'The Halloween Eve Massacre':
Reader No. 1 on the Theo drama:
"Will we look back and call it 'The Halloween Eve Massacre'? 'Trick, Not Treat?' How ironic that 12 months and 4 days after the greatest day in Boston sports history, the Red Sox coach turns into a pumpkin on October 31st... hope I'm not waxing too Shaughnessy-esqe.
"Extreme reactions are more characteristic of our sports media than our sports fans. And we don't know all the facts on Theo's departure yet. But it's hard to argue with Glenn Ordway when he said at the end of tonight's Big Show that Larry Lucchino and Dan Shaughnessy are in for a bumpy ride... particularly when Theo's deputy was allowed to leave for Arizona on Friday!
"Before we round up the usual suspects, a few observations:
"1. Consequences aside, Shaughnessy's now infamous Sunday column
had a good deal to recommend it, particularly a mostly believable, mostly balanced view of the evolving/disintegrating relationship between the owners and GM. But Dan would have done us all well to note his version of the infamous Larry Bigbie trade was importantly different from our well-documented understanding
of how events unfurled during the particularly tumultous July trade deadline. Especially notable because no one likes falling on anyone's sword. Ask Judith Miller.
"2. Headline: 'Upstart Herald Kicks Globe's Ass.' Michael Silverman
and Tony Massarotti
... well, what can one say other than, Herald Management, don't make that Theo mistake, sign them up to longterm contracts before it is too late! And how would you feel if you were Gordon Edes and Chris Snow
today? ... two very solid and conscientious writers who one might say were 'misinformed.'
"3. Let's be fair and balanced: Theo had an incredible 2003 and 2004, not so good 2005. Derek Lowe notwithstanding, it's never good to have a bum season in your free agency year. And there is a laundry list of challenges this offseason - Manny, Damon, Wells, and rebuilding the supporting cast - on top of a shaky finish. So maybe Theo is making a very wise move. He's a rational young man, rational enough to know that his rationality has limited influence over high-paid professional athletes, compared to the rationality of said high-paid professional athlete's agents and union reps. Smart guys know when to get out.
"This seems like a rough weekend for rationality. Moneyball threatened to bring a whole new rational era to America's pastime. Can't have that! And in the course of a weekend, Billy Beane's two best known disciples
leave two of the most famous franchises in baseball under clouds. The baseball oldtimers and most sportswriters will chuckle quietly. What do those rotisserie stat-heads know about chemistry, emotion, the 'intangibles' you can't measure? Good question. Ask Dan Shaughnessy - he's an expert.
"Today Theo feels like taking a year off. But eventually, he'll get on that plane to Los Angeles and settle in for a stretch with the Dodgers. Yes, I know everyone thinks this is what he'll do - sometimes everyone is right. And life will go on.
"Theo - thanks for the memories (and for helping to build a new Red Sox foundation). Here's looking at you, kid."Hub Blog's view
-- Again, I don't know a thing about what's going on other than what I read in the papers. Though a Herald business reporter, I'm in the peanut gallery enjoying the show with everyone else. That said, I'll venture to say I don't think there's a Globe-Sox conspiracy per se. But I do think there was a 'campaign' and things were ugly. Events proved that out -- and one side wrote about it and the other didn't. The question is: Why? I think it has to do with a perhaps unwitting competitive desire to milk access that naturally comes with a corporate partnership. But it now looks like that two-way access was abused by one Sox management type and just blew up in the Globe's face -- and I have a gut feeling there are a lot of people over on Morrissey Boulevard who are really pissed off tonight at Larry Lucchino. ... And Tony was absolutely right: This is why you want a two-newspper town. Period.
'In a stunning development ...':
is actually not so stunning if you read between the lines over the past week or so. Something indeed ugly
was brewing over at Yawkey Way and people like Tony
sensed it. Michael Silverman
on the power struggle within the organization and You Know Who's
Sunday column that had a distinct pro-Lucchino and know-your-place-Theo slant to it:
"Epstein had done some agonizing soul-searching the past few days, torn between staying at the job he had always coveted since his childhood days in Brookline and leaving because of intra-organizational politics and power struggles that he ultimately decided he could not live with any longer.
"On Sunday, he began having serious misgivings about staying on. A leading contributing factor, according to sources close to the situation, was a column in Sunday’s Boston Globe in which too much inside information about the relationship between Epstein and his mentor, team president and CEO Larry Lucchino, was revealed -- in a manner slanted too much in Lucchino’s favor.
"Epstein, according to these sources, had several reasons to believe Lucchino was a primary source behind the column and came to the realization that if this information were leaked hours before Epstein was going to agree to a new long-term deal, it signaled excessive bad faith between him and Lucchino."
Notice in the Globe's account Theo's comment: "In my time as general manager, I gave my entire heart and soul to the organization. During the process leading up to today’s decision, I came to the conclusion that I can no longer do so."
Hmmm. The 'process' -- not to be confused with 'campaign,' I suppose. ... Hmmm II: Notice also how the Globe story above brings up the Dan column without any context. It's just plopped into the story. .... Hmmm III: Reader No. 1 points out that Dan's pro-Larry version of the infamous Colorado-Boston trade is quite different from what Peter Gammons reported
last August (scroll down). ...
FYI: Reader No. 1 and I have had a jolly good time trying to figure out who's the 'nationally known Lucchino-hating Epstein source' Dan not-so-subtly outed yesterday, even giving an approximate time and place where the source was on a given day. We narrowed it down to two names. I'm sure Larry has narrowed it down to one. I also assume Dan would rather go to jail for 85 days rather than reveal a source outright, though specifically hinting at a source's name in public seems to be OK with him. ... FYI II: I am a non-cabal Herald business reporter. I don't know anything about the subject beyond what I read in the newspapers -- mostly by reading between the murky lines these days. And pass the popcorn. This drama is only beginning. ...
P.S. -- So now we'll finally find out who the real genius was behind 2004 -- Larry or Theo. Or could it be -- similar to Belichick and Charlie and Romeo -- that it was a combination of a number of very talented people?
It's amateur hour
over at Boston.com. Nothing against Boston.com. But M*A*S*H and Good Morning, Vietnam as the greatest war movies ever made? Who let the Vietnam peacenicks into the discussion? ... The greatest-war-movies issue was thoroughly debated and settled last winter on Hub Blog, here
. Let's not defile the subject matter by now bringing up Kelly's Heros and, God help us, Forrest Gump. If Armchair Gen. Savin Hill hears about that one ...
'A lot of strangeness around this issue':
The anti-Halloween movement
now involves both conservative Christians (and Muslims) and secular church-state separatists. Near perfection when it comes to the argument that extremists usually end up being indistinguishable. ... Notice the pseudo-sophisticated issues the article attempts to raise -- how the anti-Halloween debate "gets to the heart of minority rights" or conversely how it "strips kids of a community-sanctioned way to tap into the creative, even spiritual, aspect of the unseen." Jeez. And all this time I thought Halloween was the ultimate kid holiday: Dressing up as monsters, hauling in bags of candy, getting to throw rotten eggs at grown-ups' homes and horse-trading the loot the next day during school recess. ...
There was a dark side to Halloween: The loss of self-esteem when you realized you poorly canvassed the neighborhood and missed out on the carmalized popcorn balls at a neighbor's home. I should have gone there! I'm such a loser!
... And it would gnaw at you for days after.Update
(sub. req.) has more on how the 'PC God steals Halloween.' And don't forget the PC anti-Gods.
'Where's the campaign?':
After trashing Theo and praising Larry, You Know Who
writes: "It was charged last week that Sox management conducted a 'smear campaign' against Epstein. How? Where's the campaign?" ... I assume Dan wrote the column without the slightest clue or care about what Tony
was saying -- that Theo was being trashed (or 'smeared') and there's a certain tendancy for a certain media outlet to take the side of management. ... The ball's in your court, Mark
. Chalk it up to 'coincidence' if you want, but you gotta admit the column is a doozy. ... FYI: Love You Know Who's burning of the 'nationally known Lucchino-hating Epstein source.' I assume he'd rather go to jail for 85 days than name a source outright, though I think Larry appreciates the obvious tip. ... FYI II: I'm a non-cabal Herald reporter.
Notorious 'footlicker' strikes again:
Posted as a public-service reminder that there are very strange
(and dangerous) people out there. ...'Sympathetic echo of Kevin Costner in 'The Untouchables'': Huh?
Of all the things I've read about Patrick Fitzgerald and his investigation, a comparison to Kevin Costner in The Untouchables has to be the most lame. ... Notice also the comparison to the Pentagon Papers. A case of reliving past glories? ...
Quickie Scooter Indicted Thoughts: Glad to see Fitzgerald is sticking close to the original alleged crime and any attempt to obstruct the investigation into that specific matter. My fear -- proven unfounded, at least for now -- was that he was pulling a Ken Starr and drifting from, metaphorically speaking, an investigation of a sleazy backwater real estate deal toward perjury charges surrounding a blowjob. ... FYI: I still question if any espionage or disclosure laws were broken. Clearly it's a close call. Fitzgerald may yet press ahead on that front, but the fact he hasn't (and his use of the strange baseball brush-back metaphor) indicates to me he's unsure whether he can prove that case.
P.S. -- As liberals try to turn the Plame probe into full-scale debate about the rationales for the Iraq war, conservatives might want to read, of all books, Seymour Hersh's "Chain of Command."
Why should they read such an anti-administration diatribe? Because it does paradoxically show that the desperate attempt to prove there were WMD in Iraq was partly tied to a near fanatical belief that there really were WMD in Iraq. Sure there were lies. Lots and lots of them. But it's the administration's arrogance and contempt toward others who disagreed with them that came through loud and clear in Hersh's book. Often lies are the consequence of beliefs. This is perhaps why it's so complicated to sort out the truth about the pre-war WMD debate. Where did the beliefs end and the lies begin? At what early or late point did self-delusion take over? Did they believe smearing and denouncing and dismissing critics was a means to a justified end? Beware of those who make such rationalizations. It's the mark of true fanatics. ...So how does reading Seymour Hersh help those who adamently supported the war? He paints a very ugly (and accurate, in my opinion) picture of the Bush administration, but at least Hersh acknowledgedges there was a belief system at work. That's not a great argument considering the belief system turned out to be wrong. But it's probably closer to the truth than stating they flat-out lied without motive.
'Celebration of Fall':
They're cancelling Halloween celebrations at a Newton school (stories here
) due to a few grinches saying festivities offended their religious beliefs. To make matters worse: They're thinking of replacing events with a 'Celebration of Fall.' Could Newton officials find a worse way to torture kids? Replacing Frankenstein masks and candy corn with Kumbayah sing-alongs and corn bread? ... Wait a second. Kumbaya
has religious conotations. Strike that. OK, kids might be able to dress as characters from 'literary' books. Here's hoping one of the clever rascals comes dressed as the Headless Horseman.Update
-- From Reader AS: "Favorite literary characters? The possibilities are endless. Hunchback of Notre Dame, Man in the Iron Mask, Queequeg, Salem 'witches' with nooses around their necks, Dracula and do not forget Frankenstein." ... Hmmm. Throw in 'favorite' pirates and soldiers etc. and the adult-wrecked day may yet be salvaged for kids. Are there any Newton parents reading this? You know what to do.'Guys. We've gotta let it go':
One last thing on the White Sox (promise): Here's a good piece
on the White Sox-Cubs rivalry in Chicago, written before the playoffs started. ...
'Just DC trivia':
Reader AM writes in about my 'I don't get it' post below on the Plame affair:
"The Watergate model of investigating the cover-up is rarely applicable because Watergate was a very unusual case. What was being concealed was the precise motivation for the initial incident, and it was a doozy: The President of the United States, really, sincerely believed that the Commissioner of the National Basketball Association (as Larry O'Brien had become) was a Cuban agent. No possibility of 'coming clean' on that one! (It's worth remembering that 'the character issue' originally referred to sanity, not morality.)
"The motivation in the Plame case, by contrast, is just DC trivia -- did anyone outside the Beltway care whether Wilson's wife was with the CIA, or understand why that would matter?
"If no one is indicted, we''ll be left with the question of why (since bad journalism is not a crime, technically) Judith Miller went to jail, since (a) there was no crime, (b) she didn't do anything, and (c) she didn't know anything."I don't get it ... Part IV:
OK, I'm now back to square one
: I don't get the Judy Miller/Plame saga. Michael Barone
makes a very persuasive case that no laws were originally broken, perhaps explaining why investigators are interviewing Plame-Wilson neighbors to see if they knew she was a CIA operative (Barone via Instapundit). So what is Patrick Fitzgerald
up to? Who knows. I don't get it. ... I do
get that partisan battle lines are forming, based on the Sean Hannity Test
, i.e. follow what the know-it-all Sean is saying and you get an idea of where the hack partisan fault lines will develop. Sean was in top hack form last night, fulminating about the special-presecutor probe without a hint of shame or sense of irony considering the Ken Starr investigation. So I assume the opposite holds true on the hack partisan left. ... There should be specific instructions to all special prosecutors: Investigate the original alleged crime only -- and don't get angered and suckered into other probes by inevitable lies along the way. The latter is a curse to prosecutors in these types of cases. The Watergate 'cover-up' template doesn't apply to every probe.
'Goaded and spurred and driven':
Speaking of hack partisanship, I recently ran across a Winston Churchill quote about partisanship in general and partisanship in particular during the Irish Home Rule debate in Britain in early 1914, as a separate and far more consequential matter was quietly coming to a head: World War I. Churchill's words are still applicable today:
"It is greatly to be hoped that British political leaders will never again allow themselves to be goaded and spurred and driven by each other or by their followers into excesses of partisanship which on both sides disgraced the year 1914 ... The vehemence with which great masses of men yield themselves to partisanship and follow the struggle as if it were a prize fight, their ardent enthusiasm, their glistening eyes, their swift anger, their distrust and contempt if they think they are to be baulked of their prey; the sense of wrongs mutually interchanged, the extortion and enforcement of pledges, the infectious loyalties, the praise that waits on violence; the chilling disdain, the honest disappointment, the cries of 'treachery' ..."
You get the idea. If indictments are handed down in the Plame case ...
'Make you feel sick to your stomach':
All is well for the new 2005 World Series Champs
-- the Chicago White Sox. But all is not well for the 2004 World Series Champs Red Sox. Tony
is absolutely ripping into Larry Lucchino, the 'smear tactics' against Theo and the entire Red Sox power structure (including the Globe). Let's hope it's all contract posturing. But something momentous seems to be brewing over at Yawkey Way. I can't quite get a handle on it. But it looks ugly. ...
... Well, at least a former resident of Chicago (i.e. yours truly) can savor the ChiSox win as the Red Sox seem to be resorting back to their Yawkey-Harrington back-office ways. Bob
has it exactly right: "The team (Chicago) has just basically been blah for the past 85 or so years." Tell me about it. When I was in Chicago, I tried hard to fall in love with the White Sox, holding true to my AL roots and resisting the cutesy-wootsy lure of the lovable-loser Cubs. But the Sox were an incredibly frustrating team to follow, usually starting out strong and then collapsing by the All-Star break, or soon thereafter. I ended up only liking them, not loving them. Now I'm happy for them, though not ecstatic. ... My WMD Spies in Chicago say the town isn't rocking over the ChiSox. Here's a good Sun-Times
explanation: "With hard-held allegiances split between the Sox and Cubs, the World Series victory was not quite the same kind of local lovefest fostered by the Michael Jordan-led Bulls or the 1985 Bears." ... The Red Sox may be in the process of burning bridges with Theo. But I think ChiSox fans are going to be in love with Ken Williams
for quite some time. ... For a balanced perspective on the Theo talks, don't forget to check in with Bruce
over coming days.
'Unpleasant election-year news':
Think the reluctance to release crime stats a few weeks before an election has something to do with election-year politics? Nah.
No way. ... Simply ask: Who stands to win or lose with these facts out? I may be cynical, but I have little doubt if the numbers had pointed in another direction, we would have learned about them a long time ago via megaphones loudly blaring the news from campaign trucks. ... BTW: This is more a City Hall information issue, less a cop information issue. ... BTW II: I doubt the new numbers will have much impact on the campaign. Most people already have a sense that certain crimes and shootings are up. They're worried, but not overly so.'The wheels are back in motion':
I'm so weary of defending a lock-in future Hall of Famer that I can no longer muster the strength to argue for Manny staying.
... The Sox could lose Damon this year. Is it really wise for ownership to be flirting with Manny's latest flakey request to be traded? ... I guess I just mustered some strength. But I'm still tired.
FYI to readers: The www.hubblog.com connection to Hub Blog has been temporarily disrupted. The site can still be accessed through blogspot at www.hubblog.blogspot.com. Hope to have the former back up and running later.
'Send in the Clones':
Hey, former Boston city councilor and Herald op-ed writer Tom Keane has a new blog
. It's good. Sample: "South Korean scientists announced today that they have succeeded in cloning 11 human beings, all of whom spent the last year as candidates for the Boston city council."'The Chomsky brand':
Reader No. 1 sends in this article
about anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist Noam Chomsky's business dealings, trusts, speaking fees, stock investments etc., with the comment, "Hardly surprising but nonetheless amusing report on one of our region's best known global exports."
'Thank God for intransigence, pettiness and parochialism':
Brighton Reader is back from a trip to Montreal, where he discovered a Ghost of Boondoggles Past:
"The Montreal Olympic Stadium
will finally be paid off next year, using the revenues of a tobacco tax -- after thirty years. That does not include the roof, which still does not work and is paid for separately from the province's budget. Quebec province wants to give the mess to the city of Montreal, which is saying, merci, but non, you can keep it.
"For decades, Boston agonized over the inability of local leadership to agree on a replacement for Boston Garden. Thank God for intransigence, pettiness and parochialism, the people of Boston and Massachusetts saved millions. Ultimately the private sector came up with most of the money."
Boston pols truly have an admirable aversion to publicly financed stadiums. Now if we can only get them to stop embarking on huge road projects with payments stretching into infinity. 'Whatever their flaws, they reflect a social pact':
flags a pompous NYT article about rebuilding New Orleans. ... God save us from elitist architects and architectual critics. They try so hard to be accepted as artistic intellectuals. ...
'Watching Rudy on DVD'
: Reader No. 1 sends along shocking breaking news
on the Theo negotiations. ... How about them Sox? The ChiSox
, that is. ... Gotta be happy for them. Just making it to the World Series is a shocker for Chicago. Next year: The Cubs?
Battle of the ex-Pats coaches:
Notre Dame vs. USC, what a game.
... Charlie Weis can walk away with his head held high. But Pete Carroll's head is rightly higher. Bottom line: The rivalry is back. ...'Miss Run Amok':
Because I foolishly allowed myself to write about the Judy Miller saga, Hub Blog feels compelled to address the BIG ARTICLE
in the NYT today about the affair. I'll leave it to Jay Rosen
to summarize: "Like I said, it became Judy Miller’s newspaper." ... Because I also don't believe that length = thoroughness when it comes to journalists covering journalists, below are excerpts from the eight-part cyber article, so you don't have to wade through the entire thing:
-- "Interviews show that the paper's leaders, in taking what they considered to be a principled stand, ultimately left the major decisions in the case up to Ms. Miller, an intrepid reporter whom editors found hard to control."
-- "Operated with a degree of autonomy rare at The Times."
-- "Miss Run Amok."
-- "Ms. Miller denied it." (Possibly the most revealing and important line in the article.)
-- "The default position in a case like that is you support the reporter."
-- "Both said they viewed the case as a matter of principle, which made the particulars less important."
-- "Mr. Keller said the case was not ideal: 'I wish it had been a clear-cut whistle-blower case. I wish it had been a reporter who came with less public baggage.'"
-- "Times lawyers warned company executives that they would have trouble persuading a judge to excuse Ms. Miller from testifying."
-- "Ms. Miller recalled Mr. Bennett saying while he signed on to her case: 'I don't want to represent a principle. I want to represent Judy Miller.'"
-- "'She has the keys to release herself,' the judge said. 'She has a waiver she chooses not to recognize.'"
-- "Even after reporters learned it from outside sources, The Times did not publish Mr. Libby's name, though other news organizations already had."
-- "'It was just too awkward,' Mr. Keller said, 'to have me coming from meetings where they were discussing the company's public posture, then overseeing stories that were trying to deal with the company's public posture.'"
-- "Some reporters said editors seemed reluctant to publish articles about other aspects of the case as well, like how it was being investigated by Mr. Fitzgerald."
-- "Ms. Miller said the publisher's support was invaluable. 'He galvanized the editors, the senior editorial staff,' she said. 'He metaphorically and literally put his arm around me.'"
-- "Every day (in jail), she checked outdated copies of The Times for a news article about her case. Most days she was disappointed."
-- "She said she began thinking about whether she should reach out to Mr. Libby for 'a personal, voluntary waiver.'"
-- "'The longer I was there, the more chance I had to think about it,' Ms. Miller said."
-- "Mr. Freeman, The Times's company lawyer, and Mr. Abrams worried that if Ms. Miller sought and received permission to testify and was released from jail, people would say that she and the newspaper had simply caved in."
-- "Mr. Freeman advised Ms. Miller to remain in jail until Oct. 28, when the term of the grand jury would expire and the investigation would presumably end. Mr. Bennett thought that was a bad strategy; he argued that Mr. Fitzgerald would 'almost certainly' empanel a new grand jury."
-- "Ms. Miller said, 'I owed it to myself ...'"
-- "Ms. Miller said she was persuaded. 'I mean, it's like the tone of the voice,' she said."
-- "Her paramount concern was how her actions would be viewed by her colleagues."
-- "On Sept. 29, Ms. Miller was released from jail and whisked by Mr. Sulzberger and Mr. Keller to the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown for a massage, a manicure, a martini and a steak dinner."
-- "At a gathering in the newsroom, she made a speech claiming victories for press freedom. Her colleagues responded with restrained applause, seemingly as mystified by the outcome of her case as the public."
Bottom line: This was a fight they didn't have to fight but fought because Judy wanted to fight. ... We're closer to an answer to the question: Is she a flake or a lying flake? See 'denied it' above. But we're not quite there yet. ... FYI: I'm now wondering if the rethinking
of my earlier thinking
on the case was accurate. It sure the hell seems like the Times was trying to redeem itself by backing Judy to the hilt -- or at least regain some of its MSM elite luster after all its own recent controversies. If so, the move just backfired. ... FYI II: I still don't think Miller should have been jailed. Even if a person has a martyr complex, the government shouldn't be encouraged to oblige his or her whim -- sort of akin to not giving in to Klinger's cross-dressing M*A*S*H antics.Update
have their takes (with an extra Jay Rosen note in Dan's comments section at bottom). ... P.S. Mark
has more too. ... A lot of attention is being paid to A.) Judy's mysterious new source and memory lapse. B.) She may have had some sort of security clearance. I kind of missed those angles amid all the other angles. Still the portrait painted of her is that of an newsroom employee leaving a trail of trouble wherever she goes. ... The evidence also points to White House complicity in the illegal leaking. Don't lose track of that. ... Enough. I've written more than I thought I ever would or should on this subject.
'Sixth senior citizen murdered this year':
You know crimes are getting out of control when you can't keep track of the victims. There's the horrific killing of Wendy Cox
. Then there's the truly disturbing case of Jean Lampron
, whose death also marks the sixth murder of a senior citizen this year in Boston. ... Maybe there's no connection. But then you see Maura
arguing over the death of Victoria Snelgrove and I can only think: so much talk of women dying horrible deaths. No gender analysis and sermons here. Just pointing it out. ... Carpundit
is rightly ripping into those planning an 'anti-police brutality' march -- even though they haven't compiled the statistics yet to make their case. ... Meanwhile, another good debate is going on over at Adam's site
on whether Jean Lampron could have saved herself if she had a gun. Huh? ... Maybe the wingnuts can organize an 'Arm Yourself Against Police Brutality' march. ...
P.S. - Switching gears a bit, I think Maura hurt herself with the Snelgrove remark. It comes across as a loose-cannon cheap shot. Though she won't win, she was doing quite well against a mayor who most people like but still want roughed up to keep him honest. The best way to keep him honest is to be honest -- and blaming him for a pepper gun that he probably didn't know existed is a stretch.Update
differs, roughs up the mayor and makes a few good points in the process. But I still think Maura hurt herself. A cheap shot is still a cheap shot when it comes to blaming someone for a tragic death that everyone knows was unintended.
'Hell in a Very Small Place':
Talk about a depressing book. Recently completed Martin Windrow's 'The Last Valley,'
his highly detailed and acclaimed account of the French-Viet Minh battle of Dien Bien Phu. I liked the book a lot. But can't really recommend it enthusiastically. 'The Last Valley' is just too detailed, so much so that the author a few times literally catches himself and admits he might have given too many details. But it was worth wading through to the very sad and depressing end. ... Say what you will about the French, they fought fiercely (as did the Viet Minh) at Dien Bien Phu. I was left wondering, 'How in God's name did America allow itself to get dragged into the Vietnam War knowing what the French had just gone through?' That's part of the sad and depressing part of 'The Last Valley.' ... I'm told that Bernard Fall's 'Hell in a Very Small Place'
is a much better account of Dien Bien Phu, though perhaps dated in some facts and conclusions. ... To get the ponderous 'Last Valley' out of my system, I'm now reading 'Raising Atlantis,'
the eBook sensation on Amazon. It's going fast and well.Thinking of rethinking my rethinking:
Hub Blog concedes this: I'm no longer convinced President Bush may have made a shrewd political move
by nominating Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. I clearly underestimated the reaction of conservatives, who don't want to risk appointing someone who might turn out to be another David Souter. But reading this account
of Miers (via AS
) reinforces my suspicion that she'd be more conservative than Sandra Day O'Connor and that conservatives will be more pleased than not if she wins nomination. But who knows? ... FYI: I still thinks she's a case-study crony, something that's getting lost in the angry ideological posturing and blatherings.
I don't get it..., Part IV:
I figured out the Judy Miller story. But now I'm not so sure. The WSJ
) is reporting Judy has suddenly found new notes. Hmmm. Meanwhile, the Times staff, Jay Rosen
speculates, seems terrified that Judy may be covering up how embedded she was with the administration. And Arianna
is twisting the knife. ... I'm rather pleased with myself for at least vaguely being able to follow this story. It's not bad, as far as insider journalistic soap operas are concerned. ... Is Judy a flake or a lying flake? That's the story's main theme question now, if you're inclined to follow the saga.
'It just gets more and more boring':
Good for Chicago Mayor Richard Daley
, who basically rejects the notion that the area surrounding the White Sox' stadium should be turned into some themed 'hip' neighborhood, just like Wrigleyville. ... The area could be spruced up. But at least the mayor is resisting the notion that everything has to be turned into yet another false high-end 'So' neighborhood. ... Notice his shots at Chicago's very own media giant, which also has an ownership stake in a hometown team. ... The ChiSox didn't deserve to win
last night. Or win the way they did. But I'll take it. ... I actually like both teams. The Angels you must love for two reasons: A.) Orlando B.) They beat the Yanks.'I find myself shocked':
I find myself shocked that Reader No. 1 didn't comment on the Nomar heroics.
Meanwhile, Reader No. 1 finds himself shocked about something else:
"After 30 years of following the Red Sox, I find myself shocked writing a defense of their general management! Yes, there is room for improvement. The front office has to walk the tightrope between trying to win now and in the future. The worst thing that happened to Dan Duquette was winning in 1995 -- the farm system never recovered. Think of the 2005 Sox as a bridge to the 21st century between that long-overdue and still wonderful World Series win, and an uncertain but glowing future... life would be boring if we knew how it would all come out.
"As for Reader AM (see post below), he makes several good points, but several that are strained or retrospective to me.
"- The 2004 World Series was expensive, but I doubt the Sox thought they were paying $74 million for one season of Schilling and Foulke going in, and I suspect they will get more value than that year at the end of their contract strings.
" - As to giving up 'the big star' and 'the top prospect,' it's not clear there are ANY long-term repercussions to giving up Nomar given his health and declining productivity (I write this as a longtime fan of his)... and losing Matt Murton will not hurt much if/when David Murphy, Brandon Moss, and Jacob Ellsbury successfully graduate from the Lowell/Portland circuit. Not a lock! But nothing in a life is a lock (follow these guys at here
" - Relative to the front office, no question there are communications issues. Given baseball's storied/crusty history, it is surely a shock for field managers to realize they are the equivalent of Middle Management in the eyes of Moneyballesque-GMs. And Moneyballesque-GMs need people skills too!
"On use of the 2005 bench, the record is a mixed bag. The original group obviously didn't come out too well: Vazquez and Dave McCarty were busts, Jay Payton too high maintenance. But Francona made very good use of Theo's replacements for these guys: Cora, Olerud and Kapler.
"The non-use of Kevin Youkilis remains a mystery... insofar as Tito straddles the two worlds of modern Sabermetrics and old-time baseball, it's possible to imagine him giving time, and the benefit of the doubt to get things right, to guys with past demonstrated professional accomplishments. Patience worked for Millar and Mueller in 2004. It didn't work for Millar and Renteria in 2005. ...
"- AM makes a great point on the Red Sox signing injured pitchers! (The real downfall of 2003's Bullpen by Committee - out of Fox/ Howry/ Mendoza/ Embree/ Timlin, name the guy who had not missed a full season with arm injury within that year or the 3 years prior...hint: the only one who lasted 3 years.)
"BUT.... 'dumb' is the wrong way to look at the Pedro signing. No matter what he was offered, Omar Minaya would have thrown another $2 million into the pot (the Pedro damage went back to the Jimy Williams era, we can't even blame Larry Lucchino for this one). Also, the money wasn't blown on non-contributors; a good chunk of it went for 15-7 David Wells."
‘The 2004 win was very expensive’:
Reader AM thinks the seeds of the Sox’ 2005 collapse may have been sowed in 2003 – and he’s not overly impressed with management’s grasp of pitching talent:
“The fact is that 2003 should have been their year; if they’d gone into the season with a closer and a pitching coach they probably would have done it, even without a real manager. It’s entirely to this ownership/management’s credit that they stepped up and made another run in ’04. We must be eternally grateful for that. But we must not forget three points:
“1) The 2004 win was very expensive. Schilling and Foulke cost $60-70 million – possibly for one good year apiece. The trade was necessary, but the Sox gave up the big star AND the top prospect AND the cash. All this improved the team by, in effect, one run – worth it, but with long-term repercussions.
“2) The front office seems to have difficulty communicating with its managers. In 2002, Little obviously never bought into the ‘closer by committee’ approach. (He also presumably differed with/overrode his pitching coach in ALCS game 7, or why is Wallace still there?) In 2005, Theo put a lot of effort into putting together a bench that Tito basically wouldn’t use.
“3) Let’s face it, these guys aren’t very good with pitching. Signing Schilling and Foulke to win in ’04 didn’t take much penetration. Not signing Pedro, while blowing the money on non-contributors, was dumb; so was going into the ’05 season with a staff that belonged at the Spaulding (Schilling, Foulke, Miller, Mantei). The in-season acquisitions of ‘03, ’04, and ’05 were not very good (even apart from Sauerbeck and Remlinger, two of the worst pitchers I’ve ever seen – and I remember Galen Cisco). In two of the last three years, we needed a closer at the deadline and didn’t make a move (compare Duquette and Aguilera, 1995).
“Of course they should re-sign Theo. But there’s room for improvement – they need the time they’ve bought themselves.”
'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.