The Spectacle Blog

Christmas Ornaments

By on 7.13.06 | 1:51PM

Manon McKinnon's column today shows the embarrassingly if not entirely dimwitted mean side of reporter Helen Thomas.

So it may surprise some that Ms. Thomas doesn't always play the ogre. In fact, she can be the life of the party. That's what she was last December 15 at a late afternoon White House Christmas reception for Washington media types and their families. While the President and Mrs. Bush spent the entire time in the ground floor's China Room, patiently having their photos taken with individual guests, Helen Thomas held court upstairs alongside the buffets in the East Room and State Dining Room, with stops in the Blue, Green, and Red Rooms, shucking and yucking with other revelers, and, most alarming off all, having her picture taken with a number of wide-eyed guests as if she were some kind of star or world leader.

Well, at least she didn't boycott the White House while it remains the official home of the hated Bush.

More VA News

By on 7.13.06 | 12:39PM

Sorry if anyone's tired of the Virginia political news, but it looks like Jim Gilmore is getting serious about running for governor in 2009, opening a state PAC (via NLS). It would be his second term -- Virginia allows multiple terms, but not consecutively.

Speaking of Allen

By on 7.13.06 | 12:33PM

Jim Webb has agreed to debate him July 22 at the Virginia Bar Association's annual meeting at the Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia.

How Badly Does George Allen Want to Be President?

By on 7.13.06 | 8:09AM

So badly that Roll Call reports that he's trying ($) to quit the chewing tobacco. His spokesman confirmed that he is using Snus, which doesn't generate the typical chew spit.

If he switches, it's a good thing. There is nothing quite like seeing a U.S. senator behind a grand desk spitting into a plastic cup -- or a president, for that matter.

ABC’s Ode to Gorby

By on 7.12.06 | 5:18PM

Really, there is some historical revisionism that is just beyond the pale, but, coming from the mainstream media, just as predictable. So it is any time one of the big networks digs the sainted Gorbachev out from under whatever dacha he is enjoying while "advising" the "moral person" of Vladimir Putin. See this ABC piece today from Claire Shipman. Let us count the ways that it distorts history. First, the lede sentence alone is absurd: Mikhail Gorbachev is generally regarded as the man who broke down the "iron curtain" that separated the communist world from the West and thawed the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Yeah, RIGHT. Gorby just stepped up to that curtain and tore it from its moorings. Deliberately. On his own. There never was a guy named Ronald Reagan, much less a Pope John Paul II, a Thatcher, a Walesa, a Havel....

Then there is this:

War Warning

By on 7.12.06 | 1:59PM

The surest sign that things are going well in Iraq is the growing violence in Palestine and across the Lebanese border into Israel. The latest attack -- this time by Iran-financed Hizballah terrorists -- added two Israeli soldiers to the number of hostages now held. This is the result not of Israel's Gaza incursion but the fact that the Israelis -- like us -- aren't taking the battle to the source of the enemy.

In Israel's case, the center of gravity lies in Syria and in Egypt. For us, it's in Syria and Iran. The longer we and the Israelis wait, the greater the cost to both nations in blood and treasure.

It's 1973 all over again. If Israel sends a force into Lebanon it will probably face Syrian troops. We're awaiting reports of Syrian tank dispositions, and the movement of Egyptian and Saudi air forces. Watch. Watch closely. This is about to be a very big war.

Re: Bilingual Ballots: No, Non, Nyet!

By on 7.12.06 | 12:53PM

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is pushing an amendment that would strip that provision from the bill. He too cites the argument that a language unifies a country, and Mr. Hogberg's right/privilege distinction is well-taken. There are other considerations too. Competency in English is a requirement of citizenship, which is a requisite for voting. Thus, as George Will pointed out, bilingual ballots not only render this provision pointless but are in direct conflict with existing law. Finally, there is the insulting practice of "surname analysis" (see Jan Tyler's testimony) which allows a district to predict how many bilingual ballots and translators it may need by measuring, for example, how many Martinez's live in a particular voting district.

That’s One Way to Raise Money…

By on 7.12.06 | 12:17PM

Congressional Democrats are using the images of flag-draped coffins to raise money.

The rest of the ad is also quite awful: you would think the apocalypse is upon us, with the flashes of high gas prices, hurricanes on the radar, and car bombings (presumably in Iraq). Overall, times are pretty good. The Democrats' success depends on the times staying bad.