The Spectacle Blog

ABC’s Lame Smear of Scalia

By on 1.24.06 | 9:37AM

ABC News goes after Justice Antonin Scalia today for attending gratis a Federalist Society conference last year in Colorado.

What's the charge? After trumpeting the story with an eye-catching "EXCLUSIVE: Supreme Ethics Problem?" headline and the byline of ABC's "chief investigative correspondent" (my! this must be hot stuff!), Brian Ross, ABC doesn't have the guts to make one.

Instead, following a grand journalistic gotcha tradition, Ross reports that the trip "raises questions" and then finds someone else to suggest the charge that he won't make himself: "according to some legal experts." Actually, Ross has only one legal expert: quote master (he shows up in major newspapers and wires 119 times in the last year) and law professor Stephen Gillers.

Gillers was one of the so-called experts who said Judge Alito's investment in Vanguard mutual funds was a conflict of interest. He has also whined about Scalia in the past, saying, "He's combative. He's in your face....He does not have what most people think of as a judicial demeanor."

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Georgia vs. Russia in Winter

By on 1.23.06 | 8:56PM

Best source on Russian foreign policy speaks dismissively of the charge by Saakashvili of Georgia that Russia was behind the simultaneous explosions on three gas pipelines and one electric line over the weekend that pushed Tblisi and much of the U.S.-mission-critical state of Georgia into dark cold.

Puzzle is what caused the so-called explosions?

Consider accident. Russia's infrastructure is pasted together, and pipelines blowing up in a violent cold snap is Soviet-age believable. Then again, the gas lines are Gazprom's, who did the coordinated turn down of gas a few weeks back through Ukraine into Europe (unless it was Gazprom thugs stealing in Ukraine); so perhaps it was just a Gazprom failure.

Consider terror. The natural gas lines into Georgia pass through North Ossetia, which is the neighborhood of the Chechen attack dogs.

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Bush, Hayden and Listening to Bad Guys

By on 1.23.06 | 7:50PM

The Prez was at his best today giving the Landon Lecture at the Kansas State University. He was clear and not deferential to his critics. He made a point that the Dems will never understand: that for the President of the United States, protecting American citizens is Job 1.

On the NSA surveillance of suspected terrorists, he was unapologetic, insistent, and correct that the NSA surveillance of terrorists he authorized was legal and necessary. And, as he pointed out, if he were eager to break the law, why brief congressional leaders more than a dozen times?

There is so much misunderstanding about the NSA program -- and the FISA law -- that even Gen. Mike Hayden (former director of NSA and now Deputy National Intelligence Director) couldn't sort it all out. But he did make clear that the interception of phone calls and such is not "domestic" intelligence (i.e., isn't listening in to phone calls between people in the USA) and is aimed only at suspected al-Qaeda associates and contacts.

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Re: Stuck on Stupid

By on 1.23.06 | 7:38PM

Wlady: MTP is often a parody of itself. The Carville-Matalin show is not even a headliner act any more. Adding Begala is like adding Tony Curtis to the cast of "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes."

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Re: Stuck on Stupid

By on 1.23.06 | 7:11PM

Jed, Dave: Your exchange this morning re Carville, Begala, and Meet the Press reminded me of when it's most fun to shut that program off for good -- whenever Carville and his wife are Russert's special guests. A "He Said, She Said" it's not. Russert prides himself on being top of the line, yet in resorting to that hideous pairing he turns his show to cynical and pointless garbage filler less appetizing than professional wrestling. I'd rather watch Al Jazeerah.

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Blind With Rage

By on 1.23.06 | 4:27PM

While patrolling the New York Times op-ed page for nonsense is usually best avoided (it's a quick path to burnout), the Gray Lady's editorial on Judge Alito deserves comment. Contempt has driven the Times to laziness -- factual and intellectual.

The first sentence gives away their irrational disdain for Alito:

If Judge Samuel Alito Jr.'s confirmation hearings lacked drama, apart from his wife's bizarrely over-covered crying jag, it is because they confirmed the obvious.

Crying jag? Admittedly, your scribes here at TAS HQ had to look that one up: it's some sort of slang for "a state or feeling of exhilaration or intoxication usually induced by liquor," or "spree." So Mrs. Alito breaking down after witnessing the cheap browbeating of her husband is akin to a drunken outburst? If Republicans had made a Democrat nominee's wife cry, she'd be getting group hugs on the Today Show. Turn the tables and the Times smears her.

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Winner of the Worst Comment of the Day

By on 1.23.06 | 12:34PM

This, from PW Daily:

The Osama Book Club?

Common Courage Press has been scrambling to keep up with demand for Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower by William Blum, currently hovering around #10 on the Amazon.com bestseller list, after an endorsement by Osama Bin Laden in the audiotape he released last Thursday….

Says the author:

"This is almost as good as being an Oprah book," he told the Washington Post.

Yeah, I think I'll stick with Oprah.

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Re: Kaine Conundrum

By on 1.23.06 | 12:02PM

While Tim Kaine's slick, promise-breaking tax raising may be a source of concern for national Democrats, perhaps there's another reason they're scrambling. Maybe, just maybe, they've finally seen footage from his race against Jerry Kilgore and found the eyebrow. As Chad Dotson has noted and reiterated last week at RedState, Kaine's wandering eyebrow could distract viewers from the content of his Democrat response, however brilliant.

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