The Spectacle Blog

Re: The Music of America

By on 8.24.06 | 2:10PM

Just finished the article "The Music of America" by Roger Scruton, who is a great favorite of mine. Two comments, coming from me, some authority, too, as author of The Rock and Roll Songwriter's Handbook (Scholastics, 1972).

1. What he said. Yeah.

2. Scruton uses the phrase "The great American songbook," seeming to attribute its origin to Terry Teachout. The citation isn't precise; perhaps Teachout makes no such claim. But I point out that Boston DJ Ron Della Chiessa used it as the title of a regular radio broadcast going back nearly two decades.

Mass Care Not Working Out—Part III

By on 8.24.06 | 1:13PM

The Massachusetts Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector, which is overseeing the implementation of Romney's plan, has decided how much poor people should pay for their health insurance. For some, it could be as much as 6.6% of their income. Naturally, that has the so-called poverty advocates up in arms:

John McDonough, executive director of Health Care For All, said, "The concern is that lots and lots of people under 300% of the poverty level are not walking around with extra money in their pockets."

"Not only are they not walking around with extra money, they are walking around under the crushing burden of debt. They're living paycheck to paycheck."

This, of course, will lead to more pressure for more taxpayer funds for health insurance for the poor.

During all of the debate over health insurance, I never heard anyone talk about the effect of government subsidies. If government's subsidize something like a person's health insurance, then demand for it will increase. When demand increases, well, you know what happens to the price.

JPost: Israel may ‘go it alone’ against Iran

By on 8.24.06 | 11:28AM

According to the Jerusalem Post:

Israel is carefully watching the world's reaction to Iran's continued refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, with some high-level officials arguing it is now clear that when it comes to stopping Iran, Israel "may have to go it alone," The Jerusalem Post has learned.

If it comes to this, let's hope that the Olmert government can do a better job than it did against Hezbollah.

Re: Macaca Madness

By on 8.24.06 | 11:18AM

Philip, you are correct that it is a slur previously unknown. In that Washington Post story you linked to, the photo caption drops any nuance about the word: "Sen. George Allen had called S.R. Sidarth, a staffer of foe James Webb's, a 'macaca,' a racial slur." If you have to look up the word to determine if it is a racial slur in some parts of the world, it probably isn't that offensive.

Macaca Madness

By on 8.24.06 | 10:57AM

What has struck me about this incident is that on the one hand we're to believe that the word "macaca" (which nobody heard of before this month) is a deeply offensive racial slur, yet newspapers have had no trouble using the slur in headlines.

The Washington Post has an editorial today headlined "Senator to 'Macaca: Sorry" a News 7 headline reads, "Allen lead evaporates after 'Macaca' flap," and so on.

If Allen used a term that was actually known as offensive to the general public, I don't think it would be plastered all over the headlines. I can't imagine headlines like: "Allen lead evaporates after 'kike' flap" or, "Senator to 'Kike': Sorry."

I've never been much of a fan of George Allen, because I've generally perceived him as a cookie-cutter politician, and this whole macaca incident reaffirms my view that he isn't ready for prime time. My sense is that Sidarth was sent by Webb to follow Allen around with a video camera in the hopes that he would do something stupid--which he did.

The Inconvenient Truth About Algore

By on 8.24.06 | 10:46AM

Peter Schweizer has a devastating piece up at the San Francisco Chronicle about Al Gore's purportedly carbon-neutral lifestyle.

Here are a couple of revealing sections:

Public records reveal that as Gore lectures Americans on excessive consumption, he and wife Tipper live in two properties: a 10,000-square-foot, 20-room, eight-bathroom home in Nashville, and a 4,000-square-foot home in Arlington, Va. (He also has a third home in Carthage, Tenn.) For someone rallying the planet to pursue a path of extreme personal sacrifice, Gore requires little from himself.

Replying to Wlady on Heather Mac Donald

By on 8.24.06 | 12:34AM

Wlady, you are quite right that Christians would have a different view of historical fact than somebody like Heather Mac Donald has. If not, there would be no such thing as a non-Christian.

However, if I understand her correctly, her key complaint is that Christians make debate and discussion impossible by involving theological ultimacies. I simply think she is wrong about that.

I can talk about the Virgin Birth and she can make the case against it and I can respond. The fact that we can't wrap up a nice agreement in a paper bag doesn't mean this type of dispute is uniquely intractable. I imagine I could have a similarly unresolvable debate with certain people over affirmative action!

Re: More Heather Mac Donald

By on 8.24.06 | 12:19AM

Hunter: When I read this in your latest, "The church has always understood itself to be making a case on evidence that if not true, should result in abandonment of the faith," my mind immediately leapt back to something Ms. Mac Donald recently, though politely, took us to task for. Last Friday, at NRO's Corner, she included this: