‘Why I’m for Kerry, Really’:
I still think Bush will win it. But I was pessimistic about the Pats and Sox. ... Mickey Kaus
says it all in terms of why he’s reluctantly for Kerry while not a Bush hater. Among other things, Mickey notes how Bush has become such a lightening rod and why that’s dangerous in these dangerous times. Mickey on those who don’t understand this:
“I'm continually amazed that bloggers, of all people, don't appreciate the way intensely motivated individuals, operating without centralized state (or any other) control, can be empowered by new technology to do us tremendous harm. To put it in mundane current blogospheric terms, when it comes to preventing future attacks, the terrorists will more and more come to resemble bloggers in their pajamas and America will come to resemble CBS.”
I’m amazed too. ...
If Bush wins: Conservative blogger comparisons to wartime Lincoln/FDR reelections ...
If Bush loses: Conservative blogger comparisons to Churchill shown the door in ‘45 ...
If Kerry wins: Bostonian comparisons to Pats, Sox, Kerry. ... Liberals finally get real about what’s at stake in Iraq while conservatives suddenly find things to criticize in Iraq. ... Kerry one term. ... Boston Globe runs gobs of obnoxious features on Boston as intellectual and political powerhouse with a few ‘we’re hip around the world’ stories thrown in. ... Incredibly nasty and fun Dem primary for Kerry’s senate seat. Lots of dirty laundry aired. Perhaps the best reason to support Kerry. ...
If Kerry loses: Dems win in 2006 and 2008. ... Average Bostonians shrug shoulders and say, ‘We always have the Sox.’ ... Kerry is not subjected to local post-election Dukakis-style criticism. He ran a good race. Besides, the city feels lucky enough as it is with the Pats and Sox. ...
-- Reader No. 1:
“I'm pretty sure that if elected, the policies of President Kerry will lower the hatred level among allies, elites, and other civilized types. We had a pretty low hatred level in the 1990s under President Clinton. There is no evidence however that a kinder gentler approach to foreign affairs such as President Clinton observed, and President Kerry would surely reinstate, would have any impact the hatred level among those who fly planes into buildings, bomb US embassies, battleships, and other buildings - and who will almost surely try to wipe us out with other weapons as he cites. The WTC and Pentagon attacks were planned during the Clinton administration. ... It seems to me the lightning rod you refer to is actually working as lightning rods are intended to.”
Hub Blog's response: I hate it when my bad metaphors are thrown back at me effectively. I also hate endless rehashing of the Clinton years, as if none of us learned from 9/11. So I'll end it there.
‘Huge? Welcome to Newton’: John Farrell
didn’t see a huge turnout this morning in Newton. Hmmm. If this occurs across the state, I wonder how it might impact Mitt’s legislative push, which I suspect would be a dud if there was a huge turnout. ... No matter what happens to the local GOP, the key is not to make this a one-shot push for relevance. Staying power is more important in the long-run than going for an unrealistic knockout ... What if Kerry lost Massachusetts? Nahhh. Couldn’t happen. But an average of local polls I saw showed him with only 50 percent of the vote in Massachusetts against Bush. ... BTW: Where’s JJDaley
? Please check in, JJ.
-- Others reporting in that voting is indeed heavy in their non-Newton towns.
has lots on voting -- and it looks heavy in most places.
-- From Brighton Reader: "The three precincts that are at the site where I vote had over 1000 people cast their ballots as of 11 this morning, as of 3 p.m. there were over 1500. This is a high turnout."
'Will Kerry find himself in the end of this movie ...':
From Reader No. 1:
"The decay at CBS
didn't start with Dan Rather.
"While there is a lot too much inside baseball in this column, Novak
raises a rather good question. I saw pieces of the great 1972 Robert Redford movie 'The Candidate' over the weekend. Despite the 70s setting, the movie has gained in power of the years in his depiction of the bright young man whose campaign is ultimately about himself, not about ideas or issues. Will Kerry find himself in the end of this movie later in the week, asking that plaintive question: 'What do we do now?'
"Nevertheless, whatever happens, amen to these sentiments.
Ditto to the amen.
Rest, Boston, rest:
Don’t know about you, but I still have a tenacious cold and sinus infection to nurse now that IT is all over. I assume millions of others also need rest, especially after yesterday’s awesome rolling rally parade, the ultimate exclamation point to one of the greatest weeks in Boston history....
Quickie note: City and state leaders and workers, thank you. You did a hell of a job. The wise decisions to hold the parade on Saturday, to extend the parade route, to end it with the unforgettable lap around the Charles River basin. Thank you pols, cops, public-works grunts, T personnel, all of you. Take a bow! ... I salute you with penicillin and a shot of OJ!
-- Three million? Two million?
Two million sounds about right. Lot of repeat celebrants running from one section of the parade to the next for a second cheer.
‘GEORGE! with all thy faults’: George Will
, one of the few conservatives to actually stick up for principles instead of succumbing to pom-pom partisanship, makes a good case not
to vote for Kerry, giving Bush defacto albeit reluctant support. ... I agree with all his points, but disagree with his conclusion. President Bush lost me when we didn’t find WMD and he dismissed it as minor. The rest of the botched occupation just added to an overall picture of someone who would say and do anything just to get Saddam. He got him. Good. Now it’s time for George to go for letting down people who enthusiastically or reluctantly supported the war for other reasons. ... KERRY! with all thy faults.
Right by my apartment ...:
They’ve extended the parade down Cambridge Street, a mere block and a half from Chez Hub Blog. Couldn’t be happier. Here’s the route.
... If anyone wants to stop by today for a break and Bloody Mary, send me an email or give me a call. I’m in the book. Chez Hub Blog is now Anderson Street Parade Central.
‘John, you've made me a believer’: Mickey Edwards
is sticking with President Bush, but he has a newfound admiration for Kerry’s campaign prowess. I not-so-vaguely recall warning other bloggers and readers a while back that Kerry would put up a hell of a fight and the Bushies were a bit too cocky in wanting Kerry to be the Dem nominee. Got a bunch of emails from people mocking that assertion. ... But will Kerry win? A few weeks ago I thought it was Bush. Still do. But I’m not as sure today. It’s very close. Hub Blog's fellow Kerry Haters For Kerry
may yet be the deciding factor.
Brilliant move -- really: Better than a City Hall rally
: Duck Tours on the Charles. ... Safer, too. ... Apply now: SWAT scuba-divers needed to keep BU and Northeastern clowns from wrecking even this.
Hold the presses!: 'Bin Laden Takes Responsibility For 9/11 Attacks in New Tape'
... The October Surprise in Reverse! Not in chains. Not on a slab. Why the hell is this guy alive to gloat? ... Iraq: Diversion. Take it away, Kerry.
‘I like winning!’:
Hub Blog’s Manhattan-based WMD Spy lets loose:
“All this crap about Red Sox fans not knowing what comes next after finally winning.... I know what comes next, beating the Yankees again in 2005! There are people who jump on the band wagon when teams are winning, and there are people who bizarrely jump on the band wagon when a team is losing for a very long time. Good riddence to both of them. I want the Red Sox to win. I like it when they win. I like it even more when they win against the Yankees. It’s very simple. For those who need a psychoanalyst to deal with their baseball emotions, please go cheer for some California team.” Update
-- Eric Wilbur
also lets loose on New Yorkers and Angry Bills trying to tell us how miserable we're supposed to be about not being miserable: "There is a new identity to Red Sox Nation, and anyone who wants to remain in their own misery is hereby expelled from the premises. Pick up your violin on the way out Bill. Nobody here is going to play it for you anymore." ... This town is as happy, albeit exhausted, as I've ever seen it. The cute peddled misery schticks and stories are laughable. They're toast.Thanks a lot, riot celebrators: No City Hall rally?
The brats spoiled it for the rest of us. ... Howie
is naming names. The parents are shocked! The little darling in jail? His name might be in the papers? He might have a record? No blue-ribbon panels. Modern versions of old-fashioned New England stocks with maximum public humiliation may accomplish what parents and college administrators failed to do. ... I was looking forward to that City Hall rally!
Another suggestion: City planners still have time to modify the parade route. I’d make it another mile or so longer. There’s just going to be too many people crammed along a 3-mile route. ... Another suggestion: Head fake the BU and Northeastern clowns and hold a surprise City Hall rally for the rest of us.
‘Take the poignant pain and stuff it’: Marty Nolan
and Howard Bryant
have great columns this morning. Marty to the literary baseball-is-a-metaphor-for-life types who think Sox suffering was intellectually cute: “Let's try it the other way. Take the poignant pain and stuff it. Let's see how we like winning. If we like it, let's win again.” ... Howard on the same subject: “The motivation for rooting wasn't for champagne toasts, but in anticipation of the next chapter. In the end, it was still all about the ongoing story. The new chapter has now begun.”
Hub Blog would add: If we do miss the suffering (and I doubt we will), there will always be the Bruins and Celtics. ...
-- The NYT
is playing up the Suffering Void Left In Boston nonsense. It's sooooooo intellectual and existential. ... Does this article even remotely capture the mood in Boston? Yeah, three million people tomorrow will be crying and lamenting the loss of suffering. Right.
Time to blow up the MBTA and start from scratch:
Five hundred taxpaying citizen customers beg for trolley service
in Somerville. The MBTA says no. You shall get buses. ... And I thought I detected a changing mindset at the MBTA.
They own the city:
Growing up, I thought I’d never see two things: The end of the Cold War and a Sox World Series championship. I’ve seen both. ... Manny, Pedro, Curt, Johnny, Lowe, Papi. Take your pick. They’re all playoff MVPs. But here’s my nomination: Keith Foulke.
The stats: “He had the ball in his hand every game of the series and posted a win and a 1.80 ERA. Foulke went 1-0 with three saves and a 0.64 ERA in 11 appearances in the postseason, allowing only one run on seven hits in 14 innings, while striking out 19 batters.” ... Repeat: Striking out 19 in 14
innings. Can you ask for more from a reliever? ... Compare the Sox’ newfound emphasis in the past year on pitching to Edgar Renteria’s lament
about the Card’s lack of hitting. ...
You know Boston is happy when: The garbage men outside your window are merrily and loudly collecting your garbage, ‘Go Sox! ... Awesome! ... Good morning!’ and residents are leaning out the windows and merrily and loudly returning the greetings. ... I can’t wait to walk to work. ... Yesterday, I really did feel like I was on laughing gas. This morning, just pure, crisp happiness.
Dynasty? Moneyball time: John Henry
: “We don’t do this as a hobby.” ...
‘We don't have a Pedro bobblehead at our house’: Pedro.
Can’t believe it. ... Is someone piping nitrous oxide into my apartment? Stop it! ... Don't know about you, but I can only describe it as floating and cartwheeling somewhere within Alice in Wonderland, Twilight Zone and a Star Trek Dual Universe episode, with the Cat, Rod and Spock telling me it’s true but not true. And I'm talking about nitrous oxide, not the Sox. ... Only one thing to say: Don’t get cocky, kids. ... Still not divulging my secret-weapon superstition, but Reader No. 1 perhaps unwisely divulges his:
“We don't have a Pedro bobblehead
at our house, but we do have a replica of Fenway Park in the living room (with players in field position, and the dugout), which Mom can't move until the series is over. So at the risk of jinxing us, I sense this morning we may be coming in for a landing. ... Maybe it was Pedro's sort-of-farewell at the live press conference last night or Dennis & Callahan complaining that the series is boring on WEEI this morning... There are too many writers covering this to say anything original other than -- it's been great. And does Keith Foulke
remind anyone else of Adam Vinateri?"
FYI: I’m still very nervous and near panic, despite the laughing gas giggles. Schilling isn’t likely to pitch if this gets back to Fenway. Please end it soon.
FYI II Update -- As one wag just put it, "If any team can pull off the greatest comeback and collapse in the same season, it's the Sox." ... So, don't get cocky, kids.
Another Page 1 photo controversy: NYT.
Front page. Above the fold. Lead art. Three columns wide. Body after bloody body of Iraqi army training recruits. But they’re just Iraqis. Never mind. ... Move on! Nothing here! Move on! ...
BTW: The photo on the right in the above link is cut off vertically by about half. Much bigger in print. ...
There’s an election going on?:
talking about the Sox
? I don’t understand. I just don’t understand.
‘Wish everybody on this planet could experience ...’: Curt
, the man, the legend. ... Don’t get cocky, kids. ... JJ
does some Tracking at Fenway. ... FYI: Don’t worry. I changed my routine for the first two games of the Series -- and they won. So don’t be alarmed about my blogging. There are, though, other new superstitions I’ve picked up that can’t be divulged until after the series.
‘We really do need new thinking ...’:
More from Reader No. 1 on l’affaire Herald:
“Your reader with the 'breathtakingly dumb' observation (see update below) raises a good point, but pulls the trigger way too soon on judging whether or not good will come from it. If 'non-lethal' weapons don't have a lethal outcome again in Boston -- and future fan 'celebrations' are less dangerous -- those would be good outcomes. We won't know that for awhile. Let's heed the words of that very wise writer you quoted the other day.
, as usual, gets it half-right (‘time for an inquest’) and half-staggeringly wrong with her call for a 'blue-ribbon panel' on the destructive behavior of fans. Please provide an example of ANY 'blue-ribbon panel' that has had salutary effects on public behavior. Blue-ribbon panels are not very good at moral issues, increasingly less so over the years. We really do need new thinking on this problem, as well as some old thinking (ie the Paddy Wagon)."
The Victoria Snelgrove photos:
The Herald has apologized
for running Page 1 and Page 4 photos of a dying Victoria Snelgrove after Wednesday’s Sox game. So be it. But here’s a prediction: The next sports-related riot/celebration will be slightly more subdued and the Boston police will react more intelligently. I hope I’m right. I truly believe the Page 1 Herald photo in particular, easily one of the most powerful and controversial photos ever to run in a Boston newspaper, will eventually play a role in change. But still there’s understandable controversy ...
says the photo (I’d link to it if I could find it, FYI) “doesn't add to our understanding.” My immediate reaction to that line and logic is: Stop using the word “our” when a writer means “my.” For “me” the photo greatly added to “my” understanding of the event. A lot of other readers obviously felt the same way, as Dan’s admirable comment section
suggests. Some of the comments: “adds everything to the story” and “probably the most newsworty photograph of the year for a Boston newspaper.” So good people can indeed disagree over this issue.
I happen to think the Page 4 photo was unnecessary. But the Page 1 photo told me everything: Victoria Snelgrove died a very violent death. I thought the “pellet” hit her eye and caused a brain hemorrhage. I even thought she might have cracked her head against a railing or sidewalk, causing further harm. I didn’t have time to read various stories that would have refuted those notions. But the Page 1 photo showed, unmistakably, the “pellet” -- and I’m tempted to start describing it as a musketball -- actually penetrated and inflicted gruesome wounds. They’re already moving to ban
these insane ‘non-lethal’ weapons. My other immediate reaction upon seeing the Page 1 photo was that the front-page of the Herald should be torn out and tacked on every dormitory door in the city with the simple message: ‘See?’ These thug celebrations create a danger to everyone -- thugs, cops, innocent bystanders like Victoria Snelgrove, everyone. And, please, don’t forget last year’s death of an innocent bystander during a riot celebration when police were criticized for underreacting to that event. ...
A very wise writer
once wrote the following about horrifying photos run by newspapers: “In the immediate aftermath, the critics are in high dudgeon. Often, though, with the passage of time, we come to see the value of going where the squeamish might not.”
With the passage of time, I think there will be a growing resolve by a wider range of people to put a stop to these riot celebrations and police tactics, partly because people like myself grasped the non-abstract violent nature of these events by staring in shock at the Herald photos.
FYI: I am a Herald business reporter, for all you full-disclosure ethicists out there. But I’m a reader too of non-business stories.
-- More proof that good people can disagree on this issue. I know both of the readers. Here goes:
Reader No. 1, who located the controversial P1 photo here
(up for now), writes of the photo: "I agree with you. ... This IS what really happened!"
But another reader writes: "My first reaction to seeing the Herald's front page that day was, 'This is breathtakingly dumb.' I didn't hear a positive reaction from any non-journalist who saw it, either. My test on publishing gruesome photos like that is, what good will come of this? It has to outweigh the tremendous negatives that come from using the photo: pain to the family and fanning a public image of the media as lacking common decency. I don't think the Herald's use of the photos passed that test."
Extra, extra: 'Hell freezes over!'
‘THEY DID IT!!!!’ ...‘Story is too good for words.’
With that, I shall let the headlines and quotes say most of the words: ... Derek
: ‘Words can’t even describe it because it’s never been done before.’ ... Pedro clutching AL championship trophy
: ‘I’m not going to let it go.’ ... Papi giving a crucial Burgess Meredith-like lecture to Johnny about spending too much time with his woman before big games: “I told them, `Hey, Michelle, listen, you are sleeping in somebody else's room. You've got to stay away from my boy for the next couple of days.' And I think it helped. Look at my man today.'' ... Derek Lowe
: ‘Risen from the ashes.’ ... David Ortiz
: ‘He leads the league in hugs.’ ... Johnny
: ‘As Johnny goes, we go.’ ... From Adam and others
: ‘Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God.’ ...
Now my favorite part: Headlines and quotes from NY, in direct retaliation for the cheap stunt of letting Bucky Dent throw out the first ball last night. ... ‘Damned Yankees’
: “The Yankees last night completed the worst collapse in postseason baseball history.” ... “Everything I've always known to be right has been proven wrong." ... "I was hoping I would never see this day in my lifetime." ... ‘A-Rod Now Face of Failure’
: “He left last night in October to Bronx boos, the symbol of the greatest Yankee failure ever.” ...‘Chokes on Yanks’:
“The darkest moment in Yankee history.” ...‘Yankees meet Ruthless end’
: “Maybe the worst choke job ever.” ....‘Yanks collapse a monumental one’
: “The worst loss in the history of their franchise.” ... ‘Red Sox’ Anguish and Yankees’ Mystique Dissolve in Game 7’
: “Devastating failure.”
Random thoughts: Nomar who? ... I knew they would do it. I knew it! (Ignore posts below.)... Notice how Bostonians don’t refer to the series’ games in chronological order. It’s ‘The First Win’ or ‘The Second Win’ etc. Last night: ‘The Last Win.’ .. Games 1,2 and 3 simply don’t exist. Well, maybe Game 3. But only because it set up the climatic drive to ‘The Last Win.’ ... Real cute: George gave Sox brass the Babe Ruth Suite last night. Har, har, har. ... Don’t get cocky, kid. There’s a World Series to win. Go Tim!
No blogging as anti-Curse:
Not that anyone noticed or cared, but I didn’t blog this week until now. Reasons: Part nagging illness, part tension, part I couldn’t say anything else different so why open my trap. But after the Second Win, it was pure raw superstition. ... I also didn’t watch ANY of the final innings of First, Second, Third or Fourth Wins -- for the same reasons. I made a great personal sacrifice in doing this. I hope people appreciate it. ...
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. ...