The Spectacle Blog

Cries of Islamophobia Follow Sydney Terror Attack

By on 12.15.14 | 12:26PM

At this hour, it is unclear how many people died during the Sydney terror attack.

But cries of Islamophobia are alive and well. Take this item:

ANTI-ISLAMIC sentiment has flooded social media in the wake of the Sydney siege, but there is a campaign gathering steam that will restore your faith in humanity.

A Twitter movement, #illridewithyou, has sprouted with everyday Australians offering to ride on buses and trains with Muslims, or give them a lift to work tomorrow, in order to keep them safe.

While the report goes on to show tweets in support of the #illridewithyou campaign, the report does not show any of the so-called "anti-Islamic sentiment" that "has flooded social media" as a result of the Sydney terror attack, much less reported any violence against Australian Muslims.

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Sydney Terrorist is “Self-Styled” Iranian Sheik Out on Bail

By on 12.15.14 | 12:04PM

There was some consternation on Twitter yesterday about the validity of the Sydney "lone wolf" terrorist's allegiances. Twitter could not figure out whether he was holding hostages in a chocolate shop because he was "legitimately" part of ISIS, or whether he just happend to get bad service and was merely fed up with the holiday season and taking it out on corporate chocolate hegemony. After all, social media couldn't tell if he had a real ISIS flag of just the slightly-less-threatening "Shahada flag," an "expression of Islamic faith." Considering he was taking hostages, that argument was basically splitting hairs, but it takes a lot for the media to speak with authority on religions these days. Or something. 

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ISIS Beheads Four Iraqi Children for Refusing to Convert to Islam

By on 12.15.14 | 10:49AM

Four Iraqi children under the age of 15 were recently beheaded by ISIS for refusing to Islam.

The children were affiliated with Iraq's lone Anglican church. Canon Andrew White, known as "The Vicar of Baghdad" until he was forced to flee to Israel in October, recounted the story in an interview with the Orthodox Christian Network:

Islamic State turned up and said to the children, “you say the words that you will follow Mohammad”’, he said, his voice cracking with emotion.

‘The children, all under 15, four of them, said “no, we love Yesua; we have always loved Yesua; we have always followed Yesua; Yesua has always been with us”.

‘They [ISIS] said, “Say the words.” They [the children] said, “No, we can't”.

‘They chopped all their heads off. How do you respond to that? You just cry.

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Hostages Held in Sydney Cafe; Captives Forced to Hold Islamic Flag - UPDATED

By on 12.14.14 | 11:21PM

At this hour, a gunman has taken at least 13 people hostage in a Sydney cafe. The gunman has forced several of the captives to hold a black Islamic flag, possibly an ISIS flag.

Hopefully authorities can bring the hostages to safety and detain the gunman. That might be difficult if the gunman is on a suicide mision and plans to take as many people with him as he can. 

UPDATE: The standoff continues, but five of the hostages managed to escape. The gunman claims he has bombs distributed throughout the city and is demanding an ISIS flag and a phone call from Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

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All Dogs Go to Heaven

By on 12.12.14 | 10:51PM

I don’t know about you, but I was delighted by Pope Francis’ statement (not ex cathedra) that dogs go to Heaven. It just seemed so right. Especially since he didn’t mention cats. I kept thinking about Christ’s promise that whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven. (Sounds even better in the original Latin.)

I think most people must have smiled at this. Many would have recalled how the first St. Francis loved animals, and how they are blessed at church. Is anything more faithful and loving than one’s dog?

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Michele Bachmann Wished Barack Obama a Merry Christmas And Told HIm to Bomb Iran

By on 12.12.14 | 3:48PM

When you get an invitation as rare as an invitation to a White House Christmas Party (even if you're a member of Congress, who gets one every year), you need to make your few seconds with the President count by making your deepest Christmas wishes known, just like you did when you were forced to sit on a mall Santa's lap for an awkward photo in your formative years. And Michele Bachmann, who will retire from Congress this year after a career of dedicated service to our country, decided to do exactly that this year, when she had the President's ear for a brief time after her family took a photo with him.

All Michele Bachmann wants for Christmas, it turns out, is to bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R., Minn.) knew the White House Christmas party this week would be her last chance as a member of Congress to speak directly to President Obama. She didn’t waste the opportunity.

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In Defense of Charles Severance

By on 12.12.14 | 11:25AM

If you don’t live in my area, you don’t know who Charles Severance is. But in Alexandria, Virginia, he’s notorious as the man charged with three murders in my town over the last couple of years. Just five miles south of the White House, Alexandria is the southern hub of the Acela corridor, a very rich and highly educated town of 130,000 people, the hometown of George Washington and Robert E. Lee. It’s also the home of a serial killer.

Alexandria is a highly liberal town that went 71 percent for Obama in 2012. City council is a collection of trendy, no-enemies-on-the-left, very minor league politicos, and our dysfunctional city hall is staffed with an ambitious mayor’s cronies. But then why should my town be any different from a score of liberal cities in America?

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US Government Wants to Keep You Out Of Comfortable Boxers

By on 12.11.14 | 2:20PM

As I am a woman, I cannot effectively comment on the pros and cons of various forms of men's underwear and their comparative comfort levels. I understand that each type has its merits, and that men are frequently disposed to discussing them in great detail at cocktail parties, but given that women are frequently enticed to purchase underwear that consists of little more than a triangle of cheap fabric held in place by unreliable strings, I do not feel much sympathy in regard to this particular male conundrum.

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Sony Hack Reveals Sony Executives are Kind of Racist UPDATE: Apologies Issued

By on 12.11.14 | 1:50PM

Sony Pictures Entertainment was the victim of a very serious hack last week, possibly originating from North Korea (though North Korea denies it and the technological prowess necessary to bypass the kind of protections on Sony's archives would imply hackers whose nations have evolved beyond the Bronze Age). The attack exposed a number of Sony's upcoming pictures, Sony employees' personal details, thousands of emails between Sony employees and executives, and a teensy bit of abject racism on the part of Sony Entertainment bigwigs.

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Red Sox Trade Cespedes to Tigers for Porcello; Acquire Miley from Arizona - UPDATED

By on 12.11.14 | 1:26PM

With the Boston Red Sox having lost out on the second coming of Jon Lester, have added two starting pitchers, but one of them came at a considerable price.

Today, the Sox acquired Rick Porcello from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Porcello did have an outstanding season in 2014 going 15-13 with a 3.43 ERA and led the AL with three shutouts. Porcello, who turns 26 later this month, enters the 2015 season with a record of 76-63 with a 4.30 ERA in six seasons in Detroit.

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