'Evolution of the football helmet - and players,' Part II
The NYT has a good story
on the escalating weight of high school football players, something I harped on
briefly in October. It's a major problem. It's time for weight limits for high school players -- and college players. ... Notice what's ultimately driving this:
Despite the success and popularity of the Chicago Bears’ William Perry, known as the Refrigerator, 300-pounders were not common in the N.F.L. in the 1980s. By the summer of 2005, though, more than 600 players weighing 295 pounds and above were listed on training camp rosters.
High schools, which have allowed themselves to become part of the football-factory system, have responded. From an expert cited in the Times article:
In Indiana, he said, seven players weighed more than 250 pounds among the state prep football finalists in 1985; in 2004, 50 players did. ...
In western Pennsylvania, Alexander said, 15 high school players weighed at least 300 pounds in 1996; in 2005, 71 players did.
It'd be nice if the NCAA, the middleman in the football-factory system, did something about this, imposing its own weight limits at the college level and therefore discouraging upward weight trends at the high school level. But the NCAA would never do it. It's still resisting basic academic-graduation standards. ... Fat, drunk and stupid is
a way to go through life, the NCAA is all but saying. ...Update
-- Anyone who says weight limits would harm the quality of the game doesn't know what he's talking about. Exhibit A: John Hannah, 6-2, 265 pounds.
Mitt's getting politically correct
about ethnic stereotyping? The same guy who ordered State Police to crack down on illegal immigrants? The same guy who's now embroiled
in another alleged ethnic stereotyping controversy? ... The same guy is now saying it would have been offensive to ask for yard workers' documents based on their 'funny accents'? ... Jeez. ... More here
. ... BTW: The Tavares case has not
gone away. Even Kerry Healey admits a boo-boo was made. ...
'Good times nevah seemed so good. Wah-wah-wah'
OK, the pink hats
never bugged me. But 'Sweet Caroline' as the Sox theme song? Neil now says
Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg inspired the song. In 1969. When she was 11 years old. ...
Hands, touchin hands
Thanks, Dr. Charles!
'A feeling of emptiness'
Forget about high-end cheeses from Vermont. Bert is bummed
he's run out of leftover turkey. ...Update
-- I like leftover turkey sandwiches as much as any person (simple mayo and lettuce will do). But for the dark meat, try out this old Mexican Turkey Casserole recipe that the Hub Blog Mom used to make (variations of it can be found here
Mexican Turkey Casserole
Leftover turkey pieces (lots and lots of them)
1 can cream of chicken or mushroom soup
1 cup of picante sauce or hot salsa
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded or grated
2 to 3 cups of Frito corn chips (preferably the big types), half of them whole, half of them crunched up.
In bowl, mix together cold turkey, soup and picante/salsa. In lightly buttered casserole dish, line bottom with whole Frito chips (about half). Pour in turkey mix. Put three-fourths of cheese on top of turkey mix. Layer crunched Fritos on top. Then a combination of chips and cheese again. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. ... Notes: 1.) Picante sauce is best. But might want to add a little salsa sauce in as well to make it a bit more soupy. Half cup at most. 2.) Can add chopped garlic, green and red peppers to mix, etc. Soften up peppers first in skillet.
Yummy yum yum. Classic old back-of-the-can Campbell's Soup recipe. ...
'Mid 80's South End shots'
John fires up some old photos.
I wonder where those people are now. ...
Mitt's Willie Horton moment? Part V
It ain't going away -- at least locally. Some of the recent local stories and commentary can be found here
. Nationally? I don't know. The Washington Post editorialists are tut-tutting
the affair in their typically boring MSM fashion. Yet I'm more interested in how this might be playing out within the GOP base. This National Review update
seems to capture the crux of Mitt's vulnerability:
(Blogger) Ed Morrissey says the Horton meme should be shot down, and indeed, Dukakis was more responsible for the weekend furlough program than Romney is for Tuttman's decision. But the true-crime visuals of this story - the thug's fearsome mugshot, the grisly crime scene - will probably blur those distinctions.
... Well, Romney's going to get a lot of questions about it, and he's going to be left with that answer, that her record suggested she would be tough on crime. He's going to be asked, "If you could be wrong in your assessment of her, could your assessment be wrong on other appointees? How about a Supreme Court justice?"
Blurred distinctions are hard to spin away. ...
They used to be called 'gentleman farmers.'
... Ah, to live the simple life
among the peasants -- with a load of cash to cushion the blow and maintain one's status. ...
Mitt's Willie Horton moment? Part IV
From the safe confines of long-weekend vacationville, I thought the Tavares story had played itself out. Maybe not.
... Of course there's a political element to Deval's move. But a thorough review of a string of really bad decisions is in order. ...
'Does Eliot Spitzer have the judgment to succeed as governor?'
What a difference a year (minus six weeks or so) makes: Eliot is stumbling
bad, while Deval is, well, while not quite surging, at least standing. ... Recall the contrast in their inaugurations
. Recall the 100-days mark
. But also recall Spitzer's summer Bruno-gate and autumn driver-license fiasco. ... Voters love a principled fighter who'll take on established interests. But they don't expect a knock-out blow with every punch -- and they don't like cheap shots. ...
Mitt's Willie Horton moment? Part III
Barring a major new development, the Tavares story is playing itself out. Let's give Michelle
the last words. ... No, wait, I'll have the last word, at least on this blog, to wit: I get the 'he threw her under the bus' criticism of Mitt -- but throwing Tuttman under the bus worked. It neutralized the story. What else could he have done? Refuse to criticize her out of respect for an independent judiciary? Please. ... Bottom line: The controversy was a distraction. But what a distraction. The story moving forward is how Rudy and Mitt are duking it out
in general in 'New Slamshire.'
'Everything they had ...'
Philadelphia played a great game last night -- and still came up short. ... The game was good for the NFL. It was good for the Pats. It was good for the fans. I like close games. ... David
has all the links. ...
Mitt's Willie Horton moment? Part II
L'affaire Tavares is getting some national attention
: Giulliani, who has his own Bernie problems, is going after Mitt, who's trying to contain the Tavares fallout, over the issue of crime. ... Margery
asks a good question: If the Tavares case is about a 'systematic failure' of the Massachusetts judicial system, wasn't Mitt part of that system? Answer: It is -- and he was. ... Don't forget Beverly and Brian Mauck.
has more thoughts. He's right: This isn't the same as Willie Horton. Still ... Adam has more links
on the issue. ...Update II
-- Another reason why Mitt is squirming: Tuttman was a Robert Reich supporter.
Kinda fits in with the 'systematic failure' argument, combined with a dash of the moderate-to-conservative-transformation argument. ...
'State of Denial,' Part II
The White House is moving the political goalposts
in Iraq, thanks to the recent military successes of the surge. The Dems are reluctantly adapting
to the moving political goalposts in Iraq, thanks to the recent military successes of the surge. ...
... Fred Kaplan
is also intrigued with Gen. Petraeus's new opportunity
to shape the future generation of Army generals. ... Hey, what a coincidence: Charles
are all asking the same asymmetric-partisan-warfare question of the week: Why aren't Dems acknowledging the success of the surge? Far be it for Hub Blog to provide the answer, but it has something to do with why Charles, Cal and Jeff were themselves AWOL when things weren't going well under Rummy: partisan hackery. ...
... FYI: As thrilled as I am about the surge's military successes, Iraq remains a very screwed up nation
whose future is bleak. Petraeus isn't producing a true 'victory,' something that was lost long ago. He's instead conducting a brilliant salvage operation, something that falls in between 'victory' and 'defeat.' At this point, I'll take it, even though it could all come crashing down
for political reasons, both in Iraq and Afghanistan. ...
Mitt's Willie Horton moment?
I don't think so. But there are enough similarities to send Mitt's campaign into spin overdrive
. ... The best comment on the whole matter? It comes from none other than Michael Dukakis
All of this is merely a distraction from the far more serious issue when it comes to Romney. And that is, this guy is simply a fraud. ... There’s just so much more to go after with this guy than to attack for the decision a judge made. For starters, how about questioning the man’s fundamental integrity? What does he actually believe in? Does anyone really know, because I certainly don’t.
Hard to argue with, right? I don't know what he actually believes in. Do you? ... BTW: The Tavares story hasn't been picked up much by the national media. I searched WaPo and NYT -- and no mentions. Maybe I missed something. Google News turned up a Fox story.
Big-name blogs are picking it up, though, here
. ... Perhaps the story needs another twist to make it a full-blown frenzy, such as discovery of a long-lost Tuttman recommendation letter from Mitt or whatever. ... BTW II: Tuttman's decision was awful. But not as bad as Tavares's original 16-year plea-bargained sentence for carving up his mother. ...
'The little red ship'
If someone had died, I wouldn't be saying this: What a great photo. It's not just the colors. It's not just the subject matter
. It has something to do with the way nature can toss around and humble a man-made object like it's a little toy. ... Photo via NYT via Fuerza Aerea de Chile via European Pressphoto agency. Click link for better resolution.
'Putin's Abiding Appeal'
Economic resurgence and law-and-order nationalism explain part of Putin's popularity
in Russia. But a tragic history of 'moral amnesia'
also partly explains Putin's popularity in Russia. ... Stalin so thoroughly pounded that country's psyche that many gulag survivors are still reluctant to discuss their experiences. Luckily, some are still alive and willing to talk -- and historians are scrambling to record their stories before their generation dies out. ... Think about it: What if World War II veterans and Holocaust survivors had been forbidden until their 80s to discuss their worst nightmares in life? What does that do to a mind? ...
'Trust your eyes and use your head'
was the talk of sports talk-radio this morning. I agree with Michael that the Pats are running up scores. It's a form of trash talk
-- and a form of BS to deny it. ... I still love the team. They'd be blowing out teams no matter what. ...
'Jeez, when did you become such cold-hearted bastard'
Re Dan's post
on a possible Sox trade
for Johan Santana, I defer to Bert
. Kick the tires, yes. Give away the shop, no. ... I'd be very reluctant to make such a trade. But Sox fans now live in a new era
P.S. -- Moving to high-school sports, the big guns of Tony
were hauled out to make sense of the Dual County League's strange tie-breaker rules. ... The Hub Blog Dad had a suggestion as we discussed the issue over turkey yesterday: Break ties based on the least amount of points allowed. No one can accuse a defense of trying too hard or running up a score. ... After that, I don't know. Point-differential and points-scored mechanisms have been shown to be flawed. Coin tosses are to be avoided at all costs. As a back-up, I'd vote for sending the team that hasn't gone to a Superbowl yet. It may not produce the best team. But it has that classy old-fashioned gentleman and sportsman-like quality to it that can't be emphasized enough to kids. ...
'State of Denial'
, one of the leading happy-talk conservatives who was in a state of denial about President's Bush's 'State of Denial,'
is lecturing Nancy Pelosi about being in a 'state of denial' about Iraq. ... It's a form of asymmetric partisan warfare about an asymmetric war.
FYI: The asymmetric partisan warfare goes like this: It ultimately took the Democrats, who a year ago weren't in denial about how things were going in Iraq, to force President Bush, who a year ago was in denial about how things were going in Iraq, to dump a defense secretary and switch strategy in Iraq, eventually allowing the previous deniers like President Bush and Charles to accuse the previous non-deniers of being deniers. .... To make matters even more asymmetrically confusing, Bob Woodward, whose Watergate reporting made famous the line 'non-denial denial,' was in denial about Bush until he wrote his third book about the president called 'State of Denial,' which amid today's confusing asymmetric partisan warfare seems already outdated about who was in denial and when. ... FYI II: These are all the clowns influencing policies and running the country in Washington. ...
Despite the efforts of corporate America to obliterate it, Thanksgiving is still by far the best American holiday. More turkey cartoons here
. The bird above via Whatscookingamerica.com.
'Both considered allies by the United States'
You wouldn't know it from the headline or the lede, but the story
is really about how U.S. forces have smashed a key insurgent cell in Iraq, cutting off the flow of foreign fighters into the country and reducing the number of devastating suicide attacks. But nooooo. The blowback/irony/gotcha angle had to be played up. ... Sometimes I'm almost sickened by the right's obsession with media bias. But sometimes they're right about media bias. ... OK, let's approach the NYT piece from its own foreign-fighters irony narrative. First, the Saudi angle ain't new. We've known about the Saudi connection ever since Mohamed Atta and his merry crew of mass murders slammed planes into the WTC towers. Second, the Libya angle is intriguing. But another intriguing angle is that one of our 'allies' -- Egypt -- isn't producing many fighters in Iraq. Third, the story brings up the subject of Iran not producing many foreign fighters in Iraq. But would apostate Shiite fighters really show up on lists captured from a cell of fanatical Sunni insurgents? The Iran angle is cleverly brought up and then dropped. It fit the general irony narrative -- but then it quickly had to go because it didn't quite fit this particular irony narrative. ... Hey, I still maintain the MSM -- including the NYT -- has done a far better job covering the Iraq war than the happy-talk pro-war pundits and bloggers who for years were in flat-out denial about the tragedy unfolding in Iraq. But articles like this one make you wonder. ...
'My first trip, to Tuscany, I knew ...'
One can almost hear an editor bark, 'Find me a Thanksgiving story with a Tuscany angle!' ... And they found it!
... Cute peasant men in fedora hats. Women in black shawls. Boys running around in shorts and brown shoes. Girls going to First Communion. ... It's so cute!
... The ultimate uber-upper-middleclass American dream: to live a simple life among the peasants in Europe -- and to write a book with glossy photos to make fellow Americans jealous of your refined European tastes. ...
'But the original dispute lives on for Kerry'
Kerry keeps 'bringing it up, bringing it up.'
He simply can't let go of the Swiftboat issue -- and can't let go of the entire 2004 election.
... It's pathetic. It really is. His lifelong dream to be president dashed on the rocks of T. Boone Pickens, John Edwards and others who failed him. ... Hub Blog used to think Kerry was a lock for re-election next year. Now I wonder. By taking on Pickens, it's apparent his head and heart are elsewhere -- and it's too obvious for even Massachusetts voters to ignore or deny at this point. ... P.S. -- I saw the Kerry-Pickens item a few days ago. I thought it was some sort of bizarre delayed-action April Fool's joke floating through the Internet. But it's quite real. It's not a joke. I think. ...
'Really strong' offer, Part II
Wow! I didn't see this
coming. Lowell is set to sign with the Sox. An unexpected but welcome development. ... And so much for my super-duper ability to read between the PR spin lines. ... More here
'Take no prisoners'
Perfect way to describe the massacre.
... But here's the problem: I'm getting bored by all these routs. I'm also getting a little worried these blowouts are a form of trash talk. As Belichick knows, nothing motivates opposing teams more than trash talk. ... Good line from Doc: 'We're not going 82-0.'
It had to end. Now it's time to rest the big three up a bit. We're only 10 percent through the season, though I gotta admit that 10 percent went by fast. ...Update
-- The New England Revolution: The Buffalo Bills of MLS.
'Really strong' offer
points to a small quote that signals the Sox have known for a while they probably wouldn't sign Mike Lowell: an anonymous team official saying the club made a 'really strong'
initial offer to Lowell. The spin was indeed apparent. ... Hey, we tried!
... Not that I favor signing Lowell at all costs. Four years is a long time for a guy Mike's age. ...
... OK, on to the Celts. What can you say? I'm glad Doc is giving the big three
a rest. I've heard more than a few people wondering if they're playing too much. But when you're off to an 8-0 start, you might as well play the streak out to its end. It's been fun. ... Boston College: Very impressive
, considering the setbacks over the past two weeks. ... Speaking of college sports, I have mixed feelings about this story
on Kyle Eckel. It's fair and balanced. The US Naval Academy angle is also intriguing. The topic is legit. But if one looked into the off-field college antics of other NFL players, you'd find far worse Neanderthal behavior. Also, ask yourself: Do you really think the academy let Eckel in because it thought he'd make a good midshipman? Who was using who? At least Eckel graduated. ... Still, it's always good to get another peek into how the NCAA's student-athlete system works. Here's to Derrick Jackson for keeping up the heat
on that front. ...
'He had vowed to kill a hundred Mahdi men'
If you read only one story on Iraq this month, make it this one
. The surge is working better than expected in the short-term. But the long-term prospect for Iraq is grim if Shiites and Sunnis don't overcome a centuries-old culture of tribal, family and sectarian revenge. The collective mindset of Karim, Amar and Amar's mom is as chilling as it gets. Read it. ...
... Gen. David H. Petraeus, who deserves enormous credit for what he's accomplished in Iraq, no matter what the long-term outcome, has been given the unprecedented opportunity
to select the next generation of U.S. Army generals. Putting aside justified criticism of President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld's gross mismanagement of the war, the Army's flat-out refusal to study counterinsurgency tactics and strategies after Vietnam is unpardonable. The military needs more than just a Powell Doctrine. It needs many different doctrines for many different war scenarios. It needs generals who understand this. As the story shows, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates gets it:
Gates also stressed that the Army must retain lessons on irregular warfare from Iraq and Afghanistan -- lessons he said were learned but lost after the Vietnam War.Update - 11.19.07
"All these so-called 'nontraditional' capabilities have moved into the mainstream of military thinking, planning and strategy -- where they must stay," he said.
-- A reader
over at Andrew Sullivan's site thinks the New Yorker article is too pessimistic. I hope the reader is right. But I think pessimism/caution is in order. No less than Gen. Petraeus has warned that recent military successes won't amount to much if they aren't matched by political successes in Iraq. I don't see that happening -- yet.
So are Tony Dungy and Don Shula going to keep saying Bill Belichick deserves the same asterisk after his name as Barry Bonds? Do they really believe spy-gate is on the same level as a five-count federal indictment
for perjury and obstruction of justice? ... You can't say it enough: Bud Selig has been a terrible commissioner. More Bonds, Selig and player-union bashing here
'Bill would somehow subconsciously torpedo her presidential ambitions'
After reading this
, I think Kevin is on to something
. ... I can't, for a second, imagine Bill contently residing upstairs in the White House living quarters, watching NFL games and playing with the family dog, while his wife holds tense national-security meetings downstairs in the Oval Office. ... If she gets elected, it's going to be a very strange four years. ...
An entire article on how to mash potatoes.
... Basically it says that if you mash potatoes you get mashed potatoes. ... Notice the perfect Under the Tuscan Sun bowl and wooden spoon in the photo. The lowly spud goes upper-middleclass. ...
'Ma would drag me to the $10 Dress Sale at Filene's'
Ah, the dog days of winter
for Sox fans -- and a bye week for Pats fans. ... It was strangely peaceful this weekend. Nothing to get pumped up about on the Boston sports front. I found myself with a Sunday-afternoon void that I filled by teaching my 7-year-old nephew about pass routes and audibles. Not a bad way to spend a day. ...
'He gave Massachusetts a socialist government'
that Mitt imposed socialism on Massachusetts and that Deval is creating an 'amalgam of the Soviet Union, Sodom and Las Vegas.' ... And if or when Gregg gets shipped off to an asylum, it will confirm in his mind his status as an official dissident. ...
'Ballistic Chicken Farm Inspection Team'
reviews Bob Drogin's 'Curveball'
and cautions readers about what the White House is saying about Iran. ... I can just picture Scooter Libby, phone to ear while leaning over his desk in Washington, desperately reading off precise geographic coordinates to guide searchers to hidden WMD stashes in post-invasion Iraq. ... Look again! They gotta be there!
Norman Mailer, RIP
Sad day. ... Even his spectacular failures enhanced his reputation -- the dents and nicks made him more real. They certainly never humbled him. ... My favorite books of his were Armies of the Night
, Miami and the Siege of Chicago
, Executioner's Song
and Of a Fire on the Moon
. All forms of journalism. Not novels. He'd hate this comparison, but he was more Truman Capote than Ernest Hemingway. ... Obits here
-- 'You are supposed to die, Mr. Kingsley.'
... Manufactured drama turned into strange experimental pseudo-seriousness. There's an honesty to its absurdity. It's vintage Mailer. ...Update - 11.11.07
-- Setting aside the obvious things that made Mailer Mailer (his great successes and failures, his enormous ego, his macho self-dramatizations, his often crazy political views, etc.), I think what I liked most about him were the gems of honesty he'd drop in interviews. Here's a good 'appraisal'
piece in which he talks about how ideas that he lived by were largely formed in his youth -- and how his intellectual life later became "less of an exploration and more of an occupation of territories I reconnoitered years ago":
“What happens is you become the hat on your own head,” Mr. Mailer said. “You’re not having the pleasure of enjoying your own mind the way you used to when you were young, but you have the product of your mind to work with. You know, I ran into Henry Kissinger years ago, and I asked him if he enjoyed the intellectual stimulation of the work, and he said in effect: ‘I am working with the ideas that I formed at Harvard years ago. I haven’t had a real idea since I’ve been on this; I just work with the old ideas.’ I certainly know what he means now — I think there are just so many ideas you can have in your life, and once you have them, you have to develop them.”Update II
- Remembering his Provincetown days.
'Shula is trying a preemptive strike'
Shula goes after the Pats. So Bert
goes after Shula. ...
'What the hell happened'
Adam had an excellent election-night summary
of city council races. ... More here
... Arroyo has no one to blame but himself. He acts/acted like he was entitled to a seat. Organization matters, as Adam notes. ...
'Upbeat ... equally pessimistic'
Kevin et gang interviewed Michael Yon over at Pundit Review
. Kevin: "He's incredibly upbeat about Iraq and equally pessimistic about Afghanistan." ...
'Another split down the middle'
Republicans may not know who to support, but they know who they oppose: Hillary. From Reader No. 1:
Here in the Bluest State most may not care a hill of beans about this analysis, but I thought it interesting and important. 2008 sounds like another split down the middle to me.
The report of the group Barone details may be found here.
Early non-daring prediction for '08: Hillary. Not that I support her. I don't. But her campaign is impressive -- as was GW's in '00. The two dynastic second-stringers learned much from their familial benefactors. ...
'While it is regrettable ...'
When I first saw the photo at right on Saturday, my initial thought was, 'Is that a Needham cop holding an Uzi?' The second thought was, 'Hope they didn't arrest the wrong man.' Well, it's definitely an automatic weapon and it was indeed the wrong man.
... I know the cops were just doing their job. The 911 calls coming in
were frantic. The town was in an uproar over a brutal slaying and massive manhunt. But ... but I'm still alarmed at the firepower now available in even small-town police departments. Hillel Neuer is lucky to be alive. ... With that said, Neuer's attorney seems to be hinting at possible legal action. His client will lose a lot of sympathy fast if he goes down that route. ... BTW: Neuer sounds like an interesting character
. It's easy for me to say, but he should move on and keep fighting the good fight he was engaged in before last Friday. ... Photo courtesy of Herald. ...Update
-- Over at Adam's site
, there's a debate about how the Herald covered the story. I didn't know until now it was an issue. I viewed the Neuer incident as part of the day's whole chaos and drama that paralyzed a town and led to an arrest of the wrong guy. But I can see the other side too. ... I should go out of my way to disclose
that I'm a Herald reporter who wasn't involved in the coverage. I would have disclosed it earlier had I known there was a controversy. ...
Winging it ...
Phillip Carter has a good analysis
of what's going on in Iraq. He's underestimating the impact of the surge, I suspect, but he's not underestimating Iraq's core sectarian, ethnic and tribal problems. His conclusion is a more elegant version of my 'winging it' theory below (see 'The day nobody died ...' Part II):
Our lack of meaningful progress at the national level in reforming the Maliki government has crippled our efforts to sustain all the successes at the grass-roots level. The risk now is that we will claim success too early, reduce our forces, watch violence increase, and lack the ability to do anything about it. Now is the time for patience, both in Baghdad and Washington. Victory in counterinsurgency, if such a thing exists, takes months, even years, to achieve. The only thing certain about this week's good news is that it will take a lot of work to produce more of it.
'Hold off on those peeling church bells, America'
'The New England Patriots are still the baddest mothers in the land.'
... More here
(and I support SwirlyGirl's call for an 'automatic review of bank account activity for all officials involved in that game'). ...
. ... The thought of four years of warroom mentality is beyond depressing. ...
Funny line from Angela.
Perfect. Via Adam
. ... As for BC last night
, you don't win games -- or national championships or Heismans -- by blowing three first-and-goal opportunities. But I still like this team a lot. Jeff Jagodzinski in particular. ...
'The day nobody died ...' Part II
was also wandering around U.K.-land yesterday, coming up with this piece
that notes improvements in Iraq but cautions against overoptimism. ... Remember the purple fingers, the constitution, the capture of Saddam, the killing of top al-Qaeda leaders, all the happy-talk in general that accompanied any positive news over the years, despite the overall worsening conditions as Rummy fiddled and dashed off snowflakes, etc. That's why I'm not getting too excited right now. I think 'victory' as originally envisioned has long since passed. Iraq is an armed camp -- and I find it hard to believe Muqtada al-Sadr and Sunni leaders will be singing Kumbaya around campfires anytime soon. What Gen. Petraeus is giving us right now is breathing room. Whether it lasts, no one really knows. I doubt it will, knowing Iraq's pathologies. But we got the breathing room to do something. I just don't know what. Keep the surge going indefinitely? Nope. Can't do. Withdraw all troops now? Nope. Could do. But won't do because of non-Kumbaya reasons mentioned above. ... We're going to have to keep winging it -- but at least we now have a competent commander who's winging it. ...
I was set to blow my stack while reading the first few grafs of this piece
on MLB revenue sharing, bracing for the seemingly inevitable whine, The Sox have more money!
... But the conclusion is counterintuitive. Well, maybe not counterintuitive to those who previously grasped that millionaire baseball owners are just as prone to welfare dependency as anyone else. ... Next time someone says the Sox spend too much money, cite the above article and remind them that: A.) Fenway was long the smallest park in the nation (Pittsburgh's is now smaller by seating) B.) Red Sox ticket prices have long been among the highest in the league (and tops in 2007) C.) Red Sox fans have long been loyal and packed Fenway despite 86 years of World Series futility D.) The Sox didn't win a World Series until ownership finally changed. ... Money matters. But so does fan loyalty and ownership. Ask loyal big-market Bruins fans about the latter. ...
'Bitter rivals set for 'game that will stop the world' '
For a second there, I seriously thought the Brits were talking about the Pats-Colts game. Wrong teams.
... Bad news: Sammy's out for the season.
But I still like the Pats tomorrow. ... Celts: 'Look who's a bully now.'
... Don't forget BC
tonight. ... More from U.K.-land below. I was just wandering around the web and saw interesting stuff. ...
'The day nobody died ...'
From London: They're also noticing the improving situation
in Iraq. ... President Bush: 'Victory starts here.' Now I'm getting worried again. ... The guy who refused to can Rumsfeld when he should have been canned is speaking
like post-invasion 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 never happened: "By taking the fight to the enemy in Iraq, we will defeat the terrorists there so we do not have to face them in the United States." .... It's the fly-trap
argument redux! Ahhhhh! ... P.S. - I hope to God the president doesn't next mutter 'bring 'em on.' Gen. Petraeus already has his hands full trying to fix and contain the mess left by his predecessors. ...
'Defeat of Spain's ...'
Notice how the story
doesn't cite another source to rebut the arguments. Why spoil it? ... Funny without even trying. ...Update
-- As a friend who saw the post said, "British Monty Python journalism versus the Vatican." ...
From Reader No. 1:
The brainy folks at Baseball Prospectus have started a Basketball offshoot, focusing initially on college but with some pro coverage including this encouraging Celtic preview. One way to look at it is it kinda quantifies what we all suspect. If you accept the analysis, another way to look at it is that we're only a big man away from a really exciting season - calling Trader Danny!
I've been ranting for a big man for years. Danny hasn't listened. I'm psyched about the season, but trying to stay realistic at the same time. ... BTW: Celts, tonight. Boston Colleg, tomorrow. Pats, Sunday. And you thought you'd get a rest after the Sox win? Not in this town.
'Disclaimer: I don't like A-Rod,' Part II
Good news: Bert has started his own blog.
... He's taken some of his previous emails to Hub Blog and incorporated them into his new blog, freshening them up and adding more. He actually started the blog a month ago. Great stuff. Check it out. ... Overheard bar talk: That the Sox might be interested in Johan Santana
. I don't know. The Sox pitching staff seems somewhat set -- with or without Curt. ... That the Dodgers might be a good fit for A-Rod. I suppose it depends on how Joe really feels about A-Rod. ... Internet chatter: The Mets going
for A-Rod or Santana. Just speculation. ...Update
-- Bert says thanks for the plug and adds:
On Santana rumors: He’s got a year left on his deal at $13.5. The Twins will likely entertain offers for him because they may be shy about putting up big bucks to resign him. They shouldn’t be, but they figure to get some solid, multiple, cheap, young pieces in return.
Why the Red Sox SHOULD kick the tires on a deal: He’s only 28 years old. He’s a lefty. You can never have too much pitching. He’s not “going to be” anything. He is right now. And what he is, is one of the top one, two, or three pitchers in baseball. ... He’s better than Pedro when Pedro came to Boston ... Similar deal to the Beckett deal with Florida, only Santana’s better and might cost more. How’d that work out for us? ...
Why they should do so carefully: He’s thrown a lot of innings, but isn’t a big guy. They need to be paranoid about this, given the price (see Martinez, Pedro). The price is going to be very high, in terms of both future salary for him AND players to the Twins. There will be heavy competition, so the price could go sky high in a hurry.
'Squeeze out all the inefficiencies'
Gov. Patrick is going after
state police details on state roads. ... Now we're talking. The savings may be small. But you can't do the big reforms if you can't do the small reforms. ... They say only Nixon could go to China. Could only a liberal Democrat reform the hackerama? Republican governors couldn't do it. ... I'll gladly declare the demise of the Hack-Progressive Alliance if and when a number of other reforms are proposed, passed and implemented. But always remember that the Hack-Progressive Alliance started precisely when a liberal governor, i.e. Michael Dukakis, gave up his pre-King reformist ways and became a post-King conformist. So we'll see. ...Update
-- On 'Dennis and Callhan,' they noted this morning that the key word in the Patrick story is 'consider.' How true. My mistake. ... Well, at least he's considering
'Waterboarding is torture. Torture is unacceptable. Period.'
A simple argument
from Ted. But not simplistic. He's right. It is torture -- and until Mukasey stipulates that it is, he doesn't deserve to be attorney general. ...
... The administration is once again making extreme either-or arguments
about the issue -- allow waterboarding or people will die. From the president of the United States of America:
“My view is this: The American people have got to understand the program is important and the techniques used are within the law."
I'm fascinated with the 'American people have got to understand' part. It's another example of the administration thinking that it has deep insights about how the cruel world really works -- and that we don't understand. A Hub Blog relative first noticed this we-know/you-don't attitude soon after 9/11, when the president roughly warned he would have to make tough decisions that the American people wouldn't like or understand. It didn't have to be said. But it was said. Why? Who knows. But it has that element of swagger to it that I now associate with boneheaded blunders. ...Update
- A good editorial
about the tough spot that Mukasey and our intelligence officers are now in, thanks to the administration's swagger, ultimately. But I don't see how what he says before a hearing and then after a hearing makes a difference in terms of liability. ...
'Brains, not bullets'
Something very positive
is definitely happening in Iraq. No one there -- including tribal and U.S. military leaders -- is predicting it will last. Still ... One thing I know for sure: It would have never happened under Donald Rumsfeld. Not to harp on the points made below in 'Keep elevating the threat,' but I noticed yesterday that the recent cover story
by the Economist was about the 'counter-revolution' under way in the Pentagon since Rums got the boot. I hope the pendulum doesn't swing too far away from some of Rumsfeld's ideas. But at least Gates is letting the pendulum swing. ... P.S. - Score another one
for the Economist, the best news weekly out there by far. I was initially worried that my Rummy post yesterday was too military-wonkish. Seeing the Economist issue with the 'Brains, not bullets' on the cover made me feel a little less wonkish. It's an important issue. ... P.S. P.S. -- I've noticed the fanatical happy-talk pro-war types are crowing about recent successes in Iraq. But they're the last ones who should be crowing. They spent the Rumsfeld years cheerleading, not critically analyzing. They're merely still cheerleading, not critically analyzing. ...
'I do wonder, however ...'
Andre doesn't think the Sox will go for A-Rod. But ...
I'd be amazed if the Sox went after ARod. His postseasn record is poor, he no longer has appeal as "the face of the franchise," and they don't need the attendance draw of personal record chases in the outyears, so I don't see the value to them at the asking price.
I do wonder, however, whether they might let Lowell go, and trade with Seattle for Adrian Beltre and a catcher, sending Crisp, Lester, and a good infield prospect (Lowrie?). Beltre is overpaid and doesn't get on base enough, but right-handed power is valuable, and they bid on him before. A deal with Oakland for the slick-fielding ex-slugger Eric Chavez (with Billy Beane finally getting Youkilis?) would be similar except that Chavez bats left.
'Keep elevating the threat'
Granted, Donald Rumsfeld's 'snowflake' memos obtained by the Washington Post
were probably leaked via a PR hack in the Pentagon (just guessing), so they mostly focus on his PR views toward the war and not on other matters. But his obsession with the media is still evident and classic Nixonian . ... I'd really love to know how his staff would "test what the results could be" for his PR ideas. Who would they leak to? Who would carry the water for them? ... Notice the use of the word 'insurgency' in May 2004. Recall how many inside and outside the White House/Pentagon criticized those who called an 'insurgency' an 'insurgency' and an 'insurgent' an 'insurgent.' Recall how after the November 2004 elections the non-counterinsurgency strategy of attacking entire cities was implemented in full. Recall that it took until November 2006 to fire Rumsfeld and put in place Gen. David Petraeus's counter-insurgency strategy. ... What wasted, wasted, wasted years. ...Update
-- Ah, the old 'insurgency'
debate. Remember it well. ... It all comes back: baseball bat-vs.-fly
tactics during the summer of '04 and the revised 'fly-trap'
blather of 2005. ... What wasted, wasted, wasted years indeed. ...
... Hey, while meandering down botched-strategy lane, I might as well link to Armchair Gen. Savin Hill's classic "Did NO ONE in the Pentagon watch Lawrence of Arabia?"
We only learned later that Gen. Tommy Franks really loved 'Braveheart.' ...
'Against the backdrop of all that losing ...'
flattens the misery lovers. I say: Don't let 'em off the mat. An extra bonus to reading the column is the reaction of British readers. The following is from one Brit who sure knows his Boston (with no changes in punctuation):
I find it passing strange to read the phrase,"the all-conquering New England Patriots.When I lived in Boston,(1967-70,1975-1985),the Patriots were a joke.Bostonians were fanatically devoted to the Sox,the Bruins and the Celtics
but the Patriots?Well,the name was a giveaway.New England Patriots?I mean,their home stadium was Foxboro,about 100 miles from Boston and they were truly crap.I went to a few games,(American fooball bores me,but friends insisted),and the high point for me,and I suspect many others was the arrival at one game of the Governor,(Ed King,a prize bozo),by helicopter in the middle of what was almost a blizzard.He just had time to disembark and wave when he was hit square in the head by a well-packed snow-ball.I was cheered wildly for that shot and everybody followed suit.'Can-Do'King,(it was his catch-phrase,'l'm a can-do type of guy' he drooled endlessly),promptly beat a hasty retreat back into his whirlybird and pissed off skyward.We turned our attention to Super Patriot,the team 'mascot',an idiot who pranced about the sidelines in a Superman outfit and a Paul Revere-type tricorne hat.He,too,vanished in a storm of snowballs and was forced to take to his heels.It cheered up a frozen crowd no end.No-one really gave a flying rat's ass about the Patriots.And the Red Sox let us down as a matter of course.The Bruins and the Celtics,(hockey and basketball,respectively),were our consolation.Truly great teams.Ah,the many happy nights at the old Boston Garden ...