes to $1,107.

How the Tribune Company forces its newspapers, the LATimes and the Orlando Sentinel, to deceive readers.

Neanderthal’s last refuge discovered.(Hint: it’s not the White House)

Today’s literary dosage: On Frank Kermode—“the last of the Great Critics” and why English should become a tough subject again.

Bookmark and Share


Read Pierre’s Latest

The Latest Comments

Add to Google Reader or Homepage Subscribe in NewsGator Online Subscribe in Rojo   Add to My AOL Subscribe in FeedLounge Add to netvibes Subscribe in Bloglines Add to The Free Dictionary