'Whispers of a regime change,' Part II
From Bert on Sal's troubles
The timeline might be off and I don’t have links and there may be stories that I missed or don’t remember. But consider this fairly recent string of stories…
Free golf outing in FL.
Succession scramble again, with Sal really putting his foot down.
Heavy handed handling of casino debate.
Questionable campaign contributions to lieutenant.
Questionable contributions to Sal’s favorite charity.
Phantom voting under his watch.
Multiple mortgages tied to lobbyist/ticket issues.
Succession scramble again, those involved give unconvincing denials and subjects of lobbying claim budget favors are being offered.
All this is coming out naturally? Or does someone who knows the ins and outs and who knows how to spin a good media narrative got it in for Sal?
From Peter Porcupine:
The following exchange was with a staffer, trapped in the lull between Consolidated Amendments....
So who's your boss gonna back? DeLeo or Rogers?
I refuse to answer on the grounds my response may tend to incinerate me.
Lessee...Both were head of W&M, both South Shore; only difference is DeLeo is smart and Rogers is...um...charming! Kinda! To some people!
Whatever happens, happens...
But what do you hear?
Those who know won't say, and those who say don't really know...
AHA! So you DO know!
(At that point, we both picked up the phone in the finest speak/nod/wink tradition...)
'You need to know that'
I feel better about the Celts after reading this.
'Whispers of a regime change'
So Sal is indeed in trouble.
... I was wondering about that last month
after the casino vote. So was Outraged Liberal.
... Sometimes a winner of a battle ends up the loser.P.S.
: 'It's political profiling.'
'I'm sorry, but I've had it with Wright.'
: "I'm sorry, but I've had it with Wright." ... George Will
: "Wright is a gift determined to keep on giving." ... Just as long as Obama hangs on until he defeats Hillary. That's all I care. ...
P.S. -- Did Hillary really say she would 'totally obliterate' Iran if it attacked Israel? The Globe is right to call her 'Hillary Strangelove.'
The L.A. Times' Top of the Ticket
is right to ask if the Globe will oppose Hillary Strangelove if she wins the Dem nomination. Globe/LAT items via Glenn
, who inadvertently provides yet another hint at the source of the very strange Clinton-Conservative Convergence. ...Update
-- Obama tries to distance
himself from Wright -- again. ... Josh
has a nice take on all the Obama 'despair.'
... Repeat: I just hope he hangs on till the convention. If Hillary manages to nab the nomination, my fear is she'll win in November. Then we'll get more of this non-stop partisan war-room crap.
-- The 'this non-stop partisan war-room crap' link above has been rewritten since I posted it. Check out Dana's take
on the press conference. Bottom line: Mr. Oilman, who's been in office nearly eight years and had a GOP majority for some of them, is blaming the Democratic Congress for the worst energy situation we've been in since the '70s. ... High oil prices. Recession. Inflation. Jimmy Carter, anyone? ...Update III
-- I agree with this
. ... But will those who ask for an Obama explanation really listen? Or are they more intent on scoring points? Jury still out. Obama clearly cut Wright off today. What else do critics want? Please stipulate. ...Update IV
-- 4.30.08 - Reader No. 1:
On your point re: those who want an Obama explanation - of course many of them are just scoring points, but many are not. See again the Stuart Taylor piece I referenced the other day; also this advice from your favorite triangulator Dick Morris ... it's not yet too late, despite Obama's role in making this mess.
'The playoffs are different,' Part II
Some descriptions in the wake of last night's Celts
loss to the Hawks
: 'inexplicably hesitant and soft-defending Celtics,' 'all of a sudden poise is an Atlanta trait,' and 'the young, springy, energetic, athletic, and opportunistic Hawks.' ... A television analyst noted that the Celts were playing as if they were trying to stop Atlanta's 'playoff tempo' and bring it back to 'non-playoff tempo.' That summed it up for me: The Celts want to play their regular season game, but the Hawks aren't obliging. ... The silver lining: The Celts are learning about playoff tempo and will be better for it. The question now is whether lessons learned will be applied to this year's semi-finals or next year's playoffs. ...Update
-- One other observation: The Celts were literally falling/leaning away when they shot underneath last night, as if they were afraid or assumed shots would be blocked. They need to force the Hawks to stuff, hack and foul them. ...
'This is so ugly'
Perhaps beyond ugly.
: 'Oh, Roger' ... Looking forward to tomorrow's Soxaholix.
-- 4.29.08 - Soxaholix took a pass. Probably a wise move. But the NY Post
didn't, quoting Mindy's pa: "I've been talking to Mindy about this a lot, and I can assure you that nothing went on between them physically until well after she had moved to Nashville and broken up with Dean." ... What's uglier than ugly? Parents of child celebrities. ... NY Daily News
talks to a 'tearful' Mindy -- without mentioning the 's' word. Clemens's attorney does so in a denial. ... Mindy is 'career-minded right now,' her pa notes. You don't say. ...
Now Bill Kristol
is coming out in praise of Hillary. ... The Clinton-Conservative Convergence: part generational, part Operation Chaos, part Iraq (she's more moderate), part mirror-image triangulators' respect for a fellow triangulator, part whatever. But it exists. .... Earlier
: The Krugman
convergence. ... P.S. -- Kristol keeps bringing up the media and liberals. Maybe it's also part any-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend. ...
'The Midas of Misery'
Here's a look
at the former Harvard hockey center and man who's making life miserable for the NYT's Sulzberger family. The Sulzbergers can blame Caroline Kennedy's op-ed endorsement of Barack Obama for their predicament. ... Phil Falcone may be urging the NYT to jettison its 17 percent stake in the Red Sox. But he has nothing against sports investments
in general. ...
'Red Sox stances - past and present' Part II
It's now above 271,000 views.
Boston books, brinks and big screen
notes two books out on Boston: Paul Sherman's 'Big Screen Boston'
and Stephanie Schorow's 'The Crime of the Century.'
Joel has lots more links to articles and blogs. ... Sherman is holding a book-singing at the MFA this Saturday, May 3, when he'll also introduce Frederick Wiseman's 1967 documentary 'Titicut Follies,'
about the then deplorable conditions at the Bridgewater State Hospital. ... Note: The film is screened at noon
, followed by discussion and book signing. ...
'The playoffs are different'
... Actually, both the Herald
are downplaying last night's Celts loss -- though both acknowledge the loss is a little disconcerting. But it's largely disconcerting because expectations are so high. The Celts have a great team. But there are two things going against them winning a championship: 1.) Lack of playoff experience. 2.) The opposition is tough. Getting to the Eastern Conference finals will be tough. Winning the Eastern Conference title will be tough. Defeating the eventual West Conference champ will be tough. ... Keep in mind: The Cavaliers
are going through their own even tougher times. ... As much as I'd love to see another banner at the Garden this year (and I don't discount that happening), I'd be satisfied if the Celts just made it to the Eastern Conference finals, as long as they played tough and smart to the bitter end. Next year is a different story. ...
'Investigation, scrutinization and sanctions'
rightly rips into a Colorado campaign-reform law that demands people to register with the government if they spend $200 or more on political activity. ... Think of local blogs here in Boston with two or more people advocating a cause and spending $200 on computers, graphics, bandwidth, servers, etc. Hell, I suppose Hub Blog could be sanctioned as well, if Reader No. 1 and I ever agreed on a ballot subject and pounded away on the issue with gusto. Not that Reader No. 1 and I agree on many political issues these days. But I'd never give up his identity as a source. Never, never, never. ... Until of course campaign-reform interrogators started replaying over and over again 'Save it For a Rainy Day'
-- at which point I'd blubber out, 'I can't take it anymore! I'll tell you anything! Just stop it! Please!' ... Everyone has a breaking point. ...Update
-- From Peter:
Mr. Hub Blog -
Before you get all high horse, we have the same law here. Here's a link to Galvin's web site.
I haven't checked OCPF, but I believe the threshhold for spending on a question in Mass. is $600.
Yr. Obedient Servant,
I'm not quite sure they're the same thing. But I catch his point. ... The answer to the $600 question is probably here
. But I can't access it....
'Implements in Robert Mugabe’s tool kit'
NYT's Barry Bearak tells his tale
of being jailed for the crime of 'committing journalism' in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe. Poor Zimbabwe. It will take decades to recover from Mugabe's rule. ... For those interested in the subject of Africa and its post-colonial leaders, I strongly recommend 'Big Men, Little People.'
Mugabe is one of the last 'Big Men' in Africa. ... I happen to be optimistic about Africa's future. Read the article and think of the brassy lawyer who helped Bearak get out of jail. She's a ticket -- and there are a lot more like her throughout Africa. ...
channels Joseph Kennedy as he declares about his wife's campaign, 'We are not quitters.' ... That's how dynastic types think. ... African-American leaders are getting pretty pissed
about the Clintons' (plural) fight-to-the-finish strategy. Rep. William Lacy Clay on Hillary: "If you have any, any kind of loyalty to the Democratic Party, perhaps you need to rethink your strategy and bow out gracefully in order to save this party from a disastrous end in November." ... But the Clintons expect loyalty from the Democratic Party, not to the Democratic Party. Hasn't Clay figured out the 'we' part yet? ...
Lutz and Volts
GM apparently has a test electric Volt car
up and running. Interesting. ... Nova's 'Car of the Future'
episode earlier this week featured the Volt
. Tom and Ray Magliozzi, of local 'Car Talk'
fame, starred in the Nova show. They're not as funny on TV as they are on radio. But they were still pretty damn funny. At one point in the Nova show, they playfully twisted the arm of a GM exec, demanding to know when the Volt was coming out. ...
'All these men in black'
Can anyone figure out what's going on in Basra and Iraq? The Times of London reports
that the Iraqi army is now securely in control of Basra -- indicating Iraqi units fought far better against Muqtada Sadr's militia than originally thought. Agence France-Presse is reporting
that Sadr's last bastion in Basra has fallen. Is it too much to ask that we get some American reporting on this? ... But don't believe those happy-talk types
who think lack of U.S. coverage is some sort of conspiracy by the lefty-leaning American media to downplay successes in Iraq. Having happy talked their way around all the bad news in Iraq over the years, their credibility on Iraq is shot. ... This article
gives an idea of what's going on in the rest of Iraq. Sadr is definitely on the defensive and the government is getting bolder. But this passage about one small incident in Iraq jumped out of me:
Witnesses afraid to give their names said a grenade was tossed into a wedding party, killing a child and injuring more than 20 people. They believed that the celebration was targeted because of the presence of a band, which Shiite extremists consider sacrilegious.
This is the extreme culture we're trying to pacify. ... Check out Juan Cole's
depressing list of violence, bombings, clashes, etc. ... Bottom line: Once again, if you want to learn about Iraq, you have to toggle from source to source to piece together a decent picture. I still think we're managing the degree of defeat in Iraq -- or radically altering and dumbing-down the definition of victory if you prefer the word 'victory.' Iraq is a fractured nation. But the Iraqi government and army there seem to be finally standing on their feet, if a little wobbly. Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, is turning out to be a surprisingly forceful leader. ... And, yes, I saw this bluster bluff
about Iran, which, no matter what happens, still holds better strategic cards than the U.S. ...
'Anyone who tells you they have a foolproof Iraq plan ...'
Random thoughts: Agree with Tufts' Dan Drezner that Obama's views on Iraq are somewhat reassuring.
... I've always half-assumed Harvard's Samantha 'Monster' Power would make a comeback. ... I still can't figure it out: Clintonites and Bushites, formerly secret and now seemingly open opposites-attract lovers
. But maybe it really all does come down to Star Trek's 'Let That Be Your Last Battlefield'
The crew of the Enterprise find themselves caught in the middle of an intractable conflict with a bizarre fugitive alien and his equally belligerent pursuer.
But with a twist that the alien is also the pursuer and the pursuer is also an alien and it all leads to a compromise 28 years of Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton. ...Update
-- 4.25.08 - Another convergence: Krugman
... Charles makes a big deal about the flag-pin issue. But he insists it was ultimately Obama who brought the subject up. Aha!
-- From Reader No. 1: "Stewart Taylor
on why questions being asked of Obama do matter, and how he might still make a difference."
Michael A. Walker, RIP: 'Scholar and a patriot'
Hub Blog took the day off to attend the funeral of an old family friend, Michael A. Walker
, who passed away last week. I looked up Mike's old ship during World War II, the USS Hancock.
It's an amazing story that all started in Quincy. Thought local readers might be interested. ... My condolences to the entire Walker family for the loss of a truly gentle and thoughtful man. ...
'Give 'em Hill! '
, albeit somewhat expected. ... Couldn't agree more: 'Contest's losers: all who wanted it to end.'
... Reader No. 1 returns to the issue of Triangulation mentioned yesterday in a post:
If this definition is accurate, seems to me that Obama might be the greatest triangulator of all - he certainly presents himself as the embodiment of the first sentence below from the Wikipedia definition you cite: "Triangulation is the act of a candidate presenting his or her ideology as being 'above' and 'between' the left and right sides of the political spectrum. It involves adopting for oneself some of the ideas of one's political opponent. The logic behind it is that it both takes credit for the opponent's ideas, and insulates the triangulator from attacks on that particular issue. Opponents of triangulation consider the dynamic a deviation from reality and dismiss those that strive for it as whimsical."
The second sentence makes triangulation sound like a good thing - very different from the pitched Left/Right battles that everyone says they hate in part because they prevent solutions.
As the 3rd & 4th sentences infer, Triangulation might be self-serving in the hands of the spinners... but (a) who in politics isn't spinning and (b) if it leads to good results, how much does the spinning matter?
Is Reader No. 1 defending Triangulation and the past Clinton presidency? Triangulation as described in an online encyclopedia striving for phony objectivity is far different than the 'Clintonian triangulation' as practiced in the souless war-room of the Clinton White House and as practiced by that war-voting, gun-toting, church-going, Skoll-chewing, country-talking, sniper-dodging "Mrs. Triangulation" herself during the campaign. I guess all candidates can be accused of triangulation if he or she strives to be holier-than-thou and reaches for the centrist vote. But triangulation is indeed 'self-serving in the hands of the spinners' -- and that's what the Clintons have always been about with everything they've touched. ... BTW: Note the passage to Bush's use of triangulation. Boy, he's brought a lot of 'good results,' right? ... BTW II: I used 'Triangulationists' yesterday. I like 'Triangulators' much more. ...
Update -- Reader No. 1 responds:
You missed the points, or perhaps I didn't make them.
1- The point isn't that triangulation always gets good results, only that triangulation *can* get good results, eg 1996 Welfare Reform and Clinton's post-1993 Health Care Task Force economic policy. Senator Clinton is reaping the benefits of that decades-old triangulation in her primary wins.
2- The point also has nothing to do with whether or not triangulators are truly sincere. Of course politicians are 'self-serving' - they're not martyrs or saints (no matter what their supporters think).
So, I guess I am defending triangulation in the past Clinton Presidency. Presidents have done worse things than triangulate.
OK, here's another way to look at Triangulation. Conservatives succeeded when they stuck to their principles and hoisted the insincere Triangulators by their own petards after the Hillary health-care debacle and the disastrous '94 elections for Dems. The result: Some good policies that Reader No. 1 mentioned -- all of them forced upon the reeling and cyncial Triangulators. Conservatives failed when they abandoned their principles for their own form of Mirror-Image Triangulation: supporting expansion of entitlement programs, refusing to veto spending bills, running up the deficit, tolerating pork to maintain power (i.e., using Tip O'Neill-like tactics to allegedly keep the masses happy in their districts). The result: Bad policies. So let's sum it up: Stand by principles and oppose insincere Triangulators, success. Abandon principles and adopt insincere Mirror-Imagage Triangulation, failure. ... I like both McCain and Obama precisely because they're at least rhetorically rejecting Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton triangulation and counter-triangulation that's strangling the country. ...
'The conclusion kind of stunk'
I feel bad
for my few remaining Bruins-fans friends. ... I don't think the B's were mere props
. But Reader No. 1 makes a good point:
How many series can you lose to the Canadiens like this one, or this one, before Dan Shaughnessy writes a book about a curse?
Hub Blog already has the title: Curse of the Benedicto.
... One of these days New Englanders are going to avenge '75. Until then, Habs fans can celebrate
all they want. ...Update
-- A friend and one of the last remaining Bruins fans writes in before penning his 'good-bye cruel world' note to be tacked to the Sevens door:
Dear Mr. Hub Blogger,
While the fair weather fans are are now jumping onto the Cubbie band wagon, ponder this thought.
The three major sports teams in this town did not experience recent post season success until the ownership changed.
The New England Patriots under the Kraft ownership
The Boston Red Sox with the Henry/Warner/Lucchino
The Boston Celtics under the Grousbeck & Partners
Let's see, once the ownership was flushed away a new "can do" attitude seems to take hold where the ownership places win first ahead of make money.
Is there any chance to fire the Owner of the Bruins....probably not.
Cubbie band wagon? He's clearly delusional, normal after going into shock. ... BTW: Winning leads to making more money. They're not mutually exclusive -- something the Bruins ownership has never quite grasped. ...Update II
-- Major correction time. My friend writes back in to swear:
But I'm not a Bruins fans anymore, haven't been since 1996. ... Me and a group of friends were season ticket holders for nine years. Had great seats right next to John Kiley the organist in the old Garden. Watched the team every year get less and less competitive, and then moved into the new building and sat in our new tickets, with the crappy on ice product and collectively decided, nah...no more.
So he's one of those I'm No Longer a Bruins Fan Fan. I know a lot of them. Gets me all confused every year when the Bruins tank. ...Update III
-- Reader Brighton Center: "Wow, those Canadiens fans sure get carried away.
" ... And Bert writes in:
Let’s hope Deval left the Tobin Bridge off of the list of roads and bridges to be repaired. We won’t be needing it this year.
What? It’s not just a structure used for the self-imposed demise of frustrated sports fans? Oh. Ok. Then go ahead and fix it if you want. But let the diving board fall into a state of disrepair.
And BTW, save the jinx talk. I am defiant on this. I started the daily Magic Number update last year when it was in the 70s. I emailed it to three buddies every time the number went down. Two of the recipients are Sox fans, one a Yankee fan. Two and a half of them thought it would jinx the team.
This year’s countdown started the other day at 145. Updates will be posted at Someday I Will.
For the record: I didn't start the jinx talk. Reader No. 1 did. I'm just going along for the cute-schtick ride. ...
'Dumb questions and some not-so-dumb questions' Part II
Reader No. 1 weighs in on the debate over The Debate:
From a stylistic standpoint, I suppose you could blame last Weds Presidential debate on Sam Donaldson - but I think John Fund has it right. I heard Jeff Greenfield on Imus post-debate contrasting Obama's impressiveness in speeches versus last Weds night. I agree - Obama is hugely more impressive when he sets the agenda, and doesn't have to answer questions (a problem when you are used to operating in an echo chamber). This (dare I say, sympathetic) Novak column gets at the problem...
Hub Blog sees Mirror-image Triangulation at work again. Conservatives siding with ABC and George, a former Clintonite, and by extension Hillary. Strange how this keeps popping up. ... Someone once said you can spoil the view of a beautiful mountain vista if you stop to think it's nothing more than a series of light particles bouncing off the retinas of your eyes. David
expands on this thought amid the flurry of suffocating campaign spins, gotcha questions, analyses, poll numbers and YouTube clips etc. ... Hub Blog would love to see a PA upset today. It's not that I see a saint in Obama -- I know he's all light particles. But I just want the Triangulationists
and Mirror-Image Triangulationists gone, gone, gone. ...Update
-- Via John
: 'Hillary, fold her tent? Surely they jest. ... Many of us will be dead before we’ve seen the last of Billary.' ... On the other hand, Steelers and Eagles fans could cancel each other out today, and then it comes down to WWE or WTF.
'Red Sox stances - past and present'
Pretty damn good.
I liked the Mo and Youkilis imitations the best. ...
'Dumb questions and some not-so-dumb questions'
Dan Kennedy and Joan Vennochi debated The Debate
over the weekend in the comments section at Media Nation. ... I think what many people found so offensive about the debate was the clear gotcha nature of some of the questions. It was as if George Stephanopoulos et gang were showing off to their own journalistic/political cliques, a throwback to the Sam Donaldson era at ABC when "tough" questions were considered reflections of clever journalistic minds. It was a very retro 1980s/1990s debate. ...
'Still room on the Bruins bandwagon?'
Sums it up perfectly for non-Bruins fans.
'The most troublesome myth of Paul Revere’s ride ...'
A Patriots Day weekend wouldn't be a Patriots Day weekend without -- like clockwork -- the commencement of debunkings of Paul Revere myths. J.L. Bell
chimes in this year by pronouncing that "the most troublesome myth of Paul Revere’s ride is that Paul Revere’s ride mattered a lot." After going over Revere's role in the dramatic events 233 years ago, J.L. concludes, "So as brave, hard-working, and dramatic as Paul Revere’s ride was on 18-19 Apr 1775, it may not have changed events all that much." .... Gee, couldn't the same be said of the actions of 99.9 percent of those who participated in the events of April 18-19, 1775? Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 'Paul Revere's Ride'
was a poem, not a history book. It was meant to inspire and lift spirits. It succeeded in capturing the public's imagination to such an extent that we'd probably not be celebrating Patriots Day today with such fondness had it not been for the literary license a poet took with a common man's minor role in a major event. I know 'Paul Revere's Ride' isn't historically accurate. I also know the 'World Series' really isn't a 'world series.' But I can still celebrate both. The most troublesome myth of Paul Revere's ride is the notion that there's still myths about Paul Revere's ride that need historical debunking. ... (It's a Paul Revere smackdown!
-ed. Only in Boston. I like the illustration.
-ed. It's historically inaccurate. But I like it too.)Update
-- I tweaked this post a bit, taking out the word 'pompous' to describe debunkings. Thought I was being a little unfair. ...
'The fine should be doubled ...'
In a post slugged 'So many people are just so fucking stupid: Part 384293748392749823 in a series,' eeka
unloads on obnoxious parents who push baby carriages outside crosswalks as traffic zips past. ... It never fails to take my breath away when I see it happen, sort of like watching National Geographic footage of antelope crossing a crocodile-infested river. ...
'What's the Big Idea?'
Stephen Krensky, in partnership with the Boston History & Innovative Collaborative
, has a new children's book out: 'What's the Big Idea? Four Centuries of Innovation in Boston.'
I really like how the collaborative has pushed the economic and technological history of Boston -- not just the colonial and political history. Nothing against colonial and political history. Especially on this Patriot's Day weekend. Check out Krensky's 'Paul Revere's Midnight Ride.'
'Unlike my earlier Boston lives ...'
is one of the top 10 ‘cultured retirement’ spots in the U.S. But also over at Smithsonian.com, author Claire Messud
thinks Somerville’s Union Square is cultured just fine for all generations. … FYI: Messud is the author of 'The Emperor's Children' -- which the NYT loved
but which gets mixed reviews at Amazon.
'Patriots Awesome Season Syndrome'
Hub Blog talked to a friend last night about the upcoming Celtics playoffs -- and both of us agreed we suffered from what he called 'Patriots Awesome Season Syndrome,' i.e, the excitement of an awesome season followed by post playoff-loss depression. Expectations are high for the Celts. But here's why
fans should be cautious. ...Update
-- 4.19.08 - A friend said PASS should really be PALSS: Patriots Awesome Season Letdown Syndrome. Perhaps PALSS more accurately conveys the syndrome. But the catchier-sounding PASS stays until my other friend determines otherwise. ... Here's a report card
on the Celts. I think Murph's grade for Ray (B) is unfair. Anyone who saw his All-Star game performance knows he sacrificed a lot for the Celts by adjusting his game. I did like the A grade for Leon Powe, the biggest surprise of the 2007-2008 season. ... No one can ever convince me Trader Danny deserves an A. Sure he deserves enormous credit for the current season. But 2007-2008 was made possible partially by the truly wretched 2006-2007. ...
'Leading the charge against this reform'
Yet another reform plan meets opposition
from the ultimate defenders of the permanent bureaucracy and its perks (see 'drop dead' post). ... Rep. Martin Walsh blurts out the tired old bogus argument about why government workers allegedly deserve benefits private-sector workers don't get: 'The majority of people who work for the Commonwealth don't make six figures.' Hey, Marty, the majority of people living in the Commonwealth don't make six figures
either. Understand? ... Look what's happening to private-sector workers
across the country. Not all private-sector workers are Fidelity fund managers, Marty. ... P.S. -- Will someone at 'BZ please get Jon some permalinks? They don't cost any money. ...
'The average working person doesn't get benefits nearly as generous' Part III
Ben sends in a response to my stated strong temptation
to vote for abolishing the income tax this fall. Here's an excerpt of Ben's message, with my thoughts following:
It’s no surprise that a few columnists such as Howie Carr like to stir up their audience with wildly exaggerated claims of wasted state spending, but that is no reason to gut the state budget and health care, education, social services, and public safety by removing 40 percent of state revenue.
In the interest of full disclosure I need to say that I teach history at Fitchburg State College, but I can also tell you that none of the people I personally work with is related to another state employee. I have also served on numerous hiring committees, and at no time has anyone been offered a position because of any personal or political connection. The faculty and staff at Fitchburg State College also serve the state and its residents. We help to educate students who serve as nurses, teachers, and police officers, and our graduates work in businesses across the state. We also have an outstanding communications program.
I’m sure we will hear a lot during the summer and fall from backers of the initiative about all the alleged mountains of wasteful spending, but the real money in the state budget goes for the basics: health care, education, social services (including the DMR), and public safety. There is no way to cut 40 percent or anything close to that out of the state budget without threatening the health care for hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents and putting communities across the state in the position of carrying out mass layoffs of teachers and other personnel or calling for the largest property tax overrides in history. ...
I'll acknowledge that abolishing the income tax is 'dumb.' But a far dumber thing is not to tackle problems that lead to justified frustration and a desire to stick it to a political establishment that refuses
to undertake even basic reforms. Why does it take the feds
to crack down on this type of stuff? Why are these pension and disability laws written so loosely that they almost invite abuse
? Why do public-sector employees have benefits
that most in the private sector can only dream about having? Who's serving whom? ... Now dismiss Howie all you want. But his sentiments
are shared by a lot of people in moments of intense frustration -- as well as his view of a 'certain bald-headed, talentless fork-tongued little corrupt felon-lobbyist.' ...
'We’re not New York and we’re not South Beach'
Sure sounds like Boston Licensing Board chairman Daniel Pokaski is stretching the definition of 'happy hours'
on this one. What next? Banning sale of expensive bottles of wine at restaurants because the high price might encourage people to drink every last drop? That's his logic, not mine. ... One can also sense a whiff of parochialism and class resentment in Pokaski's words -- and I'm not sure it's his place to be lecturing people about what Boston has to 'offer' outside his strict regulatory guidelines. ...
'There was a time not so long ago ...'
OK, I've been posting too much on Jersey-gate (and Bitter-gate, for that matter). I'll end it by letting Soxaholix
have the last word. ...
'The fulfillment of modern liberalism'
If you want to read a smart conservative criticism of Obama's 'bitter' comment, this is the one.
If you want red-meat partisan criticism, turn on Fox. ... The difference between Will's analysis and the Kristol/Malkin/Powerline etc. analysis is that Will is an actual conservative with principles -- while the latter regularly jettison their conservative principles (see their support of George W and nicey-nice words for Hillary etc.) when in a partisan scrap. ... Repeat: Obama's 'bitter' comment was dumb -- and it's probably going to hurt him far more than I originally thought. But the howling Kristol/Malkin/Powerline types and Hillary are the last ones who should be leading the attacks on Obama on this issue. They're on their own symbiotic gotcha wavelength for a reason: They have few core principles that they wouldn't ditch in a pinch. They're all part of the same cynical Triangulation Gang. ...Update
-- I hope this is true
. ... P.S. - I changed 'no core principles' to 'few core principles.' I'll give 'em credit for having some non-partisan beliefs. ...Update II
-- A reader wrote in to say there wasn't much difference, in tone and direction, between Will's column and Kristol's column yesterday.
I disagreed. We agreed to disagree. But we agreed this Wonkette takedown
of Kristol is great. Enjoy. ...
'Desperate times call for ...'
Kev on the Yanks: "Desperate times call for ...
It's getting pretty bad when a Cubs fan's switch in allegiance is considered news. ...Update
-- Kev writes back: "Seems to me that the Yanks already had a Cubs fan switch, circa 2001 (Hillary Rodham Clinton), and how's that working out for them."
And the last Yanks 'so-called World Series' win was in 2000. Maybe it wasn't A-Rod. ...
In an email slugged 'More bitterness,' Reader No. 1 writes back:
I can't speak for Michael Goodwin or David Paul Kuhn but I'm not a Republican. I don't think Mickey Kaus is either. If Obama keeps up on this present track, he will alienate the independent thinkers/voters he needs to vote for him - here's why (also via Instapundit).
Maybe Hilary is returning to her Goldwater roots? :-> Just because she's playing up the latest Obama-ism for her own competitive purposes doesn't invalidate the point.
Just as long as she doesn't benefit from the point. ...Update
-- Surprise II! That well-known friend of country folk Bill Kristol
draws a parallel between Obama's 'bitter' remark and Karl Marx. Bill even translates Karl's 'opium' quote into German. Bill's sooooo intellectual!
... Hub Blog is eagerly awaiting Jonah Goldberg's 'Liberal Fascism'
warning. ... Not to help out the boys, but I'm really surprised and disappointed they haven't hauled out Costa Gavras's 'Betrayed'
yet. I mean, c'mon. Do I have to lay out their intellectual arguments for them? ...
'As I stuck it in ...' Part III
Even a pro-Yankees construction worker thinks the Yanks would be nuts
to go after Gino Castignoli, aka the Concrete Guy. ... Liked the long comment
over at Adam's site. Remember how New Yorkers used to say they didn't care about the rivalry as much as Bostonians? ... BTW: What's up with the 'so-called World Series' reference? ...Update
-- Brighton Reader provides more evidence that Yanks fans have lost their minds:
A few weeks ago I was in New York, visiting friends and seeing their new apartment for the first time. One, an ardent Yankees fan, proudly pointed out the new stadium arising "just 8/10ths of a mile away" and easily seen from his new place. He then admonished me "Get away from that window, and don't go putting any curses!"
'Bitter,' Part III
has some thoughts on Bitter-gate. I'm a little worried that he's a little worried. I simply don't want Hillary and the Triangulation Gang in there. That's all I'm concerned about. ... Talked to Armchair Gen. Brighton Center, a non-lefty if there ever was one. He says there's something obviously there about Obama's 'bitter' remark. It has to do with Obama's unvetted 'citiness' and 'San Francisconess,' he said. 'It's a real problem,' he added. But then he went off on how ludicrous it was for a 'feminist Wellesley graduate' to run around pretending she represents blue-collar workers. 'She's only getting everything Obama doesn't get,' he noted. ... He added that conservatives siding up with Hillary are 'pure cynics.' ... My obvious question: What does that make Hillary? ... The discussion made me feel better that other people out there grasp the anti-anti-Obama sentiment. ...
'Bitter,' Part II
In an email slugged 'Bitter Religious Gun Nuts for McCain,' Reader No. 1 writes in on Obama's 'bitter' comment:
You've really stepped in it when Hilary Clinton can (justifiably) call you an "elitist.''
Up until recently, I'd wager many voters thought Obama was a candidate who could think past stereotypes. But he's certainly proved that wrong ... and his cockeyed sense of PC morality (hunters must hate NAFTA, Reverend Wright = My Grandma) is frosting on the cake.
Another good analysis of the broader problem here, namely: why isn't there anyone around to suggest to the candidate he might be wrong. Why are the brainiacs of the Democratic party such slow learners? (Maybe they aren't so smart after all?)
It's strange to see conservative Republicans and the Wellesley millionairess on the same symbiotic gotcha wavelength. I'm beginning to grudgingly like Obama for that very reason. It's an anti-anti-Obama sentiment that could work to his advantage. ... I did like this reaction
Sensing an opportunity to portray Sen. Barack Obama as elitist and out of touch after his remarks about “bitter” rural Americans who cling to guns, God and xenophobia, Sen. Hillary Clinton stopped after church today at an indoor gun range, where she fired roughly 300 rounds through a handgun she said she carries concealed everywhere she goes.
Her lower lip bulging from a dip of Skoal, Sen. Clinton put her Bible in her handbag, and drew out her own Para Ordnance Warthog .45 caliber pistol.
'As I stuck it in ...' Part II
New Yorkers have lost their minds. They spent 5 hours digging and jackhammering
the jersey out. ... Can't wait for Mayor Bloomberg's cutesy quote about how relieved he is by the development. ...
two more local championships. He also liked my dumping on the former Champs Town. ...
'Wall Street had piles of capital and no place to go'
Here's an excellent street-level look
at the subprime-mortgage mess, involving local 'middleman Dwight Jenkins' and his numerous real-estate deals across the area with 'investors.' We know who the 'middlemen' and 'borrowers' were in the subprime-mortgage saga. But alway keep in mind that there were 'lenders' who needed 'middlemen' to get at 'borrowers.' To my mind, Andy Kessler's WSJ piece
can't be beat in terms of explaining who the ultimate 'lenders' were and who drove this insanity: Wall Street. ... Keep in mind Kessler wrote his op-ed in January, pre-Bear Stearns meltdown. Some of his observations are outdated and off. But, boy, did he call JP Morgan swooping in for the kill. ... My question: Who does Goldman Sachs and Bank of America get? ... FYI: Liberals tend to blame lenders for the subprime debacle. Conservatives tend to blame in-over-their-heads borrowers. But remember the simple non-ideological formula: Lender + middleman + borrower = deal. There's a lot of blame to go around -- and that's why this mess won't be cleaned up soon. ... Thanks to Reader No. 1 for the seemingly long-ago Kessler-piece recommendation. ...
'As I stuck it in ...'
Didn't and don't believe in curses. But I do like how New Yorkers are making fools of themselves
-- from the mayor on down -- by going down the silly theatrical curse path. The Sox have really gotten in their heads. ... FYI: The Yanks initially denied a Sox jersey was thrown into the cement mix at the new Yankees Stadium. The NYPost has pictures proving otherwise (click photo to enlargen). The construction guy who did it sounds pretty funny. The witch part, though, is pure Shaughnessyesque. New Yorkers should be embarrassed. ...
The usual bitter suspects are especially bitter about Obama's 'bitter'
remark (see here
for a sampling). But I gotta admit, the 'bitter' remark sure was dumb. It has that highly annoying 'What's Wrong With Kansas?' ring to it. ... Haven't a clue if this will significantly hurt Obama. Hub Blog sees it more as a depressing harbinger of how the general election campaign will play out -- with everyone already practicing their partisan bee-hive roles. ...Update
- 4.13.08 -- Surprise! That well-known friend of country-folk Michelle Malkin
weighs in on the issue. ...
'The average working person doesn't get benefits nearly as generous,' Part II
Retiring at the age of 43 with $40,000 a year for life
? Who gets that in the private sector? ... Look at all the other Bulgers on the state payroll. It's gross. ... The abolish-the-income-tax referendum looks more than just tempting
. It may be the only way to send a signal to these people that enough is enough -- and I don't care if some think it's 'just a dumb idea.'
-- Charley has a 'Jay, Jay Jay'
response over at BMG. The problem with his Fix it Now approach is that they never quite fix it now.
'It's one small step for Deval'
Outraged Liberal has another good analysis
of where Deval stands after a somewhat successful week of seeing his corporate-tax bill pass -- though OL rightly cautions: "But wait until next week. And does anyone have a good shepherding dog?" ... What to make of Deval at this point? Clearly, he's not as strong as, say, Duke or Weld at the height of their powers. Clearly, he's not as weak and inept as Jane Swift at the low of her lows. In terms of effectiveness, he's somewhere in between. Not good. Not bad. But I'd note that he seems to be getting a better feel for the game -- and his stubborness on issues seems on balance to be an asset. He doesn't give up easily, even when he should. ... FYI: I hesitate writing this because, well, there's always next week when it comes to Deval. ... FYI II: David Bernstein
, via OL, examines Sal's House. Sal seems to have a stronger control over the chamber than Hub Blog previously thought
. But I still have this gut instinct that he's recently been scrambling too much, based on A.) He had to sweat the corporate-tax vote (the result of Deval's stubborness). B.) He had to sweat the casino bill (the result of Deval's overzealous stubborness) C.) The near constant dime dropping on him. D.) The dime dropping now extending to his second in command
. E.) The mini-coup plots he had to recently quash, etc. Of course this could all be seen from a different angle: He's in the process of consolidating his power. But shouldn't he have done this already? Having a fellow Democrat in the Corner Office has complicated life for Sal, who found it easier to control and rally the Dem troops when the Republican Mitt was in office. ...
John unveils a YouTube selection
from his new children's book and dreams of publishers coming to him for a change. ... Check it out. Help create a stir for a local blogger/writer/film producer. ...Update
-- Speaking of local bloggers, check out John Daley's new site
. Bookmark it. ...
'The almost complete guesswork of what happened in Basra'
Hub Blog thought of a Reader No. 1-recommended piece by Tony Blankley
after reading Mickey's masterful fisking
of a NYT article
on Basara. Does anyone really know what happened in Basara? Nice line from the right-wing Tony about formation of opinions before the facts are in:
Yet despite the absence of any objective knowledge about what had happened (in Basara), pro- and anti-war news organizations, talk radio shows, columnists, pundits and blogists leapt into the void -- invincibly ignorant of what had happened -- and immediately began making powerful arguments in support of their pre-existing positions.
Read the whole thing. He doesn't blame the ignorance on the usual conservative bogeyman -- a biased media. He argues the problem is a lack of media. ... Here are two guys
whose opinion I trust. But they were mostly talking about pre-Basara Iraq. ... Here's a good look
at the messy fighting in Baghdad. Not exactly the 'victory' envisioned five long years ago. I do know that. ...
Adam rightly goes off
on what has to be one of the dumbest stories
I've read in a while: Undershirts or no undershirts. Of all the things to rant about in this world. ... Hub Blog is very cautious when it comes to ranting about fashion. I initially detested Birkenstocks as hippie Jesus sandals. Now I wear them. I initially detested Merrell shoes as rubberized Euro-trash clogs. Now I want a pair. It's mostly about slip-on comfort and convenience -- or form following function, to put it in a sufficiently artsy way that the GQ-reading Wesley might understand and apply to T-shirts. ...
'Can we just, please, move on?'
wasn't impressed with yesterday's Bill Buckner ceremony, noting there were other symbolic ways to banish the past if that's what some still insist needs to be done post-2004:
... Why not buy out every remaining copy of Curse of the Bambino and create a giant bonfire in centah field?Update
-- Bert issues a warning about a Fenway bonfire:
Three words: Disco Demolition Night.
My proposal, the next time the Sox win the World Series, is to invite Pedro to throw out the first pitch. Then, just before his windup, have Grady Little come out and take him off the mound.
'Much to the delight of both colleges'
This is a remarkable story
for two reasons: 1.) Tufts University and Lesley College will split $272 million from the trust of a long-deceased donor, the largest unrestricted gifts in both schools' history. 2.) The tale of Watertown-based Doble Engineering
and how it was nurtured for nearly 40 years until it was recently sold, allowing final distribution of funds to the two schools. ... Think of everything that could have gone wrong over the past 40 years and how patience pays big dividends. Think also of all those other seemingly obscure Massachusetts companies quietly and competently doing their job. ...
'The bottom line was that there was no bottom line'
That's the bottom line of Gen. Petraeus's testimony
yesterday. ... I tilt toward trusting Petraeus's instincts on this. He strikes me as honest and honorable. He's not hyping the gains in Iraq -- and he's not downplaying the disappointments. Iraq is a broken nation that can't stand on its own yet. How long we stick in Iraq, I don't know. The Basara campaign was a disappointment. But progress has been made under Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. ...
Did Ken Burns kill Borders?
They're just trying to sell clicks
From old media to new media, some things never change: overworked, underpaid.
Reader No. 1 writes in to point out a small mistake below
and chimes in on the Dems race:
It's actually Clapton's "Layla" piano fade (though not Clapton's piano per se, details here). How did we ever get along without Wikipedia and Google?Update
Michael Barone looks forward to November in short and long forms. The former should please the Jacksonians while the latter is tuned to the Academics (who I don't think will like its implications)...
sends in a clarification on the correction:
It wasn't Eric Clapton in the sense that it was a Clapton solo project. It was Derek & the Dominos.
The piano player was Bobby Whitlock, although apparently that particular piano section was played by the drummer, Jim Gordon, who later went insane and murdered his mother.
'Moment of Truth in Iraq'
Received in the mail: Michael Yon's new 'Moment of Truth in Iraq
: How a New 'Greatest Generation' of American Soldiers is Turning Defeat and Disaster into Victory and Hope.' Michael's early reporting from Iraq didn't convey the unfolding 'defeat and disaster' part -- but he rebounded to become one of the best correspondents in Iraq. Looking forward to reading his book. ... Also just in: David Ignatius's new 'Body of Lies,'
also about Iraq. Looking forward to that as well. ...
'The average working person doesn't get benefits nearly as generous'
The average working person -- working-poor, working-class, middle-class and most in the upper-middle-class -- could never hope to get such obscene benefits.
Yet they're expected to keep paying their taxes for what's become a privileged class amongst us. ... Think lawmakers will ever reform the system? Don't hold your breath.
... You know, the abolish-the-income-tax referendum sounds mighty tempting this morning. ...
'This is extortion,' Part II
Ever wondereded what a political shake-down sounds like as it occurs? What do they say to a contractor as he's getting squeezed? Read this article
about the ongoing Rezko trial in Chicago. Then scroll down to 'related stories' on the left. Click on 'Listen: Levine-Cellini call on April 7, 2004.' It's a phone conversation between two Illinois fund-raisers -- Stuart Levine and William Cellini -- about a state government contractor, Tom Rosenberg, who's fuming about alleged heavy-handed solicitations (if you will) from various political sources. The talk is subtle, smooth, somewhat coded. Listen to it for only a few minutes to get a feel. Then click on 'Listen: Levine-Cellini call on April 8, 2004,' in which the mark, Tom, finally realizes he might be getting squeezed from all sides by political velociraptors. It all comes out in plain English. ... Remember: Innocent until proven guilty. ... Note: Levine is clearly a sleazeball
. No doubt. Rezko -- the 'Tony' in the tapes -- could well get off due to Levine's credibility problem. ... If you're wondering, Obama had nothing to do with the alleged Tom caper. Obama's problem is his association with Rezko in a separate real-estate deal.
P.S. -- Listening about Tom, I couldn't help but think of the character Morrie Kessler in 'Goodfellas,'
with Cream's 'Layla' piano exit playing in the background. ...Update - 4.5.08
-- Reader No. 1 caught a mistake immediately above. It's Clapton, but not Clapton with Cream. ... And Dan has yet another clarification: It was Eric Clapton of the Derek & the Dominos variety.
'This is extortion'
And this is classic Illinois politics.
... More on the unfolding Rezko trial here
. The Sun-Times even has a Rezko blog
. ... What's this got to do with Massachusetts? Nothing. Just good political junkie stuff that might trip up a certain presidential candidate one day. ...
'Who says we can't be lowbrow?'
discovers a BigDog Beta parody of Boston Dynamics' hit BigDog video.
... Speaking of lowbrow, Armchair Gen. Brighton Center sends in this link
about how Germany is rediscovering the Red Baron. From the Armchair Gen. himself:
Germany to bring back Iron Cross? War ist evil. But vee are so goot at it! ... There is no way they'd call the new medal the "Iron Cross", so I'm betting the German political parties will think of some horrible new name, like: Cross of Not Necessarily Military Achievement, but Probably So; Cross of National-Nein!-Patriotic Merit; Cross of Good-quality Steel; Cross of Superior (but not Superiority-Complex) Achievement; Cross of Platinum (sponsored by BMW); Cross of Platinum with Lufthans Bonus Points; Cross with Oak Leaves and Daffodils (Green Party idea). ...
At least one Canadian
isn't impressed with the German effort in Afghanistan. ...Update
-- Armchair Gen. Brighton Center sends in more cool lowbrow stuff: 'Speed-Riding Down the Eiger.'
... Keep viewing until he goes over the cliff. I almost experienced vertigo just watching. ...
'You all need to listen'
tries to rally the BMG troops, post-casino vote, and is immediately met with skepticism:
It'll be summer soon, and we'll need ice cream sandwiches. They're not too expensive, and, because they are sandwiches, are better for you than most ice cream products. And, they're very quiet to eat, no slurping or licking sounds, so we'll be able to hear you defend your ideas as we eat.
It's always good to see politicians reaching out to folks. But Doug's damage-control pander isn't going to be enough by the sound of it. ...Update
-- A couple people have informed Hub Blog that the 'ice cream sandwiches' author is a regular BMG, er, weirdo, not to be taken too seriously. I didn't take him seriously. But I'll be more careful next time. ... Hey, at least I didn't get taken in by an April Fool's joke -- though there's still 11 hours left in the day. ...
'What their children watch'
In Gaza, it's not Hannah Montana
. More like an anti-semitic Itchy & Scratchy. ...