The Spectacle Blog

Fatwah For Dollars

By on 2.17.06 | 10:15AM

Danish cartoonists, this is your life -- worth $25,000 and a car. No indication of whether Pakistani "prayer leader" Mohammed Yousaf Qureshi will spring for an auto fresh off the lot. And why would he, when "a local jewelers' association" goes beyond the call of matching funds with their own blood money donation of a cool million?

This unreal barbarism has no need to sweat the details: the AP reports quite drily that no "representative of the association was available to confirm it had made the offer." Even better, "Qureshi did not name any cartoonist in his announcement. He did not appear aware that 12 different people had drawn the pictures" -- and who, indeed, need draw distinctions between individuals, when an a la carte jihad is at stake?

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Noonan’s Noodling

By on 2.17.06 | 9:51AM

This isn't the first time Peggy Noonan has written an odd column. Recall that after the funeral of Ronald Reagan, she used the Wall Street Journal to write a bitter screed that served as payback to former White House and Presidential speechwriting colleagues for real and imagined slights.

Quite a few presidential speechwriters over the years have used media opportunities to burnish their own images, but Noonan is perhaps the most aggressive at it. Word in the White House is that while she may have helped the Bush campaign, she has very little contact with current White House staff, and they question her sources and access.

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Saddam tapes; nukes, DNI, patience, much more

By on 2.17.06 | 9:13AM

Best source on translation of Saddam tapes to be played and analyzed at CrystalCity intelligencesummit.org points to parts of the tapes discussing nuclear weapons capability.  No details.  Never before heard material, all new to veteran, experienced, well-traveled weapons inspectors.

DNI Negroponte remarks of the intelligencesummit.org tapes, nothing new: yet DNI does not have a translation of the material to comment upon: DNI is either guessing or spinning or both: and DNI shows a peculiar impatience to reach a conclusion that DNI has not earned.  Regret to observe the lack of translators and focus in USG.

I am recommending patience.  These are early days.  Arabic speakers will now get hold of the first available material and start to pull it apart.

More coming soon, this weekend, in major media.  Transcripts, pull quotes, scary details.

Much more coming.  Do not choose sides.  Wait, listen, study.

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Peggy’s Ripples

By on 2.17.06 | 8:51AM

The problem with Peggy Noonan's bizarre, rambling column yesterday is that when she floats the idea of Cheney's ouster in the Wall Street Journal, it's not just one woman's ramblings in a local paper. Her idle, factless speculation rests on her laurels and the reputation of her publication. And to at least the left and the media, if not the rest of the country, that counts for a great deal. So it's no surprise that Howie Kurtz leads with her column today:

What did surprise me was this Peggy Noonan column in the Wall Street Journal. She, after all, is a former Reagan and Bush White House speechwriter who took a leave in 2004 to work for the president's reelection. But here she is putting into play the question of not only whether Cheney is damaged goods but whether he might have to pack his bags...

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Re: Stretching the Definition

By on 2.16.06 | 4:58PM

Bloomberg scoffed yesterday in response to that New York Observer article. The AP reporter writes that the Observer's primary source "enjoys winking at the rumor as one of his favorite reporter-torturing devices."

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Orange Necktie Day

By on 2.16.06 | 2:07PM

I hereby declare tomorrow Orange Necktie Day. Every guy who wants to show his support for the Veep should wear an orange (preferably "target orange") necktie. This doesn't exclude you, ladies. Orange scarves are in order.

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Re: Stretching the Definition

By on 2.16.06 | 1:50PM

John, The best part is Bloomberg's aide's comment to the reporter, "Still not ready to discuss the strategy for the early primary states." There's several carts before horses here: you need an overall strategy before you have one for early primary states; you have to be a serious candidate to have an overall strategy; your candidacy needs a snowball's chance in hell before you're a serious candidate. Of course, these points are all debatable, but suffice it to say this Sheekey's way out ahead of himself. If Bloomberg ever wants to have a chance or gets serious, he might consider getting rid of his deputy mayor.

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Stretching the Definition of “Sane”

By on 2.16.06 | 12:58PM

Every once in a while you get a glimpse of how remarkably out of touch New York City's elites can be with national politics. The latest example: presidential buzz for Nurse Bloomberg, stoked by a longtime aide. Lunacy.

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Yeah, We Totally Hang Out all the Time!

By on 2.16.06 | 12:35PM

Jack Abramoff was reportedly fond of boasting about his ties to Karl Rove. Noam Scheiber, no friend of the Bush administration, is appropriately skeptical when it comes to Abramoff's word.

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Such a Winter’s Day

By on 2.16.06 | 12:19PM

The best part of being away from Washington is being away from Washington. Here in Santa Barbara I learn of problems even the White House press corps wouldn't blame on Dick Cheney. There is movement afoot in northern Santa Barbara County to split off and form a new (Mission) county. Or at least to relocate major county offices to Santa Maria, which, ever since the Michael Jackson trial and a housing boom fueled by prices more affordable than Santa Barbara's highest in the nation, is feeling its oats and no longer wants to be seen as a country backwater.

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