The Spectacle Blog

More Gridlocked Than Ever

By on 7.28.15 | 4:16PM

Yesterday, the Senate passed a six-year transportation bill that increases spending on highways and transit but only provides three years of funding for that increase. As theWashington Post commented, “only by Washington’s low standards could anyone confuse the Senate’s plan with ‘good government.’”

Meanwhile, House majority leader Kevin McCarthy says the House will ignore the Senate bill in favor of its own five-month extension to the existing transportation law. Since the existing law expires at the end of this week, the two houses are playing a game of chicken to see which one will swerve course first and approve the other house’s bill.

Obama Says He Could Win a Third Term… And He’s Probably Right

By on 7.28.15 | 2:57PM

During his speech in Ethiopia addressing The African Union, President Obama departed from his text to talk about his favorite subject -- himself.

“I actually think I’m a pretty good president,” said Obama with a straight face, “I think if I ran, I could win.”

Needless to say, I and many others would quarrel with the first half of his statement. But I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the second half.

Say what you will about Obama. The man knows how to run a campaign at least when he is at the center of it. Sure he has a lot of help from a sympathetic and sycophantic media. But Obama and his team know the Alinsky playbook inside and out: pick your target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. They know how to make the other guy or gal (in the case of Hillary Clinton) the issue. And if that doesn’t work he can always make sure his opponents are disqualified from running.

Zero Emission Vehicles Pollute

By on 7.28.15 | 1:29PM

A recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, "Environmental Benefits from Driving Electric Vehicles?" shows the moniker ‘zero emission vehicle,’ attached to electric cars is misplaced. In a finding that may surprise some, Stephen Holland, of the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and his coauthors discovered, depending upon one’s location, purchasing a zero emission car can reduce pollution locally, but nationally it tends to increase pollution overall.

In response to concerns about air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, federal and state governments have pushed the development and deployment of zero emission vehicles through a combination of federal and state subsidies and mandates.

The Federal Government provides a $7,500 subsidy for the purchase of each electric vehicle. Some states add to the federal subsidy with their own financial inducements. California, for instance, provides rebates and tax credits to purchasers of zero emission cars, truck and agricultural utility vehicles. Each year the state also requires an increasing percentage of car and truck manufacturers vehicles sold in the state to be zero emission. 

Jon Stewart: Obama’s Messenger Boy

By on 7.28.15 | 12:22PM

Evidently, President Obama has summoned Jon Stewart for private Oval Office conversations. Here is what Politico has to say about it:

Jon Stewart slipped unnoticed into the White House in the midst of the October 2011 budget fight, summoned to an Oval Office coffee with President Barack Obama that he jokingly told his escort felt like being called into the principal’s office.

In February 2014, Obama again requested Stewart make the trip from Manhattan to the White House, this time for a mid-morning visit hours before the president would go before television cameras to warn Russia that “there will be costs” if it made any further military intervention in Ukraine.

Tulo Traded to Toronto

By on 7.28.15 | 12:04PM

Now here’s a blockbuster deal. The Colorado Rockies have traded shortstop Troy Tulowitzki along with relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins to the Toronto Blue Jays for shortstop Jose Reyes and three minor league pitchers.

When the Rockies were in the midst of a 10-game losing streak in May, the possibility was raised that Tulowitzki could formally ask to be traded. Just over two months later, this has now come to pass. I just didn’t expect that he would end up in Toronto.

Ten Weak Reasons to Support Ex-Im

By on 7.28.15 | 11:53AM

Rep. Carolyn Maloney supports reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, whose charter lapsed on June 30. She recently took to the Huffington Post to give 10 reasons to support Ex-Im. Here’s reason 1:

Exports play an important role in the U.S. economy, supporting nearly 12 million jobs in 2014.

Ex-Im did about $27.5 billion worth of business last year, amounting to about 1.2 percent of America’s $2.35 trillion in total 2014 exports, and less than one-sixth of one percent of America’s $17.7 trillion 2014 GDP. From this, Rep. Maloney concludes that Ex-Im supports nearly a tenth of the entire U.S. workforce!

People Should Be Mad at Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal, Not at Huckabee

By on 7.28.15 | 10:44AM

The chorus against Mike Huckabee’s Iran Holocaust comments is growing with Jeb Bush, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, and Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz all taking the former Arkansas Governor to task for his remarks.

I can understand from where Dermer and Katz are coming. Katz said to Huckabee in a Facebook post, “Dear Mr Huckabee, no one is marching Jews to the ovens anymore. That is why we established the State of Israel and the Israel Defense Forces, and if necessary, we will know how to defend ourselves by ourselves.”

A’s Send Tyler Clippard to Mets; Angels Acquire Shane Victorino from Red Sox

By on 7.27.15 | 11:29PM

A couple of trades today. Nothing blockbuster. But a couple of interesting moves.

The Oakland A's have traded their closer Tyler Clippard to the New York Mets for minor league pitcher Casey Meisner. The 30-year old Clippard saved 17 games for the A's this season. Originally a Yankee farmhand, Clippard has spent the bulk of his career with the Washington Nationals. In 2012, he saved 32 games for the NL East champs. In January, the Nats traded Clippard to Oakland for Yunel Escobar. Now Clippard is back in the NL East. Look for Clippard be the 8th inning set up man for Mets closer Jeurys Familia. 

The Boston Red Sox have traded outfielder Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Angels for infielder Josh Rutledge. Victorino is towards the end of his career and has been plagued by injuries the past couple of seasons. But he can be useful as a fourth outfielder and a right-handed hitter off the bench. His World Series rings with the Phillies in '08 and with the Red Sox in '13 can't be a bad thing for the Angels. I wonder if Bob Marley's "Don't Worry About a Thing" will still be his walkup music. 

Thoughts on the USOC Dropping Boston’s Bid for the 2024 Olympics

By on 7.27.15 | 8:05PM

Just over six months after the U.S. Olympic Committee had picked Boston to submit a bid to the IOC for the 2024 Olympics, the USOC has now dropped Boston's bid for the 33rd Olympiad. 

I had mixed feelings about the bid at the time of the announcement. While I would have loved to see Olympic baseball at Fenway Park, I was equally afraid this would be our new Big Dig. Indeed, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh called a press conference earlier today and announced he would not sign a contract that would have made the city responsible for any financial shortfall arising from the Olympics. This effectively ended Boston's bid right then and there.

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