‘Two victories from NBA history’
Gotta love it.
… Knicks fans will have a collective nervous
breakdown if the Celts win this series. But first the Celts have to win the series before the schadenfreude can commence.
The Celts’ next move
While not precluding the possibility of a miracle comeback
, is it
time to start thinking of the Celts’ next possible move
? Or is Howie too much
of a headcase? At least he didn’t make the Top 20 Headcases in Sports
In willful denial
Hub Blog and Reader No. 1, an old Tufts friend, often exchange emails in which we occasionally surprise ourselves by recommending a piece by certain columnists or bloggers who otherwise don't surprise us anymore. This morning, I sent the following (slightly edited) email to Reader No. 1 about Tom Friednman's column this morning
on the connection between the marathon bombers and radical Islamism:
Believe it or
not, I Read Tom Friedman So You Don't Have To -- and actually come away
recommending the piece. Every liberal should read it, and for that reason I'm
glad the piece ran in the NYT. For the life of me, I
can't (quite) comprehend why some on the left flinch from calling out radical
Islamism on this one (though it obviously has something to do with them trying
to be perceived as not picking on non-Western cultures). Connecting the
marathon attacks to radical Islamism is not the same as, say, Drudge trying to
connect it to some formal, wider conspiracy (recall his recent link to the
alleged "sleeper cell" of terrorists). But making no connection at
all? It's willful denial.
I'd add that it's been a frustrating week of listening to the tiresome debate between the Fox News and MSNBC types, one side getting itself pumped up into an angry lather over terminologies (basically suggesting we have to approach every Islamic-related attack as being one in the same), the other side generally trying to tone down the language (as if racist Americans mobs are going to take to the streets in search of Islamic scapegoats if we speak the truth too loud). The bottom line, of course, is that the marathon case involves apparent radical Islamists, yet they're were more of the "freelance Jihadist" variety, as Armchair Gen. Savin Hill put it a few days ago to me. The freelance terrorists are the ones that worry me most these days. They're harder to identify and understand -- and therefore they fly under the radar of our counter-terrorism teams, or on the fringe of our radar screens, as was apparently the case with the Tsarneava losers.
Update - The evidence keeps building
of an attack motivated by extremism and, perhaps, with the aid of other extremists.
Brighton Reader responds to my concerns about last Friday's regional lockdown in the Boston area:
initial decision to ask everyone in Watertown and the surrounding communities
to stay inside made sense to me. My home is a half-hour walk from the
shoot-out, the backyard where the younger brother was discovered is just a bit
farther. The gym I belong to is nearby, and at times I hoof it. I was totally
creeped out when they announced at 6 PM he hadn't been found. Given his age,
suspect #2 could have easily disappeared into the crowds of under-30's that
comprise a huge part of the Allston-Brighton population if there had not been a
lock down. It would have been hard for police to define certain areas as
restricted within a community and others not. Easier to simply tell people if
you live in a town, stay home. Also, the lock down was largely self-enforced.
My housemate had to come and get us Friday afternoon at the airport, since the
T was shut. He had no problem, just extra security at Logan, asking people for
ID's and checking cars (not all) as they entered.
the lockdown to other areas, including the entire city of Boston, is more
debatable. Was it necessary to completely close the MBTA? But given the rampage
the two brothers went on starting Thursday night, I think there was a real fear
they were going to inflict a lot of harm. The stay at home directive did make
any movement much more difficult for the remaining bomber. The shoot-out was
intense, the tossed bombs showed they had quite an arsenal, and the murder of
the MIT police officer was really savage. I am willing to give the benefit of
any doubt to the police in this instance, and hope that there is a thorough,
rational review of everything that happened. Not finger pointing, but: this
worked, this didn't, how can we do better, etc.
That last point is all I want: An honest evaluation and analysis of what worked and didn't work last week. Though concerned from a civil-liberties standpoint about three separate regional clampdowns in recent months (for a hurricane, a winter snow storm and now a terrorist manhunt), I know political leaders and police last Friday were just trying to do the right thing.
Paralyzing an entire region
Hub Blog is getting mild (and, it should be noted, very polite)
pushback from a few readers and friends about my observation the other day that
there was an overreaction on Friday to the terrorist threat. To be clear, I
don’t object to the lock-down in Watertown and surrounding communities on
Friday. But somehow that morphed into a region-wide shutdown of many, if not
most, schools, businesses, transit services, government buildings, sports events, etc.
Put it this way: “If
one guy is allowed to paralyze a region of 1 million people, what happens the
next time and the time after that?”
this is Monday morning quarterbacking (quite literally, looking at the
calendar). Gutsy and fast decisions had to be made in real time on Friday. But
in the post-crisis reviews and analysis of how matters were handled on Friday,
I hope officials take a look at photos such as these and videos such as these
and ask themselves if it was really necessary to isolate someone in the
Watertown area by shutting down much of eastern Massachusetts. Before Friday, no one could have anticipated a wild 12-mile car chase in which killer terrorists would be shooting and throwing pipe bombs at cops from a fleeing hijacked SUV. But now they can anticipate it -- and we need to come up with better plans. ... Fyi : The 'spooky' photo of Kenmore Square on Friday is via Anthony and Curbed Boston.
Update -- Talked a few minutes ago to a friend who had seen my weekend post. Her response to the Friday regional clampdown: "Most everyone I've talked to thought it went a little too far." ... In turn, I noted that this is the second time a regional clampdown has been ordered by state authorities in recent months -- the first for Hurricane Sandy in October and now Friday. I believe there was a third for a snow storm this past winter. All the orders were probably justified. But as I told my friend, I hope this doesn't become an automatic default response by authorities to all sorts of emergencies. It's getting too easy for them -- and people are beginning to expect such dramatic actions.
Wicked awesome end! … Celts vs. Knicks at 3 today!
After yesterday's drama
, it’s nice to be able to laugh and relax again.
Some tidbits from around the region and web:
-- I loved the poster to the left, via AS. Don’t know who else to formally
credit it to, but I just had to post it, even if it's now a little outdated by events.
-- I agree with Andrew Sullivan on this point: “This was not professional
terrorism. And the response seems to me – with the benefit of hindsight and
information no one probably had last night – way out of proportion to the
the counter-arguments to Andrew’s remarks. Still, if I had to tilt one way, I’d
say, yeah, there was an overreaction yesterday. The initial decision to shut
the T and impose a lockdown in the immediate Watertown area was gutsy and
necessary. But somehow those smart actions turned into region-wide clampdown
for all of eastern Massachusetts. It was too much and almost surely not necessary.
But we’ll learn from all the mistakes.
Despite such quibbles (well, objecting to shutting down a region’s entire
economy is not exactly a quibble), Gov. Patrick, Mayor Menino and local, state and
federal law enforcement officials generally covered themselves in glory over the past
week. This was a first for all of them – and they passed their individual and
collective leadership tests with flying colors.
-- Is there any way to bottle the spirit of goodwill and
selflessness that was exhibited throughout most of the week in Boston? Bostonians,
in particular, and New Englanders, in general, are not exactly known as warm
and cuddly types. OK, we’re Massholes,
when you get right down to it. But it sure would be nice if we could be a bit
more, well, nice to each other moving forward. Just a bit more. Nothing
radical. It won’t hurt. We can still be lovable cynical jerks
most of the time.
Nearly 400,000 people in lock-down as manhunt continues
To get an idea how big the manhunt is for the suspected Boston
Marathon bomber still at large, we’re talking about police effectively telling
nearly 400,000 people in the surrounding towns and neighborhoods of Watertown to
stay in their homes. These are not your typical “suburbs.” Each town and
neighborhood mentioned is actually part of the overall urban eco-system of
Boston proper, with densely packed neighborhoods and extensive trolley, bus and
commuter rail line services.
The town of Watertown has a population of about 32,240 people,
living in apartment buildings, condos and single-family homes. The other towns,
cities and neighborhoods mentioned are also densely packed. They include
Cambridge (pop. 106,000), Newton (85,900), Waltham (61,200) , Belmont (24,200),
Allston (a neighborhood of Boston just south of the Charles River – pop.
43,800), and Brighton (also a neighborhood of Boston just south of the Charles
River – pop. 43,800). We’re talking about a possible desperate terrorist roaming
and running and hiding amidst a very congested area.
All population figures above are rounded off and via Wikipedia.
As for Watertown, it used to be more of a working-class and
middle-class enclave, with old factories and warehouses and various other
industries. But it’s been gentrified a bit in recent years and has become an
attractive place for professionals who can’t afford the pricier condos,
apartments and homes in Boston, Cambridge and Newton. Think in terms of one of
New York’s outer boroughs. One part of Watertown can be very gritty, for lack
of other words, while another part can be very suburban in nature. It's not an easy place to describe as a result. It's definitely not your typical bedroom suburb, as generally suggested by some national media types not overly familiar with the area. Not criticizing them. Just pointing it out.