‘She's got a manslaughter charge against her’:
Looking back, it’s obvious the European indignation about the trial and conviction of Louise Woodward six years ago contained more than a shake or two of anti-Americanism. Now even her most ardent supports are shunning her.
... Remember the British press's descriptions of prissy and stupid Americans and our God-awful judicial system? Remember the live TV shots from English pubs of stunned Brits hearing the announcement of her conviction? Gee, I wonder who whipped them into such a state. ... The decision to lessen the conviction to manslaughter was probably the right one. But remember: It was her own attorneys’ huge gambit -- thanks to judge what’s-his-name’s blessing -- that forced jurors to choose between convicting her of murder or letting free a young woman they knew was guilty at some level for a tot's death. Nothing in between. All or nothing. Murder or Pass Go. The jurors didn’t play along with the legal shenanigans. ...
Poor Wilfredo ...:
It’s only a matter of time now before other non-local media outlets pick up on the Wilfred Laboy flunky story
. He’s going to be a national laughingstock before it’s over. ... FYI: I’m quite sure I’d flunk the test, too. About four years ago, I once pulled out the old No. 2 pencil, as a mischievous experiment, and took portions of a standard exam given to new Massachusetts teachers, if I recall correctly. Found to my horror that most of my math skills -- assuming any journalist has math skills -- had vanished. Geometry? Memory blank. Calculus? Zippo. Basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. That’s all I could do. Fared better with the English, but not much better.
Athens and the Athens of America:
I read this article
over at the Christian Science Monitor about Athen’s problems preparing for the Olympics next year -- and guess which American city I immediately thought of? Following is a graf from the CSM. I’ve blotted out some of the words, leaving underscored blanks, to see if you can determine which dear, dear city it could also be describing. Here goes:
“With a year to go until the ______ , more and more _____ are questioning whether they want to bring the _____ back to the country where they were born. Soaring costs and broken promises have sent a wave of disillusionment through ____ that could dampen the ____ spirit. The malaise is most apparent in the shortage of volunteers, whose assistance is crucial to the event's success, organizers say.”
Did the last non-edited sentence give it away? ... Hub Blog is starting a list of all the chronic whiners who will complain about Boston when we inevitably -- inevitably
-- screw up the DNC next summer. Those who make the most references to Boston’s ‘inferiority complex’ (i.e. their own media/artsy inferiority complex) will win one-way Greyhound tickets to Peoria, Illinois, and told never to come back. The rest of us will stay behind and lap up the hilarity of the futile boosterism sure to be blasted at us.
Suggested slogan for Boston's 2004 DNC: "See? We really are
the Athens of America!"
‘Swatting off the heads of the armchair infidel ethicists,' Part II: Cosmo
is swatting off the heads of the armchair infidel ethicists. I tried to do the same through cynicism
. Didn't work too well, upon rereading the post. Better stick to the blunt-sword method. ... Someone suggested Jules be tried as a war criminal?
‘Dean fans flog blog, rip Kerry to threads’:
You gotta love the headline
. ... Message to Kerry camp
: Drop the dreadful ‘90s ‘chat’ concept. It’s the rough equivalent of sticking your blogger’s chin out for other bloggers to smack. Do you see a ‘chat’ room on Hub Blog? Forget it. Here’s the fair and balanced Dean blog.
No chat room readily seen. ... From consciously cool Maureen Dowd
: "The most telling sign that the Internet is no longer the cool American frontier? Blogs, which sprang up to sass the establishment, have been overrun by the establishment. In a lame attempt to be hip, pols are posting soggy, foggy, bloggy musings on the Internet." ... She's right about the poor quality of sites. Wrong about blogs being overrun by pols. Right about Kerry's site being 'cheesy.' Wrong about giving Gary Hart the last say. ...
... Bloggers are getting press credentials
for presidential campaign events? Not bad. But when do we get paid?
P.S. -- Kerry makes Swiss cheese
of himself. ... "It will doom his candidacy in Philadelphia."
John Ellis is running for governor of California:
Now that I have your attention, John is actually planning to start blogging more regularly
, probably after Labor Day, by the logical look of it. He’s also leaving Fast Company
and moving over to Tech Central
. ... Still awaiting his take on how our Mormonator is doing in Massachusetts, considering how so few put their money on Mitt against ‘$1M Bill.’
PS: Here’s a NYT update on Fast Company
, which was bought by Gruner & Jahr USA for $360 million and recently moved to NY from Boston. Besides the absurd purchase price, Gruner & Jahr bought the magazine when it was running a $20 million profit. Do the math. It believed it could pump up profits to $40 million. Still do the math. It’s now losing money or making a small profit, depending on whom you believe. No need to do the math. ... From David Carr: “The jargon that drove the magazine — ‘the brand of you’ and ‘social capitalist’ — seems as quaint and beside the point as the Pets.com sock puppet.”
Hub Blog, the hip trend setter (and man of mystery):
Two years ago, Hub Blog's sister recommended to me a quaint hotel in Paris she stayed at routinely during years of work-related travel. I wanted to be hip and cool -- and lounge in a hotel on the Left Bank. But my sister assured me her recommendation was a winner -- so I stayed at her Right Bank hangout. The cost: $25 a night. The delight: The neighborhood. The added benefit: I ended up, by accident, being ahead of the hip and cool international trend curve
. ... P.S. Later saw the movie 'Amelie' -- and it was a delight, too. Montmatre really was the star of the flick. But I'm sure the quaint hotel I stayed at is no longer $25 a night.
Those changing demographics, changing politics:
Check out this Globe story
if you believe, as I do
, that the state’s political center is slowly shifting northwest. Key (and astonishing) graf:
“Romney beat O'Brien handily in both the I-495 and Route 128 regions, where waves of residents with few past ties to Massachusetts and its old-style politics have moved in recent years. The state's population was churning in the second half of the 1990s, with about half a million people leaving the state and another 450,000 moving in, according to a US Census report released last week.”
Four hundred and fifty thousand new residents? Isn’t that close to a 10 percent turnover in the population of the state? If that doesn’t change a political landscape, I don’t know what will. But Tom Keane
throws cold water on the arguments of those who think there’s going to be a swift shift: “No matter how great your passion or how powerful your principles, you can't do much unless you have a few legislators on your side.”
I.e.: As long as Dems control the gerrymandering, they control the Statehouse and Congressional seats. ... P.S. Mentioned the other day how I thought Billy might/likely plot revenge during his forced retirement. I was thinking more in terms of revenge against Mitt. But a friend said he thought Reilly was a far juicier target. You know, with Billy knowing where all of Reilly’s skeletons are buried, etc. Stay tuned.
P.S.P.S. And Mitt is definitely gunning
for Dems’ legislative seats, though the Repubs typically trip up and fall on their face coming out of the starting gate. Tom’s right: Don’t expect swift shifts in Massachusetts politics. .... On a far more important note (and Tom Keane should be very intrigued by this): The igloo is finally gone! Scroll down the above-linked Buzz column for breaking Enchanted Village news and details. You asked for it, Chuck. You got it!
‘My money’s on Bulger’:
Forgot all about that Kerry line from the St. Pat’s breakfast. But Cosmo
didn’t. From Cosmo (subscription required): “All this time, John Kerry’s money was on Bulger, when it should have been on the trustees to lie down at the first sign of trouble. Trouble for them, that is.”
'He was shocked, just absolutely shocked’:
Oh, my God. Alan Dershowitz wasn’t the only attack dog the administration reportedly wanted to sic on Billy. Former housing Judge George Daher, of ‘corrupt midget’ fame, and Herald colleague Howie ‘Bulger-loathing’ Carr
were also rumored to be among those unleashed for the hunt. Scot Lehigh
has the scoop. ... What a story! It keeps getting better. What’s next? I have a hunch: Billy’s revenge. Don’t dismiss the possibility. This is Massachusetts.
‘Discounts the popular perception ...’:
I’m sorry, but I don’t think this AP story
‘discounts’ anything about Flight 93. This is a classic example of, for lack of other words, a forced ‘conflict lede,’ or, more accurately, a set of paragraphs designed to hype something high up that isn’t backed up in the rest of the story. Must have been a slow news day for the wire rewrites. ...
P.S.: I always assumed the hijackers nosedived the plane after they realized that, sooner or later, they wouldn’t maintain command of the ship. Guess I’m not one of the ‘popular’ masses. Guess most people I know don't have ‘popular perceptions.’ ... Bottom line: The passengers thwarted the hijackers’ aim. They forced down the plane -- as planned.
He could have had the last laugh:
Billy could have gone out with people feeling a tad sorry for the old sot. He could have had the last laugh by painting Mitt as the obsessed stalker. But now the story isn’t about the resignation or how Billy may have been drummed out of office. It’s about the loot.
But it’s always been about that, right? Or a variation of it (patronage jobs, contracts, lottery tickets, 75 State Street loans, power etc.). ... The attack-dog Alan Dershowitz ploy
was/is utterly brilliant. The mere mention of Dershowitz’s name pushed him over the edge. The erudite Latin schtick simply doesn’t faze the Harvard Dersh -- and Billy knows it. ...
: Tons of Billy stories to choose from this morning. Check out Dan Kennedy
for links. The Christian Science Monitor
also has a nice analysis of the possibly changing political landscape in Massachusetts. I happen to subscribe to the notion that suburbanites are slowly changing the dynamics around here, and elsewhere, for that matter, though I have a quibble with the CSM's description of Mitt being 'blue-blooded.' Can a non-Massachusetts native Mormon technically be a blue-blooded Yankeee pol as defined by longtime followers of Massachusetts politics? Isn't 'blue blood' itself an ancient cliche of a bygone era, which even the story says is passing into history? As Spock would say, 'Fascinating.' Maybe Bill Fowler can weigh in on this one. I'll abide by his ruling.
‘Gray’ Euros, Howie Dean and those Celts
: Reader No. 1 on a number of issues:
“Tom Friedman's op-ed (see Hub Blog item below) was one of his better ones in my opinion, although the scales of moral equality between black-and-white-Bushism and ‘gray’ Europeanism aren't right to me. ‘Gray’ is not what/where you want to be when hard decisions have to be made, a point clearly not lost on Blair but I fear, lost on many many others.”
“Andrew Sullivan makes many good points in his Howard Dean overview
. I don't think I ever put it in print but have thought Dean's embodiment of 2 important elements -- the executive and the outsider perspective -- guaranteed he would get a lot of attention and support; infinitely preferable to the rest of the field, which breaks down into ‘Inside Washington’ and the ‘Not Ready for Prime Time Players.’ Where I disagree with Sullivan: Dean's personality vs. Bush's. A year from now, the economy will be better but basic trends, many of which do not bode well for the middle and upper class (eg outsourcing software to India), will be with us. Dean's sneer will only hurt him if he uses it in opposition to Bush accomplishments which reasonable people would/will agree on (eg taking out Saddam). Maybe this is a refinement of Andrew’s argument.”
Danny and the Celts
“Reader No. 1 parts company with Hub Blog on Danny Ainge, well, let me refine that: the evidence is slim that any of the personnel moves will mean the team wins more than 43 games or gets to the 2nd round. I suspect everyone around the team would admit that... but what is the plan to break through to the next level? Trading Antoine for the Knicks 4-5-6 guys isn't going to do it.
Based on the past 3 years, I'm sure that Coach O'Brien will find a way to make it work... to get to 43 wins and the 2nd round of the playoffs.”
'Sox' scary trip gets worse':
Despite the valiant efforts of Theo to bolster the pitching staff, the Sox are still playing erratically
. ... Humble Hub Blog request: Put a plug in all the talk about a World Series. This team is scary indeed. Maybe it will all come together, ala Pats 2001/2002. But I don't see it jelling yet.
A ‘war of choice’ vs. a ‘war of necessity’:
A superb column this morning by the NYT’s Tom Friedman
, capturing the principled and less-than principled reasons for going to war in Iraq and trying to make sense of the conflicting mess. The troubling part, as Friedman notes, is we’ll probably never know -- or never agree upon -- whether WMD are the rough equivalent of the Gulf of Tonkin or whether the war was our bold Rhineland intervention to prevent a greater catastrophe. We all know about the Gulf of Tonkin comparison. The Rhineland comparison (which is mine, not Tom’s) holds that World War II could have been averted if France, afraid and ever sensitive to world opinion, had confronted Hitler when he made a grab for the demilitarized Rhineland in 1936. A French showdown with Hitler would have been highly unpopular at the time -- and would have remained so for decades afterward. But most historians now agree Hitler would have been overthrown by his generals if the French had swatted aside German troops in ‘36. The French didn’t. ... I know, I know. A lot of ‘what ifs’ and unknowns. ... I’m still pissed, frankly, with the Bush administration and its WMD/‘war of necessity’ spins and its lies about lies. But columns like this soften my bitterness and reawaken my slumbering appreciation for all the mysterious ‘what ifs’ of history.
P.S.: I'm still holding out hope WMD are found, which would pull together the 'war of choice' and 'war of necessity' arguments into a more coherent and bearable justification in the eyes of the world and future generations. Here's an Instapundit update on WMD.
Hope it's true.
'The Spoken Word ...': Christopher Lydon
has more mini-profiles and interviews with bloggers and writers, including Glenn Reynolds, the NYT's Steve Kinzer, Elaine Scarry and David Sifry. Interesting stuff. Despite all the controversy and mistrust swirling around the NYT these days, Kinzer comes across as a first-class thinker and all around interesting man. Hey, he's a big Celtics fan, FYI, so you know he's OK. ...
Speaking of the Celts:
Hub Blog is very impressed with Danny Ainge's performance in recent weeks, despite initial misgivings about the sentimental 'bleeding green' motives for hiring him as GM. More on the Celts later. Put it this way: I'm excited about their upcoming season, as well as the home-stretch run by the Sox and the Pats' quest for a second Super Bowl ring. I have a strong hunch something will break in favor of Boston fans in one of these sporting areas.
‘Swatting off the heads of the armchair infidel ethicists’:
OK, I’m a little late on this one, which Dan Kennedy
tackled the other day, to wit: Jules Crittenden’s Iraqi booty. I’ve seen Jules’ plundered artifacts from Iraq. My reaction: cheesy trinkets. No jazails. No gold-plated pistols from Uday’s love shack. Just a battered Iraqi flag, a beat-up fiberglass Iraqi army helmet (yes, fiberglass, or plastic or whatever) and a bayonet that could have been bought at any Army-Navy surplus store. ... Now some may say this meager haul absolves Jules from great ethical questions swirling around his battlefield souvenirs. But I say it points to something far more damning: Jules has no taste. ... Jules also showed me a photo of the confiscated painting of Saddam he triumphantly brought home to Rome, er, I mean, Boston. Again: cheesy. I’ve seen better roadside blue-velvet Elvis portraits. Ten bucks says Jules’ wife secretly asked U.S. Customs to keep the portrait in their vaults. Come to think of it, twenty bucks says Jules’ wife secretly tipped off U.S. Customs about what Jules was bringing home. ... I still can’t believe
prissy ethicists are making a big deal about this. ...
... As I’ve said before, if it had been me arriving back at Logan from Iraq, booty would have been clinking and clanking down my pants legs as I lied and blubbered my way through a Customs interview.
This is pretty good:
I’ve been out of it recently. Here's the reason: ‘Post-Herald Traumatic Exhaustion Syndrome.’ Meaning, I’m too tired to blog, too tired to read materials for a blog, too tired to do anything after work that requires effort, other than brain-zapped grazing through the cable channels, after a day of scribbling and typing. But this item
, over at Instapundit, does hit a nerve that even a PHTES sufferer can laught about late at night. To wit: A sarcastic look at how some should be reporting the aftermath of the war, considering how they report everything else related to the war. ...
Speaking of Instapundit, he has a new Iraq correspondent from Boston: BU professor John Robert Kelly
. WMD or no WMD, there’s a reality on the ground in Iraq that we have to deal with -- and get straight information about. We’re not always getting it. Good for Kelly. ... FYI: Reread this post this morning, Thursday, and made some much needed corrections. The PHTES symptoms were far worse than I thought last night. FYI II: Still loving the job, despite the PHTES.
Ah, those sons ... :
Hate to use the phrase ‘good news,’ but this is good news.
Next up: Daddy. We hope. ...
... Reader BK sends in some links to counter, methinks, my rants about WMD and the lack thereof. Here’s a link to a David Warren
piece, warning of journalists comparing Iraq to Vietnam. Not that I’ve compared Iraq to Vietnam. I’m a diehard anti-anti-quagmire mutterer myself. Frankly, I don’t know what to compare the current situation to. The U.S. occupation of the Philippines strikes me as historically more apt. ... Readers should check out Mickey Kaus
, who's gleefully pointing out how the administration is now groveling to the UN for help in Iraq. Yes, the same administration that dismissed the UN last winter. ...
Here’s John Hughes
on Blair: “Tony Blair is paying a heavy price for his convictions about the war in Iraq and his loyalty to America. His sacrifice is something Americans should not easily forget.” .... And here’s one on the Churchillian lessons
to be learned about wartime intelligence. ... So much Churchill talk these days! We’re overdosing on it!
'Not that we didn't want to buy it ...':
Reader J throws his two cents in on WMD:
"I agree with your take on the WMD issue, in that we’ve been had or at least feel that we’ve been had. But I don’t think we’ve been victims of a government that 'lied/embellished/screwed up.'
"I just think the war was aggressively sold to us. Not that we didn’t want to buy it, but it’s irritating that we were condescended to in the process, like buying a car that you did your research on and having to go through a sleazy salesperson or dealership to get what you knew was right for you in the first place.
"Also, I don’t think the Jacobys are blind to the issue. They’re just circling the wagons because the Democrats are on the warpath. It could be that they think there’s more at stake than politics. I think it’s a mistake for them to avoid tackling the issue head on."
Hub Blog's response
: FYI -- I'm not all that convinced people lied about this. Colin Powell and Tony Blair, well, I think highly of them and can't imagine they'd partake in such a ghastly charade. But 'embellished' and 'screwed up'? Definitely. Critics going after the African uranium story are going at it wrong. All the evidence they need is to keep pointing out the non-evidence evidence, i.e. no WMD after we invaded the country. Zippo. ...
: Dante Chinni
puts his finger on it this morning in the Boston-based Christian Science Monitor:
“But even if the president didn't lie, the errors on Iraq may speak to a serious issue concerning his judgment. Bush tends to see the world in black and white -- divided between good and bad, just people and ‘evildoers.’ This is often portrayed as a strength of his presidency, but it can also be a weakness. ...
“In this case, it is legitimate to ask whether that conviction got in the way of finding the truth in Iraq before the nation acted.”
Oh, what the hell. Here's Tom Oliphant
, who dredges up the diastrous U.S. diplomacy before the war and its lingering legacy today:
"The poles in this mess still have their adherents -- Cheney-Rumsfeld's ongoing message to the world (butt out) and the French-oriented riposte (no, you butt out). Good will is in the air, however, and there exists a way to make postwar Iraq the showcase for determined, aggressive internationalism it could have become last winter.
"There needs to be debate as well as investigation about how so much could have gone wrong and how so much baloney could be fed to the public. This period of reckoning for those who misled the world, however, cannot block or slow the vital task of helping a broken country heal."
A divided nation won't put up with stories like this
for much longer. The anguish will keep building ...
The ghost of 'Black Mass': Gerard O'Neill
, co-author of the local classic 'Black Mass,' weighs in on the Billy saga -- taking aim at old 75 State Street. What a curious bunch of coincidences. Read until the end.
'I think it is still way too early ...':
Reader No. 1 on WMD (and see below his views on the local sporting scene):
"I haven't weighed on the WMD controversy. I think it is still way too early to come to conclusions about WMD. While I concede that was a major point that got politicians behind the war, I also think that was hardly the only criteria for taking out Saddam (see Instapundit
and many many others).
"I would not expect this article to change many minds overnight, but I think this Victor Davis Hanson's NRO column
makes a succint and powerful statement for why our foreign policy is the way that it is (and why it ought to be).
"It is not as exhaustive as Kagan nor as inspirational as Blair's affirmations this week, this week in Washington but it tells it like it is."
Hub Blog's response
: Glad to see a fellow conservative (of a slightly different ideological persuasion) agreeing that WMD were, in fact, a major part of the rationale for war. What has upset me so much is the way some conservatives, too busy cheerleading for Bush as the second coming of Churchill, almost immediately dismissed the WMD issue (i.e., Jeff Jacoby), as if the possibility that our government lied/embellished/screwed up isn't important. If this had been the Clinton administration, you can be damn sure the right would have gone ape-s#*t over the WMD fiasco and subsequent rhetorical flipflops.
Sports, sports, sports!:
Reader No. 1 has some excellent observations on the Celts, Sox and the now famous New Yorker piece on Bill James. Here goes:
"Peter May gives a quick pithy report
on the performance of Celtic draft picks Marcus Banks and Brandon Hunter after a week in the summer league. Conclusion: they're doing just about what we thought they would
. A Cincinnati hoop junkie familiar with him Hunter say he could be a decent NBA sub, perhaps a poor man's Danny Fortson (that would be OK with me, and a major improvement on the 2002-2003 Vin Baker). He sure had a great week in the summer league!! I nominate him as a Fleet future fan favorite.
"Glad the Celts signed Mark Blount and Walter McCarty
; they're good role players and, from a standpoint of financial productivity, Walter was a better choice than Rodney Rodgers, who as others have observed typically played better in his option year with the Celts than in the first year of his new Nets contract. While Rogers would have helped the Celts, I'd argue that re-signing miss looks worse than it really was in light of the Vin Baker disaster.
"Speaking of Vin Baker (again) it is somewhat disturbing to hear in the same Walter returning story that the Celts are thinking about signing Kenny Anderson. It puts up a bigger red flag on Marcus Banks' turnover stats (above) than already exists. Also, last year was Anderson's first as a sub/role player (presumably what he's be this time around in Boston?) and he underperformed for two teams...
"The Red Sox: finally read the Bill James profile
in the New Yorker which like MONEYBALL which inspired it, brought back found memories of the early 80s and arrival of a new edition of The Baseball Statistical Abstract. Certainly obvious to see why Dan Shaughnessy enjoyed the article. James and his disciples are as big a threat to sportswriters as they are to scouts, old-school general managers, coaches, etc.
"Good to see SOMEONE (Gordon Edes) observe how much Todd Walker's offense has fallen off in the last 6 weeks. Along with Johnny Damon's season-long ineffectiveness, the weak top-of-lineup goes a long way towards explaining why the team is still 4 games away from the Yanks despite OK starting pitching and much-improved bullpenning. I wouldn't be surprised to see Theo pull a surprise move and add someone at the top of the order on July 31st... check back with the Globe then, but you read it in Hubblog first."
‘We should all be nice to Dean ...’:
One of the joys of skipping over to Mickey Kaus’ site
is to see how many anti-John Kerry one-liner insults he can snap off. ... Here’s my favorite: “Anyway, we should all be nice to Dean until he fulfills his historic mission in New Hampshire -- saving the nation from John Kerry.” ... His views on ‘thinking outside the box’ are just as good. Enjoy.