Play Hardball!

Play Hardball!

Play Hardball!
An email conversation about the news of the day.
Feb. 28 2002 12:10 PM


Dear Chris,


I want there to be a new category—smart human tricks—with extra points for difficulty associated with time of day (anything before noon having a difficulty of 10). Tomorrow I'll see if there are any other early morning activities I can improve upon.

The Supremely Enlightening Maureen Dowd wrote about alpha, beta, and gamma girls today, from which I have this question for you: Are there not enough sufficiently alpha girls during wartime for you to have an adequate representation on your show? By the way, Condi Rice fell into gamma girl, which is done-all-your-homework, asked-if-neatness-counts types. Catholic schoolgirls fall into gamma land, I'm afraid. Maureen didn't place herself, but like most Catholic schoolgirls, I fall into gamma land, hoping someday to break out into alpha territory.

No one has ever said less better than Donald Rumsfeld, but he barely got out of this Office of Strategic Influence, stumbling the other day over the Office That Wasn't There. Rather than worry about an Office of Disinformation, the Pentagon should beef up its Office of Information. We're almost to "mistakes were made" on the 16 Afghans killed who were U.S. friendly. War is chaos, among other things, and friendly fire is not shocking, and disinformation from warring war lords is not surprising. Still, there would be no story if Franks had come clean days ago.

So how about that Dick Riordan? Bush was premature calling him governor. Remind me never to underestimate Gray Davis or anyone who has $8 million to spend on pre-emptive negative ads. Campaign-finance reform can't come too soon.

Our crack White House correspondent checked out the mystery of the "century and a half" versus "half a century" that Bush has the United States in an enduring alliance with Japan. Turns out I'm right and so are various Alert Readers. The first transcript had it as I heard it—a century and a half. A later, more perfect transcript had "half a century." How's that for a smart human trick by an Alert White House Aide?

Alert Readers (and I) want to know more about your show and book. Why such reticence? Blab on.