The Spectacle Blog

Taxing Our Memory

By on 9.22.06 | 2:22PM

Yeah, I know -- I'm reading The New York Times too much. But today they also report on President Bush's (and Republicans') new election season offensive against Democrats on taxes, after weeks of focusing on national defense and terror. The emphasis: if Dems get control of Congress, taxes go up.

Many Democrats are on record calling for some or all of Mr. Bush's tax cuts to be rolled back, especially those benefiting the wealthiest taxpayers.

But Democrats said that Republicans were distorting Democratic positions on taxes affecting the middle class and that by this point, Republican attacks on tax cuts had become so familiar to voters that they would not have much effect.

"Our candidates have all announced they're for middle-class tax proposals," said Representative Rahm Emanuel, Democrat of Illinois, who is leading the Democratic effort to take back the House.

Jesus and Mao

By on 9.22.06 | 12:45PM

The new documentary "Jesus Camp" is the second by filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady "to explore the molding of young minds," reports Stephen Holden in The New York Times' review of the film. Having watched the trailer (see below), it appears to be a skillfully shot and edited piece of propaganda designed to paint the entirety of evangelical Christianity as raving lunatics thirsting for power at all costs. In fact, the film was so effective it led Holden to this conclusion:

The Deal on Torture

By on 9.22.06 | 11:04AM

Jed Babbin says the compromise is "a near-total win for the White House" unless "the House-Senate conference mucks it up again."

Meanwhile, the NY Times quotes Sen. Lindsay Graham on water-boarding: "It is a technique that we need to let the world know we are no longer engaging in."

Wars and Christendom

By on 9.22.06 | 10:54AM

Kevin Drum takes issue with another part of the Krauthammer column I linked to below. In his column, Krauthammer gave some examples of Christians fighting religious wars, and correctly noted, "However, the inconvenient truth is that after centuries of religious wars, Christendom long ago gave it up."

Drum reacts:

It's this kind of blithe, self-congratulatory nonsense that makes me wonder where the "clash of civilizations" crowd parks their brains. Cleverly, Krauthammer restricts himself here to "religious wars," and it's true that Christendom hasn't had a genuine religious war in quite a while. But Christendom sure as hell hasn't given up on war - not among ourselves, and not against others. Just to name a few, and just to stay within the past few decades, we have Iraq, Kosovo, Bosnia, Nicaragua, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Algeria, Cuba, Malaysia, Suez, Iraq again, Greece, and Germany. And it would be easy to add a dozen more if I felt like it.

Wrong To Bear Armitage?

By on 9.22.06 | 10:52AM

He's back with another, er, bombshell. On behalf of -- as CNN puts it -- "bully" America, Armitage is alleged to have threatened "ally" Pakistan with stone-age destruction after 9/11! (Armitage denies the allegation. In so many words. At present.) But how did Pakistan wind up as such a reliable ally anyway? My take on the incredible truth here.

Islamism and the Pope

By on 9.22.06 | 9:48AM

Charles Krauthammer puts it well:

In today's world, religious sensitivity is a one-way street. The rules of the road are enforced by Islamic mobs and abjectly followed by Western media, politicians and religious leaders.

This war against Islamic fanaticism must be fought on many fronts, and the cultural and intellectual realm is one of them. When the free world capitulated to Muslim mobs after the Danish cartoon furor, and when the Pope was forced to apologize for his comments about violence in Islam, it was just as much of a defeat for civilization as a loss on an actual battlefield.

A Ryder Cup strategy

By on 9.22.06 | 9:31AM

Occurs to me that some future captain might want to put together a team of fearsome-looking, tough-guy golfers for the sake of intimidation. A current squad from the U.S. PGA Tour might include Hank Kuehne, Bill Glasson, Frank Lickliter, Jim Furyk, Chris DiMarco, David Duval, Marco Dawson, and Tommy Armour III. As I scan the PGA Tour money list, looking for plug-uglies, there's a problem, however: Golf seems to self-select for a certain attractiveness. And many golfers who might look scary, like Jason Gore, spoil the effect by smiling all the time.

Re: Health Care Stats

By on 9.22.06 | 7:10AM

David, I don't remember where I read this, but it appears U.S. infant mortality figures look a little high because our docs save more babies in the birth process -- babies that would not have even made it to term in other countries, and would not have figured in other countries' infant mortality stats.

Apparently Harkin Didn’t Get the Memo

By on 9.21.06 | 8:57PM

Regarding Democratic talking points on Chavez, apparently Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin didn't get the "don't attack our president" message that Pelosi and Rangel harmonized on earlier today:

"I thought they were incendiary comments, certainly," Harkin said, adding, "Let me put it this way: I can understand the frustration and the anger of certain people around the world because of George Bush's policies."

Harkin, also said immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, every country in the world, including Venezuela, supported the United States.

"Just think - in five years, President Bush has squandered all that, just totally, totally squandered it all," Harkin said. "I can understand the anger and frustration of a lot of poor people around the world, who see us the richest country in the world putting $350 billion in a war, unnecessary, unprovoked war in Iraq and yet they can't get clean water."