The Spectacle Blog

Patrick Henry, Jefferson, and the Beach Boys

By on 1.3.06 | 2:08PM

I don't have anything against the Beach Boys, but I had to chuckle at the diverging tones in Gov.-Elect Tim Kaine's emails over the last few days.

Friday's email about inauguration press credentials made me envious that a Democrat would enjoy a Williamsburg inauguration:

Thank you for your interest in covering this unique and historic Inauguration. When Governor-elect Tim Kaine takes the oath of office on Saturday, January 14, 2006, he will become only the third Virginia governor to be inaugurated in Williamsburg, joining Patrick Henry (1777) and Thomas Jefferson (1779).

Fine, Kaine's no Henry or Jefferson, but to join that distinguished list is quite an honor for any governor.

Today's email brought that sentiment back to reality. Headlining the "Promise of Virginia" inaugural concert will be the Beach Boys. How underwhelming.

Send to Kindle

We Hardly Knew Ye

By on 1.3.06 | 1:26PM

One great airline, Independence Air, is now shutting down for good on Thursday. For those of who you didn't fly it, you would miss it too. All the seats were a bright blue leather, comfortable, and fares were quite cheap (sometimes as low as 39 dollars one way).

My last flight included a flight attendant who opened with the following introduction speech:

"Hi, my name is Fritz and I along with Jen and Alex will be your flight attendants for this flight. But I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that you'll have to put up with us for about an hour. The good news is that I just saved a bundle on my car insurance by switching to Geico.

"... There is no smoking on this plane. Disabling the smoke detector in the bathroom is a federal offense. However, if you exit the plane anywhere between here and our destination, please feel free to smoke as much as you like.

Send to Kindle

Some Predictions

By on 1.3.06 | 7:59AM

It's not too late for a few '06 predictions, so here goes.

First, three reporters -- WaPo's Dana Priest and NYT's James Risen and Eric Lichtblau -- who reported the leaks of the CIA secret detention facilities and the NSA program authorized by President Bush, will each be either in jail or facing jail time for refusing to reveal their sources by year's end. These leaks have damaged national security in a major way and must be punished. The only way the leakers will be discovered is by compelling the reporters' testimony.

Second, David Cameron will last only until the next general election as Tory leader. He is a man eager to distance himself from Thatcher, to redistribute wealth, and to befog what little his party stands for. If he lasts longer than that, the Tories will render themselves irrelevant. Brit Conservatives need to go back to their dictionaries and study the meaning of "conservative."

Send to Kindle

Journal Blogging

By on 1.3.06 | 7:11AM

With the new year, the Wall Street Journal is stepping into the blog world with a Law Blog, hosted by reporter Peter Lattman. Lattman writes yesterday that the blog will cover stories on business and law and the business of law. And more great news: the Journal's address for the blog,, suggests they have more blogs in mind.

Send to Kindle

Keystone Spies

By on 1.2.06 | 4:42PM

Since it came out on Christmas Day, you probably missed this must-read report on the CIA's embarrassingly poor tradecraft that has them in trouble with the law in Italy over a 2003 rendition. No matter how low our expectations of The Agency's competence get, it seems they can always be a tad lower.

Porter Goss is trying to fix things, though. Best of luck to him on that.

(Hat-tip: INDC Journal.)

Send to Kindle

A Good Start

By on 1.1.06 | 5:27PM

2006 is off to a good start in France. According to this IHT report, French youts (as My Cousin Vinny would say) burned 425 cars last night. What Monsewer Chirac will say about that in his big address is, at this point, unreported. Thank Heaven.

Send to Kindle

Fifteen Years Ago Today…

By on 1.1.06 | 2:45PM

...The USSR ceased to exist. Dave Kopel looks back.

In other receeding-tyranny news, The arrival of the New Year means bars in South Carolina will finally be able to pour from full-size bottles. Thus ends perhaps the dumbest "temperence" law ever -- because bartenders treated the minibottles like shots even though they contain about a shot and a half each, the law's main effect was to make drinks much stronger.

Send to Kindle

Happy UN-New Year

By on 1.1.06 | 8:50AM

Rise and shine, sleepyheads. You thought this year might be different? C'mon, guys. It's barely nine hours old here in Virginia, and we already have adequate proofs that 2006 is just 2005's ugly sister.

The J-Post reports, based on a story in a German newspaper, that we are planning a military strike on Iran. This is a combination of German disdain for any war Germany doesn't start and Israelis thinking wishfully that we will do it before they have to. And the London Times reports that the ever-charming Kim Jong-il's regime is restarting a nuclear reactor that will enable it to make about ten nuclear weapons a year. This despite the six-party talks that were supposed to get the North Korean genie back in the bottle.

Send to Kindle