The Spectacle Blog

Iran’s Harriet Miers?

By on 11.23.05 | 7:59AM

It's not likely to generate a sympathy call from Dubya, but Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has struck out for the third time trying to get a nominee for oil minister confirmed by Iran's parliament. Mohsen Tasalotti -- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's third pick for Iran's oil minister post -- is no Harriet Miers. His nomination was rejected by the Majlis according to the Beeb's report not because of his qualifications but as a result of rumors about his personal life and fortune. And how could such rumors be spread in a totalitarian state? On the internet, of course.

Taking a short break from planning the nuclear obliteration of western civilization, Ahmadinejad said, "The government respects the choice of parliament, but unjustly accusing a brother on an unknown internet site... is not fair." There is absolutely no truth to the rumor that Ahmadinejad has hired Dan Rather and Mary Mapes to produce shows for Iranian TV entitled, "Only Infidels Blog," and "Why the UN should control the internet."

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WaPo Sensationalizes Document

By on 11.22.05 | 10:45PM

The Washington Post's story for tomorrow on the Vatican document does what I expected: plays up the New York Times' old story line on the matter without addressing the real news -- that the Vatican policy is not the total ban once predicted, but allows for some discretion with the three-year window. You won't find that fact in the Post story until the seventh paragraph.

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New Vatican Document on the Priesthood

By on 11.22.05 | 8:15PM

It's due to be released sometime next week, but blogs have apparently obtained it. Via Mirror of Justice, Catholic Culture has it posted in its entirety. Its contents don't match the New York Times report that the Catholic Church would bar all homosexuals from the priesthood -- even celibate men. If this leaked document is authentic, the Church will require that candidates be celibate for three years before entering the seminary. Read it before the media reports on it and get the full story.

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Re: It’s That Bad

By on 11.22.05 | 6:14PM

Bob, Bob and Peter: The president's venture into Mongolia isn't significant, either for an attempt to stay out of Washington or for the gesture to Mongolia itself. But it is significant in the context of what we're doing in the region, as Peter implies.

We have, in just the last year, changed our approach to the whole China question. We are now looking to blunt China's effort to establish hegemony among what Beijing calls the "peripheral nations." We are doing a lot, in many places, to make it much harder for Beijing to turn its neighbors into satellites. Consider this: we're about to do some military-to-military exchanges with Vietnam. For more, gents, you gotta wait for my next book coming from Regnery next year.

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Re: It’s That Bad

By on 11.22.05 | 3:52PM

Bob, given the need to solidify our diplomacy in the region, I'm not actually surprised President Bush went there. It's clear that he is in Asia in part because of his political woes, but at least he's not simply committing himself to tokenism; I think he's getting real work done. While fighting terrorism around the world, Bush's hawks are doing their best to make sure China's regional goals are tempered. It's why pulling out of South Korea hasn't been our top priority, though it's not the worst idea.

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Oranges Over Turkeys

By on 11.22.05 | 2:28PM

Yes, the presidential pardon of the Thanksgiving turkey dates back to President Lincoln and in its current form to President Truman. But something inside me is sympathetic to the argument forwarded by President Bartlet in a West Wing episode: that the practice is a bit absurd and constitutionally questionable.

That may explain why I favor another of today's presidential actions over the turkey pardoning. This one is more in the spirit of Thanksgiving: giving thanks for hard-won freedoms.

I send greetings to those celebrating the first anniversary of the Orange Revolution.

One year ago today, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens stood up to defend democracy in their homeland. Through great courage and determination, they showed the world that the love of liberty is stronger than the will of tyranny. Last year's revolution was a powerful example of freedom and democracy in action and an inspiration to those aspiring for freedom in their own land.

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Koppel Signs Off

By on 11.22.05 | 12:51PM

Ted Koppel hangs up his cleats at ABC tonight. But in an interview with Charlie Rose last night he hinted that he will be returning shortly to the airwaves, perhaps at HBO. Koppel prides himself on mature truth-telling, so he had no problem telling Rose that ABC gingerly showed him the door because his salary was going up and his ratings were going down. ABC wanted to throw a hail mary and expand the show to a live hour -- Koppel disclosed the trade secret that the beginning of the end for a show is the moment when executives start talking about expanding it -- but Koppel didn't want the bother and didn't want to have hang around ABC until midnight.

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If Only They’d Go Home

By on 11.22.05 | 11:29AM

Congress is home for the Thanksgiving holiday and WSJ's George Melloan says good riddance (sub. req'd): "Few sessions could surpass this year's deliberations of the 109th Congress in terms of the hours wasted on bombast and blather with so little serious accomplishment." Read the rest for a truly depressing account of how Washington's finer features and campaign finance reform have seated a wasteful permanent government.

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Dole-drums

By on 11.22.05 | 10:45AM

North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole edged out Minnesota Republican colleague, Sen. Norm Coleman for head of the Republican Senatorial campaign committee, and Republican leaders in Washington and around the country have been underwhelmed by her performance thus far in recruiting candidates and raising money. Latest numbers show the GOP in the Senate trailing Dems and Chuck Schumer's committee by about a million bucks, something the GOP hasn't seen in almost six years.

Senate insiders chalk up the fundraising disparity to the need of Democrats to raise more money to run more campaigns, as they have to defend more seats than Republicans this cycle. But no one in Republicans circles disputes that Dole is playing way over her head, and that she has performed badly as a recruiter for Senate candidates. She has failed to upgrade candidates in Florida and Nebraska, and had little to do with the recruitment of the GOP's one star candidate, Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele.

Republicans will most likely hold on to the Senate, but it won't be because of anything Elizabeth Dole did.

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