'On looking at it in the morning ...': Instapundit
replaced a post (in effect spiking the old one) in which he took a minor swipe at Andrew Sullivan. It was nicely handled and explained by Glenn. ... I'm against rules in general for the blogosphere. But if you're going to eliminate a post due to something you regret writing (and we've all been there before), then it's best to simply own up to it while cutting away. ... I do subscribe to the personal notion that late-night blogging can be dangerous. I also subscribe to a variation of the five-second rule for kids (the one in which, say, a hot dog is dropped on the ground and you tell a child, 'Quick! You have five seconds before the germs get there!' -- that way you don't sacrifice a perfectly good hot dog). I.e., I reserve the right to tinker with an item a bit after I've posted and seen how it looks in non-coded script. Hey, it's my blog and I'll cry if I want to. ...
'The genius of Bill James':
From Reader No. 1:
"Compare the attached end of 1983 projection of Wade Boggs' career, from the 1984 Bill James Baseball Abstract
, with Boggs' actual numbers:
"James 1983 projection of career hits: 3023; actual hits: 3010
"1983 projection of games played: 2,446; actual: 2,339
"James projection of when Boggs' career ends: 1999 - well 'you could look it up.'
"I'm glad Boggs was working for us. I'm glad James IS working for us."
'Give me a break': Well put
"Give me a break. Ramirez may be an immature eccentric, but how many egomaniacal superstars would have shaken off the humiliation of being put on waivers, as Ramirez was by the Red Sox after the 2003 season, and produced the numbers he did last season, right on through to being the most valuable player in the World Series?"Update
-- Now he wants to stay.
Manny's like-clockwork flake meltdown of the year seems to be over.Update II
-- Right on time: He's winning games again.
Let it be known: Hub Blog hopes I'm wrong. It's still early. But I strolled down to the North End today and got an early-bird view of the post-Big Dig landscaping. I think it's going to be a bummer for all of us who had high hopes for something much, much better, i.e., Did they learn ANYTHING from the City Hall Plaza all-brick/concrete debacle? It looks like an urban landscape that might appear in Phoenix or somewhere else -- a minimalist urban park system that you'd expect from someone trying to skimp on landscaping costs. The entire sidewalk around the North End's Salem Street entrance is all ... brick. Not Boston bricks. Something that looks like cheap imitation Terracotta-brick siding on a high school gym or bus station. ... I walked along the "new" Salem Street, beheld a new computerized landscape rendering attached to a Jersey Barrier and used my Sidewalk Superintendent Logic to come to the conclusion that: Anything that looks mediocre in a computerized landscape rendering attached to a Jersey Barrier is usually going to look inferior in reality. ... The design looks cheap and lazy.
'Filthiest, vilest, most extravagantly obscene':
Can't wait to see The Aristocrats.
Sounds like one hell of a documentary. ... I once attended a dinner with old friends. Good steaks, red wine, port and cigars. Then a single dirty joke was told. One dirty joke turned into about 100 variations of the same joke -- and on and on and on it went throughout the night. People were laughing so hard that some were begging to get off the topic. Then someone would amazingly top the prior joke that no one thought could be topped. ... Now think of The Aristocrats -- with the world's best comedians retelling the same dirty joke over and over again -- and you have the makings of what sounds like a truly original movie. Aristocrats review via John.'If you want to help make Boston a little hipper': Adam
rightly slams the hipsters
who won't stop until they remake every neighborhood into their cookie-cutter version of what's hip. ... Not that I like chain restaurants or dislike outdoor cafes, etc. To the contrary, I wish we had more mom-and-pop shops and more outdoor areas to grab a drink or coffee and just hang admist a flow of people walking by, etc. But what these hipsters want is simply banal. It's a checklist approach toward hipdom: Outdoor cafes? Check!
Artsy book shops? Check!
Outdoor musicians? Check!
A neighbhorhood with "So" in the name? Check!
Artist lofts? Check!
... They honestly think these types of environments are planned. For people who claim to be so free and open, they're really quite predictable and boring. ...P.S.
-- If you want to see a truly dull Anywhere USA Hipdom Neighborhood, go to of all places -- drumroll, please -- New York's upper west side around 79th Street. It's awful. Totally overrated. It's as if a bunch of suburban hipsters took it over, implemented everything on the checklist and the result is a souless Hip Mall where everyone has that same false-hip look: upscale and uptight. The bars also suck.
Are we really arguing about Manny again?:
I thought we settled the Manny debate last year after an air-head personality pattern was determined and the Sox won a World Series. The guy's a flake. But he's great. End of argument. But I guess it's not enough for some. So we're back to square one in the Manny debate. Now they're talking about trading him (here
). ... Far be it for me to criticize Theo. I was wrong about Nomar. I was wrong about Lowe. I hope I'm wrong about Manny. There are clubhouse issues I'm not privy to. But if he's traded because of his alleged attitude problems, then that's one of the worst reasons to trade someone of his Hall of Fame caliber. ...
'These exceptional students': Kara Baskin
returns to Acton-Boxborough High School and finds not everything is perfect at her alma mater (sub. required for TNR). ... Hint: The article has to do with the disconnect of many suburban upper-middle-class students with 9/11.'Hiding some of your light under a bushel':
An old Hub Blog boss from Illinois writes in with some historical fiction recommendations about the American Revolution, after expressing mild surprise that I had more of an erudite spark than previously observed:
"I've been reading Hubblog from afar for a few months now ... you were a great reporter for us, but you were hiding some of your light under a bushel, it appears -- obviously, the move back home inspired a tremendous flowering of Boston-centric culture & commentary. Good stuff.
"Anyway, what inspired this note was your mention of the 'Saratoga'
book. That made me wonder if you've read any of Kenneth Roberts' colonial-history novels. Roberts was a 1940s writer whose most famous book is 'Northwest Passage,'
about Richard Rogers and the French and Indian Wars. But he had a series of Revolutionary War novels as well, at least a couple focusing on fictional characters from Arundel, Maine. I read them all in high school and started re-reading the series when I ran across a couple of them at Prairie Archives. 'Rabble in Arms'
covers Saratoga (and more), with a heavy emphasis on the view that Benedict Arnold has been treated unfairly, first by the Continental Congress and later by history. Pretty interesting stuff. .. 'Arundel'
and 'Rabble in Arms' should be read as a series. 'Oliver Wiswell'
is maybe Roberts' best, a look at the Revolution from a Tory point of view. 'Boon Island'
is a short, great novel about the wreck of a sailing ship on said island (again a fictionalized version of an actual event). There are more too, besides 'Northwest Passage.'"Hub Blog's response
-- I could have sworn I blinded them with my brilliant light. ... And I haven't read any of Roberts' novels, though I plan to do so now. He's back:
Dan Kennedy is back
-- and he's fortunately not posting running updates on summer beach trips or power naps.
... Via Media Log 2.
'A little more bustling':
OK, so some medium-sized Northeast cities like New Haven
are making a small comeback. That's good news. Everyone should welcome it. But having more than a small family connection to New Haven, Hub Blog isn't about to let government or Yale University
grab most of the credit for any marginal improvement. Heck, Pepe's Pizza
did more to hold New Haven together than the local government or Yale during the city's half-century of decline. ... The fact is both government and Yale played key roles in New Haven's descent into armpit status. The former implemented just about every crackpot government do-good policy of the '50 and '60s -- mostly by razing neighborhoods for new highways or public housing projects. The latter is guilty of both moat-like neglect and allowing activist faculty members on the side to use New Haven as some sort of vast sociological laboratory, even to the point of encouraging students to become more "active" in the community, such as bringing lawsuits or political pressure to bear in order to economically "integrate" neighborhoods. Hell, Yale is still playing Sociology Scientist, if you read between the lines in the second link about its ongoing housing policies. ... FYI: It didn't take one murder to prompt Yale to finally take action. It was multiple, sustained attacks on students and faculty members who literally lived in outright fear of leaving the bunker campus. New Haven, the Frankenstein of Great Society government programs, was threatening to destroy Yale. ... What's turning the city around? Read between the lines and you'll notice that "private sector" solutions are being used more -- a complete reversal of past policies.
'The Holy Cow candidate,' Part II:
Reader No. 1 has some quibbles with my quibbles on the Atlantic's Mitt story:
"Disclaimer: I haven't read the Atlantic Mitt article yet. I absolutely agree with your diagnosis on why he was elected. I also think he's been running for President for a LONG time - like, maybe at least 10 years if not his entire adult life - opening him to the charge of resume-burnishing.
"I can't speak for how the people of Utah would feel if he were Governor there. But I could infer that there would be a lot less abrasion/friction over social matters (eg abortion) and that he would almost certainly have more support from that state's legislature. Also, I can't possibly imagine Utah's most voiciferous citizens and op-editorialists would ask MORE from their state government than do citizens of our Commonwealth... expectations would be different. Most Romney voters probably don't think there was a whole lot he COULD do to keep the Beacon Hill crowd under wraps - he'd just try to apply the brakes faster than his competitor every would.
"I don't spend much time in the newsrooms or the city of Boston, but I haven't met anybody yet in the leafy suburbs who feels strongly either way to Romney running for President (discounting those who would not vote Republican under any scenario). It has something to do with low expectations..."'The Holy Cow candidate':
Here's an interesting piece on Mitt
, appearing in the current edition of the formerly Boston-based Atlantic Monthly. ... While enjoying the article a lot, I think it seriously underplays the prime reason why Mitt was elected governor: to keep total control of the State House out of the hands of Democratic hacks. Mitt's campaign didn't take off until he finally embraced the block-and-reform mantra. ... Another small quibble is the failure to approximately pinpoint when Mitt started running for president. It wasn't, as Mitt's supporters suggest, after some of his proposals were shot down by Democrats, a line of logic implied in Mitt's own quasi-anti-Massachusetts rhetoric. The guy was clearly running by the fall of 2003, only nine months into the job and right after his first largely successful budget showdown with Dems. Remember how he laughably dispatched troops to California to "help" Arnie (only to be told to stay away after a certain relative of Arnie's wife was insulted by a staffer)? ... So what's the significance of his early presidential takeoff? It suggests that so much of what Mitt has been doing, saying and proposing as governor has been nothing more than resume building. I suspect, had he been elected governor of conservative Utah, there would have been the same level of local disenchantment with an elected leader who pined from the very start to lead somewhere else. ... (The Atlantic piece via, for some reason, Boston.com
, which was blurbing the piece yesterday on its site.) ...
'Killing: Good; Sex: Bad.':
Sometimes it's just easier to sit back and let others say what you're thinking. So, re Grand Theft Auto, take it away Carpundit.
... 'Fell into agonies':
Read two books while on vacation. The first -- John Scalzi's sci-fi Old Man's War
-- was fun, fast and fascinating. I'm not a big sci-fi fan, but you got to love a book that comes out of the starting gate with this Mike Hammer-like lead: "I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday. I visited my wife's grave. Then I joined the army." ... There were many intriguing futuristic scenes in the book. One of my favorites was when the humanoid good guys accidently intercept an intersteller recording of an alien "celebrity cooking show." Culinary topic of the day for the aliens: how to cook humans - yum, yum, yum. ...
The second book -- Richard Ketchum's Saratoga
-- is one of the best history books I've read. It filled in a big blank spot in my knowledge about the American Revolution, i.e. the importance of the Battle(s) of Saratoga. Ketchum's descriptions of colonial America are quite vivid, especially how slow people and armies and news travelled 228 years ago. ... The book should almost have been called 'Fell Into Agonies,' a phrase one British minister used to describe how King George reacted when he learned he had lost an entire army and half a continent to a force of mostly farmers. ...
'The Geopolitics of Two Cities': Fun article
on the differences between Boston and New York. ... No mention of the Babe and inferiority complexes, two of the most tired cliches in the city-comparison genre. ... FYI: I'm in New York as I write, debriefing Manhattan WMD Spy. He reports the civilian population is confused but growing in confidence, as the Yanks approach first place, believing it's still yet possible they can restore the old world order.Update
- 6.18.05 -- On a dangerous field mission last nite, we learned the civilian population is aware of Johnny Damon's A.) hitting streak and B.) contract status. "He could be here next year," said one loose-lipped Y fan, unaware of who was sitting next to him.
'More powerful than any meter maid':
To answer Carpundit's question
, I think he's referring to the city's new AutoFind License Plate Recognition System
-- 'more powerful than any meter maid, able to scan 1,000 license plates in a single hour.' ...P.S.
-- And I still don't own a car and still like the idea a lot.
'British ban fox hunting, the French ban hijabs':
An interesting take on the differences between Britain and France
in their fight against terrorism and tamping down Islamo fanaticism at home. ... Here's the Le Figaro version
). ... I recall being criticized a while ago for actually praising France for wanting to keep aspects of its 'economic model.' Daniel Pipe's article shows, indirectly, that France has it half right in stubbornly wanting to preserve its distinctness. ... I see I'm going through one of my periodic Francophile bouts. I probably should get up to Montreal or Quebec City soon to get it out of my system.
'Alternative views of sexuality,' Part II: Teddo
rips into Rick Santorum, as well he should. But he veers off the specific issue of priests sexually abusing children and into a defense of the state's universities, community services and programs for 'at-risk and vulnerable children.' Huh? Is the issue really
about the culture wars? ...
Hub Blog admits to one of many prejudices: I just assumed Santorum was a Christian evangelical of the protestant type. Turns out he's a devout Catholic. But that makes sense too. I.e. He's the same type of Ray Flynn-like umbrella holder who was in complete denial about the sex-abuse scandal as it unfolded. Santorum is obviously still in pathetic denial about its scope and nature.'Watching America':
looks at 'Watching America,'
a new web site that translates foreign articles for Americans to get a better understanding about what the world is saying about us. Not bad. ...
But I happened to gravitate over to the French section (being a closet Francophile) and found a Le Figaro article that seemed to be translated accurately. But certainly not the headlines. You don't have to speak French to understand the difference between the English version
("'Bush Fell Into' bin Laden's Trap") and the French version
("La guerre, oui! Mais laquelle?"). The English subhead reads: "Due to a failure to understand the goals and thinking of Islamic extremists, al-Qaeda's strategy to exploit the inherent vulnerabilities of Western democracies have largely worked." There's no subheadline in the French edition. The English headlines, in fact, misrepresent the entire point of the Le Figaro piece, which is about Europe's awakening to the totalitarian threat of al-Qaeda in the aftermath of the London bombings, though the piece does have a buried criticism of Bush falling into an Iraq trap. An excerpt:
"Like the red and brown totalitarians of yesteryear, this group (of Islamic extremists), formed in 1954 in reaction to Nasser’s secular revolution, is motivated by a dream of universal domination. Its propaganda relies on a deep resentment, and its fight, which strives for the triumph of a new civilization, will not end with the settling of the Middle Eastern crisis. Its targets are both Western democracies and Arab dictatorships accused of having betrayed Islam. In its most visible form, al-Qaeda relies on very religious believers. But in its methods, it reproduces with little originality the strategic and totalitarian doctrines inspired by the West; it owes less to Mohammed than to Clausewitz, Marx, Lenin, Hitler and even Mao."
'It's an SUV, but by its looks ...':
I can't quite believe it. But Armchair Gen. Savin Hill has gone out and ...
"I just bought this.
No kidding. Top reasons for buying it:
"a.) 250 horses, at 0-60 in 8 seconds - at over 4,000 pounds.
"b.) It's an SUV, but by its looks, no one will think I'm on my way to pick up the kids, or on my way to buy a refrigerator the size of Denmark.
"c.) The fact that it's a Subaru and an SUV will greatly depress Granola-munching types.
"d.) Soon, I'll need something that can tow. And room to haul lots of stuff and tools.
"e.) By the same people who designed the Zero and the Kate dive bomber in WWII for the Imperial Japanese Navy.
"f.) Let's face it, Darth Vader is far more interesting than Anakin Skywalker."
I'm too shocked. I'll leave it to Carpundit to render a verdict. 'Juicing the Game':
The Herald's Howard Bryant
got a great NYT review
for his new book 'Juicing the Game,'
about the baseball steroid scandal. ... Howard is also the author of 'Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston.'
'Alternative views of sexuality':
One really doesn't have to fake a moderate stance
when criticizing most everything muttered by right-wing nut U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.
The guy is truly gross. ... Hey, Boston: It was that well-known Irish-Catholic sexual freedom that led to the priest sexual-abuse cases of the '50s, '60s and '70s! ... Sexual freedom in Boston? In the '50s and '60s? Boston? Maybe the '70s. ...
Putting on my pop anthropologic hat, Hub Blog shall try to determine the exact date when sexual freedom arrived in Catholic Boston, at least among non-priest Boston Catholics. Any suggestions and contributions would be appreciated. This may take more than one post. Now I know it wasn't by 1977, the year Billy Joel released 'Only the Good Die Young,'
with his astute observation that Catholic girls were starting much too late. Notice the mocking tone of the lyrics, as if Catholic girls were still sexually repressed. Therefore, we can be reasonably sure sexual freedom had NOT arrived in Boston, at least full force, by 1977, judging partly by the defensive reaction of Boston Catholics to Joel's song. But that doesn't exclude 1978 and 1979. ... Of course we can also reasonably bookend the argument by noting that Madonna came out with her 'Like a Virgin'
song, an unintended pop counterblast against Bill Joel's 'Only the Good Die Young,' in 1985. Through Madonna, Catholics were all but saying: Hey, we're not starting late anymore!Update
-- We may be getting closer. A very astute reader just emailed to note that popular local band Human Sexual Response
(of 'Jackio O' fame) played from "approximately" 1977 through 1982. From a pop standpoint, this is very significant, for two reasons: A.) The word 'sexual' was openly used in the name of a Boston band B.) There's a frigging horse on the album cover. Why a horse? I don't want to know. ... 'The revolt of September 11th was about 'F--k you!':
And one really doesn't have to fake a moderate stance when criticizing most everything muttered by left-wing nut Oliver Stone.
The guy is also gross. ... I know Stone's remarks are now nearly four years old. But Santorum's original remarks were also years old before he reaffirmed them yesterday. Give Oliver equal reaffirmation opportunity, and I'm sure he won't disappoint.
'This post may add fuel to their fire':
Hub Blog is speechless. The chain blog
actually spoke from the gut and got something right. ... I, I, I ... I'm flabbergasted. ...
'With the mere sweep of his cape':
Children of liberal parents should not be read this story
at bedtime. ...
"What happened next, Daddy?"
"Then the Count allied with the Progressives against the ... Time to go to bed!"
"Oh, Daddy! Finish the story!"
'Does everything have to be upscale?':
I was thinking the same thing.
... 'One of the dirtiest little secrets ...':
Reader No. 1 reveals even more about supersized suburban kitchens:
"This is one of the dirtiest little secrets of the Upper Middle Class today, an even dirtier secret than investing in high-end kitchens: instead of hiring a servant to do the cooking for you, the money is spent on restaurant dining and health club memberships. It's a win-win for Clarke Showrooms
and Ming Tsai
and Gold's Gym
. What an economic value chain!"Hub Blog's response
-- Not hiring servants? I knew it! ... I hope readers appreciate the great risks Reader No. 1 is taking in spilling these secrets. ... Thank goodness his children are beyond the age of "interviewing" for exclusive day-care slots. Retaliation can be brutal and swift.
'The blithe disregard ...': Eliot Cohen
, military historian and Iraq war supporter, knocks around all the right people as his soldier son heads off to the conflict. ... Read the last two paragraphs. No one is spared.
'Predominance of the 'quad dog' labrador':
Reacting to the 'upper-crust Anglophiles' post below, Reader No. 1 has a fascinating canine research proposal for aspiring sociologists and/or NYT reporters:
"1. I agree with your diagnosis on the labrador's popularity (function of perceived class status). Remembering my college days and the predominance of the 'quad dog' labrador, I propose somebody should do an historical study on the canine population of top American universities and track it against the AKC numbers. The NY Times could surely get many stories out of it.
"2. This previously unknown to me blog
has some interesting observations on the Great Room - 'spaces in which people could be alone together.'
"3. As the owner of an aircraft-carrier sized kitchen island and a built-in stainless steel refrigerator, I can say that (a) the panelling option has been around for awhile and (b) why anyone would choose that look is somewhat baffling to me. Matching the refrigerator to all the rest of the cabinetry tends to eliminate visual contrast, and makes the kitchen look more monolithic. Plus it's easier to get confused trying to find a popsicle or a cold beer.
"My sneaking suspicion is that many of these kitchens are never used, which is why it's OK for them to make them look like Edwardian drawing rooms by panelling over all of the appliances. The NYT could surely get a story out of this too..."Hub Blog's response
-- Good points. It should be added Reader No. 1, whose wife is an accomplished cook and caterer, needs a big kitchen and kitchen island. But for 98 percent of the others, I suspect it's all show ... And don't get me going on an Under the Tuscan Sun rant.Update
-- Definitely check out Grant McCracken's blog
mentioned above by Reader No. 1. McCracken's anthropologic analysis of 'Great Rooms' is quite fascinating, though I think he brushed up against another truth when he noted Americans seem to be 'reinstalling the great hall of the medieval home.' Replace the word 'home' with 'castle' and recall the discussion about Labs, and I think you have another layer of class motives. The description 'Great Room' itself speaks obnoxious volumes. ... FYI: Glad Grant notes the term 'Great Room' seems to have come into vogue about 10 years ago. Just about the time when I first started hearing it. I thought it would go away. It hasn't. Time to start mocking.
I'll be paying close attention to future John Ellis book recommendations
-- for 'Disney Wars'
is indeed one of the best business books I've read in a long, long time. No need for a plot summary. Just author James Stewart's epilogue observation on Michael Eisner:
"A familiar tragic character in Shakespeare -- Lear, Henry IV, Macbeth, Richard II, Richard III -- is the monarch whose power is such that he bends the truth itself to suit his will. Perhaps that accounts in some part for what is clearly Eisner's most glaring defect, the one quality more than any other that has caused him to leave behind a trail of deeply embittered former colleagues: his dishonesty."
'Popular mainly among upper-crust Anglophiles': Brendan
thinks the popularity of Labrador retrievers
may have something to do with the supersizing of the American home. Probably and partially true. But I also think the popularity of Labs has something to do with why Labs were originally "popular mainly among upper-crust Anglophiles who liked the idea of owning a dignified hunting dog." ... Somehow, we're all preppies now. Or preppy wannabes. Or preppy hybrids. Don't ask me how or why. But it's just so. ... If the correlation between the size of McMansions and dogs was absolute, we'd see Mastiffs, St. Bernards and Great Danes higher on the pooch list. But I suspect they're not gentlemanly farmer enough, so ...
... And don't get me going on supersized kitchen islands
(now available in multiple multi-level aircraft-carrier styles) and in-built stainless steel refrigerators
('An Impressive Design Statement, Without Standing out') and Great Rooms.
... Where the hell did "Great Rooms" come from? ... FYI: My spies in suburbia tell me that stainless steel refrigerators are most definitely out these days. In-built wood/fake-wood paneled refrigerators are in. ...
'We interrupt this former blog to ...':
Mark Jurkowitz has launched Media Log 2
over at the Phoenix, replacing Dan Kennedy's Media Log 1.
... Or is it 'Media Blog' as Mark refers to it in his debut post? Anyway, welcome to the blogosphere, Mark. ...Update
-- Hub Blog has decided not to go to Blogger Decon 4 like I did in the terrible spring of 2003
, when Hub Blog and the Phoenix
over blog turf and terminology.'Fuck Yeah!':
Sorry for the vulgar language. But this is one funny site.
... 'I already said Beefeaters, Ken. Keep up, man.' ... Via Andrew.
The perils of faking a moderate stance, Part II:
Reader No. 1 sends in this link
with the following comment: "I'm not familiar with James Lewis, but he addresses a big topic worth considerable reflection on an already big day."
... OK. It's a very chilling look at Iran and the Muslim bomb. But I'd add the following: Those who think they're thinking clearly on a day like today might try not
reaching back to Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton for blame while at the same time ignoring the twelve years of Ronald Reagan and George Bush I in between, all followed afterward by five years of George Bush II -- while criticizing the contemporary
European action on Iran. ... Not exactly "clear" thinking. ... Why does it always come back to Bill Clinton? Never mind. Already know.
The London bombings: Adam
has put up a site tracking Bostonians' reactions to the London bombings. ...Update
- 2:35 p.m.
-- Cool. They just put up big British and American flags, hanging side by side, in the newsroom of the Herald.The perils of faking a moderate stance: Geoff Arnold
quotes from someone who has done a lot of thinking about people not thinking: "Staking out a coherent, principled position is a lot of hard work. So is trying to understand and respond to the principles and arguments of your opponents. So why bother with all that?"
'Daddy, make the bad men go away!':
Armchair Gen. Savin Hill is also mystified by George Will's neglect
in giving our brave Minutemen their due credit:
"I'm outraged that George Will refers to the Battle of Brooklyn as 'the first great battle of the war' - outraged! Bunker Hill was key to the entire war in that the bloody slaughter inflicted on the British troops forever altered the fighting spirit of General Howe. He essentially, from that battle on, never really believed Americans could be defeated -- only co-opted by some kind of defeat. After Bunker Hill, he basically returned to England crying 'Daddy, make the bad men go away!'P.S.
-- If I recall, Will also wasn't sufficiently ecstatic about the Sox win last year. ...
'All other reforms will have limited impact':
If the solution to Africa's problems was a simple matter of foreign aid, Africa's problems would have been solved years and tens of billions of dollars ago. Fighting corruption in Africa
is far more important than boosting direct foreign aid. ... Alas, the battle against African corruption is an abstract, dirty, thankless task that doesn't appeal much to the feel-good sentiments expressed at rock concerts. ... Quick story: Hub Blog once chatted over lunch with an ex-government minister in Cameroon. He bemoaned the end of the Cold War. "Why?" I asked. The minister, who lived quite comfortably in semi-retirement, made it clear that the governing class loved the good old days of funding competition between the U.S. and Soviet Union. ...P.S.
-- Try out Alec Russell's 'Big Men, Little People'
and/or Robert Klitgaard's 'Tropical Gangsters'
if you're interested in learning more about the real Africa, not the fairy-tale Africa. Things have improved since both books were published. But not by much. ... Pay special attention to the comments by the ex-Peace Corps member on Amazon's 'Tropical Gangsters' page.Update
-- Reader No. 1 sends in links to two columns about Africa, one by Harvard's Niall Ferguson
and the other by James Glassman.
Ferguson asks a good question: "Will Live 8 put pressure on Robert Mugabe to step down?" ... I actually like some of Geldof's ideas. Not the doubling of aid. Gong! Done that. But I like the cancelling of debt (with debt being the legacy of past failed policies) and establishing more free-trade deals (with free trade pushing African countries toward Western/Asian economic models). ... BTW: I'm an optimist about Africa's future -- as long as it's not subjected to the same old '60s government aid policies.
'I've seen enough of Mitt ...': Godfrey Sperling
has seen Mitt at two Washington functions and concluded he'd be a formbidable presidential candidate. Whatever Mitt's doing out of state, it seems to be working. ... Hub Blog can dimly remember a gadfly critic of Jimmy Carter traveling the country and warning voters in 1976 that the one-term governor was overrated. Carter went on to win. The gadfly went on to be vindicated. ... 'Became one of Boston's elite':
One of these days I really ought to try reading one of William Dean Howells
40 or so novels. But I'd do so only out of a sense of duty.
'Anyone travelling through the area ...':
Boo hoo. This is the second year in a row I won't be attending the Great Sudbury Fourth of July Parade.
... Stay back. Don't go close. The crowds will be overwhelming, the Sudbury Police warn. ...
'Clobbering Republicans': Mickey
brings up a political subject that I've dwelt on before: Why don't Democrats let Republicans appoint their anti-Roe types to the Surpeme Court and watch the ensuing political realignment unfold? ...Update
-- From Reader No. 1:
"You and Mickey raise a good point about why Liberal Democrats don't just let the Republicans nominate themselves off the cliff. Three suggestions:
"1- The national Liberal Democratic leadership is not, and has never been, especially democratic. Its political consciousness was formed in significant part during the 1960s by protest marches and sit-ins. The party has been dominated for decades by lawyers. ...
"2- A somewhat psychological analysis: the party has lost so many national political elections during its leaders' lifetimes that national liberal Democrats associate popular elections with political losses. If national Democratic leaders really thought they could get abortion legalized through state elections - and lead to a national 'realignment' - they'd call for those elections. But they don't really believe deep down they will
win those elections.
"3- Through the years, sexual freedoms are a core issue around which the otherwise fractious national Dems find some common cause. Look at the phenomenal solidarity behind President Clinton during his impeachment travails, not least from womens' rights groups.
Note that the explosion of sexual freedom also coincided with the formation of this generation's political awareness.
"Roe v. Wade permits national Dems to maintain their commitment to sexual freedoms without much unpleasant and diversionary debate that might lead to a realignment, but also further weaken the party."Hub Blog's reaction
-- He kind of lost me in in the sexual freedoms part. ... Still think Roe's overturning would A.) send voters to Dems B.) push some Repubs toward pro-abortion and C.) thus alienating anti-abortion types who now have such a huge say in the GOP ... At the very least it'd be fun to see who's right.Update II
-- In case I was thinking too much of the bluecheese burgers I'm going to eat this evening, Reader No. 1 spells out in more detail his sexual freedoms thoughts:
"Which part of the sexual freedoms discussion lost you? I am still waiting for a modern history of the Democratic party that directly addresses how the preoccupation with sexual issues has dominated the party over the past 40 years. Oddly, it remains a great unmentionable.
"Because the majority of Americans are, as William F Buckley put it on FIRING LINE 20+ years ago 'philosophically conservative and operationally liberal,' it's a huge advantage to the Republicans to have the present state of affairs on Roe v. Wade. So I agree with you that it would be fun to find out. But I am not holding my breath that the Dems will be so Machiavellian as to call the Repubs' bluff on this one so that we may find out -- for all the reasons cited in my earlier Email, but most particularly because deep down, the national Democratic leadership does not trust American voters. Until they do, they won't win national elections."Hub Blog's response
-- Now I get it and I guess we're in agreement. Republicans do have an advantage as long as Roe festers. FYI: Dems might not have to call Republicans' bluff. Bush might do it for them. ...
'Shades of power,' my take: John
has a good take on Boston magazine trying to shift the blame to the rest of us for its own Most Powerful People in Boston
foibles. ... Any power list that has only one black on it is pretty bad. Any power list that doesn't include anyone
from MIT is an absolute joke. ... FYI: Laura Raposa or Gayle Fee would be on my list no matter what. There's plenty of other room to squeeze in old Chuck. He could replace, oh, Tufts' Nancy Leaming
, that incredible power broker who, ah, like, got hipchecked off the stage right after the list came out. ...P.S.
-- The dearth of blacks and high-tech people in general on the list could have been easily rectified by the two-fer inclusion of James I. Cash Jr.
Haven't heard of him? Oh, he's just a director of some obscure companies called "Microsoft" and "General Electric," while serving as trustee for local institutions like "Massachusetts General Hospital," and "Newton-Wellesley Hospital," and "Babson College" and "Partners Healthcare," and some place called the "Boston Museum of Science." ...
'Begins to grind against his lap':
Hey, the Palace is now hosting a weekly 'teen dance.'
... Can't you just picture some clueless parent saying, 'Ah, how cute - a teen dance' while her 15-year-old son chomps on a stogie as 14-year-old Miffy gives him a slinky lap dance. ...
'He was aghast': George Will
also gets a kick
out of George Washington's reaction to our brave Minutemen besieging Boston 229 years ago. ... Our 'New Boston' motto: 'We're still obnoxious!'P.S.
-- What's up with Will describing the Battle of Brooklyn as 'the first great battle of the war'? Was Bunker Hill some sort of skirmish? Damn New Yorkers are trying to steal our thunder again. Well, we have Trumbull
and they have Crayola Crayon.
I rest my case. ...