The political class
Better pay. Better pensions
. Better health care
. ... At least reformers are trying to chip away at the last two. But dont' look for fundamental changes. ... One quibble with Jeff. There are actually three broad categories of citizens: 1.) Government workers 2.) Phony capitalists at financial firms deemed too big to fail. 3.) The rest of us.
'We’ll have a military dictatorship fairly soon'
The words of the right-wing kook warning of a military coup
to stop Obama? Nah, just the words of a left-wing kook warning of a military coup
to stop Obama. … They really are just mirror images of themselves.
The Floon candidacy
Separately, the Floon totals didn’t add up to a majority
. Together, the Floon totals won’t add up to a majority
. It’s a silly gimmick. But it could increase voter turnout and keep the heat on the mayor. … FYI: The pre-primary Floon prediction
turned out to be right, though not necessarily in the way envisioned.Update
-- Hmmm. People seem more excited
about Floon over at UH than I would have thought. We'll have to see where this goes.Update II
-- Adam R has more excited comments
. I could be eating a little crow for my 'silly gimmick' comment.
'Time to Act Like a President'
-- Someone sent in another view of Obama
. Good points. But I was thinking more of his stupid Olympics pitch trip.
Reader No. 1 on the Pats' impressive victory yesterday:
So much of the game coverage and recap did/will focus on the offense, and - yes, if Brady had been a bit more on target and perhaps if Galloway/Watson/Edelman had access to a bit of Stickum, we'd have had one of those 2007 season 46-10 blowouts instead of a 26-10 game that felt much closer than it actually was... but thank goodness for Randy Moss and Fred Taylor.
But why didn't Matty Ice and Tony Gonzalez have a bit more influence on the outcome?You can't point to any highlight film plays by our D (after all, "they haven't established their identity") but surely they deserve a little credit for that pitiful Falcon 2-9 Third Down efficiency. And who is Brandon McGowan? No idea, but glad to have him.
All-the-Marbles Moment: Fourth-and-One at your own 24 in the third quarter of week three. Methinks the Hoodied One wrote a new chapter in his storied history with this call. Waiting for Football Outsiders for the definitive study showing that this is actually a low-risk play. Today the Wildcat, tomorrow - Fourth and Inches!
FYI: The “sneaky solid performance by the defense”
is driving Las Vegas mad. ... Hub Blog also noticed more short passes and stunts early in the game, something Reader No. 1 suggested last week
'The Curse of The Middlesex County DA,' Part II
A couple people wrote in to confirm that Martha indeed qualifies as a dull AG in the long line of dull Massachusetts AGs -- but she's still probably going to win. I agree. She's still the favorite. But I do believe in political patterns -- and explanations for those patterns.
The pattern shows that the attorney general's office is an overrated springboard for higher office in Massachusetts. One of many explanations is that AGs are too rhetorically cautious, probably because of their legal training and fear they'll compromise cases if they shoot their mouths off, etc., etc. Martha has a lot going for her -- her record, the female vote, the short campaign. But if she blows this race, ignore the inevitable whining about how Massachusetts isn't ready for a female leader, blah blah blah. The record shows Massachusetts is rarely ready to promote an AG to higher office.Update
-- From Reader A:
Former Gov. Dever, and one guy in the mid-19th century, were AG and later - after a gap -- governor. No one's gone straight up in 150 years. Coakley, btw, is well aware of this, and has said on many occasions that she wouldn't be elected governor.
I think it has something to do with Massachusetts tending not to vote for "cops." Law enforcement types have run very badly here (state/city) as opposed to, say, New York (Dewey, Giuliani, etc.). The "exceptions," Ray Flynn and Bill Weld, are at best/worst attenuated versions of the candidates who've succeeded elsewhere.
AGs have a bad record running for anything in Massachusetts, not just governor. But we're in general agreement.
'The Curse of The Middlesex County DA'
has a nice rundown of the pluses and minuses of Dem senatorial candidates. But what caught my attention was the reference to "the Curse of The Middlesex County DA," as it may apply to Martha. Actually, it should be the Curse of the Massachusetts Attorneys General.
The last six attorneys general
all lost election bids to move up the ladder to the Senate or the Corner Office: Elliot Richardson
, Robert Quinn
, Frank Bellotti
, Jim Shannon
*, Scott Harshbarger
and Tom Reilly
. The last seven of eight failed, if you go back to Eddie 'If your name was Edward Moore' McCormack
. The exception was Ed Brooke
-- but he was an African-American Republican. So maybe it's really the Curse of White Male Massachusetts Attorneys General. Martha better hope so -- and that it's not the Curse of the Democratic Massachusetts Attorneys General. ... She's certainly dull enough to qualify for the latter category. ...
* Lumpy didn't have a straight-forward shot at loserdom like other AGs. He lost his bid for the Senate while a congressman -- achieving AG loserdom status earlier than normal. He later won the AG race in '86, only to get knocked off four years later in the primary by future loser Harshbarger, proving the AG Dem loser pattern beyond reasonable doubt.Update
-- Going farther back, the pattern/curse gets worse -- much worse
. The elected attorney general who preceded Eddie McCormack, George Fingold
, was apparently running for governor when he died in office
. Can’t get more cursed than that. … Fingold's temporary successor, Edward T. Martin, and his three immediate predecessors all hit the AG glass ceiling too.
But there's hope yet for Martha! Democrat Paul A. Dever
, AG from '36 to '41, won election as governor in 1948. But it took him a prior failed gubernatorial bid, fighting through World War II and losing a pathetic post-war race for lieutenant governor before cracking the AG ceiling. Dever and Brooke. That's it. The other AGs this and last centuries, all absent losers on the gov
and U.S. senate
Seven steals and ...
Lester appears OK
. But check out Varitek's stats
last night. ...
'It’s a mentality that the information belongs to them'
Not much dirt has turned up re Michael J. Kineavy’s City Hall emails
-- not yet. But get a load of the hammer blows (every one of them deserved) that Dave Wedge delivers to the Menino adminstration
for the way it released the emails. My favorite bulleted item:
* near-comical bargaining over the cost of viewing the e-mails that went from $3,800 Thursday night to $1,000 by yesterday afternoon. a beat-the-clock time restriction for the paper to review the 5,018 e-mails that initially provided just 30 minutes - less than three seconds per e-mail - under the watchful eyes of city lawyers. That time limit was ultimately extended.
Some in the adminstration are apparently bellyaching that reproducing the emails is "cost prohibitive." Maybe if they had kept track of emails in the first place and didn't require expensive computer forensics teams to retrieve them, then perhaps the costs might have been a little lower, right guys?
'Paul Kirk's Thoughtcrime'
From Reader No. 1: "Kaus
goes back into the archives on Paul Kirk to demonstrate what too often happens when you try to ride the wave of 'Change.'"Update
-- From Brighton Reader on the Kirk appointment:
Let everyone think it is going to be one person, then appoint someone else at the last minute? Who advised Deval on how to handle this appointment, New York's governor David Patterson? Look for Obama to campaign for Deval Patrick quite a bit, the White House is not going to want a strong ally going down in a very blue state.
'Paul Kirk? Sorry, he delivers nothing,' Part III
Do you think lawmakers would have passed the succession bill had they known it was for Paul Kirk? The Duke
was used as bait. Then came the switch. Asking him to fill out a financial-disclosure form before the vote was a nice touch. Wasn't it? ...
But the Duke just keeps taking it
, reminding one and all he really wouldn't have stood up to the Soviets. ... Ah, just another $20 million request
from the Kennedys. ... The 'emergency preamble,'
thanks to Mitt and Deval, has morphed into the exact opposite of its intent: Those opposing the move must now prove it will not
cause an emergency.
Some final questions before I get accused of obsessive ranting:
1. Why do I have this feeling that part of Tom Hagen's job is to find new jobs elsewhere for Kennedy staffers?
2. Do you think John Kerry could help out responding to those 800 constituent inquiries? Never mind.
3. What time was Kennedy's will filed yesterday?*
4. Who were the Kennedy friends and advisers pushing for a succession-law change last June?
5. What did David Bernstein
know and when did he know it? **
6. Is Susan Fargo giving interviews?
7. How do you like your one-party state this morning?
* I'm guessing it was filed around 10:45 a.m., for noble 'transparency' reasons.
** Just kidding. But it does show someone was paying attention and guessed at the end fix, well before anyone else had a clue.
P.S. -- The Kennedys are going to be furious over this
. She was scheming before the senator had even died! ... Ah, never mind. See point 4.
P.S.P.S. -- I now assume there won't be much of a Duke-supporter backlash. I mean, if the Duke won't stand up for himself then ... The disgruntled among the Hack-Progressive Alliance will eventually calm their temporary outrage. They usually do.
'Paul Kirk? Sorry, he delivers nothing,' Part II
, according to David. ...Update
(I'm bumping up this update from below) -- Wayne
, whose political judgment I trust, says Kirk is a good choice. He may be a good guy. But this is a behind-the-scenes deal to appoint a behind-the-scenes guy, promoted by people who changed the succession law a few years back to allegedly avoid these behind-the-scenes antics by insiders.Update II
is challenging the appointment.Update III
-- Kirk's appointment reminds me of this 'A sort of State House farm system'
post a while back. Has anyone ever counted how many in Congress went through their own legislative farm system? Off the top of my head I can think of Dick Durbin. ... They really watch out for their own, don't they? ...Update IV
-- I now realize I've been too hard on Paul. He went to Harvard
. Did you know that?Update V
-- The Kennedy family's consigliere
. The will was filed today. Of course. ... GOP seeks injunction
against appointment. In state court? Our state court?
Not going to happen.Update VI
says the appointment is a smart move. I'll let him explain. ... Question: Does the next elected senator have to keep Kennedy's staff too? Is that part of some secret-club obligation? ...
'Sulzberger and Robinson's latest bit of malarky'
makes a nice catch on the NYT's latest Globe-related claim. ...Update
-- I hadn't noticed that Adam R caught it too
'Paul Kirk? Sorry, he delivers nothing'
With an unerring instinct for political disaster, Deval Patrick looks like he's going with Paul Kirk
-- and Patrick will look like a first-rate incompetent weenie as a result. He'll come across as having caved to the mildest criticism of Dukakis and the slightest hint a Dukakis appointment might be used as a campaign issue. He'll come across as having buckled to the wishes of the out-of-state Kennedy family and D.C. insiders. He should have cut his losses and just gone with the Duke. But now he'll take a triple hit: pissing off the Duke's Dem groupies across the state, tagging himself as a pushover for the Kennedys and Washington establishment, and reminding everyone why any appointment shouldn't have been made in the first place. ... Deval still has until 11 a.m. to read David
, etc. to get an idea about the sh%t that's about to hit the fan. He might also want to read what Brighton Reader, a die-hard Dem, has to say:
If Deval is smart, he will appoint Dukakis as Kennedy's replacement.
The Duke had an awesome organization, his people worked hard and they are still around. It helps with the ethnic Greek vote, too. Paul Kirk? Sorry, he delivers nothing, and the Kennedys have always relied on local reps on election day, most recently in the Ted K vs. Romney fight in 1994. Last year Ted (and John Kerry) endorsed Obama, the reps went with Hillary, she won the state easily. Enough said.
I keep scratching my head: How does a Paul Kirk appointment help Deval? He gets the gratitude of the Kennedy family, which gets to feel good that they've rewarded one of their own with the ultimate resumé-stuffer present. But what else does Deval get out of this back-room deal? Gratitude of voters that he appointed a long-time coat-holder insider
? ... Well, he wanted to make this appointment. He's got it! ... BTW: Are Republicans going to take action on Deval's 'emergency' appointment? ...Update
- A now distant contender
for the appointment?Update II
, whose political judgment I trust, says Kirk is a good choice. He may be a good guy. But this a behind-the-scenes deal to appoint a behind-the-scenes guy, promoted by people who changed the succession law a few years back to allegedly avoid these behind-the-scenes antics by insiders.
'The race to succeed Menino starts ...'
Brighton Reader is already looking way ahead and suggests a great go-down-in-flames issue for Flaherty:
The race to succeed Menino starts the day after he is re-elected. WIll Flaherty run again? Probably, along with many others. The city will need a real campaign at that point.
Did you notice that one representative of "New Boston," and the third place finisher in the at-large Council race was Felix Arroyo, Jr? Son of former City Councilor Felix Arroyo, Sr? So what is new about that? The "New Boston" trope is tired, one that gets dredged up every twenty years or so. One previous "New Boston" gave us the end of Scollay Square and put Government Center in its place. Toss all the talk about the importance of social/campaign networking on the Internet along with it. The campaign worker knocking on your door is going to beat adding you as a friend on Facebook every time.
And whatever happened to the proposal to move Boston City Hall? Flaherty will most likely lose, but he could do the city a big favor by making an issue of this bad proposal, and with any luck, kill it.
'Old Boston politics vs. Older Boston politics'
Pretty much sums up yesterday's mayoral results.
But it was fun. Menino had to work for it for a change. ...
Final citywide results here
has a good winners-and-losers roundup.
They’re already going at it over at UH
. … Early BMG
comments indicate light turnout in some areas. Herald and Globe coverage here
. ... If you have other links or comments, send 'em in. Email is in "about" over there ---->Update
-- Actually, it may develop into a high voter turnout
. ... Then again, maybe not
'One area which needs more dissection ...'
Reader No. 1 breaks down the Pats game yesterday:
Somehow I was not surprised by yesterday's Patriot outcome... way too many inputs to suggest it could have been different from what it was: Monday night's gift from the Bills; watching much of the Jets opener against Houston; the absence of Welker (though you couldn't have asked for more from Julian Edelman); so many new faces. One area which needs more dissection and analysis: the Pats have been having trouble protecting quarterbacks from the rush for quite awhile now - the rest of the league clearly saw something at the end of 2007, never mind the Super Bowl.
We need adjustments - maybe it's going back to "the short pass as the run" quick bullet at the line that won a Super Bowl in 2001 - which I think Ron Borges dubbed "the paper cut offense." (But it worked.) Maybe it's using running backs for more than one series apiece as has seemed the case this year. Maybe it's tricks, traps, stunts - but if something doesn't change, either this happens, or this ... again.
Hub Blog agrees in particular with 1.) trouble protecting quarterback 2.) the paper cut offense.
'It will wipe out all the biographies, just for starters,' II
Someone wrote in: "This
was a juicy, bombastic read. Kind of the trashy History Channel version of Jung. Delightful." ... Looks like the Nolls of the world will be busy this fall.
P.S. -- As I wrote back to the reader, I love this stuff. I'm no Jungian at all. But I do think we all share some basic instincts/behavior/primal memory that's both dark and enlightening at the same time. It's a fascinating subject.
'It will wipe out all the biographies, just for starters'
What will? Whose biographies? Carl Jung's Red Book
and all previous Carl Jung biographies. ... This weekend's fascinating, bizarre, I-don't-want-to-go-there read that kind of confirms the source of Bram Stoker's Dracula, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter, etc. They had to come from somewhere.
'A refreshing change from the last two Boston mayoral races'
I'm with John
: The mayoral primary has been refreshingly competitive. Email-gate won't matter in the end. Mayor Menino is still going to romp. But at least he's had to work for it. ... Who will emerge on Tuesday to face off against Menino? Answer: Floon
Shifting to the senate race, Money Bags
has already dropped $500,000 on TV ads. Your indirect 401(k) savings at work! ... Capuano is spending $300,000. Your indirect tax dollars at work! ... Hub Blog's hunch: Capuano is going to give Martha a run for her money. He has a feisty slash-and-burn style that has an old-fashioned appeal and could surprise. ... Yeah, Republicans temporarily blocked
the senate succession bill. But it'll pass next week -- and then it may be Sen. Dukakis. No secret phone call yet on my sixteen-days-of-thunder
- 9.20.09 -- Joan
traces Money Bags's money trail. ...
'That’s not the overriding issue here'
President Obama states the obvious
: Racism isn't the leading cause of the opposition to his ideas. David Brooks agrees
. The mighty Hub Blog
was saying roughly the same thing earlier this week. ... But that doesn't mean there's been no racism injected into the debate. Rush Limbaugh, take a bow.
To believe Rush wasn't engaging in race baiting is to believe the following imaginary dialouge makes sense:
Accusation: "Hey, Hub Blog, you're a racist for liking strawberry ice cream!"
Response: "That's a lie! And, BTW, did you see the video of the black kids beating up the white kid on the school bus?"
The only thing missing was a METCO joke. ...
Moving on, check out Bill Moyer's interview
with Sam Tanenhous, author of 'The Death of Conservatism.
' The interview initially irked, as Tanenhous appeared to be sucking up to Moyers. But he later finds his groove and defends the rich intellectual underpinnings of conservative thought -- and how that's missing from today's loud debate led by entertainment loudmouths like Rush.
'Ex-pat New Englandahs living out there'
wonders how Bay State transplants to California can stand it:
I mean it's gotta be tough for a stoic, steel-balled minus 10 in wintah and 3 months of summah Masshole to put up with the incessant candy-assed piss and moan fest out there.
‘The capacity to elevate the argument’
Sam Tanenhous, editor of the NYT Book Review, is interviewed
about his new book, The Death of Conservatism
. The best part of the interview comes at about the 1:50 mark. ... Needless to say, I couldn't agree more with his basic conclusion that conservatism has lost its intellectual dynamism, as Commentary, National Review and the Weekly Standard become mere "mouthpieces of the Republican Party at its most revanchist."
Already 80 percent better
has an op-ed in the WSJ on Massachusetts' health-care system. It's mostly boilerplate 'model for the nation' stuff. I haven't a clue if Max Baucus's bill
is similar to the system Deval's touting. But I do know this: Baucus's bill is 223 pages,
far less than the 1000-plus pages in other health-care monstrosities floating around Capitol Hill. That instantly makes it about 80 percent better. ... This is very encouraging: CBO says Baucus's bill won't add to the deficit.
... Are Dems picking up on Charles Krauthammer's suggestions
? ... Here's a good article
looking at why insurance rates keep getting pushed up due to legal mandates. I don't see anything wrong with a stripped down $100-a-month health insurance plan with a $2,500 deductible. I wouldn't want one right now. But if I was unemployed, yeah, I'd buy one to hedge against catastrophic illness and crippling bankruptcy filings. A lot of young 20-somethings could also easily afford it as mandated minimum coverage.
'Quite simply tearing the country apart'
A few Hub Blog readers, both to the political right of moi, wrote in to object/warn/plead with me about my post yesterday
on race (one suggested I might be going Maureen Dowd on him). But, really, read this Rush Limbaugh transcript
and explain to me why it's an even remotely appropriate, relevant, rational response to the current back-and-forth debate about race. From Rush's own big mouth:
Hey, look, folks, the white kid on that bus in Belleville, Illinois, he deserved to be beat up. You don't know about this story? Oh, there's video of this. The school bus filled with mostly black students beat up a white student a couple of times with all the black students cheering. Of course the white student on the bus deserved the beating. He was born a racist. That's what Newsweek magazine told us in its most recent cover. It's Obama's America, is it not? Obama's America, white kids getting beat up on school buses now. You put your kids on a school bus, you expect safety but in Obama's America the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering, "Yay, right on, right on, right on, right on," and, of course, everybody says the white kid deserved it, he was born a racist, he's white.
Then he goes on to Kanye West, then back to defenders of Obama's America, etc. Are conservatives proud of this ugly, hack, race-baiting logic? Not all conservatives are proud
I can't see this as anything other than Limbaugh deliberately trying to whip up racial fear and loathing of the president … if the Limbaughs of the world are going to be doing this kind of thing, and trying to blame, with no logical grounds whatsoever, a black president for black-on-white violence, and if they're going to do this in an increasingly hysterical atmosphere of protest against that black president, I don't want to talk about these things at all. Now is not the time. With this kind of inflammatory rhetoric, they are quite simply tearing the country apart.
BTW: Guess where Rush got the kids-on-bus video? Here.
Front and center. No context given at all for the prominent posting. None. Just raw meat thrown up on the site. Rush sure understood its intent.
Repeat: I understand conservative frustrations with inflammatory rhetoric and logic, like this
, that are also playing their own role in 'quite simply tearing the country apart.' The far left is no better when it slings around charges of racism at every turn. But some on the right tend to confirm such accusations when people like Rush open their mouths and others rush to his defense. ... I still think the major flaw in conservative thinking today is its dreaded and sophomoric Must Win the Argument At All Costs
mindset that says all illogical rhetoric from the left must be met with equal or greater illogical rhetoric from the right. ("You calling me a fascist? You're the fascist
!" ... "You calling me a racist? You're the racist!
Questions for Steve ...
nails why Steve Pagliuca's candidacy is going nowhere outside the banks where campaign consultants and ad people will cash his checks. ... I'd throw in some populist questions for the would-be candidate: 1.) Do you think you earned $400 million during your career as a financier? 2.) What do you say to average investors who lost their savings a year ago and who are now bailing out the financial system? 3.) Have you ever read 'Where Are the Customers Yachts?'
4.) Do you think capitalism is working properly when money that was ultimately directed toward you is then redirected toward the purchases of a basketball team, restaurant and a senatorial seat, etc.? ...
'Overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity'
Former President Carter is right
: a portion of today's opposition to President Obama is racial in nature. But only a portion -- or, as he put it, an "overwhelming portion" of the "intensely demonstrated animosity." Those are his huge qualifiers, not mine, for I'd argue that the overwhelming portion of the growing non-intensely demonstrated opposition to President Obama's policies is not racial in nature. Obama is in the process of losing the support of moderates and Independents who voted for him (like yours truly) because of the massive overreach by his fellow Democrats. Remember the obvious: The nation's unfortunate partisan and ideological divisions existed well before the 2008 election and this year's swearing-in of an African-American president. ...
With my own huge qualifiers out of the way, let's get back to President Carter's remarks. Why did this video
become so popular on conservative web sites yesterday? Why is Rush making connections
between the kids-on-bus video and Kanye West? Why did some conservatives make such a big deal about Michael Jackson's skin color after his death? Why did the Gates controversy evoke such partisan fault-line passions? Why is it that conservative talk-show hosts so often have to apologize for racial and ethnic comments? Some of the racial arguments can be tied to pushback against the all-too-frequent charges of racism hurled by liberals. But a lot of it is just too obsessive to ignore or explain away. There is a racial component to the geographic Red-Blue divide (notice how Carter brings it up -- "I live in the South" -- and then tries to squirm away from it). The Republican party needs to broom these clowns off the stage or to the side, something William F. Buckley Jr. used to spend a lot of time doing. But the clowns are now the front-and-center vanguard of the conservative "movement" -- and the only thing going for them these days is the default support they're getting as a result of Democratic blunders.
The term too far
is much more than a dispute over state public record laws. It arguably cuts to the heart of the Dianne Wilkerson scandal
and destruction of potentially crucial evidence
. ... The mold
keeps creeping. The Kevin White term-too-far syndrome
shows every sign of repeating itself. ... Ooops!
-- Outraged Liberal
made the same Rose Mary connection.
About those yahoo protesters
The funny thing about Sunday’s yahoo protesters
is that yahoo protesters are sometimes right.
Sure there were ugly scenes in Washington over the weekend. But the ugly scenes were also apparent six years ago during protests on Boston Common – up to and including the Hitler mustaches on photos of the president. … FYI: I had a ball poking fun of the lefties six years ago. But they turned out to be more right than wrong when it came to the Iraq war. That’s something people like yours truly, and especially people like Andrew Sullivan, should remember when taking the cheap-shot path of criticism. FYI II: Coverage of the ’03 protest occurred during my glorious semi-unemployment era (when I got an early glimpse of retirement and loved it). I could never do something like this
today. I just don’t have the time.
'Rodney King beats cop in boxing match'
Only in America.
'The Fading Public Option'
Let it fade away
. ... The following sentence is at the heart of why so many (including yours truly) oppose the public option: "Champions of the public plan said it could save money by using Medicare rates and fee schedules to pay hospitals and doctors." ... Medicare doesn't really "save" money. Medicare dictates low rates to doctors and hospitals that don't reflect true costs. Medicare's underpayments are ultimately passed along to private insurance plans in the form of higher premium prices so that the whole health-care system doesn't collapse. Now they want to expand that Medicare rate system, via a new government insurance plan, and it will only put more pressure on private insurers and policyholders to make up the difference. This isn't competition. It's a government thumb-on-the-scale system. ... George McGovern gets it (for different reasons): 'It's Simple: Medicare for All.'
... Enough on the subject. I'm boring myself. So I can only imagine how readers are even more bored with my public-option rants.
Game of the year -- already?
Michigan's 38-34 win
over Notre Dame was a true thriller. ... Charlie Weis is going to catch unholy hell in Sound Bend this week. What was he thinking? ND up by three with the clock hovering around 2 minutes. ND needs to run the clock out. Second and nine somewhat deep in their own zone. What do they do? Throw a pass. Incomplete. Clock stops. Throw a second pass. Incomplete. Clock stops. Kick crappy punt. Clock stops. Michigan gets the ball near midfield. Marches down field. Michigan scores TD with only 11 seconds left.
'Thousands Rally in Capital to Protest Big Government'
Huh? The NYT actually covers
an anti-big government rally? Then makes it its top web story (as of noon)? ... The same for the Washington Post
. ... My gut reaction: Good. Dems still haven't fixed the financial system
and they're off creating a new government-run health insurance program?
'Reading for a Rainy Weekend'
Reader No. 1 sends in the perfect email for a day like today:
Reading for a Rainy Weekend -- I'm ready for some football! Every so often ESPN The Magazine hits one out of the park - the current issue profile on what it's like to work for Bill Belichick and how hard it is to be one of his disciples is superb - buy the magazine or free for subscribers. From the same author, and for free for everyone, check out this profile of a driven man who never stops learning.
Wired has a great profile on how Craigslist is run . For the dead-tree newspaper business, there is some free advice on how one might innovate websites to improve upon/leapfrog Craigslist (if it's not too late already).
Hub Blog's quickie reading recommendation: How an artist almost wills herself into becoming a starving artist.
Three adjoining town houses in Greenwich Village as collateral? I hope the loan was worth it.
P.S. -- Back to football: Hub Blog wishes the Pats started the season tomorrow, not Monday night. I've been eyeing some baby back ribs and corn bread at the local market for a few weeks now, mapping out in my head each football Sunday's chosen cuisine and beverages. The baby backs will have to wait until next Sunday. They're not appropriate for Monday nights.
'The unique hell that is Massachusetts alimony law',' Part III
EB sends in this alert
on a Statehouse hearing on alimony law. ... Earlier post on the issue here
'Is he gone yet?'
'Leave it to the state GOP,' Part II
Card is out.
It's best for the GOP. He would have been a formbidable candidate in the Senate race. But he was still going to get slaughtered. Better to give Scott 'Sacrificial Lamb' Brown a chance to get his name out there for a later statewide run. ... Howie was making the same point yesterday
. I hadn't previously noticed his Wednesday piece.
There are a lot of ways to remember the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001. One of my somber favorites is nestled toward the back of a small, quaint park at the center of my old hometown, Sudbury. The Sudbury memorial
, for three town residents who died eight years ago today, is elegant for its simplicity and quite moving. Each victim's family was allowed to select a poem for small plaques placed on the rock. No arguments broke out. The memorial was designed, built and dedicated within two years of the tragedy. It's small-town America at its best.
The Speech, Part III
I hope David Brooks
is right about the ramifications of the president's health-care speech (and that my gut reaction is wrong). But I fear Matt
is more on target. ... Dems seem pumped up.
Liberals are talking compromise. It'd be better if Republicans were the ones pulling them toward the center. But we're not going to get that from today's party. They don't seem to grasp the concept that compromise can sometimes head off something
, not just obtain something (see third item).
The Speech, Part II
Re my earlier post
and exchange with Reader No. 1: I’m still trying to sort out my reaction. But here’s how I think this health-care debate has played out so far: Obama beckons Republicans to cross the compromise bridge. Republicans refuse. Obama blames Republicans and orders the bridge torched. … Am I missing anything? One can read into this all the motives, mistrust, missed chances and other nuances you want. But isn’t this fundamentally how it’s turned/turning out?
'Leave it to the state GOP'
OK, maybe local political races can't wait. The Massachusetts Republican Party.
What can you say? The odds are against them -- gerrymandered districts, entrenched incumbents, frustrated voters who nevertheless flip the switch for pols with clout, whacked out national party leaders, etc. But local Republicans deserve blame too. Andrew Card
would make a formidable Senate candidate. But aren't the Scott Browns of the GOP really its future? Mitt Romney first ran against Ted Kennedy as a virtual nobody. But he acquitted himself well, gained name recognition and later ran for governor and won. Republicans need to put up more 'sacrificial lambs' like the '94 Romney -- at all levels, all the time. They have a thin bench. But they ain't going to become a viable party until they stop relying on their one-shot wonders. ...Cahill announces for governor
: Zzzzz. The only surprise is that he did it this week, getting lost in the announcements shuffle.
'All I can say is I think he’s just one lucky dude'
Great Whites were spotted by plane
darting toward the sound of swimmers and surfers off the Cape. Reading the story, I had an image of velociraptors perking their heads up
at the sound of their next meal. ... Great Whites are now venturing into Chatham Harbor
. ... This is the best local story out there right now. The Senate, mayoral and gubernatorial races can wait. I'm a member of the original National Geographic/Blue Water White Death/Jaws generation. I can't get enough of these critters. We're literally witnessing a new offshore migratory pattern as it develops.
My immediate reaction to President Obama’s health-care speech
last night: I wish he had left the combative middle portion out, leaving in the impressive centrist-sounding beginning and end. The speech left me both impressed and disappointed as a result. I don’t see any chance now of compromise outside of minor centrist tweaking. …
About the middle portion of the speech (in which he angrily rebutted specific claims about various health-care plans – and then got rudely heckled): I got the impression the president subtly offered Republicans one last chance to compromise, i.e. he’s willing to discuss further watering down of the public-option plan. But he really doesn’t think that’s going to happen, so he swung away at critics, refusing to give up a key a bargaining chip and hardening his stance in the process. He was laying the groundwork for a one-party bill. …
As for the heckler
, sometimes someone can both be wrong and right at the same time. Wilson was rude. He was wrong. He apologized for it
– and should apologize again if he gets to speak to the president himself. But can there be any doubt that the liberal wing of the Democratic party will one day push for (and probably get) health-care coverage for illegal immigrants? A final bill won’t include coverage for illegal immigrants. The president was being truthful about that. But in the long-run we all know what’s coming.
One last point: Has everyone forgotten about anti-trust laws? If a state is monopolized by one health-care insurer, then bust up the monopoly. Right? … Mickey
has more on the speech.Update
-- From Reader No. 1:
Fine analysis of Obama last night, but I am not clear what 'impressed' you about it? At the risk of psychoanalyzing the President, might one ask if he is capable of trust? Democratic politics is largely about compromise, and you can't have compromises in life without establishing trusting relationships. There is a pattern to which you allude today, and which the WSJ sums up well in today's lead editorial:
"The speech was especially notable for its use of one of Mr. Obama's favorite rhetorical devices: Noting in the first instance that his opponents have a good point, and entirely legitimate concerns, only to reject their ideas in toto when it comes to policy. Thus he endorsed the public's concern about the competence of government to manage one-sixth of the economy, only to finish with a soaring oration about the moral necessity of letting government do so."
The desire to put so much private action and behavior is another manifestation of the failure to trust: people won't make good choices, so we have to make those choices for them (another statement of this perspective may be found in yesterday's Tom Friedman column). This is an alarming pattern for our President.
I fear that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg of contentiousness should the national Dems really try to jam in a national health care bill.
Quickie HB response: I was 'impressed' with his ability to see both sides of an issue. I was disappointed that that ability hasn't, and probably won't, lead to a compromise agreement. He was almost burning bridges last night. He chose his left wing over bi-partisan compromise. Maybe he wanted it that way all along. Maybe he was forced to do it by an uncompromising right. Maybe it was a combination of the two. But a comprehensive compromise isn't going to happen, by the looks of it.
'Someday something is going to happen,' Part IV
The accompanying photo of a Great White was taken by Massachusetts scientists off the coast of Cape Cod -- and it instantly reminded me of my own shark tour
off the coast of South Africa earlier this decade. This is how we largely viewed the sharks, as giant shadows just below the water’s surface. Obviously we would have preferred them breaking the water, baring their blood-stained fangs while thrashing mightily to get at us. But it was still an incredible sight and day. … P.S. – No one went into the cage on my tour. The waters were too rough. I, personally, had no intention of cage diving, rough seas or not. … Photo via the Herald
via the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
'Progressives begin to wobble,' Part II
The Washington Post
has sensible thoughts on what President Obama should say tonight. This smackdown of the public option was especially welcome:
If, as many proponents maintain, this government entity would compete on a level playing field -- not using its public status to underprice the competition -- then its presence would be mostly irrelevant. If it would underprice, it would drive private firms out of business, leaving the United States with a British-style national health service, which most Americans say they do not want. Liberals such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi say they would reject reform -- including the decades-old dream of universal coverage -- if it does not include a public option. We hope Mr. Obama shows more sense.
'Progressives begin to wobble'
'We’re hoping to get a herd stampeding '
Catching up on my weekend reading, John
points out this 'things that will end badly'
story on Wall Street's latest adventure. They're no longer even pretending to be the grease of capitalism -- finding the next hot industry, technology or company. They're just scheming. They're no better than ambulance-chasing lawyers looking for a legal loophole or chink in the armor to exploit. They think they've found one in life-insurance policies, betting on when people will die. ... I'm half wondering when the first Wall Street-commissioned white paper will pronounce that stupendous "market efficiencies" have been achieved in life insurance and that every American should have a policy for their own golden years. ...
P.S. -- Paul Krugman
, the good Paul Krugman, hopefully will have a word or two on Wall Street's latest 'herd' mentality gambit.
Richard Seymour and the ghosts of Asante Samuel, etc.
I'm with Tony
: The Seymour deal
makes long-term sense on paper but ... the ghosts of Asante Samuel and Deion Branch linger. This wouldn't be the first time Belichick has left what appears to be a gaping hole in the line-up at the start of a season -- only to discover at the end of the season that the gaping hole really was a gaping hole. ... At least Tom Brady won't have to memorize
new receivers' names. ...Update
-- Dale & Holley
mentioned another ghost: Lawyer Milloy.
Joe, We Hardly Knew Ye
. ... I suspected
as much. ... A certain newspaper (see second link) is thumping its chest by suggesting its Hugo Chavez article might have made a difference in Joe K's decision -- five days
and three days
after others covered the same obvious subject. If recent media stories indeed made a difference (and I doubt they did), columns and posts like this
probably made more of an impression on Joe. It wasn't going to be a cake walk. I think Joe already knew that. ... Keep in mind he voluntarily gave up his Congressional seat a number of years ago. What's changed since then for Joe? Not much. He may quote his father saying that politics is a "honorable profession." But no word on whether he thinks it's a sane profession. ...
This race is actually shaping up to be pretty much a CW contest, barring Curt Schilling or some other big name on the GOP side getting involved. So I'd say Martha Coakley has to be the favorite at this point. But there's something about early front-runner attorneys general in Massachusetts. They have a history of squandering leads when running for other offices.Update
- 9.8.09 -- In the comments section at UH
, John points out a GB interview that probably explains why Joe isn't running: Maybe he really doesn't like politics. ... Peter
goes through all the reasons why Joe shouldn't run -- then urges him to run. I don't know, but the "don't" list sure looks compelling to me.
'Someday something is going to happen,' Part III
Actually, it just occurred to me: some enterprising Cape boat capitan could make a buck off of this one day, via shark tours, similar to those in South Africa
Hub Blog once went on a South African shark tour. It was great. A few menacing shark fins circled our boat and you could see giant shadows just below the water's surface. But we never saw an up-close, thrashing Great White off our stern. The blood-thirsty tourists on a boat next to ours did. Their captain apparently baited a line with whale meat, prompting our captain to complain the act was illegal. An Australian next to me muttered under his breath, "Oh, great. We get a PC captain complying with environmental laws. They get all the action."
'Someday something is going to happen,' Part II
More on 'nature’s oldest, best-designed killing machine.'
Not that I or my colleagues
would stoop to trying to frighten anyone. ...
‘The Christian Sparta’
Hub Blog has finally finished reading Van Wyck Brooks’s ‘The Flowering of New England – 1815-1865.’
The tome will now be included on Hub Blog’s prestigious Boston Reading List
. But before explaining why I liked (and disliked) this book so much, let’s first set the stage. I’ve always felt I had a decent handle on 17th and 18th centuries Boston history. I also like to think I have a pretty good grasp of 20th Century Boston history. But the 19th Century, with the exception of the abolitionist movement, is a giant void for yours truly. I’ve always wondered how a rigid Puritanical society transformed into a more open Universalist society that could produce the likes of Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Alcott etc. The question can be posed another way: How did the "Christian Sparta," as Brooks brilliantly called old Boston, transform into an "American Athens," as so many Bostonians desired for the city during the early 1800s?
Brooks carefully traces what leading citizens thought and did, consciously or unconsciously, to bring about transformation (using portrait painter Gilbert Stuart, Harvard scholar George Tichnor and others to make his points). There were obviously deep cultural, economic and religious factors at play as well. Brooks delves into these subjects: An unspoken realization that the old ways weren’t working; an American Revolution that wiped the slate clean and encouraged New Englanders to build a more modern and enlightened society; a maturing Harvard College that increasingly saw its role as shaping the minds of future American leaders; a mercantile class that produced both tremendous wealth and a younger generation with higher ideas about progress (often mimicking European elites to an annoying degree). Brooks also provides some of the keenest observations about the Boston and New England mindset that I’ve ever read (more on these in future posts). ‘The Flowering of New England’ is a rich, dense look at a period in Boston’s history that too often gets ignored.
But the book’s strengths are also its weaknesses: It’s almost too rich, too dense, too hard to follow and absorb. Published in 1936 and winner of the 1937 Pulitzer Prize,
‘Flowering of New England’ is written in a distant and flowery style (pun intended) that, I’m guessing, was one of preferred academic styles of Brooks’s time. Brooks also presumed, it seems, that readers knew, or should have known, about all the literary names he casually and constantly drops, sending me more than a few times to Wikipedia and elsewhere for guidance. At one point I did a simple calculation to measure the sense of distance I felt with Brooks’s style: Brooks
was closer, time wise, to the tail-end of the subject matter he was writing about (71 years) than he is to us today (73 years).
Bottom line: I highly recommend ‘The Flowering of New England,’ but with huge caveats about its style. I barely finished it. … Special thanks to reader Stephen for originally recommending the book.Update
-- Brooks wrote a companion book to 'Flowering of New England' -- New England: Indian Summer.
From a 1940 Time magazine review
New England: Indian Summer opens sombrely with America's Tragic Era, 1865. The Civil War — "Mrs. Stowe's war," Lincoln liked to call it — was won. The great and near-great figures of New England's flowering had been up to their transcendental ears in Abolitionism and underground railroading. But with the thrill of victory came a chill realization that it was not the same country. It was not even quite the same New England. The slave power was gone, but the bankers remained. Most of the young men were dead or gone West. The New England mind recoiled … So New England withdrew into itself. Sometimes brilliantly, sometimes querulously, then more & more complacently, it spent the next half century dying. The flowering was over: chill autumn had set in.
'Lynch pulls papers'
I didn't think he'd do it.
I'm glad he did.
'An article of faith ...'
An excellent post over at BMG: 'The public option is not a panacea.'
Obviously I agree. So it's excellent. ... Liberal activists were warned the public option wouldn't fly. But nooooooo.
... David Brooks
points out the same David Goldhill article
that Reader No. 1 flagged the other day
. Goldhill's main complaint about today's health-care system: the 'insane incentives' driving costs. Incentives like this?
Before anyone asserts the $3 Million Doc is an prime example of insane incentives within the private sector (and it is), keep in mind the insane incentives that produce $500 hammers at the single-payer Pentagon. ... Brooks is still arguing that the president wasn't stern enough with the American people about the health-care choices facing us. But I'm with Mickey (and Krauthammer and others) that the president should have pushed first for a universal system at a time of economic insecurity, saving debate over cost-cutting means for later. But his base wouldn't let him. ... I'd say there's been three main forces blocking universal health-care for decades now: 1.) The insurance/hospital industry (yes, lump 'em together at this point) 2.) free-market purists on the right. 2.) dogmatic leftists holding out for their magic-wand single-payer system.
'If any cause is motivated by judgment, anger or vindictiveness'
has words that should apply to all of us as we blather away in our own opinionated little worlds:
If any cause is motivated by judgment, anger or vindictiveness, it will be doomed to marginalization and failure.
O'Malley's blog remarks via the Globe
. ... The NYT
obtained a copy of Kennedy's memoir. The Washington Post
His candidacy would make the election even more fun.
'The nuclear option'
Despite two unpopular wars and an imploding economy, the 2008 presidential race was still surprisingly close
. The nation remains divided. So what do Democrats do? Risk everything on a health-care plan
that wasn’t even central to last year’s election. … Oh, right. Dems are pushing the single-payer system because they believe it can ‘bend the cost curve.’ Not because it’s a long-held dogma
on how to approach social policies in general. …
P.S. – Read this article
on the French health-care system. It starts off with a bash-the-French tone but ends up exploring a system more complex and dynamic than one might think. The French haven’t inserted a thumb-on-the-scale public option deliberately designed to tilt the system toward an eventual Anglo-like
P.S.P.S. – I know, I know. Republicans aren’t playing bipartisan ball. But 60 House Democrats are also refusing to play bipartisan ball, vowing to not vote for any plan that doesn’t include the public option. Dems have in their power the ability to create the foundation of a universal health-care system. They did so in the early ‘70s
-- and held out for a single-payer system. They got nothing. They’re doing the same thing today.Update
-- Politico is reporting
that Obama may move ahead without the public option.Update II
-- Matt writes in about my French-system comments:
I think you need to explain what you're trying to say here more clearly.
The French most certainly have a "public option" for health insurance -- 80% of French citizens are covered by Sécurité Sociale. Seventy-five percent of all medical expenditures are paid by the different French "public options" with the rest coming from supplemental private insurance. The system looks a lot like what would happen if we did "Medicare for (almost) everyone" here in the US, except the French take cost control more seriously than US Medicare does -- look at the difference in doctor's salaries between France and the US.
Do you think there are many liberal Democrats that wouldn't jump at the chance to institute a system like France has?
As I told Matt, I don't know enough about the French system to get in detailed discussions about private-vs.-public percentages. I'm also aware that the U.S. already has single-payer systems (Medicare, Medicaid, VA). But as I told Matt, my problem is with those who really do want to kill off/lame the private insurance system. Look at the way private insurance was demonized in the '70s. Look at the rhetoric today lobbed against private insurance. Not good rhetoric if you're trying to convince people you're trying to preserve private insurance. The rhetoric of 'single-payer' should be taken exactly the way it's meant: backers want a 'single-payer' system.
'During a bathroom stop'
Before reading this story on Michael Rodrigues’s booze cruise,
I was going to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he has a vacation home in New Hampshire. Maybe he and guests roared through a few cases and had to make an emergency run. But a 'bathroom stop,’ as all good boozers know, is only done on longer trips, usually to or from a destination, and Michael was stupid enough to pull over in a car with a state rep license plate in a parking lot filled with fellow tax-dodging Massachusetts residents who knew full well why they were there. It wasn't to go to the bathroom. …
FYI – The booze-stop caper was all over the talk shows last night.
'The Governor shall appoint an interim Senator ...'
... for 16 days?
... It's nuts. ... But Hub Blog volunteers for the appointment. I've already come up with a working title for my post-senatorial memoir: "I, Senator” Subtitle: “Sixteen Days of Thunder.” … I’ll even vote for the single-payer system if it comes up. I shall include a dramatic account of the vote in a chapter called “Principles and Pragmatism: How I Won Universal Health Care And
a Fully Vested Federal Pension Plan.” …
'Probably because it gores too many oxes'
Reader No. 1 chimes in on Charles Krauthammer's health-care column
I think you and Dan and many of the Media Nation posters missed the key point in the Krauthammer article, i.e. "the ultimate bait-and-switch" described in the second to last paragraph. This was an article about how to get something done politically, not improving the current system.
A creative and powerful example of how we might take a sensible, systemic, and - yes - radical approach to reforming healthcare and health insurance can be found in the current Atlantic. Why has David Goldhill's superb article not attracted more attention? Probably because it gores too many oxes - e.g. big government, big health insurers, and hospitals. Aside from the usual difficulty of fighting the status quo, I suspect the current administraition's spectacularly ineffective approach has doomed this kind of fresh and creative approach...