'I’m not where I need to be’
. Smart move. Glenn already knows what he did was wrong -- and stupid.
'Traditions whose time has passed'
Hats off to Patrick
for taking an axe to hack holidays and the Quinn bill. ... Their elimination or reduction won't balance the budget. But it is important to show that lawmakers are serious about boosting government productivity and efficiecy, amid tax increases and service cuts. As Rahm would say, you never want a serious crisis to go to waste. So more reforms, please. ...Update
-- In an email slugged 'Traditions Passed,' Peter Porcupine notes:
From Beacon Hill roll Call last June - how quickly our traditions change these days!
78-78 TIE VOTE SAVES TWO SUFFOLK COUNTY-ONLY HOLIDAYS (H 4125) - House on a 78-78 tie vote rejected a Republican-sponsored amendment that would have abolished the Suffolk County legal holidays of Evacuation Day (March 17) and Bunker Hill Day (June 17). Under House rules, a majority of votes in the affirmative is required in order for an amendment to pass. A tie goes to the negative side. If any single representative had voted to abolish the holidays instead of for retaining them, the abolition would have been successful on a 79-77 vote.
The Statehouse and other state and local government buildings in only Boston, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop are officially closed each year on both dates. Thousands of local and state workers in those communities are given the two days off. Thousands of other state employees in all other cities and towns across the state are allowed to take the two days off or use them as “floating holidays” - a procedure under which they can take off two days of their choice during the year. ...
'Once upon a time, there was a magical kingdom ...'
Sometimes you just have to reduce Wall Street to a fairy tale
to make it comprehensible. … Here’s another children’s tale
about Washington that probably won’t have a good ending either. …
For what it’s worth, I count myself among the nation’s disheartened. I’m hoping it’s just a bad dream. But here we have two political parties governing the country – and both seem in their own dream worlds, or fairy tales, if you will. One dwells on a fictional Randian
utopia. The other harks back to ‘70s ideas
that you thought had been disproved long, long ago in a far off land and era. … A 1,990-page health-care bill?
It’s insanity. …
P.S. -- Some self-righteous critics
welcome Noonan back to their fold. But notice the reference to the fictional Galt and ask youself whether they’re any more in touch with reality than Obama. ... And where were they when Bush was spending like a banshee?
Mr. and Mrs. Ballpark Frank
The LAT’s Bill Plaschke
rips into Boston’s very own Frank and Jamie McCourt, as their pending divorce
gets more surreal. … Thank goodness they didn’t buy the Sox. …
Hub Blog has my own McCourt stories.
Story #1: A BBJ colleague and I were once summoned to a meeting with the McCourts in the ‘90s, during the height of local criticism that Frank McCourt wasn’t doing enough to develop his Hub waterfront parking lots. The McCourts' dog-and-pony show was meant to reassure us how serious and dedicated they were about developing the land – and the only thing they accomplished was convincing us they were a truly batty couple who would never develop the land. And they never did. … To this day, I think it was one of the strangest interviews/media events I’ve ever attended.
Story #2: The Herald used to regularly call McCourt “Ballpark Frank”
in headlines. One day word got back to One Herald Square that McCourt, then angling to buy the Red Sox, really hated his tabloid nom de guerre.
So the very next day, and in nearly every story thereafter, “Ballpark Frank” was gleefully jammed into any and all headlines involving Frank.
To give Frank credit, he did 1.) Buy the Dodgers. 2.) Build a competitive team rather quickly, using a Red Sox West formula. He has a knack for creating absolutely crazy situations. But I wouldn’t count him or the Dodgers out -- not yet.
Bruuuuuuuce! ... Part II
Re the Springsteen post below, Bert emails in with a great response. We're in general agreement -- only he does a much better job explaining Bruce's 'ambivalence' and other angles:
Did Bruce want to have it both ways or just have feelings that just didn’t fit entirely into one end of the spectrum or the other? Always seemed to me he did have the 60s counterculture thing, but also a strong underlying love of country and its people. He was frustrated, but hopeful. Clearly there is an affinity for Americans and dissatisfaction with how as a country we have failed so many of our countrymen.
Rather than take it or leave it, when it comes to America, I think he may have wanted to take it, but improve it. If anything, the complexity of his message was stripped away by both sides who wanted to “claim” him for their side. ...
I chalk up his “serve at the behest…” comment as one of those artist things. Every artist tells you they don’t want to get into spelling it out for you too specifically because it then moves you away from what they put out. Defining it more specifically — or defending it — adds meaning they may not feel comfortable adding. ...
Now my head hurts.
For the record, I like some of Bruce’s stuff, but think his fans take him and his work a bit too seriously at times. But that’s what happens with popular people/things. Liberals have the Kennedys, conservatives have Reagan, there’s the Kiss Army and Streisand fans.
Heading into the winter months, it's comforting to know the Celts will be around
, providing Bostonians with top-notch sports entertainment during those long cold nights in between the Pats and Sox seasons. I used to try to convey to my nephew, who wasn't around during the Bird-McHale-Parish era, how much fun it was in the '80s to flick on the TV and say with excitement, "Hey, the Celts are on!" It didn't matter who they were playing. It didn't matter whether it was a close or blowout mid-season game. One of those teams on the TV was great -- and it was the Celts. ...
And, yes, I'm in the early stages of comparing this current team to the '80s Celts. I know I'm setting myself up for disappointment. It's a long season. Injuries will be, as they always are, an unknown factor. The current team also has displayed a preliminary pattern of starting strong and ending erratically. They can be very frustrating. But, good lord, look at the starting lineup and the bench. This is one hell of a team on paper -- and, so far after just two games, on the court.
Hub Blog really liked Ward Sutton’s cartoon look
at the 25th anniversary of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born in the USA’ album. I’ve never been convinced that there was widespread "popular misreading" of the album's signature ‘Born in the USA’ song. Bruce has always come across to me as playing both sides of the fence when it comes to the song. Its lyrics are clearly ‘60s counterculture in content and sentiment. But Springsteen is artistic and smart enough to know that by pumping up the song into a flag-festooned anthem, he was tapping into more patriotic times in the ‘80s. He fed the ambiguity – and that may have done partly because of his own ambivalence and partly because he wanted to be more popular. He hasn’t done much since to clear up the confusion, unless you think this is an adequate "philosophical" explanation: “You serve at the behest of the audience’s imagination. It’s a complicated relationship.” … Sounds like a successful chef saying he’s ultimately going to give the customers what they want. It’s not that complicated. …
And that’s my heavy Bruce Springsteen analysis of the decade. See you in 10 years for Hub Blog's exciting 35th-anniversary analysis of the album. *
* Note: As you can probably tell, I’m not a huge fan of Bruuuuuuce’s work in its totality. …
'Giddy on the subject of his bench'
Last night could have been a disaster for the Celts. It wasn't.
The bench was simply great
. It was a highly encouraging evening, even while Big Baby's fight was highly discouraging. Leave it to Doc
to put Glen's woes into perspective:
I’ll make this point: Baby’s not a bad person. He made a bad mistake and he made a bad judgment. Unfortunately it only takes one second or five seconds to make a mistake, and you have to live with it, but he’s not a bad kid. He’s growing; he’s maturing. Obviously he has some ways to go, but we want to help him do that. ... I really feel that’s part of my job, to help him become a better person and not put himself in ways like this.
I fully understand why Wyc and Danny are upset. The suspension is a rational I'm-Not-Going-To-Pay-Someone-Millions-Of-Dollars-To-Act-Like-A-Fool response to stupidity. But they need to take deep breaths, listen to Doc and move on for the sake of the team.
The Amazing Handy-dandy Efficient Market Theory
So what if the efficient market theory
didn't really efficiently predict what would inefficiently happen in the markets. ...
Of course the problem with academic theories is how they're interpreted
by real live executives and policymakers and implemented
by real live executives and policymakers. ... Alan Greenspan believed in some form of a laissez-faire/Randian/efficient-market theory -- and he played a role in driving the economy into the ground and costing taxpayers trillions of dollars. So where does that leave Efficient Market Theory? As an 'acadmenic hypothesis' that should never have been tried in the real world?
Such theorists remind me of Ronald Reagan's famous Pony in the Dung Heap story
. They remain supremely confident in their theories as long they can rationalize them back into the safe confines of academia.
'A fight inside a black SUV'
Dumb, dumb, dumb.
... Wyc, who's talking about a suspension, isn't happy: "I'm not going to call him Big Baby anymore. He's Glen. He needs to act like Glen."
Making the Northeast more Blue
Conservatives from Alaska, Texas, Washington and elsewhere are trying to make endangered Northeast Republicans even rarer species in these parts
When not following their convictions when Republicans control the White House and Congress, movement conservatives busy themselves with purist crusades when they’re out of power. …
‘The carbon content of their food'
They’ll have to pry
the greasy Fenway Italian Sausage from my cold dead hands (and probably will in the end). …
As I’ve said before and I’ll say again, I’m not against regulations to curb global warming. I’m against nannies/socialists/environmentals/vegetarians/lefty moonbats in general using hysteria to impose social regulations that they’ve long pined for before global warming became an issue. …
Because she didn’t lose.
Pags, Mike and Dr. Son were fine. But so was Coakley. She remains the boring frontrunner. … Margery agrees
. So there. It’s settled. … Still plenty of time for one of the guys to break out of the pack. I used to think it would be Capuano. But Dr. Son seems to make progressive hearts go pitter patter, possibly thwarting Capuano's strategy of making the primary a one-on-one contest. … Interesting observation by a HB relative last night: “I think Khazei is really running for a House seat. This is about getting his name out.” If true, he’s doing a good job, though there'll be no open seat next year if Martha breaks the AG curse. …
'Bad break for Big Baby'
Glen Davis may require surgery
on his thumb due to an 'entirely regrettable incident.'
... Details to come. Right now, it sounds real dumb. Once again Doc had bluntly assessed the problem before it even happened: maturity.
What the dumb-thumb incident could cost the Celts:
He’s part of a rotation that has a chance to be one of the greatest of all time, with one of the best second units of all time. The NBA is filled with exceptional players on bad teams who would love a reserve role on the Celtics.
About those rootin'-tootin' capitalist gunslingers... Part II
was going to have Andrew Ross Sorkin on his WRKO show tonight to discuss Sorkin's new book 'Too Big To Fail.'
The show got bumped due to the baseball playoff game. Too bad. I would have loved to listen. But Kevin still reviews 'Too Big To Fail' and gives it a big thumbs up. He loved the last line of the book: "Still missing in the current system is a genuine sense of humility." ... Joe Nocera was making the same point about Goldman Sachs below
Lights, camera, action
The Boston City Council wants a movie studio in the city
. It’s not a bad idea. It’d be more convenient here than in Plymouth. … Hub Blog has a suggestion: The 500 block of Harrison Ave.
There’s an abandoned brick warehouse/garage around there that has an old stately look to it – and I’ve always wondered why it hasn’t been converted into a theater or condos or something. It’s pretty big. …Update
-- Some good studio site suggestions
over at Universal Hub.
‘Antoine is a sweet person’
He really is.
But he doesn’t have a clue about managing money. … I’ve always had a soft spot for Antoine Walker, even though he’s one of the most annoying and frustrating athletes I’ve ever watched. He’s genuinely nice and generous – and loved being with the Celtics. Now he’s broke. … I never knew Antoine got the news he was traded by the Celts while he was playing blackjack at Mohegan Sun. I used to be a harsh critic of Trader Danny. But he's proven he knows when to hold and fold 'em.Update
-- Paul Pierce
on his old teammate's woes:
We spent a lot of time together. I always went out to Chicago and worked out with him, and things like that. But people grow up, and I can’t tell you why things happen, or what’s going on in his head. But as far as not being able to play the game of basketball, that hurts, because you know you have something left in the tank, but you’re not on a roster.
'This is like looting'
Boston’s Jeremy Grantham
on Wall Street’s growing share of the nation’s GDP:
This is like looting … That 7.5%, that goes to financial fees, is on its way to 10%. This industry can grow to gobble up all the benefits of the real economy if allowed to. It is trying to grab our cash. It's obscene.
But will Obama try to strike a global anti-trust deal
? ... The NP's headline was simply music to my ears: ‘Time to bust up the world’s banking giants’ … More on Grantham here
About those rootin’-tootin’ capitalist gunslingers ...
explains why Goldman Sachs isn’t the rootin’-tootin’ capitalist gunslinger that it thinks it is. … Good question: ‘Where’s our bonus?’ …
The nerve of these guys to think they’re actually still capitalists. They’re not. No other industry gets backstopped by the government like Wall Street. It’s why reforms are desperately needed.
‘Sir your most humble servant, Paul Revere’
History buffs, like your most humble blogger, love this stuff
'John Kerry's successful mission to Kabul'
Fred Kaplan is impressed.
... Is this a sort of tryout for the once SofS-aspiring Kerry? Hillary isn't going anywhere soon. But ...
P.S. -- Kaplan also explains, indirectly, why Cheney is wrong
-- again. No new troops until after the Afghan run-off election, please.
Calmly seething Thomas explodes with restraint
(print edition Page 1): ‘Thomas blasts benching/Angry linebacker explodes’Globe headline
(print and online): ‘It’s just a scratch/Linebacker says he’s fine with Belichick’s benching’
The truth is in there somewhere (tilting more toward Karen's actual story). I know this: No egotistical NFL player can be nonchalantly happy about being benched, inactivated or whatever. It should be interesting to see how he plays Sunday.Update
- Hub Blog's early Herald print-edition is different from this later print edition
: 'Bench chafes Thomas/Angry linebacker simmers.' Well, that's probably closer to the truth than the other two headlines.
Probably the best documentary on the financial crisis was broadcast last night: Frontline's 'The Warning.'
The gang's all there -- Greenspan, Rubin, Summers, Geithner, Gramm, Levitt etc. -- ganging up on one lone woman who warned more than ten years ago about the risk of systemic failure. They didn't just ignore Brooksley Born. They effectively tried to publicly humiliate her. She was proven right. They were proven wrong. But guess who's still making policy in Washington? Hint: It's not Paul Volcker.
Geithner's current approach comes across as someone trying to regulate the fox instead of building an old-fashioned chicken coop. ... Did capitalism exist before the Glass-Steagall Act was watered down and then repealed? Of course it did. But you'd think, listening to Alan Greenspan et gang, that returning to a variation of Glass-Steagall would be a disaster. What's their definition of disaster? Something worse than bailing out a system to the tune of trillions of dollars? ... Perhaps Obama should use a little bit of his vaunted charm and international capital to push for new global regulations on banks and investment houses. The main argument against re-regulating American banks seems to be that it would put them at a competitive disadvantage against other banks. Well, then, get an international agreement. Right? ... Frontline's rebroadcast schedules are here
'Adalius Thomas was benched'
There isn't much mystery
about what happened to Adalius Thomas on Sunday. He was benched.
Period. But was it for a combination of performance and contract considerations
? ... This much is clear: Galloway, gone.
'This counts, right?’
... But Bob's right about waiting a bit before drawing conclusions about yesterday's Pats game. I mean, Laurence Maroney didn't suddenly become Jim Brown. ... What's up with Thomas?
'The Evel Knievel of leaping to conclusions'
It's an Ayn Rand smackdown
. ... I enjoyed these lines:
William James once argued that every philosophic system sets out to conceal, first of all, the philosopher’s own temperament: that pre-rational bundle of preferences that urges him to hop on whatever logic-train seems to be already heading in his general direction. This creates, as James put it, “a certain insincerity in our philosophic discussions: the potentest of all our premises is never mentioned … What the system pretends to be is a picture of the great universe of God. What it is — and oh so flagrantly! — is the revelation of how intensely odd the personal flavor of some fellow creature is.”
Five TD passes in one quarter
The Watertown-Belmont Pop Warner D team could beat the Titans today
. ... If Tom Brady plays in the second half, Belichick needs to have his head examined. ...Update
-- Calling McLean Hospital! Brady's playing. Roughing the quarterback on the first play! ... OK, another touchdown. 52-0.
Now take him out? Let Junior Seau throw a few, for Christ sake.Update II
-- Brian Hoyer's in. He's moving the team down the field. This is a slaughter. ... Maybe Julian Edelman can throw a few? How about one of the end-zone Minutemen? Why not?
'The new and improved Celtics bench'
I know the Hub Blog mind should be focused on today’s Pats game. But the eyes keep drifting over to stories comparing the current Celts
to the '08 championship team and the ‘new and improved Celtics bench.’
… Got to love Doc’s good-natured smack-down of Rondo. Doc is consistently the most blunt and honest coach in Boston.
BTW: Did you catch the N.D.-USC game
yesterday? There were moments when I was sure we’d be reading the headline ‘Notre Dame beats USC, 34-34.’ They had two shots in the final seconds to do it. But ...
'The race has certainly tightened'
Menino has a solid lead
, but the mayoral race is tighening (by recent city-election standards). ... The gap could increase if more people see this video
. It's a cheap shot. But it's a pretty clever and effective cheap shot, before it drags on too long and almost makes you feel sorry for Flaherty. ... 'The Michael Flaherty Show' via UH
, where the two sides are going at it again.
This is not capitalism, Part II
Here's another way to describe today’s government-subsidized bank capitalists: “The modern-day robber barons.”
Hmmm. Robber barons. A little corny. But not bad. … Another entrant: ‘Octopus.’
I like the comparison of big banks to Standard Oil. But Octopus isn’t quite accurate or catchy enough. … I may be partial, but I think plutocrats
is the simple way to go. We can nickname them ‘Plutos’ for short. …
There's too much talk of reform. Not enough action. Here’s a simple idea: Repeal the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act. If financial firm are too big to fail, they shouldn’t be allowed to exist. They never should have been allowed to exist. … This is one of those moments when conservatives have to confront economic contradictions. Stick with the current system – and keep bailing out the plutocrats via government intervention. Change the current system – and stop bailing out the plutocrats via government-intervention corrections. …
'The Curse of The Middlesex County DA,' Part III
Is the word 'wrong'
a 'code word'? ... She's now well beyond 'cautious.'
She seems determined to keep the AG tradition going
This is not capitalism
It's a borderline plutocracy.
What else can you call it at this point? ...
French Toast Alert System malfunction
Hold the FEMA comparisons.
The FTAS was apparently down for routine off-season maintenance.
‘Look for Obama to campaign for Deval …'
Brighton Reader called it
: Obama is riding
to Deval’s rescue. … The only question now: How many times will Obama come to Massachusetts for Deval over the next year? The betting pool starts. I say three times, in addition to next week -- once during the slow winter/spring months, once during the summer (Tanglewood/Martha’s Vineyard) and another one right around this time next year. … Tie breaker: Does Obama parachute in during the last week of the campaign? Hmmm. Obama will have his hands full next fall with Congressional races. Answer: No.Update
-- Outraged Liberal
Given the double-barreled dose of bad (economic) news, Deval Patrick could be forgiven if he cancelled plans for his Oct. 23 fundraiser with Barack Obama and retreated into a corner at Sweet Pea Farm and sucked his thumb for the next year. The Massachusetts economy is in the tank and likely to get worse before it gets better.Update II
-- Brighton Reader goes with two more visits -- "one to raise money, the second for a campaign event."
'Death spiral in many private health insurance markets'
'This is not a hypothetical, textbook scenario.'
... It's what I've feared all along -- and it's what some Dems hope will happen. ... Peggy Noonan
People who oppose a health-care overhaul are not in love with insurance companies. They're not even in love with the status quo. Everyone knows the jerry-built system of the past half-century has weak points. They just don't think the current plan will shore them up. They think the plan would create new weak points and widen old ones. They think this because they have brains.
Why Snowe is important: Lieberman.
'Marketing is Hell -- with coffee breaks'
An old friend, Todd Hyten, a former Boston Business Journal reporter, has started a new web-marketing blog called Web Marketing Dispatches
(WMD for short). A recovering journalist, Todd's seen the future -- and it ain't journalism as we've known it. ... Also check out Squarespace.com
. Its web-site building technology for non-geeks is amazing.Update
-- The cyber future -- not
'The lower third of the class!'
It's partly true.
... Read William Cohan's 'House of Cards'
to get an idea of the generational and cultural divides on Wall Street. But the 'lower third' and 'smart guys' actually have more in common than the contrived bar philosopher lets on -- a compulsion for gambling
and more gambling
. Together, they thought they were an unbeatable team. ...
So Count DiMasi
allegedly had his finger in real estate
too. ... He might want to take some 'cred'
tips from Bernie.
Sox silly season
The baseball-is-a-metaphor-for-life types are back
, resurrecting the pain-and-suffering-Sox-fan schtick that’s been denied to them since 2004. …Update
And here we all are. Back in the moderate Aristotelian city of chowdah and the brutalist inspired City Hall, where Euclid's geometry and Newton's mechanics would account for our experience, smashing the spirit of onlookers into a thin pulp. … And beer exists because I drink it.
It’s official: Pats are desperate
Junior Seau has been re-signed.
'Now it's time for ...' Part II
Reader AM dares to go there:
The Red Sox made a ghastly mistake (in Theo's absence btw) when they traded for Josh Beckett. Sure, they won in '07, but they didn't HAVE to win in '07 (unlike '03-04) -- and they crippled the team for the future. Beckett + Lowell + Lugo was $30 million a year, and Dice-K, with the posting fee, added another $20 million or close to it. And even Beckett's just not that good -- in fact, in the 50 years I've been following the Sox, he's easily the most overrated player they've had. Think of it this way: His career upside is that he'll have been as good as Derek Lowe, who's never been anybody's #1 starter.Update
That's not even mentioning Hanley Ramirez and Carlos Pena, who should have been half of the best IF in baseball. The Sox can't go out and get a hitter as good as Ramirez (proof: he's a lot better than the guy they couldn't afford las year). Instead, they're stuck with a bunch of mistake hitters (Lowell, Bay, Ortiz now) and over-selective guys (Youk, Drew). Good pitchers make few mistakes, and through the strikes the selective hitters take.
Having a whole bunch of above-average players is just not the same thing as having Manny, Papi, and Pedro in their primes. The expected result is exactly what we saw this year.
breaks down fans' assessments. ... Via Soxaholix
. Btw, I'm not rooting for the Angels to beat the Yanks. That's so 2003. Enough with that crap. Take the lumps. Move on.Update II
looks at the contracts of the mistake hitters. Though he hopes Theo takes a sledgehammer to the team, he raises the distinct possibility that next season will have to be a status quo year. ... Sox fans are not used to hearing the words 'rebuilding years.'
'It is infantile'
What prompted this tirade?
Neal is apparently still grappling with that momentous epiphany in college when you looked up from a text book and realized to your shock that your nation is less than perfect. … Michael Moore, a former Boy Scout, has made millions on the same break from fairy tales. … And liberals wonder why the inferior American people don’t always trust them to govern.
'Now it's time for the 'now it's time for decisions' '
are simply not as good as some thought or think. The Sox needed hitting all season. The Pats seem a few long-season injuries away from a very long season. I'm not dancing on their losses yesterday. Just pointing out that good teams often aren't great teams. ... Reader No. 1 is on a tear today, so I'll let him write the Sox obit:
On the Sox: now it's time for the "now it's time for decisions to be made" columns ... No question about that. A few thoughts come to mind:
1- Step back from the ledge with the ridiculous Calvin Schiraldi comparisons - even Mariano Rivera has blown a big game or two. BUT - do move Papelbon now for desparately-needed offensive help before he goes free agent and given that we have Daniel Bard. And if we don't move him, somebody please work with Paps to rediscover the split fastball as I think Jerry Remy suggested post-game (there were too many heart attack saves all year).
2- We spent some time earlier this decade bashing Dan Duquette like a pinata for piling up burdensome contracts. On the desparately-needed offensive help theme, what can/will John Henry and Theo do with the 2010 commitments to Ortiz (beloved, but sadly, done), Lowell (maybe he can DH?), Drew (the less said...) - and of course, the engima that is Dice-K? Everybody read Peter Gammons this fall for the tea leaves.
3- Finally, can we get a shortstop around here who has more than 3 months productivity in his tank? Hey, I know - trade Papelbon for this guy.
Long weekend thoughts
Reader No. 1 on Mission of Burma, jaywalkers, John Winthrop and that award for whatever:
In the spirit of Jeff's piece yesterday, a few observations on local matters...
-- As much as I've enjoyed the return of Mission of Burma this decade, their first two comeback albums struck me as patchy, with some great songs and some unnecessary, even silly ones. So my expectations were tempered for The Sound, the Speed, the Light ... and - it's great! No instant classics here, but a stream of crunching, anxious rock - and some fresh musical touches and quotes (I think I hear an Aerosmith riff in here somewhere).
-- Kudos to the Globe for again, pointing out an aspect of city life that makes many of us want to spend less time in the Hub of the Universe. In this election year, might someone ask city officials why exactly the city seems averse to cracking down on a huge public safety risk? As Filipov notes, Seattle does it - and lots of people want to live there.
-- While Sarah Vowell is pretty far left, she is a funny and clever writer with some real insights on Governor John Winthrop in The Wordy Shipmates. I'm only halfway through - so hopefully she will note that the American impulse to help others, whether or not they need or ask for it, may be found in many strains of American life other than foreign and economic policy of Republic Presidents.
-- Thinking globally: if the President delivers the speech that Tom Friedman wrote for him, the Nobel Prize might actually regret their award decision. Alas, it won't happen. Despite all the Change talk, Obama and his team have proven die-hard supporters of entrenched institutions - accepting this award follows in the tradition of Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, General Motors and the UAW, and now, the Nobel Prize Committee.
'The Lost Symbol'
is just jealous because she can’t fire off literary lines like this:
Chief Anderson wondered when this night would end. A severed hand in my Rotunda? A death shrine in my basement? Bizarre engravings on a stone pyramid? Somehow, the Redskins game no longer felt significant.
'The State of Jones'
Quickie Hub Blog book recommendation: 'The State of Jones,'
by John Stauffer, a Harvard professor and Cambridge resident, and Sally Jenkins, a Washington Post reporter. ... It's about a white Mississippi farmer, Newton Knight, who led a protracted guerilla war against the Confederacy during the Civil War and later battled ex-Confederates during Reconstruction. There's some controversy
over how much the non-fiction book might be based on folklore
, and there's apparently a running dispute with a competing author and book
. But I found 'The State of Jones' fascinating and informative. There's just too many letters, documents and other evidence to dismiss Knight's mini-civil war within a larger civil war. 'The State of Jones' reminded me of 'Manhunt,'
another off-the-beaten-trail look at a largely forgotten part of the Civil War era. 'The State of Jones' is not as exciting and fast-paced as 'Manhunt,' but it tells a good story. Thumbs up from HB.
'Hit the damn ball'
I'm not surprised.
... Hub Blog had a bad feeling going into the playoffs. Granted, I usually have a bad feeling going into most playoffs. But the Sox are playing with the same dull inconsistency
they displayed through the season. ... The eyes and mind drift to other subjects
when reading Sox stories online these days.
'The Peace Prize judges won't see it this way ...'
I'm feeling much better about the Nobel Peace Prize after reading Obama's post-award remarks
, the explanations
of Nobel committee members and generally just letting the shock wear off. It's still a ridiculous award. It's a sign of creeping Time-magazine marginalization. It also contains, yes
, more than a hint of patronizing anti-Americanism. (I mean, seriously, Euro-weenie elites without condescending attitudes? WTF?) ...
But, as I said yesterday, if Obama can find a way to gracefully accept it on behalf of America (and past American presidents, BTW), then fine. Many Europeans -- especially the young -- haven't a clue how much we argue and cuss and fight over here about our country's leadership role in the world. They haven't a clue how much their cherished social programs were and are subsidized by vast expenditures and taxes over here on a military and foreign-policy apparatus that serves as an effective security umbrella for them, so that they can hold their giant puppet shows
that reduce realpolitik history and sacrifices to fairy tails and boasts about how upper-middle-class Euros are so artistic. I disagree with Peggy
about the 'wicked' nature of the award. But she's right the president can't and shouldn't accept the award on his own behalf -- and that mischievous Europeans need to hear a thing or two about America that their anti-American-infested media isn't telling them. ... Obama text via Dan
and Noonan column via BK.
Newt’s right about ‘an alliance’
of Democrats controlling Massachusetts. But for the record, its full name is the Hack-Progressive Alliance
Nobel Peace Prize to Obama? Part II
There seems to be a rare left-right-center convergence going on over the prize. David
I agree with GGW in the comments: Obama should decline the prize. He just hasn't done anything yet that is Nobel Peace Prize-worthy. As a result, the Nobel Committee looks like it's making a naked political play, rather than rewarding real accomplishments toward international peace. And Obama looks like he's winning perhaps the world's most prestigious award for making nice speeches, and for not being George W. Bush. That shouldn't be enough.
One quibble: He should decline the prize if he can't accept it on behalf of all the American people. The Nobel committee will gag at that idea -- all the more reason to do it. ... The Nobel committee has really blown it. They've managed the near impossible in the process -- uniting Americans on a key point. Maybe they should award themselves a prize for that.Update
have similar incredulous reactions.Update II
: 'Oh No! Here comes another speech!'Update III
-- 'Breaking News
: Barack Obama Wins AL and NL MVP, Other Awards'
Keeping in the spirit of the Nobel Committee’s drift toward Time magazine-like award selections
, Hub Blog thinks they should have given the Peace Prize to YOU! That’s right YOU! That’s YOU, the American people.
YOU, who elected Obama. YOU, who democratically accepted Obama whether you voted for him or not. YOU, who abided by your democratic constitution for centuries. YOU, who argued amongst yourselves, nearly tearing your country apart at times during the post-war years, as you democratically tried to decide what your role is in this world, usually trying to do the right thing, even when you didn’t do the right thing, showing an amazing ability to democratically correct course when necessary. YOU, who had to put up with the world’s strange mix of contempt, anger, appreciation, awe, superiority, inferiority and everything else in between as YOU grappled with both domestic and foreign-policy responsibilities that other nations simply don’t confront and deep-down don’t want to confront. Yes, YOU, the American people.
I’ll be curious to see if Obama, as sitting president of a democratic nation of the people, by the people and for the people, accepts the award on his own behalf – or on behalf of all of YOU, the American people, who ultimately brought us to this moment in history. If the latter, I'm sure a nice kick at anti-Americanism during Obama’s acceptance speech would be warmly appreciated by YOU.
Nobel Peace Prize to Obama?
The Nobel Peace Prize is kind of like Time magazine’s Man of the Year Award: Increasingly silly and irrelevant.
… How else to explain the naming of President Obama as this year’s recipient? He’s been in office less than nine months and doesn’t have any major foreign policy achievement to speak of, except, perhaps, to wow the self-appointed establishment elites of Europe and the European Union.*
The assertion that caught my attention: “His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population."
Is that really the foundation of Obama’s foreign policy? I’m curious to see how he applies it in Afghanistan. But, as we know, it’s really the view of patronizing Nobel committee members who want a bigger say in how America runs its affairs.**
* The fact the Nobel Peace Prize has become blatantly political, with strong and persistent whiffs of anti-Americanism, is almost too obvious to state at the outset.
** The anti-world government yahoos are going to come out of the woodwork on this one. Thanks a lot, Nobel committee.
'Yeah, I'm talking about Manny Ramirez'
LAT columnist Steve Lopez
unloads on Manny. He’s offering his tickets to the World Series (if the Dodgers get that far ) to the “person who writes my favorite 50-word sermon to Ramirez.” … Message to Kevin
: Contest entry rules at the end of the column. … Via Bob
, who notes Manny apparently has “reverted to his legendary slothful ways.”
Gourmet delight from Boston
Boston's Christopher Kimball
isn’t quite dancing on the grave of Gourmet magazine. More like kicking the publishing industry’s advertising business model when it’s down. … He also gets in a few kicks at the Internet and Twitterers etc. He’ll probably get some grief for daring to say some publishing elites
are necessary. But think about it: Do you want to watch randomly selected Internet posters/bloggers playing NFL games on Sunday afternoons? Or do you want to watch the real thing? …
OK, I just Googled “broccoli casserole,’’ as Kimball suggested, and … and Paula Dean’s recipe came up first
. Another kick! …
I also looked up the Boston Cooking School Magazine of Culinary Science and Domestic Economics
, and its successor, American Cookery
BTW: Hub Blog gets my own kick out of theories about why American cooking has historically sucked over the years (industrialization etc.). But has anyone stopped to think it might have to do with the nation being founded by the descendants of Europe’s worst cooks, i.e. the English? That the English were followed to America by the world’s second and third worst cooks, i.e. the Irish and Germans? C’mon. Durgin Park didn’t spring from nowhere. …
P.S. -- What the hell is Mint Tinkle? Here it is.
'The report is good news'
And it is.
The CBO says the Senate's health-care bill won't add to future deficits. ... Now watch Democrats gum it up. ... Sen. Charles Grassley: “The bill spends nearly $1 trillion and still leaves 25 million people without health insurance. That’s not much bang for the buck.” Hmmm. Is a leading Republican saying it's not good enough because it doesn't achieve full universal coverage? ... I still don't understand why insurers who completely dominate certain states aren't busted up using anti-monopoly laws. Old-fashioned anti-trust action would work better in some/many instances than creating cooperatives. ...
Things I'd like to see in a final bill (and won't because the Benthams
of the world rule Washington): true tort reform; stripped-down, affordable health-insurance policies that the young and many lower-income people can actually afford without subsidies; cross-state competition. Things I fear will be in a final bill (because the Benthams of the world rule Washington): token tort reform; some variation of the god-awful public-option; watered-down cross-state competition; tons of benefits mandates that will bulk-up health-insurance policies so they're not affordable to the young and lower-income people.Update
-- Matt writes in about anti-trust action against insurers:
Health insurance and malpractice insurance have been exempt from federal anti-trust action since 1945 and state anti-trust enforcement is a joke. Leahy and Conyers have sponsored legislation to end the exemption but it will likely go nowhere in the Senate. The Senators that are doing the insurance companies' bidding in killing the wimpy public option certainly aren't going to support a proposal that's even MORE inimical to those same companies' interests.
I should have known. Yet another reform that's desparately needed.
'Inverse Marxists,' Part II
pays homage to Irving Kristol and wonders when Republicans will start reengaging in public policy debates, as opposed to just opposing:
Without a substantive challenge, liberals grow smug and lazy. They overreach and overspend. Conservatives need to return to civic responsibility, not just to check their opponents, but to offer the country a valid alternative. They need some new neoconservatives. They need the old Irving Kristol.
But their inverse Marxism
won’t let them.Update
-- When it's all about winning arguments, elections and popularity contests, then backing Glenn Beck makes sense to some conservatives
. ... A near perfect example of Tanenhaus's descripiton of an inverse Marxist. Thank you, Jonah. ...
'Today alone, I’ve learned ...'
on Afghanistan, Iraq and what new things in life he's learned today. ...
Obama has one hell of a decision on his hands in Afghanistan. Either way, it’s a short-term lose-lose situation for him. I’d prefer he ignore the advice of his non-military vice president (we’ve had enough of vice presidential advice this decade) and listen to the generals. This is bite-the-bullet time – not unlike the months just prior to the surge in Iraq.
'Hey. Not to repeat myself'
has read one too many of my anti-single-payer/public-option rants and wants to set the record straight:
Hey. Not to repeat myself, but I do think you've gotten some of the dynamics of the left on health care a bit wrong.
The true single-payer-or-bust rump of the left is very tiny: Physicians for a National Health Plan, and their fellow travelers. And they *do not* play ball with the rest of the universal-health-care crowd (Families USA, HCAN, etc.). In fact, David Himmelstein of PNHP just called Howard Dean a "liar" last week.
And to be fair, Dean probably was a little squishy on the facts.
Even the public option magic-wanders at Kos are not really single-payer fundamentalists. Here in MA, Health Care For All is *definitely* not that -- which, of course, enrages PNHP et al.
You may think a public option will inevitably lead to single-payer; Michael Moore may agree; but I'm not at all sure. And I suspect the vast majority of UHC advocates are more agnostic and pragmatic about means and methods -- even while feeling passionate about the public option, and even while wanting to deliver a big, well-deserved middle finger to the insurance industry.
All this is to say that public-option-mania is *not* equivalent to single-payer mania, the latter of which is decidedly a boutique phenomena. I might suggest taking advocates at their word, since the disagreements are out in the open.
Guess which book
has just jumped onto my reading list -- and yours. ... Click to read how one of the most iconic plays in American sports history was almost not caught on camera -- and why. It's classic Boston.
'Irresponsible' and 'sophomoric'
From the same folks who brought you Health Maintenance Organizations
, now comes Accountable Care Organizations -- and hospital executives are not exactly instilled with confidence.
'Please. I beg you.' Part II
also has a problem with the fearless anonymous Ernie Boch III's
fearless anonymity. ...
P.S. -- Love Ernie's convoluted, red-herring red herring defense of his anonymity: "If there are any biases they do not matter when non-biased people agree with the opinion based on facts." ...Huh
? So if it's established the non-biased at BMG are really biased then Ernie's anonymity is no longer valid? Am I reading that right? I won't even get into the "agree with opinion based on fact" assertion. ... But, hell, if people want to promote and follow an angry anonymous poster with a possible axe to grind, that's their business. ...Update
celebrates how his 15 minutes of fame has been extended to 17 minutes. ...
Hub Blog recently finished Sam Tanenhaus’s new ‘The Death of Conservatism.’
The much-anticipated HB rating: Thumbs up, with caveats. Now the mini-review:
Tanenhaus is, it’s fair to say, a moderate liberal with deep respect for intellectual conservatism and its role in American democracy, particularly its role in counter-balancing liberalism when it radically and recklessly lurches too far to the left, like it did in the ’60s and ‘70s.
Tanenhaus’s warts-and-all descriptions of Edmund Burke and other conservatives (William F. Buckley, Whittaker Chambers, James Burnham, Garry Wills and even neo-con/neo-liberal Daniel Patrick Moynihan) are simply first-rate.
He rightly observes that the rise of American conservatism in the ‘60s coincided with the intellectual decline of an American liberalism that too often refused to stare realities in the face – from ill-conceived welfare programs to soft-on-crime policies that infuriated centrist Americans who craved law and order in its most sensible forms.
He also rightly observes that the decline of American conservatism began once it discarded the pragmatic Burkean philosophy that change is inevitable and not always unwelcome -- such as establishment of Social Security, Medicare, basic environmental protections and other successful and popular government programs.
The conservative death watch, Tanenhaus effectively argues, intensified as its principles increasingly became subordinate to hyper-partisan “movement” battles of the day. American conservatives have refused to stare at their own realities in the face – from sticking their heads in the sand when a full-blown insurgency erupted in Iraq to denying Wall Street’s role in its own meltdown.*
One of my favorite Tanenhaus lines comes toward the end of the book, when he discusses the rise or Rush et gang and the promotion of partisanship over principles: “They not only abandoned Burke. They had become inverse Marxists, placing loyalty to the movement above their civic responsibilities.”
Inverse Marxists. It’s perfect. It’s much better than my strained mirror-image references.
But the book suffers from a number of things (in no particular order):
-- Tanenhaus seems, at times, baffled that any reasonable person would initially resist many liberal ideas, as if the primary role of conservatism is to act as pooper-scooper for liberal programs. The first few chapters of ‘Death of Conservatism’ were almost pure liberal CW. The book finally took off after he got into Burke.
-- Tanenhaus’s suggestion that liberalism is more “consensus” driven is historically dubious, especially when so many liberals today are still pushing a single-payer health system that’s been repeatedly rejected over the decades and that’s consistently served as an obstacle to universal health-care compromise.
-- Tanenhaus’s biggest mistake was not delving deeper into the religious motivations of many American conservatives, something I, as a true burn-in-hell cafeteria Catholic, initially didn’t catch until Reader No. 1 pointed it out to me in an email (he read the book at the same time as yours truly).
But the strengths of Tanenhaus’s book outweigh the weaknesses. There was only so much he could say in 118 pages (the book was an expansion on a prior New Republic article). So Tanenhaus, editor of the NYT Book Review section, can rest assured that his book has gotten a much coveted thumbs up from mighty Hub Blog.
*My examples of intellectual rot, not Tanenhaus’s.
P.S. -- Some conservative publications are paying respectful attention
to 'Death of Conservatism.'
'In one of the most shocking defeats ever handed down'
Before the president of the United States put his prestige on the line, do you think someone in the White House could have figured out the likelihood of Chicago not winning its Olympics bid
? … Most others had it figured out
'Centrist voters are right to say, 'No thanks''
nails the centrist anxiety over the magic-wand public option. ... Step right up! Get your magic wand! It can do anything! It won't do anything! It's critical! It's not critical!
... It doesn't help that the vast majority of its supporters just so happen to be long-time fanatical believers in a single-payer system.
Keep it in Boston
They've removed the well-known 1940s mural
from the old art-deco Bell building in Post Office Square -- and they might sell it to someone in Newport. How about Verizon donating it to Boston? You know, the city where it's resided for decades? ... Perhaps donate 'Telephone Men and Women at Work' to the proposed Boston Museum
. It's a striking mural in the old WPA style. It depicts a major innovation developed in Boston. It should remain in Boston.
'Please. I beg you.'
roots for the BMG boycott
to work. …
I definitely do
have a dog in this fight. Howie helps pay my bills. So take what I’m about to say with a grain of salt. First, reread the original
call to boycott by the fearless anonymous Ernie Boch III. Pay special attention to the last three paragraphs. What’s up with the flimsy excuse to bring Howie’s kids into the argument? What’s up with the shower joke? A protest about nastiness that springs from nastiness.Update
-- Bob at BMG responds. Update II
-- The fearless anonymous Ernie responds
– and suggests Howie might be “afraid.’’ … The fearlessness of anonymous posters is awesome to behold, isn’t it? … One commenter suggests Ernie might be making it too “personal.” Do you think so? Dragging kids into the argument? Making shower jokes? The hissing sound you hear is the air going out of a boycott.
'Swiss Health Care Thrives Without Public Option'
They don't need a magic public-option wand?