Archive: July, 2005
After watching Bobby Abreu do his best Joe Hardy impersonation in the Home Run Derby, thought we'd use the all-star break to look at what Phillies-fixated bloggers think about the local nine's season so far.
There's a wealth to read, from rookie baseball blogs such as The Good Phight, which is Philadelphia's representative to the Sports Blog Nation collective, to the veteran carpings of The 700 Level , Beerleaguer, Balls Sticks & Stuff and A Citizen's Blog etc...
What I like about The Good Phight is its healthy cocktail of hope and nostalgia. Why else launch a feature called "The Phormer Phillies Philes" with a loving look back at the career of Ricky Jordan? It seeks to cover its sentiment with a sabermetric evaluation of Jordan's utility. But mostly its a trip down memory lane with some stats, how Jordan arrived in July, 1988 to replace the injured Von Hayes, and homered in his first official at bat. (He walked in his actual first at bat.) The blogger reconciles having loved Ricky as a pre-teen/teenager and the hitter's statistical ordinariness. He had a career year at age 23. Unfortunately, he kept playing into his 30s.
The source is a very big fish.
Newsweek says it is Karl Rove, the president's political adviser and deputy chief of staff.
Der Spiegel gets a hold of a 2003 al Qaida strategy paper, and asks: Is Rome Next? The attack on Madrid was an effort to topple the "first domino," the United States' European ally with the most public resistence to the war in Iraq. Poland and Italy present similar opportunities, but author Yassin Musharbash argues that so few Arabs live in Poland that sleeper cells would be more obvious. Italy is another question. On Friday a group that identified itself with al Qaida issued a warning against Rome - one of many threats that have come against Italy and its prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi. Europeans are questioning their vulnerability. The day after the London bombing the Berliner Zeitung paper asked, "So, Tomorrow in Berlin?"
Other Europeans are defiant. A web site called We Are Not Afraid! collects images of strength in solidarity with London, and in opposition to those who'd sow terror. Pictures include plays on Munch's The Scream, multiple flip-offs, photos of happy couples and kids and the words "Not Afraid" written on streets, cars, cigar boxes, iPods, advisories and airport departure boards. It's approaching 1,000 reader contributions.
For a sample of British opinion on Thursday's rush-hour bombings, there's Metroblogging London, a collective of 14 voices, who have created a smart digest of newspaper reports and citizen's pictures, and wonder why was London targeted. They quote a security expert who painted a familiar picture of the enemy for The Times: "They will be apparently ordinary British citizens; young men conservatively and cleanly dressed and probably with some higher education. Highly computer literate, they will have used the internet to research explosives. They are painstaking, cautious, clever and very sophisticated."
David Segal glimpsed his cyber-calling during the dark days after 9-11, when every letter was potentially poisoned with anthrax. Then pop music critic for the Washington Post, Segal glommed his way onto the story-of-the-moment with a scoop from his beat: What did Scott Ian, the lead guitarist of the speed metal band Anthrax, think of its now-tainted name?
Ian let it drop that he was actually taking Cipro, the anthrax antibiotic. He explained: "I have vowed that I would not die an ironic death."
Soon after the story ran, Segal heard from his buddy Jeffrey Goldberg, at the time the New Yorker's Middle East correspondent. "I bet that guy is Jewish," Goldberg sensed. It was that world-weary combination of irony and hypochondria.
From the Guardian's Web site today, the picture clarifies. The death toll from yesterday's terror attacks in London has grown past 50. The bombs were small, but potent -- each packed fewer than 10 lbs of explosives. The devices on the subway were placed on the floor. Timers were used. No conclusion whether suicide bombers were involved, but suspicion grows about a bus passenger. Neil McIntosh paints this scene:
It's the day after, and London still has a slightly odd feel to it this morning. The tube is running again, except for the Circle and Hammersmith and City lines, which share the same piece of track at Liverpool Street on which seven people were killed yesterday.
Even for a Friday, things are quiet in the City. Police have advised people to consider the need for their journey into work today, and you'd hardly be surprised if many have elected to take a long weekend with friends and family.
A series of bombs rocked central London at the height of rush hour today, in the subway system, on a double-decker bus. At least four explosions. As many as 700 hundred hurt, 37 dead as of this evening, our time. The toll is expected to rise. From the G-8 summit Prime Minister Tony Blair says it is "reasonably clear" that terrorism is to blame for the "barbaric" blasts. AP main story here.
The two reporters facing prison for not revealing who leaked information about an undercover CIA agent went their separate ways Wednesday. Time's Matthew Cooper woke up ready to go to jail - only to be told by his confidential source that it was OK to tell authorities who it was who told him Valerie Plame, wife of former ambassador Joe Wilson, was an intelligence operative. Cooper told a federal judge he will talk to the grand jury, though not to the public. His publisher's statement.
Meanwhile, Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter who also refused to ID the leaker, was ordered to jail until October. Miller stood up, hugged her lawyer, and was led off. Her publisher's statement.
Colleen McPhillips, our Australian friend, wanted to see the "old corners," of Philadelphia, so I convinced her to ditch the walking tour she'd threatened to book, and put to use the shelf of odd tomes I keep about this town. Eighteen years, and I'd never been to Elfreth's Alley. Good record, I figured.
This was yesterday, one day after a long weekend of heavy tourism, and the streets were quiet, but still humming, as if a trolley had just rumbled by. As our guide we packed an out-of print book by Paul Hogarth, the British illustrator who taught at the Philadelphia College of Art in the late '60s.
It's called "Walking Tours of Old Philadelphia" and it begins with an essay by E. Digby Baltzell on the greatest generation of American statesmen and leaders who walked these streets, between the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the departure of John and Abigail Adams - "individuals in the same mold as the heroes of Periclean Athens, Cicero's Rome or Elizabethan London."