The Spectacle Blog

Let “DJ POTUS” Soundtrack Your Summer

By on 8.17.15 | 4:33PM

Technically, summer's over. I mean, my Facebook timeline is packed to the gills with "back to school" photos that children clearly don't want to take but their parents see as necessary to catalogue, lest the kids one day require proof they went to third grade. But the boundaries of reality are never enough to stop President Obama from doing things like, inking nuclear deals with Iran or buying high-waisted denim, so why shouldn't the President's Spotfiy playlist be released on the last full weekend of beach season?

Hillary Clinton Meets With President Obama as FBI Seeks Backup Server

By on 8.17.15 | 1:37PM

The Clintons were in chatty moods over the weekend, as they took a break from the grueling Iowa State Fair routine to catch a little R&R in Martha's Vineyard. After all, there's a limit to how much "folksiness" even Hillary Clinton can stand, and she'd spent all weekend pretending to eat corndogs, dressed like Martha Stewart in a cute wide-collared blue gingham shirt, designed to coordinate with the ribbons on the pies she'd never even consider touching for fear of "proletariat cooties" (she was upstaged there by Trump, who was giving free rides in the helicopter he came in).

The Big Screen Version of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is Better Than I Expected

By on 8.15.15 | 7:55PM

When I sang the praises of the original The Man from U.N.C.L.E. TV series the other day, I had very strong misgivings about the movie.

This afternoon I saw the big screen version of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. While I still prefer the original, the movie is better than I expected.

Both Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer were good as Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, respectively. I didn't quite like the backstory they gave Solo though. He was a black market war profiteer turned art thief. With that background, Solo reminded my roommate and I of Neil Caffrey on the USA Network TV series White Collar. That Cavill bears a remarkable resemblance to Matt Bomer (the actor who played Caffrey) was not lost on either of us. Nevertheless, Cavill and Hammer had good chemistry with each other and Hugh Grant was his usual charming self as Alexander Waverly albeit with limited screen time. 

ISIS is Conducting a Real War on Women

By on 8.15.15 | 2:22AM

On Friday, it was revealed that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi had repeatedly raped American relief worker Kayla Mueller while she was in captivity. 

Mueller was kidnapped in Syria two years ago and would never get out alive. ISIS claimed she had been killed as a result of Jordanian bombing of ISIS positions in Syria, but this is a most dubious claim. While ISIS was eager to claim she did not die at their hands they were not so eager to say their leader is a sexual sadist.

Baghdadi is hardly the only ISIS leader to engage in such evil. ISIS often kidnaps women, particularly the Yazidis, and forces them into sexual slavery. Earlier this month, 19 brave women who refused to have sex with ISIS leaders were executed

Red Sox Manager John Farrell Diagnosed with Lymphoma; Lovullo to Manage Team For Remainder of Season UPDATE

By on 8.14.15 | 8:29PM

Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell has announced that he was diagnosed with Stage 1 lymphoma and will miss the rest of the season. Bench coach Torey Lovullo will manage the team for the remainder of the year. 

Earlier in the week, Farrell had surgery in Detroit on Monday to treat a hernia. At the time, Farrell believed he injured himself moving gear while the team was in New York a week ago. However, the cancer would be discovered following the surgery. It is believed that the cancer is treatable and should be ready to resume his duties in time for spring training in 2016. 

Farrell, who turned 53 earlier this month, became manager of the Red Sox in 2013 and took them to a World Series title. However, the Sox fell to last place in 2014 and are likely headed for another last place finish in the AL East this season. Previously, Farrell managed the Toronto Blue Jays. He also pitched in the big leagues for 10 seasons with the Cleveland Indians, California Angels and the Detroit Tigers. 

Jeremy Corbyn Might Call Hezbollah and Hamas His Friends, But David Cameron Isn’t Much Better

By on 8.14.15 | 6:22PM

There is a very good chance that the next leader of Britain’s Labour Party will be Jeremy Corbyn, a longtime member of its Socialist Campaign Group.

Now conservatives might think that all Labourites are socialist, such as outgoing Labour Party leader Ed Miliband. Well, Jeremy Corbyn makes Ed Miliband look like Ted Cruz. Here is what he said in 2009 during a speech to the Palestine Solidarity Group: 

It will be my pleasure and honor to host an event in Parliament where our friends from Hezbollah will be speaking. I’ve also invited our friends from Hamas to come and speak as well.… So far as I’m concerned, that is absolutely the right function of using Parliamentary facilities.

Indeed, later this month Corbyn will share the stage with some pro-Hamas speakers. When Corbyn calls Hezbollah and Hamas his friends then you have a pretty good idea of who he considers to be his enemies.

Hillary Could Get Gored

By on 8.13.15 | 10:34PM

Former VP Al Gore is evidently being urged by supporters to make one more bid for the White House. Could Hillary get gored?

There was blood in the water after Maureen Dowd floated the idea of Joe Biden running for President.

With Bernie Sanders taking the lead over Hillary in NH, the sharks are beginning to swim towards their prey.

But the fact that Democrats are looking to Biden and now Gore to lead them to salvation shows how moribund they are. Both Biden and Gore made their first White House bid in 1988. Marco Rubio wasn't even out of high school.

Nevertheless, Hillary Clinton's White House bid is in serious trouble.

George Will in High Dudgeon

By on 8.13.15 | 6:29PM

Not surprisingly, George Will can’t stand Donald Trump. In his latest column he lets him have it but good, calling for Trump’s excommunication along the lines of William Buckley and National Review’s “excoriation” of the John Birch Society in 1962. Today that would mean getting the Republican National Committee to exclude from all Republican debates any candidate who refuses to “pledge to support the party’s nominee.”

Might that not be too clever by half? Wasn’t the point of the opening question in Cleveland to make sure that Trump doesn’t break ranks and thus weaken Republican chances irreparably? Of course, Will might prefer a third party candidacy by the lowly Trump. That would show him!

The Administration Is About to Upend American Business Practices

By on 8.13.15 | 4:16PM

It is probably the biggest change in American employment law since the National Labor Relations Act and its reform in the 1930s and ’40s, but it could happen without the general public realizing it. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB, a product of that 1930s legislation) is expected to rule any day now in a case that will affect thousands of businesses. Firms are bracing themselves for the fall-out.

The case in point relates to Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI), which owns a recycling plant that hires employees from a staffing agency. The local Teamsters Union petitioned the NLRB to designate BFI as a “joint employer” of the workers alongside the staffing agency. Designation as a joint employer would mean that BFI would be liable for the employees’ working conditions alongside the staffing agency. That means they could be sued over contractual matters and working conditions.

How Sweet It Isn’t: Sugar and the TPP

By on 8.13.15 | 2:59PM

How much Australian sugar should be allowed to enter the U.S. market? That’s a key question the U.S. government must answer prior to concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. The United States is the largest sugar market in the TPP, consuming about 11 million metric tons (MMT) per year. It also is the largest producer (7-8 MMT) and importer (3 MMT) in the group. Australia generally is believed to be the most cost-competitive sugar producer among the12 TPP nations. It also is the largest exporter, annually shipping 3-4 MMT to other countries.

To complicate matters further, sugar liberalization was explicitly excluded from the 2004 Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) due to U.S. political sensitivities. Australian sugar producers understandably want to redress that omission. Failure to obtain commercially meaningful access to the U.S. sugar market could lead to rejection of the pact by the Australian parliament.