Monday, February 28, 2005


I’m waiting for my flight using Logan Airport’s WiFi, and CNN Headline News is droning obnoxiously in the background. It is little wonder that the turgid product turned out by the CNN sisters draws about 1/3 of the ratings of Fox even though there are an equal amount of people who prefer CNN’s politics as there are who prefer Fox’s.

But that’s not why I interrupt my airport idyll to blog. Some guy just popped up on the screen and mentioned that Chris Rock’s Gap/Banana Republic bit “slayed” him. (In case you missed it, Rock analogized the President to an inept Gap manager who declared an ill advised war on Banana Republic because of the mistaken belief that Banana Republic was selling toxic tank tops. Get it – ha! What, you’re not slayed?)

Maybe you are slayed. Regardless, my point is this: What kind of schmuck industry repeatedly goes out of its way to gratuitously antagonize half of its potential customers. When I ran for state representative in 1992, my barber and the deli that I frequented about 8 days a week both declined to post one of my campaign signs. Why? Because they didn’t want to offend half their customers (in this case actually 2/3 their customers). Business, after all, is business.

My barber and my deli owner knew this, and yet the great collective of genius that is Hollywood has yet to divine this little piece of common sense. It would be one thing if this kind of thing were a rare happenstance when the occasional loose canon commandeered a microphone, but it happens all the time.

All I wanted was to enjoy the spectacle of technical award nominees being humiliated by having to stand on the stage like formally garbed zoo animals in peace without having my politics belittled. Was that too much to ask?

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight


1) THE GIFT THAT WILL JUST KEEP GIVING, PART II: Howard Dean in a speech this past week referred to our domestic politics as a battle of “good” versus “evil.” Guess who’s evil? Aside from the obvious impropriety involved, there are actually a couple of things profoundly wrong with the DNC Chair making such a statement.

First of all, it evidences echo chamber thinking of the highest magnitude. I spend my time in Boston and Palm Beach County; that means the vast majority of my friends, neighbors, golf partners, enemies and people who I wait behind in the dry-cleaner line are Democrats. I would never think these people are evil or that they’re so stupid that they habitually vote for evil people. We just disagree – that’s all. The fact that Dean would say such a thing shows he’s hermetically sealed off from the real world which probably isn’t a particularly good trait for a purportedly major party’s chairman to have.

Second, this comment shows that it will be Dean’s tendency to offer red meat for the angry partisans in his party. (I’m aware that the “red meat” metaphor for these particular partisans is all wrong, but saying he’s willing to offer chewy tofu for the faithful lacks a certain ring.) This strategy is misguided on so many levels I simply lack the energy on a Monday morning to enumerate them. For the moment though, let’s just mention the facts that those angry partisans are already going to vote Democratic anyway, and they hardly need the Governor’s fiery rhetoric to get all pumped up.

Quite the opposite, a shrewd DNC chair would be doing everything he could to calm things down a bit. But then again, a vote for Howard Dean for chairman was not exactly a vote for shrewdness, was it now?

2) CHRIS ROCK WAS AWFUL. While I’m a huge movie buff, I’m not a big fan of awards shows. I feel they range from unwatchable to utterly unwatchable. But I was a Chris Rock admirer and was curious how he would do.

I expect the terms “career ruining” and “totally bombed” will be tossed around promiscuously this morning to characterize the unfortunate comic’s work last night. He was dwarfed by the setting, but more importantly he just wasn’t funny. Rock was so awful last night that when Sean Penn gave him a verbal smackdown near the evening’s conclusion, I was actually in Sean Penn’s corner. That’s a place I never expected to be.

3) I’VE BEEN UP IN BOSTON for the past four days, returning to Florida this afternoon (just ahead of the snow, thankfully), and I’ve been able to make a couple of observations about my hometown during my brief visit: a) The city has gone overboard on the Red Sox. It’s insane. It’s not even March and the local media’s coverage of the team is non-stop round-the-clock. I hope the free agents who signed here knew what they were getting into; and b) The Boston Globe really doesn’t like Mitt Romney.

He’s so gotten under their skin, their coverage of him has abandoned any pretense of journalistic professionalism or objectivity. As Jonathan Last pointed out yesterday on Galley Slaves, a front page story on Romney made a rather odd choice of which expert to call in to conclude the article’s analysis of the Governor’s political talent: The Massachusetts Democratic Chairman!

The Chairman in question, Philip Johnston, unsurprisingly made some rather unkind remarks about Romney: “'Romney has put himself between a rock and a hard place because he is trying to pursue two incompatible strategies: To run for reelection in a socially progressive state, and running a national campaign appealing to right-wing social conservatives. I think it's virtually impossible to do both. Only a political genius could do both, and I don't know anyone who's accused Mitt Romney of being that.”

Ha! Good one, Phil!

While I’m rolling on the floor, it pains me to point out that Johnston has been one of the ranking muckety-mucks of the Massachusetts Democratic Party for over a generation now. This is the state party that has manged to lose four consecutive gubernatorial elections in spite of the fact that about 97% of Masschusetts voters are registered Democrats.

In other words, Johnston might not be the most well positioned individual to question Governor Romney’s political acumen.

The Globe’s calling on Johnson’s analysis to conclude its column here is particularly odd when you consider there’s a gaggle of local academics always eager to bash a Republican. The Globe could have pretended to be fair but apparently Romney has the Morrissey Boulevard set so unnerved they forgot to even bother to try to appear objective.

What’s next for the Globe? Calling Republicans evil?

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Saturday, February 26, 2005


For those of you in dire need of a Soxblog fix to get through the day, I’ll offer the following quick hit related to a subject most of you are quite sick of by now but that I still find oddly compelling.

The New York Times waddled in on the Larry Summers controversy today with a characteristically late-to-the-party front page story. In its coverage, the Times suggests that during his hour of struggle Larry has turned to several advisors for succor. Among these putative wise-men is the oleaginous David Gergen, past advisor to four (count them, four!) Presidents. Displaying the mush-minded weakness that made him a liability for multiple administrations, Gergen offered the following nugget of wisdom: “It's a good thing when a male demonstrates vulnerability.”

Please, take the following from whence it comes. I grew up in a household where unwarranted sniveling was greeted by a stern, “Stop it or I’ll REALLY you something to cry about.” In other words, vulnerability was never a particularly cherished virtue in our household.

Now I’ve heard from some male friends that there are times where a little vulnerability can come in handy. I’ve been told that a little vulnerability can go a long way when it comes to talking a certain kind of woman out of her virtue. Whether true or not, such a ruse was always beneath me.

And I’ve been told that vulnerable people are fun to have around, in the same sort of manner that wounded puppies are enjoyable to have around. Me, I prefer my puppies robust and my acquaintances to keep their vulnerabilities a personal matter.

That’s all just a matter of taste, I guess. But for those of you young readers who aspire to be leaders some day, take it from me, because on this there can be no debate: Vulnerability is not an asset for a leader. And take this further piece of advice for those of you who someday become leaders and find yourself face to face with fierce and determined enemies as Larry does with the politically correct Ph.D. bearing Stalinists who are after his scalp: The more vulnerability you show, the more emboldened your enemies become.

This whole issue brings to mind that Presidential press conference last April where questioner after questioner kept beseeching the President to admit his errors and tell the world how FUBAR the situation in Iraq had become. The President declined to answer these repetitive and hostile questions (apparently Mr. Gannon was otherwise engaged that evening) for he knows that when you’re leading the free world it’s better to be considered a stubborn ass than it is to be thought of as a warm, sensitive and vulnerable sweetheart of a guy.

Perhaps it speaks well of Mr. Gergen that he’s a man of such delicate sensibilities that he's willing to concede his weaknesses. But it certainly doesn’t speak well of the four administrations that might have heeded his counsel.

Or let me put it another way: I’m very pleased that we have an Administration where the advisors spend more time reading Machiavelli and Sun Tzu than they do reading “The Bridges of Madison County” and “Love Story.”

As Larry takes his next tentative steps forward in the next few weeks, he would do well to bear all of this in mind.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Friday, February 25, 2005



1) ONE CAN’T HELP but feel a tinge of sympathy for the left wing blogosphere as they remain confused as to why this scandal has yet to grip the country’s imagination. They truly seem befuddled as to why the presence of an unworthy in the White House Press Corps has left the public overcome with indifference. The Daily Kos had a lengthy post yesterday quoting Salon which suggested that the whole thing is a corporate media cover-up. My suggestion to lefty bloggers is apply Occam’s Razor here – the reason this story hasn’t gotten any coverage is because it’s not newsworthy. Why isn’t it newsworthy? Because no one gives a shit about it. Sorry kids, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.

2) BUT WHAT ABOUT THE SECURITY BREACH? This is the part of the story that I find richest in humor. The left wing bloggers have become so concerned with President Bush’s safety that they are outraged that an improperly credentialed reporter got within shouting distance of him. Honestly, does the left wing blogosphere’s sudden concern for the President’s well being not strike one as perhaps a tad disingenuous? Something tells me that if some misfortune should befall the President, few of the Kos diarists would be in need of grief counseling.

Or then again, maybe they’re just really worried about Dick Cheney being President.

3) MUCH TO THE DELIGHT of the loony left, five United States Senators have sent a letter to the President urging that the Gannon affair be investigated in light of the possible security breaches and any potential journalistic improprieties. The letter was written by minority whip Dick Durbin and co-signed by Ted Kennedy, Frank Lautenberg the well known moderate minority leader Harry Reid, and someone named John Kerry. For obvious reasons, the Gannon Scandal isn’t going anywhere. But it is interesting that five Senators not named Boxer feel the need to so gratuitously cozy up to the radical peanut gallery. That’s bad news for the republic, really bad news for the Democratic Party.

4) THEY’RE PLAYING WITH FIRE HERE – The great irony here is the beauty of the blogosphere is that anyone with enough talent and insight can become an influential journalist. For all we know, Wretchard of the Belmont club is a thirteen year old child prodigy. Even if that were the case, his work would still have enormous influence because of its inherent quality.

Now the left is demanding that the government take a more active role in determining who is and who isn’t a bona fide journalist. I thought part of the idea behind this whole blogosphere thing-a-ma-jig was that we were going to break the mainstream media’s monopoly on the “news.” Now the left wing portion wants to play a major role in helping the MSM consolidate that monopoly by having the government allow journalistic access only to truly worthy people like Terry Moran.

Come on guys – you’re goring your own ox here. Make that our ox.

5) HAVING READ THE ENTIRE TRANSCRIPT of Gannon’s interview with Cooper Anderson, Gannon came across extremely sympathetically. (Cooper came across as a smug jack-ass.) The Armstrong Williams thing was a real outrage – the government using our tax payers to fund disingenuous propaganda was a violation of the public trust. But I’m not exactly sure what Gannon did that so outraged the left.

The left looks quite small declaring such a personal Jihad against so insignificant a figure. Then again, we’ve reached a point in time where the left is very small indeed.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Thursday, February 24, 2005


Last night to celebrate the retention of his job, Larry Summers joined me and Mrs. Soxblog for a dinner party held in his honor at Soxblog Manor. It pains me to inform you that things didn’t go particularly well.

The tension began when Larry entered our foyer, held out his jacket, and said, “What am I supposed to do with this?” It was just so brusque. This was a guest in our home and I found his manner to be condescending and hostile.

During the cocktail hour, I suggested he try dipping my garlic toasted pita not only in my homemade hummus but in my homemade baba ganoush as well. He fixed me with a withering glare. I felt hostage to his unexpected hostility.

Another guest assured him that the baba ganoush was also quite delicious; Larry looked at this guest in a manner that clearly suggested he was questioning the man’s intellect. As we tried to engage in small talk, a chill settled over the room.

It was obvious that several of our guests felt like their freedom to express their fondness for baba ganoush was limited. Indeed, so obvious was Larry’s disdain for the baba ganoush that the rest of the guests, in an attempt to curry his favor, eschewed the baba ganoush entirely and limited their dipping to the hummus exclusively. As a result, we soon ran out of hummus and had a befuddled group of dinner guests. They wouldn’t dip in the baba ganoush for fear of risking Larry’s wrath, and yet we were now out of hummus. Thus, dipping became impossible.

I figured things would improve when we all sat down to dinner and partook in my justly famous braised short ribs. The assemblage as a group warmly praised the entrée, but then Larry suggested that the texture of the short ribs was “oddly chewy.” I had heard the man was socially maladroit, but this was beyond the pale.

The instant Larry made this unfortunate observation, I could tell he sensed my disappointment. In a futile attempt to assuage my hurt feelings, he suggested that perhaps the ribs’ “displeasing texture” (as he put it) were because they were cooked by a man. I looked at him quizzically. He elaborated: “I don’t mean to be provocative, but perhaps there is a chance that men have different intrinsic abilities in the kitchen than the fairer sex.”

Well, you can imagine my stunned devastation. If I hadn’t instantly repaired from the dining room into the powder room, I’m quite certain I would have blacked out. Nonetheless, as I sat in the powder room, I resolved to set President Summers straight. I exited the lavatory, called the Boston Globe and then waded back into the dining room.

In calm measured tones, I explained to Larry the harm that he had done. I patiently informed him that a successful dinner party is a “great shimmering web.” I told him that every time he glared at a guest, he shredded a piece of that web; every time he showed a lack of respect for the baba ganoush he broke ties in the web; and every time he questioned the texture of my short ribs, he broke ties in our web by the hundreds.

Much to my surprise, Larry seemed moved by my speech. He immediately apologized. He said that he shouldn’t have been so provocative as to mention the relative cooking abilities of men and women. He said that while there is data on the subject, to date the data is inconclusive and he should have steered clear of such a controversial subject. He added that a dinner party is not a university and is thus not an appropriate forum for such reckless academic speculation.

He sensed one apology would not be nearly adequate to compensate for his myriad of faux pas so he mounted a veritable contrition campaign. He insisted that he had the utmost of respect for those who chose to consume baba ganoush over hummus, and he insisted that upon further reflection he found the texture of my short ribs to be perfectly delightful.

Gratified by this display, the guests and I decided to let President Summers stay for the duration of the dinner party. But is civil discourse possible with such a man?

I leave you to reach your own conclusions.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


1) LARRY LIVES! Who knows why? Perhaps it was fear of what would have been brutal and unsparing retribution from Soxblog that spared his job. Maybe it was the dozens of undergrads that rallied around their beleaguered President. Or perhaps reality set in amongst a majority of the faculty that the people who really run Harvard (the Corporation) weren’t about to turn over the keys to the asylum to the Ph.D holding inmates. Regardless, in spite of a history of impolite glares, Larry Summers will retain his job having promised a new era of sensitivity and mutual respect. (Blech!) This promises to be harsh medicine indeed for the former Secretary of the Treasury, having to spend the next decade pretending to care what Professors of Comparative Medieval Religion think.

Lest you think I’ve minimized President Summers’ accumulated sins, let me allow Harvard Economics Professor Caroline Hoxby make the case herself. Hoxby spoke of the many links and relationships of the university as a “great shimmering web.” Sadly, in Hoxby’s view, President Summers has been no friend to this web. Said the disappointed professor, “Every time, Mr. President, you show a lack of respect for a faculty member's intellectual expertise, you break ties in our web. Every time you humiliate or silence a faculty member, you break ties in our web. When you engage in speech that harms the university's ability to foster scholarship and that is not thoughtful, not deliberate, and not grounded in deep knowledge, you break ties by the hundreds.” Well, since you put it that way…

Much of the country is unaware of a key element of the Summers/Faculty dust-up. To summarize a complex matter in two sentences, Cambridge based Harvard is about to make a huge expansion into neighboring Allston. Cambridge is a wonderfully vibrant college town; Alston is best known for its seemingly endless supply of tow company parking lots and shabby student housing. Few members of the Harvard faculty relish the thought of moving from Cambridge to Allston. Since Summers himself teaches in the Economics department, it would seem unlikely that the economics department will be banished to the soon-to-be-built Allston gulag. But in all fairness, the department should have a representative in Alston. Here’s an idea – how about sending Professor Hoxby out to Alston as a Ph.D version of Lewis and Clark to settle the new wilds!

Here’s a related thought: In spite of President Summers professed new found commitment to sensitivity and openness, perhaps there’s a chance that Professor Hoxby and like minded and similarly outspoken faculty members will soon learn they would have been better off reading Sun Tzu than E.B. White. I believe it was Sun Tzu (or perhaps it was Michael Corleone) who suggested that when you shoot for a King, you best be sure not to miss.

Larry lives – will he be wrathful?

2) OLIVER WILLIS WAS ON C-SPAN. If you’re unfamiliar with the Oliver Willis blog, count yourself among the lucky. Willis is one of George Soros’ stable of bloggers; I’ve referred to Willis on these pages as “relentlessly imbecilic.” That’s a fair description of his blog; a typical entry consists of him calling someone an “idiot” or a “moron” and then offering little if any elaboration.
But on TV, he was well-spoken, and, dare I say it, almost appealing. He was reasonable. In short, he was everything he isn’t on his blog. Which leads me to conclude something about O-Dub – he may be a decent guy who just can’t write.

Which makes him a poor candidate to be a good blogger. Which makes it all the more apparent why George Soros hired him to be a blogger. George’s eye for talent is a bit questionable and his political instincts somewhere south of astute. Even for all his billions, I’m quite delighted that Soros is playing for the other team.

3) ROMNEY GOES TO SOUTH CAROLINA – Mitt Romney went to South Carolina a couple days ago as part of his duties as vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association (wink). He gave a speech that knocked ‘em dead. No surprise there – Romney is the most talented retail politician out there, the Michael Jordan of that aspect of the game.

Equally unsurprising is the fact that the Boston Globe was scandalized by the whole thing, especially by a gentle jibe Romney directed at his home state. Romney jested that as a Republican in Massachusetts, he felt like a “cattle rancher at a vegetarian convention.”

The humorless harpies on the Globe’s editorial board whined foul: “Apparently the obvious needs to be restated: Massachusetts is one of the 50 United States. If Romney thinks he can build a presidential candidacy by belittling his own constituents, he is likely misjudging the 6 million Americans he has already been elected to serve and the national audience he is now courting.” Well, that should put the Governor in his place! Although, let’s be honest, the Globe’s declaration lacks the pithiness of “Don’t Mess with Texas.”

4) BLEDSOE GOING TO DALLAS – According to this morning’s Palm Beach Post, Drew Bledsoe and Bill Parcells are about to be re-united in Big D. In New England Patriots’ history, Bledsoe and Parcells are sort of a two man Trotsky – the revolution wouldn’t have been possible were it not for their contributions but both (especially Parcells) have been air-brushed from franchise history.

If you read my not so brief history of the Patriots, you know the franchise was a joke until Parcells’ and Bledsoe’s joint 1993 arrival. While they didn’t win a title here, the two of them are, with the exception of the Kraft family, the parties most responsible for the franchise’s turnaround.

It seems like both Parcells and Bledsoe have reached stages of their careers where they’ve lost something off their fastballs. Nonetheless, it would be petty for a Patriot fan to not wish them well. May they triumph in the weak NFC next season, and get slaughtered by the Pats as the Patriots win their unprecedented fourth Super Bowl in five seasons.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Although I can imagine more noble callings than being the Daily Kos’ Boswell, I’m going to stay on top of this story.

Let me start with this disclaimer: While Markos (a.k.a. Kos) is a smart guy and a shrewd political operator; he’s also riding a tiger of sorts. He’s mayor of a community in which a lot of the denizens are, how shall I put this nicely, not exactly doing mainstream thinking. So long as he remains mayor of this community, Markos will be able to summon energy, volunteers and money for candidates he deems worthy of such. But if the community’s residents ever completely jump the rails and enter the realm of the entirely insane, Markos’ days as a power player are over.

To give you an idea of what he’s up against, take a look at the thread that developed around the death of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. As you know by now, Thompson died of a self inflicted gun shot wound.

But in the strange world of the Daily Kos, such a happenstance can mean only one thing – President Bush is to blame. The thread started off in characteristically bizarre fashion. Actually, what was written might have been ugly were it not so ridiculous instead. Wrote “diarist” (don’t ask) Mike Stark about Thompson’s demise: “It scares me. Speculation isn't appropriate, but what did he know that we don't? I mean, this guy was one crazy mother-fucker. Absolutely fearless.”

Was Stark hinting that Thompson knew something and the White House had to eliminate him? Who knows? Frustratingly, Stark doesn’t provide further elaboration.

But fortunately in the Daily Kos there are usually hundreds of commenters available to shed light on a subject. While none of them seemed to feel Bush ordered a hit, many blamed the President for Thompson’s demise nonetheless.

Offered one commenter, “His blood is also on Bush's hands. Probably just couldn't accept life with four more years of Bush. Guess he chose to take the easy way out.” Another commenter seconded the notion that four more years of Bushitler were a dark prospect indeed: “That’s what makes me so angry about this election. I really did believe that with John Kerry winning the election, the dark curtain would slowly begin to move, and we would be on to better days.”

But the sentiment that Thompson took his own life solely because of the Bush ascendancy was not universally adopted by the Kossacks. One obviously older and wiser head pointed to a little personal history to make the point that it wasn’t ALL Bush’s fault: “My wife and I knew someone - basically more acquaintance than friend - who committed suicide weeks after Bush stole the election of 2000. During those last weeks of his life he'd made numerous dire predictions as to what was coming down on us in the aftermath of that awful November. Eerily enough, our acquaintance was spot on. I doubt he killed himself over Junior Caligula's ascension to the throne (our acquaintance was suffering from Asperger's syndrome and severe depression), but it no doubt was on the background. HST was no doubt battling plenty of his own demons.”

Now, it would be unfair of me to leave you with the impression that the Kos Kommunity completely lacked Bush defenders. Some found the notion that Bush was responsible for Thompson’s suicide to be quite ludicrous: Wrote one guardian of the President’s reputation, “The idea that he would take his own life because The Crackhead won a second term is as remote as you killing yourself because Kimberley got voted off American Idol.”

This would be as good a time as any to point out that mainstream Democratic politicians currently seek the favor of the Kos community. Barbara Boxer is still doubtlessly enjoying the 4500 roses that the Kossacks sent her for Valentine’s Day and to which she responded with a gushing thank you note.

Markos’ job will be to keep his community mainstream enough that Democratic politicians remain willing to touch him and his site with the proverbial ten foot solicitation. I don’t envy him the task.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Monday, February 21, 2005


If you saw the front page of the New York Times yesterday, you know that some guy surreptitiously taped then-candidate Bush over a two year period and has now released those tapes at the optimal time to help him promote his latest book. I’m not going to mention the latter day Linda Tripp's name here for fear of aiding his duplicitous publicity seeking campaign.

Putting aside the scuzziness of the whole situation, my heart skipped a beat when I logged on to AOL yesterday and read of the tapes’ existence along with the sub-headlines, “President candidly discusses gays, McCain.” If you follow the link, I think you’ll agree that the President’s comments on gays are noble and those on McCain benign.

As proof that the President comes off well in the tapes, take a brief stroll through the left wing blogosphere. The initial euphoria that greeted the tapes’ release has been followed by – nothing. What greater proof could there be that the tapes not only fail to wound the President, but that they actually help him?

The part of David Kirkpatrick’s Times story that I really found amazing was the following sentence: “The private Mr. Bush sounds remarkably similar in many ways to the public President Bush.”

My goodness, such cynicism! Does Kirkpatrick believe that Bill Clinton didn’t spend his private hours biting his lip in sincerity and feeling others’ pain? Does he somehow sense that Ted Kennedy’s time away from the office is spent in pursuits other than grandly pondering the agenda of Liberalism’s Last Lion? Is he even suggesting that Senator John Kerry is not the Everyman his campaign led us to believe he was, that Kerry doesn’t really enjoy dining at Wendy’s and hanging around with a bunch of blue collar Union types?

Kirkpatrick is suggesting that most of our politicians are frauds – that they create public personae that have little relation to who they really are. I hate to say it, but I agree. A fair amount of our politicians are phonies who probably in private bear little resemblance to the folks we see on our TV screens.

But every now and then we get someone who is the real deal, someone who doesn’t have to scrub himself for public appearances and is willing to appear as he really is. I’ve long felt that the President was such a rare bird; I guess these tapes offer some supporting evidence in that regard.

This story also bears some relation to an almost unbearably cynical and obtuse op-ed in Friday’s Boston Globe by Globe staffer Scott Lehigh. Lehigh amplified the days-old New York Times’ charge that Mitt Romney’s stance on embryonic cloning for stem cell research was cynically calibrated to the national stage.

What evidence would Lehigh have for charging Romney with insincerity on such an important issue? None, except that Romney granted interviews to the Weekly Standard (to me) and the New York Times rather than the Boston Globe. Other than professional jealousy, Lehigh has absolutely no grounds for reaching such an outrageous and wrong-headed conclusion.

What’s especially grating about Lehigh’s column is that he refuses to realize that Governor Romney, like President Bush, is the real deal. He is exactly the same in public as he is in private. His core convictions don’t shift when he leaves his house in the morning.

Romney believes in the righteousness of his cause, just as the President believes in the justness of his many causes. Neither man discovers their convictions by convening a series of focus groups. And neither one is trying to pull one over on the public by presenting a public image that has little relation to the real man.

None of that means you have to like Romney or Bush. I’m sure there are people who know them well and still have a low opinion of them. But neither one is a phony; that is patently obvious.

The fact that Lehigh after covering Romney for more than two years has failed to realize that fact speaks rather poorly of his reporter’s instincts.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Saturday, February 19, 2005


I was planning to take the long weekend off but with the BIGGEST SCANDAL EVER breaking wide open, I figured that doing so would be a dereliction of duty. A lot of right wing bloggers have been accused of ignoring or underestimating the enormity of the Gannon/Guckert scandal; I will not allow Soxblog to be tainted in such a manner.

The previously reclusive Mr. Gannon/Guckert appeared on the Anderson Cooper Show last night. Here’s something curious: In spite of having an exclusive interview with the central figure in the BIGGEST SCANDAL EVER, Cooper and his staff opted to air the interview as their seventh story of the evening, giving Gannon/Guckert lower priority than some schmuck who drove off one of those seaside highways in Ventura, careened down the adjacent cliff and yet still lived to tell the tale. While not denying the human interest aspect of such a story, didn’t Cooper realize his Gannon/Guckert scoop was HUGE? Perhaps such a lack of basic news judgment helps explain why CNN now has ratings that compare unfavorably to the Plumbing Network’s.

The piece on Gannon itself is also revealing. Howard Kurtz began it with an ominous voiceover: “In a White House press corps filled with well known faces, no one paid much attention to this man.”

“Well known faces?” Talk about understatement! As I pointed out yesterday, the hundred or so members of the White House Press Corps are all enormously popular and instantly recognizable celebrities. But I can understand why Kurtz doesn’t want to appear as if he’s tooting mainstream journalism’s own horn.

Kurtz goes on to charge Gannon with asking an inaccurate question: “How are you going to work with people (the Democrats) who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?”

If Howie is alleging that Gannon was in error by alleging that Democrats are divorced from reality, I respectfully beg to differ. As a matter of fact, I would even go so far as to say that assuming Democrats and Reality are both practicing Catholics, their relationship probably has been officially annulled by now.

Look at the record: They nominated a guy who they thought was electable because of his four months in combat 35 years ago. They think having a party chair who most of the country views unfavorably is a shrewd move. And they think the general public will be outraged when they learn an unworthy infiltrated their beloved White House Press Corps.

The Cooper/Gannon/Guckert interview was utterly unremarkable except for the part where Gannon/Guckert complained about the investigation of his personal life. In this regard, he has a point. While I do think politicians volunteer for having their lives scrutinized, I don’t think journalists warrant the same treatment. Or fake journalists, for that matter.

But actually it’s been a method of the left to try to destroy some of the right’s ideas by savaging the non-politician messengers. Richard Perle and William Bennett could probably tell you a thing or two about this modus operandi. So could Rush Limbaugh.

The problem with this mode of attack, from the left’s perspective, should be that it’s unsuccessful. Yes, they chased Richard Perle out of government. But his ideas are still ascendant. Just ask the trembling Mullahs.

And William Bennett was exposed as a hypocrite. Big deal – his ideas also continue to enjoy primacy. The new (and to my mind asinine) FCC policies show as much. Limbaugh was similarly exposed, and his ratings are still huge. To paraphrase Clara Peller, “Where’s the effectiveness?”

Now Gannon didn’t have any ideas to attack so I can understand why the left chose to attack his person. But as far as the rest of the politics of personal destruction are concerned, the left would be better off trying to destroy the GOP’s messages rather than their messengers.

Oh, and one last word: I didn’t see a single word about the Cooper/Gannon/Guckert interview in the New York Times this morning. WHY THE COVER UP??? And how deep does the cover-up go?

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Friday, February 18, 2005


After my daily stroll through the left wing blogosphere, it is my sad duty to report to you that I’ve sipped the Kool-Aid. This Gannon/Guckert affair is BIG. I mean, it’s freaking huge! If you combined Watergate, Whitewater, the Tea Pot Dome, and everything that Caligula ever did, you would only begin to get the idea of the scope of this impending disaster. I think it is quite unlikely that the Bush administration, and possibly even the Republic, will survive.

Why the change of heart? It’s simple. Americans look upon the White House Press corps with an awed reverence that verges on worship. It’s no accident that the names Elizabeth Bumiller, John King and most of all the Boston Globe’s Sheena Easton are household terms. Everyone knows who they are, respects their status and reveres their work. They enjoy the fame of rock stars and athletes but they’ve attained their exalted positions due to their intellects and integrity.

When we see that kid Scott McClellan give a press briefing, it gives us all comfort to know that opposite McClellan sits the best that America, nay the best that HUMANITY, has to offer.

And now someone in the White House, either through dereliction or perhaps by intent, has allowed an unworthy into this cathedral of greatness. Jeff Gannon/Guckert wasn’t even a real reporter, and he was a weirdo, too. And there he sat near someone like Helen Thomas!

Since Thomas is neither a reporter nor a normal person either, she admittedly might not be the best example of what I’m trying to say. But the outrage of the whole thing is apparent anyway!

When the American public learns that the White House Press Corps, their precious White House Press Corps, has been infiltrated by a spy, the fury of the American people will awaken. And if they learn that this infiltration occurred because someone in the Bush Administration had anything to do with it, their vengeance will be unimaginable.

Yes, I’ve mocked this scandal in the past but that’s only because I underestimated the deep attachment the typical American has to the White House Press Corps. But several acquaintances have set me straight. I’ve visited households where signed pictures of Sam Donaldson hang next to signed photos of the Pope, where a Lucite encased Mickey Mantle bat sits next to a Lucite encased Carl Cameron notepad.

Someone better tell the Bush Administration that the Guckert scandal is coming. And it’s bringing hell with it.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight


I promised my editorial thoughts on the Massachusetts cloning controversy yesterday. Sorry for the delay, but without further adieu…

I think the key to the controversy is Governor Romney’s comment, “When sperm and egg unite, something goes from inanimate to animate. It is life.” If you agree with that statement (as I do), then you cannot helped but be profoundly disturbed by the proposed Harvard protocol which will clone human embryos only to later destroy them.

Please note that this is in an important way distinct from birth control devices that do their work only after the sperm and egg unite. The cloning program involves (again, if you agree with the Governor’s assertion) the deliberate creation of life with the express purpose of destroying that life. Can there be any doubt that even if you found the previously referenced contraceptive methods disturbing, the Harvard protocol would be more disturbing still because of the intent underlying the endeavor and the potential numbers involved.

It should be acknowledged that if you disagree with the Governor’s formulation, than there is probably little in the Harvard protocol to upset you. However, as a society we appear to be approaching a consensus that while we don’t know exactly when life begins, fetuses, embryos and other “pre-babies” have some special characteristics that we cannot morally ignore.

What leads me to such a conclusion regarding this impending societal consensus? When Ted Kennedy and Hilary Clinton are urging that abortion should be rare, they are tacitly acknowledging that there is something “special” about the object which will be aborted. In other words, there’s a suggestion that it might be human life, and since we don’t know when precisely human life begins, the Governor’s formulation (going back to the start of things) makes more sense than does an arbitrary determination (i.e. 1st trimester, 2nd trimester, 3rd trimester, moment of birth).

Agreement with all of the above is not necessarily inconsistent with being pro-choice. One could plausibly argue from a libertarian point of view that the embryo’s host has a right to make an arbitrary decision of when life begins. But cloned embryos again represent a different moral challenge. In the case of embryos for research purposes, there is no mother who can plausibly maintain “ownership” of the moral decision. That, combined with the fact that the organism is brought into being with its destruction being pre-ordained, makes the situation especially troubling.

I also want to amplify a point I made in the Standard article. When I volunteered for Romney during his 1994 campaign, I was struck by what a man of principle he was. I’ve had the occasion to meet virtually every other significant Massachusetts politician of the past 15 years; I wouldn’t extend the same compliment to any of them. Even Scott Harshbarger, who I knew well and was immensely personally fond of, was willing to engage in some dubious conduct for political gain (ask the Amiraults).

Governor Romney is cut from a different cloth. The smart political play for him would have been to ignore the goings on in the Harvard labs. To do as he is doing now will likely earn him a reputation in Massachusetts as a moralizing Luddite.

He’s also opposing the frail and infirm, don’t you know. The state Senate hearings on the matter Wednesday were apparently quite the spectacle as a parade of the physically afflicted took the stage to claim embryonic stem cell research as their last best hope. What was most dispiriting about this pathetic exercise was how it totally evaded the moral issues that have made the subject controversial. Even if we posit that embryonic cloning for stem cell research will lead to a cure for everything, that still doesn’t engage whether it’s right or wrong.

And lastly, a special shout must go out to Senator Robert Travaglini and the liberal lion Ted Kennedy who both showed enough moral obtuseness to focus some of their arguments on this matter about the potential effects the debate will have on jobs in Massachusetts and the local bio-tech industry. Way to go, guys. Take the most challenging moral issue of our day and reduce it to a pedestrian dollars and cents argument. Senator Kennedy has been a Senator for four decades but his utter lack of personal and public morality never ceases to astound.

In Massachusetts, our Senators are a chronic source of embarrassment. The current Governor serves as a long overdue counterbalance in that regard.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Thursday, February 17, 2005


1) I HAVE A NEW PIECE UP on the Weekly Standard about Mitt Romney and the stem cell controversy in Massachusetts. I should offer my Soxblog readers a word of explanation on these Standard and TechCentralStation articles. On Soxblog, I offer my opinions; it’s pretty much the reason this site exists. The mandate on the other sites is more to report than to opine. So I lay the facts out with at least a modicum of objectivity. If Soxblog is 80% opinion and 20% reporting, the ratio is reversed on the other sites. For some, I know that’s been a little unsatisfactory. I know I got a bunch of letters complaining that my Standard column on Kos failed to condemn him or at the very least condemn his comments about the slain American contractors. I understand the point, but my views on Kos and his commentary really weren’t germane to the article’s focus – Kos’ newly prominent role in the Democratic Party.

As far as the stem cell controversy and embryonic cloning is concerned, I have a bunch of opinions but they really didn’t have any place in today’s column. But they do have a place on Soxblog. Check back later today for my full range of opinions on the matter.

2) “DEATH OF A PLAYWRIGHT”– What is it with headline writers? Are their creative brain cells so dormant that a predictably obvious headline like that is the best that they can do? One can imagine the newsroom assemblage trying to decide on a headline for Arthur Miller’s obituary. Some young intern timidly suggests, “Death of a Playwright” brilliantly playing on the title of Miller’s best known play. Smiles sweep over the room as the ink-stained wretches nod in unison. “Yes,” they collectively exclaim. High fives all around.

3) THE NORMALLY BRILLIANT JONATHAN LAST wonders on Galley Slaves, “Has any city had same-season sporting heartbreaks like Philly with the Eagles and Smarty Jones? I don't think so.” I’m assuming that comment was written while the rum he imbibed during the Weekly Standard cruise was still dominating his system.

Since you asked, JVL, here’s two: In October 1978, The Red Sox lost the Bucky Dent game. In April 1979, the Bruins lost the “too many men on the ice” game. Both are widely considered to be among the ten most devastating defeats in their respective sport’s histories.

And in January 1986, the Patriots lost Super Bowl XX 46-10. While not exactly a cliff-hanger, it was a painfully humiliating defeat for Patriot loyalists. In October 1986, the ball went through Buckner’s legs. This is universally acknowledged as the single most painful loss in sports history.

Not to belittle the suffering that Philadelphians have endured, but their recent Super Bowl defeat was not a uniquely painful loss. It was a competitive game in which their team acquitted itself well, but certainly no sane Eagle fan (oxymoron alert!!!) ever had occasion to think victory was certain or even likely.

Next, I think it should be pointed out that Smarty Jones is a horse. Who gives a shit about horses?

4) MY OBLIGATORY GANNON-GUCKERT COMMENT – To say I am passionately indifferent to this matter would overstate my interest in it. It’s tawdry and silly and weird but a real scandal has to show the malefactor benefiting in some fashion. I’m not sure who gained what by this guy sitting in the White House press corps. Obviously he knew someone and thus got a press corps pass he really didn’t deserve. He also seems to live an off-beat lifestyle.

What I find interesting about this scandal is what it says about the state of the Bush-hating industry. Does the Democratic Party really think that anyone is going to care about a scandal about the inappropriate credentialing of a White House press corps member? My goodness, can they really be so out of touch with the vast portion of America that is not rabid political junkies?
I read all sorts of stuff about how the Democrats want to spend the next two years enunciating their principles (after figuring them out, of course) and then they spend a week talking about this. If every American were made aware of all the details concerning the Gannon/Guckert affair, they would ask in unison, “Does this mean Iran has nukes or my payroll tax is going up?”

Republicans learned a similar lesson the hard way when they spent four years focusing on non-stop Clinton tawdriness bellowing, “Where’s the outrage?” The American public responded, “Look at my stock portfolio! Yippee!”

If you want to win elections, you have to speak to issues that concern people’s hopes, dreams and fears. The Gannon affair is a distraction from what the Democratic Party has to do: Discover principles (beyond hating Bush) and then communicate them. This scandal looks like they’re still stuck in their Bush hating mode.

5) THE GIFT THAT WILL KEEP ON GIVING – Howard Dean during a 2/11 meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus: “You think the Republican National Committee could get this many people of color in a single room? Only if they had the hotel staff in here.” Ha! I bet that off the cuff barb had the CBC in stitches.

Regardless of whether you find the above remark offensive or benign, you have to admit the Democrats have nominated as their principal spokesman a politician without the internal censoring device that most pols have. Most political pros have a little thing implanted in their brains that instinctively steers them away from uttering the impolitic boner. If you remember the 2004 campaign, you probably recall Dean lacked this device and had a penchant for public displays of improvident improvising.

I agree with my friends across the aisle – the Dean reign has great promise indeed.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Larry Summers is under serious attack. There is no doubt that the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences has become an angry mob, albeit an angry mob full of navel gazing Ph.D types. In response, I may very well take Soxblog to DefCon 1. But first, a little history.

In my last posting I alluded to Larry’s habit of stepping on toes. I think some of the incidents that resulted in faculty members getting their little piggies mushed require a brief survey. Off the top of my head now:

1) Summers engaged in a notorious kerfuffle with scholar cum rapper Cornel West that ended with West leaving Harvard in a huff. At the crux of the debate was Summers’ insistence that cutting rap albums and being a celebrity didn’t necessarily qualify as serious scholarship. Regardless of the merits of his argument, the fact that Summers would lock horns with a well known African American scholar of West’s stature was evidence of his insensitivity to…well, whatever. Just being insensitive in this day and age is alone a hanging offense.

2) In the wake of 9/11, Summers had the audacity to suggest that the Academy in general and Harvard in particular might consider taking patriotism out for a test drive. You know, support the troops, welcome the recruiters, perhaps even allow ROTC to show its collective face in public. These were all unfashionable ideas at the World’s Greatest University as they still are at most universities.

3) Throughout his tenure, Summers has shown an insufficient enthusiasm for diversity as far as faculty hires have been concerned. His lack of enthusiasm over this matter has persistently outraged his critics.

Take these three things together, and you might conclude that Summers is a conservative or, to avoid such an incendiary label, is on the right wing of the political spectrum. Indeed, while he was a Clinton loyalist his willingness to challenge many of academia’s most ridiculous shibboleths has won him admirers in circles in not used to admiring Clintonistas.

But conservatives are rare birds in academia so Summers has few natural allies in his campaign of common sense. Let’s take Summers’ antagonist Mary Waters, chair of the Sociology Department, as a foil. In case you’ve already forgotten my last posting, Professor Waters was the one who felt herself taken hostage by President Summers’ mean looks.

Professor Waters’ latest book is titled “The New Race Question: How the Census Counts Multi-Racial Individuals.” Now, this may be a tad reductive so please accept my apologies in advance, but most conservatives who are as intelligent as Professor Waters obviously choose to pursue more lucrative or exciting endeavors than composing seldom read and tedious monographs. (Editor’s note: The previous sentence is unfair. I have yet to read The New Race Question: How the Census Counts Multi-Racial Individuals. Then again, has anyone?) Even Professor Waters’ most well known work, the multiple award winning (seriously) “Black Identities: West Indian Immigrant Dreams and American Realities” ranks a lowly 278,148 on the Amazon sales chart, just below the gripping, “Doorjambs – A Complete History.”

I’m not being dismissive of Professor Waters’ scholarship. All I’m trying to say is that professors as a group are a bunch of weird ducks and they’ve gotten used to swimming (or whatever it is that ducks do) in their own fashion.

Comparing Waters’ background to Summers’ is also instructive. While no one questions Larry’s intellectual bona fides, he’s gone a bit beyond the realm of obscure scholarship and research. While Waters was composing her no doubt important monographs, Summers was engaged in trivial pursuits like running the United States Treasury.

A lot of people think a university president should be a glorified fund raiser rather than an active scholar and CEO. Summers obviously differs with that notion, and since his arrival he has focused on improving Harvard as a place of learning and teaching rather than further enhancing its reputation as an assembly line for obscure monographs.

Harvard’s Board of Overseers and Governor’s are probably going to be confronted with a pretty stark choice in the coming days. The word is that there will be pressure on Summers to resign if/when the FAS votes “no confidence.”

That will be a convenient time for the Governors to step forward and say that radical monograph writing professors are the primary reason higher education is in the sorry shape that it is and that a CEO’s job isn’t to curry favor with an institution’s employees but to improve the institution. The pressure will be on the people who run Harvard. Let’s wish them a surfeit of wisdom and guts.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight


If you’ve ever met Larry Summers, you know that physically he’s a large man. Simple physics therefore suggests that when he steps on a person’s toes, it ouches. President Summers, as has been well documented, has stepped on a lot of toes during his tenure at Harvard as he has spiritedly tried to address some of the pathologies that plague academia. (For a case study of said pathologies, please see Churchill, W.)

Well now it’s payback time. At a meeting of the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences yesterday, Summers sat in the hot seat as aggrieved faculty members let him know repeatedly just how aggrieved they were. It seems like big bad Larry has made a habit of scaring the bejesus out of the faculty. If Larry thought he get away with such things because academics are nothing but a bunch of spineless bookworms, he had another thing coming. The clearly lion-hearted Arthur Kleinman, Chair of the Anthropology Department put any such rumors to rest when he informed Summers, “We are not spineless!” The preternaturally spine-ful Kleinman made this declaration backed by hundreds of Faculty of Arts and Sciences supporters as President Summers sat alone enduring their hostile barbs for 90 minutes.

Mary Waters, Chair of the Sociology Department, voiced a similarly courageous sentiment: ''Many of us in this very faculty room have seen our colleagues who dare to disagree with you (were) met with angry stares, and have seen colleagues bullied into silence. Mr. President, do you think it is appropriate or beneficial for a university as great as ours to be held hostage to fear?" Angry stares? Good heavens! The suffering the professoriate has endured under the ruthless President Summers! If the tenured Professor Waters can be held hostage by a stare, one wonders how she would fare in the business world where bosses can actually hold employees hostage by threatening termination or decreasing pay.

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences is considering having a vote of confidence next week regarding President Summers. The suspense of the result will be as grand as it was the many times Saddam Hussein stood for re-election; take it from me – President Summers will not fare well in the voting. All those angry hostage-taking stares will come back to haunt him.

All of this would be quite funny if the future of a great university were not at stake and its faculty weren’t so laughably and pathetically divorced from reality. As Professor Ruth Wisse, one of the apparently few sane Harvard faculty members to bend a media member’s ear yesterday put it, the FAS meeting was “the closest thing to a Soviet show trial that we are likely to see in our lifetimes."

The faculty doesn’t like Larry Summers. That’s been well known for a while. Next week their vote will make that dislike official. The Harvard Board of Overseers is likely to ignore this vote. For too long, the high IQ’d inmates have run this asylum as they have every other putative institute of higher learning across the country. The pathologies that have arisen under inmate rule have ranged from the embarrassing to grotesque.

Surely President Summers knew cleaning out these stables would be a messy job. Courage Larry – the vast but silent majority of Harvard alumni are behind you.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Maybe I’m just being jealous. Maybe the warm Florida sun is addling my brain and I’m making something out of nothing. Maybe it’s that my feelings are hurt - yes, very hurt.

About two weeks ago, I wrote a profile of the Daily Kos for the Weekly Standard. You remember the column. It was descriptive and fair. Markos Moulitsas, Kos himself, called the piece “oddly complimentary.” It was a recognition of and a nod to the power he has shrewdly accumulated in the Democratic Party.

And what have I received in response? Diddly-poop. Actually less than diddly-poop. Commenters on the Kos site accused me of being some sort of Trojan Horse. I think that’s what they were saying, anyway. Others took gratuitous potshots at Soxblog, taking me to task for not having a comments section on my blog and my use of the phrase “maladroitly mismanage.”

To say I was disappointed by their reaction would be an understatement. I wanted some thanks – you know, a little gratitude. Actually, you know what I really wanted from the Kossacks? Roses, lots and lots of roses. But, alas, none have arrived.

So imagine my further hurt when I read yesterday that the Kos Kommunity had sent Barbara Boxer not some roses but 4500 roses! Why did they make this offering? Who knows? Probably just for being herself, the 8th wonder of the world that is Senator Barbara Boxer.

The Senator was clearly touched by the gesture (although not as touched as I would have been by a similar gesture, believe you me). As she gushed in her thank you note posted on the Kos site, “What a wonderful Valentine's Day gift!” Although Kossacks, take note: She signed her thank you note with a perfunctory, “In Friendship.” If you can’t get more than that from a lady after giving her 4500 roses, you must be doing something wrong.

But again, how about Soxblog? Will anyone show me the love, or will I be left to wander “the so called blogosphere” (as the WSJ calls it) alone?

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight


A note about my former reading habits: For several years, I would get into the office, unfold my copy of the Wall Street Journal, and proceed to devour the contents of its editorial page while I should have been working.

When the Internet came along, I was an early subscriber to the Wall Street Journal’s electronic edition. For one thing, I respected the way the Journal almost alone understood that posting all of their content for free on the web couldn’t help but cannibalize their print sales. I still wonder what kind of schmuck actually pays for the New York Times when you can get the whole thing for free on the Internet. (Okay, I’m one of the schmucks, but you get my point). Another benefit was that I became able to enjoy the Journal’s editorial insights at 12:01 a.m. – I got to get tomorrow’s news today, or two minutes from today anyway.

All of this is a windy way of saying I love the Journal’s editorial page and even after yesterday’s offensive-to-bloggers editorial that remains the case. But I think it’s relevant to the conversation to mention my current reading habits. My homepage for the past several months has not been the WSJ but Instapundit. Before checking out what the Journal’s up to, I first pop in on Powerline, Little Green Footballs, Roger Simon, Hugh Hewitt and the Baseball Crank.

My point here isn’t that the commentary produced by the players noted above is necessarily superior to what you find on the Journal’s editorial page, although it often is. My point instead is that for years the Journal’s editorial page had daily conservative commentary pretty much to itself. Every now and then a Krauthammer or Will column might pop up in your local paper to join that paper’s token conservative columnist, but for the most part the Journal had a monopoly.

The conservative blogosphere doesn’t just threaten that monopoly; it has completely shattered it. And, in a strange twist, this is a phenomenon limited to the right wing blogosphere. No disrespect intended to the Daily Kos, Wonkette, Talking Points Memo or the relentlessly imbecilic Oliver Willis, but they’re all in their distinctly individual ways doing something quite different from the New York Times editorial page. The right wing bloggers’ output, my own included, often more closely resemble editorials or op-eds.

And some of them are damn good. The arguments offered by the Baseball Crank are invariably logically taut and original. And every time I read Powerline, I feel jealous – their stuff is just so good. And then we get to James Lileks, a far more talented writer than the vast majority of editorial and op-ed writers out there.

In the 1990’s, The WSJ editorial page led the way in a manner similar to the way the right wing blogosphere does today. Whitewater became a household term thanks to the Journal’s editorial board. Their legendary “Who Is” series of editorials educated their readers on the chronically scandalous behavior of the Clinton White House and introduced the American public to a cast of previously obscure characters upon whom the Journal bestowed unwanted infamy. The Journal’s service at the time was controversial and invaluable.

Today it’s the Powerliners and the Instapundits who are making the news and driving right wing opinion. No wonder why Bret Stephens seems to have something stuck in his craw.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Monday, February 14, 2005


1) YOUR EASON JORDAN THOUGHT OF THE DAY: According to his biography, and I’m going by memory here so if I mess the numbers up a bit here cut me some slack, Jordan is 43 years old and has spent 21 years at CNN. That means the only place he has worked for his entire adult life is CNN.

I’m not finding fault in that - I just think it’s enlightening in a variety of ways. It wouldn’t be particularly surprising if commentary that might draw jeers if uttered at a small family owned company or a law firm was enthusiastically harrumphed at CNN. I know that if someone at any of the companies I’ve been associated with suggested that American troops routinely assassinated reporters, someone would have been seriously pissed off and would have expressed their displeasure in very clear terms.

I also think it shows the danger of spending one’s entire life in an echo-chamber or at the very least not making yourself aware of what goes on outside your echo-chamber. It’s another telling detail of the saga that members of the crowd in Davos rushed up to Jordan to congratulate him on his candor and insights. One must wonder if on the numerous other occasions when he reportedly offered similar insights hosannas were also typically the order of the day.

I assume they were, and I assume therefore that no one was more shocked by this story’s trajectory than Jordan himself.

2) NHL CANCELS SEASON. This is for the tiny fraction of you who, like me, are hockey fans. The NHL has become or is about to become the first professional sports league in American history to lose an entire season due to labor strife. It’s tough to tell who’s dumber here, the players or the owners, but if forced to make a call I’d say it’s the owners by a nose.

Many of the players are able to jet off to Europe and continue to ply their trade, albeit at drastically reduced compensation rates while being forced to endure an Eastern European lifestyle. But the owners run the risk of turning their nine figure assets into worthless pieces of junk if this thing doesn’t get settled.

Let me explain: The buzz in the hockey world is that the owners will open next season with minor league players filling out the major league uniforms and playing in what will still be called the NHL. On behalf of all hockey fans, I must inform the Lords of the Boards that while we hockey fans may be dumb, we aren’t stupid. We will not fork over $75 to watch minor league hockey.

And the longer this thing goes on, the more accustomed we get to not having hockey and the more likely we are to fill the space in our lives that hockey once occupied with something else. Me, I’ve developed a rabid interest in all things related to teen singing sensation Ashleee Simpson – that’s tied me over. As I grow more accustomed to the NHL’s absence and grow ever fonder of Ms. Simpson’s remarkable talents, it becomes increasingly unlikely that I will spend any time or money on the NHL if or when it ever returns.

Come on guys – settle this thing.

3) THE WSJ EDITORIAL – According to Hugh, it was written by the same Bret Stephens who was so dismissive of the blogosphere (excuse me – “the so called blogosphere”) in his Journal piece last week. I remain particularly fixated on Stephens’ assertion that the real journalists are the adults and the bloggers are the children. This complements nicely the instantly notorious Columbia Journalism Review’s description of the blogosphere as “salivating morons.” As I said in an email exchange with an astute reader this morning, it would be an interesting experiment to match up a representative group of journalists’ CVs with Glenn Reynolds’, John Hinderaker’s Hugh Hewitt’s’, the Baseball Crank’s, mine, Roger Simon’s, etc. and see which group is more likely to actually be a bunch of salivating morons.

This astute reader responded that mainstream journalism’s response to the bloggers has been remarkably similar to the way amateur sports associations treated professionals when the professionals first wanted in to things like the open tournaments and the Olympics. The amateurs’ disdain wasn’t based on the actual abilities of the participants; it was based on a respect for tradition. Surely professional journalists must similarly realize that the best bloggers do what they do with at least as much skill as the journalists themselves exhibit.

The tradition in journalism is changing. Mainstream journalism has as much chance of shaking the bloggers as Wimbledon has of ridding itself of professional tennis players. In other words, since a blogging community of not drooling morons but highly intelligent individuals is going to be a persistent reality, mainstream journalism might consider accelerating the process by which it accommodates that fact rather than offering pathetic editorials bemoaning and denying it.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight


I will make a very safe prediction: The Wall Street Journal’s editorial this morning on the Eason Jordan affair will not go over well with the blogosphere. The Journal thinks that Jordan should not have resigned over his Davos comments and takes a dim view indeed of the bloggers who “relentlessly pushed” the story

The condescension in this editorial will particularly grate. The phrase they offer that characterizes the Powerliners, Hewitts and Reynolds fairly drips with disdain: “The right wing of the so-called ‘blogosphere.’” The scare quotes around the term “blogosphere” are particularly rich, indicating the Journal feels it has discovered an obscure and heretofore unlabeled quadrant of journalism and punditry.

The Journal goes on to conclude that Jordan’s comments did not represent a “hanging offense” (as they put it) and to lament the “particular satisfaction” that the affair has produced for this “blogosphere” thing-a-ma-jig.

But that’s not all. The Journal fiercely defends Bret Stephens role in this drama, and his non-disclosure of his membership in the World Economics Forum. While I happen to agree that Stephen’s membership in the WEF didn’t merit a mention, I still find the now notorious barbs that he directed at the blogging community and his questioning of certain bloggers’ mental stability both unwarranted and curious.

The concluding paragraph of this editorial merits special mention. The Journal acknowledges that their view will leave them labeled as part of the mainstream media. This assignation they are willing to wear with pride: “We’ll take that as a compliment since we've long believed that these columns do in fact represent the American mainstream. We hope readers buy our newspaper because we make grown-up decisions about what is newsworthy, and what isn't.” Get it? The Journal’s editors are grown ups. All those blogging law professors and law firm partners and bankers are children.

To say this editorial is a disappointment would be an understatement. The Journal’s editorial page has been the best in the business for as long as I can remember, and its trademark has been its habit of being ahead of the trends rather than behind them. If you wanted a major paper waddling in to spout conventional wisdom years after it had been certified as such, you were better to look to the New York Times. The Journal always saw what was coming down the pike with unusual prescience.

But not today. By dismissing the “so called ‘blogosphere’” as a bunch of children, at least when compared to the WSJ’s seasoned gray heads, the Journal has shown a profound misunderstanding of what is going on its own industry.

This editorial was quite a piece of work. One must wonder, did Howell Raines hack into the Journal’s systems?

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Saturday, February 12, 2005


By now you’ve probably all heard that Eason Jordan has resigned. A lot of us knew he was toast the moment this story broke. Nonetheless, the shocking abruptness of the tale’s denouement has come as something of a surprise.

More surprising still is the fact that the blogosphere is coalescing behind the old hoary piece of Nixonian dogma that it’s the cover-up that always gets you. The usually insightful Jeff Jarvis’ comments are typical in this regard:

“I honestly don't get it. If he had been upfront about what he said from the start; if he had demanded that Davos release the tape and transcript; if he had admitted to putting his foot in his mouth and apologized and said he was wrong; if he'd done that, he'd still have a job.”

Glenn Reynolds offered an almost identical sentiment: “I think that Jordan could have quickly defused this by just saying ‘I screwed up,’ but -- as with Trent Lott -- he waited days while hiding behind a lame and unpersuasive explanation.”

While the Tricky Dick wisdom may be right in most cases, it doesn’t apply here. In this case, what got Eason Jordan was his underlying offense – a grotesque slander aimed at our Armed Forces.

Let’s be clear: In America, we love our troops. I know it might sound silly to offer this as evidence, but the moving Anheuser–Busch Super Bowl commercial proves that fact. While politicians must stand on principle (giggle), beer companies have no similar obligation. Anheuser-Busch would not have spent several million dollars running a spot offering tribute to the Armed Forces without extensively proving to themselves that the concept was a wildly popular one (as it has indeed turned out to be).

So when the head of CNN offers a vicious calumny directed at those troops, it’s a hanging offense. There was no apology or groveling campaign of contrition that could have saved Jordan from the predicament that he himself created. The fact that he had a background as an anti-American loose cannon surely didn’t help matters either.

Eason Jordan accused our troops of being murderers and torturers. These are the men and women who are willingly risking their lives on our behalf. Jordan’s comments were unforgivable. The comments got him, not the cover-up. There’s nothing he could have said that would have made me think he should keep his job. I suspect the same is true for the vast majority of people familiar with this episode.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Friday, February 11, 2005


When I briefly mentioned North Korea in one of yesterday’s posts, I admonished my left leaning readers to spare me the “It’s All Bush’s Fault” jeremiads until I offered my full thoughts on the subject. But as the elevation of Howard Dean indicates, intemperance is now in fashion on the left and I received several letters blaming Bush and exonerating Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter for any role in creating the crisis.

Let’s go back in time a little ways to the halcyon days of 1993. Michael Jordan was still winning titles and a young Jim Carrey was teaching us all how to laugh. At that time, there was a military option available for dealing with North Korea that would not have involved nuclear weapons, or at least not their nuclear weapons anyway. Pursuing a military solution at that time may well have failed the “global test” and it almost certainly would not have been relatively painless as the still freshly recalled Desert Storm had been, but it was a viable option.

But Carter and Clinton decided to go another route, a route that history in similar circumstances has labeled “appeasement.” “Appeasement” differs from “compromise” in the following respects: “Compromise” assumes you’re dealing with an adversary of good faith and honorable intentions. “Appeasement” suggests full knowledge that your adversary has ill intents and is without honor. Such was the case when Chamberlain opted to appease Hitler, and such was the case when the Clinton/Carter axis of spinelessness opted to appease the North Koreans.

The argument that Bush’s belligerence has led to NoKo’s development of nuclear weaponry (assuming their announcement to that effect is accurate – a big if) rests on the ludicrous notion that Kim Jong Il longed to join the family of nations as a normal member-state. Obviously it has been Kim’s intention all along to amass as much military might as possible. This is all his state exists for; as is well known, the welfare of his subjects isn’t exactly a high priority for the film buff/extraordinary golfer (according to NoKo’s state controlled media, Kim averages several holes in one per round, which means he’s an even better golfer than Mrs. Soxblog.).

The Blame Bush crowd suggests that he could have done a better job appeasing Kim. You know, make nice – help his economy, offer the occasional rosy but mendacious Foggy Bottom assessments of the Hermit Kingdom’s progress. What the Blame Bush crowd stubbornly refuses to get is that historically this is an ineffective way of dealing with world’s truly evil men. Making nice has never worked with such cretins – it never will.

On the one hand, it’s admittedly a bit unfair to blame Clinton for failing to act preemptively. In the early ‘90’s it was hard to envision a time when such a policy would by necessity become the official U.S. way of doing things.

But Clinton and Carter celebrated the Agreed Upon Framework like it signaled peace in our time. While I give Carter credit for being obtuse enough to buy his own bullshit, I’d posit that Clinton knew he was kicking the problem down the road to his successors who would have a much stickier wicket on their hands than did Clinton in 1994.

The good news about this otherwise disturbing story is that at this moment in time we have a President and an Administration who have a good understanding of how to deal with the world’s worst people. That’s good news for us, and bad news for the North Korean nutocracy. Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight


My friend Rodger Morrow of the ascending Writing Company blog urges me to put away my poison pen as far as Christopher Dodd is concerned and send him a mash note for Valentine’s Day. Rodger arrives at this suggestion by virtue of the Senator’s appearance yesterday on the "Don Imus Show" where Dodd called on Eason Jordan to release the tape of his slanderous Davos comments. The Senator’s call for openness comes a mere thirteen days after he sat in the audience as Jordan issued his calumny, and four days after he allegedly reached the point of “outrage” regarding the comments.

As you may have guessed from my introductory paragraph, my poison pen remains unsheathed. There will be no mash notes issued the doughy Senator from these quarters.

Actually, in his stumbling way, the Senator has brilliantly illuminated a couple of things about the American political scene that I abhor: First, it’s actions or rather inactions like Dodd’s of the past couple of weeks that have made the term “principled politician” an oxymoron in modern America. Second, it would be nice to think that the people in our nation’s ruling class have enough of a pair that they can condemn a vicious slander on our troops without consulting with a bevy of media advisors and focus groups first.

It should also be pointed out that since Dodd was in the audience at Davos and presumably did not have gum in his ears, he ought to have all the information necessary to formulate an opinion regarding the gravity of Jordan’s offense. I need to see a tape and you need to see a tape because we weren’t there; Dodd was there, but he still can’t seem to decide whether or not Jordan’s comments constitute a hanging offense.

When I first addressed this topic earlier in the week, I suggested that the explanation for Christopher Dodd taking nine days to decide to be “outraged” over Jordan’s comments was not the product of careful and lengthy contemplation nor was it the result of the Senator having a preternaturally slow fuse. I concluded that the interregnum was occasioned by Dodd sticking his pudgy finger in the air to see which way the political winds were blowing and that process took exactly nine days. Well, Dodd’s pudgy finger is still in the air, still trying to determine whether he should burn a bridge at CNN or break faith with the U.S. Armed forces.

There are principled politicians in the United States; Joe Lieberman, George W. Bush, Barney Frank, even Howard Dean. Christopher Dodd’s sorry performance these past two weeks confirms that he is not one of them.

Not much of a mash note, hey Rodger?

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Thursday, February 10, 2005


1) A BRIEF MOMENT OF TITLETOWN TRIUMPHALISM: A refreshingly non-curmudgeonly self-proclaimed old-timer wrote in yesterday to suggest that the greatest winner in the history of sports is Bill Russell. There’s really no disputing his point: In 13 NBA seasons, Russell won 11 titles (the last two of which he was not only the team’s star but also its coach). Add to those championships a couple of NCAA titles and an Olympic gold medal and…well, you get the point.

Russell was actually a little before my time, having retired when I was three years old. But I can still see a similarity between Russell’s winning ways and Tom Brady’s that deserves a mention. Russell’s teams usually won by the narrowest of margins. Several of their championships came only at the end of cliff-hanging Game 7’s. Often, in spite of their résumé, Russell’s Celtics entered the post-season as underdogs similar to the way the conventional wisdom had the Patriots ripe for the picking a few weeks ago when they faced the Peyton Manning led Colts. What makes Russell’s run especially compelling is that his teams did not win their titles because they were vastly superior to the competition like the ’85 Bears or the ’27 Yankees did. They routinely triumphed even though they were evenly matched or often overmatched by their competition.

Brady’s Patriots bear a similar mark. The amount of close games that they’ve won is truly staggering. Their 2003 season was particularly noteworthy in this regard. Virtually every game was a thrill ride that ended in a Patriot victory, a fact that made their 14-2 record that year especially striking.

In the 39 year history of the Super Bowl, there have been fewer than a dozen truly competitive games with only six of them decided by three points or less; Brady and his Patriots have won three of those games.

Anyone can win when they have so match talent that their opponent is completely outclassed. Such victories are a testament to a greatness of its own sort, and it is not my intention to belittle the achievements of the ’85 Bears or the young Mike Tyson or the ’27 Yankees; it’s not their fault that they were so dominant that there were no worthy competitors on hand against whom they could prove their mettle.

But the Brady’s and Russell’s triumphs exhibit greatness of a different sort, a greatness that bespeaks character and guts. Russell is undoubtedly the greatest winner in the history of team sports. Before he’s through, Brady might well be spoken of in the same breath as the Celtic legend.

2) THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL PAGE has broken the wall of silence. The invaluable Bret Stephens was in the room in Davos when Eason Jordan said what he said. Today in the Journal he offers his report. I’m sure most of you have already read the Stephens report; if you haven’t, follow the link – I’ll wait.

As you can see, it doesn’t look good for Jordan. What I find striking about the Stephens report, and I don’t mean this as a disparagement of Stephens since he is a writer I greatly admire, is that it took almost two weeks for this report to see the light of day. One can’t help but wonder why.

It surely isn’t because the WSJ editorial page has been co-opted by the liberal media. And I highly doubt the Journal’s delay is a result of some sort of professional courtesy. The Journal’s editorial page hasn’t hesitated to play rough with its media rivals when circumstances so warrant.

My theory for the delay is the following: The fact that the head of CNN’s news department is an anti-American nitwit simply didn’t qualify as news. As we all know by now, Eason Jordan has crafted something of a cottage industry for himself of making ludicrous anti-American allegations. The fact that he chose to indulge this predilection in Davos may have come to seasoned Jordan observers as little more than a dog-bites-man story. In other words, to veteran Eason watchers Jordan being a 5th column numbskull simply didn’t qualify as news.

But to those of us who are relatively new to the Eason Jordan beat, his Davos comments are appalling and require his immediate termination.

3) NORTH KOREA HAS NUKES! (Or so they say.) It can’t be! They promised Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton they wouldn’t. Can one no longer depend on the honor of corrupt psychotic dictators? What is the world coming to?

More on this story later. (Please no Bush blaming letters – I’ll address this comprehensively in a subsequent post.)

4) CHICKEN-HAWK REBUTTAL – Many of you probably followed the Internet dust-up between conservative commentator Jonah Goldberg and left wing condescender Michigan Professor Juan Cole. In one particularly pertinent part of their lengthy exchange, Cole suggested that since Goldberg supports the Bush administration he should report for duty, as it were, and take up arms. Failure to do so, in Professor Cole’s opinion, would consign Goldberg to the ignominious ranks of the Chickenhawks.

Aside from the historical strangeness of the party of Fonda and Clinton adopting a “Starship Troopers” worldview, a sublimely simplistic attack like the Professor’s fairly begs for rebuttal. I’ve been meaning to do one all week but the Baseball Crank beat me to it and did it better than I would have (probably).

Follow the link – the Crank says it brilliantly as he so often does.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


1) Although it hasn’t been the biggest story on the blogosphere today, perhaps it should be. A few months back the United States created an Iraqi television station of its own, the better to counteract the dubious reporting that sometimes emanates from Al Jazeera and Al –Aribaya. This morning, one of the U.S. station’s on-air Iraqi correspondents was gunned down along with his three year son as they left their home. No one denies that they were “targeted” by the “insurgents.”

While in some ways it might trivialize a horrible double homicide by comparing it to what is widely viewed as a blogosphere-spat, but this incident’s relevance to the Eason Jordan controversy is obvious. News reporters often enjoy credibility just by virtue of being on the air. Whether this phenomenon is justified or not, it’s real. Obviously the “insurgents” didn’t doubt its existence.

The phenomenon is multiplied exponentially where CNN is concerned. CNN boasts of being “the most trusted name in news” and this claim drives people like me nuts precisely because it’s true; that, and the fact that it shouldn’t be true. CNN’s biases have suffocated its coverage on a more than occasional basis for well over a decade now. For years now the deceptions of Peter Arnett, the agenda based broadcasting of Lou Dobbs, and other similar transgressions have been self evident and widely acknowledged. The fact that the network’s news chief has brought these biases to an appalling new low will hopefully transform the “most trusted” slogan into a sad joke in short order.

The obvious irony here is that the kind of conduct Eason Jordan baselessly accused American troops of surreptitiously engaging in is precisely the kind of thing our enemy openly engages in. For reasons that I think are blindingly apparent, this makes Eason Jordan’s lies all the more disgusting, and his resignation or termination all the more necessary.

I should hasten to add that if Mr. Jordan wants to release the tape of his Davos comments that outraged no less a luminary than Christopher Dodd, I’ll be willing to give his comments a fair hearing and see if they were in fact more nuanced than I’m representing above. Moreover, if he can show American conduct similar to the “insurgents’” conduct this morning, that also would be exculpating. But the stonewalling to date has not been particularly encouraging.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


1) AS I WATCHED ANOTHER thrilling episode of “24” last night, I experienced not only excitement but enlightenment as well. During one of the way too frequent commercial breaks, Kiefer Sutherland (Agent Jack Bauer himself!) came on to inform us that we shouldn’t make any unfounded extrapolations based on the show’s villainous Muslims, and that the typical Muslim American loves apple pie and baseball as much as the typical Christian, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist and Pantheist.

What a victory for CAIR! Since this season of “24” began, CAIR has been tirelessly pissing and moaning (as is its wont) that the show’s depiction of Muslim terrorists was grossly unfair. To a very limited extent, CAIR has a point: It would indeed be tragic and grotesque if many Americans or indeed any Americans concluded from watching “24” that the typical American Muslim is a terrorist.

But to the best of my knowledge CAIR has never acknowledged that this season of “24,” as far as native Muslim terrorism is concerned, is in fact fundamentally accurate. Although it’s an uncomfortable truth, there is a fifth column of radical Islamicists in America that represents a very real danger. As Harvey Kushner documents in his new book Holy War on the Home Front: The Secret Islamic Terror Network in the United States and in an interview with National Review Online, there are sleeper cells of Jihadi terrorists in virtually every major metropolitan area in the United States. While in the past I’ve mocked “24’s” depiction of its terrorists’ skill levels, their existence is an acknowledged fact.

What’s frustrating about CAIR’s attitude here is that the organization protests a disquieting reality rather than pitch in and try to improve that reality. More frustrating still is the fact that CAIR might be advantageously situated to provide some truly valuable help.

Oh well. As a Jew I’m saddled with the ADL which tends to ignore the existential threats to my people the better to focus on school bullies and the three Nazis in Idaho; American Muslims are similarly stuck with CAIR

2) BACK TO CHRIS DODD FOR A MOMENT. Or, more accurately, on to a Chris Dodd/Barney Frank comparison. According to Charles Johnson’s Little Green Footballs, when Eason Jordan issued his calumny in Davos, Forum attendee Barney Frank immediately and vociferously protested and demanded evidence.

The fact that Barney took a principled stand (as opposed to Senator Dodd’s 11 day thinking period) comes as little surprise. For well over a decade Barney Frank was my congressman. If you know anything about my politics and anything about Barney’s, you know that we agree on practically nothing.

Still, I voted for him a couple of times (on two of the several occasions when we Republicans failed to locate a remotely credible candidate) and I did so without any great unease because Barney is at the very least a man of principle. Yes, his personal life has provided embarrassment and the less said about his politics the better, but he’s a stand-up guy. Sometimes it’s good to have people like that in politics, even if they are wrong about everything.

(As an irrelevant side-note, I would wager I’m the only person alive who has shared a weight-room with both Barney Frank and Mohammed Atta. For those of you wondering, Barney was the far superior lifter of the two. Actually in his prime, Representative Frank was a helluva strong guy. Still wrong about everything, though.)

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Monday, February 07, 2005


There was a time in his life when Senator Christopher Dodd was apparently something of an impulsive youth. His Georgetown carousing was legendary, and pundits still wag about Dodd and Ted Kennedy allegedly combining to make the odd waitress sandwich every now and again. But those were olden times. The new Dodd is a thoughtful fellow, a man loath to rush to conclusions.

How else to explain the 11 day span between Dodd hearing Eason Jordan’s disgusting slander about American troops deliberately targeting journalists for death and Dodd finally getting around to expressing his “outrage” over the comments? It was January 28 at the World Economics Forum that Jordan made his incendiary and unsupported calumny. Only today did Dodd reach the point of being “outraged.” Perhaps the new pensive Dodd has an extraordinarily slow fuse. Or, perhaps inspired by his fellow New England Senator John Kerry, he felt the need to take a week and a half to explore Jordan’s comments for any possible exculpating nuance.

Truth be told, I don’t believe that Senator Dodd has changed all that much from the wild boy Senator of the ‘80’s. I believe it took a week and a half for him to express his “outrage” over Jordan’s comments because that’s precisely how long it took for him to stick his pudgy finger into the air and determine exactly in which direction the wind blew.

And Dodd’s professed outrage shows that for Eason Jordan there blows an ill wind indeed. If Dodd thought Jordan had a chance of riding this thing out, the Senator probably would have stayed out of the fray.

But enter the fray he has, and with a full-throated expression of “outrage.” Such leadership, such courage – Senator Christopher Dodd, you are a profile in cynical grand-standing.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight


1) T.O. - Let’s start off with the obvious – T.O. performed heroically yesterday. Braving a career ending injury, he not only played but played so well he was inarguably the best Eagle on the field. Pain me as it does, I must give the man his due.

Which brings me to what I really want to say about T.O. In the week leading up to the game, much of the talk about T.O. playing focused on how “selfish” he would be if he decided to play and in so doing risked one of the Eagles’ most valuable assets (himself) just to satisfy his lust to play in a Super Bowl. T.O. rightly found this particular media attack to be unfair. He pointed out that were it Brett Favre behaving in an identical manner, sportswriters would be orgasmically spewing out terms like “warrior” and “hero.”

While T.O.’s argument is clearly correct, there’s something important that he’s missing. Owens has spent the better part of a decade actively cultivating the reputation of a particularly narcissistic and self-involved ass. Be it his silly bird-dance or his Sharpie routine or his tendency to call himself football’s Michael Jordan, Owens willingly personified the most distasteful traits of the pampered obnoxious modern athlete.

Since that’s the case, everything he does is viewed through the prism that he himself created. So even when he’s doing something noble and selfless like he was this weekend, the media nitwits will shoehorn the story into the pre-existing narrative that ironically Owens provided. The media treatment he received this week was grossly unfair. If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that no one worked longer or harder to deserve unfair media treatment than Terrell Owens.

2) TOM BRADY – Larry Bird will always be my hero. I was 12 when he was a rookie, 25 when he retired. I grew into a man idolizing the way he played and all that he represented.

That being the case, what I’m about to say I don’t say lightly. Tom Brady is the greatest winner I’ve ever seen in sports. He embodies all that a champion should embody. The contrast between Brady and McNabb yesterday could not have been clearer. McNabb is a terrific player and will probably win a title or two before his time is done. But Brady – gosh, what can you say? He consistently bests the great quarterbacks of the day in all the big games.

Look at what he did in the playoffs. As the postseason began, arguably the three most highly regarded quarterbacks in the league were Manning, McNabb and Roethlisberger. And Brady outplayed all of them by a wide margin.

3) IF I KNOW MY EAGLE FANS, they’re going absolutely berserk over the “patience” Coach Andy Reid showed in the game’s waning moments. As Chris Collinsworth said, I’m sure everyone in Philadelphia was screaming at their televisions urging the Eagles to hurry up. I could almost here Jonathan Last from all the way down here in Florida.

Sadly this will probably be a defining moment for Reid until/unless the Eagles win a title. Let’s face it – he had a brain fart when it mattered most. The Eagles’ lethargy during the final drive robbed them of any chance of victory.

4) SO WHERE DO THE PATRIOTS RANK? As of this writing, the Patriots’ dynasty is the equal of any other team’s. What’s really exciting from a Patriots’ fan’s perspective is that they enter next season the odds on favorite to win another title. If they succeed in that quest and win an unprecedented fourth title in five years, then they will be undeniably the greatest football team ever.

When does training camp begin?

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight