The Spectacle Blog

Clinton Campaign Threatens Chicago Comedy Club for Making Fun of Her

By on 11.19.15 | 12:38PM

Poor, sweet, shrinking violet Hillary Clinton is very angry with a Chicago comedy club, the local Laugh Factory franchise, for making a video poking fun at her. After all, there's absolutely nothing funny about Hillary Clinton and anyone who thinks otherwise should face a severe and swift punishment.

At least, that's what the Laugh Factory owner says the Clinton campaign actually thinks. Five of the house comedians made a video called "Hillary v. The First Amendment" (ironically), mostly recylcing old jokes about Hillary's wardrobe, hairstyle, close relationship with Huma Abedin among other, occasionally crass observations. The Laugh Factory posted the video online, something triggered a warning klaxon in Clinton world headquarters, and Jamie Masada, the club's owner, quickly got an earful from a "prominent" Clinton campaign staffer who demanded the video be taken down, requested the names and home addresses of the comedians in the video, and threated to shut Masada down if he didn't comply.

Donald Trump “Won’t Rule Out” Database, Warrantless Searches for Muslims

By on 11.19.15 | 12:12PM

Donald Trump has been tough-talking on the Syrian refugee crisis for a few days now, drifting in and out of rationality as the situation dictates. With many of his fellow candidates doomed to actually have to cast a vote on the subject, the Donald is free to pontificate on the subject of national security as he wants, when he wants and with as little regard for human dignitity and the confines of the Constitution as necessary.

This morning, Yahoo news published a lengthy interview with the real estate mogul, in which they asked him how he would handle the issue of terrorism, given that the subject itself is rather difficult to police. Trump doesn't know, but there is a laundry list of items he won't rule out, some of which don't quite jibe with the First Amendment

We’re going to have to do thing that we never did before,” he said during a Yahoo interview.

“Some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule,” Trump said.

Sometimes There Are No Good Options

By on 11.19.15 | 10:17AM

Like many libertarians, I reject the notion that national defense is an arena that is somehow exempt from the rule that politicians and bureaucrats are untrustworthy stewards of the general welfare. And like many libertarians, whenever I express opposition to, or even skepticism of, some U.S. military adventure, I get gushers of grief from people who insist that I’m “naive,” “childish,” and (my favorite, from a recent e-mail) “a stupid America hating dip s[--]t hippie disguised as a free market blogger.”

Arrieta & Keuchel Win NL/AL Cy Young Awards (My Arrieta NL Cy Young Prediction Comes True)

By on 11.18.15 | 9:08PM

Houston Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel and Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs have been named the 2015 AL and NL Cy Young Award winners. 

Normally I would talk about the AL winner first, but I will make an exception here. The reason for this is because I predicted Arrieta would be the NL Cy Young winner prior to the 2015 season:

Excitement was further aroused with the signing of free agent pitcher Jon Lester, owner of two World Series rings with the Red Sox. The biggest beneficiary of Lester’s presence will be Jake Arrieta, who finally began to realize his potential in 2014. I see Arrieta building on 2014 and turning in a season that will earn him an NL Cy Young Award.

Well, Arrieta did the rest winning an MLB leading 22 games, posting an ERA of 1.77 and striking out 236 batters against only 48 walks in 229 innings pitched. Arrieta also led the NL in complete games and shutouts. 

Kerry Backtracks on Charlie Hebdo Statements, But Don’t Worry He’ll Say Something Stupid Again

By on 11.18.15 | 8:42PM

Secretary of State John Kerry backtracked from his remarks to U.S. Embassy in Paris that there was "a legitimacy" or "rationale" to January's terrorist attacks against Charlie Hebdo.:

Now, let me make my point as clearly as I can:  There are no grounds of history - religion, ideology, psychology, politics, economic disadvantage, or personal ambition - that justify the slaughter of unarmed civilians, the bombing of public places, or indiscriminate violence towards innocent men, women, and children. And such atrocities can never be rationalized, and we can never allow them to be rationalized. There's no excuse.

Can China’s Authoritarians Keep the Economic Miracle Going?

By on 11.18.15 | 4:32PM

BEIJING—Mao Zedong, China’s “Great Helmsman,” died four decades ago. Only after his murderous reign finally ended could his nation move forward. The old dictator and his cronies wouldn’t recognize China’s capital today. Beijing has become a sprawling metropolis with night clubs and fast food restaurants. Shanghai’s transformation is equally dramatic. Always more international and commercial than Beijing, it has become a world financial center.

There’s a lot more to the People’s Republic of China, including a vast rural territory which remains poor, with average incomes well below urban PRC. But extreme poverty has given way to a genuine, if modest, prosperity.

As China has advanced on the global stage, there’s been discussion of the “Beijing consensus” or China Model. Who needs free markets and democracy if managed capitalism and autocracy can deliver sustained, even faster, economic growth? Dictators around the world want to convince themselves–and more importantly, their subjects–that oppression pays.

Bernie Sanders Might Not Make the Case for Socialism After All

By on 11.18.15 | 4:21PM

It seems things have soured a little for everyone's favorite socialist; Bernie Sanders, on the heels of a mediocre debate performance that saw him blame the whole of modern terrorism on "climate change," thus suggesting a few solar panels in the desert could solve all of our ISIS-related woes, it seems his campaign is "rethinking" his coming out party. 

Just a few weeks ago, the Sanders campaign was touting a huge upcoming speech in which Sanders, who has pushed a fully socialized health care program, free public education through a four-year degree, sky-high tax rates and an end to income inequality, would outline how to pay for the multi-trillion dollar welfare expansion through the very limited number of 1%-ers who wouldn't be packing up their mansion for sunnier days on private, tax free islands at the very thought of a Sanders Presidency. It is now on "indefinite hold" as the Sanders campaign tries to figure out how to sell the full Socialist package without completely turning off the majority of Democratic voters.

TSA Says 73 Employees Were on Terror Watch List

By on 11.18.15 | 1:00PM

A few months ago, top TSA officials were forced to hand over their plastic badges and report for bin-stacking duty after it was discovered that 95% of the time, fake, planted "bombs" and "firearms" were able to make it swiftly through security at a bunch of American airports (just don't wrap your face powder up in your underwear or they'll spill out the contents of your luggage across the "security screening area" with abandon, before testing you and your laptop for exploses, because obviously you're a terrorist, boarding a flight to that high-impact target Cleveland at an ungodly morning hour...not that I'm bitter).

Anyway, the malfeasance inside the TSA extends throughout the agency, apparently, from line workers, to top brass and even to HR. According to a report released this week, the TSA had 73 "aviation workers" on its payroll who also happened to be on the terror watchlist, something the TSA, in its extensive screening process, failed to discover.

Polls Apart

By on 11.18.15 | 12:21PM

As Yogi might have put it, the future of polling ain’t what it used to be. If the sample isn’t representative of the universe to be measured, the results are worthless. Michael Barone in this fine WSJ piece catalogues how the difficulties involved in getting a representative sample have escalated in recent years.

And the examples he gives of how badly pollsters have missed it in recent elections demonstrate his point. Worth keeping in mind during the primary races and beyond. If the venerable Gallup is throwing up its hands, what chance does the newbie Acme Polls have? We won’t know who’s on first until Election Night. Maybe not even then if it’s close. And that’s not all bad.