By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Three for Monday

I’m up to my neck in other work, so three quick observations for a Monday morning:

1. The Boston Globe’s Spotlight series on the state’s patronage-riddled Probation Department should be the last nail in the coffin for state treasurer Tim Cahill’s independent gubernatorial campaign. The clueless Cahill doesn’t help matters today. While Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick and Republican challenger Charlie Baker squabble over how best to disinfect the agency, Cahill — a key player in the patronage game — criticizes Baker’s campaign for trying “to politicize issues for their own benefit without having a full understanding of the matters at hand.”

2. The New York Times’ Brian Stelter reports that news organizations are cutting back on covering presidential trips, citing an “exorbitant” cost in 2009 of $18 million. Frankly, I don’t think the shrinkage is a big deal. How many reporters need to follow the president around the world? But given that Katie Couric’s $15 million salary comes to almost the entire annual cost, it’s hard to take this lament seriously.

3. Make sure you read Charles Pierce’s excellent profile of Terry Francona, the greatest baseball manager in the known universe. It appeared Sunday in the Boston Globe Magazine.

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How’s it going for Blumenthal? Swimmingly.


The Times and the attorney general


  1. Mike Benedict

    No. 1 thing about Boston: Red Sox.

    No. 1a thing about Boston: Charles Pierce (with apologies to Dan Kennedy).

  2. L.K. Collins

    Hmmm, fewer press charters following the President because of the high cost. Not a single comment about the President’s frequent us of his high-priced aircraft to take him to 30-minute photo ops in an important swing state.

    On a lot of these trips that are being taken, little or no news is generated other than the President took a trip.

    Perhaps it is more appropriate for the public to start complaining about the cost of this imperial presidency?

  3. L.K. Collins

    Seeing as though most of the “news” that comes out of these trips is only the fact that the President is taking a trip, I don’t find myself getting too upset over the press bailing out on the trip.

    If the President did less photo-op traveling to swing states to make a useless announcement of a nothing policy, perhaps we should reconsider spending all that money on his transportation for non-events.

  4. Mike Benedict

    @LK: Don’t seem to recall that being a problem for you when President Bush was in office.

    You remember President Bush, right? He set a US record for most vacation days taken by a sitting president.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Mike: Are you sure Bush beat Reagan?

  5. L.K. Collins

    Sorry, Mikey. It was a problem for me in the Bush II administration, and in the Clinton administration, in the Bush I administration, in the Reagan administration, in the Carter administration, in the Nixon administration, and in the Johnson administration.

    It will be a problem for me in the next administration, no matter what the name of the President turns out to be or what political party he claims.

    I know that many of those were long before you were born, so you have no first-hand knowledge as to how long this practice has been going on. (BTW, Eisenhower, Truman, and FDR use the federally-funded airplane, but much more for productive travel than has become the current practice. JFK was the first to use it for the political junket, albeit minimally, and I found it offensive then.)

    As one concerned with the future of our nation, you should begin to look critically at all aspects of government, including wasteful government spending on non-event photo opportunities that do nothing but burn through resources that could be better spent elsewhere…like on job creation or eduction reform or anti-poverty measures or energy policy…. or etc, etc. etc.

    Stop making assumptions and start using that brilliance that you keep telling us that you have.

    You really need to take affirmative action to correct this error in your approach.

  6. Mike Benedict

    @DK: Yes, provided we only count the days the president was physically on holiday.


  7. Mike Benedict

    @LK: I won’t hold my breath waiting for you to show us where you criticized Bush’s airplane use. Or anyone else’s for that matter.

  8. L.K. Collins

    And, Mikey, I won’t hold my breath waiting for you to show the brilliance and insight that you continue to claim yourself capable of. People are beginning to believe that it doesn’t exist.

    I’ve objected to wasteful, expensive photo-ops for decades.

    And will continue to do so.

    That you haven’t heard the objections may say more about you than it does about me.


    Perhaps, if the incumbent loves his publicly funded airplane that much, we could move his office and residence there and make better use of the White House…like for housing the homeless in DC, giving undocumented workers a permanent address, etc…or at least cut the Grand Imperial Staff by a good two-thirds.

    Remember, wherever the President goes in his gold-plated air carriage, a second is always near by, as is a fleet of Presidential helicopters and limousines and a phalanx of dogs-bodies and batmen and body guards. It really is and expensive an wasteful operation for just a canned (political) speech and couple of pictures.

    Doesn’t take an MBA to figure out that the cost far out weighs any possible benefit.

    Now, do you have anything substantive to add to the conversation?

  9. Mike Benedict

    Hmmm…point to one said objection.

    If you can’t, there’s no reason to believe this is anything more than another of your partisan rants.

    Like I said, I won’t hold my breath.

  10. Laurence Glavin

    A recent science documentary on the Discovery Channel indicated that the Universe is expanding FASTER than we thought, not more slowly. It’s possible that galaxies have now reached such a distance that light from them has not yet reached us. So we have no way of knowing whether superior managers such as this Francona person you mentioned actually inhabit planets on these unseen star formations.

  11. Mike Benedict

    @Lawrence: DK wrote “in the known universe.”

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