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Candide’s Latest: Thursday, October 5, 2006
Democratosaurus Rex

“Democrats are within striking distance of taking control of the U.S. Senate on Election Day, a series of new polls for McClatchy Newspapers and MSNBC showed Monday. Democratic Senate candidates are tied, have a slight edge or an outright lead in every one of 10 pivotal battleground states. No Democrat trails in those races; no Republican leads. Democrats must gain six seats to capture control of the 100-member Senate. Democratic candidates have a strong chance to win all seven at-risk Republican Senate seats - with their candidates tied in Virginia and Missouri, holding a slight edge in Ohio, Rhode Island and Tennessee, and leading in Montana and Pennsylvania. And they are in position to hold their three most vulnerable seats - with a slight edge in New Jersey and leading in Maryland and Washington.” See the full story…

It took four years, but maybe the American military is learning something : “The United States Army and Marines are finishing work on a new counterinsurgency doctrine that draws on the hard-learned lessons from Iraq and makes the welfare and protection of civilians a bedrock element of military strategy,” the Times reports. “The doctrine warns against some of the practices used early in the war, when the military operated without an effective counterinsurgency playbook. It cautions against overly aggressive raids and mistreatment of detainees. Instead it emphasizes the importance of safeguarding civilians and restoring essential services, and the rapid development of local security forces.”

Everyone wants to go to Lebanon: “Turkey, the only Muslim member of NATO and a country with close ties to both Israel and Arab states, will become the first Muslim nation to deploy peacekeepers in Lebanon next week, a Turkish television station reported Thursday,” Haaretz reports. “Private NTV television reported that a Turkish engineer company of around 260 soldiers was scheduled to fly to Lebanon from Ankara on Tuesday.”

“Rabble-Rouser for Peace” turns 75 as Nobel week continues: “Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South Africa's voice of conscience during apartheid, is once more at odds with authority over the moral direction of the country as he approaches his 75th birthday,” Johannesburg’s Mail & Guardian writes. “Ten years on from his retirement as archbishop of Cape Town, the indefatigable cleric has lost none of his ability to make those in power squirm as he points out their shortcomings. The great and the good of the multiracial South Africa will be on hand to fete the Nobel laureate at a lavish birthday party in Johannesburg on Saturday. But Tutu appears in no danger of embracing the establishment in his twilight years, and instead continues to shine the spotlight on the mounting problems facing the country 12 years after the end of white rule.”

Is anyone in California not in prison? “With California's jam-packed prisons nearly out of room for more felons, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday proclaimed a state of emergency, an unusual move that could allow the transfer of inmates as soon as next month to other states without their consent,” the LATimes reports. “The governor said he was taking the extraordinary step because teeming conditions have created a health risk and "extreme peril" for officers and inmates at 29 of the state's 33 prisons.

Philosophy teacher on the run from Islamists: “Intellectuals are rallying around a philosophy teacher forced into hiding after he wrote an article describing the Prophet Muhammad as a ruthless warlord and mass murderer,” the UK Times reports. “Robert Redeker, a writer who teaches at a lycée near Toulouse, has been under police protection, moving between secret addresses, since threats against him appeared on Islamist websites last week. His home address was published with calls to murder. “You will never feel secure on this earth. One billion, 300 million Muslims are ready to kill you,” one message said. One threat came from a contributor to al- Hesbah, an internet forum that is viewed as a channel for al-Qaeda. Despite the threats the Government has offered M Redeker, 52, only limited support.”

Bernard Henry-Lévy, the only French intellectual who lauds America, even its neo-cons, whom he calls “angels” and representatives of “progress.” “His book American Vertigo, a travelogue from his “year in a country I love, that can never be boring”, has caused a sensation Stateside. It is the first French translation to top US bestseller lists for two decades and has just been updated for publication in Britain,” the UK Times writes. “If only Bateman could draw a cartoon: “The Frenchman who declined to be beastly about Bush”. But you can almost hear the thud of hardbacks being hurled across the salons of France, a country that has come to define itself in opposition to America.”

Are video games evil? “ T hose who assume that video-game players are a bloodthirsty lot might be surprised to learn that of last year’s 10 best-selling games for the PlayStation and Xbox consoles, not one was a shoot-’em-up. Six of the most popular games were sports titles—including Madden NFL , a cultural juggernaut among athletes and young men—and the other four were Star Wars games.” Chris Suellentrop defends video games and their uses as training gear for the US military…

Holland isn’t interested in electing pedophiles to Parliament after all : “The controversial ‘paedophile party’ does not expect to be able to take part in the Dutch parliamentary elections on 22 November,” Dutch Expatica reports. “The Party for the Love of One's Neighbour, Freedom and Diversity (PNVD) said on Thursday it doesn't expect to gather the necessary amount of signatures. […] The PNVD is opposed to the ban on sex with youths and believes that child pornography should no longer be criminally prosecutable.”

Briefly and Finally

Muslims to Boycott all Pope merchandise: “In what appears to be the latest sign of a widening gulf between the Muslim world and the West, Islamic leaders upset over Pope Benedict XIV's recent controversial remarks about the nature of their religion are urging the Muslim faithful to boycott any and all products bearing the Pope's seal of approval.” The full story…

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