The Spectacle Blog

Libya’s Not Dead Yet

By on 8.1.14 | 12:27PM

Libya's post-intervention history has been so bleak that it is being compared to Iraq and cited as proof that American interventions make things worse. But that is probably a hasty judgment.

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CIS’ Misleading Analysis of Border Bill

By on 8.1.14 | 8:20AM

Perhaps the most influential anti-immigration think-tank in the United States is the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). Their analysis of the Protect the Southwest Border Act of 2014 (H.R. 5230) is making its way around the Internet with everyone from National Review to commenters on these pages parroting its findings.

It seems clear that many of those on the right who object to the bill are relying on the CIS analysis, but have not actually read the bill themselves.

I have read sections of the bill, particularly sections which I see conservatives frequently objecting to, and find the CIS analysis misleading.

As writing long analyses of legislation is not my idea of a good time, I will focus on a few narrow points where I believe conservatives are being misled by CIS.

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Red Sox Clean House; Did the Rays Pay Too High a Price?

By on 7.31.14 | 6:33PM

The Red Sox weren't done dealing after sending Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes.

Boston traded starting pitcher John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals for outfielder/first baseman Allen Craig and pitcher Joe Kelly. They then sent lefty reliever Andrew Miller to the Baltimore Orioles for a minor leaguer. If that wasn't enough they even made a trade with the Yankees dealing shortstop Stephen Drew to New York for the versatile Kelly Johnson. Let's not forget that Boston sent lefty Felix Doubront to the Chicago Cubs yesterday for a player to be named later.

Throw in the Peavy deal and in less than a week the Red Sox have traded away nearly a third of their roster. The Red Sox will have a very different lineup when they take run on the Fenway Park tomorrow night against the Yankees. Their rotation is now Clay Buchholz, Rubby de la Rosa, Brandon Workman, Allen Webster and Kelly. 

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Cold War II? World War III?

By on 7.31.14 | 4:54PM

A reporter asked President Obama on Tuesday if ratcheted sanctions placed on Russia by America and the EU marked “a new Cold War.” The United Kingdom’s Common Defense Committee said Thursday that NATO is unprepared for further aggression from Russia. Roger Cohen of the New York Times has explained in the Atlantic why World War III is not so unimaginable after all. It has become apparent that Eastern Europe is unstable, and in a world knit tightly together by technology and treaties, that instability may prove for everyone inescapable.

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Scott Walker Wins Wisconsin Ruling

By on 7.31.14 | 1:42PM

With a five-to-two ruling today by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Governor Scott Walker won a major battle against the long-entrenched unions in his state. After a knock-out fight against a stubborn Democratic minority in the state assembly, during which assembly members pulled the ultimate media stunt and fled the state in protest, the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld Walker’s union law.

The 2011 law, which led to massive pro-union protests and a failed recall attempt, reached the state’s highest court after being upheld in appeals court twice. According to the opinion:

"No matter the limitations or 'burdens' a legislative enactment places on the collective bargaining process, collective bargaining remains a creation of legislative grace and not constitutional obligation," Justice Michael Gableman wrote for the majority.

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Michael Walzer Lectures Israel About Civilian Casualties in Gaza

By on 7.31.14 | 11:49AM

In early 2002, only months after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Michael Walzer penned an article in the socialist quarterly Dissent which asked, "Can There Be a Decent Left?"

Walzer answers his question in the negative in a piece written forThe New Republic concerning Israel's Operation Protective Edge. While Walzer does describe Hamas as "an awful organization and deserves all its trouble", he unhesitatingly places the Netanyahu government on the same moral plane as Hamas:

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Finally Some Good News From Iraq

By on 7.31.14 | 11:39AM

The Iraqi Sunnis who live under ISIS control may be preparing for a second "Sunni Awakening" after ISIS destroyed a treasured site of Mosul's religious heritage.

ISIS concluded a recent campaign of destruction by bombing a shrine at the tomb of the prophet Jonah. Jonah was revered by Christians, Shias, and Sunnis alike, and the tomb's public bombing has triggered a resistance campaign among Sunnis, according to the AFP. A group of students, businessmen, and young professionals have been joining Kataeb al-Mosul, the Mosul Brigades, to fight against ISIS. The group received both a new spirit and a new name with the bombing of the ancient tomb—the Nabi Yunus Army, after the prophet Jonah. 

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Red Sox Trade Lester to Oakland for Cespedes

By on 7.31.14 | 11:01AM

Big trade deadline news. It has been reported that the Boston Red Sox have traded ace lefthander Jon Lester along with outfielder Jonny Gomes to the Oakland A's for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.

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Taxing Tea is Un-American; So is Taxing Soda

By on 7.31.14 | 10:57AM

Well-meaning though it may be, the federal government can never replace human responsibility and relationships. The New York Times ran an opinion piece Tuesday titled “Introducing the National Soda Tax.” Apparently Michael Bloomberg’s hope to ban big sodas lacked scope, and only a countrywide tax on the sale of saccharine swill will save us from ourselves. It’s an asinine abandonment of governmental first principles.

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How to Get Information Out of the EPA

By on 7.30.14 | 5:18PM

In January 2012, I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Environmental Protection Agency asking for copies of correspondence between the EPA and various green groups active in the Marcellus Shale region. The request was filed on behalf of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, the parent company of Watchdog.org. The FOIA asked the agency to provide us with “any discussion and correspondence with outside groups that concerns potential regulatory action that would impact the fracking process.”

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