The Spectacle Blog

The Supernumeraries

By on 5.28.15 | 5:24PM

George Pataki? GEORGE PATAKI!? Lord love a duck! Is there no end of these vanity candidates? Could there be any reason for this guy to run other than to be able to one day tell his great-grandchildren that he once ran for president? Or perhaps he’s convinced someone has to fill the Jon Huntsman role this cycle. (You remember Jon, the socially liberal Republican who got dozens of votes in the various primaries in 2012. And some of these voters weren’t related to him. It’s not Jon’s fault that he’s now too obscure even to be the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question.)

Pataki is the latest in a scrum of Republican candidates and possible candidates-to-be whose best chance of seeing the inside of 1600 is to get in line with the rest of the tourists. Pataki is charitably described at a “long shot.” Damn straight a long shot. Longer than the Apollo flights.

How I Came to Support The Death Penalty

By on 5.28.15 | 5:13PM

I read Ross' piece on Nebraska's decision to repeal the death penalty. It is well worth reading.

At a time when conservatives going from the pro to anti-death penalty column, I have gone in the opposite direction. Given my contrary nature, I suppose that isn't a surprise. More on this later.

Ross begins the article by telling the story of Nebraska GOP State Senator Colby Coash who went from being a supporter to an opponent of the death penalty after attending a gathering outside a prison where an execution was to take place and being turned off by the "tailgate party" atmosphere.

I agree that we ought to avoid celebrating a person's death, even a bad person who has committed evil acts. These occasions call for sobriety and somber reflection. Yet I don't see this as sufficient cause to abrogate the death penalty. The problem in this instance is within us, not with the law itself.

Bernie Sanders is a “Rape Culture” All On His Own

By on 5.28.15 | 4:31PM

In keeping with the way we journalists are supposed to write about sexual assault nowadays, I'm going to say in advance of the rest of this piece, these two words: trigger warning. Now, I'm not saying that in order to steel your backbone against the disgusting and potentially disturbing content I am about to deliver to you, lest you suffer mental distress; I'm saying that in order to steel your backbone against the fact that it's all coming from Bernie Sanders, and the very thought of "Bernie Sanders" and "fantasy" in the same sentence makes my ladyparts crawl up into my intestines a little bit and it will no doubt have a similar effect on you. If you're lucky. I assume you'll also have night terrors.

Rick Santorum Dumps the Duggars

By on 5.28.15 | 4:01PM

Rick Santorum has decided to inflict himself, yet again, on our fair nation, running for President a third (I think) time. Now, while I'm not entirely certain what America did to deserve such an honor, clearly God is trying to punish us for some string of transgressions, because otherwise, His chosen candidate, Santorum, would have long ago retired to head up a DC-based family-focused think tank or sell panini presses on late night television.

Study Predicts Decades Of Global Cooling Ahead

By on 5.28.15 | 2:19PM

new study out of the United Kingdom predicts the Earth is about to go through a major climatic shift that could mean decades of cooler temperatures and fewer hurricanes hitting the United States.

Scientists at the University of Southampton predict that a cooling of the Atlantic Ocean could cool global temperatures a half a degree Celsius and may offer a “brief respite from the persistent rise of global temperatures,” according to their study.

This cooling phase in the Atlantic will influence “temperature, rainfall, drought and even the frequency of hurricanes in many regions of the world,” says Dr. Gerard McCarthy. The study’s authors based their results on ocean sensor arrays and 100 years of sea-level data.

“Sea-surface temperatures in the Atlantic vary between warm and cold over time-scales of many decades,” said McCarthy, the study’s lead author. “This decadal variability, called the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO), is a notable feature of the Atlantic Ocean and the climate of the regions it influences.”

There’s a Hillary Clinton Comic Book On the Way

By on 5.28.15 | 12:30PM

I have always been a huge comic book fan. I am told, of course, that my female anatomy makes me a rare bird in that field since, according to modern Internet feminists, comic books are the very nexus and genesis of modern misogyny, because they promote the sexualization of women, glorify violence against women, have storylines that don't always involve women, and are, generally, enjoyed by people who are not "Social Justice Warriors" with an extensive Tumblr history of memes that take aim at fat-shaming and love letters to Lena Dunham.

U.S. Military Accidentally Sends Live Anthrax To 9 States

By on 5.28.15 | 12:04PM

U.S. officials admitted Thursday that not only had the military accidentally sent live anthrax to labs in nine different states, as well as South Korea, but that in total 26 people were likely exposed.

California, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and Virginia received live samples meant for germ warfare training via FedEx, as did the Osan Air Force Base in South Korea, Reuters reports. Hazardous material teams subsequently destroyed the anthrax samples.

In the U.S. the four employees exposed are undergoing precautionary medical treatment to avoid the problem of inhalation anthrax, which killed five people in 2001. Treatment usually includes a course of antibiotics and the anthrax vaccine.

“There is no known risk to the general public, and there are no suspected or confirmed cases of anthrax infection in potentially exposed lab workers,” Col. Steven Warren, Pentagon spokesman , said in a statement.

George Pataki is Also Running For President

By on 5.28.15 | 11:57AM

George Pataki, the former New York Governor, has thrown his hat into the ring for the Republican nomination, because there's nothing the GOP field needs more right now than yet another over-50 white dude with questionable conservative credentials whose career peaked more than ten years ago, vying for the nation's top office.

George Pataki on Thursday officially announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, adding another long-shot candidate to an increasingly crowded 2016 primary field.

The former New York governor faces steep odds — he’s barely registering in national or state-level polls, he hasn’t been in office for nearly a decade, and his moderate stance on issues such as gun control and the environment make him an afterthought with much of the party’s conservative base. He’ll also struggle to win over establishment Republicans and donors who are drawn to bigger names such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Blumenthal Earned $10K Per Month From the Clinton Foundation While Advising State

By on 5.28.15 | 11:45AM

Usually, when you have a person in your life that creates drama, you try to minimize your contact with them, even if you can't cut contact off completely. You might see them once in a while for a drink, if you've been imbibing earlier in the day and can tolerate them, or you might limit your contact with them to situations where you can exit quickly, like DC cocktail parties, company picnics or emergency rooms.

FDA Going ‘Full Speed Ahead’ on E-Cig Regulations

By on 5.28.15 | 10:50AM

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Acting Commissioner Dr. Stephen Ostroff announced the agency’s intention to proceed “full steam ahead” on regulations intended to reduce e-cigarette use.

Ostroff says FDA intends to enact a “deeming rule” expanding the agency’s regulation of tobacco products to include e-cigarettes, which do not contain tobacco. 

California Polytechnic State University professor of economics Michael L. Marlow says this is a bad idea because e-cigarettes are a useful tool for reducing health damage and helping smokers kick the habit.

“If e-cigarettes help smokers reduce consumption of more harmful tobacco or maybe even allow them to quit cigarettes, even if e-cigarettes themselves are somewhat harmful, it still would be an overall reduction of harm,” Marlow said. “If you just ignore that theory, and the FDA certainly has, an economist would say it [still] doesn’t make much sense.”

Marlow says e-cigarettes are a positively disruptive invention some special-interest groups want to suppress.