‘Hedged, hemmed, and hawed’
weighs all the Afghan options and is still ambivalent. ... The president faces really lousy choices on this one. I tilt toward increasing the number of troops, knowing it's not going to produce miracles. Britain
is pressuring Pakistan to gets its act together and hand over Bin Laden. So maybe there's hope.
So it’s come to this
More on the Brave New World of journalism
. … I’m drawing a line in the sand. I’ll only be paid in cubits
, hand delivered by a Cylon Model 3
or Cylon Six
editor/master. ... I assume AOL's "more than $100" payments are in line with this not-bound-by-traditional-print offer.
Religion and environmentalism: ‘A perfect alignment’
This article on the Amish moving into Maine
is pretty good. But the real religious aha moment came in this graf:
In Unity, population 1,900, the Amish have found a particularly happy coincidence of interests. The town is home to Unity College, an environmental school that teaches sustainable living practices and lends an earthy quality to the culture. That a group of people with such small carbon footprints - erecting wind turbines to charge battery packs used for powering tools and lanterns, keeping food cold in summer in an insulated basement room lined with three wagonloads of ice chunks from a pond - would land here, strikes many as a perfect alignment.
I say ‘religious’ because for some time I’ve believed many environmentalists have been on a quasi-religious trajectory, professing devotion to a higher being (Nature), living a monk-like existence (‘sustainable living practices’), warning of apocalyptic endings
, and general moralistic finger-wagging at the rest of us
. They even have quasi-inquisitions (how else to describe Bjorn Lomborg’s treatment
by the Danish government?). Environmentalists are right about global warming. But that doesn’t make them right about solutions – and it’s going to require considerable pushback over the decades to get our economic and environmental policies right. …
I’ll say this for the Amish: At least they don’t try to impose their religion and lifestyles on others, God bless ‘em. …
‘A longstanding national therapeutic trend’
The medical argument is BS
. It’s mostly about money. Let’s just be clear about that. …
As for putting Fernald’s mentally ill patients in smaller community settings, I’m all for it after reading this article
. But I’m also extremely sympathetic to those resisting moving relatives out of Fernald
. They fought for decades to improve conditions at Fernald. The state fought them every step of the way. It took the heroic actions of a lone federal judge to impose decent minimum standards at Fernald. The state’s trustworthiness is held in such low regard -- think Massport or the Big Dig at their most arrogant worst -- that the federal courts still hold much sway over Fernald to this day. The state is now saying ‘trust us’ – and relatives of patients simply don’t believe them. How can they? There have been too many lies and broken promises. … FYI: A relative of mine lived at Fernald for decades. She died a few years ago. I may have been one of those fighting the state’s move today if she was still alive, though I now know deep down things would have worked out, as they have for Theresa Salamone
. It’s just that the state has zero moral credibility on this matter. None. …
The adventures of Larry and Charlie
I know this might sound like a stretch, but Larry Summers
and Charlie Weis
resemble each other: Both brilliant and confident men, with limited social skills, ultimately humbled when put in charge of prestigious institutions.
'Florida vs. Florida : which evil team to root for?'
During yesterday’s Florida-vs.-Florida State
game, I got all confused and called Armchair Gen. Savin Hill about which degree of evil I should be rooting for. He explained, and then sent in this handy scorecard for future reference:
If you're watching Florida v. Florida college football games, a common question for many is: Who should I root for? Aren't all Florida college teams inherently evil? As a Florida State man, I can say, yeah - they're all evil. But, there is a hierarchy.
* University of Florida (Most evil)
* Miami University (Awful evil, very evil, usually most evil)
* Florida State (Not as evil as they used to be, so have some sympathy)
* USF (they have a team?)
‘Playing the debonair couple'
Tareq and Michaele Salahi
, America’s most famous gate-crashers, are a couple whose pathologies are in perfect sync. They remind me of Jamie and Frank McCourt. …
The sad thing is trying to get in their collective mind the moment they realize their lives have become the butt of endless national jokes. … They’ll probably shoot for redemption on ‘Dancing With the Stars.’ It's their only hope. … Their ‘wedding of the century’ allegedly included the following:
"28 Bridesmaids, 28 Groomsmen, 8 Flower Girls . . . a 36 piece Big-Band during dinner & dancing . . . 186 catering food servers . . . 36,000 square feet of tenting . . . 50 Bar tenders . . . 46 Chefs . . . 15 Official photographers . . . 8 Video cameras with full film crew/sound team . . . one camera man standing on a Construction Crane 300 feet above the Cathedral.”
That’s what they claimed, keep in mind.
‘Stupefying arbitrariness and inefficiency’
Charles Krauthammer, a backer of universal health care, bemoans the ‘stupefying arbitrariness and inefficiency’ of the Dems’ health-care bill. … The two bills are a long, long way from my Keep It Simple Stupid suggestion
. But Dems can’t help themselves. They’ve been obsessed with the means to the end
(and not necessarily the goal of universal health, as the Nixon-Kennedy fight proved) for nearly a century. … Charles via Instapundit
'Harrumphed Governor Leverett Salstonstall of Massachusetts'
More profound post-Thanksgiving thoughts: New Englanders weren’t happy with FDR’s Black Friday-ization
Opinion polls revealed that more than 60 percent of Americans opposed the Rooseveltian ukase; dissent was especially vigorous in New England. The selectmen of Plymouth, Massachusetts, informed the President, "It is a religious holiday and [you] have no right to change it for commercial reasons." Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks to the Almighty, harrumphed Governor Leverett Salstonstall of Massachusetts, "and not for the inauguration of Christmas shopping."
Salstonstall and the Plymouth selectmen won that battle, but they lost the long-term war
‘Woz goes, Steve, it’s Thanksgiving’
found the meaning of Thanksgiving yesterday. …
I couldn’t agree more with this commenter: “I am all chocked up... such pathos. you have captured the beating heart of all mankind.”
'The first Pilgrims of the first American Thanksgiving'
, curator of American Pilgrim Museum in Holland and former curator of Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts, is waging a campaign to portray the original Pilgrims in a more favorable light, after decades of their being ridiculed as intolerant boobs and religious nuts.
Nathanial Philbrick made roughly the same argument in his book ‘Mayflower’
: The Pilgrims who landed in Plymouth partly owed their survival to cultural and religious tolerance they learned in Holland, making them more pragmatic and flexible once they crash landed here, though Philbrick didn’t sugar-coat the Pilgrims’ obvious flaws and weaknesses. …
P.S. -- Bangs is also critical of the way his old Plymouth employer has apparently stripped Puritan religious beliefs and motivations from the recreated plantation, though I’m not keen on going down that culture-wars
Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the day.
'The Wild West,' Part II
, who also watched the Frontline piece
on the credit-card industry, posts a letter that his 100-year-old grandfather wrote late last year to Harvard Business School. A graduate of HBS, his observations about business ethics and practices are right on the mark. … The current generation of business leaders, as opposed to the generation of Charley’s grandfather, has really let the nation down. The same can be said of the political class.
'Gross Thanksgiving food to avoid'
Movie fans: If you want to see what an Alien creature looks like bursting out of a turkey instead of Sigourney Weaver, proceed immediately to photo No. 4.
praises America’s hyper-partisan politics. … No gray areas. Only black and white. Night and day. Us against them. Those in the middle are the ‘worst kinds of politicians’ and ‘devoid of core convictions.’ …
They really think this way.
P.S. -- You can't resist.
'The Wild West'
had a terrific program last night on our legalized loan-shark industry, otherwise known as the credit-card industry. ... Anyone else would have been thrown in jail for the shenanigans they've pulled over the years. But not everyone gets racket protection from Congress, which, needless to say, isn't the 'invisible hand' Adam Smith had in mind years ago.
'Maybe I'm ripening after all these years'
John Kerry on John Kerry.
... Does this mean he wasn't ripe in 2004?
The economics of college football
Reading all the coverage
about the sad demise
of Northeastern University’s football program, I’m reminded of the documentary ‘Eight’
that recently replayed on NESN.
They were arguing in the early 1950s about the value and costs of football programs – and those cost concerns are the main reason why the Ivy League
was established in 1954 and why the New England Small College Athletic Conference
was started a year later. It turns out the smaller regional colleges made the smart economic moves decades ago.
Northeastern and Boston University’s problems, as Derrick notes
, were tied to their programs floating in football limbo between the Division 1 powerhouses and those underneath them that rejected Division 1 requirements. Northeastern and BU couldn’t go up without huge expenditures. They couldn’t go down because they were/are too big and not welcomed in other leagues. The NCAA deserves some, if not most, of the blame for not recognizing and reacting to the economic strains on many football programs outside the quasi-professional “Championship Bowl’’ teams. But don’t get me going on the NCAA. …
‘Cats for Gold!’
Wall Street sinks to new lows.
… Via Armchair Gen. Savin Hill, a dog lover.
'A few grumblers call him a dangerous idiot'
Bluefin tuna, fine.
But what if he hooks a Great White?
'Kennedy stumbled into the conflict,' Part III
So much for Hub Blog's warning not to pick a fight
with the Catholic Church.
Martha: “It seems to me a little bit ironic that a church that was willing to overlook the victimization of many, many children over several years is now turning around and saying to people who are good Christians, good Catholics, that, ‘You can’t join this.”’
Capuano: “And they wonder why people stop going to church.”
Not exactly mocking the church’s pro-life stand or commitment to health care (which would draw a completely different reaction). But they were extremely effective, well-chosen punches that make it hard for the church to respond. … It all comes back to the pedophilia scandals. Patrick Kennedy’s attacks were dumb. But Coakley’s comment in particular was an instant argument ender. … I wonder how the Kennedys are privately reacting to Coakley's forceful defense of the bumbling PK. ... BTW: The debate last night was excellent. Emily did a good job zinging a variety of common-sense, high-interest questions. Watch it here
The day of reckoning
It's coming soon.
The national debt is scary stuff. Here's one way to view future, unavoidable interest-rate payments on the debt:
In concrete terms, an additional $500 billion a year in interest expense would total more than the combined federal budgets this year for education, energy, homeland security and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The potential for rapidly escalating interest payouts is just one of the wrenching challenges facing the United States after decades of living beyond its means.
The health-care bills on Capital Hill right now, as written, come across as a form of financial madness under the circumstances. But what do we do when facing 10.2 percent unemployment? Paul Krugman says spend.
But with what money -- and on what projects? We're definitely in an historic, first-class jam right now.
'Kennedy stumbled into the conflict,' Part II
The Catholic Church is taking center stage in the race to fill Ted Kennedy's seat. While Kennedy's son duels the church
in Rhode Island, Martha Coakley is going to have some explaining to do in Massachusetts on an old case
in which she should have picked a fight a lot earlier with the church.
My hunch is the story won't make much of a difference for Martha, though it does bring back bad memories of a not-too-distant past when Boston's Catholic pols took the opposite Patrick Kennedy approach, i.e., falling all over themselves to avoid picking a fight with the church.*
Mickey Kaus-like paranoia self-analysis alert: The two Catholic Church stories breaking at the same time is activating Hub Blog's deeply embedded conspiracy-theory gene. But it doesn't make sense. I'd need a bigger Glenn Beck chalk board to explain and connect all the Kennedys-vs-Coakley dots. But suffice to say any conspiracy theory would have to explain PK running to Projo to spill the beans about his woes in Providence, burying the Coakley-Geoghan story under a mountain of PK-vs.-Tobin stories in the process. No one could plan such bumbling.
* Note: I briefly posted a variation of this paragraph as an update in the item immediately below. I bumped it up and tinkered with the wording a bit.Update
-- Outraged Liberal has more
. He seems to think that Coakley may have a major problem on her hands. We'll see. ... I disagree with his assessment about PK taking on Biship Tobin. I don't believe, for a moment, that Ted Kennedy would have picked such a public fight, openly calling into question the church's commitment to health care and mocking its pro-life stand. No way.
a commanding lead in the Senate race. Capuano moves into distant second. Pags fades. Alan clings to his crumbs. ... But half the electorate is undecided? That's a big number. Martha could always pull a Patrick Kennedy and pick a deliberate fight with the Catholic Church, altering the race's dynamics faster than you can say, 'Want to see my tatoo?' But she won't do that. She's not dumb.
'Kennedy stumbled into the conflict'
Standing up for abortion rights is one thing. Picking a deliberate fight
with the Catholic Church is another. Kennedy would have gotten away with the former. There was no way
he was going to get away with the latter. It was dumb politics.Update
-- Kennedy last month
: Pretending he didn't "understand for the life of me" the church's position, mocking its pro-life stand and calling into question its commitment to health care. As I said, dumb. He was asking for a fight. ...
... Why don't we just hand them the keys to the Treasury? It's just pretend capitalism at this point.
UConn football has arrived …
UConn beats Notre Dame.
… Charlie Weis’s days are numbered. … The biggest loser besides Charlie? Boston College. Its recruitment sphere of influence just got smaller. …
Speaking of BC, tough day.
... The Game: Not quite 1968
... What a great New England afternoon of football.Update
- 11.22.09 -- From Reader A:
I've always thought that along with the BCS issue, BC was desperate to get out of the Big East to avoid having to play UConn. BC's approach to athletics is to position themselves as the big-time college "franchise" in New England; they were just about there, briefly, but then UConn blew by them in basketball, and was threatening in football. (It's OK to not play, as long as UConn isn't actually ranked -- BC football was a weak second to Dartmouth for many years and nobody much noticed.)
BC's recruiting is much less regional than it used to be -- it's still a factor, of course, but I think only a piece of a larger business plan. That marketing arrangement with the Sox is significant.
‘Merely revealed that scientists were human’
Apparently some global-warming skeptics hacked into the computers
of global-warming scientists, revealing some embarrassing emails that “will undoubtedly raise questions about the quality of research on some specific questions and the actions of some scientists.’’ …
Hub Blog isn’t a global-warming skeptic. But I am a skeptic about many of the proposed solutions
for global warming. There are gaps in our general knowledge about the issue, just as there are gaps in our general knowledge about evolution, the universe, etc., thus raising legitimate concerns about “some specific questions” and specific solutions. The zealots who hacked into computers didn’t find a ‘smoking gun’ discrediting a general scientific theory. But they may have exposed gaps that scientists, being human, can't explain and shouldn't deny exist.
P.S. – Not being a scientist (or even scientifically inclined), I always take comfort in the global-warming argument once expressed by the Economist, to wit: It doesn’t matter if you believe in global warming or not. The fact remains that fossil fuels A.) Cause wars and oppression. B.) Emit nasty pollution. C.) Cost too much. Those are three excellent non-global-warming reasons for aggressive action to reduce our dependence on and use of fossil fuels.
'To defend the indefensible'
is all over the brewing battle between the governor and lawmakers. ... They don't trust the governor to make non-executive-branch cuts? What types of cuts? OL has three examples. ...
‘Just what Boston needs …’ Part II
The Great Shake Shack Controversy
hits the New York Times
– and Hub Blog is prominently featured. I await the flood of new readers and private-equity offers to buy my blog, though I hope the due-diligence types don’t notice that I never wrote the quoted remarks attributed to me. …
BTW: Hub Blog wants the record to show I hereby officially oppose Jeff Miller’s Boston-themed 'Common House' eatery. The reason: “Freedom Trail ketchup.” … Are you happy, Mike Ross? See what you’ve unleashed? …
I guess nixing Jeff’s idea makes me profoundly anti-provincial
, hating the Red Sox and Boston’s status as a great ketchup town, etc. … Adam:
"But if we can't overreact to the Times calling a series of closed urinals 'a sacred shrine,' what can we overreact to?" ... Shake Shack and Common House may have a new ‘sleek, European-style’
burger rival for the Pink Palace. … Scott
has additional thoughts on Shake Shack. ...
By all means, ‘blame the legislature’ … But …
Minor quibble with OL
: The legislature hasn’t been the problem ‘for the last 20 years.’ It’s been the problem for the last half century, after it became a single-party club that resists any and all substantive changes. Major agreement with OL: Republican and Democratic governors may come and go, knocking their heads against a wall and then bolting early to preserve their sanity and dignity. Yet voters keep electing their precious individual lawmakers who keep electing their eminently corruptible leaders. …
But here’s the problem with Deval running a ‘blame the legislature’ theme
: No one would want to follow him on a bumbling cavalry charge against the legislature. He’s dangerously unpredictable and legislatively incompetent. One day, he’s fighting the good fight for charter schools. The next, he’s angling for the UMass law-school boondoggle. One day, he’s fighting to reform hack agencies. The next, he’s hiring Jim Aloisi. Etc., etc., etc. On any given day, you never know from which direction he’ll approach an issue.
My hunch is he’s more than a bit disgusted by what he’s seeing and hearing behind the scenes on Beacon Hill, especially the shadow ‘legislative sponsor’
system that’s strangling this state. But he won’t decisively move to untie the Gordian knots
held together by the Hack-Progressive Alliance because A.) He can't make up his mind whether he's for or against the alliance B.) He's de facto leader of the alliance.
Health care and constitutional rights
I don’t agree with everything in George Will’s column
on health-care reform. Example: distinguishing between government coercion to buy auto insurance and health insurance. Hmmm. Isn’t this the same government that reserves the right to draft able-bodied young men ("just because an individual exists") and send them off to war, the ultimate anti-health-care choice of them all?
But the column is thought provoking. Example: If liberals claim health care is a “right,” then don’t free citizens have a “right” to choose the health care they want? Defining health care as a right and then forcing individuals into certain types of health-care plans is akin to declaring protests to be a right and then narrowly restricting individuals to certain types of protests. … It’s an interesting argument, though I’m sure constitutional lawyers could pick it apart. But on principle, it holds up – and it’s why so many people despise the thought of a top-down single-payer system.
The Senate health-care plan
unveiled yesterday is better than the House bill. But that’s not saying much. Once again, it includes a “public option,” which is adamantly backed mostly by single-payer supporters with an eye of one day expanding it to everyone. Once again, the idea of universal health care is bogged down by an obsession with the means to an end, i.e. many on the left REALLY want government running a universal health-care system. That obsession killed a chance for universal health nearly 40 years ago. That same obsession remains at the heart of today’s debate.
Being a backer of universal health care, I wish Congress had simply mandated that people buy health insurance, maximizing choices and not micro-managing types of choices. It would have taken compromises on both sides (Democrats axing single-payer proposals and their bastard cousin offshoots; Republicans accepting the notion that universal health-care’s time has come.) But I guess I’m living in my own moderate utopia by thinking such compromise deals can be hatched into reality.
‘May God have mercy on our souls …’
The most frightening thing about holding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s trial in N.Y.? The Media
. … The scary part starts at the 5-minute mark. …
'Message: I care'
Not content with telling us what we can eat
and keeping track of what we can buy
, they now want to tell us where we can park.
Reader No. 1:
Could there be a better example of how NOT to promote environmental initatives than this proposal? Progressives have a talent for getting people to agree with their thoughtful views by pointing fingers.
With so many statewide offices opening up, could these two legislative proponents be buffing up their citified profiles for future appeal to the sensitive, educated suburban dwelling half of the Hack-Progressive alliance - "Message: I care"?
Solons, take care when you attempt to legislate use of dwindling precious resources - I speak not of the air that we breath, but the spaces in which we seek to park in the course of making our daily livings. For so many of Bostonians spending so much time away from home, accompanied by Blackberry, iPhone, Sirius and Garmin in our mobile offices, a man or woman's BMW X5 truly is his/her castle.
'Across New England, disbelief rose like a mushroom cloud'
Even the Christian Science Monitor
is weighing in on the Decision. ... More on the Teutonic Terror
. ... I'll let Gerry
have the last word/rant/kick/punch/spit etc. on the Decision. I'll only repeat that I don't think it was insane. ... BTW: Watching endless replays of The Play last night, I'm with Gerry and Reader No. 1 (see immediately below). Why always go for the marker in such situations?
'Belichick Made the Right Business Decision'
Here's another way
to look at Belichick's decision:
He may be blamed for months for the crushing loss, but what he really did was rational risk management. He had the option of two gambits: Watch Manning pick apart his defense with two minutes remaining or control his team’s own destiny by gaining two yards. He chose the latter. Many CEOs would have made the same decision.
He's referring to non-Wall Street CEOs, by the way, the types who don't get bailouts after they fail.Update
-- From Reader No. 1:
Well, Ron Borges is finally happy. For believers in team dynamics, Teddy Bruschi's ESPN column makes a fine point.
The bitter pill for Teddy, and the rest of us, is that Manning has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to march his Colts through Patriot defenses in the clutch - the last shutdown AFC ChampionshipGame in Foxboro was five years ago. You can blame the defensive erosion on Coach Bill, and you can criticize the specifics of the play call (why are so many NFL 4th-and-X yards plays executed so close to the down marker within literally less than an inch of margin in the event of a bad spot?). But don't whack the coach for innovation - punt the ball away 40 yards and this was still an eminently losable game.
Win Probability: (0.60 * 1) + (0.40 * (1-0.53)) = 0.79
at Advanced NFL Stats
says Belichick’s decision was statistically the right thing to do. …
I’m not trying to play both sides of the fence. I’ve already said I wouldn’t have gone for it. But Belichick’s decision wasn’t insane and it wasn’t an unrivaled Buckner/Grady Little moment. Just pointing that out. … Thanks to Reader Ben for the Burke analysis.Update
-- Ben adds:
In that he’d gone for it in a similar situation earlier in the season (Atlanta game on the 24), I wasn’t so shocked. All season there have been statistical analyses publicized suggesting teams need to go on 4th and short more often. However, where BB failed is not knowing he was going for it on 4th and, thus, running on 3rd down.
'It will be debated over and over and over'
The only way -- and I mean the only way -- you can justify going for it
on fourth and two
on your own 28 is if Bill Belichick was absolutely convinced: “We lose if Manning gets his hands on the ball again.” …
He was undoubtedly calculating the odds of getting the first down vs. Manning marching down the post-punt field for a score. He lost the gamble and now can’t disprove the critics. … Would I have gone for it? Nope. Not on the 28. But I’m not Bill Belichick. … Spare me the Bucky Dent/Bill Buckner/Grady Little
histrionics. This was a regular season game. … Kevin Faulk: “Hey, shake these cobwebs off and move on.” … Our new Teutonic Terror: Sebastian Vollmer
'Federal oversight of subways proposed'
After recent T accidents, it’s hard to argue with an Obama administration plan
for a federal takeover of safety regulation for the nation’s subway and light-rail systems, citing “haphazard and ineffective oversight by state agencies.” …
Of course the following is what the debt-ridden T will look at most closely: “States running their own programs would receive federal funds to cover salaries, training and other expenses.” It should go without saying the T would normally jump at any increased federal subsidies for the system. But can you imagine the deliberations over how to bamboozle the feds into paying for and maintaining the T’s highest-in-the-nation union benefits? To be a fly on the wall this morning over at the Boston Carmen’s Union
-- I hadn't noticed that Outraged Liberal had already jumped on the issue
. He thinks a fed takeover is a 'marvelous idea.'
'The picture's greatness evaporates if …'
tackles whether Robert Capa’s iconic “Falling Soldier’’ photo was faked. … Sounds like a controversy for Cambridge’s Errol Morris to settle
. I wanted to believe that Roger Fenton didn’t stage his famous Crimean War photo. I want to believe that Capa didn’t stage his own photo. But facts are facts, so let them fall where they may. … Robert Capa photo/Copywrite 2001 by Cornell Capa. … P.S. – By pure coincidence, I’ve been watching in bits and pieces Morris’s Fog of War
this weekend. I only got to McNamara’s lesson No. 5 before being interrupted. Hope to get back to it later today.
‘Just what Boston needs …’
Not to sound too provincial, but do we really want a N.Y. chain-wannabe
on Boston Common? I tilt toward Jeff Miller’s plan, if only because it at least strives for a local flavor. But you just know the same types who think “SoWa”
is such a cool name will go with the “beloved” Shake Shack – and then they’ll lecture us about having an inferiority complex while they’re off aping everything Manhattan. They’ll never understand that it’s not about New York – or Kansas City
. It’s about losing a little local character every time they plunk an out-of-state chain or name on an historic area.
BTW -- It's frappe
to many Bostonians, not shake. ... The best reason to avoid the place if they go with Shake Shack.
BTW II -- Do we really need a theme eatery at all? I loved this outdoor café
. No Zulu or Afrikaner impersonators in sight. It was just a pleasant place to enjoy a beer or coffee. …Update
-- Right out of the starting gate, MC Slim JB
links my views to hating the Yankees and not admiring things from the "country's greatest restaurant town" – as I predicted some Shake Shack supporters would do. … If he read my post a little more carefully, he’d see that my point wasn’t about New York or Kansas City, etc. And Shake Shack is 'not merely one that looks like a chain.’ It’s a chain, owned by a restaurant group. I'm glad he confirmed the restaurant-group fact.
'An Act Relating to the Treatment of Elephants'
How did they know
I was snorting at this end of the computer? …
Hey, it’s actually a worthy cause in the end. But the name of the bill does have that ‘only in Massachusetts’ feel to it.
'The truth is, all faiths have a lunatic fringe'
(no relation) parks one re the Fort Hood/Muslims question:
The truth is, all faiths have a lunatic fringe.
Yet if we don’t hate all Baptists, all Jews, all Catholics, all evangelicals, understanding that they all include mad men in their midsts, how does hating all Muslims make any more sense?
The solution is to bore in on isolated individuals exhibiting and expressing extreme views, sweeping aside extreme PC concerns. It’s not as easy as denouncing an entire segment of society or pointing fingers to score political points. But it’s got to be done. Adam R
addresses this unglamorous but necessary approach.
P.S. – Sorry, Tarek Mehanna supporters
. No sympathy for anyone who even amateurishly dabbles in terrorism. ... Here’s the Free Tarek web site
. Here’s the federal indictment
. The arrest is nowhere near a close call.
'Only those with 'extravagant lifestyles' would be affected'
Then why do it?
Because they can’t help themselves. They’re on a self-righteous high.
‘It’s time to flip a coin’
It’s perhaps the only way
to block Deval’s re-election.
Lights, camera … Trader Joe’s?
Remember Hub Blog’s suggestion
for a movie studio on the 500 block of Harrison Ave.? Scratch that idea. A developer is looking at turning the site – a former power station and trolley barn – into a Trader Joe’s
. No complaints here. Hub Blog loves TJ’s frozen fish sticks and cheap wine. …
P.S. OMG: They’re trying to foist the pseudo-hip “SoWa” name on that area of the Sound End too. They’re absolutely convinced too much local flavor
is a bad thing. … The only way to resist these London-NY wannabe names is cracking down on them one reference at a time.
'As to why he is doing surprisingly well in the polls …’
In an email slugged ‘It’s All Other People’s Money,’ Reader No. 1 responds to my Pags comment in this post
I am not particularly a Pags backer (can someone ask whether he supported TARP and if so, why?) but I do not understand your comment "I still don't like a candidate who basically tries to buy an election via wealth he got from other people's money." How is this any worse than a candidate who basically tries to buy an election via campaign contributions in the form of other people's money? Update
As to why he is doing surprisingly well in the polls: that's easy: he's the only candidate with a clear and coherent message that the economy is Job One, not health care or how many people you know in Washington or government jobs.
-- This won't help Pags.
‘This is going to get ugly,’ Part III
has a good piece on the predictable reactions of the right and left to the Fort Hood tragedy. I initially covered the right’s reaction
-- while unfortunately neglecting the left’s dreadful PC response. Adam has now covered that base.Update
follows the formula: A.) Blame media. B.) Blame liberals. C.) Tally up points and declare your side the winner. D.) Offer no solutions.
'Good Advice for the President'
Though I disagree with the ‘Chicago machine’ analogy (Karl Rove employed the same spoils-system politics, openly and cynically borrowing the tactics from Tip O’Neill), Joel Kotkin
has some great ideas about how Obama can reset his presidency. … The emphasis on distancing himself from Democratic interest-group politics is key. ... Via Reader No. 1.
BTW: I also liked Kotkin's shots at Wall Street's support for Obama. Maureen
was taking her own shots at Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein for his comment about “doing God’s work.” But there’s one important caveat to consider: What if Blankfein and his Wall Street pals really do believe they’re the essence of capitalism and prosperity – and what if there are government policymakers who hold the same views?
The problem is that financiers are NOT the essence of capitalism. They’re merely an important part of capitalism – along with barber-shop owners, software developers, fishermen, restaurateurs, entrepreneurs, contractors, scientists, lawyers, nurses and others who are allowed to toil within a ‘free-market system.’ I’ve always preferred the term ‘free-market’ over ‘capitalism’ because it’s a more expansive and accurate description of all the human activity that creates a complex free economy and society. But somehow, somewhere the Wall Street boys and their Washington sycophants began to believe they were the essence of the free-market system, justifying their stupendous rewards, taxpayer bailouts and government protection to take enourmous risks with the nation’s money. This really shouldn't be a right-left thing. Conservatives should be appalled that Wall Street has sucked up to government. Liberals should be appalled that government is sucking up to Wall Street.
‘Best Christmas Tree Ornament – Ever’
Armchair Gen. Savin Hill is all excited about this
. … Every visiting bachelor uncle or grandparent should have one for those trying moments before and after the Christmas dinner. …
'A majority of people want Deval out of office'
Hub Blog is tempted to give Deval a poll-numbers
break due to the economy. But a negative image has clearly taken hold -- and the best thing going for him now is the prospect of a three-way race. ... Cahill's consistent second-place numbers theoretically put him in the position of asking whether a Republican should be his running mate -- not the other way around
. But the numbers will change for Baker, the likely GOP nominee, though you can't count Christy out. ...
'Coakley continues to cruise'
Martha's poll numbers remain strong
heading into the home stretch. The big surprise is Pag's numbers -- and Capuano coming in third. Keep in mind the poll was conducted before Capuano's 'monumental 24-hour flip-flop.'
... He really hurt himself on that one. Conventional wisdom had it that Coakley scored big by saying she wouldn't have voted for the health-care bill if it included the abortion-funding ban. But Wayne
rightly noted it wasn't as simple as that. Her comments weren't on a par with Shannon O'Brien's disastrous '02 abortion remarks. But they nonetheless raised eyebrows among the non-moonbat set. Capuano had no choice but to jump on her stand -- and he initially did so with potentially effective gusto. Then came the seeming flip-flop. It doesn't look good, as Outraged Liberal
note. ... A couple lucky breaks (i.e. blunders by Coakley and male-vote-splitter Pags) and an unpredictable turnout could still keep Capuano in the running. But it's getting late. ... BTW: Pag's performance, in general, is impressive. I still don't like a candidate who basically tries to buy an election via wealth he got from other people's money. But he comes across in appearances and commercials as affable and relatively earnest.
'Diagrams of farting cows’
We can only hope John Carney’s piece
in the American Conservative represents the beginning of the end of the Entertainment Right, a sort of purging of the purgers. Favorite lines:
Now conservative offerings come with diagrams of farting cows—bless Glenn Beck. No one is likely to have his worldview rocked by Sean Hannity’s Deliver Us From Evil or his political eyes opened by Michelle Malkin’s Unhinged. Laura Ingraham’s Shut Up and Sing slides easily down the memory hole. But permanence isn’t their intent. Conservatism has shifted from a modest cast of mind to a playground contest of insults. Millions can play along.
This isn’t to say that bestselling conservative authors don’t manage to pack arguments into their books or buttress those arguments with facts and footnotes. But they do not aim to challenge the faithful or change the minds of their opponents—to turn moderates into conservatives or shake liberals from their delusions. Conservative readers are looking for how-to manuals — an easy way to beat that liberal sister-in-law in a dinner-table debate. Thus Beck’s latest blockbuster offers “the secret formula to winning arguments against people with big mouths but small minds.”
Hub Blog noted the right’s compulsion to win arguments
a while back. … Via Business Insider.
Lamest counter-argument ever?
A supporter of the House health-care bill sends in this
Despite intense criticism of the size of the House health care bill -- 1,990 pages! -- a simple page count vastly overstates the actual length of bill.
For instance, a word analysis shows the bill is actually less than one-half of one percent of the entire U.S. Code. It's essentially as long as a Harry Potter novel.
I’m not making this up. … At least it’s shorter than Marienbad My Love
BTW: What’s the largest bill in congressional history as measured by the number of standard-size 8 ½ by 11” pages with appropriate font and spacing or whatever they normally use for bills in the real world? Just wondering. It’s probably a budget bill, with lots and lots and lots of spending.
'He should have been gone'
Finally, a solution is offered up by a conservative
(or whatever Joe Lieberman is these days), after all the huffing and puffing by conservatives in the wake of the Fort Hood tragedy. Lieberman himself can't resist a little macho posturing, saying his hearings will also be aimed at determining whether the Fort Hood attack was part of and/or a form of terrorism. But at least he mutters a solution, i.e. firm, non-PC intervention when a Muslim asserts that suicide bombings are justified and that Islamic Law overrules the U.S. Constitution. These are dangerous sentiments for any military person to hold. They're not unlike the sentiments of Timothy McVeigh
, who also had radical and violent views about the government. The trick moving forward is how to move against future Hasans and McVeighs while respecting their constitutional rights (both Hasan and McVeigh were American-born citizens). It's got to be done. But it's not going to be easy -- and it's certainly not going to be as easy as beating chests and pointing figures, as many conservative prefer to do these days.
'Answer the call of history'
Hub Blog is of two minds about the health-care bill
passed last night: 1.). I like the move toward universal health 2.) This is a deeply flawed bill. Seriously, how many House members do you think read the entire 1,990-page bill before last night’s vote? I’m guessing about five. …
A few weeks ago, Peggy Noonan wrote
that the president now ‘owns’ the nation’s problems. She was premature. Now
he owns them. The banking system still isn’t fixed. The economy isn’t performing even close to the benchmarks set by the president when he pushed for the stimulus package. The jobless rate has topped 10 percent. The government is still propping up GM and Chrysler. The dollar is crashing. The nation’s debt is soaring to truly scary levels. The nation is involved in two wars. But the president last night exhorted House members to make history by passing a health-care bill -– and they responded. He made passage of health-care reform his top priority in recent months (“the call of history”) -- and so now he must take responsibility for it and all the other problems he set aside to ensure its passage in at least one chamber. He's the one who set the nation’s agenda. He now owns it. All of it.Update
-- Charles M. Blow
agrees with the 'own it' assertion: "Job creation has dropped from top priority to one of many. ... This is now Obama’s crisis." ...
He who makes the agenda owns the agenda. The president is no longer working off of an inherited agenda. He remade the agenda. He now owns it.
'Are Democrats, Too, Facing a Civil War?'
… Here’s the consequence
of the Republican civil war. Here’s a local example
of the brewing Democratic civil war. … Can you imagine it? Rep. Lynch has the nerve of “going through the bill’’ before making a decision about the 2,000-page health-care legislation. Shame on him!
… One key difference between the Dem and GOP wingnut battles against moderates: Dem moonbats are talking about running opponents within primaries. The dopes over at the GOP ran a third-party candidate in NY, a beyond-dumb approach that increased the odds of a Democrat winning.
'This is going to get ugly,' Part II
Hub Blog monitored right-wing blogs, radio and TV yesterday and found, typically, a lot of anger, outrage, finger pointing, media bashing and macho chest beating about Nidal Malik Hasan's Muslim background. But did anyone hear any specific, substantive suggestions about how to prevent such attacks in the future? Please pass them along if you hear or read of any. Otherwise, I'm going to assume my post yesterday
was correct: Expect a lot of blowhard indignation from the Entertainment Right -- and no solutions.Update
-- Sample: Ralph Peters’ column
. It’s all there -- finger pointing, media bashing and macho chest beating. Extra bonus: U.S. Army bashing (“unforgivable political correctness”). At least Ralph comes close to offering a solution, i.e. intervening when someone mouths radical Islamic views. But he doesn’t quite say that, probably because it would require acknowledging that these cases are isolated and need to be firmly handled as such.
'Avast Ye, Yuppies’
Did they know about Old Ironside’s morning-evening tradition
before moving to Charlestown? Of course they did. Now they want change:
Miffed residents of a posh condo complex have invited the commanding officer of the USS Constitution over for a glass of wine so he can hear for himself that the frigate’s twice-daily cannon blasts - a tradition dating to 1798 - are “more disruptive to the neighborhood than you might have imagined.”
Reminds me of those who move to the North End for its quaint, Old World-style feel – and then complain about its quaint, Old World-style street festivals once there.Update
-- Favorite dumbfounded reaction over at UH
: “I … have … no … words.”Update II
-- Outraged Liberal
: "Now let me get this straight -- you didn't notice the big ship with the guns when you bought the condo?"
Congress OKs $500 Billion Monument to Human Folly
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
"From Hannibal's disastrous crossing of the Alps to Custer's humiliating defeat at Little Bighorn, human history has been plagued by senseless mistakes, and it is high time we built a memorial to honor that history. … My deepest hope is that future generations of Americans will one day look upon this pointless edifice and be filled with a sense of awe and wonder at mankind's utter lack of foresight."
Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH):
"Our goal is to create a structure that, like the human race itself, is doomed from the outset and plagued by innate flaws that can never be corrected … Not only will it be an aesthetic disaster, but it will also require constant, expensive maintenance."
'This is going to get ugly'
It already is.
Hours after news broke of the Fort Hood tragedy, Jay Severin last evening was slowly pronouncing the suspect’s name over the air … Nidal
. … Of course he and callers were already in preemptive MSM-bashing mode, suggesting a forthcoming media conspiracy to cover up Hasan’s Muslim background and Obama et gang's alleged horrid response. Michelle Malkin
is already there and more blunt:
Business as usual: The whitewashing of jihad by the MSM …I’ve said it many times over the years and it bears repeating again as cable TV talking heads ask in bewilderment how all the red flags Hasan raised could have been ignored: Political correctness is the handmaiden of terror.
Here's a challenge to conservatives: What specifically would they do to prevent these types of attacks in the future? It's put up or shut up time. By far, the ugliest solution that I've heard so far came last night from a bar waiter, who mumbled how we should round ‘them’ up and put them in ‘internment camps.’ After the initial shock of the comment wore off, I became strangely grateful for the crackpot idea, because at least he was honest and it pointed out the logical direction of unchannelled anger. Some hard-core conservatives are going to pat themselves on the back over coming days for their own silly version of speaking truth to power, pointing out how they're not afraid to talk about Hasan's Muslim background, blah blah blah. But this is what you won't hear from them: Effective and acceptable non-PC solutions. They'll just content themselves with whipping up emotions. ...
'There are fans of other teams who go ...'
Forget the Yanks payroll. Take a look at the ages
of their starters. Cashman has major decisions ahead. ... I wouldn't mind Damon coming back, if Bay heads to NYC. But any Damon deal would involve Scott Boras and a possible four-year contract demand, and so I'm not expecting the return of one of the original dirt dogs. ...
'Assuming the GOP can adopt a very simple platform'
has his own concise analysis of Tuesday’s elections. Not sure about Republicans retaking Congress. But he’s right about the political winds:
Assuming the GOP can adopt a very simple platform -- spend less money, create more wealth -- they can recapture the House, the Senate and most of the key statehouses. This being the modern GOP, I'm certain that they'll figure out a way to snatch some defeats from certain victory. But the wind is at their back and all they really have to do is raise a big spinnaker and point the ship dead down-wind.Mike Huckabee gets it.
Sarah Palin doesn’t.
Following up on the last point in the post below, here's the Washington Times'
take on last night: "The independent voters who powered President Obama and Democrats to victory in 2008 fled to Republicans in Tuesday's elections ..."
Virginia's Robert F. McDonnell isn't citing ideological purity for his victory. He's citing "overreach" by Democrats, who better put their 1,990-page health-care bill in a drawer, if they can fit it in a drawer. ... All in all, last night was a great one for moderates. Let's see how the two parties respond. ...Update
-- Mickey has a good winners-losers roundup.Update II
-- Dan is right
that last night’s results don’t show a clear repudiation of Obama. But I liked the way lkcape put it in Dan’s comments section:
Endorsement? Also, no.
Caution flag? Most assuredly.
'After driving a moderate Republican from the race ...'
So it’s back to the strategy drawing boards for movement conservatives. … I also get to bravely drift back to the Old CW
, hopefully without anyone noticing. … OK, so it was a good night for Republicans
. But it wasn’t a good night for movement-conservative Republicans. They gave away a seat. …
Martha Coakley, take heart: A former federal prosecutor and former state AG won last night, blowing a small hole in my national AG-curse theory
, though the Massachusetts AG curse remains valid until she wins. ...
Now here's a genuine whistling-past-the-graveyard analysis
piece. Democrats might want to take note of the shift in Independent votes last night. Republicans should take note too.
The real lesson from last night is that the moderate middle is now up for grabs.
'His fiercest challenge yet'
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t describe a 15-point drubbing as a ‘fierce’
and ‘fiercest challenge yet’
to the mayor. … Hey, if they’re now going to start comparing Menino to Chicago’s Richard Daley, then required reading for Bostonians should be Mike Royko’s ‘Boss.’
… One very good reason to be thankful for Menino’s re-election: The firefighters’ union is pissed
Did you notice anything else about the election results? Hint.
… I don’t know where Flaherty’s missing percentage point went. Did Peggy Davis-Mullen run a secret write-in campaign? …
'Hey, are you calling me tacky?'
has recently started Tacky Tourist Photos
. As curator, he sends in a link to one of his Hub favorites
, with the note: "Think the frozen Ted Williams gets disrespect?" ... Submission guidelines for Tacky Tourist Photos can be found here
. Limited number of web-graphic gifts available if you act now.
there’s a big turnout today. … No bold winner-loser prediction today. Instead, we’ll go with percentages: Menino, 57 percent; Floon, 43 percent. … The bold percentage prediction would have been Menino coming in below 55 percent. But it doesn’t feel right.Update
-- Early-morning voting seems to be somewhat heavy
Who's next? Charlie Baker? Part III
OK, I'm harping too much on the subject. But Mickey
makes a good point about the changing CW surrounding the NY 23rd race, now that it look like Hoffman could win tonight:
Old CW: Sure, Scozzafava is a moderate Republican but that’s what her constituents want.
New CW: It’s a conservative district, what did you expect?
I'm already adjusting my views to a third CW. If
Hoffman wins tonight, then the Hoffman challenge will have worked for conservatives. They'll have picked up a seat for their movement. But it'll also be a very lucky move, for there was never any guarantee at the outset that Dede would withdraw from the race. They were perfectly willing to sacrifice a safe GOP seat in a three-way race -- and that's a form of suicidal politics. ...
The moderate middle is still the grand prize in America's competitive two-party system. Both Democrats and Republicans need moderate voters and congressional members to control chambers and agendas. That
CW hasn't changed -- and that's
why an intraparty attack on a party's moderate center is so shocking.
Many of you may have already heard about the WaPo newsroom fistfight
. But what caught my attention was the updated response from the editor involved:
In the old days, said the 68-year-old, Pulitzer Prize-winning editor, the press wouldn't have been so shocked by an expletive-filled, newsroom scuffle. …
"Back when I got into journalism, the idea that a fistfight in a newsroom would turn into a news story was unthinkable," Allen said when reached Monday evening. "The guys in the sports department at the New York Daily News, they had so many, you wouldn’t even look up."
I’m actually surprised it doesn’t happen more often (knock on wood).
‘History will determine …’
makes a nice catch: Jim Aloisi’s departure letter to Gov. Patrick.
It’s … it’s … it’s interesting. The temptation to count the number of times he used the word “I” was almost overwhelming. … He was right about one thing: The “superficial” nature of the recently passed transportation reforms.
Who's next? Charlie Baker? Part II
Plenty more moderate Republicans to knock off here
. ... They'll do it too. ...
Conservatives are patting themselves on the back
, saying Scozzafava's endorsement of a Dem proves them right. But others, like yours truly, would argue they're driving Northeast moderates into the Dem or Independent camps.
-- Outraged Liberal has more
. ... Democrats couldn't have planned this better.Update II
-- But did they purge
the list first?Update III
-- One person says there's no way
the 23rd NY district will go Democrat. It's pursuasive. We'll see. ...
Who’s next? Charlie Baker?
So national conservatives forced out Dede Scozzafava
from the NY race. What other Republicans can they knock off in the increasingly blue Northeast? Charlie Baker? Christy Mihos? They both favor gay and abortion rights too, right? …
A couple of depressed moderates emailed me after I wrote this post
the other day, so I’ll repeat its key line, now that Scozzafava is gone: 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.
And I’d add: They are complete hypocrites.
'Polls show ...'
Michael Flaherty has indeed run a solid campaign
and deserves credit
for making the mayoral race competitive this year. He’ll likely lose to Menino on Tuesday. But I’m hoping it’s in the single digits so it sends the mayor a message that things aren’t all that swell in Boston. … I’ve also heard and sensed the ‘fear’ factor out there – among city workers, bar owners, real estate people, all of whom gripe about City Hall in private and then reluctantly suck up to the mayor in public. The machine-politics style of Menino’s rule is becoming more apparent by the day. The Kevin White term-too-far
syndrome is a legitimate concern. …
'The curse of the Massachusetts AG'
digs deeper into the curse of the AG
and comes up with more logical reasons why they’re such political losers in Massachusetts. Reader A also had a logical explanation
for their losing pattern here. …
I half agree with Reader A that NY voters seem more amenable to electing ex-prosectors to higher offices. But they’re not that much more amenable, if you look at it more closely. Dewey and Spitzer were ex-prosectors who won NY gubernatorial races
. But Dewey was never AG or a U.S. Attorney. He won national fame as a special prosecutor going after gangsters, such as Dutch Schultz and Lucky Luciano, and Nazis. Hollywood made him an almost genuine celebrity – and that made him exceptional. That leaves Spitzer – and we’ll leave it at that.
New York’s deeper association with elected crime fighters comes at the city level. Teddy Roosevelt was an ex-police commissioner (and war hero) before becoming governor. Rudy Guiliani, ex-fed prosectuor, later became mayor (and hasn’t risen since – and probably never will).
I didn’t check NY’s Senate history. But the only recent ex-prosecutor that jumps to mind is RFK, the former U.S. AG, who won office because of his famous name, not because of his crime-fighting abilities. *
So the bottom line is that a head-prosectutor's ability to move up the ladder is, surprisingly, more the exception (Dewey, Weld, Spitzer, etc) than the political rule (Richardson, Quinn, Bellotti, Shannon, Harshbarger, Reilly, etc.), here or elsewhere. It may actually be a hindrance, as Joan and others have explained.
* Note: I certainly didn’t get into whether someone was an ex-assistant/deputy AG, DA or U.S. attorney, etc. They’re a dime a dozen. No one really thinks of John Kerry as an ex-assistant prosecutor.