The Spectacle Blog

Phoning in to the March for Life

By on 1.23.06 | 11:11AM

President Bush will wish pro-life marchers well today at 12:10 p.m. via telephone from Manhattan, Kansas, where he's delivering remarks on the war on terror.

Come to think of it, this pro-life President hasn't ever attended the March for Life, which usually begins on his front lawn, the Ellipse. (This year, they're beginning on the Mall at 7th St.)

Where has Bush been during past Marches for Life? For the march just after his first inauguration, Monday, January 22, 2001, Bush sent a letter for Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) to read to the assembled. I gather from news reports that he was at the White House planning his new administration. That day, his first major policy action was to reinstitute the Mexico City policy, which bars American international aid from pro-abortion groups. Since then, he's addressed the marchers by telephone:

Monday, January 24, 2005: From Camp David.

Thursday, January 22, 2004: From Roswell, N.M., where he was speaking on the war on terror to the New Mexico Military Institute.

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Ford’s Turn Beneath The Guillotine

By on 1.23.06 | 10:18AM

First General Motors, now this. Don't let anyone tell you they didn't see it coming. The staggering failure of the American auto industry (Ford alone lost $40 billion of market value since 2001) led me on New Year's Eve to see within the old crystal ball a fanatical, desperate merger of Ford and GM. Top executives grinning wildly, sweaty palms dripping behind besuited backs; the grisly, vengeful destruction of not just Pontiac but Buick and Mercury; the dazed, upbeat rebranding of the shrunken monstrosity as a "new tradition of greatness," an "all-American original." In the boardroom rush to be like Nissan, the courtiers of Ford and GM are in SHIFT_panic mode.

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Season Five, Episode Five

By on 1.23.06 | 10:10AM

Tonight 24 returns to its normal once-a-week, one-hour regular episode schedule (woe is us!). After four hours, 15 terrorists done away with, two girlfriends, the detection of a new mole, and Jack's return to vigilante/CTU agent status, the next hour should set the stage for the rest of the season -- trying to stop the release of a chemical weapon attack.

In case you have missed a few episodes here and there (shame on you), catch up with Paul Beston's insightful analysis of the show, from our July/August issue.

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March for Life

By on 1.23.06 | 9:45AM

In less than 90 minutes the annual March for Life marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade gets underway on Constitution Avenue along the Mall in Washington, D.C. Local coverage has been skimpy and rather insulting. The Washington Times's metro section item, "Life March to Shut Roads" (in Washington traffic is the one vital issue), underscores that some "19 surveillance cameras" have been set up along the route "to watch for suspicious activity during the March for Life rally and any counterdemonstrations." The idea that pro-lifers, the most pleasant and normal of protesters imaginable, would need to be monitored speaks volumes about the many warps in our culture. But at least the Times saw fit to publish the name of the march. The Washington Post couldn't bring itself to do that. Its item, headlined "Abortion Opponents to Mark Roe v. Wade," says nothing about surveillance. But neither does it use the word "life" even once.

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Re: Stuck on Stupid

By on 1.23.06 | 9:17AM

Dave: You're dead bang right on all but one point. They ain't the Boys of '92. They're the Girlie Men of 1968. And they always will be.

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Re: Stuck on Stupid

By on 1.23.06 | 9:01AM

Jed, I was fortunate enough to miss Meet the Press. But I was flipping through books at Borders yesterday and came across the Carville/Begala screed. Those guys usually have pragmatic, quality prescriptions for the Democrats, but the book is a disappointment. It's safe to say they're drinking the Kool-Aid. The book is Democrat talking points, even getting so lazy as to recite the Valerie-Plame-was-outed-by-a-meanie-administration talking points. That pseudo-scandal isn't sticking outside the Beltway. But chances are, the Boys of '92 won't sell many copies in flyover country.

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Stuck on Stupid

By on 1.23.06 | 7:38AM

For those of you fortunate enough to have missed Meet the Press yesterday, Paul Begala and James Carville were there to flack their new book on how to revive the Dems. But their prescription cannot survive their own mindset.

Carville insisted that the Dems' problem is not that they're too liberal, but that they were ineffective in getting their message out in way people can understand. Begala, of course, agreed. What these guys are wilfully ignorant of is the fact that the American people understand them all too well. Unreconstructed McGovernite liberalism don't sell, especially in time of war. You can shout it from the rooftops, but they won't believe you. Which bodes well for '08.

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Pro Bono Whose Publico?

By on 1.22.06 | 6:28PM

It’s a curious phenomenon of the law. The bigger the client and the bigger the law firm, the less likely one really knows what the other is doing. Take the business of pro bono publico (for the public’s benefit) representation, or “pro bono” in legal jargon. Lawyers -- yes, even lawyers -- want to perform charitable acts. So many lawyers and many law firms donate a portion of their time every year to represent those who cannot afford representation. They still get paid because their law firms are getting paid for the rest of their work and the work of the lawyers who aren’t doing their pro bono turn.

So the law firms' other clients are picking up the tab for the pro bono work, and many take pride in what their lawyers do. But one wonders what clients would think of their lawyers doing pro bono work for terrorists?

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Barghouti wins, Israel loses

By on 1.22.06 | 3:34PM

The Palestinian parliamentary elections on Wednesday January 25, 2006, will deliver a triumph for the terror gang of Hamas, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Tehran-Damascus-Cairo axis powers, and will deliver a mortal blow to the kidney-failing Fatah under insufferable Mahmud Abbas and his kleptocratic cronies.

The US State Department, backing Fatah and Abbas with cash and policy, is at the doorstep of a policy vacuum in the region. Abbas cannot and does not know how to form a coalition of Fatah and Hamas, and will be in the stupid position of denying democracy and fair election results in order to please his US-EU masters who are preaching democracy for the Ummah. Cancel democracy to suck up to democracy?? Abbas is more compromised than a rifle company raised in Hollywood.

What will follow the January 25 results, with Hamas commanding 50 or 60 seats in the 132 member PA parliament, will be farce, doggerel, shameless doubletalk as only the mumbles society at State can manage.

But is there no future for Fatah?

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If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Pay The Opposition

By on 1.22.06 | 9:50AM

The dark humor of Batchelor's high and wild prose poetry on Syria, below, gets one feeling like a doomed revolutionary, and the fun of revolutions is to be had in "letting the chips fall where they may." Overturning the status quo, as an analytical imperative, can be eclipsed by a second-order emotional imperative upon realizing that whether or not one wins or loses is still entirely up for grabs. What one was willing to do to start a revolution often falls short of what one is willing to do to win it -- kicking over the status quo creates policy options by creating chaos, and a certain improvisory spirit is demanded.

So after championing Palestininan democracy, America turns to USAID to funnel $2 million into Fatah, hoping, suddenly rather desperately, to fend off a big victory for Hamas at the polls. "U.S. and Palestinian officials," the Washington Post reports, "say they fear the election, scheduled for Wednesday, will result in a large Hamas presence in the 132-seat legislature."

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