'People wanted their commas back'
A fun piece
on official grammar changes in Germany. ...
From Reader No. 1:
Has there been a more relaxing weekend in Red Sox history than the one just ending? Now we know the answer to those nagging season-long questions. ... where would we be in the standings if...
- The team could hit with men on base;
- The team could hit homers;
- JD Drew, Julio Lugo, and Eric Gagne had performed remotely near expectations...
The answer is: we'd be undefeated - and the matchups on Sox Appeal would have our undivided attention. On to the Bronx!
Speaking of Impossible Dreams, a Recommended read: "Pandemonium On the Field," a superbly researched history of the 67 Sox by an army of local baseball historians. Dig the amazing photos - professional athletes who enjoyed each other's company in a Boston that's long gone.
'The Book of Enemy: A Blog-Novel'
... I look forward to its Sept. 28 unveiling. But I'm rather uncomfortable about its opening premise: "Pol Thornton is a small time journalist working for The Berkshire Eagle who began a blog, was fired from his job on August 27 and disappeared the next day into a mysterious cult called Engine." ... So that's where fired journalists go!
'There is a specter haunting the debate ...'
Here's a NYT article
about a now famous American Armed Forces article
by U.S. Lt. Col. Paul Yingling, who doesn't mince words:
For the second time in a generation, the United States faces the prospect of defeat at the hands of an insurgency.
He's a little too harsh on the general staff, who were browbeaten into submission by the civilian leadership regarding tactical and strategic decisions in Iraq. But he makes good points about those generals who didn't stand up to civilian demands. I especially liked these two paragraphs in Fred Kaplan's NYT piece:
There is a specter haunting the debate over Yingling’s article — the specter of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. During World War II, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower threatened to resign if the civilian commanders didn’t order air support for the invasion of Normandy. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill acceded. But during the Korean War, MacArthur — at the time, perhaps the most popular public figure in America — demanded that President Truman let him attack China. Truman fired him. History has redeemed both presidents’ decisions. But in terms of the issues that Yingling, McMaster and others have raised, was there really a distinction? Weren’t both generals speaking what they regarded as “truth to power”?
The very discussion of these issues discomforts many senior officers because they take very seriously the principle of civilian control. They believe it is not their place to challenge the president or his duly appointed secretary of defense, certainly not in public, especially not in wartime. The ethical codes are ambiguous on how firmly an officer can press an argument without crossing the line. So, many generals prefer to keep a substantial distance from that line — to keep the prospect of a constitutional crisis from even remotely arising.
I don't know where you draw the line when it comes to generals digging in their heels or clicking their heels. But when there's an overwhelming consensus about what is required (i.e. "more troops'' in 2003), I think the line becomes clearer. ... Now back to the last hours of my weekend trip. ...Update
-- Did MacArthur threaten to resign or did he threaten to go around Truman? That's where the line may be. ...
'Preparing for the worst'
David Ignatius explains.
'Three years was enough'
Do you believe the word 'test' or the words 'blogging is over for me' at Carpundit
'You are supposed to die, Mr. Kingsley'
Only Rip Torn could steal the show
from Norman Mailer. ... The 'riveting'
le marteau scene can be found here
. ... Remember: The blood is real in professional wrestling matches too. But I still love it. ...
The unintended public service announcement
In his Vietnam speech
the other day, President Bush chided those tempted by the 'allure of retreat.' I assume he didn't mean his generals
. ... Prodded somewhat by Reader No. 1 (see updates to yesterday's stimulating and exciting 'In Vietnam, Part II'), I'm radically rethinking my thinking on President Bush's Vietnam War analogy, to wit: He unintentionally did a public service by clarifying events. By linking Iraq to Vietnam, he cemented in the American mind: A.) how seemingly intractable the situation is in Iraq B.) how the prospect of defeat is very real. C.) how the war could tragically end for hundreds of thousands of innocent people d.) how he could play the role of Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, Nixon and Gerald Ford all in one. ... Reason "C.)" is why we should move cautiously and slowly. That's the primary reason at this point why I remain a supporter of the surge. ... Another thing I liked about the speech, in retrospect and in a way the president didn't intend, is that he's put the 'militant factions' on the right and left on the defensive. After all, who the hell wants to be associated with the dead-skunk negatives of Vietnam? ...
'Finally - useful furniture'
Armchair Gen. Brighton Center, currently fussing over what to buy for his new condo, makes an exciting discovery
: 'Safe Bedside Table Great for Peace of Mind and Occasional Overnight Beatings.' ... Assembly required. ...
'About your Boston reading list,' Part IV
Stephen writes in again about the Boston Reading List:
Some time after I sent my last note, i came across this wiki list. Since you have promised a compilation some time soon, this might come in handy... p.s. In mysteries I like the Carlotta Carlyle series much better than the Spencer series, and I just noticed that Wiki doesn't even list Jeremiah Healy - here's his site in case you want even more fodder for that burgeoning list...
Nor does it list George Higgins. ... Reading the wiki list, it makes me think I should include 'Make Way for Ducklings'
on my own list. Maybe it doesn't tell us a lot about Boston. But the fact Bostonians so cherish the book says a lot about Bostonians.Update
8.25.07 -- I've updated the Boston Reading List
to include links to recent posts on the subject. ... And I've put 'Make Way for Ducklings'
on the list. It's a Boston institution. ...
'In Vietnam,' Part II
A day later, I'm still astounded by the president's Vietnam War analogy. I've racked my historical-analogies-filled brain to come up with a worse comparison that the president might have floated. The only one that I could think of was: Stalingrad. ... Nothing shouts DEFEAT like Stalingrad. But I suppose the president wanted an American analogy, so he used the one analogy that shouts DEFEAT for Americans: Vietnam. ... The most viewed article at the Washington Post this morning is Jim Hoagland's 'Bush's Vietnam Blunder.'
Besides conjuring up the subjects of defeat, the president's 'shaky grasp of history,' the president's own Vietnam-era military service and visions of helicopters leaving embassy roofs, President Bush's Vietnam analogy also undercuts his intellectual allies
and draws attention to his own father's pronouncement that we had shaken the Vietnam syndrome. ...
OK, George Will uses the 'Weimar'
word. I recently distanced
myself from 'stab in the back' and other Weimar-like references. But now that the president is trying to foist responsibility for defeat and mass killings on critics, I think 'Weimar' is fair game. ... FYI: Stand by my increasingly shaky argument that we need to give the surge a chance. Will is right to say there are now two 'militant factions' in Washington that insist we're in an immediate either-or situation. ...Update
-- Is it 'racked' or 'wracked'
? I'm sticking with 'racked.' ... Verified: It's 'racked.'Update II
-- Reader No. 1: 'What He Likely Meant - RE Bush on Vietnam.
' ... What he likely meant and what he actually conjured up are two different things. ... Update III
-- Ah, hell. Might as well bring up Dien Bien Phu. Jon writes in: "On the strength of your recommendation
, I got 'The Last Valley'
for Christmas. Well, it took many weeks of reading but I finished it over the weekend. Better than I thought it would be. The first section, setting the stage and background knowledge, that was a little tough to slog through. But once the paratroopers and Legionnaires began touching down, it had me." ... I had a similar tough-to-slog-through experience. ...
For years, pro-war conservatives have fumed at any comparison of Iraq to Vietnam. Now President Bush is comparing Iraq to Vietnam.
... The word 'incredible' does jump to mind. ... I was initially depressed at the thought that even the president now sees possible and/or probable defeat in Iraq. Then I took solace in the knowledge that we ended up winning the larger Cold War despite losing Vietnam. The president is probably clueless about what associations he's unleashed. ...P.S.
-- The speech also provides more evidence in support of Hub Blog's developing neo-Nixonite theory
about the White House. To wit
: That we're replaying the 1970s and that Nixon holdovers in the White House 'seem obsessed with winning points against foes from decades past.' ... P.S.P.S.
-- No need to get into the Worst Historical Analogies Ever War
parts of the speech. ... All these historical analogies are starting to sound like something out of a circus or TV game show. ... Step right up! Take your historical analogy pick!!
... "Alex, I'll take the post-Vietnam War analogy for $500." ... He's going for five-hundred dollars, folks!
'So he knows that we know that ...'
By far, the best analysis
of an analysis of Karl Rove's analysis of the presidential race. ... But there's really no need to analyze the analysis of Karl Rove. The inner workings of Karl's mind were revealed more than three years ago after a secret 2004 campaign memo was intercepted: 'No more Mr. Nice Guy.'
... Obviously, Karl didn't follow each and every one of Nick's specific suggestions. But he pursued the general 'No more Mr. Nice Guy' theme of the memo -- and look what happened. ...
'Broad public debates are unwelcome'
I'll admit it: There's a part of me who views the ADL-Armenian genocide spat
as akin to an unseemly student council debate over whose victimization is more valid. But then you read about Vladimir Putin's attempt to suppress debate
over Stalin's terror, and you realize such public spats are healthy. ... FYI: I remain skeptical of the ADL's 'No Place for Hate' campaign. There's a difference between public debate and getting government involved in establishing parameters for public debates. ...
'The T plan is generous ...'
Now that the MBTA pension system
has managed the near impossible by putting the state pension system in a comparatively positive light, maybe we'll see reforms. But don't hold your breath.
... I'm afraid there are more than a few current and former lawmakers who view cushy pension plans as their God-given right -- and anything less is a form of 'cruel and unusual punishment.' ...
'About your Boston reading list,' Part III
Stephen recommends more books for future consideration on the Boston Reading List
Have you read Jean Stafford's "A Boston Adventure," published in 1944? It's the story of a young woman who grows up on the South Shore, working in a tourist hotel, who is "adopted" by a Back Bay brahmin and observes pre-WWII Boston culture from the inside. Stafford was married to Robert Lowell and A.J. Liebling, and won a Pulitzer Prize, and I think she's still worth reading though almost no one I know has ever heard of her.
Also, Van Wyck Brooks wrote 5 books about the growth of American Literature, of which 2 - "The Flowering of New England" and "New England Indian Summer" - have quite a lot of coverage of the Boston Literati of early and late 19th Century. I haven't read these in years, but I remember them being enjoyable.
I haven't read any of the three. Van Wyck Brooks
' books sound great. One of my fill-in-the-gap fascinations about Boston is how a Puritanical society evolved into one that could produce the enlightened Emerson, Thoreau et gang. It's a mystery to me. ... FYI: Later, I'll put on Boston Reading List a note and links to all the recent readers' recommendations. No need to wait around for me to read them. ...
'We are skeptical ...'
It takes GIs
to impressively explain how the political morass in Iraq won't be solved anytime soon. ... Via Tufts' Dan Drezner.
From Reader No. 1:
Good golly! ... Enjoyed reading the language police going after Mitt Romney. Perhaps Mitt really is putting us on (in the vein of Phil Hartman's Iran Contra Reagan ... but I doubt it (even if David Gergen agrees). Phrases I'd love to hear from our former governor:
1- "Surprise, surprise, surprise!"
2- "So let's make the most of this beautiful day."
3- "I'll buy that for a dollar!"
'Ah, yes, the Francona Doctrine ...'
Still four games.
At three games, you can officially panic.
'About your Boston reading list,' Part II
Chris writes in about the The List
About James' The Bostonians, yeah--it should definitely be on there. The book makes fun of Harvard students, and gives us proof positive that the red line has not improved in the slightest (and has perhaps gotten worse) over the past 80 years...in any case, people didn't offer their seats up to those in need of them back in the genteel era, either!
There's also a novel (which I haven't read yet) called It Happened in Boston, which looks fairly good in a Will Self meets Master & Margarita meets a pretentious Brooklyn literati (Safron Foer, Chabon, Letham, et alia) sort of way.
Oh! And Margaret Atwood's dystopian A Handmaid's Tale (which is even scarier now in the Bush era!) is set in Harvard Square...it's about a future where a Christian Coalition-type regime has taken over the US, and so "gender criminals" are strung up over the wall of Harvard Yard, and the Brattle Theatre is a reeducation/indoctrination center. Every location in the book corresponds to a real place in Cambridge, and it's fun to pick them out. But not technically Boston.
In the link above, I assumed Chris meant Russell H. Greenan's It Happened in Boston?
... While at Amazon, I accidently stumbled upon this book
, which also looks interesting. ...
'A report next month ...'
With all due respect to my colleague Jules
, I wouldn't exactly call the CNN poll results that he cites "nothing less than a ringing endorsement" of Gen. Petraeus and the current surge strategy. ... The numbers: 47 percent say the military is making progress; 49 percent say not. 47 percent of those who oppose the war say Petraeus' forthcoming report won't change their minds; 17 percent said it could. ... You decide. ... Granted, he put the numbers in the 'given the history' context of recent polls. But they're still far from landslide support, given the history or not. ... Listen, I like Petraeus. I think his surge has militarily worked far better than expected. I oppose an immediate and complete withdrawal. But until the Iraqi government and people get their political act together, the surge ain't going to work in the long run. That's probably one of the reasons why the White House is already leapfrogging ahead
of the September report and preparing for a troop drawdown next year, as noted here
'Not much has changed'
The FBI is still at it. Radley Balko
writes about abuses surrounding narcotics police and government drug informants. In particular, he notes Bill Delahunt's recent grilling of the FBI's Directorate of Intelligence about the way the FBI uses drug informants. Forgive Balko for not knowing, but Delahunt's attempt to pin the FBI down occurred at roughly the same time a federal judge was throwing the book at the FBI for its past gross use of informants in Boston (here
). There's a good reason for Delahunt being on the warpath. ... Radley via Andrew
'About your Boston reading list'
Peter Porcupine writes in about my Boston Reading List
, Sacco and Vanzetti and his own recommendations for Boston-centric reading:
I had been meaning to write to you about your Boston reading list, and got sidetracked. I thought it was of no more interest to you until I noted your Sacco & Vanzetti post.
First - they were guilty. Even Upon Sinclair, who came to Boston to write a book exonerating them, thought so and never wrote the book. Here are Vanzetti's words from his sentencing:
"If it had not been for this, I might have live out my life, talking at street corners to scorning men. I might have die, unmarked, unknown, a failure. Now we are not a failure. This is our career and our triumph. Never in our full life can we do such a work for tolerance, for justice, for men's understanding of man, as we now do by an accident, our words--our lives--our pains--nothing! The taking of our lives--lives of a good shoemaker and a poor fish-peddler--all! The last moment belongs to us--that agony is our triumph!"
He would have made a superior blogger!
Back to the reading list.
Don't bother with 'The Bostonians' - it's only tangentially about Boston, it's really about sexual politics and lesbianism - although it IS interesting that 100 years ago, a lesbian relationship was called a 'Boston Marriage'.
I would recommend 'The Late George Apley' by John Marquand. He won the Pulitzer for it. It's a 'biography' of a recently deceased Brahmin, whose biographer is shocked to discover that the pillar of society he admired was a deeply unhappy and unsocial man. While the prejudices written about in the book made seem outdated now, they were very real, and destroyed many lives.
I would also recommend 'The Dante Club', a murder mystery featuring Longfellow, Emerson, Bronson Alcott, et al, as the Harvard Transcendentalists solve a crime (!).
The other book I recommend is a secret vice - a book which has great readable style, but which you know is just an elevated pot-boiler. Still, I've re-read it several times over the years, and it is as good at catching the moment of transition from Yankee Brahmin to Castle Irish in the Boston political and social world as The Last Hurrah. It is called 'Joy Street' and it is by Frances Parkinson Keyes, who is related to many of the families whose names you see carved in gold around the rim of the House Chamber as Heroes of Mass., and whose inside knowledge of Boston makes her as compelling about this city as Louis Auchincloss is about New York.
The rest of your choices are excellent. Carry on.
As for Sacco & Vanzetti, I haven't a clue whether they were guilty or not guilty, as I've noted. But author Bruce Watson does say
they were committed anarchists, caught with loaded pistols and ran with a 'wolf pack.' It should be interesting reading. ... The other book recommednations sound great. ...
'We are going to hold our heads high'
You read about this
-- and then you think of this
-- and you realize we're living in la la land compared to what other families are going through. ... And this
is part of la la land too. ... Not that we should all be serious all the time. But a reality check now and then is a good thing. ...
Armchair Gen. Brighton Center, formerly Armchair Gen. Savin Hill, does some exploring in his new neighborhood:
Well I went to the new rib place in Brighton Ctr. (Smoken Joe's), which is NOT a chain restaurant btw. I got a baby back rib dinner to go, memphis style (dry rub) with a sauce on the side (I wanted to taste the ribs mostly, not the sauce). The verdict: very very good. Collard greens were done well too; cole slaw was too yankee-like (watery and bitter). Waitresses will keep me coming back for appetizers at the bar.
Other explorations - there's a sushi place in BC as well. Not bad. Not great either. ... buyer beware. Went to Porter Belly's for a drink. Incredibly cheap beer, quaint interior, but 20 something bartender didn't know how to make or serve a mixed drink. Godawful '80s music blaring loud. So that's the amateur night bar, and is scratched off my list.
Went to Wah Foong electronics store. A gentleman, a cash register and a small number of large-screen TVs -- and that's the entire store. But ask the owner (Mr. Li?) about TVs and he'll give you a great dissertation on what to buy - very nice.
Next to try: The Hungarian bistro on the corner, which has authentic Hungarian and (oh joy of joys) weiner schnitzel! And escargot as well - served peasant style.
He obviously hasn't found yet the 'ugliest new business'
in Brighton, down Washington Street in Oak Square. ... It doesn't look that bad. The inflatable will come down soon. Or one hopes. ...
'Likely to cause controversy'
I'd say it's a safe bet that Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer's forthcoming book "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” will indeed cause controversy
. Walt, of Harvard, and Mearsheimer, of the University of Chicago, seem to think the mere existence of such controversies, such as book-promotion cancellations, partly confirm points in their book about the 'Israel lobby' and its alleged control over U.S. foreign policy. .... From cancelling book-promotion events in Chicago to shutting down talks with moderates in Iran, that's one hell of a powerful lobby. ... Listen, I know the 'Israel lobby' is more powerful than the critics of Walt and Mearsheimer will openly admit. But, come on, to say it's controlling (and not just influencing) U.S. policy in the Middle East is ridiculous. Bush and Cheney -- the new Rockefeller Republicans
of the 21st Century -- aren't on Israel lobbyist strings. Nor are Big Oil, Christian fundamentalists and people in general who like their SUVs and think the less-than-perfect Israel is surrounded by an array of nutcase dictators, religious terrorists and other unsavory characters. ... The authors also make clever comparisons to the influence of Irish Americans on Northern Ireland policies and Cuban Americans on Cuba policies, etc. etc. But I don't recall the words 'lobby' and 'dual loyalty' being bandied about as often, if at all, when discussing Ireland and Cuba. ...
Here's a look
at the growing 'celebrity-chef culture.' ... I have a confession: I don't mind Rachael Ray. There are a lot of busy people out there who want to cook regularly and cook reasonably well. Rachael Ray's 30-minute spiel is merely the first step toward eating better. Or as one French chef is quoted as saying:
Even if it's a minority of people who watch the Food Network [and try out the recipes]... enough people are actually raising their expectations and knowledge of what food is--particularly their expectations.
Jacques Pépin comes across as an admirably down-to-earth guy with high expectations. Just as he does on his show. ...
'One American city would stand for America itself'
I think I've found a late addition to my summer reading list: 'SACCO AND VANZETTI: The Men, the Murders and the Judgment of Mankind,'
by Bruce Watson. ... I know next to nothing about the case. ...
Cape Cod shark attack!
The Herald has
responded. ... The Globe is fighting to maintain
its big weekend lead, even offering up a handy map graphic within its link. ... Cape Cod shark ... Cape Cod shark attack ... Chatham shark attack ... Boston shark attack. ... Forget about this not being about business. This is now a flat-out Shark Week ratings race. ... photos ... Great White Shark ...Update
-- It's perfectly understandable that the movie 'Jaws'
is mentioned in these accounts. But remember that four years prior to the release of 'Jaws,' there was 'Blue Water, White Death.'
... Just pointing it out for the historical record. ...Update II
-- The Herald may actually have been the one to start Shark Week. From Aug. 7: 'Shark hits Chatham shore for order of takeout seal.'
'Muddle along for quite a long time'
The NYT is obviously gearing up for the Sept. 15 report on Iraq. John Burns writes on Gen. Petraeus
, while a second companion article looks at Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
... Reading between the lines, I'd say Patraeus is going to call for a sustained push in Iraq with Gates going along with it. But 'sustained' in the sense of through the early half of next year. ... The almost insufferable Victor Davis Hanson
talks about fickleness. The same is echoed by Glenn
. I get the impression a 'we were steadfast' winning-side argument is being prepared, though the definition of 'winning' keeps shifting. ... Thank goodness the all-is-well/we-want-positive-news crowd didn't have their way last year. Getting rid of Rumsfeld and appointing Patraeus and Gates -- as a result of a long overdue need for change amid pending disaster -- was the ultimate confirmation that the 'we're botching it' crowd was right that all was not well from May 2003 through December 2006. ... Why I like Patraeus: He can say "we're probably going to muddle along for quite a long time" and get away with it. ...
'That's it, that's how we do it!'
The French love 'Ratatouille.'
... I want to see it. Maybe after Labor Day or on the next rainy Saturday.
'One Man Wrecking Crew'
Reader No. 1 on the Sox:
That huge noise coming from the West is the sound of Yankee fans cackling.... On the positive side, Gagne's weekend ERA did fall below his uniform number. And he did only throw one bad pitch today...
If Friday stunned the Soxaholix into abstraction, what will yesterday's disaster inspire?
On the other hand, we can now look forward to Dan Shaugnessy returning to write about the Red Sox. And why not - we're overdue for a Red Sox Blame-Feast! Take it away Dan - which is the biggest blunder of 2007:
1. JD Drew & Julio Lugo?
2. Getting Gagne and not Jermaine Dye? What was wrong with Hideki Okajima pitching the 8th inning?
3. Sox Appeal - did it distract Red Sox ownership at the trading deadline (see #2 above)?
As for Soxaholix, it's out with abstraction and in with a form of mysticism
Boston Shark Attack! Part III
Well, I was No. 1 for boston shart attack
for a while yesterday. But events overtook me. ... I do think quote marks hurt me. ... I'll leave it to Eeka to analyze
the results. For more eeka click here
: "I think Ye Bostone Sharke Attacke Blogge has jumped the...yeah." Well, if you have to jump the shark, I've always said jump it with a boston shark attack. ... Finally, one should declare defeat when someone can produce an actual dramatization of a Boston land shark attack.
It can't be beat. ...
that nervousness in your gut about the Sox. ... Tell it to Daisuke
Boston Shark Attack! Part II
Charles wrote back last night:
I just checked boston shark attack and I'm 6th and you're 7th. I am amazed at how fast Google updates its rankings.
More amazing still: He rose to No. 4 last night
and was at No. 3 this morning, ahead of the Globe. I was nowhere to be found on the first page. ... The injustice. ... Now, as for the photo above, it's merely here to draw attention to this post
about why so many shots of Great White Sharks show blood that should normally wash away in the water. Obviously, the post proves it's possible to write about sharks without being accused of running a Shark Week stunt. ... P.S. -- Charles made My Space News.
'Those sweeping miscalculations'
Prompted by Avi
, I saw 'No End in Sight' yesterday at Kendall
. Verdict: thumbs up. If you haven't read 'Fiasco,'
your jaw will indeed drop. If you have read 'Fiasco,' the jaw won't drop as much because it's already dropped too many times. ... Here's a full review
and a piece
on director Charles Ferguson, who gives hope to all of those looking for mid-life career changes. Yeah, he had a lot of dough to make the change possible, but this is impressive. ... Speaking of 'sweeping miscalculations,' Afghanistan is now a mess
because of the same bull-headed incompetence on full display in Iraq. ...
'Boston Shark Attack!'
Charles writes in:
A google search for "boston shark attack" shows the City Record at number 4 in the google rankings, just behind the Globe.
Hub Blog's response: Two can play at this game. ... Boston shark attack! ... Boston shark attack! ... Boston shark attack! ...
'Simply not telling the truth'
Charley has an interesting post
on Hillary's ridiculous suggestion that she's not influenced by big campaign donations from lobbyists. For the life of me, I don't understand why more politicians don't borrow a simple tactic from the late Sen. Paul Simon, who famously and effectively disarmed so many with his bluntness
Anyone who has been a candidate for major public office and says "Campaign contributions don't affect you" is simply not telling the truth. In my last campaign for re-election in 1990, I spent $8.4 million dollars. I have never promised anyone a thing for a campaign contribution. But, when I was still in the Senate, if I arrived at a hotel in Chicago at midnight there might be twenty phone calls waiting for me. Nineteen of them are perhaps from people whose names I did not recognize, and the twentieth is someone who gave me a $1,000 campaign contribution. At midnight I am not going to make twenty phone calls. I might make one. Which one do you think I am going to make? You are right. It means that the financially articulate have inordinate access to policy makers. You are less than human if you do not recognize that.
Read that last sentence again. Now think of Hillary's campaign. There's lack of soul to it. ...
'The look of great white predation,' Part II
Getting into the Shark Week swing of things, Charles
nicely ties together John Singleton Copley, his materpiece 'Watson and the Shark,' Copley Square and the Museum of Fine Arts. ... As a bonus, he also posts on mouth-watering fried cakes
, not to be confused with doughnuts, though he acknowledges the cakes are 'made and served as we imagine doughnuts must have been in a time before mass production ruined something that needs to be fresh and warm.' ... I still think someone could make a mint by making old-fashioned hot, crusty doughnuts, served fresh every Sunday morning at a neighborhood bakery. Just plain, sugar and cinnamon in greasy brown bags. ...
As for Charles' assertion that Hub Blog was "shamelessly trying to drive traffic to his blog via his 'Shark Week' post" yesterday, I must protest. Sure, I mentioned Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Hot chicks!, Sex, nude photos etc. in a post. But if I was really trying to drive traffic to a site via search engines, don't you think I would have added ménage à trois to the same sentence or post? I didn't even mention Angelina Jolie and Kate Hudson. ... And the painting above of a blood-thirsty killing machine that causes deep primal fear and fascination among humans has NOTHING to do with attracting readers.
'Backpack Laser Cleaner'
From Armchair Gen. Brighton Center (formerly Armchair Gen. Savin Hill):
There will always be a Germany. And... there will always be a Japan.
Caught in the middle, Part IV
is getting into the Scott Thomas Beauchamp affair act. ... He makes good points about the possible motivations of TNR editors. He even uses the 'banal' word. But when has he dedicated an entire column to, say, all the tragic blunders that have contributed to the mess in Iraq? Or given even a modest reassessment of his views? ... One gets the distinct impression that many on the right are, with the Scott Thomas Beauchamp affair, reliving their argumentative glory days before reality proved them so wrong on so many points about the war. I guess they need an argumentative victory on a truly sideshow issue to shore up sagging morale. ...
'The look of great white shark predation'
It must be Shark Week over at the Globe
... The Herald will
respond. ... Seriously, it's amazing how sharks mesmerize people. It's not just 'Jaws.' I used to love National Georgraphic editions and TV documentaries featuring Great Whites even before 'Jaws.' Hell, National Geographic is still brilliantly at it with a 'kids'
page for Great Whites. ... FYI: Notice that the shark story is the most emailed piece at the Globe, as of early this morning. ... Damn! ...
As for Hub Blog, I wouldn't think of using blood-thirsty sharks as a way to lure readers in. I couldn't imagine sinking
to such online marketing lows. Yeah, some people might put in the same post NUDE LINDSAY LOHAN PHOTOS with GREAT WHITE SHARK ATTACKS SURFER. They might also put in 'Hot chicks! ... XXX ... Sex ... XXX ... Sex.' All for search-engine, aggregation and advertisering purposes. They might even point out their blog ads (such as the ones to the right ------>). No, I wouldn't do that. None of this Britney Spears, Britney Spears, Britney Spears XXX ... topless. ... Hot sex! ... Great White Monster Tears Apart Baby Seal search-engine and aggregation stuff. Nope. Not here. ...Update
-- Love this National Geographic debunking
of a hoax photo of a shark leaping out of the water to attack a U.S. helicopter. At the same time, NG conveniently points to other shark photos on its site. ... Thank you! ... Before 'Jaws' and NG hoaxes, there was the Batman Movie
. Click on it. It's still gripping drama of the highest order. ...Update II
-- I see that Adam
thinks I'm running a Shark Week here. That's a lie. The photo above of a blood-thirsty Great White is for illustrative purposes only. And the references to NUDE LINDSAY LOHAN PHOTOS and GREAT WHITE SHARK ATTACKS SURFER and XXX and Hot Chicks! and XXX Sex and Britney Spears and topless are all part of my point about the sickening use of search engines to drive viewers to sites (and to advertisements such as the ones to the right ----->). ...
Shirley Temple, Admiral of the Swan Boat Fleet
could sing and dance too. ... There were how many licensed liquor purveyors in Boston? Yikes.
Don't look now
'This record is not tainted at all ... Period'
Caught in the middle, Part III
Reader Kevin writes in to gloat about the Scott Thomas Beauchamp affair:
As a faithful devotee to Hub Blog, I am wondering what your thoughts are now that NR's Baghdad Diarist has admitted that he made the whole thing up.
In an earlier post you noted "that the righty wingnuts may have a point, despite getting their facts wrong.". They have more than a point. They were proven to be 100% correct, and thankfully, they went out and attacked TNR and Beauchamp for his writings. Isn't this what the blogosphere is all about? Holding the media accountable for what they print? Is it too much to ask that this stuff, you know, be true? ...
Hub Blog's response: Congratulations! You have won the argument! The Scott Thomas Beauchamp affair will be remembered forever as one of the most pivotal moments in the Iraq war! ... Now, while bragging about truths, maybe some in the righty blogosphere will finally start addressing how horribly wrong things went in Iraq from Day 1 and the denials and silence that came from the right on said issues. Isn't that what the blogosphere is also about? ... BTW: I still think the original TNR story was 'banal' and 'trivial,' an obvious attempt to resurrect Vietnam-like reporting of breakdowns in GI conduct and morale, blah blah blah. Whether he was lying or not, Beauchamp and his pals were pushed into the middle of an ideological armchair argument for ultimately banal and trivial purposes. ...Update
-- Captain's Quarters
has a more pithy response: "..it seemed to me that the pushback on this story was out of proportion to Beauchamp's significance (and for that matter, TNR's as well)."Update II
-- Of course there's always a chance Beauchamp's confession was coerced
or signed just to get out of the mess with the least damage. There's also a chance we're still not getting accurate facts about what he's done or not done. ... Who knows. ... So much sound and fury for all of this. But I guess I'm now officially guilty of obsessing about it too -- though for different reasons than others. ...
Gregory Clark's theory
of how the Industrial Revolution came about is indeed 'delightfully provocative': a form of evolution may have played a much greater role than previously thought. But count little old Hub Blog among the impressed-but-skeptical as well. How does evolution explain the quick industrial rise of Korea and other Asian countries? Did evolution suddenly kick in and -- poof! -- you have the Irish Tiger economy? Evolution plays a vital role in most everything. But technological, societal and political advances and institutions also play a role. Just ask Zimbabweans. ... Reminds me of the old 'nurture vs. nature' debate. I tend to brush aside such discussions -- usually brought up amid tears after a busted marriage or relationship -- with a curt, 'It's both!' ... I'm so understanding. ... And that's Hub Blog's official socioeconomic post of the week.
'Cordially invite you to ...'
A bit more information
on that scheduling conflict that almost kept Hillary from attending the YearlyKos break-out sessions. ... Typical. ... Via Mickey
'To find a new home'
I don't know how I missed this one: Gregg connects
Communism to warnings on global warming. ...
A Boston area man is exposed
as the Fake Steve
. ... Love this post
from yesterday: "Big news coming tomorrow ... No, it's not photos of the new iMacs." ... Glad to see Forbes is taking it the right way. ...
'As a former denizen of Harvard ...'
A 'former Harvard denizen'
realizes that plans on paper are different from reality. ...Update
-- Separately, Tufts' Dan Drezner
has more on the 'foreign policy community.' ...
'The Dumbest Move the Dems Could Make'
Re calls for impeaching Bush and Cheney
Here we sit, in the summer of 2007: For the first time since the advent of modern conservatism in the 1950s, average Americans have seen a conservative government fail them, and massively. This has created an opening for liberalism unlike any since the early 1960s. Middle-of-the-road nonideological voters are more willing than they have been in decades to give our side a look.
And at this precise moment of potential, if the impeachment forces have their way, we will show those voters not how we can pull the country together but that we also know a thing or two about pulling it apart.
'Yeah, I’d like to win one of those'
The best kept secret in Boston? It might be New England Revolution coach Steve Nicol.
I'd love to see a small Revolution stadium in the immediate Boston area
. It would be great for the franchise -- and for current and future fans. ... OK, last post for a while (hopefully) on Kevin Garnett's signing. Here's a good story
detailing the last-minute negotiations. ... Celtic Blog's The Duke
: "How did this happen? I, and the other Celtics Stuff Live guys, decide to take one week off and get away from all that is the relatively depressing state of affairs with the Boston Celtics and something happens. Not just anything happened… IT happened." ... The Celts still need a bench -- especially a center -- before they can truly contend. At least on the center front, they appear to be going after Dikembe Mutombo
Caught in the middle, Part II
They're still at it here
. Fighting over every word, phrase, fact, suggestion, punctuation mark etc., regarding the Scott Thomas Beauchamp affair. ... The fate of the Free World depends on winning this argument! ... I wonder whether they'll be embarrassed if asked 30 years from now, 'Daddy, what did you do during the war?' I doubt it. They'd probably respond proudly, 'Why, I was fighting a rhetorical dual to the cyber death with enemies of my blogger friends!' ... Forget Star Trek. What these comical ideological fights need are some good old-fashioned Batman fight graphics.
(Bet you didn't know they compile them. Well, they do!)
'Boston and Race,' Part II
Adam Reilly noted
the racial angle to this week's Kevin Garnett trade, something that Hub Blog addressed
last month after a possible KG trade first surfaced. I didn't listen to the WEEI broadcast Adam was talking about. But I can just hear some talk-show callers indignantly saying about Garnett, 'How dare he bring up race in Boston!' Which Garnett didn't. Michael Wilbon did.
Because he ended up signing with Boston, it's obvious Garnett's initial reluctance to come here was primarily because the Celts simply sucked. The Celts' Ray Allen trade changed the dynamics, as Garnett has acknowledged. But I find it hard to believe Garnett didn't think at all about Boston's racial history when deciding to come here, based on him being asked a specific question about race and his response that he had 'brutally honest' discussions with Antoine and Gary Payton (see articles here
). But what's wrong with that? Why are talk-show callers, albeit misinformed talk-show callers, apparently indignant at the mere thought that race might play a role in such a decision? Such indignant fans remind me of those who were furious with Bill Russell for daring to point out Boston wasn't exactly a racially hunky-dory town when he played here in the '50s and '60s. Russell was practically ostracized in some quarters for saying what became all too obvious by the mid-'70s. Boston has changed so dramatically since then -- as Bill, Antoine, Doc, etc. will attest. But it's depressing to realize that we still have in our midst the same type of deniers who were in vehement denial about racism so many decades ago. ... P.S.
-- Hub Blog is glad to hear that KG is a big student of history. Kevin, in the unlikely event you're reading this, please scan the 'Boston Reading List.'
Follow links to other bloggers with their own lists. Enjoy. And welcome to Boston!P.S.P.S.
-- The old axiom that 'good government is good politics' also applies to professional sports teams: a good team is good business.
Bruins, take notes. ...P.S.P.S.P.S.
-- Of course Kevin can also read Greatest Boston Moments.
Caught in the middle
We're approaching a Let That Be Your Last Battlefield
moment with the right
going after Scott Thomas Beauchamp and the left
defending Scott Thomas Beauchamp. ... The poor GIs, of course, are caught in the middle as the two mirror-image sides valiantly fight over every word and comma. ... I don't know. But if I was at TNR, I'm not sure I'd want someone
rushing to my defense by declaring Beauchamp's accounts 'banal' and 'trivial.' Because then the logical question to ask is: Why is a prestigious publication running 'banal' and 'trivial' accounts of war? If you answer the question honestly, you'd have to admit -- somewhat to your amazement -- that the righty wingnuts may have a point, despite getting their facts wrong. ... BTW - A 'Let That Be Your Last Battlefield moment' is that critical point in time when two sides in an ideological debate begin to resemble each other more than they realize, even though they think there are huge differences. Plot summary for Episode 15, Season 3
On its way to decontaminate the planet Arianis, the Enterprise intercepts a shuttlecraft stolen from Starbase 4 together with its pilot. The pilot is an alien who is solid white on his right side and solid black on his left. His name is Lokai, and he claims to be a political refugee from Cheron. Shortly thereafter, another alien is deposited on the bridge of the Enterprise by a spaceship just before it disintegrates. The new alien identifies himself as Bele, a police officer from Cheron who has been tracking Lokai for over 50,000 years. Bele is black on right and white on left, and is outraged when Kirk sees no difference in them.
It all comes back to Star Trek. ...
'His eyes opened'
Fascinating and encouraging development
for those with brain injuries and perhaps other mental illnesses. ... 'Pulses of electric current.' Hmmm. Sounds like the procedure is a highly advanced form of electric shock treatment. It would be ironic if it ends up working well, considering the stigma long attached to electric-shock treatment. ...
'Now that's the Danny Ainge I know'
Reader No. 1 on the Celts signing Eddie House:
Now that's the Danny Ainge I know. Like I said, Trader Danny has a high degree of risk tolerance. BUT...
Before we despair, I did hear Wyc Grousbeck on WEEI say this morning that NBA teams need 3 point guards... and Brevin Knight is still available... and best of all - hey, Wyc, Brevin is a Stanford man!!!.
'Can't say he has low risk tolerance'
Reader No. 1 appears almost happy but wonders about the Celts' bench and other things:
Who needs Durant or Oden? You can say a lot of things about Trader Danny but you can't say he has low risk tolerance.Update
I would be as ecstatic as the cool-headed Tony Maz if there was anyone left on the Celtic roster besides The New Big 3 who looks like they'd belong in an NBA championship rotation (other than Rajan Rondo who would be a backup on the Spurs or Pistons) or some chips left to add such players. Free agent options are covered interestingly here. Brevin Knight and Austin Croshere always give the Celtics fits. In the meantime, everyone stay healthy!!!
Wanted: an article or two on the Celtic team partnership and their decisionmaking process. Given the old school ties, maybe they will submit to an HBS Case Study detailing their strategic 180 degree turn - said study to appear after we land 'Green 17' of course.
In the meantime, what did/does Kevin McHale see in Sebastian Telfair, not to mention Mark Blount and Ricky Davis? This column from the Twin Cities answer to Dan Shaughnessy will make him feel right at home.
-- You really ought to read this column
mentioned above by Reader No. 1. They're not happy in the Twin Cities. ... I like other fans' misery. God help me, but I do:
If (McHale) had traded (Garnett) a year ago, he might have incited a bidding war. Instead, McHale waited until he couldn't cut a deal with anybody other than his old buddy Danny Ainge, the Celtics GM, who, without a former teammate to take his roster refuse, might have eclipsed McHale as the worst general manager in the NBA.
Instead, Ainge looks like a comparative genius, in the same way that Homer Simpson might look smart if you stood him next to Lew Ford.
'Whether it's a true trend or not'
The CSM reports
GI fatalities and general violence is down in key areas of Iraq. ... U.S. commanders are right to express caution and to emphasize the need for corresponding political successes in Iraq. ... I don't believe 'victory,' as defined in earlier years, is at all possible. But maybe -- just maybe -- we can clean up some of the mess before we inevitably begin to draw down the current unsustainable troop levels. Let's hope. ...
'From low expectations to high expectations'
OK, I'm buying into Danny's George Allen rebuilding
program. But Dikembe Mutombo
? If he's good for just one year, I guess it's worth it. ... Wyc et gang deserve credit
for going beyond the limit. ... Suddenly, everyone wants to play for the Celts.
... More here.
: 'Giddy.' It's hard not to be. I'm psyched. All I have to do now is mentally get over my ingrained bias against Danny. ...