Friday, April 29, 2005


It was nineteen years ago today that Roger Clemens set the record for strikeouts in a single game by fanning 20 Seattle Mariners. It is without doubt the most significant date in modern Red Sox history. The franchise turned on a dime that night and things haven’t been the same since.

Until that moment, the Red Sox had been in constant decline since Bucky Dent’s homerun in 1978. For fans who have come of age since 1986, the difference between then and now would probably be unimaginable.

First of all, as of April 29, 1986 the Red Sox did not sell out every game. Indeed, far from it. Fenway’s capacity is something like 35,000. I’m pretty sure there were around 12,000 fans in attendance the night Clemens performed his heroic feat.

No one expected the Sox to be much of a factor going into the 1986 season. They had a typically brain-dead manager in John McNamara, a bunch of high quality but aging players (Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, Tony Armas, Bill Buckner, Don Baylor), one bona fide young superstar in Wade Boggs and one real question mark – Roger Clemens.

Clemens was coming back from an injury plagued 1985 and no one knew what to expect. His potential was considered limitless, but his durability was in doubt. Since entering the majors in 1984, other than the occasional spectacular game he hadn’t accomplished much. If he broke through in a big way, there was a chance the Red Sox would be contenders.

Boy did he ever break through. On the night of his historic performance, no one in Boston was paying attention to Fenway Park. The Celtics ruled the town then, and they were playing game 2 of their conference semi-finals series against the Atlanta Hawks that night. The fever that so characterizes all things Red Sox these days was nowhere in evidence back then.

Then Roger Clemens struck out 20. The town paid attention. Larry Bird offered a quip about how it wasn’t nice for Clemens to steal attention from the Celtics during the playoffs.

In the immediate aftermath of the 20 strikeout game, the Sox caught fire. They ascended to first place in the American League East and never fell off that perch. As the season went along, Red Sox fever began to grip the Hub in a way that had been completely absent since 1978. As for Clemens, he started the season 14-0 and was the talk of the baseball world.

Here’s how different things were before 1986 changed everything. For the July 4th late afternoon matinee that season, a friend of mine, my brother and I bought upper grandstand seats. The park was virtually empty so we enjoyed the game not from the site of our purchased seats but instead from the lower box seats along the first base line. Good luck even getting tickets today, let alone moving up to the lower boxes.

(A not-so-quick digression: Our endless stream of wisecracks directed at the Red Sox on that day – this is how true Sox fans showed fondness for their team until October 2004 – mortally offended the tourists from Ann Arbor who were sitting in front of us. They were particularly taken aback by our several minute long tirade directed at the much-despised Sox third base coach Rene Lacheman who had told Wade Boggs to slide into third base when there was no play there. Boggs jammed his ankle and we spent the next quarter hour screaming at Lacheman as was our sacred civic duty.

(Towards the end of the game, they began saying very loud comments like, “Next time, we’ll have to be more careful where we sit.” They thought a baseball park was akin to a theatre and that commentary should be held to a minimum. Naturally, their remarks only encouraged us to intensify our barrage of witticisms. At the end of the game, one of the Ann Arborites turned around, informed us that we had ruined their day at the ball yard and pronounced us “consummate assholes.”

(I’d like to report that I quickly rejoined with something along the lines of, “Anything worth doing is worth doing well,” but the gentleman was rather large and irritated and hard experience had already taught me at the tender age of 18 that discretion is the better part of valor in such instances. In case you’re wondering, the Sox won that day behind a surprisingly strong pitching performance by I believe Jeff Sellers. Also in case you’re wondering, even with nearly twenty years of life lessons under my belt, I’m still not particularly repentant about the happenings of that day.)

The Sox went on to win their division and then the league championship series against the California Angels in spectacular fashion. In the World Series against the Mets, of course, the Curse of the Bambino was born. Until that time, no one had ever spoken about the Red Sox being cursed.

Since 1986, the Sox have been a hot draw and Boston has been a baseball town. You can trace it all back to 19 years ago today when Roger Clemens revitalized a franchise on one frigid April evening.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight


I’ve been tapped to play this little blogger’s game where you have to name five things from a list that you would like to do and then offer pithy little words of explanation. Contrary to public opinion, I can be a good sport and a team player – I’ll play along.

Here’s the entire list to choose from:

If I could be a scientist...If I could be a farmer...If I could be a musician...If I could be a doctor...If I could be a painter...If I could be a gardener...If I could be a missionary...If I could be a chef...If I could be an architect...If I could be a linguist...If I could be a psychologist...If I could be a librarian...If I could be an athlete...If I could be a lawyer...If I could be an innkeeper...If I could be a professor...If I could be a writer...If I could be a backup dancer...If I could be a llama-rider...If I could be a bonnie pirate...If I could be a midget stripper...If I could be a proctologist...

Now, my five responses:

1) If I could be an athlete, I’d be Bobby Orr in his prime skating rings around the Atlanta Flames while shorthanded for almost a minute and then finishing things up by rushing the length of the ice, faking out the goalie and scoring. I was seven when this play happened and in bed; my grandfather who was babysitting screamed for me and my brother to wake up and come see the replay. He swore we would never see a better play.

He was right. And I would also never see a better display of grandfathering either.

2) If I could be a psyschologist, I’d put Bill Clinton on the couch and then break all relevant ethical codes and write a tell-all book about the sessions.

3) If I could be a lawyer, I would do exactly as I do now as a lawyer – not practice law and yet still use my JD with which to bludgeon others during disputes, i.e., “Back off man – I’m a lawyer you, know.”

4) If I could be a chef, I would prepare simple, bold food from only the freshest ingredients. I would use only prime beef and free range chickens. Any of my sous chefs who proposed something even resembling “tall food” would be summarily executed. I would also become best friends with whoever provides Oishi in Brookline, Massachusetts with their Toro.

5) If I could be an architect, I would make a point of remembering it’s my job to serve my client, not to get my artistic rocks off or try to be the next Frank Lloyd Wright. (Can you tell this one comes from hard experience? Write in with your own negative architect experiences – maybe I’ll post a few.)

Okay, that’s done – now I have to tag two other bloggers to play along. I hereby nominate the Martini Pundit and Random Birkel. Get to it, boys.

On a completely separate piece of business, today marks the 19th anniversary of the birth of the modern Boston Red Sox. Explanation forthcoming.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Thursday, April 28, 2005


Remember yesterday when I said blogging is sometimes hard work? Today is one of those days. I’ve had Fox on in the background, I’ve read the newspapers and the blogs, and nothing really inspires me. How am I supposed to crank out 700 words of witty incisive prose when all the big topics of the day bore me to tears?

Really, what is there left to say about John Bolton? The Democrats now think he is too mean. Does that mean someone with a more acceptable demeanor but identical views will now be universally acceptable for the position?

You know, sometimes I see these bumper stickers that say, “Mean People Suck.” Generally, that’s true – I for one far prefer the company of nice people to mean people. For one thing, nice people are far less likely to smack me in response to my non-stop stream of wise-ass remarks.

But mean people, or at least calloused, insensitive hard-headed people have their place in the world, too. Colin Powell was a really swell guy. He was such a swell guy, he couldn’t do a lot of the things that were necessary to adequately fill his numerous posts.

Don Rumsfeld on the other hand, seems to have a nice little mean streak in him. I bet when Rummy heard about Sheikh Yassin being blown to smithereens but his wheelchair somehow remaining mostly in tact, he cracked a huge old sadistic grin. I would posit that Rumsfeld’s demeanor is far more appropriate to his job than was Powell’s.

About the so called nuclear option and the filibustering, it has been proven in various places that when it comes to the filibuster the Democrats and their house organs like the New York Times speak with a Ward Churchillian forked tongue. Big deal. This is a newsflash? Sorry - can’t squeeze out more than thirty words on that topic.

The President is going to hold a press conference tonight. I guess one of the big topics is going to be energy independence. Yawn. This is a subject that’s bored me since a sweatered Jimmy Carter lectured me about when I was twelve years old.

But here’s an interesting factoid on the matter: Since America constructed its last nuclear power plant, France has built 58 (and that’s just in France, not even counting the one they tried to build in Iraq). France’s nuclear reactors account for 78% of France’s energy needs.

So why did we stop building those things? Oh yeah, I remember – because they ran afoul of the sensibilities of some of America’s deepest thinkers like Jackson Browne, Jane Fonda and Bruce Springsteen. This country will have energy independence when it outgrows certain superstitious fears. The problem regarding nuclear energy is that the “No Nukes” narrative is so embedded in the national consciousness it may be impossible to overcome.

I do know one thing about tonight’s press conference – if the phrase “Manhattan Project” is uttered I may well throw a brick through my television. (That is of course an exaggeration. Mrs. Soxblog and I don’t have loose bricks hanging about the house and I would never to do anything to harm my precious high definition television.)

What else is there? Tom Delay? Don’t really know enough specifics to condemn the man. Do know he gives me the creeps. The fact that he hangs around with Jack Abramoff is pretty damning. Nonetheless, he’s been a powerful majority leader. But if he’s forced out, I have every confidence the union will survive the loss of this indispensable man. The graveyards are full of indispensable men. Just ask Newt Gingrich.

All this has been a prelude to the only thing I really have any interest in doing today – taking a couple of cheap shots at other bloggers.

First, there’s Andrew Sullivan. He promised months ago to stop blogging. And yet he continues to blog away like a John Henry of the keyboard, pounding away until one day no doubt his mighty heart will just give out. Somehow I like to think that if John Ashcroft were still around he would have found a way to make Sullivan honor his promise to stop blogging. John Ashcroft – there was a man who knew how to crush not only dissent but also unnecessary internet chatter about spooning and sleep Apnea.

For what it’s worth, I’ve completely stopped reading Sullivan, and yet I still see him referenced by Glenn Reynolds, the Galley Slaves, and the Ace of Spades who has a hilarious color coded meter updating America on Andrew’s current state of outrage. The six conditions run from merely “chagrined” to “filled with heartache at such gobsmacking vileness” which is of course the equivalent of a “red alert.” We are currently at “red alert” status for the first time in the meter’s two week history. Since I don’t read Sullivan at all I don’t know what this portends other than it can’t be good.

And then there’s Oliver Willis. Under the typically sophisticated headline, “Ronny Raygun’s Diary,” Willis writes, “The thing is, there's a whole generation of folks coming into politics that aren't old enough to remember Reagan, and buy the mythology of his ‘greatness’ hook, line, and sinker.”

Here’s what’s funny about this: Willis is 27 years old. That means when Reagan left office, Willis was either ten or eleven. When Reagan came to office, Willis was either two or three.

Since the fully grown Willis is universally regarded as a dolt, it’s highly unlikely that the pre-pubescent OW was a Mozart-like prodigy regarding political observation.

And yet he laments those who were too young to remember the real Reagan as Ollie presumably does. I’d love to talk to him about his reminisces about the “failed” Reykjavík summit some time.

Because the Red Sox were in the playoffs that weekend in October of 1986, I wasn’t paying as close attention as I should have been. Even though he probably was only 8, I’m sure Ollie could fill me in.

Well, enough of that nonsense. Hopefully the Presidential press conference will give us something really interesting tomorrow. Just so long as no one says “Manhattan Project.”

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


I’m traveling today, leaving sunny Florida for the still crappy weather in Boston for a couple of weeks. By the way, Florida in April is the among the world’s best kept secrets. The weather is amazing (typical day 80 degrees and dry, very little rain) and most of the blue-haired seasonal visitors who so burden the area have gone home so you can get into restaurants with less of a wait. Also, as anyone living in the northeast knows, the April weather up there stinks. You get teased by a few days that are just wonderful but the rest of the days are generally craptacular, filled with gray, gloom and rain.

But enough of that. Before heading to the airport, a few quick observations on matters of no real importance:

1) Mickey Kaus calls our attention to the declining ratings of Fox News and the shrinking gap that separates Fox from CNN. Speculation is rampant about what could be causing such a happenstance.

As is so often the case, I have a theory! This has been a crappy few months for conservatives in terms of the daily news cycle. The Schiavo case was dispiriting, the Bolton thing is embarrassing, and the way in which the so-called nuclear option is being framed by the media suggests we’re in for another rough month or so. Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, Ted Kennedy waddled to a lectern yesterday to offer a lengthy celebration of the one year anniversary of the Abu Ghraib scandal. The ever subtle Senator used the word torture 38 times.

All this means that our team is on a losing streak. When teams begin to lose, only the die-hards keep watching the games. As Mickey observes, the gap between CNN and Fox isn’t narrowing because more people have become attracted to the turgid offerings of CNN but rather because Fox’s audience has shrunk.

When/if the news gets a little better for conservatives, Fox’s ratings will probably spike upwards. Unless of course America has discovered that Bill O’Reilly is indeed a falafel-obsessed obnoxious blowhard.

2) Arianna Huffington is starting the world’s biggest group blog which will be titled “The Huffington Post.” Amongst the contributors will be some of America’s greatest minds like actress Diane Keaton, actress Maggie Gyllenhall, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and Senator Jon Corzine. All totaled, over 250 of America’s intellectual luminaries will contribute to this grand endeavor.

I know I’m not skating on particularly thin ice in making the following prediction, but this thing will be a massive bust. Not to be self-aggrandizing, but blogging is a little harder than Gwyneth Paltrow thinks it is. First, you have to have a lot to say. Frankly, most people don’t – for most people who get into blogging, it turns out they have only one thing they want to say and they just try to say it over and over. Even the authors of this dreadful format tend to tire of it rapidly, and most such blogs self terminate within a few weeks.

And then if you do have something to say, you have to discipline yourself to get yourself to your laptop and say it every day. Every blogger I know who has stuck with it for a while finds this to be at times burdensome.

Which brings us to the problem most group blogs face – no one takes responsibility for actually turning out a product so the blog often lays dormant even though it has a bunch of potentially strong contributors. I know of one group blog that has almost a dozen really sharp contributors and yet has managed only two posts in the entire month of April.

In a perfect world, we would know what occupies the thoughts of Diane Keaton every day. Alas, such a world is likely to remain maddeningly out of reach.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


1) IT’S COME TO THIS. The Boston Globe lead headline this morning blares, “UNREADY FOR COMBAT” and then offers the following subscript: “After deaths of 13 trained for support roles in Iraq, others say they lack the skills to protect themselves.”

This was very sad news. I didn’t know that 13 US troops had died in Iraq yesterday, let alone that even more tragically the deceased were unable to defend themselves. What struck me as most remarkable is that such a disaster would obviously have made yesterday the darkest day in the war, and yet I had not heard a word about the calamity until I logged on to the Globe this morning. What’s more, Juan Cole and The Daily Kos reliably trumpet any shard of disappointing news that emanates from Iraq and on this latest calamity they had been oddly silent.

Alas, there was an explanation for the leftists’ unusual quiet. The deaths that were above the fold news for the Globe mostly occurred over a year ago in a bunch of separate incidents! So, the Globe headline is at best patently disingenuous. More likely, it’s deliberately misleading.

I would cancel my Globe subscription but I did that months ago. (Why pay for it when they give it away for free on the web?) But let’s give credit where credit is due – this morning’s edition of the Globe provided a valuable public service. The Globe showed just how dishonest it will be and how low it will stoop to undermine American morale in regards to the Iraqi struggle.

Whatever the merits of the underlying story (I think they’re rather slight but you can read the story if you so choose and make up your own mind), there can be no doubt that the Globe’s headline was an exercise in deliberate deceit. I say huzzah for the Globe, laying its cards on the table in such a forthright manner. Any claims the paper might make for being a serious news organization are now instantly laughable.

With this morning’s edition, the Boston Globe has become Michael Moore in broadsheet form.

2) BLOG PROJECT - I have a great idea and unlike most of my self-proclaimed great ideas, I’m actually going to put this one into action.

What would it have been like if newspapers in 1944 had covered WWII in the manner that Juan Cole and The Daily Kos (and often the legacy media) cover the Iraq war? You know what I’m talking about – a news story will broadcast the death of three Americans but no perspective is given. No word is provided regarding any enemy KIA let alone a broader perspective on where the overall conflict stands.

So here’s what I propose. A blog that tracks WWII starting let’s say this Friday, April 29, but the blog covers the events from April 29, 1944. And the blog reports only the bad news. So it will mention the U.S. casualties but not the axis casualties. It will mention our problems but not our triumphs. And of course it will take gratuitous potshots at the civilian leadership and every mention of the European theatre will remind the readership that Germany had nothing to do with Pearl Harbor.

But I want your help (i.e. I’d really prefer someone do this for me). Anyone with any interest in helping to pull this together please contact me. The postings will be made on Soxblog as a daily feature. With the “disaster” of D-Day approaching, we’ve got to get our act together fast.

3) AND LET’S NOT FORGET THE CELTICS – I’ve received a few letters saying I should say something about the Celtics. Indeed, I should. In spite of their loss last night, the Celtics have in two years become relevant again. They have a world of young talent, a gutsy and brainy GM in Danny Ainge, and fantastic ownership. While it’s unlikely that they’ll win a title this year, that goal is now in sight for the first time in over fifteen years.

Hopefully they’ll give the City of Champions a little more excitement in the days ahead with an extended playoff run. But regardless of how this year turns out, the future looks bright for the Green.

4) BOOK RECOMMENDATION – This weekend I read Sam Walton’s autobiography “Made in America.” What a pleasant surprise. It’s really one of the most well constructed autobiographies I’ve read in quite some time. It also tells a very interesting story. With all the simplistic “Wal-Mart is evil” propaganda out there, this book provides a welcome counterpoint. If you’re at all interested in the workings of brilliant businessman’s mind, I urge you to pick it up.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Sunday, April 24, 2005


Poor Nomar. As I believe I once wrote on these pages, there was a time when I thought he was the greatest athlete I’d ever seen – better than Bobby Orr, better than Larry Bird, better than anyone. And then something happened. The Nomar narrative jumped the tracks.

Last week brought what was probably the cruelest blow to Nomar. A torn groin muscle will put him on the shelf for a minimum of 2-3 months. What’s probably even more painful to Nomar, his injury has given his nemeses in the Boston media a chance to kick him when he’s down.

First, a little word of background regarding Nomar and his relationship with the press. The Boston Chapter of the Knights of the Keyboard never liked Nomar. They probably weren’t entirely unjustified on that front.

Nomar liked keeping to himself, which meant cooperating with the media wasn’t exactly second nature to him. Being the most prominent and beloved Boston athlete of his era, the press had to cover Nomar in some depth. That was their job. Nomar, due to his prickly and loner nature, never made it an easy one.

But there can be no justification for the kind of article Bob Ryan wrote yesterday regarding Nomar’s latest injury. Ryan, who by the way is my favorite Boston sports columnist and generally excellent at what he does, figured the odd nature of Nomar’s wound granted him license to engage in some completely irresponsible and unsubstantiated speculation.

Ryan wrote, “Look, I'm hardly the first person to raise the question. When he was with the Red Sox, who was bold enough to link our fair shortstop, a noted workout guy, with the dreaded S-word? (Ed. Note – I don’t understand what those two sentences mean either.) But he did go from, like, standard athlete issue normal to ultra-buffed in one winter, and he has been -- there is no other way to say it -- systematically breaking down for the past six years, so you can't help wondering just what he's been putting into his body other than Wheaties and sirloin steaks.”

Regarding steroid use in general, let’s first clear a few things up. Athletes use steroids because they make them perform better. Ask Ben Johnson. Or Marion Jones. Or Mark McGwire. The stories of athletes’ bodies falling apart because of steroid use or abuse are for the most part comically anecdotal. About 15 years ago Lyle Alzado claimed he got a brain tumor because he used steroids. The claims themselves were scientifically speaking without merit but ever since then the media accuses the steroid bogey-man every time a thickly muscled athlete has health problems. If properly used as a supplement to an appropriate training program, steroids will improve an athlete. Period.

So who knows what’s gone wrong with Nomar’s body? He trains like an obsessive compulsive freak and always has - there’s never been any secret about that. It seems like a reasonable hypothesis that over-training has put his body in a brittle state, much like body-builder’s bodies are in a brittle state. And that has made him injury prone.

There’s also a reasonable chance that his spate of health misfortunes is just bad luck. Grant Hill has had a busload of health problems and no one mentions the S-word. And in 1986, Red Sox pitcher Bruce Hurst suffered a remarkably similar injury to the one Nomar did last week. I will state unequivocally and for the record, Bruce Hurst was not a steroid user.

The logical weaknesses in Ryan’s argument almost scream for rebuttal. He talks about the time Nomar came to Spring training super-buff. And yet Nomar’s power numbers went down from there. You don’t have to be a serious student of the game to know that steroid use has typically had a far more salubrious effect on the users’ numbers than was the case regarding Nomar’s alleged steroid use.

Nomar was great. Whether or not he will ever be great again is an open question. As a Red Sox fan, I’m grateful that I got to watch him for over seven years and sad that his health and personality quirks made it necessary to deal him last summer. I’m sorry he wasn’t around to celebrate the Sox’ World Series victory, but I suspect if he had been around there wouldn’t have been a World Series victory to celebrate.

Like all true Red Sox fans, I wish Nomar well. Did he use steroids? Who knows? My suspicion is that if he were under a carefully supervised steroid program like, say, Barry Bonds may have been, he would be in much better shape than he is.

Bob Ryan’s article was a cruelly timed and weakly argued cheap-shot. He should be ashamed of himself.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Thursday, April 21, 2005


A LOT OF TIMES PEOPLE will write in asking how come I haven’t written anything about a big subject of the day. For instance, in the past week I haven’t written anything on Tom Delay, the new Pope, John Bolton, or the UN scandal. The question is a fair one, especially since I’ve devoted about 3,000 words to the parking situation at Fenway Park which in the grand scheme of things is admittedly probably a less important matter than the selection of the new Pope.

The reasons I haven’t written about the big issues listed above is because either: a) They don’t interest me enough to actually spend the time writing something about them; or b) I’m not informed enough on the subject to write anything worth reading on them. Bolton and the UN fall into the first category, the Pope into the second, and Delay into both.

But since you asked, and since I’ve prefaced the following by admitting it probably won’t be worthwhile, let me put down some brief comments for the record.

1) JOHN BOLTON – Here’s why this one bores me. The U.N. is a dead institution anyway. Any U.S. leader obtuse enough to think an institution that tacitly suggests an equal moral standing between, say, Cuba whose government enslaves and impoverishes its own citizens and the United States isn’t worthy of the office he holds (or seeks). By its very charter the UN is irrelevant and always has been. It’s actually worse than irrelevant. A lot of well intended people delude themselves into thinking the UN can actually be a significant force for good in the world when time and again it has proven itself incapable of any such thing. Just ask the people of Darfur. Or Rwanda. Or Israel, who has received more formal UN condemnations than every other country in the world combined.

John Bolton recognizes this. As a UN ambassador, he would help expose the fraud that is the United Nations but one has to wonder – if you haven’t already noticed what a fraud the UN is after Rwanda and Darfur and oil-for-food, what difference can one man make?

I’m also uninterested in the fact that the Democrats have nimbly pivoted from challenging Bolton on substance to aiming for his personal destruction. This was predictable. When it comes to the UN, like most things, the Democrats are philosophically agnostic. All they know is that they oppose whatever the Republicans are for. That being the case, it makes a lot more sense that they would make this a personal matter.

You see this kind of debating strategy throughout the Democratic ranks. Markos Moulitsas (a.k.a Kos) seldom engages in a constructive debate about Iraq or the Middle East. If he has a clear notion of how to fight the war on terror, I’ve missed it.

But he’s quick to dismiss his ideological rivals as chicken-hawks because they, unlike Kos, never “wore combat boots” (to quote the phrase he used about 73 times in his C-Span interview.) Such personal attacks are far easier than engaging an opponent’s argument.

All in all, the Bolton thing is sad and boring, a play I’ve seen a thousand times and one which hardly grows richer with each viewing.

2) THE U.N. - See above. But one other thing – on another website several months ago I was engaged in a group “discussion” on U.N. reform. I wrote something similar to what I had written above – the UN is useless because it gives evil countries a seat at the table and pretends they’re morally equivalent to the world’s civilized outposts. One of my fellow contributors took issue with this, and said that even with the vast differences between the world’s nations there were still some basic principles that all the countries could agree on. She suggested that all UN members would surely be able to agree to such a basic no-brainer like “Genocide is wrong.”

I tried to be delicate in my response, but that kind of delusional thinking is exactly what makes the UN dangerous. For crying out loud, half the countries in the Middle East have genocide as a formal policy aim. This is no secret. (And stop calling me Shirley.)

The UN can perhaps serve a worthwhile purpose as an international debating society. Anything more ambitious than that has been and will be beyond its grasp.

3) TOM DELAY – I’m a big boy. I expect my politicians to come with a little dollop of corruption. Relatives on the payroll, free trips with lobbyists – these things will happen. (Click here to read about Boston Mayor Tom Menino’s similar appetite for free travel.) Did Delay do anything beyond the pale like loot a savings and loan or provide missile guidance to the Chinese at the behest of a big donor over the Pentagon’s objections? I don’t know.

But I will say this. This Jack Abramoff character is bad news, a one man neon sign advertising how ten years in power has corrupted the Republican Party. If Delay was selling policy to Abramoff, that would be beyond the pale and it would be time for him to go.

4) THE NEW POPE – I don’t know anything about him except what I’ve read the last few days. Seems like a very good man and, as has been observed in countless other places, he sure seems to be disliked by all the right people. (’s email this morning referred to him as an “ultraconservative.” I don’t think they meant it as a compliment.) So, in other words, I like the cut of his jib.

Now that I’ve got the serious business out of the way, I’m going to return to my home turf:


The Palm Beach Post yesterday published a story that re-visited the spike controversy that occurred during the Masters. Improbably, the Tour’s players are flocking to Vijay’s side.

A little back story: 2/3 of the players on tour have switched to soft spikes. Of the 1/3 who wear the metal spikes, only a dozen wear the 8 mm spikes (the longest allowed by the rules) which Mickelson favors. For those of you who took up golf after metal spikes had been banished from all the best places, metal spikes beat the hell out of the greens, especially around the cup. The longer the spikes, the more sever the beating. Metal spikes widespread use made it almost impossible to get a true roll, especially later in the day.

The Post elicited a couple of quotes from the tour’s players on the matter. Here’s Briny Baird: “If someone complained to me in the middle of the round of the Masters, don't you think that would be a wake-up call? We all know who wears long spikes, and there's a reason why we know it. If everybody wore long spikes and circled the hole a few times because of their putting routine, the greens wouldn't be real good for the rest of the field.” Mickelson is of course famous for his deliberate putting routine which requires him to walk around the hole about 18 times before attempting a two-footer.

And here’s Nick Price who still wears metal spikes but switched to shorter length spikes for “obvious reasons.” “They're better for the greens. When I would get new shoes, I'd always take out my worn-down spikes and put them in the new shoes.”

As Drudge would say, DEVELOPING.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


If you click over to the Weekly Standard’s site, you’ll see I have an article up on the controversy over the parking prices at Fenway Park. Because this post is going to serve as sort of a “Behind-The-Music” regarding the making of that article, it would make sense if you read the article on the Daily Standard first before completing this post. Go ahead – I’ll wait.

I was attracted to this story because it’s a tidy example of liberalism run amuck combined with an incredible arrogance of power – two things that really drive me nuts. You think about it, it’s really pretty amazing. The Mayor of Boston unapologetically declared his intention to fix the price that a private business could sell its wares for and then was using governmental harassment to get his way. It’s rather astonishing.

But in putting the story together, I wound up on an unexpected detour. The first thing I did was call the manager of Leahy’s Mobil, the gas station/parking lot at the center of the controversy to get his comments. Now, as my Standard story suggests, I think he should be able to sell his parking spots for whatever the market will bear so I was sympathetic to his position.

The results of our interview, however, came as a huge surprise. He insisted that he wasn’t selling his parking spots for $100. What’s more, he insisted that he was set up by the Globe photographer. He said that the guy came to the parking lot a few hours before game time and his job would require him to stay a few hours after the game ended. The photographer’s parking receipt that the Globe published supported the first part of this contention. The pre-game festivities were scheduled to begin around 2:00 p.m. and the game shortly after 3:00 p.m. The photographer’s receipt showed him parking at 11:50 a.m.

The parking lot manager claimed that he told the photographer that he couldn’t allow a car to stay on the premises for such an extended period of time since he ran a functioning fill-and-service station. He said the photographer then volunteered to pay him $100. The lot’s manager further insisted that he had charged normal customers only $45.

I was at first a little incredulous regarding his story. I know this lot – on my rare forays to Fenway I use his lot and I know he charges what the market will bear which for Opening Day would have been well more than $45. But then I looked back at the Globe’s story on the subject, and I encourage you to do the same; you’ll see that nowhere in the Globe story does the Globe itself claim that normal customers were paying $100. The only customer paying $100 in the story is the Globe photographer. The Globe apparently did not speak to any regular customers who had paid the controversial rate. You’ll also note that Mayor Menino’s quote about blowing his top after hearing the tale of someone paying $100 to park didn’t mention a specific lot.

So I called the Globe reporter and asked if she had talked to any regular customers who had paid $100 to park. She hadn’t. So here’s where things stood – one guy, an employee of the Globe no less, had paid $100 to park his car. The Globe ran this as an above the fold front page story which the mayor of Boston happily demagogued.

My next move was to call the Globe’s editor. I wound up speaking with the executive editor Helen Donovan who was very helpful and, for what it’s worth, extremely pleasant. She promised to look into it and get back to me and I promised to continue my investigation.

When I had spoken with the lot manager, he had made a vague reference to the Boston Herald’s Tony Massarotti being a witness to the exchange he had with the Globe’s photographer. I called Massarotti who told me all he knew was that he drove up to the lot and the manager told him it would be $100 to park so he zipped off. I told him he should cross the street and work for the Globe whose employees apparently enjoy far more generous expense accounts. Seriously, I appreciated (and appreciate) Tony’s help.

Shortly after I got off the phone with Tony, Ms. Donovan called me back. She told me the photographer said the lot was virtually full when he parked, a fact which if true would contradict another significant portion of the lot manager’s story. She then suggested I contact people at the Herald who would corroborate the Globe photographer’s version of events. I told her that I had already spoken to Massarotti and was comfortable that the parking lot manager’s recollections weren’t 100% beyond dispute. Ms. Donovan then added that she had gotten off the phone with the mayor’s office and they had confirmed that a bunch of people (not just an individual “someone”) had approached the Mayor and bitched about paying $100 to park and specifically pointed to Leahy’s Mobil as the culprit.

I found Mayor’s office’s claim a tad implausible since the lot only holds a couple of dozen cars, but that still pretty much sealed the deal as far as the Globe’s culpability or lack thereof. There certainly wasn’t enough (or necessarily any) basis to infer that the Globe had gotten the story wrong or had set-up the parking lot.

But…One must ask, why was the story in the Globe worded the way it was, so conspicuously avoiding the outright assertion that the great unwashed non-media affiliated customers also had to pay $100? Why didn’t the Globe confirm the accuracy of its main accusation (that Leahy’s was charging $100 to regular customers) before going to press? Instead, they merely insinuated that Leahy’s Mobil was charging $100, using the hearsay commentary of a rival parking lot owner and their own photographer’s story as the basis for the insinuations. Confirming the story would have been simple enough. After all, the vast majority of customers doubtlessly claim their car when the game concludes. A Globe reporter could have then asked them what they had paid.

But what’s most disturbing is this: How in the hell did this become a front page story in the first place? Since the Globe didn’t talk to any other Leahy Mobil patrons, is a Globe photographer’s close encounter with expensive parking really an above-the-fold story? It almost seems like the Globe decided that Fenway Parking was going to be a front page story regardless of its news value, and then began cobbling a story together.

What’s especially galling about such a practice is that the people who own and operate Leahy’s Mobil are working class individuals, unprepared in every way to deal with the proverbial media shit-storm that the Globe sent in their direction.

On the second home game of the season, a friend of mine who was attending the game and regularly parks at Leahy’s talked to the manager for me to set up our interview. My friend called me from his cell phone from the lot and said I wouldn’t believe the assemblage of media luminaries that had gathered at this innocuous gas station. There was even a mini-cam crew!

My friend told me that the station manager urged the mini-cam folks to “get lost and cover some real news like shootings and drug dealings.” In reality, his actual language was a touch more colorful.

But can anyone doubt the validity of his sentiment?

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


We have a lot of loose ends from yesterday’s first post to tie up before moving on to new business.

First, even by blogospheric standards, my assertion that only four generals (Washington, W.H. Harrison, Grant and Eisenhower) had graduated from the ranks to the presidency was sloppy and moronic. Several correspondents wrote in to set me straight.

First of all, I left off Andrew Jackson, which was an odd oversight given that he’s one of my favorite historical figures. As a matter of fact, during this blog’s first week in existence I penned a brief look back at Old Hickory’s famous duel with a foe widely regarded as the best shot in Tennessee. Unless you’re an immediate family member of mine, it’s highly unlikely that you read the piece. If you follow the link, scroll down to where it says “history lesson.” And be charitable – I was very new at the blogging game back then.

The other general whose service was a proximate cause of his ascension to the White House was Zachary Taylor who was widely perceived as being the hero of the Mexican-American war although Winfield Scott was probably more deserving of the press clippings that Taylor received. (Scott is now probably best recalled as a doddering old Civil War general who was serving nobly but ineffectively in that struggle being at the time well past his prime.)

Other generals who made the White House (who an insightful correspondent refers to as “incidental generals”) include Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, and Benjamin Harrison. The same correspondent points out that even Chester A. Arthur was quarter master general of New York during the Civil War. If the unthinkable should occur and Clark becomes president, Arthur would probably be the most appropriate historical parallel to Wes.

Speaking of Clark, I also solicited some commentary from armed services members of the 90’s regarding Clark’s assertion that President Clinton was a beloved figure amongst the military’s rank and file. The feedback was voluminous. Below are three letters that are representative of what I received. I should note, before you begin, there wasn’t a single dissenting letter that expressed a contrary view. In the interests of fairness, if a military member from the 90’s cares to compose such a missive, I’ll be happy to post it. (Maybe someone should tell Kos – he’s begun mentioning his military service and the fact that he “wore combat boots” more often than John Kerry did.)

Without further adieu, the letters:

1) It's my experience that most military personnel, officer and enlisted, had a low opinion of Clinton. I deployed with the Kitty Hawk carrier battle group to the Western Pacific and Persian Gulf on Nov. 3, 1992. Why is that significant? Because it was election day 1992, and during our first day underway from San Diego, we knew that a former naval aviator and World War II veteran had been defeated by childish man-boy who had no apparent appreciation of the tradition martial virtues.

Sure enough, aircraft patrolling southern Iraq were getting shot at by Iraq air defense units. After days of provocations, Carrier Air Wing Fifteen (decomm'ed in 1995, BTW) launched strikes against numerous sites throughout southern Iraq. The surface shooters also fired scores of Tomahawks. This continued until 20 January when we were ordered to stand down with an airstrike manning up. In short, we were authorized to get shot at, but not take planned action. (Note: self-defense was still authorized.)

Back in the States, the big issue of the day was not our troops in harms way in the Gulf. Rather, it was Clinton's promise to allow homosexuals to serve openly in uniform. I don't necessarily have a problem with that. However, it was a slap at the services that he never spoke with any level of uniformed leadership about the wisdom of such a policy change. To Clinton and his deputies, the military was a play thing for them to mold as they, and they alone, saw fit.

I left my squadron in November 1993 (I wasn't flying then, I was the squadron Intelligence Officer) and reported for duty in Washington DC. I was considering volunteering to be a White House escort. The responsibilities included wearing Mess Dress uniforms to White House social events and escorting the guests into the proceedings. Very cushy duty, got to hobnob with the highest level decision makers, attend some very lavish shindigs, you probably know the drill.

It came out that the Clinton White House used these military officers as the wait staff carrying trays of hors d'oeuvre. I can remember reading that one officer so degraded was actually told by a VIP at such a function that the guest was embarrassed for the officer! (I left DC in August 1995, and reported for flight school the following month.)

Clinton was the Commander-in-Chief. The Commander-in-Chief will always be respected. Every officer in the chain of command I've ever worked with upheld our loyalty to our civilian leadership. Even when that leadership held us in contempt.

BTW, in a military operations school I attended (I won't get more specific than that), Wes Clark's prosecution of the Kosovo campaign is used as a case study in operational failure.

2) How the troops felt about Clinton?

Pretty much how you’d think. You know, you can’t bullshit a GI. (God knows I’ve tried.) They see right through it. So it didn’t matter how Clinton dressed himself up, you always knew what you were getting. What you were getting was someone who looked at you and your way of life sort of the way an anthropologist looked at the Anasazi.

Sure, anytime he pulled out troops as props for the photo op there were smiling faces all around. But it wouldn’t matter if it were a Republican or Democrat to most of ‘em. They’re ‘were just excited to be near *A* President, not necessarily that one. But Clinton’s reign hit the guys from the South pretty hard because they still grow up down there with concepts like duty and honor. Comes with the mother’s milk one of my Lieutenants used to say. To borrow a line from a Jack Nicholson character, Clinton used those concepts as a punchline. He said the right things and didn’t flub his lines but you always knew the deal. And you know what? So did he, he knew the joke was on us.

How the troops felt about him is pretty much summed up by this: in 20 years of service I never once had to attend a meeting to get a lecture from a senior officer about being a professional and not disrespecting the President. That is until Clinton took office. Then I got that talk (along with an auditorium full of folks) on at least 2 different occasions.

I was working in the Pentagon during those years and I worked on the 5 year defense budget plan – the Program Objective Memorandum. A budget is where you really have to put your money where your mouth is. It’s the only document a politician endorses where he has to say exactly what his priorities are, so I have a different perspective and was privy to a lot more than the average troop. I was the briefings guy in that office so I got told to make a banquet out of the shit sandwich of the President’s Budget (PresBud) on more than one occasion. Clinton’s talk about supporting the military was just that. Talk. We got pay raises. That’s it. No Research and Development, stalled infrastructure repair and upgrades, we raped operational accounts to pay for Bosnia with a long delay in the payback from Congress. I could go on, but why?

I also worked on a review of studies on the Selective Service System with some other folks. We recommended that we eliminate it since the data collection the government needed to support a possible draft could be accomplished by basically writing some software to cross reference Social Security, DMV and other data. We could do that with a 92% probability we were getting the exact same folks that the current Selective Service system gets.

Want to know why we still spend $25 million a year on it?

Because Clinton didn’t want to be known as the draft dodging President who eliminated the Selective Service System.

There’s a profile in courage for ya.

Sorry this has gone on too long, and I’m sure it’s unusable, but that ought to at least give you a sense of the frustration with Clinton and his ilk from those of us wearing the uniform. It’s OK if you’re not one of us, we defend you anyway. We honestly don’t want much. But we’d just appreciate it if you wouldn’t laugh behind our backs. We always got the sense that Bubba was laughing himself silly.

3) The military's view of Clinton: Where to start? I think I can summarize the attitude of Vietnam era officers, like myself, who are his age contemporaries, in saying that: Beginning with his draft dodging in the late 1960's, Bill Clinton has consistently shown that he is a man of no honor and no shame. He exemplifies most of the bad characteristics of our generation, one of the worst among them that he actually expects commendation for his never ceasing shameless and dishonorable conduct as a matter of entitlement.

He degraded the US Military through his casual disrespect towards its members, treating us as pawns for progressive academics, cheapened the office of Commander-in-Chief and seriously damaged our effectiveness through his relentless feminization of our Armed Forces. That such an obviously idiotic and opportunistic empty suit as General Wesley Clark ascended to four star rank during the Clinton Administration tells you all you need to know about how Bill Clinton ran the Pentagon and gives a strong hint of the lasting hidden damage that he inflicted.

I'd be happy to expand on how Bill Clinton exemplifies the elitist smug skaters of the '60's era and how much this still winds the watch of all who answered the call in some way or other during that time, but I dare say that it wouldn't register with anyone who was not part of said era. As a somewhat surprising sidebar, let me add that most of my military contemporaries don't have nearly the scorn for actual draft resistors who were willing to pay a price for their opposition to the Vietnam war as we do for the skaters who used their status and connections to avoid serving, all the while shrieking about how corrupt the system was.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Monday, April 18, 2005


Fans of “24” probably remember that a few short TV hours ago all we had to worry about was the imminent execution of a Rumsfeldian Secretary of Defense which was going to be televised by the web savvy Jihadis who had abducted him.

You might recall back then that the religious affiliation of the TV terrorists was a matter of some controversy in the real world. Implausibly, the writers of “24” had portrayed the terrorists as Muslims.

Naturally this outraged CAIR (admittedly an easy thing to do) and the Fox network soon groveled before the outraged Zogby (not the pollster but his brother) by running a public service announcement to remind “24’s” vast audience that the overwhelming majority of American Muslims are as patriotic as apple pie and NASCAR.

Well, obviously the writers of “24” learned nothing from their previous flirtation with ethnic related insensitivity. This week’s episode featured a lawyer spouting Constitutional niceties that he knew would thwart the Keifer Sutherland-led good guys who were desperately trying to prevent a nuclear explosion on American soil. The lawyer, implausibly enough, was a Jew.

Although the show didn’t explicitly say he was a Jew, his last name was “Weiss” and he was portrayed by the guy who played that bald Jewish lawyer on “Sex and the City.”

I am outraged and on behalf of the Jewish community I demand a PSA of our own. I worry that an episode like this could give America the wrong idea. Not every Jew is a lawyer. In fact, a handful of Jews don’t even do post-graduate work.

And not all Jews are liberals who would pay fealty to Constitutional niceties while terrorists are toting a nuke around the country with impunity. I bet Charles Johnson is with me on this one.

Keifer Sutherland, I will be waiting for you to set the record straight. Please, let’s settle this peacefully – don’t force me to call the ADL.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight


As a political and commentating pro, there’s not much that really bothers me. If you immerse yourself in this stuff, you either develop a thick skin or you burn out. If you don’t, you become a crashing bore to your family and your friends.

In other words, even though you take this stuff really seriously your capacity for being angered and kicked into full-scale ranting mode has to diminish over time. Hell, if I could tolerate 8 years of disappearing FBI files, the Lincoln Bedroom being turned into a high priced Motel 6 and presidential-pardons-for-sale to unrepentant expatriate billionaires without turning into a hectoring right wing Paul Krugman, you know my frustration threshold is high.

But there’s one thing that reliably gets under my skin – “The Bill Maher Show.” Perhaps it’s because how relentlessly anti-American the host is. He’s always carrying on about how Americans are so fat and stupid and lazy and ill-informed, as if he’s some sort of Greek-ideal citizen and the rest of the nation by comparison is a sorry disappointment. This guy has nothing but loathing for his country and his fellow citizens. I really find it rather surprising that HBO gives him a soapbox from which to spew his obnoxious nonsense.

And then there’s the whole silliness of a Bill Maher panel. Last week’s show was instructive in how stupid these exercises are. Two of the guests commentating on the great issues of the day were noted right wing pundit/ former Bush speech writer David Frum and former four star general/current five star kook Wesley Clark. So if you were a producer of the show, who do you get to round out such an august panel? Who else – Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines.

Are there really people out there who get a hoot hearing celebrities talk about issues on which they’re entirely ignorant? I find it difficult to believe that there’s actually an audience for such a thing. And it amazes me that serious people like Frum and Clark (giggle) debase themselves by engaging in political debate with America’s quarter educated glitterati.

The real surprise about this past week’s episode was that compared to Wes Clark, the Dixie Chick actually sounded cogent and insightful. There’s a little Clark boomlet going on amongst the leftist class – Clark honored them by sitting down to a conference call with Juan Cole and others where he blamed all our foreign policy problems on the Joos and now the Kos Kidz are celebrating the mere prospect that Clark is considering tossing his helmet in the ring for 2008.

A couple of points about Wes Clark. Doing a quick scan of American history, four American generals graduated to the Presidency – Washington (who won the Revolution), Harrison (who became a legend at Tippecanoe or something like that), Grant (who won the Civil War), and Eisenhower (who won World War II). Putting aside the fact that placing Wes Clark in such company is laughable on its face, all these generals had the good sense to drift ethereally above politics until the political class reached out to them. Clark, on the other hand, while obviously lacking the resumé or the character of an Eisenhower is determinably transforming himself into a partisan hack.

This is a guy who as recently as 2002 was speaking at a Republican Lincoln Day dinner saluting the leadership of Bush and Cheney. Now he’s sitting down for a virtual cup of coffee with Juan Cole.

But I digress. Here’s the whopper uttered by Clark during the “Bill Maher Show.” David Frum was observing how the troops adore President Bush. Clark inveighed that the troops adore whomever happens to be there Commander in Chief and said that he frequently witnessed the love that the troops had for President Clinton.

I normally don’t laugh aloud during the Bill Maher Show, but this one got me howling. It is a well known fact that Bill Clinton was loathed by the military rank and file for a wealth of reasons that would require a posting of their own to get into. To suggest he was a beloved leader of the armed forces is ludicrous. Since I’m feeling a pang of Clinton nostalgia these days, if any members of the military from the 1990’s care to write in and comment on Clark’s assertion, I will gladly publish your observations.

Yes, on this panel, the Dixie Chick did not come across as the dumb one. But that’s the magic of the Bill Maher Show – it elevates a Dixie Chick to a level of political prominence.

If it weren’t for Al Sweringen and “Deadwood,” I might consider canceling my HBO. Alas, being able to watch Al Sweringen’s antics makes the presence of Bill Maher tolerable. No small feat there.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Friday, April 15, 2005


1) I AM A MAN OF NO LITTLE PATIENCE, but I will not take this one sitting down. The national media is making out Alex Rodriguez as a hero for saving a little boy’s life yesterday. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reports:

“Several hours before Wednesday's game, Patrick, 8, and Rodriguez were crossing Newbury Street in opposite directions when a utility truck came careening round the corner from Arlington Street. The truck seemed headed straight for the boy. The third baseman sprang into action, scooping the boy up just in time, depositing him safely on the curb.”

Let’s put aside for the moment the colorful nature of Cafardo’s prose. Certain elements of the story nevertheless defy belief. After all, Newbury Street is Boston’s most congested shopping boulevard, stocked full of fashionable boutiques and overpriced restaurants. Mid-day traffic typically putters along at an encephalitic crawl. In other words, it’s not the kind of neighborhood where utility trucks typically go careening.

But let’s stipulate that A-Rod did save the lad (whose family are Yankee season ticket holders…hmmm) from imminent smooshing. What I found most interesting about Cafardo’s account was the following vignette: “(Rodriguez) introduced the boy to a couple of his teammates who happened to be nearby, first baseman Tino Martinez and pitcher Randy Johnson.”

One can’t help but wonder where were Tino and the Big Unit while the truck-o-death was doing its careening? Were they fleeing the thoroughfare, seeing to their own safety first? That’s the Yankees for you.

In all seriousness, well done A-Rod.

2) I’VE BEEN MEANING TO READ BYRON YORK’S “THE VAST LEFT WING CONSPIRACY” but just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’m going to comment anyway, before the topic goes completely cold.

Take it from an inveterate schemer and plotter – a successful conspiracy first and foremost requires skill and vision. The Clintons were naturally brilliant conspirers because they were devious, focused and highly intelligent. Whitewater was a piece of cake for minds like theirs; it’s little wonder that they soon graduated on to bigger and better things like ruining Ken Starr, renting out the Lincoln bedroom, and selling presidential pardons.

The people that York fingers as members of the new “Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy?” Not to put too fine a point on it, but these people couldn’t conspire their way out of a paper bag let alone minority party status. Take it from me – I read Oliver Willis, the Daily Kos, Democracy Underground and Juan Cole (thank you D.W.) – these guys lack the tact and intellectual dexterity to launch a successful conspiracy.

For instance, any Democrat smart enough to launch a conspiracy worthy of the title “conspiracy” would know that the Democrats need the continuing loyalty of American Jews and to hold on to as many Senate seats as possible. Thus, the non-stop Jihad waged against the Senate’s most prominent Jew (Joe Lieberman) and the frequently repulsive rhetoric used by those in the Jihad (like Kos, Oliver Willis and Juan Cole) is a dubious tactical decision to say the least.

In short, fear of a left wing conspiracy doesn’t keep me up at nights. After all, these are the people who selected John Kerry as their presidential nominee and more recently elevated Howard Dean to Democratic Party chair. A conspiring juggernaut they ain’t.

3) IN APRIL 1993, I WAS AT a Republican city committee meeting where we all agreed how great things were looking for defeating Clinton in 1996. The new president had stumbled badly in his first months in office and during the transition. He had done his best to alienate the military (who earlier he had famously expressed his loathing for) by insisting it accept gays, and also nominated a succession of un-confirmable women for Attorney General; this latter process culminated in the elevation of the truly execrable and unqualified Janet Reno who for eight years inflicted upon the nation her gross incompetence.

Looking back, the Republican city committee’s optimism regarding the ’96 election was obviously misplaced, based on a little sliver of events that would soon be forgotten. In other words, all the tributes currently being dedicated to Harry Reid’s tactical brilliance and Barbara Boxer’s feisty pluck may well not stand the test of time. Worshipping at the altar of opinion polls 20 months before the next national election is beyond asinine.

You know, I’m beginning to question the brilliance of these left wing conspirators.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


I’ve written a little in the past about the far left’s burgeoning anti-Semitism problem, specifically as it relates to some of the left’s ranking blogs.

To bring you up to speed, Armando of the Daily Kos accused Joe Lieberman of “stabbing the Democratic Party in the back.” This was an odd choice of words, considering that it directly mirrored Nazi rhetoric from Weimar Germany. Also mirroring Nazi rhetoric was Oliver Willis when he referred to Paul Wolfowitz as “filthy.”

When I wrote of these instances, I conceded that it was possible that neither author was cognizant of the pregnant implications of his rhetoric. In Willis’ case, I would even say it was highly likely that he had no idea he was channeling Nazi prison guards. After all, he is widely recognized as the left’s dumbest blogger and a relentless imbecile.

But a couple of days ago, Juan Cole offered this summation of America’s relations with Ariel Sharon and Israel: “Asking (Sharon) nicely to abide by the US-backed road map for peace is not enough, obviously. Congress should cut him off without a dime until he stops stabbing the United States of America in the back with his aggressive expansionism.”

Juan Cole is the notoriously anti-American professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan. He is, as he constantly reminds his audience and the world at large, a man of great learning and erudition. He would be the first to inform you that he is able to say simple phrases such as “stab in the back” in a bewildering variety of sub-Saharan dialects. Say what you will about Juan Cole, but he is no ignoramus. Thus, it is virtually inconceivable that his choice of rhetoric was a careless accident.

An additional point of interest is that Juan Cole was on last week’s conference call where four star kook Wesley Clark suggested the Bush administration was implementing a foreign policy designed by American Jews Douglas Feith and Richard Perle at the behest of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

So in sum, Juan Cole and other leftists push long recognized anti-Semitic buttons; they are rewarded by various Democratic politicians cozying up to them.

As may be observed at more than a few Passover seders in the coming days, this is not your father’s Democratic Party.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


1) THOSE CRAZY GERMANS – A little while ago, some wisenheimer put me on the email distribution list. For those of you unfamiliar with AlterNet, think without the subtlety, maturity or taste for nuance. About twice daily, AlterNet sends me an email purporting to link to the left’s best thinking of the day. Although the smart aleck who put me on their list probably figured I would be endlessly annoyed by AlterNet’s frequent missives, he had me all wrong. I have an insatiable appetite for the rantings of the lunatic left, and AlterNet org helps feed my habit.

Today’s missive had a link I wouldn’t have believed if I didn’t read it with my own eyes. Germany’s leading female parliamentarian has accused the United States government of setting the Catholic Church’s pedophilia crisis in motion in order to weaken the Pope. The conspiracy theorist, Antje Vollmer of the Green Party (there’s a shock) previously made headlines in 2002 when she compared George W. Bush to Hitler, long before doing so had become fashionable.

The rationale of her current claim is that the U.S. needed to weaken the Pope so the Poles would be able to join the coalition of the willing in Iraq. The obviously insane Ms. Vollmer didn’t identify the ingenious mechanism whereby the U.S. government put the plot into action, let alone how Chimpy Bushitler had the foresight to have priests molesting kids decades ago in order to have the leverage when he would so desperately need it during Gulf War II.

To be fair, the people at AlterNet refer to this theory as “idiotic,” although one doesn’t recall the AlterNets of the world being similarly down on Ms. Vollmer when she compared Bush to Hitler. Is it possible that the European left is even more unhinged than the American left?

2) RED SOX OPENING DAY – In a lengthy and moving ceremony, the Red Sox commemorated their first championship in 86 years in style yesterday. Numerous luminaries from the team’s past partook, as did fellow Boston sports legends Bill Russell, Bobby Orr, and two members of the world champion Patriots. Making the proceedings all the richer was the fact that the New York Yankees were forced to endure them from the visitor’s dugout.

For their part, the Yanks were annoyingly classy. There was no reason they had to observe the entire ceremony, and their opting to do so reflected positively on the entire Yankee organization. In saner moments, I’ve admitted that Derek Jeter is a class act and that Joe Torre is one of the great sportsmen of our era. Thank god the Yankees have A-Rod and Steinbrenner. If not for them, the Yankees might actually be difficult to hate.

3) VIJAY AND PHIL FEEDBACK – I was really shocked by the feedback on my commentary regarding Singh and Mickelson. Regarding Phil, I received something like 40 letters, all but one of which went something like, “I think he’s a jerk.” Phil’s lone defender was fierce and made cogent arguments, but the sheer numbers do suggest that a Lefty backlash is developing. The words most commonly used were “phony” and “fraud.”

Regarding Vijay, I received about a dozen letters that all read almost exactly the same. All related a tale of sharing a hotel lobby/airplane ride/restaurant/security line etc. with Vijay and Vijay behaving like a perfect ass. The symmetry amongst the letters was almost amazing. There wasn’t a single off-setting “I met him and he was nice guy” note. (One writer, the sole semi-dissenting voice, accurately pointed out that condemning Vijay based solely on my friend’s anecdote would be hasty and inappropriate.)

4) OTHER MASTERS MISCELLENIA – Many wrote in to take issue with my characterization of Tiger’s chip in as the greatest shot ever. My main point wasn’t so much that it was the greatest shot ever, but that it will go down as the most famous and greatest ever. For the record, I do think honoring the shot in such a way will be appropriate.

But for those who disagreed with my assessment, they had company in today’s Palm Beach Post whose authority on such matters can hardly be questioned (giggle). The Post ranked Tiger’s shot as the fifth greatest shot in Master’s history. Among the shots ranking ahead of his was Sandy Lyle’s seven iron into 18 in the late 1980’s.

As the kids say, LOL. When you’re old and gray, you’ll be telling your grandkids about the greatest athlete of your youth, Tiger Woods. And the first thing you’ll mention will be that chip-in on 16 in the 2005 Masters. Sometimes the present does outdo the past.

Just ask any Red Sox fan.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Sunday, April 10, 2005


My goodness, what a week at Augusta. History was made to such an extent that it warrants an entire blog-posting. For those not interested in golf, maybe consider returning tomorrow or checking out my piece on which I’m pretty sure will be appearing at 12:01 a.m. EST. It’s on the Nazi Professor and features an interview with Alan Dershowitz on the matter – worth staying up for even if you live on the East Coast.

Now that it’s just us golf fans remaining, we have a lot of ground to cover:

1) TIGER WOODS – Tiger Woods knows greatness – only a few people in any line of endeavor can make such a boast. Lots of people know excellence, but greatness is an entity unto itself and Tiger knows it better than any athlete of our time. That’s what makes him such a compelling figure.

And yet entering today’s action there were questions: Had he lost his confidence? Had the other players caught up to him? Would he still bestride the golf world like a colossus?

Others wondered whether marrying a beautiful blonde had taken the edge off his game. All I know about that is when I married a beautiful blonde five years ago, I was one of the best players at my club and had a solid game. Since then, my game has become softer than Phil Mickelson’s pecs.

Tiger’s back winning majors. That’s a good thing. He’s the most compelling figure in sports.

2) TIGER’S CHIP-IN ON 16 – You’ll read it here first – given the circumstances, who made it, the drama of it trickling into the cup, and the sheer miraculousness of the whole thing, that shot will go down as THE most famous and most memorable golf shot of all time. Running though the other contenders (Watson’s sand wedge at Pebble, Justin Leonards’ Ryder Cup winning putt at The Country Club, Sarazen’s double eagle, Nicklaus’ putt on 16 at Augusta in 1974) nothing else even comes close. This was a remarkable shot under clutch circumstances by the greatest player ever.

The slight personal irony involved is that I didn’t actually see the ball go in. I turned away and pounded the couch when the ball seemed to come up one revolution short. I looked back to the screen and saw everyone going nuts, especially the fat guy in the yellow shirt along with his friend the fat guy in the pink shirt. If you saw them, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If not, watch for them on the replays on the lower left hand portion of your screen. Trust me – you’ll be grateful that I called your attention to them

3) VIJAY, PHIL AND DIMARCO – What is it about Phil and Vijay that when they see Tiger’s name above theirs on a Sunday leader board they turn into a couple of mutts? Once again, they showed no mettle, no guts.

DiMarco, on the other hand, left this event with his reputation dramatically enhanced. He’ll probably even officially be crowned the best player to never have won a major. His wait won’t be very long – he’s got game. He also has intestinal fortitude, something the good timing Arizonan and the irritating Fijian sometimes seem to lack.

Speaking of Phil, I feel the need to inform you that there’s been some low level gossip coming from insiders that he’s not quite the Albert Schweitzer with a +7 handicap that he labors so hard to be seen as. The Palm Beach Post had a big story last week where they pretty much said the other players on tour dislike him. They even quoted Nick Price (who is universally liked and respected) as saying that the attitude of Phil’s peers towards Phil differs markedly from the fans’. You don’t need a Ph.D in reading between the lines to know what Price meant.

As far as Singh is concerned, a brief anecdote: I have a friend who attended Augusta something like five years ago. At the time, the friend was a shy 19 year old and a scratch golfer. He idolized the pros.

As he walked by the driving range, he saw Vijay Singh playing shots off the front slope of the driving range from the rough with his three iron. Every shot was going high and landing soft right at the flag 225 yards away (these guys are ridiculously good).

My friend watched this display for several minutes and then said, “Hey Vijay, great shooting.” Vijay turned around and said, “No shit, did you see the name on the fucking bag?”

Next time you might feel a pang of sympathy for Vijay because he seems to always melt in Tiger’s presence, keep that story in mind.

4) WHERE DOES THIS TOURNAMENT RANK? – For my money, it was the probably the best golf tournament I’ve ever seen, certainly the best since Nicklaus won at Augusta in 1986. But I actually think this was more exciting and more compelling than that amazing day.

Alas, while the chip on 16 will probably forever be Tiger’s signature moment, when all is said and done this won’t be his signature tournament. One of these days he’ll storm from behind to win a major like Billy Casper did at Olympus or like Greg Norman almost did everywhere. And that will be the tournament that everyone remembers him by.

Until then, today’s Masters will just have to do. And it will do just fine.

POST-SCRIPT – In case any of you out there are members of Augusta and think it would be fun to get to know James Dwight/Dean Barnett over a round at Augusta, I agree! Please contact me. I’ll even spring for the post round beer. And given the sorry state of my game since I married that beautiful blonde, the odds of you winning are exceptionally good!

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Friday, April 08, 2005


1) THE SCHIAVO MEMO – As close readers of this site know, I didn’t spend much time talking about the alleged Republican Talking Points Memo on the Schiavo matter. My output on the issue was limited to five paragraphs within my piece titled, “Urban Legends.” For those of you who don’t immediately commit my posts to memory, here’s what I wrote:

“I couldn’t believe anyone in high ranking Republican circles would be stupid enough to put such noxious sentiments in a written document, let alone a written document whose distribution wasn’t strictly controlled. It was also odd that such a high risk document consisted of nothing more than banalities (‘This is an important moral issue and the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue’) and even though ostensibly a ‘talking points memo’ in fact offered no talking points.

“Now, thanks to the efforts of the wise heads at Powerline, we’re discovering that it is increasingly likely that the document is a hoax. ABC who broke the story has all but declared it has no idea about the memo’s provenance. While the memo was distributed, it is becoming increasingly likely that whoever prepared had it nothing to do with Republican politicians. In other words, what we have here in all likelihood is a dirty trick.

"On my daily perambulations through the left wing blogosphere, I saw the memo greeted with credulous open arms. That’s to say nothing of ABC and the Washington Post, who ushered the memo to prominence. Of course, if you believe that all things are political and nothing else matters, the memo story would have been too good not to believe.”

So here’s the scorecard: The Washington Post, ABC News and other left wing sources claimed the memo came from Republican leadership and represented the leadership’s view. I couldn’t believe the anyone in Republican leadership would be stupid enough to commit such idiocy to writing and that it had to be a hoax.

The truth lay in the middle. The Post was wrong, ABC was wrong, the left-wing blogs were wrong, and I was wrong. The memo was not prepared by Republican leadership or circulated to Republican leadership. It was prepared by Republican freshman Senator Mel Martinez’s general counsel and circulated to Martinez and Democrat Tom Harkin (a.k.a Senator Red Baron). In other words, the thrust of the story, that the news outlets had unearthed a sinister Republican strategy ordained at the highest levels to capitalize on the Schiavo Case, was completely mistaken.

But since the memo was prepared for the general counsel for a freshman Republican Senator, my speculation that no Republican would be stupid enough to engage in such an indiscrete display of idiocy and thus the memo was “in all likelihood a dirty trick” was clearly mistaken. I apologize for my error. I would, however, not counsel you to hold your breath waiting for Mike Allen of the Washington Post to make a similar apology for his reporting of alleged facts.

So there’s the episode, and my mistaken speculation regarding it. Now, as most of you know, my feelings on the Terri Schiavo case were the product of deeply felt principles. As a consequence, the politics of the situation had (and have) little interest for me and given the voluminous output I had on the matter and how little of that output was dedicated to the memo, one could hardly characterize the memo as a big issue around here.

So imagine my surprise when I received a note in my inbox last night forecasting doom for the right wing blogosphere because of the hoax that wasn’t and castigating me for following the Powerline-led herd. The note which was signed “A Disappointed Fan” was sufficiently overwrought that I suspect it was ghosted by my nemesis Peggy Noonan. Regardless, I hope this explanation and apology somehow assuages my fan’s disappointment, and that he will now be able to face another day with courage and optimism.

As for his prediction that this whole thing will diminish the blogosphere, he (or Peggy) is dreaming. The mainstream media bollixed the story a lot more than the bloggers did. Moreover, as a quick visit to Kausfiles will demonstrate, the principal players in the MSM have yet to see fit to give an honest accounting of their shoddy efforts in the matter where the Powerliners (like me) have come clean.

As to who will have more influence in the future, quality will tell. The best bloggers will break through into the MSM and improve it. Others will have no need to do so; were Glenn Reynolds to break the Instapundit wand and start penning for the Tennessean’s op-ed page, he would probably reduce his audience by 80%. The Powerliners already are more widely read and far more influential than their nemeses at the Star Tribune.

As I’ve often said before, there’s no denying the talent of the blogosphere. The MSM continues to dismiss their blogging adversaries as pajama clad nerds where in fact the big-time bloggers are almost uniformly better educated, more successful, more intellectually rigorous, and more talented writers than their ink-stained wretch rivals.

In less than a year, the bloggers have shattered big media’s hegemony. If this memo “victory” is the kind of thing that provides succor to the MSM’s defenders, then the outlook for the MSM is bleak indeed.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Thursday, April 07, 2005


The following missive just arrived in my inbox, under the heading, "Not that you'll have the courage to post this..."

"....But I think every member of the Yankees organization will take winning 2 out of 3 against the Red Sox this year, and they would gladly accept a blown save with each loss.

"There's that golf term: It's not how, it's how many. Would you rather have Foulke or Rivera as the Red Sox closer? Case closed.

"You guys are all still 'all aflutter' about last year, still trying to perpetuate the underdog Red Sox myth: Now it's time to grow up. As Joe Paterno said to his player dancing in the end zone: 'Act like you've been there before.'"

Don't you love it? Can't you just sense the desperation, the sweaty palms, the overpowering urge to wish it all away? Yes, the Yankees are one game up in the standings. Bully for them! Being April 7, I think that makes their magic number 158.

Yet the writer clings to that fact and the archaic notion that Mariano Rivera can still pitch like a leaking life preserver, sort of the way Celtics fans in the early 90's clung to the notion that Larry Bird's back would miraculously heal itself and the glory days would soon return.

I wish my plucky correspondent courage. In a mere 82 years, the Curse of A-Rod should be broken.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


The last couple of weeks have made for an unusually intense and depressing news cycle. Thus, I am thrilled to write about baseball today. Or more specifically, to write how the Red Sox remain World Champions and the Yankees remain chokers. The Sox own the Yankees now. Facts are facts.

Here’s what happened today: The game entered the 9th inning with the Yankees clinging to a 3-2 lead. The once unhittable Mariano Rivera came in for the Yankees to close things out.

But watching from Soxblog Manor in far away Florida, I could tell something strange was afoot. The cretinous Yankee fans were acting like Red Sox fans as Rivera entered the game. Despite their typically crude bluster, I could sense fear in their black hearts. Speaking from personal experience here, I know the biggest choke in the history of professional sports will have an effect on a fandom’s collective psyche.

Little did the Yankee fans know, what was about to transpire would exceed their worst nightmares. First Rivera walked the lead-off hitter. Once that happened, you could hear the Yankee fans begin to grumble. It was a familiar sound to a Red Sox fan, the kind of sound that filled Fenway Park for roughly 86 years.

The Sox loaded the bases with no outs. Trot Nixon then struck out, which brought Manny Ramirez to the plate. As the annoyingly repetitive announcer Gary Thorne kept reminding the audience, if the slow moving Ramirez hit into a double play the Yankees would win.

In days gone by, such fears would have bothered me. A very long time ago, Red Sox fans always knew that the worst imaginable scenario would inevitably come to pass. But that was before last October when the destinies of the Red Sox and Yankees inexplicably switched. Now it’s the Yankees who must deal with the almost unthinkable happening on a semi-regular basis.

Wouldn’t you know it? Manny hit a perfect double play grounder right at the over-priced, Gold-Glove-winning pretty-boy who plays third base for the Yankees. When he last flitted across the nation’s consciousness, Alex Rodriguez was seen slapping at Bronson Arroyo’s glove like a bench warmer in a pre-teen softball league. Today he added to his ignominy.

He booted Ramirez’ grounder. Actually, he didn’t merely boot it. He fumbled it and then flailed about trying to grab it for what seemed like an eternity. Thanks to his butter-fingered effort, the Sox tied the score and all the runners were safe. The Sox went on to score four more times in the inning to hang a soul-crushing 7-3 loss on the Yankees. Throughout the interminable half inning, the camera lingered on the beleaguered A-Rod. For Red Sox fans, this result was approximately a thousand times more satisfying than a game winning grand slam would have been.

What is it about Alex Rodriguez that makes him not only loathsome but so much fun to loathe? Is it that the Red Sox came tantalizingly close to landing this fraud only to be rescued by unwarranted intervention by the player’s association? Is it that he’s just the most talented player in the game and no one roots for Superman? Or is there something else that even the most self-analytical Red Sox fan can’t get to the heart of?

Regardless, A-Rod is the man we love to hate. When he did that girly-slap in last year’s Game 6, he entered a rarified pantheon of athletic villains. Not only was his villainy sublimely perfect because of his tackiness and cheapness, he also obliged us by being a loser and a graceless one at that. Even his teammates seem to hold him in low regard.

What a way to start the year. If you look at the standings today, the Yankees are one game up on the Sox. Somehow I doubt they’ll be celebrating that fact this evening.

And, oh yeah, Mariano Rivera is now 0 for 2 in save opportunities in the 2005 season. The Red Sox own the Yankees – facts are facts.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


One of my pet subjects here has been how the far left is dragging the Democratic Party in a direction that could charitably be described as counter-productive. As an exhibit in this ongoing self-immolation, I submit yesterday’s conference call between Wesley Clark and some of the most left wing personages in the blogosphere.

Amongst those present on the call in addition to the retired four star general were a representative from the Daily Kos, virulently anti-American professor Juan Cole (Cole makes Noam Chomsky look like Nathan Hale), and Jerome of MyDD.

Jerome’s write-up of this epochal meeting is especially noteworthy. I found the following passage particularly interesting:

“Juan Cole followed up with an extremely interesting question (I will not even attempt to reword it) inquiring as to how we get a soft landing in Iraq. General Clark explained that we need to bring in Arab troops from Gulf states and train more Iraqi troops so we can begin to decrease American participation. This presupposes the legitimacy of the Iraqi government, which will be contingent on politics on the ground and diplomacy in the region.

“A larger question surrounding American involvement in Iraq that must be answered is if the American presence in Iraq will lead to (or rather is a result of) the larger US involvement in the region. The President laid out a plan to the American Enterprise Institute for reshaping the Middle East along the lines of policies created by Douglas Feith, Richard Perle and others for Benjamin Netanyahu. The plan entailed Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon and regime change in Syria and Iran. Teheran ‘sees what's coming,’ so they have a vested interest in aligning with Syria. As a result, right now we're not moving ‘towards a soft landing but a deeper, quixotic involvement in the region. (sic)

“Armando brought up the recent attack…”

Obviously I highlighted the part that I did because I find it particularly risible, a sickening recycling of the pernicious lie that we Jooos have somehow hijacked American foreign policy (although it is somewhat puzzling that the speaker neglected to mention Ariel Sharon or compare him to a monkey or a pig).

Let’s be fair to the General: Because Jerome is such a crappy writer, it’s impossible to tell from the quotation above whether the speaker of the sentiment was Clark or whether the comments represented Jerome’s analysis of the situation. If Clark did indeed channel Pat Buchanan during a public interview, then he might as well save himself and the nation a bit of bother and lay to rest his political ambitions right now.

Even if Clark didn’t make the comment in question, he’s still in hot water. When you lie with dogs, you get fleas. The casual anti-Semitism represented in the above comment isn’t a new phenomenon on the far left. The fact that Clark chose to cozy up to people who regularly and notoriously employ such incendiary language (and almost openly cheer-lead for American failure in Iraq) perhaps speaks even worse of the General than the time when he towed Michael Moore around as a designated stump speaker to fire up the crowds. Regardless, the ADL, who as of late has been playing a very constructive role highlighting similar instances of political misconduct, will probably be taking General Clark on a well deserved and much publicized trip to the woodshed soon. Trust me, that won’t help the General’s fund-raising efforts.

As for Wes Clark, let’s face it – politically he wasn’t going anywhere anyway. But this comment/incident will catch up with him. Perhaps it will serve as a cautionary tale to the many politicians (Boxer, Feingold, Reid) who so eagerly curry the favor of the lunatic left.

Then again, perhaps it won’t.

UPDATE: Professor Cole’s report seems to support the notion that Clark was the author of these remarks. Shrewd.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight

Monday, April 04, 2005


1) PLUSS PLUS – The reaction from yesterday’s piece has been voluminous. Some of it has been a little surprising. While admittedly the post rambled a bit (actually more than a bit – I’ll agree at times it verged on incoherence) I thought it was still pretty clear what the main point was – universities (and others) should feel free and in fact are free to disassociate themselves from virulent Nazis.

That’s what makes Fairleigh Dickinson’s reaction here so maddening. FDU (often referred to as the Harvard of Teaneck, NJ) could have performed a public service by saying virulent neo-Nazis have no place in the public discourse. Instead, by dismissing Professor Pluss merely because of his too-frequent absences, they implied that Nazi professors are welcome so long as they can maintain an adequate attendance record.

Some usually wise-heads have paid tribute to FDU’s lawyers for finding such a bloodless way of extricating themselves from the controversy. The normally insightful Meryl Yourish even chided me for having a limited grasp of public relations for mocking FDU’s solution to the problem.

This line of reasoning honestly baffles me. How, pray tell, would condemning and refusing to associate with a Nazi be a risky PR move? Everyone hates Nazis. Steven Spielberg uses them as the villains in the Indiana Jones movies; Mel Brooks makes them dance and sing self-deprecating show tunes.

Hell, repugnance for Nazis spans the political spectrum. Even the far left hates them. If they didn’t, why would the Daily Kos and Democracy Underground spend so much time comparing Bush and company to them?

And please, don’t tell me this was a clever way of avoiding litigation on the university’s part. If Pluss wants to sue he’ll sue, regardless of FDU’s purported cleverness in officially tying his dismissal to a surfeit of missed classes. Even if he had been officially dismissed “merely” for being one of the nation’s foremost Nazis, his case would have been meritless.

FDU could have made a compelling moral statement but instead apparently decided to call in the lawyers. A pity, that.

2) SPEAKING OF KOS…General Wesley Clark, once a reputable figure in this country, sat down for a conference call with some bloggers in anticipation of his congressional testimony tomorrow where he plans to tell the world just how dumb the Bush Administration really is.

But should we take Wes Clark seriously? He did graduate first in his class from West Point and was the head honcho in NATO so this isn’t just the typical armchair analyst. But then again, this is the guy who sat by smiling while his campaign surrogate Michael Moore slanderously called a war time Commander in Chief a “draft dodger.” In other words, as a politician General Clark’s judgment is a somewhat suspect.

So how does he allay fears that in his current incarnation he’s more a political hack than a dignified retired general? He sits down to a conference call where his interlocutors include such cheerleaders for U.S. failure in Iraq as Armando of the Daily Kos and the loathsome Professor Juan Cole. In so doing, the General foolishly tipped his hand – obviously he will be testifying not as a military expert but as partisan politician.

And not a particularly skilled politician at that.

3) SPEAKING OF WES CLARK…For a while now, I’ve been meaning to recommend to you the book “The Long Gray Line” by Rick Atkinson. Atkinson, who also wrote the peerless “An Army at Dawn” followed several members of the West Point class of 1966 as they went to Vietnam and other places over the two and a half decades that followed their graduation. It is one of the finest works of non-fiction I’ve ever read, moving and inspiring in many different ways.

(Clark graduated first in the class of ’66 but merely makes a few cameo appearances during the book.)

4) THE YANKEES BEAT THE RED SOX last night. Judging by my email bag, it seems like
there are a lot of Yankee fans who feel this pretty much evens the score for the Yanks’ ALCS collapse.


Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at

James Frederick Dwight