The Spectacle Blog

Guns of August?

By on 1.12.06 | 2:23PM

Guns of August, 1939? Iran's confrontation with the IAEA over the Natanz nuclear fuel facility has triggered a genuine crisis in the European Union -- a war-worrying, back-stabbing, bush-whacking, America-launch-on-warning crisis. Daniel Dombey, the Financial Times diplomatic correspondent at Brussels, told me last night that the definition of a crisis is when there is no acceptable solution. EU Foreign Secretary Javier Solana is talking like a Texas cowboy. Line in the sand. Britain's Straw, Germany's Steinmeyer, France's Douste-Blazy, meeting in heated, whispery emergency session in this news cycle, have declared talks with Iran at a "dead end." Russia also shows profound frustration and confusion with Iran's adamancy, and the opaque RU foreign secretary Lavrov has signaled support for the EU crowd's aim to refer Iran to the UN Security Council.

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Shadegg Shagging It

By on 1.12.06 | 1:33PM

Word is out that Rep. John Shadegg has decided not to seek the Majority Leader's position.

It will be interesting to see whom he endorses, or whether he uses his higher visibility to create a critical block of votes to barter with.

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The Real Radicals

By on 1.12.06 | 1:17PM

It is ironic to hear the Concerned Alumni of Princeton today in the Kultursmog described as "radical." The organizations of the late 1960s and early 1970s that were described as radical were on the left and had the sympathies of liberals such as Senator Kennedy. What they did was more robust than anything the Concerned Alumni is accused of doing. They bombed buildings and robbed banks. In fact at Princeton they destroyed the ROTC Building, thus arousing the alarm of students such as Alito. Yet today his organization is being called radical in the media. And what are the left-wing bombers called, if they are remembered at all? Urban renewers?

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Democratic Wish List

By on 1.12.06 | 11:40AM

Democrats in the House, speaking privately, say that they have a clear favorite in the House Majority Leader race: Roy Blunt.

"We can run against him nationally, no problem," says one Democratic member from a Blue Dog state. "Boehner presents a bit more of a challenge, but not much more."

Regardless of who is elected on the Republican side, though, the tempest across the aisle seems to have emboldened Democrats to look at their own leadership. The Democrats say that regardless of where Republicans go with their leadership, and regardless of how their party fares in the mid-term elections, there is a sense inside their caucus that they will change leaders, too.

"Nancy Pelosi is a goner," says another Democrat. "I look forward to the day when I can call Steny Hoyer my majority leader. Or minority leader."

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Lindsay Graham and Mrs. Alito

By on 1.12.06 | 11:39AM

Human Events reports that the AP got the story of Mrs. Alito crying wrong, that she began crying at Sen. Lindsay Graham's apology for the Democrats' behavior, not at his "are you a closet bigot" question. No matter. In his defense or not, Graham's question was ridiculous and offensive.

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Shagging Shadegg

By on 1.12.06 | 11:33AM

The boys over at RedState are now officially pushing the candidacy of Rep. John Shadegg for Republican Majority Leader in the House.

Shadegg has been speaking a bit more in the past couple of days, talking about his consultation with his fellow members. But we're hearing that Shadegg intends to make a formal annoucement within the next 24 hours.

Supporters of both current candidates for the job -- Reps. John Boehner and Roy Blunt -- have been speaking with Shadegg since Monday in an attempt to head him off from entering the race. It isn't clear that either man would lose a huge number of commitments to Shadegg, but probably enough to make their own election a bit more questionable.

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EU-3 Call Emergency IAEA Meeting

By on 1.12.06 | 11:29AM

Germany, France and England have called for an emergency meeting of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency to consider Iran's reopening of its Natanz nuclear facility. This is the prelude to bringing Iran before the Security Council for sanctions. This is good news and bad. The EUnuchs say they realize that their diplomacy with Iran has failed. But their remedy is to try more diplomacy in another forum. This will tie up the effort to defeat Iran's nuclear weapons plans in the UN for months or years. In that time, Iran will almost certainly achieve their ambition to have, and be able to manufacture, nuclear weapons.

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A Breathless House Race Tally

By on 1.12.06 | 11:23AM

For those following the leadership race in the House, The Hill has set up a daily tally page. From what I'm hearing, though, the moment-by-moment coverage of this may be a waste of breath -- until members actually return to town, phone commitments probably don't mean as much as personal commitments. And as we've already seen with the Shadegg entry, the winds can quickly change with a news story in one direction or another.

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Schumer Should Talk

By on 1.12.06 | 10:41AM

A TAS exclusive: Ol' Chuck Schumer is accusing Samuel Alito Jr. of being a bigot? Look at Jay Homnick's piece and find out the truth here.

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