The Spectacle Blog

Thoughts for Veterans Day/Remembrance Day 2015

By on 11.11.15 | 1:06PM

I would be remiss if I didn't share a few thoughts on this Veterans Day/Remembrance Day. Although I have now lived in this country for more than 15 years, I am still accustomed to calling November 11th Remembrance Day which is the term used to signify this day in Canada and throughout the British Commonwealth.

If you should ever find yourself in Canada in early November you will see people wearing poppies. The poppies refer to the poppies Dr. John McRae described in his poem "In Flanders Fields". Although I did see someone wear a poppy the other day, it is a tradition that has never caught on down here. But poppies or no poppies, Americans honor our military because we implicitly understand that our military is the most important organization on earth. Without it, there would be no liberty here or abroad.

Fox Business Channel GOP Main Debate Post-Mortem

By on 11.10.15 | 11:56PM

The GOP main debate which aired on the Fox Business Channel has finally concluded in Milwaukee and here is my post-mortem of said debate.

Before I evaluate each of the candidates, let me note the moderators on the Fox Business Channel did a much better job than the CNBC moderators late last month, notwithstanding Maria Bartiromo's question to Marco Rubio about Hillary's "excellent résumé."

Rand Paul - He did land a punch against Donald Trump when he pointed out that TPP did not include China and also made a good case as to why Congress shouldn't cede power to the President where it concerns fast track negotiation of trade deals. But he fared far worse against Marco Rubio when he challenged his child tax credit plan and against Carly Fiorina on Russian involvement in Syria and Ted Cruz on military spending. His penny pinching ways on military spending will simply not resonate with Republican audiences.

Fox Business Channel GOP Undercard Debate Post-Mortem

By on 11.10.15 | 8:40PM

I have just finished live tweeting the GOP undercard debate which aired on FOX Business Channel and here is my post-mortem.

Rick Santorum - When the former Pennsylvania GOP Senator wasn't partying like it was 1995, he was shouting in the microphone likely causing permanent hearing damage to some poor tech guy. 

Mike Huckabee - The former Arkansas governor was his usual affable self and had a very good line about Congress reforming the VA if Congress were to have VA health care. He also drew laughter when he said that he heard Fed Chairman Janet Yellen's name he thought of his wife Janet because she does a lot of yellin'. Huckabee called for Yellen, not his wife, to be replaced as Fed Chairman. Despite this I suspect Huckabee might be permanently consigned to the second-tier.

Follow Us at #GOPDebate for Tonight’s Debate on Fox Business Channel

By on 11.10.15 | 4:29PM

If you are planning to watch tonight's GOP Debate on Fox Business Channel you can follow me, Emily and perhaps a few other AmSpec folks on Twitter at #GOPDebate.

The undercard debate featuring Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee (with the latter two having been recently demoted) commences at 7 p.m. EST while the main debate featuring Dr. Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Rand Paul commences at 9 p.m. EST.

After each debate, I will write up a post-mortem summarizing my observations for the evening.

I predict that the Fox Business Channel will do a much better job than CNBC. It should be easy given how low CNBC set the bar.

Clinton Laughs Hysterically at Thought of Carly Fiorina Being Strangled

By on 11.10.15 | 2:48PM

What would you do if a man in the audience of your Democractic Presidential forum stood up and threatened violence against another female candidate, albeit an opponent? 

If you're Crusader for All Women Hillary Clinton, the answer is, apparently, laugh hysterically and crack a joke about wanting to "avoid" the questioner. Because violence against women Republicans is downright hiiiiilarious...right?

That's classy. That is most definitely classy.

What Ex-Mizzou President Tim Wolfe Should Have Done Instead of Resigning

By on 11.10.15 | 12:13PM

Both William Murchison and Debra Saunders have covered considerable ground today concerning the debacle at the University of Missouri which forced its President Tim Wolfe to resign yesterday after its football team refused to take the field as long as Wolfe remained at the helm amid what they viewed as his insufficient response to several racial incidents on campus.

I would only add that instead of resigning, Wolfe should have said to the football team, "You refuse to play. Fine. All students who are on the team by way of athletic scholarship are suspended effective immediately. In exchange for playing for football, we pay your tuition. Therefore all football players who refuse to take the field are in breach of their contract. The suspension will be lifted if you return to the team by the end of the week. Failure to comply will result in the revocation of your scholarship."

Jeb Bush Would Totally Kill Baby Hitler

By on 11.10.15 | 11:41AM

In case you were wondering, if Jeb Bush were given the power of time travel and ended up seeing Adolf Hitler while the latter was still in infancy, Jeb Bush would not have a second thought about snuffing out the future dictator and mass murderer

“Hell yeah, I would!” the former Florida governor told HuffPost. “You gotta step up, man.”

The question initially arose when The New York Times Magazine polled its readers last month and found that a plurality of respondents said they would, in fact, kill Hitler as a baby.

Bush was then asked the question directly via the email address that he distributes widely to public audiences: But he did not answer the inquiry until asked on camera by HuffPost, while riding on his campaign bus in New Hampshire.

Bush did acknowledge that murdering the future German dictator before he had the chance to ignite World War II would be an act that could set in motion unknown consequences.

Tommy Hanson, R.I.P.

By on 11.10.15 | 11:09AM

Former major league pitcher Tommy Hanson died suddenly of catastrophic organ failure last night after experiencing trouble breathing on Sunday and eventually falling into a coma. What caused this organ failure has yet to be determined. He was 29.

Although the Atlanta Braves drafted him in the 22nd round of the 2005 draft, he would rise through their organization after making a splash in the Arizona Fall League in 2008 would make his big league debut in 2009.  He would win his first four big league decisions including back to back win against the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. Hanson went 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA in 21 starts during the 2009 season and would finish third in NL Rookie of the Year balloting behind Miami Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher J.A. Happ.

Allen Toussaint, R.I.P.

By on 11.10.15 | 10:35AM

Singer, songwriter, pianist and producer Allen Toussaint passed away on Sunday of a heart attack following a concert in Madrid, Spain. He was 77.

Toussaint was a New Orleans musical legend whose career spanned 60 years. He wrote songs that were covered by hundreds of artists including "Southern Nights" (Glen Campbell), "Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)" (Three Dog Night), "Working in a Coal Mine" (Lee Dorsey), "Mother-in-Law" (Ernie K. Doe) and "Fortune Teller" (The Rolling Stones). His influence on rock 'n roll cannot be underestimated.

Have a listen to "Southern Nights". You can understand why Glen Campbell and so many other musicians were so eager to record the music of Allen Toussaint.

Burma’s Elections Should Be Greeted with a Guarded Optimism

By on 11.9.15 | 5:02PM

Elections in Burma are taking place and it appears that Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy is going to win by a landslide with the ruling Union Solidarity & Development Party conceding defeat.

But I must place emphasis on the word appears. After all, the NLD won the last multi-party election in 1990 convincingly and the military junta refused to recognize the results. Dictatorships are by their very nature arbitrary and capricious. What is to prevent the junta from doing the same this time and placing Suu Kyi back under house arrest? Who would stop them?

It is true that Thein Sein, the current military ruler, is light years ahead of his predecessor, Than Shwe especially where it concerns his relations with Suu Kyi. General Shwe forbade the mention of Suu Kyi's name. As long as he remained in power this election would have been inconceivable.