While I Was Away....

--The city finally rid us of the human statues and face painters who so rudely disrupt the experience of those who come to Faneuil Hall to enjoy the unique experience of eating at a national chain restaurant.

--The state legislature churned out a huge mass of laws before the end of the session, left a bunch to wait for another year (including CORI reform), and even finally got around to issuing its overrides of the Governor's line-item vetoes for the fiscal year that began a month ago. In the midst of the excitement, Reps DeLeo and Rogers briefly forgot that they are supposed to keep acting under the assumption that DiMasi is coming back for another term as Speaker.

--To the utter amazement of all, the first Presidential campaign involving a black major-party nominee has become tinged with the issue of the candidate's race. More importantly, John McCain's campaign manager dramatically redefined the notion of 'fighting one's entire life for equal rights for everyone.' Apparently it doesn't take nearly as much effort as I imagined.

--Not only did Barack Obama fall "behind in the polls" (actually, he trails in just one poll, while he is even or ahead in all others); but more inventively, previous Democratic nominees scored significant retroactive gains in their respective late-July/early-August polling. At least, according to Holly Robichaud, who writes today that "in previous elections the Democratic nominee has had a double-digit lead at this point during the campaign." Actually, Bush and Kerry were dead even at this point, and four years earlier Bush led Gore by double-digits. I'll give you Clinton over Dole in '96, but in '92 Clinton trailed GHW Bush AND Ross Perot heading into the conventions -- which were held in July, as was the '88 DNC that propelled Dukakis to a brief double-digit lead. Mondale '84? Nope. Carter '80? Nope. Carter '76 -- Yes. McGovern '72? No. Humphrey '68? No.

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