'Yeah, that cleared things up': Bruce
is still skirmishing with Boston Dirt Dogs
-- You gotta love it: 'Keith Foulke’s Loss of Velocity Linked to Herbal Supplement Recommended by Byung Hyun Kim.'Update II
-- Former Herald colleague Michael Gee
says farewell over at Bruce's site. Michael is a great sportswriter, a true gentleman and, no, he won't be delivering pizzas with the caliber of his skills. Via Adam.
Robocop to snoop on motorists, Part II:
Hub Blog is flattered and honored that Carpundit
has asked me an auto ethical question. I guess the best way to answer his question is to fall back on his own reasoned past replies (here
) in which he showed a great respect for the law and do-no-harm to cars. ... Of course, if I owned a car, the inverse would be true, as my previous post suggests. ... FYI: I ask a lot of car questions precisely because I've freely chosen not to own a car. You see, I was traumatized after I had to dump my first beauty, a 1977 Plymouth Volare station wagon, only to find out later that I was the victim of an inept mechanic. I could have driven my Volare for tens of thousands of miles more. My relationship with cars has never been the same.Update
-- Sniff, sniff. My Plymouth Volare station wagon
also had fake wood paneling. ... I'm getting very emotional now. I've opened up old wounds. ... "Your heart has given me wings"
'Did NO ONE in the Pentagon watch Lawrence of Arabia?':
Armchair Gen. Savin Hill reports in:
"Just finished 'Generation Kill'
by Rolling Stone reporter Evan Wright. Hands down, best nonfiction book on Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"I also read cover to cover Rick Atkinson's 'In The Company of Soldiers,'
culled from his embed with the 101st during the war's western spearhead up Highway 9 to Baghdad. Wright followed the Marines' 1st Recon Battalion, which acted as a flanker to the Marines' eastern spearhead (up Highway 7). So the two books are the 'book-ends' of the actual conflict.
"Here's the Reader's Digest version: While meant to be a test-bed of small-unit 'maneuver warfare' (aka - Boyd's warfare model
), the truth is the Marines failed to really put it into practice. Of course, more accurately one should say the Pentagon, which took the least-important detail (smaller forces) and married it to the most important (speed + chaos = success) and what resulted is a two-part conflict: winning the initial war; failure to wipe out its aftermath - the continuing insurgent/guerilla warfare. Middle Eastern countries are nation-states in names only after all - cut the cord to the ruling regime, and they'll all devolve into warring clans/ethnicities/religious sects (did NO ONE in the Pentagon watch Lawrence of Arabia?). You can't help but think of Boyd's admonition to the Marines: Fight the enemy; not the beach.
"Boyd's almost Zen-like approach to warfare managed to get watered down to a zeitgeist -- but not a practice of the Marines. We see this in the fact that the Marines 1st Recon Battalion was trained to be the kind of wild, glass-eating, behind-the-lines elite chaos unit envisioned by champions of maneuver warfare...but ended up being used as juicy, extra-easy-to-kill decoy bait (fighting not just in Humvees -- but in Humvees stripped of ANY protection, and told to attack head-on in linear fashion known kill zones). Wright reports the war from his rear seat position in one of these Humvees. In addition to reportage of the tragic and horrible, it's also unintentionally mind-bendingly funny. Imagine being stuck in the back seat of your family's worst road trip. Mom and Dad fight the whole trip, your brothers won't stop harassing you, there's never a good place to go to the bathroom -- and everyone in every town you drive through is shooting at you with AKs and RPGs."
The great 'nor'easter' debate -- truly finis:
One last post on the 'nor'easter' vs. 'NORTHeaster' debate. Thanks to the intrepid research of Dr. Universal Hub and Prof. Reader No. 1, Hub Blog's testy suggestion that 'nor'easter' was a mere recent invention has been blown out of the water.
But here's the statistical proof
, via Adam's comment page
, that the media indeed has glommed onto the word in recent years, wrongly making it look like it was a previously widely used word in New England: "From 1975 to 1980, journalists used the nor'easter spelling only once in five mentions of such storms; in the past year (2003), more than 80 percent of northeasters were spelled nor'easter. It's no more authentic than 'nucular' for nuclear or 'bicep' for biceps, but it would take a mighty wind, at this point, to blow nor'easter back into oblivion."The great torture debate -- also finis (or should be):
Backpeddling a bit, Glenn
links to this 'non-hysterical and well-documented' post
about the torture issue. So, please, no more talk about how torture hasn't happened. It did. In multiple places. By many different intelligence and military personnel. Twenty-seven murders. Much higher homicide percentage than within the U.S. prison system. ... Great quote: "Torture doesn't simply, oops, 'just happen.' " ... Another great point: "Moving forward, what do we do about it?" ...
I guess Glenn's post is his way of saying that those who allegedly engaged in hysteria and poor documentation might have been more right than those who regularly chose to stick their heads in the sand.'The EU will muddle on ...':
Hub Blog actually thought that at the last moment the French would vote 'oui' on the EU referendum, confounding the CW of the past week, not that I wanted the CW of the past week to be proven wrong. ... Anyway, here's an interesting political analysis
from the UK, pointing out how the French 'non' vote also puts Tony Blair on the defensive, though not nearly as much as M. Chirac. ...
'For a young man to have that level of depth':
Collin Kelly is a remarkable kid whose honor-the-veterans exploits
remind me of my 5-year-old nephew, who also dons camouflage jackets and loves all things vets. Asked what he wanted to do on Valentine's Day, he told my brother he wanted to bring valentine cards to military veterans at local VA hospitals. My brother was stunned and moved. So off they went to a local VA hospital, where grateful aging vets were given Valentine's Day cards. True story. ... And so is Collin's.
'Substitute AP for Boston Media and Tet Offensive for 1978':
The Sox break out of a slump, big time.
Their up-and-down, early-year antics remind me of this classic 13-month-old blog entry
from a wise fan:
"Substitute AP for Boston Media and Tet Offensive for 1978 or any other infamous Red Sox collapse that the Boston media will invoke whenever things appear to be going bad, and you should see the parallels."
Not saying the Sox are going to repeat. There's something missing on this team. But it's still early.
Hub Blog concedes 'nor'easter' debate -- still insists 'Da Vinci Code' true:
has pinpointed the probable first recorded use of 'nor'easter.'
The evidence is overwhelming. I concede the point. ... But I won't concede that its widespread use -- especially in the media -- didn't occur until relatively recently. Note the line in Weatherwise: "Weatherwise ran a feature article on nor¹easters in the December 1993/January 1994 issue, which was entitled 'New Respect for Nor'easters.'" What does that mean, huh? Are they suggesting that's the first recorded use in the modern-media era?Update
-- I'm getting the shit beat out of me on this issue. From Reader No. 1:
"I have a hazy memory of the 'nor'easter' term from heavy snowstorms in the winter of 68-69... a stronger memory of it from the Blizzard of 78.
"The American Heritage Dictionary 2000 edition considers it a regular word, according to Dictionary.COM.
Unfortunately, no word history here. Wikipedia has a useful short article
but no idea here when it came into terminology. One might infer as early as 1888, but that would just be an inference... the fact that neither of us remember it growing up in these parts suggests it is a more recent term."
Does he remember it or not? The mystery deepens.
'Choose honor': Hiawatha Bray
is going after yet more obnoxious assertions. As a member of the guild myself and as a reporter at a rival paper, I say good for Hiawatha. ... Via Instapundit.
FYI -- Context for his post can be found here.
'Preserved in 1963 amber':
From Reader No. 1:
"The Globe extracts Ted Sorenson
from an official US Government issue 'Great Society' Time Capsule. It is remarkable how many of President Kennedy's inner circle remain preserved in 1963 amber, true Liberal Conservatives. It's hard to imagine their hero, had he lived, remaining similiarily ossified, cooking up straw man arguments against televangelists and political opponents and imagining that the solution to federally funded stem cell research is the opinion of 'objective, disinterested scientists.'
"The world has changed. But I have an image of Ted and Arthur Schlesinger Jr today sitting around watching CBS news on a black and white flat screen TV wondering when Cronkite and Ed Sullivan will be back from vacation..."
'Robocop to snoop on motorists':
I don't own a car, so I like this idea a lot.
'The gulags of our time'? Part II: Carpundit
is going after the latest obnoxious war-related hyperbole. ... Gulags and now Joseph Goebbels. Pol Pot comparisons must be around the corner.
I always hated that guy, Part III:
The 'always hated' schtick is starting to bother even me. But not John's photos. Here's his latest
from China. I just hope they don't wreck all the old architecture in the city amid the building boom. ... And what about Irene the intrepid guide? Whoa. John. Jackpot. ...
They're now podcasting from museums.
If they're good enough, I think some people just might have found a new way to make a buck off of tours. Why not an audio guide to Battle Road in these parts? Or for the U.S.S. Constitution or Bunker Hill or the MFA or architecture on Beacon Hill etc.?
'Nor'easter' vs. 'NORTHeaster':
brings up a very interesting Boston argument that's been bugging me for a while. Is it 'Nor'easter' or 'NORTHeaster'? ... I'm with the Universal Hub Daughter - to a degree. I was raised in a house in which it was impossible for my mother to pronounce 'Nor'easter' because it included TWO ' r 's. She was from Somerville. So it was really something like 'Noth-eastah.' ... I would submit this whole argument is similar to those who pushed the 'Curse' vs. those who never heard of the 'Curse' until a certain sportswriter started beating it into the ground in the late 1980s. But, to be fair, many people born and raised in these parts distinctly remember 'Nor'easter.' So I say, let the tapes roll from the '78 Blizzard -- or something earlier. Let's see if they were putting such a heavy emphasis on 'Nor'easter,' which I've always assumed was a recent invention of TV types desperately trying to be local hip, or something else. ... Of course, my own way of saying it is a cross between 'Nor'easter' and 'NORTHeaster.' More like 'North-eastah,' with a very quick 'th', depending on my mood and the position of the moon and the number of gin and tonics in me.P.S.
-- The greatest piece of evidence in my favor is that national network TV people love to use 'Nor'easter', just as they loved 'The Curse,' a sure sign I'm right, or at least closer to the truth.P.S. P.S.
-- And don't get me going on how to pronounce 'beautiful.' My uncle used to say 'bee-ah-yoot-iful.'P.S.P.S.P.S.
-- Hub Blog is certainly open to the idea that 'nor'easter' is a Maine/North Shore accent (whatever) that somehow found it way into the mainstream New England lexicon. But I would argue it's a rather recent phenomenon. I don't recall its use as a youth.Update
-- Reader No. 1 is siding with Adam:
"'Nor'easter' is definitely the Boston native pronunciation, as in 'down the Nort'end.'
"'Northeaster' is clumsy, too Harvard Yard (sorry Hub Blog, no offense meant). Why would you pronounce 'th' in North if you were going to leave the 'n' off '...eastern?'
"Suburban passing for Boston native pronunciation would extend the 'r's to 'Norrreaster' - often how we hear it from nauseatingly enthusiastic weather afficianados like Dick Albert (sorry Dick, no offense meant)."Update II
has more thoughts and, while tipping his hat to the obvious logic of the network-TV argument, thinks 'nor'easter' just sounds better. I can't argue with taste and sentiment. But I still need more evidence
of the history of 'nor'easter.' I think we've fairly deduced that, yes, some people did and have historically used and heard it (Reader No. 1), while others have not (yours truly). But when did it start getting flashed onto TV screens and literally shoved into news stories, without quotes around it, as if it's a real word? When did it take over as semi-official terminology? I think -- know -- it's been recent. I will not concede the argument until someone shows me hard proof!
'God answers prayer!': Chris
is pumped about the debut of his new radio show on May 30. ... The Open Source program also has a blog.'Heading towards its inevitable final act'?: Bruce
is going after Boston Dirt Dogs
again (scroll down). ...
At times like this, a good reality check
has more on the brawl.
I always hated that guy, Part II:
John has landed in China
and is posting envy-inducing photos. ...
'The gulag of our times'?:
The historical comparison between the gulags and U.S. treatment of prisoners
is simply gross and shows Amnesty International has never really appreciated the magnitude of the carnage within the gulags. So how will Amnesty International describe Darfur from now on? ... Silent denial on one end and obnoxious hyperbole on the other. How stimulating.Update
-- Tom Friedman: 'Just shut it down.'
Slipping neighborhood notes under the windshield wipers of illegally parked cars was and is a good idea. But scraping a screwdriver
along the side of cars takes Boston street tensions to an ugly low. ...
Another auto etiquette question for Carpundit
: Keys and screwdrivers, bad. We know that. But how about throwing/placing/smearing rotten tomatoes on cars that are illegally parked? Update
-- Carpundit responds
in his typically reasoned manner. ... I also should have known that acidic tomatoes can leave stains and damaged paint. ... But what about rotten eggs and celery? Hmmm. 'It is unimpressed with those moves': Mitt's at it again.
This is one of those rare times when I tout something I'm doing at the Herald. I'm now blogging over at One Wingo Way: Herald EconoBlog.
... My plans are still to keep Hub Blog separate – with no ads or future links to or from my own work at the Herald. Hub Blog is my site, baby. Mine. But I'm excited about EconoBlog. I've already learned a lot about the institutional strengths and weaknesses of newspapers blogging, in the short time I've been posting over there. The site became officially active yesterday afternoon. ... Still haven't figured out how to get paid for blogging. They're not paying me an extra dime for the effort. Then again, I'm not getting paid for Hub Blog. ... And, man, I have to lose some weight! ...
'The Nantucket Diet': Oh please
- 7 p.m. -- I just told someone I should slap together a book called 'The Salisbury Beach Diet,'
based on my favorite foods and restaurants there.
The more I think about it, the more I like the idea. Think Random House will go for it? ...I always hated that guy:
John Daley is going on my dream vacation.
OK, hate is too strong a word. How about rewording it to '... insanely jealous of...' Bon voyage, John! ... Along with China, my other top dream trips would be Rome (for the history and food) and southeast Africa (Tanzania, Mozambique and Madagascar, where the Hub Blog Sis and Beau-frere now live, speaking of reasons to be insanely jealous). ...
Michael Ross is trash talking
in a good way. ...
An hour ago city sweepers came through the old Hub Blog neighborhood. Numerous cars were parked on the street, forcing the sweeper to maneuver around them and miss garbage. So the city's new tow-'em campaign doesn't seem to be working all that swell either.
'No red states':
Massachusetts Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall delivered a remarkable you're-for-us-or-against-us speech
yesterday at Brandeis's commencement.
And that's precisely what it was: remarkable in its thin-skin criticism of critics. ... Are liberal activists now going to vow they won't criticize a future Supreme Court ruling they passionately don't like? Is 'judicial activism' really a 'loaded term'? Is future criticism of the courts going to be automatically viewed by Marshall as being violently hostile to an independent judiciary? ... I know Marshall was joking when she made the 'no red states' crack. But it did spill out of her mouth and suggest where her mind is at these days. I also know that some recent criticism of the courts has been way over the top. But Marshall's defense is also way over the top.
-- A few readers write in ...
Reader No. 1: "Remarkable is the word that comes to mind to describe Justice Marshall's address. At least it is honest in its elitism - she, like most but not all 'people of influence' (The Better Sort!) really does know best.
"I do agree with the Justice that the US has a remarkable record of obeying court decisions even when they are controversial. Remarkably, this even happens in red states!
"You asked the right questions of liberal judicial critics, and I think you know the answers."
And from T:
"Sometimes it's like you don't know what to believe in...did you actually read her speech? How was it over the top? How does it compare to the shrill court critics? I don't get it? I read the whole thing and it seems reasonable to me, just like the Chicago judge whose relatives were shot asking court critics to pay attention to exactly what they're saying."
That last clause's reference, also contained in Marshall's speech, makes my case about being over the top. To compare critics to deranged killers ...Update II
- 5.24 -- Eugene Volokh
has more on the speech -- and he picks up on the 'no red states' remark. ... Do you think Margaret has forgotten that the gay-marriage ruling was made on a 4-3 vote?
The word on The Word:
Just finished Irving Wallace's 'The Word,'
which many note is the publishing granddaddy of 'The Da Vinci Code'
and which is why I read it. Obviously a comparison is inevitable, and so: Close call, but Da Vinci is more crisp and fast-paced. The Word is longer and the dialogue a little weighty, but its biblical factoids are great and kept me reading right till the end. ... Written in the early 1970s, The Word also has that almost endearing Three-Days-of-the-Condor
paranoia about institutions. I almost expected Robert Redford and Cliff Robertson to appear at the end of The Word, with Cliff raising his eyebrows and taunting Robert about whether he can really trust the New York Times to print his big secret. ... Of course the institutional conspiracy minded
are still around.
... Next up: The Boston-set 'Dante Club.'
Reviews are starting to stream in for David McCullough's latest book "1776"
) and the verdict seems to be another winner for David. ... The NYT says the best part of the book is about the seige of Boston. George Washington's references to the New England rabble are hilareous -- 'exceedingly dirty and nasty' and possessing an 'unaccountable kind of stupidity.' There were also so many prostitutes around Boston that one area was called 'Mount Whoredom.' ...
Of course New Englanders had their own views of southerners. I've never been able to find the quote, but Armchair Gen. Savin Hill once told me about a book he read in which Washington pleaded with New Englanders to go south with him after the Northeast campaign was over. The rough response: No way. It's hot down there! We'll just invade Canada, thank you. ...
... Hub Blog is relieved the reviews are good, for the book's somewhat banal title conjured up images of the movie '1776.'
... But I find it hard McCullough's book can beat this.
... Is there an video/online game for the Battle of Lexington and Concord or Bunker Hill? Now that would be fun. 'The cheerful generals at the start of World War I':
Finally, someone makes the filibuster issue
interesting. See what a little war terminology can do?Closet Red Sox fan?:
Hamid Karzai wanted to throw out the first pitch
at Fenway. But, alas, we'll never know
if he has a better arm than John Kerry. ... Thank goodness most of the silly Curse talk is gone, but, hey, this is for a good cause.
Our atrocities are less worse than their atrocities, Part II:
OK, one last post on this entire issue and, hopefully, I'm through. A few readers have emailed me and now there's a post
linked to my modified rant from yesterday. So I'll explain what fascinates me about this whole Newsweek/torture debate. Here goes.
First let's establish that, yes, there had been a relative silence/dowplaying of the torture issue by some 'war hawks,' as self-described war hawk Jeff Jacoby noted in January.
Second, the recent Newsweek fiasco understandably unleashed another bout of media bashing. Newsweek got the story wrong -- or at least had to admit it didn't get it right. Whatever. But, third, the fiasco also had an unintended consequence: It ironically shed light back on those who have engaged in the relative silence/downplaying of the torture scandal. Only now do we see an emerging pack consensus argument – and that's what it's gelled into -- among war hawks who, unlike Jeff Jacoby and others, previously had been relatively silent on the issue. I won't get into their new arguments because, frankly, they don't make much sense and are all over the map, from whether the issue is about inaccurate or accurate media reporting, whether or not any reporting of torture should be mentioned at all if it hurts the war effort, whether our atrocities are worse than theirs (and, yes, that argument has been raised as a defense), whether whatever blah, blah, blah.
This might all sound like intellectual navel gazing. And I'll plead guilty: It is intellectual navel gazing. But it ties back to my own personal fascination with how arguments are formed, denied, pushed, held, discarded. The past week has been a gold mine for those interested in such matters. I'm not the only one who's fascinated with this issue. David Brooks has often brooded over how people are so tribal in their beliefs and partisanship.
But enough. Where do we stand? Or where do I
stand? 1.) The tortures and murders that handed our enemies such a great propaganda bonanza have been stopped or dramatically curtailed. One can largely credit the 'hand wringing' for this. 2.) Time to move on. Even good causes can be marred by moral lapses, such as Dresden or the internment of Japanese Americans, as I've noted before. 3.) Some members of the media had better get it through their thick skulls that there's a war going on and that their reporting has dire consequences. 4.) This has not been a good week for the pro-war blogosphere, which started out on the anti-media warpath and ended up on the defensive. 5.) Please don't accuse me of being a leftie who's trying to undermine the war. I really have no time for the Michael Morons of the world. Just trying to help, while engaging in some eccentric intellectual navel gazing.Update
- 5.22 -- The war-hawk blogosphere sure seems to be approaching grassy knoll territory.
'His vision was never realized':
Stepping into Anthony's Pier 4 is like stepping back into time, from the Merv Griffin photos on the walls to the spreadable cheese with Ritz crackers. I can never make up my mind whether Pier 4, once cutting edge, is hopelessly outdated or far out retro cool without even trying. ... Either way, a part of the good side of old Boston passed away yesterday with Anthony Athanas's death.
Anthony was also more influential in the waterfront's development
than he got credit for. One can only wonder how far along Fan Pier would be now had the Pritzkers, who have failed so miserably in their stewardship of the site, not won control of the parcel.Update
- 5.23 -- From John: "'Spreadable cheese with Ritz crackers'? Man, it's been a few years I think since you darkened the door at Pier 4. They haven't had the cheese spread in quite some time. Entire dining room redone a few years back. Pop-overs are still awesome though, along with the marinated mushrooms. My everlasting complaint is only about the bar...cocktails are touch and go as they're very inconsistent about keeping the soda fresh... I can't stand a flat gin and tonic!
"And Anthony's is still the only restaurant in Boston that knows how to make baked stuff shrimp--by actually stuffing them."
Maybe I should have used the past tense in my description, for it has been more than a few years since I dined at Pier 4. But I do recall being shocked they still had spreadable cheese, so it couldn't have been that long ago. ...
Our atrocities are less worse than their atrocities:
Isn't this what the argument du jour
over torture is coming down to? ... Hey, I'm not saying Andrew Sullivan is a saint. He seems to be going out of his way to bait Glenn
into conceding the argument. Not a realistic way to win an argument. ... But at least he's not trying to sweep the issue under the rug for got-to-win-the-argument reasons. ...
... Got a kick out of Mickey and Glenn
pointing out how the torture seemed to stop once the administration put its foot down. But can't the following argument be made: If it took the administration's foot to come down to stop it, where was the foot in the first place? ...
FYI -- I rewrote the above post a little this morninng (5/21). Originally wrote it last night when I was very tired. Just trimmed and tweaked it, fixed typos and took out a snide comment. The argument remains the same. ... I am definitely a morning blogger.
‘Now explain to me where the ‘competition’ is,’ Part II:
A stunning surprise. One of the first buildings approved for the Greenway is (hold your breath) entirely glass.
How cutting edge! … Of course the ‘competition,’ if you can call it that, was rigged
so that designs would reflect certain predetermined tastes. … Architects are a strange lot. They seem to be still battling ‘bourgeois’ tastes, as if this is still the ‘20s and ‘30s, and promoting God knows what. Hub Blog isn’t arguing, as they’d argue that I’m arguing, for dreaded ‘red-brick buildings.’ But I do argue that if you’re truly trying to find something new and daring, you don’t achieve it by excluding certain types of building materials in building competitions. Now we’ll never know what else could have been designed. … Memo to Mark Maloney: There’s nothing more bourgeois than trying to shock the bourgeois.The birth of an argument:
Kind of cool to see the birth of an argument right at the beehive level. But here it is
(‘It's interesting to see this idea taking off’), the long-delayed rationale for why some haven’t spoken up against torture. … Knew they’d come up with something. Now watch all the worker bees buzzing around arguing the exact same thing. It’s already started. FYI: It should go without saying that the real terror has been committed by the Islamo terrorists. But, as I’ve said before, I’ve become psychologically intrigued with how ideological arguments start and develop over time.
'Mark and Doc are going to spend some time together':
... Hub Blog is now convinced Reader No. 1 was on to something
when he mentioned how Trader Dan might handle Mark Blount post-season (see 'blowout' post). ... The guy wants to meet with each player? What's going on?
'Send the wrong signal to the brave young men and women':
Oh great. Now they're culturally micromanaging
the Pentagon's battefield gender troop deployments from a Congressional committee room in Washington Frigging D.C. ... Gee. Hub Blog is writing about the war again. Hmmm. Not sure I like this. But seeing that I am, here's an interesting CSM item
on why the 'Downing Street memo' has been a dud in the U.S. I agree with Bud
: Old news.
Newsweek's Abu Ghraib?:
Interesting debate between Andrew Sullivan
and Austin Bay
over the partially retracted/apologized for Newsweek story. I guess I'm with Andrew on this one. Some conservatives' quick comparison of Newsweek's blunder to Abu Ghraib just begs the question: Do conservatives now think Abu Ghraib, which they've studiously downplayed, is important or unimportant? ... I think
I understand Austin's point. But his response to Andrew looks like sophisticated backpeddling to me. ... As for Newsweek, I liked Dan Kennedy's
Empire State Building metaphor.
-- Now Andrew
are going at it. I still agree with Andrew on the torture issue and really can't figure out these days where conservatives stand on the issue (the outrage used to be about inaccurate reporting -- but now it seems they've fallen back to arguing nothing should have been reported at all). But Glenn still manages to win the round. You decide.'A mind is a difficult thing to change':
Speaking of Austin Bay, he has a great link to a blogger
who writes about her post-9/11 political transformation. OK, so a lot of people went through similar intellectual jolts. But what's interesting is she's a therapist and puts the transformation into psychological perspective (with heavy jargon). Quite fascinating. ... FYI: I've been giving the whole issue of 'intellectual transformation,' for lack of other words, probably too much thought lately. I'm intrigued how personal it is for people to make even the slightest change to a long-held opinion and the concern it causes about friends and colleagues' reactions. Humans are very sensitive creatures, even as they breathe ideological fire. ...'It was the right thing to do':
Matt disagrees with my post below:
"I've got a bit of different take on judicial intervention in the cases of abortion and gay marriage.
"In the case of abortion, I agree that judicial intervention was both wrong and counterproductive. The abortion debate concerns the conflict of the rights of the unborn against the rights of the fetus-bearing woman. Central to this debate are the important questions, 'When does life begin?' and, 'When is a person/fetus vested with their right to life?' Clearly, these sorts of contentious questions need to resolved in a vigorous debate in the public square among ourselves and our public representatives to arrive at some sort of legislative or consitutional concensus, however sub-optimal it might be.
"However, in the case of homosexual marriage, I believe that, while judicial intervention may have been temporarily counterproductive (all that "backlash" business), it was the right thing to do. There is no conflict of rights in this situation: a homosexual couple wishing to receive official recognition of their partnership is not interfering with any other person's rights. Unless you consider state-approval of anti-gay bigotry a 'right', I fail to see why homosexuals must be forced to wait until the political climate changes to cease being discriminated against.
"When the public sees that, no, everyone in MA isn't having sex with their pets and children since gay marriage was legalized, people of good faith will understand that there's nothing to debate on this issue: the anti-gay-marriage side are motivated by nothing but anti-gay animus."Update
-- Joan has a good take
on the Dems' convention vote this past weekend on gay marriage. But my question is: Would this allegedly brave vote have happened if the MSJC had NOT ruled on gay marriage a year ago? Please. It's so safe for convention activists
to vote on this matter behind a judicial firewall. It's an entirely different matter when it comes to a legislative
vote without the judicial firewall. So brave, Phil.
'For proponents ... For opponents':
Good article on the political implications
of the MSJC's decision a year ago legalizing gay marriage. Since the November election, there's been a strange phenomenon within the MSM to refer to a political 'backlash' against gay marriage but then not mention how the Massachusetts ruling was the catalyst for that backlash. The reason, Hub Blog suspects, is that it's become almost taboo within some liberal circles to connect the backlash with the ruling, as if the former would discredit the latter. Can't have that!
So some segments of the media have respected the taboo, showing their own sympathetic biases in the process. ... Anyway, the Globe story above doesn't pull punches: There was and is an obvious connection. ...
The only small gripe I have about the article is the "for proponents ... for opponents" approach. But what about those of us who favor gay marriage but still think the MSJC decision was gross, egotistical judicial overreach? The same applies to abortion and the Roe-Wade decision that even Ruth Bader Ginsburg says needlessly prolonged the national debate by short-circuiting the political process via judicial fiat. ... One of the reasons why I admired Attorney General Tom Reilly's initial reaction to the gay-marriage ruling was that he appeared to respect the not so insignificant point that the means don't always justify the ends. People should have a say on how their democratic society is structured. But Reilly has since hopelessly muddied his stand with his backpeddling and nuanced ducking. If he believes it, he should just say: "I support gay marriage but think judicial interference was wrong and has proven to be politically counterproductive." It wouldn't satisfy the liberal wing of the party. But it would appeal to a lot of moderates. ... But, alas, Reilly was still playing dodge ball
on the issue at yesterday's state Dem convention.P.S.
-- Some good culture and class columns can be found over at the NYT: Kristof
on how liberals can politically benefit by actually reading the Bible and Brooks
on 'poor Republicans.'Update
-- I include myself among those who favor gay rights and abortion but don't like the way the judiciary intervened. Someone rather tartly but rightly pointed out I wasn't clear. Just wrote too fast without making it clear first time around.
'Hey, you missed a spot':
Hub Blog heard a metal clattering and the sound of sweeping outside, so I rushed to my window, threw open the sash, leaned out and -- yes! -- a city crew was cleaning up the street below, armed with push brooms, shovels and trash bags. I was tempted to say, upon spotting a little trash tucked between a car tire and curb, 'Hey, you missed a spot!' But it would have been too obnoxious. ... They did an impressive job. I appreciated it -- even though I know it won't last, unless we start having mayoral elections every year.'A breath of fresh air':
You know the city and nation are going through a gloriously slow news period when Hub Blog is writing about street sweepers, ideologues are arguing about filibusters (pro or con -- like Florida chads) and Reader No. 1 sends in reviews of movies. But I love slow days. Better than bad fast days. From Reader No. 1:
"A breath of fresh air. The weather, for sure, but also this KINGDOM OF HEAVEN review
. It's almost enough to make me re-evaluate GLADIATOR
, but the epic overcame the political silliness.
"Speaking of silliness, here's one explanation
for Edgar Renteria's slow Sox start.
"But here's something I'd REALLY like to see happen.
-- OK, now that we're talking historical silliness, I might as well throw in that I'm reading Irving Wallace's 'The Word.'
... And Hub Blog has it on good authority that a Hub Blog brother has taken our book-series cult to a new level by purchasing the DVD Sharpe's Collector's Edition.
'Take off your hats, gentlemen. Let us pray':
The rest of the world is taking notice of the new, more confident Boston, post World Series, here
... OK, just the Seattle area and Indianapolis, but the awe and envy is spreading. ...
How about the new patched-together pitching rotation
? Not bad. I give a lot a credit to a certain captain.Sports update
-- OK, a code of conduct
is fine for the Celts. But NOT bloggers. ... Why do we need a World Cup of Baseball
that doesn't include the entire world when we already have a World Series that doesn't include the entire world? Besides, the U.S. will probably lose.
The long awaited renaissance of Magoun Square!:
Hub Blog can picture it now: fountains, an opera house, glittering restaurants, limousines clogging streets -- all in Somerville's Magoun Square due to extension of the Green Line.
... Hub Blog, whose mother grew up just down the road on Medford Street, has had a soft spot for Magoun Square ever since, long ago, I was driving through and saw a bar being renovated. The front exterior wall was knocked down, but inside perched on the bar stools were the regulars with their Schlitz beers -- at 9 a.m. They were watching TV. ... 'Where we unfortunately excommunicated several people':
Magoun Square is headed up. Salem center
is headed down -- unless Nicole Kidman shows up for the statue's unveiling. ... Hey, if you're going to go Hollywood, go for the best: The Wicked Witch of the West
-- unless Nicole Kidman refuses to show up for the statue's unveiling.
'But Dave, it was your behavior ...':
Not quite sure what the cat/blog fight is about between Glenn Reynolds
and Dave Winer.
But if it's about what I think it is, count me among those who thinks Dave can be a bit rude and more than capable of micro-managing conferences. I attented one blogger event a while back at Harvard's Berkman Center
, where Dave works, and was struck by how he tried to control discussions and intervened rather curtly to move debates in the direction he wanted. ... Two other points along the same line: 1.) Can we stop boiling down everything into Blue-Red States analysis? It's getting rather tiresome. 2.) Can we please stop with the silly 'shared values' and 'bloggers code of conduct' crap? More than a few bloggers are starting to sound like thumb-sucking journalistic ethicists. ...
Hub Blog proudly pledges never to take a Blogger's Code of Conduct Pledge! ... Now as far as boorish behavior toward Maybach owners is concerned ...
Class warfare breaks out on Beacon Hill:
There we were, the Loyal Smokers Guard, protecting the perimeter in front of the Sevens last evening, when a rather large car parked a few steps away on Charles Street. "It's a Maybach
!" said one excited member of the Guard. "That's a $300,000 car!" No way, said the rest of us, until we saw the curtains on the back window. Then out popped who we assumed was the owner -- a well-tanned, 40-something uberpreppy with starched white shirt, pressed khakis, highly polished loafers. He immediately stepped in a pile of dog shit. Guffaws from the Guard. He scampered away in a hurry. Then a meter maid came walking by. The owner had forgotten to pop a quarter in the meter. "Ticket him! Ticket him! That's a $300,000 car!" went the chant. And she did, with a slight smile of satisfaction on her face. Loud cheers! Then it was back into the Sevens for the glorious Guards, protectors of the perimeter. ...
Auto etiquette question for Carpundit
: Were we being boorish or were we within normal boundaries of envy?Update
-- Carpundit responds
with a basic 'yes' to both parts of the two-part question.
New editor at CSM:
Richard C. Bergenheim has been tapped as the new editor
of the Christian Science Monitor during difficult times at the paper. (What paper isn't facing difficult times?) ... I thought I recognized the Bergenheim name. Turns out his father is the former publisher of the Boston Herald and founder of the Boston Business Journal, my old journalistic stomping ground.
Is he or isn't he?:
Mitt said he's going to run for reelection, now he says he's waiting till fall
to make up his mind. ... Strange how no one quite believes him either way. ... Actually this latest State House antic
should make one care a bit. The only logical reason to keep Mitt in office is that he's occasionally good with a weed whacker. ...
So now we don't even have T-Day manners: Check this post out by Instapundit.
Talk about over-the-top stereotyping of people. ... Wow.
'The New York Times has recommended ...':
There are actually a lot of good ideas in this NYT report
on its operations and the paper deserves credit for publicly releasing it. But the part about the paper more aggressively defending itself against critics -- “with support and advice from our corporate communications, marketing and legal departments” -- sounds ominously like corporate bunker mentality.Update
-- From Reader No. 1:
"I have some different thoughts about the NYT report. First, the good ideas:
"1. '...tracking errors in a systematic way...' Unfortunately, it sounds like the rank and file are opposed to it (3rd to last paragraph), or is it just that NYT management thinks the rank and file would be opposed? Isn't one common thread of the Blair story that there was a long-standing pattern leading up to an embarrassing public event? This will turn out to be a BAD idea unless error-rates of individual reporters are tracked (the paper needs accountability).
"2. '...making a clearer distinction between news and opinion...' Doing this, and reducing errors, would eliminate the need for the NYT to go on the attack defending stories it publishes. But I think NYTCo might have something else up its sleeve (keep reading).
"The bad ideas:
"1. I don't want 'senior editors' to 'write more regularly about the workings of the paper.' We don't need more vanity-stroking media analysis from the media.
"2. I don't want NYT to 'cover the country in a fuller way' unless they are going to hire a whole bunch of different reporters to do it. I don't need chin-stroking latte-sipping Ivy leaguers telling me what's wrong with Kansas.
"The interesting ideas:
"1. '...devise a strategy when and where it makes sense for us to be on TV and radio...' Add this to the vigorous defense of Times Reporters and it sounds to me like the ultimate legacy of this self-assessment might provide 'a sound blueprint' for for NYTCo to launch its own counter-FOX cable and radio news ventures. This would be an offensive strategy as opposed to the defensive PR-focused one that people are interpreting."
The Mumbles campaign
takes Howard Dean's Internet strategy to a new exciting level ...
'Pope calls for journalistic responsibility':
Right after pimps, lawyers, prostitutes, journalists etc., do you think the pope could include a certain institution called the 'priesthood'
? ... Bernie? Are you there, Bernie? Bernie? ...
Faster than a dial-up, more powerful than a locomotive ...:
Yes, Hub Blog now has DSL, a new used computer, and I'm back in business. ... Except for one thing: I kind of liked my retro-'80s, no home-computer gig. ... Thanks to Reader No. 1 for his stellar effort in saving me. Thank you! ... I'm not going to link to the Celts from last night. It was too pathetic to watch or comment upon. ... Antoine who? ... Actually, I hope they bring the whole damn team back. I don't want to go through another first-half season like we just did. ... Big man! Are you listening to me, Danno? Big man! ...
'Obviously that was the craziest freaking game I've ever seen':
Celts win another wild weird one
and Doc Rivers sums it up best.
... Howard Bryant
and Bob Ryan
are showing no mercy toward Pierce’s ‘flying over the cuckoo's nest’ antics. Thank goodness the Celts won – or Pierce’s technical foul would have been one for the infamous ages. … A comparison that pops to mind: Is Pierce a moody, pouty version of Nomar? Perhaps unfair. But worth pondering. ... Who will you bet on tomorrow night? What team from what team will show up? Who the hell knows? It’s part of what makes the game so repulsively dramatic.
New Herald colleague Sean L. McCarthy has a blog.
... He may be a new colleague, but his blog was started before he came to Wingo Way. But now he's concentrating more on Boston now that he's back to the future in Boston, making it sort of new. Got it? ...Update
-- The NYT also has a Time Traveler Convention
story. What a crazy idea. But the best part about it is that we're all intrigued by the idea, showing once again the enduring power of Star Trek. ... A Hub Blog friend is absolutely convinced Americans, as opposed to Europeans, love clam-shaped cell phones due to Star Trek.
‘Before the steam starts coming out of the ears’: John Hughes
over at CSM is making a suggestion sure to blow a gasket in some people’s mind: Tony Blair and George Bush for Nobel Peace Prizes. I’m not ready to go there. I’m still too ticked off by the lack of WMD (despite Hughes’ somewhat reasonable arguments on that score), the torture scandal, the lack of pre-war planning for the post-war, and how the bring-freedom-to-the-Middle-East was clearly a secondary consideration for the war. … BUT, as Hughes notes, if democracy spreads and takes hold in the Middle East, then … Hey, two more clearly shifty war leaders, Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho, won the prize, as did Mikhail Gorbachev, who won for something he never intended: the fall of communism in the Soviet Union. ...‘The governor is being completely hypocritical’:
So Mitt’s defense
is that he doesn’t control agencies outside his immediate State House office? … Blowout, choke, unravel, blowout and now … flat-out ugly:
At least the Celts
are becoming predictable in their own way. … Good question
: ‘Think you've got a handle on this Celtics-Pacers playoff series?’Update
-- From Reader No. 1:
"Why harp on bad news - here's some good news about the Celtics Playoff Performance: 1-Antoine will be cheaper to resign (ok, sarcastic) 2-Our faith in the rooks was not misplaced. 3-Trader Danny's draft record suggests he will make good use of the pick he gets for Mark Blount."‘Several more trips before the war was over’:
Hub Blog isn’t a regular reader of obituaries (yet). But, for some strange reason, this obit of the late H. Franklin Smith Jr.
caught my attention. Perhaps it was the history buff in me that was drawn to the Berlin Airlift angle in the headline. But upon reading the article, it was Smith’s exuberance and proud behind-the-scenes role in WWII that kept me reading. So many WWII vets passing away. So many obscure and unheralded tales. You just wish you could tell God, ‘Stop! Let them be! Give us a few more years with them!’ But time and history march on.‘Get a Mac’:
Got a lot of feedback to my post the other day on my computer meltdown: Two emails slugged ‘Buy a Mac,’ one slugged ‘Get a Mac,’ a few others recommending Macs and one link urging a Mac. I know Macs are better (I worked on a Mac for years – and even have an unofficial and little-known editor's daytime license to use Quark in a severe deadline pinch, with other page design conditions attached). But I guess I’m in denial and keep awaiting delivery of my new used PC (hint to Reader No. 1). … I’m also still rather enjoying my hiatus from home computers in general. I’ve even discovered this morning radio show called ‘Dennis and Callahan.’
Anyone hear of them before?
Blowout, choke, unravel, blowout …:
The Celts are the most erratic local team I’ve ever followed. Not having a clue which team is going to show up on any given night is not the way to win fan loyalty. But I’ll take last night's blowout.
Mark Bowdon’s new ‘Road Work’
book is a great read. A compilation of his best articles from the Philadelphia Inquirer, Sports Illustrated and the soon-to-be former Boston-based Atlantic Monthly, the book’s best pieces (so far) are ‘Cops on the Take’ and a story on an intense high-school Turkey Day football rivalry in Missouri.Life without a home computer:
You know, it’s not that bad. Hub Blog’s home computer has basically crapped out due to God knows how many layers of spyware, viruses, dust, cigarette ashes and spilt-coffee crust lurking within the hard drive. I can still post etc. but it takes too long and I’m tired of downloading anti-spyware software (there’s no known software cure to combat coffee-spill crust). Today the moody PC was just functional enough to post. ...
But here’s the cool part: Hub Blog has rediscovered these contraptions known as “TV” and “radio” in the mornings. No more flicking on the computer and heating up the coffee. Now it’s flick on the TV and the radio, then heat up the coffee. … It’s my old morning routine from the ‘80s, minus newspaper subscriptions. Hub Blog has gone retro! ...