The Spectacle Blog

The Game (Lobbyist Not Rap Star Edition)

By on 3.31.06 | 8:55AM

Somehow or other, a Boston Globe reporter got their hands on a list of Grover Norquist's donor list and wrote up a story on the incongruities and political/philosophical fence-straddling it hints at. It's an interesting read, though not a surprising one for anyone who has spent time on the edges of the D.C. political hustle bustle. Consistency in the heart of Leviathan? Surely ye jest! On a side note: Why does it seem these days wherever there is smoke there's an Indian casino?

For obvious reasons, the story uses "Norquist's largest individual donor: Richard 'Dickie' Scruggs, a Democratic Mississippi trial lawyer, who contributed $4.3 million" as the recurring peg of the story. Who this information will to hurt more--Norquist in conservatives' eyes or trial lawyers in liberals' eyes--is not clear. Apparently Scruggs wanted Norquist to help stop a Republican proposal to put a ceiling on legal fees trial lawyers could take home, which makes for the following priceless bit towards the end of the story:

Nota Bene, Mahmoud

By on 3.31.06 | 8:06AM

Or, to paraphrase the Gipper, you can dig but you can't hide. Buried in the news yesterday was a report that will rock Las Vegas. Literally.

In about three months, the boys and girls will be testing a new device at the Nevada test range on Nellis AFB near Las Vegas. Normally, that wouldn't cause anyone's dice to jump, but in this case the new device is a 700-ton -- yep, you read that right, 140,000 pounds if my math is right -- weapon called "Divine Strake." It's a penetrator that is designed to go very deep and then destroy whatever its explosive charge can reach. And that will be very deep indeed. (Strake, by the by, is an archaic term for the planks or plates at the very bottom of a ship's hull going from stem to stern).

This is clearly being developed with the Iranian nuclear weapons program in mind. I asked my favorite RSG and FNC senior military analyst Lt. Gen. Tom McInerny about Divine Strake. He said:

Re: Iran War Games

By on 3.31.06 | 7:54AM

Larry: Possible, but very unlikely. Tehran doesn't want to start anything until they're able to deplloy nuclear weapons. They'll try to provoke, maybe even send some aircraft toward our ships in Dubai. More than that, and they know they'll be going too far. But the point will be made. They have the ability to close the Strait of Hormuz and starve us of oil. This confrontation is coming. And they're not the only ones preparing for it. (See Nota Bene, Mahmoud, above).

War Games?

By on 3.31.06 | 7:00AM


In one of Tom Clancy's novels, a belligerent Japan uses a supposedly peaceful war game with the U.S. to start a real conflict. Any chance Iran could use their war game scenario to make a real strike at the Straits of Hormuz?


By on 3.30.06 | 1:42PM

Here's a roundup with material on Iran from every conceivable angle. And Regime Change Iran is always on top of news from the Islamic Republic.

Mitchell Fishing for Work?

By on 3.30.06 | 11:59AM

Funny how former Sen. George Mitchell is now heading Major League Baseball's belated steroids investigation. He must not have been encouraged by the results of this trolling for work with other athletic endeavors.

We hear Mitchell was one of the first in line to beg outgoing National Football League commissioner Paul Tagliabue for an opportunity to fill his very large shoes. After all Mitchell thinks he brokered peace in Northern Ireland, he figures he can broker anything. But Mitchell's star is somewhat tarnished by his role as a board member at the Walt Disney Company, which was detailed in joyously brutal detail by Jim Stewart in his "Disney Wars" book.

Given Mitchell's desire for the spotlight, it's doubtful Tagliabue would be looking to him as a reasonable replacement, and the 32 egos in NFL ownership wouldn't like him much, either.

Bolton Day 3

By on 3.30.06 | 10:58AM

So the NYT thinks Josh Bolton is going to shake things up on the economic and Congressional fronts. Now there's a news flash!

Bolton is probably going to do more than that. This is a man who famously keeps longer hours than Andy Card does, and drives his staff perhaps harder than any other senior White House official.

In terms of bringing in legislative help, we're hoping the name won't be former Sen. Dan Coats, who may make a great Supreme Court nominee sherpa, but has gained the reputation since leaving office of being lazy. As U.S. ambassador to Germany, he was famous for spending more time on the golf courses in Europe than in-country, and was a major reason for the breakdown in the U.S.-Germany relationship. Relations between Congress and the White House are bad enough, we don't need Coats to help things along a bit more.

Our pick would be a someone from outgoing Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's staff. With a year to go before he retires, he could probably "lend" the White House a strong legislative mover and shaker with the relationships on both sides of Congress to ease relations.

Iran’s Wargames

By on 3.30.06 | 10:34AM

There’s no need to wait thirty days for the Iranian response to the UN’s demands. They’ve already rejected complying with UN requirements to stop enriching uranium. And now, Tehran/>/>’s military has announced wargames in the Persian Gulf/>. The money quote from Mostafa Safari, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps navy:

The revolutionary guards corps navy and air force in collaboration with (Iran's regular) army, navy, (the volunteer militia) Basij, and the Iranian police will start a manoeuvre from 31 March until 6 April in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman…The exercise will cover an area stretching from the northern tip of the Persian Gulf all the way to the port city of Chah-Bahar in the Sea of Oman extending 40km into the sea.

Re: The Dems’ “Real Security” Plan

By on 3.30.06 | 9:20AM

Dave: One curious note in that "plan." The Dems say they will "eliminate" Osama bin Laden. Not that I wouldn't personally pull the trigger (more than once) given the opportunity, but does this mean that the Dems would annul EO 12333? As I recall, that's the one that prohibits assassinations. I wonder what "eliminate" means in the Dems lexicon. Would they go so far as to exclude him from the amnesty being granted illegal immigrants? I doubt Hapless Harry would ever be that harsh, judgmental or exclusionist.

The Dems’ “Real Security Plan”

By on 3.30.06 | 9:01AM

Even the L.A. Times' Ron Brownstein is underwhelmed: "...leading Democrats on Wednesday released a plan that promised to strengthen America's security but offered few details about how they would achieve their sweeping goals."