The Spectacle Blog

Why Bill de Blasio’s Off-Color Joke Probably Won’t Matter

By on 4.12.16 | 4:58PM

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking some heat for telling, for lack of a better phrase, an off-color joke over the weekend.

The incident took place at the City's annual Inner Circle Dinner, a roast of sorts in which former Mayor Rudy Giuliani appeared in drag. The current Mayor appeared in a skit with actor Leslie Odom, Jr. of the Broadway hit Hamilton and Hillary Clinton. In the skit, Hillary says to de Blasio that it took him long enough for him to endorse her. de Blasio replied, "Sorry, Hillary, I was running on C.P. time."

After Odom, Jr. feigned offense Hillary chimed in, "Cautious politician time. I've been there." But as usual the line fell flat.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, C.P. time refers to "colored people's time", a racial perjorative.

Paul Ryan Doesn’t Want To Be President, But This Probably Won’t Be The Last Time in 2016 GOP Considers Him for The WH

By on 4.12.16 | 4:08PM

This afternoon House Speaker Paul Ryan said he absolutely, positively does not want to run for President of the United States.

But six months ago Paul Ryan absolutely, positively did not want to become House Speaker.

Now I do believe there are a different set of circumstances at work. When it became clear that Kevin McCarthy was not up to the task of succeeding John Boehner, Ryan emerged as the only viable option and he was heavily pressured to run. Now that Ryan has been House Speaker for six months there is no groundswell among Republican voters that he run for President. At least right now.

On Meeting Fred Lynn

By on 4.12.16 | 1:08PM

A short while ago I got a chance to meet Fred Lynn.

For those of you outside of Boston or not of a certain age, Fred Lynn was the man in 1975. He was first player in MLB history to win AL Rookie of the Year and AL MVP honors in the same the year. Only Ichiro Suzuki has achieved the distinction since. In 1975, the Red Sox would win an AL pennant and play a classic World Series against the Cincinnati Reds falling short in seven games. Lynn would also win the AL batting title in 1979.

After the 1980 season, Lynn signed as a free agent with the California Angels. He would go on to play for the Baltimore Orioles and the Detroit Tigers before finishing his playing career with the San Diego Padres in 1990.

Chicago Gig

By on 4.12.16 | 12:43PM

Spectator friends in the Chicago area are invited to a presentation I’m giving Thursday evening at the Heartland Institute, 3939 North Wilkie Road, Arlington Heights IL 60004, 312/377-4000. It’s a 5:30 to 8:30 pm event and if you can make it please come up and introduce yourself to me. I’ll be speaking about my new book, on how the rise in income immobility is the key to the election and how it’s the Democrats and their friends who have made us a class society.

Proof That Politicians Say the Same Things ALL THE TIME

By on 4.12.16 | 12:33PM

The more you pay attention to politicians, the more you realize like a broken record… they say the same things all the time.

Sometimes, as in the case of Marco Rubio in his worst debate performance ever, it’s a mini-stump speech which you can agonizingly re-watch here.

But how much do politicos actually use the same words?

In honor of Freedom Day, which was co-founded by Frayda Levy and celebrates the meaning of freedom and its relevance in modern society, Quorum, a data analytic startup in Washington, D.C., analyzed just how much certain words were used by politicians and by whom they were used.

Quorum analyzed every press release, floor statement, tweet, and Facebook post from all 535 members of the 114th Congress looking for the use of the following words:

  • Freedom
  • Liberty
  • Justice
  • Equality
  • Constitution
  • Bill of Rights
  • Civil Rights
  • Fairness
  • Capitalism
  • Socialism

Here’s how the top 5 ranked:

Gains: Or What’s in a Book Title?

By on 4.11.16 | 3:54PM

Saturday’s mail brought a copy of Peter Lindert’s and Jeffrey Williamson’s new book, Unequal Gains: American Growth and Inequality since 1700. I’ve not yet read as much as the first page, but I’m already eager to read the whole book.

But … but … I here register a cavil. The main title irritates me. If this book is about the economic growth of America over the past 300+ years, the title suggests that the dominant feature of that growth — the essential and most notable outcome of that growth — is that it has been unequal. This title mistakenly suggests that the main story of America’s economy is inequality.

China Must Confront Its North Korea Problem

By on 4.11.16 | 3:22PM

Great powers usually have client states. Although a sign of influence, the latter often are more trouble than they are worth. North Korea increasingly appears that way for Beijing.

The Chinese-North Korean relationship was oft said to be like lips and teeth, forged in blood during the Korean War. But even then, the relationship was fraught with tension.

Today those look like the “good ol’ days.” There is little doubt that the so-called Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has lost the support of Chinese public opinion.

Academics and analysts outside of government also show little love for China’s one ally, which only takes and never gives. Top officials no longer attempt to disguise their frustration with the North’s behavior.

The Kim regime has returned ill-disguised contempt. Emissaries from the People’s Republic of China came and went as the North Korean leader failed to make even a pretense of listening.

Thoughts on The Trump Campaign’s Pathetic Accusation of “Gestapo Tactics” Against Cruz

By on 4.11.16 | 12:27PM

In an interview with NBC's Meet the Press yesterday, new Donald Trump campaign adviser Paul Manafort claimed Ted Cruz was using "Gestapo tactics" at various state GOP Conventions including Colorado where Cruz swept Trump over the weekend.

Somehow I doubt Cruz hired an army of blond men to rouse Republicans out of their sleep and tell them to vote for Cruz or never see their families again. Invoking the Nazis is utterly pathetic, but pathetic is what I have come to expect of the Trump campaign.

Manafort also claimed that Cruz "wasn't playing by the rules." No, Cruz is absolutely playing by the rules. If the Trump campaign had actually bothered to study delegate selection procedure at the state GOP level instead of threatening riots at the RNC, they wouldn't find themselves in this situation. A situation of their own making.

Our Friends at CEI Face a Subpoena Over Climate Dissent

By on 4.10.16 | 9:44PM

The campaign to attach legal consequences to supposed “climate denial” has now crossed a fateful line. On Apri 7:

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) today denounced a subpoena from Attorney General Claude E. Walker of the U.S. Virgin Islands that attempts to unearth a decade of the organization’s materials and work on climate change policy. This is the latest effort in an intimidation campaign to criminalize speech and research on the climate debate, led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and former Vice President Al Gore….

The subpoena requests a decade’s worth of communications, emails, statements, drafts, and other documents regarding CEI’s work on climate change and energy policy, including private donor information. It demands that CEI produce these materials from 20 years ago, from 1997-2007, by April 30, 2016.

Canada’s NDP Takes a Leap & Ousts Thomas Mulcair

By on 4.10.16 | 6:27PM

Today, delegates at the Federal NDP Convention in Edmonton voted to oust leader Thomas Mulcair and have a race for a successor. Mulcair appealed to delegates to remain as leader. Although a simple majority of delegates would have technically kept his job, but in February outgoing NDP President Rebecca Blaikie (basically the equivalent of being Chair of the Democratic National Committee) said Mulcair needed 70% of support from delegates to carry on. Mulcair will remain leader until his successor is chosen.