The Spectacle Blog

Dick Van Patten, R.I.P.

By on 6.23.15 | 12:32PM

Actor Dick Van Patten passed away today of complications from diabetes. He was 86.

Van Patten’s acting career spanned 75 years first appearing on Broadway at the age of seven. He was on TV in its very earliest days as a cast member of the CBS TV show Mama,which ran from 1949 to 1957. But he is best remembered for starring in the ABC TV series Eight Is Enough, which aired from 1977 through 1981. In recent years, he made guest appearances on programs like Arrested Development, That ’70s Show,and Hot in Cleveland.

Some of Van Patten's film credits include Charly, Soylent Green,and Dickie Roberts: Child Star. He also appeared in three Mel Brooks movies — High Anxiety, Spaceballs,and Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

He was the older brother of actress Joyce Van Patten and for a time was the brother-in-law of actor Martin Balsam. He was also the half-brother of actor Vince Van Patten and father of actor/tennis and poker player Vince Van Patten.

OPM Hack Affects 18 Million Americans and Counting

By on 6.23.15 | 12:22PM

Remember when the Office of Personnel Management assured us that "only" 4 million or so Americans were ultimately affected by the massive Chinese hack that exposed more private internal systems than a Miley Cyrus Instagram post? 

Yeah, let's just say that they wildly underestimated their own personnel management file system. Even their recent admission, that it could be in the ballpark of 14 million files now in the hands of a coalition of Chinese hackers came in a little low. According to a recent report given to Congress, by FBI Director James Comey and obtained by CNN, the number is actually closer to 18 million, and includes personnel files established for job applicants and profiles of Federal family members, not just regular employees. 

Approximately 18 million Americans reportedly had their personal records compromised when hackers attacked the Office of Personnel Management's databases last year.

In Defense of a Better Taco Emoji, Sort Of

By on 6.23.15 | 11:46AM

There is much sadness among Mexican street food advocates that the "taco emoji" which many of us have waited for with bated breath, will not depict an "authentic" Mexican taco, but rather the kind of meat-lettuce-tomatoes-and-cheese option that Americans have come to consider "tacos" because that's what they can manage to eek out as an order at 2am in a Taco Bell drive-thru after consuming several adult beverages and, perhaps, engaging in some regrettable karaoke.

Not that that's ever happened to me, but you understand.

Anyway, a group of "social justice warriors" have decided to object, tongue-in-cheek, to the Americanized taco emoji in an offbeat effort to encourage Americans to embrace the more authentic taco toppings, including cilantro, onions and the occasional wedge of lime, all settled nicely in a corn tortilla rather than a giant Dorito. 

Leading the First Polls Is…Jeb Bush?

By on 6.22.15 | 5:39PM

I'm just going to call this my Pauline Kael moment

How can 75% of Republicans be willing to vote for Jeb Bush? I don't know a single person who doesn't throw up a little in their mouths just thinking about it.

And yet, America, here we are. In the midst of Jeb-mentum

Three-quarters of GOP primary voters say they could see themselves supporting Mr. Bush or Mr. Rubio, a significantly larger share than for any other contender…

When presented with six election developments that might raise concerns, only 4% of all poll respondents said their top worry was that “too many people from the same families are running as have run in the past,” a concern that might also apply to Democrat Hillary Clinton. The top concern was that “wealthy individuals and corporations will have too much influence over who wins,” a worry expressed more by Democrats than by Republicans…

ISIS Trains Young Boys For Jihad Inside Metal Cage

By on 6.22.15 | 4:00PM

The Islamic State is training young boys to fight jihad inside a massive metal cage, according to a video released by the terror group.

Small groups of young boys are shown fistfighting inside the barrier, dressed in matching grey outfits and black masks. One pulls out a weapon and aims it at another boy, apparently part of a training exercise. An older militant, dressed in camouflage, directs the boys.

Screenshot from Islamic State videoScreenshot from Islamic State video

Shots Fired Over Questionable AP Photo Of Ted Cruz

By on 6.22.15 | 3:51PM

The Associated Press has found itself under fire over some photos taken Saturday depicting Sen. Ted Cruz and a poster of a gun pointed at his head.

The photographs, by AP photographer Charlie Neibergall, was taken while Cruz was talking at the Celebrate the 2nd Amendment event in Iowa. Cruz, a Republican presidential candidate, has been a huge supporters of gun rights. Despite the criticisms, the AP notes it was not trying to make the senator look bad.

“Five of the photos published by AP included images of guns seen on a wall in the background so that it appeared a pistol was pointed at Sen. Cruz’s head,” the AP told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a prepared statement. “The images were not intended to portray Sen. Cruz in a negative light.”

Nevertheless, critics argue the photos were tasteless and that the same thing wouldn’t happen to a candidate on the left.

Darryl Hamilton, R.I.P.

By on 6.22.15 | 3:48PM

This is just awful. I have just learned that Darryl Hamilton, former MLB player and on-air personality for the MLB Network, was killed in a murder-suicide outside his home in Houston last night. He was 50.

Hamilton was shot several times by his girlfriend Monica Jordan who then turned the gun on herself. Found unharmed at the scene was their 14-month old child. Now that child has no parents.

The Government Has to Pay for the Raisins It Confiscates

By on 6.22.15 | 3:41PM

The near-unanimous Supreme Court decided today in favor of the farmers whose raisins the federal government wanted to take as part of a cockamamie New Deal-era regulatory scheme. The Court ruled 8-1 in support of Cato’s position that taking personal property is a compensable action, regardless of whether the government purports to act on the property owner’s behalf, and 5-4 on the question of compensation for that taking. (This is two years after the Court ruled 9-0 that the Marvin and Laura Horne could have their day in court and raise their constitutional challenge, rather than being stuck in some byzantine administrative purgatory.)

You Can’t Use the N-Word If You Have a R in Front of Your Name

By on 6.22.15 | 12:38PM

Over at NRO, Charles C.W. Cooke defends President Obama’s use of the n-word late last week in an interview with CNN:

As a general matter, I think that Christopher Hitchens got it absolutely right when he suggested that it is acceptable to use the word in two — and only two — situations, and that we shouldn’t crucify people when they do. The first circumstance in which it acceptable, Hitchens proposed, is when one is discussing the questions of race and language in the abstract — as Obama was. The second is when one is reading older literature that uses older language (Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, for example).

Hillary Clinton Abandons the Brooklyn Hipsters

By on 6.22.15 | 12:37PM

Back when she first announced that she was running for President, Hillary Clinton made such a big deal of opening an office in Brooklyn that most people thought she'd jettison the pantsuits for some high-waisted Jorts and a crop top from Urban Outfitters. Here was a candidate of yesterday, so tained with the scent of the 1990s that her very presence reminded everyone of padded headbands and Seinfeld, openly embracing the new hipsterdom of organic, fair trade, vegan coffee bars and food trucks run by people who use their profits for mustache wax. A miracle!