‘He was much more comfortable there,' Part II:
Remember how prison officials asserted John Geoghan 'volunteered'
to go to a maximum-security prison? 'He was much more comfortable there,' chirped one moron of his pleasant new environs in Shirley. ... Now we know a little more about the real reasons for that death-sentence transfer.
'The wayback machine'
: Dan Kennedy
is having brutal fun with Boston.com's
new web site redesign. ... Media Log's deadline to fix it: Tuesday. Or else.
The Final Hack Insult:
I could live on $240,000 a year at his age? Couldn't you? It wasn't enough.
It never was. It was always about a gangsterish and warped grab-it-while-you-can/they-won't-notice/it's-not-real-money principle. There was a trough to be raided. He raided. ... That miniscule gram of sympathy and doubt about the way he was dumped? Gone. ... He's probably comparing himself to the bigwigs on Wall Street. ... Same mindset.
The non-fisking of Robert Fisk: Christopher Lydon
interviews British journalist Robert Fisk. Chris admires him. I don't. He's a dime-a-dozen ideologue with journalistic flair. Chris, an ardent and eloquent critic of the Iraq war, seems to have overlooked Fisk's dubious historical analysis of Bosnia and post-Sept. 11 Afghanistan.
The new Little Big Dig:
Have you been on Cambridge Street lately? Looks like a war zone. But a good war zone. For years, Cambridge Street has been an embarrassment. It’s a main gateway into Boston. It’s home to MGH -- and therefore the first and only area of Boston many dignitaries and other visitors get to view. ‘Shabby’ is too nice a word to describe what they’ve seen in the past. But not for long. There’s now more than a $1 billion of investment going into the area, from the new MGH Yawkey Center to the Charles River Plaza expansion to the redesign of the Cambridge Street streetscape to the renovation of the Charles River T stop to new apartment developments springing up etc. ... And don’t forget the conversion of the old Charles Street Jail into a hotel. Buzzy’s Roastbeef is gone, true. But it will be mercifully forgotten. Buzzy’s was the most overrated pit in the city. The roastbeef was disgusting.
Oh, John. Don’t look now: Howard Dean
has a 21-point lead in New Hampshire. No wonder Kerry is all but writing off the state -- and making his official presidential announcement down in the Carolinas. ... Maybe Dean isn’t the official Anderson/Tsongas/Simon candidate of 2004.
‘He was much more comfortable there’:
So John J. Geoghan was
in a medium-security prison in Concord before being transferred to a maximum-security prison. The big question: Why the transfer? Answer: It was a form of added punishment. The transfer killed him, folks. ... The state has a lot of explaining to do.
is all over the bogus death penalty issue. ... The issue is the wretched conditions within our prison system -- and the judgment and conduct of our prison officials.
‘Trading Spaces’: French Anti- and Anti-anti-Americanism:
First off: Have I buried myself so thoroughly into the doings of One Herald Square that I missed the fact that the New Yorker is now carrying more content online? Maybe I’m imagining things. You decide.
Anyway, here’s a terrific story by Adam Gopnik
(assuming it stays online), the long-time expat chronicler of all things French and author of the terrific ‘Paris to the Moon.’ After the obligatory and justified Bush bashing (Hub Blog forgot how Bush mocked an American journalist for daring to speak French at a French press conference), Gopnik unloads on the French at the end. Here’s an excerpt about the feeble number of French anti-anti-American intellectuals trying to defend America in France:
“What is finally moving about the anti-anti-Americans in France is that they are defending a cosmopolitan tradition—the tradition of the Marshall Plan and the melting pot, where, as B.H.L. rhapsodizes, Daniel Pearl could be Jew and journalist and American and internationalist all at once—that they continue to identify, stubbornly and, these days, perhaps quixotically, with the United States. What is striking, and a little scary, in Paris this year is the absence of anti-Americanism—of a lucid, coherent, tightly argued alternative to American unilateralism that is neither emptily rhetorical nor mere daydreaming. (In fact, it is easier to find this kind of argument in Britain than in France.) The real threat to France is not anti-Americanism, which might at least have the dignity of an argument, an idea, and could at least provoke a grownup response, but what the writer Philippe Sollers has called the creeping ‘moldiness’ of French life—the will to defiantly turn the country back into an enclosed provincial culture. ‘For the first time, French people care about their houses,’ a leading French journalist complains in shock. ‘That was always a little England thing—and now you find intelligent Parisians talking all the time about home improvements.’
Hub Blog’s response: I knew it! Home Improvements
. Paige Davis and Trading Spaces
have obviously stormed bourgeois Europe too. Read the entire article. Lots to chuckle at.
‘The Battle of Algiers’:
One of the joys of blogging is that you get to eat your words -- sort of -- without really doing so. Hub Blog remains a tough critic of the Bush administration’s policies in Iraq, but the Washington Post’s David Ignatius
writes a counter-intuitive column about why we should resist increasing troops there in order to win. Excellent piece. Maybe Rum is right on this one. I haven’t harped at all on the ‘troop strength’ issue, for I haven’t a clue what we militarily need or don’t need there. But this column is encouraging. ...
He was a target from Day 1 in prison:
Not to turn the murder of convicted pedophile John J. Geoghan into a martyr’s cause for prison reform (latest stories here
), but we all know about the horrific things that happen inside maximum-security prisons -- the rapes, the stabbings, the drugs, the hate-filled gangs. It’s almost as if we tolerate this as part of society’s punishment. In fact, we do tolerate it, with winks and nods and sometimes even smirks. ...
... Don’t know how they designate ‘maximum-security’ or ‘medium-security’ in Massachusetts. But in other states such designations don’t necessarily correspond with the crime committed by a prisoner. Rather, prisoners are sent to different facilities depending on their assessed or real potential for violence within the system. For instance, a convicted tax evader may start out in a low-security prison, but end up in the Big House if he knifes someone in a cafeteria line. A convicted murderer with a good-conduct record can find himself transferred from a maximum-security prison to a medium-security facility for the opposite reason. The idea is to isolate the no-hope thugs from those who show signs of hope. It also leads to a saner and safer environment for guards. ...
So the questions are: Why was Geoghan booked in a maximum-security prison, from the outset, with all the other physically dangerous prisoners? Was he dumped there because he was psychologically assessed as a potential threat? Was he there because of overcrowding at other facilities? Was he there because there would have been a howl of protest if he had been sent to a ‘country club’ lower-security prison? I suspect the reasons have to do with the latter two queries. ... If we wanted Geoghan to die, we should have had a death penalty on the books and not be hypocrites about it. If we don’t want the death sentence in Massachusetts, then we need a better prison system that honestly and justly fits the crime to the punishment. ...Geoghan was doomed from the moment he entered MCI Shirley.
'This putrid mental garbage ...':
Some damn good writing and French bashing by a French expat
(Chicago Boyz) now living in New Hampshire. ... Courtesy of Merde in France
, of course.
‘It’s a tragic end to a tragic life’:
John J. Geoghan deserved a lot of things, but not this
. Putting a convicted pedophile into the main population of a maximum-security prison is a virtual death sentence. Therefore it’s a cruel and unusual punishment by any standard. They can and should be isolated while they serve their time, perhaps in lower-security prisons, which, contrary to the critical hype, are not pleasant places either. ... Mourn the way he died in prison, but don’t forget the reason why he went to prison. ... More church perverts
are belatedly shown the door.
‘The moderates are appalled’:
I don’t buy into the idea that, on the right, the argument over the Bush administration’s foreign policy is merely between the ‘neocons’ and ‘realists.’ There are many other different shades of opposition and support for the administration’s policies. But I liked this article
because it at least explores one of those different shades, albeit of the Henry Kissinger/Jacques Chirac variety ... Agree with the description of internationalism as being a form of pragmatism. ... Hub Blog: The Cafeteria Conservative.
Ah, once again a fine Tom Friedman column
. Read until the end. The Bush administration got us into this mess partly through a utopian neocon zeal to transform the Mideast. Now that we’re there, they’re not following through on their own professed vows and views.
-- Here it is: a scorecard of the new Best and Brightest
, courtesy of CSM. ... Of course, the neocons will whine about people unfairly misinterpreting their views when things go wrong -- and then point our their own genius when things go well.
Improving T service also helps, Part II
: At Alewife Station this morning, I noticed a real map of eastern Massachusetts with the real, bending, zigzagging angles trains and subways actually take to get to destinations -- not the straight-as-an-arrow, format-it-on-a-page, geographically inaccurate depictions you usually see on brochures, postcards or the MBTA’s own online map
. ... Anyway, here’s my proposed plan for a new Commuter Line Beltway, similar to Route 128 (see below), meant to connect all the rail line spokes. From north to south, it would start at Ipswich, then make major stops at Lawrence, Lowell, South Acton, Framingham, Norwood ... and then the map I saw at Alewife became confusing regarding the South Shore, which is pretty much how it really is on the South Shore. Even though it’s not geographically accurate, the MBTA online map gives you a good idea what I’m talking about. ... Of course, the new Commuter Beltway could make many more stops in between the major ones I mentioned. ... Let the campaign begin for a new Commuter Line Beltway.
Improving T service also helps:
Take your pick of stories here
about the T rate hikes. ... But the question is: Why is ridership already in decline? A rough rule of thumb says that subways, buses and commuter lines are popular when they’re more convenient than walking or driving. The T is simply no longer convenient for a lot of people. Take moi. I work over at One Herald Square. I usually hop on the T in the morning. Time to work: 20 minutes. But on the way home: 40 minutes. So I prefer the 25-minute walk at night. Lost customer. Those 15 minutes count. Good exercise anyway, followed by a reward pint at the Sevens etc. Not looking forward to it in the winter, though. If I had a car, I'd drive more often because of the post-work hassles. ... Hub Blog is sort of new to the Orange Line, but some long-time commuters grumble the post-rush hour service began to deteriorate a few months ago -- just about the time the reform-challenged T started clamoring for more dough. ...
As for commuter rails, here’s Hub Blog's Big Idea: A Route 128-like outer beltway connecting all the rail-line spokes coming out of the city. They made fun of 128 when they built it in the ‘50s, calling it the ‘road to nowhere.’ We all know now it was genius: It transformed the region, allowing people to get around the ‘burbs for both pleasure and work. Right now, the commuter lines are largely convenient for only one thing: Getting to and from work in Boston. ...
The T is eyeing a variation of my idea with the subway lines, with its 'Outer Ring' plan. Prediction: It will flop. Just like the Silver Line. Why? They rely on buses. Don't these morons appreciate the real and psychological differences between trains and buses? Obviously not. People looking out the windows of frequently stopping buses -- and longingly eyeing passing cars -- know they're not getting better service. Trains don't stop as much; they don't have to fight traffic; they don't have windows to look out to compare car traffic; and everyone has an old choo-choo gene in them. Trains are fun and more convenient -- when they run on time.
‘The 70-year-old neighborhood hangout is nearly deserted’:
Gee, only now are bars acknowledged to be hurting because of the smoking ban
. ... Even the cheerleading proponents of smoking bans are admitting it. Take down and file their quotes. They’ll lie about it later, saying bars and restaurants haven’t been hurt, in the next phase of the modern Temperance Movement.
‘Ben is smart. He is special’: The Coz
and Dan Kennedy
tackle the big local blogger question: Who is Mitt’s secret tormentor?
... Agree with Coz: The guy has too much time on his hands. Wait a sec. Scratch that. Didn’t the once prolific Hub Blog have too much time on his hands not too long ago? ...
Didn’t we burn that bridge last winter?:
The Bush administration, after bad-mouthing the UN and efforts to internationalize the Iraq venture, is now seeking greater UN and international involvement
in Iraq. ... Recall the famous blog last winter: Ronald Reagan won the Cold War deftly using and then ignoring the UN. George Bush could do the same, if he put a clamp on the Best and Brightest neocons within his administration. ... Of course, it won’t be easy to get adequate UN involvement. It never is -- and never was. It will be especially difficult now, after we trashed the institution and now pathetically come back to it with hat in hand and tin cup out. Here’s a sampling from the usual suspects who will make it difficult:
“An Arab diplomat, going further, said Arab countries would oppose vesting any authority in the (Iraqi) Governing Council. ‘No request from that council will be seen as legitimate,’ he said.”
Hmmmm. Arab dictators questioning the legitimacy of other governments. Then there’s this from two of the three weasels:
“A diplomat knowledgeable about those discussions said it had become clear to the American officials that Russia and France wanted more control for themselves — and perhaps more contracts for Russian and French companies. At that point, they said, the idea of a new resolution was shelved.”
How goes the campaign to toss France off the Security Council? ... Jacques Chirac and Bush: Second-rate statesmen who deserve each other.
-- This just in from the CSM
: “The Middle East is not Europe; Iraq is not Germany. And the world of 2003 is not that of 1945.”
The Tonka Truck gene kicks in:
Hub Blog’s Tonka Truck gene -- the one that turns a sandbox tot into an adult Sidewalk Superintendent -- is going wild this morning. Now it seems the administration is chugging ahead with the Greenbush line
. Can’t believe they were thinking of bus-line and ferry alternatives to the new commuter rail. Build the damn line! ... The seedy Liberty adult bookstore
is making way for a new Chinatown housing development. ... A big Eastie project
gets a back-room push. ... And last but not least
: The rats are not
jumping ship in Boston. Just a thought: Have you noticed how filthy the city appears these days? Cambridge Street looks like Port-au-Prince some mornings. Hub Blog thought Beantown lost its litter-bug reputation a long time ago. But, alas, like the return of the rats, the litter bugs are back. ... In retaliation for the smoking ban in bars, Hub Blog once proposed a ban on SUVs driven into the city from the ‘burbs, a twist on London’s implementation of high auto tolls in order to enter its downtown. This air-quality story
shows my revenge-minded idea may have more merit than thought.
-- Here’s a recent column by colleague Shelly Cohen
, who also has a hyper-active Tonka Truck gene. Boy, Boston really did blow the Yo-Yo Ma opportunity, big time.
‘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.