'This is what all the fuss is about?'
I suspect Nicholas Lemann's article
on journalism and community journalism is going to generate some debate. Lemann seems a little too down on blogging. But he makes a lot of good points. My view roughly matches what Adam wrote
a while back: it comes down to time and money. If you're paid to gather facts full-time, you're going to gather more facts than someone who isn't paid to gather facts full-time. Take it from me.
I regularly practice what I preach when I'm on the clock and off the clock. .... Not to say part-time community journalists won't make a big impact. They will. They already have in many instances, such as the reporting after Hurricane Katrina. ... FYI: Hub Blog got tipped off to Lemann's New Yorker article via an email sent to my personal account by Conde Nast. They either got my email from my blog -- or somewhere else on the Internet. Not that I mind. But it shows how the entire information-distribution game is changing.
Guess I've led a 'sheltered life.'
I did raise an eyebrow when I saw 'tar baby' here
but plowed on anyway, figuring it was a phrase with many odd meanings. ... More here
. ... The guy apologized. There's no indication whatsoever Mitt meant it in a racial context. ...
That was fast ...
Technically, everything Mitt said yesterday in Iowa
was true: He didn't pass the buck on the Big Dig. But it's what his Iowa manager had to say that elicits a snort. ... Iran and North Korea? As noted earlier, we're probably not going to recognize Mitt's role in the Big Dig 18 months from now. Imagine the TV commercial and accompanying photos: "He stood up to Matt Amorello -- and he'll stand up to Kim Il-sung and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. Leadership for a dangerous world. ... Paid for by the Romney For President Committee
... Oh look. Howie
turns over a stone and finds ... Amorellos.Update
is rightly upset with Mitt's veto of funds for the Greenway. The only thing we can look forward to is that the final landscaped product turns out halfway decent. Now we're not even going to get that. ... This is not an instance of Mitt biting the bullet. The right thing to do is to keep the promise to people who put up with 15 years of traffic misery in return for a non-concrete Greenway. But Mitt has his eye on those Iowa voters. ... It's classic Mitt. Strong governor one day. Calculating presidental candidate the next. ...Update II
-- BMG launches a Mitt salvo.
Don't agree with everything in the post. But Mitt deserves a drubbing. ... I praise Mitt one day
and the next I feel like a jackass for not slopping caveats all over it, knowing he'll disappoint. Massachusetts politics is hitting rock bottom when you hope lawmakers will do the right thing and finish the Big Dig the right way. ...
Teddy: 'Return to an honest confirmation process'
thinks the 'Bush administration learned the wrong lesson' from the Robert Bork nomination and opted to 'conceal' the real views of John Roberts and Samuel Alito during Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Please. Sadly, both the Clinton and Bush II administrations learned the right
lesson after confirmation hearings had sunk to rummaging through garbage bins for dirt on nominees. ... Unfortunately, the clam-up tactic is now part of the accepted confirmation game. ...
'Liquor loosens the tongue ...'
Can't wait for the YouTube video of Mel Gibson's tirade.
You know it's going to happen. ... Rabbi Foxman knows his drunks and anti-Semitics: 'Liquor loosens the tongue of what’s in the mind and in the heart.' ... Satan floating among the Jews in "Passion of the Christ." An angry drunk Hollywood director bellowing anti-Semitic nonsense while hauled away by the cops. I do say I think there's a connection. ... More.
To the rescue!
The federal cavalry is blaring its bugle
and announcing its imminent arrival
. Questions: Where the hell have you been all these years? Where were the bluecoats in 2004 after the tunnel had sprung a leak and before someone frigging died? ... It's so easy to be a hero after the fact. ...
... From Jon
, this is why the Matt regime had to go:
They tried to completely neuter the role of the board, cut off public meetings, and invest Amorello with dictatorial powers. Shameful behavior, and an indication of how intent Amorello’s Bechtel puppeteers were on securing the most thorough cover-up possible of the Big Dig’s failures.
Well put. Anyone who still claims Matt was a 'scapegoat' should be forced to defend, point by point, the actions of Matt and the board in the days before
the Big Dig tragedy. ...
'Lost its moral bearings'
presents the Israeli-Hezbollah showdown in stark either-or fashion -- and anyone who doesn't agree with Israel's response falls into a faction that has 'lost its moral bearings.' The last time we went down this moralistic hard-line path we ended up with this
. ... Look, Israel had every right to hit back hard at Hezbollah. But it's also OK for friends to sometimes tell friends they're going too far. Lebanon is not Nazi Germany. It is not Imperial Japan. It is a very fragile and complex country
whose stability is in everyone's best interest. Many people, even Daniel Schorr
, are on the same page: Hezbollah and Iran are the problems. But not all Lebanese are the problem. Many of them are on our side
. ... Re second link: Glad to see British and U.S. special forces are going after the death squads. But it's incredible we're now talking about 'retaking' Baghdad. ... I think I'll depress myself this weekend by reading 'Cobra II'
after finishing this
. Why not? Might as well get all the depressing accounts out of the way. ...
He asked for it ...
... and he got it.
Setting aside the political implications of Mitt taking over the Big Dig (see also here
), this fact is undeniable: Mitt took responsibility. He could have passed the buck. He didn't. No matter what you think of Mitt or his motives, he deserves credit for aggresively taking charge. ...
'MIT committees on gender equity issues,' Part III
Now it's purely about bullying
. No gender issues. No 'MIT committees on gender equity.' No letter signed by 11 female faculty members on said committees. No powerful-male vs. rising-star female. Nope. It's all about bullying. ... More here
Matt is out.
... What we are witnessing really is 'one of the worst times ever in Boston.'
A virtual crowbar had to be used to pry a hack out of his job -- and the only reason why he left was because he lost a legal round. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in public money wasted. For what? How much more are we going to be paying for Matt's pride and pension? ... Meanwhile, the Big Dig fiasco has exposed the dysfunctional character
of yet another state agency. Where and when does the incompetence stop? This state needs a thorough political scrubbing from top to bottom. But I'm not holding my breath for reform. We keep electing these clowns over and over and over again. ...Update
explains how Matt spent $1 million to lose $85,000. ...
Not smart indeed.
... Memo to Mitt: BMG is right. They're not trying to lead you into a trap. Good government really is good politics. Here's another reason
to stay put. ... Does Mitt understand the other cliche about perception being reality in politics? Maybe the damage is already done. The travel schedule is already out there. We all know where his heart is these days.Update
-- Jon Keller
fisks David Warsh
on the Big Dig. ...
Only 27 years late ...
At the urging of two Hub Blog relatives, I've started reading William Martin's 'Back Bay,'
a book that's sat on my shelves for years. I like it. (Sorry, all you great moments in literay history types.) I'm not a big fan of James Michener-like novels, but Martin makes it work. ... It was first published in 1979? Better late than never, I suppose. ...
Tom Hayden repents, Part II
A couple of readers asked what I meant below by saying Israel is 'overreacting.' I'd respond by citing David Ignatius
and Tom Friedman
(sub. req.). I particularly liked this from Friedman:
Despite Hezbollah's bravado, Israel has hurt it and its supporters badly, in a way they will never forget. Point made. It is now time to wind down this war and pull together a deal. ... Whoever goes for a knockout blow will knock themselves out instead.
The problem is that Israel's stated goal of eliminating Hezbollah is overambitious and unrealistic. Nothing against pummelling and throttling a terrorist organization. But acting upon an unrealistic goal is a form of overreaction. ... I'd add the initial air war strategy to eliminate Hezbollah was especially overly optimistic. What is it with air-force generals who still think they can do it all?Update
-- An outstanding post
by Michael Totten on poor Lebanon. Israel deserves the criticism for its overreacton. But Hezbollah, Syria and Iran truly deserve harsher damnation for what they've done. ... The photo of Christians going after a Hezbollah sympathizer's car says so much about tensions in Lebanon. Via Instapundit.
We knew they knew. Now we know they knew: Big Dig officials were officially warned
about the bolts and six months later had the evidence
the bolts weren't working. ... We also now know there will be a family lawsuit
and, sadly, family infighting
. Actually, it sounds more like lawyers infighting. ...Update
-- Now there are actual photos
of workers installing bolts incorrectly. ... The 'double-barrel smoking gun'
is now a triple-barrel smoking gun. The day is young. I'm sure a fourth barrel can be rigged up and fired by the end of the day. This is the Big Dig after all. ...
Tom Hayden repents
Tom Hayden repents to the faithful
for his sin of not being sufficiently anti-Israel in the past (a confession he bravely makes after he no longer needs Jewish votes). Of course Hayden can't summarize his views based on actual Middle East events as they unfold, such as the way others might argue. Take the Economist's viewpoint
(sub. req.) for example:
This is madness, and it should end. It is madness because the likelihood of Israel achieving the war aims it has set for itself is negligible. ... Hizbullah cannot be uprooted. It is not going formally to surrender.
Pretty much sums up how I feel. Israel, justifiably fed up with terrorists lobbing missiles into its towns and cities, is overreacting. But Tom has to talk about AIPAC, the Israeli lobby, the Israeli counsel general in Los Angeles, Israel's 'permanent occupation of Palestinian territories,' Iraq, the peace movement, neoconservatives and Bush. Check out the lovely course of discussion in the comments section.Update
has some thoughts on this post. I'd just say I don't want Americans to start thinking in Middle East tribal ways. Therefore I'll repeat: Israel is overreacting. ...
'Kneeling to light a candle'
My greatest fear is that Analicia 'Anna' Perry
by a young man who decided her mourning was an affront to gang street rules that are now completely off the psychological-profile charts. ...
Restaurant of the future? Or Gimmick?
Here's a review
of the new Legal Test Kitchen (LTK) in the Seaport District. Hope it works out. But the 'technology' is going to one day look as dated and silly as 8-tracks. ... Driving through the Seaport District the other day, I passed by LTK and noticed it was employing a very old-fashioned restaurant technique to attract customers: There was a bevy of beautiful waitresses milling about outside. If LTK succeeds, it won't be because of the plasma menus, I assure you. ...
Armchair Gen. Savin Hill demoted, Part II
Armchair Lt. Savin Hill strikes back:
I make no apologies for a short attention span - I'm a red-blooded American after all. I'm reading the non-fiction bestseller 'Shooter' now and what's in the first 5 pages? No less than a full-blown Somali firefight with sniper teams blasting enemy gunners to pieces while Cobra gunships blaze away overhead with hot spent shell casings pouring on the lot of them. Now that's writing!
Signed, 'Maximum Leader' Savin Hill
Hub Blog rests its case. The guy is clearly immature. ...
Yesterday's high-art discussions (see below) prompted me to go out and buy Robert Parker's 'Double Deuce'
and 'Paper Doll.'
But by sad pulp-novel coincidence, I learned that Mickey Spillane died earlier this week.
How did I miss that? I'll blame it on the Big Dig. Mike Hammer. Now there's a guy who wouldn't have taken any Bechtel guff. ... OK, I also broke down and got Cobra II.
Far be it for a local blogger to get involved in a national blogger spat, but what's up with Andrew Sullivan's shots
at Glenn Reynolds these days? What's wrong with simply saying you like a book
? Does everything have to be a great moment in literary history
? ... What's up seems to be Andrew's shifting views and alliances, such as moving from President Bush's cheerleading squad to President Bush's firing squad ('very, very smart'
to 'shallow, monstrous, weak, and petty.'
) But that's a different matter. ... Speaking of great moments in literary history, see Armchair Lt. Savin Hill's demotion notice below. ... Update
-- Hey, another great moment in literary history: Robert Parker has a blog
. Sixty-one comments already. Via Adam
'They used duct tape to fix bolts'
Kind of takes your breath away
, doesn't it? ... There may yet be a concrete angle
to the Big Dig bolt fiasco. ...
'This is out of sight'
No locusts sightings yet. Just alligators
. ... Massachusetts is getting very strange these days. ...
Armchair Gen. Savin Hill demoted
It is with great sorrow that I announce the demotion of Armchair Gen. Savin Hill
to armchair lieutenant. He returned 'Saratoga'
unread, saying he couldn't get beyond page 80. He made no attempt to get past the well-known first 100 boring pages. He dares to call himself an armchair general. From now on, he shall be known as Armchair Lt. Savin Hill. ...
The pinheads are still talking about the Curse
-- even when they admit there was never a Curse. ... Bill: It was also about this family called the "Yawkeys." ... Poetry. An orchestra. NPR. The only thing missing is a reading by Doris Kearns Goodwin about baseball being a metaphor for life. ...
'The lawyers are swarming'
gives a good straight-forward political accounting of Big Dig shenanigans over the decades. Mitt does seem to be in his element these days. But it's still a form of damage control mixed with Salt Lake City aspirations. ... The lawyers are swarming
because they see a pot of gold.
In an ideal world, wouldn't it be nice if a commission decided, based on legal precedent, what the Del Valle family would probably get and then just write a check, minus what lawyers would normally get?Update
-- The Big Dig media frenzy is officially over for now: It's been proven Bill Belichick actually has human sexual impulses.
-- Big Dig media feeding frenzy is back: Mitt has closed the eastbound portion of the Ted Williams Tunnel.
'MIT committees on gender equity issues,' Part II
Do you really think it's all about a Nobel laureate who 'bullied' someone and refused to 'collaborate' and 'the realities of modern science' and 'interdisciplinary approaches'? Or do you think it might -- just might -- have also something to do with what's hinted at in the ninth paragraph here
, more strongly hinted at here
and even more strongly hinted at here
? ... Just asking. ... Oh, well. Might as well not hint at it. I work for that
. -- The president of MIT asked the bully not to make any public statement. He obliged. Strange, I don't think Larry Summers would have been accorded the same courtesy. ...
What next? Locusts?
Another roadway/traffic disaster
for Boston. ... Massachusetts must have angered the God of Roads. ...
'The corruption culture...' Part II
And more did come here
. ... Think about the word 'months' in political terms. The closures mean the public's blood will be kept boiling right into the fall elections. Political conspiracy theorists, start your engines. ...
Need a break? Click here
to listen to new Mission of Burma songs. I enjoyed '1001 Pleasant Dreams,' considering Boston's mood these days. ... Via Joel
, here's a quickie review
of their Friday concert. Check out the readers' comments from last night's Brooklyn show at the bottom of the first link. ... Reader No. 1 has promised a review of Obliterati
. He's been busy lately. Understandable. ...
'The corruption culture...'
OK, one last Big Dig item, from Margery
. ... I'd love to declare this a Big Dig Free Zone. But we all know there's so much more to come. I'll try to keep it limited. ...
'It gives Romney ...'
I suspect there's more than a little wishful thinking
here. Romney only has six months left as governor. There's only so much he can do with limited power in that time. He'll probably accomplish just enough to grab credit and produce a heroic Big Dig campaign ad that none of us will recognize as reality 18 months hence. ... There may well be a vote-the-rascals-out surge, perhaps benefiting some GOP legislative candidates. A storming of the State House bastille would be most welcome. But I see Kerry Healey as also vulnerable on the Big Dig, for a vote-the-rascals-out sentiment is ultimately an anti-incumbent sentiment. Christy Mihos, who now looks like a man-before-his-time Big Dig hero, is going to benefit from this -- and that means votes sucked away from Healey. Only two or three percentage points are needed for major damage. ... Another potential winner is Chris Gabrieli. Whether he gets through the Dem primary, I don't know. But I suspect he's now Healey's worst option, based partly on a strong favorable buzz I'm starting to hear on the street from people fed up with the State House crowd. Deval will benefit a bit, but he's perceived as a pro-tax Democrat. Not good in these times. Tom Reilly, well, he's an incumbent and we'll see. ... I covered some of this earlier
-- A regular reader asks why Mitt would prepare a Big Dig commercial, ala Salt Lake, if the subject was so toxic to touch as I noted below. First, FYI: My friend thinks this is a positive Salt Lake moment for him. My response: Mitt probably agrees it's a positive SLC moment and he loves commercials. But I think there's an element of damage-control here too. Mitt would be smart to have a Big Dig ad in the can, if only because it's going to be a negative issue that he'll have to spin and counter-spin. The Big Dig is going to dog him. Perception is reality in politics. ... FYI: I tinkered with the above post a bit this a.m., 7-16. Nothing substantive. Just nips and tucks.Update II
- 7.16.06 -- Reading this article
, you get the feeling it's definitely Salt Lake City, Full Steam Ahead for Mitt. But I liked this quote from BU j-prof Fred Bayles: "On one side he comes across looking good . . . and I can already see the campaign ads. ... (But) I am sure that when he goes into some of the primary states, [opponents] will raise this and say, `Well, wasn't this under you before the accident?"
'Not a Jamba Juice on every corner'
I'm no Michelle Malkin
fan. But this video
is pretty funny. Her imitation of Cindy Sheehan's voice makes it. ... Did Cindy really write this
? Do Fribbles count as official fasting substitutes? Mmmm. Fribbles. ... Video via Instapundit
'A Hezbollah drone aircraft'
Hezbollah took out an Israeli navy ship with a drone aircraft
packed with explosives? Are you thinking what I'm thinking? ...
P.S. - Iraq's Moktada al-Sadr is openly siding with Hezbollah and threatening stepped up action against the U.S. The guy is an enemy combatant. Why hasn't he been taken out?Update
-- The article linked above has been changed. It now reads 'guided missile,' not 'drone aircraft.' What gives? No explanation for the switch. ... Hezbollah's possession of guided missiles is just as disturbing. Now where do you suppose a terrorist organization got guided missiles? Gee. Let me think. ...Update II
-- It seems Hezbollah has indeed bragged
it has drone aircraft packed with explosives. Now where do you suppose a terrorist organization got drone airplanes capable of carrying explosives? Gee. Let me think. ...
-- Israel suspects Iran provided
the missile. What a surprise. ... The story explains the drone confusion. ...
Boston needed a good end-of-the-week Big Dig laugh
. It's a good one. ... Via Adam
'MIT committees on gender equity issues'
Now the academic gender police are hounding a Nobel laureate
who doesn't want to collaborate with a 'rising star' who has yet to finish her postdoctoral fellowship and looking for a first faculty job. Hmmm. ... The real 'damage' to MIT is this: The gender police have just served notice they'll try to publicly humiliate anyone who resists putting gender politics ahead of science. I'm sure scientists across the world have indeed noticed. ...
‘They did it on the cheap’
Don't you get the impression Mitt
is now fighting for his presidential-wannabe life? He finally has control
over parts of the Big Dig -- and he may try to spin this in campaign commercials as another Salt Lake City take-charge moment. But it's not going to work. The Big Dig is now a national joke. Mitt's going to get hammered for it by rivals in debates and in commercials, whether he deserves it or not. Can't you picture a future GOP or Dem rival, ala George Bush's bold 1988 Boston Harbor gambit, coming to Boston and posing for shots outside the mouth of a Big Dig tunnel? ... Personally, I think the most biting criticism you can aim at Mitt is that he was too busy rushing around the country while the Big Dig crumbled. He could have and should have been more aggressive in taking down the Big Dig status quo. He was an absentee governor -- and now it's come back to bite him. But make one thing clear: He was not in control
of the Big Dig over past years. Have I missed something? Hasn't he been fighting for control over the Big Dig and Turnpike and hasn't a certain legislative institution resisted? ... This much is true: This can't help Kerry Healey. Nor Tom Reilly. There's a clear and growing throw-the-rascals-out sentiment out there, which can only benefit Deval, Christy and Chris.
'That's just good stuff',' Part II
endorses Jon's picks for Salem witch books: 'Salem Possessed'
and 'In the Devil's Snare.'
Charles thinks they should be read in conjunction for full impact. ... He has other colonial-era suggestions for books.
'The political-industrial complex'
Interesting tidbit at the bottom of this Big Dig-debacle story
. A prominent member of the Senate is saying Matt should go? The same Senate that less than two weeks ago voted to prop up Matt
? ... Sen. Marc Pacheco says it's 'unbelievable' that Mitt has left the state again. Personally, I've stopped banging my head against the computer screen whenever I read about our absentee governor taking yet anothor out-of-state trip. What I do find amusing, though certainly not 'unbelievable,' is Pacheco' chutzbah criticism less than two weeks after lawmakers voted to prop up Matt
. ... Now, how did you vote on that miracle one-day bill, senator? Or was it a voice vote? ... Sorry to rag on lawmakers these days. But, IMHO, lawmakers are skating on responsibility for the Big Dig mess. Unlike Mitt, Matt and Tom etc., individual lawmakers can easily hide in the collective mass known as the 'Legislature.' But as a public service, I've decided to post the photo above just to remind people that there really are individual leaders on Beacon Hill who should be answering questions too. Robert Travaglini and Sal DiMasi, take a bow. And, please, don't tell me the Save Matt's Job Bill was all Diane Wilkerson's doing. ... Extra bonus point if you can name the lawmaker in the middle. ...
... In other news: Margery
talks to three pols who dared to criticize the Big Dig before it became acceptable to criticize the Big Dig. Isn't it weird how all the oddballs turned out to be right on the issue? ... Joan
has a fun metaphor for the Big Dig -- it's like buying an expensive dress, only to see the zipper break. I've been working on my own metaphor about Bechtel -- it was like giving a Wedding Planner an open checkbook. But John
metaphorically outdoes us both by describing the mess as the 'political-industrial policy.'
'Let 'em vote,' Part V
One good thing about the Legislature's con-con delay tactic
yesterday: I won't have to write about it again until November, unless I'm provoked by a certain newspaper splashing yet another gay-marriage story on page one. ... My sentiments toward the Legislature's antics here
). ... Oh, all right. I should make a disclosure here. I work for that other
The real battle
Everyone is weighing in on the Big Dig/Matt-Mitt circus. There's the anti-Mitt view here
. There's the anti-Matt faction here
, albeit with the latter engaging in appropriate Bechtel bashing. But here's the real interesting angle: Lawmakers defending Matt
-- while saying they're not defending him. Not that we don't already know their true sentiments
. ... The hacks don't know whether to bolt or circle the wagons. Maybe they can follow leader Trav's new con-con lead
: Promise action -- and then delay. It's just another parliamentary trick, but at least it's a new parliamentary trick. ... As for Mitt, sure he's posturing -- but at least he's posturing against the status quo. This isn't a battle between Mitt and Matt per se. It's a battle between Mitt and the Legislature. Tom Reilly, who sided with Mitt against Bulger, knows which way the election wind is blowing. ...
Please, not the concrete
A truly horrible Big Dig accident
. No joke: I'm really starting to worry about the concrete
. The Turnpike says it's something else
. But you got to wonder at this point. ... P.S. -- The Pike's political dynamics
just got more interesting. Matt is already taking a beating
- 2:19 p.m. -- Mitt just declared war
on Matt. Meanwhile, reports are coming in about a past 'adhesive anchor failure'
in the nearby ceilings dating back to 2001. ... I can't see how Matt can survive because I can't see Dems standing by him. Not now. It could be every hack for himself. ... Then again there are patronage jobs at stake. ... Can't wait for tomorrow. It's possible con-con shenanigans and wall-to-wall Matt all rolled into one!
'The old ideal of beauty'
The West fights anorexia
and in Mauritania they fight gavage
'Let 'em vote,' Part IV
wants lawmakers to allow voters to vote. Scot
wants lawmakers to just follow proper constitutional procedures. I'm with Scot: Play by constitutional rules, and I'll be content. ... Interesting difference, I think, between Scot's view of parliamentary tricks and the reader's analysis below
. Scot says the courts have found 'no judicial remedy' for past Bulger-style antics when it comes to constitutional amendments. Reader QM says it's really about the SJC being 'spineless' when it comes to enforcing its own constitutional rulings. For some reason, Stalin's quip about how many divisions the pope has jumps to mind. If I know my State House lawmakers, their equivalent of divisions is the power over budgets and pay raises. ... I should note, though, that the SJC deserves credit for its decision yesterday
. I feared they'd overreach again. ...Update
- 7.12.06 -- Reader QM writes in to clear up matters (a bit):
Yes, the court did indeed say ('no judicial remedy') in that case as Scot said. But I stick by my 'spineless' charge. Remember, this is the same SJC that ordered the contents of legislators' offices sold off when the legislature refused to appropriate monies to fund the so-called 'Clean Elections' Law. And given the SJC's wont to invent things not in the constitution (c.f. the Goodridge decision), I'm supposed to believe the SJC couldn't rule something like 'any amendment not voted on is deemed approved by default' as a remedy/penalty?
All of this drives me crazy -- I'm in favor of gay marriage, but I want it done the right way. ...
'That's just good stuff'
Jon responds with recommendations for Salem witch books, via my request below
Several good titles out there on Salem Witch Trials. Fascinating stuff.
'Salem Possessed' - Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum
'The Devil in the Shape of a Woman' - Carol Karlsen
'The Devil's Dominion' - Richard Godbeer
'In the Devil's Snare' - Mary Beth Norton
These are all good, but if I were to choose just one I'd go with 'Salem Possessed,' especially since you have better than passing knowledge of early New England colonial history.
One other good early New England history book I'll suggest to you - 'Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750' by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.
BTW, I read 'Dominion of War.' That's just good stuff.
I did scan the Amazon reviews and all the 'Devil' books didn't appeal. I'll check out 'Salem Possessed' amd 'Good Wives' but check out others at the same time. ... Hey, I'm picky. But 'Salem Possessed' looks like the odds on favorite. ...
The Philadelphia Problem, Part II
A reader sets me straight on my Philly post
from the other day:
Someone probably already informed you already but the 'Mardi Gras' dressed folks in the Philly ads are Mummers. Having spent six years in the city I can tell you that they are as much a part of working/middle class Philadelphia as cheesesteaks, the Eagles and the Mob.
I stand corrected on Mummers. ... I also forgot about the Eagles and the Mob being Philly's other tourist attractions. ...
'A strangely gripping watch ...'
Chris has a real blast-from-the-past post
on British director Peter Watkins' groundbreaking docudramas of old. I vaguely remember watching 'Culloden'
on Channel 2 and being shocked at the brutality meted out to the Scots. I assume it was 'Culloden.' Whatever it was I watched, I occasionally think about it as one of the best and most imaginative documentaries I've ever seen. ... PBS, via the BBC, now runs a pseudodocumentary series called 'Battlefield Britain,'
complete with the you-are-there 'first person narratives, recreations and interviews.' But it's not the same. The interviewed actors/characters are hams. It doesn't work well. Nothing against Peter and Dan Snow. They clearly love their jobs and subject matter. ... FYI: The old flash-from-the-past description above was changed to blast-from-the-past. I'm always mixing up my metaphors. ...
'Tonight, they'll be out till midnight ...'
Spoken like a true Bostonian
-- referring to Northenders et gang celebrating
Italy's World Cup victory yesterday. Midnight.
Whoa! ... Photos here
. More on Boston's Cup festivities here
. ... Mayor Menino deserves credit for setting up the Plaza showing. It appears to have been a huge hit. ...
'Captors and Captives'
At the urging of an acquaintance, I've read 'Captors and Captives.'
Verdict: Terrific history of the 1704 Deerfield Raid, with the Queen Anne's War
as a backdrop. As I've noted before, I'm on a sort of pre-American Revolution binge these days, trying to piece together what for me has been a rather murky history of early colonial life in America and New England. 'Captors and Captives' picked up nicely where 'Mayflower'
left off. ... If anyone has good book recommendations for the Salem witch trials, pass 'em along. That's another colonial area I'd like to explore more. ... Two other books I'd recommend to those interested in pre-Revolution colonial America: 'White Devils'
and 'Crucible of War.'
They're both about the French and Indian War, the former about another famous raid and the latter a more sweeping history.Update
-- More on 'Captors and Captives' here
, where I got the book jacket.
'To keep that patronage haven alive'
has an excellent analysis of Mitt's Turnpike move yesterday. Not a check mate. But it buys time. ... More on Mitt's vetoes
of the bloated budget.
... Lawmakers really are on a roll. What else can they do to attract negative attention? There's a constitutional convention this week. But of course! See post below. ...
'Let 'em vote,' Part III
defends the state constitution but doesn't address how lawmakers are defying the constitution
on the very same issue. The Progressive-Hack Alliance: It's on full gaudy display these days. ... Until someone proves otherwise (I'm no constitutional expert), I'm going to assume that the reader's analysis below
is accurate and that lawmakers are employing old-fashioned Bulger tactics to avoid a proper legislative vote on gay marriage. ...Update
- 7.10.06 -- Dave
rightly goes after a truly odious Phoenix editorial
that equates support for a vote to Jim Crow and the KKK. The Phoenix editorial is so bad and strident, you can't help but think the aging Phoenixers are merely trying to posture for old time's sake. ... Two things I truly hope will happen: 1.) Lawmakers follow the constitution and 2.) The amendment then fails.Update II
- 7.10.06 -- Dan
has more on the issue -- and an update about the SJC permitting the amendment to procedurely move foward. Whether lawmakers comply is another matter. ...Update III
- 7.10.06 -- And Andrew Sullivan
has more, saying: "The attempt by some gay activists to prevent the legitimate constitutional process from going forward is lamentable and misguided." ... Hmmm. Does this mean Andrew favors Jim Crow and the KKK?
Conservative journalism and science
takes National Review to task for promoting quackery via the Discovery Institute:
One can only read this and just wonder what is happening to conservative journalism on science when a major magazine like NR keeps recycling the same junk faxed to them by the DI.
John, a few wheels on the National Review cart fell off a while ago. ... Hub Blog and Reader No. 1, who's been MIA lately, have argued before about the state of conservative journalism in general. In the '80s and early '90s, we both loved NR, American Spectator, Commentary etc. But I drifted away when Bill Clinton's election activated some mysterious tribal gene that brought out blatant partisan hackery. I suspect a form of that tribal partisanship is at the root of the DI phenomenon. After all, if liberals believe in X, then Y must be true. Etc., etc. ... Of course, self-preservation funding issues might be playing a role too, as John suggests. ...Update
-- John has more.
'The world's worst music video ever made'
Armchair Gen. Savin Hill, via Google music, sends along a truly wretched music video
with the note: "In just the opening 3 seconds of the choreography it's clear something is going horribly wrong." ... But is it truly the worst? Criticizing late 1970s Scandanavians imitating Abba strikes me as too easy. My favorite worst music videos are the ones with pompous bands-turned-artists with messages of deep meaning and hope. Extra bonus points for shots of sensitive singers with their hands cupped over earphones as they record in a studio. Double-extra bonus points if they slump into profound emotional exhaustion at the end. ...
Cape Cod writing machine Bernard Cornwell
is coming out with his 21st Sharpe book, 'Sharpe's Fury'
-- and I have an advance copy. If you enjoy historic fiction, you'll love the Sharpe series. ...
On being polite
: We need to be more polite. How that's accomplished, I don't know. But it's getting worse. ...
-- Maybe the answer to the Friendliness Problem lies here
, via here
. ... Robots replacing Bostonians. It may be the only answer. ....
'Let 'em vote,' Part II
Reader QM explains why one can support gay marriage but ...:
I'm in a hybrid position.
I absolutely want to see the amendment be voted on by the legislature in its role as constitutional convention. I despise the game that's been played by the legislature in simply not scheduling for a vote amendments-by-petition that would get the necessary 25% but that the leadership doesn't like.
Bulger started this garbage back in the 1990s. He got sued and the SJC ultimately ruled that (a) the practice is unconstitutional, (b) the legislature is required to vote on amendments-by-petition, but (c) the SJC, which normally has no problems handing down edicts and fashioning all sorts of crazy remedies, refused to penalize the legislature for shirking its constitutionally-required duties. So even though the state constitution says an amendment-by-petition only needs 25% of the vote of two successive constitutional conventions to get on the ballot, the sleaziness of Bulger/Trav/etc. and the pathetic spinelessness of the SJC has negated that requirement and in its place impose an effective 50% threshold (since 50% is needed to overrule the chair and force a vote to be scheduled). Shameful.
However, all that said, I'm fine with the amendment failing to get 25%
of the vote and so never reaching the ballot.
Hub Blog assumes Republicans at this very moment are dusting off the 2002 'Gang of Three' posters. But if they're smart, they'll let the Legislature be the Legislature for a while longer. Pensions. The Matt Turnpike. Blocking votes with Bulger tactics. Bloated budgets. Lawmakers are on a campaign roll -- for Kerry Healey. ...
'Let 'Em Vote'
Jon has it right
: 'Let 'Em Vote.' The usual milquetoast suspects
appearing on the you-know-what's front page are petitioning to kill a vote on gay marriage in Massachusetts. But as Jon notes, do we really want a perpetually argued judicial-fiat issue like the 2000 presidential election? Or like the perpetually argued judicial-fiat issue of abortion? My gut instinct is that voters of Massachusetts will do the right thing and reject the amendment. But the 'progressive' wing of the Progressive-Hack Alliance seems determined to call in its chips to thwart any vote. Odds are the 'growing' Sal and Trav will repay them for past looking-the-other-way favors. The alliance must survive. But the NY decision
does show Massachusetts is now completely isolated. ...
'I'm talking democracy here'
What a great piece
on journalism. ... The point is about newspapers in general, not just the Globe or, for that matter, the Herald. Inspired writing and research. ... Via John
'His motorcade ...'
So it was Dr. Phil's motorcade
that I saw on Cambridge Street just prior to the Fourth concert? ... If so, it was indeed bigger than a presidential motorcade -- and I'd like to know why police felt compelled to escort it with blaring sirens, honking horns and forcing motorists to the side. Via Dan
The Philadelphia Problem
For some reason, Philadelphia seems to be on the minds of many Bostonians these days. It's probably those annoying TV ads -- Adam is hosting a vote
on them now. The most absurd commercial shows three guys in Mardi Gras clown outfits dancing on an empty street. Three guys. Mardi Gras. In Philadelphia. ... But now WBUR
is treating the strange Philadelphia phenomenon as a real threat to our tourism. Should we really be worried about Philadelphia? Have we sunk so low? I know that I joke
about Philly. But it's only that -- a joke. Outside the Liberty Bell, cheese steaks, some really good newspapers and Rittenhouse Square, there's really not much else to the city. ...
'She pulverizes the elephants ...'
of France is trying to prove that running from the left-center and achieving 25 percent of your goals is better than running from the far left and achieving 0 percent of your goals. ... American Democrats, take note. ...
'Heaving bosoms. Breathless dialogue. Betrayal.'
I always suspected there was a formula
to Hispanic television dramas. ... Fun article. ...
I've fixed the RSS feed (see bottom right) on Hub Blog. You might want to renew it if you've had problems in the past. ...
'The brilliant cliché of the Fourth of July'
Hub Blog readers know I'm no fan of James Carroll. But, boy, did he park one
the other day. It's a beautiful tribute to America. ... It inspired me to look up the text of the Declaration of Independence.
What a document. Read it. Notice all the grievances they cite. It's often infuriating to hear history taught as if unwanted taxes were at the heart of the American Revolution. But the Founders' complaints were so much more profound. Some of the language indeed makes you wince ('Indian Savages'). But, as Carroll notes, the brilliance of the American experiment is its ability to take our 'nascent idealism' and self-correct mistakes that don't live up to our principles. ... For patriotic reasons, I also started surfing the web for an American flag to stick up on Hub Blog. I discovered that the first unofficial American flag was the Grand Union Flag
(as shown above), first flown here in Boston for George Washington. An earlier version was the Don't Tread On Me Flag
. Of course, Philadelphia is once again trying to steal Boston's thunder by pushing the Betsy Ross revisionism. Philly has tried to steal Ben Franklin from us and now this. We'll settle scores with Philly later. For now, enjoy the hot dogs and happy Fourth of July!
'Conspirators include Paul Revere ...'
Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to brilliant fun
. Powerline deserves to take a bow on this one. But, really, the NYT didn't reveal any SWIFT secrets. It and other papers are guilty of taking a leaked tip and hyping the old news as a scoop -- and they still haven't admitted they ran with a story they didn't check out prior to publication. ... Karl Rove must be behind this. Embarrassing the Times. Revving up the troops. Distracting attention. It's a political threefer. ... More likely: Karl wishes he thought of this one. ... Needless to say, image at right courtesy of Powerline.Update
-- In the spirit of fun, a very mischievous reader asks how the two local papers might have covered the same dramatic events of April 18-19, 1775. Hmmm. I can't resist. Giving the NYT the pre-battle scoop, here goes:
Globe headline: Experts differ on causes for 'revolt'
Globe subheadline: Performance of Minutemen questioned
Herald headline: Dawes beats Revere!
Herald subheadline: Plucky rider alerts citizens; Minutemen kick Redcoat butt
Of course, I should disclose that I work for that
The Elect Kerry Healey Bill
Missed the turnpike action last Friday -- but Blue Mass Group didn't
. David is right: This is the type of hackerama that keeps electing Republican governors over and over again. ... Howie was also right about lawmakers playing tricks on a sleepy Friday
before the Fourth. ...
How's that trade going?
The Bronson trade was clearly a blunder. But he is pitching in the NL
. ... Quite a difference from when I was growing up, when the National League utterly dominated the AL.
It's a blogger war!
It's a full-scale local blogger war between Dan
... 'God help me, I do love it so.'
-- Gen. George Patton, Kasserine Pass, 1943. ...
Not to get in the middle of a local blogger war, but, Gregg, does the world really need another conservative-rant-against-liberals
book? Just asking. ... Warning: If the war spreads, my allegience is to Dan. Sorry, Kevin. But do we really want it to come to this? Hub Politics
would probably get dragged in, forcing Blue Mass Group
to react, prompting forceful action by Carpundit
etc. etc. -- and the chain-reaction of local alliances would drag us all into the abyss. ...P.S.
-- Can you imagine if Boston cops and State troopers
chose sides in a local blog war? It's too dreadful to contemplate. ...
Attention bloggers: Substance, not sizzle
Speaking of blogs, Glenn Reynolds is sinking to new lows with a shameless blogger sweeps week
over at Instapundit. Pathetic. I would never
sink to such crass commercial levels. The worst part is that Glenn links to Germans
on July Fourth weekend. July Fourth! Hey, Glenn, how about featuring patriotic American
women -- like the one to the right. Huh?
To engage in such downmarket, tarty, unpatriotic blogger antics to drive up hits and sell ads -- ads like those over there ----> -- is simply lowering the blogger bar and, I for one, object.Update
-- John supports patriotism