The Spectacle Blog

Big Story

By on 12.16.05 | 2:15PM

I'll be on tonight with John Gibson about 5 pm on FNC talking about the New York Times story on the president's domestic intelligence operations through NSA. Stay tuned.

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The People’s Business?

By on 12.16.05 | 12:52PM

So now we have a filibuster of the PATRIOT Act extension following hard upon Mr. McCain's success in getting his al Qaeda bill of rights agreed on. How many ways can Congress spell "surrender"?

I just love what ol' Leaky Leahy said about the PATRIOT Act. He wants to mend it, not end it. Where have we heard that before?

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Even more on Wikipedia

By on 12.16.05 | 11:21AM

Earlier this week, Robert McHenry offered fairly devastating criticism of Wikipedia in this article. Having been Editor in Chief of the Encyclopædia Britannica, McHenry argues effectively:

I was once an encyclopedia editor, but I wasn’t one just because I said so. It’s not like being an artist, after all. When I began I first learned to proofread, then to fiddle about with galleys and page proofs, then to fact-check, then to write clearly and concisely, and so on; at length I learned (so we agreed to say) editorial judgment. Late in my days I took a hand in training others. There really is something to the job -- skills, knowledge, experience, and maybe even a touch of talent.

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Re: D.C.’s Weak Constitution

By on 12.16.05 | 10:51AM

I went to school in upstate New York, and found that classes never stopped for inclement weather. Even though I lived on campus, I can tell you getting to school was perilous; not because there was snow on the ground, but because the bridges and/or hills necessary to get to the main campus were terribly plowed, and more slippery than one might expect. There remains a stretch of road that leads downhill, running along the side of one of the numerous gorges, that has yet to be properly fenced beyond ramshackle wooden posts.

Many contend the more macabre statistics indicating student fatalities were more to do with bad winter maintenance than mental health.

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Defining Judicial Activism

By on 12.16.05 | 10:25AM

The Federalist Society held another fine event yesterday at the National Press Club, which a few of us from the office had the pleasure of attending. Titled "Judicial Activism vs. Judicial Restraint: Is the Alito Nomination Sharpening the Debate?" the debate featured Wendy Long of the Judicial Confirmation Network; Prof. Stephen B. Presser, TAS contributor and of Northwestern School of Law; Seth Rosenthal of Alliance for Justice; and Prof. Jonathan Turley of the GW Law School. Stuart Taylor, National Journal columnist did his best to keep the comity high and verbosity low.

The entire hour-and-a-half session was entertaining and enlightening, so it's difficult to choose from the highlights. In the course of this last year of judicial controversy, the left has managed to muddle the definition of "judicial activism" and water it down merely to mean not deferring to democratic choice.

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Re: Christmas

By on 12.16.05 | 9:26AM

But then, what to say of the culture war? This is hardly a Manichaean struggle, but speaking to a very spirited maternal parental unit who is Christian, but is also fairly secular, I understood there was a little more to the simplicity of earlier times.

The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, for example, concludes with Santa Claus. Yet if you go into Macy's, they will wish you a Happy Holiday. Yet I'm sure if a survey was taken, Macy's would find a majority of its sales were specifically for Christmas shopping.

One thing you said in your article was that businesses don't have to observe those holidays for which they are being patronized, but is that really a wise strategy? Interestingly, things appear inverse. Veteran's Day or Memorial Day, for example, have regular sales where the holiday is only barely observed, but plastered all over. There's no shame in advertising that a grill is at its lowest price ever for Memorial Day, but there's hesitation in advertising the same for Christmas because of the looming threat of some PC Brigade.

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Re: Christmas

By on 12.16.05 | 9:04AM

J.P.: I do wonder who the real scrooges are in this kerfuffle. I omitted from my article a press release we received last week here at the Spectator: a short instruction in "how you can save Christmas." That's right -- the entire holiday is at stake. One strategy, which you mention, is to correct sales clerks when they wish you a "Happy Holiday." What gall that must take. My barber and his lovely wife wished me "Happy Holidays" with utmost sincerity this week. Chiding them would have been nothing short of rude.

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Re: President McCain

By on 12.16.05 | 8:40AM

The McCain Bush photo should have gone into this filler article for AOL People.

(Linked to Yahoo)

McCain exhibits an openness, and sincerity in listening to Bush. Bush, leaning forward, is being proactive, half smiling and half empathizing. They've had a rocky relationship, but we don't think they'll break up any time soon.

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By on 12.16.05 | 7:31AM

I've wanted to flash my credentials as a contrarian on the Christmas issue, but I'm having difficulty. I want to oppose the liberals who want to have Chrismahanukkwanzikah and yet I don't want to exhibit belligerence to Target store greeters who wish me a happy holiday. There's that whole "reasonable" argument about how the Pro-Christmas folks aren't really pushing Christmas -- Dave already discussed that here, and the Wall Street Journal picked that view up here (I think registration required). Here's a snippet that bugged me:

"The idea that we should slice 'Christ' from 'mas' is un-American."

Wait, huh? Etymology?

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D.C.’s Weak Constitution

By on 12.16.05 | 7:25AM

Not the one in the National Archives. I mean the area's weakness when a drop of snow hits the ground. Yesterday, hours before precipitation began, area schools preemptively closed left and right -- all that trouble for midday snowflakes turning to icy rain. And today, with blue skies, a forecast of 44 degrees, and the current temp hovering around freezing, Prince William County, Virginia, just added itself to five other counties taking the day off.

Growing up in Montana, without about an inch of black ice covering every road in town, school would not close. Your first-period teacher gave you a little leeway on the first snow day, to learn how to drive in the stuff again. After that, you were expected on time. In four years of high school, I can't remember school closing for weather. If we had the D.C. area's standards, we'd rarely attend between December and March.

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