The Spectacle Blog

Expanded Definition of ‘Defeatocrat’

By on 10.24.06 | 1:18PM

CNN's Candy Crowley reports today (make sure you watch the "wuss" video segment embedded in the story) that not all Democrats are feeling confident about their election prospects in two weeks:

On the cusp of an election that could overturn the Republican majority on Capitol Hill, I jokingly asked a senior Democratic aide whether he had ordered new business cards to reflect majority status.

"Don't underestimate our ability to blow it," he said.

There is a reason Democrats are on edge. They have lost so many elections where it seemed they were running with the wind, the phenomenon is known in political circles as Democrats "embracing their inner-defeatist."

...CNN asked self-identified Democrats around Miami, Florida, Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California, how they view their party. It was word association, "I say Democrat, you say ... " Not scientific, but instructive.

Here is some of what we heard:

• "Disorganized"

• "Afraid to take a stand"

Our Screwed Up Justice System

By on 10.24.06 | 12:40PM

Enron's Jeff Skilling gets 24 years in prison. According to Judge Sim Lake, "His crimes have imposed on hundreds, if not thousands, of people a life sentence of poverty."

The problem isn't that Skilling got a tough sentence. Surely he deserved one. The problem comes when you compare that to terrorist-enabler Lynne Stewart:

Southern District Judge John Koeltl gave Ms. Stewart a sentence of only 28 months. The government had asked for 30 years behind bars.

Weighing in Ms. Stewart's favor, the judge said, were her years of service to the poor, the disadvantaged and the unpopular; her battle with cancer and the fact that her actions, though reprehensible, did not result in violence.

Perception Can Become Reality

By on 10.24.06 | 11:24AM

Tabin, Hogberg or someone else worth their political handicapping salt could probably work out whether this John Mcintyre theory is valid or not better than I. My instinct on how elections will go is usually wrong, so I'm of little use here. But some of this does seem plausible on a gut level:

This is a calculated tactic on the part of the Democrats that they have been using very effectively as other reporters, pundits and the blogosphere pickup on the headline to play up the story that more and more GOP House districts continue to be thrown into play. This is all designed to build up the impression that the bottom is totally falling out for Republicans. Perception can become reality if the GOP is not careful and Republicans have been behind the eight-ball this entire cycle in managing the public relations campaign.

Ratings Worse Than Kenny Rogers’s Hand

By on 10.24.06 | 7:47AM

Boston Herald sports columnist Gerry Callahan comes up with another gem/zinger in his piece today about that mysterious "clump of dirt" discovered on the hand of the Detroit Tigers' Kenny Rogers Sunday night:

For hours before each start, pitchers are alone with their thoughts, their dreams and their hands. They clip their nails, file their calluses, wash, rinse, repeat. They're like snipers with their rifles. A typical big league pitcher knows the back of his hand like the back of his hand, and he's pretty familiar with the front, too. For him to take the mound with a clump of something on his pitching hand would be like Katie Couric doing the news with a piece of chive between her front teeth.

The difference between Kenny and Katie is that someone actually was watching the pitcher.

Over the Eleanor Clift, Through Middle-Class Woods

By on 10.23.06 | 5:54PM

This interview with Nancy Pelosi from Newsweek is funny stuff:

You're presented as a wealthy woman from San Francisco when you're really this middle-class kid from Baltimore …
Little Italy-downtown …

I have some sympathy for Pelosi here. It is terribly difficult these days to get the lunkheaded electorate and the poisonous right-wing media establishment to acknowledge you are a middle-class kid from Baltimore when there's this little technicality of being a wealthy United States Representative from San Francisco. Get over it people! She's just like you! I mean, Lawd in Heaven, what's a wealthy woman have to do to earn her Class War Proletariat Points these days, anyway? Dress in the Russian peasant circa 1910 hand-me-downs she wore back when she was middle-class?

RE: Movie Selections

By on 10.23.06 | 4:10PM

Guys: Many thanks for the recommendations. As it was, we settled for Bruce Willis's "The Last Boy Scout," which ends with a former all-star quarterback (Damon Wayans) saving the life of a bad guy senator by hitting him in the nose with a hard-thrown football. I think there's a metaphor of the 2006 election in there somewhere.

Re: Movie Selections

By on 10.23.06 | 3:21PM

Jed: This may be too late to cure those Brunell-induced, Redskins-lose-again blues, but a few titles come to mind: To Hell and Back. Fail Safe (ends with the big one being dropped on NYC); One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest; A Tale of Two Cities (ends with the QB's beheading); The Longest Yard (Burt Reynolds version -- a nice prison stint, come to think of it, might be just what Dan Snyder's boys deserve); and finally, Rudy. Word on the street is that its eponymous hero has agreed to be the 'Skins next free agent signing.

Re: Movie Selections

By on 10.23.06 | 1:43PM

Jed, one of my favorites is The Cowboys, in which John Wayne, as a beleaguered rancher, is forced to take on a crew of boys to drive his cattle to market. The Duke teaches the boys to be men, and the boys ultimately rescue Wayne's enterprise. Very inspiring, directed by Mark Rydell in the best Howard Hawks style.