Polls: Back to square one for Deval?
Whether he’s slightly increasing
or slightly falling
in polls, Deval seems to be back to where he’s been over the past eight months or so when all the polls are averaged out: Hovering around 40 percent and depending heavily on a split opposition. … The latest numbers have to be a minor disappointment for Deval, who seemed to be catching some spring momentum before the latest batch of poll data came out. He’s campaigned well. The state economy is slowly recovering. Baker still hasn’t found a voice. Cahill’s still a third-party thorn in Baker’s side even with falling numbers. And yet Deval seems to be spinning wheels. No one is breaking out. …
Bad news for Mass. incumbents in general: Scott Brown’s the most popular politician
in Massachusetts. He’s hanging on to the Independents, even if some Tea Partiers are unhappy
Backers of Gen. McChrystal have launched a counter-offensive
, saying Rolling Stone writer Michael Hastings and his editors violated interview ground rules. Not much sympathy for McChrystal et gang from this tiny corner of the blogosphere. The fact remains that McChrystal 1.) Agreed to the interview. 2.) Doesn't really dispute quotes attributed to him or his staff. 3.) Exhibited poor judgment, whether portions of the interviews were on or off the record. ...
The pre-publication fact-checking email exchange between RS editors and McChrystal's staff is interesting but not a smoking gun that proves much either way. It still comes down to whether McCrystal et gang said what they said -- and they're not denying what was said. They're arguing they were ambushed. But they weren't ambushed. See points 1.), 2.) and 3.) above. ... My theory is that McChrystal's staff agreed to the Rolling Stone interviews precisely because it was Rolling Stone, i.e. it was an attempt to make the boss look hip. It backfired. If there was an ambush, they helped set it up and walked right into it. ...
Hastings sounds like a great reporter, despite the silly defense of him
as a "perfect specimen of the new breed of journalist-commentator that will hopefully come to replace the old breed'' in the media. Every generation tends to produce its own "new breed" of "journalist-commentators." Some of them turn out to be great -- such as Edward R. Murrow, Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe. Some of them turn out to be first-class hacks -- such as John Reed and Walter Duranty. There's no lock on "truth" or a "right way" to approach an issue. Whether a MSMer or new-breed journalist, a good journalist is still a good journalist, a hack is still a hack. ...
... I kind of liked this David Brooks column
. He makes some good points. I guess that makes me an old-breed hack by certain definitions. So be it. ...
A point guard?
Hub Blog's long dormant Trader Danny Derangement Sydrome gene is acting up again
. A point guard? For the Celts? ... I would have gone with a big man -- with Rasheed going, Kendrick recovering, and KG aging. But if Doc's happy, I'm happy. The move also makes sense with Ray's future in doubt and Rondo showing signs of fatigue and back-pains down the stretch. It's a long season. The Celts can't rely soley on Rondo's young legs. ... OK, I just talked my way into liking this pick. Trader Danny, you're off my double-secret probation list.
'Rush to judgment'
It sure looks like it.
... Another T driver with a less-than-stellar driving record. Why am I not surprised?
What to do with big-mouth generals, Part II
McChrystal is out.
I truly hope the president knows what he's doing. We're in the middle of a war. But maybe McChrystal came into the meeting today with an arrogant f*%k-you attitude. Who knows? … The president has other problems with big-mouth staff members who are making disparaging remarks about their colleagues:
At a time when violence in Afghanistan is sharply rising and several central planks of the president’s strategy to “disrupt, dismantle and defeat” the Taliban and Al Qaeda have stalled, many of the president’s top advisers have continued to criticize one another to reporters and international allies alike, usually in private conversations, and almost always off the record.
“Yes, we do hear them disparage each other,” said a senior European diplomat who works closely with the United States on Afghanistan strategy. “It’s never good to hear that.”
Not exactly reassuring.
The latest from Tim, Part II
Yet another last nail that won't be the final nail.
... Suggested nickname for Tim: Rasputin.
What to do with big-mouth generals
One can reduce McChrystal to a towel-snapping jock
and demand his departure. One can say he’s not the equivalent of Douglas MacArthur and then compare him to Douglas MacArthur.
Or one can take a deep breath and say his remarks were stupid and yet he shouldn’t be fired
because we’re in a God damned war. The last option is the best approach. It also takes into consideration the fact we already have too many generals afraid to speak their minds in private or in public. Who would you rather have? Tommy Franks or Stanley McChrystal? You’ll get more of the former if the current controversy isn’t handled right.
Memo to American generals: Please, no fancy commissions or war-college white papers to determine the fine line between obedience to civilian leaders and obedience to conscience. It’s rather simple:
-- No public criticism of the civilian leadership during time of war.*
-- Criticism is encouraged and valued when conducted in private or demanded by Congress.
-- Obey the agreed upon orders – or resign and speak up.
* Note: Public questioning of war policy is a firing offense (i.e., the Douglas MacArthur lesson); stupid and petty public criticism/remarks/acts are a reprimand offense (i.e. the George Patton-Stan McChrystal lesson); too many reprimands can lead to firing (the Straw That Broke the Camel's Back lesson in most jobs).
The latest from Tim
This should be the last nail
in Tim's political coffin. But it's about the 199th last nail and he still won't stay down. ...
'The political end of the president,' Part II
Initially, I thought Peggy Noonan was too quick to the draw
in criticizing Obama’s handling of the BP oil spill. Now Wayne Woodlief
has drawn and fired, leaving me belatedly fumbling for my own pundit revolver to shoot. The bottom line: The oil spill has really wounded this presidency – when it shouldn’t have.
I stand by my earlier assertion that there wasn’t – and still isn’t – much the president can do about the spill. There’s no federal agency with the expertise and equipment (nor should there be) to fix a deep-sea oil leak. The president has had to rely upon BP and the oil industry as a result. But I forgot two things: 1.) Perception is reality in politics and 2.) The cover-up is usually worse than the original sin. By ‘cover up,’ I don’t mean concealing a crime of some sort. It’s more like ‘ass covering.’ The president’s response to the criticism is the problem. It’s hollow. It’s cheap. It’s ineffective. It’s unpresidential. There’s no ‘the buck stops here.’ I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen such a botched PR campaign, played out before the entire nation to watch, assess and render judgment. He could have repaired the initial damage by saying he was right about reluctantly relying on BP while expressing regret he hadn’t reacted fast enough in other regards. Believe it or not, the public likes a little honesty and contriteness now and then. But the president didn’t take that approach. He proceeded to launch a shameless finger-pointing campaign, blaming BP for not giving the administration adequate information and taking on an angry tough-guy role that everyone knows isn’t the real him. He’s come across as pathetically insincere. He’s now getting it from all sides – the left, right and moderate center. …
Perhaps because of all the annoying Camelot connotations to this administration, the Hub Blog mind drifts to how President Kennedy handled his first big crisis, the Bay of Pigs, and how he ultimately accepted responsibility, even though he privately seethed at the gross incompetence of the entire military-industrial complex. Kennedy even went on his famous consultation walk
with ex-President Eisenhower to show how he was big enough to admit he had much to learn from an elder statesman – and a Republican to boot. There’s no Eisenhower for Obama to consult with today. But that doesn’t mean he has to jump every time Chris Matthews or James Carville open their big mouths. …
So the president wants a comprehensive energy policy. But here’s part of the problem: His own allies won’t accept compromises
. They’re not sincere about making the country less dependent on foreign oil. It’s all about climate change and pie-in-the-sky solutions
P.S. -- I still don't think Obama's presidency is over. But it's been badly wounded.
Manny Derangement Syndrome Alert
Kevin has relapsed.
Thank you, Celtics
They played lousy. They had their chances. They could have won a championship last night. The loss is a huge disappointment. But it's not a bitter disappointment. This team played its heart out. They gave us four great playoff series. They exceeded everyone's expectations. They pulled it together when it counted. They gave us top-notch basketball all spring long. They fell four-points short in a game they could have won. But no bitterness from this end. They played too hard to be bitter. ...
Some other quick observations and points: 1) It's sad to think this crew probably played their last game together. What's going to happen with Doc? Ray Allen? Pierce and Garnett? 2.) It's good to know we've learned, as a result of this playoff run, who the team will be built around in future years: Rondo -- with Glenn and Kendrick playing supporting roles. 3.) Why did Wade attend one of the Finals home games in Boston? Fan that rumor, fellow fans! 4.) To bring back Rasheed or not to bring back Rasheed. That is the question. He's a bastard, but he's our bastard. So bring him back if the price is right.
‘This is no longer a series, it is a stereotype’
of the L.A. Times:
So this is what the wall looks like.
Sickly green, bulging with elbows, dripping with sweat, a solid sheet of basketball will.
‘The skeptical conscience of liberalism’
It may have taken a Frenchman
to explain the evolution of neoconservativism to Americans. … Justin Vaïsse’s division of the movement into three distinct stages seems to make sense. Hub Blog came of age, for lack of other words, during the overlap period between stages II and III, when Reagan Democrats still had clout in both parties. It was an exciting time. But neoconservativism descended into a strange mix of hyper-hack partisanship and hawk dogma after the Cold War, throwing in a little faux populism when convenient. It's a wing of the Republican party now, not a movement.
It's that time
It must be World Cup soccer time: The predictable ‘why don’t Americans love soccer’
stories have blossomed. … You know they’ve hit campy rock bottom when they no longer sell the sport on its merits. Sorry, but: A.) We already have hockey. B.) We like our violence on the fields, not on the streets. … Actually, I learned to like soccer after watching the WC games here in New England a while back. But I’ll still take good-old USA sports
P.S. - Here's the S&D interview
He followed his convictions.
He didn't hide them
for decades. He deserves credit for getting out from behind the keyboard and swinging away before a larger audience.
The Celts we saw against Orlando, Cleveland and Miami reappeared
last night -- with a special-guest appearance by the terminator
. ... Actually, I didn't see the Celts last night. I heard them. Thunderstorms knocked out my electricity. So I listened to the game via ESPN Network somewhere on the AM dial (for some reason 'EEI couldn't come through on the transistor). It was a pleasant, old-fashioned way to follow the game, sitting in the dark on my sofa, simultaneously envisioning how the game was unfolding on the court and how I was going to wreak vengeance on Nstar off the court.
'There were other ways,' Part II
No one looks like an angel in this NYT account
of the Israeli raid on the blockade-running ship. The Turks could have and should have stopped the flotila. The Israelis could have and should have found another non-military option to counter a propaganda ploy. The leading "peace activists" could and should have known some among them were itching for a fight. ... But the bottom line remains: Israel botched this one. Big time. What did it gain? Nothing.
This isn’t Orlando, Toto
The one thing I didn’t expect last night: KG
and the frontcourt
got manhandled. They’re not going to win if they don’t start attacking and hacking underneath. … A very encouraging thing: The Lakers only look pretty good
. They’re beatable. But Paul Gasol is the Celts’ main problem right now. He’s generally not that tough of a player. We know that. He knows that. To his credit, he’s not trying to prove himself by getting into nasty scrums that he’ll lose to the Celts. He’s playing smart. He’s pulling the Celts out just enough to weaken them – and then crashing back in. That’s where the Celts need to mug him: under the basket. … Don’t you get the impression Kendrick is holding back a bit, perhaps because of his seven technicals? I’d rather see Perkins slash away and get the eighth technical, returning to Boston with the series tied 1-1 and with Perk on the bench, rather than coming back 0-2 with Perk on the court. This is a seven-game series. Sacrifices have to be made. I’d rather the sacrifice happen with a home-court advantage partially offsetting it. …
‘Smug-a-licious revisionist history’
catches a fun WSJ column
on the Celts-Lakers series. My favorite part:
Is Rajon Rondo Close to the Celtics' Big Three?
Thanks to the sprightly play of young Mr. Rondo, a lot of people have upgraded the Celtics to a Big Four. But don't you get the feeling that Mr. Rondo is still sitting at the kids' table during team meals, eating pizza bagels and carrot sticks? Or that after big victories, Mr. Pierce, Mr. Garnett and Ray Allen tell him that the after-party is at the "hot new club at 47 Lansdowne Street," only to have Mr. Rondo get there and discover it's a parking garage?
The latest addition
to my reading list. Estimated Time of Reading: 2011. I'm enjoying going crazy these days with Robert Parker's Jesse Stone
and Michael Connelly's Bosch
novels, disrupting my carefully planned book-reading schedule.
'There were other ways'
puts the tragic Israeli sea raid into proper perspective. ...
A propaganda ploy by alleged peace activists and Turk Islamists is met with military force. Not very smart. Israel played right into their hands. Besides the unnecessary deaths, one of the sadder things to contemplate is the loss and lack of cleverness exhibited by the Israelis. The hot-tempered second stringers are now running the government there, in an eerie parallel to the “gloves are off” types who ran the White House during the Bush II reign. Their one-dimensional instincts – pounding the table and demanding action – precluded more patient and imaginative responses.Update
-- This says it all
: 'We are very thankful to the Israeli authorities.' ... Forget the lives lost. They were apparently dispensable. It was all about propaganda. It's sick. Yet the Israeli hard-liners took the bait.
Cooz on Rondo
. … Makes me feel guilty about not putting Bob on my all-time first team
list. But HB stands by my unsentimental Belichickean logic. … It’s true: ‘So what?’
Fantasy Celt picks, Part II
Callers to the Dennis & Callahan show
this morning seemed overwhelmingly in favor of including Paul Pierce on any first-team fantasy roster. As noted below, I wouldn't argue with their point too strenuously. ... Speaking of Callahan, he says
there's something special about this year's team compared to the Bird-era teams. He's right. Plowing through three powerhouse teams in a row to reach the finals is amazing. A final championship victory over L.A. would cap an incredible playoff run. The '10 Celts seem to be a combination of the '69 Celts, the '67 Impossible Dream Sox team (just a little, due to the Cinderella element), and George Foreman in his later years. If they don't win it, forget you read this here. ...
Fantasy Celt picks
If you’re partly basing your all-time Celts-vs.-Lakers teams on the number of championships each player won, then Gary’s Celts picks
make sense: Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Bill Russell.*
But if you’re basing it on gut instinct about the best players, championships or no championships, I’d choose: Dennis Johnson, Havlicek, Bird, Kevin Garnett and Russell. I could easily live with a coin flip between Hondo and Pierce.
Sorry, Cousy fans. But Bob’s game wasn’t suited for modern basketball. His style drifted somewhere in between the George Mikan and modern eras. … The only sure starting picks would be Bird and Russell, for obvious reasons. …
*But the picks don’t make total sense. Why count Havlicek’s five championships over the Lakers against Pierce’s one championship over the Lakers, and then not count McHale’s two losses against L.A. (for a minus one) when considering Garnett (plus one)? I’d go with Garnett over McHale because the defensive duo of KG and Russell would have been unbeatable … Agree on this: The Celts fantasy bench crushes L.A.’s fantasy bench. Imagine Rondo, Pierce, McHale, Parish et gang jumping in to give starters a spell. ... BTW - In an ideal fantasy world, some sort of Auerbach/post-Auerbach handicap would be calculated into decisions. Paul Pierce managed to survive the ugly Pitino-Gaston years. Shouldn't that count toward something?Update
-- Rounding out the bench, add Sam Jones and Ray Allen.