'Something we all suspected':
Final say (for now) on the 2005 Sox, Tito, Theo, Boston fans, Michele Mangan Damon etc. etc. from Reader No. 1:
"So now that this long long season is over, the undercurrents come to the surface. Francona's health
(something we all forgot about), Renteria's health
(something we all suspected), Theo's ambitions
(and possible mentor conflict) - something that shouldn't surprise us
"Bruce Allen's column
to which you linked was marvelous. Judging by the response to this unsurprising yet nevertheless disappointing playoff and other anecdotal evidence along the way (the intensely engaged yet startlingly friendly Fenway crowd at my daughter's first Sox game this summer), I think most of us have turned the corner on our love-hate relationship with the Red Sox. That still glowing Series win is certainly a factor. And maybe most of us see things as Steven Goldman writes in the excellent new Red Sox analysis Mind Game
, 'One of the greatest myths of all was the Boston Red Sox curse. There was no curse. There was just a tradition of incompetence and mismanagement going back to 1919.' So, all the more reason to get Theo signed -- and for Theo's Entourage to learn from what worked, and didn't this year. Some initial questions that come to mind:
"1. Not to second-guess Francona (or Theo), but why didn't Kevin Youkilis (.400 OBP,) get more work this season in place of the overworked Bill Mueller and the underwhelming Kevin Millar?
"2. Will Michele Mangan Damon turn out to be the Red Sox answer to Yoko Ono? Can Tom Werner upgrade Michele from the NESN pregame show fashion segments to a Boston-centered higher visbility TV gig?
"3. When does Pedro's campaign to make Manny a Met cross the line into tampering?"
No nervous breakdown -- go ChiSox!:
Boston has changed for the better. Some talk-show types might try to stir up the angry angst act. But it's not there. The BoSox lost last night and most people I know shrugged their shoulders. They knew it was coming. ... I'm definitely rooting for the White Sox. A classy team in a classy city that richly deserves a World Series. I'm also hoping for -- and somewhat expecting -- a White Sox vs. Cardinals matchup. It would be great for the White Sox to play and beat the Cubs' arch NL rival. Having lived in Chicago, I'd estimate that the popularity gap between the ChiSox and Cubs is roughly the same as the old popularity chasm between the pre-Parcell Patriots and Red Sox of the same era. It's that huge. It shouldn't be. But that's the way it is. A World Series win by the ChiSox -- and especially over the Cardinals -- would certainly help narrow that undeserved gap. ...
Speaking of Chicago, the Sun-Times has stories on: A.) Manny
changing his agent and saying he would like to play in Chicago next year. B.) A sad farewell-like story on Johnny Damon
, who's quoted as if he's already leaving and C.) Just a good post-game look
at the BoSox. Hey, might as well throw in a good political corruption
story. This is Chicago, after all. ... Don't forget: Patronage is technically illegal. One day Massachusetts pols are going to get hit with a big fat Rutan lawsuit. If you don't know what Rutan means, look it up.
Post-game must reads from the blogosphere and newspapers:Bruce
on Terry Francona: "He managed to win just three fewer games in the regular season than the club did last year." ... Face it: Tito did a great job with a good but flawed team. Tony
on that good but flawed team: "How the Red Sox won 95 games is anybody's guess."Bob
summing it up: "This team was never good enough."
... And Wells
doesn't look like he's coming back.
'It is the liberals who will have the most misgivings': Andrew Sullivan
has a roundup of conservative anger over the Harriet Miers nomination -- and the WaPo has its own summary
. ... But I'm expecting a partial "never mind" flip-flop moment from some conservatives. Why? David Broder
may be right when he says liberals may be the ones bitterly upset if Miers gets on the bench. So much points to her being a true-believer religious conservative. Or at least more conservative than Sandra Day O'Connor. ... As I noted
the other day, sure, the president nominated a crony. But he appears to have nominated a devout crony. To me, she's still a crony. So I don't like the choice -- and I suspect her probable conservative views are quite different from my more moderate conservative views. But I'm developing a grudging admiration for the shrewdness of Bush's pick. The argue-over-chads ideologues on the left and right don't seem to see this. Very rarely do you see such confusion. ... Cult of the Crockpot: Glenn
has joined the Cult of the Crockpot (otherwise known as 'slow cookers'). I got one just a year ago. I love it. Recommendation: Buy one in which you can take the cannister out to wash. And get one with a timer. ... My own favorite recipe: olive oil, chopped onions and peppers, hot Italian sausage, one jar of high-quality tomato sauce, a little Port wine, S&P. Stuff 'em all in raw and cold. Set on low and come back five to six hours later. Yum, yum, yum. ...'Too interesting!'
: In classic form, Mickey
is showing no mercy toward the L.A. Times. ...
Stewie, you're doing a heck of a job:
The credentials of Stewart Simonson
, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services's assistant secretary for public health emergency preparedness, are coming under review now that there's serious talk of a possible avian flu pandemic. ... Nothing against Amtrak lawyers. But can we at least get someone in these emergency management positions who have experience in, well, emergency management
?Tufts hooligans?: Harvard hooligans.
Now Tufts hooligans.
... Et tu, Tufts? ... At least Tufts isn't overburdening the health-care system by sending dozens of wimpy students to the emergency rooms and aid stations. ... Ah the old Harvard hooligans saga. Dan
gave a preliminary summary last year and things didn't look good for the Herald. Then news of the vodka luge
leaked out and we haven't heard from the indignant Crimson types since. The ball was always in your court, Harvard. ...
'When the beast pounced':
More on the coyote showdown.
... I rather doubt the grandfather would have been able to keep a wolf in a strangle-hold for half an hour. ... Nothing against wild ravenous wolves one day roaming New England. As we all know full well
: We want wolves!'He luxuriates': Scot
on Count DiMasi. ... Just one quibble. The idea that the Trav has somehow 'grown' in office -- as opposed to Sal not growing -- is pretty much laid to rest with the Trav's crack handling
of expanded gambling in Massachusetts. ...
'Python bursts after trying to eat gator':
Another crazy animal story
. ... Wildlife biologist: "This is not a `Be afraid, be very afraid' situation.'" ... What, me afraid? Discarded Burmese Python pets now dominating the wildlife food chain in the Everglades. Discarded alligator pets roaming
around Massachusetts. Coyotes attacking grandpa and grandkiddie. Wildlife experts reintroducing wolves to Northern New England. ... There has
to be a tabloid god in the sky. ... 'Grampa foils coyote attack':
Question in wake of latest vicious coyote attack
: Aren't they reintroducing wolves in Northern New England? Answer: Yes.
... But remember those old poll numbers
: 'More than 84 percent of all New England residents want to bring back the wolves.' ... Right. ... When was the last time 84 percent of New Englanders agreed on anything? That the Red Sox winning the series last year was good? I doubt we hit 84 percent even then, considering Connecticut's divided loyalties. ... Wolves, wolves, wolves. We want wolves! ... 'Street cleaning scofflaws targeted': About time.
may be on to a solution here: reduce the number of sweep days for simplicity's sake while doubling the fines. I'd throw in stern towing policies. Hey, anything's better than twice-monthly sweeping that results in only six inches of curb being cleaned. ... KISS really does apply to many public policy questions.
'In terms of the happy conjunction of personalities':
Harvard president Larry Summers is marrying
English professor Elisa New -- and Shakespeare scholar Stephen Greenblatt gets in one of the finest twists of the knife I've seen in a while. Whether it's fair or not is irrelevent. It's just funny. ... “All of (New's) work is very, very acutely sensitive to aesthetic issues. ... There are many qualities one would associate Larry Summers with, but an acute aesthetic sensitivity is not the first one that would come to mind." ...
You'll have to click for the full punch line. ...
'Not impressed' - again, Part II: Jeff
is surely right to say the Red Sox shouldn't be counted out yet. Still, it's hard to think of the Sox winning with a giant black hole
in the pitching staff. ... Early yesterday, the odds were running 10-1 in London that the White Sox would win the Series. Before yesterday's game ended, they dropped to 4-1. Is God -- and London's bookies -- slowly forgiving the Red Sox, White Sox and Cubs in chronological descending order of suffering? ...Update
-- Bet Fair
has the odds worsening for both the BoSox and White Sox (click on 'World Series Winner'). ... I'm also told there are no bookies involved here. Pure betting market sets the odds -- or so they say.Update II
-- From Reader No. 1: "Jerry Remy tells it like it is in his 'Picture of the Day.'
It ain't over until it's over... but when it's over, how will our esteemed baseball writers deal with recent Red Sox talent selection? Will it be 'Que Sera, Sera' or a replay of Borges on Belichek?" I don't get it ..., Part III:
Silly me. Now I get it. Judy and the NYT are both
trying to redeem themselves. I think. Just a theory based on this useless story.
... Jay Rosen
rips into the Times and notes the not-too-hard-to-discern hostility toward Judy among NYT staffers. ... Rosen via Instapundit
‘As the quote from Hamilton suggests …’:
Boston University’s Randy E. Barnett
rips into President Bush’s Supreme Court nominee, as well as Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats. He quotes directly from Alexander Hamilton from Federalist No. 76 (with Barnett’s italics):
"To what purpose then require the co-operation of the Senate? I answer, that the necessity of their concurrence would have a powerful, though, in general, a silent operation. It would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favoritism in the President, and would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment
, or from a view to popularity. . . . He would be both ashamed and afraid to bring forward, for the most distinguished or lucrative stations, candidates who had no other merit than that of coming from the same State to which he particularly belonged, or of being in some way or other personally allied to him
, or of possessing the necessary insignificance and pliancy to render them the obsequious instruments of his pleasure."
As Barnett notes, Harriet Miers may be a very good person who turns out to be a very good justice, but the original intent of a Senate check was to screen out crony nominees like this. So much for original-intent arguments. …Update
-- 10.5.05 - Mickey
says Barnett may have pinpointed the 'fatal, non-snobby objection' to the nomination. ... Here's a bit more on Harriet.
Now watch some on the Christian right embrace her and angrily dismiss charges of cronyism -- or at least they'll try to change the definition of cronyism. ... Could it be Bush has made a truly shrewd tactical and strategic choice? Seriously. He gets a loyalist and
a fellow believer on the bench. A two-fer from his perspective. ... It will be interesting to see how her religion plays out on both sides of the partisan fence. She's merely shifted from being a crony to a devout crony in my book. ...A little cocky, aren't they?:
Chicago sports writers make their predictions
on the playoffs. ... Being a negative pessimist myself (and that's historically good for superstition reasons), I do sense a White Sox year. They're weird. They always disappoint. But so were and did the Red Sox until last year. ... The mayor of Chicago and governor of Illinois are betting
an unimaginative combined pizza, cheesecake, popcorn, ribs and hot dogs against the mayor of Boston and governor of Massachusetts offering clam chowder, lobsters, beer and Boston cream pie. I hate these politico bets. I hate them even more when we give up more for less. ... When we saw their sorry list, we should have immediately countered, 'OK, it's franks and beans from us.'Update
-- The mayors have apparently upped the ante.
But lobster dinners and a case of Sams still trump just about anything else. ...
Great street-sweeping campaign, mayor, Part IV:
It's back to awful for street sweeping. Moments ago not one inch of curb on Anderson Street between Revere and Phillips was swept because cars weren't moved. Two weeks ago only six inches
were swept. ... The crackdown ain't working, mayor. It is a joke. ...
'Not impressed' - again:
Hub Blog was not impressed
with last year's Sox celebration upon winning the wild-card race and I'm not impressed again
with yesterday's champagne celebration. They should have won the division. ... Which history will they follow? Last year's wild-card triumph or the 2003 disappointment? I'm tilting toward the latter, personally.
More pessimism: 'Painful Omen for Patriots.'
No kidding. They were bad.
... FYI -- I didn't see the Pats game yesterday. First game I've missed watching since probably, well, I don't know when. Blame it on the Sox and the bar I was at yesterday. Not that I missed anything from Foxborough. ...
'Self-examination ... is always a very difficult thing':
I was poking around the Chicago media sites to learn more about the White Sox (they're a very weird team
that almost blew it this year -- again) and stumbled upon this article
about past Illinois governors who have been indicted, jailed etc. The article starts out with an interview with past indicted ex-Gov. Dan Walker talking about currently indicted ex-Gov. George Ryan ... and then it recaps the long sad list of Illinois governors who ran afoul of the law. ... It has NOTHING to do with Boston, except Bostonians might get a kick out of it. Remember: Bostonians tend to corrupt the feds before they can issue corruption indictments. Louisiana and Illinois pols haven't learned this trick yet. ... FYI -- Not to get ahead of events (there's still a game to be won today -- and a possible second tomorrow), but I'd rather play the White Sox than the Angels in the first round.
One down, one to go:
I'm talking about the beautiful autumn weekend days being wiped out by the Sox. Not that I'm complaining. ... It was somewhat amazing watching the Yanks, who some foolishly counted out just a few months ago, celebrating their latest AL East title
at Fenway and not seeing Bostonians experience a collective nervous breakdown. So much has changed as a result of last year. Most notably: No 'curse' talk heard or observed yesterday. Thank goodness. ...Update
-- There's a 'Ruth' reference from you know who
. But no 'curse' reference. Thank goodness. ...
I don't get it ..., Part II:
Maybe this editorial is stating what the skeptical NYT reporters
are trying to convey in their coverage of colleague Judy: 'Self-made martyr.'
... Explains a lot. But it still doesn't excuse or explain why the government puts a non-violent flake in jail. ... Of all the things to worry about. ... General rule of thumb: When a federal special prosecutor gets involved, expect the far-out crazy. ... P.S. Why is Pinch playing such a high-profile role in this and other controversies (see NYT story and photo link above)? Doesn't the power of the NYT rest somewhat on a detached ownership mystique? ...Update
is confused too and also notes the presence of Sulzburger. ...
'Varied possibilities still exist':
Is this 2003, 2004 or 2005? Same teams. Same tension. Same superstitions starting to take hold. But unlike Ground Hog Day, it never gets dull. Last night's game was awesome.
... FYI -- Look what we have before us this weekend: Sox-Yanks, today, 1 p.m.; Pats-Chargers, tomorrow, 1 p.m.; Sox-Yanks, tomorrow, 2:05 p.m. Gotta get everything done in the morning because the afternoons are wiped out and the evenings are decompressing times for the exhausted. ... I don't get it ...:
It's official: I don't get the Judy Miller saga.
I don't get why she was dragged into the fray. I don't get why she went to jail. I don't get why she was released from jail. ... After reading the convoluted NYT story, I'm convinced no one else in the world gets it either. ... I do get this: There's something wrong about shoving a non-violent citizen in jail while violent citizens routinely manage to be released from or stay out of jail. Spare me the right-wing media bashing. Spare me the left-wing she-favored-the-Iraq-war spiel. Judy Miller may be a flake. But you don't jail people because they're a flake, as tempting as that might be for a society awash with annoying flakes.
Let it stumble ...:
You know FEMA is screwed up when its only non-screw-up accomplishment is the direct result of its own screw-up. Exhibit A: The NYT
seems genuinely alarmed that FEMA, which has earmarked $2 billion for temporary housing for Katrina victims, has placed only 109 people in temporary housing. ... But that's actually good. Sticking people in trailers and mobile homes is a man-made disaster in the making. So thank goodness for the screwed up FEMA's latest screw-up. ...
FYI -- Two billion dollars would pay for 10,000 permanent homes priced at a generous $200,000 each. Do the math and you'll find you can build an awful lot of homes for well under $200 billion.Update
-- But of course: Bechtel
has landed a contract to provide temporary housing. ... Incredible.
'No Direction Home':
Managed to see the second half of the PBS 'No Direction Home'
documentary on Bob Dylan. Listen, I like Bob Dylan. A lot. But the show's uncritical contemporary interview and film clips from the early '60s merely confirm to me that he was really a musical bridge from uppermiddle-class folk (not to be confused with country) to uppermiddle-class rock (not to be confused with the boys from Liverpool). That's important. But it's not profound. ... There was a hilareous scene in last night's installment in which a very earnest looking hippie dude is asking profound questions of Bob at a '60s press conference. Bob looks tempted to insult the guy with a line like, 'Get a life!' But at the same time Bob performs the Distant Wise Man Artist routine to perfection. ... Is it possible Martin Scorsese has never seen Rob Reiner's 'This is Spinal Tap'
? Maybe he doesn't see the ironic connection. ...
More on the Hyper Parents Front.
'Equating money with speech':
Here's hoping the Supreme Court throws out 99.9 percent of all financial prohibitions
within political campaign laws. ... The word 'prohibitions' is apt. It conjures up, well, Prohibition and all of its unintended debacles. ... Hub Blog's preferred 'campaign finance reform': Every single penny donated to a campaign has to be reported. And, yes, legislators, that includes alleged 'ticket sales' at clambakes. No other limits or rules. I call it the Fat Cat Disclosure Act. Through transparency, we'll know who's bought. ...
Can someone figure out the following NYT sentence (nothing againt the article -- it's more about the courts and the lunacy of current finance laws/rulings and how it's impossible to follow them):
"The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which includes Vermont, endorsed the state's approach in a 2-to-1 ruling last year that concluded that Buckley v. Valeo was not a complete prohibition on spending limits and that such limits could be justified by rationales the Supreme Court had not considered at the time, including public cynicism about the impact of money on politics."
So the courts are now trying to regulate "public cynicism"?
Great street-sweeping campaign, mayor, Part III:
Much better! Almost the complete opposite of last week
: Nine empty spaces out of 12. Still not good enough. But at least most of the street got swept. ... I'M STILL WATCHING YOU, MAYOR.Update
-- 9.28.05 - Maybe the mayor KNOWS that I'm WATCHING. There were two street sweepers brushing their way down Anderson Street this morning -- and on a non-street-sweeping day. ... Gotta love election season. But I'm not complaining!
'He's the man':
Pittsburgh's Hines Ward
: "They're the Patriots. That's why they're champions. ... They just have Brady back there. He's the man. He's definitely the best in the league." ... What a game
. ... There were definitely a lot of mistakes. Quite disturbing. They can't keep this up. ...
Pedophile Mafia Apologists resort to Lame Lefty Arguments: Domenico
thinks he's got a winner on Fr. Walter Cuenin
, who was forced out
of his parish duties, allegedly because of his big $400-a-month expenses: Comparing Cuenin to Tyco's Dennis Kozlowski. Well, well, well. What would you rather have? A priest riding around in a subsidized car or riding on your son, brother, nephew, grandson etc.? ... Isn't it amazing how right-wing kooks end up sounding like left-wing kooks, sort of like how defenders of, say, the Confederacy resort to Marxist rhetoric ('it was all about industrial economics') or how, conversely, defenders of Palestinians resort to anti-semitic rhetoric? Fascinating. ... Via Adam
. ... P.S. - Made some slight changes to the post from last night. Also check out the comments over at Domenico's site. They're quite revealing.Update
: Smear tactics, pure and simple. ... Margery
(sub. req.): 'Not even my dog believes that story.' ... More here
Brown Paper Bag Over Head Time:
Whenever the MSM elite writes flowery accounts of 'antiwar protests,' it's usually Brown Paper Bag Over Head Time for the rest of us MSM grunts. More than two years ago, I ranted about coverage of these obviously left-wing promoted and backed protests
-- and stories that deliberately strip out any hint that the vast majority of protesters bring distinct political agendas to these events. So what do we get more than two years later? Accounts of yesterday's antiwar rally that say, among other things, that protesters represented a "broad cross section of the United States by age, geography religion and ethnic group," according to WaPo
. Well, gee, thanks. That's technically true. The same could be said about shoppers in Boston's Downtown Crossing on any given day. But if it's also a 'political demonstration,' as the Globe
notes, don't you think it'd help if they described the obvious 'political' dynamics at work, not to mention the world views of the 'organizer'
of the event, as the NYT
blandly describes it? The AP
, needless to say, also doesn't use words like 'liberal' or 'left-wing' or 'conservative' or 'right-wing' in its antiwar accounts flashed to other papers across the country. ... It's just embarrassing to see the MSM cover up the political dynamics of 'antiwar' events -- while at the same time denying it has a liberal bias. I happen to be one who thinks the media isn't as liberal as righty critics say. Knee-jerk media bashing has become the all-purpose duck tape holding together a lot of flimsy conservative arguments. But there is indeed a MSM liberal bias. And politically shallow and sympathetic coverage of antiwar events regularly confirms that conclusion. ...
How bad was coverage of yesterday's 'antiwar' rally? Aljazeera
also strip out all political connotations in an attempt to make the movement look 'broad based.' ... Now where's that brown paper bag? I'll try not to ralph in it before wearing it. ...Update
-- Great brown paper bag selection here.
... And FYI disclosure: I am a reporter at the Herald.
'There, I've said it': Brett
asks the Big Question about the Big Easy after the city is flooded for the second time in less than a month: "Are we really sure we want to rebuild New Orleans? There, I've said it." And he adds:
"The city had a population of around 600,000. So this $200 billion boondoggle would work out at $333,000 a head. Even the cheapest estimates put the rebuilding cost at $70 billion – or $117,000 per inhabitant. If we're going to spend all this money, can’t we just cut everyone there a check? Think of the advantages. Quick. Simple. They can start getting their lives back on Monday. No bureaucrats. No 'cost overruns.' No local guys in shiny suits buying a new Cadillac on the taxpayers’ tab. Everyone person stands in line, gets a check, and hops the Greyhound out of town."Hub Blog's response
-- I guess I'm sentimental, but I'm still not persuaded. Yet Brett's point that 'rebuilding' really means rebuilding landlords' homes to rent back to poor people is a compelling argument for making sure poor people become true land owners after all of this is done. I'd rather see the cash in poor people's pockets than politically wired contractors' pockets...Update
-- Reader No. 1 and I were talking about rebuilding New Orleans
back in early September. Remember: Valmeyer.
... At the least some neighborhoods can and should be moved to higher ground. Throw in first-time home ownership offers, and you'll have a lot of enthusiastic takers. The last thing we need is tired liberal/compassionate conservative 'housing' programs.
'The high point of Mobility Week':
Anyone who visited, lived or worked in Boston during last year's DNC noticed and enjoyed one thing: The lack of car traffic. The city never looked better. So I'm all in favor of encouraging (not requiring) use of subways, bikes, scooters and anything else to relieve traffic. I'd love to see new tramways, bike lanes, expanded T lines etc. ... But there's something profoundly annoying about the EU's 'Mobility Week'
program. A giant Brussels bureaucracy clicks its fingers and Europeans hop to it. Don't get it. ... The CSM story is raw red meat, I assume, for an unleashed Carpundit
to bite into and tear apart. Go, Carpundit! Get the Euros!Update
responds with a good point: "Sorry, Jay. I think the problems of sprawl and congestion need creative, non-car solutions. Even if they are French." But I was hoping he'd really tear into the Euros for the sport of it. ... For some reason I can't quite explain, I'm in a real anti-Euro mood these days. Maybe it ties into the BBC's snotty Katrina coverage, etc. ... P.S. A fine example of snotty BBC coverage here
Not counting the Sox out yet
. But I am starting to take solace in the fact the Pats stumbled the year after their first Superbowl win. ... I didn't want to point out this Tony 'They're cooked'
column the other day because it was too depressing. Now it's impossible to ignore. The Sox seem so exhausted. ... The only good news: The NY media
is still talking 'curse.' As long as they
wallow in it, there's hope. ... 'Reminded us of the old waffler himself': Sissy Willis
calls up the offices of Michael Capuano, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry as part of the porkbusters campaign. Guess who gets an 'F' for poor constituent service? ... Granted, Mike and Ted win style-over-substance points. But Kerry's office comes through with typical arrogance over style and substance. ... Via Instapundit
'Benefit for Louisiana Blues Community Relief':
It's for a good cause.
Great street-sweeping campaign, mayor, Part II:
Hey! A few moments ago a mini 'Green Machine' street sweeper just buzzed by outside my apartment -- the type you see in Paris late at night. The 'Green Machine' couldn't get in between cars, but it was doing a fine job sweeping intersection curbs where trash tends to collect. I like it! ... I also think our 'Green Machine' looks sharper than the Paris type. The one I just saw had shiny stainless steel trimming mixed with green fiberglass. Tres hip. ... I'm still WATCHING YOU, mayor.
Is the Katrina 'chad' moment approaching?:
is reporting that fundamental problems with levee designs and construction could be the ultimate cause of the New Orleans flood disaster. ... Armchair Gen. Savin Hill and Hub Blog
were speculating on this way back when. Here's an excerpt from what the general wrote on Sept. 3:
"* Engineering mystery: Why did the 79th street canal levee break? It's not as simple as anyone thinks - it broke AFTER Katrina had long passed over the city. Why? The chain of events leading to that key break need to be understood. Don't assume there was no human error involved. There's almost always something surprising once we learn the real facts on an engineering disaster."
To which I had responded: "Hmmm. What will be the ideological 'chad' argument of Katrina? It's got to be A.) something no one knows about B.) something people will have passionate opinions about when it surfaces. C.) it's got to be really mundane. ... My bet is it will have something do with levee materials or pumping station lubricants."
And it's now looking like the material in question just might be concrete. If in fact concrete is the 'chad' of Katrina, imagine the ideological know-it-all reactions:
Righty: It's the 3-XZ Grit Concrete favored during the Clinton era!
... Lefty: That's a lie! Everyone knows that 3-XZ Grit Concrete is an alleged non-absorbing material tested by NOAA in 1972 -- at the time Nixon was bombing Haiphong Harbor and draining resources away from domestic spending!
-- Quickie Blame Game Trench Warfare Update: Not much has changed in recent days, as is usual in boring trench warfare slugfests. But there has been a somewhat intriguing development. Notice how conservatives are now lobbing reverse #4 rounds (i.e. praising local officials in Mississippi, constrasting it with Louisiana officials' hapless response). What can liberals counter with? Reverse-reverse #4s (i.e. Mississippi didn't do all that well -- therefore it's still Bush's fault)? More #5s? I don't think so. The Katrina Gap is slowly being pinched closed by conservatives.
FYI: Following is an abbreviated argumentative points list for those still keeping track of the Katrina ideological blame game: 1.) Act of God. 2.) Blame pols for pre-storm levee work etc. 3.) Post-storm fair-game criticism. 4.) Blame locals 5.) Blame Bush.
Reader No. 1 ponders post-Katrina ideas and rhetoric:
"1. That there is not much difference between 'compassionate conservatism' and Big Government Bureaucracy
. And given what is likely to happen with the Rebuilding of N'Awlins
, you ain't seen nothing yet.
"2. That there are heretofore unexplored local government angles to Katrina that no mainstream reporters will explore (too complicated / too embarassing to take a look into the sausage factory
)... again, as the site of the previously largest public works project in American History, Mass residents should watch and learn...
"3. That the most compassionate President in American history would throw shameless cheapshots
at his successor."
Germans are so dumb:
It's payback time
for 2000: Germans are soooooo dumb. ... Why can't Europeans run a simple election? ... Why do those little parties have so much say over the final outcome despite having received so few votes? ... Why is the loser claiming to be the winner? ... I don't understand why one German district votes weeks after everyone else. ... I don't understand this and that. ... This isn't the way for Europe's largest democracy to behave. ... We're soooo much better.
... There. I've waited five long years to get that out of my system.
'I cannot get a unified command,' Part III:
And yet another smart piece
flagged by John
, this one on why Mississippi seems to have handled Katrina a bit better than those in neighboring Louisiana. ... Hint: They literally threw out the rule book -- not to mention a few laws on the books. ... That makes two calm but critical looks
at key Katrina players, with two more to go.
‘This was the Patriots – Clive Rush era’: Ouch.
... Champs Town? Try meltdown.
... Remember: 'Stay calm! All is well!'Great street-sweeping campaign, mayor:
Moments ago a city street sweeper brushed its way down Anderson Street on Beacon Hill. Down the middle of the street. That's because nine of the approximately twelve spaces between Revere and Phillips were filled with cars that weren't moved. The sweeper touched the curb in only one spot -- and that was for about six inches before it had to take a hard-angle turn out to avoid hitting a parked Jeep Cherokee. ... What was that about towing cars that owners refused to move on cleaning days? ... I'M WATCHING YOU, MAYOR.
'I cannot get a unified command,' Part II: John
flags a good column by John Tierney
, who writes about one company that showed initiative outside 'the plan' and how FEMA actively tried to block initiative and anything else outside 'the plan.' ... Individual initiative? ...
Imagine FEMA commanding the Battle of Lexington and Concord: You there, Danvers militia! You haven't reported to us yet! Stop that firing right now! Take your Minutemen to the Respect Thy Neighbors' Papist Faith Seminar and await further orders. ... Menotomy Minutemen! Where do you think you're going? Who authorized you to defend that village against Redcoats? It's not even on the map. It says here "Arlington." You haven't even filled out a Sparsely Populated Urban Warfare AQ-207-1 form!!! Get back to the stonewall!
'58 is clearly just a number':
Elton John's concert at the Garden
last night sounds like another awesome performance by Sir John. Elton has such an infectious stage presence. ... Maybe it's because I'm getting older and can't stand being jostled at concerts, but calm audiences and a performer's strong stage presence are much more important to me now. A girlfriend once had to drag me to a Mel Torme
concert in the early '90s, saying it would be 'good for you.' It was. I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed the old crooner's command of the stage and audience. ... God help me, but I probably would have enjoyed Neil Diamond in Boston.
-- Obvious point: Isn't it great to call the Garden the Garden again? We owe it to TD Banknorth
, whose decision to stick 'Garden'
in the name shows it's in touch with local mores and sentiment, despite knowing full well people would just casually refer to it as the 'Garden.' There's hope yet for Corporate America.
Update -- Englebert Humperdinck
is in Lowell later this month. ...Connect-the-dots time:
So liberal groups are mobilizing to connect the dots
between Katrina and Iraq. OK, now that we're connecting the dots, let's extend the dot line. ... True
: The war now doesn't look "winnable in the short term." ... True
: Al Qaeda is expanding its recruitment in Iraq. ... True or false: Would it be wise to now just pull out U.S. troops with Al Qaeda establishing a foothold in Iraq? Until liberals answer that question and present a convincing non-Cindy Sheehan strategy to deal with it, they're not going to win support from me on the national security front -- and I'm a skeptic about the war and a harsh critic of the president's handling of it. ...Update
- Michael Yon
has an update on an officer recently injured in an Iraq battle. LTC Erik Kurilla: "I wanted to be there with my soldiers until the end, keeping our boot on the enemy's neck and pushing his back up against a wall, right until the very last minute." ... That's what's needed: 'keeping our boot on the enemy's neck' while Iraqis get ready to fend for themselves. There's simply no other short-term alternative to sticking it out at this point.Cool interactive graphic alert: Cool.
... Click on 'extent of flooding' in tool chest at left, then click to declick 'points of interest' for a great view of the extent of flooding in New Orleans. ... The 'protecting New Orleans' section is also interesting. Notice how few escape routes there are out of the city.
'I cannot get a unified command':
There are generally two types of leaders in crisis: A.) those who adapt plans to events B.) those who try to ram events back into a plan. The former usually succeed by improvising and taking initiative. The latter are like Mike Brown.
This is an incredible story, overplayed for the wrong reasons. The first half is typical NYT spin (locals vs. prez). But the second half
takes off as it focuses on Brown and just lets him yap away. He literally was begging others to take leadership. He was helpless without 'the plan.' ... Picture a panicking Kevin Bacon in Animal House yelling, 'Everyone stay calm!' and you have Mike Brown. ... I'm being quite serious: I think there's a great case study here for Harvard Business School, Center for Quality of Management or West Point on how not to lead. ... P.S. - I know the story is a day old and Mike Brown is old history in the 24/7 news cycle. But read the article from a management standpoint, not from a political standpoint, and it's fascinating.
'Mr. Bush probably needed a humbling ...': Peggy Noonan
writes one of the best pieces on the president I've seen yet. ... Next up, please: An equally calm but critical look at the governor of Louisiana and the mayor of New Orleans. Throw in the governor of Mississippi. Things seem to have run somewhat better there. Why? ...
‘Any ... takers?’:
One last copy of John Farrell’s
lost Great American Novel has been found. … Should we bid the price up?Did you hear the one about the Pope?:
You may have already heard this BLOHARDs joke.
But I hadn't. It's really stupid and therefore funny. Here goes:
"On a tour of New England, the Pope took a few days off to visit Cape Cod for some sightseeing. He was cruising along the beach in the Popemobile when there was a commotion just off shore. A helpless man, wearing an Yankee hat, was struggling frantically to free himself from the jaws of a massive shark. As the Pope watched in horror, a speedboat pulled up with two men, both wearing Red Sox hats, inside. Without a moment's hesitation, one of the men commenced to beat the shark with a stick, while the other hauled the Yankee fan from the water. Shortly thereafter, the men pulled the now-dead shark into the boat too.
"Immediately the Pope shouted and summoned them to him. 'I give you my blessing for your brave actions. Even in the Holy See, I had heard that there was a bitter hatred between Red Sox fans and Yankee fans, but now I have seen with my own eyes that this is not true.' Having said this, he threw the Popemobile into gear and disappeared over a nearby dune.
"Back on the boat, the silence was broken by one of the men who asked 'Who was that?'
" 'That was the Pope,' the other replied. 'He is the conduit through whom God communicates His infallible wisdom to the hundreds of millions of Catholics around the world.'
" 'Well,' the first said, 'he doesn't know s*** about shark fishing. How's the bait holding up?' "
I like BLOHARDs
. Plenty more bad jokes over there.
'No way I was going to run out': Roger Clemens
is a machine. And I mean that in a positive way. ... Speaking of machines: Papi!
Blame Game Trench Warfare Update, Part II:
Interesting developments in the Katrina ideological trench warefare front: This liberal op-ed
is firing #2 and #3 volleys ('we will only have ourselves to blame') in a clever high-ground attempt to relieve pressure on those firing relentless #5 rounds. ... Meanwhile, this conservative columnist
comes right out and says -- 'in the interest of balance' -- that his #4 rounds are in direct response to the constant #5 fusillades. I'm not sure telegraphing your ideological strategy is a good thing, but its honesty is quite refreshing. There's also this column
that mixes #1s and #4s (media bashing) grapeshot. ...
FYI: Following is an abbreviated argumentative points list for those keeping track of the Katrina ideological blame game: 1.) Act of God. 2.) Blame pols for pre-storm levee work etc. 3.) Post-storm fair-game criticism. 4.) Blame locals 5.) Blame Bush.P.S.
snags this WaPo story
on the horror within the N.O. convention center. The story will surely attract lots of ideological attention. Does it mean the media originally overstated or underestimated the convention-center nightmare? Did the relative inaction of police and Guard troops reflect poorly on local authorities -- or merely reflect the fact federal troops should have arrived sooner? Stay tuned. The ideologues will have answers soon.
'I take responsibility':
I think the president's slide in the polls just ended.
... Blame Game Trench Warfare Update:
Not to be confused with the now ended
Blame Game Battlefield Update, the Blame Game Trench Warfare Update is merely to show that you’re not missing much as the ideologues continue to lob post-Katrina #5
grenades (knee-jerk media bashing falls into the #4 category since it serves the purpose of pushing blame away from Bush). … Didn’t the locally produced death estimates in the days after 9/11 also hit as high as 10,000 and then drop? Same thing is happening now. Except this time Bush is facing trouble – so you have to blame the media somehow for the 10,000 figure. ... 'BLOHARDS Stand Firm Against Persecution': Alex
is on his very own 'How New York Can Be More Like Boston Tour' and tips us off to the BLOHARDS site
and a terrible tragedy of persecution
in New York: "Some people may find this little tale amusing, but not us. We're the Benevolent Loyal Order of Ancient and Honorable Diehard Red Sox Sufferers ("BLOHARDs") and to us there's nothing funny about breaking a child's heart." ... I don't think Bostonians appreciate how tough the NYC mission is each and every damn day for people like Manhattan WMD Spy
and the BLOHARDS.
'Weis isn't carried away by start': Charlie's
off to a big start at Notre Dame but he's rightly downplaying it. ... Romeo
is going to have a little tougher time in Cleveland.
'We're going to increase our patrols': Carpundit
demands action on needle park -- and gets it
. ... Carpundit
demands resignations -- and gets one.
Notice a pattern forming here? ...P.S.
-- Agree with the commentator over at Adam's site
that other city parks shouldn't be ignored. But the idea that we should wait and attack the problem all at one time sounds awful FEMA-like to me. ...
'A patrol takes up a position on Bourbon Street': John
has more photos from New Orleans. ... There's so much we can't sort out: the death toll, the extent of looting, the responsibility. But there's one thing we're sure of: What a hell of a catastrophe. John's posts prove it. ... 'A patrol takes up a position on Bourbon Street'
'The Echo I heard this weekend ...':
Reader No. 1 and I were trading emails yesterday about Katrina management, plans and bureaucracy in general. Here are three Reader No. 1 points:
"1. David Brooks
(whom I greatly respect) is surely right by pointing out the failure of government. But he does us no favors by blaming The System. 'Endemic failure' is good rationale for bureaucratic tenure. People should be held responsibile.
"2. The Governor of Louisiana and Mayor of New Orleans are doing a better job skating by the press than is the President
"3. The Echo I heard this weekend most was 'how could so many fail to react to the most anticipated disaster in American history?' Is it possible that when the behavioral and decisionmaking experts at Harvard write the book on Katrina, this will be exactly the point: one reason people failed to act is BECAUSE knowing in advance, they expected someone else to take responsibility? This will contrast with the amazing heroics of 9/11, a disaster which no one had time to anticipate - only time to react. Alternative possibility: between fear of lawsuits, fear of ceding control from state to federal government, it's all the lawyers' fault."'Let it go! Let it GO! LET IT GO!':
It's all Reader No. 1 this morning, with the following message slugged 'Let it go! Let it GO! LET IT GO!':
"Congratulations to Drew Bledsoe on winning his Cowboys opener. But how many Superbowls does Tom Brady have to win before Globe NFL Beat Writer
stops writing drivel like this?
" ''(Quote from Keyshawn Johnson) 'Even though Tom Brady has won three championships, if Mo Lewis doesn't hit Drew in the sternum, do we ever hear of Tom Brady in the NFL?'
''One would imagine so, but who knows?
"Let's see... Bledsoe was the QB of a Patriot team that was 7-18 in the prior 1 1/2 seasons. Since his departure, the team has let go of two Pro Bowl defensive backs who were still above-average at their position because their salaries were out of line with their value to the team. Why would Bledsoe, on a $103 million /10 year contract, have fared any differently than Ty Law and Lawyer Milloy? And who would have succeeded Bledsoe?
"I also like Borges pulling the emphatic Keyshawn quote 'Even though Tom Brady has won three championships...' Three championships merits an '...even though.' For Borges, this sentiment from Bledsoe seems to be the difference-maker:
" 'I'm happy for them but I'd be lying if I didn't admit it's hard to see the organization have all that success after I've gone. It's OK to acknowledge I helped dig that organization out of mediocrity, but that's bittersweet now.'
"Believe it or not, it is possible to be grateful, and not hypocritical, for:
"1. what Bledsoe and Parcells (and others) did to dig the organization out of mediocirty;
"2. what Brady and Belicheck (and others) did to win 3 championships.
"P.S. -- Who will be first to dub the homeless New Orleans Saints 'America's Team?' They deserve it.
Should we be thinking a little more about Hurricane Ophelia? Damn right. No sky-is-falling warning. But it's there
'I try to bring you the REAL news': The domestic front
: "I am not exactly the little tailor in the fairy tale who killed seven with one blow, but vengeance is mine as I flush their stripey little bastard bodies down the toilet." ... Via Adam
'We don't have to get approval to execute':
Here's a great overview
of Katrina events and the bureaucratic breakdown at almost every governmental level -- except at the U.S. Coast Guard. ... David Brooks
on the pre-storm emergency response plans: 'The quality of the facilitating must have been surpassed only by the magnificence of the interfacing!' ... At this point, I see no reason to change my prior
descending-order humanoid culpability list: 1.) the governor of Louisiana 2.) the mayor of New Orleans 3.) the president of the United States -- all bunched tightly together. ... 'In dire need of reasons for optimism': A very satisfying win.