The Spectacle Blog

The Curtain Goes Up for Russia in the Middle East

By on 7.1.14 | 4:49PM

Perhaps Americans have forgotten how much of the Cold War was fought in the Middle East, but Russia has not.

Recent events in the Middle East have offered numerous opportunities for greatness in foreign intervention, and Russia, perhaps in a bid to regain the sort of international friend network we now enjoy, has been taking advantage of them.

Syria was Russia's first move. While the chemical smoke cleared and the United States floundered among red lines, Putin benificently arrived with a diplomatic solution. Perhaps it was an atypical role for someone who had spent the last few months supporting Bashar al-Assad's murderous regime; we all know how Russia always hates to see Uncle Sam in a difficult spot. In any case, Putin's plan to remove the chemical weapons from Syria has been largely successful—last week it was hailed as an "unprecedented collaboration" and "success" by the Washington Post and others.

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Rand Paul Makes His Move

By on 7.1.14 | 4:31PM

Last night Rand Paul scored a major victory in securing his front-runner status for the 2016 presidential election. According to Politico, Paul announced that former Iowa GOP chair Steve Grubbs will be in charge of Paul’s RAND PAC.

This new addition is crucial to Paul’s push into Iowa, where Paul supporters just lost their footing and power in the state GOP executive branch. Per Politico:

The Iowa GOP central committee voted Saturday to fire the state party chairman and replace him with a fixture of the establishment.

Danny Carroll, removed on a 14-2 no confidence vote, will be replaced by Jeff Kaufmann, formerly the Speaker Pro Tem of the state House.

This was hardly a surprise, however:

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First-World Activism: The Paradox of Social Justice

By on 7.1.14 | 2:05PM

A recent satirical article titled “What I learned about capitalism by walking into a Starbucks and screaming ‘capitalism!’ at the Barista over and over until they had to call the police" was written in jest, but it spoke to a frightening trend. First-world activists have redefined themselves as anti-capitalist proponents of “social justice.”

Social justice is not justice in the traditional sense, but rather a fancy pseudonym for what liberal activists deem to be “fair.” Traditional justice means equality of opportunity, not the equalizing of economic classes.

In his book The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame, Peter Dreier glamorizes what he calls “practical idealists,” a group of people who confuse fairness with equality of outcome, and hide their Marxist intentions behind the word “social justice.” 

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Will Obama Call Out the Supreme Court Again at the Next SOTU?

By on 7.1.14 | 12:07PM

Now that the Supreme Court has thoroughly embarrassed President Obama through a series of 9-0 decisions (i.e. overreach on the use of recess appointments and restricting the First Amendment rights of pro-life protesters) and in yesterday's 5-4 ruling in the Hobby Lobby case ruling the administration out of bounds on the Obamacare contraceptive mandate, it is only a matter of time before President Obama publicly rebukes the Supreme Court.

Obama is a man that does not take defeat well. I think the Supreme Court setbacks played a role in his angry Rose Garden address yesterday over immigration in which he basically told Congress to drop dead and that he would act alone. Methinks his future actions on immigration will be subject to future scrutiny by the Supreme Court.

In any case, I predict that President Obama will rail against the Supreme Court during his SOTU address next year as he did in 2010 when he lambasted the Court over the Citizens United decision. We all remember Justice Alito shaking his head and saying, "Not true."

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Obama: White House Pies Have Crack in Them

By on 7.1.14 | 11:37AM

President Obama joked yesterday that the White House's pies are so good that the pastry chef must put crack in them.

"No he doesn't," Michelle clarified. "There's no crack in our pies."

Just kidding -- but seriously.

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Dateline Hillandale: Who’s the Real Threat?

By on 7.1.14 | 11:02AM

Well, this was unexpected. It’s not everyday you find your old neighborhood lambasted on the Spectacle.

Perhaps you’ve read Bill Zeiser’s bare-fisted slam on the “limousine liberals” who reside in Hillandale—the gated Georgetown community Janet Yellen calls home. I can’t imagine Bill’s blog post took him on assignment to the 20007, but I’d like to offer some personal context. You see, I used to live there…albeit in the comparative steerage of a rented townhome, where I resided with friends while in graduate school. 

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Morning Round-Up 7-1

By on 7.1.14 | 8:52AM

Feature of the Day: What Happens When a Prep School’s Black President Mocks Her White Male Classmate

 

Morning Headlines

                                                         

Associated Press

1.   Hamas Member Killed After Israeli Teen Found Dead

2.   Birth Control Ruling Sparks Political Clash

Politico

1.   Samuel Alito’s Moment

2.   Obama’s Immigration Pivot

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Alito vs. Ginsburg on the Hobby Lobby Decision

By on 6.30.14 | 6:06PM

This morning the Supreme Court announced its decision on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, with Justice Alito delivering the majority opinion. The Court affirmed the Tenth Circuit decision, excusing Hobby Lobby and the other corporations represented in the case from the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate. The store chain and Conestoga Wood Specialties opposed the required coverage of four contraceptive methods they consider abortifacients, which have the potential to terminate an embryo after its conception. Despite anticipation that victory for Hobby Lobby in the case would extend First Amendment rights to corporations, the decision explicitly denies that it does this, and bases its argument on the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) rather than the First Amendment.

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Janet Yellen’s Blue Collar Security Detail Irking Limousine Liberal Neighbors

By on 6.30.14 | 5:56PM

Here's an amusing story you might have missed, given the big news day. Elizabeth Williamson of The Wall Street Journal reports that the security detail assigned to Janet Yellen is ticking off her neighbors in the tony Hillandale, a gated community in Georgetown. The guards assigned to the newly minted Federal Reserve Chairwoman--see what I did there?--have been accused of such behaviors as idling their engines during the twenty minute wait to pick their boss up in morning and leaving oil stains on the street. I'm not quite sure who to root for. The residents paid their three million bucks, fair and square, to live in a peaceful community that micromanages such aspects of their lives as how many dogs they can own (a maximum of two pets per household, please). The claim that a government agency shouldn't breach their peace is sympathetic. On the other hand, Yellen's neighbors are smug, liberal elite crybabies.

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Salon.com Has a Very Bad Day

By on 6.30.14 | 4:57PM

The single-celled brain trust known as Salon is having another bad day. After today's Supreme Court decisions, its writers have been breathlessly issuing stories decrying the erosion of women’s rights and the weakened power of unions, with the sky falling down and “unwanted babies” lining the street and that darned “one-percent.”

Breathlessly, Salon notes:

The Supreme Court’s ruling today in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which said that employers with religious objections cannot be impelled to pay for contraceptive coverage for its employees, has reignited one of the more lopsided political fights of the current era: the War on Contraception.

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