The Spectacle Blog

ABC’s Pope Joan

By on 12.29.05 | 1:40PM

Those naming the mainstream media as their Enemy of the Year (below) won't be dissuaded after learning about Primetime's segment tonight. Diane Sawyer will "report" (read: speculate) about a Pope Joan, a rumored female pope in the ninth century.

In a Video on Demand preview at the ABC News website, the anchorette asks the segment's producer, Ann Reynolds, what evidence exists of Pope Joan. Reynolds responds, "You're talking about the dark ages. t is almost impossible to prove anything. There's no sense of history as you or I would accept it. There's no sense of proof as a news person would accept it. But it's an amazing mystery." Hmmm... tabloids usually run their gossip yarns with more evidence than that.

But what do historians say? Reynolds answers, "They argue back and forth. There's so little hard evidence that I don't think anybody can say it's true. There are people who can say they believe it because of the preponderance of evidence. But we talked to all sorts of them and they have arguments back and forth."

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Judge Jones’ Uncivil Decision

By on 12.29.05 | 1:11PM

Something about the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School Board Decision didn't sit right with me. Okay, a few things: the huffy tone, the clumsy history and connections between the 1920s creationists and present-day intelligent design crowd.

But U of Chicago law prof Al Alschuler nails it:

If fundamentalism still means what it meant in the early twentieth century, however -- accepting the Bible as literal truth -- the champions of intelligent design are not fundamentalists. They uniformly disclaim reliance on the Book and focus only on where the biological evidence leads. The court's response -- "well, that's what they say, but we know what they mean" -- is uncivil, an illustration of the dismissive and contemptuous treatment that characterizes much contemporary discourse. Once we know who you are, we need not listen. We've heard it all already.

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Hart’s War

By on 12.28.05 | 5:54PM

There's an old story about three libertarians -- a historian, a philosopher, and an economist -- discussing how much they all admire Murray Rothbard. (I'm forgetting some of the details, but I think the economist was David Friedman.) The historian says he loves Rothbard on philosophy and economics, but that his understanding of history falls short. The philosopher says that, though he loves most of Rothbard's work, he has some problems with Rothbard's philosophical writings. The economist adds that, truth be told, he's not a big fan of Rothbard's economic writings.

There's been a multi-blog debate going on over Jeffery Hart's essay on American conservatism in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, and it's gone something like that. Hart gets so many things not-quite-right that the critiques of his essay make up a sort of mini-course in conservative political thought. Happily, Marc Comtois has collected most of them in one place.

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Holds

By on 12.28.05 | 3:21PM

Hugh Hewitt is on the case related to the dumping of Federal Circuit Court nominee in limbo Brett Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh was nominated to sit on the DC Circuit back in 2003 and has been held now in all that time. His name was intentionally excluded from the negotiations by the Gang of 14, though in private sessions, sources have told us that Sen. John McCain had offered up Kavanaugh's nomination for sacrifice in order to get other nominees through.

Hewitt points out what a number of other people have posited: that because of Kavanaugh's role in the investigation of former President Clinton's (he was a Ken Starr deputy), Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has had a hold on the nomination.

Kavanaugh is but one of several important nominations that Democrats are holding. Sen. Arlen Specter could easily push ahead on Kavanaugh's, while other committee chairmen, Sens. Lugar and Stevens, to name two, could push the White House for more aggressive movement on other nominations they have dealt with, and which are now on "rolling holds" by the full Senate.

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John Batchelor Show: ABC Radio

By on 12.28.05 | 11:53AM

Forgive me if I don't blog much for the rest of the week. I'll be subbing for John Batchelor on his ABC Radio Network show tonight thru Friday night. John's hours are late: 9 pm - 1 am EST, so I'll be dragging in the early hours.

Hope you can catch the show. We'll be keeping John's usual fast pace, talking about the global news with people all around the world.

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Tough but Fair

By on 12.28.05 | 10:27AM

The Chicago Tribune editorial page takes an honest stab at re-assessing the Bush administration's prewar arguments for invading Iraq. One could quibble with their conclusions here and there, but they do a very good job of disaggregating the issues. Well worth a read.

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Re: Left Wing Christmas Cheer

By on 12.28.05 | 10:09AM

You know, I'm trying to sing that, but having a lot of trouble (more than usual). It doesn't really go with Jingle Bells at all. I know this is just nitpicking, but this must have been hammered out in a hurry. Next thing we know, NOW will have a bake sale.

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Left Wing Christmas Cheer

By on 12.28.05 | 10:05AM

This is what passes for the Christmas, er, holiday spirit from liberal activists. No "peace on earth and good will to men" here. Rather, National Organization for Women President Kim Gandy has rewritten some Christmas Carols with a sophistication and maturity that reminds me of elementary school bus diddies (you know, "Jingle Bells, Batman smells..."):

(to the tune of "Jingle Bells")

Dashing through the snow
On our way to Capitol Hill
NOW rounds we will show,
And we won't stop until

We save the Su-preme Court
'Cause it protects our rights
We'll protest any nominee
Who won't support our fights.

Oh! Not the church, not the state,
We'll decide our fate
Oh what fun it is to plan
For the 2006 debates

(Now, Dick Cheney only!)

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