‘We will win':
If this was John Kerry, you know what the accusations would be: flip-flop.
And it would be. ... Bravo, Mr. President! Excellent Queen Bee use of unthinking worker bee Rush Limbaugh to spread the message and start the stinging! ... Added bonus: He’s resurrected ‘make no mistake.’ Ah, just like those heady Churchillian days. ... No signing of formal peace treaties? Not even on the USS Missouri? Ah, shucks, Mr. President. ... Hub Blog immediately withdraws my meatball grinder and root beer offer for anyone who could come up with a way for John Kerry to counter-attack. Kerry isn’t counter attacking. The president is. Contest declared over!
‘I don't think you can win it’:
Don’t know how this is going to play out politically, but it’s big news when George W. Bush says
about the War on Terror, ‘I don't think you can win it.’ ... No, he’s not being defeatist. Yes, to a degree, he’s being a realist. Nobody ever expected a surrender ceremony on the USS Missouri. But neither did anyone expect a surrender ceremony on the USS Missouri after the Berlin Wall fell -- even though after the wall fell we all knew we had won. The fact is: The president said previously we could and would win it. Now he says we can’t and won’t. That’s an extremely profound shift, right? ... Some of his clarity of purpose is gone by saying this. Some of the clarity of those calling this ‘World War IV’ is also gone. Poof! Bye-bye Churchillian rhetoric. ... But the introduction of a shade of gray is reassuring at the same time. As I said, I have no idea how this is going to play out politically. It’ll probably get lost in all the God awful Swifty debate. ...
Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but here we have a president radically shifting rhetoric about the war’s main goal -- victory -- while at the same time France is only now being jolted into the realization
there might indeed be a war out there. Two countries approaching a new reality from different directions? Hmmmm. ...
... This is a perfect, perfect opportunity to observe Beehive activity in action. The Bushies will be out in force, if the president’s utterances take on the head of steam they deserve, saying how it’s not a big deal, we all knew it, the president is only speaking the truth, the president really meant this-and-that, the liberals are the last ones to talk, etc. etc. etc. Listen carefully. The buzzing sound is faintly out there, growing louder, coming toward us ... Ideology and partisanship: The ultimate hack combo.
How bad is Kerry? A gaping hole has just been ripped open and there’s no discernible opening for Kerry to take advantage of. Think about Kerry going bonkers, shouting, ‘But we CAN win it!!!’ No one will believe him. They’d laugh. He certainly can’t say, ‘I was right! We can NOT win it!!!’ ... A meatball grinder and root beer to anyone who can come up with a way for Kerry to take advantage of this shift. I can’t think of it. Rule clarification: Mickey Kaus’ Just Shut Up theory doesn’t count.
Bubbling Hub Blog theory: George has lost focus ever since he put his Saddam trophy on display in the Oval Office. ... It wasn’t personal, of course.
Coming soon to Hub Blog: How we CAN win the war!!! As long as you define it right. ...
Why it's the war, stupid:
Unless the economy sputters more (and that's possible), Ed Koch's views
on the war may sum up why George Bush will probably win, as related by Jeff Jacoby. ...
-- A couple people emailed asking me to elaborate on the above comments. OK, here goes: I wish there was an alternative to Bush, but I don't know where Kerry stands on Iraq. Bush is quite clear on Iraq, appealing to those like Koch. Clarity is a big plus for the president. ... And anti-war protesters can protest all they want (yesterday's march coverage here
), but they could end up hurting their own anti-Bush cause (as opposed to a pro-Kerry cause) if they become violent and obnoxious. They're apparently close to crossing that line. Mainstream America is watching.
Update II - 8.31.04
-- Ooops. Spoke too soon. See above Tuesday post about the loss of some of said clarity.
John Farrell Coppola strikes again:
Boston blogger John Farrell’s
Richard the Second is now available on DVD at Amazon.
'I'm getting out of town':
They're bolting NY
during the RNC. No psychobabble cliches about why. We all know why. ... Just pointing it out considering the snide pre-DNC psychobabble coverage some in the national media gave Boston, the jerks.
‘If you're in a fight with a fly ...’:
Strange. Yesterday I finished reading a biography on John Boyd
and his career-long struggle to change the old bigger-is-better Pentagon mentality. Then I read this NYT article
on who fought best at Najaf: The Army or the Marines? Don’t have a clue who fought best. But if the so-called reformers are really denying troops the rational use of tanks, then their ‘transformation’ ideas have become silly, similar to not sending the right equipment to Somalia or not sending enough troops to Iraq in the name of proving ‘light warfare.’ Doctrines too closely held can be dangerous. ... An obnoxious colonel is running around in Najaf saying how the Army won the battle with heavily armored tanks, proclaiming, ‘If you're in a fight with a fly, use a baseball bat.’ ... Oh, great. Thank goodness the colonel wasn’t in charge of the Afghan campaign. And thank goodness he's not running around my apartment fighting flies. ... FYI: A certain Carl Conetta, director of the Project on Defense Alternatives
, a Boston-based research group, is mentioned prominently in the article. ...
... And by the way: It’s not clear who won the battle
in Najaf. Sadr got away. He’ll be back. Maybe that’s all we need to know. So maybe the Army shouldn’t be bragging too much. The tanks ran up against the same progaganda obstacle the Marines confronted: Imam Ali Shrine. ...
... Did I like ‘John Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War’? Yes. Definitely. The Pentagon is more screwed up than I ever imagined. Incredible stories of pettiness, ignorance, bureaucratic ineptness, lies, out-of-control egos, budget-driven strategies etc. It’s scary. The Pentagon’s flaws will never go away as long as genes are in humans. Among others, though, Dick Cheney comes across in the book as a smart, intense, forward-looking person who bucked the military norms in the first Gulf War and, probably, Afghanistan (but not in Iraq). ... As for the validity of Boyd’s ‘maneuver warfare,’ well, again, I’m just a history buff. But while liking the book and generally agreeing with Boyd's concept of warfare, I’m disappointed the author, Robert Coram, never really SHOWED how ‘maneuver warfare’ works. He had golden opportunities to give concrete, blow-by-blow examples of its use by Marines in Grenada and the First Gulf War. He didn’t. Just quick generalizations. Coram also pronounces at the end: ‘Boyd was the greatest military theoretician since Sun Tzu.’ And denies Boyd has become a cult figure while subtly chastising Boyd’s hometown of Erie, Pa. for not having a statue of him. Jeez. ...
Boyd was clearly a brilliant, brilliant man who took on the Pentagon and moved it away from its old view of massed attacks with fancy weaponry that often don’t work. The Pentagon is still resisting some of Boyd’s greatest ideas, judging by the above colonel’s baseball-bat rhetoric. Yet I’m still wondering whether Boyd really advanced or brilliantly codified Sun Tzu’s theories on deception, swiftness, flexibility etc. I’m definitely on Boyd’s side but ...
‘They just won't let that war go’:
If those from the Vietnam generation don’t get it by now that the rest of the nation is sick of them (both vets and protesters), then they might take a gander at this NYT piece.
... Twelve more years and counting. See Battle of Beehives post below. ... Reader No. 1 writes in:
“The other night, I heard Chris Matthews on Hardball (transcript
) rhetorically asking why we couldn't get past Vietnam. Historian Stanley Karnow intimated it was because vets couldn't admit we lost the war. Dick Cavett couldn't muster an answer. Pat Buchanan wasn't given a chance to answer. So here's a suggestion: we can't get past Vietnam because a generation of politicians who grew up in the 1960s can't handle the truth:
“ -- They can't come to grips with the fact that their political inspiration, JFK, was the principal inspiration for American engagement in Vietnam. So they blame it all on Nixon.
“ -- They can't come to grips that, whether our engagement was a good idea or not, we really were the good guys.”
Hub Blog’s response:
I like the simple ‘we lost’ explanation.
‘Or be oppressed by Vermont,’ Part II:
Armchair Gen. Savin Hill assesses Hub Blog’s Greater New England reconfiguration and conquest plans:
“Hub Blog forgot Prince Edward Island, of course, and all the Canadian Maritimes, but it's an acceptable plan nonetheless. The key to the effort, of course, is to lure a New Yorker into an attempted colonization of our ‘New New England’ capital (Boston) ... Perhaps we could lure The Donald into buying out the Fan Pier development and promise him he can change development plans with the city. After the arrival of The Donald -- with his pack of sycophantic New York lawyers in tow -- we let loose the cannons of local media outrage at this New York cultural invasion. The New York media can be counted on to counter attack. All we need is a snowy night, a few snowballs, and some trigger happy New York body guards and we're in business. I've been storing snow balls in my freezer since 1986 for just this scenario.”
Hub Blog’s response:
I like it. Boston Massacre Redux. A propaganda strategy of feigned obnoxious indignation funneled through mob action. Except one flaw: Some in the local media, desperate for Pinch Sulzberger’s attention, would defect and rat out where the snow balls are kept.
The intangible of civic pride:
The monetary impact of the Boston DNC may or may not have been negligible, but residents seem to be proud.
So it was worth it.
‘All this will not matter until it does’:
I want to go over here,
but keep getting pulled over here.
... Five and a half back. Notice how the Sox do well when fans aren’t paying as much attention and half the sports media is in Athens. As the article notes: ‘Hmmmm.’
‘Or be oppressed by Vermont’:
Interesting. Very interesting.
It’s finally become apparent the Ben & Jerry crowd is driving the rest of Vermont nuts. Says Dorset resident Melissa Hurst, who’s described as spending half the year in New York City, "No one is being squeezed. ...We are taxed more heavily because we can be. We can afford it.” .... Have I told you about my bold scheme for a Greater New England? Involves kicking Connecticut and most of Vermont out of New England, settling a 225-year score with Quebec, grabbing Nova Scotia and New Foundland, sending the New England fleet to conquer Bermuda and, in the most audacious move, launching raiding parties from Block Island to threaten Long Island and tempt an angry New York to invade western Massachusetts, letting them get bogged down in an unwinnable land war in Springfield, their future Stalingrad. ...
Cosmo’s the man: Blogger
and Herald columnist
Cosmo Macero is now the new business editor
at the Herald. He’s also my new boss, so... Don’t you think Cosmo’s blog post
on the upcoming Shane Hamman v. Rezazadeh Hossein showdown was one of the most insightful and selfless tips you’ve ever received? Don’t know about you, but I’m marking Aug. 25 down. ... FYI: I’m so excited, I’ve decided not to rush out and buy my own Beach Volleyball Star Figures.
I’m saving up instead for the inevitable Hamman and Hossein action figures!
Battle of the Beehives, Vietnam version:
Is it over yet? No. Alas. Kerry is whining to the Federal Election Commission
, the likely future arbitrator of free speech the way things are miserably going. But I can’t really blame Kerry for getting honked off. The attacks on his military service -- albeit his obvious slightly staged, definitely over-romanticized PT-109-wannabe military service -- are more than a little gross. Talk about splitting the hairs of split hairs. Hey, the guy served his country. OK, so he’s exaggerated, exploited and squeezed every last drop of political value out of it over the past 30 years. But he still served. I really don’t want to hear a bunch of old ‘60s fogies refighting the Vietnam War and getting into he-said-he-said arguments about what happened 36 years ago on some frigging river outlet in the Mekong Delta. Do you hear the same type of bitter arguments from WWII and Korea vets? ... I’m counting on my fingers now. I figure it will take about 12 more years (until most of the Vietnam-era types are well into their 70s) to effectively flush that generation out of the collective political system. ...
What’s going on? A vast right-wing conspiracy? Nope. Just the old beehive mentality
at work again. No need for the rest of us to get involved. But if you must, here’s my handy cheat-sheet:
Bush -- Combat Dodging Vietnam-era Veteran.
Kerry -- Exaggerating Vietnam Combat Veteran.
Accurate and simple, right? ... Oh, I forgot. The earth-shattering Was He Or Wasn’t He In Cambodia debate still rages, to be followed soon by swarms of redux Was He Or Wasn’t He In Louisiana During His National Guard Days attacks. ...
‘The Good City’:
Excellent new book of essays by Bostonians about Boston: ‘The Good City,’
compiled by the Boston Foundation for the Boston DNC. Have already read seven of the 15 essays and can already give the book a big thumbs up. ... For contrast purposes, the New Yorker’s Susan Orlean and All Souls author Michael Patrick MacDonald both have good essays about the recent transformation of the city -- a big theme of the book -- and come to slightly different conclusions. Orlean is practically singing in the rain over Boston becoming more cosmopolitan. MacDonald is crying in his beer about Boston becoming more cosmopolitan, though he admirably admits that he and his fellow artsy types are now gentrifying Brooklyn the same way professionals are taking over South Boston. MacDonald, a Southie native, has some of the best angst-ridden observations I’ve ever read about neighborhoods in the midst of class change and how so-called ‘urban pioneers’ want it both ways: the artsy atmosphere sprinkled with a few of the old neighborhood sods used as museum-like props, similar to those on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard in denial they’re really living on a rich resort island, not a ‘rural’ fishing island. ...
... Added book bonuses: Howard Bryant tearing apart the Yawkey legacy and Robert Campbell emphasizing density, density, density.
'It's just not a viable option': Must be wheat.
... How many centuries will it take to change this doctrine? ... Organized religion. Can't live with it. Can't live without it.
‘It is a national agenda ... not a Massachusetts agenda’:
Tom Reilly swears his criticisms of Mitt
aren’t the opening salvos of the gubernatorial campaign. But the rest of us know they’re the opening salvos -- and salvos that are point-blank on target if you’re frustrated with Mitt’s never-ending 2008 presidential whirlwinds
to Washington, California, Athens, etc. ... Once the image of an overly ambitious, highly politicized figure gets implanted in the mind ... I must say: I'm somewhat surprised Reilly publicly uncorked. Not sure if telling the truth at this point helps him. He should have just let Mitt hang himself with his gotta-be-high-profile antics. But you could see the outlines of the showdown
coming (scroll down to 'Perhaps the Corner Office' ...)
‘A memory span that’s simply too short’:
A reader kindly asked that I note the MFA’s plan to include the movie Goldfish Memory
in its upcoming film series.
... Ahhhhhh. How nice of me.
‘A modest economic boost for a handful of businesses’:
It’s deja vu all over again
for New York’s RNC -- and possibly more evidence confirming the The Wealth Transfer Theory of Prepaid Wine-and-Dine Events. ... But this should be stressed: Because there have been no calls for emergency PortaPotties on NY sidewalks, Hub Blog is not prepared to invoke the GenRad PortaPotty Theory for the RNC. My hunch is that, because they’re already recognizing the potential for reverse economic dynamics in NY, the likelihood of a bustling economic dynamic inversely increases. ... I.e. Things will be just fine -- and perhaps better.
‘Can only feel stupefied ...’:
I know I’m a day late, but I suspect I’m not the only American taking strange satisfaction over the U.S. men’s basketball loss to Puerto Rico.
Hub Blog attended a family reunion this past weekend. Talk during a Saturday night beerfest turned briefly to the Olympics, when one of the cousins asked whether so-and-so
U.S. swimmer had won that day. The collective response came in two parts: 1.) Who the hell is so-and-so? 2.) Who the hell cares? This from a very sports minded clan who spent most of the night talking about the Sox, Fenway Park, the Pats, etc. No one really cared about the Today Show Goes To Athens.
Hub Blog also heard very disturbing news this weekend, something I’ve lately heard more and more from Bostonians, to wit: Allowing young ones to become Yankees fans if they so wish. Quipped one beerfest participant: “It’s sort of like the English parents who carted off their kids to Canada or the countryside during the Blitz. Lots of sobbing and good-byes, the parents staying behind.’’ ... Heart breaking. But perhaps necessary.
‘Started, stopped, started, and stopped again’: Tom Oliphant
is in a funk about Iraq. Armchair Gen. Savin Hill is fuming. I’m in a fumed out funk. So we’re all in agreement. From Armchair Gen. Savin Hill:
“If it isn't clear to the last holdouts on the right -- there's no excuse after (this weekend) for pulling all forces out of Iraq. Simply put, the most recent ‘suspended’ offensive against a known enclave of insurgents is the nail in the coffin of any rationale for expending US lives in Iraq. If the Iraqi and US coalition civilian leaders are going to yank our forces back from finishing the job -- every damn time -- why be there? Nobody in the US wants to play typical Middle East politics (fight-talk-fight-talk without intending to do either with conviction) with the lives of US soldiers. The US military shouldn't be used as pawns in the squabbles of parochial, 3rd rate ignorant politicians. Hey - you know what was a brilliant move? Putting ALL VIETNAM hands in charge of all key posts in the US Embassy in Iraq: Negroponte, Jeffrey, Taylor, Neumann. Great, just great. This time hopefully the helipad on top of the embassy will be large enough.”
-- Hub Blog has started reading ‘Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War.’ Great so far. Haven’t gotten to the ‘maneuver warfare’ part yet. Updates to come. ... Of course the chance to decisively use maneuver warfare in Iraq may have been squandered a year ago. The Marines may yet defeat Sadr, but this CSM article
indicates there’s now plenty more waiting in the wings to replace Sadr ... Perhaps the best we can hope for after all the dillydallying is to give breathing room for next year’s election.
‘Least visible issues on Martha's Vineyard’:
Is there such a thing as a ‘least visible’ issue on Martha’s Vineyard? The most covered town/tract of land in the Commonwealth gets more P1 treatment
, this one over health coverage for the ‘rural’ island’s maids, landscapers, waiters, dishwashers, handymen and others serving the most affluent of society who now get subsidies from the rest of us to make sure their summer playground functions properly. ... What next? Another ‘vanishing lifestyle’ story about Nantucket? The summer’s not over yet. Expect at least three more articles about the ‘pressing’ needs of the islands.
‘The world will soon rediscover the true magic’:
The word ‘rediscover’ suggests something was lost. The word ‘true’ suggests something was false beforehand. Pretty much sums up the modern Olympics
, which start today with a world-record collective yawn. ... Hub Blog’s not-so-original idea: Strip out half the sports and reemphasize track-and-field events that measure humans’ most basic physical endeavors: running, jumping, throwing, lifting etc. ... In the spirit of linking sports and sex (see post below), I admit to truly appreciating the artistic nature of watching in context Bikini Ball, otherwise known as Beach Volleyball, a commercialized TV offshoot of Volleyball. But is it really an Olympic sport?
‘Redolent of events in April’: Ugh.
But who am I to armchair general the U.S. Marines? They’re being armchair-generaled from Baghdad -- though the Shiite shrines were always the main psychological/propaganda obstacle heading into the offensive.
‘Major operations to destroy the militia have begun’:
The offensive has begun
in Najaf. Sadr’s ‘win-win’ shrine tactics
are worrisome. So is the morale of Marine grunts.
But Armchair Gen. Savin Hill weighs in on the big picture of Marine tactics and strategy:
“For those not familiar with maneuver warfare -- don't be deceived by the simple name. The Marines have fully embraced this philosophy body and soul. The result? Bet nobody noticed last week that more than 2,000 Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit took over from the Army's 1st Infantry Div and 2nd Armored. The Marines are taking over no less than three Army bases -- including outside of Najaf. The Marines know how to fight fluid, dynamic warfare -- and that' s why they are relieving the Army in the hot zones. Telling anecdote: a TV news report yesterday had a Marine lieutenant talking about the attitude of locals in Najaf (waving and pointing out Sadr ambushes to Marines). What's the Army doing? Getting news reports published about their new high-tech rifles and ‘smart bullets’ ... The Army still thinks firepower is the game while the Marines know the battle is won in the heads of your friends -- and by out-thinking your enemies.”
‘Sports and sex has always sold’:
The Herald runs, oh, photos of red-hot sexy athletes and it’s ‘tarty.’ The New York Times tackles the issue
and it’s ‘intellectual.’ ... By the way, the Times has an ‘Interactive Feature: Olympic pinups’ accompanying the article. It’s pretty boring, but how much do you want to bet it will be one of the most popular features on its web site today? And how much you want to bet the Times knows it? ... The article is kind of funny. It’s as if it’s gingerly taking steps beyond political correctness to find the nudey ‘trend’ is actually popular among young female athletes -- and so it has to find a politically correct/feminist rationale for why it’s happening and OK. Nothing to do with PEOPLE LIKING SEX AND MONEY. Oh no. Can’t be that. Must have Big Intellectual Thoughts underlying the Big Trend. ...
-- Northeastern’s Center for the Study of Sports in Society
is getting into the act. The Women’s Sports Foundation intones:
“The Foundation believes that there is nothing wrong with portraying female athletes as feminine, physically attractive, or in ways that seek to represent an artistic study of their bodies. One might simply ask the question, is the photograph displaying the female athlete's muscles or her breasts? The answer, with regard to a photo of a naked athlete, is one that requires an examination of context.”
Ah, thank goodness. The old ‘artistic study’ and ‘context’ argument to the rescue. Now we can leer at the photos without intellectual guilt!
‘Portrait of Dubya as sucker puncher’:
I thought George was a cheerleader. Turns out he was a rugby player.
My opinion of him just shot up. ... Can’t believe they’re trying to make an issue out of this thin gruel.
... ‘The rest of the country should see it.’ ... Hell, they should see the biting that goes on in scrums. ... I also stole packs of gum when I was young. Yes, I admit it!!!
‘Leave the city, or you will die’:
Momentous events unfolding in Najaf and Baghdad.
After holding punches last spring, an American commander now says, "All indications are that we are committed this time." ... Here’s a somewhat prissy but still interesting WaPo story.
Read past the cemetery descriptions to the ‘green light’ part about taking on Moqtada Sadr’s militia. ...
FYI -- Armchair Gen. Savin Hill highly recommends the book ‘Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War’
for those who want to understand U.S. Marine tactics in Iraq. The Marines, according to Savin Hill, have fully embraced Boyd’s ‘maneuver warfare’ doctrine of getting into an enemy’s head and striking fast to take away any of their advantages. That’s why we’re in the Najaf cemetery, I suspect. They were using it, so we took it. ... Not so sure about the Army’s tactics in Iraq, though.
- 11 p.m. -- They're holding off again.
... Maybe they have good reasons. Frontal assaults are not to be encouraged under Boyd. Attacking shrines, made deliberately tempting, plays into enemy hands.
-- Never mind. The offensive began this morning, probably right at the time I was tapping out the first update. Serves me right for posting at 11 p.m. I gotta get a life.
Ouch. Double ouch. Part III: Tom Keane
rips the Beacon Hill Institute again.
Ouch. Double ouch. Part II:
The Beacon Hill Institute is all over the map (see accounts here
). It says that the DNC generated a total $156.7 million for the city. But it says that figure is offset by an approximate $142 million hit due to a loss of commuter and tourism business, Sail Boston, the U.S. gymnastics event etc. So the net gain was: $14.8 million. ... But isn’t that still $14.8 million ABOVE the offset numbers? Right? If someone gave you $142 million but then quickly offered you $156.7 million in exchange for that $142 million, wouldn’t you take the $14.8 million gain and scram? ... Setting aside whether any of its numbers are accurate, the BHI is trying to have it both ways: knock the economic benefits of conventions in general by using, well, standard convention numbers. And it still can’t make the numbers add up. ... For me, I’ll take the BHI report with a big teaspoon of Kosher salt while rereading Tom Keane columns
and awaiting Sam Tyler’s verdict. ... Coming soon to Hub Blog: The Transfer of Wealth Theory of Prepaid Wine-and-Dine Events, i.e. Back Bay caterers win, North End restaurateurs lose, etc.
‘As the Celtics world turns’:
Reader No. 1 on the Celts trade:
“-- Even on the downside, Payton is a plausible #2 to take the offensive load off of Pierce (Paul’s solo act last year was the main drawback of the Antoine trade.)
“-- Ainge let Doc Rivers make the right call on Marcus Banks (see the Hub Blog archives
for a prescient call on Marcus.) Admittedly, Chauncey Billups offers a cautionary tale to those who would trade a young talent of imprecise fit for a surly point guard on the downturn... but 2004 Marcus Banks is no 1998 Chauncey Billups.
“-- Ainge knows how to accumulate poker chips. He couldn’t have done this deal with Mike James instead of Chucky Atkins as the future Laker Point Guard. Incidentally, since Danny has developed a specialty in trading for contracts of players who won’t actually play here -- Chris Mills, Lindsay Hunter, Rick Fox -- is it too late to swap Ricky Davis for Terrell Brandon?
Beyond the obvious problem with Payton’s age and apparent playoff decline, I’d argue two bigger problems:
“-- As in prior Danny Ainge trades, especially the Ricky Davis Night Before Christmas special that cost us Eric Williams and eventually, Coach O’Brien, team and personal chemistry appears to be a mere afterthought in dealmaking. Payton took below-market money to play with Shaq, not Mark Blount and will surely try to engineer a financial reward for his hardship. And only Global Warming will bring Fox to the New England shoreline (too bad; The Improper Bostonian would have loved him, and he was an intelligent hardworking player.)
“-- What is the future of the Boston Celtics? Atkins, Banks and Mihm are spare parts. But they were acquired to fit a particularly style of play. Is that style changing? If so, to what? There’s cap space clearing out for a year from now, but where are we going from here? Or put another way: how and when is Danny going to cash those accumulating chips?”
Hub Blog’s response
-- Reader No. 1 noted in an aside that I didn’t explain my misgivings about the trade. Here’s my main misgiving: Read prior paragraph.
The geese are flying in unison, Part II:
Remember the run-up to the DNC when NY was cool, calm and collected
while frumpy old Boston was fretting? The media geese took off
on that oh-so-cute story angle, including a local media goose doing the best bash-the-hometown
imitation of them all. ... Guess what? It turns out NY is NOT
so cool, calm and collected. Guess what? The geese are now scrambling to get into new formation.
... Maybe things like terrorism
and traffic gridlock honestly bother people -- and it has nothing to do with curses, better restaurants, catchier ads, Yankee baseball versus Yankee breeding etc. ... I do hope the RNC/NY folks learn from the DNC/Boston event: Take all precautions necessary, but don’t scare the hell out of people so much that it ends up hurting more than it helps.
The James Michael Curley of African Americans: Marion Barry
just won’t go away. But when you think of it, the old rogue’s political career is a sign of slow, agonizing progress, sort of like another old rogue’s political career.
The latest big Celts trade/blow up: Not impressed.
Again. ... I am impressed, though, with Doc Rivers making a call on Marcus
and using his charm on Gary Payton.
‘Too eager to throw him under the bus’:
OK, last post on Nomar. From Steve:
“Maybe what Larry Lucchino said was true and Nomar was malingering for some unclear reason but the Red Sox were also way too eager to throw him under the bus after the trade. In the long run that's a mistake. As much as I hate the Yankees you don't see this out of them. They've had their share of gripers but they didn't get in a public pissing match with Clemens and Pettite after they left and they ignore the Jeff Nelson's and David Wells'. ..."
As I've said, Nomar didn't acquit himself well, but this ownership team, I don’t know ...
‘He threw the ball softly because ...’:
It’s a little late, but an Illinois friend sends in Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown's
scouting report on Kerry’s first pitch at Fenway the other week. The excuses amaze ... Poor Will Pumyea, the Massachusetts National Guardsman. ... ‘No telling what might have happened to Pumyea if he'd thrown the ball hard.’
Speaking of baseball, Chicago and the Sun-Times, the Cubs are doing just fine in the Nomar era.
... Todd Walker
is defending Nomar against the negativity in Boston. Negativity? Boston? ... Todd does have some interesting things to say about ownership’s tactics. I know, I know. The growing consensus is that Nomar was to blame. But this ownership team, I’m telling you ... Two words: Terry Francona.
The Achilles Conspiracy, Part II:
Reader No. 1 thinks I’m misreading the signals coming from Yawkey Way. I’m not so sure, but:
“I do agree with you on the Kraft-analogy. Gammons has been trying to get across a clear message to Lucchino & Henry with his ‘it’s a mistake to let the Yankees dictate your strategy’ line for weeks now. I heard a reporter note on WEEI yesterday that this is the 3rd time the Sox have changed strategy in the last year. That could be a sign of desperation, but it also could be a sign of fast learning.
“With all due respect, I think you have missed the boat on the Red Sox spin story in today’s post. What you describe as 3 different explanations for Nomar’s departure are three separate and mutually reinforcing reasons for the trade, and all three reasons are cited in Lucchino’s official press release
at the Reds Sox site released the night of the trade. ...
“Theo articulates how these reasons played out in his remarkable interview Monday on WEEI, available in audio at the station web site.
He also resists more than one opportunity to trash, not crush the guy on the way out of town.
“Now you certainly can argue whether or not we got value in this deal. It’s plainly obvious the team put itself behind the 8-ball with Nomar not being able to pull off the Manny-A-Rod deal last winter. But did Nomar put the team in an even more terrible negotiating position at the trade deadline with his injury claims, precluding for example the possibility that he was worth Matt Clement in a swap? ...
“Lucchino, Henry et al may be due for a knock by the media rules of this town, but step back for a second and consider something else. Why is it OK for Nomar and Arn Tellem to exercise their own interests by holding out on a $60 million offer, but not OK for Red Sox management to exercise its own interests by pursuing A-Rod? If Nomar had obviously not taken this so personally, he’d still be in local uniform for at least 2 more months.”
The Achilles Conspiracy:
We’re now at explanation No. 3 from Sox management on the Nomar trade: 1.) It was about defense 2.) It was about the Achilles injury 3.) It was about Nomar all but asking for a trade.
Or at least Nomar saying no more.
... It’s becoming abundantly clear Nomar was dragging his ass in a sort of one-man work slowdown. But he’s gone. The trade is done. What are we left with? Three Wizards spinning away and losing credibility by the minute. They’re covering their butts for their own misteps in this saga. ... Theo’s call for everyone to shut up
is laughable. This allegedly media savvy ownership thrives on media attention, making media hipness almost mandatory for working and playing here. ...
... Well, there’s hope. Hub Blog is hoping we’re witnessing a Bob Kraft-like rough early years of ownership. Recall the brouhaha with Bill Parcell, the accusations and counter-accusations, followed by the dull Pete Carroll years, followed by the Brilliant New Bill Era. ... Hey, I’m a Sox fan. I’m entitled to Walter Mitty dreams of triumphant Sox and the hero Hub Blog on Duck Trucks.
-- You're simply not going to find a better account of the Nomar saga than this morning's Howard Bryant column
(sub. req. -- get a print copy if necessary). A balanced, sad tale of mistakes on both sides.
'Trust fund babies with time on their hands': JJ Daley
is back and has some great behind-the-scene tidbits and observations about last week's security and those fearsome capitalists-to-be anarchists. ...
Reader No. 1: “Polls can be wrong. But this is not good news
for Kerry and the trend seems confirmed by the Iowa Electronic Markets
Presidential Vote Share Market. The Iowa Market Chart suggests that Kerry’s best chance is Michael Moore rushing out a Fahrenheit 9/11 sequel. Maybe the public was watching the convention after all?”
Hub Blog's reaction
-- We're about to witness one of the weirdest campaigns in history. Nothing will be normal with John Kerry involved.
‘Boston and the Siege of Small Business Owners’:
Ran into Norman Mailer tonight on Beacon Hill. Immediately thought of a title for last week's Boston DNC. ... If that's the only complaint about last week, things indeed went just fine. Especially with all the disturbing news out of New York today.
-- A couple people asked if I really did bump into Norm. Yep, I did. Insightful 5-second conversation and introduction.
'At least it didn't break for a commercial':
Reader No. 1 on Boston, Nomar and the Sox:
"A good example of how Bostonian is even the most 'professional' of the local newscasts, Channel 5. Midday Sunday stories, in order:
" 1. Nomar No More (6 minutes)
" 2. The weather
" 3. Shaw's Supermarket threatens to strike
" 4. Hate literature distributed in Newton
" 5. Al Qaeda Threatens Terror Attacks in New York -- 10 minutes in. Oh well, at least it didn't break for a commercial. Aren't those the guys John Edwards mentioned in his speech on Wednesday?
"So in Bostonian tradition, quick thoughts on Nomar:
"1. It's an obvious shame that a guy who showed heart and talent for years ended badly. Check out the Dirt Dogs "Achilles Heel"
coverage. Despite the bizarre story of the heel, look at how much fans still loved him.
" 2. Much of what Shaughnessy
writes today is true, although unsurprisingly he neglects to mention his role in the Nomar Tragedy as chief tormentor of Red Sox players.
" 3. It was evident watching Theo's press conference that he really didn't want to do this. He is too professional and lawyerly to explain the real reasons so unfortunately he has supplied Talk Radio's Bloodthirsty Shutins with a dubious rationale for dealing a potential future Hall of Famer: we needed more defense... oh well, Theo will survive.
" 4. If the Red Sox management deserves a knock, it's for not having executed the A-Rod deal - which wasn't the beginning of Nomar's unhappiness here, but was the fatal blow from which the relationship couldn't be salvaged. Larry Lucchino and John Henry will be kicking themselves through the rest of their ownership tenure for getting into a poker game they couldn't win.
" 5. Looking down the road, this suggests 2 paths for the Red Sox. The obvious one which Talk Radio will bandy about for the rest of the year is that the team has created payroll space to retain Pedro and Varitek, and replace Space Cadet Lowe with a more reliable 3rd starter. The less obvious one is that Doug Mientiwicz and Orlando Cabrera are the face of the future Red Sox. Peter Gammons has been banging the drum in his regular media appearances that letting your strategy be dictated by what the Yankees do is a mistake (see point #4 above). ... A little Moneyball, anyone?"
‘We just traded away Mr. Boston’:
I was wondering what big local story would surface and bump DNC coverage to the side. Can’t get any bigger: Nomar gone.
... Completely agree: It’s a big gamble.
It’s also a major test for Terry ‘Pete Carroll’ Francona. ... Like all the talk about defense and the subtle downplaying of hitting stats. John Ellis
alluded to this problem a few weeks ago, linking to a great post-Yanks series article on the Sox’ woeful defense
and overreliance on hitting. But the problem is: I question the sincerity of Theo’s we-need-defense rhetoric. This trade was about two things: A.) Nomar’s contract B.) Nomar’s attitude post-botched A-Rod deal that management initiated and blew. ... Am I the only one concerned the Sox management team has lately gotten a little too clever by half? ... Loved team players’ reaction and quotes
The Moakley Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down:
The incredibly banal Moakley Bridge
is already sinking, falling, crumbling, whatever, after only 9 years. ... It was one of the earliest concrete-wonder projects associated with the Big Dig/waterfront/Silver Line to be completed. ... Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
‘Europe’s Last Summer’:
Just finished Boston University professor David Fromkin’s new book, ‘Europe’s Last Summer: Who Started the Great War in 1914?’
... Fromkin asks the simple question: Why did the war start in 1914, and not 1912 or 1917? etc. The recent historic consensus about WWI is that a chain-reaction of unstoppable events, linked to an ill-conceived web of alliances, caused the war. Fromkin, using new historical data largely uncovered by German historians, begs to differ. Complex alliances didn’t lead to outbreak of war after the Napoleonic wars or during the Cold War. The difference in WWI, Fromkin notes, is that one side wanted war: Germany and Austria-Hungry. ... Fromkin doesn’t argue that Willhelm Germany was Nazi Germany, that the Kaiser was Hitler, that the causes of WWI were as stark as the causes for WWII. But he does argue, and convincingly so, that Germany’s elite always thought in terms of war and sought the showdown in 1914. ... General von Moltke, head of the Prussian general staff, comes across as a truly creepy character. ... Verdict: A fast-read, crisply written book. Two thumbs up. ... FYI: Fromkin is also the author of the much praised ‘A Peace to End All Peace.’
One last leisurely weekend DNC stroll ....: Marty Nolan
meandered around town, thinking and asking the right questions about future conventions, past conventions, security, Boston, the Globe, the Herald. Nice pace. Great column. ...
From Reader No. 1: “All griping aside, your 5-point summary of DNC week (see post below) is excellent. My only quibble is what columnists and pols are making of the ‘Visitors liked the city.’ We aren't going to know for a couple of years or so whether they liked it enough to make a difference in tourism (and at that, I'd rather see numbers from the non-partisan numbers-driven folks like Sam Tyler than the official tourism industry). Let's not start counting those dollars until they are in the bank...”
Ah, the old ‘Visitors liked the City’ issue. It’s an interesting issue, beyond the economic considerations: How much should one care about guests liking a party? The best parties are usually the ones in which both the guests and the host have a good time. ... I enjoyed last week. So did the visitors. So great. ....
But read this column/story
-- and never forget it. It’s now Exhibit A in the growing body of evidence that it’s really a small minority within the media and entertainment sectors who are obsessed with how Boston is perceived. One can’t even get a ‘genteel’ compliment without having an image-conscious nervous breakdown about an older sister’s shoes. Talk about worrying what others think. ...
... Ah, the local media. Mike Barnicle
let it rip the other day concerning the pre-DNC We’re All Going to Die coverage. He’s right. The media had a grand old time hyping the mayhem hype, then rehyping the hyped mayhem hype, and then acted shocked that the exact opposite problem logically occurred. There’s a bumbling F Troop
analogy here somewhere. ... There’s also a media backlash out there. Ask around. It’s there all right. ...
But ah ha! Don’t let Mayor Menino off the hook. Nor the absurd security. Bottom line: Security, the mayor, the media all overreacted pre-DNC. Result: Ghost town. ... A pleasant ghost town, I might add, though I’m not a shop owner. ... What a week.