CULTIVATING LIBERALISM
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Candide Recommends: Thursday, July 20, 2006
Black Wednesday
  • Night falls on Lebanon
    One’s tempted to say that a level of complete madness has been reached with Israel’s assaults on Lebanon and Gaza, with Monday’s toll alone reaching 70 killed there and in Israel, though the massacre is concentrated by far in Lebanon, where 57 were killed: let’s not fall for that trick of equating everything too much. A single alleged Hezbollah bunker in Lebanon took twenty-three tons’ worth of Israeli ordnance, without word as to the bombing’s effectiveness: shades of that “target of opportunity” blasting that opened the Iraq war, to no end, setting the tone for an entire war to no end. The very same thing appears to be happening in Lebanon. The Financial Times has an interview with Lebanese PM Fouad Siniora, who wars Israel’s assault “will backfire.” Meanwhile, it’s an all-out evacuation of westerners. The Sydney Morning Herald reports the rush of six Australian ships to get 6,000 Aussies out, while the US is shipping out larger numbers--and, outrageously, charging them cab fare.
  • Toronto Globe and Mail Beirut correspondent Mark MacKinnon blogs about his eerie walk through Beirut’s Solidere neighborhood on Wednesday, “the downtown area that was destroyed during Lebanon’s long civil war and then rebuilt over the last decade by the murdered ex-prime minister Rafiq Hariri. But for a few nervous-looking Lebanese soldiers, I was the only one there. A year ago, a week ago, it would have been packed with people sitting out on the patios that fill the open areas of the pedestrian mall. But not one of the area’s restaurants, shisha cafes or souvenir stores was open today. Hariri died last year in a bombing many blame on Syria. Now it feels like his vision of a modern, united, forward-looking Lebanon has also taken a fatal hit.” MacKinnon describes the randomness of Israeli bombings, and the target of one bomb in particular, falling in Ashrafieh, “not far from Rue Monot, Beirut’s main drinking and partying strip. Less than two weeks ago I was there with friends, on vacation. We dined at a Spanish restaurant and danced until the early hours of the morning at a place nearby called Taboo, marveling at how Beirut in 2006 felt more like a city in Europe than anywhere in the Middle East. That feeling is long gone. Now it feels like the Beirut of 1975, a place perched on the edge of catastrophe. See the full post…
  • President Bush is living up to his born-again infamy: he vetoes the stem-cell research bill, killing hopes for what minor breakthrough Congress had gunned for. With that, there’s no chance of curing Republicanism and its many derivative diseases any time soon.
  • The New York Times is again cutting down its paper’s own size (“by one and a half inches, or 11 percent” by April 2008) in that continuing degradation of print journalism for the slavish sake of shareholder value. Because it has nothing to do with the increasing cost of newsprint. The New York Observer writes: “ Last year, Slate’s Jack Shafer, following on the work of Philip Meyer in the Columbia Journalism Review, noted that inflation-adjusted newsprint costs are well below their historic peaks. And trim-size reductions are not a flexible reaction to a sometimes-volatile newsprint market. They’re just cuts. If The Times chose to cut its pages in half, it could budget 50 percent less newsprint. For the ultimate savings, try printing no newspaper at all.” The full story…

 

 

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