Thursday morning notes of interest: Goosing GOP poll numbers? Hamilton’s house moving

Josh Marshall at Time Magazine theorizes that the Bush administration times terrorism warnings and arrests to boost the GOP’s poll numbers:

In these perilous days, we must be ready to think the unthinkable. No, I don’t mean the possibility of a catastrophic terrorist attack. After 9/11, that’s all too easy to imagine. No, I’m talking about a thought that even now seldom forces its way into respectable conversation: the quite reasonable suspicion that the Bush Administration orchestrates its terror alerts and arrests to goose the GOP’s poll numbers.

The 18 months prior to the 2004 presidential election witnessed a barrage of those ridiculous color-coded terror alerts, quashed-plot headlines and breathless press conferences from Administration officials. Warnings of terror attacks over the Christmas 2003 holidays, warnings over summer terror attacks at the 2004 political conventions, then a whole slew of warnings of terror attacks to disrupt the election itself. Even the timing of the alerts seemed to fall with odd regularity right on the heels of major political events. One of Department of Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge’s terror warnings came two days after John Kerry picked John Edwards as his running mate; another came three days after the end of the Democratic convention. 

 Sidney Blumenthal says Bush is “Swaggering to Nowhere.” 

As the Mideast burns and North Korea threatens, the once-boastful president has no policy and is reduced to pathetic bleats.

President Bush was against diplomacy before he was for it. But with the collapse of U.S. foreign policy across the board, he has discarded talk of preemptive strikes and reluctantly claimed to have become a born-again realist. “And it’s, kind of — you know, it’s kind of painful in a way for some to watch, because it takes a while to get people on the same page,” he said at his July 7 press conference, adding, in an astonished tone, “Not everybody thinks the exact same way we think. Different words mean different things to different people.”

Just two years ago, he appeared before the Republican Convention boasting of his “swagger, which in Texas is called walking.” But in the face of the consequences of his failures, he has not adopted a new doctrine so much as swaggered into a corner. The cowboy’s White House has become Fort Apache.

Alexander Hamilton’s house is being moved

Peering into spaces that have not seen the light of day for two centuries, architectural archaeologists are dissecting Alexander Hamilton’s country home, the Grange, to figure out how to take it apart and put it back together again.

The National Park Service plans to move the Hamilton Grange National Memorial from Convent Avenue and 141st Street, where it is so boxed in by neighboring buildings that two of its porches had to be cut off, to St. Nicholas Park, about 300 feet to the southeast.

There, it can be reassembled in a form that Hamilton would have recognized, with porches — and trees — all around.


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