SMART PEOPLE, SMART VIEWS

My long-developing article on CCTV in the UK and the growing surveillance state there has at long last been published by The Washington Monthly. One of the great pleasures of visiting London in January was meeting so many interesting people and hearing so many thoughtful ideas about my subject, and one of the pains of producing a publishable article was that so much of what they had to say necessarily ended on the cutting room floor. It’s small consolation, but here are some extended quotes from the people who made my visit so memorable:

timotooleTIM O’TOOLE, the then-Director of the London Underground: “What we’re experiencing now is not some clash of civilizations, Christianity versus Islam, or a war with al quada. Yes it is a terrorist group, but it is a terrorist group like the Baader Meinhof gang. They’ll die out, no doubt in my mind, and after them, there will be somebody else. But what’s really going on is that we are living in an era when there is a massive transfer of power from institutions to individuals. Technology gives individuals access to information, access to communication, theability to form groups without the aid of institutions. And so you have Nick Leeson, who took down Barings Bank, one of the most successful banks in history, financed the wars against Napoleon, and it vanishes in a second because some individual was able to push some buttons. You have a situation where a blogger can have a bigger impact on an election than a major newspaper. You have a few guys with box cutters who turn a passenger jet into a cruise missile. It’s this ability of individuals to cause outcomes far beyond what any individual could have ever done before that has institutions so confused. Because change is coming so fast—meanwhile, we’re still holding governments responsible, and government officials take steps to demonstrate a feeling of control. And often they overreact. And so you have the Palmer raids, or Japanese internment, or McCarthyism. Every time there’s crisis, we swing wildly in reaction. It’s kind of what’s happening with Guantanemo now. So what should society do about this transfer of power? Well, we can’t handle it by suppressing liberty, because you never keep up, and every time we try. we become ashamed that we walked away from our principles. We need more liberty, to make it work for us, by welcoming all of the smart people of the world to our shores. We have to ride the wave as a society. If you try to suppress it, you’re doomed to failure. Because there’s too many ways to deliver a bomb.”

JOHANN HARI, columnist, The Independent:
“ We’ve bought into a very conservativeJohann Hari notion of liberty as being freedom from the state’s doing anything. But there’s more than one kind of liberty. There’s absolutely a threat from the state, but there’s another potential threat to liberty, and that’s from other individuals. The best way to maximize liberty is not for the state to do nothing, but to find the best mixture, so you can go about your business not being hampered by either the state or by individuals. I think we go off into a right wing ditch when we assume that you become freer if there’s no state action. Because that’s sometimes true, but sometimes not. Thanks to CCTV, those people who are now going to blown up by the Soho nail bomber are now more free. Prostitutes in Ipswich are now more free. Those people who would have made the attack are not at liberty to commit those crimes. That’s an important dimension of the debate—state action can—but doesn’t always—make you more free. Could a future government abuse the technology? That’s clearly true. But that’s an argument against having an oppressive government, not against the technology.”

DAVID COX, journalist, The Guardian: “What’s really striking nobody cares. If people have a choice between their security and anything else, they’ll choose their security. And this applies to all these ancient liberties that we’ve fought for for a thousand years. The government comes by and says let’s set aside another one of these rights, and see if anybody cares. Like habeous corpus. Let’s extend preventive detention from 28 days to 42, and the papers say terrific, can’t it be a little longer? Because that’s what these ancient liberties are really valued at.

david_cox_140x140“Young people don’t understand what you mean when you say privacy. They are constantly on their social network sites giving up every detail of their existence. They don’t understand why you’d want to cover something up. People before the IT generation, they saw themselves as different sorts of beings. Older people still think of themselves as having an inner life, a personality. Young people don’t really have a personality, there’s just all these things that they’re interested in, and there’s nothing to hide.

“But why do some people want privacy? The innocent have nothing to fear—that’s what the government always says, and on the face of it, there’s a lot ot that, because what are the CCTV cameras really going to show? I was with this woman the other day, and she was talking about some ruffians who were trying to look up her skirt. And I said, why do you care? What possible difference could it make to you? She said, it’s private. Something in common with that tribesman who doesn’t want his photograph taken because it steals his soul. The government just can’t see why somebody would object to a thing that’s going to make you safer and stop others from ripping off the social security system. And nobody can explain why, because it’s something deeply rooted and mystical. But its seems like it’s going to evaporate, because these young peopel don’t care about it.

“People like the idea of measures being taken to deal with danger. In Europe, we do have the idea that we want the state to take care of us. Basically, I have the theory that over the centuries, everybody who wanted to stand on his own two feet got up and went to America, and everybody else stayed behind—basically, the medeaval serfs who lived off the lord of the manor who told them what to do. And the government wants more power, because the officials know that if they missone thing and a terrorist slips in, they’ll be blamed. And so they can just never have enough power, enough control. And it’s our fault for having unrealistic expectations. My parents generation understood there was a lot of risk in life—accidents, fights, childbirth. People today have lost the concept of risk. They can’t distinguish between minimal risk and zero risk. And people have insatiable need for security, and the officials feel the pressure, and these things chase each other.”

GUY HERBERT, General Secretary, NO2 ID:
“I, like everybody else, have what I call aguyherbert private life. I do not consent to the government controlling every aspect of my being. I am entitled to call myself who or what I like—I don’t need the government determining that for me. I object to the entire inversion of our entire way of life, in which the state is supposed to be responsible to us, even under our archaic constitution. We do have popular sovereignty. This would turn everything on its head. The government would determine who we are.

“There is a presumption behind these measures that the expert state knows best, and that we should trust their judgment over other people’s judgments. And the idea that if you’ve got nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear is a difficult line to counter, unless you;’ve got the imagination to realize that what you’ve got to hide doesn’t depend on you, on your choice. Who knows what tomorrow brings?”

brendan_oneill_140x140BRENDAN O’NEILL, editor, Spiked-online.com:
“The blanket application bothers me. The technology transforms everyone into a suspect. A cop who applies human judgment, I have no problem. But what happens to the millions of cameras is that everyone becomes an object of suspicion, just by virtue of being filmed, just by being watched. Something happens that is very subtle and not very measurable. But it does have an impact on people’s lives, and on what it means to be a free citizen. If you have nothing to hde, you have nothing to fear. The enlightenment assumption about a citizen is that you are free citizen and should be left alone unless you have done something wrong, and then you should be investigated. Now the assumption is turned completely on its head. Now you have to perform your innocence—you have to perform your goodness. To demonstrate that you’re being a decent guy. That is the implication of always being watched. And of other new initiatives—national ID card, DNA database, new act called safeguarding vulnerable groups act that require background checks on people who work with children or the elderly. All of these require the citizen to prove that he is good, rather than for the state to prove that he is not. A real shift in the natural state of things—citizen has to prove his innocence on a daily basis. I don’t want the state to protect me. The state is not here for my defense.”

DIANE WEI LIANG, novelist, BBC commentator: “I was very surprised by all the cameraswei_liang18507_narrowweb__300x450,0 when I first moved to London, because I felt they were infringing on my privacy. But the cameras had been there for a long time, and the British were quite OK with it, and I got used to it after awhile—it was a substitute for a police man at every corner. Still, every time I went around the corner and saw I camera, I felt uneasy. I thouight it was similar to the system we have in China that is supposed to support order, where every retired old lady is a pair of eyes, and every street committee can go into every house, and report everything you say and do. And it does provide a kind of safety. If there’s someone on the street who doesn’t belong, they spot that person right away. These are difficult times, in which we trust our politicians less and less, even as they get more and more power. We do have the example of the communist staes, where there was so much control. You had great stability, but you compromise on freedom. But that’s not where anybody wants to be.”

mennoMENNO MEYJES, film director and screenwriter: “This diminution of our liberty is all our fault. It’s got nothing to do with the state. The state is just another organism out there, wanting to succeed wanting to prevail. You can’t blame a policeman for wanting to be a better policeman, a bureaucrat for wanting to be a better bureaucrat. And really, it’s difficult not to see the sense of creating a national data base. Of course it’s a good idea—I understand the efficiency. I’m not one of those people who thinks that the state is by definition evil. Poor Hannah Arendt was always trying to make that clear. But it’s our job to resist the state and its encroachments. People don’t seem to realize that they are voluntarily abdicating their civil liberties. Seriously, do you think that if we win the war on terror, all of this will be rolled back? We are abdicating our rights as citizens. It’s hard to say why. Probably fear. And laziness. And I say we, because being Dutch, I feel the English and the Dutch are a matrix of civil liberties. Nobody is sitting there saying I want to shoot my fellow citizen or throw him in a stockade. That’s now how it works. No, it’s bit by bit, you go down the slippery slope. And we’re such infants. Up to this summer, we didn’t want the government anywhere near financial services. Now we want to nationalize anything. Come on, people, get a grip!”

MINA AL-ORAIBI, British-Iraqi journalist and BBC commentator, Asharq Alawsat:mina “Britain has amazing liberties that make it a remarkable place to live, and I think sometimes I appreciate it more than people who have lived here all their lives, because I know that these liberties are something that can very easily be taken away from you. I want the government to do everything that it feels it needs to do in order to protect me, but I want the government to be able to explain why it thinks these things will work, and I don’t think this government always can. And that’s a problem, because in the end, it’s the institutions, it’s the laws that will protect you, and not any particular government that’s in place.

“In Iraq, we’re having such a problem explaining what human rights actually mean, that it’s not just sending 20 officials off to London tor Washington to get training for two weeks and that’s it. No, human rights is the principle that every single person has the right to hold the government accountable. And that’s why institution-building is so important, and that’s why all the abuses in Iraq are so disappointing, because you’re creating the impression that such things are accepted.

“It’s sad, because in the last few years, people in the UK have thought we’re under threat, and so we have to put up with new limitations on our freedom. And that’s just not true. And that’s giving the terrorista what they want, because you’re changing what the UK stands for. And that’s why there needs to be a greater effort to protect those liberties, and be guardians of what we have.

“People forget how liberal London is—you can be anything, and you’ll find a crowd. Big Brother is overhyped—most people have no problems. But things happen–the Terrorism Act of 2001 says you can be stopped on the street and questioned, and it happened to me. Quite a few of my friends from the Middle East have been stopped, and none of my white friends have been. There were three of us, two friends from a television channel in Iran, and we weren’t paying attention, and I gather we had chosen to stand in front of a very sensitive building near Embankment with just the river behind us, and within three minutes, we were surrounded. There were twelve vans. I almost went into fits of giggles. The police handed us this ridiculously long sheet of paper explaining why they stopped us and what our rights were. My friend explained that she worked for an Iranian television station based in Tehran, and they did a serious check—they called my office, checked my wallet, asked me questions. I was calm, I didn’t feel threatened. But I never heard of a single blonde friend being questioned. It took about a half an hour, and I got to thinking, if I wasn’t a journalist, if I wasn’t confident of being able to call someone for help, if I had said something—I’m not a bad-tempered person, but what if I had had a few words?—this could have become ugly very quickly. And that stupid paper—I have 12 cops around me, I’m not really reading the paper. But they had the right to stop and search—but this is the UK, not Iraq, where you feel lucky if they’ve only stopped you.”

8/11ths

World Series Game 2 - New York Yankees vs. Philadelphia PhilliesWorld Series Yankees vs. PhilliesAfter Cliff Lee and Chase Utley got the World Series off to a memorable start for the Phillies on Wednesday, the Yankees evened things up with a crisp, methodical 3-1 victory last night. Like Game One, the game was well-pitched on both sides, and just as C.C. Sabathia was a smidge worse than Lee, the great old warhorse Pedro Martinez came through with an economical performance that was just a bit inferior to A.J. World Series Yankees vs. PhilliesBurnett‘s gem. Burnett, who customarily has an inning or two with the yips, went seven, suffering only one run in damage. Meanwhile, solo homers from Mark Teixiera in the sixth and Hideki Matsui in the seventh made the difference; Matsui’s was especially noteworthy102909WorldSeries51CW, golfing a curve that was nearly in the dirt into the right field bleachers. Mariano Rivera pitched a 6 out save. I loved what Joe Posnanski wrote about Rivera on si.com: “There’s no stadium in baseball quite as relaxed and certain as Yankee Stadium in the ninth inning with a lead. Rivera has not been perfect in his remarkable 15-year career … but close enough. He has been so good that New York fans have grown almost unaffected by the tension and fear that is supposed to afflict the body in the ninth inning of a close game. With other closers — even the best closers — there’s a jolt of adrenaline that runs through the stadium. It’s like the beginning of a Springsteen concert. Here we go! This is going to be great! You rock! But with Rivera — even if he does enter to the strains of Metallica’s Enter Sandman — the feeling is different. It’s more like the feeling of a superhero arriving on the scene. Thank God you’re here, Superman! In New York, the game is won when Rivera steps on the mound. The rest is performance.” Eight down, three to go.

DEBUNKING AGINCOURT?

I loved the article in The New York Times the other day about the new ideas about the Battle of Agincourt, the mythic victory that the English under Henry V enjoyed over the French on St. Crispin’s Day, Oct. 25, in 1415, and that gave rise to Shakespeare‘s stirring “Band of Brothers” speech. “They devastated a force of heavily armored French nobles who had gotten bogged down in the region’s sucking mud,” writes James Glanz, “riddled by thousands of arrows from English longbowmen and outmaneuvered by common soldiers with much lighter gear. . . . But Agincourt’s status as perhaps the greatest victory against overwhelming odds in military history — and a keystone of the English self-image — has been called into doubt by a group of historians in Britain and France who have painstakingly combed an array of military and tax records from that time and now take a skeptical view of the figures handed down by medieval chroniclers. The historians have concluded that the English could not have been outnumbered by more than about two to one. And depending on how the math is carried out, Henry may well have faced something closer to an even fight.” The painstaking detective work undertaken by the hsitorians is truly impressive. I also enjoyed seeing a mention in the article of the historian Conrad Crane, who made news in recent months as the lead writer of the Counterinsurgency Field Manual that mapped out the successful strategy adopted by General Daniel Petraeus in Iraq. I will always be grateful to Dr. Crane, who as Col. Crane, West Point instructor, led me on a privileged tour of the cemetery at West Point, which turned into a pretty damn good piece for Time magazine 12 years ago.

7/11ths — ADIOS, ANGELS

*Oct 25 - 00:05*Game 5 was a wild, emotional affair. Consider: Five Angels batted and scored four runs before an out was recorded in the first; then the Yanks, stifled for six innings, erupted for six runs in the seventh, making me think the game was in the bag; but in the bottom of the seventh, Girardi made weird pitcher selections and Phil Hughes made poor pitch selections, and the Angels retook the lead with 3; and then with two out in the bottom of the ninth, the Yanks loaded the *Oct 25 - 00:05*bases, and Nick Swisher ran up a 3-2 count before hitting a droopy fly to left. A turbulent, annoying loss that left a feeling like you had done something you knew better than to have done, like rough housing in the living room, and you broke a nice lamp. Sorry, costly, not the end of the world. Last night, the Yanks responded by grinding out a very tough 5-2 win that was closer than the score indicated. The chief highlight was Andy Pettitte‘s strong, gutsy, 6.1 inning, one-run performance; not for nothing is he the winningest postseason pitcher ever (16). Other great moments: Johnny Damon‘s two-run single; Alex Rodriguez reaching base 5 times; outstanding infield play by Mark Teixiera and Robinson Cano; and a sharp six-out save by Mariano Rivera. Thus the team wins its 40th American League championship and overcomes the habitually better Angels, but it’s not enough. Seven down, four to go. The defending champion Phillies–Howard, Utley, Victorino, Lee, Hamels and Pedro Martinez!–are next.

RIDE ON!

DSCN1093We spent an exciting and somewhat hectic weekend in beautiful Central New Jersey, where Cara was participating in the Equestrian Talent Search at Centenary College in Hackettstown (Just to DSCN1088be precise, the event was at Centenary’s Equestrian Center, which isDSCN1089 actually in Long Valley. On Middle Valley Road in Long Valley. Atop a mountain on Middle Valley Road in Long Valley. Well-hidden, it seems needless to add.) Cara participated in clinics run by Jim Arrigon, currently head coach of Xavier University and an accomplished coach, Michael Dowling, the head coach of Centenary (a school that I had never heard of, but which has quite a riding program, beautiful facilities, and an equine studies program of the sort she seems interested in, but which Cara is not at all interested in attending, for reasons inscrutable to all, perhaps not excepting herself), and Heather Clark, Centenary assistant coach, and was judged by the very personable Sam McCarthy, head coach of University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio, wherever that is. Cara was among 60 riders, most of whom were more experienced, but she held her own, and seems to have learned a great deal. Top, Cara prepares to ride the jump course. Above left, one of the buildings at the facility; above right, Coach Dowling walks the course with the riders. Below, exciting action shots of Cara at the clinic and riding in the flats competition, selected to demonstrate the incompetence of her parental photographers, the limitations of the Nikon Coolpix, and the thrilling speed of the action. Nice job, Cara!
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ANN COULTER’S LATEST LIE

Ann Coulter, serial liar and firebug, has surfaced after some months of relative quietude with another of her typically overwrought and manifestly untrue provocations. Appearing yesterday on The Joy Behar Show, Coulter, aiming to counter the idea that President Obama might become vicitm of a right wing assassin, said, “Every presidential assassination or attempted presidential assassination has been committed by some left wing loon, communist, anarchist, commutarians–yes they were!–or they had no politics at all. They were all liberals!”

It’s true that a number of presidential assassins were political left wingers. Lee HarveyLeon-Czolgosz Oswald, of course, traveled to the USSR and expressed communist sympathies. Leon Czolgosz(right), the assassin of William McKinley, was an anarchist, and though he would probably resent Coulter’s connecting him to tepid liberalism, was on that side of that line. Sara Jane Moore, who attempted to kill Gerald Ford, was involved in left wing politics, as were the Puerto Rican nationalists who tried to kill Harry Truman. Giuseppe Zangara, who fired at the great liberal president Franklin Roosevelt, insultingly described Roosevelt as a capitalist. Make of that what you will.

John_F_SchrankNow things start to get spongier for Coulter. The Bible scholar John Schrank(left), who tried to kill Theodore Roosevelt, objected to TR seeking a third term in politics. Hard to think of that as being particularly liberal. Charles Guiteau, the assassin of James Garfield, spent time in the Oneida Community, a community built around group marriage, but he was notably unsuccessful participant in the community and was thrown out. He became a lawyer who specialized in bill collecting, and then got involved in politics as a backer of President Grant and then Garfield, whom he killed after being denied an ambassadorship. Is a failed commutarian still a commutarian?

Now comes the phrase that renders Coulter’s provocative contention that all assassins arerichardlawrence liberals meaningless–“or they had no politics at all.” John Hinckley Jr., the attempted assassin of Ronald Reagan, was simply a deranged person whose personal politics are meaningless. Richard Lawrence , who fired two shots at Andrew Jackson(right), believed he was King Richard III of England. Based on her membership in the Charles Manson Family, I suppose you could say Squeaky Fromme was a commutarian, as though commutarian was phrase that could be usefully ascribed to a group of drug-addled psychopaths, or that a commutarian philosophy had anything to do with her attempted murder of Ford.

john-wilkes-boothOf course, the figure who undermines Coulter’s argument most thoroughly, who negates it on its face, is the country’s first assassin, John Wilkes Booth(left). Abraham Lincoln was nothing if not a liberal president–a proponent of a strong central activist government, a pro-business advocate of industrialization, an enemy of slavery, a proponent of a dynamic, multi-ethnic, pro-immigrant society. Booth, of course, was the vainglorious champion of an aristocratic, agrarian, racist slavocracy. Of course, acknowledging this exception would drain Coulter’s thesis of its provocative power, which would in turn make her a more conventional pundit, which would lessen her book sales and lecture fees, and leave her–deservedly–ignored.

Booth, of course, is just one exception. But so what if right wingers haven’t traditionally figured heavily among presidential assassins? Doesn’t Coulter think that people who have formed lynch mobs, bombed churches, assassinated civil rights leaders, murdered abortion doctors, and bombed office buildings and day care centers are capable?

KEN FEINBERG STRIKES A BLOW

robber_baronsIn New York, the rich are part of the landscape. One doesn’t pay too much attention to their excesses; in fact, it provides a little vicarious joy. You might think that seeing them leave the Park Avenue buildings where you’ll never live to enter the limo you’ll never ride in to go to the restaurant you’ll never dine in might provoke some envy, but that’s seldom the case. People don’t begrudge other people’s success, but they do want two things: one, a fair amount for themselves, and two, the sense that sometime, somewhere, the money was fairly earned.

Looking at executive compensation in the last decade, it’s hard to make the case that the money was earned. Among the strongest impressions from House of Cards, William Cohan’s excellent account of the fall of Bear Stearns, are his stories about how richly the Chairman of Bear Stearns, Jimmy Cayne, was compensated, and, at the same time, how little he worked and how little he knew about his company. Cayne (below, walking like an Egyptian), who was paid multiple millions and whose net worth at one time topped $1 billion, was [and is] a champion bridge player who took off days at a time–periods when he was incommunicado–to play in tournaments. He would also do things like commandeer the company helicopter to fly him from Manhattan to his country club in New Jersey so he could play 18 holes of golf on a weekday afternoon. Meanwhile, he had no knowledge of the derivatives and the credit default swaps that led to massive overleveraging that caused his company’s abrupt collapse.

When you read things like that, you realize that Jimmy Cayne was paid, but that he didn’t earnjimmycayne. He, and his colleagues, and people like them at other investment banks, were simply borrowing against their assets, perhaps as much as thirty times over, and rewarding themselves by grabbing fistfuls of what seemed like the profits. And executives at other companies followed their example. Jack Welch, the CEO of GE, ostensibly one of the best managed companies in the world, negotiated a retirement package that not only provided him a lavish pension, an apartment, premium health insurance, and season tickets to the Yankees and Red Sox–it also paid for his postage stamps! But hey–everybody was doing it.

Yesterday we learned that perhaps the process of bringing that insanity to an end has begun. We learned that pay czar Ken Feinberg intends to cut salaries of the 175 top executives at the companies that received government assistance by as much as half. The question today is whether this is going to be an isolated brick chucked at a palace window, or the first step in the storming of the gate.

The argument that has been floated all year, ever since the AIG bonus outrage, is that if you cut compensation at a firm, you will initiate a talent exodus, and place the firm at a competitive disadvantage. This could be a very good thing. Too much of the economy is lodged in the financial sector, and too much of finance is taken up with alchemy like credit default swaps. Too many brains have been working at hedge funds, places not where investments are made but where markets are played and manipulated (as onetime hotshot hedge fund operator Jim Cramer unembarrassingly acknowledged.) So yeah, let’s drain some of the money out of this system. Let’s make the game less lucrative. Let’s see some of the fine young minds that are cramming into the business majors at the Ivies go into something else. Maybe one of them could go into research and find a cure for cancer. Or do something really worthwhile, and find a formula that would help news organizations make money on the web.

The point is, the Free Market ideology which dominated the country since the the 1980s may or may not have unleashed a spirit of entrepreneurial creativity that benefited society at large (though it’s hard to argue that it did, what with salaries being essentially unchanged in two decades.) But what it indisputably unleashed is an era of financial manipulation, financial cleverness, in which massive amounts of compensation is paid to people who inflate quarterly profits that may not endure through the next quarter, who fraudulently pad real estate values that underwrite undeserved mortgages, who pack boards of directors with malleable cronies, who labor to devise ways to wring risk from transactions that are not risky but actually dishonest. Feinberg’s ruling is a useful step in preventing the next Jimmy Cayne, but it’s just the first of many that will be needed. We need to restore the sense that there is a real relationship between having money and having earned it.

AGAINST THE NEW WORLD ORDER

ahuffington_560On latimes.com, James Rainey has an article about Amy Hertz, the editor of the Huffington Post’s new books section.

“Hertz told me she has had so many submissions — “an embarrassment of riches”– in the opening days of HuffPost Books that she can’t find room for them all on the site, which does not pay for the pieces.

“I’ve always marveled at the way Huffington has been able to make like Tom Sawyer — so happily painting in her blog that she’s got people lining up to help her for free.

“I wondered if it was hard to ask writers, some of them struggling, to give their work away, even with the prospect that they might sell more books in the long run.

`”I’m not going to answer that question one way or another,” Hertz said. “I just don’t think it’s a useful question to ask at this point. It’s a new world.”‘

Perhaps. But as for me, I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more.

6/11ths

*Oct 20 - 00:05*After Monday’s long, exciting, over-managed and ultimately exasperating loss to the Angels, the Yankees finally played a complete game last night, and thoroughly beat the Angels 10-1. If L.A. woke up Tuesday feeling cheerful about having won a big game and about having on the mound on Tuesday Scott Kazmir, a top starter with a record of success against the Yanks, they surely went to bed Tuesday knowing that their chances now of mounting a historic upset (mostly) on the road against the mighty New Yorkers were small indeed. Kazmir stunk, while C.C. Sabathia (left) pitched brilliantly, eight innings of one-run baseball, but it was the offense that finally stepped up. The Yanks had been winning with power, which is a splendid way to win, but the way the team had smacked its way to 103 wins was through relentlessness–sending one patient, dangerous hitter to the plate after another. The Yanks won this year not only because Derek Jeter is clutch and because Mark Teixiera and Alex Rodriguez had a lot of homers and RBIs, but because Jorge Posada and *Oct 20 - 00:05*Hideki Matsui and Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher and Johnny Damon (right, after putting the game out of reach with a two-run homer to make the score 7-1) all had 20-odd homers and 80 or 90 RBIs–the entire line-up is capable of starting a rally, and the entire line-up is capable of delivering the big hit. Last night, the team finally performed its act in the playoffs. Here’s a predicition: we’ll see it again before the season ends. L.A. is lucky to have the redoubtable John Lackey starting for them tomorrow, but I wonder if he’ll have enough to send the series back to the Bronx.

Meanwhile, speaking of A-Rod, who did indeed homer again last night (below), Tom Verducci has ALCS Yankees vs. Angelssome good stats on si.com:
• Rodriguez has made contact on 41 of his 46 swings this postseason, an 89 percent contact rate. In the regular season he made contact 78 percent of the time.
• Dating to his last two at-bats of the regular season, Rodriguez has put the ball in play 26 times. He has homered on seven of those 26 times. That means that one out of every three or four balls he hits fair is going out of the park. He is batting .500 on balls he puts in play in that span.
• Rodriguez has not gone more than seven at-bats this postseason without hitting a home run.
• Rodriguez is outhomering the competition by himself. He has five home runs in 27 at-bats this postseason. Opposing hitters against the Yankees this postseason have combined for three home runs in 262 at-bats.
Six down, five to go.