March 18, 2005
A Terrorist Group "That Combines Philanthropy and Militancy"
"Hamas, the Islamic group that combines philanthropy and militancy, confirmed publicly on Saturday that it would take part in Palestinian legislative elections scheduled for July 17, ending a 10-year boycott of the Palestinian Authority." - Steven Erlanger, March 13.
"Quiet Anguish" Over Wolfowitz's "Radioactive Reputation"
"President Bush said today that he would nominate Paul D. Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense and one of the chief architects of the invasion of Iraq two years ago, to become president of the World Bank. The announcement, coming on the heels of the appointment of John R. Bolton as the new American ambassador to the United Nations, was greeted with quiet anguish in those foreign capitals where the Iraq conflict and its aftermath remain deeply unpopular, and where Mr. Wolfowitz's drive to spread democracy around the world has been viewed with some suspicion.Despite the displeasure of some diplomats who had hoped that the administration would appoint a person without the almost radioactive reputation of a committed ideologue, they said that they expected Mr. Wolfowitz to receive the approval of the World Bank's board of directors in time for Mr. Wolfensohn's departure in May." - Original online version of a story from David Sanger and Elizabeth Becker on Bush's choosing of Paul Wolfowitz to head the World Bank, March 16.
Terrorist Leader as "Heroic Alternative"
"[Yasir Arafat] was right about at least one big thing. Arafat's core insight, derived in the 1960's from Frantz Fanon, was to reject the ascendant pan-Arabism of Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser and to posit instead a Palestinian exceptionalism. He believed that a distinct Palestinian nationalism would take shape through armed struggle with Israel. After Israel humiliated Nasser and the Arab armies in the Six-Day War in 1967, Arafat and his vision emerged as the heroic alternative." - Former Jerusalem Bureau Chief James Bennet, March 13 cover story for the Times Sunday Magazine.
Bret Schundler, Neo-Nazis: Same Thing?
"You could call a fight for the hearts and minds of the far right in New Jersey - a state that voted convincingly for John Kerry last November - something of a Pyrrhic victory." - New Jersey reporter Josh Benson on former Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler's battle for the Republican nomination for New Jersey governor, March 13.
"Germany's Far Right Tries to Put On a Normal Face." - Headline to a March 14 report about neo-Nazis in Germany.
Nothing Good Ever Happens in Afghanistan
"Ms. Rice was here for a seven-hour visit during which she stressed Afghanistan's transition to democracy at almost every stop, with little if any acknowledgment of the many problems troubling this nation. As if to emphasize that, at least 5 people were killed and 32 wounded Thursday in a bombing in Kandahar. Afghan officials blamed Taliban fighters.Though Ms. Rice did not speak about the insurgency, as a security measure she left her United States government Boeing-757 in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Thursday morning and flew in a relatively anonymous C-130 military transport. She is on a six-nation tour around the world. Ms. Rice did not mention Afghanistan's drug problem until asked. Two weeks ago, her department reported that the increasing opium-poppy cultivation placed Afghanistan 'on the verge of becoming a narcotics state.'" - From a March 18 story from Kabul by Joel Brinkley and Carlotta Gall."
More Bogus "Steep Cuts"
"The House budget included steep cuts in Medicaid and other so-called entitlement programs." - Sheryl Gay Stolberg, March 18.
"The Senate's proposal to scale back the extension of Mr. Bush's tax cuts comes at a time when Republicans are also feeling queasy about the White House's major domestic policy initiative for the year, overhauling Social Security. And the budget was not enough to mollify some Senate Republican moderates, who expressed concern Wednesday about extending the tax cuts at a time when the deficit is at a record high and domestic programs from farm subsidies to veterans' benefits and education are facing steep cuts." - Sheryl Gay Stolberg and David Kirkpatrick, March 10.
"The House budget would cull up to $20 billion from planned Medicaid spending over the next five years, a 1% reduction that would more than double what Bush's savings are worth."
Let's Say "Corrupt Companies" As Often As Possible
"In what has seemed a daily ritual, the Senate in the last two weeks has defeated the most modest attempts by Democrats to curb bankruptcy abuses by corrupt or troubled corporations and their senior executives.During the recent debate on tightening the bankruptcy code, the lawmakers rejected a proposal to prohibit corrupt companies from issuing huge payouts to senior executives shortly before entering bankruptcy.Elizabeth Warren, a bankruptcy and commercial law expert at Harvard Law School, has for many years led opposition to changes in bankruptcy law like those now pending and has highlighted bankruptcy abuses by the wealthy and by corrupt companies." - Business reporter Stephen Labaton, March 10.
Ancient Anti-War Critiques
"But Michael M. Kaiser, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, saw a sweetly subversive opportunity to revive 'Mister Roberts' in the middle of an altogether different war. Seeking a play for the center's current festival celebrating the 1940's, Mr. Kaiser realized that this old warhorse could have unexpected, even provocative new meaning at a moment when overstretched supply companies find themselves in harm's way in Iraq, reservists face extended tours of duty, and the self-same Mr. Rumsfeld squabbles with the troops over a shortage of body armor." - From a theatre review of a revival of "Mister Roberts" by political reporter Todd Purdum in the March 6 Week In Review.
Those Colorful Qaddafis
"[Saddi] Qaddafi, of course, comes from a colorful family used to making headlines. His only sister, Ayesha, is studying law in Paris and has signed on to Saddam Hussein's defense team. His youngest brother, Hannibal, has a penchant for speeding and getting into scuffles with the police: earlier this year he reportedly brandished a 9-millimeter handgun after beating up a woman in a Paris hotel. Another brother, Moatassim, was caught four years ago trying to buy tanks and short-range missiles for his personal army brigade." - From Craig Smith's profile of a soccer-loving son of Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi, March 12.