The Spectacle Blog

Obama Admin Won’t Issue Visa to Iran’s Ambassador to UN

By on 4.12.14 | 1:35AM

I'm glad that the Obama Administration has seen fit not to issue a visa to Hamid Aboutalebi, Iran's new Ambassador to the UN. Aboutalebi was among those responsible for seizing the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and holding 52 Americans hostage.

I hope this appointment finally convinces the Obama Administration that the Iranian regime has not changed its spots, but this is highly doubtful. There is still every reason to believe the Obama Administration wants to make a deal with Iran. But there are some things that even the Obama Administration isn't prepared to abide in pursuit of that deal. The idea of having a former hostage taker set foot on American soil was a bridge too far. Yet the Obama Administration has no trouble demanding that Israel release Palestinians in jail for murdering Israelis in order to get the Palestinians to the negotiating table. The Obama Administration should not be demanding anything of Israel it would not be prepared to do itself.
Send to Kindle

It’s Obamacare, Not Sebeliuscare

By on 4.12.14 | 1:32AM

A quick thought on the resignation of Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services. While it was nice to finally see an Obama cabinet member fall on their sword for their incompetence and ineptness, nothing much will change in the grand scheme of things. After all it's called Obamacare, not Sebeliuscare. 

While Senate Republicans might very well make a fight of Sylvia Burwell's confirmation, it won't matter much. When things go awry with Obamacare, the President simply issues an executive order and moves on. As long as we have President Obama, we have Obamacare.
Send to Kindle

The Beer Spectator Tries Wheats for Spring

By on 4.11.14 | 4:24PM

Beer appreciation is not linear; it's circular.  First you love beer naively, out of a simple joy.  Then your head gets filled with a bunch of crap about what's "good" and you begin disliking beer out of a blind prejudice.  Finally, you come back to appreciating beer for its own nature. – Jeff Alworth

I reached the third stage of Jeff Alworth’s beervana this week. IPAs trapped me in a room with a painted sunset on the wall. The scent of Cascade hops flowed through the ventilation shafts. Why ever leave?

But then I did. No more would I drink only the quadruple dry-hopped-aroma-hopped time bombs that were manipulating my taste buds.

Wheat beers are out there in the sunny fields. They’re waiting to be tasted!

With my first real taste of this type, I realized what Alworth discovered: beer is beautiful. Not for the hops, nor for the malts; holistically 

Send to Kindle

Eric Holder Oversteps

By on 4.11.14 | 11:51AM

Eric Holder has overstepped his boundaries and the U.S. Sentencing Commission is not pleased.

Last month Holder was invited to the Commission’s meeting regarding a proposed amendment to reduce drug trafficking sentences by two levels. The Commission was not informed, however, that the night before their meeting at around 11 p.m., Holder had already acted.

“[Holder] ordered all of the assistant U.S. attorneys…to argue for the two level reduction…before the commission had acted and before Congress had the opportunity to vote,” Commissioner Ricardo Hinojosa said.

Although the Commission passed the amendment unanimously, Hinojosa said he was “surprised at the attorney general’s steps taken to deal with this reduction outside the legal system.”

Hinojosa explained that the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 gives the Commission the right to suggest and pass sentencing guidelines or amendments to existing guidelines for Congress. Then, Congress has the legal right to discuss, alter, or vote down said suggestions.

Send to Kindle

Morning Round-Up 4-11

By on 4.11.14 | 10:15AM

Send to Kindle

Louisiana GOP to Sex Scandal Congressman: Resign, Hypocrite!

By on 4.10.14 | 1:27PM

The chairman of the Louisiana GOP today called for the resignation of Rep. Vance McAllister, saying the Republican congressman's sex scandal exposed "extreme hypocrisy."

A video released this week showed McAllister, who is married and has five children, kissing a married female staffer. The staffer's husband has said his marriage was destroyed by his wife's affair with the congressman. McAllister won a special election last year to fill the seat vacated by former Rep. Rodney Alexander's appointment to a state office under Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration.

The statement issued Thursday morning by Roger Villere, chairman of the Republican Party of Louisiana:

Send to Kindle

Committee Votes to Hold Lois Lerner in Contempt

By on 4.10.14 | 1:24PM

The House Oversight Committee has voted to hold Lois Lerner in contempt 21-12.

After repeatedly pleading the Fifth upon declaring her innocence and refusing to aid in the committee’s investigations, Lerner will be held in contempt of Congress.

Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings, the committee's ranking member, declared that the vote was a challenge to citizens’ rights and that the founding fathers were not about a “gotcha type of system.” He added that he was thinking about his “children’s children” and how he and his colleagues will be viewed in the future.

Congressman Trey Gowdy responded that the American people also have rights, which they, unlike Lerner, did not waive by declaring themselves innocent in front of a congressional committee.

Chairman Darrell Issa stated that “refusal to testify and being held in contempt can be resolved by testifying.” He said all he wants is the truth.

“We’d like to know the other half of the story,” he added.

Send to Kindle

Artists Don’t Owe You Anything

By on 4.10.14 | 11:20AM

Popular works of entertainment, be they mutant teenagers flying across the big screen or young heroines flourishing in post-apocalyptic scenarios on the printed page, are subject to endless criticism. Richard Roeper has made a career doing this very thing.

However, in the age of the Internet, a new form of criticism has emerged. I call it Goldilocks syndrome. This is defined as criticizing art based on the critic’s view of what the art should be. In other words, this porridge is too hot (based on what? Your subjective tastes? What about the creator’s desire for the porridge?) or this porridge is too cold. True evaluation of art has to take the work on its own terms in its own context. Another way of phrasing this would be to ask the question: "What was the artist’s goal in creating this work and how well did he achieve it?"

Send to Kindle

Morning Round-Up 4-10

By on 4.10.14 | 10:06AM

Feature of the Day: Can You Identify These Cities From Their Light Signatures?

Morning Headlines

Domestic                                                          

Associated Press

  1. Police Seek Motive of School Stabbing Rampage

Politico

Send to Kindle

Pages