Monday, June 30, 2003

If you want to eviscerate Hillary Clinton and her "memoir", who better to get the job done than the priceless P.J. O'Rourke:

"However, it says something unflattering about our era that prominent political figures—who used to write declarations of independence, preambles to constitutions, Gettysburg addresses, and such—now use the alphabet only to make primitive artifacts, like the letter-inscribed tablet that Charlemagne is said to have put under his pillow each night, in the hope he'd wake up literate. Conservatives, including most of the Founding Fathers, have always worried that the price of a democratic system would be a mediocre nation. But George Washington and William F. Buckley Jr. put together could not have foreseen, in their gloomiest moments, the rise of Clinton-style über-mediocrity—with its soaring commonplaces, its pumped trifling, its platinum-grade triviality. The Alpha-dork husband, the super-twerp wife, and the hyper-wonk vice president—together with all their mega-weenie water carriers, such as vicious pit gerbil George Stephanopoulos and Eastern diamondback rattleworm Sidney Blumenthal—spent eight years trying to make America nothing to brag about. "

Friday, June 27, 2003

In a closely guarded move, the Justice Department has been trying to persuade imprisoned former FBI agent John Connolly to tell all about his dealings with Whitey Bulger, the notorious murderer whom Connolly and other FBI agents protected in exchange for vital information about the North End Mafia and the Somerville Winter Hill Gang.

Connolly who is 62 and has a young wife and children, is looking at another decade in a Federal penitentiary far removed geographically from his North Shore home and family. Justice is dangling a deal at him whereby his sentence would be substantially reduced if he talks, according to one source close to the department in Boston.
Yesterday's vote by the UMass trustees supporting the university's president in his battle with Gov. Mitt Romney and the state's highest ranking law enforcement official is far from over, given the escalating campaign by Massachusetts' two leading newspapers to oust him.

Today's devastating column by Howie Carr of the Boston Herald is a warm up of what's coming from the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe whose lead editorial this morning—BULGER'S SELFISH STAND—said that "by retaining Bulger (the trustees) perpetuate a controversy that distracts and diminishes the preeminent public institution of higher education in Massachusetts."

Carr, a long time adversary of Bulger, said it all with the opening paragraph, brief as it was, of his very tough column: "THE FIX WAS IN."
Victor Davis Hanson asks: What should the U.S. do now?

"Keep quieter and carry a far bigger stick. Methodically and politely transfer, redeploy, and reduce troops from countries that have opposed our efforts of the past two years or whose populations simply profess no overt support for the United States. Seek real friends — the fewer the better — in Eastern Europe, on the Black Sea, or around the Gulf who want American troops as a reflection of genuine mutual security needs, appreciate the economic stimulus such bases provide, and quite simply like the United States. "

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

The on-going controversy in Boston's print media over UMass President William M. Bulger's fitness to continiue to head Massachusetts' sprawling higher education system won't abate until Bulger himself and the UMass board of directors recognize the damage that has been done—fairly or unfairly—to the UMass image.

Leading the charge against the former president of the Massachusetts State Senate has been the Boston Herald and its astute political columnist Peter Gelzinis who lives in "Southie" and knows more about the area which Bulger formerly represented than any other reporter in New England.

Gelzinis' perceptive columns reflect this regularly (unfortunately no longer available online as the Herald now requires a subscription).

Today's piece which spells out the details of Bulger's "get-even" mentality against his predecessor in the Senate, is typical of the newsy and informative material Gelzinis' gives Herald readers. It's must reading!

Monday, June 23, 2003

Peter Jones of the Spectator, quoting George Orwell on the continuing decline of plain English:

"slovenly language and slovenly thinking begin to feed off and reinforce each other: '[English] becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.' "

If there's one word in modern usage, not just in the business world but in every day speech, that perfectly sums up the modern preoccupation with silly substitutes, it's impact.

Instead of making perfectly simple sense by saying that a trend or development will affect or—more weakly—have an affect on us, we feel compelled to make a verb out of a noun: it will impact us.

Now if there's one thing that developments, patterns and sales projections never do in this life, it's have an impact.

I know. What a silly waste of time to point out that only meteors and bombs have an impact.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Rick Heller says it better than me on the recent arrest of Phoenix Archbishop O'Brien for leaving the scene after a hit-and-run auto accident:

"The anchor said that it was expected that 'the Pope will replace him.'

"The thought that immediately crossed my mind was, 'why would the Pope want to become Bishop of Phoenix?'"

The Scandals of the Church in this country are now well past the Evelyn Waugh phase. Can things get any more farcical?

Friday, June 13, 2003

I attended a short Technology seminar yesterday on upgrades and security issues at the Boston hospital where I work. Apple sent a sales rep and an engineer to talk about OS X for those MDs and hospital personnel still working in OS 9.

Of course, Apple is notorious for keeping its plans mum, but I was dismayed to hear from both the sales rep and the engineer that the company does not as yet have any plans to license the QuickTime architecture—or work on a license for MPEG-4—to manufacturers of DVD players.

If Apple doesn't get in with DVD players, they're going to get creamed by Microsoft which is already establishing deals with digital theaters and you just know they're working with DVD manufacturers themselves to get them to play any disk with Windows Media 9 files.

I think QuickTime remains the best way to reach out to new customers, and Apple sorely needs new customers, not just the existing base of Mac fanatics. If you're a home movie buff and you know that you can just burn your QuickTimes to a disk and pop them in the DVD player in your living room without having to author a DVD-R or pay someone to do it for you, then that's a huge advantage in the marketplace for Apple.

I hope they're working on this.

That said, it was nice to see how many doctors rely on Macs for their work and research. And OS X servers seem to be making inroads amongst IS administrators in the business world.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Here's a union Democrat on the current "crop" of presidential candidates:

"Recently, McEntee says, "I was driving on Pennsylvania Avenue, past the Ronald Reagan Building, and I thought, 'Where are you now that we really need you?' Bad as he [Reagan] was for our people, this crowd is way out there." The blunt-speaking McEntee, more perhaps than any other person, will pick the candidate for expelling "this crowd."

From George Will.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

All French-bashing and jokes aside, here is an excellent analysis from the London Times on what ails the French—and indeed continental European—economy.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Atty. Gen. Tom Reilly's gutsy move calling on UMass President William M. Bulger, brother of the notorious killer Whitey Bulger, to relinquish his post because his decision to defend him leaves the state's highest ranking education leader without the moral authority to continue on the job—is the talk of the Massachusetts political world.

There isn't another politician in the state who would dare take on Bulger. Reilly did, giving the Boston Herald's Peter Gelzinis the scoop on a story which will intensify as the talk show hosts begin making it part of their regular fare. Bulger is nearing the end of the line.

Monday, June 02, 2003

William Safire has a good answer for all those beginning to wonder (loudly) why the U.S. has not yet found a Mount Doom-sized pile of chemical and biological weapons in Iraq.