Kevin Garnett to the Celts? Yes, it's official
. ... Seeing the five names of those the Celts are giving up, combined with two first round draft choices, brings it home: This had better work. The Celts have just mortgaged their future. ...
Kevin Garnett to the Celts? Part III
A good hard look
at the potential short-term pluses and long-term minuses of the deal:
If Garnett has a jeweled shamrock championship ring on his finger as he sips his post-career California cocktail, Ainge will have no problem getting a tee time at The Country Club. If not, you’ll be hitting him over the head with Al Jefferson on his way back to Arizona. The judgment will be stark.
A remote part of the world
we'll probably be hearing more about in coming months and years. ... Hope the Bush administration heeds the advice about acting decisively but not in the heavy-handed Iraq way. ...
'The Boston Reds'
Charles finds an old clipping for a game
between the Boston Reds and St. Louis Browns in 1891. The outcome of the showdown, perhaps a substitute championship game, is a mystery for the time being.
Kevin Garnett to the Celts? Part II
Still no deal.
But some are already dreaming of the Celts as Eastern Conference contenders -- here
, etc. I guess I'm one of them. But if Allen doesn't recover from ankle(s) surgery, well, we'll see, assuming Danny completes the Garnett trade. Talks resume today. ... So why would one (like yours truly) not like the approximate same trade a number of weeks ago but like it today? The best answer may be here
: "As fans, we can afford to be capricious." But not even Garnett liked the trade a while back. His main reason (I suspect): A Pierce-Garnett duo wasn't good enough. But add in Allen and a complete change in Danny's philosophy, brought about by desperation, and the dynamics are different. ... No matter what happens, I'm still partial toward the first option.
... I'm going to miss Big Al. He's going to be playing long after Paul, Ray and Kevin are gone. But Danny has now committed the Celts to George Allen's
over-the-hill-gang philosophy on winning now with older veterans. ... In retrospect, it looks like Doc was signaling something earlier this month when he dissed Al.
-- Jeff at CelticsBlog
looks at the 'Other Big 3': Danny, Doc and Wyc. He makes a lot of good points. But I don't buy into the notion this was all part of a grand strategy. Danny would have taken Oden or Durant if the ping-pong balls had bounced the right way -- and afterward gone on vacation like he said. The 'youth movement' would still be alive. ...
Re the 'Boston Reading List':
A book I definitely plan to read, one day, is 'The Strangler,'
as recommended by John.
... Confession: I haven't read George V. Higgins's
Jerry Kennedy series. I will. One day. But they can't go on the list until then due to the tough standards I've established. ...
Kevin Garnett to the Celts?
If the deal goes through, Trader Danny's youth-movement push is officially dead -- with the aging Pierce, Allen and Garnett leading the team. Four years of 'patience'
thrown out the window in a mad rush to salvage a franchise in ruins. ... But you know what? I'll take it! Pierce, Allen and Garnett will make a fascinating team, old or not, four years late or not. ... Celts still
need a big man. ...
'The challenge now ...' Part II
I hope they're right.
But it's hard to escape the 'too little too late' conclusion. ...
'The challenge now ...'
Harvard's Samantha Power reviews four books
on war and terrorism -- but it's really a long and convincing essay on how we need to change strategy in our fight against terrorists. Surprisingly (and refreshingly), the first book she reviews is the new U.S. ARMY/MARINE CORPS COUNTERINSURGENCY FIELD MANUAL -- and that brings up a pet peeve of mine: No matter how many troops we might have sent into Iraq in 2003, they probably wouldn't have done any good because, incredibly, the Pentagon virtually had no counterinsurgency strategy in place to effectively smother an insurgency in its early stages. The reason why Power is rightly impressed with the manual, published last year, is that it shows the military, belatedly, has come to realize that 'counterintuitive' methods are needed to defeat terrorists and insurgents -- while not antagonizing civilians with heavy-handed military strikes. Power is both tough-minded about fighting terrorists -- and worried that the Bush administration's blunders have sapped the will of the American people. Power on Bush's refusal to change fundamental strategy and ask for sacrifices from the American people:
The effect of such an attitude is not simply that the American military will continue to bear the lion’s share of the national security burden — a burden, the Counterinsurgency Field Manual practically screams out, the military cannot meet alone. It is that the American public, with little faith in the credibility of the government’s claims, may deny even cleareyed leaders the resources they need to meet the complex demands of neutralizing modern threats.
On related matters: According to Strategy Page
, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is highly unpopular in Iran -- and may be looking for a way to provoke the U.S. into military action to build national support. Will the U.S. take the bait? We effectively did in Iraq. We shouldn't in Iran. But I fear the administration isn't very good at learning from mistakes, let alone acknowledging mistakes. ... HT to Glenn
on Strategy Page.Update
-- According to her Harvard bio
, Power used to work in the office of Sen. Barack Obama. Which makes me rethink a bit my skepticism of Obama.
'Boston Reading List'
Finally got around to finishing a vain little project: Compiling a 'Boston Reading List,'
something I've wanted to do since Dan
got the ball rolling a year ago and since I redesigned Hub Blog at about the same time. ... I'm open to suggestions. I know I've forgotten some books -- and know there are plenty more I haven't read and should. ... By coincidence (I finished and then beta posted the list last weekend), I stumbled upon Matthew Yglesias's recent post
on Black Mass
by Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neil. He says they have a 'hell of a story' to tell but don't tell it well. I think he's being too harsh. But I'm from Boston. I loved the book and devoured it in days. That's why it's on my list. ... There are also some comments on Matt's site about Howie's Brothers Bulger
, another 'Boston Reading List' recommendation. Also a mention of George V. Higgins's Friends of Eddie Coyle
, also on the big list. ...
P.S. -- Among other fill-in-the-gap things about Boston I'd like to know and read more about: 1.) How and why Puritan Congregationalists
liberalized in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Don't ask me why. I just think it's an important transformation that helps explain the current Boston character. 2.) The industrialization of the Boston area and New England. ...
P.S.P.S. -- I didn't include on the list books by Robert Parker and Dennis Lehane, etc. Maybe I'm wrong. But I do highly recommend them in general. .. Also: No books by a female. Sorry. Not proud. Recommendations are welcome. But remember: My list is based on whether a book tells us something about Boston, not that it was set in Boston or written by a Bostonian. ...
, all Randy
. And he's even not insisting upon it. ... During the Belichick era, I've grown to expect big things each season. But this season ... Check out these Superbowl odds.
Has there even been a Boston sports team heading into a season with such high expectations? The Sox have always had hopes and dreams. But I can't remember such a widespread assumption of championship glories to come. Not even for the Bruins, during the Orr era, or the Celts, during the Bird era. There were always the Habs and Lakers to face. ... Maybe during the Russell era. ... The best part: The assumption about the Pats isn't irrational. They are good. ... But the key is: On paper. Luck will rear its head. Injuries will take their inevitable toll. Opponents will be pumped for every Pats game. ... Those realities aside, I can't wait till Sept. 9.
Obama clearly erred when he said he would meet 'without precondition' the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea within his first year in office. But I really don't think his remarks come down to this
These gaffes lead to one of two conclusions: (1) Obama is inexplicably unable to think on his feet while standing on South Carolina soil, or (2) Obama is not ready to be a wartime president.
Funny guy, that Charles. ... I'd submit that one of the appeals of Obama is that he's the polar opposite of the current president, whose inflexible approach toward diplomacy hasn't exactly worked out. ... The best argument against Obama: We don't need two straight foreign-policy novices in the Oval Office. But you're not going to see Charles arguing that. ...
'Compromised our national honor'
Two former Reagan appointees criticize
the administration's interpretation of the Geneva Conventions. But it's just a retired Marine Corps general and a National Security legal expert. Everyone knows they're not as tough as those in the White House who grasp how the real
world works. ... I'm being facetious in the last sentence, of course. But I do think that's how many in the White House view themselves: They're the real realists, while everyone else falls into namby-pamby State Department/Powell Doctrine/UN/Washington Establishment/Yalie CIA/Etc. categories. ...
'The steam has gone from the steamroller'
Joseph Bruno did a victory lap
yesterday at Saratoga, following the Spitzer meltdown. ... Did you know Bruno rides his horse Apache every year at the Flag Day Parade? Classic picture of an old-fashioned pol soaking it in. ... Sorry for posting so much about Spitzer. It's just a terrific story. From Peter Porcupine:
Does it strike you that there are parallels between Spitzer and the infamous Jane Swift helicopter incident? Except that nobody ever stood up for Jane Swift?
(You may remember that she was cleared of wrongdoing after the Ethics hearing, at which time the State Police offered that the helicopter ride on Thanksgiving Eve had been THEIR idea, not her request - of course, she'd lost the nomination and the State Police never saw fit to disclose that prior to being put under oath...but, hey - she was just some girl pol from western Mass., right?)
Helicopters: The bane of state politicians everywhere... FYI: I think Spitzer will come back. But he'll never be the same. ...Update
-- Good Lord. The Spitzer/Bruno story has blown Lindsay off the front pages at both the Post
and Daily News
. ... Bruno
: "The truth and nothing but the truth, so help us God." ... I'm beginning to get jealous here. See what a competitive two-party state gets you? Fun! ...
'The report was a blow to Mr. Spitzer,' Part II
The Spitzer mess
is so big that not even luscious lush Lindsay Lohan
can knock the Spitzer story completely off the NY Post's front page.
... Now that's big. ... David has a good post
on the Spitzer affair, rightly noting how only a couple months ago more than a few people
in Massachusetts were enviously looking west at a reformer governor who was actually reforming. But I'd disagree with describing Caddy/Drape-gate (to which I would add Heli/Ameriquest-gate) as 'nonsense.' To the contrary, I'd argue all those early Deval-gate revelations actually ended up helping Deval. He was heading for the exact same cliff Eliot just went over. ... If Deval is smart (and he is), he's probably looking at Spitzer and thinking something like, 'There but for the grace of god go I.' ... Biggest winner in the Spitzer affair: Brooke A. Masters.
Runner-up: Andrew Cuomo, unless it turns into a criminal investigation, at which point Andrew has some fancy tap dancing to do regarding his old pal Darren Dopp
. Biggest elephant in the room: The media. Its role in the Spitzer/Bruno slugfest is not pretty. ...
'The report was a blow to Mr. Spitzer'
Sometimes the righteous zeal of a reformer/crusader crosses a line. Eliot Spitzer et gang crossed that line.
... I'm still impressed with what he's accomplished in six months. But this incident will -- and should -- slow him down. ...Update
-- New York Post: 'The scathing, 53-page report'
... Eliot is apologizing for the 'distraction.' It's much more than that. ...
dreams of a roast of beef and a fish and ... "dream world" ..."clue to nothing less than the significance of my life" ... "free associations of one citizen's unconscious" ... "my people's" ... "Freud" ... Can you guess how the column ends? ... Attention Kevin Cullen and Yvonne Abraham: Don't try this. Only highly experienced precog
columnists can do it. ...Update - 7.24.07
-- A reader yesterday asked what 'this' and 'it' means. Why, interpreting dreams as they apply to world views and events. Again, only highly experienced precog columnists can do it. It's not for rookies -- or pajama-wearing writers in general. ...
'The Marketing Approach to Earning Popular Support '
Well, I guess this means
the Pentagon's multimillion-dollar PR contract with the Lincoln Group
didn't work out as planned in Iraq. Or maybe the Pentagon just wants a change in direction. ... Maybe it's time to bring in the heavy-hitter of PR: The Rendon Group.
Hey, they helped get us into this mess. ...Update
-- You do remember
the Lincoln Group, right? They're the ones with the polo matches, million-dollar Georgetown row house, Jaguar
, etc. They also bent the journalistic rules
a bit in Iraq. ...
'O.K., get me Blum!'
knows all the reasons why he should like Nicolas Sarkozy. The problem is he just can't like him. I'll let Lévy explain. ... Prediction: America will disappoint Nicolas. Doesn't matter who's in the White House after '08. Doesn't matter if it's deserved or not. It will happen. ...
'Mitt's Marshals,' Part II
Mitt's Marshal rides off into the sunset
. ... Fake badges are confirmed by the Romney campaign. But they say they didn't know about them. ...
'On Politics and the Art of Acting'
my tut-tuts in this post
. Listen, there's no need to get into a tut-tut argument with a guy who I generally agree with on the bigger picture of the war and the imbecility of the current administration. But when it comes to a Siskel & Ebert-like showdown over whether the Dems' Cot-gate drama was smart and good political theater, I say: Bring it on! The Dems' Cot-gate was not only a partisan empty gesture, it was also a case of bad acting. If you're going to go to the mattresses, go to the mattresses. Don't pack 'em up the next morning and think we're impressed. The only thing Dems accomplished was to make themselves look unserious. ... BTW: Of course politics is about 'political theater.' But I guess I was somewhat naively hoping for something like 'To Inherit the Wind' or 'To Kill a Mockingbird.' Instead, we're getting 'Laverne and Shirley' reruns on Capitol Hill these days. ... Who's writing Harry's scripts? I don't know. But whoever it is should be fired. .. Ah, for truly great political actors. No less than Arthur Miller
once said they're rare. His favorite was FDR:
My impulse is to say that he (Roosevelt) alone was not an actor, but I probably think that because he was such a good one. He could not stand on his legs, after all, but he took care never to exhibit weakness by appearing in his wheelchair or in any mood but upbeat, cheery optimism which at times he most certainly did not feel. Roosevelt was so genuine a star, his presence so overwhelming, that Republicans, consciously or not, have never ceased running against him for this whole half century.
Miller also expressed fascination for Bill Clinton (though he wasn't as impressed):
Clinton, except for those few minutes when lying about Lewinsky, was relaxed on camera in a way any actor would envy. And relaxation is the soul of the art, for one thing because it arouses receptivity rather than defensiveness in an audience. That receptivity brings to mind a friend of mine who many years ago won the prize for selling more Electrolux vacuum cleaners in the Bronx than any other door-to-door salesman. ...
Read on for his description of George W. Bush. Keep in mind this was written before 9/11 and before the bad-acting swagger became more pronounced.
Steve Bailey strikes back
-- and he should. ... You'd think the ATF had better things to do, such as, oh, helping track down the guns used to kill children in our cities. ...
Stop right there.
Mr. Romney, you have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions. Do you understand? Anything you do say may be used against you in a court of public opinion. Do you understand? You have the right to consult a political consultant before speaking to the public and to have a political consultant present during questioning. Do you understand? If no political consultant will accept the job, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand? ...
Well, at least Dick Durbin's press secretary
had the sense to try to preemptively shoot down the cot story with humor. The only other alternative was to defend the stunt with a straight face. ... The Post has a short history
of the Capitol cots, with an interesting comparison to cots used by Silicon Valley types during the dot-com era. Quote about the dot-com cots:
"It said, 'Look how dedicated we are' ... It told their backers, 'We are willing to stay here all night in order to get things done.' It was a badge of honor for these guys. It didn't matter that they weren't selling anything."
With the key words being 'look' and 'backers' and 'weren't selling anything.' ...Update
-- Congress's approval rating is now at 14 percent
. Quite true
: "Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have pulled an upset: They have managed to make George Walker Bush twice as popular as Congress." ... Zogby says it's because people voted for change and 'they aren't getting it.' What we got was more of the same hyper-partisanship that the public doesn't want. Pelosi and Reid haven't figured this out yet. ...
'Fundie Bible Christians ... fundie atheists'
attended a lecture last night by Kenneth Miller
at Boston College. Not surprisingly, Miller gets a lot of hate mail from loving Christians and skepticism from unskeptical atheists. ...
'Which offered little, if any, movement'
It all sounds so dramatic
: A late-night debate in the august Senate, passionate talk on war and peace, an historic moment for a divided nation. But, wait, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid explains what it's really about: "Because it will focus attention on the obstructionism of the Republicans." ... There you have it. Partisanship. ... It's one of the reasons Congress is viewed with such contempt. It's mostly about gaining a partisan edge and pleasing the base. ... P.S. -- Needless to say, Republicans are no better. They're looking at the '08 election clock themselves and quickly changing course. ...Update
-- Reid has put aside the PR go-to-mattresses
tactic until September. God knows where the actual cots will go. ... Profiles in Courage? Or Profile in PR Stunts? ... Can we now discuss a serious non-partisan proposal on how to proceed in Iraq? ...
'Plan, don't panic'
The Economist gets it right:
This will be hard; and the plan should be real, not cosmetic. But Mr Bush's barging into Iraq without adequate forethought has resulted in a debacle. The worst thing America could do now is to barge back out in the same reckless fashion.Update
- 6.17.07 -- The Pentagon has run war games
about what might happen after a withdrawal. Results: Not good. ... But that doesn't mean withdrawal isn't an option. It just means that no matter how you look at Iraq, it's a mess and will remain one. ...
'The mightier and decisive freedom pen'
I guess it's settled: The AK-47
is better than the M16
. Why? Because the U.S. government is now one of the world's largest buyers
of Kalashnikov rifles. The Russians aren't happy their great and glorious 'revolutionary iconography' has fallen into the hands of greedy American capitalists -- when it should be greedy Russian capitalists making a mint on them. ... You gotta admit: Kalashnikovs just look cooler than M16s. Can you imagine Vanessa Redgrave dancing around with a M16 over her head? I can't. ... I'm expecting Colt and some Connecticut Congressmen
to complain any minute now about Pentagon procurement policies. ...
'The historic significance of the racetrack'
rip into Menino Casino at Suffolk Downs. Howie on historic Suffolk:
Probably more cheap White Owl cigars have been smoked there than anywhere else in New England. It was here that the leisure suit made its last stand.
'Really refreshing and old-fashioned'
What could they be talking about? Summer jobs for college-bound kids.
... Only 25 percent of Tufts applicants have ever worked? Well, good for Tufts and Smith for pushing summer jobs as a virtue and recognizing the outright resume-stuffing scams that some applicants now tout. ...Update
-- More on the academic front: Antioch College is no more.
... Here's its famous '93 sexual consent rules
and an updated version.
For some reason, the Antioch guidelines bring to mind earnest Roman Catholic bishops furiously scribbling down their thoughts and rules on carnal sex. ...Update II
-- The guidelines also bring to mind the old saying about how a beautiful mountain-vista view can be wrecked if you stopped to think it's nothing more than a series of light particles bouncing off the retinas of your eyes. ...
'Boston and Race'
A fascinating discussion is underway over at ESPN
about race, Boston, perceptions, realities, the Celtics, lousy teams, why players choose to play in certain cities etc. ... Most everyone makes good points and then zooms off on tangents. Enlightening and sometimes painful reading. ... Michael Wilbon
is surely right that Boston has more than its share of problems that concern African-Americans. But Doc is also right
that Boston has changed so much and that there are other factors for why players don't want to land here (and, without saying so, he and Danny all but acknowledge the fact that the Celts' atrocious records of late are indeed factors). Randy Moss's signing with the Pats at least partially proves their point that winning teams matter. Same with Troy
. ... The debate is spilling over into the Berkshires
. ... My own two-cents: Boston has indeed come a long way on race relations over the past decade or so. But a lot of work still needs to be done. One area of concern (and thus one area for future focus) is the lack of a critical mass of middle-class and professional African Americans that you see in other cities, such as Atlanta. It's very disconcerting for visiting blacks (and some whites) to come here and not, well, see a lot of African Americans in restaurants, the suburbs, corporate offices etc. You can't blame them for thinking, 'What the hell is going on here?' There are business and civic groups working on this. But it will take a long, long time to change. ...
'Revisit the reasons'
Andrew Sullivan: 'Who wants to revisit the reasons we went to war at this point? I do.' ... And he posts here
etc. ... Don't you get the feeling there's more than a bit of guilt and embarrassment at work here considering Andrew's once passionate support for the war? I do! ...
'His references to Al Qaeda'
OK, President Bush is once again simplifying the arguments about Al Qaeda in Iraq. But I don't think this odd story
, which makes numerous assertions without attribution, proves the case that he's 'greatly oversimplified' his arguments. Still, the article does make clear what the dispute is ultimately about:
The heated debate over Iraq has spilled over to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia as well. Mr. Bush has played up the group, talking about it as if it is on a par with the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks. War critics have often played down the significance of the group despite its gruesome record of suicide attacks and its widely suspected role in destroying a Shiite shrine in Samarra in February 2006 that set Iraq on the road to civil war.
So neither side is really telling the truth. Great. But typical. ... I prefer to think of 'Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia' as a sort of Son of Frankenstein
: Whether there's a loose or strong connection, there's still a scary connection. Maybe we can call it 'Son of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.' But that wouldn't satisfy those trying to win arguments. So never mind. ... And I'm still waiting for the September report. ...Update
-- Remember: 'Jumbled thinking.'
... Ah, the old 'fly paper' strategy. The president literally got what he asked for, right? ...
Charley has found it: The best Menino impersonation.
... 'It. Could. Happen.' ...
'How about Massachusetts?'
Ah, the glory days of Massachusetts liberalism: McGovern beats Nixon
. But never forget: Ronnie in '80 and '84.
... Imagine if there were '84 Reagan tapes: 'I won Massachusetts again? Four years ago wasn't a fluke?' ...
There's something wrong about the Bush administration's preliminary benchmarks report
on Iraq. Can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it's the surprising hint of honesty within the report that's confusing. ... Iraq Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, who I'm beginning to admire, is more blunt: “The challenges here at every level remain just huge.” ... One suspects the Iraqi-government benchmarks will never be met. Which brings me to a book I just read: Barbara Tuchman's 'Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-1945.'
Stilwell, Roosevelt, Mountbatten, Marshall et gang all banged their heads against a wall trying to get Chiang Kai-shek to accept and meet benchmarks, change policies and implement reforms. When Marshall launched a last-ditch diplomatic mission to salvage a China on the brink of civil war, Stilwell wrote, 'We ought to get out - now
.' I know, I know: The Worst Historical Analogies Ever War. I'm guilty of it too. But you gotta admit no one else has brought up Chiang Kai-shek and the Chinese civil war. It's a novelty! ... I'm still willing to wait for the September report by Crocker and Gen. David H. Petraeus. I know where this is all headed. But I want to give them a chance and hear them out. ...
'Late-night blog boys ...'
Yeah, the 'Dan-haters' hit a new low
. But I laughed out loud at Adam's headline
: 'The late-night blog boys who live in Ma’s basement exact their revenge.' It's a classic. ...
'For the life of me, I don’t understand,' Part III
Andre on Metco:
Metco is a volunteer program -- which explains not only why it can be race-based, but why it must be. The participating suburban communities are voluntarily diversifying their schools by accepting African-American students, but have essentially no interest in poor kids as such. An income-based program wouldn't do for them. As to other ethnic groups (being excluded from Metco), Latinos are much more controversial (and in this part of the country lack the moral imperative associated with blacks), and Asians are moving in on their own.
'Stab in the back'
Glenn takes exception
to Andrew Sullivan's Iraq 'stab in the back' references, noting its Nazi connotations. He has a good point. I've used the phrase too. I'm going to be more careful in the future about its use. But for the record, a lot of people -- including yours truly -- also associate the phrase with those still bitter about our failure in Vietnam. Over at Stephen Bainbridge's site
, a commentator discussing the similarities between Vietnam and Iraq sums up the mindset of those determined to blame civilian war critics for a military fiasco:
A key turning point in the war was the media's depiction of the Tet offensive as a victory for the Communists when it was a devastating defeat. After that failed offensive, the Viet Cong was finished as an effective fighting force. The NVA then took over with an invasion of the South. Gen. Abrams' strategy of attacking the Communists' political structure and holding areas in South Vietnam was successful. The final collapse was brought on by the Democrats who cut off supplies to the South Vietnamese forces, after US troops had withdrawn. The Democrats and spineless Republicans are poised to repeat the errors.
Glenn also pushes
the politicians-and-press-are-at-fault argument. But, again, the 'stab in the back' phrase is indeed loaded. So maybe we should just say certain people are looking for others to blame for what's turning into a failed enterprise. ... As for the whole withdraw-vs.-stick-it-out debate, I still want to hear the September report from Gen. Petraeus. I guess that makes me a stick-it-out guy these days. I don't want to abandon Iraq to possible 'ethnic cleansing, even genocide.'
But at the same time I know there are military reasons for troop withdrawals of some sort next year. It's going to happen whether we argue about it or not. What we're doing now is massive damage control -- and I don't see anything wrong with trying to minimize the damage before we leave or dramatically change policies. ... Another reason to abandon the 'stab in the back' phrase: It falls into the Worst Historical Analogies Ever War
trap! ... Now here's a good Worst Historical Analogies Ever War entry
: Lincoln, Hitler, Chamberlain. But no Churchill? Damn! ...
'In 1775, Paul Revere ...'
catches the media making a boo-boo about Paul Revere. ... OK, so the 181st Infantry Regiment obviously wasn't led by Revere. But my question is: Did any organized unit fight both at Lexington Green and Concord on April, 19, 1775? My understanding is that perhaps more than a few stragglers from Lexington followed the Redcoats to Concord (though probably NOT to the North Bridge) and then harassed them all the way back to Boston. But an entire Regiment? Maybe J.L. can help out. ... Maybe Charles
can help out too. ... Or maybe Bacon's Dictionary of Boston.
... Or maybe Mr. Peabody. ... BTW: Good luck to the 181st -- and thank you. ... J.L. link via Adam
'For the life of me, I don’t understand,' Part II
Peter Porcupine has a different view on Metco (cobbled together from a couple emails he sent):
I think METCO IS a great idea - but after the first 15 years, I thought it should be based on income, rather than race. What does it say to Brazilian kids? Korean kids? Poor Irish kids not as ruthless/lucky as the Bulger clan?
A METCO-esque program gave Deval his start in life. That's how far it can take you. And I agree, the towns do volunteer to host the kids, and advocate for them quite selflessly.
It's just been the transportation money that sticks in my craw - I would see earnest suburban moms extolling the program at the State House, and I would wonder if they REALIZED how much it cost. And with insurance and fuel costs escalating the way they have, it has only exacerbated the situation. ...
METCO will be a volunteer program when the state stops paying 100% of the transportation costs of ferrying the students back and forth, while leaving transportation reimbursement for regional school systems - cut to zero in 2002 - languishing at 50%. (Hint - Barnstable County's 15 towns have 8 of their towns in regional districts, and no public transportation that can be used by students - just one more way the Boston-based school funding formula screws us over.) When the participating communities pay 50% of the cost of transport, THEN we can talk about how 'volunteer' it is.
Quickie response: As long as courts are not imposing quotas and ordering busing, Metco is still a fundamentally volunteer program. Both students and towns have a right to opt in or out. ... As for the seeming injustice of excluding non-blacks, sometimes you just have to look the other way when there's no great harm involved. Wish they did that with creches at Christmas. ... As for transportation costs, fix the reimbursement formula. ...
'Dogs against Romney'
You knew it had to happen.
... Not nearly as funny as it could be. Maybe it will improve over time. ...
'For the life of me, I don’t understand'
I don't understand either. Keep Metco.
It's a fundamentally volunteer program. ... Mr. Darling reminds me of those left-wing busybodies hunting down creches on public property every Christmas. ... Margery asks
: 'Why would we ever want to mess it up?' Answer: Because ideological busybodies make it their business to find legal technicalities to impose absolutist views on everybody else. ...
'The astonishing success in Anbar'
looks at the undeniable success of Anbar -- but questions whether it can be duplicated elsewhere in Iraq. ... He also once again mentions the military's unofficial and apparently underreported deadline for troop withdrawals. ...
'Broken Army clock'
So there is a 'broken Army clock'
that will probably dictate troop withdrawals next year. I was wondering
about that. ... First link via Andrew
, who took time out from his 'get angrier' Libby campaign to post on the war. ... Oh my GOD! I just posted on the Libby commutation affair. I'm now obligated to express my opinion: It bugs me. But not too much. ...Update
-- More proof we're in the Worst Historical Analogies Ever War: 'Are we Rome?'
... After 9-11, it was 'Rome.' After Afghanistan, it was 'Pax Americana.' After Iraq, it's back to 'Rome.' ...
'So, who assumes all the pressure now?'
Every fiber in my body tenses up at the thought of what I'm about to write: Dan Shaughnessy wrote a good column.
He nails Danny Ainge. Which is why I love the column. ... Any enemy of my enemy is my friend. ... The best part is Dan allows Trader Danny to ramble on. Like this quote: "The gist of the criticism has been that we're wishy-washy in our plans and not consistent with our public message." ... Does Ainge really believe that's the 'gist of the criticism'? It doesn't have anything to do with the team tanking this season? What was he doing the first two years before he settled on making Paul Pierce central to the rebuilding effort? Why did it take two years after that brilliant realization to act upon it? ... Danny also acknowledges he probably would have gone on vacation if the ping-pong ball had given the Celts the No. 1 or 2 pick -- indicating the youth-movement would have been alive and well today if it wasn't for dumb bad luck. ... Now this
could be good luck. But I'm sure someone will say it's all part of the 'bleed green' rebuilding plan that's been misinterpreted by so many. ...
'His wincing recollection,' Part II
John Irving, a long-time friend of Gunter Grass, comes to the defense
of his mentor. As previously noted
, there's a part of me who wants to feel sorry for Grass. Irving, initially and indirectly, makes a good case that only someone with hidden shame could have written with such poignancy about other people's hidden shame. It's one of the reasons why I firmly believe Grass's books should be judged on their own -- and why he shouldn't have the Nobel prize stripped from him. But Irving lowers the intergrity standards bar when he exclaims, "What is breathtaking about this autobiography is Grass’s honesty about his dishonesty." Well, that's that! ... And, oh, 'craven critics' should feel 'ashamed.' ... Irving has learned well from his master. ...
'How a Revolution Saved an Empire'
A great op-ed.
'The connection between quality and head count'
Jack Shafer crunches the numbers
and finds that, despite recent newsroom cuts at the NYT and Washington Post, there are still about twice as many staffers as there were in 1972, as the Vietnam War raged and as Watergate began. ... He suggests newspapers can still pull it out. But tell that to journalists handed pink slips. ...
'You don’t like the trade?'
Forgot to post this column
from Tuesday: Tony makes the best case yet for why the Allen trade was both good and necessary for the Celts. For a guy who was furious only a week ago, I've settled down and I'm now looking forward to an Oden-less season. What a sap. But make this clear: I'm not happy with Danny. To acknowledge the Allen trade as some sort of genius move is ludicrous. Otherwise one would have to accept as genius the following imaginary talk between Danny and Wyc four years ago about Danny's 'bleed green' rebuilding program: "First, we're going to blow up an Eastern Conference contender because I don't like the way they play. We'll get rid of a veteran showboat forward for little in return, wear down a coach until he quits in midseason, make a lot of expensive dead-end and blind-alley trades, let Paul Pierce get the crap beat out of him by surrounding him with a lot of youngsters, demoralize the fan base to the point where we're giving away tickets, rattle the sword about getting Paul help while sticking to the youth-movement spiel, tank to the second-worst record in the league, watch the ping-pong ball take the wrong bounce, jettison the youth movement, nab Ray Allen after foot surgery to aid Paul and we'll be back as a second-tier Eastern Conference contender within five years. Got it, Wyc?" ...
'Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,' Part II
Of course, another divisive issue to bring up on this patriotic July Fourth: Skinless hot dogs or casing hot dogs? Without doubt, skinless. The ones with casings are disgusting, with their gross 'snap' feel and sound as you bite into them. Grilled skinless franks on New England-style buns
top all (see right). ... Consumer Reports rates hot dogs.
... OK, to put everyone in a happy and united mood, let's all sing along
to an old patriotic Fourth of July song.
'Their flag to April's breeze unfurled'
Hub Blog regrets to interject a highly divisive issue on this July Fourth, to wit: Which local Minuteman statue is better -- Lexington's statue
or Concord's statue?
Without doubt, the answer is: Concord's statue (see right). Why? Because I say so. The hat does it for me. The Lexington statue makes the Minuteman look like a slimmed down version of Paul Bunyan. Besides, I like Concord center more than Lexington center. ... So there. Someone had to settle this simmering debate. ... Speaking of the Fourth, check out this post.
What a happy bunch. But I did like the response to the suggestion that 'patriotism' be replaced with 'matriotism'
: 'Just sprained my eyeballs rolling them heavenward.' ... Remember: Men, bad; women, good. ... But of course, you find the same sourpuss attitudes on the right. You see, the 'real threat to our national security may be our own lack of faith
in ourselves.' Kaplan makes good points. Yet, even though he denies it at the end, one gets the impression he thinks that 'lack of faith' may be the main problem facing us in Iraq today. To which I say: Riiiiight. ... You can hear the 'stab in the back' theories being formulated as we speak. It's enough to make you drink. But wait: D'oh!
... 'Cripes, they even killed Schlitz.' ... OK, I'll end it all on an upbeat note: Ralph Waldo Emerson's 'Concord Hymn.'
Though it's about April 19, 1775, not July 4, 1776, it still beautifully applies:
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.
The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.
On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone,
Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.
'History has its own ways ...'
The Worst Historical Analogies Ever War continues to rage. But instead of comparing Bush to Churchill, Lynne Olson compares
Bush to Neville Chamberlain. ... It's a big stretch. But aren't most historical analogies these days? Olson should have followed her own advice and not written the op-ed. ... Don't forget Charles's groundbreaking "Bullshit Multiplier Effect"
when it applies to the marriage of ideology and amateur historical analogies. ...
Reader No. 1 is scratching his chin and thinking deep thoughts about yesterday's Boston Globe:
It seems like only yesterday in the mid-80s that Professional Journalistic types were decrying how tabloid newspapers (often those owned by Rupert Murdoch) focused on local inconsequential events like hometown deaths and homicides at the expense of larger global issues. (If the web was around then, I would provide links... can't seem to find any archives going back that far).
So Sunday's Boston Globe arrives, the day after some large global issues played out in the United Kingdom - a terrorist attack on Glasgow's airport and the day before, a couple of car bombs found in London. So what is the Globe's above the headline fold? 'Rage on the Bikeway.'
Glasgow: see page A5. In fairness, the Herald put the terror story on its page 5... although with a lead on the cover. And the New York tabloids covered it pretty good on their covers...
Now granted... if you are a pedestrian struck on the Minuteman Bikeway by a high-speed cyclist or rollerblader, it wouldn't be good at all. BUT... for those chin-scratching, deep thinking journalistic professionals who have a large role in Shaping the Day, a question: have we all Gone Tabloid?
PS: Between the tale (sic) of the apologetic cyclist and the Jack Russell in Globe's aforementioned 'Rage' ... and of course, the story standing between Mitt Romney and the Presidency, have Dogs made a comeback in public consciousness? Another question meriting more chin-scratching (mine and the dog's, of course)....
Far be it for Hub Blog to rise to the defense of the Globe (see my lovely disclosure
), but I think, in this global Internet age, they have to go local. It's a wise move that the holdover mid-80s Professional Journalistic types at regional papers resisted for too long. The Globe should have emphasized the terrorist acts a bit more. But there's nothing wrong with going local too. ... Now, if you're going to ask me about the specific wisdom of putting 'Rage on the Bikeway' on page one, well, it's sort of like the Globe's obsession with Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket: They know it matters to both themselves and to their uber-Yuppie market. ... BTW: On any given day, glance at the NYT's Most Emailed List
. The top stories are rarely hard news. They're usually about how to get kids into elite colleges, Tuscany recipes, the perfect vacation home, and other upper middle-class concerns and longings. Just pointing it out. ... My favorite today: 'Study Traces Cat’s Ancestry to Middle East.'
Hey, it's got a local angle, if you think about it. ...