Archive: March, 2008
Well, one of the downsides of a competitive Pa. primary is that it's totally demolished the time I've had available for my uninformed Phillies fan rants. Besides, we have professionals blogging about baseball now, although I still have a strong allegiance to this site.
For the first three years of Attytood, I made long predictions that didn't really mean anything, because the Phillies are just the most unpredictable team I've ever followed. I realized last year the only prediction that makes sense is to start the year assuming they'll go 86-76 and miss the wild card by one game, and then once in a blue moon they'll surprise you.
Ed Rendell, by way of Michael Calderone at the Politico:
"I think during this entire primary coverage, starting in Iowa and up to the present -- FOX has done the fairest job, and remained the most objective of all the cable networks. You hate both of our candidates. No, I’m only kidding. But you actually have done a very balanced job of reporting the news, and some of the other stations are just caught up with Senator Obama, who is a great guy, but Senator Obama can do no wrong, and Senator Clinton can do no right.”
So, if I read this correctly, Fox News Democrat Rendell is endorsing objective reporting like the bogus Fox story that Obama was educated in a madrassa in Indonesia, because it wasn't Hillary bashing. Even one of Fox's star reporters blasted Fox's lack of "objectivity" on Obama recently. Since FNC's also been critical of Clinton lately, is Rendell calling them "objective" because they run biased stories bashing BOTH Democratic candidates?
This goes beyond the current Clinton-Obama wars. Rendell -- in winning elections by the dint of his own personal popularity (and good for him) -- has remained willfully ignorant about the broader truths of American politics in Fox News era, even as he ran the DNC while the media obliterated Al Gore in 2000.
A 37! That's a typo, right? Isn't it like the SATs, where you get a 40 just for signing your name? Maybe a better pair of shoes would help.
The DFH's are gone, but the controversy from Eschacon '08 lingers in Philly like the odor of patchouli
Our own Vance Lehmkuhl went to this weekend's Eschacon '08 blogger conference here in Philadelphia, so you didn't have to. He's got a special PhillyFeed podcast up on the conference, and you can listen to it here. I'm listening to it right now, and just learned that I've been mispronouncing Eric Boehlert's name all these years. Who knows what you might learn about the blogging libs? (Swifty's favorite cartoonist Ted Rall is in da house.)
Meanwhile, in the rapid response department, Jay Rosen is up quickly with a response to my Saturday post on liberal bloggers and their effort to counter the mainstream media's love affair with John McCain. Unlike my breathless from-the-scene report, Jay took an extra day and came up with some good ideas to advance the topic:
Digby is right to emphasize how much it’s a guy thing between McCain and the press. “Because of his POW history and his savvy manipulation of their hero worship, they have imputed the character of the young man of integrity who stood steadfastly by his fellow prisoners forty years ago to the older sleazy, self-serving, intellectually lazy politician he became.”
Something like that did happen. But I don’t think Digby is right to see this relationship—which is deeply neurotic—as a fixed thing. It’s more in motion, and about to come under a lot of stress. Some of it from within journalists themselves. This is why, though I await further reports, talk of some blogospheric war makes little sense to me. We’re in a dynamic situation here. And one of the biggest unknowns is: will Obama match McCain in radical openness with the press?
The liberal blogger-fest known as Eschacon '08 is wrapping up now with a panel called DFH Economics. The "D" stands for "dirty," while the "H" stands for "hippie." If that's true, then it sounds like the hippies know more about economics than the suits. Among the speakers are Atrios/Duncan Black, who has a Ph.D. in economics from Brown, and Princeton's Paul Krugman, the New York Times columnist.
The bottom line is this: They said they knew the market was headed for trouble when people began to speculate on houses, which unlike the Internet of the 1990s bubble is something that's been around for about 5,000 years.
The primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama seems far from over (no matter what the numbers say), the war in Iraq just marked its grim 5th anniversary with renewed bloodshed, and a host of issues from domestic spying to the U.S. attorney scandal are still up in the air, too.
No matter. A group of some 150 top liberal political bloggers gathered in Philadelphia this morning, and they declared a new war before there is anything remotely resembling a ceasefire in the old struggles. The focus is GOP presidential candidate John McCain – but that’s the strategic goal of the campaign, not the new tactical weapons.
Slate's Fred Kaplan gets the trophy for the best explainer of the recent chaos in Iraq:
The reality, alas, is less stark. The fighting in Basra, which has spread to parts of Baghdad, is not a clash between good and evil or between a legitimate government and an outlaw insurgency. Rather, as Anthony Cordesman, military analyst for the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, writes, it is "a power struggle" between rival "Shiite party mafias" for control of the oil-rich south and other Shiite sections of the country.
Both sides in this struggle are essentially militias. Both sides have ties to Iran. And as for protecting "the Iraqi people," the side backed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (and by U.S. air power) has, ironically, less support—at least in many Shiite areas, including Basra—than the side that he (and we) are attacking.
In other words, as with most things about Iraq, it's a more complex case than Bush makes it out to be.
It's hard to believe, but the Phillies are at Citizens Bank Park tonight, in the ultimate tree-in-the-forest exhibition (not on TV, and opposite Villanova and the red-hot Sixers) against the Toronto Blue Jays. Unless the Phils can book the Yankees or Red Sox next year, it's probably time to bag these pre-season yawners.
With a presidential primary that counts and a month of March baseball that doesn't, Attytood hasn't devoted the attention that it should have to the Phillies. Truth is, there is reason for optimism -- not unbridled optimism, this is Philly, c'mon, but optimism. Howard, Utley and Rollins are healthy and in their prime, they've upgraded at 3rd and at catcher (anyone remember Rod Barajas from this time a year ago?) and seem OK with a retooled outfield, while opening day starting pitcher Brett Myers has been the positive surprise of spring.