'An original way to make money online': Unbelievable.
Good for him. ... Here's his million dollar homepage.
'This game is pretty huge':
The Bruins (14-18-6) defeated
the mighty Tampa Bay Lightning (19-17-3) and they're declaring it a 'pretty huge' victory. ... The Bruins are now in last place in the NHL's Northeast Division, the third worst team in the Eastern Conference, and the sixth worst team in the NHL. ... I can't believe I showed even the mildest interest in the Bruins last spring after the strike. ...
Meanwhile, the Celts are in all-out competition with the Bruins to gross out fans. They're also the sixth worst team in their league. They've now dropped three in a row.
... Antoine is getting booed in Miami
but shrugs it off: "I played in Boston, so I’ve seen the worst."
'Increasingly concerned that William F. Weld ...':
GOP bigwigs in NY are getting nervous about Bill Weld's 'management capabilities'
in the wake of the Decker College fiasco. ... OK, so Weld was awarded a $700,000 salary to oversee Decker, while Larry Summers is paid $563,000 to oversee Harvard. But don't critics realize managing an institution in Louisville is entirely different from managing an institution in Cambridge?
Boston police try to sell Herald newspapers!!! Part II:
Now the Globe
is partaking in the conspiracy to smear the Sound End and boost newspaper sales, along with the Herald and BPD. ... P.S. - I stand corrected. It's technically the Associated Press, via Boston.com ('your connection to the Boston Globe'), that's now partaking in the vast conspiracy. ...Update
-- Channel 4
, Channel 5
and Channel 7
are in on the conspiracy. Et tu, Salem Evening News
? ...Update II
-- The Third Decade
takes exception to the whole debate about South End vs. Roxbury and Carpundit's 1970s-like description of Roxbury. Normally, I would agree with Third Decade. But a vast conspiracy has been uncovered and ... (Via Adam
-- The Globe
now says: "The shooting scene, while geographically in Roxbury according to city maps, is in the police department district that covers the South End." ... It can't be about a simple mistake or confusion. There must be a sinister plot!
A neat look at a piece of local history: The Portsmouth Peace Treaty
that ended the Russo-Japanese War 100 years ago. ... Here's a site
dedicated to the treaty. ... One quibble: The argument that the Russo-Japanese War was a 'world war,' well, it wasn't. Many historians or pundits tend to lay claim to 'world war' status for the subjects they happen to be studying or debating. They said it about the Cold War. They're saying it now about the War on Terrorism. Etc. If there really was a 'world war' that hasn't been officially designated a 'world war,' then it's the Seven Years War (known in America as the French and Indians War). There. Settled. ...
The new King Kong -- well worth it:
Saw Peter Jackson's King Kong
yesterday. It's awesome. But the critics are right: If it had been cut down by at least a half hour, it might have rivaled the original King Kong
. ... I would have edited out some of the scenes on Skull Island. ... But, whoa, was Naomi Watts
good and hot to watch. She manages to dominate the film throughout. Really. Don't pay too much attention to all the pseudo Freudian love analysis. The relationship between Kong and Ann Darrow (Watts) is more akin to that seen in Old Yeller
. ... Both Cooper and Jackson's Kong leave the '76 Kong
in the dust. But I actually didn't mind the '76 movie. Then again I didn't mind Roger Moore as 007. ...
Boston police try to sell Herald newspapers!!!: Carpundit
rants that the Herald is trying to sell newspapers by saying a murder occurred in the South End, not Roxbury. (I know, I know: Huh?
) Anyway, it turns out Boston police also say
the murder occurred in the South End. Thus Carpundit's logic dictates that police were in cahoots to sell ... Never mind. ... Thanks to Adam
for the BPD item. The comments at Adam's site are actually pretty cool. I didn't know -- though I suppose I should have -- that the border between Roxbury and the South End is apparently defined by the old city boundaries, not Mass Ave. But if Comcast says it's Mass Ave., then, well, it's Mass Ave, damn it. So take that, you secretly colluding cops and reporters! ... And my own disclosure: I'm a reporter at the Herald.Update
-- Oh my God. Comcast could be right, based on this map
(click on the 'historic district' button). The South End does indeed extend west of Mass Ave. But not as far as Lenox Street. Could it really be the Herald and the BPD are conspiring to redraw the very boundaries of Boston in order to sell newspapers? ... Of course it can't be about a mere "mistake" or "confusion." That would be too simple an explanation. There must be a sinister plot!
'Now it is Kevin White's turn':
Actually it is Peter Lucas'
turn -- and I'm surprised he doesn't twist the knife more. Then again, he may not want to stir up too many memories of The Headline. ...
... I'm glad they're honoring Kevin White. He was a good mayor and it's always nice, in this era of bitter partisan politics, to see people genuinely respecting recent history and accomplishments. More, please. But a few things about the Kev: A.) His mayoral predecessors, Hynes and Collins, don't get enough credit in my book for the 'New Boston.' B.) The Kev really was insufferably imperial in his last years. ... By and large, I think Boston has been blessed with great mayors in the modern era -- Hynes, Collins, White, Flynn, Menino. Compare that line-up with the disasters in other Northeast cities like Detroit and Philadelphia. ...Resolved: Percolators over drip coffee makers:
Because I almost burnt my home down, I recently switched to a drip coffee maker
with an automatic two-hour heat shutoff. But I've missed my Corning Ware percolator
. This morning, I used the Corning Ware for the first time in months -- and the coffee is simply richer and stronger. I don't care what the Europhobes say. Percolators are better, even if they're a pain in the ass to monitor. (I also had to use less coffee.) ... But I've decided upon this: Drip coffee during the week, percolator on weekends and special occasions. I happen to like my home more than my coffee. ... French press, bah
. I want a full pot of coffee in the morning. Adopting the Chinese model: Andrei N. Illarionov
, a maverick Russian economic advisor who I once interviewed in Boston, is out at the Kremlin and blasting away at Putin. I think it's pretty clear now that Putin
has adopted the Chinese authoritarian model for Russia. I don't agree with it, obviously. But there's a part of me who sympathizes with Russians who are still furious
with the botched privatization there. ...
'Will those who have heard these words ...':
Looking for an appropriate but quick way to blog about Christmas before heading out of town for a few days, I decided to head over to Google News and typed in the word: Jesus. It seems we have a new one
. There's also an interesting debate among scholars over at Slate about Jesus and the Gospels.
Then I typed in: Massachusetts and Christmas. It turns out tonight is the 99th anniversary of Reginald Fessenden's historic first-ever speech broadcast
over radio, complete with Christmas music and the simple request: “Will those who have heard these words and music please write to R. A. Fessenden at Brant Rock, Massachusetts?" Read to see if anyone responded. ...
Then I typed in: Boston and Christmas. It turns out the word 'holiday' is derived from the old English 'holy day.'
So take that Jerry Falwell and secular humanists! But did he have to bring up Boston's banning of Christmas in the 1600s? We'll never live down the Puritans. ...
Enjoy the reads. They're all pretty good. Hub Blog's humble gifts to the local blogosphere. ... BTW: I've purchased the perfect gifts for my seven-year-old godson (here
) and my thirteen-year-old goddaughter (here
-- in gift certificate form). My long-standing reign as the Most Popular Uncle in the History of the Whole Wide World shall go unchallenged again this year! ...
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah to everyone!
'The Sox are trying to do ...':
Reader No. 1 isn't giving up:
"Please don't mistake this for complacencys: Damon flipped to our archrival is a significant short-term setback, which Baseball Prospectus
estimates is worth an 8 game swing. The team must act as Mike Silverman points out in his great wrapup today.
"But the real issues, as with Pedro last winter, are the long-term ones which Gordon Edes hints at in his column today
. The Sox are trying to do one of the hardest things in business: win today AND win tomorrow. Dan Duquette came here with a track record of farm system success to win tomorrow, and he never really recovered from winning the AL East in 1995 (hello and goodbye, Jose Canseco, Kevin Mitchell, Dante Bichette...). Just something to keep in mind as we live through RedSox365..."Hub Blog's response
-- I'll keep it in mind. I hope I'm wrong about the team being in chaos. But when they screw up so many personnel moves (Theo being the most glaring; Damon less so), you have to wonder if there's a method to the madness or just madness. Plugging leaks is not a plan.
... This is a management fault that I've only recently begun to appreciate in watching the Sox: They signal their intentions too early and too often. Maybe that's a function of A.) Being in Boston and feeling compelled to feed the media/fan beast or B.) They love the limelight and think they're PR-savvy enough to handle the beast or C.) They're not good at poker or D.) a combination of the three. But you can literally see patterns of thoughts and actions developing when it comes to their personnel moves. Charlie Weis covers his mouth with a laminated sheet when calling plays. Maybe Sox management ought to try a variation of the same during the off-season. ...Update
-- From Reader No. 1: "RE: the signalling of intentions, this is mainly a Lucchino phenomenon and probably a combination of (A) and (B). I don't think (C) is really the case because the team wasn't going to pay Damon what the Yankees wound up doing - the method won't allow it."
'What’s the plan here, anyway?' Part IV:
Re the Sox' latest megapress-conference extravaganza (this time post-Johnny Damon): I know Reader No. 1 may still disagree
, but I think it's time to dust off Tony's not-so-old column, i.e. 'C-H-A-O-S.'
... I have mixed emotions about Damon's departure. But I'm taking rather non-mixed delight in seeing Sox management trying to explain this one away.'He could be here next year,' Part II:
Reader No. 1 on Johnny's departure:
"1. It's clearly a loss
"2. As to how the fandom responds, I can report the 8-year fan in our household's initial comments: 'The Yankees will fall apart in 2008 beause the players are old and they will be broke.' The 'Nation' will survive, notwithstanding the new round of agenda mongering evident from this morning's Big Show debates between Johnson and Buckley and the inevitable Shaughnessy column
, with the dual-GMs and now ownership the main punching bags.
"3. As written at least twice previously, those who want to understand how the Red Sox today make decisions, Theo or no Theo, should read and re-read this excellent 2004 article
from Baseline magazine. In the current context, pay particular attention to the section on player valuation and the A-Rod trade. As the excellent Baseball Prospectus
made clear in analysis of the 2005 free agent market, the problem with signing Damon is paying top dollar for his next 4 years of production.
"Of course, we still need a center fielder and leadoff man! Red Sox 7x24, 365. I suspect ownership finds the hysterical reactions a price worth paying for all the attention."'Thanks to Judge Jones ...': John
deconstructs the evolution of the anti-evolution Discovery Institute's creationist theory as constructed around Intelligent Design. Translation: He likes Judge Jones' decision. A lot.
'He could be here next year':
Some might be surprised by Johnny Damon's defection
to the Yanks. But readers of Hub Blog learned last July
of New York's covetous desires. ... Larry
seems stunned by the move. Tick tock. Larry was personally in charge of the negotiations. Tick tock. Owners are 'disappointed' again. Tick Tock. ...
'A difference between honest critics,' Part II: Scot
on the president's speech: "What we've seen is a change in tone but not in tactics." ... Maybe I got spun. But I liked the speech. A change in tone is not insignificant. The administration has always struck me as too pumped up and full of itself -- and from such attitudes flow decisions. The 'mistakes,' as the president has described them, are quite real and numerous. The Economist
describes them in far more vivid language ('brutal blunders'). But they're learning and it's leading to real changes -- at least on the battlefield.'Rare pack of city coyotes':
Notice how the wildlife expert downplays the latest coyote pooch attack
, emphasizing how coyotes usually only eat "insects, berries and small creatures such as mice and rats, and that a small dog running at night could look like 'moving prey.'" ... They call 'moving prey' cats and dogs in the suburbs. ... And these are the types of people reintroducing wolves into northern New England. ...
'A difference between honest critics':
I didn't see the president's speech last night. But I've read enough excerpts and news accounts (here
) to come to a tentative conclusion that this was one heck of a speech. His final lines -- quoting from Longfellow's
poem Christmas Bells
-- was a very nice touch and should provide a new surge in interest for the poet ... This is another key line that people should remember: “There is a difference between honest critics who say what they think is wrong and defeatists who refuse to see that anything is right.” ... Those positioning themselves as always being right should pay a little more attention to the entire sentence -- as well as the president's repeated references to despair and mistakes and hopes and successes. For Iraq, since the occupation, has had all of this. The war has not been a textbook 'we were right/they were wrong' situation.
FYI: Here are the last two verses of Longfellow's poem (the first is the one the NYT somewhat snidely references to and the final is what the president cited):
And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."
'The explosion in loan applications':
This is a big story
. ... Not for a second do I believe Bill Weld knowingly approved of any wrongdoing at the now defunct Decker College. But the college was a virtual student-loan factory with a financial conveyor belt stretching right to Washington from Louisville. I have a feeling Weld's candidacy for governor of New York has all but ended as of today. ... Spare me the argument that this proves the pitfalls of for-profit education. Student-loans have become big business for non-profit institutions as well. The real problem here is that murky area where the private sector meets the public sector. Sort of like Medicaid, road construction, Pentagon contracts, etc.Update
- The Hub Blog mind flashes to images of late-night TV infomerical star Matthew Lesko
. ... One thing is clear: Bill Weld is no Michael Bloomberg when it comes to building and running a successful business
'I saw no more doughnuts':
Ah, the dreaded 'no more doughnuts'
signal from an ex-lawmaker who might be upset about someone not 'hiring friends and relatives.'
... They're just allegations
of nepotism and patronage. In Massachusetts. ... I'm racking my brain trying to figure out what possibly could have prompted an emergency Sunday morning state board meeting to discuss firing someone. And my mind keeps drifting back to those allegations.
'This time, the large Sunni turnout':
The best news about the Iraq elections: The Sunni voted.
They might have just proved they're not the Palestinians of Iraq, i.e. always managing to find a way to make life more difficult for themselves. ... Some interesting lines in John Burns' excellent report. The first from a tribal sheik on democracy: "Saddam was a thief, but now we'll have 275 thieves." Do you think there's a remote chance he once visited Massachusetts? ... Another involving a Sunni interviewed by Burns: "'Let's have stability, and then the Americans can go home,' said Mr. Sattar, the store owner. Told that this sounded similar to President Bush's formula for a troop withdrawal, he replied: 'Then Bush has said it correctly.'" ...
Of course, discussion of a complicated issue like pulling out of Iraq wouldn't be right without Mickey
reducing it down to the bare essentials: "The important thing now, I think, is to be of two minds: Punish Bush for his miscalculations in one part of our minds, but not let that desire for accountability -- i.e., the palpable urge to see him humiliated among Democrats and even some anti-war Republican Scowcroftians -- prevent us (by prompting a premature troop withdrawal) from making the democracy vs. blowback calculus work as favorably as possible."
'It's going to be a dogfight,' Part II:
Reader No. 1 weighs in on Mitt's decision and Healey's opportunity:
"1. Tis true, Healey could be more deft on the hot-button issues such as higher ed for immigrants. But (a) she wades into these issues, (b) she was more logical than Reilly in the debate on this issue and (c) a lot of voters agree with her
"2. I'm sure there will be some power struggling, there always is, but Mitt's hands-off style (and travel schedule) should be a good complement for Healey's ambition.
"3. I'm not so sure Romney knocking Massachusetts on the campaign trail will create problems for Healey, other than with those aforementioned people who aren't going to vote her anyways. He probably won't gear up for that until after the 2006 Mass election. Besides, most of us who live and work here know this is a crazy state.
"4. Did anyone else flash on the Heinz-Kerrys when the Sunday Globe reported on the 5 homes owned by the Healeys
?"'Must-have' world-class city checklist:
Add ice rinks
to the checklist of things cities must have to be cool. ... Thank God Boston already has one. But I'm sure someone will demand more, arguing we won't be a world-class city without them. ...
'It’s going to be a dogfight':
First prediction in wake of Mitt's official annoucement
that he's not running for re-election: Healey vs. Reilly. OK, not so daring, considering there are only four tentative candidates
in the race, two of them loose-cannon long shots. So let's get to the big one -- the general November election: Healey. Hey, might as well be bold. But roughly the same dominating dynamic will hold true in 2006 as it did in 2002: Are Independent voters willing to hand over complete control of the state to the Progressive-Hack Alliance? ... Healey
is indeed in a difficult spot. She can't get into fights with Mitt over some sort of ludicrous power-sharing structure (really just a spotlight-sharing structure). It will reflect poorly on Republicans and hurt both Mitt and Healey. She also has to overcome, as did Weld and Mitt, the image of being an aloof rich person. Her 'private schools' crack on the higher-ed issue for immigrants sounded as aloof as can be. Not good. Then again, she's shown she can play hardball. Her knocking Charlie Baker out of the GOP mix was impressive. And, of course, she's got to play the Progressive-Hack Alliance card. Heavy. Hard. Not too much in the early stages. Just all guns around Labor Day. ...
Reilly's problem is, well, the Progressive-Hack Alliance. The Dem.-controlled Legislature served notice a few weeks ago that they'll go kicking and screaming before giving up any tax revenue, even when they know a tax is patently unfair, such as the retroactive capital gains tax they only grudgingly reversed. The Progressive-Hack Alliance is very much alive. Shannon couldn't disassociate herself from it. Reilly must. Or he's not going to win. The last four gubernatorial elections prove this -- as much as members of the Progressive-Hack Alliance want to deny it. Reilly's big plus: He's more credible than Shannon or Scott or Silber. ...
A few other observations: Man, I wish Bill Galvin was running. It would have been fun. ... Weld accomplished a lot. Cellucci accomplished little. Mitt fell somewhere in between. ... Jane doesn't rank. ... Three Mass. Dems ran for president -- Duke, Tsongas and Hamlet -- and all three went down. The CW is that Mitt will too. But you have to start wondering when CW makes a too-early broad assertion. This much is clear: Mass. pols cleary think they're presidential material.
The rest of the nation obviously doesn't think so. ...
Finally: When was the last time you read editorials in the three main papers with the same political view? The Herald:
"Memo to Mitt: Don’t let the screen door hit you in the backside."The Globe
: "By thumbing his nose at Massachusetts after less than three-quarters of one term as its chief executive, Mitt Romney, yesterday surrendered his clout and squandered his legitimacy. If, as it appears, his heart and mind are no longer in Massachusetts, he should resign."The Phoenix
: "After just two unremarkable years in the corner office, Romney is restless and bored, turning his attention increasingly to the 2008 presidential campaign. He ought to resign."
FYI: The Phoenix was ahead of the curve on this one. Its editorial was written in March. Thanks to a reader for the head's up on the editorials. ... FYI II: Personally, I like the fact Mitt's sticking it out. I'm tired of GOP govs bolting before serving the time they were elected to serve. But if Mitt bad mouths Massachusetts one more time during the presidential campaign, Healey's going to have big problems.
'Curious, I walked over and looked': Carpundit
has a great post on a rude car tower, the strict definition of profanity and a cop who's caught in between. Agree with all four of Carpundit's lessons learned. ... I haven't had as much luck with traffic cops. They're usually of the car-tower variety in terms of politeness. This one at least sounded diplomatic. ...
Think your job is bad?:
Cheer up. It could be worse
'St. Frosty, the patron saint of lifesize illuminated plastic choirboys':
Fun photos and a funny caption
- More Christmas cheer: I was at TD Banknorth Garden last nite and noticed Mannheim Steamroller
is playing there this Saturday
. ... As for the Bruins game: 'Wasted away again.'
'Language of the left-wing thought police':
that the extreme right and left are merely mirror images of each other battling within their owned warped universe. ... Foretold in Season 3, Episode 15
: 'Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.'
'What's the plan here, anyway?' Part III:
Reader No. 1 thinks Tony (and, by extension, yours truly) should calm down while he also detects an 'odd near-echo' from You Know Who:
"Tony Massarotti is a good baseball writer - and he scored the Theo debacle earlier and better than anyone else. But he is a worrywart. He worried about Nomar and the Nomar trade - it was a 'gamble'
and it worked. Now he worries that the Red Sox appear 'indecisive'. Hmm...
" - Collecting a new #2 starter, cutting losses on an underperforming shortstop (and collecting a super prospect in return!), and moving quickly on a new second baseman sounds pretty decisive to me. True, we don't have Johnny Damon in the fold and the Manny soap opera goes on, but there are always decisions to be made. Would we be better off throwing $100 million at BJ Ryan and AJ Burnette?
" - Putting together the team of diverse executives who have executed these moves, instead of pulling the panic move of hiring someone's retread GM from the scrap heap, isn't indecisive at all. There's no evidence so far that it hurts the team's ability to make and work deals.
"Tony got the first 3 letters of the word right, except the right word is C-H-A-N-G-E, we've never seen anything like it here before, it's exciting to watch - and it isn't working badly.
" PS - Did anyone else notice the odd near-echo appearing in Shaughnessy yesterday
with a passage from his famous 'dirty laundry'
"December 10th: 'Now it appears that the return of Theo is again a possibility and it's creating a combustible situation at the top....One thing we know is that Henry has the final say on this one and it would be a mistake for Lucchino to draw a line in the sand over Theo Epstein.'
"October 30th: 'It would be a mistake for Epstein to think he can separate Lucchino from John Henry. Henry is a quiet man, but he is not a dolt. He believes in and trusts Lucchino. He admires his young GM, but it would be a mistake for Epstein to force Henry to choose.' "Update
- 12.12.05 -- John Henry
: "People currently speculating about a reduced role for Larry Lucchino don’t know what they are talking about."
'Flattering or unflattering': Christopher Hitchens
pens an ode to the perhaps soon-to-be-extinct ink-stained wretches of the world and their past roles in literature:
"I do not think that there will again be a major novel, flattering or unflattering, in which a reporter is the protagonist. Or if there is, he or she will be a blogger or some other species of cyber-artist, working from home and conjuring the big story from the vastness of electronic space."
For my money, the most hilareous novel about journalism is 'Dwarf Rapes Nun; Flees in UFO.'
The novel's uncanny, if only because it's about a Statehouse reporter toiling for a medium-size paper in a sleepy Midwest capital in the 1980s and, as it was, I was a Statehouse reporter toiling for a medium-size paper in a sleepy Midwest capital in the 1980s when I first read it -- and I thought for sure the author must have been slyly chronicling the antics of my life and profession. ... Hitchens' article via AS
.'What’s the plan here, anyway?' Part II:
Theo might be back. Now Roger might be back
. Hey, why not Dan Duquette and make it a forgive-and-forget reunion? ... One big hug!
on the Sox management these days: 'C-H-A-O-S.''A muzzleloader attack':
More evidence road rage
is causing us to revert to our primitive ways. Next up: sword duels in the breakdown lane. ... A muzzleloading rifle? Good God. ...
'The new machismo': Joan
underestimates the flow of valid ideas in the current debate over Iraq. But I do think she's right about an element of emotional 'machismo' at play in the administration's actions, as Seymour Hersh made clear in 'Chain of Command'
and as Peggy Noonan has written
. ... Of course a variation of GOP 'machismo' posturing is Dems repeated attempts to portray opponents as somehow being immoral etc. Dems use their own rhetorical weapons and labels. ... Here's why I'm not as upset with President Bush as I used to be: He's finally admitted mistakes
. I have this sense -- and I could be wrong -- that he realizes he wasn't always best served by surrounding himself with people who always behaved and thought, well, like himself. ...Update
- 12.12.05 - Hmmm. Time
magazine on Bush: "He's listening a little more because he's looking for something new. He's looking for ideas. He wants to hear what people are saying, because something might strike him as worth following up on." ... Via AS
- Notice how Norman Podhoretz
puts quote marks around 'mistakes' and draws historical comparisons to the Revolution and World War II. ... He missed a big war in between. How about the 'mistakes' of McClellan and how a little wartime 'criticism' can actually do some good by getting the right people fired and the right policies implemented?
'What’s the plan here, anyway?':
Now the Sox are eyeing Theo
as a team advisor, in the wake of yesterday's news that Theo 'minions' Ben Cherington and Jed Hoyer
will likely serve as co-GMs. ... Tony
isn't impressed with all the wheeling and dealing: "Right now, at least, the Red Sox look like they are running in a million different directions at once. With their hair on fire." ... It's off the flow charts! But repeat: We need a flow chart, or some way to follow this confusion. ... P.S. - I really hope all these moves aren't tied to Larry trying to prove something. Right now this affair is coming across more like a bad Iron Chef
show, slamming together ingredients with the clock ticking, etc. Maybe it'll turn out. ...
'Latest in a wave of upscale development':
The Fenway music scene takes another condo hit.
Red Sox Nation needs a flow chart:
Following the Red Sox' moves these days (here
) reminds me of Spock's three-dimensional chess game
: "The gameboard consists of seven levels, three fixed levels four squares long by four squares wide and four movable levels which are two squares by two squares." Yep, that roughly resembles how to contemplate the Sox' confusing lineup changes these days. ... Now throw into the three-dimensional mix Peter Gammons' observation
that Theo might still be pulling strings over at Yawkey Way.
... Here's something I wish someone would do (bloggers, media members or anyone else without a life): Come up with A.) a comprehensible flow chart to keep track of the current lineup changes B.) a graphic that shows the statistical player lineup progression of the Sox from the end of the Danno era through the Theo era to the current Larry era. Ideally, the graphic should be as clear as Charles Joseph Minard's classic statistical portrayal
of the losses suffered by Napoleon's army in the Russian campaign of 1812. Hey, if Napoleon's retreat can be statistically graphed, the Sox' campaign forward or backward can be too. ...
'Closing a turbulent two months':
Pity the L.A. Dodgers. They now have Frank McCourt and Grady Little
. ... Grady did win 188 games in two seasons with the Sox. But he did it with much better talent than what he's now got at the Dodgers -- and he didn't have Frank to deal with in 2002 and 2003. ... FYI: Frank is still looking at Seaport deals
. Still. 'It is even possible ...': Anne Applebaum
thinks 'victory' or 'defeat' might be a too simplistic way to view Iraq. ... Think: Korea. ...
'Just doesn't happen to be your scene': Marilora
is rightly fending off the hipsters and real estate types trying to change Eastie through the sheer momentum of hype. "The truth is that the 'dive bars' and 'ghetto stores,' and taco places that line the streets of Eastie make up a scene. It just doesn't happen to be your scene." ... Via Left Center Left
.'Do we have to do it so clumsily?': Dale McFeatters
also isn't worked up about the paid propaganda controversy, though he's not impressed either by the administration's Unleash the Power of the Private Sector approach. ...
Stopping the sellin' of 'stop snitchin':
Forced confiscation of 'stop snitchin' T-shirts is indeed a First Amendment issue
and based on an absurd notion that a complicated problem can be solved by wearing or not wearing something. (Think: 'Whip Inflation Now.') But I do admire last night's bulldog determination of Mayor Meninio to successfully
get some of the T-shirts off the street. The T-shirts are offensive. Contradiction? Sure. Life is full of gray-area contradictions. ... This Ennis fellow appears to be, shall we say, more than a bit disingenuous when he says the shirts were originally aimed at 'criminals who finger innocent people in exchange for reduced sentences.' He was defiantly singing a slightly different tune
yesterday. ... Unfortunately, the T-shirts won't go away. They'll probably become underground cult status items amid all the attention. So maybe we should turn our attention to more serious ideas, like, oh, hiring more cops.
'Planlessness followed ...,' Part II:
OK, I'm on official rant roll on the Iraq they-didn't-plan front. But the NYT has a list of 2005's top 10 books
, one of which is George Packer's 'The Assassins' Gate.'
Here's an excerpt about the lack of occupation planning, from a review by Fareed Zakaria
"Packer, who was in favor of the war, reserves judgment and commentary (about the occupation) in most of the book but finally cannot contain himself: 'Swaddled in abstract ideas . . . indifferent to accountability,' those in positions of highest responsibility for Iraq 'turned a difficult undertaking into a needlessly deadly one,' he writes. 'When things went wrong, they found other people to blame.' "
Packer is also quoted as saying: "The Iraq war was always winnable ...it still is. For this very reason, the recklessness of its authors is hard to forgive."
'The Bunny Slope of blogging:'
Just a funny way to describe shooting fish in a barrel
. ... Never heard of it. But I like it. ...
'Planlessness followed ...':
Amid all the talk of Iraq and plans and/or lack thereof, I happen to be reading Barbara Tuchman's 'The First Salute'
about the European view of the American Revolution as it unfolded and how Britain bumbled through the war. This graf jumped out at me:
"Planlessness followed from the start of the war, when the British assumed that no plan was needed to suppress the rebellion -- only hard blows. Carelessness followed from the assumption that the superiority of British force was so great that it made taking pains in performance unnecessary. A more basic deteriorating factor was dissension at home."
By citing this passage, I'm in no way trying to portray us as the British and the insurgents as American revolutionaries. Tuchman wrote this in the context of how big powers can often become complacent. I cite it to show how we're not exempt from that argument. ... Setting aside the now discredited WMD assumption, what truly boggles the mind is how there was so little planning for the Iraq occupation -- despite ample evidence of probable post-invasion turmoil in a nation divided along ethnic, tribal and religious fault lines. ... The administration is now (belatedly) stressing its 'plan for victory.'
And that's good. I strongly suspect we, unlike the British more than two centuries ago, are adapting and learning and succeeding more than we're hearing from the media and knee-jerk war critics. But this administration is indeed guilty of an arrogance and niavete that assumed the first 'hard blow' would be enough. The assumption made a tough job harder and more tragic. ... Sorry to harp on the stupid/lack-of-planning issue. But I enjoy history and try to apply what I learn to current events. Just throwing out Tuchman's observation because, well, it's applicable.
'But we've got idiots doing this,' Part III:
Repeat: I don't think the paid propaganda controversy is a big deal (or as Andrew Sullivan says, 'BFD'). But I am drawn to it. So to determine whether the dispute is about ethics or, well, stupidity, I went right to the contracting source: Lincoln Group
, the company hired by the Pentagon to help with its 'strategic communications' needs. Here's Lincoln Group's blurb about itself:
"Lincoln is a visionary team that combines 'can do' with creativity and discipline."
At this point we're leaning distinctly toward corporate PR 'stupidity.' Delving deeper into the web site (go to 'about us' for 'professionals' bios), you find that the main partners, while reportedly qualified in many fields, don't have a lot of, er, media experience. At this point we're leaning very heavily toward 'stupidity.' Digging even deeper into the web site, you see them bragging about putting messages on water bottles handed out to Iraqis as part of Lincoln's $100 million 'strategic communications' campaign. Now we're in full stupidity-listing-to-starboard mode. Check out this site
for more on Lincoln's background (via TPM
OK, it seems Lincoln Group, apparently wired to the max with fellow D.C. firms specializing directly or indirectly in government contracts, has as 'advisors,' among others, Oryx Communications
, which brags on its web site: "Our business model is tried and true: Provide outstanding service and products to help your business' communications needs." Etc., etc.
Fast forward: Now we learn that the Iraq newspapers where stories were allegedly planted are facing threats
from murderous insurgents -- thanks in part to the American media splashing the newspapers' names around the world in stories but thanks mostly to the PR geniuses who used them and didn't think of the logical outcome.
So I'm indeed left with this verdict about the propaganda campaign: Stupidity. Not unethical, per se. Not the end of Western journalism as we know it, definitely. Just stupid. It took the administration until June 2005
to unveil its classic Unleash the Private Sector approach to propaganda and within months it's screwed up.
'But we've got idiots doing this,' Part II: Andrew Sullivan
weighs in on the paid proaganda issue: "BFD." And: "The problem is that media is now global, the free citizens of Iraq can access information from almost anywhere on earth, and these (planted) stories will leak and backfire. We're adjusting to war in a new media universe. We haven't adjusted swiftly enough." ... Or as David Halberstam put it: "It's stupid." ... Obviously, I'm concerned about the government's planting of stories etc. But in the big scheme of things, it's a war -- and the real issue is that this administration has been stupid on so many issues relating to it. The paid propaganda controversy, which is way down on my list of concerns, is just one of them.'The story line for the B’s,' Part III:
Two good articles from Karen
on the big Jumbo Joe trade. ... I can't quite believe I'm writing about the Bruins. I've always been more of a Celts fan. But both teams' ineptness bother and captivate me. I'm fed up with long winter nights of watching mediocrities. ... Back to the Bruins: They won
last night. One game. But they did show something a friend was ranting about yesterday: skating. And the B's were indeed skating fast last night. ... My friend, who I didn't know was a big hockey fan, said he was pumped about the trade because it might mean the B's are moving toward a faster European style of play needed under new NHL checking rules. The subject of Jumbo Joe and Drew Bledsoe also came up: both are very talented but big, slow and somehow inadequate.
'The story line for the B’s,' Part II:
Hub Blog thundered and the Bruins shuddered. Jumbo Joe is traded
. I haven't a clue if this is a good move. I don't follow the NHL enough to know. But they were a rotten team -- and the Bruins at least acted. ... Glad to see someone is bringing up the issue about how the post-strike moves by the B's brought nothing but more mediocrity -- which brings up the obvious issue of whether this is just a rotten franchise. ... The Celts keep bumbling along. But at least they have one thing: 'promise.'
... The Red Sox are playing hard ball over the World Series ball
? When aren't they playing hard ball? They're pulling the now tired holier-than-thou routine of saying they're doing this for the team. But lawsuits speak louder than PR campaigns. ...
'But we've got idiots doing this':
My tax dollars are paying for other Americans to fight and die, for bombs and bullets, for bloody victory or defeat. So I'm not going to get all upset about the U.S. government's spending money on covert paid propaganda
in Iraq that 'appears to violate fundamental principles of Western journalism.'
This is a war. It's not a journalism ethics seminar. That said, a few shared objections to and observations about the administration's propaganda efforts:
-- From a reader's comment over at Mark's blog
: "The important question is: were these articles effective, or simply another ridiculous drain on the taxpayer? Who was - or is - in charge of measuring the results? I mean, for the money one would hope these articles could have an impact on public opinion. But we've got idiots doing this, which really sums up the whole story from start to finish, doesn't it?"
-- From the editor of Al Sabah in Iraq: "I would spend the money a better way."
-- From Wonkette
) on the administration's domestic-targeted propaganda: "Mission Accomplished," downgraded to something a little less boastful. Etc. etc.
-- From me: If the administration had initially spent more time and money planning on the post-"mission accomplished" phase of the occupation, maybe we wouldn't have to be spending so much time and money at this point in the occupation.
Bottom line: I'm not against a little 'paid covert propaganda' if it means helping our cause and saving lives. It worked in WW II. It can work now. But Roosevelt was Roosevelt, and Bush is Bush. I guess that's roughly where the difference lies for me.Update
-- 'Operation Cornflake'
: Ah, for the days when American propaganda was more daring and imaginative. ...Update II
-- 'The Propaganda Warriors'
: Looks like an interesting book that delves into the WW II-era debate about what made good propaganda. From a review of the book: "A fascinating story of an old American dilemma - ideals versus self-interest. Propaganda can be truthful, or it can lie to help win a war." ... Or a combination of the two. OK, so things weren't all hunky dory during WW II. I stand corrected. ... I'm shocked. Journalists Stewart Alsop and James Reston, playwright Robert Sherwood, and theatrical great John Houseman all engaged in paid propaganda?Update III
-- From David Halberstam (via Dan
) on the Iraq propaganda: "It's stupid." ... Not unethical. Not the end of Western journalism. Just "stupid." ... Which sums up so much of what this administration has done.