The Spectacle Blog
Wlady -- Jack already was the subject of warm affection by the early 1970s, when I first started paying close attention. He already was admired for his sportsmanship in conceding a key putt in the Ryder Cup and for his graciousness in handling the public's abuse ("Miss it, Fat Jack!!!!") while he was supplanting Arnie. He became a real fan favorite early in the 1970s -- I believe it was the 1971 PGA, but my memory could be a bit off here -- when one of his young sons ran and jumped into his arms in the middle of the 18th green. This was shortly after Jack let his hair grow out beyond buzz-cut length, and the photo of the devoted father with little boy in his arms became iconic. By the Masters of 1975, he was clearly and unambiguously the fan favorite in the epic battle with Weiskopf and Miller.
But, to repeat, I loved the vast bulk of Larry's review. I just didn't understand the need for the asides about Nicklaus.
Quin: I don't understand this need to speak about Jack Nicklaus in hushed tones. Isn't one St. Jack (Danforth) enough? In his heyday everyone respected Jack Nicklaus as not only our finest golfer but toughest competitor. As such he was always quite an intimidating presence who by design or not always kept opponents on their guard -- and the public at a distance. He probably didn't become a subject of warm affection until he stunningly won the Masters at 46 twenty years ago. I don't think Larry Henry was being nasty toward Jack -- just blunt, with a bit of friendly needle, in a way Nicklaus of all people would appreciate. Larry was above all dealing with Jack as a golf book author and contrasting the cold, impersonal corporate tone of Jack's ghosted volume with Bobby Jones's authentic voice. He also notes: "Nicklaus got much more human in his later years." That pretty much sums it up for me.
Lawrence Henry writes a marvelous piece today in honor of the great and admirable Bobby Jones.... but why so nasty to Nicklaus? For many years before the 1974 ghost-written book that Larry pans, Nicklaus was known to be gentlemanly, a good sportsman both in victory and defeat, and very patient with the press. I certainly can say that the several times I've been around him (and, for that matter, around his saint of a wife, Barbara), as a fan or as a reporter or as an eager member (at discount rates) of a new club he was formally opening, he was gracious and approachable. Maybe his book sounded imperious, but if so, blame ghost-writer Bowden, not Jack. Not all good men are good writers, and I hate to fault Nicklaus just because he didn't live up to Jones' standards as a purveyor of fine prose.
That said, I otherwise loved Larry's review. It's always worth reminding people that sports "superstars" like Jones can be multidimensional and admirable, unlike certain steroid users, wife abusers, and druggies who litter our playing fields today.
The Ankle Biter Chorus - the usual columnists, pols and activists - are again trying to get between the president and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The latest (post-Zinni) round comes from Generals Newbold, Swannack and Batiste who call for Rumsfeld's firing because he didn't do what they and their fellow officers recommended in Iraq. Problem is, as Gen. Peter Pace said the other day (and as former Joint Chiefs Chairman Richard Myers said many times) Rumsfeld DID follow their advice, though he put them through a tough reasoning wringer to argue their points.
If you're a governor looking at a presidential run, how much can you compromise to look good before it starts looking bad? That may be a question Mitt Romney's asking himself.
Scott Lehigh in the Boston Globe casts the bill signing ceremony as a carefully crafted presidential campaign photo op that quickly unraveled. Even though he nearly gave away the farm to his Democratic rivals, Romney won't find them praising his "bipartisanship" when the TV cameras come calling. (This is what happens when Republicans compromise their principles -- different from a little political horse trading -- Democrats, sensing weakness, will show no gratitude but instead ask for more.)
1. Best signals source says that Tehran chief brain and strategist Rafsanjani is now in Damascus for a round of meetings with the terror camps, from the al-Assads to Nasrallah of the Hizb to the usual suspects of PFLPGC, Hamas, IJ, Al Aqsa: the topic is agreed: the struggle to liberate the Golan Heights, the West Bank, the whole of Palestine, is the same struggle as to liberate Iraq. Iran means to crush Israel and retake Palestine just as if this was the end of the second crusade.
2. The Damascus meetings turn on what is to be done to prep for the pre-empt that the Iranians aim to launch before October showdown with the UNSC. The collective attack on Israel will soften the resistance to the general assault in the Gulf region on the oilfields.
3. Rafsanjani next heads to Kuwait to warn the Sunni princes of oil that they either turn the Americans out of their back acres or they will burn with the Americans. This same message will be delivered to Bahrain and the UAE. Burn later or surrender now.
Read this headline, and you'd think - ever so hopeful - that Rep. Tom DeLay finally did what so many Republicans would pay a lot of money to do.
But no. Rep. Patrick "Patches" Kennedy just got hit in the mouth with a tool. Of course, reading the headline quickly, you'd think it was simply affirming the general state most people believe a Kennedy to be in: Hammered.