The Spectacle Blog

The Perils of Being a Blogger in Bangladesh

By on 8.7.15 | 7:30PM

Last May, I wrote about the hacking death of Bangladeshi blogger Ananta Bijoy Das by Islamists. Das was the third blogger to be executed by Islamists in 2015.

Well, now make it four. Islamists have murdered 40-year old Niloy Neel. Here is what the BBC has to say about it:

The BBC’s Akbar Hossain in Dhaka says Mr Neel had filed a police report expressing fear for his life, but his complaints had not been not followed up.

Police said about six attackers had tricked their way into Mr Neel’s home by saying they were looking to rent a flat.

“Two of them then took him to a room and then slaughtered him there,” deputy police commissioner Muntashirul Islam said.

“His wife was in the flat but she was confined to another room.”

There Was Also an Election Debate in Canada Last Night

By on 8.7.15 | 6:14PM

Republican presidential candidates weren’t the only group of politicians having a debate last night.

While the GOP White House aspirants sparred, the leaders of Canada’s four political parties gathered in Toronto to have their first English language debate of Canada’s 2015 election, which was called less than a week ago. I cannot ever recall a leaders debate taking place this early in the campaign. Represented on stage were Prime Minister Stephen Harper of the Conservatives, the leader of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition Thomas Mulcair of the New Democratic Party (NDP), Justin Trudeau of the Liberals, as well as Elizabeth May of the Green Party.

Fox News/Facebook Cleveland GOP Debate Post-Mortem

By on 8.6.15 | 11:33PM

So here is my summary of the now just completed GOP debate in Cleveland which aired this evening on Fox News.

John Kasich - Hometown favorite. I'm not sure if his defense of Medicaid expansion will go over well outside Ohio. He could have also done without kissing up to Trump. But good answer on the gay marriage question.

Rand Paul - He went after both Trump and Christie and paid the price for it. Although I agree with him that neither guns nor marriages should be registered in DC. 

Ted Cruz - Didn't get called on much but put in a solid, competent performance. Praised Egyptian President al-Sisi for his courage and said we should move our embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Mike Huckabee - Got some laughs from the audience especially the zinger about Hillary which everyone thought would be about Trump. But otherwise he didn't make much of a contribution to the debate.

Jeb Bush - Handled himself well on stage. Answered tough questions on illegal immigration, Common Core and abortion as well as his brief interaction with Donald Trump with ease. 

I Will Be Live Tweeting The GOP Main Debate

By on 8.6.15 | 8:09PM

For anyone who is interested I will be live tweeting tonight's GOP Debate at #GOPDebate.

If you are so inclined, you can follow me on Twitter @aargold24.

Following the debate, I will resume a tradition I began in 2012 by writing a debate post-mortem here at The Spectacle Blog.

Fiorina Fares Best in GOP Happy Hour Debate

By on 8.6.15 | 8:01PM

I watched the so-called GOP Happy Hour Debate on FNC earlier this evening. 

Please note I did this while on an elliptical machine. So, yes, I am quite exercised about the whole thing.

Of the seven second-tier candidates, I think only Carly Fiorina has any opportunity for growth. 

Jim Gilmore and George Pataki repeatedly reminded us they were Governors on 9/11, but what have they done since? Lindsey Graham looked like he had just woke up from an afternoon nap. Meanwhile, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry sounded too much like their stump speeches. In the case of Santorum and Perry, we've seen their act before and I don't think they've added much despite some fine moments from Santorum (like when he mentioned his father saying, "America was the worth the wait," in his comments on illegal immigration) and Perry's best efforts (I did like his line about Hillary being good at e-mail). 

When Obama Wanted to Apologize for Hiroshima

By on 8.6.15 | 3:51PM

Earlier this afternoon, on the occasion of both the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing and Jon Stewart’s impending departure from TV, I wrote about Stewart calling President Truman a war criminal for bombing Hiroshima back in 2009.

Along that same vein, a few months after the Stewart incident, the Obama Administration evidently wanted to apologize for Hiroshima. According to a Wikileaks cable released in October 2011, then U,S, Ambassador to Japan John Roos told then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in September 2009 that the Japanese government was not amenable to the idea of President Obama visiting Hiroshima to issue an apology for the bombing.

Remember When Jon Stewart Called Harry Truman a War Criminal?

By on 8.6.15 | 1:31PM

Today is the 70th anniversary of President Truman’s decision to bomb Hiroshima.

Today is also Jon Stewart’s final appearance as host of The Daily Show.

Given the confluence of these two events, I somehow neglected to mention perhaps the daftest thing Stewart ever did during his 16 years host of The Daily Show in my rather brutal assessment of his intelligence and his comedic talents.

Remember in 2009 when Stewart told Cliff May, president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, that President Truman was a war criminal because he dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? The two had been arguing about waterboarding. Well, didn’t. The uproar was such that Stewart was compelled to offer a rare apology for his statement the following night to a President who had been dead at the time for nearly 40 years.

Obama Erects More Straw Men, Engages in Moral Equivalency in Iran Nuclear Deal Speech

By on 8.5.15 | 11:32PM

President Obama's speech in defense of his Iran nuclear deal at American University in Iran is about what you would expect. A liberal dose of demagoguery populated by straw men and engagement in moral equivalency. 

His main argument was that the people who opposed the Iran nuclear deal supported the War in Iraq as if the two were mutually exclusive. 

As usual he resorted to outright distortions and misrepresentation of the views of his critics as was the case with the interim deal:

Now, let me pause here just to remind everybody that when the interim deal was announced, critics -- the same critics we’re hearing from now -- called it “a historic mistake.”  They insisted Iran would ignore its obligations.  They warned that sanctions would unravel.  They warned that Iran would receive a windfall to support terrorism.