The Spectacle Blog

Washington Post Reporter to Stand Trial in Iran

By on 1.15.15 | 1:03PM

While negotiations between the Obama Administration and Iran (along with the other P5 + 1 nations) have resumed over Iran's nuclear program, Iran has seen fit to put a reporter for The Washington Post on trial.

Iran's state news agency announced that Jason Rezaian, who serves as the Post's Tehran correspondent, will stand trial though they did not disclose the nature of the charges against Rezaian.

Rezaian was arrested back in July along with his wife, Yeganeh Salehi although she was subsequently released in October.

Charges were laid against Rezaian last month. At the time, Secretary of State John Kerry put out the following statement:

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Justin Bieber Crashes CA Log Cabin Republican Meeting

By on 1.15.15 | 12:57PM

Who says Republicans aren't actively attracting the attention of popular culture? 

Well, me. But at least Justin Bieber is interested, for better or worse. Unconcerned that State Social House's private dining area, the Attic, had already been reserved by the Los Angeles chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans for their annual meeting, Justin Bieber waltzed in and chatted away with a small group of friends while the group discussed gay rights and listened to a talk by Ronald Reagan's personal assistant Peggy Grande. 

He prides himself on being something of a hunk - if his latest Calvin Klein shoot is anything to go by.

So Justin Bieber probably won't take too kindly to being mistaken for a girl when he dined out at one of his favourite restaurants this week.

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Thoughts on the 87th Academy Award Nominations UPDATED

By on 1.15.15 | 11:51AM

The nominations for the 87th Annual Academy Awards were announced this morning and the following seven movies were nominated for Best Picture:

American Sniper

Birdman

Boyhood

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Selma

The Theory of Everything

Whiplash

Of the seven movies nominated, I have only seen one - Boyhood. I saw it last August with my brothers in Toronto. None of us liked it all that much. I mean the concept of shooting a film over 12 years is unique. But when the movie ended I felt like 12 years of my life had passed and not in a good way. I simply didn't find the story to be very compelling.

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Oh No! Ted Cruz Was Once Ticketed for an Unopened Case of Beer

By on 1.14.15 | 6:49PM

With a burgeoning primary comes Freedom of Information Act requests, and three reporters at Buzzfeed (three reporters), were apparently tasked with using FOIA to reveal the horrors of Ted Cruz's adolescent years. Pursuant to that mission, they came into possession of Cruz's 2003 application to be Solicitor General of Texas. 

In a shocking revelation from the documents that surprises absolutely no one who spent any fraction of their late teens in the company of other people in their late teens, it turns out Ted Cruz was once ticketed for possessing alcohol as a minor, after a 1987 police stop that revealed an unopened case of cheap beer in his trunk. The Presidential contender then pled guilty to the misdemeanor. And then, decades later, an Internet news organization is utterly scandalized.

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Boston Marathon Bomber’s Lawyers Unsuccessfully Move to Delay Trial Over Charlie Hebdo

By on 1.14.15 | 4:24PM

Lawyers for Dzohkar Tsarnaev, the surviving Boston Marathon bomber, moved to have yet another delay of their client's trial citing the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

However, it is clear that Tsarnaev's attorneys are merely the forestalling the inevitable. Federal judge George A. O'Toole, Jr. was wise to it and denied the motion and jury selection will proceed. The trial is scheduled to begin on January 26th.

Now when I attended the Je Suis Charlie rally in Boston Common on Sunday, the Boston Marathon bombings did come up in a conversation I had with a friend of mine who I had not seen in years. He is a rare breed: a conservative who lives in Cambridge. Anyhow, he told me how his son had attended Cambridge Latin & Rindge with him and knew him slightly. His son would see Tsarnaev at parties and basically described him as a stoner.

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Jimmy Carter Approves of Your Kids Listening to Beyonce

By on 1.14.15 | 4:21PM

Just in case you were wondering, in addition to Jimmy Carter's bewildering comments about France and Israel, he's also expressed some vocal opposition to Mike Huckabee's theory that Beyonce is tearing at the delicate social fabric that joins our proud nation together. According to Jimmy Carter, whose opinions are still surprisingly interesting to the news media despite his disasterous track record on basically everything except running a non-profit (and that includes peanut farming), the Obamas are not terrible parents because they support their daughters' choices in music. 

Because, obviously.

Former President Jimmy Carter defended Barack Obama's parenting skills Wednesday, after former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee expressed dismay that the President would let his teenage daughters listen to singer Beyoncé.

"I think the President is doing a good job," Carter said when TMZ caught up with him to ask about Huckabee's comments.

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Obama Admin & Iran Resume Nuclear Talks

By on 1.14.15 | 3:37PM

Perhaps in an effort to make the world forget about the American absence during Sunday's rally in Paris, Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif have resumed nuclear talks along with the other P5 +1 nations in Geneva.

The parties failed to reach an agreement twice last year. The current deadline is June 30th.

The Obama Administration wants an agreement more than life itself. If the Obama Administration was prepared to drop its demands of Iran not to enrich uranium and dismantle its centrifuges, Lord only knows what they will give in on this time around. Meanwhile, Iran is perfectly happy to string the Obama Administration along. I say no agreement is better than a bad agreement. If Iran does sign a nuclear agreement next summer, it won't mean anything if they've developed a nuclear weapon.

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Mitt Romney and John McCain Join Forces on 2016

By on 1.14.15 | 3:16PM

If there's anything we learned from the foible-ridden Star Wars prequels, it's that you can never have just one Sith Lord. There is always another purveyor of the dark arts lurking in the depths of a shadowy world, training to one day resurface, more powerful than ever, and ready to join with his or her partner to enact swift vengance upon an unsuspecting population.

Among the 2016 Republican Presidential candidates, that unholy alliance has finally emerged.

Mitt Romney placed a phone call to 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain Tuesday, a sign he is attempting to recapture his support before launching another bid.

"He told me he is seriously considering it, and we discussed issues and friendships and things like that," McCain told a scrum of reporters on Capitol Hill. "We had a long conversation. We are very good friends."

McCain wouldn't divulge details of the conversation, but he did say he told Romney he understood wanting to run again for the White House.

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House Passes Bill to Defund Executive Amnesty

By on 1.14.15 | 2:57PM

This is probably so pointless that it's not even worth reporting on, but I suppose there's always that outside chance that apparently surviving an assassination attempt by his former country club bartender could be enough to embolden John Boehner to take on the White House's veto and whip those votes into quick submission. 

Okay, I said it was an outside chance. Anyway.

Today, the House passed a measure that would defund Obama's executive amnesty program, attached to a bill that would fund the Department of Homeland Security through September. The final count was 236 for, 191 against, mostly along party lines but with ten Republicans jumping ship to vote against the bill and two Dems voting in favor.

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A Question for Jimmy Carter Concerning The Safety of Jews in France & Israel

By on 1.14.15 | 10:56AM

In an interview with former President Jimmy Carter earlier this week, Marc Lamont Hill asked him to comment on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's open invitation to French Jews to come live in Israel. Carter responded:

My guess is that the Jews who live in France will maybe not take this as a positive step, and say the only way you can be safe is to go to Israel. I would guess that you may be, on the average, maybe safer in France than some places in Israel, but I’m not trying to make a judgment.

Now why would anyone think Carter was trying to judge Israel? He only blamed the Paris attacks on "the Palestinian problem" during an interview with Jon Stewart on Monday and has now said Israel should be brought before the ICC (along with Hamas) for war crimes.

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