'The Sixth Borough Conspiracy,' Part II:
Josh writes in about all those free-spirited, open-minded hipsters who want to hang out with, well, people just like themselves:
"The most annoying thing about this whole 'phenomenon,' I think, is that these folks talk about being 'priced out' of Brooklyn, when really what happened is that they were priced out of hip, white Brooklyn. They spend some time in Williamsburg, swear that they're Brooklyn-to-the-core without ever getting to know the unique neighborhoods all around them (as a Brooklyn native, I say this with some knowledge), then go to a new place and try to import that same cookie-cutter hipness without really getting to know that place either. It's just like those people who want to create mini-Williamsburgs in Boston - they're so sure that they know what the right way to live is that they miss out on all the good, unique stuff that's indigenous to the city they're in."
'Meanwhile, in Pawtucket ...': Boston Dirt Dogs
are being just brutal on Bellhop. I mean, Bellhorn. ... The middle photo is my favorite. ...
'Chain of Command':
Just finished Seymour Hersh's 'Chain of Command'
and highly recommend it. Not wild about Hersh's negativity and where he takes all the facts. But sometimes you have to read something from a different perspective and gleam what you can from it. In that regard, here are a few observations:
-- Anyone who reads Hersh's chapters on Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and is not persuaded the abuses were the result of policy -- albeit deliberately deniable policy -- is just in partisan denial about the denials. Hersh has all the goods: the memos, the working policy drafts, executive orders, the reports, the thoughts about the Geneva Convention, etc.
-- The administration was rightly worried about WMD -- and that worry was the main reason for the Iraq war. Period. One of the reasons they probably didn't plan for a post-war occupation (and democratic nation building and fighting a possible insurrection) is that administration officials were fanatically convinced Saddam had WMD. The war would have been instantly justified if they had found them. But they didn't find WMD. Now they have a far more ambiguous and harder task to justify this war.
-- But, along the line of the point immediately above, Hersh describes how Libya caved and turned over its WMD data to the U.S. and U.K. Libya' capitulation has to be one of the most underreported and underappreciated victories of the Bush administration -- and it's tied to the invasion of Iraq. (That's more of my observation than Hersh's.)
-- Pakistan is one scary country and Dr. A.Q. Kahn, father of Pakistan's bomb, may go down as one of history's most notorious figures if terrorists get their hands on nuclear weapons, as Hersh shows. The administration's failure to clamp down on Pakistan arguably negates its Libya triumph -- and the clambdown failure is also tied to the invasion of Iraq, as Hersh also shows.
-- Hersh spends seven pages rehashing the bogged-down first week of the Iraq campaign, pointing out flaws and criticism of the invasion plan. But then he only spends one paragraph describing how the next two weeks led to the smashing early success of taking Baghdad.
-- Ditto the Afghanistan campaign. Lots of rehashing of Hersh's New Yorker piece about a botched Ranger raid early in the Afghan war, and then precious little about how the campaign quickly unfolded and led to the ouster of the Taliban, though Osama wasn't captured. Next thing you know, he's talking about drug-selling Afghan warlords. ... Are you noticing a pattern here?
-- Hersh wrote an afterward to the paperback edition in April 2005 with no mention of the successful Afghan and Iraq elections. The voting clearly wasn't as decisive as some prowar supporters say. But not even a mention by Hersh?
All in all, despite the frustrating flaws, you have to recommend a book written by a truly awesome reporter and a book you can't put down. So a big thumbs up.
'Be brave, Jerry Remy ...':
Reader No. 1 wrote in last night during the Sox game amid fears that heightened Sox craziness could lead to more forced enthusiasm from ownership:
"I liked your Red Sox-themed post
the other day (especially the Tuscan Kitchen) and agree that the town is Sox-crazy (especially in this household), but fear that publicity-crazy Lucchino and Werner will run with them. I keep waiting for a NESN-spin on the HBO series 'Entourage' featuring Theo and his crazy gang of 20-something assistant GMs, madly trying to make deadline deals while keeping their MAXIM subscriptions away from the Yawkey Way veterans in the mailroom.
"Oops, another sign of inevitable doom from Lucchino and Werner, a member of the 'Desperate Housewives' cast just turned up in the broadcast booth... be brave, Jerry Remy..."Update
-- 'Matt Clement Enjoying Psychic Ability Since Being Hit in Head.'The Sixth Borough Conspiracy:
Here's the NYT article
that Philebrity and Adam
were dreading the other day. Verdict: It's as bad as they expected. ... Can you imagine your hometown suddenly getting inundated by hordes of whiny hip-artist types from New York? It's a fate I don't wish upon any neighborhood or city (except maybe Wellesley). ... I'm telling you, New England
has got to draw a line in the sand soon. Jersey, Philly, Connecticut and large swaths of Vermont have already fallen under New York's colonial sway. Now they're eyeing Rhode Island. We can fight them now, or fight them later. It's your choice
, New England.
'Spitting image of the North End':
So lawmakers are moving to control eminent domain.
Good for them. But they're only fifty years too late in Boston. Check out these awesome photos
of 'Medieval Boston.' It's probably the best site with the best commentary and best photos of what the 'urban planners' did to Boston and other cities. ... I was riding in a taxi the other day when I asked the old-timer driver what the West End used to look like. "Oh," he sighed. "It was a spitting image of the North End." ... BTW: The best images of the West End in the above link are about 7/8th of the way down. A photo of Leonard Nimoy in the old West end is about halfway down. ... Other great shots of Bowdoin and Scollay squares throughtout. ... Did you know that, before the elevated Central Artery, there was an elevated train down roughly the same route? True. Didn't know that. Photos (one-third down) show it. ... Just scroll away.
One last thing from the comments section of the site: "Thanks for sharing. Its amazing that Boston is still one of the most historic, pedestrian friendly big cities in the US despite all of its urban renewal demolition. Some of your pictures look like Berlin after the war." ... Boston should feel lucky. Chicago, Philly and others were hit much harder by 'urban renewal.' Fortunately, Boston put a stop to the madness relatively early. Couch potato heaven:
Champs Town was in full bloom last night with the Sox
on one channel and Pats
on another. ... I was lying on my couch last night, toggling back and forth between the games, with a plate of Sicilian pizza next to me and Brighams Ice Cream tucked in the freezer. Can it get any better? Yes! When it's fall, late September, cool weather, and the Champs are battling for real. Last night was just practice.
'A lounge act in terms of politics':
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley
is suffering a very bad case of the fourth-term blues. ... There's a cautionary tale somewhere in here for Tom Menino. ... Strange but true: I was talking about Daley and long-term mayors just last night with someone. Then this piece. ...
It is the concrete!:
Possible worst-case scenario is now coming into focus
over at the Big Dig. ... 'I do, I do, I do hope it's not the concrete.'
'Quench that thirst for more and more':
The Herald's Tony Massarotti is writing up a storm on the paper's new Red Sox blog.
... Is this town crazy or not about the Sox? Next up: 'Tuscany recipes from Sox kitchens.' Or: 'Where Sox stay and go when on holiday in Britain.' ... Hey, I happened to like Brian's column
the other day. Is Terry really moving to Boston full-time? I didn't know that.Update
-- Or: 'Sox postfuneral meals
'Too close to reality?':
Reader No. 1 sends in a link to Call of the Green Monster
with the simple observation: 'Too close to reality?''Red' and 'black' fascists:
Another intriguing discussion at neo-neocon
about the psychological make-up of some liberals whose typical reaction is to excuse the actions of terrorists and lambaste those of the West, etc. ... But I'm still not buying into the notion that an entire class of people's opinions can be explained away by emotional and psychological profiles. There's a combination of an intellectual belief system and groupthink at work here as well -- similar to what we see regularly on the right. Humans still have the ability to make rational sets of decisions, as irrational as those rational decisions may appear to some. ... Via GB at Instapundit.Update
-- Don't forget the storm of indignation on the right after professors released a psychological study -- 'Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition'
-- with assertions about 'fear and anger' explaining right-wing thought. Backpeddling, the authors and defenders later had to admit
: "We readily acknowledge that identifying the motivational underpinnings of a belief system does not constitute a valid argument in a political debate any more than it does in scientific debates. What counts is the cogency of the political arguments and the degree to which they fit with independently verifiable facts and reasonable assumptions."
'He's been there and done that':
Looks like Ty Law
is headed to the Jets. ... I'd be upset if it wasn't for the fact the Pats have dumped other stars to division rivals without losing their winning ways.'I believe it cost me $5':
A fun story
with a happy ending (with a slight Boston broadcast intrigue angle to boot). ...'I will continue to do the broadcast':
He didn't give one of those long, self-absorbed network good-byes. He just vowed to come back. He never did.
Peter Jennings was a good man.
'A global federal union':
There I was, all set to write a post about an op-ed piece
penned by two gentlemen whose institutions don't pay taxes and who complain they want a Cadillac and not a Yugo health-care system -- endorsing a ballot question that one of the authors appears to have signed in an official capacity but isn't mentioned in the op-ed, though I'll stand corrected if it's a different gentleman with the same name -- and, I was wondering, whether Health Care For All
is still clearly not mentioning that it's supporting a "single-payer system" (i.e. government-run health care -- and it's not), when, lo and behold, I stumbled upon the HCFA blog
and found a link to the attorney general's office
that provides the actual wording of proposed ballot questions (see Health Care For All, Version A for said genteman's name) and -- WHOA!!! -- I see a ballot question for the creation of a GLOBAL FEDERAL UNION
that would be established to "insure international tranquillity and safeguard human rights," though there's no mention of going where no man has gone before. Cool.Update
-- Reader No. 1: "I'm continuously struck, though not surprised, by how our local culture simultaneously engenders calls to 'let the debate begin' by men of peace, and calls for 'unity'
by take-no-prisoners partisans."
He adds: "Hey, easy on Mark Bellhop. He broke the hitless streak last night and he DID NOT STRIKE OUT ONCE this afternoon ... and Roberto Petagine had a big hit today ... not to mention Edgar Renteria getting 3 hits... it's enough to make you forget how many runs our pitching staff surrendered to the Royals and Twins this past week. Prediction: Kevin Youkilis plays 1st base in September and however far we get into the playoffs."
FYI - I altered the update a bit after finding a link Reader No. 1 couldn't access.
'What I saw in the Beacon Hill Pub blew me away':
I couldn't believe the photos
either. ... A clean and well-maintained bathroom in the Beacon Hill Pub?
... Can't wait till The Restroom reviews public accomodations at the Alewife Station. ... Via Adam
'I've been trying to figure out why': David Brooks
celebrates all the good societal stats (low crime, low teenage births etc.) But I have a feeling Mickey Kaus
or someone else (might as well be me) will point out the absence of any mention of welfare reform in his column. ...
'109 strikeouts in 283 at-bats': It speaks for itself.
-- Don't know what prompted this Dave Roberts story
, but I can't get enough of Dave Roberts stories. My favorite ex-Sox Immortal Twenty-five. ... OK, I'll lay off Bellhop, I mean, Bellhorn.
'Gale force windbaggery,' Part II:
Just read the Duke's lament on the T
(and see Reader No. 1 below). The Duke's criticism of advertising is almost Puritanical, his shots at a governor with his eye on the presidency is hypocritical, his claim that transportation is the most important issue is silly, his failure to mention the biggest multibillion-dollar road boondoggle in state history (the Big Dig) is glaring, etc.
Now here's a few points where I agree with him: I'd love to see train service to Hyannis. I think it'd go a long way toward relieving traffic on the Cape, though I'd definitely push ahead with the Sagamore bridge/rotary repairs. The half-mile Siliverline bus tunnel is going to be a horror show. I also think the widening of the Route 128 South roadway is ludicrous. Here's my big idea (and I think I've mentioned this before): Why not spend money to create a 128 Commuter Rail? Use that extra lane they're now building for cars and instead use it for trains. One of the T's biggest problems is that it's a mid-20th Century system geared toward getting people to and from work in Boston -- not to and from work in an age when more people both live and work in the suburbs (and don't forget people traveling to visit relatives and non-work destination points outside the city). Time for the T to join the 21st Century.
Three last points: 1.) The long-term cutback in train service and expansion of bus service has been a disaster for the T. The general population will support train service. They won't support or ride a massive bus system that mimics crowded roadways. 2.) I cut out references to the economy in Reader No. 1's item. But he made excellent points. How many people moved out of Massachusetts during the recent recession? Weren't most of them the least able to afford high prices here and the ones who typically took the T more often? Peak T ridership is down by 100,000 over the past five years. I think there's probably a strong correlation between the economy's health, the state's declining population and T ridership, not to mention a non-T-riding aging population that's due in no small part to how expensive it is here for young and middle-class families. There's also a lot more at-home workers and fewer riders heading into town post-FleetBoston/John Hancock mergers. 3.) Not enough is being said about expensive union contracts. Update
has his own thoughts. ... Reader No. 1 likes my non-city centric idea, but believes a Route 128 Rail Corridor would be too expensive, too difficult (overpasses etc.) and too 1980s-centric, i.e. the population has shifted again. Probably all true. But the need for more rail -- and focused on where people live and work, such as the New Hampshire border area -- is an idea worth thinking about.'Gale force windbaggery':
Reader No. 1 on a certain former governor's comments about the T
"The original Massachusetts Liberal Fogey is at it again. Dukakis makes some good points: trains and stations should be clean. But of course he makes some truly silly ones: the Romney administration did not invent ads on MBTA vehicles (I know, I took them for 20 years). Incidentally, what's wrong with 'bleach' advertising? (Perhaps this is a veiled reference to the P&G takeover of Gillette.) Moreover, even a university professor might suggest the connection that MBTA ad revenue could be used to keep the stations clean (it would be worth finding out whether those ads are treated as general revenues to keep the MBTA retirement plan soft and fluffy).
"Not that we needed further proof of Duke's urban provincialism, but we got it anyway: fighting traffic backups at the Cape (a vacation magnet!) and 128 South is the wrong thing to do. Governor Dukakis, people are not going to take the Silver Line to Falmouth. ...
"Finally, the Politician-Engineer-Scold works up to gale force windbaggery: "Nothing is more important to the Commonwealth's economic future than a first class transportation infrastructure." Oh really? How about maintaining and improving K-12 education; creating more affordable private housing; keeping college costs affordable? Don't get me wrong: I hate potholes and traffic jams. But putting the transportation infrastructure first on the list is the kind of thinking that got us the Big Dig (which interestingly goes unmentioned in this article, despite it having gotten underway during the Dukakis administration in the 1980s).
"Governor Dukakis, Brookline Village is a fine place but it is not the entire universe."
"It's very serious":
Serious indeed if true Iran is now shipping deadly arms
'Lowe was frequently spotted ...':
It's been hinted at, but now it's finally out.
'When I heard the news ...':
Click on this story
and look at the accompanying photo of the new 'Gates of Peace' statue in Hiroshima. Remind you of a certain memorial here in Boston? Now look at the headline with the words 'never forget' (words not used in the article, BTW). Remind you of a certain phrase associated with the certain memorial here in Boston? ... Think they're trying to draw a moral comparison without coming right out and saying it? ...
The thinly reported article is annoying from beginning to end. Maybe the quoted Hiroshima survivor and now anti-nuke activist, who seems to blame America's reaction to 9/11 for North Korea and Iran's nuclear-weapons programs, should reread his own words and figure out why the bomb was used. After awakening 40 days after the bomb was exploded, the survivor-turned-activist recalls, "When I heard the news, I could not believe it. ... I shouted, 'No way Japan could lose.' " ... No way Japan could lose.
... He didn't shout curses at the Hiroshima tragedy. He shouted disbelief that the war was over -- and that Japan lost a war that it started. ... One would have to be a heartless monster to say he or she has no moral regrets about Truman's use of the atomic bomb. But when you think of the greater horror and fury unleashed by Germany and Japan, and the fact so many fanatical Japanese, in particular, would have fought to the bitter end, you realize what an awful but correct decision Truman made to end World War II. ... FYI: I had an uncle on a troop ship headed for the Pacific when the bomb was dropped. ...Update
-- Here's yet another story
on the dropping of the bomb and the possible reasons for Truman's decision. OK, so Truman was also worried about the Soviet Union entering the war if the conflict wasn't ended quickly. So: A.) he didn't want millions more to die in a land battle for Japan and B.) he didn't want one of the history's greatest mass-murdering dictators to have a say in how post-war Japan was run. ...Update II
-- Another we-need-to-examine-ourselves
piece. You see, we spend too much time celebrating D-Day and not enough on what the Japanese think of Hiroshima. North Korea and Iran are also building bombs because we're all but forcing them to. And don't forget: The Cold War was a bogeyman.
‘Here’s my theory …’:
Armchair Gen. Savin Hill, who really likes the new TV series ‘Over There,’
has a theory about all the criticism of the program, which has been getting mixed
reviews on the blogosphere:
“Ah. Here's my theory. Hollywood and the entertainment world will try to kill it any way they can - and entertainment writers will go to any lengths to give it bad reviews. First of all, there's only been 2 episodes, and I've seen them both. I haven't seen any ‘brutality’ and I haven't seen any patrolling. So - beware of whatever some reviewer says. They're just afraid that if they give it a good review they won't get invited to any more cocktail parties thrown by their lib friends. Last night ‘civilians’ did get shot at roadblocks - but it was clear the insurgents were using them as decoys, or they were willing decoys (or maybe unwilling). Ooops - moral amgibuity. Can't have that in a TV show. A liberal can't have a knee-jerk reaction in that case.”Hub Blog’s response
: Ah, the vast Hollywood left-wing conspiracy. … I have no desire to see the show. I’ll wait until I can borrow someone’s future DVD collection.‘How Nomar Pierce will fit in …’:
Reader No. 1 on the quiet departure of Antoine and the Bruins’ surprising, albeit perhaps short-lived, ability to make noise:
“It certainly says something that Antoine's first departure and return were such big news and his second departure is a non-topic on sports radio. I have mixed feelings. Antoine was one of the few people who actually WELCOMED playing in Boston so I will miss him - and he certainly provided a spark at the end of last season. I do not understand why he stopped going to the basket after his first two games back here in February. I also wish he hadn't melted down in game 3 of the Indiana playoff...
“As to Trader Danny's latest direction, I look forward to seeing fresh faces on the court, with only two caveats: (a) the kids will surely make a lot of mistakes, (b) how will Nomar Pierce fit in with all of the new folk?
“I do think somehow the Bruins crowded out the remaining air bubble in the sports world, although I don't know any Bruins fans. (I don't think I know any Celtics fans either, come to think of it...) I also doubt this is going to last once teams get back on the ice. New England baseball doesn't leave much oxygen for anyone else -- not just at Fenway, but look at how much we already know about the Pawsox and Portland prospects. Roberto Petagine's recall today is a real 'congratulations and what took so long?'”'He's been a good soldier':
Hub Blog finds myself in a odd situation: I'm actually following the Bruins in the offseason.
I've never been a big hockey fan. But there's a spectator egalitarianism about this coming NHL season; all the teams are starting from scratch. Fans like myself can actually watch and follow teams being built from the ground up. ... Alas I'm not sure the Bruins have gotten over their historic caution in the free-agent market. They may have planned well for a post-lockout season. But they're not executing all that well.
... All together (again): Good-bye Antoine.
Danny on 'Toine: 'He's been a good solider.' ... The Celts are also not wowing me
in the off-season. We'll see. ...
Hey, Herald colleague Tony Massarotti
is a fellow Tufts grad.
I knew the guy was smart. But not that smart. Bumped into him yesterday and he said his new book, "A Tale of Two Cities,"
co-authored with John Harper, is selling very well. Judging by reviews at amazon (admittedly all of them crazed Sox fans who can't get enough of 2004), I think I have yet another book to try to squeeze into my summer reading plans. ...
‘Only serve to annoy residents’:
Fine them. Tow them. Boot them. Annoy them. Anything to make motorists move their damn cars
so we can finally have cleaner streets, I bravely say. … Of course I don’t own a car. Carpundit
has a different opinion. …
'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.