19-8: So bad it’s merciful.
Slamming the door on the Sox, Reader No. 1 moves on to another subject:
“Recommended: Michael Holley's new book on the Patriots.
“I thought it started better than it ended. The 2nd Super Bowl season recap has too many overly familiar game recaps. Also, too much telling us how the coaching staff works, rather than showing us by example. But there are fresh insider gems, eg
“-- How the coaching staff had begun to look differently at stars like Bledsoe and Milloy long before the rest of us (and they were right)
“-- The Pats alternative QB choice to Tom Brady in the 2000 draft (read it)
“-- Vinatieri wearing a Size 9 shoe instead of Size 11 for his last game-winning fieldgoal so his foot won't slip.
“Most of all, there is Belichick -- the ultimate workaholic and bottom line guy. Others have remarked on the emotionless, results-only style that Holley captured. It's not pretty, but it certainly works.”
‘Kerry takes steps to unbutton his emotions’:
If that headline
doesn’t grab you, nothing will. ...
Dancing Deer roadkill:
Reader No. 1 again:
“I just read Cosmo's column
yesterday -- congratulations! I always thought of Dancing Deer as a twice-as-expensive Archway. ... Speaking of cookies crumbling, keep an ear on WEEI for their hilarious excerpts of Mayah Menino standing up for the Sox. They haven't turned up on the Audio Vault
FYI: Yours truly makes a cameo appearance in Coz’s column. The cookies are mediocre. The PR machine is first rate. Hub Blog assumes I’m now in Dancing Deer’s ‘not friendly’ file.
‘GOP candidates attack hub’:
Hah! Called it. The GOP is now trying to stir up suburban resentment toward the city.
... See point ‘C.)’ from post
the other week. ... Of course it’s not fair. But it’s politically logical. Putting Sal in as speaker only reinforced the image of the old-boy/city-Dem network running the Statehouse. ...
Of course Mitt is doing his best to reinforce the image that once elected GOP governors don’t really want to govern.
Anything but reform!:
They know they’re feeling heat for escalating costs. So what does the Mass Turnpike and MBTA do? They ask the Trav for tax breaks
to help ease the financial burden on commuters. ... We can't control costs! Help! ... Might as well take tax breaks when you can get ‘em, though it’s almost certain lawmakers will make up the difference by shifting costs to other tax and fee payers, somewhere, somehow. ... There's just no
room for cost savings. None. Zero. Help us, Trav!
Tidbits catch-up time:
Light blogging this week. Still suffering from a nasty cold and other depressing events
that make the mornings sluggish. ... Believe it or not, I still haven’t given up on the Sox. You never know. But without Schilling in Game 5
and probably for the rest of the season, I’m not holding by breath for miracles. Maybe Lowe
can pick up the slack. Maybe. ... Not to play pessimistic I-told-you-so (see pre-series post directly below), but I still can’t get over how some people thought this would be a walkover. As I wrote Reader No. 1 earlier this week: A.) The Yanks won the division. B.) The Yanks held off the Sox in a crucial pair of late-season series (‘not impressed’
) C.) The Yanks dispatched a Minnesota team that many local fan rightly didn’t want to face in the first round. So why the supreme confidence? ...
... Don’t look now: Despite yesterday’s Green Zone attacks, there are bright spots in Iraq.
I didn’t know Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani urged Shiites to register to vote. Big news. Very encouraging. And Prime Minister Iyad Allawi seems to have a deft feel for wielding the carrots and sticks, now applying the same pressure to Fallujah as he did Samarra. ... Ten, nine, eight, seven ... Waiting for pro-war conservatives to start thumping their chests over the morsels of good news out of Iraq, after their embarrassing silence on recent undeniable setbacks over, yes, a botched occupation. But pre-election Iraq still isn’t nearly as stable as pre-election Afghanista
n, where elections are winning high praise. One of the reasons for Iraq’s early-occupation woes: “Americans kept trying to jury-rig things, to make sure their guys got in.” The local Allawi has a much better feel for what needs to be done or not done on the ground. ...
... Gotta love those choo-choos.
The MBTA seems to be grasping that rail is its long-term future, not an expensive short-term drag that forces it to sometimes contemplate cutting hacks from its payrolls. Its debt problems are a big concern. If the T were to implement reforms and commit to long-term rail projects, I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who would support a small gas tax hike to reduce its debt and embark on an even more ambitious expansion strategy. The people would get the services they want. The MBTA expands. Everyone wins. But: No reforms, no new taxes. ...
... ‘New leader, same old politics.’
Couldn’t have said it better. ... Homicides are up in Boston
, the NYT has discovered. The emphasis on the surge in the youth population disturbs. Of course that’s part of the problem. But it’s such a ‘80s/’90s cultural-wars type of way to look at things. The reduction of crime in the ‘90s was due to a number of factors: population trends, booming economy, impressive new police tactics, community involvement, tough sentencing laws. The city’s homicide rate is going up, but it’s not near its bleakest levels in the early ‘90s. ...
Now back to the Cold-eeze and a shot of non-drowsy DayQuil.
Pats break NFL’s unofficial win streak
and there’s no Tot champagne.
That’s why they’re so great. ... Payton
is fitting in well at the Celts. ... Have you noticed -- amid the Sox charge and the Pats juggernaut -- that the Celts have gotten a lot of great preseason attention this year? Could it be because there’s a void left by the forgotten Bruins and NHL lock out
? The NHL is in the process of commiting suicide -- and it’s strange how few notice or care. ...
Easy does it for me on the Sox today. I’m with Reader No. 1: This doesn’t feel right. Of course I was pessimistic about the Pats during their two victorious Superbowl campaigns. So my conscious pessimism could be a good omen. But the Yanks are the Yanks. They’re also confident and proud. The manufactured hype also bothers me because it’s too familiar. Just let ‘em play without all the tired histrionics. That
would make me more optimistic that things are really different this year.
Did the U.S. walk into a Saddam trap
? I almost hope so at this point. Because that would indicate this is a primarily (and containable) Baathist insurgency. But the Sunnis are genuinely alienated
and threatening to boycott the January elections. Not good. The Saddam-trap theory also doesn’t explain the crazy Sadr and Shiite resistance. But this is good news: Sadr’s fighters are turning in their weapons.
... Afghanistan continues to amaze.
... Just a thought: Has the anti-Iraq war sentiment peaked? There’s just enough good news out there to suggest things are calming down a bit. My hunch is that Bush is still leading -- and will still win in November. Perhaps big, electorally. He’s rightly taken a lot of overdue hits in recent weeks. Conservatives (true conservatives) are increasingly upset with him. But my gut tells me he may have seen the worst. Just a hunch. ... Kerry still has a lot to exploit on the Iraq front. Someone should haul out clips of the absurd talk by Bush, Rummy etc. about actually welcoming
foreign terrorists into Iraq. You know, fighting them in Iraq rather than in Kansas, etc. Remember that long-ago all-over-the-rationale-map rhetoric?
‘Some caution over the agreement’:
Good news on the war fronts: Moktada al-Sadr
seems a bit more serious this time around about disarming his militia in Iraq. ... Afghanistan is pulling off the elections
, albeit with a well-put ‘mundane’ problem of using the wrong ink to discourage frequent voting ...
Problem on the war front: GI morale
is suffering a bit. Similar to a CSM story
the other week. Something to monitor, but not be overly worried about -- not yet.
Problem on the domestic front: The Bush administration keeps changing its rationales
for the war. The lede is devastating. ... The latest spin would be comic if it wasn’t so pathetic. Repeat: We had time.
Preppy wars: It’s Andover Academy vs. St. Paul’s.
... Interesting article on Kerry’s background.
I’ve never totally bought into the Kerry-as-gold-digger image. There’s an element of that. Sure. But what struck me reading this article is how quasi-aristrocratic families stick amongst themselves, old money or no old money, and marrying within the club is expected and accepted. This is the world Kerry was born into, albeit at the bottom. Nothing wrong with that. Wish I was in the club. ... Will this hurt Kerry? Perhaps. But George can’t exactly say, ‘I’m less of an artistocrat than he is!’ I’m sure the counter-attack TV ads are in the can if the issue becomes an issue.
We got what we asked for ...:
For a person who bragged I would ‘half ignore’
the Sox until they got to the World Series, I sure went overboard yesterday on the Sox. Did I really write all that crud? I’m getting tired of my own hate schtick, though I must admit I’m superstitiously sticking with it. It does
seem to be working. I’m just glad more people are dumping on the curse, the cute sentimentality etc. ... So bring on the Yanks.
Win ugly. Win with class. Doesn’t matter. Just win it.
-- Reader No. 1 chimes in:
"Notice how much Sox fans are keeping themselves in check this offseason? It keeps me from citing too loudly how Friday night could be a watershed moment in Boston baseball history. God bless Papi Ortiz, but for me the highlight was Foulke striking out Anderson and Glaus with the bases loaded in the top of the 9th -- guts and guile, because he sure doesn't have the fastball. Even the kids are cautious; a rally was suggested for this past Friday at the local elementary school but it didn't happen.
"I think you still gotta like the Yankees in this series. Their pitching staff is obviously weak, but alas, they 'find a way to win.' I think it comes down to the bullpens. The Sox did a great job (until Friday) of jumping out on the Angels and keeping them down. Maybe Derek Lowe is the secret weapon?"
‘Hurry up, please, it's time’:
The NYT’s George Vecsey
wants the lovable Sox anguish over with: “I no longer observe the hokey Babe Ruth curse business, and that asinine billy goat hex in Chicago has always been too cute for me. Just win a World Series, just once.” ... But then he’s condescending today
, warning we better be careful of what we wish for in taking on the Yanks. Good. Hate lovable anguish. Hate condescending NY sportswriters. Hate both. ... Damon is right: Let the Yanks win it or lose it in five against the Twins. Let ‘em beat each other up.
‘A sense of outrage in Paris’:
Oh boo hoo. France is upset.
‘How sweep it is’: Hard not to get cocky.
But don’t get cocky, kid. ... The HATE is working. Try it. Drop the self-pity. Throw away the silly, campy curse/anti-curse enthusiasm. HATE. ... If the Sox do face the Yanks, I want Pedro to walk out to the mound at the start of the first inning, turn to the Yanks’ dugout, and point his boney finger at his temple. Let the Yanks go bonkers. ...
How President Bush could win Massachusetts:
Is there any doubt that if Boston residents had to choose
, they'd choose a Red Sox World Series championship over a John Kerry presidency? ... Anyone got a spare Bush lawn sign? ... Adam also wonders if Kerry really said what he said
about Sox fans during last night’s debate. ... Mr. President: If you want to carry Massachusetts and all of New England, drop down on your knees in the Rose Garden, publicly pray for a Sox win this year and awed fans will ...
-- More on the Odd Kerry Sox Remark.
An answer to a simple question, Part II:
Reader No. 1 writes in about my not-so Nasty Theory about the Bush administration and Iraq. My comments immediately follow his points. This isn’t a fisking. More a case of making it easier to read and follow. Here goes:
“At the outset, I realize we often have had a hard time debating the merits of political decisions, so I will try not to make things worse. And I'll probably sound like a member of the hive. But...
“1. If suspected WMD, links to Al Qaeda, and elimination of a dictatorship were not motivations, what would be the motivation for getting rid of Saddam? You say it was ‘a very emotional, personal decision.’ By whom? And again, why?”
The motivation for taking out Saddam is tied to pre-9/11 events, the Gulf War, the attempt on Bush I’s life, Saddam’s flaunting of UN sanctions. The attempt to link it to 9/11 was heavy-handed, disingenuous and manipulative.
“2. I think it is hard to conclude from available evidence that Bush decided 9/11 is what made getting rid of Saddam truly urgent. A new doctrine of pre-emptive action was born that day.”
But he did tie it to 9/11 and make it ‘truly urgent.’ Consistently.
“3. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Saddam came readily to the President's mind as a suspect. But let us please not forget that taking action if needed to disarm Saddam was CONVENTIONAL WISDOM until early 2003. Where were the skeptics then?”
There was a pre- and post-9/11 consensus to take on Saddam. But the president linked it to 9/11 and acted in a manner many found rash. The evidence about lack of WMD indicates we had time to mold that consensus into action. He shattered that consensus.
“4. No question the primary focus was on getting rid of Saddam. I'm going to wait for the election results before I say they bet too much on Democracy. For my money, the biggest failure in Iraq was failing to think through the rationale of the war on terror: that in the post-war era, Islamic terrorists like Zarqawi and his ilk would rush in to fill the void with death and destruction. What's going on in the country isn't an “insurrection’: it's a would-be occupation by terrorists from outside of Iraq. Had we committed more armed forces earlier, we might have avoided it. We
didn't; we're trying to do that now.”
The failure to think through the consequences ties back to the emotional, personal and rash nature of the decision to start the war when he did. Cutting closer to the heart of my Nasty Theory, the ‘primary focus’ was indeed on getting rid of Saddam. The lack of troop strength to achieve other goals indicates this.
“5. Also no question that external pressures in recent months have forced the Administration to refocus on winning the war and the peace in Iraq. I'm glad that you have more confidence in the efforts now.”
I’m somewhat heartened too. But there are many on the right who could have and should have spoken up sooner. Their principles, alas, were overtaken by hack partisan reluctance to criticize the president and force him to take action on those principles.
“6. So which Presidential candidate do you think would be more likely to commit and recommit efforts to save Iraq? Which would be more likely to cave in the face of ferocious opposition and admit the whole thing was a mistake?”
The sad part is: I don’t know which candidate would do better in Iraq. The president has made so many mistakes, thrown so much dust in people’s eyes, insulted so many people who don’t agree 100 percent with his views, I’ve lost faith in the guy. But Kerry hasn’t convinced me he’s the man to finish the job. That’s how bad Kerry is. Kerry is the best -- and only -- thing going for the president.
“7. Like 9/11, WMD in Iraq looks like another serious intelligence failure. Intelligence failures transcend administrations and and span decades. This is where we have to focus attention. I am not sure how some of these problems can be solved (how many volunteers do you think we will get to infiltrate Al Qaeda)... and I am dubious that centralizing everything in Washington is going to do much good. But that's the fundamental problem.”
It’s not just an intelligence failure. There’s now abundant evidence the administration saw what it wanted to see and ignored what didn’t fit into its viewpoint.
'Kerry-haters for Kerry':
A funny, funny site
, via Mickey.
Equal opportunity cynic:
Talk of the VP debate might sound ancient. But I got a kick out of these two post-debate cartoons by Holbert (here
. ... The Cheney spank scowl is perfect.
‘90, 90, 90, 90, 93, 93, 94, 94, 93, 93, 93, 95, 92, 94, 92, 93, 92, 94, 94 and 93’: Find out what the numbers mean.
Only baseball. ... I’m tempted to borrow the line from Star Wars, ‘Don’t get cocky, kid.’ But it’s too late. They’re already getting cocky
about the Yanks.
At least it’s not a form of hysterical self-pity, though it does border on cute sentimentality. They’re setting up the woe-is-us act if the Sox choke against the Angels or Yanks (or Twins). Moi? Sticking to my new anti-cute HATE spiel. At least it has the benefit of being different. I’m channeling hate
every minute -- and it seems to be working.
An answer to a simple question?:
Now it’s the UN food-for-oil explanation
for the Iraq war. What next? ...
yesterday touched upon what I was roughly thinking a few days ago when I was mumbling about a nasty theory
I was developing about the Bush administration. Here’s the gist of my not-altogether-thought-out Nasty Theory: The war was never really about WMD, terrorist links, utopian transformation democracy. They were just window-dressing rationales that many in the administration may or may not have come to believe in. At its core, the war was always and still is primarily about knocking out Saddam. Period. It was a very emotional, personal decision. But the war couldn’t be pitched that way. ... It’s not a terribly original theory. But it does help explain why there weren’t enough troops to secure weapon stockpiles, borders, and other essential sites. Why need more troops? They achieved their primary aim: Knock out Saddam. All good would flow from there, or so they thought. ... It also may partially explain the woeful lack of post-war planning. Why plan for an occupation when the cure-all goal was a simple knock out? ...
The dishonesty of the administration comes in two parts: A.) The pre-war secondary rationales for the war and B.) the post-invasion head-in-sand denials that things were going from bad to worse. The latter post-invasion spins are abundantly clear. There were no WMD. There were no terrorist links. There was no urgent commitment to stabilize and secure the nation. Yet Bush-Cheney kept rolling out the old WMD/terrorist link etc. explanations even though they knew perfectly well they were bogus and misleading. Now they’re shifting gears and, appealing to dutiful worker bees, are emphasizing the ‘intent’ and corrupt UN oil-for-food program. They’re still not being honest with the nation. ...
But I must say, I’m becoming more optimistic about Iraq. The January elections provide hope. The retaking of Samarra was very encouraging. Sadr is sending vague signals he wants in. I also think the mounting evidence of Iraq-gone-awry and intense criticism of the handling of the war has motivated the administration to hop to it, if only for their own political good. ...
Advice from Dr. Hub Blog:
Nasty 48-hour bug out there. Arm yourself with Cold-eeze, NyQuil and other weapons of choice. ...
‘I just hope they do a good job’:
Simple, solid explanation
about the rise of Italian-Americans as a political force in Boston and the state. Still think it will be short-lived, relatively speaking: A.) Intermarriage and suburban migration will continue to dilute the coherency and clout of the ‘old’ ethnics (i.e. those who came in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Irish and Italians) B.) the ‘new’ ethnics are about to flex their muscles. C.) Ethnicity itself has become less important. ... Put another way: Does anyone really expect the North End to be predominantly Italian within 10 or 20 years? Is it now? ... The rise of professionals fit in there somewhere.
“ ‘A crack’ at being a success”:
Feeling a tad bit better about Iraq after reading this David Brooks column
. A tad bit, mind you. They’re aware of the problems. They’re keeping options open. ... Rumsfeld has been sending disturbing hints, though, about Iraq’s future, from partial elections to ‘a crack’ of a chance. Tamping down expectations or dealing with a reality not openly admitted yet?
Raised on Jaws, Part VI -- She's gone:
OK, she’s gone.
No Sunfish or Boston Whaler gawker casualties. And so ends my Jaws schtick. I know when to give it up. I think. ... But wouldn’t it have been great if she had only ... Look at the size of the brute.
‘We're going straight to the next subject’:
OK, the Kerry camp is punching the economy.
No doubt. This week’s debate is about domestic issues. So it makes sense. But Iraq is what got Kerry this close. They ought to remember it. ... Proof Iraq is unnerving: William Safire
says Kerry sounds like a neocon. Translation: The neocons are eyeing the lifeboats. Not jumping ship. Just eyeing the lifeboats. ...
‘Now we've just got to execute’:
Was I the only one almost disgusted by the champagne celebration after the Sox locked up the wild-card spot? I hope it was Tops champagne. Because that’s all it deserved, if that. Tired of second place.
... No more cute sentimentality. The curse has been discredited.
I’m going to half ignore them unless or until they make it to the Series. And by then I want the rest of the nation to HATE us. Channel the HATE. Win ugly. Win without class. Win or lose with HATE. ...
... Good Sox report-card
by Tony. ... Payton
is joining the Celts. The weirdness begins. ...
Modern parents reach new low:
Actually, I needed decrease hormones
when I played Pop Warner. Those weigh-ins were killers. ... Anorexia for girls. Growth hormones for boys. It’s a gender gap!
-- More Pop Warner
craziness. Still not as bad as Little League, though.
‘The personality hasn't changed’: It’s on the record.
... Oh, it’s going to be fun at the Statehouse all right. ... Actually, I admire Sal for stiff-arming the church. So there’s a glimmer of hope even if ‘the personality hasn’t changed.’
‘For sure’ and ‘in fact’ and ‘with absolute certainty’: Tom Friedman
is back after months away writing a book. He ain’t too pleased with Iraq. ... The NYT seems to be harping on the run-up to the war again, with a long piece on centrifuge tubes
and, when you get right down to it, Vice President Cheney’s stubborn pre-war conviction Saddam was on the cusp of rebuilding his nuclear arms program. I happen to like Cheney, an intense, almost visionary man who’s done a hell of a lot to make today’s military so sharp, flexible and effective. But, boy, he blew it on Saddam and the bomb. ... But enough with the past. Here’s some lukewarm good news: Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr
is trying to worm his way into the democratic process with promises of disarming his battered militia. He probably senses the January elections will, in fact, be held. So that’s ultimately the good news. They probably have to play along with him, whatever his motive. Sadr has a highly dubious consultant: Ahmad Chalabi. Cripes. Him again?
Jab, jab ...:
Is Kerry reverting to punching on the economy
and jabbing on Iraq? Either way, it’s necessary to hit both. ... But I don’t quite believe he’s leading Bush, as suggested in this article
. ... Here's the Newsweek
poll in question.
‘It’s hard.’ ... gulp ... ‘It’s hard.’ ... gulp, Part II:
Introducing the one and only Brett Arends
, a colleague at the Herald’s business desk and new blogger. Arends, a Brit through and true even though he has dual citizenship, caught a ‘It’s hard’ skit last night on SNL. He also raises the question: How is it the U.S. punditry is 100 percent in agreement that Kerry won the debate while the polls at least show some sort of split among voters? Um. I have no explanation, except possibly a lot of them engage in Filthy Kitchen-like Squalor Analysis
without admitting it. ... FYI: Brett will soon be at brettarends.com too. Hub Blog also recently started forwarding direct from hubblog.com, so you don't have to type in blogspot at the end. Either way works.
Raised on Jaws, Part V:
It’s been a great
story to follow
. ... You can sense the awe of fishermen and biologists who get to watch her every day. Sounds like it’s just a mere 24 hours or so before she leaves. Now watch her chow down on a Sunfish sailor on the way out. ...
Raised on Jaws, Part IV: She’s still there!
I was wondering what happened to our bloodthirsty, man-eating sea monster ...
‘The two men balance each other’:
Not bad. I liked the column.
Until the end. ... I’d love an analysis of Bush’s moralistic mind when it comes to domestic issues. Does it explain the deficits he’s running up? Is log rolling a means for a moralistic end? ... FYI: I'm developing a really nasty theory about whether Bush is as moralistic as they say. Has to do with whether any of the stated excuses for the Iraq war were honest explanations. More later. I want to think about it a bit.
The battle for Samarra:
I was beginning to think they wouldn’t take action like this
in Iraq before the November election. Glad to be proven wrong. They probably had no choice, with the prospect of Samarra becoming yet another hornet's nest. Still, Samarra ain’t Falluja, the real showdown to come.
'It's hard.' ...gulp. ...'It's hard' ...gulp:
Got a kick out of this suggested drinking game
while watching the debate, via Adam
-- Heard that other big-drink debate words/phrases were 'Osama' and 'let me tell you.' Surprising low-drink word last night, 'Vietnam.' ...
And the winner is ... : Mickey Kaus
, in a state of ‘laboratory-like purity,’ refused to read any articles or other blogs before rendering his verdict on the winner of last night’s debate. Hub Blog, in a state of filthy kitchen-like squalor, is taking the exact opposite tact by rendering a verdict based exclusively on what others say. ... And the winner is: Kerry, or at least a draw. Mickey, Andrew
, the National Review
, quickie ABC poll
etc. all tilted toward Kerry victory, they-both-did-well draw or at least a Kerry-didn’t-come-across-as-a-total-arrogant-asshole conclusion.
laces into George. ... Will it matter? The only time I saw a debate in which EVERYONE agreed a candidate lost was in ‘84, when a doddering Ronnie blew a debate with Walter, who went on to lose. ... But last night should be a confidence booster for Kerry. ...
... How much ya wanna bet we see touch football shots from Kerry today? He oddly does it when he’s happy. ...
Must be internal Bush polls showing Iraq is hurting the president. DOD is now putting out the word that ‘good news’
should be emphasized. Attention Bushie worker bees: You have your orders -- now start stinging! ... They’re cracking down on a GI criticizing the war on a web site? Only positive GI emails are allowed on friendly web sites, of course. ... Suggestion to worker bees: Now’s the opportunity to admit (so as not to come across as having had your heads in the sand) that, well, yes, things did deteriorate to a dangerous point in Iraq but things are getting better. Blame the media for having not previously criticized anything in Iraq. Almost always works.
‘Suddenly the city of Boston sinks into the ground’:
Had no idea how extensive the sink-hole problem is in Boston. Tom Keane explains.
... Horrifying thought: Sox win World Series, Boston disappears next day. Broken gas lines spewing fire. People cart-wheeling into hell. Trees, buses, buildings sucked under.
Danny Ainge thinks the Celts are back to ‘normal’
after last year’s ‘unbelievable dysfunction.’ It’s a very strange ‘normal.’ Only the Celtics. ... Actually looking forward to the season. Haven’t a frigging clue what to expect.
‘Romney must have been drooling on that’:
Was Sal DiMati really referring to tax hikes
when he said ‘everything will be on the table’ and lawmakers shouldn’t be ‘hampered by preconceptions and biases’? The fun is back at the Statehouse. ... Notice the photo to the right in the above link. Picture Mitt saying, ‘Thank you, Sal. Thank you.’ ... The legislative elections
have just got very interesting.
‘Good men from a good people. But ...’:
Trying to sort out what’s happening in Iraq. So is the CSM -- and it’s doing a good job. Howard LaFranchi’s blog
shows how one Iraqi sees the escalating violence and U.S. troops. Goodwill is still there, but the patience is near the end. ... Another story ‘by the numbers’
shows improvement in some areas, setbacks in others: “They (numbers) don't sugarcoat the situation ... but neither do they depict a country overwhelmed by chaos.” ... The blunders over the past year are almost unforgivable. It’s as if they needed things to go from bad to worse to get their act together. Now it’s a race to January. After that an insurgency has to be crushed or else ...
-- George Will on tonight's debate between 'two delusional optimists.'
There must be something in the publishing/media air: JJ
has the goods on the latest Harvard plagiarism flap. ... Hub Blog yesterday read a print copy of an editor’s letter to readers in the current issue of National Geographic.
Can’t find it online. But it has to do with a staged photo controversy from the July issue, an embarrassing episode the editor previously addressed
in yet another letter. They’re still debating the issue at NGM's online forum.
At least NGM is openly airing the issue. ... Hey, kids! Want tips from NGM on how to discover fake photos
? I’m not making this up. I couldn’t make it up.
‘As if they are reading from Bush campaign ad scripts’:
Bush has a decent lead over Kerry, according to the latest WaPo/ABC poll
, even though 50 percent to 47 percent of likely voters disapprove the way Bush is handling both the economy and Iraq. What gives? As one voter puts it in the article: "Actually I would have voted for Kerry three months ago, but he's not improved or not shown his positions any more clearly in the last three months than he did a year ago. ... I think he's trying to be everything to everybody, and you just can't." ...
... Hub Blog got a kick out of a reference in the article to how voters’ views on Kerry’s flip-flopping appear to have been forged ‘as if they are reading from Bush campaign ad scripts,’ though the article quickly notes how that image might be ‘partly’ of Kerry’s own making. Partly? The boys-on-the-bus campaign media, never ones to acknowledge the average American has brains, just can’t accept that voters have downloaded and processed what Kerry has said over the past year and come to a conclusion he’s a pandering flip-flopper. So you read articles like this
that suggest it’s all the result of some sort of GOP plot. ... But weren’t local columnists, bloggers and even Dem opponents in the primaries bringing up the Kerry flip-floping issue before the Right Wing Attack Machine uncorked? All politicians flip-flop. Kerry has just taken it to new heights or lows, depending on your view of the guy. ... FYI: Great campaign stats here
‘He talks to us at our level’:
Good article about the rise of Southern Baptists
in Northern New England. If anything, the article might be underplaying the trend. On a recent drive through Maine, I noticed at least six Baptist churches, shouting out ‘There’s another one!’ like I was counting Volkswagen Beetles when I was young. ... Important question old-line New England churches should be asking themselves: What have we done wrong that makes us so irrelevant in these people’s lives?
The Sox had a chance to overtake the Yanks in the past two series. They didn’t. Now they’re celebrating the last two wins
that allowed them to stay at divisional status quo. Not impressed. Neither is Howard Bryant
‘Reestablish security, rebuild the state institutions’:
The bad news: The Iraq pessimists have good reasons for pessimism.
The good news: Iraqis have sound ideas on the minimum we should have done and still could do to leave Iraq with our ‘heads held high.’ ... The occupation has been badly botched, starting with failure to secure the nation. But the lingering goodwill of Iraqis is amazing. Start from scratch, I say. Pretend the past 18 months didn’t exist. There’s still a decent chance of success. ...
Nasty, nasty, nasty person, Abu Musab Zarqawi.
... Ten, nine, eight, seven. ... That’s yet another countdown until the Bushies pronounce that the article proves the existence of the secret Iraq-Osama terrorist link! Not quite. Read the article. Think.
Bush volunteered to go to Vietnam!:
Amusing sideshow as GuardGate/SwiftieGate mercifully (or hopefully) winds down: Bush actually volunteered
to go to Vietnam! Really! ... Um, er, well, he didn’t go to Vietnam -- but Kerry volunteered and managed to get to Vietnam and one would think if George really wanted to go to Vietnam ... Thirty-five-year-old charge stands: Draft dodger during highly unpopular war. Simple. Obvious. And irrelevant. Move on. ...
Here today, gone tomorrow:
Wow. Tom Finneran’s rapid exit has caught most everyone off guard (or at least moi). Starting with Friday’s news
, events culminated quickly with today's news that Rep. Salvatore F. DiMasi has apparently locked up the speakership (stories here
). ... Quick observations, the first bordering on the banal but sometimes not stressed enough: A.) It’s yet more evidence of the decline of the city’s Irish Guard B.) Not so sure Finneran’s departure foils Republicans’ attempt at winning seats, at least in the long-term; it can be argued the Hack-Progressive Alliance just consolidated its hold on the Statehouse (Finneran was very popular within business circles -- and despised by the Progressive side of the alliance) C.) Going out on a limb here, but I think we may be entering the very early stages of major political divisions between suburbs and the city over the economic spoils of power (social issues are generally not a big deal to young suburbanites) and D.) The Italian Guard of DiMasi-Trav may be a caretaker arrangement, depending on how they handle matters (see point C. and remember the rising clout of minorities).
-- To those coming over from Adam’s site
: I’m aware of the suburban-city split in past gubernatorial elections. In fact, it’s been evident the past four gubernatorial elections, not to mention referendums. My point, not made at all clear in the above post, referred to a possible legislative split along those lines, something that hasn’t happened in the past to a degree you see in other states.
Methodist Catholics lecturing Catholic Catholics:
Dems are going ballistic over the GOP’s playing the Catholic card
against Kerry and other Dems. They should. To a degree. ... The story is quite good in looking at A.) how Dems have, by their own admission, consistently failed to appreciate the religious component of politics and B.) the irony of some Catholics’ attitude toward JFK II compared with JFK I. Notice the emphasis on ‘some’ Catholics, a reference to right-wing Catholics, the Mel Gibson types. They’re well organized, disciplined and still honked off about Vatican II. As many Catholics drift away from the church
(growing affluence, disgust at church leadership etc.), the conservative/Opus Dei wing of the church is filling the void. ... Hub Blog a few weeks ago speculated the Christian Right
might be a hidden factor in the November election, the argument being they seem somewhat lackluster in their support of George. I was referring to the Christian Right, Protestant variety. But could the conservative Catholics be picking up that slack? I don’t know. The story still strikes me as being more about the state of Catholicism. But ...
‘Europeans have responded in vastly different ways’:
OK, I agree Europeans have done a lot of things right
in fighting terrorism. I also agree that the justification for war in Iraq had highly dubious connections with the war on terrorism. But I just can’t stand the lingering criticism of our swift and impressive action against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Yes, Europe has suffered 5,000 casualties from terrorism over the decades. But they were from a wide variety of criminal sources spread over a wide period of time. The U.S. suffered 3,000 deaths in one single blow -- and it was connected to one single source in Afghanistan. It had to be taken out by ‘war’ and not through diplomatic/police niceties. Thus, not surprisingly, the U.S. and Europe approach current terrorism matters from two different perspectives because they’ve had two different experiences. ...
Speaking of Afghanistan, bloggers may already have seen this highly encouraging and insightful account
of what’s going on in Afghanistan. Knock on wood, but it looks like Karzai is doing it. ... This is indeed good for Bush -- and America. But the contrast to Iraq remains stark and depressing. Could it be argued that the war in Iraq has had the unintended effect of giving Karzai breathing room? I think so. ... Ten, nine, eight, seven ... That’s the countdown for Bushies to starting beating their chests that that was the plan all along!
Raised on Jaws, Part III: She’s still there.
Or was late yesterday.
Raised on Jaws, Part II:
And this is cool too.
... Tempted to go down to Falmouth to see.
The crackpots of ‘The Da Vinci Code’:
Got a chuckle out of the church’s recent denunciation of the book. But these guys are just losers.
... Not at all tempted to go to Paris to see.
‘Let me be as blunt and direct’:
OK, a little better
from Kerry. Emphasis on ‘little.’ He’s still fighting last year’s debate about the original justification for the war -- something that raises uncomfortable questions about his authorization vote. Why did he vote for it if he now thinks Iraq was a ‘diversion’? Honest answers, please. ... He says he will ‘finish the job in Iraq.’ But the future-looking question is: How? No detailed answers are provided to either question. Raising doubts about his doubts strategy. Raising doubts about the truthfulness of his truth strategy. ... Kerry has to catalog all the blunders (a little looking back into the past) and channel them into the future. The connection of the past to the future is the key. ...
The attacks on Ayad Allawi
-- and, yes, they were attacks -- were a blunder by the Kerryites. They may have to end up working with Allawi, who strikes me as much pro-American as he is pro-Bush. The criticisms of Allawi were transparent partisanship. Not impressive at all. Moderates notice these type of things. Then again, Bush did push Allawi front and center and the issue had to be neutralized somehow. Mark the Allawi episode down as Something To Remember and Watch. ...
Will Kerry’s Iraq strategy work? Depends on how he plays the game. But he couldn’t ignore it. An 18-27 percent confidence gap in favor of Bush on Iraq (depending on the poll) is and was just unacceptable. But the main Iraq problem for Kerry has always been Kerry himself. ... Freebie strategy tip: Start jabbing away at the economy on issues of concern to the moderate middle-class, the run-away deficit, growth of part-time jobs, loss of health-care benefits (BIG issue, bigger than outsourcing), the sense corporate America always gets what it wants etc. I know. I advocated concentration on Iraq. Still believe that. But jabbing is always a good strategy too. ... Punch Iraq. Jab, jab economy. Punch Iraq. Maneuver warfare. Break up Bush’s strategy of consistent Almighty Ruler. Don’t try to knock him out. Get behind his lines. ... See Manhattan-based WMD Spy’s frustrations and field observations below.
-- Tom Oliphant
is also urging the jab, jab approach.
'Wishy washy Ivy League liberal from Massachusetts':
Manhattan-based WMD Spy, taking time off from the perilous duty of monitoring the enemy from within, writes in:
“Things are such a mess now, that I almost wish the Republicans win so that they can take clear responsibility for it. If Bush wins: He appoints a right winger to the supreme court and Roe gets threatened. Young women go nuts and vote Democrat in 2008. Iraq continues down its current quagmire path and sooner or later George will be forced to send the helicopters in to pull the last US people off the roofs of the Green Zone. Young men go nuts and vote Democrat in 2008. Facing the deficit, George realizes that he either has to cut entitlement programs or raise taxes. He seems averse to repeating Daddy's mistakes, so he'll cut entitlement programs. Old people go nuts, and vote Democrat in 2008.
“Then all the Democrats have to do in 2008 is not nominate a wishy washy Ivy League liberal from Massachusetts and they'll win. But of course, that's all they had to do this year to win.”
‘A Myth That Should Not Be Perpetuated’:
The source of the curse myth
revealed. … Repeat: Never heard of the ‘Curse of the Bambino’ while growing up. It started cropping up in the ‘80s. That’s not to say old-timers weren’t still bemoaning the Babe trade when I was young (my grandfather certainly was). But … Thanks to JJDaley
for the great column catch.
Jumbo power and history:
I’m biased, but I think Rocky has a good case that the first recorded college football
game in U.S. history was Harvard-Tufts in 1875. The first game in North America, if you buy the argument, was Harvard-McGill. ... The problem with the famous Rutgers-Princeton game is, while some sort of sport was clearly played between the two teams, it hadn’t developed yet into North American football. What’s with ‘goaltenders’
? Sounds like it was three-quarters soccer, one-quarter rugby. ...
But what’s with ‘Boston rules’? Never heard of them. Still, don't they indicate that the modern game of football (as we roughly know it) was invented somewhere near here? An argument against the Harvard-Tufts game: The local sportswriter who wrote about the ‘75 game writes as if he already had an understanding of the rules. Indicating it was played sometime beforehand. Not Rutgers-Princeton. Something in between. Probably in Boston. Probably involving Harvard. Probably involving ‘Boston rules.’ ...
‘It’s a stupid, idiotic comment ...’: Guess who said this and why:
"That's my problem. ... If I don't call up, you don't apologize for it. You don't retract it. Somebody calls, and you make it a bigger deal than it is. It's a stupid, idiotic comment to make. It's irresponsible. And you don't know. Obviously, you just made it up."
Love the guy ...
‘Raised on ‘Jaws’ ’:
I was raised on Jaws. This is cool.
‘The red dot is now on your head’:
John Ellis has another ‘Dear Mary Mapes’
letter. ... RatherGate has turned into an unintended reality show. I'm hooked. Will Mary Mapes escape? How's it going to end? Where's the popcorn?
‘Did something amazing ...’ David Brooks
is in awe that Kerry’s rhetoric was actually clear yesterday. George Will
ain’t so impressed with either side. ... Lots of various blogs have been running emails from troops in Iraq. But a sad story
from Iraq about GIs, on the record, voicing doubts about the war. The CSM piece admirably bends over backwards to emphasize that this may or may not be a trend, that the majority of troops appear to be proud and pro-war. But ... It’s sort of sick that beheadings
no longer create the outrage they deserve. They’re becoming the norm. ...
OK, OK, big moment in Hub Blog history: Just where do I stand on the war? Knowing all that I know now, I’m with William Buckley, we shouldn’t have gone in. Sorry. The war should have shifted to the mountains of Pakistan. Yes, Pakistan. East. Osamaland. Deal with Iraq later, but not too much later -- and with much better pre-war diplomacy and post-war planning. But now? Iraq is Iraq. Deal with it. Push back. Hard. Get through January’s elections, give breathing room to new government at least through next year. Step up the training of an Iraqi security force and start handing out that reconstruction aid. More troops? Probably. But with the intent of providing security and said breathing room, not to give some cigar-chomping Army officer more baseball bats to kill flies. More emphasis on special ops. Try to get more international troops, but don’t hold breath. ... And that’s my Armchair General analysis for the week. It has the benefit, at least, of having more clarity than what the candidates are saying.
We ... we ... we ... we:
Oh, yeah. James Carroll is back.
Nineteen uses of ‘we,’ the ultimate all-encompassing Big Think word, or so addicted users of ‘we’ think. ... Hey, I’ve been critical of the war. But tying it to Dresden, the Cold War, Vietnam and Richard Nixon? I slap my forehead and only wish I had thought of those connections! ...
‘Rather messy’: Posted
so I can’t be accused of not caring.
‘In Praise of Bacon’:
Posted to get ‘our’ mind off Iraq. The bad news: Yankee magazine
doesn’t put its content online. The good news: I’m a satisfied subscriber and have the goods on this edition’s
Bacon-wrapped Stuffed Dates recipe. Quickly: Pitted dates sliced like a New England hot dog roll, stuffed with tiny teaspoon of goat cheese, wrapped with half-cooked piece of bacon, broiled together for an extra few minutes. ... For other greasy bacon recipes, head to your newsstands now. ...
‘For those of you ...’:
From Brighton Reader:
“For those who think that the Big Dig or new Convention Center are massive boondoggles, how about this: they are CLOSING
an airport in Montreal that was built in the 1970's because it just isn't used. Something about the sheer scale of this disaster impresses me.”
Behind most modern boondoggles, there’s a tourism and hospitality lobby.
'Dear Mary Mapes':
If you can only read one blog item today, make sure it's John Ellis' memo to Mary Mapes.
Brutal blogger bluntness at its very best.
‘Lowe throws stinker ...’, Part II: Pedro throws stinker.
Time to turn attention elsewhere. Pretend the Sox aren’t there. Maybe they’ll start playing better again. ... Ah, the Pats.
A very encouraging development yesterday: the Pats found a running back
(reg. requ.). It was great to see someone who sees holes where there’s not supposed to be holes. I.e. Corey Dillion has great lateral movement.
Mr. Blair speaks, Hub Blog listens: Tony Blair
is urging people not to waver on Iraq. Stirring words. Agree with him. ... Now only if we could get supporters of the war to start focusing on the war and stop the cop-out blaming of the media’s use of certain words
for not paying attention to the war. ... Good article in the Christian Science Monitor
on the ‘classic guerrilla war forming in Iraq.’ If the insurgency manages to jell together, it could take 10 years to defeat, military experts are warning. It may already be too late, but the lack of political coherency among insurgents is a big wedge we can still use against them. Get to January, hold the elections, and hope Iraqis rally to their new government. That’s the short-term goal with major long-term implications. ... Oh, forgot. Not supposed to use the word ‘insurgency.’ Must be more conscious of new conservative political correctness. My apologies. Everything else stands.
-- More Republican criticism
of the administration's handling of Iraq. ... They must have been quoted wrong. It simply can't be!
‘Is there one culinary culprit ...’:
Reader No. 1 spots this Brian McGrory article
on whether Boston restaurateurs are going the way of modern architects -- hopelessly over intellectualizing their profession with artsy anti-bourgeois snootiness while yanking bills from your wallet like good capitalist barons. ... Reader No. 1: “(McGrory's) overview of the Boston food scene is an article for the ages. Completely fair and balanced in how well he captured the weird balance of pretentiousness, skill, and the bottom line (at least according to Chef Oringer).” ... Oringer’s defense of small meals is also one for the ages. ... Don’t want to blow McGrory’s apt ending, but I will say I don’t think chefs have gone too far. If they do, they fall over the sales cliff. The ultimate check and balance of the marketplace. How and why the marketplace failed to check architects is a different issue for a different blog post ...
-- To the emailers who have written in: The comparison to architects is mine, not McGrory's. My pet-peeve, not his, though I think there's a parallel. I thought it was clear. My apologies.
‘If you go 10 mph, you'd bite your tongue off’:
Here they are, the worst paved streets
in Boston. Look where they’re located (see chart at bottom). What a surprise. ... Andrea Cabral’s primary victory
is about to show whether the proverbial squeaky wheel really does get the oil. I think it’s about to get drenched. ... FYI: Adam Gaffin
probably had the pithiest summary last week on Cabral’s victory. It’s really not a black-white issue per se. It’s more about minorities finally flexing their political muscle and everyone else getting tired of the usual hacks. Last week’s ‘turning point’ actually began to turn with Ralph Martin’s elections. ...
Mitt goes local ...:
The issue isn’t Mitt skirting the intent of silly campaign finance laws. The story is he’s deadly serious
about making the GOP a viable opposition party in Massachusetts -- and he’s raising the dough to try to accomplish it. The demographics of Boston have changed. The demographics of the ‘burbs have also changed. ... Hub Blog’s hunch is the effort could be a bust, at least this year, in part because Mitt himself has damaged his own ‘reform’ image. But maybe suburban voters will get the general intent and hold their noses while flipping the switch for some admittedly lame GOP candidates.
‘Lowe throws stinker ...’:
Hub Blog has deliberately held off on Sox coverage, having come to the conclusion that the Sox play better when attention is elsewhere. But seven runs on four hits and three walks
in only one-plus innings? ... You Know Who
actually wrote a great piece this morning on Lowe, a column that almost made up for You Know Who’s
flowery attempt at Whip the Fans Into a Silly Frenzy pre-series column. ...
‘I feel those October juices flowing’:
Kerry is rallying the troops.
In Massachusetts. Has it gotten that bad? ... The Geritol Couple photo to the right is mere coincidence.
‘Falluja will be tough’:
Reader No. 1 actually thinks I was wrong below to question Kerry’s harping on the Reserve/National call-up: “I think he might actually have something there given that Rasmussen, and common sense, indicate a majority don't want more troops in Iraq. If he actually had a plan on Iraq besides being 'more effective' than Bush, it might make a difference.” ...
... Yep, the Kerry camp is going to focus on the war more.
Good move. Lot’s of discontent out there on the issue. It probably won’t be enough to win in November. But it’s better than the tired It’s the Economy, Stupid strategy being promoted by the new self-promoting Clintonite clique trying to take over the campaign. They’ll stab Kerry in the back after November, asserting he didn’t follow their advice, I’m sure. But the Clintonites don’t seem to understand that Clinton won in ‘92 in part because A.) The Cold War was over and B.) The War on Terrorism hadn’t begun yet. Times are different. Not that the economy isn’t important. It is. Much to mine there. But you also can’t just ignore Iraq, Afghanistan and the threat of terrorism.
... And yep, something short of hell is definitely going to break loose in Iraq post-election.
The CSM had a good article last week on the delay-the-inevitable-showdown