Friday, October 31, 2003

My latest short story, Alison, published in the debut issue of Ink Pot, is also online here.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Why George Steinbrenner ruins the fun of baseball.

"Some people will feel like we went out and won games and that was success," Stottlemyre said. "Some people will feel like we got into the World Series and that's successful. And there are some people that think that if you don't win the whole thing, sometimes four games to none, it's unsuccessful. I don't think I need to say anymore.

"We didn't win the World Series, but I'm not walking away from here today feeling like we had a nonsuccessful year."

Season-ending losses to Arizona, to Anaheim and now to Florida have made the last three seasons more bleak than joyous. Steinbrenner chokes the joy out of winning. If he's not careful, he is going to choke the life out of his franchise.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Could the next pope be an Austrian? John Allen reports:

Also Oct. 17, CNN conducted an interview with Angelo Scola, the patriarch of Venice, who became a cardinal Oct. 21, and I was invited to tag along. Given that Venice produced three popes in the 20th century (Pius X, John XXIII and John Paul I), many eyes are on Scola as possible papal material, though he modestly insisted that "it is not my case."

Scola's most fascinating comment came before the cameras rolled, while we were chatting in St. Peter's Square. As we stood there, Cardinal Christoph Sch?nborn of Vienna approached and said hello. Sch?nborn is himself widely mentioned as a papal candidate, and as he walked away, Scola said unexpectedly: "He is the man of the future."

I immediately asked, "In what sense?"

"I think you understood me," Scola replied. "In every sense."


Read more. Fascinating.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

A superb piece in this month's First Things by Father Martin Rhonheimer, hardly a card-carrying member of the James Carroll branch of Catholicism, about the Church and Pius XII's indifference to the fate of the Jews during the Hitler era:

"...the astonishing fact that no Church statement about Nazism ever mentioned Jews explicitly or defended them—cries out for explanation. Also in need of explanation is the lack of any fundamental Church protest against the Nuremberg and Italian racial laws. Even after the November 1938 pogrom against the Jews, the only person to speak out was the Berlin cathedral provost Bernard Lichtenberg (since canonized), whose protest ultimately cost him his life. A Catholic apologetic that seeks to cover over this record by constant repetition of other facts, however undeniable they may be, plays into the hands of those who unfairly criticize the Church."

Read the whole thing.

James Lileks on the Democrats and the "fall-out" of Rumsfeld's memo:

"It’s not an “admission of failure, ” as Daschle put it—hell, the administration could put Osama’s head on a stick in the Rose Garden, and Daschle would call it an admission of failure that they hadn’t located the torso. I will never trust these people with national security again. Never, never, never. We’re in the fight of our lives, and all they can do is carp and bitch and piss and moan, because—as was the case with many conservatives in the Bosnian conflict—it’s not their war."

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

"It's a wonderful game, maybe the greatest game in the world. Ninety feet between bases is a kind of perfect constant, like Pi."

Larry Miller on the greatness of the two championship series between the Red Sox and Yankees and between the Cubs and Marlins.
Good overview of Saddam's connection to terrorism and Al Qaeda in NRO by Deroy Murdock. The Bush Administration needs to do a better job of reminding people of these facts, among them:

"Coalition troops destroyed at least three terrorist training camps including a base near Baghdad called Salman Pak. It featured a passenger-jet fuselage where numerous Iraqi defectors reported that foreign terrorists were instructed how to hijack airliners with utensils. (The Bush administration should bus a few dozen foreign correspondents and their camera crews from the bar of Baghdad's Palestine Hotel to Salman Pak for a guided tour. Network news footage of that ought to open a few eyes.)"

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Gov. Romney's appointment of retired Judge E. George Daher to the chairmanship of the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission is indicative of the high moral tone the chief executive is establishing for his administration on Beaon Hill. Judge Daher is a man of outstanding integrity, one who will make the ethics board much more aggressive in enforcing statutes aimed at state officials and other employees who violate conflict of interest laws to enrich themselves.
According to Michael Shermer of the Skeptics Society newsletter: "Fox News, of 'Fair and Balanced' fame, has released the results of a survey just completed, revealing that 92 percent of Americans say they believe in God, 85 percent in heaven and 82 percent in miracles....

"Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say they believe in reincarnation (by 14 percentage points), in astrology (by 14 points), in ghosts (by eight points) and UFOs (by five points)...."

And they call the GOP the stupid party?
Dan Kennedy: "Boston today is largely a franchise town, as Globe columnists such as Joan Vennochi bitterly lament from time to time. Nothing has contributed to that status more than the transfer of New England's dominant media organization to out-of-town ownership."

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Jay Fitzgerald makes some excellent points about 'knight of the keyboard' Dan Shaughnessy's recent coverage of the ALCS for the New York Times....

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Here are the stakes, as New York Times writer Harvey Araton sees it:

"Fear is not something Steinbrenner hides well. You can smell it on him all the way from Tampa. His Yankees have not won the World Series since 2000, not a very good advertising campaign for his cable network, which is dedicated to propagating the myth of all things Yankee.

"This postseason had win-or-else written all over it before the A's made the Red Sox look like ultimate survivors. Now, as David Wells said yesterday, 'All hell's going to break loose.' And Wells wasn't even contemplating the extent of the damage if it turns out that this is the Red Sox' time, finally, to beat the Yankees in October.

Priceless. Read more.
Read this for a sample of some of the bitterness hanging over the San Francisco Bay area after this past weekend of baseball.

Friday, October 03, 2003

On the other hand, Allen Barra at Slate (of all mags) defends Rush.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

I like Rush Limbaugh on the whole, but Robert George at NRO is right when he chides the radio talk-show master for his unfortunate comments on ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown" over the weekend:

"I'm not feeling sorry for Rush today (the drug story aside, which seems like a cheap shot). He did what we hate in liberals: Gratuitously introducing race in a discussion where it doesn't belong. McNabb may be overrated or he may not be. Some columnists have compared his first few years' stats favorably with John Elway. Others suggest that he makes poor decisions and doesn't have great arm strength. That is not the question here. The issue is whether there is some media reticence to call him overrated because he is black. Limbaugh introduced this element with no supporting evidence (the NFL's idiotic minority-hiring policy is a separate issue)."

Indeed. It was a dumb move, and now Rush has had to give up a good perch on television. This will hurt him.