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Candide’s Latest: Wednesday, September 27, 2006
"Can Bush Read"?

This point is made in the item above, but let the Times speak for itself on Bush’s terror report: “Portions of the report appear to bolster President Bush’s argument that the only way to defeat the terrorists is to keep unrelenting military pressure on them. But nowhere in the assessment is any evidence to support Mr. Bush’s confident-sounding assertion this month in Atlanta that “ America is winning the war on terror.’’ While the spread of self-described jihadists is hard to measure, the report says, the terrorists “are increasing in both number and geographic dispersion.” It says that a continuation of that trend would lead “to increasing attacks worldwide’’ and that “the underlying factors fueling the spread of the movement outweigh its vulnerabilities.’’ The Post’s analysis is no less sobering: “while [the report] notes that counterterrorism efforts have seriously damaged and disrupted al-Qaeda's leadership, it describes the spreading "global jihadist movement" as fueled largely by forces that al-Qaeda exploits but is not actively directing. They include Iraq, corrupt and unjust governments in Muslim-majority countries, and "pervasive anti-U.S. sentiment among most Muslims." Which raises this very valid question: Can Bush Read?


L’Infâme: Now even Mozart isn’t safe from Mohammedan fanaticism: “A leading German opera house has canceled performances of a Mozart opera because of security fears stirred by a scene that depicts the severed head of the Prophet Muhammad, prompting a storm of protest here about what many see as the surrender of artistic freedom,” the Times reports. “The Deutsche Oper Berlin said Tuesday that it had pulled “Idomeneo” from its fall schedule after the police warned of an “incalculable risk” to the performers and the audience. […]The disputed scene is not part of Mozart’s opera, but was added by the director, Hans Neuenfels. In it, the king of Crete, Idomeneo, carries the heads of Muhammad, Jesus, Buddha and Poseidon on to the stage, placing each on a stool.“Idomeneo,” first performed in 1781, tells a mythical story of Poseidon, or Neptune, the god of the sea, who toys with men’s lives and demands spiteful sacrifice”

When it’s NATO forces that are under siege in Afghanistan: How roles have reversed. Twenty-five men of Britain’s Pathfinder Platoon are pinned down for 52 days, and NATO can’t even manage to resupply them, let alone rescue them.

In Other Worlds

Linda Greenhouse covers the Supreme Court for the New York Times. Many years ago, during the reign of King Rosenthal at the Times, she was reprimanded for taking part in an anti-abortion rally. Rosenthal is dead, and the kinder, gentler Bill Keller is running the Times now. In June, Greenhouse was at Harvard, accepting some honor—and lashing into the Bush White House’s illegalities. The media world is lashing into her. “Greenhouse was taking a stand on some of the most contentious issues faced by the court this year. Such charged commentary can be found almost anywhere you turn these days -- except from hard news reporters. Daniel Okrent was the Times' first public editor -- or in-house journalism critic. He says he is amazed by Greenhouse's remarks."It's been a basic tenet of journalism ... that the reporter's ideology [has] to be suppressed and submerged, so the reader has absolute confidence that what he or she is reading is not colored by previous views," Okrent says. See the full NPR post…

Health insurance premiums continue to soar, yet the campaign trail is silent on the matter. “For the seventh straight year, premiums for employer-based health insurance rose more than twice as fast as overall inflation and wages, an annual survey of employers shows,” McClatchy reports. “The average 7.7 percent premium increase for 2006 was the smallest since 2000 and marked the third straight year that the rate of growth has slowed, according to the survey, released Wednesday by Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust. But most Americans probably have felt little or no relief because their paychecks haven't kept pace with the rate hikes. Workers' earnings increased only 3.8 percent on average from April 2005 to April 2006, while inflation, up 3.5 percent, erodes their disposable income.”

It looks like Shwartzenegger will win again in California.

Why this love affair with Kazakhstan?

“Vote for Me, His Ex-Wife”: It’s one way to pay back a bad marriage: “The couple, still in court over the terms of their separation, are now fighting in a different arena as Sunday's election [in Brazil] approaches. Mr. Costa, president of the influential Liberal Party, is campaigning for a new four-year congressional term. His estranged wife has become his chief opponent as candidate of the Green Party. It's an uphill struggle for Ms. Caldeira, who lacks Mr. Costa's fund-raising ability and the political chits he picked up in his 14-year congressional career.”

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