The Spectacle Blog

Ladies: You Can’t Have It All

By on 4.9.14 | 5:07PM

In a low-blow attempt to make Republicans look like evil, money-hungry white guys who don’t care about women, Democrats recently introduced equal-pay legislation for the third time since 2010.

Unsurprisingly, Republicans voted no:

Republicans said the bill would make it hard for companies to award merit pay or offer flexible work hours in exchange for lower pay and expose employers to costly, frivolous lawsuits.

Ignoring the tired debate over whether Republicans hate women, let’s ask the relevant question: Do women really make less than men?

The 23 percent pay gap myth was already busted. Megan McArdle argued today that if you compare apples to apples—a man and a woman of the same age who work the same number of hours in the same profession with the same educational status—the gap shrinks to 5 percent.

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Slugger Is Way Off Base

By on 4.9.14 | 4:22PM

What a miserable old blister Henry Aaron has become. In connection with the celebration of the 40th anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s lifetime home run record, he told USA Today that Republicans and conservatives who oppose Barrack Obama and his policies are racists, little better than ku kluxers.

A sample: “Sure this country has a black president, but when you look at a black president, President Obama is left with his foot stuck in the mud from all the Republicans with the way he’s treated…back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts.”

Charming.

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A Monumental Step in Medicare Transparency

By on 4.9.14 | 3:33PM

In a monumental transparency effort, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Studies has released Medicare payment data covering $77 billion given to 880,000 practitioners in 2012.

For the first time in 35 years, the public can see how and where their Medicare tax dollars are being spent. The American Medical Association has fought this release for years, fearing that people would jump to misinformed assumptions about the data.

According to Bloomberg, Medicare paid nearly 4,000 physicians $1 million or more each in 2012:

The listing, gleaned from 880,000 providers paid by Medicare, was released this morning. The data, the first look at physician payments by the agency in more than 30 years, showed that most spending fell to a small group of doctors, with less than 3 percent taking in about 28 percent of the $64 billion paid out to individual providers.

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Will There Be Calls for Knife Control?

By on 4.9.14 | 2:31PM

There have been two mass stabbing incidents today. The first (which has received the lion's share of attention) took place at a high school outside of Pittsburgh where 21 people have been injured, nine of them in critical condition. The assailant was a student at the high school. North of the border, four people were stabbed at an office building in Toronto and one woman is in critical condition. They were apparently stabbed by a fellow employee who is in police custody. 
 

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Reverend Al: Government Snitch

By on 4.9.14 | 1:49PM

The oft-entertaining website The Smoking Gun came out with a bombshell report on Monday that Reverend Al Sharpton, civil rights leader cum racebaiting, attention seeking cad, worked as a stoolie for the FBI who helped build a case against the mafia. He performed this government service during his 1980s salad days of custom track suits, outrageously large medallions, and enough pomade to choke a horse. The Smoking Gun does not mince words in their must-read:

When friends and family members gathered recently at the White House for a private celebration of Michelle Obama’s 50th birthday, one of the invited partygoers was a former paid FBI Mafia informant.

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Brandeis’ Disinvitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali No Surprise

By on 4.9.14 | 12:43PM

I wish I could say I am surprised that Brandeis University has withdrawn its invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Brandeis was set to give Hirsi Ali an honorary doctorate, but she wasn't good enough for the Coalition of the Oppressed.

In October 2010, I went to Brandeis to accompany my roommate Christopher Kain who was invited to give a poetry reading there. When we entered the main campus building we were greeted by this sign:

FREE GILAD SHALIT
 AND THE 6,011 PALESTINIANS BEING HELD IN ISRAELI JAILS

I should explain the font size for AND THE 6,011 PALESTINIANS BEING HELD IN ISRAELI JAILS was at least ten times larger than FREE GILAD SHALIT. 

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Morning Round-Up 4-9

By on 4.9.14 | 11:11AM

Feature of the Day: The U.S. Through Presidential First Pitches

Morning Headlines

Domestic                                                          

Associated Press

  1. De Blasio Has Victories, Missteps in First 100 Days

Politico

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The Ultimate Warrior, R.I.P.

By on 4.9.14 | 10:23AM

Former professional wrestler The Ultimate Warrior died suddenly yesterday of a heart attack. He was 54.

Warrior's death came only 24 hours after appearing on World Wrestling Entertainment's RAW program for the first time in nearly 18 years. This appearance followed his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame on Saturday. I watched an excerpt of the induction speech on Monday night and remember his heartfelt tribute to his wife and two young daughters. Needless to say, I can only imagine what they are now going through.

During his appearance on RAW, Warrior told the audience:

No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own. Every man's heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe their final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them believe deeper in something larger than life then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized. 

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Hank Aaron 715 @ 40

By on 4.8.14 | 10:42PM

Forty years ago tonight, on April 8, 1974, Hank Aaron hit his 715th career home run to pass Babe Ruth as MLB's all-time HR leader. Aaron hit number 715 off Dodgers lefty Al Downing out of the reach of left fielder Bill Buckner into the bullpen at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium where it was caught by Braves reliever Tom House. 
 
Aaron spent his last two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers and would retire after the 1976 season finishing his career with 755 HR. That total would, of course, be surpassed by Barry Bonds in 2007 (who finished his career with 762 HR).
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No Happy Ending for Obamacare

By on 4.8.14 | 4:36PM

Time for our daily fix of Obamacare fumbles.

After their nauseating tale of the success of the “Obamacare underdog," Politico came to their senses and printed a piece about the hurdles ahead of this massive piece of law.

Of the “six big danger points” they discussed, a few were particularly damning.

First, people don’t realize that now that the March 31 “official” deadline has passed, they can’t get insurance for the rest of the year. Even if they end up sick and needing coverage, Obama has stonewalled Americans from seeking care.

Secondly, Americans heard the $95 penalty for not buying insurance and figured, “Eh, not so bad." They didn’t realize that it was $95 or 1 percent of their income – whichever is higher. In other words, if you make any more than $9,500 a year, you are in for a terrible shock when tax time rolls around.

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