'A great morning for a battle'
Boston's best holiday: Patriots Day. It's all ours. There's the annual morning Red Sox game
followed by the Boston Marathon
(which they now run in Iraq
). But the best part is the reenactments in Lexington and Concord. Check out Adam's photos
from the North Bridge. ... The Hub Blog dad took three grandkids to Concord. Debriefings haven't been conducted yet. Therefore Universal Hub's report of another glorious Patriots victory has not been confirmed yet. But I suspect we kicked Redcoat butt.Update
-- Confirmed by excited niece and nephews: Minutemen defeated Redcoats. Candlelight patriotic sing-alongs with park rangers held last night at North Bridge to mark great victory.
'Defending Mr. Rumsfeld,' Part II
Armchair Gen. Savin Hill on what he calls the 'bitch krieg' by generals against Rumsfeld:
"There's plenty of blame to go around, but come on, pointing at troop levels in Iraq is a pure BS argument. As the WSJ reported last month the US Army didn't even know how to spell 'counterinsurgency' until a year ago. Like what the hell, the US Army didn't foresee a role involving occupation duties and guerilla-style insurgency -- a decade after Mogadishu? (Answer: No, no they didn't). Would it be better if a convoy of 6 unarmored humvees gets hit with an IED compared to 3?"
'Defending Mr. Rumsfeld'
nails it re Mr. Rumsfeld
: "I'm a fan of Donald Rumsfeld's intellect and his maverick efforts to reform the military. But, come on. It did not work out. Even a fan of Rumsfeld can see this." ... I'm eagerly awaiting some armchair blogger's accusation that the generals, even those who served in Iraq, have been duped by the liberal media's portrayal of events in Iraq. ... On the other hand, I do wonder how much of the generals' criticism is ultimately rooted in Rummy's reform efforts. If you have to read one book about the Pentagon and its bureaucratic mindset toward war and weapons, make it 'Boyd.'
Whenever I hear a general say we didn't have enough troops in Iraq, I wince. What we didn't have enough of was imagination and flexibility -- something Rumsfeld couldn't and wouldn't provide. His obstinate ways are actually the antithesis of what Boyd advocated. ...
'Speaking of contrarians...'
Reader No. 1 on Hub rock, Papi and health care:
"1. Why didn't the Mayah just declare this Boston rock week? Good Phoenix story
on the remarkably deliberate Rick Harte and what sounds like a great new compilation
"2. I love Big Papi, but I also love contrarian analyses like this one
"3. Speaking of contrarians, take a look at out of towners Mickey Kaus and Bruce Reed
talking Mass Health Care. It's easy to think of reasons this won't work and damned hard to think of reasons it will.
"Happy Easter Weekend, R#1"'Despite the very positive critical attention,' Part III:
A reader tipped me off that tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves, star of the 'Ellington at Newport 1956'
album, was born, raised and got his band start in Boston
. So that settles the issue: Whether you agree or not Rhode Island is a colony of Massachusetts
, Ellington's CD deserves to be on Charles'
Essential Boston Music List. ...Update
-- This further nails it: Johnny Hodges was from Cambridge.
'Slimeball, billionaire lapdogs ...'
Jared Paul Stern, of Page 6 scandal fame, is admirably striking back.
... Via Mickey
, who's all over Mr. Burkle.
'Unlikely to serve as a national model'
First we learned the premium estimates for the new health-care plan are too low. Next we heard warnings the plan will be out of dough within three years. Now we learn it's not
going to be a national model. I'll tell you, that last one really hurts. ... Aren't Trav and Sal scheduled to do an out-of-state victory lap? Someone ought to tell them the plan isn't exportable. ... Mitt: 'Mr. Universal'!
'These weary debates'
Historian Victor Davis Hanson
rightly bemoans 'weary debates' still raging about the Iraq War. But then he proceeds to rehash the arguments and declares them 'moot' and 'over' -- in his favor, of course. ... I rather enjoy how Hanson cherry picks history for analogies to support his Iraq views. This time around it's the Rhine campaign in WWII, then Korea and then back to WWII and daylight bombings. But perhaps Hanson, who has previously mined the Civil War for analogies, should think of Abe and his generals: What if Lincoln had never sacked Irvin McDowell, George McClellan, Ambrose Burnside and Joe Hooker? ... I'm sure someone like Hanson could always smack the ping-pong ball back with a counter-analogy analogy. And I could knock the ball back. But that would be a 'weary' exercise, wouldn't it? ... But I'll stop here. Someone might describe me as a war opponent, as Slate recently did
. For the record: I don't oppose the war. I reluctantly supported it at the outset (largely due to WMD fears) and I think we definitely need to stick it out now. But I have opposed the shoddy way the war was justified, planned (or not planned) and conducted. ...
Rudest of the rude
No doubt: We're rude.
And getting ruder. ... There's a part of me who finds the flinty, reserved New England character endearing. But when road rage spills into supermarket check-out lines -- the sighs of disgust and rolling eyes when someone fumbles with a debit card for a milisecond, etc. -- then you know it's time for self and collective reflection. ... My own latest rude experience: The shock of reading the first comment on a recent Dan post
. It's why, as I move toward a possible redesign of this blog, I debate whether to include a comments section.
'But the emerging details ...'
More details are surfacing about National Geographic's well-orchestrated PR campaign surrounding the 'Judas Gospel.' They include a Swiss art dealer and a bank account posing as a 'foundation.' ... So now we also know this: When National Geographic's PR people said 'hop,' the media hopped. ... Does anyone seriously think the 'Judas Gospel' is anything more than the rantings of some nut? The manuscript may be 'authentic' in the sense it's really 1,800 years old etc. But National Geographic -- just before Easter, just before the 'Da Vinci Code's release in movie theaters, etc. -- has been leaving the impression it might be a gospel-truth 'gospel.' National Geographic may be a non-profit organization. But it's clearly learned lessons from Time and Newsweek magazines: Well-timed biblical stories are big sellers.... Massachusetts: A Red State?:
This is an interesting map
showing religious adherence across the nation. Note how blue-state Massachusetts comes out red. Shows once again how the Bay State is a bit more complicated than the liberal stereotype, though Massachusetts undeniably remains a big sucker for secular big-government programs
. And only now they tell us the health-care program will be broke in three years.
... Where was I? Oh yes. Those godless heathens in northern New England, Florida and northern California! ... P.S. - I'd like to see a similar religious map after the 2010 census, i.e. after the Catholic church's sex-abuse scandals. I'd prefer not to see the financial state of our new 'landmark' health-care law. ... Map via AS
'Let's not forget ...':
A couple of readers on the Boston Essential Music List.
First, Jon L:
"Til Tuesday - Voices Carry.....awesome album
"Del Fuegos - great music. Loved 'Backseat Nothin'
"I'd forgotten that Robin Lane was from Boston! The shame.
"Let's not forget The Fools, one of the all time great fun party bands. Even found 'Night for Beautiful Girls' on an 80s compilation album. Also, Face to Face; loved the album One Big Day. Great sound, Laurie Sargent had a great voice. And lastly, because I was an unrepentant hair metal guy back in the day....how Lynn's own Mass? Even remember seeing the video for Mass' song 'Do You Love Me' on V-66 a few times."
Second, Kev on Ellington at Newport 1956
"Right On Jay, that was an amazing evening, vividly recalled in Ken Burns jazz documentary on PBS. He did a great segment on Paul Gonzalves and his 27 choruses on Diminuendo In Blues And Crescendo In Blue. Good call. I’ll throw in an oldie but a goodie: Grateful Dead at the Boston Music Hall, June 10, 1976."HB response
-- Unfortunately I didn't see the Ken Burns series. But I was lucky, soon after the remastered Ellington CD came out in the late 1990s, to listen to a Rhode Island radio station (forget which one) dedicate an entire show to the Newport concert and its importance to Ellington's comeback. I was driving from Jamestown, R.I. to Newport, listening to the mesmerizing on-air review, with concert organizers and attendees reminiscing on the historic evening. They played cuts from the CD, then talked. I parked my car and couldn't stop listening. I knew I was hooked. To this day, I consider Ellington at Newport one of my favorite all-time albums -- and I'm not a big jazz or big band fan.Design coincidence:
Not to be confused with Intelligent Design, but don't you think there's a striking resemblance between The Crimson's recently redesigned web site
and the NYT's recently redesigned site
? ... At first I liked the soft gentle feel of both. But I've learned to dislike them. They're not direct enough. ... Coming soon: A redesign of Hub Blog. I swear!Update
-- No, no, no. I'm not accusing anyone of copying the other. The designs are just a coincidence, I'm sure. Someone wrote to me about this. ... For the record: I believe The Crimson's redesign came out first.
'Despite the very positive critical attention,' Part II:
Reader No. 1 on Boston music classics:
"Some of the comments on Charles' page
got records I would have nominated... but let's not leave out:
"1- THE CAHS! Their first record
(78) was way the best. (Hope the 'New Cars' don't wipe out good memories.)
"2- Aerosmith ROCKS
(76), their best studio performances until HONKIN ON BOBO last year.
"3- VOICES CARRY
by Til Tuesday (85), grim like all Aimee Mann, with that fab 80s sound.
"The problem with evaluating the great late 70s/early 80s scene is there weren't many albums and hardly any singles... just those radio tapes from 'MBR and 'BCN. We need more compilations like 'Mass Avenue' to capture stuff like "New Feeling" (Future Dads), "Like I Always Do," (Pastiche), and many many more...
"In the meantime, Fogeys like me will have to be content to wait for the new Mission of Burma on May 23rd
and stumble upon great sites like this one
. 'Despite the very positive critical attention': Charles
has gone and done it, starting up yet another Boston Essential List, this time about Boston music. Who can resist? Very impressed with the names dropped in the comments section. Pousette-Dart was a good catch. Yet perhaps the simplest way to start compiling a Boston songs/lp list is to view the playlist from the great CD 'Mass. Ave.'
-- The Atlantics, The Outlets, Del Fuegos, The Neighborhoods, Mission of Burma etc. -- and go from there. And, yes, Robin Lane and the Chartbusters
were/are from Boston
. They're on 'Mass. Ave.' too. ... They may have been a California band, but The Standells
deserve status as honorary Bostonians due to 'Dirty Water.'
-- This might be cheating, but 'Ellington at Newport 1956'
is one of the greatest live recordings of a jazz/big band concert ever. Rhode Island is a colony of Massachusetts, so I don't see why albums recorded in Newport shouldn't be included. But I know my mad geopolitical views are controversial and not shared by everyone. ...Update II
-- John has more
'But please read my first three paragraphs':
I like Christopher Hitchens. A lot. But he really has to stop arguing about three-year-old arguments
. We could be going to war against Iran. A year or two away. Give or take. How about holding the administration's feet to the fire this time around? ...Update
-- The president downplays talk of possible military action as 'wild speculation.'
But he doesn't deny plans are being prepared. ... His tone sounds more reasonable this time around -- which is good. He says he's keeping diplomatic options open -- which is also good. But they've still lost my trust. We'll see. ...Update II
-- Wise advice from David Ignatius
. But will they listen? Have they reached the dreaded 'consensus' stage that leads to dismissing views outside their box?
'Massachusetts will fail':
Reader No. 1 on the state health-care plan and my music post from yesterday:
"Common sense is in short supply. At least with regards to our new health insurance mandate - I had to find it on the pages of USA Today
. Which will be the longer Republican legacy: the Reagan Revolution or Kinder Gentler Government?
"I had much to say on your recent roundup of Boston books and Boston rock, will send it along shortly. Speaking of the Nervous Eaters, the increasingly unpredictable WBOS 92.9 actually played the band's original 'Loretta' a couple of weeks back - yes, those call letters were WBOS, not WMBR."Hub Blog's response
-- I have very bad vibes about the health-care plan. They're already ratcheting up estimated premium costs -- and the program hasn't even been implemented yet. ... Following is a blatant theft of an imitation a friend did of the hypothetical reaction of Sal and Trav to the plan's recent front-page coverage in the NYT and WSJ. Picture Trav calling Sal:
Trav: Sal, did you you see the New York Times? We did it. That was us! We're big time!
Sal: Big time!
Hub Blog is eagerly anticipating the first 'Sal and Trav have grown in office' puff piece, marking a true convergence of the Hack-Progressive Alliance in all its splendor.
Clean sweep (almost):
The street sweepers were out this morning and get a B+ for the first spring swipe on my Beacon Hill block (nine of 12 car spaces were vacant -- not good enough but acceptable). But the next block down: F. Not one car moved or towed. Whatever happened to the vaunted street-sweeping towing campaign? Oh forgot. The vow was made during an election year. ...Rehearing a book:
No, I'm not on Penguin's payroll, constantly praising Nathaniel Philbrick's soon-to-be released 'Mayflower'
(I read an advance copy). But I do want to add that yesterday I listened, with my mother, to the first disc of the unabridged audio book
of 'Mayflower.' Fantastic. I'm not a big fan of audio books. But this one is changing my mind. ...
'Preparing for the worst':
It would be criminally negligent not
to be planning for possible war with Iran. So I put some stock in Seymour Hersh's latest revelation
about the administration's alleged militarily planning for a mullah showdown. But a couple random points: A.) Take what Sy says with a grain of salt. He has his own blindspots, one of them being a focus on the negative when it comes to the Bush administration (concentrating on the positive is not in his DNA) and B.) I now believe it was almost criminally negligent of the administration not
to have adequately planned for a post-invasion Iraq. So I don't put it beyond the Bushies to screw this one up too. I have little faith they're exhausting non-military options and analyzing various consequences of different actions. Their own negative DNA pattern is to reach a 'consensus' and then criticize anyone who offers alternative views. ... FYI: The Times of London
is also confirming military action is being contemplated, with sligtly different timetables and other details. ... Two encouraging words to describe events in nearby Iraq: Zalmay Khalilzad
. I admire and trust the guy. If we succeed there despite the odds, Khalilzad will have earned much of the credit. Of course he only rose to the top after prior spectacular blunders by the administration. ...
'Just as the Judas Gospel doesn't...' Part II :
The Volokh Conspiracy
, which describes the media coverage of the Judas Gospels as 'appallingly stupid,' notes that a scholar last month predicted National Geographic's release of the manuscript would be timed with the opening of 'The Da Vinci Code' movie. ... The more I think about it, the more I suspect someone at NG must have read 'The Word'
when devising the higly effective PR strategy for the Gospel of Judas. Life can't unintentionally imitate bad art to this degree. ... Sucker that I am, I'm still looking forward to reading 'The Lost Gospel,' for the relic's 1,800-year-old tale almost by definition has to be interesting. But I'm not buying the idea it tells a gospel truth. I can just imagine a wing nut in a cave long ago, jealously thinking about his more powerful theological rivals in Europe and muttering to himself, 'I'm going to get them!' -- and then scribbling away about how Judas was such a swell guy. ...
'Well I started the day off ...':
Well I started the day off reading Steve Morse's rock-critic retrospective
and ended up going down my own Hub music memory lane via Google, stumbling upon Boston Groupie News
, complete with photos from the old Bunratty's (Bunratty's!!!), the Cantone's (ditto) and the Rat (ditto). They even have a where-they-are-now section and club playlists from the late 1970s. ... They missed a few of my old favorites (Mission of Burma, Human Sexual Response etc.). But getting in the Nervous Eaters was impressive. ... Separately, I also found: GonnaHitchARide.com.
You gotta check out the haircuts.
'Just as the Judas Gospel doesn't ...' :
OK, top this: Chicago's Ray Hanania
links the 'Judas Gospel' to the Iraq War, Scooter Libby, President Bush and Dick Cheney. Note: Ray is modestly described
as an award-winning journalist, columnist, quasi-Middle East expert and a 'standup comedian,' among other things. So maybe I'm missing something and this is meant to be a combination of light analysis and humor. But I don't think I'm missing anything: A.) Ray's not very funny and B.) It shows how he connects dots. ... I know of Ray from my cub reporter days out in Illinois. In case you can't tell, I haven't missed his work since leaving Illinois. ... BTW: I've actually gone out and bought a copy of 'The Lost Gospel.'
As a Cafeteria Catholic and history buff, I find the whole subject of the Gospels fascinating. For all I know, Gnosticism
is merely the forerunner of Scientology
. Sounds plausible to me. ... Question: Didn't Judas immediately hang himself after the betrayal? Just wondering. Maybe he was keeping a journal. But the mere fact scholars found the document is cool and reveals much about early debates within a religion that shaped our world. ... BTW II: Got to tip my hat to the National Geographic folks for revving people up on the subject. Their PR campaign sure hooked me. I shelled out $27 for the damn book.P.S.
-- There's probably a great story behind how the National Geographic Society timed the announcement of the manuscript's 'discovery' and 'The Lost Gospel,' etc. Another case of life imitating art? In the novel 'The Word'
-- granddaddy of 'The Da Vinci Code'
-- the plot centers around an evil cabal of scholars, German book publishers and a PR expert hired to manage the release of a newly discovered biblical document. ...
'Full-throated and at times gleeful gossip':
Oooooo. A gossip scandal
about a gossip column. Can't get any better than this. ... The Daily News is all over it
, predicting doom for Rupe. The NYT, after performing a near self-parody of its own self-importance ('Alex S. Jones, the director of the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University, estimated that ...'), eventually gets into the swing of things
. Meanwhile, the NY Post pounds its chest
that it fearlessly 'broke' the story about itself on its web site yesterday. ... What should have been the first clues of scoundrel scandal to come: Jared Paul Stern wears a bow tie and spells out his middle name in his byline (see Daily News link). ... P.S. -- He also wears a fedora
-- Dan's got more.
'Sometimes I even change my mind':
So next time I make a compelling argument, remember it's OK to concede defeat and change your mind
to conform to my opinion. ...
'Hazing, high dropout rates and other problems':
An early warning sign that an institution is dysfunctional is the promotion or toleration of hazing. The State Police did both. Therefore no one should be surprised about the findings in this report.
'Should not feel bad about helping people':
I submit that within this article
lies the reason for why so many people despise journalists. ... I know there are professional lines journalists shouldn't cross. But sacrificing one's humanity for the sake of a job isn't one of them. ...Update
-- Via conversations about this post, I've been asked to elaborate a bit more. Let me make it simple: Is there any other profession that seriously debates the 'ethical' issue of saving a young child's life by handing over pocket change? The mere fact this discussion even takes place says so much about the bankruptcy of the 'objectivity' goal within MSM, whose unelected high priests of ethicism are literally sucking the life out of journalism. Do I make myself clear?
And don't forget ...:
Sorry for the light blogging. My life has been a little hectic lately. But when Dan
started his Essential Boston Reading List, well, I had to chime in, along with Chris
. I, too, would make Common Ground
top-of-the-list mandatory reading. And I hereby second Dan's nomination of George V. Higgins' The Friends of Eddie Coyle
in the fiction category. My additions to any Essential Boston Reading List would include:The Last Hurrah
by Edwin O'Connor. A fictional look at James Michael Curley and the Irish-Yankee battles of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Key to understanding Boston politics.Black Mass
by Gerard O'Neill and Dick Lehr. Until I read and render final verdict on Howie's Brothers Bulgers, this remains my top book on Whitey, the mob and politics in Boston. First read Black Mass and then Friends of Eddie Coyle. You'll appreciate how brilliant and perceptive Higgins was decades before Zip et gang began unintentionally imitating art.Mayflower
by Nathaniel Philbrick. Just came out. Already a mini-classic in my view. Fills in so many historical gaps that I wasn't clear about before: just who were the Puritans and the Pokanokets and their sachem Massasoit? What sparked King Philip's War and what exactly happened? It's all here.
Paul Revere's Ride
by David Hackett Fischer. Fischer shows how Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had it right and the revisionists have it wrong. Revere was a common-man hero in his time and deserved to be rescued from obscurity by Longfellow. Fischer's description of the events of April 19, 1775 is awesome.Now We Are Enemies
by Thomas J. Fleming. Read this after reading Paul Revere's Ride. Bunker Hill was an epic showdown with long-term ramifications for both Americans and the British during and after the Revolution.
All of these books, in my opinion, give rich details and hints about the character of Boston and Bostonians. ... A big thanks to Dan for getting the ball rolling on Essential Boston Reading.Update
-- Correction: Philbrick's Mayflower won't come out until May. I read an advance copy delivered to the Herald. You can pre-order it here
The plot thickens, Part II:
One can always count on the archdiocese of Boston
to prolong a story's life. ... Slate has a good summary
of l'affaire gesture. ...
The plot thickens:
The Herald is just loving
the Antonin Scalia story. I haven't a clue what the 'gesture' means in Italian. The 'gesture' is being expertly analyzed and debated over at Dan's site
. But my question is: What does ‘Vaffanculo’ mean, assuming it was indeed muttered by the justice, as asserted in today's gripping saga update
? I googled the word and came up with this
. ... I can't and won't print its definition on my family friendly Hub Blog. I won't! ... And, BTW, I work for that
Amid a lot of craziness in my life these days, I finally finished 'Assassin's Gate.'
The second to last chapter is superb, with Packer following a grieving father who tries to make sense of the death of his son in Iraq. Packer interweaves the tale with the abstract war-related rants of bloggers, pundits and politicians. He has little tolerance for those who only want to hear about successes in Iraq -- or don't want to hear about successes in Iraq. ... I plan to buy 'Cobra II,'
but don't know when I'll read it. I'm a little overdosed on Iraq right now. ...
Of Card and celery:
I agree Andrew Card
probably won't run
for governor this year. But I wouldn't be totally shocked if he threw his hat in the ring. He has politics in his blood. ... Most likely scenario if he ever runs for local office: He makes a mint lobbying
and then uses celery
as a wedge issue against 'JK.' ... P.S. -- The Card/Romney angle in the BMG comments section
is also intriguing. ...
'Unflattering spotlight,' Part II:
Mike Brown apparently took a step closer
last night to becoming an almost cult TV/radio figure. I had a hunch
he was headed in this direction. ... If Peter Blute, Ollie North and G. Gordon Liddy could do it, Mike can do it. ...
'Fukuyama has willy-nilly outlined,' Part II:
Reader No. 1: 'I read Berman, but prefer this analysis
by Niall Ferguson.' ...Update
-- Charles Krauthhammer
goes after Francis, big time. Fukuyama isn't looking too good at this point. ... Now I'm not even sure if he supported the war or not. ... As I said the other day, a lot of ass covering going on. ...
The ongoing Prohibition, Part II: John
makes a good catch: They're now thinking of raising the age for driver licenses from 16 1/2 to 17 1/2. My take is roughly the same as it applies to youthful drinking
: Don't prohibit it. Does anyone really think there's a fundamental difference between 16 year olds and 17 year olds? Wouldn't raising the age only lead to most kids getting their licenses only a few months before they head to college -- reducing their mentoring time with parents? If parents are so worried about their kids driving, here are simple solutions: Don't let them get a license or don't give them the damn car keys. ... Perhaps they should implement certain common-sense rules: No teen driving at night without an adult until 17. Etc. But, really, raising the age by one measly teen year is not the answer -- and it will just cause more problems. If you live in a college town, you should be worried about this bill. Think all those kids with only six months or so of driving experience bombing bombed around campus. ...Update
-- A reader bumped into me and noted he had read the post above. Basically, he agreed with my point that we're taking away responsibilities from teens, as well as valuable mentoring time from parents. But he noted that states don't have effective control over drinking ages thanks to the federal government and that "we need to do something" about teen drinking and driving. ... I completely agree with the desire to do something. But it just doesn't strike me as a good idea to reduce the time parents have to drill good driving habits into teens before they leave the nest. ...
'Mommies talk trash':
Why the Internet is so fun
. ... Via Adam
.'Somebody had to pay':
Mike O'Connell is gone
as the Bruins' GM -- and he deserved to get tossed, I suppose, considering recent desperate trades and the bungled post-strike rebuilding. ... But we all know what the problem is -- or should know. I'm not a big Bruins fan. But I'm old enough to remember when the Bruins ruled this town. Bruins fans waited 29 long years
before Bobby Orr et gang finally brought home a Stanley Cup in 1970. How many years has it been since the last Bobby Orr Stanley Cup? It's now 35 years -- and counting. How many years has Jeremy Jacobs
owned the team? Thirty-one years. Sooner or later you have to stop blaming coaches, GMs, presidents, arch rivals and curses. The best thing that happened to the Red Sox was finally being rid of the last vestiges of the Yawkey regime. The Bruins are still stuck with their own long-term drought regime. ...
'Fukuyama has willy-nilly outlined ...':
Here's a very good
review by Paul Berman of Francis Fukuyama's new book 'America At The Crossroads.'
I somewhat admire Fukuyama, who was skeptical about Iraq before the war. But Berman, a 'liberal hawk,' does a good job punching holes in Fukuyama's seemingly never-ending grandiose quest to come up with an overarching way to approach history. ... Strangely, I think I've found a new label for myself: Wobbly Liberal Hawk. Berman, author of 'Power and the Idealists,'
is also very critical of the administration's post-occupation planning, or lack thereof, and rightly zings pre-invasion conservatives for belittling Clintonian nation-building when everything before the invasion pointed to America undertaking a huge post-invasion nation-building challenge. But I'm hypocritically
harping on pre-war matters. So I'll end it here. ... Unrelated to Iraq: A fine essay
on Dwight Macdonald. But it is about an intellectual journey -- something many of us have been on since 9/11. (Macdonald essay via Andrew Sullivan
Fire! ... Fire! ... Fire! Part III:
Thanks to those who wrote in and even offered to help with the clean up. I have classy friends and readers. But the damage isn't bad at all -- I've had to throw out curtains, two rugs, a foot rest, a bunch of bad books and my sofa is now officially on mold watch. I was distracted yesterday by other family events. But after a good final round of sweeping, dusting and mopping later today, the apartment should be fine by evening or tomorrow morning. ...
'A 24-year-old blogger ...':
Besides the serious plagiarism
issues, what I find depressing about the entire Ben Domenech affair
is how the WashingtonPost.com tried to turn political blogs into an online version of Crossfire. ... On the left. ... On the right. Etc. ... They treated debate like it's a formula. WaPo may be way ahead of other major media outlets in understanding the Internet. But with Red State
, they were stale and very MSM. The other thing that struck me was Domenech's youth. So young to have such hard beliefs. The same applies to freshly minted young lefties. Young ideologues are coming out of universities, political think tanks and publishing houses like widgets ...
Fire! ... Fire! ... Fire! Part II:
The fire didn't cause quite as much damage in my apartment as originally thought. A day or two of cleaning should do it. But, man, the apartment upstairs. What a mess. ... The neighbor who annoyed everyone last night -- "when is the electricity going back on?" -- is still in an indignant mood. ... And, yes, BC still lost
Fire! ... Fire!...Fire!:
There was a fire in my apartment building tonight while I was away. Seriously. Somewhat minor damage to my abode. Hole in my ceiling. Water dripping in the front room. Sofa's a wreck. Water on my floor. Door kicked in by firefighters. Smoke damage minimal but annoying. Most importantly: My horrible CD collection was put out of its misery -- forcing me, hopefully, to buy a new iPod (and Carpundit, you're not the last to be an iPod retro dunce). (My computer, obviously, was spared). ... I was very lucky. I know it. Thank God no one was hurt. ... Less lucky was the Boston College men's basketball team, which I was watching two blocks away at the time. ... Anyway, where was I? Yeah. Right. Fire. Well, I learned that Darwinian instincts take over after a minor (and, I assume, a major) fire. The Boston Fire Department was awesome: professional, polite, down to earth, etc. Can't say enough how classy and friendly they were. They were all but finishing up duties when I arrived home after the BC game with high hopes of flicking on a late-night war movie and passing out in peace. ... But my neighbors ... whoa! I had one who visited me and assumed, temporarily, I was the fiend who started the fire. She seemed upset when I told her that I just got home and that the fire department concluded the fire started one or two floors above me. She stormed away, muttering something about insurance. Then there were the other neighbors who ... never mind. Everyone cooled down. ...
'Chef -- we love you':
I'm not a big fan of 'South Park,' but I've thoroughly enjoyed the Chef controversy. Here's a funny article
that lovingly summarizes the Wednesday show in which the producers knock off poor Chef. ... And it's also more proof WaPo is on a roll. ...Update
-- Well, maybe WaPo is not
on that big of a roll. ... Ben Domenech resigns
Heh! ... Ha! ... Take that!: They're
... the pre-war arguments for going to war. ... I like Vanya's comments in the first link. ... Question: Do you think the debate over the pre-war debate would be occurring now if things were going better in Iraq? Just asking. ... A lot of ass covering is going on. ...Update
-- It's official: Charles Krauthammer
has given permission to use the words 'civil war' when describing Iraq. ... I assume this means we can also still use the word 'insurgency,' last year's forbidden description before reality took hold. ... Actually, Charles' column is quite good and the best argument I've read yet for sticking it out. What's annoying are those still arguing over pre-war arguments while not looking at the realities on the ground today. Oh, I forgot. The media is distorting events. Things are going just swell in Iraq. ... Riiiight.
'Spend an entire afternoon laughing,' Part II:
Won't you help? Hub Blog, Armchair Gen. Savin Hill and now John
eagerly look forward to our first sighting of 'Nordic skipping' in Boston. But I can't find a photo of a Nordic skipper on the web. I can find Nordic walkers
. But not Nordic skippers. Won't you help? If you find one, please send it along. Thank you. ... Also, Hub Blog is mulling the establishment of an official Nordic Skipping Hotline so we can all stay in touch about the first sighting of a Nordic skipper in Boston. Don't you think we should all share in the laughs? Please help. ... P.S. -- I was once lounging in a hotel lobby in beautiful Douala
, Cameroon, when all of a sudden there appeared a guy decked out in a full 'I'm going on Safari' khaki outfit, complete with a Boy Scout-like troopmaster hat and canteens. Everyone in the lobby had to stifle a laugh. One cynic blurted out, 'He looks like Daktari
!!' And the laughter just grew. Poor guy. First trip to Africa. Everything he knew about Africa came from TV -- and he dressed the White Man part to the hilt. ... I know, I know. It's a terrible story of humiliation. But I never laughed so hard. AND THAT'S WHY I WANT TO SEE A NORDIC SKIPPER!! ... P.S.P.S. -- The scary part of the Daktari hotel incident: It could have been me! The get-up I initially wore on my first trip to Africa wasn't that far off from Daktari. .... P.S.P.S.P.S. -- Do you remember Clarence the Cross-eyed Lion? Now there's a blast from the past. ...Update
-- Full confession time: Before going to Africa, I almost bought an official Safari vest
. ... I so much wanted to play the part. ... FYI: The first safari I went on was in a beat up Cadillac convertible. I kid you not. At first I was soooooo disappointed it wasn't a Land Rover. But I ended up loving bombing around in that Caddy. As they say, Africa isn't like the Africa you see on TV. ...
'Spend an entire afternoon laughing':
Forget 'Nordic walkers' (see post below). Armchair Gen. Savin Hill is eagerly awaiting his first sighting of 'Nordic skipping':
"I've seen 'Nordic walkers' even on Savin Hill. But in the article, a fitness director refers to variations on Nordic walking including 'Nordic skipping'. When Nordic skipping becomes the next big craze, I want to be sure someone tells me so I can dig out my binoculars and stake out a spot in the nearest park where I can set up my folding chair and cooler. I'd love to spend an entire afternoon laughing." How Valentine's Day was started:
Reading this piece about 'Nordic walking'
brought to mind how Valentine's Day
, as we now know it, was commercially invented by the greeting-card and chocolate industries. But at least Valentine's Day had a real history before it was commercialized. 'Nordic walking' has zero history pre-commercialization. ... Anyway, what's 'Nordic walking'? Why, it's, well, walking with a walking stick. Or actually two walking sticks. But now you get to buy special Nordic-walking ski poles, Nordic-walking shoes, Nordic-walking tight-fitting spandex pants and fleece, and, perhaps, one day, if we're really lucky, special Nordic-walking hats with cute wool tassels. The yuppies are going to lap this up. ... Nothing against walking. I like walking. ...
'What proceeds is pure lampoonery':
at 'The BC'
spoof of Fox's 'The OC.'
... The mere premise is enough to make you laugh: Boston College students and jesuits adopting a rough-around-the-edges BU student. ...
As if on cue ...: Mark
yesterday wrote about fans' new appreciation of hard-headed business practices by sports team owners -- and sure enough the Sox two hours later traded Bronson Arroyo
, who recently signed a home-town discount in order to stay in Boston. Arroyo's fate will be used in the future as Exhibit A on why players shouldn't sign sentimental below-market contracts: It simply makes them attractive trade bait. ... The Sox' treatment of Bronson aside, I do love this hard-headed trade. We have a new Mo in town! ... 'The folly of using massive force':
Excellent story in yesterday's WSJ
(sub. req.) about American generals reading up on how to fight an insurgency. Only question: Why weren't they doing this earlier? Some quick answers: A.) the words 'insurgency' and 'guerrilla warfare' were all but banned at the Pentagon during the early stages of the insurgency because they were in denial about its existence (and don't forget how some bloggers angrily criticized the media for daring to use the word 'insurgency') and B.) the military, incredibly, all but banned routine study of how to fight insurgencies in the decades leading up to the war. ... They were still arguing over the big-vs.-small military issue in the summer of 2004
(sorry for all the question marks in that archived post; must be some typo quirk in blogger). ... The Pentagon's inability to grasp that sometimes you need a big army and sometimes you don't is simply depressing. For many, it has to be an either-or proposition.
'The world should not falter':
Inspiring words from a guy
who admits mistakes and sounds like he knows what he's talking about. ... Time is what he needs more than anything at this point. We ought to give it to him. ...
The secret Brahmin rollback plot?:
If there's one ethnic group in this city that doesn't need an anti-discrimination league, it's ... Never mind. It's just Ray
. ... Didn't Ray say roughly the same thing about Catholicism after the sex-abuse scandal broke? ... Via John
.World Baseball Classic - A Success, Part II:
The South Koreans really
wanted to pummel Japan. Defeating the U.S. was just a practice round. ...
Yum, yum, yum:
The best pre-made Tikka Masala
sauce is available at local stores listed here
. ... I had it last night. Delicious. Next time I'm adding a dash of Cayenne Pepper. Just a dash. ...
'History is a bigger picture':
Lots of Iraq Third Anniversay pieces today. Too many. I'll try to sum some of them up. ... Rummy's right
: History really is a bigger picture. So today he comes across as a full-fledged democratic nation builder arguing against early withdrawal -- when only three years ago he was undermining attempts to plan for post-invastion democratic nation building and pushing for an early withdrawal. That's the bigger picture of Rumsfeld. ... George Will
, who has been admirably skeptical over the past three years: "(R)egarding Iraq, accentuate the negative and eliminate the positive -- that is, emphasize the dangers of failure and de-emphasize talk about Iraq's becoming a democracy." Note: Rummy is doing both. ... Editorials are falling along their usual
. ... Protesters are too
. ... The best revealing analysis of President Bush from a gent in Indiana
: "That New Orleans situation just piled it on top of the Iraq War." Katrina really exposed this administration as being more than capable of botching responsibilities. The American people made a connection. The president has never fully recovered from the heck-of-a-job Brownie comment. ...
... And, ah, there are those still debating the pre-war debate. AS
is trying to show he really and truly exhibited skepticism at an early stage. Meanwhile, those who dismissed the importance of WMD after no WMD were found are now sifting through documents
to try and prove there really were WMD. Go figure. ... The Left is still trying to prove they like soldiers
And that's about it. Oh, right. Moi? I was a consistently inconsistent Wobbly Warrior going into the war (check out archives to right) who believes George Will is right: It would be a disaster to leave Iraq in the state it's now in. I don't know how Iraq is going to turn out. I've gotten a lot of things wrong in the past. But I do know the odds for success could have been higher if there had been a little less cheerleading and more hard-headed realism heading into the war. ...