The Spectacle Blog

Our Hearts Go Out

By on 1.4.06 | 9:32AM

To the poor families who were yet so close to regaining their loved ones, only to find that the inverse casualty rate was true: one miner survived being trapped inside a coal mine, while the other twelve are confirmed dead.

USA Today made the unfortunate error of going to print too early -- an honest mistake, but one that'll be difficult to live down. Much is being made of those three hours in which the miners were thought to have survived, and the hope it gave families. Let us pray that for them, the hope hasn't died with the newspaper headlines.

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Pelosi’s Gambit

By on 1.4.06 | 8:59AM

It now appears -- based on this morning's NYT report -- that House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and her staff have been part of the leaking crew on the NSA story. In having her letter to the then-head of the NSA declassified, Pelosi has been able to keep the NSA story alive, and even furthered it a bit. Parts of her letter were redacted due to national security concerns, yet the Times was able to find "sources" familiar with the full letter able to confirm what the redacted areas dealt with. Gee, a classified letter between Nancy Pelosi and the head of the NSA, who might know what the redacted sections involve, and who could the source be who talked to the NYT?

According to a Pelosi aide based in California, the House Democrat is cooperating with the NYT on several fronts on the NSA story: "She hopes there will be a series of two or three more articles she can help them generate," says the source. "She believes the American people have the right to know what their government is doing."

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By on 1.4.06 | 8:39AM

We've reported on several occasions about Sen. John McCain's early forays into the 2008 Presidential race, and make no mistake, he is putting the pieces in place for a run. He's been holding fundraisers across the country, with some success, but certainly not at a level you expect from a politician with a national following.

McCain has also been creating media events for himself, whether it be with congressional hearings on steroids in sports or the embarrassing lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates with the 5th Amendment assertions the media loves to play over and over on TV.

McCain has been particularly bloodthirsty when it comes to the Abramoff scandal, and one has to wonder why, particularly since he has not been hesitant to reach out to some of Abramoff's former clients to sign them up as prospective charter members of his 2008 campaign's version of the Bush campaign's "Ranger" fundraising program.

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By on 1.4.06 | 7:38AM

The NYT is, at least of the prospect that the crimes committed in leaking to their reporters -- and those of the WaPo -- will be investigated and the leakers punished. In one of their editorials today, the Times tries to pull the same stunt that Chuckie Schumer tried yesterday.

First, they say that it's different when someone rats out the White House than when someone in the White House, for political reasons, strikes at someone illegally. Which, of course, is not at all what happened in the revelation of Valerie Plame's employment. But the Times wants us to believe that pure-hearted whistleblowers should be protected even from investigation so long as they are leaking information that is damaging to the president. Balderdash.

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Torture or Not?

By on 1.4.06 | 7:04AM

Is the White House having the McCain torture bill both ways? After strongly opposing McCain's amendment to the defense appropriations bill, which President Bush signed last month, the White House appeared to cave to popular and political sentiment. However, the Boston Globe reports that President Bush, citing his Constitutional authority as commander-in-chief, is interpreting the law to have exceptions when national security is at risk.

I appreciate that White House lawyers have found a way around McCain's potentially disastrous law. But if they're correct, and the loopholes are Constitutional, wouldn't that suggest that the McCain bill is unconstitutional? And that, knowing this, the President signed it anyway? As with campaign finance, another sad, unconstitutional deal with the gentleman from Arizona, it appears that the President did the popular thing while crossing his fingers behind his back.

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Looking Good for Alito

By on 1.4.06 | 6:53AM

Judge Samuel A. Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court enjoys strong popular support despite the coordinated opposition campaign from the left, the Washington Times reports today. If he performs nearly as well in his hearings, scheduled to begin next Monday, January 9, then we'll see him on the Court in no time.

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Batting Zero in Baton Rouge

By on 1.3.06 | 8:58PM

Can't let the night go by without noting the latest from the offices of Kathleen Caligula Blanco, governor of the People's Republic of Louisiana. Whilst people remain homeless (and voteless due to Blanco's postponing the New Orleans mayoral election lest Ray Nagin have to get a real job), Mizz Blanco has decided to continue with plans to renovate her staff offices to the tune of about $500 large.

According to this report, "At the time of her decision, Blanco also was hinting at deep budget cuts to state programs and the possibility of laying off 20 percent of the state workforce." We have no report that the layoffs could include Mayor Nagin, or that the Gov plans to replace him with her horse. We expect that report any moment.

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By on 1.3.06 | 7:05PM

To know that Iranian Prez Ahmadinejad thinks the world's reaction to his denial of the Holocost was positive, according to an Iranian MP quoted in their official news service. In characterizing the reactions as positive, he probably wasn't thinking of the Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff remark that the Iranian nuke program positively can be destroyed. Though the Israeli probably lack the capacity to do that, I'm told it would be one long afternoon for four or five B-2s.

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Patrick Henry, Jefferson, and the Beach Boys

By on 1.3.06 | 2:08PM

I don't have anything against the Beach Boys, but I had to chuckle at the diverging tones in Gov.-Elect Tim Kaine's emails over the last few days.

Friday's email about inauguration press credentials made me envious that a Democrat would enjoy a Williamsburg inauguration:

Thank you for your interest in covering this unique and historic Inauguration. When Governor-elect Tim Kaine takes the oath of office on Saturday, January 14, 2006, he will become only the third Virginia governor to be inaugurated in Williamsburg, joining Patrick Henry (1777) and Thomas Jefferson (1779).

Fine, Kaine's no Henry or Jefferson, but to join that distinguished list is quite an honor for any governor.

Today's email brought that sentiment back to reality. Headlining the "Promise of Virginia" inaugural concert will be the Beach Boys. How underwhelming.

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We Hardly Knew Ye

By on 1.3.06 | 1:26PM

One great airline, Independence Air, is now shutting down for good on Thursday. For those of who you didn't fly it, you would miss it too. All the seats were a bright blue leather, comfortable, and fares were quite cheap (sometimes as low as 39 dollars one way).

My last flight included a flight attendant who opened with the following introduction speech:

"Hi, my name is Fritz and I along with Jen and Alex will be your flight attendants for this flight. But I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that you'll have to put up with us for about an hour. The good news is that I just saved a bundle on my car insurance by switching to Geico.

"... There is no smoking on this plane. Disabling the smoke detector in the bathroom is a federal offense. However, if you exit the plane anywhere between here and our destination, please feel free to smoke as much as you like.

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