The Spectacle Blog

Three Americans, One Briton Killed in Jerusalem Synagogue Attack

By on 11.18.14 | 1:10PM

After a series of attacks on Jews over the past several weeks at various bus and rail stations across Israel by Palestinians using vehicles, knives and anything else they can get their hands on as weapons, two Palestinians armed with guns, knives and axes have killed four people worshipping at a synagogue in Jerusalem. Three of the four killed were Americans and one was British. All four men were rabbis. The two Palestinian terrorists were killed by Israeli police.

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TIME Apologizes for Accidentally Trying to Banish Feminism

By on 11.18.14 | 12:46PM

Apparently, for the last four years, Time Magazine, which still exists despite all evidence to the contrary, has conducted a poll of online users over which "Word of the Year" to ban. To this day, none of the winners, including "YOLO" and "twerk" have been effectively banned, as we know because people still insist on both using them, and that Miley Cyrus is being deliberately terrible in pursuit of some sort of Dada-esque artistic merit.

This year, in a fit of what is clearly masochism, Time decided to include the word "feminst," which, by all accounts, thanks to the Internet's perpetual cycle of outrage, has lost all meaning as an ideology. Their rationale? It's become a celebrity buzzword, that movie stars and 25-year-old priveleged memoir authors plaster on themselves before considering, for example, which women-only sweatshop their designer-inspired makeup bag hails from.

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Charles Manson Gets a Wedding License

By on 11.17.14 | 11:04PM

One of the world's most notorious murderers has obtained a wedding license. Charles Manson has been granted leave to marry a woman named Star who has spent nearly the past decade trying to secure his release. Manson is 80, Star is 26. Once a cult leader, always a cult leader.

Now I've seen everything. 

This isn't exactly encouraging for us single folks who are unable to find our better halves. Apparently not being a psychopathic killer doesn't count for much these days.

Well, perhaps marriage will mellow Manson. 

And then perhaps Iran will start buying Israel bonds.

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Why I Don’t Like The Giancarlo Stanton 13 Year, $325 Million Deal with The Marlins

By on 11.17.14 | 7:53PM

Tomorrow the Miami Marlins will officially announce that outfielder Giancarlo Stanton will be the highest paid player in any professional sport. The two parties have agreed to a contract extension of $325 million over 13 years. Stanton, who turned 25 earlier this month, has a no trade clause (something the Marlins wouldn't extend to Albert Pujols a few years back) and can opt out after the 2020 season. 

I don't like this deal one bit.

Now don't get me wrong. Stanton is a great player. He just finished runner up in the NL MVP balloting and as Tom Verducci pointed out on the MLB Network the other day his numbers are comparable to those of Frank Robinson during his first five seasons with the Cincinnati Reds. Stanton has hit .271 with 154 HR and 399 RBI while Robinson hit .298 with 155 HR and 449 RBI. 

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Jonathan Gruber: Yes, I Totally Met With Barack Obama Over Healthcare

By on 11.17.14 | 1:40PM

As has happened with many other disastrous events in his Presidency, the President just heard this weekend that Jonathan Gruber made some strange comments about his involvement with Obamacare that were caught on tape. He was reading the Sunday New York Times for the theater reviews and there it was. And, America, it was most certainly the first time he's been told anything about it. He has yet to decide whether there will be hell to pay, but America, he's definitely considering it

Of course, his immediate reaction was predictable, if extraordinarily nuanced. You see, although Gruber was a well-paid consultant on the Affordable Care Act, he was never actually on the White House payroll as a staff member, and so when asked, and so Barack Obama believes he can comfortably distancehimself from Gruber's deep thoughts on marketing strategy. 

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Russell Martin Returns Home; Signs Five Year Deal with Blue Jays

By on 11.17.14 | 1:23PM

Russell Martin is coming home. The free agent catcher has reportedly signed a five-year, $82 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.

This might be the most important free agent signing the Blue Jays have made in years. Martin was born in Toronto. Although he spent much of his childhood in Montreal, he helps to give the team its Canadian identity.

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Vladimir Putin Decides Everyone is Mean, Leaves G20 Early

By on 11.17.14 | 1:08PM

Vladimir Putin went to the G20 thinking that he wasn't going to have to do much except sit in a comfortable chair with his fingers tented like a Bond villain, as other countries discussed their economic inter-relationship and possible locations for that Olympics no one wants to host that might end up in Kazakhstan. But then Chelsea Handler made it awkward.  And then Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, made it super awkward. As did David Cameron, UK Prime Minister. And despite Vladimir Putin's best efforts at soundlessly communicating his global position of being one needlessly high-tech underwater sea base away from launching a satellite to control Earth's weather, the other leaders seemed oddly unafraid.

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Braves Trade Jason Heyward to Cardinals for Shelby Miller

By on 11.17.14 | 1:05PM

With a year left on his contract, the Atlanta Braves have dealt outfielder Jason Heyward along with reliever Jordan Walden to the St. Louis Cardinals for starting pitcher Shelby Miller and minor league hurler Tyrell Jenkins.

A Georgia native, Heyward was a first round draft pick of the Braves in 2007 and made a spectacular debut in 2010 hitting a home run in his first big league at bat. He finished runner up to fellow Georgian Buster Posey in NL Rookie of the Year balloting and was named to the NL All-Star Team. That season, Heyward hit .277 with 18 HR and 72 RBI. Some compared Heyward's grace to that of Willie Mays and nicknamed him "The J-Hey Kid".

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Katie Couric Names Chelsea Clinton “Mother of the Year” After Six Weeks of Motherhood

By on 11.17.14 | 12:53PM

Sure, other mothers who are famous for no discernible reason have been slacking off in the "setting a good example" department of late. Mama June has been dating a sex offender, who is also a former boyfriend, who apparently molested one of her kids, but not the kid he fathered, one of her other kids fathered by a different sex offender. I think. It's hard to keep it straight. And Kim Kardashian photoshopped herself into our hearts and minds, causing an entire nation of people minor psychological damage.

But there are lots of mothers out there, thousands of them, in fact, who might deserve the title of "Mother of the Year." Aside from her massive optical contribution to her own mother's potential Presidential campaign, I can't really see how Chelsea Clinton, mother of six-week-old Charlotte, can grab that title without a fight.

The media love affair with the Clintons continued when Katie Couric interviewed former first-daughter Chelsea Clinton this week for Yahoo News.

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Some Belated Thoughts on Obama’s Trip to China

By on 11.17.14 | 11:10AM

Here are some belated thoughts on President Obama's trip to China last week.

Remember when Obama said it would be easier for him if he were President of China?

That stemmed from a New York Times article co-written by Mark Landler and Helene Cooper in March 2011 titled, "Obama Seeks a Course of Pragmatism in the Middle East". Judging by both the title of the article and its content, it is nearly indistinguishable from the thousands of puff pieces written in the pages of The Gray Lady about the 44th President. The opening paragraph describes Obama as "the transformative historical figure". Not a transformational historical figure mind you, but the transformational historical figure.

Yet even these puff pieces one can occasionally find kernels of revelation. In the article's concluding paragraph, Landler and Cooper ponder how President Obama will balance idealism and pragmatism when it comes to the Middle East:

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