The Spectacle Blog

Jordan Offers to Make Deal with ISIS

By on 1.28.15 | 10:08AM

Following a videotaped threat by ISIS to kill Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kasaesbeh and Japanese hostage Kenji Goto within 24 hours if Sajida al-Rishawi, a female terrorist involved in the attacks on Amman in November 2005; the Jordanian government has now offered to release al-Rishawi in exchange for al-Kasaesbeh. Lt. al-Kasaebeh was captured by ISIS in December when his plane was shot down in Syria.

The Jordanians made no mention was made of Goto. When ISIS executed Goto's countryman Haruna Yukawa over the weekend it indicated it would spare Goto's life if al-Rishawi was released. But it appears ISIS decided to up the ante by threatening to kill al-Kasaesbeh and Jordan has taken the bait. Should this deal go through and Goto isn't a part of it one must wonder if Japan will make ISIS an offer it won't refuse.

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Obama Backs Down on Assault on 529 College Savings Plans

By on 1.27.15 | 10:52PM

On Tuesday, just 36 hours after receiving scathing criticism from yours truly on these pages, President Obama has backed down on his proposal to effectively end 529 college savings plans.

Even senior Democrats were urging him to pull the plug on his stupid idea… which is why I wish he hadn’t.

As I noted, this was a great issue to beat Obama up with among his own base, though I questioned whether Republicans would have either the smarts or the cojones to actually take advantage of Obama’s policy gaffe.

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Drunken Government Employee Crashed the Drone Into the White House

By on 1.27.15 | 3:50PM

So our mystery Drink-and-Droner has been revealed. 

According to the New York Times, the guy who, yesterday morning, caused a huge ruckus by crash-landing a drone on White House lawn and testing the limits of the Secret Service's abilites at 3am, has been revealed to be an officer with the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. Apparently, he was enjoying some adult beverages on his apartment balcony and playing with a drone that "belonged to a friend" when it miiiiiiight have flown over the White House. He later admitted the dalliance to authorities - after  his friends told him about the news story - though it does not appear he asked for his drone back.

 It was 42 degrees, lightly raining and pitch black near the White House when an inebriated, off-duty employee for a government intelligence agency decided it was a good time to test-fly his friend’s quadcopter drone that sells for hundreds of dollars and is popular among hobbyists.

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Scott Walker Forms Up a Committee for 2016

By on 1.27.15 | 3:37PM

Coming off a very big opener this weekend, Scott Walker is forming up the requisite "exploratory" committee for a 2016 Presidential run. The "Our American Revival" organization submitted its paperwork yesterday and the website is scheduled to go live sometime today. 

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, whose speech to activists in Iowa last weekend drew strong reviews, has taken the first formal step toward a presidential candidacy in 2016, establishing a committee that will help spread his message and underwrite his activities as he seeks to build his political and fundraising networks in the months ahead...

“Our American Revival encompasses the shared values that make our country great; limiting the powers of the federal government to those defined in the Constitution while creating a leaner, more efficient, more effective and more accountable government to the American people,” Walker said in a statement in the release announcing the committee.

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Thoughts on the 70th Anniversary of The Liberation of Auschwitz

By on 1.27.15 | 3:36PM

It was 70 years ago today that Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviet Army (one of the few good things to have happened under Stalin). 

As only a few thousand detainees remained in the camp, the liberation was of little help to those who had been evacuated under orders by Himmler earlier in the month and sent on a march to their deaths. Nevertheless, the liberation marked the end of a horror which saw more than 1 million people lose their lives, a majority of them Jews.

When I was a boy growing up in Thunder Bay, I attended Shaarey Shomayim Synagogue. Several of the congregants had survived Auschwitz including the man who served as our cantor. You could hear the horror in his voice every time he sang during Shabbat services. I also remember seeing that tatoo on his arm.

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Bill Monbouquette, R.I.P.

By on 1.26.15 | 11:13PM

Former big league pitcher Bill Monbouquette passed away on Sunday following a lengthy battle with leukemia. He was 78.

Born in Medford, Massachusetts, Monbouquette became a local boy made good when he signed with the Boston Red Sox in 1955.

Nicknamed Monbo, he reached the bigs in 1958 and was the team's best pitcher during the early 1960's. Monbouquette was named to three AL All-Star teams. He would throw a no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox in 1962 and would have his best season in 1963 when he went 20-10 with a 3.81 ERA. 

Unfortunately, Monbouquette would not be with the team during the Impossible Dream season in 1967 having been traded to the Detroit Tigers prior to the 1966 season. Monbo would also pitch with the New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants before hanging it up in 1968. Monbo finished his career with a record of 114-112 and a 3.68 ERA. Of Monbouquette's 114 wins, 96 of them came with the Bosox.

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Is Team Obama Working Against Netanyahu?

By on 1.26.15 | 3:49PM

It's clear how the White House feels about Benjamin Netanyahu on their home turf - the feather ruffling can be heard across the Mississippi - but it seems that some people very close to the Obama White House are making their feelings about Bibi known on Bibi's home turf as well.

According to IMRA, a news source whose veracity I am, admittedly, unfamiliar with (via PJM, whose veracity is stellar), Jeremy Bird, the Obama campaign's former national field director (and the one who sent about 50% of the endless campaign emails) is in Tel Aviv working for the "V-2015" campaign, which aims to elect anyone but Bibi in the Israel's next national election.

Haaretz reporter Roi Arad revealed in an article in the Hebrew edition today [January 26] that the foreign funded organization, “One Voice”, is bankrolling the V-2015 campaign to defeat Binyamin Netanyahu’s national camp in the March 2015 Knesset Elections.

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Tuesday Will Be a Snow Day in Massachusetts Thanks to Dunkin’ Donuts

By on 1.26.15 | 2:36PM

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has declared a state of emergency in anticipation of a major snowstorm which is expected to hit at 7 p.m. although I can tell you that I was just outside and it has already started to snow.

The storm is expected to last until early Wednesday morning and result in 2 to 3 feet of snow.

I knew this was going to happen when the woman who took my order at Dunkin' Donuts told me they would be closed tomorrow.

You've heard their slogan, "America runs on Dunkin'". This is especially true in Massachusetts where Dunkin' Donuts was founded in Quincy just south of Boston. Its headquarters are located in Canton.

If Dunkin' Donuts doesn't run then neither does Massachusetts. Charlie Baker was left with no other choice.


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Simma Holt, R.I.P.

By on 1.26.15 | 1:29PM

Canadian journalist, activist and former MP Simma Holt passed away on Friday at the age of 92.

Holt began her journalism career with The Vancouver Sun in 1944 where she developed a reputation as a tough investigative reporterand would remain there for 30 years until she was elected to Canada's House of Commons as a Liberal in the 1974 federal election becoming the first Jewish woman ever elected to Parliament. However, she would lose her seat in the 1979 election to Ian Waddell of the NDP and would lose to Waddell again in a rematch during the 1980 election.

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Obama Takes On Oil Drilling From Giant Jet

By on 1.26.15 | 12:33PM

I don't remember the last time I heard the term "ANWR" - the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge - before this weekend. I think I recall some controversy over it during the Bush Administration, around the same time Jennifer Lopez divorced her second husband, and then there was the time Sarah Palin declared that the caribou would be just as happy toddling around oil rigs as they are currently. But before Barack Obama declared that America's highest priority this week is to preseve the pristine Alaskan wildnerness from the mere prospect of economic stimulation, the issue had lain dormant for approximately my entire adult life.

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