The Guns of April:
The booming sound of guns can be heard from afar. It's begun. First field report: Favorable.
But it’s going to be a long campaign.
One other favorable development: Hub Blog’s Manhattan-based WMD spy, who wisely didn’t chomp too hard on the cyanide tablet during those terrible post-Grady Decision moments, is in position. But, perhaps shaken by last fall’s ‘setback,’ he senses something:
“WMD spy getting geared up. I feel it’s sort of the same as the democrats vs Bush. I am optimistic but have an underlying feeling of dread. I suppose their seasons are on the same schedule, praying for an October surprise.” ‘Arrived in Boston as a stowaway,’ Part II: But, but, but
... but didn’t the FBI say everything was under control concerning possible al-Qaeda stowaways on LNG tankers? What does he mean by saying the FBI’s pre-9/11 anti-terrorism intelligence was “not as good as it could have been”? .... Never mind. Nothing here. Move on. ‘American Jezebel’:
Sounds like an interesting book about Anne Hutchinson and Puritanical Boston.
I heard the author, Eve LaPlante, recently talking about the book on NPR. The assertion that Hutchinson is a ‘classic feminist hero’ is, sadly, typical and a somewhat annoying politically correct intrusion, considering her own father had the same rebellious nature and history in England. But the book, especially its account of Hutchinson’s trial, sounds like one Hub Blog will pick up one of these days.
‘Now... if Nye wants to ...’:
Reader No. 1 on the Joseph Nye piece contained in ‘The good news for Bush is that Kerry’ post below. Reader No. 1:
“I think Nye's article has some of the most insightful observations about the differing motivations of present Bush team and, (of course inferentially) why it is hard for most people (including I suspect sometimes the Bush team) to understand the US' present course of action. ‘On the other hand,’ Nye points out that any of the Jefferson-Jackson-Hamilton-Wilson approaches are insufficient in and of themselves and therefore a blend is required. The issue is what kind of blend, and I would give members of the administration a bit more credit for being able to hold complex views than it appears here.
“Now... if Nye wants to see why this particular combination came about instead of one which he thinks should have come about, he might try a little more Hamiltonian analysis. Specifically, where is the recent evidence that ‘the UN and other international institutions’ have any interest in achieving ‘the type of transformation that the neoconservatives seek?’ The UN has shown much interest in fostering its own institutional interests and putting dictators on the same moral footing as democrats (see Iran chairing the Human Rights Commission, and we might as well go back to Zionism is Racism for the first most public example).
“There is also plenty of evidence of Hamiltonian behavior amongst our European allies (eg France and Iraq).
“A final problem I have with Nye's article is: what sort of policy outcomes would result from his version of 'soft power?' Is the idea to more effectively pursue the current outcomes, i.e destroy Al Qaeda, get rid of Saddam, develop Democracy in the Arab world? Or is the idea to purchase entirely different outcomes? This is a big problem I have with opponents to the current administration: it's hard to tell whether they would like to see the administration operate more deftly (the ‘he's blowing it’ camp) or whether they just plain oppose the use of power against the most terrible enemies in recent memory. Which is it? Sometimes, you have to choose.”
“PS: Kerry, like most of permanent Warshington, is operationally a Hamiltonian and a Jeffersonian for public consumption.”
Hub Blog’s response:
I’m pretty sure Nye supported the war in general, so we know what his desired ‘outcome’ would be in that regard. But it’s the post-invasion ‘outcome’ he and I believe could have been different. FYI: I googled to find Nye’s stand on the war but now have to rush to work. I’ll stand corrected if it turns out he flat-out opposed the war.
‘We have to leave Hooters open’:
Well, thank God!
... How’s the debate going over extending bar hours during the DNC? Maybe even lift the smoking ban?
‘The good news for Bush is that Kerry ...’:
Reader JL, who seems to spark a few comments, writes in about the two David Ignatius columns I mentined below. Excerpts from Reader JL:
“(Ignatius) has got it exactly right. ... It is unease about the state of the world and how Bush is dealing with it. Others are ably making the case about Iraq; but Bush jokes about not finding WMD and Rice scrambles to defend her actions in the 8 months leading up to 9/11. Clarke is probably a lying asshole; but his book gives the Democrats just the tool they need to shift attention away from the charge that Clinton did nothing for 8 years. Unfortunately the GOP response is just a lot of bureaucratic CYA. The issue is what are we doing now and where do we go from here. As Ignatius said, Bush needs to acknowledge past mistakes (‘Mistakes were made’ worked for Reagan.), and tell the American people what is going on now and how it fits in to his strategy against terrorism.
“The good news for Bush is that Kerry is still trying to win over the Democrats in his base who would vote for a Zapatero if they had the chance. With his background and nuanced understanding of foreign affairs Kerry cannot seem to bring himself to take a firm stand on the most important issue in this election.”
-- Good piece from Josepn S. Nye
, war backer, I believe, on the Hamiltonian, Jeffersonian, Jacksonian and Woodrow Wilsonism coursing through, or not through, American foreign policy. Wish he had assessed Kerry as well. I suspect it would have been a heavy overdose of Jeffersonian. Or maybe an overdose of all of them, excluding Jacksonian. ... Not wild about the headlines on Nye's piece. The issue of 'popularity' is not really his point. It's foreign policy effectiveness. ...
Also, Reader No. 1 the other day sent in this article by Richard Perle and David Frum
on ‘hard-liners’ vs. ‘soft-liners.’ Reader No. 1 agrees with the article. I obviously don’t, believing they’ve stacked the deck from the outset by defining the debate in such either-or ways. I subscribe to Nye’s contention that hammer-velvet/fork-knife/hard-soft policies need to be used more deftly in conjuction with each other.
‘Franny Joyce must not have wanted the job ...’: Howie
double team the latest nationwide search for a Massachusetts agency/university/plum-job leader. ... Hey, the Zip might squeal!
We can only hope. ... Read 'Black Mass.'
You're not a true political-junkie Bostonian if you haven't. ...
‘Tom Friedman is a Right-Wing Maniac,’ Part II:
At the risk of being accused of ‘even-handedness,' Hub Blog Blog proudly presents two David Ignatius columns, one on Bush
and the other on Kerry.
There really is an Army of the Ambivalent
out there waiting to be wooed. I particularly liked this line: “Opinion polls here and abroad attempt to push most of us too crudely into either/or confrontations (over Iraq).” ... You mean it's OK not to be fanatically pro-Bush or fanatically pro-Kerry? Perish the thought!
‘Arrived in Boston as a stowaway ...’:
For some strange reason, I’m not exactly relieved to hear the FBI -- yes, the Zacarias Moussoui-bungling FBI -- now saying, ‘Nothing here. Move on. Nothing here,’ regarding the stowaways on Algerian LNG tankers
entering Boston Harbor. Here’s the clincher for me:
“While one of the men who was later convicted in the millennium plot, Abdelghani Meskini, had arrived in Boston as a stowaway on an Algerian tanker, Kaiser said there was no evidence that Meskini, who is cooperating with authorities and denies being a terrorist, had any terrorist links when he arrived in Boston in January 1995. He was living in Brooklyn, N.Y., when he was arrested in December 1999 in connection with the millennium plot.”
‘No evidence’ he was a terrorist when he arrived in Boston but plenty of evidence, apparently, to later convict him of being a terrorist. ... Sure sounds like the FBI and INS don’t have a clue where the other non-terrorists-when-they-arrived-here stowaways are today.
Meanwhile, the soothing Boston FBI director’s boss is, well, warning of possible terrorist attacks in Boston and New York
during the summer conventions. ... A very easy prediction: Kaiser and others will not allow LNG tankers to enter the harbor immediately before, during and after the convention, while waving their arms and exclaiming ‘Nothing here. Move on. Nothing here.’
‘Tom Friedman is a Right-Wing Maniac’:
I was all set to post on l’affaire Clarke
when I got the email from Reader No. 1 with the playful and tempting slug, ‘Tom Friedman is a Right-Wing Maniac.’ Here’s the Friedman column
and Reader No. 1’s comments: “He comes close to blowing his cover in the NYT today with his brilliant closing suggestion. When Condi Rice becomes Secretary of State next year, get Friedman on her staff!” ...
Reader No. 1 also sends in this ‘wonderful if depressing column’
by Peggy Noonan. I love the ‘government takes care of government’ part and this line in particular about the current 9/11 hearings: “It was hard not to find yourself wondering, as you watched the testimony, if a lot of these people didn't have something on each other.” ...
But Noonan's harping on Clinton brings me to a variation of my original post: The most galling thing for the Bush administration, I suspect, is the comparisons to the Clinton administration -- and knowing they probably did no better or worse in preparing for a 9/11 attack. Noonan’s eight-years vs. eight-months comparisons aside, the Bush administration hasn’t told me anything yet about how they were preparing to do something different pre-9/11. Repeat: “It was hard not to find yourself wondering, as you watched the testimony, if a lot of these people didn't have something on each other.”
‘This interpretative loophole ...’:
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court strikes again.
... It’s almost as if they’re in a 1960s Let’s Shock the Bourgeois mode. ... Here’s a classic: “Wendy Murphy, a professor at the New England School of Law, said she appreciated the court's ruling ‘in a technical sense,’ but she questioned why the justices didn't recognize the role of stepparents in modern families when they have recognized the changing nature of families in other cases.” I.e. the court’s recent gay marriage ruling. ...
‘Road to Boston Blog’ :
Shoot. Scooped by Dan Kennedy
on a new Herald blog.
Didn’t have a clue this was happening. ... Coz
and I proudly stand shoulder to shoulder, arms nonchalantly crossed, eyes rolling in contempt, impatiently tapping our feet, awaiting the Herald to come to its senses and throw some big Wingo bucks our way for our pioneer blogging efforts. ...
-- Good luck to David.
-- The Globe has actually been experimenting with blogs
since last fall, as anyone who bothered to read Hub Blog should have known. ... It reminds ... me ... of ... the ... Dullest ... Blog ... In ... The ... World.
Zzzzzzzzzz. ... Actually, the Dullest Blog in The World has become the dullest blog in the world. The wit and originality are gone. It’s just, well, dull.
‘The worry about Kerry is that ..’:
All this one-year Iraq anniversary stuff is giving me depressing flashbacks. Since I already brought up the silly coverage of antiwar protests of last year (see item below), might as well revisit the old He’s Blowing It debate, i.e. Bush’s lack of foreign policy finesse. But, wait, don’t send in the emails pouncing on Kerry. I’ll do it for you. Actually, this latest WaPo oped
pounces for us. From the oped: “The worry about Kerry is that he doesn't always get the iron part (of foreign policy). But Bush, on the other hand, doesn't always see the virtue of velvet.” ... Not bad. I did kind of like my fork-and-knife analogy
of a year ago. ... Remember the ‘unilateralist vs. multilateralist’
arguments last year? Talk about depressing flashbacks.
Alert! Alert! :
Hub Blog interrupts past discussions on journalism, Spain etc. to bring you this special pizza announcement: If there’s such a thing as good frozen pizza, I think I’ve found it -- Mystic Pizza.
Yeah, I know. The movie kind of takes away some of its innocence. But it is quite good. Have had it before, had it last night, and finally came to the profound conclusion it’s perhaps the only decent frozen pizza out there. ... End of alert.
notes the public spirit behind the above note. Thank you. We at Hub Blog firmly believe in giving back to our community.
‘In what organizers described as a broad-based protest ...’:
Oh, dear. The ‘broad-based’ antiwar protest
coverage is back on the first anniversary of the start of the war. Here’s another one.
... Needless to say, not much has changed in the coverage since a year ago. You know, not using political terminology to describe what is essentially a political event, etc. Here’s my own coverage
of a Boston antiwar rally last year. Ah, the good old days when Hub Blog was unemployed and could do such noblese oblige things for the benefit of bloggerdom. ... Tony Benn was in NYC yesterday? Tony Benn? There’s a name from the past. ...
-- I think it's safe to say at least 90 percent of the people at yesterday’s U.S. rallies would fall into the general category of ‘leftist.’ Please, no accusations of ‘McCarthyism.’ We all know it’s true. But there probably was an uptick in the number of ‘moderates’ who aren’t too keen about the war these days. The lack of WMD, the bombings, etc., etc. See Andrew Sullivan’s
‘Poland Wobbles’ item for more details about the WMD Blues.
‘I've almost got to hand it to the Mormonator ...’:
I got this email from a reader a few days ago and didn’t have time to post it. The FleetCenter/Convention Center issue has been hashed over pretty good since, but I thought I’d post these comments anyway:
“You're right, Romney's ‘idea’ to move Kerry's Koronation to the Southie convention center is silly and impossible. But I don't think his suggestion was meant to be taken seriously. He's positioning himself to be able to appear
to be on the right side of the issue when convention week turns into a logistical debacle for every person who commutes into Boston from the North via I-93 and the commuter rail. I've almost got to hand it to the Mormonator -- it's symbolic opportunism the likes of which I haven't seen since Clinton was President.
“All of those suburban white collar types that commute into the city from the 'burbs are just the sort of people Mitt likes to court. When the commuter nightmare is shown on the nightly news alongside the over-the-top obnoxiousness that occurs at every political convention, Mitt is gonna be wearing a wide smile saying, ‘I told you so.’ I'm not sure how much hay he'll be able to make of it, but it's pretty good positioning.”
Coming to a theater near you next summer in Boston:
'The Passion of the Convention.' Starring Mitt Romney as Pontius Pilot?
‘This was not reportage ...’:
I’m kind of fascinated with the old journalistic objectivity/fairness/reporting/opinions/blah-blah-blah/snore/zzzzz/ethics arguments that pop up now and then. Dan Kennedy has the latest.
The spat has to do with Jim Lehrer getting all upset by a panelist’s opinionated comments on Iraq during a recent NewsHour show. ... But my questions are: Why wasn’t the Nation Magazine
that the panelist writes for initially identified as, well, you know, a factually and verifiably left-wing publication that prints left-wing views, sort of like the National Review
being, well, you know, a factually and verifiably right-wing pub that prints right-wing views? The idiocy that Lehrer exhibits is not so much that he quashed someone for expressing his opinions on the show. Opinions are fine. I want to hear them. Let ‘em speak, Jim. The true idiocy, though, is that people like Lehrer invite opinionated people on the show, don’t identify them for who they are, then actually expect them to pretend to be objective. That’s the sham. ...
NewsHour executive on Nation writer Christian Parenti’s comments: "This was not reportage, this was giving his opinion, and that's not why we brought him on." ... In other words: Parenti didn’t play the ‘appear to be objective’ game well enough. ...
-- Read the transcript of the show.
Parenti is damn blunt in describing all the complicted ties between al-Qaida, Wahabiists, foreign forces, Baathists, Muslim fundamentalists who are attacking U.S. forces. I learned a lot. But then he goes off on the Deeper Causes of Terrorism tangent at the end, predictably bashing Halliburton and Bechtel etc., etc., etc. But what did you expect? What did the NewsHour expect?
- 03.21.04 -- Reader No. 1 writes in:
"I was and wasn't a little surprised by your comments on the Jim Lehrer flap. I wasn't a little surprised by your equating National Review and The Nation, although I'd be hardpressed to think of too many things that The Nation has been right about in its history, while NR has been (literally and figuratively) right about quite a number of important things. But no matter, I'm a biased source. But speaking of bias, a word for Jim Lehrer. Tom Bethell wrote very effectively and accurately that this was one of the few TV programs where both sides got to state their case (he was responding to a typically unfair attack by Alex Cockburn) and, while the program can be snoozy at times, I think that's true. Unlike the presumed objectivity that you get on the Big 3 broadcasts and another PBS stalwart, 'Washington Week in Review,' Lehrer (and MacNeill previously) has established a tone where people with opinions have to present facts, not personal opinion-driven inferences masquerading as 'analysis.' It a serious program. So maybe Lehrer should not have guests from opinion journals, but I give him a little more credit than that. We should all deal in the facts."
Hub Blog's quickie response
-- I do think the NewsHour is much more thoughtful and fair than the 'Big Three.' I'm just disappointed that Lehrer had a clearly left-wing panelist on the show, didn't identify him as such, then acted suprised when the panelist, well, acted predictably. I kind of have a hunch that if a National Review person was on the program, well, he would have also made remarks -- surprise, surprise! -- that sounded right-wingish. ... Don't even get me going on 'Washington Week in Review.' It is the epitome of the 'appear to be objective' genre. ... Reader No. 1 also sends in this freebie take on Europe and terrorism.
‘The yellow, rotten, dirty [expletives] that they are’:
Gee, Joseph DeNucci
doesn’t sound like one of the bookish Boston intellectuals the CSM recently told us about.
The Herald must have quoted Joe wrong. ... DeNucci's eloquence courtesy of Dan Kennedy.
Ah, Joe has nothing on the legendary Lee Elia, the former Cubs manager who in 1983 let loose one of the most famous tirades in sports/political/bookish intellectual history. The transcript is here
and the audio via here.
From the opening lines of the Lee transcript:
“F*ck those f*ckin' fans who come out here and say they're Cub fans that are supposed to be behind you, rippin' every f*ckin' thing you do. I'll tell you one f*ckin' thing, I hope we get f*ckin' hotter than sh*t, just to stuff it up them 3,000 f*ckin' people that show up every f*ckin' day, because if they're the real Chicago f*ckin' fans, they can kiss my f*ckin' ass right downtown and PRINT IT.”
‘Jimmy's Hangover Helpers’:
I took Amateur Night off last evening. But for those of you who didn’t, Jim Behrle
has some hangover helpers. ... Scroll down.
'Shandi the ex-junkie Walgreens worker,' Part III:
Coz may be leaving the Herald for a gig in Milan if this keeps up. Shandi's on a roll.
also has more on what I happen to think is the silliest damn idea/issue now raging/sputtering in the Hub: Moving the DNC from the Fleet Center to the new Convention Center. But give the future talent scout his due. He did start the ball rolling on the debate. ... Perhaps get a major fashion show to come to the Convention Center? With Coz serving as chief judge? I'll take credit -- and front-row seat -- for starting that one.
‘We're aligning ourselves with Kerry’:
OK, Hub Blog is breaking my short two-day ban on writing about events in Spain because the issue has finally and logically threaded its way back to the Hub of the universe. In this case, the local angle is Louisburg Square’s very own John Kerry. ... I’m not sure the language of Spanish Prime Minister-elect Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero
is the type of ‘foreign leader’ support Kerry needs at this point: "We're aligning ourselves with Kerry. Our allegiance will be for peace, against war, no more deaths for oil, and for a dialogue between the government of Spain and the new Kerry administration." ... There’s the it’s-all-about-oil thing again. But it is a ‘foreign leader.’ ...
... The reason for my self-imposed ban on writing about Spain was, as stated the other day
, because of the ‘intellectual fuzz’ caused by the rush of events. No time to sort out. Still haven’t sorted it all out. The Spanish elections results were complicated but a setback. The new Spanish prime minister’s comments were outright scary. But where wobble and fuzz began was over the political impact of the Madrid bombing on the U.S. presidential election. Will it help President Bush? Will it help Kerry? I still haven’t figured out that one. There’s definitely a political shift under way. Both sides know it.
Bush could benefit from a He’s-Resolute sentiment. Bush could also suffer from a He-Blew-It sentiment. Though the shift is still taking place, my hunch is that Kerry is overplaying his hand post-Madrid, once again trying to have it both ways, arguing We Blew It In Iraq while also implying We Need More Troops in Iraq. But he is a calculator and an old-fashioned stick-the-finger-in-the-wind sort who might be detecting a favorable breeze. ...
-- Please, Bushies in particular: Hub Blog is only trying to determine the political dynamics at work, not write some Churchillian opus about who’s right or wrong. ... I’m often fascinated by people who pounce on the slightest hint of criticism of their guy or argument. Did Muhammad Ali chastise Angelo Dundee for warning about the proverbial left uppercut? Not that I’m an Angelo Dundee.
-- Speaking of Churchillian logic, Tom Friedman
, who writes this morning about the Axis of Evil, Axis of Appeasement and Axis of Incompetence (Angelo Dundee alert!), ends his column with this Churchillian quote as applied to the new Spanish prime minister: "You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war." ... You read that quote and your heart sinks. It’s true. More bombings are on the way.
'The worst development in European politics since ...’:
I said I’d take a pass/break from writing about Spanish matters. But that hasn’t stopped others from writing in about it. The following is from Reader No. 1:
was right about being wrong.
almost certainly isn't wrong about being right.
“I almost wrote of your item yesterday ‘of course the Spanish election results aren't as depressing as the Prime Minister-elect's comments’ but then I remembered: those comments ARE the Spanish election results. Talk is NOT cheap. This election result is the worst development in European politics since... before I was born.
“Reader JL scares me (see ‘Please keep your shirt on about Spain’ below). Maybe most because he/she dares to suggest ‘hope it wakes up Kerry.’ Denial is not just a river in Egypt (see Mark Steyn column above). Kerry IS a wimp. He wants to be seen as a tough guy but he doesn't want to do anything that a tough guy might actually do (at least, not since 1970.) He can't have it both ways -- well, maybe he can to get elected (still wouldn't bet on it, but it'll be a tussle). But he'll lose in the judgment of history he so desparately covets. Is the reason so many on the left give Bush credit for his 9/11 performance because America was so thoroughly victimized that week? If I'm right, what does that say about us?
“Yep, a lot of Americans are tired of being globally isolated. Doesn't mean they're right.”
Hub Blog's response:
Reader No. 1 baited me in a side note that I'd probably go ballistic in my response. Ha! I'm not writing about Spain.
‘Wrong, wrong, wrong ...’:
And now Armchair Gen. Savin Hill on the ‘Please keep your shirt on about Spain’ post below:
“Point #5. Wrong, wrong, wrong: How is Kerry ‘technically correct’ on WOT being a police matter? What about 9/11 makes you think a bunch of FBI agents sitting in their government offices could do ANYTHING about stopping a worldwide network of terrorists and operatives? In fighting international terror groups, you have to cut off state sponsorship, shut down training camps, hunt down cell leaders - and kill them. What part of that is a ‘policing’ matter?
“And regarding Patriot Act: Please point to a SINGLE case of ‘chickent shit harassment’ of ‘law abiding citizens.’ Learn what the Patriot Act is before spouting off left-wing conspiracy theory misinformation. The Act provides for the sharing of information between domestic law enforcement sources and anti-terrorism organizations (sharing of INFORMATION -- no ACTIONS), and the expanding of wire-tapping approvals within currently established judicial procedures (i.e., allowing for taps of rapidly changing cell phone numbers, the point being, track the target, not the phone). Another example: homeland security/intelligence agencies would have access to domestic grand jury testimony in investigations (sharing of INFORMATION -- no ACTIONS).”
Hub Blog's response:
Oh, come on, Savin Hill. There hasn't been any 'chicken shit harassment' due to the Patriot Act? I have one friend who was threatened with deportion. The Globe and Herald did big stories a week or so back on a city teacher who was also almost deported. There are stories like this all the time. JL's point was about concentrating less on the chicken-shit stuff and more on blatantly anti-PC stuff. He has a good point.
‘We want names Ghost-man ...’:
I needed a light distraction from Spain, so I clicked over to Boston Dirt Dogs
. Got the laughs I needed. Grady is still talking about ghosts.
And the Boston Dirt Dogs are still all over him for it.
‘Please keep your shirt on about Spain’:
Reader JL emails in about Spain, Bush and Kerry:
"... Please keep your shirt on about Spain. There are plenty of reasons to vote against Bush. Except for the WOT, he has been a disaster. Only problem is that there is no good reason to vote for Kerry.
“About Spain: (1) looks to me as if Aznar tried awfully hard to pin the bombing on ETA. That was against all reason; although he did convince the UN Security Council (maybe Bush should consider Aznar as UN rep). It was ridiculously transparent, and one of those things that you just do not lie about on the eve of an election. (2) al Qaeda probably picked on Spain because it was ripe fruit. The government had been in power a long time, and voters had probably figured it was time for a change anyway. The PM was retiring so the governing party was without its strongest candidate. Polls showed that 90% of the electorate opposed support of the US in Iraq. If they couldn't influence the Spanish election they couldn't influence any other election. (3) the results in Spain may wake up others (I hope it wakes up Kerry). (4) apparently there was no hint in intelligence that this bombing was in the offing. THAT IS REALLY SCARY. (5) Kerry is technically right about the WOT being a police matter although wrong politically, especially in view of the Europeans' propensity to catch AQ operatives and let them go on legal technicalities. ...
“If Kerry can come around and stop courting the left (come on, guy, you've won the primaries; it is time to court the real voters), he might ask why NO ONE in the FBI or CIA has lost their job because of 9/11. He might set forth a proposal to amend Homeland Security and the Patriot Act to get rid of all the chicken-shit harassment of law abiding citizens and focus on watching likely suspects (be blunt about it, Moslems with passports from western nations or so-called Arab allies or Asian nations where Moslems are discontented). I believe in Kerry's war record. He is not a wimp. He is not going to surrender to AQ; but he needs to get out of his cocoon of intellectual fuzz. Nuance be damned!”
-- I'm going to limit my blogging about Spain for the time being. I mean, look how articulate the above email is and my intellectual fuzz below. ... But I do sense a political shift occurring.
‘The most depressing political development ...’:
Assuming Al Qaeda was behind the Madrid bombings, think about it: A.) Al Qaeda deliberately planned to disrupt a democratic nation’s elections B.) It succeeded and C.) it changed the foreign policy of a democratic nation within a week. ...
The Spanish elections results
I can take. The new Spanish leader’s comments
, I cannot. This is perhaps the most important capitulation by a democratic nation under threat and attack in my lifetime. ... It doesn’t matter if you’re for, against or ambivalent toward the Iraq war. Read points A.) B.) and C.) above. Don't flinch.
... Comment of the day: “ ‘My impression is that what happened now that the Socialist government in Spain has taken power will have a great impact in the November elections in North America in the duel between Bush and Kerry,’ Mr. Zapatero said in the radio interview.” ...
He’s right. I think he just nudged more than a few Americans toward making a reluctant commitment to George Bush, on purely national security grounds. ... Coming from a slightly different ideological angle, I agree with John Ellis
about the depressing nature of all of this.
-- Tom Oliphant
, who was pro war last year, has an interesting take on matters. Encouraging and discouraging observations at the same time.
-- Hmmmm. The Bush administration is trying to create a 'softer global tone'
? Maybe I'm wrong about Bush picking up domestic support as a result of events in Spain. Maybe Americans are growing weary of being so isolated? ... This is something to keep track of.
'I'm Coca-Cola ...':
No, Ty. No! ... But here’s one story
and yet another story
explaining why Ty will be back next season and why that near heart attack you had wasn’t justified. ... Do you think this is the Pats way of getting back at the Sox for making so many headlines in the off-season? Just a theory.
‘The big question is why,’ Part II:
Yet another prominent story about an ‘Island tempest.’
... ‘The big question is why.’
... Do you think a follow-up story is warranted to see if Congdon’s Pharmacy is still out of sliced turkey?
‘We’ve got Mike!’: Mike’s back!
... Oh? Really? You already knew? Where have I been? ... My reaction? In the immortal words of Mickey Kaus during the run-up to the Iraq war: I’ve been thinking about it!
just nailed it: “Will this (Barnicle) shake some life into the local scene? Not unless he reads blogs, because we all know that that's where all the best local opinion and observation can be found these days.” ...
... Oh, no. Not this. Another Dan Shaughnessy book.
... They say such news comes in threes. ...
Actually, some don’t-bite-the-hand-that-feeds-you words about my employer, The Herald: Am I happy about Barnicle at the Herald? Nope. Am I happy about Wingo? Nope. But, after a rather tumultuous week, I can say this: I hope both work out. Last week, I bumped into a few long-time friends who I hadn’t seen in years. Both said they had bought the Herald for the first time in a while, just to read Barnicle. I suspect a lot of other non-Herald readers did the same. It’s a damn shame it took Barnicle for them to buy what has become a first-class, old-fashioned, rollicking tabloid that has never looked better. But ...
So you may ask: How can I be unhappy about the Mike/Wingo moves but still hope they work out for the Herald? Easy. I have no choice. I believe it’s essential this city remains a two-newspaper town. The Herald was a damn good paper before the recent changes and it remains a damn good paper, Barnicle or no Barnicle. ... I just hope the area’s growing professional/college-educated/white-collar types buy into what the Herald’s about, similar to how the professional/college-educated/white-collar types buy into their tabs in New York. New Yorkers have an almost kitsch/campy attitude toward their tabs, while respecting and reading them. In Boston, the Herald is still subjected to too many prissy ‘tarty’ accusations and ‘dumb’ headline comments. Please. It’s a tabloid! Get over it! The tongue-in-cheek headlines and goofy photos are deliberate!
FYI -- To JJDaley
: No crackdown. As you can see. But I did have a work-induced writer’s block last Monday that lasted through the week, compounded by a stomach flu/food poison and phone/Internet problems that led to ... highly suspicious laziness.
‘The proof will be in the pugilism’:
But the truth won’t be in the pugilism as the Kerry camp takes a stab at ‘repositioning’
the you-know-what from you-know-where.
‘One of those taaall Texas tales’:
Gotta give John Kerry credit: He’s taking the campaign to Texas.
No memorable ‘88 Boston Harbor/Boston Police photo-ops in reverse, but he still gets points for aggressiveness. ... When does the president visit Boston for ‘fund raising’? I think it’s late March. Ah, to be the proverbial fly on the wall at the Bush HQ while they discuss events other than ‘fund raising’ in Boston. ...
Kerry is talking tough
-- on Haiti. He’s bravely using the ‘unilateral’ word -- about Haiti. ... Not that I’m too pleased with Bush’s handling of Haiti. The administration and Republicans really did all but guarantee disaster when they cut off aid to the struggling democratic nation years before last week’s events. Now we have anti-Aristide opponents refusing to lay down their arms while worshipping the voodoo war god Ogun Feray.
... Only Haiti.
‘Boston rejects its own offspring ...’:
I had to read this article
two times before I could put my finger on what it obviously misses: Another disillusioned ‘well-born Brahmin’ idealist from the ‘60s bites the dust. ... I mean, really. I know Boston was a truly wretched place for blacks in the 1960s and 1970s. And I can only imagine what Fanny Howe, her husband and their children went through during a time when inter-racial marriage here and elsewhere was viewed with outright disgust by so many. ... But, I’m sorry, things have dramatically changed here and elsewhere, though it certainly falls far short of her once “optimistic political-religious belief in both a future social utopia and a divine scheme for the world.” ... Has anyone asked Fanny if she’s noticed even a small difference since moving back to Boston? Never mind. She's now 'bewildered' and channeling bewilderment energy into political action. I absolutely loved this line about Boston, though, from Howe’s novel ‘The Deep North’
“Boston rejects its own offspring, vomits each child out onto the pavement and watches him or her crawl through the shadows toward some poor sort of survival."
Now, I know I wasn’t supposed to burst out laughing when I read that line. It’s about a serious subject matter. But I couldn’t help but shake my head and affectionaely think how true it is on so many other fronts here ... Vomits each child out on the pavement
... A classic. ... Howe’s daughter wonders whether Boston is now ready to acknowledge her existence. ... Er, ah, okey-dokey.
You’ve probably already seen it, but Ellisblog
has flagged a real dandy by Peggy Noonan.
... FYI: She forgot to mention how JFK II played touch football with his staff in Iowa. Otherwise ... I think John Edwards also had a little of the JFK Disease in him. I mean, the Steve Garvey hair cut. Whoa. ... Mickey
seems more intrigued with the poetry. A Robert Frost angle?
‘The Passion of the Suburban Catholic’:
Two things I haven’t planned to tackle: A.) ‘The Passion’ and B.) The local closings of Catholic churches. But PoliticaObscura
is taking on the latter while referring to the former. ... Also notice the site’s new redesign. Not bad. Gotta redesign Hub Blog one of these days.
-- OK, I’m blaming PoliticaObscura for dragging me into ‘The Passion’ vortex. But I couldn’t help but think when I read this WaPo story
(with the Internet subhead: "6th-graders at D.C. school offered counseling; teacher is put on leave"): What the hell was the teacher thinking? ... Meanwhile, here’s a message to Hub Blog’s favorite bartender who told me the other day that Gibson’s film faithfully portrays the Scriptures: No it doesn’t, according to Charles Krauthammer
, who demolishes that argument by noting what the Gospels never mentioned but what Gibson inserts and/or overemphasizes. ... FYI: Haven’t seen the flick yet. But yours truly, a devout Cafeteria Catholic (not to be confused with devout Sunday Morning Doughnut Bribery Catholicism for kids), has met enough nut-case Opus Dei types to know roughly what to expect. ...
‘A disillusioned prophet is an abject spectacle’:
Quickie book review of Thomas Fleming’s new 'The Illusion of Victory: America in World War I’
: Get it. ... I didn’t like it at first. Fleming was too bombastic, too opinionated at the outset, but, at the urging of a Hub Blog Little Brother who recommended the book, I kept plowing ahead. Glad I did. Fleming is unrelenting in his criticism of the overrated Woodrow Wilson, who can best be described as a very nasty and prissy version of Jimmy Carter. ... I’ve often wondered, having grown up in a solid old-fashioned New Deal Democratic home, why Wilson was sometimes included in the pantheon of great 20th Century Democratic presidents, but sometimes mysteriously dropped from the roster. This book explains why. He’ll never recover in my mind. ... FYI: Fleming is an old favorite of the Hub Blog clan, having attended Fordham and written what has to be the all-time classic book about Bunker Hill, ‘Now We Are Enemies.’
His father also fought in WWI, as did my grandfather, thus explaining the interests in the Great War.
3.05.04 -- One interesting and heroic character to emerge from Fleming’s ‘Illusion of Victory’: Herbert Hoover. He wasn’t a very good president. But he was a truly great humanitarian. As head of ‘food administration’ in post-war Europe, Hoover constantly butted heads with Wilson and Allied leaders, who vindictively refused to lift the post-hostilities blockade of starving Germany. In Paris, Hoover was shown a draft of the 200-page Versailles Treaty at 4 a.m. on the day it was finally printed. He was in shock. He went for a walk that morning and bumped into, of all people, John Maynard Keynes. “They stared at each other, disillusion and dismay on their faces,’’ writes Fleming. ... That’s
how bad the Versailles Treaty was.
‘Shandi the ex-junkie Walgreens worker,’ Part II:
Read Coz’s update
about ‘the most treacherous week of ANTM yet.’ ... Can the updates get any better? ... ‘But slapping the poor weight-conscious girl with a phony anorexia rap while she was out smoking a butt after dinner?! It was just wrong ...’
‘Which humiliated Michael S. Dukakis in 1988 ...’
Ah ha! So the Boston Police Union
is indeed threatening to embarrass Kerry ala Bush-Duke ‘88. It won’t happen, methinks. The novelty and element of surprise are gone. ... Looks like Kerry was cautiously speed-dialing local union halls weeks before Super Tuesday’s results. Think about it: Kerry knows he’ll get knives in the back
if he doesn’t expend valuable energy appeasing the Massachusetts hackerama. What a state. Almost makes me cry with pride. Oh, I forgot, I’m sorry. Boston is a bookish city of erudite intellectuals
and happy students sculling on the Charles. ...
Speaking of the Boston police union, Armchair Gen. Savin Hill has an idea for the president’s upcoming visit to town:
“Oh, I know the perfect photo op. All Dubbya needs to do is go to Beacon Hill, pose in front of Kerry's infamous fire hydrant ... and let Barney (the White House scotty) do his stuff.”
FYI -- After receiving the general’s email yesterday, I angrily responded that he obviously didn’t know that the prez’s poor dog had died. But Savin Hill corrects:
“Spot died. Barney's fine. Still alive and biting reporters' ankles in the White House. whattagoodboyyyy.”
‘This is going to be one hell of a campaign ... ’:
Repubs think it’s ‘88 all over again. Dems think it’s ‘92 all over again. Is this going to be a great campaign or what? ... Round 1
(or Hour 1) goes to: Bush. The phone call was a little weird, a little nervous in nature, but scores points for obvious aggressiveness. Next up: Bush’s trip to Boston in three weeks. How much you want to bet Kerry’s folks are madly speed-dialing local police unions to see who’s volunteering for an endorsement? ... Maybe Repubs are lining up a Boston Harbor-like photo-op of some Massachusetts boondoggle. Ha! The harbor has been cleaned up. ... Oh, my God! It’s the Big Dig! ... Or: Bush visits a local National Guard unit? Nah. ... What are they up to? ‘Fund-raising’ my ass ...
Message to national GOP: Be careful about the local Keystone Cops
planning your itinerary. ...
Kerry quote of the day: “Boy, wait until you see the fire in my belly.” ... I know what he was trying to say. But it’s still kind of a revolting when you actually visualize it. Work on that line, senator. ...
Hub Blog’s gut instinct on November election: Boy, wait until you see the mishmash mush in my belly. ... Work on that line, Hub Blog.
... First reaction: Big blowout, for Bush. Then I think of GOP overconfidence and Kerry’s don’t-count-him-out record etc. Kerry’s a Dukakis on the issues, but not in temperament. ... FYI: Did a spell check on this post and the prompt kept asking me if I wanted to change ‘Kerry’s’ to ‘Query’s.’ Hmmmm. Is it an omen from Redmond, Wa.?
‘Helping to shoo a duly elected president from his country ...’:
Only Haiti can cause such odd bedfellows: The French and Americans
are actually working together. ... Aristide was such a disappointing disaster for Haiti.
Maybe he did have to go to avert bloodshed, and it’s heartening that a new semi-head of state was selected according to Haiti’s constitution. But make no mistake: An elected president was ultimately driven out by a mob of heavily armed thugs. From the CSM:
“Helping to shoo a duly elected president from his country doesn't always support the global expansion of democracy.” ... The same CSM editorial reluctantly endorses the U.S. and French moves. Suppose they’re right. But excuse me for being a bit ambivalent about matters. ... Only Haiti.
The Hub’s very own Oscar?:
Glad Sean Penn and Tim Robbins won Oscars last night for the Boston-set ‘Mystic River.’ But the pride is obviously more than a little silly and misplaced. Here’s a true Boston connection to the Oscars.
... Where are their studios/headquarters? At ‘GBH? Interesting.