The Spectacle Blog

The Current Balls-Up

By on 1.22.15 | 10:43AM

At least the current NFL balls-up gives sportswriters and TV bloviators something to write and talk about in that hard-to-fill two weeks before the actual ball game. Some of the most tedious sports coverage on the planet takes place in this over-long run-up.

For me the central question is if the footballs were deflated enough to make a difference, how come the officials who handled them all day didn’t notice this and throw them out of the game? And my main fear is that Roger Goodell, hoping to prove that his own balls aren’t soft, will over-discipline in this case.

I don’t have a dog in the Super-Bowl hunt. But I think it would be wildly excessive to bar Pats coach Bill Belichick from the sidelines on Super-Day, as the easily excitable Tampa Tribune sports columnist Martin Fennelly called for this morning. Steady on, Marty. Take a few deep breaths.

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Palestinians Tweet #JeSuisCouteau/I Am a Knife Following Tel Aviv Bus Stabbings

By on 1.22.15 | 9:17AM

When the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo were murdered two weeks ago, the civilized world took to social media with #JeSuisCharlie.

Yesterday, a dozen people were stabbed aboard a bus in Tel Aviv by a Palestinian from the West Bank, Palestinians took to social media with #JeSuisCouteau which in English means, "I am a knife."

This on top of a Hamas official who called the attack "a bold, heroic act."

Can we expect anything less from the Palestinians who from the time they wake up until they go to bed are fed a non-stop diet of hatred towards Jews and Israel?

How can Israel be expected to make peace with such an uncivilized people?

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Thoughts on Deflation (Football, Not Fiscal Policy)

By on 1.21.15 | 8:38PM

What astonishes me about this deflated football affair with the New England Patriots is the fact that each team is allowed to supply a dozen of its own game balls. 

Yes, the referees have custody of the balls until 10 minutes before kick off. But if this is an issue then why not have the refs supply and keep custody of the balls during the entire game just as umpires do in baseball?

Yet this raises another question. If teams can supply their own balls and deflating them makes it easier to pass around then why haven't more teams done this before?

I mean pitchers aren't supposed to scuff baseballs, but it doesn't stop them from doing it or at least make hitters think they are doing it.

Honestly, I think this is much ado about nothing. The Pats were better than the Colts, deflated balls or no deflated balls. If the Seahawks are as good as everybody thinks they are then this shouldn't bother them at all. But if visions of deflated balls get in the heads of the Seahawks then the Pats will prevail.

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The Petraeus Affair

By on 1.21.15 | 5:48PM

On those rare occasions when a friend takes pity on me and invites me to the Cosmos Club for dinner, I often see General Petraeus seated at a corner table, alone with his wife. Neither talk to each other. It is painful to see. I remember him at an AEI banquet in 2007, where he was the guest of honor, the man who led the American army to victory in the surge in Iraq. He was, it was thought, an eminently suitable candidate for the presidency—for either party.

What happened next, we all know. A shoddy affair. A resignation as CIA director. Now the threat of an indictment for leaking state secrets to his mistress. Even Senator Feinstein thinks the threat of prosecution excessive.

I can think of only one reason why the Justice Department should be thinking of a criminal prosecution.

He must have written a book.

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Carly Fiorina Wastes Valerie Jarrett on “Equal Pay”

By on 1.21.15 | 3:46PM

Last night, the White House laid off the general #WaronWomen rhetoric, since they no longer need single women under the age of 35 to vote for them in droves in order to "save their birth control," as though anyone was physically stopping them from filling a prescription at Wal-Mart. The President did, however, touch on the subject of "pay equity," playing on the tried-and-true assumption that women in the workforce make less than men do, which persists despite all evidence to the contrary.

In a "won't you think about the ladies?" moment, the President urged Congress to pass a bill that would demand pay equity, even though there are already laws against discrimination on the books, and overall merit pay discrepancies between the genders is due largely to union and government influence. Unfortunately, even if you were screaming this impotently at the television screen, you could hardly make a dent in the administration's self-satisfaction. Which is why watching Carly Fiorina lay waste to White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett on this exact subject, using these exact talking points, live on MSNBC's Morning Joe is totally worth it. 

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Joe Biden Weighs In On #Deflategate

By on 1.21.15 | 1:22PM

My hopes of ever having a hometown team in the "Big Game" were dashed, oh, right around the time I was born in Detroit. Maybe before. Depends on your feelings in regards to reincarnation. So as far as I'm concerned, the entire concept of a "post-season" in football is alien to me. But it's not alien to everyone else, so Joe Biden, noted Vice President of the United States and REO Speedwagon's most prominent fan, is weighing in on it during his post-SOTU interviews.

At issue: whether the New England Patriots effectively cheated when they slightly deflated footballs used in Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts. Not at issue: whether Joe Biden thinks about what he's going to say before he vomits it out at an unsuspecting interviewer. In regards to the former? Probably. In regards to the latter: no.

America, Joe Biden likes his balls soft.

Vice President Joe Biden told “CBS This Morning” that he liked catching softer footballs when he was playing.

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Ten Things You Missed (Or Wish You’d Missed) From #SOTU2015

By on 1.21.15 | 12:30PM

To be honest, I was approximately as jazzed to spend an hour listening to the President yammer on about his policy agenda as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and given her noted history of pre-gaming the event, probably just as drunk. But regardless, in selfless stewardship to the public interest, I watched the whole thing, paid attention through most of it, and only flipped the channel once to check out whether the Travel Channel had a show on that would send my OCD into overdrive. I flipped back because it was something about RVs and camping isn't exactly my forte. Even in an RV.

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Boehner Invites Netanyahu to Address Joint Session of Congress on Iran

By on 1.21.15 | 11:06AM

House Speaker John Boehner has issued an invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress on February 11th concerning Iran.

Boehner issued the invitation in response to President Obama's threat to veto further sanctions against Iran.

If anyone can make the case of the folly of entering a nuclear deal with Iran, it is Netanyahu. Not that it would make a difference to President Obama who loathes Netanyahu. Nevertheless, Netanyahu's words will resonate with a large segment of the American public.

This isn't the first time Bibi has addressed a joint session of Congress. He did so previously both in 1996 and more recently in 2011. Yet it would provide another opportunity to contrast Obama's glib buffoonery and Netanyahu's eloquent statesmanship.

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Cardiac Surgeon Murdered at Brigham & Women’s

By on 1.21.15 | 10:51AM

Yesterday, Dr. Michael Davidson, a cardiovascular surgeon was shot and killed at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston.

Stephen Pasceri, the man responsible for the shooting, then took his own life. Pasceri apparently was angry with Dr. Davidson over the treatment of his mother who passed away back in November.

This one kind of hit home for me because of my father's recent triple bypass surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. The work cardiologists and their staffs do on a daily basis is incredible. But even the best doctors cannot prevent death.

Pasceri's father passed away in 2011 and after being presented with an $8,000 hospital bill from Massachusetts General Hospital and complained to then Senator John Kerry and Congressman Jim McGovern about it although the family had no issue with the treatment he had received.

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10 Observations of Obama’s 2015 SOTU Address

By on 1.20.15 | 11:14PM

Here are my 10 observations from President Obama's hour long State of the Union address.

 1. President Obama began the speech by making the case that 15 years into this century that we've turned the page from a century that was "dawned with terror" along with "two long and costly wars." With the acension of ISIS and the fact we've had to return troops to Iraq what makes Obama certain we won't do the same in Afghanistan. Will Afghanistan adopt the same model against terrorism as Yemen? As Obama speaks, a possible coup is underway in Yemen. Al Qaeda is not on the run. Far from it. Not only have we not turned the page, it has yet to be written.

 2. Obama paid tribute to our troops. It's too bad he couldn't do the same for those veterans receiving care at the VA Hospital in Phoenix which had been plagued by scandal under his administration's watch. Instead of visiting them last week, his motorcade just drove on by.

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